‘Baby Driver’ Review

Director: Edgar Wright

Writer: Edgar Wright

Cast: Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Eiza Gonzalez, CJ Jones, Jon Bernthal and Kevin Spacey

Synopsis: After being coerced into working for a crime boss, a young getaway drivers himself taking part in a heist doomed to fail.

 

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

 

I’m not going to make this a secret – I love Edgar Wright. Every movie he’s done I’ve either loved or thoroughly enjoyed to no end. So when he dropped out of Ant-Man and moved on to Baby Driver, I was both a little upset (I was really looking forward toward his Ant-Man) and excited to see what he was going to do with this. Thankfully, from the very first trailer I was completely in. Then the early reviews and reception came out and everyone was saying how great and awesome it was. However as the release date loomed, and the reception kept getting better and better, I started wondering, is it really that good? Yes, yes it is.

Baby Driver centers on Baby (Ansel Elgort), a skilled, but reluctant getaway driver working off his debut to Doc (Kevin Spacey). However, he’s a not a normal getaway driver, he constantly listens to music to drown out his tinnitus in his ears that was a result from a car accident where he lost his parents as a child, and it’s his inner soundtrack that makes him the best. One day he meets waitress Debora (Lily James), and finally sees a future where he doesn’t have to be a getaway driver. However, as he and Debora get closer, Doc ropes him back into the game on a big job alongside Bats (Jamie Foxx), Buddy (Jon Hamm) and Darling (Eiza Gonzalez). What follows is Baby trying to escape in more ways than one.

Like I mentioned, Baby is constantly listening to music and acts like not only his own personal soundtrack but ours as well, giving us a sense at what Baby is feeling at the certain times. At one point, during Baby’s second job working with Jaime Foxx’s Bats – when he’s introduced – JD (Lanny Joon) and Eddie (played by Flea), Baby restarts a song because the timing in off. The funny thing is that it doesn’t come off as awkward or weird, it comes off as funny and almost necessary. I read somewhere that the film is almost a reverse musical, instead of people bursting out into song, its Baby’s music that pushes the story forward a bit.

I don’t know how people will feel with music almost constantly playing, but Edgar Wright makes it work so well that it is rather impressive. Also, the fact that the music syncs with the action and the choreography to perfection makes the film that much better. Speaking of the action and the choreography, it’s highly impressive what Wright was able to bring out of everyone, and what he’s able to accomplish with all the car stunts is damn cool.

When it comes to the cast, they are also all fantastic. I’m not the biggest fan of Ansel Elgort, but he’s not that bad here as Baby. He’s a man of few words – expect when he’s talking to Debora – and lets his soundtrack and driving do the talking for him. Kevin Spacey chews up every scene he’s in, which isn’t many, but he does leave his impression felt. Jaime Foxx as Bats is, well, crazy and a bit unhinged and does act as the primary villain, although you can argue that they’re all bad guys, expect Baby who’s a reluctant bad guy. Jon Hamm and Eiza Gonzalez play the happy couple of Buddy and Darling, who are crazy about each other and Buddy actually likes Baby and sees something special in him, which plays a bigger factor than you think in the film near the end.

Lily James as Debora is, unfortunately, a little underdeveloped. She does have a story behind her, but it’s only her telling it so it could have helped if we’d see a little more of her. Jon Bernthal isn’t underdeveloped, he’s underused. Bernthal is part of the opening heist of the film, but isn’t seen after that. It’s a bit of a shame, but he’s great in the time that he’s there. CJ Jones also appears as Joseph, Baby’s deaf foster father who wishes Baby would leave the criminal life.

All in all, Baby Driver is a fantastic film with great car chase sequences with an awesome cast and an equally great soundtrack that perfect fits with the action and how Ansel Elgort’s Baby is feeling. Moreover, while Baby Driver isn’t as personal as Edgar Wright’s other films, it is as stylized as them and filled with more action. Do yourself a favor and go watch Baby Driver in the biggest and loudest theater you can find.

Baby Driver

4.5 out of 5

‘Transformers: The Last Knight’ Review

Director: Michael Bay

Writers: Art Marcum, Matt Holloway and Ken Nolan

Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Laura Haddock, Josh Duhamel, Isabela Moner, Jerrod Carmichael, Santiago Cabrera, Tony Hale, John Turturro and Anthony Hopkins

Voice Cast: Peter Cullen, Frank Welker, Erik Aadhal, John Goodman, Ken Watanabe, Omar Sy, John DiMaggio and Jim Carter

Synopsis: Humans and Transformers are at war, Optimus Prime is gone. The key to saving our future lies buried in the secrets of the past in the hidden history of Transformers on Earth.

 

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

*Reviewer Note 2: There is a post-credit scene.*

 

Five, count them, five Transformers movie directed by Michael Bay have now cursed us been released, and I still can’t figure out why none of them have been any good. Sure, the first movie was okay, but since then the series has gone downhill. The lack of story, and really any sense of direction, make these movies really hard to follow, root for and really enjoy overall, yet, there are fans out there. The Last Knight, which is Michael Bay “last” movie in the series, is another entry of all style and no real substance.

The movie starts off on a somewhat good note setting it during The Dark Ages as King Arthur and his army in a midst of battle as they wait for Merlin, played by Stanley Tucci, who has already discovered the Transformers and pleads with them to help Arthur and his army. They do and give Merlin a staff, this beings the secret history and long place for the Transformers. We then cut 1600 years later and see Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) floating in space aimlessly only to get sucked into his broken home planet of Cyberton. There he meets Quintessa (Gemma Chan), who says he is the “Prime of Life” and tells Optimus he can have his home world back, but only if Earth is destroyed because of its hidden secret (spoiler territory which I won’t get into).

Then there is, of course, the human characters. We first meet teenager Izabella (Isabela Moner) who has her own Transfomers and is living in the fallen section of Chicago after the events of Dark of the Moon. She gets rescued by Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg), now a fugitive from the government and famous for helping the Autbots that are still around, who now operates a junk yard where Autobots Bumblebee, Hound (John Goodman), Drift (Ken Watanabe), Crosshairs (John DiMaggio) and the Dinobots – the only scene we see them in – are hiding from new agency in TRF, who are hunting down Transformers and killing them.

Cade gets involved in the bigger scheme of things when he comes across a medallion that attracts the attention of Megatron (Frank Welker) and Sir Edmund Burton (Anthony Hopkins). Burton brings together Cade – with the help of his own Transformer butler Cogman (Jim Carter) – and an Oxford professor Vivian Wembley (Laura Haddock) who is an important part of not only the medallion’s history, but why Cyberton is coming to Earth. We also have Optimus Prime acting unlike himself.

So, as you can see Transformers: The Last Knight has a lot – A LOT – going on, and that makes it an even bigger mess than it already is. The problem, well at least one of them, is that The Last Knight is adding too much mythology and lore way to late in the game. Also, some of it doesn’t make any sense. We see in the trailers that the Transformers have been on Earth longer than we thought. They also been there for big events like World War II – which of course was never mentioned in the films, especially with Bumblebee, who gets his own little flashback scene attacking a Nazi headquarters. Which when you think about, if the Transformers were helping the Allies during the war, shouldn’t it have ended quicker?

It’s almost like the film is insulting us that they think we can’t remember anything from the previous movies. Because you know, Stanley Tucci was in the last film, but is only seen here are Merlin during the Dark Ages segment in the movie. Even the Dinobots, and even mini-Dinobots introduced here, which were made to be a big deal in the last movie film, are not even a factor here. Also, if the world didn’t completely known about Transformers before the events of the first movie, how come we see paintings of King Arthur with the three-headed Transformer behind him in Oxford? It’s just dumb how these movies just throw something for the sack of story and plot, logic and proper storytelling be damned.

Yeah, I know. You don’t watch a Transformers movie for its story and plot; you watch it for its action scenes. Look, even I’ll admit, the series so far has had some pretty descent and great action sequences, but that only takes you so far, and eventually it just becomes noise and incoherent action. It also says a lot that the best action piece in this movie is the fight that’s been promoted heavy in Bumblebee taking on Optimus Prime, and even with that said, we pretty much see almost most of it in the trailers and TV spots.

The real problem is that Transformers shouldn’t be this bad. It’s actually hurts to even think about how bad these movies are. The human characters aren’t interesting enough, cringe-worthy humor and stupid – and I mean take you out of the movie stupid – puns, and once again, stereotypical/slightly racist robots that serve no purpose other than trying to get a laugh or connect with a young audience. Seriously, there are Decepticons here that get introduced similar to a scene ripped right out of Suicide Squad, which could have been fun but the Decepticons and Megatron do absolutely NOTHING in this movie. Are they in it? Yes, but do they serve a purpose? No. Not even close, but you forget they’re in this because they disappear for half an hour or longer. Also, the introduction of Hot Rod (voiced by Omar Sy) is wasted here as he doesn’t really serve a real purpose other than having another fan favorite Autobot and showing off his power of slowing down time.

But going back to the humans, Wahlberg looks like he’s at least trying in some scenes, but this could be his last movie. Laura Haddock comes off as snobby when she’s teaching her students, and while her family history is important to the film, that fact that she doesn’t know it makes no sense since it’s pretty much her job. Josh Duhamel comes back as Lennox from the first three movies, and honestly, doesn’t do much – so his character remains the same. Isabela Moner as Izabella plays the tough teenager wants to help the Autobots, but while her character plays a big role in the first act, her character just doesn’t matter for the rest of the movie. Finally, Anthony Hopkins – poor, poor Anthony Hopkins. Hopkins at least adds some star power to the film and rambles on for long periods of time giving off five minute exposition’s dumps. His role is suppose to feel important, but sometimes it just sounds like an old man rambling, which is a shame considering its Hopkins. He also has a dumb sub-plot with the returning John Turturro that goes on for far too long.

So let’s get to Optimus Prime, who has been the center of the promotional material since he goes “evil.” He also disappears once he gets saved from space. Optimus spends the first half of the movie – where he has about ten minutes (if that) screen time – with Quintessa and is gone for the whole second half of the film to finally appear in the final act to have that fight – and yes – become good again. Is that a spoiler? Come on, we all know he wasn’t going to stay evil.

All in all, Transformers: The Last Knight is more or less of the same thing from the other movies. If you’re a fan, you may like it, but if you’re like me, The Last Knight may finally be the last straw. Its one thing to make a bad Transformers movie, it’s another thing to continue to make them thinking they’re good. The adding of mythology and lore does not do the movie any favors as it’s already bloated enough with nonsense action. However, you know what the biggest problem is? Despite it being the last Michael Bay movie – maybe – he can’t help himself from adding a post-credit scene to story he won’t – potentially – be involved in anymore. If Bay truly wanted to leave the series, he would have left the new director enough room to do their own story and thing. But no. Finally, let’s face it, I can sit here and write “this movie is a steaming pile of combined shits that you only fuel by buying a ticket,” but The Last Knight will still make a crap ton of money.

Transformers: The Last Knight

2 out of 5

Spoiler Review Preview for The Movie Pit Podcast

The Movie Pit Podcast Spoiler Reviews is a new feature to The Movie Pit Podcast umbrella, where I – and eventually others (hopefully) – will do SPOILER-filled reviews to some of the bigger films that have been released. I’ve already done spoiler-filled reviews for Snatched, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, Wonder Woman, It Comes At Night and The Mummy. While I won’t be reviewing every film I see, I will do a good chunk of them – again, hopefully. So here I’ll be giving you a brief preview of what I’ll be reviewing and give a little bit of my hopes for the films.

I do want to mention that limited release films, aka indie films, are not included on the list due to, well, their limited release schedule. However, I will review some of the indie/limited released movies I do watch.

Finally, you can see the list only runs until the end of August. I’ll do another list for the rest of the year when we get to that point. Of course, this won’t affect the written non-spoiler reviews, as they will come out as well.

 

The Rest of June

Confirmed Reviews:

Transformers: The Last Knight

To be honest, I’m not looking forward toward The Last Knight. At this point, I couldn’t care less about Transformers anymore. This is a shame, because these movies should have been good, but instead they have transformed (no pun intended) into utter nonsense that I can’t bare with anymore. To be honest, the only reason I continue to torture myself with these movies is because I feel like I have to, and because my sister still loves these movies and drags us out to watch them. Finally, let’s face it, I started a podcast reviewing big films – I’ll torture myself for you guys.

 

Baby Driver

I love Edgar Wright. Everything he’s done I’ve either liked or loved, and Baby Driver looks like a different beast although, with Wright’s signature touch. It also has an incredible cast, looks damn good, and has been getting nothing but awesome reviews from fans – and celebrities – lucky enough to watch it already.

 

Potential Reviews

Despicable Me 3

The House

 

 

July

Confirmed Reviews

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Let’s face it, this was always going to get reviewed. Spider-Man became an instant with his short appearance in Captain America: Civil War, but now we get to see him in his own film and stretch his legs out a bit more with the character. I like Tom Holland, so far, as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, and the fact that we get to see Michael Keaton play the villain – Vulture – is pretty damn awesome and worth the price of the ticket alone.

 

War for the Planets of the Apes

I’ve really enjoyed the two rebooted Planet of the Apes’ films. I think what Andy Serkis has done with Caesar is nothing short of incredible and I can’t wait to see what the potential last chapter of his story has in store for us.

 

Dunkirk

Christopher Nolan is back with this war drama that jumped to my must-watch list when I saw five minutes of the film in front of the IMAX screening of Rogue One. Everything about this movie, based on a real event, looks tension-filled, dramatic and an all around great film. You really can’t go wrong with Nolan.

 

Atomic Blonde

I was already looking forward toward Atomic Blonde when the cast came together. However, what sold me on the film was that first trailer that showed Charlize Theron kicking everyone’s ass John Wick style – the film is directed by one of the John Wick directors David Leitch. Oh, were you expecting me to write more? Well, I won’t, because that’s it. I want to see Theron kick people’s asses John Wick style.

 

Potential Reviews

Wish Upon

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

 

 

August

Confirmed Reviews

The Dark Tower

This has been a project I’ve always read about on the movie news cycle since I started keeping up with the movies news (circa 2005). So finally seeing it become a real thing is great, and with a great lead in Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey playing the villain, The Man in Black, I can’t wait to finally see The Dark Tower on the big screen.

 

Detroit

Kathryn Bigelow returns to the big screen and is tackling the notorious Detroit Riots. Although the film itself won’t be about the actual riots, it does set interconnected stories during those dangerous days.

 

Annabelle: Creation

While Annabelle lacked a certain punch, the sequel – which is a prequel – looks like it will make up for that. The film will see the titled creation of the Annabelle doll as it begins to terrorize a family and children from an orphanage. Oh, and the trailer is scary as shit.

 

The Hitman’s Bodyguard

The quintessential Samuel L. Jackson movie where it seems like he’ll be saying “mother fucker” every two seconds, this looks pretty damn hilarious. And you can’t go wrong with Jackson and Ryan Reynolds together.

 

Logan Lucky

Steven Soderbergh returns to the big screen with this pretty funny looking heist film. I’m sure seeing Daniel Craig play this goofball will be worth the price of admission alone.

 

Potential Reviews

The Glass Castle

Kidnap

 

So what are you looking forward toward the most this month?

‘Rough Night’ Review

Director: Lucia Aniello

Writers: Lucia Aniello and Paul W. Downs

Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Jillian Bell, Zoe Kravitz, Ilana Glazer, Kate McKinnon, Paul W. Downs, Ryan Cooper, Colton Haynes, Ty Burrell and Demi Moore

Synopsis: Things go terribly wrong for a group of girlfriends who hire male stripper for a bachelorette party in Miami.

 

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

*Reviewer Note 2: There are two post-credit scenes.*

 

Rough Night takes the crazy bachelor party and turns it on its head by having the ladies take center stage, and having them deal with the madness. Of course the film isn’t the first to do this, but the movie does try to make the concept its own. So let’s take a look at the craziness that is Rough Night, and what happens when five women try to get rid of a dead body.

The movie opens with during the last college year of four friends, Jess (Scarlett Johansson), Alice (Jillian Bell), Blair (Zoe Kravitz) and Frankie (Ilana Glazer). They make a promise that they will always be friends no matter what. We skip ahead ten years and find out that Jess is running for State Senator and is about to get married to Peter (Paul W. Downs). Alice, now a school teacher, plans Jess a bachelorette party in Miami with Blair, who’s going through a divorce and custody battle, and Frankie, an activist. When they arrive in Miami, Jess’ Australian friend Pippa (Kate McKinnon) joins in the fun as well. The women end up in a club, where Frankie scores some cocaine, and after doing it they go back to a guest house they rented and order a stripper.

After the stripper arrives, Alice accidentally kills him while jumping on him causing the chair he’s on to fall back and hit his head on the ledge to the fireplace. After the women freak out that they killed someone, especially Alice, they spend the rest of the night trying to cover up the accidental murder, but as complications arise, they find out that’s its a lot harder than they thought. Meanwhile, Peter races to Miami after getting a confusing call from Jess earlier in the film, after they accidentally killed the stripper.

The film is honestly not that bad. The gender-switch is a welcomed aspect and the ladies absolutely nail their performances. We get a real sense of who these characters are and they all have more than one moment to shine. And even though they did accidentally kill someone, we never feel like they should go down for the crime, we actually kind of root for them – maybe because the frantic pace of the jokes keeps the film moving forward. It also helps that we cut to Peter on his journey trying to get to Miami as fast as possible, where he gets into his own misadventures, which are also pretty funny, but this is the women’s show.

The movie does introduce some random and weird characters like Ty Burrell and Demi Moore as a couple that lives next door, which are very sexual and hit on the women – more on Kravitz’s Blair. They don’t really add anything to the film other than some comedy bits, but even then it’s not as great as Peter’s story. However, I will say the way the situation resolves itself is a bit wonky, but I can’t think of how they would have done that which makes sense.

All in all, Rough Night is a pretty descent comedy, especially for first time director Lucia Aniello from Comedy Central Broad City fame. The pace is very steady and brisk, and with the cast being spot on, Rough Night is much more than what the trailers and TV spots have you believe.

Rough Night

3 out of 5

‘Wonder Woman’ Review

Director: Patty Jenkins

Writer: Allan Heinberg

Cast: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, Said Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremner, Eugene Brave Rock, Lucy Davis, Elena Anaya and David Thewlis

Synopsis: Before she was Wonder Woman she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained warrior. When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war to end all wars, discovering her full powers and true destiny.

 

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

*Reviewer Note 2: There are no post-credits scenes.*

 

It’s finally here. After years stuck in developmental-hell and so many scripts, a film about one of the most famous comic book and pop culture characters is here. Wonder Woman was always worthy of having her own film, but for some reason Hollywood thought – and still thinks to some degree – that female lead action films don’t draw. However, those that get the chance always shine and now that more causal movie fans saw what Wonder Woman can do thanks to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and with Warner Bros. building their shared universe, it was finally time to bring Wonder Woman to the big screen.

So, after all the years of waiting and getting a glimpse of what she was capable of, Wonder Woman is here. However, is all the hype surrounding the film real and worth the long wait? Well, for the most part, it is a resounding yes.

Wonder Woman goes back to basic giving us an origin story to Wonder Woman. The film begins on the hidden island of Themiscrya, where a young Diana dreams of being a warrior like her aunt, General Antiope (Robin Wright). However, her mother, Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) doesn’t want her to train, but eventually lets Diana train under her aunt seeing no end to Diana’s desire to train. We jump forward in time and see a grown up Diana (Gal Gadot) continuing to train and one day sees a plan crashing off the shore of Themiscrya. Diana goes to save the pilot who turns out to be Steve Trevor (Chris Pine).

When Steve wakes up, he informs the Amazons that there is a war to end all wars – World War I – and there is a new dangerous weapon being made by Dr. Maru (Elena Anaya) aka Dr. Poison and commissioned by a dangerous German general, Ludendorff (Danny Huston) that he found out. Seeing this as a possible work of Ares, the God of War, Diana takes Steve back to London so he can tell his superiors and for her to stop Ares once and for all.

Like I mentioned, Wonder Woman is essentially the origin story of the character. Diana is, for all intent and purposes – put in a fish-out-of-water situation as she’s taken away from the paradise of Themiscrya and is thrust into the world of man, pain and war. However, there is an innocence and naivety to her that never makes her sound or come off as dumb. She knows little of the world beyond her homeland, but not enough to fully understand it.

This strength is also thanks to Gal Gadot’s delivering of the character. Whatever doubts people had about Gadot’s ability to deliver Diana – and Wonder Woman for the matter – should go away. Gadot does a tremendous job playing a proud warrior bound by duty to defend the world, but after seeing what the world really is; filled with pain, sorrow, and fighting, she questions it. It’s something the drives the whole film and her character which Gadot handles well. She can play the vulnerable, conflicted Diana, but when it comes down to fight, may the gods help whoever is in her way.

The rest of the cast is surprisingly a mixed bag. Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor is a perfect opposite to Diana in terms of knowing what the world really is like. They, Pine and Gadot, play off each other very well and their characters grow together. It’s also nice that the love story doesn’t take control of the film, but rather it shows how the two change each other for the better.

Along on Diana and Steve’s journey is an actor turned solider Sameer (Said Taghmaoui), a Native American called The Chief (Eugene Brave Rock) and a sniper named Charlie (Ewen Bremner). All three have their chance to shine, but the only one we really get a chance to know a little more of is Sameer, which is a shame because Charlie has an interesting characteristic that could have played well with Diana’s confused nature of the war. Also helping them from afar is Steve’s secretary, Etta (Lucy Davis), who adds some levity to the film, but her character and her purpose disappear by the third act.

Connie Nielsen and Robin Wright as Diana’s mother and aunt do well for the short time they’re on screen. Nielsen’s Hippolyta wants to keep Diana safe, but does let her go to train and eventually leave knowing that Diana is destined for more. Wright’s Antiope is purely a badass. We don’t see a lot of her fighting but when she does, oh boy is it a sight.

The villains are a little bland in terms of being capable villains to really challenge Diana. Danny Huston can play a bad guy in his sleep by now, but his general character never really feels like a threat to Diana expect for one scene – spoiler territory, so I won’t go there, but that does bring up a question that never gets answered. The other villain is Dr. Maru aka Dr. Poison played by Elena Anaya, who could have been written a little better, and if her role was reversed with Huston’s Ludendorff, it probably would have been a better dynamic. Also, she comes off more menacing that Huston, thanks to her skill, but also the protective mask she wears to cover half of her face.

Of course, when it comes to Wonder Woman, we know there’s going to be some action, and thankfully the action is pretty damn good. I’m surprised how fluid the action looked too. There isn’t a lot of close ups or shaky cam when Diana is beating up German soldiers, so we really see how badass she can be. Also, the brief fight we see with the Amazons is damn awesome to watch too. It’s a shame that it is only one scene, and hopefully we see more Amazon action in the sequel. Of course, like all superhero movies, there is a big battle that gets a little bit into too much CGI-territory, and runs a little long, but we get to Diana do her thing so I was kind of okay with it. I’m sure many will also argue that the No Man’s Land sequence is the best sequence in the film.

All in all, Wonder Woman is undoubtedly the best DC Extended Universe movie so far. However, considering what we’ve gotten that, to me, isn’t saying much. However, that shouldn’t, and doesn’t, take away anything from Wonder Woman. It’s a great origin story that sees our main character grown from start to finish, and leaves us wanting more. This isn’t a story or film about Wonder Woman, it’s a story and film about Diana becoming Wonder Woman, and what it takes to be a hero. But, more importantly, the challenges a hero has to make and take to fully embrace their heroism.

I don’t know where Wonder Woman where fall into fans’ list of best comic book movies, but it should rank high among them. Gal Gadot is a terrific Diana/Wonder Woman, and while I was a doubter, my doubts are no more. I believe Gadot is Wonder Woman when she’s on screen, and I’d gladly follow her into battle. Hopefully, Warner Bros. does more Wonder Woman films and brings along director Patty Jenkins, because this my friends, is a winning combination we can, and should, get behind.

Wonder Woman

4 out of 5

June Movie Releases

Hi there!

Can you believe it’s already June! How the time passes by. Anyway, the second month of the Summer Movie Season goes into full swing and, just like May, brings with it some highly anticipated movies. Let’s take a look shall we?

 

2nd

Captain Underpants (Animation – 20th Century Fox/DreamWorks Animation/Scholastic Entertainment)

Based on the popular kids books by Dav Pilkey, two mischievous kids hypnotize their mean high school principal and turn him into their comic book creation, the kind-hearted and elastic-banded Captain Underpants (voiced by Ed Helms). The voice cast also includes Thomas Middleditch, Jordan Peele, Kevin Hart, Kristen Schaal, and Nick Kroll.

 

Wonder Woman (Action – Warner Bros./DC Entertainment/Dune Entertainment/Atlas Entertainment/Cruel & Unusual Films)

Directed by Patty Jenkins, an Amazonian princess (Gal Gadot) leaves her island home to explore the world and, in doing so, becomes one of the world’s greatest heroes. This has been a long time coming, but Wonder Woman is finally on the big screen with her own film, and it looks awesome. The film also stars Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen, David Thewlis, Elena Anaya, Ewen Bremner, Elanor Matuura, Said Taghmaoui, Samantha Jo, and Danny Huston.

 

 

9th

Limited Release: My Cousin Rachel

Based on the novel by Daphne Du Maurier, and adapted by Roger Michell. A young Englishman plots revenge against his mysterious, beautiful cousin, believing that she murdered his guardian. But his feeling become complicated as he finds himself falling under the beguiling spell of her charms. The film stars Sam Claflin, Rachel Weisz, Holliday Grainger and Iain Glen.

 

 

Megan Leavey (Biography War Drama – Bleecker Street Media, LD Entertainment) 

Based on the true life story of a young Marine Corporal whose unique discipline and bond with her military combat dog saved many lived during their deployment in Iraq. The film Kate Mara, playing Megan Leavey, Common, Tom Felton, Will Patton, Ramon Rodriguez, Edie Falco and Bradley Whitford.

 

It Comes At Night (Horror Mystery – A24, Animal Kingdom)

Secure within a desolate home as an unnatural threat terrorizes the world, a man has established a tenuous order with his wife and son, but this will soon be put to test when a desperate young family arrives seeking refuge. The film looks completely eerie and one of those films I can’t wait to see now that trailer has been released. It Comes At Night stars Joel Edgerton, Riley Keough, Carmen Ejogo, Christopher Abbot and Kelvin Harrison Jr.

 

 

The Mummy (Action Adventure – Universal Pictures, Sean Daniel Company, K/O Paper Products)

The start of the new shared Monsters Universe that Universal is setting up, an ancient queen (Sofia Boutella) is awaked from her crypt beneath the desert, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia, and terrors that defy human comprehension. The film stars Tom Cruise, Annabelle Wallis, Jake Johnson, Courtney B. Vance, Javier Botet and Russell Crowe as Dr. Henry Jekyll.

 

 

16th

Limited Release: The Book of Henry (Drama)

Colin Trevorrow returns to his smaller indie side with The Book of Henry that follows a single mother (Naomi Watts) raising a child genius (Jaeden Lieberher) that turns into something a little more darker. I honestly thought this was going to be a typical indie drama film, but once I saw the trailer it was something completely different, and honestly I don’t know how I feel. I am going to watch it, but my expectations have done a complete 180. The Book of Henry also stars Jacob Tremblay, Lee Pace, Sarah Silverman, Maddie Ziegler, Bobby Moynihan and Dean Norris.

 

47 Meters Down (Horror Thriller – Dimension Films, Tea Shop & Film Company, thefyzz)

Two sisters (Mandy Moore and Claire Holt), vacationing in Mexico, are trapped in a shark cage at the bottom of the ocean, with less than an hour of oxygen left and great white sharks circling nearby. The film also stars Matthew Modine.

 

 

All Eyez on Me (Biography Drama – Lionsgate, Summit Entertainment, Morgan Creek Productions, Program Pictures, Codeblack Entertainment)

Follows Tupac Shakur’s career from his time at Death Row Records, his involvement in the rivalry between East coast and West coast rappers, to his murder in 1996. I’m sure the audience will be there, but the trailer didn’t really hook me in, and what’s worst, is that it looks like a straight to TV movie. Hopefully it’s good for those that end up watching it. The film stars Demetrius Shipp Jr., Danai Gurira, Kat Graham, Annie Ilonzeh, Dominic L. Santana, Jamal Woolard, Cory Hadrict and Lauren Cohan.

 

 

Rough Night (Comedy – Sony Pictures/Paulilu Productions)

A male stripper ends up dead at a Miami beach house during a bachelorette party weekend. The film stars Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, Ilana Glazer, Zoe Kravitz, Colton Haynes, Dean Winters, Ty Burrell and Demi Moore.

 

Cars 3 (Animation – Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar Animation Studios)

Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) sets out to prove to a new generation of racers that he’s still the best race car in the world. The newest trailer really goes away from the darker toned teasers, which I’m kind of bummed about, but knew that was going to be the case.

 

 

21st

Transformers: The Last Knight (Action – Paramount Pictures/Hasbro)

Humans and Transformers are at war, Optimus Prime is gone. The key to saving our future lies buried in the secrets of the past in the hidden history of Transformers on Earth. I just can’t with this franchise anymore. I really can’t.

 

 

23rd

Limited Release: The Bad Batch (Sci-Fi Romance)

A dystopian love story in a Texas wasteland and set in a community of cannibals. The film has a rather impressive cast of Keanu Reeves, Jason Momoa, Diego Luna, Giovanni Ribisi, Suki Waterhouse, and Jim Carrey.

 

 

Limited Release: The Beguiled

Based on Thomas Cullinan’s novel, and directed and written by Sofia Coppola, while imprisoned in a Confederate girls’ boarding school, an injured Union solider cons his way into each of the lonely women’s hearts, causing them to turn on each other, and eventually, on him. The film stars Colin Farrell, Kirsten Dunst, Nicole Kidman, Elle Fanning, Angourie Rice, and Oona Laurence.

 

 

Limited Release: The Big Sick (Comedy Romance)

Based on the true story of writers Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani, a couple (Nanjiani playing himself while Zoe Kazan playing his wife, Emily) deals with their cultural differences as their relationship grows. The film also stars Holly Hunter, Ray Romano, Adeel Akhtar, Kurt Braunohler and Linda Emond.

 

28th

Baby Driver (Action Thriller – Sony Pictures, TriStar Pictures, Working Title Films, Media Rights Capital)

Edgar Wright directs this film about a getaway driver named Baby (Ansel Elgort), who plays his own soundtrack due to a condition he has. However, he finds himself taking part of a heist doomed to fail and everyone after him. The film also stars Lily James, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Eiza Gonzalez, Jon Bernthal and Kevin Spacey.

 

 

30th

Amityville: The Awakening (Horror – The Weinstein Company/Dimension Films/Miramax/Blumhouse Productions/Panic Ventures)

A single mother (Jennifer Jason Leigh) moves her three children into a haunted house, unaware of its bloody history. I really hope this finally comes out, not necessarily because I want to see it, but because this film has been moved around so many times I think it’s best to just release it and take the hit. The film also stars Bella Thorne, Cameron Monaghan, Taylor Spreitler, Thomas Mann, Mckenna Grace and Kurtwood Smith.

 

 

The House (Comedy – Warner Bros./Village Roadshow Pictures/Gary Sanchez Productions)

A dad convinces his friends to start an illegal casino in his basement after he and his wife spend their daughter’s college fund. Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler, Allison Tolman, Andrea Savage, Rob Hubel, and Sam Richardson.

 

 

Despicable Me 3 (Animation – Universal Pictures/Illumination Entertainment)

Gru (Steve Carell) has to stop Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker), a child star from the 1980s, who has a scheme to take over the world. However, he also has to deal with his long lost brother. The voice cast also includes Kristen Wiig, Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, Nev Scharrel, Steve Coogan and Russell Brand.

 

 

What are you looking forward to?

‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows’ Review

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Director: Dave Green

Writers: Josh Applebaum & Andre Nemec

Cast: Pete Ploszek, Noel Fisher, Alan Ritchson, Jeremy Howard, Megan Fox, Stephen Amell, Will Arnett, Laura Linney, Tyler Perry, Brian Tee, Sheamus, Gary Anthony Williams, Brittany Ishibashi, and Brad Garrett

Synopsis: As Shredder joins forces with mad scientist Baxter Stockman and henchmen Bebop and Rocksteady to take over the world, the Turtles must confront an even greater nemesis: the notorious Krang.

 

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

 

I’m going to be honest with you guys; I did not like the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that came out in 2014. So my excitement for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows was very low to nothing at all. However, being a Turtles fan, I sucked it up and went, and while I did enjoy myself more this time around, saying that this film was better than the first isn’t really saying much since the first film wasn’t that great overall. Not only that, and this is something I just want to get out of the way, the film also felt like a reboot at times with sequel elements. There is obviously a new Shredder actor and the film treats the new actor in Brian Tee was the same actor from the first film, which was not the case. There are other things, but I won’t mention them here. That might be nitpicky to some, but it’s something that needs to be bought up.

Out of the Shadows follows our four brothers Leonardo (Ploszek), Michelangelo (Fisher), Raphael (Ritchson), and Donatello (Howard) as they continue to protect New York from threats from the shadows. However, their old enemy Shredder (Tee), who is about to go to a maximum security prison, is freed from the Foot Clan and scientists Baxter Stockman (Perry). Shredder is not alone this time, as he hires two hired muscles in Bebop (Williams) and Rocksteady (Sheamus) to help him out with the Turtles, by transforming them into wild animals, as he plans to help the alien Krang (voiced by Garrett) to conquer the world.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows has a pretty simple story structure: heroes trying to stop the bad guys. Which is fine considering this new franchise is more geared and targeted for kids. That’s not saying it’s a bad thing, some of the humor will bring a smirk to your face or make you giggle, but overall just keep that in mind. Actually, something I noticed, the action is toned down a lot from the last film. Sure there are big action sequences, but nothing like the avalanche sequence – one of the better sequences from the last film – but they’re a little on the light side this time around.

To add more, the final act feels almost like a beat-for-beat repeat of the last final act. The final fight is over-filled with CGI and almost zero weapon combat. That’s right, the turtles barely use their weapons throughout the whole film, and that’s something I noticed after walking out of the theater. It’s pretty disappointing, but I’m holding anything against the film, but come on! People want to see the Turtles use their weapons in a fight. Not only that, some things happen way too conveniently more than once, and it’s a bit heavy handed at times, which takes the enjoyment out just a tad.

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However, the one thing I will say is better this time around is the dynamic between the Turtles. We see the toll it takes on them and how they feel about having to always be hidden from the world. They want to be accepted, but they know they can never be with the way they look. No matter how many times they defend and save the city, they city and the people of New York will never know who really saves them. That being said, we get more Turtle screen time than the last time, which is where the focus should be. The other part that makes his better is the motion capture performances by the actors and the fact that they bring their own motives and physicality to the roles.

With that said, the humans take a backseat and play more of the supporting roles. I was never a fan of Megan Fox as April O’Neil, and I still don’t buy it. Will Arnett returns as former cameraman, not famous public figure, Vernon Fenwick and is as funny as ever. New member to the Turtle crew is Casey Jones, played by Stephen Amell, who really does own the role, but doesn’t have enough to do. Tyler Perry’s Baxter Stockman is socially awkward and a bit weird, which was surprisingly enjoyable to watch. Laura Linney is surprisingly, and shamefully, wasted as her high ranking chief Rebecca Vincent that doesn’t really do anything really.

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When it comes to the villains, they are okay to disappointing. Brian Tee plays Shredder, doesn’t do anything worthwhile, at all. He gets a cool outfit, but that’s it. Brittany Ishibashi plays Karai, but is never referred by name and literally does nothing other than stand in the back or next to Shredder. Gary Anthony Williams and WWE superstar Sheamus who play Bebop and Rocksteady look like they were having a ton of fun playing goofballs before and after they get mutated. As for Krang, his character appears near the beginning of the film and literally disappears until the final ten minutes of the film. The character is pretty wasted here and seemed like they just introduced him for the sake of having another famous and fan-favorite villain

All in all, if you can get past the fact that the film is geared more toward a younger crowd then Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows can be for you. It does have its good moments, and remember this is coming from a guy that wasn’t really excited for this, but there are things that build up that make it a flawed film. One of them being that it thinks you didn’t watch the last film, so you won’t notice the casting changes.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

3.5 out of 5