Atomic Blonde


Rated Greg’s Top 5 Movie Heroines

  1. The Bride (Uma Thurman) – Kill Bill
  2. Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) – Atomic Blonde
  3. Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) – Mad Max: Fury Road
  4. Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) – Terminator 2
  5. Chris (Elizabeth Shue) – Adventures in Babysitting

Yesterday my friend Diana called me “The Boy who Cried Greatest Movie Ever.” Which… be honest is a very fair dig, for three out of the past five weekends I claimed that I just saw the best movie of 2017 (settle down Rudder!). But like all pieces of art it takes time to truly assess which movies matter. After letting Baby Driver and War for the Planet of the Apes marinate in my brain a little longer I’ve simmered down a bit. I still think they’re both absolutely excellent, but they’re not better than Get Out. Sometimes it takes a week to figure this out and sometimes it even takes years, which is how we end up with very questionable Best Picture winners like Crash, The Artist, and The King’s Speech (How in the name of Zues’ BUTTHOLE! did King’s Speech beat out Social Network and Inception?).

So I’m tempted to bite my tongue when it comes to declaring anything brazen about Atomic Blonde the day after seeing it…….but nahhh I’ma do me! Atomic Blonde is THE BEST MOVIE OF THE YEAR.


Yes, yes I am you clown. Shattering my ho-hum expectations, Atomic Blonde is an instant classic and, again if you didn’t hear me the first time, THE BEST MOVIE OF THE YEAR. I say that today, Sunday July 30th and I have a strong feeling I’ll say that again on Sunday December 31st. It’s probably not for everyone (few films are), but this movie was created in a lab specifically for Rated Greg, an action junkie 80’s baby. 115 hard R minutes of non-stop hand to hand combat, espionage, chases, and sex all set to the tune of the best 80’s pop soundtrack money can buy? As Dick Vitale would say, ARE YOU SERIOUUUUUSSSSS?!?! Sign me up.

Atomic Blonde (2017)



Going in, some were already nicknaming Atomic Blonde as “Jane Wick” and it does share a lot of similarities to Keanu Reeves’ uber popular John Wick. For one thing, it was made by the same director, David Leitch. He’s a former stuntman and clearly knows how to stage a fight (I’m really looking forward to what he does with the Deadpool sequel that he’s attached to). But ultimately I think that nickname does Atomic Blonde a disservice simply because it’s better than John Wick, straight up. Wick features some phenomenal action but I’m kinda surprised by it’s popularity given how corny everything sans action is (especially the sequel). In Atomic Blonde there’s no time to get bogged down by the actual plot, there’s too much chaos going on. In fact, I don’t think there’s a 10-minute interval where Charlize doesn’t punch someone in the face.   Every fight is choreographed to amazing precision and there’s one long scene in particular that people will be talking about for years to come. I won’t spoil it for you, but lets just say the guy sitting behind me was literally cackling, CACKLING in delight by the time it was over.


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One last thing. Shoutout to Charlize Theron, she’s truly a badass. Reportedly she performed 98% of the stuntwork and even cracked two teeth while filming.  After seeing this I’m shocked they didn’t give her more to do in Fast 8 earlier this year.  Clearly she can go toe to toe with any of those meatheads.  Anyways, this is the best movie of the year but it’s also the most impressive performance of the year.  Grade: A+



Rated Greg’s Christopher Nolan Rankings

  1. The Prestige (A+)
  2. Interstellar (A+)
  3. Inception (A+)
  4. The Dark Knight (A+)
  5. Batman Begins (A+)
  6. Dunkirk (A-)
  7. The Dark Knight Rises (A-)
  8. Memento (A-)
  9. Insomnia (B+)


Dunkirk was the most anticipated film of 2017 in the Rated Greg poll of one at the beginning of the year. What can I say, like a lot of men between the ages of 18-35, I worship at the church of Christopher Nolan. He’s LeBron James to Martin Scorsese’s Michael Jordan, and while LeBron will likely never surpass his Airness in titles I am fairly certain that Nolan’s catalog will eclipse Marty’s within the next ten years, probably five. It’s one thing to never make a bad movie, it’s a whole other thing to ONLY make great movies. Shit, I think each of his top five are my favorite films from that respective year (The Prestige, currently streaming on Netflix, is my favorite movie of the past 20 years).  I realize being a Nolan stan is an extremely basic sentiment, but I just can’t help it. His works of art are so remarkable on such consistent basis that it sets a ridiculous standard.


Which brings us to Dunkirk. For most directors Dunkirk would be their masterpiece but in this case it’s just an average at bat for Nolan. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very good, but I was expecting it to be the best movie of the year…… which it’s not. The one thing you need to know going in is that it’s really more of a ride than a movie. There’s not a ton of dialogue or plot pivots. Just three interweaving, action packed stories capturing the British army’s miraculous evacuation from the Battle of Dunkirk in 1940, all in a brisk 100 minutes. Many blockbusters are shown in IMAX theaters but very few are actually made for IMAX, with IMAX cameras, like Dunkirk is. The investment clearly paid off because it looks flat out AMAZING. The fighter pilot scenes specifically, led by Tom Hardy’s tender eyes, might be the most beautiful action sequences I’ve ever seen on the big screen (short of Fury Road, it always comes back to Fury Road). I know it can be a pricey hassle, especially for those with kids, but if this movie interests you at all it needs to be seen in the theater. Unlike Fury Road (again, it always comes back to Fury Road), I’m not positive this will translate as well to the TV screen. It might, Nolan’s films do tend to age like fine wine, but for some reason I have a feeling the small screen experience might be a little underwhelming. It would be like listening to Pink Floyd with shitty headphones. We’ll see I guess. Grade: A+

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The Beguiled


Misery: It’s The Remix…BABY!

Grade: C

P.S. – Some are really into this movie, specifically the French (it won Sofia Coppola the Best Director award at Cannes), but I found it to be dull and anticlimactic.

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War for the Planet of the Apes


Rated Greg’s Top 5 Trilogies*

  1. Indiana Jones (1981 – 1989)
  2. The Dark Knight (2005 – 2012)
  3. Star Wars (1977 – 1983)
  4. Toy Story (1995 – 2010)  Planet of the Apes (2011 – 2017)
  5. Bourne (2002-2007)  Toy Story (1995 – 2010)

*All installments must be good in order to qualify, eliminating the likes of Back to the Future, The Godfather, and Terminator.


I say this with ZERO percent sarcasm.  War for the Planet of the Apes deserves an Oscar nomination for Best Picture.  I understand why movies like Baby Driver and Get Out would never be considered for the classy affair, but if Academy voters are really doing their due diligence, the final chapter in this trilogy will get a seat at the adult table.  Do people understand how good these movies are?  From talking with friends it really seems like this decade’s Planet of the Apes series is the most misunderstood franchise out there.  Critics are on board (per Rotten Tomatoes, Rise of the Planet of the Apes got an 81%, the sequel Dawn 90%, and the just released War 95%), but I fear the general public might look at an advertisement for the Ape movies with the same disdain that a preview for Transformers evokes.  It shouldn’t.




Although it is meant to be seen on the biggest screen possible, War just isn’t your typical July popcorn blockbuster.  The tone is much more fitting of a super serious December release like Zero Dark Thirty or The Revenant (it has NO BUSINESS being PG-13).  If you’re worried about not being able to take the story seriously, don’t be.  The CGI motion capture technology is so freakin realistic and the voice work is absolutely impeccable.  I promise within the first ten minutes you’ll be watching the ape leader Caesar bark orders as if it were Tom Hardy himself.  It’s such an emotive and dark two hours and change!  I love it. Shoutout to Steve Zahn’s “Bad Ape” (my favorite character of the year).  Shoutout to the “Michael Jordan of being a son of a bitch”, Woody Harrelson.  And finally shoutout to Andy Serkis as Caesar. He deserves as much acclaim as any actor come awards season.  Grade: A-

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Rated Greg’s Top 5 Fictional Pets

  1. Baxter (Anchorman)
  2. Okja (Okja)
  3. Marcel (Friends)
  4. Gizmo (Gremlins)
  5. Buck (Married with Children)

Honorable Mentions: Babe, Brian, Hooch, Jinxy Cat, Santa’s Little Helper

Beasts of the Southern Wild meets an R-Rated E.T.  No film has moved me in 2017 as much as this beautiful story about a little girl and her “superpig.”  That might sound ridiculous, but some movies you just have to take a leap of faith and try not to judge a book by it’s cover.  When I first pulled up Okja on Netflix I was greeted with the image above and had I not know anything else about it I probably wouldn’t have clicked play.  This is for kids, right?*


Fortunately I was already aware that this film was on the horizon and knew better.  I knew this because of the players involved and their propensity to always pick really interesting projects.  Jake Gyllenhaal (still leading the league in WAR) in possibly his weirdest character yet.  Tilda Swinton playing a modern day Cruella de Vil.  Paul Dano getting to play an alpha for once.  All directed by South Korea’s Bong Joon-ho, who the Ringer recently speculated could be the new Spielberg (That’s So Ringer).  And not even included in that list is the main character and best part of the film, Mija, played by 13-year-old Seo-Hyun Ahn.  She’s truly a force of nature.

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Anyways, Okja is good.  It’s really, REALLY good.  It’s a perfect blend of quirkiness, action, legitimate emotion, and genuine LOL’s all in sync within exceptional framing.  It’s also a love story in its purest form with some very strong sentiments towards corporate greed and animal rights.  Okja replaces Beasts of No Nation as the best Netflix Original Movie to date.  Grade: A-

*It’s not.  I repeat, this film is NOT for children.  If you did happen to watch this with a toddler, I have a feeling you would be forced to turn it off halfway through, much like my grandmother dragged my two siblings and me out of the theater in the middle of Who Framed Roger Rabbit way back when.

Spiderman: Homecoming


Any frequent RG reader knows that I’m kinda sick of writing about superhero movies and what they mean for the business.  Thus for Spiderman: Homecoming, I’m going to take a page from prolific NBA writer Zach Lowe and just write 10 things I liked or didn’t like about the movie and leave it at that.

1 – I really liked the high school aspects of this movie.  The John Hughes coming of age catalog was apparently an inspiration to director Jon Watts and he did a great job recreating that environment.  If you stripped away the superhero threads this would have been a comparable PG version of last year’s terrific Edge of Seventeen.


2 – I briefly dozed off during not one but two different action sequences (Wait. What’s happening at the Washington Monument?).  The set pieces aren’t necessarily poorly executed, I just find most superhero action boring at this point.

3 – Michael Keaton plays a fantastic villain, definitely the best of the Marvel movies.  He’s also the most grounded which isn’t a coincidence.  Keaton chews up every actor in his periphery during his screen time.


4 – I didn’t like that Ironman and his chauffeur kept popping up.  I can’t fault Robert Downey Jr and Jon Favreau to “keep getting dem checks,” but their shtick after a decade is no longer getting played out, it is played out.

5 – I liked the murderer’s row of very funny actors enlisted in the margins of the movie.  Donald Glover (Atlanta). Bokeem Woodbine (Fargo). Tony Revolori (Dope). Hannibal Buress (Broad City). Martin Starr (Silicon Valley). Marisa Tomei (my dreams). And the funniest of them all, Zendaya (I don’t know what else she’s from but apparently she’s famous enough to have no last name).

6 – I didn’t like that Donald Glover only has two scenes.  He seems far too famous and talented to get so little screentime, but he probably signed onto this prior to Atlanta’s debut so that may have something to do with it.  Also, it’s not like this is a standalone film so I have a feeling this will correct itself and his name will be third on the poster for the inevitable sequel.


7 – Tom Holland seems to be channeling Marty McFly as Peter Parker and it translates perfectly to the tone of the movie.  He’s significantly more likable than the previous iterations of Spidey (Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield).

8 – The climactic battle between Spiderman and Vulture reminded me of a certain scene in Con Air.  I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but it’s most certainly something.

9 – There’s a recurring bit about high school morning announcements that’s among the funniest things I’ve seen all year.


10 – I don’t like having to sit through the credits at Marvel movies.

Grade: B+ or a B- …… idk it’s a very solid B

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Baby Driver


Rated Greg’s Top 5 Opening Scenes

  1. The Prologue in Raising Arizona
  2. Indy’s escape in Raiders of the Lost Ark
  3. The phone call in Scream
  4. The interrogation in Inglorious Basterds
  5. The car chase in Baby Driver

Honorable Mentions: The Social Network, Pulp Fiction, Drive, The Lion King, The Dark Knight, Bad Boys


Ocean’s 11 meets Drive.  A week ago I listed Baby Driver as the best movie of 2017’s first half on the Rated Greg rankings.  Since then I’ve had some pushback from a couple friends, claiming that it was good but not great.  Entertaining but not exceptional.  “A little overrated.”  You know what, JUSTIN?  Star Wars is a little overrated, lacrosse is a little overrated, and YOU’RE a little overrated.  Baby Driver is a goddamn delight and you should be ashamed of yourself.  This is why we can’t have nice things.


Baby Driver puts Fast and Furious to bed and goes hunting for fucking dinner.  It’s is the most exciting movie since 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road.  Name me a recent movie with more pure entertainment, start to finish, than Edgar Wright’s just released crime caper.  The very opening scene already makes my Top 5 Car Chases list appear dated and the pulse never really lets up from there.  What I appreciate most is the tremendously impressive, real life, stunt work contained within each set piece.  Bravo.  It’s commendable that Wright refused to let computers do the heavy lifting and chose to create magic the old fashioned way.  Shoot, there’s better choreography in an early, relatively meaningless scene involving a casual stroll for coffee than most of the action in 2017.


That’s not all I appreciate though.  I appreciate Jamie Foxx throwing 100mph heaters in every scene he’s in (how has he not been in a good movie since Django?).  I appreciate Jon Hamm embracing a new haircut and going H.A.M.  I appreciate my first exposure to former Telenovela star (and Bachelorette JoJo lookalike) Eiza Gonzalez.  I appreciate Ansel Elgort’s undeniable charm as the titular character.  I appreciate what great diner scenes can do for a movie.  And finally, I appreciate a nonstop kickass soundtrack.  Grade: A-


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