Movie Review: The Magnificent 7

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Here we go again. Another lazily rehashed piece of American cinema, polished with a fresh coat of hi-res CGI. With a cast that tries to mimic the original, instead of actually updating the product for a modern audience; we have another reason to “Netflix and chill” instead of fighting traffic, exorbitant ticket prices, bland concessions, glowing phones, loud popcorn munchers and mouth breathers, just to see something that was better (in this case) 56 years ago. The story of The Magnificent Seven (1960) was conventional back then. The film, itself a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai (1954); arguably the most retold story in cinema, has inspired countless adaptations. From Suicide Squad (2016) to The Wild Bunch (1966), the idea of hiring/forcing a band of misfits to protect/defend a town/village from an evil businessman/gang is old business. With classic Westerns sliding further away from the mainstream conscientiousness, the Magnificent Seven remake seems doomed to be future background noise when it premiers on cable TV next year. The Magnificent Seven however, makes a simple but effective changes to the story; effectively making the film feel like an update, and not a carbon copy remake. Replicating the sights and sounds of a film is loads easier than recreating the emotional content felt by my parent’s generation, yet director Antoine Fuqua manages the improbable.  Continue reading “Movie Review: The Magnificent 7”

Movie Review – Jurassic World

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Twenty-two years after the debacle on Isla Nublar, Jurassic World is open for business. Dr John Hammond’s vision has come to life and business is booming. Like any other business, especially a theme park; Jurassic World must reinvent itself to stay relevant. The scientific discovery of genetically engineered dinosaurs from fossilized mosquitoes is passe and park visitors demand more. At least, that is what current fiscal projections predict. Unwilling to let profits slide, park owner and billionaire Simon Masrani (Iffran Khan) has his geneticists cook up a hybrid dino that’s bigger, faster and stronger than the Tyrannosaurus Rex. The Indominus Rex, as it’s known, will surely bring home the bacon. Until its imminent escape, that is. 

Meanwhile, on another part of the island, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) is an experienced Velociraptor trainer who is instructed by Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) to inspect the cage for the Indominus. The cage was supposed to hold the Indominus and was supposed to be impossible to escape. Oops. Right on cue the Indominus escapes. Head of park security, Hoskins (Vincent D’onofrio) wants to use Owen’s trained raptors to hunt the I-Rex. If successful, iN*Gen, Hoskins’ employer could find use for raptors on the battlefield. Claire’s nephews, Zach (Nick Robinson) and Gray (Ty Simpkins) are visiting the park today (of course) and are caught in the middle of it all when the I-Rex breaks loose. 

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Movie Review – The Judge

Hank Palmer (Robert Downey Jr.) has come a long way from his small town beginnings in rural Indiana. Now a hot-shot lawyer in Chicago, Hank hasn’t been home in years, leaving behind his brothers and parents. His tough as nails father is a local judge, Joseph Palmer (Robert Duvall), who has been on the bench for 42 years. When his mom passes away suddenly, Hank returns to his native Carlinville, Indiana, and the dysfunction he left. 

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