Tag: Andy Garcia

Words on Bathroom Walls

Oh my goodness, some more theaters are opening up and things are getting “national releases” at this point, depending on where you are in the country.

Words on Bathroom Walls was scheduled to come out in late July, but never really moved when the rest of the exoduses began to happen, and then just creeped back barely a month, to find a time it can come out and be appreciated at a social distance.

So this review was written quite awhile ago, is what I am getting at.

Words on Bathroom Walls is a book from the last decade, about high schoolers dealing with issues. That isn’t specific. I think I have noticed a bigger trend lately on high school literature is that they might be able someone who has a maybe misunderstood illness, to give these protagonists a better shake on how their lives run and understanding. Sure, these things have been done before, but they were often not well researched, or went extremely basic with the issues, becoming offensive on their own.

That is one of the main things I will look for with this movie. Does it explain things beyond the stereotype? Does it feel fair? Does it educate and still tell a good story? Has the research been done?

dance
And of course, most importantly, will there be a prom?

Adam (Charlie Plummer) is a senior in high school, and he has now had a real big old panic attack. It happened in Chemistry. It causes a friend of his to get hurt. He started hearing and seeing things that were not there, it was very frightening, and all of his classmates were witness to his meltdown.

You see, it turns out that Adam has schizophrenia, and it all sort of just hit him at once. He can see and hear three main different people in his life. There is Rebecca (AnnaSophia Robb), a free spirited girl, there is Joaquin (Devon Bostick), a horny friend from a 90’s film, and there is a bodyguard (Lobo Sebastian), an intimidating person who is just trying to protect him. And there is a fourth darker voice that he can hear occasionally, and is especially dreadful.

But this isn’t the only thing going on in Adama’s life. He is a senior in high school, and would still like to graduate on time. So he has to start at a new private school. His mom (Molly Parker) was raising him on his own for a long time, so Adam became a good cook to help their family unit out, and eventually she got a new spouse to help out (Walton Goggins), but Adam doesn’t like or trust him.

Adam’s biggest worries are trying to ignore these voices, to appear normal to his new friends and classmates, and survive until graduation. Then he can go to culinary school and be happy. He also has to deal with experimental medication that can clear the voices but might effect him in different ways. And he also has to deal with Maya (Taylor Russell), the smartest girl in school who has taken an interest in him and him to her.

Eventually Adam will realize everyone has baggage, and his just might be harder to cope with.

Also starring Andy Garcia, as a priest,

graduate
oh, I also need my teenage fiction to include a graduation ceremony.

Okay, a movie dealing with schizophrenia, at the high school level, with a cast of characters that include different/voices in a characters head (and appearing around him from his mind) to offer advice throughout it. My immediate thought is, oh no, this is going to be wacky, and they will be a constant source of shenanigans or voices, and this feels stereotypical schizophrenia.

But! They are not throughout the film. Because he is taking trial drugs to help deal with the voices, so they do in fact leave for large chunks and it still can tell a compelling story about living with schizophrenia by making it also a film about dealing with the need to use a drug to better function (and the side effects those drugs can bring). I feel like the schizophrenia was handled with a large amount of respect. When I researched if the author researched enough for their book, I found no complaints by any schizophrenia organizations. So if it is schizophrenia approved, I have to assume it got things right and avoided potential offense, great job team.

Watching this movie actually made me want to read the book, and I still plan on it if I can find a local copy (I do not want to use Amazon to buy it). The book is written from the point of view of Adam telling about his life and stories to a therapist, and so you take the role as the therapist in the book. They do acknowledge that in the movie, and have a few therapist scenes where Adam is talking to the camera instead, to get that same feel, but I am sure it is not as strong as the book, because we get to actually see events.

I thought Plummer was a really good lead for this film and Russell was a great co-lead, with her own problems to deal with, and their relationship felt like it grew at a realistic pace, with realistic pitfalls.

Another shout out goes to Parker, for being a great mom dealing with all of this, and also Goggins, playing an extremely normal role based on what he has done in the past. That of a step-father trying to be supportive of his step-son and doing the right thing, without being able to get really close.

Honestly, this movie packed a lot of punches in the right spots for me emotionally. It told a good story, about schizophrenia, without also only being about schizophrenia. It was relatable for other reasons, and hit me emotionally. I don’t think my high rating is just because of the lack of good films this summer, I hope not, but I definitely fully recommend people giving this movie a chance. Maybe not in theaters, depending on your safety concerns, but whenever it is available at home.

4 out of 4.

Geostorm

I am a goddamn geophysicist, and it took me until almost half of a year later to watch goddamn Geostorm.

IT IS ABOUT EXTREME WEATHER. AND THE EARTH. AND I AM A GEOPHYSICIST.

It would have been unacceptable for me to watch San Andreas way late, like I did with Geostorm.

And hell, I have been relatively kind to natural disaster films on this site. I liked Into The Storm, and you already forgot it existed! Bring on the disaster, especially if it is fun.

Ice
Are those ice zombies? What are those soldiers going to do to those poor popsicles?

The Climate is fucked. After the storms started getting worse and worse, these extreme weather events began to get out of hand. Heatwaves killing thousands in an afternoon. Parts of NYC getting flooded. It just needed to stop. So the world finally came together. They couldn’t stop the climate change. But they could try to curb it.

With all nations actually working together, they developed technology, and put satellites into the orbit. Using science or whatever, these satellites around the globe can disrupt big weather events and counter act them through…I dunno, science/technology stuff. Just trust us, it works.

Hurricanes be gone, droughts be gone, whatever. The world is now a happy and prosperous place. The main creator Jake Lawson (Gerard Butler) was taken from his design though, because he was hard to work with. The US Government wasn’t a fan, especially because he wanted it to be perfect enough for the technology to be controlled by the UN, not the USA. Once he is kicked out, and his brother (Jim Sturgess) is put in charge, he feels like it is still fine, but nope. Time for exile.

He is just going to be needed years later, when the satellites begin to malfunction. Now these big storm events are starting to occur, people are dying, and bad things are happening. If these storms continue, they will start to cause other storms, until they get big enough that the whole world will be under weather advisory. A Geostorm.

Also starring a lot of other people: Like Abbie Cornish, Alexandra Maria Lara, Daniel Wu, Eugenio Derbez, Amr Waked, Adepero Oduye, Andy Garcia, Ed Harris, Richard Schiff, Robert Sheehan, Zazie Beetz, and Mare Winningham.

Space
Surprise! Half of this film takes place not even on the geo!

Goddamn it. I wanted to watch a terrible nature disaster movie. But Geostorm isn’t really a terrible disaster movie. It is really just a terrible political thriller, that has climate disaster consequences.

Fuck that.

I mean, if it was a good political thriller and about climate change, it would be one thing. But it is terrible at explaining the disasters, and a terrible thriller, with terrible action. Everything about it is terrible!

Well then why isn’t it a zero? You know, if I hated it, and the acting was bad, and the plot was bad, and the disasters were bad?

Well, they called the satellite program the Dutch boy. You know, referencing the fable about him sticking his finger in a dyke. That makes me chuckle. That is a solid nickname. That is worth a slight price of admission.

And unfortunately, Butler is a scientist in this movie, and mostly in space. So we don’t get to see him fighting a tornado or anything cool. Very disappointing.

1 out of 4.

Max Steel

Max Steel is a movie I figured I saw before, or heard about, but everything I knew was wrong.

I was thinking it must have been some modern kids show, but I was wrong. Maybe a kids cartoon that I saw once a long time ago? Oh yeah kind of! I never saw the show at all, but existed a decade and a half ago, for about two years. And then apparently a lot of direct to DVD movies and toys.

So this is a franchise that some people, somewhere, care about? It just seems like a weird very niche thing to resurrect, literally hoping children who watched the show at the time will go and see the movie. The movie that had no advertising that came and went and is sneaking out to DVD like it probably should have done first.

Jump
Regardless of how it goes, this screen grab is unintentionally hilarious.

Don’t worry, the main character’s name isn’t Max Steel, it is Max McGrath (Ben Winchell)! And he is a high school student, living with his mother (Maria Bello), and for whatever reason they move around a lot. This is the 8th or 9th time they have moved, because of issues. They might have said more details, but my mind has blanked out big portions of the film.

He goes to school, flirts with Sofia Martinez (Ana VillafaƱe), they do some things, and then a mysterious man shows up at their door. This man is Dr. Miles Edwards (Andy Garcia), who knows the mom and has been sending presents occasionally. He knew Max’s dad, but his mom doesn’t talk about the dad a lot, nor how he dies.

Max’s Dad worked for some place called N-Tek, that does tech stuff and wants to protect to the world, and that is where Miles works as well. And this place is close to where they live now, oh man!

This is a lot of dumb set up. Max gets these weird powers to control electronics kind of. An alien named Steel (Josh Brener) shows up, talks a lot like an ADHD kid, and wants Max to help them stop bad things. They can even merge together to make a fighting suit thing. Ah, superhero time!

Suit
You know, like people cheating on their taxes. Take em down Max Steel!

About five minutes into the film, my brain checked out. Something about the movie just immediately turns me off. They are using nice cameras, and that somehow seems to add to the woes. Everything is so crisp like a commercial, but then we have moody cloud backgrounds. It is trying to show angst early on through visuals and it just looks gross.

The characters are not people to root for or care about. Winchell is not charismatic nor is he strong to carry the lead in a film like that.

Everything just feels drab and it becomes a surprise when they finally introduce Steel, who is way too upbeat and talkative given the tone for the rest of the film.

The plot may be confusing, it might not, I am not sure because it was just so hard to care about. The final fight with the bad guy, Garcia’s character, completely forgettable.

It is just Max Steel has absolutely nothing going for it. What is worse about it is that it had so little going for it, I don’t remember enough about it to even complain.

0 out of 4.

Ghostbusters

Let’s get one thing straight. No one will take this review seriously. No one can take any review for Ghostbusters seriously. For the last 1-2 years, this film has been dragged through the mud of the internet. From director, to casting choices, to posters, to trailers. Everything has been heavily scrutinized and a lot of it met with extreme backlash.

Like it or not, biases exist in so many forms they are possible to escape. Even when I try and watch a movie by ignoring the trailers, ignoring plot summaries and more, I am still slightly affected by it by recognizing people in the cast and comparing it to their own past work. And that is a subtle bias. When you hear nothing but negative things about something for a long time it will take a toll on you.

What I am NOT saying is that the toll will be the same way to everyone. But extremes will happen and are bound to happen. People very well may end up actually hating this movie, but if they dislike it, they will be called sexist or misogynists or probably Moonboy for all I know. If you love the film, you will be seen as maybe some social justice warrior, liking it to high levels just as a counter to the hate. And both of these things are potentially true. Some people hate it for sexism, some people love it to counter the sexism. But also some people just won’t like it and some people will love it regardless of either.

This intro I wrote before seeing the review, but of course you can already see my rating. So when I say no one will take this seriously, I just mean that it is impossible for anything anyone says about this film to be taken with a grain of salt, outside of actual personal experiences and opinions.

Hemsworth
Am I sexist if I make my first picture of just him with no one else?

The year is current year, and Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) is up for tenure at Columbia university now for some hardcore physics stuff. She has to be careful to not embarrass the university in any way. So when Ed Mulgrave (Ed Begley Jr.) pops up to talk about a book she wrote a long time ago about Ghosts, things get awkward. Her co-author, Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) is working at much lesser university on paranormal related sciences and she put their book on Amazon to make some extra income. She is now working with an engineer, Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) and they are developing some sweet new technology.

Once they find out that Mulgrave runs an old museum/house with a potential ghost, they hop over to find out, and yep, there is a ghost! Their video goes viral on YouTube, Erin loses her job and they decide to start researching these ghosts full time. They soon meet another scarier ghost in the Subway, where they also meet Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones). Patty isn’t a scientist, but she offers them a vehicle so they let her join the train. They also get a receptionist, Kevin (Chris Hemsworth), who is really damn stupid but good looking and the only one to apply.

Long story short, this asshole unsocial dude, Rowan North (Neil Casey), is using his own devices to ramp up paranormal activity in the area, hoping to unleash a huge amount of ghosts to begin the apocalypse. Fun!

Also featuring Andy Garcia as the Mayor of NYC and Cecily Strong as his assistant, Michael Kenneth Williams and Matt Walsh as members of Homeland Security, Zach Woods as a tour guide, Karan Soni as a Chinese food delivery man, and all* of the original Ghostbusters cast as cameos. The biggest cameo is Bill Murray as a ghost skeptic.

Steams
Ah there they are, not crossing streams and all.

Here’s some background. I did not grow up with the Ghostbusters movie in my life. I didn’t see the first film in its entirety until just a few weeks ago. I knew what happened in it roughly, I knew quotes, I saw bits and pieces, and I of course knew the song, but I never really saw it. Similarly, I still have never seen Ghostbusters II, only because I didn’t own it to watch it. So it isn’t something that helped define my childhood full of nostalgia.

Coming from that background, thinking the original Ghostbusters movie was only okay, I also have to say the same about the sequel. Both are comedies and meant to be comedic in nature, but rarely did I find myself laughing. Maybe some smiles or cute moments and the surprise scare, but rarely a true laugh out of loud. But this isn’t a review of the old one, this is a review of the new film. Wiig and McCarthy were both playing relatively un-funny characters. That is because they had to be serious to really sell their passion. Their characters had a few jokes that were revisited and some slapstick but that is about it.

Jones and McKinnon were fine in their roles and a bit more interesting. They were the only characters that actually felt like they had personality and were generally consistent with those personalities. I can see why people find McKinnon’s character the funniest because, well, Wiig and McCarthy are just so drag in comparison. They should have had one less serious character and one more unique but not identical to McKinnon for more actual laughs. She did make me laugh a few times, but Hemsworth’s character did make me laugh the most. They made him stupid arm candy, a nice gender reversal, and they went so extreme with it that it was hard not to chuckle.

Outside of those three characters though the film just wasn’t that funny. Mostly slapstick and chaos.

Ghost
And now here is a ghost, now everyone is represented equally!

The film had a lot of wasted potential. They had Walsh and Williams as agents and they collectively maybe had three lines, they were no-name characters in the end and had no reason to be played by those actors. The cameos from the original cast were okay, but Murray was absolutely dreadful. He wasn’t even acting as a character in this film despite having multiple scenes. He came across as a guy bored out of his mind who was just getting a small pay check. It was embarrassingly bad.

The film was all over with its science as well. Like the original, they would say a lot of jargon that sounded cool but meant nothing out to anyone listening. Their stream weapons were inconsistent with how they worked, making the long final fight scene sort of odd.

And yes, the film was too meta about the message they wanted to send. They had to turn it into movie directly against the online (sexist?) haters as a sly joke. Years later they won’t make as much sense along with the other numerous pop culture references. But commenting about the hateful things people say on YouTube and the internet just took me out of the movie as the film collectively winked its entire screen at me.

But what do I know. I am a guy who gave this an average film. I have probably been biased on my own thanks to everything that has happened. Maybe I am just too afraid to give this a really positive or negative review, so I go into neutral obscurity hoping to maintain some level of unbias but still directly being influenced quite heavily. We will never know and this film or future films in the franchise will never be able to escape it.

2 out of 4.

* – No not Rick Moranis and of course not Harold Ramis.

Let’s Be Cops

Let’s Be Cops. A movie that has been advertised for almost six months before coming out, despite for all intents and purposes, looking like a shitty cop comedy.

I mean. You saw the trailer. It just pumps loud rap music at you with scenes that aren’t really funny and situations that are so unbelievable that you glare. Well, maybe I am just talking from my experience.

But from the looks of it, it just looks like a collection of people from TV shows trying to get into a big movie. I also missed three different screenings before finally going to the fourth available one because of how little I cared.

Agh!
This is clearly just a recreation of a scene from Tommy Boy.

Justin (Damon Wayans Jr.) has a dream job, a video game maker in L.A. And by that, he works at a company but no one cares about his opinion or his game, especially not his boss (Jonathan Lajoie), and he kind of gets shit on. Non literally. He lives with his best friend, Ryan (Jake Johnson), who played college football but didn’t go pro due to an injury. He has been living off of money he made from a commercial for a few years, no prospects. Life sucks for them.

It sucks even more when they go to a reunion party and everyone there is successful and they are losers. They also showed up wearing cop outfits thinking it was a costume party. But hey, it turns out regular people believe them to be actual cops, since their outfits are authentic. They get to boss people around and have fun. Shit, even the ladies like them.

Well, Ryan gets really into this idea. He is the bigger loser. He gets the used cop car. Lights. Super illegal. Justin hates the idea. He has a job. Doesn’t like it. But likes the perks of the cute girl Josie (Nina Dobrev) at the diner they frequent finally paying attention to him.

But things quickly get out of hand when they end up pissing off a local mob crime dude, Mossi (James D’Arcy), who thinks a few actual street cops are trying to clean up the turf. They can’t handle this shit. They don’t even have real guns!

Also there are roles for Rob Riggle, Keegan-Michael Key, Andy Garcia, Natasha Leggero and Joshua Ormond as Little Joey.

Ugh
Don’t give me that disgusted look just because there is a kid in this movie. There are dozens of them!

As expected, a lot of the humor in this film is crude and I didn’t find a lot of it funny. But then, every once in awhile, something made me chuckle. Generally they came from Damon Wayans Jr., who has been making me laugh for years. He just has those dance moves, you know?

The moments that I actually found amusing were apparently enough to warrant the film into okay status. On top of that, James D’Arcy made a pretty interesting mob boss. Classic eye scar and all.

It still had quite a few annoying plot points, especially near the end, that cause characters to react only in ways to save our stars / make the movie move forward, instead of what their character would actually do. Like, you know, shoot someone.

Whatever happens, this movie definitely doesn’t deserve a sequel. So I do hope it fails enough financially for them to not even think about it. Watch on Netflix eventually, maybe.

2 out of 4.

Rio 2

Rio 2. Did it need to happen? The first film, Rio, told a complete story. I don’t remember how I felt about the movie initially, but I quickly grew to hate it.

That’s right, I now hate the first Rio. The songs are terrible, the story is dumb. The songs are really really terrible. After one listen, I knew I could live without hearing them again (but of course I did hear them again). But whatever, I don’t have to dwell on it.

But it got a sequel because it made money, makes sense. Now they have a family of birds, doing family stuff, and living in Brazil full time. At least this time the plot won’t be an inability to fly.

Family
No, this time it is an inability to be fly.

Tulio (Rodrigo Santoro) and Linda (Leslie Mann), the humans, are off doing human things. Roaming the Amazon rain forest, looking for cool shit. They stumble on some cool shit, but also some bad shit. I am literally done talking about them.

Needless to say, the bird type that Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) and Jewel (Anne Hathaway) are have a huge home in the middle of the rain forest, away from humans. I mean, after all, they had to come from somewhere right? That’s right, Hathaway actually voiced the same character for the sequel, unlike the travesty that occurred for Hoodwinked Too.

So they take their family and friends to find the lost tribe. Or whatever. Living in the Amazon! Yay! There they meet Jewel’s dad, Eduardo (Andy Garcia) and former lover I think, Roberto (Bruno Mars). Now that Blu knows how to fly, he has to learn how to really be a jungle bird if he wants to make sure his wife still loves him…?

Oh, and uhh. Nigel (Jemaine Clement) is back, wanting revenge. He also has a poisonous frog friend named Gabi (Kristin Chenoweth) who really loves him for whatever reason. And there are loggers. And there are parrots or something that share the forest with the Blue Mckaws.

All of the random ass bird and dog characters are also back (Jamie Foxx, George Lopez, Tracy Morgan, and Will i Am) and yes, they serve even less of a purpose in this movie.

Villains
These two, plus ant eater, plus parrots, plus loggers, means like, 10,000 villains.

Rio 2 is a strange movie. Like I just said, there are so many dang villains, it just felt excessive. Because of that fact, Nigel didn’t have a great send off. When his plan finally came true, it all was super rushed and then the movie ended.

The music for Rio 2 was a little bit better, but not amazing still. This franchise’s problem is singability. I don’t want to go and sing any of these songs later, just like the first one. Just all of them are so erratic. My favorite song was the Poison Love in which Chenoweth goes full Broadway crazy on hitting all sorts of notes. Yes, surprisingly, her character was the funniest of the whole film. She didn’t even have that much time in the movie either it felt like.

I think, somehow they went even more stereotypical than the first movie. There is even a big soccer like match with the birds, including announcers acting exactly as you’d expect.

Everything else was ehh. Was hard to keep paying attention to the film, due to how pointless the plot lines felt. I hope there isn’t a Rio 3 in the future, doing the Olympics or whatever in a couple of years. That will be stupid.

1 out of 4.