The "Fast & The Furious" franchise is really its own thing by this point. If you love these movies, then they can't do much wrong (even if Part 9 tried very hard to do so). With "Fast X" we are now 10 movies in, with over 6 BILLION dollars made worldwide since that first film back in 2001.
The good news is that this latest chapter is leaps and bounds better than the dismal, franchise-worst "F9" (read my review of that film here). But the franchise itself is showing more than just signs of wear-and-tear. It's getting time to pull this one into the junkyard.
As far as "Fast & The Furious" movies go, "Fast X" is exactly what you would want it to be, and I'd rank it in the upper echelon of films in this saga. The main issue is not the laughable, implausible action sequences. Nor is it the bad acting or cheesy dialogue that consistently waxes poetic about the virtues of "family." No, the big problem is how repetitive these movies have become. They have their own formula, and at this point that formula has been run into the ground.
To put it in racing terms, it may be exciting to watch the Daytona 500, with its 500 laps around the track. Watching "Fast X," it feels like we're on lap 5000, and the exhilaration we felt from the earlier laps has all but dissipated.
It's hard to know or measure the success of a streaming-only movie, especially because sites like Netflix rarely, if ever, divulge much information about them. We do know though, that Adam Sandler has had a multi-picture deal with Netflix, and from that deal came 2019's "Murder Mystery." It was the rare film, in that critics and audiences agreed that it sucked (it boasts a 44% approval score from RottenTomatoes critics and audiences).
But in today's day and age, success can come in many different forms, and the powers-that-be decided to green-light a sequel. The innovatively-titled "Murder Mystery 2" is now streaming, despite nobody asking for it to exist.
Is Sandler out of ideas when it comes to comedies? Surely he could have came with an original idea to fulfill his promise to Netflix, instead of trying to squeeze life out of an existing, lifeless movie. But here we are.
A stellar achievement both in storytelling and in acting, "A Thousand and One" lands as one of the year's best films, and one that will linger with you well beyond the ending credits.
Loretta McLaughlin (Keira Knightley) was working the Lifestyles desk at the Boston Record American when she became the first reporter to connect a series of strangulation deaths that had been occurring in and around the city. Along with fellow female journalist, Jean Cole (Carrie Coon), the two battled against the inherent sexism of the early 1960s, and helped bring down the serial killer, Albert DeSalvo (David Dastmalchian), through their terrific, patient reporting.
This all seems ripe for a great thriller, so why does "Boston Strangler" end up feeling so bland?
"If you're going to steal, steal a lot."
That's the under-riding premise of "Sharper," a slow-burning thriller about con artists conning other con artists, where nothing - and no one - is ever quite is it seems.
Despite the movie leaving me with a feeling that it should have been more effective given the talented cast, "Sharper" still was an enjoyable if not infallible mystery.
If you liked 2019's "Knives Out," then there is no reason why you won't love "Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery." If there was ever a movie worth checking out in theaters instead of at home on streaming, this is it ("Glass Onion" is in theaters only for one week before being made available to stream on Netflix on December 23rd).
"The Good Nurse" is based on a true story, about a series of mysterious patient deaths that were all linked back to one particular person.
The story is actually a frightening and intriguing one. But as given to us in "The Good Nurse," this is a clumsy, poorly-written (and at times, poorly-acted) mess of a so-called "thriller."
Director Joseph Kosinski is flying high in Hollywood right now, with the much-needed, record-breaking success of his film "Top Gun: Maverick" now on his resumé. His follow-up film, "Spiderhead" (streaming on Netflix on 6/17) will likely be overlooked, as it should, when studios consider him for future projects, as it seems there was no energy left to give to this mildly clever, but mostly banal, dud of a film following how much he was able to pack in to "Top Gun: Maverick."
The pandemic had much more of an impact on the movie industry than just at the box office. You can sort of tell the kind of film that was made during lockdown: Small, character-driven dramas or thrillers that utilize very few locations and minimal casts.
This weekend there is an example of how to accomplish this effectively (see "The Outfit"), and how difficult it can be. With "Windfall" (on Netflix Friday 3/18), we're happy that the cast and crew got out there and made a movie, but the result is a banal so-called "thriller" that's so minimal you'll nearly forget it's even there.
Mark Rylance is a national treasure. He delivers an astounding performance as a tailor - no a "cutter" - in the surprisingly effective gangster drama, "The Outfit." It's a clever play on words representing not only the main character's profession, but the slang descriptive title of the underground, organized crime syndicate that formed all over America in the mid-20th century.
It features a great ensemble, led by Rylance, and is easily one of the best films of the year thus far, even if its third act prevents it from achieving greatness.
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