Will This Christmas Flick Deliver A Holiday Gift?

Last Christmas Poster

 

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

 

Movie: Last Christmas (2019)

 

 

 

 

LIKES:

 

Good Acting

Comedy That is Not Overdone

Fun and A good atmosphere

Good Message For The Times

Fast Run Time

The Music

 

DISLIKES:

 

Predictable

Dryer Sense Of Humor Required

Needing More Time To Tell A Detailed Story

The Semi-Superficial Romance

The Overdone Ending

Lacking That Big Punch

 

 

SUMMARY:

 

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

 

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

 

The VERDICT:

 

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

 

My scores for its genre are:

 

Christmast/Comedy/Drama/Romance:  8.0

Movie Overall:  5.5

 

 

Managed To Make It Midway To A Quality War Film

Midway Poster

 

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

 

Movie: Midway (2019)

 

 

LIKES:

 

The Modern Technology Prowess

Multiple Aspect providing different viewpoints

The Intensity Of Some War Scenes

The Decent Acting

The Intelligence Aspect

 

DISLIKES:

 

Disjointed Plot

Too many Perspectives

The Semi Forced Love Story

The Choppiness of the scenes

Semi-sloppy use of big names

The Action Scenes

 

SUMMARY:

 

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

 

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

 

The VERDICT:

 

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

 

My scores are:

 

Drama/War/History/Action:   6.5

Movie Overall:  6.0

I Don’t Think You Will Sleep Through This One

Doctor Sleep: The IMAX 2D Experience Poster

 

Stephen King is on a role this year with two stories turned to movies, among other products, and potentially raking in even more cash. The age of taking author’s works and putting visual spins on them continues to thrive and sometimes we get an interpretation that brings our nightmares/expectations to life.   On the other hand, the limitations of movies can sometimes lead to bad projects that are disappointing more than anything.  What will happen in this interpretation?  Well I’m here to share my opinions to help you get the most out of your movie going experience.  Let’s get started as I review:

 

Movie: Doctor Sleep

 

Director:

Mike Flanagan

Writers:

Stephen King (based on the novel by), Mike Flanagan

Stars:

Ewan McGregorRebecca FergusonKyliegh Curran

 

 

LIKES:

  • Acting
  • Feels Like A Visual Form Of Book
  • Nice Haunting Atmosphere
  • Pacing For The Most Part is Good
  • Great Antagonists
  • Fantastic References To original/With modern twists
  • Story Telling As a Whole

 

DISLIKES

  • The Run Time
  • Expecting More Integration of Shining’s connections
  • Not Scary
  • Graphic Violence That is Haunting But Disturbing

 

SUMMARY

 

When the revealed the cast of this film I was interested in seeing how they would adapt into King’s Universe.  The result is positive for me with the three main characters really taking a shine to the multi-layered characters each contributing to the terror in some way.  McGregor takes much of the lifting in his evolution of tortured spirit, keeping that quiet intensity famous of his younger counterpart, but somehow pulling out other tricks when the time is right to give a psychiatrically tortured counterpart.  As for the antagonist, Rebecca Ferguson is wonderful counterpart to McGregor, keeping that same creepy tone, but this time bringing a savage/psychotic edge that fits well in the horror genre, think villains from Walking Dead before it went too far.  As for the talents of Curran, well she was the perfect balance that sort of inherited both sides of the Shining coin, executing her vulnerable side well, but also managing to bring girl power to an even medium.

Acting aside, the rest of the movie thrives in the element of bring King’s imagination to life.  To be honest it does feel like a visualization of the book, the intricate details, outlines story, and connecting points a wonderful example of the art of literature translation.  King’s words always paint a picture of sheer horror, immersing one into a nightmare realm that goes into the darkest corners of the minds and dreams.  Doctor Sleep’s haunting chills line just about every minute of this film, bringing with it characters that fit into it, primarily the antagonists that Danny faces.  Such fitting characters and truly nightmarish villains make a wonderful centerpiece to get hooked onto.  Yet, the movie does not just focus on making the characters the star, instead finding way to integrate the Shining into the film while sticking to the originality of the tale.  Seeing various nods back to the original tale, though with modern face lifts, and having them there to support the tale, again getting an applause from me. With such details, you might think the pacing will suffer, but Flanagan accomplished the task of keeping all these details and plot dynamics balanced, but not sacrificing the entertainment value that movies are expected.  In conclusion to this like section, the story telling is told well at an engaging pace that makes for one of the better horror movies and book translations in a long while.

 

Yet for me, it’s rare to see a perfect movie that I love everything about and this was true for Doctor Sleep as well.  For one thing the run time is a little long for a later night showing, I know my fault, but despite how well the balance of this tale is, there was some pacing that made the 2.5 hours a little too long for me.  Perhaps it was from working a 15-hour day, or maybe it’s due to wanting a little more of the Shining’s plot components brought in, given how long the opening was about the time lapse between the two stories I might have wanted a little more integration into the mix to help fully get my horror element on. In addition, the movie did not do the most in the scare factor for me, going more down the  drama/thriller category than the actual horror element.  I’m not saying others will not get scared, but it all depends on what you like to jump at creeps vs jump scares.  For me though, the aspect I know was needed, but I did not like is the torturing and graphic violence components.  I can say I like action movies and over the top stunts, but in this movie the violence is all about inducing the disturbing, skin crawling factors that these books are famous for.  Weak constitutions to graphic displays of fear inducing dismantling need to rethink diving into this, for there are several scenes where this factor comes into full swing with little mercy.

 

  The VERDICT

            I have to agree with my friends who saw the film, Doctor Sleep is one of the better novel interpretations that I have seen in quite a while.  My favorite aspects of this film are how much like a book it plays out, yet never sacrifices the entertainment factors and visualization components that films need.  A haunting atmosphere to play in, with great characters to bring out the solid story, I feel many King and horror films will be impressed with the presentation of this tale.  While the run time is a little longer than expected, and the scares are at a minimum compared to the first film I watched a long time ago, the true component to warn people about is the graphic violence/torture that may haunt your memories for some time.  It’s true I would have liked a little more of the Shining aspect, but overall a solid story telling from King and company again.  Is it worth a trip to the theater?  Absolutely, as it has theater quality effects and good storytelling for most audience members to enjoy.

 

My scores are:

 

Drama/Fantasy/Horror:  8.0-8.5

Movie Overall:  8.0

Incomplete Artistic Liberties Derail This UnderGround Railroad Story

Harriet Poster

    Historical dramas are another fine genre to grace the new age, but with them you get artistic liberties that sometimes does not go the way they planned.  Yet, we keep trying to make the next ultimate movie to bring these people to modern times, and help teach their contributions to society through the magic of film.  So what does tonight’s film have to offer?  That’s where yours truly comes in and thus Robbie K is here with another review as we check out:

 

Movie: Harriet (2019)

 

Director:

Kasi Lemmons

Writers:

Gregory Allen Howard (screenplay by), Kasi Lemmons(screenplay by)

Stars:

Cynthia ErivoLeslie Odom Jr.Joe Alwyn

 

 

LIKES:

 

  • The Recreation Of History
  • The Cultural Songs
  • The Dialogue
  • The Acting

 

DISLIKES:

  • Pacing is Off
  • A Little Too Montage Moments
  • Other characters to be integrated
  • Weaker Antagonist Characters
  • The Vision Piece Of The Puzzle
  • The Action Component or lack of

Summary:

 

Movies continue to prove their abilities to act as windows into different worlds, and in this case the budget they have is impressive in recreating the troubled times of our countries past.  Harriet’s dive back into the Civil War comes with impressive recreations of a time forgotten, bringing the simplicity of the plantations and the surrounding towns to full life to immerse one into the culture.  Costumes play a major support adding a subtle edge to the movie that will integrate you into the culture a little more.  This is perhaps the biggest strength of Harriet, showing cultural components of the time period and while the visual elements are impressive the writing only augments that to bigger levels.  Harriet loves showing off the song traditions of that time period, in the power of religious hymns and soul music that not only served to inspire, but acted as a means of signaling to others.  Erivo’s voice holds the power you expect of this music, and while I would have liked more diversity in the song I give props to the use and execution of the power melodies that Tubman held in this film.  Fortunately, this thing is not a musical, and the rest of the spoken word contains a powerful dialogue that makes for a wonderful platform of explaining the story.  Harriet’s dialogue contains the raw passion of the times, bringing out the emotional fury of the times, while also the passion of the people.  It’s deep, metaphor filled writing is the stuff novelists love to unleash, and it will surely be on quotable boards in future classrooms.  As to who unleashes that writing, well the actors get the props and skills from this reviewers to bring that fire to the film.  Erivo leads the group into dealing out how much hurt and anguish the people of this time had, and showing how it fueled their drive to bring people to freedom.  It’s a bit overdramatic I’ll admit, but when honed with the words, you get those models that made the women behind me comment in agreement and potentially act as the focal point of the movie.

 

Yet, for all the passion that the movie has there are some things that I was not impressed with.  For one thing the pacing feels a little off for me, starting out slow and meticulous at the set-up, only to go fast in the journey to freedom, before going slow once more.  The stop and go approach has never been my preference, and based on the expectations from the trailers I had hoped for a little more conflict and impasse to add spark to the mix.  Sadly, the montage approach was used where only small segments took the form of the rescuing scenes and intense moments that was a little disappointing to be honest.  Now let’s take in the characters that were built up in the beginning.  Most of them practically don’t exist, guess that’s why it is called Harriet I guess, and it led to many characters feeling only as afterthoughts and not really involved in the story.  I would have liked to see some of these people work alongside her, have more character involvement, than small exchanges, especially when they went to all the trouble to introduce and try to build them up.  But, the drama aspect takes over and leads to very dramatic, bluntly ended affairs that were almost not needed.  It’s like these intense moments were just the seasoning on a burger, rather than the meat, leading to flat ended plots that were a little boring to say the least.  This is especially true for the antagonists, men I thought would be ruthless hounds in their pursuit of Harriet, with legendary skills that would push Harriet to the heights of her abilities.  Instead, we get egotistical, weaker characters that do little to contribute to the story outside of, looking like grandiose fools and do a little hurting on the side.  I’m with a lot of fans here in stating that if you are going to blur the line of reality and fantasy, do it in a little more style with characters that actually made the journey worthwhile.  Another thing I’m mixed about is the vision aspect of the movie.  Harriet’s connection to the Lord is one I’ll always envy from this film in getting communication back, but the way this movie did it made it like a super power that acted as her means of movie.  An original twist?  Yes!  What was needed for this movie?  I don’t think so and can’t say this vision was my cup of tea.  Finally, I had hoped that the trailers showing Harriet wielding guns and an army was going to add a little more flair to the mix, helping with the pacing and adding that edge that we discussed earlier.  Perhaps then the movie magic decisions would have been worth the effort.

 

The VERDICT:

            Depending on what you are going in here for will determine how much of Harriet you like.  It’s certainly the dramatic flair of modern cinema, taking lots of liberties to make history a little more pleasing to the attention span of today.  If you can appreciate the liberties, the full-on passion and professional writing for powerful monologues then I feel you’re going to enjoy the attitude of this film.  Throw in some impressive visual recreation and acting to bring all this to life, and well you’ve got the world of dramatic Civil War.  However, if you are looking for historical accuracy or at least a dramatic world that has a lot more edge and character involvement, then prepared to be ignorant or disappointed.  Harriet’s  artistic liberties were appreciated, but in the long run it did not come altogether for me and I was left wanting a little more investment to bring this magnificent woman’s story to life. 

 

My scores are:

 

Action/Biography/Drama:   6.5

Movie Overall: 5.5

Black and Blue Political View

Black and Blue Poster

 

Politics drives the film a lot more than I care to admit, but as a fellow reviewer said recently, it’s a new age and they are giving what the audience wants.  So tonight’s film looks to be one of these issue driven films wrapped in a potential action casing.  Yet, trailer artists are impressive in their ability to hook us into the film and so reviewers like me are here to give some thoughts as to the quality of the latest film.  Get ready, because here we go as I take a look into:

 

Movie: Black & Blue (2019)

Director:

Deon Taylor

Writer:

Peter A. Dowling

Stars:

Naomie HarrisMike ColterFrank Grillo

 

LIKES:

  • Good Acting
  • Nice Portrayal of a Cultural War Zone
  • Dynamic passing of the hot item
  • Music that Portrays The Attitude
  • More Suspense Than Some Other Films

 

DISLIKES:

 

  • Predictable
  • Drawn Out
  • Some Suspense Of Disbelief
  • Politics Take Priority Over Story
  • Stereotypes
  • Language
  • Some undeveloped aspects
  • The Action

 

Summary:

When you have a pollical feature you need to have people to play the new age champions of the generation.  Well they picked fantastic cast members to bring it to life with Naomie Harris the beacon of hope in this emotionally charged film.  She’s a hero that brings the motivation and good intentions to life in a character that is meant to be the focal point.  Tyrese Gibson brings his usual charm to the film, an edge that shows being tough, but curbed to not be quite the hot head his Fast And Furious counterpart shines in.  The rest of the cast begins to come together to paint their various characters, but it’s really these two that shined for this reviewer.  Outside of portraying the character swell, I nod to the portrayal of a cultural war zone, where modern society feels different pressures that results in the divisions seen in the media.  Black and Blue’s emotion is actually much derived from the setting, a nice touch to the political piece of the film.  With that hot item that is the body cam, this film got creative in the means of passing the hot item around like the world’s most intense game of hot potato.  I give them props for the means of passing the information it contains, and the solutions they come up with to work around things.  It adds the suspense element to the film, and I’ll admit there was a little more intensity to the film in determining how far both parties were willing to go to achieve their goals.  And to be truthful, it is that suspense that makes the true entertaining value of the movie.  Finally, the music brought into this film goes the extra mile to add that last bit of finesse to document the energy and emotion of the film.

 

For all the good this drama did though, there are some thing I think overshadow the entertainment piece of the movie.  It starts with the predictability, another linear tale where thanks to trailers, obvious dialogue, and stale writing, you have enough foreshadows to lead you to the end of the film.  What’s worse is that knowing the ending that is coming, it takes a little longer to get where you are going.  Black and Blue is a bit too drawn out for me, a little too bloated with these monologues and boring exchanges that starts to blunt the suspense mentioned earlier for the more political nature.  Throw in some suspense of disbelief and well you get the toned-down moments that other reviewers have talked about.  Yet where the movie really starts to lose it for me is the focus on politics over the other elements.  For those who want the relatability of an issue, who like the realism drawn into the film, and rooting for your champions as they make the first steps towards change, this movie is for you.  However, for me the stereotypes and directed writing got a bit overwhelming for me and sort of retracted from the things I thought the trailer was going to show.  Again, the movie manages to capture a realer tone with the language and mannerisms, but the aggressive use of these devices usually leaves a bland taste in my mouth so I can’t say it was a win for me.  Still, another big weakness is the sort of lackadaisical development of the movie’s aspect such as full rounded character development, histories of some key people, even the better integration of those threat elements could have gone a long way to round out the story and make the time investment worthwhile.  Finally, the action, the one thing I thought this movie was wrapped in is sadly missing for much of the movie.  The drama is the main entertaining factor, but it really need a few more gun battles, chases, and warlike feature I had hoped would spice things up.  Sadly, there are only a few short-lived moments that quickly cease and fall into the past.

 

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Overall, Black And Blue is going to be the movie that will appeal to those that love a politically fervor movie with attitude and aggressive visualization of key events.  It’s got the  emotional aspect to it, brought to life by the cast, setting, and suspenseful game of hot potato that is a key factor.  For Drama lovers and crime lovers this is your bread and butter movie of the week so far, but for action lovers well hold your horses.  The political component is the one you have to prepare for, because it is going to be the key factor that is stretched out, slow, and a little bloated.  I’m not sure how people will respond to the painstakingly obvious issues and dialogue, the stereotypical roles and the portrayals of the cast.  For me I would have liked better story, more developed aspects of the film, and certainly more excitement to help amp up the suspense.  All in all though, the movie needs to find a little more balance and excitement before I can say it’s worth the trip to the theater, so hold out for Netflix on this one if you can.  With that said, my scores are:

 

Action/Crime/Drama:  6.5

Movie Overall:  5.0

 

Gemini MAN-aged to DeAge and Excite, But Was Not A Successful Action Clone

Gemini Man Poster

 

 

Will Smith, a legendary actor who has found various avenues to bring his work to someone you know, maybe even you.  Whether you think everything he is touching is gold, or varies in spectrum, I have to give the man props for his bravery of taking on these roles.  Today, after many years of being in the works, a supposed personal interest rears its head after months of advertising in hopes that it will rock the socks off the audience.  Thanks to technology catching up, we get this weekend to check out the film:

 

Movie: Gemini Man (2019)

 

Director:

Ang Lee

Writers:

David Benioff (screenplay), Billy Ray (screenplay)  |3 more credits »

Stars:

Mary Elizabeth WinsteadWill SmithClive Owen

 

 

LIKES:

  • The Comedy
  • The Acting
  • The Pace (somewhat)
  • The Action Scenes
  • The Technology

 

DISLIKES:

 

  • The Plot
  • The Predictability
  • The Commercial spoilers
  • More Action
  • The Ending

 

Summary:

 

Like any movie with darker/grittier themes, you sometimes need a good timed joke to relieve you from the cloud of dismay that hovers over the world.  Gemini does this without breaking its stride, finding ways to throw jabs and some banter into a rather linear, monotone dialogue and captivate on the laughs. Much of this is due to Benedict Wong for me, but Smith manages to get a little Fresh Prince vibes going into help get a chuckle.  Despite a number of reviews calling the acting mundane, this reviewer found that it was not quite the spectrum that people claim it to be, more so in the characters themselves.  Again, Wong manages to be the best one for me, with Ms. Winstead bringing a close second alongside the younger version of Will.  The chemistry is sort of there, but it works to bring the simplistic chess pieces into this story and get the thrills going.  Instead of award-winning performance, the focus of this film is definitely going for the action setting, and this is where I think the studio’s efforts shine.  First off, the pace is much like an action film, trying to get started on a high note, and diving into valleys of jargon and one-note conversations that try to complicate a rather simple plot before going into the action sequences.  At these exciting moments is where I give my favorite aspect to, for they were able to bring most of the scenes to the level of excitement I wanted without breaking their reality.  Chase sequences and close combat really shined for me in this movie, with the technology and camera work, alongside the sound effects of course, being designed to add that adrenaline-fueled excitement that I love.  For the technology itself, I give Lee and his team props because they successfully accomplished the impossible of de-aging and it looks smooth as silk (for most parts) and beautifully done.  A young Will Smith vs. his older self was the selling theme and they capitalized on this technology that is sure to come into play with the next decade of films.

 

As I have to agree though, there are limitations that come with this special effects loaded cinema piece.  First of all, the plot took a major hit, designing itself more around action scenes instead of vice-versa.  It’s a predictable piece of work with targets drawn in red well before any action occurs, with a rather shallow version of this whole ordeal, and back stories that are mediocre at best for me.  Not diving into the emotional pieces, or at least exploiting them a little, left for simplistic characters and monotone pieces that offered little to grasp on to outside of when the next display of fighting would occur.  What took away from the splendor of this is the amount of advertising that sort of flooded every avenue of media.  You’ll get much of the tale in the commercials, with only one twist avoiding its eye, though you can probably piece it together.  Thus, only the full extent of the action scenes escapes the spoiling component and is worth the investment.  Yet, again for an action movie I was hoping for a little more of the high energy scenes than what I got.  Gemini man proved its strength and it needed to flex more of those moments instead of this cat and mouse game of dialogue and shallow character development. This is especially true at the ending, where everything is super rushed, hastily finished, and very lack luster that just reveals all the predictable plot elements and tries to handle loose ends.  Sure, it’s got a bit of a 90s closer at the finish that I liked, but the climax was a peak that was shorter than the mid movie point.

 

The VERDICT:

            In truth Gemini Man is not awful, but it certainly is not the spectacle that the trailers tried to build up, but in truth it does have some qualities I think that they wanted to achieve.  Above all, the technology accomplished the goals set out by the project in terms of de-aging someone and making it look super believable.  Throw in that most of the technology comes together to make for action scene spectaculars that will have fans dancing in their seats in excitement at this fast-paced feature.  Sadly, the reviewers are right that the plot and characters are very simplistic, with a predictable and low developed plot shoved into the run time, where focus on action leads to hasty wrap ups and a sloppy finish for this reviewer.  Perhaps if more time had been looked into the plot as the technology it would have pleased more, but for the wait, well it is not quite worth it for this guy.  Therefore, my scores are:

 

Action/Drama/Sci-fi:  6.0

Movie Overall:  4.5-5.0

Welcome Back To The Manor

Downton Abbey Poster

            Television shows are an amazing display of storytelling that run for years and often last longer when done right.  PBS managed to hit one of those shows out of the park, with a lovely British display of class, poise, comedy, and drama for six seasons about a wealthy family and the manor they keep.  So many things coursed through this the drama, that it became a cult phenomenon and ended on quite a bang.  So a movie to further the tales of the Crawley family, in hopes to once more capture the charm and profit from the class of English society.  Robbie K back with the first review of the week as he takes a look at the film:

 

Movie: Downton Abbey (2019)

 

Director:

Michael Engler

Writers:

Julian Fellowes (characters), Julian Fellowes (screenplay by)

Stars:

Michelle DockeryMatthew GoodeTuppence Middleton

 

 

LIKES:

 

  • Continues where the series left off
  • Nostalgic Moments brought back
  • Same Class and Charm
  • Funny and well balanced
  • The Acting
  • The Music

 

DISLIKES:

 

  • Slow At First
  • A Few characters limited
  • A Few Story Plots Crammed In That Were Unnecessary

 

 

SUMMARY:

 

A television series takes adequate time to set things up and develops the characters well for us to fall into and invest time.  Fortunately, the movie manages to pick up where the series left off, including all the character transitions, decisions, and more.  It works, and manages to tell a new story while maintaining the traditions that made the series famous.  My friend and I both found nostalgic moments throughout the film, many of which were great to nod to as they adapted to the changing times that the manor was facing.  Yet despite the gap in air time, this film manages to find a way to make the class and charm fit well into the new dilemmas, addressing political issues from today but twisting it back into the classical English style.  Maintaining that quality was a wonderful representation, that manages to put the fresh coat of paint on the old place.  In addition, the movie manages to find ways to inject its drier humor, without being too forceful or untrue to itself.  Maggie Smith’s character in particular alongside her partner in crime made for the most entertaining, but there were several other moments that fit well. Really though, it’s the acting that makes this movie shine, with the cast reprising their roles and accomplishing all that was necessary to recreate the group one more time.  The cast is too big to hit everyone up, but let’s face it, this all-star group proved for many years that they can take tired plots and run with them and that is the case with this film.  As for the music, well the regal soundtrack is certain to illicit some strong emotions as the subtle cavalcade of instruments unite to once more bring aristocratic numbers to the scene and embrace the nobility at hand.

 

Yet, where the film does not succeed for me is in the pacing.  While I’ve always understood this show does not have the fastest pace, but at least it had bite size episodes to gradually introduce the drama and tackle the stories at hand.  In this film though, despite the quality it took a bit to take off and with it made it a little boring and hard to stay awake at times.  Once the pace kicked in though there were not too many limitations, as again they chose not to make the same plots but move on from the tale. Sadly, not every character managed to make the cross for a decent amount of time, lost to background stories or last-minute entries.  My friend is correct in that this was mainly the other characters had most of their qualms taken care of, but also I would have liked these classic characters to return in a little more style.  Finally, the other thing I did not quite enjoy was how many episodic plots were introduced in the movie.  On the positive it felt like a lot of episodes combined into a 2-hour period, but my friend and I agreed that some of these plots could have been shortened or dropped off altogether to allow for something else to move in.  Downton Abbey the movie seemed to lay groundwork for new things to arise from, but this closure seemed like it could have been better used in an additional season to really deliver the full potential that this series already laid long ago.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Returning to the abbey was a fantastic trip down the road of nostalgia and new, as the latest chapter in the Crawley residence comes in many classy forms.  The charm and wit of a time almost gone acts for a solid foundation and will pull everyone into the movie as you relive the magic.  Great acting, wonderful human, and most importantly the balance of humor and drama makes this movie a worthy addition to the legacy of the regal series. Sure, the pace is not quite as good given limitations to one showing, some of the characters are not as strong as they once were, and it was a little busy in the run time.  Despite this though, I recommend the film be enjoyed by all fans in the theater, while others will be wanting to hold off until home viewing. 

 

My Scores are:

 

Drama: 8.0

Movie Overall: 7.5