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Give Us the Baby, or We’ll Rip it Out of You
October has returned and, as I have been informed that I have not yet seen and reviewed every horror movie yet, that means the Horrorthon can continue! Today’s movie came as a recommendation from Shannon, who knows all the horror movies I have never heard of and knows to tell me to review the ones that have a lot of stuff for me to make fun of. This movie turned out to be one of those movies. And it is called Hellions, written by Pascal Trottier, directed by Bruce McDonald (who is Canadian, but is not one of the Kids in the Hall, I checked), and starring Chloe Rose, Robert Patrick, Rossif Sutherland, Rachel Wilson, Luke Bilyk, and Peter DaCunha.
It’s Halloween (of course) and Goth teenager Dora (Rose) has her festivities ruined when Dr. Henry (Sutherland) informs her that her boyfriend Jace (Bilyk) knocked her up some 4 weeks ago. Dora is displeased. And is even more so when her mother (Wilson) takes her brother (DaCunha) out trick or treating and she starts getting some very rude trick or treaters. Ones who trick her with the severed head of her boyfriend and inform her that the treat they desire is her baby. Also, the T-1000 is there and he’s a cop and helps her at some point.
I found this movie very confusing. And also bad. One of the big failings of this movie is how long it takes to get going. There was a good period of time I legitimately thought the horror of this movie was just the real life horror of teenaged pregnancy. I grant that nothing terrifies me more than the idea of having to raise children, but I don’t need to see an 81 minute movie about it. Thankfully (I guess?) it goes in a more supernatural direction because her baby was…an alien or demon or something…somehow…? I don’t know. They didn’t bother to explain that. And it didn’t matter because it was all a dream anyway. That’s right! They used the old we-just-wasted-your-time television trope of making a ridiculous episode that doesn’t count at all because it was just a dream. Which felt cheap. Just like when they used that for one last “scare” by having her wake up for one more attempt at spooky before she woke up again. FOOLED YOU! DOUBLE DREAM! I also wondered if the point of this movie had something to do with abortion, but if it did I couldn’t tell if it was pro-choice, pro-life, or just the way the writer chose to tell his girlfriend that having children was a bad idea. It doesn’t really matter because the movie was aggressively tame and not scary to the point of boredom.
The visuals of this movie were also disappointing. Especially when the movie randomly went sepia toned when the spooky stuff started. I guess putting Instagram filters on your movie that’s about a teenage girl is technically appropriate, but it’s definitely annoying. Most of their visuals weren’t particularly well done either. The little demon girl that melted was fine except for the fact that, while filming it, the directed seemingly accidentally upskirted the child and, instead of noticing it in the moment and filming it from another angle, just chose to blur it out. The nearly fatal wound that the doctor took wasn’t particularly well done and looked not much more dangerous than if he had cut himself shaving. They also seemed to borrow from other movies a couple times, like the sheet over the face thing that inexplicably completely disabled Dora felt a lot like a shout out to Nightmare on Elm Street. And maybe it was just me, but it felt like they were trying to give Dora a Wonder Woman in No Man’s Land scene, but instead of mines and mortars it was pumpkins blowing up for no good reason.
I guess the performances were acceptable enough, but maybe that’s just me judging it as someone that can’t act. The characters didn’t always make sense though. Like what was the point of all the scenes of Dora’s disgusting method of eating pickles? She would get a pickle, drizzle honey on it, and then sprinkle salt on it. First of all, gross. Second of all, I would never eat pickles if it was so damned complicated to do so. I assume the idea was that she was getting weird pregnancy cravings, but they never said that this wasn’t just something she did all the time. Also she was supposed to be 4 weeks in, which seems early for that. But who can say for sure what Dora thinks is normal when later she’s on the phone with the police and never thinks to say, “Hey, is it newsworthy enough for me to bring up that there seems to be a hurricane happening inside my house?” She’s also a lot more terrified of the evil children than I would be. I mean weapons or not, I will beat the crap out of a little kid. …Y’know, if they were a threat to me…not just for fun or something… She does eventually become more resourceful, and almost to the point of absurdity. She kills a demon kid with salt, finds out the gun has no effect, and so she is able to take apart some shotgun shells and replace the slugs with salt. …Did I miss some exposition earlier on when she randomly said, “Well you know how dad used to put me through basic training in military school, right?”
Dora was pretty much the only person in the movie. Everyone else was pretty unnecessary. The doctor guy mostly kills time and makes me very uncomfortable. Like, I understand wanting to get into the Halloween spirit, but maybe don’t deliver life-changing and devastating news to a young girl while wearing giant elf ears. Also, probably not wise to make house calls to a 17 year old girl. He seemed to only have the best intentions but, I don’t know, maybe bring a nurse with you? And maybe tell the girl not to apply duct tape directly to your wounds to stop the bleeding. You’re a doctor, you should probably tell her to put something absorbent down first.
So Hellions isn’t a great movie. There is certainly a lot of stuff to make fun of in it if you’re into that sort of thing, but it can take a pretty long, boring route to get there. And then it continues to be boring, but at least you can have fun mocking it. But good luck, ‘cause I probably made all the possible jokes already and left nothing for you. So I’ll just recommend you skip it instead. Hellions gets “How do you like the bath salts, bitch.”
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The day finally came. After 11 years and 22 of my top 22 favorite films of all time, we’re in the Endgame now. Even with all my hatred of people and crowds, my excitement and impatience would not allow me to wait long to see it. But Infinity War set a very high bar for the MCU. There was certainly no way they could pass that, or even blow it completely out of the water, right? Well there’s only one way to find out. Well, by the time of writing this, two ways because I’ve already seen it twice. And even though the second time was today, I feel like I’m itching to see it again. But what did I think of the movie, you might be asking? …Really? Have you never read one of my reviews or seen one of my videos? Well here’s my probably entirely predictable review of Avengers: Endgame, written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, and starring…like everyone. Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Josh Brolin, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Brie Larson, Karen Gillan, Danai Gurira, Benedict Wong, Bradley Cooper, and so many more names.
Thanos (Brolin) won and wiped out half of all life in the universe with the snap of shiny, bejeweled fingers. Even though they were thoroughly trounced by Thanos by himself, the remaining Avengers – Captain America (Evans), Hulk (Ruffalo), Thor (Hemsworth), Black Widow (Johansson), and War Machine (Cheadle) – as well as the two remaining Guardians of the Galaxy – Rocket (Cooper) and Nebula (Gillan) – decide it would be a good idea to take another crack at it because the new girl, Captain Marvel (Larson) claims to be super strong. Iron Man (Downey) decides to stay home because he’s sleepy. So the Avengers set off to … avenge. And all of this is the first half hour. Pretty much anything else is a spoiler.
Y’know what? Avengers: Endgame could’ve been better. …Don’t get me wrong, it was the greatest movie of all time ever, but I’m sure there’s something that could’ve been improved. I was able to think of at least one, but we’ll get to that. But a movie that contains as much hype as this movie has and I only really had one gripe? That’s a killer flick! Problematically for the sake of this review, I don’t think it’s worth talking about without spoilers. Pretty much the entire movie after the first half hour is spoilers, so if that is a problem for you, feel free to stop reading and come back after seeing it. Otherwise, let’s dish!
The story of Endgame was fantastic. Time travel is a tricky thing to pull off and even the most well thought out stories can probably fall apart if you think about things too much. Endgame does a good job of avoiding talking too much about the science involved so it can’t be picked apart too badly. Science probably can’t prove that you can’t travel through time by shrinking down to sub-microscopic levels and entering the Quantum Realm because those things probably can’t happen in the first place. And if you’re going into Avengers looking for good science to occur in the movie about superheroes, then what’s wrong with you? The story obviously does leave some questions that may or may not be addressed. What happened with past Loki? What happens later when Hydra thinks Cap is one of them? What changed when Cap decided to stay in the past? In the very least, it seemed like these choices were intentional and may be leading to something. The MCU has earned my faith in them. And what’s more is that the time travel stuff added to what this movie really was deep down: fan service. It was the most fan servicey movie ever, and I loved them for it. There were callbacks to earlier movies (including what I say is the best moment of the film: when Falcon’s voice crackles through the radio when all hope seems lost and calls back to Captain America: The Winter Soldier when he says, “On your left.”) And then when they start getting into time travel, we’re literally taken on the greatest montage/flashback in cinema history! We go into Avengers, we go into Guardians of the Galaxy, and we go to shortly after Captain America: The First Avenger. We see the filmmakers saying, “Remember this? Oh you loved this!” And we also see extra stuff, like how and why Loki got that gag mask in Avengers and what were the sorcerers that are supposed to be defending our realm doing during the Battle of New York. You could also say that the death of Thanos in the beginning of the movie was not too surprising. I mean, the team is in a spaceship heading off to kill Thanos in the first half hour, but we all know this movie is 3 hours. They probably should’ve run the credits after killing Thanos and treated the rest of the movie as the best after-credit sequence ever.
I generally talk about the look of the movie here, but they put so much time and money into this movie it’s not worth talking about. It was great. I guess the only thing worth saying about it is that people often complain about CG characters and how they’re not realistic or compelling. Avengers already got rid of that idea with Infinity War, making Thanos a very realistic and well-acted CG character, so much so that you could be forgiven for forgetting he wasn’t really there. This movie continues that with Thanos, but also does the same level of quality with the Hulk. So instead of talking about the look of the movie, I’m just gonna list the most exciting moments that I wrote down during that last fight. And I’ll write them just as I wrote them in my notes. Cap and Mjolnir! Chips are down! ON. YO. LEFF!! Assemble! Rescue and Iron Man! Wasp called him, “Cap!” INSTANT KILL! A-FORCE!! CAPTAIN MARVEL! I AM IRON MAN!! …I straight up got goosebumps just typing those. …I’m gonna go see it for a third time…
The cast of the movie was…well it was everything. If you ever appeared in an MCU movie before, you probably showed up in this movie in some way or another. You can get mentioned and shown in pictures like the Dark Elves from Thor: The Dark World or you can appear in unused footage with some new voiceover like Natalie Portman did or you can straight up appear in some degree like Tessa Thompson, Rene Russo, John Slattery, Tilda Swinton, Hayley Atwell, Marisa Tomei, Taika Waititi, Angela Bassett, William Hurt, Winston Duke, Maximiliano Hernandez, Frank Grillo, Jacob Batalon, Robert Redford, Ross Marquand, Callan Mulvey, Sean Gunn, James D’Arcy, and even Ty Simpkins, the little kid from Iron Man 3 that’s all grown up and appears at Tony’s funeral but even I didn’t figure it out until I got to the parking lot. (In my defense, I didn’t care for Iron Man 3 much and don’t rewatch it often) So many people you couldn’t possibly ask for more, to the point where they even had Wong say, “You wanted more?” …Here’s my thing… Yes, you gave us so many people. Almost everybody! …ALMOST! There’s so many that I know I shouldn’t complain, but this is the end of an era, man! I think you should’ve found a home for everyone. At least everyone that’s still alive in the continuity. But what about Lady Sif? She’s still alive as far as I know. What about some Nova Corps action? Where was Adam Warlock? What about the Skrulls? Anybody from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., like Quake or Agent Coulson? I’m not caught up on that show, but past Coulson could’ve appeared. I’m not like most people in thinking that this was the time for X-Men to show up now that Marvel has the rights. It would’ve been too rushed and the MCU really should build to them properly. But biggest of all would be the Defenders. I know the Netflix series are cancelled and Marvel’s not looking to bring them back, but this would’ve been one hell of a sendoff. Just having Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and the Punisher step out of a portal together? Tell me that wouldn’t have blown your mind! And it would’ve been easy! If those actors wouldn’t have agreed to get into wardrobe and step in front of a green screen looking determined, those actors are silly people!
Now let’s go through the main cast. They are all still amazing at this, and I’m gonna be sad to see some of them go. Though thankfully for my tear ducts, not too many of them had to die. I think only 2 big ones. Downey’s Tony Stark being the biggest one, obviously. Man I cried so hard the first time I saw the movie! And only maybe 10% less on the second viewing. I didn’t see it coming really. I was convinced that Captain America was going to die and Tony was going to retire, but they flipped it on me. Tony bothered me in the beginning. I really liked his relationship with Nebula, but when he gets home he starts being a real douche for no reason. He claims Cap wasn’t there when he needed him. I saw Infinity War, Tony! Everyone was begging you to call Steve, but you just never got around to it! I understand his motivations for not wanting to get involved when they found a possible solution, but I feel like everyone knew that Tony wouldn’t be able to resist if someone posed an interesting enough theory to him. It was just a matter of time. And finally, Tony’s sendoff was perfect. Retirement would never be good enough for him, and if he was going to have to go, it should be by saying, “I am Iron Man,” and saving the day. And the funeral was perfect, from the cast involved in it, to the music and presentation, to the wreath with the proof that Tony has a heart. Speaking of send offs, Cap’s was perfect as well. I was expecting a noble death, but his noble life was even better. I loved the “Hail Hydra” moment and the fight with himself, and I especially loved America’s Ass. …I mean the line! I wasn’t staring at his ass… Most of the joy of Captain America was in the final fight, how even as possibly the weakest of the three heroes that started it; Cap was the one holding his own the most. And holding Mjolnir! I squealed with glee at that moment! And then how he used it! Calling in lightning, spinning it like Thor, throwing it at his shield in midair! Perfect! And finally, after all these years, he says, “Assemble!” Though it raises questions, I really enjoyed his ending. He finally got that dance with his best girl. It makes you wonder now where second Cap was through all these other situations as you assume he wouldn’t be able to just lay low and hide knowing he could help, but whatever. I’m kind of on the fence about him handing the shield off to Falcon. I know that happens in the comics, and I know Sam is an honorable dude, but I feel like you go with Bucky. He can be Captain America, from the strength and the history and the fighting ability. Falcon can’t do what Cap could. Falcon should be Falcon. But whatever. It’s fine with me.
I was bummed and surprised at what happened with Black Widow. Having heard she had a movie coming, I was not expecting what happened to her. On second viewing, hearing her say, “See you in a minute,” before they head back in time was heartbreaking. But anyone watching Hawkeye and Widow head to Vormir after having seen Infinity War probably had a sinking feeling in their gut. I was personally hoping that the self-sacrifice aspect would be a loophole. I mean, we’ve only ever seen someone sacrifice someone else. Thanos threw Gamora in there and Thanos got the stone for it. Widow threw herself in there, so Widow should get the stone. And then the Soul Stone says, “Well…ya got me.” The other hope I have is ongoing because, besides wondering what happens when Cap is returning the stones and goes to Vormir and sees his old buddy Red Skull there, what happens when the Soul Stone is returned? Is the soul returned? Maybe we’ll see… Thor continues to be a joy since Ragnarok. It was very funny, and very fitting, to see fat Thor, drowning in self-loathing as he would be. And he got to have a lovely moment with his mom. I was kind of hoping that his magic, armor-up, beard-braiding action transformation might Hemsworth him up a little and bring that sexy back, but it’s fine. He’ll get there. I also felt like they used Captain Marvel well. They didn’t make her too over-powered and didn’t make her just save the day easily when she decided to show up, and they also explained well why she wasn’t going to be around to save the day every time because she’s busy in space. And she set up a moment I loved. First, her little interaction with Peter Parker was adorable, but then that leads to the assembly of A-Force, or all the women heroes of Marvel, getting together for a save the day push. I love me some badass ladies, and they put so many of them in one frame that I nearly passed out. I would say that part of me found it a bit pandering because why in the context of the movie would only the ladies decide to make a stand. We’re all equal on this battlefield and everyone was all spread out, but all these ladies just ran to the same point to do some work. But who cares? It was awesome! Speaking of awesome, Scarlet Witch versus Thanos! At that moment, I wasn’t even thinking about how much I wanted to see that, but then it happened and it was epic. And Tom Holland. His activity in this movie was somewhat limited by the whole dead thing, but it should be noted that this kid is such a damned good actor. His death in Infinity War and his reaction to Tony’s death here were so heartbreaking! I felt worse for Peter than I did for Pepper, and Pepper is his wife and mother of his child! For two other tiny points, I loved Nebula’s character ark. She’s really becoming likable. I just wish when Cap called Thanos a son of a bitch that Nebula would chime in and say, “Actually, my grandmother was a lovely person…” And he wasn’t in there much, but I wish Doctor Strange’s line was, “If I tell you, it won’t happen…but trust me, the whole thing is going to be an awesome spectacle.”
Now, you’ve been waiting through a lot of fangasming to see the payoff of a tease I mentioned in third paragraph and never paid off. What is the one problem that I had with Avengers: Endgame? It sucks to have something built up and built up and never pay it off, doesn’t it? …Well too bad! Moving on!
I’m kidding. THE HULK! That was my one problem with this movie! Infinity War sets up Hulk’s inability to transform and help the team SO HARD and never pays it off. It gave me blue balls! …Or in this case, green balls, I guess. And it just ended on that! So of course I spend an entire year dreaming of what that moment will be where the chips are down and everything looks like it’s lost and then Falcon says, “On your left,” and Hulk transforms and turns the tide. It would have to be some epic moment, right? After all that build up? …NOPE! This movie starts and he’s just Hulk already. Granted, he’s Hulk AND Banner, which is cool, but he just figured it out off screen in a bland, science moment we never saw and all that build up to nothing. Well then certainly we’ll have some great moment for him in the big fight where almost everyone has a big moment then, right? …NOPE! I think I saw him once, and he punched something insignificant off camera and was never seen again. I will grant you that technically the greatest moment for me in the film happens because of the Hulk. If he hadn’t sacrificed his arm to snap then no heroes return moment. I also grant you that his arm was hurt so he wouldn’t be as big of a factor in the fight. But I’m not asking him to be the one that defeats Thanos, but give him something! In Infinity War, Banner had a very hard time in his fight against Cull Obsidian because he had to rely on the Hulkbuster armor. Why could we not have the moment when Cull is walking up on Iron Man but the Hulk drops down, makes some quip about beating him with one hand tied behind his back, and whoops that ass? Well we couldn’t because Cull was stepped on by Ant-Man as a throwaway gag. I don’t need Hulk to save the day or win the movie or absorb the gamma radiation he said the glove gives off to become Worldbreaker Hulk or anything, but you guys set it up and let it fizzle out and that was a real bummer that stuck with me after the movie. …The one and only bummer, so you guys still did an amazing job.
So that’s it. A decade long setup leading to a seemingly decade long review written by me. And all of it paid off perfectly. At least from Avengers: Endgame. This review? Fine at best. But Endgame was the perfect fan service movie that included characters and references from nearly all of their 21 movies leading to this moment that in no way disappointed. Well, in one way disappointed because of the Hulk thing, but if your movie is 2 hours of solid fan service followed by one hour of back to back hype moments and I leave with only one minor bummer as a Hulk fan, you have succeeded in a way no one ever has and possibly no one ever will. You have done the impossible. I’m not even going to tell you to see this movie because it’s obvious that I think you should and you should have already at least 7 times and I also told you not to read this until you had. Avengers: Endgame gets “I love you 3000” out of “SO MANY STAIRS!!”
In a concerted effort to put out more content and make the end of the year easier on myself by having material to use to remember these movies I’ve seen throughout the year, I am going to try to review the new movies I see more often. You’re welcome. And since I saw so many damned movies at the end of the year, I could not imagine going back to the theaters until this movie released. Obviously, I was super excited for today’s movie. It should come as no surprise. The word “Marvel” appears on the poster many times, as the company that makes it and the name of the character. How would I not have seen it? This movie is Captain Marvel, written and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, written by Geneva Robertson-Dworet, and starring Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Jude Law, Lashana Lynch, Annette Bening, Clark Gregg, Djimon Hounsou, and Gemma Chan.
Vers (Larson) is a Kree member of Starforce with amnesia typical of a RPG protagonist. With Starforce and her commander, Yon-Rogg (Law), they undertake a mission to stop an invasion by the shapeshifting Skrulls, led by commander Talos (Mendelsohn). The mission goes awry and Vers is captured. The Skrulls try to sift through Vers’ memories to find the location of an experimental engine designed by Dr. Wendy Lawson (Bening), which they find to be on Earth. Vers escapes and crashes to Earth, where she meets Nick Fury (Jackson). Together, they try to find the engine – as well as Vers’ missing memories – and stop the sinister plot of the bad aliens.
On its announcement, I was very excited for Captain Marvel. Closing in on when I would be able to see it, I started hearing a lot of negative reactions to the movie from the internet in general and from my friend Jordan, who acted like the movie was nothing special and I shouldn’t bother seeing it. As if there were even the slightest chance I wasn’t going to see it. And now that I have seen it, I think Jordan is out of his mind. And that the internet is being the internet. I assume the internet was mostly a bunch of angry guys who were somehow bothered that this was not another white, male superhero, even though this is the first female lead Marvel movie after 20 male lead ones. So those people can go to hell. Jordan, I assume, probably just expected too much. This is an origin story. Typically, the origin stories suffer because of how much they have to do to introduce us to the character and we don’t typically get to love that character until the second time we see them, which I imagine will happen very quickly with Captain Marvel. I, however, already love her. I thought this was a damned solid origin movie. Maybe not as solid as the first Iron Man, but better than some of the other ones. I also was indeed surprised as they intended me to be with the alien race swerve they pulled on us in the movie. Otherwise, as a white male, I’ve seen plenty enough of me’s in Marvel movies already, especially given how uncannily similar I look to Chris Hemsworth, and I’m happy to see something different. The movie was awesome, entertaining, and funny when it needed to be. I didn’t feel too many heart string tugs during the movie, but I don’t think it was trying for too many.
But speaking of heart-string tugs, I burst into instant tears twice during this movie, and it warrants talking about. Neither were because the story was trying to make me cry. Neither were even really part of the story. The first wasn’t even part of the movie! It was the damned opening studio credit! They changed the Marvel logo, usually awash with their heroes in action from their various movies, and they changed it to the biggest and best hero in the history of the company: Stan Lee. Typing that gave me goosebumps right now and seeing it made my face well up with tears and joy as they showed proper respect to The Man himself. I could’ve used a bit of a warning, movie! The second was his cameo, and sadly probably one of his last. He was just sitting on a bus talking to himself and reading something, but in the theater I missed it. I was happy to see his cameo, but it wasn’t until later that I found out how beautiful it actually was. The movie takes place in the 90’s and Stan was on the bus rehearsing for his scene in Kevin Smith’s Mallrats! That was so damned beautiful and I felt a strange happiness for Smith that he got to see that shout out from his idol and friend months after losing him. Well-played, Marvel. You got me bad with those.
As for the action in Captain Marvel, I was scarcely disappointed. In all of her fights, she seemed to be a real threat and a total badass. If there is one criticism to be made of any of the fight scenes in this movie, it would be the “Just a Girl” fight scene, where she gets into a fight and No Doubt’s “Just a Girl” starts playing. I get it; it’s the 90’s and that song was popular, and Danvers is indeed a girl. It was a little too on the nose for my liking, I would say. It didn’t take me out of it or ruin the scene for me. It just made me laugh a little, but I did hear from others that they felt this was a little much, and I don’t necessarily disagree. Otherwise it was badass, especially when she unlocks her true power and lays waste to all those enemy ships and scares off the rest by punching her fist into the palm of her hand. That was fantastic.
All of the performances in the movie were on point. Brie Larson was great. She can bring pathos and comedy and action in equal measure flawlessly. I hope she’s around for a long time because I definitely want more of this character, and I’m very excited to see how she interacts with the Avengers next month. A lot of the best moments in the movie were the chemistry between her and Samuel L. Jackson. A lot of those scenes played like a fun, buddy cop movie that I would love to see. I also liked seeing how Jackson changed the character of Fury to make him seem younger and not as experienced with these kinds of things. I also liked seeing him interact with the cat. I would say that I thought that how they showed Fury losing his eye was funny, but not exactly how I was hoping to see it happen, shall we say? Mendelsohn was also great, able to successfully pull off both sides of his performance, both before and after the big reveal of the movie. It was nice that he also got to play for a while without all the makeup that would probably hold him back in his performance, though you really couldn’t tell. Jude Law was also great (did I mention all of the performances were?) but I can’t really think of anything in particular to say about his performance that I didn’t already say about Mendelsohn’s. And lastly, Clark Gregg was great. I would’ve liked more from Coulson though, just because I like him so much and he’s not in the MCU as much since Avengers.
Regardless of what friends and sexist idiots on the internet told me, I very much enjoyed Captain America. It was fun, surprising, action-packed, and exactly what you’ve come to expect from the MCU. Sure, all said this movie probably winds up placing in the upper middle of the MCU in terms of quality, but it’s got a lot of stiff competition, and I would say it places pretty high amongst the strictly origin film MCU, which is what you should compare it to if you’re being fair. A strong opening for the character of Carol Danvers, keeps my excitement high to see her again both in Avengers and her own movie, and is hopefully a good start to other female-lead Marvel movies in the future. Captain Marvel gets “I know a renegade soldier when I see one” out of “I have nothing to prove to you.”
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
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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 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
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!?
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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 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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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?”
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!”