THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS – Lots of Fun and a Little Frustrating

furiousposter_0The Fast and the Furious films are very special to my wife and I. In fact, it was my wife who turned me on to them in the first place. I had never seen them until the release of Furious 7 two years ago. We both enjoy them and have since bonded over them more.

Part car chase movie, part soap opera, these movies deliver various levels of exhilaration, excitement and just plain fun. The characters really make these films watchable – their joshing and banter between them all is part of the charm. And after eight films, the characters have become even more endearing.

I understand that these films are not everyone’s cup of tea. I’ll be the first to admit that they can be really ridiculous, and have gotten progressively more ridiculous with each installment. However, if you keep that notion in the back of your mind the whole time, these movies are very fun.

So how does the franchise’s latest entry, The Fate of the Furious, stack up against the rest of the films? It’s somewhere in the middle. Director F. Gary Gray, a newcomer to the Fast and Furious films, maintains the energy and action for which the series is known. But this is one of the few films that made me tilt my head when it came to the story – partially based on what is known of the characters in previous films.

Thematically, there are some interesting nuggets to extract from Fate. The previous films have centered on family and loyalty, but this one has a little more to it – especially when it comes to the villain.

SPOILERS AHEAD!

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GHOST IN THE SHELL – The Soul and the Machine

ghostinshellposter_0Let me preface this review with a statement of fact: I don’t much care for anime. Like at all. I despise it, really.

In my view, anime has crippled animation stylistically and in terms of content for decades. So many animated shows and films (especially those geared toward children) have gone the anime route and contain stilted movement (except in fight scenes, of course), inarticulate mouths, overlong action cuts, blurred backgrounds, and other distracting flourishes meant to hide the lack of depth found in most of their narratives.

Now that I have got that out in the open, I think it’s safe to say that I didn’t have any high hopes for Ghost in the Shell. I do enjoy a lot of science-fiction though, especially cyberpunk stories, and there was something about the trailers and advertising that really intrigued me. I hadn’t seen the source material, so the concept was all new to me.

The short of it: I was entertained by Ghost in the Shell. It held my attention. And the ideas it expressed were very interesting and thought-provoking. But that doesn’t mean it’s a great movie.

SPOILERS AHEAD

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