Will You Take Your Holmies To This Screening?

Holmes & Watson Poster

 

Sherlock Holmes has many forms, some of which are immortalized in our minds and others we wish could get a face lift and some reinvigoration.  Nevertheless, the eccentric detective of Scotland yard gets another revisit this holiday season, this time with a much more comedic direction than most versions tend to focus on.  Can the legendary comedian team that gave us Step Brothers, step up to a new relationship? Robbie K is here to share his thoughts on the another review as I take a look at the film:

 

Movie:  Holmes and Watson (2018)

Director:

Etan Cohen

Writers:

Etan CohenArthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson were created by the late) (as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)

Stars:

Will FerrellJohn C. ReillyRalph Fiennes

 

 

LIKES:

 

  • Quick Run Time
  • Funny At Times
  • References To Other Versions
  • Secondary Character Was Funny
  • The Song

Summary:  As the reviews come in, you are seeing a lot of negative components, but I can say that despite this not being everyone’s cup of tea, the movie at least is short, running around the 1 hour and 20-minute mark, meaning you’ll get out of there fairly quickly.  In this short film, the movie manages to find some nuggets of well-timed lines that somehow held some wit behind the bantering.  Often for me it had to do with the references to other versions of the detective, with nods to the Robert Downey Jr and Benedict Cumberbatch creations that are super popular.  When it comes to these moments that is the component that I found the most entertaining.  Well that and the secondary character of Millie, whose simplistic bouts of nonverbal comedy had some of the better time laughs than either Ferrell or Reilly could drum up. Of note though, the little song number that Ferrell and Reilly get to perform had some zest to it, so I give them props for including that.

 

DISLIKES:

  • Paper Thin Story
  • Mystery Was Boring
  • Lazy Writing
  • Too Forced Of Humor
  • Missed Comedy Opportunities
  • Fixation on Banter
  • Diving Down Politically Heated Topics

Summary: Holmes and Watson’s first weakness comes from the paper-thin story they tried to sell with the comedy antics.  A very simplistic tale that tries to throw in shallow character development and a mystery, this version certainly did not focus its efforts on trying to have something to ground the comedy too.  The mystery itself is lackluster and overshadowed by the ridiculousness of the film and given the obvious answer as to whom is the culprit, makes for a plot that will have difficulties standing up to the law of good movies.

Of course, most fans of Ferrell may not really care or expect the story, because he is after all known for being the king of slapstick, banter, and inappropriate comedy.  While this movie follows that formula, it’s writing did not quite match the quality of other Ferrell flicks and not just because of the missing story. Holmes and Watson had trouble finding its stride, forgoing classic one-liners for mindless banter and arguing between the titular characters, or extended bouts of over the top slapstick that didn’t pack the punch the scenes sound effects had.  It was comedy that was too forced for me, the lines blunt displays of stating the political injustice we still complain about, which doesn’t have the intended prowess it wanted.  When those styles failed, they switched to the obsessive self-pleasing jokes that although had good chemistry between actors, again treaded down the gross pathway instead of the funny for me. And the worst part is, all of it is in forced accents, the characters pushing into overdramatic displays of emphasizing the words in very forced accents.  All of this boils down to work that either has grown too stale to work in the modern age, or was too forced and lacking the finesse earlier films held.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Holmes and Watson’s trailers have not sold you any lies, it’s a mess of predictable plot antics with overzealous comedic attempts that the two are famous for.  Yet the film does not have the same quality that the duos first film had all those years ago.  Is it because the comedy is stale, or is the focus on being too forced of comedy?  I don’t know the answers, but there is some serious need for plot development and better-balanced comedy to assist for any future installments.  As such, the movie missed its mark on a lot of things, needing to step back to the clever tipoffs, and timing than overstuffing the film with comedic banter. Thus, I can’t recommend this one for the theater, encouraging to hold out until Netflix picks it up.  Sorry guys!

 

My scores are:

 

Adventure/Comedy/Crime: 5.5-6.0

Movie Overall: 4.0-5.0

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Off the Chaney? Vice Review

Vice Poster

 

The world today is a politically charged place and with it comes a war of opinions, views, and media mayhem that many thrive on. So of course we have Hollywood raring to go, bringing a production of its own to toss into the game and hopefully wow.  So Robbie K is here to give his opinions on that movie as he reviews the latest film:

 

Movie: Vice (2018)

 

Director:

Adam McKay

Writer:

Adam McKay

Stars:

Christian BaleAmy AdamsSteve Carell

 

 

LIKES:

 

  • The Makeup
  • The Editing
  • The Presentation, somewhat
  • The Pace
  • The Acting
  • The Explanations

 

Summary:  Hands down my appreciation of this movie starts in the art of making the characters come to life in their looks.  Hollywood’s resources of time traveling makeup artists continue to be abundant as Vice brings their talents to new levels.  Creating Chaney in all his ages alongside his family is spectacularly done, transforming Bale and his colleagues into the various political players of the game.  It’s sleek, it’s beautiful and worthy of an Oscar award in my opinion.

Past that though, the rest of the movie is very well presented at parts to grant you a political biography that is certainly comedic at times.  The editing work of integrating their characters into real life footage is certainly impressive, keeping you immersed into the film without losing too much screen time for the actors.  Speaking of which, the acting is super well done, with Bale obviously getting top billing for how well he matched Chaney’s mannerisms and presentation quite well from the footage I’ve seen.  The rest of the cast supports them well in this semi-political farce working to bring the turmoil of the political warfare into the screen.

  Yet the thing this reviewer appreciates in regards to the presentation, outside of the impressive recreation of events and use of footage, is the sort of semi-narrative taking place to explain what is going on. The history of acts, scandals, and who was involved in what escapes me since leaving high school, but this movie is there to fill in the gaps.  As the narrator takes you through the times in a semi-quick pace, one begins to learn the various acts and ratifications Chaney went through in his supposed goals and plans. As such, one should have a small compass to guide them through all the red tape and get to the end, even if you are not up to date on the latest history of our politicians.  Thus, it’s not too hard or boring to follow.

 

DISLIKES:

 

  • The Presentation At Times
  • Episodic At Times
  • More Integration Of Other Characters
  • The Jaded Energy

 

Summary:  When it comes to artistic style, you give them points for originality and creativity, but that indirect manner sometimes was a little convoluted.  The back and forth between time periods, the representation of Chaney fishing, and the nonlinear presentation muddied up the water for an already heavy story.  In addition, all of Chaney’s historical “triumphs” felt very chopped up, the episodic principles sort of thrown up in the air and landing in bite sized pieces that had just enough sustenance to whet your appetite, but not provide the most power it had for the drama component that I think the trailers painted.

Instead the film focused more on the comedy aspects, sort of looking to point out Chaney’s involvement in politics from a certain point of view. For one thing, the characters were very extreme, grandiose displays of political characters that while impressively acted, was a little lacking in terms of the characters the trailer painted. The comical approach is certainly unique, but I guess I was expecting a little more of the biography component than the farce they chose to approach.  Certainly, the biggest limitation for audience members might be the jaded energy this movie has to offer.  Like the new stations of cable television, this film presented Chaney’s reign from a certain angle, some of which is based on truth and some of which could be Hollywood magic. If you are a particular side of the political spectrum, you might just find yourself angry with the movie, rather than entertained or engaged by the political venue displayed.

 

The VERDICT:

 

The Critics certainly have got the right idea about praising Vice as the work of art in terms of editing, acting, and make up get mad praise for the investment made in these areas.  Yet in terms of the story and drama the trailers painted for me, the film doesn’t quite agree with the atmosphere in the trailer for me.  If you agree with the views of this team, the film will be right up your alley, but depending on your political alignment and your views on Chaney, the jaded presentation may not be the style you want.  So is this movie worth the trip to the theater.  The answer is kind of, but only if you are ready for a dryer comedy version of the Fox or CNN News presentation.  Otherwise, wait for this one to come to home viewing. 

 

My Scores are:

 

Biography/Comedy/Drama: 6.0-6.5

Movie Overall:  5.0

Will This Be your Favourite?

The Favourite Poster

 

Robbie K with another quick review as he hits the more artistic nature of the film this holiday season.  With a wonderful reception at the various film festivals, this movie held high hopes for being a winning masterpiece for the late year.  With a promising cast, good direction, and a unique twist to normal films, I went in eagerly to see what awaited.  What was the verdict?  Robbie’s reviews here to share his opinions as he reviews:

 

Movie:  The Favourite (2018)

 

Director:

Yorgos Lanthimos

Writers:

Deborah DavisTony McNamara

Stars:

Olivia ColmanEmma StoneRachel Weisz

 

 

LIKES:

 

  • The Acting
  • The Setting
  • The Costumes/Makeup
  • The Character Development
  • The Strategy
  • The Presentation, mostly

 

Summary:  Film festival features are seldom squandered out of acting, and the Favourite is no exception.  Rachel Weisz succeeds in her abilities as the lady of the manor, with poise, regality, and a cunning nature fitting of the character designed.  Stone’s transition throughout the movie is admirable, starting on end of the personality spectrum, yet showing the evolving psyche of the players of late century politics.  Colman as well is an integral piece, ushering in the role and acting as the key pillar for this mad state of affairs.

But acting aside, The Favourite stands out for it’s beautiful setting, with the location team and set crew working hand and hand to fashion a fitting battlefield for our femme fatales of the silver screen.  The manor and all its hallowed halls and manicured lawns will take you on that international trip to historical England, immersing you into the themes at hand.  As such, the characters themselves are quite dashing in their costumes, every politician, maid, and governmental officiant a welcoming tribute to the paintings of old.  The leading women in particular have ravishing costumes and makeup, helping to unleash the full effect of the movie.

Yet it is the character centric story that really takes all the aforementioned strengths and pulls them together.  The Favourite’s focus on developing all the characters, including a few secondary characters that at first seem mere parlor tricks. As the film progresses, the strategy at hand also starts to evolve in a Game Of Thrones like technique without so much blood and murder, as inner wants and jealousy lead to some rather interesting choices. And all of this is presented beautifully in the film work’s techniques.  Odd angles and dark hallways mirror the tone of the movie, as a haunting soundtrack of European orchestra plays in the back adding more to the emotions of the characters. Presenting all of this as if it were a Shakespearean play only adds to the ambience of the movie, and helps this film stand out a little more in terms of artistic wonder.  Yes, it certainly feels like a Thespian tragedy at hand and a nod to this approach and helping it shine in victory.

 

DISLIKES:

 

  • The Pace at times
  • The Animal Cruelty
  • The Inclusion Of Seedier Culture
  • The Ending’s Finesse

 

Summary:  While artistic and brilliantly presented, the movie for me ran a little slow at times.  The opening of the film did its introduction well, with the first couple of acts taking time to introduce the world in appropriate detail.  Eventually as the rivalry develops. Things really start to take off, only to slightly take a rather large detour that offset the pace disrupting the very thing I fell in love with on the movie, with the end probably being where the steam was fully lost.  Certainly some of the loss of detail comes in with the focus of documenting every move in this game of human chess, which I didn’t mind.

Instead, the  real loss of pace came from some of the extra details added for more of a cultural reflection of the times (details Shakespeare loved).  While some of the animal cruelty showed the off the past times of the British high life, I did not need to see the repeated defeat of the small creatures, while other times were just unnecessary quirks that seemed forced and rushed in at the end.  In addition some of the seedier shots such as rape, self-pleasure, and other acts of hazing didn’t quite add anything to the story or feel of the movie, when my main goal was to see the power play between the two champion actresses.  Sadly, this semi-focus on the animalistic side of the characters sort of deterred from the plot for me and added unnecessary length to the movie.

And like my fellow reviewers, I do agree that the film’s ending did not quite suit me given all the build-up.  It ends rather vaguely, and although it mirrors the Greek Tragedy’s delivery, it did not quite have the same satisfaction that those ancient playwrights had.  Instead, it seemed that the Favourite had a rather rushed, messy finish that gives you all the pieces you need to draw up your own conclusions of what occurred.  Outside of throwing off the pace in the final two acts, the ending just didn’t deliver that last punch I had wanted, or at least in the manner I wanted.

 

 

The VERDICT:

 

Overall the Favourite is worthy of much of the praise it received from the festivals.  The presentation is beautiful on many levels as it deters from the usual linear fashion, and it seems to really pay tribute to the tragedies that this tale is based on.  In addition the story really speaks out to the culture and darker parts of history that sometimes don’t get told in the text books. Yet, it’s ironically that very presentation that took some of the flair away from the movie, as getting lost in the grimier aspects of human nature threw off the pace of the film and left the ending a semi-complete telling that could have used twenty minutes more to flesh out the final number with that woman’s scorn I think we wanted. Overall, the movie gets points for its presentation style, but it may not quite have all the categories needed to warrant a trip to the movies in my opinion.  Still, give this one a try at home if you are looking for something.

 

 

My scores are:

 

Biography/Comedy/Drama: 7.5-8.0

Movie Overall:  7.5

A Second Act Of Recycle J-Lo Plots

Second Act Poster

 

Welcome to the abbreviated reviews of Robbie K reviews. Today we hit the latest romantic comedy to storm the sea of cinema for the holiday season.  In this world of increasing competition and unequal opportunity, is there a way for one to climb the ladder of success despite not taking the same choices others did?  That’s what this film’s motif is all about as I review the latest Rom com/Chick Flick entitled:

 

Director:

Peter Segal

Writers:

Justin ZackhamElaine Goldsmith-Thomas

Stars:

Jennifer LopezVanessa HudgensLeah Remini

 

 

LIKES:

 

  • Good Chemistry
  • Use of A Majority of the Characters
  • Fun Approach that isn’t mushy
  • Good Life Lessons
  • Jennifer Lopez’s style
  • Pace

 

Summary:  Second Act’s strengths lie in how well it uses its characters to tell the stories it wants to show.  Lopez and Hudgens are a fantastic duo, whose energy feeds well off of each other and provides the solid relationship the movie flourishes off of. As the other secondary and tertiary characters hover around the rivalry, it opens the gates past the typical rom com and instead makes it a very fun film where each character helps to bring the life lessons to bear, and mostly staying relevant to the story. Utilizing a quick pace and bypassing a majority of the stereotypical mushy themes and going for a stronger moral based theme that is a little closer in representing life, Second Act really brings that girls night out fun/date night film that will hopefully appeal to more fans.  In addition, Lopez still always has that stylish flare that makes her incredible, bring the poise and prowess despite the role she was directed to play.

 

DISLIKES:

 

  • Cannibalized plots of J-Lo Movies Past
  • Plot points rushed over or lacking build
  • Predictable
  • The Boyfriend semi-pointless
  • Forced Comedy at Times

 

Summary: Second Act may be fun and quick, but it’s originality is lacking which may take away from the audience.  Previous J-Lo films have been ripped apart put together in this mosaic of references that are decently intertwined.  As a result, many of the plots are only semi developed, a few trying to have built, but then revealed in a very calm demeanor.  Sure there is some emotional bond to it, but the rushed approach to  many of these predictable story lines denies the satisfying plot telling her previous movies had done super well on.  Perhaps the weakest of the stories for me was the boyfriend element, to which that particular cast member Milo Ventimiglia, has been promoting on the various talk shows, did little to advance the movie.  His integration into the film is very thin, offering little emotional turmoil, or any real character development, which was a missed shot. Finally, some of the comedic antics are beautifully executed, but for others it’s another example of jamming the stockings with as much comedy gimmicks as you can.  These moments did not do it as much for me or the audience, and could have been focused on developing the plot more.  Oh well cute jokes are the lifeblood of comedy these days.

 

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Overall, the movie is exactly what the trailer promised, fun, simple minded comedy that is just a nice break from the big budget films that are super popular.  While certainly entertaining at times due to the great acting chemistry, character usage, and Jennifer Lopez’s style classing it up, the movie still fails to drop the same quality he earlier films did.  Too many unoriginal, predictable plots we’ve seen done better plague this film, and with the rushed storytelling, it felt this was a mini-series that could have been executed better in episodic telling of TV and Netflix specials. Still, definitely a good group night out or date movie, but best reserved in the comforts of your home. 

 

My scores are:

 

Comedy/Romance:  6.0-6.5

Movie Overall: 4.5-5.0

Welcome To Another Review: Welcome To Marwen

Welcome to Marwen Poster

 

Hello all, Robbie K is back with another movie review, and this time with one that looks a little unorthodox.  Amidst the superhero films, CGI spectaculars, and new comedies that are trying to make their mark, a few movies are up for bringing some more unique experience to the film and trying to teach some lessons.  My first review comes in the form of a PTSD trauma film, trying to inject entertainment with a serious lesson.  Just in time for the holidays, here comes Robbie’s movie reviews on:

 

Film: Welcome to Marwen (2018)

Director:

Robert Zemeckis

Writers:

Robert Zemeckis (screenplay by), Caroline Thompson (screenplay by)

Stars:

Steve CarellFalk HentschelMatt O’Leary

 

 

LIKES:

 

Acting: Carell and his female entourage do their jobs justice.  Carell’s portrayal of a PTSD suffering victim is spot on for someone with severe traumatic disorder.  The terror, the paralyzing fear, and even the nightmares are beautifully crafted to show the suffering some have and the interpretations from their mind’s eye.  When the girls don their action figure forms, the attitude and spunk come out in full force, and craft cool characters that are a combination of symbology and entertainment.  It may not be the most developed characters, but they do very well with the task at hand.  As for the real life counterparts, it’s really Leslie Mannand Merritt Weverwho get the thumbs up from me as they hit their parts well, and help advance the story outside the fictitious town, which means different approaches outside the action/soldier role.

 

Story:  The story is certainly a dramatized biography, hitting the highlights of a fascinating story, and casting it over with that Hollywood magic.  While not the most put together, the film gets props for portraying the journey of Hoagie’s recovery from the introduction of the terror to the various impasses he faces in his mission to find himself.  Along the way, one will get to gradually uncover the backstory, while helping progress his recovery. This balance gives you a lot of focus on Carell’s inner struggles and his external life at the same time.  As such, you’ll find a lot to grasp onto in this drama filled tale.

 

Pace:  While many biographies can sometimes drag, this movie does a good job keeping most of the drama at an entertaining dynamic.  This is mostly in thanks to the action scenes that decorate the screen, gun play between dolls and action figures that mirrors the war within Hoagie’s mind. By placing these components into the film, the movie kept its entertainment value while helping speed things up to the next act. Thus, don’t expect too many dry/slow parts in this film.

 

The Art Style:  Let’s face it, perhaps the biggest like of this is the art direction they chose.  Marwen’s victory is utilizing the presentation to represent the struggles of the mind of a PTSD patient and the war that lies within them to succeed. The dolls that act as his recovery are sculpted beautifully, and the blend of makeup with CGI is a style I quite appreciate as it’s something unique.  As the symbology continues to progress through the plot though, the artistic style continue to be more impressive as the styles continue to evolve to encompass the ever-changing mind of Carell.  I totally enjoyed the integration of the doll world with the real world, and think this is the true shining moment of the film.

 

 

DISLIKES:

 

More Character Development: Hoagie may be the star and therefore get the character development, but the females that were so integrated into his life, probably needed some more work as well.  A couple of them got inklings of background information dropped into the mix, expanding upon their characters and maybe bringing them back into the story. Sure it might not be the most accurate portrayal, but for the cast included in this film, I figured maybe you would get the bang for your buck.  This is especially true for two of the characters whose doll forms were gorgeous, but inclusion was rather lackluster outside of the look of the dolls.

 

The Bad Guy Inclusion: You would think that the antagonists would have a little more inclusion of the bad guys outside of generic Nazi figurines.  The trailers really highlighted these gentleman as the main source of Hoagie’s dismay, yet they were surprisingly one dimensional in this film.  Perhaps more artistic rivalry, perhaps a little more background story for them as well, to actually warrant the repetitiveness that plagues this film.

 

The Jokes: In an age of politically correct fervor, Marwen surprisingly crosses the line with soe of its terminology.  The focus of Hoagie’s interests is going to be a little hard for some to enjoy, and for me it didn’t quite fit in with the rest of the movie given how much fly by they did on this interest and that was just not fitting into the film for me.

 

Dropped plot points: Marwen suffers from too many plot points jammed into a 2-hour run time for me.  There were so many aspects they tried to cover with Hoagie’s life and while I think they brushed on many things well, there were some under focused plot points that did not work for me.  I don’t want to go into further details, but Marwen needed to pick and choose some more points or perhaps bring back the extra moments in a director’s cut.

 

The Repetitiveness:  My biggest limitation with Marwen is the repetitive sequences and scenes that plague the movie.  Many of the action scenes blend together, a very concise gun fight that has the feel of the movie, but starts to blend together by the third bout of bullets.  In addition, seeing the extravagant terror laughs of the Nazi doll over and over again just gets old after a while when there is little development in the fight. Again, the style works for me, but perhaps a little more dynamic aspect to the action could have helped get past the monotonous tone set in the movie.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            I don’t think Marwen had quite the impact the movie promised, but it doesn’t make it a bad movie either.  Carell’s acting is certainly the strong point alongside the art that helps make this mental health problem come to life in new ways.  It’s true, not all the elements came together in terms of character inclusion, the plot points, or maybe the action scenes, but I think it does it’s role fine in terms of a biography.  Probably not the movie meant for the theater so much, but certainly worth taking a look at in the near future. 

 

My scores are:

 

Biography/Comedy/Drama: 7.0-7.5

Movie Overall: 6.0

BumbleBee Did Not Stumble For Me

Bumblebee Poster

 

Hollywood touches everything it can, finding topics that can potentially be turned into a new movie franchises until every inch of profit is squeezed out.  A toy series turned cartoon, that soon became a live action motion picture series that at one time blew our minds and soon blew our wallets.  After many hardships, the series was about to crash and burn, until the Bay era was handed over to a new team to try and bring it back to life.  Tonight, the full world release is upon us and given the trailers, can this film succeed where the others have failed?  That’s where my review comes in, so here we go as I review:

 

Movie: Bumblebee (2018)

 

Director:

Travis Knight

Writers:

Christina Hodson (screenplay by), Christina Hodson(story by)

Stars:

Hailee SteinfeldDylan O’BrienMegyn Price

 

 

LIKES:

 

Character Development: Bumblebee starts off on the right foot by bringing some character development the film sorely needed.  The titular characters get a gross dive into the psyche, finding new ways to expand the quiet hero’s role outside of new weapons to shoot. In addition, Steinfeld’s character is much more realistic than the mess we had in the other five installments.  Her history, her outlook on life, and social dynamics are covered extraordinarily well, making sure to connect the points and actually give some growth.  The relationship between the robot and girl is heartwarming and an appealing dynamic to invest your time into.

 

The Story:  The movie succeeds again where the others had trouble. While not the most in depth, this prequel, and potential reboot, does make a much more connected plot that wasn’t too cheesy or stuffed in comic craziness.  It bridges the Cybertron to Earth transition well, while setting up the plot for potential sequels, while also standing on its own with the previously mentioned character development.  Dropping the convoluted tangled subplots opened the movie to more fun in both comedy and action.  Speaking of which.

 

Comedy: Ever since number one Transformers has had a special spot for overdone comedy antics and ridiculous levels of meme worthy gags.  Noticing the declining trend in quality of the jokes, Bumblebee’s writers did a fantastic job of integrating some fresh laughs into the mix without going too far into the stale territory.  The 80s nostalgic references and pop culture power with Bee is sensational and by avoiding the tacky toilet humor, it doesn’t lose its stride. Even more impressive is how the comedy flows into the story, working with it and not trying to overtake it as has been seen in the past.  A few tangential scenes did occur mind you, but limited their time limit to get back on track in the short time limit.

 

Pacing:  The last two films proved that the writing struggled to fill the nearly 3 hour run times with engaging material, leading to a sluggish rambling with little value.  Bumblebee shines here as well, not only by shortening the run time by nearly an hour, but also with a pace that kept moving and in time with the other antics. As such, don’t expect too much boredom in this installment.

 

The Action:  Hands down the aspect I was watching for the most, Bumblebee again manages to achieve the goal of improving upon the action that it sold for so long.  The yellow bug had much more epic and fluid moves, with improve choreography and some dynamic sequences that were captured beautifully and not lost too sketchy camera work.  Throw in the fact that the special effects weren’t too overdone, nor the focus of the film, and it led to cleaner action moments that hooked me into the get go.  By not forcing the action too much, I think it made the moments shine a little brighter, and kept the theater quality up.

 

The Soundtrack:  When it comes to the 80s, you know the music was legendary in its synthesizers and emotional rantings.  Well, Bumblebee seems to have a good ear for some legendary tracks and while comically integrated well, the selection was just wonderful to listen too throughout the film.  Be ready to tap your toes to the beats my friend, or at least get set for lip syncing.

 

DISLIKES:

 

More Action:  A small dislike, but an action junkie like me wanted more of the epic display of battling between robotic factions. Cybertron was a great introduction, but why could we not get more of it throughout the film.  Perhaps another prequel about the war for Cybertron will be in the future, but a little more of the fighting on Earth could have helped relieve this want.

 

Attention To Detail: Again, a small dislike, but Bumblebee’s writers may have missed some of the story elements from the previous film. The way this is set up suggests that this film will be reboot of the series, a good thing in terms of story. Yet if it is going to continue on and serve as the first film in the Michael Bay Series, then it loses points for trying to ignore the details they once cherished.

 

John Cena:  His character isn’t bad, and his acting fits the character, but I was disappointed with the way to took the character given the previous history of human agents.  Cena’s character goes through the usual ringers, but misses the target in terms of being a little too silly, not getting the full integrative procedures, and not having the same bite that others have had.  As such, I kind of felt it was a wasted character for me, and could have been an added character bonus and story plot for whatever the plans for this series are.  Not utilizing this actor to the mix… was a wasted opportunity.

 

The Decepticons:  The antagonist robots have got some more flare and sass than a few of the other portrayals, but something that still blows my mind is that the studio struggles to maximize on some of the heavy hitters the show once had .  Don’t get me wrong, the two in this film were still deadly rivals for Bee to fight, but they just lacked depth, and investment again when once more they had the potential to start out on the right foot.  Perhaps if there had been more Cybertron, or they had chosen a historical legend to be the main head this would have helped this area, but for now the record of still choosing some nameless borgs rings true ad they need to get a better handle for the next movie.

 

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Okay, the cinematic Transformers is still not perfect, but this movie is definitely a fun installment that greatly improved on the weaknesses the original 5 were holding.  With greater character development, a wonderful relationship investment, comedy that worked with the story, and action that was miles better given they used better camera work and coordination, this series could finally get the upgrade it needed.  However, the film still needs to find some investment into the other characters for me, and choose the route it wants to take from here as either reboot (my preferred option) or continuation, as this will help make up for a few details and choices that didn’t quite work for me.  One thing for certain though is this:  the balance of story, character development, and action was miles above the Bay quintology, and proves that special effects is not the answer to Transformers.  Definitely worth a trip to theater for the special effects though.  My scores are:

 

Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi: 8.0-8.5

Movie Overall: 7.0-7.5

Returning In A Style For Both Old and New. Mary Poppins For The Family Feature Win

Mary Poppins Returns Poster

 

Years ago, the nanny that changed everything charmed her way into the theaters, bringing song and dance to her teachings as he helped sculpt family lives.  It was a wonderful movie that shed so much joy and wonder to the families who gave it a try. Decades later, the mystical nanny has decided to return once more, in hopes of bringing the same magic to the mix. Will her resurgence bring the same joy and whimsy, or has her relevance blown over too many generations to warrant the same quality?  Welcome to Robbie’s movie reviews as I take on:

 

Movie: Marry Poppins Returns (2018)

 

 

Director:

Rob Marshall

Writers:

David Magee (screenplay by), David Magee (screen story by)

Stars:

Emily BluntLin-Manuel MirandaBen Whishaw

 

 

LIKES:

 

Acting: While no one can replace the lovely Julie Andrews, it does not mean that Blunt has not done wonders with the character.  Still holding the same nostalgic quality, the new Mary Poppins has a little more edge, sass, and a wonderful balance of love that is quite endearing to see with her cast mates.  Lin-Manuel as well adds his own fun to the crew, bringing his theatrical qualities to the character of Bert. Nostalgic enough to have that same childish demeanor, but different to stand out, his musical skills were quite welcome to the mix. And as for the rest of the crew, they all do a bang-up job of adding to the film, and the young cast of the Banks kids are well directed to avoid being the annoying twerps these roles can be.

 

The Numbers:  Mary Poppins was all about bringing the energetic numbers that would forever ingrain themselves in the music hall of fame.  With her return, Mary once more brought the energy back to the screen, utilizing Miranda’s talents well to once more bring the showmanship of the theater.  This film is filled with the magical song and dance routines made famous in the first film and will have the young and young at heart dancing in their seats.  Each of these numbers accomplished the goal of being resident, and in true musical fashion was able to portray their inner feelings and lessons.  A wonderful ensemble of songs awaits the audience members, and holds great potential to become that new song to be repeated a thousand times.

 

The Story:  Thank the idea of nostalgia, or thank the director because the return of Mary Poppins brings with it a charming delight that holds both old and new motifs in its well-timed shots.  Lessons for all generations lie the nanny’s wisdom, utilizing a variety of worlds and settings to help the Banks family find their way in the harsh London streets  Much of the story contains nods to the original plot, while others hold something new and exciting in their powerful sequences. In addition, there is enough nod to other characters to establish the fate of the various characters, while also being original to stand on its own.  Regardless, there is so much delight and balance to the story to help rope many into the plot.

 

The Classic Animation:  Think back to the classic version and one might recall the dive into the 2-D cartoon land and the epic scenes and songs that came with it.  Over 50 years later, and Disney was not afraid to return to the cartoon theatrics again.  I thoroughly enjoyed the return to Disney’s origins, seeing the classic art style fill the screen and integrate with our live action friends.  Again, the memories of youth rush back in with it and bring perhaps my favorite number that held so much pep and vibrant enthusiasm.  A wonderful nod to the old, while making sure to balance the new style into the mix as well.

 

 

DISLIKES:

 

More Of the Older Banks Children:  The trailers painted heavy integration of Michael and Jane as they fall under the care of the nanny to relearn things left behind.  While they have a decently strong integration into the mix, it’s not quite the same level I was expecting and as such wanted them to go on the journey a little more with their kids.  Again, nothing remotely weak, but perhaps a little more integration could have taken the element farther.

 

 

More Time In the Animation: The classic horse racing scene had plenty of time in the 2-D world, making sure to really give the audience the full fun of the scene.  This movie did a fantastic job in the short time they were there, but I was hoping for more time or at least another visit to an animated world where the two styles could meet.  Poppins may do a great job balancing a lot of components, but yours truly wanted another masterpiece in 2-D/live integration that could bring with it the same memory etching greatness it did.

 

The Meryl Streep Number: Is it cute?  Yes!  Does it serve a musical number with catchy lyrics and beats?  Yes.  Does Meryl Streep do a good job?  Yes. So why a dislike?  Well, this number as fun as it is, is very irrelevant to the story.  The dive into the workshop held some potential, but stuck out like the sore thumb at its inclusion into the whole plot, dropping it after the nearly 10 minutes of inclusion.  I just wished that they had continued the story, and perhaps brought another number in, again relevant tot eh story.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Overall, the second visit to Mary Poppins’ lessons still has plenty of charm, love, and energy that will bring so much joy to the audience.  Get ready to have your family film of the holidays, ready to bridge generation gaps, and help one learn old lessons in the new age.  With relevant, energetic song and dance numbers, a fantastic cast with great chemistry, and whimsy from a number of sources, this reviewer encourages hitting the the theater for this one. And while it is not the same as the first movie, it holds its own charm and wonder that was long overdue for the cinema. 

 

My scores are:

 

Comedy/Family/Fantasy: 8.0-8.5

Movie Overall: 7.0-7.5