Category Archives: Writing

Mechanic: Resurrection

Mechanic: Resurrection

Directed by: Dennis Gansel Starring: Jason Statham, Jessica Alba, Sam Hazeldine, Tommy Lee Jones, Michelle Yeoh Rated: R for violence throughout and language Summer movie season has pretty much wrapped up, and we’re heading into the Halloween crop of scary movies before the big family flicks of Thanksgiving and Halloween. If you haven’t quite gotten your fill of explosions and mayhem, “Mechanic: Resurrection” is here, hoping to fill that gap for you. Unfortunately, unless you want to go mock a movie relentlessly, you’re probably better off staying home. The first film, a remake of a 1972 Charles Bronson movie, was a gritty action flick that kind of fell apart toward the end. The new film never gets things together enough for them to fall apart. This feels like someone took pages out of a bunch of cheesy old action flicks, shuffled them together, and started filming. Sadly, it doesn’t have the charm of those campy

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Suicide Squad

Suicide Squad

Directed by: David Ayer Starring: Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jay Hernandez, Joel Kinnaman, Jared Leto Rated: PG – 13 for sequences of violence and action throughout, disturbing behavior, suggestive content and language Where Marvel Comics landed square into their standard tone with “Iron Man,” DC Comics seems to be casting about. After a handful of increasingly gritty films, we’re now presented with “Suicide Squad,” which tries very hard to be both gritty and funny. That’s probably a necessity, in some ways – if you’re going to have a handful of supervillains as your protagonists, you need some humor or nobody’s going to empathize with them. “Suicide Squad” succeeds on some levels, but not on others, and whether someone likes it or not is largely dependent on which elements are most important to them. The squad of the title is the brainchild of Amanda Waller (Viola Davis). Her plan: the US government uses imprisoned

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Ghostbusters

Ghostbusters

Directed by: Paul Feig Starring: Kristin Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Chris Hemsworth, Neil Casey Rated: PG-13 for supernatural action and some crude humor The new “Ghostbusters” film has been polarizing since it was first announced. It reboots the classic franchise, but with four women as the titular characters – a casting choice that enraged at least as many people as it thrilled. Like most comedies, if you go into the theater expecting to hate it, it isn’t going to win you over. It’s not “Citizen Kane,” it’s a popcorn movie. A good popcorn movie, but still too light and fluffy to win over any naysayers. If, on the other hand, you’re excited (or at least willing to be excited) about it and you enjoy lightweight summer flicks, you’ll probably be pleased. Former friends Dr. Erin Gilbert (Kristin Wiig) and Dr. Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) have gone their separate ways since Erin left

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Independence Day: Resurgence

Independence Day: Resurgence

  Directed by: Roland Emmerich Starring: Liam Hemsworth, Maika Monroe, Jeff Goldblum, Sela Ward, William Fichtner, Judd Hirsch, Brent Spiner Rated: PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and destruction, and for some language 1996’s “Independence Day” didn’t set itself up for a sequel. It’s getting one anyway – but the returning cast and crew make a lot of smart decisions. While it’s obviously an attempt at starting a franchise to squeeze more money out of an existing property, it’s also pretty successfully a fun summer blockbuster. This is the kind of movie that’s perfect for times when you just want to spend three hours in air conditioning, sipping a cold drink and watching things blow up. Surprisingly, “Independence Day: Resurgence” not only works the 20-year gap between films into the story well, it gives us a pretty well-thought-out portrayal of a post-alien-invasion Earth. The planet has kept the unity developed in the first film, with

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Now You See Me 2

Now You See Me 2

Directed by: Jon M. Chu Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Lizzy Caplan, Daniel Radcliffe, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman Rated: PG-13 for violence and some language 2013’s “Now You See Me” was a top-notch, fun blend of magic shows and a heist movie. Directed by Louis Leterrier (“The Transporter), it was a romp of a film, packed with cleverness, intrigue, and Robin-Hood stage magicians scamming bad people. The sequel, “Now You See Me 2,” brings back almost everyone from the first film, and wisely doesn’t try to recreate the rest of its predecessor. It’s still a stage-magic heist movie, but this time the magicians are desperate and on the run, and the bad people hold most of the cards. It’s a fun movie – not as good as the first film, but definitely a solid sequel. A note: if you haven’t seen the first film, the setup for the sequel has massive

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Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

  Directed by: Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone Written by: Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, and Jorma Taccone Starring: Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone, Tim Meadows, Sarah Silverman, Imogen Poots, Chris Redd Rated: R for some graphic nudity, language throughout, sexual content and drug use Comedy trio The Lonely Island (Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, and Jorma Taccone) first gained notice doing music videos like “Lazy Sunday” and “Like a Boss” for “Saturday Night Live.” The three of them have worked in a handful of movies, but their latest is the first where all three have written and starred in it. “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping” is everything you’d expect from a Lonely Island movie. It’s absurd, crass, and full of the over-the-top bravado that is Samberg’s signature. If you like most of Samberg’s work and/or The Lonely Island, “Popstar” is a must-see. The story focuses on Conner4Real (Samberg), a solo hip-hop artist who was once

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X-Men: Apocalypse

X-Men: Apocalypse

Directed by: Bryan Singer Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar Isaac, Nicholas Hoult, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Ben Hardy, Alexandra Shipp, Evan Peters, Rose Byrne Rated: PG-13 for sequences of violence, action and destruction, brief strong language and some suggestive images “X-Men: Apocalypse” lives up to its name, giving us an enormous spectacle that’s going to be hard to top. There are a great many characters, much bigger special effects, and a massively more powerful villain than in the recent X-Men films. If you want to maximize the bang for your buck and like Bryan Singer’s other X-Men work, this is the way to go. The film opens in ancient Egypt, where an aged, blue mutant (Oscar Isaac) is in the process of transferring his consciousness to a new body. Things don’t go quite as planned, and he winds up trapped far below ground, unconscious. After a rather clever opening credits

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Captain America: Civil War

Captain America: Civil War

Directed by: Anthony and Joe Russo Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Jeremy Renner Rated: PG-13 for extended sequences of violence, action and mayhem We’re 12 films in and there are plenty more to come from Marvel Studios. The latest, “Captain America: Civil War,” is ostensibly a Captain America film, but it’s really more of a third Avengers movie. It takes the events of “Marvel’s The Avengers” and “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and shows us the logical fallout: the world is freaked out. As a result, the UN uses the collateral damage in the battles of New York and Sokovia as an excuse to rein in the Avengers. Naturally, our protagonists react in a variety of ways, and wind up fighting each other. As is made obvious in the publicity materials for the film, the protagonists line up roughly

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Keanu

Keanu

Directed by: Peter Atencio Starring: Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Tiffany Haddish Rated: R for violence, language throughout, drug use and sexuality/nudity Fans of the TV show “Key & Peele” have real reason to celebrate: the comedy duo’s new film, “Keanu,” includes many of the things that made the show great. Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele successfully transition to the big screen and bring us an action movie with two hilariously regular dudes at the center of it. For added comedy and pathos, their motivation is a hyper-adorable, fluffy kitten. Rell (Peele) has just gone through a bad breakup. In his darkest hour, when life seems to have no meaning, a kitten appears on his doorstep. He names the little guy Keanu and adopts him – completely unaware that the cute ball of fluff is the escaped pet of a local drug dealer. When his place is broken into and Keanu goes missing, Rell strongarms his

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The Huntsman: Winter’s War

The Huntsman: Winter’s War

Directed by: Cedric Nicolas-Troyan Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Jessica Chastain, Emily Blunt, Charlize Theron, Nick Frost, Rob Brydon, Sheridan Smith, Alexandra Roach. Rated: PG-13 for fantasy action violence and some sensuality. If you saw 2012’s “Snow White and the Huntsman,” it should be pretty easy for you to decide whether to see the new film “The Huntsman: Winter’s War.” It’s not really a seqel, it tells a parallel story with some of the same characters. As with the first movie, there’s a lot to like and a lot to dislike – and they’re pretty much all the same things as in the first film. If you didn’t see the first film, there’s not a whole lot to enjoy about this one except the visuals, which are admittedly pretty stunning. “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” is separated into two stories. The first centers on Freya (Emily Blunt), sister of Ravenna (Charlize Theron) – the evil queen from the

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