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Deep, dark, violent, and intense
The most impressive thing about Warner Bros., and DC is after their blunder between "Man of Steel" and "Justice League" (with the exception of "Wonder Woman") they managed to find a way to get back on track. Joker is the third great film from them in a row (Aquaman, Shazam!, and now Joker). So from that paragraph above you can instantly tell I really liked this film. But there is a whole lot to say about it. First of all, let's just call this movie a The Joaquin Phoenix Show because that's what this is. He carries the entire film, with only a few scenes where he wasn't present. To me this is his most powerful, impactful, and deepest performance of his already monumental career. But in the same thought I'm thinking "I can't believe this is the same guy who voiced a cute, fuzzy bear." (Brother Bear) Anyway, many times I was taken away by the shear cleverness of pretty much everything in the movie. Not just Joaquin Phoenix, but the overall execution was awesome. Todd Phillips, the director (known for "The Hangover Trilogy") turned from an ok director for me, to one to certainly look out for. Every decision was smart, layered, complex, but yet engaging. He wasn't afraid to go to some dark places, and violent moments as well. By far the most violent "comic book movie" I've ever seen. However, I can't say it's a typical "comic book movie," the only element that is comic-bookish is Joker himself...because he is based off one. Phillips cleverly turns away from the typical comic book movie shtick and ended up making what I think is the the most important movie based off a comic since "The Dark Knight". "The Dark Knight" is still slightly better in my opinion, but Joker takes the second spot on my top list of comic book movies. Continuing my review of the film itself. The violence felt genuine any kind of expected when tell the story of Joker. I always thought there had to be a very dark, and depressing story behind what made Joker. He's not just a bad clown who likes to challenge Batman, he's a beaten down man, with a story so deep (as this film depicted) it's very hard to watch. This film was hard to watch at times. Just seeing someone get dumped on so many times by society became disheartening and you really felt for the guy. Then as the film progresses he starts developing into the Joker. It's basically watching someone tumble in life continuously for 2 hours until he becomes the villain we all love. I quickly got to mention Robert De Niro in this as well. He wasn't in the film much but, he really gave a great performance and not phoning it in. The character Thomas Wayne who was meant to be played by Alec Baldwin, who turned the role down due to scheduling conflicts, was I felt a missed opportunity, and would have been the perfect role for Baldwin. But, the guy who replaced him did a good enough job. Not a performance to remember, but good nonetheless. Lastly, the negatives. Honestly, there's not much to say other then I felt very depressed and shocked at how much this affected me emotionally. I guess that's not a negative since it did impact me in that manner. And De Niro while I liked his performance his character's story arc was a little too predictable. Other then that, this film is worth checking out. However, mind that there is a lot of blood, violence, and very dark moments, so please keep the kids away! I know parents like to take there kids to a comic book movie, but just not this one. For adults and teens, enjoy yourselves.
The Lion King (2019)
Do I feel the love tonight?
Oh I just can't wait to see it again!! Wow, this film was marvelous. Was as great as the original film? No, but guess what? It doesn't have to be. The film isn't perfect obviously, no film is. However, here's what I liked about this film. Firstly, the visuals are outstanding and spectacular. The visual effects crew did a great job making me feel like I was in the African savanna, with every footstep and splash of water I was entranced by the world that was created. Next, my favorite character from the original film was to many people's surprise is...not Mufasa, not Scar, not Simba, Timon, Zazu, or Pumbaa, it is Nala. However I felt she was a bit underused in the original film, but not here. They improved on not just her, but all of the female characters. Sarabi has more to do, Shenzi is more menacing, and even Sarafina (Nala's mom) has more lines. Continuing on Nala individually, I thought Beyoncé was perfect for her voice, capturing the power, elegance, and majesty she possesses. She as an adult and cub both were enhanced and I was enjoying every minute she was on screen. So I thought they executed wonderfully on the female characters especially Nala. Lastly, I think the story was well done. It wasn't an exact replica of the original, and it didn't mess with the original story too much to where it became destructive and disruptive. Favreau added a bunch of smartly placed new elements as well that kept the film his own. Just like he did with The Jungle Book. Here's what I has issues with. There is one thing I notice with Favreau is...while he is a great director he isn't generally great with the songs. I know he doesn't actually write the songs and sings them but he does control how he wants the songs portrayed hence being the director. He isn't great with that, he struggled with that in The Jungle Book, and he struggled here. All the songs save for Circle of Life and Can You Feel the Love Tonight were poorly done. The one that I think was the weakest was Be Prepared. While Chiwetel Ejiofor is a fabulous actor he didn't sing very well in this song, maybe he is a talented singer but this was not his day. He was actually a good Scar while not singing. The song itself felt rushed and too short. Lastly, my biggest pet peeve I have with The Lion King as a whole both here and in the original is I don't care for the whole 'Pumbaa has a flatulence problem.' These writers (from the original, so this is more their fault) did such a good job coming up with wonderful, iconic moments in the film whether it's The Wildebeest Stampede, Mufasa's Ghost, The Elephant Graveyard, and many more, yet they could come up with something a better reason for why Pumbaa is an outcast rather than just flatulence. It's the most childish aspect of the whole film, and way out of place with the rest of the film. So if you have this in the original film, of course you've gotta have it in the remake as well, except they put more influence on it. When it came to that part of film I just looked away because it felt so out of place. It's not 100% their fault but for me, they should have edited it out entirely or not at all. Overall, this film was very enjoyable and for somebody who was born the same year the original film was released in 1994, and having watched it since I could walk and talk, this was a treat, and a relief for me considering the other critics giving it a hard time. I'm glad I am on the side that loved it. 8.4/10
Avengers: Endgame (2019)
After the culmination of 22 films, all of everything before comes together. Did the film live up to the hype? Was it a satisfying experience? Did the film fulfill? That to me is the real question. Sure the film has flaws like every other movie and we will get to those in a minute, but that's what this review is going to try and answer, was I fulfilled? And will it potentially fulfill others? Well, let's delve into what I didn't like about this film. Firstly, there was no need for the film to be 3 hours long. There are so many scenes that could've been cut, lots of moments of exposition, and talking, some were important, some were uninteresting. This could've shaved off 30 minutes and it would have been fine. Also, there is several plot holes, and conveniences throughout, and I'm sure this happened before, but if it wasn't noticeable then, it sure is noticeable now. But that should be somewhat expected as this film crams in a 22 film plot. The first 2 hours are a bit of a drag, as there isn't much to sink my teeth into, there are some nice moments, but nothing amazing. That's as far as the negatives go, everything else is great. The last hour is perhaps the greatest hour of any superhero movie. It's epic, engaging, surprising, everything I wished the first two hours were like. The humor while not a heavy as Infinity War, is still funny, again displaying the talent of the writers for blending humor and drama. This film feels less crowded as Infinity War did, where you had 40 characters portrayed on screen, here is only 10 maybe, which allowed for more screen time with the characters, and with characters we have grown to love since 2008. The performances by each actor and actress are all top notch, but I think of all of them, the one that shined the most is Mark Ruffalo. He gave the best performance of all his appearances in the MCU thus far. Chris Hemsworth shows his more comedic side as Thor, and it feels more like the Thor in Thor: The Dark World, rather then Thor: Ragnorak. I'm a bit on the fence when it comes to the writing of the character, however. Robert Downey Jr. is the same he's always been, smarmy, snarky, and dry. Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow is more fleshed out, feeling she had a bigger role to play in this compared to her involvement in Infinity War. Overall, I really enjoyed this film. It's got some glaring issues for me to say I absolutely loved it, but it's a nice conclusion to this Infinity saga. One thing is for sure, this film is going to make a lot of money. I have never witnessed a film so incredibly hyped, we are going to witness history in films with all the records it's going break. If you haven't seen this already, I recommend you do, and get involved in the party. Go and enjoy!
Happy Death Day 2U (2019)
Are We in For Another Great Trilogy?
Holy cow, what a pleasant surprise this was. I really liked this film as you can tell from my title. I went in with low expectations and I didn't see the first film, so I'm judging this based on this film individually. Firstly, Jessica Rothe is very talented and look forward to seeing her in more films. She was funny, expressive, terrified when the occasion called for it, and engaging for the audience. She took this film seriously and have a delicious performance. I also like how this is not just a straight horror film; it has suspense, thriller, sci-fi, and yes comedy; all blended together wonderfully. The story writing was well done (however it does have some problems but we'll get to that later), even though it uses the familiar element of time warp like a Groundhog Day. However, the writer and director found a way to keep it fresh and clever. The scares although few and far between were effective I actually got creeped out in one scene, and trust me I don't scare easy. Nonetheless there are some errors. The beginning relied on jump scares too much, but when the film progressed and found its footing, it stopped almost entirely. The other characters were not written well, the "relationship" between the main character and her love interest were cliched and dull. And lastly, the film did feel too long, although I was enjoying the film, towards the end I was checking my phone I got into the film at 7:30 and didn't end till 9:30, I know it's a couple hours, it's felt longer. But the joy overtook the negatives and I overall recommend it.
The Story of 90 Coins (2015)
A Well Spent 9 Minutes
I discovered this film via Messenger and was contacted by the director of the film Michael Wong. So he asked me to watch and review his short film, and as always I'm a man of my word. This is a foreign film and a tragic love story. I won't spoil anything in case you're curious enough to watch it. Firstly, the acting is very well done, I can feel the genuine love the characters have for each other. The direction is good, sometimes the film felt unbalanced however, but I like the story Mr. Wong wants to tell. The conflict between the characters due to a misunderstanding make this very relatable especially to any former or current couples. If you like a solid romantic film, this one is worth checking out. 7/10
Goodbye Bay, Hello Knight
Every now and then a new director to a franchise can be so refreshing, and no franchise needed that more than the Transformers franchise. This franchise has been beaten down, stomped on, punched in the gut, and spit in its face with bad film after bad film and explosions, more explosions, and unfunny humor, along with some hot girls Michael Bay can jerk off to. This is the Transformer film we all have been waiting for. Finally, our patience and frustration has paid off and we have Travis Knight to thank for finally giving us a good Transformers and saying it's actually good is refreshing in itself. Mind this though, I'm not a diehard Transformers fan by any stretch and even I really enjoyed this film tremendously. However, even though I'm super thrilled with this film, it does lack some originality. It borrows heavily on the whole human befriends otherworldly being story, which we've seen many many times before. It's actually difficult to not compare this to E.T. in many ways. My other slight critique is John Cena. While he wasn't terrible in the role he was given; granted the role wasn't that complex anyway; he never did anything that made me think he's a good actor with some legit potential, he's ok, nothing bad, but nothing special either. His character is weakly written, only there to provide some humorous moments and to appear hardcore, that's all he's there for. Those are my only critiques. I like the family aspect, it does take a different direction then other films with a family involved in a story like this. But the standout of course was the relationship between Hailee Steinfeld's character and Bumblebee. They gave Bumblebee so much emotion with his innocent ways, and clever use of body language despite little to no dialog. Hailee Steinfeld herself do not drag through this uninspired, but gives a complex performance and pulling off both the Bumblebee relationship and the family aspect as well. In the end, I can't believe I can say I just watched a GOOD Transformers film. Did that word just come out of my mouth? Well, it is and if you are a diehard fan, you are in for a delicious treat. And even if you aren't a fan like me, I still would check it out, I really enjoyed this movie a lot. I hope Travis Knight returns for the next installment, just keep Michael Bay's hands away from this a much as possible. Michael Bay has made some good films before, but he botched and wounded the Transformers franchise, now Travis Knight has to rebuild it from the ground up and I think he did a marvelous job doing just that. Not the most original film, but a great starting point for rebuilding. 8/10
Bird Box (2018)
My Thoughts on Bird Box
Firstly, it's a misleading title. But the title doesn't make a film good or bad, it's just a title. But it's like calling Shrek...Blue Flower, Red Thorns. Yes they are both in the movie, but barely have anything to do with the plot. But anyway, Bird Box is a conflicting movie. It's does things right, but gets things wrong too, and I'm not sure if the positives outweigh the negatives. First I'm going to mention the elephant 🐘 in the room, it's very similar to A Quiet Place, but instead of noise being a factor, it has sight as a factor. While I do like the idea, even if it's pretty basic just like A Quiet Place, it all comes down to execution. And that's were things get muddy. The film became very predictable right from the beginning and I can see the outcome of a solution before it even happens. The film is very slow as well, making feel longer than it is, my partner I was watching went to the restroom and to my surprise it was only on for 1 hour and 11 minutes, I felt it was at least 2. So what I'm saying is, the pacing was off, and it didn't do a good job at holding my suspense like A Quiet Place where I was on the edge of my seat due to John Krasinski's direction. Susanne Bier is the director her, and as a seemingly first timer, she did a descent job, just needs to work on her pacing. Sandra Bullock was fabulous as always and pretty caries the entire film on her back, and she is the reason this film gets a 7 from me. I enjoyed John Malkovich in this but wasn't in the film for long which I was disappointed about. A surprise appearance by both BD Wong (Jurassic Park) and Machine Gun Kelly but they were cameos mainly. The story itself had potential, I like the idea of having no sight to solve problems but that can result in writing issues and it shows at times. However, the one thing this film has that's better than A Quiet Place is the ending. It actually had a complete ending. Overall, it is a film with both strengths and weaknesses, and to me the positives slightly outdoes the negatives having mainly to do with Sandra Bullock. If you like a movies that is not as suspenseful as A Quiet Place, this is it. For me, I will never see this again, but I am glad I can say I watched a film called Bird Box, it's just a silly title, but it's a good silly.
Here's my journey through this film Mowgli. The beginning was really good and impressive, the environments looked gorgeous, the story was faithful to the book and it looked like all of my doubts about the film went away. For a good 30 minutes I was thoroughly enjoying myself. The character design took a little time to get used to, but I ended up accepting it. The voice acting and motion capture performances were outstanding, especially Christian Bale as Bagheera. He was the best character in the entire film. Unlike the Disney version where he is very stern, and protective of Mowgli, here he is softer and very fatherly to Mowgli which I liked. So everything was all good, until the second half to the end of the film. This is probably when Serkis found out his film was not going to be theatrical but put on Netflix instead. Either that or Serkis just lost interest in some way, that's the only way to explain it, because the last half to the end of the film totally fell flat story wise. Everything I praised above still were involved. However, the story felt so rushed as the scenes had no flow to them and no impact. The end was the worst, the film ended so abruptly. The acting by Rohan Chand as Mowgli was over the top, Baloo's design was scary and Akela looked remarkably fake, these two were the only character designs I couldn't get used to. Kaa was once again underused and has a confusing story line, Shere Khan was wasted despite having Benedict Cumberbatch as the voice and motion capture. There is a fight between two characters that pissed me off, and this film could have benefited from being 2 hours and 30 minutes long. What the heck happened to a film that started out promising, but ended so terribly? I blame it mostly on Warner Bros. for not having full confidence in Andy Serkis and cowardly dumping it on Netflix, but also partial blame has the go to the writers and Serkis himself. Serkis' film was doomed as soon as Jon Favreau's film was released and received worldwide praise, and I think this had something to do with it, but even without Favreau's film this one would still have problems. No film is perfect, but we'll never know what this film would have been like if Favreau's film didn't exist, I'm just speculating. But as it is, the film was wasted potential with some excellent voice work and motion performances especially from Christian Bale, he's the one thing that keeps the film watchable. It's not a total failure, but certainly could have been so much more than was it is. Sorry Warner Bros., Disney and Jon Favreau won this battle. 4/10
Smart and intriguing
The first film by Steve McQueen since 12 Years a Slave, and it's a welcoming thing to see. With this film and the last one proves that McQueen is a fearless director, but a smart one as well, and so is this movie. This film allows the audience to figure out what's happening instead of it being spoon-fed to us. It works like a puzzle that you have to put together in your mind. Now understand that this isn't an action film, it's a heist film with some action, however heist doesn't mean action. With that said, the film has a great flow to it, making you feel the weight of the situation that the main character going through. Viola Davis give a powerful performance, and is my favorite from her in her career, even more than Fences. It was nice to see Kevin J. O'Conner (The Mummy 1999) in this for a short time, haven't seen that dude in a while. Debicki, and Rodriguez are great as supporting characters. Liam Neeson has a smaller role then I anticipated, same with Robert Duvall, but nice to see him too. It's a stellar cast, with some strong performances. Overall, it was an enjoyable experience and a film I had to turn my brain on with, I like that. If you don't like long films with heavy dialog and some action scenes then this isn't for you, but if you like a challenge then this is the film for you. Check it out!
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindlewald Movie Review
What a dumb title. I know titles don't mean much other then for marketing and recognizability, but the two have nothing to do with each other. They might as well called it Fantastic Beasts: (insert title here), would have made more sense. Actually now I think of it, the title does represent one thing about this movie...it's a jumbled mess. It's another one of those films that can't just focus on one main storyline. The film has 3 or 4 pointless subplots, resulting in the film having very little to do with Grindlewald, you know, the name that's in the title of the movie? David Ayers as a director is clearly running out of steam. He did a marvelous job with Deathly Hollows Part 2, and did a good job with the first Fantastic Beasts film, that was more focused and actually enjoyable to watch. This was a snoozer, none of the storylines were interesting, too many characters I have no interest in, the few action scenes that occur are short lived, the final "battle" is lame, and this film relies heavily on exposition. Talking, talking, talking, and more talking with nothing interesting for me to really get invested. Now understand this, I am not a Potterhead, so maybe I'm missing something here. But I do like the Harry Potter world, I love Deathly Hollows Part 2, and Goblet of Fire, but this is probably the worst of all of the Potter universe films. Now let's talk about the elephant in the room...Johnny Depp as Grindlewald himself. Admittedly, he was the thing I was looking forward to, I was thinking if nothing else, at least Depp can keep me entertained. Well, the problem is...he's barely in it! But when he is on screen I was a bit underwhelmed. He didn't give that electrifying performance like Heath Ledger or even Ralph Fiennes. Not that I'm asking for Depp to outdo them, that's tough, but I felt Johnny Depp was just playing Johnny Depp, in that he had a bit of some Jack Sparrow-isms, almost like Depp played an evil version of Sparrow with different hair and not as comical. Depp was not the best choice for Grindlewald. So, now that I've trashed on this film, what do I like? The visuals are great, the costuming and makeup are well done, but on par with the first film, because all of those things in the first film were well done too. Jude Law as Dumbledore gave the best performance out of all the actors, though he too was underused. And the relationship between Redmayne's and Fogler's characters is pretty good. Other then those things, I would say this film is sadly for me a total skip. I have never given a Harry Potter film a bad review and it's sad to see this happen, but it had to happen at some point. One the flip side, it took 10 films to finally make a bad film, that's not bad. Neither Star Wars or Lord of the Rings can say that. If you are a massive Potterhead and you can understand the underlying stuff, and get into the politics of the film, then you may enjoy it, but for a regular film fan, sorry, I can't recommend it.
Is it that Good?
Of all the Steven Spielberg films this is to me by far the weirdest one he's ever done. But does weird equal good? Well, let's get this out of the way...their is no logic in this film, so you can just throw that out the window. People thought Crystal Skull was unrealistic (?)...think again. Spielberg lets us know pretty much right out of the gate what kind of movie we're dealing with here. George Lucas (the storywriter) went in such a humorous direction with the story it almost came across as a comedy. With the more comedic approach this made the film very unique in the feeling of it compared to Raiders of the Lost Ark which was darker and more serious, and The Last Crusade which borrows a lot of the elements from Raiders to give it a similar tone and feel to it. Indiana Jones himself is written in a more comedic way, almost to the point where you can't take him seriously, but not quite, Harrison Ford makes the characters balanced and doesn't make Indy come across as cartoony. As for the supporting characters...oh my god. These supporting characters make me want to pull my hair out. Willie played by Kate Capshaw is such a major step down from Marion. Yes, she was a damsel in distress, but she was a badass while she was. Here, she is over-the-top just for the sake of it. I don't blame Capshaw because she's just acting the way the director tells her to so, Spielberg, what the heck? You given us such beautiful characters like E.T. and Elliott. Then you give us this. Why? Then there is Short Round. Look, I understand there is a lot of people who like this character but...I just can't. His voice is like nails on a chalkboard, the actor who portrays him just isn't a good actor. He's definitely more important than Willie and isn't excruciatingly annoying but he does get under my skin. I know it seems I'm bashing the film more than I intended to. What do I like about this film? The villain. Unlike Willie, he is over-the-top in all the right ways. Roshan Seth does a great job with his character he makes this film enjoyable. The other thing, Harrison Ford's performance, like I said before, he gives a rather complex performance as Indy compared to Raiders. And lastly, the mine cart chase scene, beautifully choreographed, masterfully suspenseful, and downright entertaining. These three things gives this film a solid 7/10. Nowhere near as bad as Crystal, but comfortably falls in third place behind Raiders and Crusade for me. So is this film really that good? It's good, but not great.
More Venom Less Talk
Before going into this film I was hearing all of the reviews from critics most of them bashing the film say all kinds of negative things. Therefore, I expected this to be a hot steaming pile of dog droppings, but actually it wasn't all that bad. There is certainly things wrong with it for sure, and it definitely isn't the best comic book movie of the year, but this could have been a lot worse. The opening sequence was well done which was followed by a long stretch of the film basically doing nothing, except character development and exposition scenes, it just talking and talking and talking...and more talking. I was growing impatient as I just wanted to see the thing I paid money for, and the reason why I wanted to see this movie, and that is Venom. It wasn't until I was halfway through the film before he finally appears. From then on however, the film turns to a whole new direction, quickly becoming the film I wanted to see. Venom was frickin' awesome. The CGI on him is flawless, the design is menacing and intimidating, the relationship built between Eddie Brock and Venom becomes genuine, like you don't want them to split apart. Tom Hardy is a class act, and one of the most talented actors working today. The complexity in his acting as well as tackling the challenge of playing two characters and keeping it real is a testament to Hardy as a performer. And yes, Hardy provides the voice of Venom. The action scenes were fast-paced and sometimes vigorously violent. The fight scenes were good, but one fight sequence I had a problem with because it took place at night, and when you a characters wearing black it can be hard to see what's going on. Riz Ahmed is good acting the role, the character however is underdeveloped and utterly useless. Everybody else does a fine job. Clearly the best thing about this film is Venom himself and the relationship between Venom and Eddie Brock. That alone makes this film overall enjoyable, somewhat engaging, intense, along with some mistakes with the first half of the film, one fight sequence, and needless supporting characters. I wouldn't go into this expecting Black Panther or anything, but it's well worth the investment.
A Simple Favor (2018)
If nothing else, Lively and Kendrick make this movie absolutely fantastic. Lively plays a triple role playing Emily Nelson and her two sisters, she gives her best performance in her career, and as of right now she deserves an Oscar nod. Anna Kendrick does a great job keeping up, resulting in an electric acting duo. Also, the directing by Feig, and the writing by Sharzer keep the mystery alive, managing to keep the complexity, but understanding enough to where the audience doesn't get lost. It also doesn't spoon feed to us as well, leaving us thinking about the film well after the movie is over. Overall, if you are looking for a movie with superb performances from the main stars and a pretzel-twisted and engaging mystery, than look no further. However, on the other side, there are some unnecessary scenes I feel could have been cut altogether, one in particular serves as a little reference later. Some of the film is a bit of a drag when it's not focusing on the main plot. But other than that, check it out.
The Land Before Time (1988)
Oh boy do I miss Don Bluth, his understanding of animation is unlike anybody else. He know how to get the emotion from the crowd with his powerful stories, and deep characters whether you are talking about films like An American Tail, The Secret of Nimh, or Anastasia all of these are perfect examples. But to me, there is no other film of his that displays this more than The Land Before Time. This is a film that anybody can connect with, parents and children. The power of the story and some of the scenes within just move your soul. The score by the late and great James Horner is masterful, I'd say it's John Williams level scoring. All of these things are among what make this film so special, but the one thing that stands out to me is Don Bluth's fearless storytelling. Him using children as the main characters on a dangerous, and sometimes scary journey is the very definition of fearless, and it was for the entirety of the film he did this, we never see Littlefoot become an adult, always from the children's point of view. That childlike innocence feeling is what gives this film its charm and charisma, combining it with everything I said before. I also what to give credit to the legendary Diana Ross for writing such a heartwarming song in "If We Hold on Together", it's on the same level as "Can You Feel the Love Tonight", and perfectly gets the point across what the meaning of the film is as a whole. Also, Pat Hingle who was the narrator and the voice of Old Rooter played a big part in this as well. His character Rooter gives one of the deepest, and most meaningful conversations in any film, animated or otherwise. The rest of the voice cast does a great job, but another standout is Judith Barsi as Ducky. This was one of her last films before she was tragically murdered, but if you want to learn more, go read about it, but I'll warn you it's pretty sad, all my respects go to her as she had a bright future ahead of her. Anyway, she gives such a sweet innocence to Ducky making the character her own, as she will always be Ducky to me. Will Ryan as Petrie gives the comedic side of the film, but Bluth never makes Petrie annoyingly obnoxious, which is nice for a change.
Gabriel Damon took charge as Littlefoot, giving a very mature performance to his character. And of course, Helen Shaver...holy cow. That's all that needs to be said about her...just wow. Overall, I love this film, anybody can and should see this. Watch it on Amazon, or buy it from Amazon and own it, it's worth it.
Christopher Robin (2018)
Sweet, sweet Nostalgia
Oh my goodness, talk about a rush of nostalgia from this film. The moment I saw the first trailer my childhood just rushed back to me. But of course, nostalgia doesn't make a good film. What makes a good film is the execution of character, story, and many other elements. Firstly, Winnie-the-Pooh is clearly the star of this film. His childlike innocence mixed with Jim Cummings masterful voice work make him all the more special. The way the writers and Mark Forster's direction of the character strongly conveys this makes your heart happy. Secondly, Christopher Robin played by Ewan McGregor gives by far the best live action performance. He does a good job playing an adult Christopher with a troubled life, but manages to keep the child Christopher intact. And talk about perfect casting choices, Ewan looks like an adult Christopher. Thirdly, the music, and Eeyore played by Brad Garrett are also major highlights. Again, perfect casting, Garrett's voice blends perfectly, sounding almost exactly like the previous actor. And lastly, no film is without flaws, whenever we aren't in the Hundred Acre Woods, the film become very dull and grey. I guess to give the tone of what Christopher is going through in his life, but for the audience, it's just dull. The other characters don't get enough screen time maybe other then Piglet. Overall, it's a charming film and for anyone who grew up with Pooh, should check it out. It'd worth a look.
Crazy Rich Asians (2018)
Crazy Rich Asians - Movie Review
Weirdly enough, I find myself having very little to say about this film, I acknowledge it's a good film hence 7/10 but, it's to me a little overhyped. Funny? Not gut-bustingly funny, but a few chuckles, and an occasional actual laugh. Romantic? Sure, but nothing stands out about it. The end to me is the best part of the film, as the end result was sweet. The performances make this film enjoyable enough to not cross the boring territory. It's a film you can relax with, no edge of your seat moments, or anything like that. It conveys an important message involving loving someone for who they are, but I've seen that many times before. So this is a very borderlined review for a borderlined movie. I liked it, but didn't love it. It's clearly a date movie so, if you are a couple looking for a nice movie to date on, this is perfect, let your hearts be free. For everyone else, single or otherwise, I'd still say check it out...when it comes out on Amazon Prime.
The Black Stallion (1979)
I am a major sucker for films that feature animals as the forefront, especially ones that can pull the heartstrings and just make rest of the day that much better. The Black Stallion delivers all of that, with a dynamic relationship between a boy and a beautiful black horse with a personality to match. Carroll Ballard (the director) does a great job building the relationship, and in the end making you rout for the outcome of the pair. He also captures the childlike aspect and point of view of the situations. The camera work is gorgeous, and lighting blend together to display the beauty of the scenery and the horse himself. And kudos to any film that can get an animal to act, that must be challenging, and I just wanted to appreciate that for a second. However, some of the gripes are I feel that the film's narrative is a little disjointed, the film goes from a Cast Away-type movie which is the part of the film I really enjoyed, to a horse racing movie. Neither have any relation to each other. It's as if they took two different films and spliced them together. And from then on the film becomes predictable, because we know the outcome. On the other hand, it was nice to see the late and great Mickey Rooney. He makes the last half of the film enjoyable and makes this a solid recommendation. Overall, this is a beautiful film, and it's one you don't need to put much thought into, just watch one of the best human/animal relationships in film, it should be good enough.
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
A Timeless Classic
I just want to take a few minutes to talk about one of my personal favorite films of all time. And as far as Spielberg films are considered it is my favorite. But firstly I want to get out of the way the flaws of the film, every film has them, even films I hold to high regard. Honestly, it's hard to find any flaws since this is a nearly perfect film in every aspect. You can't criticize the visuals since it was made in the 1980s, but I think the performances by the kids other than Thomas, Barrymore, and MacNaughton could have used some work, of course featuring also a young C. Thomas Howell, but it's not terrible. Now that I got that out of the way, let's talk about what makes this film so special and timeless. Firstly, Steven Spielberg's direction as always is masterful, especially when it came to getting the best possible performances out of the main characters, and the main characters are children. Spielberg always knows how to capture that childlike innocence in a film without being sappy, and it's wonderfully displayed here. Secondly, the main kids themselves who are the heart, soul, and blood flow of this movie each with groundbreaking performances especially by Henry Thomas as Elliott, and a cute and young Drew Barrymore as Gertie. Robert MacNaughton sort of serves as the middle man, being conflicted with the ways of an adult but still preserves that childlike wonder when he too meets ET. Thirdly, the master himself John Williams proved yet again why is one of the greatest musicians of all time. After musical hits from Jaws, Star Wars, and Raiders of the Lost Ark, he comes in here and gives arguably his best score before or after. He himself made you believe a boy and alien on a bicycle can fly. And without Williams music that bicycle scene with Elliott and ET flying across the moon wouldn't be anywhere near as iconic. Or the chase scene with the police wouldn't feel as intense without his music. And lastly but certainly not least, ET himself. It is a outstanding job on the creators of this magnificent alien. A bunch of people collaborated to make him including sound designers, makeup artists, costume artists, Spielberg, and many many others and together they made him as believable as you could possibly make him during that time. His voice is provided by Pat Welsh, and Debra Winger also contributed heavily to the character. I also don't want to forget the adult actors involved including Dee Wallace, and Peter Coyote, they too do a great job serving as a lense from an adults point of view of the film and the situations within. Overall, this is a film that should never be touched, Spielberg struck gold with this film and he recognizes that. Many films afterwards that deal with a friendship between a boy and another otherworldly being or animal have to owe it to this film. As the friendship between Elliott and ET is a friendship that people will look back on as one of the greatest. And the film itself should be considered one of the greatest films of all time. As a result this film easily gets a 10/10.
Deadpool 2 (2018)
Funny, Bloody, Action-packed Fun
What an outstanding job the filmmakers did on this one. One of the things that stands out to me amongst this entire franchise thus far is its sheer uniqueness of it. Not just the rated R aspect, but the flexibility of the humor. It seems that the humor is limitless. Also this films have elements of heart in them. As for this film individually, apply what I said before here. Additionally, the marvelous (no pun intended) performance of Ryan Reynolds showing he owns this character. Josh Brolin is a badass in this and has some complexities in his character. This film to me is even funnier than the first film. And an overall better film as well. No disrespect to Tim Miller (director of the first film), he did a great job with the first Deadpool. However, David Leitch made the best film a film like Deadpool could ask for. The timing of the humor is flawless, and the effects are bloody good. I hope and pray for a Deadpool 3. But on the flip side, the villains are all short lived and therefore underwhelming. Other than that this is a win for the filmmakers and the audience. But be mindful, this film is rated R, so kids should proceed with caution, lots of blood, severed limbs, language, and adult humor are present. For adults, get ready for a fun night out with friends at the movies.
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Avengers: Infinity War Movie Review
I just want to say what the Russo brothers have done is outstanding. Taking a film with such a crowded cast and as a result; a very crowded story. However, I don't consider that a flaw, but nevertheless a roadblock surely. I believe they have made the best movie that they or anyone else could have done. The film felt equally leveled out, giving each character is given their own individual moments to shine. Everyone brings it in the performances, not a single weak link among them. And for once Marvel seems to finally be nailing their villains. They showed it in Black Panther, and they show it here as well. But who's better Killmonger or Thanos? It all comes down to personal preference, but personally it's hard to say in that they are two completely different characters, they both strive for separate goals due to separate motivations. Killmonger's story felt sort of Shakespearean, while Thanos felt more traditional but still very compelling in its execution. Ultimately this film lets the villain be the star, but like I said before it gives the other characters moments to shine. The action is as good as any Marvel film up to this point, along with fluctuating emotions throughout. Overall, everything that Marvel has done seems to have come to fruition and really paid off. This film may leave you wondrous and speechless. For the 3 people who haven't seen this yet, what are you waiting for?
A Quiet Place (2018)
More Thrills then Chills
The term "horror" is underused here, as for me I was on the edge of my seat, but was never genuinely scared. However, despite that John Krasinski delivers a tension filled film. I admire the creative ways the characters had to be when figuring out how to remain quiet. Alsl, the film raises your tension and anxiety and never really let's ggo. Unfortunately, this film does have problems. Some of the choices the characters made were questionable, and the payoff in the end was underwhelming, leaving us somewhat unsatisfactory. So while I do like the film, I do see and recognize some flaws in it. With an absurdly simple premise those flaws could have been avoided. But I guess no film is perfect. The performances were good especially by Emily Blunt. Interestingly this is another film directed by a comedian that is horror, both here good, and am excited for the next film by either filmmaker. Alsl, for non-horror fans out there, don't worry, this is one you can handle. No ghosts, demons, or zombies, just a family forced to survive in the most unlucky situation.
Black Panther (2018)
A Marvel Movie that Makes You Think
As I reference in the title of this review this isn't your typical run-of-the-mill superhero movie, it truly is a kind of film that makes you think. Usually when I watch a movie I am able to give my thoughts on it pretty quickly but this one took me about a week after I watched the movie to be able to give an idea of what I thought about the film. The story and what takes place within the story which I think has great depth and emotion. I believe it was a genius move to introduce us to the character of Black Panther/T'Challa in the Captain America: Civil War as it allowed in the standalone movie to explore other realms and characters within the world of Wakanda. In Black Panther, the main character Black Panther isn't exactly the center of attention. All of the side characters are given layers and strength giving the film the greatest group of likable characters that I have seen in a film in a while. There isn't one weak or unnecessary character amongst them. The female characters in particular are very strong. Chadwick Boseman's performance as Black Panther/T'Challa is outstanding displaying an African ascent (considering he's American) and carries the film and makes the character his own. The characters of Black Panther/T'Challa is conflicted with family mistakes of the past while tending to the problems at hand. Anytime he gets into his suit; which happens only a few times; makes me excited. The world of Wakanda is the most beautiful world I've seen in a movie since Pandora in Avatar. The film wonderfully explains the world and how it all works making the world feel like a character itself. Michael B. Jordan who is a frequent collaborator of Ryan Coogler portrays the greatest villain in the MCU since Loki. His story turns this superhero film into not just that but also a very tragic Shakespearian-like storyline. A villain that we understand is someone we are supposed to dislike, but you can't help but feel somewhat sorry for Kilmonger. His motivations are completely understandable in why he does what he does. The music in this film is very good as well. All the drums help convey the African world and culture of the people. However, for as much as I love this film I do recognize some errors like all films do. Some people may think this has a very familiar story arc to that of other films. Some of the CGI is very noticeable and is disappointing considering its 2018, not 2003. Some shots are good while others are obviously noticeable. There was one fight scene near the beginning that was hard to make out because of shaky cam. I hate shaky cam and I was worried that this was going to be like this for the remainder of the film, but luckily it didn't, still that one scene was heavily compromised by the shaky cam. Overall, this is a very enjoyable film with beautiful music, characters, performances, and story elements that most of anyone will have fun watching. That is one word I can use to describe this film FUN. If you haven't seen this film yet give a chance and you may end up liking it.
The Ups and Downs
Just like the last film (The Force Awakens) you are either going to love it, or hate it. But I also noticed a lot of people are very much in the middle. I am one of those people. Yes there were some good elements that made me happy, but, there is a lot more issues then I realized walking out; after thinking more and more about it, the more I feel unsatisfactory. I'm not going to go into spoilers, I'm just here to tell you if it is worth the watch. Honestly, it is, but I wouldn't go rushing to the theatre to see it like with The Force Awakens. I'll start off with the positives, firstly, Mark Hamill gives the strongest performance of his career in my opinion, however some of the direction of the character was off. With that said, I felt fulfilled with how Luke was portrayed in this film. Adam Driver gives a riveting, and damaged performance as Kylo Ren, surely his character is a lot more interesting then Force Awakens. I am very curious what will happen to him next. Daisy Ridley as Rey was spot-on, so was her character in many ways. There is a little surprise in the film involving two characters which I felt satisfied with. Ok, those were the ups. As I enjoyed Luke, Ren, and Rey...thats about it for the characters. The others fell flat, Finn is remarkably pointless at this point, he has no arcs, no story, he's just there right now to give John Boyega a paycheck, good for him, but not for us. The Porgs are Fu--ing stupid in the worst way. They're just a dumb excuse to sell TOYS, but why do you NEED that for Star Wars? Doesn't Star Wars sell enough TOYS! When I saw them in the trailer I snapped, this is what Hollywood has turned to. I wouldn't mind so much if they had a purpose, other then to sell TOYS. They are not as annoyed as the Minions, but pretty close. Finn wasn't the only character who was pointless or unneeded, and some of the ways they handle the characters makes no sense, I would go into more detail, but I want you to go experience this yourself. But in my opinion, this film is worth seeing, just don't expect The Empire Strikes Back or anything. It proves that Disneyfying everything isn't always great.
Death Sentence (2007)
So, its Taken with Kevin Bacon. Except this was first, why didn't this become a hit? No cool catchphrase? Maybe. But this film is not as bad as people say. Kevin Bacon gives another respected performance, and yet the effort was not recognized as it should have been. Certainly this film has its problems, but overall, it is enjoyable. Again, Kevin Bacon is the reason. Director James Wan displays his talent in a different manner than in his typical horror realm, as this action thriller does surprise, and delight. Of course the always brilliant John Goodman is always a great site to see. However, the problem I do see that may keep it from being a great film, is the messy script. The tone is off, as it doesn't know what it wants to be. And sets as your typical shooter. But it does pack some surprises, and I think the 20% on RT is unjustified. Take what you will from it, and maybe it will surprise you. Don't always listen to RT.
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Best Thor Film Yet!
After so many films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the filmmakers always seem to keep them fresh and interesting. Thor: Ragnarok is interesting and fresh to say the least. The director Taika Waititi is a genius behind the camera as he somewhat changed the feel of the Thor films but keeping some of the familiarities associated with the previous films. The comedic level is sky-high, as most of it was giggling fun thanks to Waititi's direction, as a result it seemed like the actors had a lot more fun, but had their work cut out for them. The cameos in this film are splendid especially in one particular scene with cameos by Sam Neill (Jurassic Park), Liam Hemsworth (Chris Hemsworth's brother), and Matt Damon (The Bourne Identity). Cate Blanchett as always does an outstanding job as the villainess Hela. Her commitment to the role was respectable in that she actually studied a Brazilian martial art called capoeira, pretty cool right? Karl Urban also had some homework to do to get ready for his role; he shaved his hair, and worked out. The effort by the actors especially the ones I mentioned make this film that much more pleasurable, the people actually cared about the film and the story, as all films should be. The action was intense, the acting was superb, the effects were stunning, and the story was likable. However, the only problems for me that prevents it from being a 10/10 is the just the length, I actually could have gone for more, it was too short in my opinion. But that's not a fault, just a nitpick, or in another way, its actually a positive since I enjoyed the film so much, so take the rating with a pinch of salt. Overall, I loved this movie! Keep it up Marvel!