0087 – Best and Worst Films of 2018


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The Films of 2018


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

 

JANUARY

INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY

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

 

THE COMMUTER

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

 

FEBRUARY

WINCHESTER

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

 

THE CLOVERFIELD PARADOX

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

 

FIFTY SHADES FREED

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

 

PETER RABBIT

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

 

BLACK PANTHER

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

 

GAME NIGHT

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

 

ANNIHILATION

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

 

MARCH

RED SPARROW

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

 

DEATH WISH

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

 

A WRINKLE IN TIME

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

 

THE HURRICANE HEIST

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

 

TOMB RAIDER

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

 

PACIFIC RIM UPRISING

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

 

READY PLAYER ONE

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

 

APRIL

A QUIET PLACE

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

 

BLOCKERS

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

 

RAMPAGE

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

 

TRUTH OR DARE

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

 

I FEEL PRETTY

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

 

SUPER TROOPERS 2

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

 

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR

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

 

MAY

DEADPOOL 2

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

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

 

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY

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

 

JUNE

UPGRADE

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

 

OCEAN’S 8

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

 

HEREDITARY

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

 

HOTEL ARTEMIS

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

 

INCREDIBLES 2

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

 

TAG

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

 

JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM

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

 

JULY

THE FIRST PURGE

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

 

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP

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

 

SKYSCRAPER

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

 

THE EQUALIZER 2

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

 

UNFRIENDED: DARK WEB

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

 

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT

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

 

AUGUST

CHRISTOPHER ROBIN

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

 

THE SPY WHO DUMPED ME

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

 

THE MEG

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

 

BLACKKKLANSMAN

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

 

SLENDER MAN

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

 

ALPHA

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

 

MILE 22

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

 

THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS

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

 

SEARCHING

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

 

SEPTEMBER

THE NUN

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

 

PEPPERMINT

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

 

THE PREDATOR

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

 

OCTOBER

VENOM

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

 

A STAR IS BORN

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

 

HALLOWEEN

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

 

NOVEMBER

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY

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

 

THE GRINCH

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

 

OVERLORD

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

 

FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD

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

 

BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS

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

 

RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET

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

 

CREED II

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

 

ROBIN HOOD

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

 

DECEMBER

SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE

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

 

MORTAL ENGINES

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

 

MARY POPPINS RETURNS

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

 

AQUAMAN

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

 

BUMBLEBEE

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

 

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

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)


We Just Have a Bad History with Freaks Dressed like Clowns.

Batman v Superman (2016)The only thing I can think of that attracts me to see a movie more than the fact that it’s a comic book movie is when I hear that it’s terrible.  Especially with today’s movie.  I was always a Marvel fan growing up, so when I hear that a DC movie is shitty, I feel the need to go revel in their failure … and act like there hasn’t been a Marvel that was terrible.  Elektra was great, guys!  The reviews for today’s movie, and some fear of spoilers, made me rush out to see it, and then I had me some thoughts.  So I will now write them down as I review Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, written by David S. Goyer and Chris Terrio, directed by Zack Snyder, and starring Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Jesse Eisenberg, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Holly Hunter, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Lauren Cohan, Kevin Costner, Michael Shannon, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, and Ray Fisher.

In an attempt to explain why it was totally cool that Superman (Henry Cavill) destroyed the greater Metropolis area in his battle with General Zod (Michael Shannon), Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) is upset that his favorite corporate headquarters was knocked down in the fight … and he’s probably bothered that that people died and some dude lost his legs.  Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) also doesn’t like Superman, and decides to use the corpse of General Zod to take Supes out.  In the meantime, he sets out to pit Batman (also Ben Affleck) and Superman against each other.  It works and they V.  They V it up!

Disappointingly, the critics apparently thought they were going in to see Shakespeare or something.  This movie was not terrible.  It doesn’t blow the mind, but it doesn’t blow anything else either.  It’s what I wanted and expected.  Perhaps one could find it disappointing just knowing that it’s based on the Dark Knight Returns, which is one of the best Batman comics I’ve ever read.  This movie isn’t that good and doesn’t quite live up to the comic, but it’s solid.  It has its problems, but it delivers on what it promises.  One of those problems is that they went back to the stupid green rocks that are the major antagonist in every Superman movie.  I thought it was the big decree in Man of Steel that they wouldn’t be relying on those?  Well, I guess they need to use everything they can to make Superman interesting.  Another problem I had was with the constant dream sequences.  They did like 7 of them!  Just whenever they realized that they hadn’t done any action scenes in a while, they teased us with a fake one.  They even had a dream sequence WITHIN A DREAM SEQUENCE!  Fuck you movie.

Probably the biggest problem with the movie is that it’s fairly predictable.  Sure, I’ve read the comic that it’s based on, but it’s LOOSELY based on it, so you can’t say for sure where it’s going.  Then you could say it’s obvious because … well because it is.  Who would win in a fight between Superman and Batman?  The same person that would win in a fight between Superman and anyone: Superman.  Superman’s powers might as well condense themselves to be “Whatever he needs to do to win eventually.”  And you can throw green rocks at him and slow him down a little, but I’ve seen him lift an island made out of green rocks in Superman Returns, so that doesn’t mean that much.  But Batman is too popular and cool to let lame ass Superman beat him, so who wins?  I was asked this question shortly after this movie was announced and my prediction was, “Stalemate.”  They battle to a stalemate so that no fans have that much ammo to complain with and then they realize there’s a bigger problem and they team up.  The title gives that away!  “Dawn of Justice?”  Meaning it will dawn on them that they should create a League of some sort, with Justice in the name somewhere.  But I didn’t come to this movie to be surprised.  I just wanted to see them fight and for things to explode.

And explode they did!  The action was pretty good, but not without their problems.  For instance, do you all know how the best part of any Batman movie is when he kicks the shit out of a building full of bad guys, but we just hear about it from witness reports later?  Yeah, I don’t either!  The first two or three times Batman does something awesome, we find out about it when the police enter the building and find a bunch of unconscious bad guys and one of them has a bat branded on his chest.  And if we’re lucky, we’ll find out that Batman was goofily hanging out in the upper corner of the room hoping no one would turn their head and see him there.  Then, when we finally see Batman do something, he’s not great at it because he’s wearing a big chunky suit to fight Superman, but I did find that fight pretty similar to Dark Knight Returns and pretty satisfying.  And later, while fighting Doomsday, the writers really couldn’t figure out anything for Batman to do so he spent the battle hiding or running from laser blasts while Wonder Woman and Superman did all the work.  But between that, Batman did a pretty sweet Arkham City impression when he whooped up on a room of baddies in true Bat-fashion.  Does it sound like I’m only talking about Batman fights?  Well that’s true.  Because Superman can suck it and Wonder Woman is underused.

The loudest cries from the nerd community before this movie were about Ben Affleck.  He already ruined a superhero when he made Daredevil, so how could he do what Chris Evans and Ryan Reynolds did already and redeem themselves with their next attempt at a superhero?  Also, we liked the last Batman, and remember how we all liked the last Joker when it was Nicholson so we preemptively hated Ledger?  And then he was terrible and in no way blew the last one out of the water?  That couldn’t happen again!  Well he was good.  He did redeem himself from Daredevil with me and, though I wouldn’t say he blew Bale out of the water, he at least rose to the challenge and did not disappoint.  So I’m absolutely convinced that the next time an actor has to change, the nerd community will be understanding.  But one of the biggest complaints about these recent DC movies is their gross misunderstanding of the characters as we know them.  Man of Steel=Superman kills someone.  Supes don’t kill.  BvS=Batman uses a gun the first time we see him.  Bats don’t shoot.  Granted, it was just a dream sequence, but since I’ve already said those could go fuck off, I will say this particular one also goes to fuck off.  It’s like taking away Deadpool’s mouth when his nickname is The Merc with a Mouth.  And who would be dumb enough to do that?  Supes was fine in the movie though.  He seemed very Superman.  I hated him, but that that means he captured the character correctly.  Although he did feel at times like he wasn’t doing anything for the world unless it involved saving Lois Lane.  And when Superman tells Batman to stop being Batman?  Fuck you, Supes!  How are you gonna tell this man not to be violent?  ‘Cause he don’t need to go the same route that you went?  Forget about that!

A lot of the secondary characters were good as well, except maybe some of them shouldn’t have been so secondary!  Wonder Woman?  WAY underused.  Dub Dubs just spends most of the movie as a hot chick walking around all mysterious-like.  Way to waste a great female character!  Let’s step that up for the next movie, shall we?  She basically only Dub Dubs it for the last battle of the movie.  But her intro was rad.  It was strong, powerful, and COMPLETELY RUINED BY THE TRAILER!  It was awesome, but since it was pretty much the only time you used her in the movie, it was the only scene you could show in the trailer.  But she totally had the lasso, and that was worth it.  They had other superheroes too, but don’t get your hopes up.  They were just shown in surveillance footage.  It was cool to see them, but not significant.  Lois was there too.  I don’t know why she had to be in a tub at one point.  I assume people will complain about that in much the same way as that scene in Star Trek Into Darkness.  It was just unnecessary, but I’m not too bothered by it.  That’s for the rest of the internet to bother complaining about.  I found Jesse Eisenberg’s performance as Lex Luthor annoying for the greater majority of the movie, but it was pretty good once he started letting out the evil near the end.  He didn’t seem quite as smart as Lex is usually portrayed though.  Lex is supposed to be a super genius, so how is his big plan to fight Superman to reanimate the guy that Superman just beat?  It would seem that the real smart money would be to bet on literally anyone that Superman hasn’t beaten over the one guy that he has.  And lastly, why are Superman’s parents the worst?  In Man of Steel and in this movie, their big thing is trying to talk Superman out of doing anything good with the special abilities only he has.  Even when the option is either you let Clark be Superman just a little bit so that dad doesn’t get swept away by a tornado!  The Kents used to be so nice!

So that’s what I thought about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.  Nowhere near as bad as most critics said it was.  It’s exactly what I expected.  Batman v’s Superman, and it’s pretty cool.  What more could you want?  Besides maybe a little more Wonder Woman.  I say go see it.  And if there were any chance of that, you probably already have or have made plans to.  But I’m gonna take credit for it.  Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice gets “That son of a bitch brought the war to us” out of “I thought she was with you.”

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Injustice: Gods Among Us – Ultimate Edition (2013)


It’s Not What I’m Doing … It’s What I’ve Done.

Injustice: Gods Among Us - Ultimate Edition (2013)You could say that my sister has a bad habit of picking the worst game from my Christmas list to get me as a present.  I prefer to think that she has a gift for it, and that the bad habit is my naiveté for assuming I’ll like so many games.  If you’re up to date with my reviews, you’ll know that two years in a row my sister has given me a game that made it into my worst games of the year.  Last year was Twisted Metal, but this year she got me Injustice: Gods Among Us – Ultimate Edition, developed by NetherRealm Studios, published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and starring the voices of George Newbern, Kevin Conroy, Adam Baldwin, Susan Eisenberg, Richard Epcar, Phil LaMarr, Neal McDonough, Joey Naber, Khary Payton, Mark Rolston, Tara Strong, Alan Tudyk, Stephen Amell, Troy Baker, Grey DeLisle, Jennifer Hale, J.G. Hertzler, Nolan North, and Fred Tatasciore.

In an alternate reality, the Joker (Richard Epcar) tricks Superman (George Newbern) into killing Lois Lane and destroying Metropolis, sending Superman off the handle to the point where he kills the Joker and establishes a new world order as the High Councilor.  In our reality, the Joker’s plan did not succeed, but did send the heroes from our world over to the other one, where they must join Batman’s (Kevin Conroy) insurgency and try to take down Superman’s regime.

There must be some sort of mistake.  I seem to not have taken any notes on the story of this game.  Of a fighting game!  They’re always so story-driven!  This game didn’t have a bad story (especially when you compare it to other fighting games), but it was fairly forgettable.  I guess I didn’t take any notes about it because it didn’t really make any impact on me one way or another.  It didn’t impress me as being particularly well-written, and I didn’t think of jokes to tear its shittiness apart.  It was roughly as good as any of those straight to DVD DC or Marvel movies.  Take that for what it is.

The thing that really makes or breaks a fighting game is the gameplay.  The problem with that when it comes to me reviewing them is I don’t really like fighting games.  I was interested enough to complete the story and beat the game with a couple of the individual characters to see their specific endings, but as with all other fighting games, once I hit that wall of boredom I hit it hard.  When I reach boredom with a fighting game, there’s no taking a break and coming back to it; I’m out.  Returning to the game is extremely painful at that point.  This game controls like most of the newer Mortal Kombat games.  There’re some punches and some kicks, a few special movies, and a super move for each character.  Nothing revolutionary.  I do like the fighting games that allow you to transition between different sections of the same level by knocking your opponent off of an edge, and this game does that as well.  Of course, once you’ve seen it once you can pretty much put a check mark behind that ‘cause it’s just going to be the same thing over and over.  There were a couple of notable changes to the fighting game mechanics that I noticed.  The first was the health bar system.  Unlike most fighting games that give each character a full health bar for each round, you’re given two from the beginning but do not get full health when you knock out one of the enemies’ health bars.  I actually liked this because it inspires you to do good all the way through as opposed to getting a fresh start because you just got KO’ed.  The other thing I noticed was the Wager system, which I hated.  It basically just gives the opponent the chance to prolong the battle by sacrificing their super bar.  They’re about to die, so they’re not going to need it, but you may have if you were trying to finish the game spectacularly with a super move.  Instead, they wager their entire super bar every time and you have the choice to either sacrifice your ability to do your super move or let them win, damaging you or healing them.  It just seemed like an unnecessary annoyance.

The characters were pretty good in the game.  It’s basically every notable character from DC comics, at least as far as I know.  I’ve never been that big of a fan of DC, but I certainly couldn’t think of anyone else from that universe that I would care to see in the game.  That basically means that Batman is in the game.  But I also resented Batman because they changed his default costume and made it look lame.  Thankfully, that could be repaired with alternate costumes, but you couldn’t fix how lame his super move was.  He basically just jumps up into the air and hits the opponent with the batmobile.  This is Batman we’re talking about!  Stupid ass Aquaman stabs the guy with a trident, hits them with a giant wave, and gets them eaten by a giant shark!  Wonder Woman’s super also sucks because it makes her seem like she needs help because she basically gets her Amazons to come in and beat your opponents ass.  It would’ve been less lame to involve that stupid invisible airplane she used to have.  But there were lots of characters to choose from, and even more because I got the Ultimate Edition.  That means I had even more characters to not care about.  Like Zatanna.  …Yay…

Injustice: Gods Among Us was a decent enough game for those who like fighting games, especially the Mortal Kombat games.  Unfortunately for it, this review was written by me.  I’m not that big of a fan of DC and I’m not that big of a fan of fighting games.  Kind of makes you wonder why I asked for this game in the first place, doesn’t it?  Well I am a complicated individual, but I will not complicate my review any more than I need to.  If you like DC and fighting games, buy it.  Otherwise, skip it.  Injustice Gods Among Us – Ultimate Edition gets “There is no justice!” out of “You could feel the love, right?”

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