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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***

Friday, February 26, 2016

Gods of Egypt Movie Review (2016)



The Trailer:

The Good:
The visuals in this film are going to be the best aspect of this movie. You can tell pretty early on that this movie was fully intended to be seen in 3D. 

The Bad:
*cracks knuckles and pours a full cup of coffee*

I think that for a movie of this nature, two hours was about 30mins too long. It was just too far drawn out, and it's not like the story line was that deep either.
While many of the 3D special effects were very entertaining to see, there some moments where it simply failed miserably. In the story, the “gods” are portrayed as being much bigger and taller than normal sized humans. For whatever reason, the special effects used to depict their size difference made the scene look of lesser quality. In many of the fighting sequences (i.e. when the gods fight a monster) a lot of computer effects were used. It looked cheap when you compare it to all of the other great 3D visuals during the movie. It would have been much better had they used more practical effects, or even just actors dressed up in costumes.

If you’re familiar with Egyptian myths or lore, then you’ll probably be a little dismayed at the fact that the story changed up a good majority of it. My guess is that it was probably more so to make the movie more PG-13, rather than rated R, given the fact that some of the Egyptian myths were much more “adult”. (Check out Horus’birth story here compared to how it’s watered down in the movie, for example)

One of the biggest criticisms this film received even before it was developed was for its lack of diverse casting. Many people felt as though having lead actors like Gerard Butler  (a Scotsman) or Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (a Dutch actor) could hardly pass as Egyptians. It probably didn’t help much that the majority of brown to dark skinned actors were cast primarily as servants/slaves or ordinary people with less than significant roles. Although, it should be mentioned that Chadwick Boseman, who played the god of wisdom, was cast for whatever that’s worth. (His character was actually enjoyable.) Either way the casting is more than likely going to bother many other movie goers who are conscious and aware of the consistent lack of diverse representation in leading roles in Hollywood.

Whether this is good or bad, I think it was a bit of a loss on Gerard Butler’s end as he really didn’t do anything different in this role as he did in 300. He was basically King Leonidas except with magical powers.

The Reason
:
Gods of Egypt is like Clash of the Titans but set in Egypt. You may even think that you're watching a Michael Bay film given how the gods looked like Transformers and Power Rangers when they changed form.  Here’s the deal with this movie; You’re either going to be offended by it and not watch it, go see it because all those listed “Bads” don’t matter to you, or you won’t see this at all. This is hardly the type of movie that will be remembered in the next couple of years, let alone a couple of weeks. It will come and go just like Exodus: Gods and Kings did, which also suffered from similar criticisms. Matter of fact, even a recast of this film wouldn’t really save it. Regardless of your views about this film, I don’t think it’s really necessary to go see. Honestly, if you don’t see it in theaters for the 3D aspect, then it’s more than definitely not worth watching at the end of the day. Save your money and time. 

The Rating
: 6/10







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Triple 9 Movie Review (2016)



The Trailer:

The Good
:

The movie is jam-packed with talented actors that each contribute some quality and value to the overall film. Walking Dead fans will be happy to see their favorite actor Norman Reedus on the big screen again. Chiwetel Ejiofor played an interesting character ("Michael Atwood") who makes you question at times whether you should root for him or not. Anthony Mackie (Yes, he's in "The Good" section) was given a role that was complimentary to his acting strengths. It would seem as though he channeled into his inner "Denzel from Training Day" for this role. Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, are just a few more names to join in on this film.

What made this work was that every actor stayed in their lane, so to speak. Each of them was interesting in their own way. I don't think that any one character was the actual lead character.

The movie begins with some very engaging action and thrills (as you'll see in the trailers) and ends at the same high level. Even though this movie may remind you of some other movies you may have seen in the past, the story is pretty original for the most part. What I appreciated even more so than that was the fact that the plot was not overly predictable either. The best highlight of the movie will probably be the couple of unforeseeable plot twists. 

The Bad
:
The main issue I can see with this film is that with the vast array of characters, and given the multi-layered plot, the story can become a tad bit overwhelming. You just get pulled in so many different directions that it may become a little difficult to connect all of the dots. For the most part you'll just go along with it, but one thing this movie could've used, in my opinion, is that one character who just recaps everything for the audience.

The Reason
:
I appreciated this movie because it felt like the classic 90's original thrillers that used to keep us on the edge of our seats. While this may not be the best movie in the world, it certainly was enjoyable. You could probably think of this movie as Street Kings + Training Day + Inside Man.  I would probably say that when it comes to your money, you can make this a matinee, discounted watch in the theaters. On the other hand, if you happened to see this in the comfort of your own home, it would probably be even more satisfying of a watch. Either way, I'd say it's a safe movie to watch. 

The Rating: 7/10





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Friday, February 19, 2016

Race Movie Review (2016)


The Trailer
:


The Good:

Stephan James portrays Jesse Owens as accurately as one could imagine. Jason Sudeikis, who plays Owens' coach Larry Snyder, also compliments James in a supporting role that doesn't threaten to overshadow the main character. Surprisingly, Jeremy Irons' character almost stole the lead supporting character role with his performance as Avery Brundage.

The film's biggest highlight is the context it provides to the historical events of the Berlin Olympic games. It portrays the Nazi regime as the overly blatant villains throughout the film. Beyond that the movie consistently reminds you of the racial tensions of the 1930's and how it transcended to even beyond the United States.

The Bad
:


The movie seemed very simple and basic. There weren't any real highs or lows that will move you in any type of way. We sort of already know the ending with Owens' famous accomplishment; however the movie didn't quite build up the momentum or suspense that we would normally get in a sports bio-film.

The Reason
:


Race was overall a heart warming film with the harsh reminder that our country, or the world, is still not as far removed from racial division as many would imagine. Rather than highlighting how great of an athlete Jesse Owens was, I think this film served a far greater purpose in demonstrating the historical context that many people probably were unaware of surrounding the Berlin Olympics. The irony of it all is that Owens' accomplishments were neglected and not formally recognized for over three decades; and I suspect that this film will also be neglected and forgotten in a similar sense. This wasn't as good as other African American bio pics like 42 (Jackie Robinson story) or Ray (Ray Charles).

I suppose this is the "Black History Movie-of-the-Month" so it's worth watching in the least. It's not bad, it's not great, it's an okay movie at the end of the day. Get your discounted matinee tickets or watch it when it becomes available online.

The Rating: 7/10





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Risen Movie Review (2016)



The Trailer:

The Good:
Joseph Fiennes was pretty good in this film. He really embraced the role of a traditional Roman Centurion soldier. I must admit, he was so convincing that I had the hardest time envisioning him portraying Michael Jackson in his new upcoming film. Fiennes' character, 'Clavius', provides an interesting and unique perspective of the Gospel narrative. Typically the story of Jesus' death and resurrection is told through a narrator or one of the followers of Jesus. This time we're given an agnostic look.

This different perspective, I think, helps make the story a bit more modern. The plot is told from a detective/mystery point of view. What's great about that is that even if you're familiar with the story, you're still interested in how it develops over the course of the movie. Some of the investigative procedures taken in the story really help to ground the Gospel narrative in a more realistic sense.

Another refreshing aspect of this film was the fact that the casting was not overly "Hollywoodized". Many of the characters actually looked like they were from the middle east or from Rome. The characters also attempted to have more authentic accents rather than simply resorting to English accents for all. What I particularly appreciated was that even the character of Jesus (appropriately named "Yeshua") was not cast with some overly handsome, 20 year old, blond haired, and blue eyed actor. Without getting into any religious dogma, the Jesus of the Bible was never portrayed to be much of a "looker", but more so just an average looking guy of the time.

The Bad
:


Some of the pacing seemed a tad bit slow, so don't make this a late night viewing. I'd probably say another weakness in this film is how the tone shifts gears halfway through the film. It goes from the detective adventure into a religious drama. So the uniqueness that originally brought in some unlikely viewers to this film quickly changes into an ever-so-familiar tone we've been accustomed to seeing. Also, outside of Fiennes, a lot of the acting performances simply weren't that strong; Whether that was due to a weak script or some other factor, it is hard to determine. But none of the other characters besides Clavius really leave you with a lasting impression.

The Reason
:


Overall, I think that people who are interested in Gospel narratives will be the ones who will want to watch this movie regardless of what even I have to say about it. It gets points for being a bit more original with it's perspective. I was satisfied with the film and appreciated its attempt at trying to remain as authentic and respectful as possible. If I were to recommend seeing it, I'd say a matinee would be appropriate for this film or it would be a decent watch at home via Blu-Ray or VOD.

The Rating: 6.5/10


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The Witch Movie Review 2016

Release date: February 19, 2016
Click the pic to buy your tickets
The Trailer:

The Good:

Director Robert Eggers does a great job of creating both the atmosphere and setting of the 17th century Puritan society in America. From the wardrobe to even the very dialect used by the actors, you do feel like you're taking a glimpse back into time.

For the most part, the family in the story are the most intriguing highlight in the film. It's interesting to see how their religious convictions affect their everyday lives and decisions. (good or bad) You'll be more interested in the family "drama" than the suspected witch. Given that fact, this film gets points for being original and somewhat creative.

The Bad:

The overall pacing of the film seemed a little slow, even though the film is only 90 mins. (Not a big deal, but some parts seemed to drag a bit.) Another issue, is that it was a little difficult to make out some of the dialogue. While the vernacular for that period was probably done in a very authentic way, it doesn't help as an audience member when you're unable to make out some things that are said. (Closed Captioning may have been helpful.)

I think that some people may be a little disappointed, seeing as though "the witch" is not the main focal point of the story. This story is more so about  the impact of the "presence" of a potential witch, and how it affects the family. Another potential letdown may be the story's ending. I was fortunate enough to speak to the director during the screening of this film (see Bonus video below) and he said in so many words that the ending is up for the audience to decide. While I can respect that notion, I don't think that it was executed in an ambiguous enough manner to do so. (ie: Inception and the spinning top.)

The Reason
:


I think it may also be a little misleading to believe that this movie is a "horror". Granted there may be a few moments that are dark and eerie, this film was more so disturbing than it was scary. There weren't really pop out, jump scare scenes, so you don't have to worry about dropping your popcorn. As I mentioned before, the film is original but that may hurt it more than help it. When a film gets classified as a horror, people expect to be terrified. This film sort of balances the line between trying to be a scary movie, but yet also a period piece.

I suppose you could think of this movie as The Blair Witch Project taking place during the Salem Witch Trials in the late 1600s. I don't get the sense that this movie is going to appeal to the masses only because it may go against the grain of common expectations for traditional horror films. The film and its director does show some promise and originality, but this film isn't a home-run. I'd recommend watching this at home at most and save your money. I think more will be disappointed rather than satisfied if you're expecting to be scared out of your seat. You'll be more disturbed than scared.  It's an Okay watch.

The Rating: 6.5/10





Bonus Video(Spoiler Alert):
Check out the live Q&A with the writer and director Robert Eggers. Of course you know, yours truly got a question in there too :)

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Friday, February 12, 2016

Deadpool Movie Review 2016

Click the pic to buy your tickets
YouTube Review:



The Good:
From the very beginning of its opening credits all the way to even its ending credits, Deadpool doesn't hold back with a flurry of comedic jabs. There are so many funny punch lines that you may miss because you'll be too busy laughing. As many fans already expected, Ryan Reynolds was made for this role and it showed greatly. His wit, charm and humor were on full display throughout.

The supporting characters in this film also do a wonderful job sustaining the movie, and not leaving the burden of keeping you laughing only on Reynolds. Ed Skrein (plays "Ajax") plays a great villain that compliments Deadpool's character very well. Gina Carano was finally utilized properly as an imposing figure in her role. Even the character of Colossus was finally done in a proper way that will make you enjoy the character opposed to his previous portrayals in other X-Men appearances.

The action scenes were also a great highlight to this film. Given the rated R rating, the violence was not held back in its gruesome form. Even better, while some of the scenes were really intense and fast paced, director Tim Miller was wise enough to slow them down so that the audience could fully absorb what they were seeing. In other words, it wasn't a bunch of blurry action scenes like in Man of Steel.

One last minor note, the love angle was done in a very genuine way. Ryan Reynolds and Morena Baccarin (plays "Vanessa") shared some great on-screen chemistry. While romances in comic book films usually don't help the movie progress, this one succeeded in my opinion. It was done in such a way that you really do end up rooting for the couple's success.

The Bad:
I think that any "critic" that attempts to find something wrong with this film is just unnecessarily nitpicking. The ONLY thing that MAY be considered "bad" is the constant references that lead into being inside jokes within the movie. Due to Deadpool's consistent breaking of the "4th wall", there are many jokes that may go over some people's head if they are unfamiliar with the former X-Men movies, Ryan Reynold's past movies (Green Lantern or X-Men Origins: Wolverine), or even the media criticism that has surrounded this film and the actors before. I can't hold that against this movie though so you can make of that what you wish.

The Reason
:

Fellow Nerds and Geeks REJOICE! This is what every adult comic book fan has been waiting for! We finally have another perfect comic book movie! The same way The Avengers broke the mold by introducing multiple heroes on one screen, or how Captain America 2 placed superheroes in a different movie genre, Deadpool is now a game changer in the comic book world. The R rating opened up so many more opportunities for this film in regards to the violent action, humor and originality. In other words, the R rating gives Deadpool a unique advantage that former comic book movies could never obtain.

This was probably a combination of The Hangover + The Punisher.  By the way, this is in no way shape or form suitable for a young audience. This movie is very "adult" in every sense of the term. I strongly urge you all to steer away from any internet talk about this film. There a lot of surprises in the film that you'll enjoy. There are also TWO end credit scenes so feel free to stay to the end to catch it. Don't be cheap, go watch this film. It deserves every penny spent, because after watching it, you'll want to see more like this. As of right now, Deadpool just kicked off 2016 as the best movie going and its putting a lot of pressure on upcoming films like Batman V Superman and Marvel's Civil War.

The Rating: 10/10



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Monday, February 1, 2016

The 5th Wave Movie Review (2016)

Click the pic to buy your tickets
The Trailer:


The Good:
The movie does a good job of showing the progressive transition of what a post-apocalyptic event would look like. Unlike other natural disaster movies like 2012 or Day After Tomorrow, this film doesn't waste a lot of time in depicting the level of urgency and danger. ChloĆ« Grace Moretz does an excellent job of playing the main lead protagonist. She was able to maintain a sense of balance between strength and vulnerability; reminding us that she's still a teenager thrown into a really dangerous situation.

The Bad
:

This may just be own personal bias, but I didn't care too much for the romantic element involved. At this point, given this genre of movies, it seems like the teenage love triangle is just run its course into the ground. The "romances" just don't see very organic or they come off as forced.

Unfortunately the trailer does give away a minor spoiler with one of the character's identity. It may have been slightly predictable but if you pay attention to the trailer it makes it robs the surprise even more. The movie tried to be mysterious with certain plot twists, but for the most part it was fairly predictable.

The Reason
:

This ultimately ended up being a mix of both Divergent and War of the Worlds. The first half of the movie definitely shows a lot of promise, but then it quickly begins to go downhill. Maybe fans of the books would enjoy this, but I think this is a movie that you can either wait to watch at home or pass on entirely. If you liked movies like the Hunger Games or Divergent then this film falls right in the middle of them.There's just very little about it that will leave you with a lasting impression or even wanting to see more if a sequel were come out.

The Rating: 6.5/10 






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