Avi Greengart

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Avi Greengart  |  Mar 02, 2018  |  1 comments
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Valerian is director Luc Besson’s passion project: He wrote and directed it based on a French comic book he loved as a child. It’s also the most expensive independent film ever, with a budget of around $180 million. It’s quite the spectacle, and the plot—involving displaced aliens amidst a multi-species space station—could be a reasonable foundation for a sci-fi adventure or sci-noir procedural. Unfortunately, the acting, character development, and dialogue are simply terrible. Ironically, the only believable character is a shape-shifting burlesque dancer played by Rihanna.
Avi Greengart  |  Jul 28, 2017  |  1 comments
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The opening scroll of the original Star Wars states, “Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire.” If you ever thought, “Hey, I’d like to see a movie version of those 17 words,” Rogue One is for you. There’s plenty of plot-driven action, minimal character development, and ample fan service. It’s certainly entertaining. Wisecracking droid K-2SO in particular is terrific. However, the movie is anchored by the serious theme of sacrifice. If you’re looking for a jaunty kiddie flick, try a different Disney movie.
Avi Greengart  |  Jul 07, 2017  |  0 comments
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In the Harry Potter universe, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a school textbook. The movie of the same name provides the back story of its author. I hope there is no test, because I found the movie long and overstuffed.
Avi Greengart  |  Apr 07, 2017  |  0 comments
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How do you make a two-hour movie about a forced water landing in the Hudson River that lasted 208 seconds, where everyone already knows the happy outcome? You don’t. You keep it to a 90-minute running time and make two mini-movies: one about the exceptional skill and decision-making that saved lives in the air and on the ground, and one about bureaucrats second-guessing that decision-making. Weaving the stories together keeps Sully from being overly dull, but a documentary format might have been more interesting.
Avi Greengart  |  Oct 07, 2016  |  0 comments
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The story of 10 Cloverfield Lane is revealed to the viewer slowly from the point of view of the protagonist, and the less you know upfront, the more effective this technique will be. The filmmakers agree: The trailers show little more than basic framing of the movie’s first act. Even the Blu-ray Disc menu doesn’t reveal anything, making this the rare disc that doesn’t ruin the movie’s climactic scenes before you even press Play. Describing the video and audio necessitates describing some plot elements, so before we get to that, what follows is a completely spoiler-free summary.
Avi Greengart  |  Jul 29, 2016  |  0 comments
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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 2 is actually the fourth installment in the Hunger Games trilogy. Splitting the last book of a series into two movies can allow for complexity (i.e., Harry Potter), but here it should have been avoided. Part 1 is mostly filler, and even Part 2 has some pacing issues. If you’re new to The Hunger Games, start at the beginning. Of all the teenage dystopian movie series, this one is the best conceived: Underlying the action and drama, it’s a believable look at PTSD and the personal cost of brutal dictatorships. It also has, by far, the best acting.
Avi Greengart  |  May 27, 2016  |  3 comments
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The opening titles of Everest promise that this movie is based on a true story, but then we are led through what appears to be a standard Hollywood man-versus-nature tale, complete with distinct one-note characters to root for. There’s the super-climber who built a business around adventure tourism, complete with a pregnant wife at home. A former protégé,
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