The best and worst of the summer


Wonder Woman made the most money at the domestic box this summer, but where does it rank among the best movies of the four-month season?

Usually I see more films during the summer, but this season I only got to the theater 11 times (12 if you count seeing Dunkirk twice). This year I more so sat back waiting for word of mouth and critic reviews to weed out most of the crap. I’ve gotta say, I had a pleasant experience this summer, much better than the past two years. Although the blockbusters stretch into March now, even February, the official summer movie season runs from May through August so you won’t see Fate of the Furious in here. Also, if a movie does not appear on this list that had a wide release from May through August, it means I haven’t seen it yet. Not that I don’t want to see it, I just haven’t gotten there. Let’s rank the films of the summer that I’ve seen starting with the worst. Continue reading

Posted in movie reviews, movies | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Atomic Blonde review (Five Minutes in the Film Room transcript)


The transcript for my Atomic Blonde review, which aired Aug. 9 on Episode 78 of The Bridge.

Here is the transcript for my review of Atomic Blonde, which aired Aug. 9 on Episode 78 of The Bridge. As you may know, I teamed up with my good friend, John Lund, to do movie reviews for his sports radio show, The Bridgein a segment called “Five Minutes in the Film Room.” I’m going to put all of my transcripts on this blog about a week after the show airs as a way to archive them in print and, if you missed the show, give you a review of the film. My rating system is sports related to fit with the theme of the show, so you won’t have the traditional star rating. But I’ll always be clear how I felt about the film.

The Bridge is broadcast as a one-hour radio show every Wednesday night at 7 ET on Sports Radio America. After the live broadcast, the show is released as a podcast on iTunes and at on Friday. You can listen to the live show every Wednesday on Sports Radio America here or through the TuneIn app. Continue reading

Posted in Five Minutes in the Film Room, movie reviews, movies | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dunkirk review (Five Minutes in the Film Room transcript)


The transcript for my Dunkirk review, which aired Aug. 2 on Episode 77 of The Bridge.

As you may know at this point, I have a movie-reviewing segment on my good friend John Lund’s sports radio show The Bridge called “Five Minutes in the Film Room.” During college, we spent so much time working together as co-sports editors for the school newspaper, The Aquinas, at the University of Scranton as well as the John and Joe Sports Show on WUSR, we became known as LundandBaress. Even when our professor talked about us to her husband, he thought we were one person named Lundin Baress. So it’s good to team up again five years later. Definitely check out his show. He interviews a lot of great guests. As a Packer fan, my favorite was his chat with the great Jerry Kramer. He also sprinkles in other segments, including my favorite, “Good try, good effort.”

The Bridge is broadcast as a one-hour radio show every Wednesday night at 7 ET on Sports Radio America. After the live broadcast, the show is released as a podcast on iTunes and at on Friday. You can listen to the live show every Wednesday on Sports Radio America here or through the TuneIn app.

I will post these at some point after the show airs (probably around a week later) just to have a place to archive it on the blog. Here is the transcript of my review, which aired Aug. 2 on Episode 77 of The Bridge. Continue reading

Posted in movie reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The art of the one-take action sequence


Charlize Theron as MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton fights off police in Atomic Blonde.

Bad action sequences are easy to spot. They are the scenes filled with quick cuts and shaky cameras, which make it difficult to make out what the fighters are doing. It looks awful so why do directors continuously make the decision to purposely diminish the quality of their movies? Well, sometimes they don’t have a choice. In order to keep the camera still and hold on a shot, an actor has to be able to execute the fight choreography convincingly. Without that, stunt men must fill the void and the director can’t allow us to see that is the case. Other times, the blood or the killing blows have to be hidden to keep a movie at PG-13. But when a director takes a stance and the actors put in the work, the result can make a movie great. Continue reading

Posted in Box Office, movie reviews, movies, oscars | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Top 10 Christopher Nolan films


That awkward moment when you try to take a picture of your Christopher Nolan collection and realize your copy of The Prestige is missing and you have three copies of Batman Begins.

I don’t know what came over me to try to take on this topic. Christopher Nolan is my favorite director, and he hasn’t directed a bad movie. Ten films, all positive. So how do I pit some of my favorite films against each other? I’ll do my best. To make it clear, I’ll judge these films leaning on the quality instead of my favorites. Let’s go to work. Continue reading

Posted in christopher nolan, movies | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

‘To hell with dreams’


La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz holds up the winning card, which shows Moonlight earned best picture, after La La Land had originally been announced as the victor.

Warren Beatty opened the envelope, took a long look at the card and passed it to Faye Dunaway, who said, “La La Land” into the microphone. The frontrunner’s producers, director and cast hugged, celebrating their seventh Oscar of the night, and made their way to the stage. The outcome was no surprise and kind of anti-climatic, as an upset would be the only thing that would make this night memorable. Instead, the Academy Awards followed the script. La La Land won big, but not historically big. Live-tweeting the event, I had my head down feverishly typing La La Land had won best picture. I also got another Tweet out about La La Land’s Oscar total for the evening…then it happened.

“There’s been a mistake,” La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz bellowed into the microphone.

My head sprung up as the rest of my body froze.

Moonlight, you guys won best picture,” Horowitz said. And he called them onto the stage reassuring those who worked on the film that this was not a joke.


La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz, left, goes to hug and hand off the best picture trophy to Moonlight writer/director Barry Jenkins on stage.

Horowitz even held up the winning card, which one of the cameras closed in on so we could all clearly see Moonlight won best picture. The classy Horowitz then waited on stage to hand his golden statue off to the approaching Moonlight crew.

Moonlight director Barry Jenkins took the mic, still in shock, but absolutely overjoyed.

“Even in my dreams this could not be true,” Jenkins said. “But to hell with dreams. I’m done with it, because this is true.”

It was unfortunately a poor choice of words (considering La La Land is about dreams), but Jenkins in no way meant to take a shot at La La Land. He in fact went on to give his love to La La Land.

Beatty and Dunaway don’t deserve blame. They were given the wrong envelope. Horowitz and host Jimmy Kimmel deserve a lot of credit, Horowitz for grabbing control of the situation and displaying great class in a time where he was probably devastated, and Kimmel for making jokes to try to ease the awkwardness.

How did this happen? Well, I think the more important question is did Moonlight deserve the upset victory? Continue reading

Posted in academy awards, movies, oscars, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Nominated for this, but also in that


Eddie Redmayne starred in 2015’s Jupiter Ascending.

Two years ago, Eddie Redmayne earned a nomination for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. Absolutely warranted. He’s a great actor. But no actor has a great performance in every movie. Unfortunately for Redmayne, he lived the nightmare scenario. A critical and box office failure, Jupiter Ascending came out around the same time as his nomination. Redmayne not only starred in the film, but also pulled the movie down with a memorably awful performance.

Leading up to the Academy Awards, many wondered if that performance would weigh on the minds of Oscar voters. As we all know, it didn’t. Redmayne won his first trophy for his breakout role in The Theory of Everything. He also went on to earn another nomination the following year for The Danish Girl, losing to Leonardo DiCaprio for his role in The Revenant. But I’m sure he’ll never want to star in a movie like Jupiter Ascending that coincides with Oscar nominations, because he’s not done bringing home trophies.

The 89th Academy Awards showcases a couple more actors looking for Oscar glory who starred in different movies in 2016 that could help or hurt their chances. Continue reading

Posted in academy awards, movies, oscars | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment