The Legend of Tarzan fails to build on the myth

Review of The Legend of Tarzan, Directed by David YatesBefore any discussion of The Legend of Tarzan can begin, we must first make one thing clear: it isn’t a Disney film. Expectations should therefore be adjusted accordingly (which means downwards).Legend tells the story of Tarzan in reflection, almost like a sequel, except rather than building on a prior film it relies on flashbacks and the audience’s familiarity with Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Tarzan of the Apes. This time around, Tarzan’s vi … [Read more...]

The Gods of Egypt aren’t that impressive

 Review of Gods of Egypt, Directed by Alex Proyas Myth can be powerful, wondrous, beautiful, and insightful, but not when it feels like a videogame set in a universe where hieroglyphs meet all the gratuitous glitz and glamour of Trump Tower. The “gods” of Egypt in this world literally bleed gold. They have interchangeable power-ups and abilities like perfect vision, flight, and demon-repelling bracelets, which can be activated, seemingly, at the flip of a switch. And they sp … [Read more...]

The Revenant’s Brutal World

Review of The Revenant, Directed by Alejandro Gonzalez IñárrituThe Revenant is steeped in a thick nihilism. It is much more than a story of man versus wild. It is an engrossing vision of man as part of the wild. Man is not above nature, but under it.Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) is brutally attacked by a bear and his hunting team leaves him in the care of John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy), Bridger (Will Poulter), and Glass’s son Hawk (Forrest Goodluck), as the rest of the team moves on. Da … [Read more...]

Labyrinth of Lies powerfully confronts the silence of postwar Germany

Review of Labyrinth of Lies, Directed by Giulio RicciarelliThere’s a sense in which Labyrinth of Lies strikes me as the German equivalent of “All The President’s Men” – at least in terms of the place the story occupies in its dramatic documentation of a defining national scandal. Writer and director Giulio Ricciarelli’s latest work tells the story of Johann Radmann, a young public prosecutor in the 1960s whose investigations into the murders committed by German soldiers at Auschwitz pricked t … [Read more...]

Everest: Human Courage, Human Frailty

Review of Everest, Directed by Baltasar KormákurEverest, like the award-winning 2013 film Gravity, is a movie about human courage and frailty in the face of nature’s crushing power. Pro tip for either film: See it in IMAX.Everest is based on the true story of the 1996 climbing disaster recorded by journalist Jon Krakauer in his book, Into Thin Air. Krakauer, played by Michael Kelly, joins a company of climbers who have paid Adventure Consultants a small fortune to help them climb the world’s … [Read more...]

Fantastic Four is a fantastic flop

Review of Fantastic Four, Directed by  Josh TrankFantastic Four will go down in infamy with The Green Lantern and Ben Affleck’s Daredevil as a great big superhero fail. It’s too campy to be taken seriously, and not campy enough to be so-bad-it’s-good. Maybe if I were still in Jr. High I’d enjoy lines like “It’s clobbering time” and eat up spoon-fed truisms about how heroes are only strong enough when they stand together. Maybe, but I’m not. Given the current flourishing of the superhero genre … [Read more...]

Rogue Nation set to reinvigorate the Mission: Impossible franchise

Review of Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, Directed by Christopher McQuarrieThe Mission: Impossible franchise has made it to its fifth installment. The IMF is disbanded and assimilated into the CIA, leaving Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) on his own as he tries to dismantle the Syndicate—a transnational terrorist organization intent on beating the IMF at its own game, but for the bad guys. Curveball after curveball, mysterious twist after mysterious twist, and yet Ethan finds a way to survive, b … [Read more...]

Southpaw shows us the virtues of floating like a butterfly

Review of Southpaw, Directed by Antoine FuquaJake Gyllenhaal isn’t the first actor I would cast in the starring role of a film about a boxer, but his acting chops are on full display as he bulks up and grinds it out as boxing champ Billy Hope in Southpaw, the latest offering from director Antoine Fuqua.His opponent is the upstart boxer Miguel Escobar (Miguel Gomez), a true antichrist of a foe from which the film’s inciting incident stems. At the beginning of the story, Billy has com … [Read more...]

Ant-Man brilliantly scales down the Marvel universe

Review of Ant-Man, Directed by Peyton ReedAt some point in the future, I think we’ll look back on the past decade as a golden age of superhero films, and we’ll be able to point to Ant-Man as a prime example. Director Peyton Reed’s latest addition to the Marvel universe isn’t a great film, not even close, but Ant-Man succeeds simply because it takes a premise about a guy who runs around with ants and turns it into a wildly-entertaining, half-decent movie.In short, Marvel has hit its stride … [Read more...]

Terminator Genisys Promises New Beginnings

Review of Terminator Genisys, Directed by Alan TaylorThe year is 2029. John Connor (Jason Clarke), leader of the human resistance against the machines, launches a final assault against Skynet and its time machine. Although Skynet is destroyed, the machines successfully send a T-800 back to 1984 to kill John’s mother, Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke). To protect her, Kyle Reese is also sent back. Thus begins the fifth installment of the Terminator series. This latest film is quirky with its h … [Read more...]