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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…

Wonder Woman

This origin story for the new DC movie universe gets 4.5 Icees (out of 5).  First off, it gets at least 1/2 Icee simply because it is a movie that is long overdue.  A movie featuring a strong female superhero directed by a woman. If for no other reason than that, I hope that this movie is very successful.  From the early returns, that is going to be the case and justifiably so. The movie has everything you could want in an origin story. It has a solid backstory, action sprinkled throughout, and a final battle at the end.

The fight scenes featuring WW are great but to me there just wasn’t quite enough of them. It’s almost like they were trying to emulate the first Captain America in that regard.  Just enough action to make us happy, but not a wealth of it.  I guess we’ll get that when the Justice League movie comes out later this year.

Gal Gadot is great in this role.  Initially I had some issues with the casting because throughout the comics and the original TV show, WW was always someone with blue eyes. Combine that with the fact that her costume looks like it may have been dusted off from the Xena set and I started off with a negative view.  That view was changed somewhat in Batman V Superman and totally changed with this movie.  She plays a strong, fearless character who is also pretty naive (which makes sense considering she spent her whole life on a paradise-type island). I think she is an excellent role model for young girls.

Now speaking of kids, let’s talk just for a moment about the PG-13 rating.  First, it’s PG-13, not PG, not PG-7, but PG-13.  There are some war scenes. There is death. This is a great battle featuring Amazons fighting Nazis toward the beginning of the film.  I say “great” because these strong women defending their land was awesome to watch. But some die, and they all kill, so parents be forewarned that if you bring really young children you’ll need to discuss these topics with them.  There is no gore or anything like that, just shooting, stabbing, slicing and dicing.

Chris Pine, who is an actor I really like, did a really nice job as Steve Trevor.  The chemistry between his character and WW makes this film click.  There is good banter between the two and I think what I liked best is that once he realizes what she can do, he has true respect for WW and her abilities and doesn’t try to protect her all the time in a male chauvinist way. Now this movie is set during WWI, so male chauvinism exists and is shown, but the movie does a good job of representing how stupid that truly is.

With all the good with this movie, there is just a tint of not-so-good (hence the 4.5 and not 5 rating). It is a bit slow in parts and I wish there had been more action scenes.  Otherwise, this is a really good movie and fits in well with the DC universe.

There are no scenes after the credits.

Enjoy!

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

This 5th installment in the franchise reminds me of the first and gets 4 Icees out of 5.  I was ready to be done with these movies, especially after the last one (On Stranger Tides).  It was old, tired and seemed to have lost its original appeal.  This movie, although not as good as the first (let’s be honest, none will ever be), captures some of that same magic the first one had and is probably the 2nd best of the series and will probably serve to get another one into the franchise.

Without revealing any spoilers (other than what the trailers already have), it brings back some of your old favories (Jack, Barbosa, and a couple of others). But more importantly, it brings back the fun, and that seemed to have been missing lately. Jack is as drunk as ever but one thing that this director remembered is the original formula that worked so well in the beginning. Yes, the movie revolves around Jack, but he doesn’t have to be the focus (huh?).  Let the quest be the focus, and for various characters there are various reasons, to include Jack’s.  This character works best when he “interrupts” the plot as opposed to being the primary purpose of the plot.

With that in mind we have two new young heroes to lead the way, along with some old favorites.  Now, I did think that the young Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites) was a bit stiff in his role and hopefully will be better as the movies roll along, but the same was not true for Kaya Scodelario (from the Maze Runner movies) who played Carina Smyth.  The chemistry isn’t up to the Orlando/Keira level, but it’s simmering and hopefully will get there in the next movie (I’m convinced if this movie does well at all there will be a sixth chapter).

I was really expecting to hate this movie.  After all, the last couple of these movies just didn’t live up to the original at all.  I’m so glad I gave it a shot, and you will be too, if you are a fan of the original movie.  Now, if you are like the critics you probably won’t like this movie, which is why it has a 32% rottentomatoes critics’ rating but 76% with the audience.  I am nothing if not a typical audience member, and after all… that’s why you come to my page to see my reviews, right?  To get the opinion of a normal movie fan.  Well, this fan liked this movie a lot, and I hope you do too.

There is a scene after the credits!

Enjoy!

Baywatch

Okay, so despite much of what I will write below, this movie gets 3 Icees out of 5.  This is one of those movies that I was wanting to see, but dreading at the same time.  Then I saw the early reviews and the dread just got worse.  I mean it sounded like this movie was going to be stupid… Will Ferrell movie stupid (with apologies to those that enjoy his movies).

I hate those types of movies.  Then throw in the fact that there are a bunch of beautiful people (male and female) and the fact that it was rated R and I thought it would be just a crude movie with tons of nudity and no real enjoyment whatsoever.  Well, I was “mostly” wrong.  Don’t be mistaken, this movie more than earns its R rating, but primarily for all the language it has (they love them some F-words) and a prolonged scene involving a corpse’s penis, but there is no other nudity involved. It’s really a shame because the movie would have been just as “good” without all of that than it is with it.

So why did it get 3 Icees?  Great question!  I am finding me asking myself the same question. The fact is that there is I just enjoyed it, much to my surprise. If you remember the basic Baywatch TV series, this reminds of it quite a lot, apart from the R-rated stuff that is. It’s a simple plot with a villain (played well by Priyanka Chopra), your heroes led by Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, Zac Efron, Alexandra Daddario, Kelly Rohrbach, Ifenesh Hadera and Jon Bass.  Most of those names, you probably didn’t recognize and that’s ok. I actually kind of like that fact. The acting that they all did was serviceable.  Now don’t get me wrong, they were all (with the exception of Jon) hired for their beauty and like the TV series that beauty is on display throughout the movie.  But I will say one thing for the director (Seth Gordon), he didn’t discriminate. There’s as much showing off of Dwayne and Zac’s physique as their is of their lovely female counterparts.

One thing I did like about this is that it didn’t have a problem making fun of itself, even to the point of pointing out the obvious (“this is a job for the police”, “she looks like she is running in slow motion”, etc).  They poke fun at themselves and that’s fun to see. It’s also nice that they gave a couple of stars from the series a cameo appearance.

I can totally understand why the professionally trained critics have this as 19% on RottenTomatoes.com, as this movie doesn’t have any of the aspects that a “good” movie should have, but that’s why you have The Don!  Just being a normal guy going to a movie I can say that this isn’t a “great movie”, but it is enjoyable enough for adults (especially those old enough to remember the old TV series) to watch for date night.  Pretty people showing how pretty they are as they are busting crime on the beach.  Yeah, cheesy just like that.  Just know what you’re going to go see so you won’t be disappointed.

There are outtakes during the first part of the credits.   Enjoy!

Guardians Of The Galaxy 2

This galactic sequal gets 4 Icees out of 5.  It’s fun, introspective, and often humorous.  It’s obviously not as good as the first, but then again, what sequel is?  It’s got everything you’d expect in a Marvel movie; laughs, action, a death here and there, and a theme.  In this case, the theme is family.  Whether it be Peter and his dad, Gamora and Nebula, or others, the family theme is very prevelant throughout the film.

There isn’t as much action as in the original, but there’s still enough.  There isn’t as many laughs, but there are still enough, including at least one time where you’ll laugh out loud, literally.  Since the first movie brought them together, this movie takes them to the next step of there growing phase, and does so well.

Then of course there is Baby Groot, who steals the movie more than you’d even think he would.  His adorableness is beyond words and I actually thought the movie could have banked on that even more than it did.  Oh well, I guess that can be chalked up to a missed opportunity.

If you are a true Marvel fan (which I am) and if you enjoyed the first movie (which I did), you’ll enjoy this one as well… just not quite as much.  There are many scenes throughout and then after the credits.  Heck, even the credits themselves have a little fun in them.

Enjoy…

The Circle

This movie, which had so much potential, sadly only gets 2 Icees out of 5.  One of the things I’ve always said is that I’ve never seen Tom Hanks in a bad movie.  Maybe he’s made one before, but if so, I don’t recall it.  Well, now I have one.  It’s not that his performance was bad, because it wasn’t, but the movie itself just didn’t come close to achieving all that it could.

First, let’s discuss Emma Watson’s performance. It was all over the place and it left me wondering what her character’s thoughts were.  First it seemed like she was all for it, and then sceptical, and then all for it and then it ended in a place that… well, I don’t know where she ended up.  Things changed too dramatically and it lacked a consistent flow.

John Boyega is touted in the trailers as someone who has a major role in this movie. I guess they were just trying to bank on his Star Wars: The Force Awakens fame because he had less than 15 minutes total screen time.  His was a character that was never fully developed.

Karen Gillian (who plays Nebula in the Guardians of the Galaxy) was another character that dramatically shifted with no real explanation at all.  She goes from one extreme to another with no transition whatsoever.

In this entire movie, it’s like there was a huge part of the movie that the editor left on the cutting room floor.

The plot of this movie had so much potential, which is the only reason that it even got 2 Icees. What if social media took over our lives and (with a logic that could probably sell in society the way that its going) removed privacy?  Great concept!  Let’s see it work.  It started off like they were slowly exploring that… and then just sort of went out to left field… and then picked it back up again.  It’s just a totally disjointed movie.

Mr. Hanks, sir…. I respectfully report that you have now been in a bad movie.  Hopefully it is your last.  Yours is a name that I count on for excellence, and it just wasn’t there this time.

No scene during or after the credits.

Fate Of The Furious

This action-packed movie gets 4 Icees out of 5.  This movie delivers on everything you’d expect a Fast and Furious franchise movie to have.  It has action, fight scenes, pretty people and a theme about family.  What this movie doesn’t have, if you care about such a thing, is great acting or continuity with the previous entries into the franchise.

The action is pretty close to non-stop. There are great chase scenes including cars, a tank and a sub (not a spoiler… that was in the trailer). There were great fight scenes with The Rock and Jason Statham pretty much beating anyone up that looked at them cross-eyed. One thing though.  This movie seemed to have a lot more killing… even by “the family”.  I don’t remember previous F&F movies having them doing the shooting/killing, but perhaps that’s just my bad memory. Also, this movie seemed to have more language than the previous installments, but again… my memory.

Although my memory may fade at times, I do remember who killed who in a previous F&F movie and somehow that seems pretty much forgotten as this movie rolls on to the end.  Also, forget about that whole hypothermia thing, because apparently it isn’t really all that because you can get soaked beneath ice and not even be really cold afterwards.  Things like that get under my skin and will lower the rating for me every time.  I just hope this franchise never becomes as bad as the X-Men franchise at that.

As far as the acting goes… well, Vin will never win an Oscar, but Charlize Theron did, and she was the lone acting bright spot in this film, proving she is as good an actress as she is beautiful.  She had previously shown that she can play a cruel bad person (e.g. Snow White and the Huntsman) very well and she just reinforces that here.

But again, you don’t go to an F&F movie to see acting greatness.  You go to see action, cars and pretty people, and there’s plenty of that in this movie!  No scenes after the credits.

Enjoy!

Ghost In The Shell

This movie doesn’t live up to expectations and only gets 2.5 Icees out of 5. It’s an interesting movie and so that’s how it gets 2.5 Icees. Otherwise, it would fall flat and not get much at all. That’s not even figuring in the whitewashing effect. First off, this movie is not an action movie, although there are action sequences.  I hate it when the trailers portray a movie as one thing and then you find out it is something totally different when you get to the theater. They lose points or that alone!

Early in a movie, you expect some slow sequences as the characters and plot is being developed.  However, there are just too many of them throughout this movie. There only so many things that ScarJo could cover up and the bad directing wasn’t one of them.  First, the character she plays has a traditional Japanese haircut but is cream white. Why?  If the idea was to make her look American by making her white, why not give her blonde or red hair? Or long black hair?  There actually is “a reason” given towards the end of the movie, but it just doesn’t add up.  Also, (slight spoiler) for a person with a robotic body her movements were not consistent. At times, she walked like a robot, but when it came to fight scenes she had the fluid movement of a human.  Make up your mind Mr. Director

Also, instead of fighting the crime that is the plot of the movie, they should instead figure out the mystery of what happened to all the Japanese people in Tokyo!  For a movie set in futuristic Japan, taking full advantage of the setting, why not have more Japanese actors in it?  Even as extras!  C’mon…. really?  The man Japanese character is one that understood English perfectly but only spoke in Japanese (with subtitles) that everyone else could understand.  Do bilingual people really converse in both languages where one person speaks one language and the other speaks the other language when they talk to each other?  I normally think the whole “whitewashing” argument is without merit but in this case it totally fits!  In their defense, perhaps they were going for a multi-natiional cast, with someone from China, Denmark, America and… oh yeah… Japan, but for a movie set in future-Japan there just wasn’t enough proper representation.

The plot did have some redeaming qualities.  There was an interesting concept and the story flowed (although slowly at times) pretty well.  It was somewhat predictable but it was enjoyable at times to watch, and ScarJo looked as good as ever in a body suit (which was also enjoyable to watch), but overall I think this movie was not nearly as good as it could have been and I would recommend waiting until this comes out at Redbox or Vudu and renting it then.

No scene after the credits.

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