Peppermint

When is the last time Jennifer Garner was in an action movie? I really don’t know. Quickly glancing, my guess is in 2007 when she was in The Kingdom, but I could have missed something else over the last 11 years.

She has been “mom” in so many movies for so long, it is hard to imagine her doing anything badass. Hell, she is the current voice for the Mama in Llama Llama, a simple as fuck show on Netflix.

I just cannot imagine her kicking butt and doing anything believable. I can imagine her making me cry, sure. I can imagine her caring for her kids. But the lady who made me teary in a Christian movie (a hard task), Miracles from Heaven, has to do a huge shift in momentum for me to imagine her wrecking house.

All I am saying is that Peppermint has a hill to climb from the get go.

Sad
I too may weep when it comes to the family dying scene.

Riley North (Jennifer Garner) is not a porn star name, but a young mother who just wants to do whatever she can to protect her family. That probably doesn’t make it feel less porn star yet.

Their family is struggling a bit, but they are making things work. Her daughter (Cailey Fleming) is having issues with friends. Her husband (Jeff Hephner) is trying to find additional sources of income. Some low life comes to him with an idea, about stealing from a drug dealer in a fool proof plan. He turns it down overall, but apparently the dealer (Juan Pablo Raba) already got word about it, and wants to make sure a message is sent. And that message involves being gunned down in public, taking out the daughter as well but not fully killing Riley.

Riley takes things to trial, clearly pointing out in a line up the culprits, but yet the crime lord has great lawyers, and has the D.A. and judge in his pocket.

So what’s a girl to do? Maybe get some fat stacks of cash, run away around the world, and train for about five years in combat, shooting, whatever, in order to come back for revenge to take down anyway who let this corruption happen.

Also starring John Gallagher Jr., John Ortiz, Annie Ilonzeh, and Method Man.

Gun
Mommy’s got a gun, bad guns on the run, shoot ’em as they come.

In retrospect, Garner is the perfect person for this role. After the last decade of being a mom, in this movie, her extreme mom-ness mattered. She needed to have that loving, do anything for family look, and she has nailed that over the years. She also has some experience with action films and shows before that time, so working with stunt crews, choreography, etc would probably be second nature, even after this time. Peppermint called for a vengeful mom in order to work, and Garner fit the role very well.

Now, the film on its own does do a lot of strange things. It tells the story out of order early on, which mostly feels unnecessary. We get to see all of this build up of the case that she is so angry about, with these players. We especially got a lot of action with their lawyer. And yet when she is doing her revenge killings, we barely see any of the actual people involved getting punished. We get to see the judge get murdered, we see one of the shooters in a quick tussle, but the lawyer is completely ignored. A man who threatens her, has dialogue, is killed off screen and not even shown a death. It doesn’t make sense.

Instead most of her violent vendetta is shown against the gang itself, who sure, were involved with the death of her family. But didn’t actively do the dead or the cover up, just orchestrated it. It was very strange to not give us that initial satisfaction. They also made it way too easy for these initial things, deciding to brush it all over by turning her into some female batman who had some money and some years of training.

The film is still definitely entertaining. There are twists I tried to guess and was surprised with how they turned out. An okay film overall, one that you can reasonable accept and go along with.

And to answer the question you probably had, no, I did not cry when the family died. That probably says a lot about the film, I imagine.

2 out of 4.

Perfect Bid: The Contestant Who Knew Too Much

I love me some game shows. LOVE. When I had game show network, I would always make that my channel of choice while I worked around the house, or played video games, or tried to sleep. A good show to help stimulate my mind, fill me with useless trivia, whatever. I stopped caring about GSN of course when it just turned into the Steve Harvey Family Feud channel, instead of…well, anything else.

Game Shows have various levels of entertainment for me. The ones that involve being smarter, or clever, they are great. The ones with more blind luck can just go to hell. I never want to see Deal or No Deal. A show like that has no value added to the watcher, who just…watches. Nothing to answer, nothing to do.

So The Price is Right is an okay show to watch. It is very straight forward, the watcher can make their own guesses of course, feel accomplished every once in awhile and go about their day. It is also full of flashy lights and happy people so it is nice. Some people take game shows to an extreme. They find one, they watch it, become experts. And you can do that with something like The Price is Right! They reuse items all the time for their showcase.

And one time, the unthinkable happened. A contestant, in the final showcase, guessed the exact price of their showcase. It is so large and unexpected, but they knew if it happened, that the contestant would win both prizes. It had never been done in decades, and it did within the last decade finally. Was this guy an expert? A lucky old man? Did he cheat? Or did he have a secret weapon he didn’t know he had? This is the story that Perfect Bid: The Contestant Who Knew Too Much wanted to answer.

Perfect Bid
Seems like a good secret weapon should be hairier.

Meet Theodore Slauson. He did not get the perfect bid on the showcase. The picture of him on the show was forever ago. But he was known for watching it a lot, studying the prices, and being an amazing audience member. It took him over ten times of visiting the show before finally being picked, and it was like a dream come true. His downfall was that dreaded wheel, which is hard to smart your way through. He was getting well known for knowing the exact prices of things and yelling them out consistently in the audience. And he helped plenty of people he just met win the show.

It is a fun story for him, and how he eventually got someone to win two showcases. Now the man who won those showcases didn’t acknowledge Theodore. He gave his own bullshit responses in interviews, but the footage is clear that Theodore yelled it out and they have tracked his career enough to know it was definitely the voice the man heard before giving his answer.

And you know what? This is a neat story with a lot of history behind it. But as even a game show enthusiest, I was left a bit bored. It didn’t have the same thrill that Big Bucks: The Press Your Luck Scandal had going for it. This felt good, wholesome, and completely average. A story that could have probably been told in a half hour special with the same amount of fan fare. Easily forgettable and a bit neat.

2 out of 4.

BlacKkKlansman

I am by no means a Spike Lee expert. I haven’t seen the majority of his work, let alone the stuff that made him famous. I was only a child then.

The last movie of his I saw before he made BlacKkKlansman was Chi-Raq, which ended up being a film that I really loved. It made my top of the year list. I knew I had to give him more of a chance, since the only other films I had seen were Inside Man and He Got Game.

And then, I didn’t I was still too busy. Apparently he has had a few smaller films come out since Chi-Raq and this one, and I hadn’t even noticed. They were small, little advertising, maybe didn’t even make it to the big screen. Regardless, he clearly has a big work ethic, churning out films on topics he cares about, and has been doing it for decades to help raise awareness.

ID
And with a fun name like this one, it is sure to be a hoot.

Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) is just a brother who wants to make a difference in the world. He finds himself in Colorado, and they seem to want black cops, so he applies, and he gets to be a detective! Hooray, diversity!

Now strangely enough this isn’t in the 1950’s or 60’s, but 1979, and Colorado Springs was apparently still lacking on having black applicants and police officers. Either way, he gets the job, is put undercover quickly to infiltrate a potential black power rally. You know, he has to find out information if they are going to do anything illegal or go to war with the cops.

While doing that assignment, he gets the undercover itch, and decides to try and find out about the local klans group in town. He talks to the owner on the phone, and gets an invite. But of course, he isn’t white. So he has to enlist a partner, Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), who happens to also be Jewish (not good for the klan either), to pretend to be him in person and infiltrate their group, while Flip is him in person.

Things can easily go wrong of course when dealing with white extremists. And they often do. But hopefully this undercover assignment can lead to them getting news about potential cross burnings or worse before they happen, in order to make the world a better place.

Also starring Ashlie Atkinson, Jasper Pääkkönen, Laura Harrier, Paul Walter Hauser, Ryan Eggold, and Topher Grace as David Duke.

Power
With so much black power on one screen, I was ready to raise my fists as well.

BlacKkKlansman, unlike my review of this film, is incredibly timely and relevant to our modern world. It had its wide release the same weekend as the one year anniversary of the marches in Charlottesville, Virginia, which of course had Nazi and Klansmen rhetoric going on with them. It wasn’t subtle about its connections either, with this film ending with footage from these few days of events and from the politicians who spoke out or famously did not speak out against it.

It is well acted by Washington, who has not had many roles, and is definitely the son of Denzel. It had great shots, a good story, and a nail biting finale that lasted a good while and kept the tensions really high.

It also made sure to try and keep things realistic, as it was based on a true story. Some liberties were taken of course, but all of the characters felt real and never turned into a cartoon. It didn’t try to do anything silly, like sympathize with any of the klansmen, because fuck them.

Overall, it is a powerful film, a relevant story, and a message about how far people can get with a little bit of can do attitude despite working against systematic racism.

3 out of 4.

Searching

If you have seen my reviews in the past, you might know that I love the concept of the computer screen movie. (If you haven’t seen my reviews in the past, welcome! Read more please?). Not that there is a whole lot of these mind you.

We have Unfriended, Unfriended: Dark Web, an episode of Modern Family, and uhhh…I am sure there are more. Maybe. Maybe I’ve even seen them.

The biggest issues I have had with these things in the past, aside from bad plot or acting, was that they failed at the details. We would have characters start music, and the music would just go away when the movie felt like it. They would be Skyping, and everyone wouldn’t talk at all on Skype while the character had to google something. Just dumb shit like that.

I just want it to be really accurate to a real computer. Every one of us knows what a computer looks like and how they work (mostly). So don’t give us non working computers, damn it. I want Searching to rise above the rest and give me a work of art.

Search1
I want you to have 10 tabs open that you will totally get to eventually.

David Kim (John Cho) and his wife Pam (Sara Sohn) had a little girl, and named her Margot (Michelle La). They introduced her to piano. They recorded videos of her for a digital scrapbook. They have her first days of school, they gave her an account on their old windows machine. And really, Pam was better at all of this.

David is good with computers too, but he worked more, and loved his family, and took more videos, but she was the one who helped Margot fall in love with piano and keep track of their schedules.

And then one day, Pamela finally succumbed to cancer. This of course changed their whole family, and David didn’t really know how to handle it. He still raised his daughter, making sure she had her piano lessons, went to her things, and communicated, but maybe it wasn’t enough.

Because one night, she didn’t come home. He had some missed calls while sleeping. And after a few excuses were checked, she still wasn’t there. And now with the help of his brother (Joseph Lee) and the Detective assigned to his case (Debra Messing), he has to realize how much he didn’t know about his daughter the last couple of years, find her friends, do his own searching (movie title) in order to hopefully find her daughter alive.

Search
“Fucking Millennials, always putting themselves on the camera, allowing them to maybe be found by their parents in the future. ” – Parents of Millennials.

Searching is good, like really really good.

I could go talk about in detail about how I cried three times, including the first 10 minutes (good news for you Up fans). How real Cho felt as the dad. How smart the movie unfolded. How tense I was and how well it flowed together.

But really, I just want to talk about the specific details I mentioned above. We saw Cho open tabs and not read them. Hell yeah. We saw him have to pause music or videos in order to use his face times. Hell, we saw him do this at work too.

And best of all, BEST OF ALL. When a character messages a character, we see that they indeed have talked in the past, and there are past conversations. This keeps happening to quite an annoying level. He had past conversations with his daughter, with other people, and she had them with others as well. His little apple phone app that showed he called people changed throughout the film (because it takes place over almost a week for the most part) changed over time, and looked realistic in that regard.

Oh, and the plot is awesome, Cho is awesome, this was great. All other computer screen films I liked in the past are now shit (which most people agreed with already). This is a gold standard. I can’t wait to see how this genre evolves and of course, quickly becomes shit.

4 out of 4.

Kin

Editor’s note: Since writing this article, which were indeed my first thoughts on the film, unbiased by others, I have read a review of Kin that I can clearly state is better than mine and makes a better point. Read it here at Texas Art & Film. I am almost ashamed because I usually notice issues like this one, but I simply missed it maybe due to the better cinematography and music of the film.

I went into Kin mostly blind. I didn’t really like the name, but I knew nothing about the story, nor did I see any ads anywhere. It felt like a secret release, but hey, I don’t watch a lot of commercials so it is hard to see.

The only thing I knew was two of the main actors listed in the movie. It still was clearly an indie movie, but while watching it, I was surprised at just how many other actors I knew or recognized. It has at least five famous or notable people, none of which are the “lead” in this film. It is surprising given the lower overall budget of the movie.

Sometimes, actors just do lower budget films for less because they like the story or whatever. And James Franco just does it for shits and giggles. I think he wants half of his films to be movies people have never heard about before.

Truck
Half of this photo is new, half of this photo is really old.

In the near future, Detroit is a piece of shit. This is true generally always, in every movie, about the near future Detroit. It is also somewhat true about present Detroit.

Eli Solinski (Myles Truitt) is a kid having problems at school. He is a black kid. He is getting suspended. Turns out his mom died recently. His mom being someone who adopted him, and he has had a hard time adjusting. His dad (Dennis Quaid) is very strict, but supportive, and stuck in his morals. His older adopted brother, Jimmy (Jack Reynor), has been in prison for awhile due to stealing some things, and he has been a bit of a stain upon the family.

Well, Jimmy gets back home, and it is awkward. It is also awkward because he needs some money. He took out a “loan” in prison for protection, so he wouldn’t have to worry about getting shanked. And his loan sharks want their money back right away, which he doesn’t have, his dad doesn’t have, but the job office might have some.

Around this same time, Eli, who has been stealing copper from some of the many abandoned warehouses, stumbles upon a strange sight. A gun. An…alien gun? Something that whirrs and boops and is totally not normal.

Long story short, Eli and his brother are going on a road trip. Some bad people are after them, but they have money, guns, and Eli doesn’t know anything bad is going on at all.

Also starring James Franco, Zoë Kravitz, Carrie Coon, Ian Matthews, and Gavin Fox.

Gun
Alien guns make my favorite gun sound, pew pew pew.

I really did go into this movie thinking it would be shit, only knowing it was some sort of family film and science fiction. But I was surprised at how hard this film tried to be a contender. It didn’t reach its lofty goals, but it had a lot of good going on with it.

The soundtrack behind it is one that is meant to really draw you in, with an electro pulse to keep tension up in non tense moments. The camera lingered over scenes. The film embraced silence without dialogue constantly to catch us up on their emotions and potential growth. It is a slow build and not just a rainstorm of action scenes to keep the viewers excited while things explode in alien gun glory.

No, it is a film about family. It is slow, and there is some crime and sad killing moments.

Now the ending of the film feels very convenient. The clues are there, and it offers at least one surprise, but it also ends the film in a weird note. Too many things are wrapped up without the appropriate fallout one would expect. It sets up a franchise that everyone can tell while watching will never come to fruition.

And honestly, it is too slow. Build is one thing, but this movie didn’t always build, but instead sort of stalled at points. The road trip felt like it would go on forever, and it was frustrating that things weren’t really moving along faster.

This was a good idea for a film, and clearly care was taken into it. It just could have also been a lot better at the same time.

2 out of 4.

The Happytime Murders

Muppets. Saying. Fuck.

That could have been the original pitch for this movie. Or maybe just Muppets dying and being killed. Or Muppets smoking. Basically, Muppets being adults and corrupt and crime.

Incorporating Muppets into the real world with real humans has not been an issue. Hell, that is how the show has always worked and movies. It is fine, people accept it, all good.

But with this movie, The Happytime Murders, they want to put Muppets in new situations! More action, violence, and whatever it takes to get an R rating so little Johnny doesn’t accidentally have his childhood ruined, or something. This is probably Deadpool‘s fault. Superheroes got to be edgy, so now Muppets get to be edgy.

Edgy Muppets doesn’t have to be a bad thing. They just have to be smart about it.

Smoke
This picture is a metaphor for Joel McHale’s new show going up in smoke. But also literally.

Phil Phillips (Bill Barretta) is not your normal private eye. You see, he is a Muppet. Or a puppet officially, I don’t care about the nomenclature. He certainly does not have bones in his body (unless you count the human hand…). He used to be a cop. He was the first ever puppet cop, but for whatever reason, he was kicked off the force and there is some bad blood between the two sides. And Phil doesn’t even have blood.

During an investigation of a ransom, Phil finds himself at the scene of a murder, where one of the victims is from the first ever TV show starring mainly puppets! Phil is worried about this killing, as it seems like a hit job. Phil’s brother was on the show, so he doesn’t want his brother to get offed as well from some unknown assailant.

But yet, more cast members start dying. And the clues aren’t leading closer to a suspect. Can Phil solve the murder mystery? Or will his stuffing just get all over the place by the end?

Also starring Kevin Clash, Dorien Davies, Drew Massey, Melissa McCarthy, Elizabeth Banks, Joel McHale, Maya Rudolph, and Leslie David Baker.

Graphic
I am sorry I am showing something so graphic in a review.

Going into this movie, I expected that they would do some gross stuff with Muppets, but overall, it would try to be your normal, run of the mill, buddy cop crime comedy entity. Boy was I wrong. This movie wanted to do “gross” stuff with puppets, and that is it. It is almost entirely void of humor in this regard. The first 2-3 times having a Muppet swear or do something adult like can constitute an original joke. But then to just repeat that same punch line 100 times and call it a film is not what anyone would define as a good time.

In fact, we only get really one sex Muppet joke. Their version of adult is just drugs, alcohol, smoking, swears, and murder. But we all really know that to be an adult, you gotta do the sexy stuff. There is just one sex scene and it is extremely regular. If I have two Muppets having sex, I don’t want them to just be loud screaming while people are uncomfortable. That is normal ass lazy joke humor right there. There needs to be something Muppet centric really about it. They do one act that makes it apparently unique to Muppets, something that would put Aziz Ansari to shame. But you know what we didn’t get? We didn’t get Muppet Dick. We didn’t even get Muppet Nipples. Technically, we got Muppet Vagina, but that joke was quick and a common throwback, still making it unoriginal.

Don’t gloss over that last point. If I am going to watch an adult Muppet movie, there better be Muppet titties. That is all I am saying.

Another non subtle feature is that Muppets are shit upon by the humans of society. And a lot of them are prejudice against them. Oh, okay, this is another metaphor for racism. Except it feels incredibly tacky, never super relevant, and maybe sort of belittles civil rights things in general? Hard to say, but their goal of adding it to the film felt extremely shallow.

To try and add on to a different point, let’s point out two glaring things that happened in succession. One, several cop characters claim a character was found at the scene of ALL of the murders. But at that point, he was never seen at one crime scene when it happened, and had never interacted with the character for years. So it was a bit confusing to hear that multiple times.

And two. They have an FBI character suspend a Lieutenant cop. At what fucking point can an FBI agent do anything like that to a cop? Is this movie assuming that the FBI are just bosses to cops? It goes Sergeant, Captain, then FBI field agent? It isn’t even an accident, because they made several attempts at jokes to make sure you knew that character was in the FBI.

Minor nitpicking? Maybe. But that was just two nonsensical errors I remember specifically for happening right after one another. This film is probably even more full of shit like this. The Happytime Murders isn’t original, clever, or fun. It is lazy. They spent all their time on designing sets instead of designing something worth being watched.

0 out of 4.

Never Goin’ Back

I chose Never Goin’ Back over Dog Days, and at least at the time of writing this I really feel like I made the best choice.

Sure, I have never seen Dog Days and probably won’t until December at least. But it can’t be good, right?

Sorry, this isn’t a bullshit review of a movie I haven’t even seen.

Never Goin’ Back is set in Texas and that’s why I needed to review it right away. That is the reason it won the screener lottery.

Store
At least it has the Texas feeling of walking into a grocery store right.

Life in Texas can be hard, especially if you have to live near Dallas, which everyone agrees is the worst part of Texas (Houston pride). Angela (Maia Mitchell) and Jessie (Camila Morrone) are roommates in a poor house. Sure, they are just 16 and 17. But they are under guardianship from Angela’s older brother (Joel Allen), who is sharing this home with them and another roommate (Kyle Mooney).

This house is not a nice place to live really. There is a lot of drug doing and lesbian stuff (oh no!!), all from our girls. However, the brother does like to frequent in drug dealing occasionally, which is way worse.

Jessie wanted to do something nice for Angela’s 17th birthday, because they have had bad birthdays in the past. So she spent money on a weekend cabin on the beach! I mean, it is just Galveston, but they have always wanted to do this. It just happens to be their rent money due in about a week.

Oh well, they will just work a shit ton at their waitress job, double shifts every day, to earn it back. Then they can have the best weekend ever.

Unless everything starts to go wrong. Then yeah, that can be an issue.

Also starring Marcus M. Mauldin, Kendal Smith, and Matthew Holcomb.

Work
Get tips, get high, get beach.

Never Goin’ Back is a simple story about girls wanting to leave their hum drum life, if only for a moment, to experience what they feel like is bliss. You know, Galveston’s beach. Galveston’s beach is known for being quite lame, but acceptable for being one of the only fully commercialized beaches in the area. Even other characters mock them when they hear that they are only going to Galveston.

Either way, I laughed quite a few times overall. The situations were relatively unbelievable/over the top, but the girls had a lot of chemistry together, especially Mitchell (Who was one of the stars of Teen Beach Movie and Teen Beach 2!), who was a firecracker with her lines and ideas. Morrone was more of a follower in this film.

And technically the events of this film stem from an issue that isn’t their fault, it is really hard to feel bad for them. The protagonists are main characters who continually make bad decisions, just like those around them make bad decisions. And the fact that it ends in a very gross way doesn’t feel funny, just, well, gross. And of course, the lessons learned at the end of the movie are…um…exist and do bad things and everything will work out at the end?

Either way, Never Goin’ Back does provide some laughs and plenty of shenanigans, but still has a lot to be desired in terms of great story.

2 out of 4.

Puzzle

Honestly, with a title like Puzzle, I didn’t know what the movie would be about. Certainly some sort of drama. But I could also consider a mystery or thriller. The stars could be in all of the genres!

But more importantly, I didn’t know it was based on a foreign film. Not even until the credits roll was this made obvious to me. It was a 2010 film from Argentina of the same name! Well, but in Spanish.

The other film title was Rompecabezas. What an amazing word. Puzzle itself is a fun and amazing word. But Rompecabezas? Hot damn.

Puzzles
Look at all those Rompecabezas pieces.

Agnes (Kelly Macdonald) has a very unfortunate name, reserved for old ladies, and maybe that is why she in fact seems like a very old lady. She doesn’t have a job of her own, or any real notable hobbies. Her husband (David Denman) owns and works an auto repair shop. He has a crew, he works every day, he works hard. He gets home and supper is on the table. Everything is taken care of at home. Agnes cleans, she prepares, she shops, she goes to church group. She doesn’t need or want that smart phone for her birthday.

But someone got her a gift, a puzzle, a whole thousand pieces. And she decides to try it out. And there goes her time! Hell, she puts it together twice, because why not.

And it turns out she is really quite good at this puzzle thing. When she goes all the way to NYC to a shop to buy and look for more (because that is where the first one was bought), she finds a note that someone is a puzzle champion looking for a partner. A puzzle partner? For competition.

Agnes doesn’t really do things. And this is way out of her way. And it would be with a man (Irrfan Khan). These are not things her husband would be able to understand. Not that it matters, since they have been disagreeing more lately, especially about the direction of their sons (Austin Abrams, Bubba Weiler).

No. Fuck it. It is Agnes time.

Drinks
I am sure her married won’t be tested at all.

Puzzle was a very simple film that had a few weird stretches, but overall gave a wonderful performance by our lead Macdonald.

Well, I guess I will give more details. Both sons played their roles well, as catalysts and having their own personality. Denman seems forever plagued to live in roles of bad husbands and lovers. It just must be that face. (Logan Lucky aside, but he was still clearly a jerk in that relationship).

But Macdonald is a goddamn quiet force in this picture. Her mannerisms, her quirks, her voice, her attitude and face, and her growth throughout the picture. It is clearly her film and her life and we are just passengers along the way. I love, love, love her performance.

And in all honesty, yes, I wish the film would have ended differently than it ended it up going. And it took me over a week to write this review, but I believe it is a great ending for her character and breaks a few cliches. A surprise in that regard.

Who would have thought that a movie about joining a puzzle competition could be so captivating? Probably the same people who made movies about spelling bees.

3 out of 4.

The Darkest Minds

Didn’t you know? Didn’t you know it was time for another young adult dystopian book to transition into movie magic?

Because we need more of these teenage trilogies to copy the success of The Hunger Games. You know, start off strong, and get really terrible and no one care by the time the final film comes around.

I didn’t want to watch the trailer for The Darkest Minds before going into it, but I had to make sure my kid could see it as well. And the trailer is more than enough to know to pass on this film.

Rails
Let’s stand around naturally, yes, yes, good. This is how kids hang.

Set in the future, or not, maybe just some other Earth, kids start dying. They don’t know why, but a long disease with a long acronym is blamed that scientists are trying to stop. Just people under 17, spaz out and die suddenly. Like SIDS on steroids I guess. But not all kids die. In fact, quite coincidentally, the ones who do not die get powers instead.

No, not random powers. Just one of a set of five. They are going to get super smart, levitate items, or create/control electricity, probably. These are the most common and “acceptable” level of powers. They correspond to the colors of green, blue, and yellow. Next is Orange, and it involves memories, mind control, thought shit. Ruby (Amandla Stenberg), our hero, is going to be like this. The government when they start rounding up these rabble rousing kids wants to terminate the oranges on site, because they are scary. And then there is Red. And ooooh boy, apparently Red is so big bad and scary they gotta keep it a secret from us assholes, and they are also on the to be killed level.

Ruby has had these powers for six years in a concentration camp, pretending to be a green, and anyone that would test her or question her she would just mind control them into believing her lie. Good times. Until her secret gets too far out, meaning she has to bust out with some helpful adults. Because this is a dystopian novel, no one really means anything they say they mean. And now Ruby has to run around this world, trusting few, guessing, and getting misinformation and very few details because bad plot reasons.

Also starring Bradley Whitford, Mandy Moore, Gwendoline Christie, Harris Dickinson, Patrick Gibson, Miya Cech, and Skylan Brooks.

Color
Guys, guys, guys. Let’s just not acknowledge color, that will fix things.

Oh goodness, it was worse than I thought. I figured this could be cool if it really played up the X-Men element and less the cookie cutter young adult element. But alas, powers barely seem to matter.

Because they decided to make powers fall neatly into five categories, all nicely color coded based on how the eyes bright up when powers happen. Oh good, it is time for cliques and boring grouping again. Grouping is a common and lazy theme in these novels.

There are a lot of holes and stupid plot points in this movie. I feel like throwing a few out there that I recall, some that could be spoilers. Some of these are things thst can be explored in the book but are happily ignored in the movie.

For example, we have a diseases that kills everyone 17 and under? Not at once but over a time span? And the people who don’t die from it also at the same time get powers, but only one of five specific but very different things? Like, why? Why? This is something that might be explained by book three, but there is certainly no one in the movie even asking the most basic questions right now and that is non sensical.

The powers are so stupid. Smarts, telekinesis, electrical control, okay. Those are the main three? Fine. Orange being mind control and memory things? Fine again. Cool. But to make red seem like an extremely scary thing as well, and story wise keep it a secret also makes no sense. It is supposed to be a big surprise, and I was surprised only on how boring it is. It’s fire. It’s fire everyone. Like shooting fire from mouths specifically. Okay. Why is that worse than lightning? Who the fuck knows.

The movie went the boring exposition route of having the main character be new to the events around her so she is just a passenger. It allows the film to explain all these groups to us and to her but never the full story. Because suspense. That’s now how people talk.

When traitors are revealed it isn’t a surprise, it was obvious from moment zero. There is no reason to trust this person at all, and yet, it happens. When the red powers are finally shown we see them fuck up the place. But, the place is supposed to be used over and over. Why are they blowing shit up now when it should be a normal occurrence? Why did we have a long montage of an abandoned mall that seemed to be only in one store, and then finally an attack? Based on their explanation they would have attacked right away.

Why do powers fluctuate? Why would two people who have the power of being smart argue about a situation that has one right answer? Can someone be more smart from the magical same power? Why do we have an orange make everyone kneel and obey but not the four people who are causing problems and trying to escape? Why is there powr disparities when it is convenient? Lazy writing.

What happens to kids when they are above 17? Do powers go away? Will new kids die or gain powers? Why are so many things based on sound frequency difference of ages when presumably people who were 17 and powers now are 23 and powers and not affected by these measures?

Anyways. I’m done. This film is bad. It is rushed. Things aren’t explained. Effects are whatever. Just a mesh of other things with a non unique approach and a waste of time.

0 out of 4.

Get Me Roger Stone

Oh yes, political documentaries.

There are gallons and gallons of these things pouring out, trying to keep up with the scandals and political movements forming.

Trump hasn’t made anything easy, but he has given jobs to people who want to make documentaries. It also seems like ant documentary, regardless of subject, will involve Trump somehow and the state of the world and blame him. It’s insane some of the connections.

Now, for Get Me Roger Stone, it is inherently political and related to the Trump presidency. It is about Roger Stone, an extremely famous Republican political advisor, infamous for his past and the lengths he would go to in order to win.

And yes, Roger Stone is potentially the reason why Donald Trump ran in the first place and eventually won.

GMRS
Oh, everything about this is punchable.

I will admit that learning about Stone was rather interesting. He was technically involved in the Watergate scandal when he was only 19 years old. He wasn’t a big part or anything, but involved nonetheless. This fame led to more opportunities, including eventually leading the Young Republicans.

Eventually, he became a lobbyist and had a big firm that also represented Republicans. He helped elect them to positions of power and then lobbied them for favors. It was previously unheard about before.

He also worked with Paul Manafort, who you may know is going under trial for many various reasons relating to his work before and during the Trump campaign. Unfortunately, this documentary came out in 2017, well before a lot of this information became public.

At this point there is no reason not to assume Stone as well was involved in some underground things. This documentary doesn’t talk about Russia at all, but in a few years it can probably be updated with at least an hour of content.

It is a shame that I am left feeling that this story isn’t finished. But really, this documentary is about Stone’s past and how he helped shape the 2016 elections (and many more). What we know now is that this documentary unknowingly probably didn’t tell the full story. There is a lot more moving pieces and it is just extremely unfortunate for the documentary.

But really I can’t hold it accountable for that. It is still very detailed and yes I learned a lot.

Give it a watch, it is on Netflix and it will make you hate aspects of politics even more.

3 out of 4.

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