1917

There is a lot about this movie that is impressive. The first thing that comes to mind is that it seems to be about the right length. And a quick check on wiki states that it is 119 minutes long minus the end credits that I didn’t sit through and it’s back to the good old days when movies came in under 2 hours long. I bring this up because I was completely entertained from the first minute the movie opened until it ended. The high tower surprise ending didn’t last too long like most super hero or adventure films do these days. This is a film maker with master precision. I bring that up because the film was shot as one long take. He had a few cleaver ways to break but in general it was a walk through and watch of two soldiers on a journey during the first world war.

Now this brings me up to my one complaint. I didn’t feel like I was experience the world that existed. The uniforms looked a little different than most war films I have seen and the guns looked more like something they used during the revolutionary war. They made a comment about the machine guns but we never got to see them. There was nothing shown or experienced that made this movie much different than any war that has taken place over the last hundred years. If you told me I would have probably believed it not thinking too much about how the uniforms looked slightly off.

With that said this is a great movie. In a lot of ways they took what Saving Private Ryan did and made a nice WW1 British version. You felt the war is hell aspect of WW1. Clearly the name great war was earned. It’s unbelievable in a lot of ways what we witnessed. And what everyone had to go through.

Another way to review this movie is “Just when you thought you have seen enough war films someone came out with a new way to tell the story to make it interesting as hell.” No surprises that this got tons of nominations it will rank on most peoples top 10 lists unless they hate war films.

Acting – 4
Story – 4
Entertainment – 5
Enjoyment – 4
Screenplay – 5
Cinematography – 5
Characters – 4
Plot Holes – 5
Production Value – 5
Overall – 5
Overall Score – 92

 

If Beale Street Could Talk

This was a good film but not a great film. I don’t think it would be fair to compare it to Moonlight. Although they both have the same writer/director in Barry Jenkins. In many ways Moonlight is far superior. The box office and press coverage alone confirms that. It’s nice that hulu is running the film. No commercials guessing that hulu might only run commercials on the basic package on television shows and not movies. To me just watching this makes the discount deal we bought last black Friday worth the investment. Hulu soon will be bundled with Disney plus and ESPN for $12.99 month. Makes cutting the cord very feasible.

The best thing about this film was the acting. Solid across the board. One Oscar win for supporting actress for Regina King and I felt it was deserved. The entire cast was excellent. The production value was limited. Shame they kept the setting in the early 70’s. I guess it did reflect the time. This was a $12 million budget much more than Moonlight. I felt like moonlight was much more artfully filmed in addition to having an Oscar worthy story. This was not an Oscar worthy story. Nothing wrong with the script. I didn’t mind the non-linear way it was told. Normally I feel like that is a poor gimmick best left for Quintin Tarantino.

I didn’t know much about the project other than if it got the raves Moonlight received I would have caught it in the theater. I was expecting something about Beale Street in Memphis. Then it started with talking about New Orleans and I was more confused when it looked like the movie was taking place in New York City. But the title was a reference to the music and culture of the African American life of the time. Talking about music. My biggest complaint besides the very slow pace Barry Jenkin’s told the story was the sound track. It just didn’t help tell the story and I’m confused by it. It was annoying music that didn’t enhance the mood. And it wasn’t moonlight cinematography not that it matters. James Laxton did in fact win an oscar for Moonlight and continued to work with the director on this picture.

Acting – 5
Story – 3
Entertainment – 3
Enjoyment – 3
Screenplay – 3
Cinematography – 3
Characters – 5
Plot Holes – 3
Production Value – 3
Overall – 4
Overall Score – 70

The Mule

This movie just turned up on HBO I wanted to see it in the movie theater because I’m generally a big fan of Clint Eastwood, “Empty CHAIR” and all. I like his approach and he picks entertaining scripts. I know as a director he likes to do a few takes and then move on. I’m always amazed at how the editing is so effective with minimal coverage. But doing studio films has a lot of benefits they have a staff of editors to take on a film.

Anyway about this movie. I enjoyed it. It was a little disconcerting to see him so frail but he is closing in on the century mark god bless him that he is still able to work. They did say in this would probably be his last film. Being that it might be his last I found it a little flat. But if you take it on it’s own this was a fun entertaining film. I liked seeing Andy Garcia who also is looking very old these days. I like what they did with the cartel. I felt like he needed some other goal in life, something from a bucket list that taking the jobs would allow him to achieve. He was a selfish man and absent family guy his entire life so to believe he did it all for his family was not particularly believable.
The part where he saves a community american legion helped explain his vanity but who would take that kind of risk. They didn’t build in that he was lonely and bored in retirement as much as they could have.

But to be honest I could tear down the script all day. It was a solid screen play just not an A or oscar quality. Unfortunately I felt like it had that potential with a little more care. I know Eastwood likes to keep things simple and just went with it knowing he was going to make a solid movie. The writer did Grand Tarino which was an A script so I felt like they ripped us off a little. But to be honest The Judge was another good film also by Nick Schenk that suffered the same script issues.

I liked seeing his Bradly Cooper and Laurence Fishburne both gave solid performances. And I have also always thought Eastwoods daughter Alison Eastwood was a solid actress who deserves to be a bigger star. And Diane West cast as his dying exwife was entertaining as well. Very solid cast in this film.

Acting – 5
Story – 4
Entertainment – 4
Enjoyment – 5
Screenplay – 3
Cinematography – 4
Characters – 4
Plot Holes – 3
Production Value – 5
Overall – 4
Overall Score – 82

Honestly I feel like 82 doesn’t do this film justice but that’s the rating scale I use on this site so know that this is a solid two thumbs up recommendation even with a low B score.

The Kitchen (2019 film)

When I was a kid reading comics books I used to like some of the vertigo comics. My favorite was sandman and it’s a shame they haven’t done that yet with all the comic book movies that have come out. I never heard of the comic before or this movie before today when we decided we wanted to go see a movie. The significant other loves Melissa McCarthy
so when I saw she had a new movie I knew I had no choice. I wasn’t going to see a horror movie even if it was playing in the best theater. And to be honest I love mobster stuff it’s one of my favorite genres and the concept sounded interesting to me. Then I noticed it had a 20% on Rotten Tomatoes. My prediction is that as more reviewers get around to seeing this movie the score increases. There really was nothing wrong with this movie. There was plenty of good in the production. I felt that it lacked the art design of the Tarantino film which is set less than 10 years prior. But other than this film could have been set in present. MAyve it wouldn’t have been as believable there was little to complain about. They had some of the ugliest cars I have ever seen. That period didn’t have great cars. I remember more compact asian cars due to the gas shortage. So I would argue that aspect stood out to me. I was of course a baby during the time period.

The casting was great. Common one of my favorites had a little part. The movie was entertaining. It didn’t drag. I don’t particularly love comedies. And this film wasn’t what you would expect from a McCarthy film. It was serious. And I always appreciate that in mobster films. Analyze That being an example of a mobster film that annoyed me.

I generally had no complaints with this movie and I was pleasantly surprised. Two thumbs up.

Acting – 4
Story – 4
Entertainment – 4
Enjoyment – 4
Screenplay – 4
Cinematography – 4
Characters – 4
Plot Holes – 4
Production Value – 4
Overall – 4
Overall Score – 80

Boy Erased

really interesting film that tells a very important story about conversion therapy. I have long believed that this practice is torture. This film had the right tone and I think that is because it was based on a true story and the film maker tried to stay true to the story. There is enough drama that it didn’t need to be exaggerated or changed to make the movie more interesting. I’m surprised this didn’t get into Sundance as it seems like the type of project that would come out of their program. A very unque voice speaking from conviction that others need to understand that what happened here is true and does still happen today. 32 states still allow religious zealots to pray the gay away in their LBGT summer camps.

Very good acting. This is actually an Australian film that takes place in a Dallas suburb and was filmed in Atlanta. Indie productions need that tax credit. Three of the leads are Australian who do a very good job of playing Texans.

The other thing that is interesting is that Netflix wanted to buy this film but lost the bidding war to Focus Features which is an arm of Universal. I guess I have to wonder if this went to Netflix originally if it would have gotten more exposure. But I can understand the producers have a fiduciary responsibility to get the largest return for the investors.

Acting – 5
Story – 5
Entertainment – 4
Enjoyment – 4
Screenplay – 4
Cinematography – 4
Characters – 5
Plot Holes – 5
Production Value – 4
Overall – 5
Overall Score – 90

Aquaman (2018)

The good news is that Aquaman is on HBO. The bad news is that because of that I finally got around to trying to watch this film. My review is that I found it tough to get through the entire movie. Who ever compared this to Star Wars is crazy. The FX are amateur at best. Just because they spent millions to make it doesn’t mean this deserves any comparison. Atlantis was like a cartoon Who Framed Roger Rabbit world. I liked the first few scenes with Nicole Kidman but thinking about it after I would have liked to learn how the two fell in love? Don’t tell me it was because he made her a cup of hot tea. The bad news for me is that this film had over $1 Billion in ticket sales so we can expect more junk like this in the future. There seemed to be a good story in there but a lot of talking and when they where trying to explain something by talking instead of letting the audience experience it, we had battle scenes that ran longer than a matrix sequel or just as bad as Batman VS Superman. I guess this is what they think the DC universe movie style should be. I still find light sabers more interesting for some reason.

Acting – 4
Story – 3
Entertainment – 2
Enjoyment – 1
Screenplay – 2
Cinematography – 4
Characters – 3
Plot Holes – 2
Production Value – 2
Overall – 1
Overall Score – 48

A score of 48 out of 100 is a big fat F score. This movie is a failure.

 

Once Upon a Time In Hollywood

I want to be very transparent. This film was boring. I loved it. But I didn’t love every minutes of it. I wish Tarantino would learn that his movies would be better with a strong edit. Shorten them up. Let’s get in closer to 2 hours Quentin. I understand that this was an homage to Spaghetti Westerns so the long shots made sense. I also understand that Quentin has earned the right to be as gratuitous as he wants.

On the upside for a film buff and Tarantino fan I really loved the film. I’m a sucker for stories about Hollywood even if they are about unimportant B movie making. There was a ton of film candy for me. A cast that kept on giving. And let’s not forget it was Luke Perry’s last film. And I watch any movie that Brad Pitt is in or any movie that has Leonardo DiCaprio. Then we had Al Pacino. One of my all time favorites.

I loved being teleported to 1969. Especially all the eye candy of being in 1969 Hollywood. The art direction was incredible. They spent that $90 million budget very well. And the concept of setting it with the Charles Manson treachery offered me even more film candy.

That all being said. I would have loved a story that went into the cult more. I found the followers more interesting. But I loved how he didn’t follow the actual story it was just loosely based on history. He took liberties that only someone like Quentin would be comfortable taking. I completely expect most people to hate this film. I also expect that it is considered a flop. With that hefty budget and the P&A budget this film probably won’t make much of a profit. Maybe 10 years from now when they milk every penny from every window that they can revisit many times based on Tarantino’s name and the long list of great cast members.

I loved the music. I loved the typical Tarantino dialogue. Did he repeat stuff that he has in the past? Sure he did. I would go as far to say a few times I recognized duplicate lines from past Tarantino films. But that’s okay. I liked hearing them again in different scenarios by different actors.

Spoiler. You get a great violent ending. In typical Tarantino fashion you get that over the top gore finale. It wasn’t Django but it had the Quentin stamp for sure. One thing missing was Samuel Jackson. But did you know that Samuel is 70 years old. At some point the man is going to retire. Hopefully he gets in one last Tarantino film in before that happens. Strong B rating. Ok maybe a B- but I still loved it even with a 4 out of 5 for enjoyment. I enjoyed it but man was it boring. Note this film has a two hour 45 minute run time.

Acting – 4
Story – 3
Entertainment – 4
Enjoyment – 4
Screenplay – 4
Cinematography – 5
Characters – 5
Plot Holes – 3
Production Value – 5
Overall – 4
Overall Score – 82

Toy Story 4

In general I have never been much of a fan of sequels. There are a few exceptions. That usually relates to stories that are designed as trilogies. AKA star wars. But for some reason I never get tired of Toy Story movies. Even after all these years it’s nice to see the toys again. It’s like an old friend that you haven’t seen in years. Pixar makes so many great movies I get disappointed when they do sequels. I get it. They bring in big bucks and most people unlike me love to go see movies that they are familiar with. I enjoy the new experience. Coco is a great example. It was such a unique engaging film I wanted to clap at the end of the movie. I rarely feel the need to clap at the end of a movie. And let’s not forget my favorite Pixar film of all time. Nemo. The sequel was fun but let’s be honest it was a disappointment. It was something that deserved to go straight to video. I believe originally that was the plan for the Dory film.

I’m going to give my honest opinion. The crew at Pixar really out did themselves this time. I’m not sure how they did it. But I really enjoyed 4. They have a formula that works for me. And yes I did stead a few tears. I admit it. I’m not too old or proud to admit that they got me. It was the right mix of old and new and an adventure that I’m glad I got to go on. This is a strong A film.

Acting – 5
Story – 5
Entertainment – 5
Enjoyment – 5
Screenplay – 4
Cinematography – 5
Characters – 5
Plot Holes – 4
Production Value – 5
Overall – 4
Overall Score – 94

Stuber

I’m going to be honest. I laughed a lot. And I tend to enjoy Gardians Of The Galaxy. I basically dislike super hero movies but to me that’s science fiction. I thought Dave Bautista was great in Gardians and I was convinced to go see this because I liked the idea of him being the lead in a movie. Playing a cop seemed like a good part for him. And he was pretty good as a cop. They had a few jokes about how much he bench pressed. The problem and if you look at my scoring was that the character they build didn’t match a guy who found time to hit the gym everyday. The character had a lot of baggage and it was interesting for the lead to be a broken man. Sure we have seen cop stories before when the partner was killed and they went out for revenge.

Things like a police mole turns out to be a top leader or the main boss is a plot hole that isn’t believable. Not in Los Angeles. They didn’t develop that issue.  But they had writing flaws sprinkled through out the entire film.  The uber driver who is a nice smart guy in love with a shallow california girl. Who no one would like, and I didn’t care about her.  And the cop and uber driver beating each other up. Trashed a store for no reason. I could go on and on but this script had more plot holes than swiss cheese. The over all story was pretty good. It was in major need of a rewrite.  I’m shoked that a studio would fund the film.It was well done on a certain level. It had a lot of laughs but they could have had a few less laughs and a more solid story. This was a movie that could have been an A film giving a few more rewrites. And a lot of people will really like it. It was enjoyable. I will add that at only 93 minutes long I did look at my watch a few times to figure out how much more was left. I laughed and was entertained. Just as the movie was getting to the third act I turned to my significant other and said I would be happy to leave right now. She said come on you have been laughing the entire time. But there was a point that I had enough. She liked it. She wanted to see it and that owner ship kept us there until the end. I would have left. And ultimately when it was over I wasn’t so impressed that I felt leaving in the middle was a mistake.  This movie gets two thumbs down and an F because the writer failed miserably at writing a proper story and it’s a shame because a lot of funny jokes got wasted because of the poor screen writing. I’m not sure I have ever thought a writer of a feature film was so terrible. Maybe John Carter of Mars. And that was written by the guy who has screen credits for some of Pixars best films.  So everyone can have a major dud once in a while.

Acting – 4
Story – 4
Entertainment – 4
Enjoyment – 4
Screenplay – 1
Cinematography – 3
Characters – 3
Plot Holes – 1
Production Value – 4
Overall – 1
Overall Score – 58

 

The China Syndrome

Believe it or not I never saw this film. For some reason I was on wikipedia and noticed that Jack Lemmon was nominated for an Oscar for his part in this movie and I thought wait isn’t that the grumpy old guy from Odd Couple? I didn’t know he did drama. So I brought it up to my dad who said oh yeah he was great. He was very particular about which stories he got in involved in. So I ran the film last night. It was only $3.99 on amazon over the fire stick. I would say my only complaint is that I felt like the HD print wasn’t the best transfer. It’s an old film that is 40 years old at this point and the color looked a little washed out. I felt like the picture wasn’t particularly sharp. Who knows maybe that’s how it was filmed.

Let’s focus in on the good. The concept was great. We know just days after the film was released there was a nuclear melt down at three mile island showing how possible the concept of a nuke plant having an accident. Would it actually melt through the ground and dig it’s way all the way to china? Of course not. I’m pretty sure it would melt at the core. They actually explained this in the movie. Once it hit the ground water the steam it would create would stop the travel but release the contamination via steam into the atmosphere.

Not only was there zero plot holes in this movie. They did the right amount of car chases and action. They also did the right amount of corporate greed. They did the right amount of idealistic journalist fighting the system. Casting Jane Fonda was brilliant. Her character was well written as was the Jack Lemmon character.

As a fire breathing liberal I can’t say how much candy this kind of movie offers me. I understand how a lot of libertarians might object to the premise but it’s real and explains a lot about how us liberals think and feel about issues.

The sad thing is that even with the script getting nominated the three writers didn’t really do any more film work. It looks like all three of them worked in the television medium for most of their career. It’s also sad that with four nominations this film didn’t win once. But four nominations says all you need to know about why you should watch this film

I enjoyed the 70’s art direction. And I have to admit I thought about homer simpson a lot working in the nuke control room. I wonder if this film gave them some of the concept for the Simpsons.

I’m not sure I have ever scored a film 96 before. That isn’t saying this is my favorite film of all time. I would certainly give True Romance, Good Fellas and Blade Runner 100 scores. I just never thought about them in terms of numeric score other than those three films have always been perfect to me. I would probably give Poltergeist, Jaws and Alien also 100 scores. And there are many other films that would come in close to that if I spent more time thinking about it. Just know that this film ranks as a classic in my book.

Acting – 5
Story – 5
Entertainment – 5
Enjoyment – 5
Screenplay – 5
Cinematography – 4
Characters – 4
Plot Holes – 5
Production Value – 5
Overall – 5
Overall Score – 96