Friday, November 19, 2021

My Latest Movie Rankings

Since being back in the U.S. I've watched several movies. Here are my rankings for the most recent films I've seen. This time we will rank them from best to worst (according to my opinion.) If you disagree feel free to comment or start your own blog where you can be a powerful critic like myself.

Dune- I was really looking forward to seeing this updated version of Dune and was not disappointed. Everything was great including the cast, special effects, and the entire production quality. It may be a little dark and dramatic for some but is very well done. Even someone who is not familiar with the background or story of the Dune books would like it. My only suggestion is to not stream it at home but to see it on the big screen. I saw it in an IMAX theater and was glad I did. I give it a solid 8.2 stars.

No Time To Die- Daniel Craig finishes out his run as James Bond and nicely wraps up all of his prior movies with this one. Unlike the prior Bond actors, Craig's movies have been more linear and built upon each other with recurring characters more like a series. I've enjoyed Daniel Craig as James Bond and it has fun to see his gradual evolution in this role. This may not be my favorite in the series but it was a satisfying finale for his character. I give it 7.6 stars.

Eternals- I have enjoyed most of the prior Marvel movies but this one just felt different. There were too many characters and back stories unleashed at once. I liked the concept behind the movie but it probably should have been a series of movies instead of one busy movie. It also seems like some of the super powers were copied from more popular characters. I felt like I was watching a lesser version of Superman, Flash, Magneto, etc. I also did not care for the villains in this movie, there was no heart to them. They just looked like crazy CGI monsters. Eternals still had some entertaining and funny scenes but I only give it 6.6 stars.

Old- I have a love/hate relationship with M. Night Shyamalan. I love the concepts behind most of his movies and his surprise endings, but I am also irritated with little details and and simple things he could tweak to make the movie so much better. This film was missing a big movie star name unlike many of his others. The best known actor in this was Rufus Sewell. I'm not sure if it was the awkward dialogue or the actors but something just felt off. The family all had different accents and didn't look like they belonged together. Anyway, I'm glad he made another movie and I only give it 6.0 stars.

Sunday, October 3, 2021

A Plethora of Reviews

 A couple weeks ago I flew back to the United States and watched a bunch of movies on my plane rides as well as some recent movies in the theater. Here is my lists of one paragraph reviews ranked from worst to best.

Chaos Walking- This movie had a lot of potential and an interesting plot. I didn't think it was as bad as I had heard, but it still fell flat. I had a hard time with Daisy Ridley's character who made Kristen Stewart in Twilight seem like Meryl Streep. I give it 6.2 stars.

Black Widow- I love superhero movies but am a little Marveled out. I kind of wish they would have let things rest a while after Infinity War. I suppose this prequel was ok but I had a hard time really getting into it. I give it 6.6 stars.

Jungle Cruise- I really like The Rock, Emily Blunt, and bad puns but I'd have to put this in the category of The Haunted Mansion movie. Maybe next year Disney will make the movie Thunder Mountain Railroad staring Brad Pitt. It was still entertaining enough to give it 6.7 stars.

A Quiet Place 2- I really enjoyed the first one and this prequel/sequel just felt like a re-boot or seeing more footage of the same thing. I was entertained by it but just felt like the story was repeated as opposed to progressed. I give it 7.1 stars.

Free Guy- This was a fun movie and it reminded me a lot of The Truman Show. It was a creative idea that I'm sure most gamers would appreciate. Ryan Reynolds and Taika Waititi were very entertaining. I give it 7.4 stars.

The Courier- This was a more serious movie than the previous ones mentioned in this post. It is a true story about a British spy in Russia during the Cold War. Despite being slow paced and not having any action, it was suspenseful and held my attention and Benedict Cumberbatch had a great performance. I give it 7.5 stars.

Jo Jo Rabbit- I'm slow getting around to some movies and finally saw this film. I knew it was a parody of Hitler but I wasn't sure what to expect. I was surprised by the combination of humor mixed with very serious subject matter. I really liked it and give it 7.9 stars.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

The Chosen

One of the positive things that happened in 2020 was my introduction to the series "The Chosen". I've seen many movies and short films about the life of Christ over the years but none have felt as real or been done as well as this show. 

I like the old epic films like the 10 Commandments and Ben Hur but am always a little nervous when Hollywood adapts any story from the Bible. It's common for a director to put his spin on a story or just outright change the story from the scriptures (the Movie Noah from 2014 is a good example of this.) The Chosen is not a Hollywood production. Dallas Jenkins uses crowdfunding to pay for it so no major studio or executive is calling the shots. I have been impressed with the amount of detail that goes into each episode and story from the New Testament. 

The makers of The Chosen obviously use artistic license to embellish and create details about Jesus and his ministry, but it is done well and with respect. One of the things I really like about it is how it show's the weaknesses and challenges of each of his disciples. For that matter it even shows the human side of what Christ experienced while on the earth. 

I've seen the first two seasons and they were very good. The production quality and acting are excellent. One of my favorite things about this series is that it does more than merely entertain. It causes some introspection and forces you to think about your own belief in, and relationship with Jesus.

I recommend this series to anyone, even non believers, since it is better than so many other programs that are available for streaming these days. I give the Chosen a solid 8 stars.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Finally Some More Movie "Reviews"

I've been putting off writing about the movies I've seen over the last several months but it's time to finally bite the bullet. As usual, here are some very short and lazy reviews.

Honest Thief- I think I saw this over a year ago on a plane but can't really remember. It stars Liam Neeson as a middle aged one man wrecking crew. Imagine that. An old thief tries to turn his life around and make restitution but is set up by crooked cops so he has to clear his name, get revenge, etc. I'm not a big fan of Jai Courtney in anything I have seen him in so that didn't help either. It only gets 6.2 stars.

The Tomorrow War- I love Sci Fi, time travel, and Chris Pratt so this had a lot of potential but I had a hard time really enjoying it. The aliens and special effects were good, and I liked the premise, but there were too many plot loopholes and logic issues. I can only give it 6.3 stars.

News of The World- This Tom Hanks western was good, but it was a little slow. I can't really think what to fault it with but it was kind of a slow, somber depressing western. Did I mention it was slow? I give it 6.5 stars.

Only The Brave- I know this movie came out forever ago, but I finally got around to watching it and I really liked it. Great performances by the entire cast and a true heartbreaking story. It's kind of frustrating to watch a tragedy with an ending like that. It was good enough to make me cry so I give it 7.8 stars.

Cruella- To be honest, I was expecting a super woke version of 101 Dalmatians from Disney, but was pleasantly surprised by this back story to Cruella. It was entertaining and well done. The wardrobe department for this movie deserves a ton of credit. Emma Stone was good, but Emma Thompson stole the show. She was by far one of the best villains I've seen in a long time. I give it 7.8 stars.

Zach Snyder's Justice League- I saw this several months ago when the original director's version was made available. I was expecting a few extra scenes that had been deleted but had no idea the amount of work that went into this version. It is significantly longer and offers much more back story to each character. It also has a darker, more serious feel to it than the original. It's not perfect but I enjoyed it much more than the first attempt. It would be nice if people could clean up and improve more movies after the original release like they did this one. I give it 7.9.stars

It has been nice to see some of the movies that were held in Covid limbo for so long finally hit the theaters. I'm looking forward to many more by the end of the year. 

Friday, February 5, 2021

Did Covid Kill The Traditional Movie Experience?

I have always loved going to the movies. My wife prefers watching videos at home while multi-tasking, but I really like the traditional movie experience in a theater. There is something magical about watching previews before the movie starts with the smell of popcorn in the auditorium. The excitement generated in a packed theater watching Star Wars, LOTR, or a Marvel movie is something magical. Take a look at the short clip below from Avengers Endgame to see what I'm talking about. By the way, I'm all about theater etiquette and not being noisy but there are times when the audience can't help but react out loud. I'm afraid that enjoying a movie with a large group of strangers may be a thing of the past after this last year.

Well over a year ago I was looking forward to seeing No Time to Die, A Quiet Place 2, Ghostbusters, Top Gun 2, Death on the Nile, and many other movies in the Spring and Summer of 2020. As theaters began to speculate about shutting down over Covid concerns, studios began pushing their release dates back. When we were told to social distance for "2 weeks to flatten the curve", most movies pushed their release dates back a couple months in order to avoid losing money in empty theaters and I can't say I blame them, but I continued to watch in agony for months and noticed each of these movies getting pushed back further and further every time I checked on updated release dates. 

Since the lockdown efforts started last year, Tenet and Wonder Woman 1984 were the only two big movies that have been released in theaters. (Fortunately I missed Wonder Woman.) So many movies have gone direct to streaming thanks to Netflix, Disney, HBO, and other studios who have seen the writing on the wall. I have no idea how movie theaters can stay in business these days, especially if they have to social distance and only sell a portion of their available seats. Even extremely over priced popcorn and soda can't compensate for the kind of losses they have experienced over the last year. 

I'm afraid going to a movie in the theater might become a thing of the past like drive in theaters, or renting a video from Blockbuster. I've been pretty angry about Covid-19, our response to it over the last year, and how those changes have affected up so many of the aspects of life I used to enjoy and look forward to including something as simple and enjoyable as going to the movies!

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