A Quiet Place

This review for A Quiet Place has come way later than most of you would expect. But hey, I missed the first screening. And for a movie of this level, I would normally rush off to see it regardless. But I also love my wife.

And this is a movie she wanted to see badly as well. Her wanting to see movies isn’t rare, but she almost never wants to see horror. Her love of the actors involve and the interviews she saw online changed her opinion enough to still want to see it, so I knew my first time seeing it would be with her in our house, once it is on Red Box.

Which was like, a month ago. Vacations yo, they can delay things. And thus even surprising me for when this one finally came out.

Finger1
This is how my students have to walk down the hallway sometimes if they don’t listen to the rules.

We first see our family with the world already ravaged. People are gone and dead. Things have been abandoned. Desolation, ruin, all of the normal signs of an Apocalypse.

Our father (John Krasinski), mother (Emily Blunt), and three kids (Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, Cade Woodward) are looking for supplies and no one is speaking. Every time a sound is about to be made, it is stopped and fixed before problems occur.

Based on newspaper articles and television recordings it is clear that some sort of Alien has occupied the planet. They have amazing hearing but poor site. For those who choose to run, play, gossip, they will be quickly found and eaten. A pretty shitty time to be alive.

But this family is doing okay. They have sound proofed most of their belongings. They knew sign language because their oldest, the daughter, is deaf. And the father is spending a lot of time trying to get her an earpiece to let her hear the world.

Needless to say, conflict will be coming to their house. An event, an incredibly loud one normally, is to occur, and they have to find a way to survive the attack that will certainly appear at their door step.

Hush
WE SAID NO TALKING GOD DAMN IT!

What a tense and wonderful film. Directed, starting, and written a little bit by Krasinski, he shows off a powerful movie on his first full feature attempt. Well, first well known movie. Not many people saw The Hollars, despite some nominations [I totally wanted to, I just forgot]. It is at least his first horror picture directing.

A lot of experiences with this film will talk about how amazing it was to quiet an entire theater from any sound, as a joint experience brought on from the films suspense. That didn’t happen in my house, because it is a house with kids, but I still was on the edge of my seat.

A Quiet Place did a great job of explaining the alien back story without feeling stupid. And better yet, we get to stay in the dark like most of the cast about the aliens. We don’t get all of it explained and we don’t need it. The idea of future sequels worries me as they will likely ruin the suspense.

Overall this is a very tense and upsetting movie. As a father, I obviously identified with several of the elements and they struck a bigger nerve but I can see those complaining about not scary enough. Some of the character decisions are incredibly frustrating, and it is another thing to watch kids be dumb. But kids are dumb.

I hope more horror films start going this route. This is an indie horror movie feel that made it mainstream. The more people accept this film then the more they will begin to accept films like It Comes At Night.

3 out of 4.

The Girl on the Train

I did plan on watching The Girl on the Train when it came out, you know, in 2016. I knew it was based on a pretty famous book, it had a lot of mysterious elements, and it might have been a spiritual successor to Gone Girl. The book and movie are not done by the people who did Gone Girl, but similar elements were apparently there.

However, I missed the screening, and then my wife said she really wanted to see it also. Just after she read the book first, because that is what normal people do. It took a year later, but she finally picked up and read the book in only about a week, which let us thankfully still watch it thanks to Redbox. It is great when they have oldish movies on there (and yes, I realize it is within a year of coming out, but it still feels really old).

Hooray trains!

Train
I found her! The girl on the train! Did I solve it!?

Rachel (Emily Blunt) is a woman who happens to be an alcoholic, and she rides a train to and from work every day. And on this train ride, she has become obsessed with another woman. She can see her in her house, this Megan (Haley Bennett), living a life with her lover, happy and free. Or at least that is what Rachel invents for her life.

Rachel is a drinker because her husband, Tom (Justin Theroux) left her. He married Anna (Rebecca Ferguson), had a kid, all of the things that he could never do with Rachel. And it turns out that Megan was their nanny for the little kid, unsure if Rachel knew this fact.

Well one sad day, Rachel decided to get off on that stop, seeing that Megan was with another man. This could not be! She was perfect! And now Rachel was drunk and upset.

The next thing Rachel knew, she was awake in her home, with blood on her hands. And news that Megan was missing.

Was it Rachel, blackout drunk and angry? Could she have killed someone?

Also starring Luke Evans, Edgar Ramirez, Darren Goldstein, Laura Prepon, Allison Janney, and Lisa Kudrow.

Balcony
The Girl on the Balcony was a much sexier title, but too close to Man on a Ledge.

The Girl on the Train is told from three different points of view, Emma, Megan, and of course Rachel. The timelines are a bit out of whack, for dramatic sake, in order to amp up all the mystery. After all, if we saw Megan’s point of view when she died, there would be no story to tell!

The false leads don’t end up pissing off the viewer, but really just make sense as the story unfolds. It is not an easy mystery to guess ahead of time, although enough hints really are there. I made a lot of intentionally stupid guesses just to mess with my wife, but when the final reveals occurred I wasn’t surprised in the least.

The issues with the film are just…hard to explain. It feels so bland. The acting isn’t bad, it is just mediocre feeling. The story doesn’t end up feeling as great as it is built up to be. It was maybe over hyped by the advertising or the pacing of the book, because the movie felt rushed and just average.

I think more details in the story would have gone a long way. More drives for the characters and just more things for them to do. It took a long time to reveal not too much, and just felt like a lot of potential that was never fully reached, unfortunately. Let’s hope the sequel, The Old Lady in the Shoe does a bit better.

2 out of 4.

My Little Pony: The Movie

Over four years ago, I reviewed a film on a whim. I had to drive almost an hour to get to the theater (which meant something pre-Houston days), for the only screen time it was showing. Something like 12:30 pm on a Saturday. A very limited release, I guess you could say.

That movie was My Little Pony: Equestria Girls. It was my first foray into the subject. Oh, I heard about it before on the internet, and heard about bronies, but I never thought about watching the show before. I just went to see the movie because, damn it, I watch everything, so why not that as well? I went in blind. I didn’t have any background on the show.

Now sure, after it I watched a few episodes and thought it was okay. Nothing I would binge watch, but something I could watch occasionally. And now, years later, I have seen tons of episodes over seasons. I understand the characters now. I have made art with the characters. But I am still not up to some obsessed level with the show, because I haven’t seen most of it. Just parts of episodes here and there. The kids have seen a lot more than me.

But I feel qualified (As fuck!) to review My Little Pony: The Movie. New art style, same ponies, music, and fun. I was excited for this. I took my whole family to this. My youngest daughter, who is two? This is now her first movie ever seen in a movie theater.

I was excited and ready to go.

Friendship
I just really wanted to find out if Friendship was still magic.

The story starts us off with Twilight Sparkle (Tara Strong) and Spike (Cathy Weseluck), properly freaking out because there is about to be a Friendship Festival, with all the kingdoms and princess and even goddamn derpy all excited. They need to highlight friendship, so that everyone can be so fucking magical. For whatever reason, the highlight of the festival is a pony, Songbird Serenade (Sia) singing. She feels stressed, but it is okay, because she has her FRIENDS to help her. They got this. Rarity (Tabitha St. German), Applejack, Rainbow Dash (Ashleigh Ball), Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie (Andrea Libman).

Well, turns out friendship can’t do everything, all the time, right away. Because a few storm clouds start to gather, even though Twilight asked for good weather. Maybe she didn’t friend enough of the people?! Inside the storm clouds are some sweet airships, apparently led by Commander Tempest Shadow (Emily Blunt)! With a name like that, of course she is fucking evil. She is a unicorn, with a broken horn. The saddest. With a head minion Grubber (Michael Pena), they work for The Storm King (Liev Shreiber), and Tempest goes and freezes 3 of the princesses! I don’t even have to tell you which one is able to escape.

The last words they heard were to find the Queen of the Hippos. Huh. Okay. Well, if that is the way to save everyone, then that is what they will do. And on the way, they will find a singing cat (Taye Diggs), some bird sky pirates led (Zoe Saldana), some water horse thing (Kristin Chenoweth) and her mom (Uzo Aduba).

Friends
Guys. I think friendship is back on the table.

Like the subtitle suggests, this certainly is a whole movie. 100 minutes long, big adventure, tons of fun, a beautiful heart, that is faithful and strong with…um, kindness. That last bit will only make sense to some of you.

They have about five or six songs, the best one from Rainbow dash about being awesome. A couple of decent ones, and a few forgettable, including Sia’s songs. Which on that note, Sia is my first real dislike of the film. Oh cool, they made a pony that looks like…Sia as a horse. Why couldn’t they have just made a singing pony by Sia be a pony? Kind of just feels shoe horned.

The story and plot is actually pretty good while also still being easy to follow. It isn’t entirely original, but it does some good things. The biggest problem with the story comes from Twilight Sparkle, our main character. The writers just totally seem to disregard her. She acts totally out of character from my point of view. Why? to advance the plot. And that sort of thing can really anger someone.

In a movie one can easily argue about how a character would act. But with 7 seasons behind us, it is easy to figure out what Twilight would do. They could have set it up better to better explain her actions, but she comes across as stupid, shallow, and certainly not the PRINCESS. OF. FRIENDSHIP.

My other biggest gripe? A totally huge disparity when it comes to pony importance. Of course Twilight is the most important, sure. But not too far after her is Pinkie Pie in terms of lines, jokes, and plot advancement. Then not far after, Rainbow Dash. But after that? Much further down, very far down, come our other three ponies. They basically exist as extremely minor characters with an occasional joke or reference. It was odd. Balance the main characters before you add an equal number of characters for celebrity sake.

Fans of the show should still enjoy it, minus the straight up murder of Twlight’s actions. I’m sure I will end up watching it again.

2 out of 4.

The Huntsman: Winter’s War

I was forced into watching the trailer for The Huntsman: Winter’s War and I was confused. Based on the plot and what I remember about Snow White and the Huntsman, my timelines started to hurt. It said it was a prequel, but if events in the trailer happened in the prequel, how did we even get the first film? That was my main concern going in.

But before we get to that, it is hilarious that this movie even exists. Right after the first one came out, there was talk about a sequel but about The Huntsman instead of Snow White. The point of the first film was to give us a strong female lead character, so to kick her out for the sequel is just amusing.

Of course, there was also the scandal with the director, Rupert Sanders, and Kristen Stewart, having an extra martial affair thanks to the film. I wonder why they weren’t invited back…

Queens
There can only be so many queens in one picture.

Before the incidents of the first film, our Evil Queen (Charlize Theron) was marrying king after king, killing them, taking their kingdom, and moving on. She also had a family, namely, a sister. Freya (Emily Blunt) had no magical powers as she hadn’t unlocked them yet like the rest of her family, but after tragedy, sure enough, she had ice powers.

Freya runs to the North after losing her kids and decides if she cannot raise a baby she will raise an army (actual line from the film). So she begins to conquer nearby villages and kingdoms, stealing their kids so she could turn them into her own personal warriors. Her Huntsmen, as she calls them.

That is where we get to meet Eric (Chris Hemsworth) and Sara (Jessica Chastain), well, the kid versions of them. They are the best warriors, her cream of the crop, and they fall in love. But love is forbidden in her kingdom, for reasons. And if you remember the first film, you will remember that Eric was super drunk and depressed over the death of his wife Sara. It doesn’t take a genius to spoil what happens next.

Did I just spoil the whole movie? Nope. Because then it fast forwards to after the events of the first film. We have a prequel and a sequel. For the real plot of this movie, the magic mirror goes missing on its way to a Sanctuary to lock away its evil. So The Huntsmen is forced to go look for it to help end its evil. And on the way he has the help of some he-dwarves (Nick Frost, Rob Brydon) and she-dwarves (Sheridan Smith, Alexandra Roach).

Of course this might put him on a path to go against The Ice Queen, which is good since he hates her and all. Sam Claflin briefly resumes his past role and Sope Dirisu is also a Huntsman with speaking roles to make the cast more diverse.

Bow
You’re god damn right I’m reviewing The Huntsman and not showing The Hunstman in the pictures. #GirlPower

Off the bat, this film is definitely superior to the original, but it is still not a great film. The idea of having it as a prequel was weird to me as I couldn’t imagine a good enough story to take place pre-Snow White. And a sequel was weird because I imagined it would only dampen the point of the first film. So it did both and did the best it could to try to make a coherent story.

I have problems with the prequel, because if there is this terrible Ice Queen up North ravaging the country side, you’d think someone would mention it in the first movie. Maybe even that the Queen had a sister. The only part not shoe horned in is the fact that Sara was his wife and she dies. But even that was poorly done and didn’t seem like the type of thing that would drive him to years of depression and booze.

As for the sequel, yes it does cheapen the first film, but the first film was bad. The adventure wasn’t that great, the plans were still piss poor. The special effects were a bit better as was the humor, thanks to the dwarves and Hemsworth playing a happy Huntsman. The fight scenes in general were a lot better as well.

The film still suffers from a rushed ending with a lot of silly actions from the characters. I was pretty sure I heard the narrator say that Freya was betrayed by her sister early on, but apparently Freya didn’t know that? The betrayal came at the very end and the fact that it was supposed to be a surprise confused me.

Other minor notes: Yes, Blunt had to play someone emotionless, but it was terrible. Chastain and Hemsworth had great chemistry. Theron should not have been in this film. And this film has goblins, but these goblins are basically apes with horns with tar in their blood, reminiscent of fantasy trolls. Of course, the first film had a troll that was nothing like the fantasy troll, so they instead had to call them goblins.

The most ungoblin-y goblins I have ever seen.

2 out of 4.

Sicario

I am happy to say that I was able to go into Sicario with a blind eye. I knew nothing about the plot and I was happy about that fact. Hell, when I first saw the cover and name, I just assumed it was some random horror film.

But what I was unable to avoid was the hype train. The hype train drove through my city like a…well, train. Praise from all sides about the acting, directing, cinemetography, plot, you name it, people loved it.

That sucks. Now I went into the film expecting greatness. The important note here is that I did, in fact, go into the film. I was supposed to see 99 Films this night. I convinced myself otherwise, to avoid the free pre-screening, and pay my hard cash money to see the movie so I can review it and compare it to its hype. I might have had to wait until a DVD release if it wasn’t super hyped, and who the hell knows when that would be. I can’t miss out on potential Oscar greatness for Andrew MotherFucking Garfield!?!

Immigrants
Some say Garfield is living his post-Spider-Man life as an immigrant on the run from the law.

Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) is an FBI agent living in Arizona and she is pretty dang good at her job. She is currently working on a string of kidnappings in the area by a Mexican Cartel lord. The guy pretends to be a legitimate business man, but they all know he is running the gangs secretly and taking orders from Mexico. Kate and her partner, Reggie Wayne (Daniel Kaluuya), also find out that parts of the house were rigged to explode. Well fuck. These assholes are going to start booby trapping their hideouts to smuggle people places. This means every future job just got that much more dangerous and things really really suck.

But have no fear, every day American citizens. The government is on the case!

Kate is hand picked to join a larger, inter-department task force, lead by the CIA. She doesn’t know a lot about the mission. Just that it is lead by an asshole, Matt Graver (Josh Brolin), who only slightly works or the CIA, and his mysterious friend, Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro), someone who isn’t even American, nor is he CIA. He is a “consultant.”

Next thing Kate knows, she is whisked away to El Paso. She was told the overall mission of the task force was to bring own the kidnappings and drugs in that area. To actually hurt the cartel from the top and not through their lackies.

What she didn’t know is how many laws would be broken in the process. Not including murder, crossing borders, torture and kidnapping. Lovely. What’s a moral girl gonna do in a situation like that?

Also with Victor Garber, Jon Bernthal, Maximillia Hernandez, and the best Miami Spy, Jeffrey Donovan.

Jef
You can’t fool me with your hipster glasses and fake mustache. I know it is you, Michael Weston.

Sicario was one of those perfect movie experiences. Outside of the two dudes who literally had phone calls during the showing. This is what I get for going to a non-screener, non-drafthouse like setting.

Why was it perfect? Sicario was like a slow burning wine. It was dark, realistic, slow, beautifully well shot, great characters, tense moments, and with a bit of moral ambiguity. Not a lot, but a bit. Someone should let me know if what I said about wine makes any sense, because I don’t know anything about wine, but the saying seemed natural enough.

Acting on all fronts were great. We got Brolin being a dick, pretty standard. But the obvious and clear stand outs come from Blunt and Del Toro. Blunt has been having a heck of a career with her last few movies. She seems to always give it her all and seems to be getting even more dramatic roles in the future thanks to it. Blunt gets to play our law abiding character who doesn’t know what really goes on, the one the audience gets to relate to.

Del Toro isn’t introduced until later in the film, but by the end he definitely becomes a true co star and almost another main protagonist. I once had a friend who said he would watch anything with Del Toro in it. But that was in 2010 and he was trying to justify being interested in The Wolfman. I knew he was in a lot of good movies, but I wasn’t a megafan. But hell, this is the type of performance that could make someone a megafan. His character is very rich and the movie does a nice job of slowly unraveling his mystique. He is one of the most BAMF characters in film this year, while at the same time you never really know if you are supposed to be cheering for or against him.

I wouldn’t be a good reviewer if I didn’t further talk about the cinematography. Denis Villeneuve likes pretty movies and he wants your eyes to be ecstatic. You’d know that if you saw his recent movies, Enemy and Prisoners. That is why with this film and Prisoners he used the legendary Roger Deakins to set up his shots. So much attention to detail was put into every frame, the only thing that could ruin it would be mutilated bodies and dead nudity.

Oh.

Yeah. Some of that is in here too I guess.

4 out of 4.

Buy It! – This movie is available now on {Blu-Ray} and {DVD}.

Into The Woods

Yay yay musicals! If you are a long time reader, you know I really like musicals. Which is why I am finally having a musical theme week. Yay Musical Week!

Into The Woods decided to be a musical coming out on Christmas Day. The last time that happened was two years prior for Les Miserables which I absolutely loved. It was also my first real attempt at watching it, outside of listening to a few songs ahead of time. I loved the shit out of Les Mis.

But going into Into The Woods, I knew a lot more about it ahead of time. I saw a performance of it from college actors, which I guess is above community theater and high school actors, but still not great professional people. And you know what? I down right hated it. It took a lot of familiar stories, intertwined them, gave us their endings, and that was the halfway point. The second half was all new material, it felt super awkward, it got darker and more metaphysical, and it dragged on an on. So yes, I thought it was too long. I thought there was only four or so unique sounding songs, everything else kind of melded together and by the end, it was as if everyone got a long slow ballad, one right after the other.

I guess you can say I was not at all looking forward to this movie. But hey, the fact that it was only a little bit more than two hours definitely helped ease it in.

Cow
One of the biggest changes is that the cow was played by a real cow. Boooo.

Classic fairy tales go into the dark woods, because the woods were the scariest parts of Germany. This was Pre-Nazis, post Lutherans, I think. So it makes sense.

Like who? Well, Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford) needs to bring food to her grandmothers house, in the woods. Jack (Daniel Huttlestone) was told by his mom (Tracey Ullman) to sell their milkless cow in a nearby village, on the other side of the woods. Cinderella (Anna Kendrick) wants to go to the three day ball on the other side of the woods, but she has to get past her step family (Lucy Punch, Christine Baranski, some other chick).

And there is also the Baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt) who cannot bare children. Turns out, a neighboring witch (Meryl Streep) put a curse on them. So now they have to go into the woods to get ingredients over the next few nights to fix that with a potion!

And surprisingly, that is most of the plot you need to know. We’ve got princes (Chris Pine, Billy Magnussen), girls with long hair (Mackenzie Mauzy), and wolves (Johnny Depp)! Shit, I bet the woods even have more secrets than the Library of Alexandria.

Baker's Wife
The biggest secret is what is real name of the baker’s wife? Can she not have an identity outside of her relationship?

So for those big fans of the musical, there were changes made of course. This is a PG movie because Disney is involved, you aren’t going to see everything you saw in the musical. Like most of Rapunzel’s story line. The second Agony song. No sex is had in this movie. And the sexy times are subdued.

But the only thing I really was sad to see missing was the Agony song reprise, because like the college school production, it was my favorite part. In the movie, it is probably even better as the two princes ham it up and I was laughing hard the entire time.

I do feel like the beginning of the was extremely quick and just kind of threw you into all of the plots far too fast. (Some of these complaints would be complaints with the actual broadway version. I am not reviewing how close they are, just how I feel watching the movie). So that was awkward. I thought I saw some sound editing mistakes, which is one of the hardest parts about a musical to make sure to get right. I also have a problem with the ending, that seems to just whimper and finish instead of an awesome musical bang.

But throughout the film it is definitely entertaining. My favorite would be Blunt (who had an excellent year). I didn’t know she had such singing chops, but she played a great character. I have heard Corden sing before, and it was okay. He was better in this movie than his other recent roles. I was also surprised with the singing voice of Chris Pine, so much that I don’t trust it. And Lilla Crawford, a little girl, had a surprisingly powerful voice as well.

Overall though, Into The Woods is a decently good time. Still has its bleak and sad moments and it may be one of the best musicals of the year, but this year was a bit weaker in that genre. At this point, I would say I enjoyed Muppets Most Wanted more, and probably Begin Again had better music. Despite that, the music has now been stuck in my head for several days, so I will most certainly get a soundtrack as soon as I can and listen to half of it over and over again.

3 out of 4.

The Wind Rises

Studio Ghibli has made a lot of movies and most people would consider them to be a big deal. More importantly, their main director Hayao Miyazaki has created some of the best, most financially successful and well known anime movies to come out of Japan!

I have only seen a handful of their movies and only reviewed one before (The Secret World of Arrietty), so I am not an expert on the subject. But since it is the internet, expertness is just a click away.

Either way, The Wind Rises is now most known for being Miyazaki’s final film, finally ready to retire. This was released barely last year in 2013 for like a week to make the Academy Awards and then released for real barely in February. Needless to say, this is another one that took forever to see. But I guess they have no rush since it totally didn’t win Best Animated Picture. Sucks to not go out on a high note, Miyazaki.

Boy
Which is probably why he made a movie about objects that go so high.

“Wait a minute,” you might be stating quite boringly. “Does that tag on the bottom of the page after the review is over say Biography? This is an animated movie!” Why yes, person who reads the tags before the review. This is a pseudo biography of Jiro Horikoshi (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), an airplane engineer for Japan who designed some sweet planes before World War II. Yes, the war where Japan used planes to fuck up parts of America.

It starts with tiny Jiro who wants to one day be a fighter pilot. But with his poor vision, he realizes he would never be allowed to fly one. That is when he does research on plane manufacturers and begins to dream about Giovanni Battista Caproni (Stanley Tucci), an world renowned plane designer who tells him that making the planes is far more exciting than flying them. That planes should be beautiful creations and not war machines. He tells him that and oh so much more.

Well, with hard work and perseverance, Jiro becomes kind of awesome at planes and engineering. He gets accepted into a top program in the field and meets his sarcastic and always joyful friend Honjo (John Krasinski). He eventually gets a job with Mitsubishi where is boss Kurokawa (Martin Short) is a strict tiny man, but one who knows Jiro has what it takes.

Oh, Jiro was also involved in the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. That is where he meets young Nahoko (Emily Blunt) who, wouldn’t you guess it, has some effect on him later in life too?

Other famous people are Mae Whitman who voices his younger sister, and William H. Macy, who is surely someone important because it is William H. Macy voicing them.

Plane
“Less pew pew pew and more zoom zoom zoom!” – Paraphrased movie quote

Given the majority of Miyazaki’s work dealing with fantasy and the bizarre, it is quite odd to find a movie that is set so firmly in reality. I mean, a biography? Set in Japan? The only strange things that really happen in the movie are when Jiro is dreaming, where anything goes anyways. I can’t tell you how factual the film is, but it seems to paint a realistic picture of society and of Jiro. Even the smaller details I appreciated, such as Jiro and Honjo smoking. A lot. Many smokes were had in designing and school, and they didn’t ignore that just because kids might watch it like Disney did with Saving Mr. Banks. He didn’t whitewash history despite Japan’s tendencies to do that (especially from that time period).

As always, the animation is also absolutely beautiful and showcases how great these types of films can be without CGI. Fucking talent right here.

It tells a story about love and reaching your goals, but I do feel like parts of the film tend to drag. I also decided as an experiment to watch it dubbed with the same English subtitles, because sometimes there are big differences. For the most part it kept with the same theme, but there was one scene where it mentioned someone had a kid in the subtitles and completely ignored it in the English dub version. There might have been more stark differences that I missed, but holy crap, did they get rid of a kid in the dubbed version? That’s like animation murder.

It is a fine movie on its own right, but The Wind Rises was clearly not the best animated movie of last year. It is a fine send off for an established director and I tip my fedora in his honor.

3 out of 4.

Edge Of Tomorrow

Live. Die. Repeat. That is the slogan of Edge of Tomorrow, which people were quickly to point out that it looks like Groundhog Day, but more sci-fi/action and a lot less Bill Murray.

The title is kind of strange, but way better than its original title of All You Need Is Kill, the title of the story that the film is based on. I mean. Just seriously, what the hell does that mean? The time traveling element allows Edge of Tomorrow to make some sense. But All You Need Is Kill? I can’t even begin to unawkwardize it.

Face
Tomorrow? Tom, you might first have to worry about the edge of your face, first.

In Future Earth, Aliens have invaded, landing in the middle of Europe, and kind of just fucking up everything. Things are going bad. These “mimics”, as they seem to adapt to military strategy pretty well, are just destroying and taking out battalions, always knowing what is going to go down. Until we design awesome battle suits, and they seem to crush the mimics. Special Forces soldier Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt) is able to kill 100 mimics by herself in a battle, helping turn the tide of war. So now they are going to organize a massive attack from different flanks, thousands of soldiers in battle suits, to help turn the tide of war!

And Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) is being asked to join them. Storm the beach with a media crew, to show the good tidings and have them give hope to the world. Cage isn’t a real soldier, he is just in media, doesn’t even know how to fight. So of course he refuses, but well, higher ups demanded it and now he found himself waking up a day before the invasion at an airforce base, with papers saying he is a private and a deserter. Oh, poor Major.

Needless to say, the invasion fails, and after getting covered in alien blood goop, the Major dies and wakes up…back at the airforce base! This can’t be! But you know this part of the plot. It appears the Major is now stuck in some sort of time loop causing him to relive this day over and over. That could drive a man mad. But maybe it can help them save the day?

Bill Paxton plays Master Sergeant Farrell Bartolome, Brendan Gleeson as General Brigham, and Noah Taylor as a alien biology scientist. Of course he also got soldier friends in his unit, but I don’t remember them individually enough to type out character names (Tony Way, Kick Gurry, Franz Drameh, Charlotte Riley, Jonas Armstrong, Dragomir Mrsic).

No Battle Suits
In a world of do-overs, there is rarely a need for emergency kits.

As an additional note about this movie, I got to see this one in IMAX 3D, my first time watching a film this way, and oh boy were the fight scenes something else. Spectacular, pretty, explosion heavy. So much going on. Without sounding cliche, I was often near the edge of my seat because it was so exciting to watch it all.

Exciting and amusing. They didn’t drown us in the same scene over and over, just a few minor ones to get the point. On his first repeat day, we didn’t have to see Cage freaking out the entire length of his first travel time. They knew how to keep it short when needed. When it was short, we often got blasted with different ways he died as he tried new things to make it further during the war. Sometimes it was hilarious, but when it was frustrating, they knew how to play that card as well.

So these are good first steps! Good action, good comedy, a nice sci-fi element. But how about the plot? That surprisingly was well done too. How the alien armies worked, the secret to taking them down, why Cage was stuck in a loop, all of it was given a nice rationale and well thought out to make it believable in that universe.

Literally, I don’t know how they could have made the movie better either. You get to see so much and it is a thrill ride, but it doesn’t feel like a 4 out of 4 film to me, which is sometimes all it takes to lower the rating I guess. A very exciting movie, despite what I went in thinking, and a nice notch to add to a list of recent well done sci-fi movies. I think it is going to bomb financially this weekend too, as audiences apparently don’t like Tom Cruise anymore, which is a shame, because it is strong showing still pretty early in this summer.

3 out of 4.

Salmon Fishing On The Yemen

Fish movies! Oh the fish movies!

Okay, I am kind of bullshitting here. After all, I only know of one other fish movie that came out anywhere near this one, and that was The River Why. Very, very hipster. That was a boy’s coming of age story, who just really liked fishing and wanted to fish like a real man. Or something.

So Salmon Fishing On The Yemen is probably similar.

Wait a minute. This title is weird. “The Yemen”. There is no river called that. What the hell. Do they just mean in Yemen? I wouldn’t say “Salmon Fishing In The Italy”. Don’t be weird, movie titles.

Fish
I can’t tell who is the expert here.

Oh wait a minute. Yemen is all in the Middle East (kind of). I see now. There is no salmon in Yemen! That is a big problem I guess, but one this movie plans to over come.

Sheikh Muhammed (Amr Waked) is a prince and he loves fishing, and wants to fish at his home in Yemen. So he contacts the UK to see if it can be done. This means they have to make a river, and introduce salmon, and hope they can live and breed there without it being too much of a problem.

The UK are interested in helping too, because any news with the middle east that has nothing to do with war can only be good. So they get Harriet (Emily Blunt) who is some political underling in the UK to get it started. So she goes to the fisheries department. Who else would know what to do? There she finds Dr. Alfred Jones (Ewan McGregor), world renounced Salmon expert and fisherman and lure-maker.

But he says no.

That idea is dumb.

Or maybe it is crazy enough to work? Doesn’t matter. His job is now on the line to at least try. Bah.

Then some romance happens (Which is bad, because he has a boyfriend in the military Tom Mison) and a lot of politics. Do they succeed at building a river, shipping ten thousand fish over, and having them survive, without pissing off Yemen locals and environmental group? Welllll…. Also featuring Kristin Scott Thomas as even higher up official in the UK!

Love is in the water
There are few things I love more than adultery. Unfortunately, one of those things is not cheating and stable relationships.

2 out of 4.

Looper

If you wanna have a good time, every time you say Looper, you should pronounce it as “Loopah”. Reminds me of Zelda a bit.

It is a good idea to laugh. Especially when you see Looper, and feel all sorts of weird feelings during it.

Loopah

The year, 2044. The setting, Kansas, because why the fuck not? Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a Looper. Probably want to know about that, eh? Well, in the future, time travel is invented and immediately banned. Naturally then, only criminals have time travel at that point. So they sent a representative back to 2044 (Jeff Daniels) to set up a system to their advantage. Bodies are hard to dispose of in the future, so they send back the people they kill at predetermined times and locations! The loopers job is to kill them right when they appear. They get paid with silver bars strapped to the back.

They work until their loop is closed. How does a loop close? That is when the mob sends back the future version of yourself. They are always bagged, so you don’t realize it until you see that you received gold bars instead of silver. Then they know they have 30 years left of their life, and to take their huge wealth and enjoy it. But things start to hit the fan for the Loopers. Loops start closing quickly. Joe’s good friend, Seth (Paul Dano) ends up letting his future self go, causing problems! Apparently the future is scary. Some new guy is taking over and closing up shop.

But what happens when Future Joe (Bruce Willis) gets sent back. Will Joe do his job, kill his future self? Or will he help him figure out how to change the future for the better, with every action they take changing it in some way? And what does the future have to do with a local single mom (Emily Blunt) and her kid (Pierce Gagnon)?

Bangkok
Tell me I am not the only one who immediately thinks of Bangkok Dangerous when I see this?

Shocked. Shocked is basically how I felt after watching that movie. Not at the ending. No, I could see it coming, just still didn’t expect it. Hell, there was many options the ending could have chose. The film did a nice job of keeping you guessing, and leaving you with a feeling of wonder.

I know what you want to know. Time travel? Does that mean this movie will be confusing? Does their time travel make sense? Hard to say really. I’d say there is some confusing elements. Comes with the territory. Is their time travel without paradoxes? No, not really. Especially when dealing with loops and stuff. I would say their metaphysics isn’t perfect, but it is good enough for the movie.

The science in the movie isn’t the main feature though. It is the characters involved. Lot of serious questions get asked when dealing with your future self and the implications of it, of which I think the film handled wonderfully. Everyone acted pretty amazingly, and I was on the edge of my seat wondering what was next. They also did great job with the makeup work to have Levitt look like a younger Willis.

Finally the movie does a few things that few films outside of horror ever do. Have the potential death of multiple children, and the use silence in the music and action to convey feelings of isolation/being alone. I love it when a film steps out of a normal comfort zone. It is great when a film makes you think too, and focuses a lot of energy into character development in arguably a short time. Just don’t go in expecting some action heavy flick, and you will be set.

4 out of 4.

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