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  #51  
Old 11-30-2017, 10:00 PM
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Mitch Henessey Mitch Henessey is offline
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A Bad Moms Christmas-3/10

A Bad Moms Christmas is more proof the original was just a surprisingly funny and entertaining one-off comedy.

The good chemistry between Mila Kunis, Kristen, Bell, and Kathyrn Hahn is still there, but they pretty much abandoned the moms taking back the holidays and Christmas storyline halfway through the movie. It's an odd transition, when the trio is basically dry humping the shopping mall Santa in the early stages of the movie, but towards the end, Kunis is having an emotional and heartfelt talk with her mother. I guess you could say they were trying to blend both worlds together, with the raunchiness and vulgarity and the feel good vibe with everyone learning the importance of family and the holidays, but it didn't work for me.

The relationships between the moms and their daughters are good for a few laughs. Susan Sarandon is the irresponsible drifter, who only shows up, when she needs money from Kathyrn Hahn. Cheryl Hines is the obsessive and clingy mom, who can't let go of her baby girl (Kristen Bell), and Christine Baranski is bossy, demanding, openly racist, and snobbish, so Kunis wants nothing to do with her anymore.

But a lot of the humor feels forced here. One prime example is the little girl, who plays Jay Hernandez's daughter repeatedly dropping the f-bomb, because it's supposed to be funny or SHOCKING, when a girl, who might be 4 or 5 years old curses over and over again. Bad Moms was something different, but A Bad Moms Christmas is basically another forgettable and predictable (the apologies, the moms making amends with their daughters, learning life lessons, etc.) feel good holiday comedy.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri- 7/10

The story leans too far on the drama side every now and then, but overall, TBOEM does a good job of blending drama and black comedy together. It's an emotional story of a mother, who won't quit, because she demands answers, and TBOEM has one hell of a cast. A strong performance from Frances McDormand, and everyone from Woody Harrelson to Sam Rockwell, John Hawkes, Caleb Landry Jones, and Peter Dinklage really delivers. I enjoyed TBOEM, but it's a tad bit overrated in my eyes. The critics are basically drooling over this (a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes), and we're in the middle of Oscar season, so I'll be shocked if this one doesn't receive a good amount of nominations.
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  #52  
Old 12-05-2017, 11:26 AM
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We Are Still Here 6/10

I know it's a popular horror thing recently, with stuff like House of the Devil & It Follows, to give off a timeless feel, as though the movie could be set in the golden age 70s/80s. But man this one took it to another level. Feels like it time traveled from 1988, like something I would have rented on vhs as a kid. First half had a fresh take on the new england haunted house genre, creepy vibe, nicely shot, bad acting but that kind of added to the appeal. Then it goes gonzo with splatter deaths, terrible effects, bad ghostmonster costumes, the works.
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  #53  
Old 12-06-2017, 04:26 AM
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Detroit - 5/10

I've enjoyed Kathryn Bigelow’s previous two films (Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker), so expected similar quality. It’s just “ok”. It’s well shot, but the acting and writing are a big, fat “meh”.

Will Poulter, who some of you will know from films like Son of Rambo, The Revenant, and The Maze Runner, was very solid. I’ve been following him for quite some time, and I’ve had the feeling that he’s going to have a long, successful career. And in this film, he saves it. Because the other actors, particularly John Boyega (new Star Wars guy) were awful. Boyega in particular was really bad.

So while the movie was filmed well and had average writing, it wasn’t quite like Zero Dark Thirty or The Hurt Locker; which were both films that, while they needed phenomenal acting, their success didn’t rely solely on the acting to be great films. For Detroit, the movie would have been unwatchable had Poulter not outright stole the scenes he was in (which was virtually all of them). He downright chewed up the scenery.

A 5/10 from me, if you aren’t aware, means it’s worth watching. And in this case, it’s worth watching simply to watch Poulter act circles around everyone.
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  #54  
Old 12-06-2017, 11:29 PM
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Murder On The Orient Express-3/10

Movies with big ensemble casts loaded with Oscar winners, nominees, and high profiled stars usually worry me. It's one of the reasons why I wasn't in a rush to see the new Kingsman film after the trailers, because such films rarely live up to the potential and big expectations, and things are no different with Murder On The Orient Express.

Not having enough screen time to go around is one of the more obvious problems, and after a while, the only thing left to do is sit back and marvel at a film that's full of so many big names, but the wow-factor wears off soon enough. And it's a bigger problem, if the movie itself is underwhelming.

I just had the feeling of watching a movie that was going through the motions to get from one scene to the next, without any real tension, suspense, or drama. Yeah, I understand they were going with a more old school approach for a more smart and thought-provoking murder mystery, and MOTOE has a sleek and stylish look, but it wasn't enough to save a dull and boring film.

Roman J, Israel, Esq.- 6/10

Denzel Washington delivers another superb performance, and it's always a nice change of pace, when he plays a more vulnerable character. Roman is a character loaded with so many layers, and Denzel nails each one. Roman is quirky, he's socially awkward in certain situations, he dresses like he's stuck in the 70's, and with Denzel's mannerisms and how he carries himself, it's easy to buy into this guy, who's an oddball and an outcast.

You want to feel sorry for this poor, straight-laced guy, who always played by the rules, did everything the right way, and he took a stand for the little guy, or those, who couldn't fight for themselves, but he constantly receives the raw end of the stick. But at the same time, Roman comes off as this pathetic and bitter old man, who can't accept how the world is changing around him (i.e. the scene, where Roman is introduced to modern day feminism). The dynamic between Washington and Colin Farrell is one of the major highlights here, because Farrell's character represents everything Roman hates. At some point, you know Farrell and Washington are going to form an unlikely friendship, but some of the best moments in RJIE happen, when Farrell and Washington are going back and forth on ideologies and what's right and wrong, and Farrell did a good job of playing the foil for Roman.

Roman's revelation after playing dirty to accept the reward money was predictable, but it's also an understandable choice, when you look at the big picture. Denzel delivers, and as usual, his performance is the main attraction here, but overall, RJIE is just an average legal drama.
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  #55  
Old 12-13-2017, 11:54 PM
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Lady Bird-9/10

Lady Bird follows a familiar pattern for coming-of-age films, with Lady Bird going through her growing pains, the fear and pent up anxiety about going out into the real world, and Lady Bird trying to fit into the clique with the cool kids, but she comes to her senses, when she learns what a real friendship is all about. The familiar cliches are there, but it's a film with a lot of heart, top notch performances, and some good humor.

There's a sense of realism with the family's money problems, Lady Bird's father losing her job, and Saoirse Ronan does one hell of job with her performance. It's pretty much a foregone conclusion for Ronan and Laurie Metcalf receiving Oscar nominations, and so far, Lady Bird is probably the best coming-of-age film I've seen this year.

Blade Runner 2049-8/10

The lengthy runtime drags towards the end, but Blade Runner 2049 really works as a smart and thought-provoking sci-fi thriller, with great visuals and awe-inspiring set pieces. Ryan Gosling is at his best, when he's playing the quiet and mysterious loner (Drive, The Place Beyond The Pines, Only God Forgives) with a calculated mean streak, but I was hoping for more screen time with Harrison Ford.
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  #56  
Old 12-14-2017, 07:05 AM
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Justice League


A part of me was always thrilled with the idea that the Justice League would be made into a movie someday but that excitement was tempered when I saw, as a whole, just how well DC Comics' extended cinematic universe has been going, especially when you compare it to Marvel's and there's really no way you can't.

In my opinion, Justice League isn't a good movie. If you're expecting a combination of an intricate story coupled with well defined characters and great action, ala the Avengers films, then I think you'll be disappointed. The film is big on the standard big CGI stuff, some of which looks terrible, at the expense of a meaty plot and an interesting villain; the idea is for Steppenwolf to come off as a badass and I suppose he does, in some ways, but he's almost entirely a CGI creation and I can't help but wonder why. It, along with his overall role in the film's plot, makes him seem completely generic and uninteresting. That's not to say that the film doesn't have it's good points, the highlight of which, in my eyes, is Gal Gadot's continued ability to shine in the role of Wonder Woman. Jason Mamoa as Aquaman, in terms of personality and appearance, is a big departure from the character but it's one that works for me; he looks like a badass and there's a swagger to his portrayal of Aquaman that injects some appeal to the character that, for me, hasn't really been there as I was just never a fan of the character. Even though some people hate it, I like Ben Affleck as Batman, I like him a helluva lot more than Christian Bale as Bale's growling voice and I guess the more "realistic" tone taken for the Nolan trilogy just didn't wow me. However, the Flash brings little to the table and Cyborg brings even less.

Compared to the well thought out, planned and goal oriented Marvel Cinematic Universe, DC's is a clusterfuck that Justice League doesn't do anything to fix. In my opinion, this is a movie that should've taken place several years down the road after the overall connecting plot being fleshed out and new characters becoming ingrained to moviegoers via their own films. There should've been, in my opinion, an Aquaman movie, a Flash movie and possibly separate Batman and Superman movies before the Justice League movie was made. It seems like DC is so impatient with their approach and it shows with a cinematic universe being made up almost entirely of bad movies.

Score: 4/10
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  #57  
Old 12-15-2017, 01:10 PM
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IT



6.5/10

IT, the Moby Dick of the horror book world written by Stephen King himself. Easily my favorite King book of all time. I even enjoyed the effort put in years ago for the made for T.V movie starring John Ritter, the judge from Night Court and Tim Curry as Pennywise The Clown in a two part series.

Here's the remake 27 years later (Coincidense??? IT comes around every 27 years) and it is shot beautifully. There's is a lot of great effects and even a jump scare or two depending on what system you're watching this on.
Here's my problems with this kind of movie though, there's so much content and characters from the book that it's impossible to cram it in a two hour movie and make it seamless. It's difficult to get invested with half of the characters because they're not fleshed out enough. There's too much going on ALL the time leaving zero build up to anything......

Hey, let's watch a slideshow....something happens!!!

What was that noise in that old house? Something happens!!

30 seconds later...whos in the basement ? Something happens!!

Something happens...? Something happens!!

ECT ECT ECT , I'm not saying tease a monster in the shadows for 25 minute spans but HOLY crap, something doesn't need to pop out every 1 minute. It just seems overloaded with attempted scares that it just ends up being silly and run of the mill type stuff. Plus I liked Tim Curry a lot better as Pennywise The Clown.

In the end, it wasn't a bad movie, I liked some sections here and there and the effects were really good. It's possible I was expecting something amazing considering the amount of hype surrounding IT. Maybe part 2 will be better.
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  #58  
Old 01-11-2018, 11:33 PM
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Thor: Ragnork- 7/10

Ragnork is easily the best of the Thor films. Jeff Goldblum is a riot, the banter between Hiddleston and Hemsowrth is always good for some laughs, and Tessa Thompson is a refreshing addition to the series. I loved a more comedic version of Hulk and the decision to give him more time to talk, but as usual, the villain is only the real downside for me here. Cate Blanchett has an amazing presence as Hela, but she's basically every other cliched and dull super villain in the MCU, riddled with cliches and pigeonholed into a tired formula.

A good soundtrack, and Ragnarok is an entertaining film, but it's hard to ignore a mundane "business as usual" feeling with this one, and the approach to follow a Guardians Of The Galaxy blueprint.

All The Money In The World- 9/10

A truly tense and suspenseful crime thriller, with two good performances from Christopher Plummer and Michelle Williams. Wahlberg delivers in his role, but Williams and Plummer are the driving forces behind this one, especially Plummer. All The Money In The World is a good film, but there's a good chance it's just an afterthought, without two Oscar worthy performances from Plummer and Williams.

Justice League- 7/10

There's a chance I'll drop this on a second watch, but I had a lot fun with Justice League. DC moving away from the more serious and brooding tones is a good thing, because it just didn't work in Batman VS Superman. The trilogy is vastly overrated, but Christopher Nolan nailed it, if we're talking about superhero films with a more serious approach, and Logan is a great pick for a recent choice.

But we're at a point with DC, where the actual film takes a backseat to Marvel comparisons, buzz around the score from Rotten Tomatoes, and wild conspiracy theories about critics refusing to give DC a fair shot. I don't have a problem with the comparisons, because Marvel is the dominant brand in the superhero genre. There's no way around it, so the comparisons are inevitable. But it's really not fair to label DC as a damaged brand, because they're still in the early stages of laying groundwork for the future.

The Disaster Artist- 8/10

It's more proof Dave Franco is capable of being a solid actor with a decent amount of range, when he's not playing a cocky pretty boy. James Franco delivers his best performance since 127 Hours, but I was more invested in Dave's character and his stroyline. He's just a good guy, who's trying to chase his dreams, but he's stuck in a tricky dilemma, because he has to babysit a whiny and narcissistic grown man, but he doesn't want to turn his back on the guy, who believed in and supported him. Also, it's refreshing to see James Franco and Seth Rogen changing directions from their usual routine, where they're going on some wild adventure together, as inseparable BFFs or two irresponsible potheads.

James Franco easily delivers the best performance in his career, and there's a lot of Oscar buzz surrounding his work, but I have a hard time picturing him winning the Oscar for Best Actor. Daniel Day Lewis receiving a nomination for Phantom Thread is basically a surefire guarantee, and I have a feeling the powers that be would hold Franco's performance being too comedic against him. That, and Franco has to deal with more sexual misconduct allegations. After Oscars So White, and with everything that's been going in Hollywood after Harvey Weinstein, The Academy would have another big problem on their hands, if they reward someone with allegations against him.

The Fate Of The Furious- 5/10

Meh. We're basically getting to the point where, if you've seen one Fast & Furious film, then you've seen them all. Charlize Theron is an outstanding actress, but her character is horribly written ("Make it rain"). And I just couldn't get into the story. I never bought into Cipher having complete control over Dom, because you knew he had a backup plan to turn the tables at some point.

The only positive coming out of this for me is, I can't wait to see the spinoff with Statham and The Rock. The banter was great ("I will beat your ass like a Cherokee drum!"), and they really have good chemistry together.

Wild Things (1998)- 5/10

It's trashy and stupid, and Wild Things only works as a "so bad it's good" film. You can just tell Denise Richards is lying, and there was no legitimate reason to open the gate for Duquette towards the end, giving him the chance to kill Kelly. Kevin Bacon and Matt Dillon stick to their routine as shameless sleazeballs, and Bill Murray is hilarious, as the shady and crooked lawyer. Denise Richards is basically eye candy, but she has a few moments, as the spoiled and rich brat. For me, it's hard to buy in to Neve Campbell's turn at the end, because she's believable as the outcast/loner, and it's a case of too many twists at the end.

I watched this from start to finish for the first time in years, and I know Wild Things spawned a string of straight-to-video sequels, but I'm pretty sure you couldn't make a movie like this now a days, and release it as a big mainstream Hollywood film. Sexualizing a young Denise Richards, her character is supposed to be a high school girl, she accuses a guidance counselor (Matt Dillon) of rape, and Dillon willingly engages in a sexual relationship with Richards and Campbell? There's just no way anyone in Hollywood would take a chance on giving this one the green light.
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