“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” Review

Plot Synopsis:

In an effort to thwart Grindelwald’s plans of raising pure-blood wizards to rule over all non-magical beings, Albus Dumbledore enlists his former student Newt Scamander, who agrees to help, unaware of the dangers that lie ahead. Lines are drawn as love and loyalty are tested, even among the truest friends and family, in an increasingly divided wizarding world (Google).

Critique:

This is the second installment of the Harry Potter spin-off series, Fantastic Beasts… or as I like to call it, the Harry Potter Pokémon series- and I gotta say, it’s not as bad as some of the critics are saying it is.

Some of the things I really like about the film is that David Yates does a good job directing this film. There’s some beautiful shots, and the visual effects look amazing in this movie.

Another thing I liked is that some of the creatures in this film are more interesting to me than some of the creatures in the first film. For instance, a creature I really liked was the Zouwu, which is this Chinese creature that’s a mix of a lion and a dragon.

Out of all his recent performances, this is Johnny Depp’s best as Grindelwald- he’s a charismatic villain with a silver tongue, and unless you’ve seen some of his heinous actions in the beginning of the film, you could fall under his spell.

Dan Fogler reprises his role as Jacob Kowalski, and I was annoyed that they brought him back at first, but I actually liked him a lot more in this movie. In the first Fantastic Beasts film he was the comedy relief, and in this film he’s often times the voice of reason. There’s even a scene I like where he’s giving Newt advice on how to talk to a girl he likes, and their dialogue together is hilarious!

The last thing I’ll say is there’s a major plot twist in the end that I did not see coming, and I’m interested to see how that plays into the next three films.

Now it’s time to get into the negatives: the story in this film feels all over the place to me, and it feels scatter brained, like there’s no consistency between ideas. Another issue I have is this film has way too many expositional scenes, or scenes involving flashbacks. There’s one scene where we’re given about five minutes of exposition, only for a character to say “actually this is how it happened” and we get ten minutes of flashbacks.

Grade:

I’m hoping that this film is just a bump in the road, and that the next three films sort the story out, because this series doesn’t have any source material like the original series had.

If you’re a die-hard Harry Potter fan, you’re going to like this a lot. If you’re just a casual viewer, this probably won’t be your cup of tea.

I’m giving “Fantastic Beasts 2” a 7/10 or a C.

“Ant Man & The Wasp” Movie REVIEW

Plot:

Scott Lang is grappling with the consequences of his choices as both a superhero and a father. Approached by Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym, Lang must once again don the Ant-Man suit and fight alongside the Wasp. The urgent mission soon leads to secret revelations from the past as the dynamic duo finds itself in an epic battle against a powerful new enemy.

Review:

Coming off the cusp of Infinity War, I knew this film was gonna be more light-hearted, especially with how Infinity War ended… I think everyone needed a laugh.

Paul Rudd once again does an amazing job as Scott Lang, AKA Ant Man, and it helps that he has the demeanor of a good buddy of yours who occasionally screws something up.

Hope AKA The Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) is once again another badass female character in a Marvel movie, but what makes her character special is the fact that she’s in tune with the technology in the movie better than Scott, and shows him his true potential, if he wasn’t always messing up.

There’s two villains in this movie: Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins) and Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) Sonny was just a typical thug villain, and Ghost was the villain I enjoyed the most. She’s a sympathetic villain that isn’t exactly doing the right thing, but you understand where she’s coming from once you learn her backstory- plus it doesn’t hurt that the actress playing the character is insanely attractive to me.

One of the highlights of this film to me is the interaction between Hank Pym (Micheal Douglas) and Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne) because those are two character that absolutely hate each other, and seeing the roast-fest was highly entertaining to me.

Now comes one of the negatives in this film that I didn’t address, Michael Peña, I have no gripe against him personally- but his character in this film annoyed the hell outta me. I know he’s supposed to be the comic relief, but cracking bad puns and hollering at the top of his lungs isn’t funny to me- if you can tolerate his character, then you’re a stronger person than me.

Another issue I had with the film is the fact that if there’s so shrinking of growing in this film- then there’s nothing really going on with the film.

Now, listen to me because I’m trying to help you here…. there’s two post-credit sequences in this film. The FIRST one is the one you’ve been waiting for that helps connect to Infinity War. The SECOND post-credit sequence is something that’s shown in the trailer, and offers nothing to the film. The reason I’m telling you this is because I know your time is precious, and I don’t want you wasting your time on something meaningless.

Grade:

Ant Man isn’t really a superhero that I’m a big fan of but I found myself enjoying it for the film it’s supposed to be, so I’m going to give this film a 7/10 or a C.

“The First Purge” MOVIE REVIEW

Plot:

To push the crime rate below one percent for the rest of the year, the New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA) test a sociological theory that vents aggression for one night in one isolated community. But when the violence of oppressors meets the rage of the others, the contagion will explode from the trial-city borders and spread across the nation.

Review:

As a fan of how The Purge trilogy progressed from a standard Break-in thriller to a horrific, anarchy filled action series- I was intrigued by the thought of a prequel exploring how exactly The Purge got created.

After seeing the original Purge movie with Ethan Hawke, I joked about how I could see something like The Purge happening in the next 10 years, but after seeing this movie- and seeing how the economic, political, and social unrest that’s portrayed in this film is mirrored by our own- I could see The Purge happening in the next 3 years…. and that’s the most horrifying thing about this film.

I thought my dude, Skeletor (Rotimi Paul) set-up the tone perfectly in the beginning of the film when he was being interviewed on whether or not he would participate in the experiment, and seeing how psychotic he was let me know I was in for a wild ride. He honestly stole the show for me the more I saw him in action.

Much like the first film, this movie starts as a thriller with political elements sprinkled in… Actually, sprinkled in might be a bit of an understatement because this might be the most politically driven film of the franchise- some of it is done subtly, others are blatant. Most of those blatant political themes have to do with President Trump- honestly I’m surprised I haven’t seen him tweet something about this movie yet… but even if he did, I guarantee this movie would use his tweet as promotion, which is somewhat ironic, but at this point, nothing really surprises me anymore.

I will say, there are two negatives to this film- The Architect (Marisa Tomei) created The Purge experiment as a social experiment for citizens to release their anger and frustrations- but when the Government sends out trained mercenaries to dispatch lower class citizens, she’s horrified… that bugged me because honestly, how else did you think your research was gonna be used? Another thing that bugged me was the ending was so flat, and I know it’s because they’re releasing a TV Show, but I just want some finality in my movie.

Once the action ramps up, that’s when I found myself really enjoying the film. I thought that Demetri (Y’lan Noel) was a total badass, and I really liked the costume designs in this film… one of them that really caught my attention was a dude dressed as Black Skull with the full leather jacket, Nazi garb leading a bunch of dudes wearing blackface masks. I chuckled a bit to myself when I saw this because of the sick, twisted, demented logic of it.

Grade:

I found myself enjoying this film more than I thought I would, but The Architect complaining about how her study was being used, and that flat ending really bothered me.

I’m giving The First Purge a 7.5/10 or a C+

“The Incredibles 2” Movie Review

Plot:

Everyone’s favorite family of superheroes is back in “Incredibles 2” – but this time Helen (voice of Holly Hunter) is in the spotlight, leaving Bob (voice of Craig T. Nelson) at home with Violet (voice of Sarah Vowell) and Dash (voice of Huck Milner) to navigate the day-to-day heroics of “normal” life. It’s a tough transistion for everyone, made tougher by the fact that the family is still unaware of baby Jack-Jack’s emerging superpowers. When a new villain hatches a brilliant and dangerous plot, the family and Frozone (voice of Samuel L. Jackson) must find a way to work together again—which is easier said than done, even when they’re all Incredible.

Review:

It’s been 14 years since the last “Incredibles” movie came out, a fact they addressed in the video package at the beginning of the film, so it’s safe to say that expectations were pretty high for this film, especially with how nearly perfect the first film was.

So, I’m just gonna get straight to the point with this, and I’m gonna address this right here and right now… This movie is not as good as the first Incredibles movie, but I had a feeling that was gonna be the case since the first movie was lightning in a bottle.

However, this is still a good movie in my opinion. The film takes place right after the end of the first movie, so Superheroes are still banned from society, which makes it extremely difficult since this movie centers on a whole family of superheroes, especially and infant that has no control of his powers.

The unique approach this movie took with Helen AKA Elastagirl going out on missions to help a spokesman get Superheroes unbanned while Bob AKA Mr. Incredible stays at home to help with the kids was a welcomed change to me. One of my favorite aspects of that whole subplot was Violet’s story on her struggling with a guy she likes while also having the responsibilities as a superhero, and of course she’s a teenager so she doesn’t really handle these situations the best way possible.

Now let me talk about the weakest part of this movie… The villain, Screenslaver. I’m sorry but there’s no way they were gonna beat Syndrome from the first one because he wasn’t just a villain, he was also a statement on how toxic a fan can get. And they tried to put some message with Screenslaver, but this message felt weaker to me.

Another observation I made (which was neither good or bad) was the fact that these other superheroes that appear in the film looks like a bunch of Fortnight reject skins, and I thought that was hilarious.

Grade:

This is still a good movie to me, but the villain sucked, there wasn’t as many laughs, and two teenagers just kept talking next to me. (That’s not the fault of the movie, I just wanted to mention it because I’m still heated about it.)

Incredibles 2 gets a 7.5/10 or a C+

“Hereditary” Movie Review | Genuinely Scary or Overhyped?

Plot: When Ellen passes away, her daughter’s family begins to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry. The more they discover, the more they find themselves trying to outrun the sinister fate they seem to have inherited.

Review:

As a huge fan of horror movies, this was one of the films I was looking forward to this year- but based off all the horror films that have let me down this year (Winchester, Insidious 4, Truth or Dare) I was a bit skeptical of all the praise the film had gotten at the film festival it premiered at… Because to be honest, all the drunk hipsters tend to overhype movies they see at the festivals. One example of a film I actually liked from one of the festivals was the last film I reviewed, which was “Upgrade.”

Now let me just get this out of the way before I continue… “Hereditary” is NOT the scariest film ever made, it’s creepy and there’s some effective moments, but this film suffers in my opinion because of all the hype that those drunk hipsters provided for it. I honestly thought the trailers were much scarier than the film itself.

I could be wrong in my opinion, after all- fear is subjective… different things scare different people, and this film explores a pretty dark topic, which is family drama- the fear of inheriting traits from your family that you despise, and insanity in general. This film explores how the simplest mistakes can have dire consequences, and I thought that Toni Collette did an amazing job portraying all these moods as the mother who has recently lost her own mother and has to try to keep her family together.

Some of the creepiest shots and scenes in this film involves the miniature houses that Toni Collette’s character works on in the film, and there’s scenes with a wide shot where you may or may not see something peering from the shadows… those are the scenes that truly got the hairs on my neck standing up. But my problem with the film is that it starts to lead you in one direction, but towards the third act- goes into a completely different direction. To put it better, I felt that the ending to this movie was very contradictory to the story the film was telling.

Grade:

“Hereditary” may not be the scariest film ever made, but it’s a lot better than most of the horror films I’ve seen this year… it’s creepy and effective with what it tries to achieve- but like I said in my review, it suffers from the festival hype.

I’m going to give Hereditary a 7.5/10 or a C+

Deadpool 2 Review

Plot:

Foul-mouthed mutant mercenary Wade Wilson (AKA. Deadpool), brings together a team of fellow mutant rogues to protect a young boy of supernatural abilities from the brutal, time-traveling mutant, Cable.

Review:

As a huge fan of the first Deadpool movie, I was very excited to see what they were gonna do with the sequel. But I’m gonna be honest, I think the first Deadpool movie is better, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that this one isn’t good.

Now it’s time for my formula of what I liked, and what I didn’t like….

The positives for this film are, it’s extremely funny- if you don’t laugh once, or at least chuckle- then you’re either easily offended, or you just have no sense of humor. The action in this movie is amped up to 10 and there’s some cool action sequences that are an improvement upon the first film. I thought the X-Force character, Domino was a cool addition to the film, she’s funny and a complete badass- and I loved how stylish her ‘lucky’ powers are filmed and used. Speaking of the X-Force, I won’t go into it too much- but I absolutely loved how they were used in this film. It’s so hilarious and unexpected that I feel like I should praise the film for deciding to do that, it might be a slap in the face to hardcore comic book fans, but I feel like the team did their job. The fourth wall breaks are amazing, and the mid-credit scene was so meta- I loved it.

Now let me get into the negatives:

The kid that Deadpool is trying to save from Cable, I honestly felt no attachment to. Some of the CGI was a bit spotty in my opinion, I appreciate what they were trying to do- but I felt like they were being a bit over zealous. As much as I liked Josh Brolin’s portrayal of Cable, I felt like the character lacked any personality and he seemed like a cardboard cut-out that was put in the film. And my final critic is I wasn’t too fond with the main story of the film, I felt like the story in this film was weaker than the first Deadpool movie’s story. The first Deadpool was focused on one thing start to finish, and this one seemed to be all over the place in my opinion.

Grade:

As much as I wasn’t a huge fan of the story on this film, I had a lot of fun! I laughed a lot, I enjoyed the action. The references were great, and there’s some cool surprises that caught me off guard.

So with all that being said, I’m giving Deadpool 2 a 7.5/10 or a C+

Now hold on, hold on! I know y’all are probably upset that I gave it that grade, but it’s honestly a fun time, you know what, forget it- I stand by my grade.

“Rampage” Movie Review

Plot: Rampage is a 2018 American science fiction monster film directed by Brad Peyton, loosely based on the video game series of the same name. It follows a primatologist named Davis Okoye who must team up with George, an albino gorilla who turns into a raging creature of enormous size following a rogue experiment, in order to stop an invasion of monsters.

Review: In case y’all didn’t know, this movie is based off a 1980’s game of the same name where you play as humans who have drank a formula that turns them into giant animals (a gorilla, a wolf, and a lizard) and you’d go around destroying the city… and if you died, you’d revert back to your human state. I didn’t play that version, but I played the PlayStation arcade version with the better graphics, and this movie is TOTALLY different from the games… but is that a good thing or a bad thing?

It’s a bit of both. I admire how much story they were able to do with the simple plot of the games, but that plot gets stretched REAL thin once you’re about halfway through the movie. I really enjoyed the beginning and the ending, the middle is when the movie gets super goofy. I liked the relationship between Dwayne Johnson and George the gorilla, and for the most part the creature designs were cool- the only one I wasn’t a fan of the way it looked was the giant wolf, I felt like that design was the weakest. I thought all the destruction the animals do in the film were really cool, and they really tore up Chicago. Jeffery “Lean” Morgan was pretty much just playing Negan from “The Walking Dead” and yes, I changed his middle name cuz that dude was leaning a majority of the time.

Now that I got the positives out of the way, kinda, let’s get into the negatives: the main villains of this film were just Team Rocket from Pokémon pretty much, The Rock gets shot with a bullet and he’s down for a minute, but then he gets back up and gets stronger somehow, I don’t know. There’s about three helicopters that get destroyed in this film because the director did San Andreas and he’s got a helicopter fetish for some reason, and the whole science on why the creatures are acting up makes no sense.

Overall it’s an enjoyable film, but it’s definitely not gonna win any Oscars, but that’s fine. I still think they should’ve gone with the humans turning into animals idea, but apparently from what I read, the director thought that was silly- so what do I know?

Grade: I’m giving “Rampage” a 7/10 or a C. I had fun but that middle part was really really goofy.

“Best F(r)iends” Movie Review

Plot:

A drifter encounters a quirky mortician and both learn a lesson about friendship and loyalty.

Review:

Tommy Wiseau’s film “The Room” is one of my all-time favorite guilty pleasure films, along with Nicholas Cage’s “The Wicker Man” so trust me when I say seeing Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero again on screen in theaters was an opportunity I wasn’t gonna pass up!

When the film opened up with Greg’s character, Jon, passed out on the ground sporting a beard and wearing a blood spattered white t-shirt, I knew I was in for a wild ride.

As far as the filmmaking goes, I will say that this was done more competently than “The Room” as far as the directing and cinematography of the film, and for those of you who want classic quirky lines from Tommy, you get plenty of those… there are a lot of lines that Tommy’s character says that had me and the whole theater dying.

To say this was a unique movie experience would be an understatement. If you’ve already seen “The Room” then you know what you’re getting yourself into. If you’re not a fan of weird, quirky movies- then you should probably avoid this like the plague.

Grade:

I’m giving “Best F(r)iends” a 7.5/10 or a C+

I can’t wait to see Best F(r)iends Volume 2 in July!

“Unsane” movie review

Plot:

Sawyer Valentini relocates from Boston to Pennsylvania to escape from the man who’s been stalking her for the last two years. While consulting with a therapist, Valentini unwittingly signs in for a voluntary 24-hour commitment to the Highland Creek Behavioral Center. Her stay at the facility soon gets extended when doctors and nurses begin to question her sanity. Sawyer now believes that one of the staffers is her stalker — and she’ll do whatever it takes to stay alive and fight her way out.

Review:

While doing my research about this film, I found out that this whole film was filmed on a iPhone, and while watching the movie, you can definitely tell that’s the case, but I felt like that worked in the movie’s benefit. There’s a lot of shots that are close and personal making it almost feel like you’re with the characters. There’s also a lot of really cool editing that plays with your sanity, making you question your own well being while watching the film. All those were done well, but everything kinda fell apart for me towards the end of the film. I know what they were going for, but I don’t really think they succeeded with their intent, which is a bummer since it was a fairly decent film until the final ten minutes.

Grade:

I’m going to give “Unsane” a 7/10 or a C.

I definitely feel like it should be seen at least once in the theater, but I wouldn’t go out of your way to see it, especially since I know that’s it’s not a film for everyone.

“A Wrinkle in Time” movie review

Plot:

Meg Murry and her little brother, Charles Wallace, have been without their scientist father, Mr. Murry, for five years, ever since he discovered a new planet and used the concept known as a tesseract to travel there. Joined by Meg’s classmate Calvin O’Keefe and guided by the three mysterious astral travelers known as Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which, the children brave a dangerous journey to a planet that possesses all of the evil in the universe.

Review:

I knew going into this movie that I’m probably not the targeted audience for this film, and I was fine with that- but I thought it was a bad sign that the film opened with a video package from the director saying that the film is for people with child wonderment, and I took that as a sign that the studio had absolutely no confidence in this film.

Is this movie weird and trippy? Definitely! And I was rocking with it for the first half of the film because I was getting used to it… it’s just that last half that gets so absolutely bizarre and so nonsensical in the sniffing glue type of way that I felt myself getting lost in the film. There’s two movie tropes I absolutely cannot stand that this movie uses, and those tropes are ‘love is the answer, love conquers all’ and that Evil is nothing but a black cloud with tentacles and a deep voice. The reason I hate those tropes is because I find them lazy, and it was especially lazy here. The actors weren’t terrible, so I’ll give them that. But like I said, this isn’t a film made for me.

Grade:

I’ll give “A Wrinkle in Time” a 7/10 or a C. I didn’t love the movie, but I didn’t hate it either, it’s kinda Middle In The Road for me.