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Rating History

Free Fire
Free Fire (2017)
19 days ago via Flixster

The promotional campaign for Ben Wheatley's "Free Fire" had me convinced it would be the divisive filmmaker's first film to truly satisfy. Wheatley's got talent, and each of his films have impressed me on one hand and let me down on another. "Kill List" and "A Field in England" are the biggest examples I have of this. He revels in fractured, sub-coherent plotting and uneasy genre-blending; and I have found the results frustrating so far. With the Scorsese stamp of approval, "Free Fire" looked to be a stylish, straight-forward yarn with a simple albeit bold hook that could fully and unpretentiously display Wheatley's entertaining side.

The result is Wheatley's most accessible film to date. Set primarily during one sustained action sequence (a shootout in an abandoned warehouse), "Free Fire" cooks as a straight, no-frills action thriller with comedic elements. Wheatley has dropped the Lynchian flourishes and surreal horror found in most of his work for something resembling a "Budget Tarantino." Dialogue is fired faster and with more reckless abandon than bullets in the picture. It's as if there are two shootouts running congruent to each other for 80 minutes.

The film's greatest strength is it's cast. This is an uncommonly A-grade ensemble for such a grungy little piece of work.

Ghost in the Shell
20 days ago via Flixster

This slick remake was a big surprise to me. Unnecessary? Sure. Good? You bet. The visuals, soundtrack, art design, and Johansson are all in fine form. Director Rupert Sanders nailed the technicals. Undeniably however, the 1996 Anime classic of the same name is a whole lot smarter. It's impressionistic, interpretive structure is replaced by a more blunt procedural. Once again Hollywood has turned the cerebral physical, but the result isn't negative either. It's just fairly inessential. In it's own right, "Ghost in the Shell" is well made, even beautiful at times with some memorable set pieces and action choreography. As a live-action companion piece to the O.G. model, it's worthy! I'd watch it again. In the shadow of it's source though, it's a tough sell.

The Lego Batman Movie
20 days ago via Flixster

Not only is "The Lego Batman Movie" another immaculately crafted and highly entertaining bit of cross promotion that has no right being as good as it is; it also truly gets the "Batman" mythology and sends up "The Caped Crusader" is effortlessly hilarious and creative fashion. It may not reach the level of "The Lego Movie's" existential twist, and you may need to do a little Bat Research in order to get the most out of it's endless Easter Eggs, but "The Lego Batman Movie" is a worthy follow-up that's wacky, irreverent fun and the best Batman flick this side of Nolan!

Logan (2017)
20 days ago via Flixster

"Logan" is THE prime example of the kind of glorious genre movie that can arise from a studio willing to fillet convention and financially-motivated tropes. "Deadpool" was only the beginning! James Mangold's brutal second foray in the standalone adventures of the X-Men's most popular mutant is a bold, savage vision with maturity and grit not seen in a superhero film before (or most modern blockbusters for that matter). "Logan's" influences don't go wholly unnoticed, but it remains very much it's own beast. Highlighted by arguably the best performance of Hugh Jackman's career, and fittingly in his signature role, "Logan" in not only the surefire best entry in the entire X-Men film franchise... it's something close to a masterpiece.