“Justice League” Plays to it’s Fan Base

Review by Gino Sassani

“We have to be ready. You, me, the others… there’s an attack coming from far away.” Justice League

The DC and Marvel rivalry can be quite fierce at times. I never completely understood the polarized fan base, however. Some of us are just fans of the genre and will welcome a good comic book movie from either and preferably both studios. When it comes to a cinematic universe, however DC has had some real issues with trying to bring together a combined hero world. Most of the films leading up to Justice League have been dark and filled with brooding heroes. With Batman that kind of thing is appropriate and works. With Superman it has been a severe letdown. When the two came together in Batman vs. Superman, the disappointment started to lead to a resigned conviction that DC was doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. Read more

“Only The Brave” An Emotional Hotbed

Review By Gino Sassani

Based on a true story. We see those words preceding a lot of films these days. It’s almost as if we’ve started to chronicle our big moments via the cinema. If a story is tragic enough or portrays outstanding bravery or courage, you can expect it to eventually get a feature film. I can almost predict the big films of 2020 or so just by looking at the headlines in 2017. It’s become a little overdone for my tastes and can often appear exploitative in nature. These films are often devoid of originality. Of course they are. They’re based on something that real life has already written. I’ve seen bumper stickers that say “God is my co-pilot”. I’m waiting for him to get some screenplay credit or a chair in the writer’s room. Of course, he’d be expected to start paying dues to the Writer’s Guild. There’s also the added problem that the audience already knows how the film is going to end. Ron Howard faced the same problem when he directed Apollo 13. He managed to keep us on the edge of our seats anyway. Only the Brave isn’t going to keep you on the edge of your seat. But it will sneak up on you. I knew how it was going to end, but that didn’t stop director Joseph Kosinski from finding a way to blindside me anyway. It’s a trick Houdini would have been proud of. How did he do that? Now, that would be telling. Read more

“6 Below: Miracle on the Mountain” Breathless and Breath Taking

The true story of Eric LeMarque, called 6 Below: Miracle on the Mountain, opens this weekend and it’s more than the average survival film. Very compelling and with a timely message, the movie depicts a breath taking and breathless adventure of endurance and courage. Although the setting may be similar to the recent survival film The Mountains Between Us, this factual story makes that one look like a fairy tale. Read more

“Happy Death Day” Again! and Again!

Up front I’ll tell you that the movie Happy Death Day has so many twists and turns that you would think you were on a wild ride at Universal Studios. The fun, but deadly storyline is a cross between Scary Movie and Groundhog Day and the maze of thrills will have you spooked out until the very end. Or what you think is the end, so don’t get up out of your seat until it’s ALL over. Again! and Again! Read more

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2” Kickin’ it on Home Video

Kicking off into hyperspace Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 turns up the action and the comedy in this science fiction action adventure now on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD. It’s been nearly 3 years since the first one hit the big screen and that one was amazing, but I was extremely happy with this next chapter that blew me away. The production quality on the Blu-ray outweighs that of the first taking audiences into a future filled with imaginative aliens and a vast fantasy universe. Read more

“Logan Lucky” a Race for the Money

Robbing a bank is hard enough, but what Logan Lucky features is a whole new ballgame on robbery. The film goes for high stakes at a motor speedway and even though it’s fiction, it’s a lot of fun fantasizing on the plan and the getaway. The treat here is not Channing Tatum as a redneck bank robber, but Daniel Craig as an accomplice to the whole event. Craig digs down deep and comes up with an American Southern drawl that’s convincing, yet comical knowing he was  “James Bond” shaken not stirred. Read more

“The Dark Tower” Cowboy vs. Evil

Even if you are a big fan of Stephen King the writer who gave us many horror novels that were made into movies like Cujo, Christine, It, Carrie, Children of the Corn and many others, The Dark Tower may not be for you. This action adventure aims for the science fiction base that follows films like Cloud Atlas, John Carter, Guardians of the Galaxy and the recent Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. Read more

“Phoenix Forgotten” a UFO Sighting Revisited

A fictional recall of the incident in Phoenix Arizona whereby a sighting of a UFO turned the city upside-down with fear on March 13, 1997 has been targeted for yet another movie.  Now on DVD, Phoenix Forgotten is a pretentious tale of three lost teens who went hunting for the interplanetary vessel that may have caused the incident. Although it would have been a startling revelation, but much like The Blair Witch Project and other fictional films like 10 Cloverfield Lane, it’s just another folk tale. Read more

“Dunkirk” Nolan Depicts Tragic Battle

During World War II prior to the Americans joining the European part of the War the French and English were pushed back to the sea near the city of Dunkirk. Their only conclusion was to evacuate across the channel quickly and try to avoid the onslaught of the German aerial warfare (Luftwaffe). Dunkirk depicts the struggle the English had trying to get back across the channel. The true story is considered one of the bloodiest and most tragic part of the war for the allies. Read more

“Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” Virtual Reality at it’s Best in 3D

It would be a challenge to give this film a pass especially for the terrific special visual effects, designs of the many creatures and for the many hours the two main characters must have labored in their roles, but Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets drags and drones through nearly 2 and a half hours. Even as I write this review, I am tempted to alter my opinion, but it wouldn’t help the awful music moaning in the background in nearly every “exciting” scene, plot holes that are beyond fantasy, and negative attempts at virtual reality. Adults looking for adventure will be hard pressed to find it to their liking, much like John Carter fell on its face with the over 25-year-olds. Read more

“War for the Planet of the Apes” the Resolution

Review by Gino Sassani

“All of human history has led to this moment. The irony is we created you. And nature has been punishing us ever since. This is our last stand. And if we lose… it will be a Planet of Apes.”

I was always a fan of the original Planet of the Apes series of films. While they often flirted with a camp style, I was impressed with John Chambers’ makeup effects and the performances of Roddy McDowall as both Cornelius and Caesar. Then came the television show and I remained just as enchanted because of McDowall’s appearance as a third ape, Galen. The show didn’t last a season however, and before long the Apes franchise was left in some kind of limbo. Read more

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” A New Beginning”

In Spider-Man: Homecoming, it’s not how Peter Parker became Spider-Man, but what he did to become part of The Avengers. Other series attempts beginning with the original big screen Spider-Man starring Tobey McGuire in 2002 and followed by The Amazing Spider-Man starring Andrew Garfield in 2012 unleashed a cartoonish character. In this new release of the web casting warrior you’ll see how he’s being “reinvented” as a superhero and where he fits into the grand scheme of Marvel Comics Universe. Read more

“The Mummy” a Reboot with a Femme Fatal

In ancient Egypt there is a princess, Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), who will inherit the entire kingdom when her father dies. She has remarkable fighting skills, amazing beauty, and has the ability to lead the people. But, her father remarries and soon after his first born son is born changing her legacy. What soon follows will seal Ahmanet’s fate that’s worse than death. Read more

“A United Kingdom” the Challenges of Equality

There have been several true stories coming out of Africa, but not one as compelling as A United Kingdom. With amazing performances and a plot ripe for a “Hollywood” picking, director Amma Asante takes you into the sanctum of a country on the edge of losing its existence because of a forbidden love. Told from the perspective of the couple who lived it and screen written from the pages of Susan Williams’ book “Color Bar”. The film has been released to home video in Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD. Read more