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‘Wonder Woman’ Resuscitates the DC Extended Universe

In Movie Reviews, Renard Bansale, Reviews, Uncategorized by John LaCrosse

(2017—Director: Patty Jenkins) ★★★ 1/2 (out of 5 stars) In 2016, Warner Bros. released Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (BVS) and Suicide Squad to get the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) underway. An intense storm of division between audiences and critics followed both films. Great pressure began to precede the next DCEU installment—the solo debut of Wonder Woman on the …

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The Times They Are A-Changin’ in ‘Cars 3’

In Movie Reviews, Renard Bansale, Reviews, Uncategorized by John LaCrosse

(2017—Director: Brian Fee) ★★★ 1/2 (out of 5 stars) Pixar released the first Cars in 2006. While it achieved financial success, many noted the subdued critical reception and suspected that the film served only to sell toys. In those same minds, the film’s 2011 sequel Cars 2 confirmed that suspicion. Since then, Pixar and their films have faced backlash and …

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War & Animal Companionship in ‘Megan Leavey’

In Movie Reviews, Renard Bansale, Reviews, Uncategorized by John LaCrosse

(2017—Director: Gabriela Cowperthwaite) High ★★★ (out of 5 stars) At first glance, combining the friendship of a human and a dog with the harsh realities of war end up manipulating the emotions in an unnatural way. Fortunately, the true story of Megan Leavey and her war dog Rex steers clear of sentimental overload. Their chemistry matches the impressive and restrained war …

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‘Dead Men Tell No Tales’—A Rough But Overall Positive U-Turn for the Franchise

In Movie Reviews, Renard Bansale, Reviews, Uncategorized by John LaCrosse

(2017—Directors: Joachim Rønning & Espen Sandberg) Low ★★★ (out of 5 stars) Six years removed from the last installment of Pirates of the Caribbean and with another directorial shift (this time to the directorial team behind the 2012 Oscar-nominated historical drama Kon-Tiki), Disney, Johnny Depp, and company return for the fifth time to this fantasy swashbuckling world. The resulting installment is …

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‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’—Legend Meets Excessive Style

In Movie Reviews, Renard Bansale, Reviews, Uncategorized by John LaCrosse

(2017—Director: Guy Ritchie) ★★ 1/2 (out of 5 stars) Director Guy Ritchie (Snatch, Sherlock Holmes, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) tends to emphasize style over substance in his films. This remains the case with his latest work—Warner Bros.’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. Ritchie tries to combine the classical nature of Arthurian legends with his trademark montages and quick cuts. The …

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Defeat and Victory Synchronize in ‘Dunkirk’

In Featured, Movie Reviews, Renard Bansale, Reviews, Uncategorized by John LaCrosse

(2017—Director: Christopher Nolan) ★★★★ (out of 5 stars) “He’s shell-shocked, George. He’s not himself. He may never be himself again.” — Mr. Dawson (Mark Rylance) on Shivering Soldier (Cillian Murphy) Potential spoilers below Since the start of this millennium, few filmmakers have earned the widespread critical praise and commercial success as British-American writer, producer, and director Christopher Nolan. He elevated Batman …

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A Wounded Soldier Enters the Lionesses’ Den in ‘The Beguiled’

In Featured, Movie Reviews, Renard Bansale, Reviews, Uncategorized by John LaCrosse

(2017—Director: Sofia Coppola) High ★★★ 1/2 (out of 5 stars) Sofia Coppola, daughter of the Godfather trilogy and Apocalypse Now director Francis Ford Coppola, continues to be a formidable female voice in modern cinema. With her adaptation of Thomas P. Cullinan’s 1966 novel, she boldly and brilliantly stripped the Southern Gothic story down to an island of sexual tension and …

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Heartfelt Performances Wasted in ‘The Book of Henry’

In Featured, Movie Reviews, Renard Bansale, Reviews, Uncategorized by John LaCrosse

(2017—Director: Colin Trevorrow) High ★★ (out of 5 stars) Back in 2012, I stumbled upon an indie sci-fi rom-com called Safety Not Guaranteed, the narrative film debut of writer-director Colin Trevorrow (the 2004 documentary Reality Show). Though not a perfect package, Safety was the type of film that makes its viewers watch the director’s next move. That next move, as …

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‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’: A Spirited Comic Book Sequel

In Movie Reviews, Renard Bansale, Reviews, Uncategorized by John LaCrosse

(2017—Director: James Gunn) ★★★ 1/2  (out of 5 stars) The first Guardians of the Galaxy came out in August of 2014. It surprised many with its playful tone and the charisma of its ensemble. With James Gunn returning to write and direct, the sequel (subtitled Vol. 2) delivers the same characters and amps up the colorful fun for the most …