Alita: Battle Angel

This movie has a lot going for it… but it also has a lot not going for it.  That’s how this movie ended up earning 3 Icees out of 5.  As I sit here trying to write this review I find myself at a loss for words.  The movie was underwhelming overall although some of the pieces were really well done.  I guess the whole ended up being less than the sum of its parts, and that’s kinda sad.  Now, I did give it 3 Icees so I didn’t hate it… but I didn’t exactly love it either.  It was ok…

Some of the positives of this movie are development (although that’s also a negative because it seemed to take forever), the action scenes (of which there were not enough), the CGI, and some of the acting (although not all).

I really wish there had been more action scenes, because even though they were 100% CGI, they were still pretty darn good. Unfortunately they didn’t start soon enough.  The scenes between Alita and Hugo (played by Keean Johnson) to me were just forced but then again I guess it would be hard to act opposite air (and then have the CGI artist fill it in later).  On the other hand, Christopher Waltz did his job amazingly well, other than when you find out he’s a… oops, almost released a spoiler and I can’t do that!

I didn’t care for Jennifer Connelly’s performance either, but I did like that of Mahershala Ali.  What about Rose Salazar as Alita?  Well, I don’t know how much of that (besides her voice) was here and how much was CGI, but overall it was ok.

How about the flow of the movie?  Well, it was pretty good except for the sport they kind of throw in there.  In a desolate future, the best entertainment they have is watching cyborgs play a version of rollerball (remember that movie from 1975?) and they way that was chopped in was…  eh…

This movie is good enough to go see on the big screen (I didn’t see it in 3D so I can’t say anything about that personally but heard that was pretty good) and considering there’s not a lot out there right now, it may just be your best choice this weekend.

No scene during or after the credits.

Enjoy…

What Men Want

Sometimes when I write these reviews it’s a case where the critics hate something and the audience loves it… or perhaps the critics love it and the audience hates it.  In the case of What Men Want, everyone seemed to hate it.  On Rottentomatoes, it has a critic rating of 47% and an audience rating of only 51%.  That is usually when I see if I can get a refund on my tickets.  Thankfully, this time I went ahead and watched the movie and although it’s not great, it’s not nearly as bad as people are saying and so this movie gets 3 Icees (out of 5).

Yes, there are way too many fart jokes… yes, it stereotypes gay men in an idiotic way… yes, the f-bombs fly far too often…  and yes, the story is predictable in spots.

But you know what?  Despite all of that, I enjoyed myself and that’s what going to the movies is all about.  Now I wish someone would give Taraji P. Henson a great script to work with in the comedy and/or action genre because between Proud Mary and this movie… I am convinced she would do an awesome job, but the writing is just not great.  She has an upcoming movie (The Best of Enemies) where it looks like she will give another great dramatic performance (as with Hidden Figures),  and she does a great job here… with what she has to work with.

The movie earns its R-rating with the f-bombs and sexual situations, and phallic symbols a-plenty, but if that doesn’t bother you and you’re not interested in Legos, this might just be a nice way to spend an evening.

There are some scenes partway through the credits, but nothing afterwards.

Enjoy…

Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, The

So in the first movie, everything was awesome.  The comedy, the newness, the Easter eggs…. everything.  This time around, everything is…. ok… fine… a’ight…  This is why this sequel gets just 3 Icees (out of 5).

To me, this movie forgot what made the first one so great, and instead fell into the same type of trap of other kids movies… Teach a moral, sell a soundtrack, and just get by.  Don’t get me wrong, it seems that many of the kids in the theater enjoyed the film, although there wasn’t nearly as many laugh-out-loud moments like in the first one.  There were also references in the movie that only the adults will understand (throwbacks to previous comic movies as an example), but overall it was just ok.

In the first movie, the only song I remember hearing was the famous, “Everything is Awesome”.  In this movie, there are at least 4-5 songs pushed into it.  Some are funny and some just… aren’t. Heck, there’s even a song about the credits… during the credits!  It seemed to fall into that genre where it’s just as important to sell a soundtrack as it is to make a movie.  There were several parts in the movie where I was actually bored.

Finally, the thing that I think I disliked most of all was that there was too much of the real world in this movie.  In the original you didn’t know that there was a “real world” until the end and I get that you can’t unring that bell… but in this one there is too much interjection of the real world into the movie, which of course supports the moral of the movie like a sledge hammer on a thumbtack.

Your kids will probably like this one well enough and that’s who this is for… but don’t expect the same (or even close) originality that came with the first… because it’s just not there.

There is the aforementioned song during the credits with new animation but not worth sticking around for.

Enjoy…

Kid Who Would Be King, The

This wonderful tale, as a rated-PG children’s story, gets a solid 4 Icees.  Obviously, if it were rated as an adult movie, that might change, but as a kids/pre-teen movie, this does quite well.

King Arthur’s story, retold in today’s time with children taking the leads as the main characters.  Yup, that’s pretty much the idea (not a spoiler as it was already revealed during the trailers).

So you take a bunch of unknown child actors, add just a dash of Patrick Stewart, and a smidgeon of a Mission-Impossible actor and you have a delightful children’s story that is funny at times (though not really laugh-out-lound funny) and teaches a lesson, as all kids movies apparently must do now.

All of the children in the theater really seemed to enjoy this movie quite a bit, and I confess… I did as well.

The PG-rating is earned as I would not recommend this for small (less than 7-ish) children because, just as shown in the trailers, these kids battle demon-like creatures and some scenes may be scary for the very young.  Otherwise, it’s just a good fun movie.

No scenes during or after the credits.

Enjoy

Glass

In order to prepare to see this movie, I thought it best to watch the two that came before it.  Unbreakable (2000) and Split (2016).  If I had rated those two movies, Unbreakable would have gotten 2 Icees (way too slow and was downright boring in parts) and Split would have gotten 4 Icees (excellent thriller without being gory).  So what did Glass get?  I ended up settling on 3.5 Icees.

This movie can be broken into two parts.  The first half-to-two-thirds of the movie is slow and sometimes boring (leaning all the way towards 2 Icees), but then the last 1/3 of the movie was… just wow.. almost like 4-4.5 Icees.  Hence, it ends up with a 3.5 Icee rating.

I think that in order to watch this movie you would first have to see Split.  I think that you could read enough about Unbreakable to be ready but Split is different.  I think you have to experience the different personalities of Kevin, played awesomely by James McAvoy.  In fact, if the Academy gave out an Oscar for Best Performance in a Thriller, he should get it.  I love that even during the credits, they list each of his personalities individually on the left and “James McAvoy” on the right.  I would hope he got paid for each of them individually too!  He sure earned it.

I wish they had given more screen time to Samuel L. Jackson, but what they did give him, he worked to perfection.

Another aspect I liked about this movie, as with any trilogy, they brought back the supporting actors too, including the girl from Split, the momma for Samuel L. Jackson, and of the son of David Dunn, .  Considering that the Unbreakable movie was 18 years ago, having the boy from that movie in this one was really cool to me.  Just sayin’

As I mentioned before, the movie plods along for the first part of the movie, but it really pays off in the end, including traditional M. Night Shyamalan twists.  If you enjoyed Split, you will enjoy the next adventures of Kevin, David and of course…. Mr. Glass

No scenes during or after the credits.

Enjoy…

Upside, The

People ask me sometimes why I write this blog, when probably less than 20 people will ever see any particular post (like this one).  Well, The Upside is a perfect example as to why.  Currently on rottentomatoes.com it has an abismal critic rating of 39% and an audience rating of 79%.  Who do you believe?  The 39% tells me that if you watch or read a particular critic you’ll probably skip this movie… but for the people that didn’t skip it, 79% enjoyed it.  So instead of some classically trained theater critic, I thought you’d like to see a review from a regular guy.  A guy that just wants to enjoy himself watching a movie.  Well, what does this “regular guy” say about this movie?

Although it won’t win any awards, I really enjoyed this movie and give it a solid 3.5 Icees out of 5.  Why Icees?  Well, that’s just something I really enjoy at the theater and when thinking of a rating system, I felt this was something nobody else was doing… you know, unique, like The Don.

Okay, back to the movie, which is based on a true story and was done once by the French in “The Intouchables”.  The main thing that I enjoyed about this movie is the banter between the two main characters, played by Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston.  I honestly think Kevin Hart is at his best when he can play off another actor (like The Rock in both Central Intelligence and Jumanji) and he shows that here.  Nicole Kidman does a decent job as well, but the relationship between Kevin and Nicole seemed a little forced at times.

Although not a full-on comedy, the humor is spot on and many times the audience literally laughed out loud.  There is some catheter humor that some may not find tasteful, but most people were too busy laughing to think about that. There is some overdone sterotypes (like rich white guy and poor just out of prison black guy) but since this is based on a true story that didn’t bother me. I just found that this movie really did make for an enjoyable evening.

There are no scenes during or after the credits.

Enjoy…

Green Book

As a husband sometimes you go and see a movie that you have absolutely no interest in seeing.  C’mon guys, you know what I mean. The wonderful woman in your life tells you she wants to see a movie and since she’s sat in many movies with you that she probably didn’t want to see, you go ahead and go.  Who knows, you may not even hate it!

When I saw the trailers for this movie, I thought it would be another “hit me over the head with a topic” movie and I really don’t care for those.  I don’t go to the movies to be “enlightened” but instead go there for enjoyment.  Well, I am here to say I was wrong!  Yes, even The Don can be wrong on occasion (just don’t let that get out too far, ok?).  I thought that the only saving grace was that this movie was inspired by a true story. Happily I can say that was not the “only” saving grace and that this movie is very enjoyable.

This movie (4.5 Icees out of 5) does an excellent job of covering a dark part of American history in a way that you don’t feel like you’ve been hit over your head with it.  It tells the story of two men and the friendship that they developed during the racially filled 1960s in the South. Instead of it telling the story with the racial tension being “the” story, it told the story from the aspect of the two men who toured the South, encountering bigotry and hatred, but still keeping the men as the center of the movie. The development of the friendship and their interaction is the true essence of the story and they do it exceptionally.

Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali give award-worthy performances as the driver/bodyguard and the extremely talented man he is driving/protecting.  The actors around them do an excellent job as well and you truly believe you’re in the South during that time.  I would say more but since I pride myself on not giving away spoilers, I will just stop there.

This is an excellent movie, but be warned that there is a lot of language (including the n-word), some violence and a ton of smoking (yes, I see on ratings now that smoking is listed as a cautionary item so I thought I would list it here too).

As the movie ends, the movie updates us on the lives of the two primary characters but other than that there are no scenes during or after the credits.

Enjoy…

Mary Poppins Returns

As my regular readers will know, I am not able to get to every movie… so once in a while when I’m not able to see a movie but a reader of mine is, I ask them if they would like to write a short review so I would like to thank Jessica Beaver for the below 3.5 Icee review of Mary Poppins returns…

If someone has not watched the original Mary Poppins many times, while they may enjoy the new one, a lot of the themes will be lost on them, as was the case with my Dad. However, they did an excellent job to keep with the spirit of the original MP, including having Dick Van Dyke make an appearance at the end. I do wish the balloon lady at the end would have been Julie Andrews as opposed to Angela Landsbury, but that is mostly due to my fondness for Julie Andrews.

Emily Blount did a fabulous job keeping the mystery and magic of MP alive, but giving it her own, more serious twist. I think knowing the details of the first MP is what allowed me to enjoy the second one so much.

That would not mean someone who has never seen the original wouldn’t enjoy her return, though it may speak to their preference in film if they are unfamiliar altogether and reflecting on their level of enjoyment. My Dad said he would not want to see it again, and I would be quite eager to go again to see if I could pick out any more of the more hidden details.

The lamplighters are reminiscent of the chimney sweeps, jumping into the Royal Daulton bowl from the children’s nursery is parallel with jumping into Bert’s chalk drawing, visiting Mary’s cousin is absolutely a memory jogger for the first visit with Uncle Albert, and Aunt Jane is carrying on her mother’s efforts for justice and rather than votes for women, she’s rallying for the working class.

In all, I would think that people who enjoy the magic and whimsy of early Disney films, specifically from the Dick Van Dyke era, would enjoy the Return quite as much as a spoon full of sugar.

No scenes after the credits (thank you aftercredits.com).

Enjoy…

Bumblebee

This fun movie gets an enthusiastic 4 Icees.  Although I think the original Transformers movie was the best of the franchise, this movie quickly moves into second place.  The movie has a nice story, plenty of action, funny scenes and is just well-done.  This was refreshing because after the first couple of Transformers movies, the rest just got stupider and stupider.  This movie goes back to its roots and I like that.

Set in the late 80s, before the first Transformers movie, this movie introduces us to Bumblebee and tells us how he got his name, and how he lost his voice.  I think the movie does this storytelling very well, but the movie isn’t perfect.  Although I normally like John Cena his acting in this movie was horrible.  I mean plastic horrible; bad acting horrible.  Get what I mean? The same can be said (although for smaller roles) for Glynn Turman and John Ortiz.

Want to know whose acting was not horrible?  In fact, her acting was quite good.  That would be Hailee Steinfeld in the lead role (lead with the exception of Bumblebee of course).  Her acting makes you actually believe her character is going through what something tramatic (can’t tell you what that is because that would be a spoiler).  An honorable mention can go to Jorge Lendeborg Jr, who doesn’t give a bad performance, but it isn’t knock-your-socks-off either.

I like that this movie tried to be true to the first movie in that it doesn’t contradict anything that comes later and in fact kind of sets things up quite nicely.

There is a scene shortly after the credits start, but nothing after that.

Enjoy…

Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse

So another Spider-Man “universe”.  Did we really need that?  Did we really need a cartoon version?  After watching this movie, the answer is YES, we did. This uniquely made movie gets 4 Icees (out of 5) for action, original cartoonography (if that’s not a word, I’m making it one) and fun.

Being an origin story of sorts, the movie starts out slow… a little too slow for my taste and I was wondering if everyone (and I mean everyone… Rottentomates has the critics at 97% and the audience at 95%) was just wrong, or if I just wasn’t getting it.  Then, it took off and captured me and I can’t wait for a sequel.  The story has a couple of standard themes, but overall it’s a fresh take on the Spidey we all know and love except for people who really read the comics… those may have seen this coming.

What I enjoyed most about this movie is that it was made differently.  I’ve been watching cartoons all my long life, but this wasn’t your normal cartoon.  The movie was made in such a way that I felt like I was watching a comic book come to life, as opposed to a standard cartoon.  It was a different way of doing things, and I liked that.

This is movie all can enjoy, and I encourage you to do so.  I watched it in 3D but honestly that really didn’t add anything to the film, so I wouldn’t recommend seeing it that way… but do see it!

There is a scene after the credits.  Some think it may give a hint to the sequel, but I don’t know.  There’s a scene and it’s my duty to let you know it exists.

Enjoy…

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