Archive for February, 2018

Caddyshack

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 28, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

This comedy classic follows the travails of young caddy Danny Noonan as he gets tangled in high jinks involving the eclectic and ridiculous members of Bushwood Country Club. Meanwhile, assistant groundskeeper Carl Spackler battles a pesky gopher.

What people are saying:

“They don’t make ’em like this anymore … The plot wanders around the golf course and involves a half-dozen elements, but if you simply dig the gopher, the caddy, and the Dangerfield, you’re not going to be doing half bad.” 4 stars

“Essentially Animal House on the links, it’s neither as raucous nor as outrageous as that definitive college comedy but it has the same rebellious spirit and a great cast of comedy legends showing the young co-stars how it’s done.” 4 stars

“The funniest part about watching this was when my friend said, “We still need to make millions of dollars,” imitating the producers’ thoughts and reasoning for the nude scene. It’s unfortunate when you want to like a movie, you keep waiting for it to get good, giving it the benefit of the doubt, and at the end you just have to ask yourself, “Why?” 1 star

“In this eminently quotable directorial debut from the tragically late, yet unquestionably great Harold Ramis, we get to see a few of comedy’s finest names collide in some great scenes of banter and wit and some other fantastic scenes of slapstick and bombast. And does the comedy age well? You’d be surprised at how funny all of this stuff still is. And structurally speaking, this is also something quite interesting to feast upon as well, for Caddyshack is essentially a series of vignettes and sketches strung together by a very flimsy narrative throughline. And, while most movies that attempt this often fail miserably, there’s just something about Caddyshack’s spirit and charm that powers the film through the occasional aimless scene. A truly unique and occasionally masterful comedic feat overall.” 3 1/2 stars

“According to Harold Ramis, Caddyshack was originally supposed to be a dark comedy about the American Nazi Party. Instead we’re stuck with one of the best timeless comedies with one of the greatest ensemble casts of all time. Chase brought his A game, Murray won at Augusta, and Dangerfield worried that he was bombing when none of the crew laughed at his jokes during takes. What makes Caddyshack work above all else is the classic style of comedy used in a fresh context. This film should be held up as an example of what great mainstream comedy can accomplish.” 5 stars

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Trailer Thursday 2/22

Posted in Trailer Thursday with tags on February 22, 2018 by Mystery Man

It’s Trailer Thursday!!!

This week’s trailer is for a film that is hard for me to watch, due to the similarities between “Big Mama” and my own grandmother. I won’t dwell on that, though and will just let you enjoy the trailer for Soul Food

Black Panther

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 20, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Centuries ago, five African tribes warred over a meteorite containing vibranium. A warrior ingested a “heart-shaped herb” that was affected by the metal and gained superhuman abilities. He became the first “Black Panther”, and united all tribes (except the Jabari Tribe who declined) to form the nation of Wakanda. Over time, the Wakandans used the vibranium to develop advanced technology and isolated themselves from the world by posing as a Third World country.

In 1992, King T’Chaka visits his undercover brother N’Jobu in Oakland, California. T’Chaka accuses N’Jobu of assisting black market arms dealer Ulysses Klaue with stealing vibranium from Wakanda. N’Jobu’s partner reveals himself to be Zuri, another undercover Wakandan, and confirms T’Chaka’s suspicions.

In the present day, following T’Chaka’s death at the hands of Helmut Zemo,[N 1] his son T’Challa returns to Wakanda to assume the throne. He and Okoye, the leader of the Dora Milaje regiment, extract his ex-lover Nakia from an undercover assignment so she can attend his coronation ceremony, along with his mother Ramonda and younger sister Shuri. At the ceremony, the Jabari Tribe’s leader M’Baku challenges T’Challa for the crown in ritual combat. T’Challa defeats M’Baku and convinces him to surrender rather than die.

Klaue and Erik Stevens steal a Wakandan artifact from a museum. T’Challa learns that Klaue plans to sell the artifact in an underground casino in Busan, South Korea. W’Kabi, T’Challa’s friend and Okoye’s lover, urges him to either kill Klaue or return with him. T’Challa, Okoye, and Nakia travel to the casino where T’Challa learns CIA agent Everett K. Ross is the intended buyer. A firefight breaks out, Klaue escapes, and Okoye, Nakia and Ross pursue. With Shuri’s help, T’Challa captures Klaue.

While Ross interrogates Klaue, Klaue reveals that Wakanda’s international image is just a front for a technologically advanced civilization. They are ambushed by Erik, who extracts Klaue; Ross is severely injured intercepting a bullet for Nakia. T’Challa notices Erik is wearing a ring identical to his own. T’Challa decides to take Ross to Wakanda, where their technology can save him, rather than pursue Klaue.

While Shuri heals Ross, T’Challa confronts Zuri about what happened to N’Jobu. Zuri explains that N’Jobu planned to share Wakanda’s technology with people of African descent around the world to help them conquer their oppressors. As T’Chaka arrested N’Jobu, N’Jobu attacked Zuri, forcing T’Chaka to kill him. They left behind N’Jobu’s son, Erik, as returning with him would complicate their lie that N’Jobu had disappeared. Erik would eventually grow into a U.S. black ops soldier, earning the name “Killmonger”.

Killmonger kills Klaue, then takes his body to Wakanda. He is brought before the tribal elders, revealing his identity and claim to the throne. He challenges T’Challa to ritual combat; after killing Zuri, he defeats T’Challa and hurls him over a waterfall. Nakia extracts one of the heart-shaped herbs before Killmonger orders the rest incinerated. Killmonger, supported by W’Kabi and his army, prepares to distribute shipments of Wakandan weapons to operatives around the world. Nakia, Shuri, Ramonda and Ross flee to the Jabari Tribe for aid, where they find a comatose T’Challa, rescued by the Jabari in repayment for sparing M’Baku’s life. Healed by Nakia’s herb, T’Challa requests aid from M’Baku, who declines.

T’Challa returns to fight Killmonger, who commands W’Kabi and his army to attack T’Challa. The Dora Milaje, joined by Shuri and Nakia, battle Killmonger, who dons his own Black Panther suit. Shuri instructs Ross to remotely pilot a jet to shoot down the planes carrying the vibranium weapons. M’Baku and the Jabari eventually arrive to assist T’Challa. When confronted by Okoye, W’Kabi and his army stand down. Fighting in Wakanda’s vibranium mine, T’Challa disrupts Killmonger’s suit and fatally stabs him. Fearing imprisonment, Killmonger declines an offer to be healed, instead choosing to die a free man.

T’Challa establishes an outreach center at the building where N’Jobu died to be run by Nakia and Shuri. In a mid-credits scene, T’Challa appears before the United Nations to reveal Wakanda’s true nature to the world. In a post-credits scene, Shuri continues to help Bucky Barnes with his recuperation.

REVIEW:

Perhaps the most anticipated film to come out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the past few years, Black Panther has finally arrived! Much like Iron Man, was when his first film was released, the Black Panther isn’t a household name when it comes to superheroes, but perhaps this will do something to change that. There is so much riding on this film. Will it live up to the hype? Will it show that an almost exclusive African-American cast can have success at the box office? Will there be a sequel? Most importantly, though, is this worth watching?

What is this about?

After the events of Captain America: Civil War, King T’Challa returns home to the reclusive, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to serve as his country’s new leader. However, T’Challa soon finds that he is challenged for the throne from factions within his own country. When two foes conspire to destroy Wakanda, the hero known as Black Panther must team up with C.I.A. agent Everett K. Ross and members of the Dora Milaje, Wakandan special forces, to prevent Wakanda from being dragged into a world war.

What did I like?

His time. Black Panther is the first African-American superhero to appear in comics. He is revered as one of the smartest beings alive, alongside Tony Stark and Reed Richards. In other media, he has been featured prominently as a member of the Avengers and was even given his own animated series, Marvel Knights: Black Panther. It seems like the only thing that was missing was for T’Challa to appear in the MCU, which he finally did in Captain America: Civil War. Since then, we have been patiently counting down the days until the release of this film to see more of Chadwick Boseman’s take on this important character. A friend posted a video on facebook over the weekend showing a couple of boys playing as Black Panther and Killmonger. The caption she put on it was something to the effect of “This! Not pretending to be hard gangstas!” That is all you need to know about how needed this film was.

Technology. Wakanda is known for mining vibranium. What isn’t known is how much vibranium is used in everything from their clothing, to medicine, to advancements far beyond the rest of the world. The best example of this happens fairly early on in the film as we see Black Panther and his companions go on a high speed car chase through a city in South Korea. One of the gadgets used allows Shuri, T’Challa’s genius little sister and tech guru, to drive the car from her lab in Wakanda. The use of this and all the other gadgets and gizmos we see in the film will just wow the audience! Q has nothing on these people!

Balance. A few film critic friends that I have were under the impression that this would be a very dark, serious film, akin to the Daniel Craig James Bond films. Having not reached those Bond films, yet, I have no basis for comparison. However, I can say that this is not as serious as you would think. There are jokes and moments of levity, serious moments that will make you think, and of course, kick-ass action. There is a perfect blend and balance amongst these differing tones, that it creates an interesting cacophony that is a welcome change from the norm.

Humanism. Of all the heroes in the MCU, I can’t think of one that we really have had the chance to get to know on a human level. I guess Captain America, given his origin in Captain America: The First Avenger, but other than the opening scene in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, we haven’t had the chance to see him do much other than lead the Avengers and defeat evil. Spider-Man, perhaps, but I still feel like something is missing there. Ant-Man? Perhaps, but the thing that we don’t get from those three is a genuine sense of they are actual human beings. T’Challa, for all his royal riches, stoic demeanor, and enhanced abilities, still gets nervous around his ex-girlfriend. He bickers with his little sister, but also shows his love for her. The pain in eyes when he learns of a dark family secret was clearly there. These are things that make this character relatable and I applaud the director for giving us that extra little insight into this man.

What didn’t I like?

Hype. The hype for this film has been unprecedented. I’ve seen people show-up to screenings dressed like they were going to a formal African shindig. This causes me to wonder, where was this support for the other African-American superheroes that have had cinematic releases? Meteor Man? Blankman? Spawn? Steel? Or how about this little film that many say is responsible for kicking off the superhero craze, Blade? As I was telling my best friend the other day, people are treating Black Panther like cured cancer and freed the slaves! When this film was released Friday, I know there were a few high schools that took field trips to see it for Black History Month. Man, I wish I could have gone to see a superhero film when I was in high school for Black History Month! Don’t get me wrong, the hype is more than deserved, but isn’t it a bit much?

Politics. A couple of weeks ago, I read an article about how T’Challa is like Trump. W…T…F?!? As I was watching, I was careful to see if there were any similarities, which there weren’t. T’challa is kind,  respectful, cares about his people, and isn’t a petulant child. If anyone is like Trump, it would be Killmonger, at least in his beliefs and the way he insisted that he run things. Politics are laced all through this film and, in the world we live in it is needed, but don’t accuse the film of leaning one or the other when it does no such thing. Just enjoy badassery!

Step aside, ladies. Last I checked, this was supposed to be a movie about Black Panther. However, like almost everything else these days, the females take over. Nothing against Lupita Nyong’o, Letitia Wright, Danai Gurira, or the other ladies, but we finally get a Black Panther movie, can he have his moment in the spotlight before ya’ll take it away? The overuse of these women didn’t make T’Challa weak or anything of that nature, but rather at times he felt as if he were a secondary character in his own movie.

Copy-paste. Kilmonger has been praised as one of the best Marvel villains to date. Some even have compared him to Heath Ledger’s Joker from The Dark Knight. Admittedly, Michael B. Jordan gives a great performance as the film’s antagonist. My issue doesn’t rest with him, but rather this cut and paste formula that Marvel seems to keep using. Iron Monger, Abomination, Yellow Jacket, all are reverse copies, to some extent, of their adversary. Kilmonger is the same, what with his gold jaguar suit. I don’t even know where that came from because Kilmonger in the comics has his own style; a style that is hinted at in the film with the African mask. They should have gone with that, but instead they ruined a perfectly good villain, by making him a close of the hero.

What is my final verdict on Black Panther? This is a film that people in the African-American community have been looking for. It shows a strong, educated black man with no ties to drugs, pimping, alcohol, or any of those things. There are no negative stereotypes in this picture, only positive images. Can those who aren’t African-American relate to this film? By all means, yes. There is something for everyone here. As I sat in the theater this afternoon, when I really should have been at work, I was awestruck by how well-crafted this film was. The script, the visuals, the attention to detail. It truly is a work of art with very few flaws. Do I recommend it? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! Stop reading this and go see this again and again!!!

5 out of 5 stars

Cool Runnings

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on February 18, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

A fictionalized account of the unlikely story of Jamaica’s first bobsled team, Cool Runnings follows their journey to the 1988 Olympics. When Derice Bannock’s (Leon) chances of qualifying for Jamaica’s track team are dashed, he looks for another sport. Derice persuades U.S. bobsledding gold medalist Irv Blitzer (John Candy), who now lives in Jamaica, to coach him and his friends as they attempt to become a world-class bobsled team.

What people are saying:

“The offbeat, fact-based saga is enlivened by the perfect balance of humor, emotion and insight and should be one of the true sleepers among fall box office releases.” 4 stars

“The offbeat, fact-based saga is enlivened by the perfect balance of humor, emotion and insight and should be one of the true sleepers among fall box office releases.” 4 stars

“In and of itself, it’s a harmless, family-friendly story with a few laughs here and there. As long as you realize that nothing – other than some Jamaicans went to Calgary in 1988 – happened in real life as it did in the movie (no bad guys in real life – the others teams were happy to help with sleds and advice; no scandal in 1972; there were five Jamaicans, not four; heck, the Jamaicans didn’t even qualify to be in the official competition in ’88). It’s historical fiction, a color-by-the-numbers feel-good movie. ” 3 stars

“It meant well, but unfortunately fails on every level. I think they were planning on the idea of Jamaicans competing in a sport that takes place on ice to be funny enough to carry it. It’s never funny. The whole first third of the movie never finds the right tone. It’s not even dumb funny. It doesn’t inspire, nor does it give you the feeling of anticipation before the competition. ” 1 star

Cool Runnings is a really great movie that I’m sad that I didn’t get to watch any of John Candy’s films when I was young until recently. It’s surprising that they doesn’t use a large amount of fish out of water jokes which is good, and when they use them, it’s really funny. The acting is really good, especially the late John Candy who hasn’t made a bad performance from the movies I see him in. The bobsled scenes are riveting to watch, and the characters are really good. The plot is actually a bit different from other kid sports films as it has some twists and turns which were unexpected. The writing is really good, even if it is a bit corny, and well directed. For sport fans, Cool Runnings is the perfect film for them which for non sport fans, they would still like it.” 4 1/2 stars

Meet the Robinsons

Posted in Animation, Disney, Family, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

An orphan who dreams of someday finding a family to call his own finds his fate taking an unexpected turn when a mysterious stranger named Wilbur Robinson transports him into the future. Based on the book A Day With Wilbur Robinson by William Joyce, Meet the Robinsons tells the story of a boy with a lifelong wish to belong, and shows what happens when he meets an incredible collection of characters who just might have the power to make his wildest fantasies come true.

What people are saying:

“…a snappy plot that demands close attention as it whizzes back and forth in the space-time continuum, touching on serious ideas and proposing some rather disturbing alternate realities. And the witty story twists are handled with rare subtlety and intelligence. In the end it may get a little weepy and inspirational. But it’s so charming that we don’t mind at all.” 4 stars

“…the movie possesses an unusually bright and colorful sense of style that immediately sets it apart from its increasingly plentiful brethren.” 4 stars

“Kids will no doubt be entertained but for everyone else this will just be a rather rough watch I think. Characters and plot are simple and the story is full of holes. More interested in trying to pound its message home then telling an interesting story. Too predictable and silly to be interesting so I can’t rank this as a “family” film really, give this to shut your kid up for 90 minutes while you take a breather.” 2 1/2 stars

“The Robinsons are amusing and likable enough for an hour and a half, but a lengthier exposure to any one of them would have any level-headed person desperately seeking out the number of a facility for the clinically insane. The film’s childishly envisioned ‘future’ will likely appeal only to those without a nostalgic attachment to better bygone eras, and will seem nightmarish to anyone else-especially being home to loonies like the Robinsons. On the plus side, the main antagonist’s background gives him more depth than that of the traditional born-to-be-wicked Disney villain, even if he remains ten times more pathetic than the worst of them. The film’s more emotional aspects, particularly at the start of the film, show potential, but as the story progresses, one has to decide whether or not that potential was entirely wasted.” 2 1/2 stars

“With a Mickey Mouse cartoon at the beginning and a quote from Walt Disney at the end, this shiny, dazzling movie will still charm you with its traditional Disney goodness. The voice talents are great, the textures rich, and the story solid and engaging. The Danny Elfman music is award-worthy. Youll want the t-rex, frogs, villain and Caffeine Patch Lady to have their own movies! There were kids from 4 to 14 in the theater when we thirty-somethings saw this movie; no one was bored, everyone laughed and rooted for the underdogs. If its in theaters when you read this, GO NOW, because its wonderful to see on the big screen” 4 stars

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on February 16, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

When your dog, bird, or water-dwelling mammal disappears, who do you call? Ace Ventura (Jim Carrey) is a low-rent private eye who specializes in recovering lost animals, so when Snowflake, the Miami Dolphins’ aquatic mascot, is kidnapped, team representative Melissa Robinson (Courtney Cox) puts Ace on the case. However, Snowflake isn’t the only Miami Dolphin who has gone missing; several key members of the team also disappear, including quarterback Dan Marino (who plays himself), who is spirited away while filming a TV commercial. With the Super Bowl only two weeks away, will Ace be able to find Snowflake and the missing athletes in time to salvage the big game?

What people are saying:

“Ace is not the typical movie goofball, smart aleck, or idiot savant; he’s a genuine weirdo who happens to be stunningly competent at his job. The same can be said for the film’s justly popular leading man.” 4 stars

“The reason why this silly comedy film works is because Jim Carrey is so charming and likable as Ace Ventura, and even when nothing makes any sense and it goes all over the place, you just go with him because he is so damn funny. “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” made me laugh quite a bit.” 3 stars

“Not amazing but definitely great. Ace Ventura is an insane character portrayed by Jim Carrey. Although a very silly movie and very stupid it’s something to turn your brain off yo and enjoy. Now the second one? Oh god. Now that one was just awful” 4 stars

“While story structure may not be easy to connect with and the a lot of its technical side is cliche-ridden, but Ace Ventura gets by on an outstanding and vibrant character performed memorably by Jim Carrey. Many quotable lines and full of humor to spare.” 3 stars

“This movie stars Jim Carrey in the titular role as a private investigator who is hired to find missing pets. When a simple pet case becomes a bigger conspiracy, Ace only has a few short weeks to solve the mystery before the big Superbowl. This movie holds a special place in a lot of people my age’s hearts because they grew up with it, loving Carrey’s over-the-top performance. I never saw this movie as a kid. Instead of Ace Ventura, my Jim Carrey memories include Liar, Liar and Bruce Almighty. Honestly, this movie doesn’t do it for me. Jim Carrey has made a career of overacting, and, while this isn’t as bad as The Mask, it isn’t anything to write home about. The premise is innocent enough, but the sexual jokes just didn’t do anything for me save for the climactic crime-solving scene. I will say that it’s a harmless family movie that audiences will enjoy if only for nostalgia’s sake, but if you haven’t seen either Ace Ventura movie, you aren’t really missing much. Side note: I love seeing real celebrities play fictional versions of themselves, and Dan Marino in this movie is just fun.” 2 1/2 stars

Trailer Thursday 2/15

Posted in Trailer Thursday with tags on February 15, 2018 by Mystery Man

It’s Trailer Thursday!!!

In case you weren’t aware, it is Black History Month and one of the most important and relevant films to African Americans to be released in quite some time is Black Panther. 

Like most of the world, i can’t wait to see this over the weekend!