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This tag is associated with 14 posts

Movie review: “Pitch Perfect 3”

If anybody actually asked for another Pitch Perfect movie, then they absolutely deserve what they got: a tone-deaf three-quel more thinly plotted than a grade-school revival of The Music Man as produced by Terrence Malick. The first installment a surprise hit that coasted on a novel combination of savvy music design and an affable cast … Continue reading

Movie review: “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle”

Much like the under-appreciated Zathura: A Space Adventure, writer-director Jake Kasdan’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a spiritual sequel to Joe Johnston’s 1995 classic Jumanji, rather than a reboot or a remake. It pays mild homage to its predecessor while charting its own course with a solid, if obvious, spin on the premise. It’s a pleasant … Continue reading

Movie review: “War for the Planet of the Apes”

A heady and surprisingly effective blend of war movie, westerns, Shakespearean drama, and Biblical allegory, War for the Planet of the Apes is a top-notch conclusion to what stands as an unexpectedly epic series that continues to punch above its weight class. Its arrival during a summer increasingly defined by franchise fatigue gives a spark of … Continue reading

Movie review: “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales”

At this point, being five movies and 14 years into the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is like being five hours into a Gilligan’s Island marathon: It’s gone on way too long, the novelty has worn off, and we’re starting to realize how lame the gags were to begin with. Is Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead … Continue reading

Movie review: “Alien: Covenant”

Although Alien: Covenant doesn’t answer all of the questions or tie up all of the loose ends stemming from Prometheus (2012), it goes a long way towards cleaning up that hot mess, and it’s easily the most satisfying Alien film since the 1980s. (Note: That definitely should not be interpreted as damning with faint praise.) Director Ridley Scott and screenwriters … Continue reading

Movie review: “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”

Familiarity and a bit of sequelitis creeps in at times, but overall Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is as entertaining, goofy, and irreverent as its blockbuster predecessor. There’s a lot of pressure to deliver on this one, as the first movie was an under-the-radar production unburdened by much in the way of expectation. It was a wild experiment that … Continue reading

Movie review: “Jason Bourne”

It’s ironic and inevitable that after four movies a franchise about a super-spy/super-soldier with amnesia would start to develop a feeling of deja vu. Its predecessors have always been cutting edge, gritty, faced-paced, timely, and raw in their sensibilities; but with Jason Bourne the world seems to have caught up with the franchise. Its style has … Continue reading

Movie review: “The Avengers: Age of Ultron”

The Law of Diminishing Returns hasn’t yet caught up with the Marvel Cinematic Universe — which is no mean feat given that it is It’s eleven movies in, with another eleven looming on the horizon. That said, there is some strain showing along the bulging seams of The Avengers: The Age of Ultron. Writer-director Joss … Continue reading

Movie review: ‘The Expendables III’

As with a number of third installments, the law of diminishing returns kicks in with The Expendables III — big time. The franchise has always centered on the novelty value of having the aging action stars of the ’80s and ’90s appear onscreen together — often for the first time — in order to shoot, … Continue reading

Movie review: ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’

It’s rare that a sequel or a reboot manages to justify its existence in the megaplex, but Dawn of the Planet of the Apes manages to one-up its progenitor and then some. Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2010) was itself a pleasant surprise; granted, expectations were low — most viewers still had the bad … Continue reading

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