‘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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‘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 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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‘It’ (2017) Review

It (2017) Review: Float On After what seemed like the dryest movie period in years, finally, there is something exciting happening at the cinemas. It may be a remake of a miniseries adapted from a novel, but still, it's something. Stephen King's 'It' tells the story of Derry, a town cursed with mysterious disappearances of children. After his brother Georgie meets such a fate, Billy recruits his friends on a mission to find out what happened. On their journey, they come to find the orchestrator of their demise, the ravenous, and infinitely creepy Pennywise, the dancing clown. 'It' shares much with the recent offerings of horror. It focuses on children as its victims/heroes, and it relies on jump scares to give the thrills the audience demands. There's also the unfortunate instance of characters acting far too calmly in the presence of danger, that renders most horror pictures tepid. 'It' succumbs to these and other horror trappings, but has plenty going on that lets it stand out. Chief among those is Pennywise. I can't recall the last time a horror film has seen fit to give its narrative a true antagonist. A face to the terror. While this isn't the first time Pennywise has been given life, I dare say it's a far more chilling one than Tim Curry's best effort. What Bill Skarsgård does is give a performance that feels developed. Pennywise is sinister, charming, jovial, and horrifying, sometimes at the turn…

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‘Atomic Blonde’ (2017) Review

Atomic Blonde (2017) Review: Beautifully Brutal From one-half of the directing duo that brought 'John Wick' to life comes yet another film about a character with a very particular set of skills. This time, the titular Atomic Blonde is Lorraine Broughton, played by Charlize Theron, a spy for the British government. Set in 1989, right before the fall of the Berlin Wall, 'Atomic Blond' follows Lorraine on a mission to secure a list of every working intelligence agent within the Soviet Union. Essentially the pre-internet version of WikiLeaks. Since her failure could mean the continuance of the cold war, it's safe to say Lorraine is under a tad bit of pressure to succeed.As I was watching the film, it struck me that this was likely the most adult film I have seen in a while. Many films deal with mature themes and show explicit content, but something about the way 'Atomic Blonde' did this made it a cut above your typical R rated film. There's nudity, blood & gore, cursing, and each is handled extremely effectively.Fight scenes in the movie are brutal. There's the same incredible choreography that exists in 'John Wick' films, with Lorraine affecting merciless punishment on her opponents. The movie's bleak cinematography gives way to action that was at times more visceral than entertaining. The film immerses you in spectacular fashion, as you go from admiring the way Lorraine dispatches her enemies, to feeling every blow she delivers.Most of…

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‘Dunkirk’ (2017) Review

Dunkirk (2017) Review: The Greatest Story Never Told 'Dunkirk' is a movie about the 400,000 British and French soldiers trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk, beset on all sides by German opposition. Any attempt to escape is not treated kindly. Even standing still can be a precarious option, as any given moment could be met with a fatal encounter with the enemy. Trapped in a small location with an enemy that controls the land, sea, and skies. Sounds too incredible to be true, which is why it's the subject of Christopher Nolan's latest picture, 'Dunkirk'.Although set in World War II, 'Dunkirk' is a war film that doesn't adhere to the cliches and tropes that plague movies of this type. Typically, you expect to follow one character in particular, perhaps with a wife and child waiting at home, and watch as he and his companions struggle for survival. That method is fine and all, but after being done so many times, it feels very old hat. Here, there are characters in the film, but the focus is on the event itself, not their individual stories.For doing away with such cliches, I praise the movie. However, there's a reason those cliches exist. It's a shorthand for the audience to have a genuine connection with what happens on screen. 'Dunkirk's biggest flaw is that it can be difficult to connect with the faces that react to the horrors of war. You get the general sense…

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‘War For The Planet Of The Apes’ (2017) Review

War For The Planet Of The Apes (2017) Review: In A League Of Its Own. Despite being prequels to a well-known movie franchise, the recent Planet of the Apes films have had unprecedented success. Both critically and commercially. The third film chronicling the beginning of the saga 'War for the Planet of the Apes', takes place 5 years after the events of its predecessor, 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes'. After being forced into conflict, Caesar and his people are struggling. In order to survive, and for the ape revolution to succeed, these smart apes must be smarter than ever, as the war for the planet wages on.To be frank, 'War for the Planet of the Apes' is exactly what most have come to expect. The visuals throughout the movie are mindblowing. The attention to detail given to the apes & the environment is remarkable. The series continues to be one of the best-looking franchises of its time. The performances by Andy Serkis and company behind each ape are nothing short of breathtaking. Having the technology to capture said performances is extremely gratifying, as 'War for the Planet of the Apes' gives a legitimacy to a season otherwise known for less intelligent films.Having said that, the movie did not entirely thrill me. I spent most of the first half feeling underwhelmed by the film as it went on. I felt as though there were one too many moments that were either…

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‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ (2017) Review

Spider-Man Homecoming (2017) Review: The Best Spider-Man Movie In Years Picking up right after his debut in 'Captain America: Civil War', 'Spider-Man Homecoming' opens with a Peter in conflict. He's had a taste of an amazing fantasy, and suddenly, regular old high school life just doesn't do it anymore. Seeing Captain America on an exercise video just doesn't match up to stealing his shield. While he dreams of joining The Avengers in their world-saving quests, he's stuck stopping bike robberies and helping old ladies cross the street.That personal conflict is an incredibly entertaining part of the film. Peter Parker is reflective of every teenager too rebellious for their own good. Eager to start the next phase of their life. As Peter awkwardly fumbles his way between his double life, it no doubt provides the laughs, but only because it's so relatable. Every situation Peter gets in has about as much tension as the life or death moments.Those moments are thanks to the villain of the picture Adrian Toomes, aka, The Vulture, played by Michael Keaton. Keaton is one of the more memorable villains of the superhero genre and is almost as relatable as Peter Parker himself. He plays a disgruntled salvage operator who makes his living building and selling weaponry forged from the superhero battles waged in this universe over the years. Clearly, the movie puts function over fashion, as the Vulture has traded in his traditional feathers for giant winged blades…

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‘Wonder Woman’ (2017) Review

Wonder Woman (2017) Review: Finally. About an hour into 'Wonder Woman', Princess Diana of Themyscira awakens on a ship pulling into London in 1918, at the height of the Great War. Her companion, Steve Trevor, gleefully welcomes her to jolly old London, but the smoke and concrete of the industrial centre of the world are nothing but revolting to the Amazonian Princess, whose home is brimming with colour and life. "It's not for everyone" Steve retorts. In that moment, the two might as well be talking about the recent slate of DC films, which have been criticized for being overly gritty, to the point of being completely inaccessible. Thankfully, 'Wonder Woman' is a breath of fresh air, and gives this cinematic universe its very best film. I realise that doesn't mean much but trust me, it's good.Tonal shifts aside, 'Wonder Woman' is also groundbreaking in a much more important way. Perhaps ceiling shattering is more appropriate, as 'Wonder Woman' bucks the trend of superhero films, and gives a serious treatment to a female superhero. Who would have thought that maybe, just maybe, audiences might be interested in seeing a different perspective, than that of the male hero? 'Wonder Woman' shows that a woman can be more than a mere damsel in distress.For all it does for the current cinematic landscape, 'Wonder Woman' is a superhero movie that is pretty paint by numbers. It follows the same basic structure we've come to expect…

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