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We can all agree that no one does charming scumbags like Guy Ritchie, yes? While he certainly has other gifts as a filmmaker, the truth is that Ritchie is never better than when he’s throwing wave after wave of idiosyncratic and charismatic criminals at you.

His latest film (which he both directed and co-wrote) is “The Gentlemen,” a skewed and stylized look at what happens when a career criminal decides to divest himself of his illicit holdings, only to find himself forced to do his own particular brand of business with (and against) those who seek to profit from his departure at his own expense.

With an all-star cast led by Matthew McConaughey and wholly invested in Ritchie’s vision, “The Gentlemen” is a brutal and very funny film, off-kilter and convoluted in the most entertaining ways. It might not ascend to the level of the filmmaker's most beloved works, but it’s still a heck of a good time.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 03 April 2019 12:56

‘Dumbo’ can’t quite take flight

Whatever your feelings with regards to mainstream Hollywood’s ongoing devotion to remakes, you have to accept the fact that things aren’t going to change anytime soon. Like it or not, you’re along for the remake ride – all you can do now is hope that they’re good.

With Disney’s live-action “Dumbo” – a remake of the studio’s 1941 animated classic – it seemed as though the pieces were there for success. Tim Burton’s pop-goth sensibilities and Technicolor weirdness seemed like a potentially fun lens through which to tell this story. The cast looks really strong. And the tale is a beloved one.

And yet – the film is less than the sum of its parts. While Burton’s aesthetic did lead to some memorable, engaging visuals and the ensemble provided generally solid-to-strong performances, an iffy screenplay and lack of spirit undermined those efforts. While it’s far from a bad movie, this “Dumbo” never manages to soar.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 29 November 2017 12:52

Law and order – ‘Roman J. Israel, Esq.’

Legal drama fails to match Washington’s outstanding performance

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 04 January 2017 13:46

‘Solace’ a thriller lacking thrills

Film fails despite solid cast, intriguing premise

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 13 March 2013 15:34

Dead Man Down' is D.O.A.

Strong performances can't salvage weak plot

Those people who enjoyed director Niels Oplev's work with the first film version of Stieg Larsson's 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' have likely been looking forward to the director's American theatrical debut. 

'Dead Man Down' would appear to have all the requisite pieces. There's a strong cast, including Noomi Rapace, who so embodied Lisbeth Salandar in 'Dragon Tattoo.' There's a dark undercurrent of deception and vengeance fueled by anger. The story has that noir-ish feel that Oplev grasps so firmly.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 08 August 2012 16:08

Memories light the corners of your mind

Total Recall' remake explores the nature of memory

Current conventional wisdom (or what passes for it in Hollywood, anyway) indicates that there's very little room in the Cineplex for original ideas. It's all about creating and maintaining franchises or else buffing a modern sheen onto repackaged old ideas, so the fact that Hollywood rebooted a movie like 'Total Recall' isn't nearly as surprising as the fact that it took over 20 years for them to get around to it.

The works of author Philip K. Dick have served as the basis for something like a dozen films his stories led to films such as 'Screamers,' 'Minority Report,' 'Paycheck,' 'The Adjustment Bureau' and more but 'Total Recall' was only the second Dick-based work ('Blade Runner' was the first.). It was based on Dick's short story 'We Can Remember It for You Wholesale' and it was far from a sure thing.

Published in Movies

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