Bad Boys for Life
Mike and Marcus have to deal with the fallout of an enemy that Mike put away long ago.
Bad Boys for Life proves that long-dormant franchises have no excuses in not only producing something new that is great, but also taking it to the next level. It’s got the fun, over-the-top action you know and love while bringing a more neon and Asian cinema inspired style to it. Surprisingly, it also tells a more mature and caring story about family (and not in an ironic way like the Fast and Furious movies). It’s refreshing to see Will Smith and Martin Lawrence truly give their all here, while also bringing us new and well-developed characters. It may not be the gleeful anarchy of Michael Bay’s previous films, but I am thankful that it exists.

Birds of Prey
Harley Quinn teams up with a group of antiheroes to fight a crime lord in Gotham City.
Cathy Yan’s Birds of Prey is another great piece in DC’s current series of director-driven films. The sun-soaked, dirty Gotham shown here is a nice departure from the dark and dank city we typically see. This film offered an amusing tone and story with a surprising pull at the heartstrings. We have an absolutely fantastic cast here, where Margot Robbie continues to showcase that she was the perfect choice for Quinn. The newly introduced characters were also all expertly cast and showcase distinct personalities that add to the group dynamic. I especially love Rosie Perez as Renee Montoya, and Ewan McGregor as a pretentious but still scary art-loving villain rounds out the troop perfectly.
The Gentlemen
An Oklahoma-born businessman must fight against gangsters for control of his weed empire.
When the film has Colin Farrell and a breakdancing gang on screen, it’s the rare moment that The Gentlemen gains some real audience enthusiasm. Beyond that, Guy Ritchie’s “back to form” film feels less like a homecoming and more like a depressing high school reunion. You’ve seen these characters, set ups and jokes a million times before. Ritchie doesn’t seem to do anything new with the formula. The usage of technology comes up multiple times in the film, but it doesn’t add any value or play a role in our characters’ arcs. The actors do fine with what they’re given, but again, beyond Farrell, they do nothing to elevate the material. Unfortunately, it does the worst thing a movie can do…be boring.

The Rhythm Section
A woman goes on a mission to find those responsible for the death of her family.
Reed Morano has proven to be a major addition to action directors, as Rhythm Section gives her the shot to pull off some good set pieces. In particular, her car chase scene is a lovely balance between raw and exciting. The problems that I see with this flick are the messy and morally confused screenplay, wonky editing and a miscast Blake Lively. Dark storytelling can be great, but there needs to be energy behind it. Showing misery for an hour and 40 minutes doesn’t just make something dark and edgy, it makes it depressing.