The Predator

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

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

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

Pred1
Time to hang up the people stockings.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 out of 4.

Moonlight

The only reason I am late on seeing the film Moonlight is mostly out of confusion. I was definitely invited to a pre-screening, it looked good to me, but then the date kept getting changed around, so it got lost in the shuffle.

I also thought I had to choose between Moonlight and Doctor Strange, and I have to go for the giant blockbuster a lot of those times. Especially if the blockbuster is something I have been wanting to see for years.

Another fun fact about Moonlight is that two of the stars in this film were also in big roles in Hidden Figures. That on its own isn’t weird, it is just amusing given the subject matter of this movie, compared to Hidden Figures, a PG Disney real life film.

Enough mindless stalling, lets get on to the crack.

Teenager
No no no, I said crack, not smack.

Moonlight is broken into three parts of a Chiron’s life. We have 9 year old Chiron, or Little (Alex R. Hibbert), teenage Chiron (Ashton Sanders), and adult Chiron, now going by Black (Trevante Rhodes). It takes place in a lower class area of Miami, not Chicago which I assumed, allowing the film to make a lot more sense.

When Chiron was growing up, he was picked on a lot for his size (See: Nickname of Little). He didn’t like going home to his mom (Naomie Harris), who doesn’t care for him and is getting into drugs herself. By accident he runs into Juan (Mahershala Ali), who decides to give him a meal, since he finds a frightened boy who wont talk and is lost. He even gets to spend the night and meet his wife (Janelle Monáe). And yes, Juan is a big time crack dealer.

When he is a teenager, Chiron gets bullied (by Patrick Decile) a lot more, which leads to a rougher home life. He only has one friend his age, Kevin (Jaden Piner, Jharrel Jerome, André Holland), and their relationship is a very close one.

Needless to say, Moonlight is a story examining the choices in a man’s life. What led him to his decisions, how those decisions affected him later down the line, and the internal struggles he had to deal with mostly on his own.

Adult
The good news is he turned into a not so little adult.

Moonlight is certainly a hard movie to talk about, for those easily distracted they will watch it and assume not a lot actually happened. There are longer shots, there are long moments of silence, there are only a few characters, and so on. But what drives Moonlight is how deep it gets into our main character, how much it shows through his face and through his surroundings.

The themes that Moonlight explored I certainly didn’t expect, as they didn’t really explain a lot in the IMDB synopsis, so I will avoid going into explicit detail. But part of the plot is not just growing up in an emotionally abusive household, where the nicest people in your life deal drugs. It is also exploring his sexuality, figuring out how to be true to himself, and deal with issues in his own way.

All three Chiron’s give deep, personal performances. It is strange how three different people can feel so connected. But it works.

Moonlight feels like a dream at some point, branching out into some Terrence Malick territory. Nothing too out there, but visually it was unexpected given what many might just assume is another “gang/drug” adolescent movie.

Basically what I am getting at is that Moonlight is full of surprises. It defies the genre you think it will play into, and it gives a few powerful but subtle performances.

4 out of 4.