Monday, December 18, 2017

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) Review

*Heavy spoilers, this review is based on my second viewing of the movie*

My biggest gripe with the movie initially was it bored me. First watch the first half really took me out of the movie and I was never able to get back into it. Upon second watch, that wasn’t the case. It flowed much better this time around. The movie felt completely natural, where as the first time I found it very jarring.
Initially, I wasn't a fan of Rey's parents being nobodies. But the fact they are nobodies makes Rey an even better character. Despite her upbringing she was able to make something of herself and escape the same fate as her parents. Just because your parents aren't doctors or lawyers doesn't mean you can't grow up to be one. We are responsible for making our own success. Obviously some people are better set up for success because of their upbringing. But Rey was not, she was the ultimate rags to riches story. I mean her parents were alleged drunks and they abandoned her in a junkyard. Now she's a badass Jedi. How's that for a success story?
It would have been nice to know more about Snoke, but he is a major presence on screen. Andy Serkis killed it! Snoke is legitimately scary. Whenever he was on screen, I actually felt uncomfortable. Even though he's a fragile, disfigured person the evil just seeps through him. I just wish he wasn't killed off, it would have been awesome to see him play a role like The Emperor. I understand why he was killed off; I was just left wanting more Snoke. The whole scene of his death is so fucking cool though. Rey and Kylo tearing through the Red Guards is dope as fucking shit. It's definitely one of the best fight scenes in Star Wars history.
Carrie Fisher is the glue that holds this whole film together. May she rest in peace. I still think he floating through space in really lame. I like the fact that she has the force, I just don't like how it came into fruition . Yes, Jedi are powerful but are they powerful enough to survive a massive explosion and being out in space? I don't think so.
I'm still not crazy about the direction they went with Luke's character. At the same time I understand it. Hell, he's old now and he's seen a lot of shit over the years. In that sense him being over and done with the Jedi is understandable. My man is old and he just wants peace and quiet. He gets totally redeemed at the end though. His sendoff/last stand is so awesome.
The Finn and Rose subplot is still pretty lame. It certainly didn't bother me as much this time around. I do feel really bad for the actress who played Rose. People are being really nasty and hateful online towards her character. She's a really sweet and innocent character, comparing her to Jar Jar Binks is flat out ridiculous. Stop that shit. She says one of the best lines in Star Wars history, "That's how we're gonna win. Not fighting what we hate, saving what we love." That is an incredibly powerful statement and I teared up a little bit when she said that. Originally, I was mad she rescued Finn. But the line she says really sunk in with me this time and made me realize she's absolutely right. Rose, you go girl!
I think my original lukewarmness towards the film rooted from me being bored. Since I was bored all the little nitpicky things bothered and annoyed me. Second watch many of the nitpicks I had didn't bother me anymore. I just sat back and let these changes happen and even came to appreciate a lot of them. The Last Jedi is not a perfect film, there are still issues I have with the movie. Rian Johnson deserves major props for not taking the safe route and not being afraid to break the "rules". I loved The Force Awakens because it brought me back to why I love Star Wars so much. I really really like The Last Jedi because it dared to be something different.

Rating: 8/10, B+

Saturday, September 9, 2017

It (2017) Review

Hands down the best time I've had at the movies all year. It is a complete blast!
Basically The Goonies with a demonic killer clown.
The kid from Stranger Things steals the entire movie. His one liners were absolute gold. My sides were acing. He says this one line after the rock fight and I was crying real tears.
All of the kids were exceptional. Every single kid knocks it out of the park. Everyone has their own distinct characteristics, quips, and quirks. The chemistry between the group was outstanding. There's so much great banter among one another I haven't seen this type of group comradery between kids since The Goonies and Stand Bye Me. Mind you, those movies were made over 30 years ago...Not to mention I truly cared about every character (except the bullies, screw those guys). I felt for them and wanted them to get through all of this crazy shit.
I mentioned how Richie was my favorite kid of the group, but I can't stress enough how excellent everyone else is too. The girl who plays Beverly (Sophia Lillis) is someone to look out for. She truly has an amazing screen presence. She conveys so much emotion from just her eyes. Eddie was also hilarious as this paranoid germaphobe kid. I was BLOWN AWAY by the kids. I'm almost still in shock about how great they were.
Bill Skarsgard is masterful as Pennywise the Dancing Clown. Skarsgard totally owned this role. He is one creepy son of a beach. As a comparison, Tim Curry's take on Pennywise reminded me of Jack Nicholson's Joker and Skarsgard's take on Pennywise reminded me of Heath Ledger's Joker. Both Skarsgard and Curry killed the role, but they both play a completely different Pennywise. The same goes for Nicholson and Ledger as The Joker.
What I loved most about It is the way this movie balances comedy and horror. This movie is simultaneously the funniest and the scariest movie I've seen in 2017. On top the laughs and scares this movie has a ton of heart and is very charming. I also loved how this movie didn't rely on too many jump scares; there are some. But the scares primarily come from the creepy imagery and the menacing performance of Bill Skarsgard. It clocks in at about 2 hours 15 minutes and it flies by. I was never bored and it never dragged. Everything worked for me. I was 100% engulfed in this movie from start to finish.

Rating: 5/5

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Atomic Blonde (2017) Review

Out of all the movie trailers I've seen over the years, I don't think I've seen one that spoils the movie more than the Atomic Blonde trailer did.
The trailer showed us EVERY SINGLE ACTION SEQUENCE! There are literally no surprises as far as the action goes. Yeah, the action is very well done & it's bad ass, but when you've already seen every action sequence several times already, you don't care anymore.
Thankfully Charlize Theron is really great in this movie. If it wasn't for her this would have been difficult to sit through. Even with her, at times it's kind of a chore to sit through. The plot is beyond convoluted and boring as hell. Atomic Blonde is just under 2 hours long, yet it felt like it was at least 3 hours. I saw this movie at 10:00PM and I was expecting it to be after 1AM when I got out. It felt so damn long and just drags so much on several occasions. A total of 4 people walked out of my showing (2 couples) and several others in the theater became very restless. I heard people shifting in their seats constantly.
Despite my negatives, I would still say I liked this movie more than I didn't. It's decent. Charlize and James McAvoy are really great. I loved the visual aesthetic of this movie. It looks really pretty. It's beautifully shot. The action is great, but I had already seen all the action scenes before being the actual movie.
I also want to bring up the soundtrack. I LOVED the soundtrack, however the songs didn't fit in with this movie's environment whatsoever for me. This movie takes place in Germany during the Cold War, yet there are 80s pop songs through out the film? That just didn't add up for me. These songs would have worked perfectly in Baby Driver. In this, the songs took me out of the movie instead of enhancing the experience.

Rating: 3/5

A Ghost Story (2017) Review

A Ghost Story was a mesmerizing spiritual journey I will not soon forget. The score and imagery is phenomenal. The score of this film is one of the most impactful scores my ears have had the pleasure of hearing. Cosmic is the one word I would use to describe this film. Love, Loss, Grief, Memories, Time, Relationships, and Destiny are just a few of the themes A Ghost Story touches on. This is essentially a silent film and the fact a sheet with eye-holes and a divine score can make me reflect on my entire life up to this point so far is truly an incredible feat. Not only did this movie make me self-reflect, it also made me want to live life to the fullest. Have conversations, have relationships, experience new things, just live life.

Rating: 4.5/5

Detroit (2017) Review

Detroit is one of the scariest films I've ever seen.
This film reminded me of Funny Games and Passion of the Christ.
Will Poulter's character is more evil than Michael Myers, Jason, and Freddy Kruger.

Rating: 4.5/5

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)

*Disclaimer* once you all see this a lot of you will probably think I'm an absolute madman :P
Space operas are my bread & butter.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets feels like it was made specifically for me. This movie is so far up my alley it's not even funny. Luc Besson created this immersive and beautiful world that I never wanted to leave. It is easily the most bonkers film I've seen. There's truly no other movie quite like it. I'm still in awe of what I just saw. A fantasy science fiction epic for the ages. It's a totally new and refreshing experience that I ate up like a fucking meal from one of Gordan Ramsay's restaurants.
From the very start I was completely absorbed in this film's world. The visuals, the colors, and the aesthetic are astonishing. I was blown the fuck away by Luc Besson's vision. This is what happens when a visionary has complete freedom to make the film they want to make. The fact this movie actually exists is a wonder. People are always complaining about the lack of originality in film nowadays; well here you go. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is one of the most original and imaginative films I've ever seen. SEE THIS IN 3D!!! The visuals and special effects are nothing short of spectacular to put it lightly. Everything looks absolutely incredible.
I enjoyed Cara and Dane quite a bit. I was worried the most about them going in because based on reviews, they seem to be getting the most flack. I really dug them both in this movie. They're pretty goofy, but the tone of their performances worked perfectly for this movie considering the movie itself is a big bloated fantasy science fiction space film. Between the two, I definitely liked Cara more. Her best performance to date imo.
Look y'all I don't think this movie is perfect and I admit that. However, I had such a fantastic time watching it and was totally amazed; the minor issues I had with it never once bothered me or took me out of the movie. Yeah, the story and script could have been a little better. But I think they were good enough. Again, those things didn't really bother me because of how invested I was into this thing. Valerian is literally like nothing you have ever seen before. There isn't a single movie in existence like this movie. This is groundbreaking cinema that is YEARS ahead of it's time. Yes, 10 years from now Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets will be getting the Speed Racer treatment. I'm just glad I'm here from day 1.
I highly recommend seeing both Valerian and Dunkirk this weekend. They're both so similar, yet so different at the same time. One is a creative and imaginative science fiction film and the other is a grounded in reality World War II film. But they are both movies that take the audience through a spectacular experience.

Rating: 4.5/5 (A-)

Monday, July 17, 2017

Dunkirk (2017) Review

Remember when I said Baby Driver gave me an adrenaline rush like I had never experienced from a movie before?
Well the adrenaline rush I got from that film PALES in comparison to the rush I just experienced during the entirety of Dunkirk.
Dunkirk is a masterpiece in every sense of the word. The wonder, the scope, and the magnitude contained in this film is something I've never experienced before. I teared up a few times because of how overwhelmed I was. Between the score and what was happening on screen, I was at a total loss. Hans Zimmer has really outdone himself. The score is nothing short of phenomenal.
Watching Dunkirk is perhaps the most visceral viewing experience I've ever had. It's some of the most masterful filmmaking ever; period, point blank, end of story. In a way, it's a silent film with a booming score. There is dialogue, but the speaking is minimal through out the movie. Most of the time we just hear the score, bullets flying, and bombs being dropped.
Tom Hardy is the MVP. WTF I like Harry Styles now!? Harry was surprisingly outstanding and he gets a lot of screen time. He very well might have a serious future in movies; I was VERY impressed with his performance. If it wasn't for Tom Hardy's pure badassery, Styles would have been my favorite character. Fionn Whitehead who plays another young soldier is also fantastic. Two gents who'v never been in a movie come into Dunkirk and KILL it!
I'm so shook right now. I'm not even sure if I can drive home right now. Saying this movie is epic would be totally underselling it.

Rating: 5/5

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) Review

I'm glad this movie exists because it's just another reminder that Sam Raimi's first two Spider-Man films are in a league of their own.
Michael Keaton is awesome, but sadly VERY underutilized. Marvel, you have MICHAEL KEATON playing a villain in your super hero movie! How does he not get so much more screen time!? His backstory is really good. He's a very sympathetic villain. Definitely my favorite villain of the MCU thus far. I just wish he was in the movie A LOT more than he was.
Tom Holland is quite good as Spider-Man. However, I enjoyed him much more in Captain America: Civil War. He's super reckless in this movie, which I thought was a good thing. He's a kid after all. I mean if I was a Super-Hero at the age of 15 I'd probably be pretty rebellious as well.
Zendaya was the other standout in Spider-Man: Homecoming. She was hilarious. I didn't care for a large chunk of the jokes, but her lines always landed for me. She has some great comedic timing. I was very surprised and very impressed. She's the thing I look most forward to in future installments.
Another thing I really liked was the twist in the third act. Truthfully, I didn't see it coming at all. M. Night Shyamalan would have been proud of this twist.
Aside from Michael Keaton, Tom Holland, and Zendaya there just isn't a whole lot to like about the movie. The action is very underwhelming and not very well done. I really can't get over how poorly done the action was aside from a select few tidbits. Many of the jokes missed and fell flat. The movie sort of just went through the motions. It does a fairly decent job, but could have done so much better.
The biggest issue with this movie is that it manages to make Spider-Man seem like he's unnecessary. Honestly, I don't think he actually helps one person. Through out the entire film Peter is constantly putting tons of people at risk. Had Spider-Man just stayed away, things wouldn't have turned out as badly. Every time he makes an appearance to stop a crime, he escalates the situation and everything goes to shit. Had he just stayed away collateral damage would have been minimal or even completely non-existent. I guess this might be due to the fact he's just a kid and doesn't really know when he's doing? I understand he's just trying to help and wants to do the right thing. I wish the movie would have thrown him a bone or two and actually made him the hero of the situation instead of making it seem like it would have been better had he not even showed up.
I'm not going to lie, I think the director Jon Watts was kind of in over his head. I did enjoy it, but not nearly as much as I had hoped. I left the theater mildly disappointed. I expected this to be one of the better films in the MCU, not one of the weaker ones :(. Perhaps my expectations were too high. Spider-Man is my favorite Super-Hero and my expectations were rather enormous. Here's to hoping I like it more after a re-watch!

Rating: 3.5/5 (B)

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Okja (2017) Review

This is the closest thing we'll ever get to a live-action Hayao Miyazaki film.
Sweet, heartwarming, and adventurous Okja is easily Netflix's best film so far. Bong Joon-ho has created something really special here. A tale of a girl and the love she has for her pet. I was sucked in from the start. The tone isn't at all what I was expecting, but it turned out to be a very pleasant surprise. Okja isn't perfect. It's a tad uneven and messy, but those are minor complaints. Overall all this film is a delight with some powerful messages on display. May I also add this film is visually stunning.
Bong Joon-ho is one of our greatest filmmakers.

Rating: 4.5/5

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Beguiled (2017) Review

Sofia's second best film behind Lost in Translation.
Fueled by outstanding performances The Beguiled is atmospheric, tension filled, and gorgeous. It's also moody, claustrophobic, and dramatic. I could go on and on. This movie was shot on film and used mostly natural lighting including candle-light, which added so much to the mood. This film is a dazzling technical achievement. It's truly a wonder to look at. Sofia directs the living hell out of this movie!
Performance-wise everyone brings their A-Game. We are not worthy of Kirsten Dunst and Nicole Kidman. Elle Fanning brings a ton of flare. Colin Farrell is charming and mysterious. Everyone watch out for Oona Laurence; she's a movie star in the making. I can't get over the performances. It's very difficult to pick a standout because everyone is so incredible. This is the best performance driven movie I have seen in quite sometime.
I love period pieces and melodramas so much. There's no doubt that The Beguiled is one of the best.

Rating: 4.5/5

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Book of Henry (2017) Review

I can't tell you how many reviews I've seen that claim this film is one of the worst movies ever made. To me that's absolutely ridiculous. Is The Book of Henry good? Not particularly. But is it one of the worst movies in existence? Absolutely not. To me, it was simply average. For the most part it's harmless. The film does take a very drastic turn in the 3rd act and I can understand someone not being a fan of that. However, the performances in this movie were very good. The kids and Noami Watts were all great. The part where this film really falters in the script. If we got a better script this movie would have been quite good. 

Rating: 2.5/5

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Baby Driver (2017) Review

Baby Driver is the best mixtape ever assembled.
I don't think a movie has got my adrenaline pumping as much as this movie just did. To say this film was exhilarating would be the understatement of the century.
Car chases has now reach magnum opus. There's no reason to have another car chase in a movie because it will never come close to the car chases in Baby Driver.
Ansel Elgort plays one of the best skewed heroes ever put on screen. I haven't rooted this hard for a criminal ever.
Jamie Foxx absolutely KILLS it! He plays the slimiest guy ever and I hated him with every ounce of my being.
Lily James stole my heart.
On my drive home from the theater I had one of the jam sessions of my life. Threw on the tunes and just drove baby!
B A B Y!!

Rating: 5/5

Transformers: The Last Knight (2017) Review

If you thought Michael Bay went full Michael Bay years ago, I present you Transformers: The Last Knight. You seriously have no idea. I loved the opening. Michael Bay goes full Michael Bay in medieval times. Apparently there were tons of explosions in medieval times, who would have known?

Transformers: The Last Knight is unintentionally hilarious due to its sheer ridiculousness. I laughed out loud several times through out the film. The narrative and tone is everywhere. Yet, I found everything going on fascinating. I was glued to the screen and thoroughly engaged.

Mark Wahlberg goes Elliot Moore from The Happening on our asses. Anthony Hopkins is hamming it up and calling people names. Cogman is a C3P0 knockoff and I actually found him funny. I'm shocked how much cursing this movie got away with. There's a curse word like every 5 minutes lol.

This movie is completely bonkers. I don't know WTF I just watched. I have no idea how to rate this, so I'm just going to go with a 2.5. This is one of those movies that needs to be seen to be believed. I'd watch this again in a heartbeat before I watched Age of Extinction. I can't wait to buy this movie on Blu-Ray.

Rating: 2.5/5

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Spirited Away (2001) Review

This is the first anime that I have ever seen. Let me tell you, it was a down right amazing experience. This is a journey I will never forget!
The visuals, music, and characters were all outstanding. I especially loved all of these characters; they were so well thought out. It's obvious that Miyazaki cared immensely about everything in this beautiful film.
The imagination that was contained in this movie was something truly special. Not only is Spirited Away easily my favorite animated film of all-time; it's one of my favorite films period!  

Rating: 5/5

Colossal (2017) Review

Alright, so I originally saw this movie at TIFF several months ago and I pretty much hated it. I went in expecting one thing and got something completely different.
Upon seeing it again, Colossal is fantastic. This movie is brutal. At times it's actually pretty hard to watch. There's some very dark shit in this film. This movie is essentially about alcoholism, mental illness, anger management, abusive relationships, broken dreams. There is some comedy to lighten things up and it works, but man this is a heavy handed flick below the surface.
Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis give outstanding performances. Both of them play incredibly flawed characters and they completely knock it out of the park. Very impressed with them. Easily Jason's best performance to date. 

Rating: 4.5/5

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) Review

Marvel's funniest and best looking film to date. This might be the best looking comic book film I've seen. The visuals from this movie came straight out of the comic books. Amazing use of colors. Visually this kind of reminded me of Speed Racer.
The humor worked wonders for me. I've been very critical of humor in Marvel movies. But they knocked it out of the park in this imo. There was a surprising amount of raunchy jokes. There are both dick and poop jokes which I'm usually not a fan of, but them coming out of Drax's mouth was pure gold. The dude has comedic delivery like no other.
The character development in this movie is aces. The story is nothing special, but the character development surely makes up for it. The relationships between characters evolved so much. I loved these characters before, but I appreciate them even more now as individuals.
Also, Drax absolutely owns it. Yondu was the other highlight for me.

Rating: 4/5