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Out in Theaters: ‘THE FOREIGNER’ 

The geriatric action movie that has taken Hollywood by storm ever since Liam Neeson’s daughter got taken lives on in The Foreigner, a windy political thriller meets man-on-a-mission actioner. It’s nice to see Jackie Chan, who hasn’t been in a live action Hollywood film since 2010’s The Karate Kid, back in action and unlike Neeson (who by the third iteration of Taken looked as stiff as a log; as arthritic as a 65-year old should be) the venerable martial artist sticks kicks more ass than his 20-year old understudies. Regardless of The Foreigner’s shortcomings, watching Chan take on the mantle of old guy with a special set of skills is the kind of pure movie magic that I didn’t know I needed or wanted.  Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘BLADE RUNNER 2049’ 

Let’s get one thing straight, Blade Runner 2049 is superb and stupefying. Dreamlike production design, fiercely thoughtful direction, poetic and often brilliant storytelling, sublime world building and excellent performances across the board all add up to a sequel that fits perfectly into the cinescape that Ridley Scott imagined nearly 30 years ago while carrying its story forward in exciting, imaginative and wholly fulfilling new ways. Expanding on themes of humanity and identity native to Phillip K. Dick’s novella “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep”, Blade Runner 2049 both expands a world wherein humanoid androids and their homosapien masters co-exist while narrowing it down to a small ensemble of meaningful characters, all who have their part to play. This time the focus is K (Ryan Gosling), a LAPD Blade Runner who struggles with his own identity while hunting down and “retiring” outdated android models.  Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US’

I was duped. The culprit? The Mountain Between Us. What appeared to be a two-hander survival drama between thespian heavies Kate Winslet and Idris Elba slowly melted into a Nick Sparksian romance meets 90’s Eagles ballad. “Love Will Keep Us Alive” may not play over the credits but it’s the essential thrust of this otherwise admittedly well-performed, handsomely shot feature film and as the material pivots into saccharine territory, it loses both steam and credibility, resulting in a final slog that’ll shatter more suspension of disbelief than bones in Winslet’s ankle.  Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘AMERICAN MADE’ 

American Made. What a suiting title for a Tom Cruise vehicle. The 55-year old superstar is, for all intents and purposes, American made as can be. Raised on the nipple of Hollywood, Cruise made his first million at the tender age of 21 before becoming one of the most recognized Americans across the globe. No amount of Oprah couch jumping, public divorces or religious scandals could keep the man down, thing of grit and determination and charm  and externalized positivity that he is. Cruise is like a living pep rally, draped in an American flay and showered with atta-boys. Like Barry Seal, the true-to-life pilot turned CIA operative/Cartel drug smuggler he portrays in American Made, he’s a man who, despite innumerable punches, won’t stay down. He always gets the job done. He always delivers.  Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘STRONGER’

Outside of the inclusion of a deadbeat protagonist, there’s not much to distinguish Stronger as a David Gordon Green effort. The director behind such mumblecore indie fare as Prince Avalanche and Joe (the former of which I detested, the later proved a borderline-excellent showcase for Nic Cage)  and comedy zingers the likes of Pineapple Express and the Kenny Powers-led Eastbound and Down (I’m a big enough fan of both) has decided to lens the Boston Marathon Bombing through the eyes of one of its victims and the result, though finely acted, is a mixed bag of emotional highs and lows at best and opportunistic at worst. Surely it’s not the shmuck bait of Charlie Sheen’s 9/11 but there is very little to justify its existence beyond Hollywood capitalizing on tragedy and you feel that in almost every second of Stronger.  Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE’ 

Decidedly less fun than its predecessor, Kingsman: The Golden Circle proves an all-around inferior sequel. Director Matthew Vaughn, responsible for fanboy favorites the likes of Kick-Ass and X-Men: First Class, doubles down on the less successful elements of the first installment, championing poorly rendered CG over practical effects and eyebrow-raising one-liners over earnest emotion. What’s missing is the joy, replaced by shallow humor and hollow spectacle, as Vaughn delivers a super spy adventure that loads up on juvenile jokes and stylishly shot set pieces to the detriment of what made the first one so shamelessly good – a keen sense of heart and self.    Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘THIRST STREET’ 

Look, I understand that Thirst Street, a Parisian-set drama-comedy-satire-horror-romance, is probably not on your radar but I’m here to explain why it ought to be and why you should see it immediately. Sure, this dingy little twist on foreign love gone wrong from Nathan Silver probably won’t get anything close to a wide release but if you’re looking for a hip AF cult flick to champion this fall, ready for an awkwardly charming and yet totally unnerving femme fatale and willing to receive the most demented “fuck dudes” obsession thriller this side of Gone Girl then Thirst Street has your name written all over it. Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘IT’

Growing up in Maine, I’ve lived in the land of Steven King’s inspiration. I’ve suffered the bone-chattering winters. Lurked the dense, immutable forests, always so convincingly haunted whenever they needed to be. I’ve challenged forbidden historic landmarks in the twilight hours, suspecting authority, or something more sinister, at every dark fated turn. As a boy, I chomped through King’s preternatural catalogue of horror novels, perhaps because of my budding adoration of the genre, perhaps because he was quite simply the most famous guy from Maine I knew of. I’d taken down “The Shining”, “Carrie”, “Misery”, “The Green Mile”, “The Dead Zone”, “Cujo”, “The Mist”, “Needful Things”, “Pet Sematary”, “Christine”, “Firestarter”, “The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon”, “Gerald’s Game”, and “Thinner” by the time I was 12. But nothing in King’s oeuvre haunted me more than his 1986 classic “It”. That shit had me shivering in my rain boats.  Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘PATTI CAKE$’

If you’re going to see one movie about a plus-sized New Jersey female rapper this summer, you best make it Patti Cake$, the stunning feature debut from Geremy Jasper. Following in the tradition of Hustle and Flow, Patti Cake$ uses an untraditional hero, Patricia Dombrowski (stage name Killa P) played to unique perfection by newcomer Danielle Macdonald, to craft an unlikely (but entirely lovable) story of talent erupting from unexpected places. Jasper’s film is an independent musical fever dream stuffed to the brim with colorful, well-defined characters, a diverse and talented cast of unknown talent and a killer soundtrack that’ll force its expertly produced setlist of tunes to rattle around your skull for days to come. Like a filmic cocktail of Adderall and Prozac, this mic drop of a movie is certain to make you perk up, pay attention and leave plastered with a smile.  Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘INGRID GOES WEST’

Perfect paired with a few beers and a Xanax, Matt Spicer’s Ingrid Goes West is a psycho-stalker comedy that’s as unsettling and hilarious as a 12-year’s mexi-stache . Aubrey Plaza is devilishly weird as an Instagram-obsessed pariah, a Peeping Jane who turns to social Play-Doh to emulate those of higher social standing, but the role is more than meets the eye. Ingrid befriends up the ladder by copying the purchasing habits of her “friends”, buying the same designer bag or sharing the same favorite breakfast joint, phishing for likes, comments and follows but mostly on the hunt for a new #BFF. Though side-splitting funny, Ingrid Goes West dares to be more than a laugh, unleashing some powerful material essential to our conversations on social media and self-worth.  Read More