On The Basis of Sex

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a real life BAMF, who should one day be immortalized somewhere with a statue. At least one, hopefully ten. We should have advancing science to have cloning technology be figured out in the next 2 months so that we can make a younger version of her so she can continue her righteous crusade.

First of all, if you have not seen RBG yet, you should. It is on Hulu, it is one of the best documentaries of the year (although it shouldn’t make you cry like some other top ones). It is very informative, goes over her whole life, big battles before the Supreme Court, and is a perfect companion piece to this movie, On The Basis Of Sex.

This movie is about Ginsburg before she was in the Supreme Court. When she had to deal with normal lady struggles at the time, while still trying to be badass.

And it will go into the details that the documentary mentioned, but couldn’t spend a lot of time on because she had decades of cool things to talk about.

Like how to look imposing when standing next to a giant male model.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Felicity Jones) has always been a fighter. That is how she fought her way into Harvard Law School, probably the best place to learn law in the 1960s. It only recently let in women, but they clearly did not like them there anyways.

Despite being the top of her class, she continually ran into oppression. Her husband (Armie Hammer), a law student above her year, developed cancer. With a baby at home, what’s a girl to do? I don’t know, go to both of their classes, take notes/assignments, take care of a husband and child, you know, superhero stuff.

And despite being amazing, and everyone knowing it, she still couldn’t get a job. Top of class? Still a lady. She had to settle for many years, teaching instead, until specific case opportunities came her way. Things that no one wanted to touch, that dealt with gender rights and equality. Hey, these seem like topics she wants to fight too! You know, because of her constant issues.

This is the type of case that needs to be fought all the way to the Supreme Court, to help change the law of the land. The first of many cases she took there before finally getting a seat herself.

Also featuring Jack Reynor, Stephen Root, Cailee Spaeny, Kathy Bates, Sam Waterston, and Justin Theroux.

Don’t be fooled by her degrees, she still knows how to party.

Jones does an amazing job playing an amazing woman. From the way she carries her face, the power in her little frame, and her voice, it is like looking into the clone machine that I asked for earlier, but with better quality lenses than my poor eyes can normally handle.

As a general rule of thumb, I will always watch a movie with Hammer in it, and he does a swell job as well. The movie does a fantastic job of displaying both the subtle and non subtle ways he has privilege over his wife, and his ability to deal with issues and get certain things passed.

Unfortunately, this film suffers a bit in that it really feels like telling a story in which case she is not able to do things on her own, which she does dozens of times in her life, but instead focuses on the moment where she needs that ally to get her to the next step. It is like my criticism of Marshall, focusing on a story where they can get a white male lead in, despite having an amazing person to talk about. Nothing wrong with Hammer’s character, because this is a role where he is the husband and partner in the case, but it still makes me question why not talk about those other cases more when she gets to actually be the star.

Unfortunately, this film is not as good as the documentary on the similar subject. The acting is great, but the story is a beat weaker. We have villains who just are out to get her because she is a lady, which seems like a gross simplification of what she was up against. Film took a lot of history for granted, and turned things into more silly feeling situations.

That does not mean this film is not entertaining or something you will sleep through. I liked it! I was just disappointed it didn’t develop into the Oscar contender I was hoping for.

3 out of 4.

Sorry To Bother You

Sorry to Bother You is one of those films that sort of snuck up on me with a roar. I heard idle mentions of it earlier in the year, but didn’t go out of my way to do further research.

I knew the star. I guessed the theme. And yet none of that would prepare me for the trailer.

The trailer felt very fresh and told me that this. Would be a movie with a lot going on. A sort of extreme satire, maybe very political, but whatever it is it has a message and will be both subliminal and superliminal with that message.

I was excited and ready for this screening, without really knowing what it might give me.

I am getting a Japan / sumo wrestler headband vibe here.

Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) is your regular, down on his luck, poor, brother. He is living in a garage in the house of his uncle (Terry Crews), with his long term girlfriend artist (Tessa Thompson), and they aren’t having a lot of luck making money.

But Cassius is able to get a job working as a telemarketer, working for commission. It is better than nothing. And he has the promise that if he does good, he can go to the top floors of the company. He can ride in the special elevator. He can be a “power caller,” and make the big bucks. No one really knows what they sell up there, but it ain’t magazines and book sets.

Cassius is told to just stick to the script, don’t get out of line, and make money. Once he makes money, he can make more money and more and be a success for once. Especially if he taps into his white person voice.

Starring David Cross, Patton Oswalt, Lily James, Forest Whitaker, and Rosario Dawson! Or at least their voices. Also starring Jermaine Fowler, Steven Yeun, Omari Hardwick, Armie Hammer, Robert Longstreet, Danny Glover, Kate Berlant. and Michael X. Sommers, that would be their voices and their bodies.

This is how white people drink champagne.

Strangely enough, the trailer for Sorry To Bother You only gave you a slice of the whole story, so I tried to do the same with my plot. There is a whole lot more that goes into this story. Topics of slavery (multiple levels) , class warfare, poverty, selling out, and American indifference to clear wrongs in the world. This movie coming out now is extremely well timed given the border problems that keep getting swept away by other media distractions.

It is not a film to use subtle clues to drive the point home. No, these clues are obvious, with a hammer. Fuck, one of the most uncomfortable scenes was the precursor to a “rap” where the chants, the disparity of the cast, made everything all too real and uncomfortable.

Stanfield is amazing in this film as our lead. His senses will probably always align with the audience on the scale of what is right and wrong and when to finally draw the line. Oh yes, you will know when that line is drawn. It was good seeing Yeun in a role very different than his previous work. Thompson was great. Hardwick was as well, despite more limited time, and Hammer was a blast going full crazy CEO for this film.

Unfortunately, areas do feel a bit clunky and jarring. Especially in the end, time seems to go by strangely and not everything seems to have the same attention to detail as earlier on in the film.

Sorry To Bother You will be looked back as an important work, with extreme topics in order to get the point heard loudly.

3 out of 4.

Call Me By Your Name

I have been reviewing for over six years, but only over the last three or so have I gone hard into getting those Oscar nominated films in as well. And every year we have movies hyped throughout the year about their chances, for their actors, directors, and so forth.

I usually can always get to the super hyped films early enough to not feel so late in the conversation.

That feels less true for something like Call Me By Your Name, which has been hyped consistently for so long this year. It feels like this is the only film people are talking about, on multiple categories. And yet, it took me so. damn. long. To see.

I didn’t even get to see it in theaters, but instead a dinky screener, because it turns out an invite was lost for me over a month ago. Oh well, I did get it, well before Oscar nominations were announced, this has just been one of my bigger fears of a film I thought I’d never get to see.

To avoid uncomfortable moments like this, I generally opt to be on the “shirts” team.

In the early 1980’s the world was a wonderful place, now that Nixon and Vietnam and Disco were done. The sun was shining, but the globe wasn’t too warm, and people tended to chill a bit more. In 1983, and in Italy, it was a wonderful, quaint place to be. Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet) recently turned 18 and was living with his parents (Michael Stuhlbarg, Amira Casar) in the Italian countryside. His dad was a professor of archaeology, so he was there for statues and pots.

And this summer, we are getting Oliver (Armie Hammer) to join them for a few months. He is a graduate student and he is going to assist the professor in work and writing. Sounds way better than my summers in graduate school.

Elio and Oliver are very different people, as Elio is a quiet person for the most part and a lover of playing music, while Oliver is far more outgoing. Elio has a girlfriend, Marzia (Esther Garrel), an actual Italian girl, and things are getting serious. But Elio is young and unsure of himself. In fact, he is starting to find Oliver mesmerizing.

But what does he know about love? Is he gay? Is Oliver gay? Does any of this matter in the 1980’s?

Where the shorts are always short and the cafes are always cafe-y.

Call Me By Your Name is a film that is talked about so much due to three reasons, and all of them are guys. Chalamet carries this film despite his actual real life young age and has had an inedible year all around, also having parts in Lady Bird and Hostiles. He gives off this aura of insecurity and realness that makes it easy to love his performance.

Hammer, the co-lead but going for supporting actor nominations, is always an acting force, and his normal bravado in his roles still comes through with this one. His arrogance and superiority are extremely intentional given his characters age and experience compared to Chalamet and is no wonder he starts to swoon over him. Hell, everyone who watches this film will swoon over him.

And of course we have Greatest Small Role Actor Ever, Stuhlbarg, who the last few years has been in so many amazing roles with various screen times. He gives a wonderful speech near the end and just feels so wise throughout that he does a wonderful job.

The countryside is a good location, as are all the details about the time period. But if I am being honest, I don’t see what really sets this apart from any other forbidden romance type film. It is very well acted, it doesn’t rely on sex to sell it (Hammer notwithstanding), and yet I don’t think it needs the long run time. It drags in some areas early on for me and well, shit. I can acknowledge it is a good film, but certainly not one that I have fallen in love with, nor will it make my top of the year lists.

Every film can’t be for everyone, but this one is still pretty good with some fine acting samples.

3 out of 4.

Cars 3

Ooooh, this franchise though. I hate Cars. And I hate Cars 2 more. They are bad movies. Seriously. They are just cash grabs, they have bad morals, they are just complete shit.

And they are worse because they have led us to having Planes and Planes: Fire & Rescue, which incredibly end up being worse than the Cars movies.

So, I definitely have been not looking forward to Cars 3. A franchise that won’t go away, because their toys keep making them money. This movie on its own could be amazing. It could answer some needed questions and be decent on its own right. But nothing it could do could redeem the monstrosity that are those previous four films.

And here is a picture of two cars racing.

Cars racing go go go! Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) is still doing that racing thing, still kicking butt, winning most of the time, or at least the top 3 with some of his friends, life is easy and everyone else is a bitch in comparison. But then, there is a rookie in the race, he comes from behind and wins. His name is Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer). Why does he not pass everyone until the last possible moment? Why does no one notice a car with an extremely sleek new design? No idea, but he wins.

And then he keeps winning. Then the race cars start getting replaced by the newer models, because they are faster and better. You know, things that make sense. Lightning finds himself finishing the season in a giant crash and he goes back home to find himself. Can he get back into the grove, being the only “old” race car to join the series once again and prove himself? Maybe.

That would be the point of the movie though, I guess.

Returning for vocals in very limited roles include Larry the Cable Guy, Tony Shalhoub, Bonnie Hunt, John Ratzenberger, and Paul Newman (yes).

But also, you know, new characters. Sterling (Nathan Fillion), the new owner of Lightning’s main sponsor, Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo), Lightning’s new trainer to get him in shape for the new season, and Smokey (Chris Cooper), the vehicle that trained Doc, along with Lea DeLaria, Kerry Washington, Margo Martindale, and Bob Peterson.

And here is a picture of two cars racing.

Buckle up, buckaroos, because I don’t want to spend too much time talking about why Cars 3 is terrible, but in all likelihood, that is all I will get done.

One of the biggest problems of the Cars universe still glaringly exists for the third time. Where do these cars come from? Are they built in a factory? Is there car sex and car babies born? We know they can be worked on and improved, but only at some point. Given that Smokey’s mentor is still alive, cars also don’t seem to really know how to die outside of Doc, so it is sort of bizarre.

These questions matter because (gasp), newer better racing cars, based off of better designs, meant to go fast and handle corners better, now exist! Why? How? Are some car executives somewhere creating new life forms and taking over, and this is an issue? In Cars 2 the problem was Lemon cars, cars that were basically disabled characters, now it is new cars with a lot of bells and whistles. How dare they come into the world and excel at the one thing they were created to do.

Let me say it again. Our bad guys are new race cars, who are doing really good at racing cars, who were made and designed to race cars and only do that well. They are doing better than Lightning McQueen who, GUESS WHAT, was also designed and built to race cars really good, just decades before then. When Lightning McQueen joined the scene, was he made into a villain for taking out older models from the race world?

No, he was not. So why is it now an issue, when Lightning McQueen helped do the same exact shit in his youth? Because we have seen him in movies we are supposed to halt the natural evolution of a sport (that is designed by a magical car creator or other cars or something), so that he can do what? WIN BASICALLY EVERY TIME! There are 20-30 racers in these race, and these other poor cars apparently never win ever, and we don’t feel bad for them. We are just supposed to feel bad that Lightning is no longer the top of the line. It is not fair for just him, while everyone else just accepts it.

And here is a picture of two cars racing.

Okay, I had to do a whole section to explain why just the even plot and premise for this film is shit. So now let me talk about other issues.

There isn’t really anything in the way of suspense by the end. How it goes is pretty expected, assuming you are paying at least a little bit of attention. However, they decide to let the dumb thing happen by having one of those in film “rule book arguments” when it turns out that what they want to do isn’t against the rules. Usually this is fine, because it is alluded to somewhat earlier in the movie and at least can make sense. But given it is a fictional universe with whatever willy nilly rules, it comes off surprising. It SHOULD be against the rules, it just isn’t because it is convenient to the plot. And this happens twice within the same final race. Not because it is sensical, but because lazy writing.

Thankfully they learned something from Cars 2 and gave us way less Tow Mater, but it is crazy how much of the original characters are just bit parts. I wouldn’t have assumed that Sally is still Lightning’s love interest in this film if he didn’t just once call out that he loved her. They barely interacted and honestly I don’t see Lightning as still being faithful.

Poor Paul Newman died in 2008, and his voice is still being used in this series. Unused audio from the first film existed so they patched it together for some voice stuff in this film, and it just feels downright gross to do that.

Cars 3 is easily the worst Pixar film since Cars 2. Cars 3 does NOT make Cars 2 look like Cars, because Cars 2 is still the worst, beyond worst, Pixar movie by a long shot. And that is technically a positive.

2017 continues to be a below average year for animated films, but Pixar is on a downward slide. Finding Dory wasn’t good, and the The Good Dinosaur was meh. That is three stinkers in a row. They are banking on Coco doing great in November, but it probably will just feel too similar to The Book of Life at this point, so I have no idea what will save them. They are banking on sequels to beloved franchises for the next films after Coco. We just have two sequels though, and will get two more? They need to stop whatever the fuck they are doing, rethink their whole operation, and start getting original quick if they are going to save their standards.

0 out of 4.

Free Fire

I can really get into a good shoot ´em up film. Ones with some plot, no plot, or a lot of plot (rare), I can really get behind losing most of the cast in a 90-120 minute time frame. I am willing to suspend my belief enough about the events that led to a long gun battle, and hope that the ¨main characters¨ end up actually dying in surprising fashions to make sure the genre keeps its unpredictability.

And I feel like Free Fire is the type of film that will fire in all cylinders to the parts of the brain that get me all jolly.

The cast is a real big reason for my excitement. Let´s just say that a lot of these actors I have been enjoying in almost every single one of their roles, yes even that shitty one, and always get excited to see them in a movie, even if it ends with disappointment.

Only one woman in the entire movie? I wonder who will probably “win” the fight?!

Never take a rock to a gun fight, unless that rock is Dwayne Johnson. But he isn’t here, so instead we got a few junkies and some Europeans who want to buy and sell guns.

On one side, we have Chris (Cillian Murphy) who needs some weapons for Ireland. He brought along his main muscle, the aging Frank (Michael Smiley), someone who helped set up the deal in Justine (Brie Larson), and a couple of stupid young guys to help make their crew look bigger and carry the boxes (Enzo Cilenti, Sam Riley).

They meet Ord (Armie Hammer), who makes sure the deal is on the up and up, another middle man type person, but basically a mercenary hired by the other side.

The other side is led by Vernon (Sharlto Copley), a South African, and his associate Martin (Babou Ceesay). Their muscle include Harry (Jack Reynor) and Gordon (Noah Taylor). But they brought a different type of rifle than agreed upon, so arguments start getting made, people are getting antsy.

The real argument comes from two of the lackies, unrelated to the deal, but once shots start firing and both sides start taking hits, all bets are off. It gets worse when two sharpshooters arrive (Patrick Bergin, Mark Monero), meaning someone was already looking to double cross someone else for some money.

Also featuring Tom Davis as a giant.

Generally, in the middle of gun fire, it is the best time to discuss pay raises.

I love Armie Hammer in everything. I am enjoying Jack Reynor’s up and coming career. I think Brie Larson is awesome. Sharlto Copley is the best part of a lot of bad movies, and the best part of some good movies.

But this film is another movie that I must have just overhyped in my brain. I knew that it was a short film, a one set location, and mostly about people shooting each other. There was the chance for a smart plot, but I didn’t expect one (and it obviously did not delivery one). But at the very least, I expected a lot of exciting deaths and amazing feats of showmanship.

Yet in the middle, it felt like it was dragging. They didn’t have a lot of people to start with, so the deaths had to be spread out and relatively slow. It just seems like every single one of them was a terrible shot. Most of them get injured relatively quickly, shots to the shoulder or leg, meaning everyone crawls for both cover and necessity. But it almost seemed bizarre just at how little people were actually shot versus the number of bullets used.

Maybe it was a realism thing, maybe it was because they didn’t know where to take it. But at least the movie is relatively funny. Hearing the quips in the background and the angst these people started to have with each other were pretty great. And now, whenever I hear Annie’s Song by John Denver, I will think of this movie fondly. Not as fondly as as I had hoped, but still a bit fondly.

2 out of 4.

Nocturnal Animals

I wasn’t able to see Nocturnal Animals before it came out, mostly due to screening conflict. But without knowing the plot of the film, I was interested in the cast alone.

But given that I wanted to see it, the title did a lot of work with only two words.

Nocturnal. Animals. It sounds mysterious, secretive, and of course, primitive. It riles up a lot of fears, especially for those people afraid of owls.

Jake Gyllenhaal already had a good year thanks to Demolition, so regardless of how this one went, I consider it to just be bonus Gyllenhaal.

And a bonus amount of this guy, who I didn’t recognize in the film.

Susan Morrow (Amy Adams) is miserable. She lives in a giant house, with her husband (Armie Hammer). She is an art director, but feels like it is all junk. They are close to being poor, selling their items, waiting for a big business deal to come through, but she doesn’t care. She cares that her marriage is just a shell and pointless.

Then she receives a package from her ex-husband (Jake Gyllenhaal). He is a writer, she criticized him a long time ago, he just didn’t write from his heart. But now he has a new story, one he says was inspired by her, to write from his heart, even dedicated to her. It is even called Nocturnal Animals, his old nickname for her to explain her insomnia.

The story is about a family, a husband (Gyllenhaal), his wife (Isla Fisher), and teenage daughter (Ellie Bamber). They are driving through Texas in the middle of the night, heading to a vacation, empty roads, no signal, simple. Until they do catch up to a few cars, who are up to no good and willing to make a few choices to ruin a few lives.

Starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Robert Aramayo, and Karl Glusman as some bad dudes, Michael Shannon as an older, smoking cop, and Laura Linney as Susan’s mom. Real mom in this story, not the book mom.

But also all of these people are fake anyways because: acting.

Nocturnal Animals made me feel a whole lot of emotions. Fright, scares, hope, sadness, angst, tension, extreme sadness, indifference, and even a bit of confusion. Needless to say, I was on the edge of my seat from some parts of the film, and sinking into it later to try and escape the pain.

Nocturnal Animals tells a story, a story in a story, and it does both points so goddamn well. It both made me want it to never end, and to subsequently hurry up so that it could potentially become a sunshine, happy ending. But it sticks to its tone guns and it delivers exactly the perfect ending at the conclusion.

Everyone involved with this project should simultaneously be slapped and hugged because of what I imagine they had to go through to really convey those emotions. The acting, cinematography, directing, fuck, even the costumes, why not. It all just feels so planned to maximize the angst I felt inside.

This movie is extremely hard to talk about because in all honesty, it is something that should be experienced. It isn’t for the feint of heart, it goes into some heart wrenching areas. But if you give it a shot, you will get a smart film that doesn’t hold your hand, some of the best performances of 2016, and a story that will stay with you for a long time afterwards.

4 out of 4.

The Birth of a Nation

The Birth Of A Nation is titled as such to recall the film with the same name slightly over a hundred years ago. That one was racist, sure, but it was also one of the biggest movies of the time and revolutionized film so it still has a reason to be talked about today.

This modern version is about a true slave revolt that happened before the civil war. That’s right. They are taking the title back and making it pro-black. A bold and almost genius idea.

It was also one of the most anticipated films of the year, with Oscar hopes and dreams, long ovations at Sundance, and a giant bidding war to get rights to distribute. It was the first film to potentially win the Best Picture award this year, so the hype was un real. And no, Free State of Jones being terrible didn’t bring the hype down at all.

Picture of how I imagined the hype train would rush to theaters for this film.

The story is about Nat Turner (Nate Parker), a child born into slavery, who was taught to read the bible a bit by kinder owners (Penelope Ann Miller), but eventually was put back into the field.

As an adult, he was one of the head slave workers and he also preached to his fellow slaves every week. A slave preacher! Yes, because they wouldn’t let him preach to white folks of course. Well, the drought was hurting the small farm, so his owner (Armie Hammer) began to take him to other farms to have him preach to other slaves about the importance of obeying your master in order to get to heaven, helping them earn extra money.

But on these voyages he started to see worse and worse conditions for slaves. It began to break him as a person, so much that he would lash out and get more punishments on his own farm. So eventually he had enough. He got a few men together, they planned to kill all their masters, go north to an armory, grab weapons, take the town and try and end slavery once and for all. Whoops, that is most of the story!

Also starring Jackie Earle Haley as the typical evil slave catcher, Esther Scott, Aja Naomi King, Mark Boone Junior, Colman Domingo, Aunjanue Ellis, Dwight Henry, Gabrielle Union, and Roger Guenveur Smith.


Obviously, given the subject matter you can tell this will be a powerful drama and story and one has to just hope and hope that the people behind it do it justice. And since one man is behind it there is a lot of pressure on Parker to deliver. He was the director, star, writer, main producer, everything. And thankfully he also delivered.

From the cinematography, to his acting, to the costumes, to the close up faces, it was an easy and hard two hours to get through. Easy as it just seemed to flow by rarely having a dull moment, and hard given the subject matter. For those worried, it was actually a lot less graphic than I had anticipated, with a terrible scene involving teeth and some dead bodies.

Whether the movie gets the real story perfect, or what happened in anyone’s real life past is irrelevant. The film itself is actually a well-crafted piece and worthy of praise on many regards. Is it the best movie this year? I don’t think so, but it is one with few issues outside of pacing concerns and behind the scenes drama.

I don’t want to sound like a cheap comparison, but I would definitely say another recent slavery movie, 12 Years A Slave, was definitely still better. But I mean, 12 Years was reall fucking good.

Definitely go see The Birth of a Nation which you will certainty see it mentioned at awards ceremonies in a few months, but I doubt now it takes the top prize.

3 out of 4.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

I am a big Armie Hammer fan, which is a weird thing to say out loud (or through words in a review post).


I liked him as The Lone Ranger and I liked him in The Social Network. He was charming in Mirror Mirror and appropriately dramatic in J. Edgar. And hell, he was the best cameo in Entourage.

I realize that The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is based on a television show from the 1960s, but that is super old and I will never watch it for research purposes. All I care about right now is that Armie Hammer gets more leading roles, and damn it, maybe one day he can play a super hero?

pic with henry canville asking if he is jealous

Set during the Cold War, the opening credits of the movie really really want you to realize that after World War II, Germany was broken up into East and West, with West Germany controlled militarily by America and East by the Soviet Union. Why? Because that is where our film starts, and is one of the many places of tension between USA/USSR!

It begins with Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) bringing his American self into East Germany! He is there to see a mechanic, Gaby Teller (Alicia Vikander). It turns our her father was a great scientist, who of course worked with the Nazis. He was able to eventually head to America to work on their nuclear program, but two years ago he went missing. Shit.

Solo and the US government think that he is in Italy against his will, working for Victoria (Elizabeth Debicki) and Alexander Vinciguerra (Luca Calvani). They plan on building their own nuclear warhead and using it. No good at all. In fact, this potentially threatens the whole world. Which is why the Soviet Union and United States have to team up! They are going to send Solo, the CIA’s best agent, in with Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer), one of the KGB’s best agents, two men who have battled before, to work together to save the world.

Also featuring Sylvester Groth, Jared Harris, and Hugh Grant.


I have heard that the movie that came out is actually nothing like the TV show outside of people sharing the names. You know what I think? Don’t care. I don’t base reviews off of the source material, just what is presented before me. And what was presented before me ended up being a very entertaining film.

First off, it’s a Guy Ritchie film. Outside of his Sherlock films, I haven’t been able to see one of his movies without subtitles because they usually go way too strong on the accents. That almost happened again at the start, with strong German talk, but we got over it thankfully. The movie itself is HIGHLY stylized. The tone, props, settings, everything screams out that decade. It is one giant love letter to the entire era. The cinematography was wonderful and so was the choreography. It is hard to describe how stylized the film became, with one action scene featuring a very comic book feel despite not being based on the genre.

As for the main characters, Cavill and Hammer both did great jobs with excellent chemistry together. The first scene where they were introduced was able to showcase how fully badass both individuals were, while never really making one seem like the lesser spy. This film has been in production for a long time, and the last guy on before Cavill was actually Tom Cruise, but he had to back out due to Rogue Nation. With Cruise, it would have been a very enjoyable movie, but probably not the same dynamic these two were able to pull off with each other.

The movie was also decently funny. The competition between the leads and them being forced into awkward situations had me laughing quite often. Longer jokes existed too, including the “watch gag” which featured obvious and subtle jokes throughout the film.

I hope at least one more film gets made as a follow up, because I could watch Hammer talk with the Russian accent all day. Not to be ignored, Vikander also held up her own as a relative newcomer to the action genre (because we all should ignore Seventh Son).

Shit. This one is honestly hard to describe. I definitely enjoyed The Man From U.N.C.L.E., but I feel like an eight year old trying to describe…well…anything. I think if I had to say anything, this movie was definitely very cool. Hell, I felt a bit cooler after watching it, almost picking up a pack of cigarettes on my way home while listening to popular band music.

If you see The Man From U.N.C.L.E., you can feel cool, too!

3 out of 4.

The Lone Ranger

Sync up your William Tell Overture Finale folks, it’s The Lone Ranger time.

Although I never listened to the original radio series, or watched the TV series, or other movies, The Lone Ranger himself is pretty ingrained in American Pop Culture. A hero to the old American West, and a franchise that Jerry Bruckheimer has decided to take under his wing. After all, if it proves to be a success, he could release a new Ranger movie every three years, similar to his current Pirates of the Caribbean trek. Just think of how much money Johnny Depp will make from both franchises, too.

If explosions were dollar bills…

In Colby, Texas, the great American Railroad is coming through, bringing prosperity and happiness to the small town. Their goal is to connect the East with the West. John Reid (Armie Hammer), a district attorney from the big cities, is returning to his hometown to reconnect with his brother and brother’s wife, Rebecca (Ruth Wislon).

What poor John did not know, is that also on that train was famed bandit cannibal Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner), who is finally going to be hanged for his crime. There is also this Indian named Tonto (Johnny Depp), but he is a bit more mysterious. After a train robbery, Butch is back on the run, and it is up to John Reid, his brother, and a gang of lawmen to bring him back for justice.

Until something goes wrong. Terribly, deadly wrong. Somehow, John is saved, and Tonto explains to him that he is a spirit walker, who cannot be killed according to his beliefs. Tonto also wants to bring Butch to justice, so they team up to right wrongs and save the day! Speaking of trains, Tom Wilkinson plays Cole, the railroad tycoon, and Helena Bonham Carter a bordello mistress. Fun fact, this is the first time Carter and Depp have been in a film together that was not directed by Tim Burton.

Horse Man yo
It is also the first time Depp has worked with this horse.

After watching The Lone Ranger, I really just want to listen to famous, old classical music. Major props to Hans Zimmer for rocking out another great movie soundtrack, something I don’t bring up a lot in my reviews.

I will start with the negatives first. This movie is 149 minutes long. What! A lot of the film is set up, in order to introduce us to the character before he dons the mask, a little bit about Tonto, and a whole lot about his brother and his old town. It is necessary, I guess, but it could have easily been shortened. The film uses the method of unreliable narrator, as a much older Tonto is telling the story on how he first met John. The idea itself is a neat one (and allows for more crazy situations) but the method of delivery just feels hokey to me.

Thankfully, the positives far outweigh the negatives. Hammer and Depp have great chemistry. Tonto is not just a secondary character but an equally important one. They have the appropriate throw backs to the original series while also doing their own thing.

But the best part of the movie is by far the climactic train ending. The final chase is incredibly long, but so meticulously planned and detailed that it was hard to stop smiling the entire time. The director had many gorgeous shots of the landscape, like a classic western, including setting parts of it in the Monument Valley as a different type of throwback.

The movie will also give you plenty of screen time with Armie Hammer, who is currently rumored to be the new Ant-Man or Dr. Strange, upcoming heroes/movies Phase 3 of the Marvel Universe.

Although this film has had many negative reviews, I’d say give it a chance. Especially if you have three hours (movie and preview) to waste on these hot summer nights.


3 out of 4.

Mirror Mirror

As promised, Mirror Mirror review slightly after Snow White And The Huntsman. I had to give myself time to fully digest the plot from my system. Because no one wants to see two similar movies so close together.

Unless you really really love Snow White based content, then I don’t know.

Snow whites picture
If you are that above person, check this shit out. It’s Snow White. Fuck yeah, right?

In this movie, Snow White’s (Lily Collins) mom died during child birth. Very sad. Her dad (Sean Bean) thought it would be good for her to have a mom, so he found a beautiful woman to call Queen (Julia Roberts). Many years after that, there is rumors of a Beast in the forest, to which the King goes to investigate but never returns! Ten years after that, hey look, Snow is turning 18.

She has been shut inside, the Queen making everyone thinks she is afraid of the outside, in order to make her a bad ruler, while she taxes the kingdom to poorness for rich parties. Boo. Well, the Baker Margaret (Mare Winningham) is Snow’s biggest supporter, and lets her know that shit is going bad and she wants to investigate. Well it sucks. Eventually she wanders the forest where she finds Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) and his assistant, tied up, attacked by giants! Or at least dwarves dressed up as giants. They go to the castle and thank the girl.

Oh shit she is a Princess, they find out later, and the Prince likes her a lot. Pisses off the Queen, who demands her death, but instead, she escapes to the forest and finds the dwarves. Queen banished them from the kingdom and they are forced to live alone! And they are all midgets. Like Jordan Prentice and Ronald Lee Clark.

They agree to let her join and train her to fight and steal, and increase her wit so they can steal from the queen the taxes and return them to the city! She is even able to fend off an attack from the Prince and a group (partially under spell). Once the Queen uses more magic to have a wedding, the group steal the Prince and attempt to break the spell. But will the beast that lives in the forest come a knocking? Why does the Queen waste her precious magic on turning her assistant (Nathan Lane) into a Cockroach for a bit, instead of like, some torture.

The fact that she gets trained and is more than one fight makes her arguably more of a warrior than the Snow White in that other movie.

Alright, so that the films are a bit different, Mirror Mirror ended up being the “comedy one” instead of the “Serious one” (which there has been numerous of both in the past). If I judged the latter poorly on being a bad serious movie, then I would have to judge this based on its comedic value. Well, not much was too funny. I thought Julia Roberts was pretty bad in this movie as a Queen. Charlize Theron blows her out of the water (“Just review this movie, damn it! Stop comparing!” – Reader. “Fine” – Me”).

But I felt this was an overall more complete feeling movie, with a bit better plot. Cheesy as all heck, but everyone likes Cheese. The visuals were vivid as shit, because this is done by the same guy who gave us the Immortals, which focused more on visuals than a decent and coherent story. (Alright alright, no more other movie talk). The ending also, out of no where, featured a weird Bollywood number, which I enjoyed, but uh, the lyrics/singing weren’t good.

I think overall the beginning was a bit too slow, but it picked up once Snow White was “killed” and left the castle. Dwarves were sweet, Prince was amusing, and Snow White was more bad ass in this film than the other (Hah! Still did it anyways. Neener neener). But still weak in other parts. Oh well.

2 out of 4.

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