The Equalizer 2

This pretty decent sequel gets 3.5 Icees out of 5.  This is one of those movies that is the type that caused Reviews By The Don to be created.  It’s a movie the critics hate (currently 49%) but the audiences (me included) like.  Now I’m not saying this is the best movie of the summer, but it’s an enjoyable distraction, especially if you were a fan of the last one, or the TV series from the 80s.  In fact, one of the things I liked about this movie is that it shows him helping average people, which is a throwback to the TV series.

Denzel is his usual excellent self.  His range of emotions that he can show is amazing, from calm, to angry to content.  Now you don’t get to see much joy, but those other emotions are displayed quite well.  Another thing that is done very well are the action scenes.  His utter brutality, done in such a smooth fashion, is pretty awesome.

The reasons that this movie couldn’t get more than 3.5 Icees are many, sadly.  First is that the plot is too predictable, with a villain that you can see a mile away.  There are also spots in the movie where it seems to plod along.  Combine that with a scene in the trailers that is not in the movie (a pet peeve of mine) and you end up with a lower rating.  Now that doesn’t mean that the movie isn’t enjoyable, because it is… just not higher than the 3.5 Icees that it got.

No scene after the credits

Enjoy

Skyscraper

This is one of those movies that I thoroughly enjoyed watching, but in all good conscience can’t give it a super high rating.  Therefore, I am settling for a 3 Icee (out of 5) rating for this fun, action-packed movie that my wife and I both really enjoyed watching.

So, if I liked it so much, how come it only gets 3 Icees?  Well, the plot is too predictable, the outcome very obvious, and the hero overly heroic (although I think the wife actually outshines the hero in this but more about that later).

A friend of mine said that from the trailers it looked like Die Hard meets Towering Inferno.  Well…  she’s not wrong. As you have seen from the trailers (and more about the trailer for this movie in just a moment), it’s a tall building, there are bad guys, and the building is on fire.  Yeah, that pretty much covers it.

As far as acting goes, The Rock is The Rock, so of course he’s going to do well.  Although to be honest, I think that Neve Campbell stole the movie as a wife who is not the too often wrongly portrayed “Oh please help me” type of wife.  She’s pretty darn capable by herself, thank you very much.

Now back to trailers.  If you have watched the trailers you will notice (and it will probably bug you as much as it did me) that what seemed like an important scene isn’t even in the movie!  That’s just irritating to me.  This is one of the reasons that I stopped showing trailers on the site (plus the fact that it’s a lot of work and people didn’t seem to be viewing them anyway).

So what did I like about the movie?  It’s action is really good and there’s just the right amount of intensity (at times) for a PG-13 movie.

Basically, if you’re looking for a movie that is fun to watch on a weekend afternoon, but you’re not looking for an award-worthy movie, this is the one for you!

No scenes after the credits.

Enjoy…

Ant-Man and The Wasp

After the Avengers: Infinity War movie, this movie was a refreshing, uplifting change of pace.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved AIW but its overall tone was serious, whereas this movie is all fun.  That, plus the characters and the dialog are some of the reasons that this movie gets a solid 4 Icees (out of 5).

First, the story.  I thought it was well-written, just like the first one.  It definitely comes at you with a lighter tone and more laughs, but at the same time there is a seriousness to it with the overall mission (with a limited window of time, of course).  There are bad people (of course) and incompetent good guys (which is kind of a shame… one of the reasons the movie didn’t rate higher for me). Overall, it’s just a fun story that the entire family will enjoy.

Then the acting. Michael Pena once again steals every scene he is in, but in the other scenes Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly are great, and their chemistry works really well. Even Abby Ryder Forston (Cassie, Ant-Man’s daughter) does a good job.  I thought her acting was a little less than good in the original.  I guess getting a couple of years older has helped her (maybe she took acting lessons?).

Finally, the action.  These are done really well, from the choreography of the fight scenes to the enlarging/shrinking of items…  just pure fun, which is the best way to describe this movie overall… just pure fun.

There is an important scene partway through the credits and another scene after the credits are done.

Enjoy…

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…

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