Terminator: Dark Fate

I have heard this movie called, “The best Terminator since T2”, which isn’t really all that much of high praise since T3-5 weren’t really good.  So, was it?  Was it the best T since T2?  YES!!  This movie has everything you could want from a Terminator movie and then some and gets a solid 4 Icees from me!

One thing that helps to know going in (sorry if some of you consider this a spoiler, I don’t)… this movie is a direct sequel from T2.  You learn about 5 minutes in that is a movie that can’t follow T3-5, and that’s ok.  T3-5 weren’t that memorable anyways.

This movie is one that the studio execs hope will kick off another trilogy, and I think it does so quite nicely.  You have a new “Sarah” in the mix in the form of Dani Ramos (Natalia Reyes), who wonders why things are from the future are trying to kill her (sound familiar?).  Along the way she meets Grace (an excellent performance by Mackenzie Davis), Sarah (an not-well-aged Linda Hamilton) and Arnold in a role that I won’t define here.  Of course, there is a new version of Terminator out to kill her in the form of Gabriel Luna, who isn’t even listed on IMDB at the time I am writing this review… that’s just not right.

This movie has great action, intermixed funny one-liners, and most important for me… a decent explanation of how this was reconciled with the first 2 Terminator movies.  I hate it when things between movies in a franchise aren’t consistent (like the X-men movies) and this movie doesn’t have that problem.

No scenes during or after the credits.

Enjoy…

 

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

Sometimes you enjoyed the first movie so much and are looking forward to the sequel with such anticipation that it ends up being a bit of a disappointment.  Okay, so that happens more often than “sometimes”.  Well, it is the case with this movie as it just never measured up to the original, which is why I have to limit this to 3 Icees out of 5.

Yes, Maleficent is back and this time she has the moniker of “Mistress of Evil”.  Wait. Didn’t she actually save people?  Isn’t she the one who woke the princess?   Wasn’t that just 5 years ago?  Well, they explain all that away in the first few moments of the film (closest to a spoiler you’re going to get from me).

This cinematography in this movie is beautiful, especially the Moors.  Angelina Jolie is as good as ever.  Unfortunately, that is where the compliments ends… but was good enough to get 3 Icees.  For the most part, the movie is incredibly predictable and that’s just sad.  I thought throwing in Michelle Pfeiffer would be great, but her performance was overdone (at best) and wasn’t supported much by Elle Fanning or Harris Dickenson… all of which seemed to mail it in.

If you loved the first movie, you’ll like this one enough (hey, I did give it 3 Icees after all), but otherwise I would recommend waiting until this is out on video.

No scenes during or after the credits.

Enjoy…

Zombieland: Double Tap

I must confess that I only watched the first movie after I saw trailers for this one, and I really enjoyed it, which made me really look forward to this one.  This movie did not disappoint at all!!  It is hilarious!  In fact, it’s funnier than the first.  For those reasons, it gets 4.5 Icees out of 5.

It’s 10 years later (yes, the original came out in 2009) and the whole gang is back in a world full of zombies and they’re just trying to survive and strive and find a place they can call home.  This movie doesn’t just settle with the 4 from the last film though, as they slowly but surely add just a few new additions which adds some fresh humor to the mix. As far as I’m concerned this is the funniest Woody Harrelson has been since Cheers, but the performance of Zoey Deutch (and the way the other actors played off her character) was just… well… hilarious.

Now, since I watched the first movie and liked it, perhaps my view is tainted a tad.  I really don’t care.  I can honestly say that if you liked the first one, you’ll love this one and if you didn’t watch the first movie you should… and then watch this one!  The filmakers did a masterful job of taking the foundation from the first movie and taking it a step further, which is what should happen in a sequel.

It does earn its R-rating with the language and the bloody zombie violence (they raised it up a notch from the first one).

There is a great scene during the credits and a throw-away scene after the credits.

Enjoy…

Addams Family

Sadly, despite hoping for so much more, the most that I can give this movie is 2 Icees.  I watched this movie a few days ago and it just took me a while to write the review because I knew it would not be an easy one to write.

Sometimes when I see a movie, I know exactly what I’m going to write… what made me laugh, cry or cringe.  In this case, it was just “eh”.  The movie had a few funny parts, but mostly were geared towards those of us that could remember the original series, not because there was anything really spectacular about it. They also made one change to Thing that I just couldn’t drop (once you see it, you’ll know what I mean).

As with all kids’ movies nowadays there’s a theme that is beaten over our heads to the point of, “Okay, leave it alone!”.  The “bad guy” was too stereotypical to be believable, and all-in-all I felt it was a waste of a star-studded cast (Charlize Theron, Chloe Grace Moretz, Bette Midler, Allison Janey and Snoop Dogg).

The biggest indicator that this movie isn’t that good was the fact that I didn’t hear the kids in the theater laugh at all.

There are no scenes during or after the credits.

Enjoy…

Gemini Man

Yet another movie hated by the critics (26%) and loved by the audiences (85%).  I liked this movie much more than the critics but not nearly as much as the audiences as I am only able to give this movie 3.5 Icees.  Here’s why…

First, the good.  Will Smith is really good.  He is showing his age (51) in this movie, but still comes through with charisma but combines it with a sense of maturity that I liked.  The action is really good, although I would have liked a bit more.  The fight scenes that do happen follow the typical Ang Lee (director) style.  Well-choreographed and exciting.

Also, Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Farg0) does a good job playing off of Will without it having to be sexual.  Nice touch.  I look forward to watching her in Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (yes, that’s the title).

Although in a smaller role, I thought the performance of Bendict Wong (Dr. Strange) was good as well.

Now the not so good.  Although Will Smith did a great job playing the older version, I thought his performance of the younger version was often cardboardish.  I don’t know how the reverse aging technology works and maybe this is a by-product, but he played the role too stiffly for me.  If you want to see exceptional reverse aging technology, check out Samuel L. Jackson in Captain Marvel.  Also, I thought the set-up took too long, but maybe I’m just being picky.

Anyways, it’s an enjoyable movie that I would recommend, just now the “wow” movie I think it could have been.

No scenes during or after the credits.

Enjoy…

Joker

Sometimes you go see a movie and are both satisfied and disappointed with what you see.  That is what happened to me with Joker.  Yes, Joaquin Phoenix gave a strong and convincing performance.  I don’t know that it’s as Oscar-worthy as others are promoting it, but it was good.  But the movie had way too many slow spots and the overall concept just wasn’t right for a movie titled, “Joker”.  Therefore, this movie gets 3 Icees (out of 5).

If you follow me on Facebook, you know that I said I was a little concerned about going to this movie because everything I had read talked about how “dark” the movie was.  It is set in a dark time in Gotham’s history where the poor are against the rich (sound familiar?) and there are a couple of really violent scenes but overall it’s not nearly as “dark” as I was led to believe.

Joaquin’s performance in this movie is convincing as a man with mental health issues that eventually becomes Joker (that much was in the trailers, so no spoilers there).  However, for a movie to be tied to DC Comics (and there are enough tie-ins) this movie just doesn’t cut it.  The Joker wasn’t just a mentally ill person who killed people.  He had an incredible mind, which is why Heath Ledger’s performance will remain my favorite Joker to date.  If this movie wasn’t about Joker, I may have rated it higher as it is an interesting movie with current social themes to it (even though it is set years ago).  However, as a DC movie, it just doesn’t rise up.

Also, as I mentioned before, this movie had wayyyyy too many slow spots.  I get that an orgin story isn’t going to have a lot of action but this movie spent so much time delving into the mental health aspect that it didn’t have time for anything else, and the way that it delved into it was at times… well… boring.

Normally I talk about the supporting cast, but really in this case, it was all about Joaquin Phoenix and the excellent supporting cast (Zazie Beetz, Robert DeNiro and others) wasn’t used to the extent that they could have been.  Just sayin’

Yes, I found this movie worthy of seeing (after all, I did give it 3 Icees), but it really wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

No scenes during or after the credits.

Enjoy…

 

Ad Astra

When I first saw that this movie had a 84% critics and 40% audience rating on rottentomatoes it confused me.  I usually see that disparity when a movie is an artsy movie that doesn’t relate to the general ticket-buying audience.  This was a SPACE movie!  The trailer showed moon vehicles shooting at each other.  How can this disparity exist?  Well, after watching it, I understand and give it a 2.5 Icee (out of 5) rating, siding more with the audience than the professional critics.

Writing a good review on this movie without giving spoilers is difficult, but I will give it a shot.  Yes, that scene of moon buggies buzzing along and shooting at each other that in the trailer is in the film, but it is not indicative of what this movie is about.  This movie doesn’t have a lot of action in it, but is more of a “thinking man’s movie”, which I’m guessing is why the critics like it so much.  I didn’t hate it, but I can’t really say I enjoyed it either.  It was, “eh”, hence the 2.5 Icees.

Brad Pitt does a masterful job in this movie as he normally does in whatever role he takes.  Donald Sutherland, Liv Tyler and Tommy Lee Jones are in the movie but their roles are small.  This movie is totally about Brad’s character, and that’s fine I guess.

Classifying this movie is difficult.  I guess you could call it an “Insight Movie” because the movie really is about what’s going on in Brad’s character’s mind.  How he is dealing with the events around him.  Again… a “thinking man’s movie”, or a “thinking woman’s movie”.  Either way, it’s not really my gig but I did find it interesting.

There are some science issues with the movie that bothered me, but not enough to reduce the rating on the movie.  It was just too slow for me in too many places.

There are no scenes during or after the credits.

Enjoy…

Hustlers

As you may (or not) have noticed, I haven’t seen/reviewed a movie in a while.  There was nothing I was interested in seeing, and I think I may have been going through withdrawls so I decided to catch this movie.  I had heard that it was really good, that J-Lo had given an award-worthy performance, and that J-Lo worked really hard on being able to work the pole at her age (she just turned 50).  I can state that J-Lo did give a strong performance.  Award-worthy?  Eh…  I don’t know about all that, but it was a good performance.  And yes, it is obvious she trained long and hard to be able to do the moves she showed off on the pole.  All in all, I give the movie 3.5 Icees.  I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t all that and a bag of chips.

This movie is “inspired by a true story”.  Now I don’t know if that means that they take more creative freedom than if it were “based on a true story” or not, but the story they tell is interesting.  From the trailers you can tell this movie is about strippers (so yes, there is some nudity but not graphic or poorly done) who end up drugging and stealing from their clients.  The path on how they got from point A (stripping) to point B (drugging) is one that I thought was told very well.  The movie gives some insight into the life of a stripper.  How authentic that is, I don’t know since I’m not one but it seems realistic.

The movie is best when it focuses on the relationships of the ladies.  It does this in spurts, and sometimes inconsistently, but when it does… it’s good.  Some of the other scenes tend to fall flat.

As I stated before, J-Lo gives a strong performance.  Constance Wu (Crazy Rich Asians, Fresh Off The Boat) is ok as the newcomer and the relationship between these two is what I find to be inconsistent at times.  I would go into more detail but that would be spoilers and I don’t do that.  I think Julia Stiles is weak as the reporter but that’s just me.  Cardi B and Usher also appear with small roles.

There is a scene as the credits role but I don’t know that I would say that it’s worth staying for.  Nothing after the credits.

Enjoy…

Ready Or Not

So people who know me know that I don’t watch horror movies.  Fortunately, my oldest daughter does so I asked her to be a guest reviewer!  See Rachel’s 4 out of 5 Icees review below!!

Ready or Not is truly a comedy horror. For the first 30 minutes you think you know what’s coming, but everything quickly turns far worse than expected but in a comedic way. Samara Weaving is the absolute star of this movie; she plays the sardonic Grace as a perfect blend of Everyman and badass.

The other characters are interesting, but often flip flop in their loyalty, making you truly question how things will turn out in the end- which in my opinion is truly satisfying considering everything we’ve learned about Grace’s new family.

Some may not consider it horror, but I think the amount of bloodshed and some awful horror moments place it firmly in the horror genre. The setting is beautiful but claustrophobic, and the concept is unique.

I give it 4 out of 5 icees for the fun, the dark atmosphere, and the incredible acting!

No scenes during or after the credits.

Enjoy…

Angel Has Fallen

A few things have fallen in this franchise. Olympus has fallen, London has fallen and now, Angel has fallen.  You know what hasn’t fallen?  The box office receipts!  As long as those keep coming in and they keep with this great tried and true formula of action and violence, these movies will keep coming.  I for one hope they do because I enjoy them all. This one gets a solid 3.5 Icees out of 5.

If I enjoy it so much, why only 3.5 Icees?  Well, I enjoy it for what it is… a fun movie with a hero fighting against it all (defining “it” is a whole different thing).  In this case “it” is the FBI, the Secret Service and pretty much the whole country.  There are some obvious drawbacks though.  For one, you know who the bad guys are right away and predictability is never good.  For another, some of the lines are cheesy.  That’s probably why it has a 40% rating from RottenTomatoes.com from the critics.  That doesn’t mean it’s not fun to see (which is probably why it has a 95% rating from the audience at the same site), just not something that I can honestly give a super rating to (although 3.5 isn’t bad at all).

Gerard Butler does a good job of faking an American accent once again (he is from Scotland) and Morgan Freeman does his usual good work.  However, to me the best performance in this movie goes to Nick Nolte.  Even at 78 he can still deliver a good performance.

There is plenty of action, plenty of death, plenty of things that really couldn’t happen….. and most importantlly, plenty of fun!

There is a scene partway through the credits but none afterwards.

Enjoy…

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