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FrameRate Reviews

Because you don't have time…and neither do I!

Wonder Woman

Although I rather liked Batman v. Superman (an opinion I find myself defending often ha) I do believe Wonder Woman brings that franchise in a much better direction, giving us elements wholly distinct and different from the good-yet-tiring fare Marvel provides us, offering interesting perspectives and views on humanity, yet not being dour, depressing, but instead very fun and funny. Gal Gadot as Diana is the highest achievement of the film, bringing the young heroine to life as if she stepped right out of a panel, young, hopeful and naive, but always strong and powerful both in her mind, heart and fists. Patty Jenkins and co. provide a slick, well paced film that looks distinctly different from Snyder’s work, yet fits snugly in that universe with ease, even though like Snyder their love for slow motion is abundant, redundant and garish (guys please, let’s chill on the slo-mo.) What prevents me from saying I loved the movie (I liked it, don’t get me wrong. Liked it a lot) were some eyeroll inducing moments of cheesiness even super hero films should be above, and villains that are not only cartoonish, one-dimensional, and cardboard, but stand in direct opposition of the film’s message that ideas on good and evil are much more complex than Diana thinks, making the central theme fall flat in what is otherwise an inspiring, exciting and hopefully first entry in the Wonder Woman series of films.

7.5/10

Alien Covenant


If you’re going purely for the thrills and chills, you’ll probably be more than satisfied; the film proves to be the franchise’s most visceral and harrowing film since the first. Added to that, even at its weakest the actors of the film bring their A game, Crudup, Waterson and McBride noteable of praise, and Fassbender stealing the show with his double role. But while a fun thrill ride, Alien Covenant falls apart quite quickly with even the merest of inspection, from weak and dumb characters, to overexposure of the Xenomorph, and worst of all, poor narrative choices not only as an individual film but in the larger scope of the franchise. Overall, the experience is frustrating to say the least, with greatness always a few inches out of reach, held back by plot holes aplenty which will nag hardcore fans (like me), but may not deter those merely seeking a chill on a hot summers day. 

6/10

Ip Man 3

Going forward, there’ll be a bit of a change in FrameRate. Although brevity is key, I find myself giving proper english a gut punch by making run-on sentences as I try to cram in every aspect of the film I want to talk about. There’s even moments where I skip over important things to fit the three sentence format. With that in mind, I’m going to add another sentence to the limit, and hope you’ll not find yourself running late reading that additional line ;P. Please share and enjoy!
There are fewer examples which exemplify the frustration of diminishing returns better than the Ip Man series of films. Sure, Donnie is great as always, whether he be acting or fighting–which, by the way, all look and are filmed with massive skill. But just like the first and second films, the villain is cartoonish, Ip Man himself is blandly spotless and blameless, and the plot is bare bones. The film achieves some successs in iteration by focusing more on Ip Man’s family life and relationship with his wife, but even then one wonders if a franchise can survive by serving up the same thing-both the good and bad-time and time again.

7/10

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

In some ways better than the original, in others weaker, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was able to placate this growing Marvel cynic, convincing me the machine still has some life to it yet. Whereas I feel each Marvel movie is starting to look and feel the same, Vol. 2 cranks up Gunn’s signature humor to eleven and gives him free reign, feeling unrestricted and totally unique from the rest of the MCU, even more than the first film (which I honestly didn’t find as unique as others did, just saying). The villain doesn’t suffer the same fate as the rest of Marvel’s fare but could use some work, and although the plot was totally predictable complete with world-ending threat, it felt more constrained and character focused, culminating in a hilarious, heartwarming, and fun-filled movie. 

8/10

The Shallows


The Shallows is a competently made entertainment piece, elevated to slightly above average with a harrowing performance by Blake Lively and a simple yet effective script approach. The shark is played much like in Jaws (but never directly apes the superior film) a growing and tense force of nature, rarely seen yet always felt, which gives the film some fantastic tension. Probably the greatest flaw was the flashy and overdone camera work, abundant splashes of tedious slow motion and overly long glances at Lively’s body in a swimsuit (seriously guys, I get it, she’s well built but *my goodness*), making the whole thing look like a music video starring sharks, dampening but thankfully not fully diminishing this great choice for a movie get-together after a long day. 

7/10

Last Action Hero

Derided in its day, Last Action Hero is a surprisingly entertaining, if only moderately successful, pastiche parody of the action film genre. The film has so many hits, with relentless gags and jabs at the overdone, explosion-filled movies of that day, all directed expertly by John McTiernan whether it be a joke or a genuinely cool bit of action. But soon after the hour-twenty mark, the jokes get exhaustive and old, and when the film does give that eventual flip, the “deconstruction” of the genre isn’t as effective or interesting as it could be, leaving one feeling entertained but not fully satisfied. 

7/10

Miss Hokusai

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This beautifully animated tale offers a window into the world of Japan at the end of the Edo period by use of the unconventional and odd artist O-Ei, giving us perspective from the art, the attitudes, the gender struggles, and religious perspectives in a way I haven’t seen captured so wonderfully. Miss Hokusai is split into individual vignettes which could have hampered the experience, but instead give the film a unique quality, able to weave ongoing relationships and stand-alone stories in ninety minutes without feeling rushed or bloated. The only detractor I can find is that with the emphasis on the culture and the world of Japan in the Edo period, I feel the filmmaker had many missed opportunites with O-Ei herself, who is portrayed well but not explored to the depth that I would’ve liked, especially as an unconventional female artist at that time.

 

8/10

Passengers

Please excuse the week break! FrameRate is back and ready to go! 

Passengers falls in that frustrating category of being full of potential which is wholly squandered, making a movie which could be great into something bad or, as is the case with this movie, bland and mediocre. The sets and designs are nice, Michael Sheen is fun as the bartender, and some individual moments shine, but overall the movie is overlong and disjointed from first half to second. The characters and their motivations are unconvincing, but this is clearly a case of good actors tied to a bad script and not flat out bad acting, and I would be remiss to mention that Pratt’s character makes a terrible and deeply problematic choice which the filmmakers never fully explore and/or condemn. 
5/10 

Dope

There’s that moment of complete understanding and regret when you finally see one of those “it” films from a previous year and it meets or exceeds those expectations, and for the life of me, I can’t say why I hadn’t seen this yet! Dope is, first and foremost about three charming and instantly relatable geeks, trying to live life their own way, and the struggle of these inner city kids as they fight the preconceived notions placed by society and their community on who they should be. Its script hits the mark whether the moment be funny or poignant, and there isn’t a single shot that doesn’t work, and—even with some harsh content more sensitive viewers might find disagreeable— I implore anyone who hasn’t seen this film to get on Netflix now and watch it. 

9/10 

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