|By date||Most helpful reviews||By my score||By metascore||By user score|
Average User Score: 8.2Nov 12, 2016Doctor Strange, Marvel Studios newest entry in the marvel cinematic universe, is here and it is really good. Doctor Strange may not be asDoctor Strange, Marvel Studios newest entry in the marvel cinematic universe, is here and it is really good. Doctor Strange may not be as well-rounded as this year’s Civil War, or some of the other Marvel gems, but it is a really good film on it’s own merit. Doctor Strange features mind bending visuals, entertaining thrills, and a fresh look at the Marvel cinematic universe (MCU). Doctor Strange is yet another strong entry in the ever impressive MCU, which makes it harder and harder to argue, that Marvel is the premiere film studio today.
This movie described simply is like watching the avengers while on acid, and the special effects are perfect. In this film the characters dance between many different realities, and essentially within these realities everything can be manipulated by the mind. The special effects are amazing in this film, which is a true compliment, because many films this year struggled with overly digitized special effects. In this film, it’s obvious that there are special effects, but they look very realistic.
The acting in this film is very good, as Benedict Cumberbatch brings his usual intense personality into his character. The action sequences are very well shot, and the film is subtly very funny. It’s admirable that Marvel refuses to step away from humor, because it’s become their true signature. One weak point about this film was that some of the characters were very flat, the villain especially so. Unfortunately, Mads Mikkelsen gives a great performance, but his character is yet another generic evil character, consumed by a bigger evil force, with little development as to why. That being said this film wasn’t all that original, but it didn’t feel recycled either. This is most likely because this film introduced viewers to the more cosmic side of the MCU. Much like Guardians of the Galaxy took viewers off earth, this film takes viewers out of normal reality. It’s impressive that Marvel can have so many characters in so many different atmospheres. In the end this film is yet another solid Marvel film. It’s not the best marvel film ever, but it’s a very entertaining, funny, well-acted, and creative film that is perfect for viewers of all ages. The film struggled a little with a cliched villain, some marvel cliches, and the occasional overly-expository dialogue. For those with children this film is perfect for them, and for those who love action or comic book film, give this film a look.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.2Sep 9, 2016Hell or High Water is yet another limited release gem that shows that in today’s film climate, independent film is the quality standardHell or High Water is yet another limited release gem that shows that in today’s film climate, independent film is the quality standard bearer. While tentpole films are fun to see because they are events, films like Hell or High Water harken back to when filmmakers were more concerned with telling interesting stories, instead of making easy money. Hell or High Water is engrossing, tells its story with depth and smarts, and features really well-rounded characters. This film is truly a great film in almost all aspects, and will likely get a ton of recognition during oscar season.
From the opening scene of this film, the film is gripping, using both intrigue and acting to its advantage. Much like many other great films, this film begins with a bang and holds the audience’s attention throughout. Chris Pine has proven that he’s a talented actor over the years, but this film is a major step up for him, that being said the show stealers are Ben Foster and Jeff Bridges. Foster has had amazing performances in the past, but this stands as one of his best, and Bridges plays a role that fits him like a glove, and he does it perfectly.
The actors are notably great, but the film is gripping because the story it tells is interesting. The story doesn’t feel like a rip off of other films, and even more impressively tells it’s story with depth and smarts. Nothing in this film feels like it’s unrealistic or bombastic, every action in the film is well thought out and makes sense, that being said the film has a decent level of emotional depth. The impressive thing about Hell or High Water is that it’s not overly sentimental, but it’s the kind of film that still evokes an emotional response.
Perhaps the biggest reason that the story is interesting, and emotionally gripping is because the characters are so well developed. From the onset all characters come from relatable places, and have plenty of layers. Above that the characters are funny and at some point they simply begin to feel like real people just being captured on film. That being said every character’s conflict hits even harder, because the characters feel so relatable.
Finding something wrong with this film is extremely hard, and in a day and age with so many films coming out in conjunction that’s rare. Hell or High Water is well acted, gripping, funny, features great characters, shows an impressive amount of emotional depth, and never needlessly substitutes action for smarts. It seems safe to say that this film will get a lot of attention during Oscar season, especially for it’s screenplay. If you’re a fan of westerns, heist films, thrillers, or just in general like great films this film is a good choice.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.4Aug 30, 2016In a year with a string of impressive horror films, Don’t Breathe is yet another good entry. Directed by Fede Alvarez (Evil Dead, 2013), thisIn a year with a string of impressive horror films, Don’t Breathe is yet another good entry. Directed by Fede Alvarez (Evil Dead, 2013), this film shows that he has a talent for horror, and may be a rising presence in the genre. Don’t Breathe is hold-your-breath scary, and features a clever premise, despite a few small plot holes. It is worth mentioning that the title and posters seemed a little ambiguous as to the plot, but watching the film the title seems appropriate.
The first thing to mention about this film is that it is full of twists and turns, but does take a relatively practical approach to it’s plot. The film’s story is very smartly constructed, as it is full of tension from the opening moments, right up to the end. The film’s biggest strength is its simplicity, as it makes the most of a very straightforward premise. That being said, the film is constructed in a way that obstacles are consistently thrown at the main characters in creative ways.
Simply put the fact that the writers and directors were able to tell a story with such a clever yet simple premise makes it easy to follow. The impressive thing about this film is within a short period of time, the characters are well established and the premise, which is quite clever, is introduced. With all of the cliched horror films today, putting empty characters in cliched situations, it’s refreshing to see relatable characters put into a straightforward premise. However, as happens in all horror films, the characters find everything is not as they expected it, and quickly discover they’re in over their heads.
The only problem with the film, is that it does cater to a few too many horror cliches and has a few glaring plot holes. While the obstacles in this film are creatively thrown at the main characters, a few of them don’t make sense, with a little thought. The story at times, neglects to explain how something happened, and relies on a few Deus ex Machinas. The irony is that many of the plot holes, end up helping the villain character, as he seems almost inhuman by the end of the film.
In the end, Don’t Breathe does a brilliant job keeping the audience on the edge of their seats, with a combination of ingenuity and simplicity. The film offers a refreshing entry in the horror genre, which has seen a nice revival this year, from the typically cliched horror films we get. The film isn’t great, as it has a few too many plot holes, and cliches, but is still very entertaining. Horror buffs looking for a good film to get them into the Fall/Halloween season will likely enjoy this film.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.1Aug 25, 2016Kubo and the Two Strings, the next installment from the stop-go animation studio Laika is here, and I think it’s an amazing film. I’ve statedKubo and the Two Strings, the next installment from the stop-go animation studio Laika is here, and I think it’s an amazing film. I’ve stated for years that Laika could be the biggest competition for Pixar, and finally Laika has delivered a movie to prove me right. Kubo and the Two Strings is beautifully animated, conveys amazing amounts of emotional depth, and brings a true sense of magic. In the past I had been critical of some stop-go animation, but the works of Aardman and Laika have taken it to a premier level.
This film’s animation is gorgeous, simply put the characters, the settings, the creatures, they all look amazing. It shouldn’t come as any surprise, Laika has consistently made beautiful films, but it’s always impressive when you consider the amount of time and effort that goes into animating a stop-go animation film. Above the animation the looks of the film is amazing, as the animators used color so well to give the film a look, and even more impressively the animators weren’t afraid to make it dark. That has been one of the best staples of Laika, it’s boldness to be willing to make an animated movie dark (but only to an extent.)
The boldness to make the film look dark occasionally, really exemplifies the film’s impressive emotional depth. Much like Pixar, Laika seems to understand that the marshmallow fluff most studios give kids, are very one dimensional. While that fluff is in this film, there’s elements of light horror in this film as well. Any film that can juxtapose kiddy fluff with any kind of horror tones, deserves credit for their depth and understanding of mood. It also helps make this film feel all the more magical, as if the presence of a character can change the mood of an area, which is amazing.
The entire film’s look and depth help create a truly magical film, one where imagination seems to be at full capacity for the writers and filmmakers. The film’s villain characters, voiced by Rooney Mara, are creepy and perfectly designed, and the main characters are very well developed as well. This film uses color amazingly, especially blue, which is a common color used in films today, but the use of it in this film both enhances the story and the mood beautifully. Above that the voice work is also incredible, especially the work of Matthew McConaughey and Charlize Theron.
All in all, this film is amazing, it may possibly be the best film of the year so far, although it’s still early and Captain America: Civil War was pretty great as well. The story may have been a tad predictable in the end, but the magical look and feel of this animated film transcends a slightly predictable story. For those who love great movie and those who have imaginative young kids, see this in the theaters where the sense of magic can still be felt.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.2Aug 23, 2016War Dogs seems like a film with a ton of potential, because of the people involved in it, but lacks the spark to make it anything other thanWar Dogs seems like a film with a ton of potential, because of the people involved in it, but lacks the spark to make it anything other than okay. The problem seems to be that the crew wanted to tell a true story and make the audience laugh but didn’t fully understand, given the source material, how to do that. War Dogs is intermittently funny, but relies too much on clichés, and fails to pack any kind of a punch. If you’re trying to figure out what kind of a movie this is, picture The Big Short with a slightly lesser known crew.
War Dogs did have a lot going for it, namely the talents of Miles Teller and Jonah Hill, as well as the direction of Todd Phillips (The Hangover Trilogy.) Above that the trailers for this film looked fairly funny, but note that almost all of the genuinely funny parts of the movie are contained in the trailer. That being said the film often tries to take a more dramatic approach, and fails to ever generate a hilarious moment. That being said both Miles Teller and Jonah Hill’s performances are great in this film.
While Teller and Hill are great in this film it really feels too familiar, as if you’ve seen it before. That shouldn’t be the case with a film about two men in their twenties running guns in the Iraq War. That being said it ends up making it’s characters into cliches, and tells an overdone storyline about rags to riches idiots, and betrayal of best friends. It really is a shame because, as I mentioned before, this film could’ve been very original and interesting, but ends up being like most other films of today, more recycled than anything else.
Above that the film fails, at what it ultimately wants to do, which is pack a punch. It seems self evident watching it, that the director and writers wanted to expose a scary problem in America, and at the same time generate a few laughs. In that sense it’s a lot like The Big Short, however War Dogs fails to ever do what it strives to do. Where The Big Short was informational, funny, and in the end terrifyingly honest, War Dogs is not. This movie may have a moment or two, but seems to miss it’s intended mark on both ends, in that it’s not as funny as it’d like to be nor is it as damning.
In the end War Dogs feels like more of an average film, which is disappointing because it had the potential to do everything wanted to. If you expect a great comedy, it’s not really that, if you’re expecting a great look at true and terrifying events that led to two young immature men running guns for America, it’s not really that either. War Dogs is funny, well acted, and has a story to tell, but relies on cliches, stereotypes, and doesn’t offer very much thought provoking material. This is a good film if you want a few chuckles but it doesn’t supply a ton of laughs.… Expand
Average User Score: 5.6Aug 15, 2016Sausage Party, Seth Rogen’s appropriately named Pixar-spoof/raunch fest, is here and it is actually pretty entertaining, if you’re a sarcasticSausage Party, Seth Rogen’s appropriately named Pixar-spoof/raunch fest, is here and it is actually pretty entertaining, if you’re a sarcastic adult who enjoys **** on everybody. Much like Deadpool did to the comic book genre earlier this year, Sausage Party takes aim at the animation genre, finally making an animation for adults. Sausage Party is as funny as it is clever, gleefully filled with profanity, but is also surprisingly thought provoking. Sausage Party never quite reaches the level of quality, of that which it pokes fun at, but does manage to do everything it set out to do.
Watching this film it’s incredible the ensemble cast that Seth Rogen was able to gather for this film, featuring James Franco, Jonah Hill, Paul Rudd, Edward Norton, Salma Hayek, and so many more. The plot of this film is actually a fairly entertaining one, but the real strength of the film is it’s humor. That isn’t surprising, considering the group behind it, but the film in essence jumps from one joke to another never leaving a dull moment. The main reason that the film is so funny is that the film is clever in how it pokes fun at the world of food.
Another reason that the film is so funny is that instead of trying to be politically correct, the film almost revels in it’s ability to insult whoever it can. Animation has, over the years, proven to be a genre mostly directed at kids, besides a few exceptions (South Park, Family Guy, the Simpsons.) That being said the use of excessive profanity within that genre is so rare that it often elevates a raunchy animated comedy. Seeing a bunch of talking hot dogs, and buns that are animated to look like sexual images, and then swear non-stop ends up being one of the funnier elements of the film.
It seems surprising that Pixar didn’t beat Sausage Party to this story though, because it could’ve been an even better Pixar film. By that I mean that the story of this film is actually quite clever and thought provoking, when you say to yourself, what food think if it could talk. The plot is not as focused as a Pixar film and the characters are not as emotionally involving, so Sausage Party feels more like a cheaper, raunchy Pixar film. However, this film does manage to attack a fairly thought provoking and deep storyline.
In the end, Sausage Party is a really good and often entertaining spoof of the animation genre for adults above a certain age, and of a certain mindset. The film tries to remain clear of racism, simply by insulting every group of people, without prejudice, we’ll see if that method works. The film is clever, funny, thought provoking, and gleefully profane. It should be stated that not everybody will enjoy this movie, but that’s partially the point.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.1Aug 5, 2016Suicide Squad, the next entry in the ever bleak DC Cinematic Universe, is here and frankly I was disappointed. The hype for this film was bigSuicide Squad, the next entry in the ever bleak DC Cinematic Universe, is here and frankly I was disappointed. The hype for this film was big and expectations may have been admittedly very high, but this film fails on a level deeper than just a bad movie where a good movie was expected. Suicide Squad features a great cast, but falls flat in terms of story, and rushes through its already thin story. What’s so sad is that the formula for a really good movie was there and the filmmakers ignored it completely.
With a film that has so many talented stars in it, and Jai Courtney, it’s not surprising that the expectations were very high for the film. Will Smith is not immune to bad decisions when it comes to his films, but he’s pretty good at rising above them and making films better all on his own. Jared Leto is pretty great in this film, he’ll undoubtedly be judged by comparisons to other Joker performances, but just on his own merit he was great. The entire cast did a good job, Smith, Leto, Viola Davis, and Margot Robbie were all excellent in their performances, but they were failed by a poorly crafted film.
The biggest problem is the fact that the screenwriter and director seemed to not be on the same page, when it came to what this film was about, or more precisely who this film is about. To me, it’s about Rick Flag and the Enchantress. However, clearly somebody in the process missed that and felt that every character needed an appropriate amount of backstory, which they don’t. The result of this confusion is two cardinal sins, the first is that the audience is given a lot of needless scenes of backstory that we don’t need that waters down the story. The second and far more egregious is that the better story was very clearly sitting within this watered down, and crowded mess that we ended up with.
Without spoilers this film rushes through introducing all of it’s characters and giving backstory, for almost every one of them. Frankly there are more subtle and effective ways to show us something than 5 minute flashbacks for every character. Above that we can’t care about the characters, besides Amanda Waller who you will grow to hate because Viola Davis gave an amazing performance, which really hurts the film because they were on to something. The painful thing is that if the filmmakers had looked at what they had, they may have noticed that certain alternative plot points would have been far more emotionally impactful, and they just missed them.
It’s easy to see how some will enjoy this film, it’s not boring, or unenjoyable. This film just suffers from the same problem that Batman v. Superman did, the better film rests within the mess we were given. In the end Suicide Squad is rushed, crowded, features a weak villain, and feels like a poor man’s Guardians of the Galaxy. That being said kids may enjoy this film and comic book die hards like will too, simply for the spectacle.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.4Jul 31, 2016Jason Bourne, the next entry in the Bourne Franchise is here, but it isn’t as good as the original Bourne movies. Matt Damon is back in thisJason Bourne, the next entry in the Bourne Franchise is here, but it isn’t as good as the original Bourne movies. Matt Damon is back in this entry, and so is director Paul Greengrass (Bourne Supremacy and Ultimatum), which means the style and feel of the original films is there. Jason Bourne is entertaining, but is riddled with cliches, and feels like a somewhat irrelevant entry in the franchise. The problem for this film is that many of the biggest plot points are featured in other modern spy films, and at this point are somewhat overdone.
Jason Bourne is action packed and offers fans of the originals more of what they love. The film is action packed, despite that some of the action has too much shaky cam, which is common within in this franchise, but annoying nonetheless. The acting in this film is one of the best parts of this movie, as Damon is great in his return to Bourne, however Alicia Vikander and Tommy Lee Jones are both also great in their roles, conveying complex people very well. The major problem with this film is that it’s riddled with cliches.
If this film had been made 5 years ago, it would have been timely and groundbreaking, and while it’s still timely the subject matter is somewhat worn out. Jason Bourne latches on to the same theme as various other spy films today, which is how much can we infringe upon privacy for security. That isn’t to say Hollywood needs to abandon doing films about the ongoing privacy vs security argument that is plaguing our society today, but they need to make it original. If you need an example, Captain America: Winter Soldier was a far more entertaining and well-rounded version of the same film, that came out 2 years ago.
Beyond being cliched and not really offering anything new to the privacy vs security argument, this film feels detached from the other Bourne films. By that I mean that the original 3 Bourne films had an overarching story, and they all felt as though they were necessary for that over arching story, this film isn’t part of that story. The story never really feels connected to the original films, and instead feels like an unnecessary cash grab. Above that the film refuses to offer anything new to the franchise, recycling the same cinematography and themes of other films.
Jason Bourne is a fairly entertaining action/spy film, and it comes at a time when spy films are all the rage, because the public knows so much about the imperfections of the system. That being said this film piggybacks on other, better, films so as to continue Jason Bourne’s storyline. The film is action-packed, well-acted, and loaded, but is also unnecessary, recycled, and frankly lacks a fresh look problem. That being said fans of the original franchise likely will enjoy this film.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.8Jul 23, 2016Lights Out, is quite possibly one of the most visually and mentally scary films in the last two years. The film is yet another in a string ofLights Out, is quite possibly one of the most visually and mentally scary films in the last two years. The film is yet another in a string of horror movies that uses diseases as allegories for its premise, and this premise alone is genius. Lights Out is often unnerving and sometimes terrifying, dark in look and tone, without feeling recycled or derivative. The biggest strength of the film is that the story is constructed in a way that the audience is always wondering if something will happen.
The most genius element of the film is the look of the creature that haunts this movie “Diana.” Diana is an all-black figure that lurks in the dark, and kills whoever threatens it. That being said throughout this film the audience has to fear that this character could pop out of any dark space at any given time. At 81 minutes, not a single second is calm or peaceful, because the mere sight of sight of this creature is unnerving. However, the writers and crew deserve credit for conceiving the idea of the film having a lot of darkness in it.
We often say lighting is a storytelling device, but in today’s films it's become less true the more formulaic films get. In this film lighting is very much a storytelling device, and it is used perfectly. Every scene in this film contains, just the right amount of darkness and light, almost as if there are safe areas, and areas that characters should stay away from, and they’re often changing. The dark look and tone of this film, create a very unnerving atmosphere, because one of the most common fears is a fear of the dark, and more notably a fear of the unknown, which exists in the dark.
The film really hit a note with me personally, because I have had nightmares in the past about all dark figures living in the dark, so the film felt that much more personal to me. That being said, the film really doesn’t feel all that derivative of other recent horror films. A few moments, and scenes did feel familiar (Diana as a child), but those were few and far between. Even those moments that are a little familiar, are constructed in a way that they are still very scary.
The film does what The Babadook did a couple of years ago, and uses depression as an allegory for the creature in the film, which is turning into a very cool concept. The film is one of the few films within the system that uses lighting to tell the story, and does so in a way that is clever and terrifying at the same time. The film is admittedly dark, and relatively humorless, and not really for children, but that kinda goes without saying. For those horror buffs looking for a good scary movie, this may be your movie.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.7Jul 23, 2016Star Trek: Beyond is here, and it is truly unlike any other Star Trek movie you’ve ever seen. Directed by Justin Lin, who directed fourStar Trek: Beyond is here, and it is truly unlike any other Star Trek movie you’ve ever seen. Directed by Justin Lin, who directed four entries in the Fast and Furious franchise, the film continues on the more fast paced and slightly bombastic feel of the rebooted franchise. Star Trek: Beyond is often funny, fast paced and action packed, and features a cool new villain. The film is also co-written by Simon Pegg, and thus has a lot more moments of humor, sometimes resembling the Marvel mold more than Star Trek.
Star Trek films have historically been inconsistent when it comes to humor, some like Star Trek: The Voyage Home or Star Trek (2009) have been very funny, and some like Star Trek: Wrath of Khan, forwent humor for seriousness. This film may just be the funniest Star Trek film yet, because it’s not quite as silly as some of the other films, but manages to have a lot of good quips. The film’s sense of humor is most likely a product of Simon Pegg co-writing the film, and that has proven to be a great decision. It should be stated that the humor does make Star Trek: Beyond feel slightly more like a summer blockbuster than a Star Trek film, and they are different.
Star Trek Beyond is structured slightly more like an action film, as the pacing grows in tempo until the end of the film when it culminates in a big finale. This is more consistent with the pacing of the rebooted franchise, however the film never quite elevates like the previous two films did. The action sequences in this film are very good, which comes as no surprise given that Lin, who is experienced in shooting action sequences was in the helm. One surprise of this film was the villain character, Krall.
The rebooted franchise of Star Trek movies has done an amazing job forming well-rounded villains. The villain in this film feels weak at the beginning, but as the film progresses his motives become more clear. Both Nero and Khan were good villains, and while Krall isn’t as well rounded he is a serviceable villain. That being said the other characters in the film aren’t very well developed, besides Captain Kirk, who is given some development.
All-in-all this is probably the weakest of the rebooted franchise in my opinion, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good movie, it is. Star Trek Beyond is very entertaining, fast paced, action-packed, funny, and has a very good villain. The film is a very good time at the theaters, and is fairly family friendly, for those who love summer blockbusters this is a perfect summer movie for you.… Expand