Reviews

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Release Date: June 22nd, 2018

This movie is exactly what you would expect of the 4th sequel to Jurassic Park.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom begs the question is the only way to make a sequel to a movie about a theme park of dinosaurs a movie about bad guys stealing the dinosaurs and bringing them to America?

Think The Lost World: Jurassic Park, but swap Vince Vaughn and Julianne Moore (yes they were in that) with Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard. And there you go.

I mean it wasn’t terrible. It was entertaining and thrilling watching dinosaurs try, and accomplish eating people, but the whole thing was ridiculous.

I couldn’t even get behind the driving force of the film which was to save the dinosaurs from extinction (again). Isn’t the point of these movies to drill into people how bad an idea it is to have dinosaurs be alive? Yet, Claire and her millennial team are fighting for dinosaurs rights.

The same Claire, who only referred to the dinos as “assets” in the first film. Somehow after almost being eaten a bunch of times, her heart was warmed to these lovable, toothy creatures.

As I hinted at before the plot line isn’t very original. Bad guys trick Claire (played by Bryce Dallas Howard, Owen (played by Chris Pratt), and some new faces, Franklin (played by Justice Smith, and Zia (played by Daniella Pineda) into helping them steal the dinosaurs off Isla Nublar before the island explodes from a volcano. Don’t worry! The dino/human stampede off the island is in the film, complete with hot lava and hot Chris Pratt.

I really think the writers and producers were aware of Chris Pratt’s newly single status and really wanted to highlight his hunkiness in this movie. It’s like a GD dating profile.

  1. He’s good looking…we get it.
  2. He builds log cabins in the woods with his bare hands. Like that was probably his personal tool belt.
  3. He’s funny and sort-of-a child, but what woman doesn’t want a man she can’t fix.
  4. He’s good with kids and baby raptors. And we know because we are shown at least 4 videos of him interacting with baby Blue.
  5. He’s smart, he has a plan, and he gets the bad guy/dinosaur.
  6. The little girl in the film could care less about Claire, but she immediately bonds with Owen and runs up and gives him a hug. Like, yes girl, I wanna be in his arms too!

Anywho…. the bad guys *SPOILER ALERT* want to sell the dinosaurs as weapons so they bring them back to a forested mansion in America to auction them off. Great idea and so realistic! The owner of the estate happens to be a former friend of Jurassic Park founder, John Hammond. The real villain is Eli, the handsome, charming man who manages his estate.

Naturally, chaos ensues. *SPOILER ALERT* The new big-bad, created in a lab, dino gets out and hunts people down. Ridiculously, the fighting ends with a rooftop chase and Blue (the velociraptor) fighting for humankind alongside her (Daddy?) Owen and Claire.

The idea of #dinorights comes back into play at the conclusion of the film when their survival is in question again. I’m not sure if they were going for some sort of metaphor with this story-line, but you should never free dinosaurs. They eat people.

Even though this plot was laughable, people will never stop watching these movies. It may have had writing like a Sharknado movie, but it’s still well done, great visual effects, well acted, and based off of characters we love.

Jeff Goldblum’s cameo may have been shorter than I expected, but it’s probably the most important piece of information in the film. I would have paid better attention if the woman in front of me hadn’t brought her 4-year-old to see Jurassic World, but the gist is that the dinosaurs could very well destroy our world, aka Fallen Kingdom.

I wonder how they will continue this story in the next film. Maybe they are following Dr. Ian Malcolm’s theory.

Man creates dinosaur, dinosaur eats man…

…..woman inherits the earth.

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Deadpool 2

Release date: May 18th, 2018

You know what? I liked it.

Let me clarify, I hated the first one, Deadpool. It was humorous, but poorly written with no character development and very little plot with nothing but crass jokes about Hugh Jackman. This one, Deadpool 2, was different…mostly.

First of all, the writing was tremendously better! The same crass jokes about Hugh Jackman, but this one actually had a storyline. And there was more than 1 character!

I mean technically the first movie had a few characters, but it felt like it was only really about Deadpool. No other characters even got developed in the first one, not Vanessa, not TJ Miller, not…….well never mind. If you really want to hear me rant about Deadpool you can read that review here.

Anyways, Deadpool 2 starts with the *SPOILER ALERT* death of Vanessa which sets Wade on a journey of discovery of both himself and the other f-word. Family.

He gathers a team of like-minded, morally grey individuals to help him protect a troubled young boy named Russell, with powers that could cause him to go down a very bad path. A path so bad, that Josh Brolin  Cable comes back from the future to try to stop him.

The writers did a great job of developing these characters. You feel for Russell, self-titling as Fire Fist, (played by Julian Dennison who was great in a movie called Hunt for the Wilderpeople, go see it) and understand why he acts the way he does. You feel for Collusus! You even feel for Cable!

This isn’t just a typical superhero movie either. It’s terribly funny, full of action, with surprising amounts of emotions and a sprinkling of evil. I mean come on…they are all kind of villains right? Marvel’s version of Suicide Squad?

Anywho…What this film does wrong is that it gets in the way of itself. Like in the meta way that Deadpool is always talking about how Ryan Reynolds is an idiot for agreeing to be the Green Lantern.

There were actual times in this movie that had real emotion. Times when it would have been best to be in the story for a moment. But in the middle of that moment Wade makes some crack about cream cheese spreaders, or baby legs, or how the studio couldn’t afford any actual X-Men.

In those moments it feels like a spoof. The kind of spoof where the audience doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry. The humor impeded the drama.

This is exactly why breaking the 4th wall doesn’t typically work for me.* It takes you out of the story and makes you realize you are watching a movie, not a character in that world.

*Fight Club does not apply to this rule

As I stated in my previous review for Deadpool, I was gonna have some problems, but the meta-ness and speaking to the audience bothered me less in the sequel because I was prepared for it.

I appreciated this film for what it was, what I expected it to be and it actually surprised me. There was depth, and characters that went somewhere and lots of raunchy jokes and it allowed me to forget about the problems of my reality for a moment.

There is a quote towards the end of the film that I thought was really quite beautiful and really summed up the film, both in story and as it’s role as entertainment.

“Pain through the prism of humor.”

I believe Ryan Reynolds loves Deadpool so much because Wade Wilson is kind of like all of us. Maybe a little worse, but aren’t we all self-centered and morally-grey at times, and I think the best of us filter our pain through a prism of humor.

Avengers: Infinity War

Release Date: April 27th, 2018

….

Am I the only one who hated this movie? Not including you, Tom Holland.

Ok, I am doing one blanket SPOILER ALERT. I warn you… if you haven’t watched Infinity War yet and plan too and don’t want any major or minor events ruined, please stop reading now. You have been officially warned.

The first hour and a half of this film was spent introducing us to all of the characters. There are well over 20 superheroes in this movie, and almost impressively they all get some sort of development. Yet, by the time we realized who was in this movie, it was more than half over. Really, they should have called it Avengers: How many superheroes are there now?!

I have to stop and list all of the superheros in this because it’s a little ridiculous.
Iron Man
Spiderman
Dr. Strange
Wong
Thor
Loki
The Hulk
Black Widow
Vision
The Scarlet Witch
Steve Rodgers/Captain America
Bucky
Falcon
Rhodey
Peter Quill
Groot
Rocket
Drax
Mantis
Gamora
Nebula
King T’Challa
Okoye
Shuri

Besides the fact that the majority of the film feels like an introduction it is also mostly one long, extended battle sequence. Diegetically speaking, the plot line is so scarce of depth that it’s almost as if it’s happening in real-time, minus the bathroom breaks.

Infinity War centers around Thanos, bringer of death and destruction and “played” by Josh Brolin. He wants the infinity stones to wipe out half the planet’s population and he proceeds to get them all. The point is for ALL of the heroes (and I say all because there are at least 23 superheroes in this, right?) to stop him. They try, some with magic axes, some with reprogramming their brains, but they all fail and HALF OF THEM DIE. What even is that?

I may joke about a movie killing all the characters and being like “Oh that’s the end”, but I don’t want it to actually happen! I mean obviously they aren’t “dead” they are going to be saved in the inevitable sequel that will be release next year. What’s that you say? Sounds like a sleazy way to get another 10-20 dollars out of us? Yeah, I agree.

This movie should really have been prefaced as a part 1. Yet, what is worse is that all Marvel movies lately are becoming too involved. Wherein you have to watch all of the prequels of all of the character’s movies that come before.

I’ve seen at least a third of the marvel movies. I’m a nonchalant fan…I’ve seen all the Captain Americas. But this movie would have made much more sense if I had watched all 18 of the movies of all of the characters the nightweek month before. Or at least 10 to make the movie make the most sense.

The problem then is for the casual fan. When the guy sitting next to me said, “Aw, fuck!” after seeing who was under the cape before Thanos threw his daughter off a cliff, I was confused.

But confusion wasn’t the only feeling I felt. Anger. Lots of anger. You don’t kill everyone. The bad guy doesn’t win. You don’t watch Spiderman cling to Ironman for life before dissolving into dust. Anger….and some tears.

In typical superhero movie fashion, the good guys face the bad guys and the bad guys win. I guess this wasn’t trying to be typical…at least not until next May.

Ready Player One

Release date: March 29th, 2018

I heard a lot of good thing about this film, but I still didn’t anticipate liking it.

This movie is set a majority of time inside a video game and I’m not a gamer (though sometimes I break out my Nintendo NES and destroy some Wheel of Fortune). Although, I didn’t really relate to the video game aspect of the film, there were so many movie and pop culture allusions that I stayed invested.

Ready Player One is littered with so many pop culture references that any “nerd” could find something to make them say, “How did they get the rights to that!?”

My guess is Steven Spielberg. This picture was directed by one of Hollywood’s biggest names in directors/producers. He was at the helm or forefront of the likes of Back to the Future, Jurassic Park, E.T., Jaws, etc. A lot of which are referenced… pretty directly in this movie. It was kinda awesome!

For being a young adult, video game-esque movie, the storyline was actually pretty intricate. The writers were able to weave a game inside a game and still have it make sense.

Ready Player One centers around a kid, Wade Watts aka Parzival (played by Tye Sheridan, X-Men: Apocalypse) who, along with the rest of planet Earth spends their days inside The Oasis; a virtual world created by James Halliday (played brilliantly by Mark Rylance), whom the world worships as a god essentially. Halliday died about a decade before the events in the film take place, but before he died he hid three keys that would unlock an Easter Egg in the game. Giving the first winner of all three keys the rights to The Oasis.

Along with completing dangerous challenges to win keys, Parzival/Wade, Art3mis (played by Olivia Cooke, Bates Motel) and their friends, are challenged by Nolan Sorrento (played by Ben Mendelsohn), the villainous leader of IOI, a corporation hell-bent on taking over the The Oasis and the world.

This is a movie adapted from a book which typically falls victim to the classic plunder of not quite enough explanation. I did have a few questions or times when I wanted more information, but for the most part I think it translates. The good thing with this movie is that it’s so inundated with references, and visually there is so much crap on the screen, you could watch it over and over again and pick up new things.

Ready Player One was at times heartfelt, sad, scary, funny, and action-packed without losing itself in genre black hole. I feel like that is pretty impressive.

Although the film is set in 2045, the story doesn’t seem that far removed from today. We spend hours every day absorbed in a virtual reality of social media, online shopping, gaming and binging Netflix. This idea of living, meeting people, earning money in a cyber world doesn’t seem so far fetched and I think this film is saying something about that. Escaping reality is nice, but there are some things only reality can give you and we should pay attention to that.

 

Before it’s too late. *Whispers* Rosebud.

I Feel Pretty

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Release date: April, 20th 2018

I think this is the statement Amy Schumer wanted the audience to walk away saying, but it translated better to “I Feel Pretty?”

This movie did a lot of things well…for the first 75% of the film. Let me list those things:

  1. Amy Schumer’s acting! Very believable as woman who hates her body/herself and as a way over-confident, at times endearing person. Also, she wears the shortest shirts and we never see her vagina. Mad props!
  2. It was funny! I laughed a lot! A great mix of self-deprecating and stupid humor. My personal fav.
  3. Relatable! The idea of this film is suuuuuper close to home for lots of people. Everybody deals with some form of insecurity. Also, that joke about the high school reunion. lol (Don’t ask)

The problem with this film was its delivery. Like when a joke is being set up really well, but when the punchline finally comes your like “Whaaaaaat?”

I Feel Pretty is about a woman, Rene (played by Amy Schumer) who doesn’t feel that way about herself. She is insecure and hides in Spanx and frankly, in plain sight. She works for the company she admires, Lilly Leclaire, but in the hidden-in-a-basement division. Clearly, she is hoping and wishing to see herself differently and to feel beautiful one day. That day happens when she goes to a Soulcycle class and promptly falls off the bike and hits her head. She then wakes up with ALL the confidence in the world.

Rene then thinks *SPOILER ALERT* that she is the most beautiful person on the planet. This new confidence gets her a boyfriend, admiration, her dream job, more admiration, better friends, even more admiration and eventually she starts to become an asshole. Eventually, she hits her head again and the confidence is gone.

The confusing part for the audience is that she never looks different. Rene thinks she looks different, but she doesn’t. Her appearance never changes. So what happened to her? Was it a wish? Was it magic? Was it a traumatic brain injury? This didn’t really bother me until the beginning of the end of the film, when she *SPOILER ALERT* hits her head again and is back to insecure Rene. She says, “It’s gone.” But what’s gone?????

There are movies similar to this. Some that are examples in the film itself…*cough* Big. Yet in Big or Shallow Hal the audience sees the change. We see what the character sees, which makes it believable. 

After the magic is gone the writing gets a little wonky and the resolution takes too long to develop. Her character’s choices don’t seem realistic and the consequences are as equally unbelievable. Frankly, her actions and that scene in the bar with Ethan was annoying.

By the end of the end of the film it starts to come back together, but I was still so confused by the falling action that I wasn’t emotionally invested in these characters anymore.

I think this film had some really nice things to say about being yourself and being confident in who you are, but the delivery of that message got a little messy. It is still funny, entertaining, and has some good eye candy, but there is a reason it has a 36% on Rotten Tomatoes.

A Quiet Place

Release date: April 6th, 2018


I’ve never heard a movie theater that was so quiet in my life. This includes the time I saw X Men Origins: Wolverine in a theater by myself….jk.

Seriously though, I never knew a movie with such few sounds or dialogue could be soooo good. I have John Krasinksi to thank for this I guess. Not only did he star in the movie he also directed, wrote and co-produced the film. Ben Affleck style.

A Quiet Place is about a family who is living in a dystopian world where they must be silent to survive. The film starts in a sort of flashback, day 89, in which we witness *SPOILER ALERT* the death of the Abbott family’s youngest son. The little boy finds a toy space ship in a store and even after having it taken from him, he ends up with it on the trail back home and turns it on. The film jumps forward about a year at this point, but that tragedy is a huge piece of the story and these characters.

John Krasinski plays the father and he is accompanied by such a great cast. Emily Blunt, his real-life wife, played his movie-wife. Noah Jupe played the older son and Millicent Simmonds, who is arguably the main character, played their daughter.

All of the posters feature Emily Blunt, who delivers (pun intended) a great performance. She is the mother and a driving force in the storyline, but I really think the daughter has a much more meaningful role and received the most character development.

She is deaf in a world where any sound can mean being ripped to shreds by what can only be described as spider-people with overly sensitive auditory systems. And she ends up being *SPOILER ALERT* the hero. Her weakness ends up being her greatest strength. She is literally the opposite of the monsters and is able to provide redemption for all of the characters in some way. It is, in fact, quite beautiful.

Needless to say, this film is very well written. It weaves very relatable themes of loss, surviving within your means, and searching for your loved-ones approval all within the horror movie plot of being eaten by monsters. There are a few moments where the filmmakers (er…John Krasinski) are specifically going for a scare, but overall I don’t think it was that scary. I may have even cried and by that I mean I did cry.

Even though, A Quiet Place may not have been The Ring scary, the world these character’s live in would make anyone fearful. I think that’s why the theater was so silent.

It wasn’t that people didn’t want to be rude to their fellow movie-goers, it was because the audience was under the belief that a loud sound would mean danger. The reality being presented on screen becomes so believable to the audience that for that hour and half we are another character in that world. To me that means that movie worked and the director did his job.

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And that ending. Perfect.

Clue

Release date: December 13th, 1985

I know I’m a little late to the party, but this movie was hilarious.

So funny that I’m currently watching it for a second time in the same week.

The DVD features the option to watch the film with one of three alternate endings chosen at random or with all three played back to back.

I thought the story would be better served with just one ending at a time. So I choose the first option.

In hindsight, all three at once would have been the best option. Because really only one is the “real” ending. I don’t like movies with alternate ending. It can be confusing and disrupts the reality of the picture.

All I knew about this film going into it is that it is based on the board game. With only the characters, the weapons, and the rooms to go on I knew very little of what to expect of the storyline.

But I did also know it was funny. When I purchased this movie on a whim at the grocery store last week the cashier upon checking me out got so excited and exclaimed she loved this movie. She even made reference to a funny part in the movie, not that I knew what she was talking about at the time. Anyways her excitement reaffirmed my choice to purchase this movie.

All of these characters are hilarious, but my favorites are Mrs Peacock (she shouts everything), Colonel Mustard (dry and cynical, my favorite combination) and of course Wadsworth, played brilliantly by Tim Curry.

He was the real star. Watching him dart back and forth around the mansion was so funny. Every time I thought he was dead I was heartbroken for a split second. Only to be laughing again the next.

The writing in this film is brilliant. It is clever and almost makes fun of itself at times, but not in a pretentious way.

While the dialogue was great already, it was enhanced by the music, physical comedy, and perfect overacting to make Clue the ridiculous murder mystery that it is.

I will say that the amount of murders got to be a little ridiculous, but I think that’s the point.

Well to make a long story short. (Too late.) This will now be one of my go to funny movies when I’m in a dark mood. It in the same category with The Burbs, Fargo to me.

I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite lines:

“Your first husband also disappeared… Well that was his job, he was an illusionist… But he never reappeared…. He wasn’t a very good illusionist.”

“Two corpses. Everything’s fine.”

“How would you know? You weren’t in that men’s room!”

“How can you make jokes at a time like this? …it’s my defense mechanism.”

“You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. Every cook will tell you that….well look what happened to the cook!”

“6 murders altogether…Things are getting serious.”

“Well a lot of our airmen died because their radios didn’t work.”