Blade Runner 2049 and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures and Sony Pictures
Directed by Denis Villeneuve
Yup! Blade Runner sure was a movie, wasn’t it? I mean I was always more into eighties Carpenter than eighties Scott, but it’s clearly a movie that’s impact can still be felt to this day from science fiction films like The Matrix and Dark City to anime like Ghost in the Shell and Akira. Heck, even the live action Ghost in the Shell looks as much like the original Blade Runner as it does the source material! Many of us have been living in this film’s shadow for as long as we’ve been alive, and so the prospect of a sequel seems rather quixotic considering how hard it would be to not only live up to that movie’s actual merits but to also live up to the sense of scope and impact that it ended up leaving in its wake. Does the director of that one movie where Jake Gyllenhaal meets a giant spider have what it takes to stand with one of the titans of the genre, or will this project collapse faster than Rutger Hauer’s plan to not die at the age of four? Let’s find out!!
One more thing! Some people may consider a pertinent detail that we learn five minutes into the movie to be a spoiler. I don’t REALLY see it as a spoiler considering how early it is in the movie, but I figure I’ll just put up a SPOILER WARNING here just in case you want to go in completely blind. TURN BACK NOW IF YOU MUST!!
We good? Okay, so the year is 2049 and the movie begins with Agent K (Ryan Gosling) who we learn within the first five minutes of the movie is a replicant which is an artificially created human but ALSO a cop for the LAPD. A Blade Runner in fact which is a cop that specifically hunts replicants! Hence the title… though I’m still not sure WHY they’re called that considering he uses a gun and tends to leisurely stroll from place to place. Anyway, replicants haven’t been a problem for a while now as the CURRENT big bad organization Wallace Corp has fixed all the kinks that were in the Nexus 6 models from the first film (they had a tendency to rebel and kill humans) but K still has to hunt down these old timers whenever one crosses their path and we see him at the start of one of these missions as the movie begins. Once the deed is done (in GRUESOME detail), he ALSO discovers something else that’s on the replicant’s property that shouldn’t be there but holds secrets that could turn this world on its head. Oh, and in case you were wondering OF COURSE Deckard (Harrison Ford) is somehow involved, so K has to not only find answers as to what exactly they found but where it came from and who else knows about it. While on this super-secret assignment that I’m not gonna spoil, he also has to contend with Wallace Corp head honcho Niander (Jared Leto) as well as his replicant assistant Luv (Sylvia Hoeks) who seem to know exactly what’s going on and are keeping tabs on him just in case he either discovers too much or finds something that they’re looking for as well. Will K unlock the mysteries that are so mysterious that they can’t be discussed here? Will they in some way deal with his mysterious past which is a mystery even to him? JUST HOW MANY SECRETS CAN ONE MOVIE HAVE!?
La La Land and all the images you see in this review are owned by Summit Entertainment
Directed by Damien Chazelle
Well this certainly jumped to everyone’s best of the year list, didn’t it? Too bad I didn’t get to see it in 2016 as the wide release wasn’t until January, but hey, at least I get to see it AT ALL. I mean who DOESN’T love song and dance numbers interwoven into a classic Hollywood love story, especially when it’s done as well as this one is supposed to be? Does this manage to be a film for the ages like those it takes its greatest inspiration from, or is this a mere copycat that doesn’t have a true identity of its own? Let’s find out!!
The movie takes place in present day Hollywood where we follow the struggling actress Mia (Emma Stone) and the struggling Jazz pianist Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) as they struggle their hearts out for their dreams and manage to find each other in the process. While Emma wants to simply get her big break, Sebastian has much more specific aspirations as he wants to open his own Jazz club right in the heart of the city, which is gonna be difficult because he’s flat broke and can’t even keep a steady gig going because he doesn’t want to play the set list provided… because he’s an artist I guess. Still, they manage to scrape by as they keep working towards their dreams while also putting on elaborate and non-diegetic song and dance numbers for our entertainment! Will the realities of the business crush their spirits and drive them apart as more and more chances start to slip away? Can a movie this unabashedly old fashion manage to work in a modern day context? Did they manage to outdo Tarantino as far as movie references!?
The Nice Guys and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by Shane Black
How amazing is it that on the cusp of a freaking Lethal Weapon television show premiering that Shane Black (the writer of the original film) has a new movie out in theaters just to show the futility of even TRYING to recreate what he did back in 1987? The guy may not be as prolific as some other great filmmakers out there, but between the films he wrote and the ones he directed, there’s no denying that Shane Black is a first rate talent that we should all be thankful is out there making movies. Does his latest film live up to his track record of excellence, or is this the first sign that the guy is tapped out creatively and that it’s all downhill from here? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) and Holland March (Ryan Gosling); the former being a goon for hire and the latter being a detective from the Richard Moore School of Sleuthing. The duo cross paths early on as Ryan Gosling is trying to find a girl (Margaret Qualley) for a client but the girl CLEARLY does not want to be found. Because of this, she hires Russell Crowe to convince him to stop, which he does… violently. Unfortunately for the both of them, this case is a lot bigger than either of them anticipated and after an assassination attempt fails to take out Russell Crowe, he goes to see Ryan Gosling about teaming up to find out what the hell is really going on here. Along for the ride (despite Ryan Gosling’s insistence to the contrary) is Holly March (Angourie Rice) who may only be a teenager, but is at least half as good as a detective as her father claims to be. Along their journey, they’re run afoul of gangsters, pornographers, at least one politician, and a shit load of gunfights as they search for answers and try to do something good for once in their wretched and miserable lives! Can this trio find out who this girl really is and why everyone is looking for her? Can these two knuckleheads work together without one of them killing the other? Does Shane Black find a way to fit in Christmas again!?
The Big Short and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures
Directed by Adam McKay
So the guy who directed both Anchorman Movies, Step Brothers, and The Other Guys is gonna sit here and try to tell us about the housing crisis? Yeah right! Who’s gonna take THAT seriously!? Wait, they’ve got Christian Bale, Brad Pitt, AND Ryan Gosling? It’s also written by the writer of Moneyball? Well I certainly didn’t see THAT coming. Then again, it’s not like he hasn’t taken on relevant targets in the past. Just look at Anchorman 2! That took a lot of pot shots at Fox News and the media in general, even if it was surrounded by a lot of stupid. So can the guy who brought us four Will Farrell man-child movies manage to make something a bit more mature while still giving it a proper sense of humor, or will this be just another painful example of someone who is WAY out of his depth and has no idea what the hell their doing and go back to his old shtick to give us Step Brothers 2: Now There’s Three of Them or Something? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows several people in the years leading up to the big financial crisis of 2008 brought about by the crash of the housing market. As we interweave between these stories of people who saw it coming, it’s slowly dawns on them (and the audience) just how absolutely unattainable the market was at the time and just how corrupt the system got which is what led to everything going to hell. That’s really about it as most of the characters serve as either audience avatars or exposition machines to keep the audience in the loop as to what’s going on. It’s definitely more about giving the us an idea of the scope of the problem rather than telling personal stories within them, but a couple of the character eek out an arc here and there like the young investors Charlie Geller and Jamie Shipley (John Magaro and Finn Wittrock) who are new to all this and get caught right in the god damn middle or even Mark Baum (Steve Carell) who’s already got it out for the big banks and at first sees this as just another thing to call them out on until he realizes how dep the rabbit hole goes in all of this.