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Nothing is worse than clicking on a review, only to see a plot summary. A film review should emphasize the positive and negative attributes of a film - there are separate sections for summary and plot outlines. I know some top pro film critics usually give a summary, and some of those don't even rate their viewing experience, and I question why they are a "critic". You won't get that with me - I'm all about the entertainment value and viewing experience.
What I aim to critique are the key factors that make a film: directing, writing, cinematography, editing, casting, S/VFX, length/pace, sound/score, entertainment value, etc.
I also take into account the production budget and experience of the filmmakers. You cannot equally compare a Hollywood blockbuster with A-list actors to a low-budget indie production with B-list actors. I have much respect for new/up and coming filmmakers, and I rate them fair based on what they have to work with. You may see a B low budget film that you may not like get an 8/10, and a big A-film Hollywood blockbuster get a 6/10, only because the A film had everything it needed to be great, and the B film worked with very little (experience, budget, etc.) yet was impressive - all factors considered.
Thus it will be very rare any movie will get a 1 (unless it's riddled with fake reviews from cast, crew and friends) or a 10 (unless it is perfection in every category above) from me, but instead will range between that scale - also taking into account the filmmakers experience, budget, etc. As a rule, anything I rate either a 7 or 8, I liked enough that I will watch it again and still highly recommend. The lower numbers will be more of a critique for the filmmaker in areas they need to improve, as well as details for the potential audience to evaluate if that film is still worth seeing (e.g. loud constant annoying score - maybe you don't mind that) and will satisfy their expectations.
Additionally, those who give a film a 1/10 annoy me. Every film should have some good qualities, and it's a "scale" between 1-10, not 1 "or" 10. I've seen some reviewers give a 1 because the film isn't out yet so they think it's a fake review; Films do have early screenings at film festivals, early releases at various countries or distributors, and "award consideration" pre-releases to certain viewers and critics.
But what burns me the most, is when filmmakers spam and shill their IMDb account with ridiculous comments and clearly fake 9 & 10/10's. IMDb is a transparent opinion-based forum that relies on honest reviews from its members. Spamming a movie with many fake high reviews only tells me that the filmmakers don't even have faith in their own production, and thus have to lie to their potential audience into watching their movie. That's just pathetic, and an embarrassment to the industry and the real filmmakers out there trying their best and being honest.
The best way to see if a review is fake, click on the username; if one or a few reviews (usually the same date/s), a new account, or an account with many IMDb film criteria entries (plot, photos, summaries, film specs, etc.), that's usually a filmmaker or crew upvoting their own film. Do every IMDb member a favor and report that review, and if that film has many 10/10, down-vote them all (and report) and up-vote the real honest reviews. It may not stop the filmmaker and his crew from posting more fake reviews, but at least all the up and down votes from members like you may help them from not wasting their time to see a flagrantly upvoted film.
Also if you see many shill fake high reviews, chances are your honest low review will get reported and deleted by all the new fake accounts. Simply keep reposting and reporting/downvoting the phony reviews. And do what I and most of the users who notice their honest review got deleted... repost and lower your rating to a 1/10. If you see lots of those along with many high reviews, it's just the honest members being angry and lowering their score in hopes of offsetting the falsely high ratings that IMDb overlooked as spam.
And if you're that filmmaker, cast/crew creating the fake upvotes, you are doing more harm than good for your own film; Members will give you the 1 for every 10/10 you post, when they may have given you a 6 or 7, as I would and have.
Finally, none of my 1000+ ratings and 1000+ reviews will ever by biased or paid for. Every rating and review will be based on my personal opinion using factors that professional critics use (and in considering everything I've said above) - instead of a film summary, and my exact rating and review can also be found on Rotten Tomatoes, and many other entertainment review outlets.
A well shot fun ride.
There really isn't much to complain about this little gem. It had everything going for it, from casting to production to directing etc. The story had a great flow to it, and although it was mostly predictable, it was still really fun to go along for the ride. All casting and performances were spot-on, although I felt Ronny Chieng was miscast. I am a fan, but somehow his character just didn't fit and wasn't as convincing as everyone else was. The visual effects for Megan were on point, as was the cinematography and score. The 102 min runtime flew by with the proper pacing. Overall a really fun watch and I certainly recommend it. I do hope they come out with at least one more sequel.
Blood Relatives (2022)
A missed opportunity that lacked the bite to make it stand out.
This was very poorly written and directed, and surprisingly, just bland and boring, and not funny at all. The concept was interesting, but it missed the mark in every other department. The two leads had zero chemistry, I'm sure mostly due to writer, director and lead actor Noah Segan's failure to direct himself and Victoria Moroles properly. The only really convincing actor was C. L. Simpson as Sylvie. Moroles' and Segan's dialogue also felt forced and convoluted, with Segan's occasional high-pitched voice squealing becoming cringe. The story had nothing much out of its basic narrative to offer - nothing really suspenseful or thrilling, or that wasn't cliched and predictable. For a comedy, we never laughed once. A decent effort for actor Segan to newly dabble in filmmaking, but maybe he wore too many hats on this one.
Something in the Dirt (2022)
Something in the Trash.
Which is where this entire poor excuse of filmmaking belongs. It's two hours of my life I'll never get back, listening to endless yapping about absolutely nothing. It was like listening to a couple of meth-heads babbling, constantly chain-smoking to try and calm their withdrawals, all while telling each other tall tales of nonsense that develop into crack head conspiracies, and at the same time filming random objects. There's your film, but masked with cliched Angelenos (the demonym for those who live in Los Angeles) stereotypes. The screenplay was a hack-job at best, with incoherent dialogue to match the incohesive narrative. How was this even rated a comedy, when the funniest thing was the one dude's ridiculous changing hair. And the only horror was me having to sit through this mess waiting for anything with substance to happen. This has to be one of the worst films masking as a sci-fi I have ever seen. It's a very generous 2/10 only for the very-little creative cinematography and special effects.
You People (2023)
You know, the ones who wrote all the cliched nonsense with the shallow dialogue, in attempt to make a social satirical rom-com, that ended up flopping miserably. And those that failed to direct the all-star cast properly, so they all ended up being unconvincing in everything they did and said.
I've seen failed SNL sketches with better execution, more urgency in the acting, with coherent and cohesive dialogue. But instead, those people gave us a long, dragged out, boring and shallow blah-blah commentary, with zero laughs, that will have you struggle to stay awake in this predictable sloth-paced nonsense.
Such a waste of a talented cast. This is one of those films that is more annoying than entertaining, and aside from the predictable romance as the core of the film, everything else is just forced, feels phony, and flops from every angle. I can't even suggest it's a decent one-time watch, because I feel like I've wasted 2 hours I'll never get back.
Night Train (2023)
This felt like an amateur-hour Lifetime TV movie/daytime Soap Opera combination, trying to pull off a Fast & Furious film, and clearly fail. Almost every character was written-in to be as annoying as possible - not saying the actors didn't try their best, considering the mess they were given to work with. At least Danielle C. Ryan was bearable and convincing in this role, unlike her character in Double Threat.
For starters, I've never seen an FBI agent be portrayed so sappy, useless, desperate, and as if they would be allowed to carry a gun as and alcoholic with endless bottles of booze always in her hand. Never mind making her character so trampy and desperate. A high school drama class could create better characters, and a story for that matter. Then the two female leads felt like they were competing who had bigger balls, both being unrealistic with their tough-act attitudes. Even some scenes with annoyingly irrelevant and infantile dialogue became cringeworthy quickly.
There were endless plot holes, riddled with unrealistic scenarios - almost as if zero research was done on how things actually are supposed to happen. There were missing parts to many scenes, not sure if the blame falls on the editor or the director, but certainly any decent director should pick-up on at least the obvious inconsistencies (like how may time does the one guy pull back the slide of his gun when it's already chambered the first time around, and never shot). Like I said, amateur-hour, and I should've known better, considering this duo - director Shane Stanley and writer CJ Walley gave us Double Threat, also starring the same two female leads, in another cringeworthy attempt at an action-thriller. I need to remember to stay away from any more of their films
I wouldn't even recommend this as a one-time watch, because it's that sappy and cheesy, and the characters are that annoying. It's a very generous 3/10, for some adequate cinematography and a surprisingly decent score, especially for a B film.
Poor granny just wanted some deck.
They don't make em like this anymore. Good old-school slasher-horror flicks from the 70's and 80's. Writer, producer, director and editor Ti West was stellar in every department in this exceptionally well put together film. The cinematography was top shelf - all genres considered, and his directing was just as great. Even the score and soundtrack was the best I've heard in a very long time. All casting and performances were excellent, especially the lovely Jenna Ortega, and Mia Goth in her dual roles as Maxine Minx and granny Pearl. Kid Cudi also had some good fun being cast as Jackson Hole. The gore, prosthetics and special effects were on point. There were even some surprisingly unexpected jump-scares where you wouldn't expect them - all due to simplistic yet creative filmmaking techniques. The writing had a nice flow to it with continuity and decent pacing, so the 105 min runtime passed by comfortably. There really isn't much to negatively critique in this little gem, except I wished for more narrative and sub-plots. It's a must-see if you're a fan of this genre, and a well deserved 9/10 from me.
At this point, you have to feel sorry for Willis.
You can't blame him for constantly being cast by a lousy filmmaker, a paycheck is a paycheck. This is the third, and thankfully, final entry of writer and director Edward Drake's Detective Knight trilogy of films. Of the three films, this one actually had the best story premise, but sadly, was the worst directed of them all, and the screenplay was riddled with plot holes, cringeworthy dialogue, and unrealistic nonsense sub-narratives. I'm baffled how any filmmaker can get worse with the more films they make, instead of better.
This had the usual amateur-hour Drake trademarks of blurry scenes, poorly executed color contrast effects, fade in and outs, as well as shaky cam footage. To make matters worse, Drake added annoying split-screen shots - like a five year old discovering gravity, as well at attaching GoPros to props, all of which were failed attempts at any improved filmmaking. Even at a normally comfortable 91 min runtime, this film felt never-ending, even with the fairly decent pacing, due to long dragged out and unnecessary scenes, mostly rubbish with cringeworthy dialogue. There was no coherent or cohesive fluidity to the scenes, and they seemed to clumsily appear in and out between random narratives. I sure hope Willis has fulfilled any contractual obligations to be in any more Drake dreck dumpster productions, he deserves much better.
A waste of some great and stunning visuals.
The S/VFX were all top shelf in this film, but it had two downfalls; one was the constant cheesy and annoying attempts at humor which became cringeworthy fast. The other was the convoluted screenplay. The conceptual story was actually decent, but it ended up all style with very little substance. It was riddled with plot holes, and incohesive and incoherent dialogue. Even the normally comfortable 98 min runtime felt much longer with all the infantile dialogue, terrible humor and some of the long, dragged out and unnecessary scenes. Writer and director Sang-ho Yeon should have made many edits and scene cuts after seeing the final version to at lease create better cohesion. It's a generous 6/10 from me, mostly for the very impressive visuals.
It flopped in the last 15 minutes.
It started off as a decent Aussie crime-drama film, but the last 15 minutes ruined it, and I attribute that to lazy writing. Actor and co-star Matt Nable makes his directorial debut with this film, as well as being his fourth writing credit. His rookie mistakes were evident and somewhat forgivable in his directing; the monotonic theme, the lack of any real urgency in most scenes, and the overall look and feel to this film. His writing was generic and predictable with boiler-plate set-ups and follow throughs to the narrative. At least it was all cohesive and had continuity, that's until the last 15 minutes, when Nable's character goes off the rails and attacks his fellow soldier for no reason explained whatsoever. It was just ridiculous lazy and convoluted writing, and made what decent narrative had occurred prior to that point feel insignificant. Nevertheless, the cinematography was excellent, as the score was decent, and the casting and performances on point, especially Nable and Worthington, and the beautiful Phoebe Tonkin was certainly easy to watch. But they weren't enough to boost the lack of energy, action and suspense this film needed. The pacing was too slow and there were many scenes that could've and should've been trimmed down or cut out. There just wasn't enough narrative to comfortable fill in the 106 min runtime. Had the last 15 mins been better written, I'd say it's a decent one-time watch, but the way it went off the rails, I feel like I wasted my time watching this.
The Price We Pay (2022)
Has that Blumhouse feel.
This is a decent one-time watch thriller/gore-fest B film that has the Blumhouse production feel to it. It was well directed, with a decently paced cohesive script, that offers plenty of thrills and gore for this genre's fans. It's nothing revolutionary we haven't seen before, but it was done right and it worked well. The comfortable 86 min runtime was used effectively. All casting and performances were great, especially the lovely Gigi Zumbado and Stephen Dorff, but I didn't like Emile Hirsch's character, who was more annoying than convincing, especially with his hilariously lame Harry Potter glasses. Omitting the geek glasses would've gone a long way for his character. Nevertheless, still a well shot film, with the exception the cinematography was too dark in many scenes, but the score was on point for a B film. A well deserved 7/10 from me.
Lizard Lick Towing (2011)
Lizard Brain Towing.
How did this infantile nonsense make it to three seasons is astounding to me. This is the biggest nonsense I've ever seen for reality TV, and there's a lot of nonsense out there. For starters, a five year old has better business sense on how to run a business. Next, every episode has a minimum of five assault charges needing to be filed, yet nothing ever happens with that. All the characters are the most annoying and immature on television. They're an insult to rednecks and are cringe to watch. There is zero reason or logic to everything they say or do. I can't even have an episode playing in the background as it still annoys me.
Black Warrant (2022)
A fairly decent watchable B film.
It's slim pickings for anything actually watchable in the B-films crime-action category these days, especially since Bruce Willis has been in almost every one of them, but this one was actually enjoyable. It could've easily been much better with a better director - I'd say a more experienced director, but it seems Tibor Takacs having directed fifty films hasn't improved his filmmaking. Most scenes lacked urgency, and better cast direction was needed, and the overall feel of the film felt like it was directed by an amateur filmmaker. The story however, albeit bits and pieces from other better films, still was an enjoyable one-time watch. The twist was well executed, and the story had a consistently decent flow to it, aside from a few plot and technical issues. The cinematography was decent, and the score surprisingly fitting and bearable, a rare find in B films these days. All casting and performances were spot-on and it's good to see the iconic Tom Berenger still has his acting chops. It's a fun no-regrets one-time watch if you're a fan of this genre, and it's a well deserved 7/10 from me.
Best of Stand-Up 2022 (2022)
Worst of Stand-Up is the more appropriate title.
Whoever at Netflix picked these short skits as being that particular comedian's best of their act, needs to be fired. I've seen many of the full shows from some of comedians featured on this special, and it seems they picked the worst instead of their best material. I mean some of the skits were just so bad, I pity the individuals who laughed and chose those skits. Some of these comedians are my favorite, and I remember some of their best and some of their worst lines, and it seems the worst were chosen. Granted, some other comedian's skits were funny, but those few I actually laughed at I never saw their full shows, so again, I'm sure there was even better material. This was a huge let down and a waste of time.
Weird: The Al Yankovic Story (2022)
Overhyped and overrated nonsense.
I get it's a parody, but viewers need to be able to compare what's real and what's a parody, so unless you're a hard-core fan of Al, this will seem like a bunch of nonsense, as it did to me. It felt more like a bunch of SNL skits stitched together to make a movie. I enjoyed his music, and know he had a proper upbringing, so I'm not sure what all the hype for this film is about, aside it being a parody, but not a good one at that. Why have this entire Madonna relationship when it wasn't true, etc. It had a few funny moments, but otherwise the story is basically an underwhelming sloth. It's trying to be funny, it's not, but achieves having hardly any substance to fill in its long and dragged out 108 min runtime. I'm a fan of Al's music, but not this film.
Who Invited Them (2022)
Not as bad as I thought.
It's not a bad film from relatively newb filmmaker Duncan Birmingham, who wrote and directed this drama. I'm not sure why it's listed as a comedy and horror, because there were only a few chuckles, nothing horrific, and only about 10 minutes of any actual thrills or suspense. The rest of the time is mostly dialogue-based scenes that really don't add much to the film. Birmingham's directing was decent, but the screenplay needed more action to fill in all the social awkwardness of the scenes with mostly irrelevant dialogue. Plus the the final act needed more of a punch, instead of just a push on the shoulder.
Stalked Within (2022)
Actually much better than I expected.
For a BET production, this was pretty good, actually much better than I expected. Although it still felt like a Lifetime-type made for TV movie, it certainly was one of the better casted, directed and written ones I've seen in a while. All casting and performances were spot on, and the directing couldn't have been any better. The writing had some decent tension and suspense, albeit mostly predictable. It was however unique and interesting when considering what a security company does and doesn't have access to in your home, and to make a movie about it was smart. The 82 min runtime and perfect pacing and flow made this a real easy and entertaining watch. It certainly is worthy of seeing once, and deserving of my 7/10.
The Old Way (2023)
An amateur-hour sub-par Western with bad parenting thrown in for good measure.
This entire production felt like a high-school drama class level, budget and all. Cage basically is sleepwalking his paycheck, but little Ryan Kiera Armstrong steals the spotlight with her charisma and flair for acting. The writing was your typical seen-it-before predictable and cliched revenge Western offering up nothing new for this genre, that felt quickly and lazily written. Some of the dialogue was cheesy to the point of cringe. The directing was weak and lacked any urgency in almost every scene. Even the sets and settings felt cheap and unconvincing, and lacked any authentic Western feel. A little bit of dust and tumbleweed blowing through town would've gone a long way getting to that Western feel. Even the normally comfortable 95 min runtime felt longer with poor pacing and the underwhelming narrative. It's a generous 5/10 from me, all for the young Armstrong's impressive performance.
The Big Four (2022)
An outdated action-comedy.
This was just unnecessarily too long, and the humor was just too infantile, forced and outdated. The sad part is that it could've easily been much better had some of the cheesy dialog been omitted, and the entire film's 141 min runtime cut down to no more than 90 mins. The long dragged out and mostly predictable and silly scenes took away from what started as a decent story, then went full on stink-cheese with the lame outdated humor, and cliches. The casting and performances were decent for the most part, but their infantile dialogue and demeanors took away much of any caring for their characters. The action was hit and miss, although there were some cool choreographed fights in the third act. Had this been shorter, I may have said it's a decent one-time watch, but as is, I felt it was a waste of my time and not worth even the one-time watch.
Low Gun, and about an hour too long.
The writing and directing was too underwhelming to effectively fill in the slowly paced 139 min runtime. There were bits and pieces of suspense and thrills, but for the most part, every scene was stretched out too long with mostly filler and very little substance. The runtime could've have easily been trimmed down at least 40 mins. In fact, there really wasn't much of a story to begin with for a full length feature film. This may have been better off as a short docu-film. Nevertheless, the casting and performances were excellent, and the cinematography and score spot-on. Devotion is not even close to Top Gun caliber in action or story, but if you like this genre, it's an ok one-time watch if there's nothing better to see.
The Last Heist (2022)
Watching old ladies sitting around a table playing Bridge is more exciting.
It started off interesting, and then went flying off the rails. Without giving anything away, the constant flashbacks started to become too long, too frequent, and too boring, but when the twist starts, it just made the flashbacks even more useless. The twist however was a novel idea, but it was just executed very poorly. There's very little action, as most of the narrative was just a bunch of mostly incoherent mumbling. The normally comfortable 86 min runtime felt endless with the terribly slow pacing and lack of any interesting dialogue. The casting and performances were decent and convincing for the most part. But even those weren't enough to carry this film. The clearly blatant bogus high reviews are more entertaining than this sloth of a film. Don't waste your time like I did.
Candy Land (2022)
This little gem was surprisingly awesome.
Opening scene: 10/10. Newb producer, writer and director John Swab sure knows how to capture and maintain the audiences attention. This is Swab's only sixth filmmaking credit, and although not perfect, there is not one dull moment throughout the film's comfortable 93 min runtime. The pacing was decent for the most part, and his directing and camera shots were excellent. Even the colorful cast of outcasts performed well, although Olivia Luccardi as Remy could've used better cast direction in the first half. The story itself was a combination of genres mixed together and it actually worked. It wasn't perfect writing, but all this put together by a relatively inexperienced filmmaker was impressive. It's certainly worth at least a one-time watch, and a well deserved 8/10 from me.
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (2022)
It's rare to watch an animated film that actually has a story relatable to both adults and children, and Puss in Boots The Last Wish does just that. For starters, all the voice-overs were outstanding, and all of the characters had something to offer than just their presence in the story. The characters and the story itself had moments of joy, laughter and tears. The humor was particularly relatable and funny, again, for both adults and children. The pacing was spot on and the 102 minute runtime just flew by. This is one of the better animations I've seen in a while, and I love how the ending lead up to the next sequel to Shrek. A must watch for everyone.
Significant Other (2022)
An underwhelming yet decent one-time watch.
This was a survivalist type sci-fi that was well shot, directed and acted. All casting and performances were on point. The story had a few nice twists, but nothing revolutionary or jaw-dropping. It was well shot with great cinematography and a decent score. Even at a mere 84 min runtime and fairly decent pacing, it still felt longer due to the lack of any constant suspenseful narrative. It did have its moments of intrigue and suspense, but those were too few and far in between the basic camping survivalist theme. Nevertheless, it's a decent genre crossing film that's a decent one-time watch by a relatively newb co-writer and co-directing duo.
It's like a free toy in a cereal box.
It's a gimmick to get you to buy the cereal, but once you get to the toy at the bottom of the box, it's just a cheap useless piece of plastic, and not worth buying the cereal you normally wouldn't buy, just for the toy. This is the case here, a gimmick that does work, but not worth the eight colorful episodes that are basically a two-hour movie spread thinly to make a series, and really not offering up anything revolutionary that hasn't been done before, and much better. If you enjoy this genre and haven't seen Money Heist yet, watch that instead of this, it's 1000x better.
But if you are still curious about this series, then I suggest to watch this in the following order: yellow, violet, orange, green, blue, red, pink. If you leave out white, your imagination would probably be a better resolution. If you're binging like I did, wait a week to enjoy your imagination's of heist day, then watch white to compare your ending to the finale... you'll get the most enjoyment this way. The other more obvious and probably makes the most sense for simplistic viewing is to watch this in chronological order - violet (24 years before), green (7 years before), yellow (6 weeks before), etc.
The Man from Earth (2007)
I'm sure I've told this tall tale tens of times in my teens when I was drunk.
It certainly is an engaging film, and it's well paced with its comfortable 83 min runtime. The directing could've been better, and the score was your typical B film - constant overbearing and loud, especially in the first two acts. The casting and performances were all on point. It's certainly not a brilliant film by any means, and barely a one-time watch, so I'm baffled by all the praise. It's a creative idea at best, but certainly nothing revolutionary or enlightening, although I'm sure the atheists will eat this up. Nevertheless, I'm sure I've told this tall tale tens of times in my teens when I was drunk. It's a cool 6/10 from me.