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The Happytime Murders (2018)

This movie didn't make me happy at all! It was very disappointing. This comedy about a hard nose, puppet private detective, Phil Phillips (Voiced & Puppeteer by Bill Barretta) having to team with a human cop partner, Connie Edwards (Melissa McCarthy) to solve a string of murders; could had been amazing. Sadly, this Hollywood's version of Broadway's 'Avenue Q' with an adult theme plot similar to 1988's film, 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit', was not a success. It fail to impress many viewers & critics. Much of this, has to do with the comedy. The shock value of seeing puppets use vulgar sentences kinda ran dry, really quick, as they didn't do anything really new or clever with the harsh language. Because of that, much of the bawdy humor, sex addled jokes and over the top violence felt generic & unoriginal. After all, we seen humor like this, done better in films like 1989's 'Meet the Feebles' or 2004's 'Team America: World Police' that already pushed the envelope for raunchy humor in otherwise children oriented formats. As for the other jokes, unrelated to the puppet, they also didn't stand out much on their own. The 1992's film, 'Basic Instinct' legs crossing scene & other film parodies has been done to death, in other cop comedies like 1993's 'Loaded Weapon'. Even sayings, like 'dumb person say what' or 'does this smell like chloroform' like the ones use toward the FBI in the film has been used before; in films, as recent as 2011's 'Hall Pass'. They don't really stand that much as unique, smart comebacks. Because of that, most of the juvenile foul mouthed toilet humor jokes fall flat, rather than major hits toward the funny bone. It didn't help that the direction of the film was all over the place. The movie would certainly have more laughs, if the comedy had more a solid gritty film noir tone, rather than playing both sides. Another thing that would help the film is if they set the settling of the events to the late 1970s & early 1980s, where puppets were used, often, in their peak, in the entertainment industry as modern day minstrel shows, lampooning them, in stereotypical and often disparaging ways, as musical, childish, buffoons. All that negative overexposure and saturation would give more reasons, in universe, for people to hate them, & treat the live hand puppets, as second class citizens. Without that, key information, the film's social commentary about race racial doesn't make much lick of sense. The world building for this alternate Los Angeles didn't feel as real as it could had been. It was lazy. To top it off, the film feature, way too many mediocre comedians, rather than dramatic performers. It doesn't make the grittiest parts of the film seem believable. After all, McCarthy's female Chris Farley's fat person doing pratfalls lighthearted gags doesn't really match, well, with the somber dark comedy, they're trying to tell. To add to that, her style of physical humor had already ran its course. Jokes involving her character, out of place puppet's kidney were a bit tiresome to watch. Despite that, she isn't that much of a nuisance. McCarthy is amusing enough to care, and she shares some fun chemistry with Phil. Nevertheless, the worst performance in the film by an actor, has to go to Joel McHale as Agent Campbell. He's pretty much, playing himself. It is so disappointing, as he adds nothing to the film. On the other hand, it's the voice acting for the puppets that really do shine. For example, Barretta really did a great job, here. I enjoyed his character, quite a bit. He made the puppet seem like a real dark disheveled gritty cop, through his gruff masculine voice. I also like how film argues that puppets are complex & flawed living beings whom also could go through rough times. To add to the context, some of the puppets used in this film was recycle from past productions like 1994's TV Series, 'The Animal Show' and 2002's film 'Kermit's Swamp Years' to show the wear and tear of aging and outliving their usefulness. It made the dark elements of the story seem a little more tragic. However, this choice in production also cheapens it, by making the film seem low budget, when it's not. It's sad, because you can tell that there is a lot of passion behind this movie. Apparently, they've been trying to make this motion picture for years now. It was kinda a dream assignment for director, Brian Henson. He really thought, this flick would led to more adult themed movie projects like a film version of his United Kingdom's puppet based variety show, 'Puppet Up!'; by this point, that most likely isn't going to happen. Despite that, the puppeteers put a lot a work into this movie. They went through a lot of hardship based off, the outtakes during the credits, trying to their green screen body suits, oscillating machine, and hydraulics to work right. Unfortunately, Jim Henson's son indeed reaches a new low here to the point, that it kinda hurt the Henson Family legacy, because how mediocre, the film story is. Don't get me wrong, the murder mystery concept isn't bad; I just wish, they took more challengers with it. I found it, oddly constructed, yet prediction. Nevertheless, they are points of the film where twists do happen, but they have no emotional weight or payoff. Much of them, like the one with Jenny (Elizabeth Banks) don't really play much of a factor. Also, there were a lot of jarring moments, like why didn't Phil work with the FBI. At least, he would had alibi, when the other murders do happen. I guess, it was done to add some thrills. Regardless of that, not needed add in, the movie is still paced very well. Overall: This movie is not good, but at least, it's not a total mess of a crash dummy of a film like some critics, make it out to be. It's just meh. Could had been better.

Bee Movie (2007)

Like a bee sting, this Dreamwork Animation movie hurts to watch for the most part. It's just not quite buzzworthy. Honestly, this cartoon movie directed by Simon J. Smith & Steve Hickner can buzz off! I don't care if this movie had an unexpected rise in popularity as a few internet memes, several years after the film's release. It will never be sweet to me. I really do dislike this Paramount Pictures cartoon. Nearly, everything about this film is wrong. Let's start with the premise. The story about a honeybee, Barry B Benson (Voiced by Jerry Seinfeld) who travels outside of the hive & falls in love with a human woman named Vanessa Bloom (Voiced by Renee Zellweger) who in a relationship with another man, Ken (Voiced by Patrick Warburton), while eventually uncovers a shocking conspiracy involving bees was all over the place. One minute, it's a movie about going against the hive, in order to follow your own path & dreams, through self-discovery & individualism, then the next minute, the film turn into unconventional, mess up beastality fantasy. Only for it to change, yet again, into a courtroom drama, about fighting against prejudices and discrimination; before tackling off, into a disaster movie where everybody has to deal with the unintended consequences of their actions. It's a cluster of a mess. All the writers, Jerry Seinfeld, Andy Robin, Barry Marder & Spike Feresten put too much threads into this film. Not only that, but the film abandoned some many plot-lines that it leaves many plot holes, and unanswered questions. It get highly confusing at times. Plus, it felt somewhat lazy, not to finish the story arcs, they're started. Not only that, but the story didn't even, know what tone, they were going for. It sways from mindless tongue in cheek comedy like the 1990's TV Series 'Seinfeld' to serious animation movie with a strong ethical ground, back and forth. It's annoying to watch. Why? It's because the mixed tone hurts the moral message. It's so wishy washy flip flopper. A good example of muddled, is how the first acts seem to be preaching an Aesop against the human exploitation of animals, but then flips the message on its head, around toward the middle, when Benson dreams about laughing about other bugs getting smash. What the hell? It's so mean spirited & dark. Even the other comedy elements is just as jarring. How does the jokes go from, making a near innocent, little too much really bad, bee puns to highly offensive humor that don't belong in a kids film, like jokes about the Holocaust, African Slavery, and suicide. There is even a scene where the bees hijack a plane and aim it, toward New York City. Yikes! Yes, I know, the plot says, they did it, so the heroes can re-pollinate the city's flowers, but why would, they need to do that, in the first place. It's not like it's going bring them, back to life. Pollen doesn't that way. It's a reproductive component. It can only make new ones. Does the film even know, how basic science works? Honeybees are not a vital part of the ecosystem. Why, because, European honey bees like Barry are an invasive species that only there to produce honey! Along with African bees, they do more harm to the environment than good. They crowd out all the other local pollinators, take resources and spread diseases. Because of that, normal Native Americans bees are in decline and that's a bad thing. They are the ones that are essential vital part of the reproductive lifecycle of flowers. Still, even if all of the bees went extinct, there's still the other animals like hummingbirds, butterflies & others to pollinate. In fact, many species of plant don't even need animals at all, relying on the wind alone for pollination. It looks like the filmmaker didn't know that. Much like they, didn't even know, that male bees don't sting. On top of that, there's no such thing as a male worker. In a beehive, all of the grunt work is done by the females. This includes pollinating, defense, flying and even creating honey from vomiting. Really; the only purpose of a drone male bee in real life is to mate with the queen, then die. Nothing else! No wonder, why Benson is so horny toward Vanessa. He see her as the Queen Bee. That bizarre love angle was disturbing in many levels. Add murder-suicide to that list. Also, the idea the movie treats bee allergies as a joke is pretty bad. Making Ken into the villain, because of that, is stretching it. Much like eco-thriller parts. The film turning beekeepers into over the top animal abusers is so thin. In truth, Honeybees are not the victim under an oppressive thumb being exploit. They share a critical symbiotic relationship with human. However, I will get the movie, some credit. Without the demand, honeybee populations would collapse and fall into disrepair. That's only true thing in this film. Still, that very unlikely to happen, even if an American court case stops it. It's not the court can stop the rest of the world from producing honey. That's for sure. In spite of that, I have to give the movie, other credits. At least, the story wasn't predictable. It was somewhat entertaining at parts. Some of the jokes did land, like shooting Winnie-the-Pooh with a tranquilizer dart! How did that, get past Disney's radar? However, most of the humor falls flat. As for the characters. They are too unlikeable. Even the voice acting was a little too hammy. The lead playing himself in the film, through bee form was disappointing & the animation hasn't aged well. Even with the over marketing. The movie falls slightly below expectations. Overall: It's one of the worst computer animated movies, DreamWorks ever produce. However, it's not the worst animated movie about a bee that year. 2007's 'Plan Bee' takes that prize. Now, that's one film worth smashing with a fly swatter! 'Bee Movie', I just repellant, from even watching again. It's not good.

Flight 93 (2006)

We can never truly repay our fallen heroes, the least, we could do is honor them by telling their story. This movie was a soaring success. On the morning of September 11, 2001, one of the deadliest attacks in U.S. history took place when four commercial airliners were hijacked by members of the Islamic terrorism group, al-Qaeda. The first two planes, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, were flown into the two towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. A third plane, American Airlines Flight 77, hit the western side of the Pentagon, just outside Washington, D.C. The fourth hijacked plane, United Airlines Flight 93 was the only flight, never to reach its intended target, because its crew and passengers fought back. This TV Movie directed by Peter Markle & aired on the A&E Network in 2006, tells the story of how they were able to prevent the terrorists, from carrying out their mission to use the aircraft as an airborne weapon, and how their noble courage and sacrifice, save the lives of countless Americans on that day. Without spoiling the film, too much, the movie didn't stir jingoism or xenophobia to the point that it got annoying. It was not too propaganda or shallow. As for the religionist overtones. Besides the lord prayer scene, religion wasn't the main focus of the film. 'Flight 93' was not promoting a stereotypical Christian or Muslim agenda, at all. If anything, it was too 'on the nose' on the value of loving others rather than faith. A good example of this, was all those repetitive mawkish shots of domestic members holding babies, while, ignoring children, run around; while the events play out. We get it, childhood's innocence was indeed lost that day. We didn't need all those shots of children to get, that the victims had families. The phone calls with the wives, husbands, and parents were strong enough. There was considerable intensity, especially in the passengers and their families realizing that death is inevitable & a choice to stop the terrorist had to be made. This is a complex and loaded dilemma, dealing with self-sacrifice and mortality that really made the movie's moral message, sophistical. All those highly sensitive moments made the victims & their families really stand out. However, some of those sequences were so badly acted by the supporting cast, that the emotional felt tacky at times. While, the movie might seem exploitation by showing these sequences, the film was made with the cooperation of all of the passengers' families with their blessing. Still, I believe that this film along with the others of a similar subject in 2006, were greenlight, a little too soon. After all, the movie was made only 5 years since those tragic events. No matter how solemn or respectful, the film made seem. It still inky to see it, being played out in any media. At least, it's not as exploited, as other films on the same subject. After all, director Paul Greengrass's movie 'United 93' was played in movie theaters for money; while, this low budget TV Movie was played in its whole runtime on a smaller network, without much interruption of commercials or ads when it first aired. It's a big different. However, I do agree that this movie lack meticulous, compare to the cinematic version hyper realism portrayal of 'United 93'. There were a lot of historic inaccurate things to nitpick about, like the clothing, the look of the actors chosen to portray the passengers, and the surroundings. Nevertheless, it didn't felt too distracting to the point, that it took me, out of the movie. In fairness, the film really does tries hard to dramatically reenact what happened on the doomed flight as historical accuracy, as it can; using recreate of audio from cellular phone calls and control-tower transmissions and not from nut jobs Sept. 11 conspiracy theorists. A good example of this, was the scene where the pilots of the commercial aircraft had received a warning against possible cockpit intrusion, but chose to open the door anyway. This was omitted in the cinematic version. Another approach that I like, about this film is the way, it's shot. We got to see, more with the surroundings & how the flight from hell might have been for those who were up there to witness it. The use of quick cuts of the footage of the CGI plane model sped up, made the surroundings with the actors seem like they were going in a fast motion. It was well play; despite the low budget. As for action scenes. I like how the filmmakers weren't relaying too much on shaky cam. You can honest see, what's happening here, lending to its legitimacy. While, some of the shots might not be as cathartic as 'United 93'. It was still a gripping watch. Composer, Velton Ray Bunch's musical score heighten both the suspense and the emotion. This was really something missing from Greengrass version. It's just too bad, that the bittersweet ending of the film of people searching the wreck was not as powerful as 'United 93'. Despite that, I can understand, the daunting challenge of retelling the events of the titular flight with a cautious, apolitical tone. In the end, I can't say, the movie is entertaining. It's really upsetting to watch, no matter, how many times, you watch it. The movie only serves as somewhat a curiosity memorial, but at least, this TV Movie wasn't deem terribly an insensitive plane crash; hatred by most viewers like the 2017's Martin Guigui's movie or 2003's Brian Trenchard-Smith's film. Overall: 'Flight 93' serves a powerful, poignant reminder that freedom is not free and everyday life is a gifted, not to be wasted. It's a film need to be seen. Let's not forgot, the tragedies that happen on that day.

BlacKkKlansman (2018)

The invisible empire just got expose, how stupid, they really are. What an intriguing, surreal, funny comedy, this movie was! Loosely based on the 2014 real-life memoir by good nature, ex-police officer, Ron Stallworth, originally titled, 'Black Klansman'. This 2018 biographical comedy drama, directed by Spike Lee; told the story of the first African American police detective in Colorado Springs history to ever infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan, successful. Without spoiling, this semi-historical flick, too much, I didn't mind, that the story wasn't as authentic as the motion picture should had been. Most of the major changes the film did; such as adding an imaginary cop hater activist girlfriend, Patrice Dumas (Laura Harrier) or made up, Jewish surrogate cop, Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver) for Stallworth (John David Washington) to hang with, while solving a fictional bombing plot; work for the movie's favor, because it add more tension and suspense. However, having the events take place in 1972, instead of 1979 was a stylistic choice that was a mixed bag for me. While, I like that it allow a complex and impassioned debate about the portrayal of race in the media by referencing both Blaxploitation movies, as well, as political conspiracy thriller from that era. It does sway away, the struggles that Stallworth had to go, to accomplice with his main case. Pessimistically, this part of the film was often, sadly, delayed by other things, Lee wanted to shallowing show us first as well. Like, using film footage from another movie, 1939's 'Gone with the Wind' to open this motion picture up. Then, parodying a supremacy propaganda video with a minor character. Although, those sequences were unique to see. It didn't really help, move the plot, along. Much of the same, can be said, with the drawn out love subplot party scene. Did we really need to see Stallworth, dance to the whole song 'Too Late to turn back now' by Cornelius Bros and Sister Rose? It felt like time wasted. Even scenes that seem more important, like Stallworth, doing undercover work like infiltrating a local rally by national civil rights leader, Kwame Ture (Corey Hawkins) ran a little too long. No wonder, why it took forever for the case to take form. The pacing for this movie was way off. Don't get me wrong, I love how that scene is shot, with the lighting experiment, camera zooming in on close up of the bright faces of the crowd, listening to the organizer, surrounded by darkness. It was beautiful. However, the 'Tarzan' speech was kinda theatrical cheesy & forcefully heavy-handed. Not only that, but much of the 'take arms' bullet points, would be repeat, later in the film, anyways, in a jarring badly cut street scene where the black student union debate about having weapons at their protest. In truth, the lecture could had been cut down. Plus, we got a lot more powerful similar speech toward the end, with the film intercuts the KKK doing their rituals and watching director, D. W Griffith 1915's movie 'The Birth of a Nation', with footage of an elderly man, Jerome Turner (Harry Belafonte) illustrates in terrifying detail, how racism films like that, has cause an increase of real-life horrors of cruel and inhumane punishment toward minorities. Still, even that message, the film was somewhat muddled. For example, how on Earth, can Lee denounce one director's use of violent imagery, then, arguably does exactly the same thing, here, albeit from the opposite perspective? I get that, Lee doesn't want to shy away from making connections between the Klan Stallworth infiltrated in the '70s and the Unite the Right Rally of 2017; by having the movie open in theaters on the anniversary week of that tragic event, but having his protagonists, pull out guns and point them at the camera while visuals of modern day racism, both political and national dominates the screen, isn't the right message to give people of today. Anger through violence, in all its enflamed and even cinematic variations, is an emotion that our world could definitely use a little less. We don't need to fuel a future race war. Combating racial inequality through nonviolent resistance would had been a better message to the movie with. Regardless of the mixed moral principles of the director, I found Stallworth to be morally sounded character. Thanks from solid dramatic acting chops from Washington during the serious moments of the film. Stallworth is truly dedicated, good-hearted guy who is stuck in rock and hard place; when it comes to his moral duty. Some people think of him, as a traitor to his race, for being a cop, while others, embraced his courage for taking on the KKK. His struggles was compelling. As for actor's comedic side. It did felt like a variety act to the point, that I did mistake him for Chris Redd at certain moment. Nevertheless, his delivery of humor was hilarious, especially with Stallworth interactions with Klan's Grand Wizard, David Duke (Topher Grace) over the phone & during the infamous photography scene. As for the supporting cast. They were equally as good as Washington, both comically and dramatically, with Adam Driver, standing out the most. As for the music. Composer, Terence Blanchard gave out, one of his best. What a haunting, but funky melody. Plus, his use of catchy R&B culture from the 1970s was well capture. Overall: While, I have furthermore, unnamed nitpicks of historical inaccuracies & problems with film message, that I didn't have time or room to mention, here. I still found this movie as one of Spike Lee's best works to the point that I'm willing to gloss over it. It's highly recommended, even if the film is target at an urban African-American audience. It still does have the appeal to many people, pass racial and ethnic lines. Because of that, I believe every person who believe in human rights should watch this movie. It's fundamentally fascinating.

Full Metal Jacket (1987)

Oohrah! Full Metal Jacket. This haunted portrayal of war is insanity well told. Me love it, long time. Being a soldier in the Vietnam War era had to be rough. Not only, was the war in Southeast Asia, a very arduous and evolving moral challenging affair, but going through boot camp for that date with the enemy was not kind. Especially, if you had to go through it, with a rigorous Senior Drill Instructor like Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (R. Lee Ermy). However, somehow, Private Joker (Matthew Modine) was able to get survive this, only to find himself, in a world of hurt, once he finally see combat, and had to make the final choice to kill or not. Could he pull the trigger? Watch the film, to find out. Without spoiling the movie, too much; this film was loosely based on a book by author, Gustav Hasford called 'The Short Timers', which he wrote whilst serving in Vietnam. Both director, Stanley Kubrick, and screenwriter, Michael Herr, adapted this book into the screenplay, changing parts of it. While, the movie faithfully reproduces the first section of the novel, "The Spirit of the Bayonet", with only minor differences in events and names. The second part of the movie change a lot of the dialogue, scenarios, and characters; by combining elements from chapters 'Body Count' and 'Grunt' & merging them into one to save the movie from a long runtime. Because of this, several key important sequences were left out or change, including: a character lapse into cannibalism, a tank running over people, and the real person, the protagonist has to force to kill. Because of this, Kubrick and Hasford did not get along, it got worst, when the filmmaker worried that the book's title might be misread by audiences as referring to people who only did half a day's work. In order to further distanced himself from the original author, Kubrick changed the title of the film to what it is today after discovering the phrase while going through a gun catalogue. This was finally draw, as Hasford didn't meet Kubrick ever again, nor attend the Oscar ceremonies when the screenplay was nominated for an Academy Award. Anyways, regardless of the writing dispute, the movie is probably best remember for the scenes at Parris Island, at the Marine Corp Boot Camp, as most critics and audience love Ermy's portrayal as the strict drill instructor. His over the top bellowing acting & the comedic funny insults to Private Gomer Pyle (Vincent D'Onofrio) were by far, the most entertaining part of the film. However, it wasn't his first acting role like some critics may want to think. In truth, he play a similar character in Sidney J. Furie's 1978's film, 'The Boys in Company C'. Honestly, if you look at both movies as a whole, you would find a lot of similarities between them besides Ermy, to the point, that some critics believe that Kubrick & Hasford might have stolen ideas from Furie's work, or Furie's adapted Hasford's story without giving him, credit. It's hard to tell, who is the right and who is the wrong. All, I know, is both films, showcase the exposition of dehumanization & the loss of individuality and that catapults into men into fighting machines so well, with this movie's boot camp sequences being a little more accurate. Psychological & mentally conditioning techniques like the ones, show in the film, are indeed used to sharpen recruits, in order for them to obey all orders, work together, face mortal danger, and kill their opponents in battle. However, I really doubt, much of physically hitting used by Hartman is allowed, even back then, without embroiled in controversy. As for the film's portrayal of marines in Vietnam. It could easily be mistaken for another film, as the footage looks and feels like other over the top, somewhat cartoony, Vietnam War films from that era, including 1979's film 'Apocalypse Now'. While, it's true, heinous acts were commit by some of them. Nevertheless, most of the vets out there, were highly discipline and acted accorded to qualities of what a good combatant should be. In short, they were more like the realism soldiers in 1986's film 'Platoon', than the shocking extremists of Francis Ford Coppola's movie. Regardless of that, the movie does a strong second half, both in action and moral message. It does not all fall apart or seem disjointed as some people think. The journalism parts are great examples of this. They're very interesting, as the men interviews in a faux like documentary perspective really have no clue, who they, even fighting against and why. Nor if they really winning the world. I like how each of their answers ranges from topics like lack of sex, religionist duty to downright insanity. It mirrors to every coercive persuasion that people like Hartman altered into them, in order to reduce the subject's ability to think critically or independently. I also love, how it foreshadows, future events. As for the ending with the sniper, it's very much of a symbol of loss of innocence. No wonder, the movie ends with a satirizing military infusing singing of a children song. It's haunting. Even the catchy pop songs were very well used. Most of the music compose by Kubrick's daughter, Abigail Mead was also great. The creepy industry background music in the climax is one such example. Compelling as hell. Those scenes in Hae must had been difficult to shot with all those chemicals in the air. No wonder, why the movie took forever to film. Despite that, the movie is very well shot. As for acting, all the performers did their jobs; but D'Onofrio really shines, as he gained 70 pounds to play Pyle. Talk about going to great lengths for a role. Best acting in the film, by far. Overall: Despite some flaws. If you want to get some! Go see this movie! It's a poignant masterpiece. It's a must watch for any Kubrick fan.

Cat People (1942)

Looking back, at what the cat has dragged in. I can clearly say, this 1942's classic horror movie is still worth watching. When 'Cat People' was being made. RKO Picture Inc. was not doing very well, financially. Most of RKO's other artistically ambitious pictures has bomb at the box office; including Orson Welles's 1941's masterpiece 'Citizen Kane'; due to the WW2 & the wrath brought down by the William Randolph Hearst newspaper chain. Despite, well regarded high praise from most critics, with Welles's movie & his follow-up work, 1942's period drama 'the Magnificent Ambersons'; both films still went way over-budget & couldn't pay off the 2 million dollar loan. Thus, causing, RKO to limited any future production; to a budget of under $150,000; in order to stay afloat. Because of this, no adaptation of well-known horror works outside the studio control, could be used as a guiding stone for any new screenplays. Thus, producer, Val Lewton originally idea of adapting Algernon Blackwood's short story "Ancient Sorceries", a film set in a French village in the 19th century was no more. They couldn't get the film rights. This cause Lewton to turn to his own little-known works to please the studio heads. He found a unique tale, within the pages of the July 1930 issue of Weird Tales magazine; in which, his adventure short story, 'The Bagheeta' was published. It tells the story of a young Russian man, going to the forest to kill a mysterious seductress who turns into a panther. However, this adaptation was still too foreign, over the top & way too expensive to make. Thus, screenwriter DeWitt Bodeen was brought in, to make it, more ground and simple. Instead of having it, take place, in hard to get to, rural areas of Russia, the writer choose to have it, set in then-modern day, New York City. Also, as an alternative of the highly fantasy elements of the original tale; the film version told the more solid relationship story, of an young married couple, Oliver Reed (Kent Smith) & his Serbian wife, Irena (Simone Simon) being haunt by the adulterous affair, the husband, has put them, though, and the sexuality anxiety fear of the wife, who believes that she might hurt somebody, if she gave him, to her sexually animalistic instincts. Without spoiling the movie, too much, in order to save more money, the story had to be shorten to fit in a 17 days, shooting schedule. Thus, sets from 'The Magnificent Ambersons' and other movies were written into the script, to be reused. Since the movie didn't have the budget for special effects and fancy make up work; an on-screen facial transformation like Universal Pictures 1941's 'Wolfman', could not be done. Instead, director Jacques Tourneur use film noir style suggestion. The use of shadows and lighting was quite astonishing. The use of sounds build a lot of suspense & set the mood and tone. There is no better example of using unseen horrors and draw upon viewers' imaginations, than the infamous indoor pool moment and the notorious Lewton bus scene. Those moments were pretty eerie. However, not all effects, were that great. The panther encounter with Dr. Louis Judd (Tom Conway) was somewhat laughable. You can really, tell by the shadows, how fake-looking, the big cat puppet, clinging to Dr. Judd was, compare to the shots with the real animal being presence around the office. Also the use of some foreshadowing tactics like the couple going to a Serbian restaurant felt a bit out of place. Honestly, it doesn't make sense in the plot for both of the couple to agree to go to a place, like that, when Irena trying avoid memories from the old country and Oliver being dismissive of her background. Despite that, the movie does a good job, making it seem like a psychological horror. After all, even, toward the end, you really don't know, if Irena's fears of turning into a large cat is real or just in her head. Either way, Simone Simon gave a magnificent performance as a troublesome woman full of heartbreak. The scene where she leaves, claw marks on the sofa, was intense. Nevertheless, I didn't find her, as a great actress. Her cat-like mannerism with her body language was bit cartoony. Her voice also doesn't work well, with this film. While, her French accent does sound foreign; it didn't sound, Eastern Europe at all. Still, she stood out, more than any of her co-stars; who are pretty forgetful. I hardly remember, Kent Smith at all. His character didn't seem, even real. After all, who in their right mind, marry a person, who isn't affection!? As for Jane Rudolph as Alice Moore, a friend of the couple. She was great, with her limited role as the final girl. Most viewers kinda care for her safety. No wonder, why the film went on to great success at the box office. It was such a hit, that critics who originally hate it, went back to the theater to rewatch it. Causing, many of them, to rewrite more favorable reviews in the weeks, following the movie's release. The success of 'Cat People' also inspired a sequel, 1944's 'The Curse of the Cat People' & a remake of the same name in 1982. In 1993, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". Regardless, this B-movie still can make audiences agitated & restless like a cat on a hot tin roof, with its ridiculous simpleton obvious spell it out for you, numerous references and allusions to cats. Still, some people find this movie, complex enough, that theories had been written, with some going as far, as saying, the film is a social commentary about negative effects of conservative within gender roles, or the fears of xenophobia communism or close-minded judgmental attitude toward sexuality. Regardless of that, the wonderfully atmospheric horror movie, is worth prowling for. So, don't be a scary cat. Catch the Lewton Bus, and go see this movie. It's worth checking out.

WWE SummerSlam (2018)

No sleep till Brooklyn. No wonder, why WWE SummerSlam 2018 was not well produce. Some of them, laziness give up & fell asleep on the day of the show. At least, the PPV wasn't a total snore fest. The visuals for the show; involving the 3D image model feature in the superstar's entrances was kinda cool. It look a lot better than the fake-looking ones, WWE was using for 'Wrestlemania 34'. Plus, I dig all the new costume attires and astonishment cameos from past wrestlers. However, it's weird to think, that 'WWE SummerSlam' is supposed to be the biggest wrestling event of the summer; yet, in the last couple of years, the bouts on the card, hasn't been as good, as the acclaimed matches of 'NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn' event, from the previous night; also taking place at the Barclay Center. It's always been really odd, to see this, as a wrestling fan, because NXT's primary purpose is to serve as a minor league developmental farm system for WWE. Yet, it always outshine the major league, in both its high quality of wrestling and captivating, in ring storylines. In spite of this, the main roster & crews has always try to put a hell of a show, with each year, wrestling matches, getting a little bit better. This year, was supposed to be no differ, however, sadly, the producers at the 'Raw' brand, cockily didn't improve, their end-game, at all, compare to last year. Besides the well-made contest between challenger, Seth Rollins versus champion, Dolph Ziggler for the Intercontinental Championship; which feature a cool looking reverse top rope suplex; none of the others 'RAW' bouts, ringwork stood out much, nor went over 7 minutes. It's a shame; because some of the talents here, can honestly, wrestle; such as Finn Balor & Kevin Owens. Yet, they're barely given, much of a spotlight; besides being spot-monkeys for bigger guys. At the same time, power-house wrestlers like Braun Strowman and Ronda Rousey look much weaker after their squash contests; because how much, their matches expose, their limitations. Everybody knows that they could fight a little bit longer. Not only that; but the limited length of the matches, also ruins the built up gimmicky storylines for some of these feuds, by being a downgrade. Things like the demon-war paint, and the stipulation for the Money in the Bank contract felt like a waste. Because of this, I have to say the matches such as, Balor fighting Baron Corbin, the RAW Women Championship between champion, Alexa Bliss VS Rousey, Owens against Strowman, and even, the main event, WWE Universal Championship between titleholder, Brock Lesnar and challenger, Roman Reigns were all disappointing to watch. It could had been so much more than it was. It's pretty lame to see that the pre-show main event, in which, the WWE RAW Tag Team Championship was on the line; between the champions, B-Team (Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel) versus the Revival (Dash Wilder & Scott Dawson), be a lot more entertaining than these matches on the main card, due to its creative ending, and catchy cheesy theme song. It shows, how badly the 'RAW' Brand screw up. 'Smackdown' was a different story. It save the show, from totally sucking. The New Day (Big E and Xavier Woods) (with Kofi Kingston) versus champions, The Bludgeon Brothers (Harper and Rowan) for the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship was a lot better than their previous encounters. The United States Championship match between champion, Shinsuke Nakamura & challenger, Jeff Hardy; while, not memorable, was decent. Even, the other pre-shows matches like the Mixed Tag Team Match between Andrade Cien Almas and Zelina Vega versus Lana and Rusev, and the singles match for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship; between titleholder, Cedric Alexander versus competitor, Drew Gulak were good; even if they both have similar weak pin fall finishes. I love, how solid & brutally stiff, the men were fighting in their matches, both in the 205 Live match and the opening match. As for the women in the mix tag match, they were fine for what it was, even if the tagging was awkwardly paced. Nevertheless, there were three other matches on the card that really stood out for me. One of them, was the triple threat match for the WWE SmackDown Women's Championship between champion, Carmella and challengers, Becky Lynch & Charlotte Flair. While, the contest was indeed botchy; the ending made up for it. Without spoiling it, the crowd was eating the heel turn, up. The other match that was amazing, was the grudge match between the Miz & Daniel Bryan. It was a wonderful contest that live up to the hype. However, by far, my favorite, was the WWE Championship match, between, titleholder, AJ Styles and contender, Samoa Joe. Everything work out, perfectly. The technical athletic performance & the theatrical performance storyline, they were trying to tell, with Styles' wife being in ringside, really got the crowd into this match. It was a masterpiece of wrestling, at its best. It was the highlight of the night. Overall: Despite the lethargic 4 hour running time & many disappointing matches from the RAW side, Summerslam 2018 didn't featured that much awful matches. Most of the show, was indeed still watchable. However, the show could be better. This PPV at the Big Apple was not that fresh.

Fragmentos de Amor (2016)

This fragment of a foreign erotic drama movie was not good. The melancholy nature of the film was also not really that entertaining. Inspired by the overall initial frame work from the collection of Middle Eastern folk tales, "A Thousand and One Nights" AKA 'Arabian Nights'; in which, a unfaithful woman, Scheherazade, tries to save her own life, by telling interesting stories to her murderous husband, King Shahryar. This Colombian movie tries to tell a similarity tale, of perversion of love; wherein, a desperate promiscuous woman, Susana Mejia (Angelica Blandon) tries to keep her disheartened grieving pianist lover, Rodrigo Borrero (Jose Angel Bichir)'s interested in her, by telling him, stories of her past lovers. Without spoiling the movie, too much, 'Fragment of Love' was not a good, directorial debut for Fernando Vallejo at all! Barely anybody in Colombia went out to go see the film, due to the fact, that the movie didn't get that much marketing funding from its government. At least, it was eventually distributed there, unlike other films like this, just being censored & forgotten. However, in order to get the film released, the director & producers, had to cut down, the violence, drug use, and any mention of politics from the movie. Because of that, the film wasn't as compelling as the novel, in which, it was based on. Colombian author, Héctor Abad Faciolince's novel "Fragments of Furtive Love", made the settlings in which the characters are living in, intense; while the film version is little more light-hearted & safe. In the book, Medellin, is a run-down city besieged by pestilence and disenchantment from the drug wars of the 1990s, the most violent city in the world, where the intensity of violence buried its inhabitants alive. Thus, it become a little more believable, that Rodrigo would feel the need to hear her, humorous past stories, in order to feel better for himself & for Susana to keep him around to feel safe. In the film version, Medellin is not only, not as dangerous, as it once was; besides the bombing in the beginning, but also clean & modern looking, and full of sophistical culture. It's jarring for them to talk about the city trying to cause them pain, when, in the film, both of the characters, are living pretty lavish lives with deep pockets, without much suffering or agony. They're not living in poverty nor relate to any serious crime. Besides their share love of music, there isn't anything really, anything connecting them. In truth, it was pretty jarring for Rodrigo to grow jealous of Susana's hedonism lifestyles, knowing full-well, that what he was getting himself into. It's like getting mad at the sun, when you get sunburn from tanning. It's idiotic. Not only that; but Susana's story telling skills are not that good. It's awkwardly brought in, rather than merged beautifully. Not only, are the stories, are told, simplicity, way too short to be thought-provoking or interesting. It's not even its lowest level; that humorous or erotic. It could easily mistakenly be thought as vulgar or unpleasant. To add to that, the repetitive flashbacks sequences rarely connects to what is happening, overall, in helping their own current relationship. It serves nothing, but filler, leading to destruction. No wonder, in the film version, Rodrigo barely got a fascination muse over it, before he became insecure of losing Susana to another man. While, the film was a lot darker than the book, when it comes to their association, making you, wonder, what sinister, and crazy depths, Rodrigo would go to test Susana's loyally. Their tense relationship doesn't really led to anything positive. You would think, by the end like this, that the main lead, would find his true muse for his betterment or completing lose all of it, but shocking, he's doesn't. The movie ends, pretty much, where it started with the main lead, fruitiness lost in a daze & depressing. As for the whole crazy death mask trophy/ anticlimax plane crash sequence toward the end. It felt just as much, out of place, as the book versions of events. In truth, the movie could had done a lot better without introducing these awful sequences. Despite that, the movie is very well-shot, however, it does come across, as potentially pretentious with the music, even if it's beautiful to listen to. As for the acting. It's a mixed bag for me. While, I will say that you won't be disappointed by the sexuality of Angelica Blandon & Jose Angel Bichir's good-looks, the range in their emotional delivering lines in Spanish was limited, and very standstill. The sex scenes, involving them, were not as stimulating, nor sentiment. They could had done, so much, more with their body language. Overall: I found this movie to be, highly disappointing, both as an eroticism & a drama. In the end, like any other fragments; this movie will cause you pain, very much if you get hands on it. It's really not worth watching.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)

Although, this movie is still watchable, even with its flaws. It has really fallen out of favor. It's not quite rex. The original 1993 movie "Jurassic Park', based off, author, Michael Crichton's 1990 novel of the same name, tells the cautionary tale of playing God by cloning extinct animals & its dangers. The story was so well told, that maybe it should had been, a one off thing. After all, how many times, can you honestly, tell the same repetitive story about genetic engineer dinosaurs, before the concept run dry or become a parody of itself!? Well, Universal, haven't scratch the bottom of the barrel, yet. Therefore, they made sequels includes, 1997's 'Lost World: Jurassic Park', 2001's 'Jurassic Park III', 2015's 'Jurassic World' and this one. Unoriginal written by screenwriter, Derek Connolly with help from producer, Colin Trevorrow; the film has the characters from the 2015 reboot, go back to Isla Nublar, in order to save the dinosaurs, from a disaster, only to find out, that the employer, who hired them, have more sinister plans for the creatures. Without spoiling the movie directed by J.A Bayona, too much, the whole idea of dinosaurs being sold as military weapons is just stupid. No military would take that seriously. After all, large war animals would be an economical and logistical nightmare to manage, especially when a random enemy soldier could kill it with simpler, cheaper firearms and explosives. They're really not useful in warfare, unless it's for biological diseases, which the film, never mention. Seeing them as weapons is just as absurd as building a theme park on active volcano. While, those scenes were indeed epic & in the original book. I really couldn't buy into the idea that carnivore animals would still hunt, while the entire island is being engulfed. It was really out there, unrealistic. Even if, they are extremely hungry, while, they could, very well, had been, most animal would still behave in a matter of flight during such an intense natural hyperarousal environmental moment. The T-Rex coming for the save was poorly written deus ex machina. The same with the loose science of convection of paralysis, wearing off. The idea that a man can not only survived, being shot by a tranquilizer dart, used to capture large creatures, but also have the strength to outrun, a few minutes later, from a very fast pyroclastic cloud, really took me out of the movie. Don't get me wrong, the director does know how to handle faithful large-scale destruction with gothic horror with confidence; but this story really needs requirement of suspension of disbelief to get through like overlooking the fact that the heroes didn't know about the monster in the basement. I wish, the movie had more build up or crescendo to the action set pieces. Even, mysteries like the whole twist toward, the end, with the kid was badly set up. Revealing it, during an action scene was not the right decision. It was disclose, a little too late. The shocking information did not have room to breathe. The audience couldn't take it all in. No wonder, why the potential emotional climatic decision of letting the dinosaurs live or die didn't seem so genuine. We hardly got to know, any good, grounded reasons for her, allowing those creatures to survive. After all, just a few minutes, earlier, that person was about to get eaten by them. So, the decision seem a bit loose, and made little sense. In truth, I would had love a lot more ambiguous ending, over this downer note. Another problem with this movie is that, it relies too excessively on the past tropes from this franchise. Thus, parts of the story become very recycle, predictable, and paper-thin. Don't get me wrong, I like some of the homages and nods to previous films like, seeing the Brachiosaurus & the rebirth of Site B; as they were emotional and heart-tugging great symbolism of birth and death. However, it's a bad sign if some of these, so-called new supporting characters are starting to seem like cartoon caricature of past characters, a little too much. In truth, none of them are that well-written. Most of them, comes across, as annoying, given their how much, time, the main personnel have to babysit them & the outrageous stuff, they say. If that wasn't bad enough, the acting from these performers are artificial fake. Because of that, these characters will make you wish, they get eaten, as soon as they're introduce. Even the main cast was not that great. Chris Pratt kinda works as Owen Grady, but the movie gave him, little to work with. He felt like a tediously infallible, dead-eyed action figure with hardly any complexity. As for his co-star, Bryce Dallas Howard, she was given less to do, with Claire Dearing. While, Claire wasn't quite a stick-in-the-mud as the last movie. She's inoffensive and unremarkable. Still, it was bit jarring to see her, care for the dinosaurs, now, after exploiting them in the last movie. Shouldn't Claire be in jail? After all, it's pretty much, all her fault that the theme park went into chaos. As for Jeff Goldblum returning as Ian Malcolm. It was just a tease, nothing more. Despite that, the movie still delivers where it ultimately counts: the dinosaurs. The movie has a vast collection of species, appearing on screen. Other redeeming qualities is the fact, that the movie pacing is pretty fast, and straight forward. There weren't hardly any slow moments. Also, it's cool to see that the movie does have more horror elements than the previous film, even if, some of them, seem too unrealistic plan-out like the bedroom sequence. The use of shadows were very well done. Practical effects and CGI are also merged seamlessly here. It was somewhat convincing. This movie also spared no expense with the music. Michael Giacchino's score was fine for what the movie was trying to say with its darker atmosphere. Overall: Regardless of all the faults. I still kinda enjoyed this movie. This is one dinosaur movie, somewhat worth digging for.

The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years (1988)

Rock On! The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years is balls to the wall, interesting. Dust off, your vinyl collection, it's time to rock out to the glam hair bands of the 1980s. Much like the original movie, 1981's 'The Decline of Western Civilization', and its later sequel, 1998's 'the Decline of Western Civilization Part III", also directed by Penelope Spheeris. The second film of trio musical documentaries of hers, is less about, why & how the music scene, came to be, but more on the positive & negative effects of the hedonism lifestyle choices, the people involved with it, has taken. Featuring interviews with such popular musical acts like Kiss, Aerosmith, Poison, Alice Cooper, & others, also showcasing up and coming, unknown bands, like London, Lizzy Borden, Odin and Seduce through musical performances; the documentary electrifyingly chronicled the hair metal scene, from 1986 until 1988. Without spoiling the film, too much, I was deeply surprised, how many marquee names, the documentary has for a 1 hour and 33 minute movie. It's a who's who of prominent rockstars from that era of music. It was pretty cool to see them, all in one movie. However, I would had love to see more emphasis on getting acts like Guns & Roses, Quiet Riot, Val Halen, and Mötley Crüe to name a few, into the documentary to make the LA music settling, more personal & grounded. Scenes like involving the Rainbow Bar & Grill & Gazzarri's Club felt lacking, because of those bands absence. Besides, Motorhead's Lemmy, the famous musicians in the film, barely related to those locations; so scenes like the dancing contest at Gazzarri's come across as jarring and time-wasting. All of those talking sequences with the club promoters could had been cut; along with the die-hard fans spilling useless knowledge. The movie is already crammed with so many talking heads. So, why waste time on them? When Spheeris could had done, better, by getting those bands, I mention, to speak. Maybe, these bands could had given the film, a more in-depth insightful look into what it takes to be, in a hair metal band in Los Angeles; instead of, the silly surface level, highly repetitive, deadpan humor information, we, the audience, got, from these airheads. Because of this, the film felt more about a mockumentary like 1984's comedy film, 'This is Spinal Tap' than a serious rockumentary like VH1 TV Series 'Behind the Music' (1997-2014). We never truly get the serious emotional & informative complexities; a documentary like this, should have. Not only that, but it's not really that heavy, besides one, really off-putting, notorious interview with a drunken, Chris Holmes from WASP. The movie doesn't really expose much, the harsher, darkest side of the industry like the sexism, violence or living in a life full of excess. Nor, was the subject material, even that metal. Where were the performers, usually with fast percussive beats and low-register guitar riffs, overlaid with shredding-style lead work? The only one, I notice was Megadeth. Don't get me wrong, some of the songs have highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, with singers singing with overall loudness; but most of the time, it sound like something from glam rock. The lyrics is another thing doesn't sound metal. Most metal songs often deal with social issues and criticism of the Establishment, using direct and denunciatory language, an approach borrowed from hardcore punk. Songs like "Cathouse" & "Bathroom Wall" were not only cheesy, but felt out of place. In truth, the subtitle for the movie should had been call 'the hair metal years', than the latter. Regardless of that, most of the music in the film was somewhat entertaining to listen to; despite nearly sounding the same. Only one bands feature in the documentary, honestly irritate me was Faster Pussycats. The lead singer for that band is really, really, bad with his cringe-worthy creaking vocals & over the top aesthetic. No wonder, why the excesses of glam metal created a backlash against the genre; creating the rise of grunge & thrash. You kinda do see it, in the final performance in this film. It's very foreshadowing. However, the film doesn't really talk about the rise of LA's hip-hop. That was another big factor in destroying the glam metal scene. Overall: While, the film doesn't have the informative depths that something like 2006's documentary, 'Heavy: The Story of Metal' or the raw edge of the first movie in Spheeris's series; it still worth watching for the amusing musical acts and the hilarious sequences that follow, even if some of them, were highly exaggerated & staged, such as Ozzy Osbourne making breakfast scene & the amount of Vodka that Chris Holmes drinks. It's probably the most fun of the three 'Decline of Western Civilization' films. I just wish, it didn't jump around, as much. It needed a little more narrative structure, rather than rapid-fire series of interviews. Still, it's one documentary worth headbanging too. So, mosh over and go find it!

Fun in Balloon Land (1965)

This movie is really awful! It's full of hot air! No wonder, why the filmmakers & producers stay uncredited for so long. Nobody, wanted to confirm that they work on this movie. It wasn't until the invite of the internet; that apparently, news broke out that the film was produced by the Giant Balloon Parades Inc. & directed by Joseph M. Sonneborn as a sneaky way to get people to check out their parade balloons for rent. However, nobody really bother, seeing this movie at the time; causing the company to go under. Those, who did see this obscure 1965's fantasy children movie; mostly, though it was borderline unwatchable. Really painful to sit through. Not fun at all! After all, the film is supposed to represent a child's dream escape into the fictional titular location, but it's more of a nightmare. The place is really, really, creepy and perverted. As soon as the protagonist, Sonny, enters "Balloonland" AKA a makeshift warehouse, he finds out that, apparently the other kids who also went there, are trap in a coma; and the only way to wake them up from that cursed, is to watch two balloons figures, make out. If that wasn't deprave enough, a disturbing man in a sea wizard costume takes Sonny in his gold lame underwear to see his seamen & have his octopus threaten to choke the kid out, if he doesn't behave. This is follow up, with a scene where a bunch of children, dress up in farmer's clothes circle jerking each other, while dancing to music, in really bad jump cut editing. Then it finally ends, with a racism & offensive, Wild West sequence involving Native Americans, in which, Sonny has to fire his gun at a stagecoach. While, it's clear that the first 15 minutes scenes of this movie were supposed to be a harmless piece of fluff. The way, it was filmed with a cheap low quality grainy home personal camera, made it seem highly pedophilia. It was not good. At least, the last 35 minutes of movie is little more, watchable; as it's largely comprised of amateur stock footage of the Gimbels Thanksgiving parade in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from two year earlier. While, parts of it, are equally boring as the Balloonland musical sequences, there seem to be, a little more variety & talent here. Watching marching bands, clowns, majorettes twirling flaming batons & others people on the screen, is a lot better than watching only amateur ballerinas dance, poorly, any day. The only thing, annoying here, is the out of her mind commentary from the narrator, supposedly voiced by Dorothy Brown Green. Her easy getting sexually aroused attitude & drunk, disturbing made up stories about the parade balloons, made those film's part, seem very unpleasant! In truth, the movie would had probably work better, as a documentary, if they cut the first part, off & focus on the parade as the mantel piece. It could had been glorified time capsule. Since, they didn't do that, the film's structure come across, as a disorderly mess. There's little to no narrative thread to be found here. But wait! The film is still not over yet, as the film decided to pad out the remaining running time by including a game of remembering, what we just watch. Look, I know, this is there to encourage the children to participate in the film, by doing, what the narrator is asking, but it's also an insult to the child's intellectual. Most kids are not that forgetful. After all that, the film finally ends with the film's theme song by Frank E. Conner, being sung again, except it is sung in past tense. The off key singing sounds, just as creepy as the beginning of the movie. The other music in the film is just as amateurism. If that wasn't horrible, enough, the sound effects for this movie are laughable. A good example is the underwater sequence, where the foley for the air bubbles sounds like somebody taking a weed hit, off, a bong. Maybe, it was. That would explain, all the visuals in first part of the movie being so trippy. The special effects are dreadful. None of the balloons have animated mouths that make them look like they are talking. They appear static. As for the audio track, such as the voice over work for the balloon figures. Its sounds like people shouting lines across the warehouse, in order for the boom mike to hear, thus, resulting in a lot of echoes. It was all over the place. Sometimes, the volume was way too loud; other times, it sounds like helium mice are talking. As for the acting. The child performers are clearly reading from cue cards. They, also look very confused on what, they supposed to do, at times. Not only that, but they look really bored, during the performances. Even the adult actors, look indifference at times. The same, can be same with the stage crew, who didn't even bother, hiding their lighting equipment, set markings, and even themselves from the viewpoint of the camera. Overall: I can say basically everything about this, is just below standards. In truth, if you want to have some real fun; watch the 'RiffTrax' commentary version of this film. All the humorous mocking of the film is very funny. Regardless, this movie on its own, is not worth the watch. It's no 2009's 'Up', 1956's 'The Red Balloon' or 1935's 'Pincushion Man'. Those films were magically. That's for sure. This movie was just plain appalling. It can blow away for all I care.

A Quiet Place (2018)

I can't stay quiet any longer. It's time to make some noise about 'A Quiet Place'. A movie worth talking about. In the dystopian future of 2020, it's not quite peace and quiet for the Abbot Family; father, Lee (John Krasinski), mother, Evelyn (Emily Blunt) & their two children, Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and Marcus (Noah Jupe). They live in a post-apocalypse world; where creatures, attracted by sound; kills anything that makes a large noise. Things get a little more complicated, as the mother, Evelyn (Emily Blunt) is about to give birth to a baby, putting the family more in risk. Can the family survive all this, and save what's left of their humanity, or will the pregnancy of their mother, Evelyn, doom them all? Watch the movie to find out! It's really worth viewing. However, it's probably best, not to see this PG-13 horror movie at movie theaters; when there is a pack crowd. The highly talkative, semi noisy audience might be a distraction. It kinda does ruin the brooding tension and unceasing anxiety experience. Still, that alone, shouldn't hold you back from seeing this movie directed & co-written by John Krasinski; along with screenwriters, Bryan Woods and Scott Beck. If you can, find this film on DVD or Digital Download, it's worth the buy. The depth of the world-building with the monsters is impressive, given the limited narrative real estate. However, it does beg the question, how was the family able to get so much crops grown & electric to power their farm, without using heavy machinery? Nevertheless, the world still looks beat up & frightening; even if it's the creature design doesn't seem that original. After all, the monster in this, looks and acts like Demogorgon from Netflix's 2016's television series 'Stranger Things' & the Clickers from 2013's horror video game, 'Last of Us'. They're still scary. Still, it does beg the question, how much, can the creatures, honestly really hear? What's the frequency, along with volume? Can they hear farts, snores, and squeezes? Also, how is there still noisy animals in this earth? Seeing fishes in the river come across, as highly jarring. If running water running can cancel out, smaller noises; why didn't the family capitalize on it? It would have, made the birthing scenes, less painful & stressing for the wife. Things like that, along with character's other poor decision making; might takes some audience members out of the movie, for a bit. Nevertheless, the silent, but deadly premise is still pretty compelling to get audience back hooked on it; even with its outlandish moments scatter throughout the film. This movie makes better use of that gimmick, than director, James Wan's 2007 film, 'Dead Silence'. That's for sure. On the other hand, I felt, a bit disappointed, of the parenting subplot, the director is supposedly trying to build. Maybe, it's just me, but I couldn't see the allegory at all; as the parents barely takes care of their kids, only focusing on replacing lost-ones. Honestly, the movie would had work better, if they focus less, on the conflict between daughter & father; and more on creating a heavier, complex conflict, between the parents, over the idea, if they should abort, the unborn baby's life or not, in order to save their own living children. The film could had been more visceral with that; as it would pose, a challenging ethical dilemma, asking viewers if bearing a child; is still a natural and unqualified good if the quality of life surrounding it; is so deficient? Would it be still morally right? That should had been the message, but instead, the moral of this film, was muddled; by predictable & pointless self-sacrifice toward the end, that clearly, wasn't needed. The finale felt a bit anticlimax. Regardless of that, all the acting in the film, was pretty damn good, despite that the lack of dialogue. It's pretty impressive to hear that, most of the cast, had to master ASL (American Sign Language) for this role. Knowing some of it, I really couldn't see, much mistakes. Also, it's pretty good to have a real-life deaf person in the film to represent, the feeling of being a teenager's whom voice is hardly being hear, nor communicate against. That was a nice touch. Blunt as the mother, really goes through a lot. While, the idea that woman who just gave birth, would still have the stamina to shot a shotgun. Blunt's presence made it, a little more believable. Also, is it, just me, or is it weird to see John Krasinski's career turn from business-dress, funny everyman into a gritty, action star? I like this new look. Please hold for a moment of silence for Jim Halpert. May that character from 2005-2013's "The Office' rest in peace. Now, that we're done with that awkward silence. It's time to talk about the lovely way, the camera for this movie was used. The movie is well-shot. The action scenes were intense. While, the film unrepentantly relies on jump scares and graphic gore for its biggest shocks, it still manages to establish an unrelenting undercurrent of tension in the isolation farm location that hums beneath every scene, aided by some truly inventive sound design. Overall: Unlike M Night Shyamalan's 2002's horror film, 'Signs'; this 90 minute movie will leave the audience in dead silence, because how good, it was. Its money worth spend.

E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

Does Atari's 'E.T' deserves to be buried? Somewhat. It's really not a very good game at all. However, it's not the worst game, I ever played. If you were to ask any gamer, what would be the worst video game of all time was. A lot of them, would probably said Atari 2600's videogame adaptation of director Steven Spielberg's 1982 hit movie, 'E.T: the Extra-Terrestrial' of the same name. Most of them, wouldn't be wrong. After all, the adventure game has become a cautionary tale of artless corporate cash grabs. Designed by Howard Scott Warshaw, the video game object is to guided, the eponymous character to collect three pieces of an interplanetary telephone that will allow him to contact his home planet, scatter throughout six locations, while avoiding government agents & scientists wanting to capture him or pitfalls trapping him, before E.T's life force runs out. Without spoiling the game, too much, both Atari and the programmer, intended the game to be a high seller, during the holiday season, based on its connection with the popular film & innovative gameplay. However, things didn't panned out, that way. While 'E.T.' met minor initial commercial success at first, becoming the one of the most best-selling Atari 2600 game ever sold. It didn't hit, the levels, Atari has hope for. After a few weeks after its debut, nobody was buying the game, due to poor critical reception to gameplay, poor relationship with distributors, an increasing number of order cancellations, new competitors entering the market, and lack of a profitable marketing strategy to keep gamers, still interested in the product. Because of this, between 2.5 and 3.5 million cartridges went unsold. Soon enough, reports came out, that Atari warehouses were so fill with the game, that they started to give some of them away. That rumor, let to further urban legends, stating that Atari was burying the leftovers in the New Mexico desert, in shame. Surprisingly, that myth is somewhat true. In 2013, plans were made to find this burial, and in April of the following year, excavators indeed found that site at an Alamogordo landfill. However, the accuracy of reports about the burial, weren't as correct, as they seem, as 728,000 cartridges of various titles were found, instead of just millions upon millions of unsold 'E.T' games. Regardless, 'E.T' is still considered a major contributing factor to the video game industry crash of 1983 & the downfall of the original Atari in 1984. However, it's not the only factor as some of the general public may think. There were other problems, such as market saturation, competition from home computers, and global inflation that led to the crash. It wasn't until the release of the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985, that the industry started to recovered. As for 'E.T' video game programmer, Howard Scott Warshaw; sadly, he never did make, another game again. It sucks, because I kinda like, his other games, like 'Yar's Revenge'. I was really looking forward to his next game 'Saboteur'. The unreleased game really did sound cool, before Atari dismantled it. In truth, he did alright job with designing' E.T', given that, he only had 5 to 6 weeks make it. It's not unplayable. It's just time consuming, frustrating, and monotonous. Honestly, if you have the time to figure out, how to avoid the pitfalls, you might find this game, worth playing, if you want the challenge. Not only that; but the game does contain an interesting Easter egg. When the alien falls down into the hole with the dead flower he can bring it back to life. Repeatedly doing this will eventually turn the flower into the fly from 'Yars' Revenge'. So, that's kinda interesting. Plus, the visuals are passable for that era, even if some of the items and enemies are hard to figure out, at first. It's not that confusing, after a few minutes in. Not only that, the game doesn't have any broken controls like the rumors talk about. It's decent, but nothing really pops out. In the end, things like what I mention, kinda shows that this game did somewhat, get a bad rap. In truth, it's not the most awful game, out there. It's not even, the worst Atari game. It's just not that fun to play. Honestly, if they only, went with Steven Spielberg's notion of having a 'Pac-Man' rip-off. Maybe, I would play this game, more. However, seeing how the negations took so long, regardless of the production. Even that version of the game would had been crappy, due to its rushed nature and bluntly studio inferences. In conclusion, the license to make the game is still 20 million down the drain. Like any diehard fans, most of us, would rather watch the movie, than play any video game adaptation of 'E.T', any day. While, I might not pick up the controller. This game is not worth tossing in the trash. It's deserve being buried in a video game collection.

Incredibles 2 (2018)

While, this sequel was not as incredible as the first movie. It's still a good watch. Following the success of 2004's Pixar Animation Studio's computer-animated superhero film 'The Incredibles', Walt Disney Pictures really wanted a sequel. However, writer & director, Brad Bird held off development to do other films. It wasn't until his last movie, 2015's 'Tomorrowland', bomb at theaters, that he returned to the project, in order to make the producers happy, while also try to salvage what left of his career. Because of that, I don't think, personally, Bird had the same heart & desirer for this, like he had, during the original. After all, it kinda shows in this film's script. Without spoiling the movie, too much, the story is pretty much a rethread, just with more poorly done foreshadowing and callbacks. Instead of Mr. Incredible/Bob Parr (Voiced by Craig Nelson) being recruited by a private company to do superhero work. This time, it's his wife, Helen/Elastigirl (Voiced by Holly Hunter) being chosen to, and now, Bob is the one, stuck at home, stressing out, while taking care of the kids. The only few differences comes from the overall tone. The first movie's is a little more fun & unique, as it portray superheroes in an bright, gratuitous 1960s spy genre adventure style, while the sequel takes the more murky atmospheric neo noir pulp detective mixed with 'Body Snatchers' horror approach to the main story. Because of that, the movie's vibrant, retro mid-century designs are not that endearingly nor as beautiful to look at, like the original. Thus, making the movie, a bit misty. Parts of the movie, was even hard to watch for some audiences, as the strobe lights used in the villain fight scenes cause them to suffer epilepsy. As for the rest of the action. While, less violent & fewer body count than the first movie, it was entertaining, but it lacks the overall family dynamics for a film called 'Incredibles 2'. They barely team up in this film. It's sad, because the climactic battle of the original, made them seem like they would fight crime together, regardless, what laws may say, and what challenges may come. Yet, the sequel drawn out, unnecessary excuses for the family, not to. It's highly annoying, because, the kids at this point, are very knowledgeable with their powers, when face with danger. As for the struggles of them, living in a 'herd morality' society. It's not that fresh nor does it make any sense worth continuing in the context of the last movie. That clash of beliefs has already been tackle greatly with the Übermensch through man-made technology VS Natural God-Given Abilities storyline from the original. It didn't need to be, recycled yet, again with a similar, yet predictable new villain. Nevertheless, I kinda dig the smart cautionary tale of allowing the perception of media to supplanted reality & dictated control of our lives for good, or for wicked means. That part of the main story was somewhat captivating to watch. Too bad, it wasn't explore to its fullest, due to the many interferes from producers. Just think, how much more powerful, the film could had been, if they went with the original idea; superheroes vs computer AI. The same can be said, if they kept the baby storyline as the main plot. The idea of uncontrollable somewhat powerful toddler wrecking society with his body horror could had been very fascinating. Sadly, instead, the movie choose to moves around, way too much with too many mini different subplots. Thus, making the sequel, a little unfocused, badly paced, & muddled. Not only that, but also full of jarring plot-holes, bigger than the school on Saturday debate and the Elastigirl hypoxia question. After all, one of the hardest things to believe, in the movie, is that the family doesn't know, about the baby's powers within the three months, timespan, they spent together in a cramped motel. I can go with the idea that the villain from the last movie, not killing all the superheroes, due to them, not being well-known, but the idea that the family doesn't see the baby's abilities really did take me out of the movie. Nevertheless, the story, is a lot better than non-canon 2005's video game 'Rise of the Underminer', but not unique enough to outdo the 2009 non-canon comic adaptation of the first film. It was bit lackluster in creative in that sense. As for the jokes. It was a mixed bag. Some of them, flew over my head, such as the 'New Math' sequence. Being a millennial, I didn't get it, but most of the others jokes, were funny. The only one that I had a problem with, is the joke with the baby fighting the raccoon. It's not like the animal was stealing, anything of value. It was just searching for crumbs to eat in the trash. That sequence make the baby, look like a total psychopath. Despite that, the animation overall for the movie was pretty damn good. Since, Pixar no longer, used the same computer systems from the original. They had to create everything from scratch. Because of that, we got more crisp, vibrant and detailed effects. It really does look amazing. With the exception of a few performers, most of the original voice actors and actresses returned to their respective characters. This is a bit impressive given how long the production gap was. Not only that, but they were all great in their roles. As for the newcomers, they were alright. However, nobody from that field was really that memorable. As for the music; composer, Michael Giacchino's jazzy score for this movie was just as good as the first film. The nostalgic tunes were catchy to listen to. Overall: In the end, "Incredibles 2' still turn out to be, somewhat great; even if it doesn't match the majesty of other Pixar sequels. Still, I think a lot of people will enjoy this film. It delivers as much of the joy, pathos, and adventure as the original. It's worth the price of admission. It's super, too.

Vado... l'ammazzo e torno (1967)

This Spaghetti Western is somewhat worth playing. Just wish, it was a little more serious than silly. It got really dumb at times. I don't get why some Spaghetti Western critics and fans said that this film directed & written by Enzo G. Castellari, with some help from co-writers, Romolo Guerrieri & Tito Capri is a complete rip-off, of director, Sergio Leone's 1966's masterpiece, 'The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly'; when in truth, it's really does not mirror that film that well. Don't get me wrong, the concept of three corrupt gunmen having to team up, and double-crossing each other in a cat and mouse game, in order to find ambiguous clues of the whereabouts of a hidden treasure, does sound familiar. Plus, the way, this film was shot, with certain scenes in very extreme close up or drawn out to stage gun sequences, with hands slowly reaching the holster, might look like it came from Leone's work; but the similarities end there. For starters, this movie doesn't have anti-war message, like the others, as the film isn't set during any period of historical wartime. Also it doesn't focus, too much on military supporting characters and their sense of morality. They barely made appearances after the first half. Instead, the movie focus on a group of bankers, and their morality bankrupt ways in getting the gold; along with Mexican gang members who willing to betray, one another for the chance to get near it; as surrounding characters. Another big different is that this movie doesn't do a good job, deconstruction the old west romanticism like Leone, did with his gritty, over violent action sequences. This film somewhat lost some realistic ground, with it's over the top cheesy fake-looking gymnastic trampoline style stunt work & pulp adventure style sound effects during fist fights. There are even comedy sequences where people fight in their underwear, in a bathhouse, and in a saloon with a midget helping out the protagonists. It's all quite ridiculous. Plus, these scenes practically derail the main story, as it adds to the runtime, as mindless filler. Because of that, it made the movie, so badly paced. Nevertheless, my main beef with this movie; is that the director doesn't seem to know exactly how he wants to approach the subject manner. It's felt like a hodgepodge of childish comedies and adult driven dramatics. The direction was all over the place; making it, very jarring to watch. Regardless of that, the movie is very well shot. I like, how the director & his crew aren't unafraid to try different new things with their camera. A great example of that, was the reflection in the spilled wine scene; with one of the main character's entrance being shown in a vivid reddish background; like dip in blood. Another series of amazing shots was near the opening of the film, with the train chuffing along the railway tracks in goldish dusk with distant mountain peaks rearing up dramatically in the background. It was spectacular. It gave the audience, a sense of foreshadowing, on what would happen, next. The ambush action sequence, that follow it, was truly, the best scene in the film. Sadly, the climatic Mexican standoff scene toward the end was not so memorable. It was highly buffoonery. Still, I have to give, props to the main trios of actors. You never know what their characters were going to do or say. George Hilton's wry and scuffed turn is solid as the ambiguous stranger was decent. Italian's Gilbert Roland adds presence and weight to the film and is effectively sly and dangerous as Montero. Not only that, but Roland also brings class and intelligence to his role. He look & felt like sophistical, Clark Gable-like villain. By far, the best performer in the film. While, Byrnes's boyish hair look quite ridiculous, the actor gives a poised performance as Clayton. It still holds up well for somebody that started his career in soaps. As for the rest of the supporting cast. Gerard Herter, Pedro Sanchez and Ivano Staccioli provide able support. While, Stefania Careddu AKA Kareen O'Hara doesn't get much to do. She truly was nice eye candy. In the end, the film had very excellent performances, overall. As for the music. The composition by composer, Francesco De Masi was a mixed bag. The opening song was catchy with it simple lyrics and loud guitar riffs. Yet, the circus like music that played during the fistfights felt bizarre and highly dopy. As for the rest of the music, it felt very average & somewhat forgettable. Not as iconic, as composer, Ennio Morricone's music from 'the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly'. That's for sure. Still, I kinda dig how this movie opens up with three minor caricature of characters from that movie getting gunned down by 'the Stranger'. While, this scene was indeed pointless, as the rest of the film has nothing to do with it. It was a really well-done moment that tries to show, that there is a new badass in the Wild West, even if this later movie isn't as well known. After all, this film did it, a lot better, than the awful opening to 1967's 'Little Rita of the West', which really lampoon, the genre, by having a pop singer kill the well-known harden criminals. It's just sad that there isn't much, good picture & audio quality copies of this film, out there. A lot of the lower priced DVDs will have distinct audio hissing & poor color saturation. Some of them, like the cheap box set collections from Mill Creek and St. Claire are really in bad shape, as they're not presented in widescreen nor great dubbing. Then, there are those foreign DVD copies, under the film's alternatives titles 'Blood River', 'Glory, Glory Hallelujah', '300.000', 'For a Few Bullet More', 'Go Kill and Come Back', that impossible to watch, due to how out of sync, the languages are. Regardless, if you can find yourself, a good copy. This movie is still worth the watch, even if some of the action scenes & jokes don't leave you with a bang.

WCW the Great American Bash (1991)

This pro-wrestling pay per view was not great at all! Not even close. It belong in the trash. This event held in Baltimore MD, is a great example of everything wrong with WCW (World Championship Wrestling); horrible booking, majority of bad matches, and a severe lack of compelling story being told. It was painful to sit through & watch. If you don't believe me, let's start with the opening contest; P.N. News and Bobby Eaton facing off against the team of Steve Austin & Terrance Taylor in a scaffold 'capture the flag' match. Not only, did WCW officials shot themselves in the foot, by booking an extremely gimmicky stipulation with four wrestlers, not known for their daredevil highflying performances; but they also severe handicap those talents by having the plywood scaffold, only three feet wide. This cause the match to be, contested in a very slow, lumbering safe pace as none of the wrestlers were willing to take a risky big bump fall from the platform. Not only that; but the awkward ending with the hairspray was all screw up, as it look like somebody miss their cue. The next match, which had roidy, Diamond Stud/Scott Hall taking on the Z-Man was just below average. Having, manager, Diamond Dallas Page at ringside didn't really help, as this short contest, was very botchy. Nevertheless, the fight wasn't as big of a joke, as the next contest, which saw Oz AKA Kevin Nash facing Ron Simmons in a very slow botch fest. It was meh. However, the theatrical entrance for 1939's 'Wizard of Oz' character was somewhat entertaining, in a guilty pleasure, kind of a way. It was just silly & surreal, to the point that I really didn't care that the gimmick didn't look like the movie counterpart. The curtain castle backdrop & costume look awesome. Sadly, the bizarre stint as the Wizard of Oz didn't last long, after this, as Nash was moved into a gambler gimmick. It's somewhat disappointing, because Oz had potential of being, somewhat great. Oz could had been 'the Phenom' of that promotion. Anyways, this brings us to the next match on the card, which saw the Rock & Roll express members (Robert Gibson & Richard Morton) split up and fight each other. This bout was pretty decent. I like the in-ring storyline about Morton going after Gibson's injury leg. It made the match, very technical. Yet, it was far from boring. I just wish, Morton look more like the bad guy part. It's weird to see Morton look like a Jersey Rockstar, rather than a snobby, rich, Wall Street broker. Despite that, both men really gave Baltimore, a show. It's just sad, the crowd wasn't buying it. Dustin Rhodes and The Young Pistols (Tracy Smothers and Steve Armstrong) versus The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael Hayes & Jimmy Garvin & Badstreet/Brad Armstrong) in a six-man tag elimination match was up next and surprising; the tag, by far, one of the most entertaining contest of the night. Very impressive moves combos. Sadly, the next match, between Yellow Dog AKA Brian Pillman & Johnny B. Badd, couldn't follow it. That bout was really hard to watch for all the offensive gay slurs, being tossed around, & the fact that, they are going with the tiresome clichés 'Midnight Rider' mask storyline. It was not a good time. Much like the next contest, the Lumberjack match between Big Josh & Blackblood. The only time the crowd came alive is when the lumberjacks were brawling with each other. Yet, another stinker on this show, along with the next contest, between One Man Gang Vs El Gigante. Not even the dwarfs that surround El Gigante could save the match. It was ugly. At least, the next match, was not. I kinda like the Russian Chain match between Sting & Nikita Koloff. It was above average. This brings us to the biggest controversial of the night. As you see, the show was originally to be highlighted by a Steel Cage match between champion Ric Flair and challenger, Lex Luger for the WCW World Championship. However, two weeks before the show, then-WCW Executive Vice President Jim Herd & Flair cut business ties, over a contract dispute & career direction. This cause the main event to be change to Luger and ex-horseman brother, Barry Windham fighting each other for the vacant world championship. However, since WCW did not pay Flair, back for the security deposit for the belt, Flair retained possession of the title and later brought it to rival company, WWF (World Wrestling Federation). Because of this, WCW had to commission a new championship belt. Things got even worst, for them, when a new belt wouldn't be available, in time for the event, so the company was forced to improvise. A Florida title belt that was in the possession of Dusty Rhodes was used and cheaply edited to look like WCW. If that wasn't enough, the steel cage took forever to set up, causing a lot of mindless ramblings going on. As for the match, it self, the crowd was not into any of the wrestlers, here & the wrestlers barely use the cage for any advances. In short, it was huge disappointment. Sadly, the main event between Rick Steiner versus Arn Anderson & Paul E. Dangerously in a handicap steel cage was even worst, as it was nothing match. It was sad shell of its former self, which supposed to pit The Steiner Brothers and Missy Hyatt against Arn Anderson, Barry Windham and Paul E. Dangerously, but since Windham was moved up to the title picture and Scott Steiner sustained an injury, the match was changed into a mixed tag team match pitting Rick Steiner and Hyatt against Anderson and Paul E. Yet, that contest was scrapped as well, due to Maryland State Athletic Commission not allowing intergender matches. Either way, this was not a good match to be the climax. Luger & Windham should had ended the show. Overall: If this was fireworks. It would had been a dud. It was not a beautiful showcase. Can't recommended watching at all.

National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007)

It's no secret. National Treasure: Book of Secrets was not as good as the first movie. Regardless, it was still a fun watch. When it comes to unnecessary sequels. This film directed by Jon Turtetaub & produced by Jerry Bruckheimer takes the prize. It didn't really need to be made. Everybody in the original film, 2004's 'National Treasure' truly did lived happy ever after. At least, that was the climax of that Disney movie made it seems. However, I guess, that wasn't the case, as this sequel; has the crew of renowned treasure hunter Benjamin Gates (Nicolas Cage) partake, yet another adventure. This time, in order to erase, Gate's family's ties of being a con-conspirator in President Lincoln's assassination. Without spoiling the movie, too much, while, the action sequences were compelling. The conflict & drive, for those scenes seemed a little forced. Look, I can understand, some people ostracizing Ben if one of his immediate family members done something wrong, somewhat recently; but judging his character, over something, his ancestors did over 100 years ago, is really stretching it. It's like hating an innocent modern day American, because his or her family, once own slaves in the 19th century. They have no control on who, they would be related to. Even if, Gate's forefather was indeed one of the con-conspirators, I really doubt, most Americans would bat an eye to continue to hold a social stigma, against the family. If some, of them, did, at least, they would be somewhat understandable & sympatric; as there are plenty of examples of living descendants of notorious figures from the past, just trying to live life as patriotic Americans. One such example is, Edwin Booth, the real-life brother of assassin, John Wilkes Booth. He just continued to do his job, becoming one of the most famous Shakespearean actor of the 19th century, following Lincoln's assassination. He was so beloved by the public, he even befriended, Lincoln's son, Robert at a very early age. Likewise, most people would see, past tragic events, like that, as 'water under the bridge'. Surely, it wouldn't make any current generation of Gates seem anymore un-American. Nevertheless, I do understand, why Ben was driven by a fierce desire to clear their family name of infamy, even if it's highly unhealthy exaggerating behavior. The value of good reputation is characterized as something worth preserving, even going to great lengths to protect and honor. However, it's not something, worth risking, life & limb for, if the grumbles are from a bygone era. I find it, highly ridiculousness, that Gates, is willing to break multiply federal and international laws, just to prove long dead 19th century people wrong. Honestly, besides one out of place kid, it seems like the majority of people in the film, don't really care, that he was related to a co-conspirator, if they continue to invite him, into White House, Buckingham Palace, and other famous social events. People still acclaim him for his treasure hunting skills than anything else, during the course of this movie. His name isn't really cover in mud, as part of the film, make it out to be. Because of that, I find his action to be jarring. Like really, what was his goal, anyways? How does finding a long lost city of gold absolve his forbearer from the crimes, he was accuse of? The movie made the quest seem a bit too vague, but if it's my guess, it seem like the crew bribe the government with enough gold, that, the federals look away or cover up theirs past crimes. If anything, Gates & his crew seem more like the villain than the heroes. Their willingness to lie, manipulate, assume false identities and trespass is bit troublesome. Nevertheless, moviegoers will surely, just be tempted to dismiss their actions completely because they were made in the service of an honorable end-and because the Gates family didn't intend to mean no harm. Still, I found their good nature request to be somewhat morally flawed. After all, it could had easily been resolved, in more quiet way, but I guess, we wouldn't have a movie if it was that simple. Regardless of that, the crew is mostly still mostly likeable. I just didn't like the subplot romantic argumentum elements that came with most of them. I found it, highly annoying. Still, most of the performers did fine work here, even new comers, like Ed Harris as the antagonist, Mitch Wilkinson. The villain was a huge improvement from the first movie. At least, Mitch was murky & creepy. Still, his heel to face turn in the climax was really jarring. The only flaw in what was otherwise, a compelling ending. Along with that, the music by composer, Trevor Rabin really adds to the suspense of that sequence. I love how the puzzles & heist elements wasn't as predictable. You really didn't know the twist & turns, the clues would led. It made the film a little more fun. This movie prove that smart, entertaining live action, adventure PG films, are still possible, even without a lot of harsh language, violence, & sex appeal to prompt people to take an interest in history. Still, it is necessary to suspend your disbelief at times, as nobody should take this movie as a legit American History lecture. After all, it is an action adventure film that claims that France & Britain knew about a Mesoamerican City of Gold in South Dakota for years & still gave up, those lands to the United States for cheap in 1803 with the Louisiana Purchase. Despite the imperfections with real-life history & its many plot-holes. I do have to say, the movie was compelling enough to look past its flaws. It really got you, into the sense of treasure hunting. Hopefully, a third installment will one day, come to fruition. Overall: With 4th of July celebrations, just around the corner, as of this writing. This is one sequel worth watching on Independence Day. It was a blast.

Far Cry 5 (2018)

As far as 'Far Cry 5' goes, it's fun to play, but could had been a little bit better. I'm not as blissful as I should had been. Taking place in the fictional open world of Hope County, Montana. The game developed by Ubisoft, has you played, as an unnamed rookie, law enforcement agent, whom job is it to arrest, a dangerous religious cult leader, Joseph Seed (Voiced & Motion Capture by Grey Bryk) & return him to justice. However, once your helicopter goes down in the middle of the cultist stronghold, you have to do whatever's necessary to survive & complete your mission, even fight back from those who wants to save your soul. Without spoiling the game, too much; a great deal of the first person shooter is very similar to the previous titles; in the way, you destroy outposts, free up settlements, and rescue locals help who've been taken hostage. The main different is, for the first time in 'Far Cry' history, the player can customized, their character through look, gender, and style of clothing. However, it rarely makes a different, as the player never see themselves in the third person. That means cosmetic rewards for your avatar, doesn't really matter. It's also sucks, that your character isn't given any background, defined personality or even a name. Thus, it makes them, kinda bland. Another thing, playing, either a male or female deputy doesn't play much to the main plot; which is a shame. The game could had two different storylines with that. While, it's true, that the player can go to any region & take any mission, they want, for unique take of smaller sub-stories. Nevertheless, the main plot still fall in a repetitive, yet tiresome familiar pattern of capture & escapes with many mission obvious being traps. It's really hard to avoid the triggers, and to compound the player's frustration, many of the cut scenes that follows, are not skippable. While, the voice actors for the Seed family did a hell of a job, making the villains seem real, by fleshing out, their backstories. Their preachy mindless ramblings about future, just doesn't hold any real weight. It's monotonous & flat. Also, downright confusing. I won't get into specifics, but the supernatural stuff, are very silly. The cultist concept could had a lot to promise, but sadly, it doesn't bear much fruit. This game wasn't smart or complex. It's was a little far fetch, muddy, & a bit jarring at times. Its need to be more organic grounded. Still, it's cool that the game has three possible ambiguous endings; two during the climax and the other in the opening sequence. Who knows, if Joseph Seed get his comeuppances or not. Regardless, all of the endings are awfully depressing. Look, I know, it's supposed to represent, the surrealism & separatism nightmarish dogmatic heightened political and ideological state, which the US was in, when this game came out. However, that isn't what most Americans wanted for an escapism game. People were hoping for something, a little more exotic to get their mind off, the harsh reality, rather than forced social commentary. Regardless, I don't understand, why rightwing conservatives are mad about this game. There are so many decent God-loving Americans characters here than villains. It's shown in the friendly 'Guns/Fangs for Hire' AIs. They're well written, fleshed out individuals. Still, they tend to have a repertoire comprises no more than four or five lines each. Sadly, if there is conflict, nearby, you'll start over, and you will be hearing the same banter again & again until it's resolved. For the most part, they're somewhat useful. The chances of getting a game over is impossible. They always revived you even the animals. Still, the friendly AI characters are remarkably stupid, at times; getting run over, by vehicles, you're driving, standing still in areas that are on flames, or getting in front of your line of fire, while shooting. CO-OP is a better choice. The only drag is host player will get credit for completing missions, not the guest. If you play by yourself, you can now freely unlock your all of your own advanced abilities by accomplishing tasks with certain weapons, instead of paying micro transactions to access certain perks that has been blocked off. It makes the game, a lot more challenging to play, even if certain weapons are not that enjoyable or useful. Sadly, skins and attachments don't really play a factor, as they don't normally match, what the item truly needs. Because of that, the arsenal feels a bit light. Looting enemies is troublesome, at times, as you might accident drop your weapon, rather than look for cash and supplies during battle. It makes ammo management far more tedious. As for the hunting/fishing system, it's alright, but it's not very beneficial, as most of the specific upgrade is now gone. As for the transportation perks; it's useful. However, getting the wingsuit and airdrop perk goes a very long way, at a much faster rate, than anything else. Much of the other transports, are highly weaken vehicles with limited ammo. Trust me! You don't want to have to slowly repair your mode of transportation, while waiting for ammo to be instantly refilled for a small fee, during combat. It's not fun. It's better to use that time, crafting explosives & health products. Regardless, every location now works as a fast-travel destination, which spares you an enormous amount of time for other things like Far Cry Arcade. It adds more gameplay, allowing players to build and share small maps that have single player, two player cooperative, and multiplayer objectives, using assets from past 'Far Cry' games, as well, as from other game franchises such as 'Assassin Creed' & 'Watch Dogs'. There will also be DLCs (Dead Living Zombies, Hours of Darkness, & Lost on Mars) & a live-action short film 'Far Cry 5: Inside Eden's Gate', and creepy, but beautiful album by composer, Dan Romer to look forward to. All of this material, shows 'Far Cry 5' is far from over. Altogether, this is one solid game that will make you come back for more.

Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

What!? You haven't saw this motion picture, yet! Are you trying to tear me apart!? Go see it! 'Rebel without a Cause' is a great coming to age film, even with its many faults! Loosely adopted from psychiatrist Robert M. Lindner's 1944 book, 'Rebel without a Cause: The Hypnoanalysis of a Criminal Psychopath', only by title & directed by Nicolas Ray, the film tells the story of an unsettled, lost, young teen named Jim Stark (James Dean), trying to find his place in the world, along with other alienated youths, after a night of heavy partying; only to find himself, being misled into tragic unfortunate consequences. Without spoiling the film, too much, this colorful wide-screen 1955's Cinemascope feature is probably best remembered for being the movie that made James Dean into a 1950's pop-culture icon. It opened at the Astor Theatre in New York on October 29th, 1955, about a month after Dean's untimely death due to a car wreck to great audience applause and wonderful critical reviews. It received accolades for the performance of Dean and the young stars who appeared. The film also received three Academy Awards nominations (Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Story). Despite being unsuccessful in winning any of those awards, the movie did deserve the praise. 'Rebel without a Cause' was indeed way ahead of its time in its attempt in portraying the moral decay of American youth, critique parental style, and explore the differences and conflicts between generations. However, it wasn't the first film to explore these issues. The idea that angst teen drama is an invention of the 1950s-part of the Western emergence of youth culture after the Second World War is understatement, and not accurate. Nevertheless, I can understand, why some film buff historians, retrospective, say the 1950s was the beginning. It was the era that Hollywood really did exploit this new demographic for ticket sales, but in truth, there has always been movies focus on the wild side of the adolescent demographic, since there has been films; even in the strict heyday of the Production Code. Most of the important types and tropes for teen film like conflict between independence and dependence, rebellion and conformity, maturity and immaturity; emerged in American cinema between 1910 and 1930, with rare films like 1923's 'Flaming Youth', 1933's 'Wild Boys on the Road', and 1937's 'Dead End' to name some. They all help show the dark side of the intermediate stage between childhood and adulthood, so well; while eroticized the rebel archetype. However, 'Rebel without a Cause' stood out more, because how complex & harsh, the existentialism subject matter was. There is no better example than that, then the class field trip scene at the Griffith Observatory; where the teens are faced with the hard truth, about the malaise feelings of living in a world without much purpose. Seeing the metaphor, of how tiny, life is, on Earth, compare to the unfathomable vastness of cosmos at the planetarium really does weight people down. It's no wonder, why some people found this movie, to be, bit too depressing to watch. I don't blame them. It's probably, not the best message to give to children. Most films, would probably use this scene, as tools to send a uplifting moral, to let the youth know, whatever positive things, they do, does matters. Yet, for this movie's sakes, it's work well to create conflict. It's here, where the movie, really does picks up. We get, why the disconnect teens acts the way, they does; even if some of their so-call reasons to rebel are ludicrous & somewhat dated like the protagonist. The idea that men need to beat up female; in order to show them, who's the boss, is a product of the time, where macho masculinity was all-time high. Nobody would bat an eye, these days about Jim's father, Frank (Jim Backus) so-called lack of masculinity. Every man cooks and cleans, today. It's not abnormal. Still, I love the film frame his father's milquetoast attitude and failure to stand up to his overbearing shrewish wife, Carol (Ann Doran), with him, looking much smaller & meek. A good example of this, is the stairway, where Jim is caught, between his constantly bickering parents about reporting a crime. Surprisingly, much of the movie's subplots, involving the three teens getting in trouble are Ray's attempt to come to term with his own failure as a husband & father; while also, confronting the sexual confusion, he had, at the time, that led to the abuse of his 13 year old son by his then-wife, actress, Gloria Graham. That's why homosexual was portray as a mental illness, much in the same vain with incest, sadist & psychopath in this movie. The idea that having such traits are bad & needs to be eradicate off, the planet, in order for more stable heterosexual relationships to blossom & fatherhood to champion, was his way to cope with the problem. Regardless, it is now view as an awful cruel way to end a movie. Not only, because the force love story between highly unlikeable & annoying undeveloped, Judy (Natalie Wood) & over-sensitive, kindhearted boy; Jim, seem kinda rushed, so soon after her ex's Buzz Gunderson (Corey Allen) death, but also, due to the jarring nature, it has create, involving John "Plato" Crawford (Sal Mineo) acting like their son. It's was too much stuff to handle; being cram in. Despite that, the movie was still cut, even more to pieces & banned in certain countries, out of fear, that it would incite violence. Thank goodness, the film's original US version was not. It was deemed "culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant" enough, to be added to the Library of Congress's National Film Registry. It was well deserve, regardless of the messy third act. The movie was still, very well-made. So, don't be a chicken! Put on your red windbreaker and race to go see this movie! In the end, 'Rebel without a Cause' still remains relevant, even today, despite the changes in teenage life and behavior all these decades. It's a must-watch.

Deadpool 2 (2018)

Grab some chimichanga and give 'Deadpool 2', a watch! It's worth seeing, despite some flaws! Like the 2016 original of the same name, 20th Century Pictures' 'Deadpool 2' is also, an R-Rated pop-culture spitting, raunchy fourth-wall breaking, violent comic book movie that is clearly targeted specifically at older audiences. Expect tons of extremely graphic violence, harsh-language, heavy drug-use and sexual nudity to go around. Based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name, and directed by Davie Leitch, the film tells the story of Wade Wilson AKA Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds), trying to cope after the loss of a love one, by protecting a teen mutant, Russell Collins/Firefist (Julian Dennison), from a time-traveling cybernetic soldier, named Cable (Josh Brolin), whom sworn to eradicate him, before the boy can kill his family in the future. Without spoiling the sequel, too much, if this story sounds like familiar. Then, you're right. The three screenwriters: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick and Ryan Reynolds basically borrowing most of 'Deadpool 2' story elements from far more superior rival action films like 1991's 'Terminator 2' & 2012's "Looper'. However, they didn't use all the familiar clichés & tropes, correctly; leaving many mistakes, plot-holes & misdirection. Things like the 'Rule of Empathy' moral message felt like confusing regurgitation half-digested rehash. The movie could had work it better, if the writers took the concept more solemn. You know, show more of the emotional negative burden & pain, Wilson has to go through, when killing people, in order to show Russell that life as a contract killer isn't worth it, rather than showing Wade's selfish doing it to get some tail from his girlfriend, Vanessa Carlysle (Morena Baccarin). That might work. Even better, make Russell seem like he had some likeable innocent that could be lose. For the most part, Dennison's character was highly annoying and nasty. Nothing really worth redeemable. Since the movie didn't do that, the moral ground seem a bit muddle. So, it hurts the overall, emotional sentiment redemptive message about family & sacrifice, very much. For that reason, I found the movie's story to be jarring. After all, the movie makes killing look like a lot of fun & rewarding for the most part. There is even, another scene play off for laughs, where a minor supporting character from the first film, craves for a kill, like a sick psychopath. It's a bit disturbing to see this movie champion his wish; seeing how many vehicle mass-murders, happen in recent years. The moral message in the film seem a bit hypocritical. Another thing that hurts this film is not so serious climax. The mid-credit scenes including the ending felt like a cheesy cop out; a cheap happy go-lucky end that ruin the strong savage, inhumane nihilism ending, it should had. And above else, it doesn't make any sense; as why could Cable turn baby face and use his time machine to save Wade in the first place? It goes against everything that Wade wanted to do, in order to meet up with his wife. Wouldn't Cable rather use that time to revisit his family, instead? It's seem a bit off & odd. However, it could had been much worse, if Leitch kept the Hitler baby-killing post-credit scene. That was indeed too squeamish. Anyways, the ending for this film, didn't have the strength that previous 20th Century comic book movies, like 2014's 'X-Men: Days of Future Past' & 2017's "Logan', had. It was highly disappointing. Also, those films, told the fatherhood & destiny concept way better than this film could ever do, as well. Honestly if you cut it away, all the fan service & jokes, the movie's plot is pretty damn simpleton & generic, rather than unique & original. This movie could had been a little more complex than surface deep. Sadly, the writers couldn't go to the next level. No wonder, why Deadpool in universe, lampshade the story elements as lazy. Despite that, the comedy side of the script bulges with rapid-fire one-liners and pop culture references to just about everything kinda works for the most part, regardless if it feels a bit forced. It's mostly hilarious. Jokes like the unfortunate demise of X-Force were funny. However, some of them, like the shot of Deadpool's vestigial regenerating penis is highly cringe-worthy. It's borderline child pornography. Others jokes like might feel dated, as the years goes on, such as the jabs to other present day comic book movies. Regardless, Reynolds as Deadpool dominates every scene, steamrollering everyone around him. Even returning supporting performers are all firmly pushed to the sidelines. Some of them like T.J Miller get little screen time. Thank goodness, because he is not funny. Plus, the sexual misconduct allegations against him, makes me, hate him, ever more. Glad, he wasn't in the film, much. Nevertheless, it's the new characters that really get to shine. Brolin gave a cold grizzled mysterious presence as Cable, which help the film a bit, since the writers didn't give enough space to establish much of his character's background. Zazie Beetz is also good. She was made Domino, into an interesting character with her demeanor, during her limited presence. Even the surprise cameos were fun to see. I enjoyed every last of them, including the Vanisher cameo & the gigantic CGI villain character voiced by Ryan Reynolds. Another thing that work, was the visual effects. It was improved since the last movie. While, the movie is less gory and crass; the quality of action is also a lot better. It was amazing throughout the film, with the train scene being a highlight. It was particularly witty and well-executed. The music by singer, Celion Dion was also great. "Ashes' was a beautiful song. Overall: I have to say 'Deadpool 2' was a watchable superhero movie. It's a lot better than the first film, big time. So check it out with maximum effect.

Flubber (1997)

This remake is not really good. This flub of a movie will not bounce back. It's pretty weak. Based off the short story "A Situation of Gravity" by Samuel W. Taylor, 'Flubber' tells the story of Professor Phillip Brainard (Robin Williams) on his search for an energy based scientific breakthrough, in order to save his college from closing; while fending off, rivals trying to steal his research for themselves. Without spoiling the movie, too much, I can't believe, this live-action, Walt Disney film was written by fame screenwriter, John Hughes. This is not a good use of renewable resources for him. The reason, why, is because the original 1961's film, 'The Absent Minded Professor', in which, this remake was based off, has not aged well since then. While, the concept written by Bill Walsh was fine at the time. It's not really revisiting; unless they put a new spin with it, like Universal Pictures did with their 'Nutty Professor' franchise (1963 & 1996 movies of the same name). However, since the remake directed by Les Mayfield didn't do much different. It doesn't feel fresh or unique. Honestly, if you saw, the original film, then you pretty much, saw this movie as well. The basic story is pretty much, the same. There were only a few differences; such as the settlings being modern and the recycled joke sequences were update to be more extreme. That means more, over the top, facial expressions, more cartoonish violent slapstick physical comedy & more in your face special effects. While, this act, injected the movie to a PG rated; in my opinion, the movie should had been rated PG-13. Why, because all the updates, were really mess up! A good example is how the physics defying green rubberlike substance, now, has artificial intelligence, yet the Professor continues to break its body down, ever more, to use as a propulsion device. It's like, if we still use whale oil to power our electricity; despite knowing that they hold higher intelligence over other mammals. It's disturbing to see. Not only that; but, like the main character from the original movie, this version of Brainard is also a downright cheater who put a whole innocent basketball team in risk with Flubber enhanced sneakers, without telling them. In truth, they could had all suffer, a lot more injuries, than they did. Plus, the smalltime enhancements in their shoes, kinda ruined the quick foot works, step movements, and pivoting twist & turns, needed for them to master basketball fundamentals. Not only that, the stunt will indeed give the college, some really bad reputation, whenever officials finds out; that Flubber product was used. Who knows, businesses might stop funding intercollegiate athletic program, over the scandal! Then, the professor by coincidence, kill his college, he was so willing to work, so much, in order to save. What an idiot! However, that isn't the worst thing, the character did in the movie. It's his downright inconsiderate behavior, toward the end, when he put his career over his family as his top priority. It's not like, he's trying to save the college, by this point. The big sell to the car company should had stop that. Yet, he's still working; during the wedding when his family needs him, the most. It's clear by that action that he's doesn't care about them. Because of that, no amount of Robin William's loveable quirkiness & forced, 'walk a mile in his shoes' empathy will make me, ever, like this character. He's just a selfish jerk. Nevertheless, he isn't the only annoying character in this film, with some unlikeable psychological problem. I really can't stand, Dr. Sara Jean Reynolds (Marcia Gay Harden); despite how good, the actress is, in other roles. Honestly, what does Sara see in him? There is no reason, for her to stay with him. It's like she was one dimension written. What a manic pixie dream girl! At least, she wasn't overly attached, jealous, sabotaging, deceitful, sentient computer trying to make love with its creator, while he sleeps, type of a woman, like Weebo (Voiced beautifully by Jodi Benson) was. That was some weird A.I robotic Electra complex crap for something that supposed to be a sweet, robot! All of her uncomplete love triangle subplot scenes, were surprisingly dark for what should had been an otherwise cheesy cheerful film. Regardless of that, her hovering sentience presence was a little jarring. It's really hard to believe, that Phillip wouldn't use her to save the college, even if he can't replicate the model. Keeping quiet on her, and not another sentient life like 'Flubber' doesn't add up. Innovations with robotics were really huge in the 1990s. He should had been a billionaire, when the film starts; or at least, Wilson Croft (Christopher McDonald) should had, since Wilson steal from Brainard, all the time. While, it's true, that McDonald is once again, typecast, as the stereotypical villain. He's pretty forgettable here. Still, watching the film; Phillip should had known, that Wilson is the bad guy. It's so obvious. Wilson even mention, his plan to Phillip. It's seem like every character was shallowly written. It's clear by the writing, John Hughes's heart, just wasn't into it. He just needed the paycheck. It's a total waste of his talent! He's better off, writing, then modern day coming to age comedies than silly remakes of 1950s/1960s family friendly kid movies. However, he's not all to blame for how messy this snot movie is. Editors didn't pay attention to the pace of the film, as there was way too many pointless scenes; such as colorful yet over the top dance sequence & the special effects look fake looking even back then. Still, overall: The film is a lot better than the 1988's television version, 'The Absent Minded Professor' that aired on 'Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color'. Regardless, neither remakes are as successful or highly regarded as the 1961 original & its 1963's sequel, 'Son of Flubber'. Those are the ones, worth discovering. 1997's "Flubber', not so much, it's an experiment that went horribly wrong.

Premium Rush (2012)

Surprising, 'Premium Rush' was not a bike-wreck of a movie. Even with its flaws, the film is worth the ride. At least for a rental. Made for maximum momentum & white-knuckle thrills. 2012's 'Premium Rush' is one entertaining popcorn flick. I like how it was all done on real streets without much CGI. Cinematographer, Mitchell Amundsen & director, David Koepp and his crew, including stunt worker, Austin Horse mostly did a hell of a job, capturing the fluidity of darting and weaving in New York traffic, to the point that we can't keep our eyes off. Nevertheless, the movie isn't a true climatic tour de force. Don't get me wrong, I'm not looking for classic masterpieces levels like 1948's 'Bicycle Thieves'; however, the story about an innocuous urban libertine, New Yorker bicycle messenger, Wilee (Joseph Gordon Levitt) being chased around the city by a corrupt police officer, Bobby Monday (Michael Shannon) over an envelope, the cyclist is carry; should had be a little more grounded in reality. The over the top sequences like Wilee's brain working really fast, to the point that he can slow down split-second decisions, by analyzing routes ahead of him, was really jarring. Look, I get that, he is a disenchanted Columbia Law School graduate, but adrenaline-fixes, doesn't make him, into Sherlock Holmes. If anything, all this cross modal attention will only impair the biker's visual attention and ability to make decisions, ever more; resulting more likely into a collision than safe passage. Meanwhile, seeing him crash into things like a 'Jackass', in his mind, really does take away from the thoughtful parts of the chase scene. I found myself, laughing my head off, than taking the film, seriously. The analyzing lightweight tongue 'n' cheek tone doesn't fit well with the gritty parts at all. It seem gimmicky out of place. Another problem with 'Premium Rush' is how it relies on an overlaid digital clock on the screen for the bulk of the chase, to show the time advancing from the start of the chase to the end to build tension; yet the movie laid back attitude toward key events doesn't feel like it could honest fit, between those periods of time. Are we to believe that, that Wilee was able to travel back and forth from Columbia University twice, go on detour, then walk away from a major crash, without injury and still able to have time do complex fancy BMX stunts, while escaping a well-guarded police compound, all before the 7pm!? I don't think so! So unrealistic. However, it's not the worst part of the film. That has to go to the giant bike flash mob scene. The idea that it can be formed, less than an hour, using a non-existing 'bike code' is dumb. Because, in reality, not only, would, most of them, be busy, doing deliveries; most of them are more likely to be independent contractors or work at rival companies. The idea that they would all pitch in, to harass a cop is abnormally impracticable. All of these sequences, mention, remind me of the 1983's film 'BMX Bandits', in how silly, they were. As for the way, the movie is presenting the cyclist profession as the most dangerous job in New York City. It come across as very smug and annoying like 1987's movie 'Quicksilver'. The stats, they're presenting are not true, one bit. Metro subway workers & cab drivers are more likely to get killed than a cyclist. While, it's true, that bicycling is such high demand in urban centers. Bicycle messenger is not popular. It has really fallen out of favor as a means of delivery, since the digital age. Because of that, the film seem dated, even for 2012. The concept just doesn't work. Much like the nonlinear narrative, the movie is presenting. It also fails to add any suspense; as there wasn't much, risky thought-provoking twist and turns. Obvious markers, throughout the film also kill the mystery. Because of that, the story was highly predictable. As for numerous flash-forwards and flashback. It doesn't seem to help much, as well. If anything, it really does slow the movie pace down. A good example is how the film is trying to establish that Det. Monday has a gambling problem. That montage of him, getting in trouble with the Chinese Mafia was a little too long. It really took a lot of screen-time away from the main plot. The same, can be said, with the futile flashback scenes with Wilee. The conflict with his girlfriend, Vanessa (Dania Ramirez) & his stock character, coworker, Manny (Wolé Parks) over the fact, that he lives a dangerous life; felt not needed; seeing how both of them, are, doing the same job as Wilee. It felt hypocritical. Also, its odd how never once, was there, a character arch with Wilee, being safer. The whole romance & buddy competition filler parts are just throwaways. It was disappointing. Despite that; Levitt was not that bad in this movie; even if his character is a bit shallow & stereotypic play as a cliquish, reckless, nihilist. Levitt's authentic, accessible charm make Wileee, somewhat watchable. As for the bike work. Levitt gets mad props. It's insane to hear that he needed 31 stitches on his arm, when, he accidently crash into a rear windshield of a cab at 30 mph, when performing a stunt. That was really crazy! As for Shannon's off-kilter performance. He was fine, but he could had been better. He mumble, way too much. It's really hard to hear or understand, what he's saying. It's not his best work. As for the filmmakers here, getting sued for plagiarism of author Joe Quirk's 1998's book, "The Ultimate Rush". It's clear, once you see this movie. These two media sources has nothing similar with each other. I glad, the courts, agree with me on that statement. Overall: Honestly, If you ignored the huge flaws of the film. It's still a worth pedaling after. You might find it, somewhat enjoyable, even with its faults. So, strap on your helmet, and go find this high-octane action movie. It's worth the rush.

Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

I had a bad feeling about this. 'Solo' truly did turn out to be very meh. This movie was not well made. No wonder, why this second Star Wars anthology film distributed by Walt Disney, flew a little low at the box office, compare to the franchise's first standalone film, 2016's 'Rogue One'. It really did a troublesome production, where, most of the movie had to be reshoot, due to creative differences between Lucasfilm president, Kathleen Kennedy and the original directors, Phil Lord & Christopher Miller. The conflict reportedly came from Lord and Miller's easy going time consuming style of directing; which often delay production; due to their wiliness for improvisation and taking multiply takes. Kennedy was also, very unhappy with the tone of the film; as the filmmakers were pushing for a more meta-like adventure comedy; while the president wanted a more grounded, gritty space-western with a flair of film noire. Eventually, the dispute became public and the project started to be plagued by negative press. It got so bad, that Lord and Miller were let go, and were ultimately replaced by Ron Howard. For the most start, Howard did salvage the project, from, getting shelf, however, the damage was already done. Since the movie had to be remade, quickly & released on a certain date, there wasn't enough time to market the film. Causing, the standalone film's first trailer being released, only 3 months, before it hit theaters. Sadly, the ugly-looking, pitch black, visual story of a young Han Solo (Aiden Ehrenreich) having to complete the Kessel Run didn't drum up a lot of interest with audiences, especially when another Star Wars film's 2017's 'Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi' was still playing in some theaters just over a month before its release. It also doesn't help that 'the Last Jedi' was highly divisive among audiences; as people started to complain about 'Star Wars' fatigue. Added to that, like most spin-offs, the movie isn't strictly necessary, as most fans knew enough about the man in the original trilogy to understand his plight toward being a smuggler & his redemption toward doing something good. Some fans didn't felt like, yet another film show be introduce, to retell that. Even though Disney threw out pretty much every Star Wars comic and book that was written before they acquired Lucasfilm with the dish water. These fans are just not interested in getting onboard with the new 'canon' continuity of Star Wars; due to its confusing, rehash nature. The franchise felt a bit staled & prediction. Because of that, the paint by number movie couldn't combative stiff competition from compelling, progressive driven comic book movies such as Fox's 'Deadpool 2' and Marvel's 'Avengers: Infinity War', that is every-changing their approach in the ways, they use their own content. Without spoiling the movie written by Lawrence & Jonathan Kasdan, too much; the story set prior to the events of 1977's 'Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope' is all over the place. While, it fills the answers to several call forward unanswered questions; there is little structure. It jumps around, spilling redundant information dump, introducing interesting characters; only to be killed off before we have time to get attached, in a series of filler action sequences. It's only, when we get to the second part, that the movie starts to come together. However, that frame work fell back, apart, toward the climax; when the Cloud Riders are reintroduced. The film took too long to find, its footing. It was so badly paced. Another problem with the film is the acting. Ehrenreich landed the dubious task of trying to live up to Harrison Ford's iconic portrayal. Although some people have praised his performance; I didn't think, he quite lives up to his predecessor. While, he was indeed charming, Ehrenreich doesn't captures Ford's smirky, roguish charisma. He was so bad in, getting the mannerism, that apparently, an acting coach was call it on set to help him. While it was probably smart for the actor not to try to do a direct impression, his acting was still jarring to me. Ehrenreich just doesn't stick the landing. As for the supporting cast, Woody Harrelson is fine as Tobias Beckett, but unsurprising, he's playing a role, he play, way too many times before. So, it wasn't very unique. As for Emilia Clarke. She was alright, but her character was never sympathetic nor femme fatale enough to really work as Han's would-be flame Qi'ra. She was disappointing. Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian was not. He delivers. Glover captures the duplicity and bravado, very well. He even drop his voice about half an octave and enunciating words the same way, the original actor, Billy Dee Williams does. It was wonderful. I can't say the same with his droid copilot, L3-37 (Voiced by Phoebe Waller-Bridge). She was highly annoying with her SJW feminism style jokes. Very cringe-worthy. As for the main villain, Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany). Too generic-looking. Don't get me wrong, Paul Bettany is an immensely talented actor and very frighten in this role. However, his character doesn't stand out, much. At least, the original actor, Michael K. Williams's costume and make up is pretty out there. This looks small; but the fan service is even smaller. As much as I love Warwick Davis & Clint Howard cameos. I kinda wish, more familiar characters like Jabba the Hutt & Boba Fett. Also, not having R2-D2 and C3PO there, was such a letdown. They appeared in every Star Wars film to date. Solo brought the end to that streak and it sucks. As for the surprise cameo in the end. He was very jarring for those who hasn't watch any of the Star Wars animation series such as 'Star Wars: The Clone Wars' (2008-2015) and 'Star Wars: Rebels' (2014-2018). You'd have to watch a number of episodes from both series to get his whole story. In the end; while, this movie offers some pulpy fun. This film was no tour-de force. It's not a ride worth taking. At least, not in theaters.

G.I. Jane (1997)

While, this movie was somewhat uplifting. 'G.I Jane' just didn't quite get my seal of approval. It was very mediocre. When Demi Moore, appeared on the red carpet with a bald head and a muscular built, for the premiere of 1996 'Striptease'. There was a lot of good buzz for her next big film, 1997's 'G.I Jane'. However, once the public got a hold of the film directed by Ridley Scott. The buzz turn into negative press. Without spoiling the well-shot movie, too much, one of the reasons, why this film didn't do so well at the box office, was, because viewers and critics, alike were under the impression that was going to be, a very realistic depiction of what life is like, for a woman to go through Navy SEALS training. However, the film wasn't like that. Actually, the movie was heavily fictional story of a Navy servicewoman, Lt. Jordan O'Neil (Demi Moore) being the first woman to enrolled in the Armed Force's 'the Combined Reconnaissance Team' (CRT) training program; a fictitious special operations until, that brings together operators from across all branches of the military into one group. Because of that, all the marketing for this film, including the trailers were misleading. It's hardly about Navy Seals at all! No wonder, why, this movie was called 'G.I Jane', despite the fact that the acronym is mostly used to describe the soldiers not sailors. 'The CRT' sounds like a team that a toy company like Hasbro would create, rather than the Department of Defense. Despite that outrageous figment artistic license, the movie training story is still not very well told. One such example is the out of the blue force action scene, toward the end of the movie. The idea that a national emergency situation, would require trainee's support, over years upon years, of well-trained, ready to go, Armed Force's special operation personnel is highly illogical. Not only that, but wouldn't it, make more sense, that the team that should support the U.S Army Rangers, in their mission, shouldn't be the trainees, but the Army's own, Delta Force or Green Berets. After all they're all in the same reconnaissance branch. Also, in real-life, any special operation trainee in any branch would probably take up to 2 years of training before, they ever saw combat. Such is the case with the real Navy Seals recruits. For them, they first have to go to Naval Special Warfare Preparatory School for 8 weeks; before advancing into BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL), training for another six months; follow up with another 3 weeks in parachute jump school/ plus 26 week course in SEAL Qualification Training (SQT), before finally, finishing off with SEAL Tactical Training (STT) that, normal workup or pre-deployment workup, including SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape) is a 12- to 18-month cycle divided into three phases with them going to many different locations. The idea that this film is presenting, with a trainee skipping school programs and leapfrog toward any training site, within a few months, with the same instructors, plus go to war, with them, is not bound in any reality. No wonder, Moore went so far as to call then-President Bill Clinton to try to get advice from the Pentagon for the movie script. It's clear that screenwriters, David Twohy and Danielle Alexandra, had no clue, in what, they were doing. Despite the unrealistic inaccurate depiction of how the United States military operates their training courses, I still have to give Moore, some praise. While, her acting in this movie was alright; Demi really did look the part. Because of that, I highly disagree with critics, with her deserving a Razzie Award for Worst Actress for this film. If anything, Anne Bancroft's performance as Senator Lillian DeHaven was the worst. It was hammy and way too over-the-top for the character she's playing. As for Viggo Mortensen. He does a pretty damn good job of portraying Command Master Chief John James Urgayle. However, the idea that his character would trumped up charges of O'Neil being a lesbian (violating the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy), seem a bit, out of character, but once again, that's the writer's fault, not the actor. It's lazy writing. As for the infamous POW scene, where the Master Chief beats her up and threatens her with rape. Surprisingly, those acts are justified. That's is what would happen if she was indeed captured by the enemy. While, there are those, who particular annoyed by this, because instructors are not supposed to physically abuse recruits. Under SERE-C, it's possible that it could happen, however, very unlikely under regular SERE training. Especially if the trainee outrank the Master Chief; such as O'Neil being a Lieutenant. So that was a bit odd. As for her having mistreatment from other recruits. It also could happens, as shown in real-life scandals like 'Tailhook', but it's likewise very rare, due to trust and teamwork being so vital in the military. Still, no one can deny, there is some sexism in the Armed Forces; after all, women weren't allowed to serve in any special operation roles, until January 2016; which is kinda depressing, because, when it comes to utilizing women in those fields; the United States is in the dark ages, compare to countries; which already had a number of female soldiers holding their own, reaching and surpassing the standards of their duties. As of this date of this writing, there has yet to be a natural born female to join the Navy Seals; which is sad, because everybody should had the fighting chance to serve their nation, if they want to. The idea of women having not enough brawn power to be in special operation is really outdate excuse. The majority of missions don't fail, because of the lack of man power. They flop, because the lack of smart strategies and misused of resources. Much like this movie. Regardless, of that, I hope, this movie's positive message would encouraged women to fight. Maybe, one day, there will be a good real-life 'G.I Jane' story to tell than this fictional half-ass version. One can hope.

The Simpsons Movie (2007)

Call me, Mr. Burns, because I thought, the Simpson Movie was 'excellent' even with its flaws. There was a period during the 1990s when it was impossible to avoid the unstoppable juggernaut that was 'the Simpsons'. The animation show aired on the FOX broadcasting network was must watch TV! However, those days are now over. With adult-driven animation shows being more couple, due to the thanks of cable networks like Comedy Central & Adult Swim, 'the Simpson' doesn't seem as funny and unique as it once was. It has really became, yesterday's news. In order to spice up, the show's ratings; in 2007, between Season 18 & Season 19, the sitcom created by Matt Groening & produced by James L. Brook, finally decided to make a full length movie with their writing and animation staff, after sitting on the idea for so long, since 1992. Thus, the first real steps of 'the Simpson Movie' was born. Directed by David Silverman, the movie tells the story of the working class family having to save Springfield from the Environmental Protection Agency, after Homer Simpson (Voiced by Dan Castellaneta), over-pollution the town's lake. Without spoiling the film, too much, I have to say, it must had been a challenge to make this movie. After all, they had to construct an overall story that they haven't done before for the die-hard fans, while, also bring forth something familiar. For the most part, they kinda achieve it. Taking elements from Season 2, Episode 4: 'Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish' & the opening parts of Season 4, Episode 12: 'Marge vs. the Monorail', 'the Simpson Movie' molded a compelling adventure story that was strong enough for movie length. Unlike, their first try, with Season 4, Episode 1: 'Kamp Krusty' idea, at which point the movie plans were dropped in favor of a season premiere. Numerous other ideas were also attempted, such as the Simpson saving the manatees, which was later used in Season 17, Episode 1 '"Bonfire of the Manatees", and a parody of 1998's 'The Truman Show'- which was later used as the plot in 2007's 'The Simpsons Game'. Groening even expressed a wish to make a musical parody of 1940's 'Fantasia', which also fell through. In the end, the environmental dome story was chosen. However, there are some debate if this story is honestly original, as some people had speculated on a perceived similarity between this movie and Stephen King's 'Under the Dome' novel. Regardless of that, the biggest flaw within this story, is how much, the sub-stories are tiresome rethread. Seeing, Ned Flanders (Voiced by Harry Shearer) try to win over, Bart Simpson (Voiced by Nancy Cartwright) felt like old news. We already saw this formula plot in past episodes like, Season 7, Episode 3 'Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily' & others. Even the idea of Marge (Voiced by Julie Kavner) threating to leave Homer for being a selfish, apathetic dick, isn't really new. Also, the way, the movie resolve, these issues in the climax of the film, doesn't feel complete or fulfilling. If anything, Homer's normally idiotic, selfish behavior is still around in the end. It's clear, that the film doesn't know, how to do, character arches; as the epiphany really didn't do much to change or evolve him. In my opinion, the movie would had done better, if they didn't make Homer into such an unlikeable jerk. At least, the movie would be, more watchable, as we can honestly root for the protagonist, rather than being dragged along with somebody, we don't care, as much. Despite that, I think there is only one sub plot in this movie that wasn't really needed, and that was Lisa Simpson (Voiced by Yeardley Smith) falling in love. Those romantic scenes really don't add much to the main plot. Plus, her relationship with the boy never really carry on, the main show, afterwards. It was totally pointless. It felt like filler. Regardless of the flaws in the story, as a fan of 'the Simpsons', I can safely say that, outside of a few good episodes here and there, this movie has the best animation. There is noticeably more prominent shading, a broader color palette and conspicuous CGI abound, not to mention a handful of more fluidly-animated scenes which were animated in-house that was really well-put. As for the voice performers, they all do a fantastic job. Even, guest voice actors like Albert Brooks, Tom Hanks and the band, Green Day did an amazing job. As for the jokes. It was a hit and miss. Some action sequences were really funny & smart, such as the breaking the fourth wall opening act with Homer yelling at the theater or Fox running ads for shows in the bottom of the scene. Even, the political satire were hilarious and clever. I kinda dig the jab at NSA (Natural Security Agency) listening in, to everybody and the scenes where the oil companies playing Alaskans to keep quiet, while they rampage the state's natural resources. They were very interesting. However, there were some jokes that seem really dated or flew over the heads of most viewers to understand; such as parody of 2006's documentary, 'An Inconvenient Truth" & Easter eggs such as seeing a crashed ambulance near the gorge from Season 2, Episode 8 'Bart the Daredevil'. Those are a little bit, harder to catch. Regardless, the movie is probably best, watching on the internet or buying on DVD, than waiting for it to air on television; as it has been known, that certain sequences like the penis & flipping off the bird scene within the movie has be cut or altered by FOX network censors to fit in with FCC practices. Overall: While 'The Simpsons Movie' will probably not outshine any fan favorite episodes. It's still a triumphant collaboration of nearly a dozen of the series' best head-writers and producers. The result is a film that's truly worth watching for any die-hard or casual fan. Like a juicy donut, this is one movie, worth drooling, after. It's a must-watch.

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