Beauty and the Beast, 2017, movie review

This movie was a bit of a disappointment. It’s one of those films that was given a lot of promotion and hype, so my expectations were high.

First, it plays out like a Broadway musical. It’s a bit gaudy and tasteless, with a weird attempt at displaying the setting as being in the 17 or 18th century, since the men are wearing powdered wigs and make-up. It just doesn’t fit well, and I couldn’t tell if I was supposed to be laughing or thinking they looked good. The movie felt like a montage of theater men wearing excessive make-up, wigs, and yes, even dresses, although that is mostly for a funny joke, which also happens in the original animated version. More songs are added to the feature as well, making it almost up there with “La La Land” in the use of more song than actual dialogue.

Some plots were changed, and the reasons why people do certain things are shuffled up a bit, but it’s not for the better and really just creates more questions and confusion.

The special effects, sure they were okay, but it felt like the movie was pushing them on me. Like someone was off to the side going, “Look, look, wasn’t that awesome? Are you seeing this?” And scenes looked either identical to the animated movie, or identical to the Disney World park areas that feature the animated movie. Which then started distracting me from a marketing aspect. Belle’s dress changed a bit, and we were made painfully aware of it by watching the flying through air, creation of it, and all I could think was, “Oh Disney did that so they can sell a new dress. They’ll now have two Belle dresses to sell to little girls.” She did plenty of wardrobe changes, so the doll makers will have lots of outfits to market. Trinkets were abundant too, so I expect to see them all in stores very soon.

If you enjoy musicals, and movies that for the most part, copycat the original film, then you’ll probably like this remake. To me, it was a flop. It had great potential, but opted to be cheesy. It’s a movie to watch on DVD and make fun of with your friends. For example, Gaston sets a wheelbarrow on fire, and then the entire village population leaves—while its burning. We see it later, still in the village burning, when we go to a trapped Bell and her father. Then there’s the cell Beast locks Belle in—it has a nice door sized ledge, perfect for jumping out and committing suicide. Why exactly would you put a people sized whole in a wall in a cell? And that’s a just a few. Like I said, it will be a great movie to mock, so it might become a cult classic.


Before I Fall, movie review

Some will say this movie is similar to others. I mean, the idea of repeating the same day over and over until you figure it out and alter events to be the way they should, isn’t new. We’ve seen it in “Groundhog day” and countless holiday specials for Christmas. “Before I Fall” even picks a holiday to have their character stuck on, Valentine’s Day.

Despite the obstacle of originality, I felt the movie did great. The main character, Sam, did go through the normal cycle of getting tired of doing the same day over and over, trying to perfect the day so she doesn’t die, and yes, being a bad girl and doing whatever she wants. But during all this, the character learns about the people around her, and eventually realizes what she must do. The day she wakes up, all the knowledge learned, the audience can sense what is going to happen. She’s saying her final goodbyes. This is going to be her last day, ever.

So yes, the ending takes a wickedly dark ending. And the lesson behind it is massive.

The four girls, the main character and her three friends, have spent much of their childhoods bullying one girl. The main character of the story was never the main bully, she was more of a bystander bully, the one who let it happen and never stopped it. She’s now the one who has to pay the price, and sacrifice her life, to save the girl who they have been teasing.

With so much talk these days of bullying. This movie is great at showing people the repercussions of such a thing, and hopefully it will motivate a few folks to stand up and do the right thing.

Stepping away from the plot, I’d also like to say the acting quality in the movie was amazing. The main cast was young, especially the kid who played the sister of Sam, and all performed wonderfully. Without their great acting, the movie would not have had the same impact. Because let’s face it, the scene is just a normal high school day, nothing spectacular or special, but when you throw in emotional acting that rings true and is relatable, the movie becomes a winner.


Logan, movie review

For once, I don’t think watching previous X-men movies is required to grasp what is going on in this film. You might not grasp a few cameos from previous movies, but otherwise, this film does a good job standing on its own.

Unlike recent X-Men movies, were we mostly went back and covered events in the past, this film concentrated on the future, the distance future, where Professor X and Wolverine are really the last natural born mutants left. Guess why? Fructose corn syrup. Yup, it stopped us from having mutant babies, go figure.

Mutants are now made via cloning. X-23 or Laura is a female clone of Logan. I thought it was stupid that the movie kept trying to say Logan was her dad. To me there is a big difference between a clone and your offspring. But I get it, the directors were trying to go for a parental care giving vibe, maybe like what they had going on in the first movie with Rogue and Wolverine.

There were also some things done for the “wow” or “cool” factor. Like coating Laura’s claws with Adamantium. At first I thought they were trying to say her entire skeleton was coated, and I was like, why would they do that? She’s a kid. She’s going to grow!! But I did some research and it was only done to her claws. Which is still stupid, cause her claws will grow as she does, just like a kitten’s claws are bigger when they are all grown up. So her growing pains are sure going to suck.

People are trying to say this movie was gory for gore’s sake, perhaps trying to be like “Deadpool.” But if you think about it, all of the Wolverine movies were a bit heavy on the gore, so to me it was expected. Nothing is too brash or crude, like in “Deadpool.” To me, it stayed in step with the “X-Men Origins Wolverine” and “The Wolverine.”

So should you see it? Sure. Although I think most have already made up their mind and are seeing it!


Kong: Skull Island, movie review

A normal movie theater doesn’t do this film justice. It needs to be seen on an IMAX and in 3D. The fight scenes, landscapes, and monsters are amazing. Sadly, I saw it in a normal theater, but I was wishing I was seeing it in on a bigger screen. So don’t make the same mistake I did. Half of this movie’s greatness is its special effects, which you won’t be fully enjoying on a small screen.

I thought the movie might be a bit like the King Kong movie that Jack Black was in, with John C. Reilly playing the quirky character that Jack Black had played. I was wrong. The movie was more like “Land of the Lost” with Will Farrell, which I did think was a good comedy. And that’s what “Kong: Skull Island” is, a comedy.

So go in, expect to laugh and enjoy some awesome special effects. Don’t expect much beyond that, and you’ll have a good time.


The Great Wall, movie review

I hesitated to see this movie, because I had a hard time imagining Matt Damon in a medieval role, although I suppose he did a similar character in “Brother’s Grimm.” I can’t say he really “fit” that role either, but at the time I liked the movie well enough.
The best way to summarize this movie is simply by saying it’s like “World War Z” the movie, not book, but with green lizard monster things, instead of zombies. They move with the same speed and mob mentality, as the zombies did.
The acting isn’t the greatest. The speech is done in a halting choppy manner, which I understood for the Chinese, since they are speaking English as their second language, but it didn’t make sense for the Europeans to speak like that. My best guess was that they were Spanish and English was also their second language, but really, I couldn’t tell what kind of accent Matt Damon was going for.
The plot was somewhat predictable, and some things were done purely for the “wow” factor. The film was entertaining enough that I was never bored or checking my watch.
To be honest, the film was better than I expected. If you saw “World War Z” and enjoyed it, there’s a good chance you’ll find some enjoyment in this movie too. I’m not saying it’s as good as “World War Z” but it’s close enough to provide some entertainment for a few hours.

Rock Dog, movie review

This movie had some very surprising aspects to it. The opening scenes are very Samaria-ish, giving it a Kung Fu Panda and Samaria Jack feel. Several different cultures are represented, with the evil wolves going from 20’s gangsters to Cold Era Russians. In the city, it seemed a mash up of New York, Nashville and maybe even Tokyo.

Aside from the settings, the plot of the movie is much more thought out than the trailers explain. The ongoing humor is mostly based on the main character, Bodi, being naïve and gullible due to his sheltered life, and then there’s dim witted animals, like the sheep, who just have a low IQ and memory problems, but still come off as sweet and something you want to protect.

The part I was the most surprised with was the addition of superpowers. In the opening scene I figured it was just an exaggerated legend, but it turned out to be a bit of magic, the only real magic in an otherwise scientific world, which was a bit odd, but they managed to make it work. It did leave me wondering why no one else had powers, and where the rest of the dogs were. No background story was given as to the origin of Bodi’s family. Hopefully there will be a sequel to explain it, since this movie was definitely good enough to earn a sequel.

So this movie gets a thumbs up as one of the best animated movies I’ve seen in a while, both adults and children are likely to enjoy it.


The Space Between Us, movie review

I didn’t realize when I was heading in to see this movie that Gary Oldman was in it. I’m a long time big fan. As I was watching the film, at first I thought he was carrying the movie. The other actors weren’t performing on nearly the same level. He was overacting them on a massive scale. Sadly, this seemed to hurt the film more than help it, because it made the subpar acting quality of everyone else stand out more. If they had all be giving the same performance, I doubt I would have noticed anything.

Aside from that acting problem, the story was good. I liked the plot premise and the age old story of “the grass is always greener on the other side.” Some things didn’t add up or make sense at first, but by the end of the film it did, or at least came close enough satisfy me.

I wouldn’t add this to any must see lists, but if you are a fan of science fiction with a touch of romance, then you will likely enjoy this quaint little film.