REVIEW: Red Notice (2021)

Ryan Reynolds, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, and Gal Gadot in Red Notice — Photo: Netflix.

Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber — Screenplay by Rawson Marshall Thurber.

Rawson Marshall Thurber’s Red Notice is an action-adventure buddy comedy film about the search for three priceless eggs once owned by Cleopatra. In the film, FBI Special Agent John Hartley (played by Dwayne Johnson) is forced to team-up with Nolan Booth (played by Ryan Reynolds), an internationally renowned art thief, in a race against time to find all three eggs before Booth’s main competitor, The Bishop (played by Gal Gadot), finds them and sells them to the highest bidder.

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Additional Bite-Sized Reviews, Nov. 2021, pt. I: ‘Space Jam: A New Legacy,’ ‘Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin,’ and More

LeBron James in SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY — Photo: Warner Bros.

In this edition of my monthly movie and television catch-up article series titled ‘Additional Bite-Sized Reviews,’ I take a look at some of the Warner Bros. films that I may have missed earlier this year, but I also take a look at a Paramount+ sequel to a very popular franchise, and a Netflix spin-off film. Is Space Jam: A New Legacy any good? Is the latest Paranormal Activity-film a return to form? Can Matthias Schweighöfer’s Army of Thieves live up to Zack Snyder’s Netflix zombie flick from earlier this year? Well, read more to find out what I think about all of that (and more) in yet another jam-packed edition of Additional Bite-Sized Reviews!

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REVIEW: Finch (2021)

Caleb Landry Jones (as Jeff the robot) and Tom Hanks in “Finch,” now streaming on Apple TV+.

Directed by Miguel Sapochnik — Screenplay by Craig Luck & Ivor Powell.

A former storyboard artist, Miguel Sapochnik’s career as a director is quite interesting. His 2010 feature film directorial debut, Repo Men, was met with relatively negative reviews. Perhaps that reaction really hurt the young director, because his next move was to turn to television again and again. Sapochnik has since become a seasoned television director, and he has been involved with shows such as House, Fringe, and True Detective. But the project that he really made his name with was Game of Thrones, which he has directed some of the most famous episodes of including Battle of the Bastards, for which he won an Emmy. Now, in 2021, his second film as a director, Finch, is finally here, and, while it probably won’t be as big of a hit as he may have hoped (since it has been released on a streaming service without much fanfare), I really liked Finch. It is yet another solid star vehicle for Tom Hanks on Apple TV+ after Greyhound.

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Additional Bite-Sized Reviews, Oct. 21′: ‘Ted Lasso,’ ‘Squid Game,’ and More

Brendan Hunt, Jason Sudeikis, Brett Goldstein, and Nick Mohammed in TED LASSO — Photo: Apple TV+.

In this edition of my monthly movie and television catch-up article series titled ‘Additional Bite-Sized Reviews,’ I discuss my thoughts on some of the hottest shows of the year, and then I tell you about some of the Netflix movies you may have missed recently. Is Squid Game as good as its word-of-mouth would have you believe? Is There’s Someone Inside of Your House a good modern update on Scream? Well, scroll down to find out what I think about all of that (and more) in yet another jam-packed edition of Additional Bite-Sized Reviews!

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REVIEW: The Guilty (2021)

Jake Gyllenhaal as Joe Baylor in Antoine Fuqua’s American version of THE GUILTY — Photo: Netflix.

Directed by Antoine Fuqua — Screenplay by Nic Pizzolatto.

Antoine Fuqua’s The Guilty, written by True Detective-creator Nic Pizzolatto, is an American remake of the 2018 Danish single-location thriller Den Skyldige, which was then directed by Gustav Möller. The film follows Joe Baylor (played by Jake Gyllenhaal), who is an agitated LAPD officer with a troubled past, while he is at a 911 call center. Though he is initially largely uninterested at the call center, he suddenly ‘wakes up’ when a distressed woman calls him and says she is being abducted by her ex-husband. From his computer and telephone, Joe must now try to figure out what is happening and try to get law enforcement to her position before it is too late.

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RETRO REVIEW: You Only Live Twice (1967)

James Bond (Sean Connery) watches a sumo wrestling match in Japan in YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE — Photo: United Artists / Eon Productions.

Directed by Lewis Gilbert — Screenplay by Roald Dahl.

After having released a Bond-film for every year from 1962 to 1965, Eon Productions and United Artists took a year-off before the next film in the franchise was released. Filmed mostly in Japan, You Only Live Twice was the second-to-last official Sean Connery Bond-film (and his last Bond-film before George Lazenby took over for one film). This fifth official Bond-film was the first Bond-picture to be directed by Lewis Gilbert who was hot off the heels after having won the Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival the year before for his film Alfie. Interestingly, 1967 also marked the first time that an unofficial/Non-Eon Bond-film, the David Niven-led Casino Royale, was released. Niven’s film was released a few months prior to the release of You Only Live Twice, and it may have had a negative impact on the box office potential of Connery’s fifth Bond-film.

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RETRO REVIEW: Thunderball (1965)

James Bond (Sean Connery) swims with sharks — Photo: United Artists / Eon Productions.

Directed by Terence Young — Screenplay by Jack Whittingham, Richard Maibaum, and John Hopkins.

In this day and age, where we just had a six year wait between Sam Mendes’ SPECTRE and Cary Joji Fukunaga’s No Time To Die, it actually is a little bit tough to wrap you head around the fact that United Artists and Eon Productions released a Bond-film every year from 1962 to 1965. Add to that, the fact that Terence Young directed three of those films and it becomes even more astounding. However, this was actually Young’s final Bond-film, and that occasion was marked by the fact that the budget was much, much bigger than when Young introduced audiences to the character.

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RETRO REVIEW: Goldfinger (1964)

Shirley Eaton as Jill Masterson in GOLDFINGER — Photo: United Artists / Eon Productions.

Directed by Guy Hamilton — Screenplay by Richard Maibaum and Paul Dehn.

Here we go. Goldfinger is the first major James Bond-film. This is arguably the most iconic film in the franchise. Following the commercial success of Terence Young’s Dr. No and From Russia With Love, the producers handed Guy Hamilton, who had turned down the directing duties on Dr. No, the reins to the film series and provided the production a sizable budget of $3 million (the previous two films’ budgets combined). This was the movie that changed everything for the franchise, and, looking at it today, it is easy to see why.

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RETRO REVIEW: From Russia With Love (1963)

Robert Shaw as Red Grant and Sean Connery as James Bond in FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE — Photo: United Artists / Eon Productions.

Directed by Terence Young — Screenplay by Richard Maibaum.

Dr. No was a huge financial success, so United Artists doubled the budget for its follow-up, From Russia With Love, which was allegedly the final film President John F. Kennedy screened at the White House. Though it is, naturally, a little bit dated, Terence Young’s From Russia With Love is a significant improvement on Dr. No. This feels much more ambitious and extravagant, even though it does suffer from some of the same issues that the first film did.

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RETRO REVIEW: Quantum of Solace (2008)

Daniel Craig as James Bond and Judi Dench as M in QUANTUM OF SOLACE — Photo: Sony Pictures Releasing / Eon Productions.

Directed by Marc Forster — Screenplay by Paul Haggis, Neal Purvis, and Robert Wade.

Although Quantum of Solace is often disregarded as nothing more than the nadir of Daniel Craig’s tenure as James Bond, which it is, I don’t think this film is as disastrous as others may. I have previously described this film as a misstep or a disappointment, but, in reality, Quantum of Solace feels like it is a film that was stuck in the mud already in pre-production due to the late 2000s WGA screenwriters’ strike. Quantum of Solace probably should have had its production delayed, but instead the producers opted to fast-track it, and, to me, that resulted in the follow-up to Casino Royale not being able to reach its potential. The most interesting thing about Quantum of Solace, though, is the fact that it brought the continuity and ongoing story arc, which would come to be indicative of Craig’s tenure, to the franchise.

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