Category Archives: Movie Reviews

Movie review: Muddled, depressing ‘Snowman’ caught in blizzard of dreariness

The Snowman (R)

Michael Fassbender gets trapped in a depressing blizzard of dreariness that he can’t escape in “The Snowman,” a deeply disappointing and depressing crime thriller from executive producer Martin Scorsese and director Tomas Alfredson (“Tinker Tailor Solider Spy”).

Based on the acclaimed novel by Jo Neso, Fassbender plays grizzled Norwegian detective Harry Hole, whose interest in a decades-old cold case murder and dismemberment of a woman is reawakened by the killer’s re-emergence and brutal killing spree.

AUDIO: Listen to Tim review “The Snowman” with Tom Barnard on “The KQ92 Morning Show” (segment begins 10 minutes in).

While the film’s Oslo setting is breathtaking, “The Snowman” fails to gain any sort of momentum from the very beginning, and quickly devolves from there into a dull and confusing story that fails to get its footing until the film’s predictable conclusion.

Scorsese, who was at one time attached to the direct the film, wisely stepped away from this disaster of a movie, which is so bad that even the talents of Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, J.K. Simmons and Val Kilmer can’t save it. You can’t entirely blame Alfredson for the failure of the film, as he recently tried to distance himself from the film by saying that he didn’t have enough time on the production to shoot 10 to 15 percent of the script.

With revelations like that, there’s no doubt that “The Snowman” was doomed to fail, and the memories of this stained mark on the resume of all those involved can’t melt and wash away soon enough.

Lammometer: 3 (out of 10)

Copyright 2017 DirectConversations.com

Movie review: ‘Blade Runner 2049’ fully realizes original’s potential

“Blade Runner 2049” (R)

Director Denis Villeneuve (“Arrival”) fully realizes and masterfully completes “Blade Runner” helmer Ridley Scott’s vision in “Blade Runner 2049,” an awe-inspiring sequel that’s far superior to the 1982 cult classic. Bringing original “Blade Runner” star Harrison Ford back into the fold as well as others from the original film, Villeneuve has achieved the seemingly impossible task of not only achieving the same tone of the original film, but fleshing the story out to meet its full potential.

Picking up 30 years later in a dystopian Los Angeles (LA was already in a state of polluted dreariness in 2019 in the original), “Blade Runner 2049” is populated by more replicants than ever before, which, unlike the original models, have been programmed not to revolt and are as hu

man as they’ve ever been with an open-ended lifespan. Still, there are renegade models that have achieved what is deemed a “miracle” that threatens to upend the humans’ new world order over their synthetic counterparts, so Blade Runner Agent K is dispatched to retire the replicants involved to quell the threat. However, as K embarks on his mission, he discovers a relic that pulls him into a mysterious labyrinth that forces him to question which side he should be aligning himself with.

Warner Bros.

The fascinating thing about “Blade Runner 2049” is that Villeneuve clearly isn’t out to reinvent the wheel with the film and make it his own, as much as he’s dedicated to completing the open-ended narrative that Scott created with the 1982 film. While there have been advancements in replicant technology in the 30 years since the original, LA remains virtually the same rain-drenched, dreary environment that provided the original with its most distinct vista.

True, Villeneuve does expand the landscape a bit to give “Blade Runner 2049” some light, but even then, the new locales completely fit within the world Scott created 35 years ago. Villeneuve even went so far to scrap the score created for the film by his longtime collaborator Jóhann Jóhannsson to bring about Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch to make it sound more like the original.

While spectacular on every level from a filmmaking standpoint, “Blade Runner 2049” has a few missteps, not necessarily with the film itself, but with the expectations it sets up for its audience. Ford is billed as a lead opposite Gosling, yet doesn’t show up until 1 hour and 45 minutes into the 2 hours and 44-minute picture; while a couple other principal characters have far-less screen time that fans have been led to believe.

Don’t expect more of anybody to show up in a future version of the Blade Runner 2049, though, as Villeneuve, unlike Scott (who has five cuts of the original) has said this is his final director’s cut. The cast is stellar across the board, including Robin Wright, Jared Leto, Dave Bautista, Ana  de Armas, Edward James Olmos, David Dastmalchian and Wood Harris. Sylvia Hoeks, a native of the Netherlands, is a particularly a standout as an replicant enforcer.

Lammometer: 9 (out of 10)

Copyright 2017 Direct Conversations.com

Movie review: ‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle’

“Kingsman: The Golden Circle” (R)
Taron Egerton and Colin Firth are back but with less-impressive results in ‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” another James Bond-on-steroids-type of tale following the out-of-nowhere success of “Kingsman: The Secret Service” in 2014. Skillfully adapted from the hit “Kingsman” comic book, the first “Kingsman” big screen adventure felt completely fresh and unexpected, while “The Golden Circle,” while entertaining, just doesn’t seem to possess the pizazz of the original.

Egerton is back as Gary “Eggsy” Unwin, a street-smart punk who was recruited in the independent intelligence organization The Kingsman to become a superspy. But since his mentor, Harry Hart  (Firth), seemingly met his fate during “The Secret Service,” Eggsy had to quickly assume the mantle and code name (Galahad) left vacant by his superior, and complete new missions with his faithful support tech, Merlin (Mark Strong).

This time around,

Eggsy and his fellow Kingsman are caught in the crosshairs of Poppy (Julianne Moore), the world’s most-powerful drug cartel boss who wants recognition for the illegal industry that she’s come to dominate. After Poppy virtually eliminates The Kingsman organization in one-fell-swoop, Eggsy and Merlin enact the organization’s “Doomsday protocol,” which leads them to America and the Statesmen – the U.S. version of the Kingsman – to uncover Poppy’s location and her deadly plan to change forever the U.S. war on drugs.

It’s evident from the very first scene that “The Golden Circle,” directed by “The Secret Service” helmer Matthew Vaughn, is going to employ the same, hyper-kinetic brand of filmmaking that made the first film such a blast. But in between, the story seems to stretch itself too thin and lulls as it introduces several new characters, namely the Statesmen – including Jeff Bridges, Channing Tatum, Pablo Pascal and Halle Berry – to the fold.
While the film bills an impressive list of stars for the film, Moore, Berry and Pascal get the most screen time and make the best of it, while Bridges and Tatum are reduced to a handful of scenes.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is Elton John playing himself, kidnapped by Poppy as sort of a pet rocker whose sole purpose is to entertain the off-kilter criminal. He’s funny in every scene he appears in, and (via the help of stuntmen, naturally) has some action moves, to boot. Like “The Secret Service,” there’s no doubt inspired moments like Sir Elton’s in “The Golden Circle,” just not enough of them to justify the film’s overlong 2-hour 20-minute run-time.

Lammometer: 7 (out of 10)

Copyright 2017 DirectConversations.com.

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Movie Review: ‘IT’ has everything you could hope for

See Tim’s review on KARE-TV (NBC) with Adrienne Broaddus in the video above.

“IT” (R)

Pennywise the Dancing Clown is back and as terrifying as ever in “IT,” the hotly anticipated big-screen adaptation of the best-selling Stephen King novel. Coming in at a whopping 1,137 pages, the novel was originally adapted as a two-part TV miniseries in 1990 with Tim Curry as Pennywise, who planted himself in the nightmares of the youths of the day.

Now, 27 years later – the same time increment in which Pennywise returns to wreak havoc in the fictional town of Derry, Maine – Bill Skarsgard (“Hemlock Grove”) is Pennywise, a shapeshifting clown who feeds on the fears of kids and manifests himself in different ways to terrify members of a group of pre-teen misfits (known as The Loser’s Club), who are constantly being targeted by bullies.

Pennywise’s first victim is Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott), who is lured to the opening of storm sewer and meets a grisly fate. With his body pulled into the netherworld of the vicious clown, Georgie is presumed dead by everyone but his older brother Bill (Jaeden Lieberher),  who along with his buddies Stanley (Wyatt Oleff) and Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer), as well as new Loser’s Club members Beverly (Sophia Lillis), Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor) and Mike (Chosen Jacobs) search out to find him –well-knowing they could be next.

“IT” has it all – jump scares, horrifying imagery, a foreboding atmosphere, a decrepit haunted house and ghoulish characters. At its heart, though, it’s a 1980s-like coming-of-age tale, a la the Stephen Spielberg movies of the ’80s and Rob Reiner’s brilliant 1986 adaptation of King’s novella “The Body,” which was retitled “Stand by Me.” “IT,” in fact, is also loaded with unexpected humor, which takes the edge off the otherwise terrifying narrative. One thing is for certain: “IT” doesn’t disappoint.