REVIEW: ‘Ready Player One’ Is Heavy On Nostalgia, Low On Heart

There’s a section from 2012’s “Avengers” where Captain America very loudly tells the rest of the team that he understood a reference. That’s, more or less, how “Ready Player One” operates.

“Ready Player One” takes place in a rather depressed future. Picking up in 2045, the film is set in a world of mass poverty with humanity facing numerous problems. However, much of the population gets away from these matters by way of a virtual reality gaming platform called the OASIS.

Not only do many people escape their problems by way of the OASIS, though, they also constantly search for a hidden treasure. That treasure is a massive ownership share of the OASIS company, which is valued at multiple billion dollars. In order to find it, the gamers, including the film’s protagonist Wade/Parzival (Tye Sheridan), have to look for clues related to the program’s developer, Halliday (Mark Rylance). This is made difficult, though, because of a corporation which wants to find the treasure to take over the OASIS, and uses many of its employees to search for that treasure.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Ready Player One’ Is Heavy On Nostalgia, Low On Heart”

Advertisements

From ‘300’ To ‘Black Panther’ : How The Spring Box Office Changed Over The Past Decade

For the past five weeks, Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” has dominated the box office, with relative ease in doing so.

These days, a major film coming out in the spring movie season and having tremendous success isn’t surprising. In fact, it’s become rather commonplace for this to happen. However, it wasn’t always the case, it only happened after a decade of change in Hollywood.

Let’s go back to 2006. For the most part, up until that point, Hollywood reserved major blockbusters for releases during the summer season, which lasts from May through August, and the fall/winter period between October and December.

Continue reading “From ‘300’ To ‘Black Panther’ : How The Spring Box Office Changed Over The Past Decade”

REVIEW: ‘Pacific Rim Uprising’ Is A Monster Sized Disappointment

Get rid of/kill off the main characters from the first one? Check. Create plot holes that invalidate the first one? Check. Feel less impact from the action despite being technically more on screen? Check. “Pacific Rim: Uprising” is officially a bad movie sequel.

The film takes place 10 years after the events of the 2013 film. Peace has largely returned to the Earth after mankind stopped an interdimensional invasion of giant monsters. However, the Jaeger program, which built the giant robots to fight monsters is still active, for some reason. Also, new candidates are being trained to pilot those robots, for some reason.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Pacific Rim Uprising’ Is A Monster Sized Disappointment”

REVIEW: ‘Love, Simon’ Has Enough Good Qualities To Satisfy Its Target Audience

Like with most genres, if you’ve seen one teen romantic comedy, you’ve seen them all. However, there are still some charming qualities featured in this feature.

“Love, Simon” follows the story of the titular character, played here by Nick Robinson, who’s making his way through high school. He has a good group of friends, a caring family and is involved in numerous activities. However, Simon hasn’t come out yet that he’s gay to his family, school or his friends.

The film picks up with Simon finding out via a social media website that an anonymous classmate of his has come out as gay. In response, Simon opts to reach out to his classmate and starts messaging him, and the two begin a discourse. Despite this, though, Simon keeps the fact that he’s gay a secret, choosing to wait out the time until he’s ready.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Love, Simon’ Has Enough Good Qualities To Satisfy Its Target Audience”

REVIEW: ‘Tomb Raider’ Sets A New Standard For Video Game To Film Adaptations

After decades of waiting, a video game has successfully been adapted into a film with good execution.

While the early 2000s “Tomb Raider” pictures were based on the games of the same name that came out around that time, this film is based on the video game reboot that came out in 2015. The picture introduces the audience to a younger Lara Croft, the main character of the series, played here by Alicia Vikander.

The movie begins by showing Lara as a rebellious young woman who believes that her father Richard (Dominic West) is still alive, despite being missing for many years. Her refusal to believe that he’s dead puts her in a predicament, though, as her father has tremendous wealth and Lara has to sign off on legal documents to ensure that she receives the inheritance. As she starts dealing with those documents, she uncovers clues about her father’s location and sets off on an adventure to the Pacific to find out what happened to him.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Tomb Raider’ Sets A New Standard For Video Game To Film Adaptations”

Movie Report: ‘Shape Of Water’ Wins Best Pic, Director On Oscar Night

For Hollywood, 2017 officially came to a close Sunday night with the 90th Annual Academy Awards.

During the evening ceremony, “The Shape of Water” was the big winner, taking Best Director and Best Picture, along with Best Score.

Continue reading “Movie Report: ‘Shape Of Water’ Wins Best Pic, Director On Oscar Night”

REVIEW: ‘Peter Rabbit’ Is A Good Weekend Matinee Pick For The Family

While I’m somewhat familiar with the “Peter Rabbit” books, I don’t have much of a memory of what they were like. So, I didn’t walk into this movie knowing the, um, lore. As a result, I walked in with a pretty fresh mind and came out of the theater somewhat pleasantly surprised.

As the title suggests, the movie follows the titular character Peter Rabbit, voiced here by James Corden. A mischief maker, Peter often finds himself getting into trouble with the old Mr. McGregor. This usually happens when Peter steals veggies from McGregor’s garden, with help from his sisters and cousin.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Peter Rabbit’ Is A Good Weekend Matinee Pick For The Family”

REVIEW: ‘Red Sparrow’ Is A Dreary, Unmemorable Cinema Experience

With a name like “Red Sparrow,” you’d think this film wouldn’t be so colorless.

The picture stars Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence as Dominika Egorova, a Russian woman who works as a ballet dancer. Her career is cut short, though, because of a devastating injury and as a result, it puts her future and her ability to care for her ailing mother in jeopardy.

As a way out, Dominika is offered an opportunity to become a spy by her uncle (Matthias Schoenaerts) who works in Russian intelligence. Dominika agrees and after a short time is sent on a mission to target an American agent named Nate (Joel Edgerton).

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Red Sparrow’ Is A Dreary, Unmemorable Cinema Experience”

REVIEW: ‘Game Night’ Has A Fun Concept But Doesn’t Deliver Enough Laughs

With a cast like “Game Night” features, one would hope that a solid comedy can be found. Unfortunately, as a finished product, the movie isn’t a winner.

Primarily, the film is about a married couple, Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams). The two are immensely competitive and often hold game nights with their friends where they play anything from Scrabble to Charades.

Despite his competitiveness, though, the one person Max can’t seem to beat in competitions is his brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler). Brooks often tries to upstage Max and even hosts his own game night at his luxurious home, impressing many of Max’s friends. However, the game Brooks set up, a pretend murder mystery, ends up going wrong when a kidnapping occurs, leaving Max and his friends to solve real crimes.

“Game Night” is somewhat in the same category as last year’s film “The House.” More or less, it’s about putting law abiding, middle class people into crime situations and hijinks follow. While the concept does thrust the characters into some over-the-top situations, though, many of the comedic attempts are repeated too many times or have a ‘few and far in between’ symptom, with too much dialogue related to weak subplots.

For example, one of the married couples that attend Max and Annie’s game night spend much of their screen arguing over an incident that’s been used in other movies before and has very little payoff.

Additionally, “Game Night” gets dragged down by a series of twists that basically are set up as jokes. More or less, the joke is whether or not something is just set up as a game/prank or if it’s real. The problem is that “Game Night” just runs this into the ground by repeating it too many times.

I was also somewhat surprised that a movie called “Game Night” had very little related to games. I figured maybe the characters would have to play games as a ways to move forward or use their trivia knowledge, but that wasn’t really the case here. Instead it was just used as a setup.

The cast does help things, though. Jason Bateman is always reliable in comedies and it’s no different here. He also has a solid chemistry with McAdams, who’s also pretty good in the picture.

The best cast member, though, is likely Jesse Plemons, who really comes through playing the awkward neighbor. Once he’s in the film more, his character becomes one of the funnier people to watch.

The rest of the characters are a bit hit or miss, though, and the film may have benefited by reducing the amount of people on screen and narrowing the focus on just a few.

“Game Night” does fortunately have a fairly short runtime, clocking in at just an hour and 40 minutes, so it’s not a huge time commitment. Still, this isn’t one to rush out to the theaters for. Check it out on a rental if you want a simple comedy. 2.5 out of 5.

REVIEW: ‘Black Panther’ Is Solid Entertainment With Great Acting, Compelling Characters

Since getting under way in 2008, the movie series from Marvel Studios has included films with genres that stray away from the typical super hero origins. “Captain America: Winter Soldier” was a spy thriller and “Guardians of the Galaxy” was a space opera comedy.

Marvel once again does this for its latest picture “Black Panther.” Instead of telling a super hero centric story, “Black Panther” is a story of nationalism, politics and a monarchy.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Black Panther’ Is Solid Entertainment With Great Acting, Compelling Characters”