Jigsaw, the eighth Saw film, is one of the better films in the franchise. Unfortunately, that's not saying much.
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Blade Runner 2049 is like staying up all night to finish a 150,000-word fanfic that you started reading, thought was good but not great, and then just kept reading because you'd committed to it, goddammit. And then the next morning, as you struggle bleary-eyed through the work day, you keep wondering if it was worth it.
Flatliners is a remarkable film. Specifically, it's remarkable in that it takes an intriguing and ripe concept and does almost nothing with it. Instead, it fulfils the promise of its title by offering up a boring, lifeless story, fills it with dull, unsympathetic characters, and then keeps the thrills to an absolute minimum.
In Alexander Payne's new movie, a dainty Easy Bake Oven bell-chime signals the completion of the cellular reduction process. People who were normal-sized adults are now only inches tall, gently lifted off their beds with implements that look like spatulas. The moment is both cute and terrifying at the same time, much like Downsizing itself.
The Lego Ninjago Movie starts like a strobe light and ends like a night light. At first, it's bright, loud, fast, and in your face -- a constant barrage of visuals and sounds. Then it slows down considerably, focusing on the story and character development. One part is better than the other but neither is great, and, unlike Legos, they just don't fit together.
Imagine you were 10 years old and given five minutes to tear through a toy store. You'd sprint in, grab everything you wanted, and fall down from exhaustion at the end. It would be an amazing time, but with so much happening so fast, what would the real, lasting memory be? That experience, in movie form, is Kingsman: The Golden Circle.
It's been a long time coming to theatres, but It turns out to have been worth the wait. The cinematic adaptation of what is arguably Stephen King's most famous novel is absolutely an excellent horror film, but its real success is how it exceeds just horror -- it's dramatic, funny, and, most impressively, has way more heart than any movie about a terrifying clown should manage to have.
Guillermo del Toro hasn't made an undisputed great movie in over a decade -- specifically 2006's Pan's Labyrinth, a truly breathtaking work that set the bar for the director's work very high. Since then, he's made many films with varying degrees of success but nothing that's come close to Pan. However, according to the early reviews, it sounds like his new film The Shape of Water might live up to del Toro's potential.
Annabelle: Creation is the latest in the ever-growing Conjuring universe, and it aims to tell you everything you ever wanted to know about how that damn doll went from merely creepy to pure evil. This makes for plenty of frights, and if the movie hits a few too many predictable notes, at least it makes you shudder along the way.
It's rare that a modern scifi movie shows you something you've truly never seen before, but that happens a lot in Luc Besson's Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. There's innovative action, wondrous landscapes, creepy aliens, awesome weapons and technology, all of which combine to create a massive, magnificent universe. Unfortunately, all the focus on the setting causes Valerian's story to suffer.
If you've seen one of Bong Joon Ho's movies before -- The Host or Snowpiercer, for example -- then it shouldn't be surprising at all to you that Okja is a mix of dead seriousness and bursts of farcical humour. It's also a movie with a very complicated message, anchored by a tale about a beautiful girl and her monster. And once you see it, you won't be able to forget it.
Like the ocean it takes place on, the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has had plenty of ups and downs. These metaphorical seas have been so rough, in fact, that some people don't even remember there was a fourth film in 2011, On Stranger Tides, even though it grossed a billion dollars worldwide. I'm happy to say the fifth film, Dead Men Tell No Tales, is probably the best film in the franchise since the very first movie... even though that's not a particularly high bar.