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

Instant Family Fun! An Instant Family Review

Instant Family Poster

 

Family, a blessing and curse at many times.  It is a source of conversation and entertainment that Hollywood loves to rub in our faces.  Hence, when you get movies that are about making fun of families in super ridiculous manners, one can’t help but lower expectations on the quality of these films.  So yours truly walked in with low expectations of tonight’s review, thinking I was in store for more silly slapstick tricks.  What lies in store for this film past the trailers?  Robbie K here hoping to fill you in on another detailed review as we explore:

 

Movie: Instant Family (2018)

 

Director:

Sean Anders

Writers:

Sean AndersJohn Morris

Stars:

Mark WahlbergRose ByrneIsabela Moner

 

 

LIkES:

 

Comedy:  The movie is indeed a comedic adventure into foster parenting, and while the likes of Daddy’s Home seemed to ring hard in the trailer for me, that wasn’t the case in this film.  Instant Family manages to achieve the fleeting goal of balancing styles of laughter including slapstick antics, banter, insult humor, and crossing boundaries with cursing.  Such a style allows for the gimmicks to remain fresh over the course of the movie and bring with it plenty of guffaws, chortles, and whatever sounds you make with humor.

 

The Story: Heartwarming is certainly the element of this tale, doing a fantastic job of the inspiration from the stories of foster families.  Instant Family crosses into the realms of this unique parenting setting, bringing all the issues and emotions that come with it.  It’s simplistic, linear tale allows for many things to be stuffed into the film, working hard to keep to its roots, but explored the small hairs that help absorb the dynamic material that the writers seeded it with.  As such, the story has enough components to make my next few likes further support the film.

 

Fun:  To be family friendly for some, means to tread down the “pure” path where only G-rated jokes and language can be instilled in the movie. While I can acknowledge this, it limits the audiences who can enjoy this to the fullest.  Fortunately, Instant Family saw this and managed to find that balance of styles to keep it relatively PG to PG-13, opening up to more audience members and keeping the film very fun to watch.  Yes, there is language, and a few more adult themes not made for sensitive ears.

 

Emotional:  Some of my friends have stated they teared up at just the trailer alone.  Well, the audience in my showing today was sobbing, sniffling, and tearing up at the feelings thrown into the mix.  And while preachy at times, Instant Family sells the lessons in full force, captivating you further into the film and really selling the love this family was trying to portray.  It brings so many wonderful feelings out into the light, which will be a wonderful compliment to the film.

 

Relatable:  Certainly we aren’t all in foster programs, but Instant Family brings with it enough issues about a variety of topics to find something relate to.  How to handle anger,  how to deal with out of control kids, teenage angst issues, love, confidence, and plenty of other pieces that maybe we could all stand to learn.  As such, the story had a greater effect on me, allowing me to sort of place myself in each character’s shoes and enjoy seeing how the characters grew during the trials they faced.  If you are like me, the relatability of a film can really bring an extra factor to the movie and I feel this film will affect the people in a positive way to further enhance the film.

 

Balance:  The key to the success of this movie is balance. Over all the likes mentioned in the previous categories, the underlying foundation is that the director and writers managed to find a way to make all these styles work together.  Outside of all the aforementioned categories, Instant Family also found a way to utilize the characters very well.  The kids limitations and character’s annoying habits are fine tuned to reach that equilibrium between annoying and too underdone.  Wahlberg’s talents weren’t overdone and Byrne managed to rain her normal maneuvers to new levels that again seemed very well tuned.  As such, Instant Family managed to surprise me with how they juggled so many plots, morals, and other components in such a short time.  That was the key to taking this movie to new levels and something other films need to study for future film making.

 

DISLIKES:

 

The PredictabilityA small dislike in the grand scheme of things, Instant Family does not deviate far from the formulaic presentation that Hallmark has made famous.  A few twists and turns could have provided some opportunity for even deeper growth, or perhaps a few more montages of the fun times to help dilute the predictability. Sure this may not be the key point they were shooting for, but as a reviewer, throwing some surprises in could have sailed this movie even further.

 

A Few Throw Away Characters: Another small detail, but Instant Family snuck in a few characters that brought some interesting avenues to explore. They were complete to some extent, but a few of these characters could have been left out, erased from sight due to the little contribution they provided.

 

The Kid InEquilibrium: The main kid who got the attention was the teenager Lizzy.  I’ll recognize and appreciate the context of teenage angst, but why did the other kids, whose flaws were magnified at the early part of the movie.  These components seemed to be swept under the rug, with little portrayal of dealing with these problems, often resorting to a comedic device to justify their inclusion.  Thus, the a restructuring of their involvement could have been the key to furthering the movie.

Over The Limit sometimes: The worst thing for me in this film, are the few times the comedy became more insulting than funny for me.  In this time of political correct statements, there are some dialogue moments and banter that sort of step on the appropriate way to phrase things.  These jokes often feel more like insults and as such, not appreciating these moments that went far.  Again, nothing like an R rated movie, but still something that took away from the film for me. 

 

The VERDICT:

 

            I agree with the recent trailers, Instant Family is indeed the big surprise of this week.  It’s sweet, with a  passionate charm that and relevant plot to grab attentions and hold them in their place. These balances of so many plot points is what helped achieve this quality and certainly is worth studying/noting for your future film needs.  I’ll admit they crossed the line a bit, and didn’t quite maximize the potential they held. Still, with all the fun I had and the ability to show empathy to fictional characters I think is enough persuasion to call you into the hallowed halls of the theater. 

 

My scores are:

 

Comedy/Drama:  8.5

Movie Overall:  7.0

Great Cast, Mediocre Action: It’s Okay Overall

X-men A

Memorial Day weekend is upon us and the sound of burgers grilling, people laughing, and new movies coming out fills the air. Hi, Robbie K here with another movie review on the last “masterpiece” to hit the silver screen. Today’s review is on the latest Marvel creation X-Men Apocalypse, a movie that has been culminating for some time. As always I’m here to share my opinions and hopefully guide you in your latest movie quest. Let’s get started.

 

THE STRENGTHS:

  • Comedy
  • Nice balance of most characters
  • Awesome Special Effects
  • One cameo in particular

Fans rejoice, as the writers have once again loaded this movie with well-placed comedic antics. Apocalypse has more than its share of comedic gold in the form of a well-timed swear, an awkward facial gesture, or my particular favorite…throwing jabs at the failures of this movie series (cough X-Men three cough). It was refreshing to see comedy that didn’t rely on people trying too hard or being a complete idiot and therefore was a major highlight for me. And the scene with quicksilver had to be comedic moment that had me in stitches.

But you didn’t just come for the comedy, you want to see your favorite superpowered mutant on the screen kicking butt right? Well surprisingly Apocalypse does a nice job at letting many mutants throw their hats in the ring. Fan favorites like Xavier, Mystique, Magneto, and Quicksilver are a major focus of this film, but the generation of Jean Grey, Cyclops, and Nightcrawler rock the screen with their unique talents and personalities. The actors portrayal of these characters is spot on, and the chemistry amongst all the mutants creates a family/ squad that you latch right on to.

As for their powers, Fox’s design team again succeeds in bring them to life with flashy lights, theater shaking sound, and in vivid colors that help you discern who is doing what. In truth the portrayal is old hat by now, but Apocalypse shines in combining powers that make for entertaining and somewhat impressive displays of teamwork (if only they had used it more.)

In truth though the real show stealer was a five minute cameo of a certain enraged hero we all know and love. This was where the real bread and butter was for me that brought all the aspects I love together and unleashed in sheer force. While I wish this cameo had been more integrated into the film (and longer), it sets precedence for yet another movie in the long run and I can accept the short cameo for what it is.

 

 

 

THE WEAKNESSES:

  • Mediocre Action
  • Overdramatic
  • Rushed at parts
  • Some characters gets stiffed

If there was one thing I was disappointed in with this movie it was the action. Most likely it was because I set my expectations too high, but the trailers fooled me into thinking this movie was going to be really exciting. With the exception of the opening scene, I wasn’t impressed with the direction they took in the battles. Instead of fast paced, high adrenaline displays of powers clashing between good and bad, I instead got long winded, short lived bouts that were more flashy (and sometimes cheesy). Again the powers are impressive, just most underutilized and not in the manner I had envisioned from the trailers. Even more disappointing is that the action was diluted by Apocalypse’s overdramatic rants, who although looked the part did jack squat in terms of fighting until near the very end.

Despite the slow, drawn out moments though, the movie itself felt a bit rushed at times. I remember most of the X-men tales making the revival of Apocalypse more difficult and often making our heroes try to stop his rising. Not the case in this film, in fact it’s so simplistic that one wonders what was even the point of him sleeping in the first place. That’s just one example, and there are lots of other moments that could have gone further had they not tried to build everything around the relationship between Magneto, X, and Mystique. Yep the same tale comes to life again and the age old family triangle takes a strong grasp in this film (and leads to some cheesy spectacles.) Guess Fox can’t come up with any other story to fill the time huh?

And it’s because of this focus that I feel some characters get stiffed in their moment to shine. Other than looking gorgeous Psylocke practically does nothing and don’t get me started on angel’s rather poor display in this movie. While the balance of all these characters was for the most part well-done, there was still a lot more potential to unlock in a lot of our characters, most likely addressed in the inevitable sequel to come. Maybe they’ll focus a little more and we can get some battles like what we saw in X-Men and X2.

 

THE VERDICT

Overall X-Men Apocalypse is another impressive display of technology, combined with decent writing and a cast to bring it to life. Unfortunately the overdramatic theatrics, mediocre fight scenes, and stiffing some characters for the same story we’ve heard a hundred times are getting old. However, the movie is still entertaining , still a blockbuster hit, and has all the qualities that a theater visit will amplify. Recommended audiences are fans of the movie series, fans of the actors, and those looking for another superhero movie. Regardless this critic recommends you catch this film on Redbox at least, especially to get a glimpse at what Fox will do next… which I pray will be to pick a timeline and stick with it.

 

My scores are:

Action/Adventure/Fantasy: 8.0

Movie Overall: 7.0

Bland, Stoner Mess!

Another weekend, another day in the movies. My assignment this time is a sequel to a movie that brought joy to many and disgust to many others. I’m talking about Neighbors 2, a movie I never expected to be made this soon, if at all. What does this film have to offer? As always I’m happy to offer my opinions and guide your movie choices. Let’s get started.

 

The Good

  • The movie is what it is
  • For women Zac Effron has his shirt off a lot
  • For guys, a few shots of sorority babes

 

 

Neighbors 2 is exactly what you expect from the trailers and doesn’t even try to be something else. It’s a stoner comedy that plays on the simplistic, superficial jokes that seem to be in every comedy these days. Drug humor, sexual humor, and party humor are jammed into this film like the N word in Django and scarcely deviates from this path. Can’t say I was the most entertained by this, but if this is your cup of tea then you will surely enjoy it like my fellow audience members.

But if routine comedic gestures are not your cup of tea than the superficial qualities are sure to rope your attention in. Zac Effron leads the charge in this department, once more playing to his limited strengths of body acting. Girls will swoon over the six pack abs, firm butt, and tight shirts that hug him like leotard on a ballet dancer. They banked on this card enough to even give him his own dance scene to help give the females a little more of what they want. Don’t worry though guys, there are some scarce shots of gorgeous female characters in their lingerie to get your own salute on. Unfortunately, most of these cute girls are scarce in the film with one or two getting adequate screen time.

 

The Bad

  • Lazy writing
  • Incredibly Stupid
  • Annoying characters
  • Some disturbing moments
  • Little character growth
  • Stale

 

While Neighbors 2 doesn’t try to be something its not, it doesn’t mean it is necessarily good. For one thing the writing is a lazy piece of work with stripped down dialogue and banter that lacks cleverness, wit, and good delivery. Most of the time our characters are spewing expletives intertwined with aggressive sexual comments. Some lines do cross over into the funny zone, but a lot of the rambling is stupid, repetitive and goes nowhere for minutes on end. Maybe the delivery could have saved it, but even this failed as all the actors overacted to a horrible, horrible degree. It wasn’t fun for me and as they continued to beat the dead horse the tactic only grew more stale. The only thing that this movie managed to push the envelope on was the disgusting factor. A few moments were a bit too graphic for me, things that won’t be leaving my mind anytime soon. I won’t ruin the “surprise”, but let’s just say it has to do with female anatomy.   Also the censorship of the trailer was lost in this movie and dropped into curse laden rants that again were too much for me.

 

In terms of the story, I appreciate the continuation and attempt to have our characters grow in the short 90 minute run time. However, they failed to achieve their goals on multiple levels. Remember in the first one how the two main frat boys managed to evolve a little into semi adult guys? Well in this film nothing like that is seen. The girls are all annoying brats who try to talk tough, party hard, and whine about the same stuff repetitively. You would think that Rogan and Byrne’s characters would experience some maturing moments to make up the sorority’s failure. Wrong again! The “old” couple manages to make some slight strides, but they are rushed, underdeveloped messes that added nothing to the roles. Truth be told… only Zac’s character had any development at all and was the only story to semi latch onto.

 

 

 

The Verdict

 

Neighbors 2 is okay and certainly fills the role of lackluster summer comedy. Unfortunately the lazy writing, lack of originality, one-dimensional annoying characters, and stale comedy left me bored more than anything. Chances are that die hard fans of the series will flock to the theaters to see this, or maybe those who want someone good looking to fill your vision you might choose this film. However, this reviewer recommends skipping this film and waiting for it to spring into DVD collections.

 

My scores are:

 

Comedy: 6.0

Movie Overall: 4.5-5.0