Incredibles 2

14 years after the first movie came out, the sequel is made and it’s good!  It’s 4 Icees out of 5 good!  Before I go on about this movie, let me give you a serious warning.  If you or your children have epilipsy or suffer seizures when lights blink, you should avoid this movie!  It’s sad, but when they made it they didn’t even think of this possible effect.  There are 3 or 4 scenes that could easily trigger a seizure.

Now that I’ve covered that (and met my PSA obligation for the month), let’s talk about the movie itself.  It picks up right after the last one ended (no, 14 years did not pass…  just a few moments).  If you remember the last movie, a giant drilling machine popped out of the ground.  Well, the story continues from there.

The movie starts off a bit slow (one of the reasons it gets 4 Icees instead of 5), but when it picks up, it’s hilarious.  Jack-Jack is the scene stealer and the main star of this movie.  Just about everything with him is great.  To go into details would be a spoiler, but remember the original movie and how when he was way up in the air (where his family could not see him) he showed he does have powers?  Okay, just making sure.

The only negative (besides the stupidity to make a kids’ movie that can cause seizures) is the fact that this movie perpetuates a negative stereotype about men; that we can’t raise our own kids.  It makes me kind of mad when movies do that because there are plenty of men out that do perfectly well taking care of our children, thank you very much.

That negative is easily offset by the hilarity that ensues. The kids in the theater absolutely loved this movie.  They laughed out loud on several occasions (which didn’t happen during Finding Dory, just sayin’).  To me, this is Pixar’s best movie in many years.

There are no scenes during or after the credits.

Enjoy…

Oceans 8

This is the second movie I watched this weekend with so much promise left unfulfilled (see Hotel Artemis), however this one is a bit more entertaining so I will give it 3 Icees out of 5.

It does its job of telling a story of a jewelry heist.  It could have done it with more comedy. It could have done it with more flair.  But, it did do it.

This cast was phenominal. Sandy, Cate, Rhianna, Mindy, Helena, Anne, Awkwafina and Sarah.  What’s not to love?  All this potential and all it really did was tell a story.  It wasn’t a ‘bad’ story, but it wasn’t a great one either. For me, Helena Bonham Carter was awesome.  She was a-typical Helena.  I wonder if she is this quirky in real life? It seems that every time I see her, she is playing an eccentric of some sort.  Oh well…  The other ladies were good too, but there just wasn’t enough interaction.  Hopefully that’s just because this movie took a bit to get set up and didn’t have time for the banter that I was expecting.

In any event, if you loved the Oceans series of movies so far, you should like this one ok, but for me… just like with the reboot of Ghostbusters with an all-female lead, there was so much emphasis on placing the ladies in these roles, they forgot how best to use them once they got there.

Now, I did give this movie 3 Icees, which is right about where my cutoff point is as to whether I recommend seeing a movie or not, so this one I do as it is enjoyable and things at the box office were a bit slow this weekend, but once the summer starts heating up again, this movie will be left in the dust so see it while you can or put it on your Redbox list.

No scenes during or after the credits

Enjoy

Hotel Artemis

For me, despite an excellent cast with some decent performances, this movie was disappointing and therefore only gets 2.5 Icees out of 5.  It just seemed like there was so much more that this movie could have been, and it just didn’t live up to that expectation.

The cast did a good job with the bad script.  Jodie Foster was great as an aging, quirky medical professional. Sterling K. Brown, who is someone I am liking more and more each time I see him, did a serviceable job, but wasn’t really given the opportunity to showcase what he could do in an action flick.  On the other hand, Sofia Boutella (Kingsman, Mummy) continues to show that she can kick butt and look sexy doing it. Throw in a little Jeff Goldblum, Zachary Quinto and Charlie Day and this movie should have just blown everyone away.  The performances they gave are the only reason that this movies gets as high as 2.5 Icees.

Instead, the script was so limiting, so short-sighted.  I mean, you have the whole Hotel Artemis theme (think a medical version of The Continental from the John Wick movies), mix in a heist and some killing and this movie should have rocked it.  It just didn’t…  It…  just…  didn’t.

My recommendation… wait until this comes out at Redbox and catch it then.

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

Enjoy…

Solo: A Star Wars Story

When Disney purchased Lucas Films, they said the plan was to release a Star Wars movie every year.  I wonder if in a rush to do that, quality may be sacrificed.  Perhaps.  Some people didn’t like the events of The Last Jedi (heck, some didn’t like the previous movies either), but I liked it.  I liked them killing of Han and Luke.  It’s time for new blood to take over if the franchise is to continue, and Disney didn’t buy it not to continue.  But instead of moving forward with new blood and new stories, the decision was made to look back… to the prequel of Han Solo.  How did they do?  Let’s discuss!

This movie isn’t bad by any means, but it really doesn’t capture you or blow you away either.  I give it 3.5 Icees out of 5.  This is a story of where Han comes from (sorta), a surprising revelation about his name, and a nice story of how he and Chewy came to be the partners they would be for many movies to come.  The problem is that I really didn’t see this version of Han being the same character that later occupies Star Wars and all the movies that followed.  There were glimpses, but only Harrison Ford can do Harrison Ford.

Now let’s not act like I gave this movie a 1 or anything.  I did give it 3.5 Icees after all.  It has action, some comedic lines, a new bot for people to enjoy (a Star Wars staple) and some interesting backstory to some of the characters.  Woody Harrelson does an adequate job of portraying Beckett and Emilia Clarke is ok in her role as well.  Although Donald Glover is smooth, let’s face it, he’s no Billy Dee Williams… but he does his best.  All-in-all, it’s a decent story that you can file away in your Star Wars library.

I expect some diehard fans to have problems with this movie (as evidenced by its current 54% audience rating at RottenTomatoes.com, but I liked it ok… just didn’t love it.  If you go in with all your Star Wars knowledge and ideas, you might be sorely disappointed, but if you just go in to watch an entertaining movie, I think you’ll do just fine.

There are no scenes during or after the credits.

Enjoy…

Deadpool 2

If you liked the first one, you’ll be perfectly happy with this one as well, which is why I gave it a solid 4-Icees.  Be warned however that in my opinion this movie is more vulgar, violent and gory than the original (hard to believe, I know).  On the flip side, I think that in spots it is also funnier.

The movie starts out hilariously (you’ll want to be there for the opening credits and reading them for a change) and ends the same way (the during-the-credits scenes are hilarious).  There is some parts in the middle of the movie (with the arrival of Cable) that slow down and kind of plod through, and some bits here and there that just aren’t as funny as they intended and drag on a tad.  However, it picks back up and continues down it’s merry way and overall is hilarious.

Ryan Reynolds ability to deliver the sarcastic lines is magnificent, even if he’s poking fun at himself (which he does frequently).  His supporting cast is simply there to play off of him and do so well enough without having any real meaning or depth at all. This is a Deadpool movie, and he’s the star and they work it to perfection!

Warning: I saw some people bringing in younger kids (like 11-12 years old).  I would highly discourage this.  This movie does not hold back on the vulgarity and leudness at all and fully earns its R-rating.  Heck, even in the previews there was a red band trailer that wasn’t appropriate for younger kids, even though it has puppets!  That being said, if that kind of stuff doesn’t bother you, this movie is hilarious and fun and you will enjoy yourself.

There are scenes during the credits, but once the long credits get moving along you can leave because there is nothing at the very end.

Enjoy…

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Avengers: Infinity War

As you might expect, I had very high hopes for this film.  As a Marvel/DC junkie, I’ve enjoyed all of the films, but this one…  Wow..  Just… Wow!!  Two and a half hours of pure excitement, laughter (at times) and action… nonstop action.  It’s everything you had hoped this movie would be and more.  Yes, as you may have guessed, I am giving this 5 Icees out of 5. Not only because of the action, but also the classic Marvel wit, mixed in with some real emotional moments.

I read some reviews online that knocked this movie a bit for being too much action and not enough development.  Hello?!?!  We’ve had 18 movies of development!  How much more development do you need??  The only really new character is Thanos, and I thought they gave him just enough of a backstory.  Combine that backstory with Josh Brolin’s portrayal, and you have an exquisitely played villain who thinks he’s doing the right thing.

You must try to avoid spoilers before seeing this movie.  It will allow you to be shocked when things happen that you don’t expect, and a couple that you do.

The movie does a really good job of blending in all of the heroes from the previous 18 movies.  You might even recognize a villain from a previous movie. Of course, you’ll recognize Stan Lee in his cameo (I don’t really count that as a spoiler).  Instead of keeping the Guardians together, and keeping the Avengers together, and so on… Marvel does a great job of mixing a matching, but not in a forced way… in a way that really is pretty smooth.  Once the mixes/matches get used to each other, the action really heats up!

If you have enjoyed the previous Marvel movies, you will absolutely LOVE this one.  There is only one scene after the credits and it’s way at the end.  It may require you do to so Googling after the movie is over, but it’s a nice tease for the next movie.

I liked this one so much… I am really glad that we pre-bought tickets to go see it again tomorrow morning!

Enjoy…

Rampage

Ok, let’s be honest.  When you saw the trailer for this movie you weren’t thinking, “Wow, this is going to be an exciting, excellent movie based on the video game”, right?  You were probably thinking as I was that this movie looked stupid, but perhaps there was enough action in it to be a fun family film.  Well, not exactly.  The action and acting in this movie gets it a solid 3 Icees (out of 5), but you don’t want to take your little kids to this film.  This thing is rated PG-13 for a reason.

So before I talk about how good the movie is, let me elaborate as to why you don’t want to bring little kids to this movie.  Some people did and I could hear those kids being a bit more frightened than the parents bargained for.  If you played the video game from the 90’s, you know the object of the game is to destroy the city, crush and/or eat people and just generally destroy everything in your path.  This movie nailed this part down very well. There definitely is stepping on and eating of people, along with flinging them and destroying the vehicles/aircraft while the people are still inside.  Early on in the movie there are also a few scenes where kids can get really scared (probably some adults too).

Now, why would I give this movie 3 Icees?  Well, once you realize what type of movie it is, it’s actually not half bad.  I’m not saying it’s half good either, but it falls into that, “there are monsters and we have to get rid of them genre”, like Godzilla or King Kong.  There is some cheesiness, but not nearly as much as I thought there would be.  There is some humor, as there is in all Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson movies, but this is definitely not a comedy.

So now that you know what this movie is, I do recommend that you go and enjoy it… just don’t expect any Oscar-worthy performances and don’t bring the little kids… and you’ll be fine.  If you liked San Andreas, you’ll like this movie.

No scenes during or after the credits.

Enjoy…

Ready Player One

This movie that takes you back through your childhood (if you’re in your forties or fifties, that is) gets a solid 4 Icees.  When you have a movie that makes you smile throughout, you almost have to give it a great rating.  Such is the case with this nostalgic trip through time.

So there’s this nostalgic flood of references, which isn’t put in to just feel good, but as an actual part of the plot.  Not to give out a spoiler (because I pride myself on not doing that), but the Oasis is a flood of 80’s references because the designer of it wanted it to be that way. I found myself calling out (in my mind of course, because to do so out loud in the theater would be rude) each of the things I would see, whether it be the Delorian from Back To The Future, the maze from The Shining, the Martian from the Bugs Bunny cartoons, or any of the myriad of other 80’s references.

Speaking of the designer of the Oasis, Mark Rylance (Dunkirk, Bridge of Spies) does a great job of playing Halliday, portraying an odd, unique character.  Although he is not the “star” of the movie, he gave the performance that I will probably remember most.  As far as the primary stars of the movie, I thought that both Tye Sheridan and Olivia Cooke gave really good performances as Parzival and Art3mis respectively. I know that they have been in other things, but nothing that I could actually remember seeing them in, so for me this was their coming-out party… and they did it well !

Although for me, the star of the movie wasn’t even in it. It was Steven Spielberg, who has delivered another great story.  First and foremost, it is the story being told that takes the spotlight.  The way the movie depicts the dim state of our not-too-distant future, the way a video game could take over our lives, and the visualization of “The Stacks” was exquisite.  I understand that this movie was based on a 2011 science fiction book written by Ernest Cline (which of course I never read), but the way that it is brought to life is pure Spielbergian (is that a word?).

Is it reality-based?  Of course not, but I could easily see that if the Oasis video game were real, it would engulf the world like no game before it, not even World of Warcraft or Pokemon Go. I could see where it would be a place of escape that most (if not all) of humanity would go to in order to get away from daily life.

There is some mild language and a frightening scene or two, but overall it is a fun, enjoyable movie that anyone 13 and over (it is PG-13 after all) should enjoy.

There is no scene before or after the credits.

Enjoy…

Paul, Apostle of Christ

I asked a good friend of mine, Mark R., to write a review for this movie since he watched and I haven’t yet (and may not).  Below is his review.  He gives it 3.5 Icees out of 5.

It’s not that it was such a well done film, or that it was full of forceful or powerful scenes, or evoked feelings of deep emotion based on it’s cinematic wonder.  As far as “Religious” films go it’s quality was indeed excellent. Fine quality acting. The plot was a bit slow moving, I’m sure, for most…perhaps even a bit boring and of course poetic license was taken in dramatically recreating ancient events short on interpersonal details.

But none of that was the point.  The intent, it seems to me, was to communicate the horrific persecution and dogged tenacity that propelled this beautiful, unlikely message of a peasant, Jewish carpenter turned Rabbi… whom these heroic, messengers claimed had been resurrected and revolutionized their lives…out of the first century.

 

It’s no Passion of the Christ. Moves kinda slow and doesn’t develop the various characters/ideas in detail, but it’s covering 35 years of early Christianity and trying to stay within one city and year. I had a couple theological issues but not bad. I like that it makes the characters very human. Not holy, untouchable, saints, but scared, flawed, sometimes doubting everyday humans.

Based on what he wrote, I think I am confident in saying that Mark would encourage anyone to see this movie, perhaps especially those that consider themselves Christians, or those that follow Christ.  Others may enjoy this movie as well.

Pacific Rim: Uprising

This movie surprisingly gets a solid 3 Icees.  I thought the first movie was “ok” and since generally sequels are worse, I had very low expectations for this film.  It really did surprise me in that it wasn’t bad at all.  It had some cheesy lines, sure… but it also had unexpected plot twists (and a few expected ones).

John Boyega (Star Wars movies) is obviously the star and pulls it off pretty well, despite the fact that sometimes his humor misses. Cailee Spaeny plays a teenager (of course, she’s not one, she’s 20) and does a serviceable job.  Let’s face it, the actors really aren’t the story here… it’s the Jaegers and the Kaijus, and those scenes really save the movie.  I guess that’s not 100% true.  The acting does rise up in spots and some good speeches or lines are delivered.  If there is any doubt that Scott Eastwood would take after his father (Clint), those are quickly squashed as he plays a brooding, slow-talking pretty boy (just like his good ol’ dad).  In fact, if you listen to his voice, you can hear Clint talking.

Okay, enough of that.  The plot seems pretty straight-forward and then a twist or two comes in that you don’t expect and I like that. Predictability is really bad for a film, and although you expect the final outcome, it’s the surprises that are really nice.

If you liked the first movie, you’ll enjoy this one just as much, if not more.  For me, if I was doing reviews back then, I probably would have given the original 2.5 Icees, whereas this one is better, even if by just a smidge.

No scene after the credits.

Enjoy…

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