The Movie Reviews & Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'The Media Hub' started by Dagger Dias, Jan 7, 2017.

  1. Mitch Henessey

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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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  2. Mitch Henessey

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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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  3. Mitch Henessey

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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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  4. Jack-Hammer

    Jack-Hammer YOU WILL RESPECT MY AUTHORITAH!!!!
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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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  5. Jeff Deliverer of Mail

    Jeff Deliverer of Mail Join WZCW because writing is hip
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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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  6. Mitch Henessey

    Mitch Henessey Deploy the cow-catcher......
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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.
     
    #56
  7. Mitch Henessey

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    The Shape Of Water- 10/10

    Definitely Guillermo del Toro's best film since Pan's Labyrinth.

    A visually stunning film, featuring an eccentric love story about two outcasts coming together, and the cast is just great. It's been done before. The story about a woman falling in love with the monster, and looking past its grotesque appearance to see a being, who's capable of compassion isn't something new or fresh, but Sally Hawkins was superb, using facial expressions and her body language to convey strong emotions. Michael Shannon is usually at his best, when he's playing a nasty jerk with a mean streak, and it's easy to root for Elisa, an innocent and caring person, and The Creature, because Shannon is just so damn cruel and heartless.

    I still need to catch up on all the potential nominees, but I really hope del Toro wins the Oscar for Best Director.

    I, Tonya- 7/10

    It's a biopic with a creative style to help break up the monotony of a more straightforward rise and fall style of storytelling for a boring and bland movie. I, Tonya is part biopic, part black comedy, and a drama with a faux documentary presentation during the solo interviews, complete with fourth wall breaking.

    Looking at the trailers, I was almost sure everything would revolve around the Nancy Kerrigan attack, but that's not the case here. I, Tonya is a well rounded film, and I couldn't help but feel some sympathy for Harding. She just wanted a shoulder to lean on more often than not, but she was in a toxic relationship with her boyfriend/husband, a man, who constantly beat her. Her mother was a selfish asshole, and she just couldn't catch a break every now and then.

    Harding is usually viewed as someone, who's just unlikable and off-putting for a number of reasons, and from a perception standpoint, you could say I, Tonya is one-sided and biased for painting Harding as the victim. And during the interviews, everything eventually devolves into he said, she said finger-pointing for placing the blame on, who ruined Tonya's life and her career. But there's no denying the people around Harding played a big part in destroying someone with a bright future.

    Margot Robbie is terrific as Harding, and I won't throw a fit, if she wins the Oscar, but she's not a clear cut choice for the best performance. Allison Janney, playing Harding's mother, is genuinely nasty and hateful, and Paul Walter Hauser steals most of the scene's he's in. Shawn (Hauser) is/was the stereotypical loser living in his mother's basement as a grown man. On top of that, he's a pathological liar and a shameless opportunist, and Hauser does a good job of playing someone, who you want to laugh at in certain scenes, but he's also believable as a punchable slimy weasel.
     
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  8. Monster Amongst Men

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    The Greatest Showman

    In truth, I wasn't excited about seeing this movie when I was, inexplicably, dragged to the cinema by my fiance. She is, however, a massive fan of musicals and was, obviously, very excited to see the movie.

    That said, I left the theatre very impressed with the movie. It was actually incredible. As I pointed out, I am no fan of musicals but this felt like something more than a musical. It felt like it transcended the genre in a way that not many musicals have ever done to me. A lot of the time, I feel as though songs are shoe-horned into musicals for the sake of it. But it genuinely felt relevant in this movie. What's more, the music was astoundingly good. There wasn't one song in the feature that I thought was out of place. When I got home, I downloaded the soundtrack and haven't stopped listening to it since.

    The performances in the film were irresistible and the emotion attached left a lump in my throat on more occasions than I ought to admit. Hugh Jack man was astounding as PT Barnum and, I would say, it is one of the finest acting displays of his career. I was rooting for him all the way.

    Verdict - 10/10
     
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  9. Mitch Henessey

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    Molly's Game- 4/10

    It's a so-so biopic presented as a crime drama/thriller, with Kevin Costner and Michael Cera delivering two of the best performances. Costner plays the overbearing and demanding father, who's never satisfied with anything. His screen time is cut short, but Cera delivers one of the more entertaining performances I've seen from him in years, as the manipulative and cocky nerd.

    Chastain is believable, and she does a good job of pulling off Molly's transformation, but it's not one of her best performances. She has a presence, when Molly finally decides to start running her own poker games, but I have to go all the way back to The Help to remember Chastain's last truly good performance.

    With Aaron Sorkin, you know it's going to be a dialogue heavy film, but for me it's a case of trying too hard to stay true to the source material. Molly's Game falls flat during the scenes showing Molly's life growing up and her relationship with her father, and the flashbacks are real momentum killers for the storyline about Molly's rise to the top in the underground poker world.

    I'm also kind of surprised Molly's Game didn't receive more Oscar nominations. It's a movie written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, featuring a real life story about a woman fighting to make her mark in a man's world, but a lot of the buzz surrounding Jessica Chastain has cooled off over the past couple of years. And unless you're interested in the inner workings of a high stakes poker game, it's hard to look at Molly's Game as a must-see film.

    Insidious: The Last Key- 3/10

    Lin Shaye is the only reason why I'm not going with a lower score.

    It's official. Insidious is just another horror franchise that had some potential in the early stages, but now they're just churning out mediocre sequels to turn a profit. Tucker and Specs are more entertaining in small doses, and the Key Demon is not scary or intimidating. He's kind of lame, and his trick for using his key hands to basically lock someone's voice and their heart loses the desired effect to pull that squirmy reaction out of you after you see it more than once.

    It's the same thing with Saw and other mainstream horror franchises, but Insidious has reached a point, where they're just content with sticking to the same formula over and again: Demon possesses random victim, demon holds the victim in The Further as a hostage, and someone (usually Elise) has to go into The Further for the big finale to save them. Rinse and repeat.

    They tried to make a more emotional and dramatic film, with an in-depth look at Elise's childhood and how she grew up with her brother and her abusive father. But if you've seen one Insidious film, you know where the story's going and how things are going to play out once the demon possesses his target.

    A few good jump scares, but it's clear they're trying to milk this series for another sequel or two. Towards the end, it's revealed Imogen (Elise's niece) has the power to go into The Further and fight the demons, so you have to believe they're moving things into place to set her up as one of the main characters, if they decide to move on from Shaye.

    You can tell Insidious was never supposed to go past one film, because a. Elise was killed off in the first film, and b. The Last Key is the second prequel now. They have to find ways to work Elise back into the story, while her character is still alive, and The Last Key's worldwide total currently sits at $144,575,300. That's off of a reported production budget of $10,000,000, so you know it's only a matter of time before they start production on a fifth film.

    The Commuter- 7/10

    The Commuter features some familiar storylines for a Liam Neeson vehicle. A group of dangerous people want to harm his family, and they're out to frame him, so he's forced to utilize his special set of skills to save them. One obvious twist at the end, but The Commuter is a tense action thriller that plays a good guessing game. When Michael (Nesson) believes he has everything figured out, Joanna (Vera Farmiga) throws another curveball at him, and Neeson proves he still has some value left as an action guy.
     
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  10. Mitch Henessey

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    Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle (in 3D!)- 6/10

    Kudos for the subtle nod/tribute to Robin Williams, and Johnathan Hyde is still the more entertaining version of Van Pelt, but overall, Welcome To The Jungle is good mindless fun. The comedic chemistry between Rock, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, and Jack Black is fantastic, but I still prefer the original Jumanji.

    Welcome To The Jungle works as the big Hollywood popcorn flick, and the special effects in the original Jumanji are dated, but the '95 film had a stronger sense of emotional depth, with the relationship between Alan and his father and Alan desperately wanting to return to the 60's. And I understand the need to modernize things with the video game tie-ins and what happens, when you reach the "game over' point, but I have to give the edge to the original Jumanji for playing up the high stakes and delivering a more suspenseful finale.

    The Post- 6/10

    The Post follows the familiar patterns in a lot of political thrillers, with calculated pacing, and any real thrills or suspenseful moments are rooted in the enormity and high stakes behind Streep and Hanks' decisions. If she's in a high profiled film, you know it's all but guaranteed Meryl Streep will find her way into the Oscar nominations, but after watching this, I'm kind of surprised Tom Hanks didn't receive a nomination.

    With everything going on in the world (namely America), it wouldn't surprise me if The Post managed to pull off a near clean sweep at the Oscars, because it's easy to pick out the parallels with today's world. Streep is portraying a woman, who has to fight to have her voice heard in a man's world, and it gets to a point, where she has to remind everyone, who's in charge. The Post also has a heavy amount of social commentary about censorship for the press. There's the ending with Nixon refusing to grant access to the White House for The Washington Post and the Watergate cliffhanger, so when you look at everything in the movie, it's easy to connect the dots to The Women's Movement, Trump's daily tantrums on Twitter, and the rants about fake news.

    Proud Mary- 2/10

    A lot of potential, but Proud Mary is a huge misfire, and it's easy to see why it's one of the early box office bombs for 2018. After the intro, I was almost sure they were going for a modernized blaxploitation style film, with Taraji P. Henson doing her best to emulate Pam Grier, but that's not the case here. Proud Mary is a dull action/crime drama that features just about every cliche you can think of with a story centered around an assassin working for a powerful crime family. Proud Mary predictably goes through motions, and you can see the ending coming from a mile away.

    With the exception of certain parts in the finale, none of the action sequences deliver any real excitement or thrills, and Mary doesn't live up to the hype as an unstoppable killer. Henson is known for having a cocky swagger and a charismatic personality, but Mary being a bad ass is basically limited to hard, squinted stares from Henson and a lot of scowling. Danny Glover looks like he's just phoning it in for the majority of the movie, and Tom's obsession with Mary feels too forced and unnecessary.

    Phantom Thread- 8/10

    It's stuffy and overly pretentious, but Phantom Thread features some terrific performances from Daniel Day-Lewis, Lesley Manville, and Vicky Krieps. It's not one of his best performances, but Lewis proves he still has the chameleon-like ability to pull off another impressive transformation, playing the obsessive and meticulous fashion designer.

    It's a dialogue driven film, but Phantom Thread features a strong love story, and the dynamic between Lewis and Krieps is fantastic. Woodcock (Lewis) is a demanding and condescending jerk, but Alma (Krieps) is determined to impress him, so she can prove she's worthy of living up to Woodcock's high standards. Alma and Woodcock share a toxic relationship. Alma refuses to leave him, and towards the end, you get to see how far Alma is willing to go to show Woodcock that living a life without her is not an option.

    Phantom Thread is a bit over hyped in my eyes, but it's easy to see why, with PT Anderson directing and all the hoopla surrounding Lewis' big send-off.
     
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  11. Monster Amongst Men

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    Mamma Mia 2 - Here We Go Again

    Truth be told, I went into this film not really expecting all that much. I haven't seen the first one either, so that wasn't a bonus. I had heard a lot about the success of the first one, however.

    Truth be told though, this wasn't great. I totally get that it isn't designed and geared with men like me in mind but I found only a few things to make the film worthwhile. The soundtrack was pretty good but it helps if you're a big ABBA fan (something which I am not). The idea behind the film is decent too. The audience I seen it with really seemed to enjoy the plot and the tear her king but still laugh/sing out loud moments in the movie. I've never seen an audience stand and applaud a movie when it concluded but I can check that off of my bucket list at least.

    Quite honestly though, the positive were outweighed by the negatives, and they were aplenty. The acting was rigid and the singing was auto tuned to the high heavens. The film was predictable and some of the performances (namely Cher) were woeful. The end could have been 20 minutes earlier and it felt like a chore getting through the whole thing. Add that the whiff of Prosecco I had to live with, all in all it was pretty miserable viewing.

    Avoid.

    3/10
     
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  12. Mitch Henessey

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    The First Purge- 2/10

    The Purge series clearly peaked after Anarchy.

    The First Purge really tries to push a more current form of social commentary. They don't actually show the beating, but there's a scene where it's heavily implied a group of cops relentlessly beat an unarmed black man. The NFFA (New Founding Fathers Of America) are a basically a more sadistic version of The Republican Party supported by the NRA. And there's a jab at Trump and the Access Hollywood tapes during the scene, where a random purger gropes Nya, and she calls him a "P**** grabber."

    The First Purge is more on the nose with social commentary and racism, but we're way past the point, where The Purge films are just repetitive and recycling the same material and series of events leading up to the finale. We already know The Purge is rigged from the inside. We already know poor people are the targets, and when you get to the core of it, The Purge just gives sadistic rich assholes an excuse to murder people and pad their bank accounts.

    You MIGHT get something out of this, if it's your first Purge film (the prequel route helps), but if you've seen one Purge film, you've seen them all. Election Year did a poor job of playing up the enormity for the possibility of The Purge coming to an end, but Frank Grillo was still one of the more entertaining characters in the series. The First Purge? There's just nothing worth remembering in this one. The kills are forgettable and lame, you can see every decision, twist (i.e. the traitor in Dimitri's group), turn, and surprise coming from a mile away.

    I know Skeletor is supposed to be the big, bloodthirsty bad ass in the movie, but his character is too over the top and borderline wacky (his cringey monologue to open the movie). It's almost to the point, where you believe Skeletor belongs in a crappy comedy spoof of The Purge films.

    A prequel was the right move in an attempt to bring something fresh to the series. But we're at the bottom of the barrel for milking the concept behind The Purge now, and for me, the best part of watching TFP in theaters was finally getting a chance to see the Halloween trailer on a big screen.

    I'll watch the TV series out of morbid curiosity. But going by the trailers and commercials, everything looks like an extended version of the films, so it'll only appeal to die hard fans of the films.

    Unfriended: Dark Web- 4/10

    The big twist at the end was a good shocker. But at the same time, it's one of those loaded twists, where it's damn near impossible to buy into it, because every occurrence and decision needs to perfectly fit into The Circle's (the bad guys) big master plan for it to work.

    The original had a supernatural twist and supernatural elements, but Unfriended also had a stronger sense of realism, with cyberbullying, attacks from lynch mobs on social media, and a friend stabbing another friend in the back to humiliate her (I think her name was Laura). I'll try and tip-toe around major spoilers, but the group in Dark Web is targeted by The Circle after Matias steals a laptop containing a library of disturbing videos. Throughout the movie, it's not 100% clear if The Circle is just made up of a bunch of creepy guys, or if they're some kind of evil cult with members, who possess supernatural powers.

    That's the big difference, because Dark Web is more of a generic found-footage style horror film. Sure, they throw in a few social commentary nuggets, with AJ's rant about Twitter being a sand trap to exploit millions of people. But overall, Dark Web plays out like an extended short in an horror anthology film (V/H/S-esque). Matias and Amya are the only two characters, who are worth caring about, and their relationship is one of the few highlights in the movie. Honestly, I just had the feeling Matias and Amya's story could've worked as the frame narrative/wraparound story, while dropping the supporting cast and The Circle in along the way to make up the shorts.

    Dark Web is tense, and they stick to the computer screens and security camera POVs from start to finish to maintain some continuity, but it's a basically a mediocre and forgettable found-footage horror film.

    The Spy Who Dumped Me- 3/10

    Eh, Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon are a good duo, but TSWDM is short on genuine laughs, and the plethora of exhausting twists towards the end? It's just too much. The shock factor is gone after the third twist, and to make matters worse, with all the twists, the tail end of the movie feels like a mash-up of alternate endings on the special features section on a Blu-Ray or DVD.

    And this is something that kind of irks me, but The Spy Who Dumped Me has traces of a romantic comedy. It's not 100% pure, but the similarities are there. They got out of their way to make Mila Kunis look like an inept loser with no real goals or ambition in life. She works a dead end job, and she can't find a guy to date. Come on now. Kunis is a beautiful woman, and I'm almost sure she wouldn't have a problem with guys lining up a mile long, or crawling through feces and broken glass for a chance to talk to her for two minutes.

    Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom- 3/10

    Fallen Kingdom reminded me of The Lost World, and I hate The Lost World.

    One of my bigger problems with Fallen Kingdom is, the movie is missing that one truly terrifying foe. They've just about killed the mystique behind the T-Rex, and it's more of a nostalgia buzz at this point. Indominus Rex was truly menacing and nasty in Jurassic World, but I just had a lukewarm reaction to the new hybrid.

    Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard are still fun to watch together, but Fallen Kingdom is the first Jurassic film, where I really didn't feel the wow-factor and awe-inspiring moments. The big twist was obvious, and usually, Jurassic films are packed with more than enough non-stop thrills and grandiose blockbuster style entertainment to overlook any logical flaws. After Fallen Kingdom, I'm starting to lean towards the side, where it's probably not a good idea to open theme parks with real dinosaurs to the public.

    Slender Man- 2/10

    A huge misfire.

    I think it aired last year, but HBO did a documentary about Slender Man, and the two girls, who almost stabbed their friend to death in an attempt to impress him. The documentary showed how young kids (specifically the two girls), who were either bullied or considered to be isolated outcasts were sucked into the dark side of the internet. After consuming a hefty amount of twisted material (can't remember everything, but I do remember the violent videos, memes, and jokes), they turned to someone, who was an outcast, an outcast with power. One mother wished she would've never bought one of the girls, who carried out the attack an iPad, because her daughter basically had unlimited access to this stuff with no supervision.

    Of course, I can understand why they didn't want to go a "based on a true story" route. It's more exploitative in a sleazy way, especially when you're talking about kids, so it's best to just focus on Slender Man. Still, focusing on the effect the internet has on kids or teenagers, who are loners and don't fit in at school or social circles is an easy layup to produce a genuinely terrifying and dark horror film. It's easy to buy into someone, who's still in high school not being able to handle the content, or being sucked into weird message boards and chat rooms, and the myths behind a boogeyman.

    Wren is the only one in the group of main girls, who fits the mold of an outcast. The rest of the group? They're just normal teenage girls, who do things that normal teenage girls do, and Hallie is chasing one of jocks at school. Slender Man is painfully boring, the movie lacks any real tension, the editing is terrible, and the cheap jump scares are predictable. Slender Man has all the makings and the mythology to be a formidable horror villain, but he's just another generic and forgettable boogeyman in a PG-13 horror film here.
     
    #62
  13. Monster Amongst Men

    Monster Amongst Men Here we go, 10 in a row!
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    Ant Man and The Wasp

    IV heard a few good reports about this film before I seen it and I am glad to report that everyone seems to have gotten it right. Seems a little odd to sum. Up the review in the first paragraph but here it is - if you liked the first Ant Man, or like what Marvel Studios are doing more generally - there's no way you won't like this movie.

    Truthfully, Ant Man is a welcomed addition to the MCU as it is designed to be a little less serious than other franchises within the universe and it totally works. AM&TW is more of the same from a film franchise that is beginning to deliver just what is needed. Infinity War was a very serious piece of film, all things considered and this needed to be a break from that. Honestly, it's 2 hours of laughs and good entertainment.

    I really like Paul Rudd in this role, almost like Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool - he just seems made to be this character. Micheal Pena was outstanding in the movie too, delivering some real funny moments throughout the film. In fact, there wasn't a character in the film that I can say didn't deliver their role.

    Honestly though, the film is a perfectly good film in an exceptional body of work. The MCU needs films like this and it came at a good time. I think there are a couple of hints about Infinity War part 2 but I'm not sure. On its own, this film is still pretty decent. It's funny, entertaining and hits the emotional points relatively well.

    7.5/10
     
    #63

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