Jack Reacher: Never Go Back Review

Tom Cruise Returns to his Second-Tier Franchise to Exercise his Legs, but Just Ends up Running in Circles in this Generic Action Flick.

The Accountant Review

Ben Affleck Breathes Life into Director Gavin O'Connor's Overstuffed Action/Drama that is Entertaining Despite its Identity Crisis.

The Girl on the Train Review

Director Tate Taylor and an All-Star Cast Including Emily Blunt bring this Best-Seller to Life with Subdued Results.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Review

Director Tim Burton is Back in this Slyly Graceful, but Slightly Troubled Adaptation of Author Ransom Riggs' Best-Selling Novel.

Deepwater Horizon Review

Director Peter Berg and Star Mark Wahlberg Re-team for Another True Life Story that Skillfully Mixes Tales of Heroism and Social Commentary.


If this second Jack Reacher movie is good for anything it's to prove that Tom Cruise is indeed just as much a movie star as he's ever been. Cruise, who has been on something of a roll lately when it comes to action spectacles, has taken some time off from being Ethan Hunt and those impossible missions he tends to embark upon in order to return to the simpler, more straightforward drifter that is Jack Reacher. There's nothing wrong with this choice, nothing at all-in fact, the 2012 Jack Reacher film that was based on the long-running Lee Child's book series was a hard boiled, no frills, balls to the wall action romp that felt practical and logical in every fiber of its being. There was an authenticity to the action and crunch to the violence that made it all feel rather congenital to who this stoic titular character really was. We didn't get much past the solid facade, but the movie itself would give us plenty of mood and attitude in order to fill in the gaps. That Christopher McQuarrie film would take Cruise away from the extraordinary stunts and instead forced him to keep his feet on the ground and running in the vein that we've come to affectionately endure Tom Cruise running in. 2013's Jack Reacher never tried to be anything it wasn't and while this sentiment could be echoed for Never Go Back in all honesty the sequel doesn't try to be much of anything at all. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is so middle of the road predictable that by the time an action scene is loaded and ready to play out there is such a disassociation between the story and Cruise simply strutting around doing his thing that it's hard to care about or invest in either. Not only does Never Go Back feel rather pedestrian in its story and acting though, but the execution couldn't feel more lazy or uninspired either. Helmed by Edward Zwick who previously directed Cruise in the sweeping and rather stunning The Last Samurai I expected more from the duo when it came to delivering simple goods that could be smoldered down into basic formula with only a dose of skill and ingenuity thrown in when it came time for Reacher to dispatch with a few bad guys. Instead, what Zwick and Cruise deliver this time around is the epitome of "just good enough" with that only being more of a disappointment when considering the talent and thus the potential involved. It may be that I watched this on a large format screen, but there are certain action sequences and, even worse, standard dialogue scenes that look as if they belong on an old tube TV. In fact, sans the cell phones, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back very much feels like an action thriller that was produced in 1994 with no higher ambition other than being considered for the long flight home.


Certain Women is my introduction to the much celebrated writer/director Kelly Reichardt who has crafted such films as Wendy and Lucy and Night Moves. Reichardt is said to craft these methodically paced character studies that exist more for their introspective takes on the lives of their characters than anything resembling plot. Minimalist, if you will. Reichardt seemingly adapts many of her films from short stories or collections of short stories. And while I've yet to see any previous films from the filmmaker including her much heralded 2010 feature Meek's Cutoff I don't know that her latest necessarily urges me to go back and see what all the fuss is about. That said, Certain Women is certainly intriguing though the reasons for such interest fall more on the befuddling side of things rather than the promising. It is easy to sell the minimal approach as being more insightful and more telling simply out of the convenience of letting the audience do more of the heavy lifting, but some of the time keeping in line with the minimal approach is simply a substitute for there not being much to say in the first place. It's not hard to appreciate that Reichardt has approached these tales of three individual women in three different stages of their lives that only overlap in the most subtle of ways in an even more subtler fashion, but it is only by virtue of the focus shifting from one story to the next that the film doesn't become a complete and utter bore. And it would were it left in the hands of certain characters and beside the fact this is the point of those certain characters' profiles-documenting the monotony and lack of anything spectacular or interesting occurring in their lives-the film isn't ever able to come up with anything new or profound enough to say about the mundanity of daily life or the foibles that eventually bring us all around to the same level playing field as human beings to be noteworthy in its own right. I can understand and again even appreciate that this is very much a film that speaks to the complex and misunderstood experiences of the female in our male-driven society, but as a product that is intended to convince me of the discrepancies and double standards females deal with on a daily basis that males might not even consider I took away very little by way of enlightenment. There is a fine line between being understated and simply being uninteresting and unfortunately Certain Women skirts that line too often to fall on that minimal, but effective side of things.

Teaser Trailer for LOGAN Starring Hugh Jackman

And so, here we are. Sixteen years removed from the original Bryan Singer X-Men film that arguably launched this wave of super hero domination we are still experiencing and Hugh Jackman is putting on the claws for what is said to be his final time. Jackman has gone from a thirty-two year old unknown Australian actor to the now forty-eight year old grizzled face of the entire X-Men franchise. He has also become something of a movie star in his own right as he's made solid projects outside the spandex universe, but Wolverine is (or was) his bread and butter and he's had no problem admitting that for some time. With Logan though, the actor and director James Mangold (Walk the Line) who collaborated on 2013's solid if not troubled The Wolverine have come together once again to tell the final story in Jackman's Wolverine arc that will seemingly center around the Old Man Logan storyline from the comic books. To note how far comic book movies have come since Jackman first played this character is to note that X-Men came out in the dead heat of the summer of 2000 surrounded by only the likes of Mission: Impossible II as the closest competition while also being a year where a Mel Gibson rom com finished within the top five highest grossing films of the year. We will receive Jackman's swan song as the adamantium-clawed mutant at the beginning of March. What this says about the state of modern cinema and the regularity of blockbuster-size products is likely a discussion for another day, but as for this first glimpse at Jackman's final go around as Logan things are looking pretty dour. Though, admittedly, not as dour as I was initially hoping. There is simply something to Mangold's chosen aesthetic that feels too generic where the song choice here, Johnny Cash's version of "Hurt," is used to make up ground for the lack of mood in the visuals. That isn't to say the film looks bad-not at all-there are some great images here I was just hoping for something a little more distinct given the circumstances. That said, this looks like a sprawling adventure and I'm optimistic Jackman's tenure as Wolverine will go out on a high note. Logan also stars Patrick Stewart (reprising his role of Professor Charles Xavier), Stephen Merchant, Richard E. Grant, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Boyd Holbrook, Doris Morgado, Sienna Novikov, and opens on March 3rd, 2017.

First Trailer for Gore Verbinski's A CURE FOR WELLNESS

I placed A Cure for Wellness in my most anticipated of 2016 when I was led to believe it would be released this year simply on the merits of it being the first film director Gore Verbinski had made since his major 2013 misfire in The Lone Ranger (misfire in terms of budget versus box office, not necessarily in terms of quality). Never mind the fact this would also be Verbinski's return to the horror genre after crafting The Ring re-make in 2002 which still stands to be one of if not the scariest theater-going experience of my life. And so, while the film will inevitably come out at the beginning of 2017 I am still very much looking forward to it and won't immediately discredit the quality of the film simply based on the early-in-the-year release date that typically signals poor quality-especially in reference to horror films. For a film that is as visually impressive as this trailer makes the final product out to be one can only hope that the story and its power is able to measure up. Still, in this first-look trailer we don't get much in the way of narrative, but rather are treated to a flurry of beautifully concocted images that add up to a full portrait that will hopefully be terrifying as all get out when brought together to serve the story. Based on an original idea by Verbinski and screenwriter Justin Haythe (Revolutionary Road) the film is said to follow an ambitious young executive who is sent to retrieve his company's CEO from an idyllic but mysterious "wellness center" at a remote location in the Swiss Alps, but soon suspects that the spa's miraculous treatments are not what they seem. Surely, the mystery around this "wellness center" will be key to the marketing of the film, but I've already seen more than enough to be hooked as Verbinski feels like an underrated talent and something of a hidden gem. Just look at the original Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy in all their majestic grandeur and don't forget the modern classic that is Rango-the guy has serious skills and to see him returning to the world of horror should herald much more than the silence of February will likely bring. A Cure for Wellness stars Dane DeHaan, Mia Goth, Jason Isaacs, Celia Imrie, Lisa Banes, Adrian Schiller, Susanne Wuest and opens on February 17th, 2017.

Initial Reaction: Video Review - THE ACCOUNTANT

We're running a little behind this week, but our review of this past weekend's box office champion The Accountant is now up and able to be viewed. Besides the editing and uploading delay this week we also had a few lighting issues as one may be able to tell by the quality of the picture on the video, but nevertheless the content is there and hopefully still enjoyable enough. The Accountant finished the weekend with an easy win as its only real competition over the weekend was the release of Kevin Hart's new stand-up special, What Now? which brought in an estimated $11.98 million from 2,567 theaters making it the biggest debut for a stand-up comedy film ever. As for the Ben Affleck fronted film it brought in an estimated $24.7 million which was both above expectations (which were anticipated to be anywhere between $15-20 million) as well as besting the opening numbers for both Affleck's Argo and The Town. Now, whether The Accountant will climb as high as those Oscar hopefuls is doubtful as The Accountant will make no such waves this awards seasons (that will be left to the Affleck directed Live By Night) and may have a shorter than average shelf-life as the next three weekends see the release of a new Jack Reacher film followed by another Tom Hanks/Dan Brown treasure hunt, and then not only a new Marvel movie, but also Mel Gibson's Hacksaw Ridge which will each take large chunks of the key demographic that flocked to see The Accountant in its first days of release. It was easy to see the film was going to have a strong first weekend from the size of our Thursday preview audience though as it was easily one of the more packed theaters we'd been in on a Thursday night since maybe Don't Breathe back in late August. While that will do it for now, we will have a review for Jack Reacher: Never Go Back this weekend and look forward to the bigger releases of the fall movie season as they are now fast approaching. As always, be sure to follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and subscribe to our YouTube channel as we have a new review (or reviews) up each week!

New Trailer for ASSASSIN'S CREED Starring Michael Fassbender

Like I said back in May when the first trailer premiered, I won't pretend to know anything about the Assassin's Creed video game series or video games in general to the point I'm typically indifferent to the idea of video game film adaptations especially given most tend to be financial failures with the few I've seen largely being forgettable. It is with this Assassin's Creed adaptation though that my interest is piqued. Not only for the fact it has Michael Fassbender in the starring role, but that it has the actor re-teaming with Macbeth director Justin Kurzel and his cinematographer Adam Arkapaw who, despite shortchanging Shakespeare's story, made a visually stunning representation of The Bard's play. With Assassin's Creed it seems as if Kurzel and Fassbender were very much intent on keeping the same visual style intact as this new trailer gives us an even better glimpse at the visual prowess of their interpretation and how gorgeous it will be if nothing else. As far as story goes, I was don't know what to expect and while the little bit of plot offered here concerning the fact Fassbender's character is key more for his bloodline than any traits his person might currently possess is interesting I'm curious to how things will unspool from that premise. Given the game is said to be set in a fictional history of real world events and follows the centuries-old struggle between the Assassins, who fight for peace with free will, and the Templars, who desire peace through control-it seems screenwriters Bill Collage, Adam Cooper, and Michael Lesslie have plenty of mythology to work with. This trailer, while naturally delivering more footage, alsograbs my attention by giving a protagonist in Fassbender's Callum Lynch that is initially against whatever he us about to undergo, but seemingly comes to enjoy it. It may be a slight detail, but I like what that could mean for the tone of the film overall. Assassin's Creed also stars Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson, Michael K. Williams, and opens December 21st, 2016.

On DVD & Blu-Ray: October 18, 2016


In director Gavin O'Connor's (Warrior) latest film, The Accountant, the films titular character and our protagonist is one that operates on the high end of the autism spectrum. The character is a math savant who has utilized his high-functioning skills to cook the books for several high-profile criminal clients that would seemingly stack the character's pockets, but may also serve as a threat to Christian Wolff and his legitimate, small-town CPA office. It's a hell of a way to set-up intrigue around a character while simultaneously bringing attention to those who function a little different from what society considers to be the norm especially when the film makes such a character as much a superhero as they do here. As Wolff, Ben Affleck is not only a genius when it comes to numbers though, but he's been nurtured into something of a killing machine by his militaristic father (Robert C. Treveiler). The film then combines these elements of Wolff's personality while mixing in a U.S. Treasury investigation led by the soon to retire Ray King (J.K. Simmons) and his forced apprentice of sorts in Medina (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) that leads Wolff to take on something of a legitimate client in a major robotics company run by John Lithgow. This plotline also introduces us to the obligatory love interest in Anna Kendrick's Dana, but mostly The Accountant is about Affleck kicking ass and counting numbers with the amount of plot Bill Dubuque's (The Judge) screenplay attempts to pile on only serving to take away from the more interesting character study that's trying to peek out from behind all the storylines. And while the film does indeed suffer from something of an identity crisis while at the same time playing into the fact it knows fully what it is by embracing the inherent goofiness of an assassin accountant it never stops being entertaining. Even as the plot jumps from Wolff's main mission to that of the Treasury investigation, and onto the third party tracker embodied by the always charismatic Jon Bernthal and back to Wolff there is always something to keep us invested even if what is doing so feels scattershot. This would typically be a detriment to a film given it signals a lack of trust in the lead characters ability to sustain audience engagement, but under O'Connor's steady hand The Accountant makes one feel just satisfied enough by the time they're done consuming it without actually offering anything of nutritional value.


Yes, Miss. Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is one of those young adult adaptations where a seemingly normal kid who possesses zero self-confidence comes to learn that he's special in some capacity. That he is in fact "the chosen one" and that without his presence an evil plan couldn't possibly be thwarted. Director Tim Burton's (Edward Scissorhands, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) adaptation of author Ransom Riggs' best-selling novel is indeed that type of movie and there is no eluding those comparisons. What allows this seeming cookie-cutter product to come off a different conveyor belt than some of its peers though is the level of uniqueness with which it is operating in. Riggs' novel plays by the conventions of the genre, sure, but there are so many fresh and interesting ideas brought to the table that it is easy to see past the rather standard narrative beats. It is all about the journey rather than the destination, right? If one has little trouble buying into that saying than they should have no trouble finding a point in which they can immerse themselves in the world of Miss Peregrine (Eva Green) and her peculiars. While I can admit to the fact the adaptation (penned by Jane Goldman of Stardust, Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class, and Kingsman fame) has a few shortcomings in not giving a few of its exceptionally talented cast members enough to do while sporting other scenes in which the exposition is far too glaring the overall product we are delivered is one of wonder and curiosity. I can only imagine going into the film having not read the source material that the plot could come off somewhat convoluted-especially in the obligatory action-heavy third act-but more times than not Goldman finds interesting ways to speak around the necessities of the plot which are only aided by the visual flair of Burton who finds himself firmly in his own wheelhouse with this world. From the overly dark and dreary opening credits sequence to the way in which it cuts abruptly to sunny Florida where Burton once again chastises the slums of suburbia it is clear Burton is back in a field where he feels his creative juices are free to flow. Essentially-the guy can do whatever he chooses and it will likely work in this alternate reality where what we come to be treated to is a fully realized world with special powers giving way to numerous adventures that is only halted from time to time by the not fully realized characters that populate it.


Disney has created something of a sub-genre for itself with the inspirational sports dramas. They've been doing this in their live action department for some time, but within the past fifteen years or so they have really capitalized on the curbside appeal of a marquee name starring in a "based on a true story" film that chronicles some rather exceptional events that lead to a stirring conclusion audiences can energetically cheer for. Fifteen years on and one might think the mouse house is running short on true life sports stories though as they've now resorted to a movie about chess (not exactly a game that translates to much excitement on film), but it is in these inherent doubts that Queen of Katwe rises above expectations to be a sports movie that not only inspires, but uses the familiar beats of its genre to its advantage rather than allowing them to become a detriment. In not only taking the seeming requirements of such a story in stride director Mira Nair's film becomes more than the sum of its parts by adding a level of maturity and, unfortunately, reality to its story elements that would once upon a time have been Disney-fied so as to gloss over the harsher aspects of the circumstances these real-life characters find themselves in. That Disney doesn't try to mess with The Namesake filmmakers interpretation of Phiona Mutesi's (played here by Madina Nalwanga) story serves it in ways that give it more shadings than something like Million Dollar Arm or Glory Road in which the more conventional approaches resulted in fairly average and conventional films. Don't get me wrong-Queen of Katwe isn't necessarily groundbreaking and certainly isn't life-changing, but it is able to use these tropes we've grown accustomed to in just the right ways meaning they are done in an effective manner. Couple this with the fact Nair has assembled a rather incredible cast that includes Lupita Nyong'o and David Oyelowo supporting newcomer Nalwanga and the other inexperienced child actor's that make up the majority of this authentic cast and the result is not only that of your standard underdog tale in the form of an inspiring sports movie, but an inspiring sports drama that actually has the will and passion to inspire should one come at the movie with their cynicism in check.