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!

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Chris’ Movie Review: Despicable Me 3

Chris’ Movie Review

Despicable Me 3

Rating: 6/10 (Fine)

Recommendation: Redbox It

I don’t hate this series of movies. I honestly like the first film. The second, meh. When I heard they were doing a third movie, I thought “This is too much.” But after some thought, it made sense. Now it’s just a matter of whether or not this film is any good. (Short answer: “Eh.”)

Despicable Me 3 stars Steve Carell (Gru/Dru), Kristen Wiig (Lucy), and Trey Parker (Balthazar).

Plot Summary

After failing to capture 80’s Tv star Balthazar, Gru and Lucy get fired from work. Upon their firing, Gru finds out that he has a brother Dru. Gru goes to meet Dru where Dru attempts to bring Gru back into the villain world. Also, how do they Minions end up in jail?

Review

Despicable Me 3 is a franchise that shouldn’t have 3 movies but it does. The first film is good. The second rushes way too many plot elements and certain stories aren’t developed like they should be. And the third…well.

For starters, Despicable Me has a good voice acting cast. Steve has really held the fort down in all three movies. Kristen has been a nice addition. And Trey Parker….

Let’s get this out of the way, if you like/watch South Park, you know that Trey is one of the creators of the show. You also know he voices a bunch of the characters in the show. So when Balthazar comes on screen, all you can think of is South Park. Is that a bad thing? No. But it is distracting. Especially since it feels like Trey had no creative control over his lines in the movie.

This may feel like a side rant, and it is to an extent, but Trey should’ve had some creative control over the script for his character (It’s possible that he did but it doesn’t feel like it). Trey could’ve brought another level to the character of Balthazar but unfortunately he starts to feel really flat about halfway through the movie. All the villains of this franchise actually do this but with Trey, you’d just expect better.

Another hit on this movie is the story arc. The first film had a charm to it. Gru learned how to become loving and caring towards his 3 girls. In the second movie, Gru fell in love with Lucy…and then that way disregarded like it never existed because Minions. And the third, he meets his brother? Yeah, it sort of just kills the mood.

I know I’m grouping the three movies together but each one is very similar. And what’s disappointing is that the creators didn’t learn from their mistakes/expand the story arcs. We do not get enough of Gru, Lucy, and their daughters. This is the core of the movie and each film goes further away from this premise. Which is sad because these characters are set up for major success but they kept doing the same formula over and over. What’s the formula, you ask? Well….

Each movie has a villain. Each film has a little bit of family. Each movie has more and more Minions. As the franchise progressed, the films would/will bring in more and more Minion appearances. Which, yes, they do get a laugh or two, but they’re not important. They aren’t the main character arcs. They are meant for a few jokes and to be pushed aside from there. But no, let’s keep pushing the Minions down your throat because you laughed at them the first time.

Look, if you enjoy their comedy, that’s fine. I did like some the jokes, but they aren’t the story. The plot is Gru and his family. That’s the story the Despicable Me franchise got away from. They left it to die, essentially, so they could show you the same movie over and over again. Which is just despicable. They have Gru, Lucy, and the girls. They are interesting enough on their own. Let them shine. Stop bringing in all of these side characters. Dru was never needed. Keep the villain if you want but focus the growth of the family first. Don’t exclude them because you can’t break the formula. Argh!

This is going to sound crazy, but I didn’t hate this movie. Everything in it is fine. I could give you the typical review, which I started out doing, but this needed to be talked about. I really believe the Despicable Me franchise could’ve been tremendous. Unfortunately, the creators didn’t think it was necessary to do that and we got the same movie again.

If we get a 4th, I hope they just focus on Gru and his family. That could be a great movie to end everything. But I’m guessing they won’t do that. End rant.

Overall

Other than that lengthy rant, Despicable Me 3 is fine. It progresses a little too fast but it’s just same movie as the first and second with a different villain. That’s really about it.

The characters don’t grow. The story is a rehash of the first. And Dru becomes grading over time. But the Minions do get a few good jokes. Balthazar does provide some entertainment. And Gru is still a good character to watch on screen.

If you liked the first two, then you’ll like this one. Does it fail in many aspects? Sure, but that’s more about my disappointment towards the movie than anything else.

As usual, thanks for reading!

Chris’ Movie Review: Baby Driver

Chris’ Movie Review

Baby Driver

Rating: 10/10 (Excellent)

Recommendation: Blu-Ray It

If you were wanting a review for last week’s releases, I’m sorry/not sorry. One, I would’ve went to “The Beguiled” but it wasn’t being shown near me at the time. Two, Transformers is garbage. After watching the first movie, I just refuse to watch any of the others.

I can say so much more but Micheal Bay is not the worst director…. He just chooses to film crap. 

With that being said, Baby Driver is a movie that I’ve been anticipating. So let’s get into the review.

Baby Driver stars Ansel Elgort (Baby), Kevin Spacey (Doc), Lily James (Deborah), John Hamm (Buddy), Jamie Foxx (Bats), and Eiza Gonzalez (Darling)

Plot Summary

Baby is a driver. He works for Doc in high profile robberies. In the past, Baby stole Doc’s car and, instead of putting Baby in jail, he took him in to work for his business.

One day, at a diner, Baby meets Deborah. She loves music just as much as him and they hit it off. Baby goes to Doc and says he’s only good for one more job. But, Doc has other plans for him.

Review

Baby Driver is a movie that’s a rare entity. It has a good trailer and the movie backs up it’s preview with great action and a great story. This is something you rarely see these days. Most of the time, the trailer is good and the movie is bad or vice versa. It’s nice to see a film actually live up to is potential.

For starters, this movie oozes atmosphere. If you haven’t heard, the soundtrack to this film is a huge part of the movie. It intertwines with the film so well. Each song has a reason for being there and the movie has scenes and actions that coincide with each track. Now, I’m not saying other films don’t do a variation of this but Baby Driver is one where every song has some sort of purpose. Which is really cool, especially when most movies just use a song just because.

The opening to this movie phenomenal. The first few minutes are so gripping and intense that you won’t be able to keep your eyes off the screen. The action is so enthralling and beautiful to watch that you wish every director would take a lesson from this scene alone.

Along with that, the opening credits are done extremely well too. A lot of films don’t have opening credits anymore, which is fine because most of them aren’t done that well or are just boring, but Baby Driver keeps the credits interesting by putting little nuggets in to keep you occupied. I won’t give anything away but just watch them closely, they’re very creative in keeping your interest.

The characters are great. Each one has a quirk or something compelling to them. Are they all fully developed? No. But they are written to keep you interested in their actions and thoughts. None of them are unlikable, villains included, and you leave the film feeling satisfied with knowing each individual. Which is pretty rare as well.

The script is tight, fast, and well written. This movie goes. It’s rarely slows down but that’s okay. The film gets in quick paced dialogue that’s witty, funny, and, again, interesting. It’s not too say that every line is super awesome but more along the lines of how compelling it is. The dialogue might zip by but you’re intrigued with everything that’s said on screen.

The acting is great. Ansel really brings out a lot of emotion for very little dialogue. Jamie is on fire with his words and actions. John and Eiza have great chemistry on screen. And Lily is pretty solid as an love interest. Each actor brings out the best of each character and they do it with a ton of conviction and heart. You can really tell these actors liked working with each other. Or at least they pretended like they did.

The finale is great. There are so many twists and turns that you’re never sure which way the movie will go. And they’re not cop out or easy to predict twists. The twists make plot sense and nothing is so out of left field that it wouldn’t make any sense. The twists are there to keep the ending fresh and the story compelling.

If there’s one nit pick, the movie falls a little during the middle. After a glamorous opening, the film sort of stale mates during the second act. It’s not a boring act but it’s not as fast as the opening and the closing. The second act is still good but it’s just not as enticing as the first and third.

Overall

Baby Driver is a blast. This movie was definitely worth the wait and it’s one that can be seen a few times over because you may miss a moment or two due to it’s quick pace and fast dialogue.

The movie slows a bit in the second act. Lily James’ character is the weakest of the bunch (but not by a lot). And the dialogue can be a little too quick at times. But the soundtrack is amazing. The action is so enthralling to witness. And the first and third act are so good that anything that feels like a negative will be over shadowed by these two acts alone.

Baby Driver is the best movie of the year…so far. There have been other contenders but Baby Driver can appeal to a wide variety of people with ease and attract the less than average movie goer to come and buy a ticket. It’s just that great.

Oh and fuck Transformers.

As usual, thanks for reading!

Cayle’s Movie Review: “Cars 3”

When it comes to modern-day animation, Pixar (and Disney to a certain extent) is the gold standard. On the other hand, the Cars franchise is another story. The second installment of the franchise signaled the start of Pixar’s creative slump that lasted until the 2015 release of Inside Out. How does this movie compare to the first two movies?

Well, for starters, this movie is a return to form for the franchise. While the story is basic, it’s still an effective one. The movie has an interesting premise about being past your prime. While the first act dealt with this premise, the other two acts felt like a Rocky movie. I felt this aspect of the movie could have been explored more thoroughly.

The supporting cast of this movie is rather and miss. Cruz Ramirez is the love-it or hate-it character of this movie. Some people will find her likable while others will find her annoying. However, she does go through a character arc of her own. Jackson Lightning, the antagonist of the movie, felt like a one-dimensional character.

While Cars 3 is an improvement over its predecessor, it’s not on par with the other Pixar movies. However, it’s fine for a Cars sequel.

SCORE: 6/10

The Obscure Viewer: Turbo Kid

Call it an obsession, but to me, nothing is cooler than that 80s and 90s, slight-out-of-focus, neon-colored, grid art with arcade style weaponry, fast sporty cars, photon-based effects, and a glimpse into retro-futurism. And, although we haven’t been delivered such a movie in full since “Tron” this movie does it in a whole new perspective with old tricks. So, strap in, grab your old power glove and enjoy my review of

Turbo Kid

I can describe this movie with one word… Nostalgia. The magic of this film takes place with its arsenal of retro items from the targeted demographics childhood/teen years. Stuff like the signature power glove, which is used as a weapon on the Turbo Rider suit, a view master, retro rollerblade pads, etc get you the instant gratification of nostalgia; making you attached to the screen thinking “I wonder what other cool stuff they have in this movie”. Also, let’s be honest, the power glove, although was awful as a controller, was still badass.

Turbo Kid, what I believe to be a modern wonder, is exactly the movie I have been looking for in some time. It is a fine mixture of 80s grindhouse films, childhood memories, and a modern day hipster-feel love story. It does lack the scenic emotion of that of an 80s film, like that of Terminator, Robocop, and Escape From New York where the movie is constantly shrouded in a faint darkness for most of the film giving it a more shadowy depth to its features. But, definitely a modern day tribute to that style of art, and a very respectable one at that.

Turbo Kid keeps a constant aura of over-the-top action and ridiculousness, giving it a nice comedic tone, to keep that authentic 80s cheese and comic book schmaltziness. By using bikes instead of motorcycles and questionable dialogue it makes you feel you’re listening to a story told by an overly excited and actionable 10-year-old; “So the bad guy chops that dudes head off and there are blood and guts everywhere. Suddenly Turbo Kid comes flying through on his awesome tricked out bike and blasts him away with his Photon Blaster” as one could assume a child like that would tell such a story. Every time something really devastating happens, it ridicules that evil by fighting it off with pure awesomeness, with the child-like wonder of “I’m gonna kick evils but with my Photon Blaster“. It’s like an old, sick, and twisted power rangers commercial. One where the kids shooting their toy guns and fighting with action figures, cause real-life casualties.

Each character follows a specific persona and formula, making the intended perception to make you feel you’re actually seeing a comic book in action. Turbo Kid is a modern day cult classic that captures something most movies have not. A relatable sensibility of oneself. Even though the Turbo Kid world seems like a horrible world to live in, the characters make you wish you were there because they do such an amazing job and making you relate to, or idolize, the character in some way.

Speaking of Idolizing, have you ever wanted to be your favorite superhero? Well, for The Kid, that dream came true… but not like you would hope.

Turbo Kid takes place In an alternate 1997 in an almost enigmatic world known only as, “The Wasteland”. One could compare the mystery of this world to that of David Fincher’s film “Seven” where the city is only recognized as “This Place”.

Our protagonist aka, The Kid (Munro Chambers), is a lone wanderer who collects various nostalgic things from the past that catch his interest; come to find out later that it is significant to a deep and disturbing past with his parents who are presumed missing or dead. The Kid is the hero persona that idolizes a comic book hero named Turbo Rider. When you pay attention, you’ll notice the comic strips you do see in the movie, subtlely explain the upcoming plot points. He lives off the land and sticks to himself; dwells on the past, and only goes into town for the occasional trade to a merchant for water and other goods. He has a very specific guideline of survival rules and regulations that he follows on daily bases, showing an utmost organization to our hero.

Throughout his adventure, he is accompanied by an arm-wrestling cowboy, Fredrick (the mysterious stranger persona. Aaron Jeffery). Who, although at first seems like an antagonist, he becomes a helpful guardian over The Kid, almost a father figure… almost. He resembles a cowboy Indiana Jones, who lives life only in his prospects. The role was done fantastically. Fredrick is the best character in the movie as far as mysteriousness and keeping you aware of the comic-like-style of this universe.

Enter, the love interest. We find The Kid sitting on a lone swing set in the middle of nowhere, reading a Turbo Rider comic that he received through trade/barter in town, and stumbles upon “Apple” (the love interest and damsel persona. Laurence Leboeuf) a young blonde girl who seems to be conversating with a dead body calling it “friend”. Very weird and seemingly crazy. She slaps a wristband on The Kid, a tracking device, and claims him to be her new friend. Obviously weirded out by this, and acting like he’s never seen a girl before, The Kid runs to his hideout, where he keeps all of his cool items and Turbo Rider memorabilia. Apple is a very curious character. She acts as an enabler for The Kid to discover who he really is and what he is destined to be. This is a typical approach in the film industry, but, does not make it more or less desirable.

This is not a happy world and none of our characters have lived any form of a happy life. In fact, any curiosity of what lies beyond the wasteland, so they can “get out of this place”, is immediately a bitter pill with promises of nothing else of significance throughout the entire wasteland. The wasteland itself can be seen as the universe for this movie as a whole. Picture it almost like what you are watching, is actually a comic book. When you listen to the dialogue and the general demeanor of the characters, it ends up making sense. It’s important to keep that mystery of the wasteland alive too because if you knew everything you wouldn’t have anything to look forward to. It makes you come to believe that what you see is what you get. It also leaves room for a sequel, which is normally heinous by nature, but I digress. I would actually enjoy a sequel in this case.

The hierarchy of morals follows a true dichotomy of good and evil; anyone in between is just canon fodder. Now, there can’t be evil villains without some sort of drive right? Well, water appears to be very scarce and is the main premise behind the devilish plot. The villains in this movie, lead by Zeus (the villain persona. Michael Ironside) and his psychopathic killer, Skeletron (the right-hand man persona), played by (Edwin Wright), have developed a machine that extracts water from human blood, as a means to re-hydrate the wasteland. This is where all the happiness and whimsy gets shot into the drain as you sit back and watch it, laughing while it happens. Zeus has absolutely no remorse for anyone. Just when you thought this movie was going to be about 1 thing, you watch Michael Ironside have a guy get his face smashed in with a cinder block and realize you’re going for a ride.

After a run-in with Zeus and his goons, Apple becomes “injured” and The Kid finds himself lost and confused. Through his confusion, he accidentally stumbles upon a buried space ship, that he clumsily falls into, and notices a familiarity. In the pilot seat is a dead Turbo Rider and a video feed playing the footage of a man deeming Turbo Rider as humanities “last hope”. The Kid takes this opportunity to become what hes always wanted to be. A Turbo Rider. Hence becoming, Turbo Kid.

So he becomes Turbo Kid and goes out on his plight in search of revenge and justice. Which takes your once destroyed innocence, gives it some steroids, and beats the living hell out of your guilt.

Now, I’m not going to go into much further detail, but I rate this as one of my favorite movies to date. There are definitely flaws in the movie. I cannot fully explain its flaws without visuals and major spoilers but with its shotty transitioning, certain poorly shot scenes, repetitiveness, questionable support acting, noticeable lacks of effort, and progression, you can definitely see a dispute to this being anything other than just “a good movie”. This definitely will, if it hasn’t already, create a cult following that I hope inspires many more ideas like this and spawn some masterpieces for our future. It is a very satisfying film to watch and I walk away from it only wanting to see more.

Chris’ Movie Review: Cars 3

Chris’ Movie Review

Cars 3

Rating: 6/10 (Fine)

Recommendation: Redbox It

The movie is better than Cars 2.

Cars 3 stars Owen Wilson (Lightning McQueen), Cristela Alonzo (Cruz Ramirez), Kerry Washington (Natalie Certain), Nathan Fillion (Sterling), and Armie Hammer (Jackson Storm).

Plot Summary

Lightning McQueen is aging in the racing world. He is falling behind the newer cars and after an awful accident, he’s not sure if he can ever comeback.

After some soul searching, he goes into training, determined to become number one for one last time. But there’s a twist to the story.

Review

Cars 3 is a movie that surpasses Cars 2 in every way…. But it doesn’t compete with the first film all that much. While the original Cars had a basic setup, it had heart and a sense of openness and adventure. Cars 3, sort of has these qualities, but it’s missing some key elements.

For starters, the animation isn’t as crisp at the first trailer presented. When the teaser first dropped, the animation looked amazing. It was so life like and beautiful to look at. But the film doesn’t hold up to it’s initial introduction. Yes, it’s good animation but it’s not the prestine quality of the first ever look we got into this sequel.

The next issue is the story. While the elements are fine, the plot tends feel like it has no direction. It feels like the film wants to be 4 different movies at once, instead of just focusing on the one story they have in front of them. It’s not to say the movie is hard to follow but more along the lines of it didn’t know what it’s identity was.

The voice acting of this film is, alright. Owen Wilson does a great Lightning McQueen but he feels tired and worn out, which is proper for his role, but this allows for Cristela to be the shining light of the movie. And well….

If there’s one aspect of this film that may turn people away slightly, it’s Cruz Ramirez. She’s an enthusiastic car that’s always dreamed of racing. Her personality is bright, bubbly, and determined. But she can wain on you as a viewer. Much like Lightning in the first movie, Cruz can be similar in her presence. It’s not that she’s snobby but she is in your face every second she can get. You will not be able to avoid her. This could be a good or bad thing, depending on how you take her in as a character.

Another negative is the first half. It is painfully slow. The movie gives you your cameos of all the characters you remember and then it meamders around until the film finally realizes it’s time to start getting a move on and even after it starts to pick up, it feels like the film is dragging it’s feet to the finish line. Again, it’s nothing that’s bad but you will become bored because you’re waiting for that epic moment to arrive…. Which it kind of never does.

Without spoilers, the trailer promises a lot of changes. It comes off as a deep meaningful sequel that will change your outlook on the Cars franchise forever (at least that’s what I got from it). Well, it doesn’t fully deliver on it’s promise.

To put it lightly, the film doesn’t allow for certain elements to grow throughout the duration. And if it did, this movie could come off more like the first Cars. Now the the third act gives you some of that perspective but it doesn’t fully feel like it earned it, leaving the ending to feel hollow and unfulfilled. It’s just a let down after what all the trailers seemed to have promised us.

Overall

Cars 3 is a movie that didn’t live up to the trailers. There’s really nothing that’s bad about the movie but everything is more or less just mediocre, with a few good elements sprinkled in.

The animation isn’t as great as it could be, the story wanders off from time to time, and the first half is really tedious. But the voice acting is fine. The plot does pick up in the second half. And third act does conclude the film series, hopefully, nicely.
The movie just feels like a disappointment when it shouldn’t. If it focused more on certain aspects or changed the plot entirely, the film could’ve ended as the premiere highlight of the Cars franchise.

As usual, thanks for reading!

Cayle’s Movie Reviews: “Wonder Woman”

NOTE: It says on the video that it’s a 7/10. It’s actually an 8/10. My mistake!

It’s official: the DC Extended Universe finally has a good movie!

Wonder Woman is a unique take on the “fish-out-of-water” narrative in which the titular character is taken out of her environment and into war-torn Europe. You get to see the character arc of Wonder Woman/Diana Prince unfold during the movie’s runtime.

Another great aspect about the movie is its direction. The action scenes are well choreographed and the World War I scenes are filled with grim and despair. However, some of the movie’s CGI is rather unconvincing.

When it was first announced that Gal Gadot was announced to play Wonder Woman, there was a huge backlash. However, she managed to prove the naysayers wrong with her performance in this movie. She managed to portray Wonder Woman as an optimistic character in a grim world.

Chris Pine does a fine job as Steve Trevor. While he does have a great camaraderie with Gadot, his character is no slouch either. He does have his share of action scenes along with Wonder Woman.

My main complaint with this movie, however, is its villain set-up. I won’t go into detail, but it is one of those “surprise” villains. Another complaint about this movie is its use of slow-mo. It may work in a Zack Snyder movie, but it feels out of place here.

In conclusion, Wonder Woman is the very movie that the 2016 Ghostbusters failed to be. After a shaky start with Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman, and Suicide Squad, this film is a step in the right direction for the DCEU.

SCORE: 8/10