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Tomb Raider (2018)
Tomb Raider (2018)
2018 | Action, Adventure
Alicia Vikander Lights up the Screen
Following up his powerful Norwegian disaster movie THE WAVE with this big budgeted English language debut reboot of the video game to big screen series TOMB RAIDER, director Roar Uthaug delivers a fun, fast-paced new take on the series.

Academy Award winner Alicia Vikander picks up the baton left by our previous Lara Croft, Angelina Jolie and has a blast in what is essentially a female spin on INDIANA JONES and NATIONAL TREASURE.

While the film gets pretty ridiculous as it continues, the eye-catching effects and sharp visual visual style, as well as terrific turns by Dominic West and Walton Goggins as her father and the film's villain respectively keep you invested, even if you'll forget it almost as quickly as you've seen it.
  
Machete Kills (2013)
Machete Kills (2013)
2013 | Action
7
5.8 (5 Ratings)
Movie Rating
B-Movie Exloitation Film
Like I said in my Machete review, its so weird and odd to see some of these actors working together, cause you would never think in a million years that some of these people would work together like.. Mel Gibson, Charlie Sheen, Sofia Vergara, Amber Heard, Walton Goggins, Lady Gaga, Cuba Gooding Jr., Antoino Banderas and Vanesssa Hudgens. Like would ever thought that all of these actors would work together in a B-Movie Exploitation film called Machete Kills is just strange and somehow it works. I dont how, but it just works.

The plot: When the president (Carlos Estevez) of the United States has a mission that would be impossible for just any mortal man, the person he needs is Machete (Danny Trejo), a knife-wielding ex-Federale agent. Machete's mission is to take down Voz (Mel Gibson), a madman revolutionary and an eccentric billionaire arms dealer who has come up with a plot to start a nuclear war. Facing death at every turn from assassins, Machete pulls out all of his skills to get the job done.

If you havent see either of the machete movies go watch them.
  
Fatman (2020)
Fatman (2020)
2020 | Action, Comedy, Thriller
7
7.0 (1 Ratings)
Movie Rating
Billy Wenan (Chance Hurstfield) is a very spoiled, entitled, and sadistic young boy. He has the advantages of privilege and lives with his wealthy Grandmother but is rude and condescending to the staff. Billy is also very arrogant and petty to the point that a Runner Up finish at his private school Science Fair after a string of wins motivates him to hire a Hitman (Walton Goggins) to intimidate the victor to falsely admit to cheating so he can claim victory.

This is not the first time Billy has hired the Hitman and when he gets a lump of coal for Christmas from Santa (Mel Gibson) he is enraged and hires the Hitman to take out Santa.

Santa has his own issues as a decline in revenue has forced him and his wife Ruth (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) to take on a project with the government to not only restore his fully stipend but to pay additional funds that will ensure financial stability.

The fact that the Hitman has his own reasons for having issues with Santa further motivates him to take the job and rushed north to face Santa on his own turf.

“Fatman” is a dark and entertaining new holiday entry that gives a contemporary take on Santa and his Elves as they must contend with the issues, politics, and changing world that face many companies.

The at times dark nature of the film is an interesting contrast to the usual overly sweet films that are commonplace this time of year and Gibson and Goggins backed by a strong supporting cast turn in memorable performances.

While not one for the kids; “Fatman” is a solid piece of entertainment and Eshom and Ian Nelms keep things moving at a steady pace and provide an interesting and contemporary look at Santa in the modern world and combine it with a story about finding a way through adversity.
  
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LeftSideCut (3086 KP) rated The Hateful Eight (2015) in Movies

Aug 30, 2019 (Updated Sep 11, 2019)  
The Hateful Eight (2015)
The Hateful Eight (2015)
2015 | Action, Western
A modern masterpiece
Honestly, there is nothing I dislike about the 8th film from Quentin Tarantino. Absolutely nothing.

From the minute The Hateful Eight starts it's meaty runtime, we're treated to some stunning long distance shots. The setting is gorgeous, and every shot in the opening moments has been shot with care.
It's not long until the cast start getting introduced, specifically Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson), John Ruth (Kurt Russell), Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh), and Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins), as they all make their way to the town of Red Rock for various reasons.
All four of them are fantastic, as they masterfully work Tarantino's wonderful script. As usual, the dialogue throughout The Hateful Eight is thoroughly engaging, and didn't lose my attention for one second.

On the way there, they stop at an inn to shelter from the violent blizzard - Minnie's Haberdashery - where the rest of the film takes place. It's here we meet Bob (Demián Bichir), Oswald Mobray (Tom Roth), Joe Gabe (Michael Madsen), and General Sandy Smithers (Bruce Dern), rounding out our eight strong cast of hateful characters.

What follows is a dialogue heavy, intense ride as these characters begin to find themselves at odds with each other, revealing hidden secrets along the way, in the aftermath of American Civil War.
It's an intriguing set up that I can't say anymore about without spoiling anything.
It's certainly a film that benefits from knowing nothing about it before going in.

As I said, this is an amazing looking movie, with an extremely solid cast, and a tight and often funny script. The music score is beautiful just to add a lovely finishing touch.

I can't praise this masterpiece enough - Tarantino at his best.
  
Tomb Raider (2018)
Tomb Raider (2018)
2018 | Action, Adventure
The acting is top notch (2 more)
Lots of action
Very loyal to the game series
Would have liked more puzzles (0 more)
The Story of Lara Croft is an interesting one
Watched this last night. As usual, I try not to see any reviews until I see it, so I'm not swayed by other's opinions. And so, not knowing if the movie was liked or disliked, I was able to watch it & make my own opinion.

I am a fan of the game series & love the new entries. I'm very glad they decided to follow the new games for this film & I found Lara's "origin" to be real interesting. I was not a fan of the Angelina Jolie movies. I found her too snooty & arrogant to like the character. But Alicia Vikander plays the characters perfectly. She plays a young Lara, who's tough, but has some vulnerability to her. She's an underdog we can root for, but she can hold her own too. A perfect balance.

Daniel Wu & Dominic West play their parts well. Although I would have liked to have seen Wu pull off some martial arts moves, like his character on "Into the Badlands", but I'm also glad they didn't fall for the stereotypical Asian.

But. a movie is only as good as it's main villain. And this movie has a great one. Played by Walton Goggins, who doesn't get the credit he deserves. This guy is great. He can make you love him & he can make you hate him too. I've never seen him in a bad role.

There's really not much to say about the story, as it's practically a live-action remake of the last 2 video games stories mashed together. You know what to expect, lots of action, lots of raiding of tombs. I kind of wish there would have been more puzzle solving in it. Some of the puzzles were solved without even showing them. Lara just solves them. I kind of wish I could have figured them out. But I guess I'm just used to playing the game & doing everything myself.

Anyway, the bottom line, it's a fun film, well worth watching.
  
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Daniel Boyd (1023 KP) rated Tomb Raider (2018) in Movies

Mar 22, 2018 (Updated Mar 22, 2018)  
Tomb Raider (2018)
Tomb Raider (2018)
2018 | Action, Adventure
Decent SFX (0 more)
Dumb Flashbacks (0 more)
An Uninspired Take On the Iconic Character
This is the greatest video game movie ever made.
Now, I know what you are thinking, "Dan, you scored this thing a 6, you can't open your review with a statement like that!" Well the thing is, every other video game movie is so shit, that this mediocre action adventure flick is the gold standard in comparison.

If you played the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot game, then you will see a lot of similarities here, except most of it isn't done as well as it was done in the game. First of all, they spend far too much time following Lara in London before she goes on her adventure. For some reason she lives a poor life as a delivery girl that can't even afford to pay her gym membership, even though she has a massive fortune of inheritance money sitting there, that is hers once she signs off on her father's death certificate. Her dad is played by Dominic West, who is one of my favourite actors, but unfortunately he is kind of wasted here. He went missing seven years ago and is the catalyst for Lara's adventure to begin.

So she goes to Thailand to look for the guy that her dad bought the boat from to go to the remote island with the treasure on it. The guy she finds from Into The Badlands, turns out to be his son and he agrees to help her for some cash. He is actually pretty enjoyable in the movie and probably does a better job selling his character than his Oscar winning co-star, but we will get back to that later. So the two of them go to this remote island and a storm hits the boat, forcing the two of them overboard. Lara wakes up with Walton Goggins' character Mathias holding her at gun point. Mathias is nothing like he was in the game, where he was a mad priest type character, here he is a tired faithless mercenary that just wants to get the job done and go home. Walton Goggins, who again is one of my favourite actors, does his best with the material that he is giving, the issue being that the material is pretty garbage, which is the case for this movie's script in general. From here, Lara goes through the motions of becoming more of a badass survivor. This leads us into some exciting action set pieces that call back to the original game and are probably the best parts of the movie, so I won't spoil them here.

Let's talk about Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft. I have liked Alicia Vikander in every other role that I have seen her in and I was looking forward to seeing her performance as this iconic character. However, she just doesn't sell the character for me. I'm not sure if it's the material that the filmmakers gave her to work with, but she is totally underwhelming and never defines the character in any major way or makes it her own. You could have cast any young actress in this role and you would have gotten the same result. The other rumoured names before Vikander was officially cast were Emelia Clarke and Daisey Ridley. Any one of those would yielded the exact same results meaning that while Vikander was perfectly serviceable, she brought nothing special or original to the role.

Next I want to cover some of the movie's technical elements. The special effects were actually pretty impressive overall. The CGI backdrops all looked pretty convincing and even the character animation that was sprinkled in here and there looked pretty good and didn't distract or take me out of the movie too much. However, everything else was totally unremarkable. From the direction, to the lighting, to the cinematography, to the score, it was all just passable and nothing more.

Before I conclude this review, I want to briefly touch on something that this movie does that I hate seeing in movies. For some reason this movie repeatedly shows us flashbacks of something that happened just minutes beforehand. It is so frustrating and totally breaks the pace of the movie. It also feels as if the filmmakers are treating their audience like complete idiots that can't piece their predictable plot together without explicitly spelling it out by showing us the same flashback for the fourth time. Hollywood please stop doing this, it totally breaks any flow that your movie almost had and is so painfully unnecessary it hurts, give us some credit as moviegoers.

Overall, this is a decent action adventure romp that works okay if you don't think about it too much. It isn't anything special in any way and doesn't do anything that hasn't been done better by another franchise before. You will have a decent time with this as long as you don't expect something that is going to bring the video game movie into legendary status.
  
Tomb Raider (2018)
Tomb Raider (2018)
2018 | Action, Adventure
Not a bad start to this series
I have a confession to make, I have not seen the Angelina Jolie Lara Croft films, nor am I all that familiar with the video games that have spawned these movies, so it is with a fresh perspective that I judge how good (or bad) this film is.

And you know what? It's pretty good.

Starring Alicia Vikander, TOMB RAIDER is the origin story of how Lara Croft becomes a...ahem...Tomb Raider. This is the first starring role in a big "tent pole" film for her and she holds the center of the story quite well. Best known as the Oscar winner for Best Supporting Actress in THE DANISH GIRL (which I feel was a consolation prize for her from the Academy as a way of apologizing for not even nominating her for her Oscar-worthy performance in EX MACHINA), TOMB RAIDER transforms Ms. Vikander into a viable action star. Her Lara Croft is not a "super-hero" who is impervious to pain, rather, she is a real person (a tough one, I'll admit) but when she gets hurt, she feels it.

Doing everything but twirling his mustache is Walton Goggins as Mathias Vogel a rival Tomb Raider looking to raid the same tomb.

Why are they looking for this tomb? Does it matter? Nope. The fun is in the journey - and what fun there is. Norwegian Director Roar Uthaug (THE WAVE) keeps the action moving swiftly, jumping from one clue to another and one stunt to another, rarely slowing down for the audience to think - and that's a good thing, because as I'm thinking about this film a day later, I'm beginning to punch some pretty big holes in the plot. But...that doesn't matter because watching Croft/Vikander get herself out of trouble is entertaining.

Also shining in this film is Daniel Wu as Lu Ren, who's father, Lu Ren, disappeared chasing the same tomb as Croft's father (Dominic West). Ren and Crofft team up to race Vogel to the tomb.

Along for the ride in smaller-ish roles - in what appears to be the first film of a series - are such stalwarts as Nick Frost (uncredited), Jaime Winstone, Derek Jacobi and Kristen ScottThomas. All of whom must have been promised larger roles in later films in this series.

A solid start to the series. I, for one, will look forward to the next tomb that Lara Croft raids.

Letter Grade B+

7 1/2 (out of 10) stars and you can take that to the Bank(ofMarquis)
  
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Larry Eisner (2080 KP) Jul 18, 2018

Agreed entirely with your review. Excellent as well to read.

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JT (268 KP) rated Predators (2010) in Movies

Mar 10, 2020  
Predators (2010)
Predators (2010)
2010 | Action, Horror, Sci-Fi
Fans of the original Predator will no doubt have been excited to see the trailers for Predators, a script pulled from a filing cabinet in 1994 and given a 2010 make over by Robert Rodriguez, who produces, with Nimród Antal directing.

It was always going to be hard to top Schwarzenegger’s 1987 hit; John McTiernan had little special effects to work with but delivered an action/sci-fi masterpiece with a cast of mercenaries. When the sequel came along Schwarzenegger wanted no part of it, and so it was up to Danny Glover (I’m still getting to old for this shit) to battle on home turf, unsuccessfully in many people’s eyes.

In 2010 we’re back in the jungle only this is no ordinary jungle, this is home field advantage for the Predators. Again, a bunch of unknowns from different specially selected backgrounds are dropped in together to face a new breed of Predator, seemingly engaged in their own tribal turf war.

The story follows some similar paths to the original, macho heroes must work together to fight back, while at the same time avoid being picked off one at a time. The script is disjointed with no prior background as to why these bunch of cut throats have been pooled together, or who is behind it all.

That said those of us who can remember back as far as 1987 will enjoy a homage to the original with scenes like a spectacular waterfall jump, a Yazuka Vs Predator battle which gives us an insight as to what might have happened when Billy stayed behind on the bridge with nothing more than a huge knife for protection. All that and the immortal line “Kill me I’m here!”

Adrien Brody may not seem like your stereotypical action hero but he does do a half decent job, following along the action hero code of A) getting some serious gym time, B) lowering voice to a low growl and C) not giving a shit, then coming back and giving a shit!

The others, well they’re no Dutch, Mac, Billy or Zane but they are a new breed. There is the quiet and yet deadly Yakuza (Louis Ozawa Changchien), who is dressed for the most part in a smart grey suit and performs the sword-moves in a well choreographed human vs. Predator duel.

The rest are walking talking archetypal thugs, a Russian beef cake (Oleg Taktarov), a death row serial murderer (Walton Goggins), an African Death Squad killer (Mahershalalhashbaz Ali) and a cocaine cartel hatchet man (the legend that is Danny Trejo). There is also a rather pointless guest appearance which might lead us into a false sense of security as it is all but cut short, shame!
  
Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
2018 | Action, Sci-Fi
In a word - fun
By this time, either you are "in" on the Marvel Cinematic Universe or you are "out". If you are "out", there's not a whole lot that I (or any other reviewer) will be able to do to change your mind. Which is too bad, for the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a pretty fun ride. The folks at Marvel "have it down" and I can't remember the last time that I was disappointed by a Marvel movie.

And that goes for the latest installment - ANTMAN AND THE WASP.

Starring Paul Rudd and Evangaline Lilly as the titular characters, ANT-MAN AND THE WASP is the follow-up to 2015's ANT-MAN and (more directly) 2016's CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR. It also answers the question as to why these characters were not involved in the other Marvel movie this summer - AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR, Part 1.

But, like most of the Marvel films, the plot doesn't really matter, it is the characters and the situations they are put in that matter. And, in the case of this film, the word I would use for both is FUN.

Starting with bickering stars Rudd and Lilly. They do the "frenemies with a no-doubter mutual attraction" thing very well. They play off each other smartly, with Lilly's common sense, physicality and "cut the crap" attitude in vast contrast to Rudd's "man-child". Both are winning presences on the screen, with Rudd's natural charm jumping at you in places where (if it didn't) his character would seem like a jerk.

Joining in the fun is Michael Douglas as, basically, the referee for these two. He looks like he's having fun - despite himself - and really comes into his own with his character. Randall Park does a fun turn as a Federal Agent charged with keeping an eye on Rudd's character and Lawrence Fishburne brings "Morpheus-like" gravitas to his role as a fellow scientist.

But...like in the first Ant-Man film...the characters that steal the film are Michael Pena and his two dim-witted assistants, David Dastmalchian and T.I. When any one of these three (but, especially Pena) are on the screen, the maniacal, fun energy of this film rises dramatically. They had me wishing that they would have their own film to themselves. But..maybe I like them so much because they are being fed to us in very small doses.

Unfortunately, Judy Greer and Bobby Canavale (from the first film) and Walton Goggins (new to this film) don't really have enough to do - and when they are given something to do, it pales in comparison to the others - and to the action.

And what terrific action there is! Filmmaker Peyton Reed (he also Directed Ant Man) does a nice job of keeping the action simple (enough) that you always knew what was going on and playing with size (now they're BIG, now they're SMALL, now they're NORMAL size...) was used wisely to always drive the film - and the action - forward.

As with all Marvel films, this one has a place in the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe (a place I won't spoil here), but I was satisfied with how they dealt with this film as a stand alone, "chase" movie, yet still connected to the rest.

A good time was had.

Letter Grade: A-

8 (out of 10) stars and you can take that to the Bank(ofMarquis)
  
Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
2018 | Action, Sci-Fi
Following the unexpected and shocking moments from “Avengers: Infinity War”, fans eagerly awaited the next Marvel Studios film for any type of clues as to what will happen next when the next Avengers film arrives next summer. “Ant-Man and the Wasp”, is set before the events of “Avengers: Infinity War”, and finds Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) under home confinement thanks to a plea deal he took for siding with Captain America in “Captain America: Civil War”.

The years of being at home have driven Scott to find creative ways to entertain himself when his friend Luis (Michael Pena) and his daughter Cassie are not around. Scott is nearing the end of his isolation but knows F.B.I. Agent Woo (Randall Park), is waiting for him to slip up and with a possible twenty year prison term in the balance, he is not eager to make any mistakes.

Scott is also on the outs with Hope (Evangeline Lilly) and her father Hank (Michael Douglas) as it is revealed he took the Ant-Man suit and took part in the Civil War without their permission.

Fate intervenes when a strange dream causes Scott to contact Hope who in turn takes a reluctant Scott along with her to get to the bottom of the dream. Scott is naturally reluctant as he is days away from freedom and being discovered out and about and consorting with his wanted former associates would not be good for his eventual freedom.

A shady tech dealer named Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins) and a dangerous new adversary named “Ghost” (Hannah John-Kamen) also complicate matters and force Scott, Hope, and Hank to contend with issues all around them as the race against time on an urgent mission while trying to stay away from Woo and his team.

The film is a bit slow getting started but it does have some great character moments as well as humor around the build-up to the action sequences. The action when it comes mixes some great visual FX with some humor as Hope and Scott jump between everyday items at various sizes to face the threats presented to them. The cast works very well with one another and there are some great moments that will likely become favorites for fans of the characters and Marvel.

The Ghost is a rather interesting choice as an adversary as we do not have an individual bent on conquest, revenge, mass destruction, or accumulating power and wealth. While it may seem odd to have a more down to earth and relatable villain in a Marvel film, it does continue a recent trend of showing of adversaries who are complex, harder to define, and sympathetic much like The Winter Soldier.

There are two scenes in the credits which are very important to the continuity of the Marvel Universe and with “Captain Marvel” due in March 2019, it will likely get fans whipped into overdrive thinking about the possibilities they present.

“Ant-Man and the Wasp” is not as epic in scale as some of the past Marvel films, but thanks to a likeable cast and some timely humor, it should keep fans happy until the next chapter in the series.

http://sknr.net/2018/06/27/ant-man-and-the-wasp/