Good Boys is the first comedy in a long time that was actually funny. It actually prioritizes humor and not on shoe-horning in some ham-fisted political message. The story is simple and while it does go in some unbelievable directions, the characters remained very realistic and grounded. The three leads did a surprisingly good job. I know Jacob Tremblay is a legitimate actor, so I knew he'd be great, but the other two have less experience (especially Brady Noon) but they also put out solid performances. Some of the side characters aren't acted particularly well by their child actors, but none were distractingly bad. I didn't care for the hip-hop soundtrack, but that's only a personal preference and not a knock against the film. For an R-rated comedy, Good Boys is surprisingly heartfelt and while I really didn't like the ending, it did manage to illicit a few tears, which is hard to do. On the technical side, there isn't really anything noteworthy and the cinematography is bland, but the story and the humor really connect, so I didn't notice as much. I was really afraid after the trailers kept hammering in that Good Boys is from the people who brought us Sausage Party (which is in my top three worst movies of all time), but Good Boys is a really good comedy. The overall plot thread is very predictable, but the events along the way are a lot of fun. I wholeheartedly recommend Good Boys.
This is Marvel's Aquaman. Sony clearly just said "Fuck it!" and decided to just have fun and make the most ridiculous movie possible. The writing is atrocious, the story is poorly paced, and the effects are awful. Had they not gone for a PG-13 and embraced a hard R, watching Venom bite people's heads off could be beautiful, gory fun but instead all of the action feels muted and it kind of goes against what the tell us the Venom symbiote is. All of the actors are trying and they seem to be having a blast, but no one is putting in 100%. Tom Hardy adopts a very odd speech pattern for no reason and it gets very distracting. Venom isn't trying to be Logan or Ragnarok, but I can't even say it's a fun "popcorn movie". Venom is coherent, but it's not particularly fun. All of this is putting aside how sad a Venom movie is when it's wholy detached from Spider-Man. They have to force Venom into a hero role and it just doesn't work and I'm especially concerned about where a sequel will go, given the mid-credits scene.
From the first trailer, I knew I had to see this movie. The idea of a family encountering their doppelgänger family was very enticing and the trailer makes it seem like the entire movie is these two families interacting. The thing is, it's not. Without going into spoiler territory, the story is really only about Lupita Nyong'o's and everything else is kind of filler. The acting is great (except the two child actors who are terrible) and I was really fond of Winston Duke's character. The score is interesting (and honestly the only scary thing in the film) and there were some cool camera shots. All of my big issues are with the story. There just isn't enough plot here for an almost two hour movie and what they do isn't particularly interesting or new. The worst part is that their explanations for all of the mysteries only raise new questions and none of it really makes sense logistically. They waste too much time on inconsequential things instead of crafting a sensical explanation. I really wanted more time with the two families interacting and a lot more explanation of who these doppelgängers are and what they want. I have to mention Lupita's doppelganger's voice. What the Hell is going on with her speech patterns? Sure, they are odd, but it comes of a lot more comical than creepy and it's very inconsistent. The message is muddled and the pacing is off. Us is another film with a great trailer, but fails to life up to (or even deliver accurately) the story they promised.
If you watched The Happytime Murders and thought, " The acting is too good and I wish I was more bored." The Fuzz may be for you. Happytime Murders was bad, but it had a trailer's worth of funny stuff and the acting was fine. The Fuzz may have came first, but that makes it even worse. It is painfully unfunny and unoriginal. There is nothing clever and it all feels like a 2017 SNL skit that they stretched. At a certain point, I couldn't even tell what was supposed to be a joke. The story is overly predictable and the CGI blood is awful. Why do the puppets even have blood and why do puppets have multiple colors of blood. One puppet has green, purple, and blue blood. Human characters have multiple insults for puppets referencing their fluff, so why aren't they full of cotton or whatever. Greg the Bunny had puppets full of fluffly cotton. There are plenty of other stupid little things that bothered me (Why are jellybeans what they chose to be a drug for puppets? Jellybeans are literally made by the millions in factories, shouldn't they jave picked something harder to come by?) but none of it could possibly be worth than the awful acting. If you want pottymouthed puppets, watch Greg the Bunny or The Happytime Murders (they even have the exact same joke about a drug addicted puppet offering fellatio in exchange for drugs). The Fuzz is awful and there is a good reason you've never heard of it.
Goodfellas is Ray Liotta's masterclass in acting. If it wasn't for him, there wouldn't be much to enjoy. De Niro isn't a good actor and I can only take so much Joe Pesci before my head explodes. Liotta is great and the makeup team here do a perfect job. The plot is okay, but I never really was 100% on what has going on. They seem to assume that the viewer has some base level of understanding of Mafia business structure and doesn't explain it enough for me. The cinematography isn't anything special and I really just wanted more from the ending. I get that it's based on a real guy, but I needed more closure than we got.
The Haunting of Hill House is hard for me to rate. On one hand, we have really great performances from almost the entire cast; even the kids did very well and I was never reminded that these are all actors ad none of this is real. The sets were really good too, whether it was the funeral home, the rehab center, or the titular Hill House, everything has well designed and as realistically creepy and unsettling. On the other hand I essentially finished only because of the whole sunk cost fallacy and the blind hope that maybe they can right the ship. Every paranormal movie essentially gets to create its own rules for how ghosts and such work, so I can't really complain about the realism of how they chose to write their rules. I will say, however, that their rule book is bullshit and the stupidest fucking mess I've ever read. I won't spoil anything, because the incredibly slow and arduous unrevealing of the mystery is really the only the story has going for it, but I found it to be purposefully obtuse and cheap. They are trying so hard to create a mind-fuck story with the constant flashbacks and (maybe) dream sequences and we never really know if people are really seeing things, if it's just stories they are replaying in their head, if it's hallucinations or if it is just that the writers are trying to give us a visual while someone is being told a story. 85% of the story is just a family drama. It's a compelling drama and the characters are great, but we were pitched and promised a horror and we barely get that. the other 15% is easily the worst part. They do a fair job creating a sense of unease, but literally every unveiling garnered a response of "Really? Fucking really? That's their explanation?" One of the last one makes sense, but one particular one really made me physically angry; it's just so nonsensical, stupid, and unrealistic even for a movie about ghosts. This did not need to be a 10+ hour series and they certainly didn't deliver on the impression of horror. If we cut out all the bullshit, we could have a solid four episode mini-series about a family dealing with loss. I really wanted to love Hill House and they have all of the pieces to make a great show, but they fucked it all up. The cast was outstanding and aside from child actor with a very minor role, everyone gave Oscar worthy performances. The ghosts and ghouls or whatever they actually were looked pretty bad, but the Hill House set looked great. If they gave the pieces to a different writer and director, Hill House could be a classic, but I hate what Mike Flanagan did with them.