Movie Review: ‘Crimson Peak’ Starring Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain
Oct 2015 16

crimson peak movie poster largeCrimson Peak, the latest offering from Guillermo del Toro, is a beautifully made film. It’s dark, it’s gothic and it’s bloody. However, the one big problem the film has is it’s not scary.

For a film that is being billed as a horror movie, Crimson Peak comes off more as a tragic love story – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing for movie fans.

Del Toro is at his best in telling the story of a young woman who is swept off her feet by a seductive stranger. Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) is romanced by Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston). Sharpe’s sister, Lucille, played wonderfully by Jessica Chastain, seems to lurk near wherever the pair are around each other.

While all the performances are stellar, the stars of the film are the sets and costume design.

The house, Allerdale Hall, is filled with all kind of things that go bump in the night, but scares are at a minimum. While a few gruesome deaths happen on screen, there aren’t many actual scares in the film, yet I felt like the film had a creepy presence about it. It might have been the blood-red snow, for which there was no logical explanation given in the film.

While del Toro has always been known for his beautiful films, this is right up there among his best, as the dresses that Lucille wears in the film seem to almost come alive. While the ghosts play a prominent role in the film, I felt they were seen a bit too much. For all the positive things I’ve said about the set and costumes, the ghosts come off a bit lame. I would rather them have not even been on camera, as tricks the mind can play can be even scarier than seeing the real thing.

All in all, “Crimson Peak” is an enjoyable film. It’s beautifully made and skillfully acted.

Crimson Peak gets a B+.

Movie Review: ‘Straight Outta Compton’ Starring O’Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell
Aug 2015 14

New Straight Outta Compton PosterAfter seeing Straight Outta Compton, it’s almost like things haven’t changed all that much.

While N.W.A. burst onto the scene in 1988 with the anthem “Fuck the Police,” the song seems more relevant now than ever, given the racial tension that is going on in Ferguson.

While F. Gary Gray’s biopic of N.W.A brilliantly shows just what the groups members went through to achieve fame, it seems to run just a little too long and get a little too soft near the end.

Gray, (whose first film Friday starred Ice Cube) is now directing Cube’s son, O’Shea Jackson Jr. O’Shea is a spitting image of his father in the film, and delivers a strong performance as the young Cube.

Jason Mitchell steals the show as Eric ‘Eazy-E’ Wright. Wright is easily the deepest character in the film, raising money for studio time by selling drugs. While Wright’s small stature mixes well with his high voice, his attitude and the way he carried himself was anything but small.

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Movie Review: ‘Southpaw’ Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, 50 Cent
Jul 2015 24

Jake Gyllenhaal is on a roll.

With his new film, Southpaw, the actor once again buries himself into another role. This time it’s Billy Hope, a boxer who is seemingly on top of the world.

He has millions of dollars, a beautiful wife and daughter and has won 43 straight fights.

After a tragedy strikes Hope’s family, everything he has vanishes, including his longtime manager Jordan, played by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson.

Antoine Fuqua does a fine job directing the film. In fact, it may be his best work since Training Day.

Just like Fuqua did in Training Day with Denzel Washington, he gets a scene stealing performance from Gyllenhaal, who should garner some Oscar attention for his role.

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Marvel’s ANT-MAN Opens Number 1, Yet Lowest Gross Since THE INCREDIBLE HULK. What Does That Mean?
Jul 2015 21

Ant-Man Large Poster Paul RuddBy now, we’ve all grown used to the idea that any new Marvel movie is capable of topping the box office and leading ticket sales worldwide, if not setting a new record for an opening weekend. Time and time again, the studio pushes out a new superhero adventure only to set its own bar higher, and in the process that same studio has raked in untold hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. It’s the new standard: Marvel Studios + new movie = $$$.

And then along came Ant-Man. Arguably the studio and comic book giant’s most bizarre standalone project to date, the project served as the origin story to a hero who’s actually an original Avenger (if we’re going by comic lore), but who’s also something of a joke. Scott Lang (played by Paul Rudd) is a master thief who’s gifted with a special suit by mad scientist Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). The suit gives him the ability to shrink down to ant size while enjoying the accompanying perks, like magnified strength and the ability to control, um, ants. And voila! A superhero story is born.

Incredibly enough, this ludicrous concept actually played pretty well on the big screen. Ant-Man received pretty good reviews (a cumulative 80% positive on Rotten Tomatoes), for a number of reasons. To begin with, Paul Rudd is an intriguing brand of Hollywood darling; he can be knee-slapping hilarious or he can play the forgettable good guy, but he’s really hard to criticize. Douglas is his own brand of darling, and on top of these two packing a punch among critics, there’s the fact that the movie is pretty enjoyable. Like Guardians Of The Galaxy before it, it excels by not taking itself too seriously, and this helps viewers to relax and enjoy the fun.

Unfortunately for the studio, Ant-Man didn’t quite match the box office success of Guardians Of The Galaxy (which topped $160 million in its opening weekend). Marvel’s latest had a gigantic opening by most ordinary standards, nearing the $60 million mark. But as IGN pointed out, this was actually Marvel’s weakest opening since The Incredible Hulk (and that in itself is an extraordinary statement on the money-making power of the superhero genre).

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Movie Review: ‘Max’
Jun 2015 26

MaxI’m a sucker for dog movies, I admit it.

I cry like a little bitch at the ASPCA commercials, so maybe my take on “Max” isn’t as reliable as some heartless asshole’s take.

“Max” is 100 minutes of dog love, pure and simple.

Dog lovers will devour this movie and be left begging for seconds.

“Max” is a German shepherd, that was trained by the military to assist in weapons finding missions.

It just so happens that Max’s trainer/owner is shot and killed early on in the movie.

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