Mulling Over the Mule

The Mule Poster

 

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

 

Film: The Mule (2018)

 

Director:

Clint Eastwood

Writers:

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

Stars:

Clint EastwoodBradley CooperTaissa Farmiga

 

 

LIKES:

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

DISLIKES:

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

The VERDICT:

 

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

 

My scores are:

 

Crime/Drama/Mystery: 7.5

Movie Overall: 6.0

Advertisements

The Panther King

Black panther

 

Another Marvelous weekend is here and it holds another Disney branded film to be released into the local theaters.  The superhero theme of the weekend strays from the normal leads you’ve seen in the last few years, one who has more ferocity than the usual crew, maybe outside of the Hulk.  Yes, I’m talking about Black Panther, and after much anticipation it is here and ready to unleash the cat within.  Does this highly awaited film meet expectations?  Robbie K is here to help out, with yet another movie review.  Sit back, relax, and read on as I help out with your movie going pleasures.

 

LIKES:

 

The Cinematography:  A good hero movie requires good visuals to bring it to life, and Black Panther reigns supreme on this level.  After some unique storytelling art at the beginning, the movie resorts to beautiful blends of real-life, breathtaking shots and impressive visuals.  The movie drops you into what feels like a technologically advanced city, complete with James Bond like gadgets that feel super in themselves.  Black Panther’s camerawork is also very dynamic, energetic enough to increase the action, but contained enough to not leaving you nauseous or confused.

 

The Acting:  Marvel movies sometimes tank in this section, but again Black Panther raises the bar on this levelChadwick Boseman retains the regality of T’Challa from Civil War but adds more conflict and growth to the character as he struggles with the mantle of king. Michael B. Jordan comes back with a fire, once again showing that he earns his spot in Hollywood with an emotionally charged performance that seethes with that raw edge. Lupita Nyong’o brings the balance to the movie, portraying a character that acts as a solid bridge between all parties, keeping her dynamic performance balanced at the same time, while Danai Gurira grounds the characters down with her strong will and fantastic stage combat skills.  Letitia Wright is the comedy of the film who has a fantastic delivery of the well-written lines this movie has.  Almost all parties involved nailed their roles, with the chemistry between everyone favorably mixing to create what felt like a tribe.  Fantastic job casting director.

 

The Comedy: Marvel is all about making you laugh, sometimes making that the focus of the film and other times as a nice add-on.  Black Panther took the latter for me and was tastefully done to perhaps be one of the best executions of the Marvel Universe.  In this darker movie, there is a lot of tension and raw nerves exposed in the Savannah drama, with many negative emotions running rampant like the predators of the plains.  Yet, intermixed in this intensity is comedic gold, or vibranium in this case, well-placed to maximize laughs and clever to avoid the usual slapstick staleness that plagues most movies.  This style of comedy didn’t detract from the movie but added another layer to help reset the tension and keep you engaged in the movie from start to finish.  Plus, you’ve got a nice combination of styles in store as well, so two thumbs up for that.

 

The Emotion in the Story:  The movie does not have the most unique story, something hard to accomplish in this age of saturation. Yet this Marvel version of the Lion King is packed with so many moments to send one into an emotional fervor, sending you on a roller coaster ride of feelings.  Black Panther will be inspiring to many, bringing approving claps and motivation to change the world.  It’s a moral filled tale that brings out the dynamic use of technology, the importance of family, and the dilemmas of a new king having to face.  While I’m not the biggest supporter of dramas, Black Panther manages to make the drama feel less soap opera like that many movies fail to avoid. 

 

The Ending:  Many f Marvel’s movies often fail to find that satisfying ending to conclude the awesome tale.  Black Panther, manages to keep everything going from start to finish and brings all the building tension to full boil with an exciting climax.  All the characters are brought into the mix, having some involvement in the conflict at hand, as they fight in impressive choreographed battles.  And while our combatants dance in the virtual field, the story continues to progress and the characters develop with each swing of the weapon.  It utilizes all the elements that they had developed during the movie, which goes to show story telling is still alive.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Impressionable Hate:  More of a warning, the main villain is not only skilled and deadly, but has a surprising amount of hate contained in his chiseled body.  Killmonger is a character that has a lot of issues, and his plot to change the world is something that can motivate impressionable minds down the wrong avenue.  Be careful when taking friends and younger audience members to the film who have difficulty understanding character flaws.

 

Martin Freeman:  The movie did an okay job with the former hobbit, but I expected a lot more from Freeman’s character.  Though there is some comic relief, and a little action with his character, Freeman really didn’t feel that pertinent to the story until near the very end.  Such a legendary actor deserved some more relevance to the plot, some extra comedy, or at least some better development to justify the price tag that comes with him.  Not the weakest character mind you, but not what I expected.

 

More Action:  No surprise, Robbie want’s more action in his Marvel movie.  With Black Panther, I had worried that most of the excitement was ruined in the trailers, especially with a huge gap between those action-packed sequences.  Had it not been for the ending, I would have been disappointed in this quality, but still I wanted more to be unleashed in this movie to put T’Challa’s skills to the test.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Black Panther is by far one of the better Marvel films to grace the theaters and shows promise for the future of the series.  The tale has fantastic visuals to bring the world to life, alongside amazing writing and acting to further bring Wakanda to the playing field. It keeps its characters engaged and fills the 2-hour 15-minute run time with an emotional fervor to keep you integrated into every aspect until that incredible ending sequence.  However, the movie still has a few limitations including needing a little more action, a dab more of Martin Freeman’s relevance, and a slight decrease in predictability to make this a perfect film in the Marvel universe.  Still, the film gets massive props for reviving the Marvel movement this year.  So definitely get out there and see Black Panther and unleash the beast that dwells within all us comic book fans. 

 

My scores are:

 

Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi:  9.0

Movie Overall: 8.0

Web-Slinging Sensation: Comedy Returns To Spiderman

Spiderman

 

He can do whatever a spider can!  He is super brainy and has the ability to fight crime against a number of villains with interesting powers.  And he has had two reboots in the last two decades.  Yes, I’m talking about Spiderman, the young high school student who wears the coolest pajamas ever and has some pretty wicked powers.  This weekend, Disney studios gets their hands on the series, in hopes of breathing life back into the series and expanding their already vast repertoire of films.  Can Disney repeat its magic?  Robbie K here to give you the updates, and as always, I appreciate your reading and fun.  Let’s get started!

 

LIKES:

 

Not another origin story:  With all the reboots, cartoon series, and comics (if you still read), we know how the web slinger obtained his powers via radioactive arachnid science projects.  As such, the storyboard writers decided to scrap doing another reboot of this and dived right into the fun at hand.  Thank the lord!  Spiderman homecoming skips the boring, lacking power component, so that you get the most bang for your buck in regards to super power heroics and Spiderman clichés.  The presentation of this film is rather creative, using a selfie video to give a unique perspective on everything this Spiderman has gone through so far.

 

Fun and Funny:  Spiderman Homecoming takes a different approach from most of the other superhero films in that it feels like a high school student life only with…powers.  The result is a film that is fun, simplistic, and as me and my friend agree comedic.  This tale is all about making you laugh with a fantastic dialog, great delivery, and a cast that only amplifies it.  It’s not easy making a high school film that isn’t an afterschool special, drama filled, soap opera and still make it entertaining to watch.  But Disney was able to do it again.  While the production team has a lot to do with this, most audience members are going to give props to the acting.  Tom Holland again rocks the role, taking his cameo from Civil War and running… I mean slinging with it.  He is the first actor in this modern age to capture both the nerdy peter parker and the smart mouthed Spiderman, giving you the character you wanted made for some time.  Now throw in Michael Keaton portraying a villain who didn’t make you cringe, yawn, or sympathize for the performance they were asked to play.  The dynamic between them works and to take a lamer villain like the Vulture and make him respectable gets thumbs up from me.  And they utilized their entire cast very well, keeping their big-name contenders involved without robbing the main actor his time to shine.

 

Ned:  But my friend and I agreed that the best part of the film was Peter’s sidekick Ned played by Jacob Batalon. This character had me in enough stiches to require Spiderman to web it up.  Batalon delivers his lines perfectly, and makes the already comedic gold shine where others would fail.  He feels like a devoted fan boy and it works to keep things entertaining.  The cast did a great job sharing Peter’s secret with him and having him as the devoted friend wanting to do whatever he can to live as a super sidekick.  This character’s work is dynamic, it’s fun, and shows not all cleverness has been lost to cheap slapstick ploys.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Special effects are so so:  I don’t know if it’s the costume, the approach, or what, but the special effects didn’t impress me as much as they usually do. Spiderman’s movements looked fake at times, and the weapons (outside of Vulture’s costume) were a bit hokie looking.  Not the biggest dislike, but worth noting.

 

Migraine inducing flashes:  Not really a dislike, but a forewarning is a few scenes involving some flashes, explosions, or morphing that may give one a giant headache or induce a migraine.  Three people in my showing, complained of auras from the film, so those with these type of migraines, or even worse seizures, may want to have caution and be prepared.

 

Editing/Lack of Action:  Biggest dislike for me is more so the lack of action.  No surprise, Robbie wants his superheroes to have at least one engaging fight, but that wasn’t the case for me in this film.  While Homecoming was funny and entertaining, it still lacked the bite that superhero films have had.  The fights were short lived, didn’t involve too many spectacular moves, and the villains didn’t have any impressive moves.  We know Spidey’s universe have some of the most unique powers of the bunch, so why in the world didn’t they show that off more.  Of note, the battles do keep in theme with the movie, and are emotional in regards to character development, that is a plus.  Yet a 134-minute run time needed a few more suspenseful moments to get the full effect.  Either that or cut out the extra laugh, unnecessary moments to shorten the run time.  Sorry guys, but editing is still in need of work.

 

The VERDICT:

 

Spiderman Homecoming is certainly one of the better installments of the modern Spiderman age.  It certainly is one of the more enjoyable comedies I’ve seen in a while, and takes some of the darker edge that has been building over the last few installments.  A great use of cast, good writing, and many other fun gimmicks works on so many levels and will entertain many.  Yet it isn’t the most exciting film of this universe, nor did it need to be over 2 hours long. Still, it’s a great addition to the library and one I look forward to seeing continued and integrated into the rest of the films.  Worth a trip to the theater?  Oh yeah (as if I can stop you), it is worth it.

 

My scores:

Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi:  8.0

Movie Overall:  7.5

 

Going Back To Traditional Style

Going in style

 

The age of comedy has certainly changed over the years, transitioning from the classic slapstick to a simpler, straightforward approach that today’s youth loves. Yet, every once in a while, the legends from the past return in an attempt to bring some whit back to the silver screen.  Tonight, my friend and I head back into the trenches of the local theater to give some insight into Going in Style starring the legendary trio of Morgan Freeman, Alan Arkin, and Michael Caine. Let’s get started!

 

LIKES:

  • Classic comedy
  • Good chemistry between actors
  • Cute
  • Nicely tied together story

Summary: If the intro didn’t spoil it for you, Going in Style is true to its name, as the trio brings the classic comedy back into style.  Fans of the slapstick of yore are going to bust a gut at this film as the timeless styles of the leads continue to shine bright. Caine and Freeman have comedic timing and delivery down, with clever lines craftily intertwined in the serious dialogue that put today’s writing to shame.  Arkin on the other hand is all about the banter and complaining, which for the most part is balanced and well-placed. The trio have great chemistry together, and sell that they are best friends who have faced the challenge called life.  They sell the struggles and praise the joys, and do it with such class and minimizing the stupid, mindless banter famous today. And in addition to being funny, the lack of crude comedy also makes this movie cute. Watching older men trying to rob a bank, while also getting their lives in order makes for an adorable adventure as my friend commented.  Of course, this reviewer likes a story to his comedy, and Going in Style gets this right too.  It’s a hardy story for most ages, and one that won’t have the older audience members shaking their heads in shame.  This may also surprise you, but there were a couple of twists that fooled me, which isn’t easy in the comedy genre. 

 

DISLIKES:

  • Predictable
  • Depressing at times
  • Old jokes get a bit stale

Summary:  With a simple story as this, it’s not surprising that much of the story is predictable. Given the theme of the movie, you should be able to predict most of the ending, and certainly can guess where things are going to go wrong.  Therefore, the uniqueness of this movie takes a hit in the story department. And no surprise, the comedy is also predictable and therefore loses the comedy edge they wanted to deliver…at least to me. While the trailers do promote the more fun atmosphere of the movie, don’t let it fool you that it is all happiness and rainbows (that’s the Smurfs!).  Going in style emphasizes the end of life generation, highlighting the less than glorious problems of getting older. Thank goodness for the consistent comedy, because otherwise this could have been a much harder movie to watch.

Of all the comedy this movie has in its folds, they certainly stuck with the old theme of this movie.  Positives, there are plenty of quips and class to the punches they throw. Bad news, the quips get older than the actors delivering them.  How many insults about difficulties getting up can you make, or metaphors for being poor and not having a check.  It’s good political awareness (nice work there writers), but it would have been nice for a little more variety to work its way into the vaudeville.

 

The VERDICT:

Going in Style is one of the classier, wittier comedies to end up in the theater this year.  Both this reviewer and his friend, enjoyed the trade of simplistic one-liners and innuendos for a less aggressive comedy style that shows the traditional style has not been lost quite yet.  Despite the trade up though, the movie is still very predictable and simplistic enough to still be stuck in the mediocre territory.  As much fun as I had in the movie, there isn’t much to warrant it for a movie theater visit, unless you are a fan of the traditional comedy and looking for a fun group/date movie.  My friend though gives this movie three thumbs up and states it is an entertaining, fun flick that will keep you laughing. 

My scores are:

Comedy/Crime: 7.5

Movie Overall: 6.0

In Fun, It’s Funny, It’s Exciting and He’s Batman

batman

            You can build with them, you can imagine with them, and thanks to technology you can now play games with them.  I’m talking about Legos, the loveable building blocks that have spanned across all genres in their themes.  Like everything, Hollywood is happy to use it as a medium for pictures and this weekend we get the second adventure in brick land.  Will Lego Batman hold the same gusto as its predecessor from years back?  Or will it fall and smash into a million pieces?  Robbie K is back with yet another review to help with your movie choices.

 

LIKES

  • Funny
  • Lots of Movie References
  • Plenty of Comic References
  • Action packed, yet not violent
  • Fun morals built into a decent story

 

SUMMARY: If you remember the first film, you remember that it was not only fun, but funny.  The same can be said for the sequel, as Batman and his colleagues lead the charge in another rambunctious adventure.  Will Arnett as Batman takes point, delivering hilarious dialogue that we loved in the Lego movie, which is only further amplified by Michael Cera’s nasally, high-pitched presentation.  Amidst cheesy lines, constant bragging, and fancy one-liners is a comedic goldmine that will have both kids and adults laughing in their seats.  Yet, it was the comic and movie reviews that this reviewer loved and how clever their integration into the story was.  Gremlins, Lord of the Rings, and ridiculous 1960s Batman references are just a fraction of the nostalgia present in this movie, which will certainly bring back some fond memories for older fans, while hopefully inspiring younger generations to research.

 

But if comedy doesn’t keep you entertained, perhaps the exciting, kid-friendly, action will provide the entertainment you need.  Batman and his assistants have enough Kung Fu, laser blasting, building destroying moments to keep one hooked into the adventure at hand until you get to the fun moral filled moments.  Speaking of which, Lego Batman continues the trend of tying a lesson into overall story, which didn’t feel preach… at least until the end, then it is super preachy (though funny) delivery of the overall lessonOverall the adventure remains fun, fast, exciting, and humorous, which is always refreshing to watch.  However…

 

DISLIKES

  • Action is short-lived
  • Comedy sometimes gets stuck in banter
  • Batman Villains take a bit of back seat
  • Not the first one quite

 

Summary: I get it, Lego Batman isn’t meant to be the next action, stunt movie of the year, however it still would have been nice to see a little more pizazz to their fights.  Batman and company have some cool kung-Fu moves, but the directors simplistic repetition of these moves grew stale without some extra twists. Unlike the Lego movie, Lego batman also didn’t use the master builder power quite as uniquely, even though there was so much potential to be had.  In addition, the comedy also was a slight step down for me as well. Think about the diversity in Lego Movie, where each character has their own style of making us laugh and how well it mixed together to keep things fresh and fun.  Batman’s style again was very one dimensional, and while there were a bunch of well-timed one liners, the general theme of ego is the central focus, well that and his stupidity sometimes.  For me, it kind of grew stale (again) to be subjected to endless banter and drawn out dialogue.  This staleness may have been broken had they integrated the villains into the movie a little more. I don’t know about you, but when I think of Batman I also think of, you know, the bad guys that make up his universe too.  Unfortunately, Gotham’s psychopaths and crime lords take a back seat, (to again an enjoyable twist), and it would have been nice to integrate some of them into the mix a little better.  You can see that many of the dislikes come from comparison to the Lego Movie, and while this film is good, for this reviewer it just did not match up to its predecessor.

 

The Verdict:

 

Despite the dislikes though, Lego Batman is an adventure well worth the wait.  The movie will deliver the laughs, fun, and comedy promised by the trailers, and will entertain all ages (especially if you get the references).  Lego Batman is one of those movies designed to be fun, but hasn’t lost the uniqueness or imagination that many films lack.  As mentioned earlier, most of the dislikes come from a comparison to the Lego Movie, but if you can separate the two, then one will certainly enjoy the adventure to be had with this film.  Is it worth seeing in the theater?  Absolutely, and may be one of the few movies where 3-D adds to the experience (note I did not see it in 3-D).  Lego batman is a perfect fit for a geek’s night out, family outing, or if you are like me going solo for a laugh. 

 

My scores are:

 

Animation/Action/Adventure:  8.5

Movie Overall:  7.5

Great Acting Brings Light Between Lots of Crying

Light Between

            The Light Between Oceans, one of the more artistic movie titles we’ve had in a long time. This weekend we get to see the visual representation of this novel that looks to join the ranks of emotional tear jerker films such as the Notebook or Up.  Robbie K is back again to give you some insight into another film. So relax, grab a drink and get read up on my thoughts.

 

LIKES:

  • The acting
  • The portrayal of love
  • Well written

 

If you’ve read the book, you know this tale doesn’t have much in terms of excitement, action, or special effects.  So a story like this requires top notch acting to even begin to be engaging to the masses.  Fortunately, they succeeded in gathering quite a crew starting with the incredibly talented Michael Fassbender to lead the way. As always Fassbender’s acting skills are incredible, managing to take an monotone role and breathe life into it. It helps he had a likeable character, but Fassbender’s ability to make you feel his character’s torment is something I always appreciate to see.  Alicia Vikander is also on her A game, managing to portray her suffering as if she were actually experiencing the trouble at hand. Together the two are even stronger, crafting a relationship that is believable and further pushing their acting to the next level. As for Rachel Weisz, she does a good job too, her role is more limited than I expected though and therefore was disappointing for me.

A second like is how the love was portrayed in this story. Unlike the fictional relationships in romantic comedies, dramas, and Nicholas Sparks films, this love is believable. It forgoes the cheesy dialogues, overdramatic antics, and fake superficial features and decides to actually dive into the deeper qualities. You see the relationship grow, helping the characters to mature and develop as life handles them the challenges at hand. It’s a relationship that is very dynamic and constantly teetering on falling as the secret of their daughter’s origins becomes deeper.  Therefore this reviewer gives kudos to the writers for designing a plot that held an engaging romance and a little tension to keep you suckered in.  You’ve done the world a favor by speaking the truth about love.

 

DISLIKES:

  • Alicia Vikander’s character
  • Rachel Weisz’s limited role
  • A bit overdramatic at times
  • Boring at parts

 

I know I’m going to get a lot of guff for this, but my biggest dislike starts with Vikander’s character Isabelle.  Her character’s going through a lot, this I get, but the way they took her was more overbearing with each passing second.  In addition to the whole thing being her idea, her desperation to keep the lie going grows to epic proportions and drops her in the realm of soap opera theatrics. Yes, probably makes me seem like an unemotional robot or a jerk, but when you take such a strong character and turn her into a mess. Oh well, I guess it’s part of the character growing process.

And perhaps all of this could have been balanced if the other part of the conflict had a more engaging role in the picture. Rachel Weisz is one of my favorite actresses and I was hoping that the “ocean” she represented would have had more bite to her.  Despite the trailers painting the picture she would be ferociously hunting for her child, her character Hannah is much more passive and relies on short sequences of reporting to the police to do her workWhile she certainly packed some emotional punch in her fleeting moments and brought the more soul fulfilling morals to the screen, the lack of conflict made much of this ordeal less exciting a.k.a boring.

But why bring more of Rachel’s character into the mix when we can instead put in more montages of character’s crying and looking upset.  As I stated before, the Light Between Two Oceans packs a lot of emotional punch, and much of this involves depressing you with watching human suffering unfold on screen.  I guess this is to build up to the light guiding you back to happiness, but still the overdramatic moments got annoying for me. Again I apologize if I am perceived as an emotionless robot.

 

The VERDICT:

Despite some of the annoying tendencies, the overuse of crying shots, and boring components of the film, this film actually was pretty good for me.  Any movie that can make a realistic love story, provide strong character development, and deliver the feeling filled punch gets props in my book.  This reviewer certainly thinks this film will have nominations in the best actor, actress, and adapted screenplay, as the quality of these components is that good.  However, it certainly isn’t the ideal movie for many audience groups in this modern time.  The target audience, based on my showing, seems to be older audience members and couples who like parental stories.  Is it worth a trip to the theater?  In terms of new movies this weekend, yes it is (from the two movies I was able to see). However, I suggest you hold out on this one and enjoy it in your own home. 

My scores are:

Drama/Romance: 7.5-8.0

Movie Overall: 6.5

Like Ants Go Marching To The Theater

Antman

            Marvel has entered its third wave and the intended schedule shows a lot of “origin” stories in the works. When it comes to these starter films, Marvel has been hit or miss, in my opininon, and sometimes can leave you a bit disappointed. This weekend we got Ant-Man in the works, a tale I didn’t have much hope for in terms of quality Marvel movies. However, could there be surprises in store that will make this enjoyable, you never know. Hi I’m Robbie K and this is another Robbie Review.

When you hear the name Ant-Man you might just laugh at the lame title he holds. I mean how can someone like that be a real threat? Well don’t count him out yet, as those of the lore know that big things do indeed come in small packages. Ant-Man surprisingly has quite an array of powers, the classic one being shrinking to the size of an ant to infiltrate whatever fortress he is assigned. Yet by reaching this size he obtains heightened speed, strength, and agility that when combined with a training montage led by Evangeline Lilly leads to a top notch weapon. The pint sized hero also gains the technology to communicate with ants, and use their versatile nature in his assignments, which again might sound like a wimpy power but holds incredible potential. This leads me to my favorite part of this movie: the action.

            Director Peyton Reed has coordinated his team to make an exciting film that has plenty of fast paced, punch throwing moments that will have you wheeling in delight. Ant-man’s action starts with a comedic training sequence to warm you up, but then cascades into some big stunts filled with numerous shots of Paul Rudd disappearing and reappearing in front of his opponent. Sure this gets stale, but fortunately they mix things up as the camera dives into artificial scenes of war, which are often simple areas like carpeted floors and grass but from an ant’s perspective. And speaking of ants, the team brought a great dynamic with the ants, establish a foot soldier motif with them and having them coordinate strikes. I felt like I was back in Star Wars again as flying ants led ground troops into the heart of danger, often with accompanying laser sounds to add more galactic atmosphere to it. All of the graphics involved with this are impressive, solid movement, good definition, and some bright special effects as well. Overall the action is decent.

The big factor that most are going to enjoy I feel is the comedy. Ant-Man does a great job of relieving the stress with multiple comedic moments that range from situational slapstick to well timed quips. Paul Rudd leads the comedy with his acting, managing to bring his typical self into the part and leave you chuckling. The writing is clever and delivered with just the right intensity to sell the line and maximize the laughs. Michael Douglas also brings a set of laughs to the mix and his blunt mannerisms are welcomed as he zings the characters with witty dialogue. Michael Pena helps with the simpler comedy, using his talents to please the audience members who love the more ridiculous and exaggerated moments. His voice was probably the funniest aspect of his moments and the director limiting the number of jokes with him was also a smart move. Outside of the actors, Ant-Man has some other fun trinkets, including turning a toy train set into a “death” arena, anthropomorphic qualities in ants, and a few comic surprises that cap everything. This film is certainly one of Marvel’s most humorous projects, and did a nice job balancing the laughs with the action.

But alas there were a few things that fell off the scale and could have used some tweaking. At the beginning the plot is very rushed, with little hindrance and in depth character development. His initiation is practically dull, his training almost devoid of any real struggle, and even the magnitude of the crime he committed was blown over. Another weakness was Hank and Hope’s relationship, the tension and drama are there, but the details remain hidden and suddenly are dropped in at once. Then the second half of the movie happens and that is when the entertaining and intriguing moments happen. There is also a lot of predictability in this tale as well, lacking any real twist or surprise, but that is only a minor thing. This is when connections to the other movies happen and the plot development and tension occur. Outside of the plot, the action does get a little repetitive with the whole shrinking and expanding moment, and I could have been happier with more ant moments.

I got to say that Ant-Man is a well done intro film that has a little something for everyone. The action is fitting, the comedy clever and balanced, and the movie overall fun and entertaining. The story needs some tweaking, and it definitely has some other areas that weren’t the jaw dropping experience we’ve had in the past. Yet I feel it is a good and fun blockbuster for the summer. I encourage many to go have fun with this movie, but avoid the 3-D aspect because I don’t see it adding much to the film for the extra cost.

My scores are:

Action/Sci-Fi: 8.0

Movie Overall: 8.0