A Grimm Fate For A Grimm Tale?

Gretel & Hansel Poster

 

Fairy tales have been graced with magic to make them more appropriate for the young mind of other countries.  At their roots though, the Grimm fairy tales hold a heart of darkness that were meant to teach the lessons to the youth of the European natures.  Despite the disturbing tales we have seen today’s movies hold, the original stories are truly the nightmare inducing moments that can leave on scarred.  So with the gloves coming off in the modern-day cinema, let’s bring that horror to life and potentially twist even further.  Hi Robbie K here to bring about another movie review on the latest silver screen slayer.  Will this late month horror movie slay, or is it just another victim of the dumping grounds of January?  Let’s get reviewing:

 

Gretel and Hansel (2020)

 

Director:

Oz Perkins (as Osgood Perkins)

Writer:

Rob Hayes

Stars:

Sophia LillisAlice KrigeJessica De Gouw

 

 

LIKES:

 

  • The Acting
  • The Short Run Time
  • The Richer Dialogue (from one aspect)
  • The Beautiful Woman
  • The Look Aesthetic Of The Movie

 

DISLIKES:

  • The Pace
  • The Lack Of Character Development
  • The Lack Of Scares
  • Disgusting Imagery
  • The Dialogue
  • The Politics
  • The Whininess Of Hansel
  • The Almost Pointless Introduction Of Characters
  • The Story

 

Summary:

In horror there are many things needed for the execution of the chilling tale and in this case the acting is a big selling point for me.  Sophia’s role is a little twist on her It character, with same intensity and damage, but this time a little Older European and maturity that takes the lead on the new approach this tale takes. She’s strong and fierce, yet shows the scared vulnerability that a child role would and it is a staple to latch on to.  Then comes the wonder Alice Krige, whose adaptation into the deluded villain once more impresses me.  Sinister and yet innocent, powerful and yet sickly, and caring yet cold, she balances all these emotions and succeeds in crafting a creepy character.  Though you know what she represents, the acting always left me with that slight hope something will go differently.  The two have wonderful chemistry together, something I would have liked to have a little more guidance and development to maximize.  While not in it for long, the beautiful Jessica De Gouw shined in her performance, both in look and presence of her character.  I would have liked more expansion on this character, especially given how commanding her presence was, but that was not the focus this tale took.

Moving on from the acting, the movie succeeds in accomplishing its journey in a short run time and not trying to get too bloated (see Midsomer director’s cut).  The film has a much more poetic dialogue, that feels well adapted to the Grimm Fairy tale writing, and goes with the artistic feel of this movie that Perkins focused on.  Yet, the biggest focus of this movie is the look of the film.  Gretel and Hansel is all about creating the creepy atmosphere and letting it be the component to creep you out for much of the film.  The use of camera filters and lighting are the main tools that somehow rob the hope of success from the film.  All the shadows and elusive safety keep things always dark and dismayed, while also sort of establishing a sickening feeling that only further infects you with the skin crawls that come.  The visualization of the witches home and the tricks she brings, also have that atmosphere that will certainly embed itself into your mind and leave you scarred for the event.  Sure there are some shock culture moments and jump scares, but really it’s the looming atmosphere and cinematography that succeeds the most.

 

It seems that the visualization was too key a focus though, for some of the movie telling basics were dropped in my opinion.  First of all, the pace.  Horror movies often keep things moving, but this artistic twist is not one of those films, sometimes feeling super drawn out and stuffy rather than the thrilling tale.  Part of this comes from just the slow buildup of the “surprising” reveal, but the other part comes from the weaker character development.  Gretel and Hansel’s tale has sort of piece meal components that are shown just enough to set a background, but never to give meaningful insight to craft interesting characters.  Even the witch herself is rather plain, a back story that is introduced too late, not very surprising, and sort of crammed into the ending instead of again giving rich characters to fear or analyze.  The story instead just seems to hover around this convoluted conversation between Gretel and the Witch, always working towards this slow discovery of what we know and barely moving away for most of the movie.  I guess they felt it pointless to make a big story for an already known tale, but then I question the introduction of some other characters into the film, and the hopes of using them as means to add variety to the movie.  As such the various side stories are not needed merely adding obvious foreshadowing and time to the film.

Something else I could have had edited out would have been the whininess of the little brother, who had a symbolic component to Gretel (the star), but sort of got annoying with the way they took the character.  Realistic, absolutely, but Hansel’s involvement was not as enjoyable to me, especially when the politics started coming into play (which we are about to discuss).  In regards to scares, again the movie relies a lot on the visuals to scare you, and though creepy at times, it is more a movie to focus on disturbing imagery than real creeps.  If you love the shock factor films, you’ll get it, but for me, the disturbing imagery would have been better minimized in place of the story and creepy scares I particularly love.  Finally the politics.  Not even horror films can escape the political trends of the modern day, and the title should give you a hint of the focus the writers wanted to place.  Again, I’m never above a message being integrated into the story, but that does not mean the story and dialogue have to be purely focused on that message and rubbed In my face.  That fluid, old English dialogue is awesome and poetic, but is so geared toward pushing for this new political twist that it falls into that vortex of cyclic conversations.  The result is again a stuffy movie that does not move to the predictable ending fast enough.  It’s a shame given the potential, but this was the biggest weakness for me in this film.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Gretel and Hansel is a great example of visionary creativity to make an old tale feel new.  With haunting atmosphere and a cast to play in it, these are the main strengths for the film and the component artistic loving movie goers are going to love. Yet, this artistic nature really took away from the story for me and left me with a boring, bloated film that missed the potential the trailers painted.  Story wise the characters are rather flat, the extra story characters and background information so streamlined it is almost a waste of film for this reviewer.  Throw in too much focus on the political message hogging most of the attention and you get this film that seems to be two sharks circling, but never attacking.  I give props for a psychological dive and realistic portrayal in the film, but this Grimm’s Fairy Tale is a little too sleep inducing and bloated for my tastes.  Thus, I believe this film was dumped into theaters, when it really should have premiered on a streaming network instead best left for watching at home.  Thus, my scores are:

 

Fantasy/Horror/Thriller:  5.5

Movie Overall:  5.0

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

Don’t Ruin My Movie! Is Maleficent’s Next Spell Worth Falling Under?

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil Poster

 

This weekend seems to be the one for sequels, as two big hits come out this weekend in hopes of making off with a lot of cash this Halloween season.  Tonight we start this review with none other than a big Disney smash that is hoping to cast a magical spell on us.  The first of the new age live actions, tonight’s sequel is following up with perhaps my favorite of the studio’s reimaginations of beloved classics.  Yet, can the vile dark fairy accomplish the task of charming us once more, or have we fallen into the moors of crappy sequel.  Robbie K here to cast his thoughts on:

 

Film: Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019)

 

Director:

Joachim Rønning

Writers:

Micah Fitzerman-Blue (screenplay by), Noah Harpster (screenplay by)

Stars:

Angelina JolieElle FanningHarris Dickinson

 

 

Likes:

  • World Building
  • Animation
  • Designs
  • Costumes
  • Musical Score
  • Story Continuation
  • Darker Elements Integrated yet controlled
  • Angelina Jolie

 

DISLIKES:

 

  • Predictable
  • Contained at the Wrong Parts
  • Under Utilized Characters
  • The Twist
  • The Final Battle

 

Summary:

 

Say what you want about the politics of the studio, but Disney certainly knows how to make their imagination come to life.  Maleficent 2 is a beautiful display of the power of their animation studios making the fantasy world of Sleeping Beauty shine in all its magical splendor.  While last time accomplished this task, part two manages to expand upon the inner dwelling of Aurora’s world and bring new attitude to the mix, impressing those who love to see fake worlds become reality.  The animation of all the creatures, alongside their designs, are something best captured in comic book form, and yet blend well into the dark dizzy dreams of the dark fairy.  All the creatures you love are back, with a few more to take their place as all of the worlds magic begins to unfold in a new light.  For those not requiring full on CGI, their costumes are nice to look at too, not quite as stupendous, but certainly elegant and fitting of the world.  Okay, past the visuals, Maleficent’s sound and musical elements really pack the punch in terms of adding to a scene as blaring orchestras drive a thunderous boom into the theater only to give way to the sad soliloquies of more somber moments.  It really adds to every sequence and gave me goosebumps at times.  When it comes to the story, again the movie succeeds, managing to continue five years from last time to explain the age gaps and offer a reminder of the events that transpired.  Maleficent’s tale then further expands, pushing all characters to new levels, but never dropping their core foundations for sudden changes.  It works and shows character development is not dead, not only for the dark fae herself, but for just about every character in the cadre as well.  An added bonus is the darker themes of the tale.  We know Maleficent’s tale is not the lightest one in the bunch, but Disney accomplishes the balance in this film bringing looming threats without dropping into nightmare territories.  I can’t say much more to avoid spoiling, but let’s just say the added edge of bad outcomes makes this movie more suspenseful.  Hands down though the centerpiece to this movie is Jolie herself.  She seems born for this part, mastering look, attitude, and delivery in this character whose spectrum expanded past the usual scale.  Jolie’s beauty is utilized well to bring new style to the dark queen, but never exploited or too focused to take away from her acting.  Bravo Angelina, Bravo!

 

For all its worth though, Disney is still not able to trick me much or throw too many curveballs to shake it up.  Maleficent 2 is certainly a rather linear tale, whose predictable nature is only overshadowed by the some hasty development of other character and containing the movie too much at the wrong parts.  This is especially true for several henchman, and even the prince himself, who have enough bang to their roles, but not quite utilized to the fullest potential that they could have done.  While certainly not the worst drop of characters I’ve seen, the movie could have scored more points for mixing these secondary characters into the brew to add their own glow.  Past that though, the twist they got me on was okay, it’s utilized well to allow for other plot devices, but it also kind of does not fit into the lore for me given the hasty explanation.  More time, or perhaps a book, will explain this connection, but I can’t say I was impressed with the turn.  Finally, the final battle.  Truth is, it is a fine spectacle of technology, integrates many characters well, and more importantly is an awesome display of action-based story telling.  However, it missed the mark on suspenseful battling because of the one-sided approached they took.  I can’t say much, but despite the battle having fine length, it was the biggest containment I had issues with and I would have liked to see more battle involvement, despite the added violence it might have brought.  This could have been the perfect climax for me had they done so.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Sequels are hard to make worthwhile, but I feel Disney corrected the mistakes from the other live action and delivered a fantastic addition to the Maleficent world.  Maleficent 2 accomplishes the storytelling aspect quite well, expanding upon its characters and adding darker elements that give this movie more bit and suspense.  Throw in beautiful world building and I can only say I was further impressed by what they brought to the big screen.  However, the movie did not unleash the full might of the magic spell they can, still suffering from predictability and containment to keep it kid friendly.  A little more expansion on battles, characters, and even the twist and this movie would have been another top sequel of mine.  Still, there is enough bang for buck to catch this in theaters, though I will exercise slight caution in taking children who scare easily, they might get spooked. 

 

My scores are:

 

Adventure/Family/Fantasy:  8.5

Movie Overall:  7.5

One Day Meets Beatles: Music and Love Story Overpower Interesting Concept

Yesterday Poster

 

We all know music and many of us love it without so much a whim so long as we get the tracks we love.  The artists who work to make music often are recognized more for their abuse of money and fame, rather than the motivation behind their music. So what would happen if you could be that artist you admire so much?  What if you could take credit for their work and nobody had a clue they even existed?  Well that’s where tonight’s movie comes in, and yours truly is here to cover the film to let you know whether or not the film is worth a check out.  Let’s get started as tonight we look at:

 

Movie: Yesterday (2019)

 

Director:

Danny Boyle

Writers:

Jack Barth (story by), Richard Curtis (screenplay)

Stars:

Himesh PatelLily JamesSophia Di Martino

 

LIKES:

 

  • Charming
  • Fun
  • Good Covers
  • Decent Comedic Relief
  • The “cameo”
  • The Artistic Messages
  • The Love Story
  • The Acting

 

DISLiKES:

  • Trailers spoiled Much
  • Kate McKinnon’s Extreme Character
  • Other Secondary Characters Lost
  • A Little Preachy
  • Not Quite The Revelation/Tension I thought

 

SUMMARY:

 

Much like Slumdog Millionaire, Boyle’s work once again manages to capture a charming tale that holds so much in the simplistic story telling. Yesterday was able to bring a lot of fun into the tale, taking the idea of living life as a rock star and using the covers, which are of a good quality, to maximize much of the Beatle’s legacy without the masters themselves being present.  Despite the seriousness of the movie, Yesterday is funny, selecting a drier, English wit that is occasionally spritzed with some American antics including several cameos that are fun to see.  However, Boyle’s accomplishment also is finding a way to incorporate the true film art style by sampling some artistic messages into the love story at hand. Yesterday’s alternate reality is awe inspiring in terms of pulling the blinds of fandom down to reveal the moral testing sacrifices that the music celebrity world requires, managing to test the boundaries of love without diving too far in Hallmark territory.  And it’s actually thanks to the acting that I was able to become entranced by the magic of this film.  There are plenty of actors to talk about, but in reality it’s Patel and James that take center stage, each presenting balanced performances that work in tandem and craft the tale that many will enjoy, again making a believable romance story. 

 

Yet there are a few limitations for me that I have to say I was surprised to see, at least for some of them.  One thing that is not quite a shocker is how much the trailers have given away in the mass franchising, with many key parts and comedy hits revealed in the television spots.  Amidst the predictability, Yesterday starts to lose some of its balance in terms of several decisions they made with the characters.  One thing is Kate McKinnon, the comedic queen holds the same personality quirks that people loved, but for me her style of comedy was forced and a little too extreme for the tone this movie set.  It’s SNL like presentation worked sometimes, but like a few Sheeran moments felt out of place from the components I liked.  And much like many films, Yesterday’s secondary characters we are introduced to sort of feel lost to the layered storytelling, dropped in the background for more comedic one liners.  Sure a bit realistic, but again I’m about utilizing the characters as much as you can.  Oh well, I guess that decisions goes with the themes of the movie about fame vs everything else, which although artistically presented sometimes got a bit too after school special for me.  However, the biggest “let down” so to speak was the lack of mind-blowing, or even suspenseful, revelations that the trailers suggest lied in the wings of this mystery.  Yesterday’s concept is interesting, so you were hoping for some secret to be revealed that would not sweep the film off of the beautiful presentation he put together. Not the case, for the concept sort of fizzles out in favor of pursuing the character arc stories that were built in the 2 hours.

 

      Overall, Yesterday worked for me and was fun to watch.  A beautiful balance of love, music, and charming artistic quality, Boyle proves to still have the eye for alternative storytelling.  It’s an entertaining film with a lot of heart that many should enjoy and I feel the acting performances and direction give you the characters you want to invest your time in.  There are some forced moments into the movie, primarily in altering the comedy to add a little more moisture to the drier comedy, but it’s really the lack of that giant revelation punch at the mystery that really stood out for me in terms of areas to improve.  Still, the charming tale is one that can be enjoyed in theater, but the fact it doesn’t have enough flash bang boom components means that a home viewing is most likely in your future. 

 

My scores are:

 

Comedy/Fantasy/Music:  8.0

Movie Overall: 7.0

 

The King Is Moving To Improved Aspect, But Still Not Finding Balance

Godzilla: King of the Monsters Poster

 

The start of summer is the start of big movies and this weekend opens up with the “king” of blockbusters in the form of big monsters. Over many years, the giant monster movies have intrigued many and disgusted others, but they exist nonetheless to unleash their own brand of big budget chaos to the world.  Yet with mixed results, can this genre find the right audiences or are we still plagued by the modern era of too much bang and not enough buck?  Robbie K here to share some words on the latest movie to hit the silver screen.

 

Movie: Godzilla: King Of The Monsters (2019)

 

Director:

Michael Dougherty

Writers:

Michael Dougherty (screenplay by), Zach Shields (screenplay by)  | 3 more credits »

Stars:

Kyle ChandlerVera FarmigaMillie Bobby Brown

 

 

LIKES:

  • Character Design
  • Pacing After The first 30 minutes or So
  • The Animation
  • The Action
  • The Climactic Ending sort of
  • The Sound Track/Special Effects

 

DISLIKES:

  • The Pace Of the Movie’s Opening
  • The Story
  • The Focus On Humans…again
  • Action Scenes Were sometimes short lived
  • The Shaky Camera Work
  • The Imbalance Of Monsters… kind of

 

Fans Who Like These May Like This Movie:

Kong Skull island

Godzilla like movies

Pacific Rim Series

 

 

 

 

SUMMARY:

 

Big budget films about monsters require a lot of things to appeal to the mass audiences and much of it has to with special effects and action.  The King Of The Monsters manages to focus much on this, becoming a special effects extravaganza that did not yield to the limitations of speakers and screens.  The animation is on point, and many of the creatures look stellar in their design, throwing away the prosthetics and papier Mache for stellar high definition CGI graphics.  Smooth monster animation that looks to stick to anatomical movements are beautifully unleashed and it helps bring these monsters one step closer to being real.  Eventually the monsters start battling and the action scenes have a number of special effects in both sound effects and visual styles to unleash Armageddon on the big screen.  Those who love seeing chaos unleashed with little else binding them, and getting a little more human involvement as well, should be pleased with the destruction at hand in that fastest way possible.  This is especially true in the final battle, where the behemoths battlegrounds hold much to be destroyed, assisted by theater shaking sound editing, an epic symphony score to add edge, flashy blasts from the atomic driven beasts, and plenty artificially generated beasts to fill your eyes.  It’s climactic and satisfying, and something I was hoping to see since the trailers showed.

With special effects focus though, the movie sort of stumbles on other categories that still need some work for this reviewer. The opening of the film is rather boring, a jumbled mess of convoluted introductions, explanations about what is going on and the human focus that will lead to all the mess.  For a movie about monsters, much of the screen time still focuses on the terrors of humanity, focusing on how much we suck in our attempts to control everything.  Unlike Kong, Godzilla’s second arc still has trouble grounding its size to a deeper plot, that involves interacting with these creatures more than from the safeties of the bunkers.  Even if you don’t care about the story, the action scenes are also in need of some work, even the climactic ending.  For one thing, many of the fights are very short lived, over in mere minutes after buildups of more talking from humans.  The Fight with Rodan might have been my favorite, having the most integration of human and beast combination that brought me into the zone, but other times it was a jumbled mess of quick shots of stuff blowing up before panning back to humans.  Other times, there were shaky bouts of camera work of close up monsters and falling buildings.  This improved at the end, but it took a long time to discover something other films have already mastered.  Finally, the number of monsters represented was not awful, but again trying to put too many in for them doing very little is a component that annoys me.  Mothra and Rodon were kind of there, hitting there moments at the right times, but not maximized.  Other creatures we get to see passing shots of, but they were unnecessary when we could have had more epic monster battles.

As you can see, the King Of Monsters is certainly going to hold the special effect event of the summer, or at least pretty close to it. It’s problem is, that it’s imbalance issues continue to mix the movie up in a messy sorts that some will love and others won’t.  The monster aspect gets points for chaos, destruction, and special effects that these movies thrive on so monster fans should be stoked by these aspects.  The action again is mixed for me, part awesome with the special effects and yet part disappointing because of the fast pace, focus on humans more than monsters, and shaky camera work that could have been expanded upon.  Perhaps the next installment can figure out the chemistry to the monster movie balance and bring back the magic of the dying genre. Still with all the special effects and monsters in this film, despite how imbalanced they are, the movie is worth the visit to the theater. So check it out when you can.

 

My scores are:

 

Action/Adventure/Fantasy: 7.5

Movie Overall: 6.5

There Is Hellboy To Pay

Hellboy Poster

 

Comic book movies remain the big fashion of the era, utilizing big budgets to bring the world of literature to life in ways the fanbase never imagined.  With DC and Marvel combatting for supremacy, the independent studios are still trying to work their way in and get some publicity themselves.  The first two installments of this movie held their own charms, but are a little outdated and thus comes this weekend’s flick in the form of a modern update of the dark, mercenary comic.  Robbie K back with another review as we look at:

 

Movie: Hellboy (2019)

 

Director:

Neil Marshall

Writers:

Andrew Cosby (screenplay by), Mike Mignola (based on the Dark Horse Comic Book “Hellboy” created by)

Stars:

David HarbourMilla JovovichIan McShane

 

 

LIKES:

Most of the Acting

Comedy

Action

Pace

Costumes

Music

 

SUMMARY:

 

Hellboy requires some people ready to go in the darker parts of the superhero world, and the cast did a good job for the most part.  David Harbour brings some new life to the role, bringing the sarcasm of Hellboy with some broader emotion than Perlman did a while back. Ian McShane does his work in the executive director role, playing that tough father figure that is always the guiding light to the demon’s moral compass quite well.  My favorite though was Sasha Lane, who took the complex role of Alice and unleashed it to its full potential of the awkward time in awkward circumstances.  The chemistry between Harbour and the group is astounding, fun and much of the light in this wave of darkness.

Other factors that I enjoyed include comedy that is fun, well delivered lines and some semi-slapstick that left me impressed with the wit that was behind it.  The laughs were used well, balanced in the grand scheme of the story without becoming the central focus, which I applaud.  The action components also use the comedy to make for some more engaging fights, and Hellboy makes the effort to help keep action scenes dynamic and different.  My favorite fight was the end battle, which held more of the adrenaline-fueled insanity that makes me fist pump in excitement. This action leads to a pace that works well in comic book movies, and Hellboy does not drag too long like some of the other super flicks have hit sometimes.  In addition, the musical score manages to support and life to the mix as well, with both orchestral and regular songs to spice things up in their high energy fashion.

Yet, the biggest positive for me is the costumes and settings of the world.  The makeup artists and CGI guys accomplished the goals of bringing 2-D images to life, crafting devilish monsters, nightmare inducing creatures, and savage creations that fit quite well in the hellion universe.  Hellboy’s cast of interesting characters are equipped to look the part, and while not consistent, they for the most part hold the attributes needed to make the world of Hellboy come to life.  The various organizations and fortresses are crafted to represent the world as well, props, uniforms, and various other components that mirror the worlds crafted by the Dark Horse Comics authors and illustrators.

 

DISLIKES:

Mila Jovovich’s character

Overdramatic Flair

The Story

The Lack of Focus

The Loudness

The Aggressive Graphicness

 

Summary:

The acting was fine for the most part and Jovovich does a fine job acting as she always does.  However, this character they crafted was not quite the same denizen of darkness I love in this series.  This blood queen had some scarring moments, but she was not quite the threatening image I wanted to see unleashed in the film.  Her direction was more overdramatic delivery and singular speeches rather than a well-built character for us to either love or hate.  The result was a weaker antagonist to stand against for the nearly 2 hour run time.  It’s that overdramatic flair at other components that takes precipice, which takes away from the overall movie rather than add, the grandiose nature a little annoying at times.

In regards to the story, Hellboy is trying to cram a lot of arcs into a small run time, trying to take the mini-series approach without the mini-series time table.  This rendition holds a lot of introductions into the world of the big armed demon, including father introduction, friend introductions, prophecies, rivalry establishment, and more.  All these factors are rapidly developed, giving little time, obstacles, or suspense that these stories requires, leading to flat storytelling that held such promise. It’s the lack of focus in these things that makes the movie okay, but not truly great.

  Finally, the aggressive visuals and sounds may also be quite overwhelming given the preference of the audience.  In regards to sounds, this movie is very loud, and those with sensitive ears will need to brings some barriers to reduce the impact of the cacophony of sounds that rush in to avoid ears ringing.  Visual wise, again the movie’s CGI group has applied their skills in the way fitting of a dark comic book series like this.  However, they may have done too good of a job as the blood, gore, and sinew dribbles like rain in this movie.  Hellboy’s focus is very much geared towards filling the silver screen with as much maiming as possible, bringing some disturbing imagery to embed itself into your memory.  Sometimes, this worked for me very well, but other times it was unnecessary, merely blatant attempts to raise the shock factor another few notches.  If that’s the kind of visuals you want in this kind of film, then you will want to flock to the theaters and catch it in high definition goodness. 

 

The VERDICT:

            Overall, Hellboy is not a bad movie as many have said, but it didn’t deliver on the potential crafted in the trailers.  Some good visuals, comedy, and fast paced action were good starts in terms of getting the comic vibe up, but the movie itself just doesn’t have all the finesse it needed like the bigger studios have done in the past.  We needed some focus on the story, some bigger suspense added to the mix, and more importantly finding that balance to extend the movie into a series rather than in one movie.  Perhaps a series would be the next step to better presentations, but for now, this movie has a lot of special effects to make a theater visit worthy, but with other super hero films coming or still in theaters, you are best left to waiting or attending these. 

 

My scores are:

Action/Adventure/Fantasy: 6.5

Movie Overall:: 5.5

Lots Of Fun In Little Time

Little Poster

 

Remixes and twists on classics, Hollywood’s bread and butter to drop lots of movies with each weekend that passes. This weekend that trend continues, as Tom Hanks beloved Big gets reversed to a smaller proportion.  With lots of advertising and the hopes that it will do extremely well this weekend, this comedy looks to be cute and fun for a movie adventure.  So what is in store?  Well Robbie K is back again with yet another review and it is time to see if the latest comedy will keep you laughing or leave you scoffing.  Let’s get started as we review;

 

Movie:  Little (2019)

 

Director:

Tina Gordon (as Tina Gordon Chism)

Writers:

Tracy Oliver (story by), Tina Gordon (as Tina Gordon Chism)

Stars:

Regina HallIssa RaeMarsai Martin

 

 

LIKES:

 

Fun

Cute

Acting

Soundtrack

Morals

 

SUMMARY: The name of the game is fun in this installment.  Little finds a way to relive the magic of Big and help gain a second childhood in the modern-day world.  My friend and I had a blast with the little adventure at hand as both characters tackle the new challenges put before them in the worlds they are forced to face.  The jokes were on point and well timed, keeping in theme with the energy of the movie. Part of this comes from the cute atmosphere established with the writing of this movie, mature enough to hit the older audience, yet still young enough to hit the teenagers and young adult crowd.

 

The acting helps to make this movie pop, Issa Rae works the assistant scene quite well, sass and innocence building together quite well to make a likeable character.  She helps balance out the silliness, yet still add to it in her own manner that breaks up some of the monotony this film chooses to approach.  As for young actress Marsai Martin, she’s got quite a start to the acting career and I look forward to seeing the young girl in future installments.  She’s got the attitude of an adult down pat, sass blending with some comedic relief and childish moments that are quite balanced for a movie like this.  Nevertheless, the chemistry between all cast both primary and secondary groups work well and I quite enjoyed seeing the teamwork bring the characters to life.

 

Yet, part of the fun comes from a killer soundtrack, new and old tracks coming together to capture the feelings of the scenes.  The cultural representation the sound editor picked was extremely awesome, and had me dancing in my seat while also wanting to break out my phone to look up the songs. Even smarter, is that much of the movie’s song sort of emphasize the other part I like of this movie, the morals that are embedded in this film.  Yes, like many movies the morals are preachy and baked right in, but Little finds a way to mesh those lessons into some fun moments that help you enjoy what you are learning. Finding some lessons that are relevant, Little gets props for helping the audience dig deep and look into themselves to find their own abilities.

 

Dislikes:

 

Predictable

Fast

Missed opportunities

Some pointless character introductions

Story points that are limited

Trailers give away much

 

SUMMARY:  Predictable thy name is comedy and Little tries hard to defy the expected jokes and plot lines this movie sets up a mile away. Little’s focus on having fun means using the same tricks to get a laugh and the same means to get to the end of the story.  Rather than leading to a build up, with areas that require intense focus, discovery, and a major push to get better, Little takes the fast approach to getting through the film.  It’s okay, but the movie had a lot of hinted opportunities that showed promise, but then dropped the ball leading to some disappointing moments.  This was especially true with the teacher scenes that the trailers loved to highlight, characters that held potential with their introduction, but reduced to comedic props that didn’t quite pack the kick I think they wanted. Some of the story points as well had the same issues going the same way, hints of fun adventures and the growth of characters that quickly fizzled out.  Finally, the trailers are good at revealing much of the movie and there isn’t too much one needs to see past the highlights they showed.  Little falls victim to showing off too much, leaving little to the imagination outside of some of more engaging dialogue and a few romance scenes.

 

The VERDICT:

 

Little is fun, simple as that, but the movie needs some refining to be the classic that Big was presenting long ago.  This new spin is cute, hits the target audience members well, and does the job of teaching you the important lessons with baked in, heartwarming goodness.  While the movie is funny to so many levels, it is still very predictable and had so many avenues to go down for comedy that they left unfulfilled.  Thus, the potential for going to see in the theaters is lessened by the trailers and lack of finesse that they were going for, and I recommend waiting on this one for home viewing.  Still, check this one out eventually if you are looking for the means to have a good laugh fest for simplistic fun.

 

My scores are:

 

Comedy/Fantasy/Romance: 6.5

Movie Overall: 5.0