Posted on

Blade Runner 2049 – The Dope Sheet Movie Review

Release Date:  Oct 6, 2017
Rating:  R
Run Time:  2 hours 43 minutes
After Credit Scene:  NO
IMAX Viewing:  YES
3D Viewing:  NO
Reviewer:  Wayne Demers
The Dope Sheet Score:  9.1 out of 10

A Non-Spoiler Review

Blade Runner 2049:  “A young blade runner’s discovery of a long-buried secret leads him to track down former blade runner Rick Deckard, who’s been missing for thirty years.”  This is the sequel to the 1982 film, Blade Runner.  At the time the original came out, it was not well received but has since come to be a cult classic.  There have been a few revisions to the original (The Directors Cut and The Final Cut), neither change the true narrative of the film.  We now have Blade Runners still working on “retiring” replicants in a world that hasn’t changed much.  Although you don’t need to have seen the original film to enjoy 2049, I highly encourage it because it will offer the viewer a better experience.

What works:  A very strong story that stands on its own without the backstory of the original movie.  Outstanding visual effects.  You are brought right back into the world of Blade Runner and you are never really pulled out of it throughout the film.  The soundtrack feels just like the original.  The IMAX experience is very fitting for the visual and sound effects and I’m certain that the huge scope of this world is enhanced with seeing it in IMAX.  With the advancement of special effects, the world if a far more believable place.  The movie isn’t fixated on the special effects, it really stands by the characters allowing the story to unfold and the effects take a backseat throughout most of the film.  The acting was excellent.  I cannot recall seeing Harrison Ford play a role this well in a very long time.  Ryan Gosling also is excellent although I this role isn’t such a stretch for him emotionally, but you’ll love him none the less.  For this guy, the beautiful women in the film were captivating.  Robin Wright (she just doesn’t age), Ana de Armas (those eyes pull you in) and Sylvia Hoeks (simply beautiful) all are excellent actors and provide outstanding performances.    Each have strong female characters to play and do so very convincingly.  Dave Bautista stretches his acting legs a bit and I believe that this is his best role yet.  Jarod Leto plays such a good villain and truly owns his character, although villain may not be the correct term to describe him.

What doesn’t work:  I worry that those who are not fans of the original or have not seen the original will feel the movie moves too slowly.  There are moments of action, but it is the story that builds up to the final act.  I wanted more screen time for Dave Bautista and Jarod Leto, it could be that some of their footage hit the cutting room floor due to the length of the film, but I enjoyed them so much I wanted more screen time.

Those who review the film have a hard time doing it without giving anything away.  The reason is that the plot may give away too much.  I too want the viewer to go into the theater and enjoy it so I’m only going to say that fans will get answers to questions they have pondered and debated.  Everyone who likes a quality scifi story will get just that.  This if the first time I’ve seen a special IMAX opening intro (you know, that IMAX surround sound promotion we see at the beginning of each movie) that was specific to Blade Runner 2049.  That really had me primed for the movie to begin.

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, I give Blade Runner 2049 a 9.1.  It is worth seeing in IMAX and in any theater.  Be sure to grab a popcorn combo and use the restroom before the movie starts.  You won’t want to leave your seat at any point of the film.

Did you see the film?  Tell us your opinion below.

Posted on

Trailer Snark (October 6, 2017 Theatrical Trailers)

Welcome to Trailer Snark, a weekly column covering trailers for movies that will be released this week with thoughts from our roster of bloggers (Jessica from The Female Perspective, Ken from The Crank File, Jim from The Front Row View, Eric from View from Above, Robert from Cards and Counters, Wayne from The Dope Sheet, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Blade Runner 2049 (Columbia Pictures) – Sci-Fi/Thriller
Rated R for violence, some sexuality, nudity and language
Tag Line: None
Starring: Harrison Ford, Ryan Gosling
Plot: A young blade runner’s discovery of a long-buried secret leads him to track down former blade runner Rick Deckard, who’s been missing for thirty years.
Running Time: 163 minutes

Wayne: This is going to be the #1 film this week. Looks amazing.
Rob F: Just seeing the trailer makes me want to go re-watch the original and be ready for this weekend.
Chris:  Honestly, I barely remember watching the original as a young kid.  I feel a bit sheepish in saying that my enthusiasm to see the sequel is not exactly high. 

My Little Pony: The Movie (Lionsgate) – Animation/Adventure
Rated PG for mild action
Tag Line: Discover a different breed of hero.
Starring: Emily Blunt, Kristen Chenoweth
Plot: A dark force threatens Ponyville, and the Mane 6 embark on an unforgettable journey beyond Equestria where they meet new friends and exciting challenges on a quest to use the magic of friendship to save their home.
Running Time: 99 minutes

Chris: Are they marketing this to the kids, or to the adult kids?  Very curious as to the demographic this one brings in due to the sizeable sub-culture this IP has created.  Not curious enough to grab myself a seat though.
Wayne: Going to pass on this one.
Rob F: Some people with certain screen savers may want to see this. When we saw the trailer for this film at Ninjago, my daughter said “That looks really bad”. Then again, so was Ninjago.

The Mountain Between Us (20th Century Fox) – Adventure/Drama
Rated PG-13 for a scene of sexuality, peril, injury images, and brief strong language
Tag Line: What if your life depended on a stranger?
Starring: Idris Elba, Kate Winslet
Plot: Stranded after a tragic plane crash, two strangers must forge a connection to survive the extreme elements of a remote snow covered mountain. When they realize help is not coming, they embark on a perilous journey across the wilderness.
Running Time: 103 minutes

Rob F: Looks like a cool survival story with two talented actors. I’d rent it for sure.
Chris: These types of films are right up my alley.  And the Gunslinger walked through the mountains….oh wait, wrong movie. Solid leads though, and a nice trailer have my attention.
Wayne: Looks inspiring, but I don’t think this is a movie people have been asking for. Going to pass.

The Florida Project (A24) – Drama
Rated R for language throughout, disturbing behavior, sexual references and some drug material.
Tag Line: Welcome to a magical kingdom.
Starring: Willem Dafoe, Brooklyn Prince
Plot: Set over one summer, the film follows precocious 6-year-old Moonee as she courts mischief and adventure with her ragtag playmates and bonds with her rebellious but caring mother, all while living in the shadows of Disney World.
Running Time: 115 minutes

Wayne: Looks depressing, however I’m going to catch this on Netflix. Looks like a good story.
Rob F: Gorgeous cinematography and what looks to be a meaningful story. Looks solid. Not a big screen film for me, but I’d watch it for sure.
Chris: Something about this trailer really captivated me, and stirred my emotions.  Bravo!

Walking Out (IFC Films) – Adventure/Drama/Mystery
Rated PG-13 for bloody injury images, some thematic elements and brief strong language
Tag Line: Survival runs in the blood.
Starring: Matt Bomer, Josh Wiggins, Bill Pullman
Plot: An urban teenager journeys to Montana to hunt big game with his estranged father. Father and son struggle to connect, until a brutal encounter in the heart of the wilderness changes everything.
Running Time: 95 minutes

Chris: This is the best time of year for film.  Serious movies with real substance.  While totally unlike the last trailer, this one digs down into the bonds of family and relationship.  On top of that, my own Montana experience while incredible was also humbling.  So much wilderness and feeling so small and insignificant.  Makes for an awesome setting!
Wayne: Hmmm. I feel like we’ve seen this story, just not like this. I’ll check it out at some point.  
Rob F: Wow, another one that looks really good! Would absolutely watch this, and maybe even on the big screen.

Tickets Purchased: Two for Blade Runner 2049 (Rob and Wayne) and One for The Florida Project (Chris)

Posted on

Trailer Snark (December 18, 2015 Theatrical Trailers)

Welcome to Trailer Snark, a weekly column covering trailers for movies that will be released this week with thoughts from our roster of bloggers (Jessica from The Female Perspective, Ken from The Crank File, Jim from The Front Row View, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Last Week: I am not sure anyone really cares that the Hunger Games won last week’s box office.  I mean, a solid month in the top spot is an impressive feat, but Mockingjay Part Two will undoubtedly be overshadowed and their achievements long forgotten as the new JJ Abrams led Star Wars franchise lifts off this week.  In fact, I think advance tickets sales we almost half of the latest Hunger Games’ $244 domestic overall haul.  It’s hard to imagine The Force Awakens not surpassing $250M domestic before we ring in the New Year.  I confess that I am disappointed that Ron Howard’s latest movie, In the Heart of the Sea could only muster an $11M opening in second place this past week as a debut.  The rest of the list remains much the same as previous week’s, and overall box office sales were weak.  I guess all of that cash went to the Star Wars advanced sales.  So, let’s now waste any more time and move on to this week’s pictures…….as if you have not seen this first trailer…..

Star Wars Episode VII:  The Force Awakens (Disney) – Sci-Fi/Action
Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence
Tag Line:  Coming to your galaxy this winter.
Starring: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fischer, Mark Hamill
Plot: Three decades after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, a new threat arises. The First Order attempts to rule the galaxy and only a rag-tag group of heroes can stop them, along with the help of the Resistance.
Running Time: 135 minutes

Chris: I mean, really.  Is anyone not seeing this film?  JJ Abrams rescues another sci-fi franchise.  Pure gold.
Jessica: All my eyes can see is STAR FREAKIN WARS!!!!!!! Cannot wait to check this out.
Rob: Peace is a lie, there is only passion. Through passion, I gain strength. Through strength, I gain power. Through power, I gain victory. Through victory, my chains are broken. The Force shall free me.FINALLY!  IT’S HERE!!!!  I will watch no other trailer.  I will see this film multiple times.  I can’t FREAKING wait!!!
Jim: Gee, never heard of it. Their Marketing department must be asleep.
Ken: ???

Alvin & the Chipmunks:  The Road Chip (Fox 2000) – Family
Rated PG for some mild rude humor
Tag Line:  Fast and Furry-ous
Starring:  Jason Lee, Kaley Cuoco, Bella Thorn, Anna Faris, Justin Long, and Christina Applegate
Plot: Through a series of misunderstandings, Alvin, Simon and Theodore come to believe that Dave is going to propose to his new girlfriend in Miami…and dump them. They have three days to get to him and stop the proposal, saving themselves not only from losing Dave but possibly from gaining a terrible stepbrother.
Running Time: 116 minutes

Jessica: Chipmunks must die.
Jim: I watch the trailer while shaking my head and thinking “Pure Evil.” I am truly happy that my daughter has never shown the slightest interest in seeing one of these movies.
Ken: Suuuuper cuuute. And formulaic.
Chris: Never liked them (even as a kid).  I haven’t seen the other two live action movies, and this one won’t break that streak.

Sisters (Universal) – Comedy
Rated R for crude sexual content and language throughout, and for drug use
Tag Line: Big sisters don’t always know best.
Starring:  Tina Fey, Amy Poehler
Plot: Two sisters decide to throw one last house party before their parents sell their family home.
Running Time: 118 minutes

Jim: I like Amy and Tina, but this just looks desperate.
Ken: I love Poehler and Fey.  One of the great comedy duos of all time, right up there with Spade and Farley.  Trailer was kinda meh, story seems derivative, but I’ll give it a watch sometime.
Chris: Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are not my favorite comedic actors, but the trailer did have me laughing at some very awkward scenes.  I’ll definitely catch it on the small screen.
Jessica: I’m sure it’s funny, those ladies are hilarious but that’s an at home view for sure.

Extraction (Lionsgate) – Thriller
Rated R for violence, language throughout and brief sexual content/nudity
Tag Line: Vengeance runs in the family.
Starring: Bruce Willis, Kellan Lutz, Gina Carano
Plot: A former CIA operative is kidnapped by a group of terrorists. When his son learns there is no plan for his father to be saved, he launches his own rescue operation.
Running Time: 113 minutes

Jessica: I do like a mindless action flick but I don’t know about this one…probably will catch it years from now for free on TV.
Ken: It’s good to see that Bruce Willis is still getting movie roles playing Bruce Willis.
Jim: I like Bruce Willis, but I’ve seen this movie too many times before. Might be worth a rental for Gina Carano (I liked Haywire).
Chris: I thought Bruce Willis said two or three years ago he was done making mindless action films.  His star is fading for sure, so he is probably happy he didn’t go direct to DVD/Streaming with this release.

Tickets Purchased:  Five tickets for….do I even have to say it?

Will Han Solo live to tell the tale?  Millions of Facebookers forbid you to disclose this information!
Will Han Solo live to tell the tale? Millions of Facebookers forbid you to disclose this information!
Posted on

The Front Row View: American Graffiti

The Front Row View is a regular column by Great Stories contributor Jim Cannizzaro.  He is a veteran community theater leading man, seasoned blogger, movie enthusiast, and family man.

americangraffiti

The best end-of-summer movie IMHO is George Lucas’ 1973 American Graffiti. I first saw this on a reissue and thought it was the best movie that I had ever seen in my 13 years of existence. It’s great cast made up of many soon-to-be stars (Richard Dreyfuss, “Ronny” Howard, Cindy Williams, Mackenzie Phillips, Harrison Ford, Charles Martin Smith, Suzanne Sommers, Kathleen Quinlan), it’s neon jukebox look, arguably the best rock ‘n roll soundtrack of all time—pretty amazing stuff for someone who was a few years away from getting his driver’s license. 37 years after seeing it (yikes), it still remains a favorite!

-Jim