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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
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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!
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I would say I’m sorry for what’s about to happen, but I’m not. Look, I greatly appreciate anyone who actually reads what’s below this, but as I was killing myself writing this I had an epiphany: you guys just have to read this! I’m the one who for whatever reason felt that I owed it to anyone who cares to watch 73 movies that released in 2017 and to write mini-reviews about them all. But still, anyone who does read all of this has my love forever. I now present to you my reviews for the movies of 2017.
UNDERWORLD: BLOOD WARS
The main reason to watch any of the Underworld series for me has always been because Kate Beckinsale is hot. That hotness remains in the 5th installment. The next reason would be because they shoot guns good. That is also delivered upon. So if you are like me and those two reasons are typically sufficient to call for a rental of this movie, you will be safe. If not, then there’s nothing special about this movie to make you change your mind about the series. It’s fine, but that’s about the best praise I can muster.
Someone definitely thought of this movie and fell in love with themselves. The concept for the movie is like a discarded Jerry Seinfeld joke. “What’s the deal with Monster Trucks? They’re trucks, but they don’t have monsters in them!” And then the movie just fell into place. Strangely enough though, I didn’t really hate this movie. It is a stupid and ridiculous concept with a lot of flaws, but I actually was slightly charmed by it in the end. As far as problems go, the main character. This kid has no interest in anything besides cars. The attractive geeky girl was totally going for him the whole time but he just couldn’t be bothered. He had a shitty truck to build. He also calls the kid whose father owns the dealership in town the “luckiest kid in town.” There’s literally a dude in this town dating Samara Weaving. Until further studies can be conducted, he’s the luckiest kid. He could be the luckiest kid himself if he just got his head out of his own tailpipe and realized that Jane Levy is crushing on him pretty hard. And I’ll take that, even if she spouts out “wisdom” like being thankful to his dad for being so shitty because it made him who he is, and she likes who he is. But, even with all that, I did feel a little charmed by the movie by the time it finished, and I’m as confused about that as anyone else.
THE BYE BYE MAN
This movie was a whole bag of dicks. It’s all about a supernatural creature called the Bye Bye Man who makes people kill people by making them hallucinate things that would drive them to such action when you think about him, and you can pass this curse on to someone else by telling them his name. So what do they do? They investigate him so that they’re thinking about him constantly. They type his name into the worst search engine ever that somehow doesn’t bring up any results for “bye bye man,” as if those words wouldn’t bring 50,700,000 results (I just checked), and I’m sure that not all of those are related to this movie. I mean, people might utter this phrase just saying goodbye to each other. Also, while trying not to think about it, the main character starts driving to another investigation while playing “Bye Bye Love.” …Smart. So obviously, the plot doesn’t make sense. And to top that off, the acting was really lackluster, the effects were pretty poor, and it wasn’t remotely scary. So if there is a reason to watch this movie, I didn’t manage to find it in the only viewing I’m willing to give this movie.
I feel like I should come into reviewing this movie by exclaiming, “M. Night Shyamalan is back, baby!” but I feel like that wouldn’t really feel right. Sure, M. has probably done more garbage at this point to damage the high bar he set for himself with his early movies and this movie is actually really good, but I don’t want to give him all the credit. And I certainly don’t want to start thinking he’s back so I should definitely rush straight to the theater for all his upcoming After Earth 2’s. He did a really good job making a super tense and interesting movie here, but I feel like I want to give most of the credit to James McAvoy. He is incomprehensibly impressive in this movie, playing 23 distinctly different personalities (or at least that’s what they say he had, I didn’t count how many actually made it into the movie). I give at least 70% of the credit to him for why people should see this movie, but I still think everyone should. Plus, it sets up a sequel to Unbreakable, which I understand other people enjoyed though I don’t recall being entirely impressed by it. Still, great movie.
XXX: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE
This movie delivers all that anyone should really expect out of a Vin Diesel movie that allows him to say more than “I am Groot.” It spends roughly equal time not making sense or offering nothing surprising out of the story but does it’s best to make up for it by having lots of things explode and having people drive motorcycles on the ocean. Donnie Yen and Tony Jaa do their best to make some of the fights entertaining, but if you’re expecting more than that then you are a silly person.
RESIDENT EVIL: THE FINAL CHAPTER
Within the first 15 minutes of this movie, I had the thought that it seemed that they weren’t confident enough in their script to let 5 minutes pass without something going “Bang!” And they were correct. It’s real dumb and barely even bothers to try to hide that fact. It basically sets itself up to be the last of the Resident Evil movies (though with the way it ends, it feels questionable that they aren’t leaving it open to continue) and that Milla Jovovich needs to return to where it all started to release an airborne cure for the T-virus and she has 48 hours to do it. No attempt is ever really made to explain how the artificial intelligence known as the Red Queen knows to the exact second when humanity will perish. Is Umbrella going to strike and she is privy to that information? Because they mostly act like it’s the zombies that are going to get them and if that’s the case, how are you able to predict so accurately what exact second they’re going to die? Zombies don’t work on your schedule. And it would have to be to the second because of course she saves the day with 30 seconds left, but then they also don’t bother to figure out how this cure that we can visually watch spread fairly slowly is going to manage to cure the world in less than 30 seconds when it clearly isn’t finishing off the zombies around Milla that fast. But I guess it is pointless to look for logic in this movie. Things go boom and guns are fired, and you know those guns are so much more gooder because they each have an extra, arbitrary barrel. Double barreled pistols, triple barreled shotguns, and that one idiot Doc guy who is surrounded by guns but picks a nail gun instead. This movie is indeed dumb, but exactly the dumb I expected it to be.
It is exactly The Ring again, but worse. Nothing particularly special in any facet of this movie. They’re all basically the same: they watch the tape and find out they’re going to die in 7 days so they start to investigate to appease Samara Morgan, who always turns out to be a shit because after they go out of their way to try to do something nice for her, she just continues to be evil anyway and usually kills them. That happens again. Pretty basic, not particularly scary because it’s nothing we haven’t really seen before. No real need to watch it again.
THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE
This movie was a little tough on me because (though I enjoyed the LEGO Movie) I didn’t feel particularly inspired to see this. But I have a friend that is a huge fan of both LEGO and Batman and if I wanted to be his friend any longer, I was told I would need to see this movie. After weighing my options, I decided to buy it when it came out on DVD several months later. You ain’t the boss of me, Randy! But the biggest problem I had going into this movie is how much hype I had heard going in. It’s sitting at 91% on Rotten Tomatoes right now and Randy would have me believe that this was a funny Citizen Kane. Well it was funny and it was well-written, both to an extent not necessarily required for generally a kid’s movie, but I’m sure appreciated by any parents that had to see it, but also not quite to the extent I went into the movie expecting. It was really good and a lot of fun, but maybe not quite THAT much fun. Still definitely worth watching though.
FIFTY SHADES DARKER
After having sat through Fifty Shades of Grey, even I was hesitant to start watching Fifty Shades Darker. List be damned, I can’t take another one! I eventually talked myself into it. You’re welcome… Here is the nice thing I have to say about this movie: it is slightly better written than the first one. If that sounds like it’s not saying much, that’s because it isn’t. I can only say that about this movie because the first one was so awful that it wasn’t difficult for this one to surpass it, even if only by a little. There’s still moments where Ana touches Christian’s beard and says, “This is spikey!” And where he says that his mother died when he was 4 and was an addict and that Ana should fill in the blanks from there. The 30 to 40 years of blanks, homie. And moments where he says that she should come to a party and meet his mom…but should do so with steel balls in her vagina. And then later say, “Now you know what those silver balls do.” …You put them in your vagina. What did you think they’d do? The characters are also very stupid. Mostly Ana. She’s so proud that she tears up a $24,000 check. Heck, I’d probably let this guy do a little rough trade on me for $24,000. Then, she’s so against his S&M stuff, but is requesting it again on the second date. She doesn’t want to be submissive, but gives in really quick to it. She also says that she was more scared by Christian when he uses his dominant powers to subdue the girl that used to be his submissive. The one who broke into Ana’s apartment, pointed a gun at her, and fired it in the room to prove she meant business. …She was more scared of him. Also poorly-written was her boss, who was written by someone that had just had to go through sexual harassment training and just wrote down the opposite. Even people prone to sexual harass aren’t so blatant. And then he gets fired and the bosses say, “We need someone to take over for him… How about his secretary?” Also, I have never seen anyone over the age of 10 more impressed by fireworks than these 60+ year old adults at the party at the end. Okay, I have to move on. But make no mistake; these movies are awful.
JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2
I think if anything hurt the second John Wick movie, it was the fact that it was the second John Wick movie. I had nothing to expect going into a Keanu Reeves movie with a boring name like John Wick back when the first one came out, but that movie kicked all the ass in such epic fashion that it blew expectations out of the water. John Wick 2 met expectations that had been restructured based on the quality of the first movie. It was still very excellent and had tons of great action, but it is slightly hindered by the fact that it wasn’t also surprising in its awesomeness. Still definitely worth checking out though.
THE GREAT WALL
Unlike John Wick, The Great Wall actually benefited because of my expectations. Who didn’t think this movie would be a whole bag of dicks when they first saw it? A great wall movie starring a white man, like the Last Samurai but with monsters. (I know that China and Japan are different places, by the way) But it was better than I expected. Not much better than I expected, and I did expect it to be painfully bad, but it was better than that. There’s absolutely no real reason to watch this movie that I can recall, but it won’t hurt you very much to do so.
And the hat trick of movies affected by expectations, Get Out was way overhyped. It had so much steam that, even though I really had no interest in seeing this movie, I saw its 99% on Rotten Tomatoes and combined that with recommendations from the media and my friends and then capped it off with the fact that it was written by the hilarious and talented Jordan Peele and decided I should see it. When I left, I didn’t hate the movie, but I certainly didn’t see what all the hype was about. It was good. My mind wasn’t blown and it didn’t change my life at all, but it was good. Maybe it’s mostly because I’m not afraid of the racism this movie is talking about. Not because I’m white, but because I’m racist. But it also probably didn’t speak to me as much because racism isn’t really something I have to deal with or see that often, and the racism in this movie isn’t always relatable. The minor racist things, sure, but I don’t hear too many stories of white people trying to brain swap with black folk so I assume it’s not a big issue.
My favorite comic book movie changes so often that I don’t even know what my list looks like anymore. One thing I do know for sure is that Logan is at the very least top 3, if not number one. In the past, one big sticking point I’ve had with Wolverine movies (and even other comic book movies) is that the first thing they like to do to create a problem for the hero to solve is remove everything we like about them by taking their powers away so they can overcome. They do that here too, but here it works because Wolverine is getting old and dying and that plays such a large part of a story that is not just the hero overcoming a temporary limitation, but getting older and weaker and having the thing that once made him nigh unstoppable now killing him slowly from the inside. Then you have the dying father figure in Professor X and the new unexpected (but entirely badass) child in X-23. And yes, you have a lot of gore and blood and violence for a superhero movie, but that could all be gone and this movie would not suffer in the slightest, though it certainly makes you sit up and pay attention right from the opening of the movie. I cried multiple times in this movie. MULTIPLE. TIMES! IN A COMIC BOOK MOVIE!! And not just from awesomeness making my eyes explode, but from deeply emotional and poignant moments. That cross to an X thing? Are you kidding me!? You’re dead inside if that doesn’t get you. Watch this damned movie if you haven’t already!
KONG: SKULL ISLAND
I feel like I heard a lot of people beating up on Kong: Skull Island and I have no idea why. Sure, it doesn’t really break any new ground, but it’s exactly what I wanted: a giant monkey movie. Kong is a total badass and smashes a lot of stuff. Good! That’s what I came to see! It looks great and is super fun. It has a story, but it doesn’t really waste too much time with stuff it doesn’t have to. Maybe the John C. Reilly stuff wasn’t really pivotal to the plot and could’ve then been removed because he wasn’t a giant ape smashing helicopters or giant lizards, but it was a nice emotional section of the movie with a good pay off at the end I wasn’t expecting. This is a fun movie. You should check it out.
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
Technically speaking this movie had no reason to exist. It is almost exactly the animated Disney movie but some of the people in this one are real. And they apparently added a song that was fairly lackluster and I don’t remember anymore. That being said, Beauty and the Beast is so ingrained in my DNA that I got goosebumps every time I saw the trailer and it started with the light piano music and the picture of the castle. Before my brain even figured out what it was, my body decided we were going, and let me know by having hairs on my arm stand up. And then I saw that Emma Watson is in it, a better representation of beauty and brains I cannot fathom. Also, Luke Evans and Josh Gad were delightful. So, will you gain anything new seeing this version of the movie? No. But it’s a lovely way to see that movie again, but slightly differently.
This is an odd moment when my expectations of a movie helped it adversely. Power Rangers was not a great movie, but I think my deep seeded love of Power Rangers made me fight every contradictory though that might make me realize that. Not that I wound up thinking it was great by a long shot, but I found it acceptable. It’s been too long since there was something Power Rangers related that I’ve seen that at least seemed watchable to me as an adult. It wasn’t quite the dark, gritty Power Rangers that the online video that seemed to spark this reimagining was, but it was a nice middle ground between that too-dark-for-Power-Rangers video and the campy, probably-wouldn’t-like-it-if-I-saw-it-today Power Rangers of my youth. Fights could’ve been better, some dumbness could be removed, they could allow Elizabeth Banks to just be the hot she is without all the prosthetic makeup, but it was fine. I certainly hope they give it another go and try a little harder next time.
I feel like space movies probably have an easier time conveying tension in thriller/horror movies because it’s already a claustrophobic environment and you know while watching that there’s barely anything you can do to escape any problems you have to deal with. Life benefits from that, but also benefits from good direction and good visuals added to some top-notch acting. The biggest problem that the movie had for me was that I had a hard time taking the murderous little alien creature seriously when people kept referring to it as “Calvin.” Beyond that, Life was an enjoyable movie, and pretty well worth renting.
CHiPS definitely had some flaws, but I found it to be much funnier than I expected to be. Granted, a lot of that humor was pretty lowbrow and involved a lot of poop, slapstick, and sex humor, but sometimes that’s good enough. Or at least I hope it’s enough or my channel is going to be in some trouble. Either way, CHiPS isn’t the greatest thing ever, but it’s a comedy and I laughed a few times while watching it. Seems like that counts as “successful” to me.
GHOST IN THE SHELL
Ghost in the Shell got beaten up a lot even before it released because of the alleged whitewashing of the main character that was turned into a white lady. I personally don’t know what the problem is in turning a robot into another robot, but a lot of the internet seemed to take issue with the original protagonist’s sticker having been turned from “Made in Japan” to “Made in America” but I didn’t. I also didn’t take any issue with how this movie compares to the original anime because, though I own it, I haven’t gotten around to watching it yet. Going in with nothing to compare it to and no self-righteous, social justice warrior anger, I thought the movie was fine. Visually pretty cool and with some action and good performance from Scarlet Johansson. It just didn’t seem particularly special to me, so it was just fine. Now if ScarJo had been ACTUALLY naked and not just looked ALMOST naked, maybe that would be a different story…
Honestly, the only reason this movie even gets to this list is because it was on Netflix. My tolerance level is so much more forgiving when it’s essentially free to me. The idea of Boss Baby turned me off when I first heard about it, but I decided to give it a shot anyway. I was surprised to find that I wound up finding the movie fairly charming. The idea of the movie involving a boss baby showing up to try to stop a plot to make the world find puppies cuter than babies is certainly a wacky concept, and being able to accept the movie does take a while, but eventually I found that they were able to make it work. Baldwin mostly carries the film, but additions of Steve Buscemi, Jimmy Kimmel, and Lisa Kudrow in smaller parts do well to spice up the movie, and they’re able to pull off some cute, and even sometimes funny, moments. Problematically, I don’t really know who this movie is for. Parents and adults might be able to find the movie cute as I did, but it doesn’t really seem like concepts that children would be too intrigued by. I guess they have enough slapstick and fart humor for kids, but it’s otherwise a kind of middle ground where there are much better movies for both kids and parents so Boss Baby can’t quite match the draw of its competition.
SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE
Some of the movies on my list (and you can probably guess which ones) I watched specifically hoping to get movies for my worst of list. Sadly, Smurfs: The Lost Village let me down on that front. Not that it was good; it just wasn’t bad enough to need to be there. It was exactly what it should’ve been: a kid’s movie. Not particularly smart, clever, or funny, but it’s colorful and cute and things fall down, which is all kids really need to enjoy a movie. It also had some things in it that would be enjoyable to parents and might even get a laugh or two. Can’t really ask for more than that. At least not out of a kid’s movie not made by Pixar.
I have no recollection of how I heard about Colossal, but I did, so why don’t you get off my back? It’s a very interesting and unique concept where a giant monster appears in Seoul and starts destroying stuff and it turns out this monster only appears when Anne Hathaway enters a specific playground in her hometown, and then it exactly mimics her movements. Along the way, you’ll also get a fair serving of emotional resonance and comedy, with some great performances by Hathaway and Sudeikis, though I would say I prefer my Jason Sudeikis much more likeable than he is in this movie. Very enjoyable and interesting movie, and I definitely recommend you take a gander.
THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS
…It’s another Fast and Furious movie… The end…
Okay, I’ll say more than that. This definitely is another Fast and Furious movie. It’s big, dumb, and flashy. You’ll find that out in the first five minutes when Dom gets into a race to stop a guy from taking his friend’s car and, in the course of said race, sets his friend’s car on fire and throws it into the ocean. And then a few minutes later, he tells Charlize Theron what’s wrong with her car just by the sound of it…when it’s off and she’s under the hood looking at it and not trying to start it at the moment… But, on the other hand, there’s nothing in the world I can think of sexier than Charlize Theron wearing a Metallica shirt, even with that ridiculous, sort-of-cornrows hair she had at the time. Also, the fights with the Rock and the Statham are plain awesome. I assume people that care about cars and car chases will also enjoy those scenes.
THE LOST CITY OF Z
Spider-Man, King Arthur, and Edward Cullen all in the same movie?! What could go wrong!? Well nothing really, but it probably won’t impress much either. Lost City of Z is kind of a boring, walking around in the jungle drama movie. Then going back to England and yelling in court about wanting to go back. Then going back and walking around the jungle some more. And they find some stuff the end. There’s nothing really wrong with it, but also nothing particularly right with it. It just is. Watch it if you want.
I wasn’t expecting much from this movie, and I got it. The Circle is a perfectly acceptable movie with an impressive cast and vaguely interesting premise exploring the pros and cons of a connected world without privacy, but it never really seems like it picks a side in its own debate. Bad stuff happens because of this technology (such as Emma Watson’s friend Mercer dying because people were trying to hunt him down to test the technology), but the movie also seems like it blames the technology when it was really Mercer’s stupidity. I grant that it would be super annoying to have a bunch of people show up at your house trying to get a picture of you, but they weren’t trying to break in or something! No reason to run out the door and drive off like an idiot and not pay attention to the road and drive yourself off a cliff. That’s on you, homie! You could also just answer the door and say, “Hey, you found me. Congratulations. Now kindly fuck off.” But they also make interesting points about how people would probably behave better if they were always being watched, but then try to act like it’s also a bad thing and maybe side with it being a bad thing, but I don’t know. Maybe I just got bored and stopped paying attention. Kind of like I would in the movie if I found out Emma Watson’s character had a livestream of her entire life for people to watch. I’d maybe give it a day and then realize I’d never see her naked and realize what a waste of time it was.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2
No one is really curious about whether or not I liked this movie. Of course I did. I think the real question comes from which I liked better between Guardians of the Galaxy 1 or 2. My answer to that is: …I don’t know. It’s a difficult comparison. The first movie was tons of fun and its quality may even have been amplified by the surprise of loving a movie about these characters I barely knew. This one didn’t have as much surprise, but it supplanted it some real emotional moments surrounded Star-Lord and his father, and Star-Lord and his father figure. When a comic book movie can get you to cry, that movie is more than just a comic book movie. It’s just an amazing movie.
KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD
I don’t really know what this movie was going for, but I’m assuming it missed the mark a little. I come into a movie like this predisposed to enjoy it because I enjoy Arthurian legend, but it turns out they were looking to vaguely base this movie off of Arthurian legend, but feel more like A Knight’s Tale with anachronistic MMA movies in a medieval battle and quick, annoying editing cuts. And also some chick like Ursula from the Little Mermaid and her little octodaughters whispering all the time, making me try to pay more attention to a movie I wasn’t interested in to hear what they were saying. And then also have a mage lady that speaks as though she finds it extremely difficult to do so. There are some decent parts to this movie, but mostly I found it annoying and off-putting.
I can’t say I expected too much from this movie going in. I enjoy Amy Schumer a great deal, but have no particular affection for Goldie Hawn, and nothing in the trailers really drew me in. But a cheap rental from a RedBox will make me a lot more willing, so I rented it. It was okay. The people involved would probably lead you to expect more than the movie is able to deliver though. People like Schumer, Ike Barinholtz, Wanda Sykes, Christopher Meloni, and Randall Park made me think this movie had a lot more in store for me in the comedy department, but ultimately I found Joan Cusack’s character to be the funniest. Not really a necessary watch, but you could do worse.
In comparison to Prometheus, at least Alien: Covenant feels like it took a big step towards actually being an Alien movie. And not just by including it in the title. And having a Xenomorph in it. Unfortunately, a lot of those moments felt more like rehashed moments from other Alien movies, which is technically fine, but you’re not elevating this movie to the level of its predecessors that way. It maybe progresses the lore of the Alien franchise a little bit, but at this point the timeline is so confusing I have a hard time figuring out which film happens when. Overall, the movie is fine. Worth watching, especially if you’re a fan of the franchise, but you’ll survive without it.
I can’t imagine too many people were expecting much from Baywatch. I know I certainly wasn’t. But after watching it, I feel like critics were overly critical to it. I even saw some comparing it negatively to the TV show it was based on, acting like it didn’t live up to the high bar that show left for it. High bar? The only thing I remember about that show is that it was stupid but there were hot ladies and people running in slow motion! This movie delivers that, but also has a pretty good amount of funny moments. Personally, I think The Rock can make anything better with his mere presence, and Zac Efron and Alexandra Daddario also hold up their end. So it has everything I remember about the TV show (ridiculously hot chicks and slow motion), but also adds hot dudes in The Rock and Efron, and some funny moments. I would surprisingly say this movie is a perfectly acceptable watch.
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES
The Pirates of the Caribbean movies can vary pretty drastically. The first two were good, the third one was made solid by some epic sea battles, the fourth one was garbage, and then the fifth one comes out and is actually pretty good. It still has some epic moments, some pretty funny moments, a solid emotional story between Kaya Scodelario and Geoffrey Rush, and some good performances, especially by Javier Bardem. I didn’t have much negative to say after seeing it besides maybe that they spent a little too much time with the new, almost lead character in this movie played by Brenton Thwaites. When seeing the Pirates movies, I’m mostly interested in Capt. Jack and Barbossa, sometimes a little of Will Turner and Elizabeth Turner, but it was okay. If this is indeed the way they intend to go out with these movies, it feels like a perfectly acceptable bow on a solid franchise. If they’re doing more, this movie certainly didn’t talk me out of going to them.
Marvel movies tend to be in a rough place because so many of them are so good that each new movie they release is inevitably going to be compared to the other movies in the universe that we expect so much from. Wonder Woman has the benefit of being the only good DC movie since Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies. I would say Wonder Woman isn’t perfect, but the first two acts of the movie are about as close as you can get. Gal Gadot is wonderful, strong, and charismatic. I would slap down anyone that criticized her before the movie released, saying the woman who served 2 years in the Israel Defense Force was too skinny and pretty to be a convincing Wonder Woman, and after seeing what she could do I would get especially violent with anyone who said that. If this movie was just the No Man’s Land scene, it could’ve been the greatest comic book movie of all time, exemplifying exactly what I think Wonder Woman is. Unfortunately, the movie loses a little of its steam in Act 3 because they still feel the need to end with a big CG supervillain instead of just being about how shitty man is, but it’s not so bad that this isn’t still an excellent movie.
I’m a little confused about The Mummy, and not just from wondering how exactly it’s beneficial to the mummy to have 2 sets of pupils. I know I saw it, and I’m pretty sure I even bought it on Blu-Ray, but everyone on the internet seems to hate it. I don’t recall hating it. Granted, I don’t recall much about it at all, and maybe that’s the main problem with it. It’s entirely forgettable. I was interested in this movie because it was supposed to be setting up a cinematic universe for the Universal monsters, but I suppose that’s off the table now. I don’t really know why. DC keeps making movies for their universe even though no one has liked them, and eventually they made it to Wonder Woman. Maybe the Dark Universe could too. So I didn’t hate this movie, but I don’t remember anything about it, so I’m assuming it’s not special at all.
IT COMES AT NIGHT
I, probably like many of you, did not know about It Comes at Night. I saw it on the list of movies released this year and assumed it must’ve been bad or I’d have heard about it, but then noticed that it actually got pretty good critical reception, so decided to check it out. It’s certainly an interesting movie, very claustrophobic and builds a lot of tension, and all of the actors involved in the movie do a very good job. It’s kind of a zombie apocalypse/disease outbreak movie, but you don’t really deal with the infected too much and rarely see any of them. It’s more about the people in the house meeting and taking in new people and the trust that quickly fails and how they deal with that. Certainly an interesting movie, but what kind of lost me was that it really didn’t seem to have an ending. A character gets sick and then it ends. No resolution of conflict really. So it’s certainly a decent watch, but don’t expect them to have decided how to close their movie out.
The only note I took about Rough Night was summed up in two words: “Somewhat funny.” I’ll try to expand on that a little, but you can probably move on with the totality of this review already laid out for you. There were some talented and funny people in this movie and a couple of funny moments, but it wasn’t typically laugh out loud funny. It probably got a couple smiles out of me and maybe a chuckle or two. The premise of the movie is pretty basic, and you’ll probably be able to get a good idea of how it’s all going to work out around midway through the movie, but along the way you may smile and may chuckle once or twice. So, basically, “somewhat funny.”
47 METERS DOWN
I found myself nitpicking this movie pretty early on. First off, the setup for the movie is pretty dumb. Mandy Moore goes on vacation because her boyfriend left her because she was boring, so she goes on a trip to show him how fun she can be when he’s in another country and unable to see how fun she is. Then, they decide to get in a cage to see some sharks close up, and they sell it by saying, “It’s like going to the zoo but you’re in the cage!” …Who’s ever gone to a zoo and said they wish they were in the cages? Especially with the dangerous animals. Except all the little kids that want to play with the gorillas, polar bears, and tigers, I guess. Maybe it’d be better to describe it as an underwater safari. Also, the boat is called the “Sea Esta,” which is just an awful joke. But the movie picks up a little when they get into the cages and it gets pretty tense and looks pretty good and the actors all do a pretty good job of it. Not a movie that requires viewing, but not terrible either.
TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT
Yup! They’re still making Transformers movies. And they’re still roughly as good as any of the other ones. The story is dumb, but they look pretty and you can see metal things smashing into metal things and things blowing up. This Transformers movie was sold to me with all the trailers relying heavily on the fact that, for some reason, the heroic leader of the Autobots Optimus Prime goes rogue and fights the other Autobots. That does happen in this movie, but the trailers lead me to believe it was almost the entire movie, and not that they used the entire movie to occasionally cut back to Optimus being turned and then have him show up and fight them for 5 minutes and then turn good again. So the fifth installment of Transformers is stupid, but shiny. You can go and jingle some keys in front of your face for roughly the same effect, but it’s not the worst way to spend 2 hours if you shut your brain off.
THE BIG SICK
I have been a very big fan of Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon for many years and had already heard them tell their story many times by the time I heard that they were turning it into a movie. When I finally saw this movie, I was expecting I would enjoy it but that knowing how it turned out would probably diminish my enjoyment a little. I was very wrong. Even knowing how it turns out, I was in it every minute of the movie, and even super nervous at the end to see how the story would wrap up. It wrapped up as I expected (and roughly how it had happened in real life), but what I wasn’t expecting was to spend the entire third act of the movie with tears in my eyes. Kumail Nanjiani killed it in this movie, both in his acting and in the writing of the movie, which was equal parts emotionally riveting and hilarious, and Zoe Kazan (as the stand in for Nanjiani’s real life wife Emily) will make you fall in love with her even faster than Kumail did. Also props to the comedians Bo Burnham, Aidy Bryant, and Kurt Braunohler, Emily’s parents Holly Hunter and Ray Romano, and pretty much every other person involved in this movie. This movie is perfect, and I straight up demand you find a way to watch it.
I think the only time I’ve been disappointed with Edgar Wright is in comparing one of his movies to another of his movies. Sure, Shaun of the Dead was way better than The World’s End, but without that comparison, The World’s End is still a really fun movie. Baby Driver wasn’t better written than Shaun of the Dead to me, but it excelled in other ways. The story of Baby Driver is fairly unique and lots of fun, but what was most impressive is the way they used music, editing the movie so that the action matched the beats of the song. Bullets were fired when snare drums were struck, things happening on screen matched up with lyrics, characters walked past signs and graffiti with the lyrics on them right as they happened in the song. It was ingenious and, as an editor myself, a task I could never imagine pulling off successfully. All of this mixed with great performances and appearances (both brief and supporting) from people like Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm, Jon Bernthal, and Flea, and you have yet another great movie Edgar Wright can happily put on his resume.
I wasn’t too disappointed in The House because I managed to keep my expectations low. I can definitely see how some people might not have been able to though. This movie has a fantastic comedic starring and supporting cast including Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler, Jason Mantzoukas, Nick Kroll, Michaela Watkins, Rob Huebel, Cedric Yarbrough, and Andrea Savage, some people I have loved for their comedic outings in the past. The problem with The House is that it has all these brilliant people and even has a decent premise for a comedy movie and the movie still only gets to kind of funny. You could’ve done much more with these ingredients, but the product was still edible.
A GHOST STORY
Generally this sort of artsy fartsy drama movie doesn’t interest me, but something about the trailer intrigued me. It was probably wondering how they would make this movie not seem silly with the protagonist walking around with a sheet over himself like a cheap Halloween costume. Well it did not seem silly, but I didn’t find it as emotionally impactful as it seemed to want to be. It was an interesting exploration of life, love, and loss, but it also spent a lot of time right on the border of boring. They had 2 good actors heading up the movie, but their performances were really quiet and subdued. Casey Affleck couldn’t do much by way of performance because he was under a sheet for the whole movie, and the most impressive thing Rooney Mara did was eating an entire pie in one sitting. Which isn’t a slight on her performance; that’s just plain impressive, but did we need to watch it all? Also, how are you going to have Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara in a movie but the majority of the dialogue is either delivered in Spanish or by a hipster farmer dude? Either way, this movie was fine to me, but I imagine some people more interested in such movies may find it very moving.
I had often felt that the Spider-Man movies were a bit lacking. Tobey was a great Peter Parker but not always a good Spider-Man. Garfield was a pretty good Spider-Man but not a very good Peter. Now Tom Holland shows up and shows them both how to do it, and even better, does so in well-written movie that remains fun from start to finish. Along with Holland, Keaton is fantastic. He’s a villain but with a clear motivation that makes him sympathetic, and the way he figures out Peter is Spider-Man was very well done. Besides Holland and Keaton, there were also a great deal of wonderful supporting characters, like Robert Downey Jr, Jon Favreau, Donald Glover, Marisa Tomei, Chris Evans, Hannibal Buress, Martin Starr, and especially Zendaya, who nailed a joke in almost every scene she was in. The only joke she didn’t land is the one where she said people should call her MJ. I will not be doing that, and I hope future movies don’t attempt to convince me that she’s Mary Jane Watson. But besides that minor snafu, this was a fantastic movie.
WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES
The Planet of the Apes movies are the odd series that seem to either improve or remain at the same level of quality as they add movies. It’s also odd to watch a movie and side with the thing that is at war with the humans, but we are pretty shitty to the monkeys in these. They seem pretty content in living in the woods, but we still have to go kill the kid of their leader. Typical us. Then we just continue to give them more and more reason to kick our asses until they do. Serkis continues to prove why he’s the man you call when you need top-notch motion capture acting, and the human side of Woody Harrelson also delivers. What might hold these movies back for me is that, while they’re all of good quality, they’re not particularly fun, though it’s not really what they’re aiming for with a post-apocalyptic movie. Still a really good movie though.
I liked a lot about Dunkirk, but it feels like I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as most people seemed to. It was very good, extremely well directed, and very interesting as well as being a story I didn’t know about beforehand, but it accomplished these things while being a mostly slow and measured movie that didn’t keep my attention some of the time. It may be more my problem than the movie’s, but it was still my reaction. Another part of my issue was that there were a few main characters typically surrounded by a huge amount of people that looked very similar, so besides Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, and Kenneth Branagh, I tended to lose track of whose story I was following. All that being said, Dunkirk is an inarguably quality movie that just didn’t interest me as much as it did others. I still recommend it as I feel I’m in the minority on this.
VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS
Visually, I have always been impressed by the films of Luc Besson when he goes to a fantasy realm. Of course, that may not be saying too much because I’ve only seen 3 of his films that fit that description: The Fifth Element, Lucy, and Valerian. His movies do tend to be more interesting from a story standpoint when they’re in the real world, like Leon the Professional and Taken. None of this changes after watching Valerian. Visually, it’s delightful and imaginative with a few good scenes of interesting and new action. Beyond that, there’s not much to offer in this movie. The story is fairly basic, as if they were worried that the imagination of the world visually would be too much if they also had a story more than solve a mystery, save a species. Both main characters also seem to be trying too hard and coming up short. People keep telling us how handsome and manly Dane DeHaan’s character is supposed to be, which is good because one wouldn’t reach that conclusion on their own. Cara Delevigne’s direction seemed to be, “Constantly remind the audience that you are a strong, independent woman. Listen to Beyoncé before every scene if you have to.” In the end, the movie is very pretty to look upon, but there’s not much else. Except maybe for Rihanna. She was okay, but her intro scene was pretty interesting to watch. Of course, you can save time by just watching that on YouTube instead of sitting through the whole movie.
Atomic Blonde balances itself entirely on the appeal of having Charlize Theron kick much ass and at one point have sex with a woman. That’s what the trailers told me I’d be watching and that’s what it delivered. Beyond that, there is a little style and flair to this movie and a fairly basic spy plot. It’s sad to me that this movie wasn’t that impressive all around because I would totally like to see this version of Charlize Theron in a movie more like one of the better written Daniel Craig Bond movies.
THE EMOJI MOVIE
Obviously, I sometimes only watch a movie because I also do a bottom 5 list when I do a top 5. Being a person who does not particularly like or use emojis in his life and also being a somewhat sane person who realizes that a movie written about emojis is starting itself off on the wrong foot, I of course decided this movie would be a solid candidate for one of the worst movies of the year. I was only wrong in my assumption of how bad it would be. It wasn’t as bad as I expected. Still pretty bad, but it’s intended to be a kids movie so the fact that that its favorite joke is just saying poop different ways while a poop emoji is walking around seems vaguely acceptable. Beyond that, the movie feels like it wants to be Wreck It Ralph and Inside Out while having nothing that made either of those two movies enjoyable. It also spends a lot of its time making fun of everything wrong with the internet while ignoring the fact that it doesn’t exist without what it’s trying to mock. I think the saddest thing about this movie is how many people I enjoy and respect were unable to make this movie anything worth existing. Skip it.
THE DARK TOWER
I’m not exactly sure why the Dark Tower got beaten up as much as it did. It wasn’t fantastic or anything, but it didn’t hurt my feelings either and that’s how the internet seemed to react. Maybe they had some deep love for the books that this was based on, but I’d never really heard of them and don’t really care how they match up. All I know is that Stephen King has a thing about little white boys psychically calling for help from older black men. Based on just the movie, there’s not much to it, but it had they did some cool things with guns and reloading that made it interesting enough. It’s just shocking that all these gun fights are happening as they did without white doves flying out of everything. I didn’t really like the main kid in the movie too. Something about his face, I think. He kind of looked like a male Alicia Vikander. On the other hand, I felt like Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey did serviceable jobs. So maybe I’m alone in this, but I didn’t hate it.
Kidnap feels like they were trying to make female Taken but instead of ass-whoopery, the main character is trained in stunt car driving. So Halle Berry’s kid is kidnapped for unknown purposes by two hicks and she decides she needs to take the law into her own hands because the police suck. Well turns out everyone in this movie sucks except the children and Halle Berry because the whole movie could’ve been stopped by the asshole in the beginning that completely ignores the hysterical woman screaming, “They have my son!” and could’ve helped by just turning his car slightly and blocking the ramp. The hicks in the movie aren’t just evil abductors of children, but they’re also real stupid. Halle Berry gets the upper hand on the fat white hick lady, puts on her jacket, and waves out the window at her partner, who somehow can’t see through the windshield or what color her hand is and mistakes Halle Berry for his fat white accomplice. And the biggest issue is I think any criminal with even a fraction of a brain would’ve gotten rid of the kid 10 minutes or so into the chase. This mom is NOT giving up and this kid is more trouble than he’s worth. Either kill him or let him go. Otherwise she may end up killing you with a minivan. And that’s not a joke. She does that. So obviously, there were problems with the story and the logic in this movie, but it is pretty fast paced and reasonably thrilling, and Halle Berry really puts herself through a workout. An acceptable movie, but one you can skip too.
I’ve already done a video review for this movie, and I’ve also mostly forgotten it, so I’ll keep it brief. If I remember correctly, I enjoyed it. Pretty creepy without relying too much on gore and jump scares. Good performances too. If you want more detail, you should watch the video. That guy in the video remembers it way better than I do. Probably had some good jokes too.
THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD
The Hitman’s Bodyguard is far from a ground-breaking action-comedy, but why should someone assume it needs to be. I certainly don’t. I expected some good action. Check. I expected some funny moments. Check. What I didn’t expect is Selma Hayek and Gary Oldman (because I didn’t look into the movie much and didn’t know they were in it), but they’re typically good and were here as well. What I also didn’t expect is Reynolds and Jackson to have such good chemistry. They were really fun together. And the movie, though not mind-blowing, should suffice as an enjoyable experience.
I’m no expert on the work of Steven Soderbergh. I’ve seen a couple of his movies but not very many, and I’ve never found myself entirely impressed with them. Critics apparently love him though, so that’s good, I guess. For me personally, I thought Logan Lucky was a perfectly fine little heist movie with a great cast and a few laughs. It didn’t strike me as much more than that though.
BIRTH OF THE DRAGON
Normally, seeing WWE Studios attached to a movie is what lets me know I don’t need to watch it. This movie was different. Not because I saw the trailers and thought it would be amazing, but because it was about Bruce Lee and probably had some decent fights in it, which would hopefully make up for lack of quality. I wrote that sentence before I started watching the movie, which only proves that I can predict the future. That’s exactly what happened. It was a vaguely interesting movie about a fight between Bruce and Wong Jack Man, grandfather of Hugh Jackman. Well, it’s KIND OF about that fight. This movie actually takes the interesting (and ill-advised) approach of making that fight (and even those characters) kind of background noise, instead preferring to focus its attention on some fictional white guy student of Bruce’s that falls in love with a waitress he needs to save from the triads. So that was pretty dumb, but it leads to a pretty good fight at the end. And that’s all this movie was to me: some bullshit separating some solid fights. And that’s good enough sometimes.
There is a video for this movie you can watch for detailed description and jokes long forgotten. I made a pretty excellent Photoshop image for it though. My thoughts of the movie have not changed. I still thought it was entirely solid as a horror movie. One thing that has changed since then is that I have a new respect for the occasionally annoying comic relief Richie, played by the best name in Hollywood Finn Wolfhard, because I have since seen Stranger Things, which is amazing. Certainly better than this movie, but this movie is still good. Go watch the video.
It’s like the Hitman’s Bodyguard, but boring and with no comedy. A guy’s girlfriend gets killed by terrorists and he just can’t let it go so he spends the rest of his life infiltrating and trying to kill terrorists until the government decides to give him a paycheck for it. Then Batman trains him and the guy that ruined Gambit shows up trying to do bad things and then they explode a bomb in the ocean. The end. Watch Hitman’s Bodyguard instead. Much more fun.
I’ve never really been a fan of Darren Aronofsky movies. Too dark and confusing and full of themselves and up their own ass with how important they think they are. And then comes mother!, which I apparently have to type like that but hopefully never will again. I expected I would hate this movie, but I didn’t. I didn’t like it because it was dark and gross and pretentious, but I would have to give it credit for being somewhat thought-provoking and artistically delivered, though also being filled with characters that were super annoying and did not act like humans. Ed Harris and Javier Bardem, for instance. Harris is Bardem’s biggest fan who apparently stalks him and finds where he lives, so you invite him into your house against the wishes of your wife, he gets to spend the night, invites his wife who also spends the night, they break your most cherished possession, get scolded, and then walk into the next room to have sex. It gets worse from there. The people were so unrealistic that the movie played more like a black comedy to me as things get more and more ridiculous. It also becomes pretty clear that this is all a metaphor for God and religion and whatnot. It keeps itself subtle for the first two thirds of the movie, but closes by going really heavy-handed with their metaphor. In the end, I didn’t hate it, I didn’t like it, but it was at least interesting.
KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE
I found the first Kingsman movie to be surprisingly fun. I would say roughly the same about the sequel without the surprise. I like that both movies really don’t try to take themselves seriously, but do have a solid action movie mixed in with that. Then they made a sequel and tried (as sequels often do) to give you more of the things they can manage to try to balance the lack of surprise, but surprise can get you a lot of points. So, Kingsman: The Golden Circle is fine.
THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE
If the Lego Ninjago movie had come out before Lego Batman, I would say they’ve already lost their touch. The Lego Movie was great. Lego Batman was slightly less great, but still great in its own right. Lego Ninjago is cute at best. It all starts with a scene stolen right out of another Jackie Chan movie called The Forbidden Kingdom where a kid wanders into a Chinese antique store and is regaled with the ancient Chinese legend … of Lego Ninjago … Then they go into the CG stuff which is all about the Green Ranger or whatever whose dad is the bad guy and they fight with their giant, loud, robotic Megazords in true ninja fashion. The story isn’t really that good, but there are some solid laughs along the way, most of which are delivered by Jackie Chan. They also have a pretty impressive cast in the movie. On the bad side, it wasn’t very impressive as a movie, especially when compared to the other Lego movies. Also, something about the animation just didn’t seem right. In video game parlance, it seemed like the frame rate was too low. Of course, as the second Lego movie released this year, they may have just spent more time on the good one and rushed this out for a quick buck. It’s not terrible, but just watch Lego Batman or The Lego Movie instead.
A bunch of doctors decide to temporarily kill themselves because it gives them special brain powers. How do you think I felt about it? This movie probably should’ve just been what the trailers made it look like to me: as if briefly killing themselves made their brain work better, but having touched the other side made them able to see dead people, which causes horror movie. Instead it seemed like their special brain powers had the side-effect of making your guilt seem real and try to kill you unless you got it off your chest. And it’s not good enough to just tell anyone, you have to get some repercussions for it. When Marlo tells Ray that she screwed up once and killed someone while on call at the hospital, all that’s going to lead to is the two of you having sex…for some reason… You have to actually tell the head of the hospital and get fired. This movie had potential, but fell pretty short of it.
HAPPY DEATH DAY
I realized after watching this movie that I can think of 3 genres that the Groundhog Day formula has fit itself into. Comedy, obviously. Then later, Sci-Fi/Action with Edge of Tomorrow, and now even into the Horror genre. From the trailers, I thought this movie was going to be the worst, but was happy to find that it was actually pretty good. I’ve already succinctly summed up the concept of the movie by saying Horror Groundhog Day, but they were able to make that work. I was worried near the end that they were going to go for a really boring revelation of who the killer was, but then they were able to sneak a nice twist in instead. Jessica Rothe performed her role well, but she certainly wasn’t likeable for most of the movie. She was a rude little wench until she started getting killed a couple times. I had a couple questions about her though. First of all, why does someone who doesn’t want people to know it’s her birthday have a really annoying “It’s your birthday!” ringer on their phone? And why is your ringer about your birthday? Do you just change it to that ringtone for that day or is it always that ringtone? Also, how are you going to start noticeably falling in love with a guy because you find out he DIDN’T date rape you after you woke up in his bed? That’s supposed to be par, not the sign of a sweet guy. You shouldn’t be impressed by his self-control. And then questions in general: what kind of college chooses an ugly creepy football baby as their school mascot? And how does the killer plan for every eventuality? She goes under the bridge? He’s there. Next time stays in her room. He’s there too. Goes to the hospital and guess what? He went to In N’ Out instead. …Oh wait no, he’s killing you. Regardless of those minor questions I had, this movie was surprisingly enjoyable. Check it out.
Most of what I say about a Jackie Chan movie can be taken with a grain of salt because I’m going to have automatic affection for them. I’ve loved Jackie Chan for years and don’t currently recall any movie I’ve seen of his bad enough to change that. The Foreigner didn’t either. It was actually fairly good, though admittedly not as good as I hoped it would be. Jackie Chan’s daughter, Cho Chang, returns from Hogwarts (it really is Katie Leung. I was so excited) and gets caught in a terrorist bombing. After grieving, Jackie goes after the bomber to get revenge but essentially becomes a terrorist himself to exclusively Pierce Brosnan to try to get the names of the bombers from him, even though he only seems to have a slim connection and a gut feeling to decide Brosnan might know who did it. The story was somewhat basic, but did have some characters whose motivations you stay questioning. The movie did have some action and some fighting, but nowhere near as much as Chan’s movies typically would have, which I found a little disappointing. Chan’s style of fighting in movies typically doesn’t lend itself to him being a highly trained badass. He more seems to kick a bunch of people’s asses by accident in his movies, but it ends up working pretty well when it happens in this movie. I think the thing people might find most impressive in this movie is that Jackie Chan gets to bust out some acting chops to go along with those karate chops, proving himself very competent in a dramatic role too. I recommend this movie for a watch.
I have a particular fondness for epic disaster movies and have been known to watch my entire collection of them about once a year, so obviously I was going to see Geostorm when I heard about it. One does not go into such a movie expecting a smart movie. Just spectacle. That’s all you need. No one’s even going to watch this movie and find it remotely believable because we all know climate change is fake news. Not terribly long into the movie though, you realize that it’s actually not really a disaster movie as we come to expect. A disaster movie is when the Earth itself is trying to kill us. This movie is more White House Down than 2012. It’s something like the 3rd guy in line for President hacks the satellite system designed to stop mega-storms and starts using it to cause mega-storms, I guess hoping he’ll kill the President and VP in the process. I don’t know how that’s going to work out for Ed Harris to cause a geostorm that lays waste to the world, but that’s what he wants. So it’s dumb, the dialogue is extremely lackluster, and the performances range from mediocre to Gerard Butler looking amazed when he gets onto the space station even though he built it. By no means required viewing, but decent enough dumb spectacle.
I hate slasher movies. They’re meant to be horror movies but the best they can ever muster or even bother to attempt is jump scares unless you have some deep-seeded phobia for red-colored corn syrup. Besides buckets of corn syrup, all this movie has is a vague attempt to be interesting by providing an unnecessary origin story to Leatherface no one was really asking for, and some average performances from Iron Fist Finn Jones and the dude that played young Hodor. Feel free to skip this movie.
AMITYVILLE: THE AWAKENING
You know when you watch a horror movie and wonder how these people don’t have at least a general idea how to react, as if they’ve never seen a horror movie before, but you have to guess that maybe in this universe they never had these movies? What if you were watching an Amityville movie and they didn’t know this house was bad news and then they also reference (and even watch them in this movie) the 30 other Amityville movies? Well then those people are dumb. And they are! With Bella Thorne spouting logic about her bedridden brother, “He’s my twin. I can feel he’s gone!” That’s just good science. Also, she somehow gets blamed-and blames herself-for her brother being bedridden when he got injured trying to fight a guy that spread pictures of her? That was his choice and she wasn’t even there. She was just the inspiration for it. She’s also a Goth chick that apparently decides it’s best to do her homework and walk around her house in her lacy pink panties, not that I’m complaining about seeing it, just that it doesn’t seem to fit the character. She also sees a window raise up on its own and a ghost girl slam against it, and then immediately after scolds her little sister for startling her because she’s standing in the next room over quietly watching her? I guess you could say that shitty parenting is the reason she grew up like she did. Her mom was a real shitbag. The only person she likes in this movie (or her family) is the bedridden brother and is pretty shitty to everyone else. This movie is not scary, boring, most of the characters are unlikeable and not particularly well-performed, and it barely bothers to try. As they say in this movie, “Remakes totally blow.”
Two easy things to say about Thor: Ragnarok are: 1) By far the best Thor movie to date, and 2) Most likely the most consistently funny Marvel Cinematic Universe movie (Deadpool being in the battle for funniest comic book movie ever may put up a fight though). Wonderfully and hilariously written, well-directed, great performances, Cate Blanchett was hella hot as … whatever her character’s name was, and an overall fantastic and fun time at the movies. I would say if there is some minor thing to say negatively about this movie, is that I was one of the people who found it odd that Thor was the way he was in all the other movies and yet in this movie he’s suddenly a really funny dude that doesn’t take these situations seriously. Previously, he was only really delivering comedy as the butt of the joke with things like not understanding human society, but not actively making jokes himself. But I accept that unexplained change in character because I was laughing and enjoying myself. Great movie.
This movie is essentially a comedic business world interpretation of 28 Days Later. An infection breaks out in an office building of a disease that causes people to lose their inhibitions and become extremely violent. Steven Yeun had just been wrongly terminated but had not left the building yet when the building gets quarantined so he makes friends with Samara Weaving and together they work their way up to the top for justice. Pretty funny, very violent, and drenched in blood. Steven Yeun and Samara Weaving are great, but at the time I had only seen her in this and Ash vs. the Evil Dead, so I’m pretty sure this gorgeous lady has a fetish for being covered in fake blood. Not much to say about this movie besides it was pretty enjoyable for a movie I had no expectations for. A good RedBox pick if you come across it.
The best I can say about DC at this point is that they at least seem to be starting to figure out what they need to do. They’re moving in the right direction, just not as fast as I would like them to. Justice League suffers from coming out the same year as Wonder Woman, when fans looked at themselves and said, “Hey! I guess they finally found the formula! No more Suicide Squads and Batman v. Superman’s for these guys!” The other thing it suffers from is characters. Aquaman feels all wrong in performance though perfectly acceptable to me in appearance. All you need to do is grab Momoa and say, “Be Khal Drogo but you can speak English and also talk to fish.” Cyborg was a little bland and not very fun. Batman was way too jokey, Wonder Woman didn’t have the same magic she did in her own movie, and the Flash. Oh boy the Flash! I’m not even a fan of the Flash and I know he’s all wrong. Joking around and not being funny, talking about how he doesn’t know how to fight, and the worst affront: he doesn’t know how to run! Flash, you had one job! I know it would be a little weird in the audition process to say, “Okay, you have everything we want performance-wise, but can we go ahead and get you up on this treadmill real quick so we can make sure you don’t run like a goof?” One positive note (besides being better than most DCEU movies by a little bit) is that they nailed them some Superman. He was finally not a mopey bitch and was all truth, justice, American way, Boy Scout style Superman. The negative side of that is that I hate Superman for reasons that this movie illustrates brilliantly. The Justice League can’t beat their awful-looking, CGI baddie-du-jour and then Supes shows up as comic book Jesus and whips him. All-powerful heroes are not interesting to me, and it makes the rest of the team look weak. Still, I’d implore DC to not do anything rash like feeling you need to reboot everyone. Everyone but Ezra Miller was fine, and can do well if you write them better in the future. Even Ezra could be fine if you write him better and get him a physical trainer to teach him how to run.
I was not interested in seeing this movie. Typically, Disney Pixar movies pique my interest, but I hadn’t heard anything about this movie to drive me to it. Plus, I thought it was all about a dog because I misread their posters. But, a friend of mine wanted to see it and, let’s face it; I don’t do anything important in my free time and had no excuse not to go. Added bonus was that this friend is a Mexican and I could not pass up the opportunity to see the movie with a Mexican so I could turn to him every five minutes and ask, “What’s an ‘abuela’?” And afterwards I could condescendingly explain to him that I understand his plight as a Mexican now that I’ve seen this movie. Should I talk about the movie itself now? Okay, it was pretty good. I found myself really bored for the first half of the movie. I wasn’t entirely sure what was causing that, but part of me blames the 7 hour Frozen movie I sat through right before this movie. Eventually, I got on board with the movie and ended feeling that I enjoyed it. And the end? Heart-wrenching. I cried like a bitch, and I’m not ashamed to say it. Coco is pretty good and the ending is wonderfully touching. I would also say that technically speaking there’s nothing wrong with the Frozen “short” that came before it, but it was way too long and not very impressive and got Coco started on the wrong foot. Separately on the DVD release, probably fine.
THE DISASTER ARTIST
Do you want to know how good this movie is? If the answer’s no, why are you here? For the yes crowd: this movie is so good that it inspired me to read a book! I never read books! …Okay, technically this time I didn’t read a book either, but I did listen to one on Audible. (I recommend the Disaster Artist book too) This was such a great movie. It’s a real study and recounting of the process involved in the making of one of the worst movies of all time: The Room. James Franco does a perfect Tommy Wiseau, his brother Dave does a good Greg Sestero (though admittedly he looks nothing like him and that beard was pretty unconvincing), and every character supports and delivers on all of the comedy and surprising occasional emotional moments. And the cast is crazy. I would say go look it up on Wikipedia or IMDb to see who’s in this, but why waste time with that when I’m just going to tell you to watch this movie instead? The only caveat I feel I need to add is that I really have no idea what this movie will do to someone who has not seen The Room beforehand. I have seen The Room (at least as it was presented as riffed by the great people at RiffTrax) and I can no longer access the brain of someone whose brain functions have not been permanently altered by watching that movie. My assumption is that everyone will love this movie, but the people who watch The Room first will love it so much more.
STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI
Because I was impatient, I saw this movie alone. A week later, I saw it again because I felt bad that I abandoned my friend Chris the first time. Another inspiration for seeing it a second time was because I enjoyed myself the first time, but when I got home the internet seemed to be up in arms against this movie, even going so far as to create a petition to force them to remake the movie the way they wanted it to be. But as I said, I enjoyed myself with this movie so I didn’t sign that petition. Also, I’m not a moron. It wasn’t perfect and there were things that didn’t go the way I wanted, but it was still a fun ride and exactly the movie you would make when you’re mostly trying to progress the story a little and get people coming back for the final episode in the trilogy. Now, if you somehow haven’t seen it yet you can stop here because I’ve told you my thoughts and now I’m getting into spoilers. The thing I didn’t agree with was that they didn’t really give us anything about Rey’s parentage. If she indeed comes from nowhere special it seems like a kind of boring and lackluster way to go, but acceptable. Not every Jedi must be the child of someone special. I was hoping she would be Luke’s child, but I think the nail’s in that coffin because he definitely didn’t treat her like she was his daughter at any point. Luke was the next sticking point. I don’t mind that Luke was uncharacteristically funny. Nothing wrong with that to me. Didn’t hurt Thor, won’t hurt Luke. What I didn’t like is that they killed him, or at least how they killed him. Obviously we all know that Carrie Fisher is dead and they had the perfect time to let her character pass in an emotional way, but then they pulled it back and she survived. Since she’s dead in real life, wouldn’t it make more sense to let her die in the movie and replace her with Luke or Laura Dern instead of killing both of them and letting her survive? Though Dern’s death was epic and emotional and I would hate to lose it. Maybe they already have all her scenes shot and it will work out. The next problem is HOW Luke died. If you were going to kill him in the fight with Kylo anyway, why not just have him go down there in person and actually fight Kylo and then get Obi-Wan’ed at the end? It takes away his badass points for surviving the barrage of blasts from the assault walkers and kind of makes him look like a bitch for hiding on a different planet instead of actually facing him. But that’s the way they wanted to go and I didn’t hate them for it. It’s just not the way I would’ve gone. Of course, if I want a movie to turn out exactly as I want it, I should probably make a movie instead of just complaining about it on the internet.
JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE
Everyone should do me a favor and feel real stupid right now. We all saw they were rebooting Jumanji, and a lot of people on the internet pitched a fit about it. “It’s in a video game now?! Bullshit!” …Yeah. People don’t play board games anymore unless they have a YouTube channel and aren’t allowed to play video games on it. Personally, I saw they were making this movie and was skeptical. Then I saw that it had The Rock, Jack Black, and Karen Gillan in it and said, “They may have something here.” …Fine, I’ll give credit to Kevin Hart too. I’m not a big fan of his, but he was good in this. This movie was very funny and charming, and all carried effortlessly on the backs of their main cast, Jack Black in particular. Jack Black and The Rock got to really show off here by playing characters they don’t typically get cast in. The Rock is a nerdy high school student who wakes up as The Rock, and Jack Black has an even tougher time playing a self-obsessed high school girl who wakes up in Jack Black’s body. I feel like Karen Gillan probably knows what it’s like to grow up a vaguely nerdy girl before she became super gorgeous, so she doesn’t get the same props, but watching her get taught how to seduce men by Jack Black and being so awful at it was hilarious, as was almost any moment involving Jack Black in this movie. When he figures out how to use his new penis? Priceless. The only big negative I had to this movie was that the villain didn’t impress me, but the rest of the cast more than made up for it. Stop being so in love with the original and go enjoy this one.
PITCH PERFECT 3
People might know already that I am a fan of the Pitch Perfect franchise though since it doesn’t seem like it makes sense they might constantly delete it from their brains. I agree; it doesn’t really make sense that I enjoy these movies, but I do. For me it’s about the songs (which are typically great), the comedy (which is typically solid, but not mind-blowing), and the cast (who are all great, though it’s also quite a bit about how hot some of them are). Nothing has really changed for Pitch Perfect 3. I don’t really care about the story as it’s all supposed to be set up for the other stuff. The songs are still really good with the Riff-Off being my favorite in this movie (yes, I bought the soundtrack), although I did feel like I wanted more of them and that they took it a little easier on this film and didn’t do as many mash up songs that I like, instead just doing one song at a time beyond the Riff-Off. There’s still a lot of comedy and very funny moments, some ridiculous and over the top that they somehow made work, like how are the Bellas performing on an exploding boat in the beginning? They explain it! And the cast is all still wonderful and are as hot as they ever were, sadly losing one of their hottest in Alexis Knapp, who was out with pregnancy early in the movie. This movie is not the most spectacular and the other two are probably better, but I still enjoyed myself. The biggest negative about this movie will be if they actually follow through on what the posters seem to be claiming and they make this the final one. How is Fast and the Furious and Transformers going to continue ad nauseam till the end of time but there’s no room in this world for Pitch Perfect?!
A pretty unspectacular movie with all the ingredients of a very spectacular movie. A concept of a real world cop movie, but also there are Orcs and Elves and magic and shit is a pretty interesting premise. A cast so impressive that it doesn’t even make sense, especially for a Netflix movie. They have Will Smith, Joel Edgerton, Noomi Rapace, and a bunch of other smaller roles but recognizable people. And watching the movie, it certainly seems more expensive than a Netflix movie should be, with pretty good CG and makeup effects and lots of wanton destruction. But ultimately they got all the right ingredients and then undercooked the soufflé. Smith spends most of the movie being bitchy about his partner, who he doesn’t like because he’s an orc and because he didn’t keep him from getting shot in the beginning even though the guy walked out of a building and shot him immediately and Smith himself didn’t even have enough time to try to react so how the hell was he supposed to? The bad guys are occasionally interesting to watch, but then do stupid things like hiding in the armory as the two cops they’re hunting come in and load up on weapons and bombs and then they decide to attack right after they’re fully loaded for battle. This movie wasn’t awful though. It’s surprisingly impressive and ambitious and has an interesting premise and tries to go for a note of social commentary with how blatantly racist everyone seems to be about anyone that’s not your race. It’s just also not very good. Netflix actually says that their “best guess” for my opinion of this movie is 4.9 out of 5. Really, Netflix? Does this maybe have something to do with the fact that you made this movie, or have I just been drunk every time I’ve rated a movie on your site? I’ll be generous and give you a 2.5 or 3 instead.
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As I was writing these mini-reviews for the 44 movies of 2014 that I saw, something became extremely evident to me: I have been neglecting my written reviews this year. There were so many movies that I watched this year that I didn’t review at all. Robert has not been reviewing stuff up to his potential. I’m hoping to change that in 2015. I will try to write something about everything I see this year, even if it’s a shorter review because I didn’t have much to say. But we can worry about that later. For now, check out my mini-reviews for all the movies I saw in 2014.
There’s scarcely anything special one way or the other about the Paranormal Activity movies. They just kind of are. This one also are, but it at least has the decency to end in a pretty cool way that ties it back together with the first movie. It still takes a little while to get to the good stuff, but it does fairly well once it arrives there.
THE LEGEND OF HERCULES
For reasons that are probably fairly obvious, I chose not to see this movie in the theaters. I says to myself, “If I’m only going to see one Hercules movie this year, I’ll go with the one that has the Rock in it instead of the one that has one of the lesser Cullens from the Twilight movies in it.” I apparently chose wrong. That is not to say that this was a great movie by any stretch of the imagination, but it was better than the other Hercules movie. It actually had some cool action in it that may have been mostly borrowed from 300, but it’s a solid place to borrow from. Don’t expect the story or the actors to impress you at all, but there are at least a few fight scenes in the movie that make it worth renting.
This movie was Rosemary’s Baby a couple decades and levels of quality removed. It wasn’t bad and it wasn’t ever really boring, but it also never came close to being scary and was entirely predictable. When it comes right down to it, the only reason to watch this movie is because you somehow can’t find a copy of Rosemary’s Baby, but I’m sure that’s got to be streaming on something by now, or at least $5 on DVD.
I found The Raid 2 to be extremely disappointing. The first movie was some of the best action I had seen in a movie, and it also had the benefit of being a complete surprise to me. I had no expectations for The Raid: Redemption when I went in, allowing its fantastic action scenes an easier time to blow me away. The Raid 2 did not benefit from such surprise, so there’s a chance that is the reason I didn’t wind up caring for it. It might also be the fact that this was a sequel to a non-stop, over the top action movie that had its share of great action scenes, but it had ones that were separated by hours of boring, slow, story scenes. Should I be checking my watch and nodding off during a sequel to The Raid: Redemption? No! I shouldn’t be able to since my hands should be too busy touching myself! But that’s not what happened…
I’m not really sure what to say about this movie. It was definitely bombed by the greater majority of critics, but I don’t remember hating it. I also don’t remember liking it. That’s because I don’t remember any of it. I watched the movie, and I’m pretty sure I stayed in the room and watched the entire thing, but I remember practically nothing. Aaron Eckhart was Frankenstein and he fought some … somethings by using … something. I really can’t remember any of it. I also didn’t write a review for it, which leads me to believe there was nothing to say about this movie one way or another. So if you have 2 hours that you’d like to disappear completely from your timeline like a controlled, short, alcohol bender without a hangover the next day, here’s your movie. You can spend the next couple of months trying to figure out what you did in those two hours you can’t remember as if you were a UFO abductee. You can make a game out of it!
This movie was far better than I expected when I rented it. I knew nothing about it when I first saw it in a RedBox, leading me to believe it would have a little too much in common with one of the many Nicholas Cage movies that release under my radar. Instead, this is a Liam Neeson movie, and it has Julianne Moore in it. Does that make it good? No. But it certainly bumps it up a few notches. Its story was fairly standard and unsurprising, but Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore elevate it to the lofty status of “Okay” from the “Meh” it would be at otherwise.
The modern era’s penchant for remaking popular old movies has been beaten up pretty thoroughly, but I’ve mostly been on the opposing side to this hatred. For instance, I really liked the new Dredd movie and, though I didn’t think the remake was a great movie, I did like the remake of Total Recall and didn’t hold too much appreciation for the camp appeal of the original. That being said, there was really no reason to remake Robocop. The original Robocop still holds up pretty well, and all the remake has going for it is slightly improved visuals. The remake wasn’t the worst thing ever, but it added nothing. Just watch the original.
THE LEGO MOVIE
This movie caught me by surprise. When I saw that they were making a movie out of Legos, I probably scoffed, made a jacking off motion with my hands, and walked away. I liked the Lego games, but certainly they couldn’t support an entire movie, could they? Turns out, yes they can. This movie was a great kid’s movie but even people that the law insists should be charged as adults can enjoy it. A movie with a solid message and some pretty good laughs spread throughout, and an excellent cast of voice actors made me realize how you can’t judge a movie by its poster any more than you can judge a book by its cover. …Or so I’ve been told. I’ll still judge books by their covers because I can look at them and see they are books and go, “EW!” and go play a video game.
I’ve always had an affection for Greek/Roman mythology, and in my interest in that came some interest in real life events that inspired some mythology, such as the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and the ensuing destruction of the town of Pompeii. Add that interest to the cute chick from Sucker Punch and gundamned Jon Snow and how could I not watch this movie? Well I could have known better than to expect anything, because it certainly couldn’t live up to it. It wanted to be Gladiator, but fell short. Then it wanted to be a love story, forgetting of course that I came into this movie looking to see a volcano erupt. Any interaction with people would therefore be a waste of my time. It looked pretty, but it got caught up with other failed attempts at story nonsense that set its own sights on something that would wind up being well out of its reach.
The best part about this movie was the boobs of Eva Green, and this will not be the only point in this review where I make that claim. Calling this movie 300 seemed like a copout since this movie really didn’t have much to do with the original movie … and this movie didn’t particularly focus on 300 of anything. But, at least from what I know, Greek Warriors < Spartan Warriors, thus 300 Part 2 < 300 Part 1. The action was inferior and the story was inferior and the abs were inferior. But Eva Green’s boobs are better than Lena Headey’s boobs, so it’s got that goin’ for it.
I don’t remember thinking much about this movie one way or another. The performances were pretty good, particularly from Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connolly, and Emma Watson, but that’s probably all I can really say about this one. It was kind of like the Bible story come to life, but then there were rock monsters and such that I kind of remember from the Bible. Or was that the Neverending Story? Which one was Atreyu in? Well this movie was pretty, well-acted, and pretty well-directed, but I didn’t care much about what was going on at any given time.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER
I probably don’t really need to write much of a review for this movie for my followers to know how I felt about it. I could just say, “Marvel movie,” and give away the fact that I enjoyed it. But that’s not ALWAYS true. I mean, there were two Ghost Rider movies. But it is definitely the case here, although I would still believe that it’s also a good movie. Of course there was great action, but I also think the story worked very well (as it has in so many Marvel movies recently). The repercussions of what go down in this movie ripple through some of the other Marvel movies and even into a Marvel TV show.
I had a good idea what to expect when I rented this movie. It looked like one of the hundreds of movies that have come out recently that are optioned from subpar books into subpar movies that inexplicably do well even though they’re not particularly good. (Disclaimer: I’m just guessing. I’ve never read this or any other book.) It’s like Twilight and Logan’s Run had a baby, but then they realized that they were related and so the baby came out retarded. It’s about a girl that’s special because the sorting hat machine can’t figure out if she’s Gryffindor or Hufflepuff and so the chick from Titanic will kill her unless La Femme Nikita is there. So she joins the Bad Ass group and tries to be a Bad Ass, but she can’t pull it off even though the movie wants us to think she can. And then the movie only kind of ends because they know already that the people of the world are dumb enough to see this enough times to justify a sequel, even before they’ve released the movie.
This movie sure did try … something. It had some really big ideas but when they came together, they just weren’t that interesting. Johnny Depp’s character gets killed by some technology-hating terrorists but then his wife tries to keep him alive by keeping him alive as artificial intelligence, but without its humanity it goes all SkyNet and tries to fix the problem that is humanity. It was a somewhat pretty movie to see, but beyond that it was a movie that didn’t connect with me. Perhaps I need to upgrade to USB 3.0 for full connectivity.
This is another movie that probably benefits greatly from being able to attach a Marvel logo to their movie. I had mostly the same problems as I had with the original: the dialogue is pretty terrible. Conversations are stuttering and awkward and Spider-Man can’t pull off a funny quip to save his life, but the story pulls itself together with the resolution of the Gwen Stacy storyline. The villains were pretty good, but only at certain points in the movie. Jamie Foxx was a little over the top as Max Dillon, but was pretty good as Electro. And Dane DeHaan was pretty good as Harry Osborn, but looked goofy as hell when he became the Green Goblin. Still, I really liked the ending, and the rest of the movie was fun and enjoyable enough to make it there with little complication.
If it is your decision that you need to see Godzilla rebooted again, my recommendation is to rent this movie and skip to around the last half hour. That’s when the movie finally decides that it’s time to show their titular character and have him drop an ass-whoopin’ on two radioactive bat creatures. Also, if you’re going in expecting to see a giant, asexual iguana and Matthew Broderick, you’ll be pleasantly surprised that it’s actually Godzilla. The problem then becomes that I’m reviewing the entire movie, and if you watch the whole thing you must first sit through an hour and a half of boring set up and family problems involving Walter White and the brother and sister from the next Avengers movie that are married with a kid in this one. So not only does this movie tease the audience way too hard with the reveal of their main character, but this movie is pro-incest.
X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST
If you were the type to feel like you need to fully understand a movie to enjoy it, you may have trouble with Days of Future Past. The time travel stuff makes for a complicated story that may not stand up to prolonged scrutiny. Of course, if you were that type to demand that their time travel storyline make sense, you probably shouldn’t be seeing a movie about mutants with superpowers. I had a couple minor gripes with the continuity, such as how Wolverine would eventually end up in the Weapon X program after we find out that William Stryker was Mystique, but I don’t let such things ruin my appreciation for the movie unless they’re overwhelming. But it was a joy to see the two different casts of the X-Men movies come together with a pretty solid story, cool action, and of course, the Quicksilver scene. Really fun movie and the scene at the end only whets my appetite for the next one.
EDGE OF TOMORROW
This movie turned out better than I expected. It seemed like a pretty standard action movie, and it was, but it was also slightly more interesting. It was Groundhog Day if it were an action movie. I assumed that would make the movie boring and repetitive, but they pulled it off. Obviously it was repetitive, but that’s what they were going for. And the minor changes kept it interesting. That and the hotness of Emily Blunt. Definitely worth a watch.
I was surprised with how much I enjoyed this movie. I was more than a little worried it would pull a Snow White and the Huntsman, but this movie rested on the shoulders of Angelina Jolie, not Kristen Stewart. I thought Angelina was great in this movie. She really felt like Maleficent but reined it in from going too far with it. And though I loved Maleficent as an evil character, the way they made her sympathetic in this movie really worked for me. I liked the performances, the story, the look. I really enjoyed this movie.
A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST
I really don’t know why this movie was beaten up as much as it was. I thought it had plenty enough laughs to justify its existence to me. I guess you could argue that the movie was scattershot, but if you went to see this movie and you like Family Guy, you should be somewhat okay with that. And if you don’t like Family Guy, then why did you see this anyway? You know that’s the same guy, right? As a straightforward comedy, all I required from it is some laughs. And it was only aided by having a great cast to deliver those laughs.
EARTH TO ECHO
I guess the best I could say about this movie is that I had no complaints about it. It did nothing wrong while simultaneously meaning very little to me. It’s found footage ET with like 4 times the kids helping the alien phone home. But also not nearly as good as ET. The kids were a little annoying, but all kids are to me so I can’t really hold that against the movie. But the movie was pretty, and Echo was pretty adorable. So … I dunno … see it, I guess … or not.
They sure are still making these, aren’t they? Well, I’m as much to blame as is the studio system’s lack of imagination because I still see them. It made about as much sense as a movie about robot car creatures that Mark Wahlberg will fight with a sword gun could. Except for the part where the Japanese Samurai stereotype robot turned into an Italian as fuck Bugatti Veyron car. But you didn’t expect this shit to make sense, did you? Things blew up. That’s all you need to know, and that’s all there is anyway. Oh yeah, and a hot, blond, possibly jailbait daughter.
DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
These monkeytown movies really are turning out much better than they probably need to be. They could just be not much more than a simple monkey vs. human storyline, but they actually infuse some pathos into these movies. The quality of their performers gets the audience attached to the humans and the apes at the same time (except, of course, for Carver and Koba, who are the two epic douchebags in their respective communities), which makes it somewhat hard to decide what side to root for (I went with the monkeys), but the movie gets me interested enough to root in the first place, so you can put that in the win category.
DELIVER US FROM EVIL
I don’t remember much about his movie because I lost interest in what I was watching pretty early into the movie. It was vaguely spooky in its atmosphere, but lacked imagination or any scares. I suppose their excuse for any plot problems could be their claim that it was based on true events, but that should make the movie much scarier. Perhaps it’s my hesitation to believe in the events, or perhaps it just wasn’t captured well. Either way, it was more boring than scary, so I won’t be recommending it.
There’s not much to say about this movie. It just was. They story of this movie seemed fairly lazy. They accidently uploaded their sex tape to the cloud, which then got sent to all the iPads that they just gave away to random people (Y’know, as people do) and then they deal with one or two of these iPads before realizing they can remote delete them. The story does have a somewhat sweet message about keeping the fire burning for each other after many years and parenthood, but it’s not really supported by enough laughs to inspire anyone to see it. Of course, Cameron Diaz is pretty sexy in some parts of the movie, so maybe that will tip the scale in favor of a rental.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
The joy of this movie comes from the fairly unknown property on which it’s based. Marvel might never have let a director like James Gunn have the freedom to play with this movie the way he did if it were one of their more known properties such as X-Men or Avengers. But thank God they let him do his thing. The movie was equal parts funny, exciting, and heartfelt, not to mention entirely entertaining throughout. The cast was also incredible. Lee Pace was intimidating as Ronan the Accuser, Chris Pratt was charming as Starlord, Bradley Cooper was hilarious as Rocket, Zoe Saldana was hot as Gamora, Vin Diesel was adorable as Groot, Karen Gillan disappeared into Nebula, but I think the most surprising was Dave Bautista as Drax. Obviously, he would be able to do the action well, but he lands the comedy parts of his performance better than I would’ve expected as well. This movie was a fantastic offering and I can’t wait for the next one.
I like the Rock. And I like Hercules stuff. But what I don’t like is coming into a movie about the demigod son of Zeus … turning out to be a fake. The movie is all about a really buff guy that isn’t particularly special, but has a great hype man. Then at the end, someone tells him to believe in himself and he’s a demigod again. I don’t know how it works, and I don’t care. The movie just wasn’t very good. Not even the Rock could salvage it for me. You know a movie’s bad when I think the Kellan Lutz version of a Hercules movie is better.
There’s not a whole lot that this movie can offer to any type of person. If you’re a fan of the turtles (as I am), you’ll probably find yourself disappointed in their stupid story and with how weird they decided to make the turtles look. And Splinter just looked gross. If you’re a fan of Megan Fox for her hotness, you’ll find yourself disappointed that it’s not really utilized in the movie. And if you’re a fan of Megan Fox for something else, you’re weird and I don’t get you. The movie isn’t the worst thing ever, and probably isn’t even the worst Ninja Turtles movie, but it’s not really worth seeing. At least it had the decency to not be so bad that it ruined my image of the franchise as a whole.
THE EXPENDABLES 3
I don’t know what to say here. It’s Expendables … again. It’s stupid and poorly acted, but things explode and old dudes bro out a lot. What more can one say? Watch it or not. You know what it is.
This movie only impressed me because of how terrible it wasn’t. That’s not to say that it was particularly good, but I expected less from this movie. As it was, it was just fairly standard. It was another in what seems to be a trend of movies about the one special kid that is slightly better than the rest of us that needs to save us from something. It’s Divergent or Aeon Flux or Equilibrium or Parts: The Clonus Horror or any number of other movies that are basically the same movie. The story didn’t surprise or impress, but they at least had Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep to give some great performances. And a little Taylor Swift for the kids. But there’s really nothing particular in this movie that says anyone should see it.
SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR
The best part about this movie was the boobs of Eva Green. …Why does that sound so familiar…? I know the first one was really popular, but I never really knew why. The look was amazing and the story was decent, but I just didn’t see anything that special about it. Well I was in the minority on that one. What many people seem to agree on is that this movie is much worse than the original. It’s a lot of the same stuff with the same fantastic style, but much less going for it in the story department. It’s probably worth seeing just for the style and the fact that Eva Green’s boobs get taken out in the movie every 5 minutes just to make sure you’re paying attention, but that’s all I really got out of this movie.
AS ABOVE SO BELOW
I can’t say I expected much out of this movie. It seemed like The Descent, but in the Catacombs in France. And sure, that’s exactly what it was, but it was still pretty solid as a horror movie offering. It still suffers from the fact that it’s probably one of 8 movies on this list in the found footage genre, but I still find that genre can work. The movie has a promising setup that it doesn’t entirely deliver on, but I don’t expect too much out of horror movies. It created a creepy atmosphere well and relied on some fairly successful jump scares, but I ended up feeling more satisfied by the experience than anything else. It’s worth a rental.
Oh wow this movie was fucked up, but in a very pleasant way. Well, it wasn’t exactly pleasant, but it sure was interesting. It’s a movie spawned from a podcast where two guys joked about a guy turning another guy into a walrus. In this movie, he does that shit! The movie is equal parts amusing, horrifying, and confusing. The movie defies explanation and, in my opinion, needs to be seen. I can’t promise you’ll like it as I did, but I can promise you that you’ve never seen anything like it. What more is there to say? WalrusYes.
I only went to see this movie because many people I know were talking about it. After I left, I had no idea why they had been. It’s not bad, it’s just nothing special. It was a sequel to a movie that I thought was fine, and it was fine itself. It’s a movie about a haunted doll. You can probably fill in the rest of the plot from there and not be far off. I would say that some of the jump scares were clever and well executed, so I would probably recommend this movie for at least a rental.
This movie pleasantly surprised me. I expected it to be garbage and to be an easy candidate for one of the worst films of the year, but it wasn’t bad. It’s not particularly good, but it’s enjoyable enough. It’s like a Maleficent-esque retelling of the bad guy story to make them come off as sympathetic, and it’s fairly effective. It also has some pretty good action scenes once Vlad gets the bloodlust. Also, the cast was pretty excellent. I would say that the climactic final fight left something to be desired, such as Vlad not being severely diminished by a bunch of bling before the fight began, but overall the movie wasn’t bad. It’s a solid rental, though also something you can easily live without.
BIG HERO 6
I expected that I would like this movie when I went into it, but I did not foresee how much. Anyone that knows me will tell you that I am the manliest man that ever manned. I watch all the sports and when I play them, I get all the sporting points. I fix cars with tools and make the car work good. I scratch myself in public and demean women with words. With all that on the table, you know a movie is effective when someone as ultimately manly as I cried not once but twice during this movie. Well, technically one was in the short film that preceded the movie, and the second time was in the movie proper, but I think it fair to lump them together for this review. This movie contains genuine laughs, some great action, and a few heartfelt moments and a great message to wrap it all up. Disney killed it with this movie. I would put it up against any Pixar movie any day.
This movie caught me off guard. Let’s face facts: Keanu Reeves can be hit and miss. You could be walking into a Matrix, or you could be walking into a Matrix Revolutions. And when you put him in a movie with a boring name like John Wick, you start to lose my attention. That title is just some dude’s name. Some dude I don’t know or care about. But I went to the theaters to see it because I had nothing better to do, and I could not have been happier that I have no social life. My lack of things to do or people that like me got me to see one stylish, badass movie. It starts in a really heart wrenching way that will affect both the people that care about humans and the people that care about animals more than they care about people (like me). And this opening makes you not only okay with the ass whooping that Keanu is about to unleash, but pray for it. At least it did for me. Add all that with some great style and some sweet action and you’ll find that Keanu still gots it.
A friend of mine requested that I review this one while it was still in theaters and I was so grateful because I had not been getting enough sleep at that time and needed a good nap. It was SO boring and exactly zero percent scary. And this movie had a leg up on scaring me because it seems like I’d be so much easier to scare when I was nodding off to Sleepytime Land, but it still couldn’t pull it off. The only thing the movie had going for it was that its cast did a fairly decent job at portraying characters that weren’t well-written, but that doesn’t make for a good horror movie. If someone asks if you want to rent this movie, move the planchette over to “No,” and then over to “Goodbye.” That person is not a real friend.
This movie definitely got talked up to a degree it couldn’t live up to, but it came pretty close. The story was a little hard to follow in parts since it’s been a while since I last attended a Quantum Physics class, but I think I got the gist of it. The cast also knocks it out of the park, but the greatest thing this movie has going for it is the fact that it’s visually epic. Of course, the biggest knock against this movie is the fact that it’s 72 hours long. Or something like that anyway. Still, whatever its ridiculous length, it may have had only a few sparse boring moments where the amount of your life you had dedicated to the movie occurred to you. This movie is worth getting you a few steps closer to the grave for.
DUMB AND DUMBER TO
I have been a massive fan of Jim Carrey since he first spoke from his butt, and his subsequent film career has always done more to cement my appreciation of him than to diminish it. Dumb and Dumber was appropriately stupid and outrageously funny. Even with that pedigree, I don’t think I would ever consider myself amongst the chorus that was calling for a sequel 20 years later. The chances were way higher that they would do more harm than good. And that’s what they did with Dumb and Dumber To. There were a few laughs to be found in this movie, but more of their attempts were trying to rehash jokes from the first movie for fan service. But this fan did not feel serviced. He felt more like he had seen those jokes before and could see the rest of them coming from miles away. Standing on its own, this movie may have done fine by me, but it was not standing on its own. It was following one of my favorite comedies of all time with mediocrity, and it was hurting my feelings. I’m sorry, Dumb and Dumber To, but you were a little too dumb for your own good.
THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1
This movie has three things working against it for me. First is that I grow weary of movies made from books I’m not interested in. Second is that I don’t like how often they split what could probably be one movie into two in order to make more money off of the audience. The third is that I’ve never been too fond of the Hunger Games movies. But this one wasn’t bad. I found it a little hard to follow for a while because they kept referencing prior movies that I was not interested enough in to file away in my memory, but ultimately the story was fine. There’s not too much action, but it’s mostly good. And the performances were great because they had fantastic actors in the movie. So I was good with this movie. I’ll probably see the next one even though I may not remember this one well enough to understand it.
INTO THE WOODS
I really wish I had kinder words for this movie. I like the people in it so much that I was surprised at how much I disliked it, but that is not me saying that it is a bad movie. I liked the story for how it mashed up some popular storybook tales but infused them with meaning about dealing with some real world problems. I didn’t see it at first, but it really brings it together in the ending. The cast was also fantastic, but look at the people they got, far too numerous to list here. My problem with the movie (and I realize this is a problem of my own ignorance and bias) is that it was a musical. I probably should’ve known it was a musical so that I could’ve better prepared myself. It would also have worked in the movie’s favor if I wasn’t predisposed to dislike musicals. But it is not as if I hate them all, and some musicals can overcome my dislike, but I didn’t care for any of the songs in this movie even though they were performed well, and there was far too much of the singing of songs I didn’t like. I wanted this movie to end about an hour earlier than it did. Granted, I would’ve missed the ending that I enjoyed, but I would’ve been able to skip much of the stuff I didn’t.
EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS
After having seen Noah, I felt justified in my trepidation about seeing this movie. Would it be another loose interpretation of the Bible with crazy rock monster angel things or would it be something more? Well, I wouldn’t say that it was “something more.” That makes it sound life changing or something, but it was pretty good. It sticks fairly close to my vague memory of the biblical story, and thankfully doesn’t cheat the audience out of the God stuff. Whatever your religious beliefs, the only reason this story is worth telling is if God lays some plagues down on Egypt’s candy asses. I also enjoyed the epic scale found in the look of the movie and in the huge battles. I enjoyed this movie, and I think most people should. Even an atheist can enjoy this movie. Just watch it as mythology. Clash of the Titans was pretty cool, right?
THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES
I was very happy after leaving this movie. It’s hard to determine if it was the quality of the movie or just the fact that I could finally mark myself as finished with the 6 movie epic. This was the best of the Hobbit movies. The first was too much walking. The second was not enough Smaug or desolation. This movie was far more desolation of Smaug, and definitely plenty of army battling. The story is as solid as any of the Middle-Earth movies, and it also has the same epic scale, beauty, and spectacle. Though I could see some saying that the action goes on too long once the big fight starts, I was down the whole time. Definitely a great way to tie up the series.
Did you notice something missing? Something occurred to me while writing this review and recording the video version of it: this review is a total spoiler for my video review! What reason is there to watch the video if you could just read it here first? Besides the usual need to see my pretty face, that is. So I decided that next year I should drop the video first, but this year I would not be able to finish the video in time. So instead of depriving my lovely readers of anything, I decided that I just wouldn’t do the top and bottom 5 here while still leaving the reviews for the movies I chose in. Tune in next week to see which I thought were the best and the worst. And in the meantime, why not tell me what your best and worst were? Or take a guess as to what you think mine will be. COMMENT BELOW!!
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