Hotel Artemis Review

This week brings Hotel Artemis to theaters, marking the directorial debut of Iron Man 3 writer Drew Pearce. Set in a world reiminiscent of John Wick, our story unfolds in and around a hotel for criminals ran by Jodie Foster. She’s surrounded by an ensemble that includes the likes of Sterling K. Brown, Sofia Boutella, Jeff Goldblum, Brian Tyree Henry, Jenny Slate, Zachary Quinto, Charlie Day, and Dave Bautista. But is that enough to make for a praiseworthy action flick?

Read our Hotel Artemis review round-up below to find out. Read More »

Ocean’s 8 Review

The ingredients to pull off an entertaining heist movie are much the same as those needed to pull off the heist itself. First, there has to be motley crew, each of whom has specific talents that will come in handy at the opportune moment. Then, there needs to be a big enough haul worthy of a cinematic heist, followed by moments of high tension, only to be resolved; and a deserving enough bad guy whose misdeeds are enough that you want other criminals to rob him or her blind.

Ocean’s 8 gets a lot of elements of the heist subgenre correct, but stumbles in setting up an antagonist for the antiheroic ensemble to steal from.

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jurassic world 3 hybrid

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom takes Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard back to Isla Nublar and puts them right in the middle yet another dinosaur debacle. But this time, it’s director J.A. Bayona at the helm of a movie with a script coming from Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly. So what’s the result?

The first Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom reviews have hit the web, and it sounds like you’ll either love going along for the ride this movie takes you on or you’ll shake your head at its stupidity. There are reactions on both sides without much middle ground in between. Check out the first Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom reviews and reactions below. Read More »

American Animals review

(This review originally ran during our coverage of the Sundance Film Festival. American Animals is in select theaters today.)

Heist movies are all about setting up the illusion of clockwork precision, but every good heist film features at least one scene where the job goes horribly wrong – and the great ones often dive into the bitter consequences of crossing the line.

In that tradition comes American Animals, a compelling new heist drama from writer/director Bart Layton, the filmmaker behind the impressive 2012 documentary The Imposter. Here he conducts an interesting harmony between fiction and non-fiction, intercutting dramatic scenes featuring his primary cast (Barry Keoghan, Evan Peters, Jared Abrahamson, Blake Jenner) with actual interviews of the real-life thieves they’re playing. The result is a mesmerizing blend of narrative and documentary storytelling that would seem too far-fetched to believe if it was just another run-of-the-mill thriller. Read More »

Upgrade Review

(This review originally ran during our coverage of the SXSW Film Festival. Upgrade is in theaters today.)

Leigh Whannell’s latest film Upgrade is one of the most strikingly invigorated sci-fi watches I’ve been awestruck by in quite some time. I’m talking *hard* sci-fi, with callbacks to anything from eXistenZ to The Matrix to Minority Report. Whannell customizes an “efficient” future not so far from our own, where self-driving Loop Dash vehicles chauffeur around bioengineered super-beings and pizzas aren’t ordered, they’re printed. It’s the kind of SmartHouse, techno-takeover world that Apple users dream of, blackened and revenge-ified by Whannell’s oddly apt Her meets Weekend At Bernie’s scramble – with way more splattered blood and guts. Read More »

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Solo A Star Wars Story Spoiler Review

(In our Spoiler Reviews, we take a deep dive into a new release and get to the heart of what makes it tick…and every story point is up for discussion. In this entry: Ron Howard‘s exciting but hollow prequel Solo: A Star Wars Story.)

Han Solo is one of the most beloved characters in the Star Wars universe, and Lucasfilm decided to tell us how he became the smuggler that we all know and love. The only problem is the last time we saw this kind of story, it involved a whiny kid blossoming into an emo adult who turned to the dark side and left a bad taste in the mouths of a lot of Star Wars fans. Do we really need to know where Han Solo came from?

After seeing Solo: A Star Wars Story, the answer is honestly no, but that’s no reason to disregard the movie entirely. Solo offers up some of the most exciting action sequences in the history of the Star Wars saga. It also features outstanding performances from each and every cast member. And it sets the stage for a new story arc that will fill in the gap between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. Unfortunately, it does all this while not giving us much of a reason to care about the title character of the movie, other than knowing who he becomes. It feels like the movie merely exists to set up more movies while reminding us of what we loved about the original trilogy. And that comes with an excessive amount of winks and nods to the original trilogy.

Let’s dive into the finer details with our Solo: A Star Wars Story spoiler review. Read More »

Solo Review 2

There will always be something transporting about the music that John Williams has composed for the Star Wars universe. As soon as the old themes and styles of orchestrations (lavish strings, sharp brass) kick in during Ron Howard’s Solo: A Star Wars Story, it’s difficult not to feel a little jolt of excitement — or hope.

The key to the film — to my eye, at least — is that feeling. When Solo works, it soars, but it’s more to do with making what’s being retread feel fresh (not just in terms of familiar property but in terms of its coming-of-age — or perhaps more accurately, coming-of-scruffy-looking-nerfherder — plot) than dazzling audiences with any new material. What purer joy is there, after all, than a romp through space, species, and systems?

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noblemen review

The New York Indian Film Festival played host to several Shakespeare adaptations this year. Among them were Bornilla Chatterjee’s The Hungry and Abhaya Simha’s Paddayi, relatively direct transpositions of Titus Andronicus and Macbeth, though unassuming upland bullying drama Noblemen decided to use the Bard more obliquely: as a moral backdrop for its twisted tale.

Set in a co-ed boarding school but focusing on boys in their volatile teen years, Vandana Kataria’s debut feature sees a Founder’s Day The Merchant of Venice production host a tale of mercy gone awry. It’s a nuanced piece that spirals into stomach-churning violence (more implied than overt, yet unflinchingly realistic) as the unique nexus of Indian Christian schooling and silent, deadly homophobia come to an explosive head.

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deadpool 2 spoiler review

(In our Spoiler Reviews, we take a deep dive into a new release and get to the heart of what makes it tick…and every story point is up for discussion. In this entry: David Leitch’s surprisingly funny Deadpool 2.)

“This is a family film,” Deadpool tells us early on in Deadpool 2. It is, of course, a joke – a movie loaded with vulgar jokes and ultra-violence can’t really be a “family film.” And yet, there’s an air of truth to this. Because a family indicates growth, and growth is exactly what Deadpool 2 showcases. For all its flaws – like the first film, it’s never quite as funny or subversive as it thinks it is – Deadpool 2 takes the meta world created by the original Deadpool, and builds upon it. It finds new ways to tell an old joke, and for that, it’s (mostly) a success.

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Fahrenheit 451 review

Ray Bradbury’s 1953 dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 gets a slick, stylish update for the Trump era courtesy of 99 Homes director Ramin Bahrani. On the surface, taking Bradbury’s book about the suppression of knowledge and setting it firmly in a world that seems to be crafted in the image of Donald Trump makes sense, and there’s a potentially brilliant movie to be made from this concept.

This isn’t that movie, though. Instead, Bahrani weighs Fahrenheit 451 down with a near-painful lack of subtlety, to the point where the film feels like it’s screaming in your face with a megaphone, “GET IT?” Bradbury’s source material wasn’t exactly subtle to begin with, but writer-director Bhrani takes things to the extreme.

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