Summer Movie Season 2019 Review

The 2019 Summer Movie Season is over!

Once again, many have said this year’s Summer Movie Season was a disappointment, lacked any real substance, or was filled with too many sequels, reboots/remakes and what-have-you. Whether you want to listen to all that or not is up to you. Personally, I don’t listen to the noise, but I did feel like the latter half of the Summer Movie Season lacked any real, “I need to see this movie NOW.” Regardless of that, this summer had some pretty descent movies, and some great enjoyable movies. So here’s my roundup of the Summer Movie Season 2019 (movies are not in a particular order).

 

The “I Have No Idea What to Think”

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Based on the acclaimed book series written by Alvin Schwartz, produced by Guillermo del Toro – who had always had plans on directing originally – and directed by Andre Ovredal (the fantastic The Autopsy of Jane Doe), Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark was bound to be a hit, or at the least halfway descent. I know I felt the movie was good, but it was always going to have an uphill battle trying to make the series of short stories into a feature-length film. Personally, I think they found a pretty descent way to bring these stories together – they ended up using one of the stories as a building block to create the Sarah Bellows character, and then have short stories be “nightmares” or stories the character have had/heard be the ones that come to life.

Again, I liked Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, but there was something about it that I felt it need more.

Image result for scary stories to tell in the dark movie gif

 

Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood

Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film was one of the most divisive films of the summer, and probably will be for the rest of the year. Tarantino’s fairy tale-esque story of the final years of the Golden Age of Hollywood followed Leonardo DiCaprio’s Rick Dalton, an aging star, trying to find his way in a changing Hollywood with his stunt-man and best friend Cliff Booth, played amazingly by Brad Pitt. The film also starred Margot Robbie as the late Sharon Tate, and also included the Mason family.

I won’t go into the massive think and opinion pieces that the film spawned, but the film definitely had us talking more than I thought it would. No matter where you fell in the spectrum, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood did its job of getting us to talk about it on more than one level – good or bad.

Image result for once upon a time in hollywood your rick dalton gif

 

Should Have Been Better (But I’d Still Recommend)

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Its giant monsters fighting each other, so yeah, I enjoyed it. It was everything in-between that kind of slowed the movie down.

Image result for godzilla king of the monsters gif

 

Brightburn

Brightburn, basically the Superman story but if he’d had been evil the whole time, would also go under the frustrating category for me because the movie doesn’t really fully execute what it was trying to do, or at least didn’t fully go where it should have.

Image result for brightburn gif

 

Stuber

Stuber is one of those movies that isn’t completely original – story-wise – but the concept of a cop, played by the always reliable Dave Bautista, who can barely see, who basically kidnaps his Uber driver, Stu, played by the also always reliable Kumail Nanjiani, to help him take down a criminal who killed his partner works here. Genuine laughs and some great chemistry between Bautista and Nanjiani made Stuber worthwhile.

Image result for stuber gif

 

 

Real Surprises of the Summer

Aladdin

Say what you want about the Disney live-action adaptations, I’m personally in the whatever camp as long as they’re good. When it comes to Aladdin though, I was never personally a huge fan of the old cartoon, so my connection to it wasn’t as strong as others. I went in expecting a lukewarm movie, but instead I was drawn in by the big, bright musical numbers, and while the movie had some pitfalls, I was genuinely surprised I walked out of Aladdin as an enjoyable movie.

Image result for aladdin 2019 gif

 

Crawl

I completely counted out Crawl from the very beginning. The movie followed Haley (Kaya Scodelario), who during a hurricane, goes to check on her father (Barry Pepper) who turns out to be injured, and the two have to not only brave the hurricane, but also a group of alligators. Yeah, the concept is a little whacky, and the trailers didn’t sell it too well, but man did I enjoy the hell out of Crawl. The movie is a solid horror thriller that got me a couple times with some solid jump scares, and Scodelario and Pepper sell the hell out of it. Seriously, Crawl is going down as one of my biggest surprises of the year.

Image result for crawl movie 2019 gif

 

Least-Liked/Disappointments

Dark Phoenix

20th Century Fox once again whiffed the famous Dark Phoenix comic story on the big screen, and it’s all the more frustrating again, because like the old X-Men movies, the build-up to this version of the story wasn’t all that bad. Apocalypse teased out story, but Dark Phoenix simply chose to ignore that tease in favor of just retelling the story all over again.

The movie also had some behind-the-scenes shenanigans, like a last-minute third act reshoot, Fox being bought by Disney, Jennifer Lawrence clearly not wanting to be there and, despite his best effort, long-time producer of the franchise Simon Kinberg making his directorial effort.

On top of all that, the movie feels just pretty bland. Speaking of bland…

Image result for dark phoenix gif

 

Men in Black: International

How do you not capitalize on the fantastic chemistry between Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson from Thor: Ragnarok? I don’t know, but somehow they didn’t, and we suffered from it. Men in Black: International’s biggest problem is that’s really bland, and while things happen, it’s really not that all exciting. The movie also apparently had some behind-the-scenes troubles like the script constantly changing, an stars Hemsworth and Thompson rewriting their own lines. Never a good sign.

Image result for men in black international gif

 

Child’s Play

I was willing to give Child’s Play a chance, and while Brian Tyree Henry’s supporting cop character was probably the only real saving grace of the movie, and Mark Hamill voicing Chucky was a bold move, but the writing didn’t do him any favors, Child’s Play just didn’t do it for me. Some aspects of the movie were okay, but at the end of the day, Child’s Play is going to be remembered for being denounced by original creator Don Mancini.

Image result for child's play 2019 gif

 

Shaft

Look, I love Samuel L. Jackson as much as the next person, but this new Shaft takes the wrong approach to old school/old mindset vs. new school. A lot of the jokes that Jackson’s Shaft comes off as a tad bit too misogynistic for their good, and despite the father-son dynamic between him and Jessie T. Usher’s Junior working near the end, Shaft had too many missteps and non-working parts to really have me rooting entirely for Jackson.

Image result for shaft 2019 gif

 

Honorable Mention

Toy Story 4

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

Spider-Man: Far from Home

The Peanut Butter Falcon

 

My Favorite Movies of the Summer

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

Let’s face it, John Wick is the best American action series we’ve had for some time. The series has a great team behind it with former stuntman turned director Chad Stahelski and star Keanu Reeves getting us to root for people to get jacked up in the best way possible. Parabellum is more or less of the same from the previous films, but damn we I love seeing Reeves kick ass.

Image result for john wick chapter 3 – parabellum gif

 

Detective Pikachu

Growing up with Pokemon, I was always going to watch this. Granted, I was skeptical at first because I didn’t know how they would be able to pull it off without the CG looking goofy. Boy, was I wrong! The Pokemon looked great, and Ryan Reynolds brought Pikachu to life in a way I never thought was possible. Was it a little wonky, sure, but come on live-action Pokemon on the big screen!

Image result for detective pikachu gif

 

Booksmart

The directorial debut of Olivia Wilde sure made waves this summer, at least with the people that saw it in theaters. Booksmart told the coming-of-age story of best friends Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) and Molly (Beanie Feldstein), who on the night before their graduation realized they haven’t partied enough – because they wanted to get into good colleges – and try to right the wrong, of course, comedic hijinks ensue. Booksmart might be one of those movies that people catch on streaming, and say “why didn’t I watch this in theaters!?”

Dever and Feldstein had tremendous chemistry together, and the movie gets pretty wild – no pun intended – and the movie could have gone the raunchy route, the movie took the innocent – well, somewhat innocent – route.

Image result for booksmart gif

 

Midsommar

Ari Aster did it again. Midsommar was on a lot of people highly anticipated list, mainly because we wanted to see what Aster had up his sleeve after Hereditary. We got our answer, and I don’t think we were entirely ready for it. The film followed a couple (Florence Pugh and Jack Reynor) who along with two more friends go to Sweden and visit a small village to see their summer festival. Of course, things go very, very wrong…and weird.

Whereas Hereditary was about what’s in that dark corner, Midsommar made all the horror hit you in broad daylight. It’s a vicious, slow-burn of a movie that makes you anxious and with an ending that left many questioning what the hell? Because yeah, Midsommar was probably one of the most “what the hell?” movies of the year.

Image result for midsommar movie gif

 

The Farewell

Based on an actual lie of Lulu Wang’s life, The Farwell follows Billi, played incredibly by Awkwafina, who finds out her grandmother in China has cancer. Her family, finding it better not to tell her, fake a wedding to get the whole family together to see one last time. I really loved this movie. Not only is it extremely touching, the performance by Awkwafina was, to me, extremely surprising. I think most of us know Awkwafina from her comedic work, so seeing her in a dramatic role like this was also welcoming. While the story is mostly around this Chinese family, I think we can all connect to the story in some form.

Related image

 

Ready or Not

Ready or Not will probably go down as one of the movies of the summer that everyone missed out on. It follows Samara Weaving’s Grace, who gets married into the Le Domas family, but realizes that the family has a dangerous deal with a mysterious figure that requires a sacrifice in the form of a game – Hide and Seek. That’s basically the bare bones of the movie, but there is a lot more to unpack and watch to enjoy. Ready or Not knows what it is, so it doesn’t try to give you an dishonest movie or even try to make it more serious than it’s suppose to be.

Weaving, once again, is reliable as ever and the family is the perfect foil to her character who’s just trying to survive anyway possible. Ready or Not will definitely be popping up again at my end of the year list. If you haven’t already, do yourself a favor and go watch this in theaters with as little information that you possibly can.

Image result for ready or not movie 2019 gif

 

So that’s my list. I’m more interested in what your Summer Movie Season roundup is like. Let me know!

Advertisements

‘Spider-Man: Far from Home’ Review

Director: Jon Watts

Writers: Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers

Cast: Tom Holland, Jake Gyllenhaal, Samuel L. Jackson, Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Angourie Rice, Tony Revolori, Cobie Smulders and Marisa Tomei

Synopsis: Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man must step up to take on new threats in a world that has changed forever.

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

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

 

How do you follow one of the most comic book-y movies of all time that spanned over a decade and over twenty movies? That was the challenge Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures had in front of them when putting together Spider-Man: Far from Home. Not only did they have to follow Avengers: Endgame, but also make a proper sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming that wasn’t just Spider-Man/Peter Parker having to move on from saving the entire universe with The Avengers and his now deceased mentor/father-figure Tony Stark. So did they pull it off? Yes. Yes they did.

Set months after the events of Avengers: Endgame, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is eager to take a break from the superhero gig, and go on his European school vacation with his friends and tell MJ (Zendaya) how he feels about her. Of course, being a superhero and an Avenger now, that isn’t easy. Unbeknownst to Peter and the public, elemental monsters – The Elementials – start to wreck havoc across the globe, which leads him to be recruited by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to help fight the threat alongside Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal), a hero who claims he’s from another dimension, and has first hand experiencing fighting these monsters. Peter now has to handle fighting giant monsters while on vacation and having the responsibility of being the potential new Tony Stark/Iron Man.

One of the troubles of reviewing Far from Home is a good chunk of the great scenes and moments are all spoilers, so I’ll tread lightly going forward. That said, one of the best story elements about these new Spider-Man movies is director Jon Watts and writers Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers really have a firm grasp about what makes Peter Parker just that Peter Parker. Peter is still a teenager, and despite being a teenager with superhero abilities, he wants to be that, but is constantly told he needs to step up and be a superhero/Avenger. It’s not that Peter is being ungrateful or that he is ungrateful, he loves being Spider-Man, and wants to help people, but he is still a teenager and wants to hang out with his friends, tell the girl he likes that he likes her and just be normal for five minutes.

The other great thing about the sequel is that it keeps its charm, humor and heart from Homecoming. Holland and Zendaya, who has a lot more to do this time around, have great chemistry together, and pretty perfectly recreate that awkwardness you’d have when you’re around your crush. It’s also nice to see the balance between the more serious moments, like Peter questioning himself, and humorous moments, mostly between Peter and his classmates, are mostly tight enough.

The rest of the cast have their moments, but one of the big highlights is Jake Gyllenhaal’s Quentin Beck aka Mysterio. Gyllenhaal is obviously having a lot of fun with the role, and whether or not you know anything about the character from the comics, you’ll enjoy what they do with Mysterio here.

All in all, Spider-Man: Far from Home is a ton of fun, and does a lot with what they have. It thankfully doesn’t feel bloated or overstuff, and while it does have its lull moments, the cast and balance of tones keep the film together. Finally, in true Marvel fashion, the post-credit scenes change the Marvel Cinematic Universe going forward. It will be interesting to see Marvel goes forward with it, and also how it changes the story of Spider-Man. Either way, Far from Home is highly enjoyable and should be watched on the biggest screen you can find it.

Spider-Man: Far from Home

4.5 out of 5

New Podcast – ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ and ‘It: Chapter II’ Trailers & More

Episode 101 of The Movie Pit Podcast is (has) been up!

I got a little busy with some crazy house work to put this up sooner, but yet, here we are. Anyway, I rundown those great trailers for Spider-Man: Far From Home and It: Chapter II, along with more fallout from the merger between Disney and 20th Century Fox. Of course, some more news as well. Remember, you can listen on Youtube or take the podcast on the go with you on iTunes.

iTunes Link  – https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-movie-pit-podcast/id1249582608

Youtube

New Podcast – Summer Movie Season Preview 2019

Hello everybody!

I got a new podcast for all of you, and it’s a big one! A guest and I rundown the Summer Movie Season. It’s a fun one – even though the mic was a little farther away from us than I had originally thought. You also take the podcast on the go because the podcast is on iTunes!

 

iTunes Link  – https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-movie-pit-podcast/id1249582608

 

Youtube

My Most Anticipated Movies of 2019

2019 is here! So you know what that means – NEW MOVIES!

Of course, there are a lot of movies coming out this year, and while I’m looking forward to many of them, there are some that stand out among the rest. So here I am, give you my most anticipated movies of the year. It should be noted that of course things could change. For example, movies get shifted around, pulled off the schedule or new movies are put on the schedule that I end up really looking forward to.

So with that said, this list is based off the current schedule that’s out, and they’ll also be done by release date, because it’s just easier that way. Let’s get to it!

 

*Note: My Best/Favorite Movies of 2018 Podcast will be coming out hopefully this weekend. That’s why you haven’t seen it yet.*

 

Captain Marvel – March 8th

Yes, this list will include Marvel’s big three movies coming out – deal with it! Okay, now that that’s out of the way, Captain Marvel is something I’ve been looking forward to since it was announced. Not only is the movie Marvel’s first female-led superhero movie, it has a pretty damn great cast. Brie Larson plays the titular hero, aka Carol Danvers, an army pilot who gets caught in the middle of an intergalactic war between two alien races – the Kree and the Skrulls. The movie will also be a good introduction to the character to a lot of people who don’t know anything about the character, and that said, Captain Marvel has some good stories to tell. Captain Marvel co-stars Samuel L. Jackson, Jude Law, Ben Mendelsohn, Clark Gregg, Gemma Chan, Lee Pace and Annette Bening.

 

Us – March 15th

Jordan Peele is back behind the camera with another terrifying story, and this time he’s not hiding the creep factor like he did in the trailer for Get Out. Us follows a family (Winston Duke, Lupita Nyong’o, Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex), who while on a family vacation with friends run into some unexpected visitors. Everyone was talking about the trailer when it dropped on Christmas Day, and it was well worth it, because the trailer starts off innocent and slowly gets weird and creepy until it goes full-on “what the hell is going on?” and just like that, Us, has gone on a lot of people’s Must-Watch List. Us co-stars Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker, Anna Diop and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II.

 

Hellboy – April 12th

As hard as it might be for some – including myself – let’s move pass the notion that we will no longer get a third Hellboy movie directed by Guillermo del Toro. That said, the first trailer for the new Hellboy movie actually had me pretty excited. Directed by Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers, The Descent), the new movie has Hellboy (David Harbour) facing off against an ancient sorceress (Milla Jovovich) named Nimue the Blood Queen bent on revenge. It looks like a Hellboy movie, and seeing Harbour get a lead role in a big movie like this is great. I was a fan of his before Stranger Things and seeing him finally get the recognition he deserves should be awesome to watch. Hellboy co-stars Sasha Lane, Penelope Mitchell, Daniel Dae Kim and Ian McShane.

 

Avengers: Endgame – April 26th

Arguably, the biggest Marvel film to date, Avengers: Endgame (yes, it’s called Endgame, you figured it out, good for you) finishes the story they started in Avengers: Infinity War. Honestly, I don’t know what to expect from this, and I like it. The story could pretty much go anywhere, and even though we’ve seen set photos, without that context, we’re just talking in the abyss. I always keep my expectations, hype or what-have-you at the door when watching big movies like this, but I don’t think I’ll be able to contain myself watching this in a theater with all the other fans around.

 

Detective Pikachu – May 10th

Loosely based – maybe – off the game of the same name, Tim (Justice Smith) meets an intelligent talking Pikachu (voiced and also apparently motion-captured by Ryan Reynolds) who help each other as they look into the mysterious disappearance of Tim’s father. I, like many probably reading this, grew up with Pokemon and have a special place in my heart for the property. However, I had my doubts about the movie, mainly because it was going to be a CGI-Live Action hybrid, and those tend to not be that great. But DAMN did the trailer change my mind. The world looks great, the designs of the Pokemon look great too, and might be unexpected; because I know I didn’t envision Pikachu with fur. Detective Pikachu co-stars Kathryn Newton, Karan Soni, Rita Ora, Suki Waterhouse, Bill Nighy and Ken Watanabe.

 

John Wick: Chapter 3 – May 17th

John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is back again, and this time he’s being hunted down by everyone. At least that’s the impression we got after the ending of John Wick: Chapter 2. The first movie came out of nowhere, and now John Wick is one of the best action series out there. Are they simple (plot-wise)? Sure, but damn there are a lot of fun. John Wick: Chapter 3 co-stars Ian McShane, Halle Berry, Laurence Fishburne, Lance Reddick, Jason Mantzoukas, Robin Lord Taylor, Mark Dacascos and Anjelica Huston.

 

Godzilla: King of the Monsters – May 31st

The gigantic sequel follows the agency Monarch trying to control the chaos that is to come when Godzilla battles three new monsters that have been awaken in Mothra, Rodan and the three-headed King Ghidorah. I know the first new Godzilla didn’t get a lot of love, but I personally enjoyed it. Now, not only do we get a sequel, but one that has all of the well-known other monsters we’ve come to know and love/hate. It also helps that the trailers are also great, and it looks epic! Godzilla: King of the Monsters stars Millie Bobby Brown, Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Ken Watanabe, Sally Hawkins, Ziyi Zhang, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Thomas Middleditch, Bradley Whitford and Charles Dance

 

Spider-Man: Far From Home – July 5th

The last Marvel movie of the year, Spider-Man: Far From Home follows Peter (Tom Holland) and his friends on a summer vacation to Europe, where Peter is recruited by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to stop a powerful threat. Of course, there have been a lot of set photos to come out, and it’s also been revealed that Jake Gyllenhaal’s Quentin Beck aka Mysterio isn’t a villain and will be working with Spider-Man. Other than that, we don’t know much, but given that Homecoming was a great new addition, Far From Home should be good too, right? Spider-Man: Far From Home co-stars Zendaya, Cobie Smulders, Jacob Batalon and Marisa Tomei.

 

Fast & Furious presents: Hobbs & Shaw – August 2nd

A spinoff of the Fast & Furious franchise, Hobbs & Shaw follows Agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) teaming up with once again with Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham). Despite how you feel about the Fast & Furious franchise – I personally think they are the ultimate turn-off-your-brain/have fun with it movies – the addition of Johnson’s Hobbs and Statham’s Shaw added a much needed boost to the franchise. Plus, the chemistry between Johnson and Statham was one of the best things about The Fate of the Furious, so a spinoff announcement had me onboard. Add on the fact that the movie will be directed by David Leitch (John Wick, Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2) and have Idris Elba as the villain. Come on, I’m getting in line opening night. Hobbs & Shaw co-stars Vanessa Kirby, Eddie Marsan and Eiza Gonzalez.

 

Honorable Mentions

Glass – January 18th

The Prodigy – February 8th

The Curse of La Llorona – April 19th

Brightburn – May 24th

Men in Black International – June 14th

Toy Story 4 – June 21st

The Lion King – July 19th

It: Chapter 2 – September 6th

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark – August 9th

Zombieland 2 – October 11th

Are You Afraid of the Dark? – October 11th

Star Wars: Episode IX – December 20th

 

So, what movies are you looking forward to this year?