Beach Rats (MovieMan Dan’s Guest Review)




Intro: Well, it’s hard to believe, but in just over one week I’ll be back in Halifax, NS for the 37th edition of the Atlantic International Film Festival…

I will be seeing 20+ films during my time at the festival this year and I simply can’t wait to be back in Halifax for another week of great films. There are some incredible looking movies in the lineup this year and I can’t wait to begin watching. Before I arrive though, I have a couple festival selections/titles to review beforehand.  These reviews will be for films that I have scheduling conflicts with and for films that some distributors and PR agents were kind enough to provide me with so that I could see more festival titles and provide more coverage this year. First up is “Beach Rats” but before I dive in, let’s first talk plot… Read more

American Assassin (2017) Review



Best-selling author Vince Flynn is known for political thriller of the character of Mitch Rapp. While his earlier career is a bit unorthodox (working for Kraft foods, a brief stint in training to be an aviator in the US Marine Corp, and then as a bartender), his passion came from reading and writing and, overcome his dyslexia, was able to self-publish his first novel titled Term Limits in 1997; a novel that was set in his forthcoming Mitch Rapp series (i.e. the same universe), but a part of that particular series. After that, Flynn began to write a political thriller series, starting with the book Transfers of Power in 1999. The series followed the exploits of fictional character Mitch Rapp, an undercover CIA counter-terrorism agent whose primary objective is thwarting terrorist attacks on the United States and portrayed with having an aggressive stance (aka no non-sense) attitude as he takes measures that are more extreme than many might consider commonly acceptable. The series, dubbed the “Mitch Rapp” series was generally favored by readers, with Flynn’s growing popularity grown with each new book, which, as of 2017, has sixteen novels within the series. Unfortunately, in 2011, Flynn announced (via a fan newsletter) that he was being treated for advance Stage III prostate cancer, which (sadly), he succumbed to, passing away in June of 2013. Despite his death, Flynn’s legacy of his beloved Mitch Rapp continued onward, with several authors co-writing his unwritten manuscripts and publish new novels, with the newest one titled Enemy of the State being released in September of 2017. Now, expanding Flynn’s iconic character to the big screen, Lionsgate, CBS Films, and director Michael Cuesta present the movie American Assassin, which is based on Flynn’s first Mitch Rapp novel. Does this finding its footing (and its target) or does it only shoot blanks and fail the mission? Read more

Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017) Review




Back in 2015, moviegoers everywhere were introduced to director Matthew Vaughan’s visual spy action film Kingsman: The Secret Service. Adapted from the graphic novel Kingsman by Mark Millar (writer) and Dave Gibbons (artist), the film, which starred Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Samuel L. Jackson, and Michael Caine, follows the journey of troubled youth Gary “Eggsy” Urwin as he gets recruited into the Kingsman, a British secret agent organization, and joins a mission to stop a global threat from the nefarious megalomaniac Richmond Valentine. Deriving from its comic book source material and Vaughan’s overall direction, Kingsman: The Secret Service was presented as a 007 spy satire, offering up a visual action-spy feature film with a splash of stylized violence. This mixture seemed does seem like an odd choice, but the film benefitted, with the movie getting praised from critics and casual moviegoers as Kingsman: The Secret Service grossed over $400 million worldwide ($411 million to be exact) against its production budget of $94 million. With its success, it was inevitable that a sequel would soon followed. Now, after two years since its released, 205h Century Fox and director Matthew Vaughan return to the Kingsman world with its sequel Kingsman: The Golden Circle. Does this next chapter proved to be a worthy sequel to its predecessor or it’s a overstuffed and unnecessary continuation? Read more

IT (2017) Review



With more and more “page to screen” (or “books to film”) being churned out from Hollywood, many authors famous and / or beloved books are being adapted for both the big and small screen. Bestselling author Stephen King is probably the best example of this, seeing many of literary work (books, short stories, and novellas) being adapted numerous in various media mediums, including fan-favorite feature films like Stand by Me, Carrie, Shawshank Redemption, Children of the Corn, and many others. In August 2017, the moviegoers were introduced to the film adaptation of King’s beloved Dark Tower series with the film The Dark Tower. Directed by Nikolaj Arcel, The Dark Tower, which starred Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey, told the story of Jake Chambers and how he became entangled in eternal struggle between the last Gunslinger and the infamous Man in Black, While the movie was very much anticipated by fans and casual moviegoers, the movie, unfortunately, was a messy disappoint, finding the story and lore of King’s Dark Tower source material too complex for the film’s streamlined 90-minute runtime. Critically panned by most viewers and critics, The Dark Tower only grossed roughly $107 million worldwide at the box office; making enough to cover its $60 million production budget, but not ideal for what the studio forecasted the film to be. Now, with the box office failure of The Dark Tower still fresh on everyone’s mind, Warner Bros. Picture (and New Line Cinema) and director Andy Muschietti presents another one of Stephen King’s beloved novels with the movie adaptation of IT. Does this latest page to screen film of King’s work stand tall and proud or does it follow the similar path that The Dark Tower went down? Read more

Logan Lucky (2017) Review




Director, film producer, screenwriter, cinematographer, editor. Yes, I’m talking about Steven Soderbergh. Being critically praised for his 1989 indie drama Sex, Lies, and Videotape (winning the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival), Soderbergh went on to become a Hollywood director for several well-known films that were met with critically success / commercial success. This list includes a wide range of movies like the biographical film Erin Brockovich, the crime drama Traffic, the crime comedy Out of Sight, the medical thriller Contagion, the 2001 remake of the popular of the comedy heist feature Ocean’s 11 (and it two follow-up sequels Ocean’s 12 and Ocean’s 13), and the male stripper comedy-drama Magic Mike. Aside from directing, Soderbergh has done several filmmaking works behind the camera, looking into areas writer, cinematographer, producer, and editor (some on his own directorial projects and some on others projects). It’s been four years since HBO 2013 movie Behind the Candelabra, starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, which was his last directional film project, and now Steven Soderbergh (with Bleecker Street studio) returns to the silver screen with his latest feature titled Logan Lucky. Is Soderbergh’s southern heist capper a hidden gem of the 2017 or does tread on too much familiarity to stand on its own merits? Read more

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