BAD BOYS FOR LIFE Review

Will Smith and Martin Lawrence Return to Michael Bay's Bad Boys Franchise Sans Bay, but the Chemistry and Passage of Time Help this Third Installment Shine.

1917 Review

Writer/Director Sam Mendes and Cinematographer Roger Deakins Craft a Technically Exceptional Film While not Skimping on the Emotional Aspects of War.

DOLITTLE Review

Robert Downey Jr. Departs from the Iron Man Character for the First Time in Some Time in this Overwhelmingly Bland Adaptation that Clearly Could have been More.

JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL Review

The Rock, Kevin Hart, Jack Black and Karen Gillan Return in Their Second Video Game Adventure that Continues to Largely Defy Expectation.

STAR WARS: EPISODE IX - THE RISE OF SKYWALKER Review

JJ Abrams Conclusion to the Skywalker Saga is Everything and Nothing at the Same Time; Offering Grand Escapism with Little Heart.

Tavern Talk: Video Review - SONIC THE HEDGEHOG

After being delayed three months so Paramount could redesign their titular character (adding $5 million more dollars to the $90 million production) Sonic the Hedgehog finally arrived in theaters over the holiday weekend and defied expectations by delivering the largest opening ever for a video game adaptation. With a $70 million, four-day holiday debut and a $58 million Friday to Sunday gross Sonic topped last May's Pokemon Detective Pikachu ($54.4 million) to become the largest three-day opening ever for a video game adaptation. In finishing with that aforementioned $70 million over the four-day weekend the film, based on the iconic SEGA video game, is now the fourth largest Presidents' Day opening ever. Sonic not only performed well this weekend, but was a hit with audiences as well, earning an "A" CinemaScore and a 95% audience rating on RottenTomatoes. Furthermore, the opening weekend audience for the film supplied the stat that 70% of tickets sold were for those under the age of twenty-five. In second is where we find Warner Brother's Birds of Prey as it brought in another $17 or so million over the three-day and delivered almost $20 million for the four-day holiday frame, pushing the film's domestic total to nearly $62 million. Internationally, the film generated another $23 million over the weekend as the film's international cume now totals $83.6 million, pushing the global tally to $145.5 million on a production budget of $84.5 million. Rounding out the top five is Sony's Bad Boys for Life, which brought in $11.5 million over the three-day to finish with just over $13 million for the extended weekend as the sequel now tops $182 million domestic with a global cume of $368 million. In other news, the weekend's other two new wide release, Sony's Fantasy Island and Universal's The Photograph, finished in third and fourth place with only $504,493 separating the two at the end of the four-day weekend. Neon's Parasite received a huge bump for its many wins at the Oscars as the South Korean film expanded into over 2,000 locations over the weekend bringing in an additional $5.7 million. This performance pushes the film's domestic gross past $44 million, currently making it the fifth largest foreign language release ever. The other new release last weekend, Searchlight's re-make of the Swedish film, Force Majeure, titled Downhill and starring Will Ferrell and Julie Louis-Dreyfus landed just inside the top ten by barely clearing $5 million over the holiday frame with bad reviews and poor audience reception hinting this thing will disappear before the month is up. As always, be sure to follow the official TAVERN TALK by Initial Reaction YouTube channel as well as on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter where you can find a new review (or reviews) each week!

Official Trailer for Wes Anderson's THE FRENCH DISPATCH

The first trailer for Wes Anderson's follow-up to his 2016 stop-motion film, Isle of Dogs, is here and is his first live-action film since what is arguably his masterpiece in 2014's The Grand Budapest Hotel. The French Dispatch “brings to life a collection of stories from the final issue of an American magazine published in a fictional 20th-century French city.” Per usual, Anderson rounded-up quite the cast for what will be his tenth feature with both new additions and some returning favourites. Bill Murray plays the editor of the aforementioned American magazine who is trying to put together this publication’s final issue. As this narrative is happening, the audience will see three different stories being covered by his staff members come to life in a way only Anderson could seemingly conceive. It is in bringing to life these three different stories that I assume Anderson adopts the different visual styles we see glimpses of in this first trailer; there is of course the black and white, but the predominant characters of those clips also appear in clips that are in color while there also looks to be a circular shot of a host of characters that feels very out of character for Anderson. The fact I'm wholly intrigued by a director's choice to use a certain kind of shot over his typical, perfectly symmetrical style of framing is proof enough as to why Anderson is not only engaging as a filmmaker, but as a storyteller in general. I don't even know where else to start with how excited I am about a new, live-action Wes Anderson movie for as much as I love his animated outings there is something about seeing him breathe his vision through a cavalcade of famous faces all perfectly embodying his sense of tone and timing that is both strangely exhilarating and reliably uproarious. And while The French Dispatch looks to not skew too far from what everyone loves about Anderson's work this does have the feeling of the filmmaker having done something very big and quite special to celebrate it being his tenth feature. I wholeheartedly expect Anderson to continue making his own brand of movie for as long as he has something to say, but it will also be interesting to see if he, in any way, is evolving his own style here for despite believing the man is incapable of spinning his wheels it does feel it will be necessary to continue to show growth-even if that growth is only through his storytelling prowess rather than his visuals. The French Dispatch also stars Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Wally Wolodarsky, Bob Balaban, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Timothée Chalamet, Léa Seydoux, Benicio del Toro, Henry Winkler, Elisabeth Moss, Griffin Dunne, Lyna Khoudri and opens on July 24, 2020.

Tavern Talk: Video Review - GRETEL & HANSEL

For the third week in a row Sony's Bad Boys for Life topped the box office as the long awaited third film in the franchise has now become the series' biggest film topping $148 million domestically. It also helps that the competition has been rather light over the past few weeks as well with both of this past weeken's newcomers failing to meet expectations and one almost failing to even make it into the top ten. With a total just shy of $17.7 million over its third weekend and another $30.8 million internationally, Bad Boys' international total now stands at $142.7 million for another franchise best equaling out to a current global cume of $271 million. It is in fourth place that we find the first newcomer in United Artists Releasing's Gretel & Hansel opening with just $6 million on a reported production budget of $5 million. This performance doesn't come as much of a surprise given the limited amount of promotion and press anyone involved has done as well as considering the fact it's the fourth horror/thriller to be released in theaters over the last five weeks. While I found more to appreciate than dislike about the film it seemed no one cared enough about the film or were interested in another "dark take" on a widely known fairy tale to go out of their way to see it over Super Bowl weekend. Opening weekend audiences gave the film a "C-" CinemaScore with a measly 20% audience rating at RottenTomatoes which I can understand given the slow pacing and lack of jump scares, but c'mon people! 20%?!?! That's insane! And so, while Gretel & Hansel will suffer a fate it doesn't wholly deserve and be forgotten by the end of next weekend it seems Paramount's The Rhythm Section, starring Blake Lively and based on a series of novels by Mark Burnell, will face a fate even worse as the $50 million flick brought in just over $2.7 million in its first weekend frame from 3,049 locations for what amounted to only a $918 per theater average AKA the worst opening ever for a film debuting on over 3,000 screens. As always, be sure to follow the official TAVERN TALK by Initial Reaction YouTube channel as well as on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter where you can find a new review (or reviews) each week!

Tavern Talk: Video Review - THE GENTLEMEN

This week on TAVERN TALK by initial reaction we were lucky enough to have Fox 16's Michael Cook stop by and discuss STX's The Gentlemen with us, but in terms of box office it was Bad Boys For Life that continued to dominate the conversation. Bilall Fallah and Adil El Arbi's sequel to 2003's Bad Boys II ended its second weekend with $34 million which was enough for the Sony picture to repeat atop the weekend box office, dropping just -45.6% from the film's impressive debut over the holiday weekend last week. This strong performance pushes Bad Boys For Life's domestic total past the $120 million mark after only ten days in release with it now being less than $20 million away from becoming the highest grossing domestic release in the franchise. Needless to say, a fourth film is already in the works though there is question as to whether or not Fallah and El Arbi will return. Personally, while it was necessary for some young blood to reinvigorate the aging franchise if we're going to make a "Bad Boys Fourever" it would be nice to see Michael Bay return to his baby and close out the series that started his career. We're here to talk about The Gentlemen though, and in regards to the new Guy Ritchie flick the results were...not bad? Landing in fourth, The Gentlemen pulled in $10.6 million coming up just shy of the estimated $11 million Sunday projections held for the weekend on an estimated production budget of $18.4 million. Of course, this was never going to break out in the way last weekend's R-rated, action-fueled, male-centric romp did, but as far as Guy Ritchie gangster pictures go this feels par for the course. In early 2001 Snatch earned $30 million domestic on a $6 million budget while seven years later RocknRolla struggled to make $25 million worldwide on a budget of $18 million thus signaling why Ritchie quickly jumped to big studio fare with his Sherlock Holmes films earning a combined domestic total of almost $400 million and well over a billion worldwide before going through the cycle once more with financial disappointments in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. ($107 million worldwide on a $75 million budget) and King Arthur ($148 million worldwide on a $175 million budget) and then returning to tentpole filmmaking with last year's live-action Aladdin adaptation which easily churned out a billion. Fortunately, to go along with an acceptable opening weekend The Gentlemen did receive a strong critical reception and a "B+" CinemaScore from opening day audiences. Internationally, Miramax still holds the rights and following a limited release in just a few markets over the past few weeks, this weekend saw The Gentlemen add another twenty territories where it earned another $3.1 million, pushing the film's early international cume to $22.5 million and a global total of $33.5 million with plenty of room to grow. As always, be sure to follow the official TAVERN TALK by Initial Reaction YouTube channel as well as on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter where you can find a new review (or reviews) each week!

THE GENTLEMEN Review

Given my 1987 born ass has always been a fan of writer/director Guy Ritchie's (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, RocknRolla) post-Tarantino style that pummels you with said style until you are essentially forced by submission into appreciating it one wouldn't be wrong in recognizing that Ritchie has strayed from that which made him a star in the late nineties/early aughts as his most recent, studio-centric efforts (King Arthur and Aladdin) have not only leaned toward the more conventional in their style, but also in their storytelling. 2015's The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was our first glimpse at the next step in Ritchie's evolution as it was meant to be (no, I didn't see Revolver, but have heard terrible, terrible things) delivering an action/spy thriller very much in line with the attitude of his earlier work while possessing a more refined, more finessed outward style. If the Robert Downey Jr./Jude Law Sherlock Holmes films were the apex of early Ritchie style with a big studio mentality then The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was Ritchie evolving before our eyes and taking it a couple of steps further than he needed to just to ensure us he was in fact maturing. With his return to form as it were though, Ritchie's The Gentlemen finds the filmmaker striking the best balance yet between his past and his contemporary status among his contemporaries. A more subdued and self-aware English gangster romp than his first few features, The Gentlemen compiles many of Ritchie's most recognizable tropes including classic English geezer names and clever overlapping narratives, but most importantly it retains the sense of fun those early films were regarded for as The Gentlemen's pomp and wit are at full exposure more so in the characters than they are anything having to do with the double-crossing, drug-dealing plot we've seen and heard countless times before.

Tavern Talk: Video Review - BAD BOYS FOR LIFE

Twenty-five years ago a buddy cop comedy starring two of TV's biggest stars was made for an estimated $23 million which went on to gross $141.4 million worldwide. It was somewhat groundbreaking at the time to have two black men co-lead a tentpole action flick in a genre that had been made popular by the oddball pairings of Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte and Mel Gibson and Danny Glover up until that point. Martin Lawrence and Will Smith's debut would put to rest any doubts that the two of them were stars and eight years later they would return to the roles of Mike Lowery and Marcus Burnett for what remains, to this day, director Michael Bay's masterpiece of Bayhem in Bad Boys II. That second film, which featured so many subplots and two different drug runner antagonists who looked similar enough they may as well have been father and son and culminated in Smith and Lawrence's characters driving through a small Cuban neighborhood in a yellow Hummer was made for a staggering $130 million in 2003, but made back its production budget domestically on its way to a cool $273 million worldwide. Seventeen years later and we finally have a third film in the franchise and while I think they should have maybe saved the "Bad Boys 4 Life" title for the next go-around, but alas here we are and Bad Boys For Life defied all expectation and hope not just in its mid-January debut, but in overall quality as the $90 million production from Belgian directing duo Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah pulled in a whopping $73 million over the four-day MLK holiday frame. The film's $62.5 million three-day performance is also the second largest January three-day debut, just behind 2015's American Sniper ($89.26m) as well as Sony's largest R-rated opening ever, topping the $57 million for 22 Jump Street in 2014. Even better is the "A" CinemaScore and 97% audience rating on RottenTomatoes from opening weekend audiences indicating this thing could have some serious legs. Beating the opening weekend numbers of summer tentpoles like John Wick: Chapter 3 ($56.8m), Mission: Impossible - Fallout ($61.2m), Straight Outta Compton ($60.2m) and Hobbs & Shaw ($60m) which all went on to gross over at least $160 million bodes well for the film and the franchise as it's not hard to see this now landing somewhere between $170-$180 million domestic. Internationally, Bad Boys for Life brought in $38.6 million for a current global tally of nearly $112 million after four days in release. Needless to say, we'll probably be getting that Bad Boys 4 much quicker than we did two or three. As always, be sure to follow the official TAVERN TALK by Initial Reaction YouTube channel as well as on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter where you can find a new review (or reviews) each week!