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Sunday, August 12, 2018

Cindy Prascik's Review of The Meg

Dearest Blog: Yesterday it was off to Marquee Cinemas for The Meg.
Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the trailers or if you've seen one of these kinds of monster movies before...ever.
It's Statham vs. giant shark, and the winner is the box office!
Ladies and gentlemen, there's not a lot in this world that gets me more wound up than a new Jason Statham movie, and while sometimes he seems to go out of his way to prove I'll watch him in absolutely anything, this one's not so bad.
Let's get the negatives out of the way first: The Meg has its tense moments, but it's not super exciting. Part of the problem is the film is utterly lacking in surprises; every minute plays out exactly how you'd expect, making it feel longer than it is. The cast does the best it can with some truly awful dialogue, and, while my crowd seemed to enjoy the cheap laughs, I rolled my eyes so hard I'm surprised I'm not typing out the back of my head today. Finally, a giant, prehistoric shark should be about the most imposing thing you ever could see, yet somehow it never really earns a 50-foot screen; in fact, it seemed positively puny compared to the Bumblebee trailer that ran before.
Now the good news: Obviously: Jason Statham. I was afraid the large-ish cast would mean not enough Statham, but even if he's sharing the screen he's still on the screen most of the time. Win! The rest of the cast is pretty good and does what it can with the material; the fact that sometimes it's not much is never their fault. Regular reader(s) will know I'm no great fan of kids or kid actors, but flat-out adorable Shuya Sophia Cai steals this show right out from under its adult ensemble. The scramble for a PG13 rating kept blood and gore well within reason, too. (Yes, I know some would have put that in the "negatives" paragraph!) The Meg is a decent bit of fun buoyed by a good cast and some pretty scenery, even if it's too silly and drags on a bit at times.
The Meg clocks in at 113 minutes and is rated PG13 for "action/peril, bloody images, and some language." The Meg is just the sort of unremarkable brain candy you'd expect from Hollywood this time of year. 
Of a possible nine Weasleys, The Meg gets six. 
Oh, and, for the record: "You should put on some clothes," is never, EVER the correct thing to say to Jason Statham.
Until next time...

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Cindy Prascik's Retro Review: Flashback Cinema Presents Big Trouble in Little China

Dearest Blog: Yesterday it was off to Marquee Cinemas for Flashback Cinemas' presentation of Big Trouble in Little China.

This film celebrated its 32 birthday on July 2nd, so if a review still manages to spoil something for you, at this point I feel like that's kinda on you.

Truck driver Jack Burton and his friend Wang Chi face the dark magic of the Motherland to rescue Wang's fiance, the elusive girl with green eyes, when she disappears in San Francisco Chinatown.
Big Trouble in Little China is one of those movies that, if it's running on any channel, it's probably on at my house, so it's a familiar old favorite that we watch without really watching sometimes.

Revisiting such classics on the big screen is a great way to ensure they get the undivided attention they deserve.

From its synth-heavy score to its hero's mullet and lace-up boots, there's no mistaking Big Trouble in Little China's 1980s vintage. The picture's indelible time-stamp and campy nature make dated effects and clumsy animatronics seem quaint. Kurt Russell ticks all the boxes as Jack Burton: he’s dashing enough for the action hero, charming enough for the romantic lead, and just bumbling enough to generate good comedy, but it's  Dennis Dun who steals the show as Wang Chi, Burton's friend who frequently is the real hero of the day. Kim Cattrall and Kate Burton are entertaining as gung-ho attorney Gracie Law and earnest reporter Margo Litzenberger, and James Hong’s David Lo Pan is nothing short of iconic. Impressive fight scenes with a martial arts flair never drag on too long (are you listening, 2018 Hollywood?), and, though the fashions may be dated, some of the cultural costumes are lovely. Finally, kids, if you *can* see the Three Storms come out of the sky on a big screen, you absolutely *should* see the Three Storms come out of the sky on a big screen.

Big Trouble in Little China runs a quick 99 minutes and is rated PG13 for “adult situations, language, and violence.”

Action, comedy, romance...Big Trouble in Little China has it all, and that is, in the immortal words of Wang Chi himself, “no horsesh**t.”

Of a possible nine Weasleys, Big Trouble in Little China gets nine.

Until next time...

Sunday, August 5, 2018


The Spy Who Dumped Me tells the story of Audrey (Kunis) and Morgan (McKinnon), two best friends who unwittingly become entangled in an international conspiracy when one of the women discovers the boyfriend who dumped her was actually a spy.

Director: Susanna Fogel

Cast: Mila Kunis, Kate McKinnon, Justin Theroux, Sam Heughan

Release Date: August 3, 2018

Genres: Action, Comedy

Rated R for violence, language throughout, some crude sexual material and graphic nudity

Runtime: 1h 57min


The Spy That Dumped Me is one of those goofy comedies that light and easy but fairly forgettable.  It’s a shame because the two leads have strong comedic talents but the film never fully takes advantage of them.  Susanna Fogel directs her film with a zany energy which starts to lose steam towards then end.  Fogel switches from zany antics to hardcore spy action throughout the film making for a slightly choppy feel.  The movie just doesn’t find a steady groove even though there are plenty of laughs to be found.   Big chunk of the gags work mostly due to the Kunis and Mckinnon’s talents, in the hands of lesser actresses the film wouldn’t be nearly as funny.  Even they can’t keep the film from dragging in the last act.  These types of films should be quick and easy, a 2 hour runtime needs to be earned.  The Spy That Dumped Me could have used some editing which could have shaved off a good 20 minutes, making it a more effective comedy in the long run.


Sunday, July 29, 2018


Ethan Hunt and the IMF team join forces with CIA assassin August Walker to prevent a disaster of epic proportions. Arms dealer John Lark and a group of terrorists known as the Apostles plan to use three plutonium cores for a simultaneous nuclear attack on the Vatican, Jerusalem and Mecca, Saudi Arabia. When the weapons go missing, Ethan and his crew find themselves in a desperate race against time to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands. 

Director: Christopher McQuarrie

Cast: Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris, Michelle Monaghan, Alec Baldwin, Henry Cavill, Angela Bassett

Release Date: July 27, 2018

Genres: Action, Adventure, Thriller

Rated PG-13 for some suggestive material

Runtime: 2h 27min


Mission Impossible – Fallout is truly a fantastic piece of filmmaking.  Christopher McQuarrie raises the bar even more than he did in the last entry by delivering action set pieces that are beautifully designed and filmed.  Everything about the film is big from its set pieces to its stakes.  The plot is a twisty yet simple story that has our heroes chasing down plutonium.  I wished that the film did a better job of holding its secrets a bit closer to the vest.  Some the twists are fairly obvious but it doesn’t hurt the overall enjoyment of the film as a whole.  At the center of the entire thing is Tom Cruise.  Cruise is a seemingly ageless daredevil who just wants to believe he’s literally some sort of superhero.  Returning cast members Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, and Rebecca Ferguson aka sexy British Michelle Monaghan all turn in strong supporting turns with each getting their time to shine.  Henry Cavill makes for a solid foil to Cruise but I would have like a bit more subtleness and depth to his character.  Sean Harris returns as the villain from the previous film who is incorporated into the plot that references previous iterations, something refreshing which ultimately make the film more engaging.

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