Movie Review: Army of Darkness

Details: Released in 1992. About an hour and twenty minutes long. Directed by Sam Raimi. Stars Bruce Campbell.

Army of Darkness is the third film in the Evil Dead franchise. It is undoubtedly a B movie and deliberately so. This is campy, sort of horror with shitty effects and mostly comedic in the delivery of most lines.

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Movie Review: Office Christmas Party

Details: Released in 2016. About an hour and forty-five minutes long. Stars Jason Bateman, Olivia Munn, T.J. Miller.

I think when you make this kind of extreme movie, you need to take some notes from movies like The Hangover, Superbad, or American Pie. Basically, those movies were a series of extreme comedic, lewd, obscene scenes that increased in degree of extremity with each consecutive scene. The amount of extreme behavior needs to increase and continue to surprise the audience in addition to making them laugh. This film did not do that.

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Movie Review: The Secret Life of Pets

Details: Released in 2016. Stars Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, and Kevin Hart. About an hour and a half long.

The Secret Life of Pets is an animated children’s film that centers on talking pets who are left at home when their owners go to work. The premise is this: Max, a terrier, does not get along with Duke, the new dog his owner has adopted. The two get into trouble, lose their way home, and must learn to get along if they are to find their way back.

It’s a simple premise. If you are a child or the type that just likes watching cute, animated animals talk, then you’re probably going to like this movie. For the rest of us, there are a few things to enjoy.

The plot is paper thin, as most of these animated talking animal movies are. Fortunately, the cast is pretty great. The cast is filled with actors and comedians known for their existing personalities which come through in the movie. You have Louis C.K. who essentially plays a terrier with Louis C.K.’s personality. Also extremely noticeable are Jenny Slate and Kevin Hart, who both were actually funny by virtue of their comedic personas. If you like these comedians and their comedic stand up performances, you may like the movie.

Also worth mentioning is the orchestrated soundtrack. I was surprised by how many recognizable New York-y melodies were woven into the music. It definitely helps to create this big city, New York vibe that the film somewhat tries to convey. The melody that surprised me the most was a short bit from West Side Story. I think there are lots of little musical inclusions like that (even thought I couldn’t identify them all) and it’s fun trying to pick them out.

Overall, an okay kids film which has something for adults who are fans of the cast’s comedy.

Score: 4/10

Movie Review: Sing

Details: Released in 2016. A little under two hours long. Stars Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, and Seth MacFarlane.

Sing is an animated movie with talking animals who try to compete in a singing competition in order to win a cash prize. It is a comedy mostly.

The actors are okay, with McConaughey surprising me the most. I had no idea he was capable of speaking in a way not requiring a south Texas accent. I totally did not recognize him. I recognized everyone else though.

I really didn’t enjoy the film. It’s a fluff film with no substance. In a year of really good animated movies like Zootopia and Finding Dory, this really didn’t do anything for me. There were many points throughout the film I wanted to get up and leave.

I will say that the audience I watched this with (mostly kids and their parents) really loved the movie, applauding and cheering at the end of it. If you like seeing anthropomorphized animals doing silly things like singing and dancing or if you are under the age of ten, then you may enjoy this movie.

Score: 3.5/10

Movie Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Details: Released in 2016. Runs for about two hours. Stars Eddie Redmayne.

I’ve never thought the Harry Potter movies were great. I never thought they were good. They were just satisfactory, tolerable even. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find is, in my opinion, the same sort of movie. It’s not a bad movie. It’s not great. It’s just satisfactory.

The premise is this: Eddie Redmayne plays Newt Scamander, a member of the ministry of magic who specializes in magical animals. He comes to America to relocate a magical animal and send it home when he comes across a plot that puts all the wizards in 1920’s New York City in danger.

The first thing you should know is that this is not Harry Potter. Anyone coming to watch this film will obviously be a Harry Potter fan, and they will be undoubtedly disappointed by what they find. With that said, if you have no familiarity with the Harry Potter Universe, again, you will be disappointed if not completely lost. So we reach this conclusion: the only people who should watch this movie are Harry Potter fans and they will most likely be disappointed by the film.

It’s not all bad though. Eddie Redmayne delivers another believable performance, as do the rest of the cast. It’s unfortunate then that the plot of this film is so bare bones and establishes so little. If you’ve read other reviews, you’d be familiar with the opinion that this film merely sets up the inevitable sequels that will follow. Those opinions are right. Nothing happens here other than a shallow exploration of Newt Scamander and the American magical community. It’s all just set up for the next money grubbing sequels.

Score: 4.5/10 It’s sad to me that I know this film will make a ton of money simply by being tangentially related to Harry Potter. As a stand alone film, this movie is pretty shit. However, if you stamp something with the Harry Potter logo, the sheep-like masses will likely throw money at it. I do not recommend this movie for Harry Potter fans and especially for those who are not fans. Do yourself a favor and watch something else.

Movie Review: Mechanic: Resurrection

Details: Released in 2016. About one and a half hours long. Stars Jason Statham and Jessica Alba.

This was not a good movie. It’s a sequel to the original Mechanic, also starring Jason Statham, which came out in 2011.

The premise is this: Jason Statham plays an elite assassin who specializes in killing people and making it look like an accident. A girl he likes, played by Jessica Alba, gets kidnapped by someone who forces him to kill three targets and make the kills look like accidents in order to save Jessica Alba.

The best part of the movie was the opening sequence. There really isn’t much plot here, which would be fine if the action made up for it. The action didn’t make up for it unfortunately. Just a visually boring movie.

Score: 3/10

Movie Review: Sausage Party

Details: About an hour and a half long. Came out in 2016. Stars Seth Rogan and Kristen Wiig.

What the fuck did I just watch. I don’t think I hated the movie, but I certainly did not love it.

The premise is this: all the food in this supermarket is sentient and worship humans like gods. The food eventually learn the truth that humans kill and eat all the food at the supermarket and they must stand together to face the threat of the humans.

It’s a trippy story with lots of racial and sexual jokes. This is definitely an R rated movie that is not for kids. I didn’t really enjoy it. It’s just too far out there. The jokes also kind of fell flat for me.

Score: 3.5/10 I applaud the movie studio that approved the financing for this movie, but it was just too weird for me.

Movie Review: Suicide Squad

Details: Movie was about two hours long. Stars Will Smith and Margot Robbie. Released in 2016.

Watching this movie gave me flashbacks of the Fantastic Four movie. The main problem here is the same thing in that movie: too many ideas. There were just so many ideas thrown into this movie and not given enough time to flesh out. The result is a film that looks cool in a trailer, but doesn’t really have any substance.

There’s a lot to address with this movie. Firstly, we have to address that dialogue. My goodness, were there some cringe worthy lines spoken in this movie. Pretty much every line spoken by Harley made me cringe. They just did not give proper motivation to each of the characters so that everyone just looked like they were repeating lines.

Which leads us to the acting. The acting is pretty shit. I mean they’re trying, but you can only do so much with such a bare script. Will Smith probably did the most believable job, which isn’t saying much. Jared Leto’s Joker got a lot of publicity prior to the movie’s release, but he barely got any screen time to fully present his character. In the few scenes that he was in, he really wasn’t that great. He was just okay. Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn also received a lot of publicity, but, again, every line was cringy and the only thing she is good for in this movie was as eye candy. Even as beautiful as she is, her looks couldn’t salvage this movie.

The main reason this movie sucks so bad is the story. Again, too many ideas and no explanation or exploration of any of them. It just feels like they are going down a checklist of things you want to put into a comic book movie without any plot points or scenes that support it. It’s just a badly written script altogether. Furthermore, a lot of the plot points did not make any sense. The characters did a whole host of conflicting actions that made no sense. Really, the motivation for the whole movie and for assembling a suicide squad made no sense.

The only good part of the film were the visuals, and they weren’t even that great.

In regards to the music, many well known songs were used, maybe too many. It just made the tone of the film feel too eclectic and varied. There was no real core theme or cohesion to this story. Just a bunch of ideas taped together.

Score: 3/10 This movie tries very hard to be cool, but just ends up embarrassing itself. It felt like a collection of scenes that was just not worth watching. I would just wait for Ben Affleck’s Batman movie. I have yet to see a movie directed by Affleck I did not like.

Movie Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (sequel to the last Michael Bay TMNT movie)

Another year, another Michael Bay movie. The thing about Michael Bay is that he is a known quantity. You know exactly what you are getting when you buy a ticket to a Michael Bay movie. There will be explosions. There will be a shit excuse for an utter crap of a story. There will be set pieces. There will be excessive use of computer generated effects. All of the trademarks of a classic Michael Bay movie are here.

I will give Michael Bay some credit; Bay’s movies are almost always commercial successes. It’s not hard to see why studios keep investing in him.

The story is shit. You need to keep in mind that this is a story made to entertain children and sell toys. It’s an extension of the old Saturday morning cartoon system that has been extended to feature films. While there is certainly the opportunity for deeper narrative developments (like the possibility of using the purple goo to turn them into people so that they can fit into a society that fears and hates them), Bay skims over it and hands the reigns of the film to the effects department, as he usually does in most of his films.

Every single line in this movie made me — someone who is over the age of five — cringe. All the actors know the deal and they are putting forward the bare minimum of acting ability necessary. As an actor in a Michael Bay film, your primary focus should be getting through the stunts with all your limbs intact, and that’s what happens here. The actors in this film are just collecting a paycheck and trying to survive, and it shows. In their defense, having a director like Michael Bay likely does not help promote quality performances.

The action is fine.

The computer generated effects are fine.

Score: 2.7/10 The only person buying tickets to this movie are parents whose kids want to buy Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toys. If you are over the age of five, you will likely not enjoy this movie.

Movie Review: Fantastic Four (2015)

I sat down for this movie expecting a train wreck. I was not disappointed.

The best part of this film was easily the first act. The introduction to Reed and his whole situation was fine. No great, but fine.

Things fall apart upon act two, when they go to the dimension zero. The lines were just really poorly written. They start throwing around all these science fiction terminology and plot points which really didn’t have any foundation. It was just one jarring, emotionless scene after another.

Score: 2.5/10 There’s a lot of good ideas here. Act one and the horror elements were good. It just wasn’t put together very well. They definitely needed some rewrites.