Atomic Blonde 

Atomic Blonde is the annual adrenaline shot the action genre gets every year, if we’re lucky. Amidst carbon copy superhero extravaganzas, increasingly ridiculous Fast/Furious hemorrhages and head scratching animation ventures, the multiplex is a frustrating realm these days, but sometimes we are blessed with a good old fashioned hard-R action blitzkrieg that turns out to be a pure banger, lighting up the summer movie roster like neon fireworks. Blonde rides the wake that John Wick left behind, a refreshing, stylistic, no-holds-barred form of action storytelling that cheerfully pisses in the face of all things glossy and PG-13. Set in a frenzied Berlin days before the wall comes down and the Cold War freezes over, Charlize Theron is a breathtakingly sexy super spy with a very particular set of skills and a borderline nihilistic approach to espionage, as well as a massive bone to pick with certain factions of the enemy, who stay fairly hidden until the wicked chess game of a plot rounds it’s final curves. Tasked by a sneaky British intelligence honcho (Toby Jones) and a mysterious CIA Agent (John Goodman, excellent as always) she’s caught between all kinds of warring assets including the KGB, roaming German euro trash punks and a British rogue agent (James Macavoy) playing all sides at once. The plot serves action, to be sure, but it still takes itself seriously amidst all the punches, flying kicks, icepicks to the jugular and careening vehicular destruction. Theron is a primal piston of wanton violence and slinky sexual virility, throwing herself headlong into every action sequence with the kind of reckless abandon that makes you believe those bruises for real (apparently she busted a few ribs for real filming this, the absolute champ). The highlight is a bone shattering one take wonder of a staircase fight, a hapless Eddie Marsan bandaging a bullet wound with swaths of duck tape while Theron furiously dispatches several enemies using any means within arms reach, a spectacle that leads to glorious cringes once the hits get hard and critical and sharp objects start getting close to eyeballs and major organs. The soundtrack must be noted too, the filmmakers employing nostalgic melodies straight out of the 80’s to evoke time and place nicely, with everything from Nina’s 99 Luftballoons to The Clash’s London Calling and Queen’s Under Pressure coming into play. There’s also pretty much the hottest movie sex scene I’ve seen in years, as Theron and a bombshell of a French agent (Sofia Boutella) get slippery under the sheets in a neon soaked Berlin hotel room. This is an action film made by folks who are head over heels in love with the genre, and the passion shows. We never feel cheated, chaperoned or short changed, every ounce of this piece charged up to please the crowd and keep pulses thundering. 

-Nate Hill

X-MEN: APOCALYPSE – A Review by Frank Mengarelli

X-MEN APOCALYPSE completely forgoes and abandons the immense promise we were given with DAYS OF FUTURE PAST. The entire film is a bloated and dull calamity. It is misguided at every turn. The direction, poor writing, and uninspired performances lead us to yet another third X-Men film that unintentionally tries it’s hardest at undoing the smart entertainment from its former two films.


The setup, is yet another rehash of the idealist Professor X uniting with his former best friend and now arch nemesis, Magneto, to save humanity from yet another unstoppable force.  There is little to like about this film. Evan Peters as Quicksilver is the best part, but even his slow-motion scenes become a mundane walk-through. Hugh Jackman shows up in a forced and out of place cameo that leaves you wishing he wasn’t even in the film.


Unlike the previous two X-Men prequel films where each story capitalized on it’s time period, APOCALYPSE does absolutely nothing to remind us that this film takes place in the 80’s aside from Jean Grey having shoulder pads and a trio of them seeing RETURN OF THE JEDI.  There is not any character progression for an of the existing characters, or any of the new ones.  They just exist.XA

FIRST CLASS wasn’t a great film, but it built a solid foundation for the epic and remarkable DAYS OF FUTURE PAST that brilliantly and organically rebooted the entire X-Men franchise. This new film completely squanders the fresh start we were promised. I loved DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, but pertaining to X-MEN APOCALYPSE, there ain’t nothing good about this shit at all.