Stuber

Stuber is an attempt to establish to cash in on the buddy cop genre.  Sometimes it suceeds and sometimes it fails.  This is how it only earns 3 Icees out of 5.  When it succeeds, it’s hilarious.  When it fails, it is cringe-worthy.  Fortunately when I left the theater I was more happy than cringy (is that a word?).

Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy) is a cop with baggage (seemingly all movie cops have baggage… it’s a thing).  Kumal Nanjiani (Portlandia) is an Uber driver with issues.  Combine them and this should be a laugh-out-loud funny movie throughout.  Sadly, it is not, but when there is laughter it is truly “laugh out loud” funny.

A couple of other reasons that this movie lost some icees for me is that they had a scene in the trailer that didn’t make it to the movie (I hate it when that happens, although I am trying to get over it) and their explanation of how Uber works is all wrong.  Sometimes I drive for Uber just for the ability to make some cash in a low-stress manner so I can tell you with confidence that they way they depict the Uber app is just wrong.

Oh yeah, one other thing.  This movie more than earns its R-rating with the vulgar language.  Language that really wasn’t necessary.  It didn’t make the movie any funnier.  It didn’t “add” to the movie experience.  It was vulgarity for the sake of vulgarity and that’s just sad.

I would recommend waiting until this comes out at Redbox and then pop some popcorn and enjoy.  Don’t waste the money it costs to watch it in the theater.

No scenes during or after the credits.

Enjoy…

Spider-Man: Far From Home

After the heavy drama of Infinity War and Endgame, this is the perfect movie to get things back to a lighter tone.  For this and other reasons, this movie gets a solid 4.5 Icees (out of 5).  It is a much more “lighter” movie than the previous Avengers films which I think is good to get the Marvel universe back on track (yes, I know that this is a Sony movie and not a Marvel Studios film, but Marvel had quite a bit of input into this).  The most important thing is that, similar to Spider-Man: Homecoming, this movie focuses as much (if not more) on Peter Parker instead of just Spider-Man.  I think that’s what made Homecoming successful and will no doubt help this movie out quite a bit (and probably helped it to its current 92% critic rating on rottentomatoes).

Although we are dealing with the aftermath of the Thanos “blip” (which is explained sufficiently right away), Peter and his friends are trying to get back to life as normal which includes a summer vacation.  There, well…  things happen.  These things go along 2 paths, with Peter wanting to focus on MJ (Zendaya) and the needs of the world kicking in. All of this while dealing with the death of Tony Stark, which is an important undertone throughout the film.  They handle both of these plotlines well, including where the intertwine.  That’s all I can really say about it without giving away spoilers (and there are plenty to give away!).

Jake Gyllenhaal does a masterful job as Mysterio showing that he belongs in the Marvel universe.  Zendaya does a good job, but there are moments where her acting was a bit stiff.  Hopefully that will pass with the next film (there’s gotta be a next film, right?).  Of course Tom Holland nails this version of Spidey down pat.  Although I don’t know how long this 25 year-old will be able to pass for a 16 year-old kid.  I guess that’s the problem when there are so many years between movies. Anyway, it was also good to see Samuel L. Jackson back after being pretty much absent from the films.  The same is true with Cobie Smulders (who I still would like to see get her own action franchise).

There is great action spread throughout the movie and when combined with the story… well, it just works!

There is a crucial scene during the credits, and another scene at the end.

Enjoy…

Yesterday

So today I watched Yesterday.  Sorry, I’ve been waiting all week to write that line.  The basic premise is on the trailers so it’s no spoiler to say that a man ends up in a world that had never heard of the Beatles nor any of their historic hits and brings them for the first time to today’s society.  Great premise, and I’m a sucker for an interesting and new premise.This movie was actually pretty good, earning 3.5 Icees out of 5.

First, the plot…  Man gets in accident and when he wakes the Beatles never existed.  This could have went so many different ways, but the way that this one went was to focus more one thing more than really focusing on the music itself.  I don’t know that’s the direction I would have taken but I think it worked well enough.

The acting, well Himesh Patel (who?) from the TV series Eastenders (what?) does a really nice job of someone who has to deal with this interesting occurence and is shocked in the whirlwind that success brings him.  Lily James (Downton Abbey) plays his friend/manager and does a great job of doing so.  You really believe that she feels the way she does.  Kate McKinnon plays the role of someone in the music business as funny as it could be done.  She’s awesome.  Finally, a major recording artist (no spoilers here) gets a larger role in the film than you’d expect and does really well with it.

Finally, and this is the test that I judge all movies by….  I just enjoyed it.  I wasn’t overwhelmed-can’t wait to own it-want to see it again  type of enjoyed… but it was a pleasant movie and the music was really awesome (it’s the Beatles after all).  After all, isn’t enjoying a movie the reasont that you go to see it?

No scenes during or after the credits.

Enjoy…

Toy Story 4

When is a sure thing not a sure thing?  Seeing that the critics had this movie at a 98% rating and the audience had it at 95% on Rottentomatoes.com, I thought for sure that this would be a great movie and probably much better than Secret Life Of Pets 2 (4.5 Icees).  Everyone was saying how great this movie was.  How could it go wrong, right?

Now in the interest of full disclosure I stopped watching these movies about midway through #2.  It was just lost on me that these things keep coming out.  Yeah, the first one was great because we were exposed for the first time to the thought that toys could lead their own lives.  Then they tried to weave some other storylines in there, and that’s the same with this entry into the franchise.  The introduction of “Forky” was something that I was thinking could be hilarious… and it was funny at times, but not nearly as much as it could have been.

So for me the best this movie can get from me is 3.5 Icees (and that’s being generous).  When I go to a kids’ movie I expect to laugh and I laughed some but not as much as I had hoped during this film.  More importantly was the fact that the kids in the theater didn’t laugh that much either.  Don’t get me wrong… the story was fine, the “villain” sufficiently creepy, but just not enough laughter for me.  Also, they focus too much on just a few of the toys and you don’t get to see the others do too much and that’s a mistake in my book.

I’m sure people that have loved this franchise will enjoy this movie more than I did.  Now, I did give this 3.5 Icees so it’s not like I hated this movie or anything, but it just wasn’t as good as I had hoped.  It’s a pleasant way to take your kids to the movie for a couple of hours (runtime listed at 1hr, 40min), but don’t go in thinking that this will be all that and a bag of chips because then you might just be disappointed.  You’ll come away having enjoyed it, but thinking that you’re kinda hoping this was the last of the franchise.

There are 2 scenes during the credits and one after.

Enjoy…

 

Anna

When I saw the trailer for this movie, I thought it looked exciting.  Good action and well-choreographed fighting.  This is why I decided to watch it despite the 27% rottentomatoes rating.  I’m glad I did because I agree with the 79% audience rating and give this movie 3.5 Icees (out of 5).  Now to be fair, the critics were right in that this movie isn’t as good as Atomic Blonde in many ways, but I am giving it the same 3.5 Icee rating.

Why you may ask?  Simple… I enjoyed it.  The method of storytelling can be a bit trying as you are constantly wisked back and forth (you’ll see what I mean when you watch it), but it is worth the journey as you follow Anna through her adventures.

The movie stars relatively unknown actress Sasha Luss and I think she does a really good job.  Being supported by Helen Mirren, Luke Evans and Cillian Murphy didn’t hurt either!  I think they all did a fine job in this movie and I kind of hope they do a sequel (although I don’t know if it will make the money for that to happen).

This movie could have used more action, as it had a great fight scene in the restaurant but not many others.  She also had a “John Wick” moment toward the end of the movie, but again… not quite enough action.

I was surprised throughout the film and I really liked that.

No scenes during or after the credits.

Enjoy…

Men In Black: International

Sadly, the best I can give this movie is 2.5 Icees (out of 5).  I wanted to give it more.  My wife thought it deserved more.  However I just can’t do it.

When I think of an MIB movie, there’s a certain electricity to it; an energy that can’t be explained but you know it’s there.  In this case, it just wasn’t…  and that’s sad because I think this movie had so much potential.

The producers were obviously banking on the chemistry between Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson, since they showed they have it in Thor: Ragnorok.  Here, not so much.  I think that was the fault of the writers as the character they developed for Hemsworth was sort of… boring.  No excitement, no real fun (until later).  I can’t go into more detail because it would give away spoilers but let’s just say that they didn’t utilize this actor’s abilities as well as they could have.  I think that Tessa did her part, but without a solid co-star it just wasn’t enough.

There also wasn’t nearly enough alien jokes (remember Tony Shalhoub having his head shot of and regenerated?  Nothing as fun as that).  I guess overall it just lacked creativity.

Now it is a MIB movie, so there is still quite a bit of good in it, hence why it still got the 2.5 Icees.  The special effects were good. The action (limited as it is) was good.  Emma Thompson does a good Agent O, and Liam Neeson gives his typical performance.  If you are an MIB fan, you will probably like this… once it comes out on Blu-Ray.

I don’t know if this movie will make enough money to warrant another one, but if it does… hire new writers, will ya?

No scenes during or after the credits

Enjoy…

Shaft

This movie, which was tailor-made for Samuel L. Jackson gets 3 Icees.  I’d really like to give it more, just based on his performance alone, but sadly the writing was just so awful for the other actors I just can’t go any higher.

On the plus side, I laughed so hard during parts of this movie…. it was great.  However, just as many times I cringed at some of the incredibly bad lines that Jessie T. Usher (Junior) and Regina Hall (Maya) were given.  So when I put them all together, it came out as a 3-Icees movie (out of 5).  The gunfights were ok, and a couple of the fight scenes were cool, but overall this is about how Sam does Shaft…  and he does it great.  He delivers his typical language-heavy (after all, it is Rated-R) lines as well as you’d expect him to do it.  I just wish they had spent as much time with the lines for the other characters in the film.

This movie isn’t bad (after all, I did give it 3 Icees), it’s just not as good as it could have been.

Enjoy…

 

Secret Life of Pets 2, The

It’s been a while since I’ve watched a really good kids’ movie.  I was leery of this movie because (1) a sequel is rarely better than the original and (2) I gave the original 3.5 Icees so if this is worse, we might be getting into the 2-2.5 range.  Fortunately for me (and for you) this movie is much better than the original!  This movie comes in with a solid 4.5 Icees (as a kids’ movie).

This movie is hilarious throughout.  Not only were all the kids in the theater laughing (which hasn’t happened when I’ve watched a kids’ movie in years), but my wife and I were laughing a lot too.  Without giving out spoilers the best I can say is that this has a couple of different storylines going on at the same time, and they both are funny (although one is funnier than the other).  The writing on this sequel was much better than the original.

I can’t really single out a person whose character wast he funniest as they all had great lines (or actions) at one time or another.  Let’s just say that not only will your kids like it, but there’s enough humor in there for adults too.  If you have kids, this is a movie you should see!

There is hilarious stuff going on during the credits and an after credits thing that could easily be left out.

Enjoy…

Dark Phoenix

Sometimes there’s a movie that everybody seems to love, but I hate.  This was true for most, if not all, of the X-Men First Class series of movies/reboot.  I could write an entire column on this idiocy alone with inconsistencies throughout, bad stories, etc…   But many seemed to love this new group.  Sometimes there’s a movie that it seems everyone hates, but I think is pretty good.  This is the case with Dark Phoenix.  RottenTomatoes shows it at 23% for the critics and just 64% for the audiences.  However, I thought this was the best X-Men movie in years and if they can be this good, maybe they should continue for a while longer.  This movie gets 4 Icees out of 5 from me!

The storyline is pretty straight-forward but I won’t say what it is here because I don’t do spoilers.  Yes, the previous set of X-Men movies did a Dark Phoenix movie (The Last Stand), but it was way too corny and well… bad… I think that movie effectively killed the old franchise until it was rebooted with First Class.  This version is better with more action, more emotion and just… well… better.

The lead actress (Sophie Turner, Game of Thrones) does an outstanding job of portraying Jean Grey through the turmoil that this character goes through.  On the flip side, Jessica Chastain is an actress that is either amazing (Molly’s Game, Zero Dark Thirty) or bombs (The Huntsman: Winter’s War). This is one of those cases where I thought she didn’t do well at all, but maybe that’s just me. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender give typical performances as frenemies Charles Xavier and Magneto.  The rest of the cast fills in well, but make no mistake… this movie is about Jean Grey and Charles Xavier.

There is enough action to keep you tuned in, but this movie is more about the drama than the action…

If you have liked the X-men First Class series of movies, I think you will really like this one.  Take it from someone that has hated this reboot… this is a much better movie than most of the recent ones have been!

No scenes during or after the credits.

Enjoy…

Rocketman

Some movies are hard to rate.  This movie falls into this category.  When thinking about everything… the music, the acting, the story, the flow of the movie…  different numbers pop into my head, ranging from a 3.5 to a 4.5 (yeah, it’s that good).  I settled in the middle with a 4 Icee out of 5 rating.  I didn’t see Bohemian Rhapsody so I can’t compare this movie to that, but it is obvious that this movie got made because of the success of the other.

The music in this movie is phenominal.  After all, it’s Elton freakin’ John!  You sometimes forget how many great songs he sung until you hear them.  That was the case for me.  Plus, Taron can actually sing.  Is he Elton?  No, of course not… but he is sounds close enough to Elton to enjoy the singing and the songs in the movie. Heck, even Matthew Illesley as young Elton does a good job. His acting may just be ok, but that kid can sing. Many in the supporting cast sing as well… and sing well.

The flow of the movie can be difficult as it is hard to tell what things happened and what things were movie-made.  What things were more symbolic than actual?  Now, since Elton had a hand in this movie I’m going to guess that most things actually happened, although some of them could be actual (or contrived) drug hallucinations (like the scene in the pool that’s in the trailers).  The movie has songs all mixed up from a time perspective as many happen in the movie years before they did in real life but really… who cares about that?  The important thing about the flow is that you pick up many of the hard times (some self-induced) that Elton went through and in that respect, this movie does it fantastically.

Taron didn’t just sing well, his acting was spot on.  I’ve read others that say he should get Best Actor for his portrayl and I don’t know that I’d go that far… but it was really good.  Actually, I’d like to see him be the next James Bond.  I mean, why do they always get 45-55 year-olds to play that role?  Why not some youth that can actually play it for a while?  Okay, sorry for going down the rabbit hole.  I’m back now.

The movie is pretty blunt about some things (drugs, sex, etc…) so if that bothers you, this may not be the movie for you as it definitely earns its “R” rating for that and some language.  Elton has said that the studio wanted to temper down some things in order to have a PG-13 rating but Elton reportedly said that no because he, “hasn’t lived a rated PG-13 life”.  Makes sense.

The trailer for this movie had a scene and line that violated my cardinal rule in that it wasn’t in the movie.  I’m learning not to let that bother me as much as it did, but I’m not quite there yet as to me it borders on false advertising.  One day I may get over it…  or not.

If you are a fan of Elton John, this is a movie that you will want to see.

Enjoy…

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