Monthly Archives: July 2016

Ice Age: Collision Course, movie review

I loved the first movie in this franchise. I must have watched it at least twenty times. The multiple sequels have been okay, until now.

Most of the dialogue was clique. All lines audiences have heard in numerous other films. The rest were observational comments. Or worse, an attempt to explain the made up science going on. I understand that this is an animated film, so we are bending reality. But this movie went way too far.  At first I was thinking kids would still enjoy it, but then a five-year-old a few seats from me was asking her dad, “How is he doing that?” So even the small children are having issues with the made up world.

I’ve never been a fan of the “Scrat” scenes. In this film they seemed to take up a good twenty minutes of the hour and half film. I don’t know if they just felt that long because they were so bad, or if they really were that long. Either way, his scenes were the most “out there” and insane.

I remember Jennifer Lopez talking up the film on American Idol. I am surprised she did this since her character had all of five words in the entire movie. That was disappointing by itself. But then I’m listening for the song the winner of American Idol is supposed to do, and he doesn’t sing until the credits are rolling. And its a remake of the song, “Dream Weaver!” So he didn’t even get to make his own song, a bit misleading from how they sold it on American Idol. I stayed to watch the credits, to verify that Trent Harmon was indeed the singer, and I never saw his name in the credits. The music just listed the producer and original songwriter, from what I could tell anyway. So those are some poorly made credits if they don’t tell you the one thing they are meant to do–tell me who did what in the film I just watched!

All in all, I suggest not seeing this movie. The only kids who would enjoy this film are children who are too young to be in a movie theater. By that I mean, your six-month-old might enjoy watching the pretty pictures on the screen.

Secret Life of Pets, movie review

Disney hit the mark correctly on this film. I was not bored for a second during the movie, and from what I could see of the children in attendance, they too were enjoying themselves. The jokes are a constant hit, there’s a mix that will appeal to both adults and children. The lead cat in the movie does all these little things in the background that make you go, “Yup, a cat would do that.” Like sitting in a box too small for her—they are things that just happen and if you aren’t paying attention you’ll miss it. The movie is full of little trinkets like that. So you may find yourself laughing alone if you are the only person in the theater to notice the hidden jokes.

The plot, well, I knew from the first few minutes it was going to be a, “at first we hate each other but by the end of the movie we are best friends,” kind of thing. But the road to get there was highly entertaining.

All in all, this movie is a must see for kids and adults alike.

Ghostbusters 2016, movie review

I watched the original before I went to see the new adaptation. I wanted to be able to accurately judge if the plot was mirrored.

For the most part, the movie is original. Yes, it starts with the scientists being kicked out of their respective universities, but it’s for different reasons than in the original. The appearance of ghosts is actually given a new reason, no god trying to return. Instead, it’s a regular disgruntled man who is setting traps to power the ghosts. (If you stay until after the credits finish, there is a scene that mentions Zuul. So perhaps he will appear in the sequel.)

Aside from the obvious roles of Kevin and Patty, its hard to know who each of the three professors the women are supposed to represent. I’m sure this was done intentionally, and I’ll admit, even Kevin and Patty are radically different than their counterparts in the original.

Actors and actresses from the original film, do make small cameos in the new film, which is a nice bonus. There’s a few other items from the original movie, like the firehouse, hearse, and even Mr. Stay-Puft—but all with a new twist.

If you can, I’d suggest seeing the movie in an IMAX. The fight scene at the end of the film would have been great to view in an IMAX. I didn’t have one close, but wish I’d made the trip. It would have been worth it.

All in all, yes, a great movie. You’ll find yourself chuckling along, whether you are fan of the original or not. Don’t let the fact this is a remake deter you, it’s highly original and does a good job of staying respectful to the original film.

Independence Day : Resurgence, movie review

I watched the original movie from 1996 a day before I went to see the new sequel. I would recommend doing this, if you want to fully grasp all the elements going on in the film.

What I enjoyed the most is the fact the movie takes place twenty years after the events in the first film, and the movie is actually being made twenty years later! So the actors and actresses are all naturally aged. Nearly every character from the first film makes a cameo in the new installment.

The plot, kind of predictable, I mean, when they shoot the orb without cause, you pretty much know it was a mistake and that they were likely here to help Earth. The lesson must be learned the hard way, so the movie has more to work though. The effects are what make this film stand out a bit more than its predecessor.

The mind boggler for me was that they somehow managed to make this 2016 film feel like a 1996 film. I mean, the acting style, the comedic jokes, all stuff you’d expect to see in a 1996 movie, not one of today. I don’t know if that hurt or helped the film, but hopefully the diehard fans appreciated it.

Do I recommend the movie? Meh, if you want a nostalgic trip back to the 90’s, then sure. Otherwise, there are way better movies out there about alien invasions.

The Purge: Election Year, movie review

I was a moderate fan of the first two movies, so I expected this one to be similar. I was not disappointed, in fact, this one was a bit better. Normally, when there’s a third installment to a movie franchise you start worrying the quality will falter. This movie continued to keep things fresh, and expose us to yet another side of the annual purge night.

The main character from the second movie, Leo, does make an appearance in this movie, also rising to be one of the stars. Honestly, his role could have been played by anyone. There wasn’t any particular reason for him to be playing the character that he was, other than the directors might have thought it a nice touch to have an actor roll over into the next purge movie.

The story line follows similar to the last film where you are quickly out on the streets, trying to survive the night. The extra addition is that one of the people is famous—they are running for president. So having a VIP on the run ads a flash of originally to the film that wasn’t in the other films.

There are some great one liners that had the audience chuckling. No more idle stupid chit-chat like in the second movie. This time it broke up the tension of all the death and inhuman behaviors. So the movie wasn’t a constant horror cringe fest.

Overall, I give it a thumbs up. Folks who enjoyed the other movies should like this one. And some who didn’t like the first two, may find themselves enjoying this one. Fans of slasher horror movies—this is a must see. You’ll enjoy the well thought out plot. Something you don’t usually see in a horror movie, but something we’ve come to expect in our purge films.

My review of Purge 1 & 2

The Legend of Tarzan, movie review

I knew from the first trailer I saw that this movie was going to test my believability skills. In the trailer it shows a bit where he charges a male gorilla and they collide in midair. Reality says, that man dies. Of course, that’s not how the movie is going to do it.

The entire film is full of events like that. Tarzan nuzzling a pride of lionesses because he knew them when they were cubs. He’s pretty much the animal whisperer of all jungle animals.

There are two approaches to making a movie, one is to keep it real and obey the rules of the world we all know. The second is to make up your own rules. Fantasy and science fiction movies do this. You clearly define the new rules and we accept them. But every so often there is a movie that tries to stay grounded in the real world and convince you that their fantasies are realistic. This is what “The Legend of Tarzan” tries to do. I couldn’t enjoy the movie because the entire time I was screaming—“That isn’t real! That couldn’t happen! He grew up with animals! He could never learn or understand human speech with the capability they are showing him! It’s biologically not possible. Those animals don’t act like that. Physics doesn’t work like that. That boat is barely tilted, why is that guy acting like he’s going to fall to his doom if Tarzan let’s go?” Oh the list goes on and on.

So yeah, this movie was a flop in my mind. If I just could have believed in the fantasy, it could have been a good movie. But something about how they did it just kept breaking the illusion.

Good effects, moderately entertaining and somewhat original plot, acting is meh. If you want an action movie, you’ll probably think it’s a bit slow in parts. I could see some people liking it, but really—it gets a recommend you skip—from me.

The Taking, book review

Dean Koontz,  “The Taking”

I listened to the audio book of this novel. The story started off great, setting the stage for an alien invasion. It had the classic feel of being an end of the world horror story. There were so many different theories thrown out as to what was actually going on, that it did give the impression the author was trying too hard to throw you off the trail of what was really happening. A bit too much stress was put on the mystery of it all.

Then our character was given a quest, a mission if you will. To find all the missing children. So at least the focus was taken off the “why is this happening” bit and the story went in a different direction. At this point, things became too far stretched, and really just a jumble of weird events. The middle of the novel really went off the deep end into this mystical world of nonsense. People were doing things that made no sense, there were supernatural creatures, and in all this, the goal was simply, “save the children!”

I kept going, despite the weirdness, and the end of the novel did work very hard to tie up all the loose ends and provide an explanation for everything.

The entire book is written very well. You will feel like you are there with the characters on every step of this strange and horrific journey. Koontz has a very talented gift at painting pictures perfectly for you to see in your mind.

Free State of Jones, movie review

When I saw the staggering two and half hour length of this movie, I hesitated to see it. In the end I went, but missed the first five minutes, a sacrifice I was okay with since there was a lot of movie still left for me to watch. But, I do think I missed something, cause those first few minutes might have better explained why we kept flashing back and forth between two places in time.

Either way, this movie did a lot of story telling without giving me a reason why. I learned a lot, I had no idea the whole giving a slave 40 acres of land was actually revoked after Andrew Johnson took over the presidency. This movie did a great job of teaching some history, focusing on a side we don’t often speak of, and doing so in an entertaining way.

But as a movie, that is in movie theaters, we are kind of stretching things. This movie would have had a better home as a documentary on a history channel. I may be the first to say this, but… the movie wasn’t Hollywood-ized enough. It needed a bit more exaggeration, it felt like it stayed too true to the real events and as such, was a boring, really long movie, whose main goal seemed to be to teach me some history about America’s brutal beginning.  Or maybe it needed to funnel down and focus on one story, instead of trying to cover such a large time frame, cause this was one of those films where you think its over, but no, no there’s more. This happens a good three or four times. And yes, people did fall asleep and snore during my viewing.

It’s a great movie—its place just isn’t in a movie theater, in my opinion.

Central Intelligence, Movie Review

I was expecting Kevin Hart to carry the weight of this movie, much like I saw in the last comedy he starred in “Ride Along 2.” However the directors of this movie played to Dwayne Johnson’s talents in a way I hadn’t seen done before and it worked beautifully.

Bob Stone, played by Dwayne Johnson, is introduced as this goofy overly optimistic character who is in love with unicorns. He plays the role seriously, even though he is saying outrageous things. You can’t tell if he’s intentionally acting silly, or if his character is really like that. Add in the whole conspiracy where he is actually a CIA agent and you really don’t know if he’s acting like a goof or if he really is. I mean, I saw the movie and I still don’t know which way I was supposed to interpret his character!

Kevin Hart is the perfect counterpart for Dwayne Johnson’s character. He, like the audience, isn’t sure what to make of Bob Stone, and he isn’t afraid to say as much.

The combination makes for a hilarious story, with some good morals to be learned by all. I’d suggest seeing it if you are down for a silly comedy. You will laugh.

Now You See Me 2, movie review

I wasn’t that big of a fan of the first movie. So despite myself, I did not rewatch the first movie before I went to see this one. I mostly saw this movie to see some fancy special effects and magic tricks. And I got what I wanted. That was the only good part of the movie. The story, acting, all predictable. The same plot twists that you saw in the first movie, happen again in this one. It’s all people having secret motives and trying to be the one to get one up on the other. It gets old.

But the tricks are cool and entertaining. There’s a few good comedic moments. Just don’t go expecting too much in the lane of good acting and plot.