Chapter 03 - Chapter 03
CASEY - SERIBU IMPIAN

Deadpool 2 review

Much like its predecessor, Deadpool 2 is less a movie than a smirky, feature-length meme generator. Though the sequel has a new director and some new cast members, Deadpool 2 is unsurprisingly doubling down on what made the first film such a big hit, including jokes about exactly how big of a hit at the box office it was, as well as plenty of other fourth-wall-breaking moments. Considering that the original was successful, it’s somewhat predictable that this sequel is going to the same well of snark and glib ultra-violence, but this is just as obnoxious as its predecessor, if not more so. Read More »

Life of the Party Review

Over the last decade, Melissa McCarthy has helped boost a handful of comedies with her fierce comic charm and timing. Spy, The Heat, Bridesmaids, and the Ghostbusters remake (which wasn’t perfect, but was still pretty damn funny) all were elevated by her ability to play someone who’s wild and outlandish while managing to feel slightly rooted in reality. Her immense talent in these films makes it all the more puzzling that the three films she’s co-written and produced, including the new comedy Life of the Party, are so scattershot. Life of the Party has a familiar, straightforward premise, but is hampered by dull jokes and a poor sense of pacing.

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Tully Trailer - Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron is one of the great living actresses, and Tully is the latest proof. Theron’s ability to fully embody and transform into her characters is already well-documented, from her Oscar-winning work in Monster to the fierce Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road. Prior to Tully, one of Theron’s better, more acidic performances came in the Diablo Cody-written, Jason Reitman-directed Young Adult. Now, the actress, writer, and director have come together for a film that’s perhaps slightly less biting but far more resonant in its depiction of the struggles of modern middle-class parenting.

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Infinity War Runtime

The best thing about Avengers: Infinity War is, in many ways, the best thing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole: an incredibly charming and almost overqualified ensemble cast. Though a few of the actors in the nearly 20 films of the MCU haven’t worked out so well, many of the performers are key to making the heroes of this fantastical series fresh and exciting. Whenever the sometimes-unwieldy, epic-length Infinity War works, it’s largely thanks to the actors, not the action sequences or the effects or anything else. The cast makes this movie, not the other way around.

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Ready Player One Shining Scene

For good and ill, Ready Player One feels like the apotheosis of all things nostalgic in popular culture in the 21st century. The new Steven Spielberg film, based on the book of the same name by co-screenwriter Ernest Cline, depicts a future in which people of all ages escape into a virtual-reality landscape that’s populated with cultural characters both famous and obscure. As much as it may be enjoyable to be reminded of the things you liked or loved (or still like or love), Ready Player One struggles with the balance between depicting nostalgic totems and commenting on the damage that obsessing over such cultural detritus does to a person.

One scene midway through the film represents this struggle, and is almost able to encapsulate the film’s various issues in a microcosm. To describe that scene would be a pretty big spoiler, so consider yourself warned.

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Beetlejuice 30th Anniversary

It’s been too long, painfully so, since Michael Keaton got to be even remotely as funny and wild on screen as he is as the title character of Beetlejuice. Keaton has mercifully had a bit of a career revival in the last handful of years, having starred in two of the last four Best Picture winners (remember Birdman and Spotlight?) as well as getting to play the villainous Vulture in last year’s Spider-Man: Homecoming. Though that movie represented a nice reversal of the days when Keaton played the Caped Crusader, Homecoming leaned more into the longtime actor’s darker side.

So watching Beetlejuice 30 years (it hit theaters on March 30, 1988) later feels all the more shocking because it’s a bracing reminder that, even when he was playing a darker-than-life character, Michael Keaton could be as funny as he was scary.

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(Welcome to The Disney Discourse, a recurring feature where Josh Spiegel discusses the latest in Disney news. He goes deep on everything from the animated classics to the theme parks to live-action franchises. In this edition: why the recently retired John Musker matters to Disney’s past and its future.)

There are only a few people whose presence at Walt Disney Animation Studios has been as massive as that of Walt Disney himself. During Disney’s life, although he never directed a single animated feature, it was hard to see anyone else at the studio he created with his brother being quite as influential or impactful as he was. After Walt Disney’s death in 1966, there have been a handful of artists who could say that they caused major change at the studio, from the late composer Howard Ashman to the now-mired-in-controversy animator and producer John Lasseter.

Last weekend, one of those great artists stepped down from Disney Animation: longtime animator and director John Musker, whose loss at the studio will be keenly felt for a long time.

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Five years ago, Steven Soderbergh directed what he’d said would be his cinematic swan song. Side Effects, ostensibly about a woman who reacts quite poorly to some medication she was prescribed by a sweaty British doctor, was a nasty piece of work that featured one of Jude Law’s more underrated performances. If Side Effects was really Soderbergh’s last feature, it would’ve been a fine note on which to exit. Instead, last summer, the auteur returned with the goofy and charming Logan Lucky. His own luck has, temporarily, evaporated with Unsane, which is a highly idiotic inversion of Side Effects.

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A Wrinkle in Time Review

Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time represents a long-overdue milestone being passed. The fact that the film’s director, Ava DuVernay of Selma and 13th, is the first woman of color to helm a Hollywood film with a budget over $100 million is remarkable; that it took the industry until 2018 to allow this barrier to be broken is unforgivable. But A Wrinkle in Time, leaving aside a marketing campaign that portends a new mega-bucks franchise, is a surprising, distinctive, sometimes mawkish, sometimes emotionally wrenching, and all-over-the-place journey. While the film is not always satisfying, its ambitions are winning enough.

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Red Sparrow Reviews

The new faux-Hitchcockian thriller Red Sparrow has the dubious honor of both being too overheated and too sterile to have any impact. Granted, Red Sparrow does have the pedigree of A-lister Jennifer Lawrence playing the conflicted lead, as well as the undeniable sense that this is the kind of prestige-striving film for adults that is rarely made or released outside of awards season. But the end result is flaccid, more convinced of its intelligence than it should be, and painfully overlong.

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