Queen Of Political Drama, But Slim On Secondary Character Development. Editing Convolutes Story

Queen & Slim Poster

 

Another holiday, another week to try and get the most out of the movies and the shopping frenzy of Black Friday.  Tonight’s feature is another political drama that will potentially lead to much discussion, potential motivation, and certainly a lot of discussion about the quality of the movie.  Given the heated reviews I’ve seen so far, I’m going to do my best to put an objective focus on this review and give you heads up as to whether or not one should take this film in for the holiday theater run.  Let’s get started as I look at:

 

Film: Queen and Slim (2019)

 

Director:

Melina Matsoukas

Writers:

Lena Waithe (screenplay by), James Frey (story by)

Stars:

Daniel KaluuyaJodie Turner-SmithBokeem Woodbine

 

 

LIKES:

  • Acting
  • Symbolism
  • Adventure mixed with Morals
  • Cultural Representation Tasteful At Times
  • Music

 

DISLIKES:

 

  • Long
  • Slow Pace
  • Super political at parts that detracts from story
  • Secondary character are sort of at lost
  • A bit stereotypical at times
  • Lazy writing in dialogue at times
  • Predictable
  • Editing Issues

 

The Verdict:

 

Queen and Slim’s two main leads are stellar, taking very shallow characters and evolving their performances with to match the development. Their chemistry is fantastic with each other, really delivering a believable relationship that does not feel forced or scripted, but rather natural and flowing.  It’s this component that will be the core foundation for the film, as both Kaluuya and Turner-Smith are capable of delivering the politically charged content in heated yet classy ways.  As you can guess, this movie has a lot of hot topics built into it, and the movie utilizes the cinematography to bring lots of symbolism into the film. Sequences are designed to capture the full power of many topics of interest, attempting to again balance the heat of the moment with an objective take sort of capturing a news debate in a more entertaining form.  Queen and Slim’s adventure is definitely a road trip that should be engaging for target audiences of drama/political lovers, but for those looking for messages to motivate you should see this achieved as well.  Preachy at times (as most of these films are), this tale does a nice job of instilling the writer’s values into a classy, ethical manner that will provide some food for thought and reanalyzing one’s approach to these arguments. In addition, several members in my audience mentioned that they appreciated the cultural representation at key moments and the importance of pride and reputation as several secondary characters showed.  I found that though stereotypical, it was tasteful compared to what other movies have done in the past.  Finally, the music has enough musical genres to make an entertaining soundtrack, with R&B, Rap, and Hip hop ready to blast through the speakers during transition sequences.  Not the most relevant in terms of story, but a good soundtrack is always welcome in my book to get my feet moving.

 

However, I agree with my reviewers there are some decisions made in this movie I felt detracted from the messages and story they wanted to tell.  My limitation starts with the length of the film and the pace that did not support the length.  Much of the film feels very drawn out, bloated sequences that did not need to be present, while other times it was a little too focused on pointing out the obvious.  As I mentioned earlier, Queen and Slim requires the two main characters to be the focus of all the political writing in the movie.  While they excel at this, the supporting characters are a little too much in the background for my tastes.  Like connecting the dots, the farther the two travel the more diluted the characters become, leading to plain interactions with most, often to introduce a new angle and conversation topic to discuss.  I’ll admit I liked seeing the influence the two had, especially at the end, but I had hoped for a little more progression and pertinence than what we got.  The truth is that this film really focuses on hitting all the political issues so hard that it sort of drives off from the story and leave the main characters in side scenes while the people they have talked to “evolve” so to speak.  Most of these scenes were… okay, but a couple were so convoluted and unnecessary, that I only saw it as a more time extension than quality shot, again meant for a politically charged audience.  Throw in much of the writing is again back to lots of cursing and insults to go with the stereotypical portrayals and well, you sort of drown the better writing in this representation.  Overall, the main thing that this movie suffers from is the editing and trying to be too tastefully political in the sequences sort of diluted the incredible potential of the story.

 

  Queen and Slim is a drama that has important messages for the world to see and think on, and does a decent job with not making them too aggressive.  Yet, in terms of an entertaining story that has the full picture of suspense, discussion, and storytelling it still has areas of improvement to go.  It’s the editing and how much they wanted to include that I think got this film in trouble, and because of the side tangents and attempts to personify the problems in this character, the story got scattered.  For those that want their political ideals represented and relate to the trials each character has, this movie is a theater visit, but for the rest of the audience, I feel the investment at a home watch is going to be key to maximizing your experience. 

 

My scores are:

 

Drama:  7.0

Movie Overall: 5.5

 

Unsheathing the Comedy And Drama, Knives Out’s Tale Is Sharp!

Knives Out Poster

Mystery movies can certainly be fun, but the refined art of mapping out a crime can be a challenge in this world with ever shrinking attention spans.  However, there are still writers and directors out there ready to give it a try in hopes of bringing thought out plots back into the popular trend.  Tonight’s review holds such a promise and even more so it holds another redeeming trial for a director whose involvement in Star Wars was not the best received.  With lots of advertising, I’m sure you have seen the trailers so let’s get going as I review:

 

Film: Knives Out (2019)

 

Director:

Rian Johnson

Writer:

Rian Johnson

Stars:

Daniel CraigChris EvansAna de Armas

 

 

LIKES:

  • Acting
  • The Cinematography
  • The Plot Is A Good Mystery
  • Better Twists Than Anticipated
  • Involvement With Most Of The Cast
  • The Comedy

 

DISLIKES:

  • Some rather worthless characters
  • The Run Time
  • The Pace
  • Perhaps A Little More Murder

 

The VERDICT:

With an assembled cast such as this, you can best bet the acting will be at least moderate, and for me it was a fantastic display of work.  All parties assembled really play the dysfunctional role well, portraying the motive filled shouts and complaints to an art that did not annoy or go overboard.  Too many names to place, I’ll say that Craig was entertaining in his role of Colonel Saunders (a running joke) meeting James Bond as the detective, primarily in his interactions with Marta.  Ana de Armas was the star for me not only because of her character, but more so in the way she played the levels of emotion perfectly and interacted with the squad the most to balance this art.  Past the acting, the movie really picks up in terms of the visual presentation, feeling much like a detective movie from the 50s-80s, but modernizing it to the present day.  It should captivate many mystery lovers, but more so generic fans who can point out a lot of devices and nods to famous detective sagas.  However, the movie’s main selling point is the presentation of the story that let’s face it has been told time and time again in a Hallmark like fashion.  Johnson, for me, accomplished the role of bringing out a good mystery, not only in the classic hunt for clues and mapping out suspects, but adding some nice twists to the mix.  If you are paying attention to time and some info, you’ll start getting an idea, but this film’s twists (no matter how convoluted) do manage to spruce up the dusty manor of detective works.  An even better angle for me, is the character utilization, while not perfect, every character has a purpose in some form or angle, with few sitting off to the sides as just mere bodies to fill a convenient hole or bridge.  If not for the sake of the plot, then the character was used for comedy and that may be my favorite part of this movie.  Knives Out manages to be very humorous in the regards of the comedy aspect, with well written dialogue, delivery of those lines, and timing wrapping up nicely to leave many laughing during my showing.  That I feel will be a pull for many audience members, though don’t expect usual slapstick, banter, and ridiculous, logic defying stunts to be pulled here, or you’ll be disappointed.

 

For such an artistic film though, there are still a few things I would have liked tightened up.  Though all characters were utilized in some form, I can’t lie at least three could have had more involvement than what they did.  Hinting at being a part of the plot, these characters were left to the passing comments or joke props until that one moment a clue contributed.  That family engagement they sold in the trailers, needed some more development for me to keep everyone entangled in the mess as opposed to on the side.  In addition, the plot could have used a little more murder and threats to help spice up the drama/mystery, as I am partial to the deadly games of hunting in my movies, than anything else.  For a movie selling that murder, I had kind of expected something else, but it’s a mere trinket.  I can say the thing I had the hardest time with was the run time and the pace.  Knowing it’s a Johnson movie, I expect it to be long, and for the most part the movie ran at a good enough pace that it did not feel super long, but other times did show the dragging I dreaded.  I can say that there were parts that could have been cut out to shorten the length, or at least rewritten to include the character interaction I mentioned above.

 

So in conclusion, what are the thoughts on this controversial movie/tale.  To be honest, I do think it is a reimagining of Clue, and took a step into the modern world to help reach out to the new audiences.  It’s got the presentation of a mystery, with twists to help bring our well-acted characters together and entertain us with their drama. Comedy is also pulled out of the sheath and I think these two elements are the biggest selling factors to brave the nearly 2.5 hour run time Johnson has put forth.  As such, I feel this movie is worth a shot at hitting the theaters for those looking for a drama/mystery/comedy, while others will most likely enjoy from the comfort of their homes.

 

My scores for Knives Out are:

 

Comedy/Crime/Drama:   9.0

Movie Overall:  8.0

It’s A Beautiful Film For Thanksgiving!

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Poster

 

In today’s world, it is so funny to see who we idolize in our world given the rise of reality television, political filters being removed, and politics making grandiose characters.  However,  amidst the islands of these extreme characters, there are real champions who strive to make others happy and the darkness of the world a little more manageable.  Mr. Rogers was considered by many to be one of those saints, making a program that was entertaining and yet moving in his approach to the real world. So why not make a film that dives into the life and impact that Mr. Fred Rogers had, and put it just at the forefront of the season of giving.  Well my friends, Robbie K is back for another look  at the latest film to determine if it is worth the price of admission.  Let’s get started as we look at:

 

Movie:  A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood (2019)

 

Director:

Marielle Heller

Writers:

Micah Fitzerman-BlueNoah Harpster

Stars:

Tom HanksMatthew RhysChris Cooper

 

 

LIKES:

 

  • Nostalgia
  • Presentation
  • Balance Of Story And Rogers Involvement
  • The Character Development
  • The Comedy and Writing
  • The Acting

 

DISLIKES:

 

  • The Pace
  • Some Character Utilization
  • Drama vs. Realism Question

 

The VERDICT:

 

While the documentary dove into the history of Rogers, this installment helps bring the magic of one man’s impact on the world.  A Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood is an artful film that captures the magic of Rogers’ approach to life and presents it in a style that seems to be a doctored-up version of the show.  The transitions using Roger’s model like world were cute, alongside how they presented the meat of the subject as a surrealistic episode that somehow acts as a counseling session to the audience members.  This film balances the story of the other characters and incorporates Rogers involvement in the world, leading to a fantastic portrayal of character development without discarding all the other components of the film.  Writing wise, it will hit the hearts of many, rich with wisdom and thought-provoking material without being too preachy or forced as many movies can be.  The comedy is subtle, a natural inclusion that is not artificial, leading to a genuine laugh that adds a layer to the movieFinally, the acting is the cornerstone of the film, Hanks execution of Rogers spot on in many ways, while Rhys as the journalist is a wonderful antagonist to Hanks, whose performance is a display of the kind of commitment friendship sometimes takes.  While the rest of the cast is there to support the group in many ways, it’s these two alongside the presentation that delivers the hammer.

There are few dislikes I have for this film personally, with many of these a little nitpicky on my part.  For one thing, the pace and content are not going to be for everyone, but the pace in particular had me fighting sleep at times.  In addition, I had hoped other characters would have been worked into the mix, while others sort of forgone, to really tie in all of Roger’s aspects in his attempt to help Lloyd.  Finally, there are moments where reality vs. dramatization come into play, questioning the choices of the shot or sequence that while symbolic were not fully necessary for me. 

 

Overall though, the movie is a beautiful portrayal of the messages the beloved kid’s host had, and the impact he had on so many.  It’s not going to be for everyone, and it certainly is not the most engaging in terms of entertainment or originality.  Yet, for those that love dramatic biographies, or need a spiritual message into the movie, this humble look at the sad parts of life and how to maintain humanity should be a welcoming start to the spirit of the holiday season.  So wrapping all of this together, my scores for this film are:

 

Biography/Drama:  8.0

Movie Overall:  7.0-7.5

Is This a Bridge To The Next Big Crime Movie? 21 Bridges Review

 

21 Bridges Poster

 

Cop dramas have continued to storm the television cable channels for decades in an attempt to rope us into the exciting life of the public service department. Despite the numerous switches in uniform (e.g. numerous shows), these things continue to be very popular in both reruns and new episodes watched.  In the world of movies though, well they seem to have left the big screen, with most not taking the chance to tell a story when episodes can do it so better.  Today though, we have a movie that after several delays is finally coming out in hopes of making its name in the cinema world.  Robbie K here to offer some quick thoughts as I review:

 

Director:

Brian Kirk

Writers:

Adam Mervis (screenplay), Matthew Michael Carnahan (screenplay)

Stars:

Chadwick BosemanSienna MillerJ.K. Simmons

 

 

LIKES:

  • Moves Quickly
  • Detective Story
  • Not Politically Infused
  • Good Acting, on most accounts
  • Realistic
  • Action Scenes Are Pretty Decent

 

DISLIKES:

  • Predictable
  • Same Plot as A Recent Movie
  • The Writing At Times
  • Some Characters Are Wasted
  • More Action Scenes

 

SUMMARY:

 

Cop dramas appeal, according to my friends, is that they are contained in episodes that are short run times and cookie cut episodes so you have not invested too much time.  Fortunately, 21 Bridges is doing the same thing, leading to a quick pace and short run time to tell the story, avoid the fluff, and capture the crime component in a nice package.  A detective story at the core, 21 Bridges focuses on the intelligence gathering and coordination to paint the visual picture of catching two cop killers in an impressive display of technology and intuition.  This King T’Challa without the Marvel syndrome manhunt really works for those like me who enjoy the crime busting element more than the political components that come with these series, and I enjoyed not having politics shoved in my face.   As my buddy also said, the movie is also realistic, adding that mortal edge to the movie to help once more drive the suspense, for one lucky shot or ambush is going to lead to a world of trouble for all parties.  This even bleeds over to the action scenes, which are exciting when they show up and yet never venture too far into the Fiction realm where superpowers and super solider syndrome come into play.  Finally, the acting ties it all together, every actor taking their role and bringing it to life in a realistic means.  While everyone deserves a nod, it’s Boseman who is the star and heavy lifting as a believable cop, with a super smart skill of hunting down crime.  It’s multi-layered at times, yet never out of control, as the action and intelligence combine to make things look even more impressive as he mixes well with his crew.

 

Yet the movie suffers from some major components for me in regards to the quality or originality of the movie, especially given the number of delays this movie had in release.  In regards to the acting, I’d have liked to have seen more character involvement with some of the other culprits in this movie.  This manhunt brings a lot of players in only to sort of drop them in the background within minutes of introduction.  I’m of the mindset of using characters in a film to the fullest, but if this is a series set for sequels, this blow is not quite as bad for me.  The writing at times is a little too simplistic and lazy for me, once more taking the realism factor a tad too far in making them swear at every chance they get.  At times it fits, but this reviewer is all about finding ways to balance the cursing with, you know not too much cursing as it gets annoying, bloated, and for me comes off lazy.  In addition, I had expected a lot more action given the trailers, but the realism factor sort of gets rid of the gunplay, and puts instead a more style of chasing, running, and hiding.  Perhaps the opening sequence was a false lead, but I had hoped for more of those moments between elite agent and his prey.  Yet, the biggest thing for me that is the biggest limitation is the predictability and staleness of the plot.  Most originality is dead, I get it given the market, but this movie coming so close to Black and Blue, alongside sticking too close to other plots it makes the tale a little boring without some more theatrics.  The predictability of the plot had me hoping for twists, but it just did not work despite the attempts at deception.

 

The VERDICT:

            When it comes to crime drama, 21 Bridges is an old tale with a fresh coat of paint.  It works well for those who are fans of the television crime show syndicate, with a fast-paced detective story where a central character will be your anchor to the familiar movements of the series.  It’s very well contained in terms of realism, has a great cast to follow, and enough elements of the shows to please fans without getting lost in politics.  Yet, the film fails in terms of originality, sharing too much with recent crime films, not utilizing other characters well, and the action scenes not being the most memorable to justify the predictable plot. Still, if you are looking for something to break up the rerun monotony of the crime TV shows, then check this one out and enjoy the fresh coat applied.  Otherwise, hold out on this one for a watch at home movie on your favorite streaming or rental app. 

 

My scores are:

 

Action/Crime/Drama:  7.5

Movie Overall:  7.0

The Movie Storm Is Strong In Showmanship, But Brittle In Storytelling

          Frozen II Poster

 

Years ago, Disney unleashed a movie that stormed its way across the theaters and bringing with it a blizzard of merchandising in the form of Frozen. This empire would span across the years, allowing Anna and Elsa to find their way into many avenues, including the shorts that were mixed in reception.  While a little overrated in regards to avenues, the movie proved a soundtrack could flourish when putting just the right touches to it.  After reading the bridging book and seeing the trailers, the inevitable Frozen II looked to be promising for breaking away from the song and dance, love musical and push towards a more fantasy lore, a direction I so looked forward to it.  Robbie K is back to give you another look at the movies, and help guide your movie going preferences. So let’s get cracking at:

 

Movie:

 

Frozen II (2019)

 

Directors:

Chris BuckJennifer Lee

Writers:

Jennifer Lee (screenplay by), Jennifer Lee (story by)

Stars:

Kristen BellIdina MenzelJosh Gad

 

LIKES:

  • Voice Acting/Vocals
  • World Design
  • Pace Moves
  • Beautiful Animation
  • Touching At Times
  • Olaf’s comedy at times

 

DISLiKES:

  • Predictable (majorly)
  • Spirit design/usage
  • The Story Is Weaker
  • Under Utilized Characters… majorly
  • The Twist
  • The Lack Of Impasse
  • The Preachiness/Politics
  • The Overdone Humor
  • The Forced Singing… again

 

SUMMARY:

Animated movies rely on the art of voice work, and for a Disney animated film that often requires the ability to sing as well.  Fortunately, the cast is able to bring both in a variety of styles to bring the atmosphere of Frozen back in full form Menzel’s ability to blow us a way with bellows was mesmerizing and certainly my favorite of the songs in terms of style and storytelling, while Bell’s work leaned more towards the regular conversations and bringing emotional punches.  The chemistry between them is certainly decent, and the bonding of sisterhood comes out with every performance.  As for Gad, well he reprises his goofy side kick role with that childlike voice that works so well for the naïve collection of ice crystals, sticks, and coal.  Past the voice acting though, Frozen II is a beautiful display of animation pushing the boundaries, bringing more realistic edges, the contrasting colors to add spice, and fluid movements that continue to bring the magic of these movies.  It’s a stunning display of time commitment to details, bringing nature and Nordic culture to new levels and yet wishing you could make that light show come to life.

Moving past the vocals and animation though, the movie’s content continues to be awesome depending on who you are and what you are looking for.  For parents and guys like me, the pace moves better than the first in terms of getting the plot moving and keeping the adventure spirit alive.  Kids should like the fact of not diving too big into the details of fantasy, while adults can take a breath in not getting stuck in a drawn-out film that is boring.  In regards to an older audience, Frozen II continues to find moments to be touching, still kicking to its roots of promoting Princess power and sisterhood, and finding other avenues to pull at heart strings in a better way than the first film.  There were scenes that gave me goosebumps and that’s powerful in my book.  Finally, the silliness of the franchise is still ready to come out and entertain both groups, primarily in Olaf who has matured into new avenues of comedy that are charming, funny, and somehow innocent all at the same time.  A step up from the last film, the loveable snow man serves as comedic relief and supporting actor, a nice job as always.

 

Now comes the things I feel the movie took hits on in terms of quality. In regards to the design elements the movie does not have many flaws with only one maybe two things that could have used some updating.  Mainly, the spirit design was what got me, a potential to really unleash some Nordic creativity and make some truly wicked designs.  Two of these succeeded for me, one was cute and a nice change, and one, the wind spirit, failed to impress me.  I understand the elements they used it for, but it missed the mark in terms of creativity and ingenuity compared to its fellow spirits.

Plot wise however, the movie starts fizzling out and showing Disney’s vulnerabilities sometimes in their creations.  For one thing this is one of those films that is super predictable.  Within the first 10-15 minutes of the film, many of the story elements had been super foreshadowed and it did not get better from there as one predicted just about everything by midway.  Combine this with the pacing, and well you start seeing the weaker story that like first freeze is shaky in terms of supportParts of this are at fault for the poor character usage, as both old and new characters are tossed to the backburner in favor of the dynamic sister duo and their frozen side kick.  Fans of Sphen and Christoph, or looking for new characters to really be involved need to tone down the expectations now, for they have become diluted in this installment and are there to serve only small plot advancements or comedic sticks. The twist that comes at the end, well it was not much of a twist if you are paying attention, and instead one of those plot devices there to be inspiring to a key demographic, in that oh so preachy, political way that modern story telling loves to go.  If you were a fan of the first movie’s presentation, then you will love this one, but for those like me looking for balance, head in with a grain of salt to help stomach the very dramatic moments.  Something else for this reviewer is that impasses are also very brittle, with much of the conflict very shallow, one-sided and quickly resolved without much of a challenge.  If you remember the first one where things got pretty tense, where hunting, deceit and manipulation danced with our characters to cause deeper dives into the character psyche was very memorable.  This one tried to go a little more adventure like, but those moments blew over in minutes and seemed simplified which was disappointing for me.

I think the biggest contributor to the weaker story is the fact of Disney’s focus in jamming humor and singing where it is not needed, or in the amounts they do it in.  Olaf’s humor may be cute at all points, but the gags start to get old when they are force in there, which are obvious at times.  That pales in comparison to the songs though, which once more are trying to get the soundtracks selling like last time.  The second go round has some more emotional songs that are less gimmicky, fun, and dorky, but the problem for me is the volume they come in.  Once more i found many of the tracks to be sort of random moments to sing about emotions, and even worse the fact that the plot seems built around the songs again.  Frozen II also lost points for me at not utilizing the awesome musical pieces they used in the trailer and blowing me away with the symphony work, though they redeem with the covers at the end.

 

The Verdict:

 

            With a movie like this that has been too blown up, the expectations are high to be just as good as the original.  Frozen II casts a magic spell that was incredible in regards to animation, utilizing the elements well, and really bringing the elements of the first movie back for fun and trying to evolve on them.  It moves well, has humor that lightens up the mood, and yet very touching at others with its inspirational moments.  The movie certainly feels like a slightly beefed up version of the first  in terms of gimmicks of presentation of non-story elements, which in this day and age is often more important.  Yet, the story feels very deprived of the richness the book promised, not utilizing its characters well, getting a bit preachy at the end, and for me forcing songs in again rather than finding that balance.  When looking at this for recommendations… it works for a theater visit for many reasons and I really think fans of the first one will be spelled by the things its brings.  However, the sequel needs some tinkering for me to be the next best Disney film, and hope it’s not as overrated as the first one. 

Also stick around as there is a post credits scene following the covers at the end of the credits

My scores are:

 

Animation/Adventure/Comedy:  7.5

Movie Overall:  6.5-7.0

Gas Up The Engines And Drive Out To See This Rivalry

Ford v Ferrari Poster

 

When it comes to cars we like them fast and furious, or at least for many that is the dream as handling the monster speed can be overwhelming.  So that’s where racing comes in, a means to extend one’s self into the faceless visage of a Nascar or Formula One in hopes of seeing their heroes win.  Yet, what goes into a racecar?  For the die-hard fans and car enthusiasts they understand the mechanics behind it, but for fans like me, well there is a lot more under the hood of the vent.  Today’s movie is all about the battlefield of racing, though perhaps more of a look into the window of the past in the international racing venue.  Tonight we look at the rivalry between two big car empires, in their battle for supremacy as I review:

 

Movie: Ford Vs. Ferrari (2019)

 

Director:

James Mangold

 

 

 

LIKES:

 

Surprisingly Decent Pace

Funny

Plenty Of Character Integration

Seeing the Rivalry From Many Sides

The Technical Jargon Mixed Well

The Musical Score

The Sound Effects

The Heart

The Finale Of Racing

 

DISLIKES:

 

The Predictability

Loudness

The Drama Vs. Reality

A Little More Integration Of The Wife

The Ending After The Race

 

SUMMARY:

 

Biography dramas usually don’t run at a pace that entertains me fully, but Ford Vs. Ferrari succeeded in this endeavor and put the pedal to the medal in storytelling.  The elements of describing the business deals, politics and even development of the car are all a carefully blended together to be engaging without being overbearing for this reviewer.  It finds a way to make all this business jargon funny, putting just enough spite, attitude, and stubbornness to work and masterfully relieving the dialog heavy plot.  What impressed me even more though was seeing the character integration into this film, finding ways to make characters I care about and how I hoped the policies would not shoot them in the foot, which is key to helping me stay invested in a drama.  Bale in particular was my focal point, his character having the most lines cast out and the central engine that drove this car.  He plays the part well, adds that charm he brings to many of his roles, and then melds with the rest of the teams.  Throw in all the dialogue filled with the jargon and you had me feeling like I was part of each group in the decision to battle the big boys.

However, despite all the heart of the film, most fans are going to want to know how the special effects department works in this film.  Good news, for America’s love of making things loud, bold, and powerful continues on this look back into the past.  For guys like me, the musical score at times amps up the elements with its background noise augmenting the scene and making my skin goosebumps rise in that emotional way.  Now add the layer of the sound editing and effects and you get the major effect of this movie.  Those who love to listen to their engines roar as they fly down the street, or identify the clicks of the perfect transition to the next gear are going to love this movie.  All those elements brought together with the theater sound drop you into the driver seat and gets the blood pumping.  Finally, combine that with the visuals and you’ve got yourself a movie that somehow takes what many consider a dry sport of turning left and instead give you the dynamic element of being in this life or death thrall.  When combined with the story, it’s magic and gives a purpose to remain entertaining, which can be very difficult in a racing movie without gimmicks (comedy of the Love bug or action of the Fast and Furious).

 

Despite the realistic nature of this film though, it still has some elements I would have liked to see curbed.  One, the predictability of the film is still there from the foreshadowing alone, though if you know the history of this movie’s plot you’ll of course predict the ending (which I didn’t).  Despite the appreciation for the special effects, yours truly has sensitive ears, so the full volume of the engine roaring can be a little painful/ingratiating if not careful.  These minor components aside, the movie’s constant question of drama vs reality comes into question, and I feel there was a lot of magic integrated into the film compared to the reality.  It adds entertainment, but I wonder just how much of this was true to paint the characters a little more notably, more so Matt Damon’s character or the arrogant vice president.  In terms of further character integration, I would have liked a little more of the wife, who though was involved throughout the film, felt there was a little more she could have had in here to really pull the film to full circle.  My biggest dislike though was the last twenty minutes of the film, which I will not spoil.  The film had another point that I felt would have been better to end, and while I understand why they did the last part in terms of closure, the last 15-20 minutes could have been edited down where I think the true story ended, wrapped up with a nice information card montage they do.  It’s times like these where the last piece is placed that sometimes throw me the wrong way, but I will of course recognize the honor and work they did do in those final moments.

 

The VERDICT:

 

Overall, Ford Vs. Ferrari delivered what I expected and more.  It was a drama/biography that was not boring to watch, with a pace that like the car continued to work and immersed you into many aspects of the war between these two.  A fantastic balance of story with technical prowess is going to be the entertaining factor for much of the audience and looking at the people around me during my showing should impress the target audience.  Sure, it’s predictable, a little time bloated, and loud, but the only factors are potentially the movie magic blowing things out of proportion and the potential ending that really had me bugging.  Otherwise, outside of not being the most original idea or the most dynamic telling of a story it works for a trip to the theater.

 

My scores are:

 

Drama/Biography/Sports:  8.5

Movie Overall:  7.0

I’m Sorry Angels, This Mission Did Not Quite Succeed

 

Charlie's Angels Poster

 

Charlie’s angels, a lovely band of female agents protecting the world one mission at a time.  Long ago, these super skilled beauties showed us that style, beauty, and skills could come together in one of the most memorable series of the golden age of television.  The progressive presentation of this series proved you could be fun and still not put too many politics into the mix, something this reviewer likes.  Question for tonight is though, can the modern age of politics and representation welcome the same principles, or will it warp it into its own format.  That’s where I come in to give my thoughts on the latest movie, in hopes of guiding your viewing pleasure.  Robbie K coming at you with another review, this time on:

 

Charlie’s Angels (2019)

 

 

Director:

Elizabeth Banks

Writers:

Elizabeth Banks (screenplay), Evan Spiliotopoulos (story by)

Stars:

Kristen StewartNaomi ScottElla Balinska

 

 

 

LIKES:

 

The Music

Some Of The Comedy

The Pace

Kristen Stewart’s New Emotion

Ella

The Outfits

 

DISLIKES:

 

The Predictability

The Semi Dead End subplots

The Forced Humor

The Plot Itself

The Direction Of The Characters

The Focus On Clothes

Unnecessary Dance Scene

Gadgets Are Not As Clever

The Fight Scenes

The Political Roles Beat Into the Mix

 

SUMMARY:

 

Never good when one of my reviews starts out with music, but in this case the soundtrack adds to the attitude of the movie.  A variety of styles will come into tickle the fancy, and may just get your toes tapping if you appreciate upbeat music like I do.  As most won’t care about this let’s get to some other things then.  The comedy has some good moments, a well-timed jab, pun, or insult that made me chuckle at how cute and well versed it was.  These moments were far between for me, but several members found the comedy a bit more golden.  One thing my audience and I agreed on is that the film does a nice job of keeping the pace, almost like an extended episode of the show meeting modern trends of flashy sequences.  It might not be the most original, clever, or even suspenseful, but it works to promote the fun that this movie holds, especially for the key demographic.  My bigger surprise though was seeing Kristen Stewart’s new emotion in this role and the character that she played.  Finally breaking out of the somber, monochromatic Bella Swan, Stewart’s dive into the world of the Angels is a plus for me.  Her new lifestyle fit well into the film and I seeing her show more emotional range than previous roles.  It’s her partner in crime played by Ella though I enjoyed.  This lovely actress held charm, pizazz, edge, and a deeper side than I expected, bringing good chemistry with her fellow angels and a modern addition that was story and character centric (very smart move).  Finally, like Ocean’s 8, the style of the dresses and outfits should be more than enough to inspire a shopping spree, as the wardrobe department accomplished great feats of sexy meeting modern, and maybe utility depending on the scene.

 

Yet for the likes I had for this film there was a fair bit of things that were not to my personal liking.  For one thing the predictability of the story is  not impressive, all the ruses and diversion are obvious tactics and could have been used for better action.  Sub plots to build back story were surprisingly one dimensional, dropping in 1-2 lines and never taxing our girls for more than 5 seconds and thus the characters interest were more on their gimmicks and the actresses abilities to bring them to life.  Even more forced was the humor, which like most of Banks works does not know when to quit when its ahead and throw timing/cleverness for as many political punches as possible.  It leads to a rather spotty plot for me that is more of a comedy than a thriller, which I expected, but wanted so much more out of just fun characters.  Despite the political component of the modern age, the characters again were not directed the way I wanted either and though again entertaining and acted decently, I think the direction was not the best.

Plot and character design complete, what about the presentation of the movie itself.  Well to be honest, the flash in the pan role approach took the center stage in my eyes.  While the outfits may be beautiful, I’ll admit that they were a little too much of the focus for this reviewer, with more emphasis of showing off sex appeal than anything else. Various scenes that started to gain mojo were quickly finished or diluted for things like attempts at sexual humor or a dance scene that served merely as a foreshadowing device for something to come (while also being about showing off the outfits).  Gadgets, famous for any spy movie and a tool that can elevate the plot were kind of simplistic, lacking the charm and design from other series that knew how to merge things in a more imaginative way.  Why go through the eccentric shots of devices if we aren’t going to utilize them as much? Poor planning perhaps, or maybe there was something else taking the stage.  In regards to fight scenes, they are okay, but this reviewer found many of them to be short bouts of very stiff choreographed fights, that merely repeated movements or held simplistic gunplay. There is nothing amazing about the brawls, and outside of some slight moments that will stick in your mind are quite forgettable.  Yet the thing I am not the biggest fan of, is the political focus that comes with most modern movies.  You can see it in the trailers, but Charlie’s Angels is all about spouting the message of girl power, from the opening dialogue and credits, to the painstakingly planned scenes that are all about showing how much guys suck.  Movies are famous for these hyperboles of character, but for the whole film to do this, well you lose the other qualities for me with this in your face approach.

 

The VERDICT:

 

The trailers will not lie to you, at least on some part, that Charlie’s Angels is geared towards a certain audience.  It’s stylish presentation of looks, outfits, and girl power is going to be the main appeal to audience members, with some comedy to help expand to other goers and acting that makes up the rather bland characters.  Yet, the movie suffers for me from being too focused on the superficial and not enough on the elements I remember from previous installments.  Sure the nostalgia is nice but all the plots are rather truncated, the humor is a little forced on me, action scenes could use a tune up alongside the gadgets, and the political presentation got old after a while.  However, it’s got enough oomph to check out in the theater, especially if you are part of the key demographics that will enjoy this.

 

This mission gets a score of:

 

Comedy/Action/Adventure/Thriller:  6.0

Movie Overall: 4.5