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Sometimes you go see a movie and are both satisfied and disappointed with what you see.  That is what happened to me with Joker.  Yes, Joaquin Phoenix gave a strong and convincing performance.  I don’t know that it’s as Oscar-worthy as others are promoting it, but it was good.  But the movie had way too many slow spots and the overall concept just wasn’t right for a movie titled, “Joker”.  Therefore, this movie gets 3 Icees (out of 5).

If you follow me on Facebook, you know that I said I was a little concerned about going to this movie because everything I had read talked about how “dark” the movie was.  It is set in a dark time in Gotham’s history where the poor are against the rich (sound familiar?) and there are a couple of really violent scenes but overall it’s not nearly as “dark” as I was led to believe.

Joaquin’s performance in this movie is convincing as a man with mental health issues that eventually becomes Joker (that much was in the trailers, so no spoilers there).  However, for a movie to be tied to DC Comics (and there are enough tie-ins) this movie just doesn’t cut it.  The Joker wasn’t just a mentally ill person who killed people.  He had an incredible mind, which is why Heath Ledger’s performance will remain my favorite Joker to date.  If this movie wasn’t about Joker, I may have rated it higher as it is an interesting movie with current social themes to it (even though it is set years ago).  However, as a DC movie, it just doesn’t rise up.

Also, as I mentioned before, this movie had wayyyyy too many slow spots.  I get that an orgin story isn’t going to have a lot of action but this movie spent so much time delving into the mental health aspect that it didn’t have time for anything else, and the way that it delved into it was at times… well… boring.

Normally I talk about the supporting cast, but really in this case, it was all about Joaquin Phoenix and the excellent supporting cast (Zazie Beetz, Robert DeNiro and others) wasn’t used to the extent that they could have been.  Just sayin’

Yes, I found this movie worthy of seeing (after all, I did give it 3 Icees), but it really wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

No scenes during or after the credits.



Ad Astra

When I first saw that this movie had a 84% critics and 40% audience rating on rottentomatoes it confused me.  I usually see that disparity when a movie is an artsy movie that doesn’t relate to the general ticket-buying audience.  This was a SPACE movie!  The trailer showed moon vehicles shooting at each other.  How can this disparity exist?  Well, after watching it, I understand and give it a 2.5 Icee (out of 5) rating, siding more with the audience than the professional critics.

Writing a good review on this movie without giving spoilers is difficult, but I will give it a shot.  Yes, that scene of moon buggies buzzing along and shooting at each other that in the trailer is in the film, but it is not indicative of what this movie is about.  This movie doesn’t have a lot of action in it, but is more of a “thinking man’s movie”, which I’m guessing is why the critics like it so much.  I didn’t hate it, but I can’t really say I enjoyed it either.  It was, “eh”, hence the 2.5 Icees.

Brad Pitt does a masterful job in this movie as he normally does in whatever role he takes.  Donald Sutherland, Liv Tyler and Tommy Lee Jones are in the movie but their roles are small.  This movie is totally about Brad’s character, and that’s fine I guess.

Classifying this movie is difficult.  I guess you could call it an “Insight Movie” because the movie really is about what’s going on in Brad’s character’s mind.  How he is dealing with the events around him.  Again… a “thinking man’s movie”, or a “thinking woman’s movie”.  Either way, it’s not really my gig but I did find it interesting.

There are some science issues with the movie that bothered me, but not enough to reduce the rating on the movie.  It was just too slow for me in too many places.

There are no scenes during or after the credits.



As you may (or not) have noticed, I haven’t seen/reviewed a movie in a while.  There was nothing I was interested in seeing, and I think I may have been going through withdrawls so I decided to catch this movie.  I had heard that it was really good, that J-Lo had given an award-worthy performance, and that J-Lo worked really hard on being able to work the pole at her age (she just turned 50).  I can state that J-Lo did give a strong performance.  Award-worthy?  Eh…  I don’t know about all that, but it was a good performance.  And yes, it is obvious she trained long and hard to be able to do the moves she showed off on the pole.  All in all, I give the movie 3.5 Icees.  I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t all that and a bag of chips.

This movie is “inspired by a true story”.  Now I don’t know if that means that they take more creative freedom than if it were “based on a true story” or not, but the story they tell is interesting.  From the trailers you can tell this movie is about strippers (so yes, there is some nudity but not graphic or poorly done) who end up drugging and stealing from their clients.  The path on how they got from point A (stripping) to point B (drugging) is one that I thought was told very well.  The movie gives some insight into the life of a stripper.  How authentic that is, I don’t know since I’m not one but it seems realistic.

The movie is best when it focuses on the relationships of the ladies.  It does this in spurts, and sometimes inconsistently, but when it does… it’s good.  Some of the other scenes tend to fall flat.

As I stated before, J-Lo gives a strong performance.  Constance Wu (Crazy Rich Asians, Fresh Off The Boat) is ok as the newcomer and the relationship between these two is what I find to be inconsistent at times.  I would go into more detail but that would be spoilers and I don’t do that.  I think Julia Stiles is weak as the reporter but that’s just me.  Cardi B and Usher also appear with small roles.

There is a scene as the credits role but I don’t know that I would say that it’s worth staying for.  Nothing after the credits.


Ready Or Not

So people who know me know that I don’t watch horror movies.  Fortunately, my oldest daughter does so I asked her to be a guest reviewer!  See Rachel’s 4 out of 5 Icees review below!!

Ready or Not is truly a comedy horror. For the first 30 minutes you think you know what’s coming, but everything quickly turns far worse than expected but in a comedic way. Samara Weaving is the absolute star of this movie; she plays the sardonic Grace as a perfect blend of Everyman and badass.

The other characters are interesting, but often flip flop in their loyalty, making you truly question how things will turn out in the end- which in my opinion is truly satisfying considering everything we’ve learned about Grace’s new family.

Some may not consider it horror, but I think the amount of bloodshed and some awful horror moments place it firmly in the horror genre. The setting is beautiful but claustrophobic, and the concept is unique.

I give it 4 out of 5 icees for the fun, the dark atmosphere, and the incredible acting!

No scenes during or after the credits.


Angel Has Fallen

A few things have fallen in this franchise. Olympus has fallen, London has fallen and now, Angel has fallen.  You know what hasn’t fallen?  The box office receipts!  As long as those keep coming in and they keep with this great tried and true formula of action and violence, these movies will keep coming.  I for one hope they do because I enjoy them all. This one gets a solid 3.5 Icees out of 5.

If I enjoy it so much, why only 3.5 Icees?  Well, I enjoy it for what it is… a fun movie with a hero fighting against it all (defining “it” is a whole different thing).  In this case “it” is the FBI, the Secret Service and pretty much the whole country.  There are some obvious drawbacks though.  For one, you know who the bad guys are right away and predictability is never good.  For another, some of the lines are cheesy.  That’s probably why it has a 40% rating from from the critics.  That doesn’t mean it’s not fun to see (which is probably why it has a 95% rating from the audience at the same site), just not something that I can honestly give a super rating to (although 3.5 isn’t bad at all).

Gerard Butler does a good job of faking an American accent once again (he is from Scotland) and Morgan Freeman does his usual good work.  However, to me the best performance in this movie goes to Nick Nolte.  Even at 78 he can still deliver a good performance.

There is plenty of action, plenty of death, plenty of things that really couldn’t happen….. and most importantlly, plenty of fun!

There is a scene partway through the credits but none afterwards.


Dora And The Lost City Of Gold

In short, this movie should have been lost like the city of gold, except never found.  I can only give this 2 Icees out of 5.  I really tried to give it a higher mark, as I liked the main actress, Isabela Moner, in Instant Family and Transformers: The Last Night, but it was just wayyyy to corny, predictable and just not funny and that’s a shame because I was really looking forward to a young Lara Croft type movie, which is what the trailers led me to believe this would.  This couldn’t be further from that, sadly.

Eva Longoria and Michael Pena are two actors that I really like, but in this movie their talents are just wasted.  Eugenio Derbez played a character that was difficult to even watch, it was so bad.

I think the problem with this live action version of the cartoon series is that it was too cartoony (is that a word?).  I don’t know that anyone over the age of 8 would really enjoy this movie, which is sad, because if they had made it less… well..  cartoony, kids and adults could have enjoyed it more.  It could have been a movie that could be a role model for young girls everywhere.  Instead, it’s just a sad live version of a cartoon, and not a good one at that.

In addition, this movie has some serious continuity issues but to tell you about them would be spoilers.

I guess really, really little kids will enjoy it so if you have some young ones you could give it a shot, but just know that you will only find one or two things amusing in this film.

There were some really young kids that seemed to enjoy themselves, which is the one reason that this movie even got 2 Icees.  The other was the fact that Spanish was used in spots throughout the movie without feeling forced.  It was natural and I liked that.

There is a scene during the credits and one afterwards.



Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

I’m not going to lie.  I really, really liked this movie.  Yes, it has some bad dialog.. yes it has some incredibly inplausible scenes (like F&F in the past… remember parachuting cars?).. but what it also has is awesome action, greatly choreographed fight scenes, funny banter and fantastic chemistry between its stars.  Therefore, this movie gets a solid 4.5 Icees out of 5!

When you have Jason Statham in a movie, you must have choreographed fight scenes to show off his skills, and this has them a-plenty.  He hasn’t lost a step!

When you have The Rock (or should we just call him Dwayne Johnson now?) you have to have incredible (or not even credible) feats of strength and so this movie has plenty of that as well.

Idris Elba doesn’t bother trying to charm you.  He just straight out gets after it as only he can do.  As he says in the trailer, he is “Black Superman” and shows it!

An awesome addition to this franchise is Vanessa Kirby, showing great action ability that you didn’t get to see in Mission Impossible: Fallout.  She’s got skills of her own, thank you very much.  She also fit perfectly into the chemistry of the two headliners and held her own quite well.

This movie has action throughout, and not just a little action, but a lot!  The driving scenes and fight scenes were so well done it’s not even funny.

Since it is an F&F movie, it has to have a family component and this movie lives up to that tradition.  It also has things in it that just can’t possibly happen in real life, but that also is a F&F tradition.

I’ve read some negative reviews on this movie (currently at 67% critics and 90% audience) and those critics are just too stuck on “art”.  Yes, sometimes you go to a movie to see Oscar-worthy performances and incredible writing.  However, most of the time you go to a movie just to be entertained, and this movie is very entertaining!

There are a few scenes during the credits and one scene afterwards.


Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Every once in a while you come across a movie that people either love or hate.  As I looked through some audience comments on rottentomatoes, this appeared to be one of those movies.  Sadly, if forced to pick one side or the other, I would pick hate.  This movie only earns a sad 2 Icees out of 5.

First the positive.  The acting is strong.  Leo, Brad and Margot all give excellent performances.  So, if this is true, if the three stars are all credited with giving “strong” performances, how can this possibly only get 2 Icees??  Simply put…. the writing.

This movie has spots in it that are brilliant.  Some lines that are given made the entire theater laugh.  However, those spots were too far apart and between them, long… long… long stretches of boredom.  For some that lived in LA in the late 60s, the nostalgia of a car driving at night through the city could be good.  For the other 95% of the world those types of scenes just took forever and offered no real boost to the plot.  Well, using the word “plot” in itself is kind of funny because the plot of this movie sort of plodded along.  Perhaps they should have changed the term to the “plod”?

Some characters and long scenes were totally irrelevant to the movie.  I would go into detail, but to do so would be spoiling and I don’t do that.

I still don’t really understand why so many people liked this movie (85% critics, 77% audience at rottentomatoes as I write this) because although there are spots that are brilliant, it just isn’t worth the 2-hrs and 41-minutes of airtime.  Yeah, you read that right…  2-hrs and 41-minutes of your life (not counting trailers at the front end).

The R-rating comes from the language and Tarantino typical violence.  However, the violence is only in one long scene toward the end so it’s not nearly as bad as it could have been.

My recommendation – Don’t risk that you will be one of the people that hate this movie and simply wait until it comes out on video.

There is a scene partway through the credits and “something” else as the credits come to a close.  At least since there aren’t a lot of destination spots and no CGI the credits aren’t that long.



Stuber is an attempt to establish to cash in on the buddy cop genre.  Sometimes it suceeds and sometimes it fails.  This is how it only earns 3 Icees out of 5.  When it succeeds, it’s hilarious.  When it fails, it is cringe-worthy.  Fortunately when I left the theater I was more happy than cringy (is that a word?).

Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy) is a cop with baggage (seemingly all movie cops have baggage… it’s a thing).  Kumal Nanjiani (Portlandia) is an Uber driver with issues.  Combine them and this should be a laugh-out-loud funny movie throughout.  Sadly, it is not, but when there is laughter it is truly “laugh out loud” funny.

A couple of other reasons that this movie lost some icees for me is that they had a scene in the trailer that didn’t make it to the movie (I hate it when that happens, although I am trying to get over it) and their explanation of how Uber works is all wrong.  Sometimes I drive for Uber just for the ability to make some cash in a low-stress manner so I can tell you with confidence that they way they depict the Uber app is just wrong.

Oh yeah, one other thing.  This movie more than earns its R-rating with the vulgar language.  Language that really wasn’t necessary.  It didn’t make the movie any funnier.  It didn’t “add” to the movie experience.  It was vulgarity for the sake of vulgarity and that’s just sad.

I would recommend waiting until this comes out at Redbox and then pop some popcorn and enjoy.  Don’t waste the money it costs to watch it in the theater.

No scenes during or after the credits.


Spider-Man: Far From Home

After the heavy drama of Infinity War and Endgame, this is the perfect movie to get things back to a lighter tone.  For this and other reasons, this movie gets a solid 4.5 Icees (out of 5).  It is a much more “lighter” movie than the previous Avengers films which I think is good to get the Marvel universe back on track (yes, I know that this is a Sony movie and not a Marvel Studios film, but Marvel had quite a bit of input into this).  The most important thing is that, similar to Spider-Man: Homecoming, this movie focuses as much (if not more) on Peter Parker instead of just Spider-Man.  I think that’s what made Homecoming successful and will no doubt help this movie out quite a bit (and probably helped it to its current 92% critic rating on rottentomatoes).

Although we are dealing with the aftermath of the Thanos “blip” (which is explained sufficiently right away), Peter and his friends are trying to get back to life as normal which includes a summer vacation.  There, well…  things happen.  These things go along 2 paths, with Peter wanting to focus on MJ (Zendaya) and the needs of the world kicking in. All of this while dealing with the death of Tony Stark, which is an important undertone throughout the film.  They handle both of these plotlines well, including where the intertwine.  That’s all I can really say about it without giving away spoilers (and there are plenty to give away!).

Jake Gyllenhaal does a masterful job as Mysterio showing that he belongs in the Marvel universe.  Zendaya does a good job, but there are moments where her acting was a bit stiff.  Hopefully that will pass with the next film (there’s gotta be a next film, right?).  Of course Tom Holland nails this version of Spidey down pat.  Although I don’t know how long this 25 year-old will be able to pass for a 16 year-old kid.  I guess that’s the problem when there are so many years between movies. Anyway, it was also good to see Samuel L. Jackson back after being pretty much absent from the films.  The same is true with Cobie Smulders (who I still would like to see get her own action franchise).

There is great action spread throughout the movie and when combined with the story… well, it just works!

There is a crucial scene during the credits, and another scene at the end.


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