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The Foreigner – The Dope Sheet Movie Review

Release Date:  October 13, 2017
Rating:  R
Run Time:  1 hour 54 min
After Credit Scene:  NO
IMAX Viewing:  NO
3D Viewing:  NO
Reviewer:  Wayne Demers
The Dope Sheet Score:  7.7 out of 10

A non-spoiler review.

“A humble businessman with a buried past seeks justice when his daughter is killed in an act of terrorism.  A cat-and-mouse conflict ensues with a government official, whose past may hold clues to the killers’ identities.”

What works:  Finally a Jackie Chan movie that allows him to act, truly act (ok, he isn’t going to get any acting award nominations), without any comedic moments between moments of action.  He may be older, but the man still has the action scenes down.  Pierce Brosnan plays a government official with ties to the IRA and is caught in the middle of law officials and a mourning father whom want information.  You get solid performances from both and there is plenty of action for everyone to appreciate.  If Rambo and Jason Bourne were to run into Jackie Chan, I feel like they all would have their hands full.

What doesn’t work:  The supporting cast, specifically the terrorists, feel very empty and the acting takes a hit.  I’m always wondering where all these people always seem to have martial arts training.  Jackie Chan’s character always seems to have a way out and we’re supposed to just fill in the blanks that he gets away and moves on.  There is a romance in the film that just doesn’t seem to fit and honestly, we could have done without that entire subplot. 

All in all, I enjoyed the film.  I enjoyed it most because this is not your stereotypical Chan movie because the story is a bit more grounded and Jackie gets a chance to act.  Yes, we get some of the martial arts flavor that we see in many of his movies, but it is toned down and fits well into the story.  Let’s hope we can see Jackie in more serious movie roles that don’t focus on what he is mostly known for, antic ridden martial arts fighting.

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, I give The Foreigner a 7.7.  Grab some concessions and enjoy some action, Rambo style.

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

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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.

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American Made – The Dope Sheet Movie Review

Release Date:  Sept 29, 2017
Rating:  R
Run Time:  1 hour 55 minutes
After Credit Scene:  NO
IMAX Viewing:  NO
3D Viewing:  NO
Reviewer:  Wayne Demers
The Dope Sheet Score:  8.0 out of 10

A Non-Spoiler Review

American Made:  “A pilot lands work for the CIA and as a drug runner in the south during the 1980s.”  The movie is based on a true story, one that is amazing to see unfold.

What works:  A strong cast.  The feel of the 80’s is well done with plenty of pop culture references.  Those who have seen the Netflix show “Narcos” will enjoy this movie.  It tells a side of the narcotics/gun running story not covered in depth in the tv series.  The acting is well done and I really enjoyed Tom Cruise’s performance.  Let’s face it, Cruise in a plane (or jet) is his comfort zone (pun intended).  You pull for every one of the characters knowing that someone is going to lose.

What doesn’t work:  There isn’t anything I didn’t care for in the film.  Very entertaining.

The movie sticks to its main characters and doesn’t get sidetracked with other subplots.  Government illegal actions and the tension and action of being a CIA agent (or not) keeps the viewer engaged.  Without giving away the ending, it was well done.

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, I give American Made an 8.0.  It is worth seeing in the theater and a popcorn combo.  If you haven’t watched Narcos on Netflix, give it a watch.

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

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Kingsman: The Golden Circle – A Dope Sheet Movie Review

Release Date:  Sept 22, 2017
Rating:  R
Run Time:  2 hour 21 minutes
After Credit Scene:  NO
IMAX Viewing:  NO
3D Viewing:  NO
Reviewer:  Wayne Demers
The Dope Sheet Score:  7.8 out of 10

A Non-Spoiler Review

Kingsman:  The Golden Circle –  “When their headquarters are destroyed and the world is held hostage, the Kingsman’s journey leads them to the discovery of an allied spy organization in the US. These two elite secret organizations must band together to defeat a common enemy.”  What do you get when you cross James Bond and Richie Rich?  You get the Kingsman.

What works:  A very good cast.  The movie jumps right into the action and keeps moving at a decent pace.  This has the feel of a 007 film with the attractive woman and the classy dressed men drinking martini’s.  I think many will agree, this is a sexy movie that gives you some humor and action wrapped up with some laughable moments.  The movie is rated R for language, adult situations, and violence which actually make the movie a bit more enjoyable for the adult.

What doesn’t work:  The movie feels a tad long, but it did need some time to wrap things up.  Our evil villain feels more like a character out of a Austin Powers movie, but it offers some laughs.

Overall, I enjoyed Kingsman 2 more than the original.  It is definitely entertaining with its tongue and cheek approach to the 007 spy genre.  If you don’t take the movie seriously and just go with the flow (which I think was my issue with the first film), you’ll enjoy this movie.

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, I give Kingman: The Golden Circle a 7.8.  It is worth seeing in the theater and a popcorn combo.  This is movie theater fun done right.

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

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Mother! – The Dope Sheet Movie Review

Release Date:  September 15, 2017
Rating:  R
Run Time:  2 hours 1 min
After Credit Scene:  NO
IMAX Viewing:  NO
3D Viewing:  NO
Reviewer:  Wayne Demers
The Dope Sheet Score:  2 out of 10

A spoiler review.

A couple’s relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence.”

What you need to know about Mother!:  Don’t go see this.  Honestly, save your money.

What works:  What an amazing cast they have lined up for this film.  All give excellent performances, but they cannot save this film.  Because I have so much respect for all the actors, I’m not going to list them.  Why?  Keep reading.

What doesn’t work:  Everything.  The film had hope as it felt like it was going to be in the style of a Hitchcock film, but it goes way, way out there.  The main character played by Jennifer Lawrence walks around that house always looking for someone.  Honest to God, STOP!  You want to SCREAM at her to stand up for herself and punch someone in the face because no one listens to her.  If you have OCD, don’t watch this movie because it is going to drive you through the roof.  Way too much shaky cam going on, you can’t always see what’s happening.  Fifteen minutes into the film I was wondering where the heck is this story headed and can you PLEASE give me something to interest me.  Nope.  Score to the film, can’t say it played a role at all.  I honestly can’t remember any music until the credits rolled.  The story goes so far into left field that I wanted to leave, but I stayed for all of you who are reading this.  The final act is so obscure and so full of symbolism that it was hurting my head.  My head may have hurt too because the volume was nearly doubled for the entire third act.  I’ve been to movies where the screen transitions to completely white once, this film does it three times.  Who cares?  It pulls you out of the film because you need your eyes to adjust again.  SPOILER!!!   At one point a baby is eaten and the entire scene was disturbing.  Folks, there is nothing good about this film.

I didn’t find anything horrific about the film which is filled with empty drama and the big mystery is who the heck cares about the ending.  Really.  The ending is supposed to be this big reveal and all I could think of was the quickest way out of the theater.  This is the worst movie I’ve seen in a very long time.

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, I give Mother! a 2.  Do not buy a ticket for this film.  Do not wait to rent it.  A shame with all the talent that was in the film that Mother! doesn’t deliver on any level.

Did you see the film?  If you did, I’m sorry, but do tell us your opinion below.

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IT – The Dope Sheet Movie Review

Release Date:  September 8, 2017
Rating:  R
Run Time:  2 hours 15 min
After Credit Scene:  NO
IMAX Viewing:  NO
3D Viewing:  NO
Reviewer:  Wayne Demers
The Dope Sheet Score:  8.9 out of 10

A non-spoiler review.

A group of bullied kids band together when a shapeshifting demon, taking the appearance of a clown (Pennywise), begins hunting children.”

What you need to know about IT:  The movie is based on a novel by Stephen King.  The first adaptation was a made for TV movie series in the 1980’s.  This movie, unlike the TV series, tells the story in linier timeline starting when they were kids.  The story is set in Maine, like many of King’s work, during the 1980’s.

What works:  This young cast can act and act well.  They are able to pull off the comradery that neighborhood kids have.  Although I have not read the book, I’ve been told that this movie is adapted very closely to how King originally penned the story, therefore those who have read the book also enjoyed the film.  I didn’t find the movie to be scary, but those around me were certainly on the edge of their seats as there is usually a buildup of suspense whenever Pennywise is present.  Surprisingly, this movie is loaded with comedic moments that will surely make you laugh far more than one would expect in a horror film.  A standout performance was given by Finn Wolfhard who you may recognize from the Netflix series, “Stranger Things”, and Bill Skarsgard who was also in this year’s film, “Atomic Blonde.”  The make-up and special effects were great, Pennywise looks amazing!

What doesn’t work:  There isn’t anything that stands out to me that I did not like.  Some websites will tell you that there is an after-credit scene.  To save you the time of sitting there waiting for the moment — ALERT, SPOILER – the title pops up and you hear Pennywise laugh.  You won’t miss a thing if you don’t stay for that laugh.

For a horror film, which I’m not always a fan of the genre, this movie is fantastic!  It captures the feeling of a Stephen Spielberg film and that 80’s vibe is spot on.  The acting was excellent and the dialog was superb.  Honestly, I had no idea the movie would have so many laughable moments.  But alas, if you don’t like clowns or have a fear of clowns then you will really have an issue with the film.  Stephen King doesn’t have the best track record for film adaptations of his books.  We don’t have to look too far back to “Dark Tower” to understand what I’m talking about, but this movie is done very well.  Although my viewing was not in IMAX, I’m told that the movie is more intense in that format.

Be sure to check this movie out at your local theater.

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, I give IT an 8.9.  Grab some concessions and enjoy a funny and frightful movie.

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

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Birth of the Dragon – The Dope Sheet Movie Review

Release Date:  Aug. 25, 2017
Rating:  PG-13
Run Time:  1 hour 43 min
After Credit Scene:  NO
IMAX Viewing:  NO
3D Viewing:  NO
Reviewer:  Wayne Demers
The Dope Sheet Score:  7.7 out of 10

A non-spoiler review.

“Set against the backdrop of 1960s San Francisco, BIRTH OF THE DRAGON is a modern take on the classic movies that Bruce Lee was known for. It takes its inspiration from the epic and still controversial showdown between an up-and-coming Bruce Lee and kung fu master Wong Jack Man – a battle that gave birth to a legend.

What you need to know about Birth of the Dragon:  The movie is based on actual events, but after doing some research, it is unclear how much embellishment Hollywood has done on this story.  Accounts by friends of Lee and friends of Man differ greatly and the narrative of their relationship also differs depending on which camp you speak with.  As near as I can tell, the movie is based on a fight had between the Lee and Man, little of the story told in this movie is true.

What works:  Philip Ng plays the role of Bruce Lee.  Not only does Philip share a likeness to Lee, his fighting style is also very believable to that of Lee.  Yu Xia plays Wong Jack Man, a Shaolin Monk who comes to the US and eventually fights Bruce Lee.  He provides the best performance of the film in both acting and martial arts.  The moments when there is fighting are very well choreographed and very entertaining.  I enjoyed the backdrop of the film and the way in which the story was told.

What doesn’t work:  I did not care for how Bruce Lee was portrayed in the film.  It is as if the director viewed one of Lee’s movies and gave him that persona.  With Lee pointing at people frequently and coming across as brash, cocky, and paranoid I’ve not seen this depiction of Bruce Lee in any biography or documentary done prior to this film.  Billy Magnussen is cast as Steve McKee, a student of Lee and one who acts as a go-between of Lee and Man.  I felt his performance was weak and at times annoying.  His story wasn’t developed enough or in a way to care of his characters outcome.  As I mentioned before, learning of interaction of Lee and Man, I was disappointed that the movie is “based” on true events but much of this story has been Hollywoodized (is that a word?).

Despite what I believe does not work, this movie is very entertaining.  Those who like martial arts and action movies will most likely enjoy this movie.  Bruce Lee is an icon whose story is bound to be told over again for generations to come.  Along the way, I hope Hollywood’s interpretation of who he was doesn’t repaint Lee as a person that he was not.

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, I give Birth of the Dragon a 7.7.  Grab some concessions and enjoy some great action.

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

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Logan Lucky – The Dope Sheet Movie Review

Release Date:  Aug. 18, 2017
Rating:  PG-13
Run Time:  1 hour 59 min
After Credit Scene:  NO
IMAX Viewing:  NO
3D Viewing:  NO
Reviewer:  Wayne Demers
The Dope Sheet Score:  4 out of 10

A non-spoiler review.

What you need to know about Logan Lucky:  Nearly every funny scene is shown in the credits.  What isn’t shown in the credits isn’t funny enough to have to go see the film.

The story here is that two brothers form a team of rag tag thieves to pull off a heist at a NASCAR event.  That is it, nothing else really left to say for the plot.

What works:  Excellent casting.  Channing Tatum, Katie Holmes, Adam Driver, Seth MacFarlane, Daniel Craig and Hilary Swank are all sound actors that give you what they can out of this script.  New comer Riley Keough also provides a sound performance.  NASCAR fans can also look for a few cameo appearances from more popular drivers.  Daniel Craig as a comedic actor?  I would have loved to see him with more laughable moments, he was great.

What doesn’t work:  Someone forgot to tell the writer that this is a comedy.  Honestly, nearly every funny moment appeared in the trailer for the film.  How disappointing is it when a film bills itself as a comedy and doesn’t deliver?  Seth MacFarlane is usually very funny, but his character tries to deliver some comic relief but I could not find anything to laugh about, the character offers little to nothing to the story.  Poor Hilary Swank, an Oscar award winner who is drastically underutilized and a wasted talent in this film.

The director, Steven Soderbergh, is also known for his Ocean 11, 12, 13 movies.  When you get right down to it, this film has the same heist formula and maybe it would have worked had it been billed more as a drama than a comedy.  Feels like I got the ole bait and switch pulled on me.

One point of interest, actor Riley Keough may look familiar.  She has been in recent films such as Mad Max: Fury Road and It Comes At Night.  She is the daughter of Lisa-Marie Presley, making her the granddaughter of Elvis and Prascilla Presley.

Not even a Shelby Mustang that makes an appearance could get me excited enough to enjoy the film.  Do you know when you pour yourself a glass of milk but accidentally drink a glass of juice and that immediate confusion your mind has?  Ya, this movie is like that.

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, I give Logan Lucky a 4.  Not even close to being worth concessions.

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

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Batman and Harley Quinn – The Dope Sheet Movie Review

Release Date:  Aug. 14, 2017
Rating:  PG-13
Run Time:  1 hour 14 min
After Credit Scene:  YES
IMAX Viewing:  NO
3D Viewing:  NO
Reviewer:  Wayne Demers
The Dope Sheet Score:  7.5 out of 10

A non-spoiler review.

What you need to know about Batman and Harley Quinn:  This is a straight to DVD animated DC movie.  The artwork is done in the style of Batman the Animated Series (BTAS) with Kevin Conroy returning as the voice of Batman, Loren Lester returning as the voice of Nightwing, and Melissa Rauch (Big Bang Theory) as the voice of Harley Quinn. 

The movie, although a straight to DVD release had a one night/one showing release.  I find it entertaining to see these types of movies on the big screen.  The movie will be available digitally on August 15, 2017, and on DVD/Blu-ray on Aug. 29, 2017.

Batman and Nightwing are forced to team with the Joker’s sometimes-girlfriend Harley Quinn to stop a global threat brought about by Poison Ivy and Jason Woodrue, the Floronic Man.”

What works:  There are a few easter eggs in the movie.  I was pretty geeky when I recognized where some of the restaurant décor originally came from.  I also enjoyed the many references to past Batman works.  Kevin Conroy will go down as THE voice of Batman and Bruce Wayne.  The return of Loren Lester as the voice of Nightwing was great.  There are many comedic moments in the film which I honestly laughed out loud; a rarity for me.  The story is new and not based on a novel and at times, the score is great.

What doesn’t work:  A few different styles used in the soundtrack.  Although the music is a nod to past Batman shows, I couldn’t get grounded in the type of story I was watching.  There is some swearing in the film which isn’t an issue for me, but parents may balk when watching with their kids.  But if the language isn’t an issue, the sexual overtones may push them over the edge.  It isn’t a simple hint that there is an attraction between Harley and another character, it is stated outright.  I guess that as the creators of these movies get older, they are making these films for those of us who grew up with the series and know who their audience is and are pushing the mature topic of our hero/villain sexuality.  Last but not least, the ending was abrupt leaving the viewer unrewarded.  Although there is an in-credit scene and after credit scene, the way the film wraps up was disappointing.

Although I have a lengthy list of things I didn’t feel worked, I did have fun with the film and getting me to laugh out loud is a feat.  I’ll also say that I enjoyed Melissa Rauch as Harley Quinn.  I didn’t think I would like her, but she did a great job.  Still, Arleen Sorkin will always be my favorite Harley Quinn.  It isn’t a perfect story, I enjoyed being in that world again and I hope Bruce Timm and Paul Dini take us back many more times.

Can’t get enough of Harley Quinn?  Stop down to your local comic shop and pick up her own comic series.  Great Stories in Uxbridge, MA, has some in stock and can get you nearly anything you are looking for.

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, I give Batman and Harley Quinn a 7.5.  No concessions needed because you are at home watching this one.  Make it a TV dinner!

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

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The Dark Tower – The Dope Sheet Movie Review

Release Date:  Aug. 4, 2017
Rating:  PG-13
Run Time:  1 hours 35 min
After Credit Scene:  NO
IMAX Viewing:  NO
3D Viewing:  NO
Reviewer:  Wayne Demers
The Dope Sheet Score:  5.8 out of 10

A non-spoiler review.

What you need to know about The Dark Tower:  The movie is based a series of books by Steven King.  Although I have not read the books, I am aware that they are very lengthy reads and there is a lot of material to draw from to develop a story for the big screen.

The last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain, has been locked in an eternal battle with Walter O’Dim, also known as the Man in Black, determined to prevent him from toppling the Dark Tower, which holds the universe together. With the fate of the worlds at stake, good and evil will collide in the ultimate battle as only Roland can defend the Tower from the Man in Black.”

What works:  Very little.  Idris Elba plays the “Roland,” the gun slinger.  His character is the only character that was developed enough that I cared about his journey.  Those who like Steven King will be happy with the hidden eggs that pop up in the background of the film.  If you aren’t familiar with King’s work, you won’t care if you miss them.  Yup, that is it.  Kudos to the advertising team that created the posters and trailers.  They did their jobs of getting my interest and seeing the film.

What doesn’t work:  Every character, other than Roland, lacks enough substance that we just don’t really care about them.  Not the mother, step dad, Jake the hero of the film, or any other character has enough known about them that we care.  The movie felt like a B film from the 80’s with its brushing through the story to move to the action or conflict scenes.  This is one of Matthew McConaughey’s most lack luster performances and I can only attribute it to the lack of material he had to work with.

Not that Steven King films do well, but this one had a lot of hope as the books are lengthy and well-liked by his fans.  This movie, however, appears to have brushed upon the characters like a checklist to ensure they touched on them.  Those who have read the books, I’d like to hear from you because the film continues to put you in one situation and then another and then another without providing the viewer enough time to get a feeling of what the significance is of each location.

By the end of the film, I felt relieved it was over and honestly didn’t care one bit about anything that had happened.  There were opportunities for the movie to rise to the occasion and entertain us, but it couldn’t get its feet under itself to make the leap.

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, I give The Dark Tower an 5.8.  The movie isn’t worth concessions.