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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***

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Jason Bourne Movie Review

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The Trailer:

YouTube Video Review:

The Good:
Matt Damon didn't have to do much talking and still had the same level of impact as he did in the previous Bourne films. All of the things you may have enjoyed about his character were present such as his close quarters fighting ability or the espionage tactics that keep him one step ahead of the his enemies. Along with that, Damon had a nice supporting cast to help you forget about how little he actually speaks in the film. (Only about 20+ lines in total.) Alicia Vikander (played "Heather Lee") was one of the more interesting characters. It was always a bit of a guessing game to figure out where her true motives resided. In addition to her, Vincent Cassel (played "Asset") was a much needed adversary for Bourne. (In the past films, I always thought it was better to have Bourne go up against a tougher agent, rather than just the entire CIA.)

There were pockets of action throughout the film. When they did occur, they were mildly intense, save for the last car chase scene. That final action sequence was an eye-gasm. I don't usually remember or care for chase scenes, but that one was one to remember.

The Bad
:

The plot was pretty weak. Unfortunately, this film banks on the fact that you not only remember most of the details from the past films (from almost a decade ago), but it also banks on you actually caring about some past character(s). If or when people died, under whatever circumstances, I simply didn't care. The biggest problem with this story (and movie) is that it focuses on all the people or organizations that are affected by Jason Bourne. Contrary to the first Jason Bourne film, we were taken on the ride with Bourne the whole time. The movie was actually about him. This time, it's about all the people he's pissed off, and it's really difficult to care about them at all.

As I mentioned earlier, there were only pockets of action sequences. That's because the movie was filled with long, dragging sequences of dialogue that was just plain boring. Not once did I care about the black ops mission "Treadwater" or operation "Black Eye" or whatever those missions were called. I kid you not, myself and others fell asleep during the movie. Let me say this again. People fell asleep during this action/thriller movie!

The Reason
:

*zzzzz....zzzz* Oh I'm sorry, I just dozed off thinking about this movie some more. Look, this was not a win for the Bourne franchise, in my opinion. I LOVED the first two Bourne films, but I think the franchise needs to just stop. Jason Bourne was basically a rehashing of The Bourne Identity. We've seen this movie done before. It's as if they ran out of ideas and just took the same cookie-cutter formula to make this movie.

Now I fully understand that some people will enjoy this film. If you are really patient, don't mind long dialogues about CIA conspiracies, or government jargon, then this film is all yours. I, for one, am done with this franchise. I'll stand by my claim that Matt Damon needs to just drop the Bourne movies and do a comic book movie with Ben Affleck. (Watch My Top 5 Matt Damon Comic Characters video here) You can go watch this movie if you want to, but don't expect to be wow'd the same way you were with the first couple of films. You can absolutely wait for this to watch at home. Why? Because at least you'll have the comfort of your own couch or bed right there waiting for you.

The Rating: 6.5/10 (Watchable with some coffee)

My [Loosely based] Ratings scale
10-9 = A Must watch at any cost. 
8.5- 7.5 = Theater worthy 
7-6.5 = Matinee/rental worthy at best
6 = Watchable (If it's free)
5 - below = Avoid at all costs

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Batman: The Killing Joke Movie Review


The Trailer
:


The Good:
It was interesting to see how this animated film decided to have about three stories all in one. Rather than focusing simply on Batman and the Joker's story, we're given an additional plot of Barbara Gordon/Batgirl. The benefit of this additional Batgirl story is that it adds a lot more depth to the characters of Batgirl and Batman as well.

Besides the first 40 mins of Batgirl's story, the second half of the film is almost a straight forward adaptation from the comic book. Most comic fans always wish for this, so it was definitely appreciated to see many of the same quotes and panels used in the movie. In regards to the story itself, it still maintains as a timeless classic of the relationship between Batman and the Joker's unique relationship. The story focuses on how both men are just two sides of the same coin and how they may not be as different as perceived.

Kevin Conroy is always a major plus when he voices Batman, and the exact same can be said for Mark Hamill voicing the Joker. It's almost impossible to separate both voice actors from these characters. Hamill especially

The Bad:
I suppose my only issue is in the actual drawing of this film. I understand that this was more than likely drawn in a fashion similar to the 1980's comic that this movie was based on. However, this is just a matter of personal preference for me, so take it or leave it. I would have preferred some of the more contemporary styles of animation for the characters.

The Reason:
I found it rather difficult to critique this movie because it really didn't divert away from the original Batman: The Killing Joke comic book. Some people apparently have some issue with a certain scene involving Batman and Batgirl. In my opinion, it was nothing short of what many suspected for decades anyway.

If you're a comic fan, then your enjoyment of this film will more than likely depend on how you enjoyed the comic. If you're unfamiliar with the 1980's comic, then I'm not sure this film will be as well received as other Batman animated films. There isn't the same level of action and suspense, so some audiences may feel a bit under served. Personally, I enjoyed the film simply because I've always found the weird relationship and the deeper meaning between the Joker and Batman to be fascinating.

The Rating: 7.0/10
(You can order the movie on Amazon or iTunes below)



My [Loosely based] Ratings scale
10-9 = A Must watch at any cost. 
8.5- 7.5 = Theater worthy 
7-6.5 = Matinee/rental worthy at best
6 = Watchable (If it's free)
5 - below = Avoid at all costs



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Friday, July 22, 2016

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

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The Trailer:

The Good:
It's no question that this movie's greatest highlight will be its visual effects. The bright vibrant colors help the movie pop in many scenes. The 3D effects work in conjunction with the unique camera angles to provide a lot of depth in many of the scenes. Director Justin Lin does a superb job of adding dynamic camera shots and transitions that complement the sense of danger or adventure depending on the scene. For instance, you'll notice the camera zooming out to show how great a dangerous threat may be.

Along with the nice aesthetics, we also get a lighter and more fun tone for this film. Thanks to  writer Simon Pegg (who plays "Scotty"), Star Trek Beyond is peppered with many instances of humorous banter and situations throughout the movie. It doesn't make the movie a complete comedy, but it does create more of a enjoyable atmosphere to compliment the sense of adventure. In addition to the humor, we also get some innovative space combat scenes that were entertaining to watch.

Chris Pine really solidifies his mark as Captain Kirk, and Zachary Quinto is admirably taking on the role as the definitive Spock. Sofia Boutella also didn't disappoint with her intriguing character of "Jaylah". The majority of the cast were fine, but I wanted to pay special attention to the character of Mr. Sulu played by John Cho. As someone who attempts to bring attention to fair representation in Hollywood, I thought that the movie did Cho's character justice. They didn't stereotype him (as many Asian actors fallen victim to). Instead, he was represented as both a legitimate leader and as a regular person. (You'll know what I mean by "regular person" when you see the film)

My biggest compliment of this film is probably the fact that it's going back to its roots in regards to the spirit of the franchise. Star Trek was known more so for the exploration and adventures, and not so much just the action aspect. This time around we're given a slightly better glimpse of what this futuristic universe may encompass along with all of the many different types of aliens that are a part of it.

The Bad
:
I hate to even say this, but I think my biggest negative in this film was probably Idris Elba's character. (I know, I know....it's THE Idris Elba, but just hear me out.) I don't have a problem with him as an actor, but more so his character specifically. Maybe it was the writing, or maybe it was in his delivery. Either way, his character felt as though it didn't need an actor of Idris' caliber to play. There are scenes when Idris' accent are a little hard to understand. At the end of it all, it ends up appearing as though Idris may be over acting for a role that didn't really require his presence in the first place.

The Reason
:

My overall impression of Star Trek was that this has definitely become more of a niche, sci-fi type of film. The previous movies felt more like adventure films that happened to be in space, but Star Trek Beyond is definitely more sci-fi in nature than the others. If you were a fan of Battlestar Galactica or similar shows, then this would be your kind of movie for sure.

The other point about this film is that it was very safe. It didn't come off as having any incredible peaks nor valleys. If you were someone who loved the first Star Trek film (of the current remakes), but got turned off by the second one, then this film may rekindle your interest. I would definitely say it's worth the watch in theaters and feel free to watch it in 3D. I don't think that you need to see it in IMAX 3D. If sci-fi movies aren't your thing, well then go in with caution.

The Rating: 7.5/10


My [Loosely based] Ratings scale

10-9 = A Must watch at any cost. 
8.5- 7.5 = Theater worthy 
7-6.5 = Matinee/rental worthy at best
6 = Watchable (If it's free)
5 - below = Avoid at all costs



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Lights Out Movie Review


The Trailer
:


The Good:
Well this movie wasted no time at all to get the ball rolling with the horror. Rather than build up the creepiness and anticipation of the scary moments, it's simply thrown right at you from the very beginning. The ghost/monster thing (who I like to call "Dirty Diana") was pretty terrifying even though all you could primarily see is a dark figure. As usual, I will give this some points because it is pretty original in the sense that this is a fresh, new angle to approach horror characters. The concept of playing on the fears of darkness while being crippled to the safety of light is one we all can relate to from our youngest childhood fears.

My favorite character has to be "Bret" played by Alexander DiPersia. I can't go into detail about what he does or doesn't do, but I will say that got a round of applause during my screening of the film. His character possessed a much needed element that a lot of horror movies tend to lack.

The Bad:
Almost all of the characters, except for Bret, are pretty annoying. Their naivete and incompetence invoke instant eye rolls. I mean they go beyond just the "Oh what's that? Let me go investigate" level of stupidity. Many of the of the main characters KNOW what they're dealing with (or just that it exists) and still act clueless about handling the situation. When characters get that dumb, it completely distracts the audience from taking this film seriously. Matter of fact, the idiotic actions of the characters make this movie more comical than scary.

Speaking of which, for a horror, this was a pretty lackluster. Yes, there were plenty of jump-scares. However, the setup for them felt so rushed and, even worse, predictable. Despite having James Wan (Insidious, The Conjuring) as a producer, very little use of his style of setup and delivery were utilized. The film could've easily borrowed aspects of the first Insidious film which created an atmosphere in which you had no idea when something scary was going to happen, or if it was sitting right in front of your face the entire time.

The Reason
:

This movie is what it is. It's a basic horror film, that was inspired by a really good, award winning horror short movie. (Watch the original short here.) This was a pretty forgettable film that sadly won't have you taping your light switches on at night. If you did decide to see this, this would probably be a good date movie or something to see with a group of friends. You'll probably get a bigger kick out of laughing at the movie rather than going to get some real terrors. Feel free to see this as a matinee or wait to watch at home. Maybe if you watch it at home with the lights off it may make the movie just a little bit scarier.

The Rating: 6/10

My [Loosely based] Ratings scale
10-9 = A Must watch at any cost. 
8.5- 7.5 = Theater worthy 
7-6.5 = Matinee/rental worthy at best
6 = Watchable (If it's free)
5 - below = Avoid at all costs



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Free State of Jones Movie Review

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The Trailer:

The Good:
From the beginning of the film, there's no shying away from the gruesome, and very graphic visuals. It is war after all (the Civil War more specifically). The historical nature of the film is full front and center. I appreciated how some of the portrayals of the historical events really challenged what many of us would like to believe according to "Public Memory". In other words, you may have been taught in history classes that certain events happened a certain way, but this movie shows you some of the uglier truths. It's fair to say that in some aspects of the film it kept things pretty honest.

There were some nice twists and turns as the movie progressed. If you're unfamiliar with the character and/or the history, then it's even more interesting to see it all unfold. Matthew McConaughey doesn't disappoint in bringing yet another great performance we've now come to expect from the Oscar winner. His character, Newton Knight, seems like a rather interesting and compelling one. His resolve and fight for justice and equality is something that most of us today would probably look at and revere. A lot of the supporting cast deserve a lot of credit as well. Mahershala Ali, who played "Moses", did a wonderful job in his role as one of Newt's friends. (I'll address this later) It was nice to see Ali's character growth for the entire film.

The Bad:
The film felt a tad bit longer than needed. There were were multiple times when I thought the movie was going to end, but instead it just kept on going. The "Time jumping" sequences felt a little out of place and they were kind of distracting. When you finally realize why they were there, the reveal just didn't seem to live up to the built up anticipation. (Though, I must say I appreciated the irony it presented in the end)

The Reason
:

As I suspected, this movie is going to call for the uninformed viewer to probably go do a lot of fact checking. Thanks to one of my colleagues at EveryMovieHasALesson.com, you can just click here to see how the film actually stacks up to the real historical events. (Careful, there are spoilers in that link)

A concern I did have with this movie that I will reserve from labeling as a "good" or "bad" is whether or not this movie fell victim to using Hollywood stereotypes. I was rather disappointed that certain characters and events were created and/or never existed. I think because of the additions, the movie may have fell victim to stereotypical character roles. An example of this would be like "The White Savior Complex" who uses the "Black Best Friend" character as a catalyst to elevate their emotional states or motivation. (Think Robert Downy Jr and Don Cheadle from Civil War)

Overall, Free State of Jones means well, but I'm not sure if it's the type of movie that must be seen by average movie goers. If you like period pieces, or have a love for historical movies, then I'd say this is right up your alley. You'll know if you want to see this or not based on however you feel by the trailer.

The Rating: 6/10

My [Loosely based] Ratings scale
10-9 = A Must watch at any cost. 
8.5- 7.5 = Theater worthy 
7-6.5 = Matinee/rental worthy at best
6 = Watchable (If it's free)
5 - below = Avoid at all costs



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Nerve Movie Review


The Trailer:

The Good:
I'm a sucker for it every time, so I'm going to give this points for originality. The concept of blending both the game "Truth or Dare" with the FaceTime type of software is a really unique idea. The setup of "Players" and "Watcher" is also an interesting perspective on the potential state of social media today. The film doesn't take long to give you the basic premise and set up the characters.

Among the characters, Emma Roberts and Dave Franco are probably the most intriguing. Emma's character ("Vee") does a decent job of portraying an introvert, who tests her own limits in front of the online world. Dave Franco's character ("Ian") maintains a level of mystery and intrigue throughout the film. The two gel pretty well on screen and their interactions do come off as pretty genuine.

Overall, the suspense of the dares is probably what will stand out the most for this film. Some of the stunts and dares are shot in such a way that you're own heart rate may go up just a little. A personal favorite of mine was the final twist at the end of the movie. I thought that it was rather ingenious and unpredictable.

The Bad
:

There are some parts in this film where the acting just isn't that good from the supporting cast, and other points where the writing just feels like fillers. It almost felt like watching one of those teen shows on the CW. (Granted some of these were younger actors but the feeling remains the same)
I suppose what was missing was just a bit more development in the characters themselves. The film tried to balance between developing the main characters and focusing on the "Nerve" game itself. Similar to the Purge films, this movie would've been better served had it focused on the unique idea of the "Nerve" concept and its impact on society, rather than trying to build up a soon to be forgettable character.

The Reason:
I think that if you're a millennial, spend at least 3 hours on social media a day, or know how to work a smart phone, then you'll more than likely enjoy this film. Seeing as though this movie does center around high school to college aged kids, it sort of alienates itself from being enjoyed by an older audience. I personally liked it. If you've ever seen the movie "Unfriended", or if you like teen drama films like Divergent, then you'll definitely like this as well. Is this a must see? Nope. However, it's a decent matinee movie or if you want to wait to see at home I don't think you'll be disappointed. Again, I'm biased when it comes to originality, so i'm giving it an extra little bump for my rating.

The Rating:  7/10

My [Loosely based] Ratings scale
10-9 = A Must watch at any cost. 
8.5- 7.5 = Theater worthy 
7-6.5 = Matinee/rental worthy at best
6 = Watchable (If it's free)
5 - below = Avoid at all costs



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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

[GUEST] Fathers and Daughters Movie Review

GUEST WRITER: Don Shanahan is a fellow Chicago film critic of "Every Movie Has a Lesson." He is an elementary educator who writes his movie reviews with life lessons in mind, from the serious to the farcical. Don is one of the directors of the Chicago Independent Film Critics Association (CIFCC). Please welcome him as a new contributor to Eman's Movie Reviews.

The Trailer:


The Good:
Cynical critics and audiences will likely pontificate a headline of “Russell Crowe Goes Soft!” after watching his lead work in his new film “Fathers and Daughters” from “Pursuit of Happyness” director Gabriele Muccino.  Watching the “Gladiator” Oscar winner play an ardent father of a heavy ensemble drama is a role that does not require the temperamental violence that normally fronts for the inner honor and heart we know resides inside many of the Australian tough guy’s most memorable roles.  For once, he lets love do the talking instead of his fists.  This so-called softness is not the buffoonery of Arnold Schwarzenegger from “Kindergarten Cop” or Dwayne Johnson playing the “Tooth Fairy.”  Such is, instead, genuine maturity and it should be celebrated rather than chastised.

“Fathers and Daughters” weaves two timelines of past and present from rescued 2012 “Black List” screenplay from first-time screenwriter Brad Desch.  Through flashback, Crowe plays Jake Davis, a successful Pulitzer Prize-winning New York City novelist in the late 1980s.  When he can pull himself away from his trusty typewriter, he is an imaginative and loving father to his doting eight-year-old daughter Katie (Kylie Rogers), whom he affectionately nicknames “Potato Chip.”  When a sudden car accident claims the life of his wife and her mother, the two are left broken and alone.  Jake’s grief and manic depression causes him to develop uncontrollable shaking and seizures.  At the advice of his doctors and his long-time agent Teddy (Jane Fonda), Jake commits himself to a mental institution for seven months of treatment, leaving Katie with his sister-in-law Elizabeth (Diane Kruger) and her husband William (Bruce Greenwood).  When Jake returns, the wealthy couple fights to adopt Katie away from the unstable and struggling widower.

Concurrently, over 25 years later, Katie (Amanda Seyfried) has grown up to become a graduate student in Psychology employed as a social worker for Dr. Korman (Octavia Spencer).  Specializing in children’s cases, Katie takes on a new mute patient named Lucy (Quvenzhane Wallis of “Beasts of the Southern Wild”).  Away from work, the Katie of the present day carries self-destructive tendencies to drink heavily and bed just about any guy that hits on her.  Her downward spiral changes when the therapy sessions with Lucy end up working both ways and she meets Cameron (Aaron Paul) instead of another low-life.  Cameron is a gentle and patient struggling writer.  The young man has idolized and emulated his work after Katie’s father’s, particularly Jake’s most-celebrated work, the novel “Fathers and Daughters” about his relationship with Katie as a child.  Their growing relationship brings both challenge and inspiration.

The Bad
:

In fairness, “Fathers and Daughters” lacks a strong unifying thread and replaces it with that compelling question of “what happened.”  Since you do not see Russell Crowe in the present day timeline, you cannot help but fear the worst for Jake Davis’s fate.  The film can be a bit disjointed in interlocking its twin tangents and balancing its hopefulness on one end and the mounting depression on the other.  Without question, the compelling drive of the Muccino’s drama that builds your investment is trying to piece together how the sweet little girl with a wonderfully loving father turns into the loner mess she appears to be later.

The Reason
:

That flawed path is still a worthy endeavor not destined for a cliché or tidy happy ending.  Those who do not have the stomach for absorbing or the comfort level for observing so-called “daddy issues” will turn their nose at these two perspectives and call out the saccharine drippings of melodrama.  The overall capacity of the able and honest heart of “Fathers and Daughters” is a winning quality that the cynics can choose to discount all they want.  So be it.  They have their own genres and therapy bills.  Others can choose to embrace the sentimental chance to hug your children a little tighter.

The Rating:  7.5/10


My [Loosely based] Ratings scale
10-9 = A Must watch at any cost. 
8.5- 7.5 = Theater worthy 
7-6.5 = Matinee/rental worthy at best
6 = Watchable (If it's free)
5 - below = Avoid at all costs



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Friday, July 15, 2016

Ghostbusters Movie Review (2016)

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The Trailer:

YouTube Review:

The Good:
The chemistry between the characters stands out throughout the film. They each are able to have their own identity and comedic style for the entire movie. Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy delivered the same performances as we’d expect, but the more interesting characters were probably that of Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones.

McKinnon was so weird, but in a good and funny way. She easily had one of the best scenes and almost steals the movie. Her role as the engineer was by far the most intriguing. Even for Ghostbuster fans who consider themselves purists, her ingenuity with various gadgets was a wonderful upgrade to the Ghostbusters overall.

Leslie Jones slightly exceeded my expectations. What I personally appreciated was how she didn’t completely fall victim to playing a generic stereotype. Matter of fact, I think she had the most normal reactions to some of the crazy situations the Ghostbusters faced. Best of all, I really appreciated how they highlighted that she was more than just a transit employee that knew about New York City. She was incredibly valuable and resourceful to the team.

The plot felt a bit stitched together, but it’s not like Ghostbusters is known for its deep story-lines. I think that the film overall did a nice job of paying homage with the numerous nods to the previous the previous film. You’ll get more than enough nods to the previous Ghostbusters films. You can probably also tell from the trailers that this film has some nice special effects. The visuals were definitely a sight to see as they keep your attention whenever a ghost is on the screen.

The Bad:
For the entire duration of the movie, I struggled to figure out what tone this movie was trying to have. The film felt like it had two different halves. The first half was nice, subtle humor. The second half seemed to try and juggle a sense of urgency and corny goofiness. For many instances, for me, the goofiness was a little distracting.

I won’t say who, but many of the cameos in this film just never really felt natural. They felt like they were just randomly thrown in just for the sake of seeing a familiar face. The cameos just felt misplaced and sometimes forced. My biggest issue with this film was not that it was a reboot or remake. Rather my issue was that this film could’ve simply just been a warm hand-off from the old Ghostbusters. This film erases the previous movies, but still tries to tap into the previous films by doing various things to call back them.

Given the fact that some of the characters are from Saturday Night Live, you almost get a sense that they tap into that same comedic style. Now for some people, that may be fine, but for me, it’s problematic. Just like in Saturday Night Live, some of the jokes in this Ghostbusters were just milked a little too long for me. After the fourth or fifth time of seeing that funny thing, it starts to lose its’ punch. For me, the movie’s jokes were chuckle-worthy, but not laugh out loud funny.

The Reason:
So it’s not breaking news that there’s been a lot of controversy surrounding this film. I was one of many people who were somewhere on the fence about it. So I came in with low expectations and an open mind. The movie was not “trash” nor was it “great”, in my opinion. It was “digestible”. In other words, it wasn’t black liquorish, nor was it a Snickers Bar. It was just a peanut. Yes, a peanut. Why a peanut? Because peanuts aren’t really bad. However, when you think of the rampant hate by some Internet people who vowed to never see this movie, you’d think they’d avoid this movie like they had a peanut allergy. (See what I did there?)

Anyway, I’ve always said that comedies are one of the most subjective movie genres to critique. What’s funny to me may not be funny to you, and vice-versa. While some people were in my theater were laughing out loud, myself and others were just smiling for a long time.

At the end of the day, trust your gut on this one. If you’re livid about this movie then don’t bother. Chances are you may just nitpick the movie anyway.  For those who are on the fence, I'd just say that it’s not as bad as it was made out to be by the people who didn’t even see it. I could see how this would be funny for some people, but it was just okay, for me. If you’re curious about it, I’d say give it a shot and make up your mind. If you’re a fan of director Paul Feig’s work (Bridesmaids, Spy, The Heat) then this is right up your alley. I also wouldn't recommend it for small children because some of the ghosts may actually be a little too scary for them. Be sure to stay till the very end of the credits for an end credit scene. 

The Rating6.5/10


My [Loosely based] Ratings scale
10-9 = A Must watch at any cost. 
8.5- 7.5 = Theater worthy 
7-6.5 = Matinee/rental worthy at best
6 = Watchable (If it's free)
5 - below = Avoid at all costs



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The Infiltrator Movie Review

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The Trailer:

The Good:
The acting definitely stands out as one of the highlights of this film. Bryan Cranston was simply brilliant. His acting is definitely at an all-time high in The Infiltrator. You can tell because throughout the film, he's able to convey his emotions in such a way that you have no choice but to connect with his character. I appreciated how he was able to show the real difficulty surrounding the life of an undercover agent. Rather than just showing the pretending and crime busting, they also showed how his life affects his family, and his own decision making. I should also mention that Cranston was able to build off of a very strong supporting cast as well.

A lot of characters were able to stand out on their own in a very unique way. John Leguizamo (played “Emir Abreu”) was great as well. His character fed into much of the suspicion in a film where you didn't know who to trust. Benjamin Bratt (played "Roberto Alcaino") and Diane Kruger (played "Kathy Ertz) gave noteworthy performances as well. They all shared such great on-screen chemistry together, that I almost feel bad for not being able to mention the other very unique characters.

The other highlight to this movie was the high level of suspense. There were so many scenes that were either jaw-dropping or just completely suspenseful. You almost have to sit on the edge of your seat when some situations in the movie take an ugly turn. What made it even more intense was that there were many twists and turns that were rather unpredictable. There's a decent amount of action mixed with a good dose of intrigue that will keep you interested from beginning to end. It was nice to see how the older technology was used to assist the agents do their work. However, after watching this film, I'm not sure why anyone in their right mind would ever want to work undercover for any reason.

The Bad:

My only real issue with the movie is that it felt kind of long. It is about two hours long, and there are plenty of scenes that will keep you engaged. However, it probably could've been a little shorter to help the film go by faster.

The Reason:

Overall, I really enjoyed The Infiltrator. I can understand that this film may not be for everyone. If you're a fan of the movie Sicario, American Hustle, or the Netflix series Narcos (all highly recommended), then you'll more than likely enjoy this. The story of Pablo Escobar never gets old, in my opinion, and this movie doesn't sell it short at all. I'd highly recommend checking it out whenever and however you can.


The Rating: 8/10


My [Loosely based] Ratings scale
10-9 = A Must watch at any cost. 
8.5- 7.5 = Theater worthy 
7-6.5 = Matinee/rental worthy at best
6 = Watchable (If it's free)
5 - below = Avoid at all costs



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Saturday, July 9, 2016

Batman v Superman Ultimate Edition Movie Review

Click the pic to watch the video review
The Good:
Right off the bat, you'll notice that the story makes way more sense. It’s told in a much more chronological and cohesive manner. You'll also notice that many of the scenes were re-ordered in a much better sequence. The benefit of this was that the characters we developed in a much better way. We actually get a better sense of their motivations as well.

I appreciated Amy Adams (played "Lois Lane") so much more in this version. She's cracking cases like Sherlock Holmes and even reveals some insight as to why Superman couldn't stop that bomb.

As for Superman/Clark Kent, we found out that he wasn't so much of an emotional jerk after all. He followed up with the victims, and showed that he really did care. The theatrical version cut out many of the scenes that really dug into the moral dilemma of "who's good or bad" and "What's right or wrong". When someone stated that Superman was a hero, we didn't get to see much of the other side of that story questioning "Well who's hero is he really?" In a nut shell, the ultimate version made me actually care a little more about Superman's character.

On to Lex Luthor...Jr? Well they did a much better job of showing us more of Lex's plans and just how much he really was involved with the conflict between Batman and Superman. This definitely helped to add to his character's motivations and devious nature that we're all accustomed to. The scene where Lex is captured in the spaceship made way more sense as well, which was a much better setup for Darkseid's arrival.

The Bad:
If you had high hopes like me that there was going to be another intense action scene like Batman's final fight scene, then I'm sorry to tell you it's not happening. Many of the additional scenes were more so for the sake of filling in the plot, and not so much action packed visual delights.

I STILL think that Jesse Eisenberg's Lex was a fail overall. I don't think that using the alternate universe's version of "Alexander Luthor" (from the Crisis on Infinite Earths comic series) was a good move at all. This movie was made to be a commercial, and mainstream film. That means that only comic fans may catch that character difference while casual movie goers may be mystified as to why this version of Lex is so different. Also, I think that Lex's "insanity" would've made more sense had he simply gone crazy AFTER he started messing with the alien technology. (I HATE that jolly rancher scene) -_-

The Reason:
Batman V Superman was both a Win and a Fail at the same time. It primarily had only two goals. The first goal was to give us the two most iconic superheroes on the big screen while teasing the Justice League's existence. The second goal was to appeal to average movie goers AND comic fans alike.

With the studio panicking over the long run time and forcing Snyder to cut it short, I think the studio failed in the sense that the Ultimate version was obviously a better film. However, if they wanted to cut things out they should've just cut out Doomsday. And yes, I know, that would've meant Wonder Woman too. Honestly, I don't think all of her scenes were needed. Why? Because this was a setup movie. When we saw that awesome trailer for BvS, we didn't know Wonder Woman was going to be in it, and we LOVED it. She could've been teased like everyone else, and got us excited for her upcoming solo movie. Doomsday could've simply been teased.

Furthermore, I've been on record to say that Superman's death was incredibly premature. Such an event is not something you cram in the last 20 mins of an already bloated movie. That could've been saved for Man of Steel 2 where we could've focused and cared more.

Now Snyder also failed in the sense that no one told him to make a 4 hour movie. (yes it was originally going to be 4 hours!) As a director your job is to tell us your story but do it effectively.

Now to be fair, both the studios and Snyder still win. Studio gets Geoff Johns (awesome comic writer) to supervise all of their projects moving forward as an executive producer. They also added Ben Affleck to direct and executive produce some of their films as well. (This way they can reel in Snyder if he goes off the reservation again.) Snyder wins because he gets a second chance to direct the Justice League movies.

So I should also clear this up. My previous rating of Batman V Superman is now going to be reduced to just a 7/10. I will chalk this up to "fanlexia" (watch the video for a more detailed explanation.)
Overall, I believe that this ultimate edition is what should've hit theaters regardless of its time length. There wouldn't have been as much of a divide, in my opinion. Feel free to give it a watch and purchase or download as you see fit below.


Blu-ray Bonus Features:Thanks to Warner Bros. I also got an early look at the bonus features that will be included in the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition, so to add to my final thoughts on the film he is a breakdown of what you will get with he Blu-Ray and how it will enhance your experience.

Reviewing the special features, we get a chance to take a look at some great previews of the rationale on who the justice members are. We’re then given a little more additional insight into why things like the "Martha connection” may be more important than some may think. If you loved Wonder Woman in the movie, then you’ll more than likely appreciate the background stories and the development of the character in general. (Probably one of my personal favorites of the special features.) I didn’t care as much for the Batmobile special feature, but if you’re a car-nut, you’ll probably appreciate it more. We definitely get to see just how deep Snyder’s love and intrigue for Superman and his moral complexity. For those of you who really want to nerd out, there’s a nice breakdown of the actual fight between Bats and Superman. However, it was a little disappointing in the sense that it ends a bit prematurely. I was looking forward to something that could salvage Lex’s character, and didn’t find it.

Overall, I’d say that if you really loved the theatrical and the Ultimate Edition then you’re probably the best candidate to really appreciate what the special bonus features have to offer. While I did enjoy the Ultimate Edition, I didn’t feel wow’d by most of the special features, however, I did like some of the background information presented, and more of the commentary rationales by the show’s writers. At this point, I’d probably say that simply watching the Ultimate Edition is more than enough of a payoff for those somewhat disappointed with the theatrical version. However, the bonus blu-ray features simply are simply just that: a bonus.
The Rating: 8.5/10


My [Loosely based] Ratings scale
10-9 = A Must watch at any cost. 
8.5- 7.5 = Theater worthy 
7-6.5 = Matinee/rental worthy at best
6 = Watchable (If it's free)
5 - below = Avoid at all costs



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Hush (2016) Movie Review


 The Trailer:

The Good:
The film is the absolute perfect length. It doesn't waste time in setting up the story and getting straight into the meat of it all. As you can tell from the trailer, this is full of suspense. There were just a few scenes that didn't play out as you may expect. What I appreciated the most was how "Maddie" (Kate Siegel) did most things that anyone else in her situation would. The story was a slightly original twist on a classic "predator vs prey" style of thriller.

The Bad:
The story is pretty straight forward, and you can probably predict 85% of it. Maybe the last 10 mins of the movie is where it got the most interesting.

The Reason:
As you can see there really isn't that much to talk about with this film. It's something that I'd recommend watching on a weekend when there's nothing else to watch. It was cool, and I have no gripes about it. I wouldn't say it's too scary either, so don't worry having any heart attacks while watching. I could only find this on Netflix so if you've got it feel free to give it a look.

The Rating: 6.5/10

My [Loosely based] Ratings scale
10-9 = A Must watch at any cost. 
8.5- 7.5 = Theater worthy 
7-6.5 = Matinee/rental worthy at best
6 = Watchable (If it's free)
5 - below = Avoid at all costs



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Monday, July 4, 2016

The Purge 3: Election Year

Support this site by clicking on this pic to buy your tickets
   The Trailer:

YouTube Review:

The Good: 
I loved the fact that they teased about how much the influence of the purge has spread. We only get to hear about this from a few characters, but it was nice to hear about. (I wish they wouldn't actually shown it rather than just mention how far it's spread).

Frank Grillo was just as good as he was in the last The Purge Anarchy (My Review), and continues to win as an action star in my book. Along with him, Mykelti Williamson (played "Joe") attempted to steal the spotlight with his off  handed, stereotypical comic relief. It was entertaining for the most part, but be prepared for some major eye rolling too.

The Bad: 
The writing overall seemed cheap, rushed, and underdeveloped. It felt like they just wanted to stretch what happened in Purge 2, rather than expand a richer story. In some cases, the story relied a little too much on just how demented people got with their creative purging.

It won't take you long to figure out that the characters were stereotypical and over the top; which led to them doing a lot of over acting. The bad guys were the most extreme bad guys you could think of, and the good people were as naive as ever. Some of it didn't even sound believable. Some of the lines the characters were saying were just ridiculous and were probably just in there for shock value.

There were other moments in the film that were simply unbelievable. The more you actually sit back and think about what was going on, the dumber the movie gets. Rather than keeping the serious tone that the previous Purge films had, this one tried too much to be comical. The sense of urgency, and suspense are just diminished as you can tell this film didn't take itself seriously at all.

The Reason: 
Overall, as a huge fan of the Purge films, Purge Election Year was a disappointment for me. They didn't even get that deep into the politics or any of the substantial impacts of what made the Purge so unique. This didn't even feel like the Purge 3; it was more like the Purge 2.5. If you want to see it, do it as a DISCOUNTED matinee at the very best. But don't be afraid to just wait for this and watch it at home. -_-

The Rating: 6.5/10
My [Loosely based] Ratings scale
10-9 = A Must watch at any cost. 
8.5- 7.5 = Theater worthy 
7-6.5 = Matinee/rental worthy at best
6 = Watchable (If it's free)
5 - below = Avoid at all costs



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Saturday, July 2, 2016

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

Support this site by clicking the pic to buy your tickets.
The Trailer:

YouTube Video:

Movie Critic Reactions:

The Good:
You can tell right off the bat this movie was intentionally made to be seen in 3D. There are only one or two "in your face" moments with the 3D, but the biggest accomplishment of the 3D effects was to add depth to what you see. If you're afraid of heights, you may slightly hold your breath a few times during the great camera angles as Tarzan swings through the jungle.

Rather than giving us the same old Tarzan origin story, this film is a bit of a prequel and sequel all in one. We're reminded of Tarzan's past through periodic flashbacks. It was also nice how the majority of the film takes place with a more "civilized" Tarzan about a decade after leaving he jungle.

Alexander Skarsgård really looks and sounds the part (even though he wasn't given many lines). It's kind of hard to imagine anyone else playing a better Tarzan from this point.  Christoph Waltz (plays, "Leon Rom") delivers the great level of acting we've come to expect as the villain.  Samuel L. Jackson (who plays George Washington Williams) served as the entertaining comic relief of the film.

The action and fight scenes were also a highlight. It was cool to see Tarzan display his "wild" fighting style against animals or humans.

The Bad:
While Skarsgard and Jackson shared some nice on screen chemistry, there were moments where it simply felt a little cheesy. (Remember those corny lines from buddy-cop movies?) Besides that, we understand that Tarzan has a unique relationship with animals, but the ending seemed to push it a little too far in my opinion.

Now I don't know if this is truly a "Bad" or not, so you can decide for yourself. There is a bit of a concern as to whether this movie fell victim to playing the "White Savior" role yet again. I won't go into too much detail, but I will only say that IF the African Slave Trade was something that was highlighted in Tarzan novels, then there is no issue here at all. However, if Hollywood interjected slavery into this film, to prop up Tarzan, then that's a bit problematic in my opinion. (I have not read the novels so make of this point whatever you like.)

The Reason
:

I thought this was a good adaptation of the classic tale. It's probably fair to say that it's one of the best Tarzan films to date. I can't say that anything in this film necessarily wow'd me, but I was entertained the whole time. I saw the film in IMAX 3D, but I don't think it's nearly worth that much. I do think that if you plan on seeing it in theaters, then 3D would be ideal.

The Rating: 7.5/10


My [Loosely based] Ratings scale
10-9 = A Must watch at any cost. 
8.5- 7.5 = Theater worthy 
7-6.5 = Matinee/rental worthy at best
6 = Watchable (If it's free)
5 - below = Avoid at all costs



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 to join our weekly email list. One email, every Friday, to get my latest reviews. Don't forget to follow me at @SpoilerDashFree