Wanted Luxury And Got Decent: Checking In For A One Night Stay

Hotel Artemis Poster

            What does crime, medicine, and dramas all have in common? Well outside of certain episodes of ER and Grey’s Anatomy, not much to be honest.  However, today those three genres mix together to bring you another movie that will hopefully bring with it some suspense, a little creativity, and some originality that Hollywood needs.  Welcome to another Robbie’s movie review and today we review:

 

Movie: Hotel Artemis

 

Director:

Drew Pearce

Writer:

Drew Pearce

Stars:

Jodie Foster,  Sofia Boutella,  Dave Bautista

 

LIKES:

 

  • Acting
  • Character Dynamics
  • Sofia Boutella and Sterling Brown’s Characters
  • Realistic Setting
  • Action Scene

 

Summary:  Hotel Artemis is a movie largely dependent on its characters, which fortunately are brought to life by the fantastic talents of the various cast members recruited for the project.  Leading roles by Foster, Boutella  and Sterling K. Brownare by far the most in depth and worthy of billing, but even the supporting characters like Bautista and Charlie Daywho bring their usual styles to the mix to alleviate some of the more somber moments.

As the actors bring it to life, the character dynamics start to awaken, establishing the realm of crime in the near-future LA and just how fickle trust can be in the underworld.  Those dynamics by far are the driving force of the movie, trying to help figure out how each of the pawns are connected and what will drive them in this high stakes hospital.  Perhaps it’s the setting itself that forces this evolution of characters, as the dingy oasis from the riot outsides places numerous pressure on the group.  As the outside world grows wilder (documented by occasional news blurbs), the characters are forced to interact and face their own dilemmas.  It’s a well-done drama that doesn’t pull any punches in the 2 hour run time so that it may establish so much.

I mentioned in pre-reviews that this movie looked to have some action to further spur the story on and for the most part… that is not the case.  Yet, there is one action scene in particular led by the sexy assassin herself, that is just epic, tense, and a great fit into the story that feels pertinent to the tale as a whole.  I wished there was more of these moments, but that wasn’t the direction they wanted to go.

 

DiSLIKES:

  • Slow at times
  • Charlie Day/Quinto Rants
  • Underutilization of characters/actors
  • More Action
  • Darker Violence
  • Background flops

 

Like some of the more popular dramas on television, Hotel Artemis’ drama is all about try to build tension through the characters and have politics, emotional fervor, and affairs be the selling point. This takes time to adequately develop, and given all the convoluted ties in this movie, it means a pace that isn’t quite adrenaline fueled. Hotel Artemis has its slow points, that easily could have been tightened to reduce the run time or potentially add some more tension/urgency to the mix.  Had there been more action to speed it up, the pace may not have been as much of a low point for me, but I fought sleep a couple of times.

In addition, a few of the directions that the characters were taken were not my favorite renditions I wanted to see.  Primarily in Quinto and Day’s characters, these players in Artemis’ game are more annoying than engaging, leaving me disappointed with the little contribution they played.  Day just rants and curses like someone hopped on coffee, Red Bull, and methamphetamine, while Quinto is just a big baby.  Not quite as fitting given the other portrayals of the crime gang.  Even worse, a few of the characters are super left out, reduced to a few, unmemorable lines or weak character ploys to get to the climax faster.  Jeff Goldblum’s character was one of these guys, and my fears of too many characters came true.

Which brings me to perhaps my biggest dislike of the film, the rushed background stories and flops.  The Nurse’s story is one of the heavy hitters, mysterious and emotionally charged, you expect it to be the epicenter of the movie.  And while it was a key connector, much of the backstory was not that impressive, alliterated, and lacking any major surprise/mind blowing component.  When the big revelation comes… you almost miss the clues and by this point I was done with all the planning, I needed the climactic finish.  Fortunately Nice and Waikiki’s tale had a little more to it, but even then it was only a superficial scratch to what lied below.  All the potential was kind of flown over, therefore this was the disappointment factor for me.

 

 

The VERDICT: 

 

            Hotel Artemis is weird and dark, no doubt about it, and truth be told it is a crime/drama with characters that are the central pillar to the story.  Despite a fantastic cast acting their brains out and a character centric plot, Artemis’s main flaws come from not having enough time to fully utilize everyone they wanted, and it resulted in plot teasers that could be expanded on in the future (perhaps in a sequel no doubt).  Such complications were only exacerbated by the slower pace, that begs for more suspense, tension, and action to bring it to life.  Truth be told, this could have been better done as a television series than a solo movie, given them hours to further map out the conspiracy web. Overall, not worth the trip to the theater to be honest, but worth the rent if you are into the alternative Sci-Fi/crime scene.

 

My scores are:

 

Action/Crime/Thriller:  7.0

Movie Overall 6.0

 

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A Genetic Twist To Horror That Is Semi-Gripping Until the End

Hereditary Poster

 

Robbie K here, ready to try and do another movie justice in his reviews and observations.  Tonight’s focus is on a horror movie that looked very disturbing, chilling to the bone, and potentially containing a high creep factor to really make you squirm in your seats.  Yes, assuming you read the title of the movie on your way into this review I’m giving you my thoughts and observations on…

 

Hereditary (2018)

 

Director:

Ari Aster

Writer:

Ari Aster

Stars:

Toni Collette,  Milly Shapiro,  Gabriel Byrne

 

LIKES:

Creepy:  The trailers didn’t lie, Hereditary is creepy as heck and not afraid to flaunt it in so many forms.  While not loaded with jump scares that many love, Hereditary is all about using shadows and the edge of your vision to make you see things. It uses subtle sounds to keep you on the edge, and reveals just enough to keep you further engrossed in the thrills. Hereditary also is not afraid to cross the line to really get a reaction going, sometimes to the point of intensely disturbing visuals that one does not expect to see.  Yet, my friends and I all agreed that the true creep factor comes from how realistic this movie is, at least at the beginning.  The questions of how much is true and how much potential psychosis is helps depict some of the more extreme cases of mental illness and how dangerous and intense this disease can be. 

 

The Setting:  A creepy movie requires a setting to bring it to life and this movie has got that going on for it too.  The house is classic, semi isolated from town, with enough nooks and crannies to generate shadows that hide in the light.  It’s not these random temples or abandoned houses, but an actual lived in home that brings that realism to light and immerses you into the movie.  And if you don’t care about the creepy shadows and lights the movie holds, then just enjoy the beauty of the house, especially if you were dragged to the movie to begin with.

 

 

Dynamic Story Changes: A fancy way of saying twisting transition, Hereditary’s writer certainly new how to adjust the script to bring a different atmosphere with the movie.  At first more of a psycho thriller with some potential horror elements, the movie manages to gradually fluctuate into other genres.  It evolves into different types of horrors, and with it brings more levels of disturbing twists to begin to connect semi-vague pieces together. It certainly a bit haphazard and mashed like a play, but I give props for a writer willing to switch gears from time to time. In addition, some of the lengths they go to shake things up are certainly risky, but with it generating some reaction you weren’t quite expecting. 

 

DISLIKES:

 

Long:  Heritage certainly does the job of tying up loose ends and making sure everything is explained (which of course is a like). Sadly, it takes a little too long to get to that point and in a very complex manner that is almost like going around your elbow to get to your thumb. The second act, and partially the third act, were very drawn out, boring to the point of trying to make these connections in a mask of coping mechanisms.  Again, it’s realism and portrayal are awesome, but as the direction of the movie starts to change, these weird transitions start to feel a bit too odd and not worth your time.

 

The Goofy Faces:  Some of the movie tried to bring some torturous reactions in the non-verbal acting.  Poor Toni Collette came off with some rather goofy, perhaps unintentional, faces that were funny and looked more like being stoned or maybe getting brain freeze. Her son Peter (Alex Wolff) didn’t turn out much better, as his own facial dynamics were, well goofy as well, primarily in that buck toothed, stoned look that was meant to be exhaustion.

 

The Acting:  Don’t get me wrong, the acting was mostly decent, if not good, primarily in the portrayal of mental illness and fear.  Yet there were times where hysterical crying, yelling, and blubbering were again a little too much and went down the wrong path.  I’m not trying to pick on Wolff, but his hysterical crying was a little too forced for me and seemed incredibly fake compared to the rest of his performance.  Why this gimmick was done more than once, not really known, but I can’t say that it was a direction I would have taken.

 

The Tongue Clicking: Not quite an as annoying as the trailers made it out, the use of the tongue clicking was decent at times, but a little over used.  Whether it was the amplification by the speakers, or maybe just the excessive/random moments, this device started to grow annoyingly humorous and needed to stop.  Thank goodness they got light of it and didn’t bombard us too much with it.

 

The Complexity:  A complex plot makes you think, makes you question, and more importantly keeps you engaged.  This movie accomplished those goals, but when the ending finally came through and the final transition happened, the complexity felt stupid and unneeded.  Again, it supports the ending, but because of how much I didn’t like the ending, this complexity just didn’t feel the right direction to me outside of extending the film. Complexity can be good with a real good finish, (which some may like), but for this reviewer the ends didn’t justify the means.

 

The Ending:  You saw this coming, but Hereditary’s ending wasn’t the one I had in mind from the trailers.  A surprise can be good, but to quote my friends, the ending had completely leaped over the gap to another movie altogether that didn’t quite fit all the way with the direction the first act did.  It was almost like two screenwriters wrote the two halves, came together and tried to paste them together (even though there was supposedly only one writer).  While the broad transitions will grip more people in, the movie’s grand finale wasn’t my cup of tea, though it may explain the disturbing steps this writer planned. And some of the end game decisions, rushed, pointless, and really not pleasant to look at (fans who see the movie will know what I’m talking about).

 

The VERDICT:

 

            The other reviews are right, this movie keeps you guessing, has a number of twists, is creepy and hard to stomach, and not afraid to go down the dark abyss to bring you shock.  So, bravo in thinking outside the box and crafting a rather original tale with a dynamic component to it.  Yet, this movie’s tinkering with the plot was unnecessarily complex, with a few gimmicks/deliveries not really keeping in tone with the genre and the ends not justifying the lengthy journey I took to get there.  If you like the Lords of Salem, you are going to enjoy the approach this movie takes, as it feels very similar in a lot of components. Yet, if you want a more linear, straightforward movie, hold your horses for later this year when other films are supposed to grace the silver screen.

 

My scores are:

 

Drama/Horror/Mystery: 8.0

 

Movie Overall:  7.0

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

 

 

Tully, Or Not Tully? That Is The Question

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The artistic movie is one that makes one think, makes a bold statement, and often pushes the boundaries on the normal cinematography.  Some of the movies that fall in this category are Juno and Young Adult, two movies that are all about pushing one to address morale and social issues that are becoming ever abundant in this world. This weekend, the studio continues its trend, with another film that looks to address some social quirk in hopes of shedding the light on the topic.  Robbie K is back with a written review on the latest movie called:

 

Movie: Tully

 

Director:

Jason Reitman

Writer:

Diablo Cody

Stars:

Charlize Theron,  Mackenzie Davis,  Mark Duplass

 

 

LIKES:

The Acting:  Charlize Theron continues the fantastic work of bringing characters to life, curbing her usual sullen mood and silky-smooth voice and transforming it to something truly wonderful.  She brings the suffering of postpartum depression out in full fold and crushes it with her amazing talent, and for once the extreme characters she normally plays are gone, replaced with someone you can grip on to.  Then bring in Mackenzie Davis as Tully, who brings vibrant energy, rational thought, and a new outlook to mix things up and brighten the mood.  The chemistry between the two leads is a defining strength of this movie, which keeps the conversation going and the pace moving.

 

Good Pace:  Most of the movies by this directing/writing combo is often slow and too drawn out for me.  This was the opposite case for me in this film, as Tully managed to tell the tale in a very concise manner, at a speed that was engaging to watch.  A nice crafted story to make things work, this movie shouldn’t induce any sleep for most.

 

Beautiful Makeup:  I don’t know if Theron had to put on weight, or a there were good prosthetics, but the work-up is beautiful in this movie. Theron looks pregnant for the whole 20 minutes she is carrying her baby, and the after body goes through a metamorphosis reflecting the post-partum body.  It’s impressive, accurate, and quite well done to immerse you further into the character’s life. 

 

Realism: The thing about these movies, is that they tend to be on the more realistic side than most blockbusters. Tully continues this trend and does a swell job of crafting a tale related around a serious disease, collecting various struggles, hazards, and emotional torrents of this delicate time.  While there are still some movie magic moments, the film I think hits the highlights to exemplify the suffering these women have after birth, and more so in the valuable lessons life has to offer.

 

Morals:  There are plenty of scenes to entertain and show off Theron’s talent.  However, this reviewer loves the three powerful moments where lessons are taught. Tully’s story drops some beautiful dialogue down to address the imbalances that modern society manages to look over.  Keeping your ears open, Tully will attempt to break your glass ceilings on issue such as parenting, happiness, and marriage, providing some sound advice to help balance the numerous responsibilities involved in these parts of life.  I for one loved how casual it felt and hope to see such natural dialogue in the future installments of this universe.

 

Twist:  The movie has a nice “twist” to help get some responses out of the audience.  While this reviewer called it at about forty-five minutes into the film, most will like what Cody’s writing has in store.  Get ready for a nice symbolic mix-up that mostly fits into the film, because you’re going to appreciate the integration it has to offer.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Hasty Conclusions: Tully is filled with analytical moments in an attempt to dissect all aspects of motherhood.  While these components are relative and essential, the film fails to decently tie up some of the problems her family has.  True, it’s about her growth and taking steps to improve on herself and family, there were a few solutions that came too easily or were left as only a glimmer of hope.  I’ll agree the ending is wrapped up, but it’s just not as wrapped up as I had hoped.

 

Limited Audience: These movies may be artistic, but they are also very limited in who will get the most out of this movie.  Tully’s audience is going to be for those who have experienced the hardships of motherhood, battled the grasp of post-partum depression, or have lost their way in marriage/life.  Outside of that, the general audience is going to close themselves off to the artistic approach of this movie

 

Twist Offsets Energy: For once, Cody’s writing managed to actually excite me in its education about life and unique approach to tackling it head on.  As Tully and Theron go on their adventures to clear the clouds of distress, I started to feel better and enjoyed watching the nanny piece life back together.  Then the twist comes in and offsets that journey, an accurate representation of life, the surprise disheveled the great pace and approach for a predictable tangent that hastily wraps it up.  I applaud creativity, but after enjoying such a good pace, it stunk to see it ripped out and offset the vibes it put out.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Tully turned out to be better than I had expected. The script is strong, pushing for change in a natural way and fostering growth along a number of important life lesson battlegrounds.  A great chemistry makes for engaging characters and the twist is there to mix things up.  However, Tully still suffers from hitting a limited audience group and outside of still being an exhausting movie, the ray of hope in the gradual solving of problems gets offset by the twist and leads to a rather hasty conclusion.  Still, the movie is much better than expected, though you might be better off waiting for this movie to hit home viewing unless you are going as a focus group. 

 

My scores are

 

Comedy/Drama:  7.0

Movie Overall: 7.0

Bump, Set, and Spiked Out Of Bounds

Miracle Season.jpg

 

It would not be American Hollywood without a little sports motivated movie to ring in the Spring season.  Tonight, yours truly starts his double decker review with a film that looks to be an inspiration to… high school volleyball players and their younger counterparts.  Based on true events, tonight’s review starts with a move that will hopefully bump, set, and spike your way to scoring high-points fun.  Tired of all the sports puns?  Yeah me too, so let’s get started with yet another Robbie Movie Review on:

 

Title:  The Miracle Season

Director:

Sean McNamara

Writers:

David Aaron Cohen,  Elissa Matsueda (screenplay)

Stars:

Helen Hunt,  Tiera Skovbye,  Erin Moriarty

 

 

LIKES:

The Pace:  Movies like this strike a chord for their key demographics, but to the rest of the world it can fall on deaf ears.  Fortunately for those who accompany tweens and teens, the movie isn’t that long and the pace is decent to keep things on point.  The editing was able to tighten what could have been a drawn-out film and as such gets you into the games/drama quick and then gets you right back out. 

 

The Inspiration:  Miracle, Remember the Titans, even Million Dollar Arm have proven effective in motivating the audience members (primarily aspiring athletes) to go an accomplish their dreams and goals…well some of us anyway.  The Miracle Season is yet another win on the board of motivation, utilizing a polished script, great visualization, and tailored acting to deliver the messages within.  Hope, remembering, inner strength, and will power are just some of the qualities that audience members can soak up. No matter how many times I see portrayals like this I get the feelings all over.

 

The Musical Score:  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but a good musical score can really drive the point home for movies.  The Miracle Season rings strong in this category, bringing a powerful orchestra score to the game sequences to amplify the effects of an already high stress scene.  While the Katy Perry songs are cute, cuddly, and well-fitting for empowerment, it’s really the drum infused, high school spirited instrumental work that brings the full power of the movie.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Predictable:  These movies seldom have big surprises, and this movie is no exception.  The trailers have already given away the major events, and given it is an inspirational sports’ movie, you can pretty much guess what will happen. No surprises, no major twists, not even suspenseful teasing…it’s just one predictable montage. 

 

Preachy:  Movies are famous for crossing the lines into this territory, it just depends on how powerful the monologue and speech are to provide the message.  Where Disney fueled movies have accomplished the dramatic delivery, this movie only managed to hit 50% in regards to the power of delivering the message.  Instead, the simplistic lines, overdramatic camera angles, and obvious direction take the movie down a semi-cheesy preach fest that eventually feels like it belongs on a day-time soap opera.  It delivers the message well enough but fails to deliver the magic that Disney has made famous.

 

Shotty Character Development:  Again, a good effort, but does not quite reach maximum work the movie could have really used.  The main characters of Kelly, Brez and Ernie (Moriarty, Hunt, and William Hurt respectively) get the most in terms of evolution, but past these characters the rest are very simplistic in regards to growing.  Most of the team are simply extras to fill in the team and allow for some volleyball shots, while others have a few lines that show promise of deeper involvement, but then taper off.  In a movie all about the players and the miracle they experienced, I was hoping for more depth in the team as a whole.

 

Editing Disproportionate: While the movie is fairly tight, I felt that the editing took out the wrong material of what I wanted to see.  The Miracle Season focuses on the slower parts of the journey, taking more time to show practice, talking, and preparation than the actual games.  When the big moments come up you might expect a few decent sequences of awesome volleyball action.  However, the movie instead traded these potentially exciting bouts for more tear-jerking moments of sulking, girl talk, and some unneeded detours that added little for me in the movie.  Sentimental?  Yes.  Hard hitting, sports prowess?  Not even close.

 

Anti-Climactic: All of these dislikes sum up to one things, anti-climactic.  The Miracle Season may be motivating, but it really lacks the exciting climax I was hoping to get in the movie.  Even in the final games, the montages experience a drought of any dramatic tension, presented as just a bland spectacle of spandex wearing warriors doing some cool choreography.  I do admit, there are some awe inspiring plays, but as a whole needed more to get the full effects.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            The Miracle Season is certainly a public service announcement about the power of hard work, hope, and teamwork.  It will serve as the fuel for future young females (especially athletes) to have a fantastic season, and push their limits.  As a collective work though, it needed to add more pizazz overall and really add the magic to their moments to create the tension they wanted.  In addition, more development of characters and team relationships could have taken this movie farther, but still it’s got the gusto to appeal to its demographic.  While an enjoyable movie, this film is best left to renting than the theater in my opinion, unless you need it for the big game to inspire the troops. 

 

My scores:

Drama/Sport:  6.5

Movie Overall:  5.0

Like Day And Night, This Romance Is Always Dancing

Midnight sun

 

Love stories seem to come a dime a dozen these days and this reviewer has seen his share of carbon copy plots.  Yet, despite these time worn tales, audience members continue to flock to these films in hopes of recapturing the spark or romance and seeing our heroes thrive.  With this modern audience though, there needs to be gimmicks thrown in as well, to not only spice things up but keep the movie memorable.  Midnight Sun is one of these movies (as well as the source of my review) and this novel turned movie is hoping to entertain in this jam packed weekend.  Will it work?  I’m here to help answer that question, so get ready for another Robbie’s movie review, only condensed.

 

LIKES:

-Funny

-Charming

-Realistic

-Decent Acting

-Nice Twist

-The Musical Score

 

A love story of course has to have love, kissing, and all that other stuff that makes audience members go “Awwwww”  or clap in delight.  Midnight Sun has got that, but what this reviewer likes is the extra charisma infused into the movie.  For one thing it’s got comedy, not the over the top, ridiculous slapstick YouTube is filled with, but instead has a wittier side with well-timed flirting, awkward moments blown up, and Rob Riggle’s natural comedic ability. The comedy is very charming, much like the movie, with a natural feel that keeps the mush grounded and the story an entertaining adventure away from the big budget productions.

Hands down the movie gets props for me for the realism it holds and the sustenance it brings by avoiding that overdramatic mess we tend to get.  Midnight Sun has that two teens in love vibe to it, but what impresses me is how the love story isn’t the only focus of the movie.  Instead there is a making the most summer vibe, adding a little adventure for you to ride along with. The acting presented by  Bella Thorne and Patrick Schwarzenegger is enough to sell this new-age, teenage love without crossing over into the overacting or melodramatic proportions. This exciting, new relationship is fun to watch, and the added twist only helps engage the audience into this stereotypical relationship to help add some originality to the twist as well.

Hands down, bringing everything together was the musical score.  Part hot topic hit list and part orchestrated score, Midnight Sun has a great blend of these tracks that fit the scenes perfectly and add the extra emotional punch to pull at your heart strings. One may not expect music to add much, but in this movie it really works to add that extra element of flair.

 

 

 

DISLIKES:

-Predictable

-Under-utilized characters

-Acting sometimes fades

-Tangents that weren’t developed

 

Despite all I liked about the movie though, there were still some areas of improvement to help boost the quality of the film.  First of all, the story’s nice twist works for originality, but it still is predictable as heck.  The movie essentially spells out what is going to happen, straightening out the twists and keeping it on safer, though more emotional, grounds. It took away the suspense component for me, but it did not breach the integrity of the emotional dynamic of the movie.

A bigger disappointment though, is the underutilization of the other characters that are supposed to support this adventure. While I recognize this is a love story about the two, the movie goes out of the way to make some strong introductions to characters that are supposed to be key players as well.  The dad gets his due, but I was rather disappointed with the lackluster integration of the best friends that after getting introduced don’t really contribute to the adventure as was promised. Most of the appearances are reduced to cameos or brief quips, with their potential stories fizzling out before it has a chance to build up.  While the musical moments have a nice flair to them, the other tangential adventures don’t provide much to the film outside of a few life memories one should experience. The potential to expand on so many relationships, which is a key part to life, was lost to some other plot points that I would have liked expanded.

As for the acting, well like the subplots, there are times where it flounders with both Thorne and her male counterpart seeming to fall out of character.  Those awkward pauses are a bit flatly acted and a little hard to believe in the love between lovers.  Fortunately, the writing and romantic gestures are enough to offset tis inconsistency, but still the performance feels like something off of Freeform at times.

 

The VERDICT:

            Overall, Midnight Sun has panache that makes it an enjoyable tale to watch.  It’s got class, fun, entertainment and a musical soundtrack that brings all those emotional moments together.  It’s true the movie is a predictable mess, and could have used some more expansion into the adventure/friendship component that makes life fun.  Yet that promise of excitement with the spark of new romance can lead to enjoyable experience, assuming you don’t watch all the trailers and ruin it. In regards to the theater component, I recommend holding off on this medication for a theater visit, but scope it out on rentals asap. 

 

My scores are:

Drama/Romance:  7.0

Movie Overall: 6.0

This Gringo Was Not The Heffe

Gringo.jpg

 

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!

 

LIKES:

 

-David Oyelowo Acting

-Morale dilemma

-Funny at times

-Fast-Paced

 

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.

 

DISLIKES:

 

-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.

 

 

The VERDICT:

 

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