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Friday, May 25, 2018


Young Han Solo finds adventure when he joins a gang of galactic smugglers, including a 196-year-old Wookie named Chewbacca. Indebted to the gangster Dryden Vos, the crew devises a daring plan to travel to the mining planet Kessel to steal a batch of valuable coaxium. In need of a fast ship, Solo meets Lando Calrissian, the suave owner of the perfect vessel for the dangerous mission -- the Millennium Falcon.

Director: Ron Howard

Cast:  Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Joonas Suotamo, Paul Bettany

Release Date: May 25, 2018

Genres:  Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action/violence

Runtime: 2h 15min 


Solo: A Star Ware Story went through some much publicized behind the scenes drama.  Directors were fired, Phil Lord and Chris Miller were let go and replaced by Ron Howard, and a large chunk of  the film was reshot.  Rogue One: A Star Wars Story went through some similar trials and tribulations but that film ended up being a pleasant surprise.  Solo though ends up feeling decidedly safe but still solid.  Ultimately, the entire film feels like fan service.  After a rather thrilling heist on a train, it feels as if Ron Howard is checking off a list of Disney approved sequences that he needs to emulate with a fresh coat of paint.  Howard, to his credit, delivers a serviceable film that's as enjoyable as it is as non nondescript.  You can feel Howard trying to provide some iconic or memorable shots but none of them land the way you'd like them to.  It's hard to figure out why this film doesn't land the way it should but it's definitely not Alden Ehrenreich's fault.   Ehrenreich had the daunting task of taking over a legendary role and after a bit of an adjustment period he delivers solid work. Ehrenreich captures the swagger and charisma of Ford's Solo, for the most part.  Ford's work was so singular that'd it'd be impossible to duplicate it but Ehrenreich delivers an impressive performance.  The supporting cast is made up of familiar faces and you'd think they'd make a lasting impression but sadly they don't.  Stilted dialogue and undercooked supporting characters leave you wanting for more.  Emilia Clarke and Woody Harrelson are solid but their characters never pop the way you'd hope they would.  Donald Glover leaves a bigger impression as a younger Lando Calrissian.  Glover captures Billy Dee Williams tenor and smooth charm effortlessly, making him the most interesting thing on screen throughout the film.  You kind of wonder if this film would have worked better as buddy comedy with
Ehrenreich's Solo and Glover's  Calrissian as the central point.  As is, Solo is solid but incredibly safe entry into Star Wars cannon.


Sunday, May 20, 2018

Cindy Prascik's Review of Deadpool 2

Dearest Blog: Yesterday it was off to Marquee Cinemas to catch up with everyone's favorite foul-mouthed hero, Deadpool.
Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the trailers.
The further adventures of Wade Wilson, complete with a whole lotta swearing, a fair bit of innuendo, a bucket of pop-culture references, and a pretty thin plot holding it all together.
Regular reader(s) may remember I've been in Ryan Reynolds' corner for a very long time. I thought he deserved Oscar consideration for Buried, and I even liked Green Lantern. (That makes one of us, right?) I'm delighted and grateful he can call the Deadpool franchise a big win, but I have to admit the abrasiveness of the first film wore thin for me very quickly. I loved it when I first saw it, but a second screening left me no desire to further revisit it...and you're talking to a person for whom repeat viewings are the norm, rather than the exception. Still, I was looking forward to this sequel, and am pleased to report that, at least on first look, it is a rollicking good time.
Reynolds is once again fantastic in the lead. It's a role he fought long and hard to bring to the screen, and he owns it. Josh Brolin continues his MCU takeover with an intense turn as Cable, but it's Zazie Beetz who steals the show as Domino. (*cue the cosplays*) Deadpool 2 boasts plenty of action and non-stop laugh-out-loud moments. Unlike Ready Player One, whose incessant pop-culture references made me want to put a fist through the screen, DP2 works those references to its advantage, taking genuinely funny shots at TV characters, presidents, and pretty much everyone in between, including both Marvel and DC heroes in equal measure. Musical selections such as Air Supply's All Out of Love pile on the comedy. If the plot is erratic and the story barely there, I can't say anyone in my screening appeared to mind, and a reasonable runtime helps the whole feel fresh and exciting. Stay tuned for a handful of mid-credits scenes, including one that drew an enormous round of applause from my theater. 
Deadpool 2 clocks in at 119 minutes and is rated R for "sex, nudity, violence, gore, profanity, alcohol, drugs, and smoking." (That's quite a laundry list, and they mean it, folks. There's barely a minute of this movie where someone isn't doing something offensive, so please, please, please leave the kids at home.)
Deadpool 2 may or may not stand the test of time, but on first viewing I laughed for nearly two hours straight. If you're looking for a nice afternoon of pure escapism, and you aren't squeamish about explicit content, it's definitely the movie for you. Of a possible nine Weasleys, Deadpool 2 gets seven and a half.
Fangirl Points: Yeah, I know he's A-List, nevermind one of the above-the-title stars of this very film, but I have loved Josh Brolin since The Goonies, and I think it's only fair to award him my Fangirl Points when I remember!
Until next time...

Saturday, May 19, 2018


Wisecracking mercenary Deadpool joins forces with three mutants -- Bedlam, Shatterstar and Domino -- to protect a boy from the all-powerful Cable.

Director: David Leitch

Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Julian Dennison, Zazie Beetz, T.J. Miller, Brianna Hildebrand, Jack Kesy

Release Date: May 18, 2018

Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy 

R for strong violence and language throughout, sexual references and brief drug material

Runtime: 1h 59min 


Deadpool 2 is the type of sequel that improves on the original while never losing the spirit of the first film.  The meta humor is bad and stronger than the first go around even if a handful of jokes fall flat, particularly in the first act.  Once it gets going though, the film has an undeniable energy and pace.  David Leitch does fine work, picking up seamlessly from Tim Miller works in the first film, directing the sequel.  It’s never a particularly showy film but some of the set pieces are incredibly impressive and funny at the same time.  Ryan Reynolds, of course, makes the whole thing go without him and his charisma this ship wouldn’t sail.  Reynolds and Deadpool are so intertwined it hard to tell where one starts and one ends.  He’s clearly having the time of his life in these films and we get to enjoy the fruits of his labors.  


Sunday, May 6, 2018

Cindy Prascik's Review of Bad Samaritan

Dearest Blog: Today it was off to Marquee Cinemas for the thriller Bad Samaritan.
Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the trailers.
A petty thief gets more than he bargained for when he breaks into the house of a deranged millionaire.
Well, dear reader(s), there's no sugar-coating it: Bad Samaritan might be the worst movie I've ever seen. I actively hated it from the first scene, and I'm pretty sure I haven't checked the time as much since my friends and I made the poorly-informed decision to see Swimfan a decade and a half ago. While the movie manages to maintain a fair bit of suspense--resulting in a decent jump scare or two--it doesn't have much else going for it. David Tennant is terrific as a full-on sleazeball, the kind of d-bag who wears sunglasses in the rain, even when he’s not trying to conceal his identity. While it's true he probably hasn't been this menacing since Secret Smile, it's hard to be terrified when everything else about the film is so ridiculous. Robert Sheehan also manages to be better than the material, and, if we're being honest (shallow, but honest) I'll admit that a couple hours of his beautiful face was enough to keep me from walking out, though I was sorely tempted at times. That's where the good news ends. Bad Samaritan has the most god-awful dialogue in recent memory (remember, The Hurricane Heist qualifies as recent memory), wholly predictable twists, and a weirdly-melodramatic score that kinda dwarfs the rest of it. I think the filmmakers were aiming for disturbing, but what they got instead was gross, even though the movie isn't really graphic by today's standards. If you'd have told me I could be this bored watching one of my all-time favorite actors, I'd have called you a liar, but I'd have been mistaken. Sadly mistaken.
Bad Samaritan clocks in at 111 minutes and is rated R for "violence, language throughout, some drug use, and brief nudity."
Friends, I'll never be one to steer you away from the cinema, but if you're heading out to the movies this weekend, maybe spend your bucks on something other than Bad Samaritan. 
Of a possible nine Weasleys, Bad Samaritan gets one.
Until next time...

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