piggulu

IMDb member since October 2016
    Lifetime Total
    50+
    IMDb Member
    3 years, 9 months

Reviews

The Vast of Night
(2019)

That's it?
Maybe it's because I'm not a "film snob" that focuses on every nuance of the camera or movement of an actor's eyebrows but I just do not see the glorification of this movie. It was wholly a waste of time with no payoff whatsoever. First 30 min: the 2 main characters chat about school/work. Next 20: They listen to a man who may or may not have seen some things a decade ago in as dull a manner as possible. Next 20: they listen to a old woman who may or may not have seen some things a decade ago in as dull a manner as possible. Final 20: The mains run around towards the most generic and underwhelming ending that could happen.

The whole affair was like being stuck at a nursing home having to listen to someone that's not your relative ramble for 1.5 hours about the time they went shoe shopping because he/she lost one in the woods one day in the 1950's. You'll get more of a sci-fi kick from an episode of "Ancient Aliens."

Sonic the Hedgehog
(2020)

Surprisingly well done
Like most when the first news and trailer broke, I was dumbfounded at how they could make a live-action movie, given the track record of such game films. I remained skeptical right as the movie started, but it had won me over not too long after. Is it faithful to the series? Definitely not, but it does it's own thing pretty well.

The plot is nothing special, and you'll have to just overlook some things (like how Sonic knows a ton of pop culture references despite basically being a hermit and somehow doesn't know what a "bucket list" is, and the obnoxious product placements), but the action and majority of the comedy is done well, although Sonic himself gets a little overly hyper and annoying sometimes. But despite initial reservations, it didn't feel too dumbed down for children. Jim Carrey shines, of course, although he exuded too much Ace Ventura than I thought suited the character. Everybody else is good.

There's some good fanservice with minor nods to the franchise, as well as an awesome end credits. Overall, definitely entertaining and worth a watch.

Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
(2020)

A fun slog
If you disliked the long character introductions in Suicide Squad then this will irk you just as well since much of the beginning is plagued by constant backtracking for character expositions. Eventually things pick up, with some awesome fight scenes for the violence we all came for. But then the slog continues as most of the characters are just plain uninteresting. Roman, Canary, Zsasz, Cassandra - all bring little to the table and aren't enticing when being the main focus.

Humor is all over the place, ranging from well-placed to "let's just have Harley say something here to show quirkiness" which can be off-putting or cringey.

Personally, I'm not a fan of kid characters in adult movies. They show things down with constant babysitting, get in the way of potentially great moments, and are just overall unnecessary characters. This and Deadpool 2 are no different, and Cassandra could've be written out. This would have been better themed with Harley trying to pull off a big heist to show off her independent chops instead of the tiresome "become a foster mother to this woeful child" trope.

Dolittle
(2020)

It's alright
Dolittle and gang go on a semi-swashbuckling adventure in search of a legendary macguffin, causing minor ruckuses here and there.

Really not much to say, it's a decent ragtag adventure story that's not going to rock your world or anything else as nothing really shines here. The animal CGI is impressive for the most part, but there's just way too many of them vying to be "the one" but don't really do much except a scene or two. RDJ brings a good sense of eccentricity and somberness, but let's be real, that accent is Atrocious (yes, with a capital A). It's too wispy and low, making his lines unclear many times.

The humor is heavily skewed towards kids, so expect it to mostly fall flat for adults. There were more kids at my showing of Bad Boys 3 than for this one!

Crawl
(2019)

Ridiculous
What could've been a good disaster movie to at least a cheesy but decent creature feature is thrown into the soileds hamper by constant insults to intelligence. From the beginning it's plainly obvious that the 2 characters don't want to be saved, and their boneheaded decisions throughout reassure that time after time. At one point the dad and daughter discuss the unspoken trauma that broke their family apart. The reason for the parent's divorce? The mom was upset the dad was spending too much time with the daughter and her swimming ambitions. That's right, folks, being a good parent can destroy your marriage. Add to that the impossibility of shrugging off multiple gator attacks/wounds without any physical hindrances and you have the perfect storm of garbage on a stick. It does have some nice, albeit expected, jump scares, though. Save for a free Redbox rental.

John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum
(2019)

Non-stop hardcore adrenaline rush!
Ups the ante in every way from the previous film: action, kills, backstory/lore, remarkable characters, etc. If you were disappointed that Common wasn't returning then you would at least find someone to like here (although not as much for me).

I only have a couple minor complaints. One would be that some of the CGI used for knives and such were too noticeable at times, not exactly wonky but breaks the immersion. The other is on several occasions there's a small delay before either Keanu or an enemy reacts when it's obvious it's their move, especially when multiple enemies around and 1 stands there for a second before attacking/shooting. At one point there's a reload stand-off, and to me it appeared that the enemy actually finished first, so he has to wait for Keanu to load for a split-second before he can get shot. Once again, this isn't game-breaking but there is a certain loss of grace (my eyes, of course, may have deceived me).

There most definitely needs to a 4th entry!

Pokémon Detective Pikachu
(2019)

A childhood realized
I haven't touched a Pokemon game since the original Red and Yellow oh so long ago but I could never forget those characters. Naturally, I was at a loss with all the newer ones that are featured more prominently but they do give justice to a lot of those classic ones. With that said, if you came solely for the Pokes then you wouldn't be disappointed. They are absolutely adorable, if you've never had a wish for them to be real then you certainly would now!

The movie itself is a lot of fun, consisting mainly of interactions between the various Pokemon. There are moments where it seems to drag a little, and some scenes were unnecessary. Being that this isn't a movie about battling, you may be disappointed in not seeing many flashy moves being thrown about, which would've been simply amazing to see. Ryan Reynolds is a natural Pikachu, but I felt the shtick got tiresome at times. The humans varied from alright to "Next scene, please!"

Overall, it's a great movie but only recommended for fans. If you don't know the difference between a Charmander and an Eevee, then you won't get much enjoyment.

The Intruder
(2019)

Really good
Very suspenseful as Dennis Quaid perfectly plays his role and steals the show (not that Meagan Good and Michael Ealy weren't on form either). The movie does well with constantly building up the unsettling nature of Charlie's intrusion, while balancing the line between "Get to it already!" and "I wonder how much further can he go?" As others have said, the movie is fairly straightfoward and predictable at times, and the wife is unrealistically too trusting/compassionate, but it doesn't hamper anything. Definitely recommended.

El Chicano
(2018)

Basically Mexican "Batman Begins", but not as spectacular
Was hoping this would be a surprise hit but it was pretty lacking. Takes way to long before it kicks into gear since most of the major events/details are done previously in the background. So the audience is always playing catch-up blind. But when the action comes it is nicely violent and gory. Then the movie is over just as quickly.

I didn't particular care for the story, which involves rival gangs, the cartel, and the mystery of the lead's twin brother's death (not a spoiler, it is established very early on and this site's synopsis isn't exactly comprehensive). The movie opens with them as kids one night, then jumps forward in time 20 years. Unfortunately, we see nothing of them growing up so you don't get a good grasp of the relationship drama that the film wants to portray. Some of it felt overly convoluted/confusing, other times like basic scene padding.

But on the other hand, this is a decent origin story so if there's ever a sequel then they should be able to skip all this fluff and really knock it out.

Those Who Can't
(2016)

Absolute blast!
Been with the show since the very 1st episode came out, and now that I've finally finished the 3rd season (which was well worth the wait) this is still my favorite current show. All the cast is great (extra kudos to my secret crush Maria Thayer whom I've enjoyed since the "Eagleheart" days), the wit is spot on, and the jokes are both outrageous yet still within realms of credibility. They especially play well with irony and flipping things to the opposite spectrums.

I hope there's a 4th season in the works but I pray it never ends.

Black Summer
(2019)

A cruel, cruel summer (for intelligence)
If this is the zombie apocalypse we have to look forward to, then I definitely don't want to be a part of it because the only virus to fear is mass stupidity. It's as if the writers simply wanted to make a zombie show, but either had no clue how or simply decided not to bother trying to build a credible world around the concept. So the show has some good personal drama for the characters, but it's wasted by overflowing contradictions and illogical actions.

From just the first 2 episodes alone:

1. Cars literally littered across the city, yet no one ever bothers to check if any are in working condition and just drive away. On top of that, while one group drives around in circles, they notice a black pick-up truck suspiciously tailing them. Their apparent motive? Gas. Whoever wrote that has to be an actual zombie.

2. No one ever bothers to close doors or create a barrier to stop the zombies chasing them. No joke or exaggeration. Episode 4 is completely about one man being constantly chased by a single zombie, and if you took a shot for every doorway he passes through without closing a door you would die from liver failure before the episode ended.

3. Sun, who only speaks Korean, and even mentions that she doesn't speak English, can conveniently understand it. In one scene she even perfectly sings a song in English! I don't know about you, but I certainly don't know the lyrics to songs in a language I'm not fluent in, let alone starts singing one out of the blue compared to my native tongue (P.S. I'm not multilingual).

There's really just too much to list but these are the most prominent ones throughout every episode, with each ep getting more ridiculous as they go and capping off in the purest insanity of the finale. If this had been made as an actual comedy, it might've been one of the greatest. But a serious story and max stupidity don't mix.

I sincerely hope Netflix doesn't invest in a 2nd season.

Hellboy
(2019)

Didn't have the charm
Felt like it traded too much for style over substance. I certainly welcomed the R-rating, which it embraces in spades with over-the-top gore and hard action, but the story was lackluster. It seems like they wanted to appeal too much to the hardcore fans or that you needed a certain familiarity with the comics (which I don't). Scenes and characters are just thrown out there without growing into them so they don't have much weight. And Nimue was neither a convincing nor interesting enough villain despite the hype of the destruction she would bring. All this leads up to an unsatisfying conclusion just when the brown stuff appears to hit the fan.

Though I haven't read the original comics, consensus says this is a more faithful adaptation. But what I like about the previous movies was the whimsy. This one has a more serious tone, which makes the injected humor feel forced and awkward. Needless to say, I didn't find it completely funny most of the time.

Overall, though, it's not necessarily bad but didn't live up to its potential.

Little
(2019)

Not bad, but needed a little more (pun intended)
Overall, it was enjoyable. Rarely roaringly hilarious, but full of moments for quick chuckles and smiles despite the overt familiarity. Which leads into the main problems in that it doesn't really push any new boundaries or pull any surprises. The jokes are standard for the situations, and those scenes are also what you'd come to expect if you've seen many in the genre.

But I had fun, and the cast are all great.

The Silence
(2019)

Will definitely leave you stunned in silence...
But not in a good way because of too much nonsense. The premise is alright, but certain plots points and peoples' actions are just plain illogical and contradictory. It sets the tone for that from the very beginning, when the family learns about the outbreak from the news on the TV, along with the dire warning that the creatures are attracted to sounds. The dad then tells everyone to silence their phones. Yup, nevermind the TV or the barking dog, rogue cell phones are real threat. The daughter deduces that major cities would naturally be the most dangerous due to all the activity, so despite living what appears to be in a suburb, they decide that staying indoors isn't safe and the best thing to do is hop in a car and drive to who-knows-where. Of course, in the very next scene they PASS BY A MAJOR CITY on the highway!

After that, things progress as you would expect, with more braindead decisions (like never closing doors, video calling with the sound on) causing trouble along the way.

I might be in the minority but I liked the bats, especially since they do provide good shots of them and the CGI isn't too bad.

Shazam!
(2019)

Decent, but wholly unimpressive
Technically a 6.5, but definitely not anything to be thrilled about, as there isn't much novelty. I'm not familiar with the comics so I had no special expectations. I can honestly say it was a fun movie, but I just don't see where the glowing praise is coming from.

Story-wise, it does its job without much surprise or imagination. The little drama with Billy searching for his long-lost mom, while being unable to accept companionship from others, is alright. The special FX are good, but there aren't any mindblowing scenes (no real fighting or magic other than smoke and lightning). I didn't mind the villain being one-note, but I wish they did something better than the old "7 deadly sins," or at the very least been more creative with the designs (which look like clay concept models of generic gargoyles and you couldn't even tell which sin was which).

Maybe I'm just cynical, but I didn't find it very funny. Sure I had a few smirks and chuckles now and then, but there wasn't anything roaringly hilarious. If the trailers didn't exactly make you LOL, then you'd probably won't within the full movie. The comparisons to a kid-friendly Deadpool are apt, but without the wackiness that "seals the deal" as most of the jokes are simple/cheesy/cheap (At the very beginning, Billy steals a cop's lunch bag while he pleads against it. Later on he uses his adult form to buy beer and visit a strip club like every teenage boy's wishes. That's pretty much the bar of humor throughout, besides the numerous "Look what I can do!" moments of discovery for the powers.)

There's a large disconnect between the ever-brooding Billy and the upbeat Shazam, almost like a reverse Jekyll/Hyde. I'd be pretty stoked too if I suddenly gained superpowers, but neither character is a natural extension. And except for Freddy, everyone is entirely one-dimensional and stereotypical: overly enthusiastic foster parents, the tech-wizard gamer Asian, the sweet 16-type daughter going off to college, bullies, etc. Billy has probably less than 10 minutes shown interacting with the fosters that him eventually accepting them as family is a giant, unsatisfying leap.

Overall, it's highly forgettable, but kids will enjoy it, assuming they won't be affected by the CG monsters.

Hotel Mumbai
(2018)

Brutally tense but such stupid people
One the one hand, it is a very powerful drama. As the violence escalates, so does the suspense, and the interspersing of real news footage from the actual event (I assume) is a nice touch.

But besides the main characters being uninteresting, I've never seen a more stupid bunch! I can't speak from any personal tragedy to what I would do in such a situation, so I mean no disrespect to survivors of extreme violence, but these people act so irrationally that you'll feel like they deserve it. Some just boldly make their presence known instead of remaining in hiding and waiting for the coast to clear. There are seemingly plenty of unwatched back exits (a handful of cops eventually enter through one), but the victims decide the best course of action is to flee across the hotel from one room to another. In the meantime, a couple of gunmen are going down hallways, knocking on the doors and subsequently shooting the occupants when opened. Apparently no one can hear the stream of gunshots outside, but can immediately respond to gentle rapping at their door. And since peepholes don't seem to exist, it's common courtesy to just blindly open the door to strangers without inquiring their identity/purpose beforehand.

Captive State
(2019)

Don't go in looking for another Independence Day
This is more of a spy thriller than the typical alien invasion action movies. There are no gung-ho military men or plucky average joe who saves the day by sheer willpower, no booming gunfights or flashy UFOs. Just a small group of people hoping to start something bigger. Things move slow and deliberately, with information mainly passed along through dialogue. If that's not appealing to you, then this won't be for you (though you'll be missing out).

The majority of the film is spent on the younger brother of one of the rebels who had died leading a successful bombing years prior. While he tries to aid the group in planning a new attack and live up to his bro's name, John Goodman plays a hard-nosed alien loyalist detective trying to uncover the plot. The movie does a great job portraying how an underground terrorist network could work, using seemingly innocent symbols and gestures to communicate, to avoid the ever-watching eyes of the aliens drones and listening devices.

I honestly don't see how many people found it convoluted or confusing, everything felt straightfoward to me (excluding the beginning of course when motives aren't completely established). The characters tell you what you need to know, and there is little that actually needs to be decrypted or interpreted. Most negative reviewers seem to be hung up on how intricate the plan was, but these aren't suicide bombers, and with the hi-tech surveillance around covert baby steps are key. There's also a lack of information on the aliens (what they want, how they function) which would've been nice to have but doesn't factor much to the goal of fighting back the occupation.

Us
(2019)

Another poignant discussion on race relations
It's hard not to compare it to "Get Out" but overall it's a worthy follow-up. It has a good amount of suspense and humor, and the actors are great. Once again, there are sprinkles of clues/easter eggs throughout that you should look out for to get more information.

Although there are a lot of tense moments, I didn't actually find it scary (rarely do for any movie, however) and I thought there was too much humor that didn't fit. I can see it going for a semi-cheesy slasher film tone but it didn't work well. It's eventually revealed to be, at least, a country-wide event, but being confined to a single family gave it less impact. I think expanding it to more individuals would've made it more terrifying. There's also a lingering sense that it played its hand too early.

It is explained toward the end of how the Doppelgangers came to be (which ties in to the whole discussion on racism), but there are some inconsistencies regarding their traits (like what causes them to follow some actions of the "normal" version and not others?)

Climax
(2018)

You'll need to be under the influence of something to enjoy
Simply a waste of time. I generally don't mind slow-burns or potboilers, but this movie goes absolutely nowhere. Much of the problem is the large cast involved (20+) and but none of them are actually captivating to care.

The film starts off with each dancer's "interview" where they discuss various life goals which goes on forever since they have to go through everybody. Then they break into a remarkable uncut extended ensemble dance routine which is the absolute highlight of the movie and worth 1 solid star.

Then they sit and talk. And chat. And discuss. And gossip. And banter. And gab. And confer. And parley. And argue. And converse. And babble. And spout. And prattle. And jabber. And vent. And whine. And cluck. And yak. And yap. And yammer. And yarn. For over a brain-mushingly half-hour!

I should've followed my instincts and just left. The supposed upcoming "climax" was an empty promise; you would see better drug trips by drawing circles on paper.

After another, less spectacular dance-off, people realize they've been drugged and a brief confrontation while trying to figure out who spiked the punch ensues. For the rest of the time, everyone is either wandering around aimlessly or continuing to dance (which the camera spends an obnoxious amount of time focusing on). There's some interpersonal relationship drama that pokes its head out once in a while (earning a couple more points) but nothing worth sitting around for.

Don't be fooled by the title or tagline of "Horror", there is nothing scary, suspenseful, or rewarding. Violence is minuscule and tame. Nothing gets resolved in the end because there was nothing put forth in the first place. Go outside and stare at the sun instead.

Captain Marvel
(2019)

Like a better executed "Green Lantern" (non-critical spoiler inside)
It wasn't bad, but certainly didn't blow me away even though I had no previous expectations. As I said, it felt like as if Ryan Reynolds ill-fated movie had been properly done, although still without the solid foundations of recent Marvel films to elevate it (and yes, I know GL is not Marvel).

The first part of the movie plays like a buddy cop comedy with Larson and Jackson which I honestly would've liked throughout the rest of it because the 2 characters play off well (and because Fury is so refreshingly upbeat).

The movie's primary flaws are in it's pacing. It opens up on the Kree home of Hala, but you don't get any good views of it or learn anything about their civilization other than "Skrulls are the enemy" since they are basically in & out after a few scenes. The Starforce members are also woefully underutilized, borderline cast-offs.

Back on Earth, there's too much obnoxious fanservicey shout-outs to the 90s, like "Hey, remember this? That was cool, right?" rather than letting the setting/writing flow organically or with purpose. You can also read some articles about what they got wrong/changed which makes it a little worse.

Sometimes it feels like there's too much focus spent on Carol's past, other times too little, making the drama feel somewhat forced since I found myself not caring while waiting for the big reveal. There are also several plot inconsistencies and disjointed scenes, such as Fury beating Carol to an out-of-the-blue location, and subsequently giving him a "Skrull identity test" by asking questions about his past that she would absolutely have no idea of what is truthful, especially with her minimal knowledge of Earth.

Lastly, there's Carol herself. I feel I have to preface this by saying I don't care about the so-called "feminist agenda" that some people are getting twisted over. Female, male, quasi -- it doesn't matter who the star of the show is, I enjoy them all as long the story gives them weight. With that said, I felt the character came off more as between "arrogant" and "naive" rather than "strong." She isn't shown to be a great fighter, and her powers aren't spectacular since she's mainly pushing people away with energy blasts (I have no knowledge of the comics and what she is truly capable of). Even ignoring those, she doesn't come across as anybody you'd want on the forefront.

Overall, I enjoyed it and it's certainly not a dud like many reviews are dragging it down to be. It might've even rocked the boat if it had released years ago. But I can honestly say I have no interest in seeing it again.

Greta
(2018)

Dragged down by too much nonsense
Fairly straightfoward and predictable, but nonetheless Huppert brings a chilling performance as the unhinged title character that may make you wary of helping strangers out from now on.

The big reveal is spoiled in the trailers, and it come pretty early on. It would've been better had it been delayed a little, after the 2 characters had spent more time together and a few scenes of Greta acting crazy at times to have Frances grow some suspicion.

But the main problem is how illogical/stupid the other characters are, beginning with Frances either unable or unwilling to block Greta's number despite the obvious problems, and upping the ante with the ending.

All the ridiculousness is summed up one face-palm worthy quote: "What do we tell the police?" Gee, what actually happened might be a good idea.

Hai Phuong
(2019)

Fantastic rollercoaster
The main plot isn't entirely unique but it has a well-crafted story and drama. But naturally you come for the fights, which are top-notch and perfectly shot. The main actress is phenomenal.

My only negative critique is that I feel the story would've been better off without the police getting involved since they didn't do much. But it isn't too much of a bother so I can look past it.

This was my first big foray into Vietnamese cinema, and I look forward to more.

Fighting with My Family
(2019)

Delivered more than I expected
Although I'm a casual wrestling fan of over 20 years, I wasn't really planning on seeing this. Paige was a good wrestler, but her life story wasn't something I had any interest in. However, even if a lot of stuff might of been "enhanced," the movie doesn't fail to be entertaining. There's a surprisingly good amount of sharp wit and one-liners without being too screwball and keeping the drama intact. All the cast is great, especially Vince Vaughn as the coach who has to dash the recruits' dreams.

But I thought it glossed over too much of what made her special enough to rise in the first place. Sure she had the talent, but if you want to know how she made jump to champion then you're going to be disappointed. So they could've expanded a bit more on that.

Overall, it was a fun time and I can give a hearty recommendation even if you don't care for wrestling.

Liu lang di qiu
(2019)

Pretty good
If you enjoy cheesy sci-fi disaster movies like "Armageddon" and "San Andreas" then you'll probably enjoy this, too. *It's recently been announced that Netflix has picked this up, so if you're interested and have no other options then look forward to that in the future!*

Definitely brings epicness to the table, with glamorous shots of destroyed cities, the whole planet zipping through space, and the behemoth Jupiter. If anything, this is worth the price of admission alone. The action and drama is just gravy :) . It also tries to blur the line between selflessness and selfishness, and which would better serve the overall goal of survival of the many versus few.

What brings it down is some of the drama felt too artificial, especially when tied with the annoying characters. There isn't a convincing reason for the son to hate his dad so much, especially after 17 years of time and knowing what's stake. Some scenes also don't make much sense (one of the trivia does shed a little light on a couple things), and though the whole concept is unique, I can't look past the unrealistic science (but that's just me, and didn't impact my rating).

I do hope this movie bears more fruit since the creativity and grand scale is highly refreshing.

On Children
(2018)

A good blend of "Black Mirror" and "The 3%"
If you are familiar with either of those, then I recommend giving this a try.

It primarily deals with so-called "tiger moms" and the high pressures of academic success, but also covers a wide-range of emotional topics including individualism vs. conformity and mental illness without being preachy. Although the main theme is the same, each episode is distinct and has a unique sci-fi twist to keep you guessing throughout.

At 90 minutes apiece, personally, I felt each episode took a little too long to get to the main setup, but after that things snowball into heavily dramatic levels. So you might have to hang on for at least 30-40 minutes if it doesn't click at first.

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