Raving For Rian: Brick (2005)

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Welcome to Raving For Rian: a brief series of reviews I decided to write in preparation for the release of Rian Johnson’s new movie, Knives Out. Every day this week, leading up to the Thanksgiving premiere, I’ll be reviewing one of his movies. I covered his fourth flick, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, when it came out, and now I’m going all the way back to the beginning, to his directorial debut, Brick. Continue reading

Destroyer (2018)

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17 years after a bank robbery gone wrong, an alcoholic, ethically-compromised LAPD officer tracks down the man who orchestrated the crime. As she does so, we learn about her relationship with her partner while she was undercover. We learn about her relationship with her daughter in the present. And, most importantly, we learn that when she sets her mind on something, nothing will stop her; not bullets, not bruises, not anything. Continue reading

Bad Times At The El Royale (2018)

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On a stormy night in 1969, a Priest, a Singer, a Hippie, and a Vacuum salesman all converge on the El Royale hotel. Built on the border between California and Nevada, the establishment was once the favorite getaway of politicians and celebrities, but now its all but abandoned. As such, it’s just these four people, and Miles, the nervous concierge. Things start off quiet, but as the night progresses, they quickly unravel, as it becomes clear that no one, save the Singer, is who they say they are, and that even the hotel has secrets. Continue reading

A Simple Favor (2018)

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Anna Kendrick is a cutesy, naive woman, with a nervous laugh and a pension for going “uh” and “yeah.” And in this film, she plays a Mommy Blogger, someone who makes videos on how to cook brisket and make friendship bracelets. One day, when she goes to pick her son up from school, she meets Blake Lively, the mother of one of her boy’s friends, who invites her over to her incredibly stylish house for some martinis. Lively is everything Kendrick isn’t–assertive, foul-mouthed, impeccably dressed–which makes her fascinating to the latter. That’s probably why Kendrick winds up doing everything Lively tells her to including picking her son up from school one day. This turns into more than a “simple favor” since Lively doesn’t return for several days, and the police suspect foul play, because she and her husband, Henry Golding, were having financial and marital problems. Kendrick doesn’t believe this, however, even after the cops find what they think is Lively’s body, and so does some digging of her own, uncovering some shocking, albeit rather silly, answers.
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You Were Never Really Here (2018)

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Joe is a veteran, and hired gun. He’s not a hit man, per se. But if you need a guy to beat someone up, or retrieve something or someone, he’s the one to do it. He doesn’t talk much, and is exceptionally brutal, preferring to use a hammer to accomplish his objectives. He is frequently haunted by nightmares from his time in combat, and can’t outrun the face of a young Asian woman, which often appears before him whenever he’s alone. Anyway, he is hired by a Senator to retrieve his daughter, who’s been kidnapped by a sex trafficking ring. Joe does so, only to learn that the Senator has committed suicide, and that there may be more to this story than meets the eye. No surprises there.
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Blade Runner: 2049 (2017)

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30 years after the events of the first Blade Runner, replicants have been successfully integrated into society. Or, at least, the newest breed has. Older models–those seen in the first Blade Runner–are regarded as obsolete, and therefore still subject to “retirement.” And now, the government deploys other replicants to hunt their kin down. K (Ryan Gosling) is one such synthetic Blade Runner. One day, while out performing a “retirement,” he discovers the body of Rachel, Harrison Ford’s love interest from the first movie. At first glance, it seems that this is nothing more than a call-back to the original film. But, as is always the way with such things, it’s not that simple. Her remains reveal that she was pregnant at the time of her death, and that the child may have even survived. Which is a big deal, seeing as Rachel was a replicant, and replicants aren’t supposed to be able to have children. K’s superiors are horrified to hear this, and instantly order him to find the replicant baby and kill it. K agrees, but, as he goes about his investigation, he uncovers some details that lead him to question his purpose, as well as his own identity. No surprises there. Continue reading

Seven (1995)

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Somerset is an apathetic detective, a week away from retirement. Mills is his idealistic partner, and brand new in town. They’ve got nothing in common, and they don’t particularly like each other. But for one week, Somerset’s last week on the job, they must work together. And it’s going to be the longest week of their lives, because there’s a killer on the loose, committing murders based on the Seven Deadly Sins, and he’s got his eye trained on them. Continue reading