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.

Venom Podcast Review

Check this out to hear what I thought of the Venom film!

Don’t forget to subscribe my film fans to get the latest update of Podcast reviews and the weekly news rundown.

In one episode a week I will be having a Q&A session.  So feel free to drop me some movie based questions on my twitter @KylanReelCritic or email me at reelmoviecritic@gmail.com.  It can be questions about upcoming movies, personal questions about my opinion on movie topics, or rumors you have heard that you want discussed.

 

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’”

‘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”

‘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.
Continue reading “‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ Non-Spoiler Review”

‘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!