Pooh or Poo? Have We Found The Golden Honey Pot Of The Summer?

Christopher Robin Poster

 

Being a kid of the 90s, you got exposed to a lot of generational cartoons.  From a young age I got exposed to the classic Winnie the Pooh cartoons with the memorable moments of pooh stuck in the hole, or on the balloon.  Shortly thereafter the new adventures strapped in and brought new life to the series that was even more endearing tone before dropping further into kids territory.  Then, Pooh and the crew kind of phased out, with only those less than 5 really caring about what they could offer, thus they faded from memory.  Now, Disney is trying to recapture the magic of A.A. Milne’s in a live action version of the stuffed animals journey through the eyes of the owner.  Robbie K here with another review, this time on:

 

Movie: Christopher Robin (2018)

 

Director:

Marc Forster

Writers:

Alex Ross Perry (screenplay by),  Tom McCarthy(screenplay by)

Stars:

Ewan McGregor,  Hayley Atwell,  Bronte Carmichael

 

 

LIKES:

 

Cute/Charming:  When it comes to Pooh and the crew, the adventures are almost always cute and adorable.  Christopher Robin continues this trend, making sure to rope in all of the classic goodness, but modernize it to the new families of the modern age. It is perfect for kids as the stuffed animals bounce around the town, but also for the current parents who grew up with the cartoons like I did.  Nevertheless, that nostalgic atmosphere will come in this charming adventure that somehow brings the feel of the classics into the new form of live action.

 

Clever Wit:  The references in Pooh are not for the casual audience member, but for fans like me, there is hidden treasure in the references. Nostalgia again is the leading quality, but Christopher Robin had me chuckling with all the well-timed, well-delivered, bumbling of Pooh and the Crew.  There are plenty of misunderstanding moments that will have the older audience members enjoying it the most, while the kids will love the goofy slapstick that follows from the disbelief of the supporting casts.  I can easily say that this movie is definitely a little more targeted for the older crowd in terms of dialogue.

 

Emotional Growth: Where most of the Pooh adventures are silly, whimsical feats of seeking out enough honey to fill Pooh, Christopher Robin falls on the spectrum of those episodes that were more serious.  It’s about a new stage of life through McGregor’s character and it does a nice job of balancing the numerous emotional stressors that comes with growing up.  This film does a fantastic job of portraying that line between kid and adult, and how both are important for raising the family.  It will speak deeply to those with families of their own, and seal a spot in the heart as the greatest Pooh movie of all time.

 

The original voices/Animation:  With a Disney movie, the animation is always good, so no need to go into too many details. The big thing to mention, is that the stuffed animals look like stuffed animals, so the design is great on that lone. However, my favorite aspect is that Jim Cummingscame back to bring Pooh/Tigger to life once more.  His voice alone is the source of Pooh’s comedy, bringing that sweet innocence with it that pulls at your heart strings like the silly old bear can.  As for Tigger, he is still the energetic, manic tiger who doesn’t understand the word limits.  While the other voice actors were good, Jim was the winner for me as a key pillar of the movie.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Predictable:  No surprise, the movie doesn’t have too many twists and turns for being a family movie.  It pretty much hits a line drive to the family life lessons, to keep it perfect for its target audience, (aka staying away from the dark and obscure). It’s not that I was surprised at all, but as a reviewer I have to look at all aspects.

 

Limited audience:  Pooh is not for everyone, and unlike other Disney movies, not everyone is going to love this.  While I did enjoy the comedy, it’s specificity for Pooh comedy is going to limit it to a small number of people, and not all kids are going to enjoy the mellow pace of the movie.  So, its branching out was not quite achieved the way they wanted to in my opinion.

 

More Haley Atwell:  I know the film is about Christopher Robin (hence the title), but you would have expected a little more integration of the wife if they were going to pull the daughter in.  Atwell played her part well, but I wished they had incorporated her side of the story more and helped round out Christopher’s story. 

 

More Of The Other Animals: Again, I know the relationship between Pooh and Christopher is the key, but I do wish that the other animals had their appendages in the film a little better.  Still more screen time than I anticipated, but they could have been incorporated a bit more to really max things out.

 

Missing The Whimsy: This comes from loving the new adventures, but I really missed the full-on imagination that came with the original cartoon series.  Because the emotional aspect is blended so well into the movie it takes away from the adventure theme that I loved.  Not bad at all mind you, I just missed that favorite aspect from my childhood.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            By far Christopher Robin is the best family movie of the summer, and the must watch for those with young members in their family. It hits its key demographic hard and manages to balance the movie in many aspects to grab kids and original generation hard.  Sadly, they may have done this job a little too well, because general audiences may not appreciate the full glory of this movie, and the styles they chose.  In addition, the movie just misses that adventure component that Disney movies are famous for, to instead go down the predictable, preachy, emotional pathway that they tend to do.  So, is it worth a theater visit?  The answer is yes if you are that key demographic, but otherwise skip this until you get it in theaters.  

 

My scores are:

 

Animation/Adventure/Comedy: 8.0-8.5

Movie Overall: 7.0

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A Nuclear Blast Of Excitement, Meets Drawn Out Fallout of Grandiosity

Mission: Impossible - Fallout Poster

 

The familiar chimes of a flute, the booming sounds of a drum, and the orchestra starts up on a familiar tune that is pleasing to the ears of fans aloud.  Yes, this can be any movie, but for this reviewer, it means that it’s the theme to a series that continues to sneak around in modern times.  I’m talking about the spy thriller series that has dug up more terrorist plots than Sherlock Holmes, where gadgets and gizmos are utilized to conceal more than kill.  I think you know what I mean, (most likely because you read the title) and thus we enter the latest review on Robbie’s list.  Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to read on to find out my thoughts.  Agent Karim bringing you a review on:

 

Movie: Mission Impossible: Fallout (2018)

 

Director:

Christopher McQuarrie

Writers:

Christopher McQuarrie,  Bruce Geller

Stars:

Tom Cruise,  Henry Cavill,  Ving Rhames

 

 

LIKES:

 

Acting:  Get down to the basics first, the agents selected for this mission certainly had the skills to bring the adventure to life.  A solid chemistry between the various players in the game, Fallout’s pieces have been fine tuned to provide a cavalcade of thrilling characters worthy of bringing the conspiracy to life.  Cruise leads the group the most, utilizing the majority of the screen time to be the keystone for just about everything.  Newcomer Cavill is also a welcome addition, dropping his superhero leotard and its morals for a new set of justice to be served. And as for the supporting players of Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, and Sean Harristhey too are elite enough to be integrated into the mix.

 

The Story:  If you have followed the series up until this point, seldom do we have solid connections between movies, with only the team and a tiny thread to tie each lead together.  For once, Mission Impossible straight up follows a movie, and the continuity is welcomed as it opens up new avenues for than and the gang to travel.  While the majority of the plot is pretty straight and narrow in regards to a spy thriller, the victory comes in seeing a few of the characters get unclassified. It’s fantastic growth that the series needed that managed to get integrated well.  In addition, the story manages to bend from the linear presentation, resulting in a little more excitement to be had.

 

Pace:  If it’s a like, you know it moves, and for a 150-minute run time that pace is key to keeping people intrigued.  Fallout forgoes much of the slower, drawn out jargon filled moments to keep a continuously moving story, which worked very well for me. In addition, the liner story bypassed the convoluted presentation the first movie had, which I think is a victory for most.

 

The Action:  Since the reboot of Ghost Protocol, the MI series has really found its roots in the action genre, which works very well for me. Much of the pace of the films has to do with the amount of action in this piece and the numerous sequences it contains of spy warfare.  Exciting vehicle changes, some gunplay, and ruthless physical combat await the audience members in this piece and this dynamic change of action theme further strengthened the film. Of course, the special effects and sound editing helped bring the scenes to life, alongside a supporting music list, which gave it the theater worthy quality.  Yes, the action is certainly the selling point of the movie and will win the hearts of adrenaline junkies like me to no fault.

 

The Comedy:  Again, the writers have done their homework and accomplished a balance of funny meeting thriller.  MI 6 does not rely on cheap gimmicks to deliver its laughs, but instead is a display of the art of comedic timing, non-grandiose acting, and simple facial mechanics to deliver the gold.  To integrate it into the scenes without diverging too far is an added bonus that I relish to see in future installments.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Cheesy at Times:  My friend was right on one level; the MI series continues to get cheesier with every rendition.  This isn’t a total bad thing, but Fallout sort of crosses into that territory more than the other installments for me (at least form what I remember).  It follows a lot of stereotypical spy gimmicks, including the ability to somehow stretch 15 minutes into 45 minutes by some form of magic.  In addition, the corniness starts to come in the extreme stunts and nearly invincible forms of the agents until that one special wound. Don’t mind this?  Fantastic!  However, the MI series needs to keep check or risk falling into the obscure stunts laid out by Fast and Furious.

 

Predictable:  They tried to throw curve balls our way, utilizing the art of multiple deceptions and suggestions to lead us astray of the true plot.  A noble effort indeed, but the film is still a very predictable tale to say the least. Some of this comes from the fact that the movie’s linearity is just leading us to the final point and you know deep down something good is going to happen.  Another component comes from the fact the five trailers have shown a good majority of clips that you can search for in the 150 minutes.  Yet for me, the movie almost tried too hard to throw too many twists into the mix, resulting in lackluster revelations (some of which were buried in jargon conversation).  The series had moments to really surprise, they just didn’t quite execute them.

 

The Length:  Sure, an action filled dynamic was able to lighten much of the load, but that doesn’t mean the movie still isn’t long.  MI 6 is not for the ADD, and may require several trips to the bathroom if you guzzle down your drinks.  This is a dislike only because there were some areas that it could have tightened up, as well as several places to end the movie for another sequel.  Had they utilized the time better, I think I could have given it higher, but hey, you do get your money’s worth right?

 

New Characters:  A few were used well, and others not so much. Fallout introduces new pieces to the game that hold potential, but we haven’t quite seen their full capabilities unleashed yet on screen.  Future installments will hopefully hold the keys to their influences and lethality, but at this stage of the game they were nearly pointless for me for the length they were focused on.

 

 

The VERDICT:

 

This installment of the MI series is a nuclear blast of action packed stunts, mixed well with an expanded story, good acting, and strong writing by the team.  It certainly is one of the more exciting spy thrillers and will fuel the drive to stick it to the end.  As the fallout begins to occur though, the lengthy time may wear on you, especially given the predictable, and semi grandiose, elements of the movie that ironically needed some restructuring.  Still, all the excitement and special effects nets this movie a must see in theaters for the experience award, and is currently the leader for the month of July for me.  Catch it fast before the next rush of movies my friends, or await the rent on Netflix.

 

My scores are:

 

Action/Adventure/Thriller: 8.5

Movie Overall:  7.5

 

Teaming Up For Comedic Zings, But Wasp Doesn’t Bring As Much Action Stings

Ant-Man and the Wasp Poster

 

Another weekend, another chance for Disney to take the box office with their franchises.  Tonight, the latest Marvel movie appears to try and steal the bucks from all other competitions as it tries to follow the biggest movie event of the year Infinity War.  Can the rogue hero Ant-Man make a film of wavering size… or is it just a placeholder until Avengers 4 comes to life next spring?  Robbie K here ready to write the review on:

 

Movie: Ant-Man and The Wasp (2018)

 

Director:

Peyton Reed

Writers:

Chris McKenna,  Erik Sommers

Stars:

Paul Rudd,  Evangeline Lilly,  Michael Peña

 

 

LIKES:

 

Fun/Family Friendly: If you remember the first movie, you know that these movies are fun and very friendly to just about everyone. Ant-Man and The Wasp continues the family friendly fun and keeping it appropriate for all ages.  The pace keeps things moving, bringing with it a constantly entertaining movie that will keep the audience’s attention with ease. Little kids will be impressed with all the excitement and constant moving, while the comic fans will relish the graphic novel qualities of the film. 

 

Character Development: Despite all the chaos in this film, Ant-Man 2 is all about evolving the characters to the next level.  Scott (Rudd) is all about trying to balance work, family, and saving the world, all while trying to push past the fears that dwell around him.  Hope (Lilly) and Hank (Michael Douglas) are on a quest themselves, but while doing this, strive to push past the boundary established form mistakes past.  It’s heartwarming, cute, and surprisingly deeper than expected, but doesn’t divert from the story to make the point, rather integrating this into all the tales.  It works well and develops a crew you want to follow this journey through.

 

Good Main Villain: Marvel baddies have all been extreme characters who go over the edge.  From CGI titans to hormonal, vengeful aspiring kings, the Wave 3 crew has lost much of the balance some of the earlier villains had.  Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) is a character that backpedals into a balanced character, an antagonist who won’t annoy you to hating them for their grandiose flaws.  She’s got some backstory, is integrated well to other characters, and remains embedded in the story to develop alongside the rest of the cast.

 

Funny:  See my previous reviews, but Ant-Man 2 rocks in regards to being comedically entertaining.  The writing is the start of this ride, a blend of comedic styles that will appease just about everyone who loves to laugh whether it be from banter or a well-timed insult.  Director Peyton Reed kept things balanced with this work, and therefore didn’t overdo the comedy, or should I say overuse a comedic style. Yet the actors who bring the words to life get the final round of applause for making the most out of comedic gold.  Rudd’s sarcasm, but his relaxed atmosphere works fantastically.  Douglas style is all about dry sarcasm and stoic delivery to counter the energy of just about every character in the crew.  Yet… it’s Michael Peñawho really shines in this movie.  His energy, his confusion, his surprise and his yelling were all fantastic qualities to make him the king of the comedy in this movie. 

 

 

DISLIKES:

 

More Bite from Bad Guys: Ghost has got skills and a story, but she is lacking that bite that Marvel Villains are known to have.  I can’t say much without ruining too much, but this more balanced mercenary is in need of a little more hate/angst to drive her actions, in hopes of making for a more suspenseful tale. In regards to Sonny (Walton Goggins) well he was meant to be a little more deceptive and menacing, but his malice was diluted due to the comedic direction of the movie.

 

Too Much Comedy?: Disney’s last wave of movies is very heavily focused on making people laugh in some form or manner.  While it is always good to laugh, I feel this approach is limiting the potential of the movie to be as balanced and exciting as the first few waves.  Ant-Man 2 is fun and entertaining, but the comedy becomes the primary focus and sort of dilutes the other qualities of the film at times. In the case of this movie it is the suspense and action that take most of the hits.  Speaking of which…

 

The Action:  The First Ant-Man had all the props out to utilize the technology of the hero of varying sizes.  As they train to break in, we get exciting military like strategy, before a very fast and engaging fight between two suits.  This movie started out with a good fight led by Wasp, which showed off girl power to all proportions.  After that… not much else happened even at the end where the exciting climax was a little silly than amazing.  Yes, it is entertaining, but it didn’t have all the pizazz and edge like the first film, and did fall into repetitive maneuvers that were okay.  Again, still fun, but just didn’t reach the levels of the first for me.

 

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Overall, the sequel to Ant-Man works on many levels and does its job at the follow-up to the big, bad Infinity War.  It’s placeholder status has plenty of fun, laughs, and entertainment for the whole family and will certainly keep everyone chuckling by some means.  In addition, it has a thousand times better character development than expected, and gives all the players ample involvement in the story, despite all the laughing you will be doing.  Still, it’s not the most thrilling or exciting of the bunch primarily that the bad guys are not as malicious and the comedy floods much of the movie and washing away the other qualities.  However, it is absolutely worth the trip to the theater with your friends and family, to just enjoy the ride.  Of note: The Mid-Credits scene will tie the film to Infinity War and the end credit is another laugh. 

 

My scores are:

 

Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi: 8.0

Movie Overall: 7.5

Incredible Follow Up

Incredibles 2 Poster

            It’s another weekend and with it comes another attempt for Disney to sweep the box office with another “masterpiece” to win the hearts of many.  After 14 years (according to the pre-movie showing), my favorite Pixar movie comes back to bay with the sequel to hopefully bring spectacular adventure back to bay.  Incredibles 2 is promising to be a lot of fun, but we never know what the studios of Disney will put into a movie to meet the expectations.  Robbie K here back with another review, to help guide your movie watching pleasures.  So, let’s get started.

 

Movie: Incredibles 2 (2018)

 

Director:

Brad Bird

Writer:

Brad Bird

Stars:

Craig T. Nelson,  Holly Hunter,  Sarah Vowell

 

 

LIKES:

 

Cute:  If the trailers didn’t paint this picture, take it from the reviewer that Incredibles 2 is chock full of adorable features to woo the hearts of many.  Both young and old are going to find something to hook onto in the Super family’s drama, whether it be the pint-sized baby or the warm feeling one gets of the strong morals of family, and it absolutely accomplishes the family friendly atmosphere.

 

Balanced First Act: Pixar’s team showed much promise of matching the first movie in regards to all the balancing it did long ago. The Incredibles 2’s first half is beautifully crafted to include action, story, comedy, and morals into an engaging tale that accomplishes the goal of setting up for an epic conclusion.  It’s primarily run by splitting the story between the two plots of Elastigril (Holly Hunter) working to uncover the mystery of the ScreenSlaver and Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) trying to a parent, making sure to give each section their due focus and efficiently switching between arcs.

 

Relevant:  While I can’t relate to some parts of the movie, I applaud Disney/Pixar doing everything it can to craft a tale that is relevant to so many people.  For comic book fans like me, the dilemmas of heroes doing their job despite the prejudice of society speaks strong in terms of your values challenging others.  Others will cope well with the girl power motif that Elastigirl’s arc portrays, keeping it mostly on the down low, yet hitting hard where it needs to be.  Yet, there will be many who will grip tightly to family moments and the challenges modern parents face given a changing society.  By broadening this cope, Incredibles II is going to rope in a lot of fans of varying ages, all once again getting captivated by the arcs in store.

 

Animation/Action:  The movie is well animated, no surprise there from the masters of CGI storytelling.  While Pixar always gets points for their world building, character design, and fluid motion, Incredibles 2 amps up the ante by including action sequences into the mix.  Fortunately, they accomplish the goal of adrenaline pumping stunts, comic like combat, and making sure it remained pertinent to the story so as not to appear random.  Your little one will be able to handle much of the stunts thrown in and become super impressed by all that comes with Pixar’s approach to action.

 

Comedy:  Of course, you want to laugh in a movie, and the Pixar group is happy to deliver a variety of laughs to the mix.  The first Incredibles have a number of inside jokes revisited in this installment, primarily in the obsessions of the characters. In addition, some of the melodramatic moments are going to be relevant to some, causing the age groups that relate to it to get the most laughs.  Jack-Jack’s cute levels are going to appeal to most of the bunch, as the baby with no limits defies just about everything to bring his high-pitched laughter out in full. My favorite though…Edna Mode whose attitude and mannerisms are back in full force, with little to hold back the Dahlings.

 

 

DISLIKES:

 

Predictable:  The mystery of Screen Slaver is certainly the factor to keep you guessing, until you figure out the twist a mile away. Incredibles 2 doesn’t do a good job of hiding the identify well, using some of the blatantly obvious dialogue to drop the hints long before the big reveal. In addition, the way they take obvious detours with some of the characters paints a bullseye on the back. It would have been nice to have a bigger twist, but sadly all the other antics took precedence in this movie.

 

Inconsistencies in Story Components:  The movie certainly establishes a lot of super powers to come in, but some of the gifted characters may have a little more power than one expects.  During some of the action scenes in this film, a few of the characters could have easily solved things with these overpowered components.  No limits are established to explain these components, and certainly that takes away from the suspense when you realize how easily they could have solved it. Most won’t care about this dislike, but eventually as people rewatch it and tear it apart, you’ll start to realize these moments.  At this point, I’ll state that some of the new characters didn’t have the best utilization of the new characters, showing off some abilities, but never the extent of warranting inclusion, with the exception of one.

 

Jack-Jack Balance: The first act broke the balance the first established, in order to bring more screen time to Jack-Jack’s antics. Merchandising is going to have a field day with the pint sized hero, utilizing all his new modes portrayed in the movie for toys, books, and whatever else you can think of.  The movie focuses so much attention on the little guy, that it soon started to go overboard for me.  In addition, the trailers only show you a fragment of the little guys power, and despite the attempt to explain his abilities, Jack’s-Jack’s power is insanely overdone to the point he is almost like a deity.  I said there were a few broken parts and this is the example.

 

Anti-climactic finish: Remember the end of the first movie where you were on the edge of your seat as the family fought that giant Robot that held no qualms with destruction?  Me too!  Incredibles had done a nice job building up the giant antagonist and covering their bases to design a challenging, but doable end fight.  The second installment however, resorted to some cheaper tactics that diluted what was supposed to be the most exciting moments of the movie. Part of it came from the predictability of the story, another part came from the focus on the comedy instead of the action/story.  Yet for me, the action scenes seemed much shorter and simpler, not bringing the heroes to a conducive dynamic that the first one shined with.  Why there could not have been more excitement infused in, I don’t know, but I was hoping for a repeat ending that I saw all those years ago.

 

 

THE VERDICT:

 

Incredibles 2 accomplished much of the goals set out since the sparks of the first trailer showed up on the screen. It’s a family friendly movie that appeals to both generations, the first part in particular absolutely accomplishing the level of quality the first had.  With the balance of comedy, story, animation, and relevant plot elements it is going to appeal to so many and hook you into the film.  However, the movie still didn’t quite strike the chords the first one did as the plot was predictable, the power levels inconsistent, and the merchandising approach of the baby it just didn’t maintain that balance I loved.  Plus, the finish could have used a little more work to help pull everything together in a satisfying way.  Still, this movie warrants a visit to the theater, and YES kids should have no problem handling this movie, though gauge their responses to loud noises, darker shadows, and one darker element of the plot about 45 minutes in.  Well done Pixar for managing to craft something well, now just strive for the balance again and you have it down to a perfect.

 

My scores are:

 

Animation/Action/Adventure: 8.5

Movie Overall: 7.5

 

Drifting Between Beautiful Scenes and Monotonous Slow Pace

Adrift Poster

 

The words based on a true story are always good tags to hook audience members into the cinema.  Seeing humans go through these extreme vents brings a sense of thrilling adventure in hopes of crafting a story that one can relate to.  Tonight’s story promises such a thing, as young actor and actress set out to the expanse of the sea, facing the unhindered forces that lie in waiting.  Robbie K back with another review, helping share his thoughts on the movie:

 

Film: Adrift

 

Director:

Baltasar Kormákur

Writers:

Aaron Kandell,  Jordan Kandell

Stars:

Shailene Woodley,  Sam Claflin,  Grace Palmer

 

LIKES:

 

Cinematography:  The movie’s high point is the beautiful shots of the big, blue, wet thing (ocean) and the beauty and terror it contains.  Adrift spends a lot of time on the surface of the Pacific, so it’s natural for them to have to find unique angles to fully immerse you in the journey of being stranded at sea. You’ll get to transition from boat, to under the sea, to the beautiful horizons that paint the setting and with appreciating the serene calm sailing can bring.

 

Acting:  Claflin and Woodley captain the ship of this film pretty much the whole time, so if you aren’t a fan of their work… then sit this one out. However, for the rest of the crew, the combo does a decent job of crafting their respective characters from whatever proverbial clay they were written in.  Claflin shines in the loner, philosophical voyager, opening up new doors for Woodley’s character to walk through and continue the story.  Woodley though has the hardest job of the bunch, going from the vagabond, see the world atmosphere to the survivor against the odds role.  Seeing her unleash the fury of exhaustion, dehydration, and potential delirium is epic, but not as much as watching her take control of the nightmare that life cast on her. All in all, not the strongest acting chemistry, but still a grand craft.

 

The Makeup:  Having to transform the actors from normal hipsters to sickly, on the verge of death of those stuck without many supplies.  The cosmetics involved in this production are phenomenal, subtle transitions taking place to document the strain the sea and sun are providing on the days long journey.  Whether it’s the paling complexion of blistering skin, to the wound inflicted from the hurricane storm, you’ll get chills at the realism to these visuals.

 

The Presentation: As mentioned in my pre-review vlog, I worried about a very monotonous presentation where it would just be a thousand sequences of drifting crafted together. While this is still true, the team brought a presentation style that managed to break up the monotony of the shots. Adrift is a mixture of past and present, intertwining between the two the way waves merge in a storm.  You’ll start out in the present, but quickly dart back into the past, trying to connect motivations and background to the matters at hand.  It does a decent job of balancing the two timelines, and helps give some more depth to the leads, even though one doesn’t speak much during much of the present.

 

 

The Twist:  Get ready for the doozy of a twist my friends, because Adrift has got one for you. Pay attention and you might get it within three minutes of the start of the film, yet go in there without the power of observation will be blown away by the surprise.  I can’t go much more into that, so let’s move on.

 

DISLIKES:

Predictable Ending:  Come on… if it’s based on a true story, you kind of know what is going to happen if someone made it back to tell the tale.  Adrift’s setting is still a remarkable feat of survival, but you know what the ending is going to be…mostly.  As such, the suspense gets a little ebbed from this and as such takes away from the entertainment value for me.

 

Semi-Developed Characters:  Also, from my pre-review, you know that I feared them skirting over character details due to some attention being strung elsewhere (cough love cough).  Adrift met this expectation in full for me.  While not the flattest characters, there was still a lot more to explore and develop in their lives.  However, the back-forth presentation led to some choppy scenes that left little time to really expand on the characters past drop the bomb lines. I’ll admit, they are strategically placed, but the development is disjointed and over run by the Sparks’ like presentation of love and connection. So much potential, again lost to love antics.

 

The Presentation:  Yes, I liked the presentation breaking up the movie, but at the same time they went a little overboard switching between timelines.  At segments of the movie, the crew left little time to become immersed into the scene, before pulling the rug out and tripping you back to a small detail. These switches got annoying at points and one or two transitions edited out could have made for more conducive scenes, see near the end during the hurricane moments.

 

The Length/Pace: Despite all their best attempts though, Adrift still cannot sail away from the slow currents of presentation.  It’s a slow movie, and drags at parts that made even my friend sigh in boredom as we waited for something to happen.  One hopes you enjoy the cinematography, because you are going to get a lot of it as you wait.  The hurricane scene doesn’t come in until past the halfway point, and when combined with the predictable ending… it’s only the drama left to fill in the time. Therefore, if you go solo or at least without a date, you’re going to feel the 2-hour time length of this movie.

 

The VERDICT:

 

         Adrift is not a bad movie, it’s just one that needs a little wind to the sails to justify the two-hour runtime tagged with it.  Sure, beautiful settings, a decent acting, and a twist give it some momentary squalls to blow through the time, but overall the movie floats on dead water, I guess to give you the full experience.  I acknowledge the feats the main character accomplishes, but it’s place for immersion is in the form of the books that document, instead of the big budget shooting that we got.  Those looking for drama and love are the key audience here, but otherwise skip this film for something else coming in a few weeks, or is already here.

 

My scores are:

 

Action/Adventure/Drama:  6.5

Movie Overall:  5.5

 

 

Go Solo or Go Home?

Solo: A Star Wars Story Poster

 

It’s been 40 years in existence, and the galaxy far away keeps expanding into the unknown territory of stories, fun, and action. Despite a rocky start, Disney has been able to finally get the precious cargo of another Star Wars movie to its destination of the theater despite all the failings it experienced.  Can such a history turn out to be valuable like an armada of Star Destroyers, or will it be as worthless as Republic Credits on Tatooine.  Robbie K here with another review on the movie:

 

Movie: Solo: A Star Wars Story

 

Director:

Ron Howard

Writers:

Jonathan Kasdan,  Lawrence Kasdan

Stars:

Alden Ehrenreich,  Woody Harrelson,  Emilia Clarke

 

 

LIKES:

 

Acting:  While certainly not the legendary volumes that the original cast brought years ago, I was impressed and happy with what the new cast was able to do.  Alden Ehrenrich as young Han Solo has a level of arrogance and mischief that is recognizable, just not to the proportions Ford brought so long ago.  Clarke, in all her splendor, is certainly fantastic, bringing her regal air to the character Qira, and with it an added complexity to try to keep you guessing.  Harrelson, still playing the cantankerous role again, has it down to an art that mixes quite well in the intergalactic crime world.  Yet the star is Donald Glover, who captured the Lando qualities perfectly and delivered it with the youthful energy so long ago.  It works on levels to form a new band of thieves and helps bring the story semi to life.

 

Fun:  Bottom line of this movie is that I had fun with it, and despite all the terrible set ups and track record that they have had, I enjoyed it. Solo’s story is definitely an adventure, with a fast pace to keep you embedded into the thief’s tale to find out who will make it unscathed through the fire.  While a slightly darker tone, the movie has plenty of comedic relief and lighter moments to offset the dark, making for an enjoyable, semi-balanced movie that will appeal to many.

 

Balanced Comedy:  Let’s face it, Disney’s movies have been working the comedic angle hard into most of their action movies to help ease the tension. Fortunately, Solo manages to keep the comedy perspective better balanced, using it at key moments to maximize the laughs and add some character to the scene.  While much is in the timing and the dialogue, but there are plenty of nostalgic moments to bring a few other guffaws out as well.  It works well with the movie and further establishes the smuggler atmosphere they were going for.

 

Action:  If you saw my video vlogs, you know that I have a thing for action sequences, and after the last Star Wars movie turned away from this, I had my doubts.  Solo’s adventure has at least three stellar action moments to bring to the table, in the form of laser shootouts and high-flying adventure.  The special effects shower in these moments, grabbing you by the shoulders and throwing you into the throngs of the dangers that await Han’s arrogant, rebel without a care attitude.  My favorite moment is certainly the flying scene shown in the trailer, but only you can decide which of the dances of destruction will wow you the most.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Character Utilization: Lots of characters means the struggle of balancing them all, and Solo does do a decent job of giving their cast a moment to shine in the CGI sun.  However, for me, it didn’t mean that they utilized them all to an equal degree. Despite the heavy emphasis on the trailers, many of the new characters are going to have disproportionate time spent on the screen.  While they all play their role in the story, I was still hoping for more integration (like Rogue One), but the group still hasn’t quite found this part down quite pat yet.

 

Paul Bettany:  None of these characters get the shaft treatment than Bettany’s crime lord character.  An antagonist usually has more involvement in the film than just casting a looming shower, and with someone as talented and complex as Bettany, I was hoping to see his talent come to full light.  Bettany’s character needed more development and time, but they dropped the ball in his development department for favor of other trinkets and gimmicks.  The former Vision star held so much potential, but sadly not delivered for me.

 

L3-37’s preachiness: I love droids and I love women, and this droid therefore held high hopes for being the best artificial intelligence to date.  Point to them for making a robot that speaks her mind, pilots a ship, and has some skills in infiltration because they nailed those components.  Yet, there rebel rousing, preach to the masses dialogue was not impressive in the grand scheme of the movie for me.  I was looking for her to really contribute to the plans concocted by the team, but instead they chose to turn her into more of a walking talk box that while passionate is semi-useless outside of merchandizing.

 

The Story/Sequel Set Up: Fans of the legend series will know the roots of this story lie in the original trilogy, which while not the best of the books certainly had its pizazz.  Solo definitely scavenged these books, took the bones and built them up to this tale.  The story works in regards to highlighting aspects of his life and sticking to the origins decently enough to merit the tale.  What I didn’t like though, was how the story was very piece meal at times, a rushed montage of various episodes from his life that had it been given a television series would have been more fleshed out.  They did a nice job of reaching a decent run time, but this movie was geared too much in setting up for what can be another movie series. Plenty of hints dropped at what lies in store, but unlike the original trilogy, the movie doesn’t feel quite complete, but instead dependent on a second movie to bring things to full circle. Not my favorite way of doing things, but Solo manages to still be a semi-complete talked… for now.

 

The Ending:  After all the excitement and close calls, you hope the ending brings that final conflict to really tie things together.  For me, the ending to Solo was not that at all, another rushed conclusion to try to tie up one arc and open the door for the next. I’ll admit, it had some nice revelations that again hint at further movies or spin-offs to come, which gets a plus in that regards (despite still not bringing a strong antagonist back into the canon). Yet, the ending decides to go down the other skill of smugglers and tries to trick you with obvious ploys and foreshadowing to take that twist away.  Even worse, the ending “fight” is short lived and rather dull compared to the glimmer of the previous scenes mentioned.  Applause goes for the attempts at diving deeper into the character, but it still could have used some spice to pep it up.

 

Overall:

 

Solo turned out much better than anticipated, bringing a very charming and fun movie that certainly delivers on the promise of exploring a beloved character.  It’s got comedy, action, love, and darkness to drive the tale, and really makes an adventure that will take you to lightspeed.  Yet, the movie is still part of the cog of another series, limiting itself so that they can open up more films or the spin-off to tell the complete story. So, while fun, the movie still doesn’t fill complete to me and that is not my favorite formula.  Still, I recommend a weekend trip for this one for most of the family and friends who like the series.

 

My scores are:

 

Action/Adventure/Fantasy: 8.0

Movie Overall: 7.0

 

Dead On Sequel

Deadpool 2

 

Deadpool movies are so hard to review.  It’s not because their super complex, thought provoking, or even artistic symbolism, but it’s more due to the fact of balancing ridiculous antics with serious hero quality.  With the first movie being a breath of fresh air to the massively stuffed superhero movie genre, the sequel had a lot to live up to for pleasing the fanbase once more.  After one of the most amazing advertisement campaigns to date, did this movie break the fourth wall of entertainment once again?  Robbie K here to do his best to help you with your movie viewing pleasures. Let’s go!

 

Movie: Deadpool 2

 

Director:

David Leitch

Writers:

Rhett Reese,  Paul Wernick  | 3 more credits »

Stars:

Josh Brolin,  Ryan Reynolds,  Morena Baccarin

 

 

 

LIKES:

Acting:  Given all of Ryan Reynolds ups and downs, the young actor shines so well in the reboot version of Deadpool.  His sass from previous comedy stunts (like Two Guys and A Girl) mixed with his physique/delivery of superhero, leads to a well-developed lead who carries the movie heavily on his costume equipped shoulders.  Brolin comes in again as the villain, bringing his grit to a less CGI rendered height that works well to offset the hyper, ADHD like energy of Deadpool and with it comes great comedic banter.  Much of the supporting cast nails their roles well too, capable of dropping lines and rocking CGI stunts.

 

Domino: Of all of these though, Domino was my favorite character.  In the age of rising female heroes, Domino is a well-developed character who brings so much to the weird table this film sets.  Zazie Beetzreally shines in this movie as a female partner in crime to counter the crazy of Deadpool.  A great character who has a quirky power, this “lucky” girl brings bite to fight Deadpool’s humor, decent skills with a weapon, and surprisingly some enlightened looks at life that bring some zing to the movie. This character was a fantastic addition to the movie that should help expand the audience.

 

Story: A Deadpool comic is often not the most developed in the story department, and given the direction of the cinema… one never knows how a sequel story will end up. Happily, I can report that this sequel did a nice job in the story department, managing to bring a decent plot that helps our characters evolve yet sticking close to the humor vibe of the movie.  It’s nice to see a ridiculous character grow, but still stick to the core qualities and Deadpool 2 did a much better job than I could imagine.

 

Special Effects:  Deadpool’s ridiculous stunts means needing to find some way to make the impossible, possible on the screen. Hat’s off, or in this case masks off, to the department who made all the bouts, mutants, and futuristic technology come roaring to full force to immerse you into the action. Speaking of which,

 

Action: The action of Deadpool 2 is a mixed bag for me, but there are plenty of components that worked well with me.  At the front line, are a number of bouts that have that chaotic, adrenaline fueled themes to it, mixed with snarky comments and unrelenting jokes that keep things fun, exciting, and a great opener. Seeing the moves, they choreographed/crafted, showed promise for some epic finales to come, always a good idea to cast the net and get them caught up early right. More on that later.

 

ComedyIn truth, the strongest weapon in Deadpool’s arsenal is the comedy that this film is drenched in, and by drenched I mean caught in a deluge.  This sequel picks up where the last left off and with it comes a cornucopia of styles all hectically crashing together in a giant abstract masterpiece. Nothing is safe from Deadpool’s adulteration, as the red garmented maniac brings vulgarity, ridiculous finishes, pokes at stories, comics, movies (including the franchise itself), and of course slapstick that transitions to so much more.  I kept laughing my head off in this movie and loved the writing, cleverness, and of course mid-credit scene that victoriously finishes the movie off and delivers the answer to the wishes and prayers of the fan base.  So, so good.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Over the top moments: Deadpool I know is all about breaking the 4thwall on just about everything he can.  And certainly, in this installment, the writers did their best to break that mold as often and intense as possible.  Given the laxer ratings, Deadpool 2 shows no qualms with crossing the line. Primarily the cursing, Deadpool 2 doesn’t know when to quit in terms of vulgar cursing and certainly goes down inappropriate avenues I didn’t particularly enjoy.  A minor one at best, be warned that anything is possible with a mad mercenary.

 

Comedic Stints Go on and on: Like this review, Deadpool’s comedic banter sometimes treks on for too long.  Those liking to see two smart alecks duke it out in a battle of insults, fake outs, and sarcasm for minutes on end will be delighted with the writing of this movie.  I admit I did like it at first, but near the end this ploy had soon started to wrinkle like Wade’s face.

 

Action: While I certainly liked the action for much of the movie, I can’t help but admit I was a little disappointed as well.  Sure, the humor is awesome, the inappropriate battle moves fit well, and it felt like a Deadpool sequence come to life with little to no punches pulled.  Yet, I’m still spoiled on some of Marvel’s glorious cinema wars and had hoped we’d get some match ups to give them a run for its money.  The epic climactic fight didn’t quite have the on the edge, clap in your seat, scream in excitement epic fights that the trailers had hinted at. Those moments were fly-overs in an extended montage.

 

Predictable:  My buddy is right in saying that the movie certainly goes a different route than presented in the trailers.  However,… the movie (perhaps as a stunt itself), dropped too many hints to lead you down the path to the answers that awaited.  I was able to figure out all the twists with ease, and not have my mind blown as I thought it would.  Another small dislike, but hey got to be honest at times.

 

Character use:  The trailers promoted the heck out of X-Force, making sure that we got our eye fill on just about every angle of Deadpool’s own team to rival the goody two shoes X-men.  And while the characters got their time to shine in comedy moves, their overall contribution to the film was cheated out in my opinion.  Maybe that’s what the comics have done, or perhaps it was a brilliant comedic ploy.  However, don’t promote characters so heavily if you are going to dilute them so much. Even his fellow mutants from Xavier’s got a bit of underplay, another example of too many pieces leading to sacrifices being required to not make the film too long.

 

The Verdict:

 

            Truth is… I loved Deadpool 2 and while I had some issues, (which are pickiness of course), the movie accomplishes the goals of being a comedic spoof of superhumans that brings that bite to eat we hungered for.  It’s fast paced, it’s witty, and it still keeps the story going on a level I didn’t expect and this provides the breath of fresh air again that the first one did. Still, it’s not a perfect movie for me and I still hope to get some more action and character usage in the next installment should Disney not limit Fox’s creativity on it.  Worth a trip to the theater?  Absolutely, though be warned that the movie is not designed for younger audience members, those with weak constitutions to blood, violence, and vulgarity, or those not ready to step over the abyss into craziness.

 

My scores are:

 

Action/Adventure/Comedy: 9.0

Movie Overall: 8.5