Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Jul20

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Once upon a time in the land of the early-90’s an oddly revered sci-fi romp called The Fifth Element graced the silver screen.  Sure, it was derivative, oddly paced and featured Bruce Willis in full Die Hard mode while surrounded by alien beings but it had a certain verve (and a breakout Mila Jovovich) that has cemented it as a nostalgic burr in our minds.  Director Luc Besson had a string of interesting work in the 90’s and has worked steadily since, with less success.  His 2014 film Lucy had ScarJo as a supped-up experiment gone wrong that was as stupid as it was mind-blowingly bat shit.

Dunkirk Jul18

Dunkirk

I watch every horror movie generally the same, with my hands over my eyes but my fingers just cracked enough that I can see the screen.  It’s the 1st grader, peeking out the blinds method – one I’ve perfected over the years.  I also love that feeling – of the tension ratcheting up from the fellow poor souls littered in the theater around you.  Collectively you’ll bring the room temperature just praying for some sweet relief from the torture you’re putting yourself through.  What’s amazing is that Christopher Nolan has accomplished that same feeling with Dunkirk – a film of awe-inspiring and staggering intensity – that is unlike any war film ever made.

War for the Planet of the Apes Jul12

War for the Planet o...

If the NBA Finals and blockbuster Hollywood trilogies have one thing truly in common it’s that close-out games are the hardest to pull off (unless you’re the 2017 Golden State Warriors.)  The 2016 Warriors had a 3-1 lead and booted three-straight closeout games.  Hollywood has also failed to stick the landing numerous times.  Godfather Part III suffered from the cardinal sin of adding a precocious tween to the mix, sullying the legacy of the previous classics.  Return of the Jedi introduced a merry band of teddy bears that looked like mangled Jim Henson characters and actually ended with an Olympics-style medal ceremony and ghost send-off.

Spider-Man: Homecoming Jul06

Spider-Man: Homecomi...

Over the last decade I’ve collected many nits worth picking with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Little things bug me here and there and they seem to plague each film to varying degrees.  That’s not to say the MCU is without merit – the accomplishment of creating such a universe is somewhat staggering – but the problem often lies in tone and execution.  The films of the last 5-years have felt like assembly line creations, arcs we can digest easily and never remember.  It felt lazy.  Smash-cut to 2017 and we’ve already had two-spectacular superhero films (Logan & Wonder Woman) that avoided this pratfall simply by allowing the characters and story to stand on its own.

Baby Driver Jun26

Baby Driver

There are many things to admire about Director Edgar Wright.  He’s an incredible young visionary that writes and directs with such verve and candor that it’s impossible to mistake his work for someone else.  That’s what I love most about Wright, how singular his vision is.  From Shaun of the Dead to Scott Pilgrim vs. the World – he’s never compromised (which is probably why his Ant-Man movie never happened) and if you ride for his style you should be very excited about Baby Driver.

The Book of Henry Jun15

The Book of Henry

In 2014, a very popular novel The Fault in our Stars was adapted for the screen.  I don’t think it’s a particularly good movie but that didn’t stop me from being completely manipulated by its maudlin nature and sweepingly romantic indie soundtrack.  I wept like everyone else in the theater for those cancer patients and their teenage romance.  Very similar tactics are employed for the first two-thirds of The Book of Henry – Colin Trevorrow’s new film.