‘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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‘Unlocked’ (2017) Review

Unlocked (2017) Review: Unseen, Unremembered. There are movies that stick with you, lingering on for days, weeks, months, even years after you leave the cinema. Movies that will go so far as to influence the way people think or act. Movies that become a part of a culture. Then there are movies like 'Unlocked', which as I write this, I struggle to even recount it, much less review it. The type of movie that, much like the content covered in this spy thriller, will go unseen by most, as if it never even happened.While I was watching 'Unlocked' I did find myself enjoying the events as they unfolded. The film opens with a snapshot of the diversity of London life. People from all walks of life interacting with one another. The film's plot involves CIA agent Alice Racine, as she is brought it to interrogate a suspect in a potential terrorist threat. While there seems to be the foundation of a film that could provide a meaningful look at Islamaphobia, racial bias, and other issues surrounding the subject matter, 'Unlocked' has neither the deftness nor the intelligence to provide it.That can be best explained by its main character. Alice Racine is quite possibly one of the impossibly smartest stupid characters there is. Throughout the film, she will be referred to by others for her incredible skills, skills which she will no doubt demonstrate, only to make a mistake that wouldn't get by…

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‘The Dark Tower’ (2017) Review

The Dark Tower (2017) Review: A Fantastic Sedative For those that declare cinema dead and Hollywood to be out of ideas, this is another notch in the win column for you. ‘The Dark Tower’ is yet another adaptation of a classic story by Stephen King. This time, instead of killer clowns and rabid dogs, the horrors of this tale lie in the mystical dark tower, a gargantuan structure with the sole function of keeping at bay evils from a different dimension. The evil man in black seeks to destroy the tower, and it’s up to a young man and a gunslinger to stop him.Like many films, ‘The Dark Tower’ is a perfectly acceptable movie on the surface level. It has characters that embody age old archetypes. The reluctant hero, the chosen one, the all powerful supervillain. The character’s themselves are flat, but the roles are perfectly serviceable. It’s only when you dig a little deeper that the film begins to fall apart. The movie has a lot of ideas, most of them good, but brings them across with all the finesse of a rickety bridge.At the heart of ‘The Dark Tower’ is a simple idea: The innocence of a child is the key to saving the world. With so many films predicated on the idea of innocence being a hindrance, it was refreshing to see something new. The trouble is the movie betrays this idea almost immediately, and insults your intelligence in…

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‘Transformers: The Last Knight’ (2017) Review

Transformers: The Last Knight (2017) Review: Exhausting Epic. It’s been 10 years since the first Transformers film was released in theaters. Since then we’ve watched the war between the Autobots and the Decepticons wage on, getting grander and grander with each film. With ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’ I do believe the series has finally reached its breaking point with its most incoherent entry yet. The war of the Transformers once again threatens planet Earth, except this time, the Autoboots face their greatest enemy yet. Leader of the Autobots gone rogue: Optimus Prime.That summarization of the plot is extremely lacking, but to include the 1 trillion plot points this film sees fit to hurl at the viewer would be a fool’s errand. Most of them are inconsequential, go nowhere, and contradict the plot as the film goes on. If that wasn’t bad enough, the way the film presents it to you is in a manner consistent with director Michael Bay’s style, with everything in the film shot and edited like it’s the most important moment of the movie. The problem with that is, when everything’s supposed to be special, suddenly nothing is.None of this is new to the ‘Transformers’ franchise, but previously, the average movie goer could at least expect a fully finished product. Specifically, there are shots in the movie which fill the entire frame, seemingly taking up most of the screen, and then there are shots which use significantly less space,…

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‘All Eyez On Me’ (2017) Review

All Eyez On Me (2017) Review: Citation Needed. When thinking about 'All Eyez On Me', there's almost no way to separate it from 2015's 'Straight Outta Compton'. The two films tell stories of similar conjectures, the rags to riches story of young black men in America with a dream, that became cultural icons. They even make use of the same locales and go so far as having the same characters loitering around the background of the main story. For the uninitiated, it's easy to think 'All Eyez On Me' is a part of the 90's Hip Hop Revolution Cinematic Universe.The comparison, unfortunately, works against the untold story of Tupac Shakur, as 'All Eyez On Me' is a dull portrayal of an otherwise fascinating persona. The film follows the infamous rappers life from his childhood, all the way up to his untimely death in 1996. The movie decides to tell this story, like many biopics, in a series of flashbacks. The flashbacks are prompted by an interview being given by Shakur while in prison. This makes the flashbacks feel like dramatizations one sees in a documentary, rather than scenes in a film with compelling characters. The film also introduces its flashbacks by bafflingly displaying the dates of certain events right down to the day. I understand the film was going for authenticity, but it feels like the narrative version of Tupac Shakur trivia night.The details of the story are fascinating, but the way…

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‘The Mummy’ (2017) Review

The Mummy (2017) Review: Dead On Arrival. There are action comedies, there are horror comedies. ‘The Mummy’ is unique in being a full on action horror comedy. The fourth film in the franchise disregards the ones that came before it. Fraser is out, Cruise is in, and he’s bringing a shroud of darkness with him. ‘The Mummy’ follows thief, liar and general scoundrel Nick Morton played by Tom Cruise. The less honourable Indiana Jones gets into trouble when his latest find ends up releasing the evil princess Ahmanet, a 5,000 year old Egyptian princess with a penchant for destruction, particularly sand related.What ‘The Mummy’ does right is that mix of tones. It’s a delicate balance that Cruise and company handle deftly. The movie will fill you with dread, with creepy atmospheres punctuated by jump scares. Then it will deliver a decent quality action scene, all the while bringing humour that doesn’t take away from the tension. The issue is, so much of ‘The Mummy’ feels inconsequential. While you’re enjoying the ride, it never feels as though it’s going anywhere.I hesitate to give a synopsis of this movie since the film will repeat back the same information to you over and over again. Viewers might just be better off jumping in after the first twenty minutes, just to avoid the sense of deja vu. What’s worse is, no matter how many times ‘The Mummy’ explains it’s plot to you, it still makes less…

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‘Pirates Of The Caribbean’ (2017) Review

Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017) Review ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales', the fifth release in the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' franchise finally sees the return of Captain Jack Sparrow. This time, Jack has found himself caught up with another adventure involving the literal demons of his past. The deadly Capitan Salazar has emerged from the mystical Devil's Triangle, hell-bent on getting his revenge on Jack. Jack's only hope is the legendary Poseidon's Trident, the key to warding off all curses of the sea.That's a very simplified version of the story in Dead Men Tell No Tales, and one I would've much preferred to follow. The actual film is bloated, as it harbours more storylines than it can bear to stomach. The first half almost entirely consists of gathering the cast into one location so the plot can get underway. Previously, these films have excelled in having a large cast, with multiple stories, and still remaining focused. This is not the case here as this movie fails to find its momentum like a ship without wind in its sail. Then again, according to Captain Jack, wind isn't necessary as long as you have rum.As the movie struggles to get all the pieces together, there are a few scenes that evoke the very best of this series. One particular scene involving a guillotine is perhaps one of the cleverest moments these films have ever had.…

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‘Going In Style’ (2017) Review

Going In Style (2017) Review: Old Dogs, Not So New Tricks Imagine at the end of your life, after working yourself down to the bone, the people you dedicated your life to suddenly turn around and put you out to pasture. That's the scenario for the heroes of 'Going In Style' Joe, played by Michael Caine, Albert, played by Alan Arkin, and Willie, played by Morgan Freeman. After 30 years at the same company, the trio is swindled out of their hard-earned pension. Down on their luck, at their wit's end, and not enough time to start over, they decide to do the only logical thing they can think of. Rob a bank.Before reading any further, if the idea of 3 men in their late 70s planning and performing a bank heist is too much for you to swallow, this is not the film for you. I myself had to seriously suspend my disbelief just to suffer the premise. Once I did that though, I found myself seriously enjoying a movie that I did not expect to.Most of that is due to the sheer level of class brought by the cast here. 'Going In Style' is not the first film to bring together a premier cast of actors of a certain age. Usually, those movies are less an embarrassment of riches, and just plain embarrassing. This time though, the performances of Caine, Arkin and Freeman actually feel wonderfully understated. They give these…

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‘Ghost In The Shell’ (2017) Review

Ghost In The Shell (2017) Review: Easy On The Eyes, Hard To Watch 'Ghost In The Shell' is the long awaited live action adaptation of the Manga of the same name. Set in the not too distant future, its world is refined and uninviting. Instead of clamouring for the latest and greatest smartphone, the inhabitants of the movie covet technology that shifts the makeup of their very being. Eyes are swapped for binoculars and fingers are multiplied. The crowning achievement of this techno evolution is Major. A cyborg with the mind of a human, who just happens to be the hero of this story. Major is played by Scarlett Johansson. A casting that has sparked controversy, since the role she's playing has always been a Japanese woman. For all the noise surrounding it though, nothing in 'Ghost In The Shell' really merits discussion. Johannsen plays a haunted soul, desperate to cling onto the humanity she has left in her cold unfeeling body. What comes through is her pain and anguish, but is delivered with as much engagement as a Kindergarten teacher at nap time. I was fighting sleep for a good chunk of 'Ghost In The Shell'. Time and time again the movie gave me situations to understand, but no characters to empathize with. Pity that the bland characterization, could not match the astounding visuals the movie offers. The world of 'Ghost In The Shell' is tonally bleak but aesthetically vibrant. In…

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