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Decent blockbuster: enjoyable, well-made, predictable
You've probably watched this movie before. Fairly typical "Iron Giant" girl meets friendly giant robot story with the canned humor similar to the current Marvel/DC blockbuster age. Pleasant, safe, with the broadest somewhat generic appeal.

However despite some of this blandness and long-ish running time "Bumblebee" passed by enjoyably, without fuss, and with good, familiar but well loved for a reason story beats. Who doesn't like the meeting moment of the ordinary and the extraordinary? Or the training of something superpowered to behave in the terrestrial world. The acting was solid, particularly by the young lead actress which is always nice to see (presumably) new talent carry a movie and stake their name.

There were a few blind spots in the movie which could've been developed further, but for the most part you'll be quite chuffed with the neat-o 80s soundtrack, subdued but still magical cinematography, charismatic fresh faces and overall good execution of this familiar but beloved archetypal coming of age story.

Also there's actually a lot of incidental death and destruction in this film if you pay attention.

Feel the Beat

Formulaic but surprisingly good!
Follows a typical formula: snotty princess goes down to her roots, discovers meaning through helping others, and finds love by foregoing the fast track to success.

In this case though the snotty princess is legitimately talented, focused and career driven, strict but realistic. She makes a compelling and original lead.

The "finding meaning through helping others" part is fairly predictable but also well developed with likeable supporting cast and charismatic and talented child actors as her dance class students.

The "finding love" part is very predictable, but there is chemistry between the leads, and they play off each other well. The backstory with the breakup by text is funny.

Many of the subplots are also well developed and the side characters are funny too. I like that the whole town supports the dance class and the dads learn the dance routines with the kids.

Overall a familiar plot with a very good cast and some surprising moments of insight, humor, as well as wry humor and realism about success in the talent industry.

I enjoyed this family film a lot. The running time is close to two hours but it goes by fast. The movie has many dance scenes but they could be more fully fledged.

Guns Akimbo

Ghastly. Sometimes funny.
Have you watched Black Mirror and felt utterly disturbed and depressed? Watching millennials without morality enjoying through their screens the depravity of people forced to murder each other. That was this movie, and it was distressing and truly dark to watch. However, there was some humor. And I guess like Black Mirror it also did make you think. I liked the originality of the homeless character, various kinds of character design such as Nova's sunset hair, and I think the soundtrack added to the character of the film too. Disgusting, but also somewhat of a pop art, think film that did have a pulse on its own ideas, despite cliches and mainly flat characters.

Chris Rock: Tamborine

The view points are a bit worn out, but this is a personally brave comedy segment
I haven't watched many Chris Rock comedy specials. Probably last was ten years ago. Chris Rock has the same voice I remember, but he often looked tired in this comedy special "Tamborine" and I felt like the topics he was covering were actually serious. It was a sort of confusing blend between a comedic delivery and topics that if you were to say them any other way would be sort of dark and controversial. By the end of the special though it all kind of made sense. It turned out Chris Rock had just received notification that day that he won custody of his kids after a divorce that happened after sixteen years of marriage. Chris Rock says the divorce was scary, everyone was after his money, and that's how he knew he made it. (ha) Also Chris Rock says the divorce happened after he cheated on his wife with three women on the tour.

Chris Rock's special is personally brave of him. He's worn out, he feels like many parts of the world is cold and especially unfair to black people in regards to police shootings and getting jacked up sentencing for crimes others have gotten more lightly. Also he says he had a porn addiction, was a poor husband, and is out a lot of money and will have to work hard for it to get it back.

If Chris Rock isn't at his best I think I can understand. I appreciate that he's willing to talk about God and spirituality even though in comedy it's almost like talking about school shooters. He says a lot about marriage and divorce and has decent advice.

I can't really get behind him about bullies, but he did give me a different perspective.


Misogynistic, stale, but watchable because of the actors
Dave Chappelle fan. Wanted to see one of his movies I hadn't seen before. Think there's a very good reason the movie isn't popular. Terrible writing.

Norm Macdonald's lines often veer into the uncomfortable misogynistic territory when he berates the elderly, shrewish pie company CEO played by Elaine Stritch. Her character is very funny though. She's so ill-tempered that Norm Macdonald's character (her manservant) should stand up to her, but did he really need to call her that?

The writing for Dave Chappelle is often wooden and bare bones stage direction. Something like "Let's go to the next room," or "Let's go see what's over there." Idk. I think Chappelle did the best he could with them. It was sometimes really funny though the way Chappelle was always hitting people with a table lamp when he was "scared."

Danny Devito was a gross morgue man who had a Hawaii 5-0 fan club, stringy hair and a host of artillery in his bad neighborhood apartment. That was funny.

Plot is predictable.

Honestly this movie has an incredible cast with some super funny people. I think they made the movie acceptable. Wasted opportunity, though!

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga

This is a fun movie with a lot of humor. I don't know what's a good Icelandic accent but Rachel McAdams seems to have put a lot of attention in hers. Will Ferrell is a blast as his usual disco cheese loving self. Pierce Brosnan is an "extremely handsome" disappointed dad who probably fathered half the children in town. Casting him is a bit silly but they have a lot of fun with it and his handsome ardor.

This is a fun movie with a few surprises and a well known formula that doesn't surprise but satisfies. Dan Stevens is a hoot as the very sexual, probably gay 100% Russian pop singer.

I say watch it, and give homage to the elves. You'll know what I mean.

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

Really funny and clever "Walk the Line" spoof
I really enjoy the "Walk the Line" movie and I'm a big fan of Johnny Cash. I didn't expect this movie to be such a straight spoof of the major hallmarks of Cash's life, at least as it's thought of in popular memory, but I think the movie did a great job of being a parody but also being genuine and intelligent, even astute. It comments on tragedy, and accident, and temptation and blame, most of it rooted in Cash's life. But somehow it makes the crux of those somewhat, erm, silly and part of human nature desiring easy solutions while ignoring risk. All while being hilarious.

Highly recommend.

The Goldfinch

Decent, but the ending is rushed
Never read the book. The movie has a lot going for it. It's one of the better Amazon Originals. It has a lot of mood and atmosphere. Some of it doesn't exactly pay off but I appreciated the thickness of the mood that was being created anyway. All the characters have a certain gravity to them which lends the film an air of something special and well made and considered. I think a lot of the middle is very good, mostly because it plays like a coming of age story. But the beginning and end were a bit too forced, like something out of a thriller, and was trying to compress too much in a few scenes. Despite these pacing and set up issues, The Goldfinch is a worthy endeavor with much that is well constructed about it. I think it has important things to say about things not lasting, even though I didn't totally buy the meaning of the goldfinch painting and why it was so important. I think was probably another aspect that made the actions of the final act a question mark for me.

Troop Zero

Mix of "School of Rock" and "Stand By Me" but Southern
I enjoyed this so much. There's a lot of deeper messages that actually hit home. I loved the unique characters and the setting and time period and all. Soundtrack was pretty great. Epic David Bowie tribute moment. I cried when the play was performed and the kids show solidarity together. You'll know what I mean. This is a kid's film with a lot of imagination and hope, but also an unsentimentally which is refreshing. Perhaps there were some moments I doubted. But all in all I think it ended in a meaningful way that wasn't perfect or happily ever after. I appreciated that. I think there is a great deal of good morals here that will be enriching for the young and the older people who see it. I think I would place it as most similar to "The School of Rock" and it's band of misfits with a good dose of "Stand By Me" and some of the moral intensity it has, and then set in the South where people say "funna."

Jay and Silent Bob Reboot

Too meta
This film has a very good cast and a decent premise that should've been more enjoyable than it was. I like Jay and Silent Bob a lot. I think this film tried to make fun of its own cash-grab nature. Tried to acknowledge it and comment on franchises and etc. Even made some things deliberately bad, and only changed slightly as per its own definition of a "reboot." It could've worked. I mean that's an original approach, right? But I think everything was just so over-explained like a word sandwich. Probably worked better on paper. The concept wasn't translated well to film. I stopped watching.

The Other Guys

Have watched this film before, but failed to appreciate its comedic gold. Outlandish, incredible, everyone has a hilarious secret talent. Also, Will Ferrell has a "plain wife" in Eva Mendes, the police captain works in Bed Bath and Beyond to support his bisexual son going to NYU, and Dwayne Johnson and Samuel L Jackson miss the bushes. That last part alone makes this film. Don't miss it. You'll know what I'm talking about.

Really hard to fault this film. It's underrated. I guess the crime plot gets a little lost and I couldn't keep up with the suspects or their goals exactly. But Will Ferrel and Mark Wahlberg are just so funny together I didn't really mind.

Serial Killer with Piers Morgan

Badly conceived
It seems like most UK citizens hate Piers Morgan. As a US citizen, I've enjoyed some of his commentary in Youtube clips. Watching him here though, with his interviews uncut, I can see why Piers gets his bad rap. He combats his guests and blocks them from speaking. He also seems keen on getting his guests to confess to the crimes they've denied. Unsurprisingly, no prisoner wants to do that. Thus, the interview goes around in circles. The frustrated guests end the interview or doggedly pursue their chance of a platform, which is denied. Piers says he gives his guests a chance. Does he? You decide.


Has some interesting characters but overall pretty bland. I like watching some clips though, but can't sit through the episodes. I think reviewers here are right: some genius, a lot of waddle.

Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé

Not really "behind the scenes," but what an impressive show!
This is a very nicely made capture of the Beyonce Coachella experience. It does not really have much behind the scenes content. I finished at least half.

I wanted more of the journey to the stage that was promised. Much of this film is just the performance itself. However it is a very good performance, with great images, editing, and sound. It seems Beyonce really played a key role in getting it all to come together to come across in the way she lived it. She had her crew really capture all that sound of the stomping on the bleachers for example. All of the editing looks very kinetic too.

It's an inspiring performance with a lot of powerful female sexual energy, a lot of deep heartbreak and fury in the lyrics about love affairs and emotional affairs and cheating. As brutally honest as the lyrics are, implied to be about Jay-Z, the concert also features him in the show. I think it must have been a great moment on stage.

I'm not particularly a Beyonce fan but I was impressed with the concert and its production and artistry. I did think as a documentary it was very light on all the other parts that usually go into a making of video. Maybe there was more in the second half. I don't know. I understand how others might consider the content that was included a bit too high brow. I wish there was more that could've been shown. But honestly it's a remarkable performance.

The Witcher

Great production values, REALLY boring
This series looks like a million bucks. It draws from a video game source which I've played myself. The series captures the visual appeal and dark tone of the video game, as well as its pitfalls of not having much in the way of story and character. Netflix's "The Witcher" is one of the driest fantasy series I've watched. It overloads on complicated place names and character names, and even manages to cast its characters like carbon copies of each other (why do all the female characters look the same?). Henry Cavill, an impossibly charming actor most of the time, seems to drain all the charm out of himself in order to play this stoic character. I'm glad I decided to fast forward to the end of the series to see if anything in this department changed, because it didn't. If you want to hate fantasy just that little bit more, watch this series.

Angel Has Fallen

Decent, unrealistic, has good moments
"Angel Has Fallen" has very good production values and it delivers on its action. Gerard Butler remains good-humored, sometimes impossibly so in this tense action thriller. I wished he'd show more range. However, this is an inoffensive, many times hyperbolic thriller with some downright unrealistic moments (gosh, that is one trusting almost-comatose president). I thought the villain's obsession with the protagonist was so over-the-top it became ridiculous and funny. Still, I enjoyed watching this film, and will recommend it.

The dynamic between the protagonist and main antagonist is a lot like that of Shakespeare adaptation "Coriolanus," which Gerard Butler also starred in. It's a much more serious story that isn't quite as enjoyable to watch.

My favorite part of "Angel Has Fallen" is probably Butler's paranoid, hermetic Vietnam veteran father with a penchant for bombs.

Can't Hardly Wait

Decent, has some memorable characters
Decent film with a good cast and some original moments of comedy and characterization that shouldn't be missed. However in other ways, fairly standard. Not much to the central romance plot, but inoffensive and Jennifer Love Hewitt plays a convincing popular girl with soul. Seth Green's sensitive, wannabe gangsta character is hilarious. I liked the prom king's character arc and semi-friendship with the drunken nerd who becomes cool for the night.

Soundtrack is good, and actually the set is neat. Feels like a play.

Other than that, not my favorite movie, but certainly has much charm in places and memorable performances.

Dead to Me

Great acting; loses steam
Christina Applegate knocks it out of the park with this one. Her angry Brooklyn-born real estate agent character suffering a personal loss impresses while inspiring sympathy. Her spiritual-loving, kind-of-off-in-the-head companion Judy is a great complement to hers. They have a good character dynamic which carried me almost through the first season. However I lost interest after a while. I think, something just started to not become very believable, especially after a major secret is divulged. The series began to lose much of its tension, which lessened the stakes, and caused something of the heart of the series to flatline, at least for me. Nevertheless, a very good return for Applegate. James Marsden is always fun to watch. I loved his characterization and the running joke of his love for interior decorating.

Dinner for Schmucks

Infuriating, heartfelt cringe
Stupid, oddball, legitimately infuriating film that nevertheless charms. If I've ever felt sorry for an opportunist fraud, it was in this film. Steve Carrell's character who makes the saddest dioramas out of dead mice is one of the densest, most destructive and most optimistic people I've ever seen portrayed on film. I was appalled at the utter cringe. However, Carrell carries it off, making me both love and want to murder him, same as Paul Rudd's character does. I don't know if this dynamic is dysfunctional or masterful. Anyway, apart from their dynamic, the other characters in the film are either wet blankets (Julie the girlfriend) or like, some of the most colorful characters (Kieran the sexual artist) ever. I enjoyed the originality of this film and its pathos. I really felt for Carrell's character.


Seasons 1 and 2
Season 1 of Homecoming is interesting. It unravels in a way that intrigues and holds you in suspense until the end. I was thoroughly invested and binge watched and was satisfied with the storyline. 8/10.

Season 2 of Homecoming is super boring. Why was it even made? Janelle Monae is fine. But her character just isn't interesting, and nor is the story. 5/10. I don't know the person who really wants to sit through this slog.

My average is 7/10, but season 1 is definitely of a different caliber than season 2, and I wish I could rate them separately.

Rust Valley Restorers

Decent, repetitive
Rust Valley Restorers is about a business trying to be a business, and not a rusty car hoard or a charity shop. The owner Mike, a dreadlocked white guy, is charismatic, big hearted, and a shrew. His numerous good-willed, but ultimately financially unfeasible decisions cause family tension and an overall pessimism about whether the business will stay afloat. Watching it is a good lesson in business sense. I originally liked watching the series because of Mike's charisma, and the builds, but after a while thought some of his and the shop's aesthetic decisions were either too safe or too avante garde for the clients.

It's fun to watch restorations to take place and to watch real business transactions take place. I recommend this show even though it's not a favorite.

The Disaster Artist

Entertaining, solid
I haven't watched The Room. This movie is about the making of The Room, what happened before, during and after. There was a lot that was hilarious about this film. I don't think the actors James Franco and his brother Dave Franco set out to make fun of the people in the film. To me this film is a kind of celebration of badness that comes from a place of belief and optimism. It's a pretty lighthearted, enjoyable film. I don't like Seth Rogan sometimes.

I didn't really notice camera issues as others have. This movie had good production values, except the costumes and makeup were kind of bad. Maybe that was intentional. I didn't mind.

The running time was fine, editing was fine, music and everything supported the story.

I recommend. What I liked about the film was that even though James Franco did very well, like he was the highlight of the film, I thought he gave a lot of room for his brother to shine and I think Dave Franco did just that.

The Foreigner

Utterly infuriating, but provocative
When I watch a Jackie Chan movie I expect an amount of good humor, or some kind of wisdom, or cool stunts and fight scened. I knew going in from the film's cover picture on Netflix, colorless and gritty as it was, that this could be a darker take on what I could expect. But I wasn't prepared to be totally taken aback and disgusted by the actions of Jackie Chan, as sympathetic his motivation was supposed to be. Jackie Chan plays a mostly quiet, machine like man, who gradually becomes like those he's hunting in his quest for violence, so much so that I lost sympathy for his cause early on.

Despite being infuriated, I kept watching to see where the film would go. I think, looking back on the film, there are some really interesting characters, especially Pierce Brosnan's former IRA politician character, his disinterested wife, and their assassin nephew. Also, as a whole, the film does make some thought provoking criticisms about revenge and violence, especially the eye for an eye and death for a death sort. In fact I suppose the very frustration of the film inflicts an anti-terrorist sentiment, which I guess might have been the point.

The problem really is that Jackie Chan is playing the part of the hero in this film, but is really another side of the villain, and I don't really think the film gives Jackie Chan the same kind of punishment for his methods that it gives nearly everyone else. And the film gives such punishment, that it's really odd that it has this blind spot.

The one thing I think makes this film respectable is Pierce Brosnan's journey as a politician back to being like his old militant self. I think it's an achievement for Brosnan and I wasn't mad at his actions, harsh as they were.

This film took the Jackie Chan icon as we know it, made him unsympathetic, made him incredibly myopic, and took the enjoyment out of his action scenes because he was harming people more than they needed to be harmed, so it was brutal. Jackie Chan should play against type, but I was upset with his role because it lacked reasoning and justice, and he wasn't the one I wanted to root for.

Nevertheless, for Pierce Brosnan, do watch.

Kung fu

Laughed so much my throat hurt
After watching clips of Kung Fu Hustle across Facebook over the years, I finally watched the whole film. What a stellar film. It's not just the instantly recognizable characters, or the onslaught of sight gags, but it's also the heart of the film, and also the wonderful cinematography. Really, this film is a blast, and it will also have you believing in the power of community, and how individuals can stand up against thugs. What an absolute marvel.

One thing: yes there is a bit of story weakness towards the end, and some unfinished threads sometimes, but all in all an excellent achievement in comedy.

The Interview

Sometimes funny, but mostly done before
I enjoyed much of the humor when it came to Kim Jung Un and his love of Katy Perry. The actor there did a great job of making Kim Jung Un kinda both adorable and psychopathic.

Whether it was necessary though that they had to portray a real dictator is another matter. I personally feel like it was a smart, ballsy choice, that paid off in terms of the buzz it generated. But unfortunately, the overall end product was a pretty generic and pre-packaged "Hangover" style comedy in terms of plot, character, acting, dialogue, editing, and so forth.

In terms of entertainment, there is certainly some, but the Korean actors who sound like they can't really speak Korean, and the characters who have the same word choices and speech patterns even though they live countries apart, and the casting of Seth Rogen who doesn't really have a new role to play, was just a lot of poor direction and casting.

Still, has some moments of good humor, and higher potential than was ultimately realized by artistic, technical and popular standards.

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