Tag: Movie Theater

Upgrade: Movie Review

By Brennan Dubé | @Brennan_Dube71R 

‘Upgrade’ was released here in Canada this past weekend, so I decided to go check it out. I’ve heard good things about this lower budget sci-fi flick so I was somewhat excited for the lights to go down and the movie to begin rolling. Safe to say, ‘Upgrade’ was a treat and I definitely had a pretty good time with this film. Here is my review of ‘Upgrade.’

This film stars Tom Hardy doppelganger Logan-Marshall Green, Betty Gabriel, Benedict Hardie and Simon Maiden. This is a low budget sci-fi feature that is about a man on a path to seek revenge after his life has been flipped upside down. He gets a chip inserted in him that is able to enhance his abilities to do many things. This essentially makes him an upgraded human. Here we have our movie. I found ‘Upgrade’ took a little bit to pick up, but when it did, it truly was a fun ride. The film offers a unique take on futuristic science fiction and opens a world that I truly want to see more of.

The film’s acting was mainly good, but dialogue at times was somewhat cheesy. There were times early on in this film where I found things happened a little too conveniently, and dialogue just didn’t go well with the overall flow of the film. The story was sweet and simple, but executed really well, making for an effective movie. The unique camera angles and truly entertaining action sequences are the greatest glow of this film. Fight scenes put me at the edge of my seat, as the choreography and strong camera work elevated them in all the right ways. ‘Upgrade’ had quality build up for the majority of the movie as it was able to wind up the intensity as the film progresses. The payoff for me was one of the weakest spots of the film.

‘Upgrade’ also featured some overall weak antagonists that didn’t add a ton to the story. A stronger antagonist would benefit the movie, but I did not find that this detracted from it much at all. Despite being a low budget film, the visuals and special effects satisfied me. Director Leigh Whannell ensured this film had solid pace and it did flow quite well after a slow start. Sure, it’s not the perfect film, but it is a fun and enjoyable time for sure.

The big plus: Superb fight sequences and a pretty simple yet solid premise makes for a really entertaining time.

Where it lacks: Poor dialogue and pacing early on may give you a hard time getting into this movie, and when you finally do get into it… the overall payoff lacks impact.

Score: 77/100

I will say that this movie thoroughly entertained me and I hope to see it again. ‘Upgrade’ introduced me to a premise and a world that I would love to see more of in the future. Definitely see this movie if you haven’t as it really is a good alternative to the norm these days. ‘Upgrade’ was cool like I wanted ‘Hotel Artemis’ to be. I truly did have fun with this movie and props to the filmmakers for crafting a good low budget summer film.

Upcoming Releases:

 June 4: The First Purge

June 6: Ant-Man and the Wasp, Whitney

July 13: Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, Skyscraper, Siberia, Eighth Grade

To support 71 Republic, please donate to our Patreon, which you can find here.

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Sicario: Day of the Soldado: Movie Review

By Brennan Dubé | @Brennan_Dube71R

‘Sicario’ hit the big screens in 2015 and mustered up tons of buzz. Critics loved it and the intense crime-thriller went on to gross $85 million internationally. This type of critically acclaimed movie doesn’t usually muster up a sequel but here we are three years later. Here is my review of ‘Sicario: Day of the Soldado.’

‘Day of the Soldado’ is directed by Stefano Sollima (did not direct the first) and is written by Taylor Sheridan who helmed the writing of the first film. Josh Brolin and Benecio Del Toro reprise their roles in the sequel but Emily Blunt does not return. The first film was quite the fulfilling tale, it included a well-told story that was portrayed wonderfully by the actors within the movie. Although the first films finish wasn’t uplifting or happy, it did feel fulfilling.

This sequel did surprise me and it’s very clear when watching this film that the story is somewhat abrupt. However, I am thankful for a sequel because Benecio Del Toro really did steal the show in the first film and he truly is such a draw. His character again steals the show in this film despite in my opinion, not being as motivated.

The cartel are now smuggling terrorists into the United States and the U.S government has officially put the cartel on the terrorist watch list. This means the DEA have way more jurisdiction and leeway to go in and basically start a war with the cartel. Here we have our movie. This film, in my opinion, is much less layered and motivated than the first. The pace lacks at times. That is very evident in the middle portion of the film, where it begins to transcend into a quite different direction entirely. I do believe Sheridan did the best job possible at writing this sequel, and I am glad Blunt’s character was not part of the story. She did a great job in the first film, but her presence would feel forced in ‘Day of the Soldado’. Props to the filmmakers and Sheridan for not being tacky with this movie.

‘Day of the Soldado’ offers up some good action and some truly brutal sequences. Josh Brolin gets a lot more hands on in this film and he is always fun to watch. This truly is the year of Brolin as he has ‘Infinity War’, ‘Deadpool 2’ and ‘Day of the Soldado’ now out. Benecio Del Toro does awesome again as previously stated and although I strongly feel his character motivations were rather blurred in this film, he offers a well enough acting job that it gets pulled off. Well done again, Benecio. The supporting cast does a solid job and younger actress Isabela Moner does a pretty good job in this movie. The other young actor who plays a larger role in this film, Elijah Rodriguez, also does a good job despite again some flaws in his story arc.

The score is incredible just like the first film. Many of the same riffs are used in this movie and all around the sounds and music really help to enhance the story and the tension. This movie, just like the first, does a great job at building tension and intensity. ‘Day of the Soldado’ does lose its main drive and waivers from its strongest plot points as the film progresses, and where the first film was a truly realistic take, this one has times that feel far-fetched and a couple sequences that feel out of place. This resulted in a loss of proper pacing and the movie feeling like a stepdown from the first.

The big plus: Josh Brolin, Benecio Del Toro, more violence than the first film. Truly has some intense moments that reflect the strengths of the first.

Where it lacks: Character motivations that aren’t as compelling as they are in the first film and plot points that are somewhat unfocused make this sequel feel like a stepdown from its predecessor.

Score: 71/100

‘Sicario: Day of the Soldado’ makes for a solid intense action-thriller with a good enough storyline that it passes on that. The acting is great again and our two main stars are so great in these roles and incredibly compelling to watch. A really great score helps to elevate intense moments but on the flipside the set up and sometimes payoff lacks.

Box Office Forecast:

‘Sicario: Day of the Soldado’ and ‘Uncle Drew’ open up this weekend. Initially both these films were projected to open with $10-15 million dollars but early estimates show that ‘Day of the Soldado’ will look for a potential $20 million dollar opening. ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ should win the weekend for a second one in a row but is expected to have a significant drop off from its debut last weekend. ‘Fallen Kingdom’ should garner another $60 million dollars this weekend. ‘Incredibles 2’ will look to pick up another $40 million and hold onto second place.

Upcoming Releases:

June 4: The First Purge

June 6: Ant-Man and the Wasp, Whitney

July 13: Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, Skyscraper, Siberia, Eighth Grade

To support 71 Republic, please donate to our Patreon, which you can find here.

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Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – Movie Review

By Brennan Dubé | @Brennan_Dube71R

‘Fallen Kingdom’ is directed by J.A. Bayona and is written by the duo of Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly. The island of ‘Isla Nublar’, where ‘Jurassic World’ took place, has a volcano that is just ready to blow. From this, political debate sparks into whether or not the dinosaurs on the island should be rescued. With this we have our movie. I’m a huge fan of the original ‘Jurassic Park’ and enjoyed ‘Jurassic World’ when it hit the big screens a few years ago.

Going into this I had my doubts… it’s not uncommon for a ‘Jurassic’ sequel to be a dud. Nonetheless, I was very excited by the prospect of heading into the theaters and seeing a different ‘Jurassic’ film than what I, and millions of others are used to. In that, ‘Fallen Kingdom’ did not disappoint. This is definitely the most ambitious film in the franchise since the original hit the big screen in the summer of 1993. Despite its attempts at being something different, ‘Fallen Kingdom’ often fell flat, failing to deliver a savoring taste of dinosaur, and ‘Jurassic’ magic.

The opening third of this film holds some intrigue, aiming to be a deeper meaning than some of the previous franchise sequels. I did not fully buy into Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howards characters going back to the island but the movie gave a solid attempt and it was somewhat believable. Both Pratt and Howard are a thrill to watch and I am glad the series continued on following those two characters.

Despite good acting from Pratt, there was no real structural development to his character in the film which feels a tad like lazy writing. We now have two entire films and Pratt has yet to develop whatsoever. Bryce Dallas Howards character, ‘Claire Dearing’ did have a bit of a change of heart in this film and it was pleasant to see her character grow. The aim of truly wanting to make this new trilogy into a world is very clear in this film. I do feel however the movie was not fully focused on that and really danced around its main end-game. I do give ‘Fallen Kingdom’ props for taking some chances and doing different things with the franchise.

The supporting cast in this film, namely the two that join Pratt and Howard’s excursion, are rather boring. Justice Smith and Danielle Pineda are the two that star alongside our main duo. At times, both are borderline annoying as they try to convey some unnecessary comedic relief. Other new characters include ‘Eli Mills’ played by Rafe Spall and ‘Sir Benjamin Lockwood’ played by James Cromwell.

Cromwell’s character has an intriguing enough backstory, but Rafe Spall’s newly introduced character comes off as two-dimensional and generic. Child actress, Isabella Sermon plays ‘Maisie Lockwood’ aka the granddaughter of ‘Benjamin Lockwood’ in this film and I must say she did quite a good job. Her arc was also probably the most intriguing of the film and it might well be the thing that sticks with me most in the days and weeks following this movie. Jeff Goldblum also reprises his role as ‘Dr. Ian Malcolm’ in this film which is always fun as well.

Onto what we are really here for… dinosaurs! ‘Fallen Kingdom’ has some very incredible looking sequences on the island that look great on the big screen. The special effects in this movie are also absolutely top notch and the close up combat with the dinosaurs looks really well done. However, many of the same scenes and gimmicks from previous films were used and I did feel like I was watching a rehashing of other ‘Jurassic’ films at times. So as a truly great action-packed summer blockbuster, this movie does not always deliver. I did have some fun with this movie though and there were undeniably some pretty good, fun sequences.

One of the biggest issues with the first film that carries into the second is the villains. The quality of villains in these films need to seriously be upped in quality as they always detract from the film as a whole. Their cartoon-y feel, which is present in both ‘Jurassic World’ and this film ‘Fallen Kingdom’, really don’t do much at all to benefit the story. Michael Giacchino’s score is a positive from this film and he is just continuing to show how much of a terrific composer he is.

The big plus: ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ is a solid time at the movies. This film takes the franchise in a different route that some viewers may end up enjoying. The dinosaurs looked great!

Where it lacks: Despite taking some jumps, this film didn’t always land, and if you dislike cartoon-y villains and generic side characters… you won’t enjoy the supporting cast of this film.

Score: 64/100

In conclusion, ‘Fallen Kingdom’ is a good action film that has its obvious problems, but you can for sure just relax and enjoy the dinosaurs. Director J.A. Bayona tried new things and I respect that, despite most of them not fully succeeding. The special effects are awesome and although the action sequences may feel familiar, they are still somewhat enjoyable.

Box Office Forecast:

‘Fallen Kingdom’ is expected to open up significantly lower than its predecessor, which opened to $208.8 million back in 2015. Due to added competition from ‘Incredibles 2’ and a lesser enthused crowd, ‘Fallen Kingdom’ will look towards an opening between $125-150 million dollars. This is still a great haul which will make it one of this years biggest films. ‘Incredibles 2’ will look to make over $90 million in its second weekend. ‘Fallen Kingdom’ will easily hit the $100 million dollar threshold, but if ‘Incredibles 2’ can do the same, then it will be the first time in history that two movies bring in over $100 million in the same weekend.

Upcoming Releases:

June 29: Sicario: Day of the Soldado, Uncle Drew

July 4: The First Purge

July 6: Ant-Man and the Wasp

To support 71 Republic, please donate to our Patreon, which you can find here.

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With Infinity War Behind Us, What Film Will Next Take the Box Office by Storm?

By Brennan Dubé | @Brennan_Dube71R

2018 could be the biggest year at the box office ever, and I for one am not betting against that. Already we’ve seen two movies make mega splashes and gross some insanely high numbers (thanks, Disney and Marvel) and we are just getting started. For starters, none could’ve predicted the buzz that ‘Black Panther’ was going to create here in North America, but it was enough to send it on quite the box office run. As a result, in has become the third highest grossing film in North America, behind 2nd place ‘Avatar’ and ahead of 4th place ‘Titanic’, both James Cameron films. In addition to that, Spielberg’s big screen adaptation of ‘Ready Player One’ has gone on to gross over $500 Million Worldwide. Then there is Marvel’s Holy Grail, ‘Infinity War’, which has seemingly smashed all records and will continue to be strong in the box office as it creeps closer and closer to that sacred $2 Billion Worldwide marker that only three films have ever graced.

So yes, this year has been a hit at the box office, but we aren’t even close to done. It starts this weekend with the release of Fox’s highly anticipated ‘Deadpool 2.’ The weekend after, we will have ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ land in theatres, and then after that the big summer flicks just keep on coming. On June 8th we will have the all-female lead cast version of ‘Ocean’s 8’ hit theatres, then following that on June 15th we’ll see Disney and Pixar’s extremely anticipated ‘Incredibles 2’. The latter will surely be a strong candidate for $1 Billion. On the 25th Universal’s ‘Jurassic World 2: Fallen Kingdom’ will hit theatres with a roar.

After the 25th we will see a slight decline in mega blockbusters but there are still surely some other films that will make noise in theatres as the summer progresses. For one, on July 6th Marvel’s ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ will hit theatres and will definitely make some big money as it rides the hype of ‘Infinity War.’ The rest of the summer movie season will offer other movies that have a good potential to gross some good coin such as ‘Hotel Transylvania 3’, ‘Skyscraper’ starring Dwayne Johnson and yet another ‘Mission Impossible’.

The dog days of August will offer moviegoers Disney’s ‘Christopher Robin’ and Jason Statham’s Shark flick, ‘The Meg’ which both appeal to vastly different audiences but are still expected to do somewhat well. Also in August, The Spike Lee directed ‘BlacKkKlansman’ will be released as well as the comedy ‘The Spy Who Dumped Me’ starring Mila Kunis. August will also be a big time for thriller films with the releases of ‘Mile 22’ which will feature Mark Wahlberg and Ronda Rousey and the horror-thriller picture ‘Slender Man.’

Expect this summer to be one for the ages, with film after film drawing moviegoers into the theatres. Money will be made. This year we could definitely see for the first time since 2015, five films hit $1 Billion in the box office. Do not count out 2018 for being the most money-making box office year of all time Worldwide. Judging by what’s to come, don’t bet against it.

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The Death of Cinema

By Mason Mohon | USA

I would absolutely love to write a movie review of the latest installment of the Star Wars franchise: The Last Jedi, but that is out of the question. I saw the movie last night, or at least I tried, but all the lightsabers, stormtroopers, and edgy young Sith lords with emotional issues are beginning to blur together in my head, so I checked out of reality and used the experience as a bizarre naptime. So I can’t tell anyone whether the movie was good or bad because I was very tired. So is the rest of America. Society is getting tired of shoveling out an entire month’s worth of Netflix subscription to watch an ok movie in a dirty theater.

The movie theater industry is in trouble, but its ok, because we can chalk this all up to creative destruction.

The film industry has been punching and screaming for years. It tries its hardest to stay afloat, releasing bigger and better movie screens as they go along. Every year, we see a bigger and better IMAX 3D screen come out at another theater. They build themselves up more and more, but the problem is this may be to no avail. The market is evolving, as it does.

The weeks leading up to Star Wars chilled me when I compared them to the leading weeks in previous years. The long anticipated trilogy reboot that came with exciting trailers and lots of hype. Episode 7 was the long lost child of the space legend everybody had been looking for. The movie unsurprisingly broke box office records, and the following year wasn’t too different. Rogue One was an exciting new take on the Star Wars series. It told a story with mostly new characters and showed a different side of the universe, topping it off with an “everyone dies” storyline I thought I would only get from Cloverfield movies.

This year, I heard nearly no mention of them. I saw the trailer when it came out and bought tickets with my friends in advance, but then I forgot about it, and it seemed that everyone else did too. It would rarely come up in  conversation, and I never heard “I can’t wait for the new Star Wars.” The movie did well, though, but not quite well enough to save a fading away industry.

The Motion Picture Association of America reported that the average American will have bought 3.6 movie tickets this year, which is down 30% from 2002’s rate of 5.1 tickets. People are not seeing as many movies anymore, and why would they. Stranger Things 2, a plethora of new Marvel superhero series’, and the constant flow of originals make Netflix a satisfying alternative. Streaming services are in, and you can get a month’s access to them for the price of a single movie at a theater. This is the free market serving consumer preferences at work.

Cinema showings aren’t dying this year, but the numbers are dwindling and I do not expect them to be a major part of American society for much longer. This teaches us the valuable lesson of creative destruction, as mentioned earlier. The market must serve consumer demand, and what the consumers demand is changing. With the rise of the internet and the opportunity it gave to entrepreneurs and innovators, we should have seen this coming. The free market is a glorious thing, though, so we can rest easy knowing that if you and others enjoy something, it is likely the market will keep it around.

The way things seem to always turn around is less bad movies and more good markets.