Solo: A Star Wars Story (*1/2) is a bad bet

The trick about #Solo is that there are no tricks. There are no moments where you say "Wow, how'd they think of that?" because you know the writers and director never really thought of it, they just incorporated the thoughts of Lucas and company 41 years ago.

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I Don’t Have A Vote: The 90th Annual Oscars – Great Year for Film, Not Politics

"Hugh Jackman had a great year, with The Greatest Showman and Logan. On the latter film, he does the near impossible in creating an unbreakable character who is finally driven to the point of breaking. His work with Stewart is some of the best of both of their careers. He should have been rewarded for this."

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (**1/2) is a take worth leaving

McDonagh has been effective in the past, with many of the same actors, even. He completely wastes Searcy, Dinklage and Hawkes here. If his writing seemed better in the past, it may have been due to more familiarity with the subjects. I wish the focus had been more on realistic characters, maybe punching up the plot a bit. Telling urban American city folk that the people living out there where there's green trees and grass are creepy and weird is a surefire way to win festivals and maybe awards. It will not win as history or any sort of lesson, though.

War for the Planet of the Apes (****1/2) is cleverly reverential

War for the Planet of the Apes - 2017 Director Matt Reeves Written by Mark Bomback and Reeves Starring Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn, Karin Konoval, Terry Notary, Ty Olsson, Michael Adamthwaite, Toby Kebbell, Judy Greer, Sara Cannning, Max Lloyd-Jones, Devy Dalton, Aleks Paunovic, Amiah Miller, Gabriel Chavarria In the opening scenes of War for the Planet of the … Continue reading War for the Planet of the Apes (****1/2) is cleverly reverential

The Hunger Games 4, Mockingjay 2 (***) is grim and joyless

So if you are looking for things to blow up, expectant surprises to pop out or just plain misery to abound, you may like this film. If you want the same thing, but you want your daughter to feel like she can be a hero, better stick to The Force Awakens.

The Hunger Games 3: Mockingjay 1 (***)

Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 - 2014 Director Francis Lawrence Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Natalie Dormer, Sam Clafin, Jena Malone Screenplay by Danny Strong, Peter Craig based on the book by Suzanne Collins At this point we've all become accepting of the process of dragging out books into multiple movies. … Continue reading The Hunger Games 3: Mockingjay 1 (***)

Out of the Furnace The fire’s gone

Out of the Furnace - 2013 Director Scott Cooper Starring Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson, Casey Affleck, Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe, Zoe Saldana, Sam Shepard Screenplay Brad Ingelsby and Cooper "He might be safer over in Iraq" It's hard to recall the last movie that featured common folk in Steel Mill country of Pennsylvania that started out with anything close to a sunny day. … Continue reading Out of the Furnace The fire’s gone

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (***1/2) more hunger, more games

  The Hunger Games: Catching Fire - 2013 Director Francis Lawrence Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Stanley Tucci, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, Donald Sutherland Screenplay Simon Beaufoy, Michael deBruyn based on the book by Suzanne Collins After struggling through the first book of the series, The Hunger Games, I was not looking forward to the movie … Continue reading The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (***1/2) more hunger, more games

Cool Papa E’s Favorite Comedy Films of All Time

Live action comedy films are inexpensive to make but they are incredibly hard to master.  It's a generally accepted axiom that there is no generally accepted axiom as to what is universally funny.  That said, most makers of comedy barely even try.  Whether it's the rancid Scary Movie franchise, Tim Matheson's  Animal House / Meatballs … Continue reading Cool Papa E’s Favorite Comedy Films of All Time

Now You See Me is a cute date that vanishes after the show

Now You See Me - 2013 Director Louis Leterrier Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Mélanie Laurent, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Common, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Michael Kelley, Elias Koteas Screenplay Ed Solomon, Boaz Yakin, Edward Ricourt Now You See Me is the kind of trick that shows you how its done while its setting you up for the next trick.  Four magicians (Eisenberg, Fisher, Harrelson and Franco) … Continue reading Now You See Me is a cute date that vanishes after the show