Sunday, July 29, 2018

I'm jumping out a window!


Parts of it are every bit as world-class as everyone's saying, but Fallout is, in the end, only a good M:I movie.  That means it's great by regular movie standards, and it does amazing things the series has never done before (which itself is in the best tradition of its best forebears); but it's also a Mission: Impossible that sometimes almost drops down to "boring," and that's a sin this franchise has never committed.

Written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie
With Tom Cruise (Ethan Hunt), Rebecca Ferguson (Ilsa Faust), Simon Pegg (Benji Dunn), Ving Rhames (Luther Stickell), Alec Baldwin (Sec. Alan Hunley), Angela Bassett (Director Erica Sloane), Henry Cavill (August Walker), Vanessa Kirby (White Widow), and Sean Harris (Solomon Lane)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Cardboard Science: 20,000 leagues under the skin


Slow (and surprisingly dumb for a movie as pompous as this one often is), it nevertheless absolutely lives up to that title, even fifty years after the fact.

Directed by Richard Fleischer
Written by Otto Klement, Jerome Bixby, and Harry Kleiner
With Stephen Boyd (Grant), Arthur Kennedy (Dr. Peter Duval), Raquel Welch (Cora Peterson), William Redfield (Capt. Bill Owens), Edmond O'Brien (Gen. Carter), Arthur O'Donnell (Col. Reid), and Donald Pleasence (Dr. Michaels)

Spoiler alert: high

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Cardboard Science: My friend, can your heart stand the shocking facts about neocons from outer space?


Remember, if we use nuclear weapons, condescending aliens will come and kill us with weapons even worse than nuclear weapons.  I think you might've had to be there, but The Day the Earth Stood Still remains a fine allegory, and a pretty good movie, though it has a little trouble hiding its flabby middle.

Directed by Robert Wise
Written by Edmund H. North (based on the short story "Farewell to the Master" by Harry Bates)
With Michael Rennie (Klaatu), Patricia Neal (Helen Benson), Billy Gray (Bobby Benson), Sam Jaffe (Prof. Jacob Barnhardt), Hugh Marlowe (Tom Stevens), and Lock Martin ft. a fiberglass statue (Gort)

Spoiler alert: severe

Monday, July 16, 2018

I'll never be your beast of burden


Sorry exists in a world where satire has been dead for years, and it wants to revive it anyway.  It succeeds just about as well as I guess any movie possibly could.

Written and directed by Boots Riley
With Lakeith Stanfield/David Cross (Cassius Green), Tessa Thompson (Detroit), Jermaine Fowler (Salvador), Steven Yuen (Squeeze), Danny Glover (Langston), Omari Hardwick/Patton Oswalt (Mr. ____), and Armie Hammer (Steve Lift)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Finity war


Ant-Man returns with all the charm and humor and spectacle of his first outing, and pays off on the promise inherent in his second film's title, but Ant-Man and the Wasp reveals too much of these movies' fundamental hollowness for anybody's good.

Directed by Peyton Reed
Written by Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Andrew Barrer, Gabriel Ferrarri, and Paul Rudd
With Paul Rudd (Scott Lang), Evangeline Lilly (Hope van Dyne), Michael Douglas (Hank Pym), Michael Pena (Luis), Tip "T.I." Harris (Dave), David Dasmalchian (Kurt), Michelle Pfeiffer (Janet van Dyne), Abby Ryder Forston (Cassie Lang), Judy Greer (Maggie), Bobby Canavale (Jim), Randall Park (Agent Jimmy Woo), Walton Goggins (Sonny Burch), Laurence Fishburne (Bill Foster), and Hannah John-Kamen (Ava)

Spoiler alert: high