June 25, 2020

“Doom Patrol” Season One Review: A Wildly Insane Superhero Comedy with Heart

Where else have you seen a robot man fighting a giant alligator for his daughter, mere episodes away from a horde of butts on legs escaping a government facility and a sentient street having a massive sexual climax?

The creative team behind Doom Patrol is very obviously firmly committed to the weirdness that the creatively quirky superheroes brings to the silver screen. Couple that with actors that are as dedicated to the strangeness, and you get a highly entertaining introductory season to the most unconventional superhero series out there.

June 23, 2020

“Love, Victor” Season One Review: Squeal-Worthy Teen Drama

Love, Simon didn’t need a sequel. It was a perfectly self-contained story, so I must admit I was skeptical when Disney announced they were producing a TV series, set in the same world, that would follow new characters while also featuring a few returning ones.

Thankfully, my cynicism was not well-founded. Love, Victor is able to separate itself from the show while also involving some of its most important elements. There are a few returning characters (chiefly, Nick Robinson’s Simon Spier, one of the show’s narrators), but Love, Victor feels like a very distinct entry in this world, alike enough to its source material to satisfy fans of shared universes, while also being unique and introducing some new ideas.

June 21, 2020

“The Invisible Man” (2020) Review: A Hidden Gem

In the short history of blockbuster cinematic universes, none has been a more high-profile failure than Universal’s Dark Universe, which would have featured crossovers between well-known Universal monsters such as Frankenstein and Dracula. However, after the disastrous performances of Dracula Untold and The Mummy at the box office, Universal opted to go the standalone route. The Invisible Man is the first film to emerge from that endeavor, and if future films are as successful as this one, there’s hope for the series yet.

Horror movies have never been my favorite genre, but I’ve always been fascinated by the creative ideas they present and their ability to convey real-life concepts through their stories. The Invisible Man is a fantastic example, telling the story of Cecilia Kass (a crazily on-edge Elisabeth Moss), who believes that her controlling and abusive ex-boyfriend Adrian Griffin (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) has faked his death, figured out a way to turn invisible and is coming after her.

June 19, 2020

“The Lion King” (2019) Review: Another Pointless Remake

The visuals really are impressive.
Disney has clearly gotten it into their heads that if they remake their classic films, even from within the past twenty years, with the added twist of ‘live-action,’ that people will watch them — and they’re right.

The Lion King is the perfect example of that — a nearly carbon-copy of the 1994 original, only in the 2019 version everything is photorealistic, from the animals’ expressions to the (mostly empty) African landscape.

There are a few problems with this — namely, the mouths of animals, notably lions, aren’t made for human speech, so at times they look clumsy and awkward while speaking. Then there’s the issue that, since the lions’ faces don’t betray much emotion, the actors have to match that with their voices — and that creates a tedious amount of unemotional performances from actors that usually are dazzlingly dynamic while on screen.

June 17, 2020

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Review: High Amounts of Flavorful Style

“Don’t flirt with her.”
To those unfamiliar or uncomfortable with Wes Anderson’s filmmaking style, The Grand Budapest Hotel’s wacky vibe might throw you off. From the very beginning, you’re plummeted into a world that could only exist in the mind of a stylistic creative type, and it’s not exactly jarring…it just takes some getting used to.

The plot? Hard to explain. The production design? Difficult to do justice. There’s a lot held within the film’s surprisingly short 100-minute runtime, including a story-within-a-story-within-a-story set-up that on the surface seem purposeless and trivial, but actually contains immense depth (as Wes Anderson stories typically do). If you think about this film for a while, you might come to a conclusion that the story is about nostalgia and the significance of the past (hence the deeply layered storytelling), and the effects of the stylistic past on the present.

June 12, 2020

“The Wolf of Wall Street” Review: The Diminishing Stock of Morals

by Danial Cousins

What a smug bastard.
The Wolf of Wall Street is an excellent lesson on the downfalls of excess. Based on a true story, the film features Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) starts a brokerage under the name Stratton Oakmont, selling low cost penny stocks to the rich for way more than they are worth for a 50% commission. The director (Martin Scorsese), and writers Terence Winter (of the screenplay) and Jordan Belfort (of the book the film is based on), show the audience the absurd nature of stockbrokers in this firm, and the ludicrous and unnecessary amount of money each person makes.

June 10, 2020

“Space Force” Episodes 1-4 Review: Finding Its Footing

Space Force is a very interesting series, for a number of reasons. Created by Greg Daniels and Steve Carrell not long after the new branch of the United States military was announced, the Netflix show manages to be funny while also being politically inoffensive (a smart move on the writer’s part).

It would be very easy for this show to ridicule the current administration for the creation of such an absurd-sounding military branch, and true, some characters do. The writers’ feelings about the President are alluded to, but surprisingly, it’s a relatively politics-lite show.

Newly promoted four-star Air Force General Mark Naird (Steve Carrell) is put in charge of the brand-new Space Force and, much to his family’s chagrin, they have to move to a remote town in Colorado. Jump to a year later, where the Space Force has made leaps and bounds towards their goal to get “boots on the moon” by 2024. However, there’s still day-to-day trouble that Mark and his employees have to deal with.

June 3, 2020

“Ready or Not” Review: Something for Everyone

You drew the wrong card, Grace...
Is there any such thing as an original movie anymore? As in, are there any truly original ideas in today’s entertainment world? Some topics and subjects have been done to death, but some have been barely touched. However, it’s always possible to revitalize a certain topic, and put a new spin on it to create an incredibly enjoyable story that somehow makes you forget about where you’ve seen these elements before.

Take Ready or Not, a wickedly fun hybrid of a number of tropes: weird, darkly comedic in-laws (Meet the Fockers), human hunting (The Most Dangerous Game) and deals with the devil (Damn Yankees). As you can see, these are relatively widespread story elements; however, Ready or Not manages to meld them all together in an extremely entertaining fashion.