Tag Archives: movie review

Movie Review: Star Trek Beyond (2016) *Just Beyond Mediocre*

Chris Pine, Captain Kirk, Star Trek Beyond
Star Trek: Beyond is the 13th film to spin out of Gene Roddenberry’s original series, which began-hard to believe-over 50 years ago.  The film is a change of tone with a new writer in Simon Pegg (who also plays Scotty) and a new director in Fast & the Furious’ Justin Lin taking over for JJ Abrams.  The last installment, 2013’s Star Trek: Into Darkness, was deeply divisive, but Beyond came out in the back half of a deeply disappointing summer to fairly good reviews and did well enough that a fourth installment with Chris Pine & Zachary Quinto’s new crew is already scheduled.  Despite all that, this was the first Star Trek film I didn’t see in the theaters on opening weekend since Star Trek VI.  I didn’t see it in the theaters at all.  I never felt excited by anything I’d seen.  The first trailer, featuring the Beastie Boys “Sabotage” blaring over what looked nothing like Trek really put me off (though if I knew the song was going to be a major plot point I probably would still be putting off seeing the film).  Mild spoilers below. Continue reading Movie Review: Star Trek Beyond (2016) *Just Beyond Mediocre*

Move Review: Minions (2015) *WAY Too Much of a Good Thing*


Frosting is delicious.  It’s awesome.  If you have a spoonful of frosting, you think….oh sweet merciful heavens, this is outstanding.  By spoonful two, you’re thinking….well, I still like frosting but I feel like I’m reaching saturation.  Spoonful three and you’re mind is screaming THERE ARE STILL 90 MORE MINUTES LEFT IN THIS MINIONS MOVIE…..  Point is, something meant to be used to make something ELSE better, may not be a great thing all on its own.  In my analogy, you’re more than likely to be projectile vomiting frosting.  I’m not sure if that’s worse than having to sit through 104 minutes of Minions. Continue reading Move Review: Minions (2015) *WAY Too Much of a Good Thing*

Movie Review: The Theory of Everything (2014) *Mild Spoilers*

Stephen Hawking, Jane Hawking, The Theory of Everything, Felicity Jones, Eddie Redmayne
Life, though it flies past, is rather packed with moments and memories.  For great men and women, I would only imagine that it’s even more of a blur.  It’s almost impossible to capture the scope of a life in two hours, hence the biopic is often a hit or miss endeavor.  The best of them pick a through-line.  One seam in the stratum of a life and use it to show the person as a whole.  In examining the life of renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, The Theory of Everything does this remarkably well. Continue reading Movie Review: The Theory of Everything (2014) *Mild Spoilers*

Movie Review: A Walk Among the Tombstones (2014) * Ok, It’s Time for an Intervention*

Liam Neeson, A Walk Among the Tombstones

In A Walk Among the Tombstones, Liam Neeson plays a run-down, ex-cop who now operates as a PI.  He’s called in by a drug dealer to find his wife’s killer when……ok, you know what?  Have you ever seen a movie with a detective in it?  Ok, you’re good with this film then.  It, even among Liam Neeson action movies, is particularly bad and he’s miscast and bad in the film.  Neeson struggles with a New York accent that appears and disappears at random moments and if there is a cliche in the genre, it’s in this movie.  Poorly written, badly directed and sadly acted by someone who should be doing something better.  You know what?  I think it’s time for an intervention.


You’re in a safe place here.  Everyone here loves you.  We’re just getting a little concerned that you’re quickly becoming this:
Nicolas Cage

Not pretty.  You don’t want to end up like that!  You’re Oskar Schindler!  Qui-Gon Jinn, and Ras ‘al Ghul!

I understand that when Taken became an inexplicable hit, you were on the cutting edge, being the first lanky Irish action hero with a senior citizen’s discount IS something unique.  So we’ll give you that one.  But, man, you’re doing this twice a year now.  I know they’re throwing sacks of cash at you, but I think this thing has run its course.  You can be one of the best actors in Hollywood, but you’re literally morphing into Nicolas Cage before our very eyes and that we cannot have!  Get out now!  Someone give this man a decent script!

A Walk Among the Tombstones has absolutely nothing in it that I can recommend in any way.  It makes Non-Stop look like Citizen Kane.  Save yourself the two hours I’ll never get back

Movie Review: Birdman (2014) *A Reasonable Critic Review*

Michael Keaton, Birdman Riggan Thompson (Michael Keaton) is a washed-up actor famous for playing a superhero called Birdman in three films back in the early nineties. Dogged by his dubious past success, and longing for respect, he mounts a Broadway production of a Raymond Carver story, and struggles to fly from his own self-obsessed insecurity.

The most pressing reason to see Birdman is the way it was filmed. The movie consists entirely of a series of long tracking shots, each one around twenty minutes in length. These, in turn, have been edited together to create the impression of one continuous take. In addition to making Birdman a masterpiece of cinematography, the approach makes the film feel like it’s a stream of consciousness.

Michael Keaton, BirdmanI don’t want to give away too much about the plot of Birdman. Some people will view it as nothing more than a character study of a schizophrenic man, and they are are free to do so, because the film is understandable when viewed through that lens. If, on the other hand, you take all the film’s events at face value—if you want to believe that Riggin is telekinetic, and capable of flying around Broadway—the universal themes remain intact, and are even more obvious.

Micheal Keaton is vulnerable as Riggan, while still retaining his old live-wire edge. Birdman is a comeback of sorts for the actor. He famously donned a superhero’s cowl in Tim Burton’s Batman and Batman Returns, which ushered in the modern age of big-budget blockbuster movies and their sequels. Today that kind of movie is adored by the masses and derided by lovers of serious cinema, who feel the entire medium is on the line. And so, Keaton was uniquely positioned to star in Birdman, which is partly an examination of celebrity, and how it complicates art.

Emma Stone, Birdman

The rest of the cast is solid without exception. As Riggan’s amiable best friend and producer, Zach Galifanakis, surprises by being the one aspect of the film that’s down-to-earth. Emma Stone also caught my attention, as Riggan’s neglected daughter, a recovering addict. When Riggan runs through Times Square in his underpants (I promise there’s a good explanation for that) the video goes viral, and Stone delivers the film’s most memorable line: “This is power.” But the biggest standout in the supporting cast is Edward Norton, hilarious as a famous, ego-maniacal actor.

Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Birdman

Expect from Birdman a pitch-black comedy/drama that takes brief detours into fantasy. Love it or hate it, I guarantee you have never seen anything like it. It puts you out of balance, and it’s almost impossible to predict what will happen from moment to moment. Call it surreal, or call it magical-realist; interpret the enigmatic ending how you like. What matters is emotional reality, not the question of whether the events we’re watching are objective or subjective. Birdman contains almost nothing but character development. If it’s rough around the edges, it’s clearly by design, because it’s also highly disciplined, an almost unheard-of accomplishment for a gonzo film like this that might have been shot inside someone’s head. The soundtrack, consisting mainly of jazz drums, feels both messy and syncopated, and completes the film as a genuine work of art.


Finally, if you have ever been tempted to go into show business, watching Birdman will help keep you far away from the industry. The film feels devastatingly accurate, and I’m pretty sure its depiction of theater people is so universal it would resonate with Shakespeare if he were resurrected tomorrow. Birdman contains relatable themes, but being in the spotlight clearly makes a person’s personal problems a whole lot worse.

Birdman is rated R for nudity, language, and sexual material. Leave the kids at home—they wouldn’t understand the movie anyway.

*Red Band Trailer*