‘Blade Runner 2049’ (2017) Review

Blade Runner 2049 (2017) Review: Nobody Does It Better It's been 35 years after 'Blade Runner' was gifted to the world. The 1982 Sci-fi noir thriller with philosophical undertones changed the face of cinema and is one of the more intelligent blockbusters there is. Since its release, many have tried to capture the film's magic. Right down to the hyper-neon, yet bleak aesthetic it was famous for. Some have come close, but nothing has really come close to a mastery of tone and world-building that made the original Blade Runner so revolutionary. Until now.Blade Runner 2049 is not a film I wanted. I felt as though the open ending of the first film fit its themes of perception versus reality. The sequel does give viewers a few answers, but it's hardly the episodic followup I feared it would be. Instead, the movie is very much as grounded as the original. Much of the movie is spent following a new Blade Runner, this time played by Ryan Gosling. So I guess that settles it folks. We finally have a new Harrison Ford. Sorry Chris.The tendency with sequels is to go broad. Bigger means bolder. The problem is so few of them actually provide that in a meaningful way. Blade Runner 2049 deftly subsides that problem and delivers a wider narrative much less personal than the original, but crafts it around an entirely more personal character arc. It's a beautiful synergy of plot and…

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‘Baby Driver’ (2017) Review

Baby Driver (2017) Review: The Best In The Business In a world where every weekend the Baby Driver' is perhaps the most unique film to come out this summer. It's a nice respite for those of us sick of the usual mega blockbuster that often defies logic, and wears the viewer down with its exhausting runtime. It follows Baby, played by Ansel Elgort, a getaway driver for a gang of bank robbers, led by the incorrigible Doc, played by Kevin Spacey. Baby is the best in the business, but even though his hands are magic behind the wheel, his heart isn't in it. Baby would like nothing more than to ride off into the sunset, free to drive his own way. Like the cowboys of old.'Baby Driver' is a familiar story. We've seen the tale of the criminal with a heart of gold before. Despite that, the movie feels infinitely fresh with every moment that passes. A large part of that is due to the absolutely stellar car stunts on display. 'Baby Driver' makes the Fast and Furious films look like child's play. The stunts themselves are intricately designed and a thrill to watch, as Baby maneuvers a car like it's an extension of himself.Watching it is one thing, but listening to it is another. Baby suffers tinnitus and is often overburdened by the everyday noises of life. To drown out the confusion, he constantly has a pair of earbuds playing everything…

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‘La La Land’ (2016) Review

La La Land (2016) Review: No School Like The Old With 14 Academy Award nominations to its name, it’s hard not to walk into ‘La La Land’ affected by the hype. That hasn’t happened since Jack and Rose sailed the ocean. To Celine Dion no less. La La Land also features a love story between a red headed woman and a dirty blond man. Although this movie has a little more singing than ‘Titanic’. Impertinent perceptions aside, it’s still almost impossible to review a movie which is already being lauded as the very best of last year.Yet, this is a review for La La Land. A movie which makes no apologies for what it is. A musical. Within the first 5 minutes of the film, ‘La La Land’ explodes into the first of many heavily choreographed song and dance numbers. I was technically impressed by these scenes. Marveled at them. I was also wholly bored by them. Sure I appreciated how much work it took to film. Especially when La La Land uses so many moving steady shots to showcase its performances. Still, I remained unmoved.It wasn’t until about 20 minutes in that I could see what people had been talking about. Something about Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling tap dancing won me over to the point where the film had me grinning from ear to ear as it went on. Those stars play the lead roles in this film. He’s a…

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‘Kubo And The Two Strings’ (2016) Review

Kubo And The Two Strings (2016) Review: Music To My Eyes Sometimes, especially in the summer, film’s status as an art form tends to be forgotten. I guess it’s because when we think of art, we think of it as something that you have to “get” before you can relate to it. Movies though draw huge crowds of all ages, so no such threshold exists. Sure some movies need a little bit of analysis to get into, but by and large, it’s not difficult for John and Jane Q. Popcorn.What stands out in 'Kubo and the Two Strings' is that for as much as it might throw at you at the beginning of the movie, you’ll never feel overwhelmed. Nothing is completely explained, but at the same time, it never feels like it has to be. You pick up the rules as the movie goes along, and as a result, it feels like a tighter film. There’s no time wasted with long winded exposition, and you get to have a feel for the characters instead of being bored. Last time I saw a movie take this approach, leaving you at the mercy of your own deductions, was 'Mad Max: Fury Road'Every now and then a movie comes along to remind me that movies are indeed, art, just the kind of art that doesn’t condescend. ‘Kubo And The Two Strings’ is one such movie. It follows the story of a young boy, Kubo. A musician/storyteller…

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‘Inside Out’ (2015) Review

Inside Out (2015) Review: Let's retrace the steps for the day. Woke up out of bed for work Disgust. Had to feed the dog and he got dirt on my pants Anger. But then he licked my face as I was brushing it off Joy. I got into the car and thought about how my engine died Sadness. The car jerked coming out the driveway and almost hit a lampost Fear. Then the car got back on track and went really fast Joy. The sharp turn around the corner was like that time I went go-karting Joy. Then I realized how late I was for work Anger. Finally got to work and I was behind on an assignment. Maybe I'll get fired Fear. If I get fired I won't be able to do anything I planned to Fear. Maybe I'm just not good enough for those things Sadness. I hate this stupid job anyway Anger. Does anyone really like working here? Disgust. Not to mention the food. Utter disgust. Then again, it's a living. Joy That little ditty right there is 'Inside Out' in a nutshell. Except instead of chronicling the day of the slightly depressive 20 something, 'Inside Out' tells the tale of the much more marketable Riley. An 11-year-old girl with not a care in the world. Opening with the cardinal cinema sin of narration, 'Inside Out' begs the question, have you ever looked at a person and wondered "What is going on in their head"? This narration is even more invasive than you might've thought because it doesn't just…

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‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ (2015) Review

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) Review: It seems as though there's always some form of impending doom on earth. The sea levels will rise, we'll run out of water, the dead may rise again. Whatever news you follow, you can always find something to be extremely paranoid about. Something out there that will bring about the end of this thing we call life on earth. Thing is though, this has always been the case. There's always been some prophecy of impending doom. In my lifetime, short as it's been, there's been at least 3 instances in which the world was supposed to end. I'm so desensitized to it at this point, that last time I made a sign saying "THE END IS NIGH" a la Watchmen. But as art tends to draw from life, it's not really surprising that there are countless fictional universes which deal with the end of the world. Sometimes it's an uprising of cyborgs, of apes, or just the oppressed majority of society. Sometimes it's the collapse of infrastructure and the massive lack of resources. Sometimes it's a case of blowing it all up. Whatever the cause usually is, the best of these stories are those that have the most to say about the people living in this new post-apocalyptic world. We generally don't care to see the world ending, we're much more fascinated by what happens after that. We're not sure what exactly would happen, but fiction seems…

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