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The Equalizer 2

The Equalizer 2 | Film reviews | Scoop.it
Robert McCall is an American badass. He's a retired Marine Gunnery Sergeant - some of my favorite people are retired Marines, so naturally I was stoked to see this sequel.
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Solo: A Star Wars Story

Solo: A Star Wars Story | Film reviews | Scoop.it
There is only one Han Solo, and he is Harrison Ford. Unfortunately no amount of CGI effects and tricks would make a believable visage of a young Han Solo, as Ford is now over seventy. So, I suspended by disbelief and won't join the chorus of naysayers crapping on Alden Ehrenreich. He did his best mimicking the swagger of the ultimate scoundrel of the galaxy . . . far, far away. And Solo was a thrill ride, comparable to Raiders of the Lost Ark in the deployment of action to dialog ratio. The story was easy to absorb and felt reminscent of an RPG video game. As you follow young Han through his life and how he ends up with the Millenium Falcon and Chewy as his co-pilot.
Rick Swift's insight:
Han Solo begins! Learn how Han meets Chewy and how he ends up on the wrong side of the Empire. Fans of the expanded universe will be pleasantly happy to see Crimson Dawn on full display. Also, let's talk about Qi'ra!
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Blumhouse's Truth or Dare

Blumhouse's Truth or Dare | Film reviews | Scoop.it
Swift shot: I always try to find something that I like in any movie I review, and with Blumhouse's Truth or Dare, I really had to struggle to find something. It was too long and the characters were just incredibly dumb. The redeeming moments were when characters got to get out of the movie early, by dying.

If you want to watch a good Truth or Dare movie, check out this indie instead, but be advised it is not for the tender-hearted nor children! Speaking of that, this film was hindered by its targeting. When I go see a horror film, I expect to be horrified, and there are really terrifying movies that manage to do so under the PG-13 rating. So that's no excuse to not be even remotely scary.
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Ready Player One

Ready Player One | Film reviews | Scoop.it
I am an '80s film geek; I was nurtured on Spielberg films. When I first heard about Ready Player One it was in the form of a tweet with someone not too keen on it being made into a movie. The quip was something about how the book was essentially all just mediocre writing with more pop-culture references than plot. So, even though it was being directed by the legend, I was keeping my expectations humble. While I haven't hated anything Spielberg has done, I have definitely been disappointed with some of his stuff, like A.I. and The BFG for instance. But, after plugging into OASIS and seeing how incredible the vast virtual universe was and how powerfully the characters were conveyed in both realities, I must say, I was blown away by all aspects of this fantastic film. This is one of the best Spielberg films of all time!

It's like the '80s exploded onto the screen in a giant cataclysm of radicalness that you get to see in your lifetime. Don't miss out!

Read the FULL review at FilmGrouch.com
Rick Swift's insight:
Ready Player One is a must see for film and pop-culture nerds!
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Rampage

Rampage | Film reviews | Scoop.it
Rampage was by far one of my favorite arcade games to play as a kid. It was simple and fun with a bit of a twist, you were the monster. You got to smash buildings, cars, and eat people as either a giant werewolf or a massive gorilla. For a kid with a lot of pent up video game rage, Rampage was the perfect place to escape watching my friends who could master combos on Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter. So when I heard about a film adaptation of the game starring The Rock, I was like - yes please!
Rick Swift's insight:
Rampage was by far one of my favorite arcade games to play as a kid. It was simple and fun with a bit of a twist, you were the monster. You got to smash buildings, cars, and eat people as either a giant werewolf or a massive gorilla. For a kid with a lot of pent up video game rage, Rampage was the perfect place to escape watching my friends who could master combos on Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter. So when I heard about a film adaptation of the game starring The Rock, I was like - yes please!
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Peter Rabbit

Peter Rabbit | Film reviews | Scoop.it
The tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter goes like this, there is a boisterous little rabbit named Peter who defies his mother by eating vegetables out of a nearby garden. His sisters obey their mother and receive a fine supper, while Peter gets sick from being chased by the owner of the garden, Mr. McGregor. That's pretty much it. So, I wasn't sure how Sony was going to make this into a feature length film. It would need a lot more to flesh out such a simple story. But, did they go too far with creative license or manage to get it right? 

What makes Peter Rabbit a quality film is the brilliant balance of interweaving Potter's illustrations into the cinematography in a way that parents could appreciate as a reminder of the classic whilst keeping the attention of the kids who are used to seeing big CGI effects in films. There's a good story in Peter Rabbit, and I was definitely entertained and would recommend you check this one out with your family.
Rick Swift's insight:
Peter Rabbit is a bit rabid, but a lot of fun!
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The Last Starfighter - Film Grouch

The Last Starfighter - Film Grouch | Film reviews | Scoop.it
A little bit Sword in the Stone with a touch of Star Wars (set in our galaxy, in our time), The Last Starfighter filled a vaccum left after the "final" Star Wars film, Return of the Jedi. I saw this one in theaters when it was released, and it has resonated with me ever since: a story about a reluctant hero who is thrust into a full on space war, as the enemy creeps ever closer to his home planet, Earth. The Last Starfighter reminds us that when it's time to fight, sometimes that's all there is left to protect those we love - so that they don't have to. Real courage isn't around every corner, sometimes you have to scour the universe to find it.

Full review available at http://FilmGrouch.com
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Justice League - Film Grouch

Justice League - Film Grouch | Film reviews | Scoop.it
Batman forms his league comprising of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and others mentioned above, so that they can stop Steppenwolf from getting the boxes and destroying our planet. Can they learn to work together in time to stop the threat or will they fail? Will the team bring hope again? Seeing this may answer that for you.

Overall I was disappointed the most by the characters of this film. Aquaman wasn't portrayed as King of Atlantis but more like just a dude who has special powers. While The Flash was funny, it was mostly by him being in the presence of superheroes and him showing us why he shouldn't be there. The laughs were more about him being pretty much a coward. While I don't know much about Cyborg, he was the most level headed one of the new characters. His character arc is probably the best option, yet his character seemed pretty mechanical. (No pun intended.)

The film’s most exciting part for me was a side scene where we see the Amazon’s defend one of the three boxes in question. The Amazons are just so fun to watch. I wish I could have said the same for the rest of the cast. I'm still feeling the disappointment.
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The Snowman - Film Grouch

The Snowman - Film Grouch | Film reviews | Scoop.it
As a three year resident of Norway, I had high hopes for this film, and I have been hearing from my Norwegian friends how good the Jo Nesbo Harry Hole series is . . . to read. I was expecting something like Silence of the Lambs meets The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, what I got was just a convoluted mess of ideas that should have been handled much better! The word that will forever haunt Director Alfredson in regards to The Snowman is "potential." This story had potential, the characters had potential, the editing . . . well, the editing had no potential, it was an utter failure. Right up there with the piss-poor editing of Seven Pounds, in fact.

I recognize that making a film is challenging, and I hate to just crap all over anyone's work, but there was just almost nothing redeeming about The Snowman. This director has two strikes and one home run, for me: his breakout masterpiece, the original Let the Right One In, which still kinda freaks me out and his miss being the boring as hell Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. 
Rick Swift's insight:
The Snowman: I recognize that making a film is challenging, and I hate to just crap all over anyone's work, but there was just almost nothing redeeming about The Snowman. This director has two strikes and one home run, for me: his breakout masterpiece, the original Let the Right One In, which still kinda freaks me out and his miss being the boring as hell Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
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Halloween Wars (Season 7) - Film Grouch

Halloween Wars (Season 7) - Film Grouch | Film reviews | Scoop.it
Halloween is probably my favorite time of the year, because it focuses on the grim specter of death, which none of us are escaping. I guess there is a possibility we could go on as just floating heads in jars like in Futurama, but that doesn't sound like much fun to me. Imagine floating in brine, stuck in a drawer with someone you despise for eternity.  So, as we wonder about how it's all going to end, we can at least enjoy some spectacular creations by the best pumpkin carvers and cake and sugar artists who haven't shoved off this mortal coil . . . yet.   

Each weekend judges Shinmin Li (renowned pastry chef) and Todd Tucker (famous horror makeup artist) will be joined by different guest judges to determine who will go on to take home the grand prize $50,000. The competition is going to be vicious this year! 
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The Hitman's Bodyguard - Film Grouch

The Hitman's Bodyguard - Film Grouch | Film reviews | Scoop.it
One of my all-time favorite movies is Die Hard. It’s a great flick, packed with action, sprinkled with humor, with good guys and bad guys and a great ending. During my viewing of The Hitman’s Bodyguard I thought to myself “Wow, this is almost as good as Die Hard! The Hitman’s Bodyguard has lots of action, car chases, a boat chase, gunfire, two super funny characters, profanity galore, and Samuel L. Jackson being, quite frankly, a bad ass.

Michael Bryce (Reynolds) is, as he refers to himself, a AAA-level special protection agent. He is very good at his job. Until one of his high-profile clients is assassinated right in front of him. This leads him on a downward spiral until two years later, when he is still doing his job, but living in his car, separated from his girlfriend, Interpol Agent Amelia Roussel (Yung), with a kind of dead look in his eyes. It’s like he is just going through the motions, living from one day to the next.

Darius Kincaid (Jackson) is a hit man. THE hit man, and he needs a bodyguard to protect him as he travels from the United Kingdom to the International Court of Justice (The Hague, Netherlands) to attend the trial of Vladislav Dukhovich (Oldman), a truly evil man. Darius is a witness for the prosecution in the case against Dukhovich, a brutal and bloodthirsty dictator who will walk free if Darius does not testify against him.

While only in a few scenes, Sonia Kincaid (Salma Hayek) definitely made an impression. Wow. A spicy Mexican, Sonia is Darius’s wife. She is in jail in the Netherlands, but I wasn’t sure if she was being held on charges or if it was just for her protection. I think it was a little of both. Ryan Reynolds has the role of Exasperated Guy down pat, and he is the perfect foil to Samuel L. Jackson and his special brand of crazy.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard had it all: action, gunfights, physical comedy, comedy in general, and an exciting race against time. This will definitely be on my Blu-ray shelf when it’s released. I’ve heard some complaints about a cliched plot but really, hasn’t everything been done already? I appreciated this for what it was, pure entertainment. Go see it for yourself and enjoy!
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Mission Impossible: Fallout

Mission Impossible: Fallout | Film reviews | Scoop.it
If you like action movies that make you think a lot you will be disappointed unless you are a window-licking buffoon. But, if you like action movies that set up enough plot and story to keep the suspense alive and get to the good shit, Fallout is right for you.
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Ant-Man and The Wasp

Ant-Man and The Wasp | Film reviews | Scoop.it
For a movie I was really looking forward to seeing, Ant-Man and The Wasp was a dud. But, you'll go out and see it because you don't believe me.
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Deadpool 2

Deadpool 2 | Film reviews | Scoop.it
Let's face it, it would take a freakin' miracle to top Deadpool, a film that broke so many R-rated records that others meekly tried to ride the mouthy merc's butt-plugs to lessor success.

It's not really fair to compare any other film to Deadpool, because quite frankly, perfection is, as one bearded Jedi master once said, elusive. But, you know how you feel when you get together again with one of your crazy friends that you only see every few years? Well, that's how I felt seeing Deadpool 2.

I just wanted to hang out with my irreverent, insane buddy, get into trouble, break some rules, and have fun. And that's exactly what happened. This film might not be big on substance, unless you count substance abuse, but it's a crack fire of fun! There's plenty of dick jokes, violence, fourth-wall shattering, and oh so many one-liners that you'll need to see it more than once to hear them.
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Avengers: Infinity War

Avengers: Infinity War | Film reviews | Scoop.it
Thanos has earned his spot among the greatest cinematic villains of all time. What he does to the Avengers is unspeakable. This is very much Thanos' film. He connects all the stories together and helps bring about the most dramatic, dynamic crossover event ever attempted in movie history. I was worried that the story would get too sloppy, with so many characters in play, but I definitely was never bored with the many story-lines, and even though Avengers: Infinity War was two and a half hours long, I honestly didn't want it to end . . . and neither will you!
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Chappaquiddick

Chappaquiddick | Film reviews | Scoop.it
It has often been said that The Kennedys are American royalty. With all the immediate images that conjures up in your head, they are replete with scandals: suicides; rapes; murders; cover-ups; and even assassinations that haven’t completely been solved. But a more obscure story about the last true patriarch of the Kennedy crime family is Ted Kennedy’s midnight ride in Chappaquiddick that ended with the mysterious death of his brother’s former aide, Mary Jo Kopechne. And this new film by Director John Curran finally dives into the murky waters and exposes at least one possible hypothesis for how those events unfolded. Is it completely historically accurate? Only two people really know for sure, and they are both dead.
Rick Swift's insight:
Chappaquiddick needs to be seen!
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Black Panther

Black Panther | Film reviews | Scoop.it
The most hyped comic book movie since Avengers itself is finally out in theaters, but does it deserve all the fuss? Black Panther definitely lagged in a few places, but overall the film delivered a solidly entertaining story with interesting characters. Like all comic book films, the story is only as good as its villain, and the vengeful Killmonger makes for a perfect villain in a struggle reminiscent of Shakespeare.

Overall you will be entertained with Black Panther. But, will you find it worth all the hype? Only one way to find out. Go see it for yourself!
Rick Swift's insight:
Black Panther lives up to the hype, but is there enough action?
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12 Strong - Film Grouch

12 Strong - Film Grouch | Film reviews | Scoop.it
Everyone who was alive on September 11th, 2001 knows exactly where they were and what they were doing that morning. It's one of those moments that gets captured in time like a chrysalis and from that pupal stage we were all born anew as students of a new reality. So many of us had wild fantasies about directly confronting the enemy, head on, and making "the shot" - the shot that would end the life of our persistent tormentor, Osama Bin Laden. He famously said that we would lose, because we love life, where his troops loved death. Well, ODA 595 with the help of the "Northern Alliance" decided to send as many of those fuckers to "paradise" as the Pentagon would allow. 12 Strong tells their story, or at least the best that Hollywood can.

Full review available on FilmGrouch.com
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Kong: Skull Island - Film Grouch

Kong: Skull Island - Film Grouch | Film reviews | Scoop.it
Growing up, I use to watch all the old monster movies like King Kong, Godzilla, Gamera, etc. They were cool to watch as a kid, you had big monsters, but not scary, throwing down with each other and smashing up cities. It wasn't until I got older that I started to notice things like special effects and what it took to make these monsters move.

Here's what Kong: Skull Island is about. A team of scientists and military personnel are sent to the Pacific to explore an uncharted island. Once they get there, the scientists use explosives, developed by a seismologist, to map out the island. Unfortunately, once the bombings start, the team quickly realize that some of the inhabitants of the island may not be so keen on them being there.

The story that the writers (Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein, Derek Connolly, and John Gatins) came up with seemed pretty simple at first glance. They came up with a believable explanation as to why everyone winds up on the island, but once everyone gets there the story really takes off and turns into something far from a simple monster movie.

Overall, I got old-school feels from a new school film, which was seriously cool. If you haven't seen Kong: Skull Island yet... you should!
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Spectral - Film Grouch

Spectral - Film Grouch | Film reviews | Scoop.it
Like many people, I'm (slightly) addicted to Netflix. It doesn't help that they keep coming up with so many good things to watch, like this one for instance. Apparently, Spectral was originally going to come out through Universal Pictures in August 2016, but they changed their minds and transferred the rights to Netflix, who released it in December 2016. I think the way everything turned out was better for the film in the long run. Sci-fi films are a hard sell to audiences in the first place, and this one doesn't have any "big" names in the cast line-up to help push it. Whereas sitting on Netflix gives it a chance to (slowly) find its audience and let word of mouth from the Netflix junkies (like myself) help its name get around without spending tons of money trying to advertise.

The story that Nic Mathieu, Ian Fried, and George Nolfi came up with is pretty cool. It's about US forces that are engaging insurgents over a European country of Moldova. During a mission, a soldier gets separated from his team and runs into what appears to be a ghost. Fortunately, the camera goggles the soldier was wearing recorded the event. Soon, more and more sightings of these things are reported, and before long people are wanting answers. The US military brings in Dr. Mark Clyne (Dale), a researcher from DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), who invented the goggles the troops use in the field to see if he came explain what these things are and why they can only be seen through the goggles and not by the naked eye.
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Blade Runner 2049 - Film Grouch

Blade Runner 2049 - Film Grouch | Film reviews | Scoop.it
SPOILERS ARE CONTAINED WITHIN THIS REVIEW!

Blade Runner 2049 is a melancholic noir that follows replicant K as he pursues knowledge of a miracle replicant birth in a sequel that thoughtfully continues the exploration of what it means to be human with what it means to live and love. The designation "K," while short for a serial number, hearkens to The Trial, a film by Orson Welles based on a story of the same name by Kafka. In it an accused man, Joseph K, attempts to discover the crime for which he is accused and defend himself against said undefined accusation. This inkling of pursuing the unknown in the dystopian The Trial can be felt in Blade Runner 2049, as well.

Definitely worth seeing, Blade Runner 2049 is a towering example of how to make movies with a big dash of how not to make movies. I credit the makers with respecting the audience in their quest to combine art and accessibility. As it turns out, however, the opening weekend was a box office disappointment, in some part due to the R-rating, doubtlessly required for the unnecessary and weak sex scenes. What works in this film is fantastic, which makes what doesn't work that much more inexplicable and agitating.

Blade Runner 2049 might subjectively look better, or perhaps offer more of what we all love, but it's not better than the original, nor does it need to be. Where the original sequel fears were justified, and while Villeneuve, himself, said that the chance of success was narrow, Blade Runner 2049 has justified its existence on its own merit by being a very beautiful and worthy addition. In the meantime, before it gets edited seven times, enjoy Blade Runner 2049 for what it is: a torn masterpiece, like its predecessor.
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IT - Film Grouch

IT - Film Grouch | Film reviews | Scoop.it
It isn't necessarily the IT you remember, but it is something you won't ever forget!

Stephen King has often said he never really felt that his novels translate well into full length movies, and with few exceptions, I agree with him. But when I heard he was making the miniseries for regular TV back in the '80s, I wasn't too thrilled. Nevertheless, despite the censoring, that iteration of IT has always remained a favorite, because I really loved the book. And regardless of what your millennial friends are pushing, Tim Curry is, and always will be, Pennywise the Dancing Clown. However, Bill Skarsgård certainly impressed me as his honorable heir, and this full-length feature film lives up to the  hype, IT is a must watch film!
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Nocturne - Film Grouch

Nocturne - Film Grouch | Film reviews | Scoop.it
A non-linear, slick horror film that bends the limits of reality but makes sense when everything comes together. Also, I have said this in many reviews, never mess around with a Ouija board, and if you do . . . always, ALWAYS say good bye! Otherwise you have just invited in any spirit that wants to come in. Think of it like your house, you wouldn't just leave your front door open and not kick out unruly guests, would you? Especially not invisible guests with terrible dark powers! If only these "high school" kids had gotten the memo. The question isn't if they'll all die, it's when and if you'll even realize when it is happening.

If you are looking for a fresh perspective on the somewhat overdone Ouija board horror genre, Nocturne provides it with a compelling, and a bit confusing story-line. There are moments where nothing will make sense, until the very end, and the film never gets boring. I was definitely entertained.
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