The Grinch Review

Illumination Delivers Another Perfectly Acceptable if not Necessarily Exceptional Animated Diversion in this Re-Telling of the Dr. Suess Classic.

Bohemian Rhapsody Review

This Queen biopic Fails to Transcend the Genre the Way its Subjects Transcended the Music Scene, but at Least the Music is Good.

Overlord Review

Overlord Combines the Terror of War with the Terror of a Zombie Apocalypse and Accomplishes Exactly what it Means To.

The Nutcraker and the Four Realms Review

An All-Star Cast Attempts to Usher The Nutcracker Story to a New Generation Via Disney Blockbuster, but Unfortunately the Results Fall Short of the Ambition.

A Star is Born Review

Bradley Cooper Writes, Directs, Sings, and Stars in this Fourth Incarnation of this Story Alongside Lady Gaga to Rapturous Results.

Initial Reaction: Video Review - DON'T BREATHE & MECHANIC: RESURRECTION

And so, the time has come. The final weekend of the summer movie season has come and gone and actually, turned out better than anyone was expecting I believe. With two wide releases and a couple of expansions there was plenty to see this weekend, but as expected the big winner was the new thriller from director Fede Alvarez in Don't Breathe. Going into the weekend it was clear the horror flick, which premiered to strong reviews earlier this year at Austin's SXSW festival, would likely take the no.1 spot, but pundits expected the film to finish anywhere between $10 and $20 million with distributor Screen Gems tempering their expectations to $11 or $12 million, but with Sunday estimates it looks as if the R-rated horror film will end the weekend with $26.1 million. This is certainly good news considering it was the better of the two new wide releases this week, but Hell or High Water also continued its platform release adding another 437 theaters this weekend and is one of the best films I've seen this year and so, if it's playing near you, definitely consider checking it out. Other smaller releases included Southside With You and Hands of Stone. I plan on catching up with Southside With You at some point this week and though The Weinstein Co. originally planned for Hands of Stone to be a wide release opening in over 2,000 theaters this weekend, they cut that back to just over 800 at the beginning of the week with the plan moving forward to open on Wednesday of this week, ahead of Labor Day weekend. I'll likely end up catching that one this Thursday when we watch and review Morgan for Initial Reaction. One of the bigger stories in Arkansas this weekend was the release of Greater, the story of college walk-on Brandon Burlsworth, which garnered $449,000 from a total of 340 theaters. I certainly plan on seeing what the local buzz is about with this one later this week as well. Finally, the other new wide release was the new Jason Statham actioner, Mechanic: Resurrection, which was also the first wide release for Lionsgate's specialty arm Lionsgate Premiere, which typically deals in limited and On Demand releases which is exactly what this Mechanic sequel should have been. The film finished fifth with an estimated $7.5 million, which was on the higher end of expectations. Regardless, don't see this movie-it's terrible. 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!

MECHANIC: RESURRECTION Review

I saw the 2011 Simon West re-make of the seventies era Charles Bronson film, The Mechanic, starring Jason Statham as an elite assassin with a unique talent for eliminating targets and making it look like it was an accident. I'm pretty sure I saw that one. I did. I know I did because I generally enjoy these no-brainer action flicks Statham pops out randomly once or twice a year, but why this admittedly forgettable re-make from five years ago needed a sequel is unclear. Unclear really isn't the right word though, as this thing is totally unnecessary and that's obvious from the get-go. There is no ambition behind the product, there is no flair to the fight sequences, and the bigger action "spectacle" looks so cheap this may as well have run after Sharknado 7 on the Syfy network. Still, we have Mechanic: Resurrection because why not at this point? If one is interested in this sequel it will undoubtedly be due to the fact they either love seeing Jason Statham beat people up or they have a general affinity for bad movies. The thing with Mechanic: Resurrection though is that it's not even a good bad movie. Guilty pleasures, if you will, give audiences something to enjoy despite the obvious shortcomings of the overall product whereas with Mechanic: Resurrection there is very little to enjoy at all. So sure, I like to think of myself as a Statham fan especially when he's given the opportunity to take these archetypal action heroes and turn them into brooding bad asses that actually are action heroes with none of the nonsense that differentiates him from say, the James Bond franchise. Statham doesn't normally mess with the fancy gadgets or the outlandish cars, but more he goes in, takes care of business, and escapes before the cops show up. In short, he's no nonsense, but that's all Mechanic: Resurrection is. Still, I can feel that for people who only venture out to the movies once or twice a year and will for some reason pick this as one of those two movies to see will inevitably find it to hit all the right spots and send them home happy due to the fact it met their expectations for an action movie with an evil European villain, but to them I say, "please spend your money on anything else-Hell or High Water if it's playing near you or Star Trek Beyond if it hasn't disappeared from theaters yet." Both are prime examples of B-movies done right; utilizing their genre restrictions in fun and refreshing ways whereas the only B-word to describe this latest Statham movie is bad. Just plain bad.

DON'T BREATHE Review

Don't Breathe, the new horror/thriller from director Fede Alvarez (the Evil Dead re-make), opens with a distant shot of what looks to be a deserted street. Only later do we find out this is one of the more run down sections of Detroit where time and humanity have left everything behind that might have once thrived there. As the camera gets closer to the street we can see there is someone walking down the middle of it. The camera continues to zoom in slowly-we can tell that someone is dragging something down the road behind them. A little closer. They are dragging another person. A little closer. It's a girl who is either dead or unconscious-it's difficult to tell and we will remain unsure as the screen then cuts to black. It's a killer opening shot that clearly points to a moment that is to come later in the film, but with its placement at the beginning Alvarez has already enticed his audience to how we might get to this point and whether that shot indicates the end of the line or not. It's a trick that has been used before and will certainly be used again, but every now and then it feels especially inherent to the story being told and Don't Breathe feels like an instance where this isn't only a tool to lure the unsuspecting (or suspecting if you bought a ticket, I mean c'mon) audience member into the intrigue of what exactly is going on, but instead this is a choice that lets those audience members (suspecting or not) know up front that Alvarez means to make you question things, to make you pull your knees up to your chin and grit your teeth because you feel so tense. This isn't simply a hook, but an indication of the type of terror the characters we'll come to know are capable of and this is all accomplished in the first thirty or so seconds so one can only imagine what sitting through ninety minutes of such adept perception of what makes people uncomfortable and afraid might be like. In only his second feature film the Uruguay-born director delivers a horror film that, much like his previous movie, contains itself to an isolated location, but only continues to raise the stakes and use that space in inventive and chilling ways. Save for something of a lackluster middle section where, for a moment, the film feels as if it runs out of both steam and ideas for where exactly to take the story and its characters, the film is a tightly scripted and well-performed fright night that finds its footing well enough to redeem itself and pull the cautious viewers back to the side of rooting for whoever gains the most of their sympathy.

First Trailer for LION Starring Dev Patel

The first trailer for The Weinstein Company's big Oscar hopeful this year, Lion, has premiered and only reinforces the pain of the fact that I'll be missing out on the Toronto International Film Festival this year. As with many an Oscar hopefuls, the film will premiere at the festival and hope for glowing reviews from critics to garner momentum and a strong push come awards season. Of course, this isn't always necessary, but critical reception at TIFF largely influences the buzz your film has, especially smaller releases such as this, going into the holiday movie season. As for the film itself, like I said-this only makes the fact I won't be going to TIFF this year all the more heartbreaking because this trailer hits all the right notes for the true story it's telling, looks well-acted, and is gorgeous to look at. This will be director Garth Davis' feature film debut though he's working with cinematographer Greig Fraser who has crafted some unforgettable imagery for Foxcatcher, Zero Dark Thirty and the upcoming Rogue One. While Patel has been somewhat hit or miss since his breakout in the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire eight years ago (yes, Slumdog Millionaire was eight years ago) he looks to return to that arena this year as a man who was separated from his family as a child and goes looking for them with the help of Google Earth. The trailer doesn't harp on this aspect of the plot too much, but it's certainly there and beyond this somewhat kitshy aspect of the story it seems screenwriter Luke Davies (last years underrated Life) who adapted the 2014 novel A Long Way Home from the real-life Saroo Brierley and Australian author Larry Buttrose has honed in on the more human aspects of the story as the trailer specifically focuses on the relationship between Patel's Brierley and Rooney Mara's Lucy. This Oscar season feels especially crowded so it will be interesting to see if this final product can stand out. Lion also stars Nicole Kidman, David Wenham, Sunny Pawar and opens November 25th, 2016. 

MORRIS FROM AMERICA Review

Though Morris from America initially feels as if it will hit on something refreshingly cool that hint of uniqueness slowly wears off as it becomes apparent the film is little more than a fish out of water tale that serves only to make the more central coming-of-age story that much more awkward. What allows the film to maintain this somewhat refreshing momentum are the performances and chemistry between star Craig Robinson (The Office) and newcomer Markees Christmas who plays the titular Morris. This father/son dynamic rescues the film from what is otherwise an oddly constructed sequence of events that puts Morris in league with a young German girl named Katrin (Lina Keller) who plays with Morris' feelings at once seeming as if she'll be his gateway and his salvation in this foreign land while at another being largely indifferent and vague about her intentions. While the tertiary relationship that is established when the film begins works effortlessly it is in attempting to construct this central young love fable that isn't meant to be so that Morris learns life's lessons the hard way that never fully clicks. In light of this it is something of a shame the film ends up spending more time on the Morris/Katrin dynamic than it does either that of Morris' relationship with Robinson's Curtis or even his German tutor, Inka (Carla Juri), who Morris develops a trust with that he hasn't been able to find outside of his father. The film also seems to want to upend the conventions of typical coming-of-age tales, but isn't sure how to do so other than by making its protagonist less of an introvert than these characters usually are and combating that character trait by changing the standard high school environment to that of a German youth center that isn't keen on accepting the hip-hop loving Morris. In the end, the film still finds itself in the position of adhering to such genre conventions by having Morris overcome his fears and insecurities in a public display of his true talent that finally gives way to some type of acceptance. Morris from America, much like Morris himself, doesn't seem to really know what it is. It has numerous influences and ideas, but it's not sure how to meld these attributes into its own thing.    

HELL OR HIGH WATER Review

Hell or High Water opens with a 360° shot of a small, West Texas town that is more or less deserted. Panning what looks to be one of the main roads through town the audience is meant to note the several for sale signs, the others offering loans, and most prominently a piece of graffiti that states, "3 tours in Iraq, but no bailout for people like us." Hell or High Water immediately tells us its stance on the story it will be relaying in that it concludes this opening, single take with two masked men entering the small town's bank and requesting only loose bills, no stacks or, in other words, the banks money and not the peoples. In this expertly crafted opening sequence director David Mackenzie (Starred Up) displays a knack for visually highlighting exactly what he wants us to focus on. Beyond the visual style Mackenzie adopts for this story that captures the flatlands of West Texas and its expansive plains in gorgeous hues is his adeptness at capturing the necessary atmosphere to complement the specific kind of tone which naturally influences the overall mood of his film. In short, everything falls into place perfectly with the pacing of the picture which is as close to a perfectly paced film as anything I've seen this year. We are thrown into the action of a bank robbery that is quickly undermined by the inherent humor that comes from human interactions while noting specifically the mentality of these Texans in which the movie will very much hang its trust and pride. The setting is established, the framing of this setting's attitude and character is made apparent, and only then we are introduced to the men behind the ski masks-brothers Tanner (Ben Foster) and Toby (Chris Pine). As with the setting we can see who these two brothers are from very early on. Foster's Tanner is the free-wheeling, living in the moment sort that will take whatever action makes him feel good whereas Pine's Toby lives more by a moral code with his eyes firmly planted on the end goal rather than what feels best in the moment. Toby doesn't like to deviate from the plan, but Tanner couldn't be more primed to be unreliably ecstatic as he's just been released from prison less than a year prior to the events we're seeing. It is in these two characters that Hell or High Water finds its most valuable assets; relaying its many ideas through the guise of two desperate men sticking it to the man.

Teaser Trailer for RINGS

In the fall of 2002 I was a very impressionable fifteen year-old who'd never really experienced a horror film in the darkness of a movie theater before. Hell, I'm not sure I'd ever really experienced a horror movie at all-my parents weren't exactly the movie watching types and as the oldest child I had no one to show me what was cool or hip at the time. This is all to bring us around to the fact that when I wandered into The Ring in October of that year I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. I was terrified after seeing it. I couldn't imagine a scarier experience than the one just shown to me. I was so morbidly fascinated by this ability of a film, something essentially intangible, to have as great an effect on me as it did. I went back to see it again and still director Gore Verbinski's film frightened me despite knowing when the jumps and scares were coming. To this day, The Ring is one of my favorite scary movies and I have since caught up with what many would regard as classics of the genre. And so, I was disappointed when the promise of original director Hideo Nakata (who made the 1998 Japanese horror film Ringu on which The Ring was based) returning to direct the American sequel in 2005 turned out to be little more than a cash grab with very few artistic aspirations. This brings us to 2016 where, fourteen years after the original hit theaters, we have a third film in the franchise that will look to bring Samara into the digital age and no doubt terrify a whole new crop of people who dare to watch the video that is said to kill them seven days after doing so. Despite what feels like countless production and release delays Paramount has finally released this teaser only two months before the films release date and while this first look at director F. Javier Gutiérrez's installment certainly seems to be more rehash than original take I can maybe see how this could be fun. Only time will tell, but expectations certainly aren't high. Rings stars Matilda Lutz, Vincent D’Onofrio, Alex Roe, Johnny Galecki, Aimee Teegarden, Bonnie Morgan, and opens on October 28, 2016.

IMPERIUM Review

There have been a number of different, interesting, and downright strange roles Daniel Radcliffe has taken in what publicly has felt like an attempt to distance himself from the role that will forever define him, but Radcliffe seems a smart enough fella to understand and realize that no matter what movies he makes in his post-Harry Potter years that it is "the boy who lived" that he will forever be most known for. Rather than necessarily distancing himself from that role, Radcliffe seems more intent on exploring territory he never was able to during his years at Hogwarts. Whether that be Allen Ginsberg, a guy with mysterious horns sprouting out of his head, or a farting corpse-Radcliffe has ventured into areas that even the fearless Mr. Potter might have had some trepidation towards. There is no exception with Radcliffe's latest film as the actor portrays Nate Foster in a story inspired by real-life FBI agent Michael German, who helped co-write the script with director Daniel Ragussis. How is Foster different than anything Radcliffe has played before if he's simply an FBI agent you ask? Well, after displaying the necessary skills in the eyes of higher-up Angela Zamparo (Toni Collette) to go undercover Zamparo requests Foster infiltrate a radical white supremacy terrorist group. In short, Radcliffe is a skinhead in a role that asks him to play with the moral complexities of remaining true to the identity he has assumed while attempting to navigate this dangerous world without forgetting the principles that brought him to this line of work in the first place. It is a role worth salivating over for sure, but the question with such potential in a leading role is will the movie itself be able to keep up with what this intriguing character is doing on its own. With Imperium, the answer is 50/50. Though there are plenty of tense moments via Ragussis' script that come with the nature of the subject matter and a few sequences that test the resolve of Radcliffe's Foster it is largely Radcliffe's performance that brings the otherwise meandering narrative to possess real purpose. It isn't necessarily that the plot is bad as it follows a somewhat standard undercover storyline where the viewer can't help but feel our protagonist is under suspicion because we know the truth thus giving way to moments when that protagonist puts on display why they were chosen for such a mission. Beyond the routine story beats though, is there something the film is trying to say? It feels like there is and that there should be with Imperium, but what exactly those things are never come across.

On DVD & Blu-Ray: August 23, 2016

Initial Reaction: Video Review - WAR DOGS & KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS

As the summer movie season winds down so typically does the quality of the movies being released, but this year on the last big weekend of the summer it seems the opposite has occurred. Throughout the summer there have been more than a handful of big disappointments both artistically and financially. Some of my most anticipated movies of the summer including Jason Bourne, X-Men: Apocalypse, and of course Suicide Squad have been able to turn a pretty penny while being rather generic whereas smaller fare I was eager to see including Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, Free State of Jones (remember that one?), and The Nice Guys were unable to break out financially. Then there are those like Steven Spielberg's The BFG, the long-delayed sequels Alice through the Looking Glass and Independence Day: Resurgence as well as this past weekend's Ben-Hur re-make that failed both critically and commercially (though I acknowledge BFG has it's supporters). All of this is to say that in a generally terrible summer movie season this final weekend turned out to be better than expected as my partner in crime and I very much enjoyed both War Dogs and LAIKA studios latest offering, KUBO and the Two Strings. While Suicide Squad reigned supreme for a third straight weekend and Sausage Party again came in second at the box office there was never much expected in terms of big box office from any of the three new wide releases. That said, the Todd Phillips directed War Dogs starring Jonah Hill and Miles Teller as two twenty-somethings who won a $300 million contract from the Pentagon to arm America's allies in Afghanistan debuted with an estimated $14.3 million on an estimated $40 million budget. Finishing fourth with an estimated $12.6 million was Kubo and his two strings. This is the lowest wide opening release for any of the LAIKA's five feature films, which now show a trend of declining multipliers over the course of their last three releases. The film will release internationally over the next few months and will need to do well to make up for its $60 million budget given it will likely end its U.S. run around the $37 million mark. As always, be sure to follow us on Instagram, Twitter, subscribe to our YouTube channel as we have a new review (or reviews) up each week!

BEN-HUR Review

There have been many a film versions of Lew Wallace's classic epic Ben-Hur, but of course the most notable is William Wyler's 1959 adaptation starring Charlton Heston that garnered eleven Academy Awards. It is a behemoth at three and a half hours and a product of a different time in Hollywood's history. A time when the studio system still reigned and historical/biblical epics were as hot as comic book movies are today. It was the success of Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments that also starred Heston that spurred MGM to invest $15 million (the most expensive film ever made at that point in time) in a new version of Ben-Hur. So, the question is: why re-make such a larger than life classic? Why even attempt to overcome the aura that surrounds a staple of popular culture as definitive as Wyler's Ben-Hur? While I questioned the reasoning for such a re-make it was easier to understand why an updated version of this story was necessary. The 1959 version is very much a product of its time and one that, through rose tinted glasses, can only be seen as this great epic that nothing and no one can touch or challenge. It has gorgeous practical sets and thousands upon thousands of extras shot on panorama that gives it the impression of being that much larger in its scope. It is also a movie someone of not only my generation, but those likely born in the decade prior to me and certainly those born after me, can't see without the already its status as one of the biggest, best movies ever made. Heston is this mythical type-figure of the golden age of Hollywood that can never be touched and so to even try and match such larger than life precedents would be an immediate way to automatically disqualify one's self from even being considered a valid piece of filmmaking. Still, with the 1959 version being as intimidating as it is an updated, shorter, and more current telling of the story might allow a way for modern audiences to find a way into the older version that they'd heard so much about though likely felt they'd already seen due simply to the lasting impression it's left. From the get-go director Timur Bekmambetov's (Wanted, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) new version felt like it was going to be little more than a cheap knock-off (despite that $100 million production budget). Fortunately, while this 2016 take on Wallace's story is certainly the cliff notes version when compared to Wyler's it is surprisingly effective in accomplishing what it sets out to do and even has enough gumption to emphasize certain themes and actually develop characters rather than simply summarizing the previous versions with contemporary editing practices.

KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS Review

Sometimes things just click. We've all seen instances where they don't. In fact, most movies seem like they could be examples of experiments that don't always pay off in the way the writers/directors/creative people hope they might, but this feels especially true when it comes to Laika productions. Coraline was a solid venture and a full on experience in the style of animation and kind of twisted tone of story that the production company would come to specialize in. With ParaNorman the studio would essentially excel at achieving what they set out to do. Complimenting the twisted and frightening elements of their storytelling with humorous characters and eccentric production design that was just quirky enough so as to not be legitimately scary. It was only with 2014's The Boxtrolls that the pieces felt as if they were all present and yet the final product didn't come together as those in charge of story and execution aspired it might. There were still elements that were visually stunning about the picture, but the script found trouble communicating its larger ideas with a premise that didn't hook audiences as well as the infinitely comforting ParaNorman did. This brings us to Kubo and the Two Strings and how Laika has more or less again found a balance of all these ambitions it desires to display both visually and story wise. It may not be a perfectly balanced package of all these ingredients, but as a whole Kubo is endlessly charming and to go one step further, wholly enchanting. Whether it be in the outstanding visuals that are abundantly creative at conveying the necessary story points of this folktale like narrative or the fully realized cast of characters that make stop motion animation feel more life-like than ever Kubo is a genuine treat. Why it is so hard to define or provide concrete reasoning as to why something works so well when all the pieces fall into place is simply by virtue of the fact it is more about the emotional reaction it stirs up in the viewer rather than anything analytical. Though Kubo has a few shortcomings in trying to clearly relay exactly what its story is trying to say as well as in the fact it didn't hit me with as much emotional heft as I expected given the first act of the film packs a tough punch it is still too beautiful and very much an achievement in visual storytelling that it would be a shame to hold too much against it.

WAR DOGS Review

As the wise one, The Notorious B.I.G., prophesied long ago, "the more money we come across the more problems we see." Though Efraim Diveroli (Jonah Hill) lived his life by the codes taught to him in 1983's Scarface it was this piece of knowledge spit in the 1997 hit of the same name by B.I.G. himself that ended up resonating most in Diveroli's life. Diveroli comes to learn this wasn't just a catchy phrase spurned by a rags to riches hip hop artist, but that those words carried real weight in the fact that the more wealth one begins to attain that jealousy and envy are things that simply come with the territory. In War Dogs, director Todd Phillips (Old School, The Hangover) along with co-writers Jason Smilovic (Lucky Number Slevin) and Stephen Chin have taken the incredibly outrageous true story of Diveroli and his childhood best friend David Packouz (Miles Teller) and turned it into something of a strange hybrid of a war drama and comedy where the drama and comedy is inherent to the situation when one has two stoners who become big-time weapons traders. As troublesome as it may be, it is indeed a true story lifted from the article originally published in Rolling Stone by Guy Lawson. It is at one point a case study in all that is wrong with government procurement systems done in satirical fashion as it also criticizes government procurement systems by exploiting how easily two twenty-somethings from Miami secured millions of dollars' worth of weapons contracts from not only the Pentagon, but to arm America's allies in Afghanistan. While Phillips and his co-writers are certainly quick to ridicule and expose this process for how asinine it would seem to give such power to any such individual who wants to sell guns and ammo the writer/director is also quick to supply a throughline of the benefits provided these two young men and the lessons and knowledge they no doubt retained even if much of their time was spent snorting cocaine and hanging out in clubs when they should have been in the office conducting business given it was midday in most of the countries where their clients were located. Phillips simultaneously wants to celebrate that such individuals were able to pull off something as massive as they did, no matter how circumstantial it ultimately was, while at the same time exposing the government for how loosely and even thoughtlessly it spends the tax payer's money. Still, War Dogs isn't a highly political film and it certainly doesn't have its head in the clouds about ideas or themes it could potentially relay from the insane situation it chronicles, but by more or less delivering a straightforward account of the story and allowing the characters and situations to speak for themselves the larger implications are automatically present.

CAFÉ SOCIETY Review

Café Society is a movie I wanted to like more and more as the film played on, but as it did so I actually liked it less and less. Beginning with the standard narration from writer/director Woody Allen that drops us into this tale of a young man looking for a place where the grass might be greener things are promising enough. We are introduced to a cadre of family members around our protagonist, Bobby (Jesse Eisenberg), who will inevitably inform where this current inclination to leave his father's failing jewelry business and move across the country to Los Angeles will actually take him. It is 1930's Los Angeles no less and so Bobby is struck by the great seduction of movie stars, movie star parties, and the most beautiful of people to allure him to the city. It is a place considered mythic to the otherwise unrefined Bobby who has been stuck in Manhattan his entire life. The promise of new beginnings, though somewhat stalled by the disregard of his Uncle Phil (Steve Carell), and the downright gorgeous cinematography of Vittorio Storaro that bathes all of golden age Hollywood in gold lends Café Society this vibrant and crisp feeling that resonates strongly with the modern audience hoping to catch a glimpse of the glitz and glamour of 1930's Hollywood that is well-documented, but too rarely brought to life. This fascination can only last so long though, when it becomes clear Allen's latest isn't necessarily about the introspection of this period in history or even a story that compliments the time period in lending insight to the names and faces we all know, but would like to know better. Instead, Café Society becomes a story solely about the romantic plight of Bobby, an Allen surrogate that Eisenberg again plays tremendously without the burden of having the actual Allen co-star alongside him as he did in 2012's To Rome With Love, but as with that film Café Society ends up offering little more than Allen's insecure yet intellectual quips on love, life, and religion among other things. Unfortunately, at this point such musings without an exceptional story on which to convey them simply feel like little more than standard meditations. It is unfortunate there isn't more imagination and wonder behind this latest excursion of Allen's for Café Society's potential initially feels as fresh and crisp as Bobby's outlook upon arriving in Los Angeles.

ANTHROPOID Review

It is mind boggling how many stories continue to be mined from the time period in which World War II took place whether they directly have to deal with certain events of battle or just repercussions of the German invasion that so many countries suffered from. While it is even more impossible to imagine the amount of stories that have yet to be told around interesting, fascinating, and downright terrible acts that came out of this period in history what makes this new film from writer/director Sean Ellis even more telling than its compelling story is the fact it delivers such a small and contained piece of that larger puzzle while at the same time still conveying how grandly devastating so many of the actions that occurred during WWII were. Anthropoid operates in this realm well, slowly initiating the viewer into its world and set of circumstances before we realize the full extent of what our two protagonists have really volunteered for. The movie takes a risk in not attempting to largely develop or humanize these characters until the second act of the film, but rather Ellis and co-screenwriter Anthony Frewin (who was an assistant to Stanley Kubrick on a number of films) use this first act to delve into the history of the situation and present it to the audience in a way that at first feels labored in that it's all work, no play. As we come to feel something for these people and as we come to know a more expanded cast of characters the sympathy builds as does the understanding for the purpose of the colder, but vital scenes that bring us into this mission. The history lesson is important, but more it is understanding the type of thinking that crafted these situations and as a result, our history as we know it, that is key to understanding the character choices and actions that come to take place in the third act of the film. We all know war is hell-even if we've never actively participated the history books and movies have told and showed us this countless times before-it is that Anthropoid is able to give a sense of the scope of that saying in its single, largely unknown account of these actions that makes it not only a story worth telling, but one that is executed in an entertaining and incisive enough fashion that it deserves to be seen as well.

Full Trailer for ARRIVAL Starring Amy Adams

Paramount Pictures released a short, one-minute teaser for the latest Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Sicario) film last week and honestly that probably would have been enough for a long time, but by the end of that exceptional tease we were already promised a full trailer less than a week down the line and here we are-with a full minute and a half more footage to better wrap our heads around what exactly Villeneuve will be exploring this time. Each of the directors last three films have been in my top fifteen of the year and so it is something of an understatement to say I'm excited to see what he does next though the fact the films screenplay was penned by the guy who wrote Final Destination 5 and The Thing re-make is a bit concerning. That said, he also penned Lights Out which has been getting great reviews (I still need to see that one) and so maybe it is all in the execution which is something Villeneuve excels at-just look at Prisoners especially. With Arrival, the director has paired with Amy Adams for the story of an expert linguist who is recruited by the military to determine whether the aliens on a craft that has landed have come in peace or are a threat. The trailer looks insanely tense and well photographed, but unfortunately it feels as if it gives away more than I was hoping it would. The aspect of focusing on language and the breaking down of how we communicate with an invading species though is insanely interesting and seems to have given way to a number of interesting facets that have been explored throughout the film all of which garner strong repercussions on the life of our protagonist. Arrival will play at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival and Venice Film Festival before opening on November 11th and features a supporting cast that includes the likes of Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, and Michael Stuhlbarg.

On DVD & Blu-Ray: August 16, 2016

First Trailer for HIDDEN FIGURES Starring Taraji P. Henson

Hidden Figures is going to be one of those late Oscar contenders that most of the country won't get to see until after the holidays, but that the critics will seemingly have been talking about for months-that is, if the movie turns out to be as good as this first trailer promises it is. Based on the little known true story concerning three African American women who worked at NASA in the early sixties and were integral to making the launch of astronaut John Glenn, and his being the first American to orbit the Earth, happen. At over three minutes the trailer hues dangerously close to feeling as if it spills every beat of the final film, but there is clearly a lot of ground to cover and hopefully 20th Century Fox is aware of what it potentially has on its hands here and are thus kicking off this marketing campaign accordingly. As far as trailers go we need to see little more, if anything at all, but rather the film would do best to promote the historical accuracy of the piece and the fact this is indeed based on an incredible true story. Focusing on highlighting the lives and real-life struggles of Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson would seem most beneficial as it would not only make audiences aware of the story, but garner interest in these characters. These women, whose calculations were crucial to NASA’s space program, but who still faced discrimination as African Americans and women is enough to get people to the theater without giving away everything the film has to offer. This trailer does a fine job of highlighting why the movie will be worth watching as the leading trio, portrayed by Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae, look to have strong chemistry with a plethora of solid supporting cast members. Hidden Figures also stars Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, Mahershala Ali, Aldis Hodge, and Glen Powell. The film has been directed by Theodore Melfi (St. Vincent) and was produced by Pharrell Williams who also collaborated on the score with Hans Zimmer. The film opens nationwide on January 13th, 2017.

CAPTAIN FANTASTIC Review

Captain Fantastic director Matt Ross sure seems to have a grudge against Christianity. Or organized religion in general (which doesn't include Buddhism despite the fact there is a degree of organization that ensures rituals take place and dates are observed) as his directorial debut takes large aim at the followers of Jesus Christ and more or less insults them to a degree that doesn't offer enlightening or insightful reasons as to why these characters think a certain way nor does it provide a compelling alternative, but rather sticks to calling out an entire group of people without stepping back to recognize its own shortcomings. It is understandable given there are plenty of Christians who give what is intended to be a religion based on love above everything else a bad name with hateful words and actions just as I assume there are atheists or followers of other faiths that aren't exactly representative of the best of those organizations or groups core values. Still, as the largest religion in the world by a large margin it is understandable why Christianity takes most of the heat. It has the most variations thus numerous perspectives from which it can be criticized. As a practicing Christian I don't tend to get offended by those who hurl insults for if I'm wrong then so be it, but if I'm right then even better. Why wouldn't we want there to be something more to this life, though? Don't we all need something to look forward to? Isn't that how we continue to thrive and push on in our current lives? Looking forward to what's next? It's a question I find myself considering often when it seems those opposed to the existence of God seem to want to be right more than they want to actually consider the alternative. There is a difference in insulting a religion or system of beliefs in and of itself and insulting the people who decide to base their lives on those beliefs. Often, films with an agenda to oppose organized religion will call out the many available flaws and lack of proof such beliefs are based on rather than the intelligence of those who believe, but Captain Fantastic clearly has a vendetta against those who find comfort in their faith-even if that ends up being all it is. As human beings we need a little assurance, we need something to sometimes make our existence bearable and if religion or faith does that for someone, why should it bother those who don't need it? I don't have the answer to that question and the problem with Captain Fantastic is that it doesn't either.

Initial Reaction: Video Review - SAUSAGE PARTY

It was something of a crowded weekend at the box office with not only Suicide Squad entering its questionable second weekend (it dropped 67.3% for an estimated $43.7 million which was still enough for first place), but the R-rated animated movie, Sausage Party, was inevitably going to make a splash, Disney was releasing its re-imagining of its 1977 musical Pete's Dragon, the latest Meryl Streep vehicle finally received a release stateside, with Blood Father (starring Mel Gibson), Hell or High Water (staring Chris Pine and Jeff Bridges), and Bleeker Street's Anthropoid all opening in limited release. With Disney not giving Pete's Dragon any Thursday night screenings and Florence Foster Jenkins not exactly lighting the box office aflame we ended up only filming a single review this weekend, luckily it was for the top new contender at the box office. We're of course talking the Seth Rogen/Evan Goldberg production that is more or less a dark and demented Toy Story that instead of child's play things gives life to food and other grocery store items that follows a sausage striving to discover the truth about his existence. Sausage Party surprised by delivering a solid $33.6 million opening (including $3.25m from Thursday previews). Studio expectations for the weekend placed the film in the low-to-mid teens as there isn't a whole lot of precedent for R-rated animated features, but given the marketing onslaught, strong word of mouth, and the general curiosity audiences had for the film Sausage Party was able to translate its impressive RottenTomatoes score that currently stands at 82% into something of a veritable hit with critics and audiences alike (the film received a "B" CinemaScore from opening day audiences). With a reported budget of only $19 million Sausage Party is already a win for Sony and the smaller AnnaPurna Pictures production house, but it will be interesting to see how things play out with the R-rated War Dogs and the animated Kubo and the Two Strings opening this week. As always, be sure to follow us on Instagram, Twitter, subscribe to our YouTube channel as we have a new review (or reviews) up each week!

FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS Review

It was late in the summer of 2009. The first weekend of August with the understanding I was now closer to starting a new semester instead of the end of the last one. The Hangover was the break out flick of the summer, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince had us all on pins and needles waiting for the two-part finale that wouldn't come around for more than a year and G.I. Joe had just extinguished any hope of it actually being decent after checking it off on its opening Friday night. And so, just like summer that first weekend in August was coming to an end, but before it did a friend asked me if I wanted to join him and a few others to see Julie & Julia on that Sunday afternoon. I wasn't familiar with Julia Child, I wasn't overly interested in the film, but I knew Meryl Streep was in it and who doesn't have a soft spot for Nora Ephron, right? Strangely enough, Julie & Julia has become one of those movies that hits just the right comforting spot when in need of something to view on a rainy night or lazy weekend afternoon. It is a unique true life story that is able to convey some major life themes and the struggles as much entails through something we all, to some degree, have in common: cooking. All of this is to say that, given the time of year and somewhat similar subject matter (true story, I mean) I was hoping to have very much the same warm reception to this new Streep vehicle as I did that Ephron's final picture. To be fair, Florence Foster Jenkins has a lot of charm and beyond the obvious intrigue of having one of the planet's greatest actors in the lead with such steadfast support from Hugh Grant and a notable turn from The Big Bang Theory's Simon Helberg not to mention the film was directed by Stephen Frears (The Queen, Philomena). Essentially, the credentials for this thing are through the roof as far as creating something reliably entertaining goes, but that's the thing-Florence Foster Jenkins is reliable and little more. The film hits the expected and necessary moments for the audience to understand the story and feel just enough sympathy for the right characters, but there is nothing about the film that transcends the standard or average conventions this type of movie fits into. This is a bit ironic considering the film tells the story of a woman who defied conventions and expectations despite not having the talent to match her ambition whereas this feature film version of her life has all the talent and tools at their dispense to defy as much, but delivers a final product more tedious than tremendous.

Teaser Trailer for ALLIED Starring Brad Pitt

After releasing the first still from the film earlier in the week Paramount Pictures has now released a first look at the new film from director Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future, Forrest Gump, Cast Away) starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard. While that list of credentials is more than impressive and enough to make me want to see this original World War II spy thriller what is really enticing is the fact Steven Knight (Locke, Eastern Promises) has penned the screenplay from a story that was told to him at the age of twenty-one and that he has carried around with him ever since. Per Collider, Knight said regarding the story, "This is a very odd story. I was in Texas working as a dishwasher and doing all sorts of weird things. I was going out with an English girl at the time and her auntie lived in Texas, and she got talking about her brother who had been in the S.O.E., the British Secret Service if you like, and she told me this story that just stayed with me. I’ve always known it would be a film, and now it’s gonna be the ultimate.” The idea of a wholly original story not based in any documented fact with a time period setting, starring one of this generations most iconic leading men and directed by one of our most diverse filmmakers is nothing to scoff at. In a time when movies are greenlit based on franchise potential and brand recognition to have a movie such as this come to us from a major studio with major stars no matter if it's in the midst of Oscar season or not, is beyond enticing. Personally, this just shot to the top of my most anticipated list as, even though Pitt has starred in a string of WWII films at this point, anything the guy does is inherently intriguing given he tends to work with both prominent and interesting directors that like to push the boundaries of where narrative filmmaking has been before starting with the most important element: the story. Allied also stars Lizzy Caplan, Matthew Goode, Jared Harris, Charlotte Hope, Raffey Cassidy, Raphael Acloque, and opens on November 23rd, 2016.

PETE'S DRAGON Review

I saw the 1977 version of Pete's Dragon numerous times throughout my childhood. I still own a DVD copy of it that sits alongside the likes of Mary Poppins and Bedknobs and Broomsticks on my shelf, but do I recall much of it? No, not really. I can't put my finger on why exactly nothing other than the character design of Elliot the hand-drawn dragon comes to mind, but it doesn't. Not so far as story goes anyway or what the underlying lessons of the picture might have been attempting to teach children of that generation. And so, while I have memories surrounding the original film on which this new, 2016 version directed and written by David Lowery (Ain't Them Bodies Saints) is based I don't recall the specifics of the actual movie-leaving me to wonder what about this story was worth retelling. What, if anything, might make it relevant now? On the surface it would seem that this new, updated version of Pete's Dragon is here for no other reason than for the studio to continue operating on brand recognition; remaking their older classics into new, live-action spectacles enhanced by today's digital effects. It could also be that every generation more or less needs its evil corporation cautionary tale and what better way to do that here then by positioning the adults as not necessarily bad guys, but people simply caught-up in their own agendas who happen to work for timber companies? Immediately this version of Pete's Dragon feels different than this though, there seems no hidden agenda, no sense of obligation to re-make this specific material because Disney deemed it necessary, but rather one can sense a desire to convey this story for reasons bigger than any financial gain or profit it might earn. Rather, Lowery has crafted a film that desires to get at the heart of what makes the innocence of childhood so hard to grasp, so difficult to define, and how depressing it can be that we don't understand the preciousness of that time as we're experiencing it or more harshly-when it is taken away from us and all we have to remember it by are those rose-tinted glasses that distort it in favor of the pleasantries. The 2016 Pete's Dragon is something of a love letter to those pleasant moments. To how strong the ability to believe in something greater is at an age when we don't fully understand the scope or nature of the world or the human race. The best part is that none of these ideas are overtly telegraphed in the film. The film is very much the story of what happens when a town discovers a boy living in the woods with his pet dragon, but through this it makes one feel all of the aforementioned emotions and it is in those elicited emotions the movie transcends whatever it might have originally been intended to be.

SAUSAGE PARTY Review

I feel like, by today's standards, there is very little that can truly offend me or anyone else for that matter. Whether it is our culture that has desensitized us to the point of indifference when it comes to matters once kept to the privacy of people's homes or the fact we'd like to think we're more progressive for not being ashamed of the natural things humans do-there is an argument for either side. The point is that whether you are blasé or still blush when it comes to talking about sex in public the consensus, at least at this point in my life which naturally dictates my group of friends and peers being of similar mindsets, is more or less that we need to get over ourselves and stop making such a big deal over what everyone has. We should be more like the Europeans. A penis is a penis and in Sausage Party a sausage may as well be a penis. If one falls into the camp of shying away from such conversations and believe that a certain amount of mystery should still exist between people then you'll likely want to shy away from this new Seth Rogen production as well. Taking the premise from any number of children's movies (The Brave Little Toaster, Toy Story, Secret Life of Pets) where when the humans ago away the inanimate objects come out to play Rogen and writing partner Evan Goldberg have ran with that idea, but this time with food, which of course comes to meet a terrifying end-yes, more terrifying even than Sid. It's a premise ripe for parody and a genuinely funny idea if what you're aiming for is a twisted, dark tale that not only tells the story of what it might be like if food were living, breathing beings, but per usual also includes some musings on life and what it all means. It's grocery shopping with shades of existential analysis. Of course, that all seems a little silly when talking about a movie that has a talking douche as the main baddie, but alas-that is where we are today. Some may scoff, some may simply laugh it off, but such minds and twisted ideas have always been present in society-they just likely haven't been able to reach as large a platform as Sausage Party has and thus the discussion around every new generation's looser morals and lack of respect for what was once holy only grows louder. Sausage Party isn't wholly indicative of society today though, it's simply indicative of one aspect of society and ends up essentially being a discussion about how that society can co-exist peacefully whether one believes in keeping certain aspects and ideologies private or not.

New Trailer for ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY

Since the teaser trailer dropped for Rogue One four months ago a lot has changed. That initial teaser gave us a glimpse of the Star Wars universe from a perspective we hadn't really seen before-through the lens of an actual war film. Director Gareth Edwards (Monsters, Godzilla) had clearly become accustomed to operating on a large scale while focusing in on the character intricacies that take place within that scale. Though there has been talk concerning production drama as producer/writer/director Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton) was reported to have first been brought in for reshoots and has since been bumped up to supervising the final edit of the movie. While the studio is certainly downplaying the negatives of what this could imply it is hard to be overly confident in a product that gets the board room treatment rather than the original vision of a director that you supposedly hired for their unique vision. I rather loved the first teaser we received and hoped Edwards final film reflected the tone and space of mind that trailer conveyed, but with reports of such post-production troubles I doubt we'll see that original vision. Still, this is a Star Wars movie and I'm going to see it regardless-hopefully the changes won't be too drastic and this will ultimately still be Edwards film. If you're not up on what is going on, Rogue One will take place just prior to A New Hope as it tells the story of the rebels who set out on the mission to steal the plans for the Death Star. Chrs Weitz (About a Boy, Cinderella) penned the screenplay with Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects) credited as coming in and overseeing necessary changes. All of that said, this new trailer still looks fantastic and I can't wait to see this portion of the Star Wars universe on the big screen. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story stars Felicity Jones, Mads Mikkelsen, Ben Mendelsohn, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen, Forest Whitaker, Diego Luna, Riz Ahmed, and Jiang Wen, and opens in theaters on December 16th, 2016.

First Trailer for RESIDENT EVIL: THE FINAL CHAPTER

The Resident Evil film franchise has been around for fourteen years now and while it feels like an abundance of sequels have spawned from that 2002 original there have been only four, but as of early next year that will change when Milla Jovovich and her director husband Paul W. S. Anderson who has directed the actress in what will end up being four of the six-film series. At least, I assume this is the last one as it is subtitled The Final Chapter, but being as I haven't seen a single one of these movies I have no idea what this latest entry has in store. Given star Jovovich is turning forty-one this year I have to assume she's hoping to take her career in a fresher, maybe more interesting direction as, given the contained universe of the film, I have to wonder how much more story and territory there is for this character to explore. I know very little about the movies and even less about the games, but I understand they have something to do with an apocalyptic setting and the undead. I don't know that I'll be changing my tune with the Resident Evil movies come this January, but if I have the time it could be fun to play catch-up on the series of films and cap it off with the theatrical experience of the final film in the series-who knows, it all depends on what's going on at the time, but for now I'll stop my rambling and report to you that the story apparently picks up right after the events of the 2012 film, Retribution, as Jovovich's Alice continues her quest to stop the Red Queen from eliminating the few human survivors. To do this, Alice must return to where the nightmare began – Raccoon City, where the Umbrella Corporation is gathering its forces for a final strike against the only remaining survivors of the apocalypse. Yeah, I have no idea what any of that means, but Resident Evil: The Final Chapter also stars Ali Larter, Shawn Roberts, Ruby Rose, Eoin Macken, William Levy, Fraser James, Japanese model and personality Rola, and will open on January 27th, 2017.

On DVD & Blu-Ray: August 9, 2016

Initial Reaction: Video Review - SUICIDE SQUAD

The biggest story of the weekend was always going to be Suicide Squad no matter how bad or good the reviews were and no matter how much money it did or didn't make it. Turns out, the movie did indeed make a ton of money despite a second wave of negative reviews for the second DC comics extended universe film this year. By comparison, Suicide Squad is making the critic reactions to Batman V  Superman look tame. Whereas that film divided critics and fans alike due more to the tone and story the film decided to take on many have been reacting to Suicide Squad for its altogether incoherent tone and story. As these things go much of these complaints seem to be coming from the fact Warner Bros. reacted to the BvS reviews by having multiple editors make multiple cuts of Suicide Squad in an attempt to make the film funnier, more light-hearted, and clearly to add a ton of music as the soundtrack for this thing is off the charts (thanks, Guardians of the Galaxy). It will be when Warner Bros. learns that it's not the second or third property to do something people initially liked that will garner it all the attention and praise, but when they do something original and striking that it will be their turn to receive the praise and fandom of the movie-going faithful. Instead, be it trying to ape Chris Nolan's dark and gritty tone or trying ape the "fun", but more importantly *established* tone of Marvel there is no reason for sudiences to respond excitedly to something they've seen before. Personally, I enjoyed much of what Suicide Squad had to offer-especially in its relentless first hour, but as I get further away from the film and the more stories I hear about how audiences came to see the version we did the more I tend to dislike what WB is doing and simply hope they allow these established directors they've hired to create a singular vision. Otherwise, why hire them? Only time will tell if Patty Jenkins, James Wan, Rick Famuyiwa, and Ben Affleck suffer the same circumstances as David Ayer, but for now I'll hold out hope that, like with BvS, we get an extended cut of Suicide Squad in the way Ayer envisioned the film when he shot it when it hits home video later this year. All of that said, Suicide Squad still topped the previous August opening weekend record by more than $40 million with an estimated $135.1 million. That was enough to give the film the largest August opening weekend, the largest August opening day with $65.2 million, which in turn included the largest August Thursday preview total of $20.5 million. Combined with a $132 million international opening from 57 territories, the film's global haul stands at $267.1 million after the first weekend on a $175 million budget. Be sure to follow us on Instagram and Twitter as we now have those accounts set up and, as always, subscribe to our YouTube channel as we have a new review (or reviews) up each week!

SUICIDE SQUAD Review

Don't believe everything you hear. That would be the first thing I would tell people if they were to ask what I thought about the latest entry in the DC Comics extended universe as funded by Warner Brothers. Don't believe everything you hear in that Suicide Squad isn't nearly as terrible as those early reviews have made it out to be, but don't believe everything you saw in those trailers that made you think this might be a new super hero masterpiece either. Suicide Squad has its flaws. Plenty of them in fact-the biggest perpetrator being the convoluted  story that ultimately does so many circles around itself that it becomes a pointless exercise in power for Amanda Waller (as played by the wonderful Viola Davis). Suicide Squad also has its fair share of highlights as well-most of them concerning the effort the cast is putting into making this group of misfits feel like a family when the script gives them little to work with. This is all very disappointing mind you as writer/director David Ayer (who wrote Training Day and who wrote and directed the likes of End of Watch and Fury) clearly has a knack for these types of characters and putting such characters in high-stakes situations that bring out qualities and traits viewers will find endearing and affecting despite potentially being revolting. The issue here is that Ayer seemingly felt the need to include so many characters that he let his storytelling techniques get away from him and instead decided to give us an introductory hour where we are presented with each of the ten (count 'em ten) main characters as well as how they all ended up together and walking into the plot device that is both meant to unite them and that could have also been completely avoided if the idea to bring them together was rejected in the first place. There is interesting ideas aplenty here and the film very well could have explored the difference between bad and evil and how many bad things one has to do or ends up doing before they cross that line. Instead, Ayer uses this opportunity to bring together his comic book version of the Dirty Dozen and expose them at face value, for what they are, and how they work together. Just so we're all on the same page-that would have been fine. I don't have an issue, especially at this stage of the game, with a DC film not leaning too hard on the philosophical stuff and instead focusing more on simply having fun, but even in doing this Ayer's story does itself no favors by making everything interconnected to the point the film renders itself irrelevant when all he really needed to do was give these usual foes a formidable one of their own.

Teaser Trailer for Christopher Nolan's DUNKIRK

If you weren't aware, director Christopher Nolan is making a World War II film that comes out next summer and Warner Bros. is letting those who haven't been up to date and anxious about what the auteur might do next know by dropping an announcement trailer of sorts before their big-budget action hero epic, Suicide Squad, this weekend. I can remember the first trailer for Inception debuting and being blown away not by the visuals or concept the movie seemed to possesses, but rather by the fact we were already getting another Chris Nolan film only two years after having delivered the greatest comic book movie known to man. With his latest, the studio seems to be following more the pattern they did with the Interstellar campaign as we only get a few brief glimpses of footage here intercut with text informing audiences this is indeed a new Nolan film and if you're really out of the loop, what Nolan has made prior. All of that said, there isn't much to say about the teaser other than the fact the footage itself looks visually stunning (Nolan re-teamed with Interstellar cinematographer Hoyt van Hoytema), but there is no mention of actors and no insight into the story. All we know is that the film will focus on the evacuation of Dunkirk, known as Operation Dynamo, during the British military operation that saved 330,000 lives as Allied soldiers were surrounded by German forces. Nolan wrote the screenplay himself without usual collaborator, brother Jonathan, but the picture will reunite the director with longtime Nolan composer Hans Zimmer. Nolan also decided to shoot the whole of his tenth feature on IMAX using a combination of IMAX 65mm and 65mm large format film. Dunkirk stars Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance, Cillian Murphy, Aneurin Barnard, James D’Arcy, Jack Lowden, Barry Keoghan, Tom Glynn-Carney, Harry Styles, and opens on July 21, 2017.

Initial Reaction: Video Review - JASON BOURNE & BAD MOMS

After nine years away from the role it seems audiences were more primed than ever to see Matt Damon return to the Bourne franchise as the fifth film in the series and the fourth starring Damon scored an estimated $60 million. That opening was enough to deliver the second largest domestic opening for a Bourne film behind only The Bourne Ultimatum, which opened with $69.2 million in 2007. If that wasn't enough to call this thing a win in the wake of a summer that has seen sequels debut to far less than their predecessors this $60 million opening for Jason Bourne is almost $22 million more than what The Bourne Legacy earned in 2012 when Universal attempted to keep the franchise alive with Jeremy Renner in the lead role. Personally, I love the Bourne films as they are one of the rare trilogies that featured an improvement with each new entry and while this latest installment more or less covers the same ground as its predecessors it still does what it's expected to do really well and is entertaining at the same time. This very much put me in the middle when it came to my thoughts on Jason Bourne as I'd hoped they might be more adventurous with the story, but couldn't necessarily complain as I was enthralled the entirety of the fast-paced runtime. Though I came away somewhat on the fence about Jason Bourne both Charles and I felt the same way about the discouraging Bad Moms. The R-rated comedy starring Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn opened to $23.4 million and is essentially what the trailers told us it was and nothing more. This was rather disappointing as the film clearly had an opportunity and an audience that it could tap into and appeal to in a unique way, but preferred to take the easy route of being a conveyor belt comedy rather than something truly insightful. Either way, we had a lot of fun reviewing the new releases this weekend and hope you'll take the time to hit the jump, check out our reviews, and of course subscribe to the channel as we have a new review (or reviews) up each week!