Monthly Rewind for July

Hello, everybody!

The sixth edition of Monthly Rewind is here, and we’re doing July!

I mentioned in the last post that I’m going to change how I did these going forward, and that’s going to happen here. I originally did all the movies I watched that month and gave my reactions to all those movies, good or bad. The new change is that I’ll still be doing that, but this time with only the movies that really left an impression or stood out. I’m not saying I won’t mention the bad movies, but for the most part, it’s going to be the ones that stood out.

If you know something came out during that month, or year, and it’s not on here. It’s a good chance that I haven’t seen it – yes, even after all these years – or I just completely missed it while putting the list together. It’s a lot of movies after all.

Alright, let’s get started with 2010!

 

2010

The Last Airbender

[REC] 2

Inception

Thoughts: Okay, let’s just get this one out of the way, M. Night Shyamalan’s adaptation of the hit animated series, The Last Airbender. I’m going to be honest, I have never finished the series, so I was going in with limited knowledge of the series, but even I knew that this movie wasn’t it. Forget the way too many close-ups – especially in a 3D movie – and a lack of character connections and changes, The Last Airbender suffers from being rather boring a lot of time. It saves everything for its “bombastic” third-act that was given away in EVERY trailer and TV spot.

Next is the sequel to the Spanish found-footage horror film, [REC]. The sequel picks up pretty much immediately after the first film, now following a SWAT team going into the building that has been closed off due to a virus, to find someone inside that could help with an antidote. I don’t want to give too much away for those who haven’t seen it, but I loved the first [REC] and while the sequel ups the action – given that these characters have guns – the sequel also changes the whole dynamic of the first movie and does something pretty cool to change it up. I’d definitely do a double-feature night, if you haven’t watched the movies before.

Finally, Christopher Nolan’s mind-bending sci-fi film Inception. And no, I’m not going to discuss if the ending was a dream or not, I have my opinion but that’s a WHOLE other post. Regardless, Inception does do everything to keep you on track on what level of the dream they’re in. If anything, you should appreciate the cast Nolan was able to put together.

 

 

2011

Horrible Bosses

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

Attack the Block

Captain America: The First Avenger

Thoughts: Let’s start off with the comedy Horrible Bosses, following three friends (Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis) who hate their bosses that one night they think of the ways to kill them, and hire a “murder consultant” in MF Jones (Jamie Foxx). I didn’t think too much of Horrible Bosses before I saw it, but after watching the movie, I feel hard for it. The movie works when Bateman, Day and Sudeikis just let loose.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is next on the list, and while I wasn’t the biggest Potterhead out there (I stopped reading the books after Goblet of Fire) my investment came straight from what I was seeing on screen, and not a previous knowledge like many that were probably watching. That said, I still felt the weight of a franchise I grew up watching was coming to an end.

Next is the British alien invasion film Attack the Block. Featuring the feature film debut of John Boyega and a pre-Doctor Who Jodie Whittaker as residents in a block in South London that is invaded by aliens who are trying to break into the building. I instantly feel in love with this movie after the first watch. The movie has a young cast and Whittaker and a small role by Nick Frost as a dealer to punch up some of the scenes. It’s a great watch if you haven’t watched it yet.

Finally, Captain America: The First Avenger, a bonafide prequel to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Chris Evans brings Steve Rogers aka Captain America to life seeing his humble beginnings to turning into a superhero and a symbol of hope during the war. Add in Hugo Weaving’s portrayal as the villainous Red Skull, a touching performance by Stanley Tucci and a great and breakout performance by Hayley Atwell as Steve’s love interest Peggy Carter, Captain America: The First Avenger is arguably the best movie in Marvel’s Phase One.

 

 

2012

The Dark Knight Rises

The Amazing Spider-Man

Thoughts:  Well, look at this. Let’s start off with The Dark Knight Rises, which was the final outing of Christopher Nolan’s Batman series with Christian Bale playing Bruce/Batman going up against a powerful new enemy, Bane (Tom Hardy), who takes Gotham hostage by force and effectively. Rises gets a lot of hate, and while some of it may be justified, I think taking some time away from the movie “lessens” the hate. No, the movie isn’t perfect, or a great conclusion after the great The Dark Knight, but Rises is a descent cap off to the Nolan films.

Now, let’s move on from DC and a final installment, to Marvel/Sony and the hopeful beginning/reboot of The Amazing Spider-Man. Only five years after Sam Raimi’s last outing in Spider-Man 3 – a fourth installment was in the works, but Sony and Raimi didn’t agree on how to go with it – Sony Pictures went the reboot route with 500 Days of Summer director Marc Webb and Andrew Garfield to play the iconic hero. Retelling the story of Peter as he’s bitten by a genetically altered spider that gives him powers and becomes the hero, Spider-Man, while trying to juggle his own life with Aunt May (Sally Field) after the death of Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen), his high school doings with a growing crush on Gwen Stacy (played wonderfully by Emma Stone), and being hunted down by Dr. Curt Connors’ alter-ego The Lizard (Rhys Ifans).

I actually enjoyed The Amazing Spider-Man, and thought Garfield’s Peter was descent enough, but the inclusion of Gwen Stacy as the main love interest was a good way to set it apart from Raimi’s films. Of course, Sony couldn’t help itself and ruined the potential franchise.

 

 

2013

The Lone Ranger

The Conjuring

Pacific Rim

Thoughts: The Lone Ranger got A LOT of flak when it came out. Most of it, at first, steamed from the public behind-the-scenes troubles with the budget and changing scripts. Then the movie came out and people still weren’t too big on it. The movie did suffer from tonal whiplash at times, plus it was a tad bit longer that it should have been – especially for a Disney movie. While even I wasn’t the biggest fan of it, I did find some of it decently enjoyable. The final action sequence on the train while the familiar theme plays throughout was actually pretty damn great.

Let’s move on to James Wan’s The Conjuring, the horror film that made a huge buzz when it came out. The movie is based on one of the case files by paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga), who help a family after moving into to their new farmhouse that is haunted by an evil presence. The movie had some added layers going for it as a photo went around that a priest had blessed a theater after people started to experience things or pass out – much like The Exorcist when it first came out. The movie was rated-R, despite not having any gore or swearing in it, and the trailer that showed the “clapping game.”

I would arguably say that The Conjuring is one of Wan’s best films, especially horror, but given the film’s success – and spinoffs – I think it speaks for itself.

 

 

2014

Boyhood

Begin Again

The Purge: Anarchy

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Thoughts:  Let’s start off with Richard Linklater’s experimental 12-year film, Boyhood. Following the life of Mason (Ellar Coltrane) from early childhood until his arrival at college, the film was definitely a passion project for Linklater and a testament to his filmmaking and patience, and the cast as well, to getting this done. The movie itself, is just fine, unfortunately.

Next is the indie musical dramedy Begin Again, with Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley. The film followed a disgraced music executive who happens to meet a young singer-songwriter, new to Manhattan, and strikes up a partnership to create something new, with a group of equally talented individuals. Begin Again is a great indie film with an equally great soundtrack that makes it worth every minute.

The Purge: Anarchy took the interesting concept from the first movie and allowed it to have more room to play. Moving the action from inside a house to the streets of Los Angeles with more characters and its political themes starting to creep out more. Honestly, this is personally my favorite of the Purge movies, and in my opinion, the best one.

Finally, the second of the rebooted Planet of the Apes movies, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Moving the action years after the first movie, and following a group of human survivors who now live in a world ruled by apes, Caesar (Andy Serkis) tries to keep the peace as much as he can, despite a rival ape, Koba (motion captured by Toby Kebbell) seeing the humans as a waste of time. The movie upped the action, drama and ape scenes that continued the soon to be trilogy.

 

 

2015

The Gallows

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

Thoughts: Ugh, The Gallows. I never hated myself for watching a movie while I watching it – that feeling usually comes after – but this one did it. The concept is fine; 20 years after a horrific accident during a small town school play, students at the school resurrect the failed show to honor the anniversary, but when they go to practice at the school at night, something starts to haunt them. I like that, and there is probably one or two shots that look cool, but the movie is terrible with characters that I couldn’t connect or root for at all!

The marketing also tried really hard to try to make the villain character as classic horror villain like Michael Myers, Jason or Freddy – which really should have been the telling for me.

Next is the adaptation of one of my favorite books, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – although the book was just titled “Me, Earl and the Dying Girl” by Jesse Andrews (who also wrote the film). The film followed high-schooler Greg (Thomas Mann), who spends his time making parodies of classic movies with his co-worker Earl (RJ Clyer), when they eventually befriend Rachel (Olivia Cooke), a classmate, who’s been diagnosed with cancer. The film was a pretty good adaptation of the book, slightly changing some things, and expanding on others. Highly recommend both if you haven’t read or seen them.

Finally, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. The first movie to start continuing their stories from the last film including bringing back characters like Jeremy Renner’s Brandt, Simon Pegg’s Benji and Ving Rhames’ Luther. The movie follows Ethan as he tries to stop an unknown organization from causing chaos and getting stronger. The movie also gave us the introduction of one of the better female characters in the series Ilsa Faust, played by Rebecca Ferguson.

 

 

2016

Captain Fantastic

Ghostbusters

Lights Out

Train to Busan

Thoughts: Captain Fantastic gets a special mention here because it’s one of the rare movies I’ve seen Viggo Mortensen in, where he’s not surrounded by Hobbits or elves.

Let’s move on to the much-talked about female-led Ghostbusters, directed by Paul Feig. The movie gets a LOT of hate for whatever reason you want to insert from fans, I however, did end up enjoying the movie for what it was. Is it a little too much with jokes not really landing sometimes? Yes. Does the core cast of Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon work? Yes. Is Chris Hemsworth good in the movie? Yes. The movie itself? It’s fine.

Next is the surprisingly good Lights Out. Based on the (also good) short film by David F. Sandberg – who got the chance to direct the feature – the short was simple, when the lights go out, a monster appears. The movie expands on that concept and follows a mother (Teresa Palmer) who’s little brother is seeing a monster every time the lights go out, and it may be connected to her mother’s past. I watched the short when it first came out and loved it. So when I heard the movie was coming out, with James Wan producing of all people, I was thrilled to watch it.

Thankfully, the movie was effective and the expansion worked for the most part. It gets a little clunky when it’s trying to unpack the backstory, but the scares are effective.

Lastly, the excellent South Korean zombie horror action film Train to Busan. The film follows a group of survivors who try to keep a zombie virus outbreak come affecting them while on a train from Seoul to Busan. The film is effective on every level from the zombie action, to the actual characters we get to know from the focal point of a father trying to keep his estranged daughter safe, to married couple trying to work things out a group of school kids and more.

 

 

2017

Spider-Man: Homecoming

War for the Planet of the Apes

The Big Sick

Atomic Blonde

Dunkirk

Thoughts: Let’s first talk about The Big Sick, a semi-autobiographic account of the real-life early relationship between Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon. The two wrote the screenplay together with Kumail playing himself and Zoe Kazan playing Emily. The film is very heartfelt, funny and charming, and the fact that it’s loosely based on what really happened, Kumail and Emily falling for each other, the culture clash, and Emily contacting a mysterious illness, The Big Sick works on every level it can to keep you invested.

Let’s talk now about Atomic Blonde, the first solo outing of David Leitch, who co-directed John Wick, and starred Charlize Theron as an undercover MI6 agent who is sent to Berlin during the Cold War to find a missing list of double agents when one of the agency’s agents is killed. The was drench in nostalgia from the clothing, music and style, with a great supporting cast of James McAvoy, Sofia Boutella, John Goodman, Toby Jones, Bill Skarsgard and Eddie Marsan. But I’m sure the big thing that got people going was the action. We were all familiar now with what Leitch and his stunt team 87eleven were no capable of and Atomic Blonde didn’t hold back its punches. Atomic Blonde may just be an okay movie, but the action, especially the final act’s “long take” action scene, is what makes Atomic Blonde stick out.

Next is Spider-Man: Homecoming, which works on two levels as it’s yet another Sony reboot to Spider-Man, but this time it brings Spider-Man to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Tom Holland’s Peter Parker/Spider-Man was already introduced in Captain America: Civil War, but this was his, mostly, first solo outing. Holland does a great job of bringing a believably young Peter to the big screen, as he deals with high school including his crush Liz (Laura Harrier), keeping his secret from Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), trying to impress Tony (Robert Downey Jr.) and not trying to get killed by The Vulture/Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton).

I know there are people that have problems with Homecoming, which is fair, because even I know Homecoming isn’t entirely great, but we got Spider-Man back in the MCU which was a great move by Sony.

Finally, Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk. The war film which is told through different perspectives that all merge together showing the rescue of Allied soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk as the German army closes in. The film is highlighted by Hans Zimmer’s score that is playing throughout the film, almost non-stop and the cinematography by Hoyte Van Hoytema.

 

 

2018

Sorry to Bother You

Teen Titans GO! To the Movies

Mission: Impossible – Fallout

Thoughts: Sorry to Bother You gets a shout out here because of how freaking OUT-THERE it is, especially the longer it keeps going. The less you know about the movie, especially this one, the better the craziness is. However, if you do watch this, please STICK. WITH. IT.

Next is probably one of my biggest surprises in a long time, Teen Titans Go! To the Movies. Based on the new-style animated series, the meta approach of the movie saw the Teen Titans, mainly Robin, trying to get his own movie as superhero films are the big trend in Hollywood. The movie was just funny on all accounts and I loved it!

Finally, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, the last outing of the IMF – movie-wise with the seventh and eighth installment on the way (eventually) – where Ethan and his team try to stop a global nuclear war from happening. I don’t know where Fallout falls in the ranking of Mission: Impossible movies, but Fallout does have an awesome chase sequence in the streets of Paris.

 

And that’s it everyone. Admittedly, this was still a lot movies, but I can’t help that enjoy a lot of movies more than others. But more importantly, I want to know what you guys think about this. Let me know what your favorite movies in July were?

Monthly Rewind for June

Hello, everybody!

The sixth edition of Monthly Rewind is here, and we’re doing June!

I mentioned in the last post that I’m going to change how I did these going forward, and that’s going to happen here. I originally did all the movies I watched that month and gave my reactions to all those movies, good or bad. The new change is that I’ll still be doing that, but this time with only the movies that really left an impression or stood out. I’m not saying I won’t mention the bad movies, but for the most part, it’s going to be the ones that stood out.

If you know something came out during that month, or year, and it’s not on here. It’s a good chance that I haven’t seen it – yes, even after all these years – or I just completely missed it while putting the list together. It’s a lot of movies after all.

Alright, let’s get started with 2010!

 

2010

Splice

The A-Team

Toy Story 3

Thoughts: Let’s start off with the indie sci-fi thriller Splice, which followed two genetic engineers (played by Adrien Brody and Sarah Polly) who spliced together DNA of different animals and created a new type of specie that evolves too quickly. Splice continues trend of sci-fi movies of “what happens when you take the science too far,” but Splice took that to another level.

Next is The A-Team, which I think gets a little too much hate honestly. Yes, it’s over-the-top, but director Joe Carnahan wanted it to be over-the-top and honestly, I think the movie needed to be a little bit. I absolutely enjoy the hell out of this movie, and the main cast of Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Sharlto Copley and Rampage Jackson work together so well. If you haven’t watched it because of all the hate it gets, do yourself a favor and give it a watch. I guarantee you’ll be entertained.

Finally, Toy Story 3 aka the movie that broke all of us. I really don’t know what else to say about it other than it has one of the most perfect endings to a series that it could have given us.

 

 

2011

Green Lantern

Trollhunter

Super 8

X-Men: First Class

Thoughts: Let’s start off with the unfortunate Green Lantern movie starring Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan, the man granted with an alien ring that gives him special powers and inducts him into the intergalactic police force, the Green Lantern Corps. Admittedly, the movie had problems behind-the-scenes and studio interference, so maybe – and I stress, maybe – that was why we got a lackluster Green Lantern movie.

Next is the found footage Swedish film Trollhunter, which followed a group of students who investigate mysterious bear killings, only to find out they are actually hunting trolls, and comes across a troll hunter. I really ended up enjoying the movie on the first go-around, seeing as the usual found-footage movies at the time were all focused on demons or supernatural occurring, it was nice for the format to take a different approach and follow a gigantic being.

Next is the J.J. Abrams-directed Super 8. Abrams’ homage to early 80s sci-fi movies that followed a group of child friends that witnessed a train crash in their small town that secretly held an alien. The marketing campaign behind the movie followed the Cloverfield-method – the mystery box – and didn’t give away too much. The movie itself was very Spielberg-esque and was led by a great young cast.

Finally, X-Men: First Class, the reboot to the X-Men franchise took the action to the 60s to follow the first team of X-Men, and the beginning of the friendship-turned-rivalry of Professor X (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender). I know some people have a problem with the movie because it messes up the “timeline,” which considering the X-Men themselves have dealt with time travel before that statement seems dumb to make in my opinion. Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed First Class. I liked the new cast, and I loved seeing McAvoy and Fassbender playing off each other.

 

 

2012

Prometheus

Ted

Snow White and the Huntsman

Thoughts: Alright, let’s start off with the Seth MacFarlane-directed Ted, the movie about a boy’s childhood wish that brings his teddy bear to life, and the friendship that follows into adulthood. Honestly, this movie about what you would expect, but there was just something about Mark Wahlberg fighting a teddy bear that is both ridiculous and fun to watch.

Next is Snow White and the Huntsman, a twist on the fairy tale that saw Snow White (Kristen Stewart) being banished into the Forbidden Forest and found by a new take on the Dwarfs, but also being hunted by the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) under orders of the evil queen aka Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron). Visually, the movie looks great. Story-wise, while changes to the story are welcomed, it’s still pretty standard. The movie also got some behind-the-scenes drama with the affair between Stewart and director Rupert Sanders.

Finally, Prometheus, the Alien prequel directed by Ridley Scott, which was promised as a prequel that would show how the Xenomorphs came to be, was redone before filming to give us something even further back in history – the Engineers. The movie gets a lot of hate, which is somewhat warranted, but it’s not as bad as some people think. Michael Fassbender is the saving grace of the movie as the android, David.

 

 

2013

This is the End

World War Z

Man of Steel

Thoughts: Let’s start off with the end-of-the-world comedy, This is the End. The movie had celebrities playing “themselves” when the apocalypse happens, and we end up following James Franco, Seth Rogen, Danny McBride, Jay Baruchel and Craig Robinson holding up in Franco’s house after his party. The movie obviously takes a different approach to the apocalyptic movies, taking the comedic approach with comedy actors playing themselves.

Next is World War Z, based off the book of the same name, although the movie takes a more straight-forward story approach, rather than the different stories that are connected in their own way like the book. Brad Pitt plays a former United Nations employee who is hired to find and stop the zombie pandemic before he officially takes over the world. The movie itself suffered A LOT of behind-the-scenes troubles like a whole third act rewrite, after filming, Pitt and director Marc Forster clashing on set to point that they wouldn’t even talk to one-another (although that said to be a “rumor”), prop guns were stopped at the border of Hungary and Paramount ended up changing the rating from R to PG-13.

Despite all that, I still pretty much enjoyed World War Z. I liked seeing Pitt in a zombie movie, and the final act of the movie that we got sounded better than what we would have gotten to be honest. So, yeah, I can see the hate, but I enjoyed the movie for what it was. Just don’t show me the rubber looking zombies again.

Finally, the still debated to this day, Man of Steel. Let’s just jump to “the scene.” The scene that made most people jump off the ship when Clark/Superman (Henry Cavill) had to decide to either let Zod, played greatly by Michael Shannon, melt/kill four innocent people or kill the only real connection he had to his old home, despite being a complete psycho. But Chris, “Superman doesn’t kill!” Yes, he does, and HAS whether it was intentional or not. But, let’s not dwell on a dead horse conversation. The movie itself was a pretty descent origin story, showing the Superman story in a different light and take.

 

 

2014

The Rover

Edge of Tomorrow

Snowpiercer

Thoughts: Let’s start off with The Rover, starring Guy Pearce as a loner in a post-apocalyptic landscape who gets his car stolen, and goes after the thieves and manages to capture one to help him, played by Robert Pattinson.  I didn’t know what to expect from the film, I only saw the trailer once months before the movie came out, and I saw Pattinson attached. The Rover was one of the “big” – the movie didn’t get a wide release – movies after Twilight ended. That said, I thought Pattinson’s performance was pretty good, and while it took a while for people to see Pattinson as a serious actor, The Rover was a great start to that.

Next is the Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt led Edge of Tomorrow aka the movie where Tom Cruise dies a lot after being effected by alien blood that lets him relieve the day he dies. Eventually, he uses it against the aliens to stop them with the help of a famed soldier, played by Emily Blunt. Based on a manga called “All You Need is Kill” the movie was a pretty smart sci-fi movie with the Groundhog Day twist were we get to see Cruise die a bunch, and Blunt be a badass. It does lull in the middle of the movie, but it thankfully punches back up before the third act.

Finally, let’s talk about the awesome Snowpiercer, directed by Bong Joo Ho, in his first English-language movie. The movie, like all Joon Ho movies, had some political or social themes, but Snowpiercer also has some awesome action scenes like the famous torch fight sequence. Seriously, if you haven’t watched the film, do it now!

 

2015

Jurassic World

Spy

Thoughts:  Let’s start off with Jurassic World, the sequel reboot to the franchise that takes place after the events of the original trilogy, but now ups the ante with reopening the park as a bigger experience and going full-blown commercial, including a bigger, meaner and dangerous new dinosaur, The Indominus Rex. A lot of people had problems with the movie, which is fair, but the movie was fun when it let itself be. Plus, seeing the final dinosaur fight made the little kid in me giddy, so that’s a plus in my book.

The next movie is the Paul Feig written/directed action spy comedy, Spy. Melissa McCarthy plays a desk-bound CIA analyst who is forced to go undercover to prevent a global disaster. This movie is freaking hilarious. Honestly, for me, 98% of the jokes work for me, and it is never not funny. Paul Feig did the movie because he knew nobody would let him do a James Bond-esque spy thriller, and it completely works. Plus, seeing Jason Statham act like a fool is worth the watch alone.

 

 

2016

Independence Day: Resurgence

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

The Conjuring 2

The Shallows

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Thoughts: Quite the month in 2016, so let’s get the worst out of the way. I’m looking at you Independence Day: Resurgence! I mean seriously, how do you mess up a sequel to a movie that everyone, to this day, That’s it, this movie sucks.

Let’s go from a bad sequel, to a good sequel in The Conjuring 2. The sequel ups the scares and creepy characters in Valek aka The Nun and The Crooked Man.

Next is a movie that surprised the hell out of me when I watched it the first time, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. Andy Samberg plays Connor4real, a pop singer once part of a boy band who goes solo and has success until his latest album which bombs hard. He then tries to bounce back any way he can. The movie is heavily inspired by This Is Spinal Tap as the movie is done as a mock-documentary style, and is filled with the typical Lonely Island humor. Definitely worth a watch.

Another surprise this month was the Blake Lively shark thriller, The Shallows. Lively plays a surfer who gets attacked by a great white shark 200 yards from shore and has to take refuge on a rock where the shark circles her, and a battle of survivor begins. I honestly didn’t think this movie would be anything special, but the movie is a solid thriller, with a pretty good scare in there.

Finally, the Taika Waititi-directed Hunt for the Wilderpeople. Julian Dennison’s breakout role with Sam Neill as a mismatched foster family who go missing in the New Zealand wilderness where they get to know each other and try to survive. The film is very funny, with Waititi’s humor and wit on full force.

 

 

2017

Wonder Woman

The Mummy

Baby Driver

Thoughts: Let’s start off with the big one here, the failed attempt of Universal trying to restart a shared universe of their classic monsters with the Tom Cruise-led The Mummy. Universal played their hand too hard here, even taking a photo with the stars of their next two movies before the release of their first movie, and even naming the damn thing. Then the movie came out, and it was mediocre at best. Pretty much anything worthwhile watching was already given away in the trailers, so yeah.

Next is the Edgar Wright directed Baby Driver. Following a young and talented driver named Baby (Ansel Elgort), who is always listening to music to drown out the ringing in his ear, and the different groups of thieves he drives for. Of course, during a major heist, things go wrong and Baby needs to get himself, and a young woman he’s recently met (Lily James), out of town. Wright is one of my favorite directors of all time, and Baby Driver cemented that fact, showing he didn’t just need Simon Pegg or Nick Frost to have a great movie. Of course, the one blemish on the movie is Kevin Spacey, but thankfully, he’s not in the movie that much.

Finally, Wonder Woman. After years of trying to get it off the ground, Warner Bros. finally delivered the Amazon Princess to the big screen with Gal Gadot, who was only known for playing Giselle in the Fast & Furious franchise, leading the charge with Patty Jenkins at the helm. The movie does fall into the CGI final battle cliché, but everything before that was a damn good experience. Plus, the score by Hans Zimmer was amazing.

 

 

2018

Upgrade

Hereditary

Hearts Beat Loud

Leave No Trace

Thoughts: Alright, the last year, and let’s start off with the least-known film on the list in Leave No Trace. The film starred Ben Foster and newcomer to the scenes Thomasin McKenzie (now know for her role in Jojo Rabbit), as a father and daughter who live out and strive out in the wilderness, but after being caught, go into social services until they try to make it back home. It’s a very great, quiet (in terms of drama anyway) film with a standout performance by McKenzie.

Another film that went under the radar was Hearts Beat Loud, which starred Nick Offerman and Kiersey Clemons as a father and daughter who start an unlikely musical duo the summer before Clemons’ character goes off to college. The music in the movie is great, and Clemons and Offerman give great performances together and apart. I highly recommend you take the take to watch this, you won’t regret it.

Yet another film that may have passed a lot of people’s radar at first is the Leigh Whannell sci-fi action film, Upgrade. Set in the near-future, Logan Marshall-Green’s Grey, a self-labelled technophobe, is implanted with an experimental computer chip implant with an A.I. system after he and his wife are attacked, killing her and leaving him seeking revenge. The low-budget movie did the best with the budget it had, and did create a whole new world to play in. Honestly, it was one of the best sci-fi films in a while.

Finally, Hereditary. Ari Aster’s horror mystery film following a family that is haunted by disturbing occurrences and deadly consequences. The slow-burn approach to Hereditary was really the make-it-or-break-it thing for viewers, but for those that stuck with it, were treated with some heavy imagery and nuances to the story. Hereditary isn’t for everyone, but there’s no doubt the movie left an impact on those that watched it.

 

And that’s it everyone. Admittedly, this was still a lot movies, but I can’t help that enjoy a lot of movies more than others. But more importantly, I want to know what you guys think about this. Let me know what your favorite movies in February were?

Monthly Rewind for May

Hello, everybody!

The fifth edition of Monthly Rewind is here, and we’re doing May!

I mentioned in the last post that I’m going to change how I did these going forward, and that’s going to happen here. I originally did all the movies I watched that month and gave my reactions to all those movies, good or bad. The new change is that I’ll still be doing that, but this time with only the movies that really left an impression or stood out. I’m not saying I won’t mention the bad movies, but for the most part, it’s going to be the ones that stood out.

If you know something came out during that month, or year, and it’s not on here. It’s a good chance that I haven’t seen it – yes, even after all these years – or I just completely missed it while putting the list together. It’s a lot of movies after all.

Alright, let’s get started with 2010!

 

2010

Iron Man 2

MacGruber

Thoughts: Let’s start off with Marvel’s third outing, Iron Man 2. The sequel that a lot of fans ended up not liking for various reasons, and honestly, I was one of them. The sequel does have its faults, but Marvel was still finding its footing. Plus, the sequel did end up giving us a lot of cool moments like Iron Man and War Machine back-to-back fighting off the robots, Black Widow and Whiplash’s introduction at the speedway.

Next is the comedy MacGruber, the feature-length film based off Will Forte’s SNL skit of the same name. I wasn’t a huge watcher of SNL, so I didn’t know about the skit, just that the movie looked like a dumb fun action comedy. So I went with that and actually enjoyed myself watching the overly ridiculously comedy that was happening in front of me. Even the celery.

 

 

2011

Thor

Thoughts: May 2011 was pretty light on movies, but I ended up picking Thor for a few reasons. I know some see Thor as the outliner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe – some even seeing it at the “worst” one – but again, Thor was part of the Phase One movies, where Marvel was still figuring everything out. It wasn’t also done in a different style as it felt more like a Shakespearian film with Kenneth Branagh directing, and an unknown actor, aka Tom Hiddleston, stealing the show. While even I don’t see Thor as one of the best movies in the MCU, it is in my eyes, one of the more ambitious films, in terms of approach.

 

 

2012

Sleepless Night

Moonrise Kingdom

The Avengers

Thoughts: Okay, let’s get started with the Wes Anderson film, Moonrise Kingdom, the first live-action Anderson film I remember watching all the way through (The Royal Tenenbaums, being one that I hadn’t watched all the way through). The film followed two young lovers who flee from their homes and the community coming together to find them. It’s about what you expect from an Anderson film, with our young lead Jared Gilman says “sons of bitches” at one point, which just broke me.

Next is the French action crime thriller Sleepless Night – which was remade titled Sleepless with Jamie Foxx, which was NOT good – which I first saw at Actionfest, and instantly loved it. The film follows a cop with a connection to the criminal underworld, whose cover is blown when his partner gets caught skimming a recent product. When the drug lord finds out, they end up taking the cop’s son, and the cop goes in to try to save his son on his own in one night. It’s not your traditional action movie, although there is a great kitchen brawl, but I really enjoyed the movie for what it was.

Finally, The Avengers, Marvel’s first big team-up movie brought all the comic book nerds, and non-nerds, together to experience a massive milestone in comic book movie history. It’s not perfect, even I can admit that, but you got to admit it was something.

 

 

2013

Iron Man 3

After Earth

Fast & Furious 6

Thoughts: Oh 2013, what was going on? Okay, let’s start off with Iron Man 3, once again, an Iron Man sequel that left many fans divided. Marvel took the chance and hired Shane Black to write and direct, and decided to bring one of Iron Man’s biggest villains into the cinematic universe in The Mandarin, played Sir Ben Kingsley, in what was more a sadistic terrorist than somewhat supernatural villain, plus the mishandling of the Extremists storyline. I don’t know, it’s not the best Iron Man movie, but I think the movie does get a little too much hate.

Now let’s get to a movie that deserves the hate it gets, After Earth. “Directed” by M. Night Shyamalan (it was said that Will Smith “really” directed the movie, but Shyamalan took all the heat for how the movie turned out) and starring Smith and his son Jaden as father and son in the future who get stranded on the former Earth, after their ship crashes. Jaden’s character then as to go and search for help for his father, who was injured during the crash. This movie was NOT good, in any way. Jaden just didn’t have the “it factor,” especially to lead a movie like this, and apparently the movie went through so many changes after it was filmed, that a longer cut existed with people cut from the movie, and more of the back-story of things included. Even then, I don’t think the movie would have been anyway.

Finally, Fast & Furious 6, the last movie in the franchise directed by Justin Lin (who started with Tokyo Drift, and directed the eventually-released F9), which had the crew, teaming up with Dwayne Johnson’s Hobbs against a deadly crew, with the returning, and now amnesic returning Michelle Rodriguez’ Letty. This was one that I knew had a bigger impact with me, cause of the theater crowd – although I do still enjoy watching it at home too – because EVERYONE was into it. It’s a tad melodramatic with the Letty and Dom stuff, but that’s one of the things the films had done at that point, so whatever.

 

 

2014

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Godzilla

Chef

X-Men: Days of Future Past

Thoughts: 2014’s back came to give us proper hits! Expect this first one we’re going to talk about, The Amazing Spider-Man 2! After a solid reboot with the first Amazing Spider-Man, Sony had to whiff it by trying to play catch up to the MCU and try to create their own connected universe with Spider-Man. The result was a bloated, messy sequel that got rid of its own saving grace in Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy.

Now, let’s talk about the divisive film, Godzilla. One of the main things that everyone had a problem with was the “lack” of Godzilla in the film. Yeah, okay, but Godzilla would have really lost some of its luster by the end when he’s fighting the MUTOs, at least I think so. Besides, some of the best monster movies are the ones that don’t show the monster too often until the end, where they roam free like crazy. The other one was people thinking Bryan Cranston’s character died too soon in the movie. Again, people forgetting there needs to be stakes in a movie.

Let’s move on to, arguably, another divisive film in X-Men: Days of Future Past. Based off the popular comic story, the movie saw Wolverine’s mind being sent to the past in a desperate effort to stop an event that results in a dark future for both humans and mutants. The film changes A LOT from the comics, but the core is still kind of there. But the big selling point here was taking the cast of the Bryan Singer X-Men films and combining it with the cast of the new X-Men films. The result was a descent blend of the casts and some pretty intense and surprise death scenes.

Finally, the written and directed Jon Favreau film comedy, Chef, which as you can guess, Favreau plays a head chief, who quits his job after an incident and decides to open a food truck to reconnect with his estranged family. I didn’t know what to expect from Chef, but oh man did I love this. It’s a much smaller film that got lost in the crowed summer, but it’s definitely worth the watch. Word of advice, if you do end up watching this, don’t watch it while hungry. Don’t!

 

 

2015

Maggie

Tomorrowland

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Mad Max: Fury Road

Thoughts: Let’s start off with the smaller film that most people probably didn’t watch or get to watch, and that’s the Arnold Schwarzenegger-led, Maggie. The film saw Schwarzenegger as a father to Abigail Breslin’s titular character who gets infected by a virus that is slowly turning her into a zombie. The movie is just okay, being more of a character based-drama than your typical zombie movie, although it really doesn’t give you enough for the ending they went with, which lets the air out of you waiting for an ending, you think it’s building up to.

Next is the, generally disappointing, Tomorrowland. A lot of hype and expectations came with this one, and for good reason. It was directed by Brad Bird (The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol), it had a screenplay by Damon Lindelof (which I didn’t really care about since I didn’t watch Lost) and it looked great. Then the movie came out, and it was nothing like people expected. I liked the message it was trying to tell, but the way it was executed was half-baked.

Now let’s talk about Avengers: Age of Ultron, the second Avengers movie, which brought one of the famed villains in Avengers history, which hyped people up even more. What resulted was a very mix bag as a whole. Ultron wasn’t what people expected him to be, the introduction of Wanda, Pietro and Vision, Hawkeye’s secret family and the Hulkbuster suit. But there is also the fact that the movie kind of loses itself for a bit, and just barely recovers.

Finally, one of the best action films of the decade, Mad Max: Fury Road. George Miller returned to Max, now played by Tom Hardy, as he tries to survive The Wasteland with Furiosa (Charlize Theron) as she tries to lead a group of women away from Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne). The movie pretty much has it all, top-notch action, beautiful cinematography and a killer score, what more do you want?

 

 

2016

Green Room

The Nice Guys

Captain America: Civil War

Thoughts: Another solid 2016 which will start with the indie thriller Green Room. The film followed a punk rock band that ends up in a skinhead bar, and after making a mistake, must fight their way out. It’s a very confined thriller with a descent chunk of the movie taking place in a room where the band is holding up. The selling point if you need one is Sir Patrick Stewart plays the head of the gang, so yeah.

The next film is the Shane Black written/directed film, The Nice Guys, starring a down on his luck P.I (played by Ryan Reynolds) and a rough around the edges P.I (played by Russell Crowe) who pair together to investigate a missing girl and a mysterious death of a porn star, who might share a connection. Besides the Shane Black-dark humor/wit, the combo of Crowe and Gosling, along with Angourie Rice, who plays Gosling’s daughter, make the perfect trio to keep the film going, and entertaining from start to finish.

Finally, Captain America: Civil War, Marvel’s ambitious retelling of the famed comic book story, obviously changed to fit the MCU characters instead of ALL the characters like in the comics. Civil War broke apart the Avengers and had them pick a side, and then added new players to the board like Black Panther and Spider-Man. I really don’t have a negative thing to say about the movie. I really enjoyed the action scenes, the airport sequence was amazing to watch on a big screen, and the final fight between Iron Man and Captain America is such a heart-breaker.

 

 

2017

Lowriders

Alien: Covenant

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Thoughts: Let’s start off with the movie that slipped most people’s radar, Lowriders. The drama followed a young street artist (Gabriel Chavarria) in East L.A. who is caught between his father’s (played by Demian Bichir) obsession with car culture, his ex-felon brother (Theo Rossi) who is out of prison and his need for self-expression. I really connected to the movie, although not the car culture or ex-felon brother, but someone trying to make his own way in a family that expected one thing from me, while I went another. Plus, the movie’s very good, so there is also that.

Let’s talk about King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, the Guy Ritchie co-written and directed take on the King Arthur legend. I know some people who didn’t like the movie for their reasons, which is fine, and while I’m not the biggest fan of it either, I enjoyed Ritchie take on the character. Adding in some of his own flavors – a street hustler Arthur with his crew – and working with a bigger budget, and a pretty solid score, I did enjoy what I watched.

Finally, Alien: Covenant, oh man. Okay, first and foremost, there are some things I do like about Covenant, not a lot, but some. Overall though, Alien: Covenant is a tad bit messy for its good. Condensing the Alien mythology and the birth of the xenomorphs into one movie was kind of a slap to the face, especially considering that the movie’s final act feels like it was tacked on to have an early xenomorph attack.

 

 

2018

Deadpool 2

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Thoughts: Let’s being our final month with Deadpool 2, the anticipated sequel after the first Deadpool surprised audiences with its meta and fourth-wall breaking humor. The movie itself was just okay to be honest, even with the inclusion of Josh Brolin’s Cable. It was kind of a bummer, but still enjoy the first time through.

Next is the much-talked about Solo: A Star Wars Story. I think at this point we all know the behind-the-scenes troubles and going-ons, so let’s move pass that, at least just a bit. The movie itself is kind of scattered in multiple places, but the better question, and the one that should be asked is, did you enjoy it? The answer to that is, yeah, for the most part. Alden Ehrenreich as a young Han was charming enough, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s L3-37 was a standout amongst the cast.

The other thing about the movie was it does suffer from the prequel effect aka no real danger to the main character, but what Solo also tries to do is set up more adventures. This would be fine, if the production wasn’t such a problem to begin with, plus if the movie ended up doing more better and got better fanfare. Especially considering the ending.

 

And that’s it everyone. Admittedly, this was still a lot movies, but I can’t help that enjoy a lot of movies more than others. But more importantly, I want to know what you guys think about this. Let me know what your favorite movies in February were?

Monthly Rewind of April

Hello, everybody!

The fourth edition of Monthly Rewind is here, and we’re doing April!

I mentioned in the last post that I’m going to change how I did these going forward, and that’s going to happen here. I originally did all the movies I watched that month and gave my reactions to all those movies, good or bad. The new change is that I’ll still be doing that, but this time with only the movies that really left an impression or stood out. I’m not saying I won’t mention the bad movies, but for the most part, it’s going to be the ones that stood out.

If you know something came out during that month, or year, and it’s not on here. It’s a good chance that I haven’t seen it – yes, even after all these years – or I just completely missed it while putting the list together. It’s a lot of movies after all.

Alright, let’s get started with 2010!

 

2010

Kick-Ass

The Losers

The Good the Bad the Weird

A Nightmare on Elm Street

The Human Centipede

Thoughts: Alright, let’s start off with The Human Centipede, you know, the movie that has three people surgically connected to each other ass-to-mouth. I do kind of get why so many people like this movie, but honestly I can’t get behind it myself. I saw it with a crowd that really dug it, and while the movie promised it was the “most grosses movie you’ve ever seen!” it really wasn’t. It fact, beside the general concept, it’s rather tame compared to other movie with a concept like this.

Next is the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street, and oh man did I NOT like this movie. Like at all! While the movie had some descent imaginary, oh man did I NOT like this movie. Like at all! While the movie had some descent imaginary – the only standout to me is the scene when Rooney Mara’s Nancy is “micro-dreaming” in the pharmacy as sees Jackie Earle Haley’s Freddy coming for her – and that is most likely thanks to music director Samuel Bayer (who hasn’t directed another movie since), who gave the movie a grimy feel. The movie itself, from what I can remember, was very generic, with no real bigger standout moments – at least for me. Haley was a good “replacement” for Robert Englund, but the script didn’t do him too many favors.

Kick-Ass, based off the comic of the same name, brought the superhero movie genre to the ground level and made them a little more edgy than what we were getting. It’s also our lead getting the crap beat out of him and having to be saved by a kid, who actually knows what she’s doing. The movie was a nice little breather from other comic book movies, especially with Chloe Grace Moretz’ breakout performance.

The next movie, also a comic book adaptation, is The Losers. Honestly, to me, one of the under-appreciated comic book movies out there. Simple concept, a CIA special forces team are betrayed and they want payback, but it’s definitely held together by the cast and how they all play off each other, the humor, and how ridiculously fun it is. I mean seriously, look at this cast; Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana, Chris Evans, Idris Elba, Columbus Short, Oscar Jaenada, Holt McCallany and Jason Patric.

Finally, one of my personal favorites of all time, the Korean hit The Good the Bad the Weird. Set in 1940s Manchuria, two outlaws and a bounty hunter clash over a treasure map, while also being pursued by the Japanese army and a group of bandits. I first saw this at the Chicago International Film Festival, and immediately fell in love with it. The three main leads, the score and the action just blew me away when I first saw it, and still does to this day. Highly recommend if you haven’t seen it yet.

 

 

2011

Insidious

Fast Five

13 Assassins

Thoughts: Let’s start off with Takashi Miike-directed (which should tell you what you’re getting into already) 13 Assassins. The film followed a group of assassins who band together on what is basically a suicide mission to kill an evil lord. I saw this at the no-longer film festival Actionfest, in a packed theater who was already rowdy before the movie even started. That did play a factor in my enjoyment of the movie, but the movie itself is a huge buildup to its massive third act where we see the titled assassins let loose on the lord’s men, and to take a line from the movie it was a “total massacre.”

Next, is the James Wan-directed horror Insidious. This is one of the more modern horror movies that made me audibly gasp in a movie theater along with the whole theater – the famous scene of the lipstick demon behind Patrick Wilson. It’s also James Wan, who at this point I was wholly behind as the new master of horror.

Finally, Fast Five! The movie basically took the reboot route here as the movie was no longer about stealing DVD’s, or working with a crime lord, but instead started becoming heist movies. It introduce Dwayne Johnson to the series and had a, still to this day, exciting and thrilling final act with the Brian and Dom dragging the vault across the streets of Rio.

 

 

2012

The Cabin in the Woods

Lockout

Headhunters

Thoughts: Let’s keep the Actionfest trend going here with the Swedish film Headhunters. The film followed an accomplished headhunter who obtained a valuable painting from a former mercenary (played by Game of Thrones’ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), and the cat-and-mouse game they play afterwards. To the best of my memory, Headhunters was the third Swedish film I had ever seen, and it was in the dark, mystery drama genre like The Girl in the Dragon Tattoo that I loved.

Next is the forgotten about, Escape from New York knockoff, Lockout. Starring Guy Pearce as an ex-CIA operative who may or may not have committed espionage against the U.S, but instead of going to prison, he’s given a chance to earn his freedom by going on a mission to rescue the president’s daughter from outer space prison that has been taken over by its violent inmates. I’ll be honest, it’s not all that great, but it was rather enjoyable seeing Pearce play it a little more loose and as an action hero for a change.

Finally, The Cabin in the Woods. The meta-horror film that you could make the argument is the be-all-end-all horror film. The cliché horror trope of college kids going to a cabin in the woods and they start getting attacked, until they learn that they are part of something bigger. It’s honestly a super smart horror film with great characters once you really dig deep into it.

 

 

2013

Evil Dead

Thoughts: The rare month where only one real movie stood out to be, and that was the remake/reimaging of Evil Dead. I, like many, was very skeptical about the remake considering the legacy of the franchise already, but DAMN did Fede Alvarez do this movie justice! The gore, the griminess, the dread of it all, I was all for it.

 

 

2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Oculus

The Raid 2

Brick Mansions

Locke

Thoughts: Let’s start off with the remake of District B13, Brick Mansions starring Paul Walker and original film star David Belle. The movie takes the action from France to Detroit, following the bare bones premise of the original; a cop teams up with a resident of the blocked off city run by a crime lord to stop him from devastating the city. Problem is the movie doesn’t have the same flare and substance like the original. Which is a shame since Brick Mansions was the last movie that Paul Walker completed (having shot most of Furious 7 at that point).

Next is the Tom Hardy-led, and really only star of the movie, Locke. The movie followed Hardy’s Locke, a construction manager who gets a call that makes him drive from Birmingham to London at night. So yes, it’s a movie about Hardy sitting in a car driving all night as he takes constant phone calls trying to keep his family life intact. It’s a rather enthralling performance by Hardy, and one that proves Hardy can indeed carry a movie himself.

Moving on to the horror-drama Oculus, directed by Mike Flanagan (Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House series) which starred Karen Gillan as a woman trying to prove that an evil mirror has been behind her families deadly past, and trying to clear her brother’s name. I remember watching this and immediately loving it. It was the first movie I saw with Flanagan’s name on it, and I loved how he edited scenes together almost seamlessly. On top of that, the family drama aspect was good “filler” in between the horror moments.

Next is The Raid 2, the sequel to the heavy-hitting action film The Raid. The sequel takes a different approach by taking the action outside, and upping the ante on the fight scenes, introducing the now famous Hammer Girl, and the awesome final fight between Iko Uwais’ Rama and Cecep Arif Rahman’s The Assassin in a restaurant kitchen. It does have some pacing problems, and takes a more story driven approach for the most part, but The Raid 2 is a wholly worthwhile action sequel.

Finally, let’s talk about, arguably, my favorite movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Captain America: The Winter Solider. Directed by The Russo Brothers, who then took over the MCU directing wise, took a more spy 70s thriller approach to the sequel, giving the movie a completely different feel, and the result worked. I honestly only have one thing that I “dislike” and that’s the return of Toby Jones’ Dr. Zola.

 

 

2015

Furious 7

Ex Machina

Thoughts: Let’s start off with Alex Garland’s Ex Machina, the sci-fi thriller that was the talk of the town and year for those that ended up watching this in theaters. The film lead by Domhnall Gleeson as a programmer who is selected to participate in an inclusive ground-breaking experiment involving A.I., played by Alicia Vikander, created by Oscar Isaac’s Nathan. The film was completely thought-provoking, and all of that was because of the cast who one-hundred percent committed to everything in the film, including a dance sequence by Isaac and Sonoya Mizuno.

Then we have Furious 7, the last Fast & Furious film that starred Paul Walker, and one of the more personal films in the series. The thing that everyone remembers from the movie is the tribute to Walker and his character at the end, which is fair, since it was a touching tribute. The movie was also directed by James Wan, which was refreshing (he did have a non-horror movie at this point in Death Sentence), and it was the last movie directed by series writer Chris Morgan (who started writing the movies since Tokyo Drift).

 

 

2016

Hardcore Henry

The Jungle Book

Sing Street

Thoughts: Let’s start off with the “one-shot” first-person view action movie Hardcore Henry. The movie’s concept came from the viral music videos from the band Biting Elbows like “Bad Motherfucker” which was also directed by the movie’s director Ilya Naishuller. So yes, the movie is basically like a video game. The action scenes are pretty well thought out, and you could actually tell what’s going on for the most part, but it’s definitely not for everyone, especially the easily motion-sickness people.

Let’s go from one ambitious movie to another one in Disney’s The Jungle Book. I didn’t have the same connection to the animated movie like a lot of people do, so I was pretty much going in freshly minded. Thankfully, the movie surprised the hell out of me, cause I really dug it. The big takeaway was of course what Jon Favreau was able to pull off with the special effects, which were highly impressive and groundbreaking, and something Favreau brought with him to do the new Lion King movie this year.

Finally, let’s talk Sing Street. This was one I didn’t know too much about before watching. I had seen the trailer once, and thought it looked okay, but the movie itself was great! The film is set in Dublin during the 80s, and follows a group of kids start a band, mainly done by one kid who wants to impress a girl (of course), at a catholic school. It’s a very well done coming-of-age story with an amazing original soundtrack. Look for it if you hadn’t seen it.

 

 

2017

Colossal

The Fate of the Furious

Free Fire

Thoughts: Okay, let’s start off with The Fate of the Furious, the eighth installment of the Fast & Furious franchise, but it’s on here not for the reason that you think. I, like some I’m sure, saw Fate of the Furious as a massive step down from the last movie, and you can make the argument that it was because it was hard for the franchise to continue without one of the franchise’s leads. It was a huge question mark, and for the most part, they really didn’t execute it too much. Then there was some of the behind-the-scenes stuff between Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson, and Diesel with Universal. Unfortunately, we now have to wait a little longer to see if the series can bounce back since F9 is now delayed a whole year (Hobbs & Shaw doesn’t count since it’s a spinoff).

Next is the Anne Hathaway-led Colossal, which followed Hathaway’s Gloria, an out-of-work party girl who is forced to leave her lifestyle in New York and has to go back to her small town home. While she gets accustomed to her now new life, a giant creature ends up attack Seoul, South Korea and eventually she learns she had a connection to it. And if you haven’t seen the movie or read anything about, DON’T. Go watch the movie just with that information, because Colossal is one of the prime movies that lives us to the motto “the less you know, the better.” I will admit that the reveal and what follows is kind of wacky, but director Nacho Vigalondo is known for wacky concepts (watch is other great film Timecrimes from 2007)

Finally, Free Fire, which immediately jumped to my favorites of all time list after one watch. The movie is set in Boston during the late 70s, where two gangs meet at a warehouse to make a deal, but of course, it goes wrong and a shoot-out ensues. The movie is held together by its impressive cast of Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy, Jack Reynor and Sharlto Colpey; to name a few. Highly recommend.

 

 

2018

A Quiet Place

Isle of Dogs

Avengers: Infinity War

Thoughts: Now, to probably and arguably, the best April of this list, we’ll start off with Wes Anderson’s stop-motion/CGI film Isle of Dogs. I know Anderson isn’t for everybody, and I really just started getting into Anderson myself. I did like Isle of Dogs, but I’d be lying if I said I preferred this to The Fantastic Mr. Fox, because I love Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Next let’s talk about A Quiet Place, directed by John Krasinski, which followed a family trying to live in a post-apocalyptic world that is haunted by monsters that are ultra-sensitive hearing. The movie itself is almost like a silent-movie, and movie experience was something that really took people by surprise. People took online to say that their theaters were absolutely silent as to not ruin the experience, and when a movie can do that, especially a horror movie, that’s saying something.

Finally, the last movie of the list is Avengers: Infinity War. The culmination, at that point, of the Marvel Cinematic Universe which is wholly remembered for the ending. The ending of a comic book where the heroes lose and the villain, although some make the argument that Thanos was the hero, so he’s the hero? Regardless, ten years of superhero movies, all coming down to this, what a way to leave the theater, and for Marvel to take the chance? Oh boy!

 

And that’s it everyone. Admittedly, this was still a lot movies, but I can’t help that enjoy a lot of movies more than others. But more importantly, I want to know what you guys think about this. Let me know what your favorite movies in February were?

Monthly Rewind for March

Hello, everybody!

The third edition of Monthly Rewind is here, and we’re doing March! (aka my birth month)

I mentioned in the last post that I’m going to change how I did these going forward, and that’s going to happen here. I originally did all the movies I watched that month and gave my reactions to all those movies, good or bad. The new change is that I’ll still be doing that, but this time with only the movies that really left an impression or stood out. I’m not saying I won’t mention the bad movies, but for the most part, it’s going to be the ones that stood out.

If you know something came out during that month, or year, and it’s not on here. It’s a good chance that I haven’t seen it – yes, even after all these years – or I just completely missed it while putting the list together. It’s a lot of movies after all.

Alright, let’s get started with 2010!

 

2010

Mother

The Runaways

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Thoughts: Looking back, it’s hard to believe only three movies stood out to me this month. The first is the Bong Joon Ho-directed crime drama Mother, which followed a mother who desperately searches to clear her son’s name after he’s accused of murdering a girl. It was Joon Ho’s first movie after The Host, and is led wonderfully by Hye-ja Kim as the character of Mother. If you want your Bong Joon Ho fix, search out Mother.

Next up is The Runaways, the biopic about the teenage all-girl rock band The Runaways, led by Cherie Currie (Dakota Fanning) and Joan Jett (Kristen Stewart), and what they went through as the band grew. It was the first thing I knew Stewart in after Twilight blew up, and see her and Fanning together was fun to watch. Granted, I didn’t know too much about that actual Runaways themselves, it was nice to see it play out on screen.

Finally, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The original Swedish version that blew up overseas and then here in the States, and it also made Noomi Rapace a household name among film nerds. The film, based on the bestselling novel by Stieg Larsson, introduce us to the popular character of Lisbeth Salander and her anti-hero ways of taking down men who take advantage of the system. It was one of the rare movies that shook me and had me buzzing to anyone that would hear me after I watched it.

 

2011

I Saw the Devil

Battle Los Angeles

Sucker Punch

Thoughts: Oh, 2011, what was going on? Let’s start with the Zack Snyder-directed action movie Sucker Punch, which is probably the definition of cool, badass trailer that doesn’t translate into a good movie. It’s also the prime example that Snyder is more of a visual director than a plot/story-driven director since the action scenes were great to watch, but everything else was rather, blah.

Next is Battle Los Angeles, the sci-fi action movie that follows a squad of marines as they fight to an alien invasion in Los Angeles. I’m going to admit that I’m actually a fan of the movie. There’s enough familiar faces in there like Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez, Michael Pena and Bridget Moynahan to get to connect, and some somewhat familiar faces to keep you fully invested in the action. The action is also pretty fun, and it gives off a more toned down Black Hawk Dawn with aliens.

Finally, another Korean film, I Saw the Devil directed by Jee-woon Kim (A Tale of Two Sisters, The Good the Bad the Weird, The Last Stand). The movie sees a deadly cat-and-mouse game with a twist. A special agent, played by Byung-hun Lee, tracks down his fiancé’s murderer, a dangerous psychopath played by excellently by the great Choi Min-sik, and deploys his own level of torture. This movie is FUCKED UP. I don’t want to say anymore, but this, go watch this with the information I just gave you, and that’s it!

 

2012

John Carter

Silent House

Casa de mi Padre

The Hunger Games

The Raid: Redemption

Thoughts: Okay, let’s start off with the big one here in John Carter. Disney really dropped the ball on this one. What should have started a franchise for Disney – again – was instead a heavy mix-bag of descent to good CGI and borderline mediocre. It’s a shame since the books were a heavy inspiration of sci-fi and fantasy movies that we all know and love. John Carter is, arguably, one of the biggest “what happened?” movies in Hollywood.

Next is the Elizabeth Olsen-led Silent House. A remake of the film La Casa Muda (The Silent House), the movie is shot like a one-take and follows Olson’s Sarah, who is trapped inside her family’s lakeside retreat by a supernatural force. The movie is okay, mainly held together by Olson, who’s in every scene in the movie, and was only her second film (Martha Marcy May Marlene had gotten a limited release and a film festival run at this point). The movie’s ending also loses every bit of the film’s overall story, which is why people probably, in the end, didn’t enjoy it.

Case de mi Padre was a Spanish comedy starring Will Ferrell (yes, speaking Spanish) where he was trying to save his father’s ranch, with his brother (played by Diego Luna), who ends up going head-to-head with Mexico’s most feared drug lord. The movie is utterly ridiculous, including a “sex scene” that you’d expect out of a Ferrell, but you know what, I remember liking the movie when I saw it.

Next up is The Hunger Games, based off the popular book series by Suzanne Collins (who also co-wrote the script), the movie starred Jennifer Lawrence and basically launched her into super stardom. The movie itself was fine, but it was one of the rare instincts where I doubled-down on the phrase “the book is FAR superior than the movie.”

Finally, The Raid. Directed by Gareth Evans and starring Iko Uwais, the movie took audiences by storm. Everyone called it the best action film is years, and you know what? They were right! The story might be unoriginal – elite SWAT team gets trapped in a building by the bad guy they are trying to take down – difference is, these guys beat the hell out of each other instead of shooting each other up for two hours.

 

2013

Stoker

Spring Breakers

The Croods

Olympus Has Fallen

G.I. Joe: Retaliation

Thoughts: Okay, let’s start off with Spring Breakers, which I will whole heartedly admit, I did NOT like this movie. It didn’t matter how enthralling James Franco was as Alien, this movie felt like it was two-and-half-hours even though it was actually an hour-and-a-half. That should tell you what my experience was like watching.

Let’s move on to Stoker, written by actor Wentworth Miller and directed by Chan-wook Park (Oldboy, Thirst) which followed India (Mia Wasikowska), who finds out she had an uncle (Matthew Goode) she never knew about that comes to live with her and her unstable mother (Nicole Kidman). What follows is a mystery thriller of India trying to figure what her uncle really wants. It was a nice little solid thriller, but the problem was that not many people saw it. It also had an Asian cinema feel to it, which may have set people off too.

Now let’s talk about, a movie that I think gets a little too much hate, G.I. Joe: Retaliation. Yes, Rise of Cobra was pretty much hot garbage, but Retaliation got the Dwayne Johnson push, along with it being a soft reboot. The movie also gave Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow way more to do, including that pretty cool mountain sequence. If you haven’t seen it in a while, give it another shot.

Next is Olympus Has Fallen, one of the two White House invasion movies that came out this year, but I much prefer Olympus Has Fallen mainly due to it going more action-centric and somewhat more serious. It also had Gerard Butler going back to the action genre after doing his romantic comedies stint.

Finally, The Croods. Coming from DreamWorks Animation, and having a voice cast of Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Clark Duke, Catherine Keener and Cloris Leachman as the titular family of cave people who must find a new home after theirs is destroyed, and finding help from Guy (Ryan Reynolds). The movie was a lot of fun. I didn’t, admittedly, think the movie was going to be anything impressive, but the humor keeps the movie going from beginning to end.

 

2014

300: Rise of an Empire

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Need for Speed

Jodorowsky’s Dune

Noah

Sabotage

Thoughts: Let’s start off with the documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune, which tells the story of cult film director Alejandro Jodorowsky’s ambitious but ultimately doomed adaptation of Dune. It’s an amazing documentary about how all this work went into that adaptation of Dune, and what carried over to the version we all know.

Let’s now talk about Sabotage. Directed by David Ayer (Fury, Suicide Squad), it followed members of an elite DEA task force who are getting murdered one-by-one after they end up robbing a drug cartel safe house. It was lead by Arnold Schwarzenegger, with a supporting cast of Sam Worthington, Joe Manganiello, Mireille Enos, Max Martini, Terrence Howard, Josh Holloway and Olivia Williams. This is honestly my least-favorite David Ayer film, and probably his worst. The movie is filled with unlikable characters and writing that is all over the place that makes the movie feel like it was a first draft.

Next is the somewhat controversial Darren Aronofsky’s directed Noah. The story of Noah, played by Russell Crowe, as he builds his ark before God’s flood. This story adds an army of people, seemingly lead by Ray Winstone’s Tubal-cain, who want to invade the ark and also save themselves, a group of fallen angels called Watchers who are rock creatures – the leader being voiced by Nick Nolte – and a less benevolent Noah that we’ve come to know. The film itself is okay, but it wasn’t something I’d recommend to everyone.

Moving on to 300: Rise of an Empire, a fourteen-year sequel to 300, takes the other perspective of the Battle of Thermopylae, the naval battle between the Greeks and the Persian army. The movie took the same graphic novel look and applied it to the sea battles which looked pretty cool. It also had a great villain in Artemisia, played by Eva Green.

Next is Need for Speed, based on the video game series, Aaron Paul plays a street racer who was framed for the murder of his friend by his wealthy associate, Dino (Dominic Cooper). When he gets released he joins a secretive and high-stakes race called The DeLeon, knowing Dino will be on the race, he takes part as a way to get revenge and redemption. Honestly, I was pretty surprised by Need for Speed, since I didn’t really expect much from it, but I needed up really doing the hell out of it.

Finally, The Grand Budapest Hotel, directed by Wes Anderson. Maybe not my favorite Anderson film, but a good one nonetheless.

 

 

2015

Chappie

Run All Night

It Follows

Thoughts: Let’s begin with Chappie, the third outing of Neill Blomkamp (District 9, Elysium), which follows a police droid (motion-captured and voiced by Sharlto Copley) that gets stolen and reprogrammed to become the first robot with the ability to think and feel for himself. The movie was held together by Copley’s portray as Chappie, Hugh Jackman’s villain character Vincent, and surprisingly the supporting performance by singers Yo-Landi Visser and Ninja. The movie itself, so-so.

Next is Run All Night, the Liam Neeson-led action crime movie where he plays a mobster hitman, Jimmy Conlon, who needs to keep his son safe for the night when he becomes the target of a hit, placed by his boss and longtime friend Shawn (Ed Harris), after the death of his son. This was Neeson and director Jaume Collet-Sera’s third team up of their four movies together (Unknown, Non-Stop and The Commuter). The movie itself was okay, it wasn’t their best, but maybe their second best with Neeson playing up his age in this one and the on-screen chemistry he has with Harris.

Finally, the much-talked about and analyzed horror hit, It Follows. Written and directed by David Robert Mitchell, the film follows Jay (Maika Monroe, in her breakout role), who is followed by an unknown supernatural force after a sexual encounter, who only she can see. It Follows was one of the breakout horror films, if not just film in general, in 2015 for its themes and overall quality. In that time, a bunch of articles came out trying to break down everything, which from what I can remember, hadn’t happened in a while.

 

 

2016

Zootopia

10 Cloverfield Lane

Midnight Special

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Everybody Wants Some!!

Thoughts: First up, Midnight Special, the indie sci-fi drama about a father and son on the run from the government and a cult who want to use the child’s powers for their own good. The film had a great cast with Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Adam Driver, Jaeden Martell, Bill Camp, Kirsten Dunst and Sam Shepard, which keeps you invested from beginning to end.

Next is the Richard Linklater’s coming-of-age college film Everybody Wants Some!! Following a group of collage baseball players in the summer before their semester starts. It’s like other Linklater films – expect Boyhood – with a mix of unknown and up-and-comers.

Next is Disney’s Zootopia, which took critics and fans for quite a ride when it came out. Setting it in a city of anthropomorphic animals, a rookie cop bunny teams up with a con artist fox to solve a conspiracy. If anything, it gave us plenty of meme, gif content.

10 Cloverfield Lane, which is arguably the best movie of the month, is set within the Cloverfield universe, at least for the last ten to fifteen minutes. The movie follows Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s Michelle, who wakes up in an underground bunker after a car accident. She finds out the bunker belongs to John Goodman’s Howard, who has also taken in John Gallagher Jr.’s Emmett, and won’t let them leave because of a supposed chemical attack that has turned the air toxic. The movie got an interesting article after it came out relating the movie to domestic abuse, which was an interesting way to look at it. Plus, it has Winstead battling aliens, so yeah.

Okay, finally, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice aka “Why did you say that name?” I’m going off the theatrical version and look, I wanted to like this movie, I really did. I was probably one of the few people that was onboard the Batfleck bandwagon, and the giving Gal Gadot a chance as Wonder Woman. But, oh man what a massive disappointment this was. Like, how do you mess this up? Seriously! The Trinity of DC Comics and you drop the ball heavily. Big no-no.

 

2017

Logan

Kong: Skull Island

The Belko Experiment

Power Rangers

Ghost in the Shell

Thoughts: Oh, Ghost in the Shell, what happened? Let’s move pass the “white washing” controversy (the character is a robot, not to take away the seriousness of the situation, but still), and talk about the movie itself. It was rather bland.

Next is The Belko Experiment, written by James Gunn, the movie takes a twisted social experiment with eighty Americans locked in their high-rise corporate office in Colombia. They are ordered by a mysterious and unknown voice from the intercom system that they must participate in a deadly game of kill or be killed. It’s a pretty descent movie, that can be a little mean sometimes, but given the material, I guess it makes sense.

Let’s talk about Power Rangers, Krispy Kreme aside, this movie would have blown little me’s mind away. Filled with, at the time, a relative unknown cast this reboot wasn’t really that bad. The characters are written well enough, although not all of them had proper time to shine. This movie towed the line at times from cheesy to serious, and it was truly something to hear the theme playing on the big screen again.

Next is Kong: Skull Island, the reboot/remake/reimaging of King Kong, saw a team of scientists along with a group of soldiers, a photojournalist and a personal tracker who venture to an uncharted island, where they encounter massive unknown creatures and Kong himself. I really enjoyed the movie and really liked what they did with Kong, and not trying to copy the original too much. The movie also had a cast of who’s who, and some disgusting imagery that you’d expect. It also opened the door for the new Kong vs. Godzilla movie happening.

Finally, let’s talk about Logan! The R-rated comic book, and the final run of Hugh Jackman’s Logan aka Wolverine. Set in the future, Logan, now a broken down version of his former self is found by Laura (Dafne Keen), a mutant child on the run from scientists and a group of enhanced mercenaries that will stop at nothing to get her back. There’s not a lot to hate or dislike about the movie, and it was one of those movies that took me a minute to process. And that last shot, oh man.

 

 

2018

The Strangers: Prey at Night

Pacific Rim: Uprising

Unsane

Ready Player One

Thoughts: Our last year we’ll start with Pacific Rim: Uprising, the sequel Guillermo del Toro’s great – at least in my opinion – first movie about giants robots, called Jaegers, against giant monsters, Kaiju. The sequel sees the son of Idris Elba’s character from the first movie played by John Boyega. Boyega’s Jake, a former Jaeger pilot gets recruited to the new Jaeger program to fight off a new threat. Del Toro did not return to direct or write, so it did lose the del Toro touch, and while the sequel had some cool moments, it just didn’t feel right. Plus, the ending kind of just happens.

Next let’s talk about the Steven Soderbergh-directed Unsane, which he reportedly shot on an iPhone, which is impressive in itself. The movie followed Claire Foy’s Sawyer who is involuntarily committed to a mental institution, where she is, maybe, confronted by her stalker. The movie plays up the mystery of whether or not it’s real or not, but the real thing here is how Soderbergh was able to pull it off. The movie itself is fine.

The next movie is The Strangers: Prey at Night, the sequel to the first movie from 2008. This time instead of a couple, the sequel follows a family staying at a secluded mobile home park where they are hunted by our three masked psychopaths. The movie is very different from the first movie, mainly since the movie isn’t just isolated to a home, it gives everyone more space to play around. It’s also got a 80s vibe to it, which really made the movie work. I would highly recommend this if you haven’t watched it yet, and you don’t really have to watch the first movie to watch the sequel.

Finally, the ambitious adaptation of Ernest Cline’s novel, Ready Player One, directed by Steven Spielberg. The movie took us into the future and the world of OASIS, a virtual reality where people can be whoever they want to be, and when the creator of the OASIS dies, he leaves behind Easter Eggs. Anyone who finds them, through his series of puzzles, gets completely control of the OASIS, and the creator’s fortune. The movie itself was quite the experience watching on the big screen, mainly because of how chalk-full of references and video game characters are in the book, and how many of them are on the screen at the same time.

It’s rather impressive that Spielberg was able to get all of this together, and more importantly, get it to really work for the majority of the film. Especially considering how much they changed from the book to the movie, mainly the sequence paying homage to The Shining.

 

And that’s it everyone. Admittedly, this was still a lot movies, but I can’t help that enjoy a lot of movies more than others. But more importantly, I want to know what you guys think about this. Let me know what your favorite movies in February were?

February Movie Releases

So how are those New Years Resolutions coming along? Kidding!

Anyway, we’re here for movies! Compared to last year, February is looking like a legit month with some huge films coming out. It’s also the month that is bringing the end to a beloved franchise. So let’s get to it!

 

7th

Limited Release: The Lodge

A soon-to-be stepmom is snowed in with her fiancé’s two children at a remote holiday village. Just as relations begin to thaw between the trio, some strange and frightening events take place. The Lodge stars Riley Keough, Jaeden Martell, Lia McHugh, Alicia Silverstone and Richard Armitage.

 

Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) – Warner Bros., DC Entertainment, Luckychap Entertainment

After splitting with the Joker, Harley Quinn joins superheroes Black Canary, Huntress and Renee Montoya to save a young girl from an evil crime lord. Birds of Prey stars Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez, Ella Jay Basco, Chris Messina, Ali Wong and Ewan McGregor.

 

 

14th

Limited Release: Ordinary Love

An extraordinary look at the lives of a middle-aged couple in the midst of the wife’s breast cancer diagnosis. Ordinary Love is lead by Liam Neeson and Lesley Manville.

 

Limited Release: Downhill

A remake of the Swedish film; Barley escaping an avalanche during a family ski vacation in the Alps, a married couple (Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is thrown into disarray as they are forced to reevaluate their lives and how they feel about each other. Downhill co-stars Zach Woods, Zoe Chao, Helene Cardona, Kristofer Hivju and Miranda Otto.

 

What About Love – UC541

Two young lovers change the lives of their parents forever when the parents learn from the joyful experiences of their kids, and allow themselves to again find their love. What About Love stars Marielle Jaffe, Miguel Angel Munoz, Jose Coronado, Maia Morgenstern, Andy Garcia, Ian Glen and Sharon Stone.

*No Trailer Found*

 

The Photograph – Universal Pictures, Will Packer Productions, Perfect World Pictures

When famed photographer Christina Eames dies unexpectedly, she leaves her estranged daughter, Mae (Issa Rae), hurt, angry and full of questions. When Mae finds a photograph tucked away in a safe-deposit box, she soon finds herself delving into her mother’s early life — an investigation that leads to an unexpected romance with a rising journalist (LaKeith Stanfield). The Photograph co-stars Chelsea Peretti, Rob Morgan, Lil Rel Howery, Teyonah Parris, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Jasmine Cephas Jones and Courtney B. Vance.

 

Sonic the Hedgehog – Paramount Pictures, Sega, Original Film, Blur Studio

A cop in the rural town of Green Hills will help Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) escape from the government who is looking to capture him. Sonic the Hedgehog stars James Marsden, Tika Sumpter, Neal McDonough and Jim Carrey.

 

Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island – Columbia Pictures, Blumhouse Productions

The enigmatic Mr Roarke (Michael Pena) makes the secret dreams of his lucky guests come true at a luxurious but remote tropical resort, but when the fantasies turn into nightmares, the guests have to solve the island’s mystery in order to escape with their lives. Fantasy Island co-stars Lucy Hale, Maggie Q, Parissa Fitz-Henley, Austin Stowell, Jimmy O. Yang, Portia Doubleday, Kim Coates and Michael Rooker.

 

 

21st

Limited Release: Emma

Based on the novel by Jane Austen; Following the antics of a young woman, Emma Woodhouse (Anya Taylor-Joy), who lives in Georgian- and Regency-era England and occupies herself with matchmaking – in sometimes misguided, often meddlesome fashion- in the lives of her friends and family. Emma co-stars Josh O’Connor, Mia Goth, Johnny Flynn, Callum Turner, Chloe Pirrie, Miranda Hart and Bill Nighy.

 

Brahms: The Boy 2 – STX Entertainment, Lakeshore Entertainment, Huayi Brothers

After a family moves into the Heelshire Mansion, their young son soon makes friends with a life-like doll called Brahms. The movie stars Katie Holmes, Ralph Ineson and Owain Yeoman.

 

The Call of the Wild – 20th Century Studios, 3 Arts Entertainment

Based on the novel by Jack London; Buck is a big-hearted dog whose blissful domestic life gets turned upside down when he is suddenly uprooted from his California home and transplanted to the exotic wilds of the Alaskan Yukon in the 1890s. As the newest rookie on a mail-delivery dog sled team, Buck experiences the adventure of a lifetime as he ultimately finds his true place in the world. The Call of the Wild stars Harrison Ford, Cara Gee, Jean Louisa Kelly, Omar Sy, Karen Gillan, Dan Stevens and Bradley Whitford.

 

28th

Limited Release: The Whistlers

A policeman is intent on freeing a crooked businessman from a prison on Gomera, an island in the Canaries. However, he must first learn the difficult local dialect, a language which includes hissing and spitting.

 

Limited Release: Burden

When a museum celebrating the Ku Klux Klan opens a South Carolina town, the idealistic Reverend Kennedy (Forest Whitaker) strives to keep the peace even as he urges the group’s Grand Dragon (Garrett Hedlund) to disavow his racist past. Burden co-stars Andrea Riseborough, Usher Raymond and Tom Wilkinson.

 

Limited Release: Guns Akimbo

Miles (Daniel Radcliffe) is a video game developer who inadvertently becomes the next participant in a real-life death match that streams online. While Miles soon excels at running away from everything, that won’t help him outlast Nix (Samara Weaving), a killer at the top of her game.  Guns Akimbo co-stars Ned Dennehy and Rhys Darby.

 

The Invisible Man – Universal Pictures, Blumhouse Productions, Goalpost Pictures

Written and directed by Leigh Whannell (Upgrade); When Cecilia’s (Elizabeth Moss) abusive ex (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) takes his own life and leaves her his fortune, she suspects his death was a hoax. As a series of coincidences turn lethal, Cecilia works to prove that she is being hunted by someone nobody can see. The Invisible Man co-stars Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid and Harriet Dyer.

 

What are you looking forward to?

Monthly Rewind – January Movie Releases 2010-2018

Hello, everybody!

I’m starting a new feature here on Movies with Chris called Monthly Rewind! Given that the decade just ended, I figured I do something a little different than a “Best of” or “Favorite of” the Decade list. Instead of naming all of my noteworthy movies, I thought I would look at the movies I’ve seen in the last ten years in those given months and give my thoughts on them all these years later, or just how they have held up.

It’s something new, and potentially, a lot of fun. So join me won’t you? Let’s get started and take a look at January’s past. The only year we won’t do is 2019, given that we just went through all of it. Again, these are movies that I have seen.

If you know something came out during that month, or year, and it’s not on here. It’s a good chance that I haven’t seen it – yes, even after all these years – or I just completely missed it while putting the list together. It’s a lot of movies after all.

Alright, let’s get started with 2010!

 

2010

Daybreakers

The Book of Eli

Legion

Edge of Darkness

Thoughts: It’s rather weird bunch of movies here. The four of these don’t have a lot of staying power with me, and presumably with audiences. Daybreakers, a world where almost everyone is a vampire, still has its fans and it is still an underrated vampire movie starring Ethan Hawke.

The Book of Eli probably still holds some weight because of the twist at the end, plus some of the visuals by directors The Hugh Brothers. And of course seeing Denzel Washington kick some ass.

Legion I think has been forgotten about, even though it got a short-lived sequel TV series on SyFy. At least some of the visuals still work and stick around like Doug Jones’ Ice Cream Man.

Finally, Edge of Darkness, one of the last movies Mel Gibson led, before his public meltdown (also, his first since Signs in 2002), which I don’t think anyone really remembers. I know I barely remember it.

 

2011

The Green Hornet

A Somewhat Gentle Man

Ong-bak 3

The Housemaid

The Mechanic

Ip Man 2

Thoughts: This month actually had two movies I had seen at the Chicago International Film Festival – A Somewhat Gentle Man and The Housemaid. The problem is I can’t remember if it was the year before, or if they played during the festival this year (both got limited releases in theaters this month). As for the other movies;

The Green Hornet was a really bad misfire, even by today’s standards. Of course, the only big highlight anyone remembers about this is Jay Chou’s Kato, and Kato Vision. Since honestly, it probably the only thing people should remember.

Ong-bak 3 is still, to this day, a mess. Tony Jaa had made the biggest name for himself with the first Ong-Bak, and later Tom yum Goong aka The Protector, but it was when Jaa took it upon himself to try and direct and completely different story under the Ong-bak name, and it just didn’t work. It also didn’t help that the movie suffered because Jaa basically suffered a panic attack trying to direct this and part 2, which were suppose to be one movie.

The Mechanic, a remake of the 1972 film, this was at the time when Jason Statham was in those small, independent feel action movies that were mostly forgettable. The Mechanic stills fits that mold, but I think the more surprising thing is that the movie got a sequel, that we’ll talk about later.

Ip Man 2, I mean come on. The Ip Man movies are all known for the impressive fight sequences with Donnie Yen playing the titular character so well.

 

 

2012

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Contraband

Underworld: Awakening

Haywire

The Artist

The Grey

Thoughts: This was a weird January, for me. I remember thinking back then, that this a good January in a while. First, we had two highly divisive films in the spy thriller Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Artist. One was a very slow-burn spy film that many said was too dragged out, while the other went back to the old ways of Hollywood with a black-and-white, silent film, that has sadly been thrown to the wayside.

Contraband was a remake of the Icelandic film, which ironically, its lead star Baltasar Kormakur directed this. It’s probably one of more forgettable Mark Wahlberg-led movies, but also because he had Giovanni Ribisi playing the lead villain as a tough guy gangster. No disrespect to Ribisi, but come on.

Underworld: Awakening, the forth movie in the series, I’m sure it was meant as a way to bring back the franchise after its last film – which was technically a prequel to the first movie – but instead we got, probably, the most forgettable Underworld movie which didn’t do anything new for the series, other than give Kate Beckinsale’s Selene a daughter, who doesn’t even factor into the next movie (and they even recast), and introduce Theo James’ David, who is the most boring character in the series.

Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire was, to me, the start of Hollywood’s more brutal, gritty realistic take on fight scenes. It helped that Soderbergh cast MMA star Gina Carano as the lead, which got her more mainstream attention. The movie itself, slugs on a tad, with an ending that I remember kind of just happens.

Finally, Joe Carnahan’s The Grey, arguably, one of the only real movies that came out in January to have really a true amount of staying power. Anytime someone brings up The Grey it one of two things. One, how great it is or two, we never see Liam Neeson actually fight the Alpha wolf.

 

 

2013

Gangster Squad

Zero Dark Thirty

The Last Stand

Mama

Broken City

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

Parker

Movie 43

John Dies at the End

Thoughts: I didn’t remember all these movies dropping in January, but here we are. I did manage to see Zero Dark Thirty in its limited release in December, but the wide release was this month.

Oh Gangster Squad, so much potential, and yet, such a disappointment at the end. Tragedy for the release date shift and reshoots aside, it’s hard to see how they wasted such a great cast and story, even to this day. Plus, the movie takes the Hollywood action route instead of the true takedown of Mickey Cohen.

John Dies at the End was one of those genre film festival favorites, which admittedly I watched much later, and I’ll admit, I wasn’t the biggest fan of it. But I can see why it was, and still has, a midnight movie fan base.

Parker, for me, is the most forgettable Jason Statham one-word title films, which had him playing a thief that gets double-crossed and left for dead, only to take a new identity and work with Jennifer Lopez’ character – a real estate agent who wants more of life – who happens to have a connection to Statham’s old crew.

Broken City starred Mark Wahlberg as an ex-cop trying to take down the mayor of his city played by Russell Crowe. I honestly don’t remember anything about this movie. I had to look up what the movie was about to even write that short synopsis.

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters was my guilty pleasure of 2013, and it still kind of is. It knows exactly what it is and doesn’t try to be something different. Plus, you get to stare at Gemma Arterton for an hour-and-a-half.

Mama, the film that brought up It and It Chapter Two director Andy Muschietti, and based off his own creepy short film. I think Mama gets some undeserved bashing – it’s not perfect or even all that great – but it’s definitely worthwhile, even though it does have a couple cheap pop scares.

The Last Stand, which I saw again recently, was highly more enjoyable than I remembered. It has the right amount of seriousness, humor, and quirkiness to Arnold Schwarzenegger getting older.

Then there’s Movie 43….ugh

 

 

2014

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Her

Inside Llewyn Davis

Lone Survivor

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Ride Along

I, Frankenstein

Thoughts: Her, Lone Survivor and Inside Llewyn Davis are the wide releases, and I’d say that Her probably has the most staying power over the other two mainly because of relevant it is still till this day. Inside Llewyn Davis does have a loyal fanbase, but I think it’s one of those movies that you don’t pop in regularly.

Ride Along was, arguably, the start of Kevin Hart’s film career stardom. Starring with Ice Cube as future brother-in-laws with Cube playing the hardened, no-nonsense cop, and Hart, a security guard, trying to prove himself. It was funny for the time and the chemistry between Hart and Cube worked, and still works.

I, Frankenstein was one of those movies I was weirdly looking forward to, even though I knew it was going to be bad. Then I watched it, and yeah. It’s not very good. Aaron Eckhart playing Frankenstein’s monster – named Adam – stuck in a war between Gargoyle angels and demons is a bit sloppy and overall things we’ve seen before.

Kenneth Branagh’s Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit starring Chris Pine was an okay movie then, and an okay movie now. Pine does fine with what he’s given against Branagh’s thick fake Russian accent.

Finally, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, the only real spinoff of the horror franchise (there was a foreign spinoff that isn’t “canon”), it’s also considered a “cousin” film as it follows a Hispanic group of friends dealing with a demonic entity that does end up being connected to the main series. It’s not best Paranormal Activity movie, but definitely one of the better, and underappreciated, movies.

 

 

2015

The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death

[REC] 4: Apocalypse

Taken 3

Predestination

Inherent Vice

Paddington

Blackhat

Foxcatcher

American Sniper

Red Army

A Most Violent Year

Thoughts: Some more wide releases of limited releases a couple weeks prior in Inherent Vice, American Sniper and A Most Violent Year. American Sniper, still to this day, gets flake, mostly deserved, and that fake baby man. Come on, Eastwood! Inherent Vice is still the weird movie where people don’t really know what’s going on and A Most Violent Year is mostly forgotten, even though it has some great performances by Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain. Maybe it will get some more eyes on it as something is in the works to bring it back.

I believe Foxcatcher, was also a limited release gone wide this month. It was the first time we saw Steve Carell in a different light after The Office, and it was the first time I saw Channing Tatum as a real actor. Red Army was a documentary of the Soviet Union’s famed Red Army hockey team, which was very good, even if you aren’t a hockey fan.

The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death, is probably one of the forgettable movies this month, which is reasonable in my mind considering I really don’t remember anything about the movie. The same can be said for the thriller Blackhat, directed by Michael Mann, which starred Chris Hemsworth as a hacker who gets entangled in a dangerous, potentially worldwide threat. The only thing I truly remember about the movie – besides being a very diverse cast – is the sound going out in my theaters for what was probably the most exciting part of the movie, only for it to come back once the scene ended.

Taken 3 was a weird sequel, and honestly I can’t remember too much about this one either, other than the weird “twist” the movie does out of the blue. [REC] 4: Apocalypse, the final [REC] film, had a great set-up of bringing back original star Manuela Velasco as Angela, and trapping the action in a boat in the middle of the ocean, but the execution was kind of lacking, which is a huge bummer considering how great the series started.

Predestination, based on the short story “All You Zombies” by Robert A. Heinlein, not only brought us the great Sarah Snook, but a weird, twisty sci-fi mystery drama about a multitude of different themes that is definitely worth the rewatch or first-time viewing.

Finally, Paddington, I mean what’s left to say about the loveable Paddington, voiced by Ben Whishaw – originally voiced by Colin Firth, but him and director Paul King agreed they needed to go a different route – and his crazy adventures.

 

 

2016

The Forest

The Revenant

Ride Along 2

13 Hours

Carol

The 5th Wave

The Boy

Ip Man 3

Room

Kung Fu Panda 3

Jane Got a Gun

Thoughts: Weirdly, only three wide release here in The Revenant, which is still the bear basically rag dolls Leonardo DiCaprio that got him an Oscar. Carol, which I don’t hear too much about anymore, but Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara are fantastic in it, if you haven’t watched it yet, and then there’s Room, which gave us Jacob Tremblay and a fantastic performance by Brie Larson, which fans have turned on because…reasons?

This year might be the “worst” January in the decade to be honest. The Forest and The Boy were the horror films released this month and neither of them really did the job they set out to do. The Forest had the concept of basing it in Japan’s Suicide Forest with Natalie Dormer, while The Boy had Lauren Cohen in what was teased as a “is the doll supernatural or not?” Of course, only one of these is getting a sequel.

The 5th Wave, which was based off a pretty descent YA book, was a complete disappointment for me, personally. Even with the pretty much reliable Chloe Grace Moretz and pre-mega star Maika Monroe, the premise was perfect set-up for them to only make the most bland and boring “action” movie that year.

Speaking of disappointing, the Natalie Portman-led western Jane Got a Gun was most likely a product of behind-the-scenes troubles with original director Lynne Ramsay dropping out literally the first day of filming, and actors swapping in-and-out of lead roles and supporting roles.

Ride Along 2, a couple years after the first movie, brings back Kevin Hart and Ice Cube together moving the action to another city and bringing in Olivia Munn and Benjamin Bratt as the villain. I honestly can’t remember anything about this movie, which seeing how cheap these movies are to make, I’m surprised they didn’t make another one.

Ip Man 3’s main marketing push was having a fight scene between Donnie Yen’s Ip Man versus Mike Tyson’s Frank, and if you saw the movie, you know that the fight only happens once and it isn’t even the end of the movie. The movie itself is a fine action movie, and also introduces Jin Zhang’s Cheung Tin-chi, who got a spinoff movie.

The third and final Kung Fu Panda film came out this month, and brought an end to the movies in a perfect way. Not only did Po find his family and his people, he finally reached the end of his arc of becoming a great fighter.

Finally, 13 Hours, the Michael Bay-directed movie about the U.S. compound in Libya that got attacked, and the security team there defended it. It’s basically the “ill-timed” movie about the attacks in Benghazi. Bay isn’t really that kind of director so the movie was all about the action, and for that, I was thoroughly surprised. The cast is also pretty great with John Krasinski beefing up for the role.

 

 

2017

Hidden Figures

A Monster Calls

Patriots Day

The Founder

Underworld: Blood Wars

Monster Trucks

The Bye Bye Man

Sleepless

Live by Night

xXx: Return of Xander Cage

Split

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

Thoughts: Four limited releases turned wide this month in Hidden Figures, A Monster Calls, Patriots Day and The FounderA Monster Calls is the one that sticks with me the most because I didn’t expect the movie to hit me as hard as it did. The Founder, the story of Ray Kroc who turned the family owned burger restaurant into what we know now, saw Michael Keaton be a ruthless, ambitious former salesman that made us loathe him. Hidden Figures and Patriots Day, both based on true stories, with Hidden Figures probably being the one of the two that sticks out to more people.

Ben Affleck-directed Live by Night was considered a huge disappointment by all accounts, and lead to some personal problems for Affleck. Speaking of disappointing, especially one that essentially killed a franchise, Underworld: Blood Wars made Selene into, basically, superhero with no real purpose other than “trying” to do something different, but it was a big heap of NOPE.

On that front, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter did end the long running franchise that was more of the same from what we’ve seen, with a twist I’m sure they thought was smart, but really came off as dumb. Monster Trucks was a weird take on the brand, but you know what, if I was a kid, I would have dug the hell out of this. As an adult, it was still an okay family movie.

Sleepless was actually a remake of a VERY good French film Nuit Blanche, which followed the same basic premise of a cop who goes to a nighclub where his son is being kept after a deal gone wrong. The remake was kind of lifeless despite its descent cast of Jamie Foxx, Michelle Monaghan, Scoot McNairy, Dermot Mulroney and David Harbour.

The Bye Bye Man…*sigh*

Honestly, the only thing that got me in for xXx: Return of Xander Cage was that it starred Donnie Yen…that’s it. I mean, yes the movie was as ridiculous as you would think it would be.

Finally, Split came out this month, in what was one of the best surprises of the month and best surprise twist sequels that I can remember. Even before that though, we got an amazing performance by James McAvoy, and it made Anya Taylor-Joy a household name.

 

 

2018

Molly’s Game

The Post

Phantom Thread

I, Tonya

Insidious: The Last Key

Paddington 2

The Commuter

Proud Mary

12 Strong

Den of Thieves

Maze Runner: The Death Cure

Hostiles

Thoughts: Four limited releases this month in Molly’s Game, I Tonya, The Post and Phantom Thread; five if you count Hostiles – which kind of came and went without much fanfare despite a solid performance by Christian Bale. The Post and Molly’s Game have pretty much, at least it feels like, been forgotten. Phantom Thread was Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Day-Lewis’ last team-up as this was Day-Lewis’ last film, and what a way to go out. As for I, Tonya, this arguably made Margot Robbie the true household name that she is now, with her portray as Tonya Harding. Plus it gave us Paul Walter Hauser.

This month also gave us Proud Mary, which I thought was a nice homage to 70s action movies, but it failed to really leave an impression. Insidious: The Last Key was the last Insidious movie we got, which acted as an origin story for Lin Shaye’s Elise and a prequel to the very first movie. It’s not the best entry in the series, but at least Shaye got one more ride of the character.

We also got the ending of the Maze Runner movies with the third entry The Death Cure which admittedly was a little too long for its own good, and lacked a certain punch for me. The same could be said about 12 Strong – the certain punch – the based on a true story war film that starred Chris Hemsworth leading a small group of soldiers to stop an attack from the Taliban after 9/11. The movie was more of a character movie than an action film like it was marketed, but seeing Chris Hemsworth, Michael Pena and Michael Shannon play off each other was a nice please.

Now for two movies that were surprisingly good in their own way, The Commuter and Den of Thieves. The Commuter could have easily been another Liam Neeson action thriller that most people forgot about – and maybe this one is too – I happen to watch it again recently and thoroughly enjoyed it again. When it comes to Den of  Thieves, this could have easily been a forgettable action crime thriller with everyone chewing up the scenery. And in some part, it really is, but there was something about the wannabe-Heat to it all that I really liked.

Finally, Paddington 2…again, how can you NOT love these movies!

 

And that’s it everyone. Admittedly, this was a lot. So I’ll probably tone down the lists going forward, especially since this is going up at the end of January. But more importantly, I want to know what you guys think about this. Let me know what your favorite movies in January were?

‘The Grudge’ Review

Director: Nicolas Pesce

Writer: Nicolas Pesce

Cast: Andrea Riseborough, Demian Bichir, John Cho, Betty Gilpin, John J. Hansen, Frankie Faison, William Sadler, Lin Shaye and Jackie Weaver

Synopsis: A house is cursed by a vengeful ghost that dooms those who enter it with a violent death.

*Reviewer Note: This will be a spoiler free review.*

 

The second remake of the Japanese horror film Ju-on: The Grudge from 2002 – the first American remake came out in 2004 – this new Grudge movie comes from writer/director Nicolas Pesce, known for The Eyes of My Mother, and brings the action to America instead of keeping it in Japan. Pesce had come out before the release of the movie saying his version of the story would be “fucked up.” So, some self-professed hype is already at play here. That said, I will admit that when I found out about Pesce directing the remake, and having seen The Eyes of My Mother, I thought he’s a pretty descent choice. However, now having seen The Grudge I will say this; I was wrong.

The Grudge tells four different stories – taking place in different years – that are all connected to one home, where every person that steps in it is met with a violent and deadly outcome. Like I mentioned, the action is moved to America, and mostly follows the story of Detective Muldoon (Andrea Riseborough), who has moved to a new town with her son, Burke (John J. Hansen), after the death of her husband. She’s assigned to her new partner, Goodman (Demian Bichir), and immediately finds a body in the forest that belonged to the long missing Lorna Moody (Jacki Weaver). The case makes Goodman uneasy, and that makes Muldoon curious about the case.

The connected stories belong to Peter and Nina Spencer (John Cho and Betty Gilpin), real-estate agents who are dealing with pregnancy problems, and are trying to sell the, unbeknownst to them, cursed house. There is also Faith and William Matheson (Lin Shaye and Frankie Faison), who are other occupants of the house, when William asks for help from Lorna Moody. Then there is a short story between Goodman and his old partner Wilson (William Sadler), and finally the, short, story of what kick starts everything of Fiona Landers (Tara Westwood) who worked in Japan – in the original cursed house – and brought the curse back with her.

While the non-linear narrative is nothing new for this brand, this Grudge makes things too muddy for its own good. While it doesn’t bounce around too much, the stories are a bit blah. It also doesn’t help that we know The Matheson’s, Sanders’ and Moody are dead so the tension of seeing their story play out is dampened a bit, but even when they’re playing out they really don’t do much to suck you in.

The only real story that draws you in is that of John Cho and Betty Gilpin, mainly because of how serious they play it. I’d argue that they should have been the focus and then have Riseborough and Bichir’s characters play into their story. The real shame here is the waste of the cast, even though everyone looks like they are trying to the best with what they have, the majority of the characters are underwritten or just not given anything to really do. This is true for Bichir’s Goodman, who doesn’t really do anything other than tell Muldoon to let the case go, and he always thought there was something wrong with the house.

Then comes the scares, probably the main reason everyone will try to watch this. On that front, The Grudge disappoints as well. The scares are pretty basic and nothing we haven’t seen before. Even the classic imaginary that we are familiar with – the hand in the hair, bathtub filled with dirty water – isn’t worthwhile. There are nice references to the past films, but it’s there to mainly show that Pesce was a fan of the series before he got the job. Which is a shame because I do think that Pesce has a good eye for imagery, but it’s almost like Pesce was afraid of letting the movie loose, and being “fucked up” like he promised.

All in all, The Grudge is less superior to its 2004 remake, and is way too messy for its own good. The characters are underdeveloped or underwritten, and it lacks the punch the movie tries to promise. Plus, it is a tad boring at times, which is something you don’t want from horror movie. If I had to pick something that I liked about it, it would probably be some of the score from The Newton Brothers.

The Grudge

Rating: Pass

 

My Favorite, and Surprise, Movies of 2019

It’s the end of the year boys and girls, you know what that means? It’s list time!!

There were some great films that came out this year. The list really ranges all over the place, so you’ll see a wide array of titles, and even some surprises. But, of course, this is my list and my opinion so your list might be different, obviously, it is okay.

The list will have the films in alphabetical order, just to be fair, and because I really don’t want to go through the trouble anymore of picking a number one because it would be really tough. First let’s start off with the film that I didn’t get around to watching, whether it’s because I missed out in theaters, or because they were only in theaters in my area for a short time. Then we’ll move to the films that just missed the list, surprises of the year, honorable mentions and then the big ones.

 

Movies I Missed That I Wanted to Watch

The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil

Them That Follow

Tigers Are Not Afraid

Luce

Hustlers

Honey Boy

Marriage Story

The Report

The King

The Two Popes

Uncut Gems

1917

Portrait of the Lady on Fire

 

 

Just Missed the Lists

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Bodied

Cold War

Doctor Sleep

It Chapter Two

Klaus

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part

The Wandering Earth

Triple Threat

Yesterday

 

 

Surprises of the Year

Aladdin

Look, Disney live-action remakes are happening, and will continue, let’s get over it. Okay, now let’s talk a little about Aladdin. I don’t have an immediate connection to Aladdin like many others do, so the movie was already very lukewarm for me. That said, the movie wasn’t that bad. Will Smith as the new Genie wasn’t too bad, and Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott as Aladdin and Jasmine had some pretty great chemistry together. Aladdin was a pretty much a great family movie, and you can’t go wrong with that.

 

Blinded by the Light

I didn’t think I was going to watch Blinded by the Light, mainly because I didn’t think I’d connect to it because I’m not a big Bruce Springsteen fan. The great thing is, you didn’t need to be. That to me, made me a fan.

 

Crawl

I was admittedly not on board with Crawl when I first read about it and saw the trailer. I gave it chance, and I’m glad I did, because instead of a pretty much a forgettable, cheesy movie; we got a damn solid thriller with Kaya Scodelario easily putting the movie on her shoulders.

 

El Chicano

El Chicano is mostly likely going to be one of the handful of movies that people didn’t even know came out in 2019. Produced by Joe Carnahan, the movie followed L.A.P.D. Detective Diego Hernandez, who is assigned a career-making case that he finds out has connections to his brother’s supposed suicide, and a turf war between two rival gangs that promises city-wide chaos. He then dons the masked street legend El Chicano to take the streets back. It’s a pretty solid indie action movie that touches on family, “superheroes” and culture.

 

6 Underground

This is the closest thing I think we’ll ever get to knowing how the mind of Michael Bay really works, without the worry of a PG-13 rating, and worrying about damaging a franchise name (Transformers). 6 Underground is a bit of a mess, but damn is it an entertaining mess.

 

 

Honorable Mentions

Alita: Battle Angel

A lot, and I mean A LOT, of people had things to say about Alita: Battle Angel even before it came out and the reaction after the film came out was even more. It was a rather ambitious approach and take on the manga adaptation, that may not have totally worked for producer James Cameron – this being a passion project of his – and director Robert Rodriguez. While the movie loses some steam by the end, it was rather entertaining throughout.

 

Apollo 11

Documentaries rarely make it to my end of the year list, and some of that is mainly because I don’t really watch too many, I forget I watched them, or don’t watch any at all. That said, Apollo 11 stuck with me. The Apollo missions are historic in every way, but seeing this on the big screen, was one of my favorite experiences in a theater this year.

 

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham and Idris Elba together on screen in the Fast & Furious universe? Dumb fun action sequences? What more did you want!?

 

Fighting with My Family

Based on the life of former WWE superstar Paige, Fighting with My Family followed Saraya Knight (Florence Pugh) who dreams of being in the WWE with her brother Zak (Jack Lowden), but when they only accept her, it sets a rift between them and pushes Saraya to her limit. The film itself was also based on the documentary of the same name, which followed the Knight family, who run a wrestling promotion in the native England. Pugh totally carries the film on her shoulders, with great supporting performances by Lowden, Vince Vaughn as Hutch Morgan and Nick Frost and Lena Headey as Saraya’s parents. The only thing that irked me a bit was knowing they didn’t really touch on a lot of stuff that Saraya actually went through in her time in WWE, but whatever.

 

Ford v Ferrari

One of the great things about Ford v Ferrari is that you didn’t need to be a gear-head to love/like the film. Mainly because the movie was much more about the friendly relationship between Carol Shelby (Matt Damon) and Ken Miles (Christian Bale) trying to beat the odds of beating Ferrari at Le Mans, a 24-hour race. Damon and Bale were fantastic together, that its hard to believe it took this long in their careers to work together.

 

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

Parabellum continued the world building of this hitman world, and even did some globe-trotting. Giving us more characters, more obstacles and more headshots than we can count; and I’m not losing any interest whatsoever.

 

Jojo Rabbit

Taika Waititi’s anti-hate satire followed Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis), a young boy in the Hitler Youth, who finds out his mother, Rosie (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a Jewish girl, Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie) in their home; all while he talks to his imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler (played by Waititi himself). Waititi’s humor may not be for everyone, but his humor here with the seriousness – and it does get serious – of the real setting of WWII, Jojo Rabbit was definitely an experience.

 

Little Women

I’m going to admit something I probably shouldn’t; I’ve never read Little Women. I knew what the book was about, but just never got around to reading it. That said, I was looking forward to the movie, mainly because of the cast and that Greta Gerwig was writing/directing. Thankfully, it didn’t really matter if I had read the book, because the casts’ chemistry and Gerwig’s direction was great to watch.

 

Queen & Slim

I really didn’t know what to expect from Queen & Slim, and that was probably the best thing to feel going into the movie. A simple date night gone wrong, with the added racial themes and tone, and you have really one of the best films of the year.

 

Richard Jewell

As a director, Clint Eastwood is pretty hit-or-miss. Recently he’s been on a miss or misstep category, but Richard Jewell has put him back in the hit category. Based on the true story of Richard Jewell, the hero that saved lives during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, but was labeled a villain by the FBI and the media. Honestly, the driving force behind the film is the terrific performance by Paul Walter Hauser as Jewell.

 

Shazam!

I was not onboard the Shazam! train whatsoever, but damn did I have a great time watching it. It was perfect, and some things were a little mishandled, but the cast is what really kept this movie together.

 

Spider-Man: Far from Home

Drama after the film came out aside, Far from Home was a nice follow-up to Homecoming. While the ramifications of Avenges: Endgame were there, admittedly used as almost a crutch, Far from Home continued the development of Tom Holland’s Peter Parker/Spider-Man. Plus, the Mysterio illusion scene is worth the price of admission alone.

 

The Peanut Butter Falcon

A nice coming of age tale that follows Zak (played by Zack Gottsagen), a young man with Down Syndrome, who runs away from his care home to make his dream of becoming a professional wrestler  come true. Along his adventure he meets Tyler (Shia LaBeouf), who is running away from his own troubles and later convince Eleanor (Dakota Johnson), Zak’s social worker, to join them. It’s a also a nice “road trip” moving with everyone putting on great performances, especially Gottsagen (who really has Down Syndrome), who honestly steals the show.

 

The Standoff at Sparrow Creek

This is one I didn’t really know anything about until it came out. It follows an ex-cop turned militia man (the underrated, James Badge Dale), who is placed in charge to investigate the shooting at a cop’s funeral that leads to someone in his own militia. The film is extremely tense from start to finish, with everyone in the cast giving it their all, but make no mistake this is Dale’s show, with the only other person I want to point out is Happy Anderson, who plays Morris, in a long, drawn-out scene between the two early in the film. Definitely try to check this out.

 

Toy Story 4

Cash-grab or not, Toy Story 4 still tugged on the heartstrings the only way Disney and Pixar know how to do nowadays.

 

Other Notable Movies: Notre Dame, Happy Death Day 2U, Brittany Runs a Marathon, La Llorona, Pain & Glory, Little Monsters, One Take of the Dead

 

Best/Favorite Movies of the Year

Avengers: Endgame

Look, I’ve been invested in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, like many others, since it started. Endgame was the culmination of everything since the very first Iron Man. If you didn’t like it, that’s fine too. But as a nerd, seeing the final battle on the big screen, with all those characters, MY GOD!

 

Booksmart

The directorial debut of Olivia Wilde followed two top academic students and best friends (Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein) who, on the eve of graduating high school, realize that being top of their class didn’t really mean too much as the people that partied also got into good schools. So, for one wild night, they go on the search for the big party of the night. There is a lot more to the basic premise of the movie, a lot of which you should go in without knowing. That said, Booksmart is hands down one of the best movies of the year.

 

Detective Pikachu

If you’re my age, or around my age, you grew up with Pokemon, and you may or may not have loved it. I loved it. I was hesitant about a CGI/Live-Action movie because of how the CG Pokemon would look, but they were damn impressive, a little more furry than I thought, but impressive nonetheless. Plus, I want a Ryan Reynolds-voiced Pikachu following me around now.

 

Dolemite Is My Name

Eddie Murphy is back! Playing real-life comic Rudy Ray Moore in what it took to make Moore’s iconic and classic Blaxploitation film. The whole cast is fantastic and Murphy is back to fine form towing the line from funny to dramatic.

 

Knives Out

Rian Johnson’s whodunit Knives Out was probably, for me, one of the most entertaining films and film-watching experiences, of the year. Down from the cast to Johnson’s directing and taking his own twist on the genre.

 

Midsommar

The second feature by Hereditary director Ari Aster, Midsommar is an even bigger and longer slow-burn of a movie that is both disturbing, and beautiful to look at it. Florence Pugh and Jack Reynor play a couple on the ropes, who go to Sweden with two others to visit a rural hometown’s fabled mid-summer festival, where things go very, very wrong. The less you know the better, but again, it’s a slow-burn movie that goes somewhere I didn’t see it going.

 

Parasite

Bong Hive! That’s it. That’s my description of why it’s here.

 

Ready or Not

I really loved Ready or Not. There wasn’t too much I can even say that I disliked, so yeah it was going to be put in this section. The movie followed Grace (Samara Weaving), who just married into the Le Domas family, but before she can really become family she must survive the night of a deadly game of Hide and Seek. The movie was treated like a horror comedy, and it felt just like that but without getting into the campy side of things. The cast is fantastic in the roles they play, to the point you can almost tell they were given the okay to just let loose as much as possible.

 

The Farewell

Based on an actual lie that writer/director Lulu Wang is apparently still upholding, a Chinese family discovers that their grandmother has a short time to live, so they fake a wedding to gather before she dies. The movie is absurd in a good way, and when it’s not being darkly funny, its borderline tugging on your heartstrings. It also, probably, changed a lot of opinions on Awkwafina – like myself – who only saw her as a comedy act.

 

Us

Jordan Peele’s second directorial feature was every bit as great as his first, Get Out. While Us goes more into the horror genre, it still plays with social commentary that had everyone talking. Plus, we got to see everyone in the cast play two very different versions of themselves, so yeah.

 

That’s it folks. It was definitely an interesting year for movies, films and everything in-between. What were your favorite, enjoyable, liked and best movies/films of the year? Do you agree with me? Disagree? Undecided? Nevertheless, here’s to another great and awesome year of movies and films.

January Movie Releases

Happy New Year!!

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, we have a new year in front of us which means one thing: new movies! Now, January is usually referred to as Hollywood’s “Dump” Month. Meaning they will release movies that they don’t think will perform well or are not confident in. Sometimes that is the case, but sometimes a movie will shine through. January is also filled with expanded releases of movies that came out in late December, so there is also that to look forward to.

 

3rd

The Grudge – Screen Gems, Ghost House Pictures, Stage 6 Films

A remake of the Japanese horror film, Ju-on, and the American remake from 2004, a house is cursed by a vengeful ghost that dooms those who enter it with a violent death. Directed by Nicolas Pesce (The Eyes of My Mother), The Grudge stars John Cho, Andrea Riseborough, Demian Bichir, Betty Gilpin, William Sadler, Jackie Weaver and Lin Shaye.

 

10th

Expansion Release: 1917 & Just Mercy

 

The Informer – Aviron Pictures, Thunder Road Pictures, Imagination Park Entertainment

An ex-convict (Joel Kinnaman) working undercover intentionally gets himself incarcerated again in order to infiltrate the mob at a maximum security plan. The Informer co-stars Rosemund Pike, Common, Ana de Armas and Clive Owen.

 

Like a Boss – Paramount Pictures, Artists First

Two friends (Rose Byrne and Tiffany Haddish) with very different ideals decide to start a beauty company together One is more practical, while the other wants to earn her fortune and live a lavish lifestyle. Like a Boss co-stars Salma Hayek, Bill Porter and Jennifer Coolidge.

 

Underwater – 20th Century Fox, TSG Entertainment, Chernin Entertainment

A crew of aquatic researchers work to get to safety after an earthquake devastates their subterranean laboratory. But the crew has more than the ocean seabed to fear. Underwater stars Kristen Stewart, Jessica Henwick, John Gallagher Jr., Mamoudou Athie, T.J. Miller and Vincent Cassel.

 

17th

Limited Release – The Wave

Frank (Justin Long), an opportunistic insurance lawyer, thinks he’s in for the time in his life when he goes out on the town to celebrate an upcoming promotion. But their night takes a turn for the bizarre when Frank is dosed with a hallucinogen that completely alters his perception of the world. The Wave co-stars Donald Faison, Katia Winter, Bill Sage and Tommy Flanagan.

 

Dolittle – Universal Pictures, Perfect World Pictures

Dr. John Dolittle (Robert Downey Jr.) lives in solitude behind the high walls of his lush manor in 19th-century England. His only companionship comes from an array of exotic animals that he speaks to on a daily basis. But when young Queen Victoria (Jessie Buckley) becomes gravely ill, the eccentric doctor and his furry friends embark on an epic adventure to a mythical island to find the cure. The voice cast includes Tom Holland, Rami Malek, Selena Gomez, Kumail Nanjiani, John Cena, Ralph Fiennes, Octavia Spencer, Marion Cotillard and Emma Thompson. The rest of the human cast is filled by Michael Sheen and Antonio Banderas.

Thoughts: Dolittle is already coming in with some troubles. The film was reportedly plagued with production troubles, and post-production issues as well, resulting in some reshoots that also involved bringing in different directors.

 

Bad Boys for Life – Columbia Pictures, Jerry Bruckheimer Films, Overbrook Entertainment

Marcus and Mike have to confront new personal issues, as they join the newly created elite team, named AMMO, of the Miami police department to take down the ruthless Armando Armas, the vicious leader of a Miami drug cartel. Bad Boys for Life stars Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig, Charles Melton, Jacob Scipio, Kate del Castillo and Joe Pantoliano.

Thoughts: Say what you will about long-gestating sequels, seeing Will Smith and Martin Lawrence together, going back-and-forth is going to get my money.

 

24th

The Last Full Measure – Roadside Attractions

Thirty-four years after his death, Airman William H. Pitsenbarger (Jeremy Irvine) is awarded the nation’s highest military honor, for his actions on the battlefield. The Last Full Measure co-stars Sebastian Stan, Ser’Darius Blain, Alison Sudol, Diane Ladd, Ed Harris, William Hurt, Bradley Whitford, Samuel L. Jackson and Christopher Plummer.

 

Run – Lionsgate

Directed by Aneesh Chaganty (Searching), a home schooled teenager (Kiera Allen) begins to suspect her mother is keeping a dark secret from her. Run co-stars Sarah Paulson.

*No Trailer Available Yet*

 

The Turning – Universal Pictures, Amblin Entertainment, Vertigo Entertainment

A modern take on Henry James’ novella “The Turn of the Screw,” a young governess (Mackenzie Davis) is hired by a man who has become responsible for his young nephew and niece (Finn Wolfhard and Brooklynn Prince) after the deaths of their parents.

 

The Gentlemen – Miramax, STX Films

Written and directed by Guy Ritchie, A British drug lord tries to sell off his highly profitable empire to a dynasty of Oklahoma billionaires. The Gentlemen stars Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Henry Golding, Michelle Dockery, Jeremy Strong, and Hugh Grant.

Thoughts: Guy Ritchie seems to be back. Let’s hope so!

 

31st

Limited Release – The Traitor

The real life of Tommaso Buscetta (Pierfrancesco Favino), the so called “Boss of the Two Worlds,” the first mafia informant in Sicily in the 1980s.

 

Gretel & Hansel – Orion Pictures, BRON Studios, Automatik

A long time ago in a distant fairy tale countryside, a young girl (Sophia Lillis) leads her little brother (Samuel Leakey) into a dark wood in desperate search of food and work, only to stumble upon a nexus of terrifying evil. Gretel & Hansel co-stars Jessica De Gouw and Alice Krige.

 

The Rhythm Section – Paramount Pictures, IM Global, Eon Productions

Based on the novel by Mark Burnell (who also wrote the script), a woman (Blake Lively) seeks revenge against those who orchestrated a plane crash that killed her family. The Rhythm Section co-stars Jude Law and Sterling K. Brown.

 

What are you looking forward to?