Tag: Bradley Cooper

Thor: Love and Thunder

Thor films are weird. And not just because their current director, Taika Waititi has a weird sense of humor.

Each Thor film, individually, is a little weird and out there. It fits in awkwardly in the MCU, and they are embracing that more and more. He is someone very strong and can handle a lot of issues other heroes might end up solving, so they need to find places for him to be.

Thor: Love and Thunder, was looking to be yet another very weird movie again. A very specific soundtrack and look given the trailer and posters. This is a film that wants to rock. This is a film that is going to have fun. And this is a film that is going to try and close out some earlier stories from the film series, while also introducing more characters, albeit controversially, from the comics.

You know, Lady Thor. In the comics, Lady Thor was also Jane Foster, and it was a shocking reveal at some point. Even when this was happening, people assumed it was maybe done to eventually get Natalie Portman to play her in a future film. Lady Thor comics were met with anger by some comic fans. Was it sexism? Or was it their actual argument about the Thor name? Who knows, probably the former though.

Either way, I know I was excited to see her. Let’s have a relationship dynamic where the power levels are less one sided, for sure.

And she wears that helmet so fucking good. 
Life has been hard for the Asgardians. Most of them are living in New Asgard, maybe they are poor and weak, maybe not. Depends on the movie’s plot need. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is actually off planet, and traveling with the Guardians of the Galaxy, helping people out, when appropriate, totally having the time of his life. Totally.

But a lot of calls start coming in from a lot of different areas. Messages of gods that various communities worship being slain by a shadow warrior wielding an ancient, god-killing blade. Looks like some strange entity named Gorr (Christian Bale) is off god-butchering, which is scary for a few reasons, especially for Thor. But who cares about fear? Thor cares about love. 

And love that has got away. Like Dr. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), who is back on Earth, dying from a cancer without Thor knowing any of it. But Foster has a plan. If modern medicine is going to fail her, then maybe some Viking Space Magic will get the job done? If she can fix and wield Mjolnir, she can have great health and strength, fixing her condition.

But being a Thor comes with responsibilities, not just power. And with great responsibilities and great power, comes great chances of got butchers coming your way.

Also starring: Tessa Thompson, Kat Dennings, Taika Waititi, Russel Crowe, Brett Goldstein, and Jaime Alexander.

And of course, starring somewhat the Guardians of the Galaxy, played by: Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, and Sean Gunn.

Oh shit, Gorr butchered the god of color it looks like. 

I love Thor films, I really. He was my favorite marvel superhero (after Spider-Man, of course) growing up. Hemsworth is a wonderful Thor, and he can just do it for 30 more films, honestly. But Love and Thunder needs to be compared to Ragnarok, which most would say is the best Thor film. It for sure should be compared. And I think it would be hard to argue that it is better than Ragnarok.

When just comparing the two, Ragnarok is funnier, and has some really great story attached to it, and a lot of surprises along the way. Love and Thunder is sadder overall. I think I cried twice. But at the same time it also tried to be a big comedy, but the jokes didn’t land as well. It also tried to be scary. It wanted the best of every genre here, without doing a great job of really balancing these genres, and the tone was strange throughout the film.

Bale was a wonderfully creepy villain. His speeches, his story, we get it. The black and white planet was probably one of my favorite Marvel sequences. But he was extremely underutilized. We see him kill one god early on, as he gets his power, and then never again. We only hear about his exploits. I expected to see more god-butchering, if they wanted to give him that title.

The Foster story is fantastic, beginning to end. Portman actually looks like she is enjoying the movie she is in. She has a distinct personality change when she has the power. I loved the ending. It made me have some feels.

But, so much of the film just also feels rushed and not living up to its full thortential. Some scenes make me confused on how they really made it into an official MCU film in terms of overall quality. Some jokes are just completely rammed into the ground.

I still liked it, I still had fun, and I still cried. I am still excited for its franchise future. I liked the second Thor film, so of course I like this one as well. I can appreciate them trying a lot of different things. I am just still a little disappointed it didn’t give me enough.

3 out of 4.

Nightmare Alley

The last time we got a Guillermo del Toro film is when he directed the one about fucking a fish.

Will someone fuck a different creature in Nightmare Alley? Hard to say based on the title alone. I did not know until a little bit before hand that Nightmare Alley was an older book, and also an older movie from 1947. So we are getting a remake. And honestly, this is the exact reason for remakes in my mind. Often remakes are made for successful film that they just want to try again because people liked the first one. They should do more remakes either based on films that failed, or at least just more unknown work to give them a new fresh light.

Not to insult those of you who know and love the original Nightmare Alley film, but honestly, it isn’t super well known now, regardless of how big it may have been in the past.

This new version promised to be closer to the book. Alright, whatever, I am just hear for the movies. Specifically, Guillermo del Toro movies.

carnyNo, this isn’t a screengrab from the next Indiana Jones flick…
Who is that mysterious stranger, Stan Carlisle (Bradley Cooper)? The one with the smooth outfit, the clean face, the twinkle in his eyes, the hat? The one who burned down that house for some reason and is willing to just…drift.

Stan finds himself at a traveling show, a carnival, full of lies and deceit. But he sees a geek show, and agrees to help load up for the night for a small payment. And then he gets offered a job to stay along more, because he looks like someone who just needs to be there.

So he stays, he listens, and he learns. Quickly. He learns the tools of the trade. He has plans and ambitions. He has been kept quiet and hidden for so long, he thinks he can take some of these skills and become famous. A celebrity. But if he becomes a man who deals with deceit, eventually, he will be deceited right in the ass.

Also starring Cate Blanchett, Clifton Collins Jr., David Strathairn, Holt McCallany, Mary Steenburgen, Richard Jenkins, Ron Perlman, Rooney Mara, Tim Blake Nelson, Toni Collette, and Willem Dafoe.

blindI bet his eyes aren’t even closed under there. He is using those eyes and his blindfold eye. He is a phony!

Nightmare Alley is so damn aesthetically pleasing to look at. It is polished (some would even say, polished as fuck). I know it is getting harder and harder to really tell how much of a movie is made in front of green screens, but it feels as if this film was mostly main in real places and scenes, using fine cameras to make everything pop. That is what I truly hope and believe, especially since I know del Toro is a fan of using as many practical effects as possible, generally. But maybe most of it is CGI’d, who knows. It looks wonderful.

The big cast works really together. Some in much smaller roles than expected, but still bringing in their all to tell this strange story. It was good to see Perlman get some work in a non straight to video film. Blanchett is in particular quite a force, basically stealing the movie away from Cooper’s character after she walks into it. She is given a really strong role and one that is hard to top. Cooper also does a wonderful job. It takes awhile before his character starts to talk. I wondered if he would be a silent protagonist for the whole film (like Cage was recently in Wally’s Wonderland) but once he started to actual talk, getting him to stop was the harder part.

The actual story for the film is also a pretty good one, if not slightly familiar in some ways. The ending is the type of thing you can see miles away, because they foreshadow everything really hard. However, it is okay knowing how it ends up, because finding out the lengths someone can fall and also rise is often the most exciting part of a film.

Nightmare Alley, shockingly, has no puppet animals, or strange creatures, or any non humans getting fucked. Is this growth? Nah. That was a one time thing for del Toro. Until it isn’t.

3 out of 4.

Avengers: Endgame (Spoilers)

Here we are, months after the release of Avengers: Endgame, and I am now ready to post a review. Why the delay? Several reasons!

One, my review when it came out would not mean a damn thing. Who cares? Everyone who wants to see it will go see it, and I wouldn’t convince any one on any side to change their mind. No one was on the fence.

Two, I wanted to wait for it to beat Avatar‘s record. I don’t think it has yet, but I’m tired of waiting. It will break it will silly re-releases, so pretty disappointing.

And three, if I waited a long time, I could do a review with spoilers! Something I have never really done before. A spoiler review can be more specific, and hey, people can agree or disagree. So let’s get on it.

Together Each Achieves More.

Endgame takes place almost immediately after the events of Infinity War. Half the population is gone, many heroes. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is trapped in space. People are sad. But once Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) shows up, and they get their coordinates on, they all rush over to fuck over Thanos (Josh Brolin) and kill him. Hopefully also undo what he did. And it turns out they can’t. Infinity Stones are broken and gone, nothing can be done except sadness.

Five years later? Life is weird. Heroes are now fat (Chris Hemsworth). Hulks are now Professor Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). Captain America (Chris Evans) is just trying to help people. But once Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) is able to escape finally from the Quantum Realm, he is disgusted by what has occurred, and has ideas on how to fix what was undone. You know. With Time Travel.

Also starring…everybody. Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chadwick Boseman, Tom Holland, Karen Gillan, Zoe Saldana, Evangeline Lilly, Tessa Thompson, Rene Russo, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Tom Hiddleston, Danai Gurira, Benedict Wong, Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista, Letitia Wright, John Slattery, Tilda Swinton, Jon Favreau, Hayley Atwell, Natalie Portman, Marisa Tomei, Taika Waititi, Angela Bassett, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, William Hurt, Cobie Smulders, Sean Gunn, Winston Duke, Linda Cardellini, Frank Grillo, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, James D’Arcy, Jacob Batalon, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ty Simpkins, Robert Redford, Chris Pratt, Samuel L. Jackson, Lexi Rabe, Ross Marquand, Kerry Condon, Yvette Nicole Brown, Ken Jeong, and Stan Lee

villains“Is that all you got?” Thanos, about the last paragraph, probably.

So sure, I gave Avengers: Endgame a 4 out of 4, despite being a non-perfect movie. Because it is an emotionally satisfying film. I cried, I cheered, I seized up with anticipation, I was serviced so much as a fan. It was a blast and the three hours flew by. The final battle had so many nice moments that were cool and can still be talked about today.

When Captain America was about to say Avengers Assemble, I remember bouncing in my seat for over 10 seconds, grabbing my wife’s arm and just ready to explode. That moment was necessary. It was beautiful.

And of course we lost characters, finally. Steve, despite feeling plot holey, got to live his regular life for once and die once his life was finally over. Tony sacrificed himself for the greater good, to finally fix all of his wrongs. Natasha had a fun suicide battle with Clint that we all knew were coming, and yet, the result was surprising given future movie’s coming out.

Most characters felt like they were given their proper moments to shine and showcase their power, especially the first big three of Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor. The throwbacks to previous films and their first fight in Avengers were nostalgic wet dreams.

And sure, a lot of might not be desired. Some newer, strong characters barely got screen time. Captain Marvel was mostly wasted (and despite the fun of the ladies of Marvel moment, it felt awkward because we know she needed zero help). Dr. Strange was left to be a defensive wizard. Of course a lot of this was done because these characters will have more time to shine in the future and are not mid swan song, but it technically also didn’t feel natural/necessary.

Honestly, a lot of the time stuff was silly. It probably could have been shortened a good amount, but again, it featured a ton of fun moments and also gave us the entrance for Loki’s future television show.

Torches were passed, heads were rolled, and franchises collided and will be changed in the future. I just hope this five year advance is handled with care and has a real significance to it. Spider-Man: Far From Home touched on it, but it didn’t go really in depth with it still. I am afraid they will mostly ignore these ramifications later in just a few movies.

Also I should note the forced disconnect of the TV shows and the movies is frustrating. All of the Netflix drama and Agents of Shield ruined us from having even more fun moments. I blame Ike.

4 out of 4.

Avengers: Infinity War

I really don’t have to spend a lot of information on this intro, do I?

Avengers: Infinity War (originally called Avengers: Infinity War Part 1, but people were nervous about half movies, and now the next one’s title is a secret because of spoilers or something.

I was an ecstatic little girl when the first Avengers film came out, waiting for it as soon as the first Iron Man film finished. Since then, things have been a bit more middling. My reviews have generally always been positive, none of them ever received under a 2 out of 4, and some of which are maybe too highly rated. Not everything I am extremely excited for, but most I definitely have a higher interest.

Last year, no superhero movies made my top of the year list (although one of them was about a super hero, sort of). This year, I already had Black Panther as a 4. And yet this film, this one right here, has me just as giddy as the first one for so many reasons.

So let’s just get into it.

Group 2
Oh yeah, look at these folks. Maybe this is just Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3?

At the end of Thor: Ragnarok, we had a surprise for Thor and his crew. This film takes place right after that point. Bad news for the Asgardians, Thanos (Josh Brolin) is here. At this point he has one of the infinity stones, out of six total. His goal? To wipe out half of the life in the universe.

Now presumably this just means sentient life forms who walk around and have languages. I don’t think he has anything against puppies. Or plants. He isn’t doing it out of spite, he is calling it mercy. It is sort of his thing. He has been doing it manually with his own crew for a while, but he wants the stones to do it instantly, so that the survivors can flourish. You know, by having more resources, more space, less crime, whatever. He is a benevolent God.

It turns out some people have some issues with him wanting to do this though. And with two of the stones (that we know of) being on Earth, he is going to have to come crashing down, where a few people down there are decently strong and going to have to put up a little fight.

Starring every goddamn person ever. You know, Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, Karen Gillan, Danai Gurira, Bradley Cooper, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Benedict Wong, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Zoe Saldana, Tom Hiddleston, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Idris Elba, Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Chris Pratt, and Benicio Del Toro.

Also featuring some newbies, like Peter Dinklage and Carrie Coon! Two whole people! Wow! And some technically regular people like Gwyneth Paltrow and William Hurt. Damn, did I get them all?

What is this a crossover episode?

What’s to say that isn’t already all over the internet?

Avengers: Infinity War is a fan pleasing romp across the universe, adding most of the cast we have come to love into a few surprising show downs, where the stakes have never been higher. It is certainly one of the darker and serious Marvel films at this point. People are going to get hurt, people are going to be sad, and people are going to cry. Well, maybe. I know I cried near the end, and almost another time before then.

Acting wise, a lot of the stars gave their A-game. Shout out to Cumberbatch who really felt like a leader of this group, despite being one of the most recent additions. Holland was brought in for his acting ability, and it really showed by the end. A lot of pain was on Evans’ face throughout the film. Hemsworth is so goddamn Thor-y, its fantastic, and I am glad we got so much of him in the last few movies. And finally, Saldana, who is normally a low point from the acting carried a lot.

Of course I also have to talk about Brolin as Thanos, a role we have been waiting for for years and it really paid off well. This is a goddamn villain right here. It is really great writing when you sympathize with someone who is trying to kill half of the universe.

I don´t entirely know where Marvel is going with its ending, but I do have a feeling I will be incredibly annoyed by it in the next film. I think they are going to take what they did great here and ruin it with the second part, but that is just a gut feeling.

Avengers: Infinity Wars has some of the best fight scenes and team ups yet, and is just pure fan service through and through while giving an incredible story as well. I wish this film was longer.

I don´t have to tell you to go see this one, I know you will, and I can´t see anyone who likes the series to be disappointed with this milestone achievement.

If there is anything to be disappointed in, it is Marvel´s poor decisions to not include their other people. I haven´t seen Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in forever, but it seemed to react to the movies but never impact them, but someone from there might have been involved. And the Netflix shows? Come on, there was stuff happening in New York. If the Netflix shows ignore this event (which they didn´t ignore the first Avengers movie…) then they are just making poor decisions.

You’d think with three group shots I’d have gotten all the heroes. But nope.

4 out of 4.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Hey everyone! Remember Guardians of the Galaxy? No!? Then what the hell are you doing here for?

People loved GotG and claimed it to be one of the best films for Marvel. Clearly they didn’t see Captain America: The Winter Soldier that same year. But despite how fresh and funny it was, it had terribly weak villains, more so than most other Marvel films in my opinion.

But the soundtrack was dope. It revitalized old classics, and had the sweet finale of a new mixtape. Before going into Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 I refused to check out the soundtrack released a few weeks ago. In the first film, it was glorious discovering the music that went along and frankly, I feel like it is almost spoiler territory for this film.

Man, I hope this new mix is just as banging. And the movie should be good too, as well.

Like how Russell is banging that old dude look. Rock on!

Set only a few months after the first film, so we have to travel back in time to the year 2014. You know, that way Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) is still a baby for a movie for cuteness reasons. The crew is still together: Starlord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), and Rocket (Bradley Cooper). And guess what! They have also pissed off an entire race of golden perfect people, led by Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki), while also capturing Nebula (Karen Gillan) to turn her in for a bounty. Family bonds? Fuck ’em.

There is still a lot of angst between the members, not knowing how much of their crew is a family, or how much of it is just for the convenience and money. In addition to the golden people, they also have to deal with Yondu’s (Michael Rooker) crew, trying to bring them in again for a bounty.

Oh and remember Starlord’s daddy issues? Well, the timing is wonderful for this film, because apparently some mysterious alien man named Ego (Kurt Russell) is his daddy! He has proof and all, they just have to go back to his own personal planet, to help Starlord realize his heritage, his past, and his destiny. Sounds exciting for Starlord, and no real issues will probably rise from that. Ego has a companion, Mantis (Pom Klementieff), who can read anyone’s feelings and sometimes calm them down. Alien powers!

Also starring two scenes with Sylvester Stallone as another ravager, Chris Sullivan as someone who likes mutinies with silly names, and Sean Gunn. Like, a shit ton of Sean Gunn. I expected to just get a quick cameo, maybe a line or two, but fuck, Sean Gunn is all up in this movie with a major-ish role.

He might even have more screen time than the chick with the antlers.

A lot of your time is busy, deciding what movie to watch, so I will get to the point. In terms of Marvel films, this one felt really disappointing. The first film had issues that a lot of people seemed to gloss over, and the sequel is not as good as the first in so many levels. So I left the theater feeling extremely disappointed. GotG2 is not a BAD movie, but it just had the potential to be so much more.

For our positives, I did laugh quite frequently still. Drax is now my favorite for sure, while there was a toss up in the first film, because they made his personality so extreme in this one. It is also very visually exquisite. One scene near the end with a body reforming in particular stood out, along with colorful explosions and alien landscapes. And Yondu was elevated in this film and given the best scene(s?!) with the best song, so that becomes a standout moment.

And now, the rest. Remember how Drax was my favorite? I said so sentences ago. He is my favorite thanks to the humor, BUT, I am pretty sure he did jack shit the whole film. Outside of the opening fight scene, which is one we can ignore for this point, he did only one real battle/fight scene at all. He is supposed to be Drax the Destroyer, and he is just there for the most part, making quips, and that is it. It was like they forgot his main purpose.

The Gamora/Nebula side plot dragged. Gamora is barely given personality, and Nebula has never been really any good at all, so to see the argument play out and conclude in this film, it just feels like an incredible waste. Starlord/Ego had some interesting moments, but again, the plot just felt very messy. Not really hard to follow, but lacking significant details and just feeling rushed.

This is the third film Rooker has been in with Stan Lee, because people tend to forget about Mallrats.

Yondu was bad ass, but just like in the first film, the made his arrow thing extremely overfuckingpowered. Why they never had him just go up to Thanos and kill they never really stated. His “backstory” and sadness in this film isn’t explored well at all either.

And it hurts me to say this, it really does. Because my own baby was Baby Groot for Halloween to my Rocket Raccoon when she was just four months old. But Baby Groot, although cute, was again, just a distraction. He got a bit annoying with his antics and it gave me scary flashbacks to the Minions in Despicable Me, taking an okay idea and running it into the ground. Rocket was cool though. They gave him a lot to do, some anger, some great humor, and he was definitely highlighted well.

Volume 2 had a few decent song choices, and the ones that work end up working REALLY WELL. A lot of the songs though also became pretty forgettable after the fact, although they did a good job incorporating the music into this movie, by also making the characters more aware of the songs.

Volume 2 is okay. It is. It just isn’t really super. It is flashy, funny, but it just lacks a lot more substance. The type of things you go into expecting in a sequel now that the “origin story” has been told.

2 out of 4.

War Dogs

War Dogs came and went and no one cared. And you know what that is?

Jonah Hill is back to being fat in it. Not only is he fat, but he looks uncomfortably rapey. Everyone thought that skinny Jonah would not be funny, but he totally is! And then from then on, Fat Jonah was put in shitty movies. Like The Sitter.

Needless to say, the Fat Jonah theory is definitely one of the main reasons I stayed away, and it sounds like a lot of people in America stayed away as well. I can only hope it is for the same reason.

Fuck, they don’t even make him reasonable to look at when they put him in a suit.

This is partially a story about David Packouz (Miles Teller), a man in love and who cannot find good work. He has spent a lot of money on some high quality sheets to sell discounted to retirement homes, but the retirement homes don’t want nice sheets for people going to die soon. His only real income is giving massages which is not his ideal job either.

His lady Iz (Ana de Armas) is taking care of them. Until he runs into an old buddy from high school, Efraim Diveroli (Jonah Hill), who eventually invites him to join his company. The company, AEY (which stands for nothing), is a sort of middle man company, who sells arms to the US government for the ongoing War in Iraq.

How did he get into that business? Long story, it is shady, but they are making their money by getting weapons from other countries and bringing them to Iraq, sometimes physically on their own. And once they get paid and people like what they get, they get more government contracts and start to live like fat cats. These are the deals that big contractors don’t bother with, but will still make them millions.

But eventually the money gets to their head, and the pursuit of more and more money. This leads to problems. This leads to threats.

Also featuring Patrick St. Esprit, Kevin Pollak, and Bradley Cooper.

Making money off of war. There is a word for that I think.

It was hard to get a lot out of War Dogs. Just from the basic color scheme of the film they go out of their and way to make it unpleasant looking.

Just look at our main characters. They didn’t even try to accurately look like the people they portrayed. Nothing. Alike. At all. They are only similar in that they are men. Normally in these things they try and make them at least look similar. The casting director here gave no fucks, went for who they wanted, and in addition to it, decided to make Hill as ugly as they possibly could to drive home a point.

What was that point? That the charcter was a scumbag. Of course this is all based on testimony of the other guy, who wrote a book and got less prison time. Of course he will make himself seem not too bad.

Somehow despite everything I still found it an okay watch. They rushed through a lot of things and the entire thing seemed to hurt my eyes, but in there somewhere is an okay story with a decent lesson.

Fuck bitches, get money. Or else I think that is what the lesson was.

2 out of 4.

10 Cloverfield Lane

Cloverfield was a very polarizing movie back in 2008. Most people you would talk to had strong feelings one way or the other, but if you went on the internet you will find almost universal praise. Time changes everything.

Now imagine everyone’s surprise when the first trailer of 10 Cloverfield Lane appeared a mere three months before the release date. No one knew it was coming, nor did they know what it was about. Produced by J.J. Abrams, he described this film as a “blood relative” to the original Cloverfield. Again, a vague statement.

Needless to say, this is not a sequel to Cloverfield. The Director admitted just days before release that it technically didn’t even take place in the same Universe as the first film. No relation at all. Unfortunately, these quotes aren’t plastered on the commercials and posters. I predict a lot of people going into this film and being upset at the lack of monster. Abrams also said he intended for the Cloverfield name to be a sort of anthology of similar-esque films, but each unique and on its own. Like a Twilight Zone movie franchise, without a narrator.

However, I’d watch all three of these actors play board games for two hours and rate it a 5 out of 4.

Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winston) is leaving her fiancé/husband Ben (Bradley Cooper). You don’t need to know why, but she is moving out, grabbing only a few things, and hitting the road. Hell, you don’t even have to know about the weird power outages affecting the coast. You just need to know that Michelle is now alone and driving off somewhere that no one knows about. Which is why when she gets into an accident and ran off the road, her friends and family will have a hard time finding her.

Especially when she wakes up in a room, full of scratches and hurt knee. She is down to her underwear and handcuffed to the wall in a mostly barren and locked room. Shit.

Her captor is Howard (John Goodman), a gruff man who claims he saved her life. They are in a bunker because something bad has happened on the surface and the air is toxic. So he claims. He wants her to treat him with respect, saving her life and all. He is totally the best guy right? And he just so happens to have a shelter with tons of locks, food for years and a social room, just in case anything goes down. Surely he isn’t a bad guy. He just luckily found her in the wreck and helped her, for sure, right?

Well, there is another guy in there too. Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.), who claims he helped build the shelter and broke his arm trying to get in. He was not kidnapped like she might have been.

Either way, the dynamic is fucked up, lots of secrets, who the fuck knows what is going on outside, we just know that they will be together in there for some time.

So better get used to staring at Howard’s fat ass dancing.

10 Cloverfield Lane, as I already mentioned, with upset a lot of people because it won’t feature the monster from Cloverfield in any way, and that is appropriate backlash given the secrecy and vagueness of it all. That should only affect this film, and not any future planned movie in this franchise-lite universe thing they are planning.

The movie on its own is tense as fuck. Twists, turns, and maybe even a pitfall or two. It traps the viewer in this bunker along with our main character, creating a dense atmosphere of hopelessness and confusion. Our heroine is particularly fun to watch because she isn’t just a held captive. She is resourceful, smart, and takes an active part in her own life, attempting to both escape and figure out what the hell is going on.

Winstead does a fantastic job of carrying the film as the main protagonist, but almost equally important is Goodman. He acts the fuck out of this movie, walking the fine line between concerned father figure and potential sociopath. The viewer can never really determine with any certainty just what he is thinking, as the whole film is generally from Winstead’s point of view. He is unnerving and also a bit sympathetic.

It is important to not overlook the third member of the bunker, Gallagher Jr. His character provides some comic relief and sense of hope. This movie would be much darker and a horror film if his role wasn’t in it.

Finally, what helped amplify the movie into complete crazy territory was the sound effects. Everything was loud and jarring and the sound made every scene ten times better. The people behind it in this movie were outstanding and deserve a lot of the praise into making this film feel so unsettling.

10 Cloverfield Lane is good thriller/drama/sci-fi (maybe!) film that leads the viewer on a strange journey. Monsters do come in all shapes and sizes after all.

3 out of 4.


I am so full of Happy Happy Joy Joy. After all, it is the Christmas season, and you know what that means?

That’s right! It’s time for a David O. Russell movie starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper.

I can’t even remember a time when Christmas was without these two somehow in my life. And for the most part, I have enjoyed it each and every year.

Wait, what’s that? 2014 didn’t give us our JLaw BCoop reunion movie? Oh that’s right. That year was supposed to be Serena. But it got shifted around and wasn’t a good movie. Let’s forget 2014. Those were dark times. Probably because someone other than David tried to use them. That must be it.

I assumed this was a revenge action flick based on only seeing this picture pre watching.

Joy (Jennifer Lawrence) used to have it all when she was a kid. She had a loving mom (Virginia Madsen), a dad (Robert De Niro), and step or half sister Peggy (Elisabeth Röhm). It might be a step sister, I don’t know. She loved to invent and create and let her mind flow. Then their parents got divorced. She now had a mom who stayed in all day to watch Soap Operas, and her sister went full time with the dad, who she only saw some of the time.

Now she had to take care of her mom and her head can no longer float in the crowds.

Seventeen years after the fact, things were going to change. Yes, she had two kids. Yes, she was divorced with her ex, Tony (Edgar Ramirez) was living in her basement. The only sane one in her life was her grandmother (Diane Ladd) and our lovely narrator! And of course her best friend is still around to help, Jackie (Dascha Polanco).

Let’s cut to the chase. This story is actually about Joy Mangano, a real person. She invented the mop that was super absorbant, able to be thrown in the washer, and with the handle to twist and wring water out of it. How she got there, and how she became the queen of HSN? Well, that is this story.

Also featuring Bradley Cooper as a QVC exec, Isabella Rossellini as a rich widow, and Isabella Crovetti-Cramp as Young Joy. And no, she didn’t get there by killing her competition.

Although every good picture for the movie wants to confirm the revenge killing spree thing it seems.

Joy was a lot more different than Russell’s previous few movies. It started slow and took a long time for “the point” of the film to be shown. Again, going in blind, it just seems like this Joy girl has a messed up family and people are mean to her. But she is nice, so people continue their meanness.

Literally. If you like seeing unfortunate things happen to Jennifer Lawrence for 45 minutes or so, you will love the intro. But when Cooper appears, things seem to change. Yes, she still gets shit on occassionally, but not as much. Hell, a scene near the end had me filled with controllable rage over her circumstances. So in that sense, yes, Joy elicits emotions out of you and you might get pissed off.

But at least we know there is a happy ending, because she is super famous and well off now. Journeys can suck though.

This film felt full of women power. All the men kind of suck in some way, with only two male characters actually being helpful in the end. But most of the men just try to screw her over along the way. But Joy prevails.

During the film, Cooper’s character makes a big deal about a person’s hands. With hands working on TV, it is easier for the viewer to imagine the hands as their own. Once they imagine using the product, they are more willing to buy it. That is when a viewer will realize that throughout the film, before and after the scene, they do a lot of close ups of hands before we find out about the person themselves. Some subtle point there, and honestly, I am not sure what it is. But it was definitely interesting.

Joy is different. Joy is weird. Joy is overall entertaining, it just takes awhile for the hook to really sink in.

3 out of 4.


Thank goodness this film is called Burnt. Based on the title and poster, of Bradley Cooper in a chef’s outfit, I can make inferences though. It is about a angry chef, that was wronged and he wants revenge. Maybe. He could be a Gordon Ramsay like character and his life could come crashing down.

I am happy it is called Burnt, because it used to be called Adam Jones. Movie titles where it is just a fictional characters name are already bad ideas, because they don’t mean anything. And if you character is Adam Jones? One of the plainest damn names of all time. It didn’t feature a cool name like Enrique, Pierre, or Sadrik. Just Adam. Jones.

Naming aside, it turns out Adam Jones wasn’t the original name either. The original name was Chef, and we all know why that title was eventually changed. Hell, the plot of Chef was the first thing I thought of when I heard the word Burnt. As long as it is as good as Chef, we should have nothing to worry about.

Hey, it has food in it! Another similarity!

If you didn’t already guess it, this film is about Adam Jones (Cooper)! Turns out Jones used to be a big deal. He lived in Paris and worked for one of the finest restaurants and eventually its head chef. While he was in Paris hear earned himself TWO Michelin Stars. Which is a pretty big fucking deal. But he did some bad things. He was on almost every narcotic, and it messed with his brain. He burned bridges and disappeared from his friends, his coworkers and lovers.

He actually put himself into exile. He shucked oysters for two or three years in New Orleans, getting clean, sober, and his focus back. And now he is ready to take the cooking world by storm again. This time: London. He wants the third Michelin Star. He wants to be one of the all time greatest chefs. He just has to try and reconcile a lot of relationships and find good talent to help him get there.

Obviously it won’t be easy to fix all the issues. He left Tony (Daniel Brühl), a Maître D’ and close friend, in a shambled restaurant. He ruined his good friend and former sous chef, Michel’s (Omar Sy) new restaurant. There is the daughter of his former mentor, Anne Marie (Alicia Vikander), who he was dating at the time. He has a now rival chef, Reece (Matthew Rhys), who used to be a coworker and is now a Three Star chef. And there is Helene (Sienna Miller), a great young chef who he wants to take under his wing, but refuses to work with the guy based on his reputation. She also has a daughter, Lily (Lexi Benbow-Hart).

Here are some more important-ish people. Some of his new chefs are played by Riccardo Scamarcio and Sam Keeley. Emma Thompson is a psychiatrist who has to monitor his blood for any narcotics. Uma Thurman plays a big deal food critic in London. And Sarah Greene is the Hostess for their new restaurant, basically a little Tony.

If I get a plate that has fingerprints on it, I send the whole thing back, personally.

It turns out that my guess on him just being Gordon Ramsey was pretty accurate. Not British Gordon Ramsay, but American shitty TV Gordon Ramsay. He owns like 3/4 of Fox reality shows at this point, and Fox has the worst reality shows. They commercial break at tense moments or cliff hangers, they encourage language just so it can be bleeped out, and half of the episode is a recap, or the intro/outros that transition with the commercial breaks, which tell you what you will see and what you just saw. Except this is a movie where adults can see adults do adult things, so we get to hear the glorious Fucks and so on. One long scene early on during a particularly upsetting service, it is like just a big Hell’s Kitchen break down.

But thankfully after that moment, it gets better. He becomes less Ramsay and more actual character. He has growth in this film, he does’t yell 100% of the time, but he maintains the same passion and drive throughout. It was nice to see his highs and his lows. It was not as nice to see his stunt double clearly in one scene, and in another scene, have his face bloody with a piece of skin falling off and in the next scene a minute or two later, magically only a small cut. Those were dumb moments.

I think Cooper did a good job leading a film that wasn’t a straight up comedy. His French was also surprisingly good, that is, to a lame American’s ears at least. Thankfully, the rest of the cast was really great as well. Let’s give them their own sentence, shall we?

Miller was good as the main female lead, and she wasn’t a typical romance pretty face – she rocked it. I usually see Brühl in more interesting roles, but he helped carry the film and the restaurant with his simplestic and seemingly perfect performance as the best Maitre D’. Sy I don’t see in a lot of films, but this is the second French-ish role. His character had nice surprise and intense moments. And Rhys was a limited role, but brought his own unique intensity to it all.

Yay acting! Are there cliches? Sure. But it is a well done cooking movie that doesn’t make one feel stupid for not knowing how the fancy foods work. It tells a fun story and doesn’t turn into a sappy romcom ever. Yay food!

3 out of 4.


It has been awhile since I have seen a film set mostly in Hawaii. Godzilla, Big Eyes, Battleship all had elements in Hawaii. But the last full on Hawaiian film was The Descendants and it was really fucking good. So if I compare all films set in Hawaii, Aloha has to have some pretty big strides to catch up to the top.

And it has to do it with controversy!

What controversy? Well, casting controversy of course. The last films to receive this much internet anger was The Last Airbender and Exodus: Gods and Kings, but to be fair, they received criticism for more than just casting choices. In this film, Emma Stone, a very white woman plays a Hawaiin. Why is that an issue? Because internet people claim white people can’t be Hawaiian of course.

Oh, they mean native Hawaiian. Fair point, sure. But she is also playing someone who is just a quarter Hawaiian, so one of her parents is only half Hawaiian, and fuck everybody she could totally qualify as someone who is a quarter Hawaiian. Saying she doesn’t look it enough is stupid complaint when she is claiming barely any Hawaiian ancestry. Just because she isn’t in real life quarter Hawaiian doesn’t mean she can’t play one on a movie and be believable. It is called mother fucking Acting. Damn it.

This looks like they were photoshopped next to each other, their chemistry is so nonexistent.

Brian Gilcrest (Bradley Cooper) used to be a great military person, and then he left! Turns out the military pays close to jack in pay, so he sold his skills to a private contractor, Carson Welch (Bill Murray) who wants to go to outer space! Brian loves space and wants to go one day. I think. Either way, he heads to Hawaii for a few days, where he used to be a big deal. People told stories about him. Blah blah blah.

He is happy to be back. For whatever reason, Allison Ng (Stone) is being assigned to follow him and help him out on his meetings. She is in in the military and young but full of spunk.

Fuck. I am dying typing out this review. The movie was so boring. Here are the only other important plot points.

Brian and Tracy (Rachel McAdams) used to have a thing like 12 years ago. They make it VERY obvious that her oldest daughter is his kid. But she is married now to Woody (John Krasinski) and they have at least one more kid. So hopefully they don’t rekindle anything, would be dickish. At the same time, Allison starts to like Brian. There is also a big controversy over the native Hawaiians and using their land to send rockets into space, as they are worried it will end badly.

Also featuring Alec Baldwin and Danny McBride is a full fledged military men!

The sexual tension is high when Cooper looks apathetic while coding.

What the hell happened to you Cameron Crowe? Seriously? What in the fuck? He gave us Say Anything…, Jerry Maguire, and Almost Famous! These are good to great movies right? Because the last thing before this one was We Bought A Zoo which was incredibly average in every single way.

And now? Now we have Aloha. Which sure had controversy which I gave no cares about. What I care about is a good entertaining movie, but Aloha is neither good nor entertaining. While watching, I couldn’t help but wait for the point of the movie to come across. Are the military supposed to be bad? Are private contractors? They sort of answer it by the end, but it almost seems like that was an after thought despite allegedly being the main plot line. What is more annoying is that most of the conflict in the end also seemingly comes out of nowhere. And it is resolved with a couple lines of dialogue, again, as an after thought.

As for the relationship angle, one never really goes anywhere and the other is also extremely forced. It is like all of the actors involved are just uncomfortable the whole movie. No one has a desire to be great in this film, it is probably just a quick paycheck for everyone and a free trip to Hawaii. You know, the Adam Sandler reason for acting. Not even Kenny Fucking Powers can save this movie, because he might be in 3 scenes. Maybe. Everything is wasted in this film that is technically quite full of talent and entertaining people. I’m going to go watch The Descendants again.

0 out of 4.