Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle

A few years ago, The Jungle Book remake came out, and people were confused or impressed or didn’t see it. One of the first “live action” remakes (whereas everything is still animated but one character basically) from Disney and it was a good way to test the waters with their technology and realism.

The problem is, there was another Jungle Book movie trying to come out before that one. It was to be directed by Andy Serkis, and yes, also mostly CGI, but also a lot of mocap technology, the same stuff that made Serkis famous. HE wanted to see those famous actors pretending to be animals, really getting into those characters.

And because of the Disney release, they decided to delay this one. Wait a couple of years, and release it fresh with new eyes. But The Jungle Book announced a sequel, which means there will never really be a time when there isn’t a Jungle Book movie coming out, so they just needed to get it out at some point. People rushed things, advertising potential was low, so they instead sold it to Netflix, so that it can hopefully just be successful there.

Poor Serkis, there is no way he wanted his movie to premiere on Netflix. And at some point they changed the title to be Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle, because Mowgli apparently wasn’t good enough on its own.

Race
Mowgli and the four realms wolves.

Look, I know and you know, that you are not here for the plot. We know that a boy has his parents get all murdered by a mean tiger (Benedict Cumberbatch), so some wolves take him in and raise him. He is also watched over by a panther (Christian Bale), who is soft or something, and really wants the baby to not die, while also being pretty darn afraid of a tiger.

And occasionally, a bear (Andy Serkis) is around to give advice/teach/protect. The snake? Well the snake (Cate Blanchett) is less evil and more godlike, with a bit of an oracle-sense, she is there to be unnerving, not just looking for a bite to eat.

Anyways, the boy (Rohan Chand) tries to be a good wolf, not realizing he is actually a human, and you know, not die to tigers.

Also starring the voices of Naomie Harris, Jack Reynor, Peter Mullan, and Eddie Marsan. If you want other real people, Matthew Rhys and Freida Pinto are also notable characters who have more than just a voice.

Bath
When bathing, make sure you focus on your bare niceties.

Really, to have two movies based on the same source book around the same time, those movies better be really different. They need a reason to exist and not just because they wanted to see who can do it better.

And regardless of who had the idea first, or how pitch meetings went, this just feels like a competition to try and see who can do it better. I would like to do a big list of comparisons of the two and argue which is better, but I saw The Jungle Book years ago and don’t really want to make that sort of review. This film has more zoomed in looks at the animals faces, probably for mocap reasons as they created animals around acing faces. None of them looked like people creepily, but the mouth movements felt a bit more natural to have human words coming out of them.

But that doesn’t make the graphics better. I am having a hard time to really figure out which one counts as better, so just put the movies as good enough graphics. They are telling the same basic story too, except this one is a bit darker at times. The monkey scene in particular is really frightening, as are some of the chase scenes. The snake scene is more confusing than anything.

However, this film has problems. Namely, when Mowgli gets to the village. That isn’t the end of the movie, but maybe two-thirds of the way through it. Once that happens all momentum is dropped. The movie seemingly comes to a stop and just takes forever to move the hell on. It loses its steam and can never really gain it back, as most people then decide at that time to start checking their watches waiting for it to end.

Voices are fine, graphics are suitable, darkness is less appropriate for a family movie, and holy shit does it take awhile to just end. Easy pass, but since it is on Netflix, you will see it large and around for weeks, and sure, it will probably frighten your kids.

2 out of 4.

Bad Times At The El Royale

I have never had a bad time at a place called an El Royale. Just saying, for some sort of context. I haven’t been to any El Royales as far as I know. So neither good nor bad times have been had at any El Royales. I am an El Royale virgin. Or at least, I was before I saw this movie, Bad Times At the El Royale.

Alright, now that the nonsensical first paragraph, overall this felt like a movie that would be really enjoyable. I didn’t know what to expect, but I liked the cast of characters and thought it could have some really fun and interesting scenes.

After seeing so many duds lately, and great films, I needed something that would just be entertaining. I really wanted this to fill that genre gap in my movie watching schedule.

Dancing
It did fill a Hemsworth sized whole in my heart. And that is a very large whole.

At the El Royale? Well, it used to be a happening spot. Lively nights, plenty of guests, and a lot of raunchy shenanigans. This hotel is on the border of Nevada and California. So it has a more expensive and classy side and a gambling side. A side for all the types who may want to visit. Now the hotel is almost in rambles. The front desk is basically just one person (Lewis Pullman), who also is the cleaning man, the bartender, and everything. A one man show.

And tonight? There will be some guests. We have Darlene Sweet (Cynthia Erivo), a potential singing star who has a secret. We have Father Daniel Flynn (Jeff Bridges), who seems to be losing his mind, and a man with a secret. There is (Jon Hamm), someone who really wants the Honeymoon suite, because he has a secret. There is the vulgar and unfriendly (Dakota Johnson), who clearly has a secret.

A lot of secrets, and a lot of bad stuff coming together. How are Chris Hemsworth, Cailee Spaeny, and Nick Offerman involved in the plot? Well, that’s a secret.

Raining
I’M SORRY. DID YOU THINK THIS PICTURE SPACE WOULD BE GIVEN TO SOMETHING THAT IS NOT SHIRTLESS?

Did you know that Bad Times at the El Royale is over 140 minutes long? Shit, this might as well be a Marvel movie at this point. Now of course if a movie is engaging and fantastic, the time doesn’t matter. BT at the ER is in fact entertaining with some cool scenes. It has nice songs/soundtracks to encompass the scenes. It is told out of order from multiple perspectives to help unravel the mysteries and keep things fresh. It is really impossible to guess where it is going and how it will end. And yet, it also feels way too long.

Sure, different perspectives is fun, but that does mean we have to see some scenes multiple times. And there is a lot of backstory at times that are cool for building characters, and at the same time, not always necessary.

I really enjoyed Hamm in this film. He was a combination of some of his previous roles and it was definitely a good fit for him. Potentially it can be used as an audition for an eventual super hero! Johnson was acting like someone completely different in this film and it was refreshing. Erivo knocked it out of the park for me in the film, she was the real star, in so many talented ways. And hey, Pullman was interesting as the, well, lobby boy. I actually thought it was maybe Tom Holland pushing some boundaries for most of the movie.

BT at the ER is a fun film, a different film, a Quentin Tarantino lite film, and one that will please a lot of fans. Especially those of Hemsworth. It just needed a lot more editing and maybe a more focused outcome by the end.

2 out of 4.

The Predator

I don’t think I saw the first Predator movie, nor did I see the next one. I did see both Alien vs Predator films though, and of course, Predators, from a handful of years ago.

I think I would enjoy the first Predator movie, it sounds like it is really well made and will have high levels of tension, especially in the end. I will put it on my list. I still know roughly the events of these films, because hey, geek and movie culture.

But to continue the string of very nondescript movie titles. this one is going to be called The Predator, because I guess there is only going to be one. That is some Highlander stealing shit right there. And since it is directed by Shane Black, I can only assume that it will take place during Christmas.

Pred1
Time to hang up the people stockings.

Let’s all head to Mexico! Where there are drug deals, of course! Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook) is an asshole, but he is our asshole. He is also a good soldier and sniper. Sure it basically cost him his marriage, being all soldier-y and out a lot, but he is still a good soldier. And during a mission, a space ship crashes nearby with a scary creature with invisible capabilities.

So he does what any hard working American would do in that case. He steals some of the monster’s equipment and mails it to his P.O. Box at his home city. Thanks to plot though, they go to his home, so his young autistic son (Jacob Tremblay) can find it and mess with alien stuff.

Through other plot, the alien gets captured by secret space force people. We got a real mean dickhead (Sterling K. Brown, who seems to be getting younger in his roles) who wants to unlock their potential. We got an alien biologist (Olivia Munn) who is surprisingly good at shooting things with various weapons. Hell, we have a whole bus load of “crazy” PTSD soldiers that they are hiding away who are going to be dealing with this thing.

But most importantly, this will end up taking place over Halloween. Damn Shane Black, way to trick us.

Also starring Yvonne Strahovski, Trevante Rhodes, Thomas Jane, Keegan-Michael Key, Jake Busey, Augusto Aguilera, and Alfie Allen.

Pred2
Well I guess instead of hanging stockings, they are just hanging Halloween decorations. Makes more sense.

The Predator is basically a trash movie. A movie that feels like an incredible waste of time, and did not live up to any of the expectations that I went in with. And honestly, I didn’t have many.

People tried to talk about what the trailer implied, but I didn’t see it, so I didn’t know where they were coming from. Instead, I just know it is a crap film. Why? Well, this film is basically a comedy. It is very much almost a slapstick comedy. Because we have this group of men with zany personalities (because of mental disturbances) they all have quips and one liners. This means everyone, starting with the guy who is supposed to be the joke maker, all the way down to the more serious characters. It is like they wanted to make The Avengers, but you know, PTSD army folks.

Gosh, the humor was so annoying. At no point could a viewer feel threatened or scared by the predators. When everything is a goddamn joke, it is hard for anything to really draw the viewer in. Tense moments are wasted by jokes and by extremely bad cut jobs. This film moves all over the place, and it is hard to judge how time works. We quickly go from a night scene to an early morning scene, a literal night and day difference, in the final action sequences. If there were a lot of practical effects (/people in suits) it is wasted by the other CGI effects. The kills aren’t too great. And the predator v predator fight is not worth any amount of hype.

AND HOW THE HELL ARE THEY GOING TO HAVE A FILM CALLED THE PREDATOR WITH MORE THAN ONE PREDATOR.

This cannot be the movie people were hoping to get. Somewhere a better film might exist, but really, it needs a plot upheaval and most of it to be re-shot with a different cast. Yeah, we just need a different movie.

1 out of 4.

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.

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.

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.

Upgrade

Unless you were looking for it, you probably would have easily missed Upgrade in the theaters. I don’t think I saw a single trailer for the movie, I certainly don’t remember seeing a poster or ads on the internet.

If it wasn’t for word of mouth, this might have been something I picked up months from now on Red Box but that is a big if.

I went out of my way to see Upgrade on the final day of a local Alamo Drafthouse which was closing to move to a better location. It seemed like the sort of old school brutal 80s movie to watch in a theater like that.

An indie film, only a few stars, and a robot. Let’s do this.

Romance
Is that a generic romance from an 80’s film as well? Oh they are going all in!

Grey Trace (Logan Marshall-Green) is a simple man, in an overly complicated and modern world. Cars are self driving now almost exclusively. Technology is everywhere. And Grey likes to restore old classic cars to their former glory. He likes to drive them too, his hands behind the wheel, not just a passenger. His wife (Melanie Vallejo) really brings in all of the money to their house.

Grey has just finished up a new car restore and is bringing it to his secret client relatively far away, Eron (Harrison Gilbertson). Eron is a secluded tech brilliant billionaire. People love his work. Grey finds out that Eron is working on a new chip that can basically do anything. It is strong enough to be a second brain.

And on the way home? The self driving car for our couple goes wild, takes them to a weird part of town, and crashes. There, Eron gets shot in the spine, paralyzing himself from the neck down.

Fuck. This ruins his livliehood. This brings him depression. This makes everything shit. Sure, they can afford good technologies for the house to help him still feel like he has control, and technology allows him to go anywhere, but that isn’t what he wants. And sure enough, here comes Eron later, offering to put a chip in his body, telling him it will restore his body so that he can move, walk, run, everything.

And then? Then he can get revenge.

Also starring Betty Gabriel and Benedict Hardie.

Face
No cool robot arms. Just a single chip in the neck! See it?

Early on in Upgrade, after we get to have the accident and the plot start to unfold, like most people, you will probably assume where the story is going to go and guess some of the conclusions. And to be honest, you won’t be entirely wrong.

Initially it turned me off in the movie, because I figured I understood where it was going, how it would end, and all of that. But the obvious is thankfully only part of the whole story and a whole lot more takes place than I expected. The ending really helps drive this film home.

Sure, before that, we basically have an action movie where a character gets to be much stronger and faster than expected, so we get to see those shocked faces, awkward movement, very choreographed (intentionally) looking fight scenes where one guy just demolishes his opposition. And it works and it is entertaining.

The film itself looks very dark, as it was going for a future techno underworld feel, while still maintaining aspects of an 80 movie. It is gritty, before gritty became a recent trend type thing.

Overall Upgrade isn’t going to change cinema, science fiction, or action movies. It is very entertaining and relatively short to recent movies, so it will be a quick way to spend less than two hours without being disappointed.

3 out of 4.

Ant-Man and the Wasp

The first question you have to ask yourself, does anyone care about Ant-Man? Does anyone care about the Wasp? Does anyone care about Ant-Man and The Wasp?

So soon does this film come out, when just two months ago we had Avengers: Infinity War, a film that made some people cry. Now these titular characters were missing from Avengers of course. Does this happen before IW? After? During? That has to be the majority reason why anyone is watching this film. To see how, if at all, it connects to Avengers. People care about the larger story, not these minor characters.

And this is coming from someone who really enjoyed Ant-Man. I thought the villain was great, and it had the best superhero teaser for a film, that they sadly didn’t recreate for this film.

Either way, if this film ends up being completely stand alone, then a lot of people will be disappointed.

Amatw
Hey look! The titular characters! Together!

This film takes place pre-Avengers: Infinity War, so don’t expect it to start with chaos. Scott (Paul Rudd) is under house arrest for two years following the events in Captain America: Civil War, before he has probation. All of this is explained neatly by the FBI agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) early on, don’t worry. It is boring, he has no contact with Hope (Evangeline Lilly) or Dr. Pym (Michael Douglas), but his daughter (Abby Ryder Fortson) still visits frequently and his ex wife and her husband (Judy Greer, Bobby Cannavale).

But hey, he lives with his ex convict buddies still (Michael Peña, David Dastmalchian, T.I.), and they started a security business themselves.

AND THEN THANOS ATTACKS. Wait, no not yet. Things start to change however, when Scott has a vision of himself inside the Quantum Realm again, including a vision of Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer), the lost Wasp. This sucks him back into the technology rich, very steal heavy world of Ant-Man, despite only having days left on his house arrest.

Now they are in a race against time to finish developing a safer way into the Quantum Realm to find their wife, mom, and lady they don’t actually know, depending on what character you ask. We also have a skeevy business man who wants in on the potential profis (Walton Goggins), a girl phasing in and out of the physical realm (Hannah John-Kamen), and an old S.H.I.E.L.D. research buddy (Laurence Fishburne) also going in and out of their plans.

Ghost
Hey look! Ghost is joining their dance party!

I almost gave this film a 1 out of 4.

Figure that is a good starting place for this review. Sure, it is entertaining. It is funny. The cast has good chemistry. A specific Rudd scene where he has to act like an entirely different person is nailed perfectly and doesn’t feel wrong. The crew has less screen time, T.I. almost feels nonexistant, but they still have their moments. And Ghost fights were relatively cool to watch, as was the Wasp kitchen fight scene.

And yet I almost gave it a 1 out of 4. Technically, the reason I gave it the 2 instead is because of Peña’s character. I was worried they wouldn’t continue a joke from the first film and declared it to be an okay movie if they continued it on. Eventually? They continued it on, and sure, an average review.

Because lets face it, you aren’t getting your Avengers tie in until the credit scenes. This movie overall feels like a filler film. We don’t have any real villains, we just have things that consistently make the plot longer. There isn’t a lot of fighting, it is more just car chases and shrinking and growing. It isn’t a film that can feel smart, because all of the science behind it is fake anyways, so when scientific breakthroughs happen, it happens because the characters say it work, not that the audience could figure it out on our own.

Overall, it sets up a little bit in the universe. But it feels too clunk with no real established threat besides time itself. Ghost isn’t even a villain, just another damaged person, which they make sure we understand very early on.

If the MCU was Buffy the Vampire Slayer instead, this movie would fit in the middle of season one, instead of how most other films are clearly in the 2-7 territory.

2 out of 4.

The First Purge

Asking most people, they would tell you that they like The Purge: Anarchy, the most, which was the second film. It was good to see it on a city wide basis, but I am also one of the people who really enjoyed the original Purge movie as well. The Purge: Election Year, however, did nothing really for me. It was obvious what they were doing and going for, but the bad acting in it means it wasn’t as impactful as anyone would have liked.

Unlike previous films, I never saw a trailer for The First Purge, so I am going in relatively blind. I did see the first teaser poster though, which was enough to make me laugh and get a bit excited.

Although let’s be clear. This is a prequel. Prequels are generally fucking stupid, unless they can absolutely answer new information in a different light. And if it doesn’t? Well, then prequels are fucking stupid.

Mask
When did he have the time to make this mask? Did they all agree that masks were cool before it ever happened? Was there a crafting party/meeting?

This time, this takes place right after the New Founding Fathers have taken over the government and elected a president. They said they would help come up with a solution to fix America at any cost, as fast as possible.

And this involves a planned social experiment, for 12 hours, to let most average crimes, including murder, be legal. It will be done as an outlet to let out all the anger and aggression. And it will be done on Staten Island, a place with known borders, to see if it works.

Staten Island has a large poor population, so when the vote happened for their place, they agreed overwhelmingly. People who want to participate are also going to be given $5,000 if they survive the night. The rich can just leave the island before hand, the poor will stay and find this life changing, so of course they will do it.

No one really knows what to expect for the night. A lot of killing? Killing early and then people being satisfied and going home? Just a night of looting and outdoor sex? Who knows!

Well, we will have drones, contact lens cameras, and more reporting on the events around the world.

Starring Y’lan Noel, Lex Scott Davis, Joivan Wade, Mugga, Patch Darragh, Rotimi Paul, Mo McRae, and Marisa Tomei.

Protest
Protesting free money and free crime is an uphill battle.

Remember how we already learned that the purge was really a way to help deal with the undesirables? You know, the poor, the colored, the homeless? A way to lower the resources we needed overall? It was implied in the first film and explicitly shown in the second film?

Yeahh, well, they use that as a sort of plot twist shocking moment in this film. Sure, that would be shocking maybe if The First Purge was the first Purge movie, but it isn’t. It is a prequel, and it is showing us shit we already know.

This film was basically almost a 0 out of 4, due to having no point. But it is hard to not root for Noel’s character, despite being a drug lord kingpin, especially when he becomes John McClane near the end, scaling a tower in his wife beater t-shirt and bag of guns. This film also features a lot more people of color as our leads, which is fantastic. The bad aspects are that it just doesn’t offer really anything new. It is full of surprises that aren’t surprising, a bad local villain, and the cringeist scenes between the scientist and the politician. Which scene? Every. Single. Scene. Between them. Tomei just didn’t even give a fuck in this movie for her limited role.

The First Purge is forgettable and now leaves us in a weird position for this movie. Where does it go from here? Do we now do The Second Purge? Or can we just set up future random purge movies in random locations?

Or does anyone care anymore?

1 out of 4.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

When Jurassic World came out a few years ago, it was a big deal for me. Jurassic Park is probably the first movie theater expirence I remember. Jurassic World was, at the time, the biggest movie I was able to see early as a member of the press.

And unfortunately, that film had issues. It had some new things, but other elements just felt rehashed, and them we had the ridiculous assistant death and heels fun.

Needless to say, I didn’t care much about Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. The story had a volcano and seemed to sort of give away a lot of the film. I couldn’t tell from the trailer if it really had anything new to say.

Balls and dinos
Look, there’s most of the same cast with the same magical travel balls.

Jurassic World has fallen, from that last film, because the dinosaurs got out and people had a bad time. They had to pay a lot of law suits to cover the costs, and didn’t really fight it too much. But now they are defunct and everyone basically agrees to leave the island alone.

Well, nature doesn’t want to leave it alone. The dormant volcano there has become active, and is ready to fuck a lot of things up. It is riling up, it is getting explosive, and now the dinosaurs might all become extinct, again. Should we save them, or let nature fix is course? The government decides to not intervene, so it is up to private groups to pick up the cost.

Namely, Lockwood estate. It is an old man (James Cromwell) who helped Hammond (Richard Attenborough) back in the day with their initial research to open Jurassic Park. He wants to save several species on the island, more if there is time, and put them on a new island. One that isn’t a volcano, has its own natural borders and it can be a sanctuary where dinosaurs can live peacefully. Something not for tourists. Time is of the essence. They also have a great need for Blue, the velociraptor, as they feel it is the second smartest creature on the planet and the only one left of its kind.

Getting the creatures back is one difficulty, especially when it involves an exploding volcano. Once they are on the ship and ready to get out of the island though, that is where the real drama and intrigue begin.

Also starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall, Daniella Pineda, Justice Smith, Toby Jones, Ted Levine, Jeff Goldbloom, BD Wong, Geraldine Chaplin, and introducing Isabella Sermon.

Skeletons
Herein lies the sins of Jurassic Park’s past. Dey be ded, now. Again.

JW:FK seems to have heard some of the biggest complaints about the last film and respond appropriately. For example, the footware is more appropriate in this film. But how could they respond to the assistant death? How could they fix something like that?

I don’t know. How about by having that same giant dinosaur do a very similar thing, once again, to an undeserving character. Technically it is acknowledging the controversy by doing it a second time, although a bit less graphically.

JW:FK is certainly an entertaining movie. You will have some thrills, some screams, and some laughs. But overall it doesn’t offer anything really new. Last movie we had a man made T-Rex looking dinosaur that was too smart and caused problems. It was defeated by OG T-Rex. This film replaced T-Rex with Velociraptor. The same shit happens in different scenarios.

It also enforces normal Jurassic franchise tropes. Military people are always bad. Ugly people are always bad. People who aren’t bad but just working are expendable.

Overall, not enough new. What was new was obvious early on, but it didn’t go hard enough into it leaving more for sequels. But hey, Smith was better than expected as well.

2 out of 4.

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