Movie Review – The Sisters Brothers

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The Sisters Brothers is a 2018 Western dark comedy directed by Jacques Audiard. It is based on the novel of the same name by Patrick deWitt (which I have a review of here). The story follows Charlie and Eli Sisters (Joaquin Phoenix and John C. Reilly), two brothers and hitmen who work for the rich and powerful Commodore (Rutger Hauer), hunting down people who “steal” from him. The two are tasked with finding Hermann Kermit Warm (Riz Ahmed), a chemist heading to California to prospect for gold. John Morris (Jake Gyllenhaal) is already tracking the man as a scout, leaving postage behind so the Sisters brothers can pursue. What follows is a humorously strange odyssey through the West, during which their relationship as brothers is tested and they wonder if they can expect anything more from life than danger and death.Read More »

Movie Review – A Ghost Story

Summary

In this singular exploration of legacy, love, loss, and the enormity of existence, a recently deceased, white-sheeted ghost returns to his suburban home to try to reconnect with his bereft wife.

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A Ghost Story is a 2017 supernatural drama written and directed by David Lowery. It stars Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara as a couple living in a suburban Texas home who are making plans to move. They are awoken one night by a noise they cannot explain and shortly afterwards Affleck’s character (simply credited as “C”) dies in a car accident. His spirit, appearing as a bedsheet ghost, returns home, a place he becomes anchored to.Read More »

Movie Review – Avengers: Infinity War

IMDb Summary

As the Avengers and their allies have continued to protect the world from threats too large for any one hero to handle, a new danger has emerged from the cosmic shadows: Thanos. A despot of intergalactic infamy, his goal is to collect all six Infinity Stones, artifacts of unimaginable power, and use them to inflict his twisted will on all of reality. Everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment – the fate of Earth and existence itself has never been more uncertain.

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Avengers: Infinity War, directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, is the nineteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Not since the lead up to the first Avengers film released in 2012 has an entry in this ambitious cinematic universe been so anticipated. Thanos (Josh Brolin), the villain of this feature, was first teased in a post-credits scene of that film, leaving fans to eagerly anticipate his appearance as a main villain. Most MCU films since have teased, introduced, and/or involved infinity stones since then as well, all in preparation for this massive crossover event. The cast is honestly too expansive to list; nearly every hero makes an appearance to fight this threat on different fronts. I was highly anticipating the film myself, though cautious about how effectively an effective story could be told with such a large cast of characters in play.Read More »

Movie Review – A Quiet Place

IMDb Summary

A family is forced to live in silence while hiding from creatures that hunt by sound.

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A Quiet Place is a 2018 horror film directed by and starring John Krasinski. He plays Lee Abbott alongside his real-life wife Emily Blunt, who plays Evelyn Abbott. The two are devoted parents who work hard to raise their two children in a world terrorized by blind yet dangerous creatures that hunt with highly acute hearing. I remember seeing trailers for this film long before it came out, and my expectations were actually considerably below the reality of what this movie is. It did look intriguing, but knowing the ways a lot of mainstream horror films get made I was expecting this to be a run-of-the-mill post-apocalyptic survival film with a gimmick. I couldn’t be happier with being dead wrong.Read More »

Movie Review – Pacific Rim Uprising

Summary from IMDb

As a war between humankind and monstrous sea creatures wages on, a former pilot and a trainee are paired up to drive a seemingly obsolete special weapon in a desperate effort to save the world from the apocalypse.

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Pacific Rim Uprising is a science fiction action film directed by Steven S. DeKnight and starring John Boyega as Jake Pentecost, the son of Marshal Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) from the first film. 10 years have passed, with Earth having enjoyed relative peace since the sealing of the breach, an act that stopped the monstrous Kaiju from invading. Through a series of mishaps trying to sell machine parts on the black market—salvaged from Jaegers, the giant robots that humanity used to fight the Kaiju—Jake is forced to rejoin the Pan-Pacific Defense Corps (PPDC) to instruct new recruits as Jaeger pilots. An attack from a powerful rogue Jaeger reveals that times are not as peaceful as they thought and that a plot is brewing to restart the Kaiju invasion once again.Read More »

Movie Review – Annihilation (2018)

IMDb Summary

A biologist signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition where the laws of nature don’t apply.

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Annihilation is a science fiction horror film written and directed by Alex Garland, based on the novel of the same name by Jeff VanderMeer. The film stars Natalie Portman as biologist and former soldier Lena. Her Army Special Forces husband Kane (Oscar Isaac) mysteriously returns home after having gone missing during a mission nearly a year before. Soon afterwards he becomes violently ill and slips into a coma. They are taken by government forces to the secretive Area X, which studies a shimmering electromagnetic field that has engulfed a wide area of land after an object from outer-space struck land. Lena finds out that this is where Kane disappeared and joins an expedition team led by psychologist Dr. Ventress (Jennifer Jason Leigh), along with paramedic Anya Thorensen (Gina Rodriguez), physicist Josie Radeck (Tessa Thompson), and anthropologist Cass Sheppard (Tuba Novotny), into “the Shimmer” to find answers.Read More »

Movie Review – The Ritual (2017)

IMDb Summary

A group of college friends reunite for a trip to the forest, but encounter a menacing presence in the woods that’s stalking them.

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The Ritual is a 2017 horror film directed by David Bruckner and based on a novel of the same name by Adam Nevill. The film stars Rafe Spall, Arsher Ali, Robert James-Collier, and Sam Troughton. Originally released in the UK in October 2017, it was widely released on Netflix on February 9, 2018. Though I knew little about the novel other than a passing awareness, I did pick up on some buzz for this film that got me very curious. A group of friends getting lost while hiking in a spooky forest is hardly a new idea for a horror film, but I’m always up for a familiar premise executed well or uniquely. This was something the film looked like it had the potential to deliver upon.Read More »

Movie Review – Black Panther

IMDb Summary

T’Challa, the King of Wakanda, rises to the throne in the isolated, technologically advanced African nation, but his claim is challenged by a vengeful outsider who was a childhood victim of T’Challa’s father’s mistake.

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Black Panther is the eighteenth film released in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), and the second film featuring the character since his first appearance in Captain America: Civil War back in 2016. The film is directed and co-written by Ryan Coogler and stars Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Black Panther. Going in I found it interesting to consider it as a follow-up to Civil War in the same way that Spider-Man: Homecoming was; the respective characters both debuted in that film and the events of it directly affect their first feature. Black Panther was in a unique situation, however, as his origin has not been explored in depth on screen before. To many movie-goes he’s a rather new character. Though excited regardless, I was curious to see how they would craft an accessible first film while building off of the character’s first appearance.Read More »

Movie Review – The Shape of Water

Summary from IMDb

At a top-secret research facility in the 1960s, a lonely janitor forms a unique relationship with an amphibious creature that is being held in captivity.

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The Shape of Water is a 2017 American fantasy drama directed by Guillermo del Toro and starring Sally Hawkins as Elisa Esposito, a mute custodian who communicates through sign language. Her condition is possibly related to the mysterious scars on her neck she has had since infancy. The film apparently drew a lot of inspiration from del Toro’s childhood memories of seeing Creature from the Black Lagoon and wishing the creature’s romantic interest in co-star Julie Adams’s character worked out.

I had been wanting to see this movie for a while. It’s been out since late last year, yet it has only just gotten distribution in my neck of the woods due to a limited release. Perhaps it thanks to all the Oscar buzz the film is now getting that it came out here. Regardless I was grateful to finally be able to watch it. I was drawn in by its openly weird premise and how promising it looked. I didn’t just perceive it as a film about a woman falling in love with a fish-man, but a good film about a woman falling in love with a fish-man. With del Toro at the helm as director, writer, and producer I had a good feeling it wouldn’t disappoint.Read More »

Movie Review – Justice League

Summary

Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes-Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash-it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.

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Justice League is the fifth film in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU), following the release of Wonder Woman this past summer. The film was directed by Zack Snyder and stars Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman, Ezra Miller as Barry Allen/The Flash, Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry/Aquaman, and Ray Fisher as Victor Stone/Cyborg. I didn’t have much hype for this movie going in; it felt more like an obligatory viewing. With the exception of Wonder Woman, the DCEU has had a hard time, with films produced that had some interesting ideas and performances, but ultimately fell flat in a lot of ways. I was also skeptical of how well this film could be pulled off without the lead-up that The Avengers got. Fairly recently someone made the point that just because that’s one way of going about it successfully doesn’t mean that’s the only way of doing it, however, which opened my mind up a little.Read More »