Les Misérables (2019)

Do you hear the people screen, screening the films of Academy? They are watching all the foreign films that might take home a win!

Even if they share a name, with other films going for the same!

And if it gets the nom, and goes up for an award, it will likely lose to Parasite all the same!

I hope you sang that. Here is a French film not based on but named after the French book, Les Misérables.

beard
Shit, they even got Jean Valjean in this.
Stéphane Ruiz (Damien Bonnard) is a country man, moving to the big city. He was a cop, and is still a cop. But there are a lot of differences out there compared to the big city of Paris. We have a lot of groups here. Immigrants, various religions, the poor. Ruiz is about to work in one of the worst and hardest districts out there, but not without some training.

He is to follow around Chris (Alexis Manenti) and Gwada (Djibril Zonga), partners who have been running the day shift for quite some time. They don’t report every crime, no, they are here for relationship buildings. They simmer down the tensions between the various groups. They fix the growing insecurities and shake down when they need to, skirting the edge between legal and illegal.

Ruiz definitely doesn’t like the cut of Chris’ jib, but he has to go along with it. Harassing young people, dealing with criminals, all of that. And then eventually, while actually doing something potentially right, the men get overrun by the youth who are just trying to protect a friend. Then something bad occurs, and it occurs on film.

So now they have limited time to try and fix it, before maybe all hell breaks lose with the factions.

Also starring Issa Perica, Al-Hassan Ly, Almamy Kanouté, Steve Tientcheu, and Nizar Ben Fatma.

cops
The body armor shows they are cops. That’s all it takes in Paris.

The film took me awhile to really grasp. I read only a little bit about it, and it said it was based or inspired on some riots in Paris in 2005. So naturally I assumed it would take place in 2005 and be those riots, but no, it takes place in modern times. We got iPhones, drones, and all of that.

I didn’t know anything about these riots in 2005, and I still technically don’t know anything about them now. There is one scene where it is mentioned, and that is it. But we do have some riots in this film near the end, but presumably on a much smaller scale.

I was also lost a little bit culturally, as getting all of the references and tensions between various groups didn’t come naturally. At one point the dick cop is making references to modern day Paris and the book Les Miserables, and the puns or jokes he was making didn’t make a lick of sense.

However, despite that, we do have a lot of tense, edge of your seat moments. I enjoyed the drama and the dilemmas that our leads were put in, and really didn’t anticipate where they ended up. I was scared by the end of the movie, while also unsure if I was upset by the events unfolding.

A better cultural understanding of Paris and past riots would make for a more full experience I believe, but on its own, it is a solid criminal cops doing bad and good things situation.

3 out of 4.

Bad Boys For Life

Bad Boys bad boys, Michael gonna Bay, Michael gonna Bay and explode on you.

As of last week, I had not seen either of the Bad Boys movies. I did make sure to check out the first two before this third one quite a few years later. I figured the plot would be relevant [Editor’s Note: It wasn’t] to previous movies and didn’t want to be lost. And honestly, neither were my jam at all. I can’t remember much about the first film, and only a few scenes from the sequel stand out. It was definitely a chore I had to put up with.

And let’s talk about this title? Bad Boys For Life. I guess they don’t have high expectations for future films, letting go of that obvious for for the fourth film there.

And yes, I know Michael Bay didn’t direct this one. Let me have my fun.

ooohyeah
Lawrence is mostly just excited to have work at this point. 

Set all the real life years after the other movies, we have our heroes Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) getting older and getting into slightly less trouble. Mike still feels he is king of the world and untouchable. Marcus is slowing down, ready to retire, and over a lot of this stuff. Hell, he is a grandfather now. He wants to make sure he can see his grandson grow up and now get shot at some point in the future.

At the same time, some Hispanic lady (Kate del Castillo) broke out of prison in Mexico, thanks to her son (Jacob Scipio), and they seem to have plans about getting their family back on top. Finding some lost money, getting the literal gang back together. All of that. And she wants revenge, for everyone who hurt the family, including a Mike Lowrey many years ago.

Oh yeah, they have history. But you don’t know about it, since it took place before even the first movie, because why not.

Anyways, not sure what else to talk about. Scary threat and scary bad people, and maybe some people will die.

Also starring Alexander Ludwig, Vanessa Hudgens, Joe Pantoliano, Paola Nuñez, Charles Melton, and DJ Khaled.

panning shot
Oh yeah, everyone is getting too old for this shit. 

Bad Boys for Life could have been a better film. The ideas were there. Some of the characters were there. But it did not ever reach the potential and by the end, we were left with the same damn shit.

First I want to talk about Martin Lawrence, featuring a fatter head because he has been a lot more out of the spotlight. Honestly, it fits his character. And I loved his character in the first half of the movie. A grandson changed his life. He had new priorities. He prayed and stick to his prayers. It was actually a delight to see. And uhh, eventually, it was all just thrown away and hey, action movie, shoot gun, bang bang bang killing people. Okay.

Second note. In the middle of the movie we get a big speech from a character and it is meant to be this big moment. A change of heart speech. And then a really bad thing happens at that moment. Mike realizes at that point that everyone else was right, and that he was wrong. He was doing the bad stuff, he shouldn’t be involved, he needs to let others handle the current issue at hand. Hell, Marcus was right and Mike was wrong. They establish it, we all agree with it.

AND THEN RIGHT AFTER THEY GO BACK TO DOING THE BAD THING THEY ALL JUST AGREED SHOULDN’T BE DONE.

What in the hell? I feel like I was taking crazy pills.

This is a film that has some good laughs and scenes, and has good ideas, that get tossed aside on a whim to give us just another buddy cop action film. It didn’t stick the landing in terms of character growth at all, especially with the actual ending, which became a standard big kill fest with expendable bad guys, fire, and some underwhelming CGI.

Oh yeah, and there is no need to watch either previous movie. Despite having a villain from the past, it certainly isn’t one in the first two movies. Despite having a character that was in a relationship with Mike in the past, it is another thing that happened off screen. Completely lazy writing at points for these minor details, and, you know, the main plot of the dang film.

I am just so upset that it had potential and started off way better than expected.

2 out of 4.

Arctic Dogs

Ohhh, box office failures? Guess I have to see it.

Much like you all, I never heard about the movie Arctic Dogs coming out to theaters. It wasn’t given to the press. If it had an advertising budget, it went up someone’s ass.

Arctic Dogs went to theaters on November 1st, and completely bombed. It opened in over 2,800 theaters and currently (at time of writing) has the worst amount earned in an opening weekend for that many theaters at just $2.9 million. Completely, and utterly destroyed by its competition.

But surely an animated film about some doggos can’t be that bad?

pages
Oh. Foxes. Maybe. Never mind.

Swifty (Jeremy Renner) is an arctic fox, living in, well, the Arctic. He is super white, blends in with the snow, and thus, others seem to just ignore him and let him do his own thing.

Oh, yeah, this is a animals as humans movie. And the coolest animals in this small town are the Arctic Dogs super hero animals. What do they do? Oh. They deliver mail and packages to other small towns. Cool.

So naturally Swifty wants to be an Arctic Dog sledder, despite being a fox. And he meets the weight requirements, but isn’t really strong. So he is sent into the warehouse to help stamp packages, looking on the outside in.

Well, one time, Swifty has to send out a package. And it is to a weird Walrus recluse (John Cleese) who has Puffins working for him, all weird. And apparently that is enough for the Walrus to get rid of all the Arctic Dogs, just in case.

Now it is up to Swifty to deliver the packages, and, maybe, one day, also save the day.

Also starring Alec Baldwin, Anjelica Huston, Heidi Klum, James Franco, Laurie Holden, and Omar Sy.

redacted
Yep, Walrus on a robot spider bod. The ladies love it.

You see, Arctic Dogs isn’t bad enough to warrant its record. I mean, it is bad sure. But it is straight to DVD bad, not let’s scorn this movie so it never tries this nonsense again, bad.

Voice casting, most of it is uninspired. Not even John Cleese could save it with his wonderful words and accent. Hero is generic. We have had plenty of times someone who wants to be something, that he literally shouldn’t be able to do, but does it anyways because perseverance. But they keep doing it with animals or inanimate objects so that the real message is lost.

At least this time in this movie he didn’t just train hard enough to eventually get the job and prove people wrong. No, he got the job because all of the others were captured. Why? Because of plot reasons that don’t make at all any sense. Why would the villain want to take out all of the mail delivery dogs, when he still needs to get mail delivered to finish his evil plot? … … … Ohhh, because of poor writing.

Our female lead has the personality of Engineer, which is at least slightly different than the personality of scientist. And she unknowingly helps the bad guy the whole time, because I guess she isn’t smart enough to know what she is building? And there could be plot resolved from this earlier, if the main characters could talk better.

Oh, and let’s not forget the bad guys motivations. He is used to represent Global Warming, because its great to have a single source for the blame and make things fixable.

I just…I don’t know why the plot is so, so, so, so bad. The animation is definitely okay/average. But the terrible plot, nonsensical decisions and overdone tenants of the story line make this a disaster from the start. Good thing no one watched it.

0 out of 4.

Worst Films of 2019

(dis)HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Just a few this time! A Hidden Life, for having me waste my life with another Terrence Malick movie. We have Dumbo, for being a soulless remake from Disney, with bigger eyes cause of Tim Burton. Skin, which surprisingly isn’t in the top 15, because I always like to include ones people maybe never heard about before, so they don’t stumble into it in the future. And The Last Astronaut, which I don’t know if it counts as a 2019 release, because I saw it at a festival and it was a snooze.

15) Jexi
Why is it on the list? Honestly, a vindictive Siri like app on a phone could be interesting or funny, but it went there in all of the worst ways. Bumper can’t lead a movie on his own.
Least favorite moment? Wasting Michael Peña.
Any Worst Awards? Worst digital sex scene of 2019!

15
14) Breakthrough
Why is it on the list? This true story becoming a religious miracle is pretty week. Very little happens, except for a boy laying around in a hospital bed, while people discuss what to and not to do.
Least favorite moment? Unnecessary young hip pastor and religious conservative overcoming their differences.
Any Worst Awards? Worst film about people sitting around and waiting of 2019!

14
13) A Dog’s Way Home
Why is it on the list? A film like Homeward Bound, but with less personality, and a whole lot weaker story. They could have made this with a pit bull and had a bigger message overall.
Least favorite moment? The cartoon-y dog catcher.
Any Worst Awards? Nope. Turns out I have similar films that are like this but worse, so it gets nothing out of me.

13
12) The Secret life of Pets 2
Why is it on the list? This movie is a jumbled mess of various plot lines that get badly wrapped up together at the end. They repeat the mistakes of the first, and go even worse with it.
Least favorite moment? The farm subplot.
Any Worst Awards? Worst animated movie about pets of 2019!

12
11) A Dog’s Journey
Why is it on the list? In order to maximize tears, this sequel gives us four dog deaths and a real person death at very predictable times! That is the point of dog movies right? For them to get home or to watch them die.
Least favorite moment? Any conversation with the mom.
Any Worst Awards? Worst movie about actual pets of 2019!

11
10) Dark Phoenix
Why is it on the list? This movie is so bad, they dropped “X-Men” from the title. If at first they don’t succeed, make a worst version of it over a decade later I guess.
Least favorite moment? Stairs.
Any Worst Awards? Worst superhero film of 2019!

10
9) Overcomer
Why is it on the list? Oof, this guy has never made a film that can stand on its own. It could have been an okay sports story. But since they made it up, went heavy on religion, and pretty much set up an elaborate ploy to cheat, I don’t know who would enjoy it.
Least favorite moment? Where the dad yells at his loved ones.
Any Worst Awards? Worst sports movie where they win by cheating of 2019!

9
8) Poms
Why is it on the list? Completely low energy, boring performances, and a cookie cutter feel good cast with villains who are villains because poor writers.
Least favorite moment? The “wow the video has gone viral!” scene.
Any Worst Awards? Worst sports movie of 2019!

8
7) Playing With Fire
Why is it on the list? A film straight out of the 1990’s or early 2000’s, that includes a popular wrestler, who is too cool for kids, and has to deal with kids. Hah! Hilarious!
Least favorite moment? The end of the birthday party is tied with the wedding scene.
Any Worst Awards? Worst wrestler in a lead role, worst use of MLP, and worst comedy of 2019!

7
6) Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
Why is it on the list? The first one shouldn’t have been remade, to redeem a character who means evil. But then they did it, and doubled down on her being evil. Because why not. Also let’s have the plot be very similar, but bigger.
Least favorite moment? The forever lasting final battle.
Any Worst Awards? Worst fantasy, worst sequel, and worst live action “remake” of 2019!

6
5) Playmobil: The Movie
Why is it on the list? Not just feeling like a bad lego movie, it has poor animation, weird voice acting, and a plot that is meant for only those who have practically no attention span.
Least favorite moment? The parts where it was animated.
Any Worst Awards? Worst advertisement film, worst partial musical, and worst animated film of 2019!

5
4) Cats
Why is it on the list? Lacking a plot worth talking about, this movie musical is just a series of introductions until it finally ends, with visuals that you will never get used to.
Least favorite moment? The boat rescue.
Any Worst Awards? Worst CGI, worst furry fantasy, and worst musical of 2019!

4
3) Climax
Why is it on the list? I will admit the movie is disturbing which it set out to do, and sure, a horror/thriller. But disturbing doesn’t mean its also good. This movie is a crime against my eyes.
Least favorite moment? All the terrible set up for child trauma and rape.
Any Worst Awards? Worst horror, worst sex scenes, and worst dance movie of 2019!

3
2) The Fanatic
Why is it on the list? Well, Travolta is actually acting in this movie. But the movie is so stupid and pointless, a shell of a potentially greater film, that it feels awkward when one person is trying to swim, but everything else is shit.
Least favorite moment? Our fan first asking for the autograph.
Any Worst Awards? Worst thriller, worst t-shirts, worst “event to make the plot start” of 2019!

2
1) Unplanned
Why is it on the list? There is a lot of things wrong with this film. Being a religious film doesn’t make it inherently bad, but increases the chance of being really low quality story wise. Couple that with a giant attack against one of the best organizations around to try and help provide support to those who don’t have it because our country’s health care sucks. And of course the lead character is a hypocrite, who had abortions and was grateful for those choices/abilities, and now actively makes sure that others can’t? Sounds like a raging asshole.
Least favorite moment? Any moment her boss, the straw woman, talked about needing to up those abortion numbers because of money!
Any Worst Awards? Worst religious movie, worst “real story” film, worst drama, and worst movie of 2019!

1

Thanks for reading! If you disagree with part of this list, let me know. If there is something I missed, let me know (but I probably saw it and reviewed it on this very site!

And as always, I accept hate mail via the post office, email, or tweets.

Underwater

To start this review, let’s talk about Underwater as a concept.

What does it mean to be underwater? Usually, someone who says that they are underwater means they have water above them. And they are rarely actually under water while speaking, because that is hard to do when surrounded by water.

But if you have water over you, there is a good chance you still have more water under you too. Right? To be under something you really just need to be under a little bit of it apparently. You can be completely surrounded by water, so why would you be so weirdly specific in order to just say you are under it?

Seems ridiculous. Speaking of being ridiculous and not super specific, let’s get on to the review.

swimsuit
Not much water surrounding these folks!

As you will try to read very quickly at the start of the film, as newspaper headlines/taglines/regular lines flash across the screen with the occasional strobe, there are big underwater research/drilling sites. Super big, bottom of the ocean, with drills going far down. Why? Energy or something. And I guess some earthquakes are happening and weird things. But we don’t have time for that.

We only have time for Norah (Kristen Stewart), who is contemplating what it means to exist and sleep and work, when the explosions immediately start rocking the ship. Panic, running, and immediately she helps save the day by blocking the water from blowing up the whole place. Norah, along with some stranglers she meets (Mamoudou Athie, T.J. Miller) make it up to the escape pods, and darn it, they are already gone.

She does meet the captain (Vincent Cassel) and some more crew members (Jessica Henwick, John Gallagher Jr.) and realize they don’t have much time to get out. The top is collapsing. The bottom is flooded. They make a quick plan to descend to the sea floor, get int these sweet underwater suits, and walk a long distance to an older station that should still have some escape pods. It is their only chance.

But what caused the explosions down there? What made the horrible sounds in the last drill recording, what is banging on their walls, and what is out for their blood?

new swim suits
Not great for speed swimming, but good for not blowing up purposes.

I expected Underwater to be much worse than it actually ended up being.

I saw a giant standee for it a few months ago and sent it to my wife that it would be bad. It had T.J. Miller on the standee, third name! What? The Bomb threat guy? The one who beat his girlfriend? The drunk and wants to fight man? Why is he in a movie right now?

Oh, turns out this was made in 2017, before a lot of that, and took forever to come out.

Now surprinsgly, it wasn’t completely terrible. Miller was terrible yes. And the film early on had an issue where it refused to let the audience fully react to scenes or let us see how characters got out of a jam. Quick jumps in time, that gets us through potentially boring struggles I guess? One quite annoying one had them crashing to the sea floor on a ride, hurrying to get the door open to jump, and then the next instant they were all on the sea floor running. What the hell? Where’s my jump?

A lot of the film uses the dark depths and hard to distinguish up/down to its advantage to confuse the viewer. But honestly, the monsters were really a cool design. I love what they did with them. Reminded me of underwater ghost vampires in a way, and sure, Cthulhu in another.

This film gets straight to the point at the beginning, and isn’t a long run time. It is relatively predictable, but it has some sweet visuals that can produce some scares and some relatively fun moments.

2 out of 4.

The Aeronauts

The Aeronauts is a an end of year movie that should have had all of the pomp and circumstance of a summer release and…did not. Because Amazon Studios bought it, I guess they felt it only deserved some amount of release, and one of those online a month or so later.

It was really swell of them to do that for me, as I got to see it before the end of 2019!

Although, I was curious about how the device would affect my enjoyment of the movie. So I split it into thirds by time, not my plot (as I hadn’t seen it yet). I started with my regular desktop computer, then the next third was my phone, and my final third was my living room television.

And the results will not surprise you at all!

smile
The results are as shocking as this balloon ride.
The Aeronauts is a fictionalized telling of James Glaisher (Eddie Redmayne), famed weather scientist, and him going on a balloon to do some science. His goal was to go super high up, higher than anyone else, with all the science equipment in order to help predict weather patterns and just figure out shit about the atmosphere.

His partner in crime? Fictional, Amelia Wren (Felicity Jones), hot air balloon pilot, loosely based on Sophie Blanchard. She was good a piloting, even though on one of her recent missions, her husband (Vincent Perez) died in the balloon, so that sucks a lot. She is all about the flair and the spectacle in order to get financing behind these trips. Science be damned, she just wants to fly and redeem herself.

And yeah. This is a movie about the hot air balloon trip that almost killed them both, where they went higher than any human before, and science’d a whole lot. Sort of based off of a real trip done, but way less crazy.

Also starring Himesh Patel, Phoebe Fox, Rebecca Front, and Robert Glenister.

ice
She’s as cold as ice, but not willing to sacrifice their love. 

First, the screen results. I was much more excited abotu the movie and interested in its plot the bigger the screen. Shocking ahh! If you got to watch this on IMAX, I am jealous, because it is a beautiful movie with a lot of CGI that works really well together to take us on a trip above the clouds.

The biggest selling point for the film is the visuals.

Redmayne and Jones have really good chemistry together, and despite the story being told in a disjointed order, it doesn’t take away from their short and important flight.

Unfortunately, it is also really hard to get super psyched about this movie, knowing it is far closer to a fake tale than anything else. If it was sold just a fiction story? It’d be a fun adventure. But it is being sold as the sort of true story, and now the whole thing is muddled. This is not something you would get actual useful knowledge out of. It should not be seen as educational.

Unfortunately, the whole film is set up in a way to highlight this one big important moment and flight that really didn’t exist. A cool story, destroyed by its details.

2 out of 4.

Breakthrough

I love a good movie about ice. I mean, did you see Aquarela? It was 33% about ice, then the rest was just water.

In this film, it looks like ice is the villain of the story. There it is, trying to just exist on top of a river or a lake, and these assholes start to walk all over it. And when they fall in and drown, what, the ice is the bad guy?

Do you break a window with a baseball and go “hey, how dare you break and make my baseball go inside of the house, you asshole glass!”

With Breakthrough, the ice will break, and through the ice, we will find Jesus.


This scene happens a lot when Jesus takes the wheel of your car.

John Smith (Marcel Ruiz), what a basic name! And he feels really basic. He was born in Guatemala, but his parents put him up for adoption, which is why Joyce (Chrissy Metz) and (Josh Lucas) adopted him and brought him to St. Louis, Missouri. Basically Guatemala 2.0.

They are super religious, and he is super apathetic. He wants to be cool and hang with his friends, but he lacks an identity. And really quickly, with his friends, they all fall through some ice and start to drown. They are at various levels of cold when help arrives, but John is ultra-fucked. He is underwater. He was underwater for 15 minutes before they could begin any sort of recitation.

And guess what! Well, he isn’t dead. But he is in a comma. And he was kind of drowned for a long time. If he recovers, he will probably have mental problems.

Thankfully, Joyce is super religious and demands a lot of prayer and positivity and eventually he comes back against expectations, with a new lease on life. In fact, he starts loving Jesus a little bit more, which means the doctors were right about how he might be if he recovers.

Also starring Topher Grace as youthful hip pastor, Dennis Haysbert as a doctor, and Mike Colter as firefighter who saved him.


Checkmate atheists.

I guess these real life Christian dramas are running out of good material to work through. Does it feel miraculous that this kid survived despite being under water for 15 minutes? In the ice? Hell yeah it does. Good job firefighters and doctors and everyone who kept him alive and his parents for not pulling the plug early.

But why the hell is this a movie? It is so god awfully boring.

The ice thing happens early on, which it should, because everything for that is just introductions and filler. And then it takes until near the very end for him to be good again. So most of the time is just, you know, lying in a hospital, with minor inconveniences occurring every once in awhile.

Acting performances aren’t wonderful, it didn’t make me cry at all (which when these sorts of films are slightly better made, usually can make me cry) and it is a goddamn drag.

Please pick cooler miracles to make movies next time. Or at least ones with more exciting medical drama in the middle, like in Miracles From Heaven.

0 out of 4.

Climax

I was told a few warnings about Climax before watching it. Not about actual content, but more about the director, Gaspar Noé.

A controversial fellow, Noé has done plenty of films that I have never seen and shorts I have never seen. Apparently Love was very graphic, but I never got around to it.

I can expect a movie called Climax to be graphic. It is sort of there, in the name. I can hear warnings about French film, but that is really hard to put into one box.

No matter the warnings I received, none of them were really enough and none of them could really explain just what I was getting myself into when I decided to finally check out Climax.

showoff
And I felt. fabulous! No, wait. The opposite of that word!

In this movie, we have a few people who are getting a dance troupe together. Selva (Sofia Boutella) is the lead dancer of the troupe, and is working with someone else to pick people for their group and the music. I won’t tag anyone else in it, because everyone else is professional music people/dancers in some way only, and that is why they are in this movie.

The movie opens with a big, long dance sequence in one shot that is interesting, but strange. No wait, before that they show clips from fake interviews with these dancers on questions they asked before joining the troupe. No wait, before that, we see a woman bloody running in the snow. Oh.

After the big dance number, we get to see people talking. People dancing. Some interactions between a few of the characters. Back and forth talks between just pairs, making you really strain to pay attention to the plot point of the film. This is where you get backstory, kind of, sort of! After that confusion ends, we go back to dancing and people interacting.

But, the dancing gets stronger. The people get angrier. The people get weirder. Oh no, someone spiked the sangria and a lot of people are now going on a bad trip.

And then a lot of bad stuff happens the rest of the night, resulting in some deaths, some rape, some deaths, some uncomfortable moments, some sex, some dancing, and some other gross unfortunate terrible moments. Hooray!

dance
Hooray?

I think I definitely did more of a plot description than normal compared to other films. And it feels justified.

There are quite obvious from the conversations early on that seem to be the main focus, and some of the characters who are definitely less of a nice person. The interview portion is completely forgettable after the dance, and probably should be rewatched for clues now that you know the characters better. But it is a huge struggle early on to remember what aspects of what characters were told and are important, with there being such a big cast of dancers and the conversations going so quick.

Now, once the tone shift happens in the film, and everyone starts to get on the bad trip, it definitely gives an uncomfortable feeling to the viewer. Oh no, bad things. And guess what? Basically every bad thing you can imagine happening, based on the earlier conversations and events, totally does happen.

It is very predictable in regards to probably the three worse things that occur in the movie. And this is a wildly gross and sometimes scary film, but having the worst/grossest parts easy to guess seems odd. Basically, if it could go bad, it does go bad.

I will admit, I first just assumed everyone was going to die in some extreme ridiculous ways, and not a lot of people die by the end. But no one is super happy by the end. People have been violated, or killed, or threatened, or raped, and it is just uncomfortable moment after uncomfortable moment. And the whole time we are getting a constant trance background beat, with some characters constantly screaming in the background. We get a power outage and thus, more darkness, a “scarier” hue to the whole thing, and even more bad stuff.

It has a lot of uncomfortable moments, but at no point does it feel worth it. Like you should have to see it, like any character deserves their fate. It is just basic exploitation for the sake of.

And what the hell. There were like, three times in the first half of the film where we got opening credits. I don’t know what was going on there.

0 out of 4.

The Fanatic

What? You didn’t see The Fanatic in theaters? I mean, it would have been impressive. It only opened on 52 screens and made a few thousand dollars, so it was a big bomb, but an expected big bomb.

Apparently it isn’t the 1970’s and John Travolta isn’t a big box office draw anymore. Did you know that? I hadn’t heard and neither did Fred Durst.

Fred Durst directed The Fanatic and it is his third directed movie, with this one being really not similar to anything else he has done before, and his first directed movie in over a decade.

There is a lot going wrong with the Fanatic, but I will go into more detail about that later.

choke
And we are all just choking with anticipation over this film. 

Moose (John Travolta), don’t worry, it is a nickname, is a loser. He thinks he is awesome and thinks his movie knowledge should be celebrated, but no one cares. He dresses up on the street to get tips from tourists, but his accent is bad, his characters are bad, and his jokes are nonexistent. How dare the world not see his wonder!

He has a lot of passions that deal with movies, besides watching them, including getting things autographed and speaking to these celebrities. He gets an opportunity to see Hunter Dunbar (Devon Sawa), whom he regards as one of the greatest horror actors of his time! I honestly couldn’t tell if he actually thinks that, or if he thinks that purely because he happens to be in town at that moment. He seems like the type who would say that just because as a better chance of getting autographs.

Either way, he waits in a line for awhile, and right before his autograph, Hunter has to take a quick sidebar out back to talk to his ex wife about kid situations. Not a big deal. Until Moose decides he needs to go out right after, hearing his personal conversations and still trying to get an autograph at the worst time.

This pisses off Hunter. So he curses him out and vows to not sign his stuff, and stay away from him. So Moose does not stay away. He finds his house, talks to his kid, sneaks in, tries to apologize, you know all the grossest stuff he could have done. The Fan needs his closure damn it, and he is going to tie up Hunter and kidnap him if he has to.

Also starring Ana Golja, Jacob Grodnik, and James Paxton.

sign
Sign the paper, or he’ll put on worse button up shirts!

Ooof. Where does one begin?

Travolta seems to be doing something very strange in this movie. I feel like he is for sure acting and trying to get into this role. But this role is terrible. Not in a “what a bad person, I am fascinated” type of situation, but just, badly written and designed. That part isn’t his fault, I guess.

But never do I feel scared about his character, or sorry for him, or really any emotion at all. I feel a little slimy mostly. And I feel a little stupid. Like myself, personally, somehow I am now stupid for this whole thing.

This is the type of story that could have been good, it could have felt threatening, like Misery! But it just absolutely feels like nothing and achieves nothing on the way to that point. A waste of time for everyone involved and the poor people like me who had to watch it.

0 out of 4.

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

Maleficent stormed onto the scene many years ago, one of the first of the Disney live action titles, outside of that bad Alice one.And it was pretty forgettable. A weak plot, a lot of time of just watching a kid grow up, and then some terrible CGI fight battles.

But hey, the whole reason for doing it is to say that someone with the name of Maleficent,meaning to cause harm supernaturally, isn’t actually bad. Oh okay. And sure, they made her seem misunderstood, and basically a revenge film about a rape, metaphors aside.

So why is this sequel, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, doubling down on the badness? But she isn’t bad. Just bad looking. Now she is also the mistress of evil? I uhh, don’t know why they want to do this?

I’ll go ahead and say this early enough, that they don’t have a good plot reason for this title.

green
Ah, green fire magic. Magic-y. Evil. 

Alright, so Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) was a sort of hero, killing a king who was a liar and a bad person, and I guess everyone agreed? She magically got her wings back and restored some sort of order, and went back to her magical forest to chill with magic forest people.

But apparently in like, a year or two, the story changes so much that she is a bad guy again. Cool.

Well, Aurora (Elle Fanning) wants to get married finally though, to Prince Philip (Harris Dickinson), who was definitely recast between movies. So they get their parents together, Aurora finding Maleficent, and Philip getting King John (Robert Lindsay) and Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer).

Neither set of parents like this at all, especially not Ingrith, who sets about immediately being a bitch. This leads to a curse being cast on a King, Maleficent noping the hell out of there, and then a war against the fey, again.

But hey, this time there are going to be lots of people like Maleficent this time, so you know, bigger stakes, and lots of CGI warring.

Also starring Sam Riley, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ed Skrein, David Gyasi, Jenn Murray, Juno Temple, Lesley Manville, and Imelda Staunton.

wedding
The king has huge look of regret about this whole thing.

Without a doubt, this is a two hour movie that feels like four hours. On the first day of the year, ready to watch a bunch of films, I was completely warn out after this one, my 2nd film of the day, because of how much this movie dragged.

This felt like more of the same, with worse reasoning for existing. This time, the big CGI fest battle happened for a bigger chunk of the movie, if we start it with the very obvious double cross that started against the magical creatures.

This film tries to do more world building this time, but it is building a world, answering questions none of us had. Maleficent is stronger and better than others because. Just because.

Pfeiffer’s character is completely stupid in this film. An antagonist without a good reason. And honestly, Pfeiffer does nothing to really elevate the role at all, she is here for a paycheck.

Maleficent 2 is a movie with more CGI that is exhausting in his excess without being worth looking at. It has acting from all fronts that is forgettable. It tells a story that is very, very similar to the first one, but with “bigger scales” that don’t really matter either. It is a waste of what felt like four hours of my life.

0 out of 4.