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Movie Reviews: The Incredible Jessica James, Message From the King

August 11, 2017

the_incredible_jessica_james_posterThe Incredible Jessica James is the first of two Netflix films I’ve watched recently. This one is the comedy of the two, and while I did chuckle a few times it’s not nearly as funny as I would an all out comedy to be. The plot is kinda boring and takes forever to get going, but thankfully Jessica Williams and Chris O’Dowd do have great chemistry as the awkward romance of the film. I dunno, I don’t wanna hate on it too hard, it just didn’t really feel like it had anything to say. Maybe I’m just a snob, 6.5/10

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mftk-120x160-affiche-b-hdMessage From the King is a revenge fueled action film that I watched solely because it starred Chadwick Boseman kicking ass and using an African accent. Basically being Black Panther without the suit, it will definitely satisfy fans during the long wait for February. The plot is pretty standard as far as revenge action goes, but Boseman along with Alfred Molina and Luke Evans really elevate this with their performances. Fabrice Du Welz directed his first English language film to great effect, easily transitioning between the high tension moments and the slower moments. 7.75/10

 

P.S. Is anybody else pissed off that Netflix’s rating system is binary now?

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Movie Reviews: The Void (2016), Salt and Fire (2016), The Girl on the Train (2016)

August 3, 2017

voidThe Void is a wild homage to the work of David Cronenberg, George Romero, and horror in general. It’s an insane mix of slasher horror, supernatural horror, body horror and monster horror with a nice dose of survival horror tropes thrown in from various video game influences. I’ve never seen anything else from this director but it’s pretty clear that he loves the 80’s. Acting is decent, nothing outstanding but nothing terrible either. Score was appropriately dark and foreboding, I can best describe it as industrial ambience. The special effects may have been my favorite parts of this film, at least 90% is practical and it looks so good! Super gross and insanely detailed monsters that even bleed out monster guts when hit. Overall it’s not the best movie but it’s damn fun especially for horror fans, 8.75/10 check it out on Netflix.

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mv5by2e5odezn2utndqxmy00y2jhltg5zwqtmmywyzaxzty0ymy2xkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymtq3ody4ndm-_v1_uy1200_cr9106301200_al_Salt and Fire is the latest film from art house weirdo Werner Herzog. The plot revolves around a group of environmental scientists that are kidnapped by an eccentric CEO,and if that brief synopsis excites you then prepare to be disappointed. The acting here is pretty good with Michael Shannon doing a lot of the heavy lifting, but the characters are paper thin and utterly unbelievable by the time the credits roll around. The directing feels stiff, like maybe Herzog is still stuck in a documentary state of mind. Story was intriguing at first, but it goes in the least interesting direction and leaves me feeling like i wasted my time once it gets there. Overall I’d say skip it, but it’s on Netflix if you need to see it for yourself. 5/10

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girl-on-train-movie-posterThe Girl on the Train is a film that I wanted to see when it came out, but avoided once I saw the reviews. My roommates rented it recently and I can safely say that the film is nowhere near as bad as many critics seem to think. Sure the pacing was a little maddening, but much of that feels intentional with the black out drunk main character. The acting is amazing, Emily Blunt is the number one reason to see this. Story is a super intriguing murder mystery, but it was pretty easy to guess the who dun it even with all of the misinformation. If you’re a fan of the genre then I would definitely check it out, 7.5/10.

Movie Review: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

July 27, 2017

valerian_final_alt3_1sht_27x39_smallThe latest film from Luc Besson is overflowing with thousands of amazing ideas, but it has no clue what to do with all of the ideas at play here. I mean there are seriously several films worth of ideas on screen at any given time, but they flew past as quickly as they came with little to no impact on the main plot.

Speaking of the main plot, it was a mess, and it’s told in the most confusing way possible. Dialogue was also shit for the most part, cringe worthy really. Especially when the only conversations our main characters have with each other is about their possible relationship.

Acting was rough all around, but I really need to call out Dane Dehaan as the stiffest and least convincing of the whole bunch. Cara Delevingne still isn’t the best actress, but I can at least say that she’s getting better and better with each new role I see her in.

Special effects were amazing, beautiful even at parts. But maybe that’s kinda part of the problem too? I really feel like Luc Besson just wanted an excuse to film a bunch of these cool cgi action sequences, and didn’t care at all about the connective tissue. Giving him such a ridiculous budget to blow through didn’t help things either.

Overall I can’t recommend going out and paying full ticket for this, but once it hits streaming I think it’ll be a great movie to watch while smoking and drinking with friends. So bad it’s good is a phrase that comes to mind. 5.5/10

Movie Review: War for the Planet of the Apes

July 25, 2017

apes-war-srgb_dc-1Looking back on this modern Apes trilogy I can safely say that my biggest problem with the series is the confusing and nonsensical titles. Honestly most of the flaws you can find are easily overlooked due to the amazing characterization and performances. But if you weren’t a fan of the previous two films then you probably won’t dig this one either.

Acting is superb here from both Andy Serkis and Woody Harrelson. Story is epic with the biblical tropes in play as Caesar ascends into legend. Score is also amazing from Michael Giacchino, helping to build up the various epic scenes. The cgi is incredible, it’s nearly impossible to tell that there are no actual apes in the film. Overall this series of Apes films deserve the attention of any sci-fi fan and this third installment is no exception. 8/10

Movie Review: Spider-Man Homecoming

July 11, 2017

spider-man-homecoming-amazing-fantasy-exclusive-poster-nerdistPlease Sony, have have to resign this deal with Marvel. You can’t take this away from me, I have needed this in my life. This is the fifth live action Spider-Man film and in my opinion this is the first one to truly capture the essence of Peter Parker. Not only is he in the MCU proper, but he’s in High School for the whole movie. He’s naive and optimistic and funny just the way Stan Lee used to write him.

Tom Holland is Amazing in the role and I would call him the stand out performance if not for Michael fucking Keaton as the Vulture who steals damn near every scene he’s in. Spidey’s supporting cast is pretty great, can’t wait to see them fleshed out more in a sequel. Robert Downy Jr. is on point as usual, he could play Tony Stark in his sleep and it’ll really suck when he inevitably leaves Marvel.

Directing here is Spectacular, I’ve never seen anything else from Jon Watts but he left a good first impression. Pacing was fast and energetic like our teenaged hero and I really appreciated the small scale superhero action. This film also managed to capture an iconic Lee/Ditko moment and I loved how Jon Watts directed it.

Story here is very small scale and it has no big impacts on the MCU outside of Peter’s personal development, but that’s kinda why I liked it so much. It felt like I was just watching an issue or two of a comic story being played out on screen. There are some Sensational ideological parallels going on between Tony Stark and Vulture going on and I loved how Peter ended up not completely siding with either of them.

The score was awesome, I was in love as soon as I heard the orchestral version of the old school 60’s theme. The songs that play in the film are also pretty sweet, though they don’t take the spotlight in this film, that seems to be strictly a Guardians thing.

Overall this is quite possibly my favorite Spider-Man film, I’d have to rewatch Spider-Man 2 (2004) to be sure but it feels right at the moment. 8.75/10

Movie Review: Okja

July 4, 2017

okja-posterThis movie was a trip that’s either giving typical genre conventions the finger or simply isn’t aware of them. This is the newest film from Bong Joon Ho, the director of Snowpiercer, and he still seems upset with corporate power and greed in this Netflix original film. I don’t want to give too much of the plot away, but it’s essentially My Neighbor Totoro meets Babe but with GMO and animal rights plot points woven throughout. So if you really love eating meat and or really hate giant cgi super pigs then this is not for you.

Acting was amazing, Ahn Seo-hyun plays the lead Mija and she seems to have mastered acting with something that isn’t actually there. Tilda Swinton is fantastic as always. Steven Yeun and Paul Dano have some great chemistry and I kinda want a spin off with them.

Jake Gyllenhaal though, holy shit man. I go back and forth on this performance, it’s like Steve Irwin by way of Ace Ventura and filtered through a broken set of morals. It’s sort of an awe to behold if not for the fact that it’s tonally at odds with the rest of the film. And for a film whose tone is truly all over the place that’s really saying something.

The title character is a giant cgi super pig and she looks amazing. Sure the cgi becomes slightly more obvious during the several chase and action sequences, but in the quiet moments between Mija and Okja I found myself forgetting that it wasn’t real.

Overall this film is fucking great if you’re sick of seeing the same kinds of plots over and over again. It might be a bit jarring at first, but it’s worth the ride and it’s on Netflix so you have no excuse. 8.75/10

Movie Review: Baby Driver

July 2, 2017

baby-driver-posterIf there’s one thing I’m more obsessive about then movies it would be music, and this film has an absolutely stunning array of music to share. And unlike Guardians of the Galaxy which is just 60’s and 70’s pop, Baby Driver features some deep cuts from everywhere and I fucking loved watching these amazing tunes play out to various kick ass car chases. Edgar Wright is still very much an insanely brilliant director, everything has a purpose and he very much rewards repeat viewers.

Acting here was also great, Jon Hamm in particular really impressing me for the first time since the end of Mad Men. Ansel Elgort sold the introverted thing well, and Jamie Foxx was kinda terrifying as an unhinged psychopath. Kevin Spacey was amazing of course, it goes without saying but I figured I should say it anyway.

Story here is the most basic element, not all that different from an old 70’s car movie plot, but it was executed well and felt different enough in a modern setting. It’s pretty hard to find fault in this film, it did exactly what it wanted to do and it did while firing on all cylinders, 9/10.