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Ad Astra (2019)
Cinematic, But a Little Boring
Ad Astra is a combination of Event Horizon and 2001: A Space Odyssey. It has 2001: A Space Odyssey's cinematography and themes with an Event Horizon type plot. Ad Astra is interesting at first, but it starts to slow down a lot, and it gets to the point where you're yawning several times throughout the runtime. But the weird thing is, is that there are plenty of great scenes that are extremely intense. The issue is that those thrilling scenes are so short when compared to other normal scenes.
As I've said, Ad Astra is surprisingly alike to Event Horizon. And I love the plot, and the way they wrote it to be somewhat of a psychological thriller is great. But although the plot is interesting, the pacing kind of ruins it. There are too many scenes that are boring, and they go on for way too long. I think this movie should've been 10-20 minutes shorter. And I do understand that Ad Astra is supposed to be a slow burn with lethargic cinematography, but I think they focused on that a little too much.
The best part about Ad Astra was how beautiful it was. The colorful palette and slow shots are amazing. When it comes to aesthetics, Ad Astra is totally on point. The sets and lighting were great, and it really reminds me of 2001: A Space Odyssey's practical effects.
Ad Astra is a great movie that is also scientifically realistic. You could simply enjoy Ad Astra just because of how well it was shot. But since Ad Astra is such a slow burn, it could turn off some. Overall, Ad Astra is a good movie, but it's not all that special.
The Old Guard (2020)
The Old Guard is a movie that takes heavy influence from plenty of great movies, and it really tries to imitate such films. The Old Guard reminds me of John Wick's action/fight scenes, but it will never be as memorable as John Wick. And I think that's the greatest flaw of the film; The Old Guard will not be as memorable or stand out as much when compared to other movies of the same genre. The plot and characters are all pretty standard, and they all have some cliched personality.
The screenplay played it very safe. It's all very predictable and it doesn't add anything new to the table. There was so much potential in this movie solely because of its plot, but there was no creativity and it lacked taste. At least the plot wasn't completely bad; the pacing was fairly well done, and the subplots were decent with little plot holes. It just sucks how this movie felt so unenthusiastic when it had such great potential.
The characters were okay, but incredibly cliched. I can't count how many times I've seen a main protagonist like Andy; there's nothing really special about her. And I understand that Andy is supposed to have a withdrawn personality, but she was just super bland. Ironically, the character that was the most interesting was Quynh, who had two scenes dedicated to her (not including the final scene). When it comes to the antagonist, he's just as boring as all the other characters. The antagonist (Merrick) is an evil capitalist who uses the "I'm trying to help the people" excuse to make money. There's as many Merrick antagonists as there are Andy protagonists, which isn't a good thing at all.
The Old Guard is as average as it gets. Honestly, movies such as The Old Guard are not worth watching, because eventually they're going to be forgotten way too quickly. The Old Guard isn't a bad movie though, it's just super tasteless and uninteresting.
Da 5 Bloods (2020)
Bad... Just Bad
Da 5 Bloods is one of those movies where the movie itself doesn't do justice for the trailer. The trailer was stylish, entertaining, and very 60's, but the movie itself has none of those attributes. It's incredibly boring and unnecessarily long due to its slow pacing. I was hopeful that Da 5 Bloods would be a fun Nam' movie that almost everyone loves, but man was it a mess.
The plot at first is fun, but then it losses all steam in the second and third acts. There's a lot of walking, complaining, and dialogue. There's no suspense or anything thrilling, and when something does happen, for example, when Eddie gets blown up, it's extremely predictable. The screenplay is just terrible in general, which is ironic because Spike Lee won an Oscar for best adapted screenplay for BlacKkKlansman. Da 5 Bloods is also very political, which isn't a surprise (It is a Spike Lee flick after all), but it just blatantly hates on Donald Trump. And you can hate on Donald Trump all you want, but you have to add it in smartly into the screenplay, not just saying "Donald Trump is an idiot and a racist" all the time.
None of the characters are likable in my opinion. Their mentality about America is so toxic that it gets to the point where they think they're stealing from America, when in reality they're stealing from their Vietnamese allies. But I'm supposed to see them as the good guys because of they're "just" cause. Because of this, I really don't care if the antagonists kill them in the end. The characters are also very one-dimensional, and because of that, most of the characters are going to be forgotten in the next week to come.
Really, the best part about Da 5 Bloods was the acting, and if Da 5 Bloods were to some how win an Oscar, it would have to be given to Delroy Lindo for his performance. I was expecting Da 5 Bloods to also be very cinematic, because this is a Nam' film, but it wasn't. But Da 5 Bloods isn't an ugly movie to watch, but it was all quite average in that department.
The last thing I want to point out was the music choices, which was beyond strange. The number one rule in a Nam' movie is the music, it's what make these films stand out from the rest. Da 5 Bloods doesn't use any of the classic Nam' hits, but a lot of Marvin Gaye. Marvin Gaye has a lot of great hits, but it doesn't fit the theme of the film.
I really wanted to like Da 5 Bloods, but the terrible screenplay, unlikable characters, and obvious political agenda ruined it. And Da 5 Bloods being in a genre that is filled with legendary movies, it makes Da 5 Bloods look like hot garbage. Da 5 Bloods isn't a terrible movie though, and I can see why one would like it, but I'm not going to give it a perfect score just because of diversity and its political agenda.
Clint Eastwood being Clint Eastwood
I'm a fan of the western genre of movies and overall just a fan of Clint Eastwood in general. Unforgiven is one of Clint Eastwood's best movies; everything is great about it. I love the plot, the characters, and the acting.
Unforgiven's plot is about two retired gunslingers who join up to do one more contract. The plot is simple and it works perfectly. It never gets boring, but there are some pacing issues. The movie gets really good in the second act, but then Will Munny gets a fever and everything slows down. It's just a simple plot that's original to the western genre.
The characters were fairly well written; I just wanted a little more exposition about Ned Logan's past. I think it was clever how they didn't completely reveal Will Bunny's past until the third act. The screenplay is always building up to what Will Munny did in his past, so it's satisfying once we get an explanation in the third act. The acting was great too. I thought Clint would've gave the best performance, but Jaimz Woolvett did a great job playing the "Schofield Kid".
Unforgiven is another great western movie from Clint Eastwood. Clint directing, producing, and acting in Unforgiven was really impressive, and he did a great job with everything. Unforgiven is the perfect western, it has all the themes and the fun gunslinging.
Life of Pi (2012)
Visually breathtaking and emotional
Life of Pi, in my opinion, was the best movie of 2012. It has an amazing and emotional story that nearly brought a tear to my eye. The cinematography and directing was just purely beautiful, and the music was so calming and pleasing to listen to. It's unfortunate because Life of Pi didn't win best picture when it should've.
Life of Pi's plot is about a shipwreck story where a young man survives with a tiger, Richard Parker. Bringing in a dangerous animal brings so much more uniqueness to the story. Watching the two slowly create a relationship was emotional, and Richard Parker really feels like a real person. Everything was so well written that there's nothing to complain about.
The acting was amazing in Life of Pi. Suraj Sharma gave the performance of a lifetime; he really brought out the best. The older version of Pi, played by Irrfan Khan, did a great performance too; he gave such an emotional performance with so little a role. The character development between Richard Parker and Pi was amazingly done, and you truly feel bad for the starving tiger.
One of my favorite parts about Life of Pi was how beautiful it was. The cinematography really highlighted the beauty and loneliness of the Pacific Ocean. The directing was also really well done by Ang Lee, and by far this was his best job directing. The visual effects were great too. To make a CGI tiger be a main character was incredibly ambitious in 2012, but it looked great. And the music had some of the best songs I ever heard in a movie. It's so subtle and has little hints of Indian culture within it.
Life of Pi is my favorite movie of 2012. It's a movie that I can watch over and over again and still enjoy it the same way I watched it the first time. Everything was done so masterfully. The aesthetics was beautiful and the screenplay was so emotional. Life of Pi is an amazing movie that everybody should at least watch once in their lifetime.
Starship Troopers (1997)
The Good Ol' 90s
Starship Troopers is one of the best satires to be ever made. It's entertaining and cliche, and it screams the 90s. I love Starship Troopers, it's the classic humans vs aliens tale, which never gets old.
Starship Troopers follows a very standard plot, humans vs aliens. What's so great about Starship Troopers is that we get to see the humans being out of their element, away from Earth. We follow four main characters, Rico, Carmen, Dizzy, and Carl, who all enrolled into the federation to gain citizenship. The plot is fairly cliched, but on purpose, as this is a satire. One fairly good aspect of the screenplay is the pacing; it introduces all of the characters and then gets straight to war.
What surprised me the most was how violent Starship Troopers really is. The violence is entertaining when it has to be entertaining, and the violence is shocking when it has be shocking. Starship Troopers is also a great sci-fi flick, there's awesome world building and the futuristic technology is very creative. Overall, Starship Troopers succeeds in being both a war movie and being a sci-fi movie.
Starship Troopers is a fun movie that keeps it simplistic. It doesn't try to break the boundaries of the war and sci-fi genre. It's just a great movie with likable characters and fun action sequences.
Ready or Not (2019)
Fun to Watch
Ready or Not is a comedy-horror that doesn't attempt to offer anything new to the genre. All it was made for was to entertain, and Ready or Not is a very entertaining movie. It knows what it is and it plays off of that in a funny way. I was actually surprised that Ready or Not wasn't completely bad; I was expecting it to be a cheesy horror, but I had a lot of fun watching it.
It's about a newlywed bride who tries to survive a family's tradition of playing a game after an in-law's marriage. Grace, the bride, has to make it through the night before she dies to win the game. The plot is a little goofy and unrealistic, but it's a fun concept and it totally works. The pacing is great and it really creates some intense scenes. There is one issue that I do have with the screenplay, and that's the amount of exposition dumping at the beginning. We get to learn everything about the history of the family and the tradition, which I think it ruins the mystery of the story. There should have been little amounts of exposition given throughout the movie, so that Grace can figure out exactly what's happening.
The characters were actually good, which was very surprising to me, as many horrors struggle at writing good characters. Every character has their own personality and they all offer different things to the table. Some characters were the antagonists but they were actually likable, like Aunt Helene. There were times where you would actually cheer on Aunt Helene, which is weird because she's the most unempathetic antagonist in the whole movie. Overall, the characters were well written and even likable at times.
Ready or Not was a huge surprise, and I'm glad I watched it. It plays on all the cliches and exaggerates it. The plot and characters were well written and unique. Ready or Not is definitely a movie that I would recommend.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Stanley Kubrick, How Did You Do This?
Many people love 2001: A Space Odyssey for its thought provoking screenplay, but for me, it's special effects. 2001: A Space Odyssey blew my mind like no other film I have ever seen. That's because this film was originally released in 1968 where visual effects were practically nonexistent. And in my opinion, 2001: A Space Odyssey is Stanley Kubrick's best movie solely because of how visually impressive it is.
The plot is incredibly slow, just like any other Stanley Kubrick screenplay. You never get a clear explanation why things are happening, so you really have to put the pieces together. To really understand 2001: A Space Odyssey, you need an explanation video or something because 2001: A Space Odyssey is very confusing. I personally don't like these types of screenplays, because in my opinion, it's a very pretentious and lazy way to get you thinking. I do like the themes that are given throughout the story. The themes that are explored are way ahead of its time, like A.I being dangerous and unpredictable. The screenplay is impressive none the less, and it's still great to this day.
2001: A Space Odyssey is not a character film, it's more about the visuals and screenplay. As I've said, the visuals are the best part about 2001: A Space Odyssey. There are many scenes that are still mind blowing, like the running scene. Also the scenes where we get to see outside of the spacecrafts and look into space are amazing. It was so masterfully done that it actually looks real. These practical effects can still stand up to CGI effects, as they are both fairy realistic.
2001: A Space Odyssey is a fantastic film where the visuals blow your mind more than the screenplay. What's so amazing about this film is how it was released in 1968 and still looks just as good as the movies that are released today. It's truly an amazing film that will stand time better than what's being released now.
Poltergeist is one of the greatest horrors of all time, being written by Steven Spielberg and directed by Tobe Hooper. Poltergeist is such an impactful horror, as it plays a huge part in pop culture. Poltergeist created so many horror cliches too, because of how great it is as a horror movie.
The plot is the classic haunting story. It's difficult to make a memorable haunting film, as it's been done too many times to count. After so many decades since Poltergeist was first released, it's still not forgotten. Since Steven Spielberg helped write Poltergeist, there's not a lot to complain about. The pacing is great; it never gets boring and the movie gets straight to the point. The screenplay is incredibly clever, and because of that, Poltergeist was truly unique for its time. Poltergeist is also surprisingly funny. Comedy in horrors always feel forced in, but in Poltergeist, it's lightly added in. I also love how the comedy isn't introduced in through dialogue, but the objects that the ghosts haunt.
The visuals are also really great. The practical effects were realistic and smartly added in, not showing all of the effects in daylight; to help mask the practical effects. The tree attacking the little boy is one example of adding in practical effects smartly into a movie. There was one scene where the practical effects looked really bad, and that's the scene with the guy's face being pulled apart. It was in 1982, so I can't really hate on it too much.
The sound mixing and sound design was amazing too. I loved the little laughs added to the objects when they were possessed, it was funny and creepy at the same time. The whispers added in when Carol Anne (Heather O'Rourke) would speak to the spirits were great. The whispers were so good that many movies copied that technique to add a little more scare value.
Poltergeist is an excellent horror that masterfully blends everything great in horror movies into one film. It's funny and creepy, the screenplay is very clever, and the practical effects were well done and smartly added in. Poltergeist is definitely in the top 10 horror films of all time. I just hope there's no more remakes of this awesome movie.
The Abyss (1989)
Great Concept, but Barely Used
The Abyss had an exciting first act, but a disappointing second and third act. I love the concept, but it was barely used in the film. I suppose The Abyss focuses mainly on how the characters are surviving their circumstances and how they react to the alien specie.
I love the plot, but the pacing somewhat killed the movie. The pacing was extremely slow, and since we rarely see the aliens, we completely forget about the aliens. I had to remind myself several times why they were doing everything that they were doing. There should have been more alien encounters because they were really amazing, but I'm assuming that they didn't have the resources to make more alien scenes. By far the best part about the movie was the last 20 minutes. In those 20 minutes, it was intense and we finally got to see the aliens properly. If the movie just focused a little more on the aliens, then it would've been great.
The acting was solid and the characters were fairly likable. The issue I have is with the antagonist, Lt. Coffey, played by Michael Biehn. The antagonist's motives were justified because he was going through decompression sickness. But it's pretty lame that all of his intentions were because of psychosis. The villain was needed for the plot to continue, so it was necessary for an antagonist, but couldn't have James Cameron create a more interesting bad guy. One solid aspect of the characters was the great character development. James Cameron is a legend at writing good character development, and in The Abyss, it's really well written.
James Cameron is great at special effects, and in The Abyss, it's perfectly done too. All of the underwater scenes were great and the aliens were awesome to look at. I also really liked the blue color palette that James Cameron uses in almost all of his movies. Lastly, the soundtrack was really good. There's one specific song that is really eerie sounding, which helps build the mood of the film.
I had high hopes for The Abyss, but there were a lot of flaws with the screenplay. There should have been more scenes where the characters encounter the aliens. At times the plot gets forgotten because of how long the film focuses on subplots for too long. The characters were well acted and there was great character development, but the antagonist was terrible. The Abyss isn't bad, it's definitely worth a watch, but it's a little overrated.
The Thing (1982)
The Perfect Horror
The Thing is regarded to be one of the best horror movies of all time, and I can see why. It has the intensity, the uncertainty, and the atmosphere. I love The Thing as a horror movie so much because it doesn't use the classic jump scare technique to scare it's audience. In fact, The Thing is more intense than actually scary, and in my opinion, it's better that way.
The plot is so clever and unique for it's time. The Thing is about an alien who imitates organisms by consuming it. This plot is so perfect for creating an intense and uncertain atmosphere. The screenplay is one of the smartest horror screenplays of all time. The screenplay purposefully focuses on MacReady and no else. By doing this technique, it makes all of the characters suspicious, even MacReady at times. There is one issue with not focusing on all of other the characters; it's very hard to know who's who, but by the third act it narrows down and gets less confusing.
One of the most important aspects of a horror movie is its setting. The Thing takes place in Antarctica, which is one of the first horrors to take place in such a setting. The Thing uses Antarctica as a setting not just because it adds in isolation, but it's necessary for the plot. The thing (alien) wants to be frozen for it to live on; so the setting is actually important for the plot, instead of it being added in just because Antarctica is scary.
The special effects are masterfully done too. Since The Thing was released in 1982, there has to be practical effects. The Thing uses practical effects in such a smart way that it actually makes it scarier than CGI. The special effects were truly ahead of it's time, and it's really sad that there was only one nomination for the special effects.
The Thing was truly ahead of it's time. It's brilliantly filmed, the special are perfect, and the screenplay is smart. The Thing is one of the most intense movies I have ever seen, and maybe one of the scariest. The Thing will go down in history as John Carpenter's best movie and one of the most legendary horrors of all time.
At Least It's Self-Aware
Hobbs & Shaw is an action-packed Fast & Furious spin-off that succeeds in action, but fails at everything else. I know that Hobbs & Shaw is supposed to be a dumb action movie that breaks all the laws of physics, but it really lacks in all the different categories of film making.
It's a Fast & Furious spin-off, so of coarse the plot is going to be about saving the world. You really can't try and be original with such a plot, so why not go big or go home, and that's what Hobbs & Shaw does. There are action scenes that disregard physics and the limit of the human body, but at least it's entertaining. Hobbs & Shaw's action scenes are really creative and insane, so I have to give respect to the writers and stunt co-ordinators for thinking up all the these scenes and executing them. So, although Hobbs & Shaw is extremely predictable and has a lazy plot, it's entertaining enough to completely forget about the screenplay.
The duo between Hobbs and Shaw is entertaining to watch, but there are so many jokes that don't land. When the duo both insult each other, there's obvious intended jokes, but a lot of them aren't all that funny. The villain, Brixton, played by Idris Elba is an extremely poorly written antagonist. There's nothing special about this villain and his motives are generic. There's no exposition about Brixton, so we know nothing about him or who he is, except that he's a cyborg.
Hobbs & Shaw is a lazy and predictable movie that adds nothing to the action genre. Maybe I'm being hard, because I know that this movie is supposed to dumb and entertaining. I just really hated how lazy the antagonist and plot is. Hobbs & Shaw is a 5 for me, but it does have the entertainment factor, so at least it's watchable.
Funny and intense at the Same Time
Parasite is one of those movies where it gets you excited in the first half, then just tears you apart in the second. It's either a hit or miss for this style of film making, but Parasite did it perfectly. The best part is how it surprises you in such an unexpected way that it makes you depressed. The ending is insane, and when you thought it couldn't get any crazier, it got crazier.
At the beginning, the plot was about a poor family who would slowly integrate each other into a rich family's household by use of manipulation. I love the original plot, it was clever and original. It also brought in a lot of dark comedy and excitement. The second half is completely different, it was about the poor family trying to keep their secret from the rich family. The second half brought in the intensity after a pretty relaxing first half. Because of such a drastic change in themes and moods, it feels like a roller coaster full of emotions. Very few movies were able to make me laugh and smile to just sadness and intensity in just 10 minutes. The pacing was also a really big contributor to playing with your emotions. It's very slow in the first half, then it speeds up extremely quickly in the second. All of these techniques were specifically done to play with your emotions, and it's done so well.
The acting was great, everyone gave a very solid performance. No one did an Oscar worthy performance, but there was no need for it. Parasite focuses on real life emotions and how people would actually react in such circumstances. Kang-ho Song gave the best performance in my opinion, as he brought so much melancholy to Ki Taek (Mr. Kim). Overall, everyone had a great performance that was realistic and funny.
The biggest reason why Parasite won so many Oscars was because of how well shot this movie is. The cinematography is very slow, and since the set is primarily in a lifeless house, everything is very depressing. The directing is also very well done. Bong Joon Ho is one of the best directors in South Korea, if not the best. He truly deserves his awards, as he puts all of his talents into Parasite.
I love and hate Parasite, but I don't hate Parasite in a bad way. It really plays with your emotions in a crazy way. Everything in this movie was done to simply toy with your emotions; the pacing and mood changes were so effective. And in a modern cinema where adapting screenplay is more common than not, Parasite will go down in history.
Did Anyone Ask For This?
Snowpiercer (2013) is one of my favorite movies of all time, so I expected a lot from Snowpiercer (2020). I think that everyone can agree that the Snowpiercer story has already been told greatly, so there really is no need for another Snowpiercer adaptation. And I know that it's too early to judge this show right now, but I know it's going to be nothing compared to the film.
Instead of focusing on a rebellion this time, Snowpiercer (2020) focuses on a murder mystery. The murder mystery concept sounds great on paper, but when it's executed, it's just boring for me. They should've done a mini series about a revolution instead of a murder mystery. I think the main reason why I hate the plot is because of Andre Layton, the protagonist of the story.
Andre Layton is such a terrible protagonist that he ruins the entire show. The character is so annoying; he has such an obnoxious attitude that makes him extremely unlikable. I honestly can't see Andre Layton being a leader, unlike Chris Evans' character, Curtis. Another issue with Andre Layton is the actor playing him, Daveed Diggs. Daveed Diggs' performance is really cringey; his acting is just embarrassing. It really made me wondered, if you can have Jennifer Connelly, couldn't you have a better leading actor. And what's really ironic is that Jennifer Connelly's character, Melanie Cavill is a better character than Andre Layton. At least Melanie got some scenes that proves she's actually a good person trapped in an ugly world.
The one thing they got right was the aesthetics of the train. You could tell that they put a lot of money in the sets, but that's pretty much useless if you don't have a good story to support it. They also did a good job with the costume designs, but that's pretty much it.
Snowpiercer (2020) is such an unnecessary adaptation that it feels like a cash grab more than anything else. The plot is passable, but the characters ruin everything. The acting was okay all around, except for Daveed Diggs' performance. The only thing they got right was the train itself and the costumes. Don't expect much from this show.
Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019)
Great Act 1... Then It All Falls Apart
Pokemon Detective Pikachu could've been a great movie to watch; it had so much potential. I really wanted to like Pokemon Detective Pickachu solely because of the first act. The first act set up everything so well, but they just completely bombed the next acts. It felt as if a new writer was doing the screenplay after act one, because act one set up all the characters and gave exposition perfectly. If Pokemon Detective Pikachu was more consistent with the screenplay, then it could've been really good.
The villain gets introduced in the second act, by bringing in Bill Nighy's character, Howard Clifford. The problem is that Howard Clifford was such an obvious bad guy that when you saw him, you immediately knew he was going to be a surprise villain. Also, Howard Clifford never gave a reason why he wanted to turn the people and their Pokemon into one being; he did it just because his character had to do it. Because of Howard Clifford being written so horribly, the plot was so predictable that it hurts. The good thing is that the writers know how to write a good dysfunctional family relationship; this made Tim Goodman and his father's relationship realistic.
I loved Ryan Reynolds' performance as Detective Pickachu. Ryan Reynolds is great in comedies because he's simply funny. I seriously don't believe that any other actor can do a performance that is on the same level as Reynolds'. But besides from Reynolds' performance, everyone else did an average job. Justice Smith did an okay job, but when Justice Smith and Ryan Reynolds acted together, Justice Smith doesn't look good at all.
The most impressive part about Pokemon Detective Pikachu is the CGI. To bring in all of these anime Pokemon into live action would look weird if done wrong, but there was a good mixture of realism and anime in all of the Pokemon. I can really appreciate the VFX artists after Pokemon Detective Pickachu.
Pokemon Detective Pickachu had such a great act one that it overshadowed everything else. It's upsetting because I wanted to like this movie, but the issues are too glaring. It's way too predictable and stereotypical that I can't give it a rating higher than a six.
It Chapter Two (2019)
Living up to It (2017) is a difficult task to do, but I really can't fault the creators for It Chapter Two not being as good as the first. It Chapter Two tries too hard to be as good as the first that it copies everything about the first. The camera tricks and chase scenes are literally a copy and paste. They should have done some new things to make It Chapter Two feel more like a sequel and not a remake. The best sequels of all time added something new, like Aliens and Terminator 2: Judgement Day.
The plot brings back all of the characters, except for Stanley. The plot contains a lot of subplots; a little too much in fact. I'm surprised that they were able to make It Chapter Two 2h 50min, which sounds long, but there was a lot to unravel in this new plot. What It Chapter Two suffers from is the choppy pacing. Luckily, the pacing wasn't too choppy enough to make the film lose it's intensity.
What I disliked the most was the characters. None of the new versions of the Loser's Club were likable, except for Mike. It Chapter Two focuses a lot on the characters' quests rather than the actual characters. They gave a bunch of exposition about the Losers after beating Pennywise when they were younger, but little exposition about their new current lives. Because of the lack of exposition given to the current losers, they weren't even comparable to their younger versions from the original. Also, the acting was way worse for some reason. These new actors are adult professionals, but they gave worse performances than their younger counterparts. I hated Bill Hader's performance of Richie, he made Richie seem like a jerk who cracks stupid jokes all the time. Finn Wolfhard did a way better job with the character, he made Richie goofy and likable.
The good part was the use of CGI. The CGI created a lot of cool imagery that seemed like illusions. Because of the CGI, it really made It Chapter Two feel like an It movie. There was a little too much CGI being used to create the monsters, but I guess it's just personal preference whether you like it or not. But for some reason, the scenes that were supposed to be intense, didn't really feel that intense.
I really liked It (2017), but It Chapter Two really failed on almost every level. None of the characters were likable; almost unlikable. There was too much subplots, even though it was necessary for the story. Because of all of the subplots, there was little exposition given to the new versions of the characters. It Chapter Two also suffers from a subpar screenplay and terrible acting. It Chapter Two isn't a bad movie, but it's really disappointing.
Alita: Battle Angel (2019)
Better Than What I Expected
Adapting an anime movie into to "live Action" has always been proven difficult, with Ghost in the Shell failing on several levels. Alita: Battle Angel is the best live action anime adaption I have seen so far, but isn't saying too much. I'm a huge cyberpunk fan, and Alita: Battle Angel gets a lot of things right about the genre. What upsets me is everything that surrounds the concept of cyberpunk, like the screenplay and pacing.
The screenplay is very messy in the second act. The pacing really starts to build up at about half way through, but after Alita's second battle with Grewishka, it feels like it resets. There's several other issues with the screenplay, like the cheesy dialogue. It really caught me off guard with the dialogue because it felt like it was written by a little child sometimes. The dialogue is also cheesy because of the poor delivery of the actors/actresses. One good thing about the screenplay is the world building. It's all very creative, and it's awesome to watch if you're a cyberpunk fan because everything is developed very well.
The acting is very questionable at certain moments. Because of the acting, it really takes you out of the mood. One thing that is my favorite part about the film are the characters' cyborg bodies. The cyborg bodies are really creative and interesting because you see a mixture of parts, like it was salvaged together. The character development was done reasonably well, with Alita being the protagonist. We get to see her develop into who she really is, and this theme was played very well into the story.
The CGI was very impressive. It helped a lot with creating the cyborgs. All of the fight scenes were probably not done practically whatsoever, so if the CGI was done poorly, it would be obviously bad, but it was consistently good. On the topic of fight scenes, Alita: Battle Angel has a bunch of creative and entertaining fight scenes that were definitely the highlights of the film. I also loved seeing all the different cyborgs and how their bodies were built to fight in different ways; it added multiple levels to the fight scenes.
Alita: Battle Angel was a solid anime adaption; it might even be the best anime adaption so far in cinema history. Alita: Battle Angel is very creative, with the world building and characters being at the top of the list. It's entertaining and well produced with the action. It's just the really bad screenplay and pacing that took me out of the movie. Overall, Alita: Battle Angel is a good movie that's worthy of a watch.
With all of these great reviews, Oscars, and it being a Quentin Tarantino film, I held Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood to an extremely high expectation. Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood is such a strange movie to me: it has Tarantino's directing style, but it doesn't feel like one of his movies. I really wanted to love this movie because I'm a huge Tarantino fan, but this movie felt useless and overrated. And I can understand why people would love this movie, it's funny and it has a great ending, but this one wasn't exactly for me.
The plot butchered this movie in my opinion. During the runtime, you could feel Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood building up for something because of the pacing. The issue is that it was building up to something that wasn't defined at the beginning, so it felt like it was going nowhere. There were many scenes that were specifically for a character's development, so I thought all of them were going to me up and have some insane ending, like what a Tarantino film should have. The ending was quite unique in fact, as it was about Charles Manson's goons attacking Rick Dalton and his stunt double. I really liked this ending, as it took a different approach that was funny and satisfying in a Tarantino way. But I don't think the ending was worthy of a 2h 41min runtime.
The most redeeming aspect of the film was the acting. When you have Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio, you'd expect to see some great performances. The sad part is that the characters aren't interesting enough to live up to the performances. One issue I have with the movie when it comes to the characters is how poorly they were used. Why have Margot Robbie play a character when the character barely even contributes to the final plot. This begs the question, why have the Polanski and Tate relationship if they were only slightly used at the ending.
I do like how stylistic Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood is: Tarantino is great at making is film unique. It has that 60s vibe that is awesome when done right. Great song selection plays an important part in a 60s movie: it has to be upbeat and fun to set the mood. Tarantino also did a great job with making Rick Dalton's movies seem like a classic westerner.
Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood is the greatest disappointment of Quentin Tarantino's directing career. This movie isn't bad though, it did a lot of things right, and I really wanted to like this movie, but there were too many issues. It had a weak plot that felt like it was going nowhere throughout the entire runtime. It misused almost half of the characters, and they weren't all that interesting. Honestly, I can see why a lot of people would like this movie, but it's too overrated for me.
One Word: Masterpiece
World War 1 is a war that is drastically underrated and under used in Hollywood. To be completely honest, I'm getting tired of World War 2 movies, they're mostly the same thing but with different characters. So when 1917 came out, I was ecstatic because World War 1 would finally get the recognition it deserves. 1917 is more of a drama than a war movie, and I love it; you can only see soldiers killing each other for so long. 1917 is about two men trying to survive what's happening around them. The war is just a backdrop mostly throughout the runtime, so it feels like a breath of fresh air in the war genre because you're not constantly being bombarded with people getting shot and blown up.
I love how simple the plot is; it's just two men trying to send a message across a war zone. Everything about the plot and the writing is perfect. It's intense, it's sad, and it has great pacing. 1917 is also realistic, none of the characters are superheroes; they get hurt and make mistakes. 1917 is a history lesson too, it depicts the trenches exactly how it was in real life. The war torn landscapes are also depicted very well, as it shows corpses stuck in the mud, which took away a lot of lives during World War 1. I love the history of World War 1, and 1917's writers really did their research, because it shows it in the final product.
By far the most impressive aspects of 1917 is how beauty it is. The cinematography is amazing with these wide landscape shots. 1917 is just such a beautiful film to watch, even though there's constant imagery of war. The most impressive part about 1917 is how it looks like it was shot in one continuous take. Filming this way is extremely difficult; you need great camera work and choreography, but when it's all said and done, it's so satisfying. You also need smart editing to blend in all of the shots.
Last thing I want to mention is the acting. Both George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman did a fantastic job. They made the characters so believe by their body language, showing how tired and hurt they are. With 1917 having almost no exposition, somehow they've made these characters so likable and understanding. All we need to see is sacrifice and determination to make these characters understanding, and the writers did exactly that.
I love 1917, it was amazing in every aspect. I already knew Sam Mendes was a great director, but to direct a project this difficult and make it look easy forces me to respect him even more. The acting, the cinematography, and the simple plot made 1917 a joy to watch. All I can say is that 1917 was definitely worth my money.
Good Concept, Alright Execution
It's hard nowadays to make something original from a monster flick, and Crawl attempts exactly that, but something doesn't feel right about the movie. Crawl follows everything you need to follow if you're going to make a monster/horror movie, and because of that, it creates a lack of charisma. Everything is very average in Crawl, and when they try to explore on certain themes, it just doesn't seem to work. Claustrophobia is a major theme in the movie, but it never felt claustrophobic to me. I know Crawl is a movie that's supposed to be taken lightly, and I tried to lower my suspension of disbelief, but they got too many things wrong for me to criticize it.
Alligators are cool animals, and I can see why they picked alligators for this movie, but they got so many things wrong about alligators. I'm okay with changing an animal's characteristics for a movie if it's done moderately, but they changed almost everything about alligators. This lack of realism makes everything seem cheesy, and it makes the writers look stupid, even if they know what they're doing isn't realistic. Although I hate how they've portrayed the alligators, I do like some concepts of the movie. Being trapped inside your home is a theme that is always used in horrors; Crawl uses this theme very well and realistically. Beside from that, everything was just average.
The acting in Crawl really confuses me, because at times, it's great, but at other times it's not. I really can't fault the actors too much, because most of their roles were supporting characters, not leading characters. When it comes to the characters alone, it doesn't get any better. We get some cheesy flashbacks and corny lines for some exposition of the father-daughter relationship, which is the worst way to give characters exposition in my opinion. They also tried to include a lot of character development, which is very reasonable, due to the circumstances of the situation in the film, but it doesn't feel deserving. They had the formula for everything to be good, but for some reason, it all falls flat; maybe it's just me.
Last thing I want to mention are the cliches in Crawl. When it comes to cliches in horrors, you really can't blame them too much, because the genre itself is a giant cliche. All I want from Crawl is be more discreet in these cliches. You know that the main characters are going to survive everything somehow no matter what, and that's because of Crawl's cliches. If a film is too saturated with cliches, then the film becomes predictable, and you never want a plot that is predictable if it's a horror movie.
Crawl isn't a bad film, and I like how they're trying to do something new. The execution just wasn't performed well, so it took this concept and made it average in almost every aspect. Crawl suffers not only from the terrible execution, but also from its cliched plot that makes the movie very predictable. Crawl is a movie where you have to turn your brain off to watch, because if you don't, there's a lot to criticize.
Spenser Confidential (2020)
Spenser Confidential is an action movie that is typical of it's genre. It's a comedy action that barely succeeds in any of its categories. It's rather boring in the aspect that it doesn't try something new; it does everything safely. I mean, what would you expect from a Mark Wahlberg flick; his acting style is so repetitive that it eventually gets annoying. The biggest issue with this movie is Mark Wahlberg in my opinion. His character is literally the same character he plays in all of his most recent movies. Because of Mark Wahlberg, Spenser is so bland and boring, which is a big problem because Spenser is the protagonist in this story.
Surprisingly, the plot isn't that poorly written, it's just really boring. I have no issues with crime action movies, but you have to do something unique because this genre is overly saturated. There are some questionable plot devices added in that feel forced, like how Spenser went to prison. I feel like it really wouldn't make a difference if Spenser didn't go to prison in the first place. There should've been more scenes in prison to justify this plot device, because it feels like the whole prison thing was made for Spenser to get introduced to Hawk and have some cheap jokes. Another problem with the script is the horrible comedy. I never laughed, and I barely even cracked a smile at times, and part of it is the acting, but man was the comedy cringe.
The acting and characters are terrible in Spenser Confidential. Mark Wahlberg didn't add anything to his character; Spenser is just another hero that makes cheesy jokes. One thing that is promising about the acting is Post Malone's performance. He didn't do anything crazy with his performance, but for not having an acting background, he did a pretty good job. The characters are really poorly written. None of them were interesting and they barely had any character traits. Hawk and Spenser both like boxing, and Spenser likes helping people, what else? All of the characters were really stupid too, like why would a cop leave his tooth pick on the ground right before killing someone when he knows there's going to be an investigation. There's a lot of other moments in the film that shows how stupid these characters are, but there's too many to list.
Spenser Confidential is a movie that doesn't strive to be something different. The writers and actors played everything safely, and that was the downfall for Spenser Confidential. I didn't have high hopes for this movie going in, and you shouldn't too. If you like cheesy flicks, then it's guaranteed that you'd enjoy Spenser Confidential. Overall, Spenser Confidential is a movie that's boring and unoriginal; not good enough to get a rating anything higher than a six from me.
The Screenplay Ruined Everything
Hellboy has a lot of issues that are common within action movies; it has a terribly written story with underdeveloped characters. It's so disappointing because Hellboy had such deep lore and there's so much you can do with it, but they didn't build on it. Hellboy isn't completely bad, it does a lot of right things that stay true to the original source material. If they just worked harder on the screenplay, then Hellboy would've been great like the Guillermo del Toro Hellboys.
The plot itself isn't bad, although it's completely unoriginal; the issue is everything surrounding the plot. The screenplay is just lazy, like it's been written by a child. There were moments when the characters went from one location to another location without any scenes between the jump. The writers could have added some scenes that develops the story and characters more between that jump, because the whole story felt blurry and rushed. There should have been at least fifteen minutes at the beginning to setup everything, like creating character traits, but instead they got straight to the point. The pacing was just weird, at times where the movie is really ramping up, it stops immediately, then starts again. It really killed the second act and it effected the third act negatively. There was so much exposition dumping that was poorly added in, and somehow with all the exposition, everything still feels one dimensional. Everything felt forced too, like everything had to happen because it's a movie.
The characters are terribly written too. None of the characters had a solid foundation to build upon, not even Hellboy had a good foundation. There was little to no exposition given to any of the characters, so they were all just boring and had no personality. Hellboy is such a one dimensional character in this movie, and that really surprised me because there's so much you can do with him. Guillermo del Toro's Hellboy had personality; he hated things and he loved things like real people, but this Hellboy didn't show any interest in anything. The relationship between Hellboy and his father was just weak. They barely had any time together and there were no scenes of them showing that they have a good relationship at all, unlike del Toro's Hellboy. This poorly developed relationship is the reason why the death of Hellboy's father isn't even sad.
Hellboy did do some things right. There was fantastic imagery throughout the film that really shows the creativity of the film makers. The lore was so deep and that's where they stayed true to the original source material. It's unfortunate because if the script did a harder job on exploring the lore, then Hellboy would've been a great fantasy movie. The action was very entertaining and violent, which made Hellboy even more true to the original comics. The last thing I want to touch on is the weird CGI. At times the CGI looks very passable, but at other times it looks horrible. It was all fine until the last fight scene where the CGI completely took me out of the movie.
Overall, Hellboy was a wasted opportunity; it had a vision, but was ultimately ruined by the screenplay. If the screenplay was good, then the characters, the pacing, and the story would've been great. Hellboy is a movie that you should watch only if you get the opportunity to watch it for free, because this movie isn't worth renting price.
The Irishman (2019)
Scorsese Still Has It
Scorsese is a directing legend for making gangster movie, and it's been a long time since Scorsese made a movie like The Irishman. I've missed this type of Scorsese and I'm happy that he still has his magic. The Irishman is literally the perfect gangster movie; it has De Niro, Pacino, and Pesci. It's story is based off of real characters and actual events, and it takes its time to tell the story.
The Irishman is very long, but it never got boring to me. There's always something happening and it really immerses you into the story. I love the extreme amount of exposition given at the beginning in Scorsese films, and in The Irishman, you get plenty all throughout the runtime. Some may say that The Irishman is slow paced, but I don't interpret it that way. The story is constantly developing itself and its characters; it took its time to develop everything, and it truly makes a believable story. I also love the dialogue and nicknames in The Irishman, it really gives you that Scorsese feel. The only issue I have with the screenplay is the lack of solid queues for what time period it is. I don't think Scorsese wanted to have texts saying what year it is, but it really confuses you, and you're forced to search up what happened in whatever year.
Every character gets a great level of exposition, as I've said, and this makes all the characters super fun to watch. My favorite part is the chemistry between De Niro and Pacino. Pacino and De Niro make these two characters have a genuine friendship and it being destroyed by De Niro's character (Frank Sheeran) is sad to watch. Because of the great friendship, the character development was done very well. At first, I thought that the story was mainly with Pesci and De Niro, but it was shared between the trio, and that's what setup the third act so perfectly. There's a lot of characters in The Irishman, too many to count, and it can become very overwhelming with all the information, but the writer did a great job with handling all of the characters.
The Irishman was shot very well; it has that Scorsese feel with how it was filmed, so basically, The Irishman has amazing cinematography. One of my favorite parts about The Irishman are the song choices. There's so may rock gems in the soundtrack that it makes The Irishman very pleasing to listen to. One thing that I want to point out are the visual effects. Creating faces as a visual effect is extremely difficult and it takes a lot of time, and they have done a very passable job. There is a little bit of uncanny valley with De Niro's younger face, but it's still very impressive.
The Irishman is a great mobster film; it has all the attributes that's desirable for a gangster movie fan. It's long but entertaining and intriguing. The character exposition and development is expertly written. The acting by the trio of Pesci, Pacino, and De Niro is great, and they give you that gangster feel in the characters. I can see why some people would hate The Irishman, but if you love any Scorsese mobster film, then you're going to enjoy The Irishman.
Ford v Ferrari (2019)
Finally! A Great Car Movie
It has been a long since we got a car movie, let alone a good car movie. Watching Ford V Ferrari is a blast for car enthusiasts. You can tell the screenwriters knew everything about a car's anatomy, which I appreciate, as it really immerses you into the story. Everything in Ford V Ferrari is flawless, the acting, the cinematography, the tension, and the screenplay. It's entertaining and emotional, it has the best of both worlds.
The script was written extremely well; it pulls you into the story and you become emotionally attached to the characters. You feel uncertain every time Ken Miles races because racing is so unpredictable, and you don't want anything to happen to Ken because Ken was developed so greatly as a character. Although Ford V Ferrari is a very long movie, it's never boring because the pacing is great and you know exactly where the story is taking you. The story is constantly building up, so the final race is insanely intense. Another thing I like about the script is how the antagonist isn't Ferrari, but Leo Beebe, a Ford corporate. This makes the movie have a constant rivalry between the protagonist and antagonist; it also makes Ford V Ferrari more original.
The acting was solid all around. Christian Bale's performance was amazing; he makes Ken Miles so relatable, and when Ken Miles eventually dies, it's heart wrenching because you know it's coming. The delivery of the lines by Christian Bale just sells the character, and he delivers the line like a real person would in such a competitive atmosphere. All the characters were written with actual thought put into them. That's why the rivalry between Beebe and Miles is so authentic; they think differently although they're on the same side. I like how a lot of the runtime is spent with Miles' family, making you more emotionally attached to Ken and his family.
The sound editing was top notch. You hear the engine, the gears switch, the tires screech, and the brakes clenching. It's mixed together so well and it makes the experience way more realistic. It's so satisfying hearing everything work together so perfectly. The cinematography is beautiful, and it highlights the beauty of the cars and the landscapes that surround the vehicles. What's so crucial to making a film feel like it's in a specific time period is the color palette and atmosphere. Ford V Ferrari captures the atmosphere of the 60's perfectly, and it gives you the nostalgia of it's time period, even if you weren't around during the 60's.
Overall, Ford V Ferrari was fantastic, and it will go down as one of the best racing movies of all time for me. I loved every bit of it, it's a true homage to the sport and people who risk their lives to be the best. Ford V Ferrari is a must watch for car enthusiasts, and even though some people don't care about cars, Ford V Ferrari can still entertain you by the tension and great storytelling.
Pet Sematary (2019)
Someone Bury This Movie Please
Pet Sematary is what's everything wrong with the horror genre; it has the cheap jump scares, the predictable plot, and the cliches. The horror genre is slowly dying because of movies like these. The cliches make Pet Sematary feel like a Scary Movie sequel than an actual horror movie. Even though this story is an adapted screenplay and there's already feel another movie before this one, Pet Sematary still finds new ways to be even more unoriginal.
First of all, Pet Sematary has a horrible screenplay. It has a poorly written family that's unlikable; there's little to know about this family except that they moved to Ludlow to get some more family time. The entire family is boring; none of the characters have unique traits that make them likable or relatable. The film mostly takes place in their house and I think that really limits the film's potential. We could've seen the family interact with the locals and make the locals seem scared, maybe even creepy, just something to add more mood to the movie. The only good thing is that the pacing was good and it helped with the entertainment factor.
The characters are even worse, Louis taking the cake. Louis is supposed to be a down to earth logical guy, but for some reason he's the most stupid character in the movie. They've written it so that his character contradicts himself; and this begs the question, why couldn't Rachel be the one who starts the mess. Rachel's the one who's always with the family and she's mentally fragile; there could've been plenty of great scenes if they took that route, but they didn't for some reason. All of the characters in the movie are stupid too, not just Louis, and they're stupid for obvious reasons; it's to push the plot forward. Jud knows that the Pet semetary is an evil place, so why did he take Louis to bury his cat there. Couldn't they have written it more cleverly to make the characters look like they have more than two brain cells. The last thing I want to mention is how poorly used Victor Pascow was. His character was completely irrelevant throughout the movie and his only job was to warn Louis about Pet Sematary, but he barely did anything. If Victor Pascow was completely erased from the film, it wouldn't change a thing because he didn't even make Louis reconsider anything.
Pet Sematary is a complete waste of time. It's filled with terrible jump scares and is predictable beyond belief. If you want to enjoy Pet Sematary, I'd recommend the original movie or the book; just don't pay for this dumpster fire of a movie.