Life (2017) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


MV5BMzAwMmQxNTctYjVmYi00MDdlLWEzMWUtOTE5NTRiNDhhNjI2L2ltYWdlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTkxNjUyNQ@@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_When an international space station intercepts a failed satellite, they discover a single cell membrane that may lead to Earth’s first contact with alien life. As the life form retaliates it looks to attack the astronauts onboard. To the astronauts the only thing that matters is that it doesn’t get back to earth; even if it means taking their own lives. The film is directed by Daniel Espinosa and stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Reynolds, and Rebecca Ferguson.

First thing that comes to mind when I first saw a preview for ‘Life‘ was how familiar it was. And it’s coincidental that this movie comes out two month before one of the most eagerly hyped films of the year in ‘Alien: Covenant‘. If you thought going into the movie you were going to see something fresh and unused compared to years past then you are terribly mistaken. But what the movie does have going for it are the involvement of its stars. And believe it or not the acting isn’t all that bad. As a matter of fact, the movie is competent for most of its duration. Yet in the end the movie is just there.

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Getting this out of the way, the movie does give call-backs to Alien and many other franchises; almost to the extent of embarrassment. One of which is shown in the trailer where Ariyon Bakare’s character is seen having hand difficulty when the organism grabs hold. It immediately brought me back to Ridley Scott’sPrometheus‘ (2012) when a biologist gets his arm snapped by an alien worm. And once the organism grows to a certain point it resembles something we’d see in ‘The Faculty‘ where high schoolers fend off against parasites taking hold of there teachers.

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Looking back I regret even seeing the trailer because beat by beat you see major spoilers that lessens the events that transpire. And upsettingly the conclusion is spoiled with a lackluster twist. What I hoped to get from the movie was some form of character development to where we can care about the people we watch. To a point they succeed with one of the astronauts who’s welcoming a baby girl. And another who’s length of time in space is taking a physical toll on his body but emotionally he is not too ready to return to earth because of space’s tranquility. Yet as a whole the script doesn’t succeed in making us care for them when turmoil ensues.

Though the movie started with promise and exposition as to what life-form they’re dealing with, I was hoping they’d go into more detail. The movie just rushes to move ahead rather then venture into what the organism is capable of or what its endgame would be. It’s obvious that it can’t get to earth because doing so would put the fate of mankind at risk. So where’s the suspense? There really isn’t any. From Gyllenhaal to Reynolds to Ferguson, they all were fine with some gripes to be made on some of their decision making. It’s not a terrible movie. It’s not a game-changer. ‘Life‘ is sadly just there.

Rating: 6.5/10

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How do you feel about ‘Life‘? Are you planning on watching it? How does it compare to other sci-fi movies in years past? Comment below and share your thoughts.

Logan (2017) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


mv5bmji1mjkzmjczmv5bml5banbnxkftztgwndk4njyymti-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_It may be the curtain call for Hugh Jackman as he steps into the shoes of Wolverine but he leaves a lasting impression. What is probably the most character driven installment in Twentieth Century Fox’s X-Men series, Director James Mangold puts heart and soul into what has to be considered every fan’s dream. As Logan’s health deteriorates he discovers that he has a daughter, Laura, who is fleeing from danger and discovers a safe haven that is located in North Dakota. Their journey is met with obstacles and may push Wolverine to the brink. The film also sees Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Boyd Holbrook, and Stephen Merchant.

The anticipation for an R-rated Wolverine movie has been brewing for years amongst the fan base. And that’s exactly what the studio delivers in what may very well be the last time we see Hugh Jackman don the claws. Being someone who doesn’t follow the series, it not only satisfied me as a comic book movie but it stood tall as a proper send off to an iconic Marvel character. It could even be said that ‘Logan‘ was the least comic-book to film adaptation because of its themes and tone. As exciting as it was to watch Wolverine splice and dice his victims we get a better insight into the emotional strings that have made him so bitter for so long. And the reveal of his daughter Laura helped to bring that compassionate side of him out; though it took a pretty good while before Logan to come around. logan-2017-trailer-sees-hugh-jack-playing-the-most-emotional-wolverine-he-has-ever-been-in-any-x-men-movie-youtube-movieclips-trailers_931699

We get good performances all around as we start off by mentioning Hugh Jackman. He will always be Wolverine to the eyes of the fans and nobody, as far as the eye can see, can replace him. Patrick Stewart reprises his role as Professor X (aka Charles Xavier) as we see him falling to the bits. In many ways we can see both characters reaching their end to a degree. There were many heartfelt moments between them as their relationship had really built over time. Then we see Dafne Keen who is the daughter of Logan. Their relationship took a while to develop but when the time came it would hit home. The chemistry between Jackman and Keen managed to work out and had plenty of surprises to go with it.

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Obviously the action was what everyone wanted to see and a more brutal and bloody one at that. From the opening action sequence to the very end, let’s just say that heads were rolling. And a mentioning has to go out to Dafne Keen who surpassed my expectations and then some because of how easy she made it look. And that’s what elevated the fun element and depending on where Twentieth Century Fox decides to go hopefully we’ll get to see her again. There were twists and turns along the way that caught me by surprise and that I didn’t see coming. In many ways the film centered around closing story arcs and is the overall interpretation that’s given for some of the characters.

Where Fox decides to take the X-Men series next with or without Hugh Jackman as Wolverine remains to be seen. It’s going to be an adjustment for not only the studio but especially the fans. There are seeds of development that could spill into the next movie but to avoid spoilers they will not be mentioned. A lot of attention and effort was put into ‘Logan‘ and everyone should leave satisfied as probably the best performance by Hugh Jackman in the series. If it truly is the end for Wolverine as we know him in this incarnation then kudos to an amazing journey.

Rating: 7.8/10

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What do you guys think? Do you plan on watching ‘Logan‘? And is this really the last performance by Hugh Jackman as Wolverine? Comment below and share your thoughts.

Get Out (2017) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


get-out-2017-2In an age of reciprocal storytelling and an audience that clamors for something new there sometimes comes a breakthrough. The writer and directorial debut of Jordan Peele presents a fresh concept with a thrilling take on social commentary. Not only is ‘Get Out‘ a thriller but it also has a mix of comedy and a great ensemble cast. The film stars Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, and LilRel Howery. As the story goes, Chris is about to meet the parents of his new girlfriend, Rose. What starts as a warm welcome then turns to bizarre events as Chris realizes he may be caught in a sinister plot.

We’ve been fortunate to have seen some great work from new and upcoming directors from these last couple of years. And this is no different as Jordan Peele takes risk in using social commentary of interracial relationships and injecting a bit of horror. After watching ‘Get Out‘ the one thing I appreciated most was how simple the concept was and didn’t overcomplicate itself. Many times movies can bombard itself with plot twists and then lose focus as to what made the movie effective in the first place. Credit also has to be given to the cast because they didn’t over do themselves nor did they fall victim as movies tend to do.

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I’m not going to go into detail as to what happens in the movie because everyone should go in with a fresh set of eyes. All I will say is that there was a great use of suspense that managed to carry all the way through the film. Not once are you looking at your watch and asking yourself if the movie is over. And again, the movie runs with great pace that allows the audience to stay on their toes. Daniel Kaluuya, who plays Chris, on many occasions was paranoid considering he was black and if you put yourself in his shoes you would be just as freaked out. That’s what made the movie unique and many people from all walks of life could connect with his character.

This was a great film and one that took me by surprise. Jordan Peele is on the right track and has a bright future in his film career. Could we see another project down the line that mirrors a similar plot? It’s too early to tell but I hope we get more of these because original features seems too much to ask now-a-days.

Rating: 8/10

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What do you guys think of ‘Get Out‘? Do you plan on watching the movie? Comment below and share your thoughts.

A Cure for Wellness (2017) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


cureforwellnessposterComing from the director who brought us ‘The Ring‘ and the first three films in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Gore Verbinski returns to direct a psychological thriller in ‘A Cure for Wellness‘. The film stars Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs, and Mia Goth as the movie centers around a representative of a company, Mr. Lockhart, who is sent to retrieve a fellow colleague, Mr. Pembroke, who is staying at an institution due to health reasons. However, once he arrives and discovers that the institution is keeping their motives and methods of operation in the dark, Lockhart scrambles for answers before he himself gets stuck there forever.

The trailer got me interested in seeing the movie mainly because Dane DeHaan was in it and the startling imagery that gave me the impression that the story was going to be good. Gore Verbinski is a great director and can find ways in getting under the audience’s skin. This is why his latest film, although had some decent performances out of DeHaan and Isaacs and some creepy visual effects, struggled from a narrative point of view and wasn’t always in focus.

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One of the things this movie reminded me of was of ‘Shutter Island‘ (2010) and how Dehaan’s character, Lockhart, is sent to a location that’s isolated and gets caught up in a scheme. Of course, the main characters of each film had different motivations but they did share similar character traits. And just as we saw in ‘Shutter Island‘, there is a girl involved but only this time she is an innocent who unbenounced to her is in danger. So given there were similarities between the two movies I did enjoy some aspects nonetheless by Verbinski.

This is a visually appealing film to watch and I thoroughly enjoyed a scene that shows Lockhart arriving to the institution by car. Just that scene alone and the locations in which the movie was filmed took my breathe away. From an aesthetic point of view everything looked amazing. We then get into the performances by Dehaan and Isaacs who individually held their own up until the very end which is where there were problems in the narrative that needed to be addressed.

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When watching the film it really took its time building the narrative and for subsequent events to occur. Sometimes the movie dragged on a little bit too much and there were times when I wondered when something would happen. A lot of the suspense scenes you see in the trailer is unfortunately given away and thus makes the movie feel even more of a drag. As we approach the climax of the movie and after all the talk about the townspeople and how there’s been fear of the institution it leads up to a big ball of confusion. And that’s where the narrative failed to weave the needle in a coherent way that eventually fails in its own mess.

It’s not to say the movie is terrible because Dane DeHaan was great along with Jason Isaacs. And as mentioned earlier the locations in which the film was made are stunning to look at. However, with the narrative mess and inconsistencies throughout I just couldn’t appreciate it as much as I could have. I’d say this not as good as ‘Shutter Island‘ nor does it succeed as a whole from an entertainment point of view. Go into ‘A Cure for Wellness‘ with low expectations and just enjoy the visual appeal that it presents.

Rating: 5.5/10

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What do you guys think of ‘A Cure for Wellness‘? Are you planning on seeing it? Comment below and share your thoughts.

The LEGO Batman Movie (2017) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


mv5bmtcynteyoty0m15bml5banbnxkftztgwotaynzu3mdi-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_One of the most renowned comic book characters in the DC cinematic universe is brought to life in Lego form. Directed by Chris McKay and taken from the highly acclaimed ‘The LEGO Movie‘ (2014) with its own spin-off by Warner Bros. sees the caped crusader in the tiniest of ways. In what is a tribute to one of the most universal superheroes in all of comics is a movie made with love and understanding of the Batman character. The film sees the voice-over work played by Will Arnett as Batman/Bruce Wayne, Michael Cera as Robin/Dick Grayson, Rosario Dawson as Batgirl/Barbara Gordon, and Zack Galifianakis as The Joker.

After seeing ‘The LEGO Movie‘ there was a fast response by the studio to announce a spin-off for the LEGO Batman movie. The character of Batman is so iconic and in many ways stole the show in Warner Bros. success with the LEGO property that it was a no brainer that the studio would give fans something they would want to see. And having seen the film I have got to say that not only do the writers and director nail the character but we get to see homage to the character that has spanned television, comic, and cinemas for nearly 75 years. We also get references to many of the villains from years past but all the while staying true to Batman’s truly dark and testy villain of all, The Joker.

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As for the premise, Gotham City is about to usher in a new Commissioner in Barbara Gordon who wants to do away with the masked Vigilante. All the while Batman receives notice that he is now the caretaker of Dick Grayson and has to face his fears of accepting people into his life that over the years has kept him in darkness. And with the sudden emergence of The Joker’s plan to destroy Gotham using the help of the Phantom Zone, Batman must work with his allies and enemies in stopping the city from being destroyed.

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There’s a lot to take away from this movie and is not only for kids to enjoy but for parents as well. If you’re a fan of Batman you’ll not only enjoy the movie but also receive life lessons as Bruce Wayne tries to mend the wounds that have plagued him from not allowing people into his life. From the opening credits you get a hilarious monologue by Batman that pokes fun in and of itself. From references to the Justice League and even the most divisive movie of 2016 in ‘Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice‘, Warner Bros. is not afraid to own up to their missteps. We even get a glimpse into the possibility of seeing Superman or even the Justice League getting their own spin-offs somewhere down the line.

Warner Bros. and those behind the LEGO property are doing great things with the DC universe. From the graphics and storytelling elements there is a tremendous amount of care being put into these properties that in many ways outshines the live action takes we’ve seen with ‘Batman v. Superman‘ and ‘Suicide Squad‘. But as far as ‘The LEGO Batman Movie‘, Chris McKay delivers and everyone who goes out to watch the film will not only be impressed but may even be moved in ways you didn’t expect to be.

Rating: 7.5/10

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What do you think of ‘The LEGO Batman Movie‘? Do you plan on watching it? And do you think WB is having more success with the LEGO films compared to live action? Comment below and share your thoughts.

John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


john-wick-chapter-2-posterThe boogeyman returns as Keanu Reeves stars in the sequel to Chad Stahelski’s action hit ‘John Wick‘ (2014). The original film was a huge hit amongst moviegoers; although it wasn’t a box-office smash, Summit Entertainment moved forward with the project and leads us to ‘John Wick: Chapter 2‘. Director Chad Stahelski returns to the chair and helms the brutal carnage that made it the success that it is. The film also sees Common, Ian McShane, Riccardo Scamarcio, and Lawrence Fishbourne.

When John Wick refuses to take the mark by Santino D’Antonio, Wick’s life turns upside down as he is thrust back into the life he’s so desperately tried leaving behind. But with no option he carries through with the order and that’s when he is double-crossed and that leads Wick to fend off the enemies and tries to get revenge and return to the life he so cherishes. But the further he’s pushed may be all little too late.

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It’s been a long while that fans of the original movie were anticipating a sequel to probably one of the most unexpected films of 2014. With the combination of Keanu Reeves and non-stop action with guns and knives being wielded left and right, there was just nothing you could’ve asked for. So going into this movie I anticipated nothing  but the same fun that we got the last time around. And ‘John Wick: Chapter 2‘ doesn’t disappoint. Not only is it more of the same but it flows effortlessly as the movie travels from one location to the next and delivering an adrenaline punch at best.

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What you got from the first movie is what you’ll get in the sequel but a new plot thread arises and leads John Wick into uncharted territory. Another great performance by Keanu Reeves as he continues to take the pain and punishment while kicking ass and making you regret you ever came face to face. Another mention goes out to Common who is the protector of one of the main villain’s sister. He had some great chemistry along with Keanu and there were brutal fight scenes between the two of them that on their own could have made the movie. The supporting cast all around did their job and although they weren’t breakout performances they did what they needed to do and carried the movie along.

You could easily say that the carnage we get in this movie is over the top compared to the previous film but it’s so much fun to watch that you forget about it. I mean who ever knew the damage that could be done with just a pencil. Yes the pencil makes an awesome return and even a deadly weapon if one were so inclined to use in self-defense. There are many sequences to mention but that wouldn’t be fun to divulge as it should be experienced in its full glory on screen. Could this movie outdo the greatness of the original? That’s a tough argument considering you can look at these films as art and trying to discern between the two can get complicated. But never-the-less they are exactly what they’re intended to be.

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Seeing as how the movie ended it is safe to say that the studio could go for another sequel and may be the case if the box-office is any indicator. There are many directions the John Wick franchise can go and it’ll be interesting to see how the studio plans to move forward from here. Definitely one the best action films we’ve seen this year with a star-studded performance by Keanu Reeves. Let’s get Chapter 3!!!

Rating: 7.5/10

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Are you looking forward to ‘John Wick: Chapter 2‘? What are some of your favorite Keanu Reeves films? Comment below and share your thoughts.

Rings (2016/17) Review

mv5bnju1ndaxntg0mf5bml5banbnxkftztgwnzuxmjewmti-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_Following the footsteps of Hollywood as it continues to revisit long lost franchises, we get the third installment in ‘Rings‘. The film is directed by F. Javier Gutiérrez, who was only involved in one other film and is fairly new to Hollywood. It has been 12 years since we’ve seen a sequel to ‘The Ring Two‘ and what begs the question is why now? That can be said for many properties in the horror genre as not only this month, January, but for the remainder of 2017 as well. So let’s dive into ‘Rings‘.

When Julia suddenly loses contact with her boyfriend Holt as he attends a University, she goes on a search to only discover that not all is as it seems. Soon after Julia watches a video she then gets the message that she has seven days to live. This sends her on a wild goose chase to locate the remains of Samara before it’s too late. The film stars Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz and Alex Roe.

In my last review with ‘Resident Evil: The Final Chapter‘, I spoke about how the series has been around for 15 years and that by this point it was more of a fan affair. So with ‘Rings‘ you look at it and wonder if it is even relevant to the fans of the original back in 2002. Coming off of a very disappointing sequel in 2005 one stops to think if there’s a purpose on moving forward. The trailers leading up to its inevitable release were cringeworthy alone as you can sense that the lore and greatness of Gore Verbinski’sThe Ring‘ was all but non-existent. This leads us to three minutes of footage that was put out by the studio which saw a doomed flight for a couple of passengers. At this point nothing could save this movie.

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Do not think after 12 years that resurrecting this franchise was going to be amazing. There’s an epidemic going around with these properties where continuity doesn’t mean anything anymore. The troubling aspect of this is that the fans of the original will hate the direction on which the movie takes; whereas the general audience most likely will not notice. Just from what I’ve seen it felt like the studio deliberately made it into a stand-alone from its predecessors. There wasn’t even a nod or mention of Naomi Watt’s character from the previous films.

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The acting in this debacle was below average and the couple that we follow of Julia and Holt, both played by Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz and Alex Roe, were cringeworthy. I do have to say that from the beginning when Julia first came on screen she didn’t bother me at first and I was going along with it. But there’s a certain moment when logic is supposed to kick in that she does the inevitable and lost my interest soon after. And we have Alex Roe who’s only there because of good looks and cause he’s the person that puts Julia in her predicament in the first place. We also have to mention Johnny Galecki who plays Gabriel who for the most part I thought would play a bigger role just by how the movie started. He gets wasted and written off by the half-way mark which by that point nothing was going right so he was smart to leave in that sense.

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One of the big caveats that I had with the film was the pacing because there were times when characters were jabbering and nothing was happening. Which then leads me to the plot of the movie which has to do with Samara. She was watered down compared to what we’d seen in the previous films to a point where I didn’t find her terrifying at all. One of the plot devices had to do with characters showing the tape to other people and in which would pass death down the line. No spoilers there but how many times have we seen this used? We’ve seen this in ‘Final Destination‘, ‘It Follows‘, among others. And yes, given the opening to the film you get a Final Destination vibe. There’s even a scene that takes place towards the latter end of the movie where you sense ‘Don’t Breathe‘ and was a complete ripoff from that.

If you’re going into ‘Rings‘ as a fan of the original you are going to loathe this movie. There is nothing redeeming here and even for the general audience who go to see this will regret it just by the acting and pacing. Forget what you had remembered in the other films because it just won’t matter since Samara seems to have multiple variations of her story. Try not to get sucked into the theater because if you thought watching the video was going to get you killed, then believe me this movie actually will.

Rating: 4.5/10

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What do you think of ‘Rings‘? Do you plan on watching it? Comment below and share your thoughts.