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Bad Boys for Life (2020)
Watcha Gonna Do? Go See This Movie I hope
Nostalgia The Feel Of Nineties In A Modern Package Good Character Use Fast Pace Decent Character Development Balance Of Comedy With Action Comedy Itself The Chemistry Of Smith And Martin Lawrence
Predictable For Much Of Film A Few Action Scenes Are Over the Top Or Too Quick A Few Comedic Moments Dropped Too Soon One Of The Main Antagonists Is Okay
How can this movie live up to the legacy before it? Truth is... it really can't, but to go so long and be this put together, I give it applause. Bad Boys For Life is a lot of fun, and full of the rush we fell in love with a long time ago. It brings the past and present together in a manner that should help rope fans in, while never losing sight of the goals and story it set forth. Good use of characters, balancing the comedy with a special effects ridden action set, and tying everything together with that champion acting leads to one of the best reboots I've seen in a while. Yes, it still has some balance issues that have not been perfected, primarily in getting the right time for some action moments, some comedy elements more fine tuning, and most importantly working out their bad guys a little more. Still, this is one for the theaters for me and I encourage most to pay the trip to enjoy it in surround sound. From all this my scores are:
Action/Comedy/Crime: 8.5 Movie Overall: 7.5
Prepare For War
Acting The Frontier Deep Messages And Emotion Artistic Decent Pace For Most Of The Movie Realistic Fighting Cinematography
Not For The Faint Of Heart Missing Some Action Components The Middle Of the Movie's Approach A Little Dense
When it comes to a focus on British history and acting, there is always class injected into the presentation of the movie. In this war movie, that same focus has been curtailed to present the familiar concept of war into a new light. For one thing, this movie is much more about the acting compared to other battle ballads. Chapman and MacKay are fantastic in bringing the young cadets lives to bay, acting as the mirror to Britain's involvement in the war. The turmoil, the dedication, the friendship, and even the courage to face potential death are portrayed beautifully to cover the wide range of emotions involved with serving in the first great war. While we have seen great performances bringing out the nightmare that is war though, 1917 manages to bring a new way of telling the story through the frontier itself. The harsh landscapes, destroyed villages, and lighting are all coordinated to provide the true menace of the war and that beast is often scarier than the fighting itself. Like a Quiet Place, it's the silent nature of the vast landscape that adds the true emotional tensions. And as it all progresses the movie continues to show that artistic approach of capturing all the deep messages, emotion, and angles that come with war. I can't say much to minimize spoilers, but let's just say the mission to deliver the messages changes face and approach various times to display one of the most dynamic approaches to war theater dramas. This even bleeds over into the few fights that show up, trading the flashy Michael Bay sequences for simpler battles that rely on strategy, timing, and fewer shots. It may not be the most jaw dropping battles to date, but it fits so well into the presentation that it adds to that deadliness this film is showing. Finally, the real star is the cinematography. The specials did not lie, the movie is shot beautifully, an almost seemingly continuous shot that immerses you into the experience. You will feel a part of the brigade to deliver the message, and as a result you'll get the full amount of terror, intensity, and other components that they directors wanted, and it's all done with stable camerawork.
Yet, this opera also has a few things that did not quite work for me, that while not worth too many point deductions was worth mentioning. First it's not for the faint of heart, as the saying of war is hell is true, those with weak stomach may not handle a few things that are displayed. I can't say much, but just picture the worst part of war and get yourself prepared, a few of which were a little too drawn out for my tastes. Past that warning though, the action junkie in me wanted a little more bang for the buck. I get the realistic approach they were taking, but a little more combat and coordination would have helped spice some things up for me and get the pace moving. While artistic and realistic, I can't lie that the movie is rather dense, relying so much on visuals that it leads to a slower paced war tale. Again, this keeps in time with the artistic nature, but there were some slower parts that had me battling to remain conscious. And when the movie hits about the middle of the film, the dynamic they take sort of uproots what the trailers promised. It's not a bad twist at all and really captivates on the experience of war, but it's just not what I had intended to see.
The rumors about this movie are true, it's an amazing display of war visualization that was able to break free from the traditional war story movie. British acting alongside award winning cinematography are the key components for this film, setting the screen for that wild war frontier where emotions run wilder than the bullets from guns. True, I would have liked a little more war sequences and excitement, and I could have done with a little less dense dialogue, but overall it's a solid movie and worthy of the praise. Again, not for the faint of heart at times, but this reviewer encourages to catch this one in theaters when you can.
My scores are:
Drama/War: 9.0 Movie Overall: 8.5
Like a Boss (2020)
Trailers Promise Ridiculous, Unbalanced Comedy and It delivered
Short Run Time Comedic Gold At Times Great Chemistry Between Cast Nifty Ideas Good Morals Billy Porter
Predictable Story Surprisingly feels slow Sometimes Too Much Comedic Insight Joke Barrage Some of the Language The Pointless Side Stories/Characters Time Skips that did not make sense Nearly Half the Movie Ruined By Trailers
Comedy is tough in this age of politics and changing acceptance of rude vs. crude, and Like A Boss tries to succeed in finding the balance. The actors chemistry, alongside some fun writing moments and good morals are the selling points for this film, with fans of Haddish and Byrne comedy being the target audience to see this work. However, this girl's night out flick, as described in the trailers is still missing the balance and art that other comedies have achieved. It's catered to the modern attention span and presentation and while it works, it's not something that has to be seen in theaters. I encourage this one for a home viewing or group night out to get your bang for your buck, but the potential for these two I look forward to seeing with some more complete writing in the future.
My scores are:
Comedy: 6.5-7.0 Movie Overall: 5.0
What's Lurking Beneath The Underwater Trailers?
The realm of horror, as I have said before, is an avenue that allows the darkest fathoms of the imagination to come to life. Horrors and fears can take on many forms and in some cases the directors capture that terror in the perfect balance. On the other hand, the modern cinema also ruins the genre when cheap gimmicks fail to scare and become the focus. So what is tonight's film all about? Well Robbie K is here to offer some thoughts and insight as he makes spoiler free review of:
The Decent Comedy Decent Acting/And Time Worthy Characters Great Pace Suspense Moments Creature Design The Atmosphere The Story Is Okay
The Predictability T.J. Miller Forced Some Times The Chaotic Camera Work at Times Suspension Of Disbelief At Times The Worthlessness of Most Of the Crew
When it comes to a horror movie you can't help but want to laugh through the movie. Okay, I need to think of a better transition, but the film succeeds on throwing that comedic relief at just the right moments to help change the energy of the scene. That aside, the real strength of the movie comes in the cohesiveness of all the little parts that this genre thrives on when done right. First the acting! While not award winning, I was very happy to have characters that had more layers than the typical creature fodder Sci Fi Channel has made famous. Underwater's crew is different though, as Steward leads the bunch in a thrilling adventure that puts science skills to the test. Several members make logical decisions, there is great interaction amidst the crew, and the teamwork they show actually paints characters that are worth investing your time in. And through this adventure, let's just say there are a lot of things that will test your connection to them. This film moves quickly, a brisk pace that never dwells long enough for boredom, and takes few detours in the quest to escape the denizens of the deep. Mixing well with the pace comes very suspenseful moments that utilize so many special effects to paint the terrifying canvas of the deep in new ways that will insight nightmares. Some of the moments are all about the setting itself, while others integrate the creatures and allow the use of imagination to paint the terror. It works fantastically well, and when the revelation of the creatures finally arises, the design does not fail to impress. Monsters are made of nightmares like this, and they are utilized to a fine degree that does not overshadow the rest of the tale, but still gives you plenty of creature love. Yet what really ties everything for me is the atmosphere itself. Underwater uses its name well, and helps blend the adventure into sections that together form a cataclysmic environment. There are few safe havens in this movie, with the beasts lurking around every corner, and when they aren't the environment itself is ready to douse the life out of them. Throw in the use of shadows, fantastic sound editing, and again the tease with imagination that designs that environment. Finally, there is actually a point to all the chaos, with a logical connecting line that actually grants purpose to the antics at hand. Underwater takes the familiar story, and changes the acts to help keep the adventure fresh and dynamic.
Amidst all the treasure, there are some rusted metals that tarnish the movie for this reviewer. For one the story is pretty predictable, still following most of the rules and trends that the SyFy channel movies do. A few twists do help stir the sediment up a bit, but you have an idea where it is going. Thankfully, this predictability is lessened due to the intensity of the scenes themselves. As mentioned above, there is comedic relief, and while enjoyable at times, there are other times where the awkward joke is too forced or beaten over the head for it to really work. This works in movies like Deadpool, and while I think it's curb to show how he is dealing with the stressful situation, there are times I would have liked to see a little more from this character other than another joke. These are probably minor dislikes for me, so I'll move on to a few of the things that were more bothersome for me. As many of you know, I'm not the biggest fan of chaotic camera work when it comes to details. While this added to the intensity of the scene, I felt Underwater went a little too crazy at times, using the swirling madness, and shadows a little too much to deprive the details I wanted to see. This aspect improved near the ending, but the middle parts had a hard time finding the balance between stable and maddening angles. Next, the suspension of disbelief sometimes is a little laughable for me in this film. I know, in this genre one must be ready to do this, but hear me out a little. Again with no spoilers, Underwater sort of does not play by its own rules it establishes at the beginning. The creatures behavior is erratic, sometimes being aggressive and other times not, which is sort of explained at the times, but then overwritten for me. Other times it's about how convenient things work out or don't work out, which though adds to the intensity of the scene, will in retrospective seem a bit cheesy at how things happen to play out. If this does not bother you or take away from the suspense, no worries then, but near the end in particular is where I particularly found them stretching their convenience muscles a little too far. Finally, though the movie is much better with crafting their characters than other creature features, it still has not quite put the finesse in everyone. For a crew of scientists, drillers, and deep-sea explorers, only one or two really show off the scientific skills that were promised. Kristen Stewart's character is the most equipped to handle the job and maybe the Captain, but the rest well, they don't quite hit the mark for epic battles.
Overall, the creature feature is one of the best to emerge from the depths of the Hollywood ocean. Underwater takes us back to the days of classic film storytelling, where a story is designed to tether the scares, special effects of scenery and modern computer work add for decent scare factors, and the intensity of the sequences help net your interest in characters that aren't just shark fodder like a classic SyFy movie. While there are still some predictability issues, and the suspension of disbelief starts cooking up things, there are not too many issues that most fans of this genre will be affected. Again, I'm not particular fond of chaos swirling camera work, but I again admit it adds to the moments and at least gets balanced. Give all the CGI work, the decent story, and performances, this guy encourages you to head to the theater for this one to enjoy to the most, but if not definitely check it out at home.
My scores are:
Action/Drama/Horror: 7.5 Movie Overall: 7.0
The Grudge (2020)
A Curse That Needs To Break And Reform
Short Run Time Good Use Of Visuals Creepy Aesthetic Lin Shaye's Acting A Unique Presentation Style
Complicated Story Telling Predictable Story Telling Not Scary Vicious Deaths Boring Not Quite Unique Enough
The Grudge will always hold its unique nature and destructive force in the world of cinema. However, this installment does not quite reach the goals set out by the series and directors long ago. While unique story telling style and creepy aesthetic win in this movie, alongside some decent acting, the movie just is a bit too convoluted and boring to say it was the ride I was looking for. Fans of the series are going to be the target audience, or for those just wanting complex tie ins of dark demises. As for the rest, hold out until the streaming services pick it up, and event then it's limited. Instead, I encourage to try out some other films instead from the holiday season.
My scores are:
Horror/Mystery: 5.5 Movie Overall: 4.5
Spies in Disguise (2019)
Disguised As Kiddy Spy Film, But These Agents Are Action Packed
Smooth Animation Style A More Unique Concept Funny Fun Good Pace Heartfelt Moments Music Creativity With Gadgets Action At The End
A Bit Over silly At Times Villain Needing A Little More Tweak Some underutilized characters The Commercial Syndrome
Spies in Disguise had a lot of delays and to be honest, the movie does not shatter too many things when it comes to originality or that unique energy Disney does. This does not mean the film is bad though, and in fact it's quite enjoyable. Animation wise it's clean, bringing a design that matches the fun nature of the film, with comedy and adventure around every bin. And though much of the movie is a blur, the film succeeds to expand to other audience members and get some character development going, that fits in theme with the creative approach to the spy thriller. It's true the balance to silliness does veer off at times, and the villain needs some of that time to really get the full effect, but for the most part the movie's biggest limitation is not having that Disney spark and giving too much away in the trailers. Still, this film feels like a good theater run thanks to the fun adventure and special effects, especially if you have a little ones or a group to go with. If not, then please check this out and enjoy the fun ride.
My scores are:
Animation/Action/Adventure: 7.5 Movie Overall: 7.0
Little Women (2019)
Little Women Growing Up Into the Modern Era
Surprisingly moves Nice Twist On The Presentation The Recreation Of History Very Good Writing Classy And Contained The Acting
The age difference did not transition well Did not use the Characters To The Fullest Too Much Amy At Times The Political Rants At Times Sometimes a New Twist Gets Lost Some Incomplete moments Meryl Streep's Untapped Potential Laurie's Character At Times
With so many renditions of this movie, new features are always the way to expand the shelf life of this movie. This tale of the classic title accomplishes the goal of bringing the classic tale back to the big screen, and balances the classiness with the fire that comes this day and age. Great settings recreated the culture and to have the unique twists of flashbacks to help establish the writing and characters was fantastic for me. The acting brings it out even further and is probably the biggest selling point of the film for me. Yet, the main limitation for me is that the movie starts to lose its balance the farther the film goes in. I would have liked to have seen more of the characters balanced in, while also not getting too lost in the new presentation style and balancing the story amongst others. If it ran another hour, it might have been the perfect time, but hey, a three-hour movie is a lot to ask this day and age. My scores are:
Drama/Romance: 8.0 Movie Overall: 7.0
Dance Missed The Chance! Cats Review
The Setting The Design Of Each Cat (though odd) Some Of The Song And Dance Numbers The Pace
Limited Story Some Song and Dance Numbers The Fake look sometimes Not utilizing the Cast Well Not Taking The Creative Liberties When They should have Just Limited Over All
Cats is what you expect from the trailers, a big musical number that is all about dancing and soundtracks and little of anything else. The technology prowess reigns supreme in bringing the world and visuals to life, and many of the new twists to the songs give it a breath of fresh air to liven things up. Yet, this face paced dance flick just really does not deliver on many things outside of the lavish numbers. Rather than taking some liberties to expand the story and use of the characters, the movie sticks a little too close to the traditional roots, leaving it very simple and kind of dull in the grand scheme of things. If you are looking to experience the show for the first time, this could be a decent substitute, but for those in love of the plays or looking for a musical with more sustenance, heart, and coordination, well you should go in with lower expectations. As such, I'm mixed in terms of telling you if worth a theater visit, but for the stage show, effects, and visual numbers the theater will assist, but for everything else, watch this one at home instead. Due to the missed potential this movie could have done, I'll give this film a:
Comedy/Drama/Family: 5.0 Movie Overall: 4.0
Is this to Bomb? A Review of Bombshell
The Setting Decent Pace Good Use of Main characters Fantastic Acting Contained Political Fury Factual Approach and Detailed The Makeup
Character Utilization Imbalance The unnecessary introductions of every character The Side story that sort of was not necessary Kate McKinnon side story to some extents Did not appreciate the Asides Lackluster Suspense
Bombshell is a great installment to the biography world because it makes a realistic story, that seems more factual than dramatic. It uses good visuals and great acting to help with bringing the story to life and gives a complete tale that should be inspirational for many. Throw in that it kept the political frenzy to a minimum, and the film opens up to a wider variety of people who can see the horrors these women faced. Yet, the movie still has not quite found the art of drama vs factual and could have used a little pep in the department to help unleash the full impact and excitement of the movie. In addition, the side stories and over-political moments still creep in and though not the worst I've seen, felt they added little to the story over all, but stuck around for some representation politics. Overall, the movie is not awful or overbearing, but it could have had the same impact but on a streaming service or rental and that is where I would encourage you to watch it.
My scores are:
Biography/Drama: 6.5 Movie Overall: 6.0
Does It Rise To Close the Saga? Skywalker's Return Has Balance Issues
The New Worlds
The Visuals and Sound Editing
The Twists (surprises)
The Action (sometimes)
DISLIKES: The Choppiness Of The film The Story's indecisiveness Too Many Characters Trying to Please Too Many People The Action Not Enough Focus On The New The Overkill On Things The Lack Of Emotion At Times The Impasses falling too easily Too much in one film
I did not love this film like some of the other installments, but I also did not hate it either. Rise Of Skywalker's main flaws are the inability to decide what fanbase they wanted to hit, and trying to put way too much into one movie. The attempt to conclude the movie faltered on uniqueness and cohesiveness, always hinting at awesomeness, but never quite getting there due to the coordination failures. It exceeds at the superficial ooh and ahhs of visuals, moves much better in terms of pace, gets comedy, nostalgia, and symbolism baked in, and does manage to keep dialogue smart to help twist some things up. Yet, as I agree with other fans, the movie needs to use this time as a reset for future installments, so that they may bring a new story out that takes the nostalgia, but allows a new legacy to build (see Rogue One Or the Mandalorian). From there, the story can get back to the adventures we loved, and still gets those overcharged heroes that seem to motivate costumes of the 21st century. That and please stop making the grandiose ideas be the stars, please find something better to do instead.
My scores for the closing chapter are:
Action/Adventure/Fantasy: 7.5 Movie Overall: 6.0
Black Christmas (2019)
Black Christmas I Gave You My Heart, But The Political Game Just Gave It Away
Moves Quickly Has Some Funny Moments A Few Likeable Characters Relevant Topics
Not Really Scary/Horror Paper Thin Plot Rushed One-Dimensional Characters Antagonists That Are Limited Much Ruined In Trailers Fight Scenes Very Limited Predictable Twists That Are Lack Luster Cheesy Writing and Dialogue Poster Politics That Are in your Face
Black Christmas' trailer painted an interesting picture to say the least, as the film could have gone either way. Sadly, the direction they chose was one that was not the best for me. My friend said it best as, "A Twitter Post turned into a movie", this horror/thriller will not offer scares, thrills, or even a semi-engaging story for those who are fans of the genre. This new take is much more political and has sacrificed so much to cram the beliefs of the production heads of this movie in that it was more infuriating than enjoyable. Again, the issues are not the problem, it's the presentation, and we've seen plenty of popular culture films handle political issues with much more class. After reviewing everything, this movie is not meant for the theater unless you are all about in your face popular event topics with a Halloween mask to get you into the film. I'd say this film is best left to accidental stumbling upon and would look to other options instead.
My scores are:
Horror/Thriller: 4.0 Movie Overall: 3.0
Jumanji: The Next Level (2019)
Taking the Next Step To Entertaining Fun
Adventurous Good Visuals Expansion Of The World Very Good Pace Utilization Of Most Characters Well Character Development Fresh Jokes And Running Gag Balance Funny Overall Acting
More Animal Escapades Missing Some Of The Adventurous Side Of Things Cop Outs Rushed Storytelling, Especially At End Lame Villain, again...
Overall, Jumanji's return was a very entertaining and decently balanced film. It somehow manages to make the familiar, same adventure we have known be fresh, with well written lines and humor to keep you engrossed in the film. For such a brisk pace, it manages to keep things well juggled, finding a nice medium between story, action, and comedy that it should be entertaining for most audiences. And with this cast that you get, well you will not be disappointed to see how well utilized most of the group is, something I can't brag about enough in this modern era of unbalanced delivery. Still, the film fails at the end to really capitalize on the story telling components, and has not quite achieved the full integration effect for me that I hope to see, especially given the weaker antagonist. Looking at this though, the movie is definitely worth a check out and I hope you guys give a theater visit given all the special effects and humor.
A WORD OF CAUTION, if you are thinking of taking younger audience members be warned there is lots of strong language that little ears may repeat. Take note of that before planning.
Adventure/Action/Comedy: 8.0 Movie Overall: 7.0
Richard Jewell (2019)
The Jewell Of Drama Based Biographies
Decent Pace Strong Acting A Nice Blend Of Facts and Drama, mostly Great Writing and Monologues Hits From Multiple Aspects Emotional Cinematography A True Show Of Friendship
A Little Slow At Parts Some Rather Blanche Tales Overdramatic At Parts Not Quite as Dramatic Or Epic Clue Hunting
Eastwood knows how to direct a drama and I was very happy to find that I did not leave out here depressed as I have seen in the past. It's got a great heart to it, filled to the brim with the magic of friendship, determination, and what it really means to be a hero. Fantastic film with acting and great use of cinema skills, the movie will certainly be engaging to those that like biographical dramas. It's true that it needs a little fine tuning in the fact vs dramad epartment and could get a little more exciting and complete, but overall, I was very impressed with what Eastwood put together. While not the most special effects palooza, Richard Jewell has quality that would make the trip worthwhile, but most will enjoy the film in their own homes for this one. My review scores recommends:
Drama: 8.0 Movie Overall 7.0
Dark Waters (2019)
What Lurks In These Dark Waters? You Should See It To Find Out
Pacing Travel Through Timeline Good Details Of the Case The portrayal of the Mind Focus On Other members Of The case The Drama On One Level The Acting
Animal Killing The Dramatization On Other Point More Behind the scenes of Dupont for completion sakes Elements introduced that were Not Utilized More Anne Hathaway
Overall, Dark Waters delivered the story I had been wanting to see in the form of a biographical drama. A thrilling case that took years to build is given great detail to help explain everything happening, while also moving to keep you engaged. The acting and multiple aspects really do the film justice and give everyone the chance to act to their top game. It's true it still is subjected to overdramatization at times, but it's kept in check to keep things spicy and appeal to the drama seeking nature that is humanity. I'd have liked a few more elements added to give a better visualization of the corrupt companies, while also giving Anne Hathaway more time to shine, but overall I'm very happy with this. I feel this film will go under the radar, and to be honest, only the engaging story and acting will attract a theater watch for most. However, if you are able to catch this at home or Redbox take the 2 hours to uncover the revolutionizing story that is still going on today.
My scores are:
Biography/Drama/History: 8.0 - 8.5 Movie Overall: 7.0
Playmobil: The Movie (2019)
Do You Come To Play With This Film
The Lego Movie shattered the expectations of toy-based movies with a dynamic story, great comedy, decent sequences of actions, and a balance of kids to adult audiences. While the sequels that followed took stride in their own remark, the first one really opened our eyes to quality kids animation. Enter tonight's movie, in the form of Playmobile, a similar design to the classic pegs, but with a little more movement and cost-effective price to appease the younger crowd. Tonight's movie offers the same sort of approach, hoping to get the animated holiday feature in before Oscar season swoops in. What is the verdict? Robbie K coming in, to give you insight into the next movie and determine if it's worth a trip to the theater.
Movie: Playmobil: The Movie (2019)
Director: Lino DiSalvo Writers: Blaise Hemingway (screenplay by), Greg Erb (screenplay by) Stars: Anya Taylor-Joy, Gabriel Bateman, Jim Gaffigan
Animation Is Decent Cute Heartwarming Story Short Run Time Fun Music
Acting Is Mixed Predictable and Linear Jokes Sort Of Forced Into The Movie Action Is Rather Dull Music Numbers Are Sometime forced Lame Villain For Me Not As Well Balanced
Like many animated movies, Playmobil is very nicely designed to bring the family fun atmosphere to the forefront of the show. Smooth movement, cute design, and nod back to the days of creating worlds with the simple figure, this movie manages to bring imagination back on the big screen. Like many of my fellow reviewers have stated, this film is certainly cute, with the short run time of about 80 minutes (not counting credits) being focused on heartwarming, moral filled lessons in a nice dynamic package. It's a great lesson for the ideal audience of kids, which should bring smiles to the young faces and the parents that accompany them. Finally, like most kids films, Playmobil is ready to pump the speakers up with original music, that is toe tapping selection of catchy tunes about the morals we need in our lives.
Yet the other side of the coins have valid points for me in regards to this film, especially when one sees what was accomplished in other animation films. For one thing the voice acting is okay, which can either be due to performance or direction of the character. Anya Taylor-Joy does a decent job, and young actor Gabriel Bateman accomplishes the vulnerable child in over his head role well as he starts discovering himself. My champions are Gaffigan and Daniel Radcliffe whose characters are probably the most engaging of the supporting characters and bringing the dynamic cast to a rather one-note movie. Unlike other films, the movie falls short of the dynamic storytelling that other company productions have excelled in. It's plot is thin and very predictable, a linear tale with few bumps or surprises to amazing and wow as the writing continues to favor the younger generations filled with jokes and preachy speeches crammed on in. Sure the humor is cute, but the movie needed better balance for this reviewer and working on making a more exciting tale that utilized the humor and lessons as a supporting role instead of the central pillar. The action scenes are rather limited, mostly due to the G rating, but also because the villain is another example of a grandiose, pompous, speech expert who does little else. Because of these two factors, alongside the linear telling, just results in a bland adventure that might not be as entertaining to the older crowd, which is a shame given what they can do in these movies.
Playmobil is not an awful movies, it just doesn't have the same balance or execution that the Lego movie, or other films for kids have been able to pull off. Certainly, the animation, story, and cute atmosphere will certainly impress the target audience of youngsters. Sadly, the fact that the film struggles to find balance in the presentation to the audience with its predictable, G rate film is going to be the biggest obstacle to see this movie. With a feel much more fitting of a Nick Jr. or Playhouse Disney feel, Playmobil is much better suited to a home viewing where the little ones can corral into the living room and watch it for the short run time. Overall, the movie will deliver to the young generation, but given Frozen is out, Spy in Disguise is on its way, and Star Wars, this film is going to be out of the theater quickly unfortunately. Therefore, my scores are:
Animation/Adventure/Comedy: 6.5 Movie Overall: 5.0
Queen & Slim (2019)
Queen Of Politics and Slim On Secondary Character Development. This Drama Is Power Messages Lost to Editing Choices
Another holiday, another week to try and get the most out of the movies and the shopping frenzy of Black Friday. Tonight's feature is another political drama that will potentially lead to much discussion, potential motivation, and certainly a lot of discussion about the quality of the movie. Given the heated reviews I've seen so far, I'm going to do my best to put an objective focus on this review and give you heads up as to whether or not one should take this film in for the holiday theater run. Let's get started as I look at:
Acting Symbolism Adventure mixed with Morals Cultural Representation Tasteful At Times Music
Long Slow Pace Super political at parts that detracts from story Secondary character are sort of at lost A bit stereotypical at times Lazy writing in dialogue at times Predictable Editing Issues
Queen and Slim's two main leads are stellar, taking very shallow characters and evolving their performances with to match the development. Their chemistry is fantastic with each other, really delivering a believable relationship that does not feel forced or scripted, but rather natural and flowing. It's this component that will be the core foundation for the film, as both Kaluuya and Turner-Smith are capable of delivering the politically charged content in heated yet classy ways. As you can guess, this movie has a lot of hot topics built into it, and the movie utilizes the cinematography to bring lots of symbolism into the film. Sequences are designed to capture the full power of many topics of interest, attempting to again balance the heat of the moment with an objective take sort of capturing a news debate in a more entertaining form. Queen and Slim's adventure is definitely a road trip that should be engaging for target audiences of drama/political lovers, but for those looking for messages to motivate you should see this achieved as well. Preachy at times (as most of these films are), this tale does a nice job of instilling the writer's values into a classy, ethical manner that will provide some food for thought and reanalyzing one's approach to these arguments. In addition, several members in my audience mentioned that they appreciated the cultural representation at key moments and the importance of pride and reputation as several secondary characters showed. I found that though stereotypical, it was tasteful compared to what other movies have done in the past. Finally, the music has enough musical genres to make an entertaining soundtrack, with R&B, Rap, and Hip hop ready to blast through the speakers during transition sequences. Not the most relevant in terms of story, but a good soundtrack is always welcome in my book to get my feet moving.
However, I agree with my reviewers there are some decisions made in this movie I felt detracted from the messages and story they wanted to tell. My limitation starts with the length of the film and the pace that did not support the length. Much of the film feels very drawn out, bloated sequences that did not need to be present, while other times it was a little too focused on pointing out the obvious. As I mentioned earlier, Queen and Slim requires the two main characters to be the focus of all the political writing in the movie. While they excel at this, the supporting characters are a little too much in the background for my tastes. Like connecting the dots, the farther the two travel the more diluted the characters become, leading to plain interactions with most, often to introduce a new angle and conversation topic to discuss. I'll admit I liked seeing the influence the two had, especially at the end, but I had hoped for a little more progression and pertinence than what we got. The truth is that this film really focuses on hitting all the political issues so hard that it sort of drives off from the story and leave the main characters in side scenes while the people they have talked to "evolve" so to speak. Most of these scenes were... okay, but a couple were so convoluted and unnecessary, that I only saw it as a more time extension than quality shot, again meant for a politically charged audience. Throw in much of the writing is again back to lots of cursing and insults to go with the stereotypical portrayals and well, you sort of drown the better writing in this representation. Overall, the main thing that this movie suffers from is the editing and trying to be too tastefully political in the sequences sort of diluted the incredible potential of the story.
Queen and Slim is a drama that has important messages for the world to see and think on, and does a decent job with not making them too aggressive. Yet, in terms of an entertaining story that has the full picture of suspense, discussion, and storytelling it still has areas of improvement to go. It's the editing and how much they wanted to include that I think got this film in trouble, and because of the side tangents and attempts to personify the problems in this character, the story got scattered. For those that want their political ideals represented and relate to the trials each character has, this movie is a theater visit, but for the rest of the audience, I feel the investment at a home watch is going to be key to maximizing your experience.
My scores are:
Drama: 7.0 Movie Overall: 5.5
Knives Out (2019)
Enjoying The Sharp Humor To This Mystery
Mystery movies can certainly be fun, but the refined art of mapping out a crime can be a challenge in this world with ever shrinking attention spans. However, there are still writers and directors out there ready to give it a try in hopes of bringing thought out plots back into the popular trend. Tonight's review holds such a promise and even more so it holds another redeeming trial for a director whose involvement in Star Wars was not the best received. With lots of advertising, I'm sure you have seen the trailers so let's get going as I review:
Acting The Cinematography The Plot Is A Good Mystery Better Twists Than Anticipated Involvement With Most Of The Cast The Comedy
DISLIKES: Some rather worthless characters The Run Time The Pace Perhaps A Little More Murder
With an assembled cast such as this, you can best bet the acting will be at least moderate, and for me it was a fantastic display of work. All parties assembled really play the dysfunctional role well, portraying the motive filled shouts and complaints to an art that did not annoy or go overboard. Too many names to place I'll say that Craig was entertaining in his role of Colonel Saunders (a running joke) meeting James Bond as the detective, primarily in his interactions with Marta. Ana de Armas was the star for me not only because of her character, but more so in the way she played the levels of emotion perfectly and interacted with the squad the most to balance this art. Past the acting, the movie really picks up in terms of the visual presentation, feeling much like a detective movie from the 50s-80s, but modernizing it to the present day. It should captivate many mystery lovers, but more so generic fans who can point out a lot of devices and nods to famous detective sagas. However, the movie's main selling point is the presentation of the story that let's face it has been told time and time again in a Hallmark like fashion. Johnson, for me, accomplished the role of bringing out a good mystery, not only in the classic hunt for clues and mapping out suspects, but adding some nice twists to the mix. If you are paying attention to time and some info, you'll start getting an idea, but this film's twists (no matter how convoluted) do manage to spruce up the dusty manor of detective works. An even better angle for me, is the character utilization, while not perfect, every character has a purpose in some form or angle, with few sitting off to the sides as just mere bodies to fill a convenient hole or bridge. If not for the sake of the plot, then the character was used for comedy and that may be my favorite part of this movie. Knives Out manages to be very humorous in the regards of the comedy aspect, with well written dialogue, delivery of those lines, and timing wrapping up nicely to leave many laughing during my showing. That I feel will be a pull for many audience members, though don't expect usual slapstick, banter, and ridiculous, logic defying stunts to be pulled here, or you'll be disappointed.
For such an artistic film though, there are still a few things I would have liked tightened up. Though all characters were utilized in some form, I can't lie at least three could have had more involvement than what they did. Hinting at being a part of the plot, these characters were left to the passing comments or joke props until that one moment a clue contributed. That family engagement they sold in the trailers, needed some more development for me to keep everyone entangled in the mess as opposed to on the side. In addition, the plot could have used a little more murder and threats to help spice up the drama/mystery, as I am partial to the deadly games of hunting in my movies, than anything else. For a movie selling that murder, I had kind of expected something else, but it's a mere trinket. I can say the thing I had the hardest time with was the run time and the pace. Knowing it's a Johnson movie, I expect it to be long, and for the most part the movie ran at a good enough pace that it did not feel super long, but other times did show the dragging I dreaded. I can say that there were parts that could have been cut out to shorten the length, or at least rewritten to include the character interaction I mentioned above.
So in conclusion, what are the thoughts on this controversial movie/tale. To be honest, I do think it is a reimagining of Clue, and took a step into the modern world to help reach out to the new audiences. It's got the presentation of a mystery, with twists to help bring our well-acted characters together and entertain us with their drama. Comedy is also pulled out of the sheath and I think these two elements are the biggest selling factors to brave the nearly 2.5 hour run time Johnson has put forth. As such, I feel this movie is worth a shot at hitting the theaters for those looking for a drama/mystery/comedy, while others will most likely enjoy from the comfort of their homes.
My scores for Knives Out are:
Comedy/Crime/Drama: 9.0 Movie Overall: 8.0
A Beautiful Film For The Holidays, What a Beautiful Film to Inspire
In today's world, it is so funny to see who we idolize in our world given the rise of reality television, political filters being removed, and politics making grandiose characters. However, amidst the islands of these extreme characters, there are real champions who strive to make others happy and the darkness of the world a little more manageable. Mr. Rogers was considered by many to be one of those saints, making a program that was entertaining and yet moving in his approach to the real world. So why not make a film that dives into the life and impact that Mr. Fred Rogers had, and put it just at the forefront of the season of giving. Well my friends, Robbie K is back for another look at the latest film to determine if it is worth the price of admission. Let's get started as we look at:
Movie: A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood (2019)
Director: Marielle Heller Writers: Micah Fitzerman-Blue, Noah Harpster Stars: Tom Hanks, Matthew Rhys, Chris Cooper
Nostalgia Presentation Balance Of Story And Rogers Involvement The Character Development The Comedy and Writing The Acting
The Pace Some Character Utilization Drama vs. Realism Question
While the documentary dove into the history of Rogers, this installment helps bring the magic of one man's impact on the world. A Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood is an artful film that captures the magic of Rogers' approach to life and presents it in a style that seems to be a doctored-up version of the show. The transitions using Roger's model like world were cute, alongside how they presented the meat of the subject as a surrealistic episode that somehow acts as a counseling session to the audience members. This film balances the story of the other characters and incorporates Rogers involvement in the world, leading to a fantastic portrayal of character development without discarding all the other components of the film. Writing wise, it will hit the hearts of many, rich with wisdom and thought-provoking material without being too preachy or forced as many movies can be. The comedy is subtle, a natural inclusion that is not artificial, leading to a genuine laugh that adds a layer to the movie. Finally, the acting is the cornerstone of the film, Hanks execution of Rogers spot on in many ways, while Rhys as the journalist is a wonderful antagonist to Hanks, whose performance is a display of the kind of commitment friendship sometimes takes. While the rest of the cast is there to support the group in many ways, it's these two alongside the presentation that delivers the hammer. There are few dislikes I have for this film personally, with many of these a little nitpicky on my part. For one thing, the pace and content are not going to be for everyone, but the pace in particular had me fighting sleep at times. In addition, I had hoped other characters would have been worked into the mix, while others sort of forgone, to really tie in all of Roger's aspects in his attempt to help Lloyd. Finally, there are moments where reality vs. dramatization come into play, questioning the choices of the shot or sequence that while symbolic were not fully necessary for me.
Overall though, the movie is a beautiful portrayal of the messages the beloved kid's host had, and the impact he had on so many. It's not going to be for everyone, and it certainly is not the most engaging in terms of entertainment or originality. Yet, for those that love dramatic biographies, or need a spiritual message into the movie, this humble look at the sad parts of life and how to maintain humanity should be a welcoming start to the spirit of the holiday season. So wrapping all of this together, my scores for this film are:
Biography/Drama: 8.0 Movie Overall: 7.0-7.5
21 Bridges (2019)
Bridging the Gap Between Crime Show Season: Crime Drama that Is Realistic And Yet Not Original
Moves Quickly Detective Story Not Politically Infused Good Acting, on most accounts Realistic Action Scenes Are Pretty Decent
Predictable Same Plot as A Recent Movie The Writing At Times Some Characters Are Wasted More Action Scenes
When it comes to crime drama, 21 Bridges is an old tale with a fresh coat of paint. It works well for those who are fans of the television crime show syndicate, with a fast-paced detective story where a central character will be your anchor to the familiar movements of the series. It's very well contained in terms of realism, has a great cast to follow, and enough elements of the shows to please fans without getting lost in politics. Yet, the film fails in terms of originality, sharing too much with recent crime films, not utilizing other characters well, and the action scenes not being the most memorable to justify the predictable plot. Still, if you are looking for something to break up the rerun monotony of the crime TV shows, then check this one out and enjoy the fresh coat applied. Otherwise, hold out on this one for a watch at home movie on your favorite streaming or rental app.
My scores are:
Action/Crime/Drama: 7.5 Movie Overall: 7.0
Frozen II (2019)
Second Storm Is Blowing Strong In Visuals, But Brittle In Story Telling
Voice Acting/Vocals World Design Pace Moves Beautiful Animation Touching At Times Olaf's comedy at times
Predictable (majorly) Spirit design/usage The Story Is Weaker Under Utilized Characters... majorly The Twist The Lack Of Impasse The Preachiness/Politics The Overdone Humor The Forced Singing... again
With a movie like this that has been too blown up, the expectations are high to be just as good as the original. Frozen II casts a magic spell that was incredible in regards to animation, utilizing the elements well, and really bringing the elements of the first movie back for fun and trying to evolve on them. It moves well, has humor that lightens up the mood, and yet very touching at others with its inspirational moments. The movie certainly feels like a slightly beefed up version of the first in terms of gimmicks of presentation of non-story elements, which in this day and age is often more important. Yet, the story feels very deprived of the richness the book promised, not utilizing its characters well, getting a bit preachy at the end, and for me forcing songs in again rather than finding that balance. When looking at this for recommendations... it works for a theater visit for many reasons and I really think fans of the first one will be spelled by the things its brings. However, the sequel needs some tinkering for me to be the next best Disney film, and hope it's not as overrated as the first one.
My scores are:
Animation/Adventure/Comedy: 7.5 Movie Overall: 6.5-7.0
Ford v Ferrari (2019)
Gas Up And Get Set To Check Out This Rivalry
When it comes to cars we like them fast and furious, or at least for many that is the dream as handling the monster speed can be overwhelming. So that's where racing comes in, a means to extend one's self into the faceless visage of a Nascar or Formula One in hopes of seeing their heroes win. Yet, what goes into a racecar? For the die-hard fans and car enthusiasts they understand the mechanics behind it, but for fans like me, well there is a lot more under the hood of the vent. Today's movie is all about the battlefield of racing, though perhaps more of a look into the window of the past in the international racing venue. Tonight we look at the rivalry between two big car empires, in their battle for supremacy as I review:
Movie: Ford Vs. Ferrari (2019)
Surprisingly Decent Pace Funny Plenty Of Character Integration Seeing the Rivalry From Many Sides The Technical Jargon Mixed Well The Musical Score The Sound Effects The Heart The Finale Of Racing
The Predictability Loudness The Drama Vs. Reality A Little More Integration Of The Wife The Ending After The Race
Biography dramas usually don't run at a pace that entertains me fully, but Ford Vs. Ferrari succeeded in this endeavor and put the pedal to the medal in storytelling. The elements of describing the business deals, politics and even development of the car are all a carefully blended together to be engaging without being overbearing for this reviewer. It finds a way to make all this business jargon funny, putting just enough spite, attitude, and stubbornness to work and masterfully relieving the dialog heavy plot. What impressed me even more though was seeing the character integration into this film, finding ways to make characters I care about and how I hoped the policies would not shoot them in the foot, which is key to helping me stay invested in a drama. Bale in particular was my focal point, his character having the most lines cast out and the central engine that drove this car. He plays the part well, adds that charm he brings to many of his roles, and then melds with the rest of the teams. Throw in all the dialogue filled with the jargon and you had me feeling like I was part of each group in the decision to battle the big boys. However, despite all the heart of the film, most fans are going to want to know how the special effects department works in this film. Good news, for America's love of making things loud, bold, and powerful continues on this look back into the past. For guys like me, the musical score at times amps up the elements with its background noise augmenting the scene and making my skin goosebumps rise in that emotional way. Now add the layer of the sound editing and effects and you get the major effect of this movie. Those who love to listen to their engines roar as they fly down the street, or identify the clicks of the perfect transition to the next gear are going to love this movie. All those elements brought together with the theater sound drop you into the driver seat and gets the blood pumping. Finally, combine that with the visuals and you've got yourself a movie that somehow takes what many consider a dry sport of turning left and instead give you the dynamic element of being in this life or death thrall. When combined with the story, it's magic and gives a purpose to remain entertaining, which can be very difficult in a racing movie without gimmicks (comedy of the Love bug or action of the Fast and Furious).
Despite the realistic nature of this film though, it still has some elements I would have liked to see curbed. One, the predictability of the film is still there from the foreshadowing alone, though if you know the history of this movie's plot you'll of course predict the ending (which I didn't). Despite the appreciation for the special effects, yours truly has sensitive ears, so the full volume of the engine roaring can be a little painful/ingratiating if not careful. These minor components aside, the movie's constant question of drama vs reality comes into question, and I feel there was a lot of magic integrated into the film compared to the reality. It adds entertainment, but I wonder just how much of this was true to paint the characters a little more notably, more so Matt Damon's character or the arrogant vice president. In terms of further character integration, I would have liked a little more of the wife, who though was involved throughout the film, felt there was a little more she could have had in here to really pull the film to full circle. My biggest dislike though was the last twenty minutes of the film, which I will not spoil. The film had another point that I felt would have been better to end, and while I understand why they did the last part in terms of closure, the last 15-20 minutes could have been edited down where I think the true story ended, wrapped up with a nice information card montage they do. It's times like these where the last piece is placed that sometimes throw me the wrong way, but I will of course recognize the honor and work they did do in those final moments.
Overall, Ford Vs. Ferrari delivered what I expected and more. It was a drama/biography that was not boring to watch, with a pace that like the car continued to work and immersed you into many aspects of the war between these two. A fantastic balance of story with technical prowess is going to be the entertaining factor for much of the audience and looking at the people around me during my showing should impress the target audience. Sure, it's predictable, a little time bloated, and loud, but the only factors are potentially the movie magic blowing things out of proportion and the potential ending that really had me bugging. Otherwise, outside of not being the most original idea or the most dynamic telling of a story it works for a trip to the theater.
My scores are:
Drama/Biography/Sports: 8.5 Movie Overall: 7.0
Charlie's Angels (2019)
Girl Power Politics And Gimmick Focus Have This Mission Ending In Failure
Charlie's angels, a lovely band of female agents protecting the world one mission at a time. Long ago, these super skilled beauties showed us that style, beauty, and skills could come together in one of the most memorable series of the golden age of television. The progressive presentation of this series proved you could be fun and still not put too many politics into the mix, something this reviewer likes. Question for tonight is though, can the modern age of politics and representation welcome the same principles, or will it warp it into its own format. That's where I come in to give my thoughts on the latest movie, in hopes of guiding your viewing pleasure. Robbie K coming at you with another review, this time on:
Charlie's Angels (2019)
Director: Elizabeth Banks Writers: Elizabeth Banks (screenplay), Evan Spiliotopoulos (story by) Stars: Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, Ella Balinska
The Music Some Of The Comedy The Pace Kristen Stewart's New Emotion Ella The Outfits
The Predictability The Semi Dead End subplots The Forced Humor The Plot Itself The Direction Of The Characters The Focus On Clothes Unnecessary Dance Scene Gadgets Are Not As Clever The Fight Scenes The Political Roles Beat Into the Mix
Never good when one of my reviews starts out with music, but in this case the soundtrack adds to the attitude of the movie. A variety of styles will come into tickle the fancy, and may just get your toes tapping if you appreciate upbeat music like I do. As most won't care about this let's get to some other things then. The comedy has some good moments, a well-timed jab, pun, or insult that made me chuckle at how cute and well versed it was. These moments were far between for me, but several members found the comedy a bit more golden. One thing my audience and I agreed on is that the film does a nice job of keeping the pace, almost like an extended episode of the show meeting modern trends of flashy sequences. It might not be the most original, clever, or even suspenseful, but it works to promote the fun that this movie holds, especially for the key demographic. My bigger surprise though was seeing Kristen Stewart's new emotion in this role and the character that she played. Finally breaking out of the somber, monochromatic Bella Swan, Stewart's dive into the world of the Angels is a plus for me. Her new lifestyle fit well into the film and I seeing her show more emotional range than previous roles. It's her partner in crime played by Ella though I enjoyed. This lovely actress held charm, pizazz, edge, and a deeper side than I expected, bringing good chemistry with her fellow angels and a modern addition that was story and character centric (very smart move). Finally, like Ocean's 8, the style of the dresses and outfits should be more than enough to inspire a shopping spree, as the wardrobe department accomplished great feats of sexy meeting modern, and maybe utility depending on the scene.
Yet for the likes I had for this film there was a fair bit of things that were not to my personal liking. For one thing the predictability of the story is not impressive, all the ruses and diversion are obvious tactics and could have been used for better action. Sub plots to build back story were surprisingly one dimensional, dropping in 1-2 lines and never taxing our girls for more than 5 seconds and thus the characters interest were more on their gimmicks and the actresses abilities to bring them to life. Even more forced was the humor, which like most of Banks works does not know when to quit when its ahead and throw timing/cleverness for as many political punches as possible. It leads to a rather spotty plot for me that is more of a comedy than a thriller, which I expected, but wanted so much more out of just fun characters. Despite the political component of the modern age, the characters again were not directed the way I wanted either and though again entertaining and acted decently, I think the direction was not the best. Plot and character design complete, what about the presentation of the movie itself. Well to be honest, the flash in the pan role approach took the center stage in my eyes. While the outfits may be beautiful, I'll admit that they were a little too much of the focus for this reviewer, with more emphasis of showing off sex appeal than anything else. Various scenes that started to gain mojo were quickly finished or diluted for things like attempts at sexual humor or a dance scene that served merely as a foreshadowing device for something to come (while also being about showing off the outfits). Gadgets, famous for any spy movie and a tool that can elevate the plot were kind of simplistic, lacking the charm and design from other series that knew how to merge things in a more imaginative way. Why go through the eccentric shots of devices if we aren't going to utilize them as much? Poor planning perhaps, or maybe there was something else taking the stage. In regards to fight scenes, they are okay, but this reviewer found many of them to be short bouts of very stiff choreographed fights, that merely repeated movements or held simplistic gunplay. There is nothing amazing about the brawls, and outside of some slight moments that will stick in your mind are quite forgettable. Yet the thing I am not the biggest fan of, is the political focus that comes with most modern movies. You can see it in the trailers, but Charlie's Angels is all about spouting the message of girl power, from the opening dialogue and credits, to the painstakingly planned scenes that are all about showing how much guys suck. Movies are famous for these hyperboles of character, but for the whole film to do this, well you lose the other qualities for me with this in your face approach.
The trailers will not lie to you, at least on some part, that Charlie's Angels is geared towards a certain audience. It's stylish presentation of looks, outfits, and girl power is going to be the main appeal to audience members, with some comedy to help expand to other goers and acting that makes up the rather bland characters. Yet, the movie suffers for me from being too focused on the superficial and not enough on the elements I remember from previous installments. Sure the nostalgia is nice but all the plots are rather truncated, the humor is a little forced on me, action scenes could use a tune up alongside the gadgets, and the political presentation got old after a while. However, it's got enough oomph to check out in the theater, especially if you are part of the key demographics that will enjoy this.
This mission gets a score of:
Comedy/Action/Adventure/Thriller: 6.0 Movie Overall: 4.5
The Good Liar (2019)
Not Lying, Great Acting But Convoluted At Times
Honesty, a notion that continues to get lost in the morals of the modern age as the ideas of furthering one's interest overtake the logic. While lies do have a place at some points, what happens when one makes a career out of it, with no thoughts of the consequences? Tonight another book turned movie attempts to answer that question and potentially in a high-class presentation. My last film of this weekend is one that holds great promise with two leading legends, and this reviewer hopes it's going to be amazing finish. Let's get ready to rumble as I look into:
Movie: The Good Liar (2019)
Director: Bill Condon Writers: Jeffrey Hatcher, Nicholas Searle (novel) Stars: Helen Mirren, Ian McKellen, Russell Tovey
Layered Story Convoluted Game Of Lies Nice Clues Set About Acting
Some Layers Are Convoluted Presentation of The Twists Some Story ideas not necessarily needed Not Quite As Big A Spy Thriller As I thought The Pace
Basing a movie about a novel is an art, and that can be difficult given the attention spans and time management they have to have. The Good Liar feels very much like a book with a layered story that is worthy of a complicated Thriller, filled with not only a lot of twists to throw one off the trail, but also multiple layers to the characters. In this convoluted game of lies, my engagement relied on trying to figure out what was truth and fiction, and more so what lied at the bottom of the well of deceit for both characters. McKellen's character in particular has multiple avenues to figure out, trying to piece all of them together to uncover the truth behind this quiet, intense character. For most of the movie, there are clues being laid out to assist with figuring the truth, but as for others well those clues are a little harder to figure out, further opening up the mystery aspect of the film. Yet, the factor I think most will enjoy and what I believe is the strongest aspect is the acting. The Good Liar does not have much in terms of action, suspense, or even quick pace, so the acting has to be on point. No worries on this aspect, for the two English legends show why they are masters of their trade. Mirren has her part down well, and as the plot progresses, one gets to see her character evolve tow which she accomplishes with class. McKellen on the other hand brings several characters from previous films to bay and does so with such poise, elegance, and tenacity that you wonder how he has not been in more Sherlock Holmes films. Their chemistry together is wonderful, and seeing the gradual transformation throughout the film was fabulous to watch to see how well they play off of each other.
This movie though is not going to be for the general audience, for this movie is going to be less entertaining and more artistic in terms of storytelling. For one thing, the layers of this movie are convoluted, stacked layers that require paying attention in hopes of gleaming any information. It seems like the movie throws so much into the short time period that the focus is too spread and somewhat boring to discover. When twists do get thrown into the mix, the distractions become so frequent that the haphazard throwing sort of gunked up the works and made for a lackluster presentation. Finally when the twists arrive, they seem sort of random and out of the park, that it did not quite feel relevant or cohesive with the rest of the film until the final sequence. My guess is that the book does a much better job at explaining the internal thoughts, and in that lies the secrets to the relevance of the true secret. I think the thing that fooled me was the spy thriller aspect I thought the trailers were presenting it as. Instead, The Good Liar is much more about the drama component for me, so this made for a less exciting film for me at least in regards to suspense and thrills. Finally, the pacing is probably the biggest turn off from me. When you look at all the other dislikes I had, the very slow pace does not do much to sell sitting through nearly two hours of this convoluted tale. It makes the movie sort of drag for me and the bloated story made it feel longer so I would strongly encourage having max energy for this one.
The Good Liar is certainly an example of fine artistic crafts of cinema. It feels like a very classy movie that relies on layered characters, deception, and secrets to draw most of the entertainment value and keep you engaged in the film. It also helps that there is great acting to bring out these complex characters, with the chemistry really showing between the two masters of the acting craft. Yet it is this complexity that is also the limiting factor for most audiences. All the attempts to redirect you, the story layers that require one to pay attention, the redirections that continue to fly at you throughout the film, and some semi-rando turns may make most look at the film in confusion. In addition, the slow pace is going to be a turn off for those with short attention spans, so get yourself ready for that. Overall, the movie is not awful, but the film needed a little more refinement for this reviewer to say go to the theater to see it.
As such here are my scores:
Drama/Thriller: 6.5 Movie Overall: 5.0
Last Christmas (2019)
Will This Holiday Movie Give You It's Heart? Last Christmas Review
There is always something about the Christmas time of the year that brings out the good will in movies. Somehow the monotonous television specials, the move theaters itself, and even the atmosphere are all given a renewed glow that seems to lighten us up. Yet, in a flooded market trying to capitalize on the big time of the season, we can sometimes get things crammed in that don't need to be crammed in. So in November at this early stage of the holiday months, getting a Christmas movie makes me wonder how the quality of the film will be if coming out this early. As always, Robbie K coming in to give you his thoughts on whether or not the movie will match what the trailers suggested it would be. As such, let's get started as I take a look into:
Movie: Last Christmas (2019)
Good Acting Comedy That is Not Overdone Fun and A good atmosphere Good Message For The Times Fast Run Time The Music
Predictable Dryer Sense Of Humor Required Needing More Time To Tell A Detailed Story The Semi-Superficial Romance The Overdone Ending Lacking That Big Punch
Let's face it, I was not the most excited seeing the trailer for this film, but I was hoping that there would be some Christmas magic to assist with bringing it to life. Well my wish came true in the form of acting, with all the leads making for an entertaining, dysfunctional group. Emelia Clark was of course my favorite, especially taking center stage, bringing the roundabout character of Kate! Henry Goulding's charm works to offset the theatrics of the supposed messy character, his calm level headedness bringing its own magic that lvies up to the theme of the movie. And as for Emma Thompson, well another new light for the woman who wears so many faces. Outside of the quaint characters with major flaws, Last Christmas attempts to find the means of being different while still sticking to its guns from the trailer. For those looking for a typical American based comedy, you're in for a surprise as the movie turns to British roots for a comedy style that is a bit drier and catered to a more finite audience. Despite not being the comedy line craziness that most are expecting, the movie maintains a fun atmosphere, capturing the meaning of the season and sort of infecting you in the Kate's journey with this strange man. This atmosphere of feeling good compliments all the previous mentioned likes and somehow gave me some energy to stay immersed in the film. Of course a Christmas movie has to have a good message right? Well, Last Christmas delivers its morale laden plot right in your face and manages to keep the time honored tradition in line with the movie without being too cheesy or over the top. Yet for me, the music is the key to why I had fun. Last Christmas does not saturate in the Christmas themes, but instead blends both traditional songs with some other tracks to keep things lighthearted and in rhythm with the messages. If all of this does not sound good and you are being forced to go on a date, the fast run time should keep you satiated and not lose too many minutes of your life.
So let's get into things that people will most likely not like or expect. First off the movie is predictable. A fine attempt at a twist, I had the surprise figured out well before stepping foot into the movie (yes the trailers were that obvious). It's a fine attempt, but the bread crumbs were a little too traditional so I can't say I was moved like many of my fellow audience members. As stated earlier, you need to have a drier sense of humor, and while I appreciated the wit, at times a nice wet joke sequence could have helped lighten the mood a little more. Thus again, be warned this is not your average rom-com. While the time limit may be beneficial in terms of getting out of there, it also limited the detailed story I think most were looking for. Last Christmas held potential to balance all these elements it wanted, but like much of today's trends the stories were sort of rushed and irrelevant plot points were hastily tied up when not needing to be included. This included the semi-superficial romance that while cute and endearing at the beginning was also not the romance aspect I expected they would go, (there are many Hallmark movies that do better than this one). Again its sincere and a bit more sentimental, but it needed more time to get the full effect for me. When the ending does finally arrive, it finds almost the perfect place to stop, but then like the ending of Return of The King, the movie goes one step too far to show how things are going to be okay. This ending montage approach is nice to show the future, but about five minutes earlier would have been better for me. Finally, I think the thing most are hating is that the movie is lacking a big punch that Christmas movies need for the theater visit. This movie sort of lacks that and I think from some of the thing said by fellow audience members, I have to agree that it needs that final ounce of oomph to get to gold star status.
What you see in the trailer of Last Christmas is almost what you get with this film. The cast shows good chemistry and brings their bag of tricks to the mix to make for a fun cast of characters that I think will charm most. It's nice that a Christmas comedy managed to still have heart and fun, not overdoing the humor and giving me a film that had good life lessons and positive atmosphere to enjoy, with a fun accompanying sountrack. Still, the movie fails for me in terms of bringing that big Christmas punch that I expect from these films, suffering from superficial gimmicks, semi complete story lines, drier humor, and a relationship that is sentimental but not what I thought it would be. Overall, the movie is enjoyable with a group, but I think it would find a better home on Hallmark or a local streaming. However, if you are looking for a feel good Christmas movie this early, check this one out.
My scores for its genre are:
Christmast/Comedy/Drama/Romance: 8.0 Movie Overall: 5.5
Central Intelligence Leads To Accurate Though Choppy War Movie
War is hell a wise person once said, and in many ways we the general public have no idea what it was like on those battlegrounds where so many sacrificed so much. Fortunately for many of us, the movies have offered a glimpse into the world, opening our eyes to the world that cares little of its soldiers in regards to decency and humane treatment. Many of these films are often about the action, and while not as prominent as they once were back in the day, they still offer some intense views of history. Past this introduction, this weekend, yet another historical remake is flying in to make a landing, in hopes of wowing the group once more with its depiction of the great war. Robbie K here with yet another review as we look into:
Movie: Midway (2019)
The Modern Technology Prowess Multiple Aspect providing different viewpoints The Intensity Of Some War Scenes The Decent Acting The Intelligence Aspect
Disjointed Plot Too many Perspectives The Semi Forced Love Story The Choppiness of the scenes Semi-sloppy use of big names The Action Scenes
Modern technology allows us to make things more realistic and engaging, and should in theory lead to better fights. In a way Midway accomplishes this by bringing the chaos with speaker booming effects, special effects that light up the screen, and dances with planes that once relied on plywood models. It is certainly the selling points of the trailers and should appeal to the modern audiences expectations as realism and style come together. This film though took a different approach compared to the previous theaters of war, not focusing so much on the action from America by itself, but instead dividing the focus between both parties involved. This dynamic is impressive to see because it helps show the strategy involved in something you have only read about in a history textbook, allowing for a different appreciation of the tactics in war. In fact, my favorite aspect, as well as my good buddy, both agreed that seeing the intelligence component involved with determining how to fight the Pacific campaign. Much of the film is dedicated to showing how codes were cracked, departments coordinated, and risks were taken to determine the best places to strike and this new perspective was very strongly placed. When the battles did finally occur, there are several moments where you get pulled into the intensity, feeling like you are part of the squad and in the cockpit during this operation. Nice editing on these parts, and quite an adrenaline rush at the times it works. Finally, the acting is not an issues in this film, as all personalities of war are brought in and everyone executes there roles quite well when they are on stage. I'm not saying Academy Award Level, but it's believable and appropriate for this film's approach.
For all its worth though, there are several limitations for this reviewer that make the film a little less impressive compared to its predecessors. For one thing, the film feels disjointed, as our time hops and evolution of war occur a little too frequently to necessarily keep track of everything. All the pesrpectives, while again interesting, also have too much going on, leading to breaking up a lot of scenes just as they start cooking with gas. The result is a rather contained movie that struggles to find the approach it wants, with choppy scenes that sort of scatter the coordination rather than unite it. This is especially true for the romance story they try to put in here, which was unnecessary giving the presentation and could have been left out. Throw in several attempts at character development, the potential bonds that can form between a number of characters, and even the squad mates themselves and you again get sort of piece meal presentations that did not achieve what Pearl Harbor did long ago. Once more, this reviewer feels part of this is due to how many big names they have, trying to get the most out of the big price tags that come with them. Midway's crew acts just fine, but there were so many missed elements and character interactions that I feel many of these people were unnecessary. Certainly they were able to point out all the contributions they did, but to deny the full fledged chemistry and quality, well that was the disappointment for me. Finally, the action scenes. An action junky like me always crave for cohesive battle scenes that utilize their groups well, something that the early war movies, and even some films like Saving Private Ryan knew how to do. In this one, all the perspectives and heroes were scattered that the action scenes felt again very sloppy and short, chopped up moments that ended too fast or how long it took to start. Again realistically it accomplishes the portrayal, but at this point and with what the trailers built up... I wanted more out of a modern day, technological behemoth like this one looked to be.
Let's wrap it up then shall we? Midway accomplishes the idea of putting modern faces in traditional stories, and this theater of wars proves that trying new things does not always come together for this reviewer. Sure, the technological advantages are good and all the actors recruited do their parts to bring the group of heroes to life and retell the legacies of men who faced the demons of war. I'll also again give them props for focusing a lot on the strategy and intelligence required to pull off the miracle that we did. However, all of these perspectives and approaches to the story made for what looked like a difficulty to focus on the story they wanted to tell. The result is again a disjointed movie that struggles to bring A games to any perspective, and relies on B and C graded stories. Your truly would have loved a little more action to come together, as the trailers promised, but at least the intelligence parts work together to make for an engaging plot. For special effects it qualifies for a theater visit, but outside of that, hold this one for home viewing instead.
My scores are:
Drama/War/History/Action: 6.5 Movie Overall: 6.0