My Review of the Indie Film ‘Twin Cities’

Twin Cities is an indie film/drama that metaphorically and practically demonstrates that those of us who have experienced tragedy or depression have our own ways trying to find inner peace, whether that be in expressionistic writing,  drugs, everyday conversation, or religion.  Twin Cities is in many ways a modern Greek Tragedy with characters that are hauntingly compelling yet relatable.

The film is written and directed by Dave Ash – still new to film-making but not a director or writer to sleep on. Twin Cities demonstrates many marks of pure genius in its script as well as in Ash’s directing.  This is not a perfect film, it’s biggest flaw being the editing but that will be touched on later.  However, if you can follow the many threads that this film weaves you will end at a very thought provoking conclusion.

Full disclosure: my initial thoughts on Twin Cities were not positive.  The story goes to places that were unexpected and that, frankly, I was not prepared for.  Some of the editing choices make the film hard to follow, especially at the beginning.  However,  after giving myself ample time to digest the content placed before me is when I began to see the genius in the film’s writing and acting.

The way in which this story is told is very gutsy; gutsy in a way that could either make or break the film.  It took me a day or two before I really began to understand what Ash was going for.  There are some metaphors presented that require deeper level thinking and one big one that suddenly and unexpectedly turns the majority of the movie into one big allegory.  It is at this daring moment in the storytelling that some will either appreciate Twin Cities for what it accomplishes with compelling narrative or be turned off completely – labeling the film as “pretentious.”  After mulling the film over I admittedly I fall in the camp of admiration. Continue reading “My Review of the Indie Film ‘Twin Cities’”

My Review of a Killer Queen Biopic, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

Check out the Podcast Review Below!

Bohemian Rhapsody is a biopic that chronicles the years leading up to Queen’s incredible, and legendary, performance at the Live Aid 1985 concert.  The film is directed by Bryan Singer, and stars Rami Malek in the leading role as the legendary front-man Freddie Mercury.

First off – this movie was a lot of fun to watch.  I anticipate seeing it at least once more before its run in the theater comes to an end. It’s not perfect by any means – bad mistakes, it’s made a few.  However, if you are in the mood for a fun 80’s binge then the mistakes can be easily overlooked.

From the opening scene you know that this movie is going to be love letter to the band, and to Freddie Mercury.  Malek plays the role of Freddie Mercury to pure perfection.  He commands every second of screen time given to him, just the way Mercury commanded such a presence when on stage, and in his personal life.  It is almost as if Mercury was resurrected from the dead and performed in his own movie.  The energy that Malek is able to bring to the stage performances are amazing.  He also nails being able to play Mercury in the quieter moments of the film as well – truly an Oscar worthy performance.  Continue reading “My Review of a Killer Queen Biopic, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’”

Sinking Review of ‘Hunter Killer’

It’s been a long time since we as an audience had an awesome submarine thriller film. Awesome movies like The Hunt for Red October, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and Crimson Tide. Now, with the release of the Gerard Butler and Gary Oldman film Hunter Killer, will we finally get that new awesome submarine-naval thriller?

No – and it is a shame.

Hunter Killer is a movie that is full of waisted potential. When the movie finally gets into its action set pieces it works. The unfortunately thing is that those action pieces take forever to get to, and between these set pieces is a jumbled mess of the most over-acted and under-acted scenes to come out this year. The dialog is abysmal, the acting is all over the place, the CGI is really bad, the script is full of potholes and none of the characters are likable.

Now, many are calling this a “dumb fun” 90’s/80’s cold war action flick. And when the action actually happens I am in full agreement. There are moments where I found myself holding my breath as torpedoes were being launched at different ships, and there are some fire fights that are as good as any other great action movie. It’s the bad writing and dialogue in-between that really sinks this film.

Butler does what Butler does best in this film. He eats up the screen while seeming like a bad-ass in the cheesiest ways possible. But that is what his film are. Movies like Geostorm and Olympus has Fallen, show that even in cheesiest action roles the man can shine. But how was academy award-winning actor Gary Oldman roped into this? And an even better question – why was he one of the worst characters in this movie? It’s because of the writing. There are many other characters, similar to Oldman’s, that do and say things constantly that make no logical sense. There are times when a Russian official speaks perfect English, then doesn’t speak English and relies on using hands to communicate, but magically can speak English again. So many of the “Russian” characters in this movie switch back and fourth between English, English with a Russian accent, and just Russian without any context. This can all be pinned on the writing. The writing in this movie is some of the worst I have ever witnessed.

If you haven’t guessed it by now I am not recommending you spend your hard earned cash on this movie – not in this economy. If you’re in the mood to enjoy the theater experience there are plenty of other films still playing that are more worth your time.

I’m giving Hunter Killer a 4/10. The only reason it gets those few points is because the action does work – sometimes.

Were you unfortunate enough to have seen Hunter Killer? Do you have a differing opinion about the movie? Leave a comment below and let’s make a discussion out of it.

And don’t forget to subscribe to my budding podcast on YouTube where you can hear my breakdown of other movies that have come out.

My Review of ‘Halloween’

Scroll to the bottom for my Audio only review!

It has been 40 years since multiple teens were killed, and Lauri Strode fought for her life against The Boogeyman, The Shape, aka Michael Myers.  It is now Halloween of 2018 and Michael Myers is back to reek havoc in the quite town of Haddonfield, where Lauri (Jamie Lee Curtis) has lived a recluse and paranoid life in preparation for this moment.

This slasher movie is a direct sequel to the 1978 film of the same name. Forget every Halloween movie that has come out after the first one, they don’t count. Which is not a bad thing, even devout fans of the Halloween franchise will admit that many of the films are absolute garbage.  So that means that there is a very low bar set for making a “good” Halloween movie, and this movie succeeds in just that.  It’s not perfect, it’s not even great, but if you are a fan of Halloween or you just want to see a decent slasher movie because it is the season for thrills and chills, then this movie is enough to satisfy your itch.

I am not the biggest fan of the franchise, however, I can respect and admire the first movie for being the grandfather of the slasher genera and this film pays big homage to its predecessor in a very positive way.  You can tell that this film is made by fans of the franchise.

Director David Gordon Green smartly uses similar tricks and echoes that made the first movie the cult classic that it is.  There are specific scenes in the movie that are shot for shot callbacks to events from the first movie, but instead of Michael Myers, they use Lauri Strode.  Brilliantly illustrating that even though Lauri is the victim and heroine of the franchise, she is damaged.  Laurie and Michael have become two sides of the same coin.

Jamie Lee Curtis is brilliant in this movie, perfectly portraying someone who is strong yet damaged and longing for the torment that she has felt for 40 years to finally be over.  This is absolutely a breath of fresh air for this franchise, because lets be honest, she doesn’t deserve any kind of acting awards for the first movie.  She has come a long way as an actress since 1978, and deserves high praise for her performance in this film.

This movie is very brutal in its killing, something that the first Halloween did not do.  Gordon Green does not shy away from showing the blood and carnage that is left in the wake of Michael Myers stalking his prey.  While some may be offended by this change, I am not.  The brutal killings go even further to show just how much of a heartless monster Michael Myers is – that he is the true embodiment of the Boogeyman.

Now, this seems like a lot of praise for this movie, but I have to say there are some definite drawbacks.

Just like the first movie, Halloween takes forever to get things started.  I found myself wanting to check the time at several points for the first 30 to 40 minutes of the movie before things finally started to get bloody.  This tactic may have worked in the 70’s, but horror movies have changed a lot since then and audiences, including myself, have become accustomed to faster paced horror.  So getting something that takes this long to start really seems like a drag.

There are also a few plot points, twist in particular,  that I question the director and screen writers for.  Unfortunately , I can’t go into them without spoiling anything, but they really took me out of the film as I was asking myself “why would they do that?”  There is even one plot line that he film makers just forgot to wrap up entirely involving the boyfriend of Lauri Strode’s granddaughter.  If you see the movie you will notice it too, its pretty obvious that they forgot about one of their side characters that was being explored for the first half of the movie.

Overall, if you like Halloween movies, then you will like this one.  There are many things for fans to latch on to and many things for new fans to love.  It’s not the greatest horror movie of all time, in fact it’s not even the greatest horror movie this year.  But for a fun stabby slashy movie it works.  There are absolutely some drawbacks – but what slasher movie is perfect?

I’m going to give 2018’s Halloween, the sequel to 1978’s Halloween, a 7/10. Great kills, great thrills, but not a perfect film.

What did you think of Halloween?  Did you see the first movie, or is this the first one for you?  Leave a comment below and let’s make a discussion about it.

My Review For ‘First Man’

Scroll to the bottom if you would like an audio version of this First Man review!

First Man is the newest film direct by Damien Chazelle, who previously directed the academy nominated Whiplash, and almost academy award-winning La La Land.  It tells real story of Neil Armstrong’s eight years leading up to the moon landing in 1969 – Armstrong being portrayed by two-time academy nominated actor, Ryan Gosling.  The film is based on the book of the same name, written by historian James R. Hansen.

Based on the description of this movie your not wrong in assuming that this film is reaching its hands out to grab as many Oscars as it can in the upcoming Academy Awards.  The movie is chalk full of scenes between Armstrong’s wife and kids that are meant to elicit all feels – something the academy will no doubt eat up, and something the audiences would eat up if the movie wasn’t so boring!

At a runtime of two hours and twenty minutes, I felt every passing moment.  I went into the movie knowing that this was all about the human element of space travel.  It is not about the mission itself, it is about the human element of the missions leading up to the famous Apollo 11 moon landing – something that should have worked.  However, the problem is that Gosling’s portrayal of Armstrong is very one note.  He is a calculating and gloomy character to a fault.  Continue reading “My Review For ‘First Man’”

Venom Review – And Why You Should See It

Venom is a movie that has been in the back of everybody’s minds for over a year now – not quite at the level of being “hyped” but we all knew it was coming out and there was mild interest from just about everyone out there who enjoys a good super hero romp. Then the critics came out and posted their thoughts on this movie, and like a stone dropping into the ocean expectations plummeted.  However, after seeing the Tom Hardy led movie, I have to ask myself, “Why is this hated on?”  Venom was actually pretty fun!

The movie does start out slow – beginning with a ship crashing to earth and bringing the symbiotes to our planet.  There is a lot of exposition explaining why we should like Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock, and why we should hate Riz Ahmed as Carlton Drake.  From there the film continues to drag on showing why the suave Eddie Brock went from respected journalist to jobless looser – and it continues down this path a little bit too long.  However, just as I was about to give up on this movie the symbiotic Venom is finally introduced and things kick into high gear really fast. Continue reading “Venom Review – And Why You Should See It”

‘Dunkirk’ Movie Review!!

Dunkirk was one of my most anticipated movies of this summer.  It has the Nolan name behind it, it had pretty good trailers, and on top of that I’m a sucker for World War II films.  Especially when they tell stories that I am, admittedly, not completely familiar with.  After seeing this on an IMAX screen, I’ll say upfront it almost meets my expectations – almost.

The film is written and directed by Christopher Nolan, and in Nolan fashion is shot for IMAX screens. Dunkirk is a historical action/drama that tells of the events that unfolded during World War II at Dunkirk as Allied solders are surrounded by the German army and they must evacuate over 400,000 people within a very short amount of time.

This is a very different kind of Nolan movie.  The directing style was different, the story telling was different, and the characters were different from any other film made by Nolan.  While there are still Nolan staples to be found in Dunkirk, it is obvious that he was going to a different type of film than he usually directs.  Some of these changes worked, some things not so much. Continue reading “‘Dunkirk’ Movie Review!!”

A Superior, Amazing, Spectacular ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ Review – Non Spoiler

Spider-Man: Homecoming is the first full length super-hero movie collaboration between Disney’s Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures.  And, I have to say, they did an outstanding job! In this newest iteration of Spider-Man Peter Parker, who is a 15-year-old kid, is trying to figure out what it means to be a super-hero as well as a normal teenager.  This movie is very much a high school drama/coming of age type of movie.  It shows real struggles that teenagers face as they go through high school, as well as portraying how a teenage superhero may deal with those struggles.

Starting off, I have to say that this movie is a lot of fun.  It has a familiarity that ties it perfectly into the existing Marvel Cinematic Universe, yet still manages to feel different.  The young-adult aspect is something that is central in all the early versions of the Spider-Man comics, yet, until now, has not been accurately portrayed on the big screen.  Continue reading “A Superior, Amazing, Spectacular ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ Review – Non Spoiler”

‘Baby Driver’ Review – A stylish and original mob movie

Baby Driver is a stylish and completely original mob movie that is a welcoming breath of fresh air within a summer movie season that has been just okay so far.  The film follows Baby, a get-away driver who has been coerced into working for a crime boss and must pull off daring escapes from impossible heists.  However, he is looking for his chance to leave the life behind and just when he thinks he has a plan, things get really crazy really fast.

Director and writer Edgar Wright brings a specific style of direction that only he can bring to a film, and it works perfectly for Baby Driver.  The movie is full of great car chases, top acting, crazy and colorful characters, and awesome music.  There are very few movies out there where only a specific director could tell a particular story, but in this case Wright is the only director that could have pulled this off.  Only Edgar Wright could have selected the music heard throughout the nearly two-hour long runtime and accompanied it with all the action, character moments, and humor in the movie.  The movie can almost be classified as a musical because of how the music is written into he script, and complements everything the characters are doing.  Continue reading “‘Baby Driver’ Review – A stylish and original mob movie”

‘Alien: Covenant’ Review!

Alien: Covenant is another film in the Alien franchise that features everyone’s favorite Xenomorph, as well as acting as a sequel to 2012’s Prometheus. Ridley Scott is back in the director’s chair – telling the story of the colony ship Covenant and the unfortunate fate of its crew. On their colony mission, they stop on what they believe to be an uncharted paradise. A planet better suited for their colony than the one they were originally bound for. However, it’s a very dark and dangerous world. After learning the fate of the planet’s previous inhibitors, the remaining crew members attempt a harrowing escape. It’s a fight for survival against the seemingly unstoppable Xenomorphs.

Full disclosure – I was not a fan of Prometheus. It was way too long, had terribly written characters, and nothing happens in it. However, I must admit that I enjoyed Alien: Covenant a lot more than its predecessor. It still feels like a companion-piece with Prometheus, lots of talking and heavy-handed themes of creation, but it also manages to feel like an actual Alien movie at the same time.

I’m not going to say this is perfect Alien movie, in fact it is far from it. What I will say is that Alien: Covenant is an upgrade from Prometheus able to deliver on gory thrills and chills, but unfortunately unable to establish a memorable crew or memorable scares.

The Covenant crew are extremely inter-changeable. At one point in the middle of the movie I was pulled out of the film because I had to count how many crew members had died so far. I had forgot about two of them. It happened again toward the end when down to the final few and I could have sworn there were more people still alive. Not only does show zero character development or attachment, it shows that there was no weight to their deaths. It just happened in a beautifully gory and disturbing fashion, then the plot just moves along.

There are some stand-outs though. Danny McBride‘s Tennessee character was the most human among the crew. Surprisingly, McBride was able to strike the perfect balance of showing a man struggling with the brutal death of his wife, the brutal death of his crewmates, and the tenacity to stay alive. Not an easy feat for an actor to pull off, and yet he does it beautifully. Michael Fassbender also manages to impress with his portrayal of both David and Walter, two synthetic androids built by Weyland Industries to help humans in their colony missions in space.

Overall, Alien: Covenant manages to feel like an Alien movie as well as a sequel to Prometheus, but does not quite meet the expectations set by being a part of the Alien franchise. The scary atmosphere and sense of dread that Alien is well known for is non-excitant I this film. There is also no real attachment to any of the characters. However, despite all these negativities, Alien Covenant manages to entertain with its gory kills and stunning visuals. Ridley Scott is very well known for creating beautiful films and Alien: Covenant is no exception.

I would say that despite not quite holding up to previous films in the Alien franchise, it is does give me enough to want to see the next movie – and I do recommend seeing it in theaters. If you are a fan of the Alien franchise you will like this movie.

Alien: Covenant is getting a score of 3.75/5

What do you think of Alien: Covenant? What is your favorite Alien movie in the franchise? Leave a comment below and let’s make a discussion about it.

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