CategoryMovie Reviews

Movie reviews

Wonder Woman 1984

Sometimes the anticipation of a movie causes the expectations to be larger than they should be.  I think that is what might have happened to me while watching this movie, as I can only give it 3.5 Icees out of 5.  Apparently I am not alone because Rottentomatoes has this at a critic rating of 62% and an audience rating not much better (72%).  This movie spent too much time building the baddies and not enough time dealing with them.

This movie was delayed so many times I am not sure when the original release date was (May, August, December?).  Perhaps when you combine that and the fact that the original movie was SO good (4.5 Icees), it gave me hope that this movie would really just knock it out of the park.  Although it is a good movie, it’s not nearly as good as I had hoped it would be.

First and foremost, the 2-1/2hr movie spends way too much time developing the baddies.  Yes, character development is important, but when you spend twice (or maybe three times) as long on developing the baddies as you do defeating them, it’s just a bad mixture.  Secondly, Gal Gadot spent more time as Diana than she did as Wonder Woman.  After all, the movie wasn’t called, “Diana Prince 1984”.  Finally, some of the CGI was bad… I mean, you had 8 extra months to fix it!!  Finally, the “event” was too big for something to have happened in the past.  People would still be talking about it today if this thing had actually occurred.  If you’re going to do a movie about the past, either make the event historically plausible (like in WW-1) or make it more low-key.

Now just a word on Warner Brothers decision to air this on HBO-Max at the same time it was in the theaters.  Maybe this wasn’t about increasing HBO-Max subscribers after all.  Maybe they knew this one wasn’t as good and wouldn’t do as well at the box office and this was a way to hide that?  I am probably wrong because they have already green-lighted WW-3.

Okay, so I’ve spent enough time trashing the movie, let’s talk about what is good about it, shall we?  The acting is great, especially Kristen Wiig as Cheetah.  The action scenes (although there are not nearly enough of them) were done very well, but the best part of the movie for those that like this sort of thing was the storytelling.  It does tell the story in enough detail that you understand why the villains are villains.

There is a scene partway through the credits, but nothing afterwards.

Enjoy…

Croods: A New Age, The

I have to confess I didn’t watch the original Croods movie when it came out in 2013.  I don’t even remember why, because I thought it looked funny.  Well, since it had been WAY too long since I had watched a movie in the theater, my wife and I decided to see The Croods: A New Age.  Now I couldn’t go watch a sequel without first seeing the original, right?  So I rented it on VUDU and I really liked it.  I thought it was funny without banging you over the head with a lesson (yes, there was one, just not thrown in your face the entire time).

So this brings me to the sequel.  Normally a sequel is just not nearly as good as the original, but in this case that is not true!  I give this movie a solid 4-Icees as a children’s movie.  It was funny, clean, and just… well… fun!

The gang is all back with Grug (Nicolas Cage), Eep (Emma Stone), Guy (Ryan Reynolds), Ugga (Catherine Keener), Gran (Cloris Leachman) and Thunk (Clark Duke).  There are some new characters but I don’t want to spoil that for you, other than to say that there are PUNCH MONKEYS!  Sorry about that… couldn’t resist.

The writing was well-done in that things were funny without being stupid-funny.  This is a great movie to take the kids to when you feel it is safe enough to do so.

There are some pictures when the credits start, but nothing afterwards.

Enjoy…

Tenet

Welcome back to Reviews By The Don!!  I know it’s only be about 6 months but it feels like forever since the theathers closed down.  First up on the comeback, Tenet.  This is a movie I wasn’t overly excited about as the trailers reminded me too much of Inception.  Well, even though it’s totally different, it did feel familiar in that it is a head-scratcher.

“Don’t try to understand it.”  I’ve seen those words in other reviews and I think I may have heard it (or something like it) in the film itself.  It is difficult for me to watch a movie and not understand it and still enjoy myself.  However, despite all the physics confusion, this movies gets 3.5 Icees from me.

First, don’t try to understand it.  If you do, you’re head will hurt and you probably won’t enjoy the movie nearly as much as you could.  Just sit back and enjoy the action and the acting, all of which is pretty good, even if the confusing spot is too predictable in spots.

John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman, Ballers) is excellent in this movie, I and look forward to seeing more of him in the future.  Throw in some non-vamperic Robert Pattinson (soon to be the next Batman) and you have a good pairing.  Elizabeth Debicki (Guardians 2, Widow, Gatsby) gives a good performance, albeit that stereotypical damsel in distress.  Besides those three, there are some other mid-name actors in this that you’ll be like, “oh, I didn’t know he/she was in this movie”.  The cast does a good job.

The action is limited but when it does happen, it’s really good.  I would have liked to have see more action but Christopher Nolan (director) really has this more of a mental movie (yeah, you’ll go mental if you try to figure it out), kind of like Inception.

Other than the mental exercise, the only other issue I had with this movie is that once you start catching on to the general flow of the movie, it becomes too predictable.  You’ll be like, “yeah, I know that was going to happen” and that’s not alway good when that’s the case.

There are no scenes after the credits.

Enjoy…

Trolls World Tour

Some say that this is the time in our lives that will mark the end of movie theaters as we know it.  People are forced to stay home and studios are releases blockbuster movies as “Home Premiere” events (just like the picture says).  I don’t know if it will take off.  People don’t seem to have any problem paying $50 or more to take the family to the movies, buy sodas and popcorn and watch the latest flick, but idea of spending $19.99 to rent a movie for 48hrs at home just seems like too much.  Crazy, I know but I put myself in that category.  I enjoy going to the theater, getting an Icee and watching the latest movie.  It’s what my wife and I do for enjoyment.  It’s our date night thing.  One of the first movies that was projected to do very well in the theaters but instead went straight to On-demand is Trolls 2 (aka, Trolls World Tour).  An interesting social experiment that only time will judge.

So, enough about that and on to the movie review. I was a fan of the first movie giving it 3.5 Icees when it came out, but as time went on it kind of grew on me and I’ve liked it more and more.  Maybe the second movie will be the same way because I am starting off by giving it the same 3.5 Icees rating.  The general idea (as told in trailers so it’s not a spoiler) is that Rock trolls are trying to take all of the magical strings and take over the troll world in the name of Rock.  Cute enough.  However, there are so many different genres of music and this movie tries to get too many of them in and by doing so really waters down the effect.  You don’t get enough country, techno, yodelling, or any other type of music to really enjoy it.  And that make the movie seem rushed throughout.  When you have stars like Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, kelly Clarkson, Mary J. Blige and others… you just want more..

The music that is played is good, and fun… but there just isn’t enough of it.  Also, the movie tries too hard to shove the “lesson” down our throats in my opinion.  I wish I could go back in time, find the first kids movie with a social theme and just stomp it out.  Sometimes the theme takes over the movie at the expense of fun.  That happens a little here.

Perhaps the quarantine has made me a bit bitter, but I was just looking for more funny out of this movie.  If you enjoyed the first Trolls movie, you’ll enjoy this one as well.  It has all the same characters and Branch is Branch, which is always good.  It is fun throughout, just not as funny as I think it could have been.

There is some animation as the credits start, but not anything of substance.

Enjoy…

 

Onward

Two weeks, two kids’ movies.  Oh my…  Well, this one was pretty good, after a really slow start.  The slow start knocks it down, but otherwise this movie gets 4 Icees!  Whereas Sonic was targeting pre-teen only, this movie is for a viewing audience that is slightly older, probably up to the early-teenage viewers, but has has enough (once it gets going) for everyone.  If you read my review for Sonic you know that I feel kids’ movies should have a lot of laughter.  This movie has some, but not really a lot, but I still liked the movie because it was like a younger Pixar-type adventure.

The story is solid enough, with the quest to….  oops, almost did a spoiler there.  Anyway, there is a quest and this movies follows our adventurers through it.  The references to a D&D-like game was  a nice touch as well.

The two main heroes are voiced by Tom Holland and Chris Pratt, and I hope someday they do a non-animation movie together because even though it was just their voices, I think they portrayed great chemistry together and I’d like to see more of that.  It’s a shame Marvel didn’t play off that in Infinity War / Endgame.

If you want to watch a fun movie this weekend, this is the one I’d recommend.

There are no scenes during or after the credits.

Enjoy…

Sonic The Hedgehog

I have been told that I am way too critical on kids’ movies.  Maybe that’s true, I don’t know.  What I do know is what I liked as a kid, because for the most part I still like those things.  I think a movie for kids should be funny first and foremost.  It appears nowadays it MUST also have a message… blah blah blah.  Whatever.  Sure.  Ok.  But is it fun to watch and funny?  This movie was enjoyable to watch and although not necessarily laugh-out-loud funny, it was humorous at times.  Therefore, I think that this movie deserves a 3.5 Icee (out of 5) rating.

As I said above, the movie has to be fun, and this movie was pretty fun throughout.  It was funny enough for its target audience (which had to be pre-teens) as they laughed here and there throughout.  It wasn’t great or anything, but I did enjoy the movie… hence the rating.

When watching the trailers I was concerned that the Jim Carrey character would be too stupid to even watch.  He does that at times.  However, I am happy to report that he wasn’t “as” stupid as the trailers made him out to be and his role was tolerable.

Sonic himself was fun (notice a theme in this review?) with just a dash of sadness… which worked for the moral of the movie (yes, of course it had to have one).

So if you want to see a fun little movie that your pre-teens might enjoy, this might just be it.

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

Enjoy…

Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn

I was looked forward a lot to seeing this movie, and although it’s good, it just wasn’t quite as good as I had anticipated it would be.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s still good and gets a solid 4 Icees.  I guess I was just hoping for more.

Like many people who watched Suicide Squad, I was thrilled when it was announced the Margot Robbie would be getting her own Harley Quinn movie.  I was looking for the same confident, snarky, kick-butt woman that we saw in the Squad.  Although Margot still gave a great performance, her character was more of someone that was broken and although I understand that point of view, to me it left the character lacking.

That aside, there is a lot that is good about this film.  The fight scenes were extremely well choreographed.  The flow of the movie was scattered (much like Harley’s mind).  The movie presented a strong girl power theme that I think is good to see in movies.  I think the same could have been done without making the men in the movie to be idiotic cartoon-like imbeciles.  I get that it’s a comic book movie but still… really?

If you want to watch women kick some serious butt, this is the movie to see!  Please know that this movie more than earns its R-rating with a lot of f-bombs and other strong language and very graphic violence.  If that doesn’t bother you, then you’ll be fine.

There is something after the credits, but it really isn’t worth sticking around for.  If you want to know what it is, simply email me using the Contact link and I’ll be happy to tell you.

Enjoy…

Rhythm Section, The

This promising movie was very disappointing to me, and sadly ends up only getting 2 Icees, and that’s purely for the great acting of Blake Lively.  I hope one day she can get a real action movie script and director that is worthy of her talents.

Watching the trailers this movie appeared to be a spy/action movie.  Nope, hardly any action at all.  Now the action that is there is pretty good, but it was a case of too little too late.  The time that it took for something to happen makes it seem like it is a setup for a franchise that just isn’t going to happen.

Most of the movie is very slow.  Now I get that a movie has a set-up time where backstories are told and groundwork is laid.  Unfortunately, that’s about 75% of this movie… and how many scenes of Blake Lively sleeping do you expect us to watch?  Now, before the Lively lovers out there reply that they could watch that all day, please note that Blake when through an impressive make-down.  Now, not as impressive as Charlize in “Monster”, but this is good nonetheless.  This is not the beautiful, glamorous Lively that you watched in A Simple Favor.  This is the … well, I can’t really tell you because that might be considered a spoiler and I don’t do that.

I could tell from this movie that Blake is very skilled and could easily hold a franchise of her own, but with this writing… this one won’t be it.  Sad, because she is truly talented and shines, even though the writing is wanting..

The plot of this movie is laughable, and the talents of Lively, Jude Law and Sterling K. Brown are absolutely wasted.

Blake, we love ya, but you gotta wait until you get a better script next time.  Ryan, how soon can you can pull some strings and get her into the Marvel universe?

There is no scene after the credits.

Enjoy…

Bad Boys For Life

Prior to this week, I had not seen any of the Bad Boys movies so in preparation of watching this one my wife and I watched both of the previous movies via Netflix.  I found the first movie to not be so good (although critics loved it). I thought the writing was slow and lazy and often unimaginative.  Then we moved on to the second one which was a typical Michael Bay movie with lots of actions, lots of things blowing up and really good dialog between Will Smith and Martin Lawrence.  In other words, much better.  I probably would have given the first movie 2 Icees and the second one 3.5 Icees.  How many Icees does this movie get?  4.5!!  This is by far the best movie of the franchise!

That number surprised even me.  It is obvious that as both actors became more experienced (first movie was 1995 and the second was 2003) they got better.  This movie really does have everything.  Action, banter, a dash of comedy and one main thing… fun!  This is a movie I highly recommend and gives me hope for 2020 which was seeming to start out pretty slowly.

Will Smith is once again Mike Lowrey, the smooth talking “put people away until I die” type of detective and Martin Lawrence is Marcus Burnett, the family man who really doesn’t like to see dead bodies.  They still love each other like brothers and bicker like an old married couple.  The typical buddy-cop set-up.  However, this great duo just takes it a notch higher than most!  Heck, they even show some love to Michael Bay by having him be a wedding singer!

I like that they give casual references to the previous movies without spending too much time on them making this movie fresh and on its own.  I also like how they kept continuity by bringing back Joe Pantoliano as Captain Howard.  But they kept it fresh by adding a new team (AMMO team) to the mix including Paola Nunez, Vanessa Huggins, Charles Melton and Alexander Ludwig.  This allows the franchise to remain fresh (c’mon, do you really think this isn’t going to continue?).

It is rated R for some violence and a lot of language, but if that doesn’t bother you, this is the movie to see this week!

I just hope there is a Bad Boys 4!!

There is a scene just before the credits start but then nothing after that.

Enjoy…

Spies In Disguise

This fun little cartoon gets 3.5 Icees from this reviewer!  This movie is just fun.  Yes, there is a bit of a moral (because apparently all kids’ movies have to have one), but overall it’s just a fun movie.

Probably the thing I liked best about this is that after watching several Will Smith movies, I like the way the animators did his character.  The motions, facial expressions and such always looked just like I have seen Will Smith look, and I thought that was pretty cool.

The movie itself has a simple plot with no major twists, but is just enjoyable.  I know that my wife and I, along with all the kids in the theater literally laughed out loud during several parts of the movie.  Hopefully you will too.

There is a short scene after the credits, but not worth waiting around for.

Enjoy…

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