Monday, September 18, 2017

Destiny 2 Thoughts

Destiny 2 has been out for almost two weeks now and it’s almost everything fans of the original Destiny wanted. It’s also something of a reset that allows newcomers to jump in and play alongside longtime fans of the series. Everyone begins Destiny 2 at the same place. But how does it hold up as a single player experience? And how does it hold up against what’s come before?

Monday, September 4, 2017

Blog Update: I Went Back To School!

Just thought I'd give an update in case anyone was wondering where the content on this site went. Earlier this year my work schedule changed and I became busy spending my free time trying to get back into college and taking care of a few personal things, so my posts on this site became increasingly irregular - often with just the weekly "Opening This Week" post being the only thing I had time to write in a given week. 

However, now that the school year has officially started, my free time has only grown increasingly limited. As a result, I'm doing away with the weekly "Opening This Week" post because I simply don't have the time to put that together anymore. As far as reviews go, I'd still like to do some reviews if I can find the time to sit down and watch a movie and write something up for it, but I'm not sure how often I'll be able to.

This blog initially began as both an excuse to watch more movies and practice writing, but over time became something of a creative outlet and a method of engaging with film criticism - a subject that has always interested me and inspired me to become a Cinema and Digital Video Production major during my first bout with college. Incidentally, the video production portion of that major lead to a job at a local TV station that, combined with my newfound love of writing, has inspired me to head back to college for a Journalism degree. With any luck I'll be able to pursue a new career of writing for the web - perhaps even writing about movies, games, TV, or other similar "arts and culture" topics I've spent time writing about on this blog over the years.

Thanks for reading this blog! And be on the lookout for the occasional post in the future. Follow me on all the social networks where I'll link to anything I end up writing. 

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Opening This Week - August 18, 2017

Wide Releases:

Logan Lucky

Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
Runtime: 1hr, 59mins
Comedy, Crime, Drama

Starring: Katherine Waterston, Daniel Craig, Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Sebastian Stan, Hilary Swank, Seth MacFarlane

Steven Soderbergh may have been trying to retire from feature filmmaking, but the existence of Logan Lucky proves that retirement was short lived. It's also a return to the heist genre that may be his most well known contribution to cinema. The Ocean's Eleven movies may not all be well liked, but they're all certainly well known, and the first one remains an excellent piece of entertainment. If the early reviews are to be believed, Logan Lucky is "high-octane fun - and proves he hasn't lost his ability to entertain." It's sitting at 94% on Rotten Tomatoes.


The Hitman’s Bodyguard

Directed by: Patrick Hughes  
Runtime: 1hr, 58mins  
Action, Comedy

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman, Salma Hayek, Elodie Yung

And now for a film that is about as star studded as Logan Lucky, but by a far less acclaimed director - The Hitman's Bodyguard is a buddy action comedy in which two rivals (Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson) teaming up to take on a merciless Eastern European dictator (Gary Oldman). It's seen a very mixed critical reception so far with words like "generic" and "stereotypical" being thrown around. 


Friday, August 11, 2017

Okja (2017)

Directed by: Bong Joon-ho
Runtime: 2hrs
Action, Adventure, Drama

While I’ve only seen a couple of Bong Joon-ho’s films, I’ve been impressed by his bold style. He has the unique ability to take on dark subject matter with an often comedic tone. The Host took a light-hearted approach to the monster movie and worked. Snowpiercer, despite being a dark, gritty film based on a graphic novel, took a somewhat similar approach by featuring a few over-the-top characters - the most notable one played spectacularly by Tilda Swinton.

His films are also usually inspired by real world issues. The Host dealt with irresponsible use of chemicals and other pollutants that kill and deform wildlife. In Snowpiercer, he took on global warming and the great divide in social classes. His latest, the Netflix exclusive Okja, deals with solving world hunger by genetically modifying animals.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Opening This Week - August 11, 2017

Wide Releases:

Annabelle: Creation

Directed by: David F. Sandberg
Runtime: 1hr, 49mins
Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Starring: Miranda Otto, Stephanie Sigman, Lulu Wilson

As the title suggests, Creation is a prequel to 2014's Annabelle, and the fourth film in The Conjuring series. All of the films in the series have done well at the box office, and other than the first Annabelle film, they've all been fairly well received by critics - including Creation. However, as someone not very fond of horror films, I take one look at that creepy doll and I'm out. Perhaps that's a sign that it's doing something right.


The Glass Castle

Directed by: Destin Daniel Cretton  
Runtime: 2hrs, 7mins  
Biography, Drama

Starring: Brie Larson, Woody Harrelson, Naomi Watts

Director Destin Daniel Cretton pairs with Brie Larson again for the follow up to his excellent 2013 indie film, Short Term 12. It's based on the memoir of the same name by Jeannette Walls, recounting her poverty-stricken upbringing and her relationship with her unconventional and rather dysfunctional family. Cretton could very well be finding a consistent theme for his work. However, unlike Short Term 12, which was universally praised, The Glass Castle has received some mixed early reviews. The jury is still out for now, but there's reason to be concerned.


The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature

Directed by: Cal Brunker  
Runtime: 1hr, 31mins  
Animation, Adventure, Comedy

Starring: Will Arnett, Katherine Heigl, Maya Rudolph, Jackie Chan, Peter Stormare, Bobby Cannavale

The first Nut Job (2014) movie wasn't a huge box office success, but it did pull in a nice profit for the newly formed Gulfstream Pictures. Despite the poor reviews of that first film, they've seen fit to produce a follow up with just as deep a cast. There haven't been any early reviews so far, but I'd keep expectations low. However, as far as the box office goes, it wouldn't surprise me to see it do fairly well. The Emoji Movie has disappointed and Despicable Me 3 has been out for over a month now. The Nut Job 2 could benefit from kids wanting one more trip to the theater before school starts.


Thursday, August 3, 2017

Atomic Blonde (2017)

Directed by: David Leitch
Runtime: 1hr, 55mins
Action, Mystery, Thriller

The tagline I’ve seen used to advertise Atomic Blonde just about everywhere states, “the female James Bond has arrived.” To that point, the film succeeds. It’s based on Antony Johnston and Sam Hart's 2012 graphic novel The Coldest City. It wisely casts Charlize Theron as the James Bond-esque spy at the center of this twisty, often muddled plot.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Opening This Week - August 4, 2017

Wide Releases:


Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow
Runtime: 2hrs, 23mins
Crime, Drama, History

Starring: John Boyega, Anthony Mackie, Algee Smith, Will Poulter, John Krasinski

Maybe it's an easy call, but it wouldn't surprise me to see this film get some awards season buzz. Detroit looks like a tense historical drama and director Kathryn Bigelow has fared well during awards season in the past. As someone who enjoyed John Boyega in his breakout film Attack the Block back in 2011, I'm glad to see that he's become a fast rising star in Hollywood. It certainly does hurt that critics have responded well to it. It's sitting at 95% on Rotten Tomatoes.



Directed by: Luis Prieto  
Runtime: 1hr, 34mins  

Starring: Halle Berry, Sage Correa, Chris McGinn

I can't help feeling as though we've seen this movie before, but new takes on familiar stories happen all the time. Kidnap is a thriller that preys on the parental fear of losing a child, but it stars Halle Berry and she's an action star. That, of course, likely means bad things for the film's villain. I'm not necessarily willing to say it'll have a hard time at the box office, but it's opening in fewer theaters than The Dark Tower and Detroit. Meanwhile, Dunkirk is still doing well having fended off The Emoji Movie and Atomic Blonde to retain first place in its second week of release. So it wouldn't surprise me to see it struggle.


The Dark Tower

Directed by: Nikolaj Arcel  
Runtime: 1hr, 35mins  
Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Starring: Idris Elba, Katheryn Winnick, Matthew McConaughey, Jackie Earle Haley

Nikolaj Arcel, the screenwriter behind The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and the director of A Royal Affair, takes on Stephen King's beloved Sci-Fi, Western, Fantasy book series. This film is intended to launch a film and television franchise based on the 8-volume series. However, it's important to note Arcel is calling the film a sequel to the books' events, not a straight adaptation. Personally I'm excited to see Idris Elba up against Matthew McConaughey.