Cayle’s Movie Review: “Spider-Man: Homecoming”

Spider-Man: Homecoming is arguably one of the most comedic films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date. Aside from a botched Ferris Bueller joke and much of the “Aunt May is Hot” running gag, most of the humor in this movie works well. As with the previous MCU movies, the action scenes are well shot and choreographed. While I am not a fan of shaky cam, I felt it worked here because of the Spider-Man character.

While we got a taste of Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War, we finally get to see him in action in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Out of the two previous incarnations of the character, Tobey Maguire managed to capture the lovable dorkiness of Peter Parker while Andrew Garfield captured the comedic smartass aspect of Spider-Man. Out of the three actors who have portrayed Peter Parker/Spider-Man, however, Holland is the best as he managed to capture both aspects of his personality.

It’s official: The Marvel Cinematic Universe finally has an interesting villain. Michael Keaton does a fantastic job as Adrian Toomes/Vulture. Instead of the underdeveloped villain that has been the norm in the MCU, he plays a family man who only turned to a life of crime because his company was forced out of business. Keaton manages to bring a certain complexity to the character.

Another thing about this movie that is worth mentioning is the relationship between Tony Stark/Iron Man and Peter Parker/Spider-man. This film takes place right after the events depicted in Captain America: Civil War, so of course Stark pops in from time to time to check in on his apprentice. While he does have his comedic moments, Stark manages to become a sort of father figure to Peter Parker. At one point in the movie, Stark enforces a “tough love” policy when he thinks that Peter is out of line. It’s great to see another angle of this character.

As for the supporting cast of this movie, they can be rather hit and miss. I can see people being annoyed with Peter Parker’s sidekick Ned. However, I thought he was fine as the comic relief. The main problem of the cast is the character of Flash Thompson. In the comic, Flash was a jock who bullied Peter Parker while he ironically idolized Spider-Man. In this movie, Flash is more of an annoying rival than anything.

Overall, Spider-Man: Homecoming is the best Spider-Man movie since Spider-Man 2. This was a great introduction into the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the character.

SCORE: 8/10

 

Chris’ Movie Review: War For The Planet Of The Apes

Chris’ Movie Review

War For The Planet Of The Apes

Rating: 7/10 (Satisfying)

Recommendation: Pay The 8

The first film, good. Second movie, great. Third installment? Well….

War For The Planet Of The Apes stars Andy Serkis (Caesar), Woody Harrelson (Colonel), Steve Zahn (Bad Ape), and Terry Notary (Rocket).

Plot Summary

Caeser wants peace. He wants the wars and senseless killings to end. Unfortunately, a human group, led by the Colonel (Woody), wants to finish off the apes. After a raid by the Colonel’s men, and himself, Caeser sets out to seek revenge.

Review

War For The Planet Of The Apes is a movie that has a lot of expectations to live up too. While the second movie wasn’t much of a  character developing plot, it provided an immense amount of eye candy for the viewers. The third film, took a different approach.

For starters, give Andy Serkis an Oscar. What else does he have to do? All of these movies succeeded with his tremendous acting skills. He dominates the world of motion capture acting and for anyone to deny him an Oscar, is completely aburd. You actually tear up for Caeser in certain moments. You feel his pain, passion, rage, happiness. All of that for an fictional motion captured creature. Come on Oscars. Get with the show already.

Moving on from my little rant, Woody Harrelson is a ton of fun in this film at well. He plays the villain of the movie and he almost gets you to side with him at one point. His acting is top notch here and watching him play off of Andy Serkis is an incredible viewing experience.

The action of this movie is well directed. All of these films have great looking action scenes and this movie is no exception. The shots are placed well. The camera angles are just right. And you can see everything that plays out. It’s so great to point out films that do action scenes correctly. It shows that not only the director knows what they’re doing but also that they care about what the audience sees.

Alright, here are the week points. This film is slow. Really slow. If you’re expecting an action packed thriller, go watch the second movie. War For is mainly focused on developing the last character arcs of this carnation of apes. Caeser, being the main focal point, deals with a lot of pain and suffering throughout this movie and the film tends to him in many of the sequences throughout.

Now, this isn’t a bad thing. If you’ve been following Caeser from the beginning, you won’t be disappointed watching his character grow. But for those who are just jumping into this movie or haven’t watched the others in a long time, the third film in this trilogy will seem a tad too long throughout your viewing.

Another negative is the action scenes that we do get, don’t really invovle Caeser. Which is fine, you can set him aside but when you’ve focused all of your time and effort into building this character, he should be the leading charge in this battle. Not some outside influence. (As per usual, no spoilers will be given as to what that “Outside influence” is).

And lastly, there’s a girl character that’s brought in for… something. Granted, she has a use to one of the plot lines but she doesn’t really bring a lot to the table. You could’ve cut her out, put an ape in her place, and you wouldn’t notice that you were missing her.

Again, she does serve a purpose but it’s debatable on how important she really is. She does contribute in some key moments, so I guess I can give her that. Otherwise, this character seemed to be made important in the trailers, when she kind of isn’t.

Overall

War For The Planet Of The Apes is a solid conclusion to a surprising prequel trilogy that we never knew we needed.

The pacing is a tad too slow. The girl is replaceable. And there isn’t a lot action scenes involving Caeser. But the action is wonderful to watch. Caeser’s character arc is great. And Woody Harrelson and Andy Serkis are tremendous on screen together. Plus, give Andy a fucking Oscar. Thank you.

Each movie is done with a lot of care and focus to detail. Even though this is the weakest link in the series, for me, it’s still a good send off to the series as a whole.

As usual, thanks for reading!

Chris’ Movie Review: The Big Sick

Chris’ Movie Review

The Big Sick

Rating: 9/10 (Great)

Recommendation: Pay The 8

97% on Rotten Tomatoes? Well then. I guess that’s a good enough reason to give this film a look over.

The Big Sick stars Kumail Nanjiani (Kumail), Zoe Kazan (Emily), Holly Hunter (Beth), Ray Romano (Terry), and Anupam Kher (Azmat).

Plot Summary

Kumail is a stand up comedian who lives in Chicago. After one night, in a comedy club, he comes across a girl who gained his attention during his routine. They go out for awhile and things are going well…. Until it all falls apart.

Review

The Big Sick is one of those movies that come out during the summer and tend to be forgotten about as time moves on by. Which is really a shame because these films are generally really good or a ton better than whatever the studios are pushing on us as audience. (Full disclaimer: This summer has been really good to us.)

For starters, this film is an emotional rollercoaster ride. The movie starts off comedic, charming, likeable, and then the tone just shifts at a snap of the fingers. The film then dives into some serious issues but there’s always that hint of a smile right around the corner. Letting you know, or at least you think you know, that things are going to be alright.

When it comes to romantic comedies, there’s usually a “Stereotype” plot that these movies follow. And The Big Sick seems to be heading into that direction but no. It’s a complete surprise. Everything that happens in the second act feels fresh and new. At least it does to me.

This could be a spoiler so, you’ve been warned. But Kumail’s girlfriend becomes really ill. She gets an infection that spreads across her lungs, to her kidneys, even to her heart. And during these moments, Kumail isn’t even her boyfriend. They actually broke before this incident occurred. But here’s the kicker.

What separates this movie from the rest is the fact that Kumail becomes the person that puts her into a medically induced coma. He’s the only one who can sign the papers at the time and he goes through with it. During this time, Kumail gets sort of forced to spend time with her parents. Who, her mom and dad, knows everything about the reason why Kumail and Emily broke up. And her mom really holds it against him.

This second act is great for two reasons. One, I don’t think this has been done before. And two, watching strangers work together to overcome their grieve and sorrow is fascinating. Just imagine you loving someone, breaking up, and then trying to get along with their parents that you’ve never met. It would be awkward and very difficult to overcome. And the ultimate spoiler is, this is based on true events.

Okay, you can decide whether or not to dock points from originality for this movie but I’m giving it points. The studios could’ve came in, said “This needs to be changed,” and then we’re left with a totally different second act. The fact that the writers, director, and Kumail were able to fight and keep the movie the way it is, is pretty impressive. Oh, and Kumail is portraying his real life self. Another spoiler drop. (I keep saying “Spoiler” but all of this information is probably out there somewhere.)

Now there are some aspects to this movie that are great. The acting can be a little off, the third act drags a tad, and the comedy will vary (As usual), but there are so many great elements that come from this movie that make it entertaining, caring, and endearing that it over shadows the negative by a mile.

In all honesty, this movie won’t resonate with everyone. There are films out there that just don’t do it for some, but The Big Sick is one that should get support. Sure, you may not love it, or even watch it a second time, but there’s a great true story here that’s well done. And that needs applause alone.

Overall

The Big Sick is a movie that will most likely get overlooked because of the main feature “War For The Planet Of The Apes” is out this weekend. But it shouldn’t stop you from giving it a look over at least once.

And since I strayed away from my usual style, I’ll end it with this. Give it a shot. Even if it’s a rental, try it out. If you hate it, you can let me know in the comments below.

As usual, thanks for reading!

Cayle’s Movie Review: Baby Driver

Edgar Wright is one of the most original filmmakers working today. He is a film geek making movies for other film geeks. Ever since his directorial breakthrough on the television show Spaced, Wright has been garnering critical acclaim as a genre-bender. Baby Driver is no exception.

To say that this film is well-directed would be the understatement of the year. Wright is a masterful visual director, putting in “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” visual gags like it’s nobody’s business. Wright makes use of practical effects, using CGI only when it’s needed. Along with Mad Max: Fury Road, Baby Driver will signal the return of the car chase movie.

While Baby Driver takes its inspiration from heist movies such as Reservoir Dogs, the film also takes its inspiration from an unlikely source: musicals. The movie’s soundtrack is another character of the movie. Wright uses this inspiration to choreograph many scenes of the movie to the music, including the car chases. I would be surprised if this movie doesn’t inspire online debates on whether the film could be considered a musical.

It is worth mentioning that Wright is just as great a screenwriter as he is a film director. As demonstrated by his earlier films such as Shaun of the Dead, and Hot Fuzz, Wright has a knack for writing clever dialogue. Although this film isn’t as “comedic” as his previous films, the film still has a dry sense of wit.

Another great aspect about this film is its cast. Although Ansel Elgort did a fine job in The Fault in Our Stars, I felt his performance as the titular Baby is his breakthrough performance. Like Ryan Gosling’s character in Drive, he gives an effective performance without giving out a lot of dialogue. I felt he had a great chemistry with co-star Lily James. Kevin Spacey and Jon Hamm are the standouts within the film’s supporting cast. Kevin Spacey uses his deadpan humor to bring his kingpin character Doc to life. Jon Hamm, on the hand, gives his character Buddy some humanity. Jamie Foxx is hilarious as the comic relief, Bats.

Overall, Baby Driver is another great addition to Edgar Wright’s already impressive filmography. The film manages to take elements from different genres and mashes them up together to make an original movie. Baby Driver is the best movie I have seen this year so far, and I am going to give it my highest recommendation.

SCORE: 10/10

 

Chris’ Movie Review: Spider-Man: Homecoming

Chris’ Movie Review (Visit our Facebook page “Brotherhood Of Okay Reviews” for more).

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Rating: 8/10 (Good)

Recommendation:  Pay The 8

The trailers…. Oh my God. So no, they did not ruin the movie but you know so much from what they give you. I had a friend mention that he felt like he knew the whole movie already and I couldn’t really disagree. Sure, there are a couple of things left out but this is one of those moments where previews for a movie just need to chill out.

Also, Tom Holland best Spider-Man? I know he’s my pick.

Spider-Man: Homecoming stars Tom Holland (Spider-Man/Peter Parker), Micheal Keaton (Adrian Toomes/The Vulture), Jacob Batalon (Ned), Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark), and Marissa Tomei (Aunt May).

Plot Summary

After the “Civil War” battle that occurred in Captain America: Civil War, Peter Parker is demoted to fighting local crime around the city. Wanting to do more, Peter becomes anxious waiting for his chance to finally be an official member of the Avengers. Then he gets a chance to prove himself when he stumbles across an operation that steals alien technology from the Avengers missions.

Now it’s up to Peter to stop these crimes and to stop the man behind the scenes.

Review

Spider-Man: Homecoming is a movie that could’ve gotten killed by the trailers but luckily, the previews didn’t show off much of the script or how good Tom Holland is as Spider-Man.

For starters, I’ve mentioned it two times, here’s a third. Tom Holland is the best Spider-Man…in my opinion at least. I’m a little unconventional in the sense that my pick prior to Tom, was Andrew Garfield. And I still think Andrew is great but Tom surpasses Andrew and Toby by a mile.

What makes Tom so great is he fits the role so well. He looks like a high school student, he’s cocky when his uniform is on, he’s witty, feels like a nerd, and so on. The other two Spider-Men had either one or the other. Toby had the geek persona and Andrew had the costume presence. Tom combines both of these and creates the ultimate Spider-Man.
I want to state that this is all my opinion though. I know there are a lot of Toby fans out there and I don’t think there were a lot of Andrew fans but I think Tom will combine both of these groups and create a super fan base. Okay, I’m done with “I’s” now. Hopefully.

The movie has a good villain. Yes, a Marvel film has a good villain. Michael Keaton sold the role. It’s not that the villain is necessarily the best written of all time, but Michael has a presence. You can actually remember who he is. Which is a big step up for Marvel. Now, will he be forgotten through time? Most likely yes. But, for now, Marvel has a villain we can look back and actually recall.

The comedy is so well written throughout this movie. The timing is great. The lines are fantastic. The punch lines are either unexpected or presented so well that you can’t help but laugh. Probably top 3 funniest Marvel movies of all time? Possibly? You can decide that amongst yourselves.

The action…. Okay, positives first. The scenes are very intense. Most of them are directed well. And they keep you invested while they’re on screen. The final fight scene, in the third act, is fantastic. The scene just takes a hold of you and you can’t take your eyes off the screen. It’s one of the best action scenes of the year so far.

The negatives of the action scenes are how some of them are shot. There is a bit of shaky cam and some of the shots are too close that you have a hard time telling what’s going on. Now, I did see this in 3D, so maybe that affected my eyes, but some of the action is blurry and it’s hard to make out what’s going on.

Along with that, there aren’t a lot of action scenes. There are a lot of high school elements that play out. You learn more about his suit, his daily activities, and what not. This could bother some who were expecting a ton of action but the writers do keep you entertained enough to keep you from getting bored. Something a lot of movies can’t do.

Lastly, Ned and the twist. First, Ned is going to either be on your nerves or you’re going to be okay with him. He’s just a typical sidekick character and he just says a lot of the same things over and over. And the twist, you’ll either think it’s a surprise or hate it. That’s the only two reactions you’ll most likey get from it.

Overall

Spider-Man: Homecoming might be the best Spider-Man of the whole series, but not the best Marvel film. The movie really entertains you but it lacks a few certain aspects that could make it a top 5/10 film from the Marvel universe.

The action scenes are to far and in-between. Ned can be annoying. And the twist is a “hate it” or “love it” thing. But Micheal Keaton is tremendous. The comedy is extremely well written. And Tom Holland sells Spider-Man from his suit to his high school classes.

This movie is what a summer blockbuster should be. A lot of fun, great comedy, and good action scenes. What else could you want?

As usual, thanks for reading!

Chris’ Movie Review: The Red Turtle

Chris’ Taking A Look Back

The Red Turtle (2016)

Rating: 6/10 (Fine)

This was a movie that got nominated at the Oscars but, to my knowledge, wasn’t playing anywhere close to me at the time. That and I’m not even sure if it was playing in America. but regardless of that, The Red Turtle is a film that took me awhile to get around too. And being the semi Ghibli expert that I am, I had to watch this movie eventually. Now it’s just a question of whether or not it was worth my time viewing?

Plot Summary

A man gets trapped at sea during a storm. After everything clears up, he awakes on a deserted island. Without much hesitation, the man starts to build a raft. But then he comes across a turtle that keeps destroying his potential rides home.

The man is stuck, frustrated, and has a taste for vengeance towards a certain red turtle.

Review

The Red Turtle is a silent film (other than the occasional yell or “hey”). So the strength of the movie comes from depicting emotion from the characters and creating atmosphere from their side surroundings. And The Red Turtle semi exceeds at this.

For starters, this film is sort of slow. It’s not too say that dialogue is needed to progress a movie, Transformers is a good example, but the film is slow in it’s pacing. Scenes will drag on a little too long to get their point across. Which, yes, they are trying to tell a story strickly through visuals but most of the scenes get their point across in the first few seconds they are on screen.

Now that paragraph is going to cause a bunch of debate amongst viewers. On one hand, slow moving scenes in this type of movie will be enthralling to some. The point of having these slower moving scenes play out is to create atmosphere and mood. On the other hand, most people will get antsy with this concept because they either get the point or there isn’t enough going on in the scene to keep their interest.

A lot of this will come down to how much patience you have for a film like this. Because both sides have valid arguments. I, personally, fall in-between. I see the beauty in the slow moving scenes but I also see why someone would skip this movie altogether. And I wouldn’t fault you either way on how you feel about it. 
The animation of The Red Turtle has a lot left to be desired. Studio Ghibli is notorious for having creative imagery and out standing looking animation, but you can tell that The Red Turtle didn’t get the “Top notch” treatment from the company. It more or less got the “Here, give this to the new guys” type deal.

The quality of the animation isn’t garbage, but more that it’s serviceable. It’s not too say that silent movies need 100 percent perfection but they animators are trying to convey a ton of words without any being said from scene to scene. Having that extra boost of quality would give the film just that extra kick to help it stand out amongst the rest…but unfortunately it falls flat a few too many times.

Some of the better aspects of the animation is the character expressions. Even though the faces are very plain, they are able portray a great deal of emotion with what little they have. The major negative is the scenery surrounding the characters. It’s very dull and the atmosphere isn’t built up that well because of it.

Some viewers may disagree and say that this movie’s simplicity is what gives it charm. Which is a fine point to make. Simplicity does have it’s place but in a silent production, like this, you need to bring out the best in each area of the film to make it appeal to the mass audience. Because, however which way you slice it, this movie is still a silent film.

The Artist (2011) is a good example of what quality can do for a movie. The winner of the 2011 Oscar’s for Best Picture, The Artist is another silent film. The major difference is how good the production value is of the movie. There was a lot of time and effort put into the film and it really showed when it came to viewing it. The Red Turtle is one that if it had the same level of quality driven into it, it could’ve been just a great as The Artist and it could’ve produced a mass market of fans. But, to my knowledge, this movie didn’t do so well amongst the people of the world.

The quality of The Red Turtle is what holds this film back from being great. There is a good story here but it’s just not told in the most interesting way for today’s audiences. Which, yes, I do fall victim to the previous statement. Even though I give every movie a fair shot to impress me, there are some that just don’t do much for me. Whether it’s the script, characters, direction, actors, visual effects, and so on. It really comes down to, can you keep me entertained with what’s on the big screen? And The Red Turtle just happens to fall under the “It has good aspects, but there’s not enough here to keep me coming back for more.”

Overall

The Red Turtle is a movie that needs patience to watch. Even if you’re a Ghibli fan, it’s hard to fully recommend this movie. Of course, everyone should give it a chance so that you can broaden your horizons on films, but for those who don’t have the time to always sit back and watch movies at their own leisure, it’s really hard to tell that person they should give up 80 minutes of their life for this film.

The Red Turtle can most likely be found at your local Walmart, Target, and so on. You can find it online as well, for free. You’ll just have to dig around a bit to find it. Unless it’s on Netflix now and I didn’t see it. Then that’s my bad.

As usual, thanks for reading!

Chris’ Movie Review: The House

Chris’ Movie Review

The House

Rating: 6/10 (Fine)

Recommendation: Redbox It

This was a nice surprise. The previews made it look really generic but it got a few good laughs out of me.

The House stars Will Ferrell (Scott), Amy Poehler (Kate), and Jason Mant-Zoukas (Frank).

Plot Summary

Scott and Kate are broke. Their daughter is about to head off to college and they don’t have the money to pay for it. On top of that, the scholarship they were hoping she would get doesn’t come through. Then Frank comes up with an idea…. Let’s make a casino.

Now Scott, Frank, and Kate are running an illegal casino. They need to make around 500,000 before they are caught and it’s only a matter of time before that happens.

Review

The House is a movie that came out with some punches and hit me with some unexpected laughs. Not all of the jokes work but the ones that do, really do.

For starters, Will, Amy, and Jason aren’t fully in control of this movie. Meaning that they didn’t write this film, also they didn’t seem to ab-lib all that much either. So this movie is mainly in the hands of the behind the scenes writers. Which, as mentioned, some of the jokes really work and some don’t. The film feels like it could’ve been better handled if Will and Amy wrote it instead.

The chemistry of Will and Amy is solid. They aren’t “Couple of the year” but they play off each well enough that they are very likable. Jason is a nice addition to the group as well. He pulls off the darker jokes just a tad better and he provides some of the bigger laughs throughout the runtime.

The plot is absurd. It’s not that it’s totally unbelievable, the setup that is, but more of how everything plays out in the end. The third act literally makes no sense but it’s one of those “Silly” comedies, so just don’t put too much thought no into it. You’ll probably end up hurting yourself if you tried to make sense of it.

Lastly, the movie is just fun. It may not get a bunch of laughs but there’s nothing here that makes it boring or awful to watch. But again, comedy is super subjective. It’s hard to properly rate a comedy. There are some exceptions to this rule but this film isn’t one of those this time around.

Overall

The House is a nice surprise. It’s not a complete waste of time but it’s not something to run out and see either. You’ll get a few hardy laughs but, for the most part, it’ll be mediocre.

The movie wasn’t written by Will and/or Amy. The plot can be too unbelievable at times. And the acting isn’t always the best. But Will, Amy, and Jason have good chemistry. Some of the deliveries, to the jokes, are really good. And you’ll most likely be in a positive mood throughout the movie as opposed to being negative one.

This is another one of those movies that if you see it in the Redbox it might be worth checking out once but it’s most likely not going to become one of your personal favorites.

As usual, thanks for reading!