We have seen The Dark Tower, being the latest attempt to adapt the works of Stephen King to the big screen. How did it fair? Well… Neither of us have read the novel series that the movie is based on, which seemed to be a plus, because I think we liked it more than most, certainly more than die hard Tower fans. Idris Elba is very, very good, and looks the business as the Gunslinger, and has excellent chemistry with the young boy who holds the fate of multiple worlds in his hands, while Matthew McConnoghey is… fine. Turns out that it’s super hard to adapt 7 books worth of lore and world-building into 90 (!!!) minutes of film. Who knew?
We saw the new action spy thriller Atomic Blonde tonight, starring Charlize Theron and James McAvoy. We give universal praise to the action and the stars for delivering great performances and believable stunt work. The visual flair of the movie is incredible too. But, we’re just not sure about the plot. We might be having a slow night, but we’re not sure everyone’s motivations and spy stuff work out. And, I’m at least a little bummed that this movie was more gritty and introspective and less the fun romp I was expecting. Still, with stunt work nestled comfortably between the grounded pummeling of The Bourne Identity and the over the top wet work of John Wick, you owe it to yourself to see it and form your own opinion.
We’ve seen Christopher Nolan’s new film, the war epic Dunkirk, and found it hard to immediately react to. It’s a very visceral, claustrophobic, unflinching, and moving film, epic in scale, but equally effective in zooming in to focus on a small number of actual human beings to focus on and care about. It offers views of the best and worst of humanity, and constantly dares you to both judge and empathize with the men dealing death and narrowly avoiding it. Another fantastic film from Nolan.
Special thanks to our twin commissioners, Steven S. and Mozbeet for commissioning one of my very favorite films, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, directed by Peter Weir and based on the Patrick O’Brian series that is my very favorite books of all time. Thank god Jim thinks it’s awesome too, or there might have been bloodshed. We discuss the film’s historicity and verisimilitude, the unique relationship between Captain Jack and Doctor Maturin, life aboard an 19th century Man o’ War, and I make a pitch for reading the original novels towards the end. Thanks again Steven and Mozbeet, this was a real treat!
Hello, true believers! We have seen Spider-Man: Homecoming, and we pronounce it good. Really, really good. It’s kind of amazing how Marvel seems incapable of making anything less than a top level comic book film, and do enough with casting, set piece design, and slight tweaks to their formula to have even cynics like Jim wanting more. Like I said, it’s amazing. Spectacular, even. We talk briefly about the greatness of the film in a non-spoiler way, talk a bit about upcoming films, and then get down and dirty with Mr. Parker in the spoiler section. But! You’ll have to be a Club Member to get all that goodness. ‘Nuff said. Excelsior!
Jim and I got to see Edgar Wright’s newest action/comedy/musical, Baby Driver. And it’s glorious. Jim calls it the most entertaining movie of the year. High praise. I was blown away by the nerdy charm and magnetism of Ansel Elgort as the titular Baby. Seriously, he’s the perfect young Harrison Ford. I can’t believe they apparently cast someone who can’t act in the upcoming Han Solo movie, but what are you going to do? See this movie, and imagine if Ansel were cast instead of some forgettable male lead in YOUR favorite movie, that’s what I’d do. We also talk trailers and upcoming films, like we do, and then we get spoilery, but for Club Members only!
For this week’s commissioned podcast, we got to watch one of the many great collaborations between Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio, the 2010 psychological thriller, Shutter Island. While neither of us think this movie cracks the top 5 of either gentlemen’s work, it is an effective film with a pretty good twist, and features a solid Leo performance that drifts into “great” territory later in the film, and has great supporting performances in Ben Kingsley, Mark Ruffalo, Max von Sydow, among many others.
Jim and A.Ron checked out the summer action/horror/Tom Cruise vehicle, The Mummy. A.Ron thinks it’s dumb, but fun, and draws comparisons to Stargate, American Werewolf in London, Hellboy, and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Jim thinks it has the kind of fun, swashbuckling, scoundrel flavor found in the Uncharted video game series. So is it a successful start to Universal’s ambitious interconnected monster saga, Dark Universe? We’ll have to see how much money it makes. Please enjoy our spoiler free review of the film, as well as discussion of upcoming summer movies such as Atomic Blonde, Baby Driver, and American Assassin. But if you want to hear our spoiler filled review, you’ll have to be a Club Bald Move member!
Special thanks to DrKen (previous commissioner of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance) for commissioning this great thriller from the 90’s, The Fugitive, starring Harrison Ford as brilliant doctor wrongfully accused of the murder of his wife evading the dogged pursuit of Tommy Lee Jones as U.S. Marshal. This is one of the tightest films you’ll ever see, effortlessly moving from one set piece to another, drawing strength and vitality from the charisma and presence of it’s two brightest stars, achieving the rare balance where you want the protagonist and antagonist to find a way to both win. We have fond memories of this film from our youth, and we found it held up like Ford’s Finger ‘O Doom. Thanks again, DrKen! If you ever have to evade justice, we got a couple of bucks and a bed in the basement for you!
Hey everybody! DC has made a good post-Nolan superhero movie! Wonder Woman isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but Patty Jenkins directs Gal Gadot as a powerful avenging war goddess striding across the battlefield, but instills the heroine with enough human-scaled heart to keep us emotionally engaged. The film looks and sounds great, and Chris Pine is very good as a gender-bent damsel in various distress. Please enjoy our spoiler-free review and discussion of upcoming movies, but if you want to hear our spoiler filled deep dive, you’re going to have to be a Club Member!