‘The Lego Batman Movie’ (2017) Review

The Lego Batman Movie (2017) Review: The Best Batman Movie In Years. From the swinging 60s to the 2000s, Batman has lingered on throughout cinema. As a brand, it's one of the most successful and versatile I can think of. Movies, video games, television, even music. Batman is one of those properties that doesn't only stand the test of time but just happens to be the best of whatever it touches. 'The Dark Knight' remains the pinnacle of superhero filmmaking, and 'Batman: Arkham Asylum' revolutionized the way video games are played, with a combat system that's become the new standard.So naturally, when it came time to develop another Lego movie to supersede the 2014 surprise hit, 'The Lego Batman Movie' was the obvious choice. Will Arnett was the breakout performance of that film and of course, everybody loves Batman. That's the central premise of this movie and an integral part of what makes it work. It assumes that after spending 78 years watching Batman films, Batman tv shows, playing Batman video games and reading Batman comics, that you know a thing or two about the Caped Crusader.Unless of course, you've been living here.In fact, it depends on it. 'The Lego Batman Movie' features many a moment where the crux of the joke is a play on Batman's storied history cinematic or otherwise. Moments that to me were glee-inducing but would fall flat to someone a little less versed in the Batman mythos.…

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‘John Wick Chapter 2’ (2017) Review

John Wick Chapter 2 (2017) Review:John Wick and the Terrible, Murderous, No Good, Very Bloody Day It’s easy to think that originality in Hollywood is dead. Case in point: Lego Batman. A movie based on a line of toys, based on a comic book character. The cynic in me wants to give up on cinema altogether. Then a movie like 2014’s 'John Wick' comes around. The brainchild of long time stunt coordinators and first-time directors. With its captivating style and intriguing world, John Wick was a sleeper hit that thankfully, has been granted a sequel.  Blessed are we the meek, who have been granted by the Gods of film, this bountiful gift.Compared to the first film, John Wick Chapter 2 is a definite upping of the ante. Everything that made its predecessor an exhilarating thrill, is present in this sequel. It’s never going to be as impressive as that first instance, but John Wick Chapter 2 does enough to keep the film feeling fresh, despite stepping over familiar ground. Then again, avid viewers of the first film might be slightly disappointed at how familiar this movie is. Many of the same beats are hit. Sometimes exactly. For my money, I was happy to get a mix of new interesting characters, and dimensions to John Wick’s world of coordinated assassins. There’s an air of immense playfulness and creativity to the film, a quality that runs from its world expansion, t the many many…

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‘Split’ (2017) Review

Split (2017) Review: Half Good/Half Bad After you've been called the Spielberg of a new generation, it's hard not to fall below expectations. Still, M. Night Shyamalan fell pretty far. 'Split' aims to be a return to form for the once celebrated director. A genuinely interesting concept. It's about a killer who suffers from dissociative identity disorder. Inside one body contains 23 distinct personalities. All played by Professor X himself, James MacAvoy.That's what the movie promises, but really you only meet about 4 or 5. Each of which MacAvoy plays with an enormous amount of giddiness. Truly he seems to be having the time of his life. Because what more could you ask for as an actor. He gets to play with distinctly different characters, each with their own accents and mannerisms. No way does this film work without MacAvoy's charisma and skill.The part that doesn't work is the film's science. The best horror movies tread this line carefully. It wants to tap into a kind of general fear that people have, and expound on it. Still, the film has to have some semblance of credibility. Otherwise, nothing resonates. It becomes so mired in fantasy that it's as scary as the big bad wolf. The film raised interesting questions about what was real or not. Then it turned into a cartoon. The third act takes a film that skirted the line carefully and knocks it over with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. So…

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‘Hidden Figures’ (2016) Review

Hidden Figures (2016) Review: Far Too Light I wasn’t around for the 1960s, but everything I’ve seen from the time period confirms two things. It was a great time for NASA, but a bad time for black people. Worse if you were a black woman. Never do you get a film that combines the two stories. That’s what you find with ‘Hidden Figures’. A story that prominently features not one, not two, but three black women. Scientists working on the problem of getting a man into space. Like many films of this type, ‘Hidden Figures’ is ripe with embellishment. Ways to make the movie less like real life, and more like a story. The trouble with this film is, it takes it a tad bit too far. Often the harsh realities of living in a society where you’re thought of as lesser are played down. Take for instance the numerous times Taraji P. Henson’s character must run back and forth to the only bathroom designated for “coloured folk”. It’s gallingly portrayed as comedic, and may as well have been set to ‘Yakety Sax’For the moments that do take the time period to task, it's a harmful revisioning. In the world of 'Hidden Figures', all that needed to happen to solve racism, is a temper tantrum in an office full of white men, appalled and astounded at the way black people are treated. It's especially unsettling when the film reminds you of real life events that occurred around the time…

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