Reviews

539 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
7/10
A Journey Towards Improvement
19 May 2019
Animal movies are always a mixture in terms of emotions from funny to awfully sad. If you are an animal lover, directors love to get the tears rolling with sequences and scenes that will break your heart and have you pine for four legged friends. This weekend, a sequel to a movie that was received with mixed reviews due to PR stunts, is going to try again in an attempt to make amends and hopefully have a better tale. Robbie K coming at you with another review, this time on the film:

A Dog's Journey: 2019

Director: Gail Mancuso Writers: W. Bruce Cameron (book), W. Bruce Cameron (screenplay) Stars: Josh Gad, Dennis Quaid, Kathryn Prescott

LIKES:

Cute Dog's adorable and impressively trained. Much Better Pace Josh Gad's voice acting A More Cohesive Story Funnier Than Last Time Decent Finale

DISLIKES:

Some Actors Really Not Needed Sad Moments Again Unnecessary Story Component Depressing Trailers Reveal too much

Fans who like these movies may like this film: Dog's Purpose Dog's way Home Old Yeller Movies with revival and journey home

SUMMARY:

The movie had to do some damage control from the first and for the most part the movie accomplishes the goal on many levels. It's cute, primarily thanks to the dogs they selected and the talented performances from those who cannot speak. The canine thespians show off their impressive training and managed to add that cute/cuddly component that dog lovers latch onto. The extra characteristics and comedy aspect are from Josh Gad who's voice acting mimics the looks and energy of his animal avatars quite well, again adding that extra adorable nature into the mix. Utilizing the animals well, the movie helps add some hope and optimism to the story at hand, which provides that entertainment aspect. In addition, the movie also has some stronger pacing to avoid getting lost in the monotonous sadness that does nothing but spread out the movie. The comedy provided by the voice acting and the puppies also does a wonderful job of adding entertainment value, with well-timed jokes and a delivery style that fits so well with this film, only crossing the lines occasionally. Perhaps things worked better as well due to the more cohesive story, an underlying and defined plot that ties each segment together and puts a purpose and goal to work towards. Everything finally wraps up nicely at the end and perhaps shows that a salvageable ending can be obtained despite the rocky opening. Yet the movie still has components that I'm not the biggest fan of. It starts with some of the actors cast into the film, the trailers suggest lots of use of Quaid and his human companions, but outside of the various ages of C.J., the human actors promoted don't quite sell me in their involvement to this movie, outside of some key moments to work towards the ending. More things could have been unleashed to assist with the story and perhaps make their inclusion worthwhile. Sad moments are still present and even going in knowing there are times where the amount of suffering seen is just not enjoyable and we could have been spared some of this. In addition, there is one dog story that as cute as the puppy was, held little importance to the story, though providing another sad scene to take the wind out of your sails. Despite some of the lighter moments, the movie still has an overlying atmosphere of depression meaning that this one will not be for those who are suffering from any down times. If you wish to take a trial, check the trailers again, they'll give you enough warning, but if you want surprises, then make sure to avoid this as the trailers are going to give a good amount away. Overall, the movie is a major improvement over the first one for me in terms of better storytelling and utilization of cuteness. This leads to more entertainment value, a better pace and some better outlooks that the first movie just could not capture in its presentation. Yet, the movie cannot escape the cloud of depression that continues to hover over, focusing too much on extending the sad moments and sometimes adding useless scenes that offered little more than more depression involved with these animals. Given all of this, it is still worth a watch, but you need to be ready for potential tear jerkers, especially in animal lover populations. My scores are:

Adventure/Comedy/Drama: 7.0 Movie Overall: 7.0
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Prepare For More Over The Top Sequences Of War
19 May 2019
Savior, Stoner, Super assassin, these words are just some of the descriptions that come to mind for the star of our next film review. Years ago, a little puppy unleashed the torrent of the Baba Yaga's rage as millions of extras were taken out by coordinated destruction in some of the most adrenaline pumping films this decade. John Wick has become a cult phenomenon that has gotten guys like me revved up in all the high-octane fun that comes with the dark action flick. A third installment has appeared this weekend, with our "hero" now being on the run from the very organization he has served for so long. Will the third installment be able to expand upon the universe, or is it just too much? Robbie K here with another review on:

Movie: John Wick 3: Parabellum (2019)

Director: Chad Stahelski Writers: Derek Kolstad (screenplay by), Shay Hatten (screenplay by) Stars: Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry, Ian McShane

LIKES:

Comedy Dogs Use of Second Characters Expanding The Story Fast Pace Action Sequences/Choreography

DISLIKES: Excessive Violence Some Underwhelming Story arcs The Excessive Destruction Unrealistic moments taken too far at times The Ending

Similar Movies: John Wick 1 and 2 Kill Bill Vol 1 and 2 Ninja Assassin

SUMMARY:

When it comes to John Wick you know what you are getting into and in terms of likes the movie just continues to expand upon the legacy of the Baba Yaga! The comedy is dark, much like the tone of the movie, managing to merge a variety of writing styles into the mix to somehow offset the edge this film has. Even in the dogs there is comedy to a darker sense, but this brings up that the movie actually utilizes its character very well in this chapter. Halle Berry, McShane, even the Concierge (Lance Reddick) are utilized well in this tale, with adequate screen time and action sequences that are all relevant. The results is an expansion of the story, utilizing the background information, these relationships, and some new characters to evolve the tale even more. As such, it gives some slight relevance to the violence at hand. Yet, the biggest components to this film are the pace and the action sequences. John Wick's choreographed chaos only continues to expand, pushing past the gun play that was semi okay in chapter 2, and opens up some new styles to get your fists (and bloodlust) pumping. From nearly start to finish, there is not much down time from the carnage and if that's a movie you want... you've got it. Yet, the movie's glorification of violence sometimes gets to levels that aren't necessary outside of appeasing that gore craving some might have. The excessive displays of death are a part of it, but this tactic is not my cup of tea without really needing it for story. In addition, though there has been expansion of the tale, there were some leads laid out that didn't quite add to anything other than what the ending sets up. It's lackluster story telling that merely seems to extend the shelf life of this revenge tale as it sets up its players for the next acts. Well either that or to provide more moments of destruction which again become a little too much at times. Often use as a running joke, John Wick 3 sometimes goes to extensive rounds just to have our guys go through some form of breakable glass. It's mostly fine, but there are several extensive sequences of just unnecessary destruction to get a laugh and extend the unrealistic moments even further. In regards, to the unrealistic moments, I understand how much fantasy there is in this series, but there are even limits in the universe that don't seem to be followed consistently. Wick's stamina and ability to bounce back from serious injuries is already incredible, but there are times where again the excessive punishment is unbelievable and the rules are redrawn for either a running joke or a god complex. Let's face it, John Wick 3 is all about continuing the trend of violence, action, and the dark edge that we have loved in the first two installments. New fans and old fans should dive right into the adrenaline rush, happy with the guns and hand to hand combat sequences that inhabit this movie. It's true, it's over the top and full of ridiculous moments that have made this series famous, but in this installment, they are going a little too far to push the envelope in regards to stunts, stamina, and death count. While most won't be affected, and perhaps love this component, the continued pushing of the edge is also starting to lose the balance that this once had, beginning to get to the levels that the Fast and Furious series are starting to take. Still, I really enjoyed this film, the action it brought, and all the cinema worthy stunts and special effects make it worthy of a theater visit.

Overall my scores are:

Action/Crime Thriller: 8.0-8.5 Movie Overall: 7.0
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Trying To Shine In New Contemporary Light
18 May 2019
New week and time for a new style of review. Today's first review is all about the wave of hits that the drama and romance genres hold in teenage culture. Another book turned to film, Hollywood is hoping to take this week as a means to capitalize on the author's work. Yet, much of the market is flooded with generic knock offs and repeats that come famous on channels like Hallmark and Lifetime. Will today's film be all about seeing if it can defy the trend of mundane and become the next staple in cinema history? Robbie K here to provide a review on:

Movie: The Sun Is Also A Star (2019)

Director: Ry Russo-Young Writers: Tracy Oliver (screenplay), Nicola Yoon (novel) Stars: Yara Shahidi, Charles Melton, Keong Sim

LIKES:

Good Acting Fitting Music Nice Use of Background Details/Connecting A Bit Different of A Twist

DISLIKES:

Very Cliché Predictable Very Rushed Cheesy At Times Other Characters Only Substantially Used Stories that are Blunt Ending That's Mundane Does not Feel Like A Love Story

Fans Who Like These Movies May Like This Film: Notebook Fault In our Stars Five Feet Apart One Day



SUMMARY:

In regards to this film, The Sun Is Also Star feels more like a buddy adventure than a true love story. The acting between Melton and Shahidi has good chemistry, filled with a dynamic that holds the emotional spectrum that is common of the characters in these types of films. It helps bring a relationship to gear on to and will most likely be relatable to the key demographic. Their story holds some unique flavor to it compare to others by offering a twist in the form of a very set timeline along with an ending that offers a refreshing take on these types of films. My favorite part would be more so the background details that somehow tell another part of the story, hidden nods for details that will later be revealed in the ending. Yet, the film does not quite deliver in the usual pizazz that these movies hold, getting too caught up in the one-day time limit to deliver on the quality cries and emotions these films like to use. Still it does not escape the predictable and cliché story telling that fans love, but rather than true love and a believable romance we instead get a very cheesy tale that offers little sustenance. The film feels more like two friends starting out on a friendship, that rapidly changes as each hour passes. In addition, many of the tales have blunt finishes, with the secondary characters adding little to the movie overall, which was a shame given all the personal problems the leading characters had with their family's style of raising them. Overall, the movie is not bad, a nice attempt at changing the formula that has been a staple in the genre. Sadly, the movie feels a little rushed, leaving much of the meat of the book remaining in the pages instead of onscreen. This adventure is not quite the epic love story that so many fall in love with, but at the same time it at least brings some emotional moments and a relationship that has believable components to it. It's a relevant story to the target audience and I feel that it has good value as a home viewing rather than a theater visit, but overall missing that full spark that romance movies bring.

My scores are:

Drama/Romance: 7.0 Movie Overall: 5.0
1 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
The Hustle (2019)
6/10
Trying To Rustle Up Some Twists, But Only Hustles That's The Gist
13 May 2019
Buddy comedies are fun, and sometimes turn out to be the movies that become the cultural icons of the generation. Often a bunch of one liners and aggressive comedy that becomes meme worthy and quotable, these movies vary across the spectrum in terms of quality. Nevertheless, these movies do have a place in the mainstream as those fun films that entertain people. So will it achieve its goal and be entertaining, or so aggressively silly that it robs you of your money? That's where I come in for a little movie review to give my opinions and maybe help guide your viewing pleasures. Let us take a look at:

Movie: The Hustle (2019)

Director: Chris Addison Writers: Stanley Shapiro (screenplay by), Paul Henning (screenplay by) Stars: Anne Hathaway, Rebel Wilson, Alex Sharp

LIKES:

The Chemistry Alex Sharp's Character Attempt At A Story Short Run Time Some Humor Music

SUMMARY: A buddy comedy requires good chemistry for the actors to utilize, being able to play off one another and maximize the relationship between the characters. Fortunately Rebel and Anne have achieved this dynamic, establishing the dynamic that the trailers suggested which helps maximize the delivery of the plethora of jokes to come. They looked to have had fun and that I believe sells the dynamic between the two. Once Alex Sharp's character came in, his characteristics and direction fit well into the movie, but also helped curb some of the extreme qualities that the movie had the leading ladies pursuing. His delivery and innocence his character contained, made for a character to grab onto by those not a fan of the two leads, and can help get through the tale at hand. Speaking of that, The Hustle's story from the trailers looks to be a very thread thin, shallow plot about taking advantage of condescending men. Instead, there were some attempts to mix it up a bit and progress it towards new directions that put our characters into uncomfortable zones. A few twists were nicely added, and the push past that simplistic story gets applause in my book. But if the story is not up your alley then two things will grant you some berth in the storm of things this movie holds. First, it's a short run time, so you won't have too long to fend off against the onslaught of jokes and stupidity that is crammed into the film. Your second saving grace is some of the humor actually hits home as well, perfectly timed or expertly delivered to maximize the laughs. Much of this had to do with the comedy that was not too forced, but there are some subtle nods at humor that my dorky humor appreciates. As an added bonus, there are some fun musical tracks that get into the spirit of the scenes and add some edge to the movie or at least make you dance in your seat.

DISLIKES:

Predictable Victim of Trailers Story Failure Shallow Characters Too political Too Aggressive/Forceful for Humor

SUMMARY:

Despite some of the good this movie did for me, there were some shortcomings that did not quite work for me as they may for other audiences. It starts with the predictability of the tale, primarily in how hard the foreshadowing and attempt to surprise you came. These twists would have probably been successfully executed had there not been such a blatant attempt to misdirect in dialogue and drowning plot elements with the cantankerous humor. In addition, the fact that the trailers revealed so much did not help with hiding the surprises nor keeping the comedy fresh. In addition to giving away much of the surprise, the movie also failed to deliver the story to me that I was hoping to get out of it. For once, it might have been nice to actually do a mockery of the Ocean's movies by making it all about conning corrupt villains and a central rival to their game. Sadly, their attempts to diverge from this story came out as pale attempts that did not gain the momentum needed to have the impact they needed. Secondly, it's always good for me to have some characters with a little more depth, then what I got here. The Hustle's protagonists have very little in terms of story, characteristics, or qualities outside of what you got from the trailer. I get this is probably some symbolic presentation of con artists, but perhaps more into how they came into the lifestyle, and the driving force could have granted these talented actresses some better roles to bring to life. Perhaps this is why I like Alex Sharp's character, because there is at least some attempts to bring his character some added layers, instead of just a comedic punching bag. Still those components are not quite the force that took the most away from me in this movie. The first is too political a statement for this film. The writers and direction got a little too femme fatale and preachy for me, with much of the dialog driven down a road that takes away the fun for me. I think it will hit the right audience members, but from a general standpoint some of the aggressive sexism jokes did not quite impress me. Second, the humor is a little too slapstick and force for my tastes. The trailer made some of these jokes stale, but there were times where overacting and pushing that joke over the line or on me just did not set well. As such, I didn't laugh as hard as I had hoped from the trailers and was a bit bored with some of the designed sequences. Again, this comedy will hit its niche audience, but for guys like me, it's not going to be the most clever or unique jokes that present themselves.

The VERDICT:

If you are expecting the next masterpiece of comedy in this film, you will be disappointed with The Hustle. Yet, if you go in there ready for simplistic comedy, filled with one liners and focused audience and you have got yourself the flick of the weekend. It's got some good points and great chemistry, jamming it's all its gimmicks into a short run time to entertain very quickly. However, if you are looking for something like Bridesmaids with heart, cleverness, and entertainment, then reserve this one for a home viewing in my opinion. My scores are:

Comedy: 6.0 Movie Overall: 5.0
4 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Fan Service Check, Cuteness Check, Story Check, Maximized Potential, not yet
11 May 2019
Growing up in the 90s meant to be a part of the rise of games, and one of those series was Pokémon. The portable adventure with pocket monsters brought with it a plethora of stories as my friends and I worked to capture them all. As the years passed the series evolved to include anime, movies, merchandise, cards and many more as young kids and old strived to be the best. Now, years later, the world takes a first shot at a live action movie, with questioning looks from the reviews. Robbie K back with a look at the latest movie in hopes of discovering the power of the series contained within. Let's review:

Movie: Detective Pikachu (2019)

Director: Rob Letterman Writers: Dan Hernandez (screenplay by), Benji Samit (screenplay by) Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton

LIKES:

Voice Acting Comedy Cuteness Surprisingly Deep World Building Nostalgia

Summary: The movie may look incredibly lame, but within the labs of the Pokémon studios they actually crafted a movie that is very fun. Much of this has to do with the voice acting, primarily Ryan Reynolds pulling his Deadpool delivery, just in a more censored way. Pikachu spouting the sarcasm and wit of the mercenary with a mouth had me laughing, and the background dialogue he provides is so simplistic, but yet so powerful at the same time. Alongside the other actors who are not CGI, he manages to establish fun relationships, primarily with Justice Smith, who make this modern odd couple relationship. It works extremely well, and established an atmosphere of not only funny, but also cute as the bond between Pokémon and partner shine. Yet the comedy is only one aspect of the film, and the movie goes surprisingly deep in some of this character development and plot concepts. There are plenty of adult themes that I can't say much to avoid spoiling, but the movie really pulls at heart strings that may be very relevant to some. It's the extra layer that expands the audience age and increases the enjoyment to many more. Yet the other aspect I really enjoyed was the world building and nostalgia that came into this movie. Rhyme City is a nice blend of the things that make a Pokémon city great for us gamers, integrating CGI with real life shots to make a believable world that could be inhabited by Pokémon. The 2-d models were great for the games, but the 3-D textures and depth added to the Pokémon really gives them a more realistic sheen that fit in the live action. Not quite the realism all the way, but a fantastic start to future installments if they make more. Even better for fans like me though, is the search for nostalgia that packs the film more than zubats fill the rock tunnel. Fans like me will enjoy the search for shout outs to all the spin offs this series has taken found in dialog, jokes, and even memorabilia that are just sitting in the wings to be discovered. This added layer should please the fan base and still not distract from the other components of the movie.

DISLIKES:

More Pokémon More Excitement Predictable Plot Dead End plots Convoluted Plot

SUMMARY: The movie did well, but there was some more fleshing out needed to assist with maximizing it's potential. For one thing, more Pokémon would have been welcomed to see in the city. I'm not sure if they ran into budget, time constraints, or are planning a future with more Pokémon movies, but I would have liked to have seen more of the critters in the world. The movie took a few templates and then only used them over and over again. Fortunately many of these are fan favorites, but there were others I were hoping would contribute to the plot rather than remaining background. This is definitely true of the battle scenes, which would have been great for both a plot and adventure aspect. There were a few battle scenes that held promise, but they quickly were diluted to more comedy and while funny, there could have been a little more bang for the buck had they actually brought the battle service to life. This is especially true when it comes to the finale of the story, which leads me to the next limitation for this reviewer. Aesthetics aside, the movie's main struggle comes in the limited story that seems weighed down by comedy and fan service. The first thing is the predictability of the plot, a combination of trailers and obvious, clichéd foreshadowing there is not much surprise in terms of the secrets held in this mystery. My friends and I had six of the seven revelations down well before revelation and it was only about waiting for the revelation rather than the impact. Next, the movie tries to pursue that deeper tone we talked about earlier, but truncates the plots before they build any steam. Justice Smith's story, holds many emotional moments, but they are bluntly dropped in the favor of more comedy. Other stars recruited into the film and the characters they portray are fairly limited as well, and the underutilization of the human and digital cast makes for a greatly missed opportunity to expand the plot and the characters. Perhaps in doing this, the last dislike of the convoluted and nonsensical story would have made a little sense. Like a fan service story, the twist that happens is okay, a bit of an overstretch that gets points for originality, but came out a bit corny for me other than trying to introduce more fan service. Had they maybe put a more climactic finish and not gone quite Sci-Fi based service, we might have been okay and had a better overall finish to the building story.

VERDICT:

Overall Detective Pikachu is one of the better video game movies to hit the silver screen, accomplishing the goal of hitting a variety of audience members and bringing a fun, cute and deep adventure with it. It's going to hit both super fans and new fans alike in regards to the world it creates, and with Ryan Reynolds leading the way is sure to bring laughs to the bunch. Yet the movie gets a little too focused on pleasing all audiences that it does not maximize that potential. Detective Pikachu's story is the primary limitation in that there was so much more to behold, and should a second movie arise, I hope they will focus on more Pokémon and character integration than pure comedy and fandom. Still a nice adventure for many and one worthy of a theater trip for most, and a home viewing for the rest.

My scores are:

Action/Adventure/Comedy: 8.0 Movie Overall: 6.5-7.0
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Tolkien (2019)
8/10
Fellowship Of The Ideas: Uniting Artistic And Symbolism For Portraying the Artistic Mind
11 May 2019
The legendary story of adventure, quests, love, magic, and fellowship. To many, the legendary adventures of Frodo and the game are immortalized in the epic film franchise crafted by Peter Jackson, whose world crafting and adventure were the stuff of legends as the realm of Middle Earth was brought to life. Yet what about the man who imagined it all up, who came up with the language to give birth to the fantasy world beloved by so many. Well, tonight's film hopes to give some insight into his life and perhaps motivate us to craft our own tales through the journey he took. Robbie K here to craft another review as he takes on:

Movie: Tolkien (2019) Director: Dome Karukoski Writers: David Gleeson, Stephen Beresford Stars: Nicholas Hoult, Lily Collins, Colm Meaney

LIKES:

Acting Graphics Music Beauty Symbolism Picking Out Things

SUMMARY: A biopic such as this requires engaging performances to bring the legendary figures to life and fortunately this movie has brought it's cast together to form its own fellowship. Hoult's group bonds with that English wit, full of fun and sarcasm as the brotherhood forms with each passing year. Lily Collins as the love interest is a usual role for her, but the direction grants her some options to bring out her motivational monologue skills that were a wonderful compliment to the struggles Hout portrays in the legendary writer. This duos chemistry is impressive, capable of bringing the tale to life. Of course, we need to see the vision of Tolkien's mind brought to life so that we can potentially get an idea of how he viewed the world to make his own world. Director Karukoski achieves this through the use of a number of camera work, special effects and audio tricks to help make this come to life. The result is that the movie is an artistic wonder, bringing the dark designs of Jackson's work and simplifying them into a version that seems to match the "hallucinations" of Tolkien's mind. As the story evolves and more of his journey begins unfolding, the movie continues to evolve the art style to show the beauty of the hero's journey and the struggles about discovery. All the beauty of the life events and symbolism of what each part of Tolkien's life meant in relationship to his works makes is captured in the wonderful cinematography and acting, all blending together to portray how the spirts of the art work in the harshest most brilliant ways. To help add that extra magic, the music they chose in the forms of sonatas, piano work, and dynamic music pieces was something I particularly liked the most. Captivating scores are what add that emotional beauty to me as well, almost mirroring the inner soul of the characters involved. Yet all the artistic licenses they took in this movie, the thing I particularly liked was the treasure hunt of references to the book in Tolkien's life. In his journey for the Hobbit, Tolkien is all about dropping hints of motivation for his world and the characters that inhabit them. Some of the hints are obvious in the mind's eye sequences where the beasts and creatures manifest in some weird hallucination, while others are a little harder to pick up, hiding in the common dialogue or background much like the elusive treasure his series is about. It's that element that adds a level of fun to the movie for the fans like me to help offset some of the slower parts to the film.

DISLIKES:

Slow A Little Too Artistic Predictable Story A little disjointed Perhaps Over Dramatized Not Quite the Quest I envisioned.

SUMMARY: My fellow reviewers are right in the terms that Tolkien may be a bit boring for the common audience member and much of this has to do with the very thing that makes it beautiful, the artistic presentation. Tolkien's pace is about hitting key points of his life and some of these moments don't have quite the entertainment aspect we've come to love as an audience. Instead the disjointed moments are sort of skipped, tied together in his memories as he goes through the war, are a little too nonlinear causing a semi-coherent story about how he came up with work. The fact that the ending is predictable makes the constant circling around the obvious ending a little tiresome given the pacing. Yet the biggest dislikes have to involve the missing that movie magic that makes the entertainment factor for the movies some of the most enjoyable. I needed that cohesive story and liberties to help glue the story into a cohesive tale that wasn't so artistic and a little more direct to help capture the spirit of the quest. I was hoping that we would see more of him walking through the world with an eye for his motivation, sort of seeing the story's writing as he planned it out. Instead, getting caught up in the life drama and how he struggled to write was not quite the quest I had envisioned upon watching the trailers for this film. Without this uniting quest and cliché look at the creation, the artistic liberties got a little too in the way of the storytelling which is going to limit the audience scope they may have looked for.

The VERDICT:

Tolkien is a beautiful film, showing that much like Tolkien's journey, artistic splendor is all about the journey to find the strength to create. It has fantastic acting, great use of audio and visual works to make it a symbolism of beauty and wonder, and does enough subtle hinting with the references to make it the treasure hunt mentioned at the beginning of the movie. And yet, while it is the strongest part of the movie it also puts a lot of limitations on it as well. The movie gets lost in the symbolism and artistic license, making the film a little more segmented and denser than what most will look for and limiting the audiences scope. Therefore, this movies is not going to be for the common fan and would recommend checking this one out at home unless you are a diehard Tolkien fan.

My scores are:

Biography/Drama/War: 7.5 Movie Overall: 6.5
0 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
The Intruder (I) (2019)
7/10
Intruding into new territory, The Intruder Manages To Refresh Things On This Predictable Tale
4 May 2019
Dramas/Thrillers, the lifeblood of the very world of entertainment. It's within this genre that one finds some of the darkest tales, plunging into the fathoms of imagination that most dread to step into. Yet, this genre sometimes gets a little too broad in spectrum, and tends to go to extremes that leaves the plots a little grandiose and run of the mill. Hi Robbie K back with another review on the latest movie to hit the silver screen, hoping to shed some light and help you pick your movie poison. I take a look at:

Movie: The Intruder (2019)

Director: Deon Taylor Writer: David Loughery Stars: Meagan Good, Dennis Quaid, Michael Ealy

LIKES:

Soundtrack Good Acting Creepy Character Development Beautiful Setting in many ways Decent Evolution of Suspense Character Centric Story:

Summary:

The soundtrack might be a rough way to open the review, but The Intruder is all about bringing cultures to the tale and part of that is music. A fantastic selection of modern-day styles that represent the culture, the movie integrates the tracks into key scenes that sort of add ambience to the typical genre shots (making love and driving cars). This added layer though is only a glazing to the acting that brings the characters to life on hand. Meagan Good is well good at her work taking a common role and in some ways refreshing it to make it interesting, engaging and compassionate that you feel for the character. Michael Ealy dives a little more into the extreme role of hotheaded decisions and emotional moments that makes fans love the genre. Yet it's Dennis Quaid who I think gets the nod for his performance in this movie. His character is creepy, and he executes all the mannerisms and delivery needed to craft a thriller villain. The smile that shows innocence yet insanity, the subtle laughs that get under your skin as they denote the edge about to be reached, and even more the temper that comes when these people do not get their way. It's fantastic development that greatly spans the movie, taking months to achieve instead of days and seeing that evolution. That is the making of a good casting for this genre for me. But the characters need a setting to play in and The Intruder's playground is one that is both aesthetically beautiful and haunting at the same time. Again representing the themes of old vs. new, the house known as Foxglove holds stunning engineering work that ropes the modern society in, primarily for stunning view, gorgeous décor, and the atmosphere it brings. Yet, the open floors, beautiful antiquated halls, and the multilevel house offers many shadows, sounds and ambiguity to get the tension going and drop the comfort level way down. In utilizing the characters, spreading the development over the story and utilizing such a playground, the Intruder is able to make an engaging level of suspense that keeps you into the series, much like a mini-series does. Throw in the focus on characters and not scares, and again you begin to see a tale that finds its pace and keeps you interested in characters who extend past the one-dimensional outlook these characters often have.

DISLIKES:

Predictable Trailers ruin much So Much More Potential Some Character balancing Not the Most Intense ending Still Idiotic Decisions

SUMMARY: Despite the good this movie accomplished, it still falls victim to some of the trademarks that come with the Soap Opera like approach. It's predictable, with many of the "surprising" components deduced a mile away based on the cliché plot points they love to tell. In regards to this movie, the two trailers I have seen give away much of the film and in seeing that you can piece together much of what will happen way before you get to the scene. This predictability is a shame because the potential they were building was set to be a potential memorable moment in the drama/thriller history, primarily in some more tactics Quaid's character could do and in the climactic chase to be had. But again this movie failed to deliver on that promise by sort of short sighting the ending. Instead of thrilling games of survival in the very house they chose, the last bout is a bit more boasting and brutish combat that ends rather quickly and unimpressively. That simplicity is emotionally fulfilling in the sense of justice, but given how they were building on two of the characters, I had hoped for a little more fulfillment in this final scene. The other component that would have been nice, as agreed by at least two of my audience members comments, the smart characters we were seeing were quite idiotic in their approach. Despite all the things available at their hands, the "stress" of the moment appeared to have robbed them of their brains to achieve the goal they were looking for. It won't bother many, but for this reviewer it takes away from the character work they had done in this story.

The VERDICT:

Better than I had anticipated, the Intruder manages to turn back the drama/thriller to an age of character focus instead of scares. Quaid in particular manages to take a simple role and craft it into a villain that you get hooked on watching, while his "prey" are characters with more dimensions and personality proving they aren't just meant for knife and ax fodder. Utilizing the setting and characters well, it's the drama that comes closer to balance than many of the films I review. Yet, the full potential of the characters was not quite reached for this reviewer, falling victim to predictable plots, time restraints, and an ending that again is cliché and more attuned to those wanting to lead with their hearts than heads. Still all in all, it's a movie that at least shows potential for future movies of this category to have a chance at story telling. Worth a trip to the theater? My opinion is no, as this is still a Lifetime film pumped up on budget, but check it out at home viewing.

My scores: Drama/Horror/Mystery: 7.0 Movie Overall: 6.0
8 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
UglyDolls (2019)
6/10
Focus on Merchandising and Audience Leads To Some "Ugly" Limitations
4 May 2019
The animated world brings many masterpieces, acting as a medium to bring imagination to life and craft impossible things that live action has not quite caught up to. Given the intended audiences, new worlds and characters are crafted in hopes of delivering fun adventure, potential catchy soundtracks, and of course lessons that can help refresh the morals tarnished by time if left unchecked. This weekend, the latest adventure attempts to take the stage in the form of a band of misfit creations with the potential to change the world. Will it be another blockbuster hit to withstand the test of time, or is it just more merchandising in a desperate plea to stand up to Disney. Robbie K here giving his thoughts0. on:

Director: Kelly Asbury Writers: Alison Peck (screenplay by), Sun-min Kim (based on characters by) Stars: Kelly Clarkson, Nick Jonas, Janelle Monáe

LIKES:

Creative Characters Colorful Environment Cute Atmosphere Voice Cast Messages Music

SUMMARY: As mentioned in the opening, the animated medium offers the ability to let imagination flourish and create some unique looking characters. Ugly Doll takes the concept of "mistakes" and turns them into oddly shaped combinations that hold much value for future action figures and dolls. Moxy (Clarkson) and her crew are odd and not the most detailed, but their personalities are etched into the design which goes in time with the world crafted. This world may not be the most realistic or detail oriented, but it's color, angles, and sort of Hodge podge approach lead to a mish-mash world of fun that would be beautiful as a theme park. Ugly Dolls manages to add personality into each of the two worlds, mirroring the approach to life each collective bunch represents. Regardless of which place you prefer, the movie holds the cute factor that is intended for the key audience, creating the safe, family friendly environment that parents would like their young ones to see. To help further bring the world to life, a talented voice cast has at least been recruited with singers, comedians, and sassy actresses to assist with bringing that last bit of spark to the characters needed. Clarkson, Jonas, and Monae are the ones who take point using their vocal talents to not only deliver the simplistic writing of the film and even more deliver the lines of the soundtrack this movie was focused on. The variety of voice talents were marginally used well and balanced to make sure every character got some screen time. Through whatever means though, the movie has two big selling points that are the selling points with this film. The first are the morals about inner beauty, self-worth, and believing in yourself. Cliché? Absolutely, but an important lesson for the young generation, and their chaperones to learn in hopes of establishing new grounds for self-confidence. That emotional gimmick, touched my heart personally, but for many of the group it may not quite penetrate the cerebral cortex like they wanted. Instead the morals will be lost to the toe tapping tunes that this movie is going to use. Much like Frozen, the soundtrack is going to be more memorable than the movie, with a number of reprises used to expand the soundtrack ever so slightly. Plenty of these songs have much emotion, but it's going to be the bubble gum pop beat that gets your kids going, bump up sales, and potentially get overplayed

DISLIKES:

Very Simplistic Plot Other Characters Only Scratched Rushed Story Little Impasse Unremarkable Moments Too geared on kids Too much focus on the music

SUMMARY: When it comes to animated kids films there is a balance that I look for in my reviews so that they may bring more people into the film. Ugly Dolls struggled with this for me. It starts with the simplistic plot, essentially a linear plot that holds very few curves to mix things up. It's simple story is cute and endearing, but lacks some of the fundamental moments that Disney does so well. Most of the characters do contribute in the form of comedy, but the character development is lacking for the others, leading to merely colorful outlines that will be perfect for action figures. Perhaps this could have been accomplished if the plot did not seem so rushed, trying to get from start to finish in the rapid time limit they set. In doing this, the impasses for our dolls were not that impressive and easily bypassed, the threat level essentially nullified by the cute antics of our group. The result is that the movie does not quite have the most memorable moments that will stay with us until the end of time. Why is this the case? I believe the two sources of weakness that took away from this movie are the kid focused atmosphere and the fixation on music. Ugly Dolls is perfect for the early aged viewers in terms of lacking any really scary or haunting features. Yet, in removing the threats the plot became a little too boring as the adventure just devolved into sort of an elementary school education lesson. Taking the adventure out of this movie therefore limits it for older members who will need to focus on the occasional adult joke and watching their young ones smiles. In addition, the music was too much the theme of this film. With all the singers casted, it's not surprising they wanted to turn out a soundtrack, and sure enough the studio has put a lot of investment in the toe tapping music to boost sales. Despite the catchy music, that focus took away much from the story as mentioned above, all in the name of cramming as many songs as possible to again boost their sales.

The VERDICT:

Overall Ugly Dolls is cute and I loved the themes, world building and energy built into its design and the presentation. Yet, the movie fails to find the balance and sense of adventure that others have held from other studios with bigger budgets. More story planning was needed, and less focus on limited audiences would have been nice, with a little more maturity ingrained to help out. Yet, the movie really needed to steer away from the focus on merchandising to leave an imprint and be known as one of the greats. It is not horrible at all, but the limited audience scope is going to be the main hesitation to go to the theaters for this. Instead, you might be better off buying the sound track and waiting for this to hit home.
8 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Long Shot (2019)
8/10
A Shot In The Rom Com Dark
3 May 2019
In the day of comedy, the name Seth Rogen is a champion for many types of roles and writing. Often the king of stoner comedy, Mr. Rogen somehow takes his dorky looking self to new heights as he makes us laugh our heads off with his similar stories. Today, another piece to his collection is released in the form of a new spin on political comedy, as he teams up with another gorgeous beauty to tell his own Cinderella story. Will this film hold a new form of comedy, or are we just writing another check to a mediocre film? Robbie K back with another review on the film:

Long Shot: (2019)

Director: Jonathan Levine Writers: Dan Sterling (screenplay by), Liz Hannah (screenplay by) Stars: Charlize Theron, Seth Rogen, June Diane Raphael

LIKES:

Good Chemistry Funny At Times Cute Moves At A Good Pace Good Music

SUMMARY: Despite the looks of Rogen, the guy manages to find some stellar cast mates to work with. Theron and Rogen have a great chemistry that brings the relationship to life, making for an interesting pairing that is fun to watch. Long Shot's central actors bring with it a dynamic spectrum that ranges from awkward crushes to stoned moments and the two really play off each other's energies well. The result is some sensationally dynamic comedy antics that work to inspire and drive the entertainment factor. Clever references, slapstick relief, and even the well-timed simplistic one-liners all work to make a diverse palette for most audience members to enjoy. Long Shot knows how to cater to a wide variety of the audiences. Yet the comedy is only part of the magic and Long Shot holds a cute atmosphere to it that was promised in the trailer. A love tale graces this film and has that classic nerd and gorgeous woman motif that is both inspirational and just sensational to watch. While it's not the most unique or magical, there is a very cute atmosphere about it and that will draw fans into the mix as well. Making for a good date movie, the love story here is very cute, with some endearing motifs brought in to inspire and chop up the aggressive comedy. With these stories mixed in, it actually puts this tale at a good pace, dropping the mundane circular banter for something with a little more pacing and fun. And finally, the music that is played throughout the movie sort of bridges a good number of decades, with fantastic utilization to bring nostalgia and character to the scene. If you are forced to go to this movie, then hopefully the tracks will keep you interested in the nearly 2 hour run time.

DISLIKES:

A little preachy Stoner Comedy going overboard The Villain character The Other Love Interest Predictable Lazy Writing

SUMMARY:

When you try to put in good messages, especially ones about changing the world and the social hierarchy, you sometimes run into the world of preachy cinema. Long Shot does those moments in quite a number of scenes going out of their way to put in these moments to be the inspirational piece the story is going for. Not awful, but sometimes a bit much these moments are just the small imbalances that stack up in this movie. Instead the movies sometimes runs away with its comedy, relying too much on jokes to offset the story for Rogen's usual brand of comedy. Some of the drug humor managed to get caught in the whirlwind of mindless banter, our "heroes" stuck in roundabout wonder, in their throngs of substance induced bliss. It is funny at times, but sometimes a bit too deep for me leading to some stale tactics by the tent minute of the scene. Other imbalances for me were the "rivals" of Theron's groups that acted as potential story plots. The Villain character by legendary Andy Serkis was a parody of makeup and villains, an antagonist who is there only for a few plot devices, but never serious enough to pose a threat outside of showing off stylized makeup. Also an offset was the potential love interest in the form of pretty Canadian prime ministers. A few mindless laughs and some rapid character introduction, this character held some potential that was lost in the grand scheme of comedy. These unnecessary characters just made for threadbare plots that further endorsed the predictable plot that this movie held. Yet it's the lazy writing that gets me as the biggest limitation. I'm not talking about the story or the clever comedy, that's actually good for me. No, it's the monotonous cursing that is famous in Rogen's arsenal of films. Long Shot suffers from focusing too much on the slander, replacing much of the human vocabulary with genitalia descriptions that are laced with consistent swear words. If you can't get enough of the F bombs, you've come back to the familiar watering hole, but Long Shot still needs some unique flavor added to the punch to escape this weakness for me. By not expanding up on the vernacular some of the scenes were missing their true potential due to again stale verbiage.

The VERDICT:

Long Shot is fun and surprisingly cute, making for a fun film that holds some story and laughs to behold. It's a generational movie that will speak to many, and the broad audiences it will appease too makes for a promising movie night out with the group. Yet, the factor that holds it back is some unnecessary plot devices, some wasted characters, and the fact that once again lazy writing seethes in to the clever jokes at hand. It makes for a generic comedy, but sometimes those are the fun films to share with friends and family, so long as they can handle the crude humor. So therefore, grab your friends and hit this delightful film up as a group, but otherwise stick to streaming for this for it lacks much of the theater worthy quality.

My scores are:

Comedy/Romance: 7.5 Movie Overall: 6.5
2 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Teen Spirit (2018)
8/10
Now That's the Spirit
21 April 2019
With all the big events coming up, it's sometimes not surprising to have some other films sneak beneath the radar. Without advertising, these films go unnoticed, a weird title standing out in a smaller theater, dwarfed by the juggernauts of the cinema world. Today, I ended my review run with a look at one of these movies, hoping to get some fun and surprises in store. Checking out a movie with little knowledge, this is another Robbie K's movie reviews as we check out:

Teen Spirit (2019)

Director: Max Minghella Writer: Max Minghella Stars: Elle Fanning, Agnieszka Grochowska, Archie Madekwe

LIKES: The Pace The Character Portrayal The Journey The Chemistry The Story Structure The Performances, Especially the end one The Music

SUMMARY: Coming out of the gate, movies that are a little more than independent often come out a bit slower for my taste, but in this movie the spirit keeps things going. Not too fast, but not too slow, Teen spirit finds a nice balance to cram enough stuff in and keep the entertainment factor going. It works well with keeping things moving and getting to the climactic moments without skipping too much stuff. What helps keep this pace going starts with the character portrayal, a teenage like Cinderella story that shows the hardships and begins to expand up on the complex character that Violet is. The journey to which tests her is familiar, but holds the components necessary to grow and lash on to the relevant character that she is. Elle Fanning's acting, I thought, was well selected, utilizing her demeanor from several other movies and molding it into a familiar character with a slight twist. The director I believed utilized the modern Cinderella portrayal and integrated it well with actors/actresses who meshed well to again fashion a believable relationship. It's this chemistry and inclusion of so many characters that I believe grounds some of the extreme moments of the character. Yet the character/acting is only one part of the mix, and the story structure itself helps to revive the excitement of performing. In a presentation that feels part Black Swan (without the sexual aggressiveness) meeting a teenage singing spectacle, Teen Spirit takes a familiar tale and keeps it focused on its goal of blending the two worlds. Many elements are touched upon Violet's life and many secondary characters help her explore those different aspects and integrated this into the tale. Being a movie about performing, you are hoping for a little pep in the step right? Well, Spirit has you covered as there are some emotionally rich performances that should speak to a number of members. Emotional ballads, saucy diva songs, and a few covers should help get some toes tapping, while also emphasizing the mind of the lead character. Again, the use of music and performance to add to the struggle and impasses of the film, helps grant some originality to this familiar plot. Finally, the music is the key to my enjoyment in this film. A fantastic selection of songs, Teen spirit has found a nice blend of original songs, fun covers, and use of some energetic tracks that are not only fun, but again fit well to the scenes. I believe this may have been the component to turn me into the movie more, and hope you like it too.

DISLIKES:

Mostly predictable Touch and Go on some story elements More Performances, especially with the other guys The Credit scenes

SUMMARY: As much fun as I had with the movie, there were still some things that needed some rehearsal to help get it perfect. First, the tale was predictable, only a few moments hanging in the balance to whether or not they would surprise me. Yet, working with the timing, and seeing the clues, it was not hard to decipher the grand finale. Fortunately, the other aspects of the film were enough to distract from this, but they also open up the door to another limitation. Violet's life has some rather shocking trials and some openings to further expand her character. The problem is, with all the components they wanted to place in this film it resulted in these problems being touch and go. Secondary arcs and potential for character growth were dropped very quickly, sometimes solved in the blink of an eye and other times left to fade into bare memories. Others are open ended leading to a possible sequel, but I would have loved some extra time into the movie to further explore these components or perhaps drop a few impasses to allow for others to get development. This was especially true for the coach she meets early on in the film, the most engaging relationship of the bunch and the one that had much pushed to the side. It's a bit frustrating for me, but again the entertainment factor helps hide it, though again this brings up another limitation. For a movie about competition, Teen Spirit does a poor job of engaging in the rivalry aspect and actually showing that competition. After a semi-flash introduction, and the potential to bring about more acts, this film surprisingly left little in the development of their rivals. Many of these acts are looks alone, a mere placeholder to remind you this is a competition. Sadly, outside of one act and a few montage shots, these groups are forgotten characters that serve little purpose other than stir the drama plot ever so slightly. I would have liked a little more expansion to these moments and some better competition build up to add to the suspense of the moment, despite the cost of character development. It would have added a little more flash, offered some openings for story told through song, the aspect I really liked. Finally, the end credit scenes were a nice tie up to the ambiguous ending, but it also paved the way for some unnecessary shots and the potential for a sequel I don't think I would fit in this world. Still, only time will tell the relevance of this scene, for alone it is merely extra fluff to offset some of the work this film did.

The VERDICT:

Teen Spirit has a lot packed in its run time, and the entertainment factor is the key to why this film works as well as it does. Storytelling, acting, and character development are all functional and simplistic enough they making a guiding framework, though their predictability is a little lackluster. No, for me the entertaining relationships, the engaging pace, and the fun of the numbers and music will be the aspect that remains strong in my mind, especially in its use of storytelling and the energy it puts out. It's true that Teen Spirit is not the original story, but it's reality based and movie magic will be a combination I feel will hit many. Still, it needs to work on balancing plot and more importantly choosing which components to focus on to help provide sustenance and suspense.

My scores are:

Drama/Music: 8.0 Movie Overall: 7.0
1 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Cursed To Mediocrity?
20 April 2019
Horror movies, they seem to come a dime a dozen these days, following a carbon copy formula that does not shy away from trying to appease the die-hard fans. With the establishment of universe trends, various film franchises continue to work their hardest to match the success Marvel's comic universe is currently pulling. And tonight's review is a movie that barely finds a way into one of these universes, but still tries to make a claim on its own. Yes, tonight yours truly takes a look at the haunted cries of:

The Curse of La Llorona (2019)

Director: Michael Chaves Writers: Mikki Daughtry, Tobias Iaconis Stars: Linda Cardellini, Raymond Cruz, Patricia Velasquez

LIKES:

Jumps into scares Good Run Time Good Use of Shadows Decent Acting Comedic Relief Good Make Up

Summary: A horror movie has to keep the speed going and get to the darker thrills that this genre brings. The weeping woman's journey does not hesitate to give its audience the chills it wants, hopping into the jumps and creepy tone within minutes of it starting. As such, the pace of the movie is very brisk, keeping in time to present as much of the scare fest as they could in the 90-minute run time. For yours truly, the jump scares don't quite get me, but instead the creepy atmosphere is there to settle into the crevices of your mind. La Llorona is all about utilizing the shadows to stoke the embers of your imagination to craft unspeakable horrors. It's those slight sounds and eerie music that were the scariest components for me and it worked well. I'll hand it to the cast in this film, for they sold the terror of the movie, as if they were being haunted. From the kids to the adults, each one did a wonderful job with the limited roles they had in this film. My favorite was Raymond Cruz, not because he was the star of the film but more so the comedic relief used in his role. Despite all the bone chilling screams, and various telekinetic pulls, the rogue priest makes for some laughs without it being too forced. Finally, in regards to haunted make ups, La Llorona does a nice job of the pale pallor, dark lipstick, and gory liquids to satisfy most make up fans. Nice execution, with some haunting special effects makes for an interesting antagonist.







DISLIKES:

Simplistic Story Is Okay Jump Scares not So much Flat Characters Trailers Revealed Much Unoriginal Makeup Not The Best Connection To The Universe

SUMMARY: While scaring is the name of the game in these types of movies, the fact they are pumped out rapidly leads to some quality drops for this reviewer. The simplistic nature of this film is a limitation for me, the potential decreased by just the simple presentation that they pulled out. No twists, no original edge, and a story that held a lot of promise were all just mediocre for me and led to a story that was hard to grip onto for me. Even the characters were only semi-there, flat one-dimensional people that weren't the most engaging for me to hook onto. Perhaps the scares would get you, but seasoned horror people like me won't find much in originality from scares, nor the most suspenseful climax. Now part of this was due to me finding tricks of avoiding jumping, and others due to the trailers showing much of these scenes in their brief life on the television. Yes, La Llorona falls victim to the trailer revealing too much, giving you much of the premise in the short two-minute commercials. And while I said the makeup was executed well, this universe is having trouble coming up with unique make ups that don't follow the same template. Because of this, the weeping woman may look good, but she's another pale figure with black lines to emphasize death. And finally, the connection to the Conjuring Universe is like a derivative line touching the main curve. A brief exchange from a shared character it the only opening to the universe and without a teaser or much else to connect, the story telling continues to be lackluster at best.

The VERDICT:

In truth, the movie about the legendary figure is okay for me. It fills the void of a scary movie for the month, and has some of the traditional means to generate a few jumps. Your best source of entertainment will be to bring those who scare easily to the film and watching them react. Yet in terms of the movie, it's just not the same dark magic that the Conjuring wielded a long time ago. It's got the superficial "charm" to it, and uses shadows well to terrorize the actors they have casted/ Fortunately, despite the limitations, the movie has a low run time, meaning you won't be in the theater that long in case it's not your particular cup of tea. Worth a trip to the theater? Kind of, but I'd say this one leans more towards the home viewing in this reviewer's opinion. My scores are:

Horror/Mystery/Thriller: 6.5 Movie Overall 6.0
19 out of 31 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Penguins (2019)
7/10
Waddling In To A New Documentary Beat
19 April 2019
Nature documentaries have been made famous on the likes of public television, but Disney was ready to one-up the game by bringing their magic to the big screen. With stunning effects and a budget to uncover the secrets of the natural world, Disney Nature was born. Ten years later, the subsection of the empire is back with another film, ready to bring the chills and thrills of the frozen wasteland few choose to trek. Robbie K is back with yet another review as he takes a look at:

Penguins (2019)

Directors: Alastair Fothergill, Jeff Wilson Writer: David Fowler Star: Ed Helms

LIKES:

Beautiful Cinematography Adorable Star Joyful Energy Good Censorship Voice over adding a punch Musical overture

SUMMARY: In a documentary, it's all about finding a way to capture the natural energy in the best perspective. Penguins has a dynamic camera work going for it, utilizing some fantastic technology to capture the feelings and magic involved with the penguin ritual of mating. The adorable star of Steve has pizazz and character, which helps bring the fun to this documentary. You grow attached to the little guy, feeling a sense of happiness radiate out of his squat body, that not only is thanks to the charm of the penguins, but also the wonderful editing of the footage the team obtained. While much of the movie holds that fun atmosphere, the dangers of the artic wilderness are still displayed as both natural phenomena and predators debut on film. Those darker, sadder moments are fortunately censored, so you won't have to avert your eyes too much for this film. Yet, if a documentary doesn't quite stand out to you, Penguins gets a nice touch from others by utilizing its voice actor Ed Helms to give a little pizazz to the artic explorer of Steve. His voice over montage acting as Steve's thoughts are entertaining at times, sort of filling in the silence with an approach that further added to fun of the movie. And yes, utilization of a fun music set brought more fun in the form of well-timed mood music to help add to the adventure.



DISLIKES: Short Not Quite As Detailed as Others Occasional annoying Commentary

SUMMARY:

Not much can be said in terms of dislikes of this movie, but there are a few limitations for this reviewer. For one thing it is short! While this can be a good thing, I think I wanted to see more of the ritual and lifestyle unfolding given the price of admission. Penguins fast pace will be great for modern attention spans, but for those that become engrossed into the movie, the abrupt stop will leave you wanting a little more bang for your buck. Much of this I think has to do with how they limited the world they were focusing on with this film. Other films in the Disney nature arsenal expanded to three families, colorful worlds, and more detailed behaviors that spanned a greater time period. In this case, the shorter focus may have been the reason for the fast pace given the limited content they wanted to focus on. Had they perhaps studied the patterns of some other artic creatures, this film could have been a little more of the adventure fans are used to. Finally, while I did enjoy the comedy provided by Helms commentary, there are times where they got a little overdone, but these are few and far between.

THE VERDICT:

Penguins is a fun adventure that serves as a good educational launch pad for those curious about the world around them. The adventure of Steve is a short trip into the artic, but it's a surprisingly fun one where joy, happiness, and a few other quirks exist to thaw the frozen atmosphere. Utilizing some solid comedic tricks, a captivating voice work and beautiful footage, the movie does a great job of keeping it appropriate for it's intended audience. However, this movie does still suffer from a few details that are missing and not expanding its horizons into the tundra like some of their other films have done and that may be the biggest limitation. This documentary is magical, but the fact that it's not quite the big budget blockbuster that we get shoved into our faces may also limits it's theater worthiness in the modern age. Still, yours truly would encourage catching it sometime, particularly with the little ones in tow.

My scores are:

Documentary: 7.0 Movie Overall: 6.0
2 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Breakthrough (2019)
7/10
Breaking Through the Barriers To Limit General Viewing
18 April 2019
Movies about faith are tricky to make for a general population. In today's world where such a topic is torn into, with the endless debate often leading to different outlooks on such a historical and personal topic. And yet, sometimes that type of movie becomes the big hit such as last year's I can Only Imagine did. Nevertheless, the religious drama movies are ready to hit big this Easter weekend as tonight looks at another real, miracle event for inspiration. Tonight, I get the chance to check out:

Movie: Breakthrough (2019) Director: Roxann Dawson Writer: Grant Nieporte Stars: Chrissy Metz, Topher Grace, Josh Lucas

LIKES: The Message The Emotion The Sound and Video editing The Music

SUMMARY: In a movie like this, the message is perhaps the central core of the movie, and Breakthrough is not afraid to show you the beliefs of the cast involved. Unlike the ice to which the character falls into, the belief in prayer and the power of God is the beautifully emphasized in the various scenes and sequences. The case of faith comes with plenty of emotional moments, monologues and discussions about the various questions that come with the Lord's work and the explanation of miracles. As the audience members in my theater showed, those deep in faith became engrossed into the film, allowing the feelings to wash over them and manifest in shouting at the screen in their praise. The scenes that I think did the most for me, being the robot I am, involved those where sound and editing were blended in the Hollywood magic way. Using those subtle sound effects that soon radiate throughout the theater with close ups of the patient, brought the power of the prayer to life. However, the component I think is the biggest supporting power is the music. Much like the trailer, Breakthrough contains the songs worship that hold an ability of their own to incite the true magic that faith has. Those moments struck a chord in their beauty, and is the selling point of the movie for me.

DISLIKES:

Preachy Cheesy at times A bit Too Forced Selective Audience The Extra Fluff Secondary Character Syndrome

SUMMARY: The challenge of these movies is trying to take a tale and expand it into the populace that make up today's audience. Breakthrough didn't quite meet that challenge when talking with my friend who accompanied me. For one thing, the movie takes a little too much turn down the preachy side, utilizing monologues, very staged/forced dialogue, and Hallmark channel like writing that is all geared towards the message. The various church like sermons hold good meaning, but it's not the most entertaining movie writing that writers have cooked up. As such, this forced sermon will sort of force this movie into a narrow alley for audiences leaving general audience members disappointed. Thus, it's that selective audience that sort of limits the theater visiting component of the film. Now in terms of the other two dislikes for me it starts again with going a little too far with the story. Near the ending 25 minutes extra fluff was added that once more held good ideas, but they were in a manner that felt out of place. Breakthrough's ending just seemed to come a little too late in the movie, potentially suggesting another story arc that could have added more time had they pursued it. They made the right choice of cutting most of it, they just needed to cut the last remnants to keep the consistency. And of course the character utilization is key to making the most of your cast. Breakthrough did a decent job with its primary and secondary characters, at least in terms of big names, but the movie failed to really maximize the other characters that were introduced in the beginning. I understand this isn't the theme of the movie, but then don't waste time doing elaborate introductions to only fizzle out.

The VERDICT:

Breakthrough is timed perfectly for release for Easter and will speak to the intended audience of those with powerful faith. The Lord's words speak true and the miracles this movie represents are indeed an inspiration to see, especially when the powerful editing and music blend together. Yet, unlike some of the other faith-based movies, Breakthrough still finds odds with getting the entertainment value in, the preachiness and forced dialogue being the lighthouse for a narrow set of audience members, thus limiting the theater visit. Throw in some editing and character use choices that aren't quite all the way there and you again get the limitations of this movie. Still, a film worth watching at home or in youth group, Breakthrough's quality is best left at the comfort of your own home rather than the theater.

My scores are:

Biography/Drama: 6.5 Movie Overall: 4.5-5.0
30 out of 66 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Hellboy (2019)
6/10
There is Hellboy To Pay
14 April 2019
Comic book movies remain the big fashion of the era, utilizing big budgets to bring the world of literature to life in ways the fanbase never imagined. With DC and Marvel combatting for supremacy, the independent studios are still trying to work their way in and get some publicity themselves. The first two installments of this movie held their own charms, but are a little outdated and thus comes this weekend's flick in the form of a modern update of the dark, mercenary comic. Robbie K back with another review as we look at:

Movie: Hellboy (2019)

Director: Neil Marshall Writers: Andrew Cosby (screenplay by), Mike Mignola (based on the Dark Horse Comic Book "Hellboy" created by) Stars: David Harbour, Milla Jovovich, Ian McShane

LIKES:

Most of the Acting Comedy Action Pace Costumes Music

SUMMARY:

Hellboy requires some people ready to go in the darker parts of the superhero world, and the cast did a good job for the most part. David Harbour brings some new life to the role, bringing the sarcasm of Hellboy with some broader emotion than Perlman did a while back. Ian McShane does his work in the executive director role, playing that tough father figure that is always the guiding light to the demon's moral compass quite well. My favorite though was Sasha Lane, who took the complex role of Alice and unleashed it to its full potential of the awkward time in awkward circumstances. The chemistry between Harbour and the group is astounding, fun and much of the light in this wave of darkness. Other factors that I enjoyed include comedy that is fun, well delivered lines and some semi-slapstick that left me impressed with the wit that was behind it. The laughs were used well, balanced in the grand scheme of the story without becoming the central focus, which I applaud. The action components also use the comedy to make for some more engaging fights, and Hellboy makes the effort to help keep action scenes dynamic and different. My favorite fight was the end battle, which held more of the adrenaline-fueled insanity that makes me fist pump in excitement. This action leads to a pace that works well in comic book movies, and Hellboy does not drag too long like some of the other super flicks have hit sometimes. In addition, the musical score manages to support and life to the mix as well, with both orchestral and regular songs to spice things up in their high energy fashion. Yet, the biggest positive for me is the costumes and settings of the world. The makeup artists and CGI guys accomplished the goals of bringing 2-D images to life, crafting devilish monsters, nightmare inducing creatures, and savage creations that fit quite well in the hellion universe. Hellboy's cast of interesting characters are equipped to look the part, and while not consistent, they for the most part hold the attributes needed to make the world of Hellboy come to life. The various organizations and fortresses are crafted to represent the world as well, props, uniforms, and various other components that mirror the worlds crafted by the Dark Horse Comics authors and illustrators.

DISLIKES:

Mila Jovovich's character Overdramatic Flair The Story The Lack of Focus The Loudness The Aggressive Graphicness

Summary:

The acting was fine for the most part and Jovovich does a fine job acting as she always does. However, this character they crafted was not quite the same denizen of darkness I love in this series. This blood queen had some scarring moments, but she was not quite the threatening image I wanted to see unleashed in the film. Her direction was more overdramatic delivery and singular speeches rather than a well-built character for us to either love or hate. The result was a weaker antagonist to stand against for the nearly 2 hour run time. It's that overdramatic flair at other components that takes precipice, which takes away from the overall movie rather than add, the grandiose nature a little annoying at times. In regards to the story, Hellboy is trying to cram a lot of arcs into a small run time, trying to take the mini-series approach without the mini-series time table. This rendition holds a lot of introductions into the world of the big armed demon, including father introduction, friend introductions, prophecies, rivalry establishment, and more. All these factors are rapidly developed, giving little time, obstacles, or suspense that these stories requires, leading to flat storytelling that held such promise. It's the lack of focus in these things that makes the movie okay, but not truly great. Finally, the aggressive visuals and sounds may also be quite overwhelming given the preference of the audience. In regards to sounds, this movie is very loud, and those with sensitive ears will need to brings some barriers to reduce the impact of the cacophony of sounds that rush in to avoid ears ringing. Visual wise, again the movie's CGI group has applied their skills in the way fitting of a dark comic book series like this. However, they may have done too good of a job as the blood, gore, and sinew dribbles like rain in this movie. Hellboy's focus is very much geared towards filling the silver screen with as much maiming as possible, bringing some disturbing imagery to embed itself into your memory. Sometimes, this worked for me very well, but other times it was unnecessary, merely blatant attempts to raise the shock factor another few notches. If that's the kind of visuals you want in this kind of film, then you will want to flock to the theaters and catch it in high definition goodness.

The VERDICT:

Overall, Hellboy is not a bad movie as many have said, but it didn't deliver on the potential crafted in the trailers. Some good visuals, comedy, and fast paced action were good starts in terms of getting the comic vibe up, but the movie itself just doesn't have all the finesse it needed like the bigger studios have done in the past. We needed some focus on the story, some bigger suspense added to the mix, and more importantly finding that balance to extend the movie into a series rather than in one movie. Perhaps a series would be the next step to better presentations, but for now, this movie has a lot of special effects to make a theater visit worthy, but with other super hero films coming or still in theaters, you are best left to waiting or attending these.

My scores are:

Action/Adventure/Fantasy: 6.5 Movie Overall:: 5.5
4 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Little (I) (2019)
7/10
Lots of Fun In Little Time, But Needs Some Refinement
12 April 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Remixes and twists on classics, Hollywood's bread and butter to drop lots of movies with each weekend that passes. This weekend that trend continues, as Tom Hanks beloved Big gets reversed to a smaller proportion. With lots of advertising and the hopes that it will do extremely well this weekend, this comedy looks to be cute and fun for a movie adventure. So what is in store? Well Robbie K is back again with yet another review and it is time to see if the latest comedy will keep you laughing or leave you scoffing. Let's get started as we review;

Movie: Little (2019)

Director: Tina Gordon (as Tina Gordon Chism) Writers: Tracy Oliver (story by), Tina Gordon (as Tina Gordon Chism) Stars: Regina Hall, Issa Rae, Marsai Martin

LIKES:

Fun Cute Acting Soundtrack Morals

SUMMARY: The name of the game is fun in this installment. Little finds a way to relive the magic of Big and help gain a second childhood in the modern-day world. My friend and I had a blast with the little adventure at hand as both characters tackle the new challenges put before them in the worlds they are forced to face. The jokes were on point and well timed, keeping in theme with the energy of the movie. Part of this comes from the cute atmosphere established with the writing of this movie, mature enough to hit the older audience, yet still young enough to hit the teenagers and young adult crowd.

The acting helps to make this movie pop, Issa Rae works the assistant scene quite well, sass and innocence building together quite well to make a likeable character. She helps balance out the silliness, yet still add to it in her own manner that breaks up some of the monotony this film chooses to approach. As for young actress Marsai Martin, she's got quite a start to the acting career and I look forward to seeing the young girl in future installments. She's got the attitude of an adult down pat, sass blending with some comedic relief and childish moments that are quite balanced for a movie like this. Nevertheless, the chemistry between all cast both primary and secondary groups work well and I quite enjoyed seeing the teamwork bring the characters to life.

Yet, part of the fun comes from a killer soundtrack, new and old tracks coming together to capture the feelings of the scenes. The cultural representation the sound editor picked was extremely awesome, and had me dancing in my seat while also wanting to break out my phone to look up the songs. Even smarter, is that much of the movie's song sort of emphasize the other part I like of this movie, the morals that are embedded in this film. Yes, like many movies the morals are preachy and baked right in, but Little finds a way to mesh those lessons into some fun moments that help you enjoy what you are learning. Finding some lessons that are relevant, Little gets props for helping the audience dig deep and look into themselves to find their own abilities.

Dislikes:

Predictable Fast Missed opportunities Some pointless character introductions Story points that are limited Trailers give away much

SUMMARY: Predictable thy name is comedy and Little tries hard to defy the expected jokes and plot lines this movie sets up a mile away. Little's focus on having fun means using the same tricks to get a laugh and the same means to get to the end of the story. Rather than leading to a build up, with areas that require intense focus, discovery, and a major push to get better, Little takes the fast approach to getting through the film. It's okay, but the movie had a lot of hinted opportunities that showed promise, but then dropped the ball leading to some disappointing moments. This was especially true with the teacher scenes that the trailers loved to highlight, characters that held potential with their introduction, but reduced to comedic props that didn't quite pack the kick I think they wanted. Some of the story points as well had the same issues going the same way, hints of fun adventures and the growth of characters that quickly fizzled out. Finally, the trailers are good at revealing much of the movie and there isn't too much one needs to see past the highlights they showed. Little falls victim to showing off too much, leaving little to the imagination outside of some of more engaging dialogue and a few romance scenes.

The VERDICT:

Little is fun, simple as that, but the movie needs some refining to be the classic that Big was presenting long ago. This new spin is cute, hits the target audience members well, and does the job of teaching you the important lessons with baked in, heartwarming goodness. While the movie is funny to so many levels, it is still very predictable and had so many avenues to go down for comedy that they left unfulfilled. Thus, the potential for going to see in the theaters is lessened by the trailers and lack of finesse that they were going for, and I recommend waiting on this one for home viewing. Still, check this one out eventually if you are looking for the means to have a good laugh fest for simplistic fun.

My scores are:

Comedy/Fantasy/Romance: 6.5 Movie Overall: 5.0
10 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
The Beach Bum (2019)
5/10
Artistic Aimlessness That Will Appease Target Audience
30 March 2019
You have those actors that draw people in right? These movies that utilize this card sometimes take the path last taken and offer a... unique twist to tell a story. Welcome to Robbie K's movie review, and tonight's movie utilized this tactic quite well in the form of Matthew McConaughey. Bringing the wild Lincoln showman to the screen, they hoped to take a very unique concept to the silver screen and wow us with a movie about drugs. What is in store? Well stick around to find out as I review:

Movie: The Beach Bum 2019

Director: Harmony Korine Writer: Harmony Korine Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Snoop Dogg, Isla Fisher

LIKES:

McConaughey can act stoned Funny... at times Less than 2 hours Artistic Approach Good Musical Score

SUMMARY:

As stated above, The Beach Bum is certainly an experience that tries to point out the "fun" life can have if you have power to get past illegal actions. The lead continues to show he can play a variety of roles, with a legitimate stoner role being added to his resume. Moon dog the carefree spirit was a very unique role and I think that McConaughey succeeded in the free spirit approach that it required. At times, his ramblings, drunken stupors, and facial expressions were entertaining, some well-timed jokes matching perfectly with the theme. Yet there were other moments where Snoop Dogg was able to steal the show just being himself. This Bum was able to get some laughs at, but it didn't quite leave me in stitches like other comedies do. Instead, the movie does get points for the "experience" component of it. Moon dog's journey does have a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, that once it arrives turns out to be a semi-inspirational message that I think will please the target audience. However, the path to get there is not going to be for everyone, but fortunately the movie has a couple of other high points for me that might make it better. One of them is the fact that the movie is under 2 hours long so we get to the end hopefully faster. The second and probably best thing for me though, is the great musical score that spans a number of decades that really sells the feelings that Moon dog is putting down in his sequences. That track listing has a good toe tapping theme to it and it works so well for this reviewer.

DISLIKES

Aimless wandering Very Slow Very Ridiculous Horrible Means Lazy Writing Cameos are okay Graphic displays of life Not as Witty as I was hoping Too Artistic Overall

SUMMARY:

Taking artistic approaches is a gamble and sometimes it will only hit the target audience, and that is the case for me for this film. With Moon dog being a free spirit capable of hitting so many avenues he aimlessly wanders around in the film, with little to no point to his amblings. The result is a movie that feels like it's going nowhere for me, with pacing that feels slow as molasses with the minutes dragging by. Perhaps it's the ridiculous concepts and the horrible means by how the stoner accomplishes his goals is not the most entertaining or plot driven component. If that's the kind of style you are looking for in a movie, then you'll find great joy in this movie. Other components that did not work well with me started with some of the lazy writing. Moon dog and company don't have the best vocabulary. While this may work well with the mindset he established, hearing the copious number of cursing and graphic metaphors did nothing, but grow stale for me by the first third of the movie. In addition, watching Moon dog do horrible things to people, wasn't even that fun for me, with the carefree debauchery more revolting that thrilling to watch as the sad story continued to progress. Perhaps the cameos could have saved it, but again the movie didn't quite utilize in the means I was hoping to get from the glimpses the trailers provided. Most of the celebrities were just as sad of messes, offering little more than more bouts of lazy writing and stupid risk taking that was a sad spectacle. Other times, it merely involved McConaughey's character taking advantage of the extras and side actors, in displays I care not to have my eyes exposed too for long bouts. The Beach Bum's first third felt much like a porno, which isn't my cup of tea when going to see most films. In addition, we all know that comedies can sometimes be designed for stupid fun, but this journey lacked any sort of wit and resorted to simplistic stoner techniques that did nothing for me in terms of comedic gold . As such, the bottom line comes down to the movie being a little too free spirited itself to make for an engaging story or adventure to tell.

The VERDICT:

I agree with the other reviewers that the movie is artistic and a little more original in its approach than most movies will take. However, I don't think the risk paid off well when it came to this reviewer's preference for a movie. Unlike Seinfeld, this movie about nothing but living life just didn't entertain, and the meandering around the state of Florida doing nothing but smashing the rules, acting stupid, and acting as a PSA for the repercussions of chronic substance abuse are not my idea of a theater movie. Perhaps if left to made for television or streaming it would get higher, but in regards to the other comedies coming out I recommend passing this one up for something else that is worth the price of admission. My scores are:

Comedy: 5.5 Movie Overall: 3.0
1 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Wonder Park (2019)
7/10
Wonder Park or Blunder Park? Read On to Find Out
16 March 2019
Fan of Roller coaster Tycoon, or Simulation coasters? Were you one of those people who had an imagination that could take you to anywhere you wanted to think of? Have you wanted to go to a place of wonder where girls didn't blow up to blueberries? Well tonight's movie attempts to bring all of this to you in a package that looks to people overwhelmingly cute. Robbie K back with his thought on yet another movie to hit the silver screen in hopes of not getting lost to the reruns of the theater. Let's get started!

Movie: Wonder Park (2019)

Writers: Josh Appelbaum (screenplay by), André Nemec(screenplay by) Stars: Sofia Mali, Jennifer Garner, Ken Hudson Campbell

LIKES:

Cute Voice Work Special Effects Animation Energy Jokes Imagination Message

Summary: Disney movies make it difficult to try to bring animated features out because of the not so big budget or army of animators/ideas. Nickelodeon is able to still work some charming magic into this piece though, managing once more to bring the cute factor into their film and get the feelings going. It's got some surprising emotional work, with voice acting and story coming together to sell the feelings lying deep in the fun, cute charm that the trailers show. Much like the opening scene of Up, Wonder Park has some surprisingly deep messages that will hopefully motivate the young and refresh the older generations on the importance of imagination and wonder. Sap fest aside though, the movie accomplishes the goal of still being fun, managing to inject the wonder of imagination in terms of visuals and adventures. Nickelodeon's team injects a lot of kid friendly energy into the mix, making an infectious, thrill seeking ride that is perfect for the intended audience. The smooth animation, with high paced speed keeps in time with the nature of the animals and imaginative girl, while the design manages to bring in the magic that theme parks and kids movies have. All the unlimited potential of a child's imagination is unleashed in this film and it is certain to bring you back into the world of pure imagination.

DISLIKES:

Predictable Too Simple Lacking Intense Suspense Short

Summary: As we have talked about, animation movies require a story to be very dynamic, fun, and have a sense of adventure that takes us out of our world. While Wonder Park does semi-accomplish this, it doesn't quite do it as well as some of the other bigger studios have done. For one thing the movie is predictable, all the symbolism, mystery, and potential twists are easily discernible and lacking the finesse and mind-blowing moments that the sister studio is famous for. In addition, despite all the fun that Wonder Park did in helping you relive your childhood, it was a little too simplistic in the adventure department, not quite having the drive or dive that Pixar and DreamWorks is able to concoct. This means for me that there was not too many suspenseful parts in the mix, most of the chases reduced to quick bouts of falling, or lost in another joke. All the dark challenges and impasses are very diluted avenues, that act as symbolic psyche components of humans rather than true antagonists. Yet the main thing that is semi disappointing, is how short the movie is. Clocking in at just around 80 minutes, this film certainly moves fast, but not so much in the good way as the content feels a little lacking to be honest. Oh well, it got me out a little early, but the length may not be the most bang for your buck in terms of the expensive movie ticket price.

The VERDICT:

Wonder park is certainly an important illustration about the important components of life, including the importance of maintaining your imagination and wonder. It makes great use of the kid friendly energy, yet has a few things for adults to latch onto, especially those touching, pull at your heart string moments. Yet despite all the fun I had in this movie, the film still feels like a Nickelodeon tv special that could have been left to the network. It needed some more adventure, it needed more suspense for me, and more importantly it needed more of that magic they talked about. Wonder Park certainly has the makings for a fun merchandising series, it just needs a little more finesse to finish the deal. Worth a trip to the theater? Hmmm kind of, but this one is probably waiting for streaming for most.

My scores are:

Animation/Adventure/Comedy: 7.5 Movie Overall: 6.5
16 out of 25 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Five Feet Apart From Other Romance Dramas
15 March 2019
Teenage romance movies always hold special places in a lot of people's hearts, but depending on the decade your familiar with, the elements and presentation are a little different. Eighties brought comedy with emotional drama, nineties was the Nicholas Sparks beginning with the cute, cheesy tactics, early 2000s were all about the Nicholas Sparks, super dramatic stories that hold a lot of places in the hearts of the public. Then came the 2010s and the twist was now romance, but put some type of terminal illness with it to sweeten the deal... So tonight's movie continues this current trend, taking another story in hopes of invoking tears and pulling the heart strings of the audience at the same time. Yes, tonight is Five Feet Apart and yours truly is here to write his reviews as always and share his opinions. Let's go:

Movie: Five Feet Apart (2019)

Director: Justin Baldoni Writers: Mikki Daughtry, Tobias Iaconis Stars: Haley Lu Richardson, Cole Sprouse, Claire Forlani

LIKES: Acting Character Use Comedy Appreciation of Art Beautiful Romantic Nice Surprises

SUMMARY: The latest movie fills the formula of sad, drama meeting the romantic teenage plotlines. Fortunately, the acting is there to bring a fantastic dynamic to latch onto in the form of Cole Sprouse and Harley Lu Richardson. Their chemistry is amazing, bringing the two sides of the romantic cone to life in a very sweet, charming, and surprisingly realistic way. Five Feet Apart takes these characters and does a fantastic job advancing them past the carbon copy templates most of these films do. The supporting cast does a wonderful job of being integrated into the story, their own tales and dynamics meshing well to bring out the main characters in new ways. Of course the movie somehow manages to add on to the simple romantic story by appreciating other dynamics that can be included in romance movies. The comedy is simple and classy, fitting very well with the tone of the movie without being too forced. For those enjoying symbology in the visual arts, the rooms and works of our proverbial Romeo and Juliet have plenty of artistic bite that is quite impressive to behold, instigating a little jealously in my mind about their artwork. As for the romance component itself, again I give them props for finding a way to bring love and beauty into a realistic way that was both poetic and fun to behold. Five Feet Apart takes most of the cheese factor out of the romance, and instead makes it an adventure that is fun to go on. The ordeal of the disease contending with the blossoming love is a driving force of the film and somehow manages to be fresh despite how plotted love tales are. Perhaps it is also the surprises that come in at points that assists with keeping the adventure going, finding ways to divert from the film, without going too far away from the tale at hand. With all these components it works very well for me.

DISLIKES:

Predictable Cheesy At Times Scientific Stretches The Parent Components?

SUMMARY: No surprise, the movie follows much of the same formula, and my friend and I were able to predict much of the movie based on the trailers we had seen. Fortunately, surprises were able to help with this, but they still held some trouble keeping the romantic movie cheese fest from happening. Five Feet Apart leaves much of the mushy, gushy, Nicholas Sparks like drama that is difficult to get away from, which is a selling point for most going to these movies, but for me could have used a little more spice up. In addition, some of the scientific plausibility for one with my mindset are difficult to get over in terms of the miracles vs. the statistical chances of the real life. Some of the interactions, primarily in the ending occurring the way it did, was very unrealistic and seeing these miracle moments only added to the cheesy coincidences that this series is famous for. If that's not something that bothers you, no worries on this, but for me this is just something to warrant on. As for the parents, they were okay, but I felt that for something as intense as the themes in this movie, some more involvement would be seen. Five Feet Apart's weakest characters are actually the parents, reduced to a few lines of dialogue and the background images. Sure, it's not about them, but in the other films similar to this, the parents were very active in the support of the kids. What happened here?

The VERDICT:

Overall, Five Feet Apart was much better than I had anticipated, with a lot more heart, artistic beauty, and adventure than many of the romance/dramas that I've seen. A strong cast, character usage, and surprises in terms of comedy and plot were the selling points for this reviewer in regards to this film. It still has predictability and cheese factors, primarily in the scientific stretches, but the good far outweighs the bad for me in regards to this category of movies. I think this is one for the theater in regards to dramas. If not check this one out for a rent/stream because it's got the heart that movies are known to have.

My scores are:

Drama/Romance: 8.0 Movie Overall: 7.0
29 out of 34 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Do you Smell What The Rock Is Producing? A Quality Comedy/Drama
23 February 2019
Another day, another chance to review a movie, and this morning's review is an interesting film that held much potential to be fun and unique. Sports movies seem to be the theme of this week, though this film certainly is not the typical approach to a typical sport that is portrayed in the film. Robbie K here to take a look at the British comedy about an American sports venue that continues to rake in the dough of Wrestling, and the hidden world that you might not know involved in the theatrical event. Let's get started as I take a look at:

Movie: Fighting With My Family (2019)

Director: Stephen Merchant Writer: Stephen Merchant Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Lena Headey, Vince Vaughn

LIKES:

Funny Deeper Story Training Montages Casting Good Utilization of Extras Good Pace Unique

SUMMARY:

Fighting With My Family may not be the typical comedy given a lot of approaches with this movie, but my friend and I both did enjoy the comedy that was presented. It's a good mix of dry and wet comedy, utilizing slapstick, with witty English humor to bring some epic laughs to the mix that aren't shoved in your face. By not focusing so much on the comedy, Merchant's work was able to tell a deeper story about the WWE legend Paige, pushing into a number of elements that I had not expected from the trailers. Character development, major themes of family, friendship, dedication, and many other subplots actually work well to provide an engaging film that isn't quite the norm for this genre. In addition, it reveals the hard work that goes into becoming a wrestler, and how physically/emotionally demanding the application process can be in something that many do not even pass a look at. The cast certainly does the job of bringing the tale to life with Florence Pugh and Jack Lowden crushing their performances with characters that drive much of the movie, the former in particular being the central pillar to base everything around. Yet secondary characters played by Nick Frost, Lena Headey and Vince Vaughn are utilized so well that they not only avoid overshadowing, but really mesh well with the main performers. Even the tertiary characters have some good involvement in the film, showing that you can utilize the cast well and tell a very good story, even with a super celebrity in the mix. Needless to repeat, but will anyway, this film utilizes its actors very well, crafting a family component. And it is all done with a pace that is entertaining to watch, not being too caught up in the drama to be slow, and yet still going slow enough to tell much of the story. Certainly this is a unique concept, but also a unique example of how a movie can be done.

DISLIKES:

The Inclusion of the Extra brother The Rapid Development of Character Relationships at Times The Rapid Story jumps at times. Dramatization Vs. Facts Semi Predictable

SUMMARY:

Finding dislikes for me was a little harder than I anticipated, but here are few parts of the story that were a little off my element. While the characters were done well, the extra brother that got brought in I don't think was utilized as well. Yes, he has his place, but compared to some of the other characters, his arc had some drama and potential, but then kind of fizzled out compared to what I thought they were going to do. In addition, the movie surprisingly made some good character relationships, but then progressed them a little too quickly. I was hoping that there would be a little more time with tending to the flourishing relationship they were starting to build. This is primarily during the wrestling training period where things go from zero to 100% in a relatively short amount of time, and while still good I wanted more development with them in terms of that story arc. And because of trying to fit the tale in the shorter amount of time, the movie, especially near the end led to some hasty jumps that just as things were starting to develop were quickly transitioned to the next phase. Again, I would have liked a little more fleshed out conclusions and integrations, but it certainly is not as short sheeted as some other films have done. In regards to the dramatization, well it works to add that Hollywood magic to jazz up stories, but I do understand that those who know Paige's story might want more fact than fiction. I can't really say I know the story, but the movie works well to blend the structures with that Hollywood magic to make it entertaining. If you are fans of the story of the youngest Diva though, then brace yourself for some potential divergence. In regards to the rest of the tale, the semi predictable plot is something else difficult to ignore, though again, the rest of the movie sort of offsets this component so it's only a minor area of improvement.

The VERDICT:

Surprisingly, the movie worked much better than what I was expecting from the trailers. It's balanced on many levels, telling an entertaining story, with multiple levels than the typical comedy brings to you. With great use of characters/actors, comedy that is a bit diversified, and a pace that brings the wrestling world to life, you have a fantastic film to get lost into. Yet, there are still a few other components still in need of more time than anything else, to take those components they were building and strengthen them further. I enjoyed this film a lot to warrant a trip to the theater, but can understand if you want to reserve your trips to the more special effect frenzy that other films have going for it. Definitely look for it at home though.

My scores are:

Biography/Comedy/Drama: 8.5 Movie Overall: 8.0
67 out of 78 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Run the Race (2018)
7/10
Running to Good Messages and Inspirational Sequences
23 February 2019
Sports movies, they have many presentations and styles that make them so darn popular, but it's often the ones that have the deep motivational themes and heart that really get the attention. We Are Marshall, Pride of the Yankees, and of course Remember the Titans are just some of the films in the hall of film fame that are "timeless" pieces. Yet, unsung heroes often wait on the bench, hoping to have their shot at shining amidst the stars. Tim Tebow's production is hoping to be one of those rookies to make a statement this weekend and this reviewer is ready to share his opinion. Happy Friday folks and welcome to another review, this time on:

Movie: Run The Race (2019)

Director: Chris Dowling Writers: Jake McEntire (screenplay), Jason Baumgardner (screenplay) Stars: Mykelti Williamson, Frances Fisher, Kristoffer Polaha

LIKES:

Well Acted Pretty Cast Sports Fueled Moments Inspirational Deep Decently Paced

SUMMARY:

Run the Race's likes center on some surprising balance in this fairly realistic portrayal of faith and football. The cast of pretty thespians and cute physiques will be eye candy as they bring some decent acting to the mix of the family facing interesting circumstances. Their journey finds ways to bring the sports montage into the mix, crafting the story around the sports without becoming too invested into the mix. It's inspirational, finding some sequences that utilize the movie tricks and crafted speeches to get people going into action in helping face their problems. The film goes deep into trying to teach the religious based life lessons it holds, and can really get some emotion going, as was seen in my audience and showing. And surprisingly, it's got some decent pacing to it as well, finding a means to keep all these elements juggling smoothly, in hopes of getting to the end zone or finish line depending on the sport you like. Nonetheless, the movie's a nice sized package of inspirational messages delivered by poster worthy stars.

DISLIKES:

Plot Inconsistency Sports Avenues Are Not Made Up Rushed solutions Unrealistic Manipulations Preachy Predictable

SUMMARY:

Despite the inspirational components to the movie there are some things that take it away from the majesty of the theater. For me, the plot inconsistency is sort of the start as the race is ran a little too fast for some fo the plot lines to keep up with. Some avenues keep the pace going well, but others like the romance arc, the tension with the dad, and even the rivalry of some of the characters are not quite as present as the main story line, leading to them hastily cleaned up by the end of the movie. In addition, the sports montages are very simplistic, keeping the realistic component with them, but lacking those epic moments that make you want to scream out in delight. Again, while I appreciate the down to Earth approach, this film really could have used some magic to help pep up the exciting sports it bombarded us with, even resorting to unrealistic manipulations of the system that were eye rolling. Instead, the religious aspect is where this film leads, using very preachy dialogue that while strong, motivational, and certainly a spiritual component sets up much of the movie's "surprises". The predictable finish took away much of the emotion component for me and left me a little bored as I waited for the ending. Still, the avenue of preaching the good word is something to be forewarned, and if you don't want a case of faith, then you need to maybe hold off on this one.

The VERDICT:

Overall, Run The Race is actually a decent movie when it comes to religion influenced sports movies. A pretty cast will take on the task of instilling good messages that are deep and inspirational, while trying to develop the characters in the 105 minute run time. Yet, the movie still runs into trouble when it comes to the memorable sports intense films. It lacks the movie magic for one thing, and the preachiness may not be for everyone, especially if case of faith is not your cup of tea. As predictable as it was though, this Friday Night Lights themed movie could have been better with a little more balance in terms of handling the other story themes and may injecting some movie magic as well. Worth a trip to theater? I believe this one is best served for streaming to be honest, but that's just my opinion.

My scores are:

Drama/Sport: 7.0 Movie Overall: 6.0
9 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
A Dragon Sized Fun Conclusion, though not so Hidden Conclusion
22 February 2019
Movies series are always difficult to let go when they are good. It's been years since a beloved book series turned animated film flew into theaters and brought with it a memorable friendship that has led to merchandising galore. Yes, it's Dreamworks leading duo of Viking and scales, with the third installment to the trilogy hoping to tie things up nicely. Robbie K back and ready to give you his thoughts on:

Movie: How To Train Your Dragon 3: Hidden World

Director: Dean DeBlois Writers: Dean DeBlois, Cressida Cowell (based upon the "How to Train Your Dragon" book series Stars: Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, F. Murray Abraham

LIKES:

Voice Acting Character Development Expansion of Story Animation Funny Emotional Infusion Balanced

Summary: The movie has been all about characters, which in turn has relied on voice acting to bring them to life. Jay, America and the gang have filled the shoes again, adding the emotional depth to the characters who we have grown up with the last decade or so. The movie has taken the foundations and built upon it taking the characters to new levels and helping push them to new frontiers that the series requires. Expanding on the story like it did, this sequel accomplishes the goal of standing on its own, and yet helping the characters evolve into new beings and new stages. It's all gorgeously done in the animation we have come to love, and this installment has shown that Dreamworks can continue to push the details of their work to new depths and heights to help bring the mythical beasts to life without going too dark. Yet, this is a movie meant for kids and you might want to know does it still have the effects that made the first two installments special. The answer is yes on many levels. The comedy is still there a good blend of one-liners, banter, slapstick, and adorable, charming presentation that works so well to bring the youthful energy. Not too overdone, but yet not too adult, the comedy does well to support the other components of the story. Emotion runs heavy in this film cascading through the emotional roller coaster depending on the scene. Want the thrill of flying? It's in there. Need the touching bond between friends? Again it's in there! Need some other touches? You've got that too. The third installment continues to find the ability to infuse the emotions and bring you fully into the scene, especially when one adds the musical score to support the visuals. It works very well, because the writers have found balance of many aspects and it works beautifully to bring all the ages and fans together for the latest ride to the film.

DISLIKES:

Short More Action/Thrills New Dragon Designs The Villain The Trailer Syndrome

Summary: For once I actually wanted a movie longer, more so because of some of the other areas I wanted to see improved in this film. One of these is to get more of that action and thrill that the first two had, the sense of flying into the heart of danger, or through the skies in the daring mission. Hidden World has these components, but some of the moments didn't quite have the impact the first two installments did for me. In addition, I had hoped for a few new dragons that held the designs of those in the journals, getting glimpses of designs that break the molds from those seen before. It did this somewhat, but I'd have liked to see a few more changes to the mold. All of these are minder areas for me the majors are next. The Villain is not the worst and I didn't hate it, after all the look and malic ooze from him in terms of design and acting. Yet, the part that failed is I don't think he had quite the same texture and depth that the previous villains held. This guy has build up and some impressive skill sets, but I felt that they didn't quite deliver the terrifying components that they wanted, sort of diluting the villain for the film. Again, good for the most part, but no quite having the same punch I had expected it. Yet the biggest thing I held, was that the trailers have given you most of the endings, so if you have the trailer memorized you have much of the film's ending laid out for you. So, while it is a good prep for those who are trying to get their kids ready for it, guys like me don't like having everything laid out for you.

The VERDICT:

Truth is, the third movie didn't meet the first one for me in terms of all the wonders I had, but it certainly accomplishes much and as a movie sequel is very, very good. I hands down love this sequel and found it having the balance the series is famous for, but yet expanding up on it. With fantastic storytelling, animation that brings it to life, and all the emotions for both adults and kids to love, this series ends on a mighty roar that will take many to new heights and leave you feeling many things by the end of the film. It did not deliver to the same extent on some things, but the movie hands down took all the made it special and capitalized it. I loved much of this movie and encourage many to come enjoy the experience in theaters.

My scores are:

Animation/Action/Adventure: 9.0 Movie Overall: 8.0-8.5
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Isn't it Actually Quite Clever
15 February 2019
Rom Com's, the genre that is all about establishing the hopes and dreams that love can be perfect, establishing the hope of a true happy ending. Yet, we all know that love is hard work, and that while a positive force, these movies can sometimes establish unrealistic dreams that can be distracting. Last night, the movie of the holiday season hopes to put a little more realism into the love genre and bring with it some laughs to brighten up a potentially depressing season. Robbie K back with another review, this time on:

Movie: Isn't It Romantic (2019)

Director: Todd Strauss-Schulson Writers: Erin Cardillo (screenplay by), Dana Fox (screenplay by) Stars: Rebel Wilson, Liam Hemsworth, Adam Devine



LIKES:

  • Short Run Time
  • Fun Atmosphere
  • Funny
  • Clever Writing
  • Good Message


Summary: In a movie like this, length is not necessary, and I think that Isn't it Romantic did a nice job of getting the holiday laughs out without taking away too much time from life. It establishes a fun environment that is mindless humor, practically ripping apart the false themes of Valentine's Day and romantic comedies to show you don't have to be dating/in a relationship to have fun. The fast-paced laughs, upbeat pace, and lack of care for telling a serious story, accomplishes the goal that the movies can do, which is to go out there and lose yourself into a fun movie, and I think it worked well. For being a comedy though, you want laughs, and surprisingly this movie accomplished it by being able to make fun of itself and genre. While certainly ludicrous, Isn't It Romantic has some clever design to the approach of making fun of love movies. Some of the things we either love or take for granted, such as the stereotypical montages and linear plot, they find a way to poke at as Rebel Wilson experiences them. Off the side comments about how the locations change, the magical timing of a character appearing, even the time warp factor from those random scenes of transit are prey for the writing of this film. In addition, Rebel Wilson's usual style has been curbed to not be so raunchy and it works for me in allowing her comedic delivery/timing taking the load instead of just the random banter she is famous for. That balance is what helped open up the fun factor for me and throw in the dance number(s) as well and you actually seal the deal. Yet, the movie does manage to have a serious side, bring a few key messages alongside the comedic slew of one-liners. Surprisingly, they are deeper than expected, managing to teach he audience some personality building traits, but keeping in tune with the fun atmosphere of the film. Preachy at times? Yes, but again it works in terms of not taking the movie seriously.

DISLIKES:

  • Not original
  • Corny at times
  • The Hemsworth curse
  • Trailer Syndrome, sort of
  • Overdone at times
  • Plot progressed a little too fast


Summary: Despite how much fun I had at the film though, as a reviewer there are elements of the movie overall to comment on. First off, the originality is not really there. True, it was low expectations that it would be super original, but like the films it makes fun of, Isn't it romantic does not have that dynamic originality that some scream for. It's predictable tale is very generic, with obvious plot components being set up minutes into the film, which could have used some deviation. And even funnier, I think that parts of the plot were pushed a little too hasty, which I get is the point of its movie, but still could have had a few extra minutes to offer some of the character building. In regards to the comedy, well as clever as it turned out to be there were still times where the usual, modern approach of trying too hard for a laugh came out. For some of these moments it was the blatant corniness that was too much, less frequently than expected, but capitalizing on that cheese factor when it came out. Like any Rebel Wilson comedy, there were also times where going too far with a joke or letting a running joke go too long happened again. This was mainly in regards to the gay sidekick or the new rival (a plot point not really mapped out), which while still funny did at times go stale. Yet, the biggest aspect of the comedy was the Hemsworth curse as I call it, which involves taking the charming, eye candy for the population and turning him into a brainless idiot. I get it, the genre can do this to people, recognizing again that's the point of this film, but the Hemsworth character could have actually utilized the charm to have better comedic development than the blatant babbling that came from him. Most probably won't have this dislike, but for me I would have liked the better character use of him like they did a few other of the counterparts. And of course, the trailers have hit some key moments and bludgeoned them to death, so... don't be surprised to remember a third of the movie depending on how much you watched it.

The VERDICT:

Despite all the predictability, cheesiness, and over the top acting though, Isn't it Romantic may have been the movie I had the most fun with this week. The movie makes fun of a series that is sometimes taken too seriously, and the fact that it has some respectable wit to it just proves that you can find some balance in the comedy genre. That fun atmosphere was perfectly timed with the holiday, and really is a film that friends, couples, even singles can enjoy in the approach they took. I'd say that while it lacks a lot of the theater quality effects (e.g. special effects, a booming soundtrack, and thunderous sound effect), it still accomplishes being able to get lost into the film and make for a fun time worthy of hitting the theater. Therefore, I'd say to hit this one up in the week and have some fun like I did.

My scores are:

Comedy/Fantasy/Romance: 7.5 Movie Overall: 6.0
6 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Battle Ready, This Angel Is One Of The Better Anime/Manga Adaptations
14 February 2019
Anime/Manga are series that have shook the fabric of animation to its core, inspiring unique tales that continue to go through the test of time. The variety of stories cover the variety of spectra, where no grounds are too sacred too cross. Each series potentially cross multiple volumes, issues, and episodes telling a complex, intricate tale that becomes ingrained in so many hearts, taking years to tell the story right. So trying to cram all that into a limited time movie can be quite the challenge, but Hollywood is willing to try as this movie I review today strikes. Robbie K here with another review, this time focusing on:

Movie: Alita: Battle Angel (2019)

Director: Robert Rodriguez Writers: James Cameron (screenplay by), Laeta Kalogridis(screenplay by) Stars: Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly

LIKES:

  • Acting
  • Cast
  • World Building
  • Design/Costumes/Make Up
  • Emotion
  • Action


Summary: A good movie relies on good actors to make the tale come to life and fortunately the battle angel recruits a set of good warriors. Salazar of course is the star, utilizing fantastic control over emotions to strike at all the heart of the robotic girl and delivers a fantastic performance. Christoph Waltz may not have been tapped into full potential, but works very well in the role given as the doting father with a potential dark past. Connelly returning to a big production was good, poised and proper, executing the limited role quite well. And as for Mahershala Ali, well that actor knocks it out of the park, no matter what role he is given and Vector is no exception, though again more was needed. Instead Alita's big selling point for me is the world building and design that Cameron's mind comes up with. Taking a comic/anime and turning it into the beautiful 3-D world, the director accomplished the goals by capturing the beautiful art of Alita's world. Old world charm meets futuristic technology in a gothic/horror manner that symbolizes the themes Alita's world brings. Costumes help support this for the non-CGI actors, with makeup that further emphasizes the details of the forced evolution the Fall brought and the lives it influenced. As for the CGI, it brought with it those horror filled designs, unleashing the unique robot and human champions that dwell in the post-war world. While not the most realistic looking, the animation is fluid, the persona's well crafted, and the theme is maximized. Yet the story is also semi-impressive for the compressed time block it currently holds. Alita's world is packed with emotion in the young "girl's" journey to figure out her past, present, and future in hopes of changing the world. It's inspiring, and tells the details needed to get the story out by covering a fair amount of story. Most of this certainly inspirational, with Alita's character pulling the weight and bringing a champion to get behind with multiple layers. Even the action fits the manga theme well, gradually building in both suspense and emotional trilogy, with the latter component climaxing in the final battle of the film. Thus, you have some good story telling.

DISLIKES

  • Broke one of my rules
  • Pace
  • Story Telling
  • Action length
  • Too much into one film
  • Trailer Syndrome


SUMMARY: If you've followed me long enough you'll know one of my pet peeves is unnecessary cruelty to animals, and Alita sadly does this. I haven't read the manga so not sure it if happens in the story, but an earlier scene and the rules established, meant this scene was unnecessary and that hits this reviewer harder than others. Outside of personal preferences like that though, Alita's pacing was a little inconsistent, almost hitting moments that felt like a filler before taking off back into the exciting components. Some of this I felt arose from trying to tell all the story components of Alita's journey, cramming in some hastily developed story arcs into the 2-hour time frame to try and be complete, which we will talk about in the next paragraph. Nonetheless, the story telling is good with the emotional component and does hit the highlights, but it is still lacking the same punch and kick that the full series had time to tell, primarily in Alita's past that she so wanted to find. That aspect I felt was skirted, and perhaps is left to be fully answered in the companion novel released this year. It's not bad storytelling, just rushed which brings me to the next component Alita's action scenes may have some amazing attention to detail and emotionally stimulating components that Japanese storytelling is famous for. However, the movie for me fell short of bringing the full potential out in some of the fights. This is especially true near the end, where a few fights held great potential for both excitement and emotional satisfaction, but chose to cut costs and montage the approach. It's not awful, but just not the same finish I was hoping with the other scenes. In addition, the flashback offered a chance to see some really cool moments, but again finished in a few blinks of the eye. Why is this the case? Well to me it felt like trying to fit too much into one film, in hopes of getting the interest capture for another sequel. It's not that they did it badly, but like the series it is based on, the film could have focused on aspects, done it well by maximizing those components and led into the next film. Perhaps the anima style is too big of a risk, but I felt it would have worked if not so much had been crammed in. Still, unlike other films Alita balances this a little better than most, but still not perfect. Finally, the trailer campaign for this film has done its homework a little too well. Alita hammered the scenes to death, and much of the movie has been revealed in the released clips that you can essentially piece together everything you need. By such an aggressive campaign, it may end up harming itself rather than helping.

VERDICT: To wrap this up, Alita accomplished the goals of bringing the cybernetic skeletal frame to the works and customizing it with that Cameron flair. It's beautiful world building and special effects, it's action for the most part is delivered, and the storytelling is not bad given how difficult it is to cram a series into two hours. Still, if the goal is for multiple movies, I believe some cuts could have been made to make stand-alone films that built into a trilogy instead of one mega movie, allowing for more complete tales. Nevertheless, I'm pleased with this film and felt very entertained by what it offered, proud to see strides made in live action adaptations of Japanese media. Is it perfect? No, but it has enough positives to check out in the theater and definitely worth the trip with friends.

My scores are:

Action/Romance/Sci-Fi: 7.5 Movie Overall: 6.5-7.0
5 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
New Loop, New Twist: Happy Character Development 2U
14 February 2019
Sequels often get a bad rep because of never living up to the expectations of the original, and sometimes insulting the name of the franchise. Often a sequel is not needed, an obvious cash grab to try and extend the franchise just a little longer in hopes of keeping interest. So tonight's review is one of those cases where a sequel was not really needed, but nevertheless exists. I'm talking about the sequel to last year's campy slasher/comedy Happy Death Day, a film that surprised me in how much fun I had. Will the second fill follow suit, or are we stuck in sequel limbo? Robbie K back with another review on:

Movie: Happy Death Day 2U (2019) Director: Christopher Landon Writers: Christopher Landon, Scott Lobdell (characters) Stars: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Phi Vu

LIKES: Jessica Rothe Character Development New Twist Funny Emotional

Summary: Happy Death Day was all about Tree's journey to being a better person and the sequel is no exception as it dives more into the former sorority girl's life. Rothe's performance continues to amaze me as she brings Tree to life, expanding upon the character, as a good sequel does, and really bringing emotional twist to the mix. The second dive surprisingly brought some emotional punches into the fray and was very heartwarming (potentially tear jerking) in unexpected ways. Secondary characters get a little more time to develop as well, moving past the superficial stereotypes and somehow remaining relative and pertinent to the story. Yet the movie isn't just about the lovely Tree going on a soul-searching journey of ... death, but rather trying to find ways to bring a new twist to and outdated genre and still keep to its rules. In regards to the story, Happy Death Day 2U manages to add a science fiction twist to the mix, that helps establish a new goal, story element, and connection to first film. While not quite the slasher tale, the added dimension helps the movie stand out and avoid feeling like a carbon copy of the original that was only a year or so ago. In addition, the comedy remains true to its gimmick of making you laugh as actors and writing blend together to become well-timed comedic antics. It works beautifully and adds a fun pace to the film that energizes it all over again to reinvigorate the series.

DISLIKES: Not as suspenseful The beginning gimmick Comedy a little overdone

Summary: The sequel's two areas of improvement for me are going a little too far into the gimmick at the beginning and the overdone comedy. The new twist works, but at first it didn't impress me in the odd presentation/rule bending it did. Fortunately, they were able to get a handle on it, but at the beginning the odd transition didn't work outside of a messy transition. The other component that did not quite work for me, was a few moments where the comedy was forced on the audience, a little too drawn out or grandiose for my liking. They were minor ones, but limitations that took away from me. I think the biggest limitation was how the suspense was taken away for me like the first one had. The slasher component is mostly gone alongside the mystery, leaving it a fun adventure but missing that darker edge that the film was famous for. Sure the humor got a little darker than anticipated, leading to some rather disturbing scenes, though these carried the attitude of the film. Yet, the prolonged bouts, the squeezed in extra obstacles, and the hasty wrap up led to some shortcuts being taken and decisions to put the movie more in a comedy sort of mood.

The verdict: Regardless of the twists, the movie still has the fun adventure that makes it one of my favorite comedies of the last few years. Rothe leads much of the fun, but the new twists, energy, and true to its roots presentation also help to make it a decent sequel that expands on the first film. Yes, it got a little carried away with the science fiction and comedy elements, leading to a diluted suspense factor. Still, it's worth a check out into the theater for the fun movie of the weekend. Definitely check this one out in the near future.

My scores are: Horror/Mystery/Thriller: 7.5 Movie Overall: 7.0
3 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
This Kid's Quest To Camelot Fun:
26 January 2019
Kid's movies are a mixed bag of tricks depending on the studio behind it. Without major studios, the films often take a stray to gimmicks that parents roll their eyes at, while kids squeal in delight. Today, another studio tries to hit the box office big time before the big budget films take reign. As such, I'm here to give thought once more on the latest film to hit the silver screen. Robbie K here reviewing;

Movie: The Kid Who Would Be King (2019)

Director: Joe Cornish Writer: Joe Cornish Stars: Louis Ashbourne Serkis, Denise Gough, Dean Chaumoo

LIKES:

Acting Merlin Funny Blending Action Balance

SUMMARY: Kids movies with a young cast sometimes lose balance, but this cast does a nice job reigning in the antics, but capturing the magic of being a kid. The young band of modern nights have a direction of portraying bullying, helping to bring relevant issues to light and bringing the suffering to realistic levels. And while these characters are rather well curtailed, it is the young Merlin accompanying them that impressed me the most. This new take on Merlin brings comedy, nobility, teaching, and a new flair to the legendary figure that works well for the feel of this movie. Utilizing the magic of Patrick Stewart for the adult figurehead, the merlin role's direction was quite fun to watch in his integration. Yet, the true success of this film comes from the blending of the attributes that the trailers portrayed for so many commercials. The Kid Who Would Be King is funny a blend of kid humor with some wit that makes it fun for both young and old. Blending the modern and the archaic worlds together is an interesting spin that really worked for me. Seeing the various medieval references transitioned to modern Britain was an entertaining craftmanship that should again appeal to many. The adventure crafted ran at a good pace and managed to make an age appropriate tale. For the action scenes, this king's adventure surprisingly does this well, finding again the balance to make exciting sequences against the CGI figures, but not crossing into super violent or dark skirmishes that can lead to parents complaining of inappropriate scenes. If you've read this you know this, the movie has surprising balance to it, making a rather good go for a non-Disney film.

DISLIKES:

Predictable Morgana's under utilization A few antics overdone The Suspense of Reality

SUMMARY:

The movie may have creativity, balance, and decent acting, but it still struggles with surprises. This quest for Camelot has a predictable tale, foreshadowing the surprises far down the road and bringing with it lackluster twists they tried so hard to do. While kids will be wowed and potentially fooled, older adults don't have much to be shocked by, and can instead be gauging if the scene will scare their little ones. Even sadder is the main villain's semi-integration to the film. While she had her say in things, I felt more could have been done to bring the witch to full glory and malice. It could have been better inclusion into the battles, or more watching and development during her exile, but Morgana's a villain could have used some more magic to become the central antagonist, as opposed to who took that center stage. Instead the kid friendly elements of funny antics took center stage for much of the movie. While I agree there is balance, this quest still succumbs to some antics being used too much for the older audiences. The fun hand antics and running jokes are cute and well timed, but it's a little overdone and susceptible to being the next focus of the meme revolution. Small dislike as it is, this slight limitation added some unnecessary length and turned away from some of the storytelling elements they were starting to pick up on. Yet the biggest thing that was distracting for an older reviewer like me was the suspense of reality. In fantasy, I get that rules don't always apply, but this journey established realistic physics into the mix and started breaking its own rules. It's mainly in the final moments of the movie, but this particular physics defying roles get a little cheesy for the older audience, though it can all be written off by use of magic allowing this to happen and kids won't care. Yet, while this is picky, it's this component that sort of takes away from the suspense of the fight for me, but again I'm not the key audience.

THE VERDICT:

The Kid Who Would Be King is truly a fun film, that holds magic and wonder for those interested in the modernization of King Arthur's tale. The quest contains fun, action, and heart that can touch a lot of members in the audience in surprising ways. Yet, it's not the most original tale, doesn't follow its own rules, can't shake the predictability, and doesn't quite have the full magic that Merlin wanted to conjure up. Still, the film succeeded in being fun, is age appropriate across most fields, and contains enough movie magic to warrant a trip to the theater.

My scores are:

Adventure/Family/Fantasy: 7.5-8.0 Movie Overall: 6.5
5 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
An error has occured. Please try again.

Recently Viewed