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 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?

‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ Review

Director: Tim Miller

Writers: David S. Goyer, Justin Rhodes and Billy Ray

Cast: Natalia Reyes, Mackenzie Davis, Linda Hamilton, Gabriel Luna, Diego Boneta, and Arnold Schwarzenegger

Synopsis: Sarah Connor and a hybrid cyborg human must protect a young girl from a newly modified liquid Terminator from the future.

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

 

Set in 2020, and ignoring everything after Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Terminator: Date Fate sees a world where Sarah Connor (the returning Linda Hamilton) saved humanity. However, unbeknownst to Sarah, something more sinister has come from a different future, and has set its sights on a young Mexican woman, Dani (Natalia Reyes). Thankfully for Dani, Grace (Mackenzie Davis) has come from the future as well, to protect her from the nearly indestructible Rev-9 (Gabriel Luna), who will stop at nothing to get his target.

Dani and Grace then meet up with Sarah, who has been killing Terminators since we last saw her, and three head out of Mexico, with the Rev-9 hot on their trail. Eventually, the two get help from Sarah’s old nemesis, the T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger), who agrees to help fight the Rev-9 and keep Dani alive. What follows is an epic conclusion with a massive fight for survival against all odds.

Look, the Terminator franchise has gone through A LOT since Judgment Day. When Dark Fate was announced with creator James Cameron and Linda Hamilton herself was coming back to play Sarah Connor, I put this on top of my must-watch list – being the movie optimist that I am anyway. Now, were here, and thankfully Dark Fate wasn’t that bad. I’ll take the stance that Dark Fate is the best Terminator movie to have come out since Judgment Day, but that’s honestly not saying much considering the sequel and reboots we’ve gotten – although, I’m in the small camp of people that probably enjoyed Terminator Salvation.

The movie itself isn’t anything too new as it takes bits from the previous films and updates them for a modern take. Davis’ Grace isn’t a Terminator herself, but a human with enhancement to give them a fighting chance against the deadly Rev-9s. Sarah has matured since the last time we saw her, and her arc was a rather surprising one if I’m being honest, but makes some sense. Reyes’ Dani is basically the new Sarah Connor, although, she not completely a new Sarah which is great, because you can’t replicate too much of the same thing.

Sticking to the cast, Mackenzie Davis does a pretty great job as Grace. Her determination to protecting Dani never feels forced, and she plays the kick-ass action star very well. Natalia Reyes as Dani has her moments, but she feels like the weak link in the cast. Gabriel Luna’s Rev-9 has a lot of charisma, which makes his Terminator a little more scarier than previous versions. The Rev-9 has the T-1000 liquid metal exoskeleton covering the machine skeleton underneath, but when it comes to trying to find Dani, he’s able to put on a smile and talk normally with anyone that can get him to her, right before he kills them. Luna has a great balance of being “friendly” and determined to get to his target.

Hamilton and Schwarzenegger already have a handle on their characters, again, Hamilton’s Sarah is a little different from the last time we saw her, but for good reason. Schwarzenegger’s T-800 also has an interesting story here, but thankfully, he’s not in the movie too much. He appears right before the third act of the movie, and that’s enough since the movie really doesn’t need him too much. The movie really is more about our three women in Dani, Grace and Sarah.

Of course, being a Terminator movie we need to talk about some of the action here. Personally, I think the action isn’t really that bad. The first real big set-piece is Grace saving Dani and her brother Diego (Diego Boneta) from the Rev-9, which leads to a highway chase. The action in-between is fine, and it picks up at the end with the showdown between all parties. The CGI also isn’t that bad, although there are moments when the Rev-9 jumps to high spots where he’s clearly a little too rubbery.

All in all, Terminator: Dark Fate is a worthwhile sequel to the franchise with some great moments scattered throughout, and some nice homage’s to the previous movies. The movie isn’t without its faults, with some spotty CG and a few weird story choices, but overall, it is the best Terminator movie since Judgment Day, which again, isn’t saying too much considering what we’ve gotten since then.

Terminator: Dark Fate

3.5 out of 5

September Movie Releases

Hello everybody!

Another month has gone by and we’re on to another packed month full of great films. September seems like it’s going to be great by the end of the month, and may even have some early Academy Award nominees. I know, too early to think of that, but you know what? When you look at these films, you’ll be saying the same thing too. Let’s take a look at what’s coming out this month.

 

6th

It: Chapter 2 – Warner Bros., New Line Cinema, Vertigo Entertainment, Lin Pictures

Synopsis: Twenty-seven years after their first encounter with the terrifying Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard), the Losers Club have grown up (James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader, Jay Ryan, James Ransone, and Isaiah Mustafa) and moved away, until a devastating phone call brings them back. Directed once again by Andy Muschietti, the film will co-star the original young cast of Jaeden Martell, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Jack Dylan Grazer, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Wyatt Oleff, and Chosen Jacobs.

Thoughts: I really liked the first It, so I was very eager to see what they would do with Chapter 2. So far, it looks DAMN good. Runtime aside – 2 hours and 49 minutes – which really doesn’t matter to me, so bring on the scary-ass clown!

 

 

13th

Hustlers – STX Entertainment

Based on the New York Magazine article by Jessica Pressler – a crew of strip club employees band together to turn the tables on their Wall Street clients. Directed by Lorene Scafaria (Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, The Meddler), Hustlers stars Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, Lili Reinhart, Keke Palmer, Madeline Brewer, Julia Stiles, Lizzo and Cardi B.

 

The Goldfinch – Warner Bros., Amazon Studios, Color Force

An adaptation of the acclaimed novel by Donna Tartt, a boy in New York is taken in by a wealthy Upper East Side family after his mother is killed in a bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Goldfinch’s impressive cast stars Ansel Elgort, Jeffrey Wright, Ashleigh Cummings, Willa Fitzgerald, Oakes Fegley, Aneurin Barnard, Finn Wolfhard, Luke Wilson, Sarah Paulson and Nicole Kidman.

 

 

20th

Downton Abbey – Focus Features, Perfect World Pictures, Carnival Film & Television

The continuing story of the Crawley family, wealthy owners of a large estate in the English countryside in the early 20th century.

 

Rambo: Last Blood – Lionsgate, Millennium Films, Balboa Productions

Synopsis: Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) must confront his past and unearth his ruthless combat skills to exact revenge in a final mission. Rambo co-stars Oscar Jaenada, Paz Vega, Yvette Monreal and Adriana Barraza.

Thoughts: Stallone’s last (maybe) time out as John Rambo has him fighting the cartel, and it looks like it’s going to be down-and-dirty. I’ll be honest; I don’t have quite the connection to the Rambo movies like I thought I did. I might have to do a quick re-watch of the movies before Last Blood to get a better feel. Either way, I enjoyed the last Rambo movie, which of course features Rambo mowing down an entire army with a truck-planted machine gun, and cutting people in half with a machete.

 

Ad Astra – 20th Century Fox, New Regency Pictures, Plan B Entertainment, Bona Film Group

Synopsis: Co-written and directed by James Gray (We Own the Night, The Immigrant, The Lost City of Z), an astronaut (Brad Pitt) travels to the outer edges of the solar system to find his father (Tommy Lee Jones) and unravel a mystery that threatens the survival of our planet. He uncovers secrets which challenge the nature of human existence and our place in the cosmos. Ad Astra co-stars Liv Tyler, Ruth Negga and Donald Sutherland.

Thoughts: Ad Astra seems like it’s going to be one of those movies that people are expecting one thing, and will get another, and hopefully it will be for the better. I mean you got Pitt, Jones and Sutherland in a sci-fi space movie! What more do you want!?

 

 

27th

Limited Release: Judy

Based on the stageplay “End of the Rainbow” by Peter Quilter, legendary performer Judy Garland (played by Renee Zellweger) arrives in London in the winter of 1968 to perform a series of sold-out concerts. Judy co-stars Jessie Buckley, Finn Wittrock, Bella Ramsey, Rufus Sewell and Michael Gambon.

 

Abominable – Universal Pictures, DreamWorks Animation, Pearl Studio

A magical Yeti must return to his family. The voice cast includes Chloe Bennet, Tenzing Norgay Trainor, Eddie Izzard, Albert Tsai and Sarah Paulson.

 

So, what are you looking forward to?

April Movie Releases

Well hello there!

It’s April, and to some studios apparently, it’s the unofficial start of the Summer Movie Season. That said, this year could really take the cake, as Marvel once again is putting their big cash cow at the end of the month. Let’s take a look shall we?

 

5th

Limited Release: Amazing Grace

A musical documentary presenting Aretha Franklin with choir at the New Bethel Baptist Church in Watts, Los Angeles in January 1972.

 

Limited Release: High Life

A father and his daughter struggle to survive in deep space where they live in isolation. Robert Pattinson, Andre Benjamin, Mia Goth and Juliette Binoche star.

 

Limited Release: Teen Spirit

Written and directed by actor Max Minghella (The Social Network, TV series The Mindy Project and The Handmaid’s Tale); Violet (played by Elle Fanning) is a shy teenager who dreams of escaping her small town and pursuing her passion to sing. With her help of an unlikely mentor, she enters a local singing competition that will test her integrity, talent and ambition. Teen Spirit also stars Rebecca Hall.

 

The Best of Enemies

Based on the book by Osha Gray Davidson and true events; civil rights activist Ann Atwater (Taraji P. Henson) faces off against C.P. Ellis (Sam Rockwell), Exalted Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan, in 1971 Durham, North Carolina over the issue of school integration. The Best of Enemies co-stars Sope Aluko, John Gallagher Jr., Wes Bentley, Anne Heche, Nick Searcy and Bruce McGill.

 

Pet Sematary

Synopsis: Based on the novel by Stephen King, Dr. Louis Creed (Jason Clarke), who, after relocating with his wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz) and their two young children from Boston to rural Maine, discovers a mysterious burial ground hidden deep in the woods near the family’s new home. When tragedy strikes, Louis turns to his unusual neighbor, Jud Crandall (John Lithgow), setting off a perilous chain reaction that unleashes an unfathomable evil with horrific consequences.

Thoughts: I wasn’t the biggest fan of the original Pet Sematary, so when I heard a remake was in the works, I was actually looking forward it. Then the trailer came out and I was interested. Then this last trailer came out, which upped everything from the first trailer and any sort of expectation I had about the movie. Hopefully, the movie turns out great.

 

Shazam!

Synopsis: We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson’s (Asher Angel) case, by shouting out one word – SHAZAM! – this streetwise 14-year-old foster kid can turn into the adult superhero Shazam (Zachary Levi). Directed by David F. Sandberg (Lights Out, Annabelle: Creation), Shazam! co-stars Jack Dylan Grazer, Mark Strong, Grace Fulton and Djimon Hounsou.

Thoughts: the DCEU has taken enough blows by now that it’s become commonplace, so it gets a little hard to get excited for any new movie, despite how good the trailers are. Shazam! unfortunately falls into that category. As much as the movie looks fun and different, I’m not holding my breath too much.

 

12th

Limited Release: Master Z: Ip Man Legacy

A spinoff of the Ip Man films and directed by Woo-Ping Yeun; while keeping a low profile after his defeat from Ip Man, Cheung Tin Chi (Jin Zhang) gets into trouble after getting in a fight with a powerful foreigner (Dave Bautista). The film also stars Tony Jaa and Michelle Yeoh.

 

After

Based on the novel by Anna Todd – which came from a fan fiction site about Harry Styles – a young woman (Josephine Langford) falls for a guy (Hero Fiennes Tiffin) with a dark secret and the two embark on a rocky relationship. After is filled with newcomers or unknowns, expect big names like Jennifer Beals and Selma Blair.

 

Missing Link

Mr. Link (voiced by Zach Galifianakis) recruits explorer Sir Lionel Frost (voiced by Hugh Jackman) to help find his long-lost relatives in the fabled valley of Shangri-La. Along with adventurer Adelina Fortnight (voiced by Zoe Saldana), this trio of explorers travel the world to help their new friend. The rest of the voice cast includes Timothy Olyphant, Stephen Fry, Matt Lucas and Emma Thompson.

 

Little

What seems like a riff on the film Big, a woman (Regina Hall) is transformed into her younger self (Marsai Martin) at a point in her life when the pressures of adulthood become too much to bear. Little co-stars Issa Rae, Justin Hartley and Tone Bell.

 

Hellboy

Synopsis: Based on the Dark Horse comic book by Mike Mignola, and directed by Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers, The Descent, TV series Game of Thrones, Hannibal, Westworld); caught between the worlds of supernatural and human, Hellboy (David Harbour) battles an ancient sorceress (Milla Jovovich) bent on revenge. Hellboy co-stars Sasha Lane, Daniel Dae Kim, Penelope Mitchell, Alistair Petrie, Brian Gleeson, Sophie Okonedo and Ian McShane.

Thoughts: Despite still wanting that last Guillermo del Toro-directed Hellboy movie, this reboot has me pretty damn excited! David Harbour looks like a great new Hellboy, Ian McShane as Professor Broom and Milla Jovovich as a villain are nice touches.

 

17th

Penguins

The story of Steve, an Adelie penguin, on a quest to find a life partner and start a family when Steven meets with Wuzzo the emperor penguin they become friends. But nothing comes easy in the icy Antarctic.

 

Breakthrough

Based on the true story; when her 14-year-old John Smith (Marcel Ruiz) drowns in a lake, a faithful mother (Chrissy Metz) prays for him to come back from the brink of death and be healed. The film co-stars Josh Lucas, Mike Colter, Topher Grace and Dennis Haysbert.

 

 

19th

Limited Release: Little Woods

A modern Western that follows two sisters, Ollie (Tessa Thompson) and Deb (Lily James), who are driven to work outside the law to better their lives. For years Ollie has illicitly helped the struggling residents of her North Dakota oil boomtown access Canadian health care and medication. When the authorities catch on, she plans to abandon her crusade, only to be dragged in even deeper after a desperate plea for help from her sister. Little Woods co-stars James Badge Dale, Luke Kirby and Lance Reddick.

 

Limited Release: Under the Silver Lake

Sam (Andrew Garfield), intelligent but without purpose, finds a mysterious woman (Riley Keough) swimming in his apartment’s pool one night. The next morning, she disappears. Sam sets off across LA to find her, and along the way he uncovers a conspiracy far more bizarre. Directed by David Robert Mitchell (It Follows), the film co-stars Jimmi Simpson, Sydney Sweeney, Grace Van Patten, Riki Lindhome, Callie Hernandez and Topher Grace.

 

The Curse of La Llorona

Synopsis: Ignoring the eerie warning of a troubled mother suspected of child endangerment, a social worker (Linda Cardellini) and her own children are soon drawn into a frightening supernatural realm. The Curse of La Llorona co-stars Tony Amendola, Raymond Cruz, Sean Patrick Thomas and Patricia Velasquez.

Thoughts: I grew up knowing the folktale of La Llorona. This isn’t the first movie about her, but it is the first big budget studio movie and from everything so far, I’m looking forward to it.

 

26th

Avengers: Endgame

Synopsis: After the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War, the universe is in ruins. With the help of remaining allies, the Avengers assemble once more in order to undo Thanos’ actions and restore order to the universe.

Thoughts: I mean, do I really need to put anything here? Do I?

 

What are you looking forward to?

January (2019) 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.

 

4th

Escape Room

Six strangers find themselves in circumstances beyond their control, and must use their wits to survive. The first time I saw the trailer for this, I honestly thought it was a remake of Cube, but with the modern twist of the highly popular Escape Rooms. The trailer itself is okay, but something tells me we probably saw most of the movie in the trailer already, which kind of sucks, but hey, what do you expect from the first new movie of the New Year? Those tend to not have the best track record anyway. Directed by Adam Robitel (The Taking of Deborah Logan, Insidious: The Last Key) – who also stars in the movie – Escape Room stars Taylor Russell, Deborah Ann Woll, Tyler Labine, Nik Dodani, Jessica Sutton, Jay Ellis and Logan Miller.

 

11th

A Dog’s Way Home

Based on the book by W. Bruce Cameron, a dog named Bella (voiced by Bryce Dallas Howard) travels 400 miles in search of her owner (Jonah Hauer-King), after she wandered away from home. I like dogs; I do, but dog movies, not so much. It also doesn’t help that the movie has that horrible CGI for the cougar (?). A Dog’s Way Home co-stars Ashley Judd, Alexandra Shipp, Edward James Olmos, Wes Studi and Ashley Judd.

 

Replicas

A scientist (Keanu Reeves) becomes obsessed with bringing back his family members who died in a traffic accident. This was originally set to come out last year, but the release date kept getting pushed back and back, and now it looks like it’s finally coming out. The premise seems interesting, and seeing Reeves out of the John Wick character is a nice sight. Replicas co-stars Alice Eve, Emjay Anthony, Thomas Middleditch and John Ortiz.

 

The Upside

A remake of the French film Les Intouchbales (which itself was based on a true story), a comedic look at the relationship between a wealthy man (Bryan Cranston) with quadriplegia and an unemployed man (Kevin Hart) with criminal record who’s hired to help him. It should be interesting to see how this movie does for a number of reasons. One, you got Kevin Hart and his drama with his old tweets coming into the limelight, also on the top of that, Hart is playing a little bit more of a serious character here. It’s also a remake, and well, you know how people feel about those (although, I’ll be interested in seeing how many people actually know it’s a remake). The Upside co-stars Nicole Kidman, Tate Donovan, Golshifteh Farahani and Julianna Margulies.

 

18th

Glass

M. Night Shyamalan returns to the world he created in Unbreakable and Split, security guard David Dunn (Bruce Willis) uses his supernatural abilities to track Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy), a disturbed man who has twenty-four personalities. This is arguably one of the most anticipated movies of the month, and maybe even the first quarter of the year. Not only did Split surprise almost everyone that watched it, but to then pull the last minute Shyamalan-twist and reveal that it was actually the long-awaited sequel to Unbreakable, oh boy. All that said, the cast is also fantastic, and I guarantee that scene with Willis, McAvoy, Samuel L. Jackson and Sarah Paulson in the same room is just going to be great. Glass co-stars Anya Taylor-Joy, Spencer Treat Clark, Luke Kirby and Charlayne Woodard.

 

25th

Serenity

Written and directed by Steven Knight (Peaky Blinders, Locke, The Girl in the Spider’s Web), the mysterious past of a fishing boat captain (Matthew McConaughey) comes back to haunt him, when his ex-wife (Anne Hathaway) tracks down with a desperate plea for help, ensnaring his life in a new reality that may not be all that it seems. I honestly don’t know what to think about this. On one hand, Knight is one of my favorite people working behind the camera, and then you have this mystery suspense story with Hathaway, essentially playing a Femme Fatale, as she tries to get McConaughey’s character to kill her current husband (played by Jason Clarke). My only thing is that they don’t try to play it too smart, and ruin their movie. Serenity co-stars Djimon Hounsou, Jeremy Strong and Diane Lane.

 

The Kid Who Would be King

Written and directed by Joe Cornish (Attack the Block), Alex (Louis Ashbourne Serkis) thinks he’s a nobody, until she stumbles upon the mythical sword, Excalibur. Now, he must unite his friends and enemies into a band of knights and work alongside the legendary wizard Merlin (Sir Patrick Stewart) to stop the evil enchantress Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson) from destroying the world. Besides the big roles of Merlin and Morgana, the movie is filled with unknown actors, which harkens back to Cornish’s Attack the Block – which you should watch if you haven’t yet – and it’s awesome to see Cornish back behind the camera. The movie itself looks like it could be good, and knowing what Cornish is capable of, we could be in for a fun ride.

 

What are you looking forward to?

‘The Predator’ Review

Director: Shane Black

Writers: Shane Black and Fred Dekker

Cast: Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Olivia Munn, Sterling K. Brown, Jacob Tremblay, Keegan-Michael Key, Alfie Allen, Augusto Aguilera, Jake Busey, Yvonne Strahovski and Thomas Jane.

Synopsis: When a young boy accidentally triggers the universe’s most lethal hunters’ return to Earth, only a ragtag crew of ex-soldiers and a disgruntled science teacher can prevent the end of the human race.

 

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

 

Predator is one of my favorite movies of all time, and is definitely one of my favorite action movies of all time too. The movie starts off as a action movie and then goes into sci-fi horror monster movie, and it works perfectly. Not only that, the movie introduced us to, now, one of the most iconic movie monsters of all time. Then the sequel came out and, while defenders exist, it wasn’t all that great. The franchise then branched off to the comic world and brought in the aliens, or Xenomorphs, from Alien giving us Alien vs. Predator movies – which are better not talked about, especially you Requiem.

We waited years for another movie, and then we got Predators, which I got to watch recently again, and still didn’t hate it s much as others do (although, the problems are there). Then rumors came out that Fox was working on another Predator movie, and finally Shane Black himself joined. For those who don’t remember, or just don’t know, Black was in the first movie in a supporting role. So, for me, having him come back to the franchise was actually a pretty great move since we know that he’ll treat the property with respect.

All that said, The Predator has had a rough road to its release. There was the reshoots to change up the final act, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it happens all the time. However, right before the release of the movie, it was revealed by Olivia Munn that a scene was cut with actor Steven Wilder Striegel, because she found out he was convicted of sexually pursuing a 14-year-old female relative. The move has been drawing some lines with people, but I’ll let you decide where you fall in that. Of course, the important thing here is whether or not The Predator has been worth the wait. So let’s get to it.

The Predator opens up setting the overall threat of the movie as a Predator ship is trying to get away from another, bigger Predator ship. The former manages to get away as it jumps to Earth and crashes. The crash interrupts a mission lead by sniper Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook) who then has the first face-to-monster-face with the Predator as it kills his men and sends him running away with some Predator gear. A special government agency eventually catches up to him, and he’s put in the crosshairs of special agent Traeger (Sterling K. Brown), who wants something from the Predator ship. Quinn is then sent to an institution and ends up on a bus filled with ex-soldiers with their problems.

Meanwhile, Traeger sends to get Dr. Casey Bracket, a biologist who could them and their secret Project Stargazer, figure out more about The Predator. There’s also Quinn’s young son Rory (Jacob Tremblay), who is on the spectrum, who ends up getting Quinn’s contraband Predator gear and activates it, accidentally bringing the new upgrade Super Predator to Earth. What follows is a balls-to-the-wall action comedy, yes, you read that right, action comedy as humans go up against not one, but two Predators.

Again, being a huge fan of the first Predator, I was really looking forward to The Predator, so I was just a tad disappointed with the final outcome. The movie is a mixed bag of these that work, things that don’t and things that could have used some more time to flesh out.

What definitely worked, at least for me, was that classic Shane Black humor. It’s not even forced humor either, when the characters are spitting out jokes or being smart asses it makes sense. Most of the humor comes from the group of ex-soldiers Quinn meets on the bus. We have “Nebraska” Williams played by Trevante Rhodes, the jokester Coyle (Keegan-Michael Key), Baxley (Thomas Jane) who has tourettes, Lynch (Alfie Allen) and Nettles (Augusto Aguilera). The dynamic of the group is easily the best part of the film, and most of them have their moment to shine – Allen gets the shaft on that end – but anytime they’re all together it’s great.

Someone else who clearly looked like he was having fun is Sterling K. Brown. Brown’s Traeger chews up a lot of his scenes, and while sometimes I feel like he goes just a bit over the top, having him as the human “villain” was a nice touch. Olivia Munn also gets to have some fun, and has a strong showing here, but seeing her bounce off the ex-soldiers and Holbrook’s straight-man character. Trevante Rhodes, from Moonlight, is arguably the standout as Nebraska, who essentially becomes the co-leader of the soldiers, and is one of the more fleshed out characters. Rhodes is definitely a name you should try to remember because this man is going to be huge.

When it comes to the things that don’t work too well, that comes when it tries to explain some of the science behind the Predator. Sure it’s fun explore the mythology and expand on that on the big screen – the comics have done that to great success – but it comes out as clucky and comes at weird moments in the movie that it comes off as weird. Secondly, like I mentioned, Alfie Allen gets the short-end of the stick in the main group ensemble, and he’s not alone, Yvonne Strahovski, who plays Quinn’s ex-wife and Rory’s father, doesn’t really do anything in the movie. Also, Jacob Tremblay could have done a little more in the movie, considering how important he becomes in the grand scheme of things.

Third, some of the CGI is also dodgy, with the Predator dogs coming off just a tad bit rubbery and some scenes rely a bit too much on CG blood which kind of lessens the fun on the gore factor. Speaking of which, the action and gore in this are up there. There are a few scenes that will make fans happy on both fronts, however, I will say the anticipated Predator vs. Super Predator fight is very underwhelming – at least for me – but that said, it does show you how lethal and dangerous the new Super Predator is, but still, I would have loved to see more of a throw down. Finally, and very quickly, the last scene isn’t all that great and I feel was a last minute addition and it shows.

All in all, The Predator is a lot of fun, but it is a very mixed bag. The humor works, and doesn’t become annoying, which it easily could have and the action and gore are fine when it’s allowed to be practical. The Predator isn’t Predator, and if you think it will be, I’m telling you right now, lower that expectation and you’ll enjoy the movie for what it is.

The Predator

3.5 out of 5

September Movie Releases

Hello everybody!

Another month has gone by and we’re on to another packed month full of great movies. September seems like it’s going to be great by the end of the month, and may even have a early Academy Award nominee. I know, too early to think of that, but you know what? When you look at these films, you’ll be saying the same thing too. Let’s take a look at what’s coming out this month.

 

7th

Peppermint

Directed by Pierre Morel (District B13, Taken), Peppermint centers on a mother (Jennifer Garner), who after losing her husband and daughter in a drive-by incident, and finding the justice system failing her, she takes matters into her own hands on the five-year anniversary of their deaths. I honestly don’t know what to think of this. On one hand, I’m a fan of Morel’s work, although his last film The Gunman with Sean Penn was just a tad underwhelming. Then on the other, it doesn’t look all that great either. Hopefully, Peppermint will be a nice surprise especially with the cast involved. Peppermint also stars John Gallagher Jr., John Ortiz, Annie Ilonzeh, Tyson Ritter, Michael Mosley, Juan Pablo Raba and Method Man.

 

The Nun

A priest (Demian Bichir) with a haunted past and a novitiate (Taissa Farmiga) on the threshold of her final vows are sent by the Vatican to investigate the death of a young nun in Romania and confront a malevolent force in the form of a demonic nun. This is the second spin-off film in The Conjuring series after Annabelle, and its sequel. Chronologically, it’s also the first movie in the series. It’s a rather odd move considering the character of The Nun/Valak was a last minute addition to The Conjuring 2, and the popularity of the character is the reason this movie is being made. Also, and another oddity, Taissa Farmiga is the younger sister of Vera Farmiga aka Lorraine Warren in The Conjuring movies, but there characters are said to have no actual connection. Either way, I’m looking forward to this. The Nun also stars Charlotte Hope and Bonnie Aarons returning to play The Nun.

 

 

14th

White Boy Rick

Based on a true story, White Boy Rick follows a teenager Richard Wershe Jr. (Richie Merritt) who became an undercover informant for the FBI during the 1980s and was ultimately arrested for drug-trafficking and sentenced to life in prison. The McConaissance looks to be back, although the movie doesn’t really follow his character, but still. It also helps that the trailer is really great. White Boy Rick also stars Matthew McConaughey, RJ Cyler, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bel Powley, Rory Cochrane, Jonathan Majors, Brian Tyree Henry, Eddie Marsan, Piper Laurie, Bruce Dern

 

A Simple Favor

Based on the novel by Darcy Bell, A Simple Favor centers around Stephanie (Anna Kendrick), a mommy blogger who seeks to uncover the truth behind her best friend Emily’s (Blake Lively) sudden disappearance from their small town. One of the surprising factors for A Simple Favor is that it’s directed by Paul Feig. Yes, that Paul Feig, the man that directed Bridesmaids, Spy and Ghostbusters, is directing a mystery crime drama that is giving off some Gone Girl-vibes. Sure they’ll probably be some humor in there, but it should be interesting to see what Feig does with a different genre. A Simple Favor co-stars Henry Golding, Rupert Friend and Linda Cardellini.

 

The Predator

When a young boy accidentally triggers the universe’s most lethal hunters’ return to Earth, only a ragtag crew of ex-soldiers and a disgruntled science teacher can prevent the end of the human race. I don’t care what anyone says, I’m looking forward to this! Directed by Shane Black, who co-wrote the script with Fred Dekker (The Monster Squad) is returning to the world of Predator as he was a part of the very first film, so we already know that Black is going to treat the movie with respect and care. The Predator stars Boyd Holbrook, Jacob Tremblay, Olivia Munn, Sterling K. Brown, Thomas Jane, Keegan-Michael Key, Trevante Rhodes, Alfie Allen, Niall Matter, Jake Busey and Yvonne Strahovski.

 

 

21st

Limited Release: Fahrenheit 11/9

A documentary directed by Michael Moore, a provocative and comedic look at the times in which we live. It will explore the two most important questions of the Trump Era: How the fuck did we get here, and how the fuck do we get out?

 

Limited Release: Assassination Nation

A thriller that follows a quiet, all-American town of Salem that lost its mind. Assassination Nation stars Suki Waterhouse, Abra, Bella Thorne, Joel McHale, Maude Apatow, Cody Christian, Bill Skarsgard and Colman Domingo.

 

Life Itself

Written and directed by Dan Fogelman – the man responsible for NBC’s This is Us – Life Itself follows a young New York couple, who goes from college romance to marriage and the birth of their first child. The unexpected twists of their journey create reverberations that echo over continents and through lifetimes. Unfortunately, Fogelman only has one film under his belt, and it’s the forgotten, Al Pacino-led Danny Collins.  Life Itself stars Oscar Isaac, Olivia Wilde, Annette Bening, Olivia Cooke, Laia Costa, Alex Monner, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Jean Smart, Antonio Banderas, and Mandy Patinkin.

 

The House With A Clock In Its Walls

Based on the novel by John Bellairs, a young orphan named Lewis Barnavelt (Owen Vaccaro) aids his magical uncle (Jack Black) in locating a clock with the power to bring about the end of the world. I’ll be honest, I never read or heard about the books, or heard of them. However, for me, the biggest question mark and thing that’s keeping me from looking forward to this is the fact that it’s directed by Eli Roth. The House With A Clock In Its Walls also stars Cate Blanchett, Renee Elise Goldsberry and Kyle MacLachian.

 

28th

Limited Release: The Old Man & the Gun

Based on the article, of a true story, by David Grann which tells the story of Forrest Tucker (Robert Redford) and his audacious escape from San Quentin at the age of 70 to an unprecedented string of heists that confounded authorities and enchanted the public. Directed by David Lowery (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, Pete’s Dragon, A Ghost Story), The Old Man & the Gun co-stars Casey Affleck, Sissy Spacek, Tika Sumpter, Tom Waits, Isiah Whitlock Jr., John David Washington, Elisabeth Moss, Keith Carradine and Danny Glover.

 

Smallfoot

A Yeti is convinced that the elusive creatures known as “humans” really do exist. I pretty much wrote this movie off from the get-go. However, I’ve been seeing the trailers pop up in theaters, and this could be a movie that winds up on my “Surprises of the Year” list. Or, it could be a forgotten about animated film. The voice cast includes Channing Tatum, James Corden, Zendaya, Gina Rodriguez, Danny DeVito, LeBron James and Common.

 

Little Women

A modern retelling of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel, Little Women follows four sisters – Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy March (Melanie Stone, Sarah Davenport, Allie Jennings, Elise Jones) – detailing their passage from childhood to womanhood. Despite harsh times, they cling to optimism, and as they mature, they face blossoming ambitions and relationship, as well as tragedy, while maintaining their unbreakable bond as sisters. Little Women also stars Lea Thompson, Taylor Murphy, Ian Bohen, Lucas Grabeel and Bart Johnson.

 

Hell Fest

A masked serial killer turns a horror themed amusement park into his own personal playground, terrorizing a group of friends while the rest of the patrons believe that it is all part of the show. I’m a little surprised that this is the first movie I’ve seen to have this premise. It’s basically a slasher movie set within Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios or Fright Fest at Six Flags Great America, and if you ever been to either, you know that’s pretty scary in itself. Hell Fest stars unknowns in Amy Forsyth, Reign Edwards, Bex Taylor-Klaus, Christian James, Roby Attal, Matt Mercurio and horror icon Tony Todd.

 

Night School

A group of troublemakers are forced to attend night school in hope that they’ll pass the GED exam to finish high school. Directed by Malcolm D. Lee (The Best Man, Undercover Brother, Girls Trip) and co-written by lead Kevin Hart, Night School looks like it can be fun to watch, but I’m just a tiny bit worried that the movie will just be half funny, and rely too much on the over-the-top humor from Hart and Tiffany Haddish. Night School co-stars Taran Killam, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Anne Winters, Rob Riggle, Jacob Batalon, Romany Malco, Al Madrigal, Ben Schwatz and Keith David.

 

So, what are you looking forward to?

‘Hotel Artemis’ Review

Director: Drew Pearce

Writer: Drew Pearce

Cast: Jodie Foster, Sterling K. Brown, Sofia Boutella, Dave Bautista, Charlie Day, Brian Tyree Henry, Jenny Slate, Zachary Quinto and Jeff Goldblum

Synopsis: Set in riot-turn, near-future Los Angeles, ‘Hotel Artemis’ follows the Nurse, who runs a secret, members-only emergency room for criminals.

 

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

 

Hotel Artemis, the directorial debut of Iron Man 3 co-writer Drew Pearce, has been on my radar since it was announced. Sure the movie drew comparisons to John Wick right off the bat, so the question was what was the movie going to do to stand out? Well, Hotel Artemis does do enough to make it stand on its own, but unlike its spiritual counterpart – for the lack of a better phrase – Hotel Artemis would rather build up the tension for a grand finale.

Set in Los Angeles in 2028, the city is rioting over the lack of water, but during all of that, two brothers (Sterling K. Brown and Brian Tyree Henry) pull off a bank heist that doesn’t go as planned. After Henry’s character gets injured, Brown’s character takes him to the Hotel Artemis, a secret, members-only emergency room for criminals to go to get patched up and lay low. There, they met The Nurse (Jodie Foster), who runs the establishment with her head of security, Everest (Dave Bautista). The Nurse gives everyone there nicknames according to their rooms; Brown gets Waikiki, while Henry gets Honolulu.

As Waikiki’s brother gets patched up, we meet other occupants of Hotel Artemis in a loud and foul-mouthed businessman Acapulco (Charlie Day), the French assassin Nice (Sofia Boutella), and a cop played by Jenny Slate. Things look to be going smoothly until The Wolf King (Jeff Goldblum) enters the picture, and things go to hell pretty fast from there.

While the trailers and TV spots focus on the action in Hotel Artemis, you’ll be surprised – maybe disappointed if you were absolutely looking for that – that Pearce shows a lot of restraint and keeps the action to a minimal until the very end. What Pearce does instead is build up these characters and world before unleashing the action scenes, which is actually kind of refreshing.

Also, the fact that Pearce was able to get a cast like this on his first feature is quite the coup. Everyone nails their roles to a tee. Jodie Foster, despite being behind-the-camera for years now, reminds us why she was such a great actress. The Nurse is the most fleshed out character out of everyone, reaching every emotion available, and while he’s not as colorful as other characters like Day’s Acapulco, her character doesn’t lend to that anyway.

Sterling K. Brown’s Waikiki is a man with a plan for everything, and more level-head than anyone involved including his mess-up for a brother. Sofia Boutella’s Nice is arguably the most dangerous of them all, and has a history with Waikiki that sadly doesn’t play out the way Pearce probably intended it when he wrote the script. Dave Bautista’s Everest is what you’d expect from a Dave Bautista role by now, and that’s okay in my book. Charlie Day looks to be having some fun with his role, but it doesn’t quite click for me. Finally, Jeff Goldblum’s The Wolf King, the man that runs L.A., is really nothing more, sadly, than a glorified cameo. And while his short time on screen is great, it does lead to some important events for the rest of the movie.

Another thing that sets Hotel Artemis apart from other similar movies – yes it does have some sequel bait/world building – is the impressive production design by Ramsey Avery. We are told by The Nurse, that she has worked for the Artemis for twenty-two years. The halls and rooms look old, but some way they look like a room you’d find in nice hotel. Combine that with the cinematography by Chung-hoon Chung, who did It, and you got yourself a great looking movie.

All in all, Hotel Artemis is a solid action thriller that’s worth your time. What Drew Pearce was able to do with his familiar concept, and what he was able to get from his impressive cast for his first feature is impressive. Despite promotion making you think the movie is a shoot ‘em up action thriller, Hotel Artemis takes you down another road that is actually worth it. With a slow build for a big finale, great character development and fleshed out characters, and great production design and cinematography, Hotel Artemis is something to check it out, and something I wouldn’t mind seeing a sequel to.

Hotel Artemis

3.5 out of 5

May Movie Releases

Hello Boys and Girls!

It’s the beginning of the Summer Movie Season!

What better way to start off this run of movies than a great month of films. We got a lot of films to get to, so let’s get to it!

 

4th

Bad Samaritan

A pair of burglars stumble upon a woman being held captive in a home they intended to rob. The movie stars Robert Sheehan, Carlito Olivero, Kerry Condon and David Tennant.

 

Overboard

A remake of the 1987 film, but this time with the genders reversed; a spoiled, wealthy yacht owner (Eugenio Derbez) is thrown overboard and becomes the target of revenge from his mistreated employee (Anna Faris). I’ve slowly become a fan of Eugenio Derbez – Faris is always reliable – and while the movie just looks okay, hopefully it’s at least entertaining. Overboard co-stars Eva Longoria, Swooise Kurtz, Josh Segarra, Alyvia Alyn Lind, and John Hannah

 

Tully

Written by Diablo Cody (Juno) and directed by Jason Reitman (Juno, Up in the Air, Young Adult); Marlo (Charlize Theron), a mother of three including a newborn, is gifted a night nanny by her brother. Hesitant to the extravagance at first, Marlo comes to form a unique bond with the thoughtful, surprising, and sometimes challenging young nanny named Tully (Mackenzie Davis). It’s hard to root against the team of Reitman and Cody who did Juno together – I haven’t seen Young Adult – and with a cast like this, we’re probably looking at another hit. Tully co-stars Mark Duplass and Ron Livingston.

 

11th

Revenge

Never take your mistress on an annual guys’ getaway, especially one devoted to hunting – a violent lesson for three wealthy married men. The movie is lead by Matilda Lutz.

 

Life of the Party

Written by husband-and-wife duo Ben Falcone and Melissa McCarthy; when her husband suddenly dumps her, longtime dedicated housewife Deanna (McCarthy) turns regret into a re-set by going back to college – landing in the same class and school as her daughter, who’s not entirely sold on the idea. Plunging headlong into the campus experience, the increasingly outspoken Deanna – now Dee Rock – embraces freedom, fun and frat boys on her own terms, finding her true self in a senior year no one ever expected. I honestly don’t know what to make of the movie. I know there are some people out there that don’t like McCarthy, but I still think she can churn out some great comedy, so hopefully it happens here. The impressive cast includes Gillian Jacobs, Maya Rudolph, Julie Bowen, Adria Arjona, Jessie Ennis, Matt Walsh, Jacki Weaver and Christina Aguilera.

 

Breaking In

A mother (Gabrielle Union) takes her two children on a weekend gateway to her late father’s secluded, high-tech estate in the countryside. She soon finds herself in a fight to save her children from four men who break into the house in search of something. It’s kind of nice to see Union back on the big screen, and while the movie hasn’t completely sold me yet, it could be a worthwhile small thriller.

 

Terminal

The twisting tales of two assassins carrying out a sinister mission. A teacher battling a fatal illness, an enigmatic janitor and a curious waitress leading a dangerous double life. Murderous consequences unravel in the dead of night as their lives all intertwine at the hands of a mysterious criminal mastermind hell-bent on revenge. Terminal stars Margot Robbie, Simon Pegg, Matthew Lewis, Dexter Fletcher, Max Irons and Mike Myers.

 

18th

Limited Release: First Reformed

A former military chaplain is wracked by grief over the death of his son. Mary is a member of his church whose husband, a radical environmentalist, commits suicide, setting the plot in motion. The movie stars Ethan Hawke, Amanda Seyfried and Cedric the Entertainer.

 

Show Dogs

Max, a macho, solitary Rottweiler police dog is ordered to go undercover as a primped show god in a prestigious Dog Show, along with his human partner, to avert a disaster from happening. I honestly couldn’t get passed the trailer, so I don’t think I’ll be personally watching this. The live-action cast includes Will Arnett and Natasha Lyonne, with the voice cast including Ludacris, Alan Cumming, Shaquille O’Neal, Gabriel Iglesias and Stanley Tucci.

 

Book Club

Four lifelong friends have their lives forever changed after reading 50 Shades of Grey in their monthly book club. The movie stars Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen, Alicia Silverstone, Craig T. Nelson, Andy Garcia and Don Johnson.

 

Deadpool 2

Directed by David Leitch (John Wick, Atomic Blonde), Deadpool 2’s story has been mostly secret, but from what we can tell in the trailers it looks like Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) has to protect a young mutant (Julian Dennison) from the future, time-traveling mutant known as Cable (Josh Brolin). To do so, it looks like Deadpool forms the group X-Force. We can assume hilarity and action ensue. The rest of the cast is filled with the returning Morena Baccarin, Brianna Hildebrand, Karan Soni, Stefan Kapicic, T.J. Miller and Leslie Uggams. The new cast also includes Zazie Beetz, Bill Skarsgard, Terry Crews, Shioli Kutsuna, Jack Kesy and Eddie Marsan.

 

25th

Solo: A Star Wars Story

During an adventure into a dark criminal underworld, Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) meets his future copilot Chewbacca and encounters Lando Clarissian (Donald Glover) years before joining the Rebellion. Obviously, Solo had a very public behind-the-scenes debacle and drama with Phil Lord and Chris Miller being fired weeks before principal photography was done, over creative differences that spanned before then. Ron Howard then came in to not only finishing filming, but reshoot footage – a lot of it. That said, the prequel is dividing a lot of fans, and for good reason. Do we need a Han Solo origin story? Probably not. Will it be good? Let’s hope so. Solo also stars Emilia Clarke, Woody Harrelson, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Joonas Suotamo, Warwick Davis, Jon Favreau and Paul Bettany.

 

What are you looking forward to?