Winchester is a Well Made Film That Wanted to be Scary But Just Wasn’t (Review)

Winchester is a Well Made Film That Wanted to be Scary But Just Wasn’t (Review)

Winchester is the second Horror movie of 2018, which makes me happy.  We need more good horror and I had such high hopes for it.   But the fact that it did not provide advanced screenings did not bode well. What did you have to hide, Winchester?  Given that and the abominably low ratings from Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB, I ended up really just wanting to know why this movie was so bad.   Why all the hate?  Is it just that critics get pissy because they don’t get to see advanced screenings?  Were the special effects bad?  I mean, how could you mess up a movie based on a such a good real-life ghost story?  The only movie I’ve seen botch a premise that perfect was A Dog’s Purpose.  What are the odds it would happen twice in a decade? Read more

Maze Runner The Death Cure: I Kept Wondering When Katniss was Going to Show Up & Declare Them All Divergents (Review)

Maze Runner The Death Cure: I  Kept Wondering When Katniss was Going to Show Up & Declare Them All Divergents (Review)

They say that facts don’t change people’s minds, feelings do.  You can make an air-tight logical argument and back it with facts but it will never sway people as much as a meme on Twitter.  Maze Runner: The Death Cure understands this and rather than spend time and energy on plot logistics, simply goes for the emotional core and drives from there.  As nonsensical as the plot is, as contrived the situations, Maze Runner: The Death Cure is exciting.  Sure I had to work to suspend my disbelief, rolled my eyes so often I was worried my face would stick that way, but still it was a good time. Read more

12 Strong Clears Up My Misconceptions about The War in Afghanistan (Review)

12 Strong Clears Up My Misconceptions about The War in Afghanistan (Review)

Man, am I ever the wrong person to review 12 Strong.  I can see that it’s well made but I just don’t get War Movies.  I know nothing about guns or missiles or tactics, so it’s like Sci-Fi to me – very badly explained Sci-Fi (with terrible special effects) that everyone else seems to understand easily but I don’t.  I had only the vaguest idea what was going on in Afghanistan after 9/11 and I definitely had some misconceptions.  At the very least I had assumed America was at a supreme advantage – I mean how hard is it to call in an airstrike?  Pretty hard, as it turns out.  It’s not easy to get right and if you don’t, you just end up bombing the wrong thing (usually empty desert).  12 Strong was, at the very least, educational to me. Read more

Paddington 2: Rotten Tomatoes is Right, it Really is That Good (Review)

Paddington 2: Rotten Tomatoes is Right, it Really is That Good (Review)

I never really got Paddington. When I was young, I read the books and tried marmalade, hated it, gave the books up because they were misleading.  I was that kind of child.  So Paddington 2 wasn’t my first choice but I was dying to see how it could  get 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and kept it for more than a day.  Could this sequel of a movie I had no interest in seeing really be that good?  Actually yes.  But I don’t actually want to get too much into why because I wouldn’t want to spoil a thing for this movie. Read more

Insidious: The last Key is Ambitious & Character Driven but They Put The Scariest Stuff Too Early (Review)

Insidious: The last Key is Ambitious & Character Driven but They Put The Scariest Stuff Too Early (Review)

It’s January again, that time of year when everyone’s exhausted and broke from the holidays and nobody feels like going to see anything.    What brave movie maker wants to release something then?  Stuff that would go straight to DVD otherwise, that’s what.  This week it was Insidious: The Last Key and while it may not be a gem, it’s certainly not the usual January-level bad, regardless of what Rotten Tomatoes might tell you. Maybe I’m using a different rating scale for January than I would for any other time of year, but  I liked this movie.  It wasn’t terrible. Read more

Mark’s Best Movies of 2017 Featuring Coco, Blade Runner 2049 & More!

Mark’s Best Movies of 2017 Featuring Coco, Blade Runner 2049 & More!

Well it’s that time of year again, the great and powerful 2017 Movies Year in Review.  What a weird year but were some great films  And even more half good ones with something interesting to offer (even though they were badly in need of a rewrite)   As usual, we’re going to treat this as an Awards show.  I’ll come up with categories and nominations, you guess which film should win and I’ll tell you my answers at the end.  A quick note for those of you guessing, this will contain mild spoilers.  You’ve had all year to see these, there’s no excuse.  Read more

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is Beautiful but 40 Minutes Too Long (Review)

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is Beautiful but 40 Minutes Too Long (Review)

My goodness it was not easy to get in to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi.  Long line-ups just for seating, sold out shows, no parking – there probably isn’t any need to review this because you’ve probably already seen it, whoever you are.  For those sane few who were not competing for the same seats as I was this weekend, this review is for you.  I’m not a rabid fan, I don’t really think Star Wars is any better than some of the other movies this year.  Still, there’s something wonderful about Star Wars, isn’t there?  The droids, the aliens the Jedi, the Force, the Spaceships, I love all of it and I couldn’t tell you exactly why.   Read more

Coco: Bring The Family to The Beautiful Land of The Dead (Review)

Coco: Bring The Family to The Beautiful Land of The Dead (Review)

When I saw the preview for Coco I was a little worried that this going to be a rip-off of The Book Of Life.  For those of you who missed it or completely forgot immediately after watching it, The Book of Life was another animated movie about the Day of the Dead colors dialled right up to 11.  But the only good thing about The Book of Life was the Mexican Underworld, which I loved so much I didn’t want to admit my disappointment with that film.  Would Pixar be able to make a better movie from such a good location?  The answer is: Yes.  Good god yes, of course yes of course they did.  How could I have been worried? Read more

Justice League is Dark, Gritty & Beautiful to Watch. Thank You For Your Fan Service (Review)

Justice League is Dark, Gritty & Beautiful to Watch. Thank You For Your Fan Service (Review)

Hot on the heels of Thor: Ragnarok comes the DC superhero movie: Justice League.  I’m not sure when this happened, but at some point I think I started liking Marvel better than DC.  Marvel’s just so charismatic, like the boyfriend all your friends like, he’s smart, he’s funny, goofy but lovable and always ‘on’.  Whereas DC is the guy who is has a nice job, a nice car, takes himself way too seriously but has an amazing set of abs because he spends all his time at the gym.  They’re both great in their own ways and both pretend the other doesn’t exist and this week it was DC’s turn for my attentions.  This review is completely spoiler free, except for the part about the horse. Read more

Murder on The Orient Express is a Gorgeous & Loving Homage to The Golden Age of Detective Stories (Review)

Murder on The Orient Express is a Gorgeous & Loving Homage to The Golden Age of Detective Stories (Review)

This week it was either Daddy’s Home 2 or Murder on the Orient Express, a choice that pit Mark Wahlberg against Dame Judi Dench for my attentions.  You might think that choice would be obvious and had Mr. Wahlberg worn something sleeveless in the trailer, I would have been helpless.  But as it happened, Daddy’s Home 2 is a Christmas film, all sweaters and snowsuits, so it’s off to Murder on the Orient Express for me.  I’d rather watch Kenneth Branagh than Mel Gibson anyway. Read more

Thor: Ragnarok is Another Predictable Marvel Movie But It’s Still Amazing (Review)

Thor: Ragnarok is Another Predictable Marvel Movie But It’s Still Amazing (Review)

Man, am I ever done with Superhero movies.  I’m not sure when it happened, probably before Spiderman and Wonder Woman, before Guardians of the Galaxy 2; all I know is that superhero movies don’t fill me with girlish delight like they used to.   Still, I was looking forward to it – this was directed by the man who gave us “What We Do In The Shadows” and “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” so I was expecting Thor: Ragnarok to be something amazing.  And it was.  It really was. Read more

Suburbicon is Pointless & Uncomfortable Failing to Deliver Anything of Value (Review)

Suburbicon is Pointless & Uncomfortable Failing to Deliver Anything of Value (Review)

It’s funny how much the Galaxy pre-show can inform a review.  Not only do we get trailers, we get to watch people talk about the movies they made.  I’m not sure why, but when I saw George Clooney talking about Suburbicon, I knew it was going to be a stinker.  The low reviews were no surprise.  I wasn’t going to see Suburbicon to see if it was good or not, I was going to see why it was bad.  Maybe I was hoping it turned out, against all expectation, to be awesome.  It wasn’t, I hated it.   The rest of the review is going to be why I hated it.  If you’re planning on seeing this movie, stop right and don’t read any further.  I’m going to spoil everything.   Read more

Geostorm is a Well Executed Disaster Movie if You Can Suspend Your Disbelief (Review)

Geostorm is a Well Executed Disaster Movie if You Can Suspend Your Disbelief (Review)

Picture this: a group of people in a board room, brainstorming a new action movie for 2017.  Someone mentions ‘Volcano’ or ‘Twister’ and they all agree that Natural Disaster movies are awesome, but what natural disaster can they used this time?   Haven’t they all been done?  There’s even a Tsunami movie.  Then some smart guy says ‘why don’t we do all of them?’  There’s a pause while everyone considers the possibility of having a disaster movie with ALL natural disasters.  This, my friends, is how Geostorm got made; I’m certain of it.  This movie looked ridiculous from the trailer and I found myself bracing for what could be a terrible action thriller. Read more

Happy Death Day: Unapologetically a Groundhog Day Remake, Now With Teens! (Review)

Happy Death Day: Unapologetically a Groundhog Day Remake, Now With Teens! (Review)

I think I must have heard about Happy Death Day before I saw it.  And I’m pretty sure I scoffed and forgot about it.  Make Groundhog Day into a horror film?  I had only one question: why?  Why would you do that?  How did this get made?  Groundhog Day is a classic and absolutely perfect the way it was.   Anything even similar to it would immediately look like a rip-off.  Is there, under any circumstances, the possibility that Happy Day can redeem itself? I went into this film expecting to tear it apart. Read more