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Jungle Cruise (2021)
Jumanji Meets Pirates of the Caribbean
Jungle Cruise was more of a movie than I could have anticipated, it was much better than expected. Dwayne Johnson plays Frank, a steamboat captain who resembles Humphrey Bogart, which I believe was done purposefully. The story and settings made me think of a movie mashup of Jumanji and Pirates of the Caribbean. The only thing missing was Johnny Depp, but with his current legal issues, he may not be in too many Disney films going forward. Time will tell.
However, for a film based on a theme park ride, Jungle Cruise is right up there with the original Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. It was a fun watch, hardly ever boring. On another note though, the acting could have been better. It felt as though Emily Blunt was just phoning in her lines, like she really didn't care. Johnson, I felt out acted her. Disney has a winner on their hands with Jungle Cruise, but hopefully they won't overdo it with umpteen sequels!
Great Live Action Remake
Disney has been doing a better job in the new decade with making films based on their animated cartoon films. Cruella is by far the best so far though, the story is great, imaginative and fun for the whole family. The acting is superb, especially by Emma Stone and Emma Thompson.
The film makes you have sympathy and empathy for Cruella, knowing why she turns out the way she does, and where she came from. It really is a rags to riches story that has many twists and turns. There are rumors that a sequel is in the works, which I am looking forward to.
Outrageous and Odd
The fact that the film loses Dwayne Johnson is quite the setback, as he and Diesel led the cast for years in previous entries. Adding John Cena as another Toretto brother so late in the storyline also makes little sense as he's obviously never mentioned ever before. The saga of Fast & Furious is starting to seem like a racing/heist daytime soap opera.
The story is outrageous, in the fact that two characters are launched into outer space in a car! Come on, now, really? However, the magnet cars storyline was pretty interesting. It was also great to see that Justin Lin was back in the director's chair. Fast & Furious 9 could have been better, but it lacks the best writers. The early films of the franchise were better thought out and directed.
Could Have Been Much Better
This film was like watching a college film students entry for film school. It was dreadful, the story made no sense most of the time. I understand, its supposed to be a biography about Fred Rogers and Mister Rogers Neighborhood, but half of the movie was about the life of the reporter covering Fred Rogers. The potential this film had was lost early on. It could have been much better.
Tom Hanks' was odd, playing Fred Rogers, especially after seeing the other real-life characters he has played; like Walt Disney and Sully. This was not however, his greatest acting role. Maybe if they'd thrown another $20 million at him, he could have at least acted a little bit better. The acting by everyone was a freaking train-wreck. Not a film I would recommend to Mister Rogers fans.
Ford v Ferrari (2019)
Brings Cars and Racing to the Heart
For a film based on events based on a true story, James Mangold brings racing and cars to the heart, making the audience care and want to know more about Ford v Ferrari. Matt Damon does a fine job playing Carroll Shelby (inventor of the Shelby Mustang) and the winner of the 1959 Le Mans. Christian Bale plays Ken Miles, the British driver brought in by Shelby to race in the late 60s Le Mans races. Bale was great in the role, better than his Batman days.
For fans of racing films and racing in general, you will really enjoy the story and the direction that Mangold gives. And for those on the fence about Matt Damon, I have to say I really enjoyed watching him in this film, probably one of his best roles in years. He and Bale played very well off one another, and it made for a very enjoyable film.
In the Heat of the Night (1967)
They Call Him Mr. Tibbs!
One of Sidney Poitier's signature films, and his probably most signature line in one of his films, "They call me, Mr. Tibbs!" Its easy to see why 'In the Heat of the Night' was so popular when it was released in 1967. However, it was the late 1960s and the civil rights movement was in full momentum with race relations in the United States in full upheaval. Poitier was said to have slept with a gun on set when filming was being completed in the American South.
The Oscars were kind to the film itself, however they overlooked Poitier when nominating for Best Actor in 1968, as he was not even nominated in either category. However, Rod Steiger won Best Actor in a Leading Role as Chief Bill Gillespie. And the film itself won Best Picture for 1967.
The legendary Norman Jewison directed the film, and he did an amazing job. However, he was nominated Best Director a second time, he lost a second time. He would not win a competing Oscar during his career, but did receive an Irving Thalberg award in 1999.
Track of the Cat (1954)
Flawed Characters Make for Great Story
Its not your average western, in fact its more a modern western with intrigue, family bickering and a lot of emotion and drama. Robert Mitchum is spectacular as middle brother Curt Bridges, in a family run by the domineering matriarch mother, played by Beulah Bondi (Ma Baily from Its a Wonderful Life).
William Wellman directs from a great script, and we see wonderful acting from all involved. The only downside in Track of the Cat is that the audience never sees the 'cat'. Tab Hunter plays Harold, the youngest Bridges brother who must learn to stand for himself.
The most unusual casting choice had to be that of Carl Switzer (Our Gang's Alfalfa) as Joe Sam, the century-old native American. Switzer was 26 at the time he played 100 year old Joe. However, Switzer does a great job as Joe, because if you didn't know ahead of time, you'd think Joe Sam was played by a true to heart 100 year old Native American.
Sadly, Switzer died just a few years after the films release (in an altercation over money), and his true potential as an actor was never realized. However, the best part of the film was seeing Mitchum as a young actor, before Hollywood got its hold. His voice is legendary.
From Beneath (2012)
Utterly Confusing Poster/DVD Art
If you are going to actually watch this film, do yourself a favor first, make sure it is the correct version. The DVD of this film has the artwork for the 2014 film Lake Fear, which is a completely different film. The poster used for the IMDB page here, appears to fit the storyline on the DVD cover. However, the DVD cover uses the Artwork for the 2014 film, alternately titled Cypress Creek.
Whomever made this stupid mistake has caused mass confusion between the two films, especially if you have seen both DVDs side by side. Make sure you watch and review the correct version, accordingly.
Cypress Creek (2014)
To Be Confused with 2012 Film of the Same Name!!
The DVD art of this film and the 2012 film From Beneath (a.k.a. Lake Fear) is utterly confusing. Trying to differentiate between the two is nuts. Both titles have alternate names, but two totally different directors, stories and casts.
Aside from the films themselves, it is hard to figure out which one you may be watching. Apparently, the correct poster for the 2014 Lake Fear is a lake house with the title in red lettering. The alternate title to this version is 'Cypress Creek'.
Nash Bridges: Road Work (1997)
Court Room Drama Meets Road Movie
This episode would have made a great movie of the week, as it blends courtroom drama and a road-movie-esque adventure. It's the story of a mobster named Ray Goetz with deep pockets and many politicians buried inside. And one witness on a trip to testify, if she makes it there!
On the other hand, its also a road adventure in which gun battles and amazing car wrecks occur. Blended together, it makes for a great story, its like "Gone in 60 Seconds" meets "A Few Good Men".
If it had been a double episode, it could have played as a movie of the week at the time. One of the top ten Nash Bridges episodes.
People Like Us (2012)
An Amazing Film
I wasn't expecting much when I sat down to watch this film, it only had a few well known actors and I didn't know who the director was. Around thirty minutes in, the movie became interesting, very dramatic. Chris Pine was great as Sam, the son of a record producer who has recently died, who learns of a family secret.
Elizabeth Banks also stars, in one of her more memorable and better roles. The ending was quite a tear-jerker, definitely not what I had expected. Very heartwarming story that anyone who enjoys light drama will enjoy.
Nash Bridges: Curveball (1999)
Great Episode 👌
Season five of Nash Bridges had some excellent epsiodes, with many guest stars, including Daniel Roebuck as Rick Bettina. He's probably not one of the most loved characters from the series, but he adds to the comedy. This episode in particular has Rick heading an investigation into the theft of the departments retirement fund. The ending was quite a shock the first time I saw the episode.
The story arc in this season was one of the best of the series; Caitlin and Nash's relationship, the drama between Cassidy and Evan and the drama between Nash and his father Nick. It made for a truly great show, and characters you could come to love to watch.
Proud Men (1987)
Proud Men is Worthy of a Watch
Found this film for a cheap price on dvd, so I picked it up. A dollar or two wasn't too bad, after all, Charlton Heston started. I started watching the movie, not expecting much, but this is a very moving story of a father and son.
Heston plays conservative father to his AWOL Vietnam soldier son and they haven't spoken in almost two decades. Peter Strauss plays the son who comes home from France to his ailing father. The battle between doing what's right and following orders ensues. The father feels dishonored by his son and the son feels he did the right thing.
Will they ever have peace? Watch Proud Men and see the story unfold.
Cat Run (2011)
Cat Run?: Jumble of a Beginning
The story gets off to somewhat of a rocky start and is somewhat slow. Eventually though, towards the thirty minute mark, it picks up and gets better. The acting wasn't the best, but D.L. Hughley as the one armed office assistant was pretty funny.
The action sequences were pretty good too once the story picked up pace. The violence however, was pretty gruesome, even for a rated R film. It had somewhat of a James Bond meets Jigsaw vibe.
The cast wasn't the best, but I did like Christopher McDonald as the US senator whom the story revolves. I really couldn't name anyone else from this film if I had to. I was very surprised to find this film has a sequel!
Wow!! Great film
Writer, director and actress Quinn Shepherd did an amazing job with this film. From the writing and direction to her acting, she was superb and Oscar worthy. I hope she writes and directs more feature films in the future.
I forgot to add that she also wrote and produced most of the music in the film, she is very talented. Quinn has sure come a long way from her child acting days and has blossomed into a force to be reckoned with.
The story was great, I really liked the Crucible tie-in, very fitting. Arthur Miller would have been proud. And Chris Messina was great too, as substitute teacher Jeremy Woods. However, Nadia Alexander plays the girl we all hate, a jealous, conniving liar. It was a great film.
Good pace and Writing
Usually, the newest Disney/Pixar film has a lot of hype and big weekends at the box office. Disney+ released the film on their platform on April 3, and my family watched. The film was wonderfully written with an even pace to the story and the voice acting wasn't bad.
However, I do think that Jack Black would have been a much better choice to voice the elder elven brother. It would have been a fantastic fit for his voice. I did like that Julia Louis-Dreyfus voices the mother, I could barely tell it was her.
Can't wait for the Blu-ray release, this was a very awesome movie!!
Opposite Day (2009)
Wholesome Family Comedy
To be honest, I didn't know what to expect when I started watching this film with my son, I mean you never see Pauly Shore and G rated in the same sentence, much less the same movie. The premise might be cheesy for standards of movies being released as of 2020, but the story of Opposite Day is pretty wholesome entertainment for the entire family.
The film had some rather funny moments, and the acting and direction weren't terrible either. Kids will have fun seeing the kids on screen taking control and doing adult jobs, especially the police. Dick Van Patten as the grandfather made the whole movie for me, he's such a family friendly actor and comedian.
Give it a watch, you won't be disappointed and neither will your children.
A Fun Time-Killer
This app/game is a good way to kill some time and is actually challenging. There is no actual gameplay persay, but is written out in text, much like an old pc game. The game does have goals and challenges, which can be pretty difficult to obtain.
Bitlife is a free download, but to continue a family tree and have no ads, you have to pay to unlock the game. It's definitely worth the $4.
Untitled Goose Game (2019)
Untitled Goose Game Review
In the age of life-like videogames, Untitled Goose Game is the newest fad. It's animated, 2D, and can be addictive to the right player. Released on multiple platforms, such as Nintendo Switch and the PS4, its an easy game to play, but can be puzzling.
The graphics in Untitled Goose Game are an homage to the games of the past. There's not much to the game graphically, however you can spend hours playing and it seems like a few minutes have passed.
Be Cool (2005)
An Ensemble Cast You'll Love
The one thing about Be Cool is that it has an awesome ensemble cast. Other than that, it's got a great director and dialogue. Be Cool is the sequel to 1995s Get Shorty, itself an ensemble casted film about gangsters.
This film is like watching a combination of The Godfather and Barbershop! Some of the best lines and scenes come from Vince Vaughn.
Disney could learn something from their live action Aladdin film. It's the first huge success they've created from an already owned property, the Aladdin franchise. However, I'm unsure of Will Smith as the Genie since the rest of the cast is mostly of middle eastern origin.
The bookend story that Will Smiths character tells his children however, seemed tacked on and unnecessary. I would like to see a live action Return of Jafar if they decide to do a sequel.
Ironically, Dumbo 2019 was a Trainwreck
Let me start off by saying, if you love the original animated Dumbo from 1941, you'll very easily despise this cash grab. First of all, this version is way too long at almost 2 hours. The one great thing about Dumbo is the fact that Danny DeVito co-stars. I miss the animated train, Casey Jr.
However most of the acting was terrible and the many changes that Tim Burton made were unnecessary. It veers so far to the left that it's just unbearable. I expected more from Disney and Tim Burton.
Stay Cool (2009)
Much Better Than Given Credit
If you read the critics reviews, you'll believe this film is just dribble. In fact, it's a very deep film delving into the high school memories of Henry McCarthy. It's a story about going back to the roots of ones hometown and facing the reality of what time has brought.
It's a very relatable film and story for many who were underdogs in high school. The cast was exceptional, especially Winona Ryder and Chevy Chase who are usually in low rated films nowadays. The story is very well written for an almost unknown underrated film. It's definitely enjoyable and will bring up familiar memories of your own high school days.
What the Health (2017)
What Did I Watch
This "documentary" was all over the place so much that I have no idea what the point was by the end. It started out talking about food, then blaming the government, then blaming medication. My favorite part was the "handicapped" woman who was paid, one day she couldn't walk, then miraculously a week later, she was no longer on meds and walking. I call bullcrap on this one sided film.
I wouldn't recommend this film, as it is only one sided. If the director/writer had at least followed one person's journey from meat to veganism, it may have made more sense. However, the director of the film looked so unprofessional on camera, he could take a few pointers from Michael Moore!
Sends Mixed Messages
As good as the film is,and it does have a heartwarming story, it does send mixed messages. In the story, Hannah lives with her grandmother and doesn't know her dad. She's been told by her grandmother that he's deceased, due to drug use. Ok, that's fine to protect someone you love.
However, the character of John Harrison and other dogooders go behind the grandmother's back. After John meets a dying man in the hospital and realizes the girl he coaches is the daughter of this man. Intervening in others personal lives isn't always the best way to go.
And for Kendrick to make a film that shows blatant disregard for others values isn't very Christian. He and the other dogooders should have consulted the grandmother before betraying her trust with Hannah. Both sides wanted to protect Hannah, but in the end did either help her more?