Monthly Archives: December 2015

Into the Badlands: I Already Miss It

ITB-KeyArt-1200x707Six episodes. SIX. Goddammit AMC, why do you do this to me? Those clever sons of bitches. To ensure they do not invest too much into a show most of their shows (maybe all?) have short first seasons. I hate it. I hate it so much because I love their shows. So now, after six heart-racing episodes of Into the Badlands, I sit here re-watching them all because, goddammit, I love this show. So in honor of these six episodes, I’ve got six questions for the (hopefully) upcoming Season 2 of Into the Badlands. Spoilers Ahead. Continue reading

REVIEW: In the Heart of the Sea

OfficersTitle: In the Heart of the Sea | Rated: PG-13 | Duration: 121 min | Theaters wide (reducing)

Survival stories are among the most fascinating that you’ll ever hear or read about, especially if they’re true. Survival is such a compelling subject matter due to the idea of humankind stripped of any easy way out, left to pit only knowledge and wit against Mother Nature’s ruthlessness. In the Heart of the Sea, adapted from Nathaniel Philbrick’s award-winning book of the same name, seeks to recount the incredible story of the whaleship Essex, but its punches don’t have the effects that it desires.

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REVIEW: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

TrioTitle: Star Wars: The Force Awakens | Rated: PG-13 | Duration: 135 min | Theaters nationwide

Really, what can you say about Star Wars? It’s one of those intellectual properties that define a generation (in this case, my parents’). It’s one of those film series that transcends the medium of cinema to become a cultural and global phenomenon, a revolution even. Almost anywhere you go in the world, you’ll likely meet someone who can recognize a character’s name, a ship, or a musical cue from the films. Chances are, that someone will also know that the series essentially consists of an excellent original trilogy (A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi) that ran from 1977 to 1983, followed by an underwhelming prequel trilogy (The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith) from 1999 to 2005. Since the prequel trilogy, Star Wars fans haven’t had much to celebrate about, until Disney acquired the property and announced the development of a sequel trilogy in 2012. Three years of hype-building later, the first installment of that trilogy, The Force Awakens, has arrived. Although its story beats resemble ones from A New Hope too much for its own good, this generally fast-paced film introduces and builds from its excellent new characters, who prove to be charming and compelling.

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REVIEW: Brooklyn

Saoirse Ronan in BrooklynTitle: Brooklyn | Rated: PG-13 | Duration: 111 min | Theaters wide

Simplicity can be quite interesting in that it’s capable of bearing both negative and positive connotations. On one hand, a simple movie may evoke feelings of, “That’s it?” while on the other hand, it can clear the path for the viewer to immerse in its story’s rich characters and world. At face value, it appears that Brooklyn falls into the former category, but when that layer is peeled away, it certainly belongs in the latter. An adaptation of Irish novelist Colm Tóibín’s book, this confidently crafted film proves to be a heartfelt and winsome tale.

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Philly CityscapeTitle: Creed | Rated: PG-13 | Duration: 133 min | Theaters nationwide

Given studio trends of producing remakes, prequels, and sequels for us moviegoers these days, you’d be forgiven if you rolled your eyes upon hearing about Creed, the seventh film in the much-adored Rocky series. On paper, it sounds like a desperate, unnecessary cash grab that tugs at nostalgic curiosity, as well as an indication of Warner Bros. running out of ideas for movies. Call it cynicism or wariness, but whatever it is, you could have counted me as part of that camp. Imagine my surprise, then, to find that the film is a well-directed flick, bursting with energy and heart.

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REVIEW: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

SS_D74-23611.dngTitle: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 | Rated: PG-13 | Duration: 137 min | Theaters nationwide

It’s over. Four years and four movies later, the Hunger Games film saga has come to an end (for now, barring any prequel and sequel ideas). Seeing this franchise progress has been an interesting experience, given its young adult fiction roots in the novels by the Suzanne Collins. Harry Potter notwithstanding, no other YA movie series has met a comparably consistent level of success not just financially, but also among fans, critics, and general audiences alike. What better way to mark its end than with an emphatic The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, the last of a bipartite finale? Alas, “emphatic” is not a word to describe this film, which never justifies Lionsgate’s decision to split the series’ third novel and fails to provide a satisfying conclusion.

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