Currently browsing posts by Hannah Buchdahl.

Review: John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum is insanely violent yet wildly entertaining – if you can withstand a barrage of fight scenes rife with bullets, swords, fists, head-butts, horses, motorcycles, crackling bones, shards of glass, big guns, small guns, and lots and lots of knives. The prolonged violence was a bit over the top for my taste, but I can’t help but appreciate the totality of what the franchise has been able to deliver since Wick first came on the scene in 2014. Chapter after chapter, the heart of the story remains the same: Formerly retired super-assassin John Wick (Keanu Reeves) just wants to live in peace with his dog and wallow in the memory of his late wife Helen. Good luck with that, John.

Quickie Review: The Sun Is Also a Star

The Sun Is Also a Star is a fine though forgettable romantic drama for the YA crowd and possibly others who’ve read the best-selling novel of the same name by Nicola Yoon, the author of “Everything, Everything,” which was turned into a movie that included such a dreadful twist that I declined to post a review back in 2017. The Sun Is Also a Star has the same general vibe and target audience as Everything, Everything but is significantly better, better. It’s a meet-cute movie that delves into themes of love, chemistry, destiny, fate, immigration, deportation and assimilation. All in the span of a (rather slow) day.

Review: Poms

Three cheers for braving new things as we age! One cheer for the movie Poms, which should have been so much better given its veteran ensemble of Hollywood golden girls. The movie has moments that are relatable and funny and poignant, but it doesn’t break any new ground and will escape your memory faster than you can say Bring It On. It’s a bittersweet comedy about death and dying. And living. And friendship.

Quickie Review: Pokémon Detective Pikachu

Who am I kidding? I don’t know a Pikachu from a Wigglytuff from a Psyduck. If you do, then Pokémon Detective Pikachu is probably a safe bet for 100 minutes of harmless entertainment suitable for family viewing. Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool) lends his voice to what is apparently the iconic face of the Pokémon phenomenon, Pikachu, in the first-ever live action Pokémon adventure. It features human and Pokémon characters working together to solve the mysterious disappearance of ace detective Harry Goodman and foil an evil plot to destroy the peaceful co-existence of humans and Pokémon (Pokémons?) in the sprawling metropolis known as Ryme City.

Review: The White Crow

“White crow,” as the film informs us early on, is a term used to describe a person who is unusual, extraordinary, not like others, an outsider.

A Rudolph Nureyev.

For those unfamiliar with political and dance history, Nureyev was a promising young talent in Leningrad’s famed Kirov ballet company when he shocked the Soviets and the world by defecting to the West at the conclusion of a Parisian tour in 1961. The White Crow is Nureyev’s story, as told through the lens of actor/director Ralph Fiennes who pulls double-duty as Nureyev’s Russian dance instructor Alexander Pushkin. Fiennes chose a dancer over an actor to portray Nureyev – a leap of faith that ends up sacrificing story in the service of art.

Review: Long Shot

Seth Rogen comedies tend to be hit or miss for me. Long Shot straddles the line, eeking out on the side of okay, though somewhat disappointing given the tremendous buzz it received coming out of the uber-cool SXSW film festival. Maybe I’m just getting old. But I don’t find the idea of a Secretary of State defusing a crisis while high on ecstasy to be all that funny. It is, however, quintessential Rogen. So if you’re a fan of films like This Is The End, Superbad and Pineapple Express, then you know what you’re in for with Long Shot. The biggest difference is that Long Shot aims for romantic political comedy in addition to raunchy comedy, with an assist from Oscar-winning dramatic actress Charlize Theron (Monster, Tully, Atomic Blonde).

Quickie Review: Red Joan

There’s no denying Judi Dench’s watchability factor. The Grand Dame of cinema commands the screen whenever she’s on it – which isn’t all that much in the not-so-thrilling spy thriller Red Joan. Don’t let the poster, trailer and top billing fool you. Dench is merely a high-profile vehicle for bookending a story told primarily through flashbacks, with Sophie Cookson (Kingsman: The Secret Service) playing young Joan Stanley, an impressionable and idealistic Brit turned longtime spy for the KGB.

Spoiler-Free Review: Avengers: Endgame

And so it ends… in a suitably epic and satisfying way. Avengers: Endgame is a superhero chick flick – part drama, part action, part tearjerker. It’s also part comedy, in that witty yet poignant style that has come to define the Avengers whenever they are called upon to assemble. Three hours of non-stop efforts to turn back the hands of time without sacrificing the future. Avengers: Endgame is a gift to the Marvel Cinematic Universe fanbase that has seen most if not all of the 20+ movies that began with the debut of Iron Man in 2008. If you don’t care for Marvel movies to begin with, then move along; Endgame is not for you. If you are a fan, and haven’t been able to get the image of superheroes turned to dust out of your head since the final scenes of Avengers: Infinity War in 2018, then it doesn’t matter what I write, or say, about Endgame. You have to go. Sooner rather than later to avoid any spoilers or buzzkill.

Review: Teen Spirit

Teen Spirit is a mainstream movie filtered (or squeezed) through an indie lens. It tells the story of Violet, a shy 17-year-old high school student who enters a local singing competition and ends up making a splash on a British television show that resembles – and consequently satirizes – the likes of American Idol, X Factor, and Britain’s Got Talent. If you enjoy that genre, then Teen Spirit should lift your spirits, however fleetingly, thanks in large part to its talented lead, Elle Fanning (20th Century Women, The Neon Demon) who really can sing!

Review: Shazam!

With Marvel’s highly-anticipated Avengers: Endgame still a few weeks out, DC Comics’ Shazam! swoops in like a tasty appetizer – just enough to satisfy, without spoiling your appetite for the main course. Shazam! is not as LOL funny and lighthearted as the trailer might suggest, but it’s still far lighter and easier to process than most DC Comic movies of recent memory (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, etc.), and it’s certainly much shorter and simpler than the forthcoming Avengers finale. Bottom line: Shazam! is a solid coming-of-age superhero flick that’s suitable for family viewing, assuming the kids are at least approaching teendom. The film is PG-13 and does have the occasional blast of violence (though relatively bloodless), sadness (family dysfunction and abandonment issues) and scary moments (don’t get lost at the fairgrounds or walk through strange doors!). But overall, it’s about personal strength (finding the superhero within), making the right choices, and learning what defines a family.