A Star is Born and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by Bradley Cooper
Let’s see… a remake of a classic film, the directorial debut of a respected actor, and it’s about the entertainment industry. Are we sure they can’t squeeze in World War II to make this finely engineered Oscar Bait in all of existence? Now Oscar Season has always been a bit of nebulous term as there are a lot of films throughout the year that manage to maintain prestige buzz all the way to voting time (*cough* Get Out *cough*), but there’s no denying that this time of year is chock full of films hoping to be contenders; especially this one!
The movie follows Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) who is an aging country rock star (think Bruce Springsteen or Florida Georgia Line) that likes to drink hard, take pills, and try to pretend he isn’t developing a severe case of Tinnitus. After one of his shows and three fourths of a bottle of whisky, he randomly stumbles into a bar and sees Ally (Lady Gaga) performing one of her sets. Now it could just be the booze talking or she could be THE GREATEST SINGER OF ALL TIME, but either way he has to meet her and try to get her to date him. Oh, and ALSO he’ll help her get a career, but he’ll cross that bridge when they get to it; which is after the dating bridge. ANYWAY, they spend some time together, party hard at a few bars, and eventually he takes her on tour with him (which is managed by Jackson’s brother played by Sam Elliott) to sing her songs among other things. Eventually she catches the eye of a manager (Rafi Gavron) and suddenly her success isn’t dependent on Jackson which I guess just gives him more time to drink heavily even if it’s obviously a problem for everyone around him, including her. Will Ally live out her dreams and become the next great pop sensation? How long can Jackson function like this without destroying everything and everyone around him? How the heck are they successful in TODAY’S music climate!? There’s not a single sick drop in any of their songs!
BlacKkKlansman and all the images you see in this review are owned by Focus Features
Directed by Spike Lee
There’s a lot going on right now and as much as I’d honestly like to take a step back from the heavier subject matter to focus on terrible horror films and laughable thrillers, well… there’s a bigger story that needs to be told and at the very least I can try to stay engaged with the films that are being made because of it. Fortunately the films this year that faced issues of racism, white supremacy, privilege, and state sponsored oppression have been pretty great so far with The First Purge being a worth addition to one of the best film series we have today, Sorry to Bother You feeling like the kind of gonzo shot in the arm film making that will inspire others to think outside the standard feature film model, and Blindspotting being a supremely empathetic examination that’s palatable and poignant for any audience member. However, it’s time for the king to return to his throne as Spike Lee has spent his entire career (barring Oldboy) speaking on these very issues that the rest of Hollywood is just catching up to and is now throwing their weight behind these artists. Did Spike Lee make the definitive film of our turbulent times, or has his style gotten tiresome in the face of newer voices in his political circle? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows the strange yet true story of Detective Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) who joined the Colorado Springs police force in the seventies and not long after joining the force started a sting operation against the KKK in the area. With the help of a fellow cop Detective Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver) he managed to impersonate a white supremacists over the phone while Flip would pretend to be him in person; a plan that was so successful that they even managed to dupe KKK Grand Wizard David Duke (Topher Grace) who had several conversations with Ron never realizing he was in fact black. As the investigation goes along though, things start to get complicated as certain members of the Colorado chapter of the KKK start to suspect their newest recruit, and Ron start to find it hard to live not only a double life as a fake white man, but also the dichotomy of being a black man and a police officer in that period of time; especially when he starts falling for the President of the Black Student Union Patrice (Laura Harrier) who is just as militant against white systems of power as Ron is determined to use his position in said system to take the KKK down a peg. Will Ron and Flip manage to stop the KKK from whatever it is they’re planning without getting caught in the crossfire themselves? How far will the KKK members go to assert themselves as a threat to be taken seriously, and who do they plan to hurt in the process? Just how many white people jokes can Ron get away with before David Duke becomes suspicious!?
Mission: Impossible – Fallout and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures
Directed by Christopher McQuarrie
Is it just me, or does it feel like a REALLY long time since the last one? I don’t remember much about Rogue Nation except that I didn’t particularly like it (mostly due to how much I DID like Ghost Protocol), but that’s all in the past! It’s time for Ethan Hun to go on a NEW mission and prove once again that Tom Cruise is a box office draw! Well… most of the time at least (*cough* The Mummy *cough*), but hey! At least they brought Superman in for this adventure! This movie by the way is the reason Henry Cavill couldn’t shave his facial hair for the Justice League reshoots which led to the weird CG face issues, so if nothing else this movie deserves SOME credit for making that movie that much more hilarious! Does this franchise manage to keep the momentum going for one more outing, or is the impossible mission now to keep audiences interest for yet entry? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) receiving a mission that, should he choose to accept it, could save the entire world for at least the sixth time but that the US government would obviously disavow if he got caught or murdered. You know, you’d think that there might be some underlying geopolitical issues that could use some resolving if the US Government had to constantly send this dude on impossible missions that they couldn’t POSSIBLY claim to be a party to, but I guess a stable foreign policy doesn’t make for a particularly interesting spy film. Anyway, it turns out that Solomon Lane (Same Harris) from the LAST movie had a whole bunch of followers known as THE APOSTLES who are wreaking hell all over the world and even created an outbreak of Smallpox in Kashmir seemingly for shits and giggles. Their biggest plan yet is to get their hands on stolen Plutonium so they can make nuclear bombs, and while Ethan gets REALLY close to recovering them he ends up dropping the ball when his teammates Benji (Simon Pegg) and Luther (Ving Rhames) almost get caught in the crossfire. Determined to fix his mistakes, he’s assigned to go after a black market merchant known as THE WHITE WIDOW (Vanessa Kirby) who can broker a deal between the Apostles and a world famous terrorist that Ethan will pretend to be for the Plutonium. Get Solomon Lane out of jail, and he gets the Plutonium. Complicating matters are the Director of the CIA Erica Sloane (Angela Bassett) and her right hand man August (Henry Cavill) who don’t trust Ethan not to screw this up again, and even Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) who’s back in the picture but is once again not easily classified as a friend or foe in this situation. Will Ethan be able to get the Plutonium back before the Apostles blow the heck out of city and start World War III? Can Ethan just hand over such a dangerous terrorist in order to stop nuclear war, or could Solomon be planning something even worse? Just how many ridiculous stunts can they convince Tom Cruise to do by telling him how youthful it makes him look!?
The Boss Baby and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox and DreamWorks Animation
Directed by Tom McGrath
Well gee, THIS sure looks like a gem. Just… why? Wasn’t Storks enough!? How many baby movies do we NEED!? Look, the trailers were terrible, the premise is hacky, and the casting of Alec Baldwin as a talking baby seemed like something you would do in a Saturday Night Live sketch. Point being that NOTHING about this movie didn’t look like the cynical machinations of Hollywood hacks and I was not looking forward to it. Still, movies have managed to surprise me in the past, and it’s not like this could be as bad as it looks… right? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with little Timothy Templeton (Miles Chirstopher Bakshi) who’s the only child of Ted and Janice Templeton (Jimmy Kimmel and Lisa Kudrow) and he loves all the attention that he gets because of it. Unfortunately for Tim, daddy forgot their condom… I mean the secret agency of babies in the sky is sending down one of their agents (Alec Baldwin) and he now has to deal with a new boss in the house. Get it? Because babies are so BOSSY and DEMANDING? Cheeky metaphor aside, it turns out that the baby is here for a specific reason and not just to fuck with Timmy. Apparently the secret agency of babies in the sky are under threat by an incoming invasion of super cute puppies (okay…) and The Boss Baby ends up needing Tim-Tim’s help in order stop them. If the duo can stop the super cute puppies (so I guess they have to kill them?), he’ll go back to the secret agency of babies in the sky, and he’ll go back to being an only child. Can the siblings put aside their rivalry long enough to ensure they never have to see each other again? Will The Boss Baby learn something about family on this ridiculous journey to destroy puppies? Why… why does this movie want us to dislike puppies!?
Rules Don’t Apply and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox
Directed by Warren Beatty
Oh wow! THAT’S a guy we haven’t heard from in a while! I certainly have no idea what the hell he’s been up to for the last two decades, but the guy is finally back from what looked to be retirement to make this film about one of Hollywood’s most iconic names, though in fairness I really don’t know about Howard Hughes besides the name. Does the triumphant return of Warren Beatty prove to be one of the high points of the year, or is his latest film evidence that he’s gonna need a bit more time before he can truly get back into the film making game? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with Frank Forbes (Alden Ehrenreich) who’s working as a driver for the one and only Howard Hughes (Warren Beatty) in order to possibly get him to invest in some housing project that Frank is trying to get off the ground. The problem is that he’s not driving Mr. Hughes himself; rather he’s assigned to drive around Marla Mabrey (Lily Collins) who’s been brought to Hollywood in order to do a screen test for a movie that Hughes is producing. Marla along with at least twenty other women are all vying for the same part… as far as I could tell, and eventually she gets called in to meet Howard Hughes. At this point, things get a bit confusing as it’s not clear exactly if Marla ever gets the part (or any parts in any movies for that matter), but in the process Frank gets the attention of Howard who makes him one of his personal assistants as the movie is now about following the both of them along with another assistant Levar Mathis (Matthew Broderick) as they do whatever the hell Howard Hughes wants to do during the declining years of his life. In the background, there’s a romance brewing between Marla and Frank, though Howard forbids any “hanky-panky” between his employees, and things start to go further and further south as Howard’s mental state gets worse and worse. Will Frank ever get Howard’s attention long enough to bring his plans to life, or is Howard just stringing him along? Will Marla and Frank get together despite the rules that are keeping them apart? Just… what the hell was this movie about? Can someone explain that to me please?
Concussion and all the images you see in this review are owned by Columbia Pictures
Directed by Peter Landesman
Mr. Fourth of July is back with his latest attempt to win that Oscar after Ali, The Pursuit of Happyness, and 7 Pounds didn’t do a damn thing for him. Well at least this one is a story that’s still fresh in people’s mind as it explores the events that led up to the NFL being in hot water over the dangers of head injuries and the consequences of not getting these issues treated in their former players. Does William Smith Jr finally have the movie that will get him an Academy Award that he can shove in Leonardo DiCaprio’s face, or does the search continue for Will to find something that will prove once and for all what a great actor he is? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows Dr. Bennet Omalu (Will Smith) who happens to be on duty at a Pittsburg morgue the day that a former NFL player is found dead after long bouts of mental illness and medical problems. During the autopsy, Omalu discovers some irregularities that lead to him eventually discovering a hereto unknown disease known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) that is caused by repeated blows to the head which is something that happens quite frequently to NFL players. Clearly this needs to be explored further as it’s clear that other older players begin to exhibit extreme mental issues, but the NFL instead decides to bury the guys work and deny it incessantly. Omalu though continues to push for more research and for the NFL to acknowledge the diseases existence, but to little avail at least at first. Along his journey to get the truth out there, he starts to pursue a romantic relationship with a fellow churchgoer (Prema Mutiso played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and eventually meets a former NFL doctor (Julian Bailes played by Alec Bladwin) who knows first-hand what it’s like to see former players’ minds deteriorate. With support from the medical community and his girlfriend along with the insider knowledge of Dr. Bailes, will Dr. Omalu get his way and save hundreds of people in the process, or is this a task too herculean for any one man to accomplish?
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures
Directed by Christopher McQuarrie
Trying to make a good Mission Impossible movie WITHOUT Brad Bird? Sounds like a job for the IMF to me! After the success of the fourth installment in the Mission Impossible series (Ghost Protocol), Tom Cruise and company are going to try their luck at making this into a noteworthy franchise once again. This time around though, they don’t have Brad Bird on hand but they DO have the director of Jack Reacher which was a fun little Tom Cruise power fantasy so this new guy might just be a good fit for one of this series which is known for being a collection of Tom Cruise vanity projects. While I have not seen the first three movies, I thought that Ghost Protocol was incredibly enjoyable and Tom Cruise has been on an upswing lately with movies like Jack Reacher and Edge of Tomorrow, so there’s a good chance that they’ll be able to recapture what made the last movie work despite the absence of its director. Will they succeed once again in their mission to make something worthwhile out of this aging franchise, or will this blow up in their face (in five seconds)? Let’s find out!!
The movie is about super spy Ethan Hunt played by Tom Cruise who HAS to be a real life Highlander considering how good he still looks in his fifties.