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.
"Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3" (GOTGV3) is awesome on a number of different levels. It's also my favorite Marvel movie at least since "Avengers: End Game," and perhaps of all-time.
James Gunn - recently recruited to relaunch and reimagine the DC Cinematic Universe - completes the GOTG trilogy of films with an action-packed, personal journey, sending this group of ragtag, imperfect characters off into the sunset.
I laughed. I cried. But most of all I had FUN. I couldn't believe how invested I was with this batch of characters, having followed them throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) for 10 years now. I cared. In creating this massive, cosmic, two-and-a-half-hour long epic, James Gunn has somehow told the most personal Marvel story to date, one with consequences and stakes, that didn't just revolve around villains trying to destroy the whole of the universe.
“Full Tilt Boogie” – Castaways must land a win at the reward challenge to earn a night at the sanctuary and letters from home. Then, castaways will need to snake their way toward a win in the immunity challenge, on SURVIVOR, Wednesday, May 3 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+. Pictured (L-R): Lauren Harpe and Carolyn Wiger. Photo: CBS ©2023 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Highest quality screengrab available.
I've been shit-canned by Reality Tea.
Oh well. After 13 years and 24 seasons (!!!) of Survivor coverage, my most recent Survivor employer made the jarring decision to end my coverage of Survivor. I'm not being replaced. They are just not going to cover Survivor effective immediately.
Truth is, there was a LOT of behind-the-scenes drama at Reality Tea, and the writing was on the wall. I was informed just last week that they would no longer be covering Survivor moving forward...but I had been given direct word from the top that they were OK with me finishing out my coverage of Survivor 44...which was set to end anyways with its Finale episode on May 24th.
But alas, after being given this guarantee, they reversed course abruptly. I had submitted my Recap for Episode 10, and then was told via email that it would not be published (but that I'd be compensated for writing it at least).
A big thanks to former Survivor player and now friend, Erik Reichenbach. He has kindly and exclusively shared his Survivor Comic Art on my column and I am forever grateful. He will continue drawing, that's for sure. And I'll continue sharing his work.
Never say never, but I don't intend to cover Survivor in any professional manner moving forward. 24 seasons is a LONG TIME, especially in a niche realm dominated by Dalton Ross (EW), Mike Bloom (Parade) and Gordon Holmes (Xfinity)...all AMAZING Survivor writers for their respective outlets. It was an honor to hang in the same pool as them for all of these years. Covering Survivor was never a job, but a passion. It was and is my favorite TV show of all-time.
But as former Survivor player, Coby Archa, just hilariously pointed out to me on Facebook: I've essentially been voted off the island...a blindside I never saw coming.
Oh, the irony.
After pleading with Reality Tea, they at least had the modicum of decency to return to my written Recap that I had submitted into the void.
Here it is, as it was intended to appear on Reality Tea (forgive the shitty formatting, as I am just not in the mood to reformat it right now).
Survivor 44, Episode 10, my final Survivor Recap. Enjoy, and thanks for all of your support!
I didn't know what I expected when I sat down in the theater to see "Polite Society," but my expectations were exceedingly shattered.
This is a fun, wild, spirited action-comedy romp, with fantasy elements that make comparisons with films like "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" inevitable. First time writer/director Nida Manzoor is a break-out, as are her two leading ladies, Priya Kansara and Ritu Arya, who combine to pack quite the punch in what might be the most surprisingly enjoyable film of 2023.
I'm a sucker for a good coming-of-age story, and "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret" is a great one.
With focus, authenticity and a better-than-expected cast, this is a crowd-pleaser that will withstand the test of time, much like the book that it's based on.
If there was ever a classic Disney animated film in need of an update, it's the 1953 "Peter Pan" movie. It's depiction of Native Americans have made it an uncomfortable watch - at best - and so "Peter Pan & Wendy" is one live-action Disney remake that is probably a good thing.
But this Peter Pan's flight plays it mostly safe and unimaginative. Neverland has never been depicted quite as boring, and a few big casting blunders makes "Peter Pan & Wendy" grow old, quickly.
Real life BFFs Matt Damon and Ben Affleck - counting their new film "Air" - have been in a total of nine films together. Mostly though, people bring up their Oscar-winning "Good Will Hunting" as the definitive Damon/Affleck film, a movie that landed in theaters in 1997, over 25 years ago.
I'm not sure if "Air" will still be lingering this coming Oscar season, but it's definitely another crowd-pleasing gem from Ben Affleck the director, who has shown to be a real force behind the camera even more so than in front of it.
It's hard to believe that there has never been an animated film featuring Mario and his brother Luigi, until now. "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" doesn't have the "coolness" or cutting-edge appeal as, say, "The LEGO Movie" did, and it wasn't quite as fun as the recent "Sonic The Hedgehog" film, but it's a mildly enjoyable, family-friendly adventure that does just enough to make it feel like a success.
The images you may see in the trailer for "Paint," may make you think that Owen Wilson is portraying the legendary, soft-spoken Public Television artist, Bob Ross, whose "The Joy of Painting" captivated people around the world.
But "Paint" is not a biopic, nor does Bob Ross have anything to do with this film. Sure, the look of Wilson's character, the easy-going womanizer, Carl Nargle, may himself have a popular public-access TV show about painting, and he may have taken inspiration from Ross's iconic appearance, but Nargle couldn't be more polar opposite than Ross.
The biggest difference? Ross is a joy to watch. Nargle on the other hand, is a grating, pompous-ass who gets by with his charm and talents. None of which leaves anything for us to root for in this bland, quirky "comedy," that seems to misfire at every opportunity.
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.
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