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On paper director Nikolaj Arcel’s, “The Dark Tower,” sounds like a recipe for summer blockbuster success. A sci-fi western based on a beloved Stephen King series of novels, starring Idris Elba with Matthew McConaughey as his nemesis, it’s the things box office dreams are made of. Sadly, this dream has turned into a nightmare.

Now before I get into a brief summary, let me clarify for those who have read the “The Dark Tower” book series, the film has been referred to as a “continuation” of the King series. Which is perhaps where the whole thing went wrong.

Fair warning, the general premise is a bit out there. So, if you’re not a fan of sci-fi you might want to turn back now.

I’ll keep this short because frankly it’s a hot mess, and delving into too much detail will only further confuse the point.

Walter Padick, the Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey), wants to destroy the Dark Tower, which will bring ruin to the world. He does this by abducting children with special powers and forcing them to help weaken the tower.

The last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), wants to kill the Man in Black as revenge for killing his father. He teams up with Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor), an 11-year-old with special powers, who’s been having visions about the Man in Black…and I think we all know where this is heading. 

Believe it or not, the film feels too short, and like it would have benefited from a little more storytelling to explain this unfamiliar world.

The film seems to be suffering from an identity crisis. It’s not sure who its audience is or what genre it wants to be. Considering the film finally landed on its third director after JJ Abrams and Ron Howard dropped out, it’s easy to see how that happened.

Still the film has brief moments of clarity, mostly courtesy of Elba and McConaughey’s performances. But those bright spots are few and far between and just make the state of the rest of the film slightly more painful.

…just for fun:

…keep swimming

12792317_10154164942382240_2487411388686774115_oThis week, summer officially arrived and we are well on our way into another season of reboots and sequels that bring with them infinite hope that they will defy the odds. To the surprise of absolutely no one, Pixar has once again beat those odds with another chapter of its much beloved “Finding Nemo.” Read the rest of this entry

…Forget About Your Worries

Jungle BookIn Disney’s latest incarnation, director John Favreau has turned “The Jungle Book,” into a work of art.

The world inhabited by Mowgli (Neel Sethi) is a lush, green, beautiful place. It’s heart breaking to think that not a bit of it is real. Read the rest of this entry

…Hop to It

zootopia-movie-posterSet in a world where predators and prey have learned to peacefully co-exist, Disney’s “Zootopia,” couldn’t be more relevant.

With “Zootopia,” Disney continues to push the envelope for animated films. Yes, it’s set in a world filled with friendly lions, fluffy bunnies, and chubby cheetahs, but the themes it explores, and the lessons it teaches are far from the fluff once associated with animated films.

The alternate reality of Zootopia shares a lot of similarities with the one we all inhabit. While on the surface everyone seems to live in harmony, hidden prejudices and bias threaten to disrupt the very fabric of society. Read the rest of this entry

…Come Together


In many ways Guillermo del Toro’s “Pacific Rim” is a text book big budget Hollywood summer blockbuster. It has huge monsters, the Kaiju, from another world, and even bigger giant humanoid robots, the Jaegers, to fight back.

That alone would be enough to make this a satisfactory popcorn picture, but it turns out this film has a compelling plot too.

Set in the 2020s, the world is under attack from a cousin of the dinosaur called the Kaiju.

Humanities response to this threat is the Jaeger, and this is the point where the plot gets interesting.

Read the rest of this entry