Tag: review

The Walking Dead’s Ninth Season Has Returned the Show to Its Previous Level of Greatness

Brennan Dubé | @Brennan_Dube71R

AMC’s The Walking Dead just finished the first half of its ninth season and I can safely say this show is back to being great. It is no secret, seasons 7 and 8 received mixed reviews and were met with much dissatisfaction from many fans, and ratings saw a significant dip. While Jeffrey Dean Morgan offered an entertaining portrayal of Negan in those seasons, the overall writing and premise of the show lost its touch, and more importantly its charisma. I have been a fan of this show since I began watching it live in the fourth season after binging the first three… over six years ago. This show at one point was the biggest thing in TV pop-culture in North America, and while it still enjoys a great deal of success across the World, it has slightly lost touch here in North America with the last two seasons. I try to refrain from discussing TV too often as it is a World that is much more difficult to follow than film, but I must share my thoughts and continue to echo the message that is becoming louder and more consistent among the fan base and the average TV critic, this show is back to being great. New showrunner Angela Kang took the helm of this season and was faced with great difficulty regarding many complications leading up to it. The team promised a fresher season, it promised a better season and so far halfway through they have not failed to deliver on those promises. This is the first time in a long time that I can safely say that The Walking Dead has delivered eight, at the very least good, episodes to open up a season. Even in its glory days the show had an episode or two in the first half that dragged but with season 9 that is just not the case. What made the last two seasons hurt was how the writers developed the characters, or lack thereof. Season 9 takes fans back to the roots, what made this show great, and that is meaningful drama between the characters we root for. The show has really done a tremendous job this season at making characters who fell dry the last few seasons feel fresh, revitalized and absolutely more fun to watch. There is real development again, there is real thrill again and the new characters and arcs that have been introduced this season are all landing smoothly with great success. While this show still after nine years remains to be AMC’s number one show, it’s clear it probably won’t get back to the glory days when it was number one everywhere (ratings wise, that is), but this show is back in terms of quality and intrigue. I keep telling myself after every episode this season just how fresh that feels and I am officially hooked again.The Walking Dead has taken risks, managed to juggle many complications off screen, and introduce new characters that are interesting while still finding ways to freshen up the characters we know and love this season, and I applaud them for making it a success, so far. So, all I’m saying is this, if you are a past viewer, one who has turned it off, or one who just can’t seem to find the time to commit, give it a chance again… I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. The second half of AMC’s The Walking Dead season 9 will premiere Sunday, February 10that 9pm EST.

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The Movie of the Summer: ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’ Movie Review

Brennan Dubé | @Brennan_Dube71R

Tom Cruise and company have returned for a sixth installment of the long running (6 films, 22 years) ‘Mission Impossible’ franchise. Who would’ve thought they’d save their best stuff for the sixth film? Here is my review of ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout.’

In the sixth film in the series we are reunited with Tom Cruise and his infamous ‘Ethan Hunt’ character, as well as the rest of the gang, Simon Pegg and Ving Rhames. This film is directed and written by Christopher McQuarrie. This is the second ‘Mission: Impossible’ he has directed, the first being ‘Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation’ (2015). Following all the hype mustered up by this film I found myself surprisingly excited to see it. I was able to see the opening day viewing and I was not disappointed. Christopher McQuarrie is the perfect director for these films as proven by two back-to-back successful films as well as this being, in my opinion, the best film in the franchise to date. ‘Fallout’ is a sheer epic. It has everything you want in an action film and it does it all perfectly. While giving the audience some intense and top-notch barrages of action, writer/director Christopher McQuarrie balanced in a very strong and clear pointed plot. This perfect balance made for a perfect action film.

Tom Cruise yet again delivers a strong performance and his stunts continue to be jaw-dropping. McQuarrie’s direction with these action sequences are perfect and some stunning and edge-of-the-seat scenes do happen rather frequently in this film. Henry Cavill is also in this movie and it was great to finally see the now infamous-stache on the big screen. I had my slight doubts in him at times during the movie but continuously with each and every passing scene Cavill seemed to just get better and better. He brought a lot to the film and definitely served a strong purpose. Simon Pegg is entertaining as always, as is Ving Rhames. Sean Harris is also in the film and he brings a good strong presence as the films mysterious villainous character. Harris owns the role and brings genuine darkness to the film.

What puts Mission: Impossible – Fallout head and shoulders above other action flicks is the insane and pristine camera work. Some of the shots that were taken during this film are absolutely stunning and I found myself turning to the person beside me admiring these shots on several occasions. This all made for rather grand and certainly epic scenes. The moment I left the theatre I was ready to turn back around and head back in for more.

While the story isn’t necessarily fresh, Christopher McQuarrie does a good job at telling this story and unfolding a very picture-perfect spy film. There are some characters I definitely would have liked to have seen developed more. As previously stated, the brilliance in balance within the film is truly unmatched and story is not compromised at the hands of over usage of CGI or cheap jokes. This is the quintessential action movie of 2018 and the summer blockbuster we needed oh so badly.

The big plus: Stunning visuals and camera work enhance this movie and take it to the next level in every way possible.

Where it lacks: The overall story isn’t the most original but the movie makers do a good job at telling it.

Score: 89/100

‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’ is my favourite movie of 2018, so far. It is the perfect action movie and it proves that you can make a good, engaging and entertaining blockbuster without all the crazy CGI. The stunts and major action sequences are top of their class and the performances are overall very well done. This film has the twists that will stun you and the intensity that will keep you on the edge of your seat. This is the perfect action movie and definitely one of the better made overall films in a while.

Upcoming Releases

August 3: Christopher Robin, The Darkest Minds, The Spy Who Dumped Me

August 8: Dog Days

August 10: The Meg, BlacKkKlansman, Slender Man

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Skyscraper: Movie Review

By Brennan Dubé | @Brennan_Dube71R

Universal Pictures presents Dwayne Johnson saving his family from a burning tower that’s over 200 stories tall… ladies and gentlemen, here is my review of ‘Skyscraper.

‘Skyscraper’ is directed and written by Rawson Marshall Thurber (‘Central Intelligence’, ‘We’re the Millers’). The film follows Johnson, who plays an FBI Agent and U.S army vet, and his family. Johnson’s character, ‘Will Sawyer’ is sent to examine the safety of a new tower being built in Hong Kong. Upon his travels, shenanigans ensue and he must save the day. ‘Skyscraper’ offered a very simple story line that was covered with predictable twists and clichéd villains. Despite these very clear structures within the film, ‘Skyscraper’ was actually a solid popcorn flick. I enjoyed the movie mainly due to the well inserted intensity and some very solid action sequences. The dynamic of having the film be centered around a skyscraper seemed very silly in the trailers and TV commercials but upon watching this film I can attest to it actually making for some cool scenes. I did end up seeing this film in 3D due to the great things I heard about how it looked. I was not disappointed and the 3D definitely enhanced my experience and enjoyment in ‘Skyscraper.’ That being said, 3D is not a necessity for this movie and it can still be watched and enjoyed in standard 2D.

‘Skyscraper’ has a plot that is simple enough to follow but not enough to really feel a connection with the film at all. There were times in this movie where certain dialogue was used that was absolutely unnecessary and cheesy, definitely one of the years weakest scripts. At times certain lines even took me out of the movie. One positive thing about ‘Skyscraper’ I can confidently say is that it did not go out of its way to throw silly jokes in. This is something that other summer blockbusters always go for and it can often feel very misplaced.

As previously stated, Johnson rocks in the action scenes and director Rawson Marshall Thurber did a great job at constructing some very entertaining sequences. At times I felt I had to just turn my brain off and not question some rather convenient moments but that being said I was not taken out of the action sequences all that much. The special effects were great in this movie and some of the rooms in the skyscraper look so damn cool.

Dwayne Johnson delivers a very Dwayne Johnson performance in this movie and his charisma and charm in the lead role continues to be a draw. Not much of the supporting cast did much to enhance this film but the family rescue scenario worked out pretty well. Neve Campbell is in this film and she does a swell job at portraying the mother in the family, she even does a solid job during the action scenes as well. Most of the cast does a good job especially working with the dialogue they had. The score definitely could have been better, thinking back in this film I don’t even recall hearing music at all. It’s important that a score leaves its touch and enhances intensity but Steve Jablonsky’s score in this film did not do that.

The big plus: Johnson runs the show and he looks good in some very well put together action scenes. The movie has the intensity it needs and it paces pretty well at about 102 minutes.

Where it lacks: Poor dialogue and a very basic, predictable storyline makes this yet another forgettable action flick.

Score: 63/100

‘Skyscraper’ is an entertaining film with solid special effects and a very basic plot. Its twists are predictable and the dialogue lacks but the film is still fun and it’s intense when it needs to be. This film hasn’t broken any new ground or changed the game at all, but it is an enjoyable enough time that it passes off as an okay summer popcorn flick.

Upcoming Releases

July 20: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, The Equalizer 2, Unfriended: Dark Web

July 27: Mission: Impossible – Fallout, Teen Titans Go! To the Movies

August 3: Christopher Robin, The Spy Who Dumped Me, The Darkest Minds, Searching

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Hereditary: 2018’s Most Anticipated Horror (Reviewed)

By Brennan Dubé | @Brennan_Dube71R

The most anticipated horror flick of 2018, helmed by some to be this generations ‘The Exorcist.’ Here is my review of ‘Hereditary.’

‘Hereditary’ has gotten a lot of buzz lately after the praise it has been receiving coming out of film festivals and early screenings. I went into this movie with high expectations and I can safely say they were fulfilled. ‘Hereditary’ stars Toni Collette and it follows a family’s journey following the death of Toni Collette’s characters mother. Out the gate I expected a film where the dead grandmother will come back to haunt and possess this family, but it was so much more and so very different from that.

‘Hereditary’ has some dark tones and very profound subtle suspense that it is able to instill terror inside of you without actually scaring you yet. The tone of this movie is set very early on and the films vibe and suspense never seems to let up. You constantly feel heavier and heavier as the movie plays out. Director and writer Ari Aster did an incredible job with this movie. His patient film making allowing the scenes to play out and the suspense to build in front of our eyes without rushing things at all was his key to success.

This storyline is not fresh nor original, it is rather unoriginal and something that has been played out many times before, but ‘Hereditary’ takes a completely different route from what we are used to and shines while doing so. The imagery and angles used in this film were absolutely stunning. They added to the tone and freakiness of the scenes and rooms in the home. To further applaud the designers and visual directing with this film I must say I found myself several times throughout this film applauding and taking note of just how top notch the angles used were. This factor played an important role in the film as it allows us to see things subtly in the background that help us to piece together this movies story.

‘Hereditary’ took some twists that I did not anticipate but nonetheless they all helped to create a further layer of fear and terror within the viewer. The cast in this film did a wonderful job, firstly Toni Collette is moving in her role as the mother of the family. Some of the more emotional dialogue she had to convey was really powerful and it helped to create suspense as well as sad touching tones when needed.

Alex Wolff, who plays the son in the family, also does a great job in this movie. I was rather impressed with his performance and I hope success follows him. The movies young star, Milly Shapiro, does a great job in this movie and this being her first feature length big screen release, I am even more impressed by what she had to offer. The first half of this movie is really quite frightening and it plants the seeds necessary to advance the story into the second half. I felt somewhere in the second half of this movie the flow began to lack and it got a little off track. Quickly however, ‘Hereditary’ jumped back on and continued to impress. The supernatural elements of the film did take me out for a brief moment but surely it polished itself up and got better as it progressed.

The big plus: The dark suspenseful tone mixed with layered storytelling and great performances from the cast leads ‘Hereditary’ to victory.

Where it lacks: The familiarity with the second half of this movie and unoriginality of the story is prevalent, but don’t fear as it offers quite a unique taste.

Score: 87/100

‘Hereditary’ is not groundbreaking, it doesn’t reinvent the horror genre… but it does tell a great story that I am definitely going to watch again. It delivers a perfect mix of unsettlingly terror that touches viewers on a personal and very emotional level. It puts a feeling in your stomach early on and this feeling will not escape you. It’s a smart movie that gets you thinking. For his first feature length film, writer and director Ari Aster made a gem that is definitely one of the best movies I have seen so far, this year.

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Ocean’s 8: Sandra Bullock Stars in Female-Lead Film

By Brennan Dubé | @Brennan_Dube71R

So, it has been eleven years since the release of the last ‘Ocean’s’ film… and filmmaker Gary Ross has in front of him an all-star cast and a $70 million-dollar budget to bring us his twist take on the ‘Ocean’s’ series. This all-female cast showcases the likes of Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Rihanna, Mindy Kaling, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Awkwafina and Sarah Paulson. Here is my review of ‘Ocean’s 8.’

‘Ocean’s 8’ opens with Sandra Bullock’s character, ‘Debbie Ocean’ getting out of prison after spending the last five or so years behind bars, and as following the other ‘Ocean’s’ films, she has a plan. From here we see the plan get created and the crew get recruited. Going into this movie I was hoping to see some good build up towards the heist with some great interactions considering the star-studded cast involved.

I must say I was not disappointed by what I saw as the build up sequences and recruitment of these different individuals to join Bullocks’ characters heist plan were quite enjoyable. The cast really knocked this one out of the park. Bullock offers a great performance that really enhances a mediocre dialogue and direction job all around. I also quite liked Helena Bonham Carter, who plays an Irish fashion designer. I found she did a great job in this film and offered some of the best entertainment throughout. Anne Hathaway as always did a stellar job in her role and really fit the part in ‘Ocean’s 8.’

Mindy Kaling plays her typical role that she seems to have been accustomed to ever since the hit show ‘The Office’ and Rihanna does an okay job as well. Other leads in this film, Sarah Paulson and Cate Blanchett do their part and also deliver good performances. Awkwafina in this film did not feel quite right. Her character was interesting but I do not believe it was executed well, coming off as annoying. She was there mainly for comedic relief but in reality, we got some unneeded useless jokes and unnecessary character interactions.

Director Gary Ross had his ass saved in this film. There were times where I almost wanted the group to get caught in their heist just so we could see something a little more interesting and risky happen. Ross managed to lay together a movie that felt so dry and was absolutely spiced up by its incredible cast.

Sure, the group runs in to some bumps here and there but there is almost no friction within the group that leads us to actually feel the level of intensity rise. There were times where I sat back and truly did wish that one of the characters would question the plan or even have a strong disagreement with how they went about things.

Instead, Ross and the writers had them play it safe, keeping everyone for the most part on the same page in this film, which is a drag. Another negative of ‘Ocean’s 8’ is that it lacked a good laugh. I never found myself laughing at this movie or really appreciating a well-executed joke that was told or comedic sequences that was played out. There were some chuckles here and there but ‘Ocean’s 8’ would benefit from some more light-hearted comedy to go along with its light-hearted heist film.

This movie had some shots and different angles taken that looked absolutely stunning. The beginning scenes showing scenery in the city all looked great and that is a plus to the photo direction and cinematographers that worked on this movie. Another positive in my mind is that this was not a political film. Coming into this I knew it was an all-female lead film and that is the main purpose of this movie. I was interested to see if they played it off as a political film and went in on social issues in society today, but they did not. I found this to be a bonus because it would have been a distraction to the storyline and to the great performances being given by the actresses on screen.

Despite enjoying the build-up very much, I felt underwhelmed by the end of this film. The heist was for the most part fun to watch but the aftermath and the act following the heist felt rushed as a viewer. They would have benefited from sacrificing bits from the beginning and middle and putting more into the heist aftermath. Doing this would have made ‘Ocean’s 8’ a potentially more layered movie, missed opportunity.

The big plus: The excitement of this movie is seeing all the super star actresses own this film entirely. Go… sit back and enjoy some of this generations top talents!

Where it lacks:‘Ocean’s 8’ may feel underwhelming and just not as fun as it should be at times.

Score: 71/100

In conclusion, ‘Ocean’s 8’ was a good time at the movies. Director Gary Ross and his mediocre storytelling is saved and enhanced positively by some incredible jobs mainly from the likes of Bullock, Carter and Hathaway. The interaction and recruitment is a good lead up and fun watch going into the much-anticipated heist sequence. Although in the end I did feel slightly underwhelmed at times, ‘Ocean’s 8’ is a good time.

Box Office Forecast:

Watch for the continual plummet of the box office bomb ‘Solo’ as it enters its third weekend. Warner Bros. Pictures ‘Ocean’s 8’ should take the box office and is expected to gross over $35 million this weekend. A24 studio’s much anticipated horror ‘Hereditary’ hits theatres this weekend and is surely set to break records for the small-scale studio.

Upcoming Releases:

June 13: SuperFly

June 15: Incredibles 2, Tag

June 22: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

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

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