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Cars 3 (2017)
Strangely... Not really for kids
Cars 3 was pitched as the comeback for the Cars franchise. After the complete disaster of a movie the second one was, this was supposed to be a "back to basics" sequel to get movie goers back into the seats and liking Lightning McQueen and the gang all over again and reminding you how good the first one was. But if you are taking your kids, it's a complete misfire. Even my 5 year-old leaned over and asked me if I was enjoying the movie. When I said yes, he said, "Good. This movie is for you -- It's not for me." And he was absolutely right.
The premise of the story is about how some people deal with the fact that you are getting older and need to step aside, pass the torch and mentor the younger generation to be better than yours' was. That is a concept COMPLETELY over the heads of any kids in any animated movie audience. Mine didn't get it and didn't care. Neither will yours. He was bored within 30 minutes. We stayed to the end because I wanted to see the rest of it. He could've cared less.
Anything that makes millions these days is just done to death. This is another example. Cars are on everything. There was no need for it and the Cars franchise certainly didn't redeem itself. It was an OK film for adults. Not many kids are going to leave the theater talking about it or rushing out to buy the toys.
Here Alone (2016)
Boring. Boring. But at least Boring. What Was This? Certainly NOT a Horror Movie
Indy film for indy-minded people. I found this film in the horror section. It had decent reviews which compared it to Walking Dead, so I was interested. 30 minutes in, I was bored to tears. I kept wanting to turn it off, but also kept thinking it would have to get better and it just didn't. Slooooow. Drawn out dramatic scenes. The ending was decent, but not decent enough for 90 minutes of my time. By then, I didn't even care.
It had a hard time finding an identity. It wasn't a horror film -- by any stretch. I like some indy films, but not when I'm looking for a horror film. I did not read ahead of time it was a film festival entry. That should be a red flag when looking for a horror film. This was some sort of weird drama. It was worse than Maggie, and Maggie was terrible. Both movies suffered from extremely slow, dull writing trying to pass as dramatic tension. I understand character and plot development, but not at the expense of loosing the audience altogether. I should've turned it off several times and now wish I had. I wouldn't have missed anything.
PS -- If the writer or director has to do his own IMDb review to explain to people why they should like the movie or explain plot, Skip it. Read the first review. Even it was boring.
Bleed for This (2016)
Good Movie... Just Not Realistic
Bleed For This is a good movie. The acting in it is decent and the story is a great one to tell. When it was over, I thought, "That was really quite good, but something was wrong." The more I though about it, the more problems I had with it. And the biggest problem lied with the direction and casting.
All the actors did a decent job doing what they were told to do. Everyone in the film are all good actors and did what they could with what they had. They problem was they didn't have enough to work with. I have to blame the writer, director and makeup people for that.
I was a Vinnie Paz fan back in the day and I never saw Miles Teller, or any of the other characters in the movie, really pull off their characters. Hollywood is really, really good at making actors look, talk and act like the people they are trying to portray in real life. Jaime Foxx looked and acted EXACTLY like Ray Charles. Charlize Theron looked and acted EXACTLY like Aileen Wuornos. No one looked or acted like any of the people they were portraying. Miles Teller didn't look or act anything like Pazienza. Aaron Eckhart did a great job. But he didn't look a bit like Kevin Rooney. I could not even tell who was playing Lou Duva, because no one even came close. It was obvious no one looked at any tape or studied any of the characters they were portraying.
Vinnie was a 5'7", stocky, brash, cocky, arrogant, flashy guy with a thick accent and bad attitude and difficult to like. Miles Teller is over 6 foot tall, lanky and showed none of the personal characteristics boxing fans loved to hate about Paz. They didn't even cut Teller's hair or give him the attitude to resemble him. He looked and acted nothing like him. Eckhart did well putting some character in the show, but was about 40 pounds shy of Rooney and looked nothing like him. When you are watching a biography story and no one looks or acts like they people the story is about, it makes it hard to pay attention to the story. I don't blame the actors for any of this. I blame the writers, directors and make up people. They are the ones who are supposed to be paying attention to details like this. The actors look how the director wants them to and do what the director tells them to do. If the director wants a flashy personality out of his star character, he should tell him to do it. I think they went much more subdued to make the character more likable. And that is a shame.
If you can get past that, the fantastic story makes the movie, overall, worth watching. In fact, if you never knew anything about the actual people in the movie, you would not notice my problems with it. It just seemed lazy to me and they could have done so much more to better represent the real people if they put some extra thought and heart into it and portrayed the characters more true to life.
Hacksaw Ridge (2016)
Great True Storytelling - Mel Gibson Does It Again
Hacksaw Ridge is the true story, told the Mel Gibson way, of Desmond Doss. He is the soldier who won a Medal of Honor in WWI and never touched a single weapon. Without giving too much of this story away, I'll just say his story was masterfully told in this superb movie.
Finally, there is a movie which deserves Oscar attention. Andrew Garfield is wonderful in this movie. Gibson does an outstanding job directing and the final product does the story so much justice. Hacksaw Ridge ranks with the best war movies such as Saving Private Ryan and Platoon.
The first half tells the story about how he came to the decision not to ever hold a weapon and his conviction to his commitment even though ridiculed, and the second half tells the story of his heroics at war without a weapon, when everyone else has one.
I highly recommend the film. If you can take the violence of war movies, this great story will not disappoint. Everyone nominated for this film deserves the recognition.
Slow, Boring, Gay Love Story. Not Oscar-worthy at all
Moonlight started out well. Deep, rich, flawed characters you could really settle in and watch for a while. Then it goes into a weird place. it drifts off into a place I never wanted to be and brought in a bunch of characters I didn't like. It wound up seeming very long. Ali, nominated for an Academy Award, will never win because his character was dropped early. He's barely in the movie and was one of the very few likable ones in the show. Same with the mother. She was good, but hardly in the film, yet got an Oscar nomination.
I was rooting for the kid, but he turns into an unlikable thug. He turns "hard" and hard to root for. Then there was this weird, gay love story stuck in too. It seemed so out of place that it lent nothing to the story. Like it was just there for shock value.
Another one in 2016 that I just didn't get the hype over and don't understand all the Oscar accolades. I say skip it. It was not good at all.
Manchester by the Sea (2016)
Academy Awards? Really? Completely Forgettable Waste of Time
I bought the Oscar hype. Don't do it. It's not worth your time. I don't get all the hype behind this movie.
It was just... completely... slow... and... boring... and... depressing... and... slow...
The acting was decent. But the parts and writing was not not Oscar-good. The writing and directing was just awful. There was no real story. No likable characters. It could've been at least 30 minutes shorter and it still would have been slow. This completely reminded me of Boyhood -- All hype, very long, with nothing to see and totally forgettable. Every day life is boring. That's why you go to the movies -- To see something different. This was like a reality show of your jerk of a neighbor after his family dies. It's depressing, boring and bland. Normal people doing normal things is not interesting.
Afleck and the kid have acting chops, but the parts were just not anything to get behind. There was hardly anything to really like about either of them. The parts certainly didn't warrant Oscar attention. Michelle Williams is barely in the movie. I don't even know how she qualified for Oscar contention. She appears 3 times for just a few minutes each.
It's one of those films I had to see to understand the attention, but will forget all about it in just a few days. I wish I had skipped this and watched one of the other nominees instead.
Sausage Party (2016)
So Bad, I walked out... and I never walk out.
I loved the beginning of Seth Rogen's career. I love raunchy humor and adult cartoons. But... After the 10th "let me put my sausage into your bun" sex joke, I was done. It wasn't REALLY funny the first time, much less the 10th. All the innuendos were VERY tired and overdone. I felt my brain melting and getting stupider the longer I sat there. I was embarrassed to even be seen in this theatre.
Nowadays, I keep asking myself how Rogen keeps getting hired to make movies at all. He hasn't done anything funny in years. Then I look at the box office receipts and get my answer. LOTS of people actually pay money to watch this dude NOT be funny. He must have a HUGE following of 12-15 year old boys who sneak into the movies. Because I can't imagine anyone with any level of maturity liking this.
Sausage Party was just plain bad. I wanted to like it. I was eager to watch. But this... I just don't have time for it. If I was a teenager, maybe. But I'm just not the core audience for this garbage. It made a lot of money, but I can't understand how. It seems like the intended audience shouldn't be old enough to buy tickets for a rated R movie.
I don't expect much out of a horror movie, especially slasher-type movies. I don't expect great acting and super-suspenseful plots. With a title like "GirlHouse," I was not going in anticipating much at all.
But it was actually kind of good...
The plot was decent, the acting was above average, the pace was set pretty well and the bad guy was really creepy. I was actually pleasantly surprised. I was expecting a soft porn, low-budget, badly acted, bloody mess. And it was, but with a little style.
If you like horror movies, it's worth your time. If yo don't, well... Don't bother.
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016)
Stay Away. Unwatchable. Had To Walk Away
Literally one of the worst movies I've ever seen. I started to turn it off several times, but I never stop a movie or walk away from one. I had to stop it about 45 mins into this and was mad at myself for lasting that long. It was a complete waste of my time. Was not a giant fan of the first one, but thought maybe Seth Rogen could redeem himself and I love Chloe Grace-Moritz. Can't believe she nor Kelsey Grammar would come anywhere near this turd. And I will NEVER, EVER watch another Zac Efron movie. These two were all I could take of him.
The "point" of a comedy is to at least be funny. Rogen is very hit-or-miss. But this was a giant miss. Not the least bit funny. All the jokes were forced and some were just gross, the story/script was just stupid, the acting bad, and the whole thing just served no point.
The Nice Guys (2016)
Nice Surprise -- Go See It.
I really enjoyed The Nice Guys. I think it's a solid hit with a miss of a title. That plus the lack of marketing kept a lot of people from seeing it -- Which is a shame, because this is one of the best of it's kind I've seen in a while. The leads were great. All the side characters had great parts. It was very funny, had plenty of action and character, clipped along at a decent pace and had an interesting plot -- although a little forced at the end. I'm considering watching it a second time because it had all kinds of small, subtle gems dropped in and I'm sure I missed some the first time. If you like Rated R comedy with a bit of action and violence, this is a hit. Go see it.