It’s The Final Countdown… To Halloween Horror Flicks

 

Countdown Poster

 

What would October be without at least one horror movie to come to theaters?  Boring is what many would say, and so we have the final weekend of the holiday trying to gain some revenue before the season is over.  So Robbie K is back once more to give you some ideas on the latest of the horror installments to haunt the silver screen.  Will it be good?  Will it be bad?  Will you die of boredom?  The answer to those questions is below so let’s get ourselves in shall we as we review:

 

Movie: Countdown (2019)

Director:

Justin Dec

Writer:

Justin Dec

Stars:

Elizabeth LailJordan CallowayTalitha Eliana Bateman

 

LIKES:

  • Moves At A Good Pace
  • A slightly new twists
  • Funny At Times
  • Liked The Central Character
  • The Story Is Cute

 

DISLIKES:

  • The CGI work
  • The Thrills and Kills Are Mediocre
  • A Little Silly In Terms Of Story Telling at Times
  • Dead Ends
  • Predictable

 

SUMMARY:

 

Horror movies are something that have come to be a little too mass produced, where ridiculous concepts come out of the wood work to try and capture your attention while darkening your dreams. In this case the movie takes a hit at it, but rather than crafting original beasts instead focused on a quick pace to keep you entertained for the most part. Countdown’s limited time limit requires things to move at a brisk pace that is both entertaining and yet complete.  The film manages to bring a slightly new twist to the mix, taking an old concept and modernizing it, while still tagging some traditions to it.  As such, the film has a little more originality to it and that’s something difficult to capture in these days of over production. In this dark tale, there is fortunately some comedic relief to lighten things up, but not enough to make it a spoof, again portraying some balance that films seem to lose.  My feeling for the strongest component of this movie is the character development, and more so the central character of Countdown.  Quinn (Lail) is a lovely character that has a little bit complexity past the usual damsel in distress/air head that comes with horror territory.  The various levels of personality made for a more engaging heroine, and seeing her evolution as her plight grew more stressful with each passing second.  I think Lail was a fantastic actress to watch, delivering a nice performance that went hand in hand with the cuter story she shared with the other characters. The story may not be that harrowing, creepy, or even unique, but there is an energy to it that seems to be a toned-down version of a horror movie that is once more about the characters and not just the thing they are fighting.

 

While many of these components are nice in terms of storytelling, the movie did cut costs on other areas that may not be impressive to the usual lovers of the genre.  First the CGI work needs a little trimming up, looking a bit hokie, faded, and too computer in my opinion. In addition the beast doing all the killing did so in rather, contained ways that were off screen or hidden in shadow.  It’s not that I want to see gruesome death and mangling, but a little more details might have been preferred for this writer. And while I enjoyed the story telling for the most part, there were times that the film felt a little silly, taking tangents that were stretches to incorporate in some way to liven up the film.  They did not work for me in forms of comedy, but instead became crashes into dead ends where characters, plot points, and other components were left to stand for some wrecking ball to break through.  I guess to meet time constraints they took this approach to again be original, but it just fell short as lazy storytelling with these components.  Finally, the film is predictable, with only a few things hiding in the wings to try and surprise us.  Yet, all the foreshadowing and obvious introduction to the plots were the stars needed to point me towards the things they wanted to keep a surprise and by the revelation I had pieced most things together.  Again, kudos for trying, but not the most surprise filled plot.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Overall I did not hate Countdown, but instead grant a nods towards a character centric story with a cute vibe and good pace to entertain.  It’s true I would have liked a little more haunting/craziness to come into play to give you that true Halloween thriller you were looking for this late in the season.  It’s predictable tale, sort of hidden killer, and silliness that filed away the edge of the movie and thus takes away from the atmosphere they created.  I felt that they could have just put this one onto a streaming site, but I’ll give them props for trying to put their work out onto the screen.  Yet, this film really boils down to being better suited at the home viewing then coming to theaters so hold out until the release if you can.  As such, my scores are:

 

Horror/Thriller:  6.0

Movie Overall: 5.0

Black and Blue Political View

Black and Blue Poster

 

Politics drives the film a lot more than I care to admit, but as a fellow reviewer said recently, it’s a new age and they are giving what the audience wants.  So tonight’s film looks to be one of these issue driven films wrapped in a potential action casing.  Yet, trailer artists are impressive in their ability to hook us into the film and so reviewers like me are here to give some thoughts as to the quality of the latest film.  Get ready, because here we go as I take a look into:

 

Movie: Black & Blue (2019)

Director:

Deon Taylor

Writer:

Peter A. Dowling

Stars:

Naomie HarrisMike ColterFrank Grillo

 

LIKES:

  • Good Acting
  • Nice Portrayal of a Cultural War Zone
  • Dynamic passing of the hot item
  • Music that Portrays The Attitude
  • More Suspense Than Some Other Films

 

DISLIKES:

 

  • Predictable
  • Drawn Out
  • Some Suspense Of Disbelief
  • Politics Take Priority Over Story
  • Stereotypes
  • Language
  • Some undeveloped aspects
  • The Action

 

Summary:

When you have a pollical feature you need to have people to play the new age champions of the generation.  Well they picked fantastic cast members to bring it to life with Naomie Harris the beacon of hope in this emotionally charged film.  She’s a hero that brings the motivation and good intentions to life in a character that is meant to be the focal point.  Tyrese Gibson brings his usual charm to the film, an edge that shows being tough, but curbed to not be quite the hot head his Fast And Furious counterpart shines in.  The rest of the cast begins to come together to paint their various characters, but it’s really these two that shined for this reviewer.  Outside of portraying the character swell, I nod to the portrayal of a cultural war zone, where modern society feels different pressures that results in the divisions seen in the media.  Black and Blue’s emotion is actually much derived from the setting, a nice touch to the political piece of the film.  With that hot item that is the body cam, this film got creative in the means of passing the hot item around like the world’s most intense game of hot potato.  I give them props for the means of passing the information it contains, and the solutions they come up with to work around things.  It adds the suspense element to the film, and I’ll admit there was a little more intensity to the film in determining how far both parties were willing to go to achieve their goals.  And to be truthful, it is that suspense that makes the true entertaining value of the movie.  Finally, the music brought into this film goes the extra mile to add that last bit of finesse to document the energy and emotion of the film.

 

For all the good this drama did though, there are some thing I think overshadow the entertainment piece of the movie.  It starts with the predictability, another linear tale where thanks to trailers, obvious dialogue, and stale writing, you have enough foreshadows to lead you to the end of the film.  What’s worse is that knowing the ending that is coming, it takes a little longer to get where you are going.  Black and Blue is a bit too drawn out for me, a little too bloated with these monologues and boring exchanges that starts to blunt the suspense mentioned earlier for the more political nature.  Throw in some suspense of disbelief and well you get the toned-down moments that other reviewers have talked about.  Yet where the movie really starts to lose it for me is the focus on politics over the other elements.  For those who want the relatability of an issue, who like the realism drawn into the film, and rooting for your champions as they make the first steps towards change, this movie is for you.  However, for me the stereotypes and directed writing got a bit overwhelming for me and sort of retracted from the things I thought the trailer was going to show.  Again, the movie manages to capture a realer tone with the language and mannerisms, but the aggressive use of these devices usually leaves a bland taste in my mouth so I can’t say it was a win for me.  Still, another big weakness is the sort of lackadaisical development of the movie’s aspect such as full rounded character development, histories of some key people, even the better integration of those threat elements could have gone a long way to round out the story and make the time investment worthwhile.  Finally, the action, the one thing I thought this movie was wrapped in is sadly missing for much of the movie.  The drama is the main entertaining factor, but it really need a few more gun battles, chases, and warlike feature I had hoped would spice things up.  Sadly, there are only a few short-lived moments that quickly cease and fall into the past.

 

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Overall, Black And Blue is going to be the movie that will appeal to those that love a politically fervor movie with attitude and aggressive visualization of key events.  It’s got the  emotional aspect to it, brought to life by the cast, setting, and suspenseful game of hot potato that is a key factor.  For Drama lovers and crime lovers this is your bread and butter movie of the week so far, but for action lovers well hold your horses.  The political component is the one you have to prepare for, because it is going to be the key factor that is stretched out, slow, and a little bloated.  I’m not sure how people will respond to the painstakingly obvious issues and dialogue, the stereotypical roles and the portrayals of the cast.  For me I would have liked better story, more developed aspects of the film, and certainly more excitement to help amp up the suspense.  All in all though, the movie needs to find a little more balance and excitement before I can say it’s worth the trip to the theater, so hold out for Netflix on this one if you can.  With that said, my scores are:

 

Action/Crime/Drama:  6.5

Movie Overall:  5.0

 

Is This Double Tap Lethal To The Series, Or An Evolution In Sequels?

Zombieland: Double Tap Poster

 

Ten years ago, a cult phenomenon was born that beat out the wave of zombie films/shows that currently walk amongst us.  It was a fun comedy that was aggressive, bold, and downright different which made it a legend in the film world.  So ten years later… it seems like the perfect time for a sequel in Hollywood’s eyes.  Thus, yours truly reviews the rules, stocks up on plenty of ammunition, and is ready to take another tap at the zombie world as he reviews:

 

Movie: Zombieland: Double Tap

 

Director:

Ruben Fleischer

Writers:

Dave Callaham (screenplay), Rhett Reese (screenplay)

Stars:

Woody HarrelsonJesse EisenbergEmma Stone

 

 

LIKES:

  • The Plot’s Pace
  • The Comedy
  • The Action Scenes, when actually happening
  • The References
  • The Mid Credit Scene
  • Woody Harrelson

DISLIKES:

  • The Plot is weaker
  • The Overkill of Carnage
  • The Under Utilization Of Most New Actors
  • The Blonde Ditzy side gets old
  • The New Location is a let down
  • More Action Was Needed For Me
  • The End Credit Scene

 

SUMMARY:

Much like the first film, Zombie Land is not afraid to dive in and establish all the new rules and get right into the continuation of the “noble” journey. Once it gets started, the pace does not let up as the movie dives into a rapid tale of once again migrating from area to area in search of new wonders and new creatures.  As simple as it sounds, the movie does accomplish the goal of making you laugh, recruiting some new jokes into a natural flow that works so well to entertain with the aggressive insults, the slapstick antics, and ridiculous idiocy this series capitalizes on!  The comedy is certainly new, with super creative, over the top antics that only push the envelope to extreme even further, but never quite lifting the finger on the pulse of ZombieLand comedy.    It’s ridiculousness that fans love sticks around in every aspect including the action scenes which hold all the charm that zombie slaying games have made famous.  It’s vicious, it’s fun, and more importantly still brings out the stupid humor in the form of klutzy coordination, all while increasing the excitement.  In addition, the references are always fun to dive into, as the history of movies, music, and cultural trends are poked fun at while being utilized as survival tools/classifications.  Younger audience members may not quite get them all, but seasoned viewers will enjoy the iconic recreations and integrations to add to the comedy. Much of this is accomplished by the writing, but the writing gets brought to life by the actors and while most of the cast comes back in super form… it’s Harrelson who wins the award for me.  His ire from Haymitch, the sarcasm of the teacher from Seventeen, and the gun slinging of the western desperado drive the movie and had me laughing the most while still enjoying the character, something the others did not quite accomplish.  Finally, to answer the questions, yes there is a mid and end credits scene and truth be told the mid credits scene may have been the best part of the movie.  I won’t spoil anything, but definitely stick around to have what many dreamed of become a reality and totally worth sticking around to enjoy, or at least find on YouTube later.

 

Despite all the familiarity and additions though, Zombieland did fail on some levels for this reviewer.  First, I found the plot weaker. Although very similar to the first one, the quest they set out for, to which the trailers made famous, was rather lame and short sighted.  An almost watered-down copy of the original, and while it meets the rules of the universe it set up, it also was not the fresh revisit I had hoped.  In addition, the carnage overkill was a little much for me, primarily in watching constant puking and pointless overshooting that only goes so far for me before it gets old.  And speaking of overkill, the dumb blonde moments of Madison (Zoey Deutch) were a little too much for me as her air headedness was unrelenting.  At first cute, and actually quite well timed, Madison’s character was a nice mix to the usual impassive tone of the other crew, but about halfway through the movie, that fun started going too stupid for me and only kept getting worse.  You may notice a number of characters that are being introduced to help out with introducing new blood, and in a new way it does, but for me many of the characters were not that exciting, unique, or even utilized the way the trailers suggested.  As such, can’t say I was impressed for the new twist they tried to introduced and the rather sloppy execution outside of a few good laughs.  Like last time there is a new destination set to offer salvation, but unlike the amusement park this place is a little… boring.  Design wise and plot device wise it works with the jokes and bizarre sense of humor, but it’s simplicity and magnitude are far less than the first installments dive into zombie madness.  At least we get a semi-decent action scene and a new award to go with it, but I’d hoped for a little more excitement like the first one’s climax.  This brings me to the action, or the fact that there was more needed in order to help out with giving a little more excitement to the film.  Zombieland 2 really focused on the ridiculousness and the comedy than the guts to glory action and for a junkie like me… it would have been nice to see the full package.  This is especially true in again the end, which although unique and fun, just did not have the climax I was looking for.  In addition, the end credit scene was also a big letdown, more like an outtake of the mid-credit scene than anything worthwhile and thus not worth sticking around.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Zombieland 2 is a decent sequel that offers the same laughs and dose of comedy extremes that the fanbase seems to love.  It has enough nod to the old to make fans smile, but also added enough new to help actually make a second tap worth the effort, primarily in the writing, references, and Woody Harrelson taking charge once more.  Yet, as many sequels show, the film’s evolution brought more superficial thrills to the gene pool than actual plot, resulting in a rather shallow pool to kill in.  Over usage of gimmicks and personality flaws, while underutilizing new characters, locations, and even the action to a degree made me a little sad at the lack of inspiration.  Still it’s got the fun medium and special effects to warrant a trip to the theater, especially in a group like the sports teams did the other night at my theater.  Factoring in everything my scores are:

 

Action/Comedy/Horror:  7.5

Movie Overall: 6.0

Don’t Ruin My Movie! Is Maleficent’s Next Spell Worth Falling Under?

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil Poster

 

This weekend seems to be the one for sequels, as two big hits come out this weekend in hopes of making off with a lot of cash this Halloween season.  Tonight we start this review with none other than a big Disney smash that is hoping to cast a magical spell on us.  The first of the new age live actions, tonight’s sequel is following up with perhaps my favorite of the studio’s reimaginations of beloved classics.  Yet, can the vile dark fairy accomplish the task of charming us once more, or have we fallen into the moors of crappy sequel.  Robbie K here to cast his thoughts on:

 

Film: Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019)

 

Director:

Joachim Rønning

Writers:

Micah Fitzerman-Blue (screenplay by), Noah Harpster (screenplay by)

Stars:

Angelina JolieElle FanningHarris Dickinson

 

 

Likes:

  • World Building
  • Animation
  • Designs
  • Costumes
  • Musical Score
  • Story Continuation
  • Darker Elements Integrated yet controlled
  • Angelina Jolie

 

DISLIKES:

 

  • Predictable
  • Contained at the Wrong Parts
  • Under Utilized Characters
  • The Twist
  • The Final Battle

 

Summary:

 

Say what you want about the politics of the studio, but Disney certainly knows how to make their imagination come to life.  Maleficent 2 is a beautiful display of the power of their animation studios making the fantasy world of Sleeping Beauty shine in all its magical splendor.  While last time accomplished this task, part two manages to expand upon the inner dwelling of Aurora’s world and bring new attitude to the mix, impressing those who love to see fake worlds become reality.  The animation of all the creatures, alongside their designs, are something best captured in comic book form, and yet blend well into the dark dizzy dreams of the dark fairy.  All the creatures you love are back, with a few more to take their place as all of the worlds magic begins to unfold in a new light.  For those not requiring full on CGI, their costumes are nice to look at too, not quite as stupendous, but certainly elegant and fitting of the world.  Okay, past the visuals, Maleficent’s sound and musical elements really pack the punch in terms of adding to a scene as blaring orchestras drive a thunderous boom into the theater only to give way to the sad soliloquies of more somber moments.  It really adds to every sequence and gave me goosebumps at times.  When it comes to the story, again the movie succeeds, managing to continue five years from last time to explain the age gaps and offer a reminder of the events that transpired.  Maleficent’s tale then further expands, pushing all characters to new levels, but never dropping their core foundations for sudden changes.  It works and shows character development is not dead, not only for the dark fae herself, but for just about every character in the cadre as well.  An added bonus is the darker themes of the tale.  We know Maleficent’s tale is not the lightest one in the bunch, but Disney accomplishes the balance in this film bringing looming threats without dropping into nightmare territories.  I can’t say much more to avoid spoiling, but let’s just say the added edge of bad outcomes makes this movie more suspenseful.  Hands down though the centerpiece to this movie is Jolie herself.  She seems born for this part, mastering look, attitude, and delivery in this character whose spectrum expanded past the usual scale.  Jolie’s beauty is utilized well to bring new style to the dark queen, but never exploited or too focused to take away from her acting.  Bravo Angelina, Bravo!

 

For all its worth though, Disney is still not able to trick me much or throw too many curveballs to shake it up.  Maleficent 2 is certainly a rather linear tale, whose predictable nature is only overshadowed by the some hasty development of other character and containing the movie too much at the wrong parts.  This is especially true for several henchman, and even the prince himself, who have enough bang to their roles, but not quite utilized to the fullest potential that they could have done.  While certainly not the worst drop of characters I’ve seen, the movie could have scored more points for mixing these secondary characters into the brew to add their own glow.  Past that though, the twist they got me on was okay, it’s utilized well to allow for other plot devices, but it also kind of does not fit into the lore for me given the hasty explanation.  More time, or perhaps a book, will explain this connection, but I can’t say I was impressed with the turn.  Finally, the final battle.  Truth is, it is a fine spectacle of technology, integrates many characters well, and more importantly is an awesome display of action-based story telling.  However, it missed the mark on suspenseful battling because of the one-sided approached they took.  I can’t say much, but despite the battle having fine length, it was the biggest containment I had issues with and I would have liked to see more battle involvement, despite the added violence it might have brought.  This could have been the perfect climax for me had they done so.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Sequels are hard to make worthwhile, but I feel Disney corrected the mistakes from the other live action and delivered a fantastic addition to the Maleficent world.  Maleficent 2 accomplishes the storytelling aspect quite well, expanding upon its characters and adding darker elements that give this movie more bit and suspense.  Throw in beautiful world building and I can only say I was further impressed by what they brought to the big screen.  However, the movie did not unleash the full might of the magic spell they can, still suffering from predictability and containment to keep it kid friendly.  A little more expansion on battles, characters, and even the twist and this movie would have been another top sequel of mine.  Still, there is enough bang for buck to catch this in theaters, though I will exercise slight caution in taking children who scare easily, they might get spooked. 

 

My scores are:

 

Adventure/Family/Fantasy:  8.5

Movie Overall:  7.5

Joining the Family For Toned Down, Cute Fun

The Addams Family Poster

 

They’re Creepy And There Kooky, Mysterious and Spooky, They’re altogether Ookie, the Addams Family!  It’s a series that has had multiple face lifts, unafraid to push the weirdness into different decades and media to bring creator Charles Addams’ vision to life.  Despite the quirky band of ghouls and creatures making their mark on various generations, it has been left in the vault to collect the dust and cobwebs they love, mainly staking a claim on 31 night of Halloween on freeform.  Still, this legendary flick is ready to try a step into the modern audience and perhaps get some new blood in this undead franchise.  Will it work?  As always I’m happy to give my thoughts as we dive into reviewing:

 

 

 

Film:  The Addams Family (2019)

 

Directors:

Greg TiernanConrad Vernon

Writers:

Matt Lieberman (screenplay by), Charles Addams (based on characters created by)

 

Stars:

Oscar IsaacCharlize TheronChloë Grace Moretz

 

LIKES:

  • Animation/Design
  • Nostalgic
  • Cute
  • Chuckle Fest
  • Good Voice Acting
  • Morals Baked Right In
  • Kids Movie Dream

DISLIKES

  • A Little Contained
  • Semi Preachy
  • Missed Characters
  • Very Simplistic Story
  • Missing the Semi-Disturbed approach this series is famous for

 

Summary:

 

I always love animation movies to see the interpretation of art and imagination in the way they create their character.  This film manages to put the unique spin on the characters, while maintaining the same charm of the characters we have always known.  It’s a style that is very welcoming to the younger audience, while still pleasing older fans.  This cute approach holds a lot of punch and the toned-down jokes, slapstick humor, and simpler writing are key choices for the key demographic audience.  Yet, it does not dilute the nostalgia you will fell when watching.  While knowing the history makes it more enjoyable, it’s not needed, but older fans will love catching references to the classic antics as I did, all while chuckling at the newness of this film.  The new voice acting works for me, primarily Ms. Theron and Mr. Isaac being my favorites as they capture the ambience of their grandiose counterparts.  They deliver the usual vocal patterns of the group, and while not a perfect match, certainly bring the atmosphere of those characters from long ago and still maximize the laughs (the latter being Nick Kroll as Uncle Fester).  Nevertheless, the morals are baked right into this film to instill some important examples for the audience and base the story on, leading to yet another movie dream for adolescents around the room.

 

Yet, my fellow reviewers have valid points that may not be the best match for the audience members.  For one thing the movie is a little contained compared to the empire that Disney has builtIt’s missing the excitement and the detailed plots that Disney has made famous in their works with Pixar and Animation studios.  A little too cartoony, and preachy moral driven, the movie again falls towards the kid spectrum which is going to make it sheltered and potentially boring for some viewers.  One part of this limitation is because the story is so simplified, again diluted to the kids perspective to not be too traumatizing for today’s raising kid approach.  In addition, there are plenty of characters that they introduced and then did very little with from the rival cheerleader who has so much that needs to happen to her, to the loveable Cousin It who is a personal favorite.  Maybe a potential sequel will open that can of worms, but for this one, huge missed opportunities to bring out a few character developing potential and good fashioned fun.  Yet the main thing I think will disappoint people comes in the form of how the disturbing elements have been curtailed.  If you go back and watch the cartoons from the 90s or the movies on Freeform, you’ll know there is that darker side that gets people hooked on this family.  This version had that somewhat, but really toned things down for the animated realm, leading to the lackluster presentation of the themes.  Had this been added into the theme, you might have made a more engaging tale. 

 

The VERDICT:

 

            The Addams Family 2019 version is a great display of the variability of interpretation and it works well for a family film for the modern audience.  A cute theme is the element of this movie, with nonthreatening animation/design to herald the fun chuckle fest that the dialogue and film are about.  It’s got appropriate voice acting, a nice sense of comedy that makes the world fun, nostalgia that is not overwhelming, and morals baked right in to get the message of acceptance out in the world.  Yet, the containment that they took steals away the intensity, edge, and energy that this series is famous for.  It’s meant to be quirky and slightly disturbing and that element missing, alongside some dropped story elements may not impress the classic fans like they are hoping.  While this movie probably would have been better released on nickelodeon or a fan service, it’s got enough elements for a family outing, but hold this one for the home viewing for your maximum buck. 

 

My scores are:

 

Animation/Comedy/Family:  7.5-8.0

Movie Overall:  6.5-7.0

Jexi: Pull Up Your Mediocre Review

Jexi Poster

 

When we think of robotic apocalypse movies we think of films like The Matrix, Terminator, and even iRobot.  Yet, the truth is the real apocalypse is coming in the form of us and our dependence on phones and cloud dynamics.  Today we see people more focused on the phones that bring us “closer” together and make our lives “better” with convenient apps and constant connection to the internet.  So, why not make a fun spoof on this concept and make a movie for the start of the holiday season.  Yes, it’s Robbie, coming back for another round of reviews as we check this time on the latest comedy:

 

Movie: Jexi (2019)

 

Directors:

Jon LucasScott Moore

Writers:

Jon LucasScott Moore

Stars:

Adam DevineAlexandra ShippRose Byrne

 

 

LIKES:

 

  • Fast Pace
  • Good Track List
  • Fun Dialogue
  • Great Intermissions
  • Cute
  • Nice Twist
  • Funny Overall

 

DISLIKES:

  • Overuse of Cursing
  • Some Inappropriate moments too inappropriate For Me
  • Weaker Storytelling
  • Predictable
  • Spoiled By Trailers at parts

 

Summary:

 

Like many comedies the pace of this movie is a good one for entertaining.  It takes little time to introduce Devine’s character Phil and set the hug target on his back for the fun to come.  Well within ten minutes our faceless “antagonist” is there ready to give him a hard and the antics continue to elevate throughout the movie.  This comedy succeeds in bringing a lot of easy laughs to the group in the way of Adam screaming, slapstick fails at life, and even awkward faces from various people.  The dialog though is where the most laughs came for me, primarily in the exchanges between Jexi (Rose Byrne) and Phil that is so full of insults and one liners you won’t be able to stop laughing.  What was smart about this exchange is how dynamic it is, not relying on forced dialogue, but instead a nice mode of banter that felt like a conversation, but not too long or short.  This engagement lasts through much of the movie, but again is not overused for this reviewer as they managed to add some intermissions in the form of Phil’s other aspects of life.  It’s obvious these pauses are meant to show off the morals of the story, but they manage to roll a cute energy into it that is charming in some sense.  This surprising integration of story and morals is a nice twist for this reviewer that manages to do the thing I always appreciate, a balance between funny and worthwhile foundation to base the stupidity upon for their entertainment. 

 

Still the movie suffers from the usual modern-day tropes that I’m not the biggest fan of.  At times the cursing gets a little overused, in this case the F bomb and Mother well you know.  It may not bother most, but the writing for me comes of lazy when cursing and genitalia  montages are the major pillars.  The latter of which sometimes went a little too inappropriate for me, and while still classed up, the imagery bestowed was not my cup of tea.  And though there was better story to comedy balance, the movie still suffers from storytelling aspects where the predictability, simple themes, and cuteness leads to a rather bland tale that is not the most unique of the bunch.  Sure, it was relevant to a guy like me, but for others, the poking at cell phone addiction, and the inspirational themes of going on major vacations and bending the rules may be lost on the majority of the audiences.  Yet, for films like this, most don’t care about a story, they just want a laugh festival of fun to escape their troubles.  This film will successfully accomplish this, but note that some major funny parts are spoiled by the trailers that have shown a lot of the film’s most interesting and unique parts.  There are still some treasures to be found, but you’ve been warned.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Jexi turned out to be better balanced and fun than I imagined, delivering a cute film that was both funny and touching at the same time.  I’ll admit it’s merely a true entertaining festival, with fast pace, fun dialogue, and cute gimmicks that will entertain the masses.  Throw in a fun soundtrack to sort of add to comedy elements and toe tapping nature, and again you are having fun in this film.  Yet the movie still suffers from the usual tricks of the trade and that is overuse of cursing and inappropriate montages that just aren’t my cup of tea.  Throw in that that the story is still predictable and the funny parts have some ruining by the trailers and well you get the usual comedy formula for fun and laughs.  Jexi is a fun adventure, and one I hope most will go for this weekend if looking for a good laugh.  Still, it does not have quite the balance or uniqueness to require a theater visit and most likely best waited for your viewing at home.   

 

My Scores are:

 

Comedy:  6.5-7.0

Movie Overall:  5.0

Gemini MAN-aged to DeAge and Excite, But Was Not A Successful Action Clone

Gemini Man Poster

 

 

Will Smith, a legendary actor who has found various avenues to bring his work to someone you know, maybe even you.  Whether you think everything he is touching is gold, or varies in spectrum, I have to give the man props for his bravery of taking on these roles.  Today, after many years of being in the works, a supposed personal interest rears its head after months of advertising in hopes that it will rock the socks off the audience.  Thanks to technology catching up, we get this weekend to check out the film:

 

Movie: Gemini Man (2019)

 

Director:

Ang Lee

Writers:

David Benioff (screenplay), Billy Ray (screenplay)  |3 more credits »

Stars:

Mary Elizabeth WinsteadWill SmithClive Owen

 

 

LIKES:

  • The Comedy
  • The Acting
  • The Pace (somewhat)
  • The Action Scenes
  • The Technology

 

DISLIKES:

 

  • The Plot
  • The Predictability
  • The Commercial spoilers
  • More Action
  • The Ending

 

Summary:

 

Like any movie with darker/grittier themes, you sometimes need a good timed joke to relieve you from the cloud of dismay that hovers over the world.  Gemini does this without breaking its stride, finding ways to throw jabs and some banter into a rather linear, monotone dialogue and captivate on the laughs. Much of this is due to Benedict Wong for me, but Smith manages to get a little Fresh Prince vibes going into help get a chuckle.  Despite a number of reviews calling the acting mundane, this reviewer found that it was not quite the spectrum that people claim it to be, more so in the characters themselves.  Again, Wong manages to be the best one for me, with Ms. Winstead bringing a close second alongside the younger version of Will.  The chemistry is sort of there, but it works to bring the simplistic chess pieces into this story and get the thrills going.  Instead of award-winning performance, the focus of this film is definitely going for the action setting, and this is where I think the studio’s efforts shine.  First off, the pace is much like an action film, trying to get started on a high note, and diving into valleys of jargon and one-note conversations that try to complicate a rather simple plot before going into the action sequences.  At these exciting moments is where I give my favorite aspect to, for they were able to bring most of the scenes to the level of excitement I wanted without breaking their reality.  Chase sequences and close combat really shined for me in this movie, with the technology and camera work, alongside the sound effects of course, being designed to add that adrenaline-fueled excitement that I love.  For the technology itself, I give Lee and his team props because they successfully accomplished the impossible of de-aging and it looks smooth as silk (for most parts) and beautifully done.  A young Will Smith vs. his older self was the selling theme and they capitalized on this technology that is sure to come into play with the next decade of films.

 

As I have to agree though, there are limitations that come with this special effects loaded cinema piece.  First of all, the plot took a major hit, designing itself more around action scenes instead of vice-versa.  It’s a predictable piece of work with targets drawn in red well before any action occurs, with a rather shallow version of this whole ordeal, and back stories that are mediocre at best for me.  Not diving into the emotional pieces, or at least exploiting them a little, left for simplistic characters and monotone pieces that offered little to grasp on to outside of when the next display of fighting would occur.  What took away from the splendor of this is the amount of advertising that sort of flooded every avenue of media.  You’ll get much of the tale in the commercials, with only one twist avoiding its eye, though you can probably piece it together.  Thus, only the full extent of the action scenes escapes the spoiling component and is worth the investment.  Yet, again for an action movie I was hoping for a little more of the high energy scenes than what I got.  Gemini man proved its strength and it needed to flex more of those moments instead of this cat and mouse game of dialogue and shallow character development. This is especially true at the ending, where everything is super rushed, hastily finished, and very lack luster that just reveals all the predictable plot elements and tries to handle loose ends.  Sure, it’s got a bit of a 90s closer at the finish that I liked, but the climax was a peak that was shorter than the mid movie point.

 

The VERDICT:

            In truth Gemini Man is not awful, but it certainly is not the spectacle that the trailers tried to build up, but in truth it does have some qualities I think that they wanted to achieve.  Above all, the technology accomplished the goals set out by the project in terms of de-aging someone and making it look super believable.  Throw in that most of the technology comes together to make for action scene spectaculars that will have fans dancing in their seats in excitement at this fast-paced feature.  Sadly, the reviewers are right that the plot and characters are very simplistic, with a predictable and low developed plot shoved into the run time, where focus on action leads to hasty wrap ups and a sloppy finish for this reviewer.  Perhaps if more time had been looked into the plot as the technology it would have pleased more, but for the wait, well it is not quite worth it for this guy.  Therefore, my scores are:

 

Action/Drama/Sci-fi:  6.0

Movie Overall:  4.5-5.0