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Slam! Movie Reviews: Y8 Edition

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SLAM! MOVIE REVIEWS: Y8 EDITION

 

**ME**

Veggietales Its Showtime GIF - Veggietales ItsShowtime Showtime GIFs

 

**OTHER PLAYERS**

tenor.gif?itemid=19944724

 

**WHATS WITH THE VEGGIETALES GIFS**

tenor.gif?itemid=16028926

 

 

It's time for films to be reviewed for Y8! As noted in the Magazine thread, I will be utilizing my classic GameInformer-inspired scoring method that was used in my past three game years. And if you don't already know, I also model my review thread after a monthly magazine, and I give a monthly "spotlight" to one film per month, and the spotlighted film gets a review that's a little bit more in-depth than the others. Of course, if you have questions about my thoughts on a film, we can discuss that film further in this thread. I've updated the meanings of my numerical scores:

 

10 - Outstanding

9 - Adept

8 - Great

7- Good

6 - Fine

5 - Mediocre

4 - Poor

3 - Bad

2 - Unsatisfactory

1 - Incompetent

0 - Don't See This

 

I've read all of the films posted in the submission thread so far and I've gone ahead and made review blurbs for each of them, and I'm excited to share my thoughts with everyone! I wish everyone good luck!

Edited by SLAM!
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But wait... There's more!

 

My review thread's VeggieTales takeover doesn't stop at gifs. In fact, some of the VeggieTales characters are the themes of this year's monthly Spotlight columns! That's right--every month is guaranteed to have two spotlight features--but it's different from just a double feature!

 

The first spotlight is...

 

Spoiler

Welcome to

JIMMY AND JERRY GOURD'S

FRONT-PAGE FEATURE

 

This spotlight section is for films that would sell copies of the magazine if it were a front-page cover story. Blockbusters that are likely to attract a lot of attention from general audience moviegoers would be spotlighted here. Expect a lot of effects-driven fantastical stories to be featured!

 

The second spotlight is...

 

Spoiler

Welcome to

ARCHIBALD ASPARAGUS'S

CANNY COLUMN

 

This spotlight section will closely examine films with academic or artful approaches to the craft of cinematic storytelling! Archibald might haggle for a blockbuster or two if it's up his particular alley, but for the most part, this column will be for general fiction films and smaller genre films that have lower budgets than the blockbusters. Most limited-release films will have their review posted in the month of their first platform release, but the timing of that film's review could get bumped down a month if Archibald wants it covered at the time of its wide release.

 

I think my January spotlights will do a good job of exemplifying the difference between these columns--but yes, I'm doing these two spotlight features each month, so that means a lot of films will get a more thorough review!

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JANUARY ISSUE

 

Jimmy and Jerry's Front-Page Feature

Spoiler

THE LOST EMPIRE

 

We'll tell you, as soon as The Lost Empire was announced for January's MLK weekend, we were asking each other, "what in the world is this film doing in January?" Of course, adapting Disney's Atlantis film was always going to come with some risks, and due to those risks, we're sure Disney won't remake it anytime soon. But Phoenix Fire Entertainment and director Julia Hart take the reigns and do an excellent job crafting an homage to the original film.

 

A lot of time and attention went into the casting of the film; I can see that every cast member is perfect for their role--Will Poulter shines in a heroic light that's atypical of many of the snarky or villainous roles that's more common for him. And the set design and visual effects do a great job of bringing the world to life. The submarine scenes are also breathtaking.

 

We also appreciate The Lost Empire for its storytelling. It's a story that doesn't step outside of the bounds of the original film too much, and that make the story seem linear and rigid to a point, but there's a lot of love about the story--it's a classic adventure story which grand senses of discovery, and edgier material that highlights the implications of outsiders finding Atlantis is also nice to see, as it deepens the implications of the film.

 

Again--what is this solid blockbuster doing in the month of January? But we digress--The Lost Empire is certainly worth your time and money.

 

Archibald's Canny Column

Spoiler

WHITE WYVERN

 

I must confess that Slam! Movie Reviews and New Journey Pictures do have a mutual agreement not to review any NJP films, but I wasn't going to comment on Losers Weepers or that Home Invasion nonsense, and I'm not here to review films, so here I am talking about this unicorn drivel. And I couldn't stomach commenting on any more NJP films after this one. Yes, it's that bad! Very disjointed and insulting to the intelligence of the viewer! Blegh! Take it away, good sir!

 

[future columns will be more in-depth]

 

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January Y8 Review Scores

 

Losers Weepers @4815162342

A schlocky dark comedy romp that’s very hard to take seriously. It’s over the top with its practical effects and lacking the synergy of the original. 2/10

 

The Lost Empire @MCKillswitch123

A serviceable action/adventure with good performances and excellent production value that doesn’t stray too far from the source material. 7.75/10

 

Home Invasion: Part III—Hunted @YourMother the Edgelord

Unfinished, lazy, and toothless. 1/10

Edited by SLAM!
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FEBRUARY ISSUE

 

Jimmy and Jerry's Front-Page Feature

Spoiler

POKEMON: THE CASE OF THE ORANGE OUTRAGE

 

Numerator Pictures' Pokemon series of films is one of the most lucrative franchises in terms of CAYOMverse box office, and for good reason. The series brings the world of Pokemon regions to life and is not afraid to tell unique stories within that world that audiences haven't seen before. However, this Pokemon focuses on beloved characters from the anime series like Ash, Misty, Brock, and Team Rocket--but it certainly doesn't lose its charm.

 

Cutting-edge special effects continue to bring the Pokemon to life, and a serviceable story jostles between multiple storylines in expert fashion. The Pokemon battles, overzealous villains, and creative scenarios allow the film to come alive. It's also nice to see Ash, Misty, and Brock interact onscreen, and it's nice to see Tracey get a big role--and it must be said that the casting is excellent all around, especially a voice role that I won't spoil.

 

Pokemon: The Case of the Orange Outrage doesn't reinvent the wheel, but it's a solid family outing that's fun for the whole family--and for millenials, too!

 

Archibald's Canny Column

Spoiler

HOLLAND HANNAH

 

I have been assigned to give festival films a reappraisal in terms of review scores, and I was very excited to see this from a historical perspective!

 

This action film provides a window to look into one of the most stylistic eras in human history. The soundtrack is excellent and compliments the setting perfectly. A lot of hard work likely went into nailing the setting with costume, set, and makeup design. And Elizabeth Debicki and Omar Sy are great casting choices for these roles.

 

This film just needed a story that made room for substantial story moments and maybe a little bit more action. The action, romance, espionage, and music sequences seem like puzzle pieces that are in place but need an extra push to connect them together. Holland Hannah is still enjoyable for what it is, and I think moviegoers should feel inclined to give it a chance! It gets a lot more right than not.

 

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February Y8 Review Scores

 

Romance Road @YourMother the Edgelord

Naomi Scott and Jon Boyega have an undeniable chemistry, and the story does more than enough to engage the viewer. Slightly tongue-in-cheek with the inclusion of Khloe Kardashian, but never unenjoyable. The best romantic comedy since Plus One. 8/10

 

A Very Adam & Cindy Valentine @MCKillswitch123

Very low energy. Not a lot of energy to the film at all. Billy Crystal still gives a fun performance, but I remain unconvinced that Adam & Cindy needed a sequel, especially one that’s coming out as soon as it is. 4/10

 

Funny Business @El Squibbonator

Funny Business is what Who Framed Roger Rabbit? would be if it were much more foul-mouthed. It definitely preaches to the choir a bit—the choir of “animation is as good a medium as live-action” choir—but there’s enjoyable set-pieces and characters even if the story’s kind of simple. And yeah, the visual effects are a slam dunk, too. 6.5/10

 

Pokemon: The Case of the Orange Outrage @4815162342

With great special effects and a story that gets the job done, this Pokemon film effortlessly capitalizes on the nostalgia that long-time fans may have for the anime series. The Pokemon battles are impressive, the roles are well cast, and the inclusion of Tracey was a nice surprise. 9/10

 

Holland Hannah @Alpha

A stylish espionage film with fun costume, makeup, and set design and a sumptuous titular femme fatale that doesn't do enough with its plots points and characterizations. A well-rounded plot with more information about the characters would have made the film a tighter package. 7/10

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MARCH ISSUE

 

Jimmy and Jerry's Front-Page Feature

Spoiler

FAR CRY

 

There's two sides to an action film, and those sides are the side of explosive energy to appeal to the lizard brain, and the side of embuing a greater purpose to the action. What can the audience learn from the action taking place on screen? This appeal to both sides of the action film causes Phoenix Fire's Far Cry to be an outstanding display of action sequences.

 

Each shot of the film gives viewers a window into the tropical and exotic atmosphere of the setting. Despite a lot of daylight and sunsets, there's very real fear and dread when it comes to the protagonist's actions against the waves of goons and the goons' actions against the protagonist and his loved ones. The dynamics between the two groups are exemplified by Dylan Minnette's atypical representation of a young action hero as well as Diego Luna, who is exceptionally great as the crazed Vaas Montenegro.

 

There's some out-of-place elements--there's a lot (maybe too many) quotes in the beginning, and some hallucinations went too far toward fantastical imagery in my opinion, but it helped that the hallucinations were always presented purposefully with committed VFX work. Whatever shortcomings this film does have is quickly drowned out by the abundance of spectacular action sequences. This film is filled with nonstop action and tension, and it rarely comes up to take a breath.

 

All in all, Far Cry is one of the best straight-up action films in CAYOM and gets a hearty recommendation from Slam! Movie Reviews.

 

Archibald's Canny Column

Spoiler

FLIGHTLESS BIRD: THE DOWNFALL OF THE BOEING 737 MAX

 

Flightless Bird is likely one of the most (if not the most) thorough examinations of a real-life issue within a CAYOM documentary. The direction and framing are both purposeful, and the story treats the subject with a huge amount of weight. The film bears empathy to the implications of the white-collar shortcomings behind the groundings, and it treats the revelation of the reasonings behind the Boeing groundings and crashes with the frankness that the situation calls for. A well-executed and timely documentary that happily goes the extra mile.

 

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March Y8 Review Scores

 

Fable @4815162342

The first half of the film comes across as overstuffed, but the film more than makes up for that with its strong cast, grandiose sense of scale, and the production values that Numerator Pictures’ genre films are known for. 7.5/10

 

Flightless Bird: The Downfall of the BOEING 737 Max @cookie

Revelatory and suspenseful. A gripping piece of work, and a very well researched one at that. 9/10

 

MEG @YourMother the Edgelord

A well-executed concert film that’s sure to make the fans happy. 6.25/10

 

Far Cry @MCKillswitch123

A high-stakes thriller with unforgettable action; its depth and meaning manage to honor the source material. Diego Luna is a brilliant casting choice for Vaas Montenegro. 8.75/10

 

Kings of the 6 @Reddroast

A relevant, ambitious, and well-told sports documentary that will make your spirit soar! 8/10

 

Tyler Perry’s 2 Big Families

The cast is fun, but I wish they had better material. Schlocky and repetitive comedy that I found hard to enjoy. 3/10

 

Edited by SLAM!
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APRIL ISSUE

 

Jimmy and Jerry's Front-Page Feature

Spoiler
Spoiler

THE INSECT GOD

 

The emergence of a new production studio is always a big deal in CAYOM, so we decided to take a look at the inaugural work of Fossil Record Animation, which is The Insect God. Like an amalgamation of The Scavenger Wars and Sylvarius (two films/franchises from previous game years), this animated feature seeks to tell a mature, speculative story of humanity's relationship with nature as well as other empires and/or species.

 

Where this film succeeds the most is its animation. The animation pulls off a lot of great imagery, especially for its fairly limited budget. And the designs of the insect species and of Cyxil are very good. I don't even want to begin imagining how hard it'd be to animate a bug character like Cyxil.

 

We do wish, however, that there was more humor in this film (or at least present in the summary). We love the ambition of telling a more mature, edgy, or epic story through animation, but we think the fact that it's animated leaves room for some more vibrance if that makes any sense. And some more established names voicing the characters could have added an extra oomph to how much the audience is invested in the story.

 

But The Insect God is a fascinating debut (i.e. statememt of purpose) for Fossil Record Animation, and we can't wait to see where Fossil Record Animation goes next. In the meantime, we encourage theatergoers to check this out and support original animation!

 

Archibald's Canny Column

Spoiler
Spoiler

THE IDIOTS

 

The Idiots is a sports documentary that is at once inspiring and intriguing. I, for one, didn't have this much of an idea as to how deeply politics could permeate organizations like MLB. Endlessly dense and thorough, The Idiots reminds viewers about the behind-the-scenes hubbub going on in order to ensure that a sports team is able to win as many games as they can. Between this and Flightless Bird, I can say with certainty that this is an exemplary year for documentaries!

 

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April Y8 Review Scores

 

Numbers Theory @4815162342

A somewhat by-the-numbers (no pun intended) white-collar thriller a la Margin Call that sets itself apart with its tense, dedicated build-up and its dedicated performances. 7/10

 

Doc Dreams @Alpha

You’re telling me Steve James couldn’t make a documentary that went beyond a metanarrative? That’s atypical for Steve James. He’s usually an auteur when it comes to filler docs. Hmm. Disappointing. 4/10

 

The Idiots

A striking sports documentary that tells what is perhaps one of America’s most important underdog stories. 8.75/10

 

Snow Monkeys @YourMother the Edgelord

Some gorgeous imagery, but it’s not as significant as other docs in Endless’s nature series. 5/10

 

Up in the Sky @MCKillswitch123

The film boasts creative visuals, and the story revels in a certain magnificence surrounding dense subject matter such as history, time, and life. Unfortunately, the director leaves a bigger level of production value to be desired, and the story doesn’t feel like a necessary one to tell—the allegory’s there, but it’s lacking thematic meat. 5.5/10

 

The Insect God @El Squibbonator

While the story is a bit rushed and lacking in detail—we know they’re insects, but what kind of insects do they look like?— the animation is gorgeous, and the approach to man vs. nature is implemented in smart ways. I’m not over the moon about it, but as a statement of intention for Fossil Record Productions (the intention being mature hand-drawn animation), I see a lot of potential for future films they make. Tone Loc’s a strange choice for Cyxil, though. 7.25/10

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MAY ISSUE

 

Jimmy and Jerry's Front-Page Feature

Spoiler
Spoiler

THE WILD THORNBERRYS

 

The Wild Thornberrys has some obvious parallels to films outside of the CAYOMverse--the most readily apparent comparison would easily be the recent Jumanji films, no doubt thanks to the casting of the action heroine Karen Gillan. With this in mind, we went into this one with its family adventure intentions in mind as well as how it expanded upon the original cartoon--and we definitely weren't disappointed in the result.

 

This film takes just about every character from the cartoon and reimagines them 20/30 years older, and I'd say all of the casting decisions they made work very well. Karen Gillan and Pixie Davies play off of each other well, and it's really fun to see Timothee Chalamet play Donnie. The dynamics between the characters are kept into account, which helps the ensemble and the film itself come alive.

 

The film is also commendable for its sense of adventure. The transition from plucky cartoon series to Indiana Jones style adventure is something we didn't know we wanted until we got it. And the execution is very strong, with heartfelt writing and a sense of place in the wildlands.

 

The Wild Thornberrys doesn't reinvent the wheel, and it can take some time for it to get going, but we enjoyed this one a lot and think you should see it in theaters!

 

Archibald's Canny Column

Spoiler
Spoiler

MASS EFFECT: REVELATION

 

I, Archibald, must confess that I haggled to have the write to write about this new Mass Effect film; I loved the first two films and appreciated it for its academic depth of worldbuilding and statements about societal dynamics. This film continues the reputation set by the last two films, but the transition from original Mass Effect stories to direct adaptations of the video game introduces some hiccups that I'm sure will get ironed out in the iterations to come.

 

I want to start with the obvious positives, which include but are not limited to a strong cast of actors (especially Esposito who anchors the Saren storylines), great action scenes, great visual effects and motion capture work, great set design to bring the world to life, great writing that makes the characters endearing, and all of its thought-provoking themes.

 

Some of the cons I found with this film are similar those in Sorcerer's Stone and Chamber of Secrets, namely the amount of content that has to be placed within the 160-min runtime. Some scenes are long-winded and some scenes feel narratively disorganized, similarly to typical video game storytelling. It doesn't tarnish the film, but if a story is a river that goes from point A to point B, this film has a lot of different tributaries. They're all very fun tributaries, like the part where they find the alien queen in the tube, but I don't believe that it really serves the film very much, and I remember Mass Effect: Ascension being much tighter in that regard.

 

But I understand why the film was plotted this way, and I want to stress that this is still an enjoyable film that people should see in theaters for the cast, characters, action, and provocative musings alone!


 

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May Y8 Review Scores

 

Mass Effect: Revelation

Overstuffed, long-winded, and narratively disorganized to a degree—but those cons are easily overshadowed by pros including a strong cast (Giancarlo Esposito is a great villain), exciting action and virtual effects, a knack for making the characters endearing through their interactions, and thought-provoking questions about political/territorial/societal spheres. 8.25/10

 

Walking With Dinosaurs: The Cinematic Experience

Visually striking and wonderfully informative, Walking With Dinosaurs brazenly stretches the boundaries of the medium; I think the film could have gone more in-depth, however. 8/10

 

MBG: The Spider Path

Spider! Ah! Get it away! I’m scared! Mommy! 1/10

 

MBG: The Scorpion Path

*straightens tie* I can handle scorpions… But these mockumentaries, in all seriousness, do little to validate their necessity; they’re very low-energy, and the humor is annoying. 1/10

 

Rhino Riders 2

This sequel is as rambunctious as a rhino with its bonkers premise and zany racing sequences. Families will enjoy it, though the sequel-bating at the end leaves a lot to be desired from this film itself. 6/10

 

Heartman

With a classic horror energy that calls to mind the styles of Steven Spielberg and Andy Muschietti, Heartman successfully examines cultural folklore in a way that allows its audience to have a great time at the movies. 9/10

 

The Wild Thornberrys

A fun time for the whole family. Good special effects work, a well-cast ensemble, a witty script, a beating heart, imagery that captures the landscapes, and good production values. 8.25/10

 

Slam! Movie Reviews's review of Sandboy has been postponed to the June issue at the request of Archibald Asparagus.

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11 hours ago, SLAM! said:

MAY ISSUE

 

Jimmy and Jerry's Front-Page Feature

  Reveal hidden contents

 

Archibald's Canny Column

  Reveal hidden contents


 

 

Some valid criticism. The hardest thing with this movie is that things that are talked about or which occur don't become really relevant until later on, but it's necessary to introduce the concepts now.

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JUNE ISSUE

 

Jimmy and Jerry's Front-Page Feature

Spoiler
Spoiler

MIGHTY FALL

 

We always enjoy original blockbusters, and this one introduces a sprawling science fiction world with a healthy amount of familiarity! The characters and storytelling allow the film to stand out!

 

The virtual effects and animation work are stunning--very well put together.

 

There's also a lovable amount of cast members to uphold this blockbuster--names that CAYOM audiences are no doubt knowledgeable of.

 

There was some unfunny comedy in moments and some of the cast members feel out of place. Like, when Triple H was the first character shown onscreen, there was an overabundance of eye rolling.

 

But overall, this is a solid blockbuster that will surely do well box-office wise in the Summer!

 

Archibald's Canny Column

Spoiler
Spoiler

SANDBOY

 

Sandboy is Benh Zeitlin's next film in his child-POV fantastical realism series--well it's not really a series at all, but it's certainly a directorial focus. And this one does more than enough to live up to the standard set by Beasts of the Southern Wild and Wendy, but it's still sad to see Zeitlin relegated to this subgenre.

 

But the effects are very good, especially for the budget, and the drama and conflict swirls around the parents' divorce and the child's wanting to have the parents see the magic surrounding them. It's one of the most heartfelt stories of the year, no doubt about it.

 

A great original film from director Benh Zeitlin.

 

Edited by SLAM!
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June Y8 Review Scores

 

Bailey Buckets: A Hoop Story

A spin-off that manages to be slightly better than other iterations in the series. 4.5/10

 

Sandboy

A simple family film full of childlike awe that humbly showcases its brimming sense of heart. Though considering Beasts of the Southern Wild and Wendy, it's apparent that Benh Zeitlin isn't taking this opportunity to gives his whimsical tales a fresh spin. 8.5/10

 

Dave-Day

In my opinion, the irreverent comedy and the conventional approach to its war story don’t go too well together. It’s a peanut butter/ketchup kind of dynamic. But the animation and voice acting are both good. 5.5/10

 

Mighty Fall

A solid sci-fi adventure blockbuster that despite some unfunny comedy manages to tell a compelling story. 7/10

(I redacted and edited the previous score because I have found this film's use of sexuality to be uncomfortable for me personally.)

Edited by SLAM!
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JULY ISSUE

 

Jimmy and Jerry's Front-Page Feature

Spoiler

STATIC SHOCK: FROZEN SUMMER
 

It makes sense that a superhero storyline could involve an average person unable to terms with sudden development of superpowers, but that's not a storyline that usually anchors a superhero film--but we found this film's reliance on that plot to be a change of pace for the genre that cements this iteration in the Static Shock franchise as better than the first.

 

The narrative should be commended for including commentary about serious societal subjects such as the role of police and how misunderstandings could cause them to make a bad situation worse. The way Permafrost's arc plays out is filled with beautiful special effects, yes, but it also allows great room for empathy, and the hopefulness that the story has for society as a whole is very inspiring to see.

 

Static Shock: Frozen Summer also boasts a well-cast ensemble of actors, many of whom return from the first film but all of which act in their roles very well. Casting is half the battle and a good cast goes a long way!

 

Static Shock: Frozen Summer is easily worth seeing in theaters! Bring the entire family!

 

Archibald's Canny Column

Spoiler

EMINEM-ESQUE

 

This documentary doesn't reinvent the wheel, but it's nice to learn more about the court of law! And I have that song stuck in my head! And I really like it! Yeah! Mom's spaghetti! I hope I'm served on the side!

 

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July Y8 Review Scores

 

Meme Th(II)evies

 

Meme Th(II)evies receives a 0/10.

 

Eminem-esque

It’s an intriguing introduction to the world of civil court cases. Fascinating subject matter. 7/10

 

The Exchange: European Studies

 A million times more respectful and tasteful than Emily in Paris, a fact to which I say 'kudos.' 7.5/10

 

Static Shock: Frozen Summer

A well-cast, well-written, and very relevant Summer blockbuster that manages to build upon its predecessor. Better than the first! 8.75/10

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AUGUST ISSUE

 

Jimmy and Jerry's Front-Page Feature

Spoiler
Spoiler

FRANKENSTEIN JR.

 

CGI animated films are a dime a dozen, but if there's any director who knows how to make a good one (while putting some action in), it's Spider-Verse co-director Peter Ramsey. And his expertise leads Frankenstein Jr. to overcome its common tropes and stand tall as a solid animated offering for families.

 

Yes, there are tropes, and there are missed opportunities to break away from those tropes. We'll preface this by saying that tropes and cliches are never inherently bad--that philosophy we have is a major reason as to why this review leans positive--but the trope of how the heroes beat the bad guy, and the "boy and his dog" trope are all present in the film. But we find it hard to believe that Peter Ramsey wouldn't execute those tropes effectively and in an original way.

 

Will Forte is also a fantastic casting choice for Dr. Shock. Especially with the Elon Musk-style reimagining of the character, Will Forte comes across as an inspired choice and does wonders to enliven the film.

 

Frankenstein Jr. is a solid animated film with solid comedy and action that deserves to be seen in theaters!

 

Archibald's Canny Column

Spoiler
Spoiler

LEARNING TO CARE

 

Our previous review of this naturalistic dramedy stated that it didn't live up to the heights of films like Boyhood and The Florida Project. And it's still true that Learning to Care isn't like those films. But since the festival and this moment, there's been a bevy of naturalistic dramas releasing such as Nomadland and Minari, and those films have motivated me to view Learning to Care in a new light.

 

This film is very slow-paced, but it utilizes its slow pace to full effect, placing a prime focus on the themes of life, peace, early adulthood, and the ties between it all. Brett Haley builds on his solid independent directing work to present a film that really shines. And the performances by Nick Robinson and Jimmy Tatro are very inspiring.

 

Learning to Care deserves all the praise it's getting and then some. Here's hoping Rob and co. can get those kids to eat their vegetables!

 

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August Y8 Review Scores

 

The Wave Heist

It’s always nice to see Lakeith Stanfield get a lead role. But the film definitely feels stretched in multiple directions. One minute, it’s a romance; then, it’s a heist film, and after that, it’s a hostage thriller. Its lack of direction muddies an otherwise competent film. And Debby Ryan is one of the funniest moments of miscasting in Cayom’s history. 2.5/10

 

Frankenstein Jr.

A vivid achievement, especially for its budget. I wish there were more scenes with Buzz and his mother, especially at the end which could’ve had room to show Buzz succeed with his inventions, but the character and locations are modeled nicely, and the story progresses smoothly. If any director knows how to execute an animated film with lots of action in it, it’s Peter Ramsey. Will Forte is deliciously comedic as the dastardly Dr. Shock and deserves and Oscar nomination. 8/10

 

The Space Between Trees

While the ending admittedly peters out with an open-ended climax, Debra Granik instills a brooding dread throughout the piece that enlivens the film despite its lack of consistent plot direction. Olivia DeJonge, Diana Silvers, and Jack Reynor are all giving the performances of their careers--and the score by Hildur Guðnadóttir is great, too. 9/10

 

Strangers in the Town

I’m unconvinced that some of these actors are the best choices for this material—I love Jon Hamm but I just don’t see it—and the story kind of peters out, and you only realize the story’s as simple as it is until the climax hits. But it’s still a fun time at the movies for sure. 7.5/10

 

The Outback

The best nature documentary that Creatures Incorporated has made so far. Something about the location, focus, and direction really strikes gold to me. 8/10

 

Learning to Care

Learning to Care is a sublime artistic achievement in that it commits to its realism and displays an earnest heart for the subject at hand. Jimmy Tatro deserves an Oscar nomination. 9.5/10

 

Slash, Splat, Boom!

There’s some impressive visual qualities such as the production design, but overall, the film is sloppy, dull, tame (as far as horror goes or is capable of going), and single-minded, too. 4.75/10

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SEPTEMBER ISSUE
 

Jimmy and Jerry's Front-Page Feature

Spoiler

FLOODBATH

 

Most disaster films have their drama orbiting around the disaster. A great example is San Andreas. There's interesting drama between the divorced couple, the daughter, the wife's boyfriend, and whatnot--but all of that feels like it's been placed second in favor of showcasing scenes of disaster. But we found Floodbath to be unique because the disaster orbits around the drama, like it does in Gravity where Sandra Bullock's Ryan isn't sure if she's strong enough to escape her situation.

 

Annalise Basso and Hero Fiennes Tiffin play the couple at the center of the plot, and if I'm being honest, seeing 23-year-olds as homeowners, in my view, took the believability down a notch. Yes, Jennifer Lawrence was 25 when Joy released in theaters, and 22 when Silver Linings Playbook released, but in my opinion, the perceived youth of the leads threatened to thwart my suspension of disbelief. (I love Annalise Basso though.)

 

I say "threaten to thwart" instead of "it thwarted" because Leigh Whannel's skillful direction and the film's technical achievement made up for that in droves. Putting a huge uncut shot in there was a great choice that served the storytelling as well as how captivating and visually sumptuous the storytelling was able to be. It captures the dread of being stuck underneath rubble in ways that other films haven't.

 

Floodbath is a stunning technical achievement that deserves to be seen on the biggest screen possible.

 

Archibald's Canny Column

Spoiler

THE MILLION-DOLLAR JACKET

 

This spotlight will take a look at the difference between The Million-Dollar Jacket and its source material, the cinema classic Le Million

 

Le Million is a film that I haven't seen, but it definitely has the look of a film from the 30s. Black and white, slow-moving... Slow-moving...

 

Yeah, this one's got Daniel Kaluuya and a sense of urgency, so it's better.

 

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