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Hate movie spoilers? Good! You'll get straight to the point, quick, and spoiler-free movie reviews to help you spend your time and money wisely on movies. I'll give you the Good, the Bad, the Reason, and the Rating about each movie. ***Please disable any popup blockers***

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Hitman: Agent 47 Movie Review (2015)




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The Good:

Unlike the previous Hitman movie, this one didn't feel like just another "video game movie". In comparison to the first film, this sequel had a slightly better plot. There are few minor twists and surprises that helped keep some parts of the movie interesting. (As long as you don't watch the trailer) Of course, this film doesn't shy away from giving you plenty of action scenes from the very beginning all the way to very end. The character of "John Smith", played by Zachary Quinto, was decent given how his character tied into the story.

The Bad:

While the quantity of action was high, the quality of the action is what took a bit of a downfall in this film. The fights, chase scenes, and weapon use weren't horrible, but it just felt like it was one step away from being better. The action scenes seemed to be caught in limbo between being real and gritty, to being superficially Hollywood. My guess is that if it had used the same fight or stunt choreographer from John Wick, this movie would've been so much better. Unfortunately, despite having a few twists and turns in the story, some of them were relatively easy to predict. Lastly, even though the movie was only 1.5 hours, it seemed to drag in some moments a little too long.

The Reason:

For some brief moments I felt as though there were elements of The Matrix, Terminator 2, mixed in with the first Hitman movie. That is not to say that this movie lived up to those films, just that it borrowed some similar themes. Action-junkies may be the main ones who like this film the most, but I hardly see it being accepted by the masses. I think after watching this movie, you may come away thinking that if you had seen this on TV instead, it would've been a really good movie. Don't feel pressured into watching the first Hitman Movie, as this one was kind of like a reboot. Word of caution: The trailers ruined and spoiled a lot of the twists in the movie, so avoid them if you can.  If you decide to see it in theaters, do it for the cheap matinee price, and I don't think you'll regret it afterwards. Feel free to go see it, but just go in with really low expectations.


The Rating: 6.5/10



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Friday, August 21, 2015

Sinister 2 Movie Review (2015)


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The Good:

The film picks up pretty close to where the previous film left off. So the story does expand a bit and introduces some more insight on the evil character of "Bagul" and the children he encounters. There are a lot of references to the previous Sinister film, so it would be somewhat helpful to watch it before watching this sequel. The church scene is probably one of the creepiest/scariest moments in the entire film. Surprisingly, one of the best performances came from the unlikely character of "Clint Collins" played by Lea Coco.  He was extremely convincing in his role as the father to the children in the film.


The Bad
:

The film stopped being a horror and turned more so into a thriller. Rather than focus on scaring you with Bagul, the film relies on what I could only call "Torture Horror". You'll notice the "Torture Horror" in the many instances when we're shown a number of home videos showing children gruesomely murdering their families in various ways. (If you have a fear of rats, be forewarned now) At times, it gave off a vibe similar to the movie Hostel.

One of the biggest annoyances to me was the focus on the children. The children are focused on like 70% of the movie. Even worse, there's never an explanation as to how exactly one child is able to subdue their entire family. Let alone, how a child is able to physically set up some of the elaborate murder scenes. The ending "chase" scene was probably one of the most unrealistic scenes I've seen in a horror film in a while. Think to yourself, if Chucky, the killer doll, were chasing you with a knife, would you really be afraid and run in terror? (You'll know the scene I'm referring to when you see it.)


The Reason
:

You come into this film looking to be scared, and you simply don't get that at all. Unless you have a phobia for rats, this film simply won't scare you outside of the one or two cheap jump-scares that are thrown in. The previous Sinister, at least, kept to the traditional formula for horror, but this one almost felt like a different type of movie. I just don't see how seeing people die on video is supposed to be scary. It's not scary, just disturbing. I think you can definitely wait on this to come out and watch it at home...for free.


The Rating
: 6/10




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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Straight Outta Compton Movie Review (2015)

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The Good:

From the very beginning, you're drawn in with the suspenseful story. There never seems to be a dull moment at any point. Surprisingly, even though this movie was not a comedy, it had a lot of laugh out loud moments.  The director, F. Gary Gray (FridayThe Negotiator), does an amazing job at making you feel every emotion you can think of. From laughter, to happiness, to anger, to even sadness, you're taken on the emotional roller-coaster ride from beginning to end. There were some really tough emotional scenes in the film. What made them so good was the fact that even when you knew a certain event was going to happen, it STILL affects you when it happens. 

There's absolutely no question that the main characters are easily relatable and you can expect solid performances all around from all of them. I won't spoil it, but there are some surprise supporting roles that pop up that will deliver as well. (BTW, some of those supporting casts may not "look the part" but as per the director, they make you "feel" the part.) It's safe to bet that when you see O'Shea Jackson Jr. playing the role of his father, Ice Cube, you'll immediately think "He looks and sounds just like him!". Same goes for Jason Mitchell who plays Eazy-E in the film. There's never a moment that you don't believe the actors are the characters they are portraying. 

Furthermore, there are plenty of nostalgic moments (pleasant and unpleasant) that will instantly bring you back to that era in the 90s. The movie does an excellent job of capturing the sense of what it was like to grow up in the city of Compton, and the state of society that caused a polarizing shift in the issues our country was facing. Not only that, but even the musical scenes were engaging and entertaining to watch because, if you know they lyrics, you'll jump right in the moment. There are also a bunch of a great references to some classic movies as well that you may remember. If you haven't seen some of these then...well this video may sum up how I would respond to you. 

The Bad:

If you're a police officer, you may not like this movie. 

The Reason
:

All in all, this is how movies should be made; an excellent blend of both drama and comedy, nicely packaged with great directing and writing.  You simply can't ask for more. This film was carefully made with the original members of the NWA and so many others involved to add input. You never get the feeling that this is just some documentary with some Hollywood fluff attached.  I got a chance to attend a screening and heard from the cast themselves just how much work and care they put into this movie...and it definitely shows. (Click here to watch the QnA c/o Akisha Lockhart

It's interesting to see how this film comes out at an coincidental time in our society where police brutality is at the forefront of the news. It's scary to realize that the other highlight of this film is bringing forth the visualization of history repeating itself in our society today. I honestly believe that this will be one of those movies that joins the ranks of Friday, Boyz N Da Hood, and others. If you didn't enjoy those types of films, then obviously this film may not be for you. If you couldn't tell by now, I kinda like this movie...a lot. I think that everyone should go see this movie. Matter of fact, if you're reading this at night, wake your momma up and go see this with her. It's a MUST WATCH in my book. 

The Rating: 10/10





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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

American Ultra (2015) Movie Review

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The Good:

As you can probably tell from the trailer, the action scenes are probably the best highlight to this film. At times it also get pretty gruesome, which only serves to ground this movie a little bit, and make some scenes seem more real. I actually appreciated the fact that Jesse Eisenberg's character didn't just walk away from a huge fight scene with only a minor scratch. He also does a decent job of giving you dry, satirical humor while still displaying some acting range in the serious moments of the film. John Leguizamo was probably one of the funniest characters, even though he had a smaller supporting role.


The Bad
:

The entire movie banks on two factors: action and comedy. The comedy, at times, felt a little forced. The few times it was funny, you'll get a nice chuckle here or there. For the majority of the movie, I felt like I was stuck in "pre-chuckle" mode. (A "pre-chuckle" is when you're smiling, getting ready for a laugh, but only a quick exhale through your nose comes out.) Along with that, the action scenes felt discombobulated. Eisenberg just appears visually awkward in fight scenes. His character is made out to be some type of lethal weapon. However, one minute he's unbelievably invincible, and then the next he's getting hurt, or doing really dumb things.

The villains that he has to face, called the "assets" were also a disappointment because none of them had any of the "unique" traits that they were supposed to have. The only one that had a unique trait was "The Laugher" (played by Walton Goggins) and even he was a weak villain. All of the villains just seemed like petty henchmen that easily get disposed of in the movies. If you were expecting Kristen Stewart to break out and display some serious acting range....keep waiting.


The Reason
:

You could easily sum up American Ultra as The Bourne Identity + Half Baked + The Equalizer's ending scene. Most of the things that this movie tried to excel at, just didn't hit, in my opinion. I'm sure some people may find this film somewhat funny, but I'm almost positive that the majority will agree that it's absolutely not worth your time or money in the theaters. You know what, this is a movie that you watch when it comes on TBS. As a matter of fact, it's not "TBS Very Funny", it's only "TBS funny"... but don't be surprised if you change the channel the moment the first commercial comes on.


The Rating
: 6.5/10



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Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (2015)




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The Good
:

Surprisingly enough, this movie found an interesting way of mixing suspense, action, drama and comedy all together. If you're a fan of director Guy Ritchie (Sherlock Holmes 1 & 2, Snatch) then you'll probably be familiar with this movie's unique style. You'll notice interesting camera work and fun montages that give the movie a different look and feel compared to others. One of the best highlights are the fights and interactions between characters portrayed by Henry Cavill (The American) and  Armie Hammer (The Russian). One memorable moment is a particular techniquethat the Russian performs that may have you feeling as though you've been hit yourself. Oh and as for the plot, there was a very nice twist that you won't necessarily see coming that really gave the movie a little bit more depth.


The Bad
:

The main villain(s) seemed a bit weak. So much of the film is spent building up both Cavill and Hammer's characters that when it finally comes to the villains, the villains just don't seem to even pose much of a challenge. I'm not sure this is really a "Bad" but for the longest time in the movie, it took me a while to stop thinking that Henry Cavill was Clark Kent or Superman (From Man of Steel). He just looks so physically imposing during some scenes, and that contrasts his actual character who's not much of a fighter and more of a ladies man.


The Reason
:

I suppose the best way to describe this movie would be like if they made a James Bond film with comedic scenes throughout. I went into this film with little to no expectations. Nevertheless, the movie was fun, action-packed, and entertaining to watch. I think it's a fun movie to watch and I don't think many will mind watching it in theaters either. See it when you get the chance.

The Rating8/10



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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Fantastic Four (2015) Movie Review

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The Good:

First off, let's give this some effort points for being original. This version of the film tries to go a bit beyond the traditional comic book story and attempts to give a more realistic origin. You also get a couple new and interesting variations of their powers compared to the previous films.  This especially applies to Toby Kebbell's character, "Doom", who possess a number of new powers. Michael B. Jordan was probably one of the few bright spots in the film (no pun intended) due to his wise-cracks and humorous one-liners.

The Bad:

(Grab a chair, this may take a while.) This film tried way too hard to be different. I don't want to spoil it, but let's just say that their origin story may draw a lot of comparisons to the origin story of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. (You'll know EXACTLY what I'm talking about when you see it.) There was entirely too much time devoted to the characters, starting even from when they were children. As a result, you're not even given enough quality time of seeing what you want, which is the main characters using their powers, and fighting the villain.

Speaking of which, the character of Doom reminded me of some type of Darth Vader-like character, with no clear explanation as to why he's "evil". It just seemed counter intuitive to devote so much time into developing a character, and then under develop the explanation as to what motivates their actions. (Couldn't tell if he wanted revenge, or if he was just an evil Captain Planet.)

As for the fight scenes, get ready to wait about 1.5 hours for it to happen. The main fight scene was short, cheesy, and some parts just seemed lazy in my opinion. The end of the scene seemed to be covered up in so much flash and special effects that it's very difficult to make out what exactly happened. I'm not sure if this was done intentionally or not, but they practically stole a scene right from the script of Avengers: Age of Ultron. (So much for originality.)


The Reason
:

*Deep Sigh* As you can probably tell by my face, this movie was a bit of a let down. Now to its credit, it was better than the previous Fantastic Four movies, but that isn't saying much at all. The previous films tried to stick too close to the comics and this one went too far off. In other words, this film failed to find the happy medium. A perfect example is the fact that this film tries to appeal to younger audiences with the super hero aspect, but then goes a little too dark with some semi-gruesome killings. Even one of the main actors, Miles Teller (who plays Reed Richards) said that this movie wasn't going to do well. Question is, "Eman, should I go see this for myself?"... My response would be, "Sure. Give yourself a root canal while you're at it too." (Okay that's too harsh, but you get my point.) I would recommend that if you don't believe me, and still want to see this for yourself, please find the CHEAPEST matinee price available. Otherwise, you can absolutely wait for this via rental or download. Lastly there is no end credit scene, so do not bother waiting after the credits. In the many movies I've seen, I can't recall the last time I heard so many boo's from the audience. :-/

The Rating: 6/10 



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