Archive for the Movie Reviews Category

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 21, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Revisiting the comedic chaos of the original, this rollicking sequel finds Teddy and Pete coming to the Radner family’s rescue, wading into battle with the wild sorority sisters now occupying the duo’s former fraternity house.

What people are saying:

“This pretty routine follow-up has some decent material and amiable bad taste, heavily diluted with gallons of very ordinary sequel product: more of the same” 2 stars

“Creating a sequel with the exact same plot as the original is just about the stupidest idea since the Hangover. Sorority Rising is a terrible movie with a horrible cast (Chloe Grace Moretz in particular) that offers absolutely no humor. There’s absolutely nothing positive about this horrendous comedy; it’s just a huge waste of time.” 1 star

“I’m usually a huge fan of Seth Rogen’s movies but this movie really was not good. I liked the first one but this one was a waste of time. It wasn’t funny, you can see they are trying to be funny but it just doesn’t work.” 2 stars

“When following up the first Neighbors film it was going to be near impossible to make the sequel worse and the writers actually managed to make this film semi-note worthy and better than the original.” 3 stars

“Classic sequelitis: repeat plot, bring back jokes and throw up stuff that was probably rejected the first time around. Most everyone returning from the first is great, Efron especially, but the scenes with the sorority are so bad you can almost see the director calling action before they speak. Even the sexism stuff is noble but handled oddly (dude wants the girls to kiss each other). Probably fine as a cable-TV diversion, but nothing to get excited about.” 2 stars

Trailer Thurday 3/16

Posted in Movie Reviews, Trailer Thursday with tags on March 16, 2017 by Mystery Man

It’s Trailer Thursday!!!

Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day, so this week’s trailer is related to everyone’s favorite day to suddenly embrace the color green.

Check out the trailer for the comedy/horror film, Leprechaun!

O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Posted in Comedy, Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 12, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

In the Depression-era deep South, three escapees from a Mississippi prison chain gang: Everett Ulysses McGill, sweet and simple Delmar, and the perpetually angry Pete, embark on the adventure of a lifetime as they set out to pursue their freedom and return to their homes. With nothing to lose and still in shackles, they make a hasty run for their lives and end up on an incredible journey filled with challenging experiences and colorful characters. However, they must also match wits with the cunning and mysterious lawman Cooley, who tracks men, bent on bringing the trio back to the prison farm.

What people are saying:

“A roller-coaster ride with a goofy fun-house spirit, it’s full of clever pranks.” 4 stars

“This is the type of movie I like to revisit from time to time because I find it comforting in some kind of way. The music is the biggest standout for me, but I definitely find that I appreciate the comedy more as I get older too. ” 4 stars

“It takes a lot for the Coen Bros to make a movie that isn’t entertaining. ‘O Brother Where Art Thou?’ is engaging at times but it’s very hit or miss. The cast is having fun which isn’t unusual for a Coen flick, but it just didn’t make me laugh and there were instances I was bored. Worthwhile for the performances and the supporting cast but we have come to expect better from Coen and Company. ” 3 stars

“The Coen brothers cleverly combine the Odyssey with the Depression to create this wonderfully humorous and lighthearted tale of three escaped prisoners on a quest. With a few detours and strange encounters along the way, their hilarious journey will entertain you through and through” 4 1/2 stars

“There is nothing else I can think of like this movie. Based on Homer’s Odyssey, it keeps its mythological feel even though everything could be described as mundane. It’s like the feeling you get while watching Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter, but no magic is necessary here. And the role music plays in this film… it’s hypnotic. I can’t quite explain why, but this is (in my humble opinion) one of the greatest films to have come out in a very long time.” 5 stars

Revisited: Mr. Magoo

Posted in Movie Reviews, Revisited with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 12, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Mr. Quincy Magoo (Leslie Nielsen), a wealthy canned vegetable factory owner, goes to the museum to attend a party. While there, Waldo (Matt Keeslar), Mr. Magoo’s nephew, spies a woman named Stacey Sampanahoditra (Jennifer Garner), on whom he develops a crush. Later that night, jewel thieves Luanne LeSeur (Kelly Lynch) and Bob Morgan (Nick Chinlund) steal the museum’s beautiful ruby “The Star of Kuristan” and escape on a boat to Austin Cloquet (Malcolm McDowell), Bob’s boss.

Meanwhile, Mr. Magoo and his dog Angus go fishing in the same area as the jewel thieves’ boat. Luanne picks a fight with Bob and in the scuffle, they lose the ruby which lands in Mr. Magoo’s boat unbeknownst to Magoo. Bob goes after the ruby but fails by falling onto the paddle wheel of a paddle boat.

At the museum, the curator and Stacey send two agents: Gustav Anders of the CIA (Ernie Hudson) and Chuck Stupak of the FBI (Stephen Tobolowsky) to track down the ruby and spy on Mr. Magoo whom they believe stole the ruby. Stacey mentions she was invited to the opera where the Magoos go that night. Anders and Stupak also visit the opera to look for Mr. Magoo who is in the show. At the opera Mr. Magoo meets Luanne who pretends to be a magazine reporter named Prunella Pagliachi. She wishes Mr. Magoo luck at the opera, who immediately takes a liking to her. Stupak sneaks on the stage and fails to find any clue about Mr. Magoo with Mr. Magoo accidentally hitting Stupak with a big tool.

The next morning, Luanne tricks Mr. Magoo into taking her to his house with an injured ankle. Stupak finds a notebook with Luanne’s fingerprints on it and realizes who Mr. Magoo is with. He and Anders go to Mr. Magoo’s house where Stupak sneaks in looking for the ruby. Mr. Magoo and Luanne arrive at the house and Stupak hides from them. Bob sneaks into Mr. Magoo’s house and finds the ruby. Upon being caught in the act, he steals Mr. Magoo’s prized Studebaker with the Magoos and Luanne chasing after him in Magoo’s Eggplant-mobile. Bob loses them and brings the ruby to Austin.

Austin plans an auction for his criminal friends from around the world and shows them the ruby. Mr. Magoo disguises himself as Ortega Peru, a thief from Brazil who never goes anywhere and joins the auction which is taking place in a communal indoor pool. However he is discovered when the fake tattoo on his chest is washed away by the water. Luanne breaks up the auction, steals the ruby, and escapes on a snow mobile away from the lair. The government arrests Austin and his friends while Mr. Magoo gives chase on an ironing board and winds up in the middle of a women’s skiing competition. Waldo and Angus sneak out of the lair, catch up with Magoo, and track down the ruby.

Angus sees Luanne in disguise as an old woman and spills her purse which gives Mr. Magoo and Waldo a clue about where Luanne is going. The Magoos follow Luanne to Brazil where Waldo spies on the real Ortega (Miguel Ferrer) and his friends. Mr. Magoo steals a bride dress from Ortega’s girlfriend Rosita (Monique Rusu) and is led to the wedding. Mr. Magoo steals the ruby from Ortega and finds himself being chased by Peru’s men, the government agents and Luanne. Magoo then is trapped on a raft just before it goes over a waterfall but manages to invert the raft like a parachute so he can gently float to safety. He and Waldo return the ruby to the museum with the government arresting Ortega, Luanne and the people from Brazil.

Mr. Magoo and Angus go home after returning the ruby back to the museum

REVIEW:

A few years ago, there was a channel around here that showed classic cartoons on Saturday mornings. Along with The Archies, Dick Tracy, and The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show, there were some short featuring Mr. Magoo. I always would get a chuckle from these shorts and the comic strip, so here’s to hoping that Mr. Magoo will be just as funny.

What is this about?

This live-action comedy adaptation of UPA’s bumbling near-sighted animated character stars Leslie Nielsen. Magoo is a millionaire who refuses to admit that he needs glasses. After accidentally becoming the target in an international manhunt, Magoo continually escapes mishaps by inches.

What did I like?

Animation. To bookend this film, it fades in and out of animated segments. I appreciate this because I’m sure there are those watching this that never saw or even knew there was a cartoon featuring Magoo. I’m also glad they didn’t try to take him from the animated world to the real world. That didn’t work the first they tried it with The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle, and it surely wasn’t about to work this time around.

Nielsen ratings. Can you honestly think of anyone who would be a better Magoo than Leslie Nielsen? He’s got the comedic timing, age appropriate, and the voice seems to fit, as well. Nielsen isn’t the perfect Magoo, as i’ll get into later, but he is more than adequate.

Minuteman. About 10 yrs ago, there was a show on ABC Family that only lasted one season starring Matt Keeslar called The Minuteman. Keeslar has that old “aw shucks” pure look that worked for the character of the Minuteman and also for Magoo’s nephew. I also suspect this is why we don’t see more of this guy. He’s perfect for the old throwback/period piece films, though.

What didn’t I like?

Characteristics. Mr. Magoo has always been drawn as a bald, short, old man with comedic vision issues. In this film, he still has said vision problems and is a man of advanced age, but Nielsen is a taller individual and they put him in some sort of receding hairline wig. Like I said earlier, there really isn’t anyone that I can picture better to play Mr. Magoo than Leslie Nielsen, but I feel a little more accuracy would have served the film better.

Garner. This is another of those film that Jennifer Garner appears in a small supporting role. I have to check the timeline, but I believe this was about the time she was just getting started, so it isn’t like she was starring in anything, yet. However, I must make a point of how her character is from an undetermined country, based on her varying accent thickness, and seems to be there only to serve as an eventual love interest for Keeslar’s character. Surely, they could have done something more with her, right?

Make ’em laugh. This is supposed to be a comedy, but I did not find myself even cracking a smile once! That isn’t to say they made Magoo a dark drama, but rather the attempt at humor takes a backseat to this heist caper that I never really bought into. Personally, I think the best parts of the film are when Magoo is just dealing with people around him and being the blind, bumbling old man we know him to be, rather than whatever it is that this film is attempting to make him.

Final verdict on Mr. Magoo. Continuing in the string of movies that were based on popular cartoons/comic strips from the 60s and turned into flops, this does nothing to change the pattern. Why is that? Well, as far as attracting audiences, I can’t tell you. As far as the film itself is concerned, the studios got too involved and turned this into something that it shouldn’t be. Or perhaps the script was this crappy from the get go. Either way, Mr. Magoo deserves much better than this. Do I recommend it? No, unless you’re trying to complete a collection of Leslie Nielsen’s films, this should be one of those forgotten films that just happens to exist. Nothing more, nothing less.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars

The Legend of Tarzan

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

It has been years since the man once known as Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgård) left the jungles of Africa behind for a gentrified life as John Clayton III, Lord Greystoke, with his beloved wife, Jane (Margot Robbie) at his side. Now, he has been invited back to the Congo to serve as a trade emissary of Parliament, unaware that he is a pawn in a deadly convergence of greed and revenge, masterminded by the Belgian, Captain Leon Rom (Christoph Waltz). But those behind the murderous plot have no idea what they are about to unleash.

What people are saying:

“The site’s critical consensus reads, “The Legend of Tarzan has more on its mind than many movies starring the classic character, but that isn’t enough to make up for its generic plot or sluggish pace” 2 stars

“Enjoyed it fine. Not gonna change your life; just some fun entertainment. Keep your expectations within reason for this one.” 3 stars

“Must say disappointed with the movie. Thought the gorillas were well done but the ending was absolutely ridiculous. Too many animals fighting against the bad guys. Never knew Tarzan could communicate with alligators. Jackson and Waltz were good as always, but they couldn’t save this. You can survive a fight with an 800 pound angry gorilla, but you have trouble with a lone man. Give me a break! ” 2 stars

“For the knowledgeable Tarzan fan (reader) the story is total crap, however it may be the most watchable Tarzan movie ever. This Tarzan is the real deal, not that crybaby monkey-boy from the Highlander guy. Margot Robbie is exquisite as Jane, and Samuel L. Jackson plays pretty much the same character he always does. Don’t be afraid to give this one a try while waiting for someone, someday, to do Tarzan by the book.” 4 stars

“They’ve turned Tarzan into something of a cross between Spider-Man and Batman although I’m not so sure that old Spidey could of kept up with the vine swinger or that Batman could have laid as many blokes low without his utility belt. With Margot Robbie, as Jane, it would’ve played a whole lot better if they had just got Jason Lee to play Tarzan and called it “Tarzan; Earl of the Jungle” and made a parody out of it as the likes of something Monty Python would’ve done if they had been given the chance. It was so close to a parody that it wouldn’t have taken very much more effort and would’ve probably done much better at the box office. They relied so heavily on CGI that most of the time I thought that I was watching anime rather than a motion picture. But, the question that is really dogging me is why there wasn’t the Tarzan yell in the flick? I’m pretty sure that Alexander Skarsgard is now the 22nd actor to have played Tarzan in a motion picture…but Johnny Weissmuller is still number one in my opinion. I give it one and a half stars but if you were to ask me on a better day I might had gave it two.” 1 1/2 stars

Spotlight

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 5, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Spotlight tells the riveting true story of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe investigation that would rock the city and cause a crisis in one of the world’s oldest and most trusted institutions. When the newspaper’s tenacious “Spotlight” team of reporters delves into allegations of abuse in the Catholic Church, their year-long investigation uncovers a decades-long cover-up at the highest levels of Boston’s religious, legal, and government establishment, touching off a wave of revelations around the world.

What people are saying:

Spotlight gracefully handles the lurid details of its fact-based story while resisting the temptation to lionize its heroes, resulting in a drama that honors the audience as well as its real-life subjects” 4 1/2 stars

“Spotlight shows how difficult it is to challenge a hallowed institution. This requires deep though on the part of the person initiating the investigation. They have to realize that breaking the law applies equally to all citizens: bakers, bankers, bartenders, and clergy. The film shows the drama in the investigation and trying to keep it from being hijacked. A super film: highly recommend taking the time to view it. ” 5 stars

“Don’t underestimate the power of journalism! My salute to the real Spotlight team and all the people who made this film. Goosebumps all the way through. You won’t believe the events portrayed in the film actually happened in the real world.” 4 1/2 stars

“After watching this movie, I’d like to see one about what the church has done to clean up its act. I thought the line about celibacy being the cause of it laughable and incredibly naive. It was hard to get too interested in such an old story.” 3 stars

“This drama based on true events does tell a good story about how the ball got rolling in this cover-up. But as a movie, it doesn’t quite meet the mark. Some of the acting (especially from Ruffalo) is average, and there are a few filler scenes and dead spots. I was expecting more complexity and revelations as the movie unfolded. With all of the recent media reports and government inquiries into these matters, the facts didn’t produce the shock value which they would have when these stories initially broke in the media” 3 stars

X-Men: Apocalypse

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 4, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

En Sabah Nur, a powerful mutant believed to be the first of his kind, rules ancient Egypt until he is betrayed by his worshippers, who entomb him alive. His four lieutenants die preserving him. Awakening in 1983, he believes humanity has lost its way without his presence. Aiming to destroy and remake the world, he recruits Cairo pickpocket Ororo Munroe, who can control the weather, and upgrades her power.

In East Berlin, shape-shifting mutant Raven investigates an underground fight club and discovers mutant champion Angel, who possesses a pair of large feathered wings on his back, and Kurt Wagner, who can teleport. Raven rescues Kurt and employs the services of black marketeer Caliban to transport him to America. En Sabah Nur recruits Caliban’s enforcer, Psylocke, who leads him to Angel. En Sabah Nur enhances both their powers, transforming Angel’s wings into metal.

Alex Summers discovers that his younger brother Scott is manifesting a mutation for shooting optic beams. Alex takes Scott to Professor Charles Xavier’s educational institute in Westchester County, New York, hoping that Xavier and Hank McCoy will teach him to control his abilities. Scott meets the telepathic and telekinetic Jean Grey, and the two develop an attraction. Raven brings Kurt to the institute. En Sabah Nur’s powers cause disturbances around the world, leading Xavier and Alex to consult with CIA agent Moira MacTaggert, who has been researching the legend of Nur.

In Communist Poland, the metal-controlling mutant Erik Lehnsherr lives with his wife and their young daughter, Nina. He uses his powers to save a coworker, prompting the militia to capture him. When they murder Erik’s family, he retaliates by executing them. En Sabah Nur later approaches the devastated Erik and takes him to Auschwitz, where Erik’s power first manifested. Erik destroys the camp and joins him.

En Sabah Nur remotely accesses Cerebro, a brainwave-amplifying device Xavier uses to locate mutants. Through it, he forces the telepathic Xavier to make the global superpowers launch their entire nuclear arsenals into space to prevent interference with En Sabah Nur’s plan. He and his new lieutenants arrive at the mansion and kidnap Xavier. Attempting to stop them, Alex accidentally causes an explosion that destroys the mansion. Peter Maximoff, having learned that he is Erik’s son and hoping that Xavier can help to find him, arrives just in time; he uses his super-speed to evacuate the students before the explosion destroys the building, but Alex is presumed dead. Colonel William Stryker’s forces subsequently capture Hank, Raven, Peter, and Moira, and take them to a military facility for interrogation. Scott, Jean and Kurt follow covertly, and liberate their comrades using Stryker’s mind-controlled and brainwashed experiment Weapon X, whose memories Jean partially restores.

At En Sabah Nur’s behest, Erik uses his powers to control the Earth’s magnetic poles, causing death and destruction across the planet. En Sabah Nur plans to transfer his consciousness into Xavier’s body, and use Xavier’s power to enslave every person on earth. Xavier secretly sends a telepathic distress call to Jean, and the others travel to Cairo to battle Apocalypse (En Sabah Nur) and his horsemen. They rescue Xavier, but he loses his hair as the process nears completion. Angel is defeated and incapacitated in the battle. Erik and Ororo are persuaded to turn on En Sabah Nur and, with the help of Scott, they keep him occupied physically while Xavier fights him telepathically in the astral plane. Finally, Xavier encourages Jean to unleash the full extent of her powers, incinerating En Sabah Nur, killing him for good. In the ensuing chaos, Psylocke flees.

Xavier and Moira rekindle their relationship. Erik and Jean help reconstruct the school, but Erik refuses Xavier’s offer to stay and help teach. Peter decides not to tell Erik yet that he is Erik’s son. Hank and Raven train new X-Men recruits Scott, Jean, Ororo, Kurt and Peter.

In a post-credits scene, men in suits visit the Weapon X facility to retrieve data on Stryker’s mutant research, including an X-ray and a blood sample marked “Weapon X”, on behalf of the Essex Corporation.

REVIEW:

Bryan Singer is the man who brought the X-Men to the big screen way back in 2000 and many give him credit for jump starting the superhero movie boom (though I’m sure Blade has a solid case). Now that he’s back, expectations are high for X-Men: Apocalypse. Does this film live up to those lofty expectations? Let’s find out!

What is this about?

Bearing the ominous moniker of Apocalypse, a legendary mutant comes to life after thousands of years and resolves to impose an oppressive new world order. With humanity’s fate at stake, the X-Men team prepares for an all-or-nothing showdown.

What did I like?

80s. As a child of the 80s, of course I’m going to be a little partial to films that are set in that era. The fashions, the music, even a marquee featuring Return of the Jedi and characters talking about Empire Strikes Back (with a slight jab at X-Men: The Last Stand). This could have very well been set in modern day, but I don’t it would have worked as well. Same goes for if it was set in the near future.

Be gentle, it’s my first time. We’ve seen Professor X, Magneto, Beast, Mystique, etc. on-screen plenty of times, but this is the first time for the likes of Psylocke, Archangel, Apocalypse, etc. There are literally hundreds of X-Men, we don’t need to keep seeing the same handful. Now, its up for debate about whether these characters were any good, but hey, give them time and we’ll see what they can do.

Foreshadowing. There is a scene where Professor Xavier is fighting Apocalypse on the astral plane and he calls in Jean Grey, a telekinetic in her own right, for reinforcements. When she engages in the battle we are treated to her full power and the energy around her is shaped like a bird…a phoenix, it would see. If this is foreshadowing for a future film based on the Dark Phoenix saga, I’m all for it (hopefully they’ll do it right, this time). If not, then it was just a nice visual easter egg.

What didn’t I like?

Loss of power. My first introduction to Apocalypse was in the 90s X-Men animated series, where he was portrayed as a true being of unspeakable power. Since then, from what I’ve read in the comics, he’s only gotten more powerful. While he does have a fair amount of power, I never felt like he was nigh unstoppable. Basically, he was just a step above Magneto. This is a guy that was supposedly there at the very beginning and his power theoretically grows every year, so why does he feel so unintimidating? Maybe it is the Ivan Ooze look they gave him?

Phoning it in. To be honest, I’ve never been a fan of the way Mystique has been portrayed on film. Don’t get me wrong, a half naked Rebecca Romijn or Jennifer Lawrence is perfectly fine, but the paint and scales, not so much. With Lawrence, she just looks like she’s wearing blue grease paint and doesn’t seem comfortable in the role. Also, it seems as if the bigger her star has become, the less interested she has been in playing this role. Many other critics and reviewers have said it, but she looks like she is just in this for the paycheck and to honor her contract. There is no enthusiasm or life in her performance. If we get another film with this universe, she either needs to step it up or the directors need to find someone else who gives a damn!

Too soon? I know we’re like 9 movies into the X-Men franchise, but it was recently rebooted with X-Men: First Class. This brings me to question whether it is too soon to bring in a major foe such as Apocalypse in, at least without more of a buildup. The average movie goer knows little to nothing about Apocalypse, and that’s if they took a few minutes to read some Wikipedia articles on him. I don’t know. I guess part of me is just wishes they would have gone with another adversary like the Hellfire Club or the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants while the seeds were planted for a big Apocalypse entrance. Instead we get a story involving a villain that we have no connection to, other than a quick backstory at the beginning of the film.

Final verdict on X-Men: Apocalypse? Well, it gave us an X-Men story that wasn’t reliant on Wolverine, so there is that. The new versions of Jean, Cyclops, Storm, Nightcrawler, etc. aren’t given anything to really endear themselves to the audience or make us forget Halle Berry, Famke Jensen, James Marsden, etc. The action is engaging and the effects are what you have come to expect from this franchise. So, do I recommend it? Yes, but this is not the best film in the franchise, so keep that in mind. Still, it is worth watching once or twice, so there you go.

4 out of 5 stars