The Films of 2018


Obviously, this review is a little late.  I could say many things about that.  There’s something like 66 reviews in here for the movies I saw in 2018, so obviously that takes a while.  But then again, I’ve probably delivered more reviews on time before.  Maybe it’s because there were movies that I still wanted to see and I was catching up on them right up until the day before I’m posting this, but that’s not true either.  It’s probably mostly video games and procrastination.  But let’s not live in the past, shall we?  And let’s not delay any further!  Let’s get to my review of all the movies of 2018

 

JANUARY

INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY

Strangely, I would say that I enjoyed Insidious: The Last Key.  I say that this is strange because I recently picked it up from RedBox and a ways into the movie I realized I had already seen it and completely forgot.  I also couldn’t remember where it sits in the timeline of the other movies because I also couldn’t remember most of them.  It seems I can come to the conclusion with them that they’re fun in the moment, but ultimately forgettable.  It’s probably a bit unreasonable on my part to expect logic out of a ghost movie, but this movie has a couple of notable lapses.  Such as the fact that the psychic lady claims she will never forget the look on her mother’s face when she died…even though we saw it and she was possessed at the time AND facing in the opposite direction.  Also, what is the point of the psychic lady when she isn’t able to see what the two regular nerdy dudes in the truck can see with just a camera?  Lin Shaye is a good actress though; she just isn’t always given a lot to work with.    But the movie is a fun enough time; it’s just not much more than that

 

THE COMMUTER

The Commuter is probably exactly what you imagine it to be.  Assuming you even paid attention to it long enough to imagine anything about it.  And those people are right as well.  It’s completely forgettable, entirely skippable, but if you see it, it’s fine.  It’s nothing special, but it gets the job done, and is enough fun along the way.  It’s got some twists and turns, many of them pretty obvious, a few of them less so.  The action is decent enough for a fun time rental though, and you could do much worse.

 

FEBRUARY

WINCHESTER

I believe I opened my review of Winchester by calling it “boring and underwhelming.”  I’m sticking with that.  And since I did a video review of this movie, I’ll probably just link you to that and not waste too much time but to say it was boring, it was not scary, the performances were lackluster, and a lot of it didn’t even bother to stick to its own mythology, like how ghosts were locked in their rooms with 13 nails but they could just push those out if they felt like it.  Also, the main character tries to fight ghosts with a hammer.  And also the logic of the ghosts for why they’re haunting these people was completely ridiculous.  You made the gun, so I hate you.  Not the person that fired the gun or the people that made my inferior gun, nor the politicians controlling the war you were killed in.  Just the manufacturers.  Don’t bother with this movie.

 

THE CLOVERFIELD PARADOX

The Cloverfield Paradox was fairly beaten up by the critics.  Having been a fan of the previous 2 Cloverfield movies, what I had heard of this one kept me from bothering to watch it even though it was available to stream on a service I was already paying for.  Well I eventually got around to it and I’ve decided that they were a bit harsh.  It is the worst Cloverfield movie so far, sure, but it’s perfectly enjoyable.  I would say that as a Cloverfield movie, it’s more satisfying than 10 Cloverfield Lane just because it actually feels like it has something to do with the Cloverfield monster whereas the other movie only had it as a backdrop at the very end.  Lane was a much better movie, but at least this has something to do with the series.  It’s also exciting enough as a sci-fi movie in general to be worth the watch.

 

FIFTY SHADES FREED

I think a Fifty Shades movie has bottomed out my list for the last 3 years.  Well the writer never got better.  It also seems that she has short-term memory problems, which is why every problem seems like it needs to be resolved in the scene in which it originated.  And then sex happens, like it’s the blank page between chapters.  Which is how I imagine it was written.  Someone is following us?  Lose them 2 minutes later…then sex in the car.  Have an argument?  Well, you’ll get over it.  And then we’ll have sex.  Hey!  We found your birth mother’s grave!  Let stand in the rain over it for a bit, go home, and then obviously sex.  And that’s how we’ll end our movie!  Like the scenes added anything or had any point!  But you know what I think the worst thing is about the Fifty Shades?  Worse than the horrible writing and lackluster acting?  That these movies actually make me bored of sex.

 

PETER RABBIT

I confess that I watched Peter Rabbit fully expecting to be adding to my worst movies list, so I was extremely disappointed to find that it was actually fairly pleasant.  How awful, right?  Well this jerk of a movie had the gall to be a solid kid’s movie.  It’s cute, fairly well-acted, has a great cast, and was even fairly funny.  It’s not a movie I would recommend for an adult to just watch on their own, but I think adults will have a good enough time watching it with their kids.

 

BLACK PANTHER

I enjoyed Black Panther a great deal, but it felt like it didn’t resonate with me quite as much as it did with the critics.  It had great action and a fantastic cast, and actually added social commentary to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which I don’t think I was ever expecting.  And all of those are great and wonderful things, but the general story of the movie just felt a little cookie cutter to me.  It just felt like a fairly basic origin story, even though technically he was already Black Panther, but he gets his powers taken away so he can REorigin story.  So great movie, progressive movie; all of these things are true.  But it’s not the best Marvel movie ever.  Hell, it’s not even the best one this year.

 

GAME NIGHT

Game Night was a fairly basic comedy, but it was an enjoyable experience.  It’s an interesting premise for a movie and a story with some nice twists and an excellent cast to elevate it.  More importantly than that, it’s a comedy and I laughed a couple times watching it, and that’s what’s supposed to happen.  A solid watch when all was said and done.

 

ANNIHILATION

Annihilation was pretty much what I expected based on the commercials.  It looked really pretty, but slightly less pretty than Natalie Portman.  …And that was about all I expected.  But there was a little more to it than that.  It was also pretty smart, or at least I assume it was because I don’t feel like I actually understood what the movie was all about, but I did feel like I enjoyed it anyway.  Comprehension is overrated anyway.  You could also say it’s very empowering to women because the group of scientists that went in were all ladies, but then again the first thing they did when one of them was attacked by a creature was put their guns down on the floor and run over to wrestle the attacked woman away from a giant alligator with their hands.  But it did have very interesting visuals and some very awful creatures, like that beast that could imitate human screams.  That was a nightmare.

 

MARCH

RED SPARROW

Most people seemed to expect a lot out of Red Sparrow.  I suppose I did too.  Jennifer Lawrence as a badass spy?  How could you go wrong?  Well, I don’t know that I’d go as far as to say they went “wrong”, per se, but they didn’t go right.  They went towards sexy spy thriller, and I guess they pulled off sexy in so much as they cast Jennifer Lawrence and she got naked.  As a guy, I would say that counts.  Other than that, the story had some twists and turns I didn’t see coming and then it was a lot of Jennifer Lawrence getting her ass beat.  So if you’re into that sort of thing…

 

DEATH WISH

Death Wish was a fine action movie that I have almost entirely forgotten already.  I assume that means it was great.  It was a pretty basic action movie with some cool kills occasionally, but the only real surprise in the movie is that Vincent D’Onofrio didn’t turn out to be the bad guy.  That guy is either always the bad guy or turns out to be the bad guy.

 

A WRINKLE IN TIME

I had no idea what was happening at most points of this movie.  What was it about?  Why was Oprah gigantic and poorly rendered?  Why do they keep calling this little boy by his full name every single time they talk to him or refer to him?  Why are these kids so excited by riding on the back of dragon Reese Witherspoon that their first thought is that they should jump up and down until one plummets to their death?  Why do I do this to myself?  Well I do it for you, readers and watchers.  This is all your fault!  I don’t want to totally crap all over this movie, so I will say that it was fairly visually impressive, but that was about all it had going for it.

 

THE HURRICANE HEIST

I was aware of Hurricane Heist but it felt like one of those Asylum ripoff movies like Atlantic Rim or Transmorphers.  It wasn’t quite that bad though, but it was equally as pointless.  If you want to know what the movie is, know that it’s a meteorologist fighting bank robbers with hurricane-propelled hubcaps.  …That is not a joke.  And that one sentence will probably tell you everything you need to know to make an assumption about the movie.  But it’s kind of fun in its silliness and it’s graphics were better than an Asylum movie (if you can forgive them putting a skull in the hurricane, just to let the audience know it’s bad) and the worst part of the movie is the main character’s accent.  I don’t know if it was real or fake, but it got on my nerves

 

TOMB RAIDER

I was a bit surprised by the reception for the new Tomb Raider movie.  Video game movies in general tend to take a beating.  Their stories don’t tend to be impressive to film critics and fans of the games are usually let down that they weren’t able to compress 60 hours of gameplay into a 2 hour movie that fulfills their expectations.  I thought the new Tomb Raider did pretty well.  It felt like they turned the first Tomb Raider reboot game into a movie pretty accurately, sometimes even feeling like they took scenes straight out of the game for the movie.  It was the more grounded Lara Croft I enjoyed in the reboot games and Alicia Vikander was perfect for the role.  It wasn’t the best movie, but it was certainly the best Tomb Raider movie, and I guess I hoped it’d do better because I hope they make another one with Vikander.  Time will tell, I suppose.

 

PACIFIC RIM UPRISING

Pacific Rim was pretty cool.  I guess we should make another one.  Uprising does it’s best to recapture a bit of what Pacific Rim had, but it just felt like a bit of a rehash.  It wasn’t anything new and wasn’t as fun as its predecessor, but you could do much worse.  If you wanted a little bit more from Pacific Rim…well, I’d probably actually recommend you just rewatch the first one because it does most things much better.  But you could also watch the sequel instead.

 

READY PLAYER ONE

I have only vague memories of Ready Player One and I can’t find my notes about it.  Also, I own the movie but can’t inspire myself to watch it again as a refresher.  That probably doesn’t bode well for the movie.  But I did buy it, so who knows?  What I can say I remember was that the story wasn’t terribly thrilling, but at least it had some good visuals and some fun ideas in it, and of course I was most likely the target audience with how many movie, video game, and pop culture references they try to cram into the movie.  But in the end it felt more like they were trying to yell, “HEY KIDS!  Remember these awesome things?!  Well we’re awesome too, right?!  You’ll remember us together forever!”  …But no, not really.  Back to the Future is awesome; you just have a DeLorean.  It wasn’t bad, but it didn’t have a lot of substance.  I’d say it’s a nice popcorn flick to shut your brain off to and watch all the pretty colors.  HEY!  Is that Chucky!?

 

APRIL

A QUIET PLACE

I was very impressed with A Quiet Place.  At first I heard that Jim from The Office was making a horror movie with his wife and felt pretty skeptical about how that would turn out.  I finally relented to it when it reached Redbox.  I already felt pretty confident in Krasinski and Blunt as actors, but how would Krasinski do as also a writer and director.  Turns out pretty damned well.  The story is well enough, but the actual good stuff in this movie comes with how it’s made.  They do so well with the sound design in the movie that it’s actually very jarring when something makes a sound in the movie, which makes you feel like the people in the movie.  Both of us REALLY want it to be quiet.  Probably the people in the movie a little more than the viewer.  The stakes for us is being startled, but they get eaten.  I took very few negative thoughts away from this movie.  One was a fairly common one with me that I feel that in the movie (as I tend to feel in life in general) that the adults would be so much better off without the kids.  The other one is on the parents because if you live in a world where you can’t make a single sound without risking horrible death, then you need to use a condom, master the pull out, or freaking abstain from sex so you don’t go knocking up your lady.  Kids are problem enough, but no way are you keeping things perfectly silent through both childbirth and infancy with that thing.  Keep it in your pants!

 

BLOCKERS

Blockers is a perfectly solid comedy.  It spends the majority of its time being extremely immature, having most of its jokes revolving around dicks, poop, vomit, and the like.  But later in the movie it does show that it has a bit of a brain in how it deals with the issue of why it always seems to be the case that parents are so vehement that their kids not do exactly what most of them did when it comes to exploring their sexuality.  Sadly, I probably side too much with the parents though, and I occasionally found it uncomfortable to watch what at least we were supposed to believe were high school girls talking about gettin’ some dick.  All three of the main parents held up their ends of the bargain in the movie though, but I was particularly interested in Geraldine Viswanathan, who played John Cena’s daughter.  I felt she was the funniest one in the movie.  Solid movie, though.

 

RAMPAGE

As I mentioned with Tomb Raider, bringing the story of a video game into a movie is a tricky thing.  But what do you do if that game really has not story?  As best I can recall, the closest thing to a story the Rampage games ever had was that giant monsters like to punch buildings until they fall down, go boom.  So I guess Rampage the movie captured that perfectly.  That’s about what the story was here too.  Also, the Rock’s there, which more often than not is a plus as far as I’m concerned.  I’m also not one to act like I’m in any way above a nice, brainless blockbuster.  Rampage is plenty fun enough as a mindless way to kill 2 hours and a tub of popcorn.

 

TRUTH OR DARE

I’m struggling to remember much of anything about Truth or Dare.  I saw it a while ago and feel like I just thought it was fine.  The idea of a deadly, paranormally enhanced game of Truth or Dare is interesting enough, if not just a bit silly of a premise that somehow demons just love playing this game so much but they wanna spice it up with some killing.  It also makes me wonder if the porn version of this movie is a haunted game of Fuck, Marry, Kill.  But all things considered, it was fairly well done.  The possessed faces walked a very fine line between spooky and goofy and laughable, but it didn’t take that much away from things.

 

I FEEL PRETTY

I enjoy Amy Schumer most of the time and I was quite fond of Trainwreck, but I Feel Pretty didn’t do much for me.  It just seemed ridiculous in a lot of places, even if you ignore the premise of the movie that comes straight from almost every cartoon from my childhood.  You know the one.  Character gets some head trauma and completely changes their personality until they get hit again and revert, occasionally learning a lesson about themselves.  But beyond that, maybe I’m blessed to have just not encountered it myself, but a lot of the people seemed a little too blatant about their feelings about slightly bigger people, especially in their place of work.  People would loudly ask their coworker in the back if they have plus sizes and, without asking, retail employees would approach people and let them know that bigger sizes are online.  Maybe it happens, but those people probably don’t have jobs there very long.  I also wondered how successful guys are flirting with models while being complete shits to the bigger gal they are talking with.  I would guess not very.  But pretty much all of the main cast of this movie is good and likeable, and the movie has a good message about liking yourself, but if you’re going to be ridiculous you could at least use it to be funny, and this movie wasn’t funny enough.

 

SUPER TROOPERS 2

I really enjoyed the first Super Troopers movie and was tentatively hopeful when I heard they were making a second one.  I was let down.  I’m not sure what exactly it was that disappointed me though.  The jokes felt roughly similar to the first one, so was the problem that I’ve seen too many of their jokes before, or was it that I’ve matured past the point of enjoying this in the more than a decade that separated the two movies while the Broken Lizard crew has not?  I don’t know, but I do know that Super Troopers 2 wasn’t really my cup of tea.

 

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR

I absolutely loved Infinity War; I saw it multiple times in the theaters, and then I watched it numerous times later on at home.  I kind of wanna watch it again right now!  Infinity War is so damned impressive in how well the Russo’s were able to juggle not only the numerous stars that all deserved at least a piece of a storyline, but also the multiple storylines themselves.  It never felt like it was too much or that any character didn’t get enough to do, and the movie always felt like it was moving forward and never really felt like it was in a lull.  And of course, there’s the ending, which frankly blew my mind and left me speechless for a while after the movie.  The characters were all as great as they always were, with Thanos being the standout.  He was awesome and also had very clear purpose that you could almost understand in a twisted way.  It makes sense what he’s trying to do, even if no one wants to be the one to pull the trigger.  And the CG was so good on him that, along with Brolin’s performance capture, you could be forgiven for forgetting he wasn’t really there.  There were only two issues I can remember leaving this moment with.  The first being how resentful the movie left me to Peter Quill for the most boneheaded lack of forethought ever.  I get it: he was in a bad place, but you also ruined EVERYTHING and accomplished nothing by doing it.  The second problem is a problem I’m still dealing with to this day, almost a year after its release: That I’ve had to wait this long (and longer still) for the conclusion!  Ant-Man didn’t give me enough to keep me going!  But if you’re going to have a problem with a movie, this is probably the one they want you to have.

 

MAY

DEADPOOL 2

Deadpool 2 suffered slightly from the high bar set by its predecessor.  The first one was so funny and surprising and good, but this one wasn’t going to be able to be as surprising because the first one happened already.  It also wanted to make a lot of jokes referencing jokes from the first movie, but they didn’t feel as funny because we had seen them before.  But they certainly had their share of new stuff: they had a pretty good story, they had Ryan Reynolds in all his glory, and they added Josh Brolin and Zazie Beetz, who were both fantastic.  The only other issues I took with the movie was what happened with some other new characters in X-Factor who, shall we say, didn’t get much screen time, and also with what happened at the end of the movie which essentially wiped out the entire plot advancement of the movie.

I feel like I should also add that (upon my mother’s recommendation) I watched Once Upon a Deadpool, the PG-13 recut of the movie.  I would not have considered watching this under normal circumstances.  I saw the full version, why would I watch the one where someone went in and poorly replaced the F-word with “funk?”  But this was so much more than that.  I gotta say: this may be the version to watch.  I don’t think you’re missing too much, and this version just adds a bunch of stuff.  It felt faster paced than the original, probably because they had to cut out chunks of scenes of people sitting around making dick jokes, and they added a bunch of great new jokes making fun of the fact that they went PG-13.  And the stuff with Fred Savage was killer.  “Marvel licensed by Fox is like the Beatles produced by Nickelback?”  Brilliant.  If you enjoyed Deadpool, don’t skip out on this version thinking they took out all the goods.  They probably added more good stuff than they removed.

 

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY

Solo was … fine.  That sounds okay, but as a Star Wars fan, I’m automatically predisposed to give a Star Wars movie the benefit of the doubt and knock it up a few points for just being Star Wars related, so I wonder what that means about the movie itself.  And in a situation like this, it’s also possible that the movie could suffer from my fandom since it wasn’t the same people I was a fan of.  And there were no lightsabers that I can recall.  But the movie didn’t really add or subtract anything from the series for me.  I didn’t hate it, but I could’ve done without it.  At least the cast was all pretty good.  I was happy with Donald Glover, and Alden Ehrenreich did about as well as he could, but he wasn’t Harrison Ford.  Overall, Solo sits in the hierarchy about where it sits in the chronology; just above the prequels, but behind most everything else.

 

JUNE

UPGRADE

Upgrade was better that it had any right to be.  I expected that I’d enjoy it because I enjoy dumb action movies, but this action movie was actually kinda smart.  I just expected Death Wish with a robot brained guy, which it was, but also had some unexpected twists to the story, especially a big one at the end that I didn’t see coming at all.  It was pretty well-acted too, but more importantly in the case of this movie, it had some great fights and some really brutal action that I really dug.  Check this movie out.

 

OCEAN’S 8

I was never a big fan of any of the Oceans movies.  They just didn’t do anything for me.  So what would happen if they did what to me felt like roughly the same thing but with a cast that was mostly female?  …Not change anything too much really.  I guess it was a little bit easier on the eyes, maybe.

 

HEREDITARY

I wrote a full review for Hereditary back in October if you want to see all the opinions on it, although I’m not even fully sure I’ve yet come to grips with said opinions.  Basically I decided that the movie was unsettling, and I’d probably lean towards saying it was scary, but I also thought it was a little confusing and the performances were a little over the top at times.  It’s such a polarizing movie though, so everyone else’s opinions could go either way.

 

HOTEL ARTEMIS

Going into it, I assumed Hotel Artemis was going to essentially be “You know that hotel from John Wick?  You think we can make a whole movie out of that?”  And that’s basically what it was, but they pulled it off fairly well.  It was kinda funny, somewhat interesting, had some decent action, and a ridiculous cast.  It’s far from a must see movie, but it’s a solid watch.

 

INCREDIBLES 2

I think the most difficult part of reviewing Incredibles 2 is in comparing it to the original.  The original gets a bit of an edge for starting it all and introducing us to the characters, but I think I prefer the sequel, where we already know the characters and get to spend more time with the whole family and not just mostly the parents.  Jack-Jack is too cute and fun to spend so much time in the background!  The story was not dissimilar to the original.  I would say the big reveal of the movie was not terribly surprising, but I also suppose that not everything needs to be.  All that really matters is that it’s every bit as good and as fun as the original, if not slightly more so.

 

TAG

Tag was a perfectly acceptable comedy with a couple of laughs and a kind of sweet ending.  The concept of it seems ridiculous until you find out that it’s based on a real game of tag some grown adults have been playing for decades and I think are still playing today.  THAT is ridiculous.  Making a movie about it just makes more sense knowing that.  Damned good cast too.  It’s certainly a missable movie, but you could do worse.

 

JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM

It’s just more of the same every time, isn’t it?  People just saying, “Look, I know it worked out poorly last time, but I think we could make an even better, more killing-er dinosaur!”  Am I talking about the Jurassic Park franchise or what the people in the movie would be saying?  I don’t even know anymore.  I really can’t say that I hated the movie, but it is starting to make me aware of the fact that they’re pretty much the same movie every time.  The likeability of Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard can only take these movies so far when they get progressively more stupid.

 

JULY

THE FIRST PURGE

I constantly claim that I’m not a fan of the Purge films, yet I believe I’ve seen every single one.  One of those things will have to change eventually, and after seeing this one I imagine it’ll be the latter rather than the former.  It’s not that I think they’re poorly made movies; it’s just that they never really feel different and they don’t resonate with me at all.  I also tend to forget them immediately afterwards.  This one is (obviously) about how the Purge started.  That’s about the only thing that felt slightly different.  Otherwise the story is basic and the character motivations don’t really add up to me.  Like the holier than thou protestor girl that won’t agree to hang out with the drug dealer on Purge night even though he seems like a nice guy AND has an army to protect them and isn’t asking for anything in return.  Or Marisa Tomei’s character who is angry that the government is faking it to make it look like the Purge is successful even though SHE is the one who suggested the Purge in the first place.  But I guess I’d say if you are the kind of person that enjoys these movies, this is another one.  Not really for me though.

 

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP

Ant-Man 2 was a fantastic and fun movie, but it was put in a difficult place.  I’m not saying that it was hurt by comparison to Infinity War because I wasn’t really drawing that comparison.  The problem for me was that Infinity War ended on such a mind-blowing cliffhanger that I still need a resolution to in a big bad way, so I was definitely thirsty for it just a few months removed.  Ant-Man 2 did not progress the events of Infinity War except for a little bit in the post-credit sequences, nor was it trying to.  It was trying to tell its own, fun, self-contained, more personal story, and it did that.  But I need resolution to Infinity War so bad that every movie I see is going to be tainted by that.  So if I’m going to knock Peter Rabbit a few points for not progressing Infinity War, I’m certainly going to do that to a Marvel movie.  Fun movie though, when you get past that.

 

SKYSCRAPER

Skyscraper is probably better than most people expected it to be, but how good were most people expecting it to be?  The story doesn’t really amount to much more than Die Hard with a bigger building and John McClane is starting from outside the building, but it’s a big dumb action movie so I wasn’t expecting much more than that.  I will say that there was no reason that I could see that The Rock needed to have only one leg, and I don’t even think they ever used it to make the joke about a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest.  The action wasn’t the most mind-blowing thing ever, but The Rock can add points to any movie and at least make it work.  And it does.  Fun popcorn movie if you don’t have much else to watch.

 

THE EQUALIZER 2

Going into the Sequelizer, my biggest concern was that I would have to remember anything about the first one.  I didn’t, but I felt like I was fine without remembering.  The story didn’t seem to rely on the first one.  There wasn’t much of a story anyway really.  Kind of basic action movie stuff, a surprise bad guy I saw coming from a mile away, but the action was pretty good and it was an enjoyable watch.  I also think there’s probably going to be a time when Denzel Washington is too old to be believable as an action star, but that time has not yet come.  He’s like black Liam Neeson.

 

UNFRIENDED: DARK WEB

Unfriended: Dark Web was a pretty solid horror movie with a fairly underwhelming twist at the end, but not really underwhelming enough to ruin the rest of the experience.  Interesting concept and some decent uses of the webcam horror.  I couldn’t really get beyond the idea that the guy who owned the murder laptop was apparently a super hacker computer maestro but he also forgets his laptop in a cyber café and has all his passwords saved on it.  That part was explained in the end, but I still spent the rest of the movie irritated by it, and of course I felt the ending was a bit weak anyway.  I also didn’t really get the choice that had to be made at the end.  Look, I love my mom, and I also don’t want to seem callous or anything, but if you have to choose who lives and your choices are 1) mom dying of cancer and 2) the young, healthy woman you love, that doesn’t seem like that hard of a choice.  I’m sure your mom would even agree with you.  I mean, definitely feel bad about it later, of course…

 

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT

I had a bit of a rocky start with Mission: Impossible-Fallout.  I went to see it in theaters when it first came out and the screen went black a third of the way in.  Apparently, the bulb burnt out on the projector and they wouldn’t be able to restart the movie.  The theater told us, “This kind of thing happens,” to which I thought, “…Really?  I’ve seen an awful lot of movies in my 35 years and this would make a grand total of one times.”  But I got a free ticket and intended to see it again and just never got around to it.  Then it came out on DVD and I felt obligated to buy it even though I didn’t really know if it was good.   And then after seeing it, I’d say it’s roughly the same as every other Mission: Impossible movie.  The IMF needs to stop a bad guy, all the other governments think the IMF is to blame, the IMF needs to overcome both to win.  And there’s probably a double agent too.  Maybe give Ethan Hunt the benefit of the doubt every once and a while.  But another thing it shares with the other Mission: Impossible movies is that it’s pretty good.  Lots of good action and spectacular moments.  You’ll have fun, even if you won’t be surprised.

 

AUGUST

CHRISTOPHER ROBIN

I don’t recall being a terribly big fan of Winnie the Pooh in my youth and didn’t really feel any inspiration to see Christopher Robin, but as the end of the year approaches, I find myself relaxing on my standards when I visit Redbox machines.  All that being said, I found I was pretty charmed by the movie after a little while.  It was pretty relentlessly adorable and sweet once it got going.  I wouldn’t call it a must-see movie for adults, but as something to watch with kids, it’s certainly endearing.

 

THE SPY WHO DUMPED ME

I don’t know if I would dump The Spy Who Dumped Me per se.  I wouldn’t kick it out of bed because Mila Kunis is in it and who would ever kick her out of bed, but I also don’t know if I would necessarily pursue it.  It’s fine.  I didn’t hate it, but I don’t really recall laughing at it, and I am inclined to believe that things that involve Kate McKinnon will make me laugh at some point.

 

THE MEG

The Meg had no right to be as fun and entertaining as it was.  And it seemed to be intentionally so, unlike the Sharknado type movies I believed it to be going in.  Now don’t get me wrong; I chose my words very carefully there.  It’s not a “good” movie.  It’s a fun and entertaining movie.  Big dumb action at its finest, and it’s fully aware that it’s dumb and makes good use of that for some funny moments.  It also has a really strong cast, and uses people like Jason Statham and Rainn Wilson for exactly what they’re good at, but also lets Bingbing Li show some sides I’ve never seen of her.  I think I’ve only ever seen her play a Femme Fatale type character, but she also pulled off comedy and a little bit of dramatic acting very well.  I recommend you check out The Meg for a rental.

 

BLACKKKLANSMAN

I was not expecting to go into a Spike Lee movie about the KKK and have fun while learning, but somehow I did.  Blackkklansman captured an interesting real life story and turned it into an interesting plot.  And they even managed to make it funny even though it probably shouldn’t technically have been with how sadly close to home it can feel.  I can’t think of a performance that wasn’t great either, and I was particularly happy to see Paul Walter Hauser in the movie, who really stole the show in I, Tonya.  Definitely a movie to check out.

 

SLENDER MAN

A movie about an internet meme.  Like a horror Grumpy Cat.  How well could anyone have expected that to go?  Slender Man starts off as a group of teenage girls talking about dicks and stuff, and then the movie itself turns into a whole bag of dicks.  It tries to steal from The Ring with its creepy flashing images, but the best that is able to muster is reminding me of a better horror movie.  Its story was weak, the performances only required screaming, and it just wasn’t scary.  It wasn’t particularly well done either, like a scene in a dark house where a music sting told me something scary happened, but I had to rewind and rewatch 3 times before I noticed a shadow move a pixel in the background.  They probably could’ve turned Slender Man into a decent movie, but it feels like they rushed it out as fast as they could to capitalize on the myth before kids forgot all about it and moved on to eating Tide Pods.  I would say Tide Pods are probably more satisfying though.

 

ALPHA

Alpha was a solid movie about a lost cave boy who makes friends with a doggie and then teaches his tribe how to make friends with doggies too.  As someone that likes dogs more than people, I was personally rooting for the dog for most of the movie.  If what was best for the dog happened to work out for this boy, cool.  The movie has a feel good outcome, is well-acted, mostly by once-Nightcrawler Kodi Smit-McPhee, and the movie looks great.  It’s not a movie anyone necessarily needs to see, but it’s a solid watch.

 

MILE 22

Mile 22 is a fairly standard action movie.  A bit of twists and turns to the story, but nothing you couldn’t see coming if you didn’t shut your brain off to the movie beforehand.  But in this kind of movie, it’s generally recommended to shut your brain off and not think too much about what you’re watching.  Watch people punch people, shoot people, blow people up.  The movie will deliver fairly well on that.  And Lauren Cohan is hot, so it’s got that going for it.  Iko Uwais is generally good for some solid fight scenes too.  Mark Wahlberg’s character was pretty annoying to me with his rubber band thing and his generally abrasive personality, but it wasn’t enough to ruin it.  If you’re not in the mood for action, this movie has nothing else for you, but it can scratch an itch if it needs to.

 

THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS

I wouldn’t say I was expecting much from Happytime Murders.  It had plenty of things going for it.  The world of a seedy underbelly of the normally happy puppet world has a lot of potential, and the cast is pretty excellent.  I’ve never really been crazy about Melissa McCarthy, but she has the ability to hold a comedy if the writing is there.  But Maya Rudolph, Joel McHale, Elizabeth Banks, and Michael McDonald I do tend to enjoy more often than not, and even they couldn’t make this movie work.  Dirty puppets can work for a comedy (I’ve seen Avenue Q), but vulgar for the sake of vulgar isn’t really enough for me.  You can skip this move.  See Avenue Q instead, if you can.

 

SEARCHING

Searching was a pleasant surprise.  The method of execution they chose for the movie (everything being shown through a computer) can strain believability and put a strain on the audience.  Why and how were all of these things being filmed?  And why am I watching a computer screen for this long and it’s not porn and videos of people hurting themselves attempting something stupid?  But, they were able to make it work with a well-written story (with a couple twists at the end I didn’t see coming), and some great performances, especially John Cho, who slowly came unhinged as the movie went along and gave the best performance I’ve ever seen from him.  There were a few things I took issue with, such as suggesting that Margot may still have run away because they found $2,500 in her car…which was in a lake.  ‘Cause you know how you run away and make sure you have some seed money and get rid of your car so no one can find you and then DOH!  My money was in there!  Boy is my face red!  But that’s me nitpicking a movie I enjoyed, so you don’t let that stop you from checking it out.

 

SEPTEMBER

THE NUN

Another movie I already did a video review of, I enjoyed The Nun.  I enjoy most of the Conjuring series.  They’re not technically the best movies, but it was solid.  It wasn’t the same atmospheric spookiness of a lot of the other Conjuring movies; it was almost the ghost equivalent of an action movie, ramping the jump scares to 11 in the beginning and acting almost like a zombie movie.  The movie had good performances as well, though it seemed like an odd decision to cast Vera Farmiga’s sister in the role as they would look so much alike but seemingly have no connection to each other in the mythos of the movie.  Maybe future movies will explain that, but this one didn’t.  I’ll be sure to find out though because this movie was enjoyable enough that I’ll be seeing whatever comes next as well.

 

PEPPERMINT

I like a badass chick.  I have two pets named after them (Ripley and Leia).  I would be so down for a movie like Peppermint…if it were good.  Peppermint was just passable at best.  There were a lot of frustrating writing choices, such as the cops thinking it was more important to hunt down the woman that wants justice as opposed to the gang that guns down an innocent woman and her family.  Or the news station that needs the police to make a statement on vigilante justice.  My guess is they are against it.  And the mob boss that doesn’t order all of his gang members to surround themselves with little girls since they’re obviously this lady’s kryptonite.  So basically, this movie really wants to be lady Batman.  …Or Batman if the shooter had killed Bruce and Thomas and Martha was the one that survived…  And she was cool with killing and guns…  Okay, that comparison missed the mark a bit.  So did this movie.  Riley wasn’t nearly badass enough and the story needed work.  It wouldn’t hurt to see it, but just go watch Aliens.

 

THE PREDATOR

It’s going to become difficult for young people to understand how the Predator has become as iconic as it has when it’s percentile of good movies is so low.  6 movies, one good one, one passable one.  And this was one of the other four.  The Predator uses a dismembered arm to fake a soldier giving a thumbs up!  Fuck you, movie!  I’m gonna use a dismembered arm to give this movie a thumbs down…and then jam it up their asses.

 

OCTOBER

VENOM

Try as I might and want as I did, I found myself unable to connect with Venom.  I really like Venom as a character, but I feel like I don’t know him very well as a character as I haven’t followed his story much outside of his interactions with Spider-Man.  The Venom I know wasn’t as much of a comedic character as this one tried to be.  He would never threaten someone with a long story about how they’d look like a “turd” after he ate their limbs.  He probably would’ve just eaten their limbs.  I also don’t think the Venom I know would be concerned about the fact that Eddie is making him “look bad.”  I like Tom Hardy a lot, but his portrayal of Eddie Brock really worked my nerves.  He’s an asshole who screws up his life and blames everyone else.  It wasn’t Drake’s fault that you lost everything.  You stole information from your girlfriend and you just had to be an Edge Lord when interviewing him which lost you your job.  It may be a little to blame on your boss for sending you in the first place.  At that point, I had only known Eddie for a few minutes and I knew exactly how that interview was gonna go.  The action wasn’t that great either.  If you thought it was hard to tell what was happening in Transformers when chunks of metal were smashing into each other, wait till you see two slightly different color blobs of goo smashing into each other as a fight scene.  I didn’t really enjoy Venom, but I do hope they make more because I think they have the elements to make a good Venom movie here, but they just weren’t able to.  But really, the best part of the movie was the Into the Spider-Verse clip in the credits.

 

A STAR IS BORN

I feel like my viewing of A Star is Born benefited from going into the movie clean.  I knew about the previous versions of the movie in a very basic sense but never saw them.  The idea I had about them was that it was this love story of a musician that starts the career of another musician he falls in love with and they get too big and then their relationship sours.  That kind of happens, but that wasn’t the surprise at the end of the movie I didn’t see coming, which allowed the movie to really shock me when it happened.  Granted, I would’ve preferred it was a little more clear what exactly Bradley Cooper was doing in that garage because I was only able to figure it out from people talking about it later and looking it up on Wikipedia, but that’s really the only gripe I had with this movie.  I don’t know how much credit you can give the story here because I don’t know how much it took from the other versions, but I really enjoyed it.  The music was also great, inspiring me to pick up the soundtrack later.  Every performance in the movie was also fantastic.  Bradley Cooper was great and seemed like he was doing a Sam Elliott impression for a lot of the movie, then Sam Elliott himself shows up and gives an even better Sam Elliott impression, but also the best performance I’ve seen of him.  Granted, I think I’ve only really seen him in Roadhouse and Ghost Rider, but this was great too.  And of course, I had never really seen Lady Gaga act before, but she is damned good at that too.  Most of the time I’ve known of Lady Gaga I’ve tried to write her off for her poppy songs and gimmicky persona, but over the years as she’s peeled that stuff away I’ve begrudgingly had to admit that she’s got damned good singing chops and now she apparently can act as well.  I guess I’ll just have to give in and admit that the lady is talented.  A Star is Born is a great love story that will warm and break your heart, and the songs are flat out quality.  Definitely recommend this movie.

 

HALLOWEEN

Slasher films (including many of the ones in the Halloween family) are often a source of mockery for me.  And they’re often quite deserving.  So when this year’s Halloween movie came out and decided to wipe away the other Halloween movies from canon, you’d think I’d agree with them.  And mostly I would, but I feel like people in this town would take Michael Myers more seriously if his body count was 47 instead of 6.  But I was pleasantly surprised by this movie.  It was damned enjoyable.  Or as enjoyable as you can say a slasher film is.  A lot of people were brutally murdered, so I don’t wanna act like I enjoyed it too much.  Story was somewhat simple but with the current of Jamie Lee Curtis’ PTSD giving it a little more meat.  Jamie Lee Curtis was great, as was Andi Matichak.  Judy Greer wasn’t very likeable for most of the movie, and at the end I was about to get real mad at her for the cliché shit her character was about to pull, but then she swerved so hard and turned that moment into a moment of supreme radness that totally redeemed her character.  If you dig on a horror movie, check this one out.  And try to tell me that Greer moment didn’t make the whole movie worthwhile.  You’ll know the one.

 

NOVEMBER

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY

Though I would say I enjoyed Bohemian Rhapsody, I was also very surprised by how many awards it was taking home.  The story was fine, but wasn’t impressive.  I certainly didn’t have any criticism for the fact that they changed the timeline of some of the real life events.  It wasn’t a documentary, so changing how things happened slightly for more satisfying movie moments is perfectly acceptable to me.  But the movie itself was just enjoyable, not mind-blowing.  I give proper credit to Rami Malek’s performance, but really the true success of the movie was how much watching the movie drove me into a Queen craze afterwards.  After seeing the movie, I had to go watch their epic Live Aid performance as well as the Freddie Mercury tribute concert, and I’ve also had the soundtrack for Bohemian Rhapsody practically on loop in my car since I saw it, and before seeing the movie I only had a passing knowledge of Queen, essentially including Bohemian Rhapsody (which I found from Wayne’s World), Don’t Stop Me Now (which I found from Shaun of the Dead), and We Are the Champions (which I found everywhere).  But really, that credit should be given to Queen more than the movie.

 

THE GRINCH

I’ve always been fine with the Grinch.  At least the original. It was essential holiday viewing in my childhood, but not so much anymore.  The Jim Carrey version was one I enjoyed because Jim Carrey was in it, but not something I feel the need to rewatch often.  And then they came out with another one.  I would’ve skipped it altogether had it not been for the involvement of Scott Mosier of Smodcast fame.  I’ve been following Mosier’s career as it tied into Kevin Smith’s for many years and was interested to see what his directing debut would look like.  And it was good.  The world didn’t really need another Grinch, but it’s funnier than the original and kids today might be more interested in this movie visually than the original, so it might be something the kids would like.  At least more than the adults who will probably turn their noses up at it for not being the one they saw when they were kids.  So this isn’t really a movie you need to go out and watch, but it’s fine, and your kids will probably like it.  If there are major criticisms to be levelled against it, the rap version of You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch by Tyler the Creator was painful to hear.  At least they let Welcome Christmas be in the movie without it being a Nicki Minaj remix.

 

OVERLORD

I had originally put Overlord on my list of movies to watch for the year, but decided it was low priority and never got around to it.  But the benefit of the tardiness of this review came as I had not finished the review yet by the time this movie came to RedBox.  I was surprised that this movie was much more enjoyable than it appeared.  It really just seemed like it was a basic war movie crossed with a basic horror movie, when it turned out to be a good version of both of those things put together.  And, much like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, they’re two great tastes that taste great together.  The story is basic and they had a couple missed opportunities, like when a character is gravely wounded and the bad guy says, “How does it feel?” and the good guy responds, “Not so fuckin’ great.”  I haven’t really bothered to think on it, but you could definitely have worked out a better, badass response than that.  Since he was stabbed by a hook, he could say, “I love it.  I think I’m addicted to it.  I’m really hooked on it.”  …That wasn’t great either, but I put no thought into it.  And I’m not being paid a lot to write it.  …Or being paid at all.  The cast was also great.  Euron Greyjoy was in it, as was the dude from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but the one who had most of my attention was Wyatt Russell.  Hot damn that guy has a lot of his dad (Kurt) in him.  I feel like I would not hate a reboot or sequel to Escape from New York with him taking over for his dad.  I’d call him “Snake.”  The movie didn’t really go for scares too much as it was really more of a gory, zombie-esque war movie, but it did that gore very well.  I definitely recommend you give this movie a shot.  It’s fun times.

 

FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD

Fantastic Beasts 2 answers all the prayers I had left unfulfilled from the Harry Potter series.  And by that I mean that I always wished Voldemort’s snake was actually a hot Asian lady.  Thankfully, this movie made that happen for me.  It didn’t deliver much else other than that though.  It wasn’t bad or even a bummer, but it was probably one of the worst in the franchise and just didn’t feel magical enough.  I know that’s a joke a lot of people would go for, but I’ve written a bunch of these so give me a break.  It really feels more like a filler movie.  We’re not being introduced to the world because the first one did that, but it’s not the last one either so it’s really just trying to keep us on the hook until we get there.  I guess you could say it succeeded in that because this didn’t talk me out of seeing the next one, but it didn’t blow me away either.  I guess I have to stick around to see Grindelwald get what’s coming to him.  I mean, they had him kill a dragon doggie and a baby in his first 2 appearances.  Just in case you were wondering if he was a bad guy or not.

 

BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS

I had not heard of the Ballad of Buster Scruggs until the two hosts of the Just 2 Pals podcast (the only form of entertainment I know of that’s as bad at posting content as I am) recommended it to me.  And I would say for the most part, I was happy to find the movie.  I like a good western and this was one of them, and I enjoyed the greater majority of the stories, but not knowing anything about the movie beforehand, I went in not quite realizing that I might not want to bother getting attached to anyone.  I guess that was my biggest problem with it.  Being that the movie was 6 mini-stories, none of them could be terribly long, and since they weren’t connected that was all the time you’d get to spend with the characters you were just starting to like.  Going through each one, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs was fun and Buster did some pretty awesome things.  Near Algodones didn’t resonate with me much beyond Stephen Root.  Meal Ticket didn’t do much for me.  All Gold Canyon was pretty good, but maybe took a little too long.  The Gal Who Got Rattled was probably my favorite even though it was a real bummer, but I enjoyed seeing Zoe Kazan again after loving The Big Sick so much.  The Mortal Remains was just kind of there for me, but I liked how they did it.  I guess one of the biggest things to take away from this is that the stories are all at least interesting and the cast was pretty crazy.  It’s at least worth a watch.

 

RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET

I enjoyed Wreck it Ralph quite a bit, but felt like Ralph Breaks the Internet didn’t blow me away as much as I was hoping for.  I enjoyed it, but it didn’t blow my mind.  It was fun, it was funny at times, it was a little bit heart-warming, and it delivers on what we expect.  I would say that Vanelope is painfully adorable and that I would probably want a movie that’s a little more her and a little less Ralph.  And I absolutely loved all the stuff they did with the other Disney Princesses, especially since they got almost all of their original voice actors to return.  And that they also included Star Wars and Marvel, including the man himself, Stan Lee.  How could I possibly hate a movie that had Stan Lee in it?!  …Well I couldn’t.  I just wasn’t in love with it.

 

CREED II

When I first heard about Creed 2, the premise seemed a little corny.  Like Rocky Babies.  The offspring of Drago and Creed have to recreate the fight from Rocky 4.  So this is essentially Rocky 4-2, but that name is confusing so I understand why they went with this one instead.  The movie turned out more enjoyable than that.  I would say it’s not an entirely surprising movie though.  Their first encounter happens just before the halfway point of the film so you can probably guess how it goes, but then Adonis is gonna have to chase chickens or something so the outcome of the rematch will be different.  But something about how they put these movies together works and gets the audience invested, even if it’s a little formulaic and predictable.  The cast of the movie made me really happy.  You would know going in that Stallone and Lundgren came back, but I was happy to see Brigitte Nielsen and Milo Ventimiglia also return.  Michael B. Jordan carries the movie, and that man is just infuriating.  He’s handsome, he’s in amazing shape, and he’s actually a damned good actor.  How dare he take all the things?!  It did make me laugh when he came to the realization that he lost the first fight because he was scared he couldn’t do what his father couldn’t do.  I would’ve said, “You already did!  You survived the fight with a Drago!  Daddy didn’t do that!”  But Creed 2 was able to keep the Rocky franchise going strong.  I don’t necessarily hope they keep making these because I don’t know where else they could take it, but if they do make another, I’d give it a shot too.

 

ROBIN HOOD

It would be unfair for me to say that Robin Hood was “bad.”  It certainly wasn’t good, and it was really dumb, but I didn’t hate the experience really.  It was pretty much just like King Arthur with Charlie Hunnam in that it took an old legend and added new style action scenes to it.  And most of the things they added to it seemed like they were just stealing from better movies.  Robin Hood was basically told to be Batman by being Bruce Wayne in the day and The Hood at night.  Early in the movie, Robin goes to war and they tried to make it a war movie in Robin Hood times.  Like Black Hood Down or Zero Dark Loxley.  They also took Morgan Freeman’s character from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, made him Little John, and also made him a badass.  And they had arrow Gatling guns and arrow bazookas…  So obviously, it was dumb, it was silly, and it had no reason to exist, but it was fun enough to squeak by.

 

DECEMBER

SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE

I find it somewhat painful to say this and that’s why you should all take it very seriously: this is quite possibly the best Spider-Man movie to date.  Tom Holland’s Homecoming is probably a close second, but this movie is just perfect.  Wonderfully written, heart-warming, funny, action-packed, visually-perfect, and John Mulaney.  I loved all the references to other Spider-Man movies, like the opening scene and the dancing joke.  If there are any complaints to be had with this movie it’d be that I’m a bit bummed that they didn’t get Donald Glover to voice Uncle Aaron as he had already played him in Homecoming, but Mahershala Ali did a fine job as well.  I also don’t get why Miles would be embarrassed about getting driven to school in a cop car.  I’d just tell everyone I had a police escort!  Also, this wouldn’t be a complaint, but the proximity to his loss and everything about how it happened in this movie made the Stan Lee cameo break my heart so bad.  That wound will never heal, but it was far too fresh at the time.  Technically speaking though, it was perfect.  Just like the rest of the movie.  Check it out.

 

MORTAL ENGINES

I did not get this movie’s deal.  There was very little about Mortal Engines that worked, so let’s get them out of the way first: It was visually kinda cool.  …That’s it.  After that, this movie was garbage.  It was so poorly-written which made most things not make sense, made the characters look stupid, and made me very angry and ask a bunch of questions that would never get answered.  Why would the museum curator boy run after the assassin by himself?  Why does he then beg her for her help?  Failing that, why does he then claim he’s more than capable of taking care of himself when he was just begging for her help?  Why do you say “We’re not gonna tell our sad stories” and then five minutes later: Sad story time?  Why do you claim you would’ve left somebody if they were in danger and five minutes later save them?  Why is her injured leg better when it’s convenient?  Why does robo-daddy guy exist at all?  Why do they try to give him an emotional send off when he just crashed an entire city into the ground?  Why can you not destroy London because of the innocent people even though it would stop them from killing all the innocent people in your city?  Why do you say you need to attack first and then wait around until London attacks and decimates you to finally make a move?  Why does Tom stop right after that when everyone’s dying to get a cool new jacket?  Why does London attack TWICE before you finally arrive?  Why is the badass leader of the resistance evenly matched in a sword fight with an aging Archaeologist?  Why is the father reveal a surprise to Hester when she was like 8 when he left?  Why does Tom respond to Hester’s answer of what they do next (“We see the world”) with, “I’m comin’ with ya!”?  …Yeah, she said “we.”  And the most important question: if this movie can’t be bothered to pay attention to itself, why should I?  Don’t see this movie.

 

MARY POPPINS RETURNS

I don’t know that I’d ever consider myself the biggest fan of Mary Poppins.  It was a fine movie, but the fact that my mom loved it and made me watch it many times made me appreciate it less.  And then they made a sequel.  It too was fine, but probably less fine.  I would say about this movie that, though it’s not as good as the original, it’s fantastic visuals are most likely required to catch the interest of children today who would probably be unable to appreciate the original.  So kids will probably enjoy it, and adults that liked the original will probably just be okay with it as it doesn’t feel drastically different from the original, but the songs aren’t nearly as good.  The performances are solid though.  Emily Blunt is great, as is Lin-Manuel Miranda.  Didn’t really dig on Meryl Streep’s section as it just felt pointless, but it didn’t take too long.  I got a little bored in Mary Poppins Returns, but I think parents will find it a satisfactory way to spend a few hours with the kids.

 

AQUAMAN

I never would’ve expected that Aquaman would be the moment it seemed DC was finally starting to get the hang of this “movie” thing.  While thinking about it afterwards, I decided that Aquaman comes in second to Wonder Woman, but it’s close.  Wonder Woman was a 9 or a 10 for the first 2 acts of the movie, but suffered from a weak ending.  Aquaman was a solid 6 or 7 all the way through, so they average out to about the same.  The story was basic, but what could we expect?  Patrick Wilson is bad and Jason Momoa is good.  That’s all you need to know.  Also, Amber Heard is hot.  That’s important as well.  But the action was good, though I was surprised to find that I found the female fight scenes much cooler than the male ones.  Nothing wrong with some ass-kicking women, but Aquaman is the star here.  Maybe make him have some better fights.  And probably should make Orm cheat when he beats him.  Aquaman lost fair and square in their first encounter.  How’s that supposed to make me dislike Orm?  ‘Cause he’s not as pretty?  But they did improve on a couple important things here.  First, he actually dressed like Aquaman!  That was a very exciting moment.  And most importantly to me after Justice League: Aquaman finally has a trident.  I don’t know what that was he had in Justice League, but it had 5 points.  TRI-dent!  THREE POINTS!!  He had a … pent-dent…?  I dunno.  But it’s a fun movie and hopefully DC can keep this up.  I don’t know that they can (and I certainly don’t want them to) equal Marvel, but getting close would be nice.  This is a step in the right direction.

 

BUMBLEBEE

Because of Michael Bay, one does not expect much when going into a Transformers movie.  Barely distinguishable clumps of metal will bang into each other and things will explode.  It has gone on so long it made me forget one important fact: without Michael Bay, I tend to enjoy Transformers.  Bay was still a part of Bumblebee as a producer, but I’m assuming his influence was limited because Bumblebee was actually enjoyable!  Possibly the best Transformers movie ever and certainly the best live action one.  First of all, most of the Transformers actually looked like they’re supposed to look, which was a welcome change.  The story was basic, but solid.  Hailee Steinfeld is probably a better actress than a movie like this deserves, but she probably made bank so why not?  John Cena was good as well, and made a damned good point about why the government trusted a group of creatures that flat out call themselves Decepticons.  Bumblebee was a solid actor too, and the moment where he got pissed at Cena for shoving Steinfeld was super hype.  The parents were my biggest problem with the movie.  Not because the actors were bad at it, but because they were the worst parents ever.  The two presents they give Steinfeld for her birthday are presents THEY want her to have, like a helmet and a book about how she should smile more.  And then this girl finally gets her own car and her mom just decides to take it out to get groceries without asking or even informing her?  I could understand if my mom did that to me because she bought me my first car, but Steinfeld got that car on her own!  Damn they made me angry.  But the movie did not.  I recommend it.  If you were never into the cartoon and only saw the live-action movies, maybe this will finally give you an idea why people liked this franchise so much.

 

So that about covers it.  I’m so proud of you if you actually read all that.  And a little bit sad for you.  But I appreciate it either way.  Right after this, I’ll be going through these movies again and creating my list for my video of the best and worst films of 2018, so be sure to check back for that on YouTube or here linking to YouTube.  Thanks again for reading!

0086 – The Nun Review


CLICK THE PIC TO WATCH THE VID!

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The Unborn (2009)


Jumby Wants to be Born Now.

My coworker Shannon seems to be a horror movie aficionado.  I’m fairly sure she has seen every horror movie Netflix has to offer.  So when October comes around, I have come to rely on her for at least one solid recommendation.  She seems to be a nice person so I always have to remind her first that I don’t necessarily want a fun movie, but want to MAKE FUN OF a movie because she always leads with something good, but once you get past that she can deliver the good stuff.  Or the bad stuff.  So she claimed today’s movie would be good to make fun of, but then I saw it was written and directed by David S. Goyer, who wrote the Nolan Batman trilogy and Dark City.  This can’t be right!  This is supposed to be a bad movie!  Then I saw he also wrote Batman v. Superman and BOTH Ghost Rider movies.  …This has potential…  And if nothing else, the poster for the movie was mainly just a hot chick’s butt, so it’s got that going for it.  This movie is The Unborn, written and directed by David S. Goyer, and starring Odette Yustman, Meagan Good, Gary Oldman, Carla Gugino, Jane Alexander, James Remar, and Idris Elba.

A super-hot lady named Casey (Yustman) starts going crazy and having strange visions of dogs wearing masks and mittens.  Then a little boy smashes a mirror on her face and makes her eye change color.  Somehow, this leads her to find out she was to be a twin but her brother didn’t survive.  She finds her Auschwitz survivor grandma (Alexander) who was also a twin, but Nazi’s made her brother into a babadook.  …No wait, it’s a dybbuk.  And that’s a Jewish demon, so her brother starts acting like a real dyb-bag until she kills him.  The evil demon thingie wanted to be reborn as Casey’s brother but was instead unborn.  Now it’s after her.

Shannon comes through again!  I wouldn’t say this was necessarily a bad movie, but it certainly wasn’t good.  I wasn’t pained by watching it, but I feel like I spent most of it fairly confused.  The movie contained a lot of superstitions that it just acted like everyone knew and were totally normal.  Did you know that newborns aren’t supposed to see their own reflections or they’ll die?  Yeah, me neither.  Nor, I assume, did millions of parents who don’t go around smashing every mirror in their house when they get the plus sign on that pregnancy test.  Want to know what else isn’t a thing?  The name “Jumby.”  Right before he smashes Casey in the face with a mirror, the creepy little kid tells her that “Jumby wants to be born now.”  I would then say that I hope that “Jumby” is never born because he won’t last long with a name like that.  And then Casey finds out that that’s the nickname her parents gave her twin brother and she somehow didn’t stop in the middle of her freak out to say, “I can’t believe you never told me I had a twin…wait…Jumby?  Did he die in utero because of all the drugs you guys were doing during the pregnancy to come up with that name?”  And what sort of drugs was her grandma on when she said, “What is a twin but another kind of mirror?”  …Well, grandma, a twin is lots of things.  A person. One that shares a lot of your genetic code.  Of all the things a twin could be, a reflective piece of glass would not make my list.  I kind of get what you’re saying because they may look alike, but not all twins do look alike and even the ones that do are not mirrors.  But I guess old grandma didn’t get herself in an old folk’s home by having full control of her faculties.  Anyway, the movie ends with an exorcism that goes poorly.  The dybbuk shows up and starts slinging people around the room like a little hurricane.  At this point, I agree with Casey when she says they have to finish the ceremony.  I don’t really understand her luck that the first piece of paper she grabbed at her feet as the book was blowing around the room just happened to be the page she needed.  This movie wouldn’t have happened if she was prone to such good fortune.

As always, a horror movie not making a lot of sense isn’t my top concern so long as they can make that up by being scary.  Unfortunately, this movie didn’t really do that either.  Mostly clichés and jump scares.  I guess I should’ve guessed it would be cliché from the thumbnail, but I kept getting distracted by Odette Yustman’s butt and couldn’t see the rest of the picture.  But she was standing in front of a bathroom vanity mirror that had her reflection and another mirror… sorry, her twin (I get those confused all the time).  But isn’t the bathroom vanity mirror in a horror movie one of the most played out and cliché things ever at this point?  You know exactly what they’re going to do with it eventually so the only suspense involved with it is wondering when.  I guess you could say they broke from cliché a little in the movie in that the black friend of Casey was not the first one to die, but I also felt no remorse for her when she did.  She’s supposed to be really superstitious but then she’s at home all alone and the power goes off and she hears a knock at the door but can’t see anyone when she looks outside so she opens the damned door?  She deserved to get stabbed by that little kid for that.  Also, you can’t take a little kid in a fight?  Maybe she’s just too nice, but I wish that little kid would try to stab me.  I would whoop that ass so hard!  Even if he did stab me in the gut first, I still think I could lay a beating on a little kid.  One thing I would say for this movie in the scares department is a good amount of the creatures they had were pretty creepy.  The dog with the mask or its head turned upside down and the old man later were both pretty well done.  And then I also have a burning question that this movie left me with: if an infant dies do the paramedics really bring in the full-sized human stretcher to bring it out?  I’m not suggesting they use a shoe box or something, but it seems like a waste of space.

The performances were pretty hit-and-miss in this movie.  The most surprising ones were Gary Oldman, Idris Elba, and Carla Gugino.  Not because they put on their career-defining, tour-de-force performances in this movie by a long shot, but more that they agreed to do the movie AND seemed to actually give about 10% more effort than the paycheck was probably worth.  Odette Yustman was the star of the movie in that she got the most screen time, and she did exactly what she needed to.  She was hot, she walked around in her underwear and made sure no one left this movie without knowing she has a nice butt.  And she screamed occasionally.  Otherwise, her performance and a lot of the other ones in the movie were good sometimes and very bad on others.  She probably did about as good as she could with the material, I suppose.  I mean, her character was written to make a really big deal about getting hit in the face by a kid with a mirror when talking to her friends, but never really bothered to bring up that she hatched an icky-looking bug out of an egg that morning.  I mean, shitty little kids hit people with things all the time.  It’s not every day that something other than egg comes out of an egg.  I also found it curious how profusely she thanked her boyfriend for accompanying her to the doctor.  She only had a minor scratch on her face really, but she WAS hit in the face so hard with a mirror that her eye was changing color.  Feels like going to the doctor with her would just be part of being a concerned boyfriend.  As I mentioned before, I did not get why she was so freaked out that she had a twin that died in utero.  Granted, it wouldn’t be great that the parents never thought to mention it, but I still feel like my reaction as an adult to receiving that information would be more along the lines of, “Oh…that’s interesting, I guess…”  I also wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that losing this twin was the reason my mom killed herself.  I mean, it was probably quite the bummer at first, but this movie showed that the mom killed herself when Casey was at least 9 or 10.  Seems like she probably would’ve moved past that by then.  I would at least give this movie credit that it seemed to write the character of the super-hot chick well on a couple of occasions.  Like when she took that book to Gary Oldman and asked if he could translate it for her.  …You want me to translate a thousand page religious manuscript for you?  “Could you?  That’d be great!  You’re such a sweetheart!”  That seems like a hot chick thing to do.  …I’d probably have done it for her too…  It also seems like a hot chick thing to do that when she’s told what to do to take the dybbuk’s power away, she only half-asses it.  Your grandma told you to break the mirrors in your house, burn the pieces, and bury them.  Why do all the mirrors in your house still have shards around the edges and pieces in a pile under them on the mantle?  Good enough, eh?

The Unborn was not particularly well-written and didn’t often stand up to logic, the performances were pretty hit-and-miss, and it was more cliché than it was scary.  The best parts of it are a couple of the creepy creatures and Odette Yustman’s butt. But I feel like you can get every piece of the enjoyment of those things from the movie poster I am attaching to this review.  So there’s not going to be much enjoyment to be gotten out of this movie, but I would say this would be a good candidate to watch at home with friends just to make fun of.  The Unborn gets “It’s not safe to be around me” out of “Am I going to be falling forever?”

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Hereditary (2018)


You Can Always Build a Shrine To All The Terrible Things in the World.

The reports I had heard about today’s movie were extremely mixed.  It seemed that critics were in love with this movie, but the average viewer was not always on the same page.  I even heard comparisons to the movie Drive, that many critics thought was brilliant.  I, however, thought that movie was garbage, the likes of which I would never want to endure again.  And yet still I decided I would watch the movie Hereditary, written and directed by Ari Aster, and starring Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro, and Ann Dowd.

Uhhhhhh…this is complicated.  There’s this family.  Mom Annie (Collette), dad Steve (Byrne), son Peter (Wolff), and daughter Charlie (Shapiro).  Annie’s mom dies and then creepy things start happening.  First ghosty things and then witchy things.  I don’t know, man.  It’s confusing.

So, which side did I end up on?  Did I hate the movie or love it?  …Neither.  I disliked a lot of things in this movie, but I wouldn’t call it bad.  The movie succeeded in being pretty unsettling in parts and definitely pulled off creepy, but I don’t know if I’d say it was scary either.  But as far as horror movies go, I would say that makes it successful.  Most movies rely heavily on jump scares or gore to call themselves horror movies, but there’s an art to creating an atmosphere that gives the audience an uneasy feeling, and this movie is able to pull that off.  I feel like this is the kind of movie people are going to have to watch for themselves because everyone is going to have their own reactions to it, much (as I had heard beforehand) like the movie Drive.

So that’s my review, if that’s why you came here.  But generally speaking, I wouldn’t say I’m the best place to come for thoughtful film criticism.  I mostly make jokes about things that happen in the movie and at the end, I say if I liked it or not.  But the jokes to be made about this movie are going to be mostly spoilers, so if you intend to see it, maybe come back after.  Otherwise, here we go with some spoilers:

A lot of this movie is about Toni Collette dealing with loss.  First she loses and eulogizes her mother and starts going to support groups about it where she gives a big sob story about her troublesome relationship with her mother and dealing with her loss.  I really wish that when she finished her harrowing tale the rest of the people in the group stared at her and said, “Uh…this is a group for dealing with the loss of a pet…”  But we don’t always get what we want.  For example, Annie probably didn’t want her daughter to be decapitated by a telephone pole, and the people who made the movie probably didn’t want me to laugh when it happened.  But it was kinda funny.  At least to me.

The visuals of this movie certainly aided in creating a mood.  The whole movie had a sense of isolation to it, especially since it seemed that the place where they filmed it had very strict zoning laws that required no building be built near enough to another building that it could see it.  You’ve got one building, acres of open land, and then maybe you can have another building.  I’ve never been one to say that gore makes a horror movie good, but this movie did have some good ones.  From the decapitated head of Charlie covered in ants to when Annie was sawing her head off with a wire, it was just the right amount of unpleasant to look at.

The performances are probably what a lot of this movie hinges on.  Toni Collette sure did a performance.  It wasn’t bad.  In fact, I’d probably say it was good.  Maybe even great.  But it did feel a little over the top at times.  I guess others might argue that it was right on the money though since her daughter was decapitated shortly after her mom died and a little before her husband burst into flames, so perhaps a little hysteria is called for.  I guess it could also explain some of the things she did I found nonsensical.  Not her job though.  She had that before her tragedies and I still found it inexplicable.  But who is paying this woman to make tiny, creepy, dioramas?  Is there a big market for a miniature recreation of your daughter’s untimely death?  And moreover, is there a reason for this to be such a big part of this movie?  She also seemed pretty off on her judgment of normal behavior, like when she tried to excuse her sleep-walking actions.  She acted like it was a completely common occurrence for sleep walkers to attempt to murder their children by dousing them with paint-thinner and lighting a match.  You know, as all our mothers did at one time or another.  Also, when her husband said she was scaring their son and she said, “No I am not!” … all while he was crying his eyes out because of her hysteria.  Of course, I didn’t like that boy either.  Like, he kills his sister.  It was an accident and I don’t blame him for that.  She was the dumb ass that stuck her head out the window like a dog.  But right after you killed your sister you’re just gonna drive home, park in the driveway with her torso still in the car, go up to your room and go night-night?  At least leave a Post-It note on the fridge, homie.  “Mom, killed Charlie.  Will clean it up in the morning.  Just a heads up.  Sorry, poor choice of words.”  He also accused his mom of trying to pull his head off when some ghostly hands grabbed him through his headboard of his bed.  Dude, your headboard was against the wall.  That is physically impossible.  And this was before he had the excuse of the head injury he received at school when he bashed his face into his desk.  And the school also didn’t have the excuse of a head injury of their own when they sent him home after that.  He was unconscious!  So much so that his parents had to carry his unconscious body into the house to put him in bed.  Shouldn’t he have been sent to a hospital if he was practically in a coma?

So Hereditary was a little confusing, but certainly unsettling.  Maybe even to the point where some would call it scary.  The performances chewed the scenery a bit, but I would certainly give them credit for going all out.  I’m still not entirely sure what I’d tell people about this movie.  It seems to be very polarizing and I can see why.  I wound up in the middle, thinking it to be a solid horror movie.  It wouldn’t hurt you to watch it, but I don’t think I’d call it a necessity either.  Hereditary gets “I never wanted to be your mother” out of “Hail, Paimon!”

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0085 – Winchester Review


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0083 – Best and Worst Films of 2017



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The Films of 2017


I would say I’m sorry for what’s about to happen, but I’m not.  Look, I greatly appreciate anyone who actually reads what’s below this, but as I was killing myself writing this I had an epiphany: you guys just have to read this!  I’m the one who for whatever reason felt that I owed it to anyone who cares to watch 73 movies that released in 2017 and to write mini-reviews about them all.  But still, anyone who does read all of this has my love forever.  I now present to you my reviews for the movies of 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

JANUARY 

UNDERWORLD: BLOOD WARS

The main reason to watch any of the Underworld series for me has always been because Kate Beckinsale is hot.  That hotness remains in the 5th installment.  The next reason would be because they shoot guns good.  That is also delivered upon.  So if you are like me and those two reasons are typically sufficient to call for a rental of this movie, you will be safe.  If not, then there’s nothing special about this movie to make you change your mind about the series.  It’s fine, but that’s about the best praise I can muster.

MONSTER TRUCKS

Someone definitely thought of this movie and fell in love with themselves.  The concept for the movie is like a discarded Jerry Seinfeld joke.  “What’s the deal with Monster Trucks?  They’re trucks, but they don’t have monsters in them!”  And then the movie just fell into place.  Strangely enough though, I didn’t really hate this movie.  It is a stupid and ridiculous concept with a lot of flaws, but I actually was slightly charmed by it in the end.  As far as problems go, the main character.  This kid has no interest in anything besides cars.  The attractive geeky girl was totally going for him the whole time but he just couldn’t be bothered.  He had a shitty truck to build.  He also calls the kid whose father owns the dealership in town the “luckiest kid in town.”  There’s literally a dude in this town dating Samara Weaving.  Until further studies can be conducted, he’s the luckiest kid.  He could be the luckiest kid himself if he just got his head out of his own tailpipe and realized that Jane Levy is crushing on him pretty hard.  And I’ll take that, even if she spouts out “wisdom” like being thankful to his dad for being so shitty because it made him who he is, and she likes who he is.  But, even with all that, I did feel a little charmed by the movie by the time it finished, and I’m as confused about that as anyone else.

THE BYE BYE MAN

This movie was a whole bag of dicks.  It’s all about a supernatural creature called the Bye Bye Man who makes people kill people by making them hallucinate things that would drive them to such action when you think about him, and you can pass this curse on to someone else by telling them his name.  So what do they do?  They investigate him so that they’re thinking about him constantly.  They type his name into the worst search engine ever that somehow doesn’t bring up any results for “bye bye man,” as if those words wouldn’t bring 50,700,000 results (I just checked), and I’m sure that not all of those are related to this movie.  I mean, people might utter this phrase just saying goodbye to each other.  Also, while trying not to think about it, the main character starts driving to another investigation while playing “Bye Bye Love.”  …Smart.  So obviously, the plot doesn’t make sense.  And to top that off, the acting was really lackluster, the effects were pretty poor, and it wasn’t remotely scary.  So if there is a reason to watch this movie, I didn’t manage to find it in the only viewing I’m willing to give this movie.

SPLIT

I feel like I should come into reviewing this movie by exclaiming, “M. Night Shyamalan is back, baby!” but I feel like that wouldn’t really feel right.  Sure, M. has probably done more garbage at this point to damage the high bar he set for himself with his early movies and this movie is actually really good, but I don’t want to give him all the credit.  And I certainly don’t want to start thinking he’s back so I should definitely rush straight to the theater for all his upcoming After Earth 2’s.  He did a really good job making a super tense and interesting movie here, but I feel like I want to give most of the credit to James McAvoy.  He is incomprehensibly impressive in this movie, playing 23 distinctly different personalities (or at least that’s what they say he had, I didn’t count how many actually made it into the movie).  I give at least 70% of the credit to him for why people should see this movie, but I still think everyone should.  Plus, it sets up a sequel to Unbreakable, which I understand other people enjoyed though I don’t recall being entirely impressed by it.  Still, great movie.

XXX: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE

This movie delivers all that anyone should really expect out of a Vin Diesel movie that allows him to say more than “I am Groot.”  It spends roughly equal time not making sense or offering nothing surprising out of the story but does it’s best to make up for it by having lots of things explode and having people drive motorcycles on the ocean.  Donnie Yen and Tony Jaa do their best to make some of the fights entertaining, but if you’re expecting more than that then you are a silly person.

RESIDENT EVIL: THE FINAL CHAPTER

Within the first 15 minutes of this movie, I had the thought that it seemed that they weren’t confident enough in their script to let 5 minutes pass without something going “Bang!”  And they were correct.  It’s real dumb and barely even bothers to try to hide that fact.  It basically sets itself up to be the last of the Resident Evil movies (though with the way it ends, it feels questionable that they aren’t leaving it open to continue) and that Milla Jovovich needs to return to where it all started to release an airborne cure for the T-virus and she has 48 hours to do it.  No attempt is ever really made to explain how the artificial intelligence known as the Red Queen knows to the exact second when humanity will perish.  Is Umbrella going to strike and she is privy to that information?  Because they mostly act like it’s the zombies that are going to get them and if that’s the case, how are you able to predict so accurately what exact second they’re going to die?  Zombies don’t work on your schedule.  And it would have to be to the second because of course she saves the day with 30 seconds left, but then they also don’t bother to figure out how this cure that we can visually watch spread fairly slowly is going to manage to cure the world in less than 30 seconds when it clearly isn’t finishing off the zombies around Milla that fast.  But I guess it is pointless to look for logic in this movie.  Things go boom and guns are fired, and you know those guns are so much more gooder because they each have an extra, arbitrary barrel.  Double barreled pistols, triple barreled shotguns, and that one idiot Doc guy who is surrounded by guns but picks a nail gun instead.  This movie is indeed dumb, but exactly the dumb I expected it to be.

 

FEBRUARY

RINGS

It is exactly The Ring again, but worse.  Nothing particularly special in any facet of this movie.  They’re all basically the same: they watch the tape and find out they’re going to die in 7 days so they start to investigate to appease Samara Morgan, who always turns out to be a shit because after they go out of their way to try to do something nice for her, she just continues to be evil anyway and usually kills them.  That happens again.  Pretty basic, not particularly scary because it’s nothing we haven’t really seen before.  No real need to watch it again.

THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE

This movie was a little tough on me because (though I enjoyed the LEGO Movie) I didn’t feel particularly inspired to see this.  But I have a friend that is a huge fan of both LEGO and Batman and if I wanted to be his friend any longer, I was told I would need to see this movie.  After weighing my options, I decided to buy it when it came out on DVD several months later.  You ain’t the boss of me, Randy!  But the biggest problem I had going into this movie is how much hype I had heard going in.  It’s sitting at 91% on Rotten Tomatoes right now and Randy would have me believe that this was a funny Citizen Kane.  Well it was funny and it was well-written, both to an extent not necessarily required for generally a kid’s movie, but I’m sure appreciated by any parents that had to see it, but also not quite to the extent I went into the movie expecting.  It was really good and a lot of fun, but maybe not quite THAT much fun.  Still definitely worth watching though.

FIFTY SHADES DARKER

After having sat through Fifty Shades of Grey, even I was hesitant to start watching Fifty Shades Darker.  List be damned, I can’t take another one!  I eventually talked myself into it.  You’re welcome…  Here is the nice thing I have to say about this movie: it is slightly better written than the first one.  If that sounds like it’s not saying much, that’s because it isn’t.  I can only say that about this movie because the first one was so awful that it wasn’t difficult for this one to surpass it, even if only by a little.  There’s still moments where Ana touches Christian’s beard and says, “This is spikey!”  And where he says that his mother died when he was 4 and was an addict and that Ana should fill in the blanks from there.  The 30 to 40 years of blanks, homie.  And moments where he says that she should come to a party and meet his mom…but should do so with steel balls in her vagina.  And then later say, “Now you know what those silver balls do.”  …You put them in your vagina.  What did you think they’d do?  The characters are also very stupid.  Mostly Ana.  She’s so proud that she tears up a $24,000 check.  Heck, I’d probably let this guy do a little rough trade on me for $24,000.  Then, she’s so against his S&M stuff, but is requesting it again on the second date.  She doesn’t want to be submissive, but gives in really quick to it.  She also says that she was more scared by Christian when he uses his dominant powers to subdue the girl that used to be his submissive.  The one who broke into Ana’s apartment, pointed a gun at her, and fired it in the room to prove she meant business.  …She was more scared of him.  Also poorly-written was her boss, who was written by someone that had just had to go through sexual harassment training and just wrote down the opposite.  Even people prone to sexual harass aren’t so blatant.  And then he gets fired and the bosses say, “We need someone to take over for him…  How about his secretary?”  Also, I have never seen anyone over the age of 10 more impressed by fireworks than these 60+ year old adults at the party at the end.  Okay, I have to move on.  But make no mistake; these movies are awful.

JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2

I think if anything hurt the second John Wick movie, it was the fact that it was the second John Wick movie.  I had nothing to expect going into a Keanu Reeves movie with a boring name like John Wick back when the first one came out, but that movie kicked all the ass in such epic fashion that it blew expectations out of the water.  John Wick 2 met expectations that had been restructured based on the quality of the first movie.  It was still very excellent and had tons of great action, but it is slightly hindered by the fact that it wasn’t also surprising in its awesomeness.  Still definitely worth checking out though.

THE GREAT WALL

Unlike John Wick, The Great Wall actually benefited because of my expectations.  Who didn’t think this movie would be a whole bag of dicks when they first saw it?  A great wall movie starring a white man, like the Last Samurai but with monsters.  (I know that China and Japan are different places, by the way)  But it was better than I expected.  Not much better than I expected, and I did expect it to be painfully bad, but it was better than that.  There’s absolutely no real reason to watch this movie that I can recall, but it won’t hurt you very much to do so.

GET OUT

And the hat trick of movies affected by expectations, Get Out was way overhyped.  It had so much steam that, even though I really had no interest in seeing this movie, I saw its 99% on Rotten Tomatoes and combined that with recommendations from the media and my friends and then capped it off with the fact that it was written by the hilarious and talented Jordan Peele and decided I should see it.  When I left, I didn’t hate the movie, but I certainly didn’t see what all the hype was about.  It was good.  My mind wasn’t blown and it didn’t change my life at all, but it was good.  Maybe it’s mostly because I’m not afraid of the racism this movie is talking about.  Not because I’m white, but because I’m racist.  But it also probably didn’t speak to me as much because racism isn’t really something I have to deal with or see that often, and the racism in this movie isn’t always relatable.  The minor racist things, sure, but I don’t hear too many stories of white people trying to brain swap with black folk so I assume it’s not a big issue.

 

MARCH

LOGAN

My favorite comic book movie changes so often that I don’t even know what my list looks like anymore.  One thing I do know for sure is that Logan is at the very least top 3, if not number one.  In the past, one big sticking point I’ve had with Wolverine movies (and even other comic book movies) is that the first thing they like to do to create a problem for the hero to solve is remove everything we like about them by taking their powers away so they can overcome.  They do that here too, but here it works because Wolverine is getting old and dying and that plays such a large part of a story that is not just the hero overcoming a temporary limitation, but getting older and weaker and having the thing that once made him nigh unstoppable now killing him slowly from the inside.  Then you have the dying father figure in Professor X and the new unexpected (but entirely badass) child in X-23.  And yes, you have a lot of gore and blood and violence for a superhero movie, but that could all be gone and this movie would not suffer in the slightest, though it certainly makes you sit up and pay attention right from the opening of the movie.  I cried multiple times in this movie.  MULTIPLE.  TIMES!  IN A COMIC BOOK MOVIE!!  And not just from awesomeness making my eyes explode, but from deeply emotional and poignant moments.  That cross to an X thing?  Are you kidding me!?  You’re dead inside if that doesn’t get you.  Watch this damned movie if you haven’t already!

KONG: SKULL ISLAND

I feel like I heard a lot of people beating up on Kong: Skull Island and I have no idea why.  Sure, it doesn’t really break any new ground, but it’s exactly what I wanted: a giant monkey movie.  Kong is a total badass and smashes a lot of stuff.  Good!  That’s what I came to see!  It looks great and is super fun.  It has a story, but it doesn’t really waste too much time with stuff it doesn’t have to.  Maybe the John C. Reilly stuff wasn’t really pivotal to the plot and could’ve then been removed because he wasn’t a giant ape smashing helicopters or giant lizards, but it was a nice emotional section of the movie with a good pay off at the end I wasn’t expecting.  This is a fun movie.  You should check it out.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

Technically speaking this movie had no reason to exist.  It is almost exactly the animated Disney movie but some of the people in this one are real.  And they apparently added a song that was fairly lackluster and I don’t remember anymore.  That being said, Beauty and the Beast is so ingrained in my DNA that I got goosebumps every time I saw the trailer and it started with the light piano music and the picture of the castle.  Before my brain even figured out what it was, my body decided we were going, and let me know by having hairs on my arm stand up.  And then I saw that Emma Watson is in it, a better representation of beauty and brains I cannot fathom.  Also, Luke Evans and Josh Gad were delightful.  So, will you gain anything new seeing this version of the movie?  No.  But it’s a lovely way to see that movie again, but slightly differently.

POWER RANGERS

This is an odd moment when my expectations of a movie helped it adversely.  Power Rangers was not a great movie, but I think my deep seeded love of Power Rangers made me fight every contradictory though that might make me realize that.  Not that I wound up thinking it was great by a long shot, but I found it acceptable.  It’s been too long since there was something Power Rangers related that I’ve seen that at least seemed watchable to me as an adult.  It wasn’t quite the dark, gritty Power Rangers that the online video that seemed to spark this reimagining was, but it was a nice middle ground between that too-dark-for-Power-Rangers video and the campy, probably-wouldn’t-like-it-if-I-saw-it-today Power Rangers of my youth.  Fights could’ve been better, some dumbness could be removed, they could allow Elizabeth Banks to just be the hot she is without all the prosthetic makeup, but it was fine.  I certainly hope they give it another go and try a little harder next time.

LIFE

I feel like space movies probably have an easier time conveying tension in thriller/horror movies because it’s already a claustrophobic environment and you know while watching that there’s barely anything you can do to escape any problems you have to deal with.  Life benefits from that, but also benefits from good direction and good visuals added to some top-notch acting.  The biggest problem that the movie had for me was that I had a hard time taking the murderous little alien creature seriously when people kept referring to it as “Calvin.”  Beyond that, Life was an enjoyable movie, and pretty well worth renting.

CHIPS

CHiPS definitely had some flaws, but I found it to be much funnier than I expected to be.  Granted, a lot of that humor was pretty lowbrow and involved a lot of poop, slapstick, and sex humor, but sometimes that’s good enough.  Or at least I hope it’s enough or my channel is going to be in some trouble.  Either way, CHiPS isn’t the greatest thing ever, but it’s a comedy and I laughed a few times while watching it.  Seems like that counts as “successful” to me.

GHOST IN THE SHELL

Ghost in the Shell got beaten up a lot even before it released because of the alleged whitewashing of the main character that was turned into a white lady.  I personally don’t know what the problem is in turning a robot into another robot, but a lot of the internet seemed to take issue with the original protagonist’s sticker having been turned from “Made in Japan” to “Made in America” but I didn’t.  I also didn’t take any issue with how this movie compares to the original anime because, though I own it, I haven’t gotten around to watching it yet.  Going in with nothing to compare it to and no self-righteous, social justice warrior anger, I thought the movie was fine.  Visually pretty cool and with some action and good performance from Scarlet Johansson.  It just didn’t seem particularly special to me, so it was just fine.  Now if ScarJo had been ACTUALLY naked and not just looked ALMOST naked, maybe that would be a different story…

BOSS BABY

Honestly, the only reason this movie even gets to this list is because it was on Netflix.  My tolerance level is so much more forgiving when it’s essentially free to me.  The idea of Boss Baby turned me off when I first heard about it, but I decided to give it a shot anyway.  I was surprised to find that I wound up finding the movie fairly charming.  The idea of the movie involving a boss baby showing up to try to stop a plot to make the world find puppies cuter than babies is certainly a wacky concept, and being able to accept the movie does take a while, but eventually I found that they were able to make it work.  Baldwin mostly carries the film, but additions of Steve Buscemi, Jimmy Kimmel, and Lisa Kudrow in smaller parts do well to spice up the movie, and they’re able to pull off some cute, and even sometimes funny, moments.  Problematically, I don’t really know who this movie is for.  Parents and adults might be able to find the movie cute as I did, but it doesn’t really seem like concepts that children would be too intrigued by.  I guess they have enough slapstick and fart humor for kids, but it’s otherwise a kind of middle ground where there are much better movies for both kids and parents so Boss Baby can’t quite match the draw of its competition.

 

APRIL

SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE

Some of the movies on my list (and you can probably guess which ones) I watched specifically hoping to get movies for my worst of list.  Sadly, Smurfs: The Lost Village let me down on that front.  Not that it was good; it just wasn’t bad enough to need to be there.  It was exactly what it should’ve been: a kid’s movie.  Not particularly smart, clever, or funny, but it’s colorful and cute and things fall down, which is all kids really need to enjoy a movie.  It also had some things in it that would be enjoyable to parents and might even get a laugh or two.  Can’t really ask for more than that.  At least not out of a kid’s movie not made by Pixar.

COLOSSAL

I have no recollection of how I heard about Colossal, but I did, so why don’t you get off my back?  It’s a very interesting and unique concept where a giant monster appears in Seoul and starts destroying stuff and it turns out this monster only appears when Anne Hathaway enters a specific playground in her hometown, and then it exactly mimics her movements.  Along the way, you’ll also get a fair serving of emotional resonance and comedy, with some great performances by Hathaway and Sudeikis, though I would say I prefer my Jason Sudeikis much more likeable than he is in this movie.  Very enjoyable and interesting movie, and I definitely recommend you take a gander.

THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS

…It’s another Fast and Furious movie…  The end…

Okay, I’ll say more than that.  This definitely is another Fast and Furious movie.  It’s big, dumb, and flashy.  You’ll find that out in the first five minutes when Dom gets into a race to stop a guy from taking his friend’s car and, in the course of said race, sets his friend’s car on fire and throws it into the ocean.  And then a few minutes later, he tells Charlize Theron what’s wrong with her car just by the sound of it…when it’s off and she’s under the hood looking at it and not trying to start it at the moment…  But, on the other hand, there’s nothing in the world I can think of sexier than Charlize Theron wearing a Metallica shirt, even with that ridiculous, sort-of-cornrows hair she had at the time.  Also, the fights with the Rock and the Statham are plain awesome.  I assume people that care about cars and car chases will also enjoy those scenes.

THE LOST CITY OF Z

Spider-Man, King Arthur, and Edward Cullen all in the same movie?!  What could go wrong!?  Well nothing really, but it probably won’t impress much either.  Lost City of Z is kind of a boring, walking around in the jungle drama movie.  Then going back to England and yelling in court about wanting to go back.  Then going back and walking around the jungle some more.  And they find some stuff the end.  There’s nothing really wrong with it, but also nothing particularly right with it.  It just is.  Watch it if you want.

THE CIRCLE

I wasn’t expecting much from this movie, and I got it.  The Circle is a perfectly acceptable movie with an impressive cast and vaguely interesting premise exploring the pros and cons of a connected world without privacy, but it never really seems like it picks a side in its own debate.  Bad stuff happens because of this technology (such as Emma Watson’s friend Mercer dying because people were trying to hunt him down to test the technology), but the movie also seems like it blames the technology when it was really Mercer’s stupidity.  I grant that it would be super annoying to have a bunch of people show up at your house trying to get a picture of you, but they weren’t trying to break in or something!  No reason to run out the door and drive off like an idiot and not pay attention to the road and drive yourself off a cliff.  That’s on you, homie!  You could also just answer the door and say, “Hey, you found me.  Congratulations.  Now kindly fuck off.”  But they also make interesting points about how people would probably behave better if they were always being watched, but then try to act like it’s also a bad thing and maybe side with it being a bad thing, but I don’t know.  Maybe I just got bored and stopped paying attention.  Kind of like I would in the movie if I found out Emma Watson’s character had a livestream of her entire life for people to watch.  I’d maybe give it a day and then realize I’d never see her naked and realize what a waste of time it was.

 

MAY

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2

No one is really curious about whether or not I liked this movie.  Of course I did.  I think the real question comes from which I liked better between Guardians of the Galaxy 1 or 2.  My answer to that is: …I don’t know.  It’s a difficult comparison.  The first movie was tons of fun and its quality may even have been amplified by the surprise of loving a movie about these characters I barely knew.  This one didn’t have as much surprise, but it supplanted it some real emotional moments surrounded Star-Lord and his father, and Star-Lord and his father figure.  When a comic book movie can get you to cry, that movie is more than just a comic book movie.  It’s just an amazing movie.

KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD

I don’t really know what this movie was going for, but I’m assuming it missed the mark a little.  I come into a movie like this predisposed to enjoy it because I enjoy Arthurian legend, but it turns out they were looking to vaguely base this movie off of Arthurian legend, but feel more like A Knight’s Tale with anachronistic MMA movies in a medieval battle and quick, annoying editing cuts.  And also some chick like Ursula from the Little Mermaid and her little octodaughters whispering all the time, making me try to pay more attention to a movie I wasn’t interested in to hear what they were saying.  And then also have a mage lady that speaks as though she finds it extremely difficult to do so.  There are some decent parts to this movie, but mostly I found it annoying and off-putting.

SNATCHED

I can’t say I expected too much from this movie going in.  I enjoy Amy Schumer a great deal, but have no particular affection for Goldie Hawn, and nothing in the trailers really drew me in.  But a cheap rental from a RedBox will make me a lot more willing, so I rented it.  It was okay.  The people involved would probably lead you to expect more than the movie is able to deliver though.  People like Schumer, Ike Barinholtz, Wanda Sykes, Christopher Meloni, and Randall Park made me think this movie had a lot more in store for me in the comedy department, but ultimately I found Joan Cusack’s character to be the funniest.  Not really a necessary watch, but you could do worse.

ALIEN: COVENANT

In comparison to Prometheus, at least Alien: Covenant feels like it took a big step towards actually being an Alien movie.  And not just by including it in the title.  And having a Xenomorph in it.  Unfortunately, a lot of those moments felt more like rehashed moments from other Alien movies, which is technically fine, but you’re not elevating this movie to the level of its predecessors that way.  It maybe progresses the lore of the Alien franchise a little bit, but at this point the timeline is so confusing I have a hard time figuring out which film happens when.  Overall, the movie is fine.  Worth watching, especially if you’re a fan of the franchise, but you’ll survive without it.

BAYWATCH

I can’t imagine too many people were expecting much from Baywatch.  I know I certainly wasn’t.  But after watching it, I feel like critics were overly critical to it.  I even saw some comparing it negatively to the TV show it was based on, acting like it didn’t live up to the high bar that show left for it.  High bar?  The only thing I remember about that show is that it was stupid but there were hot ladies and people running in slow motion!  This movie delivers that, but also has a pretty good amount of funny moments.  Personally, I think The Rock can make anything better with his mere presence, and Zac Efron and Alexandra Daddario also hold up their end.  So it has everything I remember about the TV show (ridiculously hot chicks and slow motion), but also adds hot dudes in The Rock and Efron, and some funny moments.  I would surprisingly say this movie is a perfectly acceptable watch.

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES

The Pirates of the Caribbean movies can vary pretty drastically.  The first two were good, the third one was made solid by some epic sea battles, the fourth one was garbage, and then the fifth one comes out and is actually pretty good.  It still has some epic moments, some pretty funny moments, a solid emotional story between Kaya Scodelario and Geoffrey Rush, and some good performances, especially by Javier Bardem.  I didn’t have much negative to say after seeing it besides maybe that they spent a little too much time with the new, almost lead character in this movie played by Brenton Thwaites.  When seeing the Pirates movies, I’m mostly interested in Capt. Jack and Barbossa, sometimes a little of Will Turner and Elizabeth Turner, but it was okay.  If this is indeed the way they intend to go out with these movies, it feels like a perfectly acceptable bow on a solid franchise.  If they’re doing more, this movie certainly didn’t talk me out of going to them.

 

JUNE

WONDER WOMAN

Marvel movies tend to be in a rough place because so many of them are so good that each new movie they release is inevitably going to be compared to the other movies in the universe that we expect so much from.  Wonder Woman has the benefit of being the only good DC movie since Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies.  I would say Wonder Woman isn’t perfect, but the first two acts of the movie are about as close as you can get.  Gal Gadot is wonderful, strong, and charismatic.  I would slap down anyone that criticized her before the movie released, saying the woman who served 2 years in the Israel Defense Force was too skinny and pretty to be a convincing Wonder Woman, and after seeing what she could do I would get especially violent with anyone who said that.  If this movie was just the No Man’s Land scene, it could’ve been the greatest comic book movie of all time, exemplifying exactly what I think Wonder Woman is.  Unfortunately, the movie loses a little of its steam in Act 3 because they still feel the need to end with a big CG supervillain instead of just being about how shitty man is, but it’s not so bad that this isn’t still an excellent movie.

THE MUMMY

I’m a little confused about The Mummy, and not just from wondering how exactly it’s beneficial to the mummy to have 2 sets of pupils.  I know I saw it, and I’m pretty sure I even bought it on Blu-Ray, but everyone on the internet seems to hate it.  I don’t recall hating it.  Granted, I don’t recall much about it at all, and maybe that’s the main problem with it.  It’s entirely forgettable.  I was interested in this movie because it was supposed to be setting up a cinematic universe for the Universal monsters, but I suppose that’s off the table now.  I don’t really know why.  DC keeps making movies for their universe even though no one has liked them, and eventually they made it to Wonder Woman.  Maybe the Dark Universe could too.  So I didn’t hate this movie, but I don’t remember anything about it, so I’m assuming it’s not special at all.

IT COMES AT NIGHT

I, probably like many of you, did not know about It Comes at Night.  I saw it on the list of movies released this year and assumed it must’ve been bad or I’d have heard about it, but then noticed that it actually got pretty good critical reception, so decided to check it out.  It’s certainly an interesting movie, very claustrophobic and builds a lot of tension, and all of the actors involved in the movie do a very good job.  It’s kind of a zombie apocalypse/disease outbreak movie, but you don’t really deal with the infected too much and rarely see any of them.  It’s more about the people in the house meeting and taking in new people and the trust that quickly fails and how they deal with that.  Certainly an interesting movie, but what kind of lost me was that it really didn’t seem to have an ending.  A character gets sick and then it ends.  No resolution of conflict really.  So it’s certainly a decent watch, but don’t expect them to have decided how to close their movie out.

ROUGH NIGHT

The only note I took about Rough Night was summed up in two words: “Somewhat funny.”  I’ll try to expand on that a little, but you can probably move on with the totality of this review already laid out for you.  There were some talented and funny people in this movie and a couple of funny moments, but it wasn’t typically laugh out loud funny.  It probably got a couple smiles out of me and maybe a chuckle or two.  The premise of the movie is pretty basic, and you’ll probably be able to get a good idea of how it’s all going to work out around midway through the movie, but along the way you may smile and may chuckle once or twice.  So, basically, “somewhat funny.”

47 METERS DOWN

I found myself nitpicking this movie pretty early on.  First off, the setup for the movie is pretty dumb.  Mandy Moore goes on vacation because her boyfriend left her because she was boring, so she goes on a trip to show him how fun she can be when he’s in another country and unable to see how fun she is.  Then, they decide to get in a cage to see some sharks close up, and they sell it by saying, “It’s like going to the zoo but you’re in the cage!”  …Who’s ever gone to a zoo and said they wish they were in the cages?  Especially with the dangerous animals.  Except all the little kids that want to play with the gorillas, polar bears, and tigers, I guess.  Maybe it’d be better to describe it as an underwater safari.  Also, the boat is called the “Sea Esta,” which is just an awful joke.  But the movie picks up a little when they get into the cages and it gets pretty tense and looks pretty good and the actors all do a pretty good job of it.  Not a movie that requires viewing, but not terrible either.

TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT

Yup!  They’re still making Transformers movies.  And they’re still roughly as good as any of the other ones.  The story is dumb, but they look pretty and you can see metal things smashing into metal things and things blowing up.  This Transformers movie was sold to me with all the trailers relying heavily on the fact that, for some reason, the heroic leader of the Autobots Optimus Prime goes rogue and fights the other Autobots.  That does happen in this movie, but the trailers lead me to believe it was almost the entire movie, and not that they used the entire movie to occasionally cut back to Optimus being turned and then have him show up and fight them for 5 minutes and then turn good again.  So the fifth installment of Transformers is stupid, but shiny.  You can go and jingle some keys in front of your face for roughly the same effect, but it’s not the worst way to spend 2 hours if you shut your brain off.

THE BIG SICK

I have been a very big fan of Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon for many years and had already heard them tell their story many times by the time I heard that they were turning it into a movie.  When I finally saw this movie, I was expecting I would enjoy it but that knowing how it turned out would probably diminish my enjoyment a little.  I was very wrong.  Even knowing how it turns out, I was in it every minute of the movie, and even super nervous at the end to see how the story would wrap up.  It wrapped up as I expected (and roughly how it had happened in real life), but what I wasn’t expecting was to spend the entire third act of the movie with tears in my eyes.  Kumail Nanjiani killed it in this movie, both in his acting and in the writing of the movie, which was equal parts emotionally riveting and hilarious, and Zoe Kazan (as the stand in for Nanjiani’s real life wife Emily) will make you fall in love with her even faster than Kumail did.  Also props to the comedians Bo Burnham, Aidy Bryant, and Kurt Braunohler, Emily’s parents Holly Hunter and Ray Romano, and pretty much every other person involved in this movie.  This movie is perfect, and I straight up demand you find a way to watch it.

BABY DRIVER

I think the only time I’ve been disappointed with Edgar Wright is in comparing one of his movies to another of his movies.  Sure, Shaun of the Dead was way better than The World’s End, but without that comparison, The World’s End is still a really fun movie.  Baby Driver wasn’t better written than Shaun of the Dead to me, but it excelled in other ways.  The story of Baby Driver is fairly unique and lots of fun, but what was most impressive is the way they used music, editing the movie so that the action matched the beats of the song.  Bullets were fired when snare drums were struck, things happening on screen matched up with lyrics, characters walked past signs and graffiti with the lyrics on them right as they happened in the song.  It was ingenious and, as an editor myself, a task I could never imagine pulling off successfully.  All of this mixed with great performances and appearances (both brief and supporting) from people like Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm, Jon Bernthal, and Flea, and you have yet another great movie Edgar Wright can happily put on his resume.

THE HOUSE

I wasn’t too disappointed in The House because I managed to keep my expectations low.  I can definitely see how some people might not have been able to though.  This movie has a fantastic comedic starring and supporting cast including Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler, Jason Mantzoukas, Nick Kroll, Michaela Watkins, Rob Huebel, Cedric Yarbrough, and Andrea Savage, some people I have loved for their comedic outings in the past.  The problem with The House is that it has all these brilliant people and even has a decent premise for a comedy movie and the movie still only gets to kind of funny.  You could’ve done much more with these ingredients, but the product was still edible.

 

JULY

A GHOST STORY

Generally this sort of artsy fartsy drama movie doesn’t interest me, but something about the trailer intrigued me.  It was probably wondering how they would make this movie not seem silly with the protagonist walking around with a sheet over himself like a cheap Halloween costume.  Well it did not seem silly, but I didn’t find it as emotionally impactful as it seemed to want to be.  It was an interesting exploration of life, love, and loss, but it also spent a lot of time right on the border of boring.  They had 2 good actors heading up the movie, but their performances were really quiet and subdued.  Casey Affleck couldn’t do much by way of performance because he was under a sheet for the whole movie, and the most impressive thing Rooney Mara did was eating an entire pie in one sitting.  Which isn’t a slight on her performance; that’s just plain impressive, but did we need to watch it all?  Also, how are you going to have Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara in a movie but the majority of the dialogue is either delivered in Spanish or by a hipster farmer dude?  Either way, this movie was fine to me, but I imagine some people more interested in such movies may find it very moving.

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING

I had often felt that the Spider-Man movies were a bit lacking.  Tobey was a great Peter Parker but not always a good Spider-Man.  Garfield was a pretty good Spider-Man but not a very good Peter.  Now Tom Holland shows up and shows them both how to do it, and even better, does so in well-written movie that remains fun from start to finish.  Along with Holland, Keaton is fantastic.  He’s a villain but with a clear motivation that makes him sympathetic, and the way he figures out Peter is Spider-Man was very well done.  Besides Holland and Keaton, there were also a great deal of wonderful supporting characters, like Robert Downey Jr, Jon Favreau, Donald Glover, Marisa Tomei, Chris Evans, Hannibal Buress, Martin Starr, and especially Zendaya, who nailed a joke in almost every scene she was in.  The only joke she didn’t land is the one where she said people should call her MJ.  I will not be doing that, and I hope future movies don’t attempt to convince me that she’s Mary Jane Watson.  But besides that minor snafu, this was a fantastic movie.

WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES

The Planet of the Apes movies are the odd series that seem to either improve or remain at the same level of quality as they add movies.  It’s also odd to watch a movie and side with the thing that is at war with the humans, but we are pretty shitty to the monkeys in these.  They seem pretty content in living in the woods, but we still have to go kill the kid of their leader.  Typical us.  Then we just continue to give them more and more reason to kick our asses until they do.  Serkis continues to prove why he’s the man you call when you need top-notch motion capture acting, and the human side of Woody Harrelson also delivers.  What might hold these movies back for me is that, while they’re all of good quality, they’re not particularly fun, though it’s not really what they’re aiming for with a post-apocalyptic movie.  Still a really good movie though.

DUNKIRK

I liked a lot about Dunkirk, but it feels like I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as most people seemed to.  It was very good, extremely well directed, and very interesting as well as being a story I didn’t know about beforehand, but it accomplished these things while being a mostly slow and measured movie that didn’t keep my attention some of the time.  It may be more my problem than the movie’s, but it was still my reaction.  Another part of my issue was that there were a few main characters typically surrounded by a huge amount of people that looked very similar, so besides Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, and Kenneth Branagh, I tended to lose track of whose story I was following.  All that being said, Dunkirk is an inarguably quality movie that just didn’t interest me as much as it did others.  I still recommend it as I feel I’m in the minority on this.

VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS

Visually, I have always been impressed by the films of Luc Besson when he goes to a fantasy realm.  Of course, that may not be saying too much because I’ve only seen 3 of his films that fit that description: The Fifth Element, Lucy, and Valerian.  His movies do tend to be more interesting from a story standpoint when they’re in the real world, like Leon the Professional and Taken.  None of this changes after watching Valerian.  Visually, it’s delightful and imaginative with a few good scenes of interesting and new action.  Beyond that, there’s not much to offer in this movie.  The story is fairly basic, as if they were worried that the imagination of the world visually would be too much if they also had a story more than solve a mystery, save a species.  Both main characters also seem to be trying too hard and coming up short.  People keep telling us how handsome and manly Dane DeHaan’s character is supposed to be, which is good because one wouldn’t reach that conclusion on their own.  Cara Delevigne’s direction seemed to be, “Constantly remind the audience that you are a strong, independent woman.  Listen to Beyoncé before every scene if you have to.”  In the end, the movie is very pretty to look upon, but there’s not much else.  Except maybe for Rihanna.  She was okay, but her intro scene was pretty interesting to watch.  Of course, you can save time by just watching that on YouTube instead of sitting through the whole movie.

ATOMIC BLONDE

Atomic Blonde balances itself entirely on the appeal of having Charlize Theron kick much ass and at one point have sex with a woman.  That’s what the trailers told me I’d be watching and that’s what it delivered.  Beyond that, there is a little style and flair to this movie and a fairly basic spy plot.  It’s sad to me that this movie wasn’t that impressive all around because I would totally like to see this version of Charlize Theron in a movie more like one of the better written Daniel Craig Bond movies.

THE EMOJI MOVIE

Obviously, I sometimes only watch a movie because I also do a bottom 5 list when I do a top 5.  Being a person who does not particularly like or use emojis in his life and also being a somewhat sane person who realizes that a movie written about emojis is starting itself off on the wrong foot, I of course decided this movie would be a solid candidate for one of the worst movies of the year.  I was only wrong in my assumption of how bad it would be.  It wasn’t as bad as I expected.  Still pretty bad, but it’s intended to be a kids movie so the fact that that its favorite joke is just saying poop different ways while a poop emoji is walking around seems vaguely acceptable.  Beyond that, the movie feels like it wants to be Wreck It Ralph and Inside Out while having nothing that made either of those two movies enjoyable.  It also spends a lot of its time making fun of everything wrong with the internet while ignoring the fact that it doesn’t exist without what it’s trying to mock.  I think the saddest thing about this movie is how many people I enjoy and respect were unable to make this movie anything worth existing.  Skip it.

 

AUGUST

THE DARK TOWER

I’m not exactly sure why the Dark Tower got beaten up as much as it did.  It wasn’t fantastic or anything, but it didn’t hurt my feelings either and that’s how the internet seemed to react.  Maybe they had some deep love for the books that this was based on, but I’d never really heard of them and don’t really care how they match up.  All I know is that Stephen King has a thing about little white boys psychically calling for help from older black men.  Based on just the movie, there’s not much to it, but it had they did some cool things with guns and reloading that made it interesting enough.  It’s just shocking that all these gun fights are happening as they did without white doves flying out of everything.  I didn’t really like the main kid in the movie too.  Something about his face, I think.  He kind of looked like a male Alicia Vikander.  On the other hand, I felt like Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey did serviceable jobs.  So maybe I’m alone in this, but I didn’t hate it.

KIDNAP

Kidnap feels like they were trying to make female Taken but instead of ass-whoopery, the main character is trained in stunt car driving.  So Halle Berry’s kid is kidnapped for unknown purposes by two hicks and she decides she needs to take the law into her own hands because the police suck.  Well turns out everyone in this movie sucks except the children and Halle Berry because the whole movie could’ve been stopped by the asshole in the beginning that completely ignores the hysterical woman screaming, “They have my son!” and could’ve helped by just turning his car slightly and blocking the ramp.  The hicks in the movie aren’t just evil abductors of children, but they’re also real stupid.  Halle Berry gets the upper hand on the fat white hick lady, puts on her jacket, and waves out the window at her partner, who somehow can’t see through the windshield or what color her hand is and mistakes Halle Berry for his fat white accomplice.  And the biggest issue is I think any criminal with even a fraction of a brain would’ve gotten rid of the kid 10 minutes or so into the chase.  This mom is NOT giving up and this kid is more trouble than he’s worth.  Either kill him or let him go.  Otherwise she may end up killing you with a minivan.  And that’s not a joke.  She does that.  So obviously, there were problems with the story and the logic in this movie, but it is pretty fast paced and reasonably thrilling, and Halle Berry really puts herself through a workout.  An acceptable movie, but one you can skip too.

ANNABELLE: CREATION

I’ve already done a video review for this movie, and I’ve also mostly forgotten it, so I’ll keep it brief.  If I remember correctly, I enjoyed it.  Pretty creepy without relying too much on gore and jump scares.  Good performances too.  If you want more detail, you should watch the video.  That guy in the video remembers it way better than I do.  Probably had some good jokes too.

THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD

The Hitman’s Bodyguard is far from a ground-breaking action-comedy, but why should someone assume it needs to be.  I certainly don’t.  I expected some good action.  Check.  I expected some funny moments.  Check.  What I didn’t expect is Selma Hayek and Gary Oldman (because I didn’t look into the movie much and didn’t know they were in it), but they’re typically good and were here as well.  What I also didn’t expect is Reynolds and Jackson to have such good chemistry.  They were really fun together.  And the movie, though not mind-blowing, should suffice as an enjoyable experience.

LOGAN LUCKY

I’m no expert on the work of Steven Soderbergh.  I’ve seen a couple of his movies but not very many, and I’ve never found myself entirely impressed with them.  Critics apparently love him though, so that’s good, I guess.  For me personally, I thought Logan Lucky was a perfectly fine little heist movie with a great cast and a few laughs.  It didn’t strike me as much more than that though.

BIRTH OF THE DRAGON

Normally, seeing WWE Studios attached to a movie is what lets me know I don’t need to watch it.  This movie was different.  Not because I saw the trailers and thought it would be amazing, but because it was about Bruce Lee and probably had some decent fights in it, which would hopefully make up for lack of quality.  I wrote that sentence before I started watching the movie, which only proves that I can predict the future.  That’s exactly what happened.  It was a vaguely interesting movie about a fight between Bruce and Wong Jack Man, grandfather of Hugh Jackman.  Well, it’s KIND OF about that fight.  This movie actually takes the interesting (and ill-advised) approach of making that fight (and even those characters) kind of background noise, instead preferring to focus its attention on some fictional white guy student of Bruce’s that falls in love with a waitress he needs to save from the triads.  So that was pretty dumb, but it leads to a pretty good fight at the end.  And that’s all this movie was to me: some bullshit separating some solid fights.  And that’s good enough sometimes.

 

SEPTEMBER

IT

There is a video for this movie you can watch for detailed description and jokes long forgotten.  I made a pretty excellent Photoshop image for it though.  My thoughts of the movie have not changed.  I still thought it was entirely solid as a horror movie.  One thing that has changed since then is that I have a new respect for the occasionally annoying comic relief Richie, played by the best name in Hollywood Finn Wolfhard, because I have since seen Stranger Things, which is amazing.  Certainly better than this movie, but this movie is still good.  Go watch the video.

AMERICAN ASSASSIN

It’s like the Hitman’s Bodyguard, but boring and with no comedy.  A guy’s girlfriend gets killed by terrorists and he just can’t let it go so he spends the rest of his life infiltrating and trying to kill terrorists until the government decides to give him a paycheck for it.  Then Batman trains him and the guy that ruined Gambit shows up trying to do bad things and then they explode a bomb in the ocean.  The end.  Watch Hitman’s Bodyguard instead.  Much more fun.

MOTHER!

I’ve never really been a fan of Darren Aronofsky movies.  Too dark and confusing and full of themselves and up their own ass with how important they think they are.  And then comes mother!, which I apparently have to type like that but hopefully never will again.  I expected I would hate this movie, but I didn’t.  I didn’t like it because it was dark and gross and pretentious, but I would have to give it credit for being somewhat thought-provoking and artistically delivered, though also being filled with characters that were super annoying and did not act like humans.  Ed Harris and Javier Bardem, for instance.  Harris is Bardem’s biggest fan who apparently stalks him and finds where he lives, so you invite him into your house against the wishes of your wife, he gets to spend the night, invites his wife who also spends the night, they break your most cherished possession, get scolded, and then walk into the next room to have sex.  It gets worse from there.  The people were so unrealistic that the movie played more like a black comedy to me as things get more and more ridiculous.  It also becomes pretty clear that this is all a metaphor for God and religion and whatnot.  It keeps itself subtle for the first two thirds of the movie, but closes by going really heavy-handed with their metaphor.  In the end, I didn’t hate it, I didn’t like it, but it was at least interesting.

KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE

I found the first Kingsman movie to be surprisingly fun.  I would say roughly the same about the sequel without the surprise.  I like that both movies really don’t try to take themselves seriously, but do have a solid action movie mixed in with that.  Then they made a sequel and tried (as sequels often do) to give you more of the things they can manage to try to balance the lack of surprise, but surprise can get you a lot of points.  So, Kingsman: The Golden Circle is fine.

THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE

If the Lego Ninjago movie had come out before Lego Batman, I would say they’ve already lost their touch.  The Lego Movie was great.  Lego Batman was slightly less great, but still great in its own right.  Lego Ninjago is cute at best.  It all starts with a scene stolen right out of another Jackie Chan movie called The Forbidden Kingdom where a kid wanders into a Chinese antique store and is regaled with the ancient Chinese legend … of Lego Ninjago … Then they go into the CG stuff which is all about the Green Ranger or whatever whose dad is the bad guy and they fight with their giant, loud, robotic Megazords in true ninja fashion.  The story isn’t really that good, but there are some solid laughs along the way, most of which are delivered by Jackie Chan.  They also have a pretty impressive cast in the movie.  On the bad side, it wasn’t very impressive as a movie, especially when compared to the other Lego movies.  Also, something about the animation just didn’t seem right.  In video game parlance, it seemed like the frame rate was too low.  Of course, as the second Lego movie released this year, they may have just spent more time on the good one and rushed this out for a quick buck.  It’s not terrible, but just watch Lego Batman or The Lego Movie instead.

FLATLINERS

A bunch of doctors decide to temporarily kill themselves because it gives them special brain powers.  How do you think I felt about it?  This movie probably should’ve just been what the trailers made it look like to me: as if briefly killing themselves made their brain work better, but having touched the other side made them able to see dead people, which causes horror movie.  Instead it seemed like their special brain powers had the side-effect of making your guilt seem real and try to kill you unless you got it off your chest.  And it’s not good enough to just tell anyone, you have to get some repercussions for it.  When Marlo tells Ray that she screwed up once and killed someone while on call at the hospital, all that’s going to lead to is the two of you having sex…for some reason…  You have to actually tell the head of the hospital and get fired.  This movie had potential, but fell pretty short of it.

 

OCTOBER

HAPPY DEATH DAY

I realized after watching this movie that I can think of 3 genres that the Groundhog Day formula has fit itself into.  Comedy, obviously.  Then later, Sci-Fi/Action with Edge of Tomorrow, and now even into the Horror genre.  From the trailers, I thought this movie was going to be the worst, but was happy to find that it was actually pretty good.  I’ve already succinctly summed up the concept of the movie by saying Horror Groundhog Day, but they were able to make that work.  I was worried near the end that they were going to go for a really boring revelation of who the killer was, but then they were able to sneak a nice twist in instead.  Jessica Rothe performed her role well, but she certainly wasn’t likeable for most of the movie.  She was a rude little wench until she started getting killed a couple times.  I had a couple questions about her though.  First of all, why does someone who doesn’t want people to know it’s her birthday have a really annoying “It’s your birthday!” ringer on their phone?  And why is your ringer about your birthday?  Do you just change it to that ringtone for that day or is it always that ringtone?  Also, how are you going to start noticeably falling in love with a guy because you find out he DIDN’T date rape you after you woke up in his bed?  That’s supposed to be par, not the sign of a sweet guy.  You shouldn’t be impressed by his self-control.  And then questions in general: what kind of college chooses an ugly creepy football baby as their school mascot?  And how does the killer plan for every eventuality?  She goes under the bridge?  He’s there.  Next time stays in her room.  He’s there too.  Goes to the hospital and guess what?  He went to In N’ Out instead.  …Oh wait no, he’s killing you.  Regardless of those minor questions I had, this movie was surprisingly enjoyable.  Check it out.

THE FOREIGNER

Most of what I say about a Jackie Chan movie can be taken with a grain of salt because I’m going to have automatic affection for them.  I’ve loved Jackie Chan for years and don’t currently recall any movie I’ve seen of his bad enough to change that.  The Foreigner didn’t either.  It was actually fairly good, though admittedly not as good as I hoped it would be.  Jackie Chan’s daughter, Cho Chang, returns from Hogwarts (it really is Katie Leung.  I was so excited) and gets caught in a terrorist bombing.  After grieving, Jackie goes after the bomber to get revenge but essentially becomes a terrorist himself to exclusively Pierce Brosnan to try to get the names of the bombers from him, even though he only seems to have a slim connection and a gut feeling to decide Brosnan might know who did it.  The story was somewhat basic, but did have some characters whose motivations you stay questioning.  The movie did have some action and some fighting, but nowhere near as much as Chan’s movies typically would have, which I found a little disappointing.  Chan’s style of fighting in movies typically doesn’t lend itself to him being a highly trained badass.  He more seems to kick a bunch of people’s asses by accident in his movies, but it ends up working pretty well when it happens in this movie.  I think the thing people might find most impressive in this movie is that Jackie Chan gets to bust out some acting chops to go along with those karate chops, proving himself very competent in a dramatic role too.  I recommend this movie for a watch.

GEOSTORM

I have a particular fondness for epic disaster movies and have been known to watch my entire collection of them about once a year, so obviously I was going to see Geostorm when I heard about it.  One does not go into such a movie expecting a smart movie.  Just spectacle.  That’s all you need.  No one’s even going to watch this movie and find it remotely believable because we all know climate change is fake news.  Not terribly long into the movie though, you realize that it’s actually not really a disaster movie as we come to expect.  A disaster movie is when the Earth itself is trying to kill us.  This movie is more White House Down than 2012.  It’s something like the 3rd guy in line for President hacks the satellite system designed to stop mega-storms and starts using it to cause mega-storms, I guess hoping he’ll kill the President and VP in the process.  I don’t know how that’s going to work out for Ed Harris to cause a geostorm that lays waste to the world, but that’s what he wants.  So it’s dumb, the dialogue is extremely lackluster, and the performances range from mediocre to Gerard Butler looking amazed when he gets onto the space station even though he built it.  By no means required viewing, but decent enough dumb spectacle.

LEATHERFACE

I hate slasher movies.  They’re meant to be horror movies but the best they can ever muster or even bother to attempt is jump scares unless you have some deep-seeded phobia for red-colored corn syrup.  Besides buckets of corn syrup, all this movie has is a vague attempt to be interesting by providing an unnecessary origin story to Leatherface no one was really asking for, and some average performances from Iron Fist Finn Jones and the dude that played young Hodor.  Feel free to skip this movie.

AMITYVILLE: THE AWAKENING

You know when you watch a horror movie and wonder how these people don’t have at least a general idea how to react, as if they’ve never seen a horror movie before, but you have to guess that maybe in this universe they never had these movies?  What if you were watching an Amityville movie and they didn’t know this house was bad news and then they also reference (and even watch them in this movie) the 30 other Amityville movies?  Well then those people are dumb.  And they are!  With Bella Thorne spouting logic about her bedridden brother, “He’s my twin.  I can feel he’s gone!”  That’s just good science.  Also, she somehow gets blamed-and blames herself-for her brother being bedridden when he got injured trying to fight a guy that spread pictures of her?  That was his choice and she wasn’t even there.  She was just the inspiration for it.  She’s also a Goth chick that apparently decides it’s best to do her homework and walk around her house in her lacy pink panties, not that I’m complaining about seeing it, just that it doesn’t seem to fit the character.  She also sees a window raise up on its own and a ghost girl slam against it, and then immediately after scolds her little sister for startling her because she’s standing in the next room over quietly watching her?  I guess you could say that shitty parenting is the reason she grew up like she did.  Her mom was a real shitbag.  The only person she likes in this movie (or her family) is the bedridden brother and is pretty shitty to everyone else.  This movie is not scary, boring, most of the characters are unlikeable and not particularly well-performed, and it barely bothers to try.  As they say in this movie, “Remakes totally blow.”

 

NOVEMBER

THOR: RAGNAROK

Two easy things to say about Thor: Ragnarok are: 1) By far the best Thor movie to date, and 2) Most likely the most consistently funny Marvel Cinematic Universe movie (Deadpool being in the battle for funniest comic book movie ever may put up a fight though).  Wonderfully and hilariously written, well-directed, great performances, Cate Blanchett was hella hot as … whatever her character’s name was, and an overall fantastic and fun time at the movies.  I would say if there is some minor thing to say negatively about this movie, is that I was one of the people who found it odd that Thor was the way he was in all the other movies and yet in this movie he’s suddenly a really funny dude that doesn’t take these situations seriously.  Previously, he was only really delivering comedy as the butt of the joke with things like not understanding human society, but not actively making jokes himself.  But I accept that unexplained change in character because I was laughing and enjoying myself.  Great movie.

MAYHEM

This movie is essentially a comedic business world interpretation of 28 Days Later.  An infection breaks out in an office building of a disease that causes people to lose their inhibitions and become extremely violent.  Steven Yeun had just been wrongly terminated but had not left the building yet when the building gets quarantined so he makes friends with Samara Weaving and together they work their way up to the top for justice.  Pretty funny, very violent, and drenched in blood.  Steven Yeun and Samara Weaving are great, but at the time I had only seen her in this and Ash vs. the Evil Dead, so I’m pretty sure this gorgeous lady has a fetish for being covered in fake blood.  Not much to say about this movie besides it was pretty enjoyable for a movie I had no expectations for.  A good RedBox pick if you come across it.

JUSTICE LEAGUE

The best I can say about DC at this point is that they at least seem to be starting to figure out what they need to do.  They’re moving in the right direction, just not as fast as I would like them to.  Justice League suffers from coming out the same year as Wonder Woman, when fans looked at themselves and said, “Hey!  I guess they finally found the formula!  No more Suicide Squads and Batman v. Superman’s for these guys!”  The other thing it suffers from is characters.  Aquaman feels all wrong in performance though perfectly acceptable to me in appearance.  All you need to do is grab Momoa and say, “Be Khal Drogo but you can speak English and also talk to fish.”  Cyborg was a little bland and not very fun.  Batman was way too jokey, Wonder Woman didn’t have the same magic she did in her own movie, and the Flash.  Oh boy the Flash!  I’m not even a fan of the Flash and I know he’s all wrong.  Joking around and not being funny, talking about how he doesn’t know how to fight, and the worst affront: he doesn’t know how to run!  Flash, you had one job!  I know it would be a little weird in the audition process to say, “Okay, you have everything we want performance-wise, but can we go ahead and get you up on this treadmill real quick so we can make sure you don’t run like a goof?”  One positive note (besides being better than most DCEU movies by a little bit) is that they nailed them some Superman.  He was finally not a mopey bitch and was all truth, justice, American way, Boy Scout style Superman.  The negative side of that is that I hate Superman for reasons that this movie illustrates brilliantly.  The Justice League can’t beat their awful-looking, CGI baddie-du-jour and then Supes shows up as comic book Jesus and whips him.  All-powerful heroes are not interesting to me, and it makes the rest of the team look weak.  Still, I’d implore DC to not do anything rash like feeling you need to reboot everyone.  Everyone but Ezra Miller was fine, and can do well if you write them better in the future.  Even Ezra could be fine if you write him better and get him a physical trainer to teach him how to run.

COCO

I was not interested in seeing this movie.  Typically, Disney Pixar movies pique my interest, but I hadn’t heard anything about this movie to drive me to it.  Plus, I thought it was all about a dog because I misread their posters.  But, a friend of mine wanted to see it and, let’s face it; I don’t do anything important in my free time and had no excuse not to go.  Added bonus was that this friend is a Mexican and I could not pass up the opportunity to see the movie with a Mexican so I could turn to him every five minutes and ask, “What’s an ‘abuela’?”  And afterwards I could condescendingly explain to him that I understand his plight as a Mexican now that I’ve seen this movie.  Should I talk about the movie itself now?  Okay, it was pretty good.  I found myself really bored for the first half of the movie.  I wasn’t entirely sure what was causing that, but part of me blames the 7 hour Frozen movie I sat through right before this movie.  Eventually, I got on board with the movie and ended feeling that I enjoyed it.  And the end?  Heart-wrenching.  I cried like a bitch, and I’m not ashamed to say it.  Coco is pretty good and the ending is wonderfully touching.  I would also say that technically speaking there’s nothing wrong with the Frozen “short” that came before it, but it was way too long and not very impressive and got Coco started on the wrong foot.  Separately on the DVD release, probably fine.

 

DECEMBER

THE DISASTER ARTIST

Do you want to know how good this movie is?  If the answer’s no, why are you here?  For the yes crowd: this movie is so good that it inspired me to read a book!  I never read books!  …Okay, technically this time I didn’t read a book either, but I did listen to one on Audible.  (I recommend the Disaster Artist book too)  This was such a great movie.  It’s a real study and recounting of the process involved in the making of one of the worst movies of all time: The Room.  James Franco does a perfect Tommy Wiseau, his brother Dave does a good Greg Sestero (though admittedly he looks nothing like him and that beard was pretty unconvincing), and every character supports and delivers on all of the comedy and surprising occasional emotional moments.  And the cast is crazy.  I would say go look it up on Wikipedia or IMDb to see who’s in this, but why waste time with that when I’m just going to tell you to watch this movie instead?  The only caveat I feel I need to add is that I really have no idea what this movie will do to someone who has not seen The Room beforehand.  I have seen The Room (at least as it was presented as riffed by the great people at RiffTrax) and I can no longer access the brain of someone whose brain functions have not been permanently altered by watching that movie.  My assumption is that everyone will love this movie, but the people who watch The Room first will love it so much more.

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

Because I was impatient, I saw this movie alone.  A week later, I saw it again because I felt bad that I abandoned my friend Chris the first time.  Another inspiration for seeing it a second time was because I enjoyed myself the first time, but when I got home the internet seemed to be up in arms against this movie, even going so far as to create a petition to force them to remake the movie the way they wanted it to be.  But as I said, I enjoyed myself with this movie so I didn’t sign that petition.  Also, I’m not a moron.  It wasn’t perfect and there were things that didn’t go the way I wanted, but it was still a fun ride and exactly the movie you would make when you’re mostly trying to progress the story a little and get people coming back for the final episode in the trilogy.  Now, if you somehow haven’t seen it yet you can stop here because I’ve told you my thoughts and now I’m getting into spoilers.  The thing I didn’t agree with was that they didn’t really give us anything about Rey’s parentage.  If she indeed comes from nowhere special it seems like a kind of boring and lackluster way to go, but acceptable.  Not every Jedi must be the child of someone special.  I was hoping she would be Luke’s child, but I think the nail’s in that coffin because he definitely didn’t treat her like she was his daughter at any point.  Luke was the next sticking point.  I don’t mind that Luke was uncharacteristically funny.  Nothing wrong with that to me.  Didn’t hurt Thor, won’t hurt Luke.  What I didn’t like is that they killed him, or at least how they killed him.  Obviously we all know that Carrie Fisher is dead and they had the perfect time to let her character pass in an emotional way, but then they pulled it back and she survived.  Since she’s dead in real life, wouldn’t it make more sense to let her die in the movie and replace her with Luke or Laura Dern instead of killing both of them and letting her survive?  Though Dern’s death was epic and emotional and I would hate to lose it.  Maybe they already have all her scenes shot and it will work out.  The next problem is HOW Luke died.  If you were going to kill him in the fight with Kylo anyway, why not just have him go down there in person and actually fight Kylo and then get Obi-Wan’ed at the end?  It takes away his badass points for surviving the barrage of blasts from the assault walkers and kind of makes him look like a bitch for hiding on a different planet instead of actually facing him.  But that’s the way they wanted to go and I didn’t hate them for it.  It’s just not the way I would’ve gone.  Of course, if I want a movie to turn out exactly as I want it, I should probably make a movie instead of just complaining about it on the internet.

JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE

Everyone should do me a favor and feel real stupid right now.  We all saw they were rebooting Jumanji, and a lot of people on the internet pitched a fit about it.  “It’s in a video game now?!  Bullshit!”  …Yeah.  People don’t play board games anymore unless they have a YouTube channel and aren’t allowed to play video games on it.  Personally, I saw they were making this movie and was skeptical.  Then I saw that it had The Rock, Jack Black, and Karen Gillan in it and said, “They may have something here.”  …Fine, I’ll give credit to Kevin Hart too.  I’m not a big fan of his, but he was good in this.  This movie was very funny and charming, and all carried effortlessly on the backs of their main cast, Jack Black in particular.  Jack Black and The Rock got to really show off here by playing characters they don’t typically get cast in.  The Rock is a nerdy high school student who wakes up as The Rock, and Jack Black has an even tougher time playing a self-obsessed high school girl who wakes up in Jack Black’s body.  I feel like Karen Gillan probably knows what it’s like to grow up a vaguely nerdy girl before she became super gorgeous, so she doesn’t get the same props, but watching her get taught how to seduce men by Jack Black and being so awful at it was hilarious, as was almost any moment involving Jack Black in this movie.  When he figures out how to use his new penis?  Priceless.  The only big negative I had to this movie was that the villain didn’t impress me, but the rest of the cast more than made up for it.  Stop being so in love with the original and go enjoy this one.

PITCH PERFECT 3

People might know already that I am a fan of the Pitch Perfect franchise though since it doesn’t seem like it makes sense they might constantly delete it from their brains.  I agree; it doesn’t really make sense that I enjoy these movies, but I do.  For me it’s about the songs (which are typically great), the comedy (which is typically solid, but not mind-blowing), and the cast (who are all great, though it’s also quite a bit about how hot some of them are).  Nothing has really changed for Pitch Perfect 3.  I don’t really care about the story as it’s all supposed to be set up for the other stuff.  The songs are still really good with the Riff-Off being my favorite in this movie (yes, I bought the soundtrack), although I did feel like I wanted more of them and that they took it a little easier on this film and didn’t do as many mash up songs that I like, instead just doing one song at a time beyond the Riff-Off.  There’s still a lot of comedy and very funny moments, some ridiculous and over the top that they somehow made work, like how are the Bellas performing on an exploding boat in the beginning?  They explain it!  And the cast is all still wonderful and are as hot as they ever were, sadly losing one of their hottest in Alexis Knapp, who was out with pregnancy early in the movie.  This movie is not the most spectacular and the other two are probably better, but I still enjoyed myself.  The biggest negative about this movie will be if they actually follow through on what the posters seem to be claiming and they make this the final one.  How is Fast and the Furious and Transformers going to continue ad nauseam till the end of time but there’s no room in this world for Pitch Perfect?!

BRIGHT

A pretty unspectacular movie with all the ingredients of a very spectacular movie.  A concept of a real world cop movie, but also there are Orcs and Elves and magic and shit is a pretty interesting premise.  A cast so impressive that it doesn’t even make sense, especially for a Netflix movie.  They have Will Smith, Joel Edgerton, Noomi Rapace, and a bunch of other smaller roles but recognizable people.  And watching the movie, it certainly seems more expensive than a Netflix movie should be, with pretty good CG and makeup effects and lots of wanton destruction.  But ultimately they got all the right ingredients and then undercooked the soufflé.  Smith spends most of the movie being bitchy about his partner, who he doesn’t like because he’s an orc and because he didn’t keep him from getting shot in the beginning even though the guy walked out of a building and shot him immediately and Smith himself didn’t even have enough time to try to react so how the hell was he supposed to?  The bad guys are occasionally interesting to watch, but then do stupid things like hiding in the armory as the two cops they’re hunting come in and load up on weapons and bombs and then they decide to attack right after they’re fully loaded for battle.  This movie wasn’t awful though.  It’s surprisingly impressive and ambitious and has an interesting premise and tries to go for a note of social commentary with how blatantly racist everyone seems to be about anyone that’s not your race.  It’s just also not very good.  Netflix actually says that their “best guess” for my opinion of this movie is 4.9 out of 5.  Really, Netflix?  Does this maybe have something to do with the fact that you made this movie, or have I just been drunk every time I’ve rated a movie on your site?  I’ll be generous and give you a 2.5 or 3 instead.

 

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0082 – Death Note reviews



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Terrortory (2016)


This Movie’s Production Company is ‘Kangas Kahn Films’ … Like the Pokémon…

This is going to be an interesting one.  You see, Shannon had originally made a request of me for my October Horror-thon for a movie called Deathgasm, which was a fine comedy horror movie that I just couldn’t find enough to make fun of…I mean “review.”  When I told her that, she then suggested I review today’s movie.  A movie so bad and obscure that I can’t find anything about it on Wikipedia or Rotten Tomatoes, so the only information I have is from IMDb…which is fine because I don’t intend to give you much information because (SPOILER ALERT) I don’t think anyone should ever watch this movie.  This movie is Terrortory (sigh…I know, right?), “written” and “directed” by Dan Doran, Kevin Kangas, and Mark Wenger, and “starring” who the hell cares?

A dude wants a blow job.  In order to obtain said blow job, he tells 5 “scary” stories that all were said to take place in some stretch of land called “the Terrortory” to some chick.  …Clever, ain’t it?  The first story is about a naked chick that wants beef jerky, but will settle for your face in a pinch.  The second story is just a random murderer on a film set.  The third is two people trying to catch a serial killer with a pumpkin for a head, and if that doesn’t work the dude has an engagement ring to give the girl.  The forth story is killer drones.  The fifth one is the Blair Witch if the Blair Witch was Pennywise.  Then storyteller guy and the girl get killed, but it was all a dream and they go to the beach instead and probably gets that blow job.  The end.  AND I AM NOT JOKING ABOUT ANY OF THAT!!!

Well this was a whole heap of garbage, but y’know what?  I can act angry about it all I want but we all know I love a movie that I could mock this easily.  So let’s get started, eh!  First off, I would like to recommend to this movie that they never reference other movies.  You talk about Alien, which is only going to remind us what a good movie looks like and then we remember we’re watching this.  And then you have your characters call Twilight a shitty movie.  Granted, I agree with that.  But the problem is that this movie makes me utter a phrase I never expected to utter: This movie is worse than Twilight.  I threw up 3 times while writing that sentence.  But also, these people say this house must be super prepared for a power outage because they have a bunch of glow sticks in their house.  That’s not really being prepared for a power outage; it’s being prepared for a rave, maybe.  Of course, this is coming from a guy that literally used a lightsaber as a light the last time his power went out, so maybe I can’t judge.  …But here I go anyways.  After that, he tells his first story and afterwards says, “I’ll tell you another.  And this is a good one.”  So, you realized that the first story was garbage and you’re telling your audience that?  Also, the second story was also garbage.  I mean, the first one was terrible, especially since they expect you to believe that a good ole boy comes across a mostly naked, 6/10 woman in the woods that keeps asking if he brought her meat and he never once grabs his crotch and says, “I got your meat right here!”  The second story doesn’t even really have a story.  It’s just some people filming some movie in the woods and then there’s a killer and they all die.  That’s it.  Story 3 at least had an interesting idea in that the pumpkin head guy had no head in his trick or treat pumpkin bucket head, but started tossing his victim’s brain in there.  That could’ve been something if they had bothered.  They didn’t though.  But they did decide to add a subplot about how the guy brought an engagement ring with him for him and his girlfriend’s trip to the woods to hunt a serial killer, which is definitely the way to get that “yes,” fellas.  Nothin’ gets the ladies in the mood for marriage like impending doom.  Story 4 goes back to the lack of story and random killing, but this time it’s modernized because the filmmakers rented a few drones for the day.  Problematically, drones are too hard to pilot for a) someone to fly one and fire a dart accurately, b) have one person flying several simultaneously, c) make one cut someone’s throat with them while somehow still keeping them aloft, and d) fuck you, movie.  But it turns out they were all being controlled by artificial intelligence or something, so it’s okay.  Story 5 was the closest they got to an interesting story, but by that I mean they ripped off two better stories (Blair Witch and Stephen King’s It) and mashed them together into their garbage.  Basically, this whole movie was 3 guys that had about 1/10th of an idea for a horror movie, so they all just smashed them together to make about 1/27th of a decent movie.  I am good at math.

Now, since this is a really low budget movie, you have to forgive their special effects.  …I mean YOU do.  I do not and will not.  It all sucked.  They basically had access to corn syrup, but not to actual special effects, so they would show the wind up and the aftermath, but they could not actually show a stabbing.  They can just have a guy have a vision, start screaming, and then be suddenly back in the woods with a lady pulling very unconvincing strips off of his face and eating them.  Or they can show a guy swing a pickaxe and then show a lady with a pickaxe coming out of her mouth and the very tip of the pickaxe going into the mouth of the person she was kissing, which I would like to add is not nearly enough of the pickaxe to kill the guy underneath.  Maybe he’d have a tongue piercing now at best, but I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume he just drowned very quickly on the blood of the girl above him who would actually have died from the pickaxe. The fourth story also made me very sad for another reason than just it being the 5th garbage storyline I was watching.  It was also because that story made me realize this movie was made recently enough to have drones in it.  I was thinking 1970 and then it could’ve gotten a pass, but no, not so much.  I also tend to focus a lot on boobs in my horror movies, because if you’re gonna make me sit through an awful movie, at least give me something I can enjoy.  They don’t really deliver there either.  That one siren lady in the first story is pretty much naked all the time (which leads me to believe that this was the only person in the movie who wasn’t a buddy of the writer/directors and instead was hired from the local strip club), and the rest of the movie was just people that teased with their boobs, being in bras and shaking them at the camera a lot, but only one other person goes through with it.  I do applaud the director of the third story (pumpkin head guy story) because the camera angle he chose while showing the girl putting on the wedding ring made sure he kept one of the girls boobs in the top right corner, just so the audience would know it was still there.

Obviously, you can’t really expect much by way of acting in this movie either.  Maybe I’m wrong, but it certainly seemed like every person in this movie was just the writer/director’s buddies that they paid in pizza and a six-pack of Dos Equis.  So let’s just go through them, shall we?  First off, the main character of the first story’s name is Marshall Trigger.  Take a moment to let that sink in.  Secondly, he is roughly as smart as you would expect someone to be with the name Marshall Trigger.  His big plan to bag a deer is to just wander around the woods with a gun.  Doesn’t take up a perch in a tree, doesn’t cover himself in deer urine or use deer calls or whatever you do, just shows up and wanders around.  Doesn’t even wear an orange vest.  But instead of getting shot by a yokel, he gets his face eaten by a naked chick.  And he kind of deserves it, because he meets her, she keeps asking him for meat, he doesn’t have any beef jerky on him (which I would recommend; it’s a great travel snack and also keeps you from getting your face eaten), then he has two visions in the vicinity of this creepy chick and decides it’s her fault and shoots her in the face.  Some might call that a bit hasty with the conclusions there.  Second story is about actors in the woods, but strangely employs no actual actors in the scenes.  There are people there, to be sure, but I wouldn’t call what they were doing acting.  There was also a fat lumberjack looking dude who thinks he needs to completely drop his pants to masturbate to two of the actors making out in a tent, but also thinks it’s fine to just stand out in the open to do it and also is fine masturbating to the idea of them making out because he’s far away and they’re in a tent so he can’t see anything at all.  The third story made very little sense at all.  Guy takes his girlfriend to find a serial killer/ask her to marry him, but then they also feel the need to record themselves beforehand acting like they’re just going camping, as if the killer were going to see the video and be fooled into thinking they weren’t there for him.  The guy also seems to miss twice when firing a gun at someone just an inch or two away from point blank range.  It was a good thing they were out there looking for Smilin’ Jack and not Broad Side of a Barn Steven.  Surprisingly enough, these people also can’t act.  The guy’s death rattle was more akin to drinking water and having it go down the wrong pipe than being disemboweled.  In story 4, they employed no good actors.  I know I could just say that about the whole movie in general, but I feel like they were bad enough that it needed to be pointed out each time.  But in this story, I was hopeful that the guy the campers met in the beginning would be the bad guy, because him going on about poisonous bugs and snakes and stuff and his general vibe made him the creepiest thing in the movie.  Instead, he was just a kindly hiker who was most likely a pedophile in his free time.  Also, the black guy in this straight up does parkour to escape the drone, proving that this movie was made when a bunch of frat boys were sitting around getting stoned and reciting things that they think are “rad.”  Drones, parkour, ear gauges, boobies, and murder.  “Bro!  You should write that down and make a movie!  …Dude, there are two O’s in ‘boobs’…”  And finally, there were no actors in the 5th story either.  Also, every character was extremely unlikeable.  Dumb chick (but at least she’ll get her boobs out), like two other girls that make no impression at all, annoying AV twerp, Native American looking dude that talks to the camera all the time, ass-hat director guy.  Should I really be cheering for the murderous clown instead of the victims?

So that’s Terrortory.  A God-awful collection of God-awful half-baked ideas that someone decided should just be filmed straight off of the idea stage without bothering with all that “writing” nonsense those nerds are always doing.  They also couldn’t afford anything resembling effects or anyone resembling actors.  There are some boobs, but there are better ways to see better boobs and I recommend you try those first.  I cannot say this is the worst movie I’ve ever slogged through because I’ve seen and reviewed some real garbage, but this movie could certainly be a competitor.  Basically, I’m saying don’t watch it.  Unless you’re into that sort of thing.  Terrortory gets “Someone actually gave this movie 10/10 on IMDb!” out of “I hate that person!!”

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0081 – Annabelle: Creation review


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WATCH REVIEWS HERE!  YouTube  OTHER JOKES HERE!  Twitter  BE A FAN HERE!  Facebook  If you like these reviews so much, spread the word.  Keep me motivated!  Also, if you like them so much, why don’t you marry them?!