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?!

0087 – Best and Worst Films of 2018


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

 

0083 – Best and Worst Films of 2017



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

 

The Films of 2016


0074-snapshot-written

 

59.  That is the number of movies that I saw that Wikipedia says were released in 2016.  …I go hard in the paint.  Last week, I posted the video where I picked my best and worst 5 of the year (view it here on my YouTube channel), but many people might be wondering what I thought about the other 49 movies I watched this year.  Well wonder no more!  Now, if you have the balls and the stamina to read 10,558 words and 20 pages worth of reviews, you need only scroll down from here to find out my thoughts on them all!  …Or you could just find the ones you specifically want to know my thoughts on.  You do you.

 

JANUARY

THE FOREST

I can’t say that I had any major problems with The Forest.  Except that it wasn’t scary.  That’s probably a fairly major problem for a horror movie though.  The premise was a fairly interesting one since I didn’t know about this suicide forest before this movie, but it kind of falls apart after that.  Like, I certainly hope it’s not actually the police’s policy to not even bother looking for someone 2 days after entering the suicide forest and just assuming they killed themselves, but if it is, maybe if you’re going in there, let the cops know that you’re going in there to look for someone and definitely not to kill yourself, so come looking for me if I don’t come back.  And if the person you’re looking for is your twin sister, why bother bringing a picture?  Just point at your face and say, “With dark hair.”  But this movie at least has Natalie Dormer going for it, who is good and pretty.  And technically it has two of her, ‘cause she’s twins.  But that’s about it.

 

THE BOY

Two in a row with the mediocre horror movies, eh?  And along with the Forest, another mediocre horror film with good, hot actresses from very good, very popular TV shows I love.  The big thing that sets this one apart is that it’s reeeeeeally weird.  You think it’s all about some super crazy old people that want to pay a hot lady to watch a doll they act like is their actual son.  …Okay.  Fair enough.  Then the movie starts seeming like it’s a little more subtle and psychological version of Chuckie from Child’s Play, and then it’s even weirder than that!  Somehow, ghosts would be more feasible (and probably scarier) than the way they ended up going.  Lauren Cohan was good though, and she was hot.  I did not care for Brahm though.  His performance was a bit stiff and wooden.  …GET IT?!?!?!  ‘Cause he was the doll!!!  …You get it…

 

THE WITCH

I don’t know if I would go so far as to say The Witch is a scary movie.  It’s certainly unnerving though.  It’s kind of weird and creepy and there’s old naked women and ravens eating women’s nipples and talking goats and creepy children.  It creates quite a mood and an atmosphere though, so that probably counts for something.  I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t find much about the movie that would lead me to recommend it either.  But most other critics seem to like it, so maybe check it out or whatever.  Just not really my cup of witches brew.

 

FEBRUARY

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES

This is certainly a silly premise for a movie.  Take an old classic book and toss some zombies in there.  But for me, it works.  ‘Cause I’m not reading a book.  And I also am not watching Pride and Prejudice as a movie…unless you add zombies and sword fighting.  So I enjoyed the movie well enough AND I can now tell people I’ve read Pride and Prejudice.  …I turned on the subtitles.

 

DEADPOOL

Coming from a longtime fan of the character, I would have a hard time finding any fault to Deadpool … so I won’t!  I loved this movie!  The action was great and the comedy delivered practically nonstop all the way to the end of the movie and starting from (and including) the opening credits.  How many times would you tell someone that they better not miss the opening credits?  Once!  The whole cast was fantastic; Morena Baccarin and Gina Carano were really hot and so was Ryan Reynolds…  Everyone delivered exactly what they needed to.  And my favorite part?  Not only did they not completely ruin the character of Deadpool, they made fun of the previous time when they did completely ruin the character of Deadpool!  Basically, if you don’t like this movie, you just don’t like Deadpool, because this movie is, to me, a perfect capturing of the character.  To me, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this movie, and the only thing that makes me nervous about the sequel is that they won’t be able to recapture what this movie had, but I’ll certainly be in the theater as early as possible to find out.  But as long as they don’t take the mouth off of the Merc with a Mouth, then it couldn’t possibly be THAT bad.

 

ZOOTOPIA

At first glance, Zootopia seems like it’s just another cute Disney movie.  And it is, but there’s also a lot more to it than just that.  On the surface, it’s cute, beautiful, funny and charming, all the things that kids will enjoy in a movie.  And things get hit in the head a few times, and that is a child’s pinnacle of comedy.  But it also bases itself on a message of trust and friendship overcoming prejudice and fear.  That shit’s deep for a Disney movie!  And pretty topical too!  It seems like it’s all about the cute little prey bunny overcoming everyone else’s prejudice against her to make her dream a reality and become a police officer, but even she has to come to the realization that she (and other prey) also jump to conclusions about the predators being prone to violence.  And the best thing about this message is that it’s there and it’s obvious, but it also doesn’t beat you over the head with it to the point of annoyance.  The voice cast also kills it, especially the two main characters that carry the movie (Goodwin and Bateman) and also Shakira who sang the great song for the movie and made me feel weird things while looking at a gazelle.  I cannot find fault in this movie, and I have no interest in trying to.

 

ZOOLANDER 2

I feel like Zoolander 2 didn’t hurt my feelings too badly because I don’t hold the original Zoolander in high enough esteem that I went into this movie expecting much.  And I also can’t say that it hurt me too drastically because I barely remember seeing it.  I know I did, and I’m pretty sure I own it on Blu-Ray around here somewhere, but that’s about it.  Maybe that’s because the closest to funny this movie gets is by rehashing the vaguely funny things from the first movie, but that’s not going to be good enough.  And the movie has a ton of cameos, which is great if that’s more important than humor out of a comedy to you.  The best things that happened in this movie were some kinda funny moments from Kyle Mooney’s hipster character Don Atari, and the fact that they killed Justin Bieber in the beginning.  But if I can’t say I like a movie that kills Justin Bieber in the first 5 minutes, that movie is probably not very good.

 

GODS OF EGYPT

Gods of Egypt did not do well with either the critics or the people in general.  Many people condemned this movie before its release because the cast was a bunch of white people acting like Egyptians.  I don’t really care about that personally because I would rather have a better actor in a role than one that looks right.  It probably helps that most times it’s white people taking roles from other races and I’m white, so why would I be offended?  I think what’s more offensive about this movie is that it’s just not very good.  But where I would take critics to task on this one is my “what were you expecting?” argument.  This movie was exactly what I assumed it would be based on its poster.  Decent visuals and passable action, possibly some pretty ladies scattered about, and everything else was not a concern.  So whether you have seen this movie or not, whether you are making an educated decision about this movie or not, you are probably right.  There’s no reason to see it really, but it’s not awful.

 

MARCH

LONDON HAS FALLEN

London Has Fallen is a sequel to Olympus Has Fallen, which is a movie most famous for being often confused with that other movie about the president being kidnapped.  You probably don’t need me to say more, which is good because I don’t have much more to say.  This time, a whole city has fallen, so I can only assume that next a whole country, then a continent, then a planet, and maybe even a solar system will fall as well, and only Gerard Butler can stop it because he’s super dedicated to his job and an inexplicable badass that single-handedly takes down armies.  So what is there to say about this movie?  It’s dumb, but lots of things explode, and the cast is maybe 10% better than standard action movie casts are.  So watch this movie next time you want to shut your brain off and watch things go boom.

 

WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot was a little more drama than comedy to me, but it was a fairly enjoyable experience.  It didn’t seem to hit too heavy on anything I was thinking it would go for.  There were funny moments, but nothing was incredibly laugh out loud funny.  There were serious moments, but nothing too depressing or tragic.  Some action moments, but nothing terribly thrilling.  Overall it was just a long, moderate enjoyment that I felt.  Nice little love story in there that wasn’t really the focus, but Tina Fey was enjoyable as usual, as was Martin Freeman and Margot Robbie.  And I especially enjoyed Fey’s relationship with her fixer Fahim.  So it’s a solid movie, but as it doesn’t really feel like a spectacular version of any type of movie, I don’t know if I’d call it a must.

 

10 CLOVERFIELD LANE

10 Cloverfield Land certainly wasn’t what I expected going in, but being a psychological thriller about 3 isolated people that’s a sequel to a Godzilla-esque giant monster movie will have that effect.  But after the initial shock of that wore off, I found myself able to enjoy this movie for what it was.  It was a very well done, tense, and psychological movie that was also very well acted.  Not typically the type of movie I go for, but I felt like it carried the flame from the first movie pretty well.  I just hope to get a little more info and a little more Godzilla if they do another one.

 

THE BRONZE

I think what mostly drove me to want to watch The Bronze was how often I stumbled across it.  I came across the movie in RedBox many times and saw the mildly amusing trailer for it many times.  Finally I stumbled across it on the list of movies that came out in 2016, and figured I might as well give it a shot.  Once I did, I found it acceptable.  The story wasn’t mind-blowing, but it had a decent amount of humor sprinkled around to make it enjoyable, especially the gymnast sex scene near the end.  The cast was good too.  Melissa Rauch wasn’t very likeable until the end, but that’s what she was going for, and I’m always happy to see Thomas Middleditch and Sebastian Stan.  Haley Lu Richardson was pretty enjoyable too.  The Bronze has some things going for it that I would say bring it dangerously close to being worth your time.

 

THE DIVERGENT SERIES: ALLEGIANT

I don’t really know why I watched Allegiant.  And I don’t know why I watched Divergent either.  And more than that, I don’t know why I watched this one when I apparently forgot to watch Insurgent, which is the second one.  So maybe fans of the movie would argue that the reason I didn’t like this one is because I wasn’t able to follow the deep, cohesive storyline.  Well that may be the case.  Also a possibility: it was boring and dumb.  When I watched the first one, I barely understood what they were trying to go for.  Then this one adds more stuff for me to be confused by.  Perhaps, had I seen the second one, it would’ve been the appropriate level of confusion for my brain to shut down and enjoy the movie.  But I found myself completely capable of realizing that they had some fairly big ideas and stopped right about there.  But they threw some pretty computer pictures around to make it look fairly nice, and then threw a few great actors in and surrounded them by pretty actors that could pass as moderately acceptable actors, and then that was a trilogy.  Skip it.

 

BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE

I would never have been classified as a fan of the DC Universe, and with movies like they put out when Christopher Nolan isn’t behind the camera, they are doing nothing to help that.  Now, I didn’t despise Batman v Superman as much as other nerds I have heard discuss it because I’m not as close to the source material, but the movie still mostly sucked.  Y’see, I’ve actually read the Dark Knight Returns.  Zack Snyder should’ve too.  It’s pretty good.  Instead, I think he might’ve read the Wikipedia article about it, or the Cliff Notes if they do that for comics.  What he understood was that Batman fights Superman at some point.  Didn’t really get why.  He also didn’t really get the character of Batman and his whole “One Rule” thing he talked about it The Dark Knight.  You know, how Batman doesn’t kill, like even if blowing up that car with enemies in it would look REALLY cool and get those bad guys out of his hair for a while.  Like not even if there was a 1% chance someone could be a bad guy, since y’know EVERYONE has about a 1% chance of being a bad guy and he specifically never killed the Joker who has about a 147% chance of being a bad guy.  And if you thought his reason for fighting Superman in the first place was stupid, wait until you find out why he stops fighting him.  Also, I did not like Eisenberg’s over the top Luthor weirdness.  He was super annoying through the entire movie, but then a little bit good and intimidating at the very end of the movie.  On a positive note, I liked Ben Affleck a lot and look forward to what he’ll do in the future, and he had some great action scenes that felt straight out of one of the Arkham games.  And Gal Gadot was great and every Wonder Woman scene was awesome … and would have been much more so if every one of those scenes wasn’t in the trailers.  So this was not a painfully bad movie to watch, but where it hurt itself was being a movie about well-established characters that it didn’t seem to understand … and not being very good.

 

APRIL

CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR

I absolutely loved Civil War.  I’m sure that’s no surprise coming from a hardcore Marvel fanboy, but I think the movie was fairly universally loved.  Full of the fun one expects from Marvel movies but with the serious moments when they were needed and a great plot where all the characters had clear motivations.  Interesting concept, eh Batman v Superman?  Obviously they couldn’t make this movie exactly the same as the comics (which I had heard complaints about), but of course they couldn’t because they don’t have the ability to use the word “mutant” or use the X-Men.  So shut the fuck up, nerds!  The whole cast was great, especially new characters of Black Panther and the new Spider-Man, and also Daniel Brühl as Zemo, and everyone had a great moment in their wicked awesome fight at the airport, which was only one among many great action set pieces.  Marvel is killin’ it, as always.

 

THE JUNGLE BOOK

I had no interest in The Jungle Book for a long time.  I saw the cartoon.  I thought it was okay.  Later on they made it again with one real person and some computer stuff and that guy that made Iron Man.  That would probably be fine, but I know what’s gonna happen.  Eventually, the media talked me into it as podcasts I listened to talked it up.  Then I watched it and they were right.  It is really good; better even than the cartoon.  The story is roughly the same, but the new visuals really help to tell that story, and those visuals combined with the voice acting makes me have to say a statement like, “That wolf gave a performance that brought tears to my eyes.”  I don’t recall actually crying because I’m so manly and all, but it worked very well.  And they had all the musical numbers that they should have and though only Scarlett Johansson really had much of a singing voice; it was still nice to hear them again.  This was a really entertaining and touching movie that everyone should enjoy.

 

THE HUNTSMAN: WINTER’S WAR

Though I would not be bold enough to call The Huntsman: Winter’s War a good movie, I would certainly say it was better than the original.  Is that because this one didn’t have Kristen Stewart in it?  Possibly.  But I would say I had no major problem with the sequel too.  The story was fairly bland and not much more than good guys versus bad guys followed by credits, but I also wasn’t really expecting much more than that.  The actors can probably take most of the credit for this movie being watchable.  I liked Theron and Blunt and their interactions, and I really liked Chastain and Hemsworth and their chemistry together.  I even liked the dwarves, even though they really had no real reason to be there save for mild comic relief.  But the movie was fine.  You don’t need to see it, but at least Kristen Stewart isn’t in it.

 

KEANU

Keanu was cute.  The cat, I mean.  Not the movie.  The movie was fine.  I’ve never seen Key and Peele’s show, but I’ve enjoyed the clips of it I’ve seen, so I expected a fair bit from this movie.  It was somewhat funny, but not uproariously so.  Just kind of enough to make me smile throughout and chuckle at a few parts.  The story premise can keep you smiling because it’s just so silly, but not very many jokes really got me.  The cast was enjoyable too.  Key and Peele are very likeable, and Anna Faris was probably my favorite part of the movie.  Besides Keanu, that is.  He was slightly cuter than she is.

 

RATCHET & CLANK

My main goal in watching Ratchet & Clank was to see if I could learn the story of the games without bothering to play them, which I had never bothered to get around to even though I typically heard good things.  Was this movie successful in this endeavor?  How should I know?  I had nothing to compare it to.  So instead, I’ll say if it was successful as a movie.  Probably.  I’m sure it made a lot of money.  As for its quality, I would say it was fine.  It looked great and its story was the basic dream-fulfillment, zero-to-hero thing.  Kids will probably like it, but as far as I can tell, random shapes and colors moving on a screen will be enough for most children.  Disney and Pixar have probably set the standard for movies too high for parent to be entirely thrilled by this movie though.

 

MAY

X-MEN: APOCALYPSE

I might actually surprise you all with my review for X-Men: Apocalypse.  I didn’t actually love this Marvel movie.  I would say I just really really liked it.  Number one thing it had going for it: there were X-Men in it.  It also had Apocalypse and the Four Horsemen in it, as well as a killer subtle gag where they used Metallica’s “Four Horsemen” in the movie.  And it also had an awesome Phoenix moment.  I liked the greater majority of things about the movie with only few minor problems.  First, I think Xavier should really be portrayed as stronger than he was on the Astral Plane.  I also really didn’t care for the kid playing Cyclops or the look of Archangel, but I did like all the returning cast and the new people like Apocalypse, Sansa Stark, Olivia Munn, and Nightcrawler.  The Weapon X sequence was also cool, but their attempts to make the Weapon X gear look less goofy for camera didn’t really go that well.  Overall, I found it quite enjoyable, but I’m also an X-Men nerd.  I may not be trustworthy.

 

ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS

I have no particular love for the previous Alice in Wonderland movie.  It looked pretty and computers made wonderful fantasy things look somewhat realistic.  And there was probably a story, but damned if I remember what it was.  Cut and paste for Through the Looking Glass.  It was fine.  Pretty computer things and a story about time-travel or whatever.  Nothing too mind-blowing.  It has some pretty good actors giving mixed performances though.  Depp and Carter are a little over the top for my taste, but I like Wasikowska and Hathaway, and I thought Sacha Baron Cohen was a really enjoyable part of the movie.  Probably not so much as I’d really recommend the movie, but I’m sure kids would really get a kick out of it, and the parents probably won’t hate it while watching with them.

 

THE DARKNESS

I didn’t even know this movie existed until I saw it on the Wikipedia list, and then out of nowhere it gets to be on my list.  Congratulations!  Anyway, I know we’ve all sat around and thought to ourselves about how much we’d like to see a boring and cliché version of Poltergeist, right?  And then we watched the remake of Poltergeist, and after feeling like that wasn’t quite bland and obvious enough, we started demanding to see The Darkness.  It’s Poltergeist with the burial ground replaced by 5 rocks an autistic child found in the desert.  And the family’s biggest concern for most of the movie was with the dry cleaning from getting black handprints off of everything.  And the funny weird lady from the Poltergeist is now a Mexican lady and her granddaughter…who for some reason are the experts you call in when having troubles with Anasazi demons.  I guess as long as their skin is brown, they can probably do it.  They all look the same to us anyway.  So what I’m saying is, instead of bothering with this movie, just go watch Poltergeist.  …Either one is better.

 

THE NICE GUYS

For a long time, I could not imagine a reason for me to watch The Nice Guys.  A comedy on the backs of Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling?  Sounds like a pretty terrible idea.  The only funny thing I can think of involving either of them is a series of videos where someone tries to feed cereal to one of them.  But it turned out that this movie was almost as funny as feeding cereal to Ryan Gosling.  The story was the buddy cop movie basics, but with plenty of laugh out loud moments along the way, making it feel like that Starsky and Hutch movie but funny.  And you gotta give credit where it’s due: Crowe and Gosling delivered.  I doubted them and they shut me up.  …No I mean it.  I’m gonna shut up now.  Watch the movie though.

 

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS

What can one really expect when going to see a movie like TMNT: Out of the Shadows?  …Yes.  That is the answer.  You should be looking for a dumb, roughly pointless story with as much fan service as they can muster (Hey, we added Krang this time!).  Then you should expect a visual extravaganza, and I guess they kinda get there.  I still hate how the turtles look, but can’t change that now.  One of the actors is Megan Fox, so you can’t expect much there, but the turtle voices are pretty good, and I like Will Arnett and Stephen Amell, and I liked Sheamus and Gary Anthony Williams as Bebop and Rocksteady.  So what can one expect out of this movie?  Yes.  Exactly what you think.

 

JUNE

POPSTAR: NEVER STOP NEVER STOPPING

The first thing I would clarify about seeing Popstar is that I didn’t want to.  Someone had to suggest it to me.  The reason I didn’t want to see it is because I really don’t care for Andy Samberg very much.  He’s occasionally acceptable to me in small cameo roles, but the only time I’ve seen him in a starring role was Hot Rod, which was talked up as the greatest comedy in years to me by one of my friends and was instead something that made me want to kill myself.  Also, I think I thought it was that movie where Adam Sandler is Samberg’s dad for a while.  But even though it was an uphill battle to overcome my general disinterest in Samberg, I feel like this movie pulled it off.  It’s like This is Spinal Tap for the new generation … but not nearly as good as that.  But that’s a high bar to reach and one shouldn’t necessarily expect it to be able to reach that.  Basic story, decently funny, pretty well acted, Samberg was enjoyable, and tons of cameos from the comedy and music world for those that would find that interesting.  Popstar was pretty solid though.  A decent watch, and probably more so if you’re a big Samberg/Lonely Island fan.

 

NOW YOU SEE ME 2

I thought the first Now You See Me movie was fine.  Didn’t blow minds, but was entirely watchable.  The sequel was roughly the same, and perhaps took a step down for losing much of the surprise of the movie to its predecessor.  And the biggest problem of both movies is that it bases itself on magic and illusion which is impressive when watching someone do it in person, but much less impressive to watch when it’s the skill of a computer and not of a person who spent their life mastering the craft.  But the story of the movie seems fairly well planned out, had a few nice twists, and some of the magic stuff was interesting to watch.  I also still like how they use magic tricks for fist fights and heists, and the actors are all good.  The movie’s a decent watch, but not a required one by any stretch.

 

THE CONJURING 2

So many of these movies come out that I have a hard time remembering which is which sometimes.  The first Conjuring was about the Amityville stuff, right?  …Or am I thinking of Amityville Horror…  Well, this one is about this English family that claimed to be haunted in real life and the Warrens are back to kick ghost ass and chew bubblegum, but their bubblegum didn’t make it through customs!  And this movie was pretty successful.  I like the use of “real life” hauntings as a basis for a movie because, if nothing else, it’ll make me read about the “real life” stuff and be entertained by that, but the movie entertained pretty well too.  It pulled off jump scares pretty successfully and creepy build up decently.  The old guy ghost was somewhat scary, but that old nun lady was downright chilling.  All the living actors did very well too.  I’ll call this one worth a watch.

 

WARCRAFT

My idea to watch Warcraft came from a discussion on a podcast (Shout out to Just2Pals Podcast!).  My friend (a big Warcraft fan) loved the movie, while his partner (less of a Warcraft fan) did not.  My history with Warcraft puts me somewhere in the middle of those two, as did my enjoyment of the movie.  I played and loved the original RTS Warcraft games, and even played a little of World of Warcraft, though I lost interest fairly quickly.  And since my time with Warcraft pretty much ended around 2003, my knowledge of the lore of Warcraft has mostly dispersed.  I know humans don’t like orcs.  And this movie does enforce that.  And pretty much covers the story of the movie as well.  The action was decent, but it’s hard to make very impressive action when it’s technically a guy swinging a plastic sword at air, but the computers did some good work on this movie.  I especially liked what they did the orcs, especially with Paula Patton.  It’s hard to feel for (and be attracted to) a big green lady with tusks, but nature finds a way.  So what it seems to come down to with this movie is that my recommendation is dependent on your involvement with the Warcraft lore, sliding up from “don’t bother” if you know nothing of Warcraft to “you’ve already seen it” if you’re a huge fan.

 

FINDING DORY

Sequels to animated movies (especially in Disney movies) can be hit and miss.  Finding Dory at least had the benefit of not being straight to DVD, which typically means better, but Cars 2 hit theaters, so it’s not perfect.  And neither was Finding Dory (long way to go for that one, I know), but it was really good.  It’s a nice emotional story about Dory trying to find her family and overcome her memory problems, and it’s pretty well assembled.  I feel like Dory works better as a secondary character generally, but she’s more fun to be with than Marlin, so it’s okay.  I also really enjoyed Hank the octopus and Becky the bird, who pretty much stole the whole movie for herself.  And the story did tug at the heart strings, but I don’t recall being overwhelmed by emotion at any point.  So the movie is good, and probably met my expectations, but it doesn’t quite blow me away.

 

INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE

Independence Day: Resurgence is exactly what it needs to be.  If you went into this movie expecting it to absolutely brilliant, you might be stupid and I pity you.  Before going to see this movie, I remembered the good times of things exploding a lot, Bill Pullman dropping a killer speech, and Will Smith and his patented way of welcoming someone to our planet.  So when seeing the sequel, I expected roughly the same thing except someone else would be on our planet’s welcoming party.  But I enjoyed the experience of the movie.  What was the story?  …That wasn’t a set up to something.  I really don’t remember.  Something about aliens coming back with bigger and angrier ships but we found this white sphere that helps somehow.  And the cast was solid, even if they weren’t Will Smith.  But who is?  Besides Will Smith, of course.  But none of that stuff really matters, does it?  I went to this movie to see aliens blow up as much stuff as they could before America whooped that ass.  This movie delivers on that.  It’s not smart; it’s big and spectacular.  That’s what it was supposed to be.

 

THE SHALLOWS

I was surprised I liked this movie too!  But this movie has it all: thrills, chills, suspense, and Blake Lively in a bikini.  This is what I expected from The Shallows and this is what I got.  I would say it takes a little long to get to the heavy stuff, but since that time is spent watching Blake Lively be super-hot, it felt like a productive use of my time.  But then when it gets going it is pretty damned edge of your seat stuff all the way through to the end.  And that shark was a dick!  I mean, I understand you gotta eat, but if you’re just looking for food, there’s this huge dead whale like 20 feet away that they used to explain why you showed up in the first place.  There’s a lot more meat on that thing than on Blake.  So really you’re just doing this to be an asshole, right?  And he was.  Fuck that shark.  And even not counting her ridiculous hotness, I thought Blake Lively was fantastic, and I’d be willing to kick that up to amazing since the only other thing I’ve seen her in was Green Lantern, so I didn’t know she had this kind of performance in her.  I thought everyone did a really good job with this movie, and think it’s worth watching.  Just like Blake Lively is.

 

JULY

THE LEGEND OF TARZAN

There wasn’t much memorable about The Legend of Tarzan.  I could say that I remember that Margot Robbie is hot, but that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the movie.  It’s Margot Robbie.  When is she not?  And then I remember Christoph Waltz stole Tarzan’s lady and he must return to his Tarzan roots to get her back, and he does.  And there’s some black dude that wants to kill Tarzan too.  Don’t remember much about that.  The Legend of Tarzan was a perfectly fine movie that just wasn’t special enough to dedicate any space in my extremely limited memory to.  I think I might just prefer my Tarzan animated.

 

THE BFG

Growing up a fan of the Doom series as I did, I was very disappointed when starting The BFG.  It wasn’t about a Big Fuckin’Gun at all!  It’s about a Big Fuckin’ Guy and his friendship with a young girl.  After I was able to get over my disappointment (and realize that most movies that have been released based on Doom haven’t really worked out too well), I was able to enjoy the movie for what it was.  And it was surprisingly enjoyable.  The story was as simple as a little girl befriending a giant and then helping him take care of the bad giants, but it was the world that was created that was impressive.  Visually stunning and well planned out, it can be really immersive.  And the performance of the little girl and the giant really get you attached to them pretty quickly.  A very nice little movie to take kids to.

 

THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR

Holy hell!  There was a second Purge movie?  Oh well.  I missed that one, and I don’t care.  I haven’t particularly cared to see any of the Purge movies.  The first one was standard and unimpressive unless you have a phobia about red corn syrup, which I do not.  The third was roughly the same, maybe made slightly more interesting by some story elements, but really it just comes down to different ways to make people shoot corn syrup around.  But this time people are trying to protect a candidate that wants to stop the Purge.  So that should count for something.  But that something isn’t a recommendation.  It’s just also not a warning.

 

THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS

The Secret Life of Pets is also a simple story of pets.  There’s no real surprise to the story of this movie.  Happy, content dog has his world turned upside down by the addition of a new dog that he fears will take his owners love like a child when a new baby arrives.  But the real surprise about this movie for me was how enjoyable it was.  It seemed so cookie cutter from the trailers and seemed like something only kids might fall for, but I fell for it too, based mostly on the excellent and often adorable animation and the quality of the voice acting cast, especially Jenny Slate, who I adored in this movie.  I was so happy every time Gidget showed up so I could hear her again.  The movie also had some solid funny moments.  Definitely a good movie.

 

GHOSTBUSTERS

Talk about the new Ghostbusters movie was as mixed after its release as it was before.  “How could women do funny things?” they asked.  I wasn’t one of those people.  I looked at the cast and found Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnon sufficient to believe comedy was possible (I’m not really a fan of Melissa McCarthy and I wasn’t familiar with Leslie Jones).  And after seeing the movie, I decided that they succeeded in realizing that comedy.  This was a very funny movie.  Was it as good as the first two Ghostbusters?  No.  Not much is.  And that’s why I didn’t expect this movie to surpass the first two Ghostbusters.  It’s not the same kind of dry, subtle humor that made those Ghostbusters brilliant.  It’s a different thing.  This movie probably would’ve been very well received had they chosen a different title, but these women busted ghosts, so they must’ve felt the need.  Sure, it wasn’t the Ghostbusters we fans wanted, but since that’s never going to happen, this one will do.

 

STAR TREK BEYOND

Star Trek Beyond was fine, but a bit ridiculous in parts which held it back from greatness.  The story was solid and included a nice twist surprise at the end that worked very well.  And the movie had no real shortage of blockbuster action, which is also enjoyable.  And all the returning cast as well as the new additions of Idris Elba as Krall and Sofia Boutella as Jaylah were all enjoyable.  So what was the problem?  Their determination to make sure there was a moto cross scene that barely makes sense and the fact that the music of the Beastie Boys saves the day.  Having the anachronistic music playing is fine because I like the songs and they work well as soundtrack music, but having it be their main weapon against the enemies is a little silly.  Still an enjoyable movie though.

 

JASON BOURNE

Though I don’t necessarily think that the movie world needs to leave this Jason Bourne guy alone, I would find it acceptable since it would make sense in the story of the movies that the government would finally decide that they should stop fucking with the guy that just wants to be left alone, but will happily destroy you and everything you have if you don’t leave him alone.  Plus, the latest couple of movies haven’t been that good and eventually there’s going to be more mediocre ones that great ones.  This is one of the mediocre ones.  It’s fine, but it doesn’t really add anything to the world of Jason Bourne, and it also didn’t really need to exist.  It’s a fine basic action movie that fans of the series will want to watch, but it doesn’t really stand out enough to recommend.

 

AUGUST

SUICIDE SQUAD

I would say that I really wanted to enjoy Suicide Squad.  DC’s movies have been so disappointing that, even not being a big DC fan, I was hoping they would get a surprise Deadpool-esque hidden gem movie out sooner or later.  This wasn’t it.  I didn’t hate Suicide Squad, but I really didn’t enjoy it.  It felt to me like they were trying too hard with their moments of freezing and throwing up title cards for their characters and their “cool” music, but it couldn’t quite come together.  The story was just an origin story with a somewhat secondary and forgetful story about a bad guy and the “good” guys have to stop it.  The action wasn’t impressive either, but it was okay.  And the characters were mostly disappointing.  I didn’t care about most of the characters going in, and not much changed on leaving.  I liked Will Smith and Margot Robbie, Rick Flag and Katana were kind of bland and forgetful, El Diablo and Enchantress were fine, Captain Boomerang was fairly funny sometimes, and I didn’t care for Killer Croc at all.  He just felt like his performance should be him saying stupid things and licking things a lot for no reason.  And he looked strangely emaciated for some reason, even though the character and the actor portraying him are pretty big and buff.  And the biggest problem with the whole movie in my opinion was Jared Leto’s Joker.  You could tell he really had a character choice in mind, but I didn’t like the way he went at all.  I just found him annoying.  And worse than that, pointless.  It felt like everything involving the Joker was a waste of my time and he could’ve been not involved at all, or at least only involved in the flashbacks.

 

PETE’S DRAGON

Pete’s Dragon is … I don’t know, man.  It’s whatever.  I don’t remember the original well enough to compare them, and I already don’t remember this movie well enough to care.  The kid has a dragon, a family takes him in, bad people try to catch the dragon, happy ending.  It looks really pretty and the dragon is fairly well done, but I didn’t feel like I cared enough to pay attention while watching it and it couldn’t pull my attention.  I say skip it, but if you have kids it’ll perform as background noise fairly well.

 

SAUSAGE PARTY

I would give this movie some credit.  It almost lost me in the first 5 minutes with the musical number that opened it which I found completely devoid of humor and just trying too hard to be offensive.  And though the trying too hard to be offensive continued throughout the movie, some humor showed up making it more worthwhile.  It’s a silly movie that hides a strange religious argument meaning in between some of the lowest comedy that sometimes works.  I had a hard time in the movie weighing the jokes that were just too dumb or too gross with some actually well-written and funny jokes, but I’d say I warmed up to it, and I enjoyed the cast, particularly Nick Kroll doing his character Bobby Bottleservice as Douche.  I don’t recommend it if you’re easily offended because you probably wouldn’t make it very far into the movie, but if you can deal with that, you could actually enjoy the movie.  Or wind up somewhere in the middle of enjoying and despising it.

 

KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS

This movie blew my damned mind!  I had a mild desire to see it based on its interesting style and Asian feel, but never bothered to get around to it until my friend Maggie raved about it.  I rented it, watched it, and went out to purchase it in full immediately afterwards.  It succeeds on every level.  The story is new, funny in parts, touching in others, and interesting to all ages throughout.  The animation is beautiful and engaging.  The cast also knocks it out of the park.  I don’t have much to say beyond saying I loved this movie and recommend you watch it post haste.

 

BEN-HUR

Even if it’s not necessary, every movie will probably be remade eventually, even if the original holds up just fine and the new one has nothing to bring to the table.  Granted, I probably don’t remember the original Ben-Hur well enough to say what the new one brought in or left out, but I do remember liking the original and being bored of the remake.  It’s not bad.  The race at the end is cool and some of the Jesus stuff is interesting and the cast tries their best, but it all seems futile.  Just go watch the original.

 

DON’T BREATHE

I found myself pretty surprised by Don’t Breathe.  Not so much by the quality.  The premise seemed interesting and the trailers sold the movie pretty well to make me think there was some quality to be found here, and there was.  I liked the premise of the kids breaking into the blind guy’s house and then he turns out to be a badass, and they were able to milk this for some really tense scenes.  My concern going into it was that the kids were supposed to be our protagonists, but I wondered if they would be able to make me feel bad about the blind war veteran killing the little shits that broke into his house, and they did that with the real surprise in this movie: all the stuff going on in the basement.  It made it so we didn’t like the blind guy a whole bunch more than we didn’t like the thieving kids, and led to some real weirdness and at least one super grossness.  But besides that, it was a very interesting movie, and I’d say it’s worth checking out.

 

MECHANIC: RESURRECTION

If you like Jason Statham action movies, this is one of them.  It’s not particularly special in any way, and it’s more than a little silly, but I didn’t hate it.  It’s a standard action movie that seemed like they had 3 ideas for interesting set pieces for and then just figured out some way to slap them all into the same movie.  They are also going to need A-Team-style ‘prepare for hit’ montages before each one.  Heaven help you if you don’t have that.  Then they added in a corny love story with Jessica Alba who this hardcore, lone wolf killer guy falls for way too quickly even though he knows she was sent by the bad guy.  But there were some cool action scenes and some cool fight scenes, also Jessica Alba is hot and Jason Statham is shirtless a whole bunch for anyone who may be into that sort of thing.

 

SEPTEMBER

YOGA HOSERS

It is known that I am a fan of Kevin Smiths.  I listen to his podcasts, I enjoy his TV shows, and I enjoy the greater majority of his movies.  When I listened to the creation of the term “Yoga Hosers” on Smodcast, I thought it was hilarious.  Sadly, I didn’t feel the same about the movie.  Smith goes back to the convenient store in this movie, this time replacing Dante and Randall with his daughter and Johnny Depp’s daughter, and also replacing the witty conversations with slapstick silliness.  Smith said he was going for a cheesy 80’s buddy movie with this one, which is probably fine but I just didn’t get any laughs out of it, which is less fine.  It was just too goofy and seemed like Smith just wanting to put friends and family in a movie and see them do things that amuse him, like having Ralph Garman’s character do impressions for no reason other than Kevin knows Ralph can do them and they make Kevin laugh.  And they make me laugh too when listening to Hollywood Babble-On, but not so much here.  Perhaps this movie is better suited for Smith’s target audience of preteen girls, but it just didn’t do it for me.  I haven’t been a preteen girl for years.

 

SULLY

I liked Sully, but I have to say I found the movie a bit implausible.  There’s no way that could actually happen!  Silliness aside, I realize that a certain amount of the credit for this movie goes elsewhere because it’s probably pretty easy to make an interesting movie about this just by following the real life events of a hero, but the movie was deftly handled.  I saw some complaining about how they handled the NTS board that was actively trying to prove that Sully fucked up and saying that this wouldn’t be how it would’ve happened in real life, but screw that.  They need a bad guy and they have to build it up so the audience would be amped when Sully proves that what he did was right.  That wouldn’t have been nearly as impactful if they were just like, “Yup, you were right.  Just as we all thought.  Good work, Captain.”  He needs to teabag them with knowledge.  After that stuff, you’ll be shocked to find that Tom Hanks was fantastic in this movie and carried the movie well.  Whoda thunk it?  Great movie and worth watching.

 

BLAIR WITCH

As another addition to the Blair Witch mythos, I found that this sequel raised more questions than it answered.  Like why is that black dude being such a dick to the two stoned weirdos?  They’ve been perfectly civil and helpful so far.  And why did the stoned weirdos fake those wooden doll things?  Like, you wanted others to believe in this stuff, but you wanted to stay in the woods longer and those things just made everyone want to leave.  And when they were leaving, why not just admit you faked it?  And why was faking it such a big deal to everyone else?  And why would our heroes tell them they had to leave because of it?  They could get lost and die in those woods … because they hung up their arts and crafts?  And why are the “heroes” still terrified after finding out that stuff was faked?  And why does everyone in horror movies think it’s okay to sneak up behind people that are already dealing with a scary situation?  These are the kinds of questions Blair Witch raises.  But the biggest one is why did they make this?  It really only rehashes the original Blair Witch movie, but now they have better and cooler technology.

 

THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN

There are two things that need be expressed in my review for this movie.  First, I have a predisposition towards enjoying Westerns.  Second, I haven’t seen the original, so I have nothing to compare it to.  That being said, I really enjoyed The Magnificent Seven.  Granted it’s a super standard movie in that a bad guy is terrorizing a town and the good guy must assemble a team of misfits to save the day.  And then a lot of bullets, a lot of explosions, a lot of death, and then the day is saved.  Who can’t name at least 5 movies to compare that stuff to?  Especially if you count the original Magnificent Seven, which I assume is similar.  But this movie is a solid western with good action and good acting.  Definitely worth a watch, especially if you like Westerns.

 

OCTOBER

JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK

I enjoyed the first Jack Reacher movie pretty well, but not well enough to bother seeing the sequel in theaters until it was time to start watching movies for this review.  I had to go to the Dollar Theaters for it.  And that’s about the right price to see this movie.  It’s fine, but formulaic, and generally unnecessary.  The action’s okay and the fights are fine, but the story leaves something to be desired.  Mostly I just desired something not easy and obvious.  And probably desired (without knowing it) that they not have a completely pointless subplot about a daughter.  She only served the story as a damsel in distress, and was even more pointless because she wasn’t even his daughter.  They just sort of thought she was for parts of the movie but wasn’t, thus rendering her pretty pointless to the movie in general.  But it’s not a bad movie and I liked the action, so I would say it’s not necessary to see, but not painful to see.

 

OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL

I’ve seen so many Ouija movies that I can’t even tell if any of them are supposed to be connected or not.  And if any of them are, I’m not sure why I watched this one because all the rest of them I’ve seen are just awful.  According to Wikipedia, this is a prequel to Ouija, which was garbage.  But Origin of Evil was inexplicably pretty damned good.  Pretty well-paced and nerve-wracking, with a solid story and some good scares, and pretty good acting to bring it all together.  One of my favorite things that they did in this was that they had scary things standing in the background a lot, but didn’t make a big deal out of them.  There would just be a silhouette back there with glowing orange eyes, but they wouldn’t zoom in on it or hit it with a music sting to make sure everyone saw it.  You don’t need to see it for the movie to work, but once I saw one I was nervously checking the background in every scene.  And when they looked through the lens in the planchette it made me want to hide until it was over.  This movie brings in a fair amount from The Exorcist and Poltergeist to help it be effective, and that’s just what it was.  Great horror movie.  Worth watching.

 

INFERNO

I didn’t think Inferno was nearly as bad as most critics seemed to, but I didn’t think it was good either.  If nothing else, a Tom Hanks movie has Tom Hanks in it and he can hold any piece of crap fairly well by himself.  I think my biggest problem with this movie is it didn’t feel like it had anything in common with the Da Vinci Code, which it should because that movie is the reason I watched this one.  The other movies didn’t really feel like full on action movies.  They felt more like Zelda.  Some action, but a lot of puzzle solving and interesting ideas about how Jesus had children or whatever.  Because of how this movie was set up, Tom Hanks’ character didn’t remember anything, which meant that he was pretty much being dragged from scene to scene until he finally got his shit together.  And the big reveal that the person you thought was good but was in fact bad was only a surprise because I thought they were being so blunt and obvious about it that it couldn’t possibly be the way they were going.  But it was.  And the black guy cop was hunting this bad guy for years but didn’t know he had a girlfriend or what she looked like?  So there’s not much going for this movie to make it worth watching.  I would say Hanks and their cool Hell imagery is about the only thing, but it’s not enough.  You can skip this one.

 

NOVEMBER

DOCTOR STRANGE

Never having been a big fan of Doctor Strange, I wasn’t sure how well this movie would work out for me.  That of course is stupidly forgetting who I am as a person and how I generally feel about Marvel movies.  Of course I loved this one.  But, in my defense, critics seemed to as well, so I feel justified.  This was a fantastic origin story movie that really worked on every level.  You can’t expect too terribly much from the story because it’s going to be an origin story and a small bad guy that probably sets up a bigger bad guy, but mostly serves as proof that he’s finished his origin by the end of the movie.  And that is what it was, but it also had some surprises and cleverness and humor in there to make it feel different enough.  The most obvious difference that sets this apart from other Marvel movies is the imagery.  Obviously I don’t mean that the CG was great, because it was and most Marvel movies are, but the jokes that it seemed like Marvel’s Inception I had heard before seeing the movie were apt.  But also, who cares?  It looked great and no one would need to guess that something magical was happening when you’re in a Kaleidoscope world.  Also, Cumberbatch was fantastic, and I also really enjoyed Swinton, McAdams, Ejiofor, Mikkelsen, and Wong.  Which is pretty much everyone, but that’s because they were all good, and only surpassed by the amazing performance of Doctor Strange’s Cape.  That was my favorite character by far.  Great movie, and I can’t wait to see what happens in the future with the character.

 

ARRIVAL

I hadn’t heard of the Arrival until someone suggested I watch it.  I typically don’t expect much when watching a movie I’ve never heard of because I’m so damned hip that I’ve always heard of everything worth hearing of.  And while that might not be true, it was also not applicable to this movie.  Definitely a solid movie.  I don’t give it quite the acclaim that it gets from other critics just because I found it boring in chunks of the movie, but it was generally worth sticking it out.  The movie felt a lot like Contact with a lot of sciencey stuff and aliens and whatnot, but very few explosions.  This movie was less about engineering and math and more about language though.  What it shares with other alien movies is the stupidity of so many people getting bored of trying to communicate so fast and deciding what needs to happen is we need to wave our gun dicks at the super advanced alien civilization.  Great idea, guys.  But since there’s a very good chance that would happen in real life, I can’t hold it against the writing.  And the writing was good anyway, even though the ending was a little confusing and hard to follow.  Still an enjoyable movie.

 

FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM

I’m a fairly big fan of the Harry Potter franchise, but I wasn’t particularly interested in seeing Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them … mostly because I didn’t know they were related.  I believe I mentioned how hip and well-informed I am.  Well, once I figured it out, I went to see it fairly quickly.  And it’s good.  Not great, but good.  Story was interesting, but not mind-blowing.  I like what it adds to the mythology of the Harry Potter world and I’m excited to see where it goes in the future.  The graphics are of the quality that should be expected from Harry Potter and were really awesome.  And the cast was mostly great, at least in what they were going for.  Dan Fogler seemed to be the comic relief and largely unnecessary for most of the movie, but he performed it well.  And he had a great little love story with Queenie, so it made it worth it.  So there really wasn’t anything wrong with Fantastic Beasts, it just didn’t really resonate with me like the other Harry Potter movies did.  Maybe I just require a little more Emma Watson in my Harry Potter movies.

 

MOANA

I loved Moana far more than I expected.  It looked like a fairly average Disney movie, and it was.  But one forgets that the standard Disney formula has worked for a very long time for a good reason.  And Moana is a Disney-ass Disney movie.  It’s straight Disney as fuck.  The story is a classic follow your heart type of story as well as a save the day movie.  It also has something that I like in movies that wasn’t as big for other Disney movies: a strong female heroine.  Sure, Disney movies have had strong female characters, but most of them are the prize of the hero or the damsel in distress.  This movie doesn’t even waste it’s time with a love story.  Moana loves the sea and exploring, but she’s probably not shacking up with Maui afterwards.  He’s a big dumb oaf for most of the movie, and not worthy of Moana until the end, but that’s not what the point of the movie was anyway and I like that.  The movie also looks beautiful as one would expect it to.  The songs were good and “How Far I’ll Go” was great, and Dwayne Johnson’s “You’re Welcome” was a decent song, but showed that The Rock actually has some pipes.  Great movie for kids and adults alike.

 

DECEMBER

ROGUE ONE

I don’t know how much weight one can put behind my opinion of a Star Wars movie, but suffice to say I enjoyed Rogue One.  It was not my favorite Star Wars movie and I thought it paled in comparison to last year’s offering, but I am typically going to be pretty happy to go back to the Star Wars world.  I think what I enjoyed most about Rogue One was the gaps that were filled in the mythology of Star Wars, like how the Rebels got the plans to the Death Star in the first place, what powered the Death Star, can they pull off CG young Leia, etc.  I also like the greater majority of the performances.  I especially liked the robot K-2SO for being a straight up funny asshole (and apparently voiced by Alan Tudyk, which makes me love it more), and Donnie Yen as Space Zatoichi.  I really wish I could’ve seen that guy use a lightsaber.  He was rad.  I thought the movie was great, just not really great enough to make my top films of the year, but it had stiff competition.  Heck, it has stiff competition amongst Star Wars movies.  I would also like to say that I’m super glad I saw this movie when I did, because if I had waited longer I would’ve broken down in a blubbering pile of tears when Leia showed up.  RIP Carrie Fisher.

 

ASSASSIN’S CREED

What was it about the Assassin’s Creed movie that caused me to ignore history and actually have hope that it would be a good movie?  It’s a video game movie!  That’s a pretty big hill to climb.  It was probably mainly the inclusion of Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard.  They wouldn’t do a shitty movie, would they?  Well yeah, apparently.  One of the criticisms I have for this movie is the same that I’ve always had for the games that they are based on: No one cares what happens outside of the Animus!  I want to be an Assassin!  I don’t want to be Desmond Miles!  The parts inside the Animus seemed like they could’ve been a fairly cool movie on their own if they spent a little time with it.  Heck, the time out of the Animus probably could’ve too, but together it just kept slowing the movie down.  At least the games know to make us spend the majority of our time as an Assassin.  Now, I wouldn’t say that I absolutely hated this movie.  The CG was cool and Fassbender and Cotillard were good, but it was just kinda boring and lackluster, and nowhere near what I was hoping for.

 

PASSENGERS

I respect a movie that can do so much with so few cast members.  Of significance, there are like 4 actors in this movie.  Sure, Andy Garcia shows up at the end, but I don’t even think he says anything.  But I enjoyed Passengers, based mostly on some interesting story ideas and the strong chemistry of Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence.  I saw a lot of criticism of one really big decision that Pratt makes in the movie, and I get that, but I don’t know why people are saying that takes away from the movie.  The characters in the movie treat the decision fairly appropriately, and it’s also hard to say it wasn’t justified.  Dude thought he might have to spend the remaining 60 years of his life completely alone.  And did a year of it already.  It’s a hard decision to make, but one I think most would’ve made sooner.  Especially for Jennifer Lawrence.  Also, the movie looks fantastic.  And I also thought Michael Sheen was surprisingly charming for an android.  I wouldn’t say Passengers is one of the greatest movies ever, but I’d certainly recommend it for a rental.

 

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Best and Worst Films of 2016 (Video 74)


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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 2015


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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?!

 

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The Best and Worst Films of 2015 – Video 0069


0069 Snapshot 2

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