BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1991) review

Well I guess this was somewhat inevitable. What with the mixed bag that was the live-action remake, I guess someone wanted to save a little face. Can’t blame ’em, really.

In any case, wow, considering how many times I go to the cinemas, I don’t know if I ever expected this to ever make a reappearance. Am I utterly shocked? No, but I am pleasantly surprised. Is it some kind of anniversary? I don’t know. All I know is, I was two years old when this was released in theaters, hence, I never got the chance to see it on the big screen. Now I get that opportunity and I intend to take full advantage.

I wager most people know the back story behind this film, but for those few that don’t, I’ll do it for their knowledge. The story of Beauty and the Beast was originally a French fairy tale novel way back since 1740. Version after version exists, even today, but many consider the 1991 Disney classic to be the most popular version and for good reason. In fact, it was so good for it’s time, it was nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. Not “Best Animated Film,” no, Best… Picture. Wrap your mind around that, y’all. Best Animation didn’t even exist yet. That’s a serious testament to Disney and it’s criminal that animated films don’t get that kind of recognition from award ceremonies of that caliber anymore. Criminal, if you ask me. While I can’t say where this movie falls in my list of “favorite Disney films.” Before seeing the live-action remake this year, I can’t say that I remembered much about the original. But I do remember this being significantly more impressive than the remake.

Here’s the voice talent. Starring, we have Paige O’Hara (ENCHANTED [2007], BELLE’S MAGICAL WORLD [1998], BEAUTY AND THE BEAST: THE ENCHANTED CHRISTMAS [1997], and the upcoming RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET: WRECK-IT RALPH 2 [2018]) and Robby Benson (TV show AMERICAN DREAMS [2002 – 2005], and video games KINGDOM HEARTS II [2005] and KINGDOM HEARTS [2002]). In support, we have Richard White (TV show HOUSE OF MOUSE [2001 – 2002] and video game KING’S QUEST [2015]), Jesse Corti (ZOOTOPIA [2016], FROZEN [2013], and TV show THE BATMAN [2004 – 2008]), Rex Everhart (FRIDAY THE 13TH [1980] and SUPERMAN [1978]), Bradley Pierce (PETER PAN II: RETURN TO NEVERLAND [2002], THE BORROWERS [1997], JUMANJI [1995]), and Angela Lansbury (MR. POPPER’S PENGUINS [2011], THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE [1962], TV show MURDER, SHE WROTE [1984 – 1996], and the upcoming MARY POPPINS RETURNS [2018]).

Now for the crew. Co-directing, we have Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, both known for ATLANTIS: THE LOST EMPIRE (2001) and THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (1996). Penning the screenplay is Linda Woolverton, known for ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS (2016), THE LION KING (1994), and TV show DENNIS THE MENACE (1986 – 1988). Finally, the composer is Alan Menken, known for BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (2017), SAUSAGE PARTY (2016), THE LITTLE MERMAID (1989), and upcoming films ALADDIN (2019) and THE LITTLE MERMAID, no release date announced.

Overall, I’m pretty excited for this. It’s been years since I’ve seen it, or… just a few months, depending on how much of this the remake copied and pasted.

This is my honest opinion of the tale as old as time: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1991)

(SUMMARY)

Long ago, the cruel prince of a castle was turned into a beast (voiced by Robby Benson) for his actions. The only way to break his curse is if he falls in love and that love is returned before his enchanted rose’s petals all break off. But he became reclusive and has since faded from memory. Today, Belle (voiced by Paige O’Hara) lives in a small village as an outcast who loves to read. One day, her inventor father Maurice (voiced by Rex Everhart) ventures off into the woods, but gets horribly lost. Evading a pack of rabid wolves, he seeks shelter in the very castle the beast resides in, resulting in angering the beast and locking him away. Belle learns of this and sets out to find her father, agreeing to take his place as the beast’s prisoner and the two grow to realize that there’s more to each other than their initial impressions.

(REVIEW)

While some aspects of the story and characters don’t quite hold up for me as an adult, this is still one of the most beautifully animated Disney films of its era and arguably of all time.

Let’s start with what doesn’t work for me, since I’m sure people are hanging on that statement more than anything, and I admit thoroughly that I shouldn’t be so critical of a kids fairy tale movie, but this was nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, so… I’ma be critical. I feel like Beast is a bit bipolar, or he’s built up inconsistently. The whole point of his backstory is that he was a jerk. He was above everyone, hence turning away the old woman slash beautiful enchantress. When he’s finally revealed, he’s a jerk to Maurice, who only wanted shelter from the storm and wolves. He couldn’t be more sensible and just send him on his way? Locking him in the dungeon was the only logical conclusion? Maybe if Maurice did something a little more insulting or careless, like broke an old vase of sentimental value, then his reaction would be understandable. As is, it’s just really forcing that he’s a grade-A jerkwad.

But this could be a small problem if the rest of his intro to everyone was consistent. When Belle shows up, he’s a jerk to her too. But once the prisoner exchange is completed, the pacing of his hospitality is rushed like a mofo. As soon as Maurice is gone, Lumiere manages to convince Beast rather easily and no effort to give her a nice room. How? She’s a prisoner? Prisoners aren’t treated with this much… respect. And after putting her in the room, he not only admits that she’s beautiful, which fine, comments on a person’s looks can be pointed out rather cheaply, but trying to make a good first impression at dinner? At the dinner table? Someone explain why this is. I doubt Maurice was going to get the full buffet option. I feel like more time should have been spent developing his softness toward Belle and letting her eat like a civilized person. Granted, this could have extended the movie’s runtime an extra ten minutes, but it would have felt more realistic. Weird how I’m saying that about a fantasy story involving a person with a bison’s head, but I stand by it.

Also, the west wing fiasco. First off, instead of simply telling Belle that “it’s forbidden,” how about lying. Say something like… it’s his deceased family’s private quarters. Rare treasures, priceless stuff, which kind of happens to be the case anyway, so she has more incentive to respect his wishes to stay out of there. By that point, if Belle went in that wing with that foreknowledge, then she’d be an inconsiderate jerk as well and just poking around taking advantage of her jailer’s hospitality. This could also apply to Lumiere and Cogsworth when giving her the tour of the castle, giving a proper excuse of what’s up there. Of course when you say that there’s nothing up there, the curiosity will set in and she’ll sneak up there.

And why isn’t the room with the enchanted rose locked? You’d think with strangers in the castle who is free to mosey about as she pleases would take a little extra precautions. Of course, you could always argue that it wasn’t locked because he was technically already in the room. So… fair enough.

Oh, and Chip’s kind of annoying.

Summed up, I think the pacing from Belle’s arrival to the castle and the wolf attack after she runs away is all pretty rushed and not handled very well. Some more time with the characters and their motivations and emotions, and smarter writing would have been appreciated.

But enough of the bashing. Time to gush.

This is arguably one of Disney’s most gorgeous films. I don’t think it was their first foray into this, but the incorporation of both hand-drawn animation and computer effects was in perfect taste. It was a beautiful prelude to where Disney would eventually go, arguably making this more impressive than their current products. Not that I’m ragging on the 3D animated style of TANGLED (2010) and everything after, I like the current films just fine, but there’s something special about hand-drawn animation and such a shame that the market for it is considered irrelevant. I wish Disney would still make one once in awhile for old times sake. But this is the direction they’ve gone in and it’s not at all bad, so I’m not complaining too much. It’s still Disney.

By the way, “Be Our Guest” is still breathtaking to look at and certainly leaves a bigger impression than the remake. Same goes for the climactic fight scene on the castle rooftops, and between the villagers and the servants. I will never stop cringing at the ax dude getting bashed in the face by the drawers. Ouch…

What else is there? I think Beast is much more impressive here than the remake. Perhaps it’s a testament to Benson’s voice, but I felt like Beasts voice has such range from being goofy, threatening, and compassionate. I look back on the remake, and while I maintain that Beast is still impressive to look at in live-action, he’s far more expressive in this and leaves a bigger impact.

Overall, this movie really takes me back and I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to watch this in theaters. I don’t pretend to know why Disney is re-releasing their classics on the big screen, and I don’t much care. Reliving them is a wonderful experience and I encourage everyone to do the same. This film may not be my favorite Disney outing, but it’s undeniably one of their best.

My honest rating for BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1991): 4/5

beauty_and_the_beast_ver1_xlg

Advertisements

MOTHER! review

I don’t know how I feel about this movie. It looks interesting, but I’m on the fence on whether or not it actually is. I only say this because I’m not entirely sure what this movie’s about. Maybe I’ve only seen one trailer, but it’s not entirely easy to understand.

The story looks like it’s about this married couple and their peaceful, quiet life is suddenly interrupted when some house guests arrive who are shady as hell. I guess they’re there for the husband, but the wife ends up getting attacked or something. I have no idea what’s going on. It looks and feels disturbing, but because I can’t grasp what this is about, I can’t say I’m overly thrilled.

Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Jennifer Lawrence (PASSENGERS [2016], SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK [2012], WINTER’S BONE [2010], and the upcoming X-MEN: DARK PHOENIX [2018]) and Javier Bardem (PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES [2017], SKYFALL [2012], NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN [2007], and the upcoming BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN [2019]). In support, we have Ed Harris (RULES DON’T APPLY [2016], RADIO [2003], THE ROCK [1996], and the upcoming GEOSTORM [2017]), Michelle Pfeiffer (THE FAMILY [2013], STARDUST [2007], BATMAN RETURNS [1992], and upcoming films MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS [2017] and ANT-MAN AND THE WASP [2018]), Domhnall Gleeson (STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS [2015], EX-MACHINA [2015], TRUE GRIT [2010], and upcoming films AMERICAN MADE [2017] and STAR WARS EPISODE VIII: THE LAST JEDI [2017]), Brian Gleeson (LOGAN LUCKY [2017], ASSASSIN’S CREED [2016], and SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN [2012]), and Kristen Wiig (DESPICABLE ME 3 [2017], BRIDESMAIDS [2011], KNOCKED UP [2007], and upcoming films HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 3 [2019] and TONI ERDMANN, no release date announced). Umm… I’m getting the feeling that this is a dark comedy.

Now for the crew. Writing and directing is Darren Aronofsky, known for NOAH (2014), THE FOUNTAIN (2006), and REQUIEM FOR A DREAM (2000). Composing the score is… oh, no one. This movie doesn’t have a score. Hmm… news. Then we’ll wrap this up with the cinematographer, who is Matthew Libatique, who is known for THE CIRCLE (2017), IRON MAN (2008), PHONE BOOTH (2002), and the upcoming A STAR IS BORN (2018).

Overall, I’m interested, but not particularly excited. I’m hoping it’ll be a trip.

This is my honest opinion of: MOTHER!

(SUMMARY)

The story follows a husband (Javier Bardem), who is a writer poet amidst a terrible writer’s block, and his wife (Jennifer Lawrence), who is a loving wife. They enjoy their peaceful and quiet life as he struggles to find inspiration to write and she attempts to fix their home after a burning years ago. However, their tranquil life is upended when a strange man, a doctor (Ed Harris), pays them a visit thinking their home was a bed and breakfast. The husband invites him to stay in their home, against his wife’s wishes, but concedes to the hospitality. But before long, more people come into their home and chaos ensues, involving murder, theft, and cults.

(REVIEW)

UUUUUGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!! I would honestly have rather watched THE EMOJI MOVIE. Not one shred of that statement was sarcasm. This is one of the worst films I’ve seen all year.

It’s probably best to mention a little something before anyone sees this. Aronofsky has stated that this movie’s story is based on dream logic and has basically admitted that if you try to figure it out, or try to find any explanation, or expect an explanation, then the movie will not be as enjoyable. Here’s the thing about that, though. I doubt a majority of the audiences seeing this movie are doing their homework and are going into this film equipped with that nugget of knowledge. So without truly knowing how to prepare for what they’re in for, then you’ll get someone like me and a majority of the audience I went in with: hating it.

The movie starts off with a confusing first impression, likely trying to forewarn you of how bad it is, by setting itself on fire. I should have ran out of the theater right then and there, but I’ve sat through terrible films before, so I wasn’t about to start.

After the torching scene, it doesn’t start terrible, I guess… unless you realize that Aronofsky has a fetish for Lawrence’s boobs. One of the first shots of her is a painfully obvious “nipple poking through her see-thru top” shot. They hold on this shot too, as if purposely drawing attention to them. But fine, I’m a pig who’s just staring, right? Women don’t need to wear bras in the comfort of their own homes. It just adds to the raw realism of home-life, I guess. But when I’m looking around for someone, I’m not standing awkwardly in the doorway, I’m walking down the halls, physically looking in the rooms. Fine, she does that eventually, but again, all after an obvious shot of her areolas poking through her top. Oh, and you do get a brief glimpse at… everything toward the end. While I know it’s not for titillation or anything, but I couldn’t help but think to myself… Hey, Seth MacFarlane! All you had to do was wait a few years! And I’m not talking about the hacked phone fiasco, so shut up.

But let’s face it, if Lawrence’s boobs were the worst part of this movie, I’d say this was a downright poetic film. Instead, because they’re probably the best part of the movie, that should speak volumes about how bad this movie is because from this point on, the movie is pure frustration. A doctor comes to their home thinking that they’re a bed and breakfast. That’s… a leap because the house looks like a house. An expensive house, sure, but I think you’d have to be a particularly special kind of stupid to think it to be a hotel in the literal middle of nowhere! Fine if you want to invite the man in, I guess there are some people who are that hospitable to let strangers into their homes, but nothing excuses anything from this point on. Bardem invites the doctor to sleep in their home. Yes, a man they’ve know for less than ten minutes is invited to stay in their home. Only Lawrence is befuddled by this and for good fucking reason. Bardem must be on some seriously awesome drugs to be so okay with making decisions without consulting his wife, and to use the excuse, “he has nowhere else to go” is a frustrating excuse. First of all, bullshit. They may be miles away from any city, but any city would have a motel to stay in. Send him on his way, he’ll be fine and Lawrence is just bending over backwards with it. Not once does she speak her mind to Bardem. He completely ignores her, or completely oblivious to her feelings. You tell me which is worse.

The next day, the doctor’s wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) appears and is suddenly allowed to stay as well. This woman is beyond intrusive, drinking Lawrence’s booze, judging the way she’s fixing up the house, and demanding to see inside Bardem’s private study, where no one is allowed, and even has the audacity to tell her that she should have children. Um… fuck you too, bitch. Of course, at some point, the doctor and his wife go into the study anyway and poke around at his priceless jewelry, which of course is dropped, but the amazing thing is that the wife thinks “I’m sorry” is enough to be forgiven, even as Lawrence is kicking them out of the house. Then the doctor and his wife start to have sex, which… yeah, they’re being kicked out, supposed to be packing their bags, but instead get frisky. Lawrence walks in on that, by the way, and walks away to give them privacy.

That’s all this movie is: people coming into her house unannounced and uninvited. Bardem is happy to have them in for no reason at all, and Lawrence barely does anything to assert herself. She never calls the police, she never argues with her husband, and she never leaves him. Even when she does all these things, it’s never until much later in the film where the actions mean very little, and the lack of success that she has with each of these is remarkably forced in how they don’t work. She calls the police, the phone is ripped off the wall by a crazy person. The situation spirals out of control, culminating in the formation of a cult formed after Bardem wrote a really good poem.

***SPOILERS***

***

***

Now in order to properly complain about this, I have to dive into the deep end of spoiler territory. This is going to hurt me.

We learn that the reason why Bardem has been so open to everyone in to his house is because he “wants to breathe new life into this house.” Um… when was this a thing in his personality? As far as we learned, he was just a writer deep in writer’s block. Nothing about him seemed like he was lonely and just wanted more friends. And even if that was the case, writers are allowed to go into town and find social settings to make new friends in. There’s no reason to invite strangers into the house where your wife is and you’re pretty isolated from society in the off chance that your “friends” turn out to be homicidal crazies. On the flip-side of that coin, if the idea is to have a child, then you’d ought to understand that this is a process that you can’t rush. Can Lawrence even have a child? Are you? Maybe you’ve simply been unlucky up to this point, as we do learn that Lawrence does eventually get pregnant with his child. So hold your damn horses!

See what’s happening? I’m drawing conclusions and trying to figure things out because the movie is offering something that the audience is supposed to figure out. And yet, we’re not supposed to think about it too much, but the movie is giving us something to think about. We’re not supposed to expect an explanation for anything that’s happening, but an explanation is given anyway. You see the problem?!

You know what I think this movie was trying to be? A visual fantasia. What’s that, you may ask? It’s a word I made up, but here’s the context. Disney’s FANTASIA (1940) is where my phrase is derived from. FANTASIA is a collage of short animation films. It’s not a documentary, but it’s not story based in the way that everyone understands it. Some of the shorts have stories, like “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” and others are just an exercise of beautiful animation mixed with classic music, like “A Night on Bald Mountain.” That’s explained from the very beginning. So when I say something like a “visual fantasia,” I mean that the movie in question exists just to experiment with visuals. It’s not about story. It’s not trying to have a story. It’s ocular appreciation, nothing more.

That’s what I think Aronofsky was trying to go for. He was going for disturbing imagery, and he’s got that in spades here to be sure. Lawrence gives birth to a baby, the baby is given to a cult, the baby’s neck is broken, it’s butchered and eaten, Lawrence is beaten after murdering those responsible and her clothes torn in the process, eventually resulting in her setting the house on fire. But where Aronofsky loses me is when context is given to everything. There’s clearly a story that he wants to tell in addition to the imagery, or maybe he didn’t want to initially and the studio made him include a story so that there’s something commercial about it. I won’t pretend to know, but that’s what I’m taking away from this. Whether or not his vision was tampered with, this movie makes no sense.

And that ending. Lawrence lights herself on fire, having enough of the shit she’s endured, causing the house to explode, Bardem is 100 percent okay, Lawrence is charred extra well done, and Bardem rips out her heart jewel, or whatever the fuck, and then a different actress wakes up, but in the exact same fashion as Lawrence. The exact same movements, lines, turning of the head, I don’t get it! I really fucking don’t! Was all this a DALLAS (1978 – 1991) reference? It was all a dream? Or maybe MEMENTO (2000)? Does Bardem get himself hitched every few years, get himself a baby to sacrifice, and his cult returns to drive his latest squeeze insane to get her heart jewel?! What the fuck?!

***

***

***END SPOILERS

Seriously, what are audiences supposed to take away from this?! Was this supposed to be a trippy ride? It was a trip, but not a pleasant one, or certainly a thought-provoking one. Fine, my brain isn’t calibrated to understanding fucked up shit. If you saw this and took something away that was smart, bold, and forward-thinking, then sweet. Good for you. Enlighten the rest of us, if you don’t mind. In the mean time, save yourself your own psychological meltdown and avoid this movie!

My honest rating for MOTHER!: 1/5

mother!poster

AMERICAN ASSASSIN review

It’s so nice to hear that Dylan O’Brien is well enough now to be up and working. Better yet, he’s not put off from doing action movies, which is what put him in the hospital in the first place. A true inspiration, if you ask me.

The story looks like it’s about a young man who goes on a revenge rampage after his girlfriend is murdered in a terrorist attack. Picking up the ability to essentially kick ass, he locates and kills these bastards until he’s caught by a secret government agency that’s been following his exploits and wants to hire him for his skills. Then his instructor gets a shot of reality when a former student of his turns up as a terrorist himself and the instructor, our protagonist hero, and their team are sent in to stop him. Looks pretty standard as an action movie is concerned, but both O’Brien and Michael Keaton are great actors, so it might be worth it just for them.

Speaking of which, here’s the cast. Starring, we have Dylan O’Brien (DEEPWATER HORIZON [2016], THE MAZE RUNNER [2014], TV show TEEN WOLF [2011 – ongoing], and the upcoming MAZE RUNNER: THE DEATH CURE [2018]), Michael Keaton (SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING [2017], FIRST DAUGHTER [2004], MULTIPLICITY [1996], and the upcoming DUMBO [2019]), and Taylor Kitsch (LONE SURVIVOR [2013], X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE [2009], and JOHN TUCKER MUST DIE [2006]). In support, we have Sanaa Lathan (NOW YOU SEE ME 2 [2016], AVP: ALIEN VS. PREDATOR [2004], and BLADE [1998]) and Scott Adkins (DOCTOR STRANGE [2017], THE EXPENDABLES 2 [2012], and THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM [2007]).

Now for the crew. Directing, we have Michael Cuesta, known for KILL THE MESSENGER (2014) and 8 episodes of TV show HOMELAND (2011 – ongoing). RED FLAG!!! A grand total of four writers: Stephen Schiff (WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS [2010], TRUE CRIME [1999], and 8 episodes of TV show THE AMERICANS [2013 – ongoing]), Michael Finch (HITMAN: AGENT 47 [2015], THE NOVEMBER MAN [2014], PREDATORS [2010], and the upcoming HANSEL & GRETEL: THE WITCH HUNTERS 2, no release date announced), and duo Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz, both known for JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK (2016), LOVE & OTHER DRUGS (2010), and THE LAST SAMURAI (2003). Composing the score is Steven Price, known for BABY DRIVER (2017), GRAVITY (2013), and ATTACK THE BLOCK (2011). Finally, the cinematographer is Enrique Chediak, known for DEEPWATER HORIZON, 28 WEEKS LATER (2007), and THE FACULTY (1998).

Overall, I’m looking forward to this. I may not enjoy this movie having so many writers attached, but I guess we’ll see what happens.

This is my honest opinion of: AMERICAN ASSASSIN

(SUMMARY)

Eighteen months ago, Mitch Rapp (Dylan O’Brien) was on vacation with his girlfriend Katrina (Charlotte Vega). He proposed to her and she said yes. But almost immediately after that happy moment, a group of terrorists open fire on the innocents. Katrina is murdered and Mitch is left for dead. Today, Mitch has been training his mind and body in hunting down those responsible, which catches the eye of the CIA. They bring him in for his raw and impressive skills and sent him to Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton), the trainer of a secret special ops unit called Orion, who need his skills to hunt down a former student of Stan’s: Ghost (Taylor Kitsch), who is planning to build a nuclear bomb.

(REVIEW)

Aww yeah, son! Welcome back, O’Brien! This movie was bad-ass!

Let’s get the negatives out of the way. The story is pretty basic. All two of them. You read that right, there’s almost two stories here that don’t seem to connect very well. Mitch starts the story off looking for the terrorist group that’s responsible for his girlfriend’s death, then that story is pushed to the wayside so Mitch can help Stan take down whoever keeps stealing nuke pieces. Mitch’s backstory feels like it’s an excuse for the true plot to take place and I feel like there was a more sensible way to go about this. Since this movie is already sequel-baiting by the end credits, it would have been a better idea to keep his reasons for being a vigilante terrorist killer for the sequel instead of revealing that now. I only say this because I don’t know how the filmmakers could build on what’s already been established. By keeping his motivations a secret, you give an air of mystery about the protagonist, and in the sequel, when they’re ready to bring his story full circle, you reveal his motivations, and then his story carries weight. But what happens when you blow that load too early is you make Mitch look distracted and if there’s anything that Mitch’s character doesn’t seem like, it’s a dude who doesn’t get distracted.

Also, I really disagreed with how the villain was written. On the one hand, Ghost is an intimidating dude who is up close and personal with his kills, and he’s just as scary in a fight like Mitch, but I don’t think his motivations for going rogue are really that interesting. He was trained under Stan and the two apparently had a father-son relationship type thing. You know, the whole, “You trained me! You were like my father! And you left me out there to die!” thing. It’s like that. Here’s the problem. Even when the two are face-to-face with each other, you never get that impression from either actor, and I’m not ready to blame the acting. It was a writing issue, I think. They just seemed like two people with opposing opinions, not a father and son working out their problems or facing them. Ghost was a grown-ass man when he was in the Navy, and I can’t imagine that the two worked with each other for more than a few years. It would take much longer than that to develop a father-son relationship. And even if that were the case, Ghost knew what being in Orion was all about. Make a mistake, you don’t exist. You have your orders to follow and he didn’t follow them. He screwed up, so now he blames Stan for his own shortcomings. Having this father-son relationship actually strips away any bad-assery that the character was supposed to have, whittling him down to a crybaby bitch. So it’s kind of weird for that to be inserted in there and doesn’t really add any layers to either character, especially Ghost.

But enough with the bashing! Time to gush!

The action is really good here. It’s high energy, fast paced, looks brutal, there’s a lot of focus on MMA fight styles here. Take downs, leg grabs and the like. While the hand-to-hand fighting isn’t wasted, the gunplay is pretty awesome too. Lots of juicy violence. Every bullet that goes through somebody feels so impactful that you can almost feel the bullets going through your body too. That’s a hard feat to accomplish, so well done to this movie. The fight scenes involving blades of glass, virtual reality simulations that shock you if you hurt a civilian, a fight scene on a boat that hits every wave, it’s all really awesome.

But if the action movie’s action is up to snuff, then is that worth all the praise? Nah, bro, that’s just an action movie doing its job. It’s the characters that make the action memorable and this movie doesn’t disappoint in that. First up, I’m nominating O’Brien to play the role of Kyle Reese in James Cameron’s upcoming reboot of his Terminator franchise. He’s got the kick-ass soldier thing down to a tee and has a death stare that would make a grown man piss himself. Mitch is intimidating as fuck. A crack shot with a firearm, knife throwing, all virtually self-taught. While the character is always in some danger, no duh, you’re never truly worried about him because he’s too “off the charts” to be killed off by patsies and O’Brien’s intensity sells everything, from the loud action, to the quieter drama of a man pushing himself to seek revenge against those who deserve to die.

The rest of the supporting cast does well enough. Lathan has an amusing scene here and there, but if there’s anyone that steals the show, it’s Keaton. Holy shit, this might be one of his scariest performances ever, and that’s saying something considering he’s been Beetlejuice, Batman, and Spider-Man villain the Vulture in his career. When he flips a dude on his back and instructs how properly slice a throat, you get this sharp, icy chill surging through your spine at just how deadpan he delivers his lines. I felt myself sinking myself into my seat in hopes that extra inch would keep me safe from Keaton’s wrath. But more than that, and I’ll just end it with this… he bites a piece of a dude’s ear off… then proceeds to chew it in front of him, eyes widened like a horror movie cannibal! Need I say more?!

Not gonna lie, I wanna see this again. It was too fucking awesome for me to only see once. Yeah, the villain’s lame and the story sets itself up to be one thing then completely drops it for another, but the action is awesome, and the characters are pretty solid, especially Keaton, who is worth the price of admission alone, but arguably most importantly, it’s great to see O’Brien up and about again, kicking even more ass than before. I highly recommend this flick in theaters if you’re an action junkie.

My honest rating for AMERICAN ASSASSIN: 4/5

American-Assassin-Official-Poster

PITCH PERFECT 2 (transfer) review

These “transfer” reviews are from when I only did reviews on my Facebook page back in 2015. Bare in mind when reading these, I didn’t have the same formula in my review writing that I do now, and my usual “who starred and who directed” information is completely absent, so everything “italicized” is new. With that said, enjoy this review from 2015.

After seeing the first one yesterday and incapable of avoiding its sequel at work, I had to make the time to see how this movie surpassed MAD MAX: FURY ROAD at the box office. I was not a fan of the first one by any stretch, so I wasn’t having high expectations for this one either. But, for business reasons, I had to. Bit the bullet, went to the Arclight in Sherman Oaks, bought that ticket, and sat my ass down.

Starring: Anna Kendrick (THE ACCOUNTANT [2016], END OF WATCH [2012], UP IN THE AIR [2009], and upcoming films PITCH PERFECT 3 [2017] and TROLLS 2 [2020]), Rebel Wilson (HOW TO BE SINGLE [2016], ICE AGE: CONTINENTAL DRIFT [2012], BACHELORETTE [2012], and the upcoming PITCH PERFECT 3), Hailee Steinfeld (THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN [2017], ENDER’S GAME [2013], TRUE GRIT [2010], and upcoming films PITCH PERFECT 3 and BUMBLEBEE [2018]), Brittany Snow (HAIRSPRAY [2007], JOHN TUCKER MUST DIE [2006], 3 episodes of TV show CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND [2015 – ongoing], and the upcoming PITCH PERFECT 3), and Alexis Knapp (SO UNDERCOVER [2012], COUPLES RETREAT [2009], TV show GROUND FLOOR [2013 – 2015], and the upcoming PITCH PERFECT 3).

Support: Hana Mae Lee (JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS [2015], PITCH PERFECT [2012], 1 episode of TV show CALIFORNICATION [2007 – 2014], and upcoming films PITCH PERFECT 3 and COCO [2017]), Brigitte Hjort Sørensen (AUTOMATA [2014], AT WORLD’S END [2009], and TV show VINYL [2016]), Skylar Astin (TAKING WOODSTOCK [2009], HAMLET 2 [2008], and TV show GROUND FLOOR [2013 – 2015]), Katey Sagal (BLEED FOR THIS [2016], and TV shows SONS OF ANARCHY [2008 – 2014], and FUTURAMA [1999 – 2013]), and Anna Camp (THE HELP [2011], TV shows UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT [2015 – ongoing] and THE MINDY PROJECT [2012 – ongoing], and upcoming film PITCH PERFECT 3).

Director: Elizabeth Banks (1 segment of MOVIE 43 [2013] and the upcoming CHARLIE’S ANGELS [2019]). Writer: Kay Cannon (6 episodes of GIRLBOSS [2017], 4 episodes of NEW GIRL [2011 – ongoing], 12 episodes of 30 ROCK [2006 – 2013], and upcoming film PITCH PERFECT 3). Composer: Mark Mothersbaugh (BRAD’S STATUS [2017], ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: THE ROAD CHIP [2015], 22 JUMP STREET [2014], and upcoming films THOR: RAGNAROK [2017] and HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3 [2018]). Cinematographer: Jim Denault (BAD MOMS [2016], THE CAMPAIGN [2012], and BOYS DON’T CRY [1999]). 

Story on top, review below. ***SPOILERS!!!***

(STORY)

Similar to the first movie, it opens on the Bellas who are about to perform for Barack Obama. However, the performance goes down the shitter when Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) has a wardrobe malfunction, tears her leotard between her legs, and accidentally shows the President her lady bits. This ridicules the Bellas once more and they are taken off of their victory tour of the same competition they’d won in the previous movie for the last three years. Their tour was instead given to a German a cappella group known as Das Sound Machine, whom are more than happy to have the spotlight on them. To make matters worse, they are very talented. This has the Bellas frustrated, especially Chloe (Brittany Snow) and Beca (Anna Kendrick), though for different reasons. Chloe has remained in school because the Bellas are all she knows and Beca seems to be the only one who is looking beyond graduation, and to make matters more stressful, has a new intern job at a record label that she is keeping a secret from the Bellas. But there’s hope for them. Despite not being able to continue their victory tour, they have a shot at competing in this international a cappella competition that no American team has ever won, and the Bellas are determined to be the first. After getting an up-close and personal demonstration of the Machine’s talent, and handing the Bellas their asses in the process, the Bellas realize that they lost their mojo and need to figure out how to be on top of their game. After a humorous, but successful trip to a group-building camp ran by the now-graduated Aubrey (Anna Camp), the team figures out how to be the best that they can be, bond even deeper, head off to Europe to compete, and basically win.

(REVIEW)

Fun fact, Elizabeth Banks directed this one.

An improvement over the first, though not by much. The movie retains its, not-too-funny jokes, though admittedly is funnier than the first one, but surprisingly takes a few steps back.

Let me talk about the cons first. When Audrey was the annoying-as-fuck character in the previous movie, Chloe now takes the reigns in that department. I find this odd as she is one of the most level-headed and confident characters in the first movie, now she’s all whiney and obsessive. Beca even takes a turn for the worse as she becomes secretive about her job. Er… why? Why are you keeping your job a secret from your best friends again? Because, “Chloe’s got too much on her mind right now?” Okay, so why not the other Bellas? And even if you weren’t particularly close to Fat Amy or the others (which, bullshit, you are), why are you so concerned about Chloe’s opinion? How does your internship at this record label affect the Bellas in any way? Okay, she slips on providing the Bellas with beats or something, but this is a sub-plot that is BARELY touched upon and hardly affects the story in any meaningful way. Also, all of the new Bellas don’t seem to have a personality to them or contribute to the group in any way other than making the Bellas larger in number. This makes Flo (Chrissie Fit) a fairly useless addition and I only now realize that Stacie (Alexis Knapp), Jessica (Kelley Jakle), and Ashley (Shelley Regner), are even in the movie… and were indeed in the previous movie and I had no idea. As far as I’m concerned, they were the organic equivalent to a prop tree in the first one. With the exception of Emily, played by Hailee Steinfeld, who has had dreams of being a Bella due to her mother, who was also a Bella in college, but because of the defeat they suffered in the beginning of the movie, Emily sees only infighting and secrets. Her faith in what she’s longed for gets shaken as a result.

Now for the positives. Again, the movie isn’t as funny as certain reviews have made it out to be, but it still managed to get a few more laughs out of me than the first one did. Although most of the humorous lines aren’t made by Rebel Wilson this time around, but rather the announcing duo John and Gail, respectively played by John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks. The a cappella itself continues to be impressive and captivating, as it damn well better or else this movie would have been truly pointless. Honestly, that’s kind of it. Although I have to give a shout out to whoever was ingenious enough to make Audrey a parody out of herself by being over-the-top and hilariously faithful to her original character, but at least now her nagging, demanding, and control-freak personality contributes to the Bellas’ development in a positive way.

Overall, this movie wasn’t nearly as bad and doesn’t feature graphic gross-out humor that immediately ruined the first movie for me. Thank fucking god for that. Performances from the actors are still honest and believable. A slight improvement on humor, but characters feel less faithful, less developed, and less bearable than they were in the first. Still not a fan, but yes, I do think it is better than the first.

My honest rating for PITCH PERFECT 2: 3/5

pitch_perfect_two_xlg

PITCH PERFECT (transfer) review

These “transfer” reviews are from when I only did reviews on my Facebook page back in 2015. Bare in mind when reading these, I didn’t have the same formula in my review writing that I do now, and my usual “who starred and who directed” information is completely absent, so everything “italicized” is new. With that said, enjoy this review from 2015.

A little late to this now-franchise, probably because I wasn’t particularly interested in it. I gathered it was supposed to be about a bunch of female singers trying to win a competition. Felt like I could have guessed the story and therefore making it pointless to ever really watch it. However, this movie’s sequel is both constantly playing to large crowds in the movie theatre I work in and it has surpassed MAD MAX at the box office, I find myself now curious as to why that is. Obviously, I couldn’t just go and watch PITCH PERFECT 2 without seeing the movie that started it all, so I’m starting there. Seeing how it has a 7.3/10 on IMDb.com and a 81% on Rotten Tomatoes, it seemed promising.

Starring: Anna Kendrick (TABLE 19 [2017], PARANORMAN [2012], TWILIGHT [2008], and upcoming films PITCH PERFECT 3 [2017] and NICOLE [2019]), Anna Camp (CAFÉ SOCIETY [2016], PITCH PERFECT 2 [2015], TV show TRUE BLOOD [2008 – 2014], and the upcoming PITCH PERFECT 3), Rebel Wilson (ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS: THE MOVIE [2016], PAIN & GAIN [2013], GHOST RIDER [2007], and the upcoming PITCH PERFECT 3), Brittany Snow (PITCH PERFECT 2, PROM NIGHT [2008], THE PACIFIER [2005], and the upcoming PITCH PERFECT 3), and Alexis Knapp (PITCH PERFECT 2, PROJECT X [2012], PERCY JACKSON & THE OLYMPIANS: THE LIGHTNING THIEF [2010], and the upcoming PITCH PERFECT 3).

Support: Elizabeth Banks (POWER RANGERS [2017], THE HUNGER GAMES [2012], SHAFT [2000], and upcoming films PITCH PERFECT 3 and THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS [2018]), John Michael Higgins (ALMOST CHRISTMAS [2016], WE BOUGHT A ZOO [2011], TV show HAPPILY DIVORCED [2011 – 2013], and the upcoming PITCH PERFECT 3), Skylar Astin (PITCH PERFECT 2, 21 & OVER [2013], and WRECK-IT RALPH [2012]), Adam Devine (LEGO BATMAN [2017], MIKE AND DAVE [2016], and PITCH PERFECT 2), John Benjamin Hickey (TALLULAH [2016], FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS [2006], and TV show THE BIG C [2010 – 2013]).

Director: Jason Moore (SISTERS [2015]). Writer: Kay Cannon (PITCH PERFECT 2). Composers: Mark Kilian (EYE IN THE SKY [2016], HONEY 3: DARE TO DREAM [2016], and TRAITOR [2008]) and Christophe Beck (TROLLS [2016], HOT TUB TIME MACHINE [2010], BRING IT ON [2000], and upcoming films ANT-MAN AND THE WASP [2018] and HOLMES AND WATSON [2018]). Cinematographer: Julio Macat (MIDDLE SCHOOL [2016], WEDDING CRASHERS [2005], HOME ALONE [1990], and upcoming film LIFE OF THE PARTY [2018]).

Y’all know the drill, story first, review below.

(STORY) – SPOILERS AHEAD

The story follows Beca (Anna Kendrick), who is an aspiring music producer, but is currently in Barden University, a college she doesn’t really care about and is more into her job working at the local radio station. Before long, she is persuaded to join the Barden Bellas, an all-female a cappella group whom is currently the laughing stock at school after a humiliating loss in a competition involving the teams leader Aubrey (Anna Camp), who involuntarily vomited on stage. The team was broken up and now Aubrey and her closest friend and teammate Chloe (Brittany Snow) must get a new team together in time for the next competition. Beca doesn’t buy in at first, but Chloe eventually does convince her to join, along with many other girls. The team doesn’t quite have their act together, despite the talent they all clearly have. As the competition nears, they find themselves competing with their school’s all-male a cappella group, whom are assholes to the Bellas. Except Jesse (Skylar Astin), whom Beca also works with at the radio station, ALSO strike up a relationship with each other. However, Beca’s desires to try and incorporate something new and groundbreaking into the Bellas’ repeated routine from the previous year are constantly shot down by Aubrey. Though the performance goes smoothly, the routine is boring the audience. Despite Beca’s improvised additions to their performance, which even has the crowd interested, it isn’t enough and the Bellas do not advance in the competition. Beca quits the Bellas due to Aubrey’s excessive need for control, at some point Beca and Jesse have a fight, and the eventually, the Bellas are called back in due to a technicality that one of the competitors isn’t in college, leaving that team disqualified and the Bellas get a second shot. Beca returns, the girls bond a little more, and Aubrey is now open to Beca’s ideas, and the Bellas win.

(REVIEW)

Honestly, most of how I feel about this movie can be summed up by the opening sequence. Aubrey’s quite visible and grotesque vomit scene already had me hating this movie. Didn’t take long, did it? In fact, from that point on, I got on my laptop, pulled up a Word document, and started keeping score: pros and cons.

Lets start with the cons. The vomit scene. Yes, its graphic and unnecessary… in no way is it funny. Started me off on one of the worst possible notes a movie can (no pun intended). In fact, the movie isn’t all that funny period. All of the jokes are predictable, or fall flat… and some fall REALLY flat. Aubrey – “I can see your toner through those jeans!” Beca – “That’s my dick!” … Er, good come-back? And all the jokes are like that: awkward! I also can’t wait another minute to point this out, what in the name of Mozart’s dick-hole is up with Aubrey?! I get that she screwed over the Bellas in the competition and wants to redeem herself, but she maintains a disgusting unlikability throughout this movie. All she does is nag, control, demand, there is absolutely no redeeming value in her character at all. Why is she taking out her failure on her teammates? Even Chloe, who is her best friend? Why do the Bellas even go along with Aubrey when she’s being particularly cruel? What about her makes the Bellas follow her lead? Why is Beca, literally, the only one who frequently stands up to her and NO ONE else until MUCH later? I wish there was a plot-point where the Bellas unite and threaten to kick Aubrey out of the Bellas if she doesn’t cool her fucking jets and just listen to her teammates and try out their ideas to be better. Clearly their repeated routine isn’t a heavy-hitter, so why not listen to Beca and up the ante with something new? Nope, just be a bitch to her and everyone else. That’s clearly working for you. Not to mention, the vomit thing is done TWICE in this movie. FUCKING TWICE!!! AND THE SECOND TIME WAS ON PURPOSE!!! And speaking of unlikable characters, Beca herself. For a majority of the movie, I actually didn’t have a problem with her. Kendrick’s performance was believable and honest, and I even found myself feeling her frustration every time Aubrey got abrasive toward her. In fact, some of the best scenes Beca involve her and Jesse. But as soon as she gets in trouble and he does the responsible thing in calling her dad to bail her out of jail for accidentally damaging school property, she gets mad… almost instantaneously. Like, really mad. I had to rewind the movie and figure out why that was. Even with the context that clarifies this, it’s still incredibly sudden and melodramatic. Sure, she later realizes that she was a bitch to Jesse, but she doesn’t really grow as a person, so when she apologizes to Jesse later, he’s smart and doesn’t forgive her. I found myself overjoyed at that. What, you watched a movie he likes and now you see how much of a cunt you were to a guy who was genuinely sweet and caring toward you and that’s supposed ot make everything okay?! No, Beca. No. And she doesn’t really do much to earn my respect later. Sure, she brings the Bellas up to their best by incorporating her ideas into the groups final performance, but she doesn’t do anything to make up for how she treated Jesse… which their relationship gets patched up WAY too quickly for my taste.

Now it’s time to talk about the few things I did enjoy. First, Rebel Wilson. Second… REBEL FUCKING WILSON!!! The only funny jokes ever uttered come out of her. The only time I ever laughed during this movie was when Fat Amy was talking. Though I have to ask if she was really funny, or if she’s just making self-aware fat jokes that would just be cruel if someone else was saying them. I don’t know, but I’m taking a win here. And I have to admit, when the movie isn’t purposely making the Bellas bad performers, the a cappella is actually entertaining… like, REALLY entertaining. I was losing myself to the performances and they were terrific. And like I said above, pre-fight between Beca and Jesse, the scenes they share together are cute, charming, and the two have great chemistry. Hell, in my opinion, Jesse is the only well-written character. Too bad the story wasn’t about him, or else I might have enjoyed this movie a lot more. And, of course, Beca’s audition into the Bellas, that scene was incredibly engaging and really showcases Kendrick’s talent. I was hooked to her character from that alone. Truly awesome.

Despite Wilson and Kendrick’s performances, especially Wilson’s, and the genuinely sweet scenes involving Jesse and Beca, the film just doesn’t hold up. Audrey is fucking annoying and frustrating, the vomiting is gross and seriously needs to fucking stop, this movie is just melodrama up the ass later on. The a cappella is truly captivating, but beyond that, this story is beyond frustrating and I now shudder at how the sequel is. But that’s for later. I need to lay down and try to forget this movie.

My honest rating for PITCH PERFECT: 2/5

pitch_perfect_xlg

LEAP! review

Full disclosure, I actually did write a review for this, or at least had a healthy chunk of it written. However, for whatever reason, something glitched out and all my work was erased and I couldn’t get it back. So here I am, writing it again, mostly because I have a MoviePass card now and I’m playing around with it.

LEAP! if I remember correctly is a French animated film originally titled “Ballerina,” and was renamed “Leap!” for American audiences. To my understanding, BALLERINA was almost a different film than was presented here. My only source on this is a review of BALLERINA from Youtube’s Stoned Gremlin Productions, who seemed to have nice things to say about that, but didn’t see LEAP!. Anyway, initially, I thought this movie was going to be a pretty dull film. A standard “follow your dreams” story that’s been done to death thanks to Disney. Give Disney some credit, at least they make good movies. I have no idea what the story is here for the lack of originality.

Here’s the voice talent. Starring, we have Elle Fanning (THE BEGUILED [2017], THE NEON DEMON [2016], and I AM SAM [2001]), Carly Rae Jepsen (1 episode of CASTLE), and Nat Wolff (HOME AGAIN [2017], PAPER TOWNS [2015], and ADMISSION [2013]). In support, we have Maddie Ziegler (THE BOOK OF HENRY [2017]), Terence Scammell (HEAVY METAL 2000 [2000], and video games DEUS EX: MANKIND DIVIDED [2016] and TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES [2007]), Kate McKinnon (ROUGH NIGHT [2017], MASTERMINDS [2016], GHOSTBUSTERS [2016], and upcoming film FERDINAND [2017] and TV revival THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS RIDES AGAIN [2017]), and Mel Brooks (HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2 [2015], SPACEBALLS [1987], and BLAZING SADDLES [1974]).

Now for the crew. One of the writers, Laurent Zeitoun, is known for THE INTOUCHABLES (2011). The composer is Klaus Badelt, who is known for THE IDENTICAL (2014), ULTRAVIOLET (2006), PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL (2003), and upcoming film CHRISTOPHER ROBIN, no release date announced. Finally, the cinematographer is Jericca Cleland, known for SPACE CHIMPS (2008).

Overall, I am not looking forward to see thing a second time.

This is my honest opinion of: LEAP!

(SUMMARY)

Set in Paris, France, circa 1880s. The story follows Félicie (voiced by Elle Fanning), a young orphan girl growing up in an orphanage with a penchant for dancing and for trying to escape to Paris. Along with her best friend Victor (voiced by Nat Wolff), they manage to finally do just that. The two friends get separated and Félicie finds a prestigious dance school, specifically ballet, which she isn’t trained in. So she ends up getting trained by Odette (voiced by Carly Rae Jepsen), who is a servant of a cruel woman, who is the mother to Félicie’s dance rival, Camille (Maddie Ziegler).

(REVIEW)

My experience is only slightly better.

Félicie is still a standard dreamer with very little personality. I swear, her dialog consists of nothing but, “I am a dancer!” “I’m going to be such a great dancer.” Jeez, get a side hobby, woman! Luckily, Fanning is a fantastic actor, so even if the dialog is beyond basic, her voice almost always matches the emotions of the character. Victor is still the annoying comic relief, subjected to the worst jokes in the movie, including poop jokes multiple times. To make matters worse, he’s kind of gross, sneezing in his hand, trying to kiss her with no indication that his night out with Félicie would go in that direction. And I will never understand how inconsistently written he is. For a character who is so smart that he can make a pair of functioning, wings that help him glide from tall places, he’ll call those wings “chicken wings” even though chickens can’t fly. To which his response will be, “But they have have wings. They must fly.” Wow… Wolff is a decent actor, but he is trying way too hard to be funny here. I can’t tell if it’s a result of him not knowing how to act with his voice, or if he was given awful direction. But the worst of the lot, Jepsen. Despite being a passable singer, she is not a good actress. She has no emotion in her voice at all. It’s like every line she reads, you can almost see her in the recording booth sounding uncomfortable. One has to ask, if they only use the best takes, how bad were the others?

In fact, the more I think about it, there isn’t any real reason for this to be an animated film. Dancing in real life is spectacle. It’s impressive because it’s real people who had real training. With animation, the dancing is just… cartoonish. You don’t see the real sweat, the strain, the fatigue. If done right, the audience should be able  it’s just not the same effect. The whole point of animation is to see something that real life can’t provide. But real dancers exist. If you want to see a more impressive dance movie involving ballet, watch the French film POLINA (2017). Ballet, modern dance, it’s far more all-encompassing than this and far more impressive to watch.

And what’s with the budding romance between Félicie and Rudy (voiced by Tamir Kapelian). That literally comes out of nowhere and ends up being exactly what you’d expect it to be. Félicie is only attracted to Rudy for his looks and manipulative charm, given little to no real personality, and ends up being a jerk. Gee, never seen that before in a movie.

Speaking of animation, it’s not… bad, per se. The expressions are pretty good, for the most part. The lighting, the colors, it all works visually. Which makes it all the more heartbreaking when you have subpar voice actors attached, distracting from the emotions and just grating to the ears. There’s some facial animations that are trying too hard to be comical, especially with Madam Regine (Kate McKinnon), who is so over the top evil that it really is comical. The textures are impressive. You can tell there was a lot of time dedicated to making the dirty places and things look dirty and the pretty things and places look pretty. But if there’s anything that’s done incredibly well, it’s the background work. Holy… it’s incredible and gorgeous to look at. Clearly, there is talent working on this, but who green lit the stuff that didn’t? And there is a good idea of exploring passion versus technique. Félicie is an inexperienced dancer with raw talent. Camille is classically trained and highly competitive, but she only does it because he mother makes her do it. Félicie has more than a few obstacles to overcome, but her determination and open-mindedness to learn how to move her body in ways that she’s not used to allows her to break through her limitations. But Camille, despite flawless performances, limits herself to what she knows and is capable of doing. It doesn’t help that her mother, who is a heartless wench, is raising her and probably saps out all ability to emote in her dancing. All of this is explored surprisingly well. As I understand it, the French and Canadian originals are different and seem like they’re better than the American cut. Maybe the American version couldn’t dumb down all the great stuff from the original.

Overall, I’d say this wasn’t as bad as my first experience, but it was still not great. The animation quality is inconsistent, ranging from great to awkward, the characters are horribly bland, poor writing, inconsistent quality in voice acting, it’s an atrociously messy flick. But at the end of the day, the movie is harmless. While I don’t think it’s worth taking your kids to see in theaters, it’s a rental at best, I also don’t think it’s worth seeing at all. There’s better animated films out there, but I guess if you wanted to show them something that wasn’t Disney, or Pixar, this isn’t the worst.

My honest rating for LEAP!: a weak 3/5

Leap!-2017-movie-poster

9/11 (quick) review

Oh no…

This movie has not had a single trailer released in theaters. I literally have no idea what this movie is. I found out about it just a few hours ago. As I speak, I’m writing my initial impressions in the theater while the trailers are playing. All I know is that it’s about a group of people trapped in one of the towers, specifically an elevator and try to escape before it collapses. Considering that it has a 3.2/10 on IMDb (as of 9/11/2017), I am expecting something pretty tasteless or inaccurate.

Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Charlie Sheen (MACHETE KILLS [2013], SCARY MOVIE 3 [2003], and PLATOON [1986]), Gina Gershon (P.S. I LOVE YOU [2007], FACE/OFF [1997], and SHOWGIRLS [1995]), Luis Guzmán (KEANU [2016], PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE [2002], and BOOGIE NIGHTS [1997]), Wood Harris (CREED [2015], DREDD [2012], and REMEMBER THE TITANS [2000]), and Olga Fonda (LITTLE FOCKERS [2010], and 1 episode of HAWAII FIVE-0 [2010 – ongoing] and 12 episodes of THE VAMPIRE DIARIES [2009 – 2017]). In support, we have Whoopi Goldberg (TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES [2014], RAT RACE [2001], and SISTER ACT [1992]), Jacqueline Bisset (DOMINO [2005], MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS [1974], and BULLITT [1968]),  and Prestyn Bates.

Now for the crew. Directing and co-writing Martin Guigui, known for a bunch of unknown projects. Co-writing is Steve James Golebiowski, known for unknown stuff. Composing the score is Jeff Toyne, known for unknown stuff. Finally, the cinematographer is Massimo Zeri, known for unknown projects.

Overall… what do you think? I’m not looking forward to it. Hell, half the reason I even gave this movie the time of day was to test out my MoviePass card.

This is my honest opinion of: 9/11

(SUMMARY)

The story follows five people trapped in an elevator in one of the Twin Towers just as the planes strike and desperately try to escape before the tower collapses.

(QUICK REVIEW)

This is arguably one of the most tasteless films I’ve seen this year. Oh my god, the more I think about this movie, the dirtier I feel.

I’m probably going to keep this short, but the reason why I hate this movie so much is that it uses this day in history, a day that not only affected every American, directly or indirectly, but also the entire world, where nearly 3,000 people lost their lives, over 6,000 were injured, and this movie’s primary focus is on something that it should never have focused on: a divorce case, a dad missing his daughter’s birthday, a hot chick leaving her sugar daddy, and a dude who didn’t take his wife to Hawaii. These characters are so bland, so uninteresting, and to make them the highlight of the film and to push the events of 9/11 into the background… who was this movie made for? Who even made this?! Who thought this would be a good idea?! Is the play any better?! I honestly don’t even care if my questions are answered because this pile of garbage… it’s amazing what this movie got away with. The acting is horrible, as I never got a sense of fear from these people that they were in the eye of the storm of a terrorist attack; just trapped in an elevator. So by extension, piss poor direction

Oh, but pouring sprinkles on this shit-flavored cake, the movie ends with, “Dedicated to the victims and the first responders. Never forget.” Wasn’t planning to, movie, but you did a fairly decent job of not caring about the very people you dedicated your movie to. Need I say more? Don’t see this movie. If you can’t find it, then stop looking for it. I found it in one of the lesser movie theaters near me, so I think that’s a good sign. Don’t even rent it. Remember 9/11, but don’t remember this movie.

My honest rating for 9/11: 1/5

nine_eleven_xlg