0081 – Annabelle: Creation review


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Lights Out (2016)


There’s No You Without Me.

I saw today’s movie in a RedBox and started to remember that the trailer looked like it had some nifty spooky things in how they handled light, and since I had an October Horrorthon to prepare for, it seemed like a good enough reason to give it a shot.  …And that’s pretty much it.  There aren’t always good stories to these things.  Anyway, the movie was Lights Out, written by Eric Heisserer, directed by David F. Sandberg, and starring Teresa Palmer, Maria Bello, Gabriel Bateman, Alicia Vela-Bailey, and Alexander DiPersia.

A man is murdered in a warehouse by a creepy shadow lady that looks like Penance from Generation X – let’s just call her Diana (Vela-Bailey).  That man had a wife, Sophie (Bello), who is crazy, a stepdaughter, Rebecca (Palmer), who has left the family, and a son, Martin (Bateman), who is not sleeping well.  When Sophie can’t be reached, Rebecca is contacted by child protective services because Martin keeps falling asleep in class.  When asked, Martin claims that he can’t sleep because his mom keeps him up by talking with her friend Diana.  …OH SNAP!  That’s the name I gave to the evil ghost lady, isn’t it?  That’s strange…

I found myself fairly underwhelmed by this movie, but I wouldn’t say I hated it.  It was just kind of … regular.  The story was a pretty basic haunting thing with a few twists to separate it from the pack a little, but that’s not really what sets it apart.  They even put it in the title!  It’s all the lights on and off stuff.  That stuff was fun, but also was occasionally problematic.  A ghost thing that can only be seen when it’s almost pitch black means that we will barely be able to see her most of the time.  At least until they bust out the giant, check-your-hotel-room-for-semen style black light that this family has in their basement for some odd reason.  Then you’ll see her and she just looks like a zombie or a lady with a skin condition.  But the stuff they did with the darkness and the rules they set was fairly interesting, it just wasn’t that spooky, even if you ignore the fact that it shouldn’t be nearly that hard to keep yourself in the light.  Go buy a battery or fire powered lantern, for crying out loud!  But what they did go for with scares was used mostly for jump scares which can be fun, but probably won’t make your movie a classic if you can’t build enough tension and spookiness.  Plus, only 3 people died in this movie!  Super powered zombie ghost shadow lady should’ve tried a little bit harder.

There were at least some good performances in this movie.  Teresa Palmer’s character was a bitch to people randomly and seemingly without reason in the beginning, but came around to a very likeable character when she started trying to look out for the welfare of her half-brother.  She seemed to make fairly good decisions for the most part, but I cannot fathom how this girl would be in a haunted house with a shadow ghost that likes to jump out of the darkness at people and yet Rebecca still thought it would ever be a good idea to walk backwards into an open doorway.  You should just hold your flashlight and spin around in circles until morning…or until you throw up.  Either way, it seems pretty fun.  I found Gabriel Bateman annoying, but I’m not entirely convinced that’s not just because I hate most kids.  Maria Bello is great though.  She plays really her role very unhinged but also sympathetic at the same time, which made the ending more disappointing.  She couldn’t have found a better way out of this situation than she did? And by “she,” I feel like I actually mean “the writers.”  Boyfriend guy was just kind of there to me and didn’t really make an impact beyond seeming like a big creep for being so determined to move in with Rebecca in the beginning that he wanted to leave some of his stuff there, and when she said no, he tried to stash a sock there.  As if having some article of clothing in a girl’s house means that you’re dating now.  If that were the case, I’d start leaving clothing in girl’s houses instead of leaving with their underwear like I do now.  The only other character that stood out to me was the child protective services lady.  She seemed nice enough, but I found it really dumb that when she was trying to indicate that she didn’t believe Rebecca was fit to raise a child, her examples seemed to be that Rebecca likes Heavy Metal music (or at least posters of them) and marijuana.

I feel like the best thing I can say about Lights Out is that it’s nifty.  The story of the movie is fairly basic with one or two new ideas, but mostly the movie rests on the shoulders of one or two solid performances and some interesting jump scares based around lighting effects.  You could probably get roughly the same effect of this movie by just watching the 7 minute short film of the same name that inspired this movie, but watching the movie isn’t a terrible option either.  Lights Out gets “Mom, we need to talk” out of “We’re living with a dead woman.”

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0080 – Stephen King’s It Review


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Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)


The World’s Changed, Boys.  Time We Change Too

It doesn’t seem correct that the last time I wrote a written review for a movie was over 2 years ago, but I’ll take your word for it, WordPress.  Well, I figured if I wasn’t going to have a video ready for this week, maybe I could write a review instead.  And what luck!  I happen to have seen a movie today!  So I’ll just go ahead and give you a few words about Spider-Man: Homecoming, written by Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, directed by Jon Watts, and starring Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr., Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Jacob Batalon, Laura Harrier, and Jennifer Connelly.

Peter Parker (Holland) is Spider-Man.  …Probably should’ve put a Spoiler Alert warning in the intro…  Anyway, he fights bad guys.  But not as much as he thinks he should.  The tailor of his suit, Tony Stark (Downey), disagrees and thinks he’s not ready.  Well Peter goes and does it anyway, getting in a little over his head when he starts getting closer with a gang of former salvage employees turned criminals and lead by the flying suit wearing Adrian Toomes (Keaton).  Other stuff happens, Tony tells Peter to get naked, Peter starts wearing a hoody with steampunk goggles, happy ending.

The general shittiness of my tone when describing the movie is not an indicator of my feelings about it.  I really enjoyed this movie.  I just don’t wanna give anything important away on accident.  I wanna do that when I goddamned good and ready!  I’m so happy Marvel got their mitts back on Spidey because they did it just as well as I hoped they would.  It just felt so much like Spidey!  More than it has felt like Spidey in quite a long time.  His jokes were good (Sorry Andrew Garfield) and at no point did he have a cringe-worthy dance scene in an emo black suit (Sorry Tobey).  It was more fun than serious, but succeeded on both fronts when it aimed to, which is something the DC Universe should take note of, especially with how well Wonder Woman did it.  The movie keeps our friendly spider more grounded and small, working out of a neighborhood setting one could say.  It doesn’t get too big for its britches, even though Peter wants it.  It’s better this way.  Spider-Man should handle his own business, and then occasionally get involved in the bigger, crossover type things like they do in those picture books people like so much.  He should have his Peter Parker troubles and have to perform a balancing act with his secret Spider-Man troubles, and in this movie he does!

The movie, however, was only ALMOST perfect.  It’s hard to put a movie together without flaws, and the minor ones in this were definitely forgivable, but worth noting because it’s very difficult to make jokes about good stuff.  The biggest one for me was the whole MJ thing.  One thing that really stuck in my craw about the Dark Knight Rises was the whole Robin thing, and the MJ thing in this movie reminded me of that.  You have this character that you’ve created for the movie and that’s fine.  But why have a big reveal at the end that the character we’ve been watching in the whole movie shares a name with something we know?  Like, am I supposed to get excited that John Blake’s real name is Robin?  Even though he’s not Robin and won’t be Robin and no Robin has been named John Blake?  So it’s just a moment of the filmmakers saying, “Remember that beloved character!?  …Well, this isn’t them.  But, y’know, it’s kinda cute… right…?”  Well that’s how the MJ thing felt in this movie.  Didn’t ruin anything, mind you.  I just thought it was unnecessary.  I also felt like this movie came dangerously close to getting in over its head with the characters.  I know Marvel is excited to get to play with these characters again, but when I looked through the Wikipedia page for the movie after the fact, almost every bit character in the movie was meant to be bigger characters from the comics.  They had Prowler (apparently), the Tinkerer, the Scorpion, one version of a guy that would become Venom, and TWO Shockers!  There was also electricity in some of the scenes, and that will probably be revealed to be Electro at some point.  It didn’t hurt anything for me really, but maybe slow down a little.  You can have bit players in a movie and it won’t hurt my feelings that the dude that sold Peter a sandwich wasn’t Kraven the Hunter.

I can’t say I have much to say about the action and visuals in the movie.  They were all great.  I thought they would be and my psychic powers were confirmed when they were.  …NEXT!

The casting was phenomenal.  We’ve met a lot of these people before and already knew how good they’d be so not a lot of surprise there, but they either met or exceeded expectations.  Tom Holland didn’t have it easy jumping into such an iconic character, but felt even better when we got to spend more time with it.  And being Spidey ain’t easy.  The first hardest thing about being Spider-Man is not beating Flash’s ass.  The second hardest thing would be having those abs and wearing a shirt to high school.  These are both things that would’ve been much different if I were Spider-Man.  Perhaps my uncles did a poor job imparting wisdom to me.  …Plus they’re both alive, which seems like they really let me down.  But Holland was Peter Parker and Spider-Man both at the same time perfectly, which is something I don’t think I could say about any other Spider-Man I know.  Michael Keaton was also expectedly fantastic.  He had solid motivation and reasoning and one of the most important things to get right about a villain is their motivation.  A bad guy who is bad just to be bad is boring.  This is a family man that got screwed by Damage Control and went a little overboard afterwards to take care of his family.  And he was intimidating AF!  The way they had him put together the Peter/Spidey thing was masterful and believable.  And his line comparing the way he got rich with the way Tony Stark got rich was also perfect.  Jacob Batalon as Ned and Zendaya as Michelle were both great comic relief, without overdoing it.  I felt a little annoyed with Robert Downey Jr. and Jon Favreau in this movie, though.  They did a great job, but their role in the movie was to get mad at Peter for trying to handle something even though he constantly tried to let them know about if first.  Something is about to get hijacked!  Call Happy!  …He hung up on me.  Better handle it myself.  “I TOLD YOU NOT TO!” says Tony.  “I also had the other thing handled and you didn’t need to get involved…but I guess I forgot to let you know I called the FBI.  …Probably would’ve let you know that you didn’t need to get involved if I told you, wouldn’t it…?”  Also, I really enjoyed Jennifer Connelly as Karen, Peter’s AI suit companion.  I didn’t know it was her until after the movie, but they had a lot of cute interactions.

Y’know, I always say I don’t have much to say about movies I enjoy and that’s why I don’t write reviews for them.  Guess I showed me!  I can talk way too much about anything!  Next up: Sports!  But Spider-Man was lovely.  A perfect balance of a Peter story and a Spidey story with only minor annoyances that don’t take away from the overall enjoyment, with great action and comedy and wonderful performances to realize those things.  Go out and see this movie!  You have my blessing!  Spider-Man: Homecoming gets “You were on the ceiling!” out of “If you’re nothing without the suit, then you shouldn’t have it.”

P.S.  Rest in Peace, Joan Lee.  This movie and character may not exist at all without your support.

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The Films of 2016


0074-snapshot-written

 

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

 

JANUARY

THE FOREST

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

 

THE BOY

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

 

THE WITCH

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

 

FEBRUARY

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES

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

 

DEADPOOL

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

 

ZOOTOPIA

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

 

ZOOLANDER 2

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

 

GODS OF EGYPT

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

 

MARCH

LONDON HAS FALLEN

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

 

WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT

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

 

10 CLOVERFIELD LANE

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

 

THE BRONZE

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

 

THE DIVERGENT SERIES: ALLEGIANT

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

 

BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE

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

 

APRIL

CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR

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

 

THE JUNGLE BOOK

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

 

THE HUNTSMAN: WINTER’S WAR

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

 

KEANU

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

 

RATCHET & CLANK

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

 

MAY

X-MEN: APOCALYPSE

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

 

ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS

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

 

THE DARKNESS

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

 

THE NICE GUYS

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

 

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS

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

 

JUNE

POPSTAR: NEVER STOP NEVER STOPPING

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

 

NOW YOU SEE ME 2

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

 

THE CONJURING 2

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

 

WARCRAFT

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

 

FINDING DORY

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

 

INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE

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

 

THE SHALLOWS

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

 

JULY

THE LEGEND OF TARZAN

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

 

THE BFG

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

 

THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR

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

 

THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS

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

 

GHOSTBUSTERS

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

 

STAR TREK BEYOND

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

 

JASON BOURNE

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

 

AUGUST

SUICIDE SQUAD

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

 

PETE’S DRAGON

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

 

SAUSAGE PARTY

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

 

KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS

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

 

BEN-HUR

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

 

DON’T BREATHE

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

 

MECHANIC: RESURRECTION

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

 

SEPTEMBER

YOGA HOSERS

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

 

SULLY

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

 

BLAIR WITCH

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

 

THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN

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

 

OCTOBER

JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK

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

 

OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL

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

 

INFERNO

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

 

NOVEMBER

DOCTOR STRANGE

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

 

ARRIVAL

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

 

FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM

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

 

MOANA

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

 

DECEMBER

ROGUE ONE

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

 

ASSASSIN’S CREED

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

 

PASSENGERS

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

 

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

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Films of 2015


0069 Snapshot 3

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

 

JANUARY

EX MACHINA

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

 

JUPITER ASCENDING

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

 

PROJECT ALMANAC

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

 

FEBRUARY

FIFTY SHADES OF GREY

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

 

DRAGON BLADE

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

 

HOT TUB TIME MACHINE 2

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

 

THE LAZARUS EFFECT

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

 

MARCH

CHAPPIE

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

 

ROAD HARD

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

 

THE FINAL GIRLS

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

 

TRAINWRECK

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

 

APRIL

FURIOUS 7

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

 

AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON

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

 

PAUL BLART: MALL COP 2

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

 

PITCH PERFECT 2

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

 

MAY

MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

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

 

TOMORROWLAND

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

 

SPY

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

 

INSIDE OUT

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

 

POLTERGEIST

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

 

SAN ANDREAS

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

 

JURASSIC WORLD

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

 

JUNE

INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3

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

 

TERMINATOR GENISYS

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

 

ANT-MAN

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

 

THE GALLOWS

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

 

JULY

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION

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

 

PIXELS

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

 

THE VATICAN TAPES

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

 

AUGUST

FANTASTIC FOUR

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

 

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

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

 

NO ESCAPE

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

 

AMERICAN ULTRA

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

 

SEPTEMBER

THE MARTIAN

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

 

PAN

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

 

OCTOBER

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE GHOST DIMENSION

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

 

SPECTRE

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

 

NOVEMBER

CREED

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

 

DECEMBER

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS

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

 

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