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Awful...just awful. I mean unless you want millennial Scooby-Doo.
Gone is the 60s attire and tone and music that has been a staple of Scooby forever, replaced with awful 2020 setting and music...and no, I'm no boomer. This movie sucks. It's not a "prequel" like advertised, and they've turned the characters into freakin caricatures of themselves with a millennial twist. For some reason they felt the need to make Velma into a Spanish girl who switches into speaking Spanish like Dora the explorer. Why not just add a new character to the team instead? It's not like they haven't recruited other people temporarily before. It's just seems like unnecessary pandering. I also don't understand the Simon Cowell thing...weird. The other thing that really bothered me is that Scooby talks a LOT...like abnormally so, and in full sentences too. That is not something I remember seeing in anything previously and my kid watches a lot of Scooby. I don't care for the 2020 plot setting either...they use cellphones and hashtags and stuff. It just feels so not Scooby. Whole I'm at it, Fred looks weird and they made him into essentially Homer Simpson or Peter Griffin level of stupid. Also Will Forte voices Shaggy and it's pretty awful...he sounds nothing like him. None of these things are helped by the awful plot either.

Impractical Jokers: The Movie

Don't pay money for this; just stick with the TV show.
I'm sorry but there is maybe 30 minutes of Jokers content and an hour of bad acting and bad plot. Whoever is rating this 9's and 10's are studio plants or something. You get more and better content from the TV show that you can see at any given night. Paying full price per person plus snacks, etc for this is pretty upsetting. I would have been satisfied with a 90 minute uncensored episode without the dumb Paula Abdul plot. This is pretty bad, even for a fan of the show. Do you remember the short-lived, awful Jokers Wild sketch show? Yeah, its about that bad. Guys, stick to what you're good at...you cannot act, and your pre-planned sketch comedy is bad. You are most funny when you're just being natural and messing with each other...

They Die by Dawn

Pretty decent western that deserves a wider release than being tied to Tidal.
Unfortunately for this film, you can only see it on Tidal...and that's a bit of a shame because, for what it is, it's pretty good. I wouldn't say its great, but its worth a watch and should at least be put on YouTube, or Netflix, or Amazon or something. Being buried on Tidal isn't doing this movie any favors. It's a good little western. Yeah, it's a short film and mostly dialogue but its packed full of good actors and has a unique (well, I haven't seen it before) little twist on the showdown-at-noon plot. Probably the only bad thing about the movie is that some of the actors seem to be musicians, or maybe just poor actors, and they bring an otherwise solid film down a little bit. Other than that, I think everything else turned out rather well. I would say it's at least worth doing the free trial of Tidal to watch it, then immediately cancel your subscription, lol.

Get Out

Competent mystery/suspense (not horror), but missed the opportunity to subvert stereotyping.
I don't get why this is being labeled as "horror" when it's clearly mystery/suspense movie. There's literally no horror about it. I can agree with most assessments that it's rather original for the most part, though I'm not sure I'm in the boat with the idea that it's the most amazing thing ever or anything...but then again, I'm the guy who didn't think The Babadook or It Follows were all that great either so I'm not quite as easily won over as most people seem to be these days when it comes to these kinds of "horror" movies. This was definitely leaps and bounds better than the aforementioned movies, but it still left a bit to be desired for me. For what it is, it's a very competent movie, but I do wish some of the mystery was allowed to sit before making certain aspects obvious as soon as they did. I had it figured out pretty far before the halfway point, but had they not pointed certain things out so early, it might not have been so easy. I just think they leaned a bit too far with the wink & nod 'hinting' at what was to come and made it too obvious.

I did like that the main guy wasn't a completely oblivious moron, which was nice. Unfortunately, I think that's what was a bit of the problem up front, because it was his lack of obviousness that lead to those "hey something isn't right here" moments early on that basically headed up those winks & nods being too obvious. That, or the case could be argued that the signs themselves were too obvious that even a normal acting character would have picked up on them as much as I did. In either case, they could have been much more coy about it as not to spoil the twist too early. There are also some horror tropes that eked their way in on occasion, especially at the end where they employed the 'bad guy coming back' thing which is pretty tired.

Complaints aside, it's actually a pretty good movie. I just want to dispel some of the hype that it's some kind of special, flawless godsend. It's a very competent mystery suspense, and there are some excellent comedy moments that managed to find their way in (seems Peele just couldn't help himself from doing what he does best). I don't think it's going to be a classic that I re-watch probably ever, but it's definitely worth seeing.

Side notes: If you're black, you may find this hits closer to home to you if you feel like you're marginalized by society and don't take well to slavery type movies. If you're white and easily offended you'll probably want to skip it because it does make white people the rich out-of-touch bad guys, and it does kind of touch on slavery more than a couple of times. I don't fit into either of those boats (I loved both Free State of Jones and the 2016 Birth of a Nation) but it's definitely something that is there, so just keep that in mind if you're that kind of person. There was a guy next to me who was kind of upset most of the film (that and he couldn't stay off his phone), and lots of murmuring and shifting in seats all around the theater so both a good chunk of both black and white were uncomfortable during the film. If you want to see this and not be uncomfortable in public, you may want to wait for home release.

There are also a lot of stereotypes going on here on both sides. White people envy black people for being so cool, and athletic. Black people don't trust shifty old whitey. Thinking back at watching it, I really wish more time was spent dispelling some of the stereotyping they did. I mean, in the beginning it felt like they were doing that, but then it devolved into being more stereotyped as it went...ultimately making it that white people are all purposely out to steal how cool and athletic black people are. To some degree, I imagine it's supposed to be satire, but I can see where this movie is going to cause controversy because if the satire is meant to be there, it's not particularly obvious.


I really really was hoping that the daughter wasn't in on it. It would have kept the whole thing feeling so much more fresh than what it ended up being. The idea that just because they're family and white doesn't mean she has to be in on it too, and just another crazy white person who wants to be black. If they just made her the city girl, who got away from her family, and didn't spend a lot of time with them - the outcast if you will - who loves black people for a different reason other than just wanting to brainwash them and steal their lifestyle, then it would have been so much more refreshing.

Specifically, the moment this movie could have taken the high road would be the end. Guy finds her pics of past boyfriends, and they could have left out the "slaves" at the house from the box of photos and let the audience just SUSPECT that she was in on it...then when she's looking for the keys, the brother could have conked her out or restrained her, having her vocalize "Mom? Dad? What the hell is going on?!" before getting tied up or knocked out.

It would have been much better that way. It really would have.

Han Solo: A Smuggler's Trade

I usually don't rate fan films, but this was excellent.
Typically when it comes to fan creations, there's not enough to warrant making a stink about them as the constraints tend to make them not particularly notable. Once in a while something special comes along that captures the tone and feel of the source material that it should be mentioned. This is one of them...

While, yes, this does suffer from budget constraints and actors who aren't exactly seasoned but they all hit it pretty dead on. I imagine if you gave these people a solid budget, they could do wonders for a real Han Solo movie. This short itself is a fantastic starting point for what could have been a full film. Aside from the obvious wonkiness of trying to get used to someone else playing Solo, Jamie Costa fits the bill pretty darn close...all things considered. Chewy was on point, and outside of the Dash Rendar costume all of the wardrobe looked great.

Everything else was just about right where it needed to be: The plot was fun and charming, the tone and look of everything felt distinctly Star Wars, and Han's dialogue was very fitting. If only somehow we had a Harrison Ford time machine (or Anthony Ingruber) to slap the real Han into this film, then we'd be ready for takeoff.

It's wort all 13 minute of runtime on Youtube, so check it out.

Independence Day: Resurgence

Have you seen ID4 (1996)? Then you've seen 90% of ID2.
This movie is basically the exact same film as the original except lacking all of the heart.

ID2 just basically repeats the entire first film with minor twists: We have alien tech infused into our jets and stuff, and the aliens bring an insanely bigger ship with a bigger queen driving it. That's really the only difference except without spark or even meaning to any of the subplots. Basically, everyone returns to fulfill the same roles they did in the original, but all of the subplots do nothing for the story and none of the relationships are earned. It's almost a straight repeat of the first but it goes bigger (too big) to raise the stakes, while keeping basically the exact same plot. So rather than just an invasion, now the aliens want to siphon the planet core...because that's not a plot anyone has ever used before (sarcasm).

It has almost the same subplots and sub-characters but not fleshed out at all, and the aliens basically do the same things as before and are defeated in almost the exact same way. The big difference is that instead of getting a hold of an alien ship to sneak into the big ship and blow it up, they have a McGuffin (a rather stupid one IMO) that they use to get inside the ship and blow it up. It's literally the same film without the charisma and bloated with CGI destruction. It never takes any time to establish relationships with the characters, or ground anything. You get maybe 10 minutes with a couple of the characters and then it goes right into the invasion.

Where the original was big dumb fun, this is the brainless disaster porn version. Have you seen the movie 2012 (also by Roland Emmerich)? It's a lot like that actually. Also, this movie doesn't have an ending; the McGuffin is the direct lead into ID3, and it just ends on a stupid cliffhanger for a 3rd film that sounds dumb.

The film is watchable, however, because it is pretty much just a straight rehash of the original but not as good and it just goes too big.


Exhilarating and Unforgettable!
Do you like cornball 80's action movies? Do you like those movies to star kickboxers you never heard of before? Do you like movies that feature absolutely nothing shown on the cover? Do you like bad editing?

...but most importantly...do you like Vernon Wells?

My answer to all of those questions is: HELLS YES! And this movie has it all and more (or less).

No, I am not joking about the cover thing either. Even the screenshots on the back of the case aren't in the film. There's no awesome shirtless chain swing while choking a guy with a desert eagle. There is no scene where a woman in a white bra is flying from an explosion, or a black bra lady running for her life. BUT what there IS, is a ton of 80's cheese and Vernon "Chainmail Vest" Wells being a total badass...and isn't that worth thr price of admission alone?

Stranglehold is a perfect stocking stuffer for anyone who loves greatastic action and whoawesome plots. Buy it...shoot, buy three or four of them and pass them out to your friends. You will thank me. It's worth baderiffic every moment.

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