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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 …

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Love in the Time of Genocide: ‘The Promise’ Review

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

(2017—Director: Terry George) ★★★ (out of 5 stars) For much of his career, Irish writer-director Terry George drew from his experiences of the Irish “Troubles” to craft absorbing tales of perseverance in an oppressive landscape. This ranges from Daniel Day-Lewis and Pete Postlethwaite getting framed and imprisoned for a crime they didn’t commit in 1993’s In the Name of the …

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‘Alien: Covenant’—Michael Fassbender(s) Steals the Show

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

(2017—Director: Ridley Scott) ★★★ 1/2  (out of 5 stars) (Potential spoilers below) 2017 marks the fortieth year in the career of celebrated director Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner, The Martian). Scott at the moment appears to devote the majority of his interests and seasoned talents in returning to the roots of Alien, his 1979 commercial breakthrough, through a more intelligent …

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The Perils of Corporate Omniscience: The Circle Review

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

(2017—Director: James Ponsoldt) ★★ (out of 5 stars) One of The Circle’s first trailers, released last December, starts off with a modified version of the scene in which Emma Watson’s character undergoes an interview for a job at the titular Internet corporation. The interviewer presses her, “You’re most scared of…?” to which she replies, “Unfulfilled potential.” In that case, the …