Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Movie Review

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Plot Synopsis:

Miles Morales becomes the Spider-Man of his reality and crosses paths with his counterparts from other dimensions to stop a threat to all reality (IMDb).

Critique:

 I’ve got a weird relationship with Sony Pictures Animation… They’ve made great movies, like “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”, and they’ve also been responsible for the atrocity known as “The Emoji Movie”- so I’m sure you understand why I went into this movie being extremely cautious.

The first thing I’ll say about this movie is I really dug the visual style they went for as far as the look of the movie goes. It has a real comic book look to it that I really appreciated, however- that same style also made it difficult to see what’s going on in about the first ten minutes of the film. There were certain shots where it looked like it was supposed to be in 3-D, but it wasn’t finalized- however after that, the film looked fine to me.

Going back to style and look of the film, I appreciated the fact that there were comic book elements added, such as mental dialogue being shown in a boxed format, and some of the actions are written out like a real comic book- and I really appreciated that added touch. Speaking of which, there’s comic book-like origin stories for some of the other Spider-Men characters like Spider-Gwen, Penni Parker, Spider-Ham, and Spider-Man Noir (who’s voiced by Nicholas Cage).

There’s some Spider-Man references meticulously placed into this film in the form of quick visuals that if you’re keen to it, you’ll pick it up, if not the film will just move along.

Spider-Man is normally a funny character, and that’s certainly no exception with this film… this movie is laced with humor that works most of the time for me, and it reminds me of the comedy style in “The Lego Movie”, which is ironic considering that Phil Lord, who directs this film, also directed “The Lego Movie”.

The last thing I’ll say about this movie is while it’s super funny, there’s also some touching and serious moments in this film. When someone bites it, the impact is felt significantly- and it helps raise the stakes in the movie, you know besides making sure that the universe doesn’t end because of the space time continuum collapsing. The stakes are felt, and as an audience, we feel that.

Grade:

The movie visually appealing for the most part, and it tells a great story while also balancing superhero action. It’s got plenty of humor and heart, and while I still can’t forgive Sony Pictures Animation for “The Emoji Movie” I will applaud their efforts in this film and give “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” a 9/10 or an A.

 

“Ralph Breaks the Internet” Review

Plot Synopsis:

In “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” video-game bad guy Ralph (voice of John C. Reilly) and best friend Vanellope von Schweetz (voice of Sarah Silverman) leave the comforts of Litwak’s arcade in an attempt to save her game, Sugar Rush. Their quest takes them to the vast, uncharted world of the internet where they rely on the citizens of the internet–the Netizens–to help navigate their way. Lending a virtual hand are Yesss (voice of Taraji P. Henson), the head algorithm and the heart and soul of the trend-making site “BuzzzTube,” and Shank (voice of Gal Gadot), a tough-as-nails driver from a gritty online auto-racing game called Slaughter Race, a place Vanellope wholeheartedly embraces–so much so that Ralph worries he may lose the only friend he’s ever had (Rotten Tomatoes).

Review:

When I saw the trailer to “Wreck It Ralph” in 2012, it looked cute but I wasn’t quite sure how I was gonna feel about watching an animated movie full of video game references, but when I finally saw the movie on DVD- I was thoroughly shocked on how deep of a movie it was and I loved it. And with the sequel, “Ralph Breaks the Internet” I felt the same way!

The animation in this film is top notch and beautiful! There’s a lot of care and thought that went into this movie and you can really feel that! When Ralph and Vanellope get into the Internet, the world that’s created is truly breathtaking and it’s a visual sweet tooth’s dream! There’s a lot of visual gags and references that not only internet savvy people will get, but I believe a lot of people will see something they’ll understand!

The thing I really like about the plot in this film is there’s a clear understanding of the goal in the film. Sure, they may deviate from the main plot and they’ll explore various parts of the Internet, but it’s all for the big goal of buying a new steering wheel for Vanellope’s game. Another thing I like is there’s a clear understanding of the motivation for the characters: Wreck It Ralph wants to keep things the way it is, and Vanellope wants something new in her life- and these two different motivations cause conflict.

When I said the creators of the film put some thought and care into this, it wasn’t just the animation… it’s also for the culture of the Internet. There’s a scene where Ralph looks at comments from the knockoff YouTube site, and the way they handled trolls was a thousand times better than the lazy attempt “The Emoji Movie” did. The message behind the scene was that sure, the Internet can bring the worst out of people, but it’s not all bad.

The last thing I’ll say about this is I felt so many emotions in this film. I felt joy, happiness, laughter, and there were even scenes that made me shed a tear. The thing I love about this movie, and the previous movie, is the deeper messages hidden within. In “Wreck It Ralph” it was understanding who you really are, and accepting it. And in this one, it’s about the importance of friendship, and letting them do what makes them happy- even if it means you have to let them go for a bit.

Grade:

I was rocking with a solid 9/10 or a 9.5/10 as the credit were rolling, but then something happened after the credits (that I obviously can’t talk about) and it bumped it up to a solid 10/10 A+ Grade.

This movie has a lot of heart, it’s gorgeous, it’s a lot of fun, and it has a positive and vital lesson that I feel like kids and people need to see!

Overlord (2018 Film) Review

Plot:

With only hours until D-Day, a team of American paratroopers drop into Nazi-occupied France to carry out a mission that’s crucial to the invasion’s success. Tasked with destroying a radio transmitter atop a fortified church, the desperate soldiers join forces with a young French villager to penetrate the walls and take down the tower. But, in a mysterious Nazi lab beneath the church, the outnumbered G.I.s come face-to-face with enemies unlike any the world has ever seen. From producer J.J. Abrams, Overlord is a thrilling, pulse-pounding action adventure with a twist. (Rotten Tomatoes)

Critique:

I’m going to be honest, when I saw the trailer to “Overlord” I thought they were making a live action version of the anime series… after that clearly didn’t become the case, I was skeptical about it because the zombie genre is one of my least favorite horror genres because of its over-saturation. I was also worried when I saw J.J. Abram’s name attached to it, because I thought they were gonna connect it to the convoluted Cloverfield series. And I’m here to tell you, this movie is actually pretty bad ass!

The movie hooks you right from the jump with this amazing plane sequence that’s chaotic, grisly, and violent… and it sets up the tone of the movie perfectly! The beginning of the film is all about getting you attached to these characters, that way when some of them meet their demise, it hits you hard. The thing I really like about this movie is that it presents real people- no one seems like a character to me. They all have their own personality that helps develop them as the movie continues. And the two characters I was attached to the most were Pvt. Boyce (Jovan Adepo) and Cpl. Ford (Wyatt Russell).

This film to me is 80% a World War II Film, and 20% is actually the zombie film. These zombies aren’t the slow walkers from “Night of the Living Dead” or “The Walking Dead” these are super soldiers that are fast, strong, and extremely dangerous. The zombies amplified the story without getting in the way, and I really appreciated that. The actor that played the villain, Pilou Asbæk, played a smarmy, vicious Nazi Captain, and he perfectly caused tension in the film.

Grade:

Thankfully there was no Cloverfield connection, and this film balanced action and horror in a way that didn’t seem over-bearing. I’m going to give Overlord a 9/10 or an A.

It’s a fun popcorn film that embraces its B Movie status, and doesn’t try to be anything more than what it wants to be. So many movies try to be Shakespeare when they’re not, and I respect this movie for just going in, doing its job, and getting out.

“The Nightmare Before Christmas” Theatrical Release Review

Plot:

Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, decides to spread Christmas joy to the world. But his well-meaning mission unwittingly puts Santa Clause in jeopardy and creates a nightmare for all good little boys and girls everywhere! Who will save Christmas? (Ben Fancher IMDB)

Critique:

I remember the first time I saw “The Nightmare Before Christmas” was the summer of 2014 (ironic, I know) and I remember absolutely adoring it ever since. Now there’s been, naturally, a debate whether this is a Halloween or a Christmas movie… my input is that it can be both. My tradition has been to watch this film every Christmas because I’ve never been able to watch this on Halloween, until this year.

Well, I guess October 26 is close enough to Halloween. Originally I wasn’t going to do this review because I felt like there wasn’t going to be much input I could provide on here that I couldn’t already tell you from the 5 other viewings I’ve had of this film, but alas, by popular demand I’m doing this review to also add my theater experience to this review.

The stop-motion style of this movie is top notch, and it’s incredible that it still holds up even after its 1993 release. The thing I noticed about it on the big screen, rather than the small screen that I’m used to, is you can see more details on the characters, including rips and tears in the clothes.

The score in this movie is so good, that I actually own it on iTunes, but the sound quality is much better in the theater, the bass is boosted, and you can hear every individual instrument all around you. The musical parts seem natural, and it helps the exposition of the film as it goes along. “This is Halloween” Kidnap the Sandy Claws” “Oogie Boogie’s Song” and “Finale/ Reprise” are still my favorite songs off the score, and it was neat to be able to hear them and gage some of the audience reactions to see which songs they liked.

Grade:

This is probably the most predictable review I’ve done, but since y’all wanted it y’all got it.

“The Nightmare Before Christmas” is in my top 3 all-time favorite Tim Burton films along with “Edward Scissorhands” and “Beetlejuice” so this is already going to get a good grade.

I haven’t been able to see this in 3D yet, so until then it’s a 9/10 or an A.

“The Haunting of Hill House” REVIEW| A Netflix Original Horror Series

Plot Synopsis:

Flashing between past and present, a fractured family confronts haunting memories of their old home and the terrifying events that drove them from it. (Netflix)

Critique:

Normally on my blog I’ll do reviews for theatrical releases, however in rare cases I’ll review Straight To DVD Titles (case in point, see my review of “Batman Ninja”) and with something like Netflix’s “The Haunting of Hill House” I feel so profoundly to talk about this series, because this HAS to be talked about!

As many of you may know, I’m a huge fan of horror- I practically grew up on horror because my grandmother would let me watch old black and white horror films whenever I visited her. And for a while now, I haven’t really seen anything that had caused me the same terror as those movies did where I had to leave the lights on before I’d go to bed…. that is, until this series.

So, what makes this series so scary? For me, what makes this show incredibly terrifying, and downright horrifying is the blend of the supernatural along with the very real issues this family is plagued with both while living in the house, and even after leaving it. The house, we later find out, is very much a character itself and the impact it has on the family inhabiting it is very sinister. Some members of the Crane family do very dangerous stuff to themselves as a way to cope with what happened in the house, other members exploit it as a way to make a career. So yes, the ghosts, ghouls, and malevolent spirits are terrifying- but the scariest thing is the fact that this haunted house has tore apart this family in a truly tragic way.

The one thing this show definitely nails is the atmosphere, it makes you feel like you’re actually a resident in this haunted house. Another neat touch is if you pay close enough attention, you’ll see some specters lurking in the darkest corners of the house. Another thing that really helps build the atmosphere is the score in the series, it definitely sets the mood. Something else that this series does is produce horrifying images that will forever be burned into your brain, so if the atmosphere and mood doesn’t affect you, the disturbing visuals definitely will!

Another thing I like is, just like in the movie “Oculus”, this show jumps from the past to the present, back and forth in time almost seamlessly. Some people may have a problem with this, but for me it’s a great way to connect certain events together… one significant event being the reveal of The Bent Neck Lady’s identity, which got the biggest reaction from me.

Now while there are a few false jump scares (sorry, I gotta mention it) there’s still plenty of very real moments of terror to keep you gripped to your seat.

Grade:

This is honestly one of the most terrifying shows I’ve seen in a while, and it’s definitely more effective than something like “The Nun” that I’ve seen this year- so I have no choice but to give “The Haunting in Hill House” a 10/10 or an A+. If you’re a fan of horror, you NEED to watch this series!

“Hell Fest” Movie Review

Synopsis:

“On Halloween night, three young women and their respective boyfriends head to Hell Fest — a ghoulish traveling carnival that features a labyrinth of rides, games and mazes. They soon face a bloody night of terror when a masked serial killer turns the horror theme park into his own personal playground” (Google).

Review:

When I saw the trailer to this movie on FaceBook, I was intrigued because I thought the concept of a serial killer hunting down teenagers, or in this case-college students, was a cool idea. But this film isn’t just a cool concept- it honestly feels like an homage, or even a love letter to the 1990’s era of slasher films like “Scream”. I like the fact that the beginning of the film felt like a party when the group is having fun at this horror themed festival, but as soon as they realize the very real danger they’re in… the movie becomes suspenseful, and somewhat uncomfortable.

I also like the fact that the serial killer, who isn’t given a name, feels like Micheal Myers in the way that he’s treated like a force of nature instead of a human being. The mask the killer uses is cool and it also serves a purpose of letting him blend in. Another cool fact I like about the killer is that they give you subtle hints at what his motivation could possibly be, and even at the end- the movie makes you come up with you’re own interpretation.

I thought the group of college kids played their roles well, there weren’t any nonsensical cliques amongst the group like the slutty chick or the dumb jock… they felt like real college kids. I felt each person amongst the group had a chance to shine.

Grade:

“Hell Fest” doesn’t really do anything new with the slasher genre, but it uses the DNA of the genre extremely well, and if you’re a fan of horror- I’d suggest giving it a watch. It feels like a good companion piece to films like “Halloween” “Scream” and “Friday the 13” so with all that being said, I’m going to give “Hell Fest” a 9/10 or an A.

Like I said, it doesn’t do anything new with the genre, but it’s a lot of fun and it feels like going into a horror amusement without having to physically be there.

“Searching” Movie Review | A desktop narrative done right

Synopsis:

After David Kim (John Cho)’s 16-year-old daughter goes missing, a local investigation is opened and a detective is assigned to the case. But 37 hours later and without a single lead, David decides to search the one place no one has looked yet, where all secrets are kept today: his daughter’s laptop. In a hyper-modern thriller told via the technology devices we use every day to communicate, David must trace his daughter’s digital footprints before she disappears forever.

Analysis:

After seeing “Unfriended: The Dark Web”, I was worried about my enjoyability of this film- and seeing that SONY was involved in this didn’t help calm down my fears, but after seeing this movie I gotta say… this is a pretty solid film.

A question I asked myself during this film is this: did this film have to use this format? Could this story be told in the conventional method? And the answer is… sure it could’ve been done in the normal style of film making, but I don’t think it would’ve had the same impact it had with the style the filmmakers chose.

The reason why this style works is because this is a detective/ mystery film that unravels information in the moment, in motion. And getting the info this way felt very realistic to me. As the story continues and as you get more information, you’re gripping the edge of your seat because you’re genuinely concerned for the well being of the characters, because the biggest triumph of this film is getting you emotionally invested in the characters. These characters feel like real human beings, and they have clear goals and motivations. The scariest thing about this film is making you realize that you may think you know someone, but the cold hard truth is you only know a small portion of who that person really is… and that’s something that sticks with you even after the film concludes.

There are a couple of red herrings in this film that add to the drama. When you unravel what happened, everything starts to make sense, and the ending is emotionally satisfying. Basically, the payoff is great to this film, unlike “Dark Web” where the only payoff we get after being with these ‘characters’ is the main character getting run over by a car (sorry spoiler, but only if that’s the ending you get- which unfortunately I got.) So going forward, whenever I see another film in this style, I’m gonna compare it to this film.

Grade:

This film could’ve easily been terrible, but because it was in competent hands and John Cho carries the film excellently, this film rises above the initial fears I had and delivers an excellent film. I can’t really think of any problems I had with the film without it seeming like I’m just nitpicking, so I’m actually gonna give this film (for the first time ever) a 10/10 or the grade of an A.