Archive for the Movie Reviews Category

Trolls

Posted in Animation, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 7, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Inspired by the beloved troll dolls that have entertained kids for decades, this animated tale follows the always-happy Princess Poppy and her grouchy survivalist companion Branch as they embark on a journey that takes them into an unfamiliar world.

What people are saying:

“combines the barely-there characterization and irritating cutesiness of The Smurfs and Jelly Jamm with the hideous character design and awful pop covers of Strange Magic” 3 stars

“”Trolls” combines dreadful kindergarten humor (one troll poops cupcakes) with a feeble plot, much padded with high-fructose-corn-syrup versions of pop and R&B classics.” 1 1/2 stars

“Cute and colorful with some great voice work from an all-star cast and some of the dialogue is definitely geared towards the adults in the audience. The synthesized music gets a bit cloying after a while and the nod to Cinderella is…well…what it is. As it goes it’s decent family entertainment” 3 1/2 stars

“What a perfect example of this stupid generation I’m apart of. All the millionnials who don’t know how to do anything useful and they think as long as their happy life is good when there’s so much more to it than that.
Reminds me of all the people I hate.” 1 1/2 stars

“Wow, I was not expecting this to be this good. It’s bright, colorful, vivid, trippy, and the songs chosen for the musical numbers (That’s right, this is a musical featuring mostly 20th-21st century pop hits plus some original songs as well.) are fantastic. The story is pretty simple, and the whole thing kind of reminds me of a 90’s Saturday morning cartoon updated for the modern day. Anna Kendrick was my favorite voice actor here, and is bubbly, cute and adorable. Trolls is a painless, enjoyable film” 3 stars

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 4, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Following the Battle of New York, Adrian Toomes and his salvage company are contracted to clean up the city, but their operation is taken over by the Department of Damage Control (D.O.D.C.), a partnership between Tony Stark and the U.S. government. Enraged at being driven out of business, Toomes persuades his employees to keep the Chitauri technology they have already scavenged and use it to create and sell advanced weapons. Eight years later, Peter Parker is drafted into the Avengers by Stark to help with an internal dispute, but resumes his studies at the Midtown School of Science and Technology when Stark tells him he is not yet ready to become a full Avenger.

Parker quits his school’s academic decathlon team to spend more time focusing on his crime-fighting activities as Spider-Man. One night, after preventing criminals from robbing an ATM with their advanced weapons from Toomes, Parker returns to his Queens apartment where his best friend Ned discovers his secret identity. On another night, Parker comes across Toomes’ associates Jackson Brice / Shocker and Herman Schultz selling weapons to local criminal Aaron Davis. Parker nearly drowns intervening, and is rescued by Stark, who is monitoring the Spider-Man suit he gave Parker and warns him against involvement with the dangerous criminals. Toomes accidentally kills Brice with one of their weapons, and Schultz becomes the new Shocker.

Parker and Ned study a weapon left behind by Brice, removing its power core. When a tracking device on Schultz leads to Maryland, Parker rejoins the decathlon team and accompanies them to Washington, D.C. for their national tournament. Ned and Parker disable the tracker Stark implanted in the Spider-Man suit, and unlock its advanced features. Parker tries to stop Toomes from stealing weapons from a D.O.D.C. truck, but is overpowered and trapped inside the truck, causing him to miss the decathlon tournament. When he discovers that the power core is an unstable Chitauri grenade, Parker races to the Washington Monument where the core explodes and traps Ned and their friends in an elevator. Evading local authorities, Parker saves his friends, including his fellow classmate and crush Liz. Returning to New York City, Parker persuades Davis to reveal Toomes’ whereabouts. Aboard the Staten Island Ferry, Parker captures Toomes’ new buyer Mac Gargan, but Toomes escapes and a malfunctioning weapon tears the ferry in half. Stark helps Parker save the passengers before admonishing him for his recklessness and taking away his suit.

Parker returns to his high school life, and eventually asks Liz to go to the homecoming dance with him. On the night of the dance, Parker learns that Liz is Toomes’ daughter. Deducing Parker’s secret identity, Toomes threatens retaliation if he interferes with his plans. During the dance, Parker realizes Toomes is planning to hijack a D.O.D.C. plane transporting weapons from Avengers Tower to the team’s new headquarters. He dons his old homemade Spider-Man suit and races to Toomes’ lair. He is first ambushed by Schultz, but defeats him with the help of Ned. At the lair, Toomes destroys the building’s support beams and leaves Parker to die. Parker is able to escape the rubble and intercepts the plane, steering it to crash on the beach near Coney Island. He and Toomes engage in an open confrontation that ends with Parker saving Toomes’ life from his own unstable equipment, and leaving him for the police along with the plane’s cargo. After her father’s arrest, Liz moves away, and Parker declines an invitation from Stark to join the Avengers full time. Stark returns Parker’s suit, which he puts on at his apartment just as his Aunt May walks in.

In a mid-credits scene, an incarcerated Gargan approaches Toomes in prison. Gargan has heard that Toomes knows Spider-Man’s real identity, but Toomes denies this.

REVIEW:

With all the success Marvel has had with the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), they could not say they truly were a success story until there was a Spider-Man film under their wing. With Sony holding the rights to the character (not to mention the Fantastic Four) hostage, many were wondering if we would ever see the day when Spidey would grace the big screen in the MCU…then we saw Captain America: Civil War. Now, Spider-Man: Homecoming aims to take that character introduction and flesh out a third cinematic version of Peter Parker. Hey, at least this one is age-appropriate, right?

What is this about?

Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, Peter returns home, where he lives with his Aunt May, under the watchful eye of his new mentor Tony Stark, Peter tries to fall back into his normal daily routine – distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man – but when the Vulture emerges as a new villain, everything that Peter holds most important will be threatened.

What did I like?

Fun. Audiences and critics have been noticing something in superhero films (and TV shows). A lack of fun! Think about how bright and vibrant Superman is and now think about what we were forced to sit through with Man of Steel. Somewhere along the way, our superheroes stopped being beacons of hope, and turned into examples of how to brood. Spider-Man has not been exempt from this curse. Toby Maguire’s version started out pretty good, but couldn’t keep it up. I never cared for Andrew Garfield or his take on the character, so I won’t waste time on him. Tom Holland brings a fresh take to Spider-Man in that we haven’t seen him as a high schooler, at least not an age appropriate high schooler. With that, the fun and innocence that Stan Lee intended for the character is front and center, as are the awkward moments of being a teenager. Again, this is what Stan Lee envision when he first created him, not some attitude having, puffy haired, British string bean who ruins the character of Peter Parker.

We know the story. Look, if you don’t know the origin of Spider-Man by now, either through comics, cartoons, Watchmojo.com, Wikipedia, or whatever, then chances are you either don’t care or just haven’t bothered to learn yourself something. With that said, I join the billions of fans who saw this and noticed the absence of Uncle Ben’s murder. As a matter of fact, it isn’t even mentioned! We are more than aware than Ben gets shot and its Peter’s fault, but in the last 5 Spider-Man movies, we have either seen this happen or been privy to a bevy of flashbacks so that we can relive the scene ad naseum. Thank goodness the 6th time they got it right and didn’t include anything about the murder…though I do hope in future films we get something on what happened. I’m mostly curious as to who they’ll cast as Uncle Ben to pair with Marisa Tomei’s Aunt May

Cap must’ve needed the money. One of the best cameos in the picture is Captain America doing PSAs. While I was laughing when Cap showed up in these videos, I couldn’t help but wonder why he was doing them. Did the government make him? Is he just being a good guy and attempting to help the youth? Just some thoughts that popped in my head. I’m sure that I am just overanalyzing and  these were nothing more than a funny thing to include in the film.

What didn’t I like?

Homage or ripoff? About halfway through the picture, there is a scene where Spider-Man has to use all of his strength to hold two halves of a dissected boat together. As I was sitting there watching him strain, I couldn’t help but recall the train sequence in Spider-Man 2 when Toby Maguire is called on to use all of his strength to stop the train. Many people have noticed this comparison and now I must ask…is this an homage or a ripoff? I see it more as an homage, personally. The scene in question is from what is arguably the best Spider-Man film to date, so why wouldn’t you bring something from that great film into this new version? Also, if it was a ripoff, I think we’d have a seen something involving the subway, I’m sure.

What a shock! Shocker is one of my favorite in Spider-Man’s rogues gallery. I can’t tell you why, but I have this affinity for him. Maybe it’s the Texas connection?!? At any rate, I was over the hills with excitement when I heard the announcement he was going to be in this film. Then I saw him and my jaw dropped. This is not Shocker. He doesn’t even really don the costume, save for the sleeves on his jacket. How is it we can get nearly every detail right with superheroes, but for the villains they just seem to wear similar colors to their comic counterparts. I wonder why that is!

A change will do you good. My first introduction to the Vulture was as an elderly gentlemen who was running part of the criminal organizations in NYC. Obviously, there are some differences between that idea and the one we see on the screen. Most importantly, the family man version of the character remained intact. So, why would I not like the change in history? Well, just this week, some promotional photos were released for Deadpool 2, specifically images of the mutant, Domino. I bring this up because she’s quite the curvy wonder in the pics, it is the sudden realization that she is now to be played by an actress of color…complete with afro and some weird face that causes her to look like a dog. What is the reason for this change? No real reason, they just wanted someone of ethnicity to play a character who has plae white skin.

Final verdict on Spider-Man:Homecoming? This is the superhero film we’ve all been clamoring for. It has action, humor, sci-fi, crime, and even a love story. What is there to not like? While Marvel and Sony are sure to fight over who gets credit here, really it is the fans and moviegoers that win. Do  I recommend  this? Emphatically yes! The cons are few and the pros are many. Go check it out!

5 out of 5 stars

 

The Accountant

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Thrillers/Mystery with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 2, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) is a math savant with more affinity for numbers than people. Behind the cover of a small-town CPA office, he works as a freelance accountant for some of the world’s most dangerous criminal organizations. With the Treasury Department’s Crime Enforcement Division, run by Ray King (J.K. Simmons), starting to close in, Christian takes on a legitimate client: a state-of-the-art robotics company where an accounting clerk (Anna Kendrick) has discovered a discrepancy involving millions of dollars. But as Christian uncooks the books and gets closer to the truth, it is the body count that starts to rise.

What people are saying:

“It’s transparent in its attempt both to pimp a future franchise and give autistic kids their own superhero. There’s a genuine sweetness to the latter that converts me on the former. Headshots, math problems, and pained social interactions? Sign me up. Of the two movies Ben Affleck has been in so far this year, The Accountant and Batman V Superman, The Accountant has by far the most franchise potential” 4 stars

“The Accountant should be a straight-ahead thriller, but the film keeps tripping over its own incompetent feet. Maybe it was made for adults, but it sure doesn’t feel like it was made by them.” 3 stars

“It’s not that often a great story gets translated into a classy script and then benefits from top level acting. Thankfully this film manages to do all that and more. The unique story line combined with some excellent acting and action scenes is a triumph and is not just for those who crave some realistic looking action. Ben Affleck does a great job and makes the unusually talented and afflicted ‘Accountant’ believable. After this performance Ben Affleck must surely be at the top of the list to play ‘007’.” 5 stars

“This movie was sooooooo predictable and terrible. It rips off elements from “Jack Reacher”, “Rain Man” and “Grosse Point Blank”. All three of those movies are way better than this piece of turd. I think the PC crowd want to portray this movie as “inspiring” and about “family” or some other B.S. The movie has a message that autistic people have can live a productive life in a manner of a “normal” person. Meaning, we (the non-autistic people) just mis-understand the very special autistic folks. It’s the same formula as you have seen a hundred times. The Accountant is killing the bad folks for the greater good, but he is not an official law enforcement agent. He has to do things secretly, but with the covert help of a couple of legitimate treasury agents. Sound familiar? Kind of like Batman and Commissioner Gordon. (I did that on purpose btw.) Believe me, I “get” this movie. Wooden acting, (exception: J.K. Simmons) stupid, predictable story, and very slow pace. It’s pure garbage. I just read they are going to make “The Accountant 2″ as well. I guess it’s true, you can’t fix stupid” 1 star

“I thought the film did an excellent job of developing and explaining Ben Afflecks character. I also enjoyed the duplicity of his autism and the fighting skills that his father imbued in him and later how he learned to cope with these abilities / disabilities in adult life (quite the paradox). From personal experience: I know that autistic people have a skill sets, its finding it and making it useful too themselves and society that’s difficult. Too many times these people are written off because they are different than normal expectations and thats kinda of the bottom line of this movie. The previous reviewer is a good example of the herd mentality of people that just don’t get it and never will. (Small people with even smaller minds). I also enjoyed his marksmanship skills with a 50BMG Barret rifle, the one mile shots at cantaloupes and how he took out a pickup truck with it by shooting a hole in the engine block, no doubt also inspired by his Army father. In summary this movie is imperfect by design so that only enlightened people will appreciate and get it.” 5 stars

Be Kind Rewind

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on July 30, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Jerry is a junkyard worker who attempts to sabotage a power plant that he believes is melting his brain. But, when his plan goes awry, the magnetic field that he creates accidentally erases all of the videotapes in a local video store where his best friend Mike works. Fearing that the mishap will cost Mike his job, the two friends team up to keep the store’s only loyal customer–a little old lady with a tenuous grasp on reality–from realizing what has happened by recreating and re-filming every movie that she decides to rent. From “Back to the Future,” to “Robocop,” to “Rush Hour,” to “The Lion King,” Jerry and Mike become the biggest stars in their neighborhood by starring in the biggest movies ever made.

What people are saying:

“inviting, undemanding and altogether wonderful…you’ll want to see it again, or at least Swede it yourself.” 4 1/2 stars

“started out ok but the ending was way too sappy. on an added note, i do miss the long gone days of mom and pop video stores. But it was Blockbuster that did them in not the internet. I think they still existed for a while in densely populated urban areas (both rich and poor) where you could have enough customers in a few blocks to support a small business.  ” 2 stars

“It’s hard to get too cranky about a movie that, at heart, is a tribute to the joy of making things with your friends.” 3 1/2 stars

“Mos Def has the screen presence of a bowl of fruit. Aside from that, the film is well shot and manages to convey a sense of nostalgia as other users have pointed out. ” 3 stars

“The film begins rather unrealistically but soon develops into a great story. Jack Black fuels the flick with humour as the comedic colossus he is and it powers on with great film references and balances it out with some heartfelt moments.” 4 stars

How to Steal a Million

Posted in Classics, Comedy, Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on July 19, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

In this elegant “caper” film, Audrey Hepburn stars as the daughter of a wealthy Parisian (Hugh Griffith), whose hobby is copying famous works of art. His replica of a famed Cellini sculpture is inadvertently displayed in an art museum, and he begins to worry that he’ll lose his reputation once the experts evaluate the statuette. Audrey decides to rob the museum, and hires a burglar (Peter O’Toole) for that purpose. But the burglar is really a detective, who has every intention of arresting Audrey and her father when the deed is done.

What people are saying:

“A decent enough film, but I still can’t help but dislike Peter O’Toole for some reason. Hepburn is terrific, as usual. There isn’t much unusual in what’s going on here, but Eli Wallach’s character is a bit of an interesting character so he catches my attention when he’s on-screen.” 2 1/2 stars

“…the sort of genial, fluffy little caper flick that rarely gets made anymore, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.” 3 1/2 stars

“A charming heist movie with a handsome leading man and ever beautiful Audrey, and of course interesting plot, funny jokes and interesting supporting roles that enrich the movie.” 4 stars

“Young Peter teams up with -glamorous as always- Audrey in this romantic comedy, set in Paris and revolving around a museum heist. The characters are entertaining, the plot jolly good fun & the performances remarkable. Overall, a good film to watch on an easy-going night in.” 3 1/2 stars

“Being a huge Audrey Hepburn fan this review may be a little biased. She never ceases to amaze me with how she can be somewhat versatile in her roles without sacrificing her notable style and ethereal beauty. The film itself is quite comical, and is almost like a romantic version of Ocean’s Eleven. Good movie for fans of Audrey, or Peter.” 5 stars

The BFG

Posted in Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on July 15, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Roald Dahl’s spooky children’s book is transformed into a family-friendly fantasy centering on young orphan Sophie, who meets a colossus called the Big Friendly Giant — who’s exiled from his peers for refusing to eat boys and girls.

What people are saying:

“…this splendid Steven Spielberg-directed adaptation makes it possible for audiences of all ages to wrap their heads around one of the unlikeliest friendships in cinema history, resulting in the sort of instant family classic “human beans” once relied upon Disney to deliver.” 4 stars

“An undeniable master at telling deeply affecting matinee-style tales, [Spielberg’s] 29th feature retains enough magical elements from the source novel to delight kids and captivate adults.” 4 1/2 stars

“This is one of the few Roald Dahl books I’ve never read, so I can’t speak for the accuracy regarding the book, but I thought this movie was brilliant of its own accord. The graphics are beautiful, the story is touching and the acting is perfect. I honestly only planned to see it because I’m willing to see just about anything Disney releases, but I was very impressed and will definitely be seeing this again.” 4 stars

“The animated ’89 version of The BFG was a staple of my youth, so naturally I was excited for a Steven Spielberg redo. Unfortunately, I don’t think the tale lends itself well to the live action format. That, or the hands making this piece were unable to concentrate the narrative to where it went. In either case, the end product is a film with many tiny endearing moments of nostalgia that at no point come together to create a laudable whole.” 2 stars

“Well acquainted with the quirky Roald Dahl books from when I was a kid, I enjoyed this and it’s pleasing to see that Disney didn’t water it down. The screenplay was penned by the late Mellissa Matheson (ET The Extra Terrestrial) and the CGI was visually superb and believable. Infact, the warm-hearted giant was rendered very lifelike (looking as he did, like Liam Neeson!) and terrifically voiced.” 3 1/2 stars

Two Weeks Notice

Posted in Movie Reviews, Comedy, Romantic with tags , , , , , on July 3, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

A woman finds herself attempting to foil one office romance while debating if she should take a chance on another in this romantic comedy. Lucy Kelton (Sandra Bullock) is a top-flight attorney who has risen to the position of Chief Legal Counsel for one of New York’s leading commercial real estate firms, the Wade Corporation. However, Lucy’s job has one significant drawback — George Wade (Hugh Grant), the eccentric and remarkably self-centered head of the firm. George seems entirely incapable of making a decision without Lucy’s advice, whether it actually involves a legal matter or not, and while she’s fond of George, being at his beck and call 24 hours a day has brought her to the end of her rope. In a moment of anger, Lucy gives her two weeks notice, and George reluctantly accepts, under one condition — Lucy has to hire her own replacement. After extensive research, Lucy picks June Carter (Alicia Witt), a Harvard Law graduate determined to make a career for herself. Lucy soon begins to suspect, however, that June plans to hasten her rise up the corporate ladder by winning George’s hand, leaving Lucy to wonder if she should warn George about his beautiful but calculating new attorney — and whether she should tell George that she has finally realized she’s in love with him.

What people are saying:

“Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock basically play their patented movie selves in this overly familiar romantic comedy about corporate greed, social responsibility, personal promises and budding love.” 2 stars

“A familiar plot and typical Bullock flick. Woman intellect meets scatterbrain man, fall in love (neither one knows it), a falling out, and they supposedly live happily ever after. Grant always plays the somewhat down founded man and Bullock is always somewhat of dimwit. Also, there’s a cameo appearance (with a four-liner speech) by a certain billionaire, who could have been edited out and his appearance forgotten. Recommended to Bullock and Grant fans.” 3 stars

“Its only relevance is as a sign of its times. Really it’s no worse than Rock Hudson Doris Day movies, and maybe someday it will be misviewed as a classic as those movies are. There’s little pep to the proceedings, but plenty of star power.” 2 stars

“A rom com about a shallow and obscenely rich playboy (when he said he was calling for a lift, he meant his private helicopter) and a brainy cause-fighting attorney (she can rattle off names of General Counsels when suspected of concussion). Grant and Bullock deliver their cheeky wordplay (“I think you are the most selfish human being on the planet.” “Well that’s just silly. Have you met everybody on the planet?”) with impeccable comic timing and adorable chemistry.” 4 stars

“This is one of those rom-coms that does something unique: it actually gets you to care about the characters who are supposed to be together. The way this movie does it is by having these characters actually be good people, despite their differing ideologies, an achievement that is difficult enough to manage in real life, let alone in a movie. There aren’t any memorable lines, but the charm of both Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant is enough to make this movie worth watching.” 3 1/2 stars