Black Panther


The best movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Iron Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, and now, Black Panther) all have a few things in common.  For one, they’re essentially standalone, requiring nothing from their audience other than a willingness to have fun.  Their other shared element is the introduction of a new world to their viewers.  For Iron Man, that was the then-new and exciting MCU itself; Guardians of the Galaxy created a colorful, pulpy version of outer space; and now, Black Panther gives us Wakanda, a fictional African country that plays at third-world poverty but boasts a technologically advanced society hidden from all other nations. Continue reading

Brawl in Cell Block 99

brawl in cell block

This essentially straight-to-digital movie, released back in October, slipped under my radar until very recently when I caught some online buzz about it.  A serious Vince Vaughn performance is always an intriguing prospect, so I decided to give it a go, expecting a gritty prison movie with (given the director’s previous movie) some hardcore violence.  I wasn’t wrong, but I didn’t expect it to be as damn good as it was. Continue reading

Kingsman: The Golden Circle


Those of you who read my best of 2015 list know that the original Kingsman was one of the year’s pleasant surprises, so naturally I was excited for the sequel.  Does it live up to the hype, or is it just another retread?  The answer is yes. Continue reading

Atomic Blonde: Not Quite a Dud, But Hardly Explosive


Atomic Blonde is not an action movie.  I feel obligated to get this out of the way, as the movie has been the victim of a misleading-at-best marketing campaign.  Trailers featured Charlize Theron kicking ass front and center, suggesting a John Wick-like exercise in minimal story and maximum thrills.  But if anything, the movie’s plot-to-action ratio is story heavy. Continue reading