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MCKillswitch123's Disinfection Chamber - Y7 Reviews

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Olá, compadres. I hereby open my thread for reviews of Y7 movies.

 

Will be doing things month by month.

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Posted (edited)

JANUARY

 

Father Knows Worst - A simple, maybe even generic and clichéd but fine enough watch for families with a few slightly moving moments. Michael Ealy and Regina King are inspired choices for the leads. Surprised Tyler Perry directed a movie with head and feet. - C+

 

Hypercompetency - These fucking character names, man. Why can't any of the Wachowski sisters make it easier on us mortal beings?

 

I kid (or do I?). Hypercompetency is a VERY ambitious project. No wonder, it comes from one of the filmmakers behind The MatrixCloud AtlasSpeed Racer and the much maligned Jupiter Ascending. This one is all about two things: worldbuilding and crime drama. So, how does it fare next to Wachowski's works and as the 1st tentpole of Y7?

 

Well, it definitely feels all the way like a Wachowski film. Hypercompetency wastes no time in setting its own DNA up - it starts off grand and epic, showing off the city-state of Corence in all its glory (seriously, the 185M budget was not wasted - this is some Blade Runner-level shit) and then it jumps into a bunch of sci-fi shenanigans that it doesn't even bother to explain. I was excited for a movie intent on visual storytelling, but, while I personally had an understanding of the plot before watching the movie, so I knew what was going on, will that be the case for every viewer? Because that opening scene throws a lot at you that you may not really understand. It's a definitely a movie that warrants a rewatch with all the information acquired. Then, the opposite scenario happens: an exposition dump by our lead, Keif (played by Jake Gyllenhaal), that, while clarifying some things, also made a few others even more confusing. And that's not the only element of exposition in this movie... oh boy, if you ever wanted a lesson on how to write a script intent on explaining to you the rules of a movie's world, this is one of those movies, for sure.

 

That being said, when this movie shines, it shines. It is absolutely stunning to look at, the visuals are incredible. The action is gritty, intense and visually enthralling. The performances are good, even if a bit handicapped by the overly expository script - my highlights definitely going to Michael Shannon and Mya Taylor. And, by the end of it, you really do find yourself caring about the protection of those who deserve it in a story that really comes down to a sci-fi metaphor about the Marxist class struggle.

 

It's definitely a bit of a hard keep-up for those uninterested in paying attention, and it has a share of issues related to the script, but I would recommend Hypercompetency as an exciting, visually incredible and thematically enlightened action movie that is definitely a step above the average January movie, for sure. Let's see if the box office rewards its sequel aspirations. - B+

 

Finders Keepers - Well, truly a movie about a bunch of assholes. It's kind of amazing when a drug cartel look like the heroes in a situation. This movie is basically Final Destination lite, what with death basically chasing down each of these friends through stupidity and chaos. And while it is pretty dumb and over the top, the kills are entertaining and the ending is satisfying. A fun watch on date night. - B-

 

Outside The Law - Interesting that this movie and Finders Keepers both have a very similar ending (no spoilers), shouldn't come as a surprise that they're both from Numerator. Anyway, this is an entertaining action thriller. The cast all do a solid job, in particular O'Shea Jackson as the lead, and Andrea Berloff does a solid job of filming the carnage. It's basic shit when it comes to crime action, it's not the brightest movie in the world and it reminded me a lot of Call Of Duty: Of Their Own Accord when it comes to other movies in the genre, but hey, you do what you do. It was a fun watch with solid action. - C+

Edited by MCKillswitch123
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Posted (edited)

FEBRUARY

 

Broadway Selects: Burn This - As I mentioned before, I don't rate Broadway Selects higher than C+, because they're plays, not movies, or lower than C-, because the fact that they're plays makes them completely different types of art that has a whole kind of craft to it that you just have to respect. That being said, Burn This goes on the lower end, because it strongly relies on the chemistry (or lack there of) between the two leads. It's a simple drama but it asks you to be invested in a developing love story that doesn't really fly with me because Pale is pretty unlikeable. And Burton isn't good either, so Larry is the only one that deserves Anna. - C-

 

Starlight - Starlight, Horizon Entertainment's sole entry for the year, is Y7's first animated tentpole and, well, not the first 2D animated movie (that'd be Vixen), but certainly the first one that has quite a lot at stake. I like Alex Hirsch and Rodney Rothman a lot, I like animation a lot and I like sci-fi a lot. So how does Starlight hold up?

 

Well, I can definitely see this one becoming a child's favorite sci-fi adventure, alas Titan AE or The Iron Giant. Without going into spoilers, Starlight is more than just a sci-fi movie: it's a tribute to sci-fi. What I originally found to be derivative aspects ended up all tying together as an ensemble of pieces that make for a tribute from a clear fan of a genre. But more than just emptying all of your favorite toys and putting them in movie form, this is a pretty coherent movie on its own right that would entertain anyone of any age.

 

It's not perfect. It's tropey and the story and character development feel a bit rushed/underdeveloped at times. But it makes up in absolutely mad visual style. The 2D retro animation looks stunning and gives it a unique identity that helps it stand out from the animated tentpole pack. And, as per usual with Horizon flicks, the action is well done. It's also nice to see Ryan Potter in a big leading role, his performance is up to par and Haliar, albeit definitely a 15 year old at first, goes through an interesting coming of age journey that helps him shine as a hero. Though the standout of the cast was Daisy Ridley as Liena.

 

Yeah, it's a fun watch. Not great, but I definitely enjoyed it. - B

 

Carver - I thought early on that this movie was gonna be another "preach to the choir" faith film, but luckily, Carver subverted my expectations and admitted that the subject matter did have his share of faith, but he also managed to bring that together with pure talent and scientific prowess. That's not a typical message to be sent in a Christian film and I find that very encouraging. Otherwise, a very simple biopic about a man who may not seem all that important, but he certainly left a big mark in history. Nothing too exciting as a movie, though, but Jonathan Majors did a good job in the lead role. - C+

 

Plastic-Man - A staple of CAYOM has been the superhero film as brought to us by Endless Entertainment. We've seen it all, from animated romps like The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, to live-action blockbusters like Green Lantern CorpsPlastic Man is somewhere between both - it's live action but it's more of a comedy romp about a lesser known superhero. With the talented Nicholas Stoller at the helm, does it work?

 

I can definitely say... this was a lot of fun! A really good superhero comedy. Bill Hader and Eric Andre are gold as Patrick and Woozy, two down on their luck bros trying to live a life of hustle and ending up on the superhero side by accident. Anna Kendrick and Billy Magnussem are also great as no nonsense police officer and over the top megalomaniac psycho respectively. The humor, both physical and written/vocal, is expertly done. The action is inventive and delirious, and the film is well paced from start to finish.

 

There's really not a whole lot bad to say about this movie. I guess you could say that it follows every origin story trope closely and is rather predictable at every turn, but hey, I don't really see that as much of a flaw. If your movie is good, it doesn't matter if the structure is identical to that of other movies. Overall, really fun time in the theaters.

 

PS: @YourMother the Edgelord I know I'm not the best person for grammar advice, but try not to use the word "as" as much. - B+

 

(Conventional Wisdom - This is basically a Die Hard remake. But Joe is cool and the action is exciting. - C)

 

Conventionally Wiser - Although the setup for the villain makes absolutely no fucking sense... as a matter of fact, you could argue very little of this movie makes sense, I actually liked it more than the predecessor. The villain was more ruthless, Joe's chracter progressed in an interesting way and the movie embraces its absolute ludicrousness in a fun way. It's dumb as shit, but it's fun. - C+

 

The Scavenger Wars Part II: Director's Cut - I already reviewed this in my Old Reviews Corner. It's pretty great. I say this but I need to reiterate that I did not watch the original cut, so I don't know the differences. But, this cut is damn good for any uninitiated anyway. - B+

Edited by MCKillswitch123
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MARCH

 

Dazzling - Concert documentaries rely mostly on the artist to survive. The film was well shot, I'll give it that... but I'm not a fan of Cardi B. Sorry. - C-

 

Higher Ground - As TriCrescent Media took a hiatus this year, New Journey Pictures picked up the mantle of doing a disaster flick for Y7. The result is this tsunami thriller from Gavin Hood (a surprising choice for a disaster movie, but one that peaked my interest) featuring a (mostly) talented cast. So what do we get?

 

A movie that takes much different turns than I expected. This is not just a disaster movie. This is actually a movie about PTSD and trauma. The tsunami just serves as an excuse to inflict conflict on our lead, Brenda, played expertly by Dakota Johnson, as well as the character strongly played by Hillary Swank. These two could end up getting awards buzz for their work here... especially Swank. Another element of praise is definitely in the cinematography. The film is really well shot - there are some absolutely jaw-dropping shots along the way - and has a strong presence and atmosphere of horror attached to it. Kudos also the VFX team that did a terrific job as well.

 

But I will say this: this movie is a trip. Like, this movie is a fucking Hell of a trip. There will be points where you will have absolutely no idea of what the fuck is going on. It is one of those movies that is bound to be studied for years and years. The film, as I mentioned, is basically a supernatural horror meets disaster flick metaphor for PTSD, and, upon many rewatches, I imagine it could end up being as a hardcore horror fan's favorite. But I will still point out that there are definitely elements that don't add up; most of characters are just there and hardly given anything to do; the focus of the movie can easily come across as muddled; and sometimes, it feels almost as if they're just making it up as they go along.

 

Still... oh my fucking Goodness, this is a movie that will spark a lot of discussion. Every bit as much as Yang, this is surely a spiritual successor to Yin in a lot of ways. I can't wait to see what people have to say about this one. - B+

 

Pillars Of Eternity: An Ancient Legacy - The culmination of one of the biggest trilogies in CAYOM history. I wasn't a huge fan of The Hollow Vale, but Never Far From The Queen is one of my favorite CAYOM movies and it left a HUGE cliffhanger at hands that was all but promised to be resolved in the epic trilogy conclusion An Ancient Legacy. How does Miguel Sapochnik's blockbuster fare up?

 

Personally, I think that this is better than The Hollow Vale, but not quite the height of Never Far From The Queen, which was always going to be a far reach. Still, it is a very impressive work from Sapochnik and Numerator. Once again, the ensemble cast absolutely shines. The movie gives everyone something to do - which is incredibly impressive, considering just how massive the cast is - and while some characters definitely get more development than others, everyone ends up where it makes sense for them to end up. JK Simmons as Durance takes the show for himself, once again... the man is a genius and this character fits him to a tee. Technically, the film is an absolute accomplishment as well - visually enthralling, epic, enrapturing... it's what you expected out of Pillars. And it is definitely a satisfying conclusion to a franchise that brings a lot of answers and also a lot of questions. And it makes you wonder about the real world parallels to its own story's morals. It's certainly a philosophically charged film, it's not just substanceless style.

 

On the downside, I think the movie is coherently structured - I mean, it follows the directions it had to follow after the conclusion of Never Far From The Queen - but it does lead to some tonal problems were you feel like you are watching different movies. It kinda builds along to something and then it's like, "oh, I still have THIS to do". It's pretty video gamey in that sense. Also, very much like in the previous entries, the dialogue is very exposition-heavy and things can get confusing if you don't follow along closely, although it's not a deep offender in this issue.

 

Overall, An Ancient Legacy is a strong closer to one of the best CAYOM franchises. If you're a fantasy fan and especially if you're a Pillars fan, it is absolutely worth watching. Not the peak of the series, but by God, still a triumph in its own right. - A-

 

Hoops 3 - Well, I hated the first two Hoops movies, so of course they had to make a third one. Luckily for me, this is the best one so far. Hardly saying anything, but hey, at least it's neither an incoherent dumb fuck or a dry and content-less borefest. It's just a generic sports drama featuring LeBron James as an ex-convict. Sure. There's nothing offensive about this one, it's just... a movie that exists. - C-

 

The Last Fifer: Portrait Of A Clarinetist - Biographical documentaries usually have two jobs: be informative and be entertaining in their task to shed new light or give us any sort of light on a personality. This was informative. But entertaining? Ehh... it was pretty basic and dry. I compare this to the other New Journey biographical film from the past month, Carver - which I recognize is a stretch of a comparison since one is docu-fiction and the other is pure doc, but still - and I feel like Carver just happens to have a far more interesting and impactful subject matter. I mean, The Last Fifer has some valuable lessons and all, but neither is the subject of the doc all that interesting or important and neither is the doc exquisitely structured. Meh. - C

 

Beyblade: The War Unleashed - Let Them Rip! - I am a huge Beyblade fan. I grew up with the anime, I grew up buying Beyblade toys (spinners, basically), I was just totally in for that thing. Yeah, it was derivative of other action fantasy for kids shows of the time, especifically Pokémon, but hey, I was down for it. But Blankments Productions' live action adaptation... is basically Beyblade only in name. Does that affect the movie too much?

 

I mean, I knew what I was in for when the movie presented its opening title three different times :rofl:   All I could help to do when watching the movie was picture an anime version of it. Not the actual Beyblade anime - an anime version of this movie. I feel like every aspect would feel so much cooler and so much less awkward than in live action. Particularly the villain, played here by Mark Ruffalo... he's a great actor and he's trying his hardest to chew the scenery, but I feel like he was miscast. Nevertheless, that's not to say that this movie isn't KEWL AS FUCK. Because it is. Let me tell you: this has nothing to do with Beyblade apart from the spinning tops and some of the character names. But, for what it is, this is a fun dumb blockbuster with tons of explosions, huge special effects and grand things happening and unfolding in the screen. It's made for children to feast their eyes on and it delievers the good in being entertaining.

 

Does it make any sense? Not really, but it's one of those movies that doesn't necessarily have to make a whole lot of sense. You just watch it to watch giant spinner tops beat each other up and cool weapons and cool kids and shit. It's a fun watch. Not one of my faves even in the dumb blockbuster genre, but I can't say I didn't have at least a solid time. - C+

 

Edited by MCKillswitch123
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I can understand some of the issues with Pillars 3. The issue for adapting the close of the game is that the final chunk of the game is actually pretty brief in terms of main story so I had to make changes/expansions in order to get a full movie out of it.

 

Spoiler

 

Basically in the game you and the gang show up at Twin Elms and convince the lady in charge you're here for good reasons and you get her permission to look around. You go to the big temple in the middle of the city and you get 5 quests, each one from a different deity. All you need to do is complete 1 of them and you get access to the final area, which you explore, meet Iovara, then fight Thaos.

 

So yeah I had to build an actual movie out of that, which is why we get the party split again and a lot of the movie focused on the looming war (which I completely invented for the 2nd/3rd films, it is not in the game at all) since if that doesn't get stopped then it doesn't matter that much if Thaos gets beat up, since it would devastate multiple countries for at least a generation. Plus I took other quests and plucked out elements to merge them in.

 

The only thing I am a bit unsatisfied about is I didn't get to do Hiravias as much justice as I would like in terms of his personal story, but time/space was limited and it was the easiest thing to cut for the film.

 

 

Not sure what you mean by tonal issues, I feel like it's pretty consistent there.

 

And yeah, the first two films were definitely building JK Simmons up for this movie where he gets a couple big moments to shine and lay it all out.

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21 minutes ago, 4815162342 said:

I can understand some of the issues with Pillars 3. The issue for adapting the close of the game is that the final chunk of the game is actually pretty brief in terms of main story so I had to make changes/expansions in order to get a full movie out of it.

 

  Hide contents

 

Basically in the game you and the gang show up at Twin Elms and convince the lady in charge you're here for good reasons and you get her permission to look around. You go to the big temple in the middle of the city and you get 5 quests, each one from a different deity. All you need to do is complete 1 of them and you get access to the final area, which you explore, meet Iovara, then fight Thaos.

 

So yeah I had to build an actual movie out of that, which is why we get the party split again and a lot of the movie focused on the looming war (which I completely invented for the 2nd/3rd films, it is not in the game at all) since if that doesn't get stopped then it doesn't matter that much if Thaos gets beat up, since it would devastate multiple countries for at least a generation. Plus I took other quests and plucked out elements to merge them in.

 

The only thing I am a bit unsatisfied about is I didn't get to do Hiravias as much justice as I would like in terms of his personal story, but time/space was limited and it was the easiest thing to cut for the film.

 

 

Not sure what you mean by tonal issues, I feel like it's pretty consistent there.

 

And yeah, the first two films were definitely building JK Simmons up for this movie where he gets a couple big moments to shine and lay it all out.

Yeah, you can kinda tell that it feels a little padded. Not unpleasantly to where you're bored, just... you can tell that.

 

Tonal issues I guess is not the best way to put it? It is consistent, for sure. I think I meant that it felt like a movie of a specific genre for 2 acts and then it suddenly goes back to something else; again, in line with the issue that the movie feels like it builds to the 2nd act.

 

He was amazing here. Like, the cast in general does a damn fine job, but Simmons stole it again. He really shines here.

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I can understand that about it building up to something, and then re-setting for a second thing. It's a necessary side-effect I guess of how the second film set things up with the two big problems that need to be fixed. Have to do one than the other, it would not have worked to do them simultaneously, far too messy.

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12 minutes ago, 4815162342 said:

I can understand that about it building up to something, and then re-setting for a second thing. It's a necessary side-effect I guess of how the second film set things up with the two big problems that need to be fixed. Have to do one than the other, it would not have worked to do them simultaneously, far too messy.

Without a doubt. And that's why I mentioned that, at the end of the day, the movie was actually quite coherently structured given the circumstance + there weren't many other solutions. It was something that would inevitably happen. And I still think the movie worked quite well as a whole.

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The Scavenger Wars Part III - This is a non-spoiler review. However, if you wish to go in as blind as possible, I recommend you don't read this review, because details of the plot and the characters will be scarcely mentioned. You've been warned.

 

So, The Scavenger Wars Part III. Besides Spark: A Hero's Promise, there hasn't been an event with quite this much anticipation yet in CAYOM. The previous Scavvies movies have been not just billion dollar hits, but pop culture icons and multiple Oscar nominees. I am of the maybe unpopular opinion that Part I is the superior of the original two entries - compared to the Director's Cut of Part II, that is - but both are terrific films. So, anticipation was flying high on this one.

 

How does it fare?

 

Spoiler

It fucking sucks.

 

Spoiler

I'm just kidding.

 

This is the best one yet.

 

The Scavenger Wars Part III is an absolute triumph in drama, action, thematic engagement, character work and pure filmmaking.

 

First of all, the film doesn't have a noticeable traditional three act structure as much as it has two halves. The 1st half of the film is all about drama and building up the stakes and putting these characters in a collision course. It's very self contained and (ironically, given that it's a space opera) down to the ground. The 2nd half is basically nothing but bombshells dropping all over the place. The way everything is brought together is done so expertly that you feel every single twist intensely.

 

The film is a technical marvel. Cinematography-wise, this is the strongest Scavvies outing yet, and that's no easy feat. The camera work is creative, powerful, engaging and enrapturing. The visual effects are something else... don't expect the same kind of visuals that you got in either Part I or Part II, but rather, visual feasts of a whole different kind that give Part III a distinct identity. One could even call it - and I hope this isn't too spoilery to say - Cookie Pictures' Acid Trip: The Movie.

 

Let's talk cast. Because... is there anyone in here who isn't in their A-game? Maybe Andy Serkis, because his Ares goes from being a lame villain from Part II to barely having a presence in this movie. But besides him, you have Mary Elizabeth Winstead rocking it as Lucina; Letitia Wright doing her best work yet as Tamara; Bex Taylor-Klaus playing the still a little annoying but definitely matured and likeable Sunn; Ben Foster as the love to hate smarmy Jarek; new cast addition Hannah John-Kamen as the badass asshole Enyo; and, last, but not definitely not least, Sasha Lane as Sal and Taissa Farmiga as Luna, who very well could end up getting awards buzz for their work in this movie. Lane captures Sal's vulnerability so perfectly that, while you understandably are upset at her character - reeling from her actions in Part II - you can't help but feel sorry about her. She's rich in just the right ways. While Luna... well, her character did little for me in Part II, but here, she's given A LOT to do. Farmiga is virtually the core of the film, and without her brutal and complex performance, Part III could have collapsed.

 

The film is also strongly paced, has a memorable score and a ton of surprises that will leave your jaw dropping.

 

Does it boast some flaws, though? Yeah, it does. Very much in Scavvies fashion, the dialogue can get a bit cheesy at times. Sometimes it works, but, albeit brief, it can get a little intrusive and clashing in tone. Also, the closest thing to what you can call a third act does feel like it goes on for a little too long. Like, there's a certain point where I was just exhausted from so much action, so much drama and so much epic stuff and the movie just keeps on going with it. To be honest, it's hard to pinpoint exactly what would I cut off, because everything feels perfectly placed, but at the same time, maybe it was a tad overwritten, for sure. Finally, as I mentioned, the character of Ares gets almost nothing to do. He pops up, like, three times in the movie. And he only does, like, one thing of note - albeit, that one thing of note IS SOMETHING OF BIG, BIG NOTE.

 

From here on out, there's only spoilers left to talk. And again, this is a non-spoiler review, so I won't delve into that. But let me tell you this: even with the little flaws that it has, I think this movie is a fucking masterpiece. And I think it's one of CAYOM's best ever. An absolute must watch for any fan of this game.

 

Rating:

Spoiler

A+

 

 

 

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APRIL

 

(Father - What if The Exorcist met Friday The 13th? Trashy fun. - B-)

 

Father II: The Ressurection - You know, after watching the first one, I'm not surprised they managed to squirm a sequel out of it. Coming out of this sequel, I regret ever seeing it. It's just pure nonsense and it's mostly boring. There are some legit ROFL moments in it, but unfortunately, the movie actually thinks that all the attempts at humor count as ROFL moments and that it also has any fucking business at trying to tackle political issues. Nope, not case. - D-

 

Hilda And The Midnight Giant - I am, in terms of experience, unfamiliar with the previous two Cookie Animation efforts, The Adventures Of Scrooge McDuck and its sequel The Number One Dime. However, I am very much aware of their incredible legacy and impact in the CAYOMverse. Now, I get to bear witness to the latest entry from the animated studio, based on a children's graphic novel from 2011. How does Hilda fare?

 

Pretty solidly, I would say. From Open Season and Abominable director Jill Culton, Hilda And The Midnight Giant is a pleasant watch for pretty much all ages - it's fun for the kids and even for the oldies as well. It's a cute, action-packed, gorgeously animated adventure with a surprisingly sharp eye for sociopolitical commentary and timely themes that should resonate with anyone.

 

At the center of this movie is Hilda, a brave and adventurous 11 year old girl voiced by Pixie Davies. Hilda isn't as much a true role model character as she is someone the audience can come of age with - she's a lot smarter than I expected, but she's very much a child... one that's afraid of a future where she's somewhere where she doesn't belong. Fear of not belonging is at center stage for almost every major character in this movie, and it's impactful to see how they come to terms with it. Perhaps the best example of this is the duo of relationships that create the emotional core of the film: Hilda's relationship with her mother, and the titular 'Midnight Giant''s link with a character that I will not refer. It's, as I said, a theme that resonates and is touched upon with sensibility that can fly with anyone of any age. It's also worth noticing that this movie is quite exciting (at times), that the Worldmeander animation (Endless Animation giving a hand with the production on this one) replicates the beautiful landscapes of the graphic novel to perfection, and that Andrew Scott might be an early contender for Best Supporting Voice Actor for his work as Mongrel, who is basically a classic Disney villain at its finest. Disney vibes in general is what I got from Hilda, I might add.

 

Where the movie falters is in its pacing. This movie is 2 hours long, and it feels that length. It has a pretty start-and-stop nature to it, and it sometimes feels like it's just wandering about. The movie flows, but not extremely naturally. Also, sometimes, the characters come across as unlikeable. That's not just Hilda - who, at the end of the day, is a child and it's natural she would sometimes behave like a brat - but other characters around her as well. Finally, while I did mention that this movie has exciting action sequences, it has a few others that I wasn't too keen on. Didn't hate them, just... didn't feel the way the movie wanted me to.

 

But despite these issues, I recommend Hilda And The Midnight Giant. While I struggled with it a bit, I still think the positives more than outshine the negatives. It's a resonant, touching, gorgeous movie and I think it's worth a watch whether you're a little one or a parent. - B+

 

Snow Leopards - Cute stuff! They're so pretty, awwwww... I mean, yeah, they're pretty dangerous if you get close, but at the safe distance of being in a movie theater (or at home), these adowable kitties are just a delight, aren't they? - B

 

Vengeance - THE NEESON. I guess I'm bummed it's not directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, but whatever. This movie is not exactly what I would call a moral compass... I mean, the guy goes on a murderous rampage and gets only a few pats on the shoulder + a partner who opposes his ideals to go along. However, as a revenge action movie starring THE NEESON cracking up shitpieces, it does its job. It's well shot, well choreographed and has a cool atmosphere. Again, don't expect a leading character you will agree with or that will even get more than mild judgment for his perhaps overreactive actions... just go in and have dumb fun. - C+

 

Looping - After @Ethan Hunt's review, it was hard not to feel some hype for this. And the plot was intriguing. After reading it, I can safely say: it's pretty cute! It's definitely a novelty twist to an old and done formula (the Groundhog Day genre), features terrific performances from Hugh Jackman and Marsai Martin, and smart writing that blends witty humor with touching drama. I have to knock it down a peg or two, though, because I found some of its logistics a bit confusing. - A-

 

I'll Always Be There - This is basically what Love After Loving was trying to be, except without a director that hated one of the lead characters so much that they made a massive change from the source material in order to make him more blatantly despicable to everyone and he overshot to the point that it ended up being one of the downfalls of the movie (sorry for the rant). This is just a somewhat unpretentious romantic drama about two people who are basically destined to be together. It's pretty average, nothing special whatsoever - the best aspect of the movie is the non-linear storytelling, which kinda reaffirms how someone who is always there for you will truly always be there for you, no matter if you go back in time or not - but it serves to make you wanna watch it with your girlfriend/boyfriend on Netflix in a rainy day. - C

 

Whoopsie-Daisy - It has its heart in the right place and it's really trying to spread a message of courage. However, it's a Ben Falcone movie. You know exactly what you're getting into if you've seen any of his films. This one... well, it's not a Tammy, but it's definitely not good. It's just a cartoonish representation of every perfect stereotype the movie wants to depict, with some hamstrung commentary on ignoring hate. Putting it lightly... it's basically a live action Chicken Little. It's pretty awful. - D

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Apologies for the delay, and, also, extra apologies because I'm gonna try to make my reviews shorter from here on out.

 

MAY

 

Dual Consequences - One of Hunt Productions' two efforts of the year, THE CRUISE MISSILE is back for another joint with Doug Liman, a partner of success of his after Edge Of Tomorrow and American Made. While I don't think Dual Consequences is as good as either, it is an action-packed ride with the kind of stunts, tension and madness that you would expect out of a Cruise/Liman action vehicle. It is a relatively generic action thriller, but Cruise dives himself so deep into this character that every single setpiece, no matter how ridiculous, is exciting. The cat and mouse chase with Ben Hardy's gunman also adds to the thrills, Rachel McAdams makes for a fun (if she had one, she would be) moustache-twirling villain and the ending is absolutely hilarious. The downside to this is that, as I mentioned, the storytelling and characters are fairly generic and the movie drags sometimes. Still, an entertaining ride nonetheless. - B-

 

Sir Thymes Time 2 - As a huge fan of the original Sir Thymes Time, I was excited for the first of two Shining Star Animations for the year, which just happened to be a sequel to Sir Thymes Time. As it turns out, this is a solid sequel to one of my favorite animations in CAYOM. The voice cast is as great as ever, the ways in which it pays tribute to music are all so sweet, it's creative (and before you blare out Ralph Breaks The Internet comparisons, this movie predates that one) and it's heartfelt. Jeff Bridges as Piano Man is also a better villain than Jesse's Girl from the last turnaround, if you're looking for improvements. On the downside, most of the characters are just there because they have to be... this includes new additions Jack Flash and Jude. They don't really get much to do. Also, this sequel hits pretty similar beats to the original at times; and at points, it creates the vibe that it exists solely because the first movie was a big hit. It feels forced every now and then, despite the fact that the main premise is as natural an evolution as this story could get. Still, this is an entertaining time in theaters for anyone of any age and I recommend it nonetheless. - B

 

Cruis'n USA - While the characters of this video game adaptation are as stereotypical one note trashy vibes as it gets, the movie lives and dies by the cinematography and by the action. You're here for the racing sequences, and they are fun and absolutely beautiful to look at. Compared to other racing game adaptations, this is not as good as Burnout, but I guess it's about as good, if not better than Need For Speed. - C+

 

Fatal Attraction - I will admit straight away: I have never seen the original Fatal Attraction, so I don't really have a comparison guide for this Alpha Pictures gender-swapped remake. But that's a good thing, because I get to review this movie on its own merits. And as such, I can say that I quite enjoyed this movie. This is a timely, creepy, chilling film that deals particularly well with the treatment of women by males and the ideas of family life and one's place in society. It's like the original, which, by many accounts, seems to be one of those memorable pulp trashy thrillers from the 80's and nothing really else, was made to have a gender-swapped contemporary remake. Maggie Gyllenhaal is really good, as is Adam Scott, but this movie is James McAvoy's vehicle and he shines big time. Again, I don't know how he compares to Glenn Close or how Maggie compares to Michael Douglas... I just know that, for this, they delievered. If there's a few complaints I have: sometimes, the male characters in this movie feel like they're all either losers, creeps or mysogynists. I don't wanna sound all "save the males" incel-like, but that's a caracteristic I pointed out with the writing of the men in this movie. Also, the ending is extremely anti-climatic and rushed. It feels super "let's get this over with right now". Apart from that, this is a strong watch. - A-

 

Call Of Duty: Eye Of The Storm - Numerator brings us yet another video game adaptation in the form of the threequel Call Of Duty: Eye Of The Storm. The Call Of Duty series is not by any means the best work of Paul Greengrass, as it lives mostly by amazing stunts but is pretty low on brains. Still, Of Their Own Accord was enjoyable and it's always nice to see Sean Bean in action. As for Eye Of The Storm, it's exactly what you've come to expect from this franchise: lots of intense action, Sean Bean being awesome and not a whole lot else. On the plus side, (this is a bit of small talk, but it's worth pointing out) this is probably the most human of all the COD films. Sean Bean and Kit Harington's relationship is the emotional core of the film and it has some interesting intrigue around it that gives this movie a little umph of gravitas. Bean as Captain Price is excellent, as always. And the action, once again, is well shot, furious and in the moment, like Greengrass always manages. However, this is, yet again, another movie that really only has Sean Bean and the action going for it, because the plot is basically "FUCK DA WEST" and explosions go off. There are some choices that I'm not sure I'm completely on board with; pretty much 90% of all characters are super generic, as usual, and, apart from Price and Soap, it's hard to get behind anyone in here; and the plot reeks of "now you have to go here, now you have to go there" video gameyness, nevermind the "does this really make a whole lot of sense?" that you're already used to with Call Of Duty. It's a perfectly functional action thriller that caps off the franchise with one or two high notes, but I'd recommend you just catch it when it drops on Netflix. - C+

 

Flying High - I like Owl City enough, so this was fun. - B-

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JUNE - Part 1

 

The Final Cut - The Soska sisters and Blankments Productions team up for this grotesque horror thriller about a young filmmaker finding herself in the claws of a sinister producer, in what might be the best allegory for the war of power in Hollywood we have yet seen. This is a gory, brutal movie that doesn't hold any punches back. Kelly Marie Tran is superb in this role, she brings her best and creates an incredibly likeable and rootable Alice. The mystery builds along without fault and the ending is thoroughly and surprisingly satisfying. Mansfield is an epic villain, although I have my reservations about the casting of Christopher Walken. Don't mind me, I think he definitely does a good job, I just envisioned this role going for someone like a Jon Hamm maybe. If I were to mention other complaints, I feel like there is a bit of a logic stretch regarding one of the plot aspects of this movie. Still, this is an entertaining, powerful ride that is sure to leave nobody who sees it indifferent. - B+

 

Yang - Ah yes, the spiritual sequel to one of the trippiest and craziest movies in the history of CAYOM. Yin is not an easy movie to digest, by any means, but after you're done confronting the M. Night Shyamalan-esque twisty nature of the film for the first time, you are welcome to re-experience a movie that has quite a lot to say about the idea of control in our life. Duncan Jones' Yang tackles chaos. What happens when you live in a situation that's completely out of control. And the end result is an engaging thriller that is surprisingly not as weird as I expected it to be - extra ironic considering that it centers around chaos - but is still pretty weird as it is. Naomi Scott is a treasure and she's almighty in a movie where the creepy and the off-putting are transversal. The visuals are stunning, especially for a 75M budget film. The film's supporting cast also does a good job, might I add, and the film is entertaining from start to finish. However, I do have some issues. Firstly, sometimes I had to re-read twice or thrice in order to understand a couple of things. Ironically, though, the film is actually pretty simple and straightforward for the most part... a lot more than I thought it would be, to the point where it almost felt basic next to Yin. It even hits some very similar beats as that movie. And while the ending of Yin made perfect sense and was just mindblowing, this one confused me a bit. Like, I understand what the filmmakers were going for and I think it's a unique way to set up this universe, but at the same time, there were aspects of it I just didn't grasp. But overall, I enjoyed Yang and thought it was an intriguing, visually sprawling and well acted thriller that continued on the legacy of Yin with some grace. - B

 

The Scavenger Wars Part III - I already delved into my thoughts on this one, you may scroll a few posts up.

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JUNE - Part 2

 

Dear Evan Hansen - Oooooh boy. Here we go. Blankments Productions have been the kings of musicals in CAYOM for a long time, having found enormous success over the years with animated musicals, Biblical musicals, literal Broadway shows... these guys sure love their musicals, and Dear Evan Hansen is the latest one. It an adaptation of a successful Broadway musical from the musicians behind La La Land and The Greatest Showman, this is a drama about a teenager pretending to be the best friend of another teen who committed suicide. That is a heavy plot to approach and the early word about this movie was divisive, some hating it and others thinking it's one of the best movies of the year. So I went in with careful expectations.

 

What do I think? Well, I certainly have a lot of thoughts about this one. This is a non-spoiler review, but I will make superficial references to the plot, so keep that in mind as you read along.

 

When I think about the many things Dear Evan Hansen got right, I often think of how it compares to another recent teen suicide drama: 13 Reasons Why. Where 13 Reasons Why fails - it tries to convince you that its flawed protagonist Hannah Baker is in the right for blaming nothing else but her bullies, often for petty reasons, for her suicide - Dear Evan Hansen succeeds, as it makes absolute sure that you are aware that Evan Hansen is in the wrong for his actions. Evan himself knows that, the characters around him know that, the songs know that, and you know that. And the movie doesn't try to convince you otherwise. All it does is watch as Evan tangles himself in a web of lies so thick you wonder how he could ever get out without becoming the most villified teenager in the world. Those shades of grey, and dare I even say moral distancing, are very important in a movie where I personally still can't quite tell you whether or not did I feel all the empathy in the world for a teenage boy that clearly suffers from social anxiety, depression and loneliness and found some hope in what basically amounts to an imaginary friend, or if I hated him for his repulsive, selfish and downright exploitative actions towards a grieving family.

 

Lucas Hedges is terrific as Evan Hansen, in a role that's sure to get him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. Amy Adams is also getting a lot of buzz for her performance, and while I didn't really get it for the majority, she finally explodes in the third act and I think she's extraordinary as well. Kudos pretty much to everyone in the cast (even if Zendaya is a little close to MJ here, but that's more on the script than it is on her), really, but especially to Hedges and Adams.

 

Where I think the movie falters is tonally speaking. More especifically, the songs. Now, the songs themselves, for what they are, are good. They're catchy, funky, upbeat and have solid dialogue/lyrics attached to them. No, Lucas Hedges isn't Ben Platt, but he doesn't have to be as he brings his own charm to the singing. And the same applies to everyone else. The issue with the songs, however, comes from the tone. The tone of these songs is really incompatible to that of a drama about loneliness, anxiety and suicide. And the songs are actually pretty influential in getting plot points across and getting characters moving along, so it's not like they're redundant... they matter, a lot. And it's so jarring to see these songs break out, almost in intrusive fashion, against a dour and depressive backdrop. And I know that this is more of a problem with the Broadway show as the songs originated there, but this is a problem the filmmakers could have solved by either not making this a musical at all - which would've compromised the commercial viability of the film, but they would have an absolute banger to show for that would probably catch fire wom-wise anyway - or changing the songs to something more reflective of the film's tone. There's only a handful of songs that I think managed to come across well on screen - and the few that did were really emotionally powerful, might I add. But the many others that didn't just felt odd.

 

After this long rant, I feel like I still don't know for sure where does my heart fall on this movie, but my brain is telling me that this is a flawed but still deep, complex, engaging and powerful drama that is sure to draw attention on important themes and will absolutely garner major awards buzz and massive box office success... but one also thinks of the movie that it could've been. - B+

 

Should You Imagine? - The sequel to the monster hit that launched Endless Animation to the stratosphere is finally here. Does Should You Imagine? hold up? I'd say yeah, it does. Should You Imagine? is basically the Finding Dory to Can You Imagine?'s Finding Nemo. And while some will immediately take that as an insult, in my mind, I see it as a positive. This film is filled, just like the previous one, with thematic richness, wonderful characters who learn so much about themselves and each other, great relationships, astounding animation and great adventure. It has all the makings of your typical Endless Animation goodie. On the downside, it does feel all too familiar, doesn't it? I wouldn't say Should is basically Can 2.0, but it does follow very similar beats almost down to being structurally identical, similarly to Yang in relation to Yin. It does also drag in the middle a bit, and while I don't think the villains are as underdeveloped as some believe, I do think that they are definitely and clearly inferior to Tom Hanks' The King. But overall, it's hard not to gouge this as a positive. It's a movie where anyone watching can grow with the characters themselves, regardless of age or place in a family. Oh, and it's poised to make TONS and TONS of money. - B

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JULY

 

The Exchange - This is honestly more of a drama than it is a comedy. There's nothing all that funny about it, to be perfectly frank. It even hits some pretty dark notes along way that made me feel uncomfortable. I guess the fish out of water elements can add up some humor, but I wouldn't necessarily call this a comedy. That being said, for what it is, it's a functional story. And Park is likeable, the family dynamic has thinking behind it and the acting is solid. - C+

 

Out On The Lake - Your typical haunting horror movie with some slasher elements thrown in. It's basically the Friday The 13th remake but without a physical presence killing the stereotypes. Serves just fine as a trashy Summer scare. - C-

 

(Scooby-Doo: Apocalypse - Wow. Well, this is definitely not what I expected a Scooby-Doo movie to look like. But I will praise the movie's ambition as it is legitimately trying to be a compelling adult-skewing film about the Scooby gang, even if it does take a huge amount of liberties with the IP. Does it work? Well, merely as a mystery movie, yeah, it does enough. It builds to the mystery quite intricately and has enough character drama to keep me excited. Very debatable as a Scooby-Doo movie, though. It changes quite a lot and some changes are pretty weird. But ehh, I'm open enough to different interpretations, even if they sometimes can come out of the weirdest sources... like Scooby-Doo of all things. - C+)

 

Scooby-Doo: Cult Of The Creeper - This sequel is overall not as entertaining from start to finish - it drags a bit in the second act and even a little in the climax. However, I think that, narratively speaking, and especially as a Scooby-Doo movie, it's an improvement. It has a fun identity with the musical aspect, it feels like the world is crazier and the stakes are higher, it has a much better villain (and Ethan Hawke's performance is hammy at its finest), and the characters all grow. And it is surely more of what I expected a Scooby-Doo movie to be. So yeah, it's fine. - B-

 

Scout's Honor - It's an Andy Fickman movie. For the most part, it's pretty inoffensive kids schlock - it's just small children pranking each other - but this thing also has some fucking despicable characters and an odd sense of humor, where somethings are childish and other things are genuinely terrifying rather than scary. And this sends a reeeeeeally odd message about, well, scouts' honor. I think it may entertain an infant or a 5 year old, but anyone above that age will likely have their intelligence challenged... and not in a good way. - D+

 

Attack On Titan - Titan in name, Titan in length. Jesus. Now, I had no prior exposure to either the manga or the anime, apart from a couple of gifs and general knowledge of what the story is about, as well as knowing that it is a pretty brutal and violent thing. So I walked into Attack On Titan with curiosity to know what the fuss is all about. I came out of it feeling like I definitely saw a crazy ass anime movie, alright. On the pros side, Attack On Titan lives to its fame of being absolutely relentless. It's brutal, it's violent, it's gorey, it's revolting at times and it's insane. The action in this movie is out of this world, this film is a frontrunner for the Best Use of Action Oscar at the moment without a shadow of a doubt, and has a fair shot at Visual Effects as well. The atmosphere is intense and lived in; the emotions are raw and believable; and the movie picks up considerably at the end of the second act, through a narrative event that I called but was still very excited to see. Finally, one can't help but appreciate the themes of hope, refusing to back down even in a hopeless scenario, fighting to live in a world that's free of any sort of oppression, and even that of freedom of expression that this movie backs up. That being said, this movie has quite a lot of problems. The dialogue is terrible. This is the kind of stilted, forced dialogue that kinda takes me out of the experience to make fun of it often. The enormous ensemble of characters gets points for a solid portion of them being multi-dimensional - by the end of the film, everyone had something that vulnerabilized them and something that made them fight - but also gets points taken away for a lot of them existing as mere pawns of action. The film has a weird fetish with editing things exactly as if it were an episode of the anime, rather than a Hollywood film, and the transition of formats doesn't work strongly at times - especially with some of the flashbacks and image flashes that often occur. And I feel like I should've been more emotionally invested than I actually was. The sadder aspects of the film had their power - some more than others - but a few failed to touch me. Overall, Attack On Titan is an interesting experience and I'm sure fans of the manga/anime would absolutely love it. For me, I think its script and editing problems are hard to overlook, but visually speaking, it's a feast. You can tell Matt Reeves tried what he could, but you wouldn't be wrong if you called this a Zack Snyder movie. - C+

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AUGUST

 

Lena And The Featherweights - I know that this first of two launch year titles for Cannastop Productions was pretty much rushed out the door, but this really feels unfinished. It's like an entire third of the movie didn't even make it into the editing room, they just shuffled what little things they had animated and recorded into an assembly cut and powered on from there. The voice cast is talented and the animation is cool, but I'm not even sure if children will be much entertained as the plot (or lack there of) gives me the vibe that it would bore them. If you're looking for something that will carry on the legacy of the Scrooge McDuck franchise, look elsewhere. - D

 

Roman Fever - EssGeeKay Studios made their comeback this year with both the fine enough Scooby-Doo: Cult Of The Creeper and this awards hopeful directed by Sofia Coppola. I dunno if Roman Fever is one of those movies that people will rewatch over and over and over again, due to its very small scale nature - it's basically two women talking, a few flashbacks and a subplot about a waiter that goes nowhere. However, I do think that it will be a movie that anyone who watches it will hold dear to their hearts. This is one of my favorite movies of the year! Coppola directs this beautifully as the Roman landscapes are striking, romantic and memorable; the script is extraordinary; and my God, Amy Adams and especially Winona Ryder have CAYOM-best performances here. You could easily accuse this movie of being a vehicle movie, but even if you were to reduce it to just that, it'd still be one of the best vehicle movies in recent memory and an easy buzz garnerer for awards attention when it comes to its performances (even if I think the movie should get nominated for other things as well, albeit it might be too soon to say that). Oh, and it might have my favorite ending of the year. The only holdback this movie might have really is the subplot with the waiter and the singer, which isn't bad as much as to say as it's just totally inconsequential. This is an excellent film and I recommend anyone - but especially film lovers and anyone who is young at heart - to experience it. - A

 

The Long Way Home - As the one completely original live action space opera of Y7, and from the same studio as the Mass Effect franchise no less, expectations were quite high for The Long Way Home, even after the solid but not quite as enthusiastic as expected reviews it's been getting. After watching it, I can conclude for myself that this is a pretty solid movie that, yeah, doesn't stand out as much as other space operas but is still a fine watch for anyone who's a fan of the genre. Usually, the genre boasts two great things: great visuals and great characters. On the characters side, they are certainly sympathizable here - they're well cast, the aliens all have cool designs and have decent dialogue - but mostly unfleshed out and not wholly interesting. The only characters that really stuck out to me were David, Amelia and Bataima. The rest was fine but nothing amazingly special. And the villains, honestly, were pretty generic and underwritten. On the visual perspective, the film, being a Numerator space opera and a Steven Caple Jr. joint, did come across as trying to mimic the more grounded vibes of Mass Effect as it honestly wasn't trying too hard to pop out. One could even say that the movie looks darker, and dare I say blander, than I expected it too. Albeit, that's not to say it looks bad, as it certainly has a lot of visual flair to it, especially with the scenes in outer space. On the topic of tone, the script has a conundrum to it in that it boasts quite a lot of quips, similar to a Marvel movie... they tend to work, because they're smartly written and contextualized, but there are moments in which they're stretched too thin and they're just too much. So even though I compared the visual style of this to Mass Effect, tonally speaking it's actually closer to something like Spark. And I think this, along with the characters not popping out instantly for the most part, has kinda gotten it the reputation of being rather flavorless compared to its other space opera brethren, which I can understand. Still, I'd say The Long Way Home was a good time. It boasts nice visuals, solid characters, good action and a story that followed your typical space opera franchise starter beats but was still functional enough along the way. Hopefully this makes way for a strong follow-up, now that the world and the stakes are already set up and there is an interesting sequel hook at hand here. - B

 

Loving A Shadow - Cute cat! And the movie around it is basically an animal lover's perfect film. It's a perfectly functional family film, despite being by the books and kind of without a personality if you take the cat away. Nothing else to say, it's just a cute film for what it is. - C+

 

Tongues - Well... this movie is quite something. It seems that New Journey Pictures has a knack for twisty films that start like one thing and end like another. And what at first seemed like a Christian romantic film with some slightly creepy and shockingly offensive undertones actually turned out to be an interesting allegory towards the narcissism of white males. Gina Rodriguez and Max Thieriot deliever strong performances at the center, the film is well shot and it showers those who have a view of people of color under stereotype eyes with massive criticism. On the other end of the spectrum, you also have your everyday preach to the choir Christian message, which is fine on its own but sometimes comes across as obnoxious in this movie and a center character that doesn't really get much in the form of repercussions for his vaguely explored "mental issues", which are actually just goofy shenanigans and weird/creepy flexes that aren't really all that fleshed out. It doesn't really work as a character piece as much as it does as a satiric drama. It's an interesting movie, and it's carried through by its lead performances, its technical savviness and its central thematic, but it's not for everyone. - B

 

The Perfect Life - Honestly, I was engaged at first. It's a simple thriller setup, but it was fun, it had the right protagonist, the right mystery and the right thrills. I was hooked. And then, things unravel and it just becomes blah. The solutions the movie finds for the problems it raises for its characters are not only uncreative, but shockingly uninteresting, with a possible and cool (if "been there, done that"y and predictable) direction the movie could have taken thrown to the wayside to make way for a much lamer choice. Still, the setup works, at least. It's definitely a solid 2/3rds of a thriller. - B-

 

Snakes - Snakes are some of the most interesting beings in the planet, so yeah, it's nice to see a nature documentary about them. It's not Snow Leopards - as a matter of fact, most kids will probably be terrified - but hey, it is what it is. - B

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SEPTEMBER

 

(3:37AM - To be perfectly honest, I expected this to be worse. No, it's not good, but as a mystery thriller, it kept me engaged. But it was also pretty dull, it blends into the Groundhog Day genre like any other of those movies and found footage horror is totally outdated at this point. - C-)

 

(3:38AM - Now this is the DUD I expected the first one to be. It's exactly the same movie. Like, 100%. The only key difference is it's a guy instead of a girl. Talk about no effort whatsoever. - F)

 

3:32AM - Laughing. My. Fucking. Ass. Off. I don't know what's funnier: the fact that this is a prequel that's completely pointless because it doesn't explain anything, or if it's still exactly the same movie. - F

 

The First Month - At the top of the first month (LOL) of the fall is this WWIII drama from Numerator, brought to us by a director with strong irl output and... not so strong CAYOM output (BioShock, anyone?). Thankfully, this is not another BioShockThe First Month is a triumph in writing, ensemble acting and directing. It's a smart script that brilliantly explores the many different reactions that a group of people, all of whom supposed to be iron-faced, would have to a catastrophe out of their control. It's fascinating to see all the discrepancies in the ways people cope with the disaster. Of course, the script would have little to it were it not for the great cast boosting this movie up. Everyone is really good to great, with extra kudos going to Bruce Greenwood for his stupendous supporting performance. The tension is palpable with a butter knife and the editing is terrific as well. The only downsides to this movie are that it starts off a little shaky, as the movie throws so many characters at you that it's hard to feel anything for all of them up until the plot truly begins to unravel; and the villain, while serviceable, felt a little cartoony at times. Still, The First Month is a really strong putting from Alex Garland and one that's sure to have my attention in a number of Oscar ballots. - A-

 

Banjo-Kazooie - After last year's quiet and ponderant adaptation of Pikmin, New Journey Pictures' latest attempt to bring a Nintendo game to the screen is this musical animation revival of Rareware's legendary Banjo-Kazooie. What is there to say about Banjo that you can't say about your typically solid and entertaining family adventure? Well, it's definitely a strong adaptation of the game, so if you're a diehard fan of the game and just want to see that be faithfully adapted, you're getting an A+ effort here. But does that work as a movie? Yeah, it does. At its core, this is a simple musical family adventure, and it works for two reasons: the voice cast, which is great all around (highlight, besides Freddie Highmore and Beanie Feldstein, is Frances McDormand as the film's wicked villain Gruntilda); and the core relationship between the nutty but courageous Banjo and the sassy but intelligent Kazooie. The animation is good, the adventure is fun and the characters are likeable. The movie comes to issues in terms of structure, because it really feels like the video game adaptation that it is, with its "go here, go there, collect this, collect that" approach to its plot that sometimes puts character development behind for the sake of adventure. Also, the musical numbers, while fine, were pretty redundant for the plot. But overall, Banjo-Kazooie is a solid achievement that should give anyone of any age some enjoyment. - B

 

Columbine - Hmmm... this is a weird movie. The second of two Cannastop Productions launch titles, after the honestly terrible Lena And The Featherweights, is this awards hopeful from Sam Mendes about the 1999 Columbine High School massacre. Most reviews have pegged this as a gross cash-in on a tragedy, but @SLAM!'s review kinda highlighted another interpretation that you could have towards this movie (that of an exploration of how sudden and unexplainable evil can really be). After watching the movie for myself, I can kinda see both interpretations. On one hand, you have a movie that barely touches on any sort of motivation that the two perpetrators of the incident could have had to go on and do something as monstruous as what they did (there's some rumblings of bullying and mistreatment). It just shows you what the life of these two teenagers was and then goes on in graphic detail to depict the massacre itself, almost as if Mendes was shooting one of his war sequences from 1917... only about the mass murder of innocent youngsters instead of a heroic rush. (Yes, that's exactly what @cookie said, and I back him up.) On the other, if you see it from that other point of view, you can kinda see some hidden brilliance in the film simply depicting a tragedy with no explanation for why it happened whatsoever. That being said, it doesn't mask the fact that this movie is without a doubt misguided, because whoever thought it was a good decision to turn the Columbine massacre into a Hollywood spectacle of sorts where we see, no holds barred, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold unleash the carnage that made them an infamous piece of history should really rethink how they approach movies. Nevermind the fact that the cast, while supremely talented, is totally overqualified and miscast... we're talking about people who are both and/or either way too old for the roles they're playing or way too talented for them. This is a deeply, deeply flawed attempt at touching at one of America's darkest moments, and while there is an underlying element of interest in the way Columbine approaches its subject matters, it really isn't a movie that I can honestly recommend. - D

 

Dawn Of The Last Six - I was probably one of the most positive reviewers of the original The Last Six that I know of. Personally, I found it to be basically The Avengers lite, but fun for what it was. So I actually had some sort of expectations for this sequel, directed by James Wan who knows how bring spectacle together. I walked out of Dawn Of The Last Six pretty disappointed. This is a boring ass movie that dives way too deep into exposition and takes too long to get to the meaty bits. Now, those meaty beats are fun and unique. But to get there, you have to go through a slog of exposition and honestly uninteresting character interactions. The characters here are not as well written as they were in the first movie, and with a less interesting villain and another new character that is basically annoying to the point of where you could punch him. The sad thing is the movie is actively trying to be more dialed down and more centered on character drama, but it just falls flat on its face because the writing doesn't live up to the necessary quality. And I don't even know how it got a 200M budget, it feels cheaper than its predecessor. It takes points for its takes on what would the point of home be if there wasn't anyone else in it, as well as for its gender-bending fun third act, but generally, I'd suggest you just go and watch The Long Way Home again if you're still seeking action tentpole thrills in September. - C-

 

Fish Fry - Meh. It's another Tyler Perry movie. It's heartfelt enough, but it feels perfunctory. There's hardly much of a plot beyond just this one guy getting better as a person, which, again, is commendable in spirits, but makes for some seriously dull filmmaking, especially in the hands of someone who handles drama so cartoonishly overdramatically like Tyler Perry. - D+

 

Laika - First thing's first: FUCK HUMANITY. Like, fuck it. Fuck human beings. Okay, that out of the way, second thing's second: I know that my position to talk about a movie that deals with animal cruelty should be limited due to my Love After Loving fuck-up, but again, that was a mistake. What the humans depicted in Laika - humans who were very, very real, by the way - did towards this innocent fighter, to them, wasn't a mistake, however, and that is honestly the most shocking thing that this story has to teach: there was a point in time where humanity didn't value life outside of its own. The selfish, arrogant nature of our kind to the point where it completely dismissed inhuman life is explored here to maximum degree of emotional effect. It's impossible not to feel empathy for poor Kudryavka - I refuse to call it Laika, by the way - and for anyone to tried to save her from her harrowing fate. Carey Mulligan, Douglas Hodge and Olivia Colman stand out in this superb voice cast ensemble, while Michael Sheen's performance gives some degree of humanity to even the dark side of "scientific necessity". The animation, despite running on a small budget, looks beautiful, it being directly inspired by the graphic novel. And the score? Haunting. There's just nothing else to be said here... this movie will haunt me for a long, long time. And if you are a dog lover, I think it's best for you not to watch this movie, as it will traumatize you for life. As for anyone else... I dare you to face humanity at its coldest. This movie stunned me.

Spoiler

A+

 

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Posted (edited)

OCTOBER

 

Countdown City - I really liked The Last Policeman. And I've seen that most seem to see this one as an improvement. Personally, I would put it in the same range, I quite enjoyed this too. The cast was uniformly great (Elgort, cancelled as he may be, was better here than in the first movie), the dialogue and writing in general was mostly excellent and the atmosphere of impending doom really made this feel like the stakes were elevated tenfold despite the fact that the main plot is still relatively small scale. On the downside, I thought that the anarchist college hippies subplot felt a little forced (it was well executed and I liked the concept but it stretched believability just a tad) and I feel like the movie doing the "routine investigation thriller in a pre-apocalyptic setting" trick again was a bit of a letdown, even though more of a doomsday chaos feel did eventually arise. Still, a worthy sequel with great directing, writing and acting that deserved the money it made at the box office. - B+

 

Broadway Selects: Beetlejuice - It's a Broadway musical based on Beetlejuice. That kinda announces what you're in for. It's good for what it is. - C+

 

The Layover - I know jackshit about Chicago geography, so I'm just gonna avoid criticizing what is or isn't out of place and focusing on the narrative. And the narrative... is fine. It's perfectly fine. It's the kind of movie that you take your significant other to for a dumb fun time at the theaters and nothing else. It's slapsticky, it's loud, it has tender moments... it's a romantic comedy. Simple as that. I'd watch this with my girlfriend (if I had one). One question I have though: 30 million bucks for this? Was Numerator swimming in gold coins? - B-

 

Megalo Box - Curious how two widely acclaimed sports movies based on two hard to adapt mediums (video games and anime) were released in the same month. But without tooting on my hat too much, this was a fun movie. Surprisingly deep, actually, as it rung a bell about corporate and shady business control on our lives - from the boxers themselves to the viewers paying money or just watching their favorite sport on TV, all of their lives overwatched by these higher-ups with hidden agendas that are at war with each other - trotting along with charismatic characters and vivid style as well. Benicio Del Toro wouldn't surprise me if he entered the Best Supporting Actor race at all. One nitpick is that I feel like the message was perhaps a bit too in your face - even the symbolism wasn't subtle, cause the constant talk about dogs was pretty obviously hinting at how we are basically hounds on a leash for corporate suits to dominate - another would be that I feel like some characters lacked layers, and finally, the freeze frames, which were obviously inspired on the anime, don't work as well here due to the obvious sacrifices that are made when you take things that can only be accomplished in animation and throw them away (i.e. expressions, facial twerks). The ending was a hard pill to swallow at first, but upon reflecting about it, I ended up really liking it. Overall, a very enjoyable ride, universally accessible for anyone who's looking for both a fun underdog story and a deeper look into the value of human life. It surprises me that it made a billion dollars, but I can't say they were donated to a poor movie. - A-

 

Adult Swim Bomb Scare Non-Fiction Documentary For Theaters - I already knew this story going in, so this brought little new for me, but it's a fun watch if you're interested in the subject matter, even if you're already sufficiently informed. If you're not informed but want to be, I feel like this will be one of those memorable documentaries that you recommend to your friends because the story... well, it isn't the craziest thing ever, but it is something. And it teaches you that no, not every publicity is good. So there is that. - B+

 

Toons V Reality - Yeah, I'm counting this as October. Endless Animation is a staple of CAYOM Hollywood, having already released some instant animation classics such as Gateways and Can You Imagine?. This one, from Phil Lord and Chris Miller, two directors I love, follows a lot of the Endless formula traits - it's a family animated comedy about a strong female character that blends multiple animation styles and follows a theme of fulfilling the dreams you long aspired towards. I can certainly understand the complaints that this movie does have a very clear DNA to it. However, unlike Should You Imagine?, which, as solid a movie as it was, did feel like a clear retread of the biggest hits of the studio, this is a total refresh of ideas in a lot of other ways. No longer are we dealing with a gallopant adventure through magical realms and all sorts of crazy shenanigans - this is a trial movie. Like, a gritty trial movie. Thaaaat just happens to be about cartoon characters. I would even consider this as hardly being very commercial, outside of the obvious merchandise appeal of the different toons. Low-key, however, this crazy idea - what if cartoons were sentient and demanded compensation for the damage done to them by their studios - was the birth of a strongly topical movie that deals with discrimination, sexism, workplace abuse and neglect in mature and intelligent ways. The voice cast all do a solid job, Olivia Cooke, John Mulaney and Aimee Carrero being the highlights. The animation styles are gorgeous, as always. And the script is legitimately strong, easily a frontrunner for Best Original Screenplay. I do have some nitpicks regarding small elements of how does this toon world co-exist with the real world (i.e. the relationship between voice actors/animators and the cartoons), and I also think that it is a bit slow paced, but apart from that, this is pretty great. It's unlike anything I expected it to be, in a good way. Oh, and it is bound to trigger bigots immensely, so... yeah, Geeks & Gamers is already profitting off their 10 "TOONS V REALITY IS A SJW WOKE PROPAGANDA PIECE OF SHIT" garbage festivals. - A

Edited by MCKillswitch123
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