[Review] Mother! (2017) – by Rafe Telsch

The Grue-Crew welcomes Rafe Telsch to the fold to review Darren Aronofsky’s latest cinematic wonder Mother! (2017). The film stars Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, and Michelle Pfieffer. Rafe confirms that if you are an Aronofsky fan, you will want to see Mother!; however, he warns the film goes a bit insane for its third act. Having just seen it prior to recording his review, Rafe suggests that his rating of the film could […]

[Review] Annabelle: Creation (2017) – by Doc Rotten

Doc Rotten joins Dave Dreher to review Annabelle: Creation (2017) the fourth in a series of films establishing The Conjuring Universe. The film is directed by David F. Sandberg and features Stephanie Sigman, Miranda Otto, Anthony LaPaglia, Lulu Wilson, Talitha Bateman, Kerry O’Malley, Philippa Coulthard, Grace Fulton, and Samara Lee. Much like Ouija: Origin of Evil, Annabelle: Creation is a prequel to a far lesser film, escalating the horror, screams, and fun. These two films […]

“Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” (2017): Too Much Style Over Too Little Substance

Without a doubt, Luc Besson knows how to make a lavish, astonishing, cinematic big screen event films but continues to struggle to connect with the characters and hitting key emotional beats within the story being told. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets excels at being visually striking and exciting, rousing eye candy full of imagination, color, and spectacle; but, it too is weakened by failing to connect its lead characters, Valerian and Laureline, […]

“War For the Planet of the Apes” (2017): Damn Dirty Great From Chimpan-A to Chimpan-Z

Apes. Continue. Strong. Nearly 50 years after Charlton Heston cursed humanity on a beach, the Planet of the Apes franchise is still going strong. Those original five films managed to combine a maddening sci-fi twist with biting social commentary. They covered everything from race to religious idolatry to celebrity culture. Then after that Tim Burton trainwreck, Rise of the Planet of the Apes managed to surprise the hell out of everyone by giving us a sleek modern sheen and respect […]

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” (2017): Spectacular, Succeeds Where Recent Efforts Have Stumbled

Success! This is it, the film Spider-Man has always needed. Spider-Man: Homecoming fully realizes the full potential of the character steeped in Marvel mythology, quirky, and innocent. Marvel and Sony have joined forces to firmly establish Spider-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This is the Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man of the Spider-Man movies where Peter is as much the story as he is Spider-Man. This is Spider-Man in a world where he has his […]

“Alien Covenant” (2017): Closer Yet No Cigar

After returning to the Alien franchise with 2012’s Prometheus, director Ridley Scott has even more baggage. Not only the weight of his successful start & James Cameron’s initial sequel, but the massive disappointment of the entries that followed and divisive reception of his own return. With Alien Covenant, the question on everyone’s mind is would he progress the larger thematics of religion and man’s hubris he established in 2012 or would he cave to pressure of fans and make a Xenomorph ladened […]

“Colossal” (2017): Monster Manipulation Mastery

Colossal really isn’t a film for mainstream audiences. Despite a cast that includes pretty big stars and giant monsters, the premise is rather strange and the tone is far darker than advertising would let on. Director Nacho Vigalondo (Timecrimes, Open Windows) takes the concepts of a massive kaiju and applies it to these more human characters. Basically, it feels like a complete subversion of the issues with both Godzilla (2014) and Kong: Skull Island in terms of actually focusing […]

“Personal Shopper” (2017): Haunting Ethereal Thriller For the Modern Age

Personal Shopper is many things. An arthouse film. A showcase for our lead actress. It’s even more than a bit spooky in places. Yet, there’s little to show where exactly it fits in terms of genre. The best context for horror fans would probably be more of a gothic thriller. One where there is most definitely a supernatural presence, but not quite horrific in the more traditional sense. The spectre that haunts our main character even […]

“The Fate of the Furious” (2017): Summer Arrives Early with this Fast Paced Furious Blend of Bond, Superheroes, and Race Cars

Yes, a Bond villain is exactly what the Fast and the Furious franchise needs at this moment. For the eights film in the series, The Fate of the Furious, Dom, Hobbs, Letty and the rest are ushered into overdrive, director F. Gary Gary and writer Chris Morgan bring in Mad Max‘s Furiousa to spice things up and actress Charlize Theron kills it as a Blofeld wannabe, just as deadly, minus one cat. The film is […]

“Life” (2017): Gravity and Alien Mix Into Fun B-Movie Madness

Everything about Life (2017) – the synopsis, the trailer, the poster, and the promotions – make the film out to be a second cousin to the Alien franchise. The film sets up a cast of six astronauts on the International Space Station investigating rock samples from Mars and discovering the first proof of alien life – a small one cell creature hidden in the rocks. Before you know it, the alien grows, attacks, and escapes, […]

“The Belko Experiment” (2017): Effective, Gory, and Satisfyingly Gruesome

Before they even walk in the door and the credits for The Belko Experiment can roll, the employees of Belko Industries know it’s not going to be a normal workday at their remote Colombian headquarters. Not only are there heavily armed guards checking every car entering the parking lot for explosives and contraband, but more than half the workforce – the Colombian Nationals’ half – is refused entry into the lot and sent home. And […]

“Kong: Skull Island” (2017): This Kong is King

The summer movie arrives early! Kong: Skull Island features a version of the furry king that literally towers above its predecessors, nearly one hundred foot tall. The film looms as large as the King in its scope, ferocity, and action. This is a monster movie in every aspect. It never pretends to be more than that for better or ill. In most respects, Kong: Skull Island is a roaring success: exhilarating, exhausting, and a hell […]

“A Cure For Wellness” (2017): Works Great For Insomnia Too…

  One of the things I truly hate about film trailers is the tendency to label the director “Visionary”. The trailers for A Cure For Wellness start off with the sentence “From Visionary Director Gore Verbinski”. Mr. Verbinski has directed some fine films indeed, but it seems that for every great film he’s made, he’s made a stinker right afterwards. Sure he directed the first Pirates Of The Caribbean film, but note that he also […]

“The Great Wall” (2017): Epic, Colorful, Entertaining, and Forgettable

While The Great Wall is often visually stunning, colorful, and entertaining, the film is often dull, drab, and forgettable. It is a mixed bag with great shots of action, set design, and costuming offset by a horribly miscast performance from the film’s lead Matt Damon. The director, Yimou Zhang, is well known and respected for his epic fantasy and historic dramas: Hero and House of the Flying Daggers, to name just a few. His eye […]

“The LEGO Batman Movie” (2017): DC Finally Lightens Up

The idea of a highly anticipated LEGO movie seemed so odd a few years ago. The immediate cynicism that comes with making a film based on a toy plagued 2014’s The LEGO Movie pretty harshly. Then it came out… and was one of the more celebrated and successful films in recent cinematic history. A key part of that was the inclusion of many LEGO licensed characters, including DC’s iconic hero Batman. Voiced with the type of laughable arrogance […]