Movie Review

‘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. (more…)

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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.  (more…)

‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ Non-Spoiler Review

Everyone’s favorite Guardians of the Galaxy are back in Volume Two – continuing the teams adventures as they travel the cosmos using their newly acquired fame to get lucrative mercenary work. In their travels The Guardians must fight to keep their family together while unraveling the mysteries that surround Peter Quill’s aka Star Lord’s father.  Familiar characters return, old enemies become allies, and friends become foes.

Following 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy certainly applied a lot of pressure to returning director James Gunn as he worked to create a worthy follow-up. Characters that 95% of the movie going audience had never heard of quickly became the most loved within the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).  While this follow-up just crosses the threshold into entertaining, it is not on the same level as its predecessor.
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‘The Fate of the Furious’ Review (Non-Spoiler)

By this time if you are not familiar with The Fast and the Furious franchise then you may need to crawl back under that rock you’ve been living under for the past decade before the sun blinds you.  The Fate of the Furious is the eighth film in what seems to be an infinite film series.  A series that started off as a rip-off of Point Break, but with street cars, and has somehow evolved into a bond-esk espionage film still involving cars.  The Fate of the Furious (henceforth abbreviated F8) continues that trend – be it a more Pierce Brosnan type of bond when considering the lunacy in which the street racers continue to save the world. Only this time it needs to be saved from a sexy superhacker/cyber terrorist (Charlize Theron) who has strong-armed Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), the family driven leader of the F8 crew, to go rogue and help her steal weapons of mass destruction in order to achieve world domination.

Overall I have enjoyed the franchise thus far – I even finding myself defending the not so beloved The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift from time to time.  So you can imagine my disappointment when I walked out of this film and people felt they needed to defend F8 from me.  The movie is not great – it’s not terrible, there are things to enjoy in it, but I honestly believe it is weakest Fast and the Furious movie to date.

The worst thing about the movie is how forgettable it is.  I had to go back and re-watch trailers just so I could be reminded of some of the events that took place.  You’d think I would remember an army of hundreds of electric cars being hacked and driving around Manhattan like a horde of zombies and falling of rooftops like rain – nope.  I had forgot that ever happened until I re-watched the trailer after seeing the movie.  And that’s just one example of many forgettable moments.  Characters are just as forgettable as well.  I couldn’t tell you the names of anybody who is not part of the already established crew from previous films without going to the F8 IMDB page.

The movie also doesn’t flow at all.  Every scene just happens for the sake of happening and there is nothing that ties the scenes together.  The past films were beloved due to the journey they took the audience on – whether that journey be throughout the underground street racing world of L.A. or internationally to exotic places around the world.   F8’s journey, while still international, feels more like taking a trip through rush hour traffic while riding a city bus.

Now, as stated previously, not all of the movie is terrible.  Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham’s characters steal the spotlight with their quips and their action scenes are a lot of fun to watch.  And, somehow, Vin Diesel manages to give a near tear jerking performance in a few scenes.  So hats off to him.

However, it wasn’t enough to save the movie.  Between the lack of storytelling, flat and forgettable characters, and sub-par dialogue (even by Fast and the Furious standards) all due to a very weak script I have to admit it is the weakest in the franchise.  Fate of the Furious gets a rating of 2.75/5.

‘Power Rangers’ Review (Spoiler Free)

When I first heard the prospect of making a Power Rangers movie based on the early 90’s TV show I was less than thrilled.  The show is one of the cheesiest things I had ever seen as a kid.  And a movie had already been made back when the show was at the peak of its popularity with 2005’s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie.  The movie was panned by critics, and barely made enough at the box office to earn a profit.  Yes, when I was six the TV show and the movie were entertaining, but watching them now I have to say they are really bad.

However, the first trailers came out for Power Rangers and I have to admit I was intrigued.  And as the movie release date got closer I found myself looking forward to the new Power Rangers movie, however, I was still not expecting much.  After finally seeing the film, I can honestly say I had a lot of fun with the movie.  It surpassed my expectations!  It is nowhere near a perfect film, it absolutely has flaws, however despite those flaws I was very entertained.

The first thing someone should know before going to see Power Rangers is that it is more of a character film, and less of an action movie.  There are absolutely some action scenes in it, but they were just okay.  What really drove the film was watching these five teenagers with different pasts come together and learn to trust each other and work as a team.  Their on-screen chemistry is outstanding! And the acting is really good! I never thought I’d admit that there was good acting in a Power Rangers movie.  The standouts are Dacre Montgomery (plays Jason – Red Ranger), Naomi Scott (plays Kimberly – Pink Ranger), and RJ Cyler (plays Billy (Blue Ranger).  They were able to bring a level of emotion I did not think possible in a Power Rangers movie.  I really cared about their characters, and their team because of their performances.

Power Rangers is surprisingly funny too.  I laughed a lot throughout the movie watching these weird and awkward teenagers figuring out what it means to be a Power Ranger and the shenanigans that can go with giving that kind of power to high school students.  Also, there are some scenes of product placement that I thought pretty funny as well.  Normally in-your-face product placement gets on my nerves (looking at you Transformers: Age of Extinction).  I hate it.  However, for some reason I was not bothered by it in this movie.  I won’t say what it is – you’ll know it when you see it.  Just know it works in the context of the film.

Now, remember when I said there was some great acting in Power Rangers?  While that is true and I stand by that, there is some terrible acting in it as well.  Unfortunately given by Elizabeth Banks, who played the villain Rita Repulsa.  It was like she was in a completely different movie.  While I’m getting drama, and real life situations from these teenagers the movie switches to the villain and I’m reminded that I am watching a movie based off one of the cheesiest TV shows of all time.  Her acting would have fit perfectly in an episode of Power Rangers from the 90’s.  And that is not a good thing.  When we finally get to the showdown between her and the rangers I feel like I’m watching a completely different movie.  An hour and a half of great teenage drama/comedy/sort of action, followed by cheesy action movie with a side of extra cheese due to her performance.

And the action was just okay.  There was not a whole lot of rangers using martial arts, and when it was shown it didn’t blow me away.  When the Rangers used their Zords (giant robots) to fight it was, once again, just okay.  The CGI during these actions scenes was part of the problem.  The visuals would switch back and forth between impressively good to video-gamey bad.  I realize that this being the first movie in a what is sure to be a franchise there was a very limited budget to work with.  But I’ve seen smaller scale movies show better action scenes.  Maybe next time don’t hire a big-time actor like Elizabeth Banks so you can afford good looking action set pieces and CGI.  It’s not like her being in the movie payed off anyway.

Overall there was a lot of good to be had in Power Rangers, but some glaring negatives that need to be fixed if the franchise is to continue and be successful.  Despite by negatives stated already, I did generally like the movie.  It was entertaining and fun – something that a Power Rangers movie should be.   There are going to be some people who hate this movie, and that’s fine.  I have to admit that the movie is not for everyone.  However, if you were or still are a fan of the Power Rangers then I recommend you go see the movie. You will like it.  If you were never a fan then you might like.  I think it is still probably still worth checking out if you are in the mood for some dumb fun at the theater while chowing down on a big tub of buttery popcorn.  Or, if you have a theater that offers it, get some doughnuts – you’ll thank me latter.

I’m giving Power Rangers a score of 3/5.  It’s entertaining, so go see it.

Have you seen Power Rangers yet and what did you think?  Are you going to see Power Rangers?  Leave a comment below, and we can make a discussion out of it!

My Review of ‘A Cure for Wellness’

I must start off this review by saying this is one of the weirdest movies I have ever seen.  The synopsis put out by the studio does not do the film justice; which reads: “An ambitious young executive is sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from an idyllic but mysterious ‘wellness center’ at a remote location in the Swiss Alps.  He soon suspects that the spa’s miraculous treatments are not what they seem.  When he begins to unravel its terrifying secrets, his sanity is tested, as he finds himself diagnosed with the same curious illness that keeps all the guests here longing for the cure.” Please note that the synopsis put out by the studio says nothing about audience members questioning their own sanity during the viewing of this movie.

Imagine for a moment a room full of executives over at 20th Century Fox.  In front of every one of these men and women are piles of scraps of paper with scribbled notes of things a general movie going audience would find creepy and unsettling.  One note says “creepy anorexic looking people,” one says “mind control,” another says “iron lungs” one says “old hospital with steam rooms” one says “body decay” and another scrap of paper says “lots of eels.”   These highly-paid men and women then put these ideas in a hat and take turns pulling these random concepts out of a hat and laying them out on the table in the same order in which they were drawn.  Lastly, they take a picture of this “timeline of creepiness,” add a footnote to the picture that says “make the film look really good, very unsettling, and add a few of your good ideas” then email said photo to screenwriter Justin Haythe, director Gore Verbinski, and lead actor Dane DeHaan – BOOM! You have the makings of A Cure for Wellness. (more…)

‘Fifty Shades Darker’ Review

Fifty Shades Darker is a sequel to Fifty Shades of Grey, based on the novel of the same name, written by E. L. James.  Since the events of Fifty Shades of Grey, Anastasia Steele she has tried to move on and forget her sexual escapades with Christian Grey.  She has a new job, a new life, and is ready to be her own woman again.  However, desire for Christian still lingers, and when he comes back into her life proposing a new sexual arrangement she cannot say no. Rekindling their sexual affair, Anastasia learns more about Christian and his dark past.

Does the synopsis above seem remotely interesting? I hope so – because I just spent an hour trying to figure out exactly how to write an interesting synopsis to one of the most boring and uninteresting films of all time.  Four sentences explaining the plot of a film should not take an hour to conjure up.  However, when the film has no plot, that makes it difficult. (more…)

‘The LEGO Batman Movie’ Review.

The LEGO Batman Movie is a spinoff story based off the Batman character last seen in the hit 2014 film, The LEGO Movie.  Without spoiling anything; it’s about the world’s favorite dark knight fighting to saving Gotham from his greatest enemy, the Joker.  The LEGO Batman Movie is directed by first-time feature film director, Chris McKay, and stars the voice talents of Will Arnett as Batman, Michael Cera as Robin, Rosario Dawson as Batgirl, and Ralph Fiennes as Alfred Pennyworth.

Is this movie one of the best DC movies released since Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight in 2008 as some outlets are saying? I’m going to have to say no.  Does it feature one of the best Jokers that we have seen put on the screen? To that, I will say yes.  In no particular order, I would say this Joker, voiced by Zach Galifianakis, falls in the top 3 Joker spots next to Heath Ledger’s Joker as well as Mark Hamill’s Joker from the Batman Animated Series. (more…)

‘John Wick: Chapter 2’ Review

John Wick, The Boogeyman, The Devil, returns for a second chapter in this revenge, gun fu, thriller, and if you think he’s lost any of his edge from 2014 you are dead wrong.  Keanu Reeves reprises his role as the tenacious Mr. Wick, and he is leaving behind him a trail of bodies that have suffered from a dying case of bullets to the head.

If you are a fan of the first John Wick, then you are defiantly going to enjoy this movie. Chad Stahelski, who directed the first movie, reprises his directorial role and brings back just as much grit and violence that made the first film so enjoyable.  The film is not without a few issues, but overall it is a very fun time at the movie theaters, and I completely feel should be seen in a movie theater with great picture and the best sound possible.  You will not be disappointed. (more…)

‘The Accountant’ Review!

This is how my review system works. I’ve broken down my review into 4 different categories (Directing, Acting, Story, Entertainment Value).  I’ll give a score out of 5 for each category.  At the end I’ll average the scores to come up with an overall score for the film.

Lets get to it!

The Accountant is a Warner Bros. action/crime drama directed by Gavin O’Connor and stars the many talents of Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons, Jon Bernthal, Jeffrey Tambor, and John Lithgow.  The story revolves around Affleck’s character who works as a CPA accountant as a front to cover his activities as an accountant for some of the most dangerous criminals in the world. When he takes on a legitimate client, and begins uncooks the books, the body count rises as he gets closer to the truth.

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