Happily

Happy is a fun word. Most words with 2 ‘p’s in a row in them end up being fun, I think. Well not disappointment. Or apprehension. Or inappropriate. Or whippersnapper, which has two sets of 2 ‘p’s. 

Okay, I am not sure where I was going with this, except that my initial understanding of a concept (2 ‘p’s’ means fun) was wrong in closer expectation.

You know. Sort of like the movie Happily. Whereas with a lot of inspection, my ideas about it have changed after my initial thoughts of it. I thought this would be a happy film. Or maybe the title would be sarcastic, and it would be a terrifying film. But we definitely got something well in between both of those extremes. 

love
Red Light Sexy Time, a new cologne, for very specific occasions. 

Tom (Joel McHale) and Janet (Kerri Bishé) have a secret. They are in love. Love? Is this a bad secret? Are they married to other people? Is this a crush? Did they just meet? No. They have been married for 14 years, and they are still going through that extreme lust phase, where they want to bone everywhere and go out of there way for big acts. All of their friends find it weird and uncomfortable and they hate it, they literally have told them this. They got kicked out of a couples weekend because everyone is sick of them.

The next day, a mysterious stranger (Stephen Root) who works for the city shows up to discuss something important with them. He says that every once in awhile, someone has a defect, and they aren’t built like others. It doesn’t matter most of the time. But both of our main characters have the same defect. They never lose that desire, that happiness. They don’t have diminishing returns. So he is here to fix it, just has to give them both a nice shot and they will wake up the next day fixed.

Well, one dead body later, they are certainly not going to let whatever this is happen. 

Awkward awkward, dead body, ahh. Good thing they don’t fight and can work together to deal with this situation! However, after this, they get re-invited to the couples weekend. Weird. I guess the couples don’t care anymore. But also. Wait. Fuck. What if they sent the guy as a prank? What if there is no actual shot? Or what if it was a real thing that they all knew about except for Tom and Janet, and they are only inviting them because they are normal now? Shit, now this weekend is going to be suspicious. 

Also starring Breckin Meyer, Charlyne Yi, Jon Daly, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Natalie Morales, Natalie Zea, Paul Scheer, and Shannon Woodward

roots
I hope all mysterious strangers are played by Stephen Root in the future.

One of my friends uttered that they would never watch Happily again, and to this, I tend to agree. If anything, I could watch it to find out if I missed something during the movie, but I wouldn’t watch the whole movie to find that out. I would watch just a few scenes and the ending again. I don’t think I missed anything, yet I find myself still confused and underwhelmed by the end.

I guess the message of the film is that people aren’t perfect, everyone has secrets, and life moves on? I don’t know.

I honestly don’t fully understand all the intrigue that happened by the end, and I don’t know if the makers of the film did either? As far as I know, multiple aspects weren’t explained (and I am not talking about Root’s character, which makes since to be more mysterious). It had good ideas, but the execution was lacking.

It felt like most of the movie was just an introduction, but when the plot finally got going, it rushed through it and left us longing. I don’t want to be left longing if I also feel unfulfilled.

I am keeping it at an average rating, because it did raise some interesting questions with some interesting scenarios, but it never felt properly together in one piece to really do much else. 

2 out of 4.

Godzilla vs. Kong

Godzilla. King Kong. Lizard. Ape. Will buildings get destroyed? Yes. Buildings will get destroyed.

The attempts to combine these franchises (well, one recent Kong Movie and two recent Godzilla movies) into one ultimate destruction battle was a lofty one, but clearly not one unheard of in our connected universes strategy of films. It was a guarantee, I imagine, to one day occur. I tried to come in ready for it, but honestly, I still never saw Godzilla: King of Monsters from two years ago, and at this point, I can’t imagine I will.

I was hoping that seeing the other two intro films would be enough, but it looks like this film made mostly throw backs to that last one, versus the other two. Damn it.

In Godzilla vs. Kong, the director promised there would be an obvious winner and not some bullshit tie overall. That is an important claim to make and really one of the main reasons I decided to even watch this one.

blast
Oh, Rave Godzilla has to be one of my favorite Godzillas. 

Rawr! Let’s get it on! Wait, no, not yet. First of all, Godzilla has been firmly established as some sort of Alpha Predator, whose sole purpose and existence is meant to make sure no other threats ruin the world. Godzilla doesn’t want to destroy, it wants to keep the balance and go back to the depths.

Kong though is another alpha predator thing. So some people are worried that this means Godzilla is going to come and destroy him at some point, so they have him in hiding, sort of.

There are also some corporations doing corporation things. There is a theory of a Hallow Earth where these beasts must have come from, that is likely to have huge power sources. So some companies want that power. Some want to just return Kong to his home. Some want to destroy all the monsters. You know, typical stuff.

Overall, they are going to have to fight, multiple times, and we are going to have to see things get fucked up along the way.

Also starring some humans like Alexander Skarsgård, Brian Tyree Henry, Demián Bichir, Eiza González, Julian Dennison, Kaylee Hottle, Kyle Chandler, Lance Reddick, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, and Shun Oguri.

kong
Is this his “fuck around, find out” face?

Hey? Do you like monsters fighting? Then this film has some of that! Honestly, I did think there would be more fighting overall, so I am surprised that there wasn’t even more. But I guess only two main monsters can wail on each other for awhile. There are some minor monsters in the Hallow Earth area too, but they don’t do much for the action or the plot.

Of course the plot is weak. And again, I am disappointed about how much of it is based on the King of Monsters film, just because I hadn’t seen it. Literally any returning characters (outside of the giant ones) were from that movie. It did have some surprises in store, which helped keep things interesting. But at least early on, the slowness of the plot, and even the first battle, failed to keep things super interesting for me.

Now one major plus is that the fight scenes were all incredible visible and detailed, and I loved that. Giant monster fights and CGI have usually meant a lot of dark fights, or messy blurs, where your mind has to put in the action, but that only happened a little bit in the first major fight, due to the underwater aspect. The major fights that mattered where very clear and that added a huge amount of awesome to the film.

And what about the winner? Did the director lie? No. Not really. I can understand the moment they are saying that there would be clearly one winner, no takeaways. But we still had to fall into some similar versus film tropes that I also wanted out of my movie. From what the director said is the definitive answer, I agree with who was chosen, as it is the one that makes the most sense.  However, again, still, they make it super definitive either. It isn’t as final as I would have hoped based on the remarks, so really, the director remarks set up my expectations to be higher than they would have been otherwise.

Godzilla vs. Kong is still a lot of fun, especially in the last third. Just have to slog through the human stuff, and the early battles.

2 out of 4.

Cherry

The Russo Brothers and Tom Holland go together like Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. Both of them have careers that sometimes intersect and sometimes produce good movies. Yes, I did come up with that comparison myself, why do you ask?

I have a big fan of the Russos since their episodes on Community, and honestly, don’t know if they have done anything bad up to this point. They have done basically all of the best Marvel movies, so it is good to see them move on to a different source material. A book I have never heard of before. And if they bring along someone hoping to break from their boyish and charming mold, then it would be hard to pick someone better than Tom Holland right now.

What is Cherry about? I bet it ain’t about fruit.

spooderman
I think the Russo brothers intentionally made him look like Tobey Maguire Spider-Man here.

Cherry (Tom Holland) (I can’t really tell you if that is his first name or last or what) is a young college student, a bit off, a bit popular or cool, but still a bit out there. And he sees a girl, Emily (Ciara Bravo, also hoping to lose her kids tv channel roots) and he wants her. He has a girlfriend back at home, but she is the past, Emily is the future.

They begin to couple, and they have a time, but Emily doesn’t know if he is good for her, and decides some forced time apart is important. She goes to Montreal, so he decides to enlist, having not left in his life.

The rest of the film deals with his basic training, his time overseas, the amount of fucked up shit he sees over there, his PTSD from those events, and of course, some nice opioid and heroin addiction leading to a life of crime.

Is that not enough for you? It should be. It is quite a lot of topics for our hero (?) to hit and endure, and it is over 2 hours to make sure it has some breathing room. But not much.

Also starring Jack Reynor, Forrest Goodluck, Jeff Wahlberg, and Damon Wayans Jr.

spooderman2
Oh shit, and now he looks like Uncle Ben’s killer?

I described Cherry as a thrill ride already, but it really is a wild movie. A Wild Cherry film, if you will. I stole that joke from another, but it is okay, because I set them up for it when I was delirious. If I was a smarter man on that day, I would have made it on my own.

This film feels like it definitely was meant to get people to not think of Holland as some sweet kid (And so was the point of The Devil All The Time, right?).  We need to see if Holland can be a mega movie star on his own without the backing power of Disney behind him, and I truly do think he delivers. His character is fast talking, crass, and absolutely in love despite showing it in a weird way. I couldn’t catch a break for this film because the characters in the movie can’t catch them either. Some of the war scenes just totally made my heart sink, and were put in just to show the absurdity of everything in life and how people can just suck.

This is a much better film than the also recently released Chaos Walking, also starring Holland. It is so hard to describe outside of just the topics presented. It feels timely and fresh though nonetheless. It didn’t give me the same feelings of angst as other recent releases like Greenland, but it is still up there in quality. Not for the feint of heart. They use naughty language in this movie. t

3 out of 4.

A Week Away

You know what is exactly one week away from today? Whatever day it is today again! Hooray never changing cyclical weeks of 7 days!

The only thing I knew about A Week Away going into it was that it was about a troubled teen and maybe a musical. A musical I never heard about? You certainly have my attention, random movie drop on Netflix. In fact, its musicalness is why I decided to not watch it on my phone but instead at a better place/time when I could give it my full attention.

With musicals I need to pay attention to the dances, the plot, the lyric choices, how they filmed various fun scenes, all of that. I can’t just give it a listen and a half watch.

It turns out, A Week Away is exactly worth an eighth of a watch.

fists
At least they are all fans of black power. 

Will (Kevin Quinn) is some troubled kid. He is in the foster system, both parents dead, and he is just completely rambunctious. We are talking something ridiculous like, 80 schools in 2 years. That is an exaggeration on my part, but whatever they said in the movie was larger than what should be likely as well. He is about to go back to juvenile detention because no one else will take him in. Oh noooo. “Please I can change despite my arrests and saying I can change before!”

So he gets a shot. A mother (Sherri Shepherd) and a similar aged boy, George (Jahbril Cook). They aren’t taking him in, but they are going to take him to a week long camp. Will thinks that is quite dumb, but its better than Juvie, so fine. And when he gets there, he sees all the happy teenage kids his age, also wearing no branded clothing, and they sing a song together and mention…God?

“Wait, this is a Jesus camp” both Will and the audience will say together at some point. Did I misshear a lyric? Did they say God was a glorious leader? That sounds like North Korea stuff. Anyways. Not only is this a church camp that Will got sucked into. This is also a religious film that you got sucked into, and you had no idea! Me neither! At least the second song hints at the theme and the third song makes it quite damn obvious.

Anyways. Will has to do camp things, which is great, because he likes a girl Avery (Bailee Madison), and he will lie about his past, to help his team win the camp stuff against the other teams, and also help other romances.

Also starring Iain Tucker, Kat Conner Sterling, and David Koechner. Wait, Koechner? Todd Packer from The Office? And all of those crude and crass roles? Why is he in a religious film? Is he part of the trickery to swindle people into watching it?

guitar
Is there anything more dangerous than a white boy with a guitar?

I feel duped, I really do. I was excited to watch a musical about who knows what, that came in under the radar and no prior hype from me. I was ready for it. Musicals are a rare commodity. But faith films are not that rare, and generally most of the time, they are pretty darn bad. I do actively avoid most of them it turns out for that reason. Every once in awhile you can get a big movie that is faith based and not terrible, but they are huge exceptions, for many reasons. 

A Week Away is not a bad movie because it is a faith film, however, it is just a regular bad movie. I am not sure if it is going for the High School Musical crowd, if so, they are like a decade too late. That is definitely how I can describe this one, with better camera work (like from HSM3). But it turns out half of this movie is a Jukebox musical, as they take already existing songs. Did I know any of these songs before hand? No. but I know how to research and I know how many of the songs felt very shoehorned in.

Darn it. To make a good musical, the songs need to give the characters growth. It needs to express things that words cannot do on their own. It cannot just be generic music, which a lot of the songs in this film end up feeling generic. Oh we want to do a remake of a song named Dive? That mentions rivers? Let’s just have the characters sing it on the beach of the lake, because water references. Boom. Musical song made.

Jukebox musicals are easy because hey, music is already written. Jukebox musicals are hard, because you need to take something already written and it has to adapt super hard to your work in a unique way so that it isn’t just a song being sung that kind of sort of deals with the topics. What would happen in RENT if instead of La Vie Boheme, they just sang some pop song about never giving up or whatever? It would have no emotion or feeling behind it. And that is true for most of the songs in this movie. They feel like they just want to do pop (slightly elevated Kidz Bop) religious songs that don’t help the story. 

The story itself is weak. I don’t know why it is a religious camp with so little religious stuff going on. It seems to be just an activity camp focused entirely on sports and games between three teams. And I guess that is church camp now? They go out of there way to even call a day Sunday, and no church happens that day. There is one scene around a bonfire that is Church-y, and who knows when that is supposed to take place. It can’t even commit to its theme.

I will say, the point system doesn’t make a lot of sense for the camp. The final talent show is crap. Having every single event center on our main people, in their boring sort of romances, including every game and activity is bizarre. Why did they have moment to even have sign up for events at the beginning if ever team already did every event? Come on now.

Heed my warning. Do not be fueled into the musical that is bad, but also a faith film that even tackles the subject of faith poorly. 

0 out of 4.

Taking a Shot At Love

For the longest time on Gorgon Reviews, we have not bothered to watch most made for TV films. There are of course exceptions. For example, I did watch and review A Deadly Adoption on the Lifetime Channel because it was also a parody of lifetime channel films, and had some big names attached.

But Hallmark and Lifetime churn out so many romance and drama films that go straight to their network, with very low budgets, and some famous names, but basic scripts. It is a known joke. If I started to review them, I would have to dedicate basically all of my movie time towards them and nothing else. Or cancel all of my hobbies and jobs. Either way. I think it is easier to ignore them. If we all already accept they are bad and nothing has ever changed that fact, then we don’t need a weekly reminder.

But yet here I am, now reviewing, unprompted, a Hallmark channel movie. This one being called Taking a Shot At Love. I did it because I saw it existed, and saw it was a love story involving hockey and said fuck it, let’s take a shot at Taking A Shot At Love.

coffee
And take a walk at Taking a Walk At Noon. 

Jenna (Alexa PenaVega, oh shit, the Spy Kid!) is a ballet instructor to the youths of a very rich New England small town community. You know. One of those extremely white places. And I don’t say that just because it is set in winter and there is snow. It is small enough that she is one of two ballet/dance teachers, while the other one is a dance TEAM who goes on to compete. And she just wants to teach dance for the love of dance, because she hates competition and putting that extra anger and stress on others/kids. But, she is losing dancers to the team, and the time commitment, and rent is going up, and and and and.

In New York City, we have famous hockey player Ryan “Coop” Cooper (Luke Macfarlane). He is battling some ankle injury, that affects his skate. He has seen a lot of specialists and had the surgeries, but there is something still off about it. He wants to get back on the ice and help the New York Rangers win stuff, and he is a great scorer, but if he can’t skate well, he can’t play.  His agent (Kurt Long) happens to be cousins with Jenna, and she went through the same injury but got 100% better. How? By going back to the basics of ballet, and reworking her skills from the ground up.

So sure, lets send Ryan to her guest house and studio for a month of 1 on 1 ballet training, to see if that will work for him, since they tried everything else.

And sure enough, these very different people, are gonna grow to hate each other and blow up the small community. Wait. No. Opposite. Love and stuff. Got cha.

Also starring Nolen Dubuc so we can have a main kid figure for them to bodn of, Heather-Claire Nortey so it isn’t 100% white, and Andrew Dunbar to give side plot problems to this story.

air hockey
I guess air hockey is like a bonus hockey reference.

If I focused entirely on Lifetime and Hallmark movies, I could tell you if this one was better or worse than the majority of those sort of movies. And I haven’t, which is a good reason why I won’t just randomly try to pick and choose any of these in the future too often, because it just isn’t fair to the genre. Because I have to compare this movie just to all movies I have seen before and well, it is definitely not great.

Anyways. Compared to other films, Taking a Shot at Love is indeed bad.

There never feels like any real conflict in the film, in terms of ways for the characters to grow or overcome anything. The entire film just feels like filler. Oh, we don’t have enough actual romance to work between our leads? Let’s have a side character be bitter about hockey in general because of real life circumstances kept him from getting drafted. (These real life circumstances were a choice and….a very bad choice in terms of helping his family it seems like). Let’s have literally one kid on the ballet team, one of the two boys, be able to recognize him and need help with hockey so that there is a kid figure but neither of their own kids.

The romance happens because the script says it happens. I can’t say there is real chemistry between the characters, outside of them be youthful-ish and attractive and good at their skills. There is no performance from anyone in the movie worthy of note. I am surprised the New York Rangers let them use their image.

Also, this takes place in winter, but unless I misunderstood a conversation early on…they implied the team was already done with round 1 of the playoffs. Which wouldn’t be happening until April in a normal year. Not during winter. The player wanted to get back on round 2, so he could help with that round. And instead is sent for a whole month to get fixed. Are they still in the second round of the playoffs then? Is this the finals now? Who knows. Definitely not the writers of the movie.

0 out of 4.

Slaxx

Ever since Rubber came out, we have all been thinking the same thing. When is the next “horror” film involving a normally non sentient object coming to life going to come out and blow us all away?

Rubber was weird. Rubber was ground breaking. Rubber had some existential questions that were never going to get answered, and it lead to a lot of confusion.

But what about Pants? People usually like pants, and people usually like rubbers (hehhh). Some people really hate pants. Can we have pants go on a killing spree and hurting people? That is what some Canadians asked themselves I guess, most likely really late one night, and that is now why Slaxx is in our lives and wants to party. But not at a pantsless party. They would hate that discrimination.

slurp
Is it absorbent? Can it soak up blood stains and not show?

Libby McClean (Romane Denis), who definitely has a name like that, is a bright eyed, bushy tailed young lady who is ready to make her mark on the world! How? Well, she just got a job at the ~~coolest~~ trendy fashion store ever. It is the best. Everyone likes it, and they have great sales and cutting designs and they do good for the world too. They really care about life and helping others and, well, fashion.

She gets to work on a very important night for them, because they are about to do a new product launch! This is something really special, a one size fits all pair of jeans. One that more perfectly forms to fit the wearer and learns their shape quickly. Its all in the fibers, or something.

And sure enough, once the door is locked, and someone wears the product early, they find themself quietly offed. And then the pants moves around to strike again.

There is a lot riding on this night for the store and its stakeholders. But maybe this is a pair of pants with a conscious? Maybe it is trying to right some wrong? Maybe this is about how the fashion industry is ruining the lives of people around the world? Who knows!

Also starring Erica Anderson, Hanneke Talbot, Stephen Bogaert, Brett Donahue, Sehar Bhojani, Kenny Wong, and Tianna Nori.

pants army
I’m gonna fight ’em all,
A nine pants army couldn’t hold me back. 

Well well well. I went into Staxx excited. I saw the poster and I knew that I wanted it. I knew that I needed it. I was ready.

And yet, here I am, extremely disappointed. It was a comedy horror, but the comedy elements were just forgotten about it. I guess it was light hearted a bit. Was that the comedy? Was it because of pants killing them it was just hoping that was hilarious enough? Was it supposed to be the level of extreme that some people felt about pants, or the influencer’s presence? Was it because the pants danced to Indian music? I don’t know, I just know I never laughed and thus the disappointment.

The message is fine. It raises some good points about the fashion industry and exploitation and how corporations try to seem woke but often lie about what they do in real life. Just hide and deflect and promise to change while changing to a different harder to detect bad method. You know.

But honestly the message really didn’t deliver by the end either. Not even the message of extreme commercialism and the need for something new. I thought the ending was pretty poor. Even the explanation for the pants was relatively poor, but it was better than I figured it would be going in. I literally thought it was supposed to be demonic, so that is a plus.

Slaxx didn’t deliver anything to me that it seemed to promise. It wasn’t funny or scary, it was just weird, but not in a good way. And with this conclusion, I can say, I still am not a fan of pants at all.

1 out of 4.

Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal

Hey! Remember the College Admissions Scandal? Hopefully, that news only broke out in 2019 and it was a big deal.

A lot of rich people had paid people to help their kids get into more elite universities. This news never came across as shocking, because people have already figured this out. But some people got really upset. Really, really angry. Especially at the actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, who helped get their own kids into college through it. Because they were celebrities (And women??) they probably drew the most scorn. But there were other famous people on the list. Coaches, CEOs, business executives.

Operation Varsity Blues was an attempt by the FBI and the Department of Justice to punish the rich and specifically, maybe, this guy named Rick Singer, the ringleader behind all of this.

OVB
Fun fact, I proctored an SAT test today. 03-24-21. Same day as review.

So who is Rick Singer? A former basketball coach at the collegiate level, who eventually got canned, he turned his attention towards college admissions. He was just going to help parents give their kids an edge. You know, help them pick better classes, extra curricular activities, maybe a few more points on a test, or those sweet sweet recommendations.

And overtime this apparently shifted, where sure, he would have contacts in colleges who would agree (due to personal donations or donations to their clubs/sports) to say they totally scouted a potential walk on athlete and encourage admissions to accept them should they apply. And then the student, who wouldn’t know about this and likely has never done that spot, will never walk on try out for the sport, oh well.

That is bad yeah. A bit worse is when he started getting parents to have their kids “Tested” for learning difficulties, to get extra time on their tests. This eventually led to proctors who would take the test for them without the students knowing. I’ll save those details for the doc.

And so this guy sucks right? Where is all his national scorn? We should know his name. But the DoJ used Singer early on, he was now a cooperating witness. He was used to get more past clients to admit to wrong doing, and that, at this point, is where all the focus has lied. And that is pretty fucked up.

I honestly never cared this scandal, at all. I thought it was weird the disgust those two actresses in particular. I wondered when are the actual colleges going to be punished or changes made to make sure “side doors” don’t exist. (Hint, nothing really happens to them). The documentary makes this same point (which I totally thought before I heard I swear!) but this is like using the drug dealer to punish the drug users. And not the drug dealer or the drug dealer’s supplier. It is going after low hanging fruit, that frankly, feels like a mostly victimless crime.

I am not defending the rich. Go ahead and tax and eat them or whatever. But a privileged kid getting a spot at a college doesn’t have to actually take it away from someone else, because the colleges themselves choose to limit things. I’d say it is more likely they just let these extra people in through this methodology (that likely is still happening at many places) than filling in some specific number of spots available.

And so what about Singer? Well, cases are still going on, so nothing yet, but he likely won’t have a punishment either, just like the colleges, and that is what we are left with.

The documentary does mention these things, but in small amounts and I don’t think attacks it enough. A lot of the documentary is actually just recreations of phone conversations between Singers and clients, with actors playing them to let us see it somewhat naturally I guess. It was an okay method, and clearly the main goal of the documentary. But I don’t need to see actors acting out phone conversations, I’d rather go more into the history of this sort of thing, the trials around it, what is going to happen and what could happen to fix this sort of thing in the future.

Some of the actors in this documentary were played by Matthew Modine, Jillian Peterson, David Lloyd Smith, and Roger Rignack.

2 out of 4.

Nobody

Who is this guy? This Nobody. This comedian. This laugh em upper. This ambulance chasing lawyer. What is her doing in this action movie? Who invited him to the party?

I will admit that going in to see Nobody, I thought this was supposed to be an action comedy. You know, a slightly more funny John Wick. Because the star is goddamn Bob Odenkirk. He isn’t an action person, there is no way they can realistically pretend he is either…can they?

What I will say though after watching it is that it is definitely not a comedy. There are amusing action parts, but at no point are you going to go on a laugh riot. Hell, John Wick is full of amusing action parts as well, but it is not a comedy. It turns out that they never advertised this movie as a comedy either, I just assumed so based on its sort of ridiculous poster. And I guess that is on me.

bus
There is nothing more serious than this face right here.

Hutch Mansell (Bob Odenkirk) (What kind of name is Hutch Mansell?) (What kind of name is Bob Odenkirk?) (Fair point, moving on) is your typical family man. He has a wife (Connie Nielsen) and two kids (Gage Munroe, Paisley Cadorath). He goes to work every day. He rides the bus. He takes out the trash. He misses the trash. He sleeps. He jogs. It just goes on and on and on.

But one day Hutch finds himself to be the victim. A home robbery. Two people break into his house and demand money and valuables and he doesn’t have much to give him. And thanks to his son, there is a real good chance they can apprehend these criminals and keep their stuff, but Hutch misses his cue and he becomes a sort of laughing stock. Or at least everyone pities him. His family thinks less of him. Is he even a man? How dare he not do violence.

All of this makes him crack. He does seem to let on more than he knows about action stuff, but he wants to keep it contained. And after deciding to go after the criminals, he eventually gets himself into a bigger fight than he imagined. One that gets him involved with a dangerous Russian crime lord (Aleksey Serebryakov). Can this nobody still protect himself and his family? Is he actually a nobody?

Also starring RZAColin Salmon, and Christopher Lloyd as an 82 year old with a shot gun.

gun
And this is Odenkirk with a uhhh…. faster shot gun, idk guns. 

Do we have room in our world for another John Wick? Of course we do. After all, there have been plenty of movies before of seemingly normal guy (Who might secretly be abnormal) go on to do amazing feats of killing and vengeance. It isn’t something John Wick made up.

But with John Wick the actor was someone who we had seen in action movies before. Someone who knows Kung Fu. Not an actual regular looking joe who we know as a regular actor comedian. That is a plus. And also, the John Wick movies (2 and 3) got worse with each version, because the script blows, and they didn’t focus on the action enough.

So sure we have room for this movie, but is it good? Surprisingly yes.

It doesn’t feature narrative prose that one would look for in award winning films, it still has a weak plot. But the action is not only good, it is far more graphic and intense than I thought it would be (Watching people get stabbed and broken bones graphically, when I still thought it was a comedy, would do that). Odenkirk fucking brings it. And later on when he has help, they fucking bring it too, and it is just an amazing defense set with a spectacular finish.

I would be excited for more Nobody films, even if narratively it wouldn’t make sense for the character to continue. It didn’t make sense for John Wick either and it turned out gr — err, oh wait. It turned out bad. And will likely get worse.

Nobody was surprisingly fun and intense. A great action movie for those who want this sort of action genre. We don’t get a long one-take hallway scene, but the bus scene does feel almost just as good.

3 out of 4.

The Toll

You gotta pay the Troll Toll, if you wanna get into that boy’s soul. Or something like that. I could have also went with the pop culture reference of, A toll is a toll, and a roll is a roll, and if we don’t get no tolls, then we don’t eat no rolls. Not sure if any other iconic toll related quotes.

The Toll is an upcoming horror movie that deals with the scariness of having to pay a fine to cross a bridge or use a highway. (That is also a joke). In reality, a toll can be anything. A price you have to pay for hopefully a safe journey is the goal really.

In this movie, the toll won’t be be a monetary thing though. No, it will involve some death instead.

uber
Death by Uber? That is a real thing though!
Cami (Jordan Hayes) is just flying in to her hometown, a late night flight. She hasn’t been here in a good long time. And because it is the modern age, she is just going to get an Uber or some similar service to take her to her home so that she doesn’t have to wake her parents. She didn’t put the destination in the app, so she has to do it when in the vehicle and it sure is a long way away.

The driver, Spencer (Max Topplin) agrees to do it, because hey, even though it is late, it is going to be a fat payday, and better to take the guarantee. He is a bit awkward, tries to make the small talk, but Cami doesn’t really want to. She thinks he is creepy, and he thinks she is creepy too.

Eventually, once they get more to the boonies, the GPS has him take a path that she is not used to, but she agrees that he can just follow it, should be no big deal. And then eventually, after some weird moments, they find themselves stranded. Cami doesn’t trust her driver, and thinks this is all a ruse to “get her” and her driver is annoyed at all of this and isn’t sure how to handle the situation either.

But eventually, there are going to be people or things in the dark, and if they want to get out of it, there will be a price to pay.

passenger
“I would give this trip zero stars if it would let me.”
Without knowing the plot of the movie as I went into it, the intro to the film was very interesting to me. It felt like a normal intro to a horror movie. One that would be 5 to 10 minutes top, then the scary bad guy or entity would get the kill, and then we would switch to the main characters to continue with the plot. A lot of films do something similar.

And this one didn’t. The intro the movie was the intro to our main characters and we just hop immediately into their story. It was a gradual realization, one that really finally hit me about 30 minutes in.

This is a film that really takes its time to build up the initial scares and weirdness. We get regular creepy Uber driver vibes early on, but when it transforms into something else, it is a good transformation for us to make.

The main two leads did a good job of really selling the situation they were in. I enjoyed it for at least two-thirds of the movie. I think it was very messy by the end of the movie. It didn’t make as much sense to me, although it did save a final twist when I was no longer expecting twists. So that is fun. That little bit saved the film for me, because the ending wasn’t pacing out to be that great of a movie. I disliked a lot of the parts of the movie when they left the vehicle and the mythos actually unfolded, but there was enough at the  end to keep things interesting.

Overall, the film is okay, but could have easily been terrible. It is thanks to the two leads, and the slow build up to really set the atmosphere right.

2 out of 4.

The Courier (2021)

The Courier came out right after a different film named The Courier came out. Well, this one was supposed to come out in 2020, and the other came out in 2019. But now that this one comes out in 2021, is that okay? Is that awesome?

I didn’t even know about the 2019 The Courier until I was on IMDB looking for this link. I didn’t review the 2019 film, as I didn’t know about it, and now that I see it I am glad I didn’t watch it. It is sometimes okay to judge a film by its IMDB page cover, by the way.

Like, when I judge the 2021 The Courier’s page, I get excited because I see a famous name who I like in movies. And it has a poster/cover that makes me think about to spy action movies from the early 2000s. Okay, that is less exciting.

plane
But the ‘stashe game always brings me back into it.

Greville Wynne (Benedict Cumberbatch) is just your regular, everyday, British businessman. He technically did electrical engineering, and this just brought him to travel all over Europe, including the very frightening Eastern Europe. Because this is during the 1950’s and early 1960’s, when we had that Cold War thing going on between the US and USSR. And I guess Great Britain was on the American side, they usually are.

Because he was a legit businessman who traveled a lot between the halves, MI6 recruited him to pass on messages to and from both sides. Mainly, he would go into business with Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze), a Russian who was high up in their level of government or whatever. Apparently he wanted out. He wanted to give up USSR secrets. So he just needed someone to get the message and bring it back.

Sure, Greville is not a spy with any spy training and that is what they want. They want a regular person so it passes any level of scrutiny. And it will just be temporary. Probably. Greville doesn’t know that the assignments might grow and grow, and eventually might help put an end to the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Also starring Jessie Buckley, Rachel Brosnahan, and Angus Wright.

spystuff
They are going to hide the secrets in his ‘stashe in case you were curious.

Surprise! The Courier is a real movie about a real guy who helped do some spy things despite not being a spy.

Surprise! Another cold war film that I watch that I can say has okay amounts of acting, and an okay story, leading to a very okay film. I will be honest, this movie is pretty forgettable for me. I am having to write about it weeks before I can publish it (they let us see it really early) because I know there is no way I will be able to remember most of this film a week later.

Is that a problem? Yeah probably. But the 2 out of 4 rating also is an umbrella of average films that aren’t necessarily bad, but also don’t have any reason of standing out in the future.

The Courier will be forgotten, it won’t win anything, but it is not technically a bad film by any of those measures. If you like Cold War stories, you might get more enjoyment out of this true story. If you don’t like Cold War stories, then uhhh, you probably should definitely avoid it.

2 out of 4.