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Beatriz at Dinner (2017)
The promotional material for this film made it seem like a comedy, or even a satire of clashing culture. It's actually very much a drama. This film is very well cast, and Salma Hayek does some *fantastic* acting in this. Her character is very much a fish out of water, in this situation. The world of the rich is shown in a way where you wonder how the rich can really be happy with the choices they've made. This film came at me like a punch to the gut. You really feel for Beatriz's character, and her love of animals is something you'll likely feel strongly about. It's a wonderful character study, yet at the film's finish, you still have you questions about characters and their choices, to some extent. This film affected me, and made me feel emotional. I would still recommend this movie, though.
Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008)
A delight (and fright)!
I watched this movie late one evening, and had no idea what I was in for! This is like a big mash of rock musical, Broadway play, and "Halloween Horror Nights" event. It's a delight (and sometimes fright) for the eyes. I've just never experienced any thing like this. This is certainly not for the squeamish, but at the same time, it's campy and cheesy, so it's not realistic. Very over the top and unforgettable!
What I liked: The whole form of this movie is something to gush over. The way it looks, the costumes, the cheese factor. It's something that you just have to see to believe. The cast was very good in their roles, and sing well. Alexa (Pena)Vega is quite an enjoyable screen presence, miles away from the "Spy Kid" she used to be. What a wonderful actress she is! This is a great film to get you in the mood for the Halloween season. Artistic, creative, and crazy-fun!
What I disliked: Very little. I know I sound biased, but movies just don't come around like this very often. The gore sometimes, though fake looking, at least once made me turn my head away from the screen. It really doesn't look real, though, and wasn't enough to keep me from watching the rest of the movie. Otherwise, I've heard complaints that the music isn't memorable, and I suppose I can't remember any of the songs, but the visuals maybe are more memorable, in the end.
Overall: This movie is a wonderful, out-of-this-world experience. It's the kind of thing to be seen and not just talked about. For those that can't handle horror, I suppose if you're willing to cover you're eyes during some parts, you'll be fine. It's really something more people should have seen, but I think future generations will discover this and enjoy it. 8/10
The Music Never Stopped (2011)
A Wonderful Film About Music and Family
I've been a fan of J.K. Simmons for as along as I can remember. I find him especially funny in some movies. He's what drew me to this movie. I found this movie to be quite enjoyable. The acting in this movie is quite good, and the music played in it is great! The story shows how much music can make a difference in someone's life. The medical side of the story is relatively muted, and it's really about a father connecting with his son. There are flashbacks early on in the film, and it's a little back and forth, showing the 60's and the present, but then the film stabilizes and stays in the present, which is easier to follow. I feel like the cast were picked wonderfully, and you really believe these people in their roles. I really liked the mother, who went through a range of emotions, and became stronger. This is a wonderful film, showing a building relationship that is wonderful to witness. When it was over, I wanted to watch more. Highly recommended!
Power Rangers (2017)
Not a good film, not at all.
I was never a huge fan of "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers", but I went in, open to trying this film. I was sorely, sorely disappointed. I left this movie thinking, "This was a *bad* movie!" Now, there are movies out there, that are absolute garbage, the acting is bad, almost everything is bad. I admit, this is not the worst movie I've ever seen, however, there's a lot wrong with it!
The Bad: There's crude humor, lame and dated jokes we've heard in hundreds of other movies, some bad language and dozens of tired movie clichés. We've seen it all before is what I'm saying. There's is very little to be enjoyed in this movie. It's an origin story, that kind of lags a bit, and then the action is cranked up near the end, but it's not really that exciting. We've all seen the "misfits who learn to work together" story line, and that's all this is. I'm surprised that the creator of the original "Power Rangers" OK'd this version. It's pretty terrible for the most part.
The Good: Bill Hader's character was amusing, Bryan Cranston brings some levity to this, and Elizabeth Banks does a great job of making you hate her character, which proves her acting is good. The main cast is a bit annoying, but they're OK at playing their stereotypes. Also, the score by Bryan Tyler was very good.
So: This is a not a movie I would recommend. It may appeal to some teenagers, and it's not the worst thing they could be watching. Overall, it's just a bad film. Case closed.
Blair Witch (2016)
Pretty darn good sequel!
As a fan of the original, I was really unsure of how this movie would turn out. I was confused that this was categorized as a sequel and a reboot, but it plays mostly as a sequel. I don't usually like movies with unknowns, especially 20-something unknowns. (They're usually not good.) This cast didn't bother me, though. They were good, without overacting. I found myself really enjoying this movie. On the DVD, you see that there was lots of work to match the original's sets, and I read that there was a lot of thought put into creating this movie. It's scary, and interesting. If you're worried that it's a typical revamping of an old franchise, worry not! If you enjoyed the original, there's a great chance you'll like this one, too! 8/10 (P.S.- There's no need to watch "Book of Shadows" if you didn't see that one. Just move on to this one!)
Why Him? (2016)
I knew going in that this wouldn't be spectacular, however I like Bryan Cranston, and James Franco is an interesting fellow, making all kinds of movies. The profanity content is massive! It's distracting! It's unbelievable. Some cameos near the end make you scratch your head. The movie was alright. Here are my thoughts: What I liked: Cranston is amusing as the Dad who just can't believe his daughter picked a scumbucket like Franco's character. It may be a one-joke plot, but the characters are what makes this work. Megan Mullally is fantastic, taking her character through a bunch of different comic turns. And I like seeing Cedric the Entertainer on the big screen again. He's a funny guy, and he doesn't make it into that many movies these days.
What I disliked: The bad language (call me a prude!) was unrelenting. Zoey Deutch was unbelievable as her character, and pretty annoying, I'd say. The ending seemed tacked on, and a little long in my opinion, like the filmmakers wanted to add more to the story than needed.
So... if you're a fan of anyone in the cast, you may sort of like this movie, but it isn't fantastic. Redbox it, borrow it from the library, or wait 'til it's on cable, I say. 5/10
Necessary Roughness (1991)
OK comedy, with a decent cast....
I went out of my way to watch this movie because I think Scott Bakula has an enjoyable screen presence. I had a hard time paying attention to this movie, and had that "check my watch" feeling a lot. I'm not really a football fan, so I'm sure that went against me, here. I thought about this movie for a little while after I finished it, and my general thought, is that it's just OK. The cast is likable, and for a 1991 movie, it doesn't seem tremendously dated to me. If you like football movies, light comedy, or any of the cast members, you'll probably get through it, but like some of the other reviewers said, it's not really worth a rent. If it's on TV or at the library, it's an alright pick. 5/10
Pretty Good (From a Ghostbusters Fan)
Well this was a tough shot, a reboot of a classic film. I ended up liking this film. Here's why: The casting was good, effects were great, cameos were fun, and it didn't try to be the original, exactly. Generally, it followed the outline of the original, but it was it's own story, as well. The cast, I felt, clicked really well, and they were all fun characters in their own way. I liked Kristin Wiig, in particular. I thought she was phenomenal. Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones did really well, considering I only knew them from SNL. I was worried that Melissa McCarthy would be a little annoying, as she usually annoys me a tad bit, but here she restrained her physical comedy, and I believed her as her character. (She was even, dare I say it, kind of cute in this role!) The effects are as good as one could imagine for a 2016 film, pretty darn good! Overall, this could have been a big disaster, but it ended up quite enjoyable. 7/10 from me!
Not as Good as I'd Hoped
I've been a Ninja Turtle fan since the '80s. I was a fan of the prior movies (though I know 'Turtles in Time' wasn't the greatest). I enjoyed the 2014 reboot, though I know most people weren't a fan of it. I went into "Out of the Shadows" with moderate expectations. Good sequels are hard to make, and few and far between. There was something different about this one. First off, for a movie marketed to kids, the profanity content was a bit high. (Reminded me of Nickelodeon's "Fun Size".) I was quite surprised to hear one character use the "S" word. Secondly, the animation got a little dizzying near the end. Thirdly, Krang sounded weird, and looked like someone's insides. Really pretty ugly to see. I liked the characterizations of Michelangelo, and Donatello. I just felt that there was just something lacking in this film, as opposed to the first one. 5/10
Tammy: A Review
I went into this movie feeling like it might be underwhelming. I'd heard bad things. A boss of mine tried to steer me away from this movie, but I figured I'd see it anyway. I've gone to McCarthy's movies for a while now, and some of them are relatively amusing on some spectrum. (For example, I thought "Identity Thief" was OK, but "The Heat" just felt like overdone crude trash.) Well, this was a pretty unfunny affair. It was almost kind of depressing. "Take a character that's in a whole lot of crummy situations, and send her off on a road trip with an alcoholic. Should be funny right?" No. It's not. It's uneven, too. It tries to make you care about the characters when they get sad for a moment, but that doesn't work. I don't think I truly laughed once watching this. It was a shame to see Susan Sarandon, Dan Aykroyd, Sandra Oh, Toni Collete and Kathy Bates in this drivel.
The Good: Good actors, despite a bad script.
The Bad: Script is terrible and unfunny. Brings back memories of stuff like "The Hangover III". Just depressing from beginning to the end.
This Is 40 (2012)
This is Depressing
When I went to this movie, I kind of knew what I was in for. Judd Apatow's movies are pure dramadies. The funny bits are always funny, but the drama is always *dramatic*. I joked with friends that "Funny People" should've been called "Depressed People", because that's how I felt after watching that..... and this. I have no doubt in my mind that Apatow is a good writer and director, but sometimes dramadies are so hard to swallow. I feel like, and this is pure opinion, that the first little bit was a little off. It was a little funny, but nothing amazing. As the movie continued, it became more and more dramatic. And I get it, life is dramatic except for all the little quirks that make life funny and fun. It's well cast, there isn't anyone who isn't putting in their all, and I can appreciate an actor who can do comedy and drama well, but the whole thing just left me cold. Like, "Who am I? What am I doing with my life?" cold. There's a lot more people out there that will enjoy this movie, and... for the life of me I don't know why, but I'll keep seeing what Apatow puts out. I just know that I'm going to laugh a little, and then feel down for an hour or so after.
Trouble with the Curve (2012)
Trouble With the Curve: A Review
Do I watch Clint Eastwood movies? Not really. He's pretty much the gruff neighbor we never want to deal with in every movie. But could that screen persona work in a dramady about an old grumpy man? It sure did. After the heaviness of Gran Torino, it's great to see something he's involved with that's a little more relaxing. Does it still have some moments that give you a lump in your throat? Yeah, it's Eastwood, so yes. But Amy Adams was, for me, the very best part of this movie. Her character is a tough businesswoman, whose crustiness stems from her father, obviously. But she has issues to work through. And I know she won't win an Oscar for *this* film, but my goodness were my heartstrings pulled by her performance! There's a good mix of comedy and drama for a balance, I thought. Although it's really and truly only going to appeal to a lot of older folks, I certainly think it'd be enjoyed by younger people as well. (I know I loved it.) What I enjoyed about it: Amy Adams was the best part for me. I loved her performance, and felt for her character very much. Elsewhere, it was funny and sweet despite a few uncomfortable moments, story-wise.
What I didn't enjoy: The heavier dramatic/thematic moments brought down the fun factor, but not too, too much. Also, Matthew Lillard's character was just such a jerk, it marred a few scenes until you just wanted him to go away and never come back.
So give this a try, I really liked it.
Rise of the Guardians (2012)
Rise of the Guardians: A Review
Who doesn't want to watch a movie about characters we all know and love? Santa? The Easter Bunny? The Tooth Fairy? It all sounds all very endearing... until you see this movie. Honestly, I was shocked just how boring this was. The characters should've been really interesting, and this movie should've been written way better. When action scenes make me yawn (a first!), something's not quite right. Chris Pine, Hugh Jackman, Jude Law, Alec Baldwin are all good in their own right, but when a movie is just "off", there's no saving it. As I mentioned, I was terrifically bored but the story and writing, so much so that great visuals and 3D couldn't save it. And I know, studio heads don't want to overwhelm audiences with a high level of graphics and a convoluted, confusing story, but this was just a pure yawnfest.
What I liked: The actors (in their own right), the visuals, and the 3D was good.
What I didn't like: As I repeat, the story, the dialogue, and the length. It just didn't mesh for me, and I even went in with an open heart and interest despite crummy reviews and box office opening.
I suggest, search for something better for the kids, like a Pixar movie, or practically any *other* Dreamworks animated film. 4/10
Here Comes the Boom (2012)
Not quite a knockout...
I never truly was a fan of Kevin James, back when he was the "King of Queens", but ever since he synched up with Sandler, he's been doing some fun movies. My favorite of all he's done, was "Paul Blart". But here, James isn't such a fun character. He's got heart and determination to save his school's extra-curriculars, and that's good, but he's kind of crotchety and grumpy. Yes, he's know for jokes like pratfalls and screaming at people for laughs, but... unfortunately there wern't many in this movie. I appreciate the effort he put into this movie, because there was a lot of work he had to do for this role, but it just didn't work out. If you're a fan of MMA, and like your comedy light, this might be the movie for you. If you're a kid, you might not be interested, or the MMA action might be too much for you. I remember seeing this film advertised on Cartoon Network, but the audience for this movie isn't exactly kids. It's not inappropriate, just rough...and tough. So I'm not sure exactly who this movie *is* for? Teens maybe. (They sure didn't flock to this film.) It is good to see Salma Hayek and Henry Winkler in fairly big roles. They're enjoyable actors regardless of material. My vote, this might be worth a rent depending on what interests you about this movie, but it's not worth paying 10-20 bucks for. 5/10
The Simpsons Movie (2007)
The Simpsons Movie: A Review
After many, many years of the show being on television, the big screen was finally ready to embrace a yarn about The Simpsons. I've been a longtime fan since the show began, and waited for the day to come, patiently. I stuck with the show year after year, even when fan boys started to complain about later episodes. The show was as entertaining as ever, as far as I was concerned. I had good feelings about the movie when I heard about it, and I was completely satisfied with the result. "The Simpsons Movie" is surely as funny and as entertaining as I knew it would be.
What I liked:
There were no major changes or departures from the show, with the minor exception of some crude humor that wouldn't have flown on Fox, which didn't bother me. I enjoyed hearing the laughter of the audience as the jokes flew by.
What I didn't like: It's unfair to say I didn't dislike anything about the movie, but I really had no problems. Most of the crap came from people online who had nothing but negative things to say about the film, and surely enough, if you weren't a fan of the show, you sure weren't going to change your mind now. But leave the rest of us who enjoy it alone.
So basically: An excellent big screen adaptation, funny and enjoyable. I also appreciated the comment some made that it was pretty much an hour and a half episode. Nothing wrong with that!
Evan Almighty (2007)
Evan Almighty: A Review
Sequels to movies starring Jim Carrey have been proved to be more of a letdown than what we anticipate. This isn't a letdown, though. As more of a spin-off than a sequel, it's a nice little movie that you can bring your family to. Steve Carell is definitely a good candidate for starring role in a film, and he pulls it off well. The story, a little more dramatic then recent comedies, is still interesting and worth checking out.
What I Liked: The cast, the message of the film, and the special effects, mainly. People everywhere wrote that this movie was way too mild, but you just don't see a lot of films like this these days. It's kind of nice.
What I didn't like: The drama in the film was a little too empowering for my taste. As the expression goes, you have to have drama to have comedy, but it really did get awful before it got better for the main character. The message of the movie was important, though.
So, basically: Mild? Yes. Good message? Absolutely. Give this a shot, I say. It's worth a solid rent.
Halloween: A Review
It's a hard thing to make a "version" of a movie that a lot of people love. I did enjoy this movie, however, I can't say I'd go out and watch it over and over again. I think I know how people felt when they watched the original, back in '79.
What I liked: I liked the fact that I knew of several actors in this movie, and yet, I wasn't able to place them until the credits. I also enjoyed the performance of Scout Taylor-Compton. I knew who she was dating back to "Sleepover", but she's a terrific actress, who shall be recognized that way in the future, if not already. I also enjoyed the direction of Rob Zombie. Some may like him, some don't, but I honestly see why he's allowed to direct films. He just has a certain style to his movie-making. It's enthralling to me.
What I didn't like: I wasn't a fan of the insinuated animal cruelty, but was relieved that none of the violence occurred on screen. And, after all, it is only a movie anyway, so, no worries. I didn't tremendously enjoy the first half of the feature as much as the second half. It's more than obvious that Michael Myers came from a broken home, and it's shown quite candidly.
So, basically: Direction was good, characters were engaging, writing was nothing to complain about, and overall experience was good. Could I recommend this film? Sure. Is it something I'll end up buying? Probably not. A good overall, scary experience, though.