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Movie Review: Pokemon Detective Pikachu

May 17, 2019

detective-pikachu-reald-3dThis may not be the most original film I’ve ever seen, but it did fulfill my childhood wish of seeing these creatures in a live action movie and that’s almost enough for me all on it’s own. The story takes a fairly standard detective plot and just adds Pokemon into every facet of it. We follow Justice Smith’s character after the presumed death of his father, a detective whose partner is a talking Pikachu.

Justice Smith does a pretty good job handling all the heavy emotional lifting of the film while acting with a creature that isn’t there. Ryan Reynolds is fine, basically just doing his thing as his character is buried under an endless barrage of one liners. Bill Nighy and Ken Watanabe add some much appreciated gravitas. Kathryn Newton is probably the weakest link here; on one hand she feels like a character from the cartoon which I appreciate but since nobody else is bringing that energy her performance sticks out.

The movie moves along at a nice breezy pace, though not so fast that you don’t question certain confusing plot points. Henry Jackman made a pretty awesome score, maybe could have used a few more cues from the games but still pretty awesome. Also need to give a big hats off to the army of CGI artists who brought this world to life in a way that wasn’t horrifying to look at. Except for Mr. Mime, he was appropriate levels of horrifying.

Overall I highly recommend this for even casual Poke’fans, but the less invested in the franchise you are the less invested in the film you’ll be. That being said it does set a new bar for video game adaptions and I’d definitely check out a sequel or spin off. 7.5/10

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Movie Review: The Man Who Killed Hitler And Then The Bigfoot

May 4, 2019

mv5bmtg2nzi4njy1nl5bml5banbnxkftztgwnjuxotc3ntm40._v1_The title of this film promises a completely different experience then the one I received while watching it. I wanted to like it so much, but this film is just a mess. I mean you expect some kind of action film with that title but instead you’re confronted by long shots of Sam Elliot walking from one end of the screen to the other, almost like the director is trying to pad out the film to make sure it’s film length.

Speaking of Sam Elliot, he’s easily the best part of this film. The whole cast plays it bizarrely straight for what’s essentially the premise of an Adult Swim show, but it’s Sam that is giving a really outstanding performance in this film that doesn’t deserve him. Also gotta shout out Aiden Turner who plays a young Sam Elliot.

The story is somewhat engaging during the first half of the film, but it completely loses all sense of logic and pacing in the second half. Literally everything that has to do with the titular Bigfoot makes almost zero sense. It was the part of the film I was patiently waiting for and the ball was dropped in every way.

The score did nothing to help with the already disparate tones of this film. I’ve liked Joe Kraemer scores in the past, but this sounded phoned in. Imagine a cheesy Lifetime movie score and you’ll know what this one sounds like.

Aside from not making much sense Bigfoot is also a poorly designed monstrosity. Not in a scary sense, just in a ugly as fuck what were they thinking kind of way. The film started going down hill as soon as it introduced the Bigfoot stuff but it goes completely off the rails once the thing shows up. rearing it’s unbelievably ugly face.

Overall I probably wasn’t high enough for this film. Godspeed to anyone that wants to risk watching it. 5.75/10

Movie Review: Destroyer (2018)

May 3, 2019

91ctvawilrl._sy606_Finally got to see this on Hulu and I can confirm that Nicole Kidman was absolutely snubbed at this past Academy Awards. She plays a hard as nails detective with a dark past that has finally come back to haunt her. I don’t want to give away much more of the plot then that, but I will say that this film is a pure crime drama and includes all the things one should want from a good crime drama.

Acting is good all around but this is Kidman’s film, she carries it on her shoulders with ease while being completely unrecognizable as she tackles an archetype that I’ve never seen her play before. I mean I always knew she was an amazing actress but seeing her prove it again in such a visceral manner is an experience.

Karyn Kusama has quite the interesting filmography. Mostly horror, but also one sports film and one sci-fi action. I’ve only seen one of them before Destroyer but even so I think this should be a genre she explore further considering how tight of a film this is. My one minor gripe would be that the ending is a little confusing due to how the film starts, but that’s a nitpick and I eventually figured it out.

The score is mostly depressing as fuck, but with a few drops of eerie thrown in for good measure. It’s many layers of ambient synths with very light instrumentation mixed in throughout and it really makes you feel the way Nicole Kidman looks in this film. It reminds me very much of Brian Eno.

Overall this is a pretty amazing film that needs more eyeballs on it. Watch and try not to let it destroy you. 9/10

Movie Review: Unicorn Store

May 2, 2019

mv5bmjuymty2otkwmf5bml5banbnxkftztgwodeyoda3nzm40._v1_Brie Larson makes her directorial debut with this quirky deconstruction/celebration of the manic pixie dream girl trope. She plays the lead, an aspiring artist who’s aesthetic is all about rainbows and whimsy. This gets her kicked out of art school pretty early in the film. Soon after she meets Samuel L. Jackson who offers to sell her a unicorn and the film may or may not lose you at this point.

Brie Larson is in the zone for this role and has assembled a steller supporting cast to play off of. Joan Cusack and Bradley Whitford are perfect as her parents and Karan Soni cements his status as a comic relief actor. Sam Jackson and her also bring back that Captain Marvel chemistry back for this which is nice.

Directing wasn’t bad, just a little boring. Brie Larson has the same problem that most actors turned director have which is a hyper focus on the actors and their performances at the expense of all other aspects of the film. That being said though she did get great performances from everyone. I’d like to see her widen her scope some more if she were to direct again.

Overall this is a nice quirky time killer that gets by on earnest charm. 7.75/10

Movie Review – Avengers: Endgame

April 26, 2019

 

avengers-endgame-poster-boss-logic__scaled_600They did it, they stuck the landing. A decade of storytelling paid off in a film that is ludicrously satisfying on every level. I felt elated walking out of the theater, sad, excited and satisfied all at once. Most films should be enjoyable on their own, but I don’t see anyone being able to follow this film without having seen a fair number of the previous films. This is self referential fan service done in the best possible way, doubly so if you read comics.

All of the actors knock it out of the park here, fully immersed in their characters after a decade of fine tuning. Their chemistry with each other feels natural and really elevates an already amazing film. Even the new additions to the cast fit right in like they’ve been here the whole time. Robert Downy Jr. deserves a special call out though; he’s delivered an amazing Tony Stark since the very beginning but he really took it above and beyond for this film. Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson also bring their all really elevating all of their scenes both together and apart.

The Russo brothers are just as important as the cast here. They fully cracked the code to epic scale superhero storytelling. That’s the genre of this film, Superhero Epic and without spoiling it I can promise you that it lives up to that and then some. I will say that one of the brothers got a cameo in the film that was a little jarring for me, but the rest of the film was full of so much awesome I’ll let him have it.

I don’t feel comfortable even giving a loose synopsis. I can tell you that it’s an emotional journey unlike anything Marvel Studios has attempted before, managing to give complete arcs to the original six Avengers that. I just don’t feel like I should get into the hows and whys here.

Alan Silvestri delivers another great score for Marvel. It flows seamlessly in-between serene and bombastic as the story demands, leaving just enough room for some classic rock tunes. I also love the different ways it plays with that classic Avengers theme.

The special effects were pretty damn surgical looking. They spent a huge load of money on this film and trust me you get to see damn near every penny on screen at various points in the film. Thanos looks amazing still, Hulk looks better then ever and the third act is beautiful insanity.

Overall I know that this film has a few flaws, but it was overwhelmingly satisfying. I loved just about every second and it’s nearly impossible to imagine this film being improved upon. 10/10

Movie Review: Pet Sematary

April 19, 2019

mv5bmjuynjg1odiwml5bml5banbnxkftztgwnjmyotyznzm40._v1_It’s a little hard to describe this film without giving away major spoilers, but it’s a remake and a novel adaption both of which are three decades old; so maybe I’ll spoil just a little bit. The story follows a family whose pet cat is run over. The father is instructed to bury the cat on a Native American burial ground which for reasons never fully made clear brings the cat back to life. The cat came back wrong though and if you’re a fan of horror then I’m sure you’ve seen or read a similar story before.

John Lithgow is pretty great as the hermit neighbor that befriends the family and Amy Seimetz is fantastic as the mother who’s dealing with a lot of traumatic memories. The real scene stealer of the film though is Jeté Laurence who plays the daughter; she’s a truly amazing child actor who really needs to be cast in more stuff. On the other end of the acting spectrum is Jason Clarke who just wasn’t convincing here. It’s a shame because I’ve liked him in other films, but it didn’t feel like he was taking the material seriously.

Overall it’s a fine middle of the road film, better then lots of other Stephen King adaptions in any case. I know a lot of people haven’t been able to take the third act seriously, but if you can accept the premise then you should like it well enough. Still probably better off waiting for it to be streaming though. 7/10

Movie Review: Shazam!

April 14, 2019

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Billy Batson and his alter ego made their debut back in 1940 as Captain Marvel, published by Fawcett Comics. That was the start of the most convoluted meta narrative in the history of the medium. It’s worth a Google if you want all the deets, but long story short Marvel Comics now owns the Captain Marvel name, this film is called Shazam and the character’s super hero name is undetermined. Confusing history aside I can’t tell you how nice it is to a DC film that doesn’t have a shred of Zack Snyder’s influence in it.

The story follows the orphan Billy Batson on his quest to find his birth mother. His priorities change when a mysterious old wizard teaches Billy a magic word that can transform him into an adult sized super hero. There’s also a villain with a similar power set, a classic super hero plot for a classic character.

The acting is pretty great. Mark Strong is chewing up every scene as a surprisingly well developed villain, the best in the entire DC film series now that I think about it. His adopted family are all good too, but the family is maybe a little too large because most of them don’t get developed at all. My one acting issue would be how different Zachary Levi and Asher Angel feel. They’re supposed to be the same person but I never bought it, the actors are just not on the same page as each other. On a side note Djimon Hounsou is awesome and if he could just keep getting cast as random DC characters then that would be hilarious in the best way.

This is David S. Sandberg’s third film and you can tell that first two were horror. This is still a light hearted film at it’s core but the villain does have his own arc and he pushes the limits of how violent a PG-13 film can be. It gives the the film a nice edge that’s been missing from kid films recently.

Overall this is an enjoyable film that stands as a third step in the right direction for DC films. 8/10