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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Rock Dog

This is not a sneak preview. This film has released.

It's Bodi & the Six Strings when a Tibetan Mastiff, inspired by something falling from the sky, chooses to leave Snow Mountain for the big city in search of a musical career instead of following in his dad's footsteps as protector of the sheep village. But when the wolf pack catches on the ruse, Bodi must return home to save his village. While in the big city, Bodi hoped to study under his rock & roll idol, a rock legend trying to make a comeback. This animated film plays more towards the sense of humor of the children than to their adult parents, but is still is a fine family fun.

Alien gives it 2½ "from guard dog to rock dog" stars out of 4.

Collide

This is not a sneak preview. This film has already released.

It's "Sleepless" in Cologne, Germany, when a drug heist goes wrong & the hero must return the merchandise in order to save his love one. Smitten by bartender Julliette (Felicity Jones), trying to go straight Casey (Nicholas Hoult) is forced to return to the drug business to pay for his girlfriend's medical treatments. Ironically, these 2 Brits play Americans entangled in a conflict between 2 drug lords (Ben Kingsley & Anthony Hopkins).  This small time "Fast & Furious" film features high-speed demolition derby thrill on the autobahn, a multitude of luxury car thefts, & numerous lucky breaks for the hero. The chase & race through Germany takes many twists & turns.

Alien gives it 2½ "race horse or hooker" stars out of 4.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A United Kingdom

In 1947 England, Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo) & Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike) meet, fall in love, & marry. Based on a true story, he is a future African king & she is an English white woman. Together, they face issues of racism, banishment, separation, acceptance, & colonial exploitation. It's an amazing love story amidst the birth of a nation, Botswana. Photos of the real people depicted & their life summaries run at the end of the film.

Alien gives it 2½ "apartheid" stars out of 4.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Get Out

Chris & Rosie are boyfriend/girlfriend. He is black & she is white. She is taking him home to meet her parents (Bradley Whitford & Catherine Keener) for the first time. Once there, things get weird, eerie, & creepy in this seemingly "Stepford" town. But is it too late to escape? The very effective trailer for "Get Out" may give the impression this is a horror flick but actually I would put it more in the thriller genre. Very convincing character performances will keep audiences squirming in their seats as the secrets of this affluent white community are slowly revealed. Issues of racism are at the heart of this film. This easily dismissed movie may just surprise you, so give it a try. Sometimes, crazy people are scarier than any fictitious supernatural entities.

Alien gives it 3½ "your sunken place" stars out of 4.  

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Before I Fall

It's "Mean Girls" meets "If I Stay" meets "Groundhog Day" when high school senior Samantha (Zoey Deutch) must figure out why she is reliving her day over & over again. At first it feels like déjà vu with her family, with her 3 best friends, at school, & at a party. But the day keeps repeating, no matter what she does. Is there something she needs to do to close this repeating loop? If you could do over your day, would you behave differently? Or are you trapped in eternal hell? If nothing seemed to matter, would you explore your darker side? This predictable plot can be played out only a couple of ways.

Alien gives it 2½ "Cupid Day" stars out of 4.

Friday, February 17, 2017

A Cure for Wellness

This is not a sneak preview. This film has already erase.

Deer, eels, and loose teeth... Oh my!

It's "Shutter Island" meets "Misery" meets "The Stepford Wives" meets "Coma" in director/writer Gore Verbinski's psychological horror tale. When a young executive (Dane Dehaan) is sent to a wellness center to retrieve his company's CEO, he unwillingly becomes a patient & here begins his nightmare as he tries to unravel the mysterious secret kept at the base of the Swiss Alps. Is there a conspiracy here or is he just delusional? Verbinski has crafted beautiful visuals with haunting images. However, it's not too hard see how the puzzle are going to eventually fit together. More effort seems to have been put into stunning, shocking, & terrifying the audience with unforgettable moments than thinking thoroughly through the logic of the script of this nearly 2½ hour film. Expect some nudity but mostly of body types you wished you had never been exposed to. The continuing sense of uneasiness felt throughout the film will turn to something disturbingly weird as the story reaches its climax. Jason Isaacs & Mia Goth costar among the many odd & strange behaving characters. 

Alien gives 2½ "purification & detoxification" stars out of 4.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Great Wall (3D)

In the spirit of "Pride & Prejudice & Zombies", the "House of Flying Daggers" filmmakers have crafted a historical period action drama/monster movie hybrid. So, this is "Hero" meets "Jurassic Park" when a Marco Polo/Hawkeye mercenary (Matt Damon) & his Spaniard partner travel to China in search of the rumored mysterious black powder. Captured by the Chinese army stationed at the Great Wall, they must choose to stay & fight or escape when an enemy attacks. In this alternate universe, the wall was built to keep out something far more crafty, powerful, & dangerous than the Mongol hordes. The women march shoulder-to-shoulder with the men & can even command the troops in this non-chauvinistic empire. The spectacular battle scenes are a mixture of "300", "Cirque du Soleil", & sophisticated primitive weaponry. With the Great Wall as the backdrop, the film feels quite epic with the massive sets & thousands of troops battling a huge overwhelming cyclic onslaught of intelligent & deadly beings. Just sit back, hang on, & enjoy this fantasy action thriller. All of the major characters conveniently converse in English with subtitles to fill in for the rest of the cast. 

Alien gives it 3½  "magnetic control" stars out of 4.   

Monday, February 13, 2017

Fist Fight

On Senior Prank Day, the last day of school, two high school teachers' disagreement becomes a social media event when a history teacher (Ice Cube) calls out an English teacher (Charlie Day) to meet after school for a last man standing fist fight. This silly & childish film about men behaving like dumb teens is rated "R" for language, drugs, sexual content, & violence. This is a great example of bad behavior not being necessarily a good thing unless your sense of humor leans that way. Tracy Morgan, Christina Hendricks, & Jillian Bell also appear in this poor reflection on public education. This is a poor man's "Super Bad" meets "Bad Teacher" that is predictably boring. Look for a gag reel during the credits & a final clip at the end. 

Alien gives it 2 "lame sophomoric idiots" stars out of 4.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Fifty Shades Darker

Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) & Christian Grey (Jaime Dorian) are back for the second semester of kinky sex 101. Ana has a new job & boss but Christian wants her back. Of course, Ana reluctantly agrees but on her terms. However, she begins to have doubts as she is faced with things from his past. Can he change for her? Can she change him? Is this going to to be a real relationship or just a game of ownership? Is there marriage in their future? Will her exposed breasts & his naked butt be erotically stimulating or uncomfortable voyeurism? Do all of her bosses want to sleep with her? Disappointingly tame or I can't unsee that? This couple still lack any real chemistry together. This uninspiring script is predictable. Marcia Gay Harding plays the adoptive mother & Kim Basinger plays a Mrs. Robinson type influence. It didn't seem darker, just about the same & easily forgettable. Look for third semester previews in the middle of the credits.

Alien gives it 2½ "no more rules, no more punishments, & no more secrets" stars out of 4.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

John Wick: Chapter Two

It's "James Bond" meets "Dirty Harry" meets "R.E.D." (Retired Extremely Dangerous) meets "Assassin's Creed" when bad ass John Wick (Keanu Reeves) returns to the big screen to settle unfinished business from the original film but next he finds himself caught in between a rock & a hard place when his marker is called in. It's a wild & crazy action-packed thrill ride with cars crashing, bodies slamming, guns blazing, knock-down-drag-out fighting, & professional courtesy. The body count is too numerous to be kept track of. You won't know who to suspect as the action goes from New York to Rome & back with major gun battles in the catacombs, a museum, & a hall of mirrors. Look for Common, Ian McShane, & Laurence Fishburne to round out the criminally minded cast in this fascinating secret assassins society. By the end, things just seem to go from bad to worse & leaving the door wide open for a chapter three. This is that fun guilty pleasure film with mind numbing violence where you just have to sit back, grip your arm rests, & enjoy the show.

Alien gives it 3½ "the man, the legend, & the boogey man" stars out or 4.

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