Top Gun: Maverick and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures
Directed by Joseph Kosinski
It’s true that I’m getting to this one pretty late, but it’s also true that the darn thing is still the biggest movie at the moment so I guess I can still call this review somewhat relevant. I guess it’s no surprise that one of the most enduring classics of the eighties finally getting the sequel everyone always wanted would hit like a meteor full of money, but it’s still pretty surprising just how much this has eclipsed everything else around it. Even MCU movies which are supposedly so ubiquitous that we should all be sick of them don’t manage to have the kind of staying power that this movie has! So what is the secret formula that turned this into a license to print money? Is it actually as good as its box office would suggest, or has nostalgia once again suckered us all into giving money to a movie that was better off being remembered than revived? Let’s find out!!
Captain Pete Mitchell, better known as Maverick (Tom Cruise), has been bumming around the Navy since the glory days of Eddie Money and Leisure suits, and it’s landed him a gig as a test pilot for experimental aircraft. Of course, Maverick being Maverick, he manages to screw that up by ticking off Admiral Ed Harris and is only saved from a dishonorable discharge by his old friend Admiral Tom Kazansky who was once known as Iceman (Val Kilmer). Instead, he gets sent to teach the next generation of hot shot pilots which just so happens to include Lt. Bradley Bradshaw (Miles Teller), the son of Goose who died while flying with Maverick back in the first movie. His assignment, should he choose to accept it, is to get these Millennials in tip-top fighting shape for a ridiculously complicated and ludicrously dangerous bombing run to destroy a uranium enrichment facility, and there’s no one better than Maverick for making the impossible merely improbable! Can Maverick finally put his ego in check and be the teacher that these pilots need? What happened between him and Bradley that left him feeling so bitter, and is this Maverick’s last chance to make things right? Was waiting nearly forty years to make a sequel just a flex on Tom Cruise’s part to show how little he’s aged since then?
Geostorm and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by Dean Devlin
We’ve been getting a LOT of delayed films this year, haven’t we? Tulip Fever took a while to come out, Rings took even longer, and that Amityville Horror sequel or reboot or whatever ended up failing so hard that it was released FOR FREE on Google Play. Not in theaters; on the same storefront where you download crappy Tetris knockoffs and flashlight apps. Now we’ve got this movie which may be the most interesting of the bunch simply because of how much money Warner Bros inevitably sunk into the damn thing to try and recoup its losses. Not quite as much as Monster Trucks, but certainly enough that you’d question if anyone behind this damn thing had heard of the Sunk Cost fallacy. Well it’s finally out now at probably the worst time imaginable (this story keeps getting better and better!) and with very little fan far from Warner Bros who may have finally realized it’s time to cut their losses. Does this movie manage to rise above its troubled production to deliver something at least somewhat enjoyable, or is this possibly an even bigger mess than The Snowman was? Okay, NOTHING is quite as shoddily put together as that film, but will this still be an absolute disaster and not in the way they were hoping for? Let’s find out!!
The movie takes place in the very near future where humanity finally came up with an idea on how to combat Global Warming. Not by recycling or embracing renewable imagery of course, but by putting a giant freaking net of satellites around the globe that can somehow shoot science beams at the earth whenever a tornado, hurricane, or anything else is about to threaten human lives. Jake Lawson (Gerard Butler), who I’m assuming got this brilliant idea from Highlander 2: The Quickening, is the one dude bad enough to put this whole project together which is nicknamed Dutch Boy but is kicked off the project for infuriatingly political reasons. Okay, he punched an inspector in the face, but what ELSE was he supposed to do!? Listen to what he had to say!? Anyway, his brother Max (Jim Sturgess) is the new head honcho of the project but the system starts to malfunction a few years down the road which leads to some isolated but very deadly weather events and no one knows what’s causing them. I guess it’s time for good ol’ Jake to reclaim his throne and go up to the satellite to see what the heck is causing these problems and hopefully stop it before it threatens all life on Earth. Will Jake solve the mystery before it’s too late and find out if its simple malfunctions or sabotage? What will Max find out back on Earth with the help of one of Dutch Boy’s programmers (Daniel Wu) and a hacker that he apparently knows in the State Department (Zazie Beetz)? Just how many things can they manage to blow up with a weather machine!?
So I guess we’re gonna have to talk about this one again, huh? It certainly seems that everyone else is getting in on the action with various think pieces about what the movie actually means and how audiences are reacting to it, which… I guess I can’t criticize because I’m currently doing the exact same thing, but I’m still feeling a bit irksome about how much publicity this movie is getting when what I saw really didn’t merit all the hoopla. Making matters worse is the fact that CinemaScore (a poll of general audience moviegoers) have given the film a rating of F; bringing back the tired argument about how art films are just too GOOD for mainstream audiences to understand. I mean… sure, I’ve certainly held firmly on one side of that debate in the past (I bring up Michael Bay as often as possible), but after seeing the film itself, I just don’t think this is the one for some of the more snobby among us to lord over the undiscerning masses, because… well if you read my review, you’d know that I am rather close to absolutely hating this film; stopping just short of that due to the technical acumen, the finely tuned tension curve that’s constantly raising the stakes, and Aronfosky’s undoubtedly strong command of cinematic storytelling. Make no mistake; this isn’t an amateur hour shit show like God’s Not Dead 2 or Incarnate. This is a phenomenal filmmaker who tried to do something great but I feel has failed in spectacular fashion, and while I do understand the reasoning behind for softening ones opinions about a movie that genuinely tries THAT hard (the story of Icarus is usually seen to be a tragic one), I just… couldn’t. Too much about this movie is misguided for me to want to give it much of a pass, at least as far as my own feelings on it as I think it’s STILL probably a movie worth seeing at some point even if you ultimately hate it the same way I did. So I guess that begs the question, what is it that everyone seems to be getting out of this movie, and why do I feel it was done so poorly?
Mother! and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures
Directed by Darren Aronofsky
I’ve never really been a fan of David Fincher, yet I’ve very much appreciated Aronofsky despite them sharing quite a few similarities; mostly in regards to just how dark and cynical they can be when it comes to their subject matter. I guess Aronofsky still manages to CARE about his characters even when they’re terrible people or getting mercilessly destroyed which is something that feels absent from a lot of Fincher’s work like Fight Club or Gone Girl; both are about terrible people but never seem to get past simply PRESENTING us with their unpleasantness. Aronofsky’s different, especially with movies like The Wrestler and Black Swan which are straight up tragedies about broken people trying desperately to get their lives together and failing miserably in the process. Now we have Mother! which, aside from the gratuitous punctuation, seems to be in the same vein though leaning much more on horror tropes and absurd excess than a more focused psychological horror narrative and seems to be in the same vein as Noah (another one of his movies that I like) at least as far as just how far he’s willing to take the strangeness of it all. Is this another classic to add to his already impressive catalogue, or has he made his biggest misstep since The Fountain? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with a HUGE spoiler, but AFTER that we follow around a woman (Jennifer Lawrence) who lives with her husband (Javier Bardem) in a REALLY nice house that is in desperate need of repair, but at least it gives Jennifer Lawrence something to do while FAMED POET JAVIER BARDEM putters around not writing anything. Still, she seems perfectly content with her day to day life of fixing the place up and making it look more hospitable… but everything changes once some guy and his wife (Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer) shows up at their doorstep and Bardem is MORE than happy to offer their house, their food, and their personal space to the couple with no consultation from Jennifer Lawrence. Things escalate from there, but in ways I’d rather not spoil as the movie goes place you really couldn’t imagine from the trailers which sell this as a much different film. Does Jennifer Lawrence find a way to assert herself and regain control of what is hers? What is Javier Bardem’s deal with letting these people come in in the first place, and what ulterior motives do they have? No seriously, Aronfosky. What the fuck did you do here?
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?