Gentlemen Come Calling In Quality

The Gentlemen Poster

            Have you ever wondered what the dry atmosphere of Downton Abbey would be like if presented in the form of a mafia movie?  Yeah me neither, but it is the thought that came to mind when I was watching this film today.  A trailer that was sort of lost on me, today’s work directed by Guy Ritchie had me a little undecided how this film would go.  Potentially a stuffy, slow, hard edged movie with lots of cursing and torture, I could only imagine what I would get, especially when another fan left in a rant 20 minutes into the film.  What was the end result?  Robbie K here to give you some insight as he checks out:

 

Movie:  The Gentleman (2020)

 

Director:

Guy Ritchie

Writers:

Guy Ritchie (screenplay by), Guy Ritchie (story by)

Stars:

Matthew McConaugheyCharlie HunnamMichelle Dockery

 

LIKES:

  • The Humor
  • The Character Usage
  • The Mystery/Politics
  • The Connections
  • The Presentation
  • The Censorship of violence, for the most part
  • The Acting

 

DISLIKES:

  • The Excessive Cursing For Me
  • Missing Some Action
  • The Extended Ending
  • Some Stereotypical Annoyances
  • The Rapping Video
  • Slow At Parts

 

 

SUMMARY

 

When it comes to the British writing style, this reviewer always looks to the potential for balanced writing.  Sure enough, this is one of the times where the writing is truly representative of a masterpiece in multiple facets.  This tale contains some amazing humor to it, not so much in the form of slapstick, one liner filled form, but a much deeper levels that uses timing, setting, and wit to maximize the laughs.  It’s dry I’ll admit, but the humor goes so well with the plot at hand that it adds rather than distracts from the enriching plot that this film contains.  With this supporting component, the movie continues to get better in the way it balances so many things to make an engaging mafia tale.  First the character usage, the movie is filled with a lot of stars and they are utilized very well, with so many (including secondary characters) having a purpose and contribute to the film in a way or manner to make their inclusion worthy.  While it seems spotty at first the movie’s progression begins to start connecting all the players in the game, starting to unravel and help give pieces of the story without ever giving away the big mystery.  It’s this balance of connections with the mystery that for me was the biggest engaging piece to the movie, that teasing to see how deep the politics run always being that itch you can’t scratch.  Yet, for a movie about crime lords, you know politics is going to make an appearance and once more they impressed me with the presentation.  Again choppy, The Gentleman appealed to me because the politics had heat, tension, but were not so drawn out and convoluted to be boring, something not easily accomplished in this day and age for a movie.  Yet if that’s not interesting enough, the movie also manages to sneak in a more unique presentation, told through the imagination and sleuth of Hugh Grant’s character, who is filling the pieces with his evidence and theories to help piece the story together.  The genius for me is, the holes he has acts as the missing pieces for you to try and string together the ideas yourself before the big reveal.  You might also be concerned for violence, after all, the crime lords with this much power do not show the nicest attitudes to those that threaten them.  Fortunately, the movie manages to censor most of the extreme violence and torture that these movies can be famous for, and this little extra class did not take from the movie, but only added.  Finally, all of this is fantastically acted, with each major character executing their role in so many levels I could take another page to describe.  Let’s just say McConaughey has found a new favorite role for me, finally ditching the super sleazy for a role that is much more complete to show off his talents.  Hunnam as well was indeed a fantastic pillar character, filled with a level of emotional complexity that seems to be so monotone, but yet contains layers that unravel.  I did not find too many overacted moments and was very thrilled with seeing so many stars shine.

 

Yet, there are still some styles of this movie that did not quite hit me as hard as the others, at least in terms of liking it.   First of all the cursing.  Old record, I know, and given my own mouth sometimes it’s becoming less, but there are a few words used freely in this movie that were a bit excessive.  Part of the culture, great, but like in Django overuse of the word soon starts to become lazy and stale for this writer.  While I enjoyed much of the toned-down storytelling, I’m always partial to a bit more excitement to help spice up the mob war films.  A shoot out here or there could go a long way but the satire and humor in this film sort of dilutes the action that starts forming, before dropping back into the mincing tactics.  Anyway, looking at the character profiling, the film is both genius and frustrating for me in its generational portrayal, with the contenders for the crown. At the same time the stereotypical summaries of each generation are little overdramatic and extreme, leading to sort of annoying moments that weren’t the worst, but felt a little out of place (this is especially true for Henry Goulding’s character).  I’ll admit there are also some bloated moments in the film, but these are few and far between and as stated, a little swap out with some action could have helped with these moments, again few and far between.  The part that really stuck out for me was the rapping.  Kudos for the art behind it, the impressive speed at which they rap, and the dance stunts in the back, but that’s about all I’m going to say in terms of appropriate.  When the video first appears it sort of does not make sense, but thankfully the writing uses it as a good plot device to help make up for how forced and advertising it seems.  Like I said earlier, it’s a generational stereotype that was a bit annoying to watching and were probably the most annoying characters of the bunch, despite having some of the coolest moves.  Again, thank goodness for the writing making up for them.  Sadly, the other thing that was both funny, yet again excessive is the ending, a few fake out and extension that almost feel like last minute tag-ons that may or may not have been needed.

 

The VERDICT:

            To be honest, I was very surprised with how much I enjoyed this movie and how much the trailers did not ruin the experience for me.  British settings, humor, and styles of writing continue to prove successful in balancing a lot of balls and I’m super impressed with how much correlated together in this piece.  The drama, the mystery, the presentation, and the politics are all super well represented in this gang war, never getting so caught up in details to be boring, but not slighted to feel robbed of good development.  That unique presentation we talked about only further adds some fun edges to it, and works with the gaps to help keep you engrossed.  Finally, the actors really bring the characters to life and worthy of several awards with how well they bring these strange characters to some cool levels.  Yes, the writing is still a little overdone at times, there are some annoying moments/stereotypes to consider, and a few slow parts that could have been ironed out.  However, the balance of this movie and just fun, classy writing really make this one a worthy trip to watch in theater for performances, and a definite check in at home when you get the chance. 

 

My scores are:

 

Action/Crime:  8.0 (not as much action)

Movie Overall:  7.5 – 8.0

Taking a Turn On The Busy Side

The Turning Poster

 

As the hourglass turns, so too does another movie to join the prize machine of movies that may or may not be worth the coin.  Welcome to Robbie’s reviews and tonight we dive into another horror movie that is going to try and shock us into a new realm of nightmares.  After much advertising, tonight’s film is hoping to turn a few hairs grey and maybe have us scratch our heads in confusion.  Will it work though?  I’ll share my thoughts down below as we get set for another review of:

 

Movie:  The Turning (2020)

 

Director:

Floria Sigismondi

Writers:

Carey W. Hayes (as Carey Hayes), Chad Hayes

Stars:

Mackenzie DavisFinn WolfhardBrooklynn Prince

 

 

LIKES:

  • Creepy Setting
  • Good Acting
  • On 90 minutes
  • Definitely More Unique
  • A More Realistic Tension Bringer

 

 

DISLIKES:

  • So Much To Keep Up With
  • Not the Scariest
  • The Weird Ending At the End
  • The Slow pace
  • Trailer Has Given Much A Way
  • The Lack Of Unique Creature

 

 

SUMMARY

 

Horror movies are coming out super frequent now, and the tactics to scare one are starting to grow stale because of exposure and desensitization, at least to me.  However, The Turning succeeds in that creep factor by helping grant the audience access to the a freaky board that is this bizarre chess game.  In the walls and halls of the mansion are plenty of dark shadows, settling boards, and other tricks to help set the mood.  It’s fantastic use of simplistic sounds and should help get the tension going.  A solid acting set by Davis leads the tale as she balances all set on her shoulders, going from aspiring nanny, to scared sleuth in the short run time.  Wolfhard and Prince as the young wards under Davis’ care, each bringing their own brands of creeps from the sinister smile and delivery of Wolfhard’s character, while Prince has that innocent yet mysterious nature in that angelic smile.  All of these performances work so well to mix with the setting to draw out the true, devious nature of the beast.  Yet, to add more fuel to the fire of likes, the movie also accomplishes something else to help it stand out from other films of this genre.  One is that it’s got a more unique approach to storytelling, which may not be apparent at first, but come the last twenty minutes or so, you’ll start to get another appreciation for the movie that some may like and others will despise.  Looking for realism?  Well, this movie succeeds again with sticking much closer to the realm of truth then the realm of fiction, at least for much of the film, and that component will help ground you to the artistic nature that this film tries to take.  If you like those psychological pushers, then this should be a selling point for you.  As for the best part, it’s all done in ninety minutes, showing that some of these artistic directions can indeed be shown in a reasonable time, take a note of this Oscar films.

 

Yet the film’s direction and unique styles may also be the downfall for the horror buffs and fans who like a little more tradition to their approaches.  First of all, there is a lot to keep up with in this film, as a hodge podge of films from the genre blend together to make a very busy film.  It’s almost like each inspirational film had an impact on the story, which pulled the story all over the place and make it busier than it needed.  As such, the movie starts suffering in turns of clarity and even scare tactics.  Thank goodness for the creepiness, because for me the scare factor was actually a little low, lost to mediocre jump scares, foreshadowing taken a little too far, and the trailers giving too much a way to those with a decent memory or have seen it enough.  It resulted in a feeling of the movie dragging a little longer than it needed, which meant it was a little boring, with only the artistic nature of the movie keeping my interest held.  As you can guess from the trailers, a unique explanation or curse is going to be a bit of long drive and as such you might disappointed with lies in the shadows of the halls.  Finally, the ending itself is not for everyone.  While I give it points for originality, the sudden finale makes for one of those endings that usually rubs me the wrong way, because it’s interesting but also a bit too unique and I’ll leave it at that.  It’s the result of the busy story, and the presentation may mislead you enough to be a surprise, but also potentially tick you off with this direction.  It’s going to really depend on what approach you like, from linear tricks and treats, or unique artistic decisions that are from left field.

 

The VERDICT:

            The trailers did the film a lot of credit at painting a dark, twisted picture that is all about the creep factor.  A film like the Turning is sure to turn a few thoughts towards having more food for thought, and depending on what type of horror fan you are, will determine if you like it.  Points for this reviewer are a fantastic setting established for creepiness and realistic flow.  A good acting cast further brings the horror factor out and a more unique approach gets points in my book given how tough it is in this day and age.  However, this new approach is also potentially a downfall for some as the movie gets really busy, with so much though and direction that you have to figure out if you like keeping track of everything.  Scares took a hit for me in this film, and the slow pace itself leads to potentially a film that will not be the modern preference.  Still, if you are looking for a thought-provoking movie, this piece should give you something to talk about and the theater can help elevate the ambience for sound, though I think the true terror will come from watching it at home. 

 

My scores are:

 

Drama/Horror/Mystery:  6.0

Movie Overall:  5.0

A Family Adventure that Does Little To Excite

Dolittle Poster

 

 

Another night, another time at the movies and with that we set forth on an adventure that will hopefully be worth the time investment.  Former Iron Man runner, has changed into a new set of duds as he goes into exploring a new universe.  The trailers paint this one as a fun, adventurous movie, that looks to have mystery, comedy, and a little excitement in search of the next big thing.  However, we all know trailers can make things look more golden than they actually are.  Well yours truly is back and ready to give some thoughts as he sets sail with Robert Downey Jr.in the film:

 

Film:  Dolittle (2020)

 

Director:

Stephen Gaghan

Writers:

Stephen Gaghan (screenplay by), Dan Gregor(screenplay by)  | 3 more credits »

Stars:

Robert Downey Jr.Antonio BanderasMichael Sheen

 

LIKES:

  • Great Voice Acting
  • Decent Balance Of Characters
  • Okay CGI
  • Some Meaningful Moments
  • Funny At Times
  • The Ending Credits
  • Cute Family Movie

 

DISLIKES:

  • The Direction Of Dolittle
  • A Little Too Forced Humor
  • The Adventure Is Boring
  • Villain Doesn’t Deliver
  • Action is Simplistic
  • The Story Predictable
  • Low Impact Impasses that Are Too Easy To Overcome

 

Summary:

 

The story of Dolittle has come in many packages, but this one held promise as Pirates meeting cute animal stories.  The digitally created cast has fantastic voice acting, with many creatures being a dead ringer for the people embodying them.  It’s not the most emotionally distraught or tight performance, but it works for the funny characters at hand and should delight the young and young at heart.  With a star-studded cast and plenty of animals, I have to say they accomplish their task of getting as much of the participation of the characters as they could.  I enjoyed the contributions they had to the adventure and found their comedy a selling point for most audience members.  The CGI work is not the most impressive at times, but it worked for me and helped get the animal movements down well, and making this odd cast come to life.  The animation is fluid, and the ability to anthropomorphize these cast of creatures.  While most of this works is to bring comedy to the film, presented in slapstick, goofy delivery, and a few ridiculous sequences designed for the young, it somehow also adds some other level of connection to the movie as you root for the safety of our crew.  Most of the film is about that level of comedy, but at its core lies some of those heartwarming moments that we love to see in these types of films.  Some of these moments are fully appreciated at the end, primarily in the closing moments and end credits that bring yet another art style to the mix that was interesting and fun to watch.  The result is that the movie is all about the classic family movie that has sort of been missing for some time, and will be perfect to take the grandkids too. 

 

However, the reviews coming in make some valid points and I believe these areas could have been improved upon to make this a better movie.  For one the direction of Dolittle himself is odd, a man broken by events, the eccentric genius approach is one part interesting and two parts odd.  A complicated history awaits, but yet the movie never goes with it, lost in him being too silly, isolated, and single track minded to really expand upon this complex character.  And much like the other animals, the comedy is sometimes a little too forced for me, jokes jammed into awkward moments and banter that took the adventure from exciting to corny at times for me, as it became a quest for the next joke.  For me, the adventure became boring very quickly, too simplified and linear with little challenge to stand in our crew’s way.  Where were the exciting ship to ship battles that made our crew face their fears?  What mysteries and challenges await in the palace halls we saw in that trailer?  What about that dragon?  Well… the trailers deceive you into thinking these are real threats, but the truth is that the watered-down action and the challenges just don’t really deliver much outside of a G rated starter movie.  Even the villain is kind of lame, an eccentric looking doctor is about all the threats he has got, as the former leader of vampires/werewolves has taken on the role of one liners and being kind of a nimrod, who poses little threats.  Again this makes for a cute, family friendly film adventure, but in terms of exciting story that could start a series, that’s where it fails for me.

 

The VERDICT:

            I did not hate this movie, but I was disappointed in the direction it chose to take in this rendition for this story.  The trailers painted this as an epic adventure with CGI animals, but instead we got a much kid friendlier adventure that was more about the laughs, slapstick, and cramming of animals than anything else.  It’s positives for me are all about how cute this adventure is with them capitalizing on the CGI animals as the main anchor point the target audience will love.  This film sort of felt like the films I watched as an introduction adventure growing up, simple and wholesome, with just enough added spunk to be above a nick junior movie.  However, where I think the movie fails as the reviewers have said is the missed potential they had suggested to me with the trailers.  The central character is loveable,  but not really a detailed RDJ character that we’ve seen him master like his other films.  The animals are fun, but again they seem so simplified and prop like that I have a hard time investing in most of them.  And worst of all, the atmosphere is so kiddy that the adventure aspect is diluted down to lackluster levels, which may not please the parents or older siblings that are accompanying them.  Therefore, all the conveniences and incomplete story for me are going to be the hardest blows to the quality of this film. 

 

My scores for the film are:

Adventure/Family/Comedy:  6.5

Movie Overall:  5.0

Whatcha Gonna Do? Hopefully See This Movie

Bad Boys for Life Poster

 

Legacy films are always difficult to pick up after retiring them from so long.  This is especially true for movies made in the decades of the 90s and 2000s, hard hitting films that leave an imprint in form or another.  Hollywood’s dive into the past though, does not fear going back into the past though to bring into the present, especially in the ever-maddening drive for money.  So tonight, another relic attempts to handle the modern times, as our resident buddy cops come out of retirement to try to bust our guts and the bad guys once more. Are you ready to Ride Or Die?  I know I am as I review:

 

Film:  Bad Boys For Life (2020)

 

Directors:

Adil El Arbi (as Adil), Bilall Fallah (as Bilall)

Writers:

Chris Bremner (screenplay), Peter Craig (screenplay)

Stars:

Will SmithAlexander LudwigVanessa Hudgens

 

LIKES:

  • Nostalgia
  • The Feel Of Nineties In A Modern Package
  • Good Character Use
  • Fast Pace
  • Decent Character Development
  • Balance Of Comedy With Action
  • Comedy Itself
  • The Chemistry Of Smith And Martin Lawrence

 

DISLIKES:

  • Predictable For Much Of Film
  • A Few Action Scenes Are Over the Top Or Too Quick
  • A Few Comedic Moments Dropped Too Soon
  • One Of The Main Antagonists Is Okay

 

 

SUMMARY:

 

If it’s a revival of a series, we need those moments we fell in love  with or it’s crap, at least that’s the mindset many on the reviews state.  Well good news guys, the Bad Boys are equipped with some of their old tricks and it works beautifully to restoke the flames of fun we had in the past.  The banter, the comedy, a few references all take you back and anchor you to the adventure at hand. Yet, the film is not just about blowing you up with blasts to the pasts, but also working on modernizing the system and blowing off the cobwebs.  Bad Boys 3 manages to rejuvenate the old as it works to pass on the franchise to a more modern audience, but never loses sight of keeping the two times balanced.  The film has plenty of new characters, yet manages to keep all of them decently integrated into the plot, seldom losing someone to the background (quite a shock I know).  Even more impressive is that there is decent character development for most, with the Bad Boys taking center stage, but still opening up hints for other characters to follow for later.  It’s this type of storytelling I like to see and makes this film all the more impressive for being a sequel and this amount of time that has lapsed.

Still you might be wondering what else this film has in store.  For first off it’s fast, the same as the two precursors, these Bad Boys continue to speed through crime without missing too many details.  It works well given this is an action movie, helping amp up the coordinated scenes that have a combination of chases, gun play, and a little fist fight to go with it.  Like the story, the movie also manages to evolve the action style and again show old school and new school moves that works with the theme of the movie.  Those looking for comedy though are going to get their wish as well, for the laughs are trained into the scenes, with most coming off natural and seldom too forced for me.  If you like the banter, it’s got the banter.  You want slapstick and insults?  You get the same spiteful blows that two brothers can share with each other.  Want to try something new and modernize comedy?  Mission accomplished on this as well.  Bad Boys 3 is all about bringing these styles and mixing them together and the chemistry of Lawrence and Smith is the thing to tether everything together.  Strong brotherhood, natural reactions to each other, and the practiced talent they have continues to shine through this film and really bring everything home. 

 

Still, the movie is not shy of a few limitations for this reviewer that took away from the experience.  One is that the film is predictable, a combination of trailer syndrome, foreshadowing with lines, and me seeing too many movies, these moments all predict most of the film’s surprises.  A few twists manage to sneak in, but I can’t say they were my favorite and given the soap opera themes that go with it.  I wish they had gone another route, but points for originality and I can’t say much more.  I’ll say there were times that the action got a little too ridiculous for me, more so in that they were very choreographed stunts, or drawn out effects that took away from the fluidity.  In addition, some of the fights sort of stopped quickly, and I missed the drawn-out fights that the past decades perfected long ago.  The same can be said for a few comedic moments, which like the action, starts to hit its stride and then petered out too soon, though there are so many laughs in store it’s not as prominent.  Finally, the movie’s antagonist, or at least one of them, is only okay.  So much potential shown only to be diluted for another story development, this antagonist really could have been something more as well if they had learned to balance the two primary antagonists together.  I guess given the difficulty to juggle everything, it had to take a hit, but again there are elements to cushion this blow as well.  Sure there is some cursing that gets me and a few times the jokes go a little long, but the truth is that the movie manages to help make up these limitations with how much fun it is.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            How can this movie live up to the legacy before it?  Truth is… it really can’t, but to go so long and be this put together, I give it applause.  Bad Boys For Life is a lot of fun, and full of the rush we fell in love with a long time ago.  It brings the past and present together in a manner that should help rope fans in, while never losing sight of the goals and story it set forth.  Good use of characters, balancing the comedy with a special effects ridden action set, and tying everything together with that champion acting leads to one of the best reboots I’ve seen in a while.  Yes, it still has some balance issues that have not been perfected, primarily in getting the right time for some action moments, some comedy elements more fine tuning, and most importantly working out their bad guys a little more.  Still, this is one for the theaters for me and I encourage most to pay the trip to enjoy it in surround sound.  From all this my scores are:

 

Action/Comedy/Crime:  8.5

Movie Overall: 7.5

There Is Mercy In Hollywood when It Comes To Drama

Just Mercy Poster

 

In today’s constantly changing world, it’s always a hassle to find justice in a system with ever “evolving” morals.  As traditions collide, new trends form, and the world does not quite take the moral high ground in favor of reward or pleasure, those that may be innocent have less of a fighting chance.  Thus, the plot of today’s movie tries to show how there are still avenues of good in this world and it is hoping to impress the audience and share it’s story.  Robbie K is back again to give you his thoughts on the latest movies to hit the silver screen, so let’s get cracking as I review:

 

Movie: Just Mercy (2019)

Director:

Destin Daniel Cretton

Writers:

Destin Daniel CrettonAndrew Lanham

Stars:

Brie LarsonMichael B. JordanJamie Foxx

 

 

LIKES

  • Great Acting
  • Emotional
  • A Drama That Moves
  • Multiple Aspects/Complete Picture
  • Fantastic Use Of Soundtrack and Visuals
  • Did Not Feel Like a 2-hour movie

 

DISLIKES:

  • Drama Vs. Real Life
  • Conventional/Predictability

 

 

SUMMARY:

 

This movie has a wealth of positives for me and the true cornerstone comes from the great acting contained in this 136 minutes.  Michael B Jordan continues to prove he is a master of his trade, bringing the incredible persona of the justice seeking lawyer, who is not only competent but empathetic.  He works great with all of the scenes and sequences, naturally reacting and acting to all the players in this drama, and making a central figure to follow.  Brie Larson, the ever-impressive actress herself, dominates her roles and supporting the two figure heads, though I had wished for a little more time with her, she capitalizes on her screen time.  As for Foxx, well not much needs to be said, but again a natural presentation of a man convicted of crimes and believing to be innocent, while on death row mind you.  It’s sleek, and often not forced on you, crafting a character that seems to be exactly what you would expect in this situation, compared to Hollywood’s idea of making everyone yell, scream and fight.  Like Jordan, the man also has great chemistry with his squad and it helps expand the character while also proving how awesome his acting is. Even the secondary characters are for the most part stunning examples of talent, and I enjoyed the integrated crew bringing this gut wrenching tale to life.

That’s just the acting like what about the rest of the movie.  Director Daniel Cretton succeeded in taking a movie I thought would be long and drawn out, and transforming it into a piece that netted my attention and dragged me to motivation station.  It’s an emotional ride that will take you through just about every feeling you can imagine and somehow keep everything in balance.  As mentioned in previous biographies, it manages to inject some good drama into the mix, to entrance you into caring about the story, while managing to avoid the overdramatic flare that reality television does.  This balanced approach is something I enjoy as it allows you to appreciate the story without getting caught up in the soap opera semantics that this world can create.  Additionally, the movie utilizes wonderful visuals and an audio score that manages to fill those scenes with a push that succeeds in bringing out the culture with motivational force.  Finally, the movie achieves another goal that I always mention but seldom see in that it tries to give you a complete approach to how this lawyer fought for justice.  Just Mercy, is all about giving you Bryan’s quest to help those in need, not only focusing on Foxx’s character case, but looking into a few others that were going with it.  The movie then extends to those other characters who are intertwined with Foxx, again helping expand upon the character while helping you dive into Death Row mindsets.  Throw in the families that help, the antagonists, even the assistants that help with drafting forms, getting interviews, and collecting evidence and you get an experience that again brings you into the film.  It’s a wonderful drama, and through all the above-mentioned goodness, makes this movie feel less than 2 hours for the most part, the ending maybe being the exception.

 

Finding dislikes in this movie is difficult for me as I’m trying to be fair, but there were a couple of things I think still take away from a perfect score for me.  There is always that notion of what is fact and what is fiction, and without reading the book, I can’t be certain. I believe Just Mercy has a better balance than most, but there are some times where the drama supersedes the facts a little too much.  This nets interest I know, but a movie like this sometimes paints cultures and traditions a little too extreme, inciting some anger.  In addition, the convention of the genre vs. the predictability is another aspect that you have to try and ignore.  If you read the case files, pay attention to the trailers, or just know the genre as a whole, you will find the usual formulaic approach on record.  It’s not awful by any means, but I have to take it into account when I review.  Finally, I had hoped for a little more involvement in another character, whose story is wrapped up via the end credits, but it’s a minor flaw because they use the good actor to another awesome level.

 

The VERDICT:

            Truth is Just Mercy was a lot better than I had anticipated, taking what looked to be a long, drawn out legal movie and adding spice to the mix.  It’s acting is going to draw most people in to be honest, with a cast that makes this tory all the more impacting to those with an open mind.  Outside of that though, it is an example of the partnership drama and reality can achieve when helmed by a competent director and his team.  Multiple aspects, fantastic use of visuals, and a compelling involvement with all its characters makes this film a fantastic watch and not feel like 136-minute ride.  True there are still some dramatic moments that might be excessive, and you have to be ready for the usual bag of tricks it needs to spring, but outside of extreme fans… you should be okay with it.  Another film I believe can be enjoyed in the theater for stellar acting and storytelling, I implore many to watch this film when it comes out in the home.

 

My scores are:

 

Drama:  9.0

Movie Overall:  8.0

 

Prepare To Go To War

1917 Poster

 

History is an avenue that is always worth revisiting, for to not review history can lead to us being doomed to repeat it. Wars are part of that history and given the changing environment, various things that often drum up a new war, it’s important to learn now more than ever.  While the World Wars have been done to death though, there are always more stories hidden away that one can learn, to provide that correct insight to potentially stop the future destruction from occurring.  After lots of buildup, awards, and talk though, I hit up the local theater with my buddy to get another look into review country.  Tonight I give my insight into:

 

Movie: 1917 (2018-2019)

 

Director:

Sam Mendes

Writers:

Sam MendesKrysty Wilson-Cairns

Stars:

Dean-Charles ChapmanGeorge MacKayDaniel Mays

 

 

LIKES:

  • Acting
  • The Frontier
  • Deep Messages And Emotion
  • Artistic
  • Decent Pace For Most Of The Movie
  • Realistic Fighting
  • Cinematography

 

DISLIKES:

  • Not For The Faint Of Heart
  • Missing Some Action Components
  • The Middle Of the Movie’s Approach
  • A Little Dense

 

 

SUMMARY:

When it comes to a focus on British history and acting, there is always class injected into the presentation of the movie.  In this war movie, that same focus has been curtailed to present the familiar concept of war into a new light.  For one thing, this movie is much more about the acting compared to other battle ballads.  Chapman and MacKay are fantastic in bringing the young cadets lives to bay, acting as the mirror to Britain’s involvement in the war.  The turmoil, the dedication, the friendship, and even the courage to face potential death are portrayed beautifully to cover the wide range of emotions involved with serving in the first great war.  While we have seen great performances bringing out the nightmare that is war though, 1917 manages to bring a new way of telling the story through the frontier itself.  The harsh landscapes, destroyed villages, and lighting are all coordinated to provide the true menace of the war and that beast is often scarier than the fighting itself. Like a Quiet Place, it’s the silent nature of the vast landscape that adds the true emotional tensions.  And as it all progresses the movie continues to show that artistic approach of capturing all the deep messages, emotion, and angles that come with war.  I can’t say much to minimize spoilers, but let’s just say the mission to deliver the messages changes face and approach various times to display one of the most dynamic approaches to war theater dramas.  This even bleeds over into the few fights that show up, trading the flashy Michael Bay sequences for simpler battles that rely on strategy, timing, and fewer shots.  It may not be the most jaw dropping battles to date, but it fits so well into the presentation that it adds to that deadliness this film is showing.  Finally, the real star is the cinematography.  The specials did not lie, the movie is shot beautifully, an almost seemingly continuous shot that immerses you into the experience.  You will feel a part of the brigade to deliver the message, and as a result you’ll get the full amount of terror, intensity, and other components that they directors wanted, and it’s all done with stable camerawork.

 

Yet, this opera also has a few things that did not quite work for me, that while not worth too many point deductions was worth mentioning.  First it’s not for the faint of heart, as the saying of war is hell is true, those with weak stomach may not handle a few things that are displayed.  I can’t say much, but just picture the worst part of war and get yourself prepared, a few of which were a little too drawn out for my tastes.  Past that warning though, the action junkie in me wanted a little more bang for the buck.  I get the realistic approach they were taking, but a little more combat and coordination would have helped spice some things up for me and get the pace moving.  While artistic and realistic, I can’t lie that the movie is rather dense, relying so much on visuals that it leads to a slower paced war tale.  Again, this keeps in time with the artistic nature, but there were some slower parts that had me battling to remain conscious.  And when the movie hits about the middle of the film, the dynamic they take sort of uproots what the trailers promised.  It’s not a bad twist at all and really captivates on the experience of war, but it’s just not what I had intended to see.

 

The VERDICT:

            The rumors about this movie are true, it’s an amazing display of war visualization that was able to break free from the traditional war story movie.  British acting alongside award winning cinematography are the key components for this film, setting the screen for that wild war frontier where emotions run wilder than the bullets from guns.  True, I would have liked a little more war sequences and excitement, and I could have done with a little less dense dialogue, but overall it’s a solid movie and worthy of the praise.  Again, not for the faint of heart at times, but this reviewer encourages to catch this one in theaters when you can. 

 

My scores are:

 

Drama/War:  9.0

Movie Overall: 8.5

Is This Movie Boss?

Like a Boss Poster

 

The realm of comedy is interesting these days, as the genre has opened up avenues that have expanded the variety of styles available. With subgenre classes like stoner, dark, slapstick, classy, and more, the movies falling in this realm are enjoyed by the a wide variety of people.  However, as the studios continue to churn them out, the quality starts to waiver and the audience making a big impact as to how it will succeed.  Tonight, another one of these films comes on stage in hopes of making a lasting impact on the world.  Will it succeed?  As always I’m happy to share my opinions on this matter as I review:

 

Movie:  Like a Boss (2019)

Director:

Miguel Arteta

Writers:

Sam Pitman (screenplay by), Adam Cole-Kelly(screenplay by)

Stars:

Rose ByrneTiffany HaddishSalma Hayek

 

 

LIKES:

  • Short Run Time
  • Comedic Gold At Times
  • Great Chemistry Between Cast
  • Nifty Ideas
  • Good Morals
  • Billy Porter

 

DISLIKES:

  • Predictable Story
  • Surprisingly feels slow
  • Sometimes Too Much Comedic Insight
  • Joke Barrage
  • Some of the Language
  • The Pointless Side Stories/Characters
  • Antagonists And Stupidly Accepting Them
  • Time Skips that did not make sense
  • Nearly Half the Movie Ruined By Trailers

 

 

SUMMARY:

When looking at the trailers, it’s hard to expect the movie will have anything more than what is presented and in this case Like a Boss fits that cut pretty well.  The first like of mine is the short run time, because of all the things I’m about to mention, it’s nice to have it compressed into 90 minutes, but I’m getting ahead of myself.  Like many movies, Like a Boss is able to strike oil in the comedy realm, hitting those fantastic and unique lines that had me bursting out laughing several times.  This dialogue is brought forth by a fantastic chemistry between the two leads with Byrne and Haddish having that sister like buddy comedy style that works on so many levels.  They complement each other through the movie, the styles like yin and yang bringing a balance that I believe will please the fans of their styles.  Hayek does well too, but based on the direction her integration is not quite the buddy duo that the stars have, so I can’t integrate her into the mix. Nevertheless, the movie has a few other nifty ideas in store, this time using makeup as the canvas to get some creative comedy, merchandising, and potential inspiration to entrepreneurs everywhere. And to my surprise, the movie shows the beauty of human character beneath the shallow comedy styles, with a few good (and relevant) morals that I believe the target audience can always use a reminder on.  These heartwarming moments not only ground the story, but somehow add that layer of character interest I strive to see.  My favorite aspect though is Porter, who somehow has the comedy, the sass, and the heart all wrapped up into one supporting character.  I really wished they had used him more, but some of my favorite moments came from the secondary character whose imagination and heart outshone most of the rest of the movie.

 

But that’s where most of my likes stop and my personal dislikes start to take over, because seldom is a movie perfect in terms of film overall.  No surprise, the movie is predictable, with the traditional friendship vs. business motif being the star and all the awkward comedy to follow.  It’s predictable flow leads to you hoping for some fun sequences to help add diversity, but it missed it’s mark for most of the time and surprisingly made the film feel slow.  It’s pacing is uneven and that leads to things sort of going in peaks and troughs that are okay at best.  For the highlights, they often involve a lot of comedy stuffed into a short time frame with a joke barrage hitting you that is all about how ridiculous or out of touch awkward our characters are.  Other times it’s clever, but sort of steps over the line between funny and obnoxious that it’s more uncomfortable than fun for me.  Fans know that when it comes to language I’m not the biggest on straight up slang or cursing, and while this movie is better than others, the sexual descriptions are still a little too centered for my tastes.

In regards to the last three points though, well these are the elements that made the limited foundation resulting in the unbalanced movie.  For one thing the side characters and stories are almost not needed. Reduced to one the two lines or a small sequence that is dropped, the opening arc with the supporting friends and moral questions is easily dropped for the comedy antics.  Throw in some other build ups and mentions occurring through the movie and you find the typical approach of trying to fluff characters but not give enriching profiles to cast at hand.  It’s half-finished story telling that drops the potential of these characters, even the antagonist, who could have potentially had some more things to uncover.  The antagonists in addition are incredibly shallow, gross examples of weak characters, only designed to instill hate the way modern movies do.  While the characters achieve this, it’s the stupidity of most other characters accepting these gross flaws that turns me away from the characters, hoping that someone will finally turn the switch off.  Throw in these odd time skips of weeks to a month at a time, where background details are lost, and time starts to not make sense anymore.  I believe this is why I felt the movie seemed to drag was this ignoring of the time and sort of shoving everything together at once.  Finally, nearly half of the movie has been beaten to death in the trailers and to me that adds to the predictability and staleness of the film.  One maybe two trailers should be able to give enough without ruining the movie, but in this case Like a Boss has mapped out most of the tale, and the scenes that try to support it are limited at best, such as one karaoke scene.

 

The VERDICT:

    Comedy is tough in this age of politics and changing acceptance of rude vs. crude, and Like A Boss tries to succeed in finding the balance.  The actors chemistry, alongside some fun writing moments and good morals are the selling points for this film, with fans of Haddish and Byrne comedy being the target audience to see this work.  However, this girl’s night out flick, as described in the trailers is still missing the balance and art that other comedies have achieved.  It’s catered to the modern attention span and presentation and while it works, it’s not something that has to be seen in theaters.  I encourage this one for a home viewing or group night out to get your bang for your buck, but the potential for these two I look forward to seeing with some more complete writing in the future. 

 

My scores are:

            Comedy:  6.0-6.5

            Movie Overall:  5.0