Kevin Smith Moose Jaws
It’s no secret that writer/director Kevin Smith loves Star Wars. So its no surprise that the Clerks/Mallrats filmmaker LOVED Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. He was one of the people we quoted in the Rogue One premiere early reactions, where he called it “Empire Strikes Back good!” And now in the latest episode of his Youtube talk show Fatman on Batman, Kevin Smith gives a spoiler-filled review of Disney’s first Star Wars stand alone movie. What this has to do with Batman, I don’t know. But you can watch the Kevin Smith Rogue One review now, embedded after the jump.
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Passengers Reviews

Just a few days before Christmas, the sci-fi adventure romance Passengers will hit screens, putting Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence at the center of a story that feels like Titanic in space. While we’ll have to wait a little longer to see this one, some members of the press have already seen the movie ahead of time, and the first Passengers reviews have started to hit the web.

While both Pratt and Lawrence get acclaim for their performances, the consensus seems to be that their talents are wasted on a movie that never quite reaches its full potential, seemingly because director Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game) doesn’t really know how to keep Jon Spaihts‘ script (which made the Black List years ago) as interesting as it should be on screen.

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Star Wars Rogue One - Diego Luna as Cassian Andor, Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso, K-2SO

Imagine a world where the Star Wars prequels never existed. If instead of Episodes I-III, we got Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, there would be a lot fewer adults disenchanted with the world of Star Wars today (not that the franchise is currently wanting for fans). Rogue One does so much right when it comes to filling in the gaps before Episode IV that it’s easy to overlook some of its flaws. It’s that rare prequel that actually makes the film that follows it more impactful and emotionally resonant. It is a thrilling, ambitious, and occasionally spectacular experience that takes the Star Wars franchise in exciting new directions.

That’s not to say the film doesn’t have its flaws though, which include a bit too much ambition when it comes to introducing side characters. But fans of Star Wars will find that this movie not only honors their memories of the original films, it also has enough memorable moments, characters, and ideas to make the journey worthwhile. Hit the jump to see my full video review of Rogue One and see the rest of our coverage here.
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star wars rogue one spoiler free review

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theaters later this week and avoiding spoilers until after the Thursday night debut may be as hard as stealing the Death Star plans from the Galactic Empire. But like a band of Rebellion soldiers, we have your back. What follows are my spoiler-free thoughts on Rogue One.

Here are a few of the questions I answer: Is it good? Is it better than The Force Awakens? What is not so good about the film? How was Michael Giacchino’s score? Were the reshoots obvious? Are there a ton of connections to other Star Wars movies? What do I need to see/read before watching the film? Is Darth Vader in a lot of the movie?

Hit the jump to read my Rogue One spoiler-free review.

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Silence Reviews

Director Martin Scorsese has been trying to get his adaptation of Japanese author Sh?saku End?‘s novel Silence off the ground for over 20 years. Now the film is finally hitting theaters later this month, and the first reviews have hit the web.

The film isn’t in line with the kind of movie more casual moviegoers are used to getting from Martin Scorsese, who is better known for movies like The Departed, The Wolf of Wall Street, Gangs of New York, Raging Bull, Taxi Driver and GoodFellas. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have the same high quality we’ve come to expect from the filmmaker as he crafts something more along the lines of his films such as The Last Temptation of Christ and Kundun.

If you haven’t kept up with the development of Silence, the film follows two 17th-century missionaries (played by Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) as they face the ultimate test of faith when they travel to Japan to find their missing mentor (Liam Neeson). So how did Martin Scorsese’s long-gestating passion project pan out? Read some of the first Silence reviews after the jump.

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Moana Review

With several decades of animated movies in its history, it’s a wonder that Walt Disney Animation can still churn out movies that feel as refreshing and satisfying as their latest computer animated delight, Moana. By meshing their traditional magic and narrative tropes with a stunning change of scenery and rich, exotic culture that has never been featured so prominently or respectfully in family film, Disney has crafted a dazzling adventure that the whole family can enjoy.

Read our full Moana review after the jump. Read More »

NOCTURNAL ANIMALS review

Note: With Nocturnal Animals out this weekend, we’re re-running our review from TIFF.

There’s a lot to admire about Nocturnal Animals, the second feature from Tom Ford. The narrative is actually two narratives, beautifully braided together by Ford and brought to life by Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal. It’s pretentious pulp, in a good way — engaging to watch and pretty to behold. But Nocturnal Animals seems to be aiming for profundity, and there it falls short. It’s trying to say something, but what isn’t exactly clear.  Read More »

Manchester by the Sea

Note: With Manchester by the Sea opening in theaters this weekend, we’re re-running our review from the Sundance Film Festival.

This year’s Sundance slate is positively jam-packed with tales of family tragedy, from Other People to The Hollars to The Fundamentals of Caring to Hunt for the Wilderpeople. But grief has rarely been explored as deeply and as beautifully, at Sundance or elsewhere, as in Kenneth Lonergan‘s Manchester by the Sea. This film wrecked me, to the point that I started crying all over again while working on this very review.

Casey Affleck, giving a career-best performance in a career-best role, is the devastating heart of this exquisitely wrought drama. Surrounding him are a rock-solid cast that also includes Kyle ChandlerLucas HedgesMichelle Williams, and C.J. Wilson. Collectively, they’ve put together a film that I strongly suspect will turn out to be the very best of this year’s Sundance crop, at least in my personal estimation. Read More »

24: Legacy Review

24 has been remarkably consistent over the years. Even when they switched to 12 episodes, the machinations that keep the real time going are a well-oiled machine. With 24: Legacy, it feels good to be back in a familiar zone but see all the new directions this story could take.

It is just after noon when Eric Carter (Corey Hawkins) springs into action, defending himself and his wife Nicole (Anna Diop) from killers who come to their home in Arlington, VA. Rebecca Ingram (Miranda Otto) makes one last trip to CTU after she’s left the agency, and gets roped back in when Eric needs her help. Meanwhile, Rebecca’s husband John Donovan (Jimmy Smits) is beginning a day of campaigning for President in D.C.  Read More »

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Magicians: Life In The Impossible Trailer

/Film’s David Chen has said that half of his top ten list this year will probably be populated by documentaries. There have been some real fantastic documentary films in 2016, and I want to add a new one to your to-do list. It is called Magicians: Life in the Impossible. Yes, the title is so horribly generic that if you search “magicians movie” on Google, the film doesn’t even show up on the first page of results, but please don’t let that scare you away.

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