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The Punisher: Memento Mori
Episode 13, Season 1

Season 1: A great entry into the Marvel canon and The Punisher that audiences have always wanted.
The long awaited Netflix/Marvel series The Punisher is finally here, and boy does it pack a punch. The last time we saw Frank Castle was at the end of Daredevil Season 2, when he was sniping ninjas from the top of the roof and coming to terms with his family's loss. The latter has stayed the same, but the former has been thrown out the window for a more gritty and realistic vibe.

The series follows Castle, played excellently yet again by Jon Bernthal, as his past grabs hold of him in the form of a tape of the murder of an innocent man that he was involved in. This affects many different characters, and more than fills the thirteen episodes that the show needs to fill.

Not all the story lines are completely relevant or interesting however, and this can sometimes drag the show down. In particular, the storyline following the Homeland Security agent got on my nerves, mostly because it wasn't very well acted by Amber Rose Revah. It's not that she's a terrible actress, it's just that the role seemed miscast, and there were multiple scenes where the character did not seem to live up to its full potential.

However, Revah's character was the only one that seemed annoying or out of place. The majority of the acting was great, especially that of Bernthal as The Punisher, Ben Barnes as Billy Russo, and Daniel Webber as Lewis, who stole every scene that he was a part of.

The reason Webber was so good was because he really embodied what Post Traumatic Stress Disorder puts someone through. The entire time I was cheering for his character, even through all of the terrible things he did. In fact, the same thing could be said about nearly every villainous character, with the obvious exception of Rawlins.

Another great aspect of this show is that it decides not to have a whole bunch of blatant tie-ins to all of the other Marvel shows and movies that are in the same universe. Yes, Karen Page makes a few appearances, but other than that the references are virtually non- existent.

The message that the show sends off is also a big positive. At times it does feel as if it's leaning towards a certain political stance, but for the most part it tells it like it is and without any bias.

I also feel like the show addresses the gun violence in the show and in the world pretty well. It neither justifies it nor completely condemns it, but presents both sides to the audience and leaves it open for the audience to figure out.

The fact that we've finally gotten a great Punisher TV show/movie after all of the mediocre to truly terrible remakes is truly refreshing. Bernthal embodies the character like nobody has before, and gives us the Frank Castle that fans have needed for years. The Punisher Season 1 is right up there with Daredevil Season 2 and Jessica Jones Season 1 for me, and, despite some out-of place story lines, is one of the better Marvel Cinematic Universe works we've seen this year.

I give The Punisher Season 1 a B+.

Wind River

Jeremy Renner shines in this murder mystery that shines a light on the life of modern Native Americans.
Wind River is the debut film from the writer of Hell or High Water and Sicario, and stars Jeremy Renner as a hunter in snowy Wyoming who comes across the body of a girl miles from the nearest civilization. He is joined by an inexperienced FBI agent, played by Elizabeth Olsen, and the film explores the personal relationships of Renner's character and the injustices of being on an American Indian reservation.

This film is an emotional masterpiece that has a surprising amount of depth, and never goes quite in the direction you expect it to go. Renner shines in the best performance that he has given since The Hurt Locker, and should even be considered for an Oscar nomination (even though we all know he won't be.) He controls the movie, and shows a lot of emotion with just small gestures and actions.

Wind River is also a beautifully shot film. It captures the landscape of the Wind River Indian Reservation with ease, and makes you feel as if you are there.The cold comes through the screen and transports you to a different location.

Without giving anything away, I will also say that the ending is also very satisfying. It manages to wrap up the main storyline while giving some closure to some side characters. The solution to the murder mystery feels real, and doesn't play as though it is in a Hollywood movie.

Wind River is dramatic movie-making at its finest, and showcases Jeremy Renner's range that is not seen in his roles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It also delivers a truly suspenseful adventure that, near the end, gives you a twisted feeling deep down in your stomach, but in a good way.

I give Wind River an A.


A fun watch if looking for something mindless, but nothing we haven't seen before.
Wheelman is a contained heist thriller that stars Frank Grillo as a getaway driver who is set up by his employers during a bank robbery. The film, similar to Locke in 2013, takes place entirely (excluding one scene) in a car, and follows the protagonist's night as events get increasingly more dangerous as time goes on.

Wheelman is a perfectly enjoyable film that has a refreshingly small budget. About ninety percent of it is Frank Grillo in a car and it still manage to be relatively compelling. Grillo gives a serviceable performance here that is nothing special, but does what it needs to do to keep the suspense rolling.

However, Grillo often uses the f-word way too much. This is never usually a problem for me and I have enjoyed films like The Wolf of Wall Street, but for some reason it ticked me off here. Literally every time anything happened, Grillo would just repeat the f-word over and over again, and it honestly just got annoying after a while. Couldn't the writer and/or Grillo himself have found some other exclamation to fill the gaps?

The writing is also pretty cliché. Once the characters and the situation are introduced, you know basically exactly what's going to happen for the rest of the film. It still manages to make itself suspenseful, but otherwise it is pretty predictable.

However, this is a very unique film in concept, and sets an example that many other films should follow. This low-budget technique of making movies is not used enough, and reminds us of older thrillers that had a minimal budget.

Wheelman is a fun watch on a day where you are looking for something mindless and fun, but other than that it is pretty forgettable. This is a concept that could have been great, but it ends up being just okay.


An incredible film with a great lead performance and emotional heft.
1922 is based off of Stephen King's novella of the same name and centers around a farmer who believes it would be of financial gain to murder his wife. He convinces his son to aid him in the act and the film turns into a story of guilt and secrecy.

I did not expect this film to be as great as it was. This film blew me away with its message, with the direction that the story went, and with the lead performance from Thomas Jane.

1922 is typical Stephen King: it looks like a stereotypical thriller on the surface, but if you look a little harder you will find something much more deep and profound. The mental journey that this film takes you on will haunt you, and will definitely make you think about it long after the movie finishes.

Thomas Jane delivers the performance of his career, diving so far into his character that no matter how hard you think about it, there is no actor to be found. Neal McDonough also gives a noteworthy performance as Jane's neighbor.

The final third of this film had me riveted. For that entire period of time there was a terrible feeling in my stomach that wouldn't go away because of the terrible events that were occurring.

By the end of the film, I cared a lot about these characters, despite the fact that they decided to murder their wife/mother. This is an incredible feat to pull off,and is propelled by Zak Hilditch's incredible direction and writing.

The only slight flaw I have with this film is that it can be a bit slow, but this is so minor that it is really not noticeable at all.

1922 is one of the best films of the year and contains one of the best lead performances of the year. I very highly recommend seeking this one out. Netflix hit it out of the park with this one.

I give 1922 an A.

The Babysitter

Enjoyable but forgettable and unoriginal.
The Babysitter is a horror comedy that centers around a kid who has an incredibly hot babysitter that is using his house to sacrifice people for her satanic cult. If I were to pitch this film to a studio, I'd say it's Home Alone meets Scream. This is definitely not as good as either of those movies, but it still contains some good horror fun.

Don't go into this film expecting a genuinely creepy horror movie, and you should be relatively satisfied. The goal here was not to make a straight up horror film or a straight up comedy--it was to create a hybrid of the two.

This film is enjoyable, nothing more and nothing less. However, nothing stands out here that will make me remember this for more than about a week.

This review would be longer, but there's honestly not much to talk about here. The film is pretty conventional, and the only performance that stands out is Judah Lewis as the main kid and Andrew Bachelor ("King Bach") as one of the members of the satanic cult.

The Babysitter is a pretty fun film if you want to watch something mindless to get your mind off the stresses of the world, but other than that it is pretty forgettable.

I give The Babysitter a C.


Christian Bale shines in emotional journey that has a powerful and relevant message.
Hostiles is a period piece that stars Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike and many others. It centers around an Army captain who hates Native Americans that is asked to escort a Cheyenne chief and his family to the reservation in Montana that they were previously from.

The film starts off with a deeply disturbing scene where a family, including children, is massacred by Indians, which sets the tone for a very emotional, disturbing, and even sometimes uplifting journey that questions who the real hostiles are.

The real highlight here is, of course, Christian Bale, who can convey a world of emotion with just one expression. Bale is easily Oscar- worthy and should definitely get at least a nomination. Whenever Bale controls the scene it is riveting.

Rosamund Pike also nails it as the lone survivor of the attack described earlier. She exhibits grief better than even the most experienced of actors.

Hostiles has a great message that is especially relevant in today's dividing times. The film is about inclusion, and shows that we are all human no matter how evil one may seem.

However, this movie is not without its flaws. It's very slow at times, and there are entire scenes that feel like they don't need to be in the film. Luckily, whenever the film starts to slow down, within the next scene or so something happens that makes it more interesting.

Hostiles is a heavily emotional experience that will make you think about long after it is done. Despite the heavy subject matter, it has an uplifting message, and pull some great performances from the main actors.

I give Hostiles an A-.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

A comedic masterpiece with a stellar leading performance from Frances McDormand.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a dark comedy that has an a-list cast with names like Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, John Hawkes, and Peter Dinklage. It centers around Mildred Hayes, a woman whose daughter was raped and killed, and who believes that the local police have not done enough about it. In reaction, she erects three billboards outside of her town that send a message to the sheriff about the state of the investigation.

Writer/director Martin McDonagh (Seven Psychopaths, In Bruges) has outdone himself with this one. In my opinion, if this isn't one of the top Oscar contenders come awards season, then Hollywood has officially lost its mind.

Basically everything about this film works: from the acting, to the writing, to the direction. Mcdormand gives the performance of her career here, giving us humor through all the pain clearly shown on her face. Rockwell also gives his best performance here as a cop who isn't that bright and is more than a little racist.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is probably the most unpredictable film of the year, and that's coming from a year that includes films like Baby Driver and Logan. There are scenes where you think that you know where the plot is going, but then midway through it completely flips the script.

For the entire run-time of this film, I was invested. It has the perfect run-time; it ends exactly when it needs to and there is not a scene that feels out of place.

It seems like one of the hardest things to do in film nowadays is to balance comedy and drama. However, this movie does it effortlessly. Each scene has just the right amount of comedy and drama, and sometimes, despite the fact that you're laughing, it's easy to forget that jokes are being made.

Also, the message that this film gives off resonates very powerfully with you after the film finishes. It makes you see the good side in humanity, despite our flaws. No character in this film is a cliché one-dimensional shell of a person. Everybody has a reason for being there, which is more than some films recently have offered.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is easily one of the best and most enjoyable films of 2017, and it will make you laugh, cry, and think all in one sitting. There are not any clear flaws with this film that I can find, but I am still searching.

I give Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri an A+.

Last Flag Flying

A hilariously profound film with three great lead performances.
Last Flag Flying is a comedy/drama from the acclaimed director of Boyhood and Dazed and Confused, Richard Linklater. It stars Steve Carell, Laurence Fishburne, and Bryan Cranston as three friends from the Vietnam War who get back together when Carell's son dies in action.

Despite the serious subject matter, this movie is absolutely hilarious. Cranston is absolute comedic gold. He hasn't been as funny as he is here since his Malcolm in the Middle days, and even then he may not have been quite as funny as he is here.

You would think going in that Carell would be the comedian here, but instead he is the dramatic anchor. Carell gives a surprisingly emotional performance, keeping the comedy to a minimum.

Fishburne is between the two, giving both comedy and drama when it's needed. Of the three it is hard to say which gives the best performance, but the edge must go to Cranston. The movie would probably be ten times more boring without him. There are scenes where Cranston single-handedly made the entire audience in my theater howl with laughter.

Last Flag Flying doesn't just give comedy however, it also tackles a great amount of issues that a lesser film would not have pulled off. This film explores the purpose of life, a subject that Linklater is very good at tackling. I would list some of the other issues it tackles, but if I did i would probably be here all day.

This movie is definitely not perfect. Near the middle it starts to drag, which is not that large of an issue, but for one or two scenes it is noticeable.

There is also a very manufactured conflict in the film. It feels like the writers stuck it in just so there was a conflict of some sort, but it easily could have been taken out and the movie would not have changed.

Another issue involves tone. There are a couple scenes where I genuinely could not tell if the film was trying to be serious or funny, but this, like all of the other flaws, is not that big of a deal.

Overall, I recommend Last Flag Flying because of both its hilarity and its drama. It is one of the funniest movie of the year and very profound, despite its flaws.

I give Last Flag Flying a B+.

The Beguiled

Disappointing, despite being overall competently made.
The Beguiled is a historical thriller that stars Colin Farrell as a Union soldier who is found injured by a member of an all-girls school. He is taken into this school to recover, and ends up lusting for a couple of the girls that are there, causing jealousy and anger.

This film had been getting buzz by a lot of critics, and I was intrigued by the plot, so I was looking forward to it. Honestly, The Beguiled was pretty disappointing to me. Yes, it was competently made, but it was seriously forgettable, and I left feeling like nothing really happened.

I was hoping for this film to be really mentally challenging, with twists and turns and a message that made you think. I got none of those things. As soon as the plot really kicked in I knew exactly what was going to happen at the end. For the entire movie, I was waiting for the plot to take an unexpected turn, but it went in the exact route that I expected it to go.

The acting was good all around with an all-star cast that includes Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning. (Yes, Elle Fanning was actually not completely annoying for once.) The direction and cinematography were also fairly well put together, but nothing I haven't seen in other films.

There are also some logical flaws near the end that really take you out of the movie. It seems like these flaws are included because the writer wanted to get to the end as fast as possible, and she didn't care how.

The film ends incredibly abruptly, and I left realizing that I seldom felt a moment of tension throughout the entire film. With a plot like this, you would think this would be a tension-filled movie, but it ends up just being boring and anticlimactic.

If The Beguiled had a profound message or anything to make me feel like i watched it for a reason, then I may have enjoyed it more. However, it falls short on all storytelling aspects, so you are left just looking at the good acting and cinematography while waiting for something interesting to happen.

I give The Beguiled a C.

A Ghost Story

A lot there thematically, but can be inconsistent and VERY slow.
A Ghost Story is a low-budget drama about a man who dies and returns as a white-sheeted ghost that has a very lonely afterlife. He leaves his girlfriend behind, and this relationship is explored in depth throughout the movie.

This film is a bit polarizing for me, because the themes that it explores are original and heartbreaking, but after the film was done I thought back on and realized it didn't quite add up. I will try to talk about this without spoiling it for those who have not seen it yet.

The ghost, played by Casey Affleck, exists, like most ghosts do, because there is something keeping him in this life that he can't seem to figure out. By the end, we get two answers to this problem that don't seem to coincide with each other. The movie leads us to believe one thing near the end, but then changes its mind in the two minutes, which doesn't entirely work.

However, the film still explores these themes in such a unique way that despite the mixed ending, it still gives you something to think about. It has a message that resonates, and, love it or hate it, you will remember it.

My biggest complaint with this film is how slow it is. There is literally a scene where a character does nothing but eat an entire pie, and the scene lasts SEVEN WHOLE MINUTES. I had to make a serious effort to not get up, walk away, and do something else with my life. There are scenes that try so hard to be all indie and "unique," but they end up coming off as bloated and pretentious.

There is also a scene that basically tells you what the film is about when you don't need to be reminded. This scene is very out of place and doesn't really need to be there.

Overall, this film is well-made and well-shot. It is shot in a different-looking frame with rounded edges which gives the whole movie a different look and feel. It just didn't need to be so slow and had some inconsistent plot elements. There is a lot here with this story, but i feel it could have been utilized better.

I give A Ghost Story a B-.

Blade Runner 2049

A modern cinematic masterpiece that tops the original.
Blade Runner 2049 is the highly-anticipated sequel to Ridley Scott's 1982 masterpiece Blade Runner. Harrison ford returns as Rick Deckard and Ryan Gosling plays a younger Blade Runner. That is all I will say about the plot, for director Denis Villeneuve wanted viewers to walk into it knowing virtually nothing. This is a great decision that more films released today need to consider.

To put it simply, Blade Runner 2049 is a cinematic masterpiece. It does everything I wanted it to do and more. It is, along with Dunkirk, tied for the best film of 2017 so far in my opinion. Going in I thought the runtime would be a bit long given it was nearly three hours long. Boy, was I wrong. This film flies by so fast, that when it was done I felt like I could have watched it for hours more.

The cinematography is so amazing, that some scenes literally took my breath away. The Blade Runner universe is even more well-realized in this film than it was in the first film, which is saying a lot. Watch this in the biggest and loudest theater that you can possibly find, because the imagery combined with the score makes for an experience like no other.

Astonishingly, the visuals aren't even half of the reason why Blade Runner 2049 is such a masterpiece. This film took me places emotionally that I never dreamed of it possibly going. It asks you what it means to be human, and again shows the thin line between replicant and human. Because you are so invested in the story, the movie is that much more suspenseful, keeping you on the edge of your seat for the entire two hours plus runtime.

The people who are calling Blade Runner 2049 "slow" obviously can't handle a film that doesn't contain some kind of explosion in every other scene, because this film is the opposite of boring. I was riveted for the entire film, despite it being more of a sci-fi drama than an action blockbuster.

This film also pulls amazing performances from its wide array of talented actors. Ryan Gosling has been hitting home run after home run lately, especially with La La Land having come out just last year. He gives another great performance here, and I can't wait to see him as Neil Armstrong in the Damien Chazelle-directed biopic. Harrison Ford proves yet again that he hasn't lost his touch at all despite his old age. Another good find is Ana de Armas, who kills it with a surprisingly complex performance. I wish I could say details about their characters, but I really don't want to spoil the film.

Honestly, I loved nearly everything about Blade Runner 2049. There were countless scenes where I felt chills because of how riveting and emotionally compelling the film got. Blade Runner 2049 is most definitely going to be a classic in this period of cinematic history, and I genuinely believe that this film simply could not have been any better.

I give Blade Runner 2049 an A+.

American Horror Story: Home Invasion
Episode 2, Season 1

Waiting for it to get better...
So far, American Horror Story is proving to be a retread of tropes we have seen in many horror films and TV shows preceding it. There are some intriguing and unique elements included, but those elements are mostly pushed off to the background to make way for the clichés.

Jessica Lange is consistently the strongest part of this show. She manages to be unsettling but funny at the same time, and we have no idea of what her true motives are.

Her plot line, Evan Peters' plot line, and Denis O'Hare's plot line are all intriguing, but not much time is spent on them. Instead we get boring crap about the husband and wife relationship, and how the husband is going to Boston to support his mistress' pregnancy. This is all stuff straight out of a crappy soap opera, and given I'm watching a show titled American Horror Story, it comes off as just plain boring. The plot element about the maid and how the husband sees her as this sexy young woman, is one of the dumbest plot lines I have seen in a TV show.

Unfortunately, as with the first episode, we can count on the writing being absolutely abysmal. Poor Kate Mara is reduced to garbage in this episode, which is sad given what she continued on to do.

I'm still waiting for this show to increase in quality, but that doesn't appear to be happening anytime soon which is a shame. Everybody is raving about this show, and for the life of me I can't see why.

The Big Sick

Wonderful film with great messages about a variety of essential subjects.
The Big Sick is a semi-autobiographical comedy that is written by, produced by, and stars Kumail Nanjiani as himself. Nanjiani is a struggling comedian in the film, who meets a girl (Zoe Kazan) at the beginning of the film that he dates without the consent of his parents. A couple of months into their relationship, she falls into a medically-induced coma, and he is forced to bond with her parents while she is out.

The Big Sick is an incredibly heartwarming and hilarious movie, with great performances all around. Few movies can balance drama and comedy with ease, and this is definitely a prime example of just that. It manages to switch between laugh-out-loud comedy and tear jerking emotion sometimes even within the same scene.

If you are not a fan of Kumail Nanjiani after watching this film, then there is something wrong with you. Along with exhibiting his comedic chops, he delivers a very emotional performance that can be rivaled with some of the best. Both Ray Romano and Holly Hunter are splendid as the girlfriend, Emily's, parents. Special shoutout to Bo Burnham for stealing literally every scene he's in.

There aren't too many flaws I have with this movie, but if I had to say one, it's that there is a conflict that seems very manufactured. The ending was also a bit cheesy, but it was a good cheesy so I didn't mind.

Easily the best part of The Big Sick is the massages it sends about the various subjects it tackles. It has a message about the inefficiency of hospitals and doctors that is true on so many levels. There is also the message about racism from white people towards Muslims and a disapproval of interracial relationships. This film also covers the practice of arranged marriage and the Muslim religion. All of these subjects I just mentioned are all excellently portrayed, which makes this movie even more special.

Overall, The Big Sick is a wonderful movie that is definitely worth checking out and should be seen by more people. This is an essential viewing if you are looking for the best films of 2017 so far.

I give The Big Sick an A-.

First They Killed My Father

Extremely slow and boring despite the subject matter.
First They Killed My Father is a new film directed by Angelina Jolie that documents one girl's journey through the horrific Cambodian genocide. This is a completely foreign film, with the only English being the news footage in the beginning, and it is filmed entirely in Cambodia.

Going into this movie I wanted an emotional experience that would enthrall me from beginning to end, similar to Beasts of No Nation or even 12 Years a Slave. Despite that, I still try to keep my expectations even. I cannot tell you how often I checked the time. This film dragged on like few other films I have seen recently have, and that is exponentially disappointing.

Basically all that happens in this film are the main characters moving from place to place, and scenes where people say goodbye. That's about it. I'm not trying to criticize any movie for not having enough happening, because films can be great and meaningful without having any major action scenes. With that being said, First They Killed My Father is just plain boring, and there is not enough meaning behind it to invest me into every single scene.

There are entire sequences that show the protagonists just working, and I feel like they could have edited it down a little to not make the film drag so much.

I also think that the filmmakers could have showed a little bit more of what the main girl's life was like before the events. They reduces this to one scene near the beginning and some flashback images, but this doesn't feel like enough.

However, it is not all bad. Angelina Jolie puts a lot of artistry into her direction here, with some very unique point of views. There is also a lot of talent in most of the performances, who emote the experiences that they are going through wonderfully. The cinematography is also beautiful, making this a very good looking film.

Unfortunately, none of these good things can save a painfully dull film. Given the interesting subject matter, you'd think that this would instantly be a masterpiece, but sadly that was not the case. Jolie tries to let the subject matter do the work for her, and that isn't enough.

I give First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers a C.

American Horror Story: Pilot
Episode 1, Season 1

Disappointed by how conventional and not scary this is.
American Horror Story is a show that has been talked about by fans for years, so I went into this show with modest expectations. Unfortunately, this episode did not deliver for me. I don't know whether this show gets better as it goes along, but this is a very weak start for the most part.

For a show named American Horror Story, there is way too little scary moments. The opening scene was meant to be creepy, but I was just bored because it lasted too long. There is some good imagery in this film, but that isn't enough to actually make the show scary.

If all of the characters in the show suddenly died, I honestly would not care, which says a lot about how the show sets up the characters. The main couple (Connie Britton and Dylan McDermott) is so annoying that I honestly just wanted to punch both of them.

There is one scene in particular where Britton and McDermott are giving their all into these performances, but because the writing is so terrible it is laughably bad.

However, not every scene is that bad, and there are actually some really good performances. Jessica Lange is amazing as the weird neighbor and Evan Peters is very good as a mentally off teenager. Peters delivers the only even remotely scary sequence in the episode.

These performances are not enough to bring the show up, however. It just doesn't deliver on any level of horror, and can be so terribly written that I started to wonder if I was watching a 90's soap opera.

I give American Horror Story--Pilot a C-.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Fun enough, but disappointing overall.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle is the highly-anticipated sequel to 2014's Kingsman: The Secret Service, and has a cast that includes Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Taron Egerton, and a whole bunch of other A-listers that wanted some of what the first one had. So does the second Kingsman film match up to the first one? Unfortunately it does not, despite the star power behind it.

Honestly, I would describe the plot at this point, but it's so convoluted that I don't feel like going into detail. Basically, there is a drug empire called The Golden Circle and the Kingsman need to stop it. There are so many subplots that at times it is hard to see where the actual plot is going.

At a runtime of two hours and twenty-one minutes, it feels like the writers stuffed this film with plot elements, but not all of them are necessary. There is a subplot that involves Eggsy's girlfriend, and every time the movie spent time on it the pacing slowed to a halt. Especially since the actress who plays the girlfriend (the princess from the end of the first movie) is very dry and never entertaining or interesting.

If Kingsman: The Golden Circle had spent less time on pointless subplots then it would be a whole lot better of a film. Nearly all of the action scenes are incredible, and in many cases they are right on par with the first film. The majority of the acting also really works, especially Taron Egerton, who should be getting a lot of good non-Kingsman roles in the near future.

However, most of these good performances are wasted because they either give good characters no screen time, or major characters no development. Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges and Halle Berry are all in this movie for a total of ten minutes, which is a complete waste given how accomplished these actors are. After a while, I started to wonder why they were not credited as cameos, because that's honestly what they were. Julianne Moore was excellent as the drug lord named Poppy, but she isn't really given a character to work with besides just being "the bad guy." Special shoutout to Elton John for being awesome in this movie.

One character and performance that I really liked was Pedro Pascal as Agent Whiskey. He has always been underrated to me, and here he shows more of his acting chops. They go to a really interesting direction with his character, but then they ruin it about ten minutes after they go in this direction. I won't give anything away, but this is yet again a waste of a good character.

Colin Firth is fine here, but the writers came up with a really lazy excuse for his presence in the film.

Overall, this was a disappointing film despite having some great action scenes. It should have been about thirty minutes shorter, and they should have completely cut Eggsy's girlfriend from the film. I won't object if a third Kingsman film is announced, but I seriously hope they learn from their mistakes the next time around.

I give Kingsman:The Golden Circle a C.

Kong: Skull Island

A fun monster movie but lacks compelling characters.
Kong: Skull Island is basically exactly what you'd expect it to be, as long as you're not expecting Apocalypse Now 2. Which, ironically, is often what this film is trying to go for. If I walked into the theater for this movie not knowing at all what it was, the first act (very first scene excluded) would make me think that it was a crappy Vietnam war film with way too many A-list actors. In reality, it is an OK monster movie with way too many A-list actors and absolutely no character development.

This film started off pretty badly in all respects, but improved significantly after the actual monster came into the plot. Honestly, the monster and John C. Reilly's character are the only characters that get any real development, which is this movie's biggest problem. There are so many characters in this film, and they are all reduced to stereotypes. Tom Hiddleston is in this film just to be the handsome action hero and Brie Larson is there just to be the sexy main female lead. Larson gets no backstory whatsoever, and Hiddleston is reduced to one line that sounds like it was shoehorned in at the very last second. John Goodman's character has some backstory but he's so annoying it doesn't matter.

All of the acting is mediocre, which is a shame because of the quality of actors put in this film. The only good performances are Samuel L. Jackson because he's Samuel L. Jackson, and John C. Reilly because he's occasionally funny. Other than that, good actors can be reduced to rubbish because of the bad script.

Of course, this movie isn't complete garbage, and that is mostly because of the all the various monsters and explosions. Say what you will about Kong: Skull Island, but it is entertaining as hell. The monster fights are big and mindless, and that's honestly all anybody asked for when going into this film.

If you go into Kong: Skull Island expecting mindless action, then you will most likely love it. However, if you watch it for literally any other reason, then you will find a mediocre monster movie that has been done a million times before.

I give Kong: Skull Island a C+.

It Comes at Night

An underrated masterpiece.
It Comes at Night has been bashed by most people who went to see it for two reasons: Either because they were expecting a zombie horror film with jump scares every other scene, or because they simply didn't understand the message. I believe that It Comes at Night is an overlooked masterpiece that gives an unflinching look into the human psyche.

When many heard the plot, it seems like many of them instantly thought this had something to do with zombies, but it is never really made clear in the film's narrative that that was what the characters are dealing with. We do know that some type of virus is spreading across the world, and it is a problem for the main characters. The film doesn't even give us the context of the title until the third act. (No spoilers)

Most films of this genre have characters that make uncommonly stupid decisions throughout, but It Comes at Night thankfully avoids that. Every decision that the main family makes is completely justified and makes sense in the context of the situation.

The film also doesn't overstay its welcome, with a nice and short ninety-one minute runtime. This is not a movie that requires thirty minutes of character development in order for us to understand what the protagonists are going through.

A special shoutout deserves to be given to Kelvin Harrison Jr., who gives an incredibly complex performance and whose character is the subject of debate for many people who viewed the film.

The big reason people are confused by It Comes at Night, if they got past the fact that it's not a horror movie, is the ending. Without giving anything away, I will say that the ending is ambiguous. The film never gives you a clear answer to the overbearing situation, but that is why I love this film. It never cuts to a compilation of news footage that tells you what happens or even tells you anything at all. Everything that you know is everything that the main characters know. If the main characters don't have a grasp on the science behind the disease, then why should the audience? The ending sticks with this philosophy, and most viewers hated not knowing anything and gave the movie a two star review on IMDb without thinking of the deeper meaning.

I'm not going to get into the meaning because you'll have to watch it to find out, but overall I think that It Comes at Night is totally underrated and should be seen more as long as people go in expecting a psychological thriller.

I give It Comes at Night an A-.


Mediocre at best.
iBoy is a Netflix original film that centers around a teenage boy who gets shards of a phone lodged in his brain, which causes him to be able control any electronic devices. It's an interesting plot, but it drags on. You'd think with a runtime as short as ninety minutes that the movie would fly by and be a tightly wound thriller. Well, that's definitely not the case here. At the end of the day, iBoy is relatively boring at times, and even if you can get past that it's simply okay.

First and foremost I'd like to say that this film does not suck. It's no Max Steel or Fant4stic, and the thing that elevates it above those things is the general plot and some good acting from supporting characters.

The plot is interesting, and despite the slow pace it keeps you watching. I was mildly interested in what was going to happen to our main characters. However, that brings me to one of my biggest gripes: the characters. There really isn't that much character development, and when there is, it is very blatantly thrown in at the last second. There are some very random conversations that occur to try to develop some of the ignored characters, and they feel forced and out of place.

The only thing that kept me from completely not caring was Maisie Williams' performance. I completely sympathized with her character from the get-go and it made me hope for the best for that story arc. However, the character I could not sympathize with, unfortunately, was the main character. The actor (his name slips my mind) who played him did not give a strong enough performance, and there was some TERRIBLE writing for his character.

My biggest complaint of iBoy is that the characters are extremely stupid. If this was a horror movie then the majority of them would be dead by the halfway point. The main kid has some extraordinary powers: he can do basically anything he wants. So why doesn't he? Without spoiling anything, I finished this film thinking that it could have been about twenty-five minutes long. He gets his powers, gets the bad guys, roll credits. But the writers decided to make our protagonist screw something up every time he tries to do anything so that the movie would last. It's quite infuriating.

Before I wrap up, I've got to give Rory Kinnear some props for pulling out a great performance in just two scenes of dialogue. I thought he was excellent in his episode of Black Mirror, and this makes me want more from him.

Overall, iBoy is an okay movie with some terrible writing and pacing, but good enough performances and general plot to get you through it.

The Vampire Diaries: The Night of the Comet
Episode 2, Season 1

This episode was so bad that it was laugh-out-loud funny at times.
I did not think that the pilot of The Vampire Diaries was that bad. I had some issues with it but I saw potential. Then I watched this episode... Wow. I don't know whether my expectations were higher or if they hired a terrible writer, but that was seriously awful.

There were moments where the storyline went back on itself. As if the writers thought they made a mistake so they decided to change that plot line later in the episode, which made me very confused.

But what really got me was that they took the problems that the previous episode had, and put them in this episode about ten times more. I won't go in depth on that because I did in the previous review, but I will say that the music in the background made me groan in disgust at some points.

The thing that made this episode laugh-out-loud funny for me was the dialogue. There were times where I had to pause it because I was laughing so hard. The only main characters that didn't have incredibly bad dialogue were the brothers, but Stefan doesn't talk much so I'm not sure that he counts. So basically Damon was the one thing I liked about this episode.

I hope this show doesn't stay like this. According to the user reviews, this is the worst episode in the series, so I am persuaded to watch the next episode; but if the next episode is similar to this one than I may not continue with this show.

I give The Vampire Diaries Season One Episode Two 3/10 stars.

The Vampire Diaries: Pilot
Episode 1, Season 1

Not actually that bad depending on your expectations.
I don't know why I started watching this show, but here I am. This was not a terrible pilot episode, and I think it could get really good depending on what direction that they take it. However, this one episode had almost everything wrong with it that you expect from a CW show.

One of which was that literally every character looks like an Abercrombie & Fitch model. I also had this problem with Arrow and the problem remains here. However, I was kind of expecting this going in so it didn't stop me from taking the rest of the show in.

Another thing I had a problem with was the soundtrack and the score. Did we need either a pop song or a lovey-dovey Nicholas Sparks-like score in the background of each and every scene? There were some scenes where they probably would have worked better emotionally had they not had some OneRepublic song in the background. I now have Never Say Never by The Fray stuck in my head because of this episode.

Another thing I have to pick on is that there was some REALLY cheesy dialogue in some scenes. However, this is another thing that I kind of expected going in because of it being on The CW.

But I didn't give it six stars for no reason. I was actually pleasantly surprised by the execution of the storyline. Yes, there are vampire clichés in it, but they are introduced with a self-awareness that I kind of liked. I was afraid they would make it a world where nobody has ever heard of a vampire, but they didn't, which was nice.

I also didn't mind the acting by the main characters. They didn't completely suck, and they didn't go the Stephen Amell route, where everything you say is spoken in a seriously low and over dramatic voice.

This is a line spoken in this episode: "I'll give it a six. Missing style, but I was pleasantly surprised." That quote happens to exactly sum up my thoughts on this show.

I give The Vampire Diaries Season One Episode One 6/10 stars.


A good, necessary film with great performances all around despite having some all-too familiar subplots.
Trumbo did not wow me; I did not walk out thinking it was the best film of 2015. I was, however, very pleased with the result. I have some minor problems with this movie, but none of those problems are enough to undermine the main message of it. Freedom of speech is always a right that will be exercised in America, even if you wholeheartedly disagree with the things a person is saying.

The aspect that really hit home for me was the acting. Bryan Cranston gives a fittingly tremendous performance as Dalton Trumbo that had me impressed. Every once in a while a scene would come along where the dialogue seemed forced, but ninety percent of the time this was not the case. There were good performances across the board, such as Louis CK as the cancer-stricken protester. Two others worth of note were John Goodman and Helen Mirren, who give performances we have come to expect from such veteran actors. There were a couple in there that were underwhelming to me, like Elle Fanning as Trumbo's daughter. It seems that she gives the same performance in every one of her movies. There was a scene where she is mad at her father that reminded me heavily of a scene with similar context in the film Super 8. Overall, however, the acting was exemplary.

There was nothing of note with the direction to me. It wasn't overwhelmingly bad so I didn't really care. The screenplay, ironically, was a little shaky at times, but nothing terribly obvious. As I said before, I have no major complaints with Trumbo, which is a compliment in itself. If you are a conservative than you will most likely despise it, because a majority of the antagonists are conservative people. But I found the movie to be enlightening; a movie that gives a powerful message that still applies today. Despite some flaws, Trumbo succeeded to me with its superior acting and storyline.

I give Trumbo 8/10 stars.

The Do-Over

You know your comedy is bad when the mediocre plot is better than the actual so-called comedy.
I haven't seen many of Adam Sandler's recent bombs so I can't really compare this to any of them. But I heard from many reviewers that The Do-Over is a slight return to form for the comedian. If this is a return to form, than his recent comedies must have entire suicide hotlines dedicated to them, because this movie was SO not funny. There was a total count of about two funny moments throughout this entire one-hundred and eight minute film. I didn't know that was physically possible before my viewing of this let-down.

Let's start out with our two main stars: David Spade and Adam Sandler. Sandler had literally one funny moment near the end of the movie, and then he ruined it by taking the joke too far. He also basically played himself. The advertising lead us to believe that Sandler took a different route with his character, but he played the same old, gibberish-spouting goofball we are all tired of. However, I honestly thought that he was better than David Spade. David Spade was given the starring role in this film, and he did absolutely nothing with it. I don't know what I expected, but I never expected to never laugh at all when Spade was on the screen.

I feel genuinely sorry for some of the completely qualified actors that were dragged into this bore. Paula Patton was yet another female character that was there purely for the guys to screw. Speaking of which, I cannot think of one female in this this movie that was not a sex object. Seriously? They got Luis Guzman to be the most disgustingly written role of the year thus far (at least that I've seen). Even Sean Astin had a small cameo in this film that I was shocked and appalled by. How did they get these people to do this? The only small celebrity role that I thought was moderately funny was Nick Swardson, who also had the only funny ongoing joke of the film.

The one thing that I did not completely hate about it was the plot. There was actually a couple of good twists I liked that I didn't see coming. So yes, I just walked out of an Adam Sandler comedy where the plot worked better than the jokes.

This has been the most popular movie on Netflix since its release, and I still don't understand why. I also don't understand why all of the top reviews on IMDb are positive. If you want to see a funny film in your spare time, than avoid The Do-Over like the plague. Watch Trainwreck instead.

I give The Do-Over 2/10 stars.

The Age of Adaline

Not bad, but doesn't transcend the genre by any means.
From the outside, The Age of Adaline looks like a typical sappy romance that is purely made just so guys can take their girlfriends to see it and have a nice time. However, I had been seeing higher reviews than your typical Nicholas Sparks adaptation, so I decided to give it a try. After viewing it I realized that I never should have raised my expectations.

Now is this a bad film? Definitely not. There are plenty of good things I have to say before I start nitpicking. One of which is the acting, especially by Harrison Ford. I got some raw emotion from him that I really liked, and every scene he was in felt authentic. Blake Lively was also very good in a role that is hard to pull off. I believed that she was over one hundred years old throughout the movie which is in thanks to that performance. One person I found myself in the middle on was Michiel Huisman. I felt like he was just there, and near the end I wanted to see more emotion from him but I didn't get it.

I also loved the look and feel of this film. At times it felt like a love letter to San Francisco, which is definitely not a flaw. I have not seen any other of Lee Toland Krieger's movies, but I liked the direction in this film, so it's disappointing that he will move on to helm the final chapter of the Divergent series. Ugh.

On that note, let's get into the nitpicking portion of the review. The majority of the problems I have with this film are with the screenplay. There were times where it seriously dragged on, and I found my mind wandering during the middle of the movie. I also found myself getting sick of the main romance about a third of the way through the movie. The saving grace for me was the plot line involving Harrison Ford's character which made me care a lot more about what was going on.

The one HUGE complaint I have involves the explanation of why Adaline can't age. I won't give anything away, but I will say that it is the most cliché route that they could have possibly taken. I groaned at the resolution of this film. That's how bad it was.

However, if you don't look for that stuff in movies, than don't let this review stop you from seeing this if you are a fan of the genre. If you are looking for an intricately woven plot line and an original, transcendent storyline, than this may not be the one for you. But if you are looking for a nice, cozy film to sit down with your boyfriend/girlfriend and enjoy than The Age of Adaline is definitely a perfect choice.

I give The Age of Adaline 5/10 stars.

Orange Is the New Black: I Wasn't Ready
Episode 1, Season 1

Not bad but it wasn't exactly quality television either.
I had been warned, as most people probably have, that this show has a good amount of lesbian sex scenes. But it still caught me off guard that literally about ten seconds in, all of a sudden, they shove one in there. There isn't even a plot yet! I'm not against sex scenes or anything; I just want them to be there to progress the storyline. However, all of these scenes in this episode did pretty much nothing to do just that.

Now enough about that topic; I was getting sick of talking about it just writing it. The big thing that hit me about this show was, well, that nothing hit me about it. Was the acting bad? No. Was the acting incredible? No. It was just... Good. My reaction about the acting was basically my reaction about everything else in the show. Nothing popped out that said to me whether the show was good or bad. Everything was just okay, which, looking back on it, is actually a bad thing. This is the FIRST episode of a very promising Netflix television show. It needed something to draw viewers in, but there was absolutely nothing besides the sex scenes which were most likely there to create buzz around the show. I will be watching the next episode in the hopes that there is something more noteworthy.

I give Season One Episode One of Orange is the New Black 5/10

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