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Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997)
On par with The Room
This is one of the best "So bad it's good" movies of all time. The production value is so terrible, you'd think they made it for $1,000 in some Pennsylvania backlot. The acting is awful, the plot makes no sense, characters come and go at random, the CGI looks similar to stop motion/claymation, the costumes look like they were bought in the Power Rangers section of a very shabby Goodwill, and there is some of the most glorious line deliveries in cinematic history like;
"Too bad YOU.... WILL DIE!!!"
"I've seen that tattoo before, on a robot and a woman....."
"The Earth was created in six days! So too shall it be destroyed. And on the Seventh day mankind shall rest, IN PEACE."
"Like it huh? It's my animality."
I cannot do it justice, watch this masterful film. Every single artistic decision was wrong, and it cost $30 million dollars....
Horrid, Hollow, and Boring
This is one of the ugliest most generic films I've seen. The only sellable aspect to this film is the plethora of voice actors shoved in regardless if they can voice act (this film was heavily advertised between "the Voice" because two of the judges star in it, and are the worst actors in the movie).
The story is a stock "being ugly is okay" plot that most TV cartoons would be embarrassed to use this day and age. The visuals suck because the environments are bland & the character designs are horribly ugly.
The voice acting is bad because no one tries to emote or throw their voice to sound different. It's as if they only had the celebrities for 5 minutes so they just ran through the dialogue and only used 1st takes.
Much like the Emoji movie, this film feels like a cash grab. It wasn't created because someone had a story they wanted to tell, it was created to suck the money out of gullible parents wallets as well as advertise for children.
Skip this abomination, almost anything else is better worth your time.
24 Frames (2017)
Beautiful and Hypnotizing
I can't review this like a typical movie, because it's not a typical movie. This is an experimental art film, so there are two questions; Does this movie achieve what it set out to do? and How did it affect me?
I do believe it achieved what it wanted to, It's beautiful and an interesting idea (seeing what could happen before and after a photograph).
It mostly kept my interest due to the beauty of the shots and what the subjects are doing within the shot. This is definitely a great background movie to have on at a casual party similar to a music streaming channel.
The only failings come with some the the effects, certain things feel and look worse than others.
I would recommend it if you want to see something calming and are interested in the premise. It's a decent watch.
Phoney & Lame
The only reason this film will make money is the small demographic that likes this phoney/feel good faith crap, and the folks who're suckered in by the actress that plays Kate in This is Us. (This film was mostly advertised on NBC between episodes of This is Us and The Voice to trick people into thinking this movie was anything other than a dumbbed down glorified faith film).
Rational people know you cannot pray medical conditions away, but of course by this film's logic you can.... it's just so scummy and manipulative. Skip this trash and watch slmething worth your time, like Paddleton on Netflix.
Welcome to Marwen (2018)
So melodramatic and phoney.
This film is so filled with melodrama that it belongs on Lifetime.
The dialoge is so bad that I'm convinced this film when into production with the first draft draft of the script. There is so much exposition that I found it comical, some comments relate to nothing or make no sense, and to top it off the direction is very poor.
The acting is very off. Everyone is either comically evil or over the top nice. And I never get a feel of who any character really is. Because of this, the movie feels very phoney and sleazy. I highly doubt the real dude who made Marwencol was anything like this terrible Steve Carell caricature. It all feels so manipulative.
This film isn't a big pile of crap, but it is a big pile of Grey goo. Mostly Inoffensive, bland, and totally/utterly forgettable.
A really great character study and exploration about fate in the modern world.
Needless to say I loved Calvary, not only is every aspect of filmmaking completely on point, this film gives you some great ideas to chew on long after the credits have rolled.
This film is a beautiful companion piece to 2018's First Reformed, they're almost a Yin and Yang of each other. First Reformed is more claustrophobic and dark while touching on themes of environmentalism, corporate influence in a capitalist society, and how extremism can infect a deeply religious person. Calvary has it's dark moments, but it's more colorful and has humor sprinkled throughout; While dealing with themes of faith in the modern world, depression, forgiveness, and resentment of the Catholic church.
The basic plot is that Brendan Gleeson's character is threatened with death by an unknown member of his parish. He then speaks to each member of his parish to see if he can find out who wants to kill him. The plot is so much more than that, but that's the core. This film has some great character actors who chew the scenes they're in.
I highly recommend this film and don't have any negative things to say. It's just brilliant.
Bird Box (2018)
A worse version of "A Quiet Place"
The rules for this horror film make no sense in regards to how the monsters effect you (you either kill yourself or go crazy, whatever is more convienent for the script). Also in one scene the monsters violently shake a car, but the monsters can't touch or harm people with blindfolds on.
The acting is subpar at best from Sandra Bullock on down to the terrible child actors.
The film is structured non linearly in a way that kills all mystery and tension for the future plot. Very strange way to tell the story.
Oh and also there are schools for the blind hidden deep in the woods... this movie is so stupid... skip this shame.
Dragged Across Concrete (2018)
A really great exploitation that takes it's time
S. Craig Zahler really knows what he's doing behind the camera, I think this is his strongest film in terms of pure filmmaking and dialogue.
The acting is fantastic from all sides, Mel Gibson still has some acting chops playing this gruff detective who has to organize a heist to support his family. Vince Vaughn is suprisingly great as this quirky cop against Mel's gruff no nonsense character, and Tory Kittles is wonderful as well, playing a recently released convict trying to get his family out of the getto. People in this film are total scumbags doing awful things in order to help their own.
The practical effects are great (even nauseating in one scene), and it's not afraid to take it's time and explore a scene (the film respects it's audience enough to not constantly assault you with noise and editing). It's very nice and refreshing to watch a real exploitation film that doesn't wink at you, this plays it all straight.
I highly recommend this film it's a wonderful edition to Zahler's filmology, and I honestly can't wait to see it again.
Green Book (2018)
This never rose above mediocre
This is one of the blandest and most simplistic depictions of racism I've ever seen in a movie since 2006's trash film Crash.
The only part of this movie that passes as okay is some of the acting. But even then I never bought Viggo Mortensen or Mashallah Ali's characters. They tried with what they had, but they had poor direction.
There's a distinct lack of grit and cursing in this film about traveling through the south with a black man and that really bugged me.
Also for some reason this film is shot like a comedy while tackling a very serious subject, it's a very odd clash... oh my god the worst thing about this movie (besides the simplified story/cartoonishly simplistic view of racism) is the "comedy". I never laughed once at any of the jokes, but I did laugh at Viggo's hilariously stereotypical Italian accent, It's like watching Mario audition for Glory.
Also the musical score.for the film is pretty bad and bland, it's mostly violin music played to "enhance emotion" moments. It all feels so manipulative.
Anyhoo, I feel old white people will like this movie, but younger audiences will see through this phoney film and be mostly bored.
The Greatest Showman (2017)
An OK musical, but a dismal hostorical film
Let's start with the positives, The choreography is good, I kinda liked Zac Efron's character, and I thought the child acting was fine.
My main problems with this film stems from how pandering and inoffensive it tries to be.
The real life P.T. Barnum was a slimey crooked scumbag who tried to get rich off anyone, he even coined the phrase, "There's a sucker born every minute." So when this story tries to depict him as an innocent guy trying to "do the right thing" I can't help but feel the film is trying to pathetically bamboozle me in to sympathizing for a scumbag character. It also bothers me that the inter-racial relationship between Zac's character and the trapeze artist is glossed over, that would be interesting to explore that dynamic in the late 1800s, but no we have to keep things simple for mass audience appeal...
Now to be fair, there are those audience members who don't give a crap about historical accuracy, and that's fine. However even with out the historical inaccuracies, the film still fails for me due to the overly simplistic nature of the plot. P.T. is poor boy, poor boy likes rich girl, rich girl likes poor boy but rich parents don't approve. The same tired plot with an unrealistic main character. (For example, when EVERYONE goes to visit the Queen of England, in real life it was just P.T. and the Little Person Napoleon.
Another thing that bothers me is the CGI in this movie, it all looks so fake, even when they're in physical locations, the backgrounds and everything look so phoney. Also the Little Person actor looked digitally altered somehow, and his real voice was badly dubbed over and looks terrible.
Oh and of course the critic in the film is joyless and unhappy (what the studio thinks the naysayers of this film are like). Which is a cliche that always bothers me, but after ragging on P.T. the whole movie, in the last 15 minutes he complements P.T. and his show..... for some reason.
Anyhoo, aside from one or two decent songs/dances (the bar scene in particular was very nice). I wasn't impressed by this film, it's better than Marry Poppins Returns, but it's sure no Chicago or Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Bone Tomahawk (2015)
A Fantastic Film
This was a lovely little movie that just appeared out of the blue, upon viewing It's easily one of the best modern westerns, S. Craig Zahler did a wonderful job crafting this film. It starts strong, builds character, and has incredible explosions of realistic violence.
The acting is strong and the directing is excellent, and the effects are incredible. I have nothing but good things to say.
One thing that may bother some people about this movie is the fact that the group of murderous savages are Native American. but this is countered early in the film when a Native American professor explains that this tribe is populated by troglodytes, "No tribe claims these people, they're cave dwellers that would eat their own mothers." So that detail didn't bother me.
Give it a watch, it's very good.
Kangaroo Jack (2003)
A disgusting lie
This film was so slimy and such a hack/con job.
First off it was marketed as a kid's movie with a rapping CGI kangaroo, that's what was emphasised with the poster, trailers dvd/blu ray covers , back then and to this very day. so I was interested in it when I was a kid, I saw it when I was 9 or 10 and I just remember being bored.
It's clearly a mediocre mobster "comedy" that was re-edited as a "kids film", As the rapping Kangaroo is a 30 second part of a 35 second long dream sequence. This is one of the most incompetent and unfunny movies ever.
Don't watch this abomination, it's not worth your time.
An excellent movie
This movie is adorable.
It truly is a perfect children's film as it entertains kids and has enough wit and smart humor to entertain adults.
The short and sweet of it is, watch it. It's incredible, as is it's sequel.
Mary Poppins Returns (2018)
It's not bad, it's just kinda pointless
First off, this film is not bad. On a technical level the film is immaculate, it's directed by the same guy who directed 2002's Chicago so you know it's in great hands. The dance choreography is great, Emily Blunt is wonderful and perfect as Mary Poppins, the main children are great, Even Meryl Streep has a small part and she's quite good.
The main problem is with the films story, it's very formulaic, easy to predict, has an awful Deus Ex Machina save the day at the end.
Another problem is that there seems to be no point or morale to the story. There's a theme of "Don't be afraid to imagine/ be a dreamer." But ultimately the characters don't really change or progress, it's really hard to emphasis with and get attached to characters who don't change or grow much. The biggest character change comes from the dad, where he decides to pursue his art. But we never see him do it, he just says he will. The children learn lessons from Mary Poppins, but they aren't used to help against the main conflict, the story and resolution feels like it happens in spite of the characters, never because of them or their actions.
Another issue I have is the length of the movie, this is over two hours long and has too much fluff to pad the running time. For example, there's a scene where the children and Mary Poppins are lost in the fog, leading to a 10 minute song and dance number about using light to find your way home. Instead of pushing the plot forward and/or developing characters, the film stops dead in its tracks for 10 minutes to tell us how our characters got home, something that could've taken a few seconds....
Also there's one scene that looks shockingly bad (the bathtub scene) the children are obviously dry and dangling in front of green screen. It's very strange because the rest of the effects are very good.
Oh and the villain is a cartoonishly evil banker, that's all the thought and depth put into his character.
I'm not mad at this film, I'm just disappointed.
Interesting, but Hollow
I Love this concept on paper, and I really enjoy most "alternate universe" takes on characters/stories (Superman: Red Son, Gotham By Gaslight, Spiderman Noir, Old Man Logan). But this concept, while an interesting idea, was executed in one of the most boring and unenergetic ways imaginable.
The voice cast is terrible (with the exception of Benjamin Bratt as Superman, who is actually interesting and cool) everyone else, especially Michael C Hall who sounds like he's bored, or on a sleep drug.
The animation is pretty basic, most of the cast rings flat, and the plot is predictable and unimportant.
it won't add anything of value to your brain, I'd skip it.
Isle of Dogs (2018)
The best Animated film in years
This film is wonderful, deep, genuine, funny, somber, very mature, and filled with energy. The movie itself feels so energetic thanks to Wes Anderson's incredible direction, it's remarkable that even the movements of the framing/camera is exciting and humorous.
The voice cast is excellent, with Bryan Cranston as a standout. I loved the set design, the attitude of the dogs/humans, along with a mature tone and sequences that I wasn't expecting.
It's wonderful, it's subtle, it's beautiful.
Bomb City (2017)
A heartbreaking story told with grace & neutrality
First off, I love how even handed this film is. Neither the jocks or the punks are villainous/overly sympathetic cartoon characters. Both groups are filled with immature teenagers who have their own rituals (Jocks have football games, Punks have rock concerts), they're more similar than anyone wants to admit.
The directing is fantastic, especially since this is the director's first feature. I loved the acting, everyone felt so real and grounded. and I really appreciated the social commentary and how the film was told/structured.
I'm more than happy that I bought this, I already want to rewatch it to pick up on more details, Definitely give this a watch.
Z Nation (2014)
It's fun, and way more enjoyable than The Walking Dead
Where The Walking Dead is "realistic", "grounded", miserable, and consists of the same plot each season (group is lost, group finds shelter, shelter is destroyed, rinse and repeat...). Z-nation is campy, cheesey, low budget, fun, entertaining, enjoyable, & is way more rewarding than any season of The Walking Dead (at least after TWD's 1st season).
At least Z nation isn't afraid to throw jokes, take risks, and dare to be somethjng other than misery porn. I recommend this for a breath of fresh air in this over-saturated genre.
This film is masterful in terms of acting & writing. It all seems so real, too real even for those of us who have addicts in the family. I have nothing but praise for every cast member, No one falters, everyone is believable and committed.
In terms of direction, choreography, and editing this film is exceptional. there are so many long takes that my jaw was on the floor. Trey Edward Shults knows exactly what he's doing and his execution is flawless.
Wonderful, real, and a truly perfect film.
Black Christmas (1974)
I liked it better than Halloween
If Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho is the grandfather of the slasher genre, then Bob Clark's Black Christmas is the father, spawning/Inspiring John Carpenter's Halloween.
While Halloween became a mainstream success, Black Christmas was destined for cult stardom only. Which is a shame because I enjoyed Black Christmas more, and I believe it's a better film.
Firstly, all the characters have personalities and little quirks that help keep you more engaged. Theres next to no "spelled out" backstory for the slasher villan, most of it is hinted at through the phone calls the girls receive, but he's still intimidating and scary. Also this movie is suprisingly funny. It knows not to take itself too seriously, which helps the horror scenes feel serious and frightning.
If you haven't already, I highly recommend seeing this excellent film
First Reformed (2017)
One of the best faith films
This film is a wonderful character study of a priest and an excellent exploration of the christian faith in the modern world.
The direction, cinematography, and acting is masterful. The dialogue is sharp, and like all good Christian movies, it asks questions and lets you think for yourself. It doesn't hit you over the head with a bunch of mandated/approved ideas.
For some (maybe most) it'll be a bit too slow and the ending might leave you unsatisfied. I loved it all because everything in the film was so deliberate, if it's ambiguous, it means to be.
I put this with 'It's a Wonderful Life', 'Last Tempation of Christ', & 'Silence', it's in the pantheon of great religious movies. I will be buying this one for sure.
Everything comes together and ends perfectly
After the great Dawn comes the superb War. I love this film.
Taking place 3 years after Dawn, Caesar still leads his colony of apes. Defending against human soldiers & defected apes (who are former followers of Koba), while trying desperately to find a way for his people out of the woods into another part of the country, where the humans hunting them will not follow.
Some bad stuff happens and Caesar is forced to hunt the human's leader.
This tale is so personal and dark, it never feels like anyone is right 100% of the time. I can see/sympathise with Caesar and the ape's plight. While I can also see The human's perspective, and can see where they're coming from. No one is a villainous cartoon character, just fragile people in a bad situation.
Maurice, Roket, and Koba get their time to shine and all are good, especially Rocket & Maurice.
Woody Harrelson gives a chilling performance as the Colonel watching him and Caesar interact is very entertaining.
I really loved this movie and I think it's the perfect book end to this trilogy.
A classic tale told brilliantly
After the really good Rise, comes the great Dawn.
The film picks up 10 years after Rise. Humans come into conflict with the apes because the dam humans need for power is inside the Apes territory. Caesar tries to navigate through obstacles to obtain a fragile peace, meanwhile Koba strongly disapproves of this kindness and starts making plans of his own... it's a story structure we've seen a million times, but told in such a masterful way.
The effects work Is incredible, the direction is stellar, while Andy Serkis, Toby Kibbell (Koba), and Karin Konoval (Maurice) are absolutely amazing and bring a whole new dimension to the motion capture.
The humans are still the weaker/less interesting part, but they're better here than in Rise. Jason Clarke, Keri Russel, Kodi Smit-McPhee, and Gary Oldman are really good. The action scenes are phenomenal, The last act simply wonderful and tense.
Matt Reeves's direction is visionary and very good, that Tank shot will be on "best movie shots" lists for years to come.
Watch this, it's great and very absorbing.
What a reboot!
I saw this film in theaters and it knocked my socks off. The screen writer, director, and Andy Serkis really out-did themselves.
This acts as a prequel to the original series telling the rise of intelligent Apes and the starting decline of humanity. a genetically altered Ape, Caesar, is raised by James Franco and through some less than wacky antics is forced to be kept in a ape shelter with other, normal apes. Similar to the god Prometheus, Caesar exposes his fellow apes to the gene altering virus and gives them knowledge. thus empowering them to rebel and escape captivity.
The humans are by far the weakest link in this film. James Franco is okay and everyone else is passable, but none are very imaginative or memorable. Meanwhile all the apes are interesting, memorable and carry over throughout the remaining trilogy (Rocket, Koba, and my favorite Maurice).
While this reboot trilogy focuses less on themes of racism and slavery, I feel the themes are still there, it's just more themes are at the center and room is made for very decent action sequences. I really liked this film and it sent the series in a brand new direction.
Planet of the Apes (2001)
The worst of the series
Tim Burton's folly... The lamest film of the series that was made with no point or end goal aside from making $$$.
Mark Wahlberg is awful. He plays his character like a confused elderly person. In fact all the characters are awful and seem miscast. There's a weird kinda beastiality romance between Mark Wahlberg and Helen Labottum-Carter, the humans seem savage, but they speak and have developed tribal cultures of their own. The Ape society makes no sense, they see humans both as savages and a slaves.... it's a mess.
The ending sucks, Tim Roth sucks, Markie Mark sucks, everything sucks.... Except for the makeup and the set design is very nice and good looking. It's a lot of wasted effort for this garbage plot. Ugh, skip this trash.