Monthly Archives: August 2016

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets movie review

Plot: It’s been a year since Harry Potter has left Hogwarts….Now it’s once again time to return to the Wizarding School….But something evil is afoot. Someone doesn’t want Harry Potter to return to Hogwarts this year….Because horrific history is about to repeat itself…And the entire school could be at risk.

Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Tom Felton, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Richard Harris, Kenneth Branagh, Bonnie Wight, Jason Isaacs and Christian Coulson

It’s time to take a look at the second film of this incredible franchise leading up to my review of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them…..WHY CAN’T THIS UNIVERSE BE REAL DAMMIT?!

The Good

 

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The acting just gets better….

  • The CHARACTERS AND CAST
    • The characters grow ever more so on the children’s part. The adults continue to shine given their many more years of experience in the gig. Harry, Ron and Hermione’s personalities are starting to get more and more well defined, and their acting is a little less one dimensional. Something I forgot to mention in my review of the first film was that at times Radcliffe’s acting was a bit wooden when it came to certain green screen interactions such as his time with the zoo’s python. Here it starts to feel much more natural for him to be interacting with ghosts and spiders and a giant basilisk. His character feels more defined as well; you see why he was put in Gryffindor rather than Slytherin, yet you also get a feel of what his life would’ve been like should he have let the hat put him in the infamous house. Ron and Hermione are also much more prevalent here as well.
      • Dumbledore’s role was cut a bit short here…perhaps this was because he was diagnosed in 2002 with Hodgkin’s disease and died in October of the same year. This is his last time as Dumbledore, and he still gives a wonderful performance. Maggie Smith as always did a wonderful job as Minerva, and a newcomer Kenneth Branagh and Bonnie Wight did great as Lockhart and Ginny Weasley respectively.
  • The STORY
    • Unlike the first film, in which the story definitely meanders a bit, and takes 98 minutes before the Sorcerer’s Stone is even MENTIONED here it doesn’t take long at all before the mystery starts to unfold and for attacks to start happening in the school. And long before the attacks happen, the mystery and intrigue that makes Harry Potter….Well Harry Potter happen about 6-9 minutes INTO the film. We meet Dobby the House-elf here and while he’s a much beloved character in the books, here in the film series they definitely lacked Dobby. He’s very much a minor MINOR character even though an important one. But back to the story; it’s much more interesting here than the first one. It’s a mystery-who opened the Chamber of Secrets 20-30 years ago and who on earth would be attacking Muggles and wanting to kill people in this current day and age? You find yourself guessing along with the Golden Trio throughout the film, and find yourself not just outraged that Harry could be a suspect, but wondering just what his life would’ve been like had he not asked the Sorting Hat to put him in Gryffindor. It’s just a good SOLID story this time around.
  • The ACTION
    • There’s quite a bit more action in this film than the first. Probably because this film had a bit of a bigger budget to go all out. The Quidditch game is more exciting; a race to the Snitch in the bleachers of the stands, all the while dodging a rogue bludger, GIANT serpents with sensitive hearing creating unbelievably good tension, giant spiders, hordes of spiders, dangling off the door handle of a flying car trying not to fall, and getting HAMMERED by the Whomping Willow to this AMAZING duel between Harry and Draco (which is arguably one of the best scenes in the film)….Harry and Ron both do all of these things (mostly Harry) in this film and it’s much more exciting for it.

The Meh

  • The PACING
    • This movie is LOOOOONG. It also feels long. And it doesn’t even have to set up the universe. This movie is much like The Avengers; going in you already know these characters. The only new things they’re adding, are side characters and minority characters. Draco’s father becomes a staple but only much later on and OH. WOW. What a garbage human being….I thought Legolas’ father was such an assHOLE but this dude THIS DUDE is WAY worse. Anyways it’s only setting the minor characters and the mystery of the Chamber of Secrets. It also introduces a HUGELY important small note in Harry’s character; he speaks Parseltongue. The Snake Language. And it is creepy to say the least. But the build up to the “who done it?” aspect is rather slow and paced meh. These movies feel like they’re really interchangeable….Perhaps that’s why they went with a different director for the third-and probably BEST-film of the franchise. And believe me the franchise was better for it.
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One of the very few GOOD side characters in the entire series….Dammit Rowling.

  • The SIDE CHARACTERS
    • Some of the new characters are cool and memorable. Draco’s father Lucius, Aragog the GIANT FREAKING SPIDER-Holy GOD- Draco himself gets some more screen time than the first which is nice, Moaning Myrtle is a fun depressing character, and Lockhart is a wonderful bumbling buffoon. Ginny is kind of a “hi….Bye” type character in that sure she’s in it but not that much. She’s just a THING for Harry to go rescue. She develops a much better personality in the books overall compared to the film.

CONCLUSION

In the end, this film is slightly better than the first. These films have one thing in common from what I remember and more recently saw and that was pacing issues. Sometimes it feels like forever to get to the point. However this film does have a NICE and GOOD mystery that is able to really hold the movie up. The acting, the CGI, the musical score, the action it’s all rather well done here and some of those things are leaps and bounds better than the first. The climax in particular is definitely one of the more memorable in the entire series with Harry going up against a younger Voldemort and a basilisk aka GIANT FREAKING SNAKE…..

However, I am going to give this movie the same rating as I gave Sorcerer’s Stone…And that is a 4/5. It’s better, but still just a bit above average. Prisoner of Azkaban completely takes things to a WHOLE other level.

4stars

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Mechanic Resurrection movie review

So a sequel to a movie that NO ONE GIVES A DAMN about is out and about in theaters….But does anyone actually care? Like at all?

Plot: In this “Action” movie Jason Statham plays Arthur Bishop one of the best mercenaries in the world with a specialty for making his hits look like accidents. When the “love of his life” is kidnapped by the “generic bad guy” he has a time limit to kill three people and make them look like accidents before they kill her.

Cast: Jason Statham, Jessica Alba, Tommy Lee Jones

The Good 

  • The MUSIC 
    • I try to find the good in every film….And in this film….It’s the music. I guess the composer is a fan of The Dark Knight. 

The Meh

There’s next to no good in this film other than the music and slight action. Sooo….Let’s just get right to the point shall we?

  • The ACTION
    • The action in this movie borders on okay to Disney stunt show to actually good and cool. It holds up the movie from being an ungodly borefest I’ll give it that. But most of it is filmed on set on a green screen….That’s REALY, REALLY noticeable. Like….the kind of noticeable that made me flash back to film school and….film projects and….Yep.
    • Some of the hits are kind of cool to watch but the build up to these hits are painful. You just wish you had a remote to speed to the action.

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  • The ACTING
    • It’s okay. Jessica tries her best but she just can’t quite deliver some of this dialogue. I once said that you could put Meryl Streep in just about any movie good or bad and she would make it work….I’m not sure that even Meryl STREEP could make this movie’s dialogue work. Tommy Lee Jones on the other hand, completely GOES with this movie. This movie knows what it is but that does change the fact that it’s bad. But Lee Jones makes it a fun ride….Wonder why he wasn’t the main character but rather Statham….oh well.

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  • The MacGyver-ing 
    • Seeing Statham do his thing and rig these hits is kind of interesting.

The Bad

Here we go….

  • The EVERYTHING ELSE
    • Literally everything and nothing is bad with this movie….It’s like it knows what it is but doesn’t care because hey you paid full price for this soooo have fun folks! If you like the cheaply made 80s shlock of action movies you’ll like this but know what you’re going into here. You’re going into a film where there’s this forced romance that you don’t buy because they meet they bang they suddenly love each other so he gives her his precious father’s watch. That’s like OLD SCHOOL Disney level of “romance”…Romance that Disney has actually mocked in Frozen. Jeremy Jahns made a great point of “hey why not have her be his WIFE with like a child on the way that’s a little higher stake than woman he just met”.
    • The fact that Statham uses a human shield from a GRENADE and survives is more pushing the suspension of disbelief than say a nuke proof refrigerator. It’s just not something you’re going to buy.
    • Also what is it with action movies and just the heroes having unlimited ammuniation? I think Katniss is the first action hero to actually run out of her weapons I’m just pointing that out.
    • The PACING. Oh my goodness. It’s literally all over the place. The editing also falls into this category as it can help or deter the pacing. It can give the movie a sense of life or…Not. The editing was also a mess. Also boooo shaky cam. Stop it. Stop it Hollywood unless it’s a found footage movie STOP IT.

CONCLUSION

This is probably one of the SHORTEST reviews I’m ever going to do but I need to get straight to the point. If you like cheesy 80s action films; you’ll like this movie it’s like a love letter to that stuff. If you walk in expecting anything to make sense, anything to be remotely GOOD….Don’t bother.This is one of those movies where it’s so bad it’s good so in that sense I did have some fun with it….But that doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s a BAD FILM. A bad movie is a bad movie no matter if you had fun with it. Perhaps if the plot was fleshed out a it more, if the main love interest actually felt like a love interest and not just sexy lamp….Who knows.

I’m going to give Mechanic Resurrection a 1.5/5. It really wasn’t worth my time but maybe it’ll be worth someone else’s.

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Don’t Breathe Movie Review

Another horror movie in a year where next to none of these are actually released in October….Does anyone else actually miss when a horror movie was released and completely marketed to be a Halloween thing? “Sure let’s throw some generic horror movies in summer blockbuster season why not”. Oh Hollywood….But onto the review of this creepy ass movie.

Plot: Three friends attempt to steal about 300K in cash from an army vet’s home…He’s blind so they think it’ll be an easy in and out gig…..They’re wrong.  The catch? When they move…he knows exactly where they are.

Cast: Stephen Lang, Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette, Daniel Zovatto

The Good

  • The FIRST TWO ACTS
    • The first two acts are sheer brilliance and that’s saying A LOT OF THINGS when regarding the horror genre. The horror genre is laced with some pretty generic, boring nonsense and sprinkled with some nice colorful looking sprinkles….Films. This film is definitely a nice colorful sprinkle in some regards. That being how they use the firs two acts to nicely set up the plot (as thin as it is) the characters (as PAPER thin as they are) and the setting. That being one damn creepy house. They’re paced expertly. The first two acts are just amazing.
  • The CINEMATOGRAPHY
    • The camera work is incredible filled with a mixture of high angles, low angels, a freaking straight up DOLLY ZOOM SHOT WAS IN THIS MOVIE. It was almost like Hollywood forgot what the hell that was I’ve hardly ever seen those shots since Jaws or Vertigo. Breaking Bad had the most recent use of the shot if I remember correctly. The shots used gave off an incredible sense of fear and claustrophobia….I have that fear (to an extent) so the movie did a very excellent job of making the audience feel just as trapped as the audience avatars aka Rocky and Alex.
  • The SOUND
    • When it comes to sound, it can be very easy to just put some non-diegetic sound in the film as the film’s score and call it good. But for the most part, the film’s score, was the diegetics. Very rarely did we hear actual scores and even then the score was a way to help build tension. The creaks of the house, a washing machine blaring noise, ambient noise from a long distance dog barking or car horn….This is a rather quiet film and it fits perfectly and works perfectly for it.
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And you thought the old people in The Visit were creepy? Ha HA! Funn-ay!

  • The ACTING
    • For the most part the acting holds up. There’s a lot of silent acting which is hard for any actor. Stephen Lang says nearly nothing for the first two acts, only showing his emotions silently and with action. He instantly gives off creepy vibes sure he’s a war vet you feel sorry for him at first then…THEN you find out a few things and you’re like “GET OUT OF THAT HOUSE NOW BITCHES!” Jane Levy and Dylan Minnette both also do a very nice job of acting completely and utterly terrified for their lives.

The MEH

  • The THIRD ACT
    • I’m not sure whether to put this in a “bad” category or “meh” category. But HOLY FREAKING GOD the third act really borders on “this is going to give most people-mostly women-NIGHTMARES and…..”What….What…..What”. I’m going to make a comparison to Lights Out. The third act in that film very much so kept to the simplicity and the tone of the entire film. This third act just kind of GOES places. Almost to the point where it DOES take you out of the film. You think it’s going to end on this really dower note and it almost seemed like it DIDN’T know WHERE to end. So it just kept going and going like the Energizer Max Bunny to the point you just want it to STOP. Other than that the movie is good.

CONCLUSION

Don’t Breathe is one of those thriller movies-yes it’s a thriller not a horror-that definitely isn’t for everyone. This is marketed as a horror movie but it definitely more on the thriller side of the genre. If you’re going into this film looking to be jump scared to hell and back this isn’t for you. If you’re looking for a really good really tension filled really suspenseful nearly unpredictable film…This is for you and because of all those things….

I’m going to give Don’t Breathe a 4/5. It’s not for everyone but definitely among the cream of the crop of the thriller/horror genre and takes home invasion films to a whole new level. I would say that Lights Out did the whole “creepy thing in the dark wants to kill you” better simply because the mechanic was used to a MUCH better degree.

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What film did the “Thing wants to kill you in the dark” better: Lights Out or Don’t Breathe? Let me know below!

Top 20 Favorite Films of All Time…Part 1

We all have our favorite films. Films that we identify with, films that we are in awe of, or inspired by….Films that impacted our lives or are just guilty pleasures. Well in honor of getting to a kind of big milestone on this site, I figure it’s time to share my 20 favorite films of all time. Because I can’t limit this list to ten.

Here we go…..

20) Transformers (2007)

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Bay changed a lot in a short amount of time with this film….For good or for bad he changed a lot.

Is it okay if I put a guilty pleasure on here? I don’t care it’s my list dammit. And really, fundamentally, there’s nothing HORRID about the first movie. The script could’ve used a few more tweaks but it is easily the best written of the….quadrilogy? Saga? Eh anyways, what I like the most about this movie is the visuals. That being the Transformers themselves. It’s easy to argue that there aren’t characters in the Transformers series just plot devices to get to the next set piece; that being the action. But when the action goes down, it goes DOWN HARD. Optimus is a god damn BADASS for reasons. The music composed by Steve Jablonksy is just gorgeous as well; at times almost too gorgeous for this film series. And this was back when Michael Bay actually cared enough about the franchise to do so much research into the lore of Transformers he called himself “the biggest fan” in behind the scenes footage. The technology used to bring the Cybertronians to life is astounding even for 2007-keep in mind with pre and post being years before the actual release). It’s a fun ride that has serious undertones for a post 9/11 film but not completely devoid of humor…Even if it’s Michael Bay humor. It was great and awe-inspiring to see Optimus and the others transform on the silver screen for the first time, and when a MICHAEL BAY Transformers movie makes the audience cheer not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES throughout the film….It has to be doing something right. It’s the Bayformers film I watch the most, and hate the least. People don’t really GET just how much this movie changed cinema….Or how much Mr. Bay himself has changed the game of marketing, aesthetics, what films get greenlit….But oh. They will. Also “I ate the WHOLE PLATE”….Seriously how is that not like a THING?

19) Ed Wood

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He’s just so happy making films…Do you pity him or empathize with him?

Anyone who has a passion for film should watch this film. It follows Edward D “Ed” Wood Jr., a director going through with his dream of making films….Only problem is they’re all terrible and he’s wasting everyone’s time and money. It’s a brilliant study on filmmaking-do you pity Ed Wood, or sympathize with the man? This was the film that really sort of started that Burton/Depp team up we so often see. But before Depp got “Type cast” into Diet Jack Sparrow post Caribbean, he was pretty amazing in this film. Seeing him completely disappear into this character (who WAS IN FACT REAL by the way) is incredibly amazing to watch. It’s also a giant love letter to anyone who….just creates. There’s always a chance something you do might not work out, or just suck. But you have to do it because you love it. And Ed Wood teaches us all….Even if the quality doesn’t turn out good as long as you enjoy doing it….Does that even matter in the end?

18) Lights Out

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Could it be a bit early putting this film on this list? Probably…

It might seem premature to list this as a favorite movie of all time….But it definitely has some staying power. Why? Because it taps into our most primal fear. The fear of the dark. Even if we say we outgrow it, we’re still afraid of it. The mechanic of this film is sheer genius; that the creature could not only be something from the mother’s demented and tormented mind, but can only attack her victims through the shadows. There are reasons why we fear dark stank ass allies, creepy AF parking lots at night, unlit hallways, and dark thick forests. It’s a fear of the unknown. EVERY single sentient being exhibits fear; dogs bare their teeth and flatten their ears with a snarl at anything they don’t know, cats arch their backs and fluff their fur to make themselves look bigger than whatever may be threatening to them. And humans do whatever it takes to they’re not afraid; walking out of the threatening area at a quick sure footed pace, keeping their back straight, eyes narrowed, we try to look more intimidating than the thing/person intimidating than us. But what if that thing intimidating us is a supernatural entity? That takes security of “I can survive this” right out the window. And again playing on that mechanic is a wonderful move; light is safe but light costs. What if the power goes out? A fireplace only does so much. And you can forget about stupid freaking lanterns they do JACK. The movie is also a deep dive into depression, and how it can completely and utterly warp the human mind, and take its victim’s friends and family down a horrifying path. Coupled with good pacing and brilliant acting…Well…This is a film not for everyone, but for most others…..You’ll definitely be sleeping with the lights on after this film.

17) Pulp Fiction

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Sometimes it’s okay to laugh at violence….

You’ve often heard certain directors be called things. “Master of Horror” for Wes Craven. “Master of Storytelling and Oner aka The Long Take” for Spielberg. And for infamous/famous director Quentin Tarantino…..”Master of Dialogue”. And if you’ve ever wondered why….Just watch Pulp Fiction. Told out of chronological order following various people throughout the city, this highly stylized film is full of Tarantino tropes; moments that would make Game of Thrones blush, Tarantino style dialogue, unapologetic screenplay, and outrageous deaths only to be seen and appreciated in a Tarantino movie….Who else laughs when Marvin gets shot in the face? Yeah you do. This movie is nuts, violent, fifty shades of whacko and I adore every minute of this film. Only someone like Tarantino could make a conversation either thrilling, enthralling, or tense. He can turn the most awkward and boring thing or subject and make his audience invested in it. I never get tired of wondering just what’s in the suitcase, and it’s really fascinating seeing that these stories are interwoven together yet told out of order only for the last part of this film to be the diner just with Jackson and his partner. There are two groups of people in the world; those who just aren’t into Tarantino, and the other half is those who say Kill Bill is better than Inglorious Basterds and those who say just the opposite. Me personally….Pulp Fiction beats out both films. A dialogue heavy script can be easy to screw up….But Tarantino teaches us that words are indeed incredibly powerful.

16) Fantasia

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Mickey congratulates Leopold…perhaps for conducting the film’s scores?

This is easily one of Disney’s best movies. I truly mean that. Visually stunning, musically genius, put those two together and you get a gorgeous film. It’s a piece that just puts you on an emotional journey; one moment you’re having fun and watching Mick learn the mysterious dark arts (glad they touched on this bit of his history in the Kingdom Hearts story) the next you’re on a journey with the dinosaurs while listening to the iconic “Rite of Spring”. You get to see winged horses soar, centaurs find love, and a devil weak chaos and death and despair only to be defeated in the end by “Ave Maria” and heaven’s light. Those two segments along with “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” are my favorite. Sorcerer Mickey is my favorite rendition as I connect with him the most; he teaches a great lesson in biting off more than you can chew. And his shaking hands with Leopold Stokowski is the icing on the cake that cements the very serious air this movie has. It’s not at all geared for the children save for Mickey himself. It’s a film mostly for adults. It’s a visual musical masterpiece to the ears.

15) Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

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The movie that seemed to truly cement the world of Harry Potter.

Surprised to see a Harry Potter film on a top favorite of all-time list? Well as a huge Potterhead but even bigger film fan it was hard….IS any one film from the HP Saga truly worth such an honor? And if so….Which film would it be? It’s truly a tie between Deathly Hallows Parts 1 and 2 and this film, however overall the better film is Prisoner of Azkaban. Heralded by a newcomer to the series, Alfonso Cuarón Orozco the Mexican director certainly took the series in a different approach. And it couldn’t have been better for it. Sure they did leave out a scrap ton from the book, however as its own entity….It’s a marvelous film. The overall dark eerie tone sets it apart from its predecessors, and gives you a great foreshadowing of what’s to come. And it’s the film that really gets you deep into this universe’s lore. The Golden Trio are much more defined as characters than ever before; Harry continues to grow as does his actor which show. The effects just get better and better as well; showing off griffins, soul stealing dementors, and human to animal transfigurations. It’s the film with that started Harry down a path that he couldn’t divert from….And gave us all a taste of the other side of the bright magical world we came to love. And whether we were ready or not, that darkness within the series would only grow after this film.

14) Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring

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A film that changed Hollywood forever deserves a spot on this list.

If anything this particular trilogy is a wonderful study of successful adaptation….Along with Harry Potter. So much could’ve easily gone wrong, especially given that Miramax wanted only one film, and Jackson had at first drafted a two film series. It’s funny that those making this thing had to fight for three films given the legacy it’s left behind. The character Frodo isn’t the best in retrospect, but his friends more than make up for his….character. Those in the Fellowship from kickass archer Legolas (who is pretty much relegated to “Expository Man”) to Boromir each have a role to play in the film. And the “Everyman to hero slot” works very naturally here vs in films like Harry Potter or Transformers. One where someone was told he was Jesus the whole time….And the other admittedly being idiotic despite how much I enjoy that film. This movie is a big ass sprawling epic that sucks you in the moment you hear that iconic music. It’s an amazing film that more than earns a spot on this list….Despite Frodo falling as much as he does.

13)  All Dogs Go to Heaven

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One of Don Bluth’s BEST animations period.

Arguably one of Bluth’s best films, this film is a highly sophisticated incredibly deep allegory….And the way they go about this is with…Singing dogs. Yeah for whatever reason the 80s just loved Burt Renoylds’ singing voice. Bad songs aside, the plot is pretty deep for a kid’s mainstream animation. The characters are all pretty morally gray (not the least of which Charles B Barkin himself). The animation is fine (pretty standard for a Bluth production), hard lines, hard colors, lots of darker colors throughout the whole movie. The Heaven in this film really does look like something a child might imagine; it’s the only time in the film we see nice soft strokes of paint, no hard lines. Soft pallets and soft gentle lights. The movie is deep; one of the deeper animations out there to this day. True it is a Christian analog of the rise and fall and rise of man but told through anthropomorphic dogs.  This is a deep allegory for the aforementioned things and also shows some of the flaws in Christian doctrine; what IS heaven and would it be truly earned? Or would we rather have free will? That which makes us human? And for those reasons, All Dogs certainly earns a spot on this list as one of my favorites of all time.

12) Jurassic Park

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Wheeeeeee!

This is one of Spielberg’s best films. Despite the flaws it has; spotlight fetish, plot threads that go nowhere (glad they continue that tradition in Jurassic World) and character arcs that just disappear. However, it’s a good fun survival story not just a monster movie like in the newest addition to the franchise. The children are actually likeable, the action intense, and of course the MOTHERFREAKING T-REX! Even after all this time, she still looks fantastic. All the dinosaurs-minus the Velociraptors-look great. From a few CGI shots to LIFE SIZE recreations of these beasts they still hold up to this day for the most part. Add in Jeff Goldblum being Goldblum and other good actors and you’ve uh, well uh got one hell of a uh fun movie.

11) Saving Mr. Banks

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Disney handled this film surprisingly well.

Another bio picture makes this list. This time, during one of Walt Disney’s more…trying times during his career as a filmmaker. That being when he worked with creator of Mary Poppins PL Travers to create the now beloved film Mary Poppins. Both have HUGE egos, and when big egos clash, it’s hard to get anything done. We certainly see things from both sides; Travers very reluctant to give up her pride and joy, and Disney wanting so very badly to make this film, as part of a promise to his children. With Walt being this charismatic, friendly very bright eyed young man eager to make the world laugh, and Travers a cold cynic, it’s amazing that Mary Poppins exists at all…And seeing it come together is astounding and interesting. The best thing is that this film is entirely pre-production based. We’re not on the film set, there’s no principle photography being done, actors haven’t been talked about, it’s just buffing out the script so that Travers will approve the film rights to Walt. There’s a particularly lovely scene where Walt is with one of the Sherman Brothers just talking. It’s quiet, feels like a one long take. We all know the story of Mickey Mouse’s creation; how Walt sketches him up on a train ride. But to hear the creator talk so openly how no matter what he couldn’t sell the rights gives an insight on how much he cared about the mouse. How he views the mouse as family. Which in turn is what Disney is to many of us. This movie does Disney-fy a few things but overall it’s a good tale of how patience, perseverance, and determination can bring a beloved fictional character to life.  Let’s go fly a kite indeed.

And that is part one of my favorite films of all time. Part two is coming soon.

What are some of your favorite films of all time? Let me know below!

Sausage Party movie review

Movies like Sausage Party are interesting. They can either be a comedic hit, or just something to be forgotten. This movie certainly won’t be since its’ the first animated film to be rated R. That’s certainly setting a huge precedent for future animated films. Whether Disney and Pixar look at this and say “maybe we can do this in the future” or just ignore it and keep doing what they do is unknown. People seem to like this movie though…..so let us talk about it.

Plot: In a grocery store, food can’t wait to be picked up by human beings known as “Gods” to them. When they learn the terrifying truth that the “Great Beyond” is human beings’ kitchens….it’s up to a sausage named Frank and his friends to save the day and not become someone’s next meal.

Cast: Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, Salma Hayek, Edward Norton, Kristen Wig, Bill Hader, Paul Rudd, and Nick Kroll

The Good

  • The WRITING/SCRIPT  
    • In a movie like this, you’ll either like it, or dislike it. You either like Seth Rogen’s writing or haven’t watched a single movie of his cause they might not appeal to you. For me, his stuff is just okay. But this is by far one of this better written movies I’ve seen. I liked The Interview as an okay film and The Night Before was fun, but this is his smartest and funniest film he’s done. Perhaps that funniest part is a stretch but for an animation about food it’s pretty out there. But it’s not just raunchy for the sake of being raunchy. There are so many F bombs it might make one uncomfortable if they’re not used to R rated films. it also has a lot of the F bombs to the point where the joke of food swearing wears off after a while .There are also plenty of movie references in there from Saving Private Ryan, to Superbad to Jumanji. 
    • There are plenty of racial stereotypes from Nazis wanting to exterminate the juices, to Middle Eastern food and bagels hating each other, and allegories to the afterlife and religion. Yes at its core this movie is about breaking free from the hive mind and going your own way. There are a lot of things that will go right over a child’s head. DON’T TAKE YOUR CHILD TO THIS MOVIE.
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A nice colorful cast of characters all well performed by Rogen and his buddies. 

  • The CHARACTERS
    • Most of the characters are pretty one note. Frank (Seth Rogen) is easily the most developed and the one that has his little arc through the movie. Which is good, because he’s the main character. He’s likeable enough to where you root for him and his friends to win.
  • The VOICE ACTING
    • Seth Rogen and his buddies you’d expect to see in his films at this point all do a top notch job during this film. Comedians shine during animated films as it’s just their voice and that’s all they have to work with. Remember my review of Aladdin and how I said Williams was born for animation? Well you could say the same for some of the actors in this movie. Everyone did a wonderful job with what they were given and they just rolled with it.
  • The THIRD ACT
    • The entire third act you think “they can’t get away with this OMG” And you just keep thinking “Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god.” Just about until the movie is over. There’s sexy times with the characters (like a big orgy scene) and the foods fighting the humans is just a wonderful action sequence.

The Meh

There’s nothing really BAD in this film…just a few things that just okay.

  • The PACING
    • While the movie overall is a fun good time, the pacing at times seems a bit wonky. It seems to meander about until it gets to the point in film where Frank learns the terrible truth and then it meanders again until he gets his proof. The pacing isn’t horrible, but it just feels off at times.
  • The SIDE CHARACTERS
    • There are quite a few characters in this movie. It seems most of the focus was on developing Frank as he was the main character the audience avatar, but it’s important to remember that there are other characters too. Brenda is just there to be the love interest though she has a lot of witty, funny lines, and Barry was the only other interesting cute characters. The rest are just kind of there for the journey.
  • The ANIMATION
    • This movie had a film budget of 19M dollars. You wonder how that could’ve been pulled off until you hear of the story of how the animators were treated. Perhaps that kind of shows in the movie. At times instead of feeling like you’re watching a nice looking animated feature, you’re watching an hour and a half cartoon. Which I mean that’s what animations are really, but for me, with these films, there is a nice fine line between calling an animated film “Animation” and “Cartoon”. This film, I’d have no problem calling a cartoon over animation. The animation is fine, and even quite nice regarding the characters’ eyes and faces but for the most part it’s pretty standard. Rogen said he wanted to give his film a “Pixar vibe” and there are definitely times where that comes in.

CONCLUSION

This movie certainly isn’t for everyone. It has more sex, violence, raunchy characters and dialogue, f bombs, and drugs than I think every Seth Rogen movie combined. And that’s saying something. Still it was nice going into a movie this year and be thoroughly entertained even if the pacing was a bit wonky at times. Seth Rogen delivered a nice, funny, smart animated film, and I would certainly recommend it to Rogen fans. If you’re not a fan of his, I don’t think this one would sway you. And children really REALLY shouldn’t be seeing this one.

Sausage Party gets a 3.5/5 from me. It’s funny (though not always), with a good main character, an insane third act, and a smart movie that’s….not for everyone.

3-5stars

What did you think of Sausage Party? What’s your favorite Seth Rogen film? Let me know below!

Suicide Squad movie review

 

So with very mixed reviews of Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, things seem to look bleak for the DC Extended Universe. With Suicide Squad, it could either be the proverbial nail in the coffin, or the spark they needed or just…..middle of the road. So this movie has been out for quite a while, I finally saw it so let’s talk about it….

Plot: Villains are expendable. They’re vile, evil beings that can’t be controlled. Until Amanda Waller comes walking in. She assembles the team of the worst of the worst, figuring she can place the blame on them for when a task they undertake goes wrong. When a being known as Enchantress threatens the entire planet, it’ll be up to the villains to save the day.

Cast: Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jai Courtney, Jared Leto, Joel Kinnaman, Jay Hernandez, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Cara Delevingne and Viola Davis

The Good

While I CAN INDEED see why critics are tearing this movie apart there are quite a few good things in this movie. Good moments mostly but when there is good in something mostly meh or mostly bad, it’s important to acknowledge that.

  • The CHARACTERS: Margot Robbie, Viola Davis, and Will Smith.
    • These three MAKE THE MOVIE. Without these three the movie would’ve been a SNOOZEFEST. You could see that Margot was just having fun; she’s Harley Quinn of course she’d have fun. Will Smith is the most charismatic man on the planet it’s hard not to like the man. Viola Davis did a remarkable job as Amanda Waller; exalting nothing but ferocity and power and intimidation. With a few good laughs in from all three. They’re good well developed characters. Will Smith’s Deadshot along with El Diablo easily have the most emotional baggage regarding their families.
  • The SOUNDTRACK
    • From “Bohemian Rhapsody” to “Sucker for Pain” the movie’s soundtrack is pretty on point. Even the original score at times is amazing and nice to listen to.
  • The ACTION
    • In a movie where the villains are in the spotlight, you expect to see lots of hardcore action scenes. And for the most part, you see just that. You see this mostly in the character introductions, and in the climax of the movie. As during the second act the plot just halts and meanders.

The Bad

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Not a fan of Leto Joker….Meh.

  • The CHARACTERS
    • Here’s a thing with group movies. You’re not gonna have time to develop everyone. Even the greats like Lord of the Rings suffer from this. Legolas was relegated to “expository man” aka “Exposition dumper”. Gimli was relegated to comedic relief, and Merry and Pippin were just…there. However, you remember them to this day. In this film…Joker had no point being there which makes the ending complete nonsense. Slipknot was a joke, Katana was cool for the one scene she did something, Boomerang was just there….It’s really the Deadshot, Diablo, and Harley Quinn show. The rest are just there. Also I DID NOT like Jared Leto Joker. He felt WAY too into Harley Quinn and anyone who TRULY KNOWS the nature of their relationship….It’s not a bed of roses whatsoever.
  • The PACING
    • The pacing is a HUGE problem in this movie. The Squad doesn’t get the Midway City until about halfway through the movie; the first half is painfully slow build up to a not all that good payoff. There’s one good scene in the middle of all this meandering and that’s the bar scene shown in the trailer. But that can also come off as “oh yeah there are characters here we should do something with them.” The pacing is all over the place.
  • The ENDING
    • Not much to say about this without spoilers but the ending bugged me. A lot. It doesn’t make sense it just feels like they did what they did for the sake of having an ending.
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POINTLESS. POINTLESS AND WASTED VILLAINESS. 

  • The MAIN VILLAIN
    • Enchantress was wasted. Completely. Sure you feel a threat to the planet, but only cause it’s a supervillain/comic book movie so of course there’s a threat to the planet.
  • Badly Translated Mediums
    • What do I mean by that? Most of the time, this movie feels like you’re watching a comic book. When working with film it’s important a director understands film language. A writer needs to know how to write to get their message across in book, a director needs to know film language. I get the impression that director David Ayer did not understand how to really translate the Squad into film. And in turn it just felt like I was watching a film version of a comic book which doesn’t help the viewing experience. 

CONCLUSION  

In the end, Suicide Squad isn’t TERRIBLE. But it’s not entirely great either. It’s not the slam dunk DC/WB was hoping for critically-box office wise it made the money they needed so they’re just going to continue doing what they do. However it wasn’t the nail in the coffin either. But they need to focus more on the characters themselves. The reason why we love all of these characters is because we get to know them and relate in some way. They’re people not plot devices. The biggest problem with this movie is that it just meanders and the payoff isn’t good. You see it being part of the DCEU but only cause it has the Batman (who is still for whatever reason called “The Bat” in this universe) and the Flash in this. In the end it falls just short of being average.

I’m going to give this movie a 2.5/5. It’s….just not for me. If you liked it, then great. But for me, it falls short of being average.

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What did you think of the latest DCEU film? Let me know below!

Aladdin movie review

For some, when it comes to the quintessential Robin Williams performance, you think of a few movies. Jumanji, Good Morning Vietnam, Good Will Hunting, Mrs. Doubtfire, and of course Good Will Hunting. However, for most there’s one standout performance that either shoved him into the limelight for a lot of young people or just made him EXPLODE for everyone else. For me, the one that sticks out the most…that performance, was Genie. He so made The Genie his character that it’s said that the Genie was drawn FOR Mr. Williams and the two just fit like a glove. But more on that later let’s talk about the actual movie here.

Plot: Young “street rat” Aladdin has high hopes and dreams of escaping his hum drum life…Princess Jasmine daughter of the Sultan, has high dreams of escaping her life. When the two meet, they have a few sparks fly….Aladdin will do anything to be with her….When he meets the Genie everything in his life changes.

Cast: Scott Weigner, Linda Larkin, Johnathon Freeman, Gilford Gottfried….And Robin Williams.

The Good

 

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One of the best performances by Mr. Robin Williams IMO. 

  • The CHARACTERS
    • For the most part, the two mains Aladdin and Jasmine are just okay but they’re still good characters you care about them and what’s going to happen to them. Scott Weigner as Aladdin and Linda Larkin as Jasmine both do wonderful jobs and Jafar of course is iconic for a reason. However, it is when the movie gets to the Genie…..THAT’S when the movie just EXPLODES. The movie is fun and fine on its own but really the Genie completely and utterly steals the show. Most minor characters they know they’re place. Sometimes they’re not even on the poster or cover of a Blu-Ray. Genie? Nope. His place is to be the biggest damn character on every Aladdin thing you see ever in existence. There’s reason why most people think of the Genie when we think of great Robin Williams performances. He was born for voice acting, and completely and utterly makes the Genie HIS character. So much so that Disney couldn’t even submit this movie to the Academy for Best Adapted Screenplay. In the end when Jafar gets the lamp it’s not like Genie just said “Screw Aladdin” and went turncoat no you could see the pain in his eyes and hear it in his voice and see it on his face it hurt to do bad. Another animation did that in 2014 and let’s just say this one did it first and did it better. It’s just another thing that makes the Genie a great character.
  • The ANIMATION
    • When reviewing an animated movie it’s important to take into consideration the quality of the animation. For instance when people talked about The Killing Joke adaptation, it’s often said (and I agree) that the animation at times felt and looked a little wonky. And different quality of animation in some scenes can be distracting. However, this movie suffers from none of that. From the first shot of the film, to the action sequences in the Cave of Wonders, to the final showdown with Jafar, to the characters themselves (particularly again the Genie he looks great) the animation quality is still amazing all these years later. Keep in mind this film premiered in 1992, and was made several years before.
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Some of Disney’s best and memorable songs come from this film.

  • The SONGS
    • This movie comes standard with the quintessential Disney song pack. The love song, the I want song, the cool sounding song, and the reprise song. There’s no villain song in this movie, but Jafar is one of those villains like Hades who doesn’t really need a song. The songs that are there “Prince Ali”, “A Whole New World”, “Something More”, and of course “Friend like Me” Are all wonderful and catchy and memorable. “Friend Like Me” is fun but the Las Vegas theme feels a touch out of place. Which is odd considering that seems to be a small motif of the film. However I still catch myself humming that song from time to time.

The Meh

There’s nothing really BAD within this film, so there’s no point in having a “The Bad” section….However there are some problems with the film….Some of them sadly are pretty major.

  • The SCRIPT
    • It’s not an inherently bad script or anything, it’s that the story….Without Genie there it’s just okay at best. At times this movie feels more like GENIE’S story rather than Aladdin’s. Which could very well be the case as it was confirmed that the merchant at the beginning WAS in fact the Genie in a different form, telling Aladdin’s tale. But if it’s ALADDIN’S story then it shouldn’t also feel like someone else taking over. Even if that someone else is as cool as the Genie.
  • The PACING
    • For a while, the movie feels like it meanders before it gets to plot point a then b then c. There are songs to help move the story along, but unlike most musicals the songs don’t TELL the story they’re just filler. But if a script is good then it shouldn’t need all that much filler, which can work against it. Again without the Genie, this could’ve been a very boring film, which is a fact one just has to accept. Yes films like The Lion King and The Little Mermaid meander at times as well, but those films’ main characters are interesting enough to make it feel like those scenes have merit.

CONCLUSION

In the end, Aladdin is a fine film. For some, they only watch it for Jafar. For others it’s the song sequences. For most people though, they watch it for the Genie. He taught people watch friendship can be like, he also taught audience members (The general moviegoing public anyways) that the minor character can completely and utterly steal the show. The rest of the film like Aladdin himself and Jasmine are okay. But part of me wonders without the Genie how would this movie have fared.

Aladdin gets a 4/5 from me. It’s good. But without the Genie…Hmm.

4stars

What’s your favorite Robin Williams performance? Let me know down below!

Titanic (1997) movie review

 

Like something out of a science fiction novel, the once great ship The RMS Titanic lies at rest in its watery grave. Still in the Atlantic. Still facing west, still four hundred miles off the coast of Newfoundland. Encrusted with years of ocean rot and rust, the century old ship’s story lies at the bottom of the ocean…Until 1997 when James Cameron decided to tell its story. The film director actually WENT AND VISITED this ancient ship’s wreck site; and used those shots he got for the opening shots of the film. And those opening shots seem to tell the ship’s story in less than five minutes. But in this Hollywood epic, it’s nearly a THREE HOUR TALE. So let’s take a look at it.

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Kathy Bates, David Warner, Bill Paxton, Bernard Hill as Captain John Smith, Billy Zane and Victor Garber as Thomas Andrews

The Good

  • The CHARACTERS
    • While the script can be a bit shoddy, the characters make it work. And the actors for that matter. Jack and Rose are the audience avatars, the people taking the audience through this journey we’ve all learned through the history books during middle school, high school and even some college courses. Everyone knows the story of Titanic, but not the STORY of the PEOPLE on Titanic. Outside of documentaries we know not of the people on board. Jack and Rose help us get to know them a bit more. Not as people but as characters and people as well. We see Thomas Andrews as the hero he was; staying with his ship until the end, searching the corridors for stragglers, feeling completely responsible for the ship’s sinking despite having nothing to do with it. We see Mr. Ismay as a villain of sorts; the one who pushed Captain Smith to light the last boilers. And of course we see the Captain who went down with his ship; 26 years of experience turned on him and he paid dearly for it. Seeing fictional characters we care about interact with these strangers we already know about but get to care about works wonders for a movie where we already know the ending.
  • The EFFECTS
    • The fact that this was all filmed in a kiddie pool and on a set is astounding. However, James Cameron himself dive miles deep into the abyss of the ocean to the wreck site of RMS Titanic. It’s said he used Fox to fund for the trip. The ghostly ship you see in the beginning of the film are the shots he used from that dive though I’m not sure how they filmed the submersibles. The great ship looks wonderful; CGI is obvious in some parts like during the wide sweeping shots during “Take her to Sea Mr. Murdoch” however it’s not that noticeable during the big moments such as the ship’s sinking. It looks and feels like this great ship is breaking in half, filling with icy Atlantic waters, killing anyone unfortunate enough not to be in the boats. The costume design is astounding as well; the look and feel is definitely that of the early 1900s.
  • The ACTION
    • An odd thing to mention in a movie mostly romance but once the ship hits the iceberg it’s nothing short of survival mode. The slow swell into chaos highlighting humanity at its “finest” is astounding to witness. You have people jumping off the ship into the cold waters even though the ship itself will eventually take them into the water, you have people trying to cut lifeboat lines in order not to be crushed by another lifeboat, you have people shooting others, shooting themselves, staying behind on the ship, third class behind held back as the boats were mostly reserved for first class….It’s a riot on a ship and it makes you realize “yeah it probably went down exactly like that”. When you’re facing the inevitable the last thing on your mind is “I’m going to sit here quietly and take it like a man”….That would last all of five minutes before you start saying “not today”.
  • The SCORE
    • James Horner’s score for this is fun, stunning, gorgeous, and emotional. You hear the theme come in so many times throughout the movie, you hear the Irish influences which makes sense considering the ship itself was built by the Irish…It’s just a lovely soundtrack to listen to. When you hear the theme you’re immediately taken back to 1912.

The Meh

There really isn’t anything BAD in Titanic…just a few things that are “meh”.

  • The SCRIPT
    • There’s no denying it….The script is corny as ever. Cameron knows how to get drama down though, so there’s that. However a lot of the dialogue, the “I’m flying….Jack.” the “I’m KING OF THE WORLD!” the DiCaprio “whoo hoo hoo” when seeing the dolphins race the ship it’s a little odd little corny.
  • The PACING
    • The first hour is straight up romance. If that bores you, you’ll be bored throughout the first half of the movie, even though Cameron does a good job having you buy their romance. There’s not much I’d cut personally from the movie, just know that this monster of a film is three hours and fifteen minutes…And the ship doesn’t hit the berg until about an hour or so in.

CONCLUSION

In short, Titanic is a romance drama epic that really does have something for everyone. Does it have this insane villain that is just the biggest dick of 90s movie? Yes. Does it have a dude that hits a propeller when he jumps off the ship? Yes. Does it have these really likeable characters you know are going to die but don’t want to die? Yes. Amazing music, good slow swell, good emphasis on the fact that 1500 souls are now dead, add in the fact that this was helmed by an extremely deft and intelligent filmmaker and you got yourself a blockbuster that became the highest grossing film of all time for a reason.

Titanic gets a 4.5/5. It’s a slow build puppy dog romance that then turns into survival movie with something for everyone.

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