KIDNAP (quick) review

Finally! I can stop seeing this damned trailer.

If anyone frequents the cinemas even half as much as I do, then you’re probably somewhat passably familiar with this film’s existence, but no matter how much time went by, it was never released. As I understand it, KIDNAP has a bit of a shaky history, financially speaking. According to, the film has been in the works since 2014 and was supposed to be released in 2015. But the distribution company Relativity Media filed for bankruptcy that year, meaning that the film couldn’t be released. Relativity has since reemerged, but still not quite out of the sticks. This movie was pushed back to a February 2016 release, but that got pushed to May… then that got pushed to December… only to be pushed back again to March 10 of 2017. Jesus, I’m frustrated just from writing this out. I can’t imagine how the cast and crew must be feeling. But GUESS FREAKIN’ WHAT?! When March 10 came around, guess whose alarm didn’t go off that day? You guessed it, KIDNAP wasn’t released as planned! What the actual story is behind that latest push, I have no idea, but my excuse of “oversleeping” is much more humorous.

Well, assuming that this movie is going to be released… which, if you’re reading this review, then it must have, what are my thoughts? Aside from “finally, I can stop seeing this trailer?” It… could be alright. On the one hand, if it doesn’t take itself too seriously and is just an action movie for suburban housewives to see a garden-variety middle-class mother go mama-bear on a bunch of assholes who kidnap her son, then this could at the very least be entertaining. On the other hand, if it takes itself a little too seriously, then it probably won’t be very good. Halle Berry hasn’t had the best track record in recent years. Sure, X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST (2014) is arguably the best X-Men movie, but not really because of her. In fact, her role was pretty small. Her last good movie was arguably X2: X-MEN UNITED (2003). Was her TV show EXTANT good? I never saw it. CLOUD ATLAS (2012)? Was she the reason it was well-received? THINGS WE LOST IN THE FIRE (2007)? Never heard of it. My point is, she’s more associated with MOVIE 43 (2013), NEW YEARS EVE (2011), and X-MEN: THE LAST STAND (2006), none of which were considered good. Though, I’m sure by comparison, LAST STAND is Shakespeare when stacked next to MOVIE 43. Who knows where KIDNAP is going to rank.

Well, let’s take a gander at the cast. I’ve already prattled on about Berry enough, who also produced the film, so… let’s go to support. We have Sage Correa (1 episode stints on TV shows UNCLE BUCK and LIFE IN PIECES), Lew Temple (DESIERTO [2016], THE LONE RANGER [2013], and TV show THE WALKING DEAD), and Chris McGinn (a bit role in TV show ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK).

Now for the crew. Directing, we have Luis Prieto, known for unknown projects. Writing the script, we have Knate Lee, who will be writing the upcoming film X-MEN: THE NEW MUTANTS (2018). Composing the score is Federico Jusid, known for EL SECRETO DE SUS OJOS (2009 – translated: THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES). Finally, the cinematographer is Flavio Martínez Labiano, known for THE SHALLOWS (2016), NON-STOP (2014), and UNKNOWN (2011).

Overall, not excited for it, but… yeah, thank God I don’t have to see the trailer anymore.

This is my honest opinion of: KIDNAP


Karla Dyson (Halle Berry) is a single mother trying to make ends meet and take care of her young son Frankie (Sage Correa). After work one day, she takes him to the local fair and have fun. However, things take a turn for the worst as she takes a phone call and finds that her son has been abducted. Seeing the kidnappers take him away, she begins to chase after them in her own car, refusing to give up on saving her son.


It’s not good. Four-ish years of trying to get it released and this is the result. By no means awful, but it’s not as good as it could have been.

The set-up is pretty obvious, leave your kid alone for a few minutes and he gets kidnapped. Go figure. I suppose the only refreshing thing is that this movie’s main selling point is that she’s constantly following the kidnappers. Still, a better movie about kidnapped kids would be PRISONERS (2013).

I think it’s nice to see that Karla doesn’t ever really give up, even when it’s obvious it’d be at a point where in any other movie she would. Instead, she’ll drive across a field and luckily end up on the right highway to continue her chase. So the movie is definitely loaded with conveniences. I do enjoy watching how the movie is smart enough to keep throwing obstacles in Karla’s way, like finding a cop who gets axed off, or increasingly low fuel, it’s not horribly structured. And Berry is trying her best to make this performance work and it works sometimes.

Sadly, there aren’t a ton of good things to talk about. Because there’s far too many over-the-top moments; driving in reverse on the freeway without even so much as a scratched up paint job, it’s a wonder why this movie didn’t go for a more fun route. With a structure similar to SPEED (1994), all that was missing was a charismatic actor to go with it. Don’t get me wrong, Berry is a great actress when given the right material, but I feel like her character would have worked better if she was a little more bad-ass. Instead, Karla is a little annoying because too much of her dialog is, “Oh god!” or “I’m coming, baby! I’ll never lose you, baby!” Hell, even the everywoman angle could have passably worked if the script was smart enough to take a page out of MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (2015) and just have her act with her expressions. We know she’s a woman who will not give up getting her son, so constantly talking to herself out loud isn’t going to make her character seem more determined.

I also find the police terribly incapable at their jobs here. There is a series of intense car collisions happening and the cops keep either being stupid and put themselves in a situation to get killed, pull over the wrong cars over the radio, it’s shocking to see this shit play out the way it does.

Dialog that’s cringeworthy, stupid character decisions, and even subplots that go nowhere, it won’t be a shock if this movie isn’t received well or do well at the box office. It’s a shame because Berry’s had a rough few years cinematically. Here’s hoping that Kingsman 2 will give her more opportunities in the future. Not recommended. A rental at best.

My honest rating for KIDNAP: a weak 3/5



Stephen King certainly is a hit or miss for a lot of people, isn’t he? At least, as far as his film adaptations are concerned. It seems like his most celebrated films are his non-horror films, like THE GREEN MILE (1999), STAND BY ME (1986), and my personal favorite film of all time, THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION (1994). That’s not to say there aren’t some standout horror films that are considered great, like THE SHINING (1980), CARRIE (1976), and MISERY (1990). Personally, I love THE MIST (2007), but most everything else is either ridiculed, or entertainingly bad, like CHILDREN OF THE CORN (1984), MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE (1986), and DREAMCATCHER (2003), to name a few.

Of course, I’ve never read any of his books. Not much of a reader. But that’s not to say that anything with King’s name on it isn’t going to pique my interest. It’s so fascinating to see his on-screen adaptations be so diverse in quality. To my understanding, his novel series, The Dark Tower, is what he himself considers to be his magnum opus. A series that links many of his past novels together into a multiverse type deal. I admit, that’s pretty interesting, and I’m curious to see just how much of that will be translated to the film.

So how do I feel about this movie? It looks… basic. Don’t hang me! But it kind of does. Maybe it’s because it reminds me of a darker, more serious version of LAST ACTION HERO (1993), a campy classic of the 90’s if you ask me. I can’t claim for certainty if the Schwarzenegger action romp is technically inspired by the novel series, but the similarities are there. A kid is an adventurer of sorts, one is an action movie junkie (ACTION HERO), the other is described as an adventure seeker (TOWER), and both get whisked away into a world not like his own, and meets up with a bad-ass mutha who’s at war with an asshole, and their conflict eventually carries them back to the real world of the kid, who probably gets himself into trouble more times than he really should. Hello!?I’m sure this movie is wildly different, but it might be a little too easy to make comparisons.

Well, here’s the on-screen talent. Starring, we have young Tom Taylor (known for TV shows I’ve never heard of), Idris Elba (THE JUNGLE BOOK [2016], PACIFIC RIM [2014], THOR [2011], and upcoming films THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US [2017] and Marvel’s THOR: RAGNAROK [2017]), and Matthew McConaughey (GOLD [2017], KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS [2016], and REIGN OF FIRE [2002]). In support, we have Jackie Earle Haley (THE BIRTH OF A NATION [2016], SHUTTER ISLAND [2010], WATCHMEN [2009], and the upcoming Robert Rodriguez film ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL [2018]), Abbey Lee (THE NEON DEMON [2016], GODS OF EGYPT [2016], and MAD MAX: FURY ROAD [2015]), and Katheryn Winnick (KILLERS [2010], and TV shows VIKINGS and BONES).

Now for the talent behind the scenes. Directing and co-writing is Nikolaj Arcel, known for A ROYAL AFFAIR (2012). Co-writing the script, making for a red flag total of four writers, we have Akiva Goldsman (RINGS [2017], THE 5TH WAVE [2016], I AM LEGEND [2007], and the upcoming DC film TITANS [2018]), Jeff Pinkner (THE 5TH WAVE, TV shows ZOO and FRINGE, and upcoming films JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE [2017] and Sony’s Marvel Spider-Man spin-off VENOM [2018]), and Anders Thomas Jensen (BROTHERS [2009]). Composing the score is Junkie XL, known for BATMAN V SUPERMAN (2016), DEADPOOL (2016), DIVERGENT (2014), and upcoming video game adaptations SONIC THE HEDGEHOG (2018) and TOMB RAIDER (2018). Finally, the cinematographer is Rasmus Videbæk, known for THE ROYAL AFFAIR.

Overall, I can’t say I’m super stoked, but I’m curious enough to want to see it.

This is my honest opinion of: THE DARK TOWER


Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor) is a young boy who experiences visions of a man in black (Matthew McConaughey) who is trying to bring down a dark tower and destroy the world. Thing is, no one believes him and has been seeing therapists. But after his mother Laurie (Katheryn Winnick) feels that she has exhausted all of her options, she contacts a pair of people that will take him somewhere to get better. Believing these people, who bare striking similarities to those he’s seen in his visions, runs away to seek answers. He eventually comes to a house with a mysterious key code, punches in a set of numbers he’s been seeing and finds himself teleported to a world known as Mid-World, the world where the Dark Tower resides and has been terrorized by the man in black. His only protection: Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), who is the only one that Jake believes that can stop the man in black from destroying the tower.


For such hype, this movie is a letdown, but I’m not entirely sure if I was expecting anything amazing to begin with.

The setup is already confusing on its own. A series of opening text states that the Dark Tower is so powerful that it protects all the dimensions from the forces of darkness, but there’s a… what I can only assume to be a prophecy that states that there’s one child who’s mind can destroy it. That seems like a lame weakness, if you ask me. I mean, why? First off, why aren’t we done with this cliché of “chosen ones?” If a movie can start off drawing comparisons to STAR WARS: THE PHANTOM MENACE (1999), then it’s not a great start to a film. This is only the first thirty seconds of the movie, mind you.

Then we jump to our Earth, Keystone Earth, as the film likes to call it for some reason, and we see that Jake has been drawing these visions that he’s been having for quite possibly quite some time because he has a therapist and his older brother is commenting that the therapy isn’t helping. And this is another big problem I have with movies like this: the victim of visions that goes around telling people the crazy things that he sees and expects them to believe him. This is such a tired trope too because no story that has ever existed with characters like this has ever had anyone believe them. Why would they? This is reality. We chock these things up to chemical imbalance for adults and bad dreams for kids. If Jake was in his single digit years, I might be more lenient toward his lack of common sense and understanding of human nature, but Jake is probably closer to being a teenager than a child. He’s gotta be able to distinguish what an adult would believe and not believe by now, and visions of a “man in black” and “people with fake skin,” that’s a hard pass on reality. Even the kids from the TV show STRANGER THINGS (2016 – ongoing) knew what to keep to themselves and they were definitely younger than Jake.

Even once things start coming to a head and the people with the fake skin enter his world and hunt him down at his home, he’s outrunning a grown-ass adult. A grown-ass adult that’s not even human and the punishment for failing the Man in Black is quite possibly death, so they’ve got all the motivation in the world to keep chasing him. But they don’t. He gets away. And to make matters even more outlandish, he manages to travel an unknown distance to a house that serves as a portal to Mid-World and this entire time, I’m wondering where the hell the police are. Surely the mother would have called the cops and there’d be an army of cops pulling over public transport after public transport looking for the squirt. He’s not a ninja. This shouldn’t have taken so long.

That’s probably the most obvious problem with the movie. It’s horribly written and we’re expected to suspend too much disbelief. But see, if this was taking place in the fictional fantasy world, this could make all the kind of sense it wants. But Keystone Earth is supposed to be our Earth. Physics, plausibility, you can’t chuck that into the wood-chipper with a cackling evil laugh. You have to ground these aspects in reality. Also, the villain. While I’ll go into the

But fine, you could argue this is nitpicking. Does the rest of the film hold up when Jake gets to Mid-World?

Nope! It does not! First of all, those people with the fake skin, they wear that shit even in Mid-World. Um… why? It makes sense in Keystone, obviously, but… why in Mid-World? Are these beings so ugly that even in a world where ugly is the norm they have to cover up? Seemed kinda silly to me. There’s also a scene, a little after Jake’s met Roland for the first time, and in their traveling, Jake references the Man in Black, to which Roland immediately grabs Jake by his shirt and threatens to drop him off a cliff if he’s a spy for him. Note, it’s literally just the name that sets him off. Not a prolonged conversation about him and Jake says something stupid and Roland takes it the wrong way, no, the mere mention of the name “man in black” throws him through the ringer. There’s even some weird shots too. Like, this movie was desperate to show that it’s connected to all of Stephen King’s stories. For example, Jake stumbles upon a ruin of some kind and he’s standing on a submerged-in-the-ground statue of a hand holding up balloons and a sign reading “Pennywise” from his story “It.” It’s like the cameraman and the editor knew that the sign was hard to read in pitch black lighting, so they held on to the shot for dear life. There’s even a demon that makes it’s way to our heroes and it really reminded me of that alien from STAR WARS: ATTACK OF THE CLONES (2002) that slashed Padmé’s back in the Geonosian arena scene.

And really? Walter? “The Man in Black” … the name that strikes fear into the hearts of all in the known realms… the man who killed all but one Gunslinger, a legendary order of warriors that numbered in the legions, and literally has the power to command people to die and they fall down dead… his real name… is Walter?



Honestly, the rest of the film is uninteresting and almost boring because Mid-Guard doesn’t look all that spectacular. I’m sure the idea is to make it look like an apocalyptic wasteland, but it’s way too visually boring. The forest scene is about the closest we get, but everything else makes you wonder how this takes place in a fantasy land instead of Earth.




And even when it gets to Earth, almost nothing stands out either. In fact, I’m having a hard time recollecting what even happened. I know Jake finds out that his mom dies and he is eventually kidnapped by… Walter… which leads to a shootout to save Jake’s life.

Which now brings me to my final complaint. Why does Walter want to destroy the realms? Okay, some people are psychotic and seriously should have had a loving mommy to hold them, I get that. But if I understand the movie correctly, the forces of darkness sound like demons that aren’t even of the realms of the established universes. These forces are outside of what’s known. Is Walter one of these forces? Does he somehow think he can control these forces, or think he can survive their coming destruction? For that matter, who ever created this Dark Tower, what was it’s intention? It’s primary function is to protect the realms from each other and from these forces of darkness. So why have a weakness built into it that could destroy the thing completely?

So many questions, so little care.




Is there anything redeemable about the movie?

Not… especially. Some of the action is ridiculous that it got a chuckle out of me, but I have no idea if I was giggling because of how stupid it was or… nah, it was pretty stupid. I suppose the actors aren’t all that bad all things considered and I do think Taylor was serviceable enough. He sure wouldn’t have been able to carry the film without Elba around, but he wasn’t bad. And up until learning that the Man in Black’s name was Walter, I thought McConaughey was decent. He had an intimidation about him that I enjoyed watching.

Overall, though, I think this movie is a dud. By no means the worst I’ve ever seen, but for a movie with such a background, a story that intersects all of King’s stories in some fashion and it doesn’t culminate into anything of any real substance. It’s like a perfectly crafted bullet trying to be shoved into a toy shotgun; it just doesn’t work on so many levels. The actors are trying and I hope this doesn’t ruin anyone’s careers, especially the younger actors, but if this was supposed to be a introduction to this universe, the access isn’t very universal. Hell, I’d be shocked if fans of the novels would get anything out of it. I don’t recommend this in theaters and I don’t really recommend it as a rental. It’s not overly long, not even two hours, but it might feel longer for some audiences.

My honest rating for THE DARK TOWER: a weak 3/5




Aww yeah, son. It’s finally here. All that hype is about to be tested. I love a good action film, and I love a good spy film. Combine the two with a kick-ass female to helm the project, and you’ve got me saying, “Shut up, and take my money!”

The story looks like your typical betrayal-revenge thriller, but the action does look pretty awesome… eh, for the most part. I don’t know, some of the action looks a little too… choreographed. Like once someone throws a punch, it’s like there’s an obvious pause between moves so the actors and stuntmen can get into position for the next attack. The kitchen scene feels particularly heavy in this as well as that hyped up stairway scene, albeit on a smaller scale. But who knows, maybe the finished product is much more streamlined.

Let’s take a look at this on screen talent. Starring, we have the incredible Charlize Theron (THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS [2017], KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS [2016], and HANCOCK [2008]) and James McAvoy (SPLIT [2017], X-MEN: APOCALYPSE [2016], WANTED [2008], and upcoming films X-MEN: DARK PHOENIX [2018] and M. Night Shyamalan’s Split/Unbreakable crossover, GLASS [2019]). In support, we have John Goodman (VALERIAN [2017], PATRIOTS DAY [2016], RED STATE [2011], and the upcoming TV revival ROSANNE [2018]), Sofia Boutella (THE MUMMY [2017], STAR TREK BEYOND [2016], KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE [2015], and the upcoming TV film FAHRENHEIT 451, due out… who knows when), Toby Jones (MORGAN [2016], CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER [2011], THE MIST [2007], and upcoming horror film THE SNOWMAN [2017] and JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM [2018]), Til Schweiger (INGLORIOUS BASTERDS [2009], FAR CRY [2008], and LARA CROFT TOMB RAIDER: THE CRADLE OF LIFE [2003]), and in a bit role, Daniel Bernhardt (LOGAN [2017], THE MATRIX RELOADED [2003], and TV show MORTAL KOMBAT: CONQUEST [1998]).

Now for the talent behind the scenes. Directing, we have David Leitch, a former stuntman who has been a part of countless action films. His career stretches from HITMAN: AGENT 47 (2015), all the way back to Marvel’s BLADE (1998). He’ll be directing the upcoming DEADPOOL 2 (2018). Penning the screenplay is Kurt Johnstad, known for 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE (2014), ACT OF VALOR (2012), and 300 (2006). And… wait a tick, this movie is based on a graphic novel? Hmm… news to me. Apparently, it was a series titled “The Coldest City.” Anywho, the composer for the score is action film veteran Tyler Bates, known for GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 (2017), JOHN WICK (2014), SUPER (2010), and Marvel’s upcoming Netflix show THE PUNISHER [2017]. Last, but not least, the cinematographer is Jonathan Sela, known for TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT (2017), LAW ABIDING CITIZEN (2009), THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN (2008), and the upcoming DEADPOOL 2.

Overall, yeah, this could be pretty bad-ass, so I’m stoked for this.

This is my honest opinion of: ATOMIC BLONDE


Set during the Cold War in 1989. Lorraine (Charlize Theron) is a British spy and being called in by her superiors for a mission debriefing, detailing her assignment of tracking down a missing list that contains the names of every operative working for British intelligence.


Apologies for the delay in this review’s release. I did actually see it last week, and I had to see this again. Not because it was that good, but because I had a miserable experience watching this the first time. So before I go into the review, I’m going to start with an enraged rant about being on your fucking cell phone in the movies. So if you want to skip that and go right to the review, CTRL-F and type “HPOR”. So here we go.

So I’m watching the movie and during an important exposition scene, this woman behind me starts talking on her phone. Allow me to really describe what I mean by this. Her phone is on SPEAKER, high volume so everyone can hear, and you’d swear to God that this bitch was in the middle of an important business meeting because she’s not even making an attempt to whisper. She’s talking like normal. My favorite part of the entire conversation she’s having with who the fuck cares, at one point, she apologizes. Not to the audience who is being horrendously inconvenienced, mind you, but to the person she’s talking to, as if all the people screaming at her to get off her phone are interrupting their important conversation. It took me a good five, maybe even ten minutes to finally get up and track down an employee at the AMC that I frequent and told them exactly where to find her. By the time I got back in the auditorium, everyone was in an uproar at this bitch, WHO IS STILL ON HER PHONE!!! You know what it finally took for her to hang up? Some dude got up from his seat and got right in her fucking face. Of fucking course, in that specific moment, that’s when the employee comes in, just narrowly missing out on the mayhem.

The experience, for all intents and purposes, was fine afterward, but the sheer amount of inconsideration from this incident is beyond baffling. Fine, a phone goes off, it happens. Like me, I don’t have many people who call me and talk to me, so there’s almost no reason to care about, “Alright, one last thing. Using your phone is distracting. Don’t ruin the movie!” Oversights happen and most people are generally understanding of that. But these people (she was with a companion) literally paid twenty-plus dollars just to watch half the flick and spend ten minutes of the remainder of their time there on a conference call. People, I don’t pay money to see these movies to hear your phone chats. I don’t pay money to see your cell phone screens light up. And to go so far as to talk, whispering or full blown outdoor voices? Are you fucking kidding me? How did FIREFLY’s Shepherd Book put it?


And to everyone else who is as pissed off with this shit as I am… don’t be like me, waiting ten minutes for them to stop without telling the theater staff. I know, maybe you don’t like confrontation, or don’t like missing any part of the movie, but… if you don’t take some sort of action, they won’t stop talking. You’re going to miss out on the movie one way or another. Don’t miss out on more than you, or the rest of the audience that has a set of fucking manners, need to.

(HPOR) Now for the review.

I’ve probably said this before, but spy films can be a hit or miss for me if they’re not comedies. This is because the ones that you’re supposed to take seriously, James Bond, Jason Bourne, they have a tendency to have complicated plots that my brain isn’t calibrated to follow. I eventually tune out the politics, ramifications, and junk in lieu of waiting for the action scenes or attempting to connect with the character relationships, which is always the crux of why I end up liking them. A few one-liners never hurt either. So how does this movie rank among them? It’s good. Not great. I don’t argue the “Kick-ass action,” or “…totally badass,” comments. Hell, I don’t even argue the whole, “We now have our female 007!” comments either. But… yeah, I don’t love this movie.

The smaller issue that I have with this movie is just how drenched in neon colors this movie was. This is personal, obviously, but the very aesthetic of this film is a struggle. If it’s not bright neon colors, it’s pale white and blue. I know, I know, snow and shit, and I don’t know if I could properly explain why it bugs me. But couple that with the 80’s techno music, or whatever it was, it sort of made my eyelids heavy. It succeeds in making itself distinguished among other action-spy films, but it does it in a way that didn’t agree with me. It’s that same sensation that I get when I play a first-person shooter video game; I just get a headache after awhile, which ruins the experience some. Like I said, the majority of viewers likely weren’t bothered by this, but I was.

Another smaller complaint was the lesbian scene. Now before you feminists get your pitchforks and torches, hear me out. Setting my man-brain aside who absolutely adores two attractive women having sex, pure titillation is something I reserve for porn. That’s what it’s for. However, gratuitous sex and nudity in a movie is exploitative and, frankly, annoying. It’s there just for marketing and to get asses in seats. Now, if the story is about sex and relationships, trying to do it in an artistic way, that’s perfectly acceptable. In coming-of-age films, the exploration of sexual awakening, a character who doesn’t believe in monogamy learns to fall in love, that sort of thing, then of course, the sex and nudity is more warranted and understandable. But that’s for those movies. Action films don’t always put that kind of effort into the romantic relationships. The exceptions for me are the Bourne films and the occasional Bond film. I do not believe this film does the relationship between Lorraine and Delphine justice. While both Theron and Boutella are outstanding actresses to be sure, Lorraine and Delphine barely share any screen time together before they bang and I don’t believe the sex was truly organic to the story. It’s certainly a lighter exploitation, mostly because there are good scenes between them later, which I’ll get to, and it’s not over graphic with either the nudity or the physicality, but I feel like for the relationship to carry more weight, more time should have been dedicated to them. Unfortunately, that could have also derailed the film and not kept the story in focus if not done well, but it could have been done. The two ladies could have ran around Berlin solving pieces of the puzzle together, fighting together, it could have worked.

A bigger issue that I also had was, as predicted, some of the fight scenes felt a little too choreographed. Like I said above, the action looks like… punch! Pause. Punch again! Pause, wait for stunt actor to get into place. Punch! Okay, it’s not as bad as I’m making it out, but I feel like I could literally see the actors trying to get back to their marks and waiting for their cue. It more prominent in the kitchen during the apartment fight, and pretty brief in the balcony scene toward the climax, but it’s still there and pretty distracting. Again, this may be something most won’t notice, care about, or agree with me on, but it did feel a touch distracting to me.

The biggest issue I had with the film was how complicated the story was that I could barely follow it. Okay, so a list of all the MI6 agents is now in the hands of the bad guys. We learn that the latest agent killed was a lover or boyfriend of Lorraine’s. We also learn that there’s a traitor within MI6, code named Satchel, whom Lorraine is tasked with finding as well because it’s this person who’s leaked the list to their enemies. I know that these plot point intersect and how they’re related to each other, but… why was Lorraine in that apartment? She says she was looking for clues to Satchel’s identity, but… what was she looking for specifically? We’re not filled in on her plans or strategies, so it just looks like that scene was there to showcase another action sequence. I guess she finds that picture with Percival (James McAvoy) and her dead lover, revealing them to be friends. But that information is never brought up after he admits to it and doesn’t play a further role in anything, so what’s the point? Beyond that, characters seem to take themselves from one location to the other when it feels like it should be as simple as finding the missing Spyglass (Eddie Marsan), who committed the entire list of operatives to memory. It never truly feels like anyone is on point with their objectives. And if I can’t follow the actions and motivations of the characters… it can easily bore me. So yes, outside of the action scenes, the movie is pretty boring and not overly interesting. The pieces are there, but they don’t fit very well.

But before anyone starts thinking that I hate this film, I don’t. So let’s dive into the good aspects.

First and foremost, yes, the action is great. I’ve already mentioned how I felt the action was a little too choreographed, but I do give it some credit that the action is visceral. Dude gets hit in the face with a pot or a freezer door, it really looks like it hurts. Someone gets shot in the stomach, but still attempts to fight, it looks like a real struggle. People getting punched, or thrown around onto wooden furniture or getting whacked with lamps and shit, stabbed in the neck with a cork-screw, the action is undeniably intense and gritty. Especially with all the cuts, bruises, and blood, you feel just as exhausted as the actors do. Hell, especially in the balcony scene, I know if it were me, all battered and beat up, I’d just be like, “You know what, just go. I’m done. Have a good Wednesday.” It’s pretty awesome.

The actors also churn out solid performances and work incredibly well off of each other. Lorraine and Percival are pretty funny and I enjoy their banter. I also liked the connection that Lorraine and Delphine shared. Despite the unnecessary sex, there is a really good scene with the two of them in bed together and they’re talking, Delphine comments that her eyes change when she tells the truth and the dialog goes something like:

Thanks for the warning. Now I know to not do it again.


Because someday it’s going to get me killed.

That’s a really poignant line. It shows that someone can spot a weakness that could potentially be exploited and she now has to compensate for it in order to cover her ass. But more than that, it’s a detail that was told to her by someone that has always tried to be on her side, and wouldn’t exploit her weaknesses. So of course, I love Boutella’s performance as this semi-innocent and inexperienced field agent who is clearly way over her head. But I really liked Delphine as a character and the impact she had on Lorraine.

There’s also a deep level of appreciation for the details. I mean, in that reveal scene with Theron, Lorraine coming out of that ice cold bath tub, every inch of her body covered in bruises and cuts. It really gives you that sense of how bad-ass she is and you feel every bit of that bruising as she does. Except everyone in the audience is a pussy because y’all be squirming in your seats and she’s just all, “Smokin’ my cig, poppin’ my pills, fuck this job, I’m a bad-ass, mother fuckers.” Pretty sure I’d be on the ground crying like my mother if a swarm of spiders were just crawling over her. And boomeranging back to the stairwell scene, I’m pretty sure Theron started that scene without a scratch, but then the bruises and cuts were all over her by the end of it. I’m curious, were those bruises… real? I mean, according to the trivia on IMDb, she cracked two teeth during filming. She really was getting slammed into walls… albeit padded ones, but how far off the mark can I possibly be? Maybe they’re digitally inserted? Either way, it’s fantastic and it’s made to look like it’s all done in one take. I can probably safely assume it wasn’t, but it’s not quite quite easy to spot where the cuts may be.

Fun fact: That tunnel when Lorraine is in the car and beats dudes with her shoe? That’s the same tunnel used in CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (2016) when Black Panther is chasing down Bucky Barnes. I part of me thought I’d recognized it, but I didn’t think much of it until I read that.

Overall, I can’t say that this is a bad movie. It’s very well done and well-executed, but I just don’t love it, or like it all that much. The visuals literally hurt my eyes and head, so it’s already hard to get enveloped by the film. Bits and pieces of the action don’t look right, and some of the character choices don’t always make sense to me, so I can’t climb on the band wagon that everyone has a ticket for. But there is a real passion behind the project that I can’t deny. To my understanding, this is a passion project of Theron’s and it really shows. It’s hard hitting, beautifully shot, fantastic acting, it’s no wonder why so many like it. I say if you like your action-spy flicks, or enjoy the cast, this is a good one to check out. It’s not a movie that I can personally see a third time, but I acknowledge it’s merits and I recommend it.

My honest rating for ATOMIC BLONDE: a strong 3/5


Netflix review: SyFy’s VAN HELSING (season 1)

Starring: Kelly Overton (video game adaptation TEKKEN [2010], and TV shows TRUE BLOOD and ALL MY CHILDREN)


Set three years later during a post-apocalyptic future. Vampires have taken over Seattle, Washington. In an abandoned hospital, the last Marine of his squad, Axel (Jonathan Scarfe), has been holding his position since the uprising of the vampires. His mission, to ensure the survival of a three year comatose patient, Vanessa (Kelly Overton), who has an immunity to the virus that turns humans into vampires and may hold the key to salvation.


Grr. It’s not as good as the posters make it out to be. I’ve got a lot more problems with this show than compliments, but all in all, it’s… okay.

What shall I start with?

The opening has some grim promise. You see our lone and faithful Marine Axel (Jonathan Scarfe) talking to a locked up vampire while he’s feeding her his own blood. It’s a little fucked up, but that’s what I usually come to expect from vampire stories. You’re not entirely sure if Axel’s all there mentally, but then the action starts. A group of human survivors about to be killed by a group of vampires are trying to get into the hospital that’s on lockdown thanks to some makeshift traps and barricades. He lets them in, of course, and then the first problems with the show rear their ugly heads: most of the characters are annoying as hell.

Almost immediately, the survivors are questioning Axel’s situation, exclaiming how the locked up vampire needs to be killed as well as the unconscious woman that “might” be a vampire herself, even though they haven’t an inkling of prove to back that up. For the rest of the show, that’s all these characters do. They bicker, yell, and constantly disagree. Which would be fine if it did feel like a bad sitcom the whole time. In an apocalypse, there will be disagreements on how to survive. Thing is, these people start this crap not even half way through the first episode. They barely ever show appreciation toward Axel for sheltering these people and this goes on throughout the season.

Thankfully, there’s a few characters that I liked. The three that immediately come to mind are Susan (Hilary Jardine), Mohamad (Trezzo Mahoro), and Sam (Christopher Heyerdahl). Susan, prior to the apocalypse, was Vanessa’s neighbor and friend whom has been the victim of physical abuse from asshole boyfriends that Vanessa beats the crap out of. While Vanessa’s been in her coma, she got turned into a vampire and eventually meet up after Vanessa attempts to leave the hospital to look for her missing daughter Dylan (Hannah Cheramy), but got captured by vampires. Vanessa turns her back to human, and the two rekindle their relationship, which I really enjoyed. Mohamad and Sam are the “two peas in a pod” characters that have a nice connection as well, as a pair that always looked out for each other. Mohamad’s a young man who was separated from his sister Sheema (Naika Toussaint), still locked away in a human camp overlooked by vampires and wants to find her. He’s a loyal friend to those he respects and who show him respect. He’s brave, smart, an all around breath of fresh air from all the married couple bickering. And Sam is the deaf gentle giant. Again, he’s a kind guy and his silence is, like Mohamad, a welcomed detour from the arguing.

Now for our titular character. Vanessa, for all intents and purposes, isn’t poorly written. As a character, Vanessa is tough, no nonsense, capable in a fight, but a loving mother and friend, she’s perfectly serviceable, and Overton’s performance is strong enough to carry the show, for my tastes anyway. Here’s my issue: Vanessa as “Van Helsing.” When we’re first introduced to her, she’s about to be chewed alive by vampire-Flesh (Vincent Gale), but she immediately snaps out of her coma and defends herself quite proficiently. However, she’s never quite this deadly in any other scene. She’s just a run of the mill survivor that isn’t stupid. Aside from her inability to be turned after getting bit by a vampire, and her stupid-ass ability to change vampires back to human after them biting her or her biting them (yes, that’s a thing that she does too), there’s never a moment in this show where I’m like, “Yes! That’s our new Van Helsing!” At least, not until the final episode of the season, which lasts probably a grand total of ten minutes.

I can probably guess what the structure was supposed to be and why that moment was dragged out ’till the end. It’s the “superhero” idea. Like in the TV show DAREDEVIL, the first season featured Matt Murdock/Daredevil in a borderline amateur black garb and a black mask throughout the entire first season, only giving him the iconic red suit in the final episode or couple episodes. The purpose of this, I imagine, was to create the character and build him up, getting the audience a near perfect understanding of him before going full comic book on us. But what makes Vanessa as “Van Helsing” so frustrating in this regard is that the character of “Van Helsing,” while well-known in supernatural literature, isn’t exactly a modern pop culture icon like superheroes are. Seriously, can you name a movie that came out that was about Van Helsing? I can. Hugh Jackman’s ill-fated VAN HELSING (2004), which is not considered to be a good movie. I know there’s a ton more than that, but are any of them considered landmarks of cinema or classics? Is Van Helsing truly in the echelons with Dracula, Frankenstein and his monster, and the Wolf Man? No. The character truly isn’t. Not like that. So Vanessa’s development, not just as a character, but as this generation’s “Van Helsing” was crucial to make her really compelling. Instead, she’s lukewarm. Not bad, not great.

If I were to have changed anything, I would have made Vanessa a bit more of a one-woman army. Like, everything about her personality is fine. Her backstory, all that, that’s all good. But in a fight, I would have made it like a Jason Bourne type thing. Like in IDENTITY (2002), when Jason is sleeping on that park bench and the cops try to get him to show them his papers, but when they take out their batons, he instinctively goes into combat mode and efficiently takes them out, and promptly, but subtly, freaks out after with a look that says, “How the hell did I just do that?!” You never get any real sense of bad-assery in the vampire killing department. She’s obviously not useless in a fight, but nothing on the scale of “Van Helsing.” She trips and stumbles a little too much for me to take her seriously like that.

On top of my problems with the characters, the show as a whole isn’t very well-written. One set of dialog sticks out for me.

No offense, but go fuck yourself.


Good, then go do it!

Ugh, this script gave me an aneurysm. Thankfully, the cringeworthy dialog sort of dissipates as the season progresses, but the way it’s structured and how every event is handled is completely inconsistent and character choices are utterly stupid. Why doesn’t Axel throw the survivors out that give him a hard time? Or kill them? Why do the survivors stay with him if they don’t agree with any of his decisions? There’s this subplot that starts in episode four “Coming Back” that focuses on a murder within the group. You wanna know what’s freakin’ frustrating? This plot thread isn’t resolved until episode eleven “Last Time.” There are thirteen episodes in this season. What the actual fuck? We’re introduced to characters that have a big role early on, leave the show, and then return only to be killed off later as soon as they reappear. Incredibly forced romance subplots that go nowhere, a questionable accent by Tom Cavanagh who is only in one episode and still whispers his lines half the time, infighting with the vampires that no one gives a shit about, the vampires in this show present themselves to be more like zombies than vampires and I don’t recall a single vampire having fangs, all these problems are littered everywhere.

That’s not to say some things are done right. There are some cool visuals, like there’s this one bit where a dude is being hung in a cold room, is missing one arm and a leg I think, and his intestines are hanging out, and he’s totally alive. That was delightfully sick. And there’s another little scene where you have vampire leader Dmitri (Paul Johanssen), his… lover? Rebecca (Laura Mennell), and Dmitri’s sister Anastasia (Gia Crovatin), and they’re sitting at a dinner table, drinking blood soup. I won’t lie, I sadistically giggled when Anastasia got up to get more blood and it’s from a corpse with her throat slit and pours blood with a ladle.




Here’s one plot point that went nowhere that I really wanted to see developed. So the group is hiding out in an underground bunker and Vanessa and Susan find themselves in bed, just being friends. But before long, they share a kiss. This was quite possibly one of my favorite relationships in the show and felt really organic to the story. Never mind that I’m a guy and watching two hot chicks making out isn’t the hottest thing ever, but that their relationship went in that direction felt right for the characters. Vanessa is very butch and independent, and Susan is a little more vulnerable. She looks up to Vanessa for her strength, but managed to come into her own when the apocalypse showed up. Both women have had lousy luck with men in their lives and Susan did seem to harbor some feelings for her, as demonstrated in the beginning of episode six, “Nothing Matters.” I liked seeing the two of them interact with each other and being friends. To see them possibly testing waters for a romantic fling, I was looking forward to that blossoming in future episodes.

But in probably the ultimate middle finger to my expectations, not only is their shared kiss never acknowledged again, either by the two characters, even to the point where Vanessa has about the most contrived romance that can possibly exist with a male character that she’s only known for less than a day, whose name I couldn’t remember for the life of me, but it’s revealed that Sam was the group murderer and he kills Susan. She was just starting to become a great character and then they kill her off. Fine, make Sam the killer, but it should have been any other character. Like Doc (Rukiya Bernard). She just sort of gets written out of the show randomly. Why not actually write her off more sensibly?




Overall, this show isn’t the worst I’ve ever seen and would certainly prefer to watch it over many other shows that have been considered great, simply because it’s action, post-apocalypse, and vampires, so I’m pretty bias. I sure won’t go out of my way to keep up with the show as the episodes air on TV. I understand season two is underway. But yeah, I can’t claim this to be a good show. There’s some good things to keep myself interested, but if season two isn’t better by the time it comes out on Netflix again, I won’t care to sit around for a third season.

My honest rating for Syfy’s TV series VAN HELSING: 3/5


JURASSIC WORLD (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.

Let’s face it, this movie has been in the making for a long time (since 2007, I think) and we were/are hoping that it’s been worth the wait. I won’t waste any time, I’m going to try to keep this spoiler-free, so let’s get right into it.

Starring: Bryce Dallas Howard (GOLD [2017], PETE’S DRAGON [2016], 50/50 [2011], and the upcoming JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM [2018]), Chris Pratt (GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 [2017], THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN [2016], THE LEGO MOVIE [2014], and upcoming films Marvel’s AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR [2018] and JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM), Nick Robinson (EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING [2017], THE 5TH WAVE [2016], THE KINGS OF SUMMER [2013]), and Ty Simpkins (THE NICE GUYS [2016], IRON MAN 3 [2013], and INSIDIOUS [2010]). In support: Vincent D’Onofrio (CHIPS [2017], THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, MEN IN BLACK [1997], and the upcoming remake DEATH WISH [2018]), Jake Johnson (THE MUMMY [2017], MIKE AND DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES [2016], TV show NEW GIRL, and the upcoming TAG [2018]), Judy Greer (WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES [2017], ANT-MAN [2015], CARRIE [2013], and the upcoming Marvel’s ANT-MAN AND THE WASP [2018]), Irrfan Khan (The Da Vinci Code’s INFERNO [2016] and LIFE OF PI [2012]), and BD Wong (THE SPACE BETWEEN US [2017], MULAN [1998], TV show GOTHAM, and the upcoming JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM).

Directing and co-writing: Colin Trevorrow (THE BOOK OF HENRY [2017], the upcoming STAR WARS EPISODE IX [2019], and writing the upcoming JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM). Co-writing: Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver (WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES, RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES [2011], THE RELIC [1997], and upcoming films Disney’s live-action MULAN [2018] and AVATAR 3 [2021]), and Derek Connolly (KONG: SKULL ISLAND [2017], MONSTER TRUCKS [2017], and upcoming films JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM and STAR WARS EPISODE IX). Composer: Michael Giacchino (WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES, ZOOTOPIA [2016], TOMORROWLAND [2015], and upcoming films Pixar’s COCO [2017] and JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM). Cinematographer: John Schwartzman (THE BOOK OF HENRY, SAVING MR. BANKS [2013], THE BUCKET LIST [2007], and upcoming films FIFTY SHADES FREED [2018] and STAR WAR EPISODE IX)

Story on top, review on the bottom.


We open to Zach (Nick Robinson) and his younger brother Gray (Ty Simpkins) who are about to embark on a family trip to the now-opened dinosaur theme park, Jurassic World, which is headed by their semi-estranged aunt Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard). Gray is more than excited to be in this place, but Zach seems rather detached at first, but eventually warms up. Claire is an incredibly work-driven woman who sadly doesn’t spend time with her nephews to show them the park and leaves them with their personal guide, Zara (Katie McGrath), and even reveals that her scientists have spliced together a completely new dinosaur called the Indominus Rex, revealed by Doctor Henry Wu (BD Wong) to be bigger than a T-Rex. We are also introduced to Owen (Chris Pratt), the park’s very own raptor whisperer and his rocky business relationship with Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio), who admires the way Owen handles the raptors and sees these intelligent animals as weapons to use for the military against their opponents, to which Owen knows is a colossal mistake, knowing that these raptors only listen to him because they’ve built a relationship since they were hatched, and it’s not a relationship with them thinking that he’s their mother, but uneasy respect. Of course, everything starts going to hell when the Indominus Rex finds a way to escape its paddock and turns the entire park into a warzone. Now, with Owen’s help, Claire must reunite with Zach and Gray and get everyone off the island.


To be honest, I never truly believed I’d go into this movie thinking it would be JURASSIC PARK’s equal. It’s a movie that changed cinema with ground-breaking CGI, and perfectly blended horror, action, and wonder. To boot, it was a smart movie. It wasn’t just about a group of people on an island of dinosaurs that run amok. It was about how the advancement of science shouldn’t be wielded like a children’s toy and must be considered if the risks truly outweigh the reward, and shows what happens when there is no contingency plan for when shit hits the fan. Granted, it was far from a perfect movie, but mix all those fantastic elements with a hint of badassery, it’s hard to not like the film as a whole. I knew JURASSIC WORLD wouldn’t be that well-written or impactful, but I was holding out for it to be at least better than LOST WORLD. Boy howdy was I pleased.

Let’s start with what didn’t work, in my opinion. First, D’Onofrio is usually an incredible actor, and coming off his success as Kingpin from Netflix’s DAREDEVIL, I was really curious to see what he was going to bring to this film, and he brings… nothing. His character is there to provide one of the stupidest sub-plots that you can squeeze into a sci-fi like this: turn the subject matter into military weapons. Seriously, writers? It’d be better if Hoskins was like the park’s captain of the soldiers-who-hunt-dinosaurs-if-they-escape and Owen was his most trusted lieutenant who had duel jobs as the park’s raptor trainer. Instead, he’s one of those character who you can write off and the movie would progress just fine. Or worse yet, I won’t spoil anything for anyone, but he does blatantly set up the notion of a sequel. Literally, that’s his only purpose. Not someone we give a shit about. He’s just there to let us know that a sequel could happen.

While I’m on the subject of characters, I really didn’t like Zach. Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Nick Robinson. I’m a huge fan of the TV show MELISSA AND JOEY, and Nick is such a presence on screen, but he had to pick the most two-dimensional character that could possibly exist: I’m a moody teenager and I hate everything and I’m just going to ignore everything and listen to my music because I’m just a bad ass. You know what you little dip shit, you’re about to go to a theme park WITH F*****G DINOSAURS, AND YOU’RE MISERABLE???? HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN??? Are you all mopey because you’re leaving your girlfriend? Dinosaurs or pussy, dude? Let’s face it, dinosaurs win EVERY TIME!!! THEY’RE DINOSAURS!!! And never mind his moodiness, he has like no character arch. He comes to this island with an attitude that makes me want to throw a great big pile of shit at him *REFERENCE* and seems rather distant of his brother, or worse, is incredibly cruel to Gray for no rhyme or reason, and even once he starts to care about him… well, that seemed to just come out of his ass. Why do you suddenly care if Gray is getting the full Jurassic World experience? You don’t even want to be here, you hairy scrotum! Nick Robinson played the role well, I just didn’t like the role he was given.

Also, there’s a lot of sub-plots… and they don’t go anywhere. Owen and Claire went on one date. Okay… why was THAT relevant to the story? I think if you watched the movie and fast-forward to ANY point in the story, you wouldn’t really guess that these two had a history together. They’re not divorced, they’re co-workers who went on one date. Oh the drama…




Also, what’s with the sub-plot of Gray finding out his parents are getting divorced? That was clearly just added to see Gray deliver is a crying performance. As well as Simpkins delivering on that performance, that sub-plot goes absolutely nowhere. Sure both the mom and dad come to Isla Nublar together to find their kids, but… okay, are we going to elaborate on this subject at all now that everyone’s together? Nope? We’re just going to cut to Owen and Claire have a chat and cut to the credits? Cool. Thanks for telling us about a plot that won’t be developed. Awesome sauce *sarcasm*.




On a slightly lesser note, why was Judy Greer in this movie? This woman’s got acting talent that can wipe the floor of most actors in Hollywood, so why is she playing a nothing character? Literally, ANYONE could have played Zach and Gray’s mom, and it would have been fine. But no, Greer plays their mom that does NOTHING in the movie other than foreshadow, which is pointless because this is JURASSIC PARK (kinda); dinosaurs running around eating people is kind of a given in this franchise. Also, why was there literally just ONE little pterodactyl with an Indominous Rex head? Anyone else think that was just random for the sake of random? But fine, whatever.

But for as much as I hate some of the characters… and seemingly much of this movie now that I’ve read through some of it, I don’t want anyone to think that I don’t like this movie. For as many problems as it has, it does a great deal more good than bad.

The moment you step out into Jurassic World itself and the immortal Jurassic Park theme starts playing, I couldn’t help but smile from ear to ear. I remember reading the review on about how the reviewer would have been perfectly content just exploring the theme park itself and just do away with the chaos and death, and I have to say, I’m in complete agreement. The park itself is absolutely gorgeous to look at. Bright colors, large crowds, it makes the 8-year-old Peruvian boy in me giddy with delight. The fact that the movie takes a beat to actually let us in on some of the attractions, such as feeding the mosasaurus and, how awesome is this shit, lowering the bleachers below the tank water to see the reptilian fish underwater. SO F*****G AWESOME, I’M JEALOUS!!! And a petting zoo, a f*****g petting zoo. Never in my life have I ever been so jealous of an 8-year-old kid getting to hug a baby brachiosaurus, or riding a baby triceratops. Makes me wanna punch those f*****s off and have my turn. F*** YOU KIDS, I LOVED DINOSAURS FIRST!!!

Another unique thing that you might notice in this movie is that the raptors are somewhat given personalities. You can tell there’s a complicated relationship between Owen and the raptors. These are clearly wild animals that want to maim everything in front of them, but there’s clearly some kind of connection they have with Owen that makes them understand that THIS human isn’t meant for eating, but for respecting. This relationship really shines through later on in the story, both for the best and the worst, but always makes sense and even provides a couple of the tensest and somewhat heart-warming scenes. Plus, totally awesome when Owen and the humans team up with the raptors to hunt down the Indominus Rex.

The Indominus Rex is pretty fearsome for a newbie and is a rather well-written monster whose motives and actions make sense. It’s been in captivity all its life, has had no other interaction with anyone or anything other than a crane that lets it know that it’s feeding time. So when it does escape, its rampage makes sense. It’s smart, it’s vicious, it’s something I don’t want to run into on a Saturday night drive home. Nah, bro. Just nah. So no one needs to worry if whether or not the new Rex is a lame new element. It really isn’t.




The only real problem with the Indominus Rex is this: Owen comments after seeing all the dead brachiosauruses that it’s killing for sport. If any of you have been following the movie as it was being developed, there were some fan theories going around that maybe Indominus had some human spliced into it because the only creature on Earth that hunts for sport is a human. I guess I can chalk this one up to another plot point that doesn’t go anywhere.




As much as I bash the characters, Pratt and Dallas Howard have great chemistry. Maybe Pratt makes it easy because he’s such a charismatic actor. But hey, what do I know? In fact, both Pratt and Dallas Howard are great. They’re plots go nowhere and are pretty pointless, but they play their characters very well. Especially Dallas Howard. It’s so strange, though. Her resume consists of some pretty awful movies. TWILIGHT: ECLIPSE (2010), TERMINATOR: SALVATION (2009), M. Night Shyamalan’s LADY IN THE WATER (2006), and SPIDER-MAN 3 (2007). It’s curious how this wonderful actress even has a career after being in some of the most hated movies in their respective franchises, but here she is in JURASSIC WORLD, practically headlining it and she’s great. I knew she had talent, but there was never a movie that really showcased it. This may be her best performance yet, but here’s hoping that she will get better roles because I know she can act the f*** out of a movie if she was given better material.

And there’s a nice throwback to JURASSIC PARK’s character Tim, who was a dino nerd; now it’s Ty Simpkins playing Gray. While certainly Tim was clearly more knowledgeable about dinosaurs, he was a far more annoying character than Gray. Gray is probably younger, but there’s a certain gravity that he has about him; a youthful strength that he plays so well that doesn’t feel like he’s needy or frustratingly helpless.

And yes, Jake Johnson and Lauren Lapkus are incredible comic relief.




For anyone who wants me to dish out my thoughts on the Indominus Rex duking it out with the T-Rex, don’t kid yourself. It’s beyond f*****g awesome. Oh my god, to see these titans chomping down on each other and f*****g each other up, oh my god oh my god oh my god, so much SQUEE, and then the velociraptor enters the fight, overload of badassery, my brain can’t take much more of this, f***, three-way fight! T-Rex and velociraptor versus Indominus Rex, holy mother of shit! And then the Indominus Rex gets it by getting eaten by the mosasaurus. In case you can’t tell, it was f*****g awesome. I mean, clearly it’s fan service since the T-Rex is clearly the fan favorite of the franchise and needed a win after getting straight murdered in the third movie by the less popular Spinosaurus. Still, the only real downside to the fight is that the Indominus Rex is killed rather anticlimactically; not by the T-Rex, but rather randomly by the mosasaurus.




While this movie has glaring, even frustrating problems, there is more than enough awe-inspiring visuals, badassery, and fan service to more than make up for it. It may not have the brain of JURASSIC PARK, but it plants its feet as the second best Jurassic Park movie, which I think is something any fan of the franchise can walk away happy with.


PS: If you recall the scene where the pterodactyls are attacking the tourists, you probably remember seeing a guy fleeing from the dinosaurs with a pair of margaritas. You wanna know who that is? Famed singer Jimmy Buffett! No joke, look it up online! It’s really, hilariously, him!



Boy howdy, the early buzz on this movie.

I have to admit, I looked at this movie and I couldn’t exactly share the excitement of everyone else. Oh, not that the movie looked bad. Far from it. The trailer was showcasing car stunts that would make the Fast and Furious franchise look like it has small dicks and feature some over the top performances from truly great actors. I think what sort of anchored me back a bit was the comedy. And honestly, it was only the “Mike/Michael Myers” bit. I mean, the joke’s been painfully obvious for years and I never thought that a movie that was getting such high ratings and such great reviews would make this joke. In retrospect, I probably don’t have context for the scene, but… I’m pretty sure I do. Here’s hoping that this scene is atrociously trumped by how awesome the rest of the movie is.

Well, here’s the selling point for the movie, the cast. Starring, we have Ansel Elgort (ALLEGIANT [2016], THE FAULT IN OUR STARS [2014], CARRIE [2013], and upcoming Divergent TV movie sequel ASCENDANT and rumored to be in DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, both due out… who knows when), Lily James (PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES [2016], CINDERELLA [2015], WRATH OF THE TITANS [2012], and the upcoming Churchill film DARKEST HOUR [2017]), and Kevin Spacey (NINE LIVES [2016], SUPERMAN RETURNS [2006], and L.A. CONFIDENTIAL [1997]). In support, we have Jon Bernthal (THE ACCOUNTANT [2016], FURY [2014], TV show THE WALKING DEAD, and upcoming film WIND RIVER [2017] and TV show THE PUNISHER), Jon Hamm (KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES [2016], and TV shows UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT and MAD MEN), Eiza González (TV show FROM DUSK TILL DAWN).

Now for the crew. Writing and directing is Edgar Wright known for THE WORLD’S END (2013), SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD (2010), and HOT FUZZ (2007). Composing the score is Steven Price, known for SUICIDE SQUAD (2016), FURY (2014), GRAVITY (2013), and the upcoming AMERICAN ASSASSIN (2017). Finally, the cinematographer is Bill Pope, known for THE JUNGLE BOOK (2016), SPIDER-MAN 3 (2007), and THE MATRIX (1999).

Overall, yeah, I’m down for this movie. I don’t think I’m as hyped for it as the critics are, but I’m sure I’ll like this movie just fine.

This is my honest opinion of: BABY DRIVER


Baby (Ansel Elgort) is a young and talented getaway driver for a ruthless crime boss named Doc (Kevin Spacey). After seemingly finished with paying off a debt he owed him, he celebrates his freedom with asking out the waitress at the restaurant he goes to named Debora (Lily James) and the two strike up a relationship. But Baby is roped right back in by Doc who can’t let go of a precious resource and forces him into another job that Baby is determined to make his last.


Um… it’s good. Really good. But… yeah, I don’t agree with the rave reviews.

I suppose it’s best to say that this film isn’t nearly as action-packed as the trailers made it out to be. Tell me if anyone else agrees with me. The trailer makes it look like this movie will be loaded with amazing car stunts and chases. We get them, but they’re not as amazing as you’d expect. In fact, they seem pretty standard with maybe one or two exceptions. The first is the one showcased in the trailer where Baby expertly maneuvers past a few vehicles, screeching past them without so much as a scratch. But outside of the trailer, there’s another car chase where Baby has a red car and he gets in between a pair of other red cars in order to fool the police, which was a fun sequence. Other than that… oh, there was another where an enemy driver forces Baby’s car under a ten-wheeler and get dragged for a few dozen feet.

More than anything, the selling point for the movie is the performances. Obviously, Spacey sells his usual “douche bag” persona like no one else could. In fact, Doc’s relationship with Baby is fascinating and complex. On the one hand, he has the utmost faith in Baby’s skills and often leaps to his defense with a high level of ferocity when someone questions why he’s on the team. On the other hand, most of the conflict is when Baby pays off his debt to Doc and then the man forces him to join him on one last job using very “passive” aggressive threats, so the man has very little interest in letting him have a life of his own, so you’re never really rooting for the character to live, but there is some sort of twisted father-son relationship going on, so you do see a level of empathy that Doc has for Baby.

I can also appreciate the relationship between Baby and Debora. Usually, relationships between the protagonist and love interest can feel really forced and unnecessary. You know, the damsel in distress cliché. Thing is, the story does something different with it. In more ways than the average movie-goer may think, she is a damsel in distress, but not in the classic “tied to a chair in an undisclosed location,” but rather a more subtle threat where Doc threatens to hurt Debora if he doesn’t go on that last job. So she is being used against him, just not as dramatically. And because we do see their relationship blossom over the course of the movie, we do get sucked into James’ million dollar smile and soul-piercing eyes, and are right there with Baby in not wanting to see her hurt in any way.

Most of the supporting cast isn’t wasted either. CJ Jones as Baby’s foster father Joseph was a really empathetic character. He’s deaf, but is perfectly aware of Baby’s illegal activities, but also knows that he doesn’t want to be a part of it. I can only assume that he knows about Baby’s debt to Doc. Still, he’s a kindly old man who treats Baby well. Hamm and González as Buddy and Darling (respectively) are a fun pair, being hired guns that are crazy in love with each other. It’s never obnoxious, thank God, and it’s even sort of cute in its own right. Like, Darling will tell Buddy to kill a guy because he looked at her funny and he’ll agree to do it. Romantically fucked up. I liked it.

But here’s where the movie fell a little short with me. Not by much, but enough to have that complaint. Foxx’s character, Bats, was incredibly annoying to me. While everyone else is professionally an asshole, he’s the one character that goes out of his way to give Baby a hard time throughout their interactions together. Maybe during their first meeting that’d be fine. A group of professional and grizzled thugs having a young twenty-something with earbuds in his ears and being totally dependent on his skills, that’d have anyone with a few question marks above their heads. But even once he’s proven himself, he’s still insanely paranoid and hard on him for no reason. He never shuts up when he’s on screen, that’s the other thing. This is a character that loves to hear himself talk, preaching the truth about what they do and who they can trust, all that nonsense and it was grating. Now don’t get me wrong, Foxx is a great actor and his performance here is no exception. But his character was insufferable for me. Everything that came out of his mouth just sounded like the gangster equivalent to whining.

Beyond all that, the movie is good and definitely worth seeing. Just don’t expect this to be some kind of next gen Fast And Furious, like I was. It’s not nearly action-packed enough for that, nor is there a great deal of creative or over-the-top action scenes. No, this movie is its own thing, but that’s nowhere near a negative against the film. The film is funny, intense, dramatic, engaging, lead by distinguished characters that you like to watch coupled with fantastic performances that more than make this movie’s price of admission worth it. I don’t agree with the hype, but I do recommend this to anyone interested.

My honest rating for BABY DRIVER: a strong 4/5



If it makes money, why fix it?

The fact that this is the fifth movie in this franchise shows that far too many people aren’t demanding better, making this question more and more relevant to movie-goers. Why are you Transformers lovers paying for this crap? How can you stand watching the same movie over and over?

Alright, how familiar am I with the Transformers franchise? Well, to be honest, not as much as most of my peers. To clarify, I’m talking about the original cartoon back in the 80s. I never watched it. To be fair, I was born in 1989. Already, the TV show had run its course and the movie was almost old news. And no, I didn’t grow up watching re-runs. I did, however, watch the 2001 cartoon TRANSFORMERS: ROBOTS IN DISGUISE. That was how I got into the franchise. I think I got into another iteration after ROBOTS – ARMADA, I think it was called – but then I drifted away from the cartoons, despite the many reboots.

Of course, this review is about the live-action films. So what do I think of them? TRANSFORMERS (2007) was awesome. Was it a dumb action sci-fi movie? Sure, but it was a ton of fun and it gave us exactly what we wanted to see: big ass robots fighting big ass robots with some awesome action scenes, original Optimus Prime voice actor Peter Cullen returns to voice his iconic character, Shia Labeouf was tolerable as an actor, Megan Fox was… damn (in a good way), the effects were downright groundbreaking, it was a cool-ass film.

But then REVENGE OF THE FALLEN (2009) happened. If I remember correctly, that movie grossed the second highest of any movie that year and for understandable reasons. It was coming off the heels of the first film, which was popular as shit. Everyone wanted to see the sequel. We regret that. I don’t know a single person that actually thought it was good or even okay. It was a straight-up bad movie. It was horribly unfunny, characters were remarkably annoying, Fox was atrociously exploited, and it didn’t show anything new. Hell, half way through the film, they kill off Optimus Prime only to bring him back at the end. I know a lot of people will cry out against its racially insensitive characters, but I didn’t catch on to that stuff. I simply looked at it like they were unfunny “hip” characters that are obviously not “hip.” It was a messy film that relied too much on bad comedy.

DARK OF THE MOON (2011). I maintain that this was a slightly better film than REVENGE, but it’s still not that great a movie, mostly because it’s pretty forgettable. In fact, it’s more of the behind-the-scenes stuff that got the most buzz. Fox compared Michael Bay to Hitler, so she was fired and replaced by the equally gorgeous, but less talented Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (just wait for MAD MAX: FURY ROAD [2015] and all will eventually be forgiven). It was her first real acting gig, so she’s by no means the reason this movie wasn’t good. Hell, even the bad comedy isn’t memorable because we had enough of that to overload the internet from the last movie. All I remember is that it’s only a little better.

Finally, we have the infamous AGE OF EXTINCTION (2014). As it turns out, taking a three year hiatus, as opposed to their traditional two, did little to give the creators of these things time to develop a good idea because this movie is arguably the worst of the franchise. On paper, it might look like they were trying to revitalize the films. Kicking LaBeouf to the wayside and replacing him with the significantly more talented and likable Mark Wahlberg, and including the admittedly awesome-looking dinobots, this probably should have been the most passable installment since the first. Boy howdy, it sure wasn’t. Each of the films have certainly been long, around the two and a half hour mark, the first film at least earned its runtime by being awesome and exciting. None of the other films have an excuse. And this film, clocking in at fifteen minutes shy of a three hour film is the greatest offender. For a movie as long as it was, I literally remember even less than the third film. Wahlberg had a gun/sword, the boyfriend was annoying as hell, and… that’s it. What else was worth remembering? Oh, maybe the ending where Prime is off into space declaring his hunting of other Decepticons or whatever.

Now we have this thing. I don’t think it looks like it’s going to change people’s minds. Early reviews painted this movie as the worst of the franchise, which… wow, I can’t imagine that. Or… maybe I can. From what I hear, the negative reviews are totally warranted. Somehow, this franchise worked in Merlin the Wizard. Yeah, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table Merlin. That Merlin. There’s posters showing Bumblebee killing Nazis, and Christ, what is with these movies trying to rewrite history like this?! It’s a load of horse shit and totally not needed! Whatever. The worse the ideas get, the more likely this franchise will implode, fail, and then get rebooted five years later with a brand new team and maybe we’ll get a good new franchise that knows how to take care of itself. So maybe that’s how we should look at these movies. They’re getting worse, and that’s a good thing.

Well, here’s the cast. Starring, we have Mark Wahlberg (PATRIOTS DAY [2016], THE GAMBLER [2015], PAIN & GAIN [2013], and the upcoming DADDY’S HOME 2 [2017]), Optimus Prime voice veteran, Peter Cullen (THE TIGGER MOVIE [2000], and TV shows TRANSFOMERS: RESCUE BOTS and CHIP ‘N’ DALE RESCUE RANGERS), Anthony Hopkins (COLLIDE [2016], THOR [2011], THE MASK OF ZORRO [1998], and the upcoming THOR: RAGNAROK [2017]), and Isabela Moner (MIDDLE SCHOOL [2016], a bunch of Nickelodeon shows, and the upcoming THE NUT JOB 2: NUTTY BY NATURE [2017]). In support, on the human side, we have Josh Duhamel (CHIPS [2017], WIN A DATE WITH TAD HAMILTON! [2004], and TV show FANBOY AND CHUM CHUM), Laura Haddock (GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 [2017] and GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY [2014]), Stanley Tucci (BEAUTY AND THE BEAST [2017], THE HUNGER GAMES [2012], and AMERICA’S SWEETHEARTS [2001]), and John Turturro (HANDS OF STONE [2016], MR. DEEDS [2002], and THE BIG LEBOWSKI [1998]). On the voice-over side, we have John Goodman (KONG: SKULL ISLAND [2017], 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE [2016], PARANORMAN [2012], and the upcoming ATOMIC BLONDE [2017], and TV revival ROSANNE [2018]), Ken Watanabe (GODZILLA [2014], INCEPTION [2010], LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA [2006], and the upcoming GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS [2019]), Steve Buscemi (THE BOSS BABY [2017], HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA [2012], and FINAL FANTASY: THE SPIRITS WITHIN [2001]), Omar Sy (BURNT [2015], X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST [2014], and THE INTOUCHABLES [2011]), and John DiMaggio (BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE [2016], video game GEARS OF WAR [2006], TV show FUTURAMA, and upcoming animated film BATMAN AND HARLEY QUINN [2017] and video game CRASH BANDICOOT N. SANE TRILOGY [2017]).

Now for behind the scenes. Directing is Michael Bay, known for 13 HOURS (2016), ARMAGEDDON (1998), and THE ROCK (1996). RED FLAG!!! Three writers: Art Marcum and Matt Holloway (PUNISHER: WAR ZONE [2008] and IRON MAN [2008]), and Ken Nolan (BLACK HAWK DOWN [2001]), and all three are slated for Transformers 7 (2019) and Transformers 8 (unannounced release year). Composing the score is Steve Jablonsky, known for DEEPWATER HORIZON (2016), THE LAST WITCH HUNTER (2015), and THE HITCHER (2007). Finally, the cinematographer is Jonathan Sela, known for JOHN WICK (2014), MAX PAYNE (2008), THE OMEN (2006), and upcoming films ATOMIC BLONDE (2017) and DEADPOOL 2 (2018).

Overall, I’m eager to see how stupid this movie gets. So far, it’s already grossed a franchise-low at the box office, so it stands to reason that these movies won’t be around much longer. One can only hope.

This is my honest opinion for: TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT


The US government has declared war on all Transformers, Autobots and Decepticons. Optimus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen) hasn’t been heard of since he ventured into space to search for his maker. Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) is in hiding with the Autobots as the government hounds for him. In the process, he’s taken on a young teen girl named Izabela (Isabela Moner), who has a knack for fixing machines, including Transformers. Things get even more complicated when Sir Edmund Burton (Anthony Hopkins) realizes that the remains of the dying planet of Cybertron, the Transformer homeworld, is coming to consume Earth, and an ancient relic from a thousand years ago has chosen Cade to help prevent Earth’s destruction with the help of Oxford Professor Vivian Wembley (Laura Haddock).


Yup, it’s as bad as it’s anticipated to be.

I think it’s actually really important to give something away as a public service announcement. It’s not a spoiler, so don’t worry. It’s likely that you’ve seen the trailers or TV spots, so we all know the marketing surrounds Optimus Prime as the bad guy throughout. Yeah, this is a big freakin’ deception. What do I mean? I mean he’s absent for most of the run time. In two and a half hours, he has maybe two or three scenes in the first hour that last two to five minutes each and is gone until the final half hour where he does all his “bad guy” stuff… which probably doesn’t last more than fifteen minutes. Yeah, not even kidding. The main selling point of this thing isn’t even the God-damned focus.

So… what’s left? Well, nothing interesting. In fact, this thing ranges from being remarkably boring to bizarrely stupid, taking the stupidity of this franchise to a whole new level. Remember when I said that they worked in Merlin the Wizard into this movie? Yeah, this wasn’t some kind of joke. Merlin isn’t some crazy metaphor of some historical figure. No, it’s actually far worse. Merlin was a real dude. He’s played by a bearded and thoroughly unrecognizable Tucci, and is a drunken weirdo who found some lone Transformers that crashed on Earth 1,000 years prior to the events of the story and they grant him a staff that grants him powers, sort of. Merlin isn’t a magical being in this. At least, it’s not clearly established that he is. If I were to hazard a guess, the movie is trying to establish that Merlin was indeed a real person and his “magic” was just Transformer technology, which would be perceived as magic in the dark ages. But… by heavenly Jesus, why? None of this backstory is necessary. The runtime is already two and half hours and much of that could be trimmed down just by getting rid of useless mythos.

Speaking of useless mythos, this movie is beyond impossible to follow. Or maybe it’s more accurate to say that it gets unbearably complicated. So, Optimus somehow gets injured in space and finds his dying home of Cybertron. There, he meets his maker Quintessa (Gemma Chan), who says that the staff can save Cybertron. This staff is apparently inside a gigantic, semi-living, ancient Transformer ship called Unicron and combining Cybertron with this thing, it will save Cybertron, but destroy all life on Earth. 1,000 years ago, Merlin was given a staff by the Transformers that came there at that time, twelve total, and upon his death, he was buried with the staff. I still have no idea what the Wicwicca bloodline is, other than it would later be called Wickwicky, which is the name of Lebeouf’s character in the first three films, and they’ve been the ones that have kept the whole “Transformers have been here for a long time” a secret from the world. Seriously, that seems like a pretty tough feat to accomplish because they’ve clearly been cropping up since the Dark Ages in paintings. Any eagle-eyed historian would have noticed something when the Transformers arrived… again… in the first film. Not to mention there’s the whole, “Bumblebee fought the Nazis” bullshit. That was in the 1940’s! Records would have existed about giant robots slaughtering Nazis. And of course, there’s how f**king stupid Vivian is. She’s this curator for a museum, or whatever, and dismisses the King Arthur stuff as mere legends, even though in a painting, there’s a clear depiction of a TRANSFORMERS DRAGON RIGHT THERE!!! How the hell does someone miss that shit?! Maybe the “magic” angle is nonsense, even in this universe, but there has to be something worth looking into when realizing that Transformers have made their way into 1,000 year old art. It’s beyond moronic that this isn’t addressed.

I know I was prattling there, but this is just what was coming out at the time. There’s probably a shit-load more to talk about and how many plot holes there are, but I haven’t the energy to try and list them all. I was tired just from the paragraph above. And that’s what the experience of watching this is: your brain gets so overloaded with complexities that eventually your mind overheats and you stop giving a shit. Oh, Cade’s been chosen by an ancient Transformer knight to… do I have no idea what, but it allows him to summon a sword and grants him super strength to block an attack from a big Transformer with its own sword. Yeah, that happens. Do you feel like you’re getting stupider just reading this? Try watching it. It’s a mental endurance test unlike any I’ve experienced in recent memory, at least from a genre that shouldn’t be that hard to entertain me with.

Ugh, what else should I say? I usually don’t mind Duhamel as an actor, but I feel like Lennox is so bland and useless in this movie that he could have been switched out with any actor and the role would have been fine. His ferocity and bad-assery from the first film has never been recaptured. Not his fault, but I wish the writers weren’t concerned with fan-service and learned how to properly develop characters. Alongside him with useless characters are Izabella, Jimmy (Jerrod Carmichael), and Buscemi as Daytrader, who is a horrible choice to voice the design of the character. I love Buscemi, but he could never voice a character that looks like a gruff, over-weight, bearded trader. It’s distracting as hell. Thankfully, it doesn’t last long. Also, the dinobots get pushed to the wayside pretty early on with no mention for where they were in the climax of the film. The baby dinobots were painful “cute pandering.” Admittedly, I want one, but they’re obvious emotional manipulation. Plus, they don’t stick around in the film long. Haddock gets brutally saddled with a ton of sexist scenes involving women only talking about being with men and how she can’t be a real woman if she doesn’t have one by her side. We also have that dumb-shit cliché where Vivian and Cade don’t get along at first but the audience knows they’ll hook up by the end. By god… the more I think about all this, the more my head hurts.

Is there anything redeeming about this movie? Nothing that truly saves it. Wahlberg is passable. Hopkins is kind of enjoyably hokey and zero-shits-given about his performance. Maybe the climax is a little different than what we’ve seen with some big-scale visuals. While it’s clear that this movie is more of the same, it’s more of the same in all the wrong places too. It’d be one thing if it was just boring action and useless characters with wasted actors, but there’s still a plethora of groan-worthy humor, sexism, stupid mythology additions, and marketing that lies to your damned face, barely delivering on its promised premise to the point the movie basically doesn’t. “More of the same” shouldn’t give this movie a pass. We should know what we’re getting ourselves into, but if we can predict all these horrible tropes that have become all too familiar with these things, then this shouldn’t be a shrug followed by a “whatever.” This should be the final straw in which audiences don’t see them. With good franchises going strong with better stories and characters, Transformers should be fizzling out now. I urge audiences to not see it. Or, if you have to, and I can’t believe I’m actually suggesting this, don’t pay for this. Sneak in to the auditorium, but don’t give Bay, his writing team, or the studios that greenlight these projects your hard earned money.

My honest rating for TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT: 1/5