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Ad Astra (2019)
Pitt's Ad Astra is gorgeous looking, but its narrative needs work.
Ad Astra was directed by James Gray and stars Brad Pitt as an astronaut who is given the precise location of his missing, estranged father. As a result, he goes on a journey through space in hopes of finding him and bringing him back home and to reality.
When I was going into this movie, I honestly thought it was going to be a science fiction movie. What we get in reality is an adventure/drama where the core is the relationship between the main character and his father. The trailers seemed to be very misleading in that regard. Despite this, I still had issues with the film's narrative.
First off, the movie had some action scenes towards the beginning, but they generally went absolutely nowhere and barely had anything to do with the plot or the adventure. Second, we don't really learn much about the main character's relationship with his father. When we do learn something about it, it's through exposition. In a slow and simple story like this, I feel like flashbacks would be more effective here because they help to engage the audience over exposition. Finally, there were some plot points that I feel like were thrown to the wayside by the third act. Delving more into that leads into spoiler territory, however.
This isn't to say that there isn't a lot to like however because there is a lot to like here. First off, I feel like the adventure aspect works pretty well, as we get to see the struggles the main character has to go through to get to his destination. I also found the visuals and the cinematography to be really good, you can tell that the budget went to creating the beautiful effects displayed on the silver screen. Finally, I can't forget to acknowledge Brad Pitt's performance. He's been a pretty busy man this years it seems as he gives off a calm, yet very convincing performance when compared to his more energetic one in Once Upon a Time.
I am very mixed on this movie because there are a lot of things that it does right, but the narrative has a lot of faults that really keep me from liking it as much as I want to.
Steven Universe: The Movie (2019)
Steven's movie debut is excellently well-crafted, especially for a TV movie
Steven Universe: The Movie is the follow-up to the Cartoon Network hit TV show. The movie takes place 2 years after the events of its 5th season, and it seems like things are finally settling down for everyone, with the diamonds having adjusted to their home's new lifestyle. Everything seems to be going well for Steven and the Gems, until a mysterious rogue gem comes crashing onto earth.
I was pretty excited for the movie since I am a big fan of the show, and I am heavily aware of the talent brought onto it. After watching it, I feel as though my expectations have been fulfilled heavily.
To start with, I'm very glad they skipped through time. I personally thought it was necessary because it gives new depths to the show by providing ways to show off both the growth of the characters and some world-building. Fortunately, the movie provides plenty of that by showing off the new city, Steven's mental and physical growth as well as the steps the diamonds are taking to improve themselves. I believe this opens the doors for many different possibilities going forward.
There are several other aspects I enjoyed, such as the songs. Being that this is a musical, good quality songs are something we should expect, and this movie heavily delivers on that. For the most part, they're used to describe the characters and describe who they are and what they are meant to be, and I think they were all executed in unique ways. It shouldn't come as a surprise that the songs are uniquely great since the crew was working with some professional artists.
There are several other aspects of the film that I could delve into, such as the intriguing conflict the film presents us. I could also talk about how Peridot, Lapis and Bismuth have more prominent roles and screentime is something I heavily appreciate. We also learn more about the villain in a way that I have never seen before, even after reviewing almost a hundred new releases.
My only real complaint with the film is that the stakes are not particularly high for Steven and the gems this time. The villain this time around isn't necessarily reaching very far in terms of scale as far as how much destruction she wants to cause, which is a shame when the universe as at stake at the end of season 5.
Despite having lower stakes, the Steven Universe movie is spectacular, especially for a made-for TV movie. I think it'll impress most, if not, all fans of the show.
Dora and the Lost City of Gold knows what it is, which is both the movie's advantage and disadvantage.
You know Hollywood wants to make movies about anything when they're making something like Dora and the Lost City of Gold. This movie follows our titular heroine Dora who moves to the city after living in the jungle and she has a hard time fitting in. When she, her cousin Diego and some other students get captured while on a field trip, however, they need to find a way to locate Parapata, a lost city of gold.
When going into a movie about Dora the Explorer, I didn't know what to expect. I grew up with the tv show, and it's not one that I think holds up well. After seeing this, I gotta say, this movie is absolutely stupid and ridiculous. They, however know this and embrace it! This is a tongue-in-cheek, self-aware, silly movie that is sure to entertain kids. Its target audience isn't the preschool demographic, so there's that to watch out for though. This is a movie that barely takes itself seriously. For example, in the beginning of the film, Dora talks to the camera as a way to poke fun at the show. When the movie transitions from live-action to the show's traditional look when the characters go through a flower field, you should know not to take it seriously.
With this being said, however, there were some goofy elements that really didn't do it for me. One example of this is that the movie has a few poop jokes and poop-related scenes, and they weren't clever. There was an entire scene dedicated to figuring out how one of them would poop in the jungle. It's a joke that really dragged for me. Aside from that, the movie rarely worked when it tried to be serious. For example, we have the scenes where she tries to fit in with her peers at school. Dora comes off as being a very smart individual, and there's often a certain charm to this trope. However, it isn't present here, and scenes like these come off as awkward. The two students that Dora and Diego go on their journey with seem like they hate being part of the adventure, and despite the character development, it just tends to rebound, as if hating the journey is the status quo of their characters.
With all my criticisms, I do like Isabela Moner as Dora. I think she did a great job embodying the spirit of her character, and had the charisma that I remembered from the actual show. I genuinely enjoyed her performance.
Dora and the Lost City of Gold is a wonderfully stupid movie that knows what it's doing. It's not like the original show, and it certainly doesn't have to be.
Fast and Furious fans will love it, other moviegoers maybe won't feel the same way.
Hobbs and Shaw is the latest film in the Fast and the Furious franchise. This time, Luke Hobbs must team up with an enemy of his from Furious 7 known as Deckard Shaw. Their mission is to protect Shaw's sister from an evil organization lead by a genetically modified human, who is out to obtain a lethal virus.
I'll be honest, I liked the Fast and Furious movies a lot more when I was a teenager, but now that I've gained more knowledge about films and watched a lot more in recent years, I've begun to disregard the franchise as brainless and cheesy. In a way, this movie continues this trend of these movies being brainless and cheesy. It's over-the-top, silly and succeeds as being an action movie that shouldn't be taken too seriously as an action movie, If you're into that, you'll like Hobbs and Shaw, as it provides the fast-paced action that the previous F&F movies provide. Don't expect this movie to be substantial in any way. I could rag on this movie for this, but it's harmless and a lot of people do like it for this, so more power to them.
With that being said, this film does provide some good qualities. I genuinely enjoyed the chemistry between Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham here. It's especially interesting considering that the latter was the villain in Furious 7, and they played around with their interactions by acknowledging this. The overall production is great, from the effects to the production design, they continue to do a great job with the production values. Finally, I can't talk about this movie without mentioning the final showdown. In it, Hobbs' family used physical strength to attempt to overpower the evil organization. I found this to be a genuinely entertaining way to finish off the movie.
I feel as though Fast and Furious fans will be satisfied with this movie. As for me, while I'd prefer more in this movie, it did a fine job with the material they were given.
Tarantino's latest film is his most laid-back, comical and impactful, although it's sure to divide lots of moviegoers.
Once Upon a TIme... in Hollywood is Quentin Tarantino's 9th film, which stars DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie as actors during 60s Hollywood. This film tells the story of Rick Dalton, an actor who realizes that he needs to change in order to become successful in 1960s Hollywood. The plot also involves Dalton's partner Leo, the Manson Family and Sharon Tate.
The original trailer for this movie presents a lot of what I needed to know about the movie, the movie would be laid-back, and a lot different from his other works. I came out with exactly this. This movie is much more lighthearted than most of his works, as the violence and gore is very minimal. The movie intends to explore the life of a dying actor and his rerise to fame. It also presents some other plots which explore other figures the movie presents such as Leo's relation with the Manson family, as well as the life of Sharon Tate. Tarantino's take on 60s Hollywood is a very interesting one, that utilizes elements of comedy, as well as elements of 60s filmmaking. The way all of these plots come together during the third act is sure to divide audiences. I don't want to get into spilers, so all I can really say is that's it's an ending that'll either make or break the film for you. Personally, I found it very satisfying to see the final outcome, and I really like that he twists things up by the end.
My only problem is that I wish they gave more character to Sharon Tate. We don't really see her very often throughout the film, and from the little that we do see of her, we don't really learn anything new about her. She gives off the idea that she has a shallow personality, which I doubt was true in reality.
I had a great time seeing this movie, although I feel like it'll appeal more to fans of Tarantino's work overall. It's laid-back, surprising, comedic and ha its own stylistic touches that are unique for a Tarantino film.
The Lion King (2019)
The Lion King 2019 can be compared to an unsharpened pencil, as in they're both pointless.
The Lion King 2019 is the live-acion remake of the 1994 animated movie of the same name. It is directed by Jon Favreau, who brought us The Jungle Book in 2016, goode start so far. This movie tells the tale of a young lion named SImba who is destined to be king after his father Mufasa, and the journey he goes through to become king in the process.
I'm gonna be upfront, tis movie is a prime example of pointless. It doesn't need to exist at all and I have my reasons for saying that. For starters, the plot is a total rehash of the original animated film. Nothing of substance has been added to the film, and the stuff that is new is just useless padding. They didn't try to add in anything that could propel the film, I mean I'd be happy if we got some character depth from Scar. If you've seen the original Lion King, you've basically know what happens in this movie. Heck, there are several instances where lines from the script have been totally copy-and-pasted from the original movie. Second, all throughout watching this, I kept asking myself "Why was this re-made in live-action?". I asked this because remaking a movie who's only characters are animals is totally unnecessary. In order to add the animals in, they'd need to utilize CGI or train them. This movie is just CGI animals plastered on live-action backgrounds, and the CGI characters are expressionless. It was necessary for the original Lion King to be animated in order to showcase the characters' body language and facial expression properly, it works in that movie as they have the power to move people 25 years later. With this movie, I couldn't feel any emotion because you can't see it in their faces. The movie wants to focus on being realistic all-around that it doesn't think outside the box with the CGI.
Are there any good qualities that this movie has? Well, yes, it has some good to it. I think that the shots of the movie are beautiful looking, and I thought that the CGI animators did a good job with animating any animals that weren't the ones that were the main focus. I thought that Hans Zimmer's score was great here, like usual. FInally, I thought that the voice acting was good, mostly. There is some great talent here and I think most of it was used well, such as Seth Rogen as Pumba, and Donald GLover as adult SImba. However, I think some of the other actors could have done a better job with what they were given, such as the voice actor for Scar, where he could've given him a more intimidating voice.
Despite all the talent on display here, The Lion King 2019 fails to be good with its re-hashed story, wasted script and overly-realistic CGI. Sadly, Disney knows that this formula of remaking classics works because it's bringing in cash, and seemingly satisfying audiences. If you hate this decision like I do, then by all means vote with your wallet and don't go see Disney live-action remakes like this.
Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019)
Spider-man: Far From Home brings Phase 3 to a close with a very well-crafted follow-up to Homecoming
Spider-man: Far From Home was brought to us by Jon Watts once again and focuses on Peter Pakrer's double life as a high school students and Spider-man once again, but this time alone. This time, he and his friends go on vacation in Europe, and discover the Elementals attacking the continent, which prompts Peter to swing into action to save the day with a new hero on the scene known as Mysterio.
This movie felt refreshing and lighthearted to me, and I think we all needed it after the more serious Captain Marvel and Endgame. This isn't to say, however, that this film is without its serious moments. In terms of lighthearted fun, we obviously get to see some comedic moments thrown around throughout the film. As an example, we get to see how the world has been affected by the events of Infinity War and Endgame, and they are done in a fairly comedic way. As for the serious moments, we see Peter dealing with what happened to Tony Stark during the previous film, and how he feels the need to step up his game. This leads him into an arc where he needs to learn to become more responsible, especially since he is now on his own. I thought that the action scenes were interesting as well, as they tread some new ground by Marvel movie standards, though I won't go into it because it goes into spoiler territory.
My only complaint with the film is with the villain. Once we find out who he is and what his backstory is, for me, he turned out to be generic and uninteresting in the longrun. I felt as if his backstory in particular felt rushed. In addition to this, his goal throughout the movie didn't feel original. Again, I don't want to get into spoilers, but I will say that he feels a bit like a clone of another Disney villain from his goals and motivation.
Despite my complaints with the movie's antagonist, I still felt as if Spider-man: Far From Home was a refreshing film, especially after the previous MCU movies.
An intriguing, yet somewhat safe take on a unique "what-if" scenario.
Yesterday was brought to us by the director of Slumdog Millionaire and stars Himesh Patel as a down on his luck musician who wants more in his profession. One night however, his luck changes when the entire world forgets about The Beatles aside from him, so he naturally takes advantage of it.
For the longest time, I had no idea what this film was about, yet I was still fasinated by it. Coming out of the theater, I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw. Yesterday presents a genius "what-if" scenario that presents many different questions that provoke thoughts like wat would happen to the person if they remembered The Beatles while everyone else didn't. While I mostly enjoyed how it was executed, I had a few problems with the film.
The film's casting was really will-done. It has some great performances from Lily James and Ed Sheeran, but I was mostly surprised with Himesh Patel as Jack. What mostly surprised me is how amazing his singing voice was and how well he took advantage of it. I thought the first half of the movie was also pretty thought-provoking with its themes and concept. One question that the movie answers is what the world would look like if The Beatles didn't exist. I also appreciated how the movie didn't go into severaly dark territory. When we have a film like Yesterday, which is essentially a fantasy, I was genuinely happier with its lighter tone, as opposed to a realistic biopic. It has both heartbreaking and heartwarming moments all around, and that made for an overall pleasant experience.
Despite being satisfied with the film's execution, I felt as if the second half felt too safe. I thought it could've been a lot more interesting; it could've gone into more depth on the problems of plagiarism and taking advantage of someone else's work despite the fact that everyone forgot about it. The film doesn't raise those question enough for me to care, and I wanted to care more about the inner conflict. I also think this film is a little out-of-touch with how modern-day music is conceived. The movie takes place over the span of months, and music tends to come and go, rather than be timeless, which is what the movie intends to say to its audience. Personally, I don't understand that logic given modern times. My final issue with the movie is that there is a cameo during the third act that I think shouldn't be there.
Regardless of my issues with the film, I still enjoyed it for its light tone and interesting concepts.
Toy Story 4 (2019)
Emotional, funny and heartfelt, Toy Story 4 goes to infinity and beyond to prove its worth as a part of the franchise.
Toy Story 4 was brought to us by new director Josh Cooley and, as the title implies, is the 4th installment of the Toy Story film franchise. Sometime after the events of the first film, Bonnie begins kindergarten and crafts a toy named Forky. Forky doesn't know his place in the world, so Woody attempts to show him the ropes and teach him what being a toy is like. While doing so, the two are separanted from Bonnie and the rest of the toys, where Woody learns more about the life of a toy.
I went into this movie cautiously and with high expectations because at first glance, this movie feels like a cash-grab. The previous film ended the franchise perfectly, and seeing a fourth on its way, I felt baffled. Leaving the theater, I was beyond emotionally satisfied, and pleasantly surprised with it!
On the surface, this movie is consistently hilarious. Every joke had me and the audience laughing. There are many different running gags present throughout the movie that really work both comedically, and through a storytelling point of view. Forky has a running joke where he throws himself in trash cans, which I found hilarious, and the joke didn't overstay its welcome. Ducky and Bunny are two characters played by comedy duo Key and Peele, and they're easily the funniest aspect of the entire film. They have hilarious one-liners and fantasies that had the audience bursting out laughing for long periods of time. The abundance of comedy here is also an indication that this entry is far more lighthearted than the previous one.
Toy Story 4 also surprised me with how well it appeals to its adult audiences much like the previous entries. It has some intersting commentary on advertisement, loyalty and products that are considered faulty. Like the previous films, it also explores aspects of life. Where the previous three looked at redundancy, retirement and death, this film looks at independence. I found it to be a very interesting take on the matter that has had me thinking about said aspect since I left the theater. I really enjoyed seeing Bo Peep again, as she brings some nice surprised to the table. I thought Gabby Gabby was an interesting villain, especially as we learn about her in-depth and about her true intentions. The movie also has its emotional moments, and they're present the most throughout the last 20 minutes. It has its moments that are both very heartwarming and have the ability to make you cry.
I was really surprised to see that Toy Story 4 eceeded my expectations and gave us a fourth movie to the beloved Toy Story franchise that feels fresh and worthy of being part of the franchise. My only complaints for this movie are just nitpicks, so why should I care when the rest of the movie goes to infinity and beyond to make a phenomenal film?
Men in Black: International (2019)
MIB International is a highly flawed, yet moderately enjoyable take on the MIB franchise.
Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson reunite in this Men in Black spinoff that is keen on exploring a different faction of the organization. A woman who has had an indirect encounter with the Men in Black organization tracks it down and joins the team. She is sent to the UK division as a trainee as Agent M and meets Agent H. Together, they must uncover a plot that could threaten the world as they know it.
Men in Black is an interesting franchise for me. I enjoyed the first and third one, but the second one was iffy to me. I went in optimistically with the information given. We have Hemsworth and Thompson working together after their work in the MCU. To me, they're the best part of the movie. I love the chemistry between the two, they work really well together. They have a lot of moments where they shine as a buddy duo, fom serious to funny moments all throughout the movie. Speaking of which, this may be the most lighthearted of the Men in Black films, and I feel like that's to get the PG-13 audience in. I know a lot of people will be upset with this film because of that, but I didn't mind the lighter tone for the most part. I liked a lot of the new aliens, alien designs as well as the production design. I was also surprised to see some familiar faces get some cameo appearances such as Frank the pug.
My biggest problem with this movie is that its plot felt derivative of the first film. There were a lot of elements that I felt were already done in the original Men in Black, and were done better. For instance, we have the adventure aspect, the idea that time may be running out, and the final battle at the end was done much better in the first one. I felt as though the plot was largely a rehash of the original MIB, and this is the second of three follow-ups of this franchise that do this. I also had some other problems with the film. For example, despite praising the lighter tone, I had a problem with its occasional attempts of pandering to the young crowd. For example, they meet a Pawny who worships Agent M as a queen, which appears to be a reference to the Ugandan Knuckles meme. It's stuff like this that can take out the enjoyment of a film.
Despite my complaints, I really did have a good time seeing this movie simply because it's a Men in Black movie. Unless we're talking about, maybe, the second movie, they have a unique charm that usually works here. I have my issues, but this was an okay movie.
The Secret Life of Pets 2 (2019)
It may entertain kids, but Secret Life 2 is an unnecessary, generic sequel that is filled with fluff.
The Secret Life of Pets 2 is Illumination's latest film after Despicable Me 3, and it takes place a few years after the previous film. In it, Max and Duke go on vacation to the countryside with their owner and her newfound family. Alongside this, the other pets in New York City get into other shenanigans while the two are away.
The original Secret Life of Pets was honestly nothing special, at least to me. It felt like an enjoyable experience for younger moviegoers that keeps them quiet for an hour and a half. I will admit that the sequel has its charms. As an adult viewer, I got quite a few laughs from the film, as it has its unpredictably funny and silly moments. I thought Patton Oswalt did a great job as the replacement for Max. The animation was still very lively and larger than life, which fits the film's tone. Finally, the movie has some great messages for kids that they can take home after the film ends.
Despite these positive aspects, I had quite a few problems with the film. My biggest problem with it is with the story. After the first act, the movie divides its plot into three different stories. All of these stories are some of the most cookie-cutter, basic plots I've seen in an animted film, even from a movie from Illumination. They're all so safe and predictable, and they even feel tacked on to pad the film. The way these plots come together by the end also feel forced and unnatural. The one good thing I can say about the story, however, is that, unlike the original film, it doesn't rehash Toy Story's plot.
There really isn't that much to say about a movie as generic as this one. If I were to review the original Secret Life of Pets, I could say a lot more about it. This movie on the other hand is extremely forgettable and completely unnecessary. This is all-in-all a harmless sequel on the other hand, and I feel like kids will enjoy it. This movie, however, could not be more generic even if it tried.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters provides awesome head-to-head monster combat, but virtually everything else feels mediocre at best.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters is the latest entry in Warner Bros' MonsterVerse franchise. A human organization awakens multiple other monsters after learning of Godzilla's existence, including the evil Ghirodah. As such, they seek the help of Godzilla to save mankind and Earth.
I was cautiously optimistic about this film, especially after viewing the trailers, as I believe that there could be some elements in the film that could go very wrong. Now that I've seen it, I was right to go in cautiously.
Let's start out with the good. The best parts of the movie are when it focuses on the monsters, specifically Godzilla. They give the audience a sense of mystery, as we generally have no idea where they come from. Unlike the 2014 Godzilla, the focus on them felt very minimal, heck we barely see Godzilla in that movie until the third act. That changes in this one where the focus is almost universally on them. The titular character, even, has significantly more screentime here than its predecessor, which I am super happy about. I also heavily enjoyed the combat sequences between the monsters. They're some of my favorite parts of the movie, as it's where the visual artists shine. We see consistent head-to-head action against Ghirodah, with Godzilla himself, Mothra and Rhodan, and it can get pretty interesting to see what the artists can do with the effects depending on locations. For example, there's a battle between Ghirodah and Godzilla in a snowy landscape. Rhodan and Ghirodah battle close to a civilized island, and they can get very creative depending on the locations.
Despite my praise, I have my fair share of problems with the film. First of all, I found the new characters unforgivably bland and even generic. The film presents a family who is going through disagreements regarding the monsters. I really felt like their motivations for their arguments were either not very clear or didn't make sense, which made their sideplot feel unengaging. The human villain is generic and very forgettable, the list goes on. I couldn't engage myself in the human drama and struggles because the human characters were so forgettable this time around. I was hoping for more in the characters because I honestly found the human drama in 2014's Godzilla pretty engaging. The only character I could be engaged in and feel for would be Ken Watanabe's, mainly because he was well-developed, and the audience was already familiar with him.
There's also this strange inclusion of environmental themes that felt incredibly out-of-place. There is a scene that discusses some human impacts on the environment and put them into the context of the film, and it comes straight out of nowhere. I have no idea why this movie tried to bring in an environmental message, mainly because I've rarely seen it work, and it doesn't work when it is, in the end, contradicted.
I have quite a few other problems with the movie, but it saves itself from disaster with the action scenes and focus on the monsters. If you're willing to ignore the narrative flaws presented here, I think you'll have a great time watching this. For me anyway, I expected more from the story because I thought that its predecessor's story was well told despite being a popcorn flick.
The Intruder (2019)
Virtually everything about this film screams idiotic.
The Intruder is about a man played by Dennis Quaid who sells his house to a young married couple. The only problem is that the man selling the house has a serious obsession over it.
I went to this movie during opening weekend, and I was the only one in the theater. I don't think that it has everything to do with the fact tha Avengers: Endgame came out the weekend before because after watching it, I can see why. This is one of the worst movies I have seen in a while.
A big problem with this movie is that it's filled with several sub-plots that go absolutely nowhere and bring it to a screeching halt on multiple occasions. There are, for example, several points in the film that test the relationship of said married couple, and a few minutes later, the tension drops immediately, making it feel absolutely pointless. There's also a sub-plot involving the male lead who is against gun use, which is hardly foused on, which also makes it feel pointless up until the climax. I could point to other examples, but that would just drag the review.
My biggest issue with the film, however, has to be that the main characters are total idiots. They make so many choices that make me question their sanity. For example, when Quaid's character shows up frequently, which makes the male lead uncomfortable, he tells himself to call the cops, and never does. There are moments like that plagued all over the film that made me want to scream at the screen, and I should've, considering that I was the only one here. The female lead, in particular was absolutely atrocious, as she's easily manipulated by Quaid's character throughout nearly the entire film, and she doesn't question his motives. I don't want to get into spoilers, but there were so many instances where she could've thought about the fiasco with the former house owner.
The only thing that saves this movie from being considered a 1 for me is Quaid's performance as the former house owner. He does a fantastic job with what he is given to work with as the villain of this film. He comes off as discomforting, creepy and psychotic, which is exactly what I would expect from a character like this. He's the best part of the movie by a landslide.
Aside from Dennis Quaid, The Intruder was plain awful. This film is filled with so many unnecessary plot points and stupid moments that it made the movegoing experience harrowing for me.
Pure popcorn fun - the threequel.
John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum takes place immediately after the previous film, and the film's titunal character is now left to fend for himself on his own. After the events of the previous film, John Wick is now deemed "excommunicado", and is now unable to be protected by the organization he was once part of. With a large bounty on his head, he must traverse the streets of New York in hopes of finding a way out of his bounty.
When it comes to the John Wick films, I don't really go into them expecting anything outside a lot of well-choreographed action. Fortunately, for this movie, we see a lot of action, which continues the trend throughout this franchise. Like the previous films, it utilizes a lot of amazingly choreographed fights, and what's amazing is how consistent they are throughout the film. This movie may be the most action-packed in the entire series, and they tend to get especially creative and over-the-top with said action, to the point where it feels like a Tarantino film. There are two major examples that come to mind when I think about the creativity on the action. First of all, Wick meets a dog trainer played by Halle Berry, and we have some awesome combat scenes that include those dogs. Another example would have to be when there is a chasing scene involving horses, and they do a lot with that.
Outside of the action, I appreciate how the movie handles the world-building, and how it answers some more questions as to how the world works. I also like how it helps to build John Wick's character. We continue to see how his character is built through his actions. We also get some more insight into his past, particularly during the beginning of the second half. I also love the set design throughout the film, as it can get especially creative, and enhance the movie's action on display. This can be displayed immensely throughout the third act of the movie.
The title of my review says "Pure popcorn fun", and that's exactly what it is; alongside the other Wick films, it's style over substance. When this aspect does act as a strength, it's also what I see to be a weakness. Throughout the film, I was engaged and immersed in the action, but I found the narrative aspects to be a little weak. Many of the scenes that involve the story elements, to me felt tedious, and while it helps out with the world-building, I never really found myself engaged in said scenes, and I felt like they dragged the movie on at times.
Despite my story complaints, I really enjoyed my time watching John Wick in his third round, and I think any action junkies would really appreciate it for what it has to offer as well.
Pet Sematary (2019)
Pet Sematary is a chilling and disturbing movie, despite having a bumpy beginning.
Pet Sematary is the latest adaptation of a Stephen King book, and a remake of the 1989 film of the same name. In it, a family moves to a fairly rural location, and discover a cemetery with supernatural abilities, which changes their lives entirely.
I went into this movie blindly having never read the book or watched the original film. Regardless, I really enjoyed my time watching this. It gives the audience a horrifying take on what it would be like to return from the dead, and explores the potential consequences of playing god, in a supernatural way of course. The consequences have led to, what I think, are the most effectively disturbing scenes in the entire film. I thought the acting was very well done as well, with the performances from Jason Clarke and John Lithgow for example being great. The one that stood out to me the most, however was Jete Laurence as Ellie. I really enjoyed how well she portrayed the two sides of her character; describing how it worked out, however, would lead into spoiler territory, so check out the movie to see what I mean.
I have two big problems with the movie, despite my praise for it. First off, it has its tendencies where it strays into some of the bad horror cliches, such as creepy music and excessive use of jump-scares. They really take away from my enjoyment of the film since they feel out of place when compared to the rest of the film, and are mainly used during scenes that honestly felt like pointless filler. Second of all, I thought the first act felt very slow. The world that we were supposed to immerse ourselves in felt like it was being built so slowly that I dozed off during some parts. I don't mind that the first act was all world building however. I just wish that it wasn't so slowly paced.
Despite my complaints, I found Pet Sematary to be a richly chilling experience, and me and (most of) my friends had a good experience seeing the film.
Us is an ambitious, creepy and thought provoking follow-up to Get Out.
Considering the fact that Jordan Peele's Get Out was up for several award nominations, people would naturally be expecting a lot from him and his future projects. Case in point, we have Us, which stars Lupita Nyong'o as the lead character of the film as she and her family are on vacation. On the night in, however, they encounter some uncanny doppelgangers that are out to kill them.
This is a risky, ambitious and horrifying film, that is really well-crafted. There were so many moments throughout this film where I was left frightened or terrified for the main characters. This film drives away from a lot of the normal horror conventions that could've made it a mediocre horror film, like how the characters end up making very clever decisions, which that in it of itself gives me respect.
The film's third act in particular is, to me the most fascinating part of the film, as everything comes together in ways that a lot of people wouldn't expect. It's the type of third act that has gotten a lot of mixed reactions from audience members, and for good reason. I think it's meant to make the audience question its view on the big picture and everything they've seen during the first two acts. The closing scene especially highlights Peele's risk-taking with this projects, as it provides the audience with some insightful questions that just beg an answer. While the third act especially is great, some of the questions open up some plotholes, which slightly bring the movie down for me.
If you want a vastly different slice of horror that's far out of the norm, and want to be challenged, I highly suggest checking out this movie, I definitely didn't regret seeing this. 9/10
Captain Marvel (2019)
Captain Marvel may be the most average MCU film to date.
Captain Marvel had a lot of pressure to live up to considering the fact that it's an MCU film, the first movie about a female superhero since Wonder Woman, and the fact that it's the origin story of a foreshadowed character that's set to appear in Endgame. Sadly, I feel as though this is the MCU as its most underwhelming.
I don't think this film is a total atrocity like many of the other reviewers here, this isn't Fant4stic levels of terrible. Frankly, this movie has some good qualities to it. It's a well-shot, great-looking movie with lovely cinematography. Samuel L.. Jackson is entertaining as always as Nick Fury. He also befriends a cat, who manages to be unexpectedly useful, and might be my favorite aspect of this movie. I found the third act in particular to be the most exciting part of the entire film. Finally, like usual, the technical aspects of this movie were fantastic.
As for my criticisms, for starters, there is a plot twist that occurs later on into the film that could've worked out. However if the viewer has watched a previous MCU film, there is a villain that makes a return that makes the twist feel incredibly predictable. It's a twist that doesn't really do it for me, and I can't imagine it working for many other people. My biggest problem with the movie however, is probably Captain Marvel herself. She's very bland as a character overall. While I don't think her performance as a whole was bad, Brie Larson showed very little emotion while she was on-screen. She had this blank, wooden stare throughout the entire film. Finally, I found her development as a superhero to be incredibly abrupt and forced.
Captain Marvel is not a bad movie, it's just painfully average and not anywhere near the quality we would usually expect from the MCU. It's stylish and has its moments, but it overall felt lacking. Marvel Studios should've done better than this.
The Hidden World brings Dreamworks' Dragons to a satisfying end.
How to Train your Dragon: The Hidden World had a lot to live up to in terms of quality. While I have never seen the tv show, I absolutely adored the first and second one. Fortunately, the same can be said with this movie too.
There is a lot to love about this movie. One of the most obvious factors is how the animation continues too be some of the highest quality that Dreamworks has ever put out. I really enjoyed how the stakes kept rising as it progressed. Hiccup goes through a character arc where he needs to learn to appeal to the wants of even his closest friends. (In this case, Toothless.) Frankly, I think it was handled with integrity, emotion and honesty. Grimmel as the villain admittedly doesn't seem interesting initially, but when we learn a little bit about him, he appears to give off the idea that Hiccup could've been him instead, which gave him a reason for me to be intrigued with him, despite being slightly generic. If anything, that and my only other complaint with the film is that I found the final confrontation with Grimmel rushed and anticlimactic. The battle didn't have that epic feeling as the final ones from the first two did..
Regardless, How to Train your Dragon: The Hidden World brings us a satisfying sendoff to one of Dreamworks' most beloved franchises.
Alita: Battle Angel (2019)
Alita: Battle Angel's has all the elements to be great, but the final product falls flat.
Alita: Battle Angel was brought to us by director Robert Rodriguez and producers Jon Landau and James Cameron. All three of them have worked on some great stuff in the past such as Titanic, Sin City and Avatar and I was wondering what they would do with this. This movie is based off a manga that I've never picked up, so I went in blindly.
As my review title suggests, this movie has all of the elements needed to be great overall. The characters are compelling and memorable, it introduces many interesting concepts and sets up some interesting lore about Alita and the world as she goes out and discovers it. The action scenes were fantastically choreographed. Not to mention that the effects production design were very well-made. These elements and more should have made this movie amazing, but it sadly doesn't.
My big issue with this movie is with how it is all executed. The story, to be blunt is all over the place. It juggles four major plots around: Alita discovering the world around her (1), an organization that is hunting her down (2), her relationship with a boy she meets named Hugo (3), and finally, Alita figuring out her hidden past. (4) All four of these plots intertwine within the movie and eventually come together by the end and when they do, it ends up becoming disjointed. I do have some other issues with the movie such as the villains being generic and a pointless decision being made within the last 5 minutes, but that does dive into spoiler territory.
If you're a fan of the manga series this movie's based on, chances are that you'll like Alita: Battle Angel more than I did. Frankly, this should've been great, but the movie's execution was just lousy in the longrun.
Everything is still (mostly) awesome in the Lego Movie sequel.
The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part is the sequel to The Lego Movie that manages to recapture the charm, essence and heart of the original. It contains the same animation style that combines CGI with the illusion of stop-motion, the same pacing style which I originally had an issue with but don't anymore, the same witty humor and a lot of heart to it. One aspect I especially appreciated was how it uses more of the live-action scene from the end of the first movie to show off what the lego world symbolizes. My issue that I have with this movie is that the first act does use up some bothersome movie cliches. I ignored them in the original Lego Movie since it was told in the style of how a kid would play with legos, but the ones used here were a pretty bothersome in the context of the film.
If you enjoyed the original Lego Movie, I feel like you're gonna find this movie equally enjoyable. It may not be as fresh as the first one, but that doesn't stop this movie from being awesome.
I guess you could say I'm Split on Glass.
I'm not apologizing for the pun, I think it's gold. Anyway, this movie is meant to be the conclusion to the Eastrail 177 trilogy. It follows David Dunn as he continues to track down Kevin Wendell Crumb. While doing so, they are both imprisoned in a mental hospital by Dr. Ellie Staple.
I'm very polarized by this movie. Admittedly, the premise kicks off really well. It's simply about David Dunn trying to wind Kevin Wendell Crumb and I found the setup to be the funnest part to watch. We essentially are watching what we knew from Unbreakable and Split come together. With all that being said, the second act really seemed to overstay its welcome.
Most of the movie takes place in this psychiatric hospital and it leads the two as well as Elijah Price to have to question their supernatural powers. Admittedly, this is a neat idea, but it doesn't seem like it gets us very far into the film. This act, while adding a little bit of substantial lore, doesn't do much to answer those questions. It really does feel like that second act drags, especially with these qualities in mind.
With that being said, I love every performance in this film. From Bruce Willis as David Dunn to Samuel L Jackson as Elijah Price, and especially James McAvoy as Kevin. All of these performances are fantastic and Shyamalan really nailed it in this category. Even the secondary characters' actors do a great job in making their characters feel believable. For instance, with Spencer Treat Clark, who was in Unbreakable by the way, trying to prove that his dad is not crazy and Anya Taylor-Joy trying to help Kevin Wendell Crumb out. It all feels really believable and is easily among my favorite qualities of the movie.
With all that being said, I thought the third act ruined the movie. This is because of the twist ending. It felt shoehorned in and there seemed to be no hints of this revelation. I mean with some of Shyamalan's other movies, they had hints of said twist hidden into the film. This one on the other hand doesn't seem to have that, which makes it feel confusing at best and insulting at worst. At the very least, I like that it took a risk, especially one that few superhero movies today are trying.
I found this movie very polarizing, which is odd considering that I really liked Split and Unbreakable. I just wish that the plot was executed better. In a sense, I was a little let down.
Escape Room (2019)
Half of this is a tense, yet fun thriller and the other half is extreme stupidity.
From the director of last year's "Insidious: The Last Key" comes Escape Room. This movie is about six different people who receive a cube through an unknown identity and are then invited to take part in an escape room challenge. If they lose, their lives are claimed.
I went into this movie thinking it would be an intense, fun movie that would brighten up the mood for what's to come in the cinema. In a way, it gives us that, but when thinking about it, this movie also suffers from a large share of problems.
This movie's biggest strength has got to be the tension that rises with the continuation of the movie. The situations that the main characters get stuck in are highly gripping and even a little discomforting. I think the movie handled this part excellently. Of the six main characters, there are two of them that stick out and act as very believable and had me rooting for them in particular. I think this is due to how they're better established than the others. As much as this is a benefit, this also does make the movie's end result feel predictable. I find the first half better however simply because of the fact that the movie seems to lose its momentum in the second one.
I mention in the headline that the movie is pretty dumb in a lot of ways. I'm not simply talking about the decisions the characters take either. Yes, the characters make a lot of dumb and nonsensical decision during the second half, but there area bunch of other decisions that ruin the movie for me. I will talk briefly about them without spoiling. The motivation for bringing the characters together is generic and stupid. There is something that happens with the female lead in the last 15 minutes that makes no sense. Finally, the ending scenes seem to exist simply to set up a sequel and a franchise. The latter also feels last minute and that it was done in one draft considering that I was very confused while watching it.
Look, if you just want a mindless thriller that you can watch and have fun with, this may be up your alley. Heck I would even agree with that statement myself, however, the second half really ruined it for me.
An eventful, unbiased look into the life of Cheney
From the director behind The Big Short and the Anchorman comes the story of the then vice president Dick Cheney. His life was very secretive, but this movie tells the story from his rise to power in the government to his role as vice president from as much as the filmmakers could gather.
This movie was pretty surprising actually. It takes itself the right amount of seriously and is self-aware. It pokes fun at itself sometimes and I had some laughs when it was doing so. For the most part I think it does do a good job at looking at Cheney's history considering how limited our information on him is. What's especially nice about this movie however is that it feels completely neutral in terms of political standpoints. This movie both paints Cheney as a tyrannical jerk, which gives off a feeling of this being left-wing and paints him with a heart as well, which gives off a right-wing feel. I'm really impressed with the fact that the movie feels completely neutral in this regard. If it went in either direction, it probably wouldn't be as enjoyable.
Christian Bale did a great job as Cheney as well. It's clear that he had to study Cheney's attitude, and the make-up job was also really well-done. It's so good that I had a hard time determining whether or not that was actually Christian Bale or not. It makes him physically look like a different person and I have to give major props to them.
I do think this movie has a very noteworthy flaw however. For one, it uses footage from other sources rather frequently, which somewhat paints the movie in a documentary style. I don't think this was a good choice because it can be seen as alienating to those who don't want to watch a documentary. To improve this issue, I think it would be best to get people to act out said scenes.
Either way, if anyone's interested in a biopic about famous politicians, this is one I recommend. It's unbiased, self-aware and showcases great performances from its lead actors despite my major flaw with it.
Welcome to Marwen (2018)
Marwen presents an engaging story about PTSD and coping with it, but the story feels disjointed in the end.
Welcome to Marwen is brought to us by the director by the director of Forrest Gump, the BTTF trilogy and many other great movies and tells the story based around Mark Hogancamp and the fictional town of Marwen.
Regardless of whether or not it tells the full, non-fiction story or one based on it, I was mostly pretty impressed with this movie, although there are some elements that it could've improved on.
This movie presents a compelling story about a man who has lost nearly everything in his life and uses model homes and dolls to create a story as a coping mechanism. I find this to be a very intriguing idea for a story because it presents the audience with a way to look into Mark's past and his trauma. For the most part I think they handled it pretty well, where it is done mostly with visuals, and I think this is the film's strongest element. Steve Carell is fantastic in this film in his portrayal of Mark. He makes the character feel believable through his facial expressions, actions and dialogue. He gives off a good impression of what someone with PTSD is like and I think that's another one of the best things about the film. Finally, the CGI for the dolls was a dazzling sight to behold. I know it's nothing new considering that we got this in movies like the Toy Story franchise, but I really enjoy the way Zemeckis presents the world of Marwen as how it feels like this miniature world. To me, it wouldn't be surprising if the CG effects used was motion capture considering that the director worked with it in the past.
As someone who is not familiar with the real story, I will say that the movie is still not without its flaws, and its biggest one would have to be the plot structure. The movie revolves around two plots, the A plot, which looks at Mark's struggle with PTSD and the B plot, which revolves around Marwen. These two plots are both there, but it doesn't feel like there's much of a connection between the two. I mean, yes, both plots connect a few times in the movie, but by the resolution there doesn't seem to be much of a means where these plots come together. They just feel separate throughout nearly the entire film. I also found the ending to be rushed; it feels like the movie was nearing its runtime and they just somewhat crammed the remainder of it into the last 5 minutes of the movie.
Regardless, I did enjoy my time seeing this despite the narrative flaws that really drag it down.
The Mule (2018)
The Mule presents a fascinating, yet flawed story about work and family.
The Mule is directed by Clint Eastwood and stars him as 90-year-old drug runner Earl Stone. After years of family neglect and being a workaholic, he begins to go through foreclosure. Fortunately, he gains a job to transport drugs worth a lot of money. At the same time however, he is being followed by a DEA team run by Bradley Cooper.
I was interested in seeing this movie since I don't have much experience with watching Eastwood movies and this may end up being his last movie. Either way, this movie is actually pretty good. It was well-acted, well-shot and had a mostly well-told story. Clint Eastwood is great in this. I just love his performance of this man with an attitude and yet he's still fairly likable. We want him to succeed despite his quirks; he felt believable in his need for survival. I also thought Bradley Cooper was great in this performance. He felt intimidating, for instance there is a scene with him and Earl before the third act which made me feel uncomfortable since they were both unaware that they were going against each other. This movie also has a good moral regarding work and families, which in this day and age feels especially needed.
The biggest problem that does bring this movie down for me however would have to be the pacing of the first half. It felt really slow in my eyes and in general had very little tension between Stone and Cooper's character. It felt really long and drawn-out and I was genuinely bored throughout it. It's at least nice that the second half really picks things up.
Despite a rough start, I did enjoy what this film has to offer. I feel like Clint Eastwood fans would enjoy it as well as those who are fans of crime thrillers. 7/10