X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) – Review

2 Stars

X-Men: Apocalypse is neither the best nor the worst in the franchise, It’s simply the newest. After eight movies in sixteen years, this series is notable for retaining its creative forces, but everything has become one episodic tale that would be impenetrable for newbies. At this point X-Men is the longest running of the superhero tales invading theaters. Sure, Superman and Batman have been matinĂ©e idols since their reinvention in the 70’s and 80’s, but those roles been recast numerous times, different directors have given their take, and audience reaction has varied drastically from film-to-film. At least the X-Men series gets credit for rebooting whiling also finding ways to still integrate the original stars.
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Broken Arrow (1996) – Review

2 Stars

I’ve always wanted to like Broken Arrow. I’m a fan of Woo’s earlier and later films, I enjoy Travolta and Slater in nearly everything they appear, but Broken Arrow has always been D.O.A for me. Sure, it has some nice camera moves, a cool score that recalls Carpenter’s work, and Travolta at the height of his ‘comeback’ era, but it’s all so hallow and uncompelling that over the years it has been a chore to revisit the film.
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Assassination (1987) – Review

1 Star

Assassination is a particularly shoddy, but relatively tame by Bronson standards, vehicle that looks, sounds and behaves as if it knows it’s a second-tier production. Listless pacing, absurd plotting, and baffling editing choices are made more confounding considering that director Peter R. Hunt crafted the most under-rated Bond film of all time, Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
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Finding Dory (2016) – Review

4 Stars

Finding Dory reunites audiences with the absent-minded blue tang fish from the Pixar smash Finding Nemo. This side character made such an impression that she’s been given a spin-off/sequel to further explore the plights of that forgetful fish deep within the aqua blue seas of an disclosed Oceanic reef. Filled with the typical visual splendor of the Disney/Pixar brand, Finding Dory looks to capture the title of timeless classic that only a few titles from the mouse house have ever attained.
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Independent’s Day (2016) – Review

3 Stars

Its summer-time, which means blockbuster season is in full swing at multiplexes throughout the nation. It also means that The Asylum will produce a handful of ‘mockbusters’ designed to win a time-slot during primetime on channels like USA or SYFY. Once upon a time, these low-level rip-offs were meant to trick unsuspecting renters at local video stores. In the age of streaming, The Asylum has been forced to up its product and reduce its output, all for the betterment of each individual movie. It seems that more time and money have been dedicated to the special effects departments.
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Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016) – Review

1 1/2 Stars

I’m sure everybody has dealt with an annoying neighbor at some point in their lives. Someone intent on adding an irritation to your life through intentional and often unintentional means. Currently, I’m dealing with upstairs neighbors that have feet etched out of concrete. I digress. The appeal of the original Neighbors was universal in its concept, and superior in its well-thought out execution. It treated its characters fairly and balanced raunchy with sentiment in proper measures. The sequel squander it’s perfect set-up and exposes itself early as a comically lazy and particularly sloppy filmmaking effort from the once heralded director Nichols Stoller.
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Purple Rain (1984) – Review

3 Stars

With the recent passing of musical icon Prince, Warner Bros. and Cinemark theaters have teamed for a one-week engagement of theatrical runs for the 1984 hit, Purple Rain. The seminal film and soundtrack in Prince’s vast catalogue is still as engrossing as it was in its heyday. This autobiographical musical is brimming with beautiful music and imagery, while otherwise dealing with backstage theatrics that are mean-spirited and awkward.
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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) – Review

2 1/2 Stars

I’ve seen Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice twice, and I’m still not clear on every plot development that transpires throughout. Unfortunately, this highly anticipated pairing of the most popular characters within the DC Comic universe is just as ungainly as its wordy title. This is an unwieldy epic that has moments of cinematic exuberance and others that display the current weakness of the over-saturated genre. Still, the visual style and filmmaking verve of director Zack Synder often off-sets the films shortcomings.
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Disclosure (1994) – Review

2 1/2 Stars

One of top twenty grossing film from 1994, six of them were adapted from popular novels. Including the year’s highest grossing film, Forrest Gump. Amongst the big-screen book to movie conversions from literary heavyweights Anne Rice, Tom Clancy and John Grisham, Michael Crichton’s Disclosure holds it own in that fine company. In a particularly strong year for adaptions, Disclosure is surely the most lurid,trashy, and erotic of the bunch. Written by former movie critic turned scriptwriter Paul Attansio and directed with low-key professionalism by Barry Levinson, Disclosure is the second best movie made from Crichton’s literary canon.
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Raw Deal (1986) – Review

2 Stars

Raw Deal is the second installment of an unofficial trilogy involving cops taking down Chicago mobsters. The other bookends would be Code of Silence and Above the Law, each features an action icon from the eighties and bad guys who drive big Cadillacs, and wear expensive suits. Raw Deal is the weakest link in the chain, not because of Schwarzenegger or the direction from John Irvin, but rather an overly complicated screenplay that jettisons sub-plots and characters for easy set-ups and lazy pay-offs.
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