UNFILTERED THOUGHTS: ‘Logan’ serves up leftover superhero bits and chooses to shove them down your throat with the repetition of a beating drum if you should be foolish enough to resist

What lies ahead is an unedited jumble of words, thrown onto a blank sheet of paper late at night after seeing a movie. Enjoy at your own risk.

I have a relatively low resting heart rate; I don’t know exactly what it is, but if I had to take a guess I’d say somewhere around 55 BPM. But after sitting through Logan, the new Wolverine (X-Men) film, it feels as if my heart’s been beating at a minimum of 90 BPM for the past 2h 15m. No, Logan, this is not me complimenting you, this is me telling you (well, I guess this is me telling the man in charge of Logan, dir. James Mangold [known for Walk The Line and 3:10 To Yuma and “known for” Knight & Day and The Wolverine]) that you don’t have an ounce of delicacy, an ounce of anything that makes my heart do anything but go thumpthumpthumpthumpthumpthumpthump or THUMPTHUMPTHUMPTHUMPTHUMPTHUMPTHUMP or sometimes, but much less frequently, THUMPTHUMPTHUMPTHUMPTHUMPTHUMPTHUMP!!! Instead, Logan, you barrel your way through your runtime at a rapid (albeit not really efficient) pace, just as my heart attempts to barrel its way out of my body just so that it can take a goddamn break.

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You will eat what I give you, good sir.

Ugh. I don’t even know if I want to write about this movie. What is there really to say?

(hit CONTINUE READING to find out what more I end up vomiting out about this movie) Continue reading “UNFILTERED THOUGHTS: ‘Logan’ serves up leftover superhero bits and chooses to shove them down your throat with the repetition of a beating drum if you should be foolish enough to resist”

UNFILTERED THOUGHTS: A Brief Rant On My General Issues With ‘John Wick: Chapter 2’

What lies ahead is an unedited jumble of words, thrown onto a blank sheet of paper late at night after seeing a movie. Enjoy at your own risk.

Note: Profanity included. Pictures will be added when I’m on my laptop, not on a toilet on my phone at work…

To The Numerous Fans of John Wick and John Wick: Chapter 2, Who Baffle Me With Their Tastes:

Y’all are kidding me, right? Y’all are in on this together, just to make me upset, yes? Cause I’m upset.

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I wish Keanu had killed me.

So what the hell am I missing with this whole “John Wick and John Wick: Chapter 2 are, like, actually good movies!” phase? I shrugged after John Wick, but chalked my disappointment up to seeing it on my tiny television with trash speakers, rather than in theaters. So, of course, I see Chapter 2 in theaters (and not only in theaters, but in glorious XD (!) just to be certain) only to find it does next to nothing for me. Is there something wrong with me? Sure. But is there something wrong with all of you, you consumers of film, for loving this schlock? Maybe? Don’t mistake my anger for real anger. I’m genuinely glad you liked this movie. But I didn’t. Here’s why:

(hit CONTINUE READING to read why) Continue reading “UNFILTERED THOUGHTS: A Brief Rant On My General Issues With ‘John Wick: Chapter 2’”

Writing for PopMatters

To Anyone Who Reads This Blog:

While I plan to continue writing on this, my personal blog, I was recently brought on to the PopMatters staff to write film reviews and features. My first article for them, a review of Mike Birbiglia’s Don’t Think Twice (2016), was published this morning. You can check it out here if interested.

Thanks for reading!!

–Kyle

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You– yes, you! You should go check out PopMatters.com

REVIEW: ‘Don’t Think Twice’ (2016)

Mike Birbiglia’s second effort finds the comedian exploring existential crises and selfishness, with results that may not always be pleasing, but are throughly stimulating throughout.

Attending a college in the middle of Bumblef***, Ohio proved problematic when I became a film major. The closest town’s theater was difficult to access without a personal vehicle, but I managed to convince my parents to let me keep the family mini-van on campus sophomore year. When the nearby cinema, which only screened the most widely released projects, didn’t suffice, my friends and I looked elsewhere––one of them happened to be obsessed with stand-up comedian Mike Birbiglia when his debut film, Sleepwalk With Me, was released. We stuffed into my Honda Odyssey, and made the more than 50-mile drive to Columbus. Though a memorable night, I returned six hours later with mixed feelings about the movie––as a 19-year-old, it was difficult to relate to Birbiglia’s middle-aged crises, but I respected the authenticity and relished his dark humor.

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Nearly four years later, I consequently approached my screening of his sophomore effort, Don’t Think Twice, with mild anxiety. The film follows six improv artists in New York City, known together as The Commune, who desire to perform on the late-night show Weekend Live (a continuous jab at Saturday Night Live). When one is finally cast, each member suffers through a character-driven crisis, causing the group to fracture and threatening its existence altogether. The film stars Birbiglia himself, as well as Keegan-Michael Key (Keanu, Key and Peele) and Gillian Jacobs (Community, Girls). Chris Gethard, Kate Micucci and Tami Sagher round out the ensemble.

(hit the JUMP for some thoughts on film itself…) Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Don’t Think Twice’ (2016)”

REVIEW: ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ (2016)

Though it is certainly the most impressive stop-motion animation achievement ever, Laika Entertainment’s latest release fails to reach its full potential because of piecemeal storytelling and a hazy emotional core.

I love animated films. They offer a boundless potential to bring to life foreign worlds that are immediately recognizable and relatable once on screen. They permit filmmakers to showcase emotionally turbulent childhoods without the challenge of navigating a human child’s psychology to procure a believable performance. They attract otherwise unimaginable casts thanks to their ease on the actors’ schedules. They can be works of staggering visual wonder.

The above are a few of the many reasons why the poster for Kubo and the Two Strings was enough to make me groundlessly excited for this film. It appeared that Studio Ghibli greatly influenced this effort from Laika Entertainment, based on the evident Japanese culture. The stop-motion animators drew heavily from the Pixar well for their previous films (Coraline, Paranorman, and The Boxtrolls­­)––I am not opposed to this in the slightest, but do believe Ghibli produces better work more consistently.

The poster also made me aware of the film’s voice cast, which includes some of my favorite working performers, such as Charlize Theron, Ralph Fiennes, Rooney Mara and Matthew McConaughey––the white washing here is evident, but the assembly of that group of actors is a tour de force in itself. If that cast were in a live-action film, it would be the early favorite to win Best Picture and the Palme d’Or.

And to top it all off, the protagonist wears an eye patch without any indication why! Tantalizing!

I believe I have made the point that my enthusiasm was uncontrollable, and perhaps premature, so I’ll move on to a review that seeps with disappointment. Don’t mistake me, though: Kubo‘s a good movie. But at the end of the day, it is just Laika taking a step sideways rather than a step forward. Allow me to explain.

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Kubo finds two unconventional friends in a samurai beetle and kung fu monkey

(hit the JUMP to get that explanation I promised) Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ (2016)”

REVIEW: ‘The Little Prince’ (2016)

Despite some troublesome storytelling, the most recent filmic adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s 1943 novella manages to maintain altitude on the strength of its heart.

Please allow me to begin with a brief, personal anecdote, because if it were not for Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s 1943 novella, The Little Prince, I am not certain I would have the best friend I do today. Thus, my thoughts on the film are colored by my affections and memories of him.

Despite lacking any previous acting experience, I auditioned for a main stage theater production as a college sophomore. Though I did not obtain a part, I received a callback, which was enough to inspire me to audition for a smaller, student-run production. It was then that I met Tim.

Though words can describe anyone, they always fail to properly detail the joy I experience when I’m in Tim’s presence; I have yet to meet someone who lives life more fully than him. His numerable emotions are intense and infinite, but his passion for what he loves remains his most definitive quality. The Little Prince is his favorite book––he loves it so dearly he tattooed the iconic image of the boa constrictor digesting an elephant whole to his breast––and when he came across a theatrical adaptation of the story, he decided to helm his own production.

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“If you please, draw me a sheep.” — The Little Prince

(hit the JUMP to find out how that went) Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘The Little Prince’ (2016)”

REVIEW: ‘Ghostbusters’ (2016)

After months of unfounded online resentment, the most disappointing part of Paul Feig’s reboot is that it’s not nearly good enough to definitively silence the premature and misogynistic haters.

About 15 minutes into the Ghostbusters reboot, Leslie Jones leads Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy and Kate McKinnon through a subway station in order to show them where she discovered a ghost the other day. They come across a graffiti artist, who Jones, an employee at the station, tries to shoo away, but this altercation’s occurred often enough that the tagger can “pretend” not to hear her as he finishes what is eventually revealed to be the iconic Ghostbusters logo. Wiig, McCarthy and McKinnon marvel at it for a moment, but Jones isn’t having it: “That ain’t art!” she exclaims. “Y’all just reinforcing him!” Unfortunately, this line of dialogue perfectly summarized my feelings towards a film that was polarizing before its release, and promises to continue to be so after.

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The ladies aren’t the problem. The man who writes and directs them is.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Ghostbusters’ (2016)”