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King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Thu, 25 May 2017 08:48:36 PDT

Recommended

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Director: Guy Ritchie
Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Jude Law, Djimon Hounsou
Year: 2017

Guy Ritchie's take on the Arthurian legend wasn't welcomed with open arms, and I think I understand why. I can only speak for Americans, but I think we view Camelot with a sense of awe, this mythical place that's better than here, these heroic men who are greater than we could ever hope to be. Basically, we put this story on a pedestal, treating it with near-Shakespearean gloves, and we don't like it to be told too flippantly. We're tough critics when it comes to Arthur, even if it's difficult to explain, and we dare each director who tries their hand to make a mistake, lest we roast them. Trailers for Ritchie's version appeared over-the-top, a ...Read the entire review




Alien: Covenant

Fri, 19 May 2017 17:01:48 PDT

Recommended

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Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Katherine Waterston, Michael Fassbender, Billy Crudup
Year: 2017

Ridley Scott returns to the Alien Universe with Covenant, the second prequel to the previous line of franchise films. Alien, Aliens, Alien 3, Prometheus: this is the must-watch canon for fans of the series, with this fifth piece of the puzzle coming as a delight to all those who have followed the story over all these years. Alien is a horror film, Aliens is an act...Read the entire review




The Circle

Wed, 10 May 2017 14:48:48 PDT

Rent It

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Director: James Ponsoldt
Starring: Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, John Boyega
Year: 2017

It's time to face facts; Emma Watson's adorable real life presence has masked that she's not as talented as we want her to be. We fell in love with her portrayal of Hermione, supported her as she branched out into other films, and have since been dying for her to live up to our expectations. After all, she's both beautiful and approachable, a strong role model off-camera, a riveting face on-screen, an actress who seems to be the Anne Hathaway antithesis; someone we're actually rooting for and would pay to have as a friend. I'm gushing, I know, I adore Watson, but she has that demeanor, something all Hollywood desires, I just wish it was backed up b...Read the entire review




Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Tue, 09 May 2017 12:13:22 PDT

Highly Recommended

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Director: James Gunn
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Kurt Russell
Year: 2017

Before we start, I think we should agree that Guardians of the Galaxy is one of the best comic book movies ever made, and that it was enjoyable on too many levels to count, a film that came as near to a perfect balance between style, substance, entertainment, and quality as you are likely to see. Even skeptics going in like me came out blown away, as GotG gave the genre the exact thrust it needed in the exact right direction, setting the stage for a Marvel Universe explosion that everyone an...Read the entire review




King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Tue, 09 May 2017 12:13:22 PDT

Recommended

(image) King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is the latest attempt atrevitalizing the King Arthur story. Warner Bros has broughtaudiences a new take on the classic legend with an action-adventurefilm from acclaimed filmmaker Guy Ritchie (Sherlock Holmes).The film is from executive producers David Dobkin (R.I.P.D.),Jeff Kleeman (The Man From U.N.C.L.E.), and Bruce Berman (TheMatrix).

There have been many attempts at bringing the story of King Arthurto the big screen before. With films such as King Arthur (2004),Excalibur (1981), The Sword in the Stone (1963), it seems there isalways room for exploring the legend of King Arthur in cinema. WhatKing Arthur: Legend of the Sword has that the other adaptationsdon't is a modern sensibility, providing a spin on the classiclegend for today's audiences.

In this incarnation of the classic legend, King Arthur (CharlieHunnam) is unaware...Read the entire review




Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Tue, 02 May 2017 15:58:30 PDT

Highly Recommended

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 enhances the first film, James Gunn's terrific blend of awestruck space opera and deliciously irreverent pop-culture obsessed comedy, rather than improving it. It's pretty much what we got out of the original, not much more, and not much less. I understand that this doesn't sound like the most passionate of endorsements, but considering my love for the first Guardians, which I still think of as the best Marvel movie and one of the best films of 2014, I'm more than wholly satisfied to be met with the same level of quality.

Yes, the first sequel does its typical first sequel thing, and takes what the audience loved about the first film and delivering more of it with slight tweaks. Yet there's still an undeniable amount of genuine ingenuity and charm that keeps pumping fresh blood into this ...Read the entire review




Free Fire

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 04:39:48 PDT

Recommended

(image) (image) There's a portion of the American population that sticks to the mantra: "Guns don't kill people. People kill people." Well, Free Fire tosses together a bunch of different types of people and crates full of guns into a confined space, and a lot of shooting and killing happens regardless of who's behind the artillery and pulling the trigger. Does that support any side of the argument, or both? That matters about as much as the story itself matters within Ben Wheatley's latest pure action guilty pleasure ... that's to say, not much at all, really. Encased in a dilapidated factory with tons of jagged hiding spaces, an eclectic group of largely untrained criminals and renegades are thrown into a firefight after a large arms deal goes south, propelled by rapid humor and o...Read the entire review




The Fate of the Furious

Fri, 14 Apr 2017 04:45:15 PDT

Highly Recommended

(image) Love them or hate them, the Fast and the Furious franchise is back for another round of ridiculous action and doubly-ridiculous but deeply earnest sentiment about "family." The Fate of the Furious marks the first in what on- and off-screen patriarch Vin Diesel has said is a final trilogy, with the series poised to end with its tenth entry in 2021 (also the series' 20th anniversary). The good news for the "love them" camp is that this ambitious plan is off to a great start: Fate of the Furious is arguably the best Fast film yet.

One thing that distinguishes Fast from other long-running action franchises is that the series' tone and mythology was crafted on the go, resulting in a polarizing mixture of styles and creative objectives. In particular, the previous entry, which said goodbye to Diesel's co-lead Paul Walker after the actor was tragically killed in...Read the entire review




T2 Trainspotting

Fri, 31 Mar 2017 07:54:25 PDT

Highly Recommended

(image) The first question that comes to mind hearing about T2 Trainspotting, a 20-years-later sequel to Danny Boyle's now-classic adaptation of Irvine Welsh's book, is probably "is this necessary?" At a glance, the story of a group of heroin addicts screwing around, screwing up, and screwing each other over probably looks like one of the more misguided attempts to turn something with a bit of cultural cachet into a "franchise." Trainspotting doesn't need a sequel. However, Boyle and returning screenwriter John Hodge reframe the question by using the same nostalgia driving modern pop culture within the story instead of using it on the audience. T2 Trainspotting doesn't justify its existence by offering an "essential" extension of the story or characters; instead it uses the pop culture foundation of the original film to explore notions of aging and perspective (not to mentio...Read the entire review




Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Fri, 31 Mar 2017 04:21:09 PDT

Skip It

(image) Watching Paramount's big-budget sci-fi action blockbuster Ghost in the Shell, the obvious metaphor is impossible to escape: this is a bunch of old parts placed in a shiny new container. Items inside this one include the original manga by Masamune Shirow, the 1995 anime adaptation by Mamoru Oshii, Blade Runner, star Scarlett Johansson's work in the Avengers films, Batman Begins, and in a circular feedback loop, even The Matrix, which itself drew from Ghost in the Shell as one of its many stylistic inspirations. If that recipe sounds like a mess, that's because it is: Ghost in the Shell is likely to rank among the year's worst Hollywood attempts to feed bits of a formula into an established brand name in order to create a hit.

Johansson plays Major Mara Killian, an officer in Tokyo's Section 9, a team of cyber cops who track things like hac...Read the entire review




Life (2017)

Thu, 30 Mar 2017 10:48:41 PDT

Highly Recommended

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Director: Daniel Espinosa
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds
Year: 2017

While Life isn't quite Interstellar, it's also no Fantastic Four, falling somewhere in the middle as far as overall ranking and even genre. It's not as cerebral as a sci-fi thinker, it's not as action-packed as a comic book thriller, but it has elements of both that it uses as it sees fit. Ultimately, Life will be compared to Alien, a creature feature set in outer space, and although it won't quite live up to those standards, it also won't do them an injustice. Where you...Read the entire review




Kong: Skull Island

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 17:29:16 PDT

Recommended

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Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, John C. Reilly, John Goodman, Corey Hawkins, John Ortiz
Year: 2017

If it hadn't have been for the wonderful John C. Reilly (his beard, his humor, that adorable crease between his eye sockets), Kong: Skull Island would have gone the way of nearly every character on its convoluted storyboard; it would have died a horrible and embarrassing death. I guess what also saved it was our commitment to enjoying this franchise, something we've proven as audiences, that no matter what kind of Kong movie is released, we will most assuredly sit down in front of a screen to watch it and we will find entertainment in a giant ape, even if the actually pro...Read the entire review




Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 11:09:51 PDT

Highly Recommended

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Director: Bill Condon
Starring: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans
Year: 2017

The 2017 version of Beauty and the Beast is almost as good as the 1991 version, and I say that as a self-proclaimed Disney fan, a movie buff from a young age who grew up directly in the heart of the 90s animation phenomenon. The original film was definitely that, a blockbuster for all ages that succeeded in a way that I doubt anyone could have seen coming. To remake it was a daring venture, even with audiences already showing that they support the repurposing of their childhood. Maleficent, Read the entire review




Logan

Wed, 08 Mar 2017 07:53:38 PST

Highly Recommended

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Director: James Mangold
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen
Year: 2017

The newest addition to the X-Men galaxy of the Marvel universe is Logan, a darker take on the comic book genre and the latest of these films to seek out an R-rating. Deadpool went the same route, aiming at an adult audience who could appreciate a violent, vulgar action film, instead of the younger crowd who might enjoy things a bit on the lighter side. But while Deadpool went comedic, Logan goes completely black, leaving behind any vestige of the silly antics we've seen before from this style. We knew exactly what this film would be, based on the trailers ...Read the entire review




A Cure for Wellness

Wed, 01 Mar 2017 16:59:25 PST

Highly Recommended

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Director: Gore Verbinski
Starring: Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs, Mia Goth
Year: 2016

For a film from the director who brought us The Weather Man and Rango, his newest feature, A Cure for Wellness, is both satisfyingly sinister and comfortably classic. To be fair, Verbinski also directed The Ring, one of the scariest films I have ever seen, and The Curse of the Black Pearl, an absolute and near-perfect gem, so perhaps he is simply the most versatile filmmaker in the industry and we ought to stop imagining that we can predict what he might do next or how well it might turn out. This film is a pleasant (or unpleasant) surprise, depending on how you look at it, delivering an old-school feel while prese...Read the entire review




Fifty Shades Darker

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 10:06:56 PST

Recommended

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Director: James Foley
Starring: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan
Year: 2017

How much you will enjoy the second installment of the Fifty Shades franchise comes down to how often you want to see Dakota Johnson's nipples. If the answer is "not much", then you should probably steer clear. If the answer is "for two hours straight", then you're in luck. Fifty Shades Darker isn't darker at all really, and it's barely racy in the bondage/submission ways that caused so much stir when the books and films were released. Rather, it's a feature film full of Johnson's naked body and the same, repetitive sex scene with the same, repetitive pop song turned into Music To Do It By. I assume that everyone who goes to the theatre to see...Read the entire review




John Wick: Chapter 2

Thu, 09 Feb 2017 06:32:03 PST

Highly Recommended

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With John Wick: Chapter 2, the series officially becomes the Harry Potter of ultraviolent hit man action franchises. You know all those countless Young Adult book and movie series where a secret underground society of wizards, vampires, werewolves, (insert public domain magical being or monster), operates beneath our real world, complete with its own set of cultures, rules, and infrastructure? Replace the wizards with stoic, impeccably dressed, and superhumanly precise and focused hired killers, the wands with guns, the spells with copious amounts of blood and brain matter spraying across the floor after making an unscheduled exit from many, many skulls, and you get the gist of what makes this series so appealing to hardcore action fans.

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John Wick: Chapter 2

Thu, 09 Feb 2017 06:32:03 PST

Recommended

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Director: Chad Stahels
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ian McShane
Year: 2017

John Wick was such a mini-phenomenon simply because it was incredible, and in a very literal sense. It was hard to credit, this out-of-nowhere action flick that felt a little like a first-person shooter, featured a hundred exploding heads, and starred one of the worst actors in all of Hollywood. Basically, it shouldn't have worked on any level, with its lead male sucking, its genre tired, and its body count enormously high. That it did speaks to the fact that there are still ways to make action movies original and to make them work. Just ask George Miller I guess, though ...Read the entire review




The LEGO Batman Movie

Wed, 08 Feb 2017 11:44:18 PST

Recommended

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Director: Chris McKay
Starring: Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson
Year: 2017

The Lego Movie was a surprise hit, one of the best animated films of 2014. Almost exactly three years later, we are treated to a second installment, and although the success of the film won't be a surprise this time, the enjoyment we receive from watching Lego come to life will be comparable. Under a different director and not recycling any of the old characters (except, of course, the Dark Knight himself, and a few other DC heroes in short cameo form), The Lego Batman Movie brings audiences want they want in plastic action and prat falls, but delivers some original cont...Read the entire review




Split

Wed, 01 Feb 2017 17:02:58 PST

Highly Recommended

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Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Starring: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Betty Buckley
Year: 2016

The free fall that was the stellar career of M. Night Shyamalan has been well documented, so we'll only touch on it briefly before delving into his newest film. Not everyone will agree, but Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs, and The Village were all solid, frightening, original, bordering on twisted genius films. Lady in the Water was a turning point, a time where we all said "What?" And then came The Happening, The Last Airbender, and After Earth, flashing red flags that someone had lost their voice and their way. The Visit caught our attention again, and Split reassures us that Shyamala...Read the entire review




Gold

Wed, 01 Feb 2017 09:58:53 PST

Highly Recommended

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Director: Stephen Gaghan
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Edgar Ramirez, Bryce Dallas Howard
Year: 2016

The combination of Stephen Gaghan (Traffic, Havoc, Syriana) and Matthew McConaughey (Mud, Dallas Buyers Club, Interstellar) was the secret recipe we needed, we just didn't know it. Gaghan, more a writer than a director, works in the dark. That is to say, his stories are very heavy, sometimes highlight the worst in us, and so can be a bit daunting even when they're strong. McConaughey, who can be a complete goof ball, has also ...Read the entire review




Split

Wed, 25 Jan 2017 05:21:31 PST

Highly Recommended

(image) (image) There was a time roughly a decade prior to the release of M. Night Shyamalan's latest, Split, where the writer/director's original storytelling had started to develop a less-than-stellar reputation, notably for his dependence on plot twists that were more elaborately anticlimactic than satisfying or shocking. People came to expect the big "Shyamalan twist" following his deliberate exposition, which tapered off from the chilling and eloquent strangeness of Unbreakable's superheroic reveals to the inane ecological surprises unearthed in the broadly-panned The Happening. Watching how Shyamalan's creations have gradually spiraled out of control over the years makes one wonder how his earlier intuition toward characters, his attention to darker themes, and ...Read the entire review




Patriots Day

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 10:02:46 PST

Highly Recommended

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Director: Peter Berg
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Kevin Bacon, J.K. Simmons
Year: 2016

Peter Berg & Mark Wahlberg have stumbled upon something that works, and I hope they understand just how fragile that simple verb can be. It seems almost boring; the movie worked, the director and the star understand one another, this combination produces watchable films on a consistent basis. But I mean it as a high compliment, not as a throwaway critique of a mediocre film. Berg & Wahlberg have created a process that produces movies that both audiences enjoy and critics appreciate, and that bit of magic shouldn't be taken lightly. Lone Survivor, Read the entire review




Live by Night

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 08:55:30 PST

Recommended

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Director: Ben Affleck
Starring: Ben Affleck, Chris Messina, Zoe Saldana
Year: 2016

Ben Affleck is no slouch when it comes to directing, but perhaps this time he had a little too much on his plate. Setting aside all the work he's currently putting into the Justice League franchise, he took on almost every role one can play on a film set, which ended up being about three roles too many. Directing, writing, producing, and starring in the film, Affleck put the entire project on his shoulders, and while he's typically more than capable, the weight was a bit too heavy this time. Gone Baby Gone, The Town, Argo; Affleck has had successes while directing before, and picking ...Read the entire review




Silence

Wed, 04 Jan 2017 19:32:50 PST

Highly Recommended

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Despite the endless attempts of religious dogma to turn belief in god into a tribal experience, faith continues to be an inherently objective and deeply personal part of human life. One person's interpretation of his god might be vastly different than another's, even if they both share the same sect of the same religion. That's what enables people to do equally wonderful and horrific things in the name of their deity, sometimes even using the same lines of holy text as justification. Regardless of a religion's adherence to symbols, traditions, and rituals, everyone's faith belongs to them, and negotiating the simple requirements of faith with the complex nuances of the human condition is a heavy burden to bear.

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That burden is a subject that Martin S...Read the entire review




A Monster Calls

Tue, 03 Jan 2017 14:48:46 PST

Rent It

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Director: J.A. Bayona
Starring: Lewis MacDougall, Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones
Year: 2016

At the risk of making light of death, watching A Monster Calls felt like watching a hundred-minute inside joke that wasn't funny in the least. First, there's the book, an unfinished work written by first Siobhan Dowd and later Patrick Ness, following Dowd's death. I haven't read it, it doesn't mean anything to me, and so I have no basis for emotion, not even enough to empathize with the fact that Dowd herself was dying of cancer as she wrote the story, adding extra meaning to its plot. Secondly, Sigourney Weaver. Watching the film at home, I still felt the urge to look around me, to see if there was a prank being played that I w...Read the entire review




Assassin's Creed

Tue, 03 Jan 2017 11:31:45 PST

Rent It

(image) (image) Look, as much as it stings to say so, it might be time to stop anticipating the arrival of that truly great video-game adaptation on the big screen. Assassin's Creed, the long-awaited cinematic take on Ubisoft's continuing franchise, has just about everything going for it to finally get the job done: a promising new director in Justin Kurzel, who delivered a flawed but beautiful adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth; a cast led by several Oscar winners and nominees; and a science-fiction setup that's almost ready-made for a Hollywood blockbuster, one that transports the lead character into virtual-reality journeys throughout invigorating historical events. Coupled with the series' clandestine stealth c...Read the entire review




Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Wed, 21 Dec 2016 10:54:18 PST

Highly Recommended

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Director: Gareth Edwards
Starring: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn
Year: 2016

With the creation of The Force Awakens, the Star Wars universe was brought back into our lives with a vengeance. You can't quite call the enormity of the success of that film unexpected, since the franchise has always been a homerun-hitter, even with relative duds like Episodes 1 and 2. But I'm not sure that the intense love of so many, of audiences across the board, could have been predicted, and the success the film had in marketing and merchandise was incredible as well. Trust Hollywood to seize any opportunity to make money, and so multiple more films in the series are in the works, including offshoots like Rogue One. I th...Read the entire review




Passengers

Wed, 21 Dec 2016 10:54:18 PST

Recommended

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Director: Morten Tyldum
Starring: Chris Pratt, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Sheen
Year: 2016

What's the saying, that if it sounds too good to be true it probably is? That's Passengers to a tee, a movie that has everything you've ever wanted from a pure audience entertainment perspective, but can't possibly deliver all that it promises. Sci-fi, thriller, romance, action, drama, comedy, and two of the hottest stars in Hollywood; this movie wanted every element it could grab, wanted to become a genre all its own, but made its first mistake in timing. Why it was released in the midst of Oscar Season I'll never know; Passengers views as a summer blockbuster and might have been a fun way to spend some time on a warm evenin...Read the entire review




I, Daniel Blake

Tue, 20 Dec 2016 13:28:51 PST

Highly Recommended

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A critical success at a film festival and that in a theatrical setting are quite different. While the Cannes Film Festival has hosted many impressive motion pictures in its award winners, they aren't all what they are initially hyped up to be. The Palme d'Or is the festival's highest honor, although the winner can sometimes be a bit of an odd choice. However, this isn't the case in director Ken Loach and writer Paul Laverty's I, Daniel Blake. They have managed to craft a tremendously genuine drama that is guaranteed to make you feel emotions that are rarely felt this strongly at the cinema.

Daniel (Dave Johns) is a middle-aged carpenter, who has lived alone since the death of his wife. After suffering from heart problems, he's told that he can no longer work unde...Read the entire review




Fences

Thu, 15 Dec 2016 15:11:26 PST

Rent It

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Phenomenal source material for the silver screen has been coming from the art of plays for many years. However, they are very different mediums that require varying styles of dialogue, plot progression, and acting. August Wilson's widely celebrated Fences has been receiving critical praise for quite some time, which meant that a film adaptation was inevitable. Written for the screen by Wilson, the iconic Denzel Washington is getting behind and in front of the camera to bring this story to audiences everywhere. While there's a lot to be said in this story, it doesn't take a very appealing approach for the silver screen.

Troy (Denzel Washington) is an African-American father, who works as a garbage collector in the 1950s. He lives with his wife, Rose (Viola Davis),...Read the entire review




Passengers

Thu, 15 Dec 2016 12:40:27 PST

Recommended

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The science fiction genre has taken us to many places that humanity never thought we could possibly go. Yet, many of the crazy inventions have become reality, or are well on their way to becoming so. While the genre often gets a bad name due to the cheesy execution of the lesser contributions, some of the greatest films ever made are science-fiction. However, in more recent times, they have served as big Hollywood blockbusters to be released in the summer to make loads of cash, and then be soon forgotten about. Despite expectations and what will surely be a rough critical reception, Passengers at least does more than the typical modern studio sci-fi flick.

A spacecraft is traveling to a distant colony planet with 5,000 people on board to aid in developing it. Whe...Read the entire review




Neruda

Wed, 14 Dec 2016 04:44:55 PST

Rent It

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Director Pablo Larrain had a few titles to his name, although 2016 would ultimately prove to be a hugely successful year internationally for the filmmaker. After releasing the brilliant Jackie via the Fox Searchlight Pictures brand, he has already earned a Golden Globes nomination for Best Foreign Language Film with Neruda. Only time will tell, although it's likely that both films will ultimately receive some nomination attention at the Oscars. While both historical, they are different features with varying messages. However, his look into the mind of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy is much more captivating than this biographical drama.

Nobel Prize-winning Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda (Luis Gnecco), thrilled audiences everywhere with his relatable words and ch...Read the entire review




Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Tue, 13 Dec 2016 13:05:49 PST

Recommended

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At this time last year, fans of the Star Wars franchise were drooling at the notion of The Force Awakens finally hitting theaters. It predictably did great at the box office, although critical and fan reception varied. Some found it to be a masterful journey of nostalgia, while others criticized the fact that the film felt more like a remake than a sequel. With the promise of a separate set of features that take us back to an earlier time in this universe, audiences will be getting their annual dose of the series. While Rogue One works more as a standalone entry, it still spends a bit too much energy trying to deliver upon fan service.

After the news has spread of the Death Star's creation, the Rebellion must act quickly. They find an unlikely hero ...Read the entire review




Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Tue, 13 Dec 2016 07:44:13 PST

Highly Recommended

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At an age when franchise blockbuster cinema has turned into mega-budget versions of old 50s serials, where it's damn near impossible to enjoy a stand-alone story without the annoyance of having to wait years to see the next installment, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story should come as a welcome respite for fans and general audiences alike. Old school fans are familiar with the Expended Universe, a series of novels that spin off of the familiar saga of the Skywalker family in order to explore the rest of the vast Star Wars universe.

Watching Rogue One is like experiencing an excellently executed Expanded Universe novel on the big screen. Yes, it's a prequel to A New Hope, and there's enough fan service to directly tie it to the rest of the franchise, but it also stands alone as a single story to be enjoyed in one sitting, with well-developed characters, an engaging plot, and a rousing ...Read the entire review