Coming Soon – April Movies that Aren’t ‘The Fate and the Furious’

Much like January, April is mostly a dead month in the film world with one big blockbuster film that’ll overshadow the rest. In this case, The Fate and the Furious takes the top spot. It’s highly likely it’ll dwarf the box office like an all-consuming black hole. If you’re like me, and you’d rather do your taxes than watch one more “last ride” where lots of expensive cars explode through a glass window, then you’ll want to read ahead. Here are the movies I think deserve a chance over The Fate and the Furious in April.

Going in Style (April 7)

Alan Arkin, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Caine knocking off a bank in a quest for sweet revenge? Sign me up. While the plot feels painfully similar to Hell or High Water, it looks like this will be a much more light-hearted take on a heist film. Plus, if you’re a Zack Braff fan, then you’ll be happy to know he directed this one.

Gifted (April 7)

Directed by Marc Webb, it follows a single father who gets entangled in a custody battle with the mother of their child prodigy daughter. If you liked 500 Days of Summer or those awful The Amazing Spiderman movies (why?), then you may be interested in GiftedWhile the trailers look a little melodramatic for my taste, it stars Chris Evans (Captain America: Winter Soldier) and could be a solid drama. Heavy emphasis on could be. 

The Lost City of Z (April 14)

Frankly, this movie totally deserves more of your attention than The Fate and the Furious (they come out at the same time), and you’ll probably grow a few more brain cells for watching it. Starring Charlie Hunnam (Pacific Rim), it follows the true story of Col. Percival Fawcett who disappeared while searching for a mysterious city in the Amazon.

The Promise (April 21)

I have no idea if this will be good or not, but it’s about the Ottoman Empire (when has that ever happened?) and stars Christian Bale and Oscar Isaac, two tremendously talented actors. I have a weird feeling it’s likely to be one of those movies that ends up in your nearest Redbox, though.

Free Fire (April 21)

Starring Brie Larson, Sharlto Copley, Armie Hammer, and Cillian Murphy, among others, Free Fire is about rival gangs in 1978 that try to survive a shoot-out in a warehouse. Honestly, this movie looks like it could give The Fate and the Furious a run for its money in the totally dumb category. But, hey, if you really like action movies about people shooting guns a lot for a 90 minutes, then you’re in for quite a ride.

The Circle (April 28)

This actually made it on my Most Anticipated Movies list. Why? Because I love the story idea of technology giving humanity too much power, and it stars Tom Hanks, Emma Watson, and John Boyega, three wonderful actors that could have potential chemistry together. It’s one of those movies that could either be totally ignored or become a sleeper hit. I’m hoping for the latter.

 

That’s it. I told you April is a dead month. What movie are you most looking forward to in April?

A Case Against Disney Cartoon Remakes

Originally, I was going to write up a review about the upcoming Beauty and the Beast live-action remake, but the more I considered it, the more I realized it was better to take a different direction.

The Beauty and the Beast remake is essentially a frame-for-frame copy of the cartoon. That isn’t to say that changes weren’t made, but overall, the cartoon to live-action transfer is fully complete to ignite millennial nostalgia. It’s a gorgeous CGI-display of Emma Watson’s Beauty prancing in the open fields and Dan Steven’s Beast growling and mostly being angry until he’s not supposed to be anymore. Musical lovers will gush at all the wonderfully choreographed singing and dancing scenes and Disney fanatics will be perfectly happy accepting this newly repackaged gift. In other words, there’s nothing I’m going to tell you that will change your mind about seeing Beauty and the Beast, with one exception.

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The Most Anticipated Movies of 2017

The new year has arrived which means plenty of movies to look forward to in the coming weeks and months ahead.

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Movie Review — Why Not See ‘Why Him?’ This Holiday Season?

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It’s no wonder why James Franco has the wrinkles of a smile burned into his star-studded face; he’s played more stoners, scoundrels, and screwballs with an insatiable grimace than anyone can count by this point, and he’s hilarious at doing so. His role as Laird Mayhew in the typical “father v. fiancée” formulaic comedy is the most recent installment to this repertoire of character-types – in fact, it is perhaps his latest and greatest addition.

The strength of his performance comes not only from his surprisingly well-developed character; it also stems from how the other cast members interpret their characters and play off one another, including Bryan Cranston as Franco’s sworn-father-figure-enemy. Tightly wound Ned Fleming (Cranston) is compelled by daughter Stephanie (charmingly portrayed by Zoey Deutch) to give her eccentric boyfriend a chance, to that he reluctantly agrees. Although this commonly adapted and re-adapted formula risks suffering from some overused lines and gags – Why Him? isn’t of exception – the charming chemistry between its cast elevates the could-be tired comedy to a new level, where it preserves the integrity of even some of the more plainly-crude-and-stupid humor in the film.

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Movie Review — Make Way, Make Way! ‘Moana’ is Calling You!

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It is no secret that a multi-media conglomerate such as Disney can turn out successful films one after the other. However, there is something to be said for the development and progress the production company has made in its endless bounds towards a more inclusive and culturally rich repertoire.

Moana, the latest installment in the Disney princess movie franchise (although that in itself is up for debate, as the film’s title character will object) is a credible marker in the strides Disney had made – from the gorgeous production design to the catchy tunes that will most likely be playing on repeat, the film reminds us of the wonderful capacity for storytelling and narrative design the production company possesses.

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Movie Review — Seeing ‘Shut In’? Maybe Just Stay In… Instead

A film that sets up anticipation for thrills, but keeps its audience in a dull suspense for two-thirds of its performance, Shut In is certainly ambitious, but it falls prey to lack of commitment.

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Movie Review – Despite Blemishes, ‘The Accountant’ is a Diamond in the Rough

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For directors, filmmaking is like a puzzle they piece together, but sometimes pieces either are missing or they don’t fit exactly the way they need. Director Gavin O’Connor has all the right pieces for The Accountant, from a lead actor in Ben Affleck, solid supporting actors in J.K. Simmons, Anna Kendrick, and Jon Bernthal, and a fantastic cinematographer. The most important and vital piece that refuses to fit is the script, and while it sometimes works, it just doesn’t want to go in all the way, failing to make The Accountant a masterwork.

Written by Bill Dubuque and directed by O’Connor, The Accountant is about Christian Wolff (Affleck), an introverted, autistic man gifted with the ability to do advanced math, but struggles to socialize. When he’s tasked with uncooking the books for a new client, he discovers a thread that unravels, putting people in danger and rising the body count. In the meantime, the Treasury Department lead by Ray King (J.K. Simmons) does everything they can to track Wolff down.

Let’s get this out of the way right off the bat.

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Movie Review — ‘The Magnificent Seven’ Doesn’t Match the Original, But Still Full of Thrills

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Westerns and remakes run at the core of Hollywood tradition so much that it’s surprising it took the studios this long to get to The Magnificent Seven. Originally a remake of the cinematic classic Seven Samurai by legendary director Akira Kurosawa, The Magnificent Seven tells a story that deeply resonates because it has all the right ingredients: underdog heroes, revenge, righteous indignation, and standing up to ruthless villains even when the cards are stacked against you.

While Director Antoine Fuqua does his best retelling a classic and making it his own, he struggles to combine his signature style of a visceral, gritty, and grounded reality with the over-the-top action and silly humor this western requires. Too often these two voices are noticeably at odds, but it’s not enough to derail the narrative. Fuqua provides a solid experience with a thrilling opener and a satisfying end that’ll make it worth the trip to the theater. All in all, the remake is on par with the classic, updating to modern audiences, and bringing along beautiful cinematography in the process, but this remake is not able to exceed the original.

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Movie Review — Despite Many Positives, Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’ Never Reaches Its Potential

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On paper, Snowden looks like an American cinema classic in the making. Oliver Stone is at the helm with a solid screenwriter and cinematographer and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the lead actor surrounded by a fantastic group of supporting actors. The story is a real life spy thriller with real-life consequences that can speak about relevant topics. Unfortunately, despite the intriguing story, solid pacing and cinematography, and Levitt’s best performance to date, Stone doesn’t seem to know how to piece this story together with awkward tonal changes, preachy politics, a love story that runs out its welcome, and a tacky, eye-roll inducing resolution.

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Movie Review — Despite Some Flaws, ‘Suicide Squad’ Delivers

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Using criminals to help fight against a greater evil is not a new concept. The Dirty Dozen and Inglorious Basterds come to mind though I’m sure plenty of others exist. Suicide Squad, then, is in good company. Anti-hero stories can be tricky to tell because you have to balance their dark character while also creating empathy. Make your anti-hero too evil and you’ll lose the audience, but make them too relatable and you might wonder why they were ever a bad guy in the first place. If done correctly, the storyteller can blur the lines between the good, the bad, and the ugly, and flip the script, making you question who the true hero and villain are in the story. Fortunately, director David Ayer pulled this off in spades while simultaneously creating an action-packed and fast-paced adventure with plenty of humor and fun to go around.

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