On DVD & Blu-Ray: September 25, 2018

There is no mention of the force. Barely a lightsaber is wielded. In these tangential Star Wars stories Disney has somehow figured out how to not only expand a brand, but simultaneously how to sell what were once mid-range, star-driven vehicles that have more or less become obsolete in the current theatrical landscape of tentpole after tentpole. It makes sense: to be not what everything else is, but what you need to be sometimes means taking up the mantle of that which will make people feel the urge to venture out to the theater while ultimately delivering something they didn't know they missed seeing on the big screen. And so, Solo: A Star Wars Story is a heist film that just so happens to feature characters with names and a few locations a few of us might recognize. Moreover, these characters may not require further backstory or exploration as this may in fact be detrimental to the mythos of some while fascinating in other circumstances, but in this universe as it now exists both the recognizable and additional characters on display here all have their own stories that can be expanded upon and thus is the reason LucasFilm and Kathleen Kennedy no doubt found this a solid if not necessarily wholly compelling piece to produce in the beginning phases of these extraneous stories taking place around the core trilogies. Because of this and because of Disney's inability to add any genuine stakes to Solo given it takes place prior to the original trilogy and they've already spoiled what happens to the character after; the studio has been afforded the opportunity to make a Han Solo movie which isn't really as much a movie about who Han Solo is and why or how he became the Han Solo we all came to know and love in Star Wars, but more it is a movie about a team of scoundrels and smugglers who are always seeking that "one job to end all jobs". You know, the one they might retire on, settle all their debts with, and that will set them up prettily for the rest of their lives? Yeah, that's what Solo is. Solo is a mob drama of sorts, albeit an intergalactic one, that by default functions as part of two specific genres and works well enough to varying degrees in both for the general effect that it suffices to satisfy audiences seeking either type of movie just well enough. Does it hold much weight? No. Was it necessary? Of course not. Worst of all, it's not very efficient with its own storytelling in certain acts, but it's a fun enough time with characters that, if you loved them already, you won't mind hanging out with more and getting to meet some of their extended circles you weren't acquainted with prior. Full review here. C

If you know what Uncle Drew is and venture to rent or buy it then you're going to get exactly what you want out of it if not a little less basketball than eould be expected. As expected, Lil Rel Howery makes a prominent step-up in his first post-Get Out role and balances this thing with a strong sense of comedy and necessary heart. The heavily made-up current and former NBA players are all much better in the acting department than you'd expect if only director Charles "Drumline" Stone III might have spent more time exploring these pleasant personalities on the court rather than the more convenient situations that make up the plot then film might have had a chance at striking that balance between Space Jam and White Men Can't Jump it seemed so intent to strike. C+

In what might be the biggest bomb of 2018's summer movie season both critically and commercially, John Travolta starred in and as Gotti, the Kevin Connolly AKA Turtle from Entourage-directed biopic about the life and times of the Italian-American gangster who became boss of the Gambino crime family in New York City, John Gotti. This thing was so ravaged by critics and so ignored by audiences it's almost out of morbid curiosity that I watch this to see just how bad it is, but I'm guessing the hype is overblown and this is just terribly mediocre rather than being outright bad.

Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich is a reboot of the Charles Band created Puppet Master series with this new movie expanding on the mythology and set in modern times. Band served as Executive Producer while S. Craig Zahler (Bone Tomahawk, Brawl in Cell Block 99) penned the screenplay. The story follows of the recently divorced Edgar (Thomas Lennon) who returns to his childhood home to regroup his life and discovers a mint condition Blade puppet in his deceased brother's closet. With plans to sell the puppet for some quick cash he joins friends Ashley (Jenny Pellicer) and Markowitz (Nelson Franklin) as they set out on a doomed road trip to a convention in Oregon to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the infamous Toulon Murders. Naturally, all hell breaks loose when a strange force that is motivated by an evil as old as time animates all of the various puppets throughout the convention as they go on a killing spree...

Carrie Coon, Mackenzie Davis, Haley Joel Osment, Alia Shawkat, Annie Potts, Lakeith Stanfield, Rob Huebel, Lauren Miller Rogen, and Ryan Simpkins star in this buzzy little indie about a woman at rock bottom who must find her way across Los Angeles in order to crash her ex-boyfriend's engagement party. While this one garnered some good buzz on the festival circuit earlier this year I'd bet you'll be able to find Izzy Gets the F*uck Across Town on a streaming service sooner rather than later.

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