Search This Blog

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Cindy Prascik's Reviews of The Foreigner & Professor Marston and the Wonder Women

Dearest Blog: Yesterday it was off to Marquee Cinemas for a double-bill of The Foreigner and Professor Marston and the Wonder Women.

Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the trailers.

First on the docket: Jackie Chan seeks revenge in The Foreigner.

A grieving father goes after the individuals responsible for a terrorist bombing that claimed the life of his young daughter.

The Foreigner is one of those movies that feels like it should be much more entertaining than it is. A solid if oft-told story, the picture boasts a well-loved lead and a suspenseful plot, with fierce action sequences that will set you on the edge of your seat. Sadly, all of the above is weighed down by a plodding tempo that makes the movie seem much longer than it is. Jackie Chan is solid in the lead, but the film gives you at least its first half to ponder how this humble restaurant owner got such...erm...Jackie Chan-like skills, with no real payout for your wait; the answer is exactly what you'll know it was going to be if you've ever watched an action/revenge movie before. When everything hits the fan, Pierce Brosnan is perfect as the blustering minister who WON'T HAVE IT!!...but where was he going with that accent? The convoluted plot would feel almost comical at times if not for Chan wearing his very best Emmett Kelly face for the duration; in fact, I think I really might have hated this one but for how much sympathy he earned for his character.

The Foreigner runs 114 minutes and is rated R for "violence, language, and some sexual material."

The Foreigner earns a half-Weasley bonus for (briefly) featuring Harry Potter's Cho Chang, Katie Leung, but gets a full demerit for getting Hot Blooded into my head.

Of a possible nine Weasleys, The Foreigner gets four and a half.

Next up: Professor Marston and the Wonder Women.

The relationships among a psychologist, his wife, and a student give birth to our most beloved female superhero.

Well, dear reader(s), it feels like quite the privilege to be a girl writing in a time when I get to ask which is the better of this year's two Wonder Woman films. I mean, the answer is unequivocally "the other one," but still...

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women has all the pieces of a great story, so--especially riding 2017's wave of Wonder Woman mania--it should have been a can't-miss. Unfortunately, it goes foul by sensationalizing the sexual aspects of the story, resulting in an uncomfortable and unsatisfying finished product.

Wonder Women's chief positives are in its leads; Luke Evans and especially Rebecca Hall are terrific. Bella Heathcote is a bit of a weak link, and prominent enough that you'll feel it at every turn, but two out of three isn't so bad, I guess. The film has some genuinely touching moments as well as some funny ones, and it's told in such a way that it keeps moving even when there's not a lot to tell.

Ultimately, though, WW is just too lurid in its presentation to be taken seriously. When a roomful of adults is overcome by the giggles at every erotic turn, that's a sure-fire sign that, as the Internet is so fond of saying: "You're doing it wrong." Wonder Women sincerely attempts to sell its titular family as "normal," but does so with so little finesse that it only comes across as tawdry, even to someone (like myself) who wouldn't normally bat an eye. Amusingly, the movie even takes a stab at explaining Wonder Woman's skimpy costume, but--just a year removed from Batman v. Superman (where you can bet it wasn't Batman or Superman who featured in a gratuitous crotch shot)--it rings pretty hollow.

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women clocks in at 108 minutes and is rated R for "strong sexual content, including brief graphic images, and language."

Sadly, Professor Marston and the Wonder Women is a coulda-shoulda-mighta been great picture that falls well short of even memorable.

Of a possible nine Weasleys, Professor Marston and the Wonder Women gets four.

Fangirl points: It's always a delight to hear Benny Goodman's Sing Sing Sing in glorious surround-sound!

Until next time...


Tree Gelbman is a blissfully self-centered collegian who wakes up on her birthday in the bed of a student named Carter. As the morning goes on, Tree gets the eerie feeling that she's experienced the events of this day before. When a masked killer suddenly takes her life in a brutal attack, she once again magically wakes up in Carter's dorm room unharmed. Now, the frightened young woman must relive the same day over and over until she figures out who murdered her.

Director: Christopher B. Landon

Release Date: Oct 13, 2017
Cast: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine, Charles Aitken, Rachel Matthews

Rated PG-13 for violence/terror, crude sexual content, language, some drug material and partial nudity 

Runtime: 1 hr. 36 min. 

Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Horror


Happy Death Day takes the Groundhog Day conceit and gives it a fun horror spin.  Christopher Landon directs his film with tongue placed firmly in cheek.  Those expecting some sort of a straight forward hardcore horror might be a bit let down since the film isn’t ever really scary or thrilling.  That being said, it’s still an impressively fun film that really never loses energy during its incredibly efficient runtime.  There are plenty of laughs abound as the day replays over and over again with Jessica Rothe delivering a great central performance.  Rothe has some impressive comedic timing and she puts it to great use throughout.  The central mystery isn’t all that difficult to figure out but that really doesn’t detract from the overall enjoyment.  Horror fans have to trudge through a lot of garbage before something worthwhile pops up, thankfully Happy Death Day is a nice surprise.


Sunday, October 8, 2017


Officer K (Ryan Gosling), a new blade runner for the Los Angeles Police Department, unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what's left of society into chaos. His discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former blade runner who's been missing for 30 years.
Director: Denis Villeneuve

Release Date: Oct 06, 2017

Cast: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Robin Wright, Lennie James.

Rated PG-13 for language, Brief Suggestive Content, Sequences of Sci-Fi Action and Violence

Runtime: 2 hr. 43 min.

Genres: Suspense/Thriller, Sci-Fi/Fantasy


Making a sequel to a seminal sci-fi film is a huge task, especially 35 years after the fact.  Denis Villeneuve and his cinematographer Roger Denkins deliver a visually mesmerizing film that’s gorgeous from start to finish.  It’s an impressive accomplishment that honors the original but also expounds on it.  Ryan Gosling ably leads the film with an understated performance that’s surprisingly nuanced and layered.  Those expecting a heavy dose of Harrison Ford’s Deckard will be left disappointed since he’s only in the film for a small amount of the film’s runtime.  While it’s hard to ignore the high level of craftsmanship and artistry, you do have to wonder if Villeneuve fell a little in love with his creation.  The film’s nearly 3 hour runtime isn’t necessary since some scenes seem inconsequential to the overall plot.  That’s not to say the film isn’t enjoyable or engaging but I can’t help but feel like there’s a tighter more efficient film in there somewhere.     


Cindy Prascik's Reviews of Blade Runner 2049 & The Mountain Between Us

Dearest Blog, yesterday it was off to Marquee Cinemas to see the highly-touted Blade Runner 2049 and not-at-all-touted The Mountain Between Us.
Spoiler level here will be mild for 2049, somewhat elevated (see what I did there?) for Mountain, but nothing really plot-related.
First on my agenda: Blade Runner 2049.
A young Blade Runner unearths a secret that sends him on a dangerous quest.
Ohhhhh...Ryan owe me. La La Land. Lars and the Real Girl. The Place Beyond the Pines. Only God Forgives. (Worst. Movie. Ever.) At this point, *I* could be forgiven for thinking this guy willfully takes only projects he hopes will bore me to death. Slowly.
In the interest of full and fair disclosure, here I'll confess that I haven't seen the original Blade Runner in about a hundred years and thus I remember very little (read: nothing) about it. I had good intentions of revisiting it before the new one hit cinemas, but never got around to it, so I know there were certain "recognition" moments that were lost on me. I should also note that I was in no way predisposed to dislike this, so the degree to which I did came as something of a surprise.
Blade Runner 2049 actually does have a fair few things going for it. The principal roles are carried by well-known and well-decorated actors who do as much as they can with wooden characters. Gosling is never less than watchable, and Robin Wright is the same. Harrison Ford takes his sweet time showing up, but when he does it's welcome, even if it seems a rehash of pretty much everything Harrison Ford does these days. The picture boasts astonishing, Oscar-worthy visuals and an ominous score that I can't wait to torture my coworkers with. For at least the first half of the movie, all of that was enough that I didn't hate it, but the longer it dragged on, the less interested I became in finding that silver lining, and there you'll find the movie's chief handicap: it is just too long to be as slow as it is (or too slow to be as long as it is). Yes, it's pretentious at times (lots of times). Yes, Jared Leto is ridiculous. Yes, it's often too dark to see anything at all, and yes, the 3D is utterly pointless.
BUT...2049 likely could have gotten away with most of that if only it weren't So. Damn. Long. I saw a few social media posts yesterday saying that the film leaves many questions to be answered by a potential "next installment," but the only question Blade Runner 2049 left me was: "Can Robin Wright take a drink without slamming it like a belligerent pirate?" The world may never know.
Blade Runner 2049 clocks in at a painful 163 minutes and is rated R for "violence, some sexuality, nudity, and language."
Blade Runner 2049 is a flaming bag of poo left on my cinematic doorstep, but it sure looks and sounds pretty! Of a possible nine Weasleys, Blade Runner 2049 gets four.
Next up: The Mountain Between Us.
Two professionals who HAVE TO BE SOMEWHERE charter a small plane and end up not getting anywhere.
The Mountain Between Us is nothing more than badly-done fanfiction, Twilight for grownups, minus the sparkling. How on Earth anyone got one--nevermind TWO--actors the caliber of Kate Winslet and Idris Elba to sign on for this drivel is beyond me. The most entertaining thing about the whole mess was the two older folks in my screening who loudly admonished the screen: "You should have waited for the other plane!" "You should have brought warmer clothes!" (It's a testament to just how bored I was that I found that amusing instead of infuriating.) The picture plods on for nearly two snowy hours, hitting every tired AO3 tag you can think of, and often turning very specifically reminiscent of 1993's Alive. (Spoiler alert: Except they never ended up having to eat each other. At least not literally.) By the time the movie reminds you for the last time that this horrible experience has made someone FEEL ALIVE, you'll be wishing you weren't.
The Mountain Between Us runs 103 minutes and is rated PG13 for "a scene of sexuality, peril, injury images, and brief strong language."
If ever I am stranded somewhere with Idris Elba and you send someone to "rescue" me, I will end you. 
Of a possible nine Weasleys, The Mountain Between Us gets three.
Until next time...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...