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)



Danny Boyle


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


Himesh PatelLily JamesSophia Di Martino




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



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




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


Is The Theater A Pit Where Cleaning Occurs, Or Soars High In The Sky?

The Spy Who Dumped Me Poster


Comedies continue to flood the theaters, and as such waiver in their quality of laughs, story, and whatever other gimmick they are going for.  Despite big names trying to lead the fun, the increasing demand and limited supply doesn’t always work out, lead to the generic tide we are seeing.  Still, it’s up to reviewers like me to shed some light on the topic and help inform you of the movies you are thinking of seeing.  Tonight, we dive right into the action-comedy thriller, that hopes to get the month of August in a comedic light.  Robbie K here reviewing:


Movie: The Spy Who Dumped Me (2018)



Susanna Fogel


Susanna Fogel,  David Iserson


Justin Theroux,  Blanka Györfi-Tóth,  Vilma Szécsi





Good Pace:  A comedy that doesn’t take long to dive into all the fun, and keeps that fun going.  The Spy Who Dumped Me has very few scenes that involve our characters doing nothing, leading to a well-paced movie that keeps you immersed in all the shenanigans at hand.


Surprisingly Action Packed: The movie may just seem like a giant farce of spy thrillers.  While this is true, the movie still managed to have some impressively choreographed battles, loaded with special effects, movie magic, and that rage bending destruction that we action junkies love. Kudos to the team responsible for thinking up the stunts, for they kept it diverse and relevant to the story and not just some ploy to rope in more bucks.


The Chemistry:  Mila Kunisand Kate McKinnonhave a fantastic chemistry together, able to form a friendship and really play off the obsession each has for the other.  Their energy is infective, bouncing off of each other’s quirks to continue stoking the comedic flames higher with each passing second.  Yet, below the funny surface is a deeper relationship that helps fuel the adventure and intensity even more.  In regards to all the secondary players in this interesting game of chess, each having an outstanding integration with our lovely ladies.


Funny:  The movie absolutely had me busting a gut a few times, the writers playing to my strengths of good timing and the actors bring fantastic delivery to the lines.  The Spy Who Dumped Me has much diversity in their comedic presentation, ranging from witty remarks and humorous responses to the crudest jokes that are about your favorite body part on both sexes.  Nevertheless, this diverse presentation and lovely ladies leading the ridiculous run, really accomplished the funny aspect of the movie.




The Predictability: The movie really needed to try and surprise me a little better when it came to twists and tricks.  While the linearity is appreciated from the comedic stand point, it did take away from the story when you could predict so much from a mile away.  Too much foreshadowing and not enough planning leads to some jokes getting ruined due to how obvious the next step was.


Some Plot Elements/Character Integration:  Many of the characters got their just time on the silver screen, proving their purpose for being including in the adventure at hand.  Yet, there are a few plot points that were boring, or full of holes that didn’t quite impress me.  Much of this has to do with the random characters introduced haphazardly about midway through the movie, not really needed and not as fleshed out as they had probably planned. I know it’s not supposed to make sense, I get it, it’s a comedy. Yet the story element is still important and in need of tweaking for the next installment should they continue on with the series.


The Crude vs Ridiculousness: The movie’s comedic ploys were very reliant on the two starlets, hoping that nothing would go stale in their delivery. Some of the crude moments are not tasteful, a little insulative that crosses some lines in my book (including seeing a male genetalia). Other times the running jokes were only okay, but grew stale at times when you figured they would learn once the information was fed to them.  In regards to how ridiculous this can be?  It gets about a 500 on my meter, with McKinnon being the source of whimsical, serious, Mad Hatter attitude, the level of weird and over the top is raised in this film.  Get ready for a lot of random lines and pick them up with caution depending on the jokes that come your way.


Violence too Much?: Spy who dumped me is not anyone’s friend, and the spies playing in the game sometimes go insane with gore laden moves that are slightly sickening to watch. Be prepared for very graphic kills and sickening sounds to come your way, and exercise caution prior to taking younger audience members to see it with you.




The Spy who dumped me surprised me to be quite honest. My friend Rashad was right that the film is incredibly entertaining, and the leading ladies bring much of that success alongside talented dialogue writers. Even more so, the genius move of bringing action scenes to the movie was also a giant plus for me, as it kept me engaged in all the madness coming.  Still, the movie has some balancing to do, primarily in trying to make an engaging storyline even though they have been shared with the rest of the group.  Yet, really make sure to exercise caution with your friends/families with younger kids, for their impressionable minds may pick up a habit/nightmare you don’t want.


My scores are:


Action/Comedy:  8.5

Movie Overall:  7.5

The Mixture Between Us



The mighty majestic mountains that line the world.  These monolithic displays of nature are icons for so many forms of expression such as poetry, video game stages, and yes even movies.  Such symbolism is perfect to craft such an obstruction for heroes to face, all while teaching valuable lessons.  And thus leads me to my next review, on a movie that centers on the immobile giants that watch over the world.  The Mountain Between Us is the name of the film and its trailers have certainly stirred up a storm in the world of reviews.  Robbie K here hoping to guide you through the mess to help guide your viewing pleasures.




The acting:  Like the mountains they are stuck in, the lead actors in this movie are giants themselves, displaying their talents to high levels.  Idris Elba once more blows my mind out how well he executes his roles.  He sells the suffering surgeon well, playing the internalization well and the survivalist even more.  Kate Winslet as ever brings her character to life, taking the fiery spirit she has within, and unleashing it in a manner that is wild, yet honed as the movie progresses.  The two certainly have the portrayal of suffering down pat (they can really shiver) but on many levels they play well off each other, especially in the beginning.


The Dog:  While not the main human actor, the dog is by far the character I cared about the most.  This animal, while of course like many of his canine brethren, was cute to me and impressive in the work it had to do. Trekking through the show, climbing mountains, and a variety of other things the dog certainly caught my eye for much of the screen.  In addition, because I’m a big animal fan, the dog was the character that kept me engaged in the film. Every scene transition, or new challenge I couldn’t help, but think “What happened to the dog.” That component is perhaps the biggest hooking element in the movie to keep you into the film.  What is its fate?  Can’t tell you, you’ll have to watch.


The Scenery: While it is no substitute for the real thing, The Mountain Between Us is a great example of stunning camera work. My breath was taken away by all the panoramic shots of the wilderness from the ever expanding sky in the peaks, to the silent wonder of the forest littering the valleys below.  It brings out the deadly force that mother nature holds and stunned me by the majesty of the visual prowess cameras can pick up.  So while it is again not the same thing as hiking these majestic peaks, it is the next best thing.




Diluted Suspense:  If you are like me, the trailers might have you believe this was going to be the most suspenseful movie of the year.  Unfortunately, I was fooled again. This film has some moments that got my anxiety building, but a majority of it is an almost peaceful trek through the snow.  While they are certainly cold, our character’s journey through the frozen wastelands lacked many elements to build up the intensity.  Perhaps the lack of a cinematic score, or the fact that obstacles seemed cleared too easily thanks to convenience, this movies frozen fury was almost a little too fragile for me. Or maybe it was the other focus of the movie that downgraded the suspense for me…


The Love Theme: Yes, just like the symbolic title suggests, the main wedge is the character’s backstories preventing them from moving to the obvious sign of starting a romance.  Much of the film tries to get the two to address their rather quick development of passion for one another in some rather lackluster ways.  I wasn’t sold on the romance for the most part, and the actors themselves didn’t seem quite charmed by each other outside of one rather pointless scene. The friendship factor at the beginning was much stronger, and would have been the route I had taken in developing the story.  Again, I don’t necessarily hate love, but I would like it better portrayed for my investment.


Disproportion:  Timing the movie, as good geeks do, it took only 8 minutes to get up on the mountain.  While I appreciate the fast pace, it gave little time to get to know the characters or at least give them a decent introduction to the madness about to be had.  This opening was rather shallow and quite disappointing in the grand scheme of the movie.  Yet it’s not quite as bad as the dragged out ending of this film.  While not as long as Return of The King, and all its false exits, The Mountain Between Us sort fizzles out in the end.  This tangent was not necessary, a quick closure to try and tidy up some loose ends of a weaker component of the film. Worst off, the chemistry started to falter, making this an awkward mess with a rather cheesy, albeit poetic, ending.  Not sure why these last 25 minutes needed to exist, but it could have been better spent in the beginning and end of the movie.




The Mountain Between Us is a beautiful spectacle of what the world can provide in terms of a stage, certainly blowing my mind on the visuals.  Alongside this majestic scenery comes some quality acting and a hooking factor in the form of the dog.  Yet these tools alone couldn’t save this movie from being semi-dull. With the tension dropped to a PG level for symbolism and awkward love, alongside disproportioned parts, I can’t say this movie delivered all I wanted.  The visuals might be the main theater worthy component, but this reviewer suggests holding out for RedBox to catch it.


My Scores:


Action/Adventure/Drama:  6.5

Movie Overall:  5.5

A Rough Night For This Reviewer

Rough Night


Bachelorette parties, a sacred ritual to help a young woman transition from single life into the world of marriage.  Of course, like most things, modern traditions have adulterated with new traditions and rituals that leads for a rather “exciting” night. So why not make another movie about it.  Tonight, my friend and I hit the theater to cover the latest comedy to “grace” the big screen entitled Rough Night!  What does this obviously titled film have in store for us?  As always, please read on to find out and help determine whether or not it is worth your money to hit the theater.


So what do you get?  For once the trailers were pretty spot on with their portrayal of this movie.  Rough night is a very raunchy, simplistic, and over the top comedy that has little sustenance outside of the attempt at humor.  It’s ridiculousness at times is clever, but these moments are few and far between, buried under the comedy rubble that fills this movie. Aggressive innuendos come rushing out of the woodwork, many delivered in the overdramatic manner that somehow seems to be popular and entertaining to many.  The all-star cast assembled to for this film are okay, dropping their dynamic acting range for superficial roles filled with cursing and satire. Lazy writing also doesn’t help sell the comedy factor, primary thanks to the consistent cursing, shouting of the male genitalia, overzealous drug use, and cringe worthy catchphrases.   Kate Mickinnon is able to salvage some parts of the film with her usual tricks, working the Australian accent with her pizazz and spot-on timing.

Story wise, nothing special here.  Rough Night’s plot is about 80% revealed in the trailers and there is little surprise left for you in the audience. Some of the more adult moments will be the eye widening magic you are seeking, but again these are often awkward uncomfortable, or unnecessary.  Still the movie’s tale had some surprising character development and a nice twist thrown into the mix to help keep things dynamic.  The morals hit close to home on some level, but again are robbed by another bout of stupidity.  I know, you aren’t there for the character developments and rugged plot, but other comedies have learned to balance things and that is where this movie fails.


In the end though here are my likes and dislikes:



  • Kate McKinnon
  • Good, upbeat soundtrack
  • Short Run Time
  • More dynamic storyline



  • Incredibly stupid
  • Excessive cursing
  • Aggressive humor
  • Trailers Ruined most of the movie
  • Inappropriate at many times
  • Shallow story
  • Annoying characters
  • Dropped plots
  • Overacting
  • Limited target audience





            It’s nice to see a movie fit the expectations set by the advertising, but it’s sad that this is a form of entertainment.  Rough night fails to find balance and resorts to cheap parlor tricks known as adult humor.  Sure there are clever components (primarily thanks to the boyfriend and Kate), but even they can’t save the movie from the monotonous laziness that is to come.  kWhy must it be overacted?  I don’t know, but nevertheless this movie failed on many accounts.  Recommended audience members include bachelorettes, girls nights out, or fans of one of the cast.  For the rest though, skip this movie until it darkens the library of Netflix. 


My scores are:


Comedy:  5.5

Movie Overall: 3.0

Don’t Leavey Your Tissues Behind



This weekend is certainly a mixed bag of movies from adventure/fantasy to horror/mystery. So why not throw in a military/biographical/drama into the fray as well, this time portraying a different, and more realistic, female super hero.  If you are reading past my confusing opening, (and the title of this review), you know I’m talking about Megan Leavey. With leash, and gun, in hand, this movie is the chronicle of her walk into the life of a hero and the struggles she had to climb over to succeed.  What’s the verdict?  You’ll have to read on to find out!




Acting:  Kate Mara was a fantastic pick for the lead of this movie.  Based on Leavey’s history (from the little research I’ve done), Mara was able to play the emotional rainbow required of this complicated role.  The angst of a rebellious young adult is perfectly portrayed, with enough saucy edge to keep things spicy, while only going over the line occasionally.  Yet, the real portrayal of her talents is her acting of honor, valor, and trauma that comes with being a real-life hero.  You’ll feel all the emotional turmoil, or in some cases lack of emotional turmoil, associated with marine life and the sense of duty before self.  Many audience members became entangled in all the feelings of the movie, captivating them in the story.


Good Pace: We know that many military dramas are a little long winded, whether in build up or the tail end of the spectrum.  Not the case for Megan Leavey.  This movie keeps things moving quite well, blending excitement, suspense, and character development in a decently condensed time.  The training portion of the movie is funny and heartwarming as bond between dog and human is formed, adequately building what will be the key foundation for the rest of the movie. Once the exciting deployment begins, the tension only surmounts and keeps one further fastened into the movie, constantly reeled in with each ticking minute as they perform their duty.  It’s engaging! It’s exciting!  And it is real!


The Dog:  Let’s face it though, the best part of this movie for most is going to be getting to see the dog or dogs trained to sniff out bombs.  Megan Leavey may be a tale about a woman transforming into a hero, but the director also does extraordinary work with the developing the dog’s status as a warrior itself.  Watching Rex perform all the duties required of him is awesome, feeling like a human actor himself rather than a four-legged accessory.  If you think Mara is the emotional lure in the film, then yes you are correct, but that would make Rex the lighthouse of emotions drawing you more into the flame of this movie.  Watching Rex with the consistent worry that something will happen is the true suspense of this movie, I myself silently praying he would make it home alive.




Movie magic drama:  We know that when it comes to describing drama, many films can exaggerate the truth.  While I’m not certain how tough Megan’s life was, this movie had many moments and characters that felt a little overdramatic to me.  I’m not talking about the war aspect, we know that’s hell.  No, the real overacted moments come in the form of her family life, primarily the interaction with her mom.  Eye-rolling moments aside, fans who like these overzealous characters are in for a treat, but it hit some nerves and took away from the movie.


The Final Act: Megan Leavey’s film is split into three parts for me and the first two parts are epically put together to keep the film exciting.  The third part however, is more on the slower side and not the area I would have spent a great deal of time on.  I can’t say much without ruining things, but here it goes.  This finale is certainly emotional, well designed, and a fine example of character development.  However, the pace changes at this part, doesn’t focus on the chemistry I fell in love with. Yes, it’s emotional, and the parts are well put together, I just wanted a little more time with the dog and woman.


Theater Worthy?: This is a tough component because there is a lot about this movie I like.  However, I can’t say the movie was really something that needed to be in theaters.  With few special effects and stunts, and a story that, while touching, isn’t an epic, adventure/book like drama that Hollywood theaters have captured.  Instead, this movie would have been solid on the History Channel or a Netflix original movie where you could enjoy it in the comfort of your own home.  So, don’t behead me people, I’m just trying to save you some money to maximize the quality of the film.





Megan Leavey is one of the better military drams I’ve seen in a while.  A fantastic chemistry between man and dog uniting to portray the honor of military service is a leading factor to see this movie.  With emotional sequences captured by beautiful cinematography and epic acting, you’ll find this at the top of a lot of drama loving lists.  Yet, it still lacks some finesse in terms of perfect pace and even more lacks the theater quality effects that make the expensive ticket worthwhile, unless you get the discount show.  Still it is a movie worth checking out when you can, to pay tribute to an honorable woman, her dog, and the heroes that are our military.


Biography/Drama/War:  8.5

Movie Overall: 6.5

Wars Falls Back To Traditional Underworld



Years ago, before vampires were glittering in the sun, another movie chose a darker presentation for the occult world.  This series brought a war between the werewolves and vampires, in a stunning action film that sealed Kate Beckinsale as a monster slaying queen.  If you’ve guessed Underworld, you’re right, and you can probably guess that the fifth movie is the theme of my latest review.  Will the fifth installment keep us enthralled in the centuries long war, or will it turn it to ash like a vampire in the sun.  Robbie K is back with another review, and as always I’m here to share my opinions on another movie.  Let’s get started.



  • Better story than four
  • Cool costumes and design
  • Underworld Action…somewhat.


For those who liked Underworld Awakening, I don’t mean to step on any toes.  However, Blood Wars was a much better story for me.  Dropping most of the genetic science, this film goes back to the feuding family, Game of Thrones aristocracy we loved in the previous films.  Selene’s journey through the Vampire politics comes back in full force, teetering the fine line of trust and fear at her race’s true intentions.  It feels like a traditional Underworld story and provides some answers to the lingering questions and complicated family ties.  This is the kind of tale that got us hooked into the series, and fit much better than the proceeding film.

In regards to the costumes, I always liked the outfit designs our cast wears.  The team once again combines modern with traditional to craft ensembles that represent each factions style.  Our vampires take on the rich, aristocratic dresses and tuxes, while the lycans get the urban warrior look that screams grunge. I myself like the northern faction’s looks the best, part mystical elf and part deadly vampire that work very well in the winter tundra fortress.  Regardless of who you are rooting for, know they will look good doing it.

But the biggest selling point of this movie is the action the film brings to the table.  Blood Wars certainly has the war theme to it filled with lots of gun play, modern war machines, and more gun play.  It takes a step back to the first movie’s fight sequences and gives you plenty of CGI death, complete with bloody gore, to fill your appetite.  But between the bouts of gunplay, the fifth installment mixes things up with some martial arts and swordplay resulting in some satisfying finishes.  The scenes are certainly not the flashiest things to grace the screen, but they fit well in the Underworld Universe.



  • Too much in one story
  • Very rushed at times
  • Plot gaps that follow
  • Not focusing on other characters
  • Action short lives/lacking suspense


Despite the improvement in the story, Blood Wars still struggles with balancing the various aspects of the tale.  This installment crams a lot of tales into one including redemption, searching for her daughter, weird romances, and a lot more I don’t have room to write.  While this brings a very diverse plot, it also brings a very rushed delivery, with each arc lacking the details to build suspense and really sell it.  Even the editing could have used a little polishing to help organize the story a little better, instead of jumping between all the revelations haphazardly.  And despite all the revelations and story arcs in this film, Blood Wars still has plot gaps in it, some strategically used to coax a sixth film, and some unintentional.

In addition, I was also disappointed at not exploring more avenues with some of the other characters as well. Yes, the story is about Selene and her new male colleague David, so naturally they would get the most screen time.  However, they had new characters they really could have developed to add some more depth to the story.  Marius the big bad lycan really could have been an awesome villain and the northern vampire clan leader could have brought a new set of skills to the table to complement Selene.  However, they dropped these characters to the backburners and left me disappointed at the lost potential..

Finally let’s talk about the action.  Yes, the action is fitting of the Underworld series, but it still needs to be better developed for me.  Many of the shooting bouts were very simplistic and dry, reduced to a bunch of extras falling or wielding plastic looking guns.  In addition, many of the battles are reduced to swarm syndrome where all the extras are shown in a wide pan over that again lacks the details I like to see.  And as for the martial arts and sword scenes, well they were mostly short lived that they weren’t necessary.  They had some really cool ideas, but these fights were either awkwardly placed or so short they aren’t worth mentioning.  Such a shame when you consider how far they pushed the action all those years ago.  There wasn’t much urgency to these battles, and I felt kind of bored with them due to the lack of suspense.




Underworld Blood Wars isn’t that bad of a movie and probably will deliver what most expect.  It took a step back to its roots, and delivered a story that we are all familiar with.  However, there was just too much for me in this tale and I wasn’t impressed with how lackluster these elements were.  In addition, the battles (while fitting) also needed some tweaking to help bring that edge and suspense to make the movie more exciting.  Regardless, this reviewer suggests waiting on this film to hit your local Redbox vendor, or at least not see it in 3-D. 


My scores are:


Action/Horror:  7.0

Movie Overall: 5.0

B-E-A-UTIFUL Acting!



We all know Charles Dickens’ classic tale the Christmas Carol and all the lessons it teaches this time of season.  It’s a story that has been told through many mediums that continue to entertain the masses.  This weekend, we get a similar tale to grace the theater entitled Collateral Beauty starring Will Smith and a slew of other characters. The question is though, does this twist work?  Hi Robbie K here, privileged to share some thoughts on another movie.  Shall we get started?



  • Fantastic Acting
  • Equal Screen Time
  • Good use of Music
  • Fantastic morals


With a star, studded cast that includes Will Smith, Kate Winslet, Hellen Mirren, and Edward Norton you expected good acting.  Well good news, the acting met the expectations placed on the cast.  Smith of course takes the lead, delivering another grand performance of someone suffering in life (7 pounds and pursuit of happiness). He sells the anger and hurt, while maintaining his emotional balance to prevent falling into overacting territory. Edward Norton, again delivers a sound performance and probably has the most diverse energy of the cast.  Newcomer Jacob Lattimore surprised me with his performance, which although a little skewed, had the teenage angst and aggression representative of time.  But the champion actor is Helen Mirren, who continues to prove that age brings experience.  Mirren was the funniest of the group, but managed to sell the morals of the movie the most without going too far.  She engages so well with the entire cast, and does a good job as the keystone of the movie…you know past Will Smith.  The entire group again does a fantastic job altogether, and even better are all balanced through the movie, each member getting close to equal time (which is sometimes unheard of).

While the acting certainly helps make the story come to life, the editing of the movie helped amplify the emotions of the film. The cinematography is beautifully executed, combining the enchanting scenery with the raw pain of our suffering characters.  You’ll get plenty of close ups on tear stricken faces and troubled stares as our characters face the ordeals at hand.  But it’s the background symphony music, that helps add that edge to get the tears flowing. Beautiful piano work helps sell the scene, subtle at times before unleashing its full power as the lessons are learned.  The culmination of audio and visual are fantastic tools to seal the deal for the morals this film has to offer.  And speaking of morals, the writers did a nice job twisting the tale to focus on dealing with life’s problems.  Aside from Will Smith’s trial of accepting his daughter’s death, the other characters each have their own trials to face that involve self-assessment, acceptance, and a willingness to try and make things better.  Preachy as it can be, these important lessons are taught with the fantastic lines and strong acting premise.



  • Not as deep as I thought
  • Felt Incomplete
  • Lackluster
  • More spirit interventions would have been nice


Despite all the good I reported, Collateral Beauty still has some rough edges that need some smoothing out.  For one thing, I felt there could have been more emotional punch to this film.  I felt the lessons in my heart, but I wasn’t borderline crying in this film.  It felt like they held back on the emotional punch. Whether this is due to some production quirks, some shallower plots, or the fact that the trailer delivered much of the film could have diluted it.  The movie also felt incomplete at parts, as if other scenes were needed or perhaps scenes deleted to take out the incomplete feeling.

In addition, the movie is a bit lackluster from the various tellings of the Christmas Carol.  This film doesn’t have the terror or suspense that Dickens’ three spirits contain, although they are much more entertaining.  This movie, despite teaching values, was just not as unique as I think it wanted to be. There were no grandiose twists, no outstanding spirit designs, and no key features to help make this movie stand out from similar morale tales.  I think I also wanted more spiritual interventions as well, another round to drive the point home to Howard.




Collateral Beauty is certainly an example of great acting, as our stars have incredible chemistry, integrate through most of the movie, and have the emotional balance we would want in such a cast.  In addition, the morals are taught well thanks to the strong dialogue and wonderful audio/visual techniques to amplify the emotions.  However, there was something missing that just didn’t make this movie as emotionally deep as I expected.  Still, this is a movie that will move many and a good, fun movie for the holiday season.  Is it needed to be seen in the big screen?  When looking at the technical qualities and the unique aspect of the film…no this movie is worth a Redbox rent. However, in regards to the moral lessons and heartfelt story, this one is worth a visit. 


My scores are:


Drama:  7.5

Movie Overall: 6.5

Dive Deep Into The Flaming Inferno


What is it about disasters that we enjoy watching?  I could come up with a number of reasons, but the bottom line is that Hollywood has shifted to dramatizing former events as a means for more movies. Hi, Robbie K here bringing you another review of the latest films to grace the screen.  Tonight we hit Deepwater Horizon starring Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, and a handful of other actors.  Let’s get started.


  • Great acting
  • Over the top graphics
  • Emotionally stimulating

You might be thinking that I have gone crazy, after all Wahlberg hasn’t had the greatest roles.  Deepwater Horizon breaks the mediocre streak and drops him into a position that may net him an Oscar nomination. Wahlberg’s portrayal of Mike Williams is certainly a heroic one filled with wisdom, strength, and a calm edge that sets the stage for a natural leader. But there is also a realistic side brought out near the second half the screen that balances out the heroic theatrics of Hollywood. Kurt Russell no surprise plays his usual rugged role, making sure to add the hard edge testosterone rush all older actors need to bring. Hudson and Malkovich get A’s as well, each bringing the needed involvement to round out the cast.  All the extras and lesser billed roles complete the picture as a close oil crew, but much of their time is spent standing around or ducking from fire.

  Speaking of fire, the visual effects are top notch in terms of computer graphic imaging. Deepwater Horizon’s reconstruction of an oil rig succumbing to its doom is very realistic. For you technical folks, the directors have crafted scenes to mimic the daily operations involved with pumping oil, from watching gritty mud flow through the pipe to the cracking foundation floor.  That sound boring?  Well those looking for a little more suspense will be impressed when the whole operation blows to pieces…literally.  You might be amazed seeing the rig, and its crew, get covered in oil before erupting into a fiery inferno you’ve seen in the trailers. My friend described the visuals being so good, he felt immersed into the disaster, wanting to duck or dive as explosions rattled the screen.

Of course the real magic to the visual effects are the emotions it brings with it.  The various sequences and montages of the exploding metal certainly paints a terrifying picture as you wonder how much time is left until something falls.  Now add our characters trying to traverse the obstacle course from heck, feeling horrifying chills run through your body as you watch human bodies hurled through the air and disturbing injuries protruding in gory details. However, it is not all dismay and dread, no Deepwater Horizon has plenty of sequences and montages of heroism that will make you a little proud to be a human…no matter how overly theatrical it could be.


  • Overdramatic at times
  • Already know the ending
  • Editing needs work

I’m probably sounding overcritical or nonsensical, but here it goes anyway. Deepwater Horizon is at times a bit on the overdramatic side.  As I said, much of the movie will light a fire in your soul that will have your patriotism in full force.  Unfortunately, some of these moments are a bit too fake and in your face to get my full backing, primarily making an effort to pan on the American flag flapping in the flames. Even the more heroic moments sometimes get a bit too corny, the overdramatic focus on the camera amid a symphony soundtrack blaring pride.  Again, they get the message across and deliver the emotion, it just sometimes gets a little too Hollywood for me.

The special effects and the noble protagonist will certainly spread suspense and awe, but it doesn’t help that you know the ending. If you paid attention to the news, you know all about what happens to the rig, and if you choose to ignore history take a look at the trailer.  The opening sequence doesn’t help things either by telling you the fate of a certain character that further adds predictability to the mix.  What does leave in terms of suspense and surprise? Pretty much it is the fate of the crew that held any mystery to me, and that was scarce at times.  Perhaps another minor dislike, but still one nonetheless.

    In regards to the editing, this one is a tough call to make.  On the one hand I appreciate the details they provide about the incident, from the development of the disaster to how they faced the inferno the rig became.  And yet, I felt some of it was elaborated too much for my liking. The build up was a little too long and drawn out, making it slightly boring as we waited for the dirt to hit the pipe.  As the oil begins to bloom into a fountain the pace picks up, but then hits a very slow, somewhat pointless, standstill at the aftermath of the situation.  Yes, it provides realism and rounding out of the characters, but again is a little too extended after all the excitement.   They probably could have spared about fifteen minutes, but hey that’s just me.



            Despite this being the third historical event to get a movie this month, Deepwater Horizon will provide the emotional thrills you want.  A fantastic CGI design that’s brimming with emotion and suspense. However, the predictability and overdramatic moments fall in line with Hollywood’s magic and takes away from the message of the movie.  I have to recommend this one for the theater though, primarily for the technological achievements it brings. 


Overall my scores are:

Action/Drama/Thriller: 8.0

Movie Overall: 7.0

Morgan or Boregan? Scientific Moral Lesson In A Horrorless package


            Picture it, flashing lights, eerie music and images of an artificial life being created on a giant screen.  Paints the idea of a science fiction horror movie right?  Yeah that’s what I thought when I saw the trailer for Morgan.  However, Hollywood is known for fooling us with their editing and therefore I return to my viewing spot once more.  Let’s get started



  • A true science fiction plot
  • Decent acting
  • Twist in the end


To quote a friend, “We seldom get a true science fiction movie that isn’t drowned out by CGI action scenes and grotesque monsters.”  Fortunately, Morgan defies that trend and dives deep into the core of the genre, focusing on the scientific process in all its details.  In a script laden with scientific jargon, one will return to a college biology course sprinkled with a genetics topping.  But the natural science pales to Morgan’s primary focus of the ethics involved with creating life and trying to control it. Much of the film revolves around the small band of scientists arguing about Morgan’s role in life and what the future holds for their creation. It’s another black and white debate between parties, with some slight character development thrown in to add some depth.

As mentioned the film centers on scientists trying to rationalize the ethics of their creations.  So it’s probably important to have a good cast to bring the roles to life right?  In my opinion, the team did okay, but it wasn’t the most earth shattering performances to grace the screen. Kate Mara led the team playing a monotone role that while flat, held some mystery to it. While she certainly was able to look mean and perform stage combat, I wanted to see more of her character to round things out. Anya-Taylor Joy as Morgan certainly has the sociopathic role down and could easily play the next serial villain in a crime drama show. The other assembled casts did a smashing job on their part, both looking and playing the part of obsessive scientists to quite impressive levels.

But perhaps the biggest like of the movie was the twist in the end. In terms of the plot, there is more than meets the eye to some of the characters and the mystery begins to unravel as things heat up. You’ll have to get to the end of the film before the pieces fall together, but those with open eyes may pick up hints if they watch carefully. In addition, the movie actually gets a twist in genre at the end, turning into a part action movie with surprisingly violent stunts. While certainly cheesy this change of pace makes for a semi-exciting climax that relieves the movie of its drab pace.


  • Boring, slow pace
  • Not a horror movie or suspenseful
  • Graphic Torture


Morgan’s message about the mistakes made when playing God are beaten over the head, but the package it’s delivered in was so dull at times. Sure scientific minds may get caught up in the jargon and scientific ideas, but the team focused too much on the scholastic and not enough on the entertainment.  Surely the mystery element could make up for it, but I found little mystery in this movie other than when Morgan would go nuts, what would happen to her, and of course the twist I don’t want to ruin. If you’re into the moral dilemmas and high grade vocabulary this won’t bother you, but you might want to bring a pillow in case science wasn’t your cup of tea.

When the monotonous discussion eventually stops and the system begins to fail, I thought the suspense would pour in. Wrong again. Despite the dark hallways painted in red, there wasn’t much outside of Morgan’s creepy close ups that one would find unsettling.  I apologize for sounding like a broken record, but this movie lacks in thrills or suspense until the final fifteen to twenty minutes.  When it finally rears its head, the suspense comes in the form graphic torture, that involves brutal mauling, mindless shooting, and a little kung fu to sweeten the wet meat deal. I’ll admit some of these moments are fitting, however it also felt hastily wrapped up into an anticlimactic ending (like the ending to American Horror Story Season 4).



Morgan held a lot of potential, but this reviewer felt much of it was lost in the direction it took. While I appreciate the attempts at being a true science fiction movie and preaching the importance of morals in discovery, it certainly failed to deliver the promised thrills. Such a shame considering they had a decent cast and setting to bring those horrors to life, but you can’t hit a home run all the time right? I can’t recommend this film for the theater, but you might give this one a shot at home when it hits Redbox in a few months. Instead find your local showing of Don’t Breathe and get your thrills from that.


My scores:

Drama/Horror/Mystery:  6.0

Movie Overall: 5.0