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)



Melina Matsoukas


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


Daniel KaluuyaJodie Turner-SmithBokeem Woodbine




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




  • 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)



Rian Johnson


Rian Johnson


Daniel CraigChris EvansAna de Armas




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



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



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)



Marielle Heller


Micah Fitzerman-BlueNoah Harpster


Tom HanksMatthew RhysChris Cooper





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




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




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:



Brian Kirk


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


Chadwick BosemanSienna MillerJ.K. Simmons




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



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




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.



            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:




Frozen II (2019)



Chris BuckJennifer Lee


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


Kristen BellIdina MenzelJosh Gad



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



  • 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



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)



James Mangold






Surprisingly Decent Pace


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




The Predictability


The Drama Vs. Reality

A Little More Integration Of The Wife

The Ending After The Race




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.




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)




Elizabeth Banks


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


Kristen StewartNaomi ScottElla Balinska






The Music

Some Of The Comedy

The Pace

Kristen Stewart’s New Emotion


The Outfits




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




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 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


Not Lying, This Convoluted Movie Is Slow And Not As Entertaining

The Good Liar Poster


Honesty, a notion that continues to get lost in the morals of the modern age as the ideas of furthering one’s interest overtake the logic.  While lies do have a place at some points, what happens when one makes a career out of it, with no thoughts of the consequences?  Tonight another book turned movie attempts to answer that question and potentially in a high-class presentation.  My last film of this weekend is one that holds great promise with two leading legends, and this reviewer hopes it’s going to be amazing finish.  Let’s get ready to rumble as I look into:


Movie: The Good Liar (2019)



Bill Condon


Jeffrey HatcherNicholas Searle (novel)


Helen MirrenIan McKellenRussell Tovey





Layered Story

Convoluted Game Of Lies

Nice Clues Set About





Some Layers Are Convoluted

Presentation of The Twists

Some Story ideas not necessarily needed

Not Quite As Big A Spy Thriller As I thought

The Pace





Basing a movie about a novel is an art, and that can be difficult given the attention spans and time management they have to have.  The Good Liar feels very much like a book with a layered story that is worthy of a complicated Thriller, filled with not only a lot of twists to throw one off the trail, but also multiple layers to the characters.  In this convoluted game of lies, my engagement relied on trying to figure out what was truth and fiction, and more so what lied at the bottom of the well of deceit for both characters.  McKellen’s character in particular has multiple avenues to figure out, trying to piece all of them together to uncover the truth behind this quiet, intense character.  For most of the movie, there are clues being laid out to assist with figuring the truth, but as for others well those clues are a little harder to figure out, further opening up the mystery aspect of the film.  Yet, the factor I think most will enjoy and what I believe is the strongest aspect is the acting.  The Good Liar does not have much in terms of action, suspense, or even quick pace, so the acting has to be on point.  No worries on this aspect, for the two English legends show why they are masters of their trade.  Mirren has her part down well, and as the plot progresses, one gets to see her character evolve tow which she accomplishes with class.  McKellen on the other hand brings several characters from previous films to bay and does so with such poise, elegance, and tenacity that you wonder how he has not been in more Sherlock Holmes films.  Their chemistry together is wonderful, and seeing the gradual transformation throughout the film was fabulous to watch to see how well they play off of each other.


This movie though is not going to be for the general audience, for this movie is going to be less entertaining and more artistic in terms of storytelling.  For one thing, the layers of this movie are convoluted, stacked layers that require paying attention in hopes of gleaming any information.  It seems like the movie throws so much into the short time period that the focus is too spread and somewhat boring to discover.  When twists do get thrown into the mix, the distractions become so frequent that the haphazard throwing sort of gunked up the works and made for a lackluster presentation.  Finally when the twists arrive, they seem sort of random and out of the park, that it did not quite feel relevant or cohesive with the rest of the film until the final sequence.  My guess is that the book does a much better job at explaining the internal thoughts, and in that lies the secrets to the relevance of the true secret. I think the thing that fooled me was the spy thriller aspect I thought the trailers were presenting it as.  Instead, The Good Liar is much more about the drama component for me, so this made for a less exciting film for me at least in regards to suspense and thrills.  Finally, the pacing is probably the biggest turn off from me.  When you look at all the other dislikes I had, the very slow pace does not do much to sell sitting through nearly two hours of this convoluted tale.  It makes the movie sort of drag for me and the bloated story made it feel longer so I would strongly encourage having max energy for this one.




The Good Liar is certainly an example of fine artistic crafts of cinema.  It feels like a very classy movie that relies on layered characters, deception, and secrets to draw most of the entertainment value and keep you engaged in the film.  It also helps that there is great acting to bring out these complex characters, with the chemistry really showing between the two masters of the acting craft.  Yet it is this complexity that is also the limiting factor for most audiences.  All the attempts to redirect you, the story layers that require one to pay attention, the redirections that continue to fly at you throughout the film, and some semi-rando turns may make most look at the film in confusion.  In addition, the slow pace is going to be a turn off for those with short attention spans, so get yourself ready for that.  Overall, the movie is not awful, but the film needed a little more refinement for this reviewer to say go to the theater to see it.


As such here are my scores:


Drama/Thriller:  6.5

Movie Overall: 5.0

Will This Christmas Flick Deliver A Holiday Gift?

Last Christmas Poster


There is always something about the Christmas time of the year that brings out the good will in movies.  Somehow the monotonous television specials, the move theaters itself, and even the atmosphere are all given a renewed glow that seems to lighten us up.  Yet, in a flooded market trying to capitalize on the big time of the season, we can sometimes get things crammed in that don’t need to be crammed in.  So in November at this early stage of the holiday months, getting a Christmas movie makes me wonder how the quality of the film will be if coming out this early.  As always, Robbie K coming in to give you his thoughts on whether or not the movie will match what the trailers suggested it would be.  As such, let’s get started as I take a look into:


Movie: Last Christmas (2019)







Good Acting

Comedy That is Not Overdone

Fun and A good atmosphere

Good Message For The Times

Fast Run Time

The Music





Dryer Sense Of Humor Required

Needing More Time To Tell A Detailed Story

The Semi-Superficial Romance

The Overdone Ending

Lacking That Big Punch





Let’s face it, I was not the most excited seeing the trailer for this film, but I was hoping that there would be some Christmas magic to assist with bringing it to life.  Well my wish came true in the form of acting, with all the leads making for an entertaining, dysfunctional group.  Emelia Clark was of course my favorite, especially taking center stage, bringing the roundabout character of Kate!  Henry Goulding’s charm works to offset the theatrics of the supposed messy character, his calm level headedness bringing its own magic that lvies up to the theme of the movie.  And as for Emma Thompson, well another new light for the woman who wears so many faces.  Outside of the quaint characters with major flaws, Last Christmas attempts to find the means of being different while still sticking to its guns from the trailer.  For those looking for a typical American based comedy, you’re in for a surprise as the movie turns to British roots for a comedy style that is a bit drier and catered to a more finite audience.  Despite not being the comedy line craziness that most are expecting, the movie maintains a fun atmosphere, capturing the meaning of the season and sort of infecting you in the Kate’s journey with this strange man.  This atmosphere of feeling good compliments all the previous mentioned likes and somehow gave me some energy to stay immersed in the film.  Of course a Christmas movie has to have a good message right?  Well, Last Christmas delivers its morale laden plot right in your face and manages to keep the time honored tradition in line with the movie without being too cheesy or over the top.  Yet for me, the music is the key to why I had fun.  Last Christmas does not saturate in the Christmas themes, but instead blends both traditional songs with some other tracks to keep things lighthearted and in rhythm with the messages.   If all of this does not sound good and you are being forced to go on a date, the fast run time should keep you satiated and not lose too many minutes of your life.


So let’s get into things that people will most likely not like or expect.  First off the movie is predictable.  A fine attempt at a twist, I had the surprise figured out well before stepping foot into the movie (yes the trailers were that obvious).  It’s a fine attempt, but the bread crumbs were a little too traditional so I can’t say I was moved like many of my fellow audience members.  As stated earlier, you need to have a drier sense of humor, and while I appreciated the wit, at times a nice wet joke sequence could have helped lighten the mood a little more.  Thus again, be warned this is not your average rom-com.  While the time limit may be beneficial in terms of getting out of there, it also limited the detailed story I think most were looking for.  Last Christmas held potential to balance all these elements it wanted, but like much of today’s trends the stories were sort of rushed and irrelevant plot points were hastily tied up when not needing to be included. This included the semi-superficial romance that while cute and endearing at the beginning was also not the romance aspect I expected they would go, (there are many Hallmark movies that do better than this one).  Again its sincere and  a bit more sentimental, but it needed more time to get the full effect for me.  When the ending does finally arrive, it finds almost the perfect place to stop, but then like the ending of Return of The King, the movie goes one step too far to show how things are going to be okay.  This ending montage approach is nice to show the future, but about five minutes earlier would have been better for me.  Finally, I think the thing most are hating is that the movie is lacking a big punch that Christmas movies need for the theater visit.  This movie sort of lacks that and I think from some of the thing said by fellow audience members, I have to agree that it needs that final ounce of oomph to get to gold star status.




What you see in the trailer of Last Christmas is almost what you get with this film.  The cast shows good chemistry and brings their bag of tricks to the mix to make for a fun cast of characters that I think will charm most.  It’s nice that a Christmas comedy managed to still have heart and fun, not overdoing the humor and giving me a film that had good life lessons and positive atmosphere to enjoy, with a fun accompanying sountrack.  Still, the movie fails for me in terms of bringing that big Christmas punch that I expect from these films, suffering from superficial gimmicks, semi complete story lines, drier humor, and a relationship that is sentimental but not what I thought it would be. Overall, the movie is enjoyable with a group, but I think it would find a better home on Hallmark or a local streaming.  However, if you are looking for a feel good Christmas movie this early, check this one out.


My scores for its genre are:


Christmast/Comedy/Drama/Romance:  8.0

Movie Overall:  5.5



Managed To Make It Midway To A Quality War Film

Midway Poster


War is hell a wise person once said, and in many ways we the general public have no idea what it was like on those battlegrounds where so many sacrificed so much.  Fortunately for many of us, the movies have offered a glimpse into the world, opening our eyes to the world that cares little of its soldiers in regards to decency and humane treatment.  Many of these films are often about the action, and while not as prominent as they once were back in the day, they still offer some intense views of history.  Past this introduction, this weekend, yet another historical remake is flying in to make a landing, in hopes of wowing the group once more with its depiction of the great war.  Robbie K here with yet another review as we look into:


Movie: Midway (2019)





The Modern Technology Prowess

Multiple Aspect providing different viewpoints

The Intensity Of Some War Scenes

The Decent Acting

The Intelligence Aspect




Disjointed Plot

Too many Perspectives

The Semi Forced Love Story

The Choppiness of the scenes

Semi-sloppy use of big names

The Action Scenes




Modern technology allows us to make things more realistic and engaging, and should in theory lead to better fights.  In a way Midway accomplishes this by bringing the chaos with speaker booming effects, special effects that light up the screen, and dances with planes that once relied on plywood models.  It is certainly the selling points of the trailers and should appeal to the modern audiences expectations as realism and style come together.  This film though took a different approach compared to the previous theaters of war, not focusing so much on the action from America by itself, but instead dividing the focus between both parties involved.  This dynamic is impressive to see because it helps show the strategy involved in something you have only read about in a history textbook, allowing for a different appreciation of the tactics in war.  In fact, my favorite aspect, as well as my good buddy, both agreed that seeing the intelligence component involved with determining how to fight the Pacific campaign.  Much of the film is dedicated to showing how codes were cracked, departments coordinated, and risks were taken to determine the best places to strike and this new perspective was very strongly placed.  When the battles did finally occur, there are several moments where you get pulled into the intensity, feeling like you are part of the squad and in the cockpit during this operation.  Nice editing on these parts, and quite an adrenaline rush at the times it works.  Finally, the acting is not an issues in this film, as all personalities of war are brought in and everyone executes there roles quite well when they are on stage.  I’m not saying Academy Award Level, but it’s believable and appropriate for this film’s approach.


For all its worth though, there are several limitations for this reviewer that make the film a little less impressive compared to its predecessors.  For one thing, the film feels disjointed, as our time hops and evolution of war occur a little too frequently to necessarily keep track of everything.  All the pesrpectives, while again interesting, also have too much going on, leading to breaking up a lot of scenes just as they start cooking with gas.  The result is a rather contained movie that struggles to find the approach it wants, with choppy scenes that sort of scatter the coordination rather than unite it.  This is especially true for the romance story they try to put in here, which was unnecessary giving the presentation and could have been left out.  Throw in several attempts at character development, the potential bonds that can form between a number of characters, and even the squad mates themselves and you again get sort of piece meal presentations that did not achieve what Pearl Harbor did long ago.  Once more, this reviewer feels part of this is due to how many big names they have, trying to get the most out of the big price tags that come with them.  Midway’s crew acts just fine, but there were so many missed elements and character interactions that I feel many of these people were unnecessary.  Certainly they were able to point out all the contributions they did, but to deny the full fledged chemistry and quality, well that was the disappointment for me.  Finally, the action scenes.  An action junky like me always crave for cohesive battle scenes that utilize their groups well, something that the early war movies, and even some films like Saving Private Ryan knew how to do.  In this one, all the perspectives and heroes were scattered that the action scenes felt again very sloppy and short, chopped up moments that ended too fast or how long it took to start.  Again realistically it accomplishes the portrayal, but at this point and with what the trailers built up… I wanted more out of a modern day, technological behemoth like this one looked to be.




Let’s wrap it up then shall we?  Midway accomplishes the idea of putting modern faces in traditional stories, and this theater of wars proves that trying new things does not always come together for this reviewer.  Sure, the technological advantages are good and all the actors recruited do their parts to bring the group of heroes to life and retell the legacies of men who faced the demons of war.  I’ll also again give them props for focusing a lot on the strategy and intelligence required to pull off the miracle that we did.  However, all of these perspectives and approaches to the story made for what looked like a difficulty to focus on the story they wanted to tell.  The result is again a disjointed movie that struggles to bring A games to any perspective, and relies on B and C graded stories.  Your truly would have loved a little more action to come together, as the trailers promised, but at least the intelligence parts work together to make for an engaging plot.  For special effects it qualifies for a theater visit, but outside of that, hold this one for home viewing instead.


My scores are:


Drama/War/History/Action:   6.5

Movie Overall:  6.0