Going on a Short Hiatus

If you’re wondering why my last review (along with my mid-term top 10 list for that matter) was a written one, it’s because of my demanding schedule. Not only am I currently busy with school and work, I am also working on several movie projects. Because of this, I only have one free day out of the week.

Long story short, there won’t be any videos until October.  I hope you guys will understand. Peace!

P.S. There will be more details to come in the following weeks.

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Cayle’s Movie Review: “Mission: Impossible-Fallout”

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NOTE: I didn’t have enough time this week to make a video. Here’s a written review instead. Enjoy!

It’s hard to believe that the Mission: Impossible film franchise has been going on since 1996. Except for the second one, I am fan of all the movies in the series. Ever since 2011’s Ghost Protocol, the franchise has managed to raise the stakes in terms of action and story. However, the franchise may have reached its peak with Fallout. As for the story, I felt that the stakes were higher this time around thanks to director Christopher McQuarrie’s involvement with the movie. There were a lot of interesting twists and turns throughout the movie’s runtime.

In terms of its action direction, Fallout is the biggest movie in the franchise. While all the movies in the Mission: Impossible franchise has some memorable action scenes, I felt that this movie has the best out of all of them. The movie has some incredible stunt work with its chase scenes and fight choreography.

Another great thing about this movie is its cast. Each cast member has managed to bring out their characters’ personalities. Say what you will about Tom Cruise, he is a great actor. I’ll give him credit for doing all his stunt work. He was born to play Ethan Hunt. Simon Pegg and Ving Rhames were also great as Hunt’s fellow IMF members. Henry Cavill was another standout performance of this movie. I felt that his character was a perfect foil to Ethan Hunt.

My only problem with this film is its believability. While I was impressed with its action scenes, there were certain moments during the movie’s runtime that I was thinking to myself, “nobody should survive this.” Ethan Hunt officially has the Power Star from the Super Mario Bros. games.

There are rumors that Fallout might be the last movie in the Mission: Impossible franchise. If this is the case, this is a great way to end the franchise. As I have mentioned earlier in the review, this was the biggest movie in the series in terms of action and story. It does give closure to several elements that were featured in the previous movies. However, I’m willing to bet dollars to donuts that there will be another Mission: Impossible movie in the near future.

SCORE: 9/10

Cayle’s Top 10 Movies of 2018…So Far

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In lieu of a video this week, I thought I would try something a little different. I thought about writing a mid-year top ten list for a long time now, but never had the opportunity to. Due to my busy schedule, however, I decided to write a list instead. The review for Mission: Impossible – Fallout will be coming out next weekend.

Before I continue on with the list, I wanted to explain a few things first. You might ask: “If this is a mid-year top ten list, why is it in August?” The answer is that I might a write a list like this as a yearly August tradition. Second, this isn’t a final list (that one will be coming out in late December/early January). I’m willing to bet that half of the movies on this list will be honorable mentions on my annual end-of-the-year list.

I hope you guys enjoy reading this list!

10.) Solo: A Star Wars Story

I was initially hesitant about watching this movie after re-watching the garbled mess known as The Last Jedi (a movie I may re-review sometime in the near future). Much to my surprise, however, Solo is a nice throwback to the original trilogy. It’s a crying shame that it’s the first Star Wars movie to bomb at the box office…

9.) A Silent Voice

It’s not everyday that a theatrically-released anime movie (that isn’t from Studio Ghibli) is screened in my neck of the woods. Case in point, this is only the third anime movie I have seen in theaters over the last two years. Luckily, I had the privilege of seeing this movie a few months ago. A Silent Voice is one of those rare anime films that can appeal to both anime and non-anime watchers alike.

8.) Love, Simon

If John Hughes were still alive today, I feel that this is the type of movie he would make. What’s notable about Love, Simon is its titular character. Simon Spier is a well-written gay character that isn’t stereotypical. It’s refreshing to see a teen movie that is actually good.

7.) Avengers: Infinity War

Out of the three Avengers movies, Infinity War is easily the best one. It manages to raise the stakes from the previous movies by implementing the most memorable villain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe-Thanos. Not only that, he is a complex antagonist who manages to have a believable motivation. Infinity Wars is a game-changer in the MCU.

6.) Incredibles 2

While the first movie is better,  The Incredibles 2 is the best Pixar sequel since the third Toy Story movie. This movie is a continuation of the themes that was prevalent in the previous movie.

5.) Isle of Dogs

In his sophomore stop-motion feature, Wes Anderson manages to insert quirky sense of humor into its animation. While Isle of Dogs has a basic plot, it more than makes up for it with its character development.

4.) Annihilation

Annihilation is an old-school science-fiction horror movie in the spirit of Aliens and The Thing. Just like Solo, it didn’t do well at the box-office. To add insult to injury, the movie only had a theatrical release in North America and china because its distributor Paramount thought it was too “intellectual” for the average movie-goer. Hopefully, Annihilation should have a second life on DVD/VOD….

3.) A Quiet Place

While A Quiet Place is the more traditional horror movie on this list, it is also the best one thanks to its direction and its sound design. John Krasinki, who is better known as the actor who played Jim Halpert on the American version of The Office, has the potential to be a great director.

2.) Deadpool 2

More often than not, highly anticipated sequels are usually considered to be disappointments by audiences and critics alike. However, Deadpool 2 manages to up the ante from its predecessor thanks to its self-reflexive humor.

1.) Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

I could not recommend this movie enough. It is a remarkable documentary about a remarkable man. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? is one of those rare films that puts a perspective on one’s life. It shows how a single man can change the landscape of a certain medium.

Thank you for reading this list and have a great summer!

Cayle’s Movie Review: “Unfriended: Dark Web”

Unfriended: Dark Web is a stand-alone sequel to the 2015 movie Unfriended. Instead of an Internet-era ghost story, this movie deals with the infamous “dark web”. Will this movie live up to the inventiveness of its predecessor or is it just using an overused gimmick at this point?

Just like the first movie, Unfriended: Dark Web has an interesting concept that takes place from the perspective of a computer screen.  With the addition of the dark web, there is a lot of potential with the movie’s story.

The best part about this movie, however, is its cast. I felt that the actors were great with what they had to work with. They were believable in their respective roles, even if some of their characters were not likable to begin with (a fact I will delve into later in this review).

My main problem with this movie is that it’s basically a carbon copy of the first movie. Dark Web just repeats the plot points of the first movie beat for beat. While this movie has a more realistic premise, I felt that the first movie was more grounded since it is a cautionary tale that deals with the consequences that resulted from the actions of its teen characters. Speaking of the main characters of this movie…

Another major problem I had with this movie are its dumb characters. I am fully aware that the main characters of the first movie were high school students. As we all know, teenagers aren’t really known for their rationality. However, the main difference between the main characters of this movie and its predecessor is that the characters of Dark Web are supposed to be adults who have managed to graduate from college. Matias, who is the main character of Dark Web, does some very questionable things throughout the movie’s runtime. if it wasn’t for his stupidity, however, the movie’s plot would not have been kicked off. The movie is essentially one giant idiot plot.

I won’t spoil the movie, but Dark Web has two different endings. While a concept like this can work in a movie like 1985’s Clue, I felt that the use of multiple endings in this movie was more of a gimmick than anything.

While this movie had some promise with its concept, it fell victim to the dreaded “sequelitis”. Unfriended: Dark Web has all the elements of a generic horror sequel: stupid characters, a generic antagonist, and of course, a plot that repeats itself.

SCORE: 5/10

Cayle’s Movie Review: “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”

Won’t You Be My Neighbor is a documentary that follows the influence of a certain Fred Rogers, who is better known as the titular host of the much-beloved children’s show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Rogers, a native of Pittsburgh, was planning to go into seminary to become a Presbyterian minister after graduating from Rollins College with a degree in music composition. Instead, he decided to pursue a career in television as he felt that the then-recent medium was not living up to its full potential.

Because of this, he sought out to create a children’s show that was free from commercialism. His vision came true when Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood debuted in 1968. Not only did the show help improve the state of children’s television, he also helped popularize public television as exemplified by his now-famous 1969 testimony before a U.S. Senate committee.

Not only does this documentary delve into Rogers’ influence on television, but also his personality. Rogers was a man with little to no vices. One of his sons said it best when he described his relationship with his father as” having the second coming of Christ for a father.” However, the documentary does show how he communicated to children in various ways. He did not shy away from discussing difficult topics. When Robert Kennedy was assassinated, for example, the show devoted a whole episode on the topic of assassination. The reason for this is that he felt that people should be honest with their children. In another example, he washed his feet in a kiddie pool with Officer Clemmons in a symbolic stand against intolerance. He later practiced what he preached when he accepted Francois Clemmons (who is openly gay) for who he is.

As a communicator, he knew that children were very impressionable. He managed to circumvent this by not appearing in the “Neighborhood of Make-Believe” segments.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor is a great tribute to an extraordinary individual who managed to change an entire medium through the simplest methods. After being disgusted at the state of television at the time, he decided to take matters into his own hands by changing television landscape into something more challenging. To quote Michael Jackson, “if you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change.”

SCORE: 10/10

Cayle’s Movie Review: “Ant-Man and the Wasp”

Following the events of Captain America: Civil War, Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) is just a few days away from being released from house arrest. However, he is once again recruited by Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) to help rescue his wife Janet from the Quantum Realm.

In my opinion, I felt that the first Ant-Man was an underrated movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I felt that the movie was better than I expected due to its troubled production. I was naturally excited when this movie was announced. How does this movie compare to its predecessor? Let’s find out…

Once again, the visuals for this movie are great. The audience gets to see the perspective of the two main characters in a creative way as they fight the antagonists of the movie. It is my personal belief that CGI works better if it is used only when it’s needed as demonstrated in the movie.

Peyton Reed returns as the director of this movie. While he is mainly a comedic director, he also knows how to choreograph action scenes. The action scenes for this movie manages to mesh very well with the visual effects.

Another great thing about the movie is its cast. While Paul Rudd is charming once again as Scott Lang/Ant-Man, it is Michael Douglas as Hank Pym who steals the movie. Evangeline Lilly is also solid as Hank’s daughter, Hope. She makes a perfect foil to Rudd’s character. Although Michael Pena was just a minor character in the previous movie, I felt that his character served a purpose in the movie this time around.

My main problem with the movie is the flanderization of some of the main characters. In the first movie, Lang was an electrical engineer-turned-thief who only stole to provide for his daughter. In this movie, however, Lang is a bumbling idiot who couldn’t find his way out of a wet paper bag.  Although Michael Douglas did a great job as Hank Pym, I felt that that most of his dialogue were retorts that would feel right at home in a sitcom. Speaking of the movie’s humor, I felt that most of the jokes in this movie were rather hit-and-miss.

Following a giant Marvel movie with a great villain, I felt that the antagonists of the movie were underwhelming. I felt that the development of the character of Ava Starr/Ghost (played by Hannah John-Kamen) was a wasted opportunity. There was another villain in the movie that was supposed to be a twist. However, it was rather anti-climactic since it was heavily hinted at in the movie.

While Ant-Man and the Wasp is an entertaining movie, it doesn’t hold a candle to its predecessor.

SCORE: 6/10

Cayle’s Movie Review: “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom follows Owen Grady and Claire Dearing (played by Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard respectively) as they go on a rescue mission to the now-abandoned Isla Nublar to save the remaining dinosaurs before the volcano on said island erupts. The movie begs the question: is the movie worth watching or has the franchise run its course just like the dinosaurs?

The best thing about Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is its direction. The movie’s director, J.A. Bayona, has a knack for creating tense scenes as exemplified by his work on 2007’s The Orphanage. This movie is no exception as it pays homage to the first movie in certain scenes.

Another great thing about this movie are its visuals. A common criticism of its predecessor is its over-reliance on CGI. However, Fallen Kingdom has its fair share of practical effects as well. After all, the dinosaurs are the real stars of the franchise.

As for the leads, both Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard were pretty good in their respective roles. Although their back-and-forth rapport isn’t as strong this time around, they still managed to have a good chemistry with each other.

As I have mentioned in the review for Ocean’s 8, this movie does not make a strong case for its existence.  To paraphrase a certain Jeff Goldblum line from the first movie: “[They were] so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.” Goldblum cameoed as Dr. Ian Malcolm in the opening scene of this movie ironically enough.

Fallen Kingdom essentially repeats the plot of its predecessors with little to no deviation. The movie’s plot is driven by the ignorance of the characters of the movie. Aside from Dr. Malcolm, it seems that nobody in this universe managed to learn their lesson from the previous movies. Otherwise, the executives at Universal Studios would not be able to milk this franchise for all it’s worth. I won’t spoil the movie’s ending, but it left the possibility of multiple sequels open. This could either be a good or a bad thing based on one’s franchise fatigue.

Although Fallen Kingdom isn’t a bad movie per se, it wasn’t a necessary one either. Say what you will about its predecessor, at least it has a case for its existence. If you’re really into the Jurassic Park franchise, this movie is a must-watch. Otherwise, it works better as a rental.

SCORE: 6/10