For having to pick up the awful mess that Rian Johnson did with The Last Jedi, J.J. Abrams did an admirable job of having to right the ship and come up with an ending that ties The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi as cohesively as possible, and at the same time try to satisfy all fans which can’t be an easy task. The beginning felt rush and frantic with scenes jumping too quickly without giving the spectator a chance to absorb what’s happening. What I found useful in enjoying the movie is to accept the fact that Rey (Daisy Ridley) has the combined forces of 100 plus Jedis so that when she does something that Luke Skywalker and Yoda combined can only dream of doing along with new powers that has never before been seen… rather than rolling my eyes (or getting up and leaving the cinema), I decided to just accept it as it is and lo and behold, I’m actually enjoying the movie. The script had lots and lots of holes that’s laughable and not properly addressed as well as too much exposition that detracted from the story but considering the rubbish of The Last Jedi, it is understandable the need for the explanation and the many plot holes throughout. Watching the film, was like experiencing deja vu over and over because elements from the Original Trilogy was peppered throughout the film. Not sure if that’s good or bad but I had hoped they would have come up with something more original and if I’m being highly critical, The Rise of Skywalker is basically a rehash of the Original Trilogy. Having said that, I was still able to have a good time watching the film and when it ended, I didn’t feel the joy and elation I did when watching the Original Trilogy but was relieved that it was over and this time around, they didn’t piss on the true essence of Star Wars… well, not too much. Yes, it could have been better but again it could have been much, much worse. Thank your lucky stars that Rian Johnson had nothing to do with it otherwise, oh boy.
Rated as the best animation film out there by Rolling Stones Magazine, IMDB and USA Today dealing with adult themes that focuses on a young boy Setsuko and his little sister Seita and what they had to endure during the bombing of Japan. It’s a beautiful, touching and tragic with animations that transcends as it really tugs at the heartstrings and paints the horror of war that turns children into orphans and how they are left to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives and find a way to survive in a cruel, uncertain world. The moments between the two siblings and the love they share is just lovely to watch and makes the viewer realize what a precious commodity love is and the length one will go through. Be prepared to cry.
From her entrance 7 minutes into the film, wearing black riding a black stallion that is spirited, one can’t help but be mesmerized by Julie Marsden (Bette Davis) as she is late for her own party and opts to not change her dress and attend it wearing her riding dress tells you exactly what sort of person her character is: wild, willful and a force of nature. She clearly dominates the film with her sassiness and how she carries herself: like a modern woman living in the wrong era, which is her strength and ultimately her demise. It’s a simple story of love gone awry due to Julie’s sassiness that is too much for her banker boyfriend Preston Dillard (Henry Fonda) to handle that results in his leaving her after she insists on wearing a red dress that is a major faux pas in society as white is the only color to be worn by self respecting southern gals, causing an uproar in the Olympus Ball that resulted in Preston leaving her and returning after a year’s absence with a new wife Amy Bradford Dillard (Margaret Lindsay) in hand. It is also a tale of redemption and understanding of human nature. Bette Davis’ compelling portrayal earned her second Oscar for the role.
A slow burn with a stellar cast that depicts life of two boys living in the Mississippi River and how they discover a boat lodged up a tree in a desolate island that they happily claimed as their’s however, there is someone else who has been living inside it. Enter, Mud (Matthew McConnahey) a “drifter” in need of help. As soon as they decide to help him, that’s when it gets complicated as we learn more about Mud, his past and the story gets interesting and exciting. This movie is more about relationships with family, friends, and even touches first love. It never dragged due to the beautiful scenery and camera angles featuring Mississippi - even in its poorest areas, it still comes out as gorgeous on film. The dialogue works well. The emotions feel genuine and the actions real and engaging. It’s not about the plot but more about the characters and their choices and second chances in life that makes this movie great.
If you enjoyed Shaun of the Dead, this little zombie movie will have you laughing just as, if not harder at what Ben (Tye Sheridan), Carter (Logan Miller) and Augie (Joey Morgan), 3 scouts had to endure to save the world (well, their town, really) along with the help of Denise (Sarah Dumont) a stripper/bartender who’s savvy with a shot gun. It’s hilarious, it’s quite genius and silly but balanced with tender and honest moments that makes one think and realize what is truly important in this world: friendship, love and survival. It’s a bit raunchy but don’t let that deter you as that is part of the plot because the teenage boys’ sexual awakening is also an integral part of the story. A fun, laugh out loud movie that never takes itself seriously but delivers in guffaws, chuckles and memorable one liners (i.e. “Nailed it!”) that I predict will be a cult classic. Highly recommended if you are looking for a funny horror flick that will leave a big smile on your face. Oh, and the music is off the hook!
Before jumping into the bandwagon and calling this movie a travesty considering it is the telling of one of the most iconic moment in X-Men history, the Dark Phoenix saga one must first consider the following: that this movie was fashioned to tell the tale after considering the story progression of the other three X-Men movies (X-Men: Apocalypse, X-Men: Days of Future Past and X-Men: First Class) and the development of those movies along with the roster of the X-Men in those movies so it is inconceivable to replicate the story of the much beloved comic book because it would not have made sense unless it was a stand alone movie, which it is not. Having said that, I thought it was quite admirable in keeping the essence of the original Dark Phoenix comic book saga but putting a spin on it and with that in mind, I thought it was really entertaining! A lot better than the previous X-Men: The Last Stand which also had the Dark Phoenix storyline. The action scene in the train scene towards the end of the flick was exhilarating. Sophie Turner who played Jean Grey was terrific. She captured her vulnerability, strength and quirkiness that discerning movie patrons may diss. That’s their loss. True X-Men fans such as I, that have read the comic books faithfully can see that she did an awesome job and she really did embodied Jean Grey. The theme of forgiveness, truth and family adds texture to the richness of the movie and what the X-Men stands for. An emotional, action packed movie that stayed true to the spirit of the comic book version that I thought was extremely well done.
Not being familiar with the Japanese folktale the movie was based upon may be the reason why I actually enjoyed watching the movie that is pretty much a tale of betrayal and redemption involving Samurais in feudal Japan with a bit of magic and mysticism thrown in to make it a bit more interesting. There is an airy quality to the filming that I found unique as visually, there are parts that are stunning. The costumes, the sets and also the tone has an alluring quality that emits a hazy, lovely feeling that can only be experienced by watching the movie. The actors were all formidable and believable and the story was quite engaging. Sure, parts of the movie could have been improved as well as the dialogue but overall, I found it to be entertaining and with some substance. The quiet and slow scenes are sometimes the best part of the movie as they are the most emotional. Of the predominant Japanese cast, Hiroyuki Sanada who played Oishi and Ko Shibasaki who played Mika were outstanding in their roles. And Keanu Reeves who played Kai was solid in his role.
Musically second only to The Little Mermaid in my own personal ranking of Disney Animated Musicals and really a simple tale but oozing with charm, wonderful characters and amazing animation that feels like another character. The ocean comes to life (miles and miles ahead of the ocean in The Little Mermaid but that’s over 25 years difference!) and the dialogue is engaging, funny and poignant. My favorite character is actually Tamatoa, the crab voiced by Jemaine Clement who I thought stole the movie with his presence, visually and vocally. That song: ‘Shiny’ he sings is killer while the other song: ‘How Far I’ll Go’ is monumental and empowering. The movie was a beautiful experience.
Another entertaining animation that has been overshadowed and not given its proper adoration as Disney’s other most popular, which is understandable but this Rapunzel twist I found was a lot of fun. It’s got a different vibe, I find, and that’s to its advantage coz it sets it apart. It’s music may not be the best but they actually enhance the movie and not detract as some musical numbers would do. And it’s not because the music isn’t catchy. It’s because, it doesn’t flow. This one did. The leads played by Mandy Moore (Rapunzel) and Zachary Levi (Flynn Rider) sizzled in chemistry. Funniest scene just because, in an epiphany sort of way was when Flynn Rider was renouncing his looks and wished he had super powers. Ahem! Zachary Levi ended up playing Shazam 9 years later! I just found that funny and made me believe in magic. Because that’s some magic there! And the horse, Maximus. I found him so annoying in the beginning but totally flipped the switch later and made me think of people I disliked instantly but later on found out that I was mistaken. And I like it when a movie can make me do that.
A Jane Austin adapted novel that is pleasing to watch that chronicles the adventure of Cathy Moreland (Felicity Jones) as she escapes her normal life watching over her 9 siblings to a summer spent in Bath with wealthy family friends who is keen on introducing her to Society and maybe find a match. It starts off slowly but quickly picks up as we get a glimpse of society life in Bath during the 1800’s as we follow our heroine as she meets Henry Tilney (JJ FIeld) whom she falls for but not without dodging a few dramas caused by a new friend she made, Isabella Thorpe (Carey Mulligan) who she finds out is dating her brother Edward (Ryan O’Connor) and Isabella’s brother John Thorpe (William Beck) who is enamored with Cathy and tries to sink her affections for Henry. It’s an entertaining period piece with wonderful dialogue, authentic looking costumes, beautiful scenery and a cast of actors that made the script come to life.