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Movie Review: Hounds of Love (2017)

“Vicki” (Ashleigh Cummings) is a teenager and she wants to hang out with her friends. But she has been told she can’t go to a party by her mother. She sneaks out anyway. In the course of making her way to the party, she runs across “John and Evelyn White” (Steven Curry, Emma Booth). They lure her to their home, drug her, and chain her up. They proceed to sexually abuse her. And Vicki isn’t the first they’ve done this to.

But as the two take complete advantage of Vicki, Vicki takes advantage of them. It becomes clear early on that neither John, nor Evelyn are mentally stable. As Vicki endures maddening sexual abuse and psychological victimization, she has to keep her wits about her to live another day if she is to escape.

Director Ben Young (Something Fishy, 2010) brings us in Hounds of Love a truly dark and harrowing tale from Perth, Australia. And although not directly based on any particular serial killer or killers, it borrows heavily from the 1986 killings of David and Catherine …
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Movie review: Spider-man: Homecoming (2017)

In Spiderman: Homecoming, director Jon Watts replaces Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire with Tom Holland. Jon’s last project was Cop Car (2015), which earned a nod of respect from some, but we aren't exactly in agreement as to how good a job he did with that one, much less what he would do with this one. Holland? Well, he was for sure a good pick, better than both Garfield and Maguire. Holland uses his kid charm and dashing good looks and makes all the impressions we hoped for. His squeaky-clean voice and juvenile insecurities serve him well. That’s all fine and good, except the movie itself is not.

Initially, we are excited at the backbone of the plot: Criminals are using leftover alien technology (from Avengers, 2012) to terrorize the world. Sounds good, but it goes nowhere beyond the safe-playing locker-room struggles of Parker who is being mentored by Tony Stark. That's what we keep getting from the movie more than anything else. Spider-man has already been making good on…

Movie Review: Baby Driver (2017)

“You don’t belong in this life,” a hardened criminal tells “Baby” (Ansel “The Fault in Our Stars” Elgort). They call him Baby because he is by far the youngest to participate in organized crime they have ever seen. And without a doubt, he is the youngest ever to serve as a getaway driver for a mobster.

Now Baby has had a tough childhood. He lost his parents tragically at around 8-years-old, and the trauma still manifests as a continual ringing in his ears (tinnitus). He tries to drown it out by always listening to music. He has tracks for every mood and task, but he also spends his spare time making music remixes out of random snippets of recordings he comes across. Like a modern Portland hipster, Baby doesn’t go mainstream, but prefers vinyl records and push-button, wall-mounted phones. The hipster element in this film is so strong that, taken alone, many scenes would make the film look about 20 years older than they are.

Baby’s state-appointed guardian (CJ Jones) he now takes care …

Movie Review: Inconceivable (2017)

Amidst its hurried pacing, semi-hollow characters, and too-well-behaved kids, what is conceivable about Inconceivable is that it has a crazy for a lead. And movies about crazies are always fascinating. It’s an unwritten law of life. A movie can suck and yet be watchable if only it features a batshit-nuts primary character. Say it ain’t so.

Movie Review: All Eyez on Me (2017)

Sometimes people are on their way down even as they are on their way up. Some of the most successful people are plagued by the most diabolical of inner-demons. That was the case with Tupac Shakur as he scaled ever-increasing heights on his way to the top as he became renowned as an artist, activist, and hip-hop icon. The life of thuggery and senseless violence that followed him came from the infamous rivalry of East Coast vs. West Coast recording labels. These sprang up in the mid-1990s. Many of these feuds ended in a bloodbath.

Movie Review: Rough Night (2017)

Rough Night is the sort of rom-com that goes in and comes out without making a mark (or leaving one). It doesn’t lift our spirits, challenge our preconceptions, or make us believe in love. It does make us laugh a little, though. It stars "Jess" (Scarlett Johansson), a runner-up in an election and a textbook-case workaholic. Her besties include a well-diversified group of gals who are as different and potentially antagonistic toward each other as you get. "Alice" (Jillian "22 Jump Street" Bell) is the token "thick but still cute" best friend. "Blair", "Frankie", "Kate", and "Lisa" (ZoĆ« Kravitz, Illiana Glazer, Kate McKinnon, and Lisa Grey, respectively) are sharply constructed, which means it is never a reach to imagine them behaving just like we see they do between themselves on screen.

Movie Review: Wonder Woman (2017)

In a post-Lynda Carter age, we’ve come to expect subpar or else mediocre superhero films. And then comes Gal Gadot who by whatever miracle or sequence of events ends up as the new Wonder Woman. She fills Carter’s shoes quite admirably. Word has it that even Lynda has praised Gadot's performance!

We begin before the creation of the world when Zeus, the king of the gods, creates his servants of men. Jealous, Aries, the god of war, protests and wages a battle from the foundation of the world. This battle is at the root of the fate of humanity. Even for Zeus, striking down Aries comes at great cost, but he knew that his work wasn’t finished, so he created a secret weapon, the god killer. And thus we begin with the story of the Amazonians, those who have lived by divine will in complete isolation, dreading the day they would be found by Aries and the dreadful war of old would resume. 

We start with a young Diana (aka, a young Wonder Woman) who is anxious to learn the ways of war, and…

Movie Review: 47 Meters Down (2017)

“Lisa” (Mandy "Tangled", "The Princess Diaries" Moore) and “Kate” (Claire "The Vampire Diaries" Holt) are sisters. Lisa has just been through a nasty breakup. Kate is helping her get over it. What better way than to meet up with some young, good-looking Spanish guys at the beach? Maybe even get in a cage and go underwater and see the sharks?

The girls meet up with the young guys “Javier” (Chris Johnson) and “Louis” (Yani Gellman) and a hippie sea boat captain (Matthew Modine). They fib about having had some scuba lessons, but other than that, things are solid. All Kate and the guys have to do is convince skeptical, timid, and heartbroken Lisa to not be so scared. They are, after all, just going under water for a few minutes…in the middle of Mexico…in a rusty cage…under water…under the care of a boat captain they don’t know at all. So, you see, nothing could possibly go wrong.

Movie Review - Alien: Covenant (2017)

The crew of a colony ship is in route to an earth-like planet where the new colony will be established. The plans have been laid down so perfectly, but when another uncharted world somehow shows up on the radar, they take a detour to investigate. Plans and timetables for completion be damned—and so too all those safety protocols that must be followed when you arrive on a new world—they just had to investigate. What should happen to a captain who OKs putting a sleeping crews’ lives at risk? Mull that over as you read. Surely there is no real danger of an alien infection and/or predator-prey dynamics to be concerned with?

Movie Review: Transformers: The Last Knight (2017)

Michael Bay swoops in with an inanely nonsensical fifth chapter. If Optimus Prime, Autobot leader and all-around metal-masher, really wanted to save humanity, he would have stopped director Michael Bay some four years ago by not letting him make anymore Transformer movies (the bulk of that quote  is borrowed from USAToday - sorry, I couldn't resist!) But really, at this point, it just needs to stop. We've had enough.

The quality took a huge drop after the first film in 2007 (even though that one was a grand mockery in and of itself). And while it’s not as mind-numbingly stupid as the Revenge of the Fallen sequel back in 2009, it's close. Damn close.

The new fifth installment Transformers: The Last Knight is an exhausting marathon of loud, hot, and long metal-clashing scene after metal-clashing scene, with sad lines and inexcusable characters thrown in. Even if you madly love alien robots decking each other whilst tossing out bad one-liners, it’s a painfully long two-and-a…