Jailbreak (2017) [Fantasia International Film Festival 2017]

A special police team is sent to transfer a high risk prisoner from holding to a local prison where the Butterfly clan should not be able to get to him.  Once at the prison, things go south fast and the team members find themselves in a fight for their lives.

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It Stains the Sand Red (2017)

Colin Minihan’s “It Stains the Sand Red” is a movie that only has about an hour’s worth of story for its premise. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a neat and interesting idea for a zombie movie, but one that runs out of steam by the time the second act is introduced. You can literally see the wheels falling off mid-way, and what should have been the end, feels a lot like a ton of filler that belongs to another movie altogether. As with all zombie movies from indie filmmakers, there are a ton of George Romero nods and winks, and they’re a mixed bag. Some of them are neat, like the opening of the film, which is an homage to the opening of “Night,” while some induce eye rolls a la the newspaper with the headline “The Dead Walk” dangling from a police vehicle.

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The Fate of the Furious (2017) [Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital]

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.

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Baby Driver (2017)

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.

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Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

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.

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Baywatch (2017)

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.

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CHiPS (2017)

“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.

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