Atomic Blonde, directed by one of the co-directors of the first John Wick, was not as good as either John Wick film. But, it should be said, from the trailer, I had no idea this movie took place in the ‘80s. None of the trailers made that obvious. In essence, this is a Cold War thriller that takes place in a divided Berlin. The mystery at the heart of the film ends up being a rather weak one, but the action is pretty damn good. The soundtrack was very ‘80s with a few covers of ‘80s songs thrown in with some random ‘80s fare (most of which I’d never heard before.) Charlize Theron and the other actors did a fine job, but I just felt the plot didn’t really go anywhere for a majority of the movie. It didn’t advance, if you know what I mean. At the end of the day, I don’t think I’ll ever see this movie again.
SEE IT ONCE.
In my life, I’ve actually only read one Stephen King book from cover to cover: Cell. A horror story I very much enjoyed but got turned into what looked like a dreadful film adaptation that came out last year to little fanfare. (It was almost universally panned and made less than a million dollars at the box office.) The Dark Tower is based on a science fiction book series by Stephen King I’ve never read. A very celebrated book series, which is good for him. This movie, on the other hand, is not that great. The action is adequate but the plot is muddled and slow. The acting from Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey is actually very good. The hero vs. villain stakes are very well established. Unfortunately, there are plot elements and “abilities” which are never really explained in any satisfactory manner. This should have been better.
SEE IT ONCE.
The 1967 Detroit race riots were not a good time. The movie Detroit shines a particular spotlight on the horrible events inside the Algiers Motel. It is a gripping period piece drama. Of course, like all “based on a true story” films, there are liberties taken with what actually happened. Fortunately for the movie, we may never know the exact sequence of events (except for the end result, which, as I said, not a good time.) Eve Baxter from Last Man Standing is in this, for some reason. Along with weird eyebrows guy, the titular Chris from Everybody Hates Chris, the stoner older brother from Sing Street, Finn from The Force Awakens, and even Falcon from the MCU. In short, nobody really super famous. But the acting from everyone involved is fantastic. Weird eyebrows guy shows why he was in contention for Pennywise in the IT remake. So creepy. He really needs to play a horror movie villain because it would be imminently believable. (As an aside, I just Googled “weird eyebrows guy” on a lark, and the actor I’m referring to is the first result in Google Images with his IMDb page and Wikipedia article being the first two Google Search results. That’s extremely hilarious.) Although Point Break, for its extreme yet earnest ‘90s cheesiness, will probably always be my favorite movie directed by Kathryn Bigelow, she makes a great drama.
SEE IT MORE THAN ONCE.
An idea that would have probably been better as an SNL skit (the writing has apparently gotten better as of late) than a full length movie, but here we are. The Hitman’s Bodyguard combines the BAMF Samuel L. Jackson with the comedic charm of Ryan Reynolds. The movie’s OK. As Jeremy Jahns pointed out, this movie kept going when it should have wrapped up. Maybe twenty minutes to a half an hour of extra movie that probably didn’t need to be there. The dialogue is fun between the two leads. Salma Hayek was wonderful. On a side note, “Nobody Gets Out Alive,” which was performed for the movie by Samuel L. Jackson, is a very enjoyable blues-style song. As it stands, this is a passable buddy action flick.
SEE IT ONCE.
Where to begin with this one. When I went to the theater to see the previous film, I caught a glimpse of the poster for this movie. It was very strange. I was intrigued enough to come back later that day to see it. Brigsby Bear is a weird movie. One of the weirdest I’ve seen in a long time. Considering it was produced by The Lonely Island and Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, I guess off the wall should be expected. But, my God, was it weird. In the end, it is also a very heartwarming film. As an indie comedy vehicle, the cast fits that typical mold: a bunch of unknowns, a couple actors past their heyday, and a few well known but not super famous comedic character actors. Oh, and Mark Hamill. It’s hard to distill this movie’s plot in a nutshell without giving away too much. Just go see it for the bizarre nature of the whole enterprise. It’s a spectacle.
SEE IT MORE THAN ONCE.
A smart yet simple heist flick with an original twist. Logan Lucky is movie of the month. Essentially, a group of blue collar West Virginians decides to rob a NASCAR race. Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, and Daniel Craig all sport non-fake sounding Southern accents. While it is not a joke-a-minute romp, the humor in the film is very clever. The set-up, execution, and explanation for how they did it were so well done, which is what we should expect from the director of the Ocean’s Eleven franchise. I say this film just makes it over into the A level. I think you’ll enjoy it.
SEE IT A MILLION TIMES!
Bruce Lee is awesome. While I probably prefer Jackie Chan overall, the guy made a great action film. Birth of the Dragon tries and mostly fails to recapture that magic. The plot, as it were, is largely completely different from what the trailer shows. The reason for the fight between Lee and the monk is hamfisted as all Hell. The fight scenes we get in this movie (two long sequences and a few short ones) are pretty awesome. But that doesn’t fully make up for the hoodwink framing of the trailer and useless side plots and characters that add very little to the movie. The only reason to see this is for those fight scenes. This is what you get when you trust WWE Studios to make a Bruce Lee biopic.
SEE IT ONCE.
The first weekend of September was the second one in a row without a single nationwide release. Thankfully, there are at least three movies I’m looking forward to in the next few weeks. I’m just surprised no studio would put a major release on Labor Day weekend. Just strange…