Friday, December 15, 2017

Movie review: Baby Driver

 Young car thief Baby is caught and turned into a getaway driver by a scheming crime boss. But a failed heist soon sends Baby on the drive of his life.

Ansel Elgort (Baby), Jon Bernthal (Griff), Jon Hamm (Buddy), Eiza Gonzalez (Darling), Michah Howard (Barista), Lily James (Debora), Kevin Spacey (Doc), Jamie Foxx (Bats), Flea (Eddie), Lanny Joon (JD), Paul Williams (Butcher).

Baby Driver begins by showing us the relationship between Baby and Doc along with his skills as a driver. With the plot launched the film then shifts into action mode with some dramatic bits along the way to give the film some depth. The approach works well and the film is entertaining and engaging. At the same time the story is a bit hard to swallow so allowing for a flexible reality and just enjoying the action will likely lead to better enjoyment of the movie.

Acting was pretty good with Elgort delivering nicely and appearing to work with others well. Bernthal, who seems to be in everything lately, still feels rough and lacking emotion at times. James did very well and seemed to work nicely with Elgort. Spacey and Foxx both delivered as usual, and it was nice to see Williams again.

Camera work, sets, and backgrounds all felt solid and realistic. CGI and action was good, intense, and well blended. Dialogue was nice with some bits of humor and intense drama. Sound and soundtrack were wonderful with a nice mix of music throughout.

When the tire smoke finally clears Baby Driver turns out to be an enjoyable crime action flick with a good mix of drama and action coming from an interesting storyline. At the same time, the story is somewhat mindless and focused on blending action and drama so suspension of reality helps.

With plenty of violence and some foul language, this should be fine for older teens and above.

Released: 2017
Reviewed: 12.1.17
Star rating: 3 out of 5
Genre: Action, Crime Action, Music, Crime Thriller, Heist Films

copyright ©2017 Dave Riedel

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Movie review: Spider-Man: Homecoming

 After working with the Avengers, Peter Parker returns home where he struggles to keep his identity hidden from friends and high school classmates. But before long Peter finds himself hunting a new supervillain called Vulture.

Tom Holland (Peter/Spidey), Michael Keaton (Toomes/Vulture), Robert Downey Jr. (Tony/Iron Man), Marisa Tomei (May), Jon Favreau (Happy), Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper), Zendaya (Michelle), Donald Glover (Aaron).

Spider-Man: Homecoming begins well enough with some brief refreshing of the storyline before laying down the main plot. As things begin to develop, so do the flaws in the film. Rather than the intelligent Peter we have come to know we are instead given a teenager that seems more naïve than anything. Storyline issues such as his suit being a gift from Tony Stark only serve to further complicate the storyline as it diverges from the original comics. The result is a lot of drama from a Spider-Man who looks more like a whiney child than a superhero.

Acting was mediocre with Holland doing a reasonable job despite his confusing character. Keaton was an enjoyable addition as antagonist and delivered well. Downey was okay with his cameo appearances, as was Paltrow. Tomei was fun and delivered well as always, while Favreau rounded things out quite nicely.

Camera work, sets, and backgrounds were good and blended well with CGI. That said, darker scenes and fast action were difficult at times. Dialogue was okay, if a bit soft. Sound and soundtrack were decent.

Overall Spider-Man: Homecoming hardly feels like a Spider-Man movie, instead feeling like more evidence the Marvel universe is simply pumping out films to make money. Spider-Man fans will likely be disappointed with this one.

With plenty of intense violence and some foul language, this should be fine for teens and above.

Released: 2017
Reviewed: 11.30.17
Star rating: 3 out of 5
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Comic Book Superheroes

copyright ©2017 Dave Riedel

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