Nancy Drew And The Hidden Staircase

So it was a slow weekend at the movies (since I had already seen Captain Marvel twice) and I saw a trailer for this movie and thought it looked cute so I’d give it a look-see.  I am glad I did.  I really enjoyed this pre-teen movie about the famous junior detective.  When I rate a movie, I judge it by the genre that it is as opposed to trying to rate this against an Avengers or Green Book or any other type of movie.  So, for a pre-teen mystery movie, this one gets 4 Icees.

I have a friend of mine (Jessica) that has two daughters that I think might enjoy this movie.  There are almost no male “main” characters.  The men in this movie (the father, the sheriff, etc..) are supporting characters and you know what?  That works just fine.  I like that the ladies are the sole focus of the movie.

The plot is sometimes predictable but otherwise engaging enough for young audiences.  However, one word of warning.  There is one scene that frightened a couple of the younger girls in the audience.  So if you bring youngins in, be wary of the “haunting” scene.  To avoid spoilers, I won’t go any further into explanation.

The actresses all did a good job, with a special shout-out to Linda Lavin.  She, as always, played her role amazingly.

As many know, Nancy Drew had many adventures in the literary world.  I can only hope that this movie does well enough to warrant a sequel.  I for sure would watch it!  All in all, this movie was enjoyable to watch and I think it was a good movie for the pre-teens out there.

So if you’re looking for an alternative from Captain Marvel and you have young kids (or just want to see a nice movie), this one just might be the right one.

No scene during or after the credits

Enjoy…

Captain Marvel

I’ve rarely (if ever) given an origin story for either DC or Marvel a 5-Icee rating, and this one is no exception.  That doesn’t mean the movie isn’t good, because it certainly is… but when you compare any origin story to the first Avengers movie or Infinity War or something like that, it just doesn’t quite measure up.  All that set-up information… blah blah blah.  Now, that being said, this movie is really good and gets a solid 4 Icees out of 5.

This movie has a good cast, classic Marvel wit and humor and enough action to keep you engaged for the most part.  Like all origin stories, there are some slow spots, but fortunately this one doesn’t kill you with an hour and a half of slowness just to have a bunch of action at the end.  It sprinkles the action throughout.

Brie Larson does a commendable job as the title character (although a bit stiff at times), but to be honest it really isn’t her that steals the show, nor is it a younger Samuel (which by the way, that de-aging CGI is pretty darn good because after a few minutes of marveling (see what I did there) at how good it works, you forget that it’s even happening).  No, the scene-stealers are Ben Mendelsohn as Talos (Skrull leader) and Goose the cat.  The rest of the cast does a great job, but those two just have a way about them.  You’ll see what I mean when you watch the movie.

Other good things about this movie?  Well, it’s not a spoiler because it was revealed in the trailers that this movie takes place in the 90s.  There are tons of 90s references that are fun to catch.  Seeing Agent Coulsen as a younger agent was cool. The fight scenes are well choreographed.  The banter is typical Marvel great.  It’s just a really good movie and I think you’ll enjoy it.  I know I did, and I’m seeing it again tomorrow night!

There is a scene about a third of the way through the credits and another at the end.

Enjoy…

Isn’t It Romantic

This anit-rom-com rom-com gets a nice little 4-Icee review.  I like movies that have a twist, or a unique angle on things, and this movie falls into that mold. Yes, in its core it is a romantic comedy, but its main character is someone who hates romantic comedies so the fact that she is trapped in one is a great way to do a rom-com.

This movie calls out all of the rom-com staples (the gay friend, breaking up a wedding, sudden dance numbers, etc) but it calls them out by doing them.  You’ll have to see the movie to know what I mean, and for me… this was a cute little movie that would be a nice date-night out.

Rebel Wilson (Pitch Perfect franchise… which I’ve never seen) is hilarious as the main character and is supported well by the whole cast.  There is (of course) a moral to the movie and that’s all well and good… and the laughs aren’t all lol funny (although some of them are), but I really enjoyed watching this movie and in the end, that’s what counts right?

There is a dance scene that happens during the first part of the credits, but nothing after that.

Enjoy…

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…

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