Category: Uncategorized

Benny Loves You

Another killer doll. Why do dolls love to kill? Because they are given to children who might be rough with them. We all know that is the right answer. That is why we got Toy Story 3, right? 

The real answer is because it is fun to take something known for being cute and put it in non-cute situations. Like killing. That is appealing. It is jarring. It stands out.

Well, it used to stand out. It has been done a lot, so there needs to be a great reason for another killer toy to come to life without just feeling like another copy cat iteration. Technically it doesn’t have to prove its existence in order to be made. That sounds mean. But it does have to prove it is a worthy addition to cinema by my own snooty little standards. If it feels like more of the same thing, why should I bother.

Benny Loves You? That’s good to hear. I would hate it if Benny was completely apathetic to my existence. 

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“Okay, Benny Loves You. But do you give a flying fuck about Benny?” – A Night At The Roxbury…ish

Dolls can be evil. But we will get to that. Instead we will focus on Jack (Karl Holt), who still lives at the same house with his famous. He thinks it is okay. Free rent. His job doesn’t pay well, he helps design toys, but he isn’t that great at it. At home, his parents still treat him like a kid, and he basically acts like one too. But in his 30’s, on his birthday, he finally gets the house to himself! You know, after his parents both die in a freak accident. 

It isn’t even a year later that his house is now decrepit and falling apart, because he doesn’t know how to function as an adult. He is behind on all bills, he doesn’t clean well, he is about to lose his job. But then he finds Benny packed away. A toy from his youth. Well, he doesn’t need that anymore.

Trying to get rid of Benny turns out to be something harder than expected. Benny has a mind of his own. He wants to protect Jack from anything that might hurt him, or anything that might try to replace Benny. Anything that Jack seemingly loves, or anything that is a threat to Jack, Benny will try to end, with extreme accuracy. Not a good time to finally find a lady, nor is it a good time to grow up, it seems!

Also starring Anthony Styles, Claire Cartwright, Darren Benedict, George Collie, Greg Barnett, and James Parsons

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Bunny isn’t a killer. That knife clearly cut something like a lasagna. 

The beginning of this review might sound a little bit bitter, but that isn’t the goal there. It is just to note what I am looking for in another killer doll story. Is there any originality?

Well, this movie is directed, written, and stars Karl Holt, who is a first time director from the UK who had this idea and put it on himself  with some other actors. It is ambitious for anyone to do something like this, let alone a first time director. And in that scope, it isn’t that bad. Maybe a little bit better than you’d expect from someone on their first attempts. But in the grand scheme of cinema, this was hard for me to enjoy. 

It feels like its been awhile since I saw the movie before I was finally able to write it. But I feel like a few scenes early on really feel disconnected from the rest of the narrative. The death of his parents did come out of nowhere and was quite gruesome, but that ended up being the highlight of the movie for me. It is just another situation of trying to do a comedy/horror film that doesn’t seem to excel in either genre, despite its best attempts.

The main character is hard to care about and so are the side characters. Live, die, whatever. Doll wins or loses doesn’t matter to me by the end, because I became indifferent to the whole picture. It is just such a hard line to balance that comedy/horror genre. But I know I can leave double disappointed if nothing scares me and nothing makes me laugh. Again, outside of the ridiculous parents death scene, which shocked me. Just nothing could surpass it, leaving me disappointed for most of the rest of the film. 

1 out of 4.

Thunder Force

“Shit we better get into that super hero genre game” – Netflix, probably, after losing their Marvel Shows. They didn’t want to get bamboozled again, so they figured they would just buy a movie by someone who was making their own. Enter Ben Falcone, ready for his next bi-yearly (usually) basic comedy starring his wife, Melissa McCarthy.

Their last film, Superintelligence, made my worst of the year list. I don’t remember fully how the other ones did, but I don’t recall it ever being met with high amounts of laughter or praise either, so there is that. 

Honestly, based on the cover of Thunder Force, it just seems like a movie they would put out entirely to make fat jokes with their heroes? I fucking hope not. I can hope they can do better than that overall. But I still wouldn’t put it past them given the people involved with it. 

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Pickle jokes too. Definitely gotta have some pickle jokes. 

Back in the 80’s, some sun shit happened, that gave some people super powers! Unfortunately, this only went to people who would be classified as sociopaths, which wasn’t a good thing for anyone out there. They were named Miscreants, and began to take a toll on society, and make things unbearbale. 

At this time, young Lydia and Emily became unlikely friends. Lydia was crass, but protected Emily, who was smart. Emily’s parents were killed by Miscreants, and she had to live with her grandparents. Emily dreamed of one day figuring out how to give powers to the good guys, and that was her life goals.

Decades later, these two eventually grew apart. Now barely functioning as an adult, Lydia (Melissa McCarthy) is an adult construction worker and has nothing important to say about her life. Emily (Octavia Spencer) is rich, a scientist, a mom, and really close to getting some super powers. Once they get reconnected, unfortunately, Lydia gets given the special juice to make her super powered, so now she is in the experiment. Their first goal is to just control these powers, but stopping crime seems like a necessity. In fact, the Chicago mayor election is happening, and one of the Miscreants, The King (Bobby Cannavale) has been in charge of the city to put a leash on the other super powers, but he doesn’t like the idea of any sort of super heroes trying to stop them, or him. 

Also starring Jason Bateman, Pom Klementieff, Melissa Leo, Taylor Mosby, Marcella Lowery, Melissa Ponzio, and Ben Falcone, of course. 

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Actual footage of Cerebro trying to find more Melissa’s to put into this movie. 

This film doesn’t really need a long in depth review to fully understand it, I imagine, but I will still go for it for a bit. First off, on the fat joke department, there was only actually one, which was surprising. I think I only laughed at one joke the whole film, a dinner scene freak out about sea food, because it was a good set up with the characters. At the same time, that scene was very slow and messed a lot with the pacing of the film. Why add that romance at all to the story? Not enough filler?

I was hoping as these two ladies were costars that it would feel like Spencer was getting a bit out of these supporting actress roles where she is there just to help the protagonist realize their true potential, or some shit. But it doesn’t. Despite the costarring, she still feels like second fiddle to McCarthy’s character, and thus is just supporting the crass member of the team into being the star. They also decided to do almost nothing with her powers. One gets super strength, the other can turn invisible and then…taze people. That is about it. Weak.

McCarthy’s character isn’t just annoying, but I have to wonder why she didn’t get powers as a kid. Her character, although not fully a sociopath, is a huge asshole. When this is a movie about good people getting powers to stop crime, but one of them isn’t really good? It is very uncomfortable. McCarthy’s character is showboaty and egotistical. She also uses her powers to get free food from places that were just getting robbed? Like. It left a big sour taste in my mouth, as she prevented a robbery, while then technically robbing at a smaller scale. 

This film has very low stakes, and these people who have superpowers rarely act like sociopaths. Is this something that affected the whole world or Chicago? Because in 20-30 some years, I would expect a whole lot more bad stuff going on than just mostly normal Chicago with the occasional gas station getting robbed. What is happening else where? Actual bad stuff? 

Low concept, low thought out film, but thankfully the humor isn’t completely bottom of the barrel. 

1 out of 4.

Stowaway

I have never been a stowaway before, but I have been a part of a stowaway situation. Kind of.

Once, when I was a young lad, barely in high school, I went on a trip with my older brother and four of his older friends. I was the smallest person, and we had to travel in a small car. I was afraid that they would want me to go into the trunk, being the smallest person, but my brother, the driver, didn’t let it happen. Someone volunteered to go in the trunk and was in there for an entire hour car ride, just to go play some magic cards. And he found a different way home later that night.

So, it was a stowaway situation but we were all aware and knew about it. Most of the time stowaways are secrets from someone. So let’s assume Stowaway the film has some secrets in it as well. 

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In space, no one can hear your secrets. 

Three scientists are on their way to Mars for some science yeahhhh! Most astronauts are scientists, but in reality, this is like one astronaut that is a scientist, and two scientists who are now astronauts. Marina Barnett (Toni Collette) is the leader of the crew, this is not her first rodeo, she knows how to get things done. Our other two crew members, David Kim (Daniel Dae Kim) and Zoe Levenson (Anna Kendrick) put in proposals for research and got accepted, trained and are excited to be there!

And sure, during blast off, more fuel got used than expected. A little weird, but not unheard of in the exact science of space travel.

It doesn’t take long before they find out what went wrong. Turns out there is an extra person on board, and he is hurt. Once they get him healed and talking, Michael Adams (Shamier Anderson) is shocked and freaking out. Just an engineer who worked for the space company, an accident knocked him out and on board, and things are going to get weird.

It could have been “fine” overall. They had food and supplies and he would pull his weight. But that same accident seems to have damaged a CO2 converter. You know, one that makes Oxygen. And if they can’t make enough Oxygen for the journey for four people, then some really hard decisions are going to have to be made. 

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This is a great time for an emergency meeting. 

When I first saw the description, I laughed. What do they mean running out of oxygen? I am pretty sure space stations have so many extra reserves of things and supplies, so they can take five times as long at least to keep things safe. The Martian taught us that. How could one man ruin that? Well, the film goes out of its way to explain all of these things. The reason oxygen is low, why they can’t easily get more, and their attempts at plan B and plan C to make it work.

But the whole point of this movie is like a very expensive trolley problem. Can they kill one or two people to save the rest, or should they risk it to save them all or none of them? (Note, they know the science and know that the risk can’t possibly work out either). 

And who is it to die? The stowaway who technically caused the issue, but is not his fault. Or one of the crew members who signed up knowing the risks that they would face. Could they live knowing they let someone die for them? 

I liked the questions posed in this slow space drama, and it gave me a slight ever tiny cry near the end. The effects are fine, but the acting is stellar. I expect a lot out of Kendrick, Kim, and Collette in a film like this, and barely have seen Anderson in anything else, but they all deliver. They are believable, they are different, and they are smart. This is a no dummy space flight. And it is annoying I have to mention that, given how many space movies send morons out into space apparently. 

Stowaway wanted to ask a hard question, and it gave some hard answers. I appreciate it telling the story it told. 

3 out of 4.

Profile

When I wrote my review of Searching, I already did a recap of all of the “From a computer screen” based films of the last few years, and how most of them were flops, except for some TV show examples.

Well, now we have Profile, another of those films, and I don’t think this “gimmick” has been played out if it is done right. Since Searching came out, we also had Host, which seemed to finally do a bit better on the horror version of these films (although Searching has plenty of tense moments).

While on the subject of Searching, should be noted that Profile was not made years later than Searching. It actually was in film festivals in 2018, same year as Searching, it just didn’t get released for three years, maybe to distance itself from Searching. I really can’t tell, couldn’t find news articles about it, and the title of ‘Profile’ doesn’t really help with searches either.

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How do you say I Love You in Skype?

This is a movie about Amy Whittaker (Valene Kane), a British journalist, hoping to get a more secure job at her news station. Someone with a salary and less freelancing. She gets the idea to pose as a recent convert to Islam, and get noticed by members of ISIS. There have been reports of them recruiting through social media, and stories of Islamic converts being brought into Syria to be brides, with really, really, bad outcomes.

So she gets a scarf to put over her head, hides her tattoos with some foundation, and makes a new Facebook profile. She finds other converts to Islam there, and begins to like and share their posts and videos, hoping to be noticed by an ISIS recruiter or soldier. And she is!

With the help of her news stations IT staff, her goal is to catfish an ISIS soldier, having actual video conferences with him, to document their talks. They want to see their methods and report on them so people can watch out for them. And also how they handle the transportation of these girls to Syria without being noticed or traced.

However, Amy is having a hard time balancing this new fake life with her real life. And there might be actual benefits to heading to Syria and leaving it all behind, because Abu Bilel Al-Britani (Shazad Latif) raises some good points, is attractive, and seems to have a good reason for doing what he does. Fuuuuu.

Also starring Christine Adams, Amir Rahimzadeh, Emma Cater, and Morgan Watkins.

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Don’t fuck up the headpiece, that will give it all away Amy. 

Profile is based on a true story, about a French journalist who did…you know, this sort of thing. It is called In the Skin of a Jihadist, and I am sure won awards and hopefully helped some people out.  Like real life people. I don’t know how this story compares to the book.

I first thought this movie was more of a real time picture, but it takes place over a few weeks. That isn’t a problem at all, but the film doesn’t always do a good job of showing that time has passed between sessions. I also can’t tell when events are supposed to be live or if some of them are just someone else watching recorded sessions after the fact. The transition tools used seemed to be used for either method and it was jarring as someone just trying to follow along.

But I still did like the movie. It did draw me in, however it still felt rushed. It tried its best in the short time to make us believe that she could really fall in love with this man and consider going to Syria for real, and that is the most disappointing part. He was charismatic, I will give him that.

At this point it is clear that these movies will only be used with macs I guess, due to their tool potential. In these movies a lot of people apparently do face chatting allllll the time. Is this real? I would never imagine doing that with my friends and family. People are quick to call and assume you are free to do it, and that is another awkward thing in this one (and other films).  Does anyone do this in real life at all? Help me out here. I could be out of touch. I don’t have a Mac computer.

3 out of 4.

In The Heights

We were supposed to get In The Heights last June, but, you know what happened. Sad things happened. We all know that. But the only good news about it is that they ended up releasing Hamilton 15 months early or so, straight to Disney Plus, to make up for the fact that In The Heights would be pushed back. It is not a compromise I knew I would have to accept, but one I did gladly accept overall.

In The Heights the musical hit Broadway in 2008, and earned quite a few Tony nominations, putting Lin-Manuel Miranda, lyricist and main actor, on the map. That lead to other things as we all know.

I had only knew one song from this musical really well, called It Won’t Be Long Now, because it showed up on my Musical Pandora and no other songs from the whole show. I did give the sound track a good listen before hand the day before this screening, to get familiar with the tunes and lyrics, since I know they can sometimes be hard to hear on the screen. It made me cry once or twice on its own, so I knew there was no hope for my tears to see the whole thing in front of my eyes.

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These people are all happy, but I know I’ll end up sappy. 

We are going to check out Washington Heights, a small area in New York City, or Neuva York if you want to call it that, I won’t stop you. This is where will meet Usnavy (Anthony Ramos), owner of a bodega in this area, where almost all of the citizens stop by for his coffee that they have grown attached to. He runs it with his younger cousin Sunny (Gregory Diaz IV) who is still in high school, but politically motivated. Usnavy came from the Dominican Republic before he was 10 with his parents, but the best days of his life were back then, living on the beaches, while his dad ran a bar. Every day was paradise. And he has the chance to go back finally, buy his father’s shop (now in need of repair) and location, and start the final chapters of his life, at home.

It is also about a few other characters. Like Vanessa (Melissa Barrera) who works at the local salon (run by Daphne Rubin-Vega), but has dreams of getting out of this area as well. Not as far as another country, but deeper into the city, to work as a fashion designer. We have Nina (Leslie Grace), the “one who got out”, a girl who was so smart and full of learning wonder that she went to Stanford! But this is the summer after getting back and she has to tell her dad (Jimmy Smits) some not great news. And there is also Benny (Corey Hawkins), who works for her dad, is into Nina a whole lot, and wants to become a big money maker in the future.

And of course there is the Abuela Claudia (Olga Merediz), who never had her own kids but is like an Abuela to a lot of our characters, who wants to help everyone in the block and be a great person overall. So sweet.

In The Heights is about the dreams and aspirations of a few characters who live there, hoping to eventually find a home. And it takes place in the summer, before the hottest day and a blackout that will change all of their lives forever.

Also starring Ariana Greenblatt, Stephanie Beatriz, Chris Jackson, Dascha Polanco, Marc Anthony, Noah Catala, Olivia Perez, and Lin-Manuel Miranda as Piragua Guy.

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A man who can wear shorts to work is a man I inspire to be. 

Jon M. Chu, director of In The Heights the movie, was the perfect choice for this musical, and frankly, all musicals going forward. His name really came into my eyes when he did Crazy Rich Asians, which was gorgeously shot, and every frame seemed to pop out of the screen. From the trailers of In The Heights, you can tell a similar story. Hell, he did mostly music videos before this, some Step Up films, and even Jem and the Holograms. Say one thing about all of these, you can say they at least look nice. Fuck. He is even doing Wicked once it eventually comes out. Can not fucking wait.

This movie is a goddamn spectacle. It is the first film I saw in theaters, since things started to shut down. I went 421 days without seeing a movie in theaters, and watched 440 films in that time, on my screens at home for the most part. And at the start of the film, in the “welcome to our theater” videos, I found myself already tearing up.

Because cry I did this film, early and often. Usually for just such heartbreaking soul crushing numbers, so well sung and choreographed. I wanted to help everyone. I cried from sadness and from happiness. It will give you that full range of emotions. I did not have any rage crying though. That would be hard to pull off.

Ramos, a few years out after starring in Hamilton, has to play the role Miranda made and feels like a great passing of the torch. He oozes charisma in this role, and having this musical be told through stories from him to children brings a lot of bonus personality to it. I wanted everything to work out for his character just mere minutes into the film.

There were awkward moments of the musical too. Don’t worry. I don’t think the film did a great job of fully giving a good reason for the arguments that occurred during the song Blackout. Except for some reason our lead character maybe has higher levels of anxiety and fear, with a little bit of alcoholism, that don’t go fully explained or fleshed out, to make it make much sense. But in musicals, life can move fast through a song, so that also plays an element in it.

I honestly didn’t know how I would feel about In The Heights, knowing the music stylings and lyrics were not my usual fair. Maybe I liked it more because of Hamilton’s existence and getting used to the rhyming and rapping in musical fair, and the speed of the lyrics coming at me. Maybe I liked it on its own merits.

Oh, and for Hamilton fans, outside of actor cameos (of which we have just the three?), there is one other sneaky Hamilton reference that should be easy to see. Well, hear. And one other note. The Broadway songs have a reference to Donald Trump, which makes sense in there lyrically, but they definitely replaced that line in this film version. A good change overall.

4 out of 4.

The Crime of the Century

The Crime of the Century is one of those titles often shouted about so many things, it is really hard to come to some sort of agreement. They might have agreed during it that the Trial of the Century was the O.J. Simpson case. I think the Middle of the Century was agreed to be somewhere in the 1950’s. The World War II of the Century went to Vietnam, strangely enough.

But what is the crime of the century, and why is that the signifier? Is it supposed to be the worst crime committed in the 100 year span of a century? Or maybe it is a crime that started awhile ago and has been going on all century.

It is probably just hyperbole, now that I think of it. Which is potentially dangerous if you want to expose truths. Don’t exaggerate your claims and then say you speak the truth, when the impact of one crime might have to be compared to another.

Oh, and in case you are curious, the crime of the century is drugs. 

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Pills pills, the more you eat, the more you… kill?!

Don’t worry, the crime of the century isn’t selling drugs, or doing drugs, it is the pharmaceutical companies for creating drugs and lying about drugs to get rich. That’s right. We are talking about opioids.

Most of this opioid crisis my head has been in the sand in regards to all of the…stuff about it. I literally know most of my knowledge on this subject from recent films, so I didn’t know how long this was a big problem. Ben is Back is about the topic. The film that just came out Crisis is about it. All of them mad at doctors and pharmacists, so I feel like the news on this has already reached levels that we know that there are people at the top who are to blame and haven’t yet.

And what is this documentary about? Yeah. That. The history of opioids, of advertising with drug companies, of how they get rich, of the science that got ignored, of the lies that have been proven to be lies in emails and trials. Yeah, it is all right there, out in the open, not even a conspiracy at this point. Big Pharma went out of there way to get rich at the expense of others and barely anyone has been punished for it in any real significant way.

This documentary (mini-series?) goes into a lot of the details, including stuff that was released in court rooms that hadn’t been seen in news reports yet. It goes really deep into it and is quite convincing. I don’t know if there is anyone who would disagree with this documentary? This is pretty straight forward and I think we can all get on the same side with this one.

Oh yeah, there are those people who believe drug abusers and addiction is a personal choice. Those people suck. And I am sure some of them are pharmacy CEOs.

Well, let’s hope this changes some things legally. It probably won’t, but there is a hope!

3 out of 4.

The Paper Tigers

What a year for martial arts films it has been!

We have The Paper Tigers, which this review is about and …!

Oh I think that is it so far? I definitely haven’t reviewed any more. There might be some out there I guess. We still have a lot of year left, so there is time.

But the good news is, I liked The Paper Tigers, so even if it is the only martial arts film that releases this year, I can still say it is a good year for martial arts films.

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If there shadows fought separately, this would be the best martial arts film year. 

The Paper Tigers were a feared (not like, for your life, but feared like in awed) group of martial artists, trained by Sifu Cheung (Roger Yuan). Why were they feared? Because the trio never lost. That means in an official bout, of one on ones, or even in a trio match where the best 2 out of 3 wins. So there is some wiggle room there, but overall, they have never lost as a team, and they were gonna go far.

But then, their ages got older, joints got achier, and life got harder. Danny (Alain Uy) used to be the strongest of them, now he has a corporate job, a kid and is getting divorced for being so distant and a bad father/husband. Hing (Ron Yuan) has lost his hair, gotten fatter, but hasn’t lost his humor, and Danny (Mykel Shannon Jenkins) has his own dojo, but has still softened up in his age, despite still training daily.

Their lives come together again when they find out that their Sifu has died and have to go to their funeral. There is some mystery in their lives that made them drift apart, but when they determine that it is likely that their Sifu was murdered? Well, now they are going to have to investigate together to avenge his death. And if it means getting back into fighting shape in order to battle some more youthful fighters, then so be it.

Also starring Peter Adrian Sudarso, Yoshi Sudarso, Gui DaSilva-Greene, Raymond Ma, Matthew Page, Ken Quitugua, Jae Suh Park, and Joziah Lagonoy.

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Tea breaks are important for training. And dum dums. 

I wasn’t sure what to expect going into The Paper Tigers, as it began with a few kids starting training, and then followed up with a montage of them training and getting older, in home movie formats, before we get to the modern day. We got to see these kids grow up and train and get swole and fast, and become champions. It was up up and up for them, for us to get juxtaposed with our protagonist as an adult and trying desperately (and failing) to find a parking spot.

Because that is the major theme of this film is getting old and honoring your past. Reconciliation with your past as well, fixing mistakes, in order to grow as a person.

But also, martial arts!

The Paper Tigers I was able to find funny and emotional at the same time. It never made me cry, but the emotions did run rampant near the end, because the final fight scenes had some high stakes. You really pull for the protagonist, even after finding out he hasn’t been the best of a stand up guy lately, because like all great husbands, they start off as fixer uppers and we can see them become great! (That is a joke, please do not be in a relationship with someone to fix them up). I did like his relationship with the son by the end, when he realized he was doing wrong, and when he became more serious.

The main characters are all really exciting to cheer behind, purely because they have weaknesses and struggles. Entirely relatable, even if you cannot do any sort of martial arts. The fight scenes are well shot as well, visible, and amusing at points as well.

The Paper Tigers is the best martial arts film this year. So far. And I have no idea if we are getting any more, but this one you might have never heard about before now is definitely recommended.

3 out of 4.

Wrath of Man

“Is Guy Ritchie finally back?!”

That is the question I ask myself every time I am about to watch a new Guy Ritchie film. I believe the last time he was actually “back” was when he did The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and I wouldn’t define his Sherlock films as really back either. So maybe he has been off for over a decade for the most part. Taking on strange projects. Nothing that feels like a Guy Ritchie film based on the movies he gave us in the 90’s and early 2000’s.

I could list his many duds, but it is unnecessary. You all know it is true. Duds or okay films or weird sell out films.

But is Wrath of Man, with his favorite actor ever, his return to his roots? This is what we want, after all.

security
Are these security guards? Nope. Killers.

Hill (Jason Statham) is just a regular average guy, who has done some security work in the past, looking for a new job. He is going to be a security officer who rides in an armored car that picks up and drops off large quantities of money. It is a dangerous job apparently, because people really love to steal from armored cars.

The company he works at now, that he barely qualifies for, is known for having good trained officers and not getting robbed as much, so they get the big business. But when a crew takes out their drivers and steal from them? Well, the drivers are now more shook. So Hill joins them at a strange time. But he quickly puts the stop to another robbery, bad ass incarnate and all, and becomes a hero to them.

But why, why did he join, and what connection does it have with the robberies?

Also starring Eddie Marsan, Niamh Algar, Laz Alonso, Chris Reilly, Holt McCallany, Rocci Williams, Josh Harnett, Jeffrey Donovan, Scott Eastwood, Deobia Oparei, Raúl Castillo, and Andy Garcia.

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Is that a construction worker? Nope. A killer.

Maybe…maybe Guy Ritchie is back?

I left Wrath of Man liking it, and it did have a lot of similarities to his earlier work. We didn’t just get the good guys point of view, we got the bad guy point of view as well. Hell, our good guy isn’t really a good guy either. This is about different tiers of bad guys, and some good guys who also get involved. It has betrayal, many named important people getting killed, and it is told non chronologically.

It is also a relatively simple story, given the situation. The only leap of faith we have to take is a society where armored cars get robbed all the time.

It was nice to have the scale be relatively small with so many people being typical bad guys. Criminals vs criminals is the type of action film I can get behind. Especially if one is technically doing some good, even if for selfish reasons.

I don’t think there is anything inherently special about Statham’s “acting” here just like his other work. The twists are pretty simple to determine. It was nice to see various people in the random roles throughout the film. And you can even see Post Malone as Robber #6. If that appeals to you as well.

3 out of 4.

Vanquish

What can a reviewer even say about a movie like Vanquish?

Not a lot it turns out, as I struggled at the end of this review. But when I saw the poster for the movie, it was one that immediately let me know it wouldn’t be that good. It is the kind of cover that you only see on a Redbox catalogue and choose to never watch it. It is the kind of movie that if you saw advertised on a billboard that you would assume has been up there for decades and forgot about.

Also, guns as wings? Is it some angel of death?

Oh just don’t hurt me too much, Vanquish film.

pew
Ah fuck, blue tones, my greatest weakness. 

Victoria (Ruby Rose) is just a single mom trying to make it in the world. She is doing the best she can, one day at a time. Until her daughter gets KIDNAPPED.

Okay, it turns out Victoria used to be drug smuggler or deliverer. She was involved with some bad people who did bad things, but not her, right?

So who kidnapped her kid? Well, Morgan Freeman of course! No not the actual one, a retired cop named Damon (Morgan Freeman) who apparently is jaded and angry and needs to threaten Victoria with kid-killing at this point in his life. What does Victoria need to do to get her kid back? Well, you know, just kill a lot of people.

A whole night of killing of bad people under a threat. Ah yes, what a night.

Also starring Patrick Muldoon, Nick Vallelonga, Julie Lott, and Hannah Stocking.

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Let’s call this support for solid mask usage. Or at least visor usage. 

Not only is Vanquish forgettable, it is potentially website destroyable. I wrote this review earlier in the day and published it and saw it and it was on my computer, and now it isn’t. This is my second write through. This writing is apparently better, to be honest. It has more filler and more words because I gave that first version little attention, because the movie Vanquish was not worth my attention.

But here is goes again. Vanquish is not only bad, it is boring. It is not only boring, it was a waste of time. It was not only a waste of time, it was also bad.

None of the acting is good in this film. Freeman probably has a 10% good rate these last few years. He has phoned it in enough that he has a payphone booth up his ass. I barely know anything about Rose, but as a lead in this film I never cared about her character. It was just one bland and tasteless action scene after another. And occasionally the filter pissed me off too, for style reason.

If you want me to like your movie, make a good movie. I don’t care about your digital effects.

0 out of 4.

The Mitchells vs. The Machines

The Mitchells vs. The Machines is one of those films that you are hopefully going to hear about from word of mouth. I know I didn’t notice it pop up on Netflix. I know if I did, I would have just ignored it most likely for a bit, and watched it by myself a week or two later. The cover for it on Netflix doesn’t look appealing to me at all. It doesn’t do the actual animation style any justice, and just looks like a cheaply made piece of crap. And let’s be honest, The Mitchells vs. The Machines is not a title that screams out “watch me.”

I don’t know the Mitchells. Why should I care about the Mitchells?

I guess every famous cartoon family has its start, and if their goal is a franchise, they can constantly have them battling other entities. I guess.

I am getting off track. I didn’t want to watch this movie. I was told I should watch this movie. I am glad I watched this movie. You should also watch this movie. And now, here is a review.

pose
This is apparently an action film with guns, dinosaur bombs, and a dog faced pirate. 

The Mitchells are apparently going to have to save the world. And they are not a perfect warrior clan. They all have faults, barely have any cohesion, and sort of hate each other depending on the circumstances. Katie (Abbi Jacobson) feels like an outsider from her family. She has always been into films and creating her own strange movies, that her parents just don’t understand. Her dad (Danny McBride) is Mr. Nature, doesn’t do anything with tech, can fix a lot of problems, and loves to build. Her mom (Maya Rudolph) is pretty mom stereotype, caring and all of that jazz, believes in everyone. Her younger brother (Michael Rianda) is just super into dinosaurs, starring in his sister’s movies, and is afraid of being alone. Also they got a dog that is barely a dog. 

Katie got accepted into her dream school in California, for Movie makers and is exited about leaving her home and finally being with people in her life who get and understand her. The “weirdos” and such. Unfortunately, she gets into a big argument with her dad the day before they leave. And his solution? To cancel her plane ticket away from this dump, so they can road trip to College, making her miss out on orientation, but letting them bond one more time.

And unfortunately, during that time, a big robot rebellion begins! Fuuuuuuu. And purely by accident, they find themselves to be the only group of humans not captured. I guess they gotta figure out how to save our entire species. 

Also featuring the voices of Eric André, Olivia Colman, Fred Armisen, Beck Bennett, Chrissy Teigen, John Legend, Charlyne Yi, Conan O’Brien, and Blake Griffin

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You know, I am not even sure that is a dog…

If I had done my own research I would have found out that I definitely wanted to see this movie. Besides the stacked voice cast (including McBride doing a great impression of Seth Rogen has a father role, based on my confusion on checking IMDB, I would have been able to see that the executive producers of this are Lord/Miller, and I have never not loved something they produced or helped create. 

As for the actual film? Damn, what a roller coaster. But it is a roller coaster that just keeps going in loops and is mostly full of really exciting ups. This is a bad metaphor. It has some strong messaging about reliance of technology. Pretty obvious stuff overall, but it doesn’t harp on the message and say that technology is evil. It is necessary for our hero after all to follow her dreams, and allows her to do something she wants in life, so it is awesome still. It is more the corporations who suck, and we can all agree on that.

This film was surprisingly funny. I really didn’t expect to laugh as much as I did, especially out loud. My kids could enjoy it too, for similar reasons. It had jokes for all, and some good throwback jokes to technology issues in life. It is also full of colors and perfect for the ADHD riddled world we live in, but never really annoyingly so.

I was surprised about halfway through the movie (with a plot point that felt like it would be close to the end) to find it had so much more movie left to go. But it didn’t really feel boring, if not a little too long near the end in the final scenes. A small amount of editing/cutting near the end would have been fine. But again, I still love the movie overall.

Give it a watch. I believe it went to theaters for a bit, so it should be eligible for awards next year. Raya and the Last Dragon was good, and now this. Shit, is animation back this year? Will Luca actually be good?! 

4 out of 4.

Se