Mission: Impossible – Fallout (***1/2) completes a cycle

"This is an excellently crafted film. It hits every mark that needs to be hit, often times too squarely for effect. The story worked with Rogue Nation for a two film arc, but it would be a good idea to go back to the original premise of different directors for different films now that we've seen what McQuarrie can do...twice."

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Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again (***) but why, exactly?

James does the character a fair tribute. This film succeeds largely due to her great impression of Streep's original interpretation. Like the best retracings of characters, though, she paints enough outside the lines so we get to enjoy some amount of growth, even if we know where her story leads. Lily James deserves better than a sequel like this, even if she helps to elevate it to an above average film.

MoviePass: The noble, crazy experiment.

Pandora's box has been opened, even if the folks who opened it didn't know how to sustain the business model. The beauty of capitalism is they had their chance exposed a demand for a better way to enjoy a night on the town. Now others will compete to fill that need in a way in which everyone will get something better than they had before. I am glad to spend my dollars as smartly as possible, in order to make sure that happens. Theaters will change, or we will start a new paradigm of our life minus movies at the theater.

Equalizer 2 (****) is a sequel worth coming back for

The Equalizer 2 - 2018 Director Antoine Fuqua Screenplay Richard Wenk Starring Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal, Ashton Sanders, Bill Pullman, Melissa Leo There is almost nothing in The Equalizer 2 you have not already witnessed many times over. There is McCall (Washington) who is the wounded warrior archetype, trying to live a Cincinnatus existence. The promise made to his wife … Continue reading Equalizer 2 (****) is a sequel worth coming back for

All the Money in the World (***) Waste Seeping Underground

In the end, this will be a film more remembered for the supporting actor that was replaced than for anything else...even possibly the real events on which it is inspired.

Skyscraper (***) lacks nuance, but not acting energy

Skyscraper - 2018 Written and Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber Starring Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Chin Han, Roland Møller, Noah Taylor, Byron Mann, Pablo Schreiber, Hannah Quinlivan Rawson Marshall Thurber has maybe two half decent films on his resume. Dodgeball is an offbeat star vehicle that works for Vaughan and Stiller. Central Intelligence does the same in a more or less comedy action way … Continue reading Skyscraper (***) lacks nuance, but not acting energy

Ant-Man and the Wasp (*****) builds on success

The one who benefits most from this arrangement is Lilly's Hope, who continually marches through each predicament with the smarts of Hermione and the physical prowess of Wonder Woman. She is the best part of Ant-Man and The Wasp. Nothing she does is done for the sake of being a woman or in spite of it. She's out to accomplish objectives.

Borg vs. McEnroe (****) inverse symmetry

McEnroe is the visual representation of Borg’s internal struggles. As wild as he is, he looks to become the ironic end to Borg’s controlled, furious engine. Metz takes his time to present this convergence in a slow boil.  

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (*****) 143

The entire last half of the film is riddled with poignant moments to the extent it is hard to keep control of one's emotions. The tears that are elicited are as much for joy as anything. It makes one glad to have witnessed this, and long for a chance to go back and take it in once more for the first time.

The First Purge (no stars) please let this be the last one

The First Purge shows oppressed black people at peaceful rallies, innocent black folks in a housing project being killed room to room and a black drug dealer as its hero. There's even a neighbor Lady who's essentially Oprah. This is intended to put the butts in the seats, not to be intellectually honest.