The Peanuts Movie

Posted in Animation, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 16, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus and the rest of the beloved “Peanuts” gang make their big-screen debut, like they’ve never been seen before, in state of the art 3D animation. Charlie Brown, the world’s most beloved underdog, embarks upon an epic and heroic quest, while his best pal, the lovable beagle Snoopy, takes to the skies to pursue his arch-nemesis, the Red Baron

What people are saying:

“The Peanuts Movie is delightful from beginning to end and doesn’t rely on baddies, silly sidekicks or lame toilet gags to distract your munchkins.” 4 stars

“Have to admit…I sure expected to hate this film. Entirely unnecessary and not terribly relevant nevermind the stylized character design. But I saw it and it won me over! Didn’t seem the kids in the audience had much connection to the kids and Snoopy but I heard plenty of chuckles from the adults around me. And what a nice ending! Stayed true to the Peanuts we grew up with (right down to phones with long cords you can get tied up in) and even the voices seemed more right than on the specials I’ve seen lately on television.” 4 stars

“Great movie! It really feels like the old Charlie Brown. The only downside is that modern pop music that ruins the moment (kind of Rio music). It was unnecessary. I don’t think that little kids today can’t feel in touch with funny jazzy music. But overall, great product.” 5 stars

“Sorry, I love Peanuts, but this was a disappointment. It felt less like the classic holiday specials, and more like the follow-on half hour of short gags they always show on network television to keep the kids watching. Peanuts was so special because it was dark and funny at the same time. Schultz never ignored the bitter disappointments and angst that all children have to go through. He showed it to us, and got us to laugh about it. This movie doesn’t do that. I can’t assess this movie from the perspective of a child. They might find it entertaining, I don’t know. Perhaps I’m being unfair.” 2 stars

“A movie which the entire family will enjoy. Parents will like the nostalgia of the film, which stays true to Charles M. Schulz’s vision of the characters. Kids will enjoy the antics of Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and friends, as kids have for generations. Kids loved “Peanuts” 50 years ago, and kids will love “Peanuts” 50 years from now. The Peanuts Movie is proof that you can update and modernize classic characters without having to reimagine them.” 4 stars

Suicide Squad

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 15, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In the aftermath of Superman’s death, intelligence officer Amanda Waller assembles Task Force X, a team of dangerous criminals imprisoned at Belle Reve Prison consisting of elite hitman Deadshot, former psychiatrist Harley Quinn, pyrokinetic ex-gangster El Diablo, opportunistic thief Captain Boomerang, genetic mutation Killer Croc, and specialized assassin Slipknot. They are placed under command of Colonel Rick Flag to be used as disposable assets in high-risk missions for the United States government. Each member has a nano bomb implanted in their neck, designed to detonate should any member rebel or try to escape.

One of Waller’s intended recruits is Flag’s girlfriend Dr. June Moone, an archaeologist possessed by a witch-goddess known as the “Enchantress”. Enchantress quickly turns on Waller, deciding to eradicate humankind with a mystical weapon for imprisoning her. She besieges Midway City by transforming its populace into a horde of monsters, and summons her brother Incubus to assist her. Waller then deploys the squad to extract a high-profile mark from Midway, which is reported to be under a terrorist attack.

Harley’s homicidal lover, the Joker, finds out about her predicament and tortures Belle Reve Security Officer Griggs into leading him to the facility where the nano bombs are made. There, he blackmails Dr. Van Criss into disabling Harley’s bomb. On approach, the squad’s helicopter is shot down, forcing them to proceed on foot to their target. Boomerang inaccurately convinces Slipknot that the bombs are a ruse to keep them in check; Slipknot attempts to escape and Flag kills him via his nano bomb, while the squad is attacked by Enchantress’ minions. They eventually manage to fight their way through to a safe room, where they learn that their mark is Waller herself, who is attempting to cover up her involvement in Enchantress’ siege.

The squad escorts Waller to a rooftop for extraction, but the arriving helicopter has been hijacked by the Joker and his men, who open fire on the squad while Harley climbs aboard upon Dr. Van Criss disarming the bomb. However, Waller’s men shoot down the helicopter, and Harley falls out while the Joker is presumed dead, after which Harley rejoins the squad. Alerted to Waller’s whereabouts, Enchantress’ minions arrive and kidnap her. Deadshot finds Waller’s confidential files and learns the truth about Enchantress. Flag is then forced to confess the truth, causing the squad members to abandon him. With Waller compromised, Flag relieves the squad of the mission, but chooses to continue. Realizing they have an opportunity to prove themselves, they soon rejoin him and locate Enchantress at a partially-flooded subway station. Killer Croc and a group of Navy SEALs, led by Lieutenant GQ Edwards, go underwater to plant a bomb underneath Incubus. El Diablo embraces his abilities and manages to distract Incubus long enough for the bomb to detonate underneath, killing them both as well as Edwards.

The remaining squad members battle Enchantress together, but are ultimately defeated. Enchantress offers to fulfill their deepest desires in exchange for their allegiance, and Harley feigns interest in order to get close enough to cut out Enchantress’ heart. Killer Croc then throws explosives into Enchantress’ weapon and Deadshot shoots them, destroying the device. Flag takes Enchantress’ heart and crushes it, finally freeing June from the curse. Waller, still alive, emerges, and the squad members are returned to Belle Reve with ten years off their sentences. All but Captain Boomerang are allowed special privileges. The Joker, alive and unscathed, breaks into the penitentiary and rescues Harley. In a mid-credits scene, Waller meets with Bruce Wayne, who agrees to protect her from the backlash against her role in Enchantress’ rampage in exchange for access to the government’s files on the expanding metahuman community.

REVIEW:

With all the superhero movies out there today, shouldn’t we start having some that put the spotlight on the supervillains? That is what the idea behind Suicide Squad is, I believe. No matter what side of the fence you are on regarding this film, you can’t deny that it brought some new characters to the big screen. Regardless of that fact, though, one must wonder if this worth the time to watch or would it be better to just find clips on Youtube.

What is this about?

In this thrill-packed visit to the dark side of the DC Comics universe, a covert government organization drafts a team of jailed supervillains to carry out black ops missions in return for clemency.

What did I like?

Harley. A lot of people don’t know or don’t realize that Harley is actually a pretty young character. She was created originally for Batman: The Animated Series and gained so much popularity that she was written into the actual comics. Now you see her almost as much as you see major Batman adversaries such as Joker, Penguin, Riddler, etc. When I saw that Margot Robbie was set to play her and saw her costume, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. At least we got the easter egg with her in the jester outfit, though. Also, Robbie is doing her best to keep the Jersey accent that Harley is known for, and I can appreciate that. Now, the chemical bath thing, I’m not so sure about, but I can let that slide.

No longer in the Arrowverse. I think it was in season 1 or 2 of Arrow that audiences were given a fairly decent take on Floyd Lawton, otherwise known as Deadshot. Just as we were starting to get used to the guy, they kill him! Turns out that was so they could have him for this film. Truth be told, I like Will Smith’s version better, as a person. As the character, I would go with the guy from the tv show. Still, Smith stepped out of his comfort zone a bit and played a villain, and he deserves kudos for that (and not dragging his no-talent son into this with him).

Amanda Waller. This is the second time Amanda Waller has been portrayed on the big-screen. Third if you count that chick that play her on Arrow. In Green Lantern, she was played by Angela Bassett, but I didn’t get the villainous vibe from her there. In this film, Viola Davis plays her and it very much feels like she would shoot you in the face as well as shake your hand. The duplicitous nature of this character is what makes her so interesting and I am very glad they really played it up in this film. Hopefully we’ll get more of her in future DC films.

What didn’t I like?

Killer Croc. I’m not the biggest fan of Killer Croc. The only time his character has really impressed me is in the first Arkham Asylum game where he chases you through the sewers. I know its just a game, but that was some terrifying stuff when I went through it the first time. The main reason I don’t like this Croc has to do with his design. I’ve always preferred him to be more of a giant reptile type creature, rather a normal size dude with bad skin. They could’ve at least done something about making him more of a threat height wise.

Cholo. The whole film has this L.A. gangster vibe that I wasn’t feeling. A couple of characters can fit that mold, such as El Diablo, but everyone didn’t need to be tatted up throwing around gang signs and whatnot. The Joker is the worst culprit! I know this is Jared Leto’s interpretation of the Joker. More power to him! The whole tatted up, slicked back hair, and the silver grill…nuh uh! These things are not the Joker! That’s some cholo mess right there!

Just put the mask on! Once again we have a case of a major star cast as a character who wears a mask 99% of the time, but refuses to wear it except for a couple of scenes. Smith’s excuse in the film is that “people die when I wear it.” This is coming from an assassin! WTF?!? Put the damn mask on and be Deadshot, or find another role! I’m so tired of these diva actors who are “too good” to wear a mask because they think we won’t see their face!

Final thought on Suicide Squad? I didn’t expect to like this, to be honest with you. I had heard bad things when it was released this summer and, coupled with my busy schedule, just didn’t bother going to see it back then. Finally getting a chance to watch it tonight and I have to say that I enjoyed myself. If those reshoots they did were to add some action and comedy in, then I’m all for it. Had this film been another ultra-serious, brooding, dark film like everything else DC has put out, im likely to have jumped off a bridge! With that said, do I recommend this? Believe it or not, yes I do. This isn’t a cinematic masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination, but it worth a watch.

4 out of 5 stars

Armageddon

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

As a massive asteroid hurtles toward Earth, NASA’s head honcho hatches a plan to split the deadly rock in two before it annihilates the entire planet, calling on the world’s finest oil driller to head up the mission.

What people are saying:

“Just when you think you’ve had it with this movie, there comes a farcical, rock ‘n’ roll sort of comedy sequence, or a hilariously goofy line.” 3 stars

“Yes, it’s big. It’s stupid. It’s also completely kick butt. A true adventure film, Armageddon takes you by the throat and won’t let go. For as silly as the script seems, I dare you not to be on the edge of your seat during the tense moments or touched by the admittedly sappy sentimentalism later in the flick. There are too many moments here that are full of sheer joy not to watch this again.” 5 stars

“Now I love movies, I really enjoy action movies, but this….Oh my! This IS one of the worst movies of all times. Mindbogglingly dumb, full of cliches and a meaningless ending. Why so many people adore this waste of time and money, I’ll never understand.
A typical Bay-affair. Still waiting for him to just release a movie with 90 minutes of just explosions!” 1/2 star

“Yeah, gotta go with five stars for this one. Yes, it unashamedly goes for the heartstrings, yes the song is cornball, and yes, it’s full of cliches and REALLY bad science. It’s also action-packed, full of humor, loads of fun, and if you don’t cry at the end, you’re probably not human. This one and Twister are my two favorite cornball ‘disaster’ movies.” 5 stars

“NASA decides to recruit and train a courageous group of drillers to save Earth from a large asteroid. A List movie stars-Bruce Willis, Liv Tyler, Ben Affleck, Billy Bob Thornton, Steve Buscemi, Owen Wilson, and a great movie soundtrack “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith. Despite the movie having a very serious plot, some characters provide comic relief including Rockhound, Bear, Lev Andropov, and Oscar Choi. One subplot is the conflict between Harry, Harry’s daughter Grace, and AJ (Grace’s boyfriend) which eventually gets resolved. This movie has great footage of NASA’s spacesuits, equipment, rigorous training facilities/program, control center, and space shuttles. It also has superb special effects of the smaller asteroids striking Earth, the team traveling through space to land on the asteroid, and the team on the asteroid. Once arriving in space, the team appears jinxed facing one unexpected challenge or tragedy after the next leading to the courageous climax of the movie that will make viewers cry. This movie has a strong plot and subplot, excellent character choices, is well written to touch the heart and emotions of viewers, and has amazing special effects making you feel like you are there with the team. Most people would not have enough courage to do what this team did in outer space to save Earth.” 5 stars

The Fabulous Dorseys

Posted in Classics, Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The rise to fame of Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, brothers who achieved stardom as big-band leaders during the swing era, is depicted in this biographical drama. Despite early encouragement from their father, the Dorsey brothers must learn to overcome their sibling rivalry in order to achieve real success.

REVIEW:

When talking to a colleague of mine a few weeks ago, we go into a discussion about how most jazz artists were African American, especially the ones from the “jazz age”. This got me thinking, who are some of the non-black jazz artists from that time? First names that popped in my head were Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman, both of which have had their own biopics. After some more pondering, I came to the name Tommy Dorsey who, along with his brother Jimmy, had big band known as The Fabulous Dorseys.

What is this about?

The rise and rise of the Fabulous Dorsey brothers is charted in this whimsical step down memory lane, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey play themselves in this vehicle for their excellent music. From being raised by their father who insists on them learning music, to the split that just saw their careers rise even further.

What did I like?

Jimmy. For someone who knows a fair amount of music history, especially jazz history, it brings me a great shame to let it be known that I am not that familiar with Jimmy Dorsey. I know a little of Tommy, mostly because he has a small part in one of my all time favorite movies, A Song is Born. With that said, it is good to get to know a little more about Tommy and some basics about Jimmy. From here, I can go and do my own research.

Development. As the film starts, we meet the Dorseys as kids trying to get out of practicing, but their father makes them do it anyway. This sets the stage for the work ethic that would make them the proficient players that would headline their own big bands in the future. The development of their characters was something that needed to be done correctly and the filmmakers seemed to have done a sufficient job doing so.

Sibling rivalry. Brothers fight. It is just going to happen, especially when they are as competitive and different as these two. Since they played themselves, I doubt that many facts were flubbed in certain pivotal scenes, such as the breakup that occurred on stage at a gig. I’ve always wondered what it was that drove a wedge between these two, and now I know.

What didn’t I like?

Love story. The Dorseys apparently had a singer with whom they grew up with. I don’t know how true this is, but she was a big enough influence on them that she not only made it into the film, but was also given a love story. Let me make this clear, Tommy and Jimmy, who both got married during her time on the road, don’t even get a mention of their wives, but this random chick gets to have an entire affair with the pianist.

Rushed ending. Most of the film is well planned out and decently paced. Then we get to the last 5 minutes or so and its as if the studio was about to run out of money and needed to put a nice ending on the film, regardless of where the plot was in regards to the story.

Montage. I don’t know about you, but when I watch a movie about a famous musician, rights be damned, I expect to hear their music! After Tommy and Jimmy have their breakup we are treated to a quick montage of their greatest hits. For the music fan, it is a huge letdown, because it could have been done better and we are short changed some great tunes. Perhaps this was another cost cutting measure? If so, cut some of the fat from the story and leave the music be!

Final verdict on The Fabulous Dorseys? I’m a huge fan of these old black and white films. This copy just happened to still have the screen pops, which really made it very authentic. With that said, there wasn’t anything about this made me super excited. Granted, I’m not a huge Jimmy or Tommy Dorsey fan, so that may be why this didn’t do anything for me, as opposed to The Glenn Miller Story. Do I think it would do anything for a casual movie fan? Given today’s society and their tastes, probably not, but there is an audience out there for this kind of film and they are the ones that will truly enjoy this the was the filmmakers intended.

3 out of 5 stars

Trailer Thursday 4/13

Posted in Trailer Thursday with tags on April 13, 2017 by Mystery Man

It’s Trailer Thursday!!!

Continuing with the jazz month theme, we have a film from director Spike Lee that starred Denzel Washington and had a great jazz soundtrack, Mo’ Better Blues.

Ride Along 2

Posted in Action/Adventure, Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 9, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

In this riotous sequel to Ride Along, hardboiled cop James Payton is again riding with the panic-prone Ben Barber as the pair attempts to solve a case that takes them to the sun-drenched shores of Miami.

What people are saying:

“Ride Along 2 – propelled by an unintelligent, predictable story line and enough gunplay and explosions to eradicate a small nation – is good for a few belly laughs. But not much more.” 2 stars

“This movie is okay its just not very funny and its a bit cheesy and corny. The plot of the movie is very predictable also and the ending of the movie is not very dramatic or exciting. The first one was definitely better. However, this is the perfect movie for to throw on in the background of a movie or to get a date to come over and hangout” 3 stars

“Slightly better than the first one. Ice Cubes’s perpetual snarling is boring and Hart’s yapping is often irritating but the script and story are marginally improved. Olivia Munn shows a few flashes of comedic potential when she channels her geekness like from her Attack of the Show days.” 3 stars

“Petty much the same as the first one Kevin Hart carrying the movie with a few little chuckles now and them, and a crappy forgettable story what should be simple. But it does have a pretty fun sound track.” 2 1/2 stars

“It’s a fun movie and does what it’s supposed to do; and that’s to make us laugh. Someone wrote that of all the movies Will Ferrell has been in, this movie he didn’t turn off. Well, Will is not in this movie. I don’t know if the RA movie series is going to go to a third and fourth, a la Lethal Weapon,but I can see it happening. Of course, Ben gets married in this movie, so I guess #3 & #4 would show his kids (of course, he’ll have to have kids). Don’t analyze this movie too much or you’ll mess up your acceptance of the plot lines.” 3 stars

War Dogs

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

“War Dogs” follows two friends in their early 20s (Hill and Teller) living in Miami Beach during the Iraq War who exploit a little-known government initiative that allows small businesses to bid on U.S. Military contracts. Starting small, they begin raking in big money and are living the high life. But the pair gets in over their heads when they land a 300 million dollar deal to arm the Afghan Military–a deal that puts them in business with some very shady people, not the least of which turns out to be the U.S. Government.

What people are saying:

“As giant a leap forward for Todd Phillips as “The Big Short” was for Adam McKay. It’s not only the best movie of Summer 2016, it’s one of the year’s very best films. Miles Teller and Jonah Hill make a fantastic team, and Bradley Cooper totally kills in his glorified cameo. Belongs in a time capsule w/ “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “The Big Short” so future generations can see what life was like in early 21st century America. So smart, sharp and tautly paced; even the song selections are inspired. ” 4 stars

“This movie is very fun, informative, enjoyable, eye opening and we’ll casted. I believe I watched this movie 3 times in a week with different people telling them they needed to see it. Definitely brought a light to Gun Running and not in a negative way.. They do paint a negative/good light on greed vs need.” 4 1/2 stars

“Instead of outrage or any sense of shock and surprise, all the film has on offer is mild entertainment. Given the company, that feels like a bit of a miss.” 1 1/2 stars

“Excellent performances from Hill and Teller as they take advantage of a government initiative to purchase excess arms. Movie explores the mysterious world of arms dealers through the cynical eyes of Hill and Teller. Cooper adds to the story as the shady middleman who ultimately brings down the scam. Lots of foul language and some tense violence so the R rating is deserve” 4 stars

“In some ways this movie resembles the great gangster flick ‘Goodfellas’ in that it is a confessional about a couple of guys who climb the ladder of criminal success and eventually get in over their heads. Of course, the film alludes to ‘Scarface’ and you can see the rags-to-riches connection to that classic as well. Note that both films have a strong ethnic dimension, one Irish and the other Cuban; here our anti-heroes are Florida Jews. Anyway, the plot is straightforward: two wise guys go into the arms-dealing business and get engaged in ever-larger, ever-more-dangerous deals while experiencing a variety of domestic, drug, contractual and character-related problems that eventually are their undoing. The main attraction to this film is the fantasy of scoring millions of dollars in an exciting, high-adrenaline way, visiting extremely dangerous locales and firing assault rifles for fun and profit, while driving expensive sports cars and living in ritzy beachfront digs. What red-blooded man wouldn’t like such a scenario?” 3 stars