‘All The Money In The World’ (2017) Review

All The Money In The World (2017) Review: Cut A Deal On This One. What would you do if you had all the money in the world? That’s a question that for most people remains purely hypothetical, but in 1973 that was the reality of J Paul Getty. The film touts Mr. Getty’s wealth as being more than has ever been owned in human history when he lived. While that might not be empirically accurate it makes for a good tagline. Still, it’s more than enough to pay for the safe return of his kidnapped grandson. But when asked how much he would give up in order to see his grandson again he simply responds “nothing.”That’s the events that kick off ‘All The Money In The World’, a story about the pitfalls of greed, wealth, and the importance of family. It’s also the film that was supposed to star Kevin Spacey, but now stars Christopher Plummer who reportedly filmed his scenes in a matter of 9 days. That changeover might be the best thing that could’ve happened for the film, as this is certainly Christopher Plummer’s show. The 88-year-old actor elevates the production with a complex and rewarding performance.In fact, Plummer is so good, he puts his co-stars to shame. It’s not that Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams are bad. On the contrary, Williams' take on the frustrated mother of a kidnapped child is touching. Mark Wahlberg as the ex-CIA agent hired…

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‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ (2017) Review

The Last Jedi (2017) Review: Steady Your Pitchforks After the end of ‘The Force Awakens’, it’s safe to say, the films are decidedly safe. Since its return, the franchise has remade one movie and made another as a tangential story add-on. So, walking into ‘The Last Jedi’, I was as underwhelmed as one can be for a ‘Star Wars’ film. That is to say, extremely excited, but not as excited as I should’ve been.Thankfully, ‘The Last Jedi’ is exactly what should have always been. Picking up what feels like literal minutes after the last installment, ‘The Last Jedi’ is a righteous venture in well-paced adventure. The first 15 minutes of the film are not for the faint of heart, and it stands as perhaps the best opening to a Star Wars film yet. It only goes up from there, as ‘The Last Jedi’ combines what made the previous films so iconic, all the while feeling wholly unique.The film is a testament to expert timing. For a runtime of 2 hours and 30 minutes, it never feel as though it drags. That’s not to say the film is your typical popcorn fare. There’s action to spare yes, but it’s not overblown. Rian Johnson has seemed to have taken note from last years ‘Rogue One’ and opted for a film that treats its sweeping epics as a backdrop, rather than the main focus.The film is much more interested in its characters, their internal struggle,…

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‘Justice League’ Is Not What You Want, But It’s Okay. (2017) Review

'Justice League' Is Not What You Want, But It's Okay' (2017) Review There’s not a soul alive who didn’t grow up in some shape or form with the Justice League. Though the characters are American inventions, they’re regarded the world over as iconic. Therefore despite all evidence to the contrary, I couldn’t help but have a twinge of excitement over the movie. Sure, ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” was a cinematic travesty, but ‘Wonder Woman’ was a breath of fresh air.So where then does that leave ‘Justice League’? Well, sadly more towards the former. While the film never quite reaches the lows of its 2016 predecessor, it does have some elements that serve as chilling reminders of how bad these films can be. The first act of the film is an incoherent mess. Batman, coming off of his win in his title fight with Superman, is traveling the world to assemble a team of super friends to face off against an incoming invasion.You have Cyborg, The Flash, Aquaman, Wonder Woman and Batman, all facing off against the evil Steppenwolf. An intergalactic conqueror with a vengeance, and rotten dialogue. Perhaps Justice League is a film best seen on mute, as too often I would be hit with the urge to smack one of the characters for saying the absolute cheesiest lines. Where Justice League fails is in its rushed execution, as it feels as though the first hour is a collection of…

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‘Murder On The Orient Express’ (2017) Review

'Murder On The Orient Express' Is A Classic Reborn. (2017) Review For the second time in nearly 50 years, the Agatha Christie novel ‘Murder On The Orient Express’ has been adapted to film. The story follows the incomparable detective Hercule Poirot, and his impossibly huge moustache. Hercule finds himself aboard The Orient Express, a magnificent train packed to the brim with passengers from all over the world, travelling peacefully, until, in the dead of night, one of them meets an untimely end. Unfortunately for the killer, Hercule Poirot is probably the world’s greatest detective. (Sorry Batman).What follows is a simple whodunit, as the detective makes his rounds interrogating the various passengers. The film is directed by Kenneth Branagh, who also plays the lead detective. He’s not the only notable cast member as the movie is filled with eye popping actors. Penelope Cruz, Johnny Depp, Judi Dench, Willem Dafoe, Michelle Pfeiffer. ‘Murder On The Orient Express’ has a rather impressive ensemble, though it leaves something to be desired.No one does a bad job per se, but no one was particularly impressive either. In fact, each of these actors have had better performances this year alone in different projects. The most engaging of the lot is Branagh himself as the eccentric but brilliant detective, whose obsessive compulsive disorder makes ordinary life unbearable, but solving crimes simple. The actors give you enough of their characters to play your own personal game of clue as the…

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‘Thor Ragnarok’ Ragna-rocks! (Had To Be Done) (2017) Review

'Thor Ragnarok' Ragna-rocks! (Had To Do It) (2017) Review After being mostly absent from the silver screen for the last two years, ‘Thor Ragnarok’ sees the return of the God of Thunder. Quite unlike we’ve seen him before. The movie opens up with the Norse God covered in chains, and describing a plot to protect his homeworld of Asgard. It should be simple work, but for the Goddess of Death, Hela. What follows is a galactic trek not dissimilar to one taken by the 'Guardians of the Galaxy', as Thor assembles his team, cutely named “The Revengers” The most noteworthy member of that team is the Incredible Hulk. Yes that’s right, the movie may have Thor’s name on it, but there are more than a couple superheroes in this film. Thankfully, for everything that’s packed into ‘Thor Ragnarok’, the final product is a well-balanced ride. Whereas most action adventure movies have a concrete story and pepper in a comic relief scene or two, this movie does the opposite. It’s a laugh fest from start to finish with a few scenes put in to establish a narrative. That’s not to say ‘Thor Ragnarok’ is hurting for substance. In fact, for all it’s non stop humour, I was particularly impressed with how invested I was in the story, even if the movie at times treats it as an afterthought. As for the humour, 9 out of 10 times I would be upset. Upset that…

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The Saw Franchise Tortures The Audience in ‘Jigsaw’ – (2017) Review

The Saw Franchise Tortures The Audience in 'Jigsaw' (2017) Review Years ago it was a Halloween tradition for a Saw movie in the cinema. Back in 2004, the series tried to change the slasher game. It put you in the minds of the victims and gave you a moral quandary or two along the way. You didn’t revel in the violence like a night at Crytal Lake. Over the years, the series moved so far away from that original germ of an idea, it became a whole different animal. Jigsaw’s rules became idiotic but were presented as profound. Now, after all this time, Jigsaw returns in ‘Jigsaw’. The new film talks a lot about the legacy of the Jigsaw killer, the impact he left on the world after all this time. The symbolism between fans of the Saw films and fans of Jigsaw itself worked 10 years ago, but these days it feels like a fantasy land. Perhaps that’s the point since the movie is entirely populated with moments that defy what we know as reality. Everything from character interactions, physics, and even the movies brain dead psychology feel ingenuine. Typically in an idiotic horror movie, you can still enjoy yourself and ignore the more distracting fallacies. Not so here. Here if you’re distracted by the tv movie acting, you can’t exactly ignore it to focus on the nonsensical story. If a movie is the greater sum of its parts, ‘Jigsaw’ is…

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‘Happy Death Day’ (2017) Review

Happy Death Day (2017) Review: A Halloween Treat In 1993, there was a movie released called ‘Groundhog Day’. It starred Bill Murray, and was directed by Harold Ramis. It was about a weatherman who gets stuck repeating the same day over and over, waking up to the same song as each day restarts. Since then, a number have movies have adopted the classic’s premise for their own stories. They are the movies we refer to as “It’s like ‘Groundhog Day’ but”.This year alone saw the release of ‘Before I Fall’, which applied the format to a high school melodrama, and 2014’s ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ borrowed the idea for a sci-fi backdrop. This time, the day goes on repeat for a young girl named Theresa (Tree for short), except she doesn’t just fall asleep and wake up in the next day. She has to die first.‘Happy Death Day’ takes that plot device that worked so well over twenty years ago and put it in the middle of a slasher film. Whenever the day repeats, it’s like looking at the beginning of a different horror movie each time. That makes for some very fun moments as Tree tries to figure out who’s been killing her. Never has there been a montage so gruesome as the one that's seen here, but I'm certainly glad we've reached this point in society. From this moment on montages must be this intense. Literally, life or death. As these…

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‘Tyler Perry’s Boo! 2: A Madea Halloween’ (2017) Review

The Accountant (2016) Review: Miscalculated I'm distraught.I'm worried.I'm scared too.It's been a year since Tyler Perry hit a new low with his return to the Madea-verse, 'Boo!'. A movie that defies explanation for its irreverent disregard for narrative structure, character development, and humour, but made a lot of money. Now, the sequel has been released, 'Boo 2!' and I can't help but feel personally targeted. It feels like an added dose of punishment for a crime I didn't commit. I know Tyler Perry didn't make this movie for me, or that he intentionally made it as bad as it was for people like me to suffer. He made it for him. It has become my nightmare.I suppose it’s a recurring nightmare. Madea has long been a staple of Hollywood, and is rightfully in my mind one of the most iconic characters of the last 20 years. She is something that feels genuine, relatable, and continuously funny. Truth be told, she still is. However, this film has no claims of genuineness. It’s distinctly unfunny, and anyone who can relate to it, deserves to be clinically examined.Just like the last time, the film is an incoherent mess that paradoxically has too much substance, and none whatsoever. So much of the film goes on and on and on and on and on and on, and on, until you find yourself nodding off, having a nice nap, and waking up to find yourself stuck in the…

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‘The Foreigner’ (2017) Review

The Foreigner (2017) Review: Brutally Well Balanced Before terror strikes the cinema, there's nothing I'd like to see more than a hard-hitting revenge story, mixed with a tense political drama. Good thing this week saw the release of 'The Foreigner'. A hard-hitting revenge story mixed with a tense political drama, starring Jackie Chan. Yes, Jackie Chan, 63 years old, is blazing through the silver screen in the way most men decades younger than him couldn't even dare. Is it a good film, or is it mostly embarrassing for the old martial artist? Thankfully, it's entirely the former. After a terrorist attack in London takes the life of innocents, Quan Ngoc Minh, played by Jackie Chan, cares only about one. The daughter caught in the attack. Consumed by rage and a penchant for vengeance, Quan decides he can't wait for bureaucracy. He has to take matters into his own hands. God help anyone who gets in his way. A privilege that belongs to Pierce Brosnan's Liam Hennessy, who already has his hands full dealing with the fallout of a terrorist attack in London. That's where 'The Foreigner' takes an unexpected turn. Most might be expecting 'Taken' with Jackie Chan, but in fact, Chan's journey of vengeance only takes up about a half of screen time. A surprising amount of the story is spent unraveling the mystery the movie from a political perspective. When you go in hoping to watch Jackie Chan inflict punishment,…

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‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle’ (2017) Review

Kingsman: The Golden Circle) Review: Does Everything A Sequel Shouldn't It's hard to fully explain what's wrong with 'Kingsman The Golden Circle'. I'm tempted to not write a review at all. My first instinct is to posit ways I think it could've been done better. Maybe I will. For now though, I'm going to say what I thought of this movie.Back in the director’s chair for his first ever sequel, Matthew Vaughn brings us 'Kingsman The Golden Circle'. A movie that continues the high octane, wicked smart adventure of Taron Edgerton's, Egsy. A true Kingsman this time around. His mentor gone, he must face a new threat to the world, for Queen and for country. After things go explosively awry, Egsy is forced to venture cross the pond to his America counterparts, The Statesmen. Together they have to fight to preserve peace and prosperity for all mankind. Even if they can't agree on how to spell programme.In many ways, 'The Golden Circle' is a fine sequel. Not in the same way one admires a fine wine, but moreso that way you respond when something's wrong and you say "I'm fine". Something is wrong here, but I don't really want to talk about it. It's not the sort of egregiously bad that you care to discuss. In fact, the film does everything that your run of the mill sequel does, it just does them so poorly that the effect is something of a…

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