Baby Driver (2017) – Review

Review: Ever since the delightfully staged getaway scene in the opening, when Baby (tall, pale Ansel Elgort) hit the gas and The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion’s Bellbottoms burst in stereo, Baby Driver has given the impression that it isn’t an ordinary ‘action film with some cool soundtracks.’ The scene that follows further evidences the same notion as Baby, in a slick tracking shot with Harlem Shuffle played, walks around the blocks buying coffees for his passengers.

Both scenes shows off that highly curated music tracks and stylish action bravura can go hand in hand. Even further, the music dissolves into the core—the cinematography, the choreography, the staging and the editing—unexceptionally. And, only in Edgar Wright’s over-stylized writing-directing feature, his nifty film-making class and exquisite music repertoire find a way to breakthrough.

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American Made (2017) – Review

Review: In case you haven’t heard, Tom Cruise’ latest American Made, is a crazy real-life story of Han Solo the Smuggler. Well, it’s actually a story of a real figure, Barry Seal (portrayed by Cruise), a pilot prodigy who left his delightful life as an airline pilot to pursue ‘careers’ to make, live, and make living out of CIA, Nicaraguan right-wing guerillas, Pablo Escobar’s Medellin Cartel, to the White House. It’s so dirty, so obscene, and so ludicrous that it almost busts out the line between reality and fiction.

Barry Seal’s life, despite everything, feels like it’s been written solely for Cruise. Seal is an adrenaline junkie (which matches up with Cruise’ personality as he insists on doing his own stunt) who gets entangled in an obscure world full of corruption, double-crossings and crimes. In living such a life, he’s quite a narcissist and a fancy talker (in one scene he’s talking DEA, State Police, FBI and other law enforcers  out promising them a Caddy for a person, while he knows they won’t accept). And, the best part is that he’s doing his operation airborne—flying small planes, reuniting Cruise with his aviation tenure in Top Gun.

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The Dark Tower (2017) – Review

Review: Stephen King’s famously ‘unadaptable’ genre-mixing novel series get adapted by A Royal Affair’s director, Nikolaj Arcel, into a series of non-understandable events. Missing out the horror elements, missing out the Western elements, and opting for PG-friendly action, The Dark Tower might as well be titled ‘How to Adapt The Dark Tower and Miss Everything.’

There’s nothing special with the story. It apparently borrows elements from King’s novels, starting from the titular tower, the characters, and the conflicts. There’s the Dark Tower, which is said to be center of a multiverse; it is also said that only the mind of a child can destroy it. A dark sorcerer called Man In Black (Matthew McConaughey) seeks to destroy the tower to bring reign of terror. In doing so, he’s abducting children from all universes and exploiting their mind to blast the tower down. On the path of light, there’s a Gunslinger, Roland of Gilead (Idris Elba), a loner from a devastated world, who seeks for revenge. Standing between them is a child from Earth, Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor), who is haunted by nightmare of the tower.

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A Season with: Marvel’s The Defenders (2017)

Review: Best part about Marvel’s The Defenders is that it’s not a carbon copy of Avengers, despite revolving with the same all-heroes assembled formula. There’s no need a Nick Fury figure to unite Marvel’s heroes streamed at Netflix. Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter) and the man-boy, Iron Fist (Finn Jones) are intertwined in their own business until sophisticated web of conflicts tangled them. And that’s a good sign, given the individual shows’ uneven height.

To begin with, this assemble isn’t at the same height as Netflix-Marvel’s best—that would be the first season of Daredevil and the cancerous single season of Jessica Jones. Yet, it’s definitely far more superior to the weakest—that would be Iron Fist. The Defenders might be in tie with the convoluted second season of Daredevil, but has more substance presented in a more straightforward manner. Continue reading “A Season with: Marvel’s The Defenders (2017)”

The Hitman’s Bodyguard (2017) – Review

Review: From the director of Expendables 3, Patrick Hughes, a same-old brand new breed of hard-boiled action comes in the shape of The Hitman’s Bodyguard. With classic B-movie influence and dirty chemistry between the leads—Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson, this electric summer bonanza stands erect between being exhilarating and annoying.

There’s a hitman, Darius Kincaid (Jackson), a key witness to the legal persecution of a former Belarus tyrant (Gary Oldman).There’s a former Triple-A level bodyguard, Michael Bryce (Reynolds). There’s a past beef between the two. Yet, there’s a mutual purpose between them: to get Kincaid safe from England to Netherland. There’s common enemy: the Belarus mercenary, which infects Interpol.

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Bad Genius (2017) – Review

Review: In Bad Genius, director Nattawut Poonpiriya (who previously helmed Countdown, a peculiar New York-set home invasion thriller) crafts an extraordinary story about cheaters in standardized test presented like a heist thriller. Additionally, it either criticizes or mocks, or even actually makes fun of academic exams in a most exhilarating way.

With clever straightforward script and cinematic aptitude to treat class-room multiple choice tests like Ocean’s Eleven, this film successfully deliver a scandalous guilty pleasure the size of The Talented Mr. Ripley.  The result is a super entertaining heist-formulated class room thriller, which scores high and graduate a cumlaude.

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