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The Predator – Review

I was really expecting Shane Black’s reboot of the Predator franchise to be all sorts of awesome. After all, this is the same guy who wrote the Lethal Weapon movies, as well as The Long Kiss Goodnight, The Last Boyscout, as well as directing movies like The Nice Guys and Iron Man 3.

And…I was wrong because The Predator was a mess. It’s certainly not the worse movie I’ve ever seen, but it’s not very good either.

If you want the bloody details, check out the video below.

Be warned, it contains mild spoilers and even milder profanity.

Iron Fist, Season Two – Review

I binged–a word I have every intention of continuing the use of–the second season of Marvel’s Iron Fist last week and it was…okay.

It course-corrects from first season, which seemed to spend as much time with Joy and Ward Meechum (Jessica Stroup and Tom Pelphrey) as it did with Danny Rand/Iron Fist (Finn Jones).

One issue that remains–perhaps the most pressing the problems–is the approach to the entire series (one shared with Marvel’s Luke Cage, it’s worth mentioning) in that it keeps doubling down on the realism, when they should be leaning into the more fantastical elements of both characters.

Here’s an example of what I mean. Here’s the trailer for The Five Deadly Venoms which I include because this is the sort of action that should inspire Marvel’s Iron Fist.

And sure, it’s a bit over the top, but that’s the point. It should be! We’re talking about people with abilities beyond those of mortal men.

The filmmakers shouldn’t be be afraid to lean into that (and sure, such an approach would likely facilitate greater use of stunt people, but I think it would be worth it).

Ozark, Season Two – Review

Ozark S2

I enjoyed the first season of Netflix’s Ozark quite a bit, though I had a few quibbles, particularly with the ever-present blue filter and the quirkiness of some of the characters (I mean you,  Jonah Byrde (Skylar Gartner) and your fixation with dead things).

Season two of the crime series ups the ante on the things that made the series so engaging–the dynamics between the Byrde family, the manner in which they embrace their growing criminality and the colorful cast of characters that surround them–while getting rid of the weirdness.

It’s a welcome change.

And I’d be amiss if I didn’t mention Janet McTeer, who not only has one of the best American accents I’ve heard in television–she’s British–but as the lawyer for the Mexican drug cartel is pretty terrifying in her ruthlessness (she’s also pretty funny as well.  A little sugar helps the medicine go down and all that).

Blade Runner 2049 – Review

Someone, after seeing the cut of Blade Runner 2049 that was released to theaters called it ‘the most expensive art film in history.’

And that’s pretty accurate.

Blade Runner 2049 is beautiful to look at but there’s a languidness, a subtleness about it that doesn’t do the material any favors. Virtually everything about it is idiosyncratic, from the casting of Ryan Gosling–who makes Keanu Reeves seem expressive–to the way the movie was shot, everything feels as if it’s the result of a singular vision (which it isn’t in the sense that NO movie is a singular vision in the sense that hundreds of people are involved though there’s typically one person making the final decision).

And if we were talking about vision of it’s director, Denis Villeneuve, whom no one apparently suggested that maybe the movie would have been better received if it were a half hour shorter (which it could have easily been done with nary a change in any plot details).

That being said, Blade Runner 2049 is what it is, namely the uncompromising vision of a very expressive, passionate director.

Which was oddly enough the problem; sometimes a little compromise can go a long way.

Slender Man – Review

If you were to make your moviegoing decisions based upon reviews you’d likely haven’t seen Sylvain White’s Slender Man.

And that’s okay because it’s not a terribly good movie. The antagonist–Slender Man itself (a character Angus Scrimm did much better in the Phantasm movies pre-Internet meme) is a cypher in that you have no idea why or how it does what it does.

Better written movies can get away with not revealing important details about characters because there’s likely enough going on that the exclusion creates an air of mystery,

Or even anticipation.

Here you’re left wondering why things are unfolding as they do, which ends up frustrating more than anything else.

Though that’s not quite fair in that you do know to an extent why things unfold as they do though when it’s likely because better movies–The Ring and to a lesser extent, A Nightmare On Elm Street–did if first.

Which proves, if nothing else, that sometimes critics are right.

Ant-Man And The Wasp – Review

I predicted that Ant-Man And The Wasp would earn somewhere in the ballpark of $100 million+ on it’s opening and while that didn’t pan out a domestic opening over $70,000,000 is just fine.

That being said, overall I enjoyed it though if I could suggest one change to the producers it would be to tone down the humor because unlike a lot of people like to say, Marvel Studios hasn’t yet produced a comedy.

Though they have produced action movies with comedic overtones (some more than others) though Ant-Man And The Wasp too often tries to hard to be funny when the story would be better served by a more organic, situational thrust to the humor.

Like James Gunn’s Guardians Of The Galaxy movies. They’re humorous, but the humor tends to be more based on the clashing of disparate personalities more so than anyone doing anything overtly jokey.

Avengers: Infinity War – Review 

The less said aboutthe particulars of Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War the better but know it rewards fans over casual viewers.  That’s not to say that if you haven’t seen all 18 of the prior MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) movies you won’t enjoy it, though if you haven’t seen any Infinity War isn’t a great place to start.

This is because Infinity War assumes you’re familiar with the adventures of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Doctor Strange, Black Panther and so on and if you’re not you’re likely going to be a mite confused going forward.  Avengers: Infinity War is an epic, sprawling story that somehow manages to not only make sense, but feel significantly shorter than it’s 2 hour and 29 minute running time would lead one to assume.

Some people accuse the Marvel movies or being formulaic–and there’s a point to that in the sense that they tend to follow a particular pattern–but Infinity War turns that formula on it’s head because the movie revolves entirely around the villain, Thanos, and his efforts to procure–by hook or by crook–the five Infinity Stones that will enable him to remake reality in any way he feels necessary.

The heroes are delegated to deal with Thanos’ mechanizations though they’re almost entirely on the offensive, mainly due to the Black Order (like Gamora and Nebula, ‘children’ of Thanos) who are dispatched to obtain the Infinity Stones.

The movie is at turns funny and tragic and has one of the most somber endings of any movie in recent memory, never mind a MCU one.

Avengers: Infinity War is likely unlike any major tentpole movie you’ve ever seen and you’ll likely have a great time doing so.

Though if you’ve seen it already, what do you think?  Let me know down below.

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