Who Has The Humorous, Action Wise, Edge, But Has Unbalanced Writing And Crudeness? SHAFT

Shaft Poster

 

Television shows hold a history for many, teaching life lessons and telling stories that would stick with the public for ever.  Sometimes catchy theme songs are the main things that stay behind, but for others, legendary episodes remain in the minds. So with the drought of originality still plaguing Hollywood, the goal is to bring some of these television shows to the silver screen venue to try to make them fresh again.  Robbie K is back to look at the latest movie in hopes of helping guide your movie pleasures.  Let’s get started as we look at:

 

Movie: Shaft (2019)

Director:

Tim Story

Writers:

Kenya BarrisAlex Barnow  | 1 more credit »

Stars:

Samuel L. JacksonJessie T. UsherRichard Roundtree

 

 

LIKES:

Acting

Action

Nostalgia

Mystery

Humor

 

DISLIKES:

Lack of Suspense

Aggressive Sexual Humor

Lazy Writing At Times

Weak Character Development

The Grandpa Inclusion

 

SUMMARY:

 

Shaft’s character is legendary and requires a key actor to bring it to life.  Samuel L Jackson is the guy to do it, bringing his hard edge and direct, forceful acting to really bring the cop with no fear to life.  He balances so much into the role, like seeing Nick Fury in a rated R role, that is certainly entertaining to watch.  Jessie T. Usher as the new generation of Shaft helps sort of balance the aggressiveness of Jackson, acting as a grounding force to tie all the group together.  He’s charming, funny, but then evolves a bit into something more that works well in the atmosphere of the movie.  As for Roundtree, his reprisal is a nice throwback, but it has been tweaked to have a bit of modern aggressive edge on it as well to remain in the new rules of the movie.  The rest of the cast play their parts well, but not integrated enough too much to take time at this time.  Instead let’s jump into the action, the modern day has choreography and technology capable of making those epic shoot outs a little more exciting.  Shaft achieves this fairly well, sometimes using it for humor and other times having that flair that the show made famous.  If you’ve read through all this review so far, you can see that nostalgia seems to be a key factor to enjoying this film, to which I was able to find a few references to the series, with other audience members finding even more.  That component will be a key entertainment value to many and a selling point for the movie.  Now in regards to the other two components, they have to do with the story and atmosphere of the movie.  Shaft’s main story component is about the mystery of the case at hand and how it will connect our characters together.  Shaft’s multilayered mystery feels like a blend of the loose cannon cop’s greatest adventure all connected to one, you’ll find yourself trying to sort out the threads of scandal seeing the true source that connects them all. During the course there is some attempts at developing the characters, but those moments are reserved for the comedy aspect.  The laughs of this movie are brought by the edgy delivery of Jackson’s lines, the continued adulteration of JJ’s life, and the fiery passion of a mother trying to handle the stress of life.  It’s very well integrated through the movie and is utilized decently to actually progress things rather than a simple laugh.  It felt natural and true to the character, which I find important.

Yet the movie’s pluses may have led to some of my dislikes as well, primarily in the part of being too aggressive.  Shaft and company are not shy to using aggressive styles of humor and while it works at times to perfect levels, there are times where it gets too much for this reviewer.  Various descriptions of sex and genitalia only goes so far for me, and the rather boorish description of various genitalia is a little more offensive than fun at times. In addition, my description of lazy writing is at full front here, with Shaft getting too dependent on the use of these expletives to remain entertaining for me.  Working on the character development could have taken point instead, working harder to start expanding on back stories, histories, feelings and other qualities to help connect these characters.  It start happening at some points of the movie, but more potential existed in those characters than what we got, again lost to comedy and modern time violence. As for the grandfather inclusion, I’ll acknowledge the inclusion of the original for sake of honoring the man who brought the series, but I wanted more.  Given the showcase in the trailers, I had expected a little more inclusion, and while the ending brought the excitement I was looking for, the original Shaft probably could have had a little more inclusion overall.

 

The truth is Shaft is going to be geared towards those seeking to go back in time and relive the criminal hunting cop’s adventures.  A modern edge certainly helps make it relevant in the 21stcentury, adding new style, comedy, and mystery to raise the stakes and try to entertain, while securing fine acting in its cast of characters.  Yet, the movie suffers from imbalance, more so in terms of aggressive humor and lackadaisical writing where cursing and sex phrases are the key.  I’m not saying that ruins the movie, I was just looking for more of a balance for what I got.  Nevertheless, the movie has enough fine points to warrant a trip to the movie, though only at about a 50% as much can be enjoyed from home.  Nevertheless, here are my scores:

 

Action/Comedy/Crime: 7.0

Movie Overall:  6.0

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Prepare For More All-Out Action Packed War

 

John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum Poster

 

Savior, Stoner, Super assassin, these words are just some of the descriptions that come to mind for the star of our next film review.  Years ago, a little puppy unleashed the torrent of the Baba Yaga’s rage as millions of extras were taken out by coordinated destruction in some of the most adrenaline pumping films this decade. John Wick has become a cult phenomenon that has gotten guys like me revved up in all the high-octane fun that comes with the dark action flick.  A third installment has appeared this weekend, with our “hero” now being on the run from the very organization he has served for so long. Will the third installment be able to expand upon the universe, or is it just too much?  Robbie K here with another review on:

 

Movie: John Wick 3: Parabellum (2019)

 


Director:

Chad Stahelski

Writers:

Derek Kolstad (screenplay by), Shay Hatten (screenplay by)

Stars:

Keanu ReevesHalle BerryIan McShane

 

LIKES:

 

Comedy

Dogs

Use of Second Characters

Expanding The Story

Fast Pace

Action Sequences/Choreography

 

DISLIKES:

Excessive Violence

Some Underwhelming Story arcs

The Excessive Destruction

Unrealistic moments taken too far at times

The Ending

 

Similar Movies:

John Wick 1 and 2

Kill Bill Vol 1 and 2

Ninja Assassin

 

SUMMARY:

 

When it comes to John Wick you know what you are getting into and in terms of likes the movie just continues to expand upon the legacy of the Baba Yaga! The comedy is dark, much like the tone of the movie, managing to merge a variety of writing styles into the mix to somehow offset the edge this film has.  Even in the dogs there is comedy to a darker sense, but this brings up that the movie actually utilizes its character very well in this chapter.  Halle Berry, McShane, even the Concierge (Lance Reddick) are utilized well in this tale, with adequate screen time and action sequences that are all relevant. The results is an expansion of the story, utilizing the background information, these relationships, and some new characters to evolve the tale even more.  As such, it gives some slight relevance to the violence at hand. Yet, the biggest components to this film are the pace and the action sequences.  John Wick’s choreographed chaos only continues to expand, pushing past the gun play that was semi okay in chapter 2, and opens up some new styles to get your fists (and bloodlust) pumping. From nearly start to finish, there is not much down time from the carnage and if that’s a movie you want… you’ve got it.

Yet, the movie’s glorification of violence sometimes gets to levels that aren’t necessary outside of appeasing that gore craving some might have.  The excessive displays of death are a part of it, but this tactic is not my cup of tea without really needing it for story.  In addition, though there has been expansion of the tale, there were some leads laid out that didn’t quite add to anything other than what the ending sets up. It’s lackluster story telling that merely seems to extend the shelf life of this revenge tale as it sets up its players for the next acts.  Well either that or to provide more moments of destruction which again become a little too much at times.  Often use as a running joke, John Wick 3 sometimes goes to extensive rounds just to have our guys go through some form of breakable glass.  It’s mostly fine, but there are several extensive sequences of just unnecessary destruction to get a laugh and extend the unrealistic moments even further.  In regards, to the unrealistic moments, I understand how much fantasy there is in this series, but there are even limits in the universe that don’t seem to be followed consistently. Wick’s stamina and ability to bounce back from serious injuries is already incredible, but there are times where again the excessive punishment is unbelievable and the rules are redrawn for either a running joke or a god complex.

Let’s face it, John Wick 3 is all about continuing the trend of violence, action, and the dark edge that we have loved in the first two installments.  New fans and old fans should dive right into the adrenaline rush, happy with the guns and hand to hand combat sequences that inhabit this movie.  It’s true, it’s over the top and full of ridiculous moments that have made this series famous, but in this installment, they are going a little too far to push the envelope in regards to stunts, stamina, and death count.  While most won’t be affected, and perhaps love this component, the continued pushing of the edge is also starting to lose the balance that this once had, beginning to get to the levels that the Fast and Furious series are starting to take.  Still, I really enjoyed this film, the action it brought, and all the cinema worthy stunts and special effects make it worthy of a theater visit.

 

Overall my scores are:

 

Action/Crime Thriller: 8.0-8.5

Movie Overall:  7.0

Mulling Over the Mule

The Mule Poster

 

At one time a legendary Western star, the famous Clint Eastwood set his sights on directing and writing more realistic dramas that were meant to appeal to his dedicated fans.  The result have been some rather dark, gritty movies that star the legend himself.  So this weekend, the next film in his arsenal came out, looking to copy his formula and bring with it another dark tale that could potentially be just as formulaic as the next film.  Going in with low expectations, I was not too excited to hit this film.  What was the verdict?  As always Robbie K, is here to share his opinions as he reviews:

 

Film: The Mule (2018)

 

Director:

Clint Eastwood

Writers:

Sam Dolnick (inspired by the New York Times Magazine Article “The Sinaloa Cartel’s 90-Year Old Drug Mule” by), Nick Schenk

Stars:

Clint EastwoodBradley CooperTaissa Farmiga

 

 

LIKES:

 

The Acting:  It’s Clint Eastwood, so you know what you are getting with the man when it comes to his style.  Taking his usual gritty tone with gruff presentation, edgy words, and a blunt approach that lacks any filter Eastwood will still appeal to his tried and true ways. Yet, this film sees him adding a little more lightness to his role, bringing some comedy to the mix that feels natural and no longer forced.  In regards to the rest of the crew, they hit their usual stride in regards to this kind of character with Cooper having the single-minded focus of tracking down the bad guy in that smoldering manner he does, Michael Peña, being that quirky side kick that is again okay, but not quite displaying his full talents. As for the cartel members, nice displays of stereotypical roles, but not fully diving into the members given the theme of this film. This is definitely an Eastwood focused film, so he’ll do most of the lifting.

 

The Story/Character Development:  Stereotypical and predictable, but still a deep dive into character development, The Mule accomplishes what many films strive to do.  It takes the central character and begins to mold them into something new, no matter where they start. The realistic journey over the course of Earl’s journey shows him gradually seeing the light and adjusting life based on the new needs, sometimes hitting blocks, but never so much ignoring everything in the journey to start from square one.  It works quite well, especially in the small integration of other characters, helping to display the lesson of teaching others as they teach you, aka the passing of the torch to future generations.  This rich focus will appeal to the key demographic, and may also impress some others that have the open mid to give Eastwood’s drama a try.

 

The Pace:  As I said before, Eastwood’s dramas are a little too slow for my taste, especially given the dark tones they take.  Yet this film somehow managed to take a detour down the freeway it seems, because it moved quite well for me given the facets of the plot. Despite the look of the trailers, the team did a job of adding some joys of life to the mix, embedding some natural comedy to lighten the tones, and establish an adventure as Earl goes up and down the U.S.A. roads.  The integration of these components makes for a better adventure than I could have imagined, and helps bring more people into this particular tale.  The new momentum it brought was much more entertaining for me and definitely a plus.

 

The Realism:  My final like is the fact that the movie is still keeping in touch with the realistic side of things.  The Mule does have its share of soap opera dynamics, but it doesn’t plunge so far in that it steers away from the realistic component. As such, it’s a relatable tale that is appealing to follow and potentially learn from.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Secondary Characters Flat: It’s tough to balance all the plates of characters in a film like The Mule.  Nevertheless, there was some ground to still cover when it came to the secondary characters. Some of the cartel members that were important to the plot felt very flat, the richer stories and relationships deep down in their sulking forms.  Why they didn’t focus better on the relationships, boggles me when that dynamic would have been an enjoyment to watch.  In regards to the DEA story, it serves it’s purpose as well, helping to establish the chase component of the film that a drama like this needs.  Yet, this component still could have had some better integration as well, helping to actually feel like a mystery instead of these checkpoints serving to remind us there was another story going.  I didn’t so much enjoy this parallel plot approach, but then again it could have been worse.

 

More Suspense:  An Eastwood film is known for some edgy experiences to keep you on the edge of your seat, or perhaps make you sweat just a little. The Mule sadly didn’t hit that mark for me despite its best attempts.  Perhaps it is the lighter aspects that diluted the normal rough and gruff edge he is known for.  It could be how predictable the plot is, meaning fewer surprises for me when you see them coming.  Or maybe it was the fact that the secondary characters weren’t so integrated to give the thriller it wanted as mentioned above.  Whatever the reason, the lack of suspense still made the film a little duller than intended.

 

The Ending:  Does the finale make sense and fit into the plot? Yes.  However, while I appreciate the direction in regards to the character development and the tale wrapping up, it completely derailed the momentum the majority of the film established.  The last 20-25 minutes completely changed the course of the film, once again dulling my interest and mood as they turned the corner.  At this point, the wrap up was mercifully approached, but not before dragging everything through the mud and leaving me feeling extremely low.  Not my favorite conclusion, but I’ll acknowledge their direction from story telling aspect.

 

 

The VERDICT:

 

            The Mule is one of my top films of the Eastwood legacy of thrillers.  It has character and a realistic portrayal of someone looking for changing even in the late stage of life that will appeal to much of the target audience.  Acting wise it’s solid, presentation is straight and to the point, and the new atmosphere of adding light touches of comedy and happiness, make for the more entertaining of the bunch. Still a lack of suspense and use of the other characters takes away from the complete story and suspense that we wanted.  Overall a solid film though, and worth seeing in the theater if you are looking to take an Eastwood fan to the movies, but otherwise stay the course for home viewing for this one. 

 

My scores are:

 

Crime/Drama/Mystery: 7.5

Movie Overall: 6.0

Killing Me Softly With It’s Plot

Widows Poster

 

Another Friday night, another chance to review movies.  Tonight we move away from the fantasy and drop into a more realistic film that hopes to be a dive into a more realistic setting for us to enjoy.  With a major cast to lead the way, tonight’s movie from the trailers seemed to suggest an exciting crime drama, that would hopefully bring some edge to this weekend. Yet what lies in store behind the trailer?  That’s where yours truly comes in to give you the information on the latest movie to hit the silver screen.  Let’s get started as Robbie K reviews:

 

Movie: Widows (2018)

Director:

Steve McQueen

Writers:

Gillian Flynn (screenplay by), Steve McQueen(screenplay by)

Stars:

Viola DavisMichelle RodriguezElizabeth Debicki

 

 

LIKES:

 

Acting:  Right out of the gate we need to highlight how epic the acting is in this smorgasbord of actors and actresses.  Davis is the biggest one highlighted, once more proving herself as a queen of the crime/drama franchise.  Her tone, her poise, her deadly look are all perfect for this emotionally intense role of the character facing both internal and external demons that torture her.  With Rodriguez, she’s a watered-down version of Letty from the Fast And The Furious, aggressive, sullen, and assertive to the point of being monotone.  As for Debicki, stunningly beautiful, fashionable of the bunch, and a wonderful moral compass that the group sort of need in their quest for moving on.  Other characters play their parts well as the secondary characters, each adding that dab of crime noir magic that leads to the political story at hand.

 

Realism:  I can appreciate a good realistic movie when it goes to crafting a story in this genre.  Widows forgoes the fantasy and fiction, to instead bring about realistic issues that are hot areas of interest in the political world.  Integrating these issues into the girls backstories and further layering the story with other social struggles, will make a setting that those in love with crime dramas soak up.  As such, Widows is all about bringing that relevance to the audience, hoping to lure the audience in and help develop the relationships of this character centric story. Be ready for that component to be the driving line of the movie, because it is a strong, strong factor.

 

The Style: primarily in Elizabeth’s character, the clothes are certainly stylish with our cast of future crime committers.  While not quite matching the style of the Ocean’s 8 squad, the widows have their fair share of clothing to dazzle and delight the audience, or at least make you envy the world of high money.

 

The Twists:  The story is very character heav as mentioned before, and with it comes the ability to bring some interesting surprises at hand. Widows has a few very good twists that are time superbly and open the gates for more drama to make the soap operas have a run for their money.  Not the most mind-blowing mind you, but an applause at the surprises in store for this film.

 

The Dog:  A cute little puppy graces much of the film, and its adorable face serves to relieve the darker tones established in this movie. Widows cute little mascot was my favorite character, and while there is little else this animal serves for, I still like to mention the little pet.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Character Skewing: The movie was supposed to be about the girls all being involved in this plan to pay off their debt and hopefully change their lives.  Viola Davis character is again the central character, getting such wonderful looks into her life and by far having the most detail in her life. Sadly, that’s where things start to go awry for me.  The rest of the characters stories are surprisingly linear, shallow tales that we only get a peek into often in very dry dialogue.  Other characters are caught up in political shout outs, not really impressive in that display outside of trying to get a house of cards flow going. 

 

The Lack Of Action: If you saw the trailers, you might have been hoping for a little stimulation in this movie as most crime movie have.  Well, the synopsis didn’t lie, it certainly is not the usual rime story in this film. Widows decides to deviate from the usual plot, plan, and execute said plan for that drama/romance aspect.  If you wanted a break, and the focus on such aspects than this is the film for you.  Yet, if you saw the trailer like I did and wanted a little more traditional suspense into the film, that is where the movie failed for me.  Without those moments of planning and showing the aim of the mission overall, this movie sort of aimlessly bumbled around feeling stuck in an ever-ongoing game of relationship pong.

 

The Pace:  The result of this focus on romance/relationships leads to a much slower movie, that drags on and on.  Without more exciting moments to break open the convoluted, character thick plot, I had to fight some sleep against the molasses movement, and hope that there were enough twists to keep me guessing.  Sadly, Widows didn’t have quite enough excitement to knock the excitement into me, though I did manage to stay awake for it.

 

The Rushed Plot: While I said the move rocks on focusing on characters, it does not mean that it was the best story to grace the silver screen.  Widows story threw so many hints for a number of the characters, making a point to painstakingly show off each woman’s response to the funeral and tease at some potential deep stories.  Instead, much of the details are skimped around, leaving only hints and small revelations that don’t work quite well. In addition, many of these plot points are kind of randomly dropped in, almost as if they were a second thought that had to be hastily integrated into the film.  Most of these really didn’t add much to the film, again requiring more details and build up to really mean something.

 

Too Many Things:  The movie I think tried to do too much with its direction, trying to figure out which aspect it wanted to highlight over others.  Political wise, the movie definitely sails to new horizons to bring with it some valuable food for thought that future generations can discuss.  However, in terms of entertainment, romance, and crime I feel the movie couldn’t accomplish this.  Much of this has to do with too many characters and subplots rolling around the screen and trying to keep each one in check.  Corrupt politicians, a heated race for some position, more deals, etc. there are so many micro tales going it is not very easy or entertaining to watch.  As such, this confusing storm of plots leads you wanting a little better completion, and more so, better editing to cut through the chaotic string jungle this plot stays on. 

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Overall, Widows gets props for the realistic, originality it holds in regards to this category.  A wonderful crew was cast for this, but I don’t think that everyone was used equally and to their full potential.  The movie has a lot of plots to choose to follow, but much of their filling is very thin, skimpy on details that needed much more refining to help deliver all it wanted.  Throw in that some action and suspense needed to be integrated and you could have had a much better  movie overall. As such, the movie is not for most audience members, and I implore the people to wait for this one instead of flocking to the theater.

 

My scores are:

 

Crime/Drama/Romance: 7.0

Movie Overall: 6.0

Does This White Boy Have The Moves?

White Boy Rick Poster

            Biographies seem to be popular this year, focusing on a number of people and their “contributions” to society.  Today’s biography is more about the horrors of a system than a contribution, but these moments are certainly entertaining.  Hi, Robbie K here with another look at the world of movies and what lies in store for the price of a ticket.  Let’s get started, as I review:

 

Movie: White Boy Rick (2018)

 

Director:

Yann Demange

Writers:

Andy WeissLogan Miller

Stars:

Matthew McConaugheyRichie MerrittBel Powley

 

 

LIKES:

Good Acting:  Richie Meritt and McConaughey are the central pillars of the movie, holding much of the plot on their shoulders and doing a wonderful job bringing their characters to life.  Meritt in particular has to cover a very complex character, borderline between punk kid and individual of poor circumstances.  He finds that balance very well, makes for an engaging character and really gives you the full experience of the nightmare that Rick went through.  As for McConaughey, he is still the sleazy role, but it’s curbed this time for a respectable character you want to follow.  Their chemistry impeccable and the heart of the movie as they integrate with their well casted supporting crew.

 

The Setting:  It is not as far back as Unbroken, but we get dropped right into a reconstructed 80’s hood, where the danger, drugs, and depression lie in wait like a hungry pack of wolves.  All the costumes, cars, and buildings were retrofitted to have the look and it works quite well to get you into the setting. 

 

The Drama/Portrayal: White Boy Rick has a lot of details about the young man’s life, and you’ll get to see much of it in this installment. Drama lovers are sure to become entangled in all the messes of Rick’s life, with those liking the Law And Order scenarios enjoying this one the most.  This film will give you a lot of the 411 on rick’s life and bring about all the emotions that come with it.

 

The Music: Surprisingly, the film had a fantastic soundtrack to report on, a mixture of funk, hip-hop, and a little soul to mirror the themes of the movie. It’s upbeat and has toe tapping beats to keep you going, and actually brings a little edge to the scenes themselves. Bravo to the casting director for their selection because it really worked.

 

The Pace:  While slow at times, the movie does a nice job moving through the various years of Rick’s journey to get you to the end game.  It is a longer movie, but for the most part it doesn’t feel that slow, or rough to get through all the nuts and bolts of this adventure.  Drama lovers of course will not find any of this remotely boring, but if you are not that type and along for the ride, you should find much of this movie entertaining.

 

DISLIKES:

 

The Stereotypical Design: White Boy Rick’s title brings with it a wave of stereotypical portrayals in just about every character in the film.   Whether it be the impoverished, the wannabe gangsters, or the gangsters themselves, the movie really hammers the portrayals to such extremes that it gets a bit cheesy. Perhaps this is how the real-life characters were, but if not, the magnification of these personality quirks got annoying for me at times.  Even Rick himself crossed that line sometimes, so brace yourselves.

 

The Lazy Dialogue: Sometimes quite poetic, White Boy Rick’s dialogue is mostly focused on being either really complacent (full of really dumb pronunciations or Rick being an idiot to be funny), or really lazy (F bomb laden rants).  For such a deep story, I had hoped for a little more movie magic to buffer out the scratchy, lackluster lines they came up with.  McConaughey managed to have some beautifully scripted pieces to work with, and the secondary characters got their fair share of poetry in, but for the most part it was a little too stuffed with normalcy/realism to be impressive for me. 

 

More use Of The Secondary Characters:  Rick knew a lot of people, and his family seemed to be a gigantic rock to which he based his decisions on.  While the movie captured the key details, I felt they didn’t quite utilize or introduce the characters that well for me.  Names were dropped at random, their inclusion was sporadic and I felt many of them had more of a role to play than what was presented.  Many of these kingpins and servants could have been epic antagonists to spice up the story, but again my lack of research and not being with Rick means I don’t know who these guys really were.

 

Disjointed Story: While the movie has covered a lot of Rick’s life story components, the presentation I believe was off for me here too.  Each of the issues Rick faced felt compartmentalized, individuals segments that were prematurely closed and then randomly open at intervals that were inconsistent. Yes, you still get the effects presented with the story, but so many pieces without a strong, underlying foundation, led to a weaker representation of what could have been an epic drama.  Overall it’s not horrible, but it could have been so much better.

 

 

The Verdict:

 

            White Boy Rick is one of those movies that has its fair share of drama to exploit and dive into.  A fantastic setting with great central acting will be the keystones to bring these events to life and pull those liking drug/crime story lovers into the mix.  The problem is, the movie sort of lost itself in the presentation, not giving clear focus on Rick’s character or stories that he had to share and instead giving you snippets into his life.  With how much was going on, there could have been a gold mine of a story instead of just some nuggets they portrayed.  Still, it gets props for completing the information, and perhaps a director’s cut could improve upon it in the future.  As such, this History meets Lifetime Movie presentation can be held until it comes to Redbox, and would highly encourage you to take that route. 

 

My scores are:

 

Crime/Drama: 6.5-7.0

Movie Overall:  5.5

 

A Simple Review For A Simple Favor

A Simple Favor Poster

 

A good mystery drama, is often based on a good book, and tonight’s review is no exception to the rule.  Catching on the wave of popularity, another book turned film is upon us as it hopes to bring drama, mystery, and thrills to the audience as it competes with three other movies for first place in the box office. So, yours truly, alongside his friend, have checked into the theater and collected our thoughts on the latest film as we review:

 

Movie: A Simple Favor (2018)

 


Director:

Paul Feig

Writers:

Jessica Sharzer (screenplay by), Darcey Bell (based upon the novel by)

Stars:

Anna KendrickBlake LivelyHenry Golding

 

 

 

LIKES:

 

Great Acting

Solid Pace For Most of Film

Twists

Engaging Story

Comedy Timed At the Right Times

 

 

Summary:  The movie’s engaging characters are the stars of this mystery, each one having a deep, dark ravine that houses many secrets in it shadowy crevices. These characters convoluted profiles are only strongly supported by the fantastic acting of the leading ladies.  Lively is sexy, seductive, and mysterious, drawing on her darker roots to bring out the alluring visage that is Emily.  Kendrick’s character is a mixed bag of tricks that combines the traits of her previous roles into one character who is a good rival to Lively’s collected nature.  Golding acts as the medium between the two, his suave from Crazy Rich Asians still present, but the romantic aspect now replaced with darker skeletons.

As the lead actors work their magic, the solid pace keeps you invested in their work, moving briskly enough to keep the mystery fresh, but no so much to fly over details.  A Simple Favor’s simplicity is effectively gone when it comes to the story, as the twists begin to wiggle their way into the mix.  Presented in an engaging manner, there is always a tinge of mystery hanging in the distance to keep you together, with the promise of piecing them together at every step to challenge your brain.  It’s dark, it’s deep, and it holds all the pieces to suck drama-mystery lovers into the deep pool that is this story.  But don’t think it’s all dark pits of despair, because the comedy introduced in a spoof like manner brings some needed relief to spice things up. 

 

 

DISLIKES:

 

Pacing at the Beginning

Cheesy At Times

Predictable

Comedy Throws Theme Off At End:

 

Summary:  As the movie is better paced, the first hour hits a little bit of the breaks as it sets the plot up.  Drawn out dialogue, mundane montages, and some fashion style shows offs are going to be the primary focus, but power through this and you can find the deeper tale at the end of the bland rainbow. 

While there are plenty of twists and turns in this film, and a deep mystery, A Simple Favor does occasionally lose its balance and trek farther into the drama territory.  Much like modern day time and TGIT television, this film is not afraid to go into the soap opera/overboard themes to bring the entertainment.  While some of these are well received, a few of these plot devices are a little too convenient or over the top to really not roll your eyes at.  Fortunately, they do curtail these things better than most films, but it does not escape the predictable nature that these devices make.  I was able to guess most of the surprises, missing only the finite details the movie filled in that helped cement everything in the subplots of the film.

Yet my biggest dislike is how near the end, the movie almost becomes a spoof/comedic farce that is all about wrapping up the drama/mystery in a silly manner.  While the ending is fitting of the movie, the energy just felt off for me and the comedy situation just didn’t need to be so overdone to make me laugh.  It’s enjoyable, but perhaps needed that slight focus on the drama/thriller to tie up the ends and provide the closure this movie deserved.  Oh well, can’t be perfect right?

 

THE VERDICT:

 

            Overall, this is a mystery/thriller that performs adequately at its job of being engaging, interesting, full of drama, and providing those over the top punches.  A Simple Favor’s cast certainly is the solid pillar it’s based on, but the story itself feels like a well-designed integration to pull most audiences into the mix.  It sadly goes down some avenues that I didn’t enjoy, primarily in the soap opera tactics, and the comedy is sometimes a little overdone, but for those who love the thrillers of the television world, you are in for a treat for what it holds. Worth a trip to theater? Absolutely in regards to the acting a chilling plot, but not for those looking for a special effects extravaganza. 

 

My scores are:

 

Comedy/Crime/Drama: 7.5

Movie Overall: 7.0

Dare To Join This Clan For the Film?

BlacKkKlansman Poster

 

Robbie K back again with another review, this time on a biography that showed promise for being a wild, crime filled law.  Yet, there was the potential political game embedded in it that looked to get in the way, bringing concern that this movie may go down the wrong pathway.  Nevertheless, I’m back to give you yet another review in hopes that I can help shed some light onto whether the movie is worth its weight in money.  Let’s get started on the review of:

 

Blackkklansman (2018)

 

Director:

Spike Lee

Writers:

Charlie Wachtel,  David Rabinowitz

Stars:

John David Washington,  Adam Driver,  Laura Harrier

 

 

LIKES:

 

Great Setting

Costumes And Makeup

Clever Comedy

Awesome Sound Editing

Fantastic Acting

Strong Lessons

 

Blackkklansman is one of those movies that brings you back in time to all the crazy events of history.  The setting alone feels like a blast from the past, as we drop into the war against segregation from the unique perspective of an undercover agent. Amidst the world building of this movie, comes an impressive display of retro fashions of the time, bringing nostalgia and a certain panache to the film.  In addition, the fantastic soundtrack and sound editing brings that needed dynamic that represents emotion.  While the film is certainly strong in the drama/crime aspect, the comedy is reserved for those with a dryer sense of humor.  Clever wit awaits the audiences for this movie, forgoing the over the top slapstick for a richer laugh generator.  Of course, all of this fails without great acting, and this film’s two leads reach the goal of bringing the times to life and representing the story it wanted to tell.  This strong work helps sell the strong lessons of what history can teach, wrapping it up in very grandiose, preachy method that rolls with the movie.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Aggressive dialogue

Too Dry at Times

Slow Pace

The Ending?

 

 

Back in the day, the politeness and filtering were highly more advanced than today’s standards.  Sadly, the accurate yelling and vocabulary is a little too much for me, hearing all the derogative slanders, hating, and passionate politics just got to eye rolling proportions.  Fan who don’t like all the forbidden words of sailor talk, need to already turn away from this movie, though it still has nothing on Django Unchained and Phone Booth. Trying to offset this is the comedy that totally goes down the dryer route, but sometimes it becomes more a desert wasteland devoid of the usual comedic ocean.  This leads to some fewer entertaining choices, and with it a slower, dragged out piece.  Blackkklansman is horrible for pacing with me, establishing fantastic details, but sort of shirking the time management thing in advance of a complete story Still, the movie needed some spice to well spice things up so that the monotony could be broken up at times.  Finally, the ending.  Symbology and tributes are there to help motivate and teach the life lesson contained in this viewing.  However, the real error I have is that the ending itself seems out of place for me. I get it, the movie was showing some current events, but it just didn’t fit with the story they were trying to tell, which was about the past.

 

The VERDICT:

 

Blackkklansman is an artistic piece of work, that makes some parts of history fun to revisit.  However, the movie still needs some help with maximizing the entertainment/suspense element in their work.  Given the dry, barren joke pool and an ending that doesn’t quite click, you can see why the film gets some points docked away from it.  Still, looking for the informative, big-budget portrayal of the events that took place, the movie does warrant some applause for the ability to make history come to life once more.  Worth a trip to the theater?  Can’t say so, unless you want a political work of art… literally.

 

My scores:

 

Biography/Comedy/Crime: 7.5

Movie Overall: 6.5-7.0