Cayle’s Movie Review: “Hereditary”

THE SUMMARY

After the passing of Ellen Graham, her daughter Anne (Toni Collette) begins to unravel the secrets of her mother’s past. However, this unraveling may have dire consequences on her entire family.

THE PROS

Toni Collette was great as Annie, the matriarch of the family. I felt that she carried most of the movie based on her performance alone. Just like 2014’s Babadook, I felt that the family drama aspect was arguably the best part of the movie. I felt that Collette’s performance tied in perfectly with this aspect of the movie as the audience gets to see her conflicted emotions regarding her past. You don’t really know if her character is experiencing the events portrayed in the movie or if she is hallucinating.

Another great aspect about this movie is its direction. Ari Aster, the director of this movie, knows how to set up an atmosphere. While the movie isn’t “scary” per se, it is indeed disturbing. Hereditary  is a “slow burn” type of movie, so it’s not for the faint of heart. What’s even more impressive is the fact that this is his feature-length debut. He has the potential to be a great director.

The movie also has some great cinematography. I felt that aspect of the movie complimented its art direction. For example, the opening scene of Hereditary was great as it sets up the overall tone of the movie.

THE CONS

I felt that Hereditary was great until its third act, then it devolves into a more generic horror movie to appeal to the general horror fanbase. As I have mentioned before, I felt that the family aspect was the most interesting part of Hereditary. However, the movie has a hard time deciding whether it wants to be a dark family drama or an outright horror movie. The supernatural elements of the movie felt rather forced. I felt these tonal conflicts ultimately dragged down the movie.

I may be nitpicking here, but I felt that Alex Wolff was the weakest part of the movie. While he wasn’t a bad actor overall, I felt he was unconvincing during the emotional parts of the movie. Whenever he cries during the movie, it comes off as unintentionally hilarious.

THE FINAL VERDICT

While I liked the overall movie, I felt that Hereditary fell short of being a great movie due to overplayed horror tropes. I felt that Hereditary fell victim to its hype.

SCORE: 7/10

Advertisements

Chris’ Quick Thoughts Movie Review: The Incredibles 2

Chris’ Quick Thoughts Movie Review

Incredibles 2

Rating: 8/10 (Good)
Recommendation: Pay The 8

I had a bunch of kids at my showing. Please excuse me if you think I’m being slightly unfair.

Pros

The characters are great once again. It’s so awesome to see these heroes back in action and to watch them interact with each other. The Parr family is so cool and we need more of them…. At least one more film.

The action scenes are great. Everything is animated well. And the tension is highly elevated. There are truly some great seat gripping moments and you’ll be held in suspense throughout them.

The new super heroes are really cool. They introduce a new cast of characters at one point and some of their powers are so awesome. Especially Void. Just wait until you see her.

The dialouge is solid. The movie asks a lot of tough questions and gives answers to both sides. You’re left to make up your own decision on who’s truly in the right but both reasonings are defended well.

The villain is good. While maybe not as memorable as the first film’s bad guy, they are still pretty decent. They compete well with their ideas and thoughts and make you second guess yourself throughout.

Cons

The “Dad being a Mom” sub plot is distracting. While Pixar actually handles this well, better than most movies, it still gets in the way from time to time.

To continue from the paragraph above, there’s one plot line that’s more interesting than the other. Helen’s is more enticing to watch. While Bob’s has good moments it just falls short to Helen’s every time and it does hinder the experience some.

There are moments where the film feels rushed. It’s possible that I got distracted by the audience I was with but there are points where the movie cuts from one scene to another and it just doesn’t seem to fit right. The flow gets sort of skewed and it feels a bit jarring at times.

The villain is easy to pick out. Yes, this isn’t a huge issue but it would’ve been nice to have the film make you really guess who it is as opposed to “Oh. You’re the person aren’t you?”

Overall

This sequel would’ve worked better 12 years ago. The movie has a lot of good qualities to it but this story line just isn’t worth the wait. It’s executed extremely well but we waited 14 years for this film and they gave us a plot that would’ve been better 2-3 years after the 1st movie…. But that shouldn’t stop anyone from at least liking this film.

This movie is very entertaining. It falls short of being incredible though.

Cayle’s Anime Review: “Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid”

SUMMARY

During a drunken excursion in the mountains, an office worker by the name of Kobayashi encounters a dragon by the name of Tohru. After Kobayashi pulls a sword out of her back, Tohru becomes her human maid out of gratitude. Shenanigans ensue…

PROS

On the surface, this show looks like your generic “cute girl” anime series. However, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid might be one of the most hilarious anime series I have watched in a while. The show takes its somewhat odd premise and runs with it. Heck, even the titles for this show are self-aware. A lot of the show’s humor derives from Tohru’s interaction with the human world. The show makes use of her fish-out-of-water character.

Kyoto Animation (i.e. the studio responsible for this anime) had managed to develop a reputation as an animation studio thanks to their past productions such as Lucky Star, Clannad, and more recently A Silent Voice. A reason for this reputation is its use of luscious backgrounds. This show is no exception. The overall visual design for this show is very memorable.

Another great aspect about this show are its characters. While the show does not have a conventional plot per se, it more than makes up for it with its character development. Kobayashi and Tohru have a great chemistry with each other. Although there is a lot of innuendo between the two characters, their relationship appears to be a platonic one…that we know of. Even the supporting characters for this show were memorable, including Lucoa and Fafnir. The only character that doesn’t have a lot of development is Elma, mainly because she was introduced in the eighth episode of the anime (a fact that was mentioned in the title of the episode). I feel that this is a bit strange that other supporting characters such as Lucoa and Fafnir managed to get some development.

Despite the frenetic nature of Dragon Maid, there are some heartwarming moments in the anime. For example, there is a nice surrogate family dynamic between Kobayashi and Kanna (even though the latter is thousands of years old). Heck, there are even some great heartwarming moments between Kobayashi and Tohru.

CONS

My biggest complaint with this show, however, is the friendship between Kanna and Riku. I won’t go into much detail, but I will say it was very inappropriate. Thankfully, this aspect of the show wasn’t too prominent.

FINAL VERDICT

Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid might be one of the funniest anime series I have seen in a while, but it’s not without its heart. The show takes of its fish-out-of-water concept and takes full advantage of it.

SCORE: 9/10

Chris’ Quick Thoughts Movie Review: Ocean’s 8

Chris’ Quick Thoughts Movie Review

Ocean’s 8

Rating: 4/10 (Sub Par)
Recommendation: Redbox It

Pros

The acting is solid. Sandra Bullock, being the lead, holds the film down well. She has a ton of composure and presence on screen. Anne Hathaway and James Cordin gets a few of laughs. Cate Blanchet, well she’s Cate Blanchet. And everyone else is competent in their own right. There really isn’t a bad performance in the bunch.

The planning for the heist is interesting to see. While you aren’t told everything, it’s still fun to see how things are thought out and what not.

Cons

The pacing is slow. The film drags from scene to scene and it feels like it takes forever before the heist actually begins.

There is little to no tension throughout the movie. It’s very rare for you to think “Are they going to get caught?” And that really drags down the realism of the film.

The chemistry between the ladies is limited as well. There were plenty of times the movie could’ve developed the friendships more but they tend to leave that alone and focus on scenes that don’t have much use other than to pad the runtime.

And finally, there are holes in the plan. There are moments where the plan faulters but they seem to just shrug it off as an “This is all for fun so don’t think about it too much.” Usually, that isn’t a problem but when the film doesn’t execute on aspects like the characters and plot all that well, the issues really start to stand out and you become more aware of the plot holes.

Overall

This is a harmless movie but it has poor execution. There are plenty of opportunities to make this film go beyond just a cliche heist movie but it never truly takes advantage of those and more times than not, you’re left hanging saying “I wish there was more to this than what we got.”

If you’re a big Ocean’s 11-13 fan, then this might be totally up your alley. If not, you may struggle to find a lot of enjoyment out of it.

Chris’ Quick Thoughts Movie Review: Hotel Artemis

Chris’ Quick Thoughts Movie Review

Hotel Artemis

Rating: 5/10 (Average)
Recommendation: Redbox It

Pros

The cast of characters are very colorful. There’s a wide range of variety and all of them have a characteristic that is intriguing.

The acting is solid all around. Jodie Foster carries most of this film and keeps it held together even during the weaker portions of the movie.

Cons

There are too many side plots. The story hinges on bringing all of these colorful characters together and expecting you to just like them right away. Its not the worst but it feels like there’s a lot more story to be told to each one of them.

The plot is just whatever happens. People show up to the hospital (Hotel Artemis) and they either die, leave, or stay. It’s more or less a day in the life of and it can either be a good thing or bad thing. It just depends on how you look at it.

The film is sort of slow. Even though it’s an hour and a half it feels like 2+. Scenes will either drag or feel like they have no meaning to them so you just sort of start tuning out until something happens. Which there isn’t a lot that happens.

The tone was wrong. If this was more of a quirky comedy, it would probably work better but it wasn’t and it just didn’t mesh well.

Overall

This is a movie that has multiple possibilities of being good but it feels like it falls short with most of them. The biggest issue is connecting with the characters. Jodie’s is fleshed out the most but everyone else is sort of left to hang out to dry and that really hurts when the film tries to focus on as many people as possible.

What I think really hurt this movie was the advertising. The commercials made it seem like a fun, quirky type comedy and you get more of a drama out of it than anything else. Which, in my opinion, really killed the potential.

It’s not awful but there really isn’t a rush to see it either.

Chris’ Quick Thoughts Movie Review: Hereditary

Chris’ Quick Thoughts Movie Review

Hereditary

Rating: 6/10 (Fine)
Recommendation: Redbox It

Pros

Toni Collette is phenomenal. Her acting is top notch and she sells her role to a “T.”

The camera work is tremendous. The camera is able to build an atmosphere with slow paced panning shots and it provides a mystery with every scene. You’re never sure what’s going to happen next and you’re always on alert as each scene passes by.

The film keeps you guessing. Throughout the run time, you’re never sure which direction the movie will take next and it keeps you on your toes throughout.

Cons

Alex Wolf is on the weaker side here. While there are scenes he shows potential, there are plenty where he falls short.

While the film keeps you guessing, it definitely has a difficult time establishing what it wants to be. The genre is never fully established and you’re not sure what the end game is. It’s quite distracting from time to time.

This movie is a slow burner. It takes a long before anything really gets going and a lot of that has to do with the film seemingly not knowing where it’s going with the overall story. So boredom may set in during the first act and then carry over until something exciting happens.

Finally, the ending might be a dissatisfaction to most. It’s an odd ending that seems to leave more questions than what you started with. Unless I just missed a scene or two that answered everything. That’s always a possibility.

Overall

These type of movies are hard to critique. While the majority of the critics are raving all over this film with high praise, I’m just not fully seeing it.

The movie is definitely different and it tries new things, which is very commendable, but it struggles with certain aspects. It’s hard to watch when you’re constantly asking yourself “Where are they going with this?” And instead of going “Ah. I totally get that.” You’re more than likely going to walk away saying “That…. That was something. Good? I’m not sure. But it was something.”

If you choose to watch this film, really pay attention to the camera work and Toni’s performance. The plot and characters might not do much for ya, but the combination of great cinematography and acting should suffice any salvage the weaker points of the movie.

Cayle’s Movie Review: “Solo: A Star Wars Story”

THE SUMMARY

Solo: A Star Wars Story follows the titular Han Solo as he evolves from a street-rat orphan from the planet of Corellia into the street-smart intergalactic smuggler that we all know.

THE PROS

The great thing about this movie is its main cast. Newcomer Alden Ehrenreich does a great job as the titular character. Not only does he capture the personality and mannerisms of a young Han Solo, he also made the character his own. He has a great banter with the rest of the cast, including Joonas Suotomo (i.e. the current actor playing Chewbacca). The audience gets to see his character develop throughout the movie’s runtime. While I won’t spoil the movie, the movie’s third act manages to capture the whip-smart ingenuity of the character. Thankfully, he does not come off as a cheap imitation of Harrison Ford.

Another great thing about this movie is Donald Glover’s performance as young Lando Calrissian. Just like Alden, he captures the mannerisms of his character down to a T while making it his own. This time around, however, he portrays his character as a con man who is still developing his craft.

However, I felt that Paul Bettany’s portrayal of the antagonist Dryden Vos was highly overlooked. I felt that he managed to capture the mannerisms of a classic Star Wars villain without being over-the-top.

I really love the direction of this movie. Unlike the dark and brooding atmosphere of The Last Jedi, the movie harkens back to the old-school action-adventure feel of the original trilogy thanks to Ron Howard

Due to its troubled production, Howard was hired to step in for the previous directors, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. He ended up getting sole credit as director after re-shooting eighty percent of the movie. As a result, this movie has his thumbprints all over it. Considering the movie’s production troubles, the movie was surprisingly consistent.

THE CONS

I felt that some of the cast were underutilized in Solo. For example, the movie did not delve into the relationship between Han and Qi’ra (played by Emilia Clarke). I felt that the latter character was only used as a plot device for most of the movie. I also felt that the movie missed out on an opportunity to portray the character of Tobias Beckett (played by Woody Harrelson) as a mentor to the young Han Solo.

Another problem I had with this movie is the character of L3-37. I felt that she was a more annoying version of C-3PO.  If I had to give Rogue One credit for something, I felt that K2 was a more interesting droid character than L3-37.

As for the movie’s pacing, I felt that Solo’s first act moved too fast. It seemed that the movie was too anxious to get to the action.

THE FINAL VERDICT

Solo: A Star Wars Story was better than I expected. This might sound like blasphemy, but I preferred this movie over Rogue One. While not without its flaws, this was an entertaining popcorn movie through and through. It’s a crying shame that this movie is underperforming at the box office.

SCORE: 8/10