CategoryMovie Reviews

Movie reviews

Instant Family

So I see the trailer for this movie and I thought this would be a cute movie to see.  I figured it would be funny and then heartwarming at the end.  You know what I didn’t expect (thank you very much misleading trailers)?  A good movie.  A good movie about foster parents, kids and the things they go through.  This dramedy gets a solid 4.5 Icees.  I now see why on it has a critic rating of 82% and an audience rating of 83%.  This movie is just… good. 4.5 Icees good!

If you are looking for a laugh-out-loud comedy movie, this isn’t the movie for you.  If you are looking for a true-to-life (this is based on a true story, and directed by one of the foster parents) story about foster parents and adoption, this may just be it.  Now I’ve never been in either of those circumstances but everything I’m reading from people that have say that this movie pretty much nails it.  Some of the “real” discussions the parents have will tear at your heartstrings (have the tissues handy for this one).

Mark Wahlberg is someone that I normally like in dramatic roles (Patriot’s Day, Deepwater Horizon, etc), action movies (Mile 22), but not comedies.  Now that may be because the only comedies I’m aware of were the Daddy’s Home movies and they just looked “stupid funny”.  I guess that’s the category I put any Will Ferrell movie in… stupid funny.  Obviously there is an audience for those type of movies because they do well.  I’m just not in that group.  For example, the upcoming Holmes & Watson movie with Will and John C. Reilly is a movie you couldn’t pay me to watch.  At all…  Anyway, back to Mark.  In this movie he drop comedic lines very well, but in the context of serious moments.  He really comes across as an everyman.

So Mark is the star, but Rose Byrne holds up her side quite well, thank you very much.  A surprise performance comes from Isabela Moner (Transformers: The Last Knight, where she probably met Mark).  She gives a truly believable performance as the oldest of the 3 children.

During the credits, pictures are shown of the family the movie is about and other foster parents with their kids.  Also, Isabela Moner sings one of the songs while the credits are rolling.

This is a good one, people.


Robin Hood

Sometimes before I go to a movie, I see what the professional critics and audiences think on  This was one of those times and when I saw that the critics had this at 12% and the audiences only at 51% I was discouraged, expecting to be highly disappointed.  You see, I like Taron Egerton (Kingman) and Jamie Foxx, so I had high expectations… well, at least until I read what others were thinking.  However, The Don doesn’t go solely on what others think so I still went and saw the movie, and I am glad I did!

This movie was fun, action-filled, and (of course) is set up for a franchise.  Now, with reviews like those that franchise may not happen, but more on that later.  This movie gets a solid 4 Icees.  Based on what the audiences think at RT, it appears half of you will like it and half will not.  I am definitely on the half that does.

The movie does take quite a bit of time setting things up (as if setting up for a franchise versus the movie it’s in) but once it gets going, it’s really good.  The entertainment value of this movie (and isn’t that why we go… to be entertained?) is high.  However, I have one piece of advice if you go to see this movie.  Just like the intro says… forget what you think you know about Robin Hood.  This isn’t that story.  If you do that, I think you can enjoy this film.

Your standard characters are there.  The Sheriff (played well by Ben Medelsohn), Marion (played by the enchanting Eve Hewson), Little John, Friar Tuck and even Will Scarlet.  However, these characters aren’t playing the roles that you remember.  I guess you could say that the names are the same, but the roles are different.

If you can go in with an open mind, I think you’ll enjoy this movie.  I did!

No scene during or after the credits.



Sometimes I’ll watch a movie that I don’t really like and it’s tough for me to put into words why.  This is one of those movies.  It’s not that I hate it… I just didn’t think it was all that great.  That’s why I am a bit tardy in writing this review and for that I apologize.  This movie gets a sad 2.5 Icees.

Why sad?  Well, with a cast like Viola Davis, Liam Neeson, Michelle Rodriguez, Robert Duvall and Colin Farrell you’d think this movie would be awesome.  I know I did.  I should have known when I saw that it has a rottentomatoes score of 91% with the critics but only 62% with the audiences.  Now I know why.  It’s a movie that is slow in development, with many slow points, many boring points.  You know, the kinds of things those professional critics seem to love.

I can’t really point to any particular thing other than the general things I listed in the previous paragraph.  This movie just never captured me.  Liam Neeson’s role in this was sparse and pathetic. Viola Davis played a character you could never really associate with. The rest just kind of came along for the ride.  The best word for them movie is “bleh”.

Now I didn’t give this a 1 or a 2… it is a 2.5 after all.  Mainly because there were some decent moments in the film, but just not enough of them.  Wait on this one until you can stream it.

No scenes during or after the credits.


Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

I must confess that before I saw this movie I read several non-spoiler reviews online.  It seems that critics and audiences alike were split on whether this movie should get a thumbs up or a thumbs down.  Many stated that there were too many new characters to follow.  Many loved the beasts and the appearance of the movie.  Many grumbled that it wasn’t true to the canon of the Potter movies. Many thought it was fantastic.  Many didn’t like that its focus wasn’t Newt.

I definitely understand all their positions so I base my rating on this simple question.  How well did I enjoy the movie?  Well, I enjoyed it well enough to give it 4 solid Icees!  The cinematography is magnificent. The story, although very difficult to follow at times, continues the story started in the first Beasts movie, with some tie-ins to the future that will be the Potter movies.

There are indeed new characters to follow (although I think “several” is not really accurate).  The story doesn’t focus solely on Newt and you know what?  That’s ok.  This isn’t “Newt Scamander and the Chase of Grindelwald”.  This isn’t the Harry Potter movies where everything revolved around him.  To me this is better.  This is a story unfolding that involves Newt and his three comrades from the first movie but doesn’t center on them.  It centers more on the events going on around them.  This movie advances a story that will take us through 5 movies (so there’s 3 more to go).  It doesn’t resolve the story and I don’t consider that a spoiler because it’s going to be over FIVE movies so of course everything isn’t going to be solved in movie number two.

So if I enjoyed this movie so much, how come I stopped at 4 Icees?  First, I did have difficulty following the movie at times.  Perhaps it’s because I never got immered in Potter lore.  Perhaps it’s because I didn’t memorize the Potter movies (the first two or three of which should have been titled, “Harry Potter And The Bad Actors”).  I don’t know.  I don’t think so.  To me it was more of a case that sometimes the dialog was so fast it was difficult to follow.  Or perhaps because sometimes they spoke so softly and/or the music or background noise in the film was so loud it was difficult to hear.  In any event, I think to truly get “everything” from this movie, I’ll probably need to see it again (which I undoubtedly will).

I think that those that loved the Potter books and/or movies will enjoy this a lot.  Even though I didn’t “love” those movies, I did enjoy this movie quite a bit… even if they did lose me at times.

There are no scenes during or after the credits.


Nobody’s Fool

This movie suffered by misguided advertising, attempting to ride the coattails of the wildly successful Tiffany Haddish when in fact she has just a very funny supporting role in this movie.  The trailers made it seem like this was a rip-roaring comedy movie, when in fact that was only part of the story.

The movie (3 Icees out of 5) centers more around Tika Sumpter and her life, which yes… includes her recently paroled sister (Haddish). The movie starts out as the pure comedy the trailers were talking about… a woman who is catfished, but then the movie ventures off in more of a real life direction.  One that is pretty decent, albeit not terrific.  I don’t want to give out any spoilers but don’t go there expecting nothing but comedy because then you’ll be disappointed, which may explain the ratings on

Okay… here’s a little… it’s about lost love, catfished love, and possibly finding love again.  With a bunch of Tiffany thrown in for laughs.  Crude laughs, but laughs nonetheless.  This movie has explicit language and sexual situations (and positions).  I actually enjoyed Tiffany more in Night School than I did this movie, but it’s ok.  Tika and Amber Riley did pretty darn good themselves.

This movie also committed my pet peeve… having a scene in the trailers that was NOT in the movie.  I had it when studios do that.  If it is good enough to put in a trailer to try to sell people on seeing the movie, put it in the stinkin’ film!

There are some bloopers during the credits, but nothing afterwards.


Girl In The Spider’s Web, The

I give this movie a solid 3.5 Icees out of 5.  Regular readers of my blog would know already that I did not read the book.  I don’t read.  I can read.  I just don’t.  I’m actually kind of glad that I don’t because every time someone watches a movie based on a book they’ve read, they complain how bad it is, or how much “the book is better”.   If that’s the case, why do you go and see movies based on the book?  You know you’ll be disappointed, right?  So why do it?

Whereas the first movie was more mental, this one is more action.  It’s not Jason Bourne or anything, but did remind me of Bond movies.  Guess what?  I like Bond movies, so I liked this one.  I liked this one solely based on this as a stand-alone movie.  Not compared to the most recent one (although all the characters did change, and they made the reporter (previously played by Daniel Craig) much younger and some would say hotter (Svirrer Gudnason)). I thought that Claire Foy’s performance was good (not comparing to Rooney Mara no matter how much you ask).

So what’s good about this movie?  I like the suspense and the action.  I thought those were pretty good.

What didn’t I like?  First, stop watching the trailers.  They are so badly done and give too much away.  Second, some of the “technology” in the movie is just too unbelievable. Apparently, anything can be hacked quite easily, including organizations that really shouldn’t be able to be hacked. If it fit the flow of the plot, it was hacked.  Also, there are some “twists” that are just too predictable.

Overall, I really did enjoy the movie and would recommend it.  However, it’s not a “must see” at the theater and if you can wait for Redbox, VUDU, Netflix or however you watch your movies, that’s ok too.  Oh… if you’ve read the book, you should probably not watch the movie.  You’ll probably be disappointed.

No scenes during or after the credits.



Nutcracker And The Four Realms, The

This totally uninteresting film gets a woeful 1.5 Icees (out of 5), primarily due to the beautiful sets, designs and costumes.  Otherwise this movie was a total bust.  Heck, even the title is a miss.  The nutcracker is just a supporting character and a bad acting one at that.

Let’s start with the story.  It’s boring, uninteresting and I found myself drifting off in my mind, thinking of far more engaging things… like the french fries I hadn’t yet finished.  There is nothing within this movie that makes you care about anyone in it.  The main character is mostly whiny, then suddenly courageous.  Huh?  The plot plods along unexcitedly.

The young man who plays the nutcracker gives such a woefully plastic performance I shuttered every time he was about to speak, knowing it would come out without any emotion or acting ability whatsoever. Can you tell I didn’t care for this movie?

The only thing that made me wince more was the voice that Keira Knightley used.  Each time she spoke, it was like she found every nerve in my body and decided to jump up and down on it like a trampoline.  Think fingernails on a chalkboard times 100.

There were several children in the theater that lost interest so fast and just started chatting with their parents and for once… I didn’t mind.  What they were saying was far more interesting that what was on the screen. There is one scene with clown-like characters that scared some of the children, so be warned of that.

But remember…. it has beautiful sets, designs and costumes.

There is some dancing during the credits, but that’s about it.  Not only should you not stick around for the closing credits, don’t even show up for the opening ones!  You want to avoid this movie!


A Star Is Born

This exceptionally well done movie earns a solid 4 Icees (out of 5).  Normally I feel I have to justify why a good movie doesn’t get 5 Icees.  I mean, if I like it and think people should see it, shouldn’t it get 5 Icees?  Wellllll, no.  Although I thought this was a great movie, it’s not one that I would want to watch over and over again.  It’s a really good film, and that’s about it.

First, let’s talk acting.  When I saw that Lady Gaga was in this film I figured there would be awesome vocals displayed (and there are), but I have to confess that I figured this would be another “she can sing so of course she thinks she can act”.  In this case, she really CAN act, and act very well. I don’t know if she pulled experiences from her own life to prepare for this movie or not, but her performance felt real to me.  When you see Bradly Cooper and his blue eyes and deep voice, you know he’s going to do well and women will want to see it.  However, you thrown in Lady Gaga and her acting ability as well and you have the making of a strong movie.  It doesn’t hurt that Sam Elliot also had a good performance in a supporting role.

The story is filled with drama like nobody’s business.  The strong acting and good storyline gives this movie immediate Oscar appeal.  It also makes this movie a good date movie.  I don’t mean that in a romantic comedy sort of way, but in a real love story… filled with challenges, struggles, happiness and occasional fits of anger.  My only challenge is that there is some predictability in the film that could have been avoided.

Now, this movie is rated R for valid reasons.  Cursing throughout, nudity that could have been avoided and drug use are the main things that you will experience in this film, so if those things bother you, perhaps this excellent movie isn’t quite for you.

No scenes during or after the credits.



This overly predictable movie gets just 2 Icees out of 5.  I was hoping for so much more, but sadly, it just didn’t produce.

As far as humor goes, if you saw a trailer for the film you seen the funniest parts.  Yes, it has the stereotypical life lesson that all kids movies must have nowadays but I just didn’t find it that much fun to watch.  Judging by the lack of laughter in the theater, neither did anyone else.

It’s a shame because there were some “name” actors in it including Channing Tatum, Zendaya, Common, LeBron, James Corden and others.  I just thought the writing was mostly dull and unfunny.

I’d recommend waiting until this comes out at Redbox and then not renting it. Sorry this review is short, but there just wasn’t much to say about it.


Goosebumps 2

This sequel isn’t as good as the first and starts slow, but it is serviceable enough and gets 3 Icees out of 5.  To say that the movie starts out slow would be an insult to slow.  I get wanting to set up the movie, but I think this one just went a little too long to do so.  Once it did get going, I thought it was enjoyable to watch.

Madison Iseman (you may remember her as young Bethany from Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle) does a much better job of acting here because… well… she’s given a lot more to do than to be the “popular blonde chick” and she does it well.  However, the actor I think I was most impressed with was Jeremy Ray Taylor. He was in “It”, but I didn’t watch it (get it… see what I keep doing there?). It’s not often a lead role goes to someone of Jeremy’s stature and I thought the young man did a good job with it.

Yes, most of the story is silly, but it’s a Goosebumps movie so what’d you expect?  The plot is transparent and there are few surprises, but it does well for a nice pre-teen comedy/Halloween movie… and yes… I think that ventriloquist doll is just plain creepy… even before it starts to talk.

The stuff (not really scenes) during and after the credits are not worth sticking around for.

Semi-Spoiler!!!!!  The man that gives out the award at the end of the movie is….  R.L. Stein!!


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