Archive | Reviews

The more movies one watches the easier it seems to become cynical and overly critical. While I may be a little bit of both in my movie reviews from time to time I like to think I’m fair, open-minded, and insightful. Unfortunately, I don’t find myself in a theater seat as often as I’d like, so the films I review are few and far between. That said, every movie review is meant to provoke thought and be enjoyed!

(Books) THE ART OF MONDO is the quintessential indie movie poster book

art of mondo book review brad bird tim league

The Art of Mondo book is a must-have for film and poster fans

The Art of Mondo is a relatively new book (released in October) from publisher Insight Editions, and it’s an essential coffee table staple for any film fan who also has an affinity for fantastic poster art. That’s my elevator pitch, and I’m sticking to it. I’ve had a copy of The Art of Mondo on my table for a little while now, and to be completely honest I’ve delayed sharing a sneak peek inside the book for three reasons.

First, Alamo Drafthouse, the theater chain and umbrella company responsible for Mondo, saw it’s CEO Tim League and others attempt to climb out of the sexual harassment cesspool before the book was released. That in itself is difficult to get around as a film fan, a movie blogger, and a supporter of the artwork Mondo consistently puts out.

Second, The Art of Mondo is a dense book that’s worth taking your time with. Each poster from Mondo is usually a masterpiece in its own light, so poring over every page is a must.

Third, I just haven’t been able to give Midroad Movie Review the attention it deserves these last few months, and that’s disappointing. As we near the end of the 2017, I’m making plans to give the site a facelift and hopefully find a heartbeat that I can use to bring it back to life.

But the goal of this post is to take a closer look inside The Art of Mondo–to appreciate the art of monstrous men for what is it, as Claire Dederer recently suggested in the Paris Review–if the controversy surrounding Mondo/Alamo Drafthouse is a challenge to sidestep. The Art of Mondo is more than a coffee tale art book, even if it is that, and each section offers a brief introduction from a contributor that highlights the company’s creation and progress through the years. There’s a history of Mondo buried in here, is what I’m trying to say, and both the art and the history of the company are worth digging into.

Ready to dive in? Take a peek inside the pages of The Art of Mondo after the jump.

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(Books) Two new Xenomorph books just in time for Alien Day

aliens titan books review

Alien: The Coloring Books and Aliens: Bug Hunt are musts for franchise fans

From the awesome folks over at Titan Books comes two new Xenomorph-filled books just in time for Alien Day! While Alien: The Coloring Book and Aliens: Bug Hunt are two very different books, both run the gamet through the Ridley Scott/H.R. Giger-created horror universe in new and exciting ways.

Alien: The Coloring Book is, as you guess, a coloring book that’s pages are filled with black and white illustrations from the first four films in the growing series. There may be a few abstract (but still awesome) renderings as well, but they’re all waiting for you to fill them in with graphic, eye-popping color.

Aliens: Bug Hunt is a brand new collection of short stories (18 in total) featuring the iconic movie monster in a number of new and movie-inspired scenarios. And again, both are available just in time for Alien Day, so pick them up and get your Xenomorph fix!

Read a short review and take a peek inside the pages of Titan Books‘ newest Alien/Aliens books after the jump.

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(Books) THE GREAT WALL art book and official movie novelization

the great wall art of the movie book review

Take a peek inside The Great Wall: The Art of the Film book

The Great Wall is an example of negative hype and misinformation killing a movie before it ever got its legs, which is unfortunate. Regardless of the quality of the film itself, The Great Wall was doomed to fail for being everything it wasn’t, and it’s sad to see this one stir up controversy and essentially be forgotten so quickly. If you’re not familiar with the hubbub surrounding The Great Wall, the CliffNotes tell of a Chinese-funded and directed movie that was socially panned as a film guilty of whitewashing its cast with Matt Damon’s casting (even though the director made it clear the controversy was unfounded). After the initial backlash, it was all downhill. The movie was serviceable at best, but the real shame is that more moviegoers aren’t going to dig deeper to find the exceptional art book that was released to complement the film. I’ve got a growing collection of these art and making of books, and none quite captures the tone, texture, and cultural influence of its movie like The Great Wall: The Art of the Film. Whether you liked the movie or not, it’s worth finding a copy of this book and adding it to your own art and making of collection.

Take a look inside the book to see what makes it unique, and read a short review of the official novelization after the jump.

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(Album Review) BLINK 182’s new album CALIFORNIA is no return to glory

blink 182 california review 2016

Review of Blink 182’s new album California

Remember that new album from Blink 182 that was hinted at earlier this summer? Well, California, the new 16-track album from Blink 182, dropped on July 1st, and it’s unfortunately far from revolutionary. The new lineup, which sees Tom Delonge replaced by Alakaline Trio’s Matt Skiba on lead guitar – Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker on bass and drums still – is really missing that almost-grating high pitch that Tom brought to the trio. What was hoped to be a return to their pop-punk pedestal is instead a rehash of teenage rowdiness, aging angst and nostalgia, and an I’m-too-old-for-this-shit over-polished repetition. There are a few bright spots that’ll stick their catchy choruses to you, but for the most part California is borderline forgettable. As a long-time Blink 182 fan, I wanted more from this album.

Read more about why I wasn’t won over by Blink 182’s new album California after the jump.

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(Review) Disney’s THE JUNGLE BOOK is a solid CGI showcase that’s not without its flaws

jungle book movie review disney 2016

The Jungle Book is a beautiful “live action” adaptation

The Disney camp is going full steam ahead with their commitment to live-action remakes of classic animated movies. The latest in what’s promised to be a long line of reboots is the Jon Favreau-directed, CGI-heavy big screen adaptation of The Jungle Book, and the new movie proves to be an exceptional showcase of modern digital animation. That said, the weakest element in 2016’s first big Disney spectacle (don’t forget, Marvel is now Disney’s baby) is the human aspect, and I can’t help long for an all-animal Lion King movie in the same style.

As a family friendly live-action update to one of the most cherished animated classics, The Jungle Book is sure to please most audiences. It’s cute, beautiful, surprising, frightening, and inspiring while staying true to both the original Disney classic as well as the Rudyard Kipling source material. Not without a few faults, The Jungle Book previews a new wave of anthropomorphic animal drama aimed at exploring humanity’s moral dilemmas.

Read my review of Disney’s The Jungle Book after the jump.  Continue Reading →