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Review: The Rock's 'Skyscraper' isn't great, but it doesn't need to be

By John Clyde, THE 220th FLOOR — The summer movie season of 2018 is jammed full of sequels, remakes and reboots. An original film is hard to come by these days, but don’t worry because Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is here to save the day.

Well, kind of. His new movie “Skyscraper” is technically original; but at the end of the day, it’s basically “Die Hard” and a smattering of other action movies. What we’re here to talk about today is whether “Skyscraper” is worth a trip to the theater or if you should wait for it to hit Redbox or Netflix.

The truth is, I had a bit of an existential crisis after watching “Skyscraper,” and I may get on a soapbox for a moment during this review. Before that happens, however, I’ll tell you this: “Skyscraper” isn’t a good movie, but I was entertained for the most part and isn’t that the point? Here are a few reasons why I was conflicted about this movie:

It’s exactly what it’s supposed to be No one is going to walk out of the theater after seeing “Skyscraper” saying, “That’s the best movie I’ve ever seen” and it’s going to win any Academy Awards, but that’s not the point. Writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber wasn’t trying to make an award-winning film, he was trying to make an action thriller that makes you get vertigo while enjoying watching Johnson beat up bad guys and hang from dizzying heights.

That’s exactly what “Skyscraper” delivers, and my question is why does it have to be any more? As I walked out of the theater two other critics were walking ahead of me talking about the film and commenting on how horrendous it was. It was in that moment I had an epiphany: We critics are self-important, pretentious moviegoers and it’s no surprise most people don’t trust us.

(This is where my soapbox moment begins.) I need to cut us a little slack because whenever you’re entrenched in something that becomes your work you tend to become overly critical of the craft. Over time our standards have continually gone higher and we tend to be more critical of mistakes here and there.

Most critics go into film screenings with a preconceived notion of how good or bad the movie is going to be before they’ve ever seen one frame. For example, as we were waiting for the theater to go dark and the screen to light up I heard several critics talking about how awful “Skyscraper” was going to be and how they were going to tear it apart. Are you kidding me?

Sure, this isn’t going to be “Lawrence of Arabia,” but does everything need to be? “Skyscraper” has some terrible dialogue, obvious plot twists, a handful of shallow characters, absurd action set pieces, and I can’t count the number of times Johnson’s character should have died, but this movie is meant to give you an escape and entertain you for an hour and 40 minutes, and it did just that for me. You know what other movie has some terrible dialogue, obvious plot twists, a handful of shallow characters and absurd action set pieces? “Die Hard.”

I don’t think “Skyscraper” will be looked on in 30 years as an action classic, but I do think people will go to the theater and have a good time, forget about their troubles for a couple of hours and then move on with their day. In my book that means the movie succeeded and I give it a thumbs up. The bad

The movie has some real issues still in the fact it takes a little too long to get going. After an intense opening scene that could definitely be disturbing for many audiences the movie goes from 90 miles per hour to 0 in no time flat, but to get back to cruising speed it takes a bit longer and I found myself getting a little frustrated. The villains let me down.

The main baddie seemed like a bad rip off of Hans Gruber from “Die Hard,” which “Skyscraper” is clearly trying to emulate. There is also a female villain they wanted everyone to know was super hardcore and scary, but they took it a little far and she just came off as annoying. Conclusion

Understand me when I say “Skyscraper” isn’t a great movie and I’m not saying you need to rush out and see it. But I’m also telling you it’s not as bad as critics may want you to believe. If you want to go to the movies, turn your brain off for a while and get a small adrenaline rush from watching “The Rock” dangle more than a half a mile in the air then “Skyscraper” is the movie for you.

From now on I’m going to start watching movies the way I use to when I wasn’t so full of myself and try to enjoy them for what they are. With that in mind, I actually kind of liked “Skyscraper” and I think you may find a smile on your face while watching it as well. “Skyscraper” is rated PG-13 for sequences of gun violence and action, and for brief strong language.

Check tomorrow for a parent’s content guide for “Skyscraper.”

John has grown up around movies and annoys friends and family with his movie facts and knowledge.

John also has a passion for sports and pretty much anything awesome and it just so happens that these are the three things he writes about.

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New, larger Kachka promises to expand restaurant's best elements (review)


960 S.E.

11th Ave.503-235-0059kachkapdx.comDinner and late night, daily£££ When Bonnie and Israel Morales opened this close-in Southeast Portland restaurant and vodka bar in 2014, they were looking to fill a gap in Portland’s restaurant scene. Kachka turned into something more.

Named The Oregonian’s Rising Star in 2015, the restaurant quickly emerged as America’s first truly modern Russian restaurant. This summer, Kachka split itself in two, with the shotgun original rebranding as Kachinka, a casual restaurant with dumplings, vodka infusions and new bar bites including a Slavic meatball sub. Kachka itself headed eight blocks away to the goat blocks development, where, fingers crossed, it should be open around the time this guide publishes.

This new, larger restaurant will expand on some of the restaurant’s best elements: the dumplings, the gorgeous herring under a fur coat, the Georgian-style skewers and cheesy breads. Come fall, a Russian deli and vodka-tasting room will open on the mezzanine, with a vegetable garden planned for the roof. Order: Pickles, house-cured roe (or good caviar, if you’re feeling flush), Siberian pelmeni, rabbit in a clay pot, shashlik skewers and cheesy bread, plus shots of strawberry vodka while it lasts.

T-shirt option: The old location, now Kachinka (720 S.E.

Grand Ave.), essentially serves Kachka’s old happy hour menu all day, including dumplings, cocktails and some fun new bar bites, all at happy hour prices.

— Michael Russell

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