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  #11  
Old 01-26-2017, 08:42 AM
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Barry Jenkins's "Moonlight" is one of the most wonderful stories of the year. I caught it today on the big screen (it hasn't premiered in here) and I absolutely loved it. But I mean, what IS love? Well, that's exactly the story this movie tells, without ever mentioning it's about that. In reality this movie is a life story, a shadow life, of young Chiron in three of the most important chapters in his life. You have good feelings for characters that you wouldn't normally have, such as Mahershala Ali's drug dealer Juan. You feel sad at society for being composed of morons trying to be thug, but even that Barry Jenkins ends up painting in a better light given what happens to his main character. I don't even want to talk about Paula (Naomi Harris). I hated early in the movie, but the feels later on... Damn you Jenkins!

It's a homage to love, all kinds of love, and aside from a beautiful script, you also have a beautiful score and a beautiful picture/cinematography. It's not too long like "Manchester By The Sea", so you never get bored. You get into it, more and more.

On a personal note, I don't remember ever seeing such good chemistry between an adult and a child actor like Mahershala Ali and Alex R. Hibbert's ("Little" Chiron). It was beautiful.

Rating: 5/5
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  #12  
Old 01-28-2017, 02:06 PM
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If it wasn't for the cast, there's no way this movie would've had the buzz it had for The Oscars. Viola Davis and Denzel Washington were both great and I finally understand why Viola is dominating the award season, even though it's a stretch to call her a secondary element of the movie. Troy (Denzel Washington) may be the catalyst for the plot to move forward, but it's Rose (Viola Davis) who adds the drama for her husband's actions.

This movie is based on a play by the same name and I get it's always hard to make the transition from that genre to the big screen, but I thought Denzel Washington did his best as director to make a successful story out of it. For me, personally, the bigger message of race, religion and purpose of life didn't really came across as I believe there was a lot of plot lines and pictures with a bigger meaning, such as Gable's trumpet and his whole St. Peter shtick. I know that now, because I did some research on it, but while experiencing the movie, I was more concerned about consequences and family, which also makes it a good movie. It's more complex than what I got and I understand it and for that reason, it didn't blow me away.

It's still a good movie and Denzel's charisma is more than enough to hook you in. May not be everyone's cup of tea though and I'm totally fine with that.

Rating: 4/5
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  #13  
Old 02-03-2017, 09:51 PM
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I haven't posted in a while and since I don't want to watch too many movies before posting my small opinion in here, today I'm going to talk about the last two I watched in the cinema.


"Hidden Figures" is the dark horse for this year's Oscars. It probably does not have the same amount of complexity or timing as "La La Land" and "Moonlight" have, respectively. It's just a great movie overall and it's an "happy" movie. It's a comedy with little drama that's sold really well. Kevin Costner really brought his A-game that I've not seen since his 1991's "JFK" and of course, Taraji P. Henson gave it all for her character. It's a criticism against racism in society ("Moonligh" isn't that, unless you count a black cast a critic to it), which could have not come in a better time and of course, it's a movie about how great The United States is, which we all know the Academy loves.

Seek it out for a good time feel in the movies. Also be in check for Theodore Melfi's work in the future. It's his second long feature and it's even better than it's first "St. Vincent" (which got his share of good reviews too).

Rating: 4,5/5


It deserves the good buzz it's getting. "Split" is the return of M. Night Shyamalan to his good form. It's 2017's "10 Cloverfield Lane", as in a small production with a small cast and overall great acting and plot. My comparison to last year's silent hit isn't a coincidence and I really urge everyone that's a fan of the director's early work to go and be amazed by it's last scene.

I usually don't spoil anything from the movie, so back on track, we gotta give a hand of applause to James McAvoy. He carried the movie through and throughout in his role as 23 other personalities (even if we don't see them all as much as the big four). He's legit funny and serious and the plot really shines around him. I couldn't have asked for a better movie myself and I enjoyed the heck out of everything. A safe bet could not exist if you plan on catching a movie with friends or that special girl and want to avoid romance or god forbid "Fifty Shades Darker".

Rating: 3,5/5
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  #14  
Old 02-05-2017, 03:16 PM
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Rogue One made it to the #2 spot for 2016 and is still being shown. It's about to break into the top 20 on the all time listing. It probably won't get much further at this point though that is still impressive. The biggest releases so far this year have been "XXX: Return of Xander Cage" and "A Dog's Purpose". This week we will have a couple of big releases that will surely be at the top of 2017's highest grossing films for some time, "The Lego Batman Movie" and "Fifty Shades Darker" which is a sequel to 2015's " Fifty Shades of Grey".


Recent Releases:
1/6: Underworld: Blood Wars
1/6: Arsenal
1/13: The Bye Bye Man
1/13: Sleepless
1/13: Monster Trucks
1/13: 100 Streets
1/13: The Book of Love
1/20: Split
1/20: XXX: Return of Xander Cage
1/20: The Resurrection of Gavin Stone
1/20: Trespass Against Us
1/20: Lost in London
1/20: Detour
1/25: Sophie and the Rising Sun
1/27: Lost in Florence
1/27: I Am Michael
1/27: A Dog's Purpose
1/27: Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
2/3: Rings
2/3: The Space Between Us
2/3: Youth in Oregon
2/3: War on Everyone

Upcoming Releases:
2/10: The Lego Batman Movie
2/10: Fifty Shades Darker
2/10: John Wick: Chapter 2
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  #15  
Old 02-17-2017, 12:01 AM
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Underworld: Blood Wars-5/10

We're at a point, where the Underworld series is basically spinning its wheels now. I'm glad they finally moved past the whole "we can't trust the Death Dealer!" dilemma with Selene, because she continuously saved the vampire's collective asses more than once, but Underworld is starting to feel stale, and there's no denying it. The action sequences are still crisp and entertaining, but we're five films into the series, and you really don't get the sense they're building towards something big, or possibly teasing the grand finale, where everything comes to an end after another ambiguous ending.

And Underworld has a real problem with underwhelming villains and antagonists. Lara Pulver's Semira really works as this ruthless and power-hungry vixen, with a decent amount of charisma, but she's not the primary antagonist. Marius is the main antagonist, but he's a boring and bland character.

Len Wiseman confirmed plans for a sixth film, and Beckinsale is supposed to return as Selene. Rumors/reports about Beckinsale hesitating to return, or walking away from Underworld (before Awakening's release, and all the rumors about a reboot before Blood Wars) have popped over the past couple of years, and IF the rumors were true, my only guess is the powers that be added a few more zeros to her paycheck to straighten things out. After Awakening and now Blood Wars, it was easy to get the impression of Theo James taking over for Beckinsale as the lead in the series, but according to reports, he's out of the sixth film, so it's probably the end of the line for David.

The Founder-7/10

Michael Keaton's performance is just superb. At first, you want to feel sympathy for this poor sap, who just can't catch a break, but when Ray Kroc gets a taste of some real success and power, he turns into a cutthroat asshole with no remorse. Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch deliver a pair of solid performances as the McDonald's brothers, and they did a good of playing off each other as opposite personalities.

Overall, The Founder is basically a standard biopic, with some good humor, and unless you're really interested in seeing how McDonald's grew into what it is today, Dick and Mac McDonald's system for the kitchen area, or how many pickles they put on the hamburgers, it's kind of boring and the movie really drags in certain parts. Although, and I know I'm reaching here, but there's a chance you could look at The Founder as a cautionary tale for trusting the wrong people, or what happens, when you "let a wolf into the henhouse."

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter-3/10

You know something, I thought about going with a 5/10, but I couldn't stop thinking about the ending. Everyone knows this is supposed to be the the big finale or "The Final Chapter", but the ending really leaves things wide open for another series of films. My big problem with The Final Chapter is, you could easily use the ending to make another two or three films, and in the end, The Final Chapter has the feel of another sequel in the series, so I just couldn't buy into the enormity of the last stand against The Umbrella Corporation.

Although, I'll give credit where credit is due for using The Hive as the stage for the big final battle. After I watched the first trailer for this, I was kind of bummed out they were using The Hive again. Yeah, I get the "it all ends, where it began," approach, but The Hive was thoroughly explored in the original film. Adding some new traps and splitting the screen time between Wesker and Dr. Isaacs really helps, and reintroducing the laser defense system from the original film for a small dose of nostalgia was a nice touch.

The Sheik (2014)-7/10

I actually bought this from Wal-Mart a while ago, and it was sitting in a pile of DVDs, so I finally decided to watch it. It's a documentary on The Iron Sheik's life, complete with interviews from The Rock, Hogan, Jim Duggan, Jim Ross, Jake Roberts, Bruce Prichard, and others. You'll also see appearances from Bret Hart, DDP, RVD, and various wrestlers and other wresting personalities, when Sheik is going around to all the different conventions.

It's a thorough documentary, and it's sad and uplifting at the same time. You'll see what happens, when The Sheik hits rock bottom, and how he had a hard time dealing with the murder of one of his his daughters. He also falls into the category of guys, who just couldn't let go of the glory days. But Sheik was able to reinvent himself and turn his life around with some help, and the cartoon with Hacksaw and The Sheik was hilarious.

February 10-12 & The Upcoming Weekend

No real surprise, but The LEGO Batman Movie debuted at #1 in the week-to-week charts with $53,003,468, and the current worldwide total sits at $99,780,752. Fifty Shades Darker received a lot of poor reviews (a 9% on Rotten Tomatoes), but the movie has a worldwide total of $163,093,603. And John Wick debuted in the #3 spot ($51,585,359 for the worldwide total). The Fifty Shades series obviously has a strong enough fanbase to overcome a wave of negative reviews, and The LEGO Batman Movie was an easy front-runner to be considered as one of the big hits in 2017.

The LEGO Batman Movie is expected to repeat at #1 over Fist Fight, A Cure For Wellness, and The Great Wall in the week-to-week charts. A Cure For Wellness is the only new film I'm truly looking forward to, and The Great Wall looks like the type of film that might lose most of its wow-factor outside of theaters. Fist Fight? Eh, I guess there's chance for a decent enough comedy, but it's probably another one of Ice Cube's forgettable films, and the reviews are mixed, with Richard Roeper giving the movie a 0/4.
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  #16  
Old 02-21-2017, 10:48 PM
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A Cure For Wellness- 4/10

Disappointing.

A Cure For Wellness is the one horror film I was truly looking forward to this year, but it's such an underwhelming film on so many levels. Dane DeHaan playing this cold and pushy executive with an attitude (very similar to Harry Osborn in The Amazing Spider-Man 2) is on a short list of highlights here, and his descent into madness is believable.

Gore Verbinski delivers a good amount of creepy, haunting, and disgusting visuals, and A Cure For Wellness maintains an inescapable sense danger and doom during Lockhart's (DeHaan) mission to uncover the truth at the wellness center. The problem with A Cure For Wellness is, the tedious process for unraveling the mysteries at the wellness center just kills the suspense they're trying to build here, and the runtime doesn't help. A Cure For Wellness clocks in at 2hrs. and 26 min. and with the calculated pacing, you'll basically feel every minute of it.

The gross-out scenes, and DeHaan's performance can't save this one, and the big finale is anticlimactic. On top of that, the big twists and the reveals are really hit-and-miss, and one of the reveals/twists is pretty obvious, if you just pay attention. Sorry, but if you're going to make a horror film that's close to three hours, you need to deliver a good shocker, or a satisfying payoff. A Cure For Wellness has all the ingredients ( i.e. Dane DeHaan's performance) to be the perfect horror film, but it's a big misfire, and it's hard to ignore the bloated runtime.

And A Cure For Wellness joins the early lists of flops in 2017. The current worldwide total sits at $9,402,723, and that's off of a reported production budget of $40,000,000. I'm all for cerebral horror films changing the overall landscape for mainstream horror, and the promotional campaign for this one was nothing short of relentless. But the mixed reviews (a 39% on Rotten Tomatoes), and the lukewarm reception really hurt A Cure For Wellness' chances for a successful box office run.

Split- 6/10

More proof M. Night Shyamalan clearly peaked after Signs.

James McAvoy deserves credit for his versatility, completely switching gears in the blink of an eye, and he delivers one hell of a performance. My big problem with McAvoy playing more comical personalities is, the comedy stuff really doesn't mesh well with the overall tone of the story. Also, the story feels a bit convoluted at times, with Shyamalan trying too hard to be too clever.

And without spoiling anything, McAvoy FINALLY unleashing "The Beast" towards the end didn't do anything for me. For me, it's another case of Shyamalan building towards something big, and failing to deliver something worth waiting for.

With all that said, Split is a solid and thought-provoking psychological horror/thriller, with Anya Taylor-Joy realizing mind games, outsmarting, and manipulating Kevin's (McAvoy) more vulnerable personalities gives the girls their best shot at escaping, because he's too strong to fight. I'm glad Shyamalan is on an upswing, because he was stuck in a slump for a while with so many awful and mediocre films, but if we're comparing his recent films, I'll take The Visit over Split.

February 17-20 & The Upcoming Weekend

No big changes, with The LEGO Batman Movie repeating at #1 in the week-to-week charts, and Fist Fight opened up at #5 with $14,121,149 ($15,621,149 for the current worldwide total). The Great Wall debuted at #3, and it looks like the movie will fall short of any big expectations at the box office. The Great Wall has a current worldwide total of $96,214,300, and that's off of a reported production budget of $150,000,000.

Get Out could be a unique horror flick, but I have my doubts about it. Although, Get Out has a 100% on RT, and Jordan Peele is a big fan of the horror genre, so that's reassuring. He was on Jimmy Kimmel's show not too long ago talking about his love of horror movies, and you get the feeling Get Out is a project he's truly passionate about.

I have thing for action flicks with a frenetic style of pacing, and a chaotic style of storytelling (the Crank films, Domino, etc.), so Collide could be a fun guilty pleasure film.
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Old 02-22-2017, 01:58 AM
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La La Land

Giving the movie some credit for being what it set out to be, and that is an homage of sorts to The Golden Age of Cinema. It does not let the viewer forget, with visual keys here and there in the guise of posters, paintings, quotes, mannerisms, and at times, even showing us clips of nostalgia like Rebel Without A Cause (Among one of my favorites). It is sentimental. It is bittersweet. It is Oscar bait.

I did have a problem with the flick, though. It isn't until halfway through the movie that we are introduced to a conflict. Up til then it was your usual "boy meets girl" standard that's been done to death. Yes, I totally understand that this movie was a love letter to Old Hollywood, but there is such thing as being too on the nose. It takes forever to get anywhere. That and one minor conflict is completely forgotten about, or at least never mentioned-

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Sebastian had artistic differences with Keith. Keith wanted to make Jazz more modern, to appeal to a wider audience, while throughout the movie Sebastian's character yearned for the "good ol' days". Sebastian decided to go with Keith's idea and be a part of The Messengers, causing rifts between himself and Mia. I loved this. I found this to be a very interesting turn in the movie.

Five years later, Keith is playing music at Sebastian's brainchild, an old school Jazz club. The fuck??


Not to mention the heart breaking conclusion that is almost derailed because the director had to squeeze in more musical references at the last minute to give us that "what if" scenario the whole movie hyped up. I personally hated this, because it felt excessive. It took me away from the story and made me play Spot The Musical The Director Is Referencing. For me, that was too much.

Visually stunning, with a musical score that's not bad. Loved the fact it was in CinemaScope. But a bit pretentious for me.

Spidey Rating: 2.75/5
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Old 02-24-2017, 02:16 AM
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Get Out

I hate doing these things right after I hit the theater. One look at a review like this and people will just chalk it off as "cinema daze" or whatever slang there is out there for people that get out of a movie and gush about how good it is until the hype dies down. I'm not that kind of guy. When I review I mean to be critical. And there is no other genre out there I am more critical about I think than horror, because it is my favorite genre and it has been diluted with bullshit scares and cliches a child could write for decades now. When a film comes along with even a trace of originality, I pay attention.

Tonight, my eyes never left the screen.

Get Out hits where it hurts, as a horror fucking should. This is a spoiler-free review, but the gist is definitely in the trailer. It is done in such a way that it doesn't treat the audience like idiots. The characters are believable with everything they do. Just about every genre cliche is either subverted or gone completely. The acting was a plus. Tension = perfect. Soundtrack takes the old horror fans back to the days of Leatherface and Norman Bates. There is so much going on with the technical side of things that I gotta squeeze in my thoughts about the story itself in its own review. It is fresh. It is topical. It is needed.

Only thing I felt lacking was surprise. They are truly few and far between. But then again after reflecting I don't think it really needed it. This movie set out what its trailer intended, and that was to give the audience something to be afraid of while remaining relevant to the social climate of today. There are no ghosts to jump at us from the screens. No boogeyman to leap out of the closet. The scare is in the person sitting next to you, and what they could be capable of.

This was Jordan Peele's first movie as a director. For fuck's sake. With the title it got it should have sucked.

Spidey's Rating: 4.5/5
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Old 02-24-2017, 09:02 AM
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I enjoy learning about examples from history that are typically hidden from our schools and common media influences, especially when those examples contradict beliefs that are based on delusions.

This movie is a visual representation of James Baldwin's unfinished manuscript titled "Remember This House".

The identity of James Baldwin is of a man who finds himself being forced into a mental state of disassociation. The overwhelming sin of our society is institutionalized racism, but this movie depicts the thoughts of a man who saw beyond that sin.

James Baldwin mourns the deaths of three of his closest allies in the fight for civil rights, but he also questions his allegiance to the ideas from which his friends based their faith. I found this aspect of James Baldwin to be that of a long lost kindred spirit.

I highly recommend finding a theater near you that is screening this film and checking it out, it's worth every bit of praise it's receiving. You won't be sitting through an hour and a half of a guilt trip, this was one of those rare moments where I left a movie feeling smarter.
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Old 03-04-2017, 03:39 PM
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The Great Wall (in 3D!)- 3/10

A movie about a war against monsters breaking out at The Great Wall Of China? A movie with that premise can't go wrong for so many reasons, but I was wrong.

Visually, The Great Wall is stunning. The movie really works as a grandiose spectacle, and certain shots look great in 3D, but that's about as far as I can go for praising The Great Wall. The Great Wall lacks any real excitement or thrills, and the more artsy and subtle approach didn't work for me. It's a dull monster/fantasy epic, and decent performances from Matt Damon and Pedro Pascal couldn't save this one.

Collide- 3/10

Collide has just about every cliche you can think of. Casey (Nicholas Hoult) wants to get out of the "life," when he meets the girl (Felicity Jones) of his dreams. Casey enjoys living a normal life with Juliette until it's revealed she has a failing kidney, and of course, Casey is lured back into a life of crime for one big job to pay for Juliette's operation. The love story between Casey and Juliette feels rushed and forced, because everything is basically slapped together in a highlight reel package during the early stages of the movie after the two meet for the first time at a club.

Usually, I'm willing to overlook cliches, if the overall final product delivers, but that's not the case here. Collide has ONE exhilarating car chase, and that's about it, if we're talking about thrills for Collide. I also had a lot of trouble buying into Nicholas Hoult's character. There's nothing wrong with his performance, but throughout the movie, Casey just struck me as someone with an incredible streak of luck, who just happened to miraculously escape near-death situations, because the bad guys aren't too smart, or because Anthony Hopkins had to waste time with the usual unnecessary speech from the villain.

Ben Kingsley's over the top performance as this crazy drug lord is good for a few laughs, and Anthony Hopkins' Hagen Kahl is supposed to bring balance to Collide. Kahl is supposed to offset Kingsley's wackiness as the primary antagonist, but Hopkins hamming it up one too many times and looking like a kooky old man really defeats the purpose.
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