Archive for May, 2017

Storks

Posted in Animation, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 27, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

In this animated avian tale, storks have stopped bringing babies home and started delivering packages for an e-commerce giant instead. But when a stork named Junior creates a baby by mistake, the rush is on to make things right.

REVIEW:

Storks is charmless with rote obligation. This is a kid’s film for hire, with none of the creativity, emotion and design that elevate the genre to art, or even simply a fun time at the movies” 2 stars

“This flick had a great message buried underneath all of the intense ADHD but this movie was incredibly way too manic for me to follow. Seemed to be a children’s movie strictly for children. The annoyingly distracting flow of the flick couldn’t salvage the film’s positive message, talented cast, and impressive animation.” 2 stars

“Most of the movie doubles down on the mania and lacing the sugar-rush sensation with an almost lysergic sense of silliness.” 3 stars

“Enjoyable animated family movie, the colorful animation and the overdone funny voice-over does tend to focus on kids, still should be a decent watch for adults too. There are lots of hits and misses, some genuine funny moments mixed with equal amount of forced laughs, the plot and storytelling is the biggest weakness.” 3 stars

“Dull storyline, and a lot of the “humor” were not that funny. The ending picked up a bit but failed to really deliver anything really good to watch. I know this movie is about storks, but the humans are totally brain dead in this movie. Overall I found it to be a waste of time to watch.” 1 star

Bad Ass 2: Bad Asses

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Since we last saw Frank, he followed his dream and opened a Community Center in East Los Angeles where he mentors young boxers, not only in the ring, but in life. He often visits a liquor store run by a former hockey player, Bernie Pope. When his prized student, Manny, gets in over his head with a bad crowd and winds up dead, Frank and Bernie team up, finding themselves ensnared in one life-threatening predicament after another. Forced to escape using the only weapons they have – their wits and their fists – they must survive the onslaught of fury that is brought upon them and Frank’s new found love from a high powered, politically connected foe, Leandro (Andrew Divoff).

What people are saying:

“It’s not to be taken seriously. It’s not to be taken realistically. It’s made for fans of Danny Trejo.” 2 stars

“Not at all what I was expecting. A very warmhearted, funny action movie. Danny Trejo and Danny Glover are wonderful geezer warriors together, and there are lots of homages to my favorite movies throughout. When Trejo says, “We don’t need no stinkin'” badges, it’s the perfect train wreck.” 3 stars

“Fans of the first film and/or Danny Trejo will enjoy this sequel to Bad Ass (although you don’t need to see the first one to understand the story). A fun action comedy that’s even more ridiculous than the first one, with a good chemistry between Trejo and Danny Glover who are, literally, “too old for this s**t”.” 4 stars

“This was actually really good. I liked the first movie, didn’t know how i would stick to this one. CGI isnt great for some of it, but kinda adds to it at the same time. This is a grade a cheesy action flick, and was quite humorous and enjoyable. That said, if farting, a lot of cursing, or plain out “bad jokes” are not your thing, avoid” 4 stars

“This is what B-movie action is all about – old actors we love as the means, just enough emotional pretense to provide a motive, a cohesive and simple story as the opportunity. Doesn’t take itself too seriously, but doesn’t go so bonkers off the wall either (like The Expendables franchise or Machete 2); this one sits firmly at the uncanny peak of “so on-purpose bad it’s great.” Perfectly executed for what it was meant to be, just a fun beat-up-the-bozos flick. No Oscars will be won here, but the entertainment value is quite high. If you don’t enjoy this, B-action just isn’t for you.” 5 stars

Joy

Posted in Movie Reviews, Drama with tags , , , , , , , , on May 25, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

JOY is the wild story of a family across four generations centered on the girl who becomes the woman who founds a business dynasty and becomes a matriarch in her own right. Betrayal, treachery, the loss of innocence and the scars of love, pave the road in this intense emotional and human comedy about becoming a true boss of family and enterprise facing a world of unforgiving commerce. Allies become adversaries and adversaries become allies, both inside and outside the family, as Joy’s inner life and fierce imagination carry her through the storm she faces.

What people are saying:

Joy is anchored by a strong performance from Jennifer Lawrence, although director David O. Russell’s uncertain approach to its fascinating fact-based tale only sporadically sparks bursts of the titular emotion” 3 1/2 stars

“Joy is far from Joyful; with an uninteresting narrative, performances that feel drained of passion and a filmmaker caught between his roots and his new-found mainstream sensibility, it is an utter mess.” 2 stars

“A well constructed modern fable, but a couple convenient coincidences made for the sake of time at the behest of honesty, as well as Joy’s blind focus on an selfish family, keep it from earning its deserved heart.” 3 1/2 stars

“Jenifer Lawrence has the ability to make some of the most amazing women seem just AWFUL maybe its just her garbage acting skills but God i wanted to love this movie. I knew the story of Joy and i find her a great inspiration but this movie makes her seems like a crazy push over who got as far as she did on luck. ” 1 star

“One of those movies like the Blind Side that just makes you smile. Jennifer Lawrence is at her least annoying and carries the movie well. I enjoyed Edgar Ramirez’s performance too, but Bradley Cooper somewhat stole the show for me. He’s such a great actor and has such great chemistry with Lawrence it’s a shame he wasn’t in it more! ” 4 stars

Trailer Thursday 5/25

Posted in Trailer Thursday with tags on May 25, 2017 by Mystery Man

It’s Trailer Thursday!!!

In the mid-90s, DC Comics killed off Superman. It was a shock to everyone at the time…until he returned a couple of months later.

In his absence arose a slew of replacement Supermen. One of the most popular of these was Steel. Apparently, he was popular enough to warrant a film loosely based on him and starring (a skinny version of) Shaquille O’Neal.

Check out the trailer for Steel

Guardians of the Galaxy, vol. 2

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 20, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In 2014, Peter Quill, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, and Baby Groot are renowned as the Guardians of the Galaxy. Ayesha, leader of the Sovereign race, has the Guardians protect valuable batteries from an inter-dimensional monster in exchange for Gamora’s estranged sister Nebula, who was caught attempting to steal the batteries. After Rocket steals some for himself, the Sovereign attacks the Guardians’ ship with a fleet of drones. The drones are destroyed by a mysterious figure, but the Guardians are forced to crash-land on a nearby planet. The figure reveals himself as Quill’s father, Ego. He invites Quill, who is accompanied by Gamora and Drax, to his home planet, while Rocket and Groot remain behind to repair the ship and guard Nebula.

Meanwhile, Ayesha hires Yondu Udonta and his crew, who have been exiled from the greater Ravager community for child trafficking, to recapture the Guardians. They capture Rocket, but when Yondu shows reluctance to turn over Quill, his lieutenant Taserface leads a mutiny with help from Nebula. Taserface imprisons Rocket and Yondu aboard Yondu’s ship and executes his loyalists while Nebula leaves to track down and kill Gamora, whom she blames for all the torture inflicted on her by their father, Thanos. While imprisoned, Rocket and Yondu bond. Groot, together with Yondu’s loyalist Kraglin, frees Rocket and Yondu and they destroy the ship and its crew as they escape, though not before Taserface tips off the Sovereign fleet.

Ego explains he is a god-like Celestial, an immortal consciousness that manipulated the matter around it to form the planet with itself at the core. Forming a human guise, he traveled the universe to escape his loneliness and discover a purpose, eventually falling in love with Quill’s mother Meredith. Ego hired Yondu to collect the young Quill after Meredith’s death, but the boy was never delivered and Ego had been searching for his son ever since. He teaches Quill to manipulate their Celestial power. Nebula arrives at Ego’s planet and tries to kill Gamora, but fails and the pair reach an uneasy alliance when they discover caverns filled with skeletal remains. Ego reveals to Quill that in his travels he planted seedlings upon thousands of worlds which can terraform them into new extensions of himself, but they can only be activated by the combined power of two Celestials. To that end, he impregnated countless women and hired Yondu to collect the children; Ego killed them all when they failed to access the Celestial power. Ego forcefully uses Quill to activate the seedlings, which begin to consume every world. Quill fights back after Ego reveals that he deliberately caused Meredith’s death, as his love for her distracted him from his purpose.

Ego’s pet empath, Mantis, grows close to Drax and warns him, Gamora, and Nebula of Ego’s plan just as Rocket, Yondu, Groot, and Kraglin arrive. The reunited Guardians reach Ego’s brain at the planet’s core, and fight the Sovereign’s arriving drones. Rocket makes a bomb out of the stolen batteries that Groot plants on Ego’s brain, while Quill battles Ego with his newfound Celestial powers to allow the other Guardians to escape. The bomb explodes, killing Ego and causing the planet to disintegrate. Yondu sacrifices himself to save Quill, who now realizes Yondu did not deliver him to Ego in order to spare him from the fate of Ego’s other progeny, and that Yondu was Quill’s true “daddy”. Having reconciled with Gamora, Nebula still chooses to set out and attempt to kill Thanos. The Guardians hold a funeral for Yondu, which is attended by dozens of Ravager ships, acknowledging Yondu’s sacrifice and accepting him again as a Ravager.

In a series of mid- and post-credit scenes, Kraglin takes up Yondu’s telekinetic arrow and control fin; Ravager leader Stakar Ogord, inspired by Yondu’s sacrifice, reunites with his ex-teammates; Groot starts growing back to normal size, exhibiting typical teenage behavior in the process; Ayesha creates a new artificial being with whom she plans to destroy the Guardians, naming him Adam; and a group of uninterested Watchers listen to their informant discuss several experiences on Earth.

REVIEW:

Let the summer blockbuster season of 2017 begin! First film out the gate is Guardians of the Galaxy, vol. 2. Like just about everyone, I still don’t know much about the Guardians. Since the release (and success) of the first film, they have had an increased presence over at Marvel, including an animated series. Will this sequel justify the success they’ve had or are they just a fluke?

What is this about?

Set to the backdrop of ‘Awesome Mixtape #2,’ Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mysteries of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel cinematic universe continues to expand.

What did I like?

What an Ego. The villain this time out is Ego, the Living Planet, whose origin has been changed slightly so that he is the father of Star-Lord. Now, with a name like Ego, you can just about assume the kind of personality he has to have. Well, who better to get than Kurt Russell, someone who has played a few pompous characters in his day (just watched him a couple of days ago in Sky High). I also must mention the creative things the effects department did to show him as the living planet, such as the face on the planet, talking energy, etc.

Too cute. At the end of Guardians of the Galaxy, Groot sacrificed himself to save the team. As the credits are rolling, we see that he is a sapling living in a flower pot (and dancing to the Jackson 5). Well, this film is set shortly after the first one and Groot is a little older. Let’s not be naïve, here. The filmmakers made him that age to sell merchandise. He’s just so cute! That aside, he’s also vicious, as seen on Yondu’s ship, so be warned!

Source material. Speaking of Yondu, this is another character that I’m not too familiar with. I remember looking him up when the first film was released and seeing that giant fin on his head, wondering where it was in the film. The filmmakers must have had some fanboys pester them about said fin because they put it on him this time. I can’t say it is an upgrade, but I will say it is nice to see some adherence to the source material, rather than changing everything to make it more realistic, or whatever excuse studios have nowadays.

What didn’t I like?

Mixtape. A music connoisseur such as myself is sure to appreciate the diversity of the soundtrack, and I really do. However, in comparison to the collection used for the first film, this one falls short. The biggest reason for this is that there isn’t anything to catch the listener’s attention and bring them in. This mix needed something akin to “Hooked on a Feeling”, but doesn’t have it.

All that glitters ain’t gold. Aside from Ego, and a short Ravagers mutiny, the other villain in the film are a race of gold people, who believe themselves to be perfect, known as the Sovereign. I understand the reason they were after the Guardians, and like how they remote controlled their ships but, to be honest, they just became pests after awhile, especially during the climactic battle with Ego inside the planet’s core where they just show up and interfere while the Guardians are trying to defeat a God-like being who wants to terraform the universe in his image.

Why so serious. Unlike some of the other films in the MCU, the Guardians’ films have never been all that serious. Much like the Fantastic Four (are supposed to be), this is a team that enjoys what they do and doesn’t over analyze it or make every mission a political fiasco, etc., etc. That being said, I feel like this film got a little too serious in parts, particularly during the family parts (Star Lord and Ego and Gamora and Nebula). Yes, there is some conflict there, but those scenes were so serious that it felt like I was watching a different movie. Thank goodness both scenes were interrupted by someone crashing in and interrupting their dialoguing.

Final verdict on Guardians of the Galaxy, vol. 2? Truth be told, this is an entertaining film. It will make you laugh, cry, and maybe even sing. We get perhaps the most interesting Stan Lee cameo to date and a new character is introduced to us, played by Sylvester Stallone. All of the cast members return from the first film, and we may have gained a new guardian in the innocent, lovable Mantis. So, with all that in mind, do I recommend this? Well, it isn’t the surprise hit that its predecessor was, but I think that has more to do with expectations, but it is fun from beginning to end. I highly recommend it for all!

4 3/4 out of 5 stars

Trailer Thursday 5/18

Posted in Trailer Thursday with tags on May 18, 2017 by Mystery Man

It’s Trailer Thursday!!!

I was watching a play through of the soon to be released game Injustice 2: Gods Among Us. One of the playable characters this go round is Swamp Thing. This made me remember the film from the early 80s starring Adrienne Barbeau, Swamp Thing.

Check out the trailer…

Sky High

Posted in Family, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Will Stronghold — the son of two superheroes known as the Commander and Jetstream — is the only kid at Sky High who hasn’t developed superpowers yet, which means he may be relegated to the less-than-thrilling role of a sidekick.

What people are saying:

“With a crisp and snappy visual style and its smartly paced story, Sky High pulls an incredible feat in an age of dumbed-down kids comedies; it’s as down-to-earth as it is super.” 4 stars

“A surprisingly fun and humorous look at superhero tropes by way of a high school designed specifically for the gifted vigilantes’ offspring. Though some of the humor skews a bit too young and many of the movie’s visual effects are dated in the worse way, there’s plenty of wit and pointed comic book skewering to go around — making this one pleasant surprise of a Disney family flick.” 3 stars

“It’s Disney! Written by and for High School freshmen. If you can suspend your adulthood for an hour and a half you will enjoy it. A more entertaining story on a very similar theme is found in the comic “PS 238″ The protagonist is the son of two superheroes without any superpowers (except the knack for survival)…” 3 stars

“Though the film gives some good laughs, cool sequences, a great cinemontography, and a surprisingly original story, Sky High falls flat for me. I forgot the characters, I was often bored, the CG SUCKED, and was left thinking, “Eh.” 3 stars

“Sky High is one of Disney’s best films of this decade so far. I don’t know why a lot of people are comparing it to The Incredibles. It is not like that movie at all. It’s more like a cross between X-Men and Fantastic Four. Everyone had different superpowers. I enjoyed this movie. This movie did show a lot of references to other movies and TV shows based on comic books (like Wonder Woman, Batman, Spider-Man and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). If you are in the mood for a good, family movie, watch Sky High.” 4 stars