Movie Roundup – Online Releases 2018

Welcome to a Movie Roundup! A movie roundup features a few films that I didn’t feel like making full reviews for, but needed to get basic reviews out there for completionist reasons. It also helps me deal with my backlog. It may have a theme, and today’s theme is Online Releases 2018! Basically, things that started out on the internet, ideally a streaming website, because it is a loose theme, and I will take it.

Being on a movie round up doesn’t mean a movie is inherently bad, or good, or meh. I can feature any rating on here! So don’t assume the worst! I will also just post the reviews in alphabetical order.


Online Releases 2018

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Can we go wrong with the Coen brothers? Yes, we totally can. But I can’t help but feel something wonderful when they continually try to do something different, or make the normal a lot more eccentric. This time, they went back to the former, while also going back to some of those old timey western roots, which are arguably their best movies. Except this time, it is straight to Netflix, and an Anthology movie with six short films instead. The only connection? Western.

This ends up working really well, even if I can say I didn’t love every part of the anthology. Unfortunately, the best and most fun was the first of the stories, and probably me least favorite was number two. I really enjoyed the one about the prospectors and the woman with her not dog too. When it works, it really works, and when it doesn’t work, it is still well made and a bit beautiful, if not full of fuckery. This is not a happy movie, and it can easily be watched in parts, and deserves praise for its individual shorts that work out amazingly well.

3 out of 4.

Ballad
None of these people share a scene with the others.

The Kissing Booth

On the other hand, Netflix has made it clear its strategy isn’t to appeal to just the best movie ever, but to instead go for all the demographics so that they all have something to watch, which is fair. Netflix having a shit movie doesn’t mean that Netflix is bad, I just don’t have to watch it…if I am a normal movie goer.

But this movie is something else, and it has crawled out of the pits of hell thanks to some teenage girl. Yeah, it is based on a book, written by a teenage girl, on some website, and now its a movie. An uninspired romance movie, that seems to rely on the kissing booth as a feature, despite not being featured too heavily in the grand scope. It features a love interest who is super controlling, threatening, and uses his fists to solve problems. Ah, what good values to instill in our youth.

0 out of 4.

Kissing
Help, help, I’m trapped in a 90s movie.

My Dinner with Hervé

Over on HBO, they also like to do movies, and shows, and documentaries. In this one, we have dudes as the stars, with one of them being one of their biggest stars of their biggest show. Makes sense. Peter Dinklage playing a biographical role, of possibly the most famous little person in history (before Peter Dinklage and Verne Troyer), Hervé Villechaize. Made famous for being in Fantasy Island and The Man With The Golden Gun.

Now, this is all according to a journalist, but it is based on the night out on the town with Hervé, where he also recounts his whole life story leading up to the point, his rises, and his many many downfalls. Dinklage does an amazing job of transforming himself, or what I know about himself, and this is an extremely touching tale of a childhood of abuse and sadness, while still trying to make something about it. It never seems to go deep enough into the sadder parts though, and probably skirts around important details. I just knew that it started off way better than it eventually ended.

2 out of 4.

DINNer
And that is also true about life, I suppose.

Slice

Slice might not technically fit this theme, because it came out on VOD, but hey, my themes are loose, and I want it in this post. Slice is the type of movie that is just so out there, it is hard to believe that it even exists. Vampires, werewolves, zombies, ghosts, murder mystery, pizza store, witches, and such a strange plot and concept. It is the type of movie that when describing it you know will have a cult following and probably LARPing in the future.

But in all honestly, it just doesn’t work out well. The only redeeming factor is that it definitely feels original. It just is a weird mash of ideas that aren’t fully explained because it isn’t fully thought through. It is cool, it is weird, but it is definitely not good.

1 out of 4.

sLIce
Although, it made me want pizza, so good job there.

The Tale

Finally, another HBO movie (sorry Hulu), that I didn’t even know came out this last summer. I would have never known it existed if it didn’t get nominated for a Spirit award. I mean, it has a big name in it, and it is about sexual abuse when someone was a child. Sure, a fictional tale, but a tale that resonates due to how often similar “tales” have been told by other girls in relation to their coaches while growing up. Hell, the gymnastics scandal was in 2018, maybe even going on after this movie. It is very relevant.

Dern plays someone very vulnerable and stubborn at the same time. It doesn’t end with fireworks, but plays it in a more realistic way. More importantly, the girl who plays the younger version is amazing at her role. Her acting, in normal kid way, amplifies the creepiness of everything. It puts the viewer in a dark place and really helps bring the hate towards these sexual predators.

3 out of 4.

tale
These two adults are now on my despise list, well done!

Overall, steaming platforms put out a lot of duds, and some successes. And especially Netflix, because I will never catch up on on their new releases. Or, maybe I will, if I just keep the review format like this and not larger. But these ones caught my eye for some reason or another and I chose them to watch to review, and never got around to actually writing.

Widows

Being a Widow must suck. You know, getting married, being in love maybe, marriage for decades possibly! And then your spouse dies. I also learned recently that the term widow only refers to a woman who lost their partner. I guess that is good, because then I never have to be a widow. And you know, I just talked about how that must suck.

Widows is a movie brought to us by Steve McQueen, who has not been too busy since he had a movie win best picture. He famously directed 12 Years A Slave for a 2012 release, and since then this is his first theater film. Someone clever might say 6 Years NotInTheSpotlight for McQueen. Does this mean that Widows is going to be 3 times as good as 12 Years A Slave (because 12 Years came out 2 years after his previous film)? Yes. It has to mean that.

You can’t argue with science.

Funeral
Having the funeral really cements in the widow status.

Veronica (Viola Davis) is wealthy, giving, and in love with her husband (Liam Neeson). He might be into some corrupt shit, working with political campaigns an doing jobs, but she doesn’t know the specifics and it does put her life in a good place. And then? Well, a job goes poorly, and he gets killed dead along with three other men, leaving her to feel quite sad, notably poorer, and alone.

But she isn’t given time to grieve. It turns out in this final job, her husband stole from some powerful people, and they know who robbed them. So they have to now harass Veronica, to look into their savings accounts or whatever to pay it back. Or else.

Unfortunately, nothing like that really exists, as far as she knows. She does end up finding a notebook, with plans on robbing an even bigger fortune. If she can pull off this heist, she will be able to pay off the goons and have a lot left over to live comfortable and worry free after that. She just needs a team, and she isn’t the type to know about this sort of stuff.

There is an idea for a team though. She wants to find the other women who just lost their husbands. They are probably hurt and need funds as well. Maybe they are all desperate enough to join her.

Starring Michelle Rodriguez, Carrie Coon, Elizabeth Debicki, and Cynthia Erivo. Also starring Colin Farrell, Brian Tyree Henry, Daniel Kaluuya, Molly Kunz, Jon Bernthal, and Robert Duvall.

Gang
It is impossible for the guy in purple to be a Widow. We talked about this.

If you are thinking about 12 Years A Slave still, which scene do you think about? It is likely the one where the main character is being hanged by his neck for a few minutes, with kids playing in the background, him struggling to breath, and of course, eventually not dying. It was scary, and intense, and the camera did not move away.

I love a long scene that doesn’t cut, and there is one very exciting scene in Widows that is similar. It doesn’t show violence, and it isn’t scary, but it is just a long cut of a very short car ride in Chicago, showing how quickly it takes for one to go from a poor to a rich district. During this scene is a conversation as well, and it would be one of the best scenes of 2018, if we got to see the characters talking as the drive occurred. The camera didn’t focus on them, just on the scenery, so it is most likely that they did the conversation later and just edited it on top. But it is still a great scene and shows that McQueen has a lot of tricks up his sleeve.

Davis is the star of this film and has to carry a lot of it with her face and eyes. There is no doubt she is a great actress and does a fantastic job in this one. I do want to point out another actress though, because it was a surprise. Debicki, who has been in plenty of films, and never been the one reason you want to see it. Her character had a lot more going on than her normal characters, and by golly, she felt like a real actress and not just a model who is in a bunch of movies. Hell, she could have a best supporting from this for all I know. It was also great to see Erivo in this film, who was one of the best parts of Bad Times At El Royale. She is having a great year and she came out of nowhere.

To highlight one male actor, I will point out that Kaluuya was scary. He felt like a wildcard in the realest sense of the word, and I loved seeing him on the screen.

Widows is suspenseful, with a few twists that I didn’t fully expect. It hits hard and is not afraid to throw any punches. It could have been better, but the over two hour film just flew by and it was good enough for me to just love.

4 out of 4.

A Monster Calls

When I first saw a poster and heard the title for A Monster Calls, my first thought was to ignore it.

I mean, come on, it sounds and looks immediately like just a horror film. A horror film about some big mysterious beast terrorizing a family possibly. I didn’t look into the cast, I just let it slip my mind.

And then the weirdest thing happened. A lot of people started talking about how awesome it looked and how excited they were to see it. Oh, maybe it is a high quality horror? So I gave the trailer a look, and hey, it looked awesome, and it was a fantasy/drama, not a horror at all!

Here at Gorgon Reviews, we would like to let this serve as a PSA to not just a film entirely on its title and poster.

Mom
And to watch all films with your tiny children. Every single one.

Conor (Lewis MacDougall) isn’t having the best of times. He is aloof at school in class, getting picked on by bullies, and he is having strange nightmares of a church crumbling in a graveyard, ground splitting open, and falling. Very scary.

And it turns out his mom (Felicity Jones) is dying of the cancer. A strong one, they are trying treatments, but she is weak and she has been weak for awhile. She is in and out of the hospital. Conor’s grandmother (Sigourney Weaver) checks after him when his mom is sick, but she is strict, mean, no fun at all. And his dad? Well, the dad (Toby Kebbell) now lives in America, with his new wife and a kid, with no room for Conor should his mom pass on.

Needless to say, it is raining shit down on Conor. All he has going for him is his emo art. And then at 12:07 AM, a giant tree creature appears outside of his bedroom window. This monster (Liam Neeson) says he was summoned and is here to heal. But first, he has to tell Conor three stories over the next few days. After that, Conor has to tell him a story. He has to tell him the truth. He has to tell him his nightmare.

Also starring James Melville as the bully, and he looks familiar, but he is literally in nothing else except for some short named Grace.

Monster
And that bully is about to get fucked the fuck up.

Films about sad events tend to resonate in those that have experienced similar sad events. For me? I really don’t know anyone close to me who has died from or even received cancer (yet). So I figured it would be a sad experience, but not one I could relate to.

And I was wrong. By the end, I was bawling, over several scenes. Watching the young boy deal with his grief, acting out, fighting, running away, it all made sense. And of course the mom dies by the end. This film is about a boy dealing with his mom’s incurable cancer. The feelings that will wash over you are universal, even if you don’t have the cancer details. Of losing your mom, of not having enough time, about how you might deal with months of agony knowing that you aren’t the one in real pain.

The cast is small, but the three main stars are wonderful. MacDougall has to carry the film with every scene focused on him, and he does a phenomenal job. Jones is only there a few scenes, but her scenes are still just a powerful when they need to be. I was surprised to see Weaver in this movie, let alone with a British accent, but I think she did an okay enough job. Her transition in the boy’s eyes was a nice touch.

I do think it is funny that Kebbell is in this film, known for his work in a motion capture suit, but he also doesn’t even play the Monster. Neeson does an incredible job a the voice of the Monster, giving it that gruff, wise, and intimidating voice that really helps tell the story. The stories he tells are also wonderful. The water color adds so much character to the stories. After the first one was over, I was initially annoyed the Monster didn’t have to tell 10 long stories just to watch more.

The film is visually impressive, well acted, and it will get you right in the feels. That is a perfect film for me.

4 out of 4.

Silence

What’s that? Do you hear that? Shhh, listen!

That’s right, that is the sound of Silence, blistering in the wind.

It is also the sound of Martin Scorsese, old and still not giving a fuck. He is making movies that he wants to make and he is making him epic. When his last film came out, The Wolf of Wall Street, it was hacked down to 3 hours from a much larger length. And the same was true for Silence.

It ended up around 2:41, making it just a few minutes shorter than American Honey, and thankfully the only two films to be pretty darn long this year. But on average, the movie lengths have still probably gone up. You know, thanks to the behemoth that is O.J.: Made In America.

Priests
And this is just a sign of the behemoth that Garfield’s hair will become.

In the mid-1600’s, we meet a couple of priests, Father Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Father Garrpe (Adam Driver). They are young and have strong hearts for Jesus in their Monastery in Portugal. From another Father (Ciaran Hinds), they find out that Father Ferreira (Liam Neeson), their former mentor and teacher, was still alive in Japan.

But he was no longer there to try and and convert a nation. He apparently has actually denounced his faith and is living there a Buddhist now. Shocking rumors, for sure, but his last letter was from a long time ago, and about Christians being tortured and killed.

Strong in their faith, the two priests decide to head to Japan, a very anti-Christian nation. Not only to find the missing priest, but to see what became of his life, try their best to not get killed, and also maybe restore Christianity to the nation that was flourishing with followers just decades ago.

Including a major role from Yôsuke Kubozuka as Kichijiro, a secret Christian with a weak mind, Issei Ogata as the main Inquisitor, and also Tadanobu Asano, Shin’ya Tsukamoto, and Yoshi Oida.

Guy
Speak softly, confess frequently, and carry a regular sized stick.

Silence, despite its gargantuan length, starts captivating very early on. You don’t get bogged down in Portugal. After two quick scenes and Ferreira’s letter, our boys are in China, meeting a guide to the island. And once there, they are basically smugglers, only able to come out at night, not sure who they can trust.

It is just a very tense film where it feels like anything can happen. Loosely based off of a real individual, the story is very personal and it made me start to feel like I was there with the priests. By having the point of view specifically with Garfield’s character, all of the fears and mysteries are revealed when he finds out the truth. The truth about Ferreira, about any of his friends when they are away, about who to trust, just everything. It is a great journey, even with large swaths of it involve him hiding up in some cave or shack or building.

The film also features some incredible shots of jungles, mountains, and seas. It is fully immersive in 1600’s Japan and creates a wonderful experience regardless of the story.

And yes, it is a film about Christianity and how right or wrong religion is at certain parts of the world. And no, it is never a problem. This year was a great comeback for “Religious films”. Yes, we had God’s Not Dead 2 and I’m Not Ashamed, the normal cheesy crap. But Miracles From Heaven ended up really average, which is something positive. And along with Silence we of course had Hacksaw Ridge.

Can you believe it? In a span of a few months, Andrew Garfield starred in two extremely good religious films about Christianity and someone sticking to his faith and principals against incredible odds and struggles. What the hell are the chances there, that two films like that, could get 4 out of 4’s? This is the direciton the genre needs to go, and Scorsese and Gibson gave a giant push in that direction.

4 out of 4.

A Walk Among The Tombstones

Liam Neeson fatigue.

I think we are all feeling it, and I think we are all sick of it.

I can’t even think of any original jokes about Neeson being some strange action/drama badass. At least I don’t think that A Walk Among The Tombstones features anyone in his family being in danger. Maybe. But it does have a terrible title.

The reason it took me so long to watch is due to how little I cared about his movies right now. What I guess I am really saying is that I am totally going to be biased with this review. I wish there was a way around it. The only solution I know is that Neeson just needs to fucking stop it for like. A year and a half. That will help.

Diner
How strong is my fatigue? I’d rather the kid sidekick character stay over Neeson.

Matt (Neeson) used to be a cop in the earl 90s, but isn’t anymore. Now it is the future. Now it is almost the year 2000! He is a recovering alcoholic and a nobody.

For some reason (I forgot), this guy Peter (Boyd Holbrook) comes up to him asking him to help out with a case. A case involving Peter’s brother, Kenny (Dan Stevens) a drug dealer. Doesn’t sound good. But what sounds worse is that Kenny’s wife was kidnapped. He had to pay $400,000 for the ransom, but it turns out they killed her anyways. So Kenny is mad and he wants revenge.

The only reason Matt accepts is because of the despicable acts they did. So he assumes they have done it before in the past and will keep on doing it. Might as well stop them.

He is going to get the help of local kid (Astro) too, even if he doesn’t want it!

And uhhh, the bad guys are played by Adam David Thompson and David Harbour. It isn’t a mystery, so that isn’t a spoiler.

Phone
“See, I picked a picture of them on the phone, because most of the this movie is just talking.” – Overly explains the plot dude.

A Walk Among The Tombstones is a dark movie. I don’t mean that necessarily in the adult subject matter way. No, I just feel like the entire thing takes place at night. I don’t think that is true, but I just can’t remember anything in particular that happened during the day.

So it has that gloomy feel the entire time. Aesthetically, it fits the mood it wants to show, but that doesn’t make it interesting.

Why? Because this film fucking drags. I have it tagged as an action movie, but that is definitely not its focus. This is hardcore, balls to the wall, in your face, drama. Not good drama. Just fucking talking and being an investigator and shit. Maybe like two action scenes both near the end.

And then it just dragged some more.

This movie might have been a good mystery novel or whatever the fuck it was. But hot damn, I’d be hard pressed to find a more boring cop/PI based movie from 2014.

At least Inherent Vice had…weirdness.

1 out of 4.

Run All Night

I don’t even know what to say about Run All Night. This movie kind of came out of nowhere for me. I had at least heard about things like Non-Stop or A Walk Among The Tombstones

Like, months of notice. This one just in the last few weeks before coming out.

Is this guy even trying anymore? Does he do any serious drama anymore? Who keeps giving him these paychecks for these types of movie? Is it like…is he the next Mr. Cage? After all, he will take literally anything.

I think there must be a robot similar to AWESOME-O doing this. But instead of Adam Sandler movies, it keeps popping out generic Neeson movies. Has to be the only logical solution to what in the hell is going on.

Train
Tag Teaming with pre-accident RoboCop.

Good news! Jimmy Conlon (Liam Neeson) is an asshole and not an anti-hero! He was a hitman for many years, to his good friend Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris). Shawn ran the ports of NYC, a pretty big task, got stupid wealthy, and lives a nice life now. Jimmy the Grave Digger? Well, he is a drunk who has a bad relationship with his son, Mike (Joel Kinnaman). Mike knows of Jimmy’s past. He doesn’t want that around his wife (Genesis Rodriguez) and kids.

Fair enough.

Well, Mike gets into some trouble. Due to no fault of his own, while driving a limo, Shawn’s son, Danny (Boyd Holbrook) wants to kill him. Danny ignores everyone and tries it anywhere, forcing Jimmy to protect his own son. Well, now we got a dead son of a gangster. That isn’t allowed. So Jimmy and his son have to go into hiding. They have to Run All Night, until Jimmy can figure this whole mess out. How to protect his family, how to get rid of his guilt, and how to…well, not suck.

Including Vincent D’Onofrio as a detective who was never able to bring Jimmy Conlon to justice, and Common as a hitman hired to get Jimmy and Mike. Yes, you read that correctly. COMMON is playing a “bad guy”, not a cop on the good guy side. This is truly a historic moment.

Food
Not as historic as this restaurant, that is clearly dedicating itself fully to the color red.

Run All Night has a terrible title. I feel like I should mention that, as titles I haven’t been bringing up as often. It sounds just super generic. Not Fighting generic, but real close.

Speaking of this movie, it wasn’t as terrible as I had thought. First of all, I am stoked again that Liam Neeson doesn’t play a good guy or an anti-hero. He plays definitely a bad guy who tries to redeem himself for his son. So he kills bad people, and has been a bad dude all his life, thus his alcohol/depression. Great. I prefer this.

The action wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great. The plot was pretty predictable, and it even started with a scene near the ending, just so you can make sure you know where the whole thing is going towards. Genesis Rodriguez was wasted in this movie, barely having any lines, and not even being able to freak out about her husbands sudden life of crime. She was passive as fuck.

I liked that they featured the NY Rangers and a hockey game pretty heavily, but as you will see from one of my FB posts here, they also butchered the whole thing up.

What I am getting at is that this movie could drag, but also entertain. It is a storybook 2 out of 4. I am mostly happy that it just wasn’t super terrible though.

2 out of 4.

Taken 3

Fineeee. I will fucking write this review.

Sometimes it is hard to just get the passion or desire to write a review, even if it has been sitting blank on your draft board for weeks. Weeks! Sometimes the only decision you have made is the rating and pictures but no idea what to talk about or how short or long it will be.

But here we are. Taken 3. The film Liam Neeson said he wouldn’t do, I think, then they offered him like $20 million dollars, so here we are. Taken 3. The follow up to Taken 2, that was terrible, given the unique feel and interesting film that was Taken.

Okay sure, Taken might be bad now too. But it isn’t bad as Taken 2. And when good movies go bad and then get another bad sequel? It feels like the Men In Black series, but thankfully this one didn’t wait a decade for an even older action star.

Phone
If he gets any older he won’t be able to hold a gun straight.

Instead of being located half way around the world, Taken 3 is set in LA, California. You know, where they live. Bryan Mills (Neeson) is still divorced from his wife (Famke Janssen), and still has an awkward relationship with his daughter.

His daughter Kim (Maggie Grace), who is college or high school right now. She definitely lives on her own or with her boyfriend. And she is pregnant. But it is almost her birthday so Bryan wants to surprise her with alcohol. Jokes on you, Bryan!

Anyways, ex-wife is having relationship problems with her husband (Dougray Scott), kind of wants Bryan back, so does Bryan. Next thing he knows, she is dead in his bed and the police are chasing after him for murder!

Something involving Russians (Sam Spruell), deals gone bad, blackmail, and money. No idea. This guy wasn’t in any other Taken movies, so it is even more unrelated than the other two. Also starring Forest Whitaker as a detective to be on the case, and find the “truth”.

Panda
The truth, like why is Bryan Mills smuggling a Panda out of China?

As you all know, I have begun a tirade against Luc Besson, and this movie is no different. Fuck everything he touches. I have never been so angry at a single person’s years of work, but there it is.

This might be the only Besson movie that doesn’t have a lot of events taking place in Europe. Instead we have a guy running around LA, getting chased by cops, destroying public property, killing “bad guys”, and doing a whole lot of crimes, just to clear his name. When he can JUST as easily have not run from the cops, and solved the whole thing much quicker.

We got a terrible plot, with terrible plot twists, and a whole lot LESS action than previous movies. At least before he was killing people who were bad guys doing bad things. Most of this movie is him avoiding the cops and fucking with them.

I think maybe three times he survived some sort of car crash. One time the car went off a cliff and exploded, out of nowhere, it was ridiculous. That is like a bad 80’s action movie. I mentioned confusion as to where his daughter went to school, because everything seemed to imply college, but when we got there it was clearly a fucking high school. Lockers and all.

And then it ends with the stupidest plane / runway scene I have ever seen. Completely ridiculous. More ridiculous than the ten minute runway in Fast Six.

I am glad this came out the first week of January, because films must be all uphill from here.

0 out of 4.

A Million Ways To Die In The West

Hey boys and girls! Did you like Ted? Well, then you might like the next movie, A Million Ways To Die In The West!

That is what advertisements told me at least. But I only thought Ted was okay. Was entirely pop culture based humor, so it was a movie that won’t be as amusing in a few years because nothing will be relevant. Although it had a decent plot and Marky Mark, so that is fun.

But now we are going out west, back in time, and director Seth MacFarlane is actually going to star in it. Hopefully it is more than just a few dude’s hangin’ out.

Hangin' Out
Damn it, this looks like two dudes just hangin’ out!

Set in the 1800’s in Arizona, near Monument Valley (like every other western), lives our hero Albert (MacFarlane), a sheep farmer and a pussy. He doesn’t like to shoot a gun, because he never has, and thus he is bad at it. But somehow he keeps getting himself into shoot outs.

Albert starts to hate himself after his long term girlfriend, Louise (Amanda Seyfried) dumps him. Now he hates life. He also is a cynic, pointing out all the things that can kill him in the west. Thus the movie title. He does all this until Anna (Charlize Theron) walks into his life. Just kidding, he continues his moping ways, but now there is this mysterious woman who can shoot better than any he knows. Maybe she can change his life and stop him from getting into gun fights.

Just kidding. He does some stuff, getting him into fights with Foy (Neil Patrick Harris), the owner of the Mustacherie, and Clinch (Liam Neeson), an outlaw and the fastest hands in the West. Oh Albert, you are so silly.

Also starring Giovanni Ribisi, as his best friend, dating a whore Sarah Silverman.

Showdown
“Huh? Why would Neil Patrick Harris every run a mustache store?” – GorgView Hate Commenter

I think I would rather watch Ted in four years than see A Million Ways To Die In The West.

The humor is very Seth MacFarlane, I will give it that. You can go in expecting that, and if you enjoy that enough, you will maybe have a good time. Maybe.

To me, this comedy had huge stretches of time without a joke. Trying to maintain some western tropes, there were scenes of traveling and just looking at the scenery. But that wasn’t the downtime. Literally just long periods of the movie moving on without very many jokes. It doesn’t help that quite a few of the jokes were in the trailer, most of which giving the entire set up and punchline so none of it was left to surprise. I am most disappointed in even the TV ads giving away one 1980’s related scene, which would have been amazing if kept secret.

Not that surprise is needed for comedies, no. A good comedy can keep you laughing through many viewings. The humor that was present just for the most part wasn’t for me.

There were some okay moments. I really liked the mustache song. Sarah Silverman ended up making me chuckle on more than one occasion. So I guess I thought the small side plot was more amusing than most of the film. That happens some times.

TL;DR, for the most part, A Million Ways To Die In The West just felt like 2 hours of boredom, with an occasional chuckle. Having the main character be a relatively modern man felt a bit half-assed. And I didn’t even get into how much of a unlikable character he was. Mr. Mopey. Ever have a friend who complains about everything, as if the experiences are unique to them? Yeah…

1 out of 4.

Non-Stop

Oooh, Non-Stop, a Liam Neeson action movie where he uses his wit and tactical efficiency to solve a crisis!

I don’t promise a lot about this review of Non-Stop I just promise to make zero Taken jokes. Even if the vague outline I just made sounds like it could easily be used for that movie. It is becoming old-hat to do Taken jokes for just because the movie stars Neeson, so I will let Zach Braff take care of that for me.

texting
Neeson is texting here, to show us he still is up with the times.

Bill Marks (Liam Neeson) is a Federal Air Marshal. He is a quiet man who has had some problems in his life recently, including alcoholism! But that is okay, it is not like he ever has to do anything on his job.

Just kidding! On a flight to London, someone wants to hijack the plane. They have hacked into the local network and are sending text messages to Bill, threatening that someone will die every twenty minutes on the plane unless they get $150 million sent to a bank account. Even more troubling news is that bank account is in Bill’s name, so the TSA and other governmental agencies have assumed that Bill has gone rogue and is hijacking the plane until he gets paid.

Oh no!

Bill will have to use the people he can trust on the plane. Nancy (Michelle Dockerty), a flight attendant who he has worked with before. Jack Hammond (Anson Mount), an off duty Air Marshal also on the flight. And of course, Jen Summers (Julianne Moore), the woman he just met who was sitting next to him in first class.

So, who is the terrorist?! Well here is a list of actors also on the plane to take a pick from, assuming it actually isn’t an inside job and isn’t one of the people already listed in the review: Corey StollNate ParkerScoot McNairyLupita Nyong’oOmar Metwally (who has a turban!), Corey Hawkins, and Frank Deal.

Hands
Their hands are in the air, yes, but I assure you right now they all care.

I know I might have made the plot of Non-Stop seem cliche/not exciting, but it turned out to be the opposite of that. First off, it wasn’t a mindless action movie. The only big action sequence happens near the end, which you could tell from the trailers. Everything else is based on suspense and tiny clues along the way.

Outside of the first 8 or so minutes, I found myself watching Non-Stop on the edge of my seat. The parts of the movie before boarding the plane were a bit slow, but that can be expected in a movie like this.

Was it believable? No, not really. There are a lot of coincidences and lucky breaks that make the entire evil mastermind plan work. Kind of annoying, but I can get over it.

Somehow, despite the coincidences and questionable plot, I was just really entertained by this movie. It wasn’t obvious who the bad guy was, plenty of red herrings thrown our way throughout the film. In fact, I think knowing “who did it” wouldn’t even ruin future viewings for me, which is a rarity for these types of movies.

Neeson might have actually been the perfect pick for this role as well. He has that aged scruffiness, perfect for a guy who has “seen some shit” in his days.

Check out Non-Stop, which ended up being (surprisingly) one of the better movies for the month of February.

 

3 out of 4.

The Lego Movie

When I first heard of The Lego Movie, sometime mid 2013, I will admit I thought it was stupid. I know Lego has been revamping itself pretty intensely for the last decade, being more than just a child’s toy. With so many themes, and now video games based on movies, it is no surprise they are making a movie based on a game.

When I first saw the trailer? I was immediately hooked. This became one of my most looking forward to movies in the first half of 2014. Shit, it was even done by the guys who did Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs and Clone High. Those guys know comedy and they also know their pop culture references. Combined with an idea that has stuck its fingers in most pop culture references over the last few decades, and you have the potential for a storm of success.

Go Team
See! One of these guys is excited about the storm of success!

In this story, our hero is one Emmet Brickowoski (Chris Pratt), who lives in the city and does the same thing each and every day. He follows the instructions on the box, lives his happy life, and builds things. There is absolutely nothing unique or special about him. That is, until he meets Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), who is about to turn his reality upside down and change his life forever!

She introduces him to the Master Builders, other Lego people who can see from the world around them and build creations quickly and without instructions. Like Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman). He also learns that President/Lord Business (Will Ferrell) is going to unleash some power called “The KRAGLE” on the population in a few days, destroying everyone’s way of life forever!

From a series of accidental circumstances, Emmet is being labeled the “Special” and all of their hopes to saving the day are coming down to him. He will also have the help of other Master Builders like…Batman! (Will Arnett), Benny the 1980s space guy (Charlie Day), Metal Beard a strange huge pirate (Nick Offerman), and Unikitty (Alison Brie). Also, a Good Cop / Bad Cop (Liam Neeson) is working for Lord Business to capture the builders on the war front.

Shit, there is a ton of cameos too, which I won’t tag on the bottom, but might as well mention here. They also have Channing Tatum as Superman and Jonah Hill as Green Lantern (because, 21 Jump Street), Cobie Smulders as Wonder Woman, Shaq as Shaq, Billy Dee Williams and Anthony Daniels reprising their roles as Lando Calrissian and C3P0, and Will Forte as Abraham Lincoln again. His first time as Abe was of course, Clone High.

Batman!?
But you don’t care about them. You all just care about Batman. Don’t you?

Wow. Just wow.

Easily, the first thing that should be talked about is the animation style. They went full out wild with this, wanting to insure that everything always A) looked like Legos, and B) looked like how Legos moved. [Editor’s note: Some contention as to whether or not LEGO is supposed to be pluralized by an S, given it’s company name. They might prefer ‘LEGO Bricks’ if you do multiple ones. Well, I say fuck that, we call them Legos in America]. So yes, the movie could be considered a bit choppy to get all the movements right, but that gave it charm and personality and made me giddy the entire time. Watching waves or an explosion, but noticing they are all still lego pieces is incredibly exciting.

It was also pretty hilarious. I love pop culture as much as the next guy, but I do think their humor relied far too heavily on the fact that they were using major properties, such as Batman. Batman was in this movie way longer than I would have imagined (longer than any other already existing property). Although he was funny too, they were all specifically Batman jokes, and rarely just joke jokes. Most of the main team had their quirks, but none were as trademarked as Batman.

I also feel like parts of the ending were a bit…forced. Shit went real different at the end, kind of ruining the pace for me. All of the sudden, bam, we got a lesson to learn from this movie. I think it went far too long and took away from the film a bit.

I still really like this movie though, just the slowed down ending and over reliance on specific characters is what disappointed me. It was hilarious, creative, and shit, the animation itself is almost worthy of 4 out of 4. Honestly, I have a hard time believing there might be an overall better animated film the rest of the year. But it still had some faults for me. Even if Everything Was Awesome.

3 out of 4.

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