Category Archives: Movie Reviews

Venom (movie review)

DETAILS:

Director: Ruben Fleischer
Stars: Tom HardyMichelle Williams,Riz Ahmed
Runtime: 90 minutes
Categories: comicbook, superhero,  action, franchise
Runtime: 
1 hour 52 minutes

Release Date: October 5, 2018

OVERALL: It is a lot better than I expected. It was enjoyable, more so then even some of the Avenger movies. Just don’t have huge expectations.

STORYLINE

Journalist Eddie Brock is trying to take down Carlton Drake, the notorious and brilliant founder of the Life Foundation. While investigating one of Drake’s experiments, Eddie’s body merges with the alien Venom — leaving him with superhuman strength and power. Twisted, dark and fueled by rage, Venom tries to control the new and dangerous abilities that Eddie finds so intoxicating.

REVIEW

We went into the movie expecting it to be horrible. I have seen a couple of reviews that they didn’t like it at all. With that said, from when we sat down, to the moment we got up I enjoyed the whole thing.

I understand overall on Rotten Tomatoes gave it 30%, but the consumer score was 88%. I think that shows the disconnect between reviewers and what the audience wants. To me that means the critics don’t understand what other people like.

Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t an academy award winner. It isn’t Black Panther, but it is entertaining an action packed the entire way. The reason though I felt it was so good was the bits of humor tossed in, and the interaction between the Venom symbiote and Tom Hardy’s character. That was the best part.

The action and relationship scenes are pretty standard. Good special effects, a tight story and not exceeding two hours all fed into something enjoyable. The best part for me was the internal monologue. I truly wish they had put more in there. The banter between Tom Hardy and Venom was incredibly funny. I would tell you my favorite interaction but since I don’t want to make my website adults only you will have to see it when you watch it, its the one involving an elevator and the roof.

The movie isn’t the best, but it was good enough for me (and better then some of Marvel’s other stuff) that I will go see the sequel if they have one. I recommend you do the same.

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The Predator (2018) (movie review)

DETAILS:

Director: Shane Black
Stars: Boyd HolbrookTrevante RhodesJacob Tremblay, Olivia Munn
Runtime: 90 minutes
Categories: sci-fi, action, franchise
Runtime: 
1 hour 47 minutes

Release Date: September 14, 2018

OVERALL: A not horrible, not great sci-fi update of the Predator franchise. It wasn’t something I regret seeing in the theater, but unless you have a close personal relationship with the series, it can wait until netflix/redbox.

STORYLINE

From the outer reaches of space to the small-town streets of suburbia, the hunt comes home. The universe’s most lethal hunters are stronger, smarter and deadlier than ever before, having genetically upgraded themselves with DNA from other species. When a boy accidentally triggers their return to Earth, only a ragtag crew of ex-soldiers and an evolutionary biologist can prevent the end of the human race.

REVIEW

First and foremost, Shane Black really messed up by hiring on a convicted sex offender and having them work with the crew. Unacceptable and not at all forgivable. That being said, the movie itself is better than most reviews show, but doesn’t hold a candle to the original, or the 2010 Predators with Adrienne Brody and Walton Goggin.

The story suffers from trying to do too much. Too many storylines, too much detail of the universe, and honestly Shane Black (and the actors/actresses involved) wouldn’t be up to updating the franchise with so much in so little.

I wonder how much of the problems though were Shane Black and how much the studio. I have read that they reshot a ton of film, edited, etc after the studio saw the movie. Maybe the original version would have been worth it.

I do like that it isn’t a reboot, but a continuation. I think the franchise definitely has more life in it, but that is because I love that kind of sci-fi. Unfortunately I don’t think Shane Black should do the next movie.

It was worth the matinee price I paid, and yes I will go see the next Predator movie that comes out. Although that is partially because it is just something I do. I go see all the Aliens, Predators and Friday the 13ths that come out. Blame it on my horrible 80s childhood.

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Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone (movie review)

DETAILS:

Director: Lamont Johnson
Stars: Peter Strauss, Molly RingwaldErnie Hudson, Michael Ironside
Runtime: 90 minutes
Categories: retro, sci-fi, post apocalyptic, space western, 3d
Release Date: May 20, 1983

OVERALL: A great retro sci-fi/apocalypse movie to watch! If you can put up with the bad special effects and bad writing.

STORYLINE

A crash-landed salvager (Peter Strauss) meets a waif (Molly Ringwald) and saves women from a cyborg (Michael Ironside) on Terra 11.

REVIEW

As the first review I want to do with movies from earlier in history, I have to say I wasn’t too disappointed.

I do believe I saw it about 30 years ago when I was a teenager, I don’t remember it too well (the hubby had to remind me which movie it was). However I do really think it weathered time pretty well.

Let’s get out of the way the bad acting/sets or especially the special effects. This is the 80s (early 80s even) and it was all about cheap special effects back then. I don’t remember them being this bad, but even back then they weren’t very good.

The actors do fairly well. There are some famous names such as Molly Ringwald as Nicki and Michael Ironside as the bad guy Over Dog. Of course Peter Strauss who is someone I also recognize plays Wolff is the main character, but he doesn’t click with me.

The story itself is a trope. Three ladies are kidnapped and need to be rescued. I was pleasantly surprised it wasn’t more rapey. Don’t get me wrong there are a couple of scenes that are bad, but for the 1980s schlock sci-fi it wasn’t as bad as I expected.

I also really liked the fact that Wolff didn’t fall in love romantically with Nicki, he became more of father figure. It is nice to see stories that don’t deal with romance at all, instead focus on other things… well as much as the bad writing allows.

Bad writing was the other aspect. I enjoyed it even with the writing because I expected it. I believe anyone hoping into this will be turned off if they don’t love horrible 80s movies.

I suspect I will see it again in a couple of years, we actually bought this copy on amazon an when I am sick, or nostalgic, it will be there.

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The Outsider (2018)

Worth it? Yes on Netflix. A typical Leto movie, it is enjoyable as a Netflix movie, but not much more then that.

After World War II, an American POW stays in Japan and works his way through the rituals and hardships of the yakuza to become a member of the crime organization.

Jared Leto seems to be a polarizing figure, and while I dislike some of his acting methods, I have overall liked his movies and his music. I liked him well enough in this movie, even if the movie itself is definitely direct to Netflix.

This review does have some spoilers, so if you don’t want details don’t read any more.

Outsider doesn’t have a lot of backstory in it. You never truly learn who Nick’s character is or where he came from before his time in a Japanese prison as a POW. However, the movie isn’t about that kind of thing, it is about Jared Leto being silent, staring death at others and befriending a yakuza boss named Kiyoshi by saving his life.

In return Kiyoshi invites Nick into his world of the Yakuza, where he earns a place begrudgingly into the family. What was a pleasant surprise is that he wasn’t fully accepted in by all members as he was gaijin, an outsider and it becomes clear even until the end of the movie that is where he is.

After the typical betrayals by others, a father figure killed and revenge taken on the betrayer by Leto the movie ends with the yakuza family still destroyed. I appreciated that Leto didn’t save the family in the end, he merely avenged their “father”.

I wouldn’t call this the typical white savior movie. In the end he doesn’t become in charge or actually save the family. His brutality and ability to just commit 100% to what he needs to do is what lets him finish his revenge.

To be honest I expected even with how much I like Jared Leto (still for no specific reason I can identify with) that he would be the problem in the movie, he isn’t. The writing and the pacing of the movie seem off, and it is not at all my favorite yakuza based movie. That being said it was worth watching, and while it only received 20% on critics on Rotten Tomato, evidently audience score was 70% so I don’t think I am alone here.

The good: The setting of the movie is different, Leto does his thing, and I like the Kiyoshi character and actor.

The bad: The pacing and directing seem off, the story is slow in spots and there isn’t a lot of originality. Also the flirtation with the white savior cliche is too close.

I would still recommend you see it when it is a rainy day and you don’t have anything else important to do.

Trailer: Sadly it makes the pacing seem better then the actual movie.

Cargo (2018)

Worth it? Not really, definite Netflix or Redbox movie.

Sometimes shorter is better.

Based on a short 7 minute movie produced in 2013, this full length feature with Martin Freeman attempts to expand and give more life to the short movie in the 2013 Tropfest Australia entry.

The problem is, the short movie was incredible. In its short run time it delivers an extremely impactful punch, getting rid of all fat, and just grabbing you by the feels. I dare you not to be teary eyed with sadness and happiness at the end of it.

TROPFEST ENTRY

My understanding is that this short movie was an attempt to farm a larger movie out to Hollywood and to get backing for it. The writers are right, it is a movie that deserved to be made, it had a slight change of trajectory from normal zombie movies and it was incredibly interesting.

The problem is, the short film was pretty much perfection, that means even though the longer Freeman movie was interesting, pulse pounding and ultimately in the end gave similar feels, it was way too long.

The addition of the aboriginal slant is incredible, the new characters not in the short definitely bring life, but it seems too big and bloated to me. It couldn’t compare to the short film in the end, and I don’t think it ever had the chance.

Either way, Cargo is a good zombie movie, I would maybe say great except having seen the original and given that title to the 7 minute movie means this didn’t have a chance for me.

If you haven’t seen the short, you may be more impressed then I am, but I highly recommend the short film over the long form. It leaves you time to watch other good things that aren’t just retreads of an original.

The good: Good writing, diverse cast and unusual zombie storyline makes it definitely watchable.

the bad: the fact that it is a redo of the short film means it lost a lot of impact with me.

 

The trailer is here:

Deadpool 2 (2018)

Worth it? Yes

What about Black Tom!!!!

Deadpool 2 was as good as I had hoped and I will try and relate some of it to you without any sort of spoilers. The snark and humor were just as good as before, along with an excellent cast of supporting heroes, villains and people who want to be assassins.

The humor and gore was nonstop, the fighting sequences a lot of fun and the banter between the characters was definitely top notch. Ryan Reynolds did his thing, proving he is the only person who is capable of playing Deadpool.

The rest of the cast was great, I think Josh Brolin did great as Cable, playing the straight man to Reynold’s comic. The supporting characters were a lot of fun. Domino played by Zazie Beetz was an awesome new character that I hope comes back for more movies, while for some reason I still hold a soft spot for Peter.

The villains were just as interesting, although to be honest the worst villain out of all of them was not any of the superpowered ones, it was the headmaster of the school. While all the other bad guys had something humorous or interesting about them the headmaster was truly something evil, probably because he truly represents the banality of evil, no powers except authority given to him by his position, and no reason for his behavior except he is truly a bad person.

The only thing I could have done with less of was the fourth wall breaking. Don’t get me wrong, that is a schtick that is definitely Deadpool, but this time it felt like just a little too much for me.

That being said, if you liked Deadpool 2 you will absolutely love this. If you haven’t seen Deadpool but like funny, gross and inappropriate humor you will still love this. If that isn’t something that appeals to you, then I can’t help that you are dead inside.

The good: great actors, funny movie, excellent fight scenes with a strong moral message about love.

the bad: too much fourth wall breaking, and the fact that Ryan Reynolds doesn’t know if there will be another standalone Deadpool only film, he doesn’t want to milk the character dry (although the good news is he thinks a group movie with Deadpool in there would be possible).

 

The trailer is here:

Rampage (2018)

Worth it? Yes. Surprisingly far better then I had expected.

I didn’t have high hopes for Rampage, I figured it would be a horrible video game movie with the normal horrible video game tropes. However, it has Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in it so I as sure it would be fun. Maybe those low expectations helped as I was pleasantly surprised though to find it not just fun but a rock solid monster movie.

It won’t win any high drama awards, but it stayed in the lane of being a monster movie and because of that there were no other expectations on it that it could fail. It included the requisite monsters, government ineptitude, great special effects, brutal monster eating people sequences, an evil corporation, and a hermit like scientific primatologist who used to be special forces, what wasn’t there to like.

The even more surprising thing is that the movie did not feel like a video game movie. Maybe that is why I liked it so much. It didn’t have the cheesy video game tropes and instead just took the basis of the video game and made it a decent monster movie (much how I always liked that Resident Evil was unevenly successful at the same thing but as a horror movie).

Nothing negative to say about this, it is a solid action and special effects driven monster movie that has The Rock as an ex-special forces primatologist.

The good: Everything was rock solid as a monster movie. Much better then The Mummy in this respect. Special effects, monsters, the Rock all enjoyable.

The bad: There wasn’t anything bad as long as you come in expecting just a monster movie. I did feel bad for the wolf though, won’t anyone think about the wolf?

Tomb Raider (2018)

Worth it? Catch it on Netflix. The movie was an incredible disappointment if you come in expecting Tomb Raider related to the series of games (or even previous movies). It made a so-so action movie with a bland taste and unoriginal story.

The acting was fine, there wasn’t a lot to show off the acting chops of anyone, but it wasn’t so horrible you cringe like you would on a straight to DVD movie. The story was bland, no real surprises and sadly no supernatural.

The lack of supernatural aspect was the most surprising part. It is the one thing that makes Tomb Raider the Tomb Raider you grew up with. Boss monsters, a bit of supernatural end of the world, etc was completely removed from the world. This was a straight forward action movie with no actual magic, or person locked in a tomb.

I really was disappointed they didn’t really stay with the video game reboot story. They kept a lot of chunks but left out most of the NPCs and all the cool portions of the story. The end result was a dry movie that was so bland and “meh” that I even now don’t remember everything.

The good: The acting was ok, but thats it – just ok.

The bad: The story was butchered and details of Lara Croft’s world so cut down that you wouldn’t recognize it as that world, even if some of the scenes were straight out of the video game.

Black Panther (2018)

Worth it? Yes. The movie was absolutely fantastic. Hands down one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. Full disclosure there will be a lot of similarities in this review to the review for Star Wars The Last Jedi and that is because a lot of white privileged crybabies are whining in their basement.

Let’s start with the negative aspects, there isn’t another one right this second. Yep, that is the only negative I could come up with.

The actors are all great, they were believable and intense (even better than Star Wars, yes I know that is sacrilege). To be honest the least favorite role I saw was Martin Freeman’s CIA agent. Compared to the intensity of everyone else

The plot was absolutely great. I don’t want to go in too much detail so not to spoil it, but the story kept going and didn’t feel too slow or too fast. It gave both room for actual speaking parts for more then just the lead man, there seemed to be a very strong woman’s presence and I loved it.

The special effects we all knew were going to be stunning, so it doesn’t really get too much surprise from me.

I did have some weird encounters about the movie after it was over.

One of my “friends” said it sucked because he couldn’t identify with anyone in the movie but Martin Freeman and his character sucked.” I just stood there dumbly listening to this person who had only recently said there is plenty of representation for people of color in movies, and that it isn’t a big deal if there is only one character your skin color.

I asked him who his favorite character was in Lord of the Rings, and he loved Gimli. I asked him why could he identify with Gimli, another species, who has no basis in reality, but not with any of the wonderful actors on the screen. I knew I made my point when he stomped off saying “F*** Y** Lucky”.

I thought the movie was so great on all levels. Not just the standard technical direction/acting/SFX but on giving marginalized people a voice. I hope there are a lot more. I will buy the tickets the same day they come out.

The good: Everything you could imagine, most importantly it was all the cast, not just the stars.

The bad: The whiny neckbeard whiners. They just came out of the basement long enough to harass people and then they will disappear again. Someday they might learn they have to share, then maybe they will join us here in reality.

SW: The Last Jedi (2017)

Worth it? Yes. I loved the entire movie, and probably for the same reason that so many neckbeards hated it.

There may be slight spoilers, so read beyond this at your own peril.

Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely things they could have done better. Interactions that lasted a little too long or felt just a little off. However, the whole of the movie is far better then the parts say it should be. There are so many parts that are so good. However this review has to stay short so I will only cover four.

I love the fact that it destroyed the whole Skywalker bloodline as being the center of the movie and universe. The fact that Rey supposedly is not anyone special, that her family were just drunks means you don’t have to be a Solo or a Skywalker to have the Force choose you or to be able to wield it. Some say that isn’t what the movie says, but I just leave the example of the child at the end using the force to pick up the broom.

I love the fact that Kylo Ren is an obvious stand in for the whiney alt-right man babies. He whines about the same things and throws the same kind of fits. His callous disregard for Rey being uncomfortable with him being shirtless is just one small, tiny example that encapsulates the alt-right self-importance. The whole crying about remaking the empire sparks that same MAGA concept the racists/sexist crowd in real life spouts. It is perfect movie model of real life.

I also am ecstatic that it destroys the expanded universe of Star Wars. I am sorry everyone, but I am old enough to have read those books when they came out but the vast majority of them SUCKED. I mean absolutely sucked with no redeeming quality. I am glad to sacrifice the few good things to get rid of the rest of that garbage. I like that Disney is making a clean slate to entertain and tell a story about that universe, especially once SW IX is done.

However, the final part and best part is making space for people who aren’t white males as heroes and as the center of the story. This is coming from a white male, I am damn tired of the same old tired stories that don’t give everyone else a chance in the spotlight. I can easily watch and love something that has women, alternate orientations, and people of color as the stars. I can identify them as someone to look up to. This benefits everyone, gives us a richer field to choose movies from and puts everyone on the same footing.  I look forward to more of this and I will happily spend my hard earned money supporting these ventures.

The good: The wide range of actors and actresses, the opening up of the universe, and just about everything SJW this movie does.

The bad: There were little things that bothered me, but nothing any other movie would have done. The biggest bad of this is having to wait 2 more years for SW IX.

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