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Author: Subject: 2019 Movie Round Up
Flash
The Immortal One






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posted on 6-13-2019 at 07:28 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
My recollection on the New Mutants is thus: everything get's talked about as a TV show at some point or another, so I do recall some skuttlebutt about it at various points... You could go back to the old John Shea show Mutant X, which was Marvel trying to backdoor their way into the X-men by churning out a show which was kind of a hybrid of New Mutants and maybe Generation X.

The current New Mutants movie went into production around the same time as Dark Phoenix did and word was that NM got rave reviews (DP got crap reviews) Fox sent both back into production with more money; In DP's case to "fix" it, and in the case of NM because they loved it and wanted to kinda put it over the top (Not something Fox should probably be doing as their track record of more money into superhero movies hasn't been good... see all the Fantastic Four movies). So despite trailers already being out for both movies they got punted down the line to 2019.

Then the Disney Fox merger happened and now New Mutants is looking at being pushed back again... Which begs the question of while the movie looks awesome, could there be a movie more dead on arrival than it? I mean look at what even the hints of production problems and a single calendar move did to Solo... NM has had possible big reshoots, been moved twice, and at this point is looking like a bit of an orphan being what was probably intended to start a new franchise but now will not, and is coming on the heels of the bomb that was DP.

Honestly Disney bought Fox for $71B... I know the FF and X-men properties were the parts that got the geeks drooling but they got a lot more in there, so the success or failure of a movie (in this case NM) that they paid pennies on the dollar for likely isn't a big deal... It wasn't a big budget movie to start with, and to market it would sink more money into it... It would make money at the theatres but probably not so much so that it'd set the world on fire... So why not put it out on the Disney platform this year? Having something extra they can launch with for the adults would be cool... I know the Mandalorians is close, but most of those rumoured MCU shows are a ways off.

In other unrelated news I'm a bit torn... Both Shaft and MIB 4 come out tomorrow... Not sure which to see first.

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posted on 6-13-2019 at 08:29 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by the goon

I could be completely wrong about this, but wasn't there talk about just turning the New Mutants movie into a TV movie/miniseries on SyFy or FX or something like that? I thought I read that at some point, but my memory is pretty fuzzy. Either way, if it does get released theatrically, it seems like it'll be dead in the water since it's going to be connected to a franchise that won't exist anymore.


The Gifted TV series is as close as we'll get to seeing the NM on the small screen. I think that Runaways covers a lot of the same territory too, even if they're specifically not referring to the kids with powers as mutants. I really don't pay attention at all to the TV hero shows, either Marvel or DC. I kinda/sorta tolerated Smallville for a while but I'm just too old to stick with teeny-bopper shows for too long.

The early trailers for the New Mutants movie looked good. They'd given it kind of a psychological horror vibe, which really hasn't been done yet (to my recollection) with any of the hero films. It would have been refreshing to see something like that, with an actual dark edge to it, which makes it that much more of a shame if the movie ends up dying alone and forgotten as collateral damage due to the catastrophic reception for Dark Phoenix.





"Let's go give these Canuckleheads a good ol red-white-and-blue fist-fucking!" - Janerd75

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posted on 6-15-2019 at 07:33 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
Other than being super powered kids, Runaways is a pretty far cry from the New Mutants... I "think" only one of the kids is actually a mutant; the rest being sorcerers, aliens, no powers, and some genetic stuff... I would highly recommend the original series (I do believe it's been done in a big omnibus now, or in various complete collections)... It was created by Brian K. Vaughan who was the showrunner for Under the Dome and worked on Lost; but really it's his comics work that stands out head and shoulders above a lot of what's out there, notably:

*Y The Last Man
*Ex Machina
*Runaways
*Saga
*Paper Girls
*We Stand on Guard
*Pride of Bagdad

Y The last man and Runaways are probably my favourites; Ex Machina is pretty good, and Saga and Paper Girls are great, but both are still underway... The dude has like 14 Eisners, which is the top award in comics.

I digress...

MIB: INTERNATIONAL

Took 3 of my nieces to see the latest MIB installment and well... it's an MIB movie. Take that for what you will... if you dug the others you'd probably did this one, if you were lukewarm on them well then this one isn't going to set your world on fire either as while it serves as a soft reboot of the franchise all the typical Sonnenfeld-isms that he established with the 3 he did are here, even though the movie boasts a different director (F. Gary Gray).

MIB reunites Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson (Valkerye in Thor Ragnorak) this time bringing Thompson in as the rookie agents, albeit in a different way than Will Smith did in the original, and mostly shifts the action from New York to London and other various international cities, notably Paris and Marakesh. It's got the usual MIB doom and gloom an alien race is going to destroy the Earth plot, with a few big action scenes thrown in along with some laughs... although I'm a bit torn on Hemsworth in this one; the guy has oodles of charisma and comedic timing, but generally speaking wasn't really given a lot to work with in this one. Liam Neeson tags along as the elder statesmen of the MIB, with Emma Thompson back mostly in cameo duty as Agent O again.

I enjoy the MIB movies for the most part, but also find myself wondering what could have been as it's a concept and story that I could see also having some gravitas had they played the series straight instead of in Sonnenfelds humour style... Still; on the whole the movies aren't bad, I've probably seen the first one 10 times by now, with multiple viewings of the others as well as they scratch that itch of a fun movie you can just throw on in the background and park your brain for awhile. The third movie is probably the best of the lot, closely followed by the original... I'd put INTERNATIONAL just behind the second film, so last in the franchise.

Verdict: Skip the 3D, nothing to see there... not a bad family outing movie (it's PG with a couple of "shits" in there, and a few hideous aliens) but also not must see either unless you're a big fan of the others.

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posted on 6-18-2019 at 06:58 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
Who's the black private dick that's a sex machine to all the chicks?

SHAFT!

So before watching this new 2019 reboot Shaft I noticed that Netflix just added the 2001 entry into the series; which kinda makes sense as I read they reached a global distribution deal for the 2019 movie wherein they'll send it straight to streaming everywhere outside of the USA 2 weeks after it debuts; So I'd say depending on where you live or what your feelings are about illegal downloading, odds are this movie will be readily available if you don't want to pay for it.

Anyway back to the 2001 version for a moment; I remember when I saw this one way back when it came out I enjoyed it well enough, but there was a level of it maybe not talking to a young white guy in Canada in a small almost entirely white city... But fast forward 18 years (and holy shit, it blows my mind that it's been 18 years) and the increased awareness of various issues black people face when it comes to the legal system thanks to the hole black lives matter movement, with probably an added pinch of maturity and open mindedness that comes with age and I found it more poignant and topical now than I did then... So maybe a movie that was ahead of it's time, but still enjoyable enough. It's not perfect... Shaft is the reason to watch it as opposed to any great plot, but it's decent enough and has aged well.

Not that the 2001 version is required viewing for the 2019 version; but they do take some pains to link the two movies via a couple of quick shots and dialogue lines.

The 2019 version also suffers from a bit of a lackluster villain/plot, but does offer a lot of fun playing around with a father son dynamic between Sam Jackson and Jesse Usher's characters as the movie re-introduces the father and son to one another after 25 years apart (Shaft Sr.'s life was a bit too dangerous)... The father is very much the cool cat the Barry White song sung about, but the movie also plays with him being a bit behind the times when it comes to attitudes on sexuality, women, and just everyday political correctness. His son, JJ, is probably his fathers worst nightmare as he's a skinny jean nerdy FBI cyber analyst... The movie gives us a lot of laughs as the two clash, but both are given chances to learn and grow... Definitely the highlight of the movie. Throw in grandpa Shaft later in the movie played by the role's pioneer Richard Roundtree and it's a nice mix.

Basically JJ was taken away by his mother years ago thanks to his dads violent and sex filled life as a PI/cop and became something of an over achieving, albeit a bit spineless FBI cyber analyst. The murder of a close friend brings him to his fathers door; his father agrees to help him but it's clear from the get go that his son's case probably has ties to a 25 year old case that the senior Shaft is working on. Violence and some laughs ensue.

Enjoyable enough; I'd say check out both versions... Sam Jackson is always a treat, but as I rambled on at the start this movie will probably be hitting Netflix pretty soon, so likely not worth spending money on.

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posted on 6-19-2019 at 08:02 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
THE DEAD DON'T DIE

So this one was a bit weird, one of those movies that you have to digest a bit before letting it sink in... It's what you'd probably call an "auteur" piece as most Jim Jarmusch films tend to be, so I'm not sure if it's something interesting that doesn't conform to your typical Hollywood format that doesn't suit my tastes, or if it's a bit of a jumbled mess that you want to falsely call brilliant because it's "art" and you don't want to cop to being the stupid guy who doesn't get it.

I suspect that this movie probably falls somewhere in the middle; yes there's some grand ideas in there, but the broad surrealism and character use could have been better done. The showing I was at a couple actually walked out on the movie and I could hear a few people after the movie talking about how it was "weird" and "crappy"... But there was a bit of an irony watching those same folks spend a chunk of the movie on their phones in a movie that has a quite a bit to say about consumerism and the zombie-ism of spending one's life on their phone.

My exposure to Jarmusch is limited as I'd only seen his Ghost Dog movie but I knew going in he had a bit of a dry quirky style, and that's probably how I'd describe this one; there's an amusing running joke in the movie that at least some of the characters know they are in a movie

"Why does this song sound familiar...?"
"Oh, that's because it's the movie's theme song."

"How'd you know that...?"
"I read it in the script"
"You got the whole script?
"Yeah"
"My copy only had my scenes in it... Goddam Jarmusch"

I think they could have gone a little more broad and played into that a bit more... it's hard to be both broad and understated at the same time, and the whole the characters are both characters in the movie and aware of it thing could have been used a bit better and likely for a few more laughs as there is some weirdness in there.

My other complaint is that the movie introduces a lot of characters but quickly disposes of them... I get that this is eschewing typical character arcs and audience expectations but it also becomes a bit jarring as you're not quite invested in the characters enough to sympathize when they get killed off, but you've also spent enough time with them to feel like that time was wasted... again it doesn't find that balance that it probably should.

In a nutshell the movie is about a small town being overrun by zombies thanks to some vague concept of polar fracking... or not; the movie goes to a lot of lengths to lampoon climate change deniers with some commentary left over for racist MAGA hat wearers.

I'd say skip this one... if art films are your thing then it might be worth a watch; or it might be more of an experience to see with some like minded people and have a coffee and chat about it; but otherwise I'd say it's not going to be for everyone.

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posted on 6-21-2019 at 08:06 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
Guh... went a bit nuts with seeing movies this past week; just racked up my fourth in 6 days as last night I saw....

CHILDS PLAY

You know I was pleasantly surprised with this one and aside from a few complaints rather enjoyed the movie's darker tone more reminiscent of the franchises beginnings as opposed to the horror comedy that it later descended into... That's not to say there aren't a surprising amount of laughs in the movie, they just come more from the horror than Chucky spouting off bad quips.

Franchise fans may be saddened by them cutting the whole voodoo and Charles Lee Ray aspects and instead settling on AI gone bad, but I think that allowed the film to comment a bit more on the dangers of our reliance on technology and even just how pervasive we've allowed such tech to enter into our homes and lives all in the name of convenience... I mean just how much random info is Alexa or Siri gathering about our lives, and with more and more integrated smart tech in our homes and cars is this getting worse? This is the story they wound up going with to kinda set the stage and get us to why this particular "Buddi" doll goes evil... Well, "EVIL" is probably too strong a word as what you instead see is kind of a semi-exploration of nascent technology learning from us very flawed humans prone to emotional outbursts and love of violent TV... Monkey see, Monkey do so to speak.

Outside of that the movie pretty much follows the template of the original, lonely kid gets given a doll when he can't make friends, said doll turns murderous, people die... They do make the kid a bit older than the original Andy from the 80's flick, but this also helps add to the idea that a teenager probably shouldn't be "raising" anything sentient (they do kinda address why a teen or pre-teen would be carting around a doll).

There's some fun deaths in there and the gore and violence are all over it; probably not movie theatre required viewing unless you're a horror fan, but it was pretty enjoyable and one I'd say was worth seeking out. I have a few complaints... Chucky does a few things that it strains believability that even a 12 year old would chalk up to just a glitch, but for every head scratcher in there it outdoes itself in other ways. I remember reading in some of the early cuts and drafts of the original film they were going to play with the idea of the audience not being sure if the killer was the doll, or an unhinged kid... This movie almost seems to want to play with that, or at least question early on if the kid, Andy, knew he had a murder doll on his hands and was using him... I think they could have steered into that a bit more.

At first I was a bit surprised that Brad Dourif wouldn't be back to voice Chucky, but I guess they wanted a clean break from the old franchise, and bringing in Mark Hamill was a great choice... His Chucky is a bit more innocent sounding, which adds an extra level of malice once he goes evil.

Anyway, good not great, but better than expected... More Halloween 2019 than 2010 Nightmare on Elm Street. Check it out.

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posted on 6-26-2019 at 07:38 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
ANNABELLE COMES HOME

You know Marvel leads far and away followed by... what Jason Voorhees or Star Wars for most franchise installments, but the Conjuring-verse is quietly racking up installments at a pace of one or two a year, with this one being the seventh (third Annabelle film in that sub-series) overall (with Conjuring 3 slated for next year).

In a nutshell Annabelle is kinda home to a nasty demon... Not so much a possessed running around Chucky-lite doll from hell, but more a magnet for other evil spirits and demonic entities; The Warrens are paranormal investigators who in the course of their work came into possession of the doll. Sensing it's evil they lock her away in a special cabinet in their locked room of haunted curiosities. The Warrens do make a prolonged cameo in this movie, but are quickly called away after a bit of backstory and the movie shifts to their similarly spirit sensitive young daughter, her babysitter, and the babysitters friend Daniella. How we get to the evil being unleashed is a bit forced, but it gets us to where we need to be which is basically a house full of evil spirits wrecking havoc on the three girls.

I enjoyed this movie well enough; it's got some decent scares in it and the franchise continues to rely on mostly practical special effects which gives a bit more jump to the scares. I thought it was an improvement over the last two offerings, the Nun and the Curse of La Llrona, and was probably helped by having Wilson and Farmiga on board in extended cameos as it drew the movie closer to the better reviewed core Conjuring films. I think where it suffers a bit... although it is in some ways one of the movies strengths... is that the crux of the movie is that via Annabelles evil magnet powers each of the Warrens room of curiosities comes to life... the random stories behind each horror curiosity, item, heirloom, or whatever is cool... Think House 2 where each room in the house was a different world; I dug the imagination and horror on display, HOWEVER given the Conjuring movies record of churning out movies on the quick many of these horrors sometimes felt like they were just auditioning for their own movie; Case in point one of the long rumoured storylines for Conjuring 3 was a werewolf... in this movie a werewolf plays a part; I'm sure right now there's a Ferryman, a Bride, an evil Samurai, and cymbal playing monkey movies being spitballed in the Conjuring offices.

Nothing overly special in this one; the Conjuring movies typically follow a bit of a formula but are generally quality scares with some decent acting; I thought the 3 girls did quite well in this one and there's some good jumps here. You could take it or leave it for theatre consumption depending on your horror tastes.

As an aside and I'd be curious to see; but a thought just struck me... 7 Conjuring movies... all horror films; but I wonder what the bodycount is for victims, as most of them don't end with that many deaths.

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posted on 6-29-2019 at 07:04 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
ANNA

I hadn't heard of this one before seeing it; was more perusing what was going to come on Thursday night as a sneak and spotted this Luc Besson helmed action flick... although reading afterwards I was a bit surprised to find out that Besson was recently accused sexual assault by upwards of 5 women, so not so sure if I'd have supported his movie knowing that even if I have enjoyed a number of his other movies like Leon/The Professional, Fifth Element, Lucy, Valerian and the City of Tomorrow... ect.

ANNA see's Besson going back to his frequent trope of Assassin at odds with their own employer type story; in this case I think he borrows pretty heavily from his earlier movie Nikita... I haven't seen Nikita, but can recommend the American remake Point of No Return (I never watched the tv series either)... I mean honestly move Nikita to a cold war setting and throw in a bunch of distracting flash fowards and flash backs and it's the same movie. This time out you've got former junkie slash heavily implied to have been a prostitute Anna elevated out of the dregs of Moscow by a KGB agent who turns her into a super assassin during the cold war (they point out it's 1990 several times); All Anna longs for is freedom... which even her placement as a top fashion model can't quite afford her knowing that she could be called upon to seduce and kill at a moments notice. There's more backstory there and some American CIA cat and mouse games that wind up happening, but Anna is very much in the centre at all times.

There's some decent action in the movie with several long fight scenes but how the movie was edited with the jumping around in time was an unnecessary addition... Most of what we got felt like less of a reveal and more hey let's show you what you already figured out. I think at times the time jumps also robbed the movie of some genuine surprises... Like right of gate we already know we're in a violent spy film (and I get that by just going to the movie you know what you're getting into), but by the time Anna pulls her first gun you see if coming. The movie also drove me nuts with several anachronistic comments and product placement... like USB ports and jump drives on sleek laptops in 1990, or references to the Czech Republic which didn't break off from Slovakia until 3 years later... just some glaring stuff.

The movie does have a nice cast; Anna is played by newcomer and real life Russian supermodel Sasha Lusse... Lusse has that lithe form that makes it a bit hard to see her beating men three times her size at time , but nonetheless seems keen to take on a good amount of action herself as she gets quite bloody at times and moves well in big fight scenes. She's got some backup from Luke Evans and Cilian Murphy, with heavy hitter Helen Mirren used well.

I'd say if you like Besson flicks, or just action movies in general it's worth a watch as it was decent enough... it's decent with problems, but not great. Skip it in the theatres and probably watch it on Netflix in a few months.

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posted on 6-30-2019 at 05:11 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
Playing catchup...

DARK PHOENIX

The last 40 minutes was quite good and made the overall experience positive, but the first hour was MTS3K worthy. Mystique has been a sinkhole of suck during the whole First Class run and the movie got so much better once she was killed. I swear that Jennifer Lawrence becoming famous really hurt this whole franchise because they put her at the center of the action far too much. The Beast face/heel/face turn was also particularly bad. And while I'm bitching, what the fuck was with the lack of mutant kids at the mutant school? For fuck's sake, hire an imaginative make-up artist to do some work on the kid extras.

What saved it was the fight between the mutant-mutant fight and then the mutant vs. aliens fight. Honestly, it was great to see Cyclops to be bad ass because he has never been well portrayed in the movies, looking like the dork to Wolverine in the original trilogy. Storm was also bad-ass (another real problem in the original trilogy) and I really liked Nightcrawler going to town. It was like the young X-men (Cyclops, Storm and Nightcrawler) came into their own in this movie, which could have led to better things for the franchise, but really putting it on the shelves for 5 years is probably the best thing they can do right now.





I only signed up so I can read the forum.

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posted on 7-3-2019 at 04:13 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
SPIDERMAN: FAR FROM HOME

I won't go into my usual rambling musings as odds are the tradition of someone starting a separate thread full of spoilers once several of us have seen it.

Suffice it to say I really dug this one; Definitely make sure you stick around until the very end as there are 2 post credit scenes that are intriguing in a where are they going next with the MCU vibe... One's a game changer for Spidey, the other is probably more of an MCU thing.

I think most of the burning questions about people's ages and the whole multiverse thing get answered in the movie so I won't say anything; the villain of the movie is satisfying and there's plenty of big action spots; although I think what I walked away thinking about the movie was just how funny it was.

I'll say this; I was going to take my 4 year old nephew but plans changed so I went alone... that was probably a blessing in disguise as I think this one skews a bit older. It's not that it's inaccessible to kids, like I said lot's of action; but there's a few plot elements that keep Spidey out of costume for long stretches and lot's of talkie talkie parts... So younger Spidey fans might be a bit restless waiting for him in costume.

Definite thumbs up... I saw it in 2D; the 3D might've been cool for this one as there were a few shots that seemed designed for it.

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posted on 7-8-2019 at 04:22 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
Here's one I wasn't expecting to see, but rather enjoyed...

ALADDIN

I remember seeing the original cartoon version with my sister when we were both kids*, and to the best of my knowledge haven't seen it again in the intervening 30 ish years so outside of a few bars from the songs stuck in my head and the late great Robin Williams voice work I have little to compare between the two. I took my 4 year old niece with me and gave her the choice between Aladdin and Toy Story 4 and she chose Aladdin as she really enjoys the cartoon.

Outside of one slightly scary scene towards the end where Iago is turned into a monstrous bird we both really enjoyed it and it kept here attention... She's normally pretty good with movies, but there's been the odd one that I've taken her to where she'll lean over and tell me she wants to go home with about an hour to spare. I think it was the bright colours, rapid movements, dancing, and musical numbers that kept her attention so on the whole I'd say it's a good one for even some younger kids (the romance probably helps... last year when I asked her what she wanted for Christmas she told me "True love's kiss", lol)

Lot's of good in here; the musical numbers and choreography were well done, and while I didn't "hate" Will Smith's Genie he definitely comes in last when compared to Williams much more lively version... Some of that blame may go on director Guy Richie as on the whole the Genie character just felt kinda restrained... like they coulda had a lot more fun with the character instead of just a lot of jokes about how Aladdin's nervousness at a party was making him look bad. Jafar and Iago were, to my hazy recollection anyway, much more lively and fun in the cartoon... here again they just lack that over the top villainy that separates the memorable villains from a WB series monster of the week type villain... ie forgettable.

All the cast are fairly unknown... Jasmine was the pink ranger from that Power Rangers movie from a few years back, but on the whole I think they did a great job and will likely go onto good things. I enjoyed seeing Nasim Pedrad in the movie if only in a small role, I always liked her on SNL and haven't seen anything else from her since she left like 4-5 years ago.

Anyway, it's probably not much longer for the theatres during these busy summer months; nice family movie.

I think on Tuesday I'm going to go see Midsommar... I'm intrigued; it's by the same guy who did Hereditary so I'm guessing it will be a bit cerebral and slower paced... Getting a very Wicker Man vibe; not so much dressing up like a bear and punching people Nick Cage version, more the 70's one with Christopher Lee and Edward Woodward.

*Okay I wrote kids when I said my sister and I last saw it, but just checked and it came out in 1992 which would have meant I was 13... cripes I feel old right now.

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posted on 7-12-2019 at 08:56 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
I was a bit split on which opening to see this weekend as both STUBER and CRAWL came out, and while neither looks like a home run, they at least looked to be entertaining.

I opted for STUBER and all in all it was an entertaining enough movie; kinda harkens back to the old mismatched buddy cop formula from the 80's... less Lethal Weapon and more smart assery like 48 hours or Red Heat. I think there's some misfires in there; the director kinda plays things straight a bit too much and some of the banter is weak, but the last quarter of the movie ratchets up the silliness sufficiently to make it over the top enough to deliver a satisfying enough conclusion.

The movie stars Dave Bautista as Vic; a hard as nails but somewhat distant cop and father who has become obsessed with hunting down the crook that killed his partner; He's about to see his case kicked up to the feds and is ordered to take some time off; which he uses to get lasik surgery on his diminishing eyesight. While recovering his gets an unexpected tip off that puts him in pursuit of the cop killer he's been hunting for, and thanks to his still recovering eyesight it makes him dependent on Uber for transportation. Enter Kumail Nanjiani as Stu, the Uber driver with his own problems... namely a lack of respect, money, and hopelessly in love... The two leads largely play off one another as they move from one violent shoot out or whatever to the next... Both the stars are entertaining enough and there is some chemistry there, but Bautista's strong silent type coupled with Nanjiani's more quiet smart assery makes for some meek back and forth at times... it works, but there's a lack of energy there at times that was say on display with something like Kevin Hart and Ice Cube in Ride Along.

It's an entertaining enough movie; I'd be inclined to call it forgettable but it's also the kind of movie you could throw on multiple times as a good time waster because despite its problems it is fun.

Take your pick on whether or not to see it on the big screen... Not a lot of comedies out for the last bit so it might make for a decent date movie, but it's also something that would play as well at home on the tv.

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posted on 7-16-2019 at 06:20 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
CRAWL

So when I first saw the trailer for Crawl I must've only been half watching as up until a few hours before the deciding to go see this I had a slightly different picture in mind... more mutant gators with tentacles for limbs; but otherwise the rest of the movie was as advertised. I have no idea where I got that from, but as a visual it still kinda strikes me as something cool...

In saying that Crawl, with just regular old Florida alligators works... I say regular as the gators in this movie seem bigger than what I figured their real toothy counterparts are, but after I started typing this I googled and those buggers range from about 3-4.3 meters in length, so like 11-15 ft from tip to tail; I don't know why but I'd always pictured them topping out at like 6-10 feet... Looking up American Croc's, apparently they can get up to 20 ft... Just crazy.

Reptilian taxonomy aside; Crawl features some big ass mean gators. In a nutshell one of those super storms complete with flooding hits Florida and university swim team member Haley goes looking for her estranged father when he fails to answer anyone's calls. Ignoring evacuation orders she heads for their old house, right on the precipice of where the storm will hit at it's hardest. She finds her father unconscious in the crawl space under the house... She also finds some hungry gators down there as well having gained access via the drain pipes thanks to the elevated water levels. Thanks to some heavier water pipes the father and daughter are kept relatively safe from the gators, but with water levels rising and time growing the short the duo will need to make an escape for it.

Crawl works really well because let's face it gators are scary; especially to those of us who don't regularly encounter them living many many kilometers safe and sound from reptiles with teeth... Doubly so because the premise of them floating around in flood waters just seems like something that could, and probably does happen. Throw in the whole people do get trapped during super storms and you've got a recipe for something that does tug at your inner monologue that say's "yeah... that could happen", which I think much like Jaws is a pretty good foundation for thriller, even one that probably ramps up the savagery of the "monsters" like this one does.

I think the movie works really well not just because of the above but because at the core of the movie they have two strong leads with Kaya Scaldelero as the daughter Haley, and Barry Pepper as her father Dave... They really carry the movie beyond just screams and running/swimming from the gators; they give the movie a bit more weight. That's not to say there aren't plenty of other victims around; I don't want to say much more as that'd venture into spoilers, but the movie finds ways to up the body count in a relatively believable way.

If I had a complaint about the movie it's that it's at times frustratingly inconsistent with it's depiction of flooding... outside has 3-4 feet of water on the ground but the crawl space still hasn't completely flooded... inside the main floor there's 4 feet of water and the upstairs has 2 feet of water... Outside the water is up to the roof, but it's dry inside... I get that they did some of this for some very specific, and at times cool shots, but it feels like the movie was shot more using cue cards on a bulleting board without anyone paying attention to any kind of consistency visually. They are also pretty inconsistent with the gator attacks... when certain people get grabbed they seem to be able to escape with some struggle; for other characters it's instant death... Like the water I get it; it's the "problem" of certain movies... (A) has to happen so that (B) can happen and build tension.

Crawl was pretty good; I don't know if it's mandatory viewing on the big screen but I'm not afraid to admit that I jumped on a few occasions in the movie so I think you could do worse than seeing it on the big screen. Jaws probably remains the benchmark movie for man versus nature stories, but I'd put Crawl on the top half of those movies.

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posted on 7-24-2019 at 05:44 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
MIDSOMMAR

I saw this and I just don't know if I liked it or not... there's certainly plenty to both like and dislike about the movie, much like Ari Aster's other big screen offering Hereditary. I think the movie functions more like art house horror; an auteur piece happier to leave its audience with a sense of perpetual unease as opposed to going for any actual scares.

MIDSOMMAR tells the story of Dani and Christian who are about to break up, but thanks to a colossal tragedy suffered by Dani the two kind of reluctantly stay together. The tragedy still hangs over their heads when Christian is invited to go with several friends to Sweden, to participate in a solstice celebration at the commune that Pelle, their Swedish friend came from. Two of the group are working on a thesis studying cults and religions, so the chance to see some of this first hand is hard to pass up. Once at the commune the group meets up with Pelle's various family and fellow commune members, some of which who had travelled abroad also brought outsiders with them to the idyllic setting. The commune seems at first equal parts quaint and simple, but slowly the group realises just how different things are and how far from help they may be.

One area that I think hurts Midsommar is that once things do start to get a bit wacky the group doesn't necessarily behave in a sensible manner; there's never any real discussion between them that they may be in trouble and it's instead left to the very broken Dani to run around crying, which she was doing already... there's definite examples of the group being given drugs, but even then Aster is going more for a sense of feeling as opposed to something a bit more substantive; even still the lack of common sense at times by the characters comes at such a start moment that it's too much of a hard left... Case in point after two brutal deaths one of the main characters is more concerned about picking his thesis than getting out of there.

Part of what lulls the characters in is that the commune is just so darned friendly despite their peculiarities... There's no Lord Summerisle from the original Wicker Man here; you never get the sense that unlike in the original Wicker Man that the commune is trying to deceive the outsiders (even if they are), but instead there's a genuine belief in the rightness of their belief... The way they do things is simple the way that it is.

Arister is definitely going for mood more than story here as he very much seems to be pulling a page from Kubrick with overly long shots and a much more slow and deliberate pace; the problem is that there is little payoff to the whole matter; if anything at the moment the movie should peak for some kind of danger it instead busts out a completely ridiculous love scene that had the whole audience laughing... Your climax is literally a climax which might work if some critics who suggested that the movie is a metaphor for breaking up is accurate, but it instead comes off a bit weak leaving any sense of story wrap up feeling tacked on (which even it is almost laugh out loud). Making your lead someone who is emotionally broken might work if there was a genuine ark there for the character; but we instead suffer through one over long loud crying scene after another from a character that you empathise for because of her tragedy but ultimately find hard to like.

Wicker Man, the original, not the horrible abortion that was the Nicholas Cage version remains the quintessential cult movie... Christopher Lee was just so sinister, and Edward Woodward had a smugness and earnestness to him that really let you straddle the line between wondering if the cult was weird or if it was that they didn't fit his own myopic view of the morality. Midsommar probably tries to take the meditative approach of the original Wicker Man but chooses to marry it to the poor execution and over the topness of the Cage version... Right down to a ridiculous bear suit.

You know until I wrote this I really couldn't decide if I disliked the movie or liked it and I still can't... Having gone through it here now in writing I see it as something flawed, or more an experience than a story that you could relate... There's some strong stuff in there, but maybe with some poor execution. I think in the end I don't regret watching it, but probably wouldn't watch it again... I've had that experience and while I might be a little more contemplative for it it's not something I'd do again.

I'd say skip it in the theatre, and maybe even skip it altogether... if you liked Hereditary you might like this one; like Hereditary it's bound to split folks and be the kind of movie critics love but audiences are indifferent to.

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posted on 7-30-2019 at 07:11 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD...

So I had mixed feelings about going to this one... there are times when I love Tarantino, but there are just as many times that I find him boring and over indulgent in his perception of himself as some dialogue auteur; I will say though that he is wholly original and more often than not delivers, but those misfires have made me a bit gun shy about really wanting to see his movies... There's an attraction, but it's with apprehension.

Case in point with Once Upon a time in Hollywood there's a certain coolness about the leads here, but for me that caveat was that I had some concerns about Tarantino differing from the reality of the very real, and very brutal Sharon Tate (and friends) murders at the hands of the Manson family... it just felt in poor taste. I even broke one of my rules and read a summary of the movie as I hummed and hawed about seeing it (which while the summary was somewhat accurate, having now seen the flick the summary writer clearly decided to add their own artistic flourishes to their summary including stuff that never happened). It wasn't until I read an interview from Tate's sister that I decided to give it a shot.

There are several storylines going on in Once Upon a time; with the main entry point to our story being the friendship between sagging one time TV star Rick Dalton and his best friend and stunt double Cliff Booth. Dalton sabotaged a successful TV career as a cowboy in hopes of transitioning to movies (a real life rarity back then in its 1969 setting). It's the twilight of the silver age of Hollywood and Dalton sees his career reduced to either a series of guest spots on TV shows or to take up an offer to go to Italy and do spaghetti westerns. Dalton's dilemma is juxtaposed with the burgeoning career of his next door neighbour Sharon Tate and her husband Roman Polanski. Along the way we meet an assortment of 50's and 60's Hollywood notables before being introduced to various hippies at intermittent times in the movie and slowly see them increasingly revealed as something a bit more sinister before they are ultimately revealed as the Manson family.

The movie is a bit slow and bloated, but I do think it is some of Tarantino's finest work in a long time... He's a bit more restrained here and his very much aided by heavyweights like DiCaprio, Pitt, and Robbie who are less the usual Tarantino talking heads and are given more of a chance to act out scenes with some sharp dialogue. You can very much tell the movie is a love letter to that era of TV and movies as Tarantino adopts all the style and sounds of the time... He does a great job. Even the title Once Upon a Time harkens back to the Sergio Leone movies that very much inspire large portions of the this movie.

The last 20 minutes of the movie are so bat shit crazy that you come out of the theatre kinda jacked... If you have more than a passing knowledge of the Manson family it's a big home run, but even if you don't the family is creepy enough in all of their scenes that it still works... although truth be told I think I preferred the more fictitious version I read in the fake spoilers that depicted a more all out brawl, but what we got was maybe some of the most violent stuff Tarantino's put on screen and it's entirely cathartic and more than a little awesome.

If you like Tarantino I think you'd want to catch this one in the theatre as there's something about watching a celebration of the era on the big screen; if you don't like Tarantino I'd say this one is still worth watching although a home viewing would probably suffice.

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posted on 8-2-2019 at 07:26 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
Flood of movies this week; almost takes me back to when I worked at the movie theatres as a kid and would just either watch a flick after my shift in the days before I had my license (the theatre was at the other end of the city) and would catch a ride my way with the closing manager, or later when I became a projectionist and we'd lug the heavy ass film canisters up the stairs and splice the numerous reels together and we'd test watch them on Thursday nights way after hours... Nice part about that is you'd order a pizza and have the whole theatre to yourself and a few invited friends...

It just sucks that now when I binge these movies I gotta pay for it

Oh well...

I took one of my younger nieces out for some one on one uncle time and we caught the SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2... Now I didn't see the first one so I was completely lost with this one... I mean the pets can talk? Kidding aside this was a lot of fun and had a nice message about getting past ones fears and trying new things. The animation was top notch and it boasted a pretty star studded cast... although I guess Patton Oswalt took over from Louis CK for the main voice of Max the dog... maybe any scenes of him licking himself in front of the other animals might be a little too art imitating life.

If you've got a young family it's worth checking out; I was originally going to take her to the Lion King but remembered a few scenes in the cartoon that might be a bit too frightening when rendered in a more realistic fashion... anyway, glad we saw Pets... good for all ages, although now the kiddo is watching the animals a lot closer.

Tonight I caught HOBBS AND SHAW the Fast and the Furious spin off and it was pretty much the adrenaline filled fun action fest that you'd figure it to be. Yeah like any F&F movie it strains credibility at times; but the action is big and the chemistry between Johnson and Statham is pretty good.... The F&F movies are big dumb fun that if you can park your brain before going in you're bound to have a good time...

In a nutshell Hobbs and Shaw have to team up (apparently Shaw's whole I murdered some of your friends and tried to kill some kids things from a few movies back has been reduced to just mild dislike because he's an asshole... also he makes a comment about having killed his own brother, but last I saw the brother was alive and well in a cameo in the last movie and even helped him... meh)... The team up happens because a super biological weapon was stolen and both are recruited by the CIA separately to track down the weapon and the rogue agent that stole it... The beautiful Hattie who just happens to be Shaw's baby sister. In pursuit of the trio is Idris Elba; who's a suped up cyborg with high tech weapons fronting a terror group that is trying to bringing about a kind of human evolution meets eugenics agenda. Car chases galore, big fight scenes and lots of stuff blows up while testosterone giants swap quips.

The ultimate popcorn franchise delivers another big installment... I think the fifth one (was that the Brazilian heist one?) is still the high water mark, but action wise there's enough to love here. I snuck a peak at the upcoming Fast 9 cast list and it looks like Johnson and Statham aren't announced as being in it (although Cena steps in) so it looks like this will be their new franchise... which tracks as there's plenty of comments and cameos along the way to support their own franchise (one cameo in particular stands out and it's been a decade in the making since I heard the original casting for Ride Along... but spoilers).

It's worth watching at the movies... it's summer after all and movies like Hobbs and Shaw were tailor made for the cinemas... but really, if you watch it at home you aren't missing out either.

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posted on 8-6-2019 at 04:41 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
TOY STORY 4

For the most part you've seen this movie before if you've seen Toy Story 2 or 3. The one unique thing that I wish they would have done more with was Forky, a toy made out of trash by the 5-year-old girl that is the current owner of our favorite Toy Story toys. Forky was hilarious as he grows to accept that he is longer 'trash', but a 'toy'. The rest of the movie was the same trope as before (bad guy toys want something from the good guy toys and overly complicated plans go on to rescue a toy and then get the toys back to their owner. I liked Duke Kaboom, a Canadian Evel Knievel, but the rest of it was so-so.

So, Forky *****
Duke Kaboom ***
Rest of it **





I only signed up so I can read the forum.

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posted on 8-9-2019 at 06:27 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK

I was pretty psyched for this one as the trailer was pretty good and while it didn't boast Guillermo del Toro as director, he was pretty involved in producing the film.... but in the end while not a bad movie by any stretch I do think that it wound up being just okay.

Despite the source books being written and published from 1981 to 1991 and my own birth date falling in the dying days of disco I gotta admit that I had no knowledge of them going into this which might have hurt any sense of childlike wonder others had going in seeing many of the books art come to life; what I found was that what looked cool and sinister in the trailer was at times a rubbery or CGI looking mess... Some of the monsters looked cool in some shots, but in others... I wouldn't call it bad, just a little too surreal.

In a nutshell it's 1969 and a group of kids on Halloween head into the house that every small town has that typically sends kids scurrying across the street for fear of what rumoured horror lurks within... In this particular case the stories are about the mysterious child murdering storyteller Sarah Bellows. While inside the kids find a book full of her stories and once away from the house find that in turn each of them shows up in the Bellows book of scary stories facing any number of monsters from an evil scarecrow, a corpse in search of her toe, to an assembly of body parts. The survivors need to solve the mystery of Bellows if they have any hope of surviving.

It's not a bad movie but it's a movie that very much suffers from not developing characters enough to really care about them and couples that with not giving them enough to do in between each monsters appearance... This winds up creating a kind of really uneven "beat" to the movie where you almost get the sense the movie was written via a post it note method of we want this monster and this one before they asked someone to fill in the space in between. What probably makes this worse is that there are some genuine efforts to inject some real history in there... like the Nixon election and Vietnam war factoring in; I get that they wanted to add some Stranger Things-esque nostalgia to the picture, but it winds up accentuating that some of these kids are going to, and do face far more real life horrors than a few days of monsters... Good luck with not getting your legs blown off in Nam' kid who gets drafted in the movie... enjoy your decades of PTSD on top of the every day racism you're already facing (... ect).

I think the movie might've worked better if they maybe used the horror house as more of a framing story... Do any of you remember the movie adaptation of the old Tales from the Darkside show? You had this kid reading out stories to the witch about to eat him; it gave a clear disconnect between the short tales we got and the framing device while still maintaining all of the horror... If one of the stories was a dud than it didn't necessarily bleed into the others. Alternatively what I'd suggest wouldn't been to adapt a slightly different style for each monster...

Here in Ontario the movie comes in at 14A... so no kids under 14 can get in without an adult; We've also got the typical PG most areas have too... Why I bring this up is because in a weird way the rating is emblematic of the problems with the movie itself... it's a bloodless movie with somewhat hokey monsters, but at the same time definitely skews a bit older... a movie just doesn't seem to know what it wants to be.

It's fun enough, I took my 12 year old niece with me and while she covered her eyes here and there she really enjoyed it (I didn't mind it)... that's probably much like the books the right age... If you've got kids around that age or even a bit older I bet they'd enjoy it but I wouldn't go much younger as there is a few creepy jumps in there. It's probably one you could skip at the cinemas and not lose out on much.

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posted on 8-16-2019 at 10:19 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
GOOD BOYS

Caught this one tonight and it didn't disappoint. In saying that I wound up watching There's Something about Mary for probably the first time 20 years (it's amazing that it's a 20 year old movie...) and laughed like crazy... or watched Step Brothers for probably the 10th time again... Not that Step Brothers is that great, but it's great to throw on either in the background or to fall asleep to because it's so zany... Which is something that I don't know that GOOD BOYS has going for it really... Don't get me wrong, it's got a lot of balls out funny stuff in there that had me laughing my ass off, but there's a lot of coming of age stuff and a lot of heart in there too that makes it not quite funny enough to be a classic like Mary, and not dumb enough to throw on endlessly either.

GOOD BOYS is about 3 12 year old friends coming of age and facing the inevitable reality that everything changes, not just their bodies, but also how they see themselves and the world as they navigate various peer pressures and a constant stream of juvenile misinformation about the fairer sex and the birds and the bees. Pretty ripe stuff for comedy. In hopes of going to a "kissing" party the three friends become fearful that they don't know how to kiss; in trying to get that experience they set out on an odyssey of laughs and hijinks... Sex and gross out humour are played out in spades.

Before going in I read a quote that I think perfectly encapsulates the movie and that it's a movie FOR your inner 12 year old that shouldn't be watched by any 12 year old. The movie gleefully relishes in it's R rating to the point that the R rating features heavily on the poster for the movie... Up here in Ontario an 18A is the equivalent of an R (although we do still have a hard R for restricted up here... it's like our 18A but even with an adult if you are under 18 you can't get in)... I mention this only because funnily enough the Canadian posters have 18A as part of the marketing on the posters but it only got a 14A... So way to overestimate our censorship up here, lol. I digress... the movie has a lot of heart; I think we're all old enough to recognize those difficult years when we were discovering sex related stuff for the first time, except instead of some crusty old dirty mag discarded in a dumpster passed around from our days kids have access to the web and all it's horrors and glories.

Even Goldberg and Seth Rogen produced this one so I think it makes sense that walking out I found the it's best comparable to be Superbad... both are coming of age flicks that don't pull any punches; both are probably good for the occasional repeat viewing every few years, but maybe won't quite achieve classic status.

I can't think of too many other comedies that've come out in the last while, so I'd say it's worth checking out at the show... as always though with this type of movie you wouldn't be missing much... in saying that isn't there something infectious about laughter? So whether watching it in a theatre or at home maybe do so in a group.

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posted on 8-17-2019 at 12:37 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
As somebody who thinks Super Bad is WAY more rewatchable than Something About Mary, your review has me even more excited to catch Good Boys. I love the coming of age comedy (Meatballs, American Pie, Super Bad, The Way Way Back, Adventureland, Nick & Norah, etc) so I think it may be more my speed.
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posted on 8-17-2019 at 10:23 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by bigfatgoalie
As somebody who thinks Super Bad is WAY more rewatchable than Something About Mary, your review has me even more excited to catch Good Boys. I love the coming of age comedy (Meatballs, American Pie, Super Bad, The Way Way Back, Adventureland, Nick & Norah, etc) so I think it may be more my speed.


Just re-watched Something About Mary a few weeks ago after not having seen it since the 90ís and it still had me laughing my ass off.

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posted on 8-21-2019 at 06:04 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by bigfatgoalie
As somebody who thinks Super Bad is WAY more rewatchable than Something About Mary, your review has me even more excited to catch Good Boys. I love the coming of age comedy (Meatballs, American Pie, Super Bad, The Way Way Back, Adventureland, Nick & Norah, etc) so I think it may be more my speed.


That's fair... I really enjoyed Superbad and I think I watched it like 3 times in a short spell when it first came out, which meant that by the 3rd viewing it (but of course) didn't feel as fresh or something, which has probably dimmed it's stature a bit in my hazy recollections... It's likely been years since I last saw it, and by years I mean nigh on a decade.

On the flip side I JUST watched 'Mary, and it's been so long since I'd last seen it that it's a bit of a revelation again...

Definitely check out Good Boys though, there's been a shortage of top quality comedies this summer sadly, and of any that have come out I'd rank it as the best of the lot.

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posted on 8-23-2019 at 08:18 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
ANGEL HAS FALLEN

Confession... after London has Fallen I kinda figured this one had a strong possibility that with all the falling the franchise might need to call LifeCall, but in the end there wasn't anything terribly bad in this one... it just wasn't that great either. Still... despite a number of misfires I genuinely enjoy Gerard Butler, and while the first (Olympus has Fallen) probably suffered from coming out so close to White House Down it was a pretty good action flick.

This time out after saving the president multiple times there's a new president in office (although they didn't look far, series regular Morgan Freeman picks up the reigns), and secret service agent Mike Benning (Butler) is starting to feel the effects of his own violent history and with injuries piling up he's contemplating moving into more of an administrative role; the timing couldn't be better as he's up for the job of heading up the service. Problem is calamity strikes again and not only is there another attack on the president this time it would seem that all the clues for who's responsible point to Benning putting him on the run. There's a subplot with a dogged FBI agent that feels more US Marshalls than The Fugitive, a reconciliation with the father that abandoned him, and some time filling chase scenes, but ultimately the last quarter of the movie they kind of rescue themselves by going balls out on the action.

There's some headscratchers in here; like stuff that was introduced that ultimately goes nowhere or seems designed to get the bad guy over, but any sense of emotion tied to it either makes you not care because the characters are underdeveloped or because 10 minutes later the baddy does something 10x worse.

Butler's his usual stoic self, and Freeman collects a cheque do his usual wisdom imparting role. I didn't even recognize Jada Pinkett Smith... she's in there, but feels wasted in some ways. Nick Nolte's current movie roles just seem funny to me... for a former leading man he seems to relish playing crazy hobo chic type guys... he's good at it too (see Tropic Thunder). Someone needs to give Danny Houston a bigger role at some point... like he needs a TV series or something because I've always enjoyed him but he also seems to always be typecast into certain roles.

This one is probably a skip... if you enjoyed the first two movies, or are an action movie fan it's worth a Netflixing, but there's better theatrical views out there at the moment.

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posted on 8-28-2019 at 10:16 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
READY OR NOT

I want to make a joke about how I thought I was going to a movie inspired by a bad Canadian teen comedy from the 80's about two teenage girls... But now I have that theme song stuck in my head and I'm already regretting it.

Oh well...

Ready or Not is about a woman who marries into a crazy rich and eccentric family; turns out to really be welcomed into the family she has to participate in a peculiar family ritual of playing a game... The game will be determined by a card drawn from a box, handed down through the family's generations... Think a kinda Hellraiser-esque Lament box. As the movie trailers clearly shows she drew hide and seek; which after seeing a maid violently dispatched when mistaken for her she realizes that the stakes are quite high... The family means to kill her before dawn, least their centuries old devils deal be defaulted on.

I had high hopes for this one, and while not bad by any stretch it also didn't stand out as much as I thought it would... Maybe that's my fault, but with such a quirky topic and scenario I think they could have had more fun with this... Still, I found myself even early in the movie thinking what if the Bride was just a plant... like she knew what she was getting into before hand; a kinda "Final Girl" type twist where the hunters become the hunted... We don't get that, but there is some good stuff in there along the way. I think my biggest, and probably most valid complaint is that at no time really does our hiding Bride rise above just being a victim... most times she seems to get out of situations more by luck or happenstance; that's not to say she doesn't get some shots in, but the whole thing just feels like it's constantly out of here hands... In a post-Me Too era I would of hoped for something a bit more empowering.

Here's my bad, but before going in I swore that was Margot Robbie in the starring role... it wasn't, but man was she made up to look like her. Like I'd seen her in the very fun Netflix movie The Babysitter, but didn't recognize her here...

It's fun enough, but I'd say call this one a rental/Netflix'er.

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posted on 9-4-2019 at 06:53 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON

Saw that this has it's own thread; which I applaud as it was really quite good and with the wrestling theme it fits with expanding on it a bit more; which I'll do in the other thread... Check the movie out though as it's quite good.

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