The Dead Don't Die
I don't typically care for zombie movies. The older I get, it seems the less tolerance I have for blood and guts. So why did I go see a zombie movie on purpose?
Partially because I needed to kill some time while I waited for my nephew to get done with Cub Scout STEM camp. But mostly for the cast:
I mean…why wouldn't you go see this movie?
The premise of this particular zombie apocalypse is that fracking at the north and south poles has resulted in an axial tilt that has also done something to the moon which is causing everyone to come back from the dead. Listen…it's a zombie apocalypse, it doesn't have to make sense.
There are two words that I would use to describe this movie. Slow and weird. The main characters are played by Bill Murray and Adam Driver, the police officers in the town.
The dialogue is slow and awkward at times. Other times the actors break the fourth wall and it's hard to tell if it's an improv that they just put into the movie or if it was written that way. The slow and awkward pacing leads to the description of weird. It's just odd. By the time you get to the end and the most random and weird thing happens…you're pretty much on board in a "well of course!" kind of way.
The entire movie plays as a thinly veiled "humans are zombies for material things" until the end when the narrating character flat out tells you this and how sad it all is.
This is certainly not the best zombie movie ever made. Nor is it the funniest. It does have funny moments but overall I found it to be meh.
Honestly if I hadn't needed someplace to be for a few hours, I wouldn't have stayed in the theater. I probably would have been better off seeing Yesterday again.
Save your money and wait for in home rental.
I had the privilege of seeing the new movie Yesterday over the weekend. The premise is that a struggling singer/songwriter, after a freak power outage is hit by a bus. When he wakes up, he realizes that no one has ever heard of the Beatles. At first he thinks he's gone crazy or hit his head too hard, but little by little he realizes that if no one knows the songs, he needs to get them recorded.
Or, well, he sort of gets pushed along into recording them. Since no one has ever heard them before, everyone thinks he wrote them. From here the story sort of takes off running. Jack is thrust into the spotlight, the entire time bearing the weight of knowing that they aren't his songs and starting to lose the life that he loved before his newfound fame.
The Beatles are one of my favorite bands. They always have been. The movie Across the Universe is a great adaption of their music into a musical. It was wonderful to hear them performed differently throughout the movie. Jack's version of Help Me is raucous and loud and damn near punk, as was Back in the USSR.
The movie is full of laughs and excellent dialogue. Since the director Danny Boyle is probably known more for Trainspotting, seeing him do something as light as Yesterday is a nice change of pace. It's the perfect vehicle for his direction. He does large scenes just as well as he does the small and intimate ones. I was impressed by the comedic timing in the movie.
There was one big twist at the end. I was pleasantly surprised to have been among those who literally gasped. If you like spoilers, I'll reference you here: https://ew.com/movies/2019/06/29/danny-boyle-beatles-twist-yesterday/
Kate McKinnon plays the record exec with demented glee. There was one part of the movie when she's doing her big eyed creepy stare while Jack is on the phone having a really serious moment…and I laughed out loud. I was the only one. But it just further proves to me that she's incapable of not being funny.
I loved this movie and it's swiftly climbing up my "all time" chart.
Oh…and Ed Sheeran is in it. He's part of a very funny catalyst that gets Jack's career going, but he's not the focus.
If the crowded theater is any indication, I'm not the only one who enjoyed this movie. I hope that more people get to see it and enjoy it as much as I did.
We watched the HBO Documentary over the weekend for various reasons…the main one being that my sister and I went to high school with someone who was interviewed in it.
Wig takes us through the Drag Queen "scene" of the 80s and 90s as they came together as a community and put on Wigstock. We're introduced to various Drag Queens as they reminisce about the old days and watch older footage of the old drag clubs. Now while most would think of RuPaul when they think of drag (and they wouldn't be wrong to do so), RuPaul was just one cog in the drag machine back in the day. RuPaul is not interviewed for this documentary though, which is a little disappointing.
It's hard to nail down what to tell you about this documentary…and I say that not because I had issues with anything in the movie, but because it felt disjointed the entire time. While a good doc will have you jumping between the old and the new, the entire thing felt a little like someone just cobbled together a bunch of old home movies and ended with the new Wigstock 2.0 that occurred in 2018.
The more notable names, Willam & Neil Patrick Harris (notable to me anyway), are not heavily featured. We get to see them talk for a little while but not much.
One of the biggest disappointments was the end of the movie in which we are treated to a compilation of Wigstock footage. We get to see a lot of quick performances and short clips of the behind the scenes things. Now, I don't know if NPH as Hedwig was actually not the ending act of Wigstock, or if it just got cut that way for artistic purposes…but having a performer who is basically a glorified stripper lip syncing on stage after watching NPH as Hedwig was a massive letdown.
If you know nothing about the drag queen culture, this could potentially be a decent way to get a start, but I'm not sure I'd call it the best way. One of the gals, whose name escapes me, even says it during the movie. The sense of community feels gone. Everyone seems to be in it for the money. Even, apparently the makers of this documentary as they have done these performers a major disservice.
I probably never would have watched this movie if it weren't for my podcast partner Chris. I'm occasionally into artsy and introspective movies, but this one just didn't really appeal to me. It's not even that I don't like Brie Larsen, I like her fine. I enjoyed Captain Marvel and have seen a few of her other indie films and haven't been disappointed yet.
I just wasn't into this one.
We are following Kit as she is kicked out of art school for being what we are to perceive as "too glittery". I have to tell you, the chances that she got into art school with the type of art she was putting out seems pretty slim. I have only a cursory knowledge of what you'd have to present as a portfolio and her stuff isn't it. Anyway…what do I know, I'm just a random blogger.
So Kit fails out of art school and ends up back at her parent's home. Within 24 hours, they are already on her case about what she's going to do with her life. After some harassment, she finally decides to join a temp agency who place her with a public relations firm (but it's really an advertising firm?). While this is occurring, she also gets these invitations to come to the Unicorn Store where she meets the Salesman (Samuel L Jackson) who takes her through the process to become a Unicorn owner.
Kit starts having a purpose and meets a guy in the hardware store and convinces him to help her build a stable out of her old playhouse in the backyard.
Things go right, things go wrong, and at the end of this movie you're left with an ending you completely expected.
I didn't hate this movie. I got a little frustrated with the blending of the magical and the metaphorical and reality. Both Kit and her parents (played by Bradley Whitford and Joan Cusak, arguably the best characters in the movie) were all over the place in personalities. In one scene they are calm and understanding, the next they're going against character and berating and throwing barbs at each other.
Is Kit crazy? Did she just have an active imagination? I still don't know.
I feel like you have to be a super fan of one of these actors to seek this out…or be my podcast partner Chris. We're reviewing this one for the podcast soon, so it should be interesting to see what everyone else thinks.
Mom and I went to the movies yesterday as we tend to do on Sundays. This week we decided to go and see MIB International starring Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, and Liam Neeson.
The movie follows Molly, who as a young girl, encounters the MIB one night in Brooklyn. She makes it her life's mission to discover the MIB and become a part of their organization. Once she finds them, she talks her way into becoming a probationary agent and is then sent on assignment to London as there is a problem in that office.
Here she meets Agent H who is the office "pretty boy" and who has a reputation for having saved the world. He's a lone wolf character with a party guy attitude. Molly, now Agent M, manipulates him into letting her help on a mission that he's been given. Together they uncover that there is a mole within the organization whose goal is to end the world as we know it.
The bad guys in this movie are probably one of the best things about it. They are sufficiently creepy, have exceptional powers; and when they are in their natural form, they look like nebula from space.
There are several misdirects to keep you guessing as to how it will end and while I did feel like it was sort of predictable, it kept me guessing enough to where I didn't mind the way it played out.
This is not your original MIB, there isn't as much humor as I would have liked and the little alien played by Kumail Nanjiani is probably the funniest thing in the whole movie. There's a little bit of heart in here, but a lot of the movie felt stiff. By expanding the MIB to be international, they definitely opened up a lot of doors for the future.
Overall though, it was just OK. This isn't a must see and if you do want to see it, maybe wait until it comes out on digital or DVD. It's not one that you need to rush out an see, but it was an enjoyable way to spend the afternoon.
I can't tell you that this is like Moulin Rouge. Or Bohemian Rhapsody. Both are their own animals. But if you could somehow find a way to mash those feelings together. Maybe throw in a little Across the Universe…?
You'd have Rocketman.
Rocketman is of course the story of Elton John's rise to stardom and struggle with addiction.
We first see Elton as young Reginald where he and his family discover that he is a musical savant. He's able to hear and play music in a way few can. This isn't a straight musical where the entire movie is sung, but there's dancing in the streets and blasting off into space. There's a small child pretending to be a conductor when he should be sleeping and he's (and you) can see the orchestra in front of him. This is about where I started my low level tears.
We follow Elton through the beginning of his career and sexual awakening. Meeting his writing partner Bernie. Trying to find love and only finding the bottom of a bottle.
The film touches on everything. It does what every good movie should do. It's visually compelling, contains joy and sadness; and helps you connect to a man that you may only know as a performer.
I absolutely will be seeing this again. Having the actors sing the music themselves instead of having the original tracks play made a big difference with this one. The only thing that would have made it any better would be if they had gone Les Miz style and had the actors singing on set. Taron Egerton does such a fantastic mimic of Elton John that you can almost forget what the original music sounded like.
If you don't like musicals or Elton John music, you're going to have a bad time. Otherwise, enjoy the ride.
On the face of it, Dog Days is just another romantic comedy/all lives are connected type movie. It's the type of movie that gets a bunch of your favorite random TV stars and gives them a cinematic vehicle in which they can show Hollywood that they can do movies too.
I'll be honest. Knowing that I was only going to get to see one movie in the theater this weekend, made me want to see BlacKkKlansman. Unfortunately for me, my usual movie going partner didn't want to see that one. So Dog Days it was.
One pleasant surprise was that Dog Days was directed by Ken Marino. Marino is by far one of the funniest character actors in the business and I was excited to see what he would do with such a mainstream movie.
There are a few different storylines occurring that are interwoven throughout the film:
Sure, there's a lot going on. It works though. If you took out any one of the storylines, the movie probably still would have been pretty good. It's really the casting that makes this one work. With plenty of names and faces you will recognize, there's something for everyone.
And who could turn down watching a movie with so many cute dogs in it?
Other highlights include:
While there was one relatively sad portion of the movie, overall it was completely delightful. Not too heavy, not too light. There were a good number of jokes of the sly and some outright laugh out loud moments. If you're usually into this type of movie, but were a little on the fence about it, I would recommend you see it. Maybe not in an actual theater, but you should see it nonetheless.
A few years ago when Lost River was being made, I was really into it. I was tracking its progress, I was following when it was going to come out…and then it got critically panned. Frying pan upside the head panned. I couldn't find one person who enjoyed it. Unfortunately I lost interest after that. There were too many other things to watch and not enough time.
Here we are years later and I finally got around to watching this movie. I was originally excited because it was written and directed by Ryan Gosling. It stars Christina Hendricks, Matt Smith (Doctor Who), and Iain De Caestecker. The trailer itself doesn't do the movie itself any justice. In fact, you should probably avoid the trailer altogether because it tells you literally nothing.
The premise is that a young single mother gets swept into a dark underworld in order to save the family home. Meanwhile, her teenage son is roaming around their ghost town trying to find scrap to sell which attempting to avoid the local gang/bully.
The movie itself is shot in a stark sort of way. Everything is raw and real. This really lends itself to the movie, otherwise you'd be sitting there wondering what the hell is happening. And maybe you still will be.
I can't tell you that I enjoyed it. I appreciated it. I can see what Gosling was trying to achieve and I think that he did so. The movie didn't resonate with me like I had hoped it would. It's a movie that looks towards the art of making movies in general rather than selling you on plot or dialogue. It's visual, occasionally visceral, and hard for me to recommend. It's part fairy tale and part real life.
It may even have been part enjoyable.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Usually during the family summer vacation, we don't venture out too much. Typically we are there to spend time together in the woods and just relax and enjoy each other's company. This year it was too hot. Just, too hot. One of my sisters and I decided to beat the heat by going to a very specific museum. Apparently this museum is only open in four hour increments, two days a week.
Not to be deterred from getting out of the summer heat, we decided to go to the movies instead. Enter Jurassic World.
The movie itself overall is about what you'd expect from the franchise. Humans thinking they know better than mother nature and bad things happen. In this iteration, the dinosaurs that were left on the island is Jurassic World are going to die because of an erupting volcano. Claire and Owen are recruited to go and help catch Blue (who is apparently a super raptor this time around), in order to ensure the continuation of the species.
Turns out (gasp) that the people who hired them are actually nefarious black market dealers who are going to sell off the dinos to the highest bidder. This includes a genetically modified hybrid raptor that is literally laser trained to kill and can be used as a weapon of war.
If you're rolling your eyes at this point, I don't blame you. The whole premise is ludicrous. But you didn't go to see Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom for its scientific accuracy or believability.
Overall this is a decent action movie. The effects are what you've come to expect and even though technology has certainly evolved over the last few years, it's amazing to me how similar the feel of the dinosaurs are to the original dinos in the first Jurassic Park movie all those years ago.
They didn't redesign the wheel with this one, but it's an enjoyable couple of hours. If you liked the others, you'll enjoy this one as well. Sometimes sequels are a little difficult to get through, but that's not the case here.
And they've totally set us up for the third movie which should be very interesting to see how they pull it off.
The Spy Who Dumped Me
Last weekend I had the opportunity to get into the theater in person for the first time in weeks. Now that I've moved to a smaller town, my options are a bit limited when it comes to the quality of the theaters in the area. That being said, the one that is relatively close to my home gets most of the more mainstream titles so I will at least get to see those.
I've been seeing the previews for the Spy Who Dumped Me for a while. It stars Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon as two best friends who are swept up into a spy vs. spy scenario. The two run to Europe which is where the majority of the action takes place. They find themselves in multiple ridiculous scenarios in order to attempt to save the day.
Here's the deal guys, this movie isn't the best. It's certainly not the worst though. If you're a fan of either of the two main stars, you'll probably enjoy it.
Several things stood out to me in the movie. The first was the dialogue. Most of the time, the dialogue felt flat and even a little mundane. There were some shining moments when it felt like the actors were allowed to riff a little more. One quote from McKinnon's character elicited an extra hearty laugh from me. When addressing the CIA director and the fact that she is a feminine woman in a position of power: "I have so much respect for you that is has circled back around to objectification." When said with McKinnon's wide eyed wonder stare, it quickly became my favorite line of the movie.
I think one of the things that this movie did best was show women supporting women. The two main characters are clearly close. Best friends for over a decade. They lift each other up and help each other out. Typically in these types of movies there is some lie or catalyst that will break the team up only to have them come back together at the end in order to save the day. There is that kind of moment in this movie, but when one of them wants to quit and go home; the other supports the decision with love and kindness…even though she's clearly disappointed. What starts out as a spy movie turns out to be a movie about the power of female friendships.