When you buy a ticket for The Commuter, you know exactly what you’re paying for. You’re paying not just for an action movie, but a Liam Neeson action movie. You’re paying for a movie released during one of the slowest months of the year during one of the coldest months of the year. Yes, you’ve probably seen half a dozen iterations of The Commuter before, but with different settings, scenarios, and action sequences. That being said, the B-action movie is a quintessential genre for certain movie goers, and The Commuter easily fits into that niche for that particular audience. Sure, you might forget about The Commuter two months from now, but it’s still a fun time to be had if you’re looking for something new at the theater and something that’s not an awards contender (which is when a number of awards-contending movies start rolling out nationwide).
After seeing Star Wars: The Last Jedi, I’m not surprised Lucasfilm is giving director Rian Johnson the keys to a new Star Wars trilogy after Episode XI; in fact, Rian Johnson’s now further involvement has me actually excited for the next Star Wars trilogy (and I’m not even a Star Wars fan). While The Last Jedi is a Star Wars movie, it also at times feels unlike any other Star Wars movie you’ve seen before. With that said, however, The Last Jedi is still a Star Wars movie through and through, and is filled with crowd-pleasing moments that should delight fans of the franchise. From the story and its gratifying twists and turns, to character developments for both new and old characters in the saga, to the movie’s dazzling action and visual effects, The Last Jedi is everything you could hope for in a grade-A blockbuster, and is easily one of the absolute best Star Wars movies in the franchise.
Heroes come from all sorts of places and some of them come from the field of journalism, where reporters and various employees at media outlets seek to bring the truth to light and give their audiences the information they need. And given the current state of the country, we could certainly benefit from members of the media giving us a clearer picture of everything. History tends to repeat itself, and from time to time, freedom of the press has come under assault. That being said, who better in Hollywood than acclaimed director Steven Spielberg could show audiences a time in history where the fourth estate was under fire. Spielberg’s latest movie, The Post, looks at the release of the Pentagon Papers in the early 70s. No question the year’s most timely movie, The Post is a stirring, race-against-the-clock drama that is among the best movies of the year.
2017 certainly has been a down year for animated movies. While there have been a number of animated movies released throughout the year, quantity has far outweighed quality. As such, it’s certainly shown in diminishing box office numbers for almost all the animated movies released this year (minus Despicable Me 3). Luckily however, as far as animated movies are concerned, 2017 is going out on a high note with Coco, the latest offering from Pixar Studios. After three straight lower caliber movies (The Good Dinosaur, Finding Dory, Cars 3) from the well-respected animation studio, Coco is more of what we’ve come to expect from Pixar over the years. Thanks to the movie’s uniquely told story, respect to culture, beautiful animation, and catchy, original music, Coco is another noteworthy winner from Pixar.
The road to Justice League, which brings together some of DC Comics’ most iconic superheroes, has not been without its share of debate or controversy. Up until this summer’s crowd-pleasing Wonder Woman, the three previous entries in the DC Extended Universe (which include Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Suicide Squad) were hotly debated amongst both fans and critics for their movie’s storytelling decisions and character developments that showed DC Comics’ characters in different lights. While each of them was a box office success, it was apparent that it wasn’t enough to win over audiences. Fast forward to today and Justice League is viewed as a course correction for Warner Brothers’ DCEU going forward. While Justice League certainly has its issues and isn’t exactly coherent at times, each of the movie’s superhero characters are more than satisfying and help make the superhero team up an enjoyable action romp.
With comedy sequels, the cast is usually bigger, and the gag jokes try to go even further; and, of course, Daddy’s Home 2 accomplishes both of those things, but with bad results. Personally, I enjoyed Daddy’s Home. It wasn’t the best comedy, but it was certainly one of Will Ferrell’s funniest movies in recent years. And when I heard that Mel Gibson and John Lithgow joined the cast for Daddy’s Home 2, my anticipation went from nonexistent to moderately excited. However, Daddy’s Home 2 is another swing and miss from Ferrell (and Mark Wahlberg to a slight extent), whose spiraling downward trend of bad comedies is on the same trajectory as Adam Sandler’s (yeah, I went there).
If you ask anyone (like me) who has seen the previous 16 movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), a good number of them will tell you that both Thor movies are among their least favorite. It’s not to say they’re bad, but they’re easily forgettable compared to the other superhero outings we’ve seen from the MCU. But finally, the god of thunder gets his justice with Thor: Ragnarok, a memorable, rickrolling good time that emphasizes the word “comic” for comic book movies. Easily surpassing the previous two Thor outings, Ragnarok’s intrepid attitude and overzealous moments make it not only the best Marvel Studios release of the year, but also arguably the funniest Marvel Studios movie to date. With the latest Thor sure to Ragnarok you like a hurricane, strap yourselves in for a fun time at the theaters this weekend.
As evidenced by The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, director Kathryn Bigelow is no stranger to tense movies. While Detroit is another rigid movie from the Oscar-winning director, this depiction of the racially-charged events that transpired in Motown 50 years ago is her most unsettling movie yet. First and foremost, you should know this movie is not an easy watch; while this movie is meant to start discussions, there is no happy ending here. If you see Detroit, you’re likely to leave the movie angry. Even though Bigelow does not hold back when it comes to telling this story, it is also jagged and in need of editing. If you were to cut 40 minutes from Detroit, you would have yourself a harrowing American classic; I would even say it would be a front-runner for Best Picture at next year’s Oscars. But that’s not the case here. Despite Detroit’s issues, it’s still a captivating movie with a gut-wrenching story worth your attention. Read more
In one scene plastered all over the marketing for Wonder Woman, we see the female heroine step onto the battlefield, alone, to try and take out the German forces. This action-packed scene and what follows immediately after it combine to deliver not only one of the best action sequences in a superhero movie of all-time, but it is also a testament to just how crowd-pleasing the movie is as a whole. Wonder Woman is a bold, confident movie with as much heart as it has soul. Wonder Woman is not only a groundbreaking achievement, but also a movie that inspires much-needed hope in dark times like this. And given how crazy things are around the world, Wonder Woman is exactly the type of hero we need right now.
Three years after coming out of left field and becoming everyone’s favorite group of superheroes overnight, the A-holes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) are back in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. The first entries in these superhero outings from Marvel Studios are usually “fairly good.” But that was not the case with 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, which is arguably one of the very best movies to date in the MCU. So, going into Vol. 2, the expectations are fairly high. Vol. 2 hits all the right notes as a sequel; it’s bigger in every aspect – from scope to characters and action. Bigger can be better in many cases, but Vol. 2’s plot keeps those bigger things rather slender and rangy at times. But still, director James Gunn’s usage of these characters we’ve all come to know and love help propel this robust, entertaining sequel.
If you grew up in the 90s like I did, then you were either a fan of the Power Rangers or were aware of their towering existence in both television and merchandise. Even though the Power Rangers have been on television since 1993, the Power Rangers are back on the big screen for the first time since 1997. In this big budget reboot, Power Rangers focuses on the story of the original Power Rangers television series characters from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (who also graced us with the classic 1995 movie). When Power Rangers hones in on its moments that bring out nostalgia, it’s a blast. And if you grew up watching this superhero team fight and make “whoosh” noises, you’ll appreciate the subtle nods that bring out undeniable glee. Read more
The last time we saw the Caped Crusader on the big screen, he was in the hotly-debated Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (Hey, I liked it, so sue me). In a dour mood and off on a killing spree, some cried that it wasn’t the Batman they grew up with while others said it fit more closely with his comic book iteration. Either way, Batman v. Superman found the Dark Knight in a tight spot and in the middle of countless debates/arguments between critics and fans of comic book characters that almost sent film Twitter into flames. Luckily, Batman is back to provide some fun in the form of Legos. The Lego Batman Movie is a spin-off from the hugely successful The Lego Movie, which featured an “all-too-serious-but-trying-to-look-cool” Batman voiced by the wonderful Will Arnett (Arrested Development). Embracing the masked vigilante’s nostalgia from his past iterations along with the Lego universe’s nonsensical humor, The Lego Batman Movie is a hysterical, absolute blast from start to finish.
I have not liked an M. Night Shyamalan movie since The Village and that came out 13 years ago. Since then, Shyamalan has made a string of awful, degrading movies. His most recent movie, The Visit, had an interesting concept (like all of his movies), but nothing stuck in the overall scheme of things. And I never made it past 15 minutes into some of his other recent movies (Devil, After Earth), because I knew I was in for another headache. Shyamalan has been in my dog house for a while now, but when the previews for Split first appeared, I was initially curious. Was Shyamalan onto something? Was he finally back? As it turns out, absolutely yes, is the answer to both of these questions. Split is an expertly-crafted psychological horror movie and a return to form for Shyamalan, whose twistingly-good storytelling was sorely missed.
Given director Martin Scorsese’s film background, which mostly consists of stories centered around crime and gang violence, it comes as a surprise that Silence has been his passion project for 30 years. After numerous legal battles over the years, Scorsese was finally able to make Silence happen. At two hours and 40 minutes, however, Silence is a lot to digest. And while the journey itself is long and tiresome at times, it’s message, told with a great script spoken by an exceptional ensemble cast, makes it feel significant. Though sometimes brutal, Silence paints a beautiful picture of a clash between culture and religion, where characters question the sacrifices they are willing make to keep their faith and driven to the point of expulsion.