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All reviews - Movies (43)

Cats review

Posted : 2 years, 9 months ago on 12 June 2020 07:25 (A review of Cats)

‘Cats’ by Andrew Lloyd Webber isn’t my favorite musical because, while it is visually brilliant and beautifully sung, the story is very light and minimal and the style is very dated. Nevertheless, the show was the longest-running musical from the early 1980’s until the late 90’s and started the long trend of family-friendly mega-blockbusters on Broadway. Based on a collection of poems by T.S. Eliot, ‘Cats’ the musical introduces one Jellicle cat, it sings a dynamic number and gets cast aside among the ensemble, rinse and repeat, like fashion models on the runway. As for Cats the movie, Tom Hooper gives an already incoherent narrative a plot so the movie would seem real to the cinematic eye. Victoria the White Cat (Francesca Hayward), who has no dialogue and one dance number in the show, is the main character who goes through a journey, I guess, but barely does anything to earn her Jellicle trophy. Macavity (Idris Elba) has more screen time than the episodic show as the antagonist who kidnaps other Jellicle cats: Asparagus (Ian McKellan), Jennyanydots (Rebel Wilson), Bustopher Jones (James Corden), and Old Deuteronomy (Judi Dench). Lastly, Hooper feeds the script with terrible cat puns on par with the ones from Catwoman and suggests an even worse adlib job from Corden and Wilson. The only redeeming value in Cats the movie is the song soundtrack, performed by giants like Jennifer Hudson and Taylor Swift. Even ballerina Miss Hayward produces a beautiful innocent voice in her feature debut to incorporate with her dancing talents. Beyond that, I’ll forgive the hideous humanoid cat special effects, but with the story mixed into an already plotless musical, Cats was a complete mess.

(1 ½ Scary CGI Jellicles out of 5)

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Holmes & Watson review

Posted : 2 years, 9 months ago on 12 June 2020 07:21 (A review of Holmes & Watson)

Holmes & Watson is another comedic take on the iconic mystery series by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In this movie, Sherlock Holmes (Will Ferrell) and Dr. John Watson (John C. Reilly) are assigned to investigate the perpetrator of Queen Victoria’s (Pam Ferris) future death on the Titanic. The murderer is their housekeeper Mrs. Hudson (Kelly Macdonald), who is a descendant of Dr. Moriarty (Ralph Fiennes), but don’t expect me to analyze her plan because the movie doesn’t care. Holmes & Watson is nothing but a barrage of predictable slapstick, insultingly deadly sexual jokes and painful meandering Victorian versions of modern-day references. Not to mention, there’s an out-of-the-blue song sequence written by Alan Menken, who probably cashed his big paycheck for a pension fund and must have been ashamed penning such garbage. As for pop culture references, we get numerous allusions to Donald Trump’s America, mentions of Fourth Wave feminism, and a cameo from Billy Zane at the end. Speaking of, the most insulting anachronism of all, aside from the drunken telegram sexting and the selfie from the Queen, the RMS Titanic was constructed in 1908 and launched in 1912, several years after Victoria’s death. Not only that, the ship sailed not in London but in Southampton, tens of miles away. I know it’s pointless to rag on a movie with nothing but comedic anachronism, but the Titanic ship is intentionally part of the storyline, one set in the nineteenth century where most Sherlock Holmes stories take place. Holmes & Watson is not only a downfall for Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly’s careers, but also an insult to history, Arthur Conan Doyle’s legacy and comedic intelligence.

(1 Victorian Selfie out of 5)

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The Emoji Movie review

Posted : 2 years, 9 months ago on 12 June 2020 07:17 (A review of The Emoji Movie)

Is the first animated Razzie Award winner The Emoji Movie the worst film of the year? Gene (T.J. Miller) is a ‘meh’ emoji inside a kid’s iPhone who wants to be a wide variety of expressions. Once he accidentally glitches the phone, he crosses the threshold and exits Textropolis with his band of misfits Hi-5 (James Corden) and Jailbreak (Anna Faris), going through all sorts of Apps like CandyCrush, Just Dance, Spotify, and Dropbox, to escape from the bots hired by Smiler (Maya Rudolph). The obvious message in the film is that technology connects people together, so buy an iPhone and text an emoji to show your love for another. Hearing that flimsy and gimmicky moral, I saw The Emoji Movie as a 90-minute commercial for Sony products, with all the features installed such as a half-baked story, uninspired characters, and obnoxious puns, but colorful imaginative worlds. As for Alex, the phone’s owner who sends a text to let go of his comfort zone, he is no Riley from Inside Out. The boy is just as dreadfully boring as all the other phone-ridden schoolmates, including his girl crush, and the apps and emojis don’t do much to support his character arc. Also, the film missed an opportunity to have the emojis escape the phone world and enter the WiFi network, where they might accidentally damage the system causing chaos in not just the school but the world. This could have been a unique children’s satire tackling the impact of technology among humans. However, The Emoji Movie and Sony exist to only advertise trendy electronics rather than glorifying the art of cinema.

(1 ½ Thumbs Down Symbols out of 5)

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Hillary's America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party review

Posted : 2 years, 9 months ago on 12 June 2020 07:16 (A review of Hillary's America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party)

I have to admit, when the 2016 presidential election happened, I didn’t pay so much attention to the debates and controversy on social media because the strong oppositions toward Donald Trump and praise on Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton were spiraling violently out of control. However, I also heard scathing reviews for the right-winged documentary Hillary’s America, calling it “propaganda,” and “parade for hatred,” yet I decided to watch it for curiosity's sake. Hillary’s America is created by Fox News commentator and conspiracy theorist Dinesh D’Souza, who’s well-known, at least to Liberals and Democrats anyway, for distorting and exaggerating facts for the conservative viewer. In his documentary, he compares the Democrats during Andrew Jackson’s presidency to those during Hillary Clinton’s presidency. However, my complaints about the film aren’t based on the inaccuracies of the left-winged party, D’Souza’s lack of knowledge between the Pre-Civil War and modern Democrats, or any of the other problems other reviewers stated. Instead, my problems are based on the beyond amateurish cinematography, which showed too much nose room and empty space, the actors playing Jackson and Clinton, which barely resembled the respected figures, and the jarring change of style in shooting the flashback segments, which resembled more like a cinematic movie rather than footage from real people. This is especially wasted because D’Souza could have done a vox pop on regular people’s viewpoints of the modern-day Democratic Party and even InfoWars interviews on Youtube. Instead, he hires some random minority actor to play a prison thug and act out a drug smuggling scene to pose as actual evidence. On top of that, if you want to become a documentary filmmaker, always shoot handheld instead of a tripod; otherwise the illusion of the work’s dichotomy looks phony and staged. In other words, Hillary’s America doesn’t work not because of its content but rather the presentation of the content.

(1 Fake Hillary Clinton Concealed in Shadow out of 5)

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Fifty Shades of Grey review

Posted : 2 years, 9 months ago on 12 June 2020 07:13 (A review of Fifty Shades of Grey)

Remember when everybody was talking about the book Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James? Do you also remember the equally terrible movie adaptation on Valentine’s Day weekend in 2015? The story of Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) and her sadomasochistic relationship with young businessman Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) has been the most entertainingly awful piece of literature and a subject of parody in the first half of the 2010 decade. What made the novel so infamous were the exaggerated sex scenes and the laughable internal monologue. The movie however, trims those elements down in favor of a conventional romantic drama instead of raising the bar with James’s text. Don’t get me wrong, Fifty Shades of Grey isn’t without saucy moments, but there are so few drips to squeeze and they get bogged down by scenes of Mr. Grey gawking Anastasia with materialism, stalking her at dinner parties, or sending creepy text messages. Christian has an entire collection of whips, butt plugs, and other BDSM sex toys, yet he never takes advantage of them in the movie. With the funny narration being replaced by generic pop songs, the film also loses its charisma and never explores Annie’s lustful desires. I’m not asking for this movie to be ultra-pornographic, but I expected more steamy activity than just hard spanking and rubbing ice on the nipples. Despite Sam Taylor-Johnson’s effort to better the book’s prose, the result of Fifty Shades of Grey is extremely mild and not the least bit titillating.

(1 ½ Exploding Inner Goddesses out of 5)

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Fantastic Four review

Posted : 2 years, 9 months ago on 12 June 2020 07:11 (A review of Fantastic Four)

Back in 2015, I saw a huge cardboard display for the new Fantastic Four movie, and I thought, “Oh no, is this gonna be one of those movies where it’s coated in that ugly desaturated earth and metal tones?” So, I didn’t watch it because I wasn’t into Marvel movies in general, but it might be a critical success regardless. However, this movie describing the origins of the team, which includes Mr. Fantastic (Miles Teller), Invisible Girl (Kate Mara), Human Torch (Michael B. Jordan) and Thing (Jamie Bell), and their plot to defeat the evil Dr. Doom (Toby Kebell) had been critically thrashed, warranting a 5% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Well, after seeing this, part of me can see why, but on the other hand, on the other perspective, it’s not exactly worthy of a low rating. The story splits into two segments: Reed Richards building the dimensional transporter and the four superheroes fighting Von Doom. Although the story takes itself way too seriously, most of the movie is shot in the dark, and the most of the action happens in the background, Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four is competent on visual effects, the musical score by Marco Beltrami and Philip Glass, and the performances by Teller, Mara, Jordan and Bell. Most of the faults in the movie come from producer and co-writer Simon Kinberg, who wanted to capitalize on the success on The Avengers and X-Men and make a realistic version of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee’s story. His obsession with dimming the lights and desaturating every scene makes a chunk of the movie unwatchable and drab. On top of everything else, Trank tweeted that he wanted to be faithful to the source material except with a body count, resulting in a drastic tug of war game between him and Marvel. Despite the messy storyline and blatant studio intervention, Fantastic Four wasn’t a good movie, but I’m glad I saw it.

(2 ½ Black Hole Sky Portals out of 5)

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Saving Christmas (2014) review

Posted : 2 years, 9 months ago on 12 June 2020 07:08 (A review of Saving Christmas (2014))

If you looked at the poster of Saving Christmas and expected a fun family action comedy featuring the actor from “Growing Pains,” get ready to be disappointed. Kirk Cameron, the formerly popular teen actor turned born-again Christian, is off to save Christmas and what does he do? He stalls inside a car with his brother-in-law Christian (Darren Doane) and lectures to him and the audience about the true meaning of Christmas and the birth of Jesus. Saving Christmas is more about inflating Cameron’s ego than spreading the holiday cheer to all your friends. Despite being a Christian, Cameron contradicts his own religious philosophy of love and forgiveness and suggests that Saint Nicholas, the originator of Santa Claus, murdered heretics when not giving presents. I guess Cameron was trying to be ironic with his “Lord of the Ringsy” take on the figure, but instead it comes off as mean-spirited, especially in a Christmas movie. To be fair, the joke might have worked in a tongue-and-cheek sense, if the other characters weren’t so poorly-written. Christian is a one-dimensional Scrooge in the mud, the atheist conspirators contribute nothing and neither do any of the party-goers, including Kirk’s sister Bridgette, except a dance number. Seeing the characters’ lack of onscreen presence only adds to Kirk Cameron’s overlong sanctimonious preachiness; that’s me as a film lover in general. If Kirk Cameron is reading this post (I seriously doubt that he is), I apologize for being a “hater and atheist,” but Saving Christmas wasn’t very good.

(1 Hot Cocoa in a Mike Seaver Mug out of 5)

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Movie 43 review

Posted : 2 years, 9 months ago on 12 June 2020 07:04 (A review of Movie 43)

Omnibus films featuring big names can work as long as the product works well, but Movie 43 fails as it combines the series of shorts into one narrative. There are two versions of the film: One takes place in a producer’s conference and the other takes place at a teenager’s home before an apocalypse. Some segments have missing payoffs like the one where a grocery clerk Neil (Kiernan Culkin) falls in love with Veronica (Emma Stone) or Batman (Jason Sedakis) giving dating advice to Robin (Justin Long). Others, like the one where Beth (Kate Winslet) goes on a date with millionaire Davis (Hugh Jackman), the one where Amanda (Chloe Moretz) experiences her first menstrual cycle, and the one where a man (Chris Pratt) takes laxatives to show his love for his fiancée (Anna Faris) are just an excuse to throw out gross-out jokes. Meanwhile, it throws in socio-political commentary in these sketches, like the sexist ad executive (Richard Gere) pitching the product iBabe to his staff or the 1950’s coach (Terrence Howard) teaching the first all-black basketball team. However, other segments are okay, like the game of truth of dare between Stephen Merchant and Halle Berry, the one featuring a gay cartoon cat or a birthday present involving a leprechaun (Gerard Butler). You know your project is in trouble when you title it Movie 43 because these rejected CollegeHumor sketches seem like they were filmed before the producers came up with the title. It especially doesn’t work when they bookend these vignettes with a lazy and last minute narrative. I do not object to shock and gross-out comedy, in fact, as a teen, I watched a good chunk of lowbrow shows like “Robot Chicken” and “Family Guy.” Whereas those were handled with contextual intelligence, Movie 43 is a limp, desperate attempt from over fifteen directors to throw every adult humor on the screen resulting in a giant mess.

(1 ½ Balls on Chins out of 5)

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The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 2 review

Posted : 2 years, 9 months ago on 12 June 2020 07:01 (A review of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 2)

To tell a tale out of school, out of all the horrible Worst Picture Razzie winners, Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 was the main reason I retained from doing this marathon in the first place. On top of not getting into the teenage vampire and werewolf trend in early 2010’s, I didn’t want to expose myself to the cinematic bubonic plague known as the Twilight franchise. Unfortunately, the 8-year record is broken as I have now seen one of their movies, the final one. Previously, Bella Swan-Cullen (Kristen Stewart) gave birth to Edward Cullen’s (Robert Pattinson) half-vampire baby Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy). In Part 2, Bella and Edward’s love-child brings a conflict between the Cullen family, the pack of werewolves lead by Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) and the Volturi cult led by Aro (Michael Sheen). Having not seen the other films or read the Stephanie Meyer books, I could never follow why being immortal would be a threat to the Volturi vampires or how the vampires inexplicably gain powers like chopping logs like a cheese cracker, superspeed, or super-jump. It also didn’t help that the visual effects are far below the standards of a Sci-Fi channel movie, demonstrated by the werewolves, motion blurs, the backdrops, and the baby. Another list of stupidity: Bella learning to act human, the elemental powers that contribute nothing to vampirism, the ethnic stereotypes, and the climactic battle near the end which was all a vision. The only redeeming and entertaining value in the whole series so far is Michael Sheen, who bites the scenery gloriously and even has that silly hammy laugh as an act of threat. While nicely shot and not with some crazy and funny moments, Breaking Dawn Part 2 is still a poorly written, poorly acted and poorly directed mess.

(1 ½ Ugly CGI Renesmee Cullens out of 5)

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Jack and Jill review

Posted : 2 years, 9 months ago on 12 June 2020 06:58 (A review of Jack and Jill)

I want to make this as clear as possible: when I was a teen, I enjoyed watching the dumb comedies by Adam Sandler and Happy Madison. However, as I got older, my admiration of those movies faded, especially after watching arguably his worst project yet, Jack and Jill. The premise is about Jack (Adam Sandler) whose long-lost twin sister, Jill (also Sandler), arrives at his house and stays from Thanksgiving to Hanukkah. Other goofy antics involve a Mexican illegal immigrant Felipe (Eugenio Derbez) whom Jill falls in love with, a sponsorship from Dunkin’ Donuts, a trip to a cruise ship, and a stalking Al Pacino. While not my least favorite movie, it was still insufferable to sit through, even with Sandler’s gratingly tired bad taste routine and his annoying female voice. However, as the movie continued, his falsetto became infectious and made me feel the possible promise for a voice over role for the former SNL comedian. The worst scenes involve Al Pacino, one of the greatest and most inspiring actors of all time, reduced to a pervert and spokesman for a mediocre donut chain. Of all the ludicrous moments in Jack and Jill, the ultimate all time low came from a scene where Pacino performs “Richard III'' on Broadway and his cell phone rings during the show. Being a guy who has taken acting classes, I felt ashamed seeing the Oscar-winning actor put it in his costume, taking that phone call in the middle of his performance, and immaturely taking anger on the audience, instead of letting the anger affect his performance like any actor with a 50-year resume in his belt. I swear it took at least an hour before I calmed myself down, suspended my disbelief, and carried on watching one of Sandler’s weakest films.

(1 David Spade in Drag out of 5)

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