Admin
Wednesday, 19 September 2018 11:21

To catch ‘The Predator’

When Hollywood isn’t rebooting or remaking, it’s sequel-izing – even if the previous entry is years or even decades in the past. The successful efforts are fairly few and far between, but the wave of IP filmmaking doesn’t appear to have crested yet.

And so we get another “Predator” movie.

“The Predator” is the fourth standalone film in the franchise, following “Predator” (1987), “Predator 2” (1990) and “Predators” (2010) – please note that we’re not including the two crossover films with the “Alien” universe. Shane Black – who is not only one of the best action screenwriters of the past 25 years and a heck of a director, but actually played a small part in “Predator” back in 1987 – is the ideal man to bring this franchise back, someone with a clear affection for and understanding of the source material. Black directs from a script he co-wrote with Fred Dekker.

Set in the present day, it’s the story of a soldier whose chance encounter with an alien in the jungle leads to a fight to save himself and everyone he cares about from a gruesome (and I do mean GRUESOME) death. It is packed with gags and gore, a throwback sort of action movie that feels like it would fit right into the heyday of the original. It’s a flawed film, to be sure, but action fans will have a hell of a time.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 19 September 2018 11:19

Grant yourself ‘A Simple Favor’

When I first saw a trailer for “A Simple Favor,” I was intrigued. Sure, I figured it was basically going to be another “Gone Girl” knockoff – I wasn’t familiar with the 2017 Darcey Bell book of the same name or anything, but it all seemed pretty clear how this was going to go. I assumed I had it all figured out.

But you know what they say about when you assume.

I should have been suspicious. Paul Feig – best known for making sitcoms and Melissa McCarthy-led comedies – was in the director’s chair. The odd couple pairing of Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick as the leads. Still, I went into the theater expecting an entertaining, albeit fairly formulaic thriller.

Instead, I got something else. “A Simple Favor” definitely has “Gone Girl” in its DNA, but Feig has reflected the standard “Lost Woman” thriller through the skewed lens of his own absurd-leaning sensibility. The result is a movie riddled with twists and turns, filled with weird secrets and outlandish choices. It is somehow deadly serious and rather silly at the same time, with neither tone undermining the other. And it sure is fun to watch.

Published in Movies

We’re still not used to female action stars.

Even as the gates are gradually opening and allowing women to take the lead in action movies, there’s still a degree of novelty to it. It’s unfortunate that that’s the case, although it is slowly getting better. Still, woman-driven action is still a relative rarity.

So when you see something like “Peppermint” come along, a revenge thriller featuring Jennifer Garner as a mother who lost everything and is willing to do anything and everything necessary to make those responsible pay dearly. It isn’t a shining example of the genre – it’s formulaic and lacks much in the way of perspective and/or visceral thrills. It head fakes toward a few message-type issues – feminism, class, the legal system – but never really strays from its fundamental potboiler-ness. And yet, it is extremely watchable, thanks mostly to a strong and believable performance from Garner and a frankly-impressive body count.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 12 September 2018 11:25

‘Searching’ tells its story through screens

Trying new things can be dangerous.

Experimenting with methods of cinematic storytelling is often risky. You want to stay true to the story and avoid technical distractions. You don’t want those choices to come off as superfluous and/or gimmicky. It’s a fine line between telling a story a new way and simply being different for the sake of being different.

The new film “Searching,” directed by feature first-timer Aneesh Chaganty from a script he co-wrote with Sev Ohanian, is a thriller revolving around a father whose daughter has disappeared. You’ve seen it a million times. However, this film unfolds entirely through communication technology – through FaceTime and laptops and group chats, through social media and text messaging and online video. Sure, that’s not a brand-new concept, but it’s certainly still new enough to catch your attention. And while other movies and TV shows have experimented with the idea, none have done so as successfully as this one.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 05 September 2018 10:41

Brothers in arms – ‘Kin’

It’s always interesting to watch a feature debut. Seeing first-time directors and/or writers take their initial bow in the world of mainstream cinema … it’s bearing witness to the realization of what is almost certainly a lifelong dream. Maybe it’s an effort that promises future excellence. Maybe it’s even a fully-formed masterpiece. But really, it’s likely to be flawed and uneven, alternating quality with rookie mistakes.

The new film “Kin” definitely falls into that last category.

The movie – directed by twin brothers Jonathan and Josh Baker and based on their own 2014 short film “Bag Man” – is an ambitious effort, an attempt to bring family drama and science fiction together. Unfortunately, while there are shining examples from both ends of the spectrum, the combination never really meshes the way it needs to, despite its surprisingly robust cast and intriguing concept.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 05 September 2018 10:39

‘Operation Finale’ looks at real-life intrigue

We’ve talked before about the difficulties inherent to bringing stories from real life into the cinematic realm. There’s a delicate balance that needs to be struck; the raw truth isn’t always dramatically engaging, but you also want to do justice to events as they happened.

“Operation Finale,” directed by Chris Weitz from a screenplay by Matthew Orton, is particularly tricky, considering the heft of the story being told. It’s a recounting of the 1960 Israeli Mossad operation in Argentina to track down and capture the infamous Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann, the architect of the Final Solution.

While it is compelling enough, offering solid intrigue and a handful of quality performances, the film never quite rises to the level of its true-life inspiration. There’s an inconsistent energy to the proceedings that ultimately undercuts the tension and prevents the stakes from being as high as the narrative would seem to warrant. It’s quite good, but just misses being great.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 05 September 2018 10:31

18 films for fall 2018: A Fall Movie Preview

Labor Day has come and gone, so the time has arrived for us to offer up our annual Fall Movie Preview.

2018 doesn’t have quite the luster that some past years have had – at least in terms of sheer box office appeal. There are movies that will make plenty of money, of course, but there aren’t really any of the big franchise tentpoles that we’ve seen in year’s past. There’s no MCU offering, no “Star Wars” movie.

And that’s OK.

There are some big-budget extravaganzas and some franchise sequels, as well as some original works and even a few early Oscar possibilities. Comedy and drama, sci-fi and fantasy, horror flicks and family fare – there’s something for everyone this fall.

Check it out.

Published in Cover Story

I’ve always loved the Muppets. From their anarchic weirdo beginnings through every family-friendly iteration that followed, I was all in on Jim Henson’s fuzzy felted creations … though I always had a stronger connection to their darker side, whether it was overt or subtly lingering just beneath the surface.

“The Happytime Murders,” produced by Henson Alternative, the adult-oriented arm of the company, is very much connected to that darker side. Oh, and it’s definitely overt – this movie is a lot of things, but subtle is not one of them. Brian Henson, son of the legendary puppeteer, directs from a screenplay by Todd Berger.

It’s a comic noir vision of a world in which puppets and humans exist side by side, packed with foul language and incessant innuendo. It is a film that revels in its tastelessness, unafraid to get down and really wallow in the mire. It is coarse and crass and not for everyone.

As you might have guessed, I dug it.

Published in Movies
Friday, 31 August 2018 09:30

‘A.X.L.’ a real junkyard dog

Summer blockbuster season is coming to a close. With Labor Day right around the corner, the cinematic cycle is set to begin anew. As per usual, late August is littered with oddball offerings – some good, some bad.

Take “A.X.L.” This is a movie that you very well may not have even heard of before this very minute. Basically, it’s about a young man who finds and befriends a robot dog.

Yeah. That’s what I said too.

Published in Movies
Friday, 24 August 2018 08:57

‘BlacKkKlansman’ goes under the hood

When it comes to telling true stories at the movies, one always has to recognize the flexibility of the notion of what is “true.” Terms like “based on” and “inspired by” give filmmakers a lot of leeway as far as shaping these true events in such a way as to serve the story they wish to tell.

Spike Lee’s latest film “BlacKkKlansman” is foundationally a true story, based on the memoir “Black Klansman” by Ron Stallworth. But again, there’s small-t true and Large-T True, and with a visionary auteur like Lee both running the camera and creating the script (Lee co-wrote the screenplay along with David Rabinowitz, Charlie Wachtel and Kevin Willmott), well … he’s going to err on the side of Large-T every time.

Published in Movies
<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next > End >>
Page 1 of 29

Advertisements

Website CMS and Development by Links Online Marketing, LLC, Bangor Maine