A Nuclear Blast Of Excitement, Meets Drawn Out Fallout of Grandiosity

Mission: Impossible - Fallout Poster

 

The familiar chimes of a flute, the booming sounds of a drum, and the orchestra starts up on a familiar tune that is pleasing to the ears of fans aloud.  Yes, this can be any movie, but for this reviewer, it means that it’s the theme to a series that continues to sneak around in modern times.  I’m talking about the spy thriller series that has dug up more terrorist plots than Sherlock Holmes, where gadgets and gizmos are utilized to conceal more than kill.  I think you know what I mean, (most likely because you read the title) and thus we enter the latest review on Robbie’s list.  Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to read on to find out my thoughts.  Agent Karim bringing you a review on:

 

Movie: Mission Impossible: Fallout (2018)

 

Director:

Christopher McQuarrie

Writers:

Christopher McQuarrie,  Bruce Geller

Stars:

Tom Cruise,  Henry Cavill,  Ving Rhames

 

 

LIKES:

 

Acting:  Get down to the basics first, the agents selected for this mission certainly had the skills to bring the adventure to life.  A solid chemistry between the various players in the game, Fallout’s pieces have been fine tuned to provide a cavalcade of thrilling characters worthy of bringing the conspiracy to life.  Cruise leads the group the most, utilizing the majority of the screen time to be the keystone for just about everything.  Newcomer Cavill is also a welcome addition, dropping his superhero leotard and its morals for a new set of justice to be served. And as for the supporting players of Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, and Sean Harristhey too are elite enough to be integrated into the mix.

 

The Story:  If you have followed the series up until this point, seldom do we have solid connections between movies, with only the team and a tiny thread to tie each lead together.  For once, Mission Impossible straight up follows a movie, and the continuity is welcomed as it opens up new avenues for than and the gang to travel.  While the majority of the plot is pretty straight and narrow in regards to a spy thriller, the victory comes in seeing a few of the characters get unclassified. It’s fantastic growth that the series needed that managed to get integrated well.  In addition, the story manages to bend from the linear presentation, resulting in a little more excitement to be had.

 

Pace:  If it’s a like, you know it moves, and for a 150-minute run time that pace is key to keeping people intrigued.  Fallout forgoes much of the slower, drawn out jargon filled moments to keep a continuously moving story, which worked very well for me. In addition, the liner story bypassed the convoluted presentation the first movie had, which I think is a victory for most.

 

The Action:  Since the reboot of Ghost Protocol, the MI series has really found its roots in the action genre, which works very well for me. Much of the pace of the films has to do with the amount of action in this piece and the numerous sequences it contains of spy warfare.  Exciting vehicle changes, some gunplay, and ruthless physical combat await the audience members in this piece and this dynamic change of action theme further strengthened the film. Of course, the special effects and sound editing helped bring the scenes to life, alongside a supporting music list, which gave it the theater worthy quality.  Yes, the action is certainly the selling point of the movie and will win the hearts of adrenaline junkies like me to no fault.

 

The Comedy:  Again, the writers have done their homework and accomplished a balance of funny meeting thriller.  MI 6 does not rely on cheap gimmicks to deliver its laughs, but instead is a display of the art of comedic timing, non-grandiose acting, and simple facial mechanics to deliver the gold.  To integrate it into the scenes without diverging too far is an added bonus that I relish to see in future installments.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Cheesy at Times:  My friend was right on one level; the MI series continues to get cheesier with every rendition.  This isn’t a total bad thing, but Fallout sort of crosses into that territory more than the other installments for me (at least form what I remember).  It follows a lot of stereotypical spy gimmicks, including the ability to somehow stretch 15 minutes into 45 minutes by some form of magic.  In addition, the corniness starts to come in the extreme stunts and nearly invincible forms of the agents until that one special wound. Don’t mind this?  Fantastic!  However, the MI series needs to keep check or risk falling into the obscure stunts laid out by Fast and Furious.

 

Predictable:  They tried to throw curve balls our way, utilizing the art of multiple deceptions and suggestions to lead us astray of the true plot.  A noble effort indeed, but the film is still a very predictable tale to say the least. Some of this comes from the fact that the movie’s linearity is just leading us to the final point and you know deep down something good is going to happen.  Another component comes from the fact the five trailers have shown a good majority of clips that you can search for in the 150 minutes.  Yet for me, the movie almost tried too hard to throw too many twists into the mix, resulting in lackluster revelations (some of which were buried in jargon conversation).  The series had moments to really surprise, they just didn’t quite execute them.

 

The Length:  Sure, an action filled dynamic was able to lighten much of the load, but that doesn’t mean the movie still isn’t long.  MI 6 is not for the ADD, and may require several trips to the bathroom if you guzzle down your drinks.  This is a dislike only because there were some areas that it could have tightened up, as well as several places to end the movie for another sequel.  Had they utilized the time better, I think I could have given it higher, but hey, you do get your money’s worth right?

 

New Characters:  A few were used well, and others not so much. Fallout introduces new pieces to the game that hold potential, but we haven’t quite seen their full capabilities unleashed yet on screen.  Future installments will hopefully hold the keys to their influences and lethality, but at this stage of the game they were nearly pointless for me for the length they were focused on.

 

 

The VERDICT:

 

This installment of the MI series is a nuclear blast of action packed stunts, mixed well with an expanded story, good acting, and strong writing by the team.  It certainly is one of the more exciting spy thrillers and will fuel the drive to stick it to the end.  As the fallout begins to occur though, the lengthy time may wear on you, especially given the predictable, and semi grandiose, elements of the movie that ironically needed some restructuring.  Still, all the excitement and special effects nets this movie a must see in theaters for the experience award, and is currently the leader for the month of July for me.  Catch it fast before the next rush of movies my friends, or await the rent on Netflix.

 

My scores are:

 

Action/Adventure/Thriller: 8.5

Movie Overall:  7.5

 

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Is There Hope Or Just Plain Nope: Go At Your Own Risk

Teen Titans Go! To the Movies Poster

 

Cartoons were amazing back in my day when cable was the preferred means of entertaining.  Whether it was the classics of Hannah Barbara, or the modern age 90s cartoons there were plenty that had bite and engaging elements that many modern shows lack.  One in particular was Teen Titans, a comic book inspired television that packed heat, excitement, and engaging episodes/characters that hooked generations. Then came Teen Titans Go, a chibi like, watered down version that took all those elements away and replaced them with bathroom humor, vomit slaps, and rants of babbling gibberish that did little to impress past the age of like 8.  So naturally, it’s popular for today’s group and with it comes a big screen picture to try and impress.  Robbie K is back with another review, so let’s get to it as I review:

 

Movie:  Teen Titans Go To The Movies (2018)

 

Directors:

Aaron Horvath,  Peter Rida Michail

Writers:

Aaron Horvath,  Michael Jelenic

Stars:

Will Arnett,  Eric Bauza,  Kristen Bell

 

 

LIKES:

 

Original Voice Actors: There are timeless voices that will always be remembered, and breathe life into the very character they are voicing. Fortunately, Teen Titans Go was smart enough to retain the original voice cast of Scott Menville, Khary Payton,Greg Cipes, Tara Strongand Hynden Walch.  The crew continues to lend their talents to try and redeem what little these big headed/small bodied forms have left for them, and kept me in the movie to support their work.  No last-minute switches here people, and fortunately it does work.

 

Animation:  While nothing close to some of the other comic book inspired shows, this reviewer still applauds some of the animation style in this movie.  Colorful designs, fluid motion, and clever art styles to culminate in some of the cleverer scenes, which is always appreciated when you break away from the style they’ve been dependent on us.

 

Short Time Frame:  If you can’t stand stupidity (then avoid this movie), but if you are going for your little one, fear not, the craziness lasts for only about 80 minutes and then you are free.  Thank goodness the editing was on top of the game.

 

Clever moments:  While Teen Titans Go seldom falls into this category, I couldn’t help but laugh at how the cartoon pokes fun at the obsession with super hero movies, Disney’s monopoly over things, and of course the obsession of only being recognized if you have a movie.  Bravo for the writer’s integrating these moments, because at the right times, these moments packed a punch.

 

The Mid-Credit Scene: There is hope for the future, and this entire movie’s excuse may be summed up in this short two-minute scene that happens after the cast.  We can only hope the momentum keeps going.

 

 

DISLIKES:

 

Zero Action:  The original series was so good at balancing this components with everything else to make the tales exciting and suspenseful. While there are some, faster paced scenes, the action is sub-par, dropped only after slightly building momentum so we can cram more juvenile jokes into the mix.  The finale helps remedy this for merely a few seconds, but it just happened too late in the movie for it to count for me.

 

Poop Jokes:  Bathroom jokes are great for me, but only when they are either well-time or super relevant.  The movie became a little too obsessed with this bodily function, taking grandiose tangents to cram one of these jokes in at an inappropriate time. It shouldn’t be a surprise if you’ve seen the show, but as a reviewer I have to point these out so don’t shoot the messenger.  The target audience is not going to get enough of the crude humor this movie loves to endorse, but for the older fans… well brace yourselves in whatever means you can.

 

The Story:  It’s an awesome poke at Hollywood, but given how incredible the proceeding series was, I find it hard to enjoy the story in this movie.  The writers had an underlying staple, but it criss crosses through so many sub-plots, it pretty much makes for a hodge-podge of mediocrity that just doesn’t do much outside of provide a platform to spring more jokes off.  I know, this wasn’t the intended path, but I miss my Teen Titans comic plot more than ever watching this mess.

 

Pointless Super Hero cameos: A few cameos were funny, but the advertisements endorsed super heroes and perhaps that means integrate them more. Teen Titans Goes down yet another pointless tangent, that leave much to be desired.  Outside of a few perfectly executed jokes, the older super heroes were pretty pathetic in this movie for me.  Sorry, but I have to speak my opinions.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Teen Titans is probably being seen as the worst movie to come to theaters this year.  While it certainly isn’t a masterpiece, the movie does have some high moments, primarily in mocking the obsession Hollywood has with comics these days.  Truth is, this movie is meant for die-hard fans of the show (mainly kids) and it sticks to its guns to keep their attention with all the bright colors and stuck in your head songs.  I can’t recommend this one to the theater unless you are trying to please your little one, but regardless there is hope that the golden age can soon return.  It may be the only thing worthy of seeing this movie for. 

 

My scores:

 

Animation/Action/Comedy: 5.5

Movie Overall:  4.0

 

 

 

Summer Thrills Dive Into Real: Sequel Is An Upgrade, But Still Needs Updating

Unfriended: Dark Web Poster

            It’s the age of the internet and cyber security is never more important to prevent your entire life from falling victim to the elite hackers.  Yet, for many, we have no idea what threats lay hidden in the shadows of the dark web and those who use it for evil.  So of course, it would be the perfect medium to make another horror movie with, after a few of the other films have had mixed success.  Thus, the focus of my next review is the sequel to a horror movie with a similar theme, but a different story.  Robbie K back in action to present his latest review on:

 

Movie:  Unfriended: Dark Web (2018)

 

Director:

Stephen Susco

Writer:

Stephen Susco

Stars:

Rebecca Rittenhouse,  Betty Gabriel,  Chelsea Alden

 

 

LIKES:

 

Unique perspective: Like the first installment, Unfriended: Dark Web takes the unique perspective of found footage through the computer.  One gets to see everything happening through the virtual eyes of technology and become immersed into the experience at hand.  As our “heroes” look through all the insane stuff in this film, you’ll feel pulled into the journey and potentially get the feeling all this stuff is happening to you.  It’s unique, it’s dynamic, and it’s very engaging to watch.

 

Freaky Realism:  The movie’s core of scares is not so much the jumping at you moments, or a large monster, but more so how realistic this scenario can be.  Dark Web isn’t that farfetched a concept when you think about it and it instills a deep fear and paranoia that settles uncomfortably in your mind.  If you’re like me you might want to rethink how to clean up your digital foot print, and perhaps invest in some lessons on privacy.  In all seriousness though, the movie’s scenario will certainly keep you grounded into the suspense because the setting isn’t so grandiose.

 

The Build-Up:  Using the two previous likes, the director was able to build up some major suspense in this tale.   The developers utilized solid techniques of helping uncover the mystery and white lies at the bottom of the digital rabbit hole.  It provides just enough information to linger on before drawing out the thrills a little longer.  This gradual balance continues to keep the suspense up and potentially lead to an exciting conclusion to come. Nice work.

 

The Pace:  Horror movies can be slow sometimes, but for this movie that wasn’t the case.  Dark Web doesn’t suffer from this limitation, leading to a decently paced movie that doesn’t linger too long.

 

The Twists:  The movie is pretty linear and predictable, but the story team managed to bring a few surprises with it as well.  While some twists can be misguided, the movie succeeded to utilize these twists to help “justify” all that happened and sort of curb for the stupidity of the characters.  It’s not the best thing in the world, but it worked for me.

 

 

DISLIKES:

 

Predictable:  The way this series continues to promote the darker themes, one can guess a lot of what is going to happen.  Much of this comes from the trailers giving things away, but some of it comes from copying the first film’s tactics for scares.  As such, you won’t be too surprised when all is said and done.

 

The Lacking Characters: I understand a horror movie seldom doesn’t focus on stories and more on superficial scares and thrills.  Still this reviewer would have appreciated characters that weren’t so carbon copy of the teenage summer movie.  Almost all of the group is rather stereotypical, and in truth not so likeable when you see how much they kind of overstep their boundaries.  Sure, there are some exceptions, but the main character in particular brought much of this on himself.  Even worse, much of their stories are pretty boring or missing altogether, with most attempts falling flat on its face.  Perhaps more expansive stories could have helped add some more layers to the mix and give us better characters.

 

The Opening Sequence: It’s about logging into a “new” computer and as such requires the character to try multiple attempts to breach the security.  I’m not complaining because it really does capture the reality of the situation, however did we need nearly 10 minutes of this prolonged sequence?  I don’t think so, and while 10 minutes doesn’t seem like much…it is in a movie barely pushing 80 minutes.  Cool to be immersed, but the time could have been spent better in plot development or anything else.

 

Two Endings?: Yes, you heard me right, there are two finales to this movie, but it’s not dependent on show times, but rather theaters.  It’s worthy of applause for trying to get some rewatching on this movie in regards to making the most bucks.  To the fans though, having to go to two different theaters is not my idea of good marketing, especially if one of the endings is super intense and the other is a hasty wrap up.  Director’s cuts or reddit will be your friend on this dislike guys.

 

Final 25 minutes:  I already stated that the first part of this movie does a nice job building things up for what will hopefully be an intense second act.  True, the end is intense, but it’s also very hastily rushed, compacted, and kind of skimmed over very quickly.  If you are like me, a movie like this is better when your characters are challenged and potentially hurt throughout the movie, and not just the final act.  Dark Web failed on this aspect and tried to finish its tale a little too quickly in the end.  No amount of twists can offset this for me, but it may not be too bad for others.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Overall, Unfriended 2 was better than its horror counterpart.  The plot components made more sense, the setting grounded back into realism, and it once again told a familiar story through a more immersive medium than most others. In addition, the suspense and twists keep this relatively simple film entertaining up until the end.  The problems come more from some presentation flaws, such as a dragged-out opening, trying to put two endings together, and of course rushing at the end.  Throw in some non-engaging characters and it wraps up this movie pretty well.  The movie is okay overall, but it’s going to be reserved for young adults and teens looking for a quick thrill for the summer. Still, it turned out better than I was expecting so there is a victory there. Nevertheless, I recommend holding out for home on this one.

 

My Scores:

 

Horror:  6.0-6.5

Movie Overall: 4.5-5.0

 

Here We Go Again! Fun, Dancing, Emotion, but Sloppy Transitions

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again Poster

            Musicals are often best left in the world of plays, where imagination and the acoustics maximize the song and dance number.  Yet, Hollywood just loves a good run at recreating the world in their high stakes glory, leading to some renditions that are fantastic and others not so much.  So, a sequel to an already obscure Mamma Mia, glorifying the incredible group Abba, seems like a bit of a stretch for a blockbuster movie.  Oh well, Here We Go Again as yours truly does his second movie review of the week on:

 

Movie: Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again (2018)

 

Director:

Ol Parker

Writers:

Ol Parker (screenplay by),  Richard Curtis (story by)

Stars:

Lily James,  Amanda Seyfried,  Meryl Streep

 

 

LIKES:

 

Toe Tapping Numbers:  For a musical you need, well you need music, and fortunately the film is loaded with a number of tracks to leave you dancing in your seat.  From upbeat, dance filled sequences to the more emotional, slower tracks there is a tempo for everyone in this film.  As the tracks play, the choreography is just as vibrant, packed with a fun energy that fits the tracks well, and brings you into the party.  If you liked the performances in the first movie than you are in luck my friends for this one.

 

Cute:  The movie may not be a big animated smash hit, or something crafted by Disney, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t cute all the same.  Mamma Mia 2 is super friendly to many ages, and brings an easy tale of love and friendship all wrapped in a sunny bright wrapping paper.  Those fans who are really looking for an easy to handle movie where nothing intense happens are again the target demographic for this one.

 

Surprisingly Emotional:  If you’re this far in the review, you surely know that this movie is a fun ride, but there is a little more emotion to the film than I expected.  As the tale goes, there are more than a number of fun avenues and soap opera theatrics to catch your attention.  However, the movie manages to strike into deeper waters, resulting in some performances that had my audience tearing up/sniffing.  The fact the film did this emotional part well surprised me despite how extreme the film is, but trust me in saying that these moments are not quite as grandiose as they could have been.

 

Two Stories Are Integrated: You saw from the trailers that there were going to be two stories to balance.  Surprisingly, they did this, though not in a traditional sense for me. Mamma Mia 2 gives you about fifty percent in each story department, helping give each set of characters ample time to explore the uncharted waters of Donna’s adventurous life.  They manage to cover all their promised avenues and still keep the music infused into each aspect, thereby expanding the range of performances.

 

Lily James:  I’m a huge fan of this star, not only due to her charming beauty, but her talent of bringing characters to life.  Once again I was super impressed with her acting, happy to see her take classic Donna and put a more youthful energy to the mix. Her fellow divas captured their characters to the T, and the young squad really was my favorite part of the movie as they were the more interesting, and utilized.  Ms. James did a fantastic job carrying the weight of the movie, and I only hope for more leading roles for her to wow me in.

 

 

DISLIKES:

 

Not Every Character Utilized Well:  It’s a large cast, we know people are going to be short sighted, but sometimes it’s a little too much.  Much of the cast has really fallen back to the wings with only a few having adequate time to hold up the movie.  So much potential to relive the fun of the first movie gone because of too many cooks in the kitchen. As for some of the more publicized names, they don’t have quite the involvement you wanted, while others get a little more billing than you might expect.

 

The Story:  The story is cute and gives you all the pertinent information, but it doesn’t present it in the best light for me.  There are gaps in the plots, skipped over to allow you to fill in the details.  Relationships develop quickly, the pace rushed and glossed over so that more songs could be jammed in.  It’s a complete, yet incomplete set of stories, with sloppy transition between the two (at parts at least), with the random transitions jumping wildly with little organization at times. True, they did time some transitions perfectly, but for the most part not the best organization.

 

False Advertising:  The movie does deliver its promise on the fun, but some of the plot elements are very minor despite them being central in the trailers.  In fact, these plot elements feel rather limited and underdeveloped, so can’t state I was the most impressed with these parts.

 

Too Many Songs: The killing blow for a story of a musical is when the songs become the primary focus. Mamma Mia 2 really tried to pack as many numbers into the 2-hour running time as possible, sometime without regard to if the song was appropriately fitting in the story.  As a result, the story components suffered, the characters got catalogued into singing (or autotuned ability), giving it an erratic presentation that only semi impressed me. If you are just looking for musical numbers, your wish is granted, but for guys like me, I missed the complete picture.

 

The VERDICT:

 

         Mamma Mia 2 has expanded its emotional diving compared to the first, but manages to maintain the fun energy, charming cuteness, and beauty that was the first movie.  The song and dance numbers are the central focus, so those that love this glorification of Abba’s hits will be buying a ticket to musical gold.  However, the components I miss is the integration of all the characters into the mix and the linear story to tie everything together. The sequel gets points for balancing two stories, but needs to work on directing better transitions and details than what it did.  Still, this is definitely the upbeat movie of the month, and once I’m sure will please many audiences.  Recommended theater goers should be the midlife to elderly, girls trip out, and of course the musical lovers. Otherwise just skip and wait for something bigger to come.

 

My scores:

 

Comedy/Musical:  7.5

Movie Overall: 6.0

 

 

Does It Equal The First One

The Equalizer 2 Poster

 

It is the age of movie transitions, and the age of passing torches to the younger generation in hopes of establishing new legends into the mix.  Yet, it doesn’t mean that the current legends have faced their last mission.  Tonight’s movie review proves the case as the incredible Denzel Washingtonleads another movie, in hopes of bringing the success to a sequel. Can the man who made so many epic films do it again, or is this a series that needed to retire?  Let’s get into it as I review:

 

The Equalizer 2 (2018)

 

Director:

Antoine Fuqua

Writers:

Richard Wenk,  Michael Sloan (based on the television series created by)

Stars:

Denzel Washington,  Pedro Pascal,  Ashton Sanders

 

 

LIKES:

 

Acting:  Denzel is a good actor, we all know this.  His ability to play these hardened, battle scarred, internally struggling super soldiers never fails to impress, and I always enjoy his intensity when playing these characters.  Still with the finesse delivery, Denzel’s ability to deliver his dialogue is magnificent, brings inspiration and motivation to many.  Ashton Sandersachieved his role quite well, not quite as motivational, but certainly capturing the struggling artist motif of his character. A nice balance was struck between these two, which established a dynamic relationship between these two.  The rest did fine in their parts, but it was these two who held most of the screen time.

 

The Realism:  It’s an action movie, but it is grounded into the realm of reality.  Equalizer 2 does have some tense moments to spice things up, but it doesn’t resort to flashy special effects and physics defying moves to do it… mostly.  This film sticks to tactic combat, utilizing skills and the mind to play a deadly game that will deal the justice you want. While they are limited through much of the movie, the end game is where this strategy is really capitalized on it. In addition, if a player gets injured, they don’t recover quickly so that helps keep things exciting.

 

The Second Half Pace: The movie really takes off at the half way point, taking the steam to push them into the action/thriller component. Once the movie hits into this realm, it finally gets super interesting and engaging, amping up the tension and trying to keep you guessing at what will happen next.  And even better… it actually doesn’t feel like the movie is dragging by this point.

 

The Character Development: Surprisingly, the movie opens up Denzel’s character to help explain more of the backstory that molded him into the super assassin hiding behind the chiseled features.  I did enjoy learning more about the central protagonists haunting past, but also in seeing him evolve, so that he may overcome his struggles and attempt to move on to something else.  It fits well with the movie series, and shows potential for any future installments they may try to make.

 

The Dialogue:  Hands down though, my favorite part is the dialogue/writing of the movie.  Not so much in terms of story, Equalizer 2 wins points for inspirational words that only Denzel can maximize.  It’s writing that fits very well into the theme/premise of the movie, almost as if Denzel is defending the audience and trying to make them better.  Even Sanders lines are decently developed, fitting his character well and doing the lifting of establishing relationships and connecting Denzel to the characters.  Hands down this was the solidifying factor that tied the movie together.

 

DISLIKES:

 

The Pace of the First Part: It helps get the movie established in that Robin Hood like atmosphere, but it dragged for me.  Equalizer 2 needs some major pushing to get us to the good stuff, with a few action appetizers to try and hold your energy.  It’s not the slowest opening, but editing could have taken some time to trim the fat and help tighten the story.

 

Predictability:  It’s easy to figure out what’s going to happen… not much more I can say about that.  The trailers have done a decent amount of revealing, but those that haven’t seen it should have no trouble figuring this out.

 

The Action:  Realistic as it may be, the action is still not quite as spiced up as the trailers tried to make it be.  Impressive as tactical combat is, the movie still doesn’t quite have all the energy and excitement I like in a film (which is often fast paced gunplay with lots of boom).  While I still did enjoy the slower combat, I would have liked to see more of it, as there are huge gaps between short lived bouts that make for a slower movie.  Yet, if you are a fan of the most recent Borne Film, you should have no problems with this presentation.

 

Story:  My least favorite aspect though is the story.  I’m not saying Equalizer 2’s tale is horrible, or the worst thing ever, but I also don’t think it is the most groundbreaking either.  The opening feels like a charity meets Robin Hood approach, a sort of toned down Death Wish to establish the setting.  After that though, I struggled with appreciating the four subplots interweaving with each other to try and craft an overall plot.  True, this multi-tiered approach opened avenues for character development, however the main plot of vengeance took many detours that felt skipped at times.  When the rabbit hole’s bottom was reached, it wound up being very lackluster, realistic and certainly making a point, but nothing that had my eyes bugging wide. Even worse, when the exciting climax did happen, the bite sort of fell out of the antagonist.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Equalizer 2 is better overall for me, though I won’t lie that it was missing that original component (e.g. clever trap battles in hardware stores) the first movie had.  It’s got great heart, fantastic writing, and smarter acting, which makes it a prime target for thriller/spy/crime dramas that have toned down action.  However, the pacing, surprise, and story of the movie require some redrawing for the next installment to really maximize the modern-day vigilante genre.  If you are a Denzel fan, I’m not going to stop you from hitting this film up, and if you are looking for a thriller/action this movie is the one.  However, I do recommend waiting for home rental on this one to maximize your funds. 

 

My scores are:

 

Action/Thriller/Crime: 7.0

Movie Overall: 6.5

 

 

Trying To Build To New Heights, But Only Climbs So High

Skyscraper Poster

 

Disaster movies and action kind of go hand in hand, but seldom does it involve more than trying to dodge whatever artificial natural disaster the Hollywood directors deem up.  Today’s movie review focuses on a film that tries to blur the lines between the two a little better, in what will hopefully be a new twist on the action/disaster movie frontier.  Utilizing the popular leading man of Dwayne Johnsonto carry the movie, there seems to be hope that this Die-Hard copier can potentially bring enough bucks in to get the attention of the modern era.  Does it work? Robbie K here to bring you yet another review this time on:

 

Movie: Skyscraper (2018)

 

Director:

Rawson Marshall Thurber

Writer:

Rawson Marshall Thurber

Stars:

Dwayne Johnson,  Neve Campbell,  Pablo Schreiber

 

 

LIKES:

 

The Special Effects: The leading point of the movie is the impressive display of CGI in this movie.  Perhaps a little corny at times, the movie really invested well in high definition sound to rattle the theater as the chaos of the crime unfolds. Excessive computer-generated images are the key to bringing the inferno to life, but is still beautiful rendered to design a building that will only be fiction for a short while.  The world crafting gets kudos for me, and will hopefully impress you as well.

 

The Realism:  Despite there being some fiction behind this movie, it is a little more grounded to the real world than one might expect.  The “Pearl” is a building that will soon exist, a setting that is perfect to craft a surprisingly detailed plot.  As the scheme continues to evolve, the realism continues to remain in check, finding kinks in the plot and having to adapt. In addition, even the action keeps things believable, where if a character takes a hit, they actually suffer in terms of performance.  All of this adds to suspense of the film and engaged to this adapted plot.

 

Character Involvement: A movie with as many characters always has me worried about how much involvement they have in the plot.  Die Hard did it correctly as each character had their place and contributions that actually mattered, and fortunately this copy did the same thing.  Most of the characters act as their piece to the puzzle, keeping them integrated into the plot for the entirety of the film and doing a decent job of tying up all loose ends.  Even more so, the characters are designed to cover a wide variety of ages, ethnicities, and genre lovers.

 

Good Pace:  The movie movies quickly, gets the suspense going, and does little to try to slow things down.  For guys like me, the movie rocks in terms of few slow parts and keeps the intensity amped up to a level of ten and that just makes for a fun movie in my opinion.

 

DISLIKES:

 

The Lack of Beginning: The pace may be good in terms of excitement, but I am with many of my friends in that plot development is also key. Skyscraper’s beginning is almost nonexistent, all the set up skipped over to get to the action and drop any chance of escaping the predictable plot line off the ledge within 15 minutes. Any chance at suspense build up is practically gone and the story actually takes a hit because of that. If you’re not in for the story, then you will glaze over this, but for those looking for a little bit of both worlds don’t expect much of an opening.

 

The Plot Gaps:  For a building that secure and advanced, you would think there would be more contingency plans than the one they had here.  This gap is just one example of the stretches and details you have to ignore to fully enjoy the movie.  In addition, there are feats of strength, stamina, and physics defying moves that are also a little cheesy for the fans who love those extremes.  As these gaps happen, the movie moves quickly to try and forget about them, but still the movie could have used some refining at points.

 

The Jumps:  This was advertised immensely in the trailers and marketing, but the film has that extreme jump that we have grown accustomed to. Yet the movie took that concept and milked it for all its worth.  Skyscraper tries to pay homage to Die Hard in many ways, and while it fits into the grand scheme of the movie, the film goes a little overboard with the gimmicks. All the sacrificing brings that bang for your buck, but in terms of story it’s only okay for me.

 

The Villains Development: I’ll give them props, they have made a better villain than many movies have as of late in the form of Botha (Roland Møller). And while this one of the better villains, it still needed more work in his character development.  Comparing to its inspiration source, the villain started giving us some deeper levels, but then it tapered out and he went back to the generic villain.  A little more insight and integration could have done wonders to expand the tale even more.  Even his side kicks and team held promise, but again they too were overshadowed by the protagonist’s tale, screen time, and jumps.

 

The Action:  Did it fit with the tale?  Yes.  Was it realistic?  Yes. Was it exciting?  Depends.  Skyscraper’s battles are decently coordinate, but much of this lacks the bite that other movies have had.  They are quickly executed, very simplistic, and sometimes a bit overdone in my opinion, but this movie’s feeling of trying to survive the manmade disaster I guess takes precedence over the gun fight.  Not the worst action, but definitely room for improvement.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Skyscraper is an example of impressive movie theater worthy special effects, and surprisingly stays on the realistic qualities these franchises often ignore.  I give it applause for integration of characters, and Johnson doing a fabulous job leading the film.  Still the movie is a diluted piece compared to the movie it copies so much of and therefore needed some amping up in terms of story, villain development and action. Perhaps a little less jumping and a little more time could have given this tale the needed oomph to rock it into higher scores.  Still the effects do render it a good theater film, but if you don’t want this kind of movie… save it until you get home. 

 

My scores are:

 

Action/Crime/Drama: 7.0

Movie Overall: 5.0

Number 3 Doesn’t Have As Much Bite, But Cruises To Family Fun

Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation Poster

 

It’s Thursday and you know what that means… Yes, another Robbie’s Movie Reviews.  Tonight, is an animated sequel, hoping to live up to the magic and bring about another family friendly adventure to bring your little ones flocking to theater.  Will it be the success they want in regards to quality, or is it mainly a cash grab of the studio to try and compete with the Disney mega corporation.  Robbie K is here and ready to write another review… this time on:

 

Movie:  Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (2018)

 

Director:

Genndy Tartakovsky

Writers:

Michael McCullers,  Genndy Tartakovsky

Stars:

Adam Sandler,  Andy Samberg,  Selena Gomez

 

 

LIKES:

 

Cute:  The movie keeps to its cute roots, making sure to keep the friendly environment amped up all the way to a 10.  Hotel Transylvania 3 has a cavalcade of characters that are adorable as can be, with big eyed werewolves, curly haired kids with squeaky voices, gigantic puppies, and of course all the goofy stunts that are in between.  If you are a fan of this dynamic alone, then this installment will already be worth the wait for you.

 

Funny:  The movie has a charming humor to it for adults, presented in the form of a few witty interventions in the form of nostalgic songs and references.  Yet, the majority of the comedy is of course geared towards the little ones and those with a childish sense of humor.  The movie has loads of slapstick, over the top delivery of simplistic writing to get a laugh.  Kids will enjoy this the most, and parents will most likely enjoy watching them giggle their heads off.  This will hopefully be further evidence at how appropriate for kids this movie is.

 

Short run time:  While the movie may not be for everyone, you can be excited by the fact that the movie will not last long.  The run time comes in at closer to 1 hour and 20 minutes, so you can breathe a sigh of relief that this won’t leave you drained upon the final credits rolling. Speaking of which?

Final Credits:  I’ve always been a fan of the cartoon end credits and their clever play with words.  The movie continues this trend and brings with it a fun, adorable spin to make it stand out from the other two..  A fun track adds some atmosphere to the credits and ends the movie on an energetic foot to have your kids dancing to the beat.

 

Music:  Hotel Transylvania has always had an appropriate soundtrack to go with the themes of the movie, and number 3 stays on this path again. The difference for this film is that it contains a few nostalgic songs that may confuse younger audience members and bring smiles to the older ones.  While these legendary tracks are short lived, they do have the right timing to maximize their inclusion.  If only they could have had more.

 

Animation:  The animation is not the smoothest at times, most likely to represent the silly atmosphere of this movie.  However, this guy appreciated the clever designs of the world, and the cool adaptations on the cruise ship.  Colorful worlds await those who will venture into the theater, though the same can be said for most animated movies.

 

 

DISLIKES:

 

Too silly at times:  I warned you up top, the move is not geared towards all audience members.  Hotel Transylvania 3 is all about maximizing kid humor, and fails to extend much past the superficial jabs that will keep the world giggling.  I needed a little more maturity to the mix, something to break out the relentless onslaught of comedy this movie is famous for.

 

Story Suffers:  The first movie of the series had a great tale to ground the laughs to, as it pushed character growth and integrated all the characters into the mayhem at hand.  However, this installment did not remotely find this balance, dropping most of their characters to the backburner for very cheap laughs and sequences that were less than impressive.  Why they dropped so much of their balance, I can’t answer that, but it was disappointing to see only one storyline with remotely any sustenance.  All the line segment like stories were just not that impressive, but in the grand scheme of things to kids… not really that important.

 

Lack of Interest:  I think the big thing of this movie though, is that it seems like the series is losing the steam that kept it going for so long.  After failing with the short before the Emoji movie, I think the series is grasping for straws at this point, and needs to return to its roots to stand a chance for future installments.  Given the failure of the cartoon series… I’m not sure if there is remotely any major interest remaining in this series.

 

 

The VERDICT:

 

    A third installment can be difficult to maintain the quality, and Hotel Transylvania 3 really struggled with keeping itself on target. The movie is cute, funny, and with an entertaining design, but it didn’t have an engaging plot and reduce its characters to mere shambles with the exceptions of a few.  The movie is certainly prime bait for luring kids into the theater, but it just doesn’t have the same bite that the first two did.  In regards to if this film is theater worthy… I would say only if you’re looking to take your kids, otherwise hold out for this one for future viewing. 

 

My scores:

 

Animation/Comedy/Family: 7.0

Movie overall: 5.5