Cayle’s Movie Review: Blade Runner 2049

When Blade Runner was originally released in 1982, it was a commercial disappointment. Over the next three decades, however, not only has the film gained a cult following, it managed to influence other films such as Ghost in the Shell. Its sequel, Blade Runner 2049, has been one of the most anticipated films of 2017. Will it live up to the hype?

Taking place thirty years after the events of the original film, “K” (Ryan Gosling) is a replicant who hunts other replicants as a blade runner. However, he gets recurring memories of himself as a child despite the being the new model of replicant. The film follows his efforts to find the child in question.

Over the past few years, Denis Villeneuve has been building up an impressive resume that all culminated with the Oscar-nominated Arrival. In my opinion, Blade Runner 2049 might be the best film he has done to date. He manages to capture the proto-cyberpunk feel of the original film and give it a modern-day update.

Another great aspect of the film is its cinematography and its production design. The cinematography of this film is both breath-taking and atmospheric thanks to Roger Deakins. If this man does not win the Oscar for Best Cinematography, it would be the crime of the century. The production design manages to pay homage to the iconic visuals of the original while adding its own flair. My only critique of this film is the scenery porn that does not add anything to the movie. They may look great for the trailer, but it adds nothing to the film.

This film has a spectacular cast. Ryan Gosling does a fine job playing “K”. However, a special mention must go to Harrison Ford. His reprisal of the character Deckard is his best role in recent memory. It’s amazing how can be a great actor when he’s not phoning it in. The rest of the supporting cast does a fine job in the film, (including Bautista of all people). Even Jared Leto, who may be the weak link of the cast, managed to do a solid job in this film.

This may or may not be a controversial opinion, but I will say it anyway: Blade Runner 2049 joins various movies such as The Empire Strikes Back, The Dark Knight, and Aliens as one of the best sequels of all time. In a time where unoriginal studio executives are cashing in on nostalgic audience members, this film manages to do something where the other remakes/reboots/unnecessary sequels fail to do: it manages to continue the story of the original film. Villeneuve truly understands the intent of the original film. The original Blade Runner presented some existential questions about our humanity. 2049 expands on those questions by exploring them further. However, the film does not give a simple “yes or no” answer to those questions but rather leaves them open-ended as it should.

Overall, Blade Runner 2049 is a worthy sequel to the original film.

SCORE: 10/10

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Cayle’s Movie Review: American Made

Edge of Tomorrow was one of my personal favorite films of 2014. It was a refreshing take on the time loop narrative. When I heard that director Doug Liman and Tom Cruise were collaborating on another movie, I had to check this movie out.

Tom Cruise was easily the best part about this movie. He easily carries the movie as Barry Seal, a former TWA pilot who becomes a drug runner for the Medillin Cartel and later an informant for the CIA. He has enough charisma to convincingly pull off playing a real-life maverick like Seal.  Domhnall Gleeson is also fine as Seal’s main contact in the CIA.

While it is great to have some comedic scenes peppered out throughout the entire duration of the movie to ease the dramatic tension, American Made consists of nothing but comedic scenes. As a result, the movie has some tonal conflicts. We never get to see Seal or his family in any real danger because of this. However, I will not go further into this aspect of the movie because it contains spoilers.

Overall, American Made is a frenetic action-comedy that manages to be quite fun. If you’re looking for a historically accurate movie, American Made isn’t for you. If you’re looking for a fun action movie, this movie is right up your alley. Although it’s not as good as Edge of Tomorrow, it’s fine for what it is.

SCORE: 7/10

Chris’ Movie Review: Blade Runner 2049

Chris’ Movie Review

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Blade Runner 2049

Rating: 6/10 (Fine)

Recommendation: Redbox It

My “Plot Summary” is going to be off track to those who have seen this movie already. To be honest, it’s really hard to describe this film but I did my best.

Also, I’ve never seen the first Blade Runner. So take what you will from that.

Blade Runner 2049 stars Ryan Gosling (Officer K), Harrison Ford (Rick Deckard), Ana De Armis (Joi), Robin Wright (LT. Joshi), Sylvia Hoeks (Luv), and Jared Leto (Niander Wallace).

Plot Summary

The year is 2049. Officer K is a Blade Runner in that he kills older models of his own kind. But Officer K keeps having this recurring memory that he was a child and he begins to search for the truth behind this memory.

Review

Blade Runner 2049 is a movie that basically has two scores for me. The first half is a 3-4 and the second is a 6-7. This is one of those rare instances where the ending hour or so really made up for the rest of the film. And I’ll try to explain it down below.

For starters, the movie is painfully, painfully slow. There is a lot of “Nothing” that happens for a very long time. That isn’t to say that there isn’t anything going on but it feels like the film is dragging on purpose. There are a ton of visuals to look at but there is hardly any substance of note other than a “Fake out” in the plot which almost renders the motivation of the story pointless for the main character.

The Ryan Gosling’s character is sort of a snooze. Officer K is the main protagonist throughout but he doesn’t provide a lot of emotion. Which yes, he is an Android of sorts, but there’s nothing for us to do with this character. Eventally he does become more emotional to situations but in the beginning, he struggles to connect with the audience in any sort of a way. (Unless he did with you, then by all means, take what you will).

The dialogue is very light in the first hour and half or so. Going back to the first paragraph, the conversations don’t really add up to more than “Go here. Did he do this? Investigate that.” And so on. Other than a meaningful conversation every 15 minutes or so, there just isn’t anything grab ahold of and take to heart… But then the final hour comes and everything completely changes.

Once Ryan meets Harrison, it’s a totally different film. The action picks up. The dialogue is intriguing. The characters have meaning. The visuals are enhanced. It’s just a completely different movie.

The acting in this section is upped a few levels too. Everyone starts to put in a ton more effort and emotion to help us connect with the characters on screen. The film becomes more of a joy to watch rather a slug fest of “I can’t wait to go do something else.”

Now the best part of all of this is the plot becomes a ton of fun. It takes everything from the first half that you know and throws it out the window to provide twists and turns that intrigue you. You actually start to wake up from your sort of nap to see what’s going to happen next. It’s just a totally different movie. I can’t explain it any other way.

Lastly, if I seem vague on the “Good parts” it’s because I don’t know how to describe it. I’m an average person and when it comes to deeper meaning films, I tend to struggle on what to say. I don’t generally analyze the message behind the story. Mainly because I don’t think that deeply about the plot at I’m viewing it. So yes, the good stuff is vague but if you’ve followed up to this point, you know I’m not that great at reviewing to begin with. That’s why it’s called Brotherhood Of Okay Reviews.

Overall

Blade Runner 2049 is a movie that I don’t think I ever want to watch again. The first half is too slow to actually warrant a second viewing. But, then again, the second is so good. I’m really torn.

The film dies in the first half. The characters aren’t interesting from the start. And the plot/dialogue is almost meaningless after the second half begins. But the second part is completely different. The acting gets turned up a notch. And the twist and turns are fun to experience.

I’ll finally make a decision, no I would not watch this movie again any time soon. Maybe I would take a look a few years down the line though…. Maybe.

As usual, thanks for reading!

Chris’ Movie Review: American Made

Chris’ Movie Review

(For more, visit our Facebook page Brotherhood Of Okay Reviews and hit that “Like” button)

American Made

Rating: 5/10 (Average)

Recommendation: Skip It

I wasn’t really wanting to see this film to be honest. I sort of knew how everything was going to be played out, except the ending, and I wasn’t really looking forward to viewing it…. I was right about my instincts.

Oh and this is all based on a true story. Keep that in mind as you read the review.

American Made stars Tom Cruise (Barry Seal), Domhnall Gleeson (Schafer), and Sarah Wright (Lucy Beal).

Plot Summary

Barry Seal is a pilot for the TWA. He’s great at what he does but he’s looking for something more. So one day, the CIA shows up and offers Barry a chance to work for them. After some thought, Barry joins in and starts helping them.

Review

American Made is a movie that falls along the lines of “Fast paced, half ass told story.” Everything flies by at a high rate of speed that when you go back to think about the film as a whole, you just sort of forget what you just saw.

For starters, Tom Cruise is fun. Tom Cruise really makes this movie appealing to watch because of how his character is charismatic, adventurous, and somewhat deviant. Tom helps keep the film together as it transitions from scene to scene. And you’re really thankful he’s around holding the movie together because if he wasn’t, this project would’ve fallen apart right from the start.

The issue with fast story telling is that the film feels like it’s always missing something. The timelines sort of just happen and you tend to feel lost throughout because you don’t know what day, month, or year it is. You don’t know how long this character has been going through certain situations. And so on. It’s not too say fast pace story telling can’t work. But when you have an extensive amount of characters and very important people to cover, it doesn’t feel like the movie is doing them any justice what so ever.

Another point that’s bothersome is the tone of this film. It’s a very light hearted movie from start to finish but, spoiler, Barry dies. This raises questions about the research of the history behind these people. Did they, the family members, think it was funny after awhile? Was this movie too serious and the studio demanded it to be changed? Was the director oblivious to the whole situation? Was this film just a straight cash grab?

Fun, light hearted stories work well, for the most part, but when the main person actually died in real life, you have to wonder what was the reason for this pick in tone? Maybe Barry was very much like how this movie portrayed him but if he wasn’t, this film should piss off the living members close to him and insult anyone who really knows what happened.

Lastly, there were some genuinely funny scenes in this movie. Even though the film may offend the living family members or is inaccurate with some of its information, there were scenes that just got me to laugh really hard. And that’s too be expected, at least once, with fast paced story telling. You would hope they would at least get that right.
Overall

American Made is a movie that might offend people who know the true history behind the real Barry Seal. But for those who don’t, it’s a 2 hour film that just flies through it’s scenes and leaves almost no impact other than a laugh or two.

The tone of the movie is probably wrong and bothersome. The plot is forgettable as soon as you watch it. And the acting varies from really good to very mediocre. But Tom is really fun. There are some funny scenes. And the light hearted feel will give pleasure to those who really, really want to see it.

This film isn’t going to blow anyone away. It might get a few people to say “That was really good.” But it’s more or less something that will be overlooked within a month. Well maybe a week because Blade Runner 2049 comes out this Friday.

As usual, thanks for reading!

Cayle’s Movie Review: “Kingsman: The Golden Circle”

Kingsman: The Secret Service was the biggest sleeper hit of 2015. Arriving in February of that year against Fifty Shades of Grey, The Secret Service was a hit with both critics and audiences alike. Its sequel, The Golden Circle, managed to be one of the most anticipated movies of this year. How does it compare to its predecessor?

Taron Egerton, who reprises his role as Gary “Eggsy” Unwin/Galahad in this sequel, is the best part about this movie. Egerton has proven himself to be a capable lead actor with this movie. Mark Strong also returns as the character Merlin. The movie manages to show the growing relationship with Eggsy as a mentor. Another great thing about this movie are its action scenes. Matthew Vaughn has proven himself to be a great action director with films such as Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class, and the first Kingsman movie of course. This movie is no exception as he manages to up the ante with the action.

While Julianne Moore is a great actor, I felt she was miscast as the drug kingpin antagonist Poppy Adams. She’s not as charismatic as her predecessor Samuel L. Jackson, who stole The Secret Service as the evil media mogul Richmond Valentine. Not only that, her character came off as surprisingly preachy with her motives. This is a sharp contrast to the previous film as it had a more satirical bent to it.

Another problem I had with the movie was the subplot involving Statesman. The movie’s advertising focused on the appearances of Channing Tatum and Jeff Bridges as agents of Statesman, the American counterpart to Kingsman. However, they are barely in the movie. The only member of Statesman to get any extended screen time was Agent Whiskey (played by Pedro Pascal), and he barely got any advertising. To put it in perspective, the supposed celebrity cameo was in the movie longer than Tatum and Bridges combined. Although one plot point was spoiled in the official trailer for the movie, I will not go into detail here. However, I will mention that it’s a plot point that doesn’t add anything to the movie besides more plot holes.

Overall, The Golden Circle does not live to its predecessor in terms of tone and writing. As I have mentioned before, The Secret Service felt like a fresh breath of air when it was first released. Unfortunately, The Golden Circle suffers from a case of the “sequelitis”. However, it manages to be entertaining thanks to its cast and its direction.

SCORE: 6/10

Chris’ Movie Review: The Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Chris’ Movie Review

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The Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Rating: 7/10 (Satisfying)

Recommendation: Pay The 8

Yes! We’ve got a sequel! The wait was long but we’ve finally been graced with a continuation with some of our favorite characters. And for the most part, it was worth it.

The Kingsman: The Golden Circle stars Taron Egerton (Eggsy), Colin Firth (Harry), Julianne Moore (Poppy), Mark Strong (Merlin), Halle Berry (Ginger), Channing Tatum (Statesman Secret Agent), and Jeff Bridges (Head Of Statesman).

Plot Summary

It’s about a year, or so, after the last film’s events. Eggsy runs into Charlie, a person who didn’t make the cut for the Kingsman. Charlie attacks Eggsy and all out battle scene happens.

Eggsy survives but a crucial mistake is made and the Kingsman organization is blown to pieces by Poppy. Being essentially alone, Eggsy and Merlin have to re-establish the Kingsman, kick Poppy’s ass, and learn t cooperate with the Statesman.

Review

The Kingsman: The Golden Circle is a movie that’s been highly anticipated by me since I saw the first preview. My heart was filled with joy upon viewing that trailer and I couldn’t wait to see this film…. Issue is, I think my expectations were a little too high.

For starters, the actions scene are fucking phenomenal once again. Matthew Vaughn really knows how to get the best of each shot in these movies. The fighting is crisp, well shot, and the CGI doesn’t look out of place. Each scene attracts your attention and you can’t look away because you’re in “Awe” of what is happening on screen.

The acting is pretty well done yet again from this crew. Taron is someone I didn’t know until these films came out and he’s definitley made a name for himself. Mark Strong is beyond wonderful in his role. And everyone is above average…. Except Elton. Look, I’m not really sure why Elton John was in this movie. HIs role didn’t make sense considering the part he played and he just can’t act. He maybe one of my favorite artists but he needs to really stick to singing. Speaking of not making any sense.

The plot is forgettable. When I write out my “Plot Summary” I try to give an idea of what the film is about and I honestly had a difficult time trying to put this movie into words. The story is very vague and it feels like it wants to go in fifty different directions at all times. It eventally settles on one plot line but by that point, you’ve already zoned out story wise.

Another hit is Julianne Moore as the villain. This may not be fair to her but she couldn’t live up to Samuel L. Jackson’s role in the previous film. Her plans are very vague to start with. It’s hard to recall what she was actually trying to accomplish. Her character isn’t bad though. She has a nice layout of this woman who wants to live in her favorite era, the 50’s, she’s a drug lord, and she wants to simply be noticed. But beyond that, she’s not really developed or have enough charisma to keep you invested in what she’s doing. It’s shame they didn’t flesh her out more like they did for Samuel.

Another issue is the sidekick for the villain. Yes, there are some really cool attributes but there’s not enough that keeps them interesting. For instance, in the first film, Samuel had a girl who had knives has her feet and she was a martial arts expert. In the sequel, you’ve got Charlie as the sidekick to the villain and he has a robotic arm. That’s about it. Sure he can fight and those scenes are fun but it never felt like he actually had a chance to win. Unlike the girl with knives for feet in the previous installment.

There are way too many callbacks. Maybe it’s because I watched the first movie last week the be up to date with what’s going on but these callbacks really drag the pacing of the film down. It takes a 2 hour and 20 minute film and makes it feel like it’s 4 hours. The movie could’ve really done a lot better without these scenes and focus on other aspects such as developing Julianne Moore’s character and so on.

Lastly, Harry being alive was a dumb reveal in the trailer. Going into this film, we should’ve not known about Harry. It would’ve provided a huge amount of shock and create a great deal of interest for the audience. Now I understand why they showed him in the trailer because it’s been awhile since the first movie. They wanted to get people to comeback and figure out how he survived a gun shot to the head but it was still an awful decision on their part to spoil such a great reveal like that. It would’ve made the plot a lot more interesting at least.

Overall

The Kingsman: The Golden Circle is a movie full of issues but it’s still really awesome to watch. There are moments where you’ll get bored here and there but once an action scenes hits, you’ll be leaning forward in your seat again because of how good it looks. It’s just one of those films where the plot doesn’t really matter all that much.

The villain motivations are weak. The pacing is dreadful at times. And the plot is super forgettable. But the acting is solid. (Except you Elton). The action is fucking fantastic. And the movie has a good sense of self awarness still.

The best way to put it is if you liked the first one, you’ll like this one. It’s essentially the same movie with different characters. Except a tad worse.

As usual, thanks for reading!

Cayle’s Movie Review: “mother!”

The movie mother! follows a poet by the name of “Him” (Javier Bardem) and his wife “mother” (Jennifer Lawrence) as they remodel their house. A mysterious man (Ed Harris) shows up and asks for a place to stay. The next day, the man’s wife (Michelle Pfeffer) shows up the next day. This soon creates a domino effect of unwanted guests.

Mother!, which was directed by Darren Aronofsky, is a film that divided both audiences and critics alike. Some people think it is a masterpiece while others say it’s an exercise in self-indulgence. The main question of this review is, what do I think about it?

To start things off, mother! Has a solid cast. Jennifer Lawrence is spectacular as “mother”, the scorned wife of a poet with writer’s block. In my opinion, Lawrence gives one of the best performances of her career. Javier Bardem is also great as “Him”. It is refreshing to see him play a complex character such as “Him”. Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeffer are also great as the shady houseguests of the main couple. They both manage to give off an aura of menace throughout the duration of their screen presence.

The best thing about this film is its visual direction. Aronofsky has a knack for innovative film techniques, including his extensive usage of Steadicam. Thanks to these techniques, mother! has a very chaotic style that sets itself apart from other studio projects. The film’s third act is where the film takes its visuals up to eleven. I am still surprised that this film was released by a major studio.

The most notable aspect about this film is its use of allegory. There are many debates online about what the story stands for including religion, the environment, humanity and the consequences of fame amongst others. I cannot go any further into these details without spoiling the film.

Personally, I thought the use of allegory and metaphor in this film was handled very well. I thought the writing in this film was very subtle despite its chaotic imagery. However, the film’s main problem is its pacing. The film starts off as a slow burn before going into overdrive in the third act. Despite its wonky pace, Mother! is a film that is worth seeing at least once.

I have mentioned before that this film is very divisive amongst critics and audiences alike. I would highly recommend this film for the more adventurous film-goer. This film is not for casual film-goers and the faint of heart alike. No matter what the marketing says, this is a film that defies genre.

SCORE: 9/10