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Hitman’s Bodyguard, The

This enjoyable movie gets a solid 3.5 Icees out of 5.  This movie is a great example of why I created Reviews By The Don.  The “professional” critics absolutely hate this movie, giving it a 39% on RottenTomatoes.com.  I actually enjoyed myself watching this movie.  Now it’s not going to win any awards, inspire anyone or even leave a lasting memory.  But what it will do is give you a good time for a couple of hours with plenty of humor, action and just plain fun.

I do feel that I have to warn you though, it earns its R-rating with a LOT of MFers, GDs, and JCs, but if that doesn’t bother you then you’ll enjoy yourself seeing this film. Oh yeah, there’s a lot of shooting in this movie as well. So consider yourself warned that if any of that bothers you, what are you doing thinking of going to an R movie anyway?

Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. (I’m in everything I can be in) Jackson have a great chemistry and I hope this movie does well enough for there to be a sequel.  For Ryan, there are times that this seems like Deadpool without the mask, but his classic style of sarcastic humor works well, especially when combined with the equally (if not more so) sarcastic style of Sam. Throw in Selma Hayek (looking exceptional at the age of 50 and cursing just as much as the guys) and it’s just great.  I only wish she had a larger role in the film.  Maybe in the sequel?  Gary Oldman was also wasted in this movie as his character was pretty one-dimensional.

So all this positive talk, why did I only give it 3.5 Icees?  Well, the plot isn’t at all unpredictable as my wife and I picked out the Interpol mole in 2 seconds (some actors always play the bad guy) and could pretty much tell you the way the movie would end about 20 minutes into it.  Still, even with that being the case, we both thought it was a good way to spend an afternoon.

There is an outtake scene at almost the very end of the credits, but not really worth sticking around for.

Enjoy…

Dark Tower, The

This movie only gets 3 out of 5 Icees, but could have done so much better.  As my followers know when it comes to movies, I don’t read the books.  Even when it doesn’t come to movies, I don’t read the books.  I get no enjoyment from reading whatsoever.  Obviously then I am basing my review solely on the movie itself and not how well (or badly) it represented the books.  Even though that is the case I could tell one thing for sure.

There was a bunch missing from this movie.  You could just tell.  You get to see a monster or two but you don’t really know anything about them. There’s no real backstory (other than the obvious one the movie hands out), no explanation… just… monsters.  There are humanoids without skin.  Again, no backstory, explanation or even anything obvious that the movie could have handed out.  We just know they loyally follow the “Man in Black”. Speaking of the MIB (had to do it) we learn that he wants to bring in the darkness, but why?  With his powers he could probably rule the worlds without doing that.

Now don’t get me wrong, I did give the movie 3 Icees after all.  There is a lot of good in this movie.  Matthew (I think he’s overrated) McConaughey does a great job with the limited material he is given. The way he uses his magic so casually to end life really portrays what little respect the MIB has for life. Idris Elba does a good job as the Gunslinger but for once… just in one movie… I’d like to see him play a character that isn’t the “man of few words”.  After all, if people are calling for him to be the next James Bond, he’s got to be more than just a few-lines-per-movie type of actor.  But just like ol’ Matty he does well with the limited range he has.  The kid (Tom Taylor) is probably the flattest character in the film but I think the only reason this actor was selected is because he’s really good at giving wide-eyed expressions of surprise, sadness or anger.

The movie is only 95 minutes long.  I guess they just wanted to get this movie out since I’ve read that there has been a clammering for it for a few years now, but this isn’t what those clammering were hoping for.  They could have spent another 30 minutes to give these characters more depth and meaning, or set up the situation more than a couple of sentences here and there.

It really seems I’ve talked more about the bad than the good, but the good was good enough to get 3 Icees so I do recommend seeing it… just don’t expect this to be the next blockbuster because it’s not going to hit that goal.  The story flows well with no real surprises contained. It is one of those movies where you have to listen intently to the dialog to catch what little information they give. But if you want a short diversion from everyday life, this will do the trick.

No scenes during or after the credits (thank you aftercredits.com).

Enjoy…

Atomic Blonde

This atomic movie gets 3.5 Icees out of 5.  This movie is based on a graphic novel, and graphic is a perfect descriptor for what this movie is.  The fight scenes are is graphic. The gun shots are graphic. The sex scene (1) is graphic. The language is graphic.  Everything is graphic.  With that being said, I really enjoyed this movie and if graphic doesn’t bother you, I think you will too.

I never had pictured Charlize Theron as an action hero.  The image I had of her is that of The Italian Job or even Fast and Furious 8… a beautiful woman who is strong, but in a non-physical way.  Well, that’s all changed now!  She can handle herself just fine, thank you very much.  She is 100% bad to the bone and can rock with anyone.  I think the thing I most enjoyed about the fight scenes (and one of them goes on for quite some time) is not only how graphic they are, but how realistic they are. They aren’t the clean punch or kick and the person goes flying through the air.  They are fights where it takes several punches at close range to effectively take down the opposition.  You can almost feel the punches yourself as she either hits or gets hit… hard.  As a guy, I do think there are a few too many crotch shots, but then again… I guess that’s the way it would go down too.

The plot is a bit convoluted, but that’s ok.  I consider it a movie with twists rather than convolutions. There are times where it seems to drag, but the fight scenes more than make up for them.  The soundtrack for the movie is great.  Always good to hear some 80s classics and since this takes place in 1989, it works for this movie quite well.

I thought the supporting case did a serviceable job, although nobody really stood out.  Sofia Boutella plays a character far different from what I’ve seen her do so far (Kingsman and The Mummy) and is adequate at it.  I actually would have preferred to see some fighting out of her too because she proved in Kingsman that she can do it, but oh well.  James McAvoy (X-Men: First Class, Split) plays an interesting character (best way to describe it without giving anything away) and does a decent job, but lets face it… this movie was all about the Atomic Blonde and she took command of every scene.

If you don’t mind a movie that earns its R-rating (for sequences of strong violence, language throughout, and some sexuality/nudity) and you like action, I think you’ll like this one.  No scenes during or after the credits.

Enjoy….

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

This beautiful specticle of a movie gets 3 Icees out of 5.  As mentioned in the previous sentence, this movie truly is beautiful.  Think of the first time you saw Avatar.  The mystical beauty… This movie follows that same mold with some beautiful sets, VGI, characters and other various cinematography tricks.  Now, in the vein of full disclosure, I didn’t think the actual movie of Avatar was all that good.  I know I’m in the minority here but to me if you cut away from all the beauty and 3D impact (this was one of the first 3D movies to come out for 3D TVs), I just didn’t think it was all that good.

Now with Valerian there are some similarities to that.  The plot can bog down at times and there are a couple of scenes that seem to go on forever (or at least much longer than they needed to.  Also, there was a “plot twist” that you could see coming from a mile away. Don’t believe the trailers (a trend that is frustratingly growing) as there isn’t as much action as the trailers would lead you to believe.

I’ve read some other reviews that bluntly stated that Dane DeHaan was miscast for the role, and I get that.  He was supposed to play this cocky ladies man type of character and that just didn’t seem to fit him, but I almost found that an endearing quality.  It’s almost like he was trying to be something he’s not.  I don’t know… maybe I like the visual effects so much I am trying to make up for other shortcomings… perhaps.  I did think that Cara Delevinge played her role perfectly as Sergeant Laureline.  In fact, it could be argued that the way this movie was edited it seemed like she was the primary character and not Valerian, and I actually thought that worked.  It was good to see her actually get a chance to act (she didn’t really get that opportunity in Suicide Squad).

If you’re looking for a beautifully made movie with a decent story, this one might fit the mold.  There is no story during or after the credits.

Enjoy…

 

 

War For The Planet Of The Apes

This solid conclusion (?) to the franchise gets a solid 4.5 Icees out of 5.  This movie had a lot of expectations because both the first and second movie of this franchise were very good.  This lived up to its predecessors by taking the story in a direction you wouldn’t think.  I won’t give away spoilers but this really doesn’t have to do with an all-out “war” between humans and apes, but does have some interesting twists to it, twists which I enjoyed and I think you will too.

They say that an actor doing motion-capture in a movie has never been nominated for an Oscar before, to include Andy Serkis either as Caesar in these movies or as Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  If he doesn’t at least get a nomination for this one, it’s just wrong.  The progression he has done throughout these movies, first as barely speaking and movie as most monkeys do, to speakign broken English in the second movie and standing upright at times, to this movie where his English is excellent and he almost always walks upright is exceptional. The facial expressions that Andy is able to do, even with motion-capture technology really works well to convey the emotions that Caesar is feeling, whether it be joy, pain or anger.

Let’s not forget Woody Harrelson, who has come a long way from his role of Woody in Cheers to where he is actually a respected actor with good range.  He displays that range in this movie as the Colonel. Of course we’re with the apes, right?  Well, he starts off by reinforcing our position but when he reveals why he is doing what he is doing, you have to wonder if you would do anything different if you were in his place.

The only character that I will call “iffy” is the new character, “Bad Ape”, who does provide some comic relief but did this movie really need comic relief?  I don’t know…  I could have done without this character but he does fill a role in the plot so I guess I’ll just let it go.

The acting overtakes the action in this movie, much like it did in the first 2, so know that going in and I think you’ll be just fine.

In short, if you liked the first 2 movies in this franchise, you’ll enjoy this one as well.  There are no scenes during or after the credits.

Enjoy…

Spider-Man: Homecoming

This great kick-off for the new Spider-Man franchise gets a well-deserved 4.5 Icees out of 5.  You may note that I called this a “kick-off” and not an “origin movie”.  Thankfully, they didn’t have us go through him getting bit by a spider or watch Uncle Ben die again, although they did elude to both events.  If you know your Marvel movies then the following will make sense to you: This is more like Captain America: The First Avenger than it is The Avengers.

What do I mean by that?  This movie isn’t all action and fun.  It’s more of an in-depth approach showing the life of a 15 year-old that happens to be Spider-Man.  He deals with things like homecoming, Spanish tests and a bully as much as he deals with The Vulture.  He deals with a protective Aunt May (excellently played by Marisa Tomei) and a best friend who is a little over the top. You know… regular teenager stuff.

Now I don’t mean that there isn’t any action, just not as much as the trailers may lead you to believe.  Speaking of the trailers….  I don’t get what these moviemakers think when they show you scenes in a trailer and then don’t put it in the movie.  If you’re looking for Peter to get a kiss from the girl he has a crush on… don’t… it’s not there.  Other trailer scenes are either shot from different angles, have different lines in them, or just aren’t there.  It’s my pet peeve and sure enough, this one has it.  Why people???  Why???

On the plus side, this movie is really done well. The acting is good as you’ll believe that Tom Holland is 15 (he’s 20), that he’s from New York (he’s British) and that he has a whiny voice (whether he does or not, I really don’t know).  Zendaya has a smaller role than I thought, but I believe they are setting it up for her to have a larger role in the future.  Laura Harrier plays Liz, the object of Peter’s affection and does an adequate job. One drawback on her character.  Will a pretty high school senior girl really consider going with a sophomore? Michael Keaton does a good job as The Vulture and some of his lines make you think about things.  Like who really does clean up the mess that happens during all the Avengers movies?  Humorously, another government agency is created, but I won’t spoil it for you with the name…  just know it should make you chuckle.

If you’re a true Marvel fan like me, you’ll really enjoy this movie.  If you’re not a superhero movie fan, then I still think you’ll like this movie because of the way that they decided to approach it.  It seems like they are aiming at a younger audience (of which I am not) and I will be curious to find out if they hit their mark.

There is a scene during the credits and one at the end.  The one at the end is kinda funny, but not really a plot-moving scene.

Enjoy….

Baby Driver

This interesting movie gets 3.5 Icees out of 5.  When I saw the previews for this movie, the thing that attracted me to it was the stunt driving, which looked magnificent.  Then you thrown in Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx and Jon Hamm and that made this movie one worth seeing.  I wasn’t disappointed at all.  I didn’t expect it to be a blockbuster, and it wasn’t.  What I didn’t expect is that this movie is a very different type of movie.  For those that know me, you know that I like that sort of thing.  This movie filled that role perfectly.

Yes, it has some great driving stunts. Think Fast and Furious back when it was about the cars, except instead of Lamborghinis or Porsches we have a Subaru and other normal cars.  The moves put on by these were worth the price of admission alone.  Combine that with an interesting story about a reluctant driver and the odd cast of characters around him and this movie does a great job of being out of the norm.

The plot doesn’t have any cool twists and turns and the characters aren’t believable, but it’s fun.  Now it earns its R-rating with the language and the violence but it is a much softer R than some others out there.  No grotesque violence or anything like that.  Just a good ol’ fashioned shooting and bludgeoning movie with some great driving thrown in for good measure.

If you like a movie that isn’t the norm, has some oddball characters and a few great driving scenes… this is the movie for you.  I am not surprised that it has (at the time I am writing this) a 98% critics score and a 91% audience score on rottentomatoes.com.  No scenes during or after the credits.

Enjoy…

Despicable Me 3

Sadly, this movie just barely gets 1.5 Icees.  I fondly remember the first movie and how funny it was, and how original the minions were. It was one of my favorite cartoon movies.  Then the second one came out and it was, “okay”.  Then the Minion movie came out and it just wasn’t that funny at all.  Now, I think that this franchise has really jumped the shark with this recent addition.  I mean… it’s bad when you think the villian of the movie is better than any of the other characters, to include the minions.  Speaking of the minions, they had their own little side-plot going on, which in concept could work, but it just wasn’t funny at any point.  Throw in my pet peeve about a trailer scene not being in the movie and it just adds up to total disappointment.

As I sit here writing this, I think that I should fill up a prerequisite amount of space talking about the movie.  Unfortunately, I think I pretty well summed it up in the first paragraph, but I’ll try.  I mean after all, you took the time to come to this site to read the review, so the least I can do it try to give you something worth reading.  Never let it be said that I don’t do the least that I can do!  Sadly, that little joke was about as funny as anything you’ll see in this movie.

Happily married Dru and Lucy undergo a career crisis and Gru is tempted by a long-lost relative to go back to crime.  Meanwhile, Lucy is struggling with being a stepmom. Okay, that sounds like a premise that could be promising!  Throw in the minions being thrown in jail and this sounds like one of the best movies of the summer, doesn’t it?  Yeahhhh, not so much.  The long-lost relative story is ok but isn’t built up into a funny conclusion.  If you saw any trailer for this movie you’ve seen the best punchline from this part of the story (aka hair).  Lucy’s storyline was probably the most interesting but doesn’t go nearly as far as it could or should. And the minion?  Well, they were thrown in jail without trial (which could have been hilarious), took over the jail somehow (which was never shown or explained… another lost opportunity), and then escape so easily that the warden should be fired on the spot.

I sat in the theater with plenty of kids and they only chuckled a bit throughout the entire film.  Therefore my recommendation is to wait until this comes out on Redbox and then make your kids spend their allowance on it (because you sure don’t want to spend your money on it).  There is a little cartoon bit during the first part of the credits but nothing worth sticking around for.

Enjoy….

 

Transformers: The Last Knight

Surprisingly, this movie gets 3 Icees out of 5, and my wife would’ve given it more!  I was totally ready to trash this movie. I hadn’t seen a single reviewer give it positive comments. Even in cases where (on rottentomatoes.com) a reviewer gave it a “fresh”, they just trashed it in their narrative.  I think some reviewers were hoping that the title would be “Transformers: The Last Movie, We Promise”.  You add in that I thought that this franchise had jumped the shark a couple of movies ago and I was really just going out of a sense of commitment since I had seen all the previous entries into the franchise.  I am thankful I did because I was pleasantly surprised. For reasons that I can’t really explain, I liked it. I didn’t love it, but I liked it.

Yes, this movie has all kinds of problems, but all-in-all, it was enjoyable to watch. In fact, it’s easier for me to say what’s wrong with this movie as opposed to what’s right with it.  It has a character that basically adds absolutely nothing to the movie (the teenage girl played by Isabele Moner), bots that you the director doesn’t really don’t get you to care about at all (even Bumblebee has lost some of his appeal), a total lack of respect for what the moon does for our planet (to explain that would be a spoiler), and just a variety of other things.  The most frustrating thing for me though?  It seems like some scenes were cut that led to other things happening.  Suddenly allies show up and you really don’t know how or why. A friendly ship comes in and picks up good guys and you’re wondering, “where has that been all along?”.  Then there’s this guy in Cuba that suddenly knows everything about the famous sword without any real explanation as to how he found out.  Finally, and this is a pet peeve of mine, there is a famous line in all the trailers that just didn’t happen in the movie.

So, what’s good about this movie?  Why did I like and my wife liked it more?  It’s really tough to put into words.  It’s just enjoyable to watch.  It has pretty people includng a nice shot of Mark’s abs and Laura Haddock in a “stripper dress” (not my words) and the aforementioned teenager with a young boy who all but drools over her.  It has nonstop action, with the typical Michael Bay style. It has a plot, convoluted as it is sometimes it’s still a plot nonetheless.  The transformers turn into some really nice rides. I asked my wife why she liked it and she said she liked the constant action, the character development of Mark Wahlberg’s character, the story flowed well for her, and to be blunt, “It’s a lot less bad than the last one”.  Now there’s a ringing endorsement!

For those that are wondering if this will be the last in the franchise because of the fact that it didn’t open as well as any of its predecessors, don’t be too sure.  It may not have done great here, but overseas it is a total blockbuster and so I see another one on the horizon.  Rumor has it that Michael Bay has said it would be his last (a statement some are hoping is true) and if it is, it will be interesting to see if someone else can pick up the mantle and run with it.

There is a scene shortly after the credits start, but none afterwards.

Enjoy….

Mummy, The

Does this movie deserve the 3.5 Icees out of 5 that I give it?  I know that I have never started off my review with a question before, but then again I’ve never seen a movie quite like this before.  This movie can’t make up its mind whether it wants to be in the genre of horror, adventure movie, or camp.  It’s almost a bit frustrating that it doesn’t really fit well into any of these and if I were to rate it as any of them, it would fail miserably.  My guess is that is what most of the professional critics have done since it has a whoppin’ 17% on rottentomatoes.com.

But what I am trying to do here is rate it for what it is, which is a different type of movie. I’m not a fan of horror movies so I’m glad it really doesn’t fall into that genre.  Yes, there are horror-like elements to it, but they are so tame it would really be more like horror-lite… and that’s ok.  There are some great funny lines in the movie (mostly by a supporting character that I can’t really explain because then it would be a spoiler) but it doesn’t come close to the campy Mummy movies of almost a decade ago starring Brendan Fraser. There is some adventure to it, but again, not quite enough call it an adventure movie.  See my quandry?

So why did I give it 3.5 Icees?  Well, to put it simply… I enjoyed it.  It was different in that there wasn’t a really a hero fighting a bad guy (or in this case, gal).  It was just a story.  An odd story granted, but a story nonetheless.  This movie has some good special effects, a flowing plot and an ending that you don’t quite expect.  It’s unusual, and I kind of like that.

Not all audiences are impressed. As of the time I am writing this, on rottentomatoes.com the audience has only given it a 45% rating.  Perhaps I am the only one out there that liked it? No, I know that’s not quite true because there are some professionals that did too (example: the USAToday critic gave it a 3 out of 4).  I think too many people came into this movie with expectations.  Perhaps they thought this would be a typical “Tom Cruise is a hero” movie.  Maybe they thought it would be a campy version like the ones with Brendan.  Maybe they thought it would be more of a horror movie.  If you come into this movie with any preconceived notions, you’ll be disappointed.  This movie is just all over the place and I guess people don’t like that.  Well, except me and my lovely wife of course (she liked it better than I did).

Tom Cruise does a good job as an anti-hero forced into a unique situation. He isn’t the one with the witty lines though as those go to Chris Vail in a supporting role. The role of damsel goes to Annabelle Wallis (she was in a couple of Fast and Furious movies) whose character probably was the most typical. There there is Sofia Boutella, who you may remember from Kingsman. With the range she is given, she nails the character perfectly.  At some point, I would like to see her in a movie where she has more lines so I can tell if she actually can act, or if she just fits into the odd roles she is placed in.  Maybe I’ll get my wish when Atomic Blond comes out later this year. All in all, I think the cast does a good job.

The Mummy is supposed to kick off Universal’s,  “Dark Universe” which is scheduled to have appearances by The Invisible Man, Jekyll and Hyde and Frankenstein and has such big names as Tom Cruise, Russell Crowe, Johnny Depp and others.  However since this movie is getting destroyed by professional critics, if it doesn’t do well in the theaters the universe may come to an end before it really takes off.  That would be a shame because this is a series of movies that I think I would enjoy, especially if it were like this one.

There are no scenes after the credits.

Enjoy…

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