Dunkirk #review

The story of Dunkirk from World War 2 deals with heroism. It examines the brave and selfless acts of the citizens who were called to aide the British Navy with a rescue mission of over 200,000 soldiers who were stranded (and surrounded) on the beach of Dunkirk. As the German forces continued their assault on the soldiers from both land and sky, the military men did the best they could to survive long to be extracted. So, does “Dunkirk” the movie deliver on the dramatic and horrifying realties of war or should it be washed out to sea? Let’s dive in and take a look…

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Christopher Nolan directed this film and to my surprise it’s under two hours long. The official run time for this movie clocks in at 1 hour and 46 minutes. I can honestly say that under two hours is perfect. The story begins with soldiers walking through a deserted street (as seen in the trailers) and then gun fire starts and the intensity builds from there. The manner in which the story is told was a bit confusing at first as it jumps around in time. However, about 15 minutes it everything made sense and it was easy to figure out where in the timeline we were as the multiple stories eventually tie together. That aside, this movie will keep you on the edge of your seat, from start to finish. The opening scene in “Saving Private Ryan” is intense. This movie is similar to that opening. The entire story is similar to that introduction. There are brief moments that allow you to exhale a sigh of relief but it’s back to edge of your seat and tension mounts and the stress builds almost immediately. This is the most enjoyable stress you will have in theaters this year.

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I will say that my only real negative critique on this film is character development. We don’t really get a sense for the characters but that’s ok in this particular instance. The point, I feel, is to experience survival and heroism. This isn’t a film about individuals. We get to examine the cost of war. We examine what it means to be brave, to fulfill duty, to be there when called on and to survive. If time was spent on getting us to understand or care for characters who were most likely going to die, the movie would’ve been much longer. This is direct and to the point. Christopher Nolan does a great job at getting the actors to understand their motivations so that we don’t need it explained to us. We get to see it, first hand. In short, the cost of war is great and we are given a front row seat in which to view it. As events unfold, as characters survive or die, as normal individuals become hero’s and hero’s need saving, you will be on the very edge of your seat for it all.

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Dunkirk” is in theaters now! I recommend you see this on IMAX. Spend the extra bucks and get to IMAX. If you don’t have an IMAX screen near you, get to the largest screen possible. The wide open shots in this movie show incredible landscapes and oceans. There are close ups on characters but there’s also scenes where the camera is so far back you get a real sense of how small the airplanes are that are engaged in combat above the water. This movie looks incredible. The story is fantastic. The characters, while we don’t really get to know them, are all wonderful in the parts they are playing. If I can recommend anything beyond simply seeing this movie it’s make sure to get a bucket of popcorn. This is definitely a “shove popcorn into your mouth while never taking your eyes off the screen as you sit at the edge of your seat” type of film. I loved my time in the theater with this story and the characters. “Dunkirk” has knocked “Baby Driver” from #1 to #2 for my Top 10 films this year. Go see this film in IMAX (or whatever your largest screen is). Go now!

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Valerian and the City of Thousand Planets #review

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This story is based on a popular graphic novel that I have not read. So, I walked into the theater knowing little to nothing about the story, the characters or the worlds those characters inhabit. All I knew was that the movie was being advertised as the 3D film to see. The basic premise is that a growing threat needs to be stopped and two special agents are tasked with completing the mission and saving the galaxy. So, does “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” manage to conquer the day or is it doomed for disaster? Let’s dive in…

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Luc Besson is known for making visually stunning films. As a fan of his previous films I was excited to see this in theaters. The marketing campaign said it was 3D event so I did end up seeing this film in 3D even though I am opposed to such nonsense. The marketing team was correct. This movie looks spectacular in 3D. The vibrant colors mixed with bizarre creatures inhabiting new worlds are all eye candy. Everything about how this movie looks is phenomenal. I walked out of the theater completely mesmerized. The visuals in “Valerian” are fantastic. If you are a fan of look over dialogue this is your movie.

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The story was equally entertaining however the dialogue is terrible. The writers did well enough to create a worthwhile tale but then seemingly decided to apply minimal effort with how everyone communicated. The dialogue felt almost like this movie is geared for young adults and teenagers. It’s quite bad. In all truth, had the dialogue been adjusted to something more conversational to how people actually sound, this movie would have probably crushed this weekend in theaters. Sadly, it won’t and I feel the main reason for that is the poor writing. Again, writing for dialogue not story. Two different things but equally important to note.

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The characters in this film were entertaining. While I did feel that Cara Delevingne was directed to act more 2 dimensional, to showcase thought over emotion, I could’ve used more believability in her thoughtfulness. Spock (from Star Trek) is a thought filled character but he is a character of depth. I feel we were also missing that here with her character. The three information sellers were a highlight of the film for me. I wasn’t sure what to expect when they first appeared but they won me over immediately. I enjoyed their characters very much. There’s plenty of characters, monsters and aliens in this film and at times it deals with some dark, adult themes, but overall it was enjoyable. Plus, for some reason, Rihanna has a random burlesque dance number that showcases her hotness, which was fine. I understand the point of her character and the pivotal role she plays in the overall story. I was just confused, albeit pleasantly confused, by the reason for the sexy dance number.

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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” is in theaters now! I recommend you see this movie if you enjoy visual spectacle films. The world building in this movie and the myriad characters inhabiting the worlds are equally fantastic. I continue to support Besson’s visual style and this film did not disappoint. Plus, the movie starts off with a David Bowie song which is nice. If your favorite time of year is Oscar season for complex films about humanity and the human experience, skip “Valerian.” You won’t get much from the characters. This movie is all visual and that’s ok. Variety is the spice of life and this film provides some spice. Check it out!

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Despicable Me 3 #review

The trilogy began with Gru being a villain and now in this newest installment we see that he’s a good guy who is actively working to stop crime on a global scale. However, things do not always go as planned and we discover that he has a brother and his family has been in the business of crime for generations. Set in modern time, he’s faced with a villain who is reliving the 1980’s and enjoying as much bubble gum as possible. So, does “Despicable Me 3” live up to the fun of previous films or should we lock this franchise up and throw away the key? Let’s dive in and take a look…

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This is a movie made for children. That may seem obvious being that it’s a cartoon, however, some family movies are designed for both children and their parents who will have to sit through the film with them. This was a kid specific movie. I found myself bored with the story and the characters to the point of wanting to nap in the theater. The story is predictable and the jokes almost seem mapped out. What I mean by that is you could tell the joke was about to happen and you probably knew what the joke would be. I was not impressed with this movie but I will say that it was better than “Minions.”

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The antagonist of the film is a child star from the 1980’s who had a key signature line “I’ve been a bad boy.” His career ends abruptly once he hits puberty because he’s no longer adorable and from there he develops a disgust for humanity and becomes the criminal in real life that he portrayed as an actor. Overall, I actually enjoyed the dialogue of his character more than the character itself. The constant references to pop culture from my childhood in the 80’s was great. In fact, he goes so far as to refer to his minions as “The Brat Pack” which I found amusing. His story though was not great either. He’s basically committing crimes that he performed as a child actor and not a single character in the movie saw the pattern.

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Despicable Me 3” is in theaters now. I can’t recommend this movie at all. I literally wanted to take a nap I was so bored. If this movie comes out on Redbox or VOD and you want to throw it on for your kids, go for it. Kids will probably love this movie. I don’t have much to say about this movie except that the 1980’s pop culture references were great and that’s about it. You can skip this movie in theaters unless your little ones are demanding you take them. In which case, hire a baby sitter to take them so you still won’t have to sit through this snoozer.

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TV shows being made into movies? It’s crazy but it’s true.

The art of motion pictures has been around longer than one might suspect. Movie making goes back to the 1890’s. While these shorts were approximately a minute or less it was motion capture technology being used and from there we can see the evolution to what we have today. Television, on the other hand, wasn’t a thing until approximately the 1920’s. The convenience and popularity forced innovation and now we have phones with better quality pictures than TV’s we probably grew up with (depending on when you were born) to enjoy our favorite shows on, thus becoming tiny portable TV’s, if you will. The popularity of the shows broadcast into our homes also gave Hollywood the idea that by taking these shows and turning them into movies, well, that might be a lucrative business decision. And so, for decades we’ve seen some of our favorite shows reworked and reimagined for the big screen. So let’s take a look at what I think are probably the 5 best small screen to big screen adaptations.

First, let’s set the parameters. This is important because I want to judge the value of the movie on how well it conveyed the spirit or message of the show it was derived from. In short, the movie might not be an Oscar contender but it felt like the transition from your living room to your favorite movie theater was seamless and did not disappoint you as a fan. So yes, you will read this list and think, “21 Jumpstreet”, “Starsky and Hutch”, “GI Joe”, “The Avengers” (the British spy show not Marvel by-the-way) and more were all great. This may very well be true. We’re gonna look at what I think are the 5 best adaptations and if you disagree feel free to explain why and even give your Top 5 in the comment section below.

This was a difficult list to compile. In all honesty, after researching all the shows I could think of and more I had to take a break, get some coffee and then come back to the list. There have been some entertaining movies made. For example, “Get Smart”, “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”, “Miami Vice” and “S.W.A.T.” However, while those are entertaining and close to the source material I feel the below 5 films go above and beyond to capture the essence of what we watched growing up or as adults. So what are the 5 films, Jeremy? I’ll get to that in a moment. Don’t you worry!

Unfortunately, I couldn’t limit my list to 5 so I will be having two honorable mentions. The reason for the honorable mentions is simple. For the first one, I haven’t seen any of the episodes the movie’s based on. Before you get super confused, I’ll explain further. Everyone I have talked to, and all the chatter online about the show being cancelled prematurely, and how great the film is and why it’s greatness should help spawn more episodes, led me to believe it deserves an honorable mention. Now, I have seen the movie. I own the movie. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the story and characters, actually. So, for one honorable mention, coming in at number 7:

“Firefly” (14 episodes from 2002-2003) to “Serenity” (2005)

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The next honorable mention is not because the film adaptation was good but because of what the franchise became because of the television show. The first film for this franchise is awful. That being said, the stories that followed have created a fandom almost unmatched in popular culture. The original show did not only create a series of movies that continues today, but also, it created additional spin off tv shows with different characters and worlds. In fact, a brand new show is about to air this year! So because of that, coming in at number 6:

“Star Trek” (80 episodes from 1966 – 1969) to “Star Trek : The Motion Picture” (1979)

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Ok, now for the Top 5. As I mentioned above, these films are ranked based on how close to the source material the movie was able to be made, in my opinion. This is not a statement on how great the movie was overall (although that helps) but how true to the original show this film is and how enjoyable. Ok, here we go, my Top 5 are:

5: “Scooby Doo, Where Are You?” (25 episodes from 1969 to 1970) to “Scooby Doo” (2002)

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4: “Jackass” (44 episode from 2000-2002) to “Jackass: The Movie” (2002)

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3: “The Addams Family” (64 episodes from 1964 – 1966) to “The Addams Family” (1991)

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2: “Mission: Impossible” (171 episodes from 1966 – 1973) to “Mission: Impossible” (1996)

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1: Batman (120 episodes from 1966 – 1968) to “Batman: The Movie” (1966)

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Do you agree? Disagree? Did you even get this far in the blog or did you flip your desk while reading this list in disgust? Hopefully you’re still reading! Comment below and let’s see what you think about TV shows made into movies and if you have a top 5. Thanks for reading and for more content you can also visit my Vlog on YouTube (Brunansky’s Vlog) and click subscribe. Thanks for being part of this with me.

War for the Planet of the Apes #review

This trilogy began in 2011 and told us the story of how the world became overrun with intelligent apes who could talk. These three movies have explored the beginning of the end for humanities reign as the dominant species on planet Earth. So, did “War for the Planet of the Apes” succeed in completing the saga or was this film just monkeying around? Let’s dive in and take a look in this review…

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The movie begins by recapping the first two films as the camera glides slowly through a forest (which is nice in case you don’t remember what the first two films were about.) Immediately we see that a team of military troops are on patrol and have found a trench with apes riding horses and carrying guns. The command is given and a battle begins taking lives both human and ape. From there, the film slows down considerably. The run time for this movie is two hours and twenty minutes. This is unnecessary because we could’ve enjoyed a shorter film and lost nothing from the story in my opinion. There is a lot of screen time spent on faces, walking and wide scenic shots. To be fair, the wide scenic shots look great. The scene where Caesar and the Colonel are talking is unnecessarily long too. I understand that director Matt Reeves was giving us a glimpse into the character, as well as, the motivations of the Colonel, but let’s get Woody Harrelson to speed up that speech.

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The highlight for this film is probably the special effects/computer generated images (CGI) used to create this incredible world. The technology used to bring life to these apes while also giving them more human characteristics through motion-capture technology is top notch. Fear, anger, compassion, relief, and more are all captured wonderfully on the faces of each character in this film both human and not. Plus, the locations used in this film looked like something from another world, while also still being familiar enough to seem believable. Dense, lush, green forests with spectacular water falls take us somewhere that we’ve probably only ever seen in pictures and it’s great.

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Overall, this movie continued the story that began in the last film with the conflict that Koba began and the retaliation of mankind. We see early on that Caesar is not interested in war (which was his stance in the last film). He’s simply trying to find a location for the apes to live in peace along with the humans who have survived the outbreak. It is an act of aggression by human soldiers that bring out the monster in Caesar and in the second act of the film we see the rage inside him spring to life. The character of Caesar continues to excel. From the first film where he’s simply an ape becoming intelligent to now where he’s a husband/father/warrior/leader, the writers involved in this trilogy did an excellent job getting me to care about a monkey. I won’t say the ending caused a great swell of emotions but I was pleased with it. I thought the writing for this particular installment resolved things for his character and the other apes.

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War for the Planet of the Apes” is in theaters now! After seeing this film I’m not surprised by the opening weekend box office numbers. I still recommend people see this film on the big screen because it’s a summer blockbuster with great special effects. There’s a few missteps in this film that I’ll cover on “Brunansky’s Vlog” but overall my biggest complaint is that it doesn’t need to be as long as it is. The score for this movie was my favorite aspect of this movie and it’s entirely possible I’m listening to it while I type this review. If you don’t decide to see this on the big screen I understand. However, I do recommend that you check this film out on Redbox or VOD once available.

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