Jordan Peele’s “US” Review

Plot Synopsis:

Accompanied by her husband, son and daughter, Adelaide Wilson returns to the beachfront home where she grew up as a child. Haunted by a traumatic experience from the past, Adelaide grows increasingly concerned that something bad is going to happen. Her worst fears soon become a reality when four masked strangers descend upon the house, forcing the Wilsons into a fight for survival. When the masks come off, the family is horrified to learn that each attacker takes the appearance of one of them. (Google)

Critique:

Jordan Peele burst onto the scene with his horror masterpiece “Get Out” which was a critical success and garnered him an Academy Award… so the pressure was on when his sophomore film “US” was announced- so does this film crumble under the pressure or is it another hit for Jordan Peele?

I’m going to be as vague as possible with this review because it’s better to go into this film knowing as little as possible. The biggest difference between “Get Out” and “US” is the script. “Get Out” had a very tight script where questions were brought up and eventually answered very satisfactory. In the film “US”, some questions are raised, but there’s not necessarily an answer to it… a lot of this film is intentionally left open-ended and vague, which depending on how you are as an audience, can be very annoying or really cool.

Lupita Nyong’o is easily the break-out star in this film as she has to balance playing Adelaide, a loving- yet very protective mother, and Red her twisted and disturbed doppelgänger. Thinking about it, there wasn’t really anyone I remember who did a bad or horrible job with the role they had in this film, but Lupita is definitely the star in this film.

There’s a lot of symbolism, metaphors, and hidden meanings in the film that requires multiple viewings… however, like I said- not everything has an answer. That doesn’t mean you still can’t talk about this movie with your friends and share theories with each other– it just means that a lot of stuff is up to interpretation.

The only real negative I have with the film is the fact that the doppelgänger‘s, also known as the Tethered, have certain rules they abide by- but when you start questioning things about them and how things are supposed to work- the film starts to fall apart.

Grade:

Is this film better than “Get Out”? I wouldn’t say so- but it’s still a very good movie that has an ending that makes you think for a while… which is why it took me such a long time to get to this review- however as I mentioned… asking questions about the logistics of the Tethered blows holes in this movie, and the script isn’t as tight.

Therefore I give Jordan Peele’s “US” a 8/10 or a B.

“Happy Death Day 2U” REVIEW

Plot Synopsis:

Tree Gelbman discovers that dying over and over was surprisingly easier than the dangers that lie ahead (IMDb).

Review:

I was a huge fan of the 2017 film “Happy Death Day”, it was an innovative way to do a slasher film by implementing the “Groundhog Day” formula- thus making it comedic at the same time. Going into this movie, I was really worried because I was afraid that this movie would tarnish the first one- but surprisingly, this one is a bit better than the first one.

Part of the reason why this one is a bit better is because this movie implements another genre in this film: Sci-fi. I can’t tell you how it uses that genre, but if you watch the trailer, you can come up with a guess- and it actually freshens up the film by expanding the story. I also liked that there were some innovative ways characters were killed in this film.

Another thing I liked about this movie, is that it starts with Carter’s roommate, Ryan, as the loop happens with him. Meaning that anyone can be affected by the loop that affected Tree in the first one.

Part of the charm of these films is the subtle messages that’s in the film. In the first one, it was about the stuck-up Tree learning to be a better person. And in this one, Tree is thrusted into a situation where she’s stuck choosing between two hard choices, each with their own consequences.

The only negatives I have with this movie is 1) we gotta stop referencing “Back To The Future” with these time travel movies… there’s more time travel movies out there. Plus, I already saw a movie that referenced “Back To The Future” last week, so this is becoming an epidemic. And 2) just like in the first one, the killer has a pretty petty reason for wanting to kill his victim. I rolled with it in the first one, but for this film- I just wasn’t feeling it.

There’s a pretty entertaining stinger in the middle of the credits, so I recommend staying for that.

Grade:

I’m gonna give “Happy Death Day 2U” a 8.5/10 or a B+

I liked this film a lot, but those negatives bothered me too much from giving it anything higher.

“Reign of the Supermen” Movie Review

Synopsis:

Following Superman’s sacrifice to defeat Doomsday, the world reels from the superhero’s death. Several different versions of the hero pop up on Earth to take his place, including Superboy, Steel, Cyborg Superman, and Eradicator (Wikipedia).

Review:

To be honest, this was an unplanned review from me, and y’all can thank the snow for me being able to see this film.

This film is the sequel to “Death of Superman” and serves to complete the famous comic arc, and as an animated adaptation- this is as faithful an adaptation that we’ll get because the DC Animated movies have always been great 9/10 (we don’t talk about the animated “Killing Joke” film.) So I feel like if this got a live action adaptation, it wouldn’t have been as good.

The voice cast in this film does its job well, and I have to give credit to Patrick Fabian as Cyborg Superman for being able to capture the madness the character possesses, this also goes to the animators for being able to physically twist the character in certain shots to truly show the audience the torment and shear madness the character is going through.

Another thing I’ll say about Cyborg Superman is I understand his motivation- I don’t agree with his methods, but I get where he’s coming from.

Another character I really enjoyed is Superboy voiced by Cameron Monaghan, (famous for his portrayal of Jerome in the TV Series “Gotham”) the thing I liked about the character is he’s cocky and arrogant, and feels like he has a chip on his shoulder, but over time he acts more mature in the film, especially when he learns vital information about himself.

The one thing I was hoping to see that I was excited about was the debut of the black suit, mullet Superman- and it was worth the wait in my opinion. Superman isn’t fully powered because of the process used to revive him, so his fight with his cybernetic counterpart becomes more nerve-wracking.

Grade:

DC has always excelled at their animated features, as opposed to their live action counterparts, and after seeing this back to back with Death of Superman… it’s a sequel that serves its purpose whilst also telling its own narrative. I felt like Steel was shafted, but that’s the only negative I have with the film, so I’ll give this a 8.5/10 or a B+

Halloween (2018) Review

Plot Synopsis:

It’s been 40 years since Laurie Strode survived a vicious attack from crazed killer Michael Myers on Halloween night. Locked up in an institution, Myers manages to escape when his bus transfer goes horribly wrong. Laurie now faces a terrifying showdown when the masked madman returns to Haddonfield, Ill. — but this time, she’s ready for him. (Google)

Critique:

Out of all the iconic slasher characters, Michael Myers has always scared me the most because of several factors of the character: the blank expressionless mask followed by the heavy breathing, how much of a giant he is, and the fact that you have no idea if he’s entirely human. Michael seems to have no real motive, and he’ll sit right up from a gunshot like The Undertaker and Kane- and the mysterious, unknown nature of the character has always frightened me. In this film, Michael Myers retains some of those same traits, but the film humanizes him a bit- he can still be wounded, but he’s like an uncaged animal- and if you wound him and corner him enough, he becomes even more dangerous than he already was. I also have to mention that the design of his mask in this film is incredible, it’s been aged and worn out to give it a gritty, grizzled look that works for this iteration of the character. Another cool thing is you never get a clear look at Myers’ face, you’ll get a profile, a close up of the side of his face, and shots of his glassy, dead looking eyes, and it leaves it to your imagination to fill in the blanks.

Jamie Lee Curtis returns as Laurie Strode, and the way her character is portrayed is a breath of fresh air. Obviously she would be traumatized because of the near-fatal encounter she had with Michael in 1978, but that event has traumatized her so much that she’s become a walking embodiment of PTSD, and this trauma doesn’t just affect her- it affects her relationship with her family. Michael has gotten to Laurie in such a psychological way, that Laurie is alienated by her family due to her paranoia.

Another thing I like about this movie is John Carpenter’s score. It still retains the classic vibe of the 1978 film, but it’s been revamped in a modern way using electronic synths and violins, and an interesting thing to note is Carpenter’s son helped write the soundtrack with him.

Something I have to mention is the fact that there are some false jump scares, which is a modern horror trope that gets on my nerves, but there’s enough real genuine horror moments that outweigh those few moments I was annoyed at. Another thing that normally bugs me is when characters conveniently lose IQ points whenever they’re chased by the antagonist, but I won’t really hold that against the film because it honestly feels like it’s embracing that trope of the slasher franchise.

One thing I will hold against this film, however, is that flat ending this film delivers. Look, I know that the original film didn’t necessarily have the most concrete ending either, and this is obviously a tribute to that film, but the reason why this one is inexcusable to me is the fact that they zoom in on a character holding a knife… and that’s where they cut to credits. That frustrated me, because what am I supposed to take away from an ending like that?

I appreciate that this film wipes away the other movies in the franchise, and it makes Michael scary again, but that flat ending bugged the hell out of me, and you lose points for that.

Grade:

Halloween (2018) is definitely going to make fans of the Halloween franchise happy, and there’s no doubt it’ll do well in the box office, but the biggest critique of mine is that ending.

So, I have no choice but to give this film a 8.5/10 or a B+

To get the full experience: watch the original film and listen to the song “Stabbing in the Dark” by Ice Nine Kills, and you’ll be all set to see this movie!

Mission Impossible: Fallout

Plot:

Ethan Hunt and the IMF team join forces with CIA assassin August Walker to prevent a disaster of epic proportions. Arms dealer John Lark and a group of terrorists known as the Apostles plan to use three plutonium cores for a simultaneous nuclear attack on the Vatican, Jerusalem and Mecca, Saudi Arabia. When the weapons go missing, Ethan and his crew find themselves in a desperate race against time to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands.

Review:

It’s rare for me to watch a movie where I’m so engrossed by what I’m watching, that I’m actually gripping my seat out of nervousness… and that’s honestly the biggest compliment I can give this film.

This is the sixth installment of the Mission Impossible franchise, and this is probably one of the darkest films in the series, there’s a lot of twist and turns, and you have no idea who to trust in this film.

The characters in this movie are more human than they’ve ever been in the previous two films in my opinion because there’s consequences for every action, and a situation that you’re normally prepared for gets more complicated whenever a small detail is overlooked, or not thought of ahead of time.

Speaking of characters, I really liked Henry Cavill’s character, August Walker- because he’s the polar opposite of Tom Cruise’s character, Ethan Hunt. Ethan Hunt prefers to be more covert, and stealthy- and if August isn’t punching something, he’s not interested in it. He’s aggressive, dangerous, and once he’s made his mind up on something, he doesn’t let anything deviate him from his goal.

The reason why I gripped my seat so much in this film was because most of the action was done practically by the actors, especially Tom Cruise- who has made this gimmick of his an attraction to see the films… so when you see someone jumping off roofs, planes, and motorcycles, it’s very nerve-racking to watch knowing that it’s the actors, and not stunt people doing this.

The only problem I had with this movie was I wasn’t feeling the villain in this film… to be honest though, I don’t think any of the other villains can be as good as Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Mission Impossible 3.

Grade:

I had a lot of fun in this film, and if you’ve enjoyed any of the MI films (except Mission Impossible 2, we don’t talk about that film) then I think you’ll enjoy it too!

I’m giving “Mission Impossible: Fallout” a 8.5/10 or a B+

The Incredibles 2 UPDATED Movie Review

I try not to make this sort of thing as a habit because I try to review movies as accurately as I possibly can, no matter what outside factors I’m faced with, however- I was so distracted by two teenagers talking next to me, ruining my experience, that I felt like that aspect didn’t allow me to judge the movie fairly.

Today I went and saw the movie again and had a MUCH better experience… So instead of going through the usual motions of describing the plot and all that, I’m going to provide a deeper analysis on what I picked up the second viewing of seeing this motion picture.

For starters, I immediately noticed that the animation quality is immensely improved from the first film… the colors are richer and more dynamic. The action in this movie is amazing, especially the scene with Elastigirl chasing a runaway train on a motorcycle. And I also love the fact that there’s a subtle time period this film takes place in, which looks like the 1960’s to me.

I’m still not a fan of Screenslaver after seeing this again, and wish The Underminer had a bigger role since I really wanted to see more of him. Speaking of villains, I’m calling this right now: if they make The Incredibles 3, I believe a grown up Jack Jack is gonna be the Villain because if his lack of control over his powers, and his potential as a threat to society could push him to the path of evil.

The movie goes through the basic superhero beats, but it keeps up the energy and charm that makes it stand out from other super hero films- and I like the fact that there’s a huge message in this film: that parenting is just as heroic as going around town in a costume, saving the day.

Taking in account all the things I noticed this time around, and the fact I had a more pleasant experience this time, I’m bumping up my rating of this film to a 8.5/10 or a B+

“Upgrade” Movie Review | The Sleeper Hit of 2018

Plot:

In the distant future, a brutal mugging leaves Grey Trace paralyzed and his beloved wife dead. Not content with how his life has been changed, a billionaire inventor offers Grey a solution- an artificial intelligence implant called STEM that enhances his body. Now with his life upgraded, Grey uses his newfound superhuman skills to hunt down the men who ruined his life and seek the vengeance he feels he deserves.

Review:

If this is the future that’s in store for us, then it’s a truly horrifying future to live in. There are people in this film that have mechanical implants that are crudely done, such as guns being implanted into people’s arms.

As a film with a small or limited budget- I was very impressed with what was done, mostly due to Leigh Whannell’s directing. In case y’all don’t know who Leigh Whannell is, he’s one of the creative producers of the first SAW film- a film he also starred in, and he directed Insidious Chapter 3. The camera angles and tricks used in this film were both very impressive and effective to tell the dark gritty mood of this film, but also to ramp up the action in this film.

If y’all saw the trailer to this movie, you might’ve mistaken the actor in this film as Tom Hardy because how similar both men look, sorry to disappoint you, Logan-Marshall Green isn’t Tom Hardy, but he might as well be with his amazing acting chops in this film. He was able to balance horror, comedy, drama, and the robotic movements the AI implanted into his body had him doing. All these different things were done seamlessly and without that, I’m not sure the movie would have succeeded as well.

Another thing about this movie I enjoyed were the dark tones of the film, and the action. There’s gore in this film, but it’s not over-used and whenever it is used… it’s used effectively to let the audience know that things have gotten serious.

One of the things that I didn’t like about this film is how some of the characters aren’t completely fleshed out… you have some villains that are just bad guys with mechanical enhancements. You have a female detective that you don’t know much about. And the billionaire inventor is a weird, quirky, anti-social Leonardo DiCaprio clone that was made in a lab somewhere.

However, the ending to this film was so dark, so clever, that it somehow evened everything out for me… the more I think about it, I feel like this would be great for something like “Black Mirror”, a Netflix show that is the Sci-Fi, modern day Twilight Zone.

As a jaded Movie Critic, it’s hard for me to find a movie that feels different, and breathes fresh air into my lungs as I’m surrounded by giant Blockbusters that all feel so manufactured and by-the-numbers. It’s nice to finally have something fresh and different in the theater, and I feel like this movie is gonna take a lot of people by surprise.

Grade:

I said a lot of good things about this film, but it’s not a perfect film, the problems are still there- but that doesn’t mean it isn’t enjoyable… I came to see the action and it delivered that and more. I’m giving “Upgrade” a 8.5/10 or a B+

This is the Sleeper Hit of not only the Summer, but I’d also say it’s the Sleeper Hit of 2018. I defiantly recommend giving this film a watch!

Avengers: Infinity War (Non-Spoiler) REVIEW

Plot: Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk and the rest of the Avengers unite to battle their most powerful enemy yet — the evil Thanos. On a mission to collect all six Infinity Stones, Thanos plans to use the artifacts to inflict his twisted will on reality. The fate of the planet and existence itself has never been more uncertain as everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment.

Review:

10 years, 18 movies… That’s what has led up to this film. I feel like in order to get the most enjoyment out of this film, you have to put in the work and dedication by watching at least 90% of the films in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) however, that doesn’t mean the average audience member isn’t gonna get something enjoyable from this film… it just means you may have a lot of questions that you’ll have to get your friend or family member to fill you in about.

I would describe this film as a superhero WWE WrestleMania event, meaning there’s a lot of characters on the screen beating the crap out of each other for the majority of the film. Calling this film ‘action packed’ is a bit of an understatement, but there’s also Marvel’s signature moments that gets some chuckles.

One of my only complaints in this film is that we meet The Black Order, also known as The Children of Thanos- and we don’t really get to see any development or backstory from them… except for Ebony Maw who is pretty much Thanos’ Hype Man in the film.

Speaking of Thanos… I don’t ever wanna hear anyone defend Steppenwolf from ‘Justice League’ because THIS is how you truly make a terrifying, awe-inspiring, and powerful villain for a bunch of heroes to fight. Josh Brolin did an amazing job as Thanos. He’s a self-assured villain who has his own ideals, and morals. He’s planned for this moment for years, and he will let nothing get in his way of achieving his goal. He’s also a villain that’s cool, calm, and collected- he never has to shout or raise his voice because he doesn’t see the point in it. And to be honest, after hearing his reasoning for what he wanted to do, I have to admit I kinda saw where he was coming from, and in a way I kinda rooted for him to win.

I won’t go into spoilers, but I will say that if you’ve attached yourself to a certain character in the MCU, you’ll have to say goodbye to them in this movie, because a lot of characters die in this film. At the end of the film, there wasn’t a single applause in the theater- everyone was silent due to sheer shock and awe. I feel like this is exactly how it was to see ‘Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back’ in the theater back in the day, and I gotta hand it to the film makers for creating that feeling for the audience.

Grade:

I’ve had 24 hours to process this film, and I’m in between a rock and a hard place with my rating. I really enjoyed the film, but there were some stuff that didn’t exactly work. Overall though, with as many characters as there are in this film, I’m impressed with what they were able to do. If I have to snap my finger (😉) in order to get a proper grade, I’ll give Avengers: Infinity War a 8.5/10 or a B+.

Black Panther

Plot:

After the death of his father, T’Challa returns home to the African nation of Wakanda to take his rightful place as king. When a powerful enemy suddenly reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king — and as Black Panther — gets tested when he’s drawn into a conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people.

Review:

I only have a few complaints, so I’m gonna get those out of the way because this was a really good movie!

So to start, Micheal B Jordan’s character, Eric Killmonger appears in the beginning of the movie and does something…. but then disappears for 30 minutes before showing back up. I loved his character, but I completely forgot about him until he showed back up, and I felt like he should’ve been in the movie more.

My other complaint is I felt some of the stuff that happened in the third act of the movie felt a bit convenient to me.

And that’s pretty much it. I liked T’Challa’s struggle on transitioning from a warrior into a king, I liked that Killmonger was a very sympathetic villain and you understood where he was coming from. All the female characters were complete badasses which isn’t something you see a lot, and I felt like the African lifestyle was portrayed well in this movie!

Grade:

Finally got a good movie after a train of bad movies early this year, lol.

I’m giving Black Panther a 8/10 or a B+