'THE LAST WISH': Four and a Half Stars (Out of Five)
'THE LAST WISH': Four and a Half Stars (Out of Five)
Another indie horror short film from award-winning Swedish filmmaker Jarno Lee Vinsencius; who wrote, directed and produced the flick. It also stars his usual collaborative partner, actor Demis Tzivis. Tzivis plays one of two captives (named Rob), that are being held against their will in a cellar. The two are forced to take part in a twisted game, in which the winner will be set free, and the loser will be executed. The short is reminiscent of a lot of popular torture porn slasher flicks out there (like the 'SAW' franchise), but it's got a really good twist, and it's masterfully executed by Vinsencius once again. Tzivis, and his costar, are also great in their roles as well. It's really short, at just over 6 minutes long, but horror fans should definitely get a kick out of it, I'd say.
'THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN THE WALLS': Three and a Half Stars (Out of Five)
A horror-fantasy kids movie, from director Eli Roth (who usually only does gory adult horror flicks). It's based on the 1973 kids mystery book (of the same name) by John Bellairs, about an orphan sent to live with his uncle in a magical house, and he must help him locate a powerful clock formerly owned by an evil warlock. It stars Jack Black, Owen Vaccaro, Cate Blanchett, Kyle MacLachlan, Renee Elise Goldsberry and Sunny Suljic. The film has gotten mixed to positive reviews from critics, and it's performed modestly at the Box Office so far. I enjoyed it mostly, but it's just a little too kid friendly and mainstream for me though (coming from Eli Roth). I'd definitely recommend it to kids I think though.
I think it should have gotten zero positive review from critics.
'SHERLOCK GNOMES': One Star (Out of Five)
A sequel to the 2011 computer-animated kids movie 'GNOMEO & JULIET'. In this installment the garden gnomes Gnomeo and Juliet hire Sherlock Gnomes, to help them find their missing friends. It was directed by John Stevenson, and written by Ben Zazove, Kevin Cecil, Andy Riley, Emily Cook and Kathy Greenberg. The movie was a big hit at the Box Office, but it got mostly negative reviews from critics. I think it should have gotten zero positive review from critics. It's awful, and painful to watch.
A computer-animated sci-fi action movie about an outcast teenage girl who befriends a newly advanced sentient robot, to fight bullies and an evil CEO. The film was co-written and directed by two veteran animators, turned first time feature filmmakers, Kevin R. Adams and Joe Ksander. It stars the voice talents of John Krasinski, Charlyne Yi, Jason Sudeikis, David Cross, Constance Wu and Michael Pena. The film was released by Netflix, through it's streaming site, in the United States. I found it to be pretty entertaining, and even somewhat thrilling, for an animated kids' movie. It's also got a nice message, and some decent enough drama. I liked it more than I thought I would definitely.
'THE LAND OF STEADY HABITS': Four Stars (Out of Five)
A comedy-drama about a bored wealthy father who leaves his wife and retires from work, in hopes of spicing up his life, but things just get worse from there because of it. It was written and directed by Nicole Holofcener, and it's based on the novel of the same name by Ted Thompson. The movie stars Ben Mendelsohn, Edie Falco, Thomas Mann, Connie Britton, Charlie Tahan and Bill Camp. It's received mostly positive reviews from critics, and it was released by Netflix through it's streaming site. I enjoyed parts of it quite a bit, but the central character is just a little too unlikable to fully relate to the movie (or root for him). Still the film definitely seemed true to life.
I didn't know anything about this Wershe Jr. kid before watching it!
'WHITE BOY RICK': Three and a Half Stars (Out of Five)
A crime-drama/comedy based on the true story of Richard Wershe Jr., who became the youngest FBI informant in history, in the 1980s, at the age of just 15. The film was directed by Yann Demange, and it was written by Andy Weiss, Logan Miller and Noah Miller. It stars newcomer Richie Merritt (as Wershe Jr.), Matthew McConaughey, Bel Powley, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Rory Cochrane and Brian Tyree Henry. The movie has performed modestly at the Box Office so far, and it's gotten just mixed to positive reviews from critics. I found it to be mildly interesting, and of course McConaughey gives another outstanding performance in it. The lead actor isn't that likable though, and I didn't really care that much about what happened to him, until the end. The end is a real downer, and it's definitely educational (at least for people like me), because I didn't know anything about this Wershe Jr. kid before watching it!
A mystery-thriller/dark comedy about a blogger, and widowed mother, who tries to solve the mystery of a missing best friend, who she just met. The film stars Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively and Henry Golding (of 'CRAZY RICH ASIANS' fame). It was directed by Paul Feig, scripted by Jessica Sharzer, and based on the 2017 novel (of the same name) by Darcey Bell. It's gotten mostly positive reviews from critics, and it's also a hit at the Box Office as well. I enjoyed it quite a bit, mostly. It's funny, the performances are mostly good, and there's some nice twists as well. Some of the comedy towards the end was a little bit too much for me though (and so was Kendrick at times). I think Lively kind of steals the show.
Really involving and insightful (in an exaggerated way)!
ASSASSINATION NATION': Four Stars (Out of Five)
A dark comedy thriller about a chaotic data hack that reveals the intimate secrets of almost everyone in a small town, and the four teenage girls that must violently fight to survive it. The movie was written and directed by rookie filmmaker Sam Levinson, and it stars Odessa Young, Hari Nef, Sukie Waterhouse, Abra, Joel McHale and Bella Thorne. It's received mixed to positive reviews from critics, and it also bombed at the Box Office so far. I enjoyed most of it. The film is a little slow-paced at times, and hard to watch too (due to it's disturbing content), but it's also really involving and insightful (in an exaggerated way). The movie is also full of some cool Grindhouse thrills, at and near it's climax.
I'd love to see Jennifer Garner in more action flicks, but this one was definitely a disappointment.
'PEPPERMINT': Two and a Half Stars (Out of Five)
A revenge action flick starring Jennifer Garner as a vigilante out to avenge the murders of her husband and daughter, and punish the system that let the culprits go free. It was directed by Pierre Morel, and written by Chad St. John. The film costars John Ortiz, John Gallagher Jr., Juan Pablo Raba and Method Man. It's performed modestly at the Box Office so far, but it's also gotten almost unanimously negative reviews from critics. I also found the movie to be really cheesy, and boring at times. It does have some decent action scenes in it though, and Garner delivers another powerful performance as well. I'd love to see her in more action flicks, but this one was definitely a disappointment.
A more cheesy and contrived 'FATAL ATTRACTION', from the mind of Tyler Perry.
'ACRIMONY': Two and a Half Stars (Out of Five)
A thriller written and directed by Tyler Perry, about an obsessive but faithful wife, who seeks vengeance on her unfaithful but loving husband. The movie stars Taraji P. Henson, Lyriq Bent and Crystle Stewart. Like almost all of Perry's films, the movie got almost unanimous negative reviews from critics, but it was a hit at the Box Office though. I haven't watched a Tyler Perry movie in some time, but this one is definitely better than the earlier ones of his I saw years ago (which I hated). Still, this is far from a good movie, but it is at least amusing and somewhat involving. Also Henson is fantastic in the lead, like always. It's kind of like a more cheesy and contrived 'FATAL ATTRACTION', from the mind of Tyler Perry.
'CHRISTOPHER ROBIN': Three and a Half Stars (Out of Five)
A live-action/CGI fantasy film, from Disney Studios, about a grown-up Christopher Robin, who's lost all of his childhood imagination, so he's visited by his old stuffed-bear, Winnie the Pooh, in order to help him get it back. The film stars Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell, Bronte Carmichael, and the voices of Jim Cummings and Brad Garrett. It was directed by Marc Forster, and written by Alex Ross Perry, Tom McCarthy, Allison Schroeder, Greg Brooker and Mark Steven Johnson. The movie has disappointed at the Box Office (slightly) so far, but it's gotten mostly decent reviews from critics. I enjoyed it, and I found parts of it to be really magical and even touching at times. It's somewhat slow-paced though, and not nearly as nostalgic as it seems like it should be (or could have been). Still, it's a decent enough family film I think though.
'ADVENTURES IN PUBLIC SCHOOL': Three and a Half Stars (Out of Five)
A teen comedy about a socially awkward home-schooled teenager that enters public school for the first time, against his mother's wishes, in order to pursue a young woman he falls for. The film was directed by Kyle Rideout, and written by Rideout and Josh Epstein. The movie stars Daniel Doheny and Judy Greer, and it was released by Netflix through it's streaming site. I found the film to be funny and amusing enough. It's definitely nothing fresh or especially memorable, but I had a good time watching it still.
Disturbing and hard to watch at times, but it's well worth it in my opinion.
'WE THE ANIMALS': Four Stars (Out of Five)
A coming-of-age indie drama about three young boys dealing with an abusive but loving father, and a frustrated and depressed mother, while also trying to enjoy their childhood. The movie stars Evan Rosado, Isaiah Kristian, Josiah Gabriel, Raul Castillo and Sheila Vand. It was directed and co-written by documentary filmmaker Jeremiah Zagar, and it's based on the 2011 novel (of the same name) by Justin Torres. The film has received nearly unanimous positive reviews from critics, and it's playing in indie theaters now (like Portland). I really enjoyed how genuine and real the film seems (almost like you're watching an actual documentary), and I also really like the performances (especially Rosado and Castillo). It's also disturbing and hard to watch at times, but it's well worth it in my opinion.
Just a hell of a lot of fun, like the 80s action flicks I grew up on!
'THE PREDATOR': Five Stars (Out of Five)
The forth installment in the 'PREDATOR' movie franchise, which began in 1987 (the sixth counting two 'ALIEN VS. PREDATOR' movies). This one was directed by Shane Black, who co-starred in the original, and it was co-written by Black and Fred Dekker. It's about a group of ex-soldiers who team-up to stop alien invaders, called 'predators', from killing a special young boy with Aspergers, and destroying a small town in the process. The film stars Boyd Holbrook, Olivia Munn, Jacob Tremblay, Trevante Rhodes, Sterling K. Brown, Keegan-Michael Key, Thomas Jane, Alfie Allen, Augusto Auilera and Yvonee Strahovski. It's received mostly negative reviews from critics, but it is expected to do well at the Box Office though. I loved it. It's ridiculously violent, and full of witty dialogue and lovable characters (like only Shane Black can deliver). The story also revolves around the Predators knowing humans are going extinct soon, due to climate change, and they want to collect someone with Aspergers because they know people on the spectrum are the next step in evolution. So I really liked that about the film as well, but mostly it's just a hell of a lot of fun, like the 80s action flicks I grew up on!
A historical drama about a team of Israeli secret agents that arrested, and brought to justice, one of the Nazi officers most responsible for the Holocaust. The film was directed by Chris Weitz, and written by Matthew Orton. It stars Oscar Isaac (who also served as a producer), Ben Kingsley, Melanie Laurent, Nick Kroll, Lior Raz and Haley Lu Richardson. The movie is a modest hit at the Box Office, but it's only gotten mixed reviews from critics. I found it to be well made, and acted, but it's also extremely slow-paced and lacking genuine suspense. The film is educational at least though.
The film is actually kind of fun, more so than scary!
'THE NUN': Three Stars (Out of Five)
A prequel/spin-off to the 2016 supernatural thriller 'THE CONJURING 2', and the fifth installment in the 'CONJURING' film franchise. It tells the story of a priest and a novice who are sent to Romania (in 1952), by the Vatican, to investigate the apparent suicide of a nun there, and they encounter a powerful demonic force. The movie was directed by rookie filmmaker Corin Hardy, and it was written by Gary Dauberman and series creator James Wan. The film stars Demian Bichir, Taissa Farmiga (the sister of 'CONJURING' star Vera Farmiga) and Jonas Bloquet. It's expected to be another huge hit at the Box Office (like the others in the series), but this one has gotten mostly negative reviews from critics so far. I really enjoyed parts of it, but I was also really bored for large chunks of it as well, but that can be said for the other installments in the series too (except for the original). I also found the trailer for the movie to be a lot creepier and more disturbing than the actual film. The film is actually kind of fun, more so than scary, despite it being pretty dull at times as well.
The reviews are definitely a little too kind to it!
'TO ALL THE BOYS I'VE LOVED BEFORE': Three and a Half Stars (Out of Five)
A teen romcom about a high school girl who writes letters to all of the boys she thinks she's loved before, and the letters somehow end up in all their hands, which causes great stress and trouble for the teenager. The movie stars Lana Condor, Noah Centineo, Israel Broussard, Janel Parrish, Anna Cathcart and John Corbett. It's received nearly unanimous positive reviews from critics, and it was released by Netflix through it's streaming site. I found it to be pretty routine and predictable, but it's at least mildly amusing for most of it's running length. It's not funny though, or emotionally involving at all. The reviews are definitely a little too kind to it, I'd say.
I really enjoyed it's bizarreness, and it's sensitive depiction of mental illness.
'MADELINE'S MADELINE': Three and a Half Stars (Out of Five)
An experimental indie drama about a teenage girl with severe mental issues, who begins bringing her personal drama into her theater performance. It was directed and co-written by Josephine Decker, and it stars newcomer Helena Howard. The film also costars Molly Parker and Miranda July, and it's gotten mostly positive reviews from critics. I really enjoyed it's bizarreness, and it's sensitive depiction of mental illness, but it's also really slow-paced and somewhat hard to follow (because it's so strange). The performances are all more than decent though, and the directing is more than adequate as well.
'JULIET NAKED': Three and a Half Stars (Out of Five)
A romcom based on Nick Hornby's 2009 novel (of the same name), about a love triangle involving an obsessed music fan, the musician he's infatuated with, and the fan's frustrated girlfriend. The film stars Rose Byrne, Ethan Hawke and Chris O'Dowd. It was directed by Jesse Peretz (who also helmed 2011's fantastic 'OUR IDIOT BROTHER'), and it was written by Evgenia Peretz, Jim Taylor and Tamara Jenkins. The film has gotten mostly positive reviews from critics, although the reviews aren't that spectacular. I felt the same way; it's a nice, sweet, cute movie (with decent performances), but it's not spectacular in any way. It's kind of forgettable ultimately, but I had a good enough time while I was watching it though.
A found footage thriller about a father desperately trying to find his missing teenage daughter. The story is told all from the perspective of smart phones and computer screens, and it's the first Hollywood thriller to star an Asian-American actor in the lead. The movie stars John Cho and Debra Messing, and it was directed and co-written by debut feature filmmaker Aneesh Chaganty. The film has gotten almost unanimous positive reviews from critics, and it's a modest hit at the Box Office as well. I found it to be well made, involving and interesting (at times). Cho is also great in the lead, and the movie is effectively creepy and disturbing as well. I wasn't that impressed with the ending though, and there's a twist that's surprising but a little hard to believe. It's mostly a really well made and intense thriller though.
A dark raunchy comedy set in a world where puppets and humans co-exist, a former LAPD puppet, turned private investigator, must team with his former human partner in order to solve a spree of recent puppet murders (the former cast of a popular 80's kids TV show). It was directed by Brian Henson, the son of Jim Henson (and the director of 1992's 'THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL' and 1996's 'MUPPET TREASURE ISLAND'), and it was written by Todd Berger and Dee Austin Robertson. The film stars Melissa McCarthy, Bill Barretta, Maya Rudolph, Elizabeth Banks, Leslie David Baker and Joel McHale. It's gotten mostly negative reviews from critics, and mediocre reviews from fans, but it is a modest hit at the Box Office though. I loved the movie's originality, and it's courage to be a really dark and raunchy puppet movie. I also think the cast is all brilliant in it, and Brian Henson is a very talented and inspirational filmmaker (just like his father). Still the movie is only hit-and-miss funny, and some of it is just a little too strange, disgustingly crude and 'not funny'. I give it a lot of points for effort though, even though it fails as much as it succeeds.
A sci-fi adventure kids movie about a robotic dog, that was designed to be a weapon for the U.S. military, who befriends a troubled teenager. The film was written and directed by first time feature filmmaker Oliver Daly (based on his 2015 short film), and it stars Alex Neustaedter, Becky G, Alex MacNicoll, Dominic Rains, Lou Taylor Pucci and Thomas Jane. It's received mostly negative reviews from critics, and it's also a bomb at the Box Office. I found it to be mildly amusing though, and even a little better than I was expecting it to be. I mainly wanted to see it because I'm an animal lover, and I usually enjoy any film about animals befriending non-human animals (even if they're robot animals, or robot non-human animals). I'd say this is a decent kids movie, and I probably would have liked it a lot more when I was a kid, but it's still really mediocre and forgettable.
'THE SPY WHO DUMPED ME': Three and a Half Stars (Out of Five)
An action-comedy spy flick about a woman who finds out that her ex-boyfriend is a spy, and then her and her best friend become involved in an international conspiracy because of it. The movie stars Mila Kunis, Kate McKinnon, Justin Theroux, Sam Heughan, Hasan Minhaj and Gillian Anderson. It was directed and co-written by Susanna Fogel. The film has gotten mixed reviews from critics, and it's also performed very modestly at the Box Office as well. I found parts of it to be very funny, and I actually enjoyed some of the action scenes in it as well. It's not great at either though (action or comedy), but it's got enough good scenes of both to make the whole movie worthwhile overall in my opinion.
I enjoyed parts of it, including the visuals and score.
'PAPILLON': Three and a Half Stars (Out of Five)
A biographical crime-drama about a French convict that escaped from a penal colony in 1943, with the help of another convict. It's a remake of the 1973 classic (starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman), and it's based on the autobiographies by Henry Charrière. This updated version stars Charlie Hunnam and Rami Malek. It was directed by Michael Noer, and it was scripted by Aaron Guzikowski. The film has received mixed reviews from critics, and my feelings on it are a bit mixed as well. I enjoyed parts of it, including the visuals and score, but I think it goes on for way too long, and it's far too slow-paced. With a little better pacing, and about 20 minutes more cut out of it, the movie could have been much better.
Like a lot of the 80s sci-fi flicks I really enjoyed as a kid.
'KIN': Three and a Half Stars (Out of Five)
A sci-fi action flick about an adopted teenage boy and his recently paroled brother who go on the run from violent vengeful criminals, as well as the law and aliens, with a secret otherworldly weapon. It was directed by debut feature filmmakers Jonathan and Josh Baker, and it was written by Daniel Casey (based on a short film by the Bakers). The movie stars newcomer Myles Truitt, Jack Reynor, Zoe Kravitz, James Franco and Dennis Quaid. It's received mostly negative reviews from critics, but I mostly enjoyed it. It's definitely uneven, and not a great film by any means, but it is fun and involving. The performances are all good in it, and it reminds me of a lot of the 80s sci-fi flicks I really enjoyed as a kid. I had a good time watching it.