Joining the Family For Toned Down, Cute Fun

The Addams Family Poster

 

They’re Creepy And There Kooky, Mysterious and Spooky, They’re altogether Ookie, the Addams Family!  It’s a series that has had multiple face lifts, unafraid to push the weirdness into different decades and media to bring creator Charles Addams’ vision to life.  Despite the quirky band of ghouls and creatures making their mark on various generations, it has been left in the vault to collect the dust and cobwebs they love, mainly staking a claim on 31 night of Halloween on freeform.  Still, this legendary flick is ready to try a step into the modern audience and perhaps get some new blood in this undead franchise.  Will it work?  As always I’m happy to give my thoughts as we dive into reviewing:

 

 

 

Film:  The Addams Family (2019)

 

Directors:

Greg TiernanConrad Vernon

Writers:

Matt Lieberman (screenplay by), Charles Addams (based on characters created by)

 

Stars:

Oscar IsaacCharlize TheronChloë Grace Moretz

 

LIKES:

  • Animation/Design
  • Nostalgic
  • Cute
  • Chuckle Fest
  • Good Voice Acting
  • Morals Baked Right In
  • Kids Movie Dream

DISLIKES

  • A Little Contained
  • Semi Preachy
  • Missed Characters
  • Very Simplistic Story
  • Missing the Semi-Disturbed approach this series is famous for

 

Summary:

 

I always love animation movies to see the interpretation of art and imagination in the way they create their character.  This film manages to put the unique spin on the characters, while maintaining the same charm of the characters we have always known.  It’s a style that is very welcoming to the younger audience, while still pleasing older fans.  This cute approach holds a lot of punch and the toned-down jokes, slapstick humor, and simpler writing are key choices for the key demographic audience.  Yet, it does not dilute the nostalgia you will fell when watching.  While knowing the history makes it more enjoyable, it’s not needed, but older fans will love catching references to the classic antics as I did, all while chuckling at the newness of this film.  The new voice acting works for me, primarily Ms. Theron and Mr. Isaac being my favorites as they capture the ambience of their grandiose counterparts.  They deliver the usual vocal patterns of the group, and while not a perfect match, certainly bring the atmosphere of those characters from long ago and still maximize the laughs (the latter being Nick Kroll as Uncle Fester).  Nevertheless, the morals are baked right into this film to instill some important examples for the audience and base the story on, leading to yet another movie dream for adolescents around the room.

 

Yet, my fellow reviewers have valid points that may not be the best match for the audience members.  For one thing the movie is a little contained compared to the empire that Disney has builtIt’s missing the excitement and the detailed plots that Disney has made famous in their works with Pixar and Animation studios.  A little too cartoony, and preachy moral driven, the movie again falls towards the kid spectrum which is going to make it sheltered and potentially boring for some viewers.  One part of this limitation is because the story is so simplified, again diluted to the kids perspective to not be too traumatizing for today’s raising kid approach.  In addition, there are plenty of characters that they introduced and then did very little with from the rival cheerleader who has so much that needs to happen to her, to the loveable Cousin It who is a personal favorite.  Maybe a potential sequel will open that can of worms, but for this one, huge missed opportunities to bring out a few character developing potential and good fashioned fun.  Yet the main thing I think will disappoint people comes in the form of how the disturbing elements have been curtailed.  If you go back and watch the cartoons from the 90s or the movies on Freeform, you’ll know there is that darker side that gets people hooked on this family.  This version had that somewhat, but really toned things down for the animated realm, leading to the lackluster presentation of the themes.  Had this been added into the theme, you might have made a more engaging tale. 

 

The VERDICT:

 

            The Addams Family 2019 version is a great display of the variability of interpretation and it works well for a family film for the modern audience.  A cute theme is the element of this movie, with nonthreatening animation/design to herald the fun chuckle fest that the dialogue and film are about.  It’s got appropriate voice acting, a nice sense of comedy that makes the world fun, nostalgia that is not overwhelming, and morals baked right in to get the message of acceptance out in the world.  Yet, the containment that they took steals away the intensity, edge, and energy that this series is famous for.  It’s meant to be quirky and slightly disturbing and that element missing, alongside some dropped story elements may not impress the classic fans like they are hoping.  While this movie probably would have been better released on nickelodeon or a fan service, it’s got enough elements for a family outing, but hold this one for the home viewing for your maximum buck. 

 

My scores are:

 

Animation/Comedy/Family:  7.5-8.0

Movie Overall:  6.5-7.0

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Jexi: Pull Up Your Mediocre Review

Jexi Poster

 

When we think of robotic apocalypse movies we think of films like The Matrix, Terminator, and even iRobot.  Yet, the truth is the real apocalypse is coming in the form of us and our dependence on phones and cloud dynamics.  Today we see people more focused on the phones that bring us “closer” together and make our lives “better” with convenient apps and constant connection to the internet.  So, why not make a fun spoof on this concept and make a movie for the start of the holiday season.  Yes, it’s Robbie, coming back for another round of reviews as we check this time on the latest comedy:

 

Movie: Jexi (2019)

 

Directors:

Jon LucasScott Moore

Writers:

Jon LucasScott Moore

Stars:

Adam DevineAlexandra ShippRose Byrne

 

 

LIKES:

 

  • Fast Pace
  • Good Track List
  • Fun Dialogue
  • Great Intermissions
  • Cute
  • Nice Twist
  • Funny Overall

 

DISLIKES:

  • Overuse of Cursing
  • Some Inappropriate moments too inappropriate For Me
  • Weaker Storytelling
  • Predictable
  • Spoiled By Trailers at parts

 

Summary:

 

Like many comedies the pace of this movie is a good one for entertaining.  It takes little time to introduce Devine’s character Phil and set the hug target on his back for the fun to come.  Well within ten minutes our faceless “antagonist” is there ready to give him a hard and the antics continue to elevate throughout the movie.  This comedy succeeds in bringing a lot of easy laughs to the group in the way of Adam screaming, slapstick fails at life, and even awkward faces from various people.  The dialog though is where the most laughs came for me, primarily in the exchanges between Jexi (Rose Byrne) and Phil that is so full of insults and one liners you won’t be able to stop laughing.  What was smart about this exchange is how dynamic it is, not relying on forced dialogue, but instead a nice mode of banter that felt like a conversation, but not too long or short.  This engagement lasts through much of the movie, but again is not overused for this reviewer as they managed to add some intermissions in the form of Phil’s other aspects of life.  It’s obvious these pauses are meant to show off the morals of the story, but they manage to roll a cute energy into it that is charming in some sense.  This surprising integration of story and morals is a nice twist for this reviewer that manages to do the thing I always appreciate, a balance between funny and worthwhile foundation to base the stupidity upon for their entertainment. 

 

Still the movie suffers from the usual modern-day tropes that I’m not the biggest fan of.  At times the cursing gets a little overused, in this case the F bomb and Mother well you know.  It may not bother most, but the writing for me comes of lazy when cursing and genitalia  montages are the major pillars.  The latter of which sometimes went a little too inappropriate for me, and while still classed up, the imagery bestowed was not my cup of tea.  And though there was better story to comedy balance, the movie still suffers from storytelling aspects where the predictability, simple themes, and cuteness leads to a rather bland tale that is not the most unique of the bunch.  Sure, it was relevant to a guy like me, but for others, the poking at cell phone addiction, and the inspirational themes of going on major vacations and bending the rules may be lost on the majority of the audiences.  Yet, for films like this, most don’t care about a story, they just want a laugh festival of fun to escape their troubles.  This film will successfully accomplish this, but note that some major funny parts are spoiled by the trailers that have shown a lot of the film’s most interesting and unique parts.  There are still some treasures to be found, but you’ve been warned.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Jexi turned out to be better balanced and fun than I imagined, delivering a cute film that was both funny and touching at the same time.  I’ll admit it’s merely a true entertaining festival, with fast pace, fun dialogue, and cute gimmicks that will entertain the masses.  Throw in a fun soundtrack to sort of add to comedy elements and toe tapping nature, and again you are having fun in this film.  Yet the movie still suffers from the usual tricks of the trade and that is overuse of cursing and inappropriate montages that just aren’t my cup of tea.  Throw in that that the story is still predictable and the funny parts have some ruining by the trailers and well you get the usual comedy formula for fun and laughs.  Jexi is a fun adventure, and one I hope most will go for this weekend if looking for a good laugh.  Still, it does not have quite the balance or uniqueness to require a theater visit and most likely best waited for your viewing at home.   

 

My Scores are:

 

Comedy:  6.5-7.0

Movie Overall:  5.0

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

Gemini Man Poster

 

 

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

 

Movie: Gemini Man (2019)

 

Director:

Ang Lee

Writers:

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

Stars:

Mary Elizabeth WinsteadWill SmithClive Owen

 

 

LIKES:

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

 

DISLIKES:

 

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

 

Summary:

 

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

 

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

 

The VERDICT:

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

 

Action/Drama/Sci-fi:  6.0

Movie Overall:  4.5-5.0

No Joking, It’s An Oscar Version Of A Comic Book Movie

           Joker Poster

The comic book movie craze has gotten a bit out of hand with all the latest stunts and money wars that have led to the universes getting a little out of control.  In regards to the DC universe, again the movies are hit or miss in regards to the true comic book movie prose.  Yet, deep in the nest of Hollywood, there are still writers and directors that are willing to diverge from the common trend in an effort to bring a more artful style to the genre.  Tonight, DC attempts to do just that, with a character profile movie on one of their most legendary villains the Joker.  After multiple cameos, the world of comics looks to a new retelling to bring more quality to the comic book world.

 

Movie:  Joker (2019)

 

Director:

Todd Phillips

Writers:

Todd PhillipsScott Silver

Stars:

Joaquin PhoenixRobert De NiroZazie Beetz

 

 

LIKES:

  • Fantastic Profiling
  • Great Cinematography
  • The use of music
  • Dive into the madness
  • Great Acting

 

 

Dislikes/Warnings

  • Violence
  • Pacing
  • An Open Ending
  • Timeline differences
  • Not feeling Very Joker Esque
  • Some plot points that are vague

 

 

Summary:

First off this movie is not really a superhero, or in this case a supervillain film.  Instead, the movie feels like a film that is more of dive into the psychiatric profile of a man trying to make it into a chaotic world and wearing a supervillain mask at the same time.  One of Joker’s key strengths is that film manages to capture the insanity of psychiatric disease amazingly, blending a number of symptoms and transforming them into a mixed-up world where reality and fiction dance a twisted tango.  Utilizing great cinematography, the visuals by Phillips guidance somehow manage to take an internal perspective and personify it on the screen, sort of trapping you into the dimension of Artie’s mind.  Dark filters, contrasting light, and an element of dismay even in bright lit rooms build up the premonition of safety does not exist even in the light of day, which somehow adds to the horror of this disease.  Throw in all the use of music that not only coordinates with general pan over scenes of Gotham’s descent into madness, but  also in coordination with Phoenix’s dance moves that seem built amidst this classical, haunting music that represents the auditory hallucinations.  It’s all brought to the front though with the acting primarily with Phoenix carrying the pillars of which this movie is built on.  He’s got the laugh down, the smile, the bizarre mannerisms, and much more, in what almost feels like a natural extension of his self on the screen and he runs with it like an Olympic Sprinter.  It’s this acting that sort of takes everything mentioned previously and exemplifies it in human form, opening the world to another disturbing mind of a serial killer whose lethality can only be imagined.

 

Yet, there are things that will mix up the audience’s reception of it depending on what expectation you walk into the theater with.  In regards to the promotion of violence, it’s not quite as terrifying as people think (believe me there have been worst movies).  Still a warning to the audience is some rather realistic twists to the violence that may sort of promote the behavior, so impressionable minds beware, you’re in for a scare.  Past this though, the pacing of the Joker is mixed for me.  On the one hand I appreciate the slow timing to allow for the buildup and development of Joker’s origin.  Yet, the ending did not quite deliver the finessed ending this pacing did, given the world they based it.  True, it’s still terrifying and a great start to a serial killer’s reign, but the question is whether the tale lived up to the name the movie borrowed.  In addition, despite the movie being self-contained, the ending is one of those that leaves it semi-open for interpretation as to what happened/ did not happen in the story.  I myself am not a fan of such openings, so it’s a dislike for me, but for others you might just enjoy its fitting with the psychotic principal of the movie.  Finally, the story components are technically all there, but there are some elements that feel a little bumpy in this smooth transverse to psychotic zones.  Some elements are a little on the back burner, primarily in regards to some other back stories about his previous experiences with facilities.  Other points are almost not needed at all, given the direction they did, but that may just be my over analyzing nature.  Nevertheless, the one element that bothers me is the “age” difference of the world they set.  Again, the Joker name, and my comic book history, sort of scratches at the itch of a timeline established in this movie between him and his future nemesis.  For the general audience it won’t be an issue, but for those lore based comic book fans, well you’ve been warned.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Joker is indeed a film festival movie, that utilizes all the elements that the Academy Awards love, and tries to bring it into the world of comic book-based movies.  On the plus side it’s different, fantastically shot, and a portrayal of the madness that a literary icon has gotten in his graphic novel forms.  Again, I feel this movie is like a twisted version of A Beautiful Mind, with once more a fantastic actor driving home the point of the character.  Still, the use of the Joker name almost is a misnomer, because the grandiose antics, that classic insanity of cunning plans and foresight for moves, and even the big bang are sort of missing for me.  I think had they integrated a few more of the comic book qualities into the film the name works, or drop the name altogether and just be a psychological profile.  Still, this mad production requires at least a once over in my opinion, and can be enjoyed at both the theater or home viewing depending on your expectations. 

 

My scores are:

Crime/Drama/Thriller:  8-8.5

Movie Overall:  7.5

An Abominable Display Of Cuteness. Family’s Should Tackle This Everest

 

Abominable Poster

 

The world of animated movies continues to find new legends, avenues, and ideas to bring imagination to life.  To what those audiences are being targeted or want though is always the challenge, much of which limits the enjoyment to all audience members.  Robbie K is back to the trenches of movies to give you yet another movie review this time is all about the latest DreamWorks hit about another loveable creature that will melt many hearts and wallets.  So let’s get started as we determine if tonight’s film is lame or game!

 

Movie: Abominable (2019)

 

Directors:

Jill CultonTodd Wilderman (co-director)

Writer:

Jill Culton

Stars:

Chloe BennetAlbert TsaiTenzing Norgay Trainor

 

 

LIKES:

Decent Soundtrack

Colorful Visuals

Fun

Emotional

Cute

Characters, especially Everest

 

DISLIKES:

 

Predictable

No Suspense

Many Scenes Already Shown

Everest’s Powers

 

 

SUMMARY:

 

As Frozen proved, a soundtrack can make a big difference between success and mega-success.  Everest may not have the most catch soundtrack, but the violin and alternative work is a beautiful serenade to the less appreciated instruments.  It mixes with the scenery, adds elements of fun, and in the case of the violin an emotional punch that sells the scene.  As the movie’s theme nods to, Everest is an appreciation and nod to the colorful world nature has to offer.  The animation is top notch in design and brings out the enchanting splendor that the world has to create, all while complementing the magnificence of Asian culture  and bringing energy/contrast to the other characters beginning emotional profiles.  Fortunately, the movie is also a colorful display of feelings to match the visuals and entertain the masses.  Fun and Cute are the primary colors of the emotional spectrum, with the small band of heroes finding ways to maximize on all the merchandising and the childish wonder we all forge as we grow older.  Kids will love it and so will their chaperones as they become connected to the world before them.  Yet all the cute antics still cannot stop the powerful punch of feelings that Everest has in the form of friends, family, and the bond of discovery that again lies in all of us if we find it.  I can’t say I really cried, but you can be certain there are plenty of moments waiting for one to get goosebumps or a smile over.  However, this reviewer has to agree that it’s the characters that make this movie.  Certainly the villains and henchmen have their place in the sun and are okay, but the main cast of four will play to the audience the most.  Yi is the model of modern female characters in her strong independence hiding deeper wounds.  Jin is the ladies’ man socialite representing superficial fun and karma at work, but also teaching lessons that ring home.  Peng is the superficial laughs that kids will like in the form of slapstick and quotable one-liners that was probably my favorite of the bunch. Finally Everest, a perfect combination of animalistic anthropomorphism meeting human emotions that all in all is an adorable display of fantastic character development. 

 

Despite how great and fun this movie can be though it does suffer a few things for this reviewer in regards to the potential it could have had.  Predictability thy name is this movie, for it is a straightforward tale that offers little in surprises.  The movie sort of sets the stage, dropping too many hints to really shock and amaze.  Certainly younger members may still react, but older fans are not going to be quite as engaged as other animated works.  Throw in that the movie has many scenes that have been revealed in the trailers, including jokes, and you may find knowing eighty percent of the story before it starts to run.  These are okay to be honest because of how much fun you are having, but in truth the thing that took a little away from me was the “action” and “suspense” moments of the movie.  Think of films like what Disney churns out, or even the How To Train Your Dragon series, where the producers land giant punches in your gut and manage to move all sorts of audience members.  Everest does not really do that, and all exciting chases, potential obstacles and dare I say edge of the movie is pretty much lacking.  No suspense, no real challenge, just cute wholesome fun that again is enjoyable, but not the elements of a finessed movie that other studios have managed to execute.  Finally, Everest’s powers are cool, the harmonizing with nature to transform simple things into true wonders of the world.  They are awesome and fun, and they are actually kept in check.  The real answer is why though as when you get to the end of the movie only a heroic character development being the answer to the limitations.  It makes for better storytelling, but in all honesty, Everest’s bottomless supply of magic did not make sense in the grand scheme of things, and perhaps a little more adjustment of this factor could have helped up the ante.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Truth be told, Abominable shows off the fantastic imagination that studios still hold in this crazy world.  Everest and his friends will go on the spectacular journey that is stunning to look at, cute fun to have many laughing that manage to wrap up emotional moments in a warm friendly package.  The characters are the selling point of the feature, with the loveable yeti  being the all-star of the bunch.  Sadly, it’s a bit too G rated for me and in the cuteness, the potential for that higher level of storytelling is lost to predictable hug fest points.  With a pointless limitation and the lack of a true obstacle, these components may limit some older fans from coming.  Yet, if you want the family friendly movie of the month, get your little tykes and get them to the theater you won’t be sorry by how much fun they will have.

 

My scores are:

 

Animation/Adventure/Comedy:  8.0

Movie Overall:  7.0

Going To The Stars In a Drier, In Depth, And Artistic Approach

Ad Astra Poster

 

Space, the final frontier, a void of endless possibilities for us humans to explore, colonize, and potentially ruin with our wasteful culture.  For now though, it serves as a great medium to make a movie about science-fiction for.  Throughout the history of movies, space films have allowed the imaginations of many to take off and bring some of the most memorable movies that we still latch onto today.  Tonight, the review focuses on yet another film that hopes to soar to new heights and win a new award.  Robbie K again with another review, this time on:

 

Movie: Ad Astra (2019)

 

Director:

James Gray

Writers:

James GrayEthan Gross

Stars:

Brad PittTommy Lee JonesRuth Negga

 

LIKES:

 

Beautifully Shot

Interesting Concept

Realistic Science-Fiction

Good Acting

 

 

DISLIKES

Some Subplots

The Ending

The Obscure Answers

The Tangents

The Pacing

 

SUMMARY:

 

Space movies vary in a number of things, but the presentation can make or break the film as a whole depending on what their focus is.  For Ad Astra, the movie managed to tailor it’s fiction component to provide a more realistic tale that will appeal to a wider variety of audiences who sometimes get lost in the fantasy element.  Ad Astra’s plot is interesting in the point of an incident known as the Surge, whose origin lies in the last know place that Brad Pitt’s father (Lee-Jones) was seen going.  To help minimize the Surge from further destroying the world as we know it, Pitt is sent into space and through it goes on a journey of self-discovery that adds the psyche element analysis on board.  This interesting concept is going to be great for Sci-Fi book lovers, as it feels much like those stories where the first-person perspective is portrayed from the third-person look.  It’s a bit dense, but the fact they were able to keep to their own rules they established at the start was a big win for me.  Certainly the story is brought out by great acting, mostly on Pitt’s part who hits the depressed space hero going on dangerous mission well.  You can feel the suffering of the character, see the thoughts reflected in the tiniest gestures, and feel the emotions of the character in the dialogue/monologues he unleashes.  It’s a great leading role,, though it could have benefitted from more inclusion of other characters to even out the sullen nature of Pitt’s character.  My friend and I both did agree though, that the special effects and movie magic were the best element of the movie.  Ad Astra’s cinematography was gorgeous, with fantastic integration of CGI structures into realistic shots, and more so designing the sets to which this drama plays out on.  It’s these stunning effects that bring everything to life and will most likely catch they eyes of moviegoers everywhere as you are pulled into the venture at hand.

 

Yet all these unique approaches and special visual story telling do not quite get you set for the more artistic/symbolic approaches that movies sometimes take.  Ad Astra’s  subplots and tangents open up the new adventures and accomplishes the task of getting character development rolling.  With each “stop” so to speak, there is a reflection by the character and what he is thinking that is awesome for the character component, but semi-worthless in terms of story over all.  Again like a book, this film’s treks across the void are awesome to see, but not necessarily carrying much point past the artistic visualization.  As the movie continues on, it does not quite tell the story in the most black and white aspects.  Much of the film’s lines are very in depth or vague, capable of providing you insight to piece things together, but the delivery is a little stuffy and theatrical that it dilutes the significance this scene plays.  Thus, these side avenues, while certainly extra tales to further dive into Pitt’s psyche, were not the best use of time in my opinion.  When the ending finally came and the overall goal we set out was reached, I again was disappointed in the results it took.  I think i always knew where it was going, but Ad Astra’s finale needed some excitement or further tension to justify all the time invested, and I felt I did not get that outside of the symbolic gestures it took.  This may not have bothered me as much had the pacing of this film been better.   Pitt’s journey is very slow and given the amount of details it brings, did not have too much excitement or speed to get to the goal fast enough.  This led to me fighting sleep occasionally and I would have loved again some editing to add a little pep or do some more editing to get out the film faster.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Ad Astra achieves the prize of beautiful style, deeper tales, and great acting to come to life.  It throws away the idea of space battles or aliens and instead subjects the goer with impressive looks into a character and the symbolism that space travel can bring.  It feels much like a book put to movie and I give mad credit to the vision that James Gray had when putting this film together.  However, this unique and detailed approach may also be the downfall of the tale as the cascading subplots and tangents become a little overbearing at times.  kA sort of linear, connect the dots like approach does not quite give the most exciting narrative and the ending, no matter how beautiful it is, seems a bit of a sucker punch that made the movie’s dragging pace not so great for me.  Yet again, if this kind of vague and symbolic approach is your cup of tea, definitely check this film out because there are enough visuals and effects to utilize theater technology well. However, if you want a more traditional space movie and need the lasers, aliens, and tension, this film should be on the home viewing instead.

 

My scores are:

 

Adventure/Drama/Mystery:  7.5

Movie Overall: 6.0

Is This Rambo’s Last Blood Fest?

Rambo: Last Blood Poster

 

 

He’s the man with a mug and muscles.  A legendary collection of characters whose stories continue to hold their place in history and face the test of time.  Surprisingly, he manages to continue putting those stars of decades past into the modern times so that they can continue to rake in the attention, fame, and potentially tell a story doing it.  I’m talking aboutSylvester Stallone, the one-man action star who despite the passing years still does what he can to bring the boom. Tonight’s feature is an unretired action legend that decades ago sunk his knife into our hearts, and now years later, he’s trying to do it again with modern tools.  What is in store?  Well that’s where I come in to give some insight as Robbie K is back with another look at:

 

Film: Rambo Last Blood (2019)

 

Director:

Adrian Grunberg

Writers:

Matthew Cirulnick (screenplay by), Sylvester Stallone (screenplay by)  |3 more credits »

Stars:

Sylvester StallonePaz VegaYvette Monreal

 

 

LIKES:

 

Stallone’s character still adapting

Great use of cinematography to get the feeling

Touching Side of Rambo

The Rambo Action Package At The End

Montage

 

DISLIKES:

 

Predictable

Lacking Depth

Wasted Characters

Lame Villains

First hour is cliché, simplistic build up

A Little Too Much Focus Of Blood

Inconsistencies in this film’s logic

 

SUMMARY:

 

Rambo has gone through some of the darkest battles and nightmares we only glimpse in films, so seeing his journey of moving past that is always nice to see.  Last Blood’s attempt to push the character to new levels gets a nod of respect, especially seeing the doors to his inner character open to reveal the touching side of Rambo.  Sure, you’ve seen this vulnerability at moments in the past, but for this film you really get an in-depth dive into this new side which will help you appreciate the legend even more.  Much of this is due to the acting, which is okay but works, but I liked the cinematography and use of filming filters and techniques to help bring out that depth. Much of this most aren’t going to care about, so perhaps the use of the film technique is better suited for the carnage that Rambo films bring.  True to the title, there is plenty of blood and gore to bring to the table, as modern technology and focus on violence comes rushing into the last fifteen to twenty minutes of the film.  The loud wet smacks, the red carnage, the screams of agony, and intense focus will give you more than an eye full of Rambo’s tactics to fill you to the brim and really end on an exciting climax.  Note: This is not like the 80s blood so those thinking of taking impressionable minds need to think five times before trekking this.  When all is said and done through and the credits start rolling, the last montage of Rambo’s past adventures will seal up the deal in what may or may not be the last film of the franchise.

 

Now I’ll be the first to admit that a Rambo film is not always the fleshed out, Oscar Worthy pick that will shatter new levels. However, I do recall that at least the first two films had a decent story to drive the adventure and help begin to expand on our… hero.  This film did offer a touching side, but Last Blood’s plot is very predictable, a linear voyage that lacks the depth that other installments do.  To take sixty to seventy minutes of the film and not provide the John Rambo action sooner was well a little disappointing.  This cliché, simplistic build up again had some heart, and is true to the character to some level, but the other characters they introduced were not utilized well.  His family and a potential new friend “contributed”, but they just did not have the same level of involvement his usual supporting characters do.  I would also say the villains did not quite have the same bite. Past rivals to John Rambo had military training, corrupt armies, or inside information for them to abuse. This one though, is just a bunch of greasy looking thugs, who certainly deserve the fight, but lack any bite to them and were quite unimpressive for the most part making the “battle” certainly justice filled, but again one sided and missing that exciting spark.  The bloodlust the director and squad chose this time were a bit more of the plan than actual battling, and Rambo’s continued pushing of the red paint was quite overloaded for me, but may be right up the alley of others.  What also took away from me was the inconsistencies in the film’s logic.  Rambo’s choices in body armor, why they showed almost every grotesque way to kills, but then skip other kills, or even more so why the Mexican Cartel lacked brains in this installment is beyond me.

 

The VERDICT

 

            Overall, Rambo: Last Blood has the same simplistic approach the rest of the movies have done, but they did not quite execute as well for me.  The story elements were sacrificed for superficial components, and the definition of action packed is a little different from my worldview.  Sure, it’s all about building up a justified tale of vengeance, and it does open up the side of Rambo that is outside the rugged stoicism that he loves.  Yet, the modern take of extreme, weak villains, underutilized characters, and focus on the blood took away from the balance the first film did so well.  Still, I’ll agree with my fellow reviewers that if you are a die-hard fan and want the modern technology to blend with it, this fil is for you.  All others, I would hold out for, and for everyone please don’t take those that are too young to this blood fest. 

 

My scores are:

 

Action/Adventure/Thriller: 7.5

Movie Overall: 6.5