Review: “Dunkirk” is Christopher Nolan’s WW2 masterpiece

“Dunkirk” is a visceral experience unlike any war movie I’ve seen. It’s the type of movie that an opportunistic marketer could have a field day with, imploring you to FEEL the claustrophobia, HEAR the gunfire and SMELL the diesel.That it’s more than just an intense simulation is a testament to director Christopher Nolan, who plays to his strengths and avoids his worst tendencies. A craftsman who’s enamored with meticulousness, Nolan creates an innovative and precise look at one of World War I … [Read more...]

“War for the Planet of the Apes” review: Hail, Caesar

 "War for the Planet of the Apes" is the type of movie I thought Hollywood had forgotten how to make.The third entry in the rebooted franchise is challenging, provocative and riveting entertainment. Boasting the best special effects and motion-capture work I’ve seen and an epic scope with strong biblical undertones, it’s a story of complex characters navigating muddy moral waters and the apocalyptic ramifications of violence. It’s troubling, astounding and difficult ⸺ and one of the … [Read more...]

Movie review: “Despicable Me 3” is a 90-minute headache

  Let's get this out of the way: Your kids are going to love "Despicable Me 3." My 5 year old cackled and cheered at every bit of mayhem. For the target audience, this film delivers.As for me? Five minutes in, I was ready to grab an aspirin but worried that the yellow-coated tablets would induce Minion-related flashbacks.The "Despicable Me" franchise finally goes the route of "Shrek," with a clever opening chapter followed by sequels that squeeze every bit of wit from th … [Read more...]

“Cars 3” Review: How Lightning Got His Vroom Back

It's official: I'm just never going to "get" Pixar's Cars universe.Despite the studio's ability to make me care for friendly monsters, plastic toys, foodie rats, wisecracking bugs and personified emotions, I've been left cold by the adventures of Lightning McQueen and his buddies. There's just something about their design that makes it hard to connect. Aside from their windshield eyes and bumper-lips, these are still just vehicles moving around roadways and tracks, and something in me … [Read more...]

Lord, Save Us From Your Followers: ‘The Keepers’ and the Dark side of Christianity

Few shows have provoked as much rage in me as Netflix's "The Keepers."I started watching Netflix's seven-part docuseries on Labor Day and finished it this past weekend. As a fan of true-crime podcasts and television shows, I found myself riveted by each part of this murder mystery, but also chilled and enraged at its depiction of Christianity perverted by lust and power. It's essential viewing, but it's not for the weak at heart. Righting the wrongs of "Making a Murderer" "The Keepers" is … [Read more...]

Review: “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” keeps Marvel weird

It's easy to forget that "Guardians of the Galaxy" was the first big question mark for Marvel. After having great success with its earthbound heroes, the studio took its first big leap into the cosmic realm, anchoring it to a group of misfits that included a Walkman-wearing Earthling, a green-skinned assassin, a tattooed warrior, a badass raccoon and a sentient tree named Groot. It was easy to see this as a possible bridge too far for mainstream audiences, especially since the Guardians were at … [Read more...]

Crashing: Christian in the wild

HBO's new series "Crashing" finished its first season on Sunday. As with many of the network's other comedies, I highly enjoyed it. The combination of star/creator Pete Holmes and executive producer Judd Apatow made this look into the stressful world of stand-up comedy heartfelt, awkward and funny, often in the same beat. But it's the show's spiritual side that made it resonate."Crashing" follows Holmes (playing a slightly fictionalized version of himself) as he tries to make a break in New … [Read more...]

Review: Danny Boyle, Ewan McGregor return for another hit in “T2 Trainspotting”

The 1996 cult classic "Trainspotting" was released 12 years prior to director Danny Boyle's Oscar-winning "Slumdog Millionaire" and three years before star Ewan McGregor became a Jedi. Based on Irvine Welsh's acclaimed novel, its scuzzy, rough-around-the-edges aesthetic fit its energetic, seat-of-your-pants vibe. It holds up as a surreal, vibrant, sometimes horrifying look at youth, friendship and drug culture in 1990s Edinburgh.Trading raucous energy for a creak in the bones and reckless opt … [Read more...]

Review: “Beauty and the Beast” charms, never fully enchants

Disney's recent trend of remaking its animated classics has been successful because of the studio's ability to find new angles on beloved tales. "Cinderella" added a dose of compassion and was anchored by a fantastic performance by Lily James. "Jungle Book" found new notes of menace and adventure. "Pete's Dragon" brought soul to a silly, slapdash story. This approach has allowed these live-action remakes to stand proudly alongside, and sometimes above, their animated predecessors.But what do … [Read more...]

Logan: Wolverine’s R-rated redemption

I've been wanting to write about "Logan," Hugh Jackman's final go-round as Wolverine, since I walked out of a theater a week ago, stunned silent by James Mangold's film. It's the rare comic book movie to provoke a visceral, emotional response, one of the few that is about something more than blue lights, shiny gizmos or franchise setups. It's not just a great superhero movie; it's a great movie, period. So, let's talk about it.Warning: From here on out, spoilers for the entire film.  My own … [Read more...]

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