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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

What’s there to like?

Well we have a fifth(!) installment in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. The first trio was surprisingly enjoyable. And the fourth, lagging behind by a few years, pulled together a nice victory lap. Johnny Depp did his thing, and Penelope Cruz and Ian McShane brought enough pizzazz to make it fun.

And now we have a fifth, subtitled Dead Men Tell No Tales. So how is it? Continue Reading

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The Wizard of Lies

What’s there to like?

Biopics have a hard row to hoe, at least as far as I’m concerned. There are the facts of the story to deal with, characters to develop, and only a couple hours to do it in. The Wizard of Lies largely manages to rise above a lot of that and deliver some nice touches.

The best decision they made was to focus on Bernie Madoff’s personal and family life through the ordeal. Obviously the scandal had tragic reverberations that affected lots of innocent people, but the family effects were where the drama was. Continue Reading

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The Wizard of Lies, The Meddler, Assassin’s Creed, Catastrophe, Weekend Picks

It’s an HBO movie week: The Wizard of Lies draws our attention. How does it balance telling a historical story and making a good movie? Is there a sympathetic take on Bernie Madoff?

Bob mini reviews The Meddler and Assassin’s Creed. Logan mini reviews Catastrophe.

In weekend picks, Logan talks about Casual, The Bachelorette, and War Machine. Bob mentions Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and Baywatch.

Let’s rock!

Follow us on Twitter: @LoganBeaux and @BobCaswell

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King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, 13 Reasons Why, Billions, Weekend Picks

It’s Guy Ritchie time! We review King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. Is the trademark Ritchie style effective here? Can we abide yet another hero’s journey?

Logan mini reviews 13 Reasons Why and Billions.

In weekend picks, Logan talks about Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The Wizard of Lies, and Twin Peaks. Bob mentions Alien: Covenant, Wakefield, and The Survivalist. Watch Twitter for the final pick.

Let’s rock!

Follow us on Twitter: @LoganBeaux and @BobCaswell

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King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

What’s there to like?

Puzzlingly, I find myself having not seen very many Guy Ritchie movies. In fact, The Man from U.N.C.L.E just might be the only one. From the buzz (and counterbuzz) surrounding King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, I was worried I might not take to it.

I’m happy to say, I got it. I got Ritchie’s point of view. He certainly swung for the fences on this one. Some may consider it a strikeout, but for my money, he connected. The big-swing point of view mainly comes down to two things, in my view.

Continue Reading

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, This Is Us, Weekend Picks

The next Guardians of the Galaxy movie is upon us, and so is our latest episode. Does Vol. 2 stand on its own feet as a movie beyond the surprise of its predecessor? Is the family theme great or overwrought?

Logan mini reviews This Is Us.

In weekend picks, Logan brings up Master of None and I Love Dick. Bob picks King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, and also mentions Absolutely Anything and Snatched.

Let’s rock!

Follow us on Twitter: @LoganBeaux and @BobCaswell

 

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The Circle, Girls, Weekend Picks

It’s the week we review The Circle. The movie sure takes a healthy swing–does it connect? How well does Tom Hanks employ his charm?

Logan and Bob dual mini review Girls. The end of a series; the end of an era.

In weekend picks, Logan reaches back and talks about The Patriot and Dear White People. Bob picks Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2, but also mentions The Dinner. And a big video game release this week too: Prey.

Let’s rock!

Follow us on Twitter: @LoganBeaux and @BobCaswell

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The Circle


What’s there to like?

I’ve really been looking forward to this one. Dave Eggers is one of my favorite contemporary authors, and I loved this novel. I’ve also liked Eggers adaptations in the past, like A Hologram For the King.

And, in fact, there were some things that benefited quite a bit from the movie medium. For example, the creep of conformity. Being able to look around and see everyone else buying into something and how easy it is to slide right in.

I’m also enjoying Emma Watson’s expanding repertoire and range–Hermione who?–even if at times I could hear her really working hard on that American accent.

And there were some wonderful moments, such as when Mae (Watson) is confronted by concerned Circlers about why on Earth she wouldn’t be socializing and sharing more. So many choices! They’re optional, of course (but why aren’t you doing anything?). And it’s all just for fun (but seriously, do it)!

What’s not to like?

Unfortunately, while it’s fun to see a favorite novel adapted, there’s a lot that didn’t quite gel here. For one, the tone. In the book, the vision and scope of the Circle’s ideas were inspiring and intoxicating for the most part, with only tiny worries presenting themselves little by little. In the movie, everything is creepy as hell pretty much from the beginning. There just wasn’t enough time to build the premise properly, perhaps?

And Tom Hanks, for being maybe the most charming man in history, is awfully . . . not very charming here. And he’s playing a guy who supposedly runs on charm. I’m not saying Hanks half-assed this role, but I’m not saying he didn’t, either.

Overall, there are just too many ideas packed in here for most of them to be dealt with adequately. The movie failed to capture what it set out to. And it’s too bad.

The Verdict

It’s nice to see a movie aim big, tackling timely and relevant issues and well written fiction. But it’s even nicer when a movie connects with its aim. And The Circle didn’t.

Fine

[Cross-posted at loganbeaux.com.]