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There’s something to be said for filmmakers who have a gift for creating a certain type of movie. Sure, these directors and writers can and do produce work outside that area of expertise, but even as they spread their wings, there’s no doubt that they have a space in which they can become the best versions of themselves.

Roland Emmerich is one of those filmmakers.

Seriously, is there anyone out there who can hang with Emmerich when it comes to big-budget movies revolving around ludicrous, over-the-top disasters? Is there anyone else even in the conversation? I’d say not. Sure, he can do other stuff and do it fairly well, but nothing tops Emmerich when he’s placing the world in existential peril.

And so, it’s always a hoot when we get a new entry into that particular canon. His latest is “Moonfall,” which he directed from a script he co-wrote with Spenser Cohen and Harald Kloser (who also did the score). It is as deliriously dumb as the very best of his movies have been in recent years, a sci-fi action film based on a ridiculous premise and made with a nine-figure budget.

Seriously – this movie doesn’t make a lick of sense. It is packed with questionable decisions and incoherent action. There are SO MANY PLOTLINES, and just when it seems like the narrative threads are coming together, more tendrils are sent spiraling outward. Just an absolute bonkers mess.

It is lunacy and I am here for it.

Published in Movies
Monday, 29 November 2021 15:39

MMA drama ‘Bruised’ far from a knockout

I’m on record as someone who greatly enjoys an inspirational sports movie. Whether we’re talking about comebacks from adversity or Davids taking on Goliaths or some combination therein, I am here for it. I’ve always found these types of films compelling when they’re done well.

Emphasis on the last part.

The new film “Bruised,” currently streaming on Netflix, doesn’t quite achieve that standard. It’s a muddy, confused sort of film, a movie that never figures out precisely what it is trying to say or what it wants to be. Set in the world of mixed martial arts, it is an undeniably visceral film – both physically and emotionally – but largely lacks the thematic depth that could push it to the next level.

It marks the directorial debut of Halle Berry, who also stars in the film. It’s an odd choice for a debut, a movie that originally had a different director and star attached; one wonders what drew Berry to the project in the first place. While there are some impactful moments, the muddled nature of the film’s tone undercuts them, ultimately resulting in a flawed viewing experience.

Published in Sports

Creating a cinematic franchise from scratch is HARD. If it wasn’t, studios wouldn’t be falling all over themselves in an effort to find preexisting intellectual properties to convert to the big screen.

And yet, that’s precisely what has happened with the “John Wick” series, which just saw its third installment – “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” – hit movie theaters nationwide. With this latest offering, the biggest and brashest of the series thus far, star Keanu Reeves and director Chad Stehelski have ensured that the creep of sequel fatigue will have to wait once again.

This new film embraces everything that made the two previous films such a success; the intricate, intimate fight scenes, the sweeping action set pieces, the meticulously constructed mythology, the kinetic hyperstylized aesthetic – it’s all here. And while it’s all much, MUCH bigger, it all scales up comfortably; the smaller moments aren’t lost. If anything, they’re accentuated even more by their massive surroundings.

In short, “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” kicks ass in every way you expect … and a few that you don’t.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 09 August 2017 10:23

Mis-Taken - ‘Kidnap’

Berry bomb bland, befuddling and boring

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 20 March 2013 12:29

The Call' misdials

Thriller starts strong, loses steam

I enjoy a good thriller as much as anyone. There's something wonderfully engaging about the mounting tension that a well-crafted thriller can bring. The agonizing wait as the story unfolds, the squirming in your seat as you question each twist in the action it all makes for good cinema.

Unfortunately, recent tendencies in Hollywood indicate that studios have decided that a film that is 'just' a thriller isn't enough. There's got to be something else, some other kind of hook. Maybe you throw in some big-budget action, maybe you tack on some supernatural elements regardless, you're basically saying that the tension is not enough.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 28 November 2012 17:32

Celebrity Slam - Nov. 28, 2012

Thanksgiving throwdown

The holidays can be a stressful time. Every family unit has its own unique quirks; these quirks can definitely lead to strained interpersonal relations. We've all had to deal with a horrifyingly racist grandparent or a druncle or two; it's all a part of dealing with the season. But there are certain lines that shouldn't be crossed, no matter how awkward the circumstances.

For instance, getting into a full-on brawl with your baby mama's new man on her front lawn in front of your kid on Thanksgiving morning is not acceptable behavior. And yet that's exactly what Gabriel Aubry father of Halle Berry's 4-year-old daughter Nahla did.

Published in Celebrity Slam
Thursday, 01 November 2012 11:04

The powerful ambition of Cloud Atlas'

Film offers look at the constancy of the soul

There's something to be said for ambition.

The current cinematic culture doesn't appear to have a whole lot of room for ambitious undertakings anymore at least in terms of storytelling. It's all about massive CGI extravaganzas and franchises, remakes and reboots. It sometimes seems that no one is willing or able to tell an original story in an original way anymore.

Published in Movies

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