REVIEWS: '"Rampage" - "Beirut" - "Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero" - "Isle of Dogs"

April 13, 2018
03.17.18 - audience wearing headbands at the closing night screening of Fox Searchlight Pictures "Isle Of Dogs" at the 2018 SXSW Festival at Paramount Theatre - Austin TX

Photo: Thao Nguyen/Fox Searchlight/PictureGroup/Sipa USA:


Rampage - Rated PG-13

Primatologist Davis Okoye (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson), a man who keeps people at a distance, shares an unshakable bond with George, the extraordinarily intelligent, silverback gorilla who has been in his care since birth. But a rogue genetic experiment gone awry mutates this gentle ape into a raging creature of enormous size. To make matters worse, it's soon discovered there are other similarly altered animals. As these newly created alpha predators tear across North America, destroying everything in their path, Okoye teams with a discredited genetic engineer to secure an antidote, fighting his way through an ever-changing battlefield, not only to halt a global catastrophe but to save the fearsome creature that was once his friend.

Critics: Rottentomatoes reports, "Rampage isn't as fun as its source material, but the movie's sheer button-mashing abandon might satisfy audiences in the mood for a brainless blockbuster." 53% Like.

Blake: those-in-the-know, whom I completely trust, say Rampage is made-only-for-matinee-money sci-fi/action/adventure camp, that is just entertaining enough to draw some of his Johnson's, primarily kids, and may make you say to yourself, "Dwayne must have been between making good movies, and justed needed something... ahem... a paycheck that would do."  2 of 4 stars. Onward!


Beirut - Rated R

Caught in the crossfires of civil war, CIA operatives (Rosamund Pike, Dean Norris) must send a former U.S. diplomat (Jon Hamm) to negotiate for the life of a friend he left behind.

Critics: "Beirut tells a complex, tightly plotted tale of international intrigue, further elevated by strong central performances from Jon Hamm and Rosamund Pike",  and 76% LIKE, according to Rottentomatoes.

Blake: trusted sources say this espionage thriller harkens to a genre that seldom sees the light of theater marquees anymore, and deserves the spotlight! Jon Hamm and co-star Rosamund Pike give strong, riveting, believable performances, and insist on you thinking your way through it all. Beirut should capture a significant percentage of this weekend's box-office receipts. of 5 stars


Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero - Rated PG

The incredible true story of a stray dog who became a hero of the First World War. For his keen instincts and fierce loyalty, Stubby is still recognized today as the most decorated canine in American history and the first promoted to the rank of Sergeant in the U.S. Army.

Critics: 83% LIKE, according to Rottentomatoes

Blake: my contacts say this age-appropriate and educationally focused childrens movie that is based on a true story, may actually have kids asking their history teacher questions concerning World War I. Hmm! Knowing your history helps you better understand the present and hopefully aim towards a better future. Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero - 3 of 4 stars!


Isle of Dogs - Rated PG-13

In this stop-motion-animated film from writer/director Wes Anderson, an outbreak of canine flu in Japan leads all dogs to be quarantined on an island. A boy (voice of Koyu Rankin) journeys there to rescue his dog Spots (Liev Schreiber), and gets help from a pack of misfit canines who have also been exiled. His quest inspires a group of dog lovers to expose a government conspiracy. The voice cast also includes Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Bob Balaban, Greta Gerwig, and Yoko Ono

Critics: Rottentomatoes reports, "The beautifully stop-motion animated Isle of Dogs finds Wes Anderson at his detail-oriented best while telling one of the director's most winsomely charming stories." 92% LIKE!

Blake: Wes Anderson has topped himself with this original, carefully crafted, political, cultural and too-much-to-see in one viewing, charming tail of dogs, that have been exiled to a trash-heep island from which a boy is determined to rescue his dog. Help is needed, and comes from the local canine corp. Isle of Dogs, with it's all-star voices, is a visual, smartly written, and well designed treat, that most would roll-over for, and ask for more. 4.5 of 5 stars!

Good to have choices, and some of this weekend's new movies, are choice.

Enjoy a new movie this weekend!