Cayle’s Movie Review: “Coco”

Summary

Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez) is an aspiring 12-year-old musician from Mexico. However, his family wants him to work in their shoemaking business. In a last-ditch effort to enter his local Day of the Dead talent show, he tries to steal his great-grandfather’s guitar. However, he accidentally ends up in the Land of the Dead with his dead ancestors.

Review

While Inside Out proved that Pixar was back, Coco proved that their comeback was not a fluke. It is a return to form in terms of their storytelling. As with any great Pixar film, Coco has a healthy mix of comedic and serious moments. The film has a pro-musician/pro-artist message that might resonate with younger viewers as well as adults.

What’s notable about Coco is that it’s the first musical from Pixar. Out of all the songs that are featured in the film, “Remember Me” is the one that manages to stand out from the rest.

Most of the characters in this film (including the minor ones) are very likable thanks to their development and the performance of their voice actors. Miguel is very determined as a character who is trying to pursue his goal as a musician. In another movie, his shoemaking family could have been the antagonists. However, they do have a reason for discouraging his passion. At first glance, Hector (Gael Garcia Bernal) seems like a typical comic relief character. As the film progresses, we get to know more about Hector’s past. While Miguel’s great-grandmother Coco has an important part in the film, I will not go into further detail as it contains spoilers.

I have said time and time again that both Pixar and Disney are the gold standard when it comes to animation. Coco is no exception when it comes to its visuals. The film takes advantage of using warm colors in its design of the Land of the Dead. The film’s character animation is also worth mentioning as it mixes a realistic yet cartoony style with its skeleton characters.

I might be nitpicking here, but my only problem with the film is that the ending dragged on a little bit. While Coco was going for an emotional impact with its ending, I thought it messed with the film’s pacing.

Overall

Coco is a return to form for Pixar. While I preferred Inside Out, Coco works as a stand-alone Pixar film. Let’s hope they can keep it up with The Incredibles 2.

SCORE: 9/10

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Chris’ Movie Review: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Chris’ Movie Review

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Rating: 6/10 (Fine)

Recommendation: Pay The 8

I’ve been wanting this movie since The Force Awakens ended. I binged the original Star Wars (And Rogue One just to remind myself how mediocre it was) to prepare myself and now it’s time. It’s time to review this film.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi stars Daisy Ridley (Rey), John Boyega (Finn), Mark Hamill (Luke), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), Carrie Fisher (Leia), Oscar Isaac (Poe), Andy Serkis (Snoke).

Plot Summary

After destroying, look it was a Death star, Rey has now met up with Luke Skywalker. She is determined for him to comeback and be the savior the Galaxy needs.

And I’ll just stop there.

Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a film that had so many theories and predictions that it became one of the most hyped movies of the year. And it’s safe to say that you might get some of those answered or won’t. That’s up too how invested you are with the franchise.

For starters, the acting ranges from average to good. For instance, Mark is average. He’s honestly a better voice actor than anything. Daisy is pretty good. She really sells the role of Rey and is a good main character. And then there’s Adam Driver who is just a knockout. Every time he’s on screen he’s interesting in one way or another. You’re never sure what he’s going to do and he keeps you on the edge of your seat. I honestly want more of him.

Now I’m going to touch base on this real quick but we all know that Carrie Fisher passed away. She’s in this film for a significant amount of time too. For some this will break your heart. For others, she’s okay.

Look, I grew up with Star Wars but she never really connected with me that well as a character and her acting is so so at best. But I’ll say this. Carrie is a legend. Even if I don’t like her as much as the next person, she is still very important to the film industry. She left a mark and that will be taken away from her. Carrie might not be my favorite, but her legacy will live on forever.

The action scenes are well done in this movie. The lightsaber fights are a ton of fun and well executed. The space fights are fun and entertaining. The CGI looks pretty good for the most part. If there’s one thing Star Wars really hasn’t gotten wrong over the years, that would be it’s action sequences.

So I have issues. One being Finn and the new character Rose. Their scenes are just boring. They go on a mission to help save a ship but every time they come on screen I just don’t care. And I legitimately like Finn a whole lot too.

The issue with these scenes is that they feel like filler. They have some sort of a significance to the overall story but they seem to be there to fill out the runtime. If they would have spent less time with Finn and Rose, I think it would’ve been fine to have this side plot but they would always cut in to make sure you remembered their story, even if you didn’t want too.

Another hit is the editing. There is a severe lack of continuity in this film. Scenes just jump out of no where and it feels “Oh that’s cool. Wait. We’re over here now? Okay….” They just transition without warning and it gives the movie a jolting feel. Now it does get better as the film goes on but it still shows up every so often.

Overall

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a movie that I can’t say much more without dropping spoilers or my personal problems with it. Look, it’s not a bad film. Hell, maybe I’m taking more of an issue with it because of my personal investment with it but I’m disappointed with some of its outcomes.

The editing isn’t that great. Finn and Rose’s story get in the way. And the ending was so so. But the acting could be stellar. The action scenes are fun. And there are enough twists to keep you on the edge of your seat.

Again, I think my personal investment with this film hurt my experience. So you might enjoy this movie so much more than me. And maybe I’ll change my mind down the road, but for now it’s okay at best. I’ll just cry in the meantime until the next film comes out.

As usual, thanks for reading!

Chris’ Movie Review: The Disaster Artist

Chris’ Movie Review

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The Disaster Artist

Rating: 10/10 (Excellent)

Recommendation: Blu-Ray It

I’ve been waiting for this movie too come out for awhile and now that it has, it’s in contention for the best movie of the year…. At least until I see Star Wars!

The Disaster Artist stars James Franco (Tommy), Dave Franco (Greg), Seth Rogen (Sandy).

Plot Summary

Greg is a fashion model who’s looking to crack into the industry of acting. While in class one day, a man named Tommy goes up on stage to do a scene and just does it terribly…but he does it with such confidence that Greg admires him greatly.

After the “Performance” Greg meets up with Tommy to talk to him. Eventally they start to become friends and, well, you know the rest of the story from there (If not, you can see this movie to know the rest then).

Review

I normally don’t say this about comedies but this film is flat out hilarious and I think everyone should give it a try…but there’s a catch. I’ll explain it below.

For starters, the acting is tremedous. James Franco completely immersed himself into the real life person of Tommy Wiseau. You can’t even tell it’s an actor playing a part. You actually believe it’s Tommy on screen. Dave Franco is amazing as well. Coming in, knowing that these two are brothers, I was worried they would just have that “Brother chemistry” but no. They totally overlook all of that and play their roles perfectly. That alone blew me away.

A great aspect is really the comedy. A lot of it comes because of how unusual Tommy is as a real life person but everything is just timed so perfectly. Each scene knows how to transition from a funny moment to a serious moment back to a funny moment with ease. It’s able to keep this stride going all the way till the end which is extremely hard to do sometimes especially after you start to see things fall apart. But again, a lot of it relies on Tommy Wiseau being a strange person. So take that as you will.

Another tremedous part is the pacing of this film. Every scene feels like it has enough time to develop. Every character, that’s important, gets enough screen time. There’s no jerky motions. No awkward transitions. It’s just an evenly flow feeling movie…. Okay, there are a few moments here and there with some minor issues, but honestly, you really don’t notice them.

Okay, here are the only two complaints I have. One is the “Darker” moments of the movie. Look, the film touches base on this a little but Tommy wasn’t all fun and games. He could be a straight up asshole to his crew. And while they show those moments here and there, it just feels like they don’t touch on them enough.

And lastly, if you haven’t seen or know anything about the story behind the movie The Room, then you might not like this film nearly as much. Look, I hate to say that this movie is a “Fan Club” film but it sort of is. I personally think anyone can watch this and like it, but you may not enjoy it as much if you don’t know the background. My suggestion, just look up reviews of The Room, or watch the movie itself. That should be enough to get you into the spirit of watching this fantastic film, The Disaster Artist. (Also, The Room is fantastic in its own rights).

Overall

The Disaster Artist was everything I heard about and then some. It honestly blew me away with how well it was made and how well they were able to bring out the best/worst of Tommy Wiseau.

The “Darker” moments weren’t fully expanded upon. You might not laugh as much as the person next to you. And you might need to know some of the background of The Room in order to fully enjoy this film. But the comedy is fantastic. The pacing and scene delivery are executed almost perfectly. And the acting is so good that both James and Dave Franco better be nominated at the Oscar’s.

Is this an Oscar film? I don’t know. They can be really weird about what qualifies. In my opinion, this should be nominated. It may not win but it should get the recognition it deserves.

As usual, thanks for reading!

Cayle’s Movie Review: Justice League

The DC Extended Universe had a bit of a rough start. Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, and Suicide Squad all garnered mixed to negative reviews from critics. However, Wonder Woman was a step in the right direction for the DCEU. These movies had led up to this moment. Will the Justice League movie live up to the hype?

The best part about this movie is its cast. Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot, who are the main standouts of this movie, return as Batman and Wonder Woman respectively. While I thought that Henry Cavill was fine as Clark Kent/Superman, I felt that he had more of a purpose this time around. However, Ezra Miller managed to steal the show as Barry Allen/The Flash despite being the comic relief of the movie. Jason Momoa was surprisingly good as Arthur Curry/Aquaman. While he is the muscle of the group, he manages to crack a few one-liners throughout the movie’s runtime. The film’s supporting cast were also noteworthy thanks to the likes of J.K. Simmons and Jeremy Irons as Commissioner Gordon and Alfred Pennyworth respectively.

The movie’s biggest issue is its unevenness due to a mixture of its unusually short runtime and the various issues concerning its plot (or lack thereof). The pacing felt rather rushed for a movie of this magnitude. I felt that the movie could have devoted more time to character development. The only side character that managed to get any development was Cyborg. While the movie suffered from conflicting tones, it was due to external circumstances. I will go into further detail later in this review. Another troubling aspect about this movie is its villain, Steppenwolf. He felt like a one-dimensional villain that is typical of big-budgeted superhero movies nowadays.

Overall, Justice League felt like a movie by committee. I felt that Warner Bros. and DC Films had rushed this movie out to compete with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As I have mentioned before, there were many external circumstances that affected this movie.  First, director Zack Snyder had to leave the project earlier this year due to a family tragedy. Because of this, Avengers director Joss Whedon had to step in, thus initiating a series of reshoots. This resulted in the tonal conflicts. Second, that the film’s runtime was the result of a mandate that was issued by the CEO of Warner Bros. I felt that these circumstances kept Justice League from being a good movie.

SCORE: 5/10

Chris’ Movie Review: Coco

Chris’ Movie Review

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Coco

Rating: 9/10 (Great)
Recommendation: Blu-Ray It

Coming in, I was really hoping Pixar could produce another smash hit, original story. And as you can tell by the score, they did.

Coco stars Anthony Gonzalez (Miguel), Gael Garcia Bernal (Hector), and Benjamin Bratt (Ernesto De La Cruz).

Plot Summary

Miguel is a young boy who’s grown up in a family that despises music because of what happened years ago. But Miguel has a talent with music and he wants to pursue a career in it.

After having his guitar smashed by his family, he runs off to take one from a grave but in doing so, he’s transported to a world of the living dead.

Miguel is now in a race against time to get home before he is stuck in the land of the dead.

Review

Coco is another solid entry in the pixar lineup and boy, did they need it. It’s not too say Finding Dory or Cars 3 was awful, Good Dinosaur wasn’t good, but they needed a strong showing again after falling of the tracks a little.

For starters, the voice acting is great. Each actor really makes the character feel real and convincing. Even Anthony, the youngest, is able to put on a strong performance that’s actually captivating (And yes he has his faults but you can let it slide due to him being more on the good side than bad).

The animation is next level. Pixar has always pushed their animation quality but this is just next level beauty. Everything is colorful, bright, well detailed, beautiful, it’s just hard to find any faults in it. I mean, I’m sure there are but I didn’t notice any.

The story is very good. Coming into this movie, I really had no clue what it was about. The trailers just sort of kept it a mystery. But as I was watching it, the plot just kept me entranced. It has some great twists (Which you might see coming) and a well executed message about the importance of family. It was so good that I teared up a few times…. Damn you Pixar!

Now there are some negatives to this film. One of them is the pace. The movie feels like it rushes some aspects here and there. It’s not totally distracting but there are moments where you’d like to see certain scenes played out more. But this is a very minor nit pick. Because the overall product does a good job taking it’s time with most scenes.

Another slight hit is the climax. It drags in the sense that it takes too long to conclude. It’s fun and invigorating but it could’ve ended a tad sooner instead of dragging it out to make the film longer.

Overall

Coco is a movie with hardly any flaws and it’s really hard to express how good it is because you just need see it.

The climax drags a tad. The story can feel a little rushed. And some scenes needed more time than others. But the voice acting is tremendous. The animation is beyond beautiful. And the story is heartfelt and truly emotional.

In all honesty, it’s hard to write a review about a great film. There’s only so many praises you can give without it feeling stale. But take my word on this, if you like Pixar movies, you’ll most likely love this film.

As usual, thanks for reading!

Chris’ Movie Review: Justice League

Chris’ Movie Review

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Justice League

Rating: 5/10 (Average)

Recommendation: Redbox It
I was never excited to see this film but I felt I needed too…. I wish I did something else.
Justice League stars Ben Affleck (Batman), Henry Cavill (Superman), Amy Adams (Lois Lane), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Ezra Miller (Flash), Jason Momoa (Aquaman), Ray Fisher (Cyborg), and Jeremy Irons (Alfred).

Plot Summary

With impending doom approaching, Batman assembles a group of super heroes to defeat Steppenwolf. The league must not only beat evil but they also need to learn to work with each other in the process.

Review

Justice League is a movie that the more I think about it, the more I forget what happened. Which seems counter productive but trust me, it’s a thing.

For starters, the actors are good to fine. No one is awful. There are a few stand outs like Gal, Ben, and Ezra Miller. Then you have a group of fine, Jason and Rey. Then you have someone who’s trying too hard in Amy (Who I just love no matter what but I can be objective). And then you have Henry Cavill.

I think Henry is one of the most controversial Supermans of all time. People seem to either love/like or dislike/hate him. And I really fall in the “He’s fine” category. Henry doesn’t bring a huge presence to the screen but he isn’t completely unnoticeable. He can be really stale from time to time but some of that I believe is the director and writer’s fault (something I’ll comeback too).

I think Henry is just stuck with to little too work with. Superman is already an overpowered character. It’s difficult to make him feel vulnerable and it’s hard too make him feel “Human.” Yes, I’m sure the comics find a way to do this but the DCU has not found a way and they keep running this character into the ground because of it. But I think this has a lot more to do with Zack Snyder than anything…. Where do I even begin?

I’ll start with this, Zack can make a great looking movie but his films always seem to fall short with the characters and story. They are either not fleshed out,  misinterpreted, or there’s too much information thrown at you at once. Zack can’t seem to find a common ground between his directing and story and, honestly, it’s getting old.

I will back off a little because Zack did have to deal with an unexpected death during the shooting of this movie but there’s no excuse of Batman V. Superman and Man Of Steel. Those movies, again, were average at best and seemed to piss off more fans than not. I mean, At this point, you have to ask DC, “Why do you keep putting your faith into Zack?” And the only conclusion I can come up with is that the studio can control him at will.
Batman V. Superman had potential to be good but there’s just way too much shit going on during the film that it’s way too difficult to follow. But the studio more than likely forced that situation to occur because DCU has been playing catch-up with Marvel for a very long time now and Zack is more or less their bitch. (I don’t have specific proof of this but I’m just going on gut feeling.)

My final point to this is that DCU needs different directors. Patty Jenkins did Wonder Woman and it was fantastic. It was the best DC movie since The Dark Knight. DC needs to reach out and try different directors and go from there because they’re just failing in comparison to Marvel. And while people will still go and see DC films, those numbers might start to fall drastically if the name Zack Snyder is seen as “Director” once again.

Lastly, there are other issues like poor CGI. Awful character introductions because they’re just rushed. And the whole “Superman fiasco.” But this review just needed to be a rant about DC under performing again. I think we should start boycotting these films but I know we realistically won’t.

Overall

Justice League is another DC movie that falls into the category of “Not a Marvel film.” And that’s putting it simple like.

The CGI isn’t very good. The new characters are rushed every chance they get. And Zack Snyder is the director. But Ben is a good Batman. Gal is awesome. And some of the action sequences are good.

If you want to watch this movie in theaters, I guess that would be fine. It’s really just an average film with some solid moments throughout. But honestly, you’re better off just skipping it…. Unless Justice League 2 is really good…. Lol no. Just kidding. You can still skip this movie.

As usual, thanks for reading!

Chris’ Movie Review: Murder On The Orient Express

Chris’ Movie Review

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Murder On The Orient Express

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

I really wanted to see this film since I saw the trailers. Now that I have, I think I ruined by hyping it up for myself.

Murder On The Orient Express stars Kenneth Branagh (Hercule), Penelope Cruz (Pilar), Daisy Ridley (Mary), Michelle Pfeiffer (Mrs. Hubbard), and Johnny Depp (Ratchett).

Plot Summary

Hercule is the world’s greatest detective. He lives by the code of always telling the truth and finding out who did it no matter what.

After solving a case, he heads out onto a train. During the trip, a murder takes place and decides to take up the case to find out who murdered Ratchett.

Review

Murder On The Orient Express is one of those movies that oozes brilliance by concept but has a hard time fully fulfilling every aspect that’s desired from the audience. And if that sounds like mumble jumble, let me explain.

For starters, the actors are fantastic. Kenneth really steals the show as the main lead. He is the glue to every aspect of the film and he brings a performance that is able to capture all the quirks and details of his character.

On the other side of the board, with the side characters, everyone does a fantastic job. When you have a “Star studded” cast, you need to be able to pull out the best of each and everyone to justify the signing of each actor. And the director was able to do that well. But the issue comes when the mystery starts.

The biggest flaw of this movie is how much screen time certain characters get and how well the information is distributed. Some characters get a ton of screen time and others sort of just get left in the dust. After awhile, you just start to forget their names and remember them by appearance because they’re either the screen too briefly or the interactions are just cliche throw off attempts to make you think a certain person is the killer but when in reality, they’re not.

Apart of this attributes to screen time in the beginning. There is about 20 minutes wasted showing off how great of a detective Heecule is. Which, yes, it’s setting up his character but it cuts short everyone else by a mile. The beginning should’ve really been cut down to 5-10 minutes at most. Everything in the beginning could’ve been shown in much less time.

Another hit is some of the interactions didn’t seem to really make a huge difference in the final findings of the film. For instance, there’s a scene where Kenneth and Johnny Depp are talking that takes up about 5 minutes and it didn’t really seem to go anywhere. Yes, a few clues come from it but not enough where it really mattered in the end. And this sort of feels like it happens a few too many times throughout the movie. (Or maybe I just missed something entirely. That’s very much possible.)

Lastly, the ending feels sort of underwhelming. Once you figure out what happened, it just sort of leaves an empty feeling. Maybe it’s due to how the film is paced and how certain characters don’t really add up to much but it’s just not a satisfying feeling when you get through viewing it.

Overall

Murder On The Orient Express is one of those movies that falls victim to having too many characters and not enough time to space them out. It has really solid moments but the mystery leaves a lot to be desired.

There are too many characters. Some of the interactions are really good and most aren’t. And the ending just doesn’t feel satisfying. But the visuals are interesting. The camera work is intriguing. And the acting, especially Kenneth, is really good.

Maybe you’ll have a better time with this film than I but I think a movie that does a lot of this better is Clue. Sure, it’s quirky, but it’s a ton of fun and you’ll enjoy yourself a lot more throughout it.

As usual, thanks for reading!