With the death of Paul Walker and the unstoppable ego of Vin Diesel, “The Fate of the Furious” signals a rock bottom point in the movie series that we haven’t seen since “Fast and Furious.” As the series runs on fumes, the writers and producers are working over time to introduce us to dynamic new anti-heroes, all of whom can’t make “Fate of the Furious” worth watching. Unless you’re a completionist, or a hardcore Kurt Russell fanatic, “Fate of the Furious” is a convoluted and painfully long follow up that tries very hard to fill the void Paul Walker left when he died.
Edgar Wright has proven himself to be one of the most unique and creative living directors today and the man has only honed his craft to deliver a great spin on a classic crime tale about love, and redemption. “Baby Driver” is a remarkable turn for Wright who creates a pulp masterpiece. “Baby Driver” is a powerful and emotional tale about a truly engaging protagonist who is sinking in to a world of violence and murder, and has no idea how to get out. We’ve seen movies about getaway drivers before, but “Baby Driver” works to the benefit of Wright’s strengths including dynamic characters, sharp humor, and amazing editing.
Director Jon Watts handles the element of Peter Parker’s life that the previous “Spider-Man” iterations didn’t, offering a compelling coming of age high school drama, whose main character is a super powered being trying to live up to impossible standards. When we meet Peter Parker, he’s a typical teenager vlogging his experience in “Civil War” where he brushed up against a slew of heavy hitting superheroes in an effort to help Tony Stark. When the movie begins Peter is returned to Queens to go back to being just a teenager who happens to be Spider-Man. Peter is a young man always trying to do what’s right and noble, he’s the true underdog of the Marvel Universe.
Like the original series, Seth Gordon’s “Baywatch” is an anomaly. With the original television series, it was a silly, and moronic action drama that most people weren’t sure should be laughed at, or taken seriously. The same can be said for the movie which itself is never sure if it wants to mock the original series, or create an earnest action movie around the frame work of the show. The Baywatch lifeguards work outside of their jurisdiction and seem to work hard to remind audiences that it’s incredibly far fetched for lifeguards to be investigating gang members and drug smugglers, so the film hops back and forth from slapstick satire to straight laced action comedy.
“CHiPS” was never a masterpiece of a cop show, but it definitely had its merits. It was a fairly mediocre crime show about two high way police officers going on various adventures revolving around highways and roads of all kinds. What Dax Shepherd does is gut the premise to deliver a generic buddy cop comedy that is also one of the worst movies of 2017. I’ve never seen a movie so ashamed of its own source material (despite “Wild, Wild West”), before. “CHiPS” seems to not only work hard to ignore the fact it’s an adaptation, but also seems to punish the audience for investing time in it. Shepherd’s direction is listless and uninspired, his performance and everyone else is phoned in, and the three man penned script is void of anything interesting or remotely comedic.
The Nicholas Hammond starring TV movie* “Spider-Man” is also the two hour TV pilot for the cult classic series “The Amazing Spider-Man.” When you consider the decade, and the budget, “Spider-Man” isn’t too bad of a movie. When I was a kid it was about all we had in the realm of live action Spider-Man, and sadly with its budget we never got banner foes like Green Goblin and or Doctor Octopus. We were instead granted a lot of gangsters, and cronies, as well as the occasional ninja or two (and in this instance, three martial arts thugs with wooden sticks). “Spider-Man” the Movie that sets the stage for the series is a solid iteration of Spider-Man that is altogether a mixed bag.
“Ricco the Mean Machine” is a gruesome but unusual revenge picture, and it’s rare you can see a movie where two thugs are driving on a road and get a strip tease by a stranded woman who straddles the hood. It’s every bit as exploitative, sleazy, and weird as you’d expect from a movie made in 1973, and that’s probably why I enjoyed it so much. Demicheli’s action thriller is very unlike what you’d expect from a revenge movie. Sure, its hero is out for blood but not because of the reasons you’d expect. Ricco is released from prison to discover that his mob boss father was killed, but upon this discovery he really holds not malice about it. Continue reading