War Ready For Action. Needs Repairs For A Story

Pacific Rim Uprising


Giant Robots or Giant Monsters, which of the two titans is the better combatant for the silver screen?  That question has continued to test audience members discussion boards as behemoths like King Kong and Godzilla try to usurp the title from Optimus Prime and Megatron.  Tonight’s movie though, doesn’t make you choose, because it combines the two in an epic throw down that will hopefully please both sides of the spectrum.  Pacific Rim Uprising rears back to make some noise this weekend, and yours truly is here to report his findings on the latest silver screen smash to guide your viewing needs.  Let’s get started!



Special Effects:  Most will be tired of the CGI haven these movies have become, but yours truly appreciates the work that went into unleashing the havoc.  The design of the new robots gets a round of applause, with sleek angular designs, some new tricks, and a fluid movement that fit well with the Japanese monster movie feel.  Monster wise, the Kaijou aren’t as prominent as the first film, but once breached, the monsters have got their own unique design that is odd, but again fitting in theme, with movements that again work with the pace of the movie.  And of course, all the lights, punches, and collapsing buildings are beautifully brought to life in all their dazzling, speaker rustling greatness. 


The Story:  While certainly not the best to grace the screen, the movie’s predictable plot has a few twists and spins on the mix to keep things interesting.  In a movie where smashing and fights are the key, you don’t always get the deepest tale, but it works in explaining what happened in the ten years and the whole grand design of the plot.  Unlike its predecessor, the movie managed to cut off a lot of fat to present this in a neat, less than 2-hour, package.  As such, you have all the elements to put a reason behind the fighting and keep as many characters as involved.


The Acting:  Believe it or not, the acting is a step up from other films in this genre.  The main stars of John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, and Cailee Spaeny all work in that dysfunctional family united by challenging times way.  Still, they all manage to bring some power to otherwise simple characters that are semi-engaging to watch.  Of all of them… I think Boyega gets my vote for having the best acting of all, being pushed across all realms to make a balanced character.  As for Charlie Day and Burn Gorman, they are the comedic relief and do it well, but also manage to have some involvement in the story (nice directing) and not trying to sell themselves anyway. 


The Action:  I’ve gone through all the stuff you might care about, but let’s face it, this series is more known for its action and that’s what you want.  Well, for this reviewer it a step up compared to the first installment.  Timing the movie, about 70% of the film involved some type of action, a majority involving the metallic behemoths fighting one giant obstruction after another.  The battles have more variety than part 1, managing to help one differentiate one battle from another.  What makes me even happier to report, is that the team listened to reviews and actually utilized their other robots more, instead of dropping them out in five minutes flat.  While still not the greatest utilization of secondary robots, it was miles better for me in the long run, making the last 30 minutes of the movie, an action-packed climax to close the story out.




The Comedy at Times:  The movie is ridiculous, I get it, but the comedy sometimes is a little too ridiculous and distracting from the overall tone of the movie.  A random aside here and there works, but when over utilized as it is in this film, well…then it gets rusty and breaks down.  In addition, there are some asides that felt awkward at the moment they chose to unleash it, jumping in amidst the action scenes when they would have fit in other realms.  These culminations weren’t my favorite use of comedic relief, as I think it crossed into corniness a few times.


Shallow Character Development:  Monster movies are seldom about our main characters growing a lot, but we’ve had previous installments capable of achieving this balance.  Pacific Rim Uprising is not one of these movies.  While Boyega’s Jake has a little more complexity in terms of everyone knowing him, the rest of the cast have less depth to them past a few traumatic backstories to garnish them up.  This is highly evidenced in the other pilots outside the main crew who after getting named are reduced to the shadows given the grand complexity of the film.  Uprising proves too busy to invest in its characters, but most may not care as long as they get a good smashing.  Still better than the last few transformers though. 


Obsidian Fury:  As cool as the name and design, I had hoped the new bot would have more point to it, but this is again where the movie fails on at least a story level.  The antagonizing robot brings a pretty epic fist fight, but plot wise it felt out of place, a tangent leading down a path that was as cold as the artic frontier it somewhat takes place in.  Yes, there are some purposes it serves, but as the movie’s plot progresses, its relevance became less and less for me, until it was just a convenient distraction.


Trailer Syndrome:  One thing this day of advertising is famous for, is revealing too much in shorter movies like this.  Pacific Rim Uprising’s biggest spoiler is that much of that awesome last battle has already been shown in the trailers.  Catch all three of the trailers and you pretty much have pieced 75% of that sequence, with the other 25% feeling very nostalgic/overdramatic.  I had hoped for some more dynamic moments to bypass that syndrome, or less advertising, but I didn’t get my wish again.  So, avoid the trailers and you’ll be okay.



            Pacific Rim Uprising doesn’t pretend to be anything other than a monster/robot movie.  It gives you the CGI thrills, spills, and chills in terms of design and the sound editing beautifully complements it.  While the story is not the deepest, it works for the most part, allowing plenty of time to cram in the action you oh so wanted to see.  Yet, the movie still has to work on its balance learning to not cram so much into the film and maximize on elements that the movie is going to be known for.  In addition, stop revealing everything in the trailers and it means less elaborate scenes you have to shoot to make up for it.  So, looking for a monster vs. robot’s movie?  Look no further, because this film is a success in terms of the action and big battles that are theater worthy.  As a film as a whole though, the movie still has a lot of repairs to make, before it becomes war ready.  Oh well, we at least have a soundtrack to get you revved up. 


My scores:

Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi:  8.0

Movie Overall:  6.5



This Gringo Was Not The Heffe



Dark-Comedies are an acquired taste, but once you develop it you have the ability to appreciate more satirical comedy.  David Oyelowo attempts to bring this genre to life this weekend in the movie Gringo, a film that has some bite I didn’t expect from a movie this early in the year.  But what zany adventures will unfold when a black man is stuck between the high stakes world of pharmaceutical development and the cartels?  Well that is what this film attempts to answer, and it is my job to give you the 411 on the latest movies to storm the screen.  Let’s go!




-David Oyelowo Acting

-Morale dilemma

-Funny at times



Gringo is a movie that likes to go over the top, with characters that are all about going to one extreme or the other. However David Oyelowo is the character that has a little more dynamic than the other.  Oyelowo is fun to watch, for me being the funniest character with his loud, rambunctious delivery of lines that are loaded with high-pitched panicking screams. Yet he is able to turn that energy around, and focus it to give a character that is worth looking into as he tries to navigate the hostile world he wound up in.  Like his character Harold, Oyelowo keeps things very relatable and invests his time to making a good adventure.

But what is an adventure without a little ethics debate to come into the light.  Gringo does this just right as the conversation of doing the right thing vs. the selfish thing constantly rears its ugly head in the cartel wastelands that this film takes place in. Harold’s journey not only tests his own morals, but inspires others to address their own life choices, from settling on abusive boyfriends to what one will do to get money to accomplish their personal goals.  It fits okay into the movie, but there are some hard hitting dialogue moments to help reassure that the best stuff doesn’t mean the best life.

As stated earlier, dark comedies are a little dryer than other, more modern comedies so you have to be ready for more delivery and timing to do the lifting.  Gringo has some legit comedic moments, really taking an awkward situation and turning it into a tear inducing riot of laughs.  These moments often have a nice, clever zing to them, that Oyelowo maximizes using his natural accent and mannerisms.

And all of these components are able to be placed in a decently paced run time that minimizes the slow and maximizes the thrills.




-Curse heavy dialogue

-Not as funny as I had hoped

-Much ruined by trailers

-A little chaotic at the end


You’ve read my reviews, but you know that lazy writing that relies of cursing doesn’t get my stamp of approval.  Gringo has extreme characters that don’t use the most advanced language, relying once more on F-bombs and sleazy pick up lines to do the talking.  While pertinent to the story, for once, and sometimes entertaining, Gringo utilized these tactics too much for my tastes.  Even the yelling of Oyelowo got old, with many of his pleas soon running dry like the desert he ran through.  As such, this movie didn’t really have the comedic punch I wanted, but more a thrill seeking, dark adventure with a little comedic buff thrown in.  Perhaps this is also due to the fact that a lot of the funny parts had been advertised to death in the trailers, resulting in the overplayed scene being boring by show time. And once the last scene started to end and all the stories came together, things sort of wrapped up in a chaotic package that wasn’t in time with the movie.  Not the worst mind you, but not what I quite expected from the trailers.





Gringo is okay, and designed for a select audience that wants the darker things in life to be ridiculed.  This film is a legitimate mixture of drama, crime, adventure and comedy, taking these aspects and twisting it into a semi-entertaining story with some moral obligations to address.  While I enjoyed Oyelowo and the well-timed zingers, I still can’t say this was the best, most unique comedy to hit the screen.  The extreme characters, mundane dialog, and chaotic organization (ruined by the trailers), didn’t deliver the expected feel I got from the advertising and as such left more to be desired.  So I recommend skipping this one and hitting something else in the month of March.


My scores are:


Action/Comedy/Crime:  7.0

Movie Overall: 6.0


A Wrinkle In Story Telling, But A Time In Visuals



Another weekend, another literary classic to be remade by the lovely folks in La La Land.  The movie world continues to scrape deep for the next big fad, Disney brings A Wrinkle in Time to life, ready to unleash magic into the world.  With super star Oprah Winfrey backing the project and a number of stars to further support the film, and potentially bring in the big bucks.  Does it succeed, or should you just read the book?  Robbie K here to provide some insight into the movies ad guide your experience.  Let’s get started!



The Acting:  With a star-studded cast, one hopes for brilliant performances and Wrinkle in Time has some impressive displays of the theater arts.  Storm Reid’s career has started off well in this movie, a nice blend of passion fighting pessimism in a manner that feels very much like the whiney preteen age. Her fellow child actors are impressive, but the adult casts’ experience manages to shine forth.  Oprah’s words re limited, but her regality comes across well in her performance. Mindy Kaling’s lines are a little more dynamic, again executed to be entertaining, and while wise, not the most engaging of characters.  It’s actually Reese Witherspoon who was my favorite, bringing the most spunk, comedy, and character to the movie. Her chemistry with the cast was fantastic and her abilities certainly charmed much of the movie.


The Morals:  Like the book, the movie has a fantastic repertoire of lessons to teach the young audience members targeted by the film.  A Wrinkle in Time greatly praises the concept of hope, imbedding the driving, divine light of inspiring others to better themselves and motivate them to fight.  It’s focus on utilizing the positive to combat the negative emotions is something this world could easily learn from, and even more so in the ability to accept one’s faults and praise one’s strengths.  While a bit preachy in the dialog, the movie has those emotional moments to absolutely sell those life lessons and perhaps promote the next great person for them to endorse.  Still, use this movie as a means to educate those in the way of values of self-worth.


The Visuals:  What can I say, the best part of this movie is the fantastic world building is the world building this movie brought to the silver screen.  A Wrinkle in Time’s selling point is how beautiful the art department made all their characters and settings.  While the realistic Earth scenes are a cavalcade of traditional settings, the real majesty comes when our heroes begin to bend reality.  First the costumes of the misses are incredible, as their personalities erupt to life on each planet they visit.  Makeup and costume blend together perfectly, truly bringing out the beauty of each entity and reflecting their personal view of each world.  And once the costumes are recognized, the creation of the dimensional galaxy gets even better.  My favorite planet is the Flower planet (as advertised on the trailers) as it blended all the color and visual stunning goodness into one area. However, there are plenty of other things hidden in behind the trailers to be impressed with.




The Story:  It starts off so strong, but soon the plot takes a major hit in quality because of how rushed it feels.  Once the traveling begins, the movie’s plot hits a major break and takes a mighty plunged into rushed territory.  Character development, major plot hits, even the mighty antagonist were all kind of bland in this movie, never reaching the full steam past girl power junction.  Why such a literature classic could not build up steam I don’t know, but sadly this movie didn’t quite have all it took to be exciting.


A bit annoying:  The movie has plenty of cute, kid friendly gimmicks, but my word does it crush over into some rather annoying things.  The most annoying for me was how often they repeat the name Charles Wallace, a not only obnoxious name, but an obnoxious calling that was used every five seconds.  As picky as this sounds, I quickly got annoyed at how lackluster the name was and how it was used unnecessarily in every context.  Better luck next time in dialog adaptation guys, perhaps next time you’ll learn how to substitute a name with better descriptions.


The Simplistic Journey:  You might be thinking Disney would pour their hearts into making an interdimensional journey with some style, class and flare their studios can brings.  Sadly, the movie itself still seems to fail in this department for me.  Three worlds make up the entire leg of the journey and while they each have some magic of their own it didn’t feel like quite a detective journey.  So many worlds were reduced to a blurry montage that lasted less than a minute depriving me of a scavenger hunt in order to fit into the two-hour runtime package. With their studio they could have much better on this aspect to extend the mystery, perhaps adding their own leeway and integration of cosmic powers to uncover the clues to finding dear old dad.  Nope, again the movie is just a sad, sad display of tempting visuals and rushed plot.


The Anticlimactic End:  Again, there is buildup up to how deadly the darkness is and how it will be hunting for our heroes at every turn.  So maybe you might hope that the big, bad, black void had some actual tricks up its sleeve to hinder the young warriors’ journey.  Again, the movie has little exciting climax to act as an impasse, a few emotional shadows and musical sores to try to illicit a response.  However, there is little threat behind the darkness void, which symbolic as it can be is a boring end to what was supposed to be a crossing of the universe.  Sorry, but I expect my shadows to have a little more bite and might when they threaten to plague the universe.  The result is a cute, but rather dull finale to one of the most epic tales of the literature adapted world.




Wrinkle in Time feels like a child’s version of Annihilation, but without the unique and twists the genre could really have used.  It certainly isn’t awful as some may say, with good acting and world building to bring forth an emotional telling of valuable ethics and morals.  Yet, the movie does not meet the expectations placed by the book, for the story has been watered down into a hokey, gimmick filled manhunt that failed to reach its full potential.  Perhaps the director’s cut will go into more details with the abandoned worlds, but I doubt extra time will be able to bring the full might this movie needed to match the literary work.  Not the worst movie to grace the theater, but outside of visuals and some acting, I think this one can be held until home viewing.


My scores are:


Adventure/Family/Fantasy:  7.5

Movie Overall:  5.5

Annihilates The Mundane Sci-Fi, But …



The Science Fiction genre, a group of films that often get wrapped up in other genres that they stray far from the roots established long ago.  A true science fiction, is often a thriller that tests the limits of reality, dives deep into the psyche of the characters, and often brings a fictitious world that we can only dream of to life.  And this weekend, another movie looks to fall into this category and actually belong into it.  Annihilation starring Natalie Portman looks to be a movie that contains many strange elements, wonders, and thrills to warrant a venture into the movie theater again.  What lies in store?  Well Robbie K would be happy to share his thoughts with another review.  Let’s get started!




The World Building:  Within Annihilation, lies the anomaly called the Shimmer and within it a world that has been mutated by some unknown force.  As our “heroes” for lack of a better word venture into the gasoline mixed with water looking border, the world contained within is a wonder in itself.  Our world’s natural flora and fauna are bizarrely twisted into these contorted visuals that look natural, beautiful, and a true representation of the genetic crossing that we all studied in school. The world’s scientific art continued to grow only deeper and darker as they traveled further into the void, the animation and creativity being unleashed into the chaotic skew with no limitations.  Some of these creations are stunning in terms of color, while other times they are the things of nightmares, whose movements and designs will leave you huddled in your chair. 


Science Fiction Thrills:  In addition to the world itself, Annihilation is all about the true Sci-Fi adventure.  An unending suspense hovers over the air, the tension always mounting at what lies within the glades of this weird dimension.  The mystery of what is causing this continues to build across the course of the movie, as well as if our heroes will make it to find the answer.  Annihilation’s threats do exist outside, but even more dire is the psychological warfare the Shimmer plays on our girls.  Disturbing imagery is only one assault to their psyches, as they are pushed from all fronts to confront whatever it is eating them inside.  And in addition to bringing suspense, the characters get some major development, shelling out their background information and helping them adapt to the ever-changing world around them.  This culmination is very entertaining and truly worthy of the sci-fi mantle in terms of plot.


Deep:  A good science fiction movie makes you think, and Annihilation has got you covered in this element as well.  As you try to solve the mystery of the movie and the fantastic twists that get thrown in, you’ll find deeper meanings behind the actions of the movie.  Many of these are head scratchers, trying to figure out just what the Shimmer is doing.  While not as complex as Arrival or Matrix, Annihilation still has plenty of tricks up its sleeve to bend your mind and get you trying to process all the weird information it throws at you.  As you process this, you may uncover deeper, morale dilemmas, horror filled thoughts of the future, and even the fragility of order are all up for questions.  This artistic flare is certainly a score booster, though fair warning that these deeper meanings are also disturbing at times too.



Savage/Disturbing:  With a title like Annihilation, one needs to be ready for darker undertones and source material.  However, this movie goes down a very graphic path that was able to penetrate my desensitized shell.  Found footage reveals some rather violent outcomes for previous teams, with little to no censorship of details that are capable of causing some to lose their lunch.  The savage nature of the beasts and the violence held within just about everything in this film throws no punches, again choosing to display the gory details that fail to dampen. 


Flashbacks:  The flashbacks are certainly for character development and some of them set the story up nicely for the bombs to be dropped.  Others however, are unnecessary details that did little other than show the suffering we already knew she held and expand the run time.  Complete as it was, I didn’t quite pick up on the significance of some of these wasted scenes and could have held better storytelling elements to help build the suspense.  Not all of these have to be eliminated, but editing could have used some tightening up to make everything more relevant.


Deeper supporting characters:  The movie is primarily about Natalie Portman, shocker there, and at the start it showed some promise that the other members of her team would be more integral to the mission.  Yet, things decrease fairly fast to where the other characters soon become rushed plot lines, trinkets to tax Leah (Portman)’s conscience and further push the psyche limitations of everyone.  Had they given some better relationships, a little more teamwork, and integration of all characters, perhaps then we would have had even stronger development and thrills to enjoy.


The Weird Ending: You know that feeling you get when after the big wait the ending turns out to be something you didn’t/or maybe never wanted to expect?  Well Annihilation was kind of like that for me.  The twist at the end was great, bringing relevance to some of the flashbacks, and really blowing your mind.  However, the entity itself is not quite as awe-inspiring or terrifying to say the least.  The source of the trouble is abstract, creepy, and very hard on the ears as it tries to communicate in sounds you have heard in the trailers. This final scene is super prolonged, and quite uncomfortable at times to watch as this dance of perverted awkwardness commences. Is it unique?  Yes, but it still didn’t quite match what I wanted.  And for those who don’t like abstract thinking and deciphering the conclusion yourself, hate to break it to you, but you won’t get all the explanations you might be looking for.  Yeah, it’s weird.





            Annihilation may have looked weird, and it’s true it is an odd spectacle to behold to the general audience.  However, it is a true sci fi thriller in meaning, thought provoking, stunts, and world building, to the level that fans of the genre will be pleased with what the studio brought out to you. It’s weaknesses for me come in it went a little too far down the weird pathway, going too savage and abstract to provide a clear picture at times.  The use of flashbacks was stylish at times but overdone as it sacrificed the chances for other characters to get some more time on the screen.  Still, if you are looking for that dark, story that makes you scratch your head, then Annihilation is the movie for you to check out.  For those who qualify, this movie is worth a trip to the theater, but for others kip this as long as you can to avoid disturbing those with sensitive constitutions. 


My scores are:

Adventure/Drama/Fantasy:  8.5

Movie Overall:  7.0

Early Age Comedy

Early Man

            This year is a big year for sports with both Winter Olympics and The World Cup ringing in the sporting events that we all flock too.  The latter event in particular is one of the most recognizable sports of all time and a big influence for a variety of games, television series and of course movies.  My review today is one of those movies, about this international sensation that tries to put a comedic spin on the potential origins of this obsession.  As you’ve read, today’s review is on the latest animated adventure Early Man, the stop motion/clay animation like movie to try to charm the modern-day audience.  What is in store?  As always read on to find out!



AnimationNo surprise, an animated movie has good animation, but Early Man gets bonus points in terms of using more traditional methods to make the story come to life.  This film’s animation is solid, with fluid motion being beautifully presented as they practice stone age soccer.  I admire the fact that they did not take short cuts in this film and appreciate the unique character design that the studio presented, no matter how odd they look.  Early Man certainly isn’t the prettiest of the animated features, but it does net points in the unique category.


Story:  Yes, the movie is certainly one of the more childish based movies, but the story is surprisingly deeper than you might be imagining.  Early Man is indeed a comedy centered in soccer and trying to have the little guy beat the big guy.  However, loaded with this time-tested tale is a story that involved building confidence, the development of the mentor, and of course the quality of teamwork.  These values are well-crafted into the fun at hand, putting some relevance to the antics at hand.  And of course, the movie is wrapped up in that family friendly package you G-PG seekers are looking for, though be warned there are a few words (not cursing related) that may be repeatable by little ears.


Clever:  Early Man is certainly not the most unique story, but the humor has a bit more wit behind the mindless babbling that sometimes comes out.  The writers settle on the British style of laughs, using accent heavy presentations, pokes at popular cultures, and some inside, cultural reference jokes that I thoroughly enjoy.  While the movie has a lot of slapstick for kids, the adults will get some chuckles at these references, some of which are indeed only understandable by older ears.


The Pig:  One character that particularly stands out is the pig.  This studio always seems to give more prowess to their animal characters than humans, with Hognob being no exception to the rule.  Semi-anthropomorphized, Hognob has the most dynamic nature of all the cast of heroes.  With little, to no words, the pig is able to bring a lot of feelings to the scene while also bringing the most laughs.  His constant attempts to save his masters, act as a decoy, and even training with the team makes for some entertainment.



Too Silly:  Despite the cleverness behind the movie, Early Man is still geared toward the younger audiences.  Therefore, the silly, kiddy factor takes the helm and steers it headlong into that area.  All the slapstick humor of soccer injuries, impossible chases, and attempting to devour various people/animals are going to be the majority of the humor you’ll see.  It is well timed at certain points, but this humor got stale quickly for me and sometime was unimpressive.


Anticlimactic:  The premise of the film was soccer match between the stone and bronze age, therefore you were hoping for a semi-epic match against the two.  Unfortunately, the exciting climax actually gets diluted by the funny business, reduced to a few quick plays, some over the top slapstick, and a very lackluster finale.  It seems like they still need to take a page from Disney, and actually deliver on a big bang finale to make the journey worth it.  Had they been able to expand upon this, add some more tension, and smarten up the comedy a little more, the older audience members could have enjoyed this. 


Rushed/Lacking:  In a world owned by the mega studio Disney, unique is hard to come by without their big-time budget.  Early Man is certainly a unique idea, but the problem was they didn’t deliver through with it.  Much like the climax, the movie failed to put our characters through ordeals to make them have meaningful development.  Despite being cute, and somewhat funny, most of the characters have difficulty with being relatable, resulting in a slightly dull group.  In addition, the desire to appease to a younger crowd also had this movie pacing blindingly fast and therefore leaving little room for actual plot building.  While by far not the worst tale to drop into theaters, Early Man still needs work for any future sequels.



Early Man is an animated feature that gets points for the hard work of stop motion animation.  It’s a cute adventure that has a family friendly story, with a couple of characters that will make you laugh at various points.  The problem is, that the movie was focused too much on the younger audience and failing to expand into the territories needed for older members.  Early Man’s concept needed more developing and attempt to moisten the dry comedy this movie has contained within it.  In addition, the film needed a little more friction to add thrills to the story, thereby getting more engaging characters to latch onto.  Worth a trip to the theater?  You are better off checking out Peter Rabbit instead, but I’d save this one for a home rent. 


My Scores:

Animation/Adventure/Comedy:  7.0

Movie Overall:  5.5

The Panther King

Black panther


Another Marvelous weekend is here and it holds another Disney branded film to be released into the local theaters.  The superhero theme of the weekend strays from the normal leads you’ve seen in the last few years, one who has more ferocity than the usual crew, maybe outside of the Hulk.  Yes, I’m talking about Black Panther, and after much anticipation it is here and ready to unleash the cat within.  Does this highly awaited film meet expectations?  Robbie K is here to help out, with yet another movie review.  Sit back, relax, and read on as I help out with your movie going pleasures.




The Cinematography:  A good hero movie requires good visuals to bring it to life, and Black Panther reigns supreme on this level.  After some unique storytelling art at the beginning, the movie resorts to beautiful blends of real-life, breathtaking shots and impressive visuals.  The movie drops you into what feels like a technologically advanced city, complete with James Bond like gadgets that feel super in themselves.  Black Panther’s camerawork is also very dynamic, energetic enough to increase the action, but contained enough to not leaving you nauseous or confused.


The Acting:  Marvel movies sometimes tank in this section, but again Black Panther raises the bar on this levelChadwick Boseman retains the regality of T’Challa from Civil War but adds more conflict and growth to the character as he struggles with the mantle of king. Michael B. Jordan comes back with a fire, once again showing that he earns his spot in Hollywood with an emotionally charged performance that seethes with that raw edge. Lupita Nyong’o brings the balance to the movie, portraying a character that acts as a solid bridge between all parties, keeping her dynamic performance balanced at the same time, while Danai Gurira grounds the characters down with her strong will and fantastic stage combat skills.  Letitia Wright is the comedy of the film who has a fantastic delivery of the well-written lines this movie has.  Almost all parties involved nailed their roles, with the chemistry between everyone favorably mixing to create what felt like a tribe.  Fantastic job casting director.


The Comedy: Marvel is all about making you laugh, sometimes making that the focus of the film and other times as a nice add-on.  Black Panther took the latter for me and was tastefully done to perhaps be one of the best executions of the Marvel Universe.  In this darker movie, there is a lot of tension and raw nerves exposed in the Savannah drama, with many negative emotions running rampant like the predators of the plains.  Yet, intermixed in this intensity is comedic gold, or vibranium in this case, well-placed to maximize laughs and clever to avoid the usual slapstick staleness that plagues most movies.  This style of comedy didn’t detract from the movie but added another layer to help reset the tension and keep you engaged in the movie from start to finish.  Plus, you’ve got a nice combination of styles in store as well, so two thumbs up for that.


The Emotion in the Story:  The movie does not have the most unique story, something hard to accomplish in this age of saturation. Yet this Marvel version of the Lion King is packed with so many moments to send one into an emotional fervor, sending you on a roller coaster ride of feelings.  Black Panther will be inspiring to many, bringing approving claps and motivation to change the world.  It’s a moral filled tale that brings out the dynamic use of technology, the importance of family, and the dilemmas of a new king having to face.  While I’m not the biggest supporter of dramas, Black Panther manages to make the drama feel less soap opera like that many movies fail to avoid. 


The Ending:  Many f Marvel’s movies often fail to find that satisfying ending to conclude the awesome tale.  Black Panther, manages to keep everything going from start to finish and brings all the building tension to full boil with an exciting climax.  All the characters are brought into the mix, having some involvement in the conflict at hand, as they fight in impressive choreographed battles.  And while our combatants dance in the virtual field, the story continues to progress and the characters develop with each swing of the weapon.  It utilizes all the elements that they had developed during the movie, which goes to show story telling is still alive.




Impressionable Hate:  More of a warning, the main villain is not only skilled and deadly, but has a surprising amount of hate contained in his chiseled body.  Killmonger is a character that has a lot of issues, and his plot to change the world is something that can motivate impressionable minds down the wrong avenue.  Be careful when taking friends and younger audience members to the film who have difficulty understanding character flaws.


Martin Freeman:  The movie did an okay job with the former hobbit, but I expected a lot more from Freeman’s character.  Though there is some comic relief, and a little action with his character, Freeman really didn’t feel that pertinent to the story until near the very end.  Such a legendary actor deserved some more relevance to the plot, some extra comedy, or at least some better development to justify the price tag that comes with him.  Not the weakest character mind you, but not what I expected.


More Action:  No surprise, Robbie want’s more action in his Marvel movie.  With Black Panther, I had worried that most of the excitement was ruined in the trailers, especially with a huge gap between those action-packed sequences.  Had it not been for the ending, I would have been disappointed in this quality, but still I wanted more to be unleashed in this movie to put T’Challa’s skills to the test.




            Black Panther is by far one of the better Marvel films to grace the theaters and shows promise for the future of the series.  The tale has fantastic visuals to bring the world to life, alongside amazing writing and acting to further bring Wakanda to the playing field. It keeps its characters engaged and fills the 2-hour 15-minute run time with an emotional fervor to keep you integrated into every aspect until that incredible ending sequence.  However, the movie still has a few limitations including needing a little more action, a dab more of Martin Freeman’s relevance, and a slight decrease in predictability to make this a perfect film in the Marvel universe.  Still, the film gets massive props for reviving the Marvel movement this year.  So definitely get out there and see Black Panther and unleash the beast that dwells within all us comic book fans. 


My scores are:


Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi:  9.0

Movie Overall: 8.0

That Cute, Wascally Rabbit

Peter Rabbit


The beloved tale of Peter Rabbit are stories that many of us remember watching/reading growing up.  Yet like many beloved childhood series, they are often lost to memories and stored away to be forgotten.  So how in the world did this tale resurface after being buried for so long?  Well, get set my friends, because this weekend, Peter Rabbit is back in town to make his mark back on the world and get kids interested in his merchandising.  Robbie K back with another movie review to try and help you answer the question, “should I see it in theaters?”  As always read on to find out my thoughts.




Animation:  Let’s get over the obvious, Peter’s transition into 3-D, realistic looking visuals was a smooth process. The designs of all the characters are on cuteness overloaded, and are certain to be the next line of plush animals for your young ones to grab on to.  Past the design, the movement of the animated five is fluid, a nice balance of natural rabbit movement meeting anthropomorphized anatomy that really brings the action and gimmicks to life.


Cute:  A movie like this relies on being adorable, and by golly this too was a big factor in this film.  Peter and company’s adventure into the new age has adapted well with the times, and the campy, fun, warmhearted nature of the adventure was totally adorable for many.  Both young and older will have a hard time choosing between barf inducing cute and just the right amount, so it really depends on your preferences.


Comedy:  Surprisingly enough, Peter Rabbit’s comedic antics are surprisingly humorous on many levels.  From the trailers you can certainly expect two things:  Slapstick comedy and Repeatable Quotes from Kids.  And the film delivers these expectations using a variety of material to have your little ones in tears at the juvenile antics.  Like Home Alone meets Hop, Peter Rabbit pulls out loads of tricks to keep things fun and wasting little time on other tricks.  Yet, what earns major points with me is the cleverer writing that is indicated for adults.  Not so much in terms of sexual comedy, Peter Rabbit uses other forms of comedy to get laughs from older adult groups, primarily at poking fun at how ridiculous the story is itself.  Throw in some comedic jabs at movie stereotypes alongside some movie references and you got yourself some comedic gold.


All 5 bunnies used:  Though it may be titled Peter Rabbit, this tale is not shy of utilizing all of the rabbit family into the film.  Certainly, it is going to be for advertising, but this installment did a nice job using all five of the rabbits to further the plot.  From sisterly arguments about being the oldest, to the naïve friend who gets dragged into plots, this film will keep the little fuzz balls as involved as possible.


Soundtrack: Props to the music selector for this film, because the movie picked tracks that felt perfect for the sequences.  Sure, many of them are outdated 90s songs, but they are utilized so well many won’t care.  Throw in a few parodies and some dance remixes and you have a nice track list to keep everyone’s toes tapping.




Lacking Emotion:  We all know that the animated films we remember are the ones that tear are hearts out right?  Peter Rabbit does have a few emotional zingers, but none of them really have that childhood ruining edge that will scar your mind.  Thankfully this means no unhappy endings, but Peter Rabbit could have used a little more emotional growth to round out the tale.  Certainly, there are life lessons to be learned, and Peter’s crew does somewhat develop over time, it’s just not in a form or manner that is life changing/memorable in comparison to others.  Therefore, the movie could have used a little more feeling to give it that emotional edge it was looking for.


More Rose Byrne:  She had plenty of screen time in terms of montages of laughing, smiling, and skipping, but her character is a little limited compared to the others.  Like the CGI supporting animals, Byrne’s character simply appeared at the convenient moments.  For being a central chess piece to the whole farmer vs. rabbit dynamics though, her character was a little disappointing.  There were few interventions by her character and she didn’t expand much as a character outside of joke fodder and that motherly atmosphere.  For such a big name, they might have made the extra effort to expand on this role.  I mean, even the climactic ending was missing the thrills, partially because Rose didn’t seem to have much enthusiasm in solving the ordeal.


The trailers show a lot of the movie:  if you’ve seen the copious number of showings for this movie’s trailer than chances are you have seen much of the shenanigans involved in this film already.  Much of the McGregor bashing has been captured in those short airings, so don’t expect too many surprises or laughs if you are sick of it.  Thank goodness that some of the more adult humor has been left out as a nice surprise, but much of the movie has been revealed in the three trailers.  Don’t you hate over advertising?




          Peter Rabbit is a fun tale that all ages will enjoy.  It holds many movie references and comedic styles to keep one entertained, and is certainly the family friendly movie of the year so far.  One will have a lot of fun at this movie, becoming lost in either the cuteness overload that is the movie or having their young at heart selves chuckling at the craziness within.  However, aside from having fun, the movie suffers from a lack of emotional punch to really drive the lessons home.  In addition, thanks to the simple dialog and over advertising, the movie loses some of its uniqueness/edge to boredom at seeing it a thousand times.  Still, if you can stomach the downfalls and accept it for the cute factor it is… than you should have no problem enjoying this film with the family this weekend.  Worth a trip to the theater?  I would say yes. 


My scores are:

Animation/Adventure/Comedy:  8.0

Movie Overall: 7.0