Author: Brett_G

“Rocket Man”

8.3

Did not expect this one… In the vein of other music biopics, this film checks all the boxes required for a music documentary. A rough childhood, drug and alcohol abuse, creative differences, the evil manager. What I especially enjoyed about this particular one is that the involvement of the artist did not lead to a watering down of the lows, but a deeper exploration of them. I was reminded of “Springsteen on Broadway” throughout the film, as many of Elton John’s songs took on a whole new meaning and levity with the context that the various stories add. (Also, hearing the actual accurate lyrics, not the nonsense I’ve been singing for years.) The cast, especially lead actor Taron Egerton as Elton, superbly conveys this tale of excess, heartache, and beautiful music. Heavy on the musical, you’ll definitely be re-discovering some auditory gems after leaving the theater.

“John Wick 3: Parabellum”

8.6

WARNING: Quite a bit of gore. Not for the light of heart.

This thrill ride of a film erupts from the gate like a shot and doesn’t let off the gas until the credits roll. The variation of fighting styles was a nice touch, that I didn’t really catch on to until the third act. They showcase different strengths with each oncoming scene and do some of the best world-building outside of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I felt transported back in time to the classic “Game of Death” finale, as Wick must take out wave after wave of highly trained assassins with his signature headshots and martial arts. The characters all develop further levels to their characters, and the underground (or, under table) world of assassins takes shape as the movie moves along, but none of it bogs down the non-stop action. A feat in and of itself. I was also pleasantly surprised that they were able to shoehorn in a pretty kick-ass explanation of the film’s title. A definite must-see for anyone looking for one of the best action movies of the year!

“5B”

8.8

Very well done! Up-close and personal accounts of the beginning of the AIDS epidemic from the front lines of the fight to treat the terrible disease. Something that is rather hard to fathom nowadays, being on the front end of an epidemic of the magnitude of the AIDS virus’s discovery. It truly brought of the best and worst in humanity, and this film does a wonderful job of portraying both, while also balancing the micro and macro views of the calamity. My jaw dropped multiple times during the film as I learned many details about the initial response to the epidemic that I had never known. A deep appreciation for the staff included in the film and abroad who were involved in the initial response, and didn’t abandon their patients in the process. Who took their commitment to serve to the furthest bounds of humanity. Truly heroes.

“Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood”

Hot August night in Hollywood…. perfect time and place for an original film renaissance. If you have a chance to see this one in the theater, it’s definitely the way to go. A true cinematic experience. From the perfect cast playing both against and to type, to the head-bopping, expertly assembled soundtrack… This film is on-screen perfection at the hands of a master. At first, I couldn’t quite put my finger on why the pacing felt so odd, but soon realized it was Tarantino’s avoidance of “exposition dumps” to build story. Instead, the film takes the time to paint a fully detailed picture of each character and setting. It was a breath of fresh air in today’s age of multi-billion dollar tentpole franchises. Hopefully a sign of more projects to come to a theater near you.

“Ready or Not”

Here it comes… a film that is far better than I ever expected it to be. Somewhere between “Clue” and “The Purge” lays this story of family tradition, quarrels, and intrigue. Wonderfully executed, this film hits the ground running and never stops until your laughing as the credits begin to roll after a perfectly chosen runtime. A definite recommendation for a fun, yet gruesome adventure. Definitely not a kids movie.