0091 – Best and Worst Films of 2019


CLICK THE PIC TO WATCH THE VID!

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

 

The Films of 2019


Well this year has been some bullshit, hasn’t it?  As I post this review, it seems the whole world is shut down because of the Coronavirus.  But let’s turn this negative into a positive!  If it weren’t for the fact that I was locked down at home, I would probably have lots of excuses to never finish this review!  …hooraaaaaaay…?  Also, I should probably work out a better plan for how to do these reviews in the future.  I usually watch as many movies as I can during my holiday vacation and then start writing a review, but now I just keep pushing back the review because I haven’t seen this movie yet, and now this movie is coming to Redbox so I have to wait for that.  I finally had to put my foot down and say, “77 is enough damned movies!  WRITE THE REVIEW!!”  Well I did, so now Me can stop yelling at me.  Here are my reviews for:

THE FILMS OF 2019

JANUARY

ESCAPE ROOM

 

Escape rooms are popular, so it made sense that they might eventually turn into a horror movie. I turned my nose up at it for a while because it seemed to be just trying to take advantage of a new trend for a quick buck.  …Well, it probably is, but it was a solid enough horror movie.  Sure, the movie never really lives up to the cleverness of its concept, but it entertains.  It is disappointing that the two least likeable people to me are the ones that survive in the room the longest making it so I have to spend longer with the stoner and the stock broker jerk that is somehow super successful and yet still inspired to do this escape room by only $10,000.  It’s also a little silly that they decide they’re going to take the fight to the giant, shadowy murder corporation as if two people are going to be able to pull that off, but so many horror movies can be silly when you analyze them too much.  I say Escape Room is decent enough for a watch.

 

REPLICAS

When a trailer for John Wick 3 played before I started watching Replicas, I assumed it was essentially the studio saying, “Hey, Keanu Reeves does GOOD movies too! …Now here’s Replicas.”  And that was pretty much accurate.  I didn’t hate the movie, but I probably liked it better the first time I saw most things from this movie in so many other movies.  The guy that’s trying to play God and perfect a way to transfer human consciousness is driving with his family in the rain Doctor Strange style.  Yeah, they all die and he transfers their consciousness.  Sorry for the spoiler.  They do swerve a little because I’m sure everyone was assuming that the clones would be evil without the soul that Keanu doesn’t believe in, but instead the clones are just a little bit off but otherwise fine and the conflict comes from the government.  And so the moral of the story is the soul is not real and pretty much there must be no God either because Keanu plays God and pretty much lives happily ever after for the things he did.  You can skip this movie.

 

GLASS

I was never a big fan of Unbreakable as it seemed others were.  I did enjoy Split, but had no real feelings when it turned out that Split was happening in the Unbreakaverse that Shamylan was creating.  And then Glass came out.  And it was fine.  At least for most of the movie.  The ending was a weird decision.  But the rest of the movie was interesting and enjoyable enough.  I particularly liked the use of color for the 3 characters and their families (green for Willis, purple for Jackson, and yellow for McAvoy), but an interesting use of color doesn’t really fix a movie.  I would say if you saw and enjoyed Unbreakable and Split, you might as well just finish it up.  If not, you’re not gonna miss much.

 

FEBRUARY

THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART

It’s still just downright silly that these movies are as good as they are.  They made a movie about LEGO!  This should be the same quality as…well, as the LEGO Ninjago movie!  But it’s not.  Instead, it’s legit funny and probably every bit as enjoyable to adults as it is to children.  It’s breaks genre as much as it breaks the fourth wall and makes meta jokes, like the song between the Queen and Batman, and the entire Rex Dangervest character.  The story also has some surprises I didn’t see coming, and the biggest twist I didn’t see coming was that it would actually be pretty touching, especially to someone like myself who did have an older sibling.  But I never played with her because she was lame and didn’t like cool things like LEGO.  I wasn’t trying to play with her Ace of Base album.  The cast remains great, probably mostly on Chris Pratt and Elizabeth Banks, but there really wasn’t a weak link there.  And visually it’s as beautiful as you could possibly make a movie out of LEGO.  It seems like it would be a limitation, but it winds up being more visually appealing than the greater majority of animated movies.  Guess I have to make the joke: Everything is still awesome.  That’s probably in most of the reviews for this movie, isn’t it…?

 

THE PRODIGY

The Prodigy is essentially Child’s Play but the kid is alive.  Serial killer gunned down by cops jumps his soul into a kid because that is a slightly better option than a doll.  This is apparently something ghosts can do and they’ll stay there unless their unfinished business in life is concluded in time.  And so this movie becomes the story about how a mother’s love will make her stupid.  She loves the kid so much and tells him she would love him no matter what, which I understand is the kind of thing moms are supposed to say, but really there should be a few things they can do to make you stop loving them.  I stopped liking this kid when he killed a dog.  But this mom finds out that the ghost will probably be appeased by killing his last victim that got away, so she decides she should help him finish that.  But will it really appease him though?  Is a serial killer’s work ever really finished?  If this one was killed, he would probably just want another.  I feel no remorse for this family after this, so the stakes were fairly low for me.  It’s not a terrible movie, but it’s real samesy and doesn’t really bring anything new to the table.  It’s skippable, but it’s fine.

 

HAPPY DEATH DAY 2U

Both of the Happy Death Day movies are far more enjoyable than was necessary.  The first movie was horror Groundhogs Day, and 2U adds in some Back to the Future into the mix, making it a little less horror and a little more science-fiction and comedy.  The first movie also got a lot of extra credit for how bad I expected it to be and blowing those expectations out of the water.  2U doesn’t have that surprise factor going for it, but it’s still a solidly enjoyable watch.

 

ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL

I had never seen the anime that this movie was based on so I didn’t really know what to expect, but it turned out pretty solid.  There wasn’t much going on in the story for me, but the visuals were all really cool, the fights were very entertaining, and the acting was pretty great.  I have no idea how it compares to the anime, but the people seem to have reviewed it pretty high so I assume it went better than Ghost in the Shell did.  It’s worth a watch.

 

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD

About as solid an animated movie as a non-Disney or Pixar studio can produce.  I don’t recall feeling strongly one way or the other about the first How to Train Your Dragon movie, and I don’t even think I saw the second one, but I assume the third was a really good conclusion to the series.  It’s an enjoyable movie with a very sweet ending and Toothless is very cute.  What more do you need?

 

FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY

I was very surprised to see a movie backed by the WWE was as enjoyable at this one was.  Not simply because it’s associated with the WWE was I surprised because I actually do enjoy the WWE, but they don’t have a good track record in making movies from what I’ve seen.  I’m also not a particularly big fan of Paige (the wrestler that this movie is based on) but they made it work with a funny script and a great cast with people like Lena Headey, Nick Frost, Vince Vaughn, Stephen Merchant, and Dwayne Johnson.  Definitely worth checking out if you’re a wrestling fan, and probably enjoyable even if you’re not.

 

MARCH

CAPTAIN MARVEL

It seems the audience was really torn on Captain Marvel, but I don’t really know why.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself with the movie.  Sure, it wasn’t the greatest of Marvel movies, but most of the character origin movies are middle of the road with them.  But the movie is fun, has some good action and funny moments we expect from Marvel movies, and the cast is great.  I just like a bad-ass lady character.  Also there’s a cat, and that’s a plus.  Even though the “Just a Girl” scene is a little silly when analyzed afterwards, I still recommend the movie.

 

WONDER PARK

I expected to be underwhelmed by Wonder Park, but instead I was just whelmed.  It really doesn’t have much to offer adults being forced to watch it with their kids, but kids are typically satisfied that there are colorful and cute things and occasionally some of them get bonked on the head, so I’m sure they’ll be happy with the movie.  A Pixar movie would be compelling to both, but this isn’t Pixar.  It also doesn’t really stand up to analysis because the whole movie is driven by the fact that the main character loses her imagination because her mom gets sick, not because she died.  It would be predictable, but you need to kill that mom to really put the girl down in the dumps, but this movie didn’t have the balls to do that.  Pixar would’ve killed that mom.

 

US

I constantly feel left out while watching Jordan Peele movies.  I feel like I’m missing something.  Everyone tells me how great these movies are.  Then I watch them and I think they’re just fine.  I get that they’re horror movies with a message and that’s great, but that just means that the story is a little bit elevated from typical horror movie fare but the rest of the movie is just pretty standard.  I would give credit to the cast though.  Pretty much everybody had to play two roles that were very distinct from one another.  I also appreciate that two of the 4 main characters were from Black Panther.  But while I appreciated Winston Duke as the lame dad, Lupita’s evil voice was really tedious.  And she had to talk A LOT in that voice.  I also appreciate that huge ass Mbaku was mostly ineffective in dangerous situations, but tiny Lupita was the powerhouse.  It was a nice swerve.  Otherwise, you could do much worse than Us for a horror outing, but I need people to stop talking about these movies as if they completely changed cinema.

 

DUMBO

I guess we might as well just get used to the fact that every animated movie is going to get a live-action remake soon enough.  It kind of takes most of the magic out of the experience, but I guess I’m not terribly offended by it.  If Dumbo live-action is garbage, Dumbo cartoon still exists.  Live-action wasn’t garbage, but I still don’t know that it needed to exist.  It has a little bit of Tim Burton’s visual flair to it, but it was a lot more toned down than usual.  The cast was pretty good, but I did find Michael Keaton’s character a little trying on my nerves.  Dumbo was ridiculously cute though, and that’s probably where you should spend most of your focus in a movie named Dumbo.  Then just throw some Eva Green in there and tell her to be hot as if she has much choice in the matter and your movie will be thoroughly fine.  You can skip it, but it won’t hurt to watch either.

 

APRIL

SHAZAM!

As a life-long Marvel>DC guy, I find that I don’t mind that DC is finally starting to make enjoyable movies.  Wonder Woman was 2/3 great, Aquaman was solid, and now Shazam is a thoroughly enjoyable time.  Yes, Marvel still thoroughly trounces them in quality, but it’s a good sign that they’re beginning to hone in on a working formula.  And that usually means that their movies tend to be better as they get further away from dark and sad.  Shazam is about as far as you can get from dark and sad, even for a movie about orphans.  It’s funny and well-acted and isn’t afraid to break the fourth wall with a “Zaptain America” joke.  And it introduces the cinematic universe to a big DC character that I hope we get more of in the future.  The biggest flaw in this movie is the character saying that Shazam has “bullet immunity.”  That annoys me so much!  What’s wrong with bulletproof?

 

PET SEMATARY

First of all, I’m dropping my opinion of this movie 20 points for the spelling. Even though I know it’s spelled wrong, I never remember which parts are wrong and I had a terrible time looking up this movie just now.  Also, it’s not very good.  It’s not bad, but the original movie was better, and if you’re going to remake a movie the onus is on you to improve on it or it makes you pointless.  I did appreciate that they made some changes in how things happened.  I didn’t prefer the changes, but without them I would’ve been bored AND know everything that was going to happen.  Visually it was fine and there was one particularly brutal foot stabbing scene that was well done and hard to watch, but ultimately the movie is acceptable, but more skippable than anything.

 

HELLBOY

I’ve never been a particularly big fan of the Hellboy comics or the previous Hellboy movies, yet I keep watching them for some reason.  At least the first two movies had the weirdness of Guillermo Del Toro in their designs.  I guess this one’s biggest selling point is Milla Jovovich…at least when she stops looking like a corpse midway through.  Most of the movie is carried by David Harbour, who I love as Hopper but in this he’s…acceptable…maybe…?  It’s not that he does a bad job, but most of the lines he delivers fall flat (probably the writer’s fault more than his) and he never really looks right in the makeup.  He just looks kind of dumb and confused most of the time, or maybe like his nose is clogged.  Kudos to him for the shape he got into though, but I’m not enjoying the movie more because he got a personal trainer for it.  And speaking of looking bad, how about that Kitty Man?  I assume that was supposed to look badass or something, but it fell pretty short.  I don’t think there’s really much reason to watch this movie.  Watch Stranger Things instead.

 

THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA

I did a video review of this movie that you can watch if you want more details, but suffice to say my biggest takeaway was that Llorona sounds like a female doctor that studies Urine.  It felt shoe-horned into the Conjuring universe, it was mostly just jump scares, and the ghost lady was shown for too long and too often to keep her mysterious and spooky.  She wasn’t even altogether ooky.  …Oh wait…  My review for Addam’s Family comes later on.  Anyway, the Curse of La Llorona is fine, but skippable.  Instead of watching this movie, just watch my video review instead.  12 times if you’re trying to kill the same amount of time.

 

AVENGERS: ENDGAME

I know I make this joke a lot when it comes to Marvel movies, but do I really even need to write a review for this?  Alright, fine!  Let’s continue to act like this is a real job and that I have any obligation to do it correctly!  This was the most brilliant, fan-servicey movie that ever serviced fans.  And guess what?  I’m a fan!  And I was serviced by this movie.  Many times over.  And many more times still to come.  I’m in a dedicated relationship with this movie and we have to keep the love alive by having regular date nights together.  The time-travel in the movie lets them wrap up this saga of the MCU by traipsing through the MCU itself, reminding us of the things we loved like a montage with purpose.  It was beautiful.  I only had one or two gripes about the entire movie.  Some people got really hung up on the lady Avengers Assemble moment.  Reading that afterwards, I kinda get it.  It doesn’t make sense that all the ladies were just in the same place for no reason and if any boys were going to help on their push they weren’t allowed.  But that was afterwards.  During the watching of that scene, I thought it was badass because I wasn’t analyzing it.  My first problem was when Wong says, “You wanted more?” because yes, I did!  You had ALMOST everyone that was important to the MCU in this, but couldn’t we have done better than almost?  Get Coulson in a flashback, throw in some Lady Sif, the cast of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the Defenders and the Punisher from Netflix!  Just throw them in front of a green screen, have them walk through the portal and then you can lose them in the crowd.  The only other complaint was that the movie gave us blue balls (or green balls) building up the Hulk with his inability to transform in Infinity War and we never got a payoff.  He was just already Hulk and never even really had a badass smash moment.  But those are two minor gripes about an otherwise perfect movie.  Maybe not the perfect movie for everyone, but certainly for me.

 

MAY

THE INTRUDER

I would say I didn’t hate The Intruder too much, but I liked it a lot more in the 40 other times I saw movies like it.  Home invasion, family fights to survive.  They even have the classic “it’s an old house” response to hearing creaking because no one in a horror movie has ever seen a horror movie before.  The movie also feels very NRA-ey.  The main character hates guns because his brother was killed by one or something, but the movie also feels like it’s trying to make a point about how much easier this whole thing would’ve been if he had a gun to protect himself instead.  And of course he must overcome his fear of guns to triumph…and then he shoots an injured, unarmed man lying on the floor even though he didn’t really have to.  Sure, the dude was insane and murderey and rapey, but he was subdued.  Didn’t make the main character feel super heroic.  One redeeming quality of the movie was Dennis Quaid.  He did a very good job jumping between kindly but weird old man and evil.  Got ripped for the role too.  But really, there’s not too much substance or thrills to be had here.

 

EXTREMELY WICKED, SHOCKINGLY EVIL AND VILE

I enjoyed this movie, but not enough to type the name of it more than I have to.  TLDR on that thing!  But I did think it was a pretty interesting movie.  I’ve never been terribly into true crime beyond listening to the My Favorite Murder podcast, but the Ted Bundy story is pretty interesting anyway, and the movie told it well.  I especially liked that through most of the movie, I couldn’t tell whose side it was on.  It didn’t really show Ted doing anything so I was beginning to wonder if they were trying to remain impartial or maybe even suggesting that he was innocent, but it was just saving that for the end.  I thought the entire cast was fantastic, most specifically Zac Effron in his portrayal of Bundy.  I mean, this is the pretty boy from High School Musical, right?  And now he’s playing one of the biggest serial killers ever and doing a bang up job of it.  And even more importantly than him, James Hetfield of Metallica was in this movie!  And they had a Metallica song or two in there!  It was impossible for me not to enjoy.

 

POKÉMON DETECTIVE PIKACHU

I think Pokémon Detective Pikachu (or Dick Pik, as I called it) is one of the better video game movies to date.  Granted, that’s not really saying much, but it was a very enjoyable watch, especially to a life-long Pokémon fan like myself.  Even in the basic watching of the movie, I felt like I had to pay so much more attention to everything in the frame because each scene is littered with so many Pokémon references.  Normally, I wouldn’t pay much attention to the random birds hanging out in the background, but this time they weren’t just pigeons, they were Pidgeys.  It made me wonder (though certainly not enough to do the research myself) how many Pokémon made it into the film in one way or another.  And the greater majority of the Pokémon looked great in their somewhat realistic rendering, particularly Psyduck and Pikachu, who were ridiculously cute.  And my favorite Pokémon (Charizard) had a nice, badass moment in there too.  I haven’t really mentioned the story because that part is just pretty good and not spectacular, but for a Pokémon fan like me, this is a must see.  Everyone else will probably have a good time as well.

 

THE HUSTLE

Far from a new concept of a movie, The Hustle is about two lady conmen who start to compete with each other.  So it’s Dirty Rotten Scoundrels with vaginas.  But not dirty rotten vaginas; both the stars seem lovely.  And they work well together.  I would like seeing them in something else together.  Not knowing this was a remake of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels because they changed the title, I was mostly put off by the fact that it was almost exactly the same movie.  That would be better if I was expecting it.  It would also be better if the movie were better.  I didn’t hate it, but it never got much more than mildly amusing.

 

TOLKIEN

I enjoyed Tolkien, but got the feeling like I may have enjoyed it more if I were a bigger fan of Tolkien or the Silmarillion than I am.  From what I was able to pick out, I really enjoyed how they slipped in Lord of the Rings imagery into stuff, particularly in the war scenes with things that looked like Ring Wraiths or the Balrog.  I did get the joke about how “it shouldn’t take 6 hours to tell a story about a magic ring.”  That was obvious enough for me.  But I thought the performances were really solid, it was an interesting telling of Tolkien’s story, and it was artfully delivered.  A solid movie, particularly for Tolkien fans.

 

POMS

No, I don’t know why I watched this either.  Ever wanted to watch Bring It On but instead of young, fit women it’s grandparents?  …No, neither did I.  But I watched Poms anyway.  But it was…fine, I guess.  It wasn’t funny at any point that I recall, but I’m pretty sure they were going for that, so I guess that qualifies as a failing.  Old people cheerleading probably would go viral, but probably more in a Tosh.O mocking way and not for their skill and bravery.  I mean, they weren’t even good.  Their big move was just lifting her hands rapidly, because anything more exciting would’ve taken a hip out.  I guess the biggest thing this movie had going for it with me was that Diane Keaton reminded me of my mom.  Kind of looked like her, and all of this stuff is exactly what I would expect my mom to do.  And I know I took points away from Wonder Park for not having the balls to go with the sad ending, but I kind of resented it here.  There’s not much reason to watch this movie.

 

JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM

John Wick 3 still doesn’t benefit from the surprise of the first movie, but it makes up with it with some over the top and brutal action set pieces.  They essentially just sat down in a writer’s room and said, “What’s the most ridiculous way John Wick can kill someone?  Let’s do that!”  He makes a horse kick someone to death, for crying out loud!  But that’s the kind of thing I came to see!  If I wanted realism, I wouldn’t go see a movie based on the premise that apparently 90% of people in New York City are professional hitmen.  When John Wick gets a price on his head, damn near everyone in town is on it.  And New York’s traffic problems are gonna get a lot better now that Wick has killed pretty much all of them.  I think it was basically just him and Tina Fey living in New York after this movie finished.  And after the death of the dog that set the first movie into motion, it was nice to see that this movie allows the dogs to get their revenge.  Overall, this movie is a little ridiculous and a little light on story, but if you were expecting anything else you need to ask who was really being ridiculous there.

 

ALADDIN

I’m not terribly interested in the Disney live-action remakes.  I saw Beauty and the Beast mostly because of Emma Watson.  I guess I watched Aladdin because the Pink Ranger was playing Jasmine?  Nah, it was probably because it was free to watch on a plane and the exact run time of my flight.  And it was everything I hoped it would be: exactly long enough to get me from Vegas to Seattle.  Beyond that, it was fine as most of the remakes are.  They’re cool, but really pale in comparison to the cartoon version.  I don’t know how impressive your CG animation or acting needs to be to surpass how impressive it is to make a movie of the quality of the hand-drawn movies, but these remakes haven’t found it yet.  But they get to probably make a bunch of cash without really writing a new story, so they’re going to keep happening.  The big thing anyone was really talking about was how Will Smith would compare to Robin Williams.  Smith did fine as Genie, but I’m sure he (and everyone else) knew better than to ever think you could surpass or even match Williams.  Smith is about as good as you’re going to do.  So live-action Aladdin is fine, but cartoon Aladdin is better.  No surprise here.

 

BRIGHTBURN

I watched Brightburn as a potential review for my October Horrorthon this year, but it didn’t make the cut because it was neither good nor bad enough to warrant a full review.  I did enjoy the movie, I just didn’t have that much to say.  It’s essentially a movie asking what would happen if Superman happened to be an actual shitty little kid.  He’d probably go power mad and start brutally murdering anyone he was mildly peeved with because who could stop him?  They even have a nice gag at the end implying that other superheroes have villainous counterparts around the world, which was a nice touch.  But the movie is a cool premise with some very well done gore and it’s pretty fun to watch.  I recommend it.

 

GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS

The only rule I had when thinking of a review of Godzilla: King of Monsters is that if I wanted to make any Stranger Things references, I would limit them to eleven.  …That was actually the only one I had.  There’s not a terribly great story to this movie, but why would you even expect that?  Have Godzilla movies ever historically had a great story?  Giant monsters destroy stuff.  Sometimes other giant monsters stop them.  They’ve started adding a little story to these movies, but I don’t really require that.  I would say the biggest disappointment for me was that they decided to hold off on bringing Kong into the fold.  I was really hoping for the big Avengers-style showdown with Godzilla, Kong, and Mothra against Ghidorah, Rodan, and whatever other kaiju.  Maybe that mammoth thing they showed.  The death blow on Ghidorah wasn’t nearly as satisfying as when Godzilla killed the Muto in the previous movie, but it was a fun enough experience.  And the cover of “Godzilla” by the Blue Oyster Cult at the end was pretty rad.  I recommend this movie.

 

ROCKETMAN

I never really felt like the Harland Williams comedy from 1997 really needed a sequel, but they took this one off in such a different direction I daresay they improved on the original.  And they made it seem like it was a completely unrelated movie and about Elton John.  And I also daresay that I enjoyed this more than I did Bohemian Rhapsody.  I like Queen’s music more than Elton John’s, but not drastically more that it would make the difference, and Rocketman had a much more imaginative and interesting way to portray the story it was telling.  I have no real idea (or interest for that matter) in how well it accurately portrayed the artist’s life, but I can at least say it pulled no punches and didn’t always make Elton look like he was the best guy.  But it was an entertaining watch with great music.  I highly recommend it.

 

MA

I think I watched Ma around my October Horrorthon, but it didn’t make the cut because it was just meh.  I couldn’t think of anything much good or bad to say about it.  I suppose it’s fine, but it’s not particularly scary, which should probably be considered a hindrance when it comes to a horror movie.  That’s like your one big thing!  But Octavia Spencer did a pretty solid job in the movie, so it has that going for it.  Not really enough for me to give it a recommendation though.

 

JUNE

DARK PHOENIX

This is not what I was hoping for when I went to see an X-Men DP movie.  Those initials mean something else too…  I was really hoping Dark Phoenix could nail this one.  Obviously the X-Men movies have been on the decline recently, and since the MCU movies have come around they’ve really raised the bar for other comic book movies.  But Dark Phoenix is one of the most memorable arcs in comic books, and this is going to be the last X-Men movie before they are folded into the MCU eventually, so certainly they want to knock this one out of the park, right?  Well I’m sure they wanted that, but they didn’t do that.  It was just a series of strange choices resulting in a deflating end of a generation.  Like why kill Mystique?  Why rename the school after Jean?  Are they the Grey-Men now?  Why can Storm control space weather?  But X-Men are where they belong in the hands of the MCU now, so we can assume they have a bright future.  It’s just disappointing that a generally solid X-Men franchise had to go out like this.

 

THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2

I was probably only willing to give these Secret Life of Pets movies a chanced based on Patton Oswalt and Jenny Slate.  They’re still the best thing about these movies, but the movies are also charming and pleasant enough kid movies that I can’t really hate on them.  Perfectly acceptable for adults, and kids are dumb so they’ll like anything.  And that giant tiger Hu is really cute.  It’s worth watching if you have kids.

 

MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL

Men in Black: International is certainly the worst of the Men in Black movies as far as I remember them, but that’s not to say it’s a terrible movie.  It’s fine, but I think people were relatively comfortable with how the Men in Black series ended, so if you’re going to add to it, you should do your best to make it worthwhile.  And maybe they did do their best, but it still didn’t work out enough to be worth it.  They got a solid cast, and Hemsworth and Thompson are great together, but if that’s what’s driving you, you should just watch Thor: Ragnarok instead.  They’re together and they’re great and also the rest of the movie is great.  In Men in Black, they do their best, but the movie doesn’t give them too much to work with.  You can skip it, but if you want to complete the series, it isn’t the worst thing you could watch.

 

SHAFT

It’s entirely possible that this is the first Shaft movie I’ve ever seen.  And also entirely possible it will be the last.  It wasn’t terrible, but I certainly didn’t see anything here that made me feel like I gotta get me more of that.  It’s just a fish out of water with new Shaft being a nerdy tech guy that needs to discover his inner Shaft-ness by teaming up with his dad, who is old school Shaft-ness and probably more than a little outdated.  I would say that what really makes this movie watchable is Samuel L. Jackson.  I feel like he’s similar to the Rock in that no matter what quality of movie he’s in, he is entirely enjoyable and elevates the movie around him.  They can still show up in bad movies, but they’re better off because of their presence in them.  But there are better ways to see Sam Jackson, so I’d say you’re fine without this movie.

 

THE DEAD DON’T DIE

I was so excited to see the Dead Don’t Die when I first heard about it.  My excitement was based mostly on Bill Murray, but the rest of the cast and the movie itself looked like it could be really good and hilarious too.  Boy was I ever let down.  I just don’t know what to make of this movie.  How do you get Bill Murray in a movie and wind up with something so dry and devoid of laughter?  It’s very oddly presented.  It’s very slow, most of the characters are really weird and/or pointless to the movie in general, and they completely neglect to pay off things that they waste so much time with.  Selena Gomez shows up with two other characters and they just die off camera and have no effect on the movie.  They also have 3 kids in a mental asylum that we spend a lot of time with and we never see what becomes of them.  They also keep breaking the fourth wall and talking about the theme song and the director, but never say anything funny about them.  And then there are just aliens for no reason.  The movie has a point and a comment to make on consumerism, but instead of folding it into the movie subtly they just have Tom Waits say it in a monologue.  They got a ridiculous cast for this movie, but if you can’t give them anything to work with, what’s the point?  This movie was a huge let down for me.

 

MURDER MYSTERY

It’s no secret that Adam Sandler movies have dropped in quality over the years.  Either that or I just really enjoyed them when I was much younger and dumber and they’ve maintained the same level while I’ve outgrown them.  Whatever the truth of that matter is, it’s resulted in me mostly not paying his movies much mind recently.  Well Murder Mystery was on Netflix and I’m already paying for that, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to watch it.  And it didn’t.  That’s certainly not saying the movie is great, but it was fine.  It wasn’t hilarious, but it had a few moments that were funny enough.  And Sandler and Aniston are good together, so that helps.  You can certainly find better written mystery movies than this one, but it’s plot was twisty enough for what it was trying for.  You could do much worse.

 

TOY STORY 4

It often surprises people when I say I don’t really love the Toy Story movies.  Most everyone else does, but for whatever reason they don’t connect with me on the same level.  Which is not to say I hate them; I just don’t love them as much as the rest of the world.  It’s roughly the same situation here.  I felt like Toy Story 3 was a solid way for the franchise to end, so I was skeptical when they made another, but it wound up being also a solid way to end the franchise.  They had some funny running gags like Buzz’s inner voice thing, I found Forky really annoying for a while but warmed up to him, and they had some real feels in the movie too, like Gabby Gabby and the little girl that wasn’t interested in her, but that worked out very nicely later on.  I was also very shocked that they decided to break up the gang, but it seemed to work out well for everyone.  I think Toy Story 4 was a good movie, but now that they’ve accomplished 2 solid ways to end the series back to back, I hope they quit while they’re ahead.  Any more and it’s going to start diluting things.

 

CHILD’S PLAY

I’ve already done a video review for this movie if you want all my thoughts on it, but suffice to say I thought was fine.  I even said I preferred it to the original Child’s Play based mostly on the fact that it was visually improved and they had more creative murders, and the fact that I didn’t see the original until right after I watched this one so I had no nostalgia to boost it up.  The one big failure of this movie was that Chucky himself looks much worse than the original, but otherwise this was a perfectly fine horror movie.

 

ANNABELLE COMES HOME

I remember seeing Annabelle Comes Home, but I’m struggling to remember much more than that.  I remember liking it just fine, but not being overly impressed by it.  As far as Conjuring movies go, it’s better that La Llorona and benefits from the fact that it actually felt like it fit into the Conjuring universe with more than a character briefly mentioning something from the universe.  As far as a solid but obviously forgettable horror movie goes, this one’s pretty okay.  …I think…

 

YESTERDAY

I liked the idea of Yesterday much more than I liked the movie, though I did enjoy the movie well enough.  It’s just that all it’s troubles didn’t seem so far away.  I’ve had thoughts that could lead to this movie in the past.  I sometimes would wonder what I would do if I went back in time but remembered everything and thought that I could potentially write every popular song or movie that hadn’t come out yet and go down as one of the greatest creators of the time.  This is essentially that but the guy gets hit by a car and wakes up to a world where no one had ever heard of the Beatles.  It’s a cool premise, but they could’ve gone a bit further with the whole thing, maybe having Paul and Ringo show up, but maybe they wouldn’t do the movie.  I also wish they had explained what connection there was to all the other things that went missing when he woke up (Coca Cola, cigarettes, Harry Potter, the band Oasis).  They were gone too, but I was lost.  Did those things have anything to do with the Beatles?  I’m pretty sure at least cigarettes existed before the Beatles, and if not, I doubt they were inspired by the Beatles.  I also kept finding myself annoyed at the main character because he has this super cute manager lady who could not have been more obvious about wanting him, but he just friend zones her?  She’s super cute and loves him and believes in his music from the start, and it’s not like he’s batting off tail left and right, so what’s the deal, man?  But really Yesterday is a perfectly good movie with a strong premise, but isn’t substantial enough to survive without the Beatles songs keeping you interested.

 

JULY

SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME

Now, this was a Marvel movie so it’s pretty obvious that I liked it, but I would say that I was a little disappointed with Spider-Man: Far From Home.  There really wasn’t anything particularly wrong with the movie, but I couldn’t figure out why I was underwhelmed for a while afterwards.  But then it kind of struck me: this movie was following up Avengers Endgame.  How do you even do that?  Best you can do is push that out of your mind and just make the movie you want to make.  With some separation, this was a great Spider-Man movie.  Still one of the better ones, still better than both Garfield ones and at least one McGuire one, but probably not as good as the first Holland one.  Maybe one of the things that made it a little less surprising to me was that I found that some people were surprised to see Gyllenhaal go bad guy, but I was well aware of what Mysterio was.  Neither of his big reveals were that much of a shock to me, but I was pleasantly surprised at how well his abilities worked within the MCU without seeming silly.

 

MIDSOMMAR

I don’t know what to say about this Ari Aster’s movies.  I just don’t like them.  They’re too weird and not scary enough for my taste.  Unsettling has always been the word I used to describe Hereditary, and it fits with Midsommar as well.  It’s weird and unsettling and entirely watchable, but not really my cup of tea.  There was some pretty well-done gore in it, but not very much.  It was more about the atmosphere it was creating.  If Hereditary was your jam, then Midsommar will work for you as well.  Everyone else can probably skip.

 

STUBER

They definitely thought of the name for the movie Stuber and then wrote a movie to fit it, didn’t they?  Maybe someone stuttered when saying Uber and then there was a movie.  It’s not as bad as that makes it seem, but the movie mostly survives on the chemistry between Bautista and Nanjiani, and even still never really surpasses mildly amusing.  I don’t recall being bored watching it, but I also don’t recall actually laughing.  And I guess for a comedy, that’s not really a win.  You can skip it.

 

CRAWL

I feel like I kept not paying attention to this movie because of the title.  Like I kept thinking, “I have no interest in seeing that movie about earthworms, but I kinda wanna see that alligator movie Sam Raimi produced.”  I don’t know if Crawl means something when relating to alligators, but it doesn’t to me.  I think it was just because they were stuck in a crawlspace, but it’s not like claustrophobia was their biggest concern.  Anyway, that’s my review of their title.  4/10.  Do not recommend.  The movie itself was pretty enjoyable though, so at least they have that going for them.  And in some ways, that’s even more important.  I feel like the stakes of the movie were a little low for me because I didn’t really care about the main character or her dad.  I mean, if you drive into the middle of a hurricane, I’m not gonna lose any sleep over your deaths.  However, if you kill that dog, we gonna scrap, movie.  But the movie and I did not scrap.  Instead, it was a pretty tense and enjoyable thriller throughout.  Maybe it ended a little abruptly for me, but if you’re a thriller and you ran out of thrills and couldn’t think of a good way to wrap it up, just let it be over and move on.  I’ll recommend this movie.

 

THE FAREWELL

The Farewell isn’t generally the type of movie I go for.  Unless that farewell is something you say to a villain before you blow him up with C4.  Or unless those Asian people are going to be fighting each other with kung fu.  But I watched it anyway, and actually enjoyed it a lot.  It had a lot of charming moments and some sad moments and was also pretty interesting to find out about this formerly unknown to me aspect of their culture.  A lot of the performances were really great as well.  I didn’t expect Awkwafina to be able to act as well as she did, especially since she insists on going by “Awkwafina.”  Also, the lady that played the grandmother was great.  I was also pleasantly surprised by the ending and how it didn’t go the way I expected it to.  Very good movie.

 

THE LION KING

Okay Disney, now you’ve gone too far.  You’re doing live-action remakes where probably next to nothing in the movie but the backgrounds are live-action?  What is the point?  Are you doing Cars live-action next?  It’s certainly not a terrible movie and it’s visually pretty great, but the only reason this movie could qualify as good is that it reminds me of the original Lion King, and that movie still exists last I checked so I could just watch my DVD of that.  It feels pretty much exactly the same anyway. Any lines they may have changed they probably changed for the worse.  Maybe the exception being the lines probably improvised by John Oliver, Seth Rogen, and Billy Eichner.  The rest of the cast did fine, I suppose.  I like Donald Glover, but if I were him, I wouldn’t have taken the role of Simba.  He’s a decent enough singer in his solo song, but his weaknesses as a singer are on display when doing a duet with Beyoncé.  Overall, I recommend this movie.  But I recommend the original, cartoon one.  And I think this one was pretty pointless, unless you can’t find the other one somehow.

 

ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD

In the early part of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, I found myself getting angry.  Not at the movie, but just at the fact that Margot Robbie has no right to be that gorgeous.  The movie was fantastic.  I can’t really bring myself to say this is Tarantino’s best movie, but I would have to spend a lot more time than I’m willing trying to figure out which of his movies is my favorite.  I’d probably wind up at the first Kill Bill or Pulp Fiction…but then there’s Django too…NO!  I’m not doing it!  Obviously Tarantino has a knack for making an interesting movie.  I was surprised at how little violence there was in this one given his track record, but the violence that did happen was very satisfying.  It’s really just a love letter to Hollywood.  And of course, as it’s a love letter, you would probably not include anything horrible in the history of it, which is why the twist at the end makes it so much better.  I spent the whole movie enjoying looking at Margot Robbie, but feeling very tense knowing how her story was meant to end up.  Especially since we start seeing the Manson Family and visiting Spahn Ranch.  It’s a Tarantino movie, so you can expect the cast to be excellent as well, and I loved picking out the more surprising appearances, like all the daughters he cast (Uma Thurman’s daughter, Bruce Willis’ daughter, Kevin Smith’s daughter).  If there was one thing I felt like I left wanting out of this movie, it was more information about Brad Pitt’s wife.  People mention that he killed his wife, but it doesn’t really seem like something his character would’ve done.  I wish we got more information about what really happened there.  But that’s a minor issue for an awesome movie.  Check it out.

 

AUGUST

FAST & FURIOUS PRESENTS: HOBBS & SHAW

Yup.  They’re still making these movies.  I’m not entirely surprised as I’m sure they just print money, but they never seem to get any better.  They’re just ridiculous action followed by the same, with the flimsiest of story to tie them together.  That is usually my type of movie, but I’m not that into cars so the Fast and Furious movies don’t impress me too much.  But I thought that Hobbs & Shaw might be more my cup of tea because the Rock and Statham do some great fight scenes, and have even done them in previous Fast and Furious movies.  But for a movie whose draw is probably exclusively fight scenes, the ones in this movie just weren’t that impressive.  It’s certainly over the top though.  I mean, their enemy is a robot essentially.  A very confused robot that calls himself Black Superman.  Superman is an alien, not a robot.  You’re Black Cyborg…which is just Cyborg.  The cast is fun though, and they have some nice surprising cameos like Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Hart, and Roman Reigns, who got to do both of the wrestling moves he has in this movie.  Hobbs & Shaw is fine and will probably please fans of the series, but the fights weren’t nearly enough for me.

 

DORA AND THE LOST CITY OF GOLD

I don’t really know why I watched this either.  I guess it’s the same reason some people climb Mount Everest: because it’s there.  And watching Dora is almost as daunting.  Or at least that’s what I expected going in.  It really wasn’t that bad, but it certainly wasn’t meant for a thirty-something guy who did not grow up with Dora the Explorer.  Especially one who generally dislikes people that are too cheerful, like Dora is to a sickening degree.  They had a couple good jokes, like people reacting to her looking into the camera and asking the audience a question, but they went back to that joke like 3 times in 10 minutes and beat it into the ground.  I also really like Michael Pena, but he wasn’t around enough to make me enjoy the movie.  The people that might have interest in this type of movie know who they are and everyone else can skip it.

 

THE KITCHEN

It’s like a mob movie, but they’re ladies instead!  There’s the pitch for the movie.  The story is pretty standard for what that pitch would indicate too.  Just mob stuff, but they’re ladies so some mob people don’t like it, but they overcome ‘cause they strong ladies.  The best I could say about this is that the 3 leads do a pretty good job, and that’s especially impressive from McCarthy and Haddish because I don’t really know them for dramatic acting, but I’m sure they could find a more interesting script to bring that to someday.  Not a bad movie, but not really worth hunting down either.

 

SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK

I don’t recall having any connection to these books growing up.  I never really enjoyed reading, but this movie tells me that you don’t read these books, but they read you.  I feel like that sentence feels like it makes sense until you scrutinize it more.  I’m not really sure who the audience is for this movie though.  It’s maybe too scary for kids, but certainly not scary enough for adults.  The creature designs are pretty creepy and well done as you would expect in a movie that involves Guillermo del Toro, but they’re a somewhat watered down awful from his other creatures.  I also felt that the ending was a little weak and unsatisfying.  If you’re making a movie like this, either kill everyone or bring the friends back at the end.  I guess the movie is good enough for a watch just out of curiosity, but certainly not a must see.

 

THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON

Generally speaking, I find Shia LaBeouf exhausting.  Most of his antics later in life make me think he’s got his head so far up his ass because he’s such an artist that I just can’t bother with him.  So when I heard about Peanut Butter Falcon, I saw this artsy artist in an arthouse indie movie and said no thank you.  But my friend Jordan raved about it so, though I am not prone to taking his recommendations because I don’t respect his opinions, I decided to give it a shot.  It actually worked out fairly well for me this time.  It’s a pleasant story and well-executed.  I wasn’t in love with the movie the way Jordan seemed to be, but there was nothing not to like about the movie.  The cast was great even though I don’t really like Shia and Dakota Johnson reminds me of those other movies that I sat through.  But on the other hand, Jake Roberts and Mick Foley were in it.  So I guess I’ll say that I totally recommend this movie.

 

THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE 2

I was concerned going into the Angry Birds sequel that I would be confused because I didn’t see the first one.  That was going to be a joke at first, but it turns out it actually did reference the events of the first movie a pretty good amount and I didn’t know what it was talking about.  Who knew that the Angry Birds Movie was going to have something the games they’re based on never really did: story?  Not that it was a great story, but it had one.  Most of the comedy in this movie was basically slapstick humor, and a lot of the jokes fell flat to me.  I guess it takes that stuff from the games as well.  But that stuff is all probably good enough for children, and I can’t imagine they intended this movie to be for anyone else.  So this movie isn’t so bad if your kids want to watch it, but hopefully they won’t make you watch it with them.

 

GOOD BOYS

I find myself getting really suspicious when I hear too much about a new comedy.  Any movie in general, really.  Too much build leads to too much let down, I find.  But it will at least make me give the movie a chance to disappoint me, and I guess Good Boys didn’t really disappoint.  It didn’t really impress either, but it was a solid coming of age comedy with some funny stuff and a good couple of solid laugh moments.  I particularly enjoyed how thwarted the kids were by child-proof medicine caps.  The cast was also pretty good.  I’d say I recommend this movie, just not as extremely as it seemed to be recommended to me.

 

47 METERS DOWN: UNCAGED

I’ve already forgotten most everything about 47 Meters Down, but I recall it being fairly interesting and pretty tense.  Then they went and made a sequel for some reason that doesn’t really have anything to do with the first movie besides sharks.  I don’t even think they spent very much time 47 meters under the surface.  But this time they don’t have a cage and they’re in some old underwater ruins with sharks, so you’d think it’d be more tense, right?  …Nah.  It was pretty boring for a “thriller” with sharks.  And I don’t know what they were really going for with the girl with the white bikini (none of the characters were important enough for me to remember their names).  She’s the cause of all their troubles.  It was her idea to go in the first place, she wouldn’t leave the fish alone that scared her and caused her to knock over a pillar, and she ruins their best chance to get out by stepping on her friends face to get to use the ascender first.  She’s their friend and wasn’t necessarily a bad person, but I wasn’t sad to see her get killed finally.  Either way, it’s a boring thriller, so that means it has nothing enough going for it that I think you should watch it.

 

READY OR NOT

I feel like Samara Weaving wants nothing more out of life than to be covered in fake blood.  Like some kind of corn syrup fetish.  She’s a pretty girl and a good actress with a famous father so I’m sure she can do whatever she wants, but I almost exclusively encounter her covered in blood.  In this movie, she plays a lady trying to marry a guy with a weird family that made a pact with a demon to obey a box, and when it tells them to play hide and seek, it’s a deadly version.  I don’t much appreciate the premises like this of just taking a wholesome kid game and making it deadly, but this movie seems to know what it is and leans into it to make it work.  It’s a fun movie with good gore, so what more can you really ask for out of a horror movie?  I recommend it.

 

ANGEL HAS FALLEN

As weird as I find it that they’re still making Fast and Furious movies, I’m even more shocked that they’re still making these movies.  This is the third Fallen movie!  And I don’t think any of them have been particularly good.  This one is the same, but now the President has fallen, and since the President is Morgan Freeman and not our real President, that’s a bummer.  But Mission Impossible-style, they decide it was probably the super loyal best friend of the President Gerard Butler on very flimsy speculation until the President wakes up and says, “Him?  I’d suspect my wife of trying to kill me before that guy!”  And then it’s a pretty standard and not spectacular action movie, but you probably want a little more spectacular in your action movie when your writing is so weak.  Not a bad way to spend 2 hours, but there are better ways too.

 

SEPTEMBER

IT CHAPTER TWO

I wrote a full review for this movie if you want the whole thing, but suffice to say I enjoyed it, but less so than the first chapter.  The story was It, the visuals were as terrible as they were trying to be, both the old and new cast were great.  …That’s it.  I mean It.  You should watch it.  And now that this movie is done, I won’t have to use that It joke anymore.

 

HUSTLERS

I’m not entirely sure how this movie got as many accolades as it did.  It’s okay, but it’s just a movie about a bunch of strippers that start conning people.  I think it was even based on true events, so how much love can the writers truly get?  And J’Lo got a lot of love too, but her performance was just good to me.  Her stripping maybe deserves an award, but I don’t think they typically give out awards for hottest striptease.  At least not Golden Globes, though she really does have a golden set of globes.  Because let me tell you, if you aren’t into J’Lo in this movie, you must be Gay’Lo.  But beyond that, I say this movie was fine.  Story was fine, performances were fine, J’Lo was fine.  But that’s it.

 

AD ASTRA

I tend to like a good space movie.  Ad Astra reminded me in some ways of 2001: A Space Odyssey, though it probably wasn’t nearly as good as that.  Made a lot more sense, though.  But this was a very interesting movie and fun to watch.  The space setting gives you a nice wide range of super soothing calm while in space and then tense excitement when stuff starts going bad, and this movie delivers that stuff very well.  I really like what Brad Pitt did with his performance too.  It was meant to be super low key because his character barely had a pulse and that level of calm made him such a good astronaut, but I imagine the minimalism of the performance won’t get it many accolades.  I really enjoyed the movie though.  Give it a watch.

 

RAMBO: LAST BLOOD

Going into this movie, my mom had told me that she had heard that the newest Rambo movie was “problematically Trump-y” and felt really racist.  I don’t know that I got that from the movie.  I mean, Mexican people were the bad guys in this movie, but it wasn’t ALL Mexican people being bad.  And the Rambo movies have hit a lot of races up for the bad guys.  They’ve done Asian, Middle Eastern, but they also started with white dudes as the bad guys.  Unfortunately, the one with the white dude was the best one and they’ve gone downhill in quality pretty much ever since.  The only thing that really improves is their gore, which is pretty top notch, even if it does damage the character a little.  I mean, pinning a bad guy to a wall with arrows is one thing, but carving his chest and ripping out his heart with your bare hands?  That’s a bit overkill.  Like revenge stopped a little bit before that.  But Last Blood is a decent enough action movie.  Just don’t go in expecting to be too impressed.

 

ABOMINABLE

Abominable was not exactly what I’d consider a new story.  Someone finds something that the government is searching for but it’s cute so they try to get it home.  It’s like E.T. or Monster Trucks; the two most popular and classic examples of the format.  So innovation isn’t Abominable’s strong point, but everything else in the movie is so well done that it overcomes.  It’s charming and at times even pretty funny, particularly the Wooping Snakes, which may have been my favorite thing in the movie.  They became a running gag through the movie but timed them out so well that you kind of forget about them and then it happens again and feels brand new.  Also, Everest the yeti is so adorable.  He’s best giant puppers.  The Asian violin music that’s a big part of the story is also excellent.  I recommend this movie, especially if you have kids to entertain.

 

JUDY

I’m not really sure why I decided to watch Judy.  I was only tangentially ever informed about Judy Garland because my mom was obsessed with the Wizard of Oz.  But I felt that the movie was a nice story and, more importantly, a very human look at someone that was always just such an icon to me viewed through the prism of my mom.  I only knew her as Dorothy and Liza Minelli’s mom, but this movie takes you into her later life dealing with drug and money problems and intercutting it with memories of her difficult life in the early years that made her the way she was.  But even more notable than the story of the movie is Renee Zellweger, who is scarcely recognizable as herself anymore in the role.  Definitely a story and a performance worth watching, especially for fans of Garland.

 

OCTOBER

JOKER

I had heard that Joker was a fairly polarizing movie, but the response generally leaned towards positive.  Happily, I found myself amongst the happier number.  I loved this movie!  I was concerned going into this movie about trying to add an origin story to Joker.  The character has existed for 80 years and famously has not been given a definitive origin because who can get a straight answer from the Joker?  Not even the Joker himself.  And as I was watching the movie, I was beginning to get used to the fact that this story is the most common origin that we’ve seen shades of and I guess the mystery is just going to be gone and this will be it.  And then they start adding things-like his relation to the Wayne family-that I was not a fan of.  But it handles it so well for the same reason that Joker’s origin has always been in question: he’s an unreliable narrator.  The movie is set up as if Arthur is telling this story to a psychiatrist and there’s no telling what (if anything) that we just watched was real.  Also notable was the performances, most specifically Joaquin Phoenix who is amazing in the role.  Best Joker ever?  …I don’t know.  That’s a tough one.  Mark Hamill and Heath Ledger are so good.  I’m just gonna call it a tie until someone puts a gun to my head.  Robert De Niro was great casting as well, I assume in some reference to his role in King of Comedy, but I’ve never seen that so I can’t compare.  I would say if I were to have criticism for the movie, it’s of the pacing.  I felt myself getting bored in the early part of the movie and just hoping that they would get to the Jokerin’ already.  It works out eventually as you need this slow build to the crescendo at the end, but I could also see people checking out if they weren’t invested enough.  But I was, and I made it to the end and I loved it.  I recommend this movie.

 

GEMINI MAN

Modern day Will Smith takes on the Fresh Prince of Bel Air.  That’s basically what this movie is.  Except they’re both super soldiers, I guess.  The Fresh Prince had that, but modern day Will doesn’t.  And I guess they’re only the best super soldiers around when it comes to fighting themselves, because somehow Clive Owen’s character who is not a super soldier was able to go toe to toe with them.  The story isn’t anything special, but I guess the action was pretty solid most of the time to keep the movie fun, and the effect of young Will Smith worked pretty well.  The performances are pretty good, but Will Smith is usually enjoyable and now there are at least two of him.  It’s a solid enough action movie for me to recommend for some dumb fun.

 

THE ADDAMS FAMILY

I don’t really know why we’re still making Addams Family movies.  They’re fine and they’re not hurting anybody, but I wonder if they’re still a draw like they may have once been.  The original comic strips were probably big for a generation of people.  For me, it was the Raul Julia movies.  I enjoyed them, and they probably started my life-long crush on Christina Ricci that still remains to this day, but when this movie came out my old love for those movies didn’t drive me to make a trip to the theaters.  I watched this on RedBox and thought it was fine, but definitely didn’t feel like I lost anything by not going to the theaters.  It’s quirky and it’s well-animated, but it’s mostly just what you’d expect from an Addams Family movie.  The cast is impressive, but I often wonder why we bother getting big name people to do voices in movies when we know them from their faces in movies and not from their voices.  I guess I’d say this movie is fine to watch, but not really significant enough to need to watch.

 

JAY AND SILENT BOB REBOOT

I don’t really know how much weight you can put behind my opinion of a Kevin Smith movie because I tend to lean towards loving his movies.  I even liked that walrus movie.  In my defense, I wasn’t a big fan of Yoga Hosers, so I don’t automatically like everything he does.  You can take all that into consideration when I say that I legitimately loved Jay and Silent Bob Reboot.  I would say it’s hands down one of Smith’s best movies.  I still give the lead to Dogma, but this one is up there.  This isn’t his funniest movie, per se, but I feel like it might be the one with the most heart.  And that’s not to say that there aren’t some great jokes in here, like the “Hall of Justice” joke and the Affleck “Martha” joke and the Jason Lee “Squeakuel” joke.  All were laugh out loud moments for me.  And they got a fantastic cast in this movie too, which Smith attributed to the fact that he almost died.  I feel like Reboot would be a fantastic way to tie up the Askewniverse, though I do hope he’s not done with them quite yet.

 

MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL

Maleficent is probably my favorite Disney character (straight Disney, not including Star Wars and Marvel).  I loved her in her original appearance in Sleeping Beauty, and I even very much enjoyed the first Maleficent movie that gave the character a little more depth than the “evil just because” character she had been.  Mistress of Evil doesn’t really add much to the character, but it doesn’t take away from it either, and I had fun watching it.  We perhaps spent a little bit too much time with Aurora (who I am not terribly interested in) and not enough time with Maleficent, but Jolie tended to make her moments count.  And the addition of Michelle Pfeiffer was a great one.  Jolie and Pfeiffer make great adversaries, and Pfeiffer makes a regular human character hold her own again the powerful Fey.  I am certainly biased towards enjoying a movie about my favorite Disney character, but I wouldn’t think anyone else could find the movie terrible to watch.  It’s not the greatest movie, but it’s fun enough and visually pretty great.

 

ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP

I really enjoyed the first Zombieland movie for a fresh new feel they brought to the zombie genre.  Double Tap certainly wasn’t fresh and new because it was a lot of the same from the first movie, but it was still pretty enjoyable.  As far as zombie movies with Bill Murray go this year, this is the best one by far.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say it was great or even better than the original, but it’s a fun time.  I enjoy the cast too, but I did resent Emma Stone in parts for getting upset with Eisenberg for finding a new lady.  You ditched out on him for a month!  You can be surprised that he found a new girl in the zombie apocalypse so fast, but not mad!  This is on you!

 

JOJO RABBIT

Jojo Rabbit probably wouldn’t be the type of movie I would generally be interested in watching were it not for Taika Waititi’s involvement.  He can generally be counted on to make things that are hilarious and interesting.  Jojo Rabbit was a very good movie.  It wasn’t as funny as I was hoping for it to be, but I guess the setting of Nazi Germany was always going to have some sad moments in it.  And boy, were there some sad moments.  It starts very upbeat and cheerful even as we follow a little boy who’s in love with Hitler, but then we watch him start doubting this decision as he comes to meet a Jew.  And we get to watch his wonderful relationship with his mom, which makes later events so much more heartbreaking.  I wish Jojo was happier and funnier than it was, but it was great either way.

 

THE LIGHTHOUSE

With movies like the Lighthouse, I sometimes wonder if I just don’t get it because they intentionally made it confusing because “art” or if I just don’t get it because I’m not deep enough to get it, maaaaan!  But even though I didn’t entirely understand this movie or what I was meant to take away from it, I wouldn’t say it was bad by any stretch.  It was definitely watchable and creepy, but I feel like most of the compelling nature of the movie comes from how it was shot and the fantastic performances from both Pattinson and Dafoe.  Watching them both slowly come unhinged was outstanding.  I definitely don’t feel like this is a movie for everybody.  Hell, I don’t even think it’s a movie for me, but I recognize it as a very well-made movie nonetheless.

 

NOVEMBER

TERMINATOR: DARK FATE

The Terminator series has hit the highest of highs and the lowest of lows over the years, but happily and against all odds Dark Fate has come out smelling like roses.  It sits solidly in the middle of the pack as far as Terminator movies go.  1 and 2 are still better, but this one is probably better than all the other ones.  It’s hard to say as I don’t really remember much about those ones, but that’s probably not a good sign for them.  I don’t even know if those movies are considered canon anymore because I thought one of them ended with John Connor locked in a bunker as Skynet took over, but since he was killed in the beginning of this movie, I guess the one where Christian Bale plays him also doesn’t matter anymore.  With all the time-travel, who knows what’s canon in these movies anymore?  But if you ignore the convoluted time-travel stuff (as you really need to in any time-travel movie) the story works.  Plus we got Linda Hamilton and Arnold back to kick some ass, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  Definitely worth a watch.

 

CHARLIE’S ANGELS

I felt obligated to watch the new Charlie’s Angels movie before finishing this review because I had heard so much about how bad it was.  After watching it, I’m not really sure what they were on about.  It wasn’t a great movie, but it wasn’t bad either.  I would actually go so far as to say I enjoyed it, even with my personal bias against Kristen Stewart.  It’s much like I would expect a Charlie’s Angels movie to be from watching the previous two.  It opens with a credit sequence like a tampon commercial of a bunch of random ladies doing all the things their new tampon lets them do, shows a bunch of pictures of previous Angels for a little pop, and then it just goes into somewhat back-to-back action set pieces, tied together by montages of getting prepared for action set pieces.  I guess as a guy I could be bothered that almost every man in the movie is either evil or stupid or both except for the lab tech guy who was barely featured, but we fellas probably have that coming.  My biggest bother of this movie was all times the hero Angels seemed so cavalier about killing civilians.  One Angel puts a random civilian guy to sleep to steal his ID badge and laughingly says that he may not wake up.  And the security guard guy that was just doing his job gets either killed or severely brain damaged and everyone just says not to worry about it.  These are supposed to be our heroes so I’d like them to feel at least a little remorse about that.  But the cast was all pretty good, and Kristen Stewart was very hot and did not bother me for a change.  I also really liked all the Angel training cameos in the credits at the end.  Overall this movie was fine.  I’d even recommend it.

 

FROZEN II

Frozen may have defrosted a little since the first movie (get it?!  See what I did there?!?!) but I still enjoyed Frozen 2.  Elsa gets a sign that she needs to summon Captain Planet by finding the 4 elements (one of which is a ridiculously cute fire lizard and another is a rad water horse) and then realizing that she is Heart.  Go Planet!  It’s a decent enough story and beautifully animated and has a couple decent songs as well.  Though it was overplayed, Let it Go is the jams.  This movie made some new songs and the Let it Go equivalent was Into the Unknown.  Let  it Go is a much better song, but Into the Unknown is solid, and Adele Tazlim still knocks it out of the park.  And her version is much better than the Panic! At the Disco version.  Olaf is still pretty cute and somewhat funny.  Most of the humor would probably only get laughs out of children, but it got some smirks out of me.  One interesting surprise is there was actually some decent action in this movie with Elsa acting like Lady Iceman from the X-Men.

 

DECEMBER

JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL

When Welcome to the Jungle came out, there was no way it could work, but it still did.  When The Next Level came out, there was no way it could work again, but it did.  The story is pretty much the same by design.  People get sucked into a game and have to do something to get out.  Along the way, they probably learn a little something about themselves and become new friends.  They just changed the setting this similar story was in.  What changes this movie up from the previous one is that most of the kids playing the game were sucked into different characters, meaning Kevin Hart would spend most of the movie doing a very funny impression of Danny Glover and the Rock would be doing Danny DeVito, though sometimes he seemed to be doing Joe Pesci.  Jack Black, however, was now Fridge (the black dude) which meant that Jack had to walk a very fine line in his impersonation this time around.  I don’t feel like I heard too many people acting offended by it, so he must’ve been okay.  Karen Gillan got to remain the same, but she did get to switch it up and be Fridge herself for a bit, and that was very funny. The cast really carries both of these movies, but they carry them well.

 

STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER

I was fairly disappointed by The Last Jedi, but I had high hopes when going into The Rise of Skywalker.  Middle movies in a trilogy have a tough time.  The first one was so strong, but whatever they do in the second one you know they have to leave the finale for the third, so you’re stuck in a middle ground where you can’t do too much.  Thankfully, I felt like The Rise of Skywalker was for the most part exactly what I wanted it to be.  They made a few odd decisions.  I was confused that they set up so many things and just left them unsolved, especially when it comes to relationships between the characters.  There was so much shipping going into this movie and no real conclusion.  Rey was commonly shipped with Kylo and Finn, Finn was shipped with Rose and Poe and even the new character in this movie that is just female Finn, Poe was shipped with Rey and Finn and BB-8.  But besides a fairly confusing kiss with Kylo that doesn’t and willn’t go anywhere, they kind of just backed away from it and left it open.  But really, I wasn’t one of the people going into this movie with any hopes of love stories.  It gave me all the fan service I was looking for, most notably the “I know” moment between Kylo and Han.  And I loved the finale.  I 100% absolutely knew that other ships were going to arrive to help the Resistance, but somehow it still brought tears to my eyes when it happened.  So Rise of Skywalker isn’t the greatest Star Wars movie, but it’s up there.  Chewy finally got his medal after all these years, so that alone makes this movie great to me.

 

CATS

Well no surprises here, but this movie was trash.  I saw the play a very long time ago and remember enjoying it, but not really understanding it.  I’m not really sure it’s meant to be understood though.  It’s a play from a collection of poems that is now turned into a movie.  It’s essentially just a cat shows up and another cat tells her that someone’s going to get chosen to get a new life, the cat that gets to choose gets kidnapped and then almost immediately brought back, and then a decision is made.  The movie could be done in 10 minutes but every new cat needs a song to be sung about them.  I was also under the assumption that they spent a lot of money on this movie and yet it looked like garbage.  I know technology is advanced enough to pull off what they were going for, but it failed here.  Faces felt like they were pasted on to CG bodies in times, worst of all during the cockroach part.  The cast was great, but did awful things.  James Corden and Rebel Wilson did their best to make funny moments happen, but with slapstick comedy that made me think they really believed children would be watching this movie because no one else would think it funny.  They made Sir Ian McKellen “meow” for crying out loud…  That’s Magneto!  Francesca Hayward also walked around the movie with a look that made it seem like she was fascinated and aroused by every other character in the movie, and she stuck with that one expression for the rest of the movie.  I almost fell asleep in this movie because I was so bored and confused the entire time.  If there is a positive thing to say about this movie, it’s that the songs are mostly good.  Of course, that’s a positive thing you would be saying about the play.  I guess the positive thing I could say about this movie then is that they didn’t mess up the songs from the play…except Rum Tum Tugger.  Derulo’s version was not good.  But Memories was fantastic and Jennifer Hudson belted the shit out of that song.  If you can ignore the tear she constantly has running down her face that looks like a line of snot, you can enjoy that song.  But not much else.

 

…Did someone actually make it here?!  I’M SO PROUD OF YOU!  You must be in lockdown too!  Now go do something productive, like watching all my videos on YouTube and waiting for me to make my selections of the Best and Worst Films from this list!

 

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

0089 – The Curse of La Llorona Review


CLICK THE PIC TO WATCH THE VID!

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

 

0087 – Best and Worst Films of 2018


CLICK THE PIC TO WATCH THE VID!

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

 

Avengers: Endgame (2019)


Assemble.

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!!”

WATCH REVIEWS HERE!  YouTube  OTHER JOKES HERE!  Twitter  BE A FAN HERE!  Facebook  If you like these reviews so much, spread the word.

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!

The Films of 2015


0069 Snapshot 3

Another year has passed and I still feel compelled to talk about movies that I’ve seen.  If you don’t want to read and you just want to hear the 13 best and worst movies I saw, I’d be happy to tell you all about them in THIS video.  But that’s only 13 of the 39 I saw.  If that’s not enough for you, here’s the complete list of movies I watched in 2015, and what I thought.

 

JANUARY

EX MACHINA

This was a very interesting movie that was well-executed on all fronts.  It’s an extremely small movie with really big ideas in regards to all the interesting questions that arise from artificial intelligence … especially if that AI is hot.  This ain’t Hayley Joel Osment.  It’s hot ass (and if I recall correctly, temporarily naked) Alicia Vikander.  The movie was essentially 3 people talking, but one of them was a robot, and still it keeps your attention and is pretty riveting all the way through.  Wasn’t too much of a fan of the ending of it, but I’m sure they didn’t write the whole movie for just me.

 

JUPITER ASCENDING

All I really know about this movie is that I watched it.  What I think I remember is that Mila Kunis was the lost queen of some planet and Channing Tatum was her puppy/human protector.  If not, then I had a really strange and boring dream and I should stop eating pizza before bed.  There wasn’t much going on here by way of story and it didn’t really keep my attention very well, but there is some eye candy for all manner of tastes with Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum … as long as the people that like Tatum would be okay with him being part dog or whatever he was.  But there’s really nothing going on here that needs to be seen.

 

PROJECT ALMANAC

It seems like a lot of other critics have really had an ass full of the found footage genre recently, but I’m not quite there yet.  Granted, the novelty of it has worn off a bit, but I still find it an easy way to engage your audience.  So I didn’t really have the same issues with Project Almanac as I’ve seen from other critics.  It was an unsurprising movie, but it was enjoyable and engaging enough.  Some credit needs be given to a movie just being what it advertises, and that’s what this one does.  Good enough for a watch, but you’ll be able to live without it as well.

 

FEBRUARY

FIFTY SHADES OF GREY

Holy shit!  This movie sucked a big ole bag of dicks.  Actually, no it didn’t.  That would imply that it was sexy in the slightest.  This is a movie that is centered around what a huge Twilight fan flicks the bean to and it’s still way closer to gross and boring than it ever nears sexy.  Unless you’ve got a real hard on for contract litigation.  There’s a lot of that.  I even have a terrible dialogue fetish and this movie still wasn’t able to turn me on, and it’s got almost exclusively terrible dialogue.  And they apparently left out worse dialogue that was in the book the movie is based on.  So a movie that’s almost exclusively about sex turning out to be the opposite, with terrible dialogue, awful story (if you would call it that), the nudity is pretty much just the same girl over and over again so that you’re bored of seeing her naked by the end of the movie, and worst of all … they’re apparently making 2 more.  And women, this is all your fault.  You should be ashamed.  Knock it off.

 

DRAGON BLADE

This movie came as a last minute request from my friend Tara, who advertised it as a laughably bad movie.  The danger that comes with this is that I love Jackie Chan movies, and I love big martial arts epics as well.  What if I didn’t hate this movie and she lost all respect for me?!  Well that’s not something we have to worry about.  I didn’t HATE this movie, but it was not good either.  I think my scale for bad movies is much different than most peoples.  When it was a big martial arts epic, I was fine with the movie, but it spent an awful lot of time being a friendship building montage between the Asians and the round eyes.  The performances were mostly fine for what they needed to be, but Cusack didn’t seem to be trying to hard and Brody went a little over the top.  And that little kid was terrible and annoying as hell.  The guy that jumped off the cliff while holding the sobbing bastard is a hero.

 

HOT TUB TIME MACHINE 2

This is another one the critics were perhaps a bit too hard on.  What did you expect when going in to see a sequel to a movie about 4 friends that get sent back in time by getting drunk in a magical hot tub?!  Well it was that.  It was dumb, it was ridiculous, and it was juvenile.  All as advertised.  It also had some funny moments.  If you liked the first one, you’ll probably like the second one.  And if someone ties you to a chair and forces you to watch it, you probably won’t kill yourself.  It’s thoroughly okay.

 

THE LAZARUS EFFECT

There’s nothing wrong with this movie per se, there’s just not much special to it.  I like the concept of the scientists creating a serum that brings someone back to life, but them bringing something terrible back with them.  I mean, that concept alone should be enough to scare both the religious and the scientific together!  …It probably wouldn’t, but it’s technically possible!  But the movie is decently executed and the acting is solid, but it inevitably winds up as just okay and completely skippable.

 

MARCH

CHAPPIE

I was pretty surprised by this movie.  I’ve not been a fan of Neill Blomkamp’s other movies (at least not to the degree many other people seem to be) but I didn’t mind this one.  Don’t really think I’d care to watch it again, but I don’t mind having watched it once.  I had mixed feelings about Die Antwoord being in this movie, and they’re what scared me off for a while, but they were actually pretty good at the acting part, and the painful part of them being in the movie came from their music being used so often.  The story was pretty good though, and the only other really annoying part was Chappie himself, but he was a small part of the movie and not the main character so that probably didn’t have that much of an effect … oh wait.  It’s still okay.

 

ROAD HARD

I am a fan of Adam Carolla so it my feelings about this movie probably need to be weighed against that fact a little, but I really enjoyed this movie.  It wasn’t exactly what I expected, but it was enjoyable.  It’s funny and it’s sweet, but if there was a problem to be had with it is that it couldn’t possibly surprise me because I’m such a big fan of Carolla’s.  This movie is a dramatized version of Carolla’s life if it hadn’t turned out so well for him with his podcast, movies, and TV shows.  Like if he hadn’t got those things and had just gone on the road as a stand-up comedian after the Man Show, this movie could have been his life.  And a lot of the jokes in the movie, if you listen to every one of his podcasts as I do, might not surprise you.  But it’s a well-executed movie and I found it very enjoyable.  I can’t really say if people will enjoy it if they’re not big fans of his, but you would have the benefit of getting to experience most of the jokes for the first time.  I say watch it.  It’s a solid, funny movie.

 

THE FINAL GIRLS

This was a thoroughly enjoyable movie that reminded me a lot of another movie I loved called Tucker & Dale vs. Evil.  It takes a well-known and somewhat worn out genre (a Friday the 13th-esque slasher film) and turns it on it’s head by making a group of friends Last Action Hero themselves into a slasher film one of the character’s mothers starred in before she died, which also brings a great emotional side to the story I didn’t expect out of a fairly goofy comedy.  There’s some real heart and some real laughs in this movie, and a good amount of Thomas Middleditch, who I’d like to see a lot more of.  Definitely a movie to watch.

 

TRAINWRECK

I don’t know why this movie surprised me with its quality, but it did.  I didn’t see it in theaters and even when it became available to rent, I took my sweet time to get around to it.  But it’s strange because I like Judd Apatow, I like Bill Hader, and I like Amy Schumer, and I still turned my nose up at it.  But turns out that liking the comedy of the 3 main creative people in charge of a movie usually means it will turn out to be something you like, and I did.  A little vulgar in the comedy at times (not for me, but that’s what my mom told me) but really funny and pretty touching in parts.  Schumer did a great job with the comedy and the dramatic stuff, Bill Hader was great, Tilda Swinton transformed so drastically for her part in the movie I had to look up that it was her, Colin Quinn was shockingly fantastic, and John Cena and LeBron James were both surprisingly good.  Great movie.  Go check it out.

 

APRIL

FURIOUS 7

I don’t know why they keep making these movies but, more importantly, I don’t know why I keep watching them.  I suppose the fact that people keep watching them is why they keep making them.  But I suppose the main reason I saw this one was to see how they would handle the tragic situation with Paul Walker, and that’s also what made this movie much more tolerable.  The greater majority of the movie was just wall to wall testosterone and the incredulity I felt over watching Jason Statham be a formidable opponent to The Rock, but the end of the movie was a touching tribute and farewell to Walker.  Granted, the real life situation with the actor informed your feelings about it a lot more than the movie and the script did, but it’s a touching moment you don’t expect out of one of these movies.  Of course, I just saw that they’re making yet another one, so hopefully I’ll be able to make myself sit that one out.

 

AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON

I often feel like I shouldn’t even bother writing a review for these kinds of movies because y’all know how I feel about it.  It’s a Marvel movie!  I probably loved it!  It is probably only technically worth talking about if even I thought it was awful.  But that’s not what happened here.  I wouldn’t say I liked this one as much as I liked the first Avengers movie, but this was still really great.  It mostly matches up with the first one.  The story was still what it needed to be to further the plot, the action was fantastic, there was some good humor there as well, and the cast was still great, but with the addition of Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen (who both did fantastic), Paul Bettany doing more than just being a voice (though I would’ve liked more of him, but that’s not how the story worked out), and most importantly, James Spader killing it as Ultron.  The Hulkbuster fight alone makes this movie worth seeing, but there’s still a lot more to this movie that makes it great.

 

PAUL BLART: MALL COP 2

Allow me to save you 94 minutes that I can’t imagine anyone but me was willing to sacrifice for this movie: Paul Blart is fat and dumb.  That’s about the entirety of the joke attempts in this movie.  I don’t believe the purpose of a joke in these movies is to make you cringe.  They probably want you to laugh, but that’s not what happens.  It’s just bad.  I guess it goes against my argument that movies should be judged based on what they advertise, because this movie does live up to what it advertises.  It looks like a bad, dumb comedy, and it totally delivers on that, but since it’s a bad, dumb comedy I’m going to tell you not to see it.  Did you need me to tell you that?

 

PITCH PERFECT 2

When the first Pitch Perfect came out, I turned my nose up at it until I had heard from enough people that it was worth watching.  After seeing it, I really enjoyed it.  And I had roughly the same experience with the second one.  It’s never really the story as that’s pretty basic.  The story’s purpose in this movie is to set up a few good jokes and some great mashup songs, and it succeeds in all of those areas.  After seeing the movie, I went and bought the soundtrack.  And every once and a while since seeing the movie, I’ll go to YouTube and look up the video of the songs because the great music can only be helped by looking at some of those purdy Bellas performing them.

 

MAY

MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

I enjoyed Fury Road a lot, but I was perplexed by the amount of adoration I saw for this movie.  Why is it okay for some action movies to throw story away but not others?  The story is just something that fills in the gaps between a big car chase or an over the top action spectacle.  Which is completely fine, but I’m confused how this movie gets away with it but most action movies do not.  There was obviously nothing to the story here, but the performances were all pretty great, though I was a bit bothered by Max taking a backseat in his own movie to Furiosa.  Furiosa was great and Charlize Theron did a great job with her, but it’s not really her movie.  I do like seeing a strong female in an action movie though.  And the action was absurd in all the right ways, and the fact that so many people actually risked their lives for these scenes in a world of CGI made them that much more spectacular.  Definitely a movie that needs to be adored, but I don’t really reach the same level of adoration as most for it, it seems.

 

TOMORROWLAND

I watched this movie with the intention of finding some bad movies for my end of the year review, but was pleasantly surprised by it.  It’s not going to be anywhere near my best movies of the year, but it was definitely a solid watch.  I liked the message of hope that the movie revolves around, I liked the acting from Clooney, Britt Robertson, and Raffey Cassidy, and the visuals and spectacle of the movie were fantastic.  Nothing wrong with this movie and I’d definitely recommend it for a watch, but it falls a little short of greatness.  Landed right on top of goodness though.

 

SPY

This movie got talked up way heavier than I felt that it had earned.  I like Melissa McCarthy well enough in a supporting role or a cameo, but I haven’t totally signed off on her being the star.  This movie was fine.  Nothing special in the story, a few laughs here and there, Melissa McCarthy was Melissa McCarthy as you’ve seen in almost every Melissa McCarthy performance.  To me, she’s kind of Kevin James with a vagina.  CAN be funny, more often is not, does way too many movies, but keeps getting lots of work.  But if you like her, you’ll probably like this movie.  It just wasn’t my cup of tea.

 

INSIDE OUT

What I have often said about Marvel could also be said of Pixar, but with a much more universal blanket to the statement.  They can do no wrong.  And they seem to keep getting better.  I have loved Pixar movies often in the past, and I have even gotten sad during some of them like Up, but I don’t recall any of them ever making me shed a tear.  Inside Out?  Twice.  The story itself was a fairly basic adventure, but the magic comes from the adventure being personified feelings inside the mind of a little girl dealing with her troubles.  The imagination required to turn the emotional landscape into such a complete world was simply brilliant.  The voice cast was perfect and the movie was touching.  You should have already seen this, whether you have kids or not, and you must enjoy it, or I have nothing to say to you.

 

POLTERGEIST

I don’t know why this movie exists.  It wasn’t bad, but it was Poltergeist with different actors and a better camera.  I don’t mind a remake.  Hollywood runs out of ideas from time to time but I still demand to be entertained and distracted from the fact that I’m going to die one day.  But if you’re gonna remake, change it up a little bit so I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen around every turn.  Stuff’s going on in the house!  I wonder if it’s that Indian burial ground we built the house on!  Well no it’s not because that would be offensive in 2015.  Even Native American burial ground would offend some people.  So I guess you did totally change the movie.  I totally recommend you see Poltergeist.  But probably the first one.  Or this one.  They’re the same thing.

 

SAN ANDREAS

Through whatever tumor has developed in my brain, I love a big, stupid disaster movie.  It seems like every year without fail I go on a kick where I watch nothing but 2012, Day After Tomorrow, Independence Day, and any big disaster movie.  I guess some men just want to watch the world burn.  And San Andreas is definitely getting added to that cycle.  It’s big and it’s stupid, but it’s fun and the cast is pretty great.  The movie gets a little preachy at times and the “We rebuild” line at the end of the movie is so corny I thought I might find it in my poop the next morning, but it is pure fun spectacle.  And, as a message to filmmakers going for these kinds of movies, please just have The Rock do the Rock Bottom, or at least the Peoples Elbow, to the fault line.  You know what you are, so just go for dumb in the biggest way possible!

 

JURASSIC WORLD

I had gotten into an argument about this movie when I referred to it as dumb.  It’s certainly an enjoyable movie that at least mostly lives up to its predecessors, so what could be dumb about it?  How about the fact that hundreds of people have died over the 4 times they have attempted this park and yet they’re still going for it.  And not only do they reopen the park, the genetically create the goddamned Superman of Dinosaurs!  It’s bigger than a T-Rex, It has the active camo system straight out of Metal Gear Solid, it can change its heat signature, it’s intelligent, it can talk and plan with Velociraptors, and it can shoot lasers out of its eyes and it has gatling gun tits.  And oddly, very few of those things are fake!  (I bet the tits are fake)  But all that being said, if you can suspend disbelief in yet another way than just thinking dinosaurs can come back to life, then you can suspend the other stupidity and just enjoy the movie.  And the final battle with the Jesosaurus Rex is worth the price of admission on its own.

 

JUNE

INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3

I never go into these kind of horror movies with high hopes, but this one turned out pretty well.  Pretty basic horror movie plot, but it was well acted and creepy enough.  And I like Lin Shaye and am happy they went into prequel territory so they could bring her back after killing her off in one of the other ones.  But there’s not too much to say about this movie.  It’s good.  Your mind won’t be blown, but it’s good for a watch.

 

TERMINATOR GENISYS

I think what’s hurting the Terminator series the most is that they’ll never be able to top Terminator 2.  And also that they are going to continue to try to make it work until a few years after Arnold is dead and buried, trying to find a way he is still in it and old and dead even though he’s a robot.  But this movie reaches “fine” basically because it was exactly what I expected it to be.  Story barely made sense, acting was what it was (but at least Daenerys Targaryen was there), but things blew up with a good degree of frequency.  What more were you expecting and what more could you ask for?

 

ANT-MAN

I was pleasantly surprised by this movie.  Obviously I lean towards happy with Marvel movies, but I have no particular interest in the character of Ant-Man from the comics and so wasn’t sure how I’d feel about this one, especially given the news that Edgar Wright was no longer involved.  But they took this character I wasn’t interested in and put him in a really fun romp of a movie.  Well, they made the character a secondary character and some new, non-Pym Ant-Man the star, but it was still fun.  The script was good and funny though their attempts at feels didn’t quite work on me, and the performances (especially from Paul Rudd and Michael Pena) were fantastic.  Definitely a fun movie and worth a watch.

 

THE GALLOWS

I liked a lot of things about this movie, but somehow when they came together it didn’t go higher than luke warm.  It did succeed at being kinda creepy, and I liked the idea of the stage play that went wrong and created an angry ghost, but I didn’t get the ghost’s motivations.  So an accident happened and you died.  How does that justify killing people that were only tangentially involved or not involved at all?  That’s bad form!  The found footage thing also seemed more of a hindrance in this movie, and the ending didn’t work for me at all.  So altogether the movie was okay, but not something anyone needs to see.

 

JULY

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION

Who doesn’t like the Mission: Impossible movies?  They’re so big and fun and exciting.  And they’ve all stayed pretty consistent to me.  This one changes nothing.  It’s hard to top Tom Cruise climbing up the side of that huge building in the 4th one, but they gave it their all.  Hanging off the side of a flying airplane is pretty spectacular.  I also love the whole usual cast (especially Simon Pegg) and I like the new addition of Rebecca Ferguson because she was super hot and badass.  And (pretty surprisingly for a big action movie) the story was pretty good here.  I liked the rogue nation aspect and the super spy turned bad guy (even though he looked like Kyle Dunnigan from Reno 911!) and I had no idea how Tom Cruise was going to win in the end of the movie until the movie revealed it, and I thought it was pretty well done and clever.  Check this movie out!

 

PIXELS

I think most of us probably made a decision about this movie pretty quickly after we heard about it.  Adam Sandler, Kevin James.  And I’m out!  Well not if you’re me.  If you’re me, then you push all your chips to the center of the table.  Well that’s misleading, because I obviously wouldn’t go see it in theaters or give it very much money.  I’ll give you my dollar from RedBox.  But this movie was much better than I expected it to be … and that means it was just not terrible.  It wasn’t really funny, but it wasn’t painfully unfunny.  I would say it was cute.  And of course I approve of the message of video game nerds that save the world with their nerdiness.  I’m still in training for that situation to this day.  Have I seen better from Adam Sandler and Kevin James?  Absolutely!  But I’ve also seen much worse.  So I guess that means the movie isn’t that bad, but you still don’t really need to see it.

 

THE VATICAN TAPES

I picked this movie up from RedBox just for shits and giggles.  I do like a ghost/demon horror movie, but the possession movies don’t really do much for me.  Most of them are just one act of slowly seeing the signs of possession and then two acts of dislocating shoulders and peeled back fingernails as the demon tries to do as much damage to its host body for some reason.  That’s essentially what this is.  But then it ends with the Antichrist going out into the world.  So it’s got that going for it.  But the way these play out don’t work out to scary, much like the gore show horror movies, but this one had even less gore.  So it’s a horror movie devoid of scares, but the performances are pretty good.  Not good enough that you need to watch the rest of the movie to see them, but they were still good.

 

AUGUST

FANTASTIC FOUR

First one didn’t work, so let’s try this again!  And yeah, of course we’re gonna tell the same origin story again!  People may have forgotten in the last couple years … how to use Google, where they can find the origin story.  But this movie does the same thing I had a problem with in the first Hulk movie: you take too long to show the title characters!  47 minutes!  Before that, it’s the goddamn Reed Richards show.  And way too long to answer the obvious question: why do I feel like this black guy with a black son and a white daughter hiding something from us?  I suppose it would get to be awkward for him to always introduce Sue as his adopted daughter, but I was a bit curious.  After that, the problem with the movie is that it was boring.  A lot of science, not a lot of fighting.  The new cast was pretty good.  Didn’t much care for Victor von Doom.  His powers were pretty cool (although they didn’t resemble Dr. Dooms very much from what I could tell), but he looked terrible after his transformation.  So, as you can see, there can be a Marvel movie I don’t like and won’t recommend!

 

THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.

Man, Batman v. Superman looks good, don’t it?!  Anyway, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is a movie that is pissing me off more as I have to type the name with all those periods in it.  But the movie itself was pretty good.  I didn’t really want to see it (unlike Batman v. Superman), but I decided to rent it as I was preparing this review and it turned out pretty well.  It was a fun little throwback movie to a time where my parents were just thinking about getting born already.  Pretty simple spy movie story, but it was fun and all three of the main actors (including the Russian, Superman, and Ex Machina lady) were enjoyable.  I’d rather see at least one of them with a big “S” that means “Hope” on his chest and another with nothing on her chest, but that’s neither here nor there.  It’s still an enjoyable watch.  …Like Batman v. Superman…

 

NO ESCAPE

I assume that this movie almost exclusively sought to create tension, and it did that fairly effectively.  What it probably didn’t want to do was make me hate Owen Wilson’s family with a passion.  They were the worst!  Always complaining and second guessing and doing everything they could to throw roadblocks in front of Wilson to keep him from saving them.  One of these little girls throws a bitch fit for a few minutes because they dropped her stuffed animal and didn’t go back for it when they were RUNNING DOWN THE HALL ESCAPING GUNFIRE!  And mom keep suggesting they stay put and wait for … I don’t know, marshmallows to fall out of the sky and save them all.  I assume the writer of this movie hates his/her kids.  After that, it’s also got a little bit of problems with the fact that white people are all good in this and any other color skin is bad, which I assume some people might frown upon.  But, since I’m sure that’s not a message they were intending to conceal in this movie, I’ll let that go.  Instead, I’ll just say that it is a pretty intense movie, but it doesn’t have much more going for it than that.

 

AMERICAN ULTRA

I have never been shy about my hatred of Kristen Stewart.  I find her mostly unbearable, but with an extremely rare chance to be slightly tolerable.  That doesn’t mean I liked this movie, but her presence didn’t really have an effect on my feelings towards the movie, which wound up just being okay.  I like the idea of the movie, though it’s been done before with brainwashed candidates only being less stoned than this one.  It wasn’t really funny (and I wasn’t even really aware that it was supposed to be until reading about it afterwards), so that would mean the movie would depend on its action scenes to impress … and it didn’t.  They weren’t bad, but if I see the best sleeper cell agent ever getting activated, I want that shit to turn into a Jet Li movie.  Jesse Eisenberg can pull off the stoner wussy guy part, and even can pull off the badass facial performance, but there wasn’t anything interesting happening when he got to fighting.  Michael Cera did it in Scott Pilgrim, they should’ve been able to do it here.  Bu the movie isn’t terrible, and John Leguizamo is great in his short scenes, but the movie is skippable.

 

SEPTEMBER

THE MARTIAN

The talking up for this movie scared me off for a while.  It just seemed like it couldn’t possibly live up to what people were saying about it.  And how interesting can a movie be that’s just Matt Damon alone on a planet with no one to talk to?  Well turns out it can live up to it and it can be really interesting.  It’s really grounded (which is a strange thing to say about a movie that happens on Mars, but he WAS on the ground of Mars, sooooo…) and Matt Damon does a fantastic job keeping it emotional, funny, exciting, and interesting all the way through.  I wouldn’t say it was necessarily edge of your seat the whole time like Gravity was because there was enough down time of Matt Damon just trying to do small things like farming to stay alive, but Matt Damon never let it be boring.  Everything was amazing and enjoyable about this movie, and you really need to see it.

 

PAN

I wouldn’t call Pan a “bad” movie, but it sure was odd.  I mean, it’s a Peter Pan sequel but they have the pirates singing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Blitzkrieg Bop” while they work to mine out a rock that is the representation of fairy dust, but that brings it to another problem: why is there a rock representing fairy dust?  This is a Peter Pan movie!  If you take all the magic out of a Peter Pan movie, you just have a movie about pirates, Indians, and an annoying boy.  But there is still some magic to be found in this movie (both in the context of the movie and in the movie itself) and their wasn’t really anything wrong with it.  There just wasn’t very much right with it either.  It was pretty and colorful in parts of the movie (especially once they met the Natives) and the story itself was an interesting enough idea, and the actors were even great.  It just didn’t contain much explanation for why the movie was made or why anyone should see it.

 

OCTOBER

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE GHOST DIMENSION

Yup.  I still like these movies.  I don’t know why and (for the most part) you probably shouldn’t listen to much I have to say about the series unless you also like seeing movies about the ghost of the dead horse this movie series continues to beat.  It answers some of the questions left by the rest of the series and introduces a cool new idea with the camera that can see the ghost world, but that kind of takes away from things.  Alien and Jaws were good because they didn’t show the Xenomorph or the shark for as long as they could.  I guess 26 movies was long enough for the Paranormal Activity people, but nothing you show us will be as scary as what we could imagine.  And it wasn’t.  Toby was mostly a black liquid looking thing.  The movie’s not particularly spooky, but there are enough jump scares that it can get your blood pumping.  This movie is good enough if you’re looking for something like that.

 

SPECTRE

Because I watched both in the same day, I was really able to see the similarities between this and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.  The government wants to shut down this very effective organization because it’s outdated, there’s this uber-bad guy that knows all the hero’s tricks, and they even got Léa Seydoux who was in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol!  And I’m sure none of it was coincidence!  Or maybe it was.  Spectre was fine.  Not the best or the worst James Bond movie, and not even the best or worst Daniel Craig James Bond movie, but pretty decent.  Some good action, nice car, little light on the gadgets, couple of really good looking women.  If you’re looking for more out of a James Bond movie, you don’t know what a James Bond is.

 

NOVEMBER

CREED

These Stallone movie sequels are dangerous and unpredictable.  Even if you just look at the Rocky series.  The first one was amazing and then they go straight downhill to number 5, and then number 6 is pretty good again.  So what can anyone assume when going into Rocky 7?  It’s actually better than 6.  Maybe as good as the first one.  It’s a fantastic picture.  Great story about Apollo Creed’s son coming to grips with his troublesome parentage, with Rocky dealing with his own problems, a little love story with the girl that makes terrible music that Adonis Creed gets involved with.  The performances were also great, especially Michael B. Jordan and Stallone.  Stallone can really turn it on sometimes.  A lot of people forget about that because of … half his IMDb page.  And the fights were also pretty great, but were just a few moments.  The focus of the movie was more the human adventure as it should be.  As the first Rocky was.  Speaking of which, a few moments were either derivative or homage-ey, depending on how you look at it.  Like someone gets sick as inspiration to the fighter like what happened to Mick in Rocky 3.  And the outcome of the movie has similarities to the first movie.  But this never becomes a problem.  Got all teary-eyed in this movie a couple of times, and I think that’s a pretty big compliment.  Go see this.

 

DECEMBER

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS

I won’t typically see a movie in theaters multiple times, nor will I usually go see a movie the week of its release in theaters.  I’ll do it for this movie.  I tried to keep my hopes low.  I tried to remind myself how I felt when I got this excited and saw Phantom Menace, but it didn’t work.  After 2 days of hearing rave reviews from my friends and being terrified of spoilers, I broke down and went and saw this movie.  Worth.  It.  I should’ve known too.  I wasn’t a fan of Star Trek until they gave it to J.J. Abrams, so what would happen if they gave the same man my childhood to make a movie out of?  He’d make a movie that took me right back to my childhood and had tears exploding out of my face in a couple different places, both from sadness over something that happened in the movie (people who have seen it know what I’m talking about) and once out of what I can only explain as sheer awesome welling up in my face and leaving no room for liquid in there.  The story was exactly what it should be, the look was brilliant as they did as much with practical effects as they could, the old cast was amazing and the new cast was fantastic.  I’m shifting all my prepubescent love from Carrie Fisher over to Daisy Ridley.  Carrie had her chance and never made a move.  Sorry, love.  I can’t wait forever.  And you shouldn’t wait to see this movie!  What is wrong with you if you haven’t seen it yet?!

 

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