“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 […]

“John Wick Chapter 2” (2017): Exceeds Expectations as Keanu Reeves Returns to Kick Major Ass

High expectations can be a deadly element to carry into any film, especially a sequel to a surprising, unexpectedly successful film such as John Wick (2014). The sequel, which continues the adventures of its titular character, has a tough hurdle to overcome. Thankfully, John Wick Chapter 2 far exceeds any expectations with a fast-paced, surprisingly rich, dive back into the world of John Wick. The film not only ramps up the action but the colorful, […]

“Rings” (2017): Unworthy of a Ringing Endorsement

The American remake of Asian horror trend burned brightly a little over a decade ago. One couldn’t throw a rock with hitting an American version of a spooky tale from Japan, Korea or any other Eastern nation. Of course, the one that hit this off was Gore Verbinski’s The Ring, a remake of the 1998 Japanese hit Ringu. Both films played on the fears of technology, with a cursed VHS tape and a horrible phone call that promises death […]

The Space Between Us

“The Space Between Us” (2017): Fluffy Trifle of a Teen Romance Masquerading as Science Fiction

Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land (1961) is the tale of the first human raised on Mars who returns to Earth, is puzzled by it, and ultimately affects societal change; it is a cultural touchstone and a seminal piece of science fiction. The Space Between Us (2017) is the tale of the first human raised on Mars who returns to Earth, is puzzled by it, falls in love, and solves some personal issues; it […]

“Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” (2017): Same Old Notes In a Not-Swan Song

After 15 years of silly action horror antics, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter has finally come. Allegedly. Like Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street before it, the idea of Resident Evil stopping with this declaration seems dubious if the box office remains consistent. Indeed, that along with the egos of star Milla Jovovich and her husband/writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson has kept this franchise afloat far longer than expected. The zombies clearly haven’t, becoming less and less involved as things have gone […]

“Split” (2017): M. Night Shyamalan and James McAvoy for the Win

M. Night Shyamalan and Blumhouse Productions team up once again to provide horror fans with a low budget genre exploration of the bizarre with Split. The film follows Kevin (James McAvoy) a man with 23 different personalities as on his other personalities kidnaps three teen girls. While the film is not entirely successful in its set up and the pay off on that set up, it does provide a provocative and fascinating look into what […]