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Tuesday, 19 November 2019 11:53

Pros and cons – ‘The Good Liar’

In a world full of franchises and IP-driven cinematic entertainment, certain types of films have fallen out of favor with the biggest studios. That’s not a judgment so much as a simple statement of fact.

And it’s too bad, because if Hollywood allowed itself to keep an open mind, we might get more efforts like the new dramatic thriller “The Good Liar.” It’s a movie whose tight, taut tone is brought forth by the talented likes of director Bill Condon behind the camera and the delightful central pairing of Ian McKellan and Helen Mirren. Films like this – films interested in neither billion-dollar box office or scads of awards attention – are thinner on the ground than ever.

It’s not a perfect movie – things get more than a little convoluted at times and the pacing has moments where it lags a bit – but its relatively minor issues are more than overcome by McKellan and Mirren, who are cinematic treasures and are clearly enjoying themselves immensely. When you’ve got that kind of charm and charisma on display, the rest more or less takes care of itself.

Published in Movies

As someone who spends a lot of time in movie theaters, I’ve seen a LOT of trailers. I don’t have a problem with that – I’ve always been a fan of previews. These days, my affinity is even greater because I know that odds are good that I’ll be seeing these movies, so it’s nice to know what’s coming.

However, every once in a while, I’ll see a trailer that simply mystifies me. It’s not that I think the movie will be good or bad (though it tends toward the latter) so much as I wonder how the film in question ever came to exist at all.

I got that feeling the first time I saw the trailer for Disney’s “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.” Like – was this a gritty reboot of the classic holiday ballet? What’s the deal with the four realms? Why is Morgan Freeman here? SO MANY QUESTIONS.

Alas, the answers I got were less than satisfying – superficially attractive, yes, but ultimately empty. It’s a beautifully wrapped gift with nothing inside, its connections to the supposed source material tenuous at best (you have to love a good “suggested by” caveat).

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 07 February 2018 14:12

‘Winchester’ a half-cocked horrorshow

With a certain type of horror movie, one of the most unsettling parts happens right at the beginning. Before the film even really starts, in fact. It’s when you see the words “Inspired by true events” or some variation on that theme.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 21 December 2016 11:22

‘Collateral Beauty’ pretty terrible

Once upon a time, Will Smith was one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood, part of that small cadre of actors who could bring big box office through little more than the virtue of their name. Will Smith was one of those guys.

Sadly, he is definitely not that guy anymore.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 06 April 2016 11:34

The changing face of war Eye in the Sky'

Film offers look at the new realities of modern warfare

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 24 July 2013 16:24

Red 2' a second-rate sequel

Film fails to capture spirit, humor of the original

It's no secret that a Hollywood studio's primary objective is to make money. Art and entertainment come in far down the list of movie-making goals it's all about those box office receipts. And one of the easiest ways to make that money is to build a franchise property; launch a film that is successful, then bring back the characters, plots, formulas and what have you to make a sequel. And another. And another. On and on until every dollar has been squeezed out of the premise.

Unfortunately, what happens more often than not is that these premises aren't necessarily designed to be sturdy franchise foundations. Sometimes, one movie is enough to tell the story. But if that movie turns out to be a success, there will be a sequel. Rarely a good sequel, but a sequel nonetheless.

Published in Movies

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