Hannah’s Tale To Scale

The Possession of Hannah Grace Poster

            Wrapping up the month of November, comes a movie one might not expect with the holiday season.  Despite the season of giving, joy and family, Hollywood is ready to scare the pants off you with another shot at the horror ladder.  Under the guise of not a typical exorcist movie, tonight’s review is hoping that the unique twist will live up to the hype of the advertisements. Robbie K back with another film review as I take on:

 

Film:  The Possession Of Hannah Grace (2018)

Director:

Diederik Van Rooijen

Writer:

Brian Sieve

Stars:

Shay MitchellGrey DamonKirby Johnson

 

 

Likes:

 

Time Length:  A movie that can get the job done in fewer than 90-minutes gets my vote for bonus points.  Hanna grace’s story is done within 80 minutes, at a pace that does little to divert from the scares.

 

The Acting: For a film limited to practically one cast member, Hannah Grace’s film isn’t half bad. Mtichell dives full force into the character, managing to portray the multi-tiered roll quite well, in a balanced manner that was engaging to watch.  Her other cast members gets points for their respective roles, though there is little to springboard off of given the limited development.  Nevertheless, the acting works.

 

Special Effects/Make-up: To get the scares you’ve got to sometimes have a look to base your central character around.  In this film, the effects departments gets high fives for their work.  Grace’s body is crushing to the soul, an amalgam of twisted limbs, horrifying scars , and look that penetrates through the layers of your being, unwilling to give you any relief as her eyes follow you across the screen.  As more twists and turns occur appear, Grace’s movements become bone crunching bashes of disturbing symphonies that make one squirm in their seats. It’s creepy, it’s uncomforting… and it works well as the central scare tactic of the movie.

 

The Variety of Scares: Hannah Grace has decided to deploy all the scare types into the mix, managing to bring together jump scares, creepiness, and deadly all wrapped into one.  Utilization of these three leave one ready to be moved in so many ways, that one can’t help but get immersed into if you are a horror fan.

 

The Setting:  By far the most blood curdling components is the setting of this film.  A morgue is no place to play, and the worst part about this is… it’s real.  Unlike the films that have characters stupidly trekking into lands they should never find, Hannah Grace is about working in a morgue where the dead go to meet their end.  Very similar to the great horror films, they use this setting well, keeping things in the shadows and a sense of only revealing so much to allow your imagination to fill in the gap.  The setting of this film is certainly the biggest element that gave me the willies and proof that simplicity can go a long way in invoking nightmares.

 

 

Dislikes:

 

The Predictability:  While there are plenty of scare tactics utilize in this film, the problem with this film is how predictable they become.  Perhaps this is just me and my desensitization, but the film gave way too much to keep the scare factor going.  The stale presentation got a little old and by the midway mark I was searching for different means to get Hannah’s wrath out. If you are one that jumps at everything, this won’t be the case for you, but otherwise, get set for some lackluster tactics.

 

The Characters:  Outside of Megan (Shay Mitchell), the rest of the crew were there, characters that started introducing themselves, only to later not have much gusto behind them.  Possession of Hannah Grace had the opportunity to flesh out more of their characters to help extend out the players in this deadly game of whatever it is. It’s not the worst case I’ve seen, but there was room for improvement to give the movie a little more dimension.

 

The Story:  I get it, most people aren’t about a tale when it comes to a scary film, instead craving the scare you until you wet your pants moment. Still, the best horror movies utilize a story well to draw the suspense out, give purpose to the scares, and give you the investment into the film.  Hannah Grace’s tale had all the scraps of a story there, enough to culminate into a plot, but there is so much more needed to help improve upon the dislikes mentioned above.  Without the strong story, the movie soon becomes a desperate struggle to stay afloat as it crams as much of the scariness into the film to try to distract from the shallow film. Many subplots are dropped or reduced to hasty tie ups, others are simplistic dialogue that adds little to the film other than time. This brings me to the biggest dislike

 

The Ending:  Perhaps the studio ran out of money, perhaps it was always the plan, but the momentum Hannah Grace had at the beginning was lost for me. The opening did the role it sought out, which was to creep you out, get you on edge and show what the antagonist was capable of.  Then somewhere around the fifty-minute mark… the feel suddenly changed.  No longer the creepy, suspense building trek through the dark, the latter half soon became a very mashed together display of power, with stale scare tactics, grandiose roaring, and hasty wrapped up plots.  The big finale felt a little forced and the rushed plots did little to add much other than an over the top roar fest.  Outside of the cheese factor, it was fine and held some moral filled monologues to boot, but compared to the theme of the opening acts… it just doesn’t quite settle with me.

 

The VERDICT:

 

The Possession of Hannah Grace held potential and it delivered on some of it with that opening act.  It’s creepy, it’s disturbing and it works on levels to give you the fear factor you want at the end.  Yet, the movie has a long way to go to get to the great level others have achieved, utilizing that incredible make up and special effects to great heights and having a story to support it.  That ending was rushed and perhaps better planning and coordination may craft a film that we have been waiting some time for.  Still, not the worst movie and certainly worth checking out on streaming in the future.

 

 

My Scores Are:

 

Horror/Mystery/Thriller: 7.0

Movie Overall; 5.5

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Running to See This Film? Check This Review Out First

The Front Runner Poster

 

The world of politics was once a thing with gusto, a means to which to represent the people and bring change that benefitted the many.  Now it seems that the arena of governmental officials has become a new level of entertainment, especially given the portrayal of the players in a number of media designs.  Tonight though, the film I review is focusing on this playing field, portraying that fine line between media circus and political justice.  Robbie K here with another review, this time taking a look at the latest biography/drama called;

 

Movie: The Front Runner (2018)

 

Director:

Jason Reitman

Writers:

Matt BaiJay Carson

Stars:

Hugh JackmanVera FarmigaJ.K. Simmons

 

 

LIKES:

 

The Acting:  The movie doesn’t have many special effects to battle for your attention.  Instead it relies heavily on the actors to bring their talents to full speed in hopes of bringing the tale to life.  Jackman leads the way with his portrayal of a council man, dropping his Australian accent for American drawl filled speeches.  A balance of many emotions, he claims a victory in the polls of talent from this reviewer.  Simmons as well reprises his Whiplash majestic talents to bring a counter balance to Jackman’s antics.  In addition Farmiga brings her talents to the screen with piano playing, voices of reason, and a nice break from the political game.

 

The Use Of All Characters: This film may be about Jackman’s character Gary Hart, but it dives into much deeper facets of the political running for president.  In doing so, all parties have a decent amount of screen time and involvement in the film, helping to add their approaches, morals, and thoughts to the collective pot of political prowess.  Seeing these angles adds more dynamic nature to the film, helping to piece together the entire story at hand.  And having all these characters throughout the story, should give you someone to tune your attention, should senator Hart not be the one you wish to focus on.

 

The Multiple Angles:  Hitting each of the perspectives of this movie brings with it a more engaging film.  Hart’s journey for presidency is certainly very deep, and the fact it happened over three weeks, is a bit mind blowing given how much things cascaded out of control. Still, in this day and age of political fire, the supposed act may turn you off to the main storyline.  So it is nice to have so many parties included in this film, each one’s philosophy made apparent to show the heated war that occurs between the media and the political group.  It was nice to see this approach, seeing as most political dramas get a little too embossed in the main character’s agony and mistakes.

The Topics Of Discussion: This movie is one designed to stimulate discussion among the group.  Did the media have the right to take the stance they did?  Was his actions enough to cause such an uproar?  What about the individual reporters recruited in this chase? These are just some of the questions to run through the film as the events transpire.  As such, the Front Runner will certainly be a valuable tool for an ethics class/lesson, helping future generations weigh the decisions in their quest for the truth.  Perhaps this is the ideal place to display this piece of work.

 

The Speeches:  Say what you want about the movie, but it gets points for the adapted script and dialogue that brings with it.  The Front Runner is all about inspiring a lot of ideas and that comes through the motivational force of the writing.  What is the real words and what was the magic, but the Front Runner has those moments that give you goosebumps.  The turn of phrase and emotional impact of those moments will hopefully drive the point to you like it did to me.  Very nice writing guys.

 

 

DISLIKES:

 

Slow Pace:  Don’t be expecting a fast-paced movie here my friends. Gary Hart’s journey is very meticulous in detail, and though they skip days at a time, they do everything they can to cram the nearly 2 hour run time with all the details.  If you love the drama of a modern ABC show, you’ll be fine in this film, but for others like me needing a little more tension, well this won’t be the film for you. Speaking of which…

 

No tension:  Political dramas are supposed to have looming threats, with close calls and a ravenous hunger for the truth to be revealed, or at least some looming mystery.  Sadly, the movie leaves these out, going for more realism and moral discussion than entertaining bouts of political angst.  This is fine, except that is takes away from the theater visiting quality in this reviewer’s eyes. So don’t anticipate the House Of Cards spin my friends, they didn’t go this route.

 

Some Stories Not Full Circle:  A lot of plot points means a lot of threads to tie up, and this movie did a decent job of accomplishing this goal.  But not all stories got the nice finish I think they deserved, primarily involving the woman he held interest in and the campaign manager.  With such strong characters and the information starting to be gathered, why would they not finish in the strong manner the main tale ended?  Not entirely sure myself, but given this isn’t a mini-series on television, well it’s no surprise.

 

What Is The Truth?: These movies are always generating the question of how much is truth and how much is the movie magic.  Front Runner seems to be on the realistic side, but how much was left out or blurred is something to always question in these films. Depending on your political alignments, your morals on the topics of political hot topics, and other things at hand. Ergo, the movie is still up in the air of the extent of what happened.  Guess we have the internet to find out.

 

The Verdict:

 

The Front Runner may not be the political drama of the year, but it certainly brings a lot of unique perspectives on the outcomes.  I myself certainly enjoyed the multiple outlooks on the event, and the topics it spurred, while of course relishing the acting and dialogue written.  Yet, a little more movie magic in terms of suspense alongside some clarification of stories could have gone far for me. Nevertheless, this would have been best left to the history channel or mini-series, leaving this reserved for classroom discussions or at least in your home apartment.

 

My scores are:

 

Biography Drama: 7.0

Movie Overall: 6.0

I DeCreed This One Powerful Sequel

Creed II Poster

            The legacy of Rocky is an epic one that has etched its way into the hearts of sports movie fanatics until the end of time.  Despite their outdated cinema work, the movies hold such epic bouts of fist flying destruction, brazen masculinity, and surprisingly deep portrayal of sport vs. life.  It has worked super well for years, and with Creed reviving the series with a new, modern edge that showed a boxing movie can still pack the punches.  So a sequel to continue the new boxer’s legacy has emerged to challenge the rest of the Thanksgiving line up in hopes to win the championship of best box office.  Will it succeed?  Robbie K here to fill you in as I review:

 

Movie: Creed II (2018)

 

Director:

Steven Caple Jr.

Writers:

Cheo Hodari Coker (story by), Ryan Coogler (characters)

Stars:

Michael B. JordanSylvester StalloneTessa Thompson

 

 

LIKES:

 

The Character Development: Adonis Creed’s journey was soul searching and inspiring in the first film, and the sequel follows that back in spades. This film is dedicated to the torture of balancing pride of your career while trying to balance the other aspects of life.  Adonis goes through a lot of tough mental burdens, which helps stretch the limits of the character.  Of course Rocky himself still is finding ways to expand his own dynamic, still finding lessons to teach and learn as he himself goes through the throngs with his indirect nephew.  A Rocky films has always been about expanding the character and the traditions continues in the 8thinstallment.

 

The Music:  You like rap, hip hop, and R&B, you’ve got yourself a soundtrack that captivates the essence of the film.  It’s edgy, aggressive beat mixes beautifully with the actions scenes, mirroring the fighting lion that is Adonis in his quest for reaching his goals. Be ready for some hard-hitting beats, with potential aggressive lyrics that can be offensive.

 

Expanded Villain:  Most Rocky movies do a poor job of elaborating on the villainous boxer who wishes to stop our hero.  In this film though, the villains get a small subplot that helps to give them more details and appreciation.  Balancing this tale with the main story, crafts a much better investment in time when it comes to designing the rival boxer that I really liked, especially when even Ivan Drago contributes significantly to the tale.

 

The Rocky Feeling:  Creed II continues the tradition of the boxing movies, by crafting a tale that is all about getting guys in the macho, masculine mode.  Adonis’ next tale brings the motivational force to full light, instilling the testosterone fueled training, hype, enticement, and whatever else you are looking for.  Guys in my showing were hooting in delight, sometimes batting their hands together during the high adrenaline moments.  As for the females, well plenty of shirtless scenes and chiseled bodies to get you swooning if you like that. Past these moments though, classic fans will enjoy the bonds of coach and trainee once again working together to face life gloves up and eyes sharp.

The Final Fight:  We know the series is all about that final match, where contender and titan throw themselves into the ring in all their epic, sweaty glory.  Creed II has the finale you wait for, filled with the high adrenaline special effects, sound editing, high energy shots magic that studios craft.  As the bout progresses the raw emotion of both contenders is unleashed, in a manner worthy of the David Vs. Goliath status they were going for. It is an epic finish to all the buildup and lasts well enough to be worthy of inclusion.

 

DISLIKES:

 

A Little Too Aggressive at Times:  For me the in your face, high adrenaline moments were sometimes perfectly executed. Other times it was a little eye rolling and overdone.  The in your face moments, and fast to action attitude was fine in the first one, but at points in the movie it was a little sadder to watch. This plot point was supposedly conquered in the first one, yet they decided to harp on it as a recycled device. Small dislike, but we go with it.

 

Some Unnecessary Subplots: Creed II has a lot of heart and emotion with it, working to integrate a lot of angles to take Adonis’ life in to help shape the character.  Some of these angles worked quite well for me, and a couple of them didn’t.  I won’t say anything to minimize the spoilers, but there are a couple of tangents they took that didn’t quite add to the movie as much as they wanted.  I would have liked a few other subplots to get some more detail instead, but given the grand scheme of the movie it’s not quite as noticeable.

 

Carbon Copy:  A point that might make or break the movie depending on the audience Creed 2 loses points for originality.  While I understand that the first one wasn’t unique in terms of stories, Creed 2 really modeled its structure quite closely to one of the original Rocky movies, guess which one.  As such, the new coat of paint is quite refreshing, but given how much it follows the original in terms of main plot, it’s a little disappointing given the predictability of the movie that comes with it.  Will you be disappointed?  It really depends on how much you hate carbon copy plots.

 

 

The Verdict:

         Creed II delivers on the attitude the trailer promised long ago. By expanding upon the rivals, portraying more life components with career, and maintaining the feel of a Rocky Movie it’s going to please many fans of the franchise. Yet, the film still suffers from a tad too much modern aggression, some plot devices that didn’t quite need to be there, and a rehashed plot that will make or break the film. Overall though, I liked it and felt it fit very well in the universe and holding quality above a number of other installments.  So if you are looking for the testosterone driven plot line for the weekend, check this film out in spades this weekend, maximizing your experience in the theater. Otherwise definitely get ready for this one when it comes out to the wide public. 

 

My scores are:

 

Drama/Sport: 8.0

Movie Overall: 7.0-7.5 

 

Will This Movie Wreck Your Memories

Ralph Breaks the Internet Poster

 

Popular culture is here to say, but it is also ever changing, much in part to the internet.  Tonight’s movie decides to journey to the center of the internet looking into the world of cyberspace through the eyes of Disney.  Yes, tonight the sequel many never thought would come to bear given the current movements by Disney (Pixar sequels, live animation, and Marvel).  That’s right! Out of Walt Disney Animation Studios is Wreck It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet, which based on the massive advertising, holds the potential to be another hilarious adventure.  Robbie K here to review:

 

Movie: Wreck It Ralph 2: Ralph Wrecks The Internet (2018)

 

Directors:

Phil JohnstonRich Moore

Writers:

Phil Johnston (screenplay by), Pamela Ribon (screenplay by)

Stars:

John C. ReillySarah SilvermanGal Gadot

 

 

LIKES:

Animation: No surprise, Disney knows how to design and animate in the world of children’s animation. Ralph’s newest adventure proves this once more as the cyberworld comes to life in rich textures and colors, as the wonderful world of Disney’s lens reveals a cleverly detailed world.  All ages should appreciate the mood and characterization of each popular app and part of the cyber world, that adds the characteristic this series is famous for. Characters move smoothly in all sequences, and it still holds the personality of a video game.

 

Comedy:  Ralph’s series is always known for the comedy and the dive into the internet immersed the group into new depths of comedy.  This film broadens its horizons in terms of laugh factors and allows more people to laugh at the antics at hand.  The same slapstick remains from the first film, while jabs at our popular culture, alongside quote worthy one-liners ring through the whole film.  Many avenues are not safe from the ridicule of the movie, that will hopefully have you laughing in good fun like I did.  Nevertheless, the film’s laugh fest is still reminiscent of the first film, but bringing a new twist to the mix.

 

Pace:  A Disney movie is often paced quite well and this film is no exception.  Ralph and company will be surfing at the speed of information exchange, having no problems with being deterred or hindered in its ability to bring the entertainment and story we so crave.  With this faster pace, comes an energy that Ralph is famous for, which will captivate the attention of all the intended audience members.

 

Cleverness:  The movie works so well with managing to have geekiness imbued into the film, showing off the whit of the famous studio as they pay tribute to the nerds and nerd alike.  Random cameos, details of buildings, and other popular culture references are well-established into the comedy and seldom forced upon you like some of the films they have made. Still, Disney’s shrewd creativity and imagination continue to shine forth in their ability to make animated films.

 

The Moral:  The movie wouldn’t be a Disney film if there wasn’t a tried and true trail to remain at the center of it all.  Ralph’s first lesson was about self-identity and discovering yourself.  This film expands the already deep characters to new levels as their relationship evolves into the next levels of growth.  As both start to fan out into the cyber world and establish new adventures, Ralph and Venelope will go through their own trials as well.  It’s sweet, it’s strong, and it jam packed with emotion that will have many getting sentimental, especially if it is relevant. Wreck It Ralph’s moral driven plot may not be original, but it certainly is jam packed with the usual Disney magic.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Not The First Movie:  Sequels have to be themselves and soar with open wings to establish its only flow.  Still, the sequel lacked some of the creativity, uniqueness, target themes that it had established those years ago.  I missed the video game focused references, and cameos of dad jokes with parodies to those games.  In addition, it still lacked some other things I’ll be mentioning to result in a still good sequel, but maybe not quite as strong as the original to me.

 

The Other characters: it was brilliant to allow other characters and gimmicks to unfold for this film, but a few other characters could have certainly had more involvement given how much a part they were of the main character’s lives.  Why the original characters didn’t go on a journey more, I don’t know, but I missed them in this film very much.

 

New Characters Quite Not living To Full potential:  Shank and the new crew might have been beautiful and bold in the film, but they were not nearly as integrated into the film as the previous installment.  Disney has included them enough to give us future merchandising, but the cyber characters didn’t quite have the adventurous involvement the previous one had.  It would have been nice to pull them multiple times to help with facing the internet and I quite missed the sense of adventure the first film specialized in.

 

Comedy In Your Face Moments: There are times where Disney still feels the need to force an idea or comedy style on them.  Sometimes they work and other times are a little too intense for me to really appreciate it.  The Disney princess moment is one of those moments that I felt was a little in your face, pushing too hard to get the point across for the sake of a laugh towards a certain subset of audience members.  I get there is a place for a lot of comedy in this film, the goal of the producers, but perhaps working to integrate characters a little bit might have been the way to go instead of another princess service announcement.

 

The Villain:  Turbo was a great central antagonist that held many tricks in  his arsenal to remain relevant and immortal.  He was deadly enough to threaten people with darker tones, while still a force to brecken with.  However, this one was missing a lot, often much due to underutilization of characters and a gimmick that seemed nothing more than a plot device trying to justify the inclusion of another big bad character.  It’s age appropriate, but not quite the full incredible splendor that the first one did, and I missed that challenge to their never-ending quest for fun, adventure and the truth.

 

The Trailer Ruined Much: Hate when Disney over shows the trailers, making sure to show you so much of the movie without giving away the whole thing.  Ralph has had a lot ruined, not everything mind you, but many powerful laughs and jokes could have held more life to it if they had been introduced in the film, instead of the billions of minutes on television.  As such, some of the more popular jokes were stale to my viewing group.

 

The Verdict:

 

            The sequel had a lot to live up for me, but Ralph’s second film held plenty of the same magic that I fell in love with in the first film.  Still a dazzling delight to watch with fantastic animation and design combined with the usual comedic references we’ve come to expect with this series.  Still, the dive back into pop culture references still needed some software updates to maximize old and new characters, and design the film with the same standards the first held.  Still the film is worth a trip to theater for many reasons and an enjoyable one at that. 

 

My scores are:

Animation/Adventure/Comedy: 8-8.5

Movie Overall: 7.5-8.0

Worth donning the Hood? A Review On Robin Hood 2018

Robin Hood Poster

            The classic tale of Robin Hood is a legend among countries, continents, and media franchises alike.  Various iterations have been forged from the fires of Hollywood’s studios some epic portrayals of the English hero and others that some think should remain lost in the mists of stories.  Nevertheless, Lionsgate is attempting to revive the story again, in hopes that it will be a box office success and potentially lead to another trilogy.  What’s in store?  Robbie K here to help you out with that as we do another review on:

 

Movie” Robin Hood (2018)

 

Director:

Otto Bathurst

Writers:

Ben Chandler (screenplay by), David James Kelly (screenplay by)  | 1 more credit »

Stars:

Taron EgertonJamie FoxxBen Mendelsohn

 

 

LIKES:

 

The Actors:  A great movie relies on many things, but most fans go for their favorite actors.  In this film the casting was spot on with Taron Egerton being a prime choice for many given his popularity at the moment.  The English Actor interjects some modern edge to the role, that holds some class, spunk, and as my friends reported a new hot look to the mix. His portrayal certainly has a new sense of honor, but a little more rebellion behind it than the previous renditions.  Jamie Foxx on the other hand certainly has the disciplinary edge of the Little John, dropping his whimsical, clumsy nature for one with more fire and vigor.  Their chemistry is sensational, leading the rest of the cast to craft the next band of warriors for a new generation.

 

Costumes:  If actors are not pretty enough for you, then the costumes may be the ticket to pull you into the film further.  The new Robin Hood is like an Abercrombie designer combining modern flare with old English battle war apparel, to make some impressive looking outfits.  Perhaps in time for the next season Halloween, or maybe a winter coat for the holidays, the new style is certainly appealing in the long run.

 

The Action Flare:  This Robin Hood is certainly the type to take the flashy and flaunt it.  The trailers portrayed the action sensationally well, with graphics that have a certain element and angle that is unique, but also in that cheesy, artificial manner that Hollywood has been a fan of capitalizing on.  Robin’s hood’s flashy effects are probably a large reason for a theater visit, but it’s high energy and speed are certain to entertain younger audience members in their rather loud, visually intense moments.

 

Simplistic: In a sense, the movie at least has a finite presentation that doesn’t fall victim to the convoluted, artistic approaches some choose to do.  As such it brings cheap thrills and simplistic enjoyment in the grand scheme of things.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Sheriff Of Nottingham: No surprise, the bad guy isn’t my favorite character and that is okay However, the movie I don’t think took the character in a direction I thoroughly enjoyed.  This sheriff was a little to political and not enough strategy/action. His slimy nature and story design is lackluster and his inclusion in the film is only focusing on the political game that wasn’t the most entertaining twist on the story. This brings me to the next dislike

 

The Political Game: Robin Hood always had a political message and statement in it, the tale of the ragtag band of mercenaries standing up to rich in the name of the poor.  However, the 2018 remake gets a little too heavy in this aspect, focusing more on the discussions between all authoritarian power honors and the leaders of the rebellion.  This leads to dry dialogue, bloated speeches between the parties, and a small strategic strike at the powers that be.  Political enough for the strongly opinionated, and certainly a smarter approach in terms of dialogue.  Yet, it’s not the most entertaining, which leads to the next dislike.

 

Action:  The special effects are ready to go, with enough explosions and CGI to make Michael Bay proud.  Robin Hood though does not execute the action to the full extent the trailers hinted at for me.  Bouts are short, often reduced to mere minutes where the combination of random shots, CGI arrows, and extras flopping take point.  Sword fights are practically nil, and instead of a tense/engaging action sequence that other installments made famous, the movie is all about flash in the pan effects to get you from one political scene to the next.  It was a valiant attempt to kick the series off, but for this reviewer there are still other versions (namely the Disney version) whose action is much more involved and finessed than this modern rendition.

 

The Pace:  While the actions scenes help break up the monotony of the film, it still didn’t help with the pace of the movie.  Thanks to the political approach of the film, many may find it a bit sluggish in movement as they characters fall into heavy debates of how to handle all the funds.  It gets points for realism, but for me I was hoping for that same epic adventure the tale has been in the past.  After all, with stunts and arrow shots that defy reality, why would one not try to unleash the full potential of the pace and action with it.

 

Rushed Ending:  Maybe all the slowness means and epic finale to wrap everything up. Sorry, not the case for me.  Robin Hood’s bout with the Sherriff and his elite squad is much more lackluster than most of the films I’ve seen.  The final “battle” is more so a mob riot with only glimpses of actual combat occurring.  A semi impressive the plan, the finale had three errors that took away from the film. It starts with a rather boring fight, throw in a plan that was a little too easy and with little suspense, and then rapidly executed to the point of blink and you’ll miss a few things.  After all the waiting, how could they not end this with a bullseye we had been wanting.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            This rendition is not the complete picture I think Lionsgate was going for, and there is so much more to comment on in areas to improve.  While the casting is good and effects are ready to support the guerilla warfare motif, Robin Hood need some more editing and finesse to bring the most out of the film’s action.  Yet, if you are looking for a more realistic, representation of the political aspect of the days of yore, perhaps this is the hot ticket you have been looking for, and the slower, dryer pace will make you feel right at home.  Nevertheless, I’ll recommend holding out for this film, given everything coming out. 

 

My scores are:

Action/Adventure Thriller: 6.0

Movie Overall: 5.0

Instant Family Fun! An Instant Family Review

Instant Family Poster

 

Family, a blessing and curse at many times.  It is a source of conversation and entertainment that Hollywood loves to rub in our faces.  Hence, when you get movies that are about making fun of families in super ridiculous manners, one can’t help but lower expectations on the quality of these films.  So yours truly walked in with low expectations of tonight’s review, thinking I was in store for more silly slapstick tricks.  What lies in store for this film past the trailers?  Robbie K here hoping to fill you in on another detailed review as we explore:

 

Movie: Instant Family (2018)

 

Director:

Sean Anders

Writers:

Sean AndersJohn Morris

Stars:

Mark WahlbergRose ByrneIsabela Moner

 

 

LIkES:

 

Comedy:  The movie is indeed a comedic adventure into foster parenting, and while the likes of Daddy’s Home seemed to ring hard in the trailer for me, that wasn’t the case in this film.  Instant Family manages to achieve the fleeting goal of balancing styles of laughter including slapstick antics, banter, insult humor, and crossing boundaries with cursing.  Such a style allows for the gimmicks to remain fresh over the course of the movie and bring with it plenty of guffaws, chortles, and whatever sounds you make with humor.

 

The Story: Heartwarming is certainly the element of this tale, doing a fantastic job of the inspiration from the stories of foster families.  Instant Family crosses into the realms of this unique parenting setting, bringing all the issues and emotions that come with it.  It’s simplistic, linear tale allows for many things to be stuffed into the film, working hard to keep to its roots, but explored the small hairs that help absorb the dynamic material that the writers seeded it with.  As such, the story has enough components to make my next few likes further support the film.

 

Fun:  To be family friendly for some, means to tread down the “pure” path where only G-rated jokes and language can be instilled in the movie. While I can acknowledge this, it limits the audiences who can enjoy this to the fullest.  Fortunately, Instant Family saw this and managed to find that balance of styles to keep it relatively PG to PG-13, opening up to more audience members and keeping the film very fun to watch.  Yes, there is language, and a few more adult themes not made for sensitive ears.

 

Emotional:  Some of my friends have stated they teared up at just the trailer alone.  Well, the audience in my showing today was sobbing, sniffling, and tearing up at the feelings thrown into the mix.  And while preachy at times, Instant Family sells the lessons in full force, captivating you further into the film and really selling the love this family was trying to portray.  It brings so many wonderful feelings out into the light, which will be a wonderful compliment to the film.

 

Relatable:  Certainly we aren’t all in foster programs, but Instant Family brings with it enough issues about a variety of topics to find something relate to.  How to handle anger,  how to deal with out of control kids, teenage angst issues, love, confidence, and plenty of other pieces that maybe we could all stand to learn.  As such, the story had a greater effect on me, allowing me to sort of place myself in each character’s shoes and enjoy seeing how the characters grew during the trials they faced.  If you are like me, the relatability of a film can really bring an extra factor to the movie and I feel this film will affect the people in a positive way to further enhance the film.

 

Balance:  The key to the success of this movie is balance. Over all the likes mentioned in the previous categories, the underlying foundation is that the director and writers managed to find a way to make all these styles work together.  Outside of all the aforementioned categories, Instant Family also found a way to utilize the characters very well.  The kids limitations and character’s annoying habits are fine tuned to reach that equilibrium between annoying and too underdone.  Wahlberg’s talents weren’t overdone and Byrne managed to rain her normal maneuvers to new levels that again seemed very well tuned.  As such, Instant Family managed to surprise me with how they juggled so many plots, morals, and other components in such a short time.  That was the key to taking this movie to new levels and something other films need to study for future film making.

 

DISLIKES:

 

The PredictabilityA small dislike in the grand scheme of things, Instant Family does not deviate far from the formulaic presentation that Hallmark has made famous.  A few twists and turns could have provided some opportunity for even deeper growth, or perhaps a few more montages of the fun times to help dilute the predictability. Sure this may not be the key point they were shooting for, but as a reviewer, throwing some surprises in could have sailed this movie even further.

 

A Few Throw Away Characters: Another small detail, but Instant Family snuck in a few characters that brought some interesting avenues to explore. They were complete to some extent, but a few of these characters could have been left out, erased from sight due to the little contribution they provided.

 

The Kid InEquilibrium: The main kid who got the attention was the teenager Lizzy.  I’ll recognize and appreciate the context of teenage angst, but why did the other kids, whose flaws were magnified at the early part of the movie.  These components seemed to be swept under the rug, with little portrayal of dealing with these problems, often resorting to a comedic device to justify their inclusion.  Thus, the a restructuring of their involvement could have been the key to furthering the movie.

Over The Limit sometimes: The worst thing for me in this film, are the few times the comedy became more insulting than funny for me.  In this time of political correct statements, there are some dialogue moments and banter that sort of step on the appropriate way to phrase things.  These jokes often feel more like insults and as such, not appreciating these moments that went far.  Again, nothing like an R rated movie, but still something that took away from the film for me. 

 

The VERDICT:

 

            I agree with the recent trailers, Instant Family is indeed the big surprise of this week.  It’s sweet, with a  passionate charm that and relevant plot to grab attentions and hold them in their place. These balances of so many plot points is what helped achieve this quality and certainly is worth studying/noting for your future film needs.  I’ll admit they crossed the line a bit, and didn’t quite maximize the potential they held. Still, with all the fun I had and the ability to show empathy to fictional characters I think is enough persuasion to call you into the hallowed halls of the theater. 

 

My scores are:

 

Comedy/Drama:  8.5

Movie Overall:  7.0

Killing Me Softly With It’s Plot

Widows Poster

 

Another Friday night, another chance to review movies.  Tonight we move away from the fantasy and drop into a more realistic film that hopes to be a dive into a more realistic setting for us to enjoy.  With a major cast to lead the way, tonight’s movie from the trailers seemed to suggest an exciting crime drama, that would hopefully bring some edge to this weekend. Yet what lies in store behind the trailer?  That’s where yours truly comes in to give you the information on the latest movie to hit the silver screen.  Let’s get started as Robbie K reviews:

 

Movie: Widows (2018)

Director:

Steve McQueen

Writers:

Gillian Flynn (screenplay by), Steve McQueen(screenplay by)

Stars:

Viola DavisMichelle RodriguezElizabeth Debicki

 

 

LIKES:

 

Acting:  Right out of the gate we need to highlight how epic the acting is in this smorgasbord of actors and actresses.  Davis is the biggest one highlighted, once more proving herself as a queen of the crime/drama franchise.  Her tone, her poise, her deadly look are all perfect for this emotionally intense role of the character facing both internal and external demons that torture her.  With Rodriguez, she’s a watered-down version of Letty from the Fast And The Furious, aggressive, sullen, and assertive to the point of being monotone.  As for Debicki, stunningly beautiful, fashionable of the bunch, and a wonderful moral compass that the group sort of need in their quest for moving on.  Other characters play their parts well as the secondary characters, each adding that dab of crime noir magic that leads to the political story at hand.

 

Realism:  I can appreciate a good realistic movie when it goes to crafting a story in this genre.  Widows forgoes the fantasy and fiction, to instead bring about realistic issues that are hot areas of interest in the political world.  Integrating these issues into the girls backstories and further layering the story with other social struggles, will make a setting that those in love with crime dramas soak up.  As such, Widows is all about bringing that relevance to the audience, hoping to lure the audience in and help develop the relationships of this character centric story. Be ready for that component to be the driving line of the movie, because it is a strong, strong factor.

 

The Style: primarily in Elizabeth’s character, the clothes are certainly stylish with our cast of future crime committers.  While not quite matching the style of the Ocean’s 8 squad, the widows have their fair share of clothing to dazzle and delight the audience, or at least make you envy the world of high money.

 

The Twists:  The story is very character heav as mentioned before, and with it comes the ability to bring some interesting surprises at hand. Widows has a few very good twists that are time superbly and open the gates for more drama to make the soap operas have a run for their money.  Not the most mind-blowing mind you, but an applause at the surprises in store for this film.

 

The Dog:  A cute little puppy graces much of the film, and its adorable face serves to relieve the darker tones established in this movie. Widows cute little mascot was my favorite character, and while there is little else this animal serves for, I still like to mention the little pet.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Character Skewing: The movie was supposed to be about the girls all being involved in this plan to pay off their debt and hopefully change their lives.  Viola Davis character is again the central character, getting such wonderful looks into her life and by far having the most detail in her life. Sadly, that’s where things start to go awry for me.  The rest of the characters stories are surprisingly linear, shallow tales that we only get a peek into often in very dry dialogue.  Other characters are caught up in political shout outs, not really impressive in that display outside of trying to get a house of cards flow going. 

 

The Lack Of Action: If you saw the trailers, you might have been hoping for a little stimulation in this movie as most crime movie have.  Well, the synopsis didn’t lie, it certainly is not the usual rime story in this film. Widows decides to deviate from the usual plot, plan, and execute said plan for that drama/romance aspect.  If you wanted a break, and the focus on such aspects than this is the film for you.  Yet, if you saw the trailer like I did and wanted a little more traditional suspense into the film, that is where the movie failed for me.  Without those moments of planning and showing the aim of the mission overall, this movie sort of aimlessly bumbled around feeling stuck in an ever-ongoing game of relationship pong.

 

The Pace:  The result of this focus on romance/relationships leads to a much slower movie, that drags on and on.  Without more exciting moments to break open the convoluted, character thick plot, I had to fight some sleep against the molasses movement, and hope that there were enough twists to keep me guessing.  Sadly, Widows didn’t have quite enough excitement to knock the excitement into me, though I did manage to stay awake for it.

 

The Rushed Plot: While I said the move rocks on focusing on characters, it does not mean that it was the best story to grace the silver screen.  Widows story threw so many hints for a number of the characters, making a point to painstakingly show off each woman’s response to the funeral and tease at some potential deep stories.  Instead, much of the details are skimped around, leaving only hints and small revelations that don’t work quite well. In addition, many of these plot points are kind of randomly dropped in, almost as if they were a second thought that had to be hastily integrated into the film.  Most of these really didn’t add much to the film, again requiring more details and build up to really mean something.

 

Too Many Things:  The movie I think tried to do too much with its direction, trying to figure out which aspect it wanted to highlight over others.  Political wise, the movie definitely sails to new horizons to bring with it some valuable food for thought that future generations can discuss.  However, in terms of entertainment, romance, and crime I feel the movie couldn’t accomplish this.  Much of this has to do with too many characters and subplots rolling around the screen and trying to keep each one in check.  Corrupt politicians, a heated race for some position, more deals, etc. there are so many micro tales going it is not very easy or entertaining to watch.  As such, this confusing storm of plots leads you wanting a little better completion, and more so, better editing to cut through the chaotic string jungle this plot stays on. 

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Overall, Widows gets props for the realistic, originality it holds in regards to this category.  A wonderful crew was cast for this, but I don’t think that everyone was used equally and to their full potential.  The movie has a lot of plots to choose to follow, but much of their filling is very thin, skimpy on details that needed much more refining to help deliver all it wanted.  Throw in that some action and suspense needed to be integrated and you could have had a much better  movie overall. As such, the movie is not for most audience members, and I implore the people to wait for this one instead of flocking to the theater.

 

My scores are:

 

Crime/Drama/Romance: 7.0

Movie Overall: 6.0