Spiderman is not typically my favorite superhero. For some reason it feels like the character has been overdone. He, along with Batman were the first two superheroes to really start pushing us into the age of comic book movies we have now. Tobey Maguire was a decent enough version and I really liked Andrew Garfield's iteration of the character as well. That being said, I feel like Marvel has finally found something special with Tom Holland. With John Francis Daley as a co-writer on this movie, I knew I was in for a treat.
This movie doesn't bother with the fluff of finding out how Peter became Peter. We pick up after he helped the Avengers in Civil War and Tony Stark has taken him under his wing. He's trying to be the best hero he can be but is struggling. He's making video diaries, he's calling Happy every day just to check in to see if there's something he can do to help. He's mooning over a girl named Liz.
Holland is a believable high school student for the most part. He certainly looks more the part than the other actors to have played the role. Despite the fact that he is the same height as his predecessor Tobey Maguire, he seemed smaller. Holland also has a physicality about him that the others didn't possess. As a trained dancer and gymnast, the fluidity of his general movement lent a much needed juxtaposition of grace and clumsiness to the character. Plus, it's kind of nice to know that for some of the acrobatics he didn't need CGI or a stunt double.
The villain in this movie is being played by Michael Keaton and he was a great pick for this role. He starts out as a regular guy, just trying to do honest work to support his family after the events of Avengers 1. His construction bid for clean up is usurped and he changes course in order to survive. What you find in this villian is someone who isn't inherently evil, but takes some wrong turns along the way in order to survive.
There are some fun and unique situations that Peter/Spiderman finds himself in. The whole scene at the Washington Monument being a notable one.
The movie hits you over the head hard with learning to find your inner strength. In any other movie it would be too much, but with this one, they've spent so much time portraying Peter and Spiederman as two different people that watching the character finally become one with itself through this fashion ends up feeling less forced than one might imagine.
I saw all the Maguire versions and the first of the Garfield versions of this character. I have to say that this one is my favorite. They didn't rehash the origin story because we already know it. We were given a somewhat insecure hero who ends up finding his inner strength. I don't need more than that. Do you?
What did you think of the movie?
The soft spot I have I my heart for Ryan Reynolds will never go away. Ever since I saw him in Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place, I realized my "type". Reynolds has basically been playing the exact same character for the last twenty years. For the most part his niche is snarky and sarcastic and I don't even care that it's almost always the same.
The Hitman's Bodyguard is no different. This time, he's joined by Samuel L. Jackson. It seems as though these roles were written specifically for these two actors. Both fill them so perfectly. It's like someone just came up with a basic concept and then told the two to just go and have fun with it.
Reynolds plays a disgraced bodyguard who has to help get Jackson to court on time to testify against a war lord played by Gary Oldman. Oh, did I mention that this comes off as a comedy? It's yet another in a long line of cross-genre films in which we get both action and comedy in one. Hitman's Bodyguard is vaguely reminiscent of the Lethal Weapon franchise. Reynolds is straight laced where Jackson is carefree. Both play off each other in the best ways.
One of my favorite scenes involves Reynolds ranting about Jackson's character while the world explodes behind him. He doesn't flinch once.
It's hard to talk about this one without giving too much away. I lef the theater feeling like a hadn't wasted my money, which is always a good feeling to have. There were a few problem areas but nothing that can't be ignored.
Has anyone else seen this one? Did you enjoy it?
I went in to see Logan Lucky completely blind. I had seen brief pieces of the trailer, but only enough to where I could see the cast that was in it. I had no idea as to what the plot entailed or even if it would be any good. I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't end up hating it.
The story centers around the Logan family and the down on his luck Jimmy Logan, played by Channing Tatum. After being let go from his job doing construction at the Charlotte Speedway, he hatches a plan to rob the place with his brother and a rag-tag cast of characters. Logan also has a daughter who participates in beauty pageants who he is trying not to disappoint.
Jimmy and his brother (played by Adam Driver) come up with seems like a relatively simple plan. Break into the speedway, grab the money, and then go. What I loved about the movie was that even though you thought you saw the entire plan, there was much much more to it.
I'm not really sure how to classify this movie. It's not a drama, but it wasn't really a comedy either. I guess it could be called a "heist" movie? But that's not really a genre…yet.
The characters are likeable even though they are robbing a place. Daniel Craig plays a serial robber and bomb maker with a spot of American Accent and a weird nearly neo-nazi look to him. While I enjoyed seeing him in the role, I spent most of the time I saw him on screen thinking to myself…"that's James Bond". It was a little bit off-putting.
I wasn't as happy with the ending. I felt the entire movie could have done without it. The appearance of Hillary Swank at the end as the FBI investigator was an interesting surprise but the way she spoke was incredibly odd. I didn't understand it as a choice for the character.
I enjoyed the movie overall. If you're a fan of Tatum or Driver or Craig, you'll likely enjoy the movie. There isn't a ton of character development that occurs, these people are who they are and that's it.
There are worse ways to spend a couple of hours.
Everyone raved about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. I went in incredibly excited. I ended up feeling meh about the entire thing.
The whole gang is back and this time they are busy irking an entire planet of people. While running from them, the group crash lands on a deserted planet where they end up meeting Star Lord's real father as played by Kurt Russell. Turns out dear old dad is a Creator God and that's why Star Lord is so special. Daddy Quill apparently knocked up half the universe but Peter is the only one who survived. Guess what? He's not a good God and he wants to wipe the slate clean and start the universe from scratch. He needs Peter's help to do it. Surprise!
I don't know what it was about the plot that irked me. It was well written and acted. I have no complaints there. It was beautifully made. The CGI and the backgrounds were unbelievably gorgeous. There was just something missing this time around. A little bit of the charm maybe? Maybe is was the juxtaposition of being midway through a Parks and Recreation binge that threw me off.
There's a ton of great battle sequences and the dialogue is quick and comedic just like the first one. I guess I felt like they made it the Kurt Russell show. Don't get me wrong, he was perfectly cast as Peter's Dad, but it seemed like such a waste to have built up to this big reveal, only to have It end the way it did.
Of course, the revelations of to Peter's upbringing had me crying towards the end of the movie. I'm a big 'ol sap. But you already knew this. I wanted the movie to be more of a group adventure like it was in the first vilm. This one was more of an exploration of the characters themselves. I enjoyed that, I just wanted more teamwork.
Don't let my somewhat negative review get you down though. I really did like the movie. I just found myself wanting a bit more from it. What did you think?
To anyone who knows me in real life, they know that I absolutely love Disney movies. There's just something about happy endings. In a world where there is so much unhappiness, it's wonderful to escape to worlds where people fall in love and everyone lives happily ever after.
When I was growing up (and still today), I loved to read. Other than the occasional Disney movie I wasn't allowed to watch a lot of TV. I'm grateful for that now but I hated the rule at the time. Reading was my escape. It took me to the worlds in which magic was real and people were happy. I grew up pre-Harry Potter. My role models were Elizabeth Wakefield and Nancy Drew. I was obsessed with the Babysitter's Club and Sweet Valley High. Reading the same editions of Nancy Drew that my mother did connected me to the past in a way I couldn't put words to at the time.
When Disney released Beauty and the Beast, I wasn't quite in middle school yet. I fell in love with it as soon as the opening number began. Belle was singing about being the odd one out in a small town. She was singing about reading! My little heart latched on and to this day has yet to let go. Here was a princess who wasn't a princess. She was a real girl who just wanted to get out into the world and have an adventure. It's all I ever wanted as well.
When the remake was announced, I was in. Didn't matter who the cast was, I was going to see this new movie. During their marketing campaign I watched no interviews, no trailers, nothing. I didn't read any of the articles about it at all. I usually do. If I'm excited about a movie I'll do all those things and take the time to learn everything I can about the movie before I go see it. This time there was no point. My viewing was a foregone conclusion.
I cried a lot during the movie. It was so incredibly well done. I connected even more with Belle than I did the first hundred times I saw the original. Emma Watson was perfectly cast. Dan Stevens, who I have loved since Downton Abbey was also perfection in the role of the Beast. Luke Evans and Josh Gad as Lefou and Gaston couldn't have been better choices as well.
If ever there was a case to be made in favor of CGI for purists about CGI vs. practical effects, this would be the movie. Of course there's the amazing technology that can capture Steven's facial features and transform them into the Beast. Then there are the household items that are alive as well. It truly shines during the Be Our Guest number.
When it came to the podcast we decided it was a must see. It was Teresa's pick but everyone was excited to see the movie. We discussed all of what I mentioned above plus our favorite spoiler-y parts. I can't wait to watch the movie again.
I just left the theater after watching Ingrid Goes West and I'm crying. This movie affected me in ways I'm not fully comfortable admitting to and I doubt that I'll be able to accurately express.
Ingrid is a troubled girl whose mother has recently passed away. She finds herself obsessed with another young woman from following her on Instagram. When Charlotte gets married, Ingrid attacks her on her wedding day and ends up in a mental institution. After "graduating" her program, she goes back to her old life where she is still alone and depressed. Ingrid happens upon an article about an Instagram "It" girl named Taylor and quickly becomes obsessed. Ingrid moves to California and begins systematically stalking Taylor, eventually ingratiating herself into Taylor's life little by little until the inevitable discovery of her obsession.
I wanted to see this movie because of Aubrey Plaza. Plaza is one of those actors who gives everything to the roles that she plays. Every nuance of Ingrid's obsession with Taylor is played out on Plaza's face. Her eyes suck you into her intense portrayal. From moment one to until the very end when she is delivering her self-realization monologue backlit by candles you are drawn to Plaza and subsequently Ingrid. The awkwardness that Plaza radiates so naturally was a perfect fit for this character I wouldn't be surprised if you were to tell me that the role was written for her.
Underscoring the entire film is a commentary on the dangers of social media obsession. It shows a more dangerous side of the need for validation that so many feel. Getting posts on social media noticed or liked has become big business and for many it helps them feel cared for even when they are alone in the world. The idea that our online persona has to be well liked is a new-ish concept of the last five years or so. I'm old enough to remember life without the internet and social media. It's been fascinating to watch it grow over the years into the juggernaut that it currently is. Even this blog's existence is tied into the idea that people will want to hear what others have to say.
The movie was both sad and lovely. Funny and off kilter. It makes you want a deeper connection with those around you. It points out the loneliness of the world while trying to include you in it. It reminds you that there are people around who do care about you, if only you'll give them the chance to do so.
I can't recommend this movie enough.
In the midst of all of the Hurricane Irma planning, I took a break with some friends to see IT. I only really knew the basics of this movie. I had never seen the original and my attempts at reading the book before the movie came out were dissuaded by the length of the novel. I just didn't have time to read an 1100 page book either in print or via audio (forty-four hours). I have friends who are afraid of clowns specifically because of the original movie. I've never personally understood it but after seeing the new one, I can see why.
The movie centers around the lives of a group of young kids in Derry, ME. Each has their own set of personal issues and fears that they are trying to overcome. These are played on by Pennywise, the evil clown that lurks in the sewers abducting the children in town one by one. He eats their flesh and feeds on their fears. Because he feeds on their fears, a clown is not the only thing chasing these kids all over town. Their fears manifest themselves in other forms. The story is about overcoming the fears you have, both literally and metaphorically.
The movie is set in the late 80's and as such it managed to impress me with its ability to make life look like it did then. Especially during the scenes in the drug store. When it comes to movies set in other time periods that involve well known products, I'm always impressed by the ability of the production designers to find a way to get the old packaging right. The sets perfectly captured life in a small New England town at the end of the decade.
I couldn't find any glaring plot holes in the movie, although there were a few scenes that felt as though they may have been cut for time. That being said, there are a few scenes in which the feel of the scene doesn't really match the seriousness of what's happening. As an example, the young girl in the movie, Beverly, ends up calling her friends over because her entire bathroom is covered in blood. The kids decide to get to work cleaning it. Up until this point, the mood has been serious and somber. Suddenly you're forced into the cleaning montage which includes odd and upbeat music as though the kids are trying to clean up after a raging party before their parents get up. The music pulls you out of the serious mood of the film immediately. Perhaps that's the point?
I had a little trouble with how quickly they each began to overcome their fears. Each kid would have a meltdown and then immediately be OK. I understood that in a scary situation such as they were in a decision would have to be made internally to buck up and get themselves together but it didn't seem true to life. Perhaps I've just seen too many horror films where people freak out and continue to carry on and on and on with it instead of collecting themselves and powering through.
As for Pennywise the Clown himself, Bill Skaarsgard was equal parts terrifying and ridiculous. Most of the time when he was attacking or chasing the children he was scary and creepy. But once he opened his mouth to talk, it didn't seem as bad. Well, at least until his face unhinged and revealed rows upon rows of teeth. I do have to admit that I couldn't handle that part. I realize that it's not really part of the story to have the clown be silent, but I think it would have added to the level of terror more.
The creators of this movie did an excellent job of ensuring that we did have some laughs to fall back on from time to time. One of the characters settled into a grove of "your mom" jokes that was somehow not just nostalgic but still funnier than it should be. Somehow they managed to make a horror movie with a Stand By Me feel to it and I applaud them for it.
I don't tend to do well with the type of horror movies that depend on things jumping out at you or loud noises. I can say honestly that I only jumped a few times but mostly because I didn't see it coming. Many of the scares you can see are about to happen and you can prepare your brain for them. Unfortunately for me this was only part one of two movies about this wretched clown.
As someone who hates horror movies, I have to say that I actually enjoyed this one for the most part. If you're into this sort of thing I think you'll probably like it too.
Prepare yourself. I am about to be the next in a long line of people who have been singing the praises of Baby Driver. I originally saw the trailer and thought it was going to be enjoyable, once I heard the reviews were really good I knew I wasn't wrong. The movie was written and directed by Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim, et al). If you've loved his previous movies then you won't be disappointed with this one.
The film centers around "Baby", a teenage getaway driver whose life is set to his own personal soundtrack. We find out that as a child, he was stealing cars and stole the vehicle of Doc, a man who coordinates robberies and other various other criminal activities. Rounding out the cast are John Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Eiza Gonzalez, Jon Bernthal, and Lily James.
Baby is a reluctant criminal but he is paying off his debt to Doc. While doing so, he meets and begins to fall for Debora, a waitress in the diner that Baby frequents. Despite the seriousness of his "job", when Baby goes home he behaves like a normal teenager in love. He dances and sings and behaves so charmingly that you forget the roughness of his life for the brief moments that he does.
There are a ton of single camera motion shots in this film and it feels like you're strolling (or running) along with Baby. The lyrics of the music he's listening to show up in the graffiti on the wall behind him. The scenes in which Baby is driving are choreographed beautifully and in a way that makes you wonder how that got that in a single shot.
My only real criticism of the movie is one that I had to have pointed out by a friend. I didn't realize it was bothering me until they said something. If they had kept Jon Bernthal throughout the movie instead of introducing Jamie Foxx, it would have been that much better. Foxx did well in the role his was given, but the two roles could have merged into one and been just as impactful. I'd even argue that you could have reversed the roles and let Foxx play out at the beginning. This all being said, the real star of the supporting cast was John Hamm. His transition in the film was stellar and I really hope to see him be able to get more roles like this one so that he can dive deeper into darker and heavier subject matter.
Overall I'd recommend this movie to anyone who likes Edgar Wright movies, movies about capers, movies with fantastic car chases, or music, or love. Honestly, it's such a well-rounded movie I'd recommend it to everyone regardless of favorite genre.
When I heard that there was going to be a remake of the classic TV Show into a movie I kind of ignored it. These things rarely go well and are often not funny in the slightest. I became a little more hopeful when I later read that Dax Shepard would be the one who was taking the helm. I enjoyed the movie Hit and Run that he made with his wife Kristen Bell and this seemed to be right up his alley.
Shepard plays Jon, a down on his luck former motor cross racer who joins the LAPD in order to get his wife back. Michael Pena plays Ponch, an undercover FBI agent trying to investigate reports of crooked cops after a heist that went wrong. The rookie and the veteran get paired up together and things don't go according to plan.
Shepard has a very specific point of view for movies like this. He likes skirt the line between simplicity and complication when it comes to his vehicle chase scenes. He's also incredibly skilled at comedy. While the dialogue sags at times with over-burdensome exposition and attempts at humor, where the movie really shines is the physical comedy and the heart infused into the movie overall.
I was rooting for Jon even though his wife was the worst. His broken body played as a perfect metaphor to his broken heart. There's a sincerity in Shepard's writing and directing style that makes you want to give that big lovable oaf a hug.
The movie is good guys vs. bad guys and you know how it will end…mostly. I liked that this movie was well-rounded in its humor, action, and heart. If you enjoyed Shepard's Hit and Run, then this will also be up your alley.
I can’t remember when it was that I first saw the trailer for the movie Fist Fight. I only remember that I saw Charlie Day was in it so I committed to seeing it. I’m glad that I ended up waiting until it was released for home viewing though. If I had paid full price I think I would have been extra disappointed in it.
The premise is entertaining enough, Day’s character gets Ice Cube’s character fired. Ice Cube threatens to fight Day at the end of the school day. While all this is going on, the school itself is constantly being pranked by seniors. The pranks continually escalate which is what leads to the actions taken by Ice Cube that get his character fired. The fact that I can’t remember the character names ought to tell you something about the movie in general.
It’s a forgettable movie. It suffers from just not going far enough. Yes, there are over the top gags, but when Ice Cube utters what is probably his most famous quote? You’re not IN the movie enough to even care. It’s not the worst movie I’ve ever seen. Not by a long shot. By the time you get to the end you’re ready for it to be done. The fight itself was pretty epic and ended the way you will predict that it will.
Ice Cube’s character is too dark without cause. Day’s character isn’t as charming as you want him to be. Even Jillian Bell, who is arguably the funniest person in the movie falls flat from time to time. A refreshing character was Tracey Morgan’s naive coach. He plays that character Morgan always plays and it was probably one of the better things in the movie.
I didn’t hate this one. I just didn’t love it like I wanted to. It’s a rainy day-nothing else to watch kind of movie. I can’t recommend that you run out and watch it, but I won’t warn you off it either.