Tag: 2 out of 4

The Bob’s Burgers Movie

As of this posting, Bob’s Burgers just finished its 12th season a few days ago, on the 22nd of May. The film, The Bob’s Burgers Movie, came out on the 27th of May. I appreciate their timing on this matter, that is some good planning.

Now, I am not expecting anyone to have to see 12 seasons of a decent animated cartoon to have to get this movie. Maybe a loose familiarization with the characters, but it isn’t like those episodes all lead to very specific plot developments and a lot of growth. For honest bias reasons, I will point out I need to I have for sure seen at least half of the episodes of the show, but not gone out of my way to keep up with it lately.

I am also surprised they decided to go with a movie this early. Family Guy still hasn’t made a theatrical film. The Simpsons waited 18 years before finally coming out with a movie. I know there are lots of cartoons that decide to do a theatrical film, but those feel like the notable ones given the same station and night of new releases for their content.

More importantly when it comes to cartoon shows to film, the film has to feel necessary. A larger than a multi-part episode plot. Something to make it stand out and look different. The last thing we want is just what feels like 2-3 more additional episodes.

family
Yes Bob, I said that is the last thing I want. Don’t be so surprised.

Somewhere near an ocean somewhere lives the Belcher family. Bob (H. Jon Benjamin), the father and main cook at Bob’s Burgers, a restaurant he named after himself. His wife, Linda (John Roberts), who also works at the shop, and is full of love and hope. They have three kids. The oldest, Tina (Dan Mintz), is almost in high school and obsessed with butts. The next kid, Gene (Eugene Mirman), is the only boy kid, who wants to be a musician and creative. And lastly, we have Louise (Kristen Schaal), a girl who acts older than she is, with wild plans and ideas and a dark sense of humor. Together they live in an apartment above their restaurant. The kids go to school, help out with the shop, and hijinks.

So, that would be the plot for the show. But also basically the movie!

The movie itself, the restaurant is going through a bad time! You see, they are behind on their payments to the bank for their loan for restaurant equipment. And when trying to get an extension, no dice. Instead they now have 7 days to get all the money for it, while also still paying off their rent like normal. Thankfully the wharf has a big event this week, so there should be increased foot traffic. And unfortunately, a giant hole has decided to appear right in front of their store, blocking the entrance.

Dang. How are they going to make the money now?

Oh, and there also happens to be a murder mystery thing, but the kids are more involved with that one.

Also starring David Wain, Gary Cole, Kevin Kline, Larry Murphy, and Zach Galifianakis.

hole
What a messy, messy hole that is.

The Bob’s Burgers show writers really do love their musical numbers, and put songs into their show a lot. A lot more of my favorite and memorable episodes also feature songs! It felt pretty clear that this would likely be a musical, but it was only a light musical unfortunately. From my count, it only features three unique songs, with an additional reprise of a song. There were other instrumental tunes that started up and I thought would lead to a song, but ended up just being some quirky background music. It is maybe four songs, but I don’t really remember if the final concert song had like, actual lyrics, as it was unforgettable.

Three songs is hardly enough to get a buzz from. The best song was the Carnie one. I do love the extremes in the animation they put into the characters movements. They really want to emphasize real and actual dances, and these movements highlight how awkward their bodies are actually drawn. And it really adds to the extra musical feel of these numbers, like they are really big spectacles.

Some of my least favorite episodes of Bob’s Burgers though are the ones that go heavy on the landlord, Mr. Fishoeder, and his family, which is definitely true for this plot. And honestly, even though that this movie had a MuRdEr, it did still just feel like a two or three part episode.

I won’t take away from the animation. The animation was definitely better and richer than a normal episode. The songs were longer than a normal episode. But the plot line didn’t seem to match the standards that should necessitate in a change of format for an established television show. It didn’t use the extra time to give us more music, or really more hijinks. This is just the type of movie that exists to make the fans happy with more content. Not sure if anything here will affect the TV show in the future either, but that is something that will be really shown whenever their next season starts.

2 out of 4.

Top Gun: Maverick

Danger Zone? Take My Breath Away? Great Balls of Fire and You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling? (Technically)

The original Top Gun had a pretty stacked soundtrack, especially when it had at least two very famous songs that were made for the movie. The latter two already existed, but damn it, we had pilots singing them, so they were memorable too.

I personally hadn’t seen the original Top Gun until a couple of weeks ago. And yet, I knew everything about what happened in the movie. I knew how it would end, I knew who would die (spoilers?), I knew how the volleyball would game. Top Gun has been completely culturally osmosised, which I am going to count as a word here. But really I wanted to finally watch it to make jokes like they do in Flight of the Conchords, how everything is like Top Gun.

Like a lot of people, I went in expecting the sequel film, Top Gun: Maverick, to be utter shit. Sequels several decades later, based on a movie that had a very weak plot, aren’t usually allowed to be good, let alone better. But I guess everyone agrees, Maverick is a better film than the original.

running
Never get into a four way with jets. Unlike, I guess, you are a jet too?

Remember how Top Gun ended? Maverick (Tom Cruise) said he wanted to stay at Top Gun and teach pilots? Well, apparently that didn’t last long, because he became a test pilot instead, so he can fly experimental new aircraft. He has a need for speed. And for putting his life on the line. But its modern day, and he has to get on with the fact that most of the planes are going to be drones now, and they are wasting money on new pilot planes. Apparently Iceman (Val Kilmer) being one of the main admirals is the only reason he is still on the payroll.

But now he has to go to one final outpost. He has to go back to Top Gun, because he needs to train former Top Gun graduates, most of which are firsts in their class. The best of the best. Even though he crashed and burned as a teacher, he is the only one who they have available left to teach them, as the only one who has similar experience flying under these conditions. It is a complicated plan, to take out a nuclear bomb facility before it is turned online. It involves going fast and low, twists and turns, avoiding anti-aircraft missiles, and some tight up and down maneuvers at the end. Also they have to have two different direct hits on the target, with basically only two shots overall to get both hits. Great.

Maverick, reluctantly agrees, because he also doesn’t want to quit flying, not yet. And he can still have fun with this. But things will sour and overcomplicate when he finds out one of the pilots in the program is Rooster (Miles Teller), son of Goose, whom Maverick still feels responsible for his death even though he was cleared of wrong doing. And for sure, Rooster hates Maverick, and thinks he is going to not go on the mission, even if he has earned it, if Maverick pulls him for guilt.

Lives are on the line, guilt is in full force, and a 60 year old man is going to have to prove he can make some hard decisions this time.

Also starring Ed Harris, Glen Powell, Greg Tarzan Davis, Jay Ellis, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Lewis Pullman, and Monica Barbaro.

panic
Still legally obligated to post a mustache picture if they show up.

Is Top Gun: Maverick better than Top Gun? Yes. But you have to understand, and this will be hard for a lot of people. Top Gun is not a great movie. It can be memorable, and exciting for the time, but it technically wasn’t even a great movie in the 1980’s even if it made a lot of money. It was a propaganda tool, with a cool soundtrack, and a really, really, dumb plot.

So Top Gun: Maverick should be easily a better film. Does it rely on nostalgia? Yes, it starts off with Danger Zone again. I was worried all the main hits would be replayed, but they only did half of them. One of its issues was taking its time dealing with the fact that the first film ended with him going into teaching, and the sequel clearly not wanting that to be the case, so that he could come back decades later. They had to have him fail and run away, and some other suspicious backstory they crammed in with new actors/actresses over the run time of this film.

I will say, him becoming a test pilot definitely feels a lot more true to his character, so I will give the sequel that. Having to deal with the complicated decision of sending his former best friend’s son to his potential death, or refusing to let him go even if he earned it, was a great decision to grapple with. It did carry a lot more weight than I was expecting for this sequel film.

And yet, some of the decisions in the sequel feel hollow. After all, having a whole film where he is told he needs to know when to let go and to move on, when to let someone else to take the controls and fly, and his character struggling with that acceptance the whole film? Again, makes sense. Buuut, if they throw it all away for One Last Mission™ then did it really matter? It reminded me of the last Bad Boys movie, making something actually interesting with Martin Lawrence being a pacifist, just to get rid of it when convenient and make a generic action film.

Again, Top Gun: Maverick is better than its predecessor. The fight scenes are actually watchable, the maneuvers are exciting, and it is overall more entertaining. That does not make it a top tier film, just an okay entertainment flick.

2 out of 4.

The Bad Guys

What’s this? An animated film from Dreamworks that I was actually looking forward to, that didn’t have anything do with Dragons or Pandas? This must be a mistake. Dreamworks has been given me trash for years!

The main reason I was a little bit excited about The Bad Guys as a film, we because I knew it was based off of a popular series of graphic novels for kids. I only knew that because I think I own half of them. I haven’t read them, but I heard it was funny. Characters that were perceived as bad, trying to do good, and failing along the way, but hey, at least their heart was in the right place. That seems like a nice story.

Also, after watching the trailer, I enjoyed the animation style they went with. Not a standard CGI, but something maybe inspired by Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse. It is kind of like cel-shading, while being very active and distinct. The characters certainly pop.

The last time I cared about a new property from Dreamworks was Home, strangely enough, and that one ended up only being okay.

panic
I can already tell this film will get into some kinky shit.

Set strangely in real life Las Angeles, California, we are in a world with both humans and anthropomorphic animals coexisting together. There are also regular animals I guess, but we won’t talk about them right now.

We are going to talk about a group known entirely as The Bad Guys. Mr. Wolf (Sam Rockwell), Mr. Snake (Marc Maron), Mr. Shark (Craig Robinson), Mr. Piranha (Anthony Ramos), and Ms. Tarantula (Awkwafina). Yeah, their names are just their animal name for whatever reason. They are notorious for stealing things, but the newly elected Governor, Diane Foxington (Zazie Beetz), decides to announce that she feels bad for the Bad Guys, as they are clearly just misunderstood animals who need help.

Huh? How dare she take that approach with them! Time to steal a really famous award, given out specifically to NICE members of society. This next one is going to Professor Rupert Marmalade IV (Richard Ayoada), a pretty swell guy. Unfortunately, while going for the trophy, Mr. Wolf accidentally is put in a position to…HELP someone. Ugh. And strangely enough, it feels good. It is a feeling he wants again, to chase.

After they get arrested, Mr. Wolf convinces the authorities that they can be taught to be good, and enlist the help of Rupert to show them the way. Mr. Wolf also convinces his friends that they can do it just to have a bigger and better heist later. But Does Mr. Wolf want to actually turn over a new leaf?

Also starring Alex Borstein.

running
Yep, still looks like a kinky film.

While the animation for The Bad Guys was certainly a plus, the plot is what ends up making this mostly an okay movie. The plot is standard, and pretty obvious, and I am not sure if it is entirely based on the books. This movie serves as an origin film for them I guess, as it is about The Bad Guys when they choose to be bad, and then eventually, choose to be good, whereas the books are about them already trying to be good.

The twists you can see coming, and honestly, most of the conclusions.

And then here is where I can get nitpicky about the world building. This is a world where animals and people coexist as…humanoids. Sure. But I find it uncomfortable that the leads all just have generic names. Mr. or Ms. and their animal name. That is completely ridiculous, because we know there are more Wolves and Sharks in the world, it isn’t just one of each kind. There’s no reason for the generic names, outside of code names for their team, but they literally just have those names no matter what. The only other two main animals have regular names, so there is no reason for that distinction.

On that note, this world also has regular animals. What? Huh? How can that seem to be? The story of Wicked tried to tackle that similar idea, of both bipedal talkative animals along with regular animals, and they did a much better job than this film, because it was just ignored. How are there regular Guinea pigs when there is a main character that is also a Guinea pig. I am uncomfortable with this.

I am also uncomfortable that there are apparently scientists who do testing on animals, when again, see the above point. I believe all the scientists are shown to be human. I definitely am pretty sure every single cop in the movie, of which there are hundreds, is also a human. This film could go into some pretty deep places with this territory, but it is just all background and not important, despite the strange and uncomfortable implications.

Another plus though, is the voice work. I thought Rockwell and Maron knocked it out as the main two villains. I was surprised Ramos and Robinson used very different voices in the movie too. There was an attempt to be a character, not just featuring their normal way of talking. It is great when actors, you know…act.

2 out of 4.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2

They call him Sonic! Cause he is faster than sound, he’s always jumping around.
Blue hedgehog Sonic! With Incredible speed, he’s moving his feet.

The inevitable has finally happened, we have been given Sonic the Hedgehog 2. And hey look, it doesn’t have a subtitle. How nice of it to name itself after the second game exactly, while also having a poster look very similar to the game cartridge.

The first film, which released right before pandemic things, came out to VOD services faster as a result, and was one of those early bright spots for movie watchers with families, along with Trolls: World Tour and Onward. And for sure, the film did fine, especially when compared to other video game movies. After they fixed the CGI monstrosity that was the original, they put a pretty good story, despite the increased human elements to the plot (which every film always has to do). I was relatively excited to see what they would do with a sequel, and continuing on with the franchise.

stashe
How annoying would drinking anything with froth be with that ‘stashe?

Set…some amount of time after the first film, Sonic (Ben Schwartz) is still hanging out in Green Hills and living a calm life of quiet. Except when he goes to random cities to attempt to fight crime real quick, causing damage in the process. Tom (James Marsden) and Maddie (Tika Sumpter) are now surrogate parents for him, and want to steer him into good decisions, to make sure he uses his great power responsibly. They also wish he could have any friends that are similar to him.

Good news! A fox with two tails shows up, and his nickname is Tails (Colleen O’Shaughnessey), and he is here to warn him of a threat. Oh okay, bad news. Crap. It turns out Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) has found a way to get off of that mushroom planet. With the help of a strong Echidna nicknamed Knuckles (Idris Elba), they have returned to Earth. Robotnik wants revenge on Sonic, and Knuckles has his own reason to hunt down the hedgehog.

Can. Sonic. Become. A. True. Hero. And save the day, again? With a bigger threat than the last time?

Also starring Natasha Rothwell, Shemar Moore, Adam Pally, and Lee Majdoub.

stars
Oh yeah, here is an image of the film’s stars doing some exciting standing.

Honestly, as expected, the sequel to this movie was mostly just okay. Here are some plusses though! For those who are big fans of the game series, this film has a lot more references to the series and its lore than the previous film. It is jacked up with more. Including special moves between the various characters. The Chaos Emerald and its various parts. And a couple more that I won’t say for spoilers, but were very exciting for the audience. The last credit scene in particular, despite being really predictable, made the audience behind me go crazy with excitement. I hadn’t heard sudden cheers so loud sine Avengers: Endgame.

I also like that they were able to better downplay Marsden/Sumpter’s involvement by having more Sonic characters show up. They now got less screen time, which is preferable. They aren’t bad, but they aren’t what anyone cares about in a Sonic film. Carrey, however, could play Robotnik for 10 more movies and I won’t get sick of him. I hope his mustache gets bigger and bigger with each subsequent film.

Schwartz continued to be excellent as the Sonic voice (and I was surprised that they put in a Parks and Recreation reference due to him, but I loved it). It was awesome that Tails was voiced by his current voice actress, and Elba as Knuckles brought a lot of sexy to the role that he claimed he wasn’t going for, but still happened. Knuckles as a character was strange. Because we know he isn’t really the bad guy. So we know his arc will change in the movie. But at one point he became basically Drax from Guardians of the Galaxy with how he handled things literally, but yet it still felt funny.

The plot itself is the weaker elements. I still think there was far too much of a human element. The Hawaii scenes felt like filler, waiting for it to get to the good stuff. I don’t care about the government and its response to Sonic. That was last movie, move on. It didn’t have a lot of action sequences for something that should have had quite a few. A lot of them also feature prolonged chase scenes. Maybe that is just because of Sonic needing to be a speed force, and thus a lot of chases. But several of them involve him being in or driving a vehicle. I am not here to watch a fast running creature drive a truck. What? Why would Sonic do that?

Sonic the Hedgehog excels when it goes into the gaming lore and references, and lets us down when it focuses on the human characters and their drama.

2 out of 4.

Master

Immediately hearing about a movie named Master, I get a little bit of unease. I think that is the goal. It certainly harkens up slavery in America’s past, especially given the main poster for this film.

Actually going into this movie, I have no clue what it is about. It could have been a period piece, a horror, a drama, or it could be a very surprising comedy, honestly. Lacking a better introduction, I am going on to the review.

glare
Don’t glare at me, I don’t research every movie coming out, I swear.

Let’s go to college! Namely, Ancaster College! Does it sound like a really white college? That is what we are going for here. A really white old historic college somewhere in the northeast. You know, what of those type of colleges. An Ivy league.

Jasmine (Zoe Renee) is a new freshman, ready to learn and live and laugh and love. But she is getting a lot of stares. She sticks out. For obvious reasons. Plus, people keep talking about her room. It is a cursed room some say. It is where a girl killed herself in the past. Not fun at all.

Jasmine has to deal with the normal college pressures, while also, apparently, being one of the only black people on campus. There are a few black teachers around though. Gail Bishop (Regina Hall) and Sascha (Kara Young), the latter who is a faculty member trying to go for tenure, and one of Jasmine’s teachers.

Things start getting more controversial, when Jasmine is failing her essay, about race issues no less, and she starts to get more and more vivid nightmares on this campus.

Maybe…this campus, is really just a big cult? Who knows. If so, the College Board should be informed.

running
When going out for a run, it is important to bring a buddy, because racists are out there, yo. 

It was hard to tell what Master was going for, in its run time. Is it going for a real supernatural horror, causing the events of the film? Or at the events of the film just metaphors, for what the characters experience, with micro- and macro-aggressions against them? Or maybe some level of in between?

Now, I will keep the truth to that question a secret of course. But I will say I was disappointed with the direction it ended up taking. It told a fine spooky movie of sorts, but I don’t think it really delved enough into the actual problems going on in the movie. They were alluded to, and I feel for a lot of people it will just go right over their heads. I am not saying that being subtle is bad, no. It is just that it isn’t really subtle either. It just seems to bring things up, and then ignore them later.

This is a movie that really feels like it was made to be streamed, where it might find an audience. But it lacked a lot of things that could have made it really stand out, as some sort of horror themed Dear White People. But we just got a pretty tame movie overall, with some fine acting and okay plot. This is one now doomed to go to streaming and be forgotten in a few days.

2 out of 4.

Adventures in Success

You might be wondering what a documentary mockumentary with the name Adventures in Success is about. Is it about getting a job? It is about running your own business? Is it about bettering your life to achieve all of your goals/

Or, is it about achieving a 12 hour orgasm?

Well. Arguably they would say if you can do that latter, you can maybe do anything in life.

This group in the Catskills, who definitely don’t consider themselves to be a cult, want to live in their own special community, with love, growth, and harmony. They do have a woman founder, of course. Peggy (Lexie Mountain) preaches to them about discovering who they really are and how they can grow, and of course, how can they experience an orgasm for several hours. Not the men, just the ladies. The men don’t need to be orgasming up in this group, that is selfish. They all need to learn what Jilling Off really means.

And this group is still fresh and new and recruiting members. They are trying to grow their numbers and get the message out there, by designing pamphlets, and maybe even going to a conference or two.

Will they succeed, or will their efforts flatten out like a penis post orgasm?

Also starring Alec Jones-Trujillo, Asia Lee Boostani, Drew Freed, Khan Baykal, Mo Stark, Nell Sherman, Nina Tarr, Robby Rackleff, and Yaz Perea.

circle
Holding hands always made me orgasm for at least 10 minutes.

I’ve always said mockumentaries are my jam, and we really need more of them. I am surprised we don’t have an onslaught of these as films coming out, with the recent decades success of shows like The Office, Parks and Recreation, and Modern Family, all done in a documentary like setting. Mockumentaries are usually still a different style, but it could be time for a major mockumentary to finally take the world by storm, like all of the Christopher Guest ones and, well, I literally can’t think of more examples unfortunately.

As for Adventures in Success, this comedy film seems like it has some actual good ideas in it, but I don’t feel like it gets fully explored enough. There are some wonderful jokes, including my favorite being the member who didn’t know that men weren’t supposed to orgasm, and kept bringing it up.

It did highlight the confusion and frustration of starting any organization, of course. And its quick descend into disorder was not actually expected in the small time we had with this group.

I guess, if I had to restate the complaints in another way, I would say…Adventures in Success did not go hard enough in its topic, nor was the climax satisfying, but the foreplay was decent.

2 out of 4.

The Cursed

I could be wrong, but I believe it is stated in the constitution that every 2 years we need at least three werewolf movies. That can be a movie about werewolves specifically, or that feature them in anyway. Hotel Transylvania: Transformania and Werewolves Within, I believe, are our last two, so now we have The Cursed to make sure that three minimum is met. Strangely enough, this one comes from France. Did you know the French cared about werewolves? I didn’t know.

This movie used to have a different title, Eight For Silver. I don’t fully know what in the heck that even means, but it does sound mysterious, so I like the original title. It would have fit this movie nicely. So does The Cursed, sure, but The Cursed could mean a lot of different things. It isn’t necessarily werewolf specific.

On an unrelated note, werewolf means a human turning into a wolf like beast. But all the other weres don’t work the same way. Werebear is a bear wolf cross thing, not a human turning into a bear. Super weird on that.

teeth
Sweet teeth you got there. Are you a cyberpunk werewolf?

Something evil in these woods! Time to go way back. To a time before most electricity, somewhere in the late 1800’s. Where? I don’t know, somewhere in Europe. People in a village go have a battle with some traveling groups, and quite a few people die, but the village wins. This actually curses their land, and makes a lot of uncomfortable things start to happen.

What kind of things? Well, like nightmares. Extra fog too, if I had to imagine. People go missing, and people also show up dead. That is a bigger problem. People maybe have seen monsters in the woods as well. Scary stuff. Are they being hunted by some beast?

Well the slightly good news is an expert is on the way. John McBride (Boyd Holbrook) is a visiting pathologist, and he has seen similar things before. He will try to help them put an end to this madness in their territory, or you know, die with the rest of them.

Also starring Kelly Reilly, Alistair Petrie, Roxane Duran, Nigel Betts, Stuart Bowman, Simon Kunz, Tommy Rodger, and Áine Rose Daly.

fire
I am pretty sure most werewolves hate fire and shout about it often.

When it comes to curses, this is a pretty good one to wreck a small village hundreds of years ago. And it seemed to work quick.  So it was effective. But still, that last title would have been more fun, even if the reference is more awkward.

I am doing my best to be sensitive to the Romani people, who are referred to as the Roma in here. They don’t use the slur, which is great! But also, they are the “bad guys” here who curse our white regular villagers with their magic and stuff, after they are killed. That is probably not cool. They shouldn’t have done that. It is not like the curse was done to show that our main characters are truly the bad people all along (Although that is one interpretation you could make, I don’t think that was strongly argued enough though). The Romani people have had enough going bad with them throughout history in terms of negative connotations, so we should really be leaving them alone by now, honestly.

In terms of actual scares, I do think The Cursed did a wonderful job building the atmosphere for the setting. It was very tense. It also was gross. They didn’t do traditional werewolf things, that is for sure. At parts we have strange almost alien like aspects to it. I definitely had to look away at various parts, not at all pleased with the effects that went on with some of the grosser scenes. It isn’t even a movie trying to gross the viewers out, it just definitely succeeded for me.

In terms of the plot, it is pretty standard. None of the actors stand out to me more than anyone else. This is a bit of a downer.

I think the film excels at its use of effects, atmosphere, and world building. It tells a bit of an original story in the way the curse works, but not in the plot to deal with said curse. It both gains points for some creativity, and loses it for a lack of creativity in other areas.

I don’t know if werewolf enthusiasts will enjoy this movie either, given how much it deviates from the norm. Depends on how deviant they are in general. My best advice would be to go in not really knowing what to expect, and you will likely have some surprises along the way.

2 out of 4.

Jockey

Finally, a movie about a person on the horse. What is with those actual horse biopic films that came out every few years? A horse winning a Kentucky Derby or triple crown seems like an awkward thing to want to see more about.

I want my horse movies to be about horses who save lives. Hell, I liked War Horse. Or I want them to be good at telling jokes. That is my preference. I will also take horse movies dealing with girls who want to have a pony and finally get to have a pony after some bootstrap pulling from their rich parents.

So let’s talk about the Jockey, the guy on the horse, and how much fun he must be having.

Jockey
This is the jockey part of the Jockey movie.

Jackson Silva (Clifton Collins Jr.) is a hot shot jockey. If you knew about jockeys in this movie, you would know about this guy. We aren’t getting a film about a jockey who starts jockeying and climbs the ranks, no we are starting with the greatest already. Actually, the greatest is getting a bit old. He should maybe retire. But he wants to go out on top. He thinks he can do another big championship. He thinks his reflexes haven’t deteriorated or anything. He could do it.

Ruth Wilkes (Molly Parker), his…I don’t know Jockey terms. Someone who raises championship horses for jockeys to race on? Yeah whatever that is. She doesn’t trust in him. He should retire.

Also a new person joins in his life. This younger gentlemen, Gabriel Boullait (Moises Arias), who wants to be a famous jockey but hasn’t gotten a good start in the big leagues yet. He needs a team to trust him. Also, he might be Jackson’s son? Whoops.

Which Jockey will Jockey the horse the best? Who will make it to the finals, who will be upset, and who will die trying? Maybe no one.

horse
This is the horse part of the Jockey movie.

Jockey is a character study, and specifically a character study of a champion who doesn’t know when to retire. In a sport a lot of people don’t actively think about.

You should be here for the story, and not here for horse racing. It has been a couple days after since I watched, but I will be honest, I don’t remember if I saw a single horse race in this movie outside of the final scene. But it was also showing just our star rider, and his face and emotions during the race, and not actively him on the horse. An interesting angle. Is it done to keep the budget low? Is it to make sure no horses get injured in the movie? Is it done to just give that specific focus in their eyes as they ride and make us feel that intensity? Who knows. But if you like sports horse racing, this movie will disappoint you.

But if you like regular drama, some alcohol, a kid mystery, and someone whose star is fading, regardless of their profession, then this will be up your ally.

Unfortunately, for me, this is more of a standard indie drama type of film. I have seen things like it before, and I will see them again. I loved Collins Jr.’s acting in it. He was great. I just didn’t fully love the story and care too much about the ending by the time we got to it. I can see its praise, while also seeing why it still isn’t drawing a whole lot of buzz at the same time.

If you liked The Power of the Dog, you would probably enjoy this one as well. You know. It is that type of film.

2 out of 4.

Moonfall

There are a lot of quick disaster films out there. Big ass earthquakes. Polar vortexes. Tornadoes. A lot of them are straight to DVD nonsense.

But the famous ones, that have a big budget, and aren’t necessarily great, just have big names in it? Well, apparently they just have to keep getting bigger and bigger.

“What if…what if…what if the moon…fell, on Earth? That would suck right?”

I mean, I assume that is how we got Moonfall. I am ready to be surprised going in to it, but it would need a lot of work. Need to see more big budget science fiction disaster films where black holes open and stars explode, personally.

moonrise
If the moon was that close, people would still doubt we have ever been.

Back in 2011, on a SPACE mission, Astronaut Brian Harper (Patrick Wilson) was working on a tether with a crew mate, when the power went out, and a huge swarm of black, small metal things flew by their ship and made things very rotational. Not good. He was able to make it back in, where Astronaut Jocinda Fowl (Halle Berry) was unconscious, their third member gone. He was able to land the shuttle back on earth with no power, and was a hero, until he said what he saw, and then was disgraced.

Well, ten years later, turns out he was telling the truth and people were warned. Because the moon has been knocked off of its orbit, which shouldn’t happen. Megastructurist/conspiracy theorist KC Houseman (John Bradley) was “doing research” and found out that the moon was coming closer, and leaked that information to the public because no one would believe him. NASA at the time was finding this out as well, and then? Panic.

Looks like the moon is going to be spiraling closer and closer to Earth. Causing tide changes, gravity awkwardness, and parts of it will for sure be breaking off to crash into the world. How can they fix the issue? What is that mysterious black swarm? How many aliens are there? Should we just nuke everything?

Also starring Carolina Bartczak, Charlie Plummer, Chris Sandiford, Donald Sutherland, Eme Ikwuakor, Jonathan Maxwell Silver, Kathleen Fee, Kelly Yu, Michael Peña, and Stephen Bogaert.

spaceship
Spoilers: This phrase written on the spaceship is different in the movie.

I definitely went in to Moonfall thinking it would easily be one of the worst movies of 2022. And that is fair. The trailer was super dumb.

But I also want to at least point out things that worked well. I appreciate that this movie went as weird as it did. It could have played it safe. But it went into some out there, science fiction theories and science, and it went out there hard. In general, big budget Hollywood films try not to make the audience think too much, so they will often dumb things down and go for simple theories. It still explained things in a more dumbed down way, which is fair, but I just think it get points for trying. Especially because of how ridiculous things get, it is easy for claims for it to be very dumb are, when it involves a lot of theory and potential in terms of futuristic technology.

I did enjoy John Bradley’s character immensely, and I am so happy that Josh Gad had to drop out for him to come in, because I don’t think Gad would have been good for this. His scenes with his mom were his worst scenes, but they were minor.

Now in terms of things that are pretty bad for this film? Well, the entire Earth plot of family members while our leads are in space is pretty bad. The CGI gets terrible, especially in the unnecessary car chase/shoot out scene. One character dies very dumbly, when it was unnecessary, and it still made me cry despite that. And honestly just all of the thief characters. I don’t care about people stealing cars and being a recurring antagonist when the moon is about to wipe everyone out, you know?

The film was also rushed throughout it. It finally slows down near the end. Once a character gets the knowledge dump in space, I expected it to end pretty quickly, but we instead got a long drawn out space chase scene, just so we could splice it with the bad earth drama.

I will also point out that early on, I feel like it is heavily implied that Berry’s character, after divorcing her husband, seems to be in a relationship with a Chinese women. And I was thinking, damn, that’s progressive, you go you. And nah. It is just a foreign exchange student she is hosting. How old? Is she meant to be high school? She seems like an adult in the movie (and the actress is my age). It feels like she is in the house purely to watch the kid while Berry’s character can work, and honestly the whole set up is just uncomfortable for me.

Moonfall is going to be shit on, likely, by a lot of people, and be an easy punching bag. That is fair. But if I had to compare it to Roland Emmerich‘s other films, I would say it is easily better than 10,000 B.C., Independence Day: Resurgence, and Godzilla. But I don’t think this one will enter the pop culture stratosphere that a lot of his other disaster films have reached.

2 out of 4.

Wolf

I heard a lot about Wolf before going into it. No, nothing about the plot, unfortunately. Or barely anything about the plot.

I mostly just heard negative reviews from my friends who already saw it. One of the worst films of the year? I knew I had to watch it to be sure.

Unfortunately, the IMDB description for this one is really terrible.  “A high-concept arthouse drama about a boy who believes he is a wolf.” That is it? That is the plot summary? The plot summary is literally the last 7 words, “boy who believes he is a wolf” and no other details. What the hell. The first half is completely unnecessary in a plot-description. A “high-concept arthouse drama?” Okay. It is a drama, fine. But the other words? That is a way to shoot it and a reason to shoot it, not at all what the film is about. I will see if I can do better.

whiskers
What’s new?

Jacob (George MacKay): Is he a man, or is he a wolf? Well, clearly, he looks like a man. But on the inside, he feels as if he is a wolf trapped in a man’s body. He wants to run through the forest on all fours. He wants to do it at nighttime. He wants to howl at the moon. He wants to shed his clothes, he wants to hunt.

He has species dysphoria, or thinks he is an Otherkin, whichever language deems to be the most appropriate in the next decade. Jacob is actually taken to a clinic that specializes in clients who have species dysphoria, after his parents bring him in, so that he can be taught to shed that feeling and go back to being a productive member of society.

Things feel okay, at first. He has to keep a journal. They awkwardly have areas where they allow the patients to do what they want, including act like animals, with no problem. But for those who are further along, or who don’t find the light therapy useful, they have to deal with The Zookeeper (Paddy Considine), who uses more and more extreme methods to make those people realize they aren’t animals, they are human. You know, by treating them inhumanely.

Jacob also meets (Lily-Rose Depp), who maybe works there, maybe thinks she is a cat, and they begin a strange relationship, meeting at night when the moon is out, and exploring each other’s past and pondering their futures.

Also starring Darragh Shannon, Eileen Walsh, Elsa Fionir, Fionn O’Shea, Karise Yansen, Lola Petticrew, and Senan Jennings.

growl
Rawr means “I love you.”

Wolf is going to be a very easy film to hate. and it is going to be a very easy film to make fun of and laugh at the awkwardness of it all. I know in my own screening, despite going in knowing it was a serious drama, it had some people laughing in the beginning, because they thought it was going for a silly absurd thing. And I can really see that happening in plenty of theaters, and then laughing through out, but it is an awkward laugh because they would be mocking those characters, not laughing at intentional humor.

You see, because this is a “high-concept arthouse drama” it knows it is showing things that could be labeled as ridiculous and amusing, but it is taking the whole thing seriously. No one is acting to be a joke. No character is breaking the fourth wall and winking at the audience. We are to treat this as serious as the film does. And I think that is the only way this works, a little bit.

Because the acting is quite good. MacKay must have been working on his wolf prowl for awhile, because he was putting his whole body into that. The way he moved his shoulders and glared. He likely had to lose weight just to make it more visually uncomfortable. Same with all of the actors. Special shoutout to Considine, who got more and more frightening as the Zookeeper. Doing more and more rough, maybe effective but probably not, methods to make his clients accept their reality. The ending he was downright frightening as he put down a “riot” in the clinic. I have never seem him so scary or great.

Now, in terms of what this movie is all about? I don’t know. It could be considered a metaphor for gay or trans conversion therapy camps. Places where we know abuse and torture occur to the poor kids who are forced to attend, until they are “cured” where the cures don’t really last, they are just delayed and hidden. This has parallels to that, but I honestly don’t think the filmmaker wants this story to be a metaphor. We definitely see The Zookeeper as a villain in this story, and this clinic as a bad place, but it is left morally gray as to whether the clients actions really matter. Should they just live their life how they want? YOLO is what I say.

However, if someone can get through it all and just be impressed by the seriousness of the whole thing, they will probably still be upset at the abrupt and unfulfilling ending. It can happen to anyone. Go if you want to see some interesting/unique acting. Ideally don’t go if you are going to mock people. And wonder with me if it still could have been a lot better.

2 out of 4.