The Films of 2017


I would say I’m sorry for what’s about to happen, but I’m not.  Look, I greatly appreciate anyone who actually reads what’s below this, but as I was killing myself writing this I had an epiphany: you guys just have to read this!  I’m the one who for whatever reason felt that I owed it to anyone who cares to watch 73 movies that released in 2017 and to write mini-reviews about them all.  But still, anyone who does read all of this has my love forever.  I now present to you my reviews for the movies of 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

JANUARY 

UNDERWORLD: BLOOD WARS

The main reason to watch any of the Underworld series for me has always been because Kate Beckinsale is hot.  That hotness remains in the 5th installment.  The next reason would be because they shoot guns good.  That is also delivered upon.  So if you are like me and those two reasons are typically sufficient to call for a rental of this movie, you will be safe.  If not, then there’s nothing special about this movie to make you change your mind about the series.  It’s fine, but that’s about the best praise I can muster.

MONSTER TRUCKS

Someone definitely thought of this movie and fell in love with themselves.  The concept for the movie is like a discarded Jerry Seinfeld joke.  “What’s the deal with Monster Trucks?  They’re trucks, but they don’t have monsters in them!”  And then the movie just fell into place.  Strangely enough though, I didn’t really hate this movie.  It is a stupid and ridiculous concept with a lot of flaws, but I actually was slightly charmed by it in the end.  As far as problems go, the main character.  This kid has no interest in anything besides cars.  The attractive geeky girl was totally going for him the whole time but he just couldn’t be bothered.  He had a shitty truck to build.  He also calls the kid whose father owns the dealership in town the “luckiest kid in town.”  There’s literally a dude in this town dating Samara Weaving.  Until further studies can be conducted, he’s the luckiest kid.  He could be the luckiest kid himself if he just got his head out of his own tailpipe and realized that Jane Levy is crushing on him pretty hard.  And I’ll take that, even if she spouts out “wisdom” like being thankful to his dad for being so shitty because it made him who he is, and she likes who he is.  But, even with all that, I did feel a little charmed by the movie by the time it finished, and I’m as confused about that as anyone else.

THE BYE BYE MAN

This movie was a whole bag of dicks.  It’s all about a supernatural creature called the Bye Bye Man who makes people kill people by making them hallucinate things that would drive them to such action when you think about him, and you can pass this curse on to someone else by telling them his name.  So what do they do?  They investigate him so that they’re thinking about him constantly.  They type his name into the worst search engine ever that somehow doesn’t bring up any results for “bye bye man,” as if those words wouldn’t bring 50,700,000 results (I just checked), and I’m sure that not all of those are related to this movie.  I mean, people might utter this phrase just saying goodbye to each other.  Also, while trying not to think about it, the main character starts driving to another investigation while playing “Bye Bye Love.”  …Smart.  So obviously, the plot doesn’t make sense.  And to top that off, the acting was really lackluster, the effects were pretty poor, and it wasn’t remotely scary.  So if there is a reason to watch this movie, I didn’t manage to find it in the only viewing I’m willing to give this movie.

SPLIT

I feel like I should come into reviewing this movie by exclaiming, “M. Night Shyamalan is back, baby!” but I feel like that wouldn’t really feel right.  Sure, M. has probably done more garbage at this point to damage the high bar he set for himself with his early movies and this movie is actually really good, but I don’t want to give him all the credit.  And I certainly don’t want to start thinking he’s back so I should definitely rush straight to the theater for all his upcoming After Earth 2’s.  He did a really good job making a super tense and interesting movie here, but I feel like I want to give most of the credit to James McAvoy.  He is incomprehensibly impressive in this movie, playing 23 distinctly different personalities (or at least that’s what they say he had, I didn’t count how many actually made it into the movie).  I give at least 70% of the credit to him for why people should see this movie, but I still think everyone should.  Plus, it sets up a sequel to Unbreakable, which I understand other people enjoyed though I don’t recall being entirely impressed by it.  Still, great movie.

XXX: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE

This movie delivers all that anyone should really expect out of a Vin Diesel movie that allows him to say more than “I am Groot.”  It spends roughly equal time not making sense or offering nothing surprising out of the story but does it’s best to make up for it by having lots of things explode and having people drive motorcycles on the ocean.  Donnie Yen and Tony Jaa do their best to make some of the fights entertaining, but if you’re expecting more than that then you are a silly person.

RESIDENT EVIL: THE FINAL CHAPTER

Within the first 15 minutes of this movie, I had the thought that it seemed that they weren’t confident enough in their script to let 5 minutes pass without something going “Bang!”  And they were correct.  It’s real dumb and barely even bothers to try to hide that fact.  It basically sets itself up to be the last of the Resident Evil movies (though with the way it ends, it feels questionable that they aren’t leaving it open to continue) and that Milla Jovovich needs to return to where it all started to release an airborne cure for the T-virus and she has 48 hours to do it.  No attempt is ever really made to explain how the artificial intelligence known as the Red Queen knows to the exact second when humanity will perish.  Is Umbrella going to strike and she is privy to that information?  Because they mostly act like it’s the zombies that are going to get them and if that’s the case, how are you able to predict so accurately what exact second they’re going to die?  Zombies don’t work on your schedule.  And it would have to be to the second because of course she saves the day with 30 seconds left, but then they also don’t bother to figure out how this cure that we can visually watch spread fairly slowly is going to manage to cure the world in less than 30 seconds when it clearly isn’t finishing off the zombies around Milla that fast.  But I guess it is pointless to look for logic in this movie.  Things go boom and guns are fired, and you know those guns are so much more gooder because they each have an extra, arbitrary barrel.  Double barreled pistols, triple barreled shotguns, and that one idiot Doc guy who is surrounded by guns but picks a nail gun instead.  This movie is indeed dumb, but exactly the dumb I expected it to be.

 

FEBRUARY

RINGS

It is exactly The Ring again, but worse.  Nothing particularly special in any facet of this movie.  They’re all basically the same: they watch the tape and find out they’re going to die in 7 days so they start to investigate to appease Samara Morgan, who always turns out to be a shit because after they go out of their way to try to do something nice for her, she just continues to be evil anyway and usually kills them.  That happens again.  Pretty basic, not particularly scary because it’s nothing we haven’t really seen before.  No real need to watch it again.

THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE

This movie was a little tough on me because (though I enjoyed the LEGO Movie) I didn’t feel particularly inspired to see this.  But I have a friend that is a huge fan of both LEGO and Batman and if I wanted to be his friend any longer, I was told I would need to see this movie.  After weighing my options, I decided to buy it when it came out on DVD several months later.  You ain’t the boss of me, Randy!  But the biggest problem I had going into this movie is how much hype I had heard going in.  It’s sitting at 91% on Rotten Tomatoes right now and Randy would have me believe that this was a funny Citizen Kane.  Well it was funny and it was well-written, both to an extent not necessarily required for generally a kid’s movie, but I’m sure appreciated by any parents that had to see it, but also not quite to the extent I went into the movie expecting.  It was really good and a lot of fun, but maybe not quite THAT much fun.  Still definitely worth watching though.

FIFTY SHADES DARKER

After having sat through Fifty Shades of Grey, even I was hesitant to start watching Fifty Shades Darker.  List be damned, I can’t take another one!  I eventually talked myself into it.  You’re welcome…  Here is the nice thing I have to say about this movie: it is slightly better written than the first one.  If that sounds like it’s not saying much, that’s because it isn’t.  I can only say that about this movie because the first one was so awful that it wasn’t difficult for this one to surpass it, even if only by a little.  There’s still moments where Ana touches Christian’s beard and says, “This is spikey!”  And where he says that his mother died when he was 4 and was an addict and that Ana should fill in the blanks from there.  The 30 to 40 years of blanks, homie.  And moments where he says that she should come to a party and meet his mom…but should do so with steel balls in her vagina.  And then later say, “Now you know what those silver balls do.”  …You put them in your vagina.  What did you think they’d do?  The characters are also very stupid.  Mostly Ana.  She’s so proud that she tears up a $24,000 check.  Heck, I’d probably let this guy do a little rough trade on me for $24,000.  Then, she’s so against his S&M stuff, but is requesting it again on the second date.  She doesn’t want to be submissive, but gives in really quick to it.  She also says that she was more scared by Christian when he uses his dominant powers to subdue the girl that used to be his submissive.  The one who broke into Ana’s apartment, pointed a gun at her, and fired it in the room to prove she meant business.  …She was more scared of him.  Also poorly-written was her boss, who was written by someone that had just had to go through sexual harassment training and just wrote down the opposite.  Even people prone to sexual harass aren’t so blatant.  And then he gets fired and the bosses say, “We need someone to take over for him…  How about his secretary?”  Also, I have never seen anyone over the age of 10 more impressed by fireworks than these 60+ year old adults at the party at the end.  Okay, I have to move on.  But make no mistake; these movies are awful.

JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2

I think if anything hurt the second John Wick movie, it was the fact that it was the second John Wick movie.  I had nothing to expect going into a Keanu Reeves movie with a boring name like John Wick back when the first one came out, but that movie kicked all the ass in such epic fashion that it blew expectations out of the water.  John Wick 2 met expectations that had been restructured based on the quality of the first movie.  It was still very excellent and had tons of great action, but it is slightly hindered by the fact that it wasn’t also surprising in its awesomeness.  Still definitely worth checking out though.

THE GREAT WALL

Unlike John Wick, The Great Wall actually benefited because of my expectations.  Who didn’t think this movie would be a whole bag of dicks when they first saw it?  A great wall movie starring a white man, like the Last Samurai but with monsters.  (I know that China and Japan are different places, by the way)  But it was better than I expected.  Not much better than I expected, and I did expect it to be painfully bad, but it was better than that.  There’s absolutely no real reason to watch this movie that I can recall, but it won’t hurt you very much to do so.

GET OUT

And the hat trick of movies affected by expectations, Get Out was way overhyped.  It had so much steam that, even though I really had no interest in seeing this movie, I saw its 99% on Rotten Tomatoes and combined that with recommendations from the media and my friends and then capped it off with the fact that it was written by the hilarious and talented Jordan Peele and decided I should see it.  When I left, I didn’t hate the movie, but I certainly didn’t see what all the hype was about.  It was good.  My mind wasn’t blown and it didn’t change my life at all, but it was good.  Maybe it’s mostly because I’m not afraid of the racism this movie is talking about.  Not because I’m white, but because I’m racist.  But it also probably didn’t speak to me as much because racism isn’t really something I have to deal with or see that often, and the racism in this movie isn’t always relatable.  The minor racist things, sure, but I don’t hear too many stories of white people trying to brain swap with black folk so I assume it’s not a big issue.

 

MARCH

LOGAN

My favorite comic book movie changes so often that I don’t even know what my list looks like anymore.  One thing I do know for sure is that Logan is at the very least top 3, if not number one.  In the past, one big sticking point I’ve had with Wolverine movies (and even other comic book movies) is that the first thing they like to do to create a problem for the hero to solve is remove everything we like about them by taking their powers away so they can overcome.  They do that here too, but here it works because Wolverine is getting old and dying and that plays such a large part of a story that is not just the hero overcoming a temporary limitation, but getting older and weaker and having the thing that once made him nigh unstoppable now killing him slowly from the inside.  Then you have the dying father figure in Professor X and the new unexpected (but entirely badass) child in X-23.  And yes, you have a lot of gore and blood and violence for a superhero movie, but that could all be gone and this movie would not suffer in the slightest, though it certainly makes you sit up and pay attention right from the opening of the movie.  I cried multiple times in this movie.  MULTIPLE.  TIMES!  IN A COMIC BOOK MOVIE!!  And not just from awesomeness making my eyes explode, but from deeply emotional and poignant moments.  That cross to an X thing?  Are you kidding me!?  You’re dead inside if that doesn’t get you.  Watch this damned movie if you haven’t already!

KONG: SKULL ISLAND

I feel like I heard a lot of people beating up on Kong: Skull Island and I have no idea why.  Sure, it doesn’t really break any new ground, but it’s exactly what I wanted: a giant monkey movie.  Kong is a total badass and smashes a lot of stuff.  Good!  That’s what I came to see!  It looks great and is super fun.  It has a story, but it doesn’t really waste too much time with stuff it doesn’t have to.  Maybe the John C. Reilly stuff wasn’t really pivotal to the plot and could’ve then been removed because he wasn’t a giant ape smashing helicopters or giant lizards, but it was a nice emotional section of the movie with a good pay off at the end I wasn’t expecting.  This is a fun movie.  You should check it out.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

Technically speaking this movie had no reason to exist.  It is almost exactly the animated Disney movie but some of the people in this one are real.  And they apparently added a song that was fairly lackluster and I don’t remember anymore.  That being said, Beauty and the Beast is so ingrained in my DNA that I got goosebumps every time I saw the trailer and it started with the light piano music and the picture of the castle.  Before my brain even figured out what it was, my body decided we were going, and let me know by having hairs on my arm stand up.  And then I saw that Emma Watson is in it, a better representation of beauty and brains I cannot fathom.  Also, Luke Evans and Josh Gad were delightful.  So, will you gain anything new seeing this version of the movie?  No.  But it’s a lovely way to see that movie again, but slightly differently.

POWER RANGERS

This is an odd moment when my expectations of a movie helped it adversely.  Power Rangers was not a great movie, but I think my deep seeded love of Power Rangers made me fight every contradictory though that might make me realize that.  Not that I wound up thinking it was great by a long shot, but I found it acceptable.  It’s been too long since there was something Power Rangers related that I’ve seen that at least seemed watchable to me as an adult.  It wasn’t quite the dark, gritty Power Rangers that the online video that seemed to spark this reimagining was, but it was a nice middle ground between that too-dark-for-Power-Rangers video and the campy, probably-wouldn’t-like-it-if-I-saw-it-today Power Rangers of my youth.  Fights could’ve been better, some dumbness could be removed, they could allow Elizabeth Banks to just be the hot she is without all the prosthetic makeup, but it was fine.  I certainly hope they give it another go and try a little harder next time.

LIFE

I feel like space movies probably have an easier time conveying tension in thriller/horror movies because it’s already a claustrophobic environment and you know while watching that there’s barely anything you can do to escape any problems you have to deal with.  Life benefits from that, but also benefits from good direction and good visuals added to some top-notch acting.  The biggest problem that the movie had for me was that I had a hard time taking the murderous little alien creature seriously when people kept referring to it as “Calvin.”  Beyond that, Life was an enjoyable movie, and pretty well worth renting.

CHIPS

CHiPS definitely had some flaws, but I found it to be much funnier than I expected to be.  Granted, a lot of that humor was pretty lowbrow and involved a lot of poop, slapstick, and sex humor, but sometimes that’s good enough.  Or at least I hope it’s enough or my channel is going to be in some trouble.  Either way, CHiPS isn’t the greatest thing ever, but it’s a comedy and I laughed a few times while watching it.  Seems like that counts as “successful” to me.

GHOST IN THE SHELL

Ghost in the Shell got beaten up a lot even before it released because of the alleged whitewashing of the main character that was turned into a white lady.  I personally don’t know what the problem is in turning a robot into another robot, but a lot of the internet seemed to take issue with the original protagonist’s sticker having been turned from “Made in Japan” to “Made in America” but I didn’t.  I also didn’t take any issue with how this movie compares to the original anime because, though I own it, I haven’t gotten around to watching it yet.  Going in with nothing to compare it to and no self-righteous, social justice warrior anger, I thought the movie was fine.  Visually pretty cool and with some action and good performance from Scarlet Johansson.  It just didn’t seem particularly special to me, so it was just fine.  Now if ScarJo had been ACTUALLY naked and not just looked ALMOST naked, maybe that would be a different story…

BOSS BABY

Honestly, the only reason this movie even gets to this list is because it was on Netflix.  My tolerance level is so much more forgiving when it’s essentially free to me.  The idea of Boss Baby turned me off when I first heard about it, but I decided to give it a shot anyway.  I was surprised to find that I wound up finding the movie fairly charming.  The idea of the movie involving a boss baby showing up to try to stop a plot to make the world find puppies cuter than babies is certainly a wacky concept, and being able to accept the movie does take a while, but eventually I found that they were able to make it work.  Baldwin mostly carries the film, but additions of Steve Buscemi, Jimmy Kimmel, and Lisa Kudrow in smaller parts do well to spice up the movie, and they’re able to pull off some cute, and even sometimes funny, moments.  Problematically, I don’t really know who this movie is for.  Parents and adults might be able to find the movie cute as I did, but it doesn’t really seem like concepts that children would be too intrigued by.  I guess they have enough slapstick and fart humor for kids, but it’s otherwise a kind of middle ground where there are much better movies for both kids and parents so Boss Baby can’t quite match the draw of its competition.

 

APRIL

SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE

Some of the movies on my list (and you can probably guess which ones) I watched specifically hoping to get movies for my worst of list.  Sadly, Smurfs: The Lost Village let me down on that front.  Not that it was good; it just wasn’t bad enough to need to be there.  It was exactly what it should’ve been: a kid’s movie.  Not particularly smart, clever, or funny, but it’s colorful and cute and things fall down, which is all kids really need to enjoy a movie.  It also had some things in it that would be enjoyable to parents and might even get a laugh or two.  Can’t really ask for more than that.  At least not out of a kid’s movie not made by Pixar.

COLOSSAL

I have no recollection of how I heard about Colossal, but I did, so why don’t you get off my back?  It’s a very interesting and unique concept where a giant monster appears in Seoul and starts destroying stuff and it turns out this monster only appears when Anne Hathaway enters a specific playground in her hometown, and then it exactly mimics her movements.  Along the way, you’ll also get a fair serving of emotional resonance and comedy, with some great performances by Hathaway and Sudeikis, though I would say I prefer my Jason Sudeikis much more likeable than he is in this movie.  Very enjoyable and interesting movie, and I definitely recommend you take a gander.

THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS

…It’s another Fast and Furious movie…  The end…

Okay, I’ll say more than that.  This definitely is another Fast and Furious movie.  It’s big, dumb, and flashy.  You’ll find that out in the first five minutes when Dom gets into a race to stop a guy from taking his friend’s car and, in the course of said race, sets his friend’s car on fire and throws it into the ocean.  And then a few minutes later, he tells Charlize Theron what’s wrong with her car just by the sound of it…when it’s off and she’s under the hood looking at it and not trying to start it at the moment…  But, on the other hand, there’s nothing in the world I can think of sexier than Charlize Theron wearing a Metallica shirt, even with that ridiculous, sort-of-cornrows hair she had at the time.  Also, the fights with the Rock and the Statham are plain awesome.  I assume people that care about cars and car chases will also enjoy those scenes.

THE LOST CITY OF Z

Spider-Man, King Arthur, and Edward Cullen all in the same movie?!  What could go wrong!?  Well nothing really, but it probably won’t impress much either.  Lost City of Z is kind of a boring, walking around in the jungle drama movie.  Then going back to England and yelling in court about wanting to go back.  Then going back and walking around the jungle some more.  And they find some stuff the end.  There’s nothing really wrong with it, but also nothing particularly right with it.  It just is.  Watch it if you want.

THE CIRCLE

I wasn’t expecting much from this movie, and I got it.  The Circle is a perfectly acceptable movie with an impressive cast and vaguely interesting premise exploring the pros and cons of a connected world without privacy, but it never really seems like it picks a side in its own debate.  Bad stuff happens because of this technology (such as Emma Watson’s friend Mercer dying because people were trying to hunt him down to test the technology), but the movie also seems like it blames the technology when it was really Mercer’s stupidity.  I grant that it would be super annoying to have a bunch of people show up at your house trying to get a picture of you, but they weren’t trying to break in or something!  No reason to run out the door and drive off like an idiot and not pay attention to the road and drive yourself off a cliff.  That’s on you, homie!  You could also just answer the door and say, “Hey, you found me.  Congratulations.  Now kindly fuck off.”  But they also make interesting points about how people would probably behave better if they were always being watched, but then try to act like it’s also a bad thing and maybe side with it being a bad thing, but I don’t know.  Maybe I just got bored and stopped paying attention.  Kind of like I would in the movie if I found out Emma Watson’s character had a livestream of her entire life for people to watch.  I’d maybe give it a day and then realize I’d never see her naked and realize what a waste of time it was.

 

MAY

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2

No one is really curious about whether or not I liked this movie.  Of course I did.  I think the real question comes from which I liked better between Guardians of the Galaxy 1 or 2.  My answer to that is: …I don’t know.  It’s a difficult comparison.  The first movie was tons of fun and its quality may even have been amplified by the surprise of loving a movie about these characters I barely knew.  This one didn’t have as much surprise, but it supplanted it some real emotional moments surrounded Star-Lord and his father, and Star-Lord and his father figure.  When a comic book movie can get you to cry, that movie is more than just a comic book movie.  It’s just an amazing movie.

KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD

I don’t really know what this movie was going for, but I’m assuming it missed the mark a little.  I come into a movie like this predisposed to enjoy it because I enjoy Arthurian legend, but it turns out they were looking to vaguely base this movie off of Arthurian legend, but feel more like A Knight’s Tale with anachronistic MMA movies in a medieval battle and quick, annoying editing cuts.  And also some chick like Ursula from the Little Mermaid and her little octodaughters whispering all the time, making me try to pay more attention to a movie I wasn’t interested in to hear what they were saying.  And then also have a mage lady that speaks as though she finds it extremely difficult to do so.  There are some decent parts to this movie, but mostly I found it annoying and off-putting.

SNATCHED

I can’t say I expected too much from this movie going in.  I enjoy Amy Schumer a great deal, but have no particular affection for Goldie Hawn, and nothing in the trailers really drew me in.  But a cheap rental from a RedBox will make me a lot more willing, so I rented it.  It was okay.  The people involved would probably lead you to expect more than the movie is able to deliver though.  People like Schumer, Ike Barinholtz, Wanda Sykes, Christopher Meloni, and Randall Park made me think this movie had a lot more in store for me in the comedy department, but ultimately I found Joan Cusack’s character to be the funniest.  Not really a necessary watch, but you could do worse.

ALIEN: COVENANT

In comparison to Prometheus, at least Alien: Covenant feels like it took a big step towards actually being an Alien movie.  And not just by including it in the title.  And having a Xenomorph in it.  Unfortunately, a lot of those moments felt more like rehashed moments from other Alien movies, which is technically fine, but you’re not elevating this movie to the level of its predecessors that way.  It maybe progresses the lore of the Alien franchise a little bit, but at this point the timeline is so confusing I have a hard time figuring out which film happens when.  Overall, the movie is fine.  Worth watching, especially if you’re a fan of the franchise, but you’ll survive without it.

BAYWATCH

I can’t imagine too many people were expecting much from Baywatch.  I know I certainly wasn’t.  But after watching it, I feel like critics were overly critical to it.  I even saw some comparing it negatively to the TV show it was based on, acting like it didn’t live up to the high bar that show left for it.  High bar?  The only thing I remember about that show is that it was stupid but there were hot ladies and people running in slow motion!  This movie delivers that, but also has a pretty good amount of funny moments.  Personally, I think The Rock can make anything better with his mere presence, and Zac Efron and Alexandra Daddario also hold up their end.  So it has everything I remember about the TV show (ridiculously hot chicks and slow motion), but also adds hot dudes in The Rock and Efron, and some funny moments.  I would surprisingly say this movie is a perfectly acceptable watch.

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES

The Pirates of the Caribbean movies can vary pretty drastically.  The first two were good, the third one was made solid by some epic sea battles, the fourth one was garbage, and then the fifth one comes out and is actually pretty good.  It still has some epic moments, some pretty funny moments, a solid emotional story between Kaya Scodelario and Geoffrey Rush, and some good performances, especially by Javier Bardem.  I didn’t have much negative to say after seeing it besides maybe that they spent a little too much time with the new, almost lead character in this movie played by Brenton Thwaites.  When seeing the Pirates movies, I’m mostly interested in Capt. Jack and Barbossa, sometimes a little of Will Turner and Elizabeth Turner, but it was okay.  If this is indeed the way they intend to go out with these movies, it feels like a perfectly acceptable bow on a solid franchise.  If they’re doing more, this movie certainly didn’t talk me out of going to them.

 

JUNE

WONDER WOMAN

Marvel movies tend to be in a rough place because so many of them are so good that each new movie they release is inevitably going to be compared to the other movies in the universe that we expect so much from.  Wonder Woman has the benefit of being the only good DC movie since Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies.  I would say Wonder Woman isn’t perfect, but the first two acts of the movie are about as close as you can get.  Gal Gadot is wonderful, strong, and charismatic.  I would slap down anyone that criticized her before the movie released, saying the woman who served 2 years in the Israel Defense Force was too skinny and pretty to be a convincing Wonder Woman, and after seeing what she could do I would get especially violent with anyone who said that.  If this movie was just the No Man’s Land scene, it could’ve been the greatest comic book movie of all time, exemplifying exactly what I think Wonder Woman is.  Unfortunately, the movie loses a little of its steam in Act 3 because they still feel the need to end with a big CG supervillain instead of just being about how shitty man is, but it’s not so bad that this isn’t still an excellent movie.

THE MUMMY

I’m a little confused about The Mummy, and not just from wondering how exactly it’s beneficial to the mummy to have 2 sets of pupils.  I know I saw it, and I’m pretty sure I even bought it on Blu-Ray, but everyone on the internet seems to hate it.  I don’t recall hating it.  Granted, I don’t recall much about it at all, and maybe that’s the main problem with it.  It’s entirely forgettable.  I was interested in this movie because it was supposed to be setting up a cinematic universe for the Universal monsters, but I suppose that’s off the table now.  I don’t really know why.  DC keeps making movies for their universe even though no one has liked them, and eventually they made it to Wonder Woman.  Maybe the Dark Universe could too.  So I didn’t hate this movie, but I don’t remember anything about it, so I’m assuming it’s not special at all.

IT COMES AT NIGHT

I, probably like many of you, did not know about It Comes at Night.  I saw it on the list of movies released this year and assumed it must’ve been bad or I’d have heard about it, but then noticed that it actually got pretty good critical reception, so decided to check it out.  It’s certainly an interesting movie, very claustrophobic and builds a lot of tension, and all of the actors involved in the movie do a very good job.  It’s kind of a zombie apocalypse/disease outbreak movie, but you don’t really deal with the infected too much and rarely see any of them.  It’s more about the people in the house meeting and taking in new people and the trust that quickly fails and how they deal with that.  Certainly an interesting movie, but what kind of lost me was that it really didn’t seem to have an ending.  A character gets sick and then it ends.  No resolution of conflict really.  So it’s certainly a decent watch, but don’t expect them to have decided how to close their movie out.

ROUGH NIGHT

The only note I took about Rough Night was summed up in two words: “Somewhat funny.”  I’ll try to expand on that a little, but you can probably move on with the totality of this review already laid out for you.  There were some talented and funny people in this movie and a couple of funny moments, but it wasn’t typically laugh out loud funny.  It probably got a couple smiles out of me and maybe a chuckle or two.  The premise of the movie is pretty basic, and you’ll probably be able to get a good idea of how it’s all going to work out around midway through the movie, but along the way you may smile and may chuckle once or twice.  So, basically, “somewhat funny.”

47 METERS DOWN

I found myself nitpicking this movie pretty early on.  First off, the setup for the movie is pretty dumb.  Mandy Moore goes on vacation because her boyfriend left her because she was boring, so she goes on a trip to show him how fun she can be when he’s in another country and unable to see how fun she is.  Then, they decide to get in a cage to see some sharks close up, and they sell it by saying, “It’s like going to the zoo but you’re in the cage!”  …Who’s ever gone to a zoo and said they wish they were in the cages?  Especially with the dangerous animals.  Except all the little kids that want to play with the gorillas, polar bears, and tigers, I guess.  Maybe it’d be better to describe it as an underwater safari.  Also, the boat is called the “Sea Esta,” which is just an awful joke.  But the movie picks up a little when they get into the cages and it gets pretty tense and looks pretty good and the actors all do a pretty good job of it.  Not a movie that requires viewing, but not terrible either.

TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT

Yup!  They’re still making Transformers movies.  And they’re still roughly as good as any of the other ones.  The story is dumb, but they look pretty and you can see metal things smashing into metal things and things blowing up.  This Transformers movie was sold to me with all the trailers relying heavily on the fact that, for some reason, the heroic leader of the Autobots Optimus Prime goes rogue and fights the other Autobots.  That does happen in this movie, but the trailers lead me to believe it was almost the entire movie, and not that they used the entire movie to occasionally cut back to Optimus being turned and then have him show up and fight them for 5 minutes and then turn good again.  So the fifth installment of Transformers is stupid, but shiny.  You can go and jingle some keys in front of your face for roughly the same effect, but it’s not the worst way to spend 2 hours if you shut your brain off.

THE BIG SICK

I have been a very big fan of Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon for many years and had already heard them tell their story many times by the time I heard that they were turning it into a movie.  When I finally saw this movie, I was expecting I would enjoy it but that knowing how it turned out would probably diminish my enjoyment a little.  I was very wrong.  Even knowing how it turns out, I was in it every minute of the movie, and even super nervous at the end to see how the story would wrap up.  It wrapped up as I expected (and roughly how it had happened in real life), but what I wasn’t expecting was to spend the entire third act of the movie with tears in my eyes.  Kumail Nanjiani killed it in this movie, both in his acting and in the writing of the movie, which was equal parts emotionally riveting and hilarious, and Zoe Kazan (as the stand in for Nanjiani’s real life wife Emily) will make you fall in love with her even faster than Kumail did.  Also props to the comedians Bo Burnham, Aidy Bryant, and Kurt Braunohler, Emily’s parents Holly Hunter and Ray Romano, and pretty much every other person involved in this movie.  This movie is perfect, and I straight up demand you find a way to watch it.

BABY DRIVER

I think the only time I’ve been disappointed with Edgar Wright is in comparing one of his movies to another of his movies.  Sure, Shaun of the Dead was way better than The World’s End, but without that comparison, The World’s End is still a really fun movie.  Baby Driver wasn’t better written than Shaun of the Dead to me, but it excelled in other ways.  The story of Baby Driver is fairly unique and lots of fun, but what was most impressive is the way they used music, editing the movie so that the action matched the beats of the song.  Bullets were fired when snare drums were struck, things happening on screen matched up with lyrics, characters walked past signs and graffiti with the lyrics on them right as they happened in the song.  It was ingenious and, as an editor myself, a task I could never imagine pulling off successfully.  All of this mixed with great performances and appearances (both brief and supporting) from people like Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm, Jon Bernthal, and Flea, and you have yet another great movie Edgar Wright can happily put on his resume.

THE HOUSE

I wasn’t too disappointed in The House because I managed to keep my expectations low.  I can definitely see how some people might not have been able to though.  This movie has a fantastic comedic starring and supporting cast including Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler, Jason Mantzoukas, Nick Kroll, Michaela Watkins, Rob Huebel, Cedric Yarbrough, and Andrea Savage, some people I have loved for their comedic outings in the past.  The problem with The House is that it has all these brilliant people and even has a decent premise for a comedy movie and the movie still only gets to kind of funny.  You could’ve done much more with these ingredients, but the product was still edible.

 

JULY

A GHOST STORY

Generally this sort of artsy fartsy drama movie doesn’t interest me, but something about the trailer intrigued me.  It was probably wondering how they would make this movie not seem silly with the protagonist walking around with a sheet over himself like a cheap Halloween costume.  Well it did not seem silly, but I didn’t find it as emotionally impactful as it seemed to want to be.  It was an interesting exploration of life, love, and loss, but it also spent a lot of time right on the border of boring.  They had 2 good actors heading up the movie, but their performances were really quiet and subdued.  Casey Affleck couldn’t do much by way of performance because he was under a sheet for the whole movie, and the most impressive thing Rooney Mara did was eating an entire pie in one sitting.  Which isn’t a slight on her performance; that’s just plain impressive, but did we need to watch it all?  Also, how are you going to have Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara in a movie but the majority of the dialogue is either delivered in Spanish or by a hipster farmer dude?  Either way, this movie was fine to me, but I imagine some people more interested in such movies may find it very moving.

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING

I had often felt that the Spider-Man movies were a bit lacking.  Tobey was a great Peter Parker but not always a good Spider-Man.  Garfield was a pretty good Spider-Man but not a very good Peter.  Now Tom Holland shows up and shows them both how to do it, and even better, does so in well-written movie that remains fun from start to finish.  Along with Holland, Keaton is fantastic.  He’s a villain but with a clear motivation that makes him sympathetic, and the way he figures out Peter is Spider-Man was very well done.  Besides Holland and Keaton, there were also a great deal of wonderful supporting characters, like Robert Downey Jr, Jon Favreau, Donald Glover, Marisa Tomei, Chris Evans, Hannibal Buress, Martin Starr, and especially Zendaya, who nailed a joke in almost every scene she was in.  The only joke she didn’t land is the one where she said people should call her MJ.  I will not be doing that, and I hope future movies don’t attempt to convince me that she’s Mary Jane Watson.  But besides that minor snafu, this was a fantastic movie.

WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES

The Planet of the Apes movies are the odd series that seem to either improve or remain at the same level of quality as they add movies.  It’s also odd to watch a movie and side with the thing that is at war with the humans, but we are pretty shitty to the monkeys in these.  They seem pretty content in living in the woods, but we still have to go kill the kid of their leader.  Typical us.  Then we just continue to give them more and more reason to kick our asses until they do.  Serkis continues to prove why he’s the man you call when you need top-notch motion capture acting, and the human side of Woody Harrelson also delivers.  What might hold these movies back for me is that, while they’re all of good quality, they’re not particularly fun, though it’s not really what they’re aiming for with a post-apocalyptic movie.  Still a really good movie though.

DUNKIRK

I liked a lot about Dunkirk, but it feels like I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as most people seemed to.  It was very good, extremely well directed, and very interesting as well as being a story I didn’t know about beforehand, but it accomplished these things while being a mostly slow and measured movie that didn’t keep my attention some of the time.  It may be more my problem than the movie’s, but it was still my reaction.  Another part of my issue was that there were a few main characters typically surrounded by a huge amount of people that looked very similar, so besides Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, and Kenneth Branagh, I tended to lose track of whose story I was following.  All that being said, Dunkirk is an inarguably quality movie that just didn’t interest me as much as it did others.  I still recommend it as I feel I’m in the minority on this.

VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS

Visually, I have always been impressed by the films of Luc Besson when he goes to a fantasy realm.  Of course, that may not be saying too much because I’ve only seen 3 of his films that fit that description: The Fifth Element, Lucy, and Valerian.  His movies do tend to be more interesting from a story standpoint when they’re in the real world, like Leon the Professional and Taken.  None of this changes after watching Valerian.  Visually, it’s delightful and imaginative with a few good scenes of interesting and new action.  Beyond that, there’s not much to offer in this movie.  The story is fairly basic, as if they were worried that the imagination of the world visually would be too much if they also had a story more than solve a mystery, save a species.  Both main characters also seem to be trying too hard and coming up short.  People keep telling us how handsome and manly Dane DeHaan’s character is supposed to be, which is good because one wouldn’t reach that conclusion on their own.  Cara Delevigne’s direction seemed to be, “Constantly remind the audience that you are a strong, independent woman.  Listen to Beyoncé before every scene if you have to.”  In the end, the movie is very pretty to look upon, but there’s not much else.  Except maybe for Rihanna.  She was okay, but her intro scene was pretty interesting to watch.  Of course, you can save time by just watching that on YouTube instead of sitting through the whole movie.

ATOMIC BLONDE

Atomic Blonde balances itself entirely on the appeal of having Charlize Theron kick much ass and at one point have sex with a woman.  That’s what the trailers told me I’d be watching and that’s what it delivered.  Beyond that, there is a little style and flair to this movie and a fairly basic spy plot.  It’s sad to me that this movie wasn’t that impressive all around because I would totally like to see this version of Charlize Theron in a movie more like one of the better written Daniel Craig Bond movies.

THE EMOJI MOVIE

Obviously, I sometimes only watch a movie because I also do a bottom 5 list when I do a top 5.  Being a person who does not particularly like or use emojis in his life and also being a somewhat sane person who realizes that a movie written about emojis is starting itself off on the wrong foot, I of course decided this movie would be a solid candidate for one of the worst movies of the year.  I was only wrong in my assumption of how bad it would be.  It wasn’t as bad as I expected.  Still pretty bad, but it’s intended to be a kids movie so the fact that that its favorite joke is just saying poop different ways while a poop emoji is walking around seems vaguely acceptable.  Beyond that, the movie feels like it wants to be Wreck It Ralph and Inside Out while having nothing that made either of those two movies enjoyable.  It also spends a lot of its time making fun of everything wrong with the internet while ignoring the fact that it doesn’t exist without what it’s trying to mock.  I think the saddest thing about this movie is how many people I enjoy and respect were unable to make this movie anything worth existing.  Skip it.

 

AUGUST

THE DARK TOWER

I’m not exactly sure why the Dark Tower got beaten up as much as it did.  It wasn’t fantastic or anything, but it didn’t hurt my feelings either and that’s how the internet seemed to react.  Maybe they had some deep love for the books that this was based on, but I’d never really heard of them and don’t really care how they match up.  All I know is that Stephen King has a thing about little white boys psychically calling for help from older black men.  Based on just the movie, there’s not much to it, but it had they did some cool things with guns and reloading that made it interesting enough.  It’s just shocking that all these gun fights are happening as they did without white doves flying out of everything.  I didn’t really like the main kid in the movie too.  Something about his face, I think.  He kind of looked like a male Alicia Vikander.  On the other hand, I felt like Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey did serviceable jobs.  So maybe I’m alone in this, but I didn’t hate it.

KIDNAP

Kidnap feels like they were trying to make female Taken but instead of ass-whoopery, the main character is trained in stunt car driving.  So Halle Berry’s kid is kidnapped for unknown purposes by two hicks and she decides she needs to take the law into her own hands because the police suck.  Well turns out everyone in this movie sucks except the children and Halle Berry because the whole movie could’ve been stopped by the asshole in the beginning that completely ignores the hysterical woman screaming, “They have my son!” and could’ve helped by just turning his car slightly and blocking the ramp.  The hicks in the movie aren’t just evil abductors of children, but they’re also real stupid.  Halle Berry gets the upper hand on the fat white hick lady, puts on her jacket, and waves out the window at her partner, who somehow can’t see through the windshield or what color her hand is and mistakes Halle Berry for his fat white accomplice.  And the biggest issue is I think any criminal with even a fraction of a brain would’ve gotten rid of the kid 10 minutes or so into the chase.  This mom is NOT giving up and this kid is more trouble than he’s worth.  Either kill him or let him go.  Otherwise she may end up killing you with a minivan.  And that’s not a joke.  She does that.  So obviously, there were problems with the story and the logic in this movie, but it is pretty fast paced and reasonably thrilling, and Halle Berry really puts herself through a workout.  An acceptable movie, but one you can skip too.

ANNABELLE: CREATION

I’ve already done a video review for this movie, and I’ve also mostly forgotten it, so I’ll keep it brief.  If I remember correctly, I enjoyed it.  Pretty creepy without relying too much on gore and jump scares.  Good performances too.  If you want more detail, you should watch the video.  That guy in the video remembers it way better than I do.  Probably had some good jokes too.

THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD

The Hitman’s Bodyguard is far from a ground-breaking action-comedy, but why should someone assume it needs to be.  I certainly don’t.  I expected some good action.  Check.  I expected some funny moments.  Check.  What I didn’t expect is Selma Hayek and Gary Oldman (because I didn’t look into the movie much and didn’t know they were in it), but they’re typically good and were here as well.  What I also didn’t expect is Reynolds and Jackson to have such good chemistry.  They were really fun together.  And the movie, though not mind-blowing, should suffice as an enjoyable experience.

LOGAN LUCKY

I’m no expert on the work of Steven Soderbergh.  I’ve seen a couple of his movies but not very many, and I’ve never found myself entirely impressed with them.  Critics apparently love him though, so that’s good, I guess.  For me personally, I thought Logan Lucky was a perfectly fine little heist movie with a great cast and a few laughs.  It didn’t strike me as much more than that though.

BIRTH OF THE DRAGON

Normally, seeing WWE Studios attached to a movie is what lets me know I don’t need to watch it.  This movie was different.  Not because I saw the trailers and thought it would be amazing, but because it was about Bruce Lee and probably had some decent fights in it, which would hopefully make up for lack of quality.  I wrote that sentence before I started watching the movie, which only proves that I can predict the future.  That’s exactly what happened.  It was a vaguely interesting movie about a fight between Bruce and Wong Jack Man, grandfather of Hugh Jackman.  Well, it’s KIND OF about that fight.  This movie actually takes the interesting (and ill-advised) approach of making that fight (and even those characters) kind of background noise, instead preferring to focus its attention on some fictional white guy student of Bruce’s that falls in love with a waitress he needs to save from the triads.  So that was pretty dumb, but it leads to a pretty good fight at the end.  And that’s all this movie was to me: some bullshit separating some solid fights.  And that’s good enough sometimes.

 

SEPTEMBER

IT

There is a video for this movie you can watch for detailed description and jokes long forgotten.  I made a pretty excellent Photoshop image for it though.  My thoughts of the movie have not changed.  I still thought it was entirely solid as a horror movie.  One thing that has changed since then is that I have a new respect for the occasionally annoying comic relief Richie, played by the best name in Hollywood Finn Wolfhard, because I have since seen Stranger Things, which is amazing.  Certainly better than this movie, but this movie is still good.  Go watch the video.

AMERICAN ASSASSIN

It’s like the Hitman’s Bodyguard, but boring and with no comedy.  A guy’s girlfriend gets killed by terrorists and he just can’t let it go so he spends the rest of his life infiltrating and trying to kill terrorists until the government decides to give him a paycheck for it.  Then Batman trains him and the guy that ruined Gambit shows up trying to do bad things and then they explode a bomb in the ocean.  The end.  Watch Hitman’s Bodyguard instead.  Much more fun.

MOTHER!

I’ve never really been a fan of Darren Aronofsky movies.  Too dark and confusing and full of themselves and up their own ass with how important they think they are.  And then comes mother!, which I apparently have to type like that but hopefully never will again.  I expected I would hate this movie, but I didn’t.  I didn’t like it because it was dark and gross and pretentious, but I would have to give it credit for being somewhat thought-provoking and artistically delivered, though also being filled with characters that were super annoying and did not act like humans.  Ed Harris and Javier Bardem, for instance.  Harris is Bardem’s biggest fan who apparently stalks him and finds where he lives, so you invite him into your house against the wishes of your wife, he gets to spend the night, invites his wife who also spends the night, they break your most cherished possession, get scolded, and then walk into the next room to have sex.  It gets worse from there.  The people were so unrealistic that the movie played more like a black comedy to me as things get more and more ridiculous.  It also becomes pretty clear that this is all a metaphor for God and religion and whatnot.  It keeps itself subtle for the first two thirds of the movie, but closes by going really heavy-handed with their metaphor.  In the end, I didn’t hate it, I didn’t like it, but it was at least interesting.

KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE

I found the first Kingsman movie to be surprisingly fun.  I would say roughly the same about the sequel without the surprise.  I like that both movies really don’t try to take themselves seriously, but do have a solid action movie mixed in with that.  Then they made a sequel and tried (as sequels often do) to give you more of the things they can manage to try to balance the lack of surprise, but surprise can get you a lot of points.  So, Kingsman: The Golden Circle is fine.

THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE

If the Lego Ninjago movie had come out before Lego Batman, I would say they’ve already lost their touch.  The Lego Movie was great.  Lego Batman was slightly less great, but still great in its own right.  Lego Ninjago is cute at best.  It all starts with a scene stolen right out of another Jackie Chan movie called The Forbidden Kingdom where a kid wanders into a Chinese antique store and is regaled with the ancient Chinese legend … of Lego Ninjago … Then they go into the CG stuff which is all about the Green Ranger or whatever whose dad is the bad guy and they fight with their giant, loud, robotic Megazords in true ninja fashion.  The story isn’t really that good, but there are some solid laughs along the way, most of which are delivered by Jackie Chan.  They also have a pretty impressive cast in the movie.  On the bad side, it wasn’t very impressive as a movie, especially when compared to the other Lego movies.  Also, something about the animation just didn’t seem right.  In video game parlance, it seemed like the frame rate was too low.  Of course, as the second Lego movie released this year, they may have just spent more time on the good one and rushed this out for a quick buck.  It’s not terrible, but just watch Lego Batman or The Lego Movie instead.

FLATLINERS

A bunch of doctors decide to temporarily kill themselves because it gives them special brain powers.  How do you think I felt about it?  This movie probably should’ve just been what the trailers made it look like to me: as if briefly killing themselves made their brain work better, but having touched the other side made them able to see dead people, which causes horror movie.  Instead it seemed like their special brain powers had the side-effect of making your guilt seem real and try to kill you unless you got it off your chest.  And it’s not good enough to just tell anyone, you have to get some repercussions for it.  When Marlo tells Ray that she screwed up once and killed someone while on call at the hospital, all that’s going to lead to is the two of you having sex…for some reason…  You have to actually tell the head of the hospital and get fired.  This movie had potential, but fell pretty short of it.

 

OCTOBER

HAPPY DEATH DAY

I realized after watching this movie that I can think of 3 genres that the Groundhog Day formula has fit itself into.  Comedy, obviously.  Then later, Sci-Fi/Action with Edge of Tomorrow, and now even into the Horror genre.  From the trailers, I thought this movie was going to be the worst, but was happy to find that it was actually pretty good.  I’ve already succinctly summed up the concept of the movie by saying Horror Groundhog Day, but they were able to make that work.  I was worried near the end that they were going to go for a really boring revelation of who the killer was, but then they were able to sneak a nice twist in instead.  Jessica Rothe performed her role well, but she certainly wasn’t likeable for most of the movie.  She was a rude little wench until she started getting killed a couple times.  I had a couple questions about her though.  First of all, why does someone who doesn’t want people to know it’s her birthday have a really annoying “It’s your birthday!” ringer on their phone?  And why is your ringer about your birthday?  Do you just change it to that ringtone for that day or is it always that ringtone?  Also, how are you going to start noticeably falling in love with a guy because you find out he DIDN’T date rape you after you woke up in his bed?  That’s supposed to be par, not the sign of a sweet guy.  You shouldn’t be impressed by his self-control.  And then questions in general: what kind of college chooses an ugly creepy football baby as their school mascot?  And how does the killer plan for every eventuality?  She goes under the bridge?  He’s there.  Next time stays in her room.  He’s there too.  Goes to the hospital and guess what?  He went to In N’ Out instead.  …Oh wait no, he’s killing you.  Regardless of those minor questions I had, this movie was surprisingly enjoyable.  Check it out.

THE FOREIGNER

Most of what I say about a Jackie Chan movie can be taken with a grain of salt because I’m going to have automatic affection for them.  I’ve loved Jackie Chan for years and don’t currently recall any movie I’ve seen of his bad enough to change that.  The Foreigner didn’t either.  It was actually fairly good, though admittedly not as good as I hoped it would be.  Jackie Chan’s daughter, Cho Chang, returns from Hogwarts (it really is Katie Leung.  I was so excited) and gets caught in a terrorist bombing.  After grieving, Jackie goes after the bomber to get revenge but essentially becomes a terrorist himself to exclusively Pierce Brosnan to try to get the names of the bombers from him, even though he only seems to have a slim connection and a gut feeling to decide Brosnan might know who did it.  The story was somewhat basic, but did have some characters whose motivations you stay questioning.  The movie did have some action and some fighting, but nowhere near as much as Chan’s movies typically would have, which I found a little disappointing.  Chan’s style of fighting in movies typically doesn’t lend itself to him being a highly trained badass.  He more seems to kick a bunch of people’s asses by accident in his movies, but it ends up working pretty well when it happens in this movie.  I think the thing people might find most impressive in this movie is that Jackie Chan gets to bust out some acting chops to go along with those karate chops, proving himself very competent in a dramatic role too.  I recommend this movie for a watch.

GEOSTORM

I have a particular fondness for epic disaster movies and have been known to watch my entire collection of them about once a year, so obviously I was going to see Geostorm when I heard about it.  One does not go into such a movie expecting a smart movie.  Just spectacle.  That’s all you need.  No one’s even going to watch this movie and find it remotely believable because we all know climate change is fake news.  Not terribly long into the movie though, you realize that it’s actually not really a disaster movie as we come to expect.  A disaster movie is when the Earth itself is trying to kill us.  This movie is more White House Down than 2012.  It’s something like the 3rd guy in line for President hacks the satellite system designed to stop mega-storms and starts using it to cause mega-storms, I guess hoping he’ll kill the President and VP in the process.  I don’t know how that’s going to work out for Ed Harris to cause a geostorm that lays waste to the world, but that’s what he wants.  So it’s dumb, the dialogue is extremely lackluster, and the performances range from mediocre to Gerard Butler looking amazed when he gets onto the space station even though he built it.  By no means required viewing, but decent enough dumb spectacle.

LEATHERFACE

I hate slasher movies.  They’re meant to be horror movies but the best they can ever muster or even bother to attempt is jump scares unless you have some deep-seeded phobia for red-colored corn syrup.  Besides buckets of corn syrup, all this movie has is a vague attempt to be interesting by providing an unnecessary origin story to Leatherface no one was really asking for, and some average performances from Iron Fist Finn Jones and the dude that played young Hodor.  Feel free to skip this movie.

AMITYVILLE: THE AWAKENING

You know when you watch a horror movie and wonder how these people don’t have at least a general idea how to react, as if they’ve never seen a horror movie before, but you have to guess that maybe in this universe they never had these movies?  What if you were watching an Amityville movie and they didn’t know this house was bad news and then they also reference (and even watch them in this movie) the 30 other Amityville movies?  Well then those people are dumb.  And they are!  With Bella Thorne spouting logic about her bedridden brother, “He’s my twin.  I can feel he’s gone!”  That’s just good science.  Also, she somehow gets blamed-and blames herself-for her brother being bedridden when he got injured trying to fight a guy that spread pictures of her?  That was his choice and she wasn’t even there.  She was just the inspiration for it.  She’s also a Goth chick that apparently decides it’s best to do her homework and walk around her house in her lacy pink panties, not that I’m complaining about seeing it, just that it doesn’t seem to fit the character.  She also sees a window raise up on its own and a ghost girl slam against it, and then immediately after scolds her little sister for startling her because she’s standing in the next room over quietly watching her?  I guess you could say that shitty parenting is the reason she grew up like she did.  Her mom was a real shitbag.  The only person she likes in this movie (or her family) is the bedridden brother and is pretty shitty to everyone else.  This movie is not scary, boring, most of the characters are unlikeable and not particularly well-performed, and it barely bothers to try.  As they say in this movie, “Remakes totally blow.”

 

NOVEMBER

THOR: RAGNAROK

Two easy things to say about Thor: Ragnarok are: 1) By far the best Thor movie to date, and 2) Most likely the most consistently funny Marvel Cinematic Universe movie (Deadpool being in the battle for funniest comic book movie ever may put up a fight though).  Wonderfully and hilariously written, well-directed, great performances, Cate Blanchett was hella hot as … whatever her character’s name was, and an overall fantastic and fun time at the movies.  I would say if there is some minor thing to say negatively about this movie, is that I was one of the people who found it odd that Thor was the way he was in all the other movies and yet in this movie he’s suddenly a really funny dude that doesn’t take these situations seriously.  Previously, he was only really delivering comedy as the butt of the joke with things like not understanding human society, but not actively making jokes himself.  But I accept that unexplained change in character because I was laughing and enjoying myself.  Great movie.

MAYHEM

This movie is essentially a comedic business world interpretation of 28 Days Later.  An infection breaks out in an office building of a disease that causes people to lose their inhibitions and become extremely violent.  Steven Yeun had just been wrongly terminated but had not left the building yet when the building gets quarantined so he makes friends with Samara Weaving and together they work their way up to the top for justice.  Pretty funny, very violent, and drenched in blood.  Steven Yeun and Samara Weaving are great, but at the time I had only seen her in this and Ash vs. the Evil Dead, so I’m pretty sure this gorgeous lady has a fetish for being covered in fake blood.  Not much to say about this movie besides it was pretty enjoyable for a movie I had no expectations for.  A good RedBox pick if you come across it.

JUSTICE LEAGUE

The best I can say about DC at this point is that they at least seem to be starting to figure out what they need to do.  They’re moving in the right direction, just not as fast as I would like them to.  Justice League suffers from coming out the same year as Wonder Woman, when fans looked at themselves and said, “Hey!  I guess they finally found the formula!  No more Suicide Squads and Batman v. Superman’s for these guys!”  The other thing it suffers from is characters.  Aquaman feels all wrong in performance though perfectly acceptable to me in appearance.  All you need to do is grab Momoa and say, “Be Khal Drogo but you can speak English and also talk to fish.”  Cyborg was a little bland and not very fun.  Batman was way too jokey, Wonder Woman didn’t have the same magic she did in her own movie, and the Flash.  Oh boy the Flash!  I’m not even a fan of the Flash and I know he’s all wrong.  Joking around and not being funny, talking about how he doesn’t know how to fight, and the worst affront: he doesn’t know how to run!  Flash, you had one job!  I know it would be a little weird in the audition process to say, “Okay, you have everything we want performance-wise, but can we go ahead and get you up on this treadmill real quick so we can make sure you don’t run like a goof?”  One positive note (besides being better than most DCEU movies by a little bit) is that they nailed them some Superman.  He was finally not a mopey bitch and was all truth, justice, American way, Boy Scout style Superman.  The negative side of that is that I hate Superman for reasons that this movie illustrates brilliantly.  The Justice League can’t beat their awful-looking, CGI baddie-du-jour and then Supes shows up as comic book Jesus and whips him.  All-powerful heroes are not interesting to me, and it makes the rest of the team look weak.  Still, I’d implore DC to not do anything rash like feeling you need to reboot everyone.  Everyone but Ezra Miller was fine, and can do well if you write them better in the future.  Even Ezra could be fine if you write him better and get him a physical trainer to teach him how to run.

COCO

I was not interested in seeing this movie.  Typically, Disney Pixar movies pique my interest, but I hadn’t heard anything about this movie to drive me to it.  Plus, I thought it was all about a dog because I misread their posters.  But, a friend of mine wanted to see it and, let’s face it; I don’t do anything important in my free time and had no excuse not to go.  Added bonus was that this friend is a Mexican and I could not pass up the opportunity to see the movie with a Mexican so I could turn to him every five minutes and ask, “What’s an ‘abuela’?”  And afterwards I could condescendingly explain to him that I understand his plight as a Mexican now that I’ve seen this movie.  Should I talk about the movie itself now?  Okay, it was pretty good.  I found myself really bored for the first half of the movie.  I wasn’t entirely sure what was causing that, but part of me blames the 7 hour Frozen movie I sat through right before this movie.  Eventually, I got on board with the movie and ended feeling that I enjoyed it.  And the end?  Heart-wrenching.  I cried like a bitch, and I’m not ashamed to say it.  Coco is pretty good and the ending is wonderfully touching.  I would also say that technically speaking there’s nothing wrong with the Frozen “short” that came before it, but it was way too long and not very impressive and got Coco started on the wrong foot.  Separately on the DVD release, probably fine.

 

DECEMBER

THE DISASTER ARTIST

Do you want to know how good this movie is?  If the answer’s no, why are you here?  For the yes crowd: this movie is so good that it inspired me to read a book!  I never read books!  …Okay, technically this time I didn’t read a book either, but I did listen to one on Audible.  (I recommend the Disaster Artist book too)  This was such a great movie.  It’s a real study and recounting of the process involved in the making of one of the worst movies of all time: The Room.  James Franco does a perfect Tommy Wiseau, his brother Dave does a good Greg Sestero (though admittedly he looks nothing like him and that beard was pretty unconvincing), and every character supports and delivers on all of the comedy and surprising occasional emotional moments.  And the cast is crazy.  I would say go look it up on Wikipedia or IMDb to see who’s in this, but why waste time with that when I’m just going to tell you to watch this movie instead?  The only caveat I feel I need to add is that I really have no idea what this movie will do to someone who has not seen The Room beforehand.  I have seen The Room (at least as it was presented as riffed by the great people at RiffTrax) and I can no longer access the brain of someone whose brain functions have not been permanently altered by watching that movie.  My assumption is that everyone will love this movie, but the people who watch The Room first will love it so much more.

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

Because I was impatient, I saw this movie alone.  A week later, I saw it again because I felt bad that I abandoned my friend Chris the first time.  Another inspiration for seeing it a second time was because I enjoyed myself the first time, but when I got home the internet seemed to be up in arms against this movie, even going so far as to create a petition to force them to remake the movie the way they wanted it to be.  But as I said, I enjoyed myself with this movie so I didn’t sign that petition.  Also, I’m not a moron.  It wasn’t perfect and there were things that didn’t go the way I wanted, but it was still a fun ride and exactly the movie you would make when you’re mostly trying to progress the story a little and get people coming back for the final episode in the trilogy.  Now, if you somehow haven’t seen it yet you can stop here because I’ve told you my thoughts and now I’m getting into spoilers.  The thing I didn’t agree with was that they didn’t really give us anything about Rey’s parentage.  If she indeed comes from nowhere special it seems like a kind of boring and lackluster way to go, but acceptable.  Not every Jedi must be the child of someone special.  I was hoping she would be Luke’s child, but I think the nail’s in that coffin because he definitely didn’t treat her like she was his daughter at any point.  Luke was the next sticking point.  I don’t mind that Luke was uncharacteristically funny.  Nothing wrong with that to me.  Didn’t hurt Thor, won’t hurt Luke.  What I didn’t like is that they killed him, or at least how they killed him.  Obviously we all know that Carrie Fisher is dead and they had the perfect time to let her character pass in an emotional way, but then they pulled it back and she survived.  Since she’s dead in real life, wouldn’t it make more sense to let her die in the movie and replace her with Luke or Laura Dern instead of killing both of them and letting her survive?  Though Dern’s death was epic and emotional and I would hate to lose it.  Maybe they already have all her scenes shot and it will work out.  The next problem is HOW Luke died.  If you were going to kill him in the fight with Kylo anyway, why not just have him go down there in person and actually fight Kylo and then get Obi-Wan’ed at the end?  It takes away his badass points for surviving the barrage of blasts from the assault walkers and kind of makes him look like a bitch for hiding on a different planet instead of actually facing him.  But that’s the way they wanted to go and I didn’t hate them for it.  It’s just not the way I would’ve gone.  Of course, if I want a movie to turn out exactly as I want it, I should probably make a movie instead of just complaining about it on the internet.

JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE

Everyone should do me a favor and feel real stupid right now.  We all saw they were rebooting Jumanji, and a lot of people on the internet pitched a fit about it.  “It’s in a video game now?!  Bullshit!”  …Yeah.  People don’t play board games anymore unless they have a YouTube channel and aren’t allowed to play video games on it.  Personally, I saw they were making this movie and was skeptical.  Then I saw that it had The Rock, Jack Black, and Karen Gillan in it and said, “They may have something here.”  …Fine, I’ll give credit to Kevin Hart too.  I’m not a big fan of his, but he was good in this.  This movie was very funny and charming, and all carried effortlessly on the backs of their main cast, Jack Black in particular.  Jack Black and The Rock got to really show off here by playing characters they don’t typically get cast in.  The Rock is a nerdy high school student who wakes up as The Rock, and Jack Black has an even tougher time playing a self-obsessed high school girl who wakes up in Jack Black’s body.  I feel like Karen Gillan probably knows what it’s like to grow up a vaguely nerdy girl before she became super gorgeous, so she doesn’t get the same props, but watching her get taught how to seduce men by Jack Black and being so awful at it was hilarious, as was almost any moment involving Jack Black in this movie.  When he figures out how to use his new penis?  Priceless.  The only big negative I had to this movie was that the villain didn’t impress me, but the rest of the cast more than made up for it.  Stop being so in love with the original and go enjoy this one.

PITCH PERFECT 3

People might know already that I am a fan of the Pitch Perfect franchise though since it doesn’t seem like it makes sense they might constantly delete it from their brains.  I agree; it doesn’t really make sense that I enjoy these movies, but I do.  For me it’s about the songs (which are typically great), the comedy (which is typically solid, but not mind-blowing), and the cast (who are all great, though it’s also quite a bit about how hot some of them are).  Nothing has really changed for Pitch Perfect 3.  I don’t really care about the story as it’s all supposed to be set up for the other stuff.  The songs are still really good with the Riff-Off being my favorite in this movie (yes, I bought the soundtrack), although I did feel like I wanted more of them and that they took it a little easier on this film and didn’t do as many mash up songs that I like, instead just doing one song at a time beyond the Riff-Off.  There’s still a lot of comedy and very funny moments, some ridiculous and over the top that they somehow made work, like how are the Bellas performing on an exploding boat in the beginning?  They explain it!  And the cast is all still wonderful and are as hot as they ever were, sadly losing one of their hottest in Alexis Knapp, who was out with pregnancy early in the movie.  This movie is not the most spectacular and the other two are probably better, but I still enjoyed myself.  The biggest negative about this movie will be if they actually follow through on what the posters seem to be claiming and they make this the final one.  How is Fast and the Furious and Transformers going to continue ad nauseam till the end of time but there’s no room in this world for Pitch Perfect?!

BRIGHT

A pretty unspectacular movie with all the ingredients of a very spectacular movie.  A concept of a real world cop movie, but also there are Orcs and Elves and magic and shit is a pretty interesting premise.  A cast so impressive that it doesn’t even make sense, especially for a Netflix movie.  They have Will Smith, Joel Edgerton, Noomi Rapace, and a bunch of other smaller roles but recognizable people.  And watching the movie, it certainly seems more expensive than a Netflix movie should be, with pretty good CG and makeup effects and lots of wanton destruction.  But ultimately they got all the right ingredients and then undercooked the soufflé.  Smith spends most of the movie being bitchy about his partner, who he doesn’t like because he’s an orc and because he didn’t keep him from getting shot in the beginning even though the guy walked out of a building and shot him immediately and Smith himself didn’t even have enough time to try to react so how the hell was he supposed to?  The bad guys are occasionally interesting to watch, but then do stupid things like hiding in the armory as the two cops they’re hunting come in and load up on weapons and bombs and then they decide to attack right after they’re fully loaded for battle.  This movie wasn’t awful though.  It’s surprisingly impressive and ambitious and has an interesting premise and tries to go for a note of social commentary with how blatantly racist everyone seems to be about anyone that’s not your race.  It’s just also not very good.  Netflix actually says that their “best guess” for my opinion of this movie is 4.9 out of 5.  Really, Netflix?  Does this maybe have something to do with the fact that you made this movie, or have I just been drunk every time I’ve rated a movie on your site?  I’ll be generous and give you a 2.5 or 3 instead.

 

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0077 – Dungeons & Dragons: Episode 16 – Stab Wars


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

The Films of 2016


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

 

JANUARY

THE FOREST

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

 

THE BOY

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

 

THE WITCH

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

 

FEBRUARY

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES

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

 

DEADPOOL

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

 

ZOOTOPIA

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

 

ZOOLANDER 2

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

 

GODS OF EGYPT

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

 

MARCH

LONDON HAS FALLEN

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

 

WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT

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

 

10 CLOVERFIELD LANE

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

 

THE BRONZE

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

 

THE DIVERGENT SERIES: ALLEGIANT

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

 

BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE

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

 

APRIL

CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR

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

 

THE JUNGLE BOOK

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

 

THE HUNTSMAN: WINTER’S WAR

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

 

KEANU

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

 

RATCHET & CLANK

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

 

MAY

X-MEN: APOCALYPSE

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

 

ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS

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

 

THE DARKNESS

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

 

THE NICE GUYS

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

 

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS

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

 

JUNE

POPSTAR: NEVER STOP NEVER STOPPING

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

 

NOW YOU SEE ME 2

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

 

THE CONJURING 2

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

 

WARCRAFT

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

 

FINDING DORY

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

 

INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE

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

 

THE SHALLOWS

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

 

JULY

THE LEGEND OF TARZAN

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

 

THE BFG

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

 

THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR

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

 

THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS

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

 

GHOSTBUSTERS

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

 

STAR TREK BEYOND

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

 

JASON BOURNE

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

 

AUGUST

SUICIDE SQUAD

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

 

PETE’S DRAGON

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

 

SAUSAGE PARTY

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

 

KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS

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

 

BEN-HUR

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

 

DON’T BREATHE

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

 

MECHANIC: RESURRECTION

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

 

SEPTEMBER

YOGA HOSERS

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

 

SULLY

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

 

BLAIR WITCH

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

 

THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN

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

 

OCTOBER

JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK

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

 

OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL

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

 

INFERNO

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

 

NOVEMBER

DOCTOR STRANGE

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

 

ARRIVAL

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

 

FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM

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

 

MOANA

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

 

DECEMBER

ROGUE ONE

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

 

ASSASSIN’S CREED

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

 

PASSENGERS

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

 

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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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The Best and Worst Films of 2015 – Video 0069


0069 Snapshot 2

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0045 – Five Second Rule Gameplay


0045 - Five Second Rule

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0038 – Wolfenstein: The New Order One Hour Review


0038 - Wolfenstein: The New Order One Hour Review

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