Tag Archives: Review

Review: ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales’ Stalls in Stagnant Waters

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

As far as swashbuckling adventures on the high seas go, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales – what a mouthful – is running on stagnant tides. It’s amazing to think a film series based off of an amusement park ride would get to its fifth entry in the first place, a much wilder notion being that that fifth time out of the gate may actually offer up something new and inventive. That isn’t to be the case, though, and this latest outing featuring the eccentric Captain Jack Sparrow, still played by Johnny Depp and all of his crazy mannerisms, offers nothing special beyond the typical excitement to which we’ve been privy many times before. Dead Men Tell No Tales attempts to reenergize the Pirates franchise with fresh blood and a younger cast, but, without any creativity to back it up, it all ends up treading the same blockbuster waters. ›››

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Cannes 2017: Sean Baker’s ‘The Florida Project’ is Vibrant & Full of Life

The Florida Project Review

What an exhilarating experience. Tangerine director Sean Baker has premiered his latest film, titled The Florida Project, at the Cannes Film Festival and it’s truly worthy of the standing ovation it received. It contains some of the best performances I’ve seen on screen this year, from very young kids and the talented Willem Dafoe, with a drifting story about childhood and poverty in modern America. The title The Florida Project refers to Disney’s domain in Orlando. When Disney first started buying up land and planning Disney World, they referred to it as “The Florida Project.” The film is about the many “hidden homeless” living near Disney, and follows a wily group of very young kids living in motels who run around all day causing trouble. ›››

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Cannes 2017: ‘The Killing of a Sacred Deer’ is Insidious, Icky, Unsettling

The Killing of a Sacred Deer Review

The master provocateur returns again and he’s definitely going to rattle some cages with this film, there’s no doubt about it. Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos has unveiled his latest film at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, titled The Killing of a Sacred Deer, and it’s some seriously creepy, unsettling stuff. I don’t want to give away too much, but the film is a Kubrickian psychological horror about a family which plays out in the most chilling, disturbing way. It will get under your skin, it will make you feel icky, it will upset you, and test your limits. Some people are going to hate this film, just hate it, while others are going to love it, and laugh with it, and enjoy every second of it. But that’s the skill of a great filmmaker – making you feel things that maybe you don’t want to feel, and challenging you to either accept or reject the ideas they’re presenting. ›››

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Cannes 2017: Making Connections in Agnès Varda & JR’s ‘Faces, Places’

Faces, Places Review

Sometimes there’s a film that is so delightful, so cheerful, full of so much optimism and happiness and joy, that it completely changes your mood. You can be upset, or tired, or whatever, and by the end of this film you’re so happy. Nothing will take that happiness away. Everything you just saw was perfect and wonderful. That’s how I felt with this film at the Cannes Film Festival, called Visages, Villages, which translates to Faces, Places in English. The film is a documentary made by 88-year-old filmmaker Agnès Varda and the 34-year-old French photographer known as “JR“. They not only directed it, but it’s about their unlikely friendship and collaboration on a road trip around France taking photos of people they meet along the way. ›››

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Cannes 2017: Östlund’s ‘The Square’ is Brilliant, Radical, Art Mockery

The Square

Oh my goodness, I love Ruben Östlund. He’s quickly becoming one of my favorite filmmakers. Not only for the way he shoots his films – the iconic cinematography, the music used throughout, the way he blocks his scenes – but also the way he tells such radical, hilarious, brutally honest stories about our society (and all the problems with it). I flipped for his last film Force Majeure, which I also caught at the Cannes Film Festival in 2014. Östlund’s latest feature film is a brilliant satire called The Square, set around a modern art museum in Stockholm, Sweden. The film mocks not only modern art and the entire art world, but pretty much everything else in society, including our perceived notions of helpfulness, free speech, shameless publicity tactics, the internet and “going viral”, and our seemingly good intentions as people in this world. ›››

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Cannes 2017: ‘Okja’ is a Lovable, Wacky, Animal Rescue Adventure Film

Okja Review

I’ve never seen anything like this film before, and we may never see anything like it again. Okja is the latest feature from Korean writer/director Bong Joon Ho, and it’s another completely original story from his brilliant mind. Okja is a fascinating mix of many different things: it’s anti-capitalism, anti-meat, yet it’s also an animal rescue adventure film. It’s a satire, yet also a thriller; it’s playful, it’s weird, but lovable. At the center of it all is the story of a young Korean girl named Mija whose best friend is a big, mutant “super pig” that a corporation gave her uncle to raise for a competition. When they come to take it, she runs off to try and find and bring her home. If this film doesn’t make you a vegetarian by the end, I don’t know what will. ›››

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Cannes 2017: Todd Haynes’ ‘Wonderstruck’ Inspires the Kid in All of Us

Wonderstruck Review

Do you remember what it was like to be a kid? That boundless sense of wonder, that feeling that everything could be magical? Trips to museums or big cities were the most spectacular experiences, and even though sometimes things were tough at home, you had your friends to cheer you up. Wonderstruck, the latest film from Todd Haynes (Far from Heaven, I’m Not There, Carol), is about that sense of wonder that kids have. It is, in a way, a movie for kids, about kids, but it is still enjoyable for adults as well. Especially those adults who can still remember that kid inside of us, even if he’s hiding somewhere in a dark corner. The film interweaves two storylines following two deaf kids as they escape their homes and travel to New York City. ›››

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Review: Ridley Scott’s ‘Alien: Covenant’ is a Miscalculated Sci-Fi Misfire

Alien: Covenant

In 1977, director Ridley Scott made his feature debut with The Duelist, which won the Best First Film Award at the Cannes Film Festival. His next film, 1979’s Alien, catapulted Sigourney Weaver to stardom and would go on to be considered one of the best sci-fi films of all time. A thriller about an extraterrestrial organism that stalks the crew of a spaceship, Alien launched a mega-franchise of movies, novels, comic books, video games, and collectibles that remains a pop culture mainstay nearly 40 years later. In 2010, Scott decided to return to the universe he helped create with Prometheus, a prequel to Alien that would explore the origins of the franchise’s iconic Xenomorph creature, as well as the “space jockey”—the giant, elephantine extraterrestrial that briefly appears in the film as the deceased pilot of a derelict spaceship. ›››

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Review: Gunn’s ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ is an Emotional Cosmic Adventure

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Review

In 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, James Gunn introduced the world to a team of miscreants and misfits forced to come together and save the galaxy. To put it bluntly, they’re a bunch of a-holes. With the sequel, titled Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the latest feature from Marvel Studios, the writer-director is tasked with delivering a story that not only continues the epic and irreverent adventures of Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and his gang of lovable weirdos, but furthers their evolution as characters as well. Set to the ’70s soft rock stylings of Awesome Mix Vol. 2, the sequel picks up a few months after the first film ended. ›››

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Review: Ben Wheatley’s ‘Free Fire’ is a Crazy Fun and Comical Ride

Ben Wheatley's Free Fire

It’s difficult to say which is sharper in Ben Wheatley’s latest film, Free Fire: the bullets being fired by the nefarious characters found within or the witty jabs those characters tend to fling at one another between the continual barrage of deadly gunplay. One may kill you, but the other may actually hurt your feelings. As with his previous films, Wheatley presents Free Fire with a gleefully dark sense of humor, the ridiculousness of events playing out made all the more senseless when you take into account where everyone’s mindset is at. That sense of humor – not to mention the aberrantly comical characters – washes the onslaught of violence down all the easier, though, and, with Free Fire, Wheatley once again proves to be a unique voice ›››

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