Showing posts from September, 2021

Free Guy (2021)

I will admit I'm not the best at judging a movie by its trailer.  Guardians of the Galaxy was an immediate "nope" for me when I originally saw the ads, while Stargate was a movie I was champing at the bit to see.  My reaction to seeing both of them were just the opposite of what I had expected, so I have learned to try to avoid seeing trailers unless it is a movie I have already made my mind up to see, and that's largely to see the release date they put at the end of it.  These days, of course, that pretty much doesn't tell me anything either. Free Guy was all over the internet with trailers and such right before it came out, and it is another one of those movies that has been hanging around in limbo for a year or so waiting to get a release date.  I had not heard anything about it prior, and there was nothing in the ads I saw that told me what the movie was about.  If anything it looked like another reluctant super hero film like Hancock , which automatically me

Sicario (2015)

In a world where even the best and most creative directors find themselves suddenly assigned to do yet another faceless super hero film on which, fairly or not, the rest of their brief career rests, Denis Villeneuve is an outlier.  His movies have gained renown for his deliberate pacing, emphasis on story telling and frequent partnership with cinematographer Roger Deakins, who seems to share a similar vision to Villeneuve.  His concentration on something other than pretty lights and explosions makes him somewhat of an outlier in mainstream directors. Still he has gained popularity, both among critics and audiences, even if his movies have never been runaway box office hits.  It's possible that may end with his version of Dune if he pulls off the feat of making Frank Herbert's sprawling science fiction novel make sense on the big screen, but so far Villeneuve has been one of those rare directors that benefit from reputation rather than financial returns.  That didn't seem to

Star Trek: Insurrection (1998)

A common complaint about the movies featuring the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation is that the films were just extended episodes with better special effects.  This is true in some cases, but fans of Star Trek are also quick to backlash whenever any of their favorite characters don't stay within character.  Star Trek: First Contact is typically acknowledged, especially by those who are not outright fanatics of the series, to be the best of the four TNG movies, as well as one of the best of the Trek movies period.  However, purists often take issue with how the main characters are written as compared to the show. For Star Trek: Insurrection  it was obviously noted that the action drew more viewers while, to keep the faithful, there had to be more emphasis on the crew that fans had come to love over seven seasons' worth of adventures.  The problem is to do this Rick Berman and Michael Piller had to shape this ninth movie so that it felt more like a traditional TNG plot.  In

Saw: The Final Chapter (2010)

Originally Lionsgate and Twisted Pictures thought they had enough of of an audience to warrant a two-part conclusion to the Saw  series.  Unfortunately, though Saw VI was a welcome return to form after the lackluster Saw V , audiences severely dwindled between the two said sequels, and what was supposed to be a grand finale was cut down to one movie.  It is the Saw franchise, so grand is a matter of opinion, especially since originally the idea was to bring back David Hackl, who had directed Saw V , for part seven.  Instead, wisely, they brought back Kevin Greutert, who had helmed the previous film.  That the series had lasted this long was part of the problem.  Although the movies continually piled on more twists and retcons than Disney trying to explain what happened in the Star Wars sequels, and the fact that there was a successful method of keeping the series going after its main antagonist had died, for the most part anything important in the original story was done by Saw III . 

The Long Riders (1980)

When one wants accuracy - or close to it - one should go for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford .  But, if one wants just plain good old cinematic entertainment, The Long Riders is the place to come.  The moment I saw Walter Hill was the director was when I knew that I was in for pure entertainment and anything that happened to be of any historical accuracy was probably going to be by accident.   Of course I was right in this case as some things that happen were based on real events and others - like a shootout at the barn - were inspired by more modern events rather than the exploits of the James-Younger Gang.  In fact the movie evolved from a musical about Jesse and Frank James that was written and produced by James and Stacy Keach, and they decided to bring it to the screen.  The latter Keach cowrote the movie with Bill Bryden and Steven Smith and they got Hill to direct.  The major hook for the movie, though, was just as they were brothers in real life, Jess