Archive for the ‘movie reviews’ Category

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Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

November 15, 2018

Anticipation Level: 6/10

Director: Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, X-Men, X2, Superman Returns)
Starring: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Mike Myers

I’m no Queen or Freddy Mercury superfan and while I recognize and enjoy the band’s most famous songs, I’m not really familiar with their discography either. With that said, I can’t speak on Bohemian Rhapsody‘s historical accuracy. I’ve read that some of the timelines presented are erroneous, but none of that affected my viewing of the film at all.

I thought Bohemian Rhapsody was enjoyable and it had some very good high points, but it felt longer than its 2 hour and 15 minute running time. It functioned much better when the band was on screen together creating their most famous content than when the film focused more on Freddy Mercury’s private life. Rami Malek was Oscar worthy as Mercury though. He gives one of the year’s best performances I’ve seen so far. The film closes with a rather spectacular recreation of Queen’s Live Aid performance in 1985. It’s a strong 15 minute set that is said to be an exact replication of that actual performance and that’s pretty damn cool.

Bohemian Rhapsody was fun movie that highlights Queen’s most iconic songs and gets a great performance from Rami Malek. There were a couple moments I found moving, but overall I wasn’t too invested in the story. It’s worth watching and is obviously a must see for fans of the band.

Replay Value: I could watch it again but I probably won’t.

Sequel Potential: N/A

Oscar Potential: Rami Malek is a strong contender for Best Actor. I can’t imagine him not making the cut at this point. I think I prefer Bradley Cooper’s performance in A Star is Born. I’d be pretty surprised to see this movie garner much other Oscar attention, but it could possibly contend in sound categories and maybe Costume Design.

Dina Meter: If I find a movie struggles with pacing a little bit, I generally think Dina probably won’t like it too much. I think she’d think was okay.

6/10 (Fun)

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Halloween (2018)

October 26, 2018

Director: David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express, Your Highness, The Sitter)
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak

My goodness I loved it. I had to watch it twice to be sure, but yes, it was great. Exactly what I want from a Halloween movie.

For those that don’t already know, this Halloween is a sequel to John Carpenter’s original 1978 film only. It has nothing to do with the ten other sequels and remakes in the franchise – not even the ones with Jamie Lee Curtis reprising her role as ultimate final girl Laurie Strode.

There’s no Thorn Cult garbage here. Laurie is not Michael Myers’ sister. Michael has never had his eyes shot out, burned to death, been riddled with bullets by a vigilante firing squad, or had his head axed clean off.

He has, however, been stabbed in the eye and neck and shot six times before falling off a second story balcony.

I think. We definitely see scars of the eye and neck injuries, but there’s a cop introduced in this new movie that “stopped Dr. Loomis from killing Michael.”

I’m not really sure what that means because Loomis shot Michael six times, he fell backwards and suddenly he is gone and that is how the original film ends.

There’s no stopping Loomis. There’s no other cop interfering. Michael is shot multiple times and he survives and the supernatural mystique of a human being that kills people begins.

So I don’t know if this film is trying to revise that finale or not, but either way, Michael is in captivity in 2018 and this movie opens with some podcasters visiting him in the psyche ward and trying to get a rise out of him by flashing his old mask around. It’s a cool scene that re-establishes Michael as a human with irregular focus and total disregard for anyone around him.

He hasn’t spoke a word in 55 years. What a scary dude.

Of course the powers that be decide to transfer Michael from a psyche ward he’s been at for 50+ years and transfer him by bus on the eve of Halloween and it can be easy to nitpick some of these plot points.

Why does Laurie watch the bus pass through the gate and leave the institution but not follow it to its destination? When you meet Laurie in this film it’s clear she has spent the last 40 years preparing for the possibility of Michael’s escape and return to Haddonfield. I can’t imagine that person not making sure that bus gets exactly where it’s going.

And why did she spend all that money tricking out her house and buying guns when she could have just moved to Hawaii or something?

But I’m glad she didn’t because once Michael is loose, the magic really starts.

Michael might be over 60 years old, but he has the strength of a silverback gorilla… on steroids.

I’m okay with that. The kills in this movie (when we see them) are fun and brutal.

And Michael is scary again. The mask looks amazing. The mask has definitely had its down moments over the years, so when it is done right, it makes a big difference. I think it’s a big reason why Michael Myers works so well as a horror villain. He’s supposed to be some normal kid that just snaps for no reason and becomes pure evil. But he’s a regular dude. He could be anyone. Until he puts on the mask. And then he becomes something a bit more… unnatural.

John Carpenter returns to do the film’s score and it hits all the right notes and drastically raises the tension. The music during the scene when Laurie’s granddaughter first encounters Michael is nothing short of epic. It really elevates the moment. I was practically giggling to myself with glee during that sequence.

Director David Gordon Green also gives us a wonderful single take shot that follows Michael on the streets then through a couple of houses, as he acquires different weapons and murders multiple people before finally cutting away. It’s a phenomenal sequence and it’s easy to overlook its brilliance if you’re not paying close attention.

Jamie Lee Curtis is of course wonderful as Laurie, giving her all in a role she’s played five times in 40 years in a franchise that has really seen some low points. But she returns here to give a serious performance in a mostly serious film, putting the affects of PTSD on full display.

The rest of the cast is solid but unremarkable, but I will say I loved the duo of Nick Castle and James Jude Courtney as Michael Myers. They nailed it. Even when Michael is unmasked, he is seriously intimidating and ruthless. You know… like most men in their 60s.

I thought this was a great Halloween movie, but it should be noted I am a horror film fan boy. It pays tribute to the original, gives subtle nods to the other sequels it otherwise ignores, and really understands how to create an atmosphere that makes Michael Myers work. The duo of David Gordon Green and Danny McBride clearly understand what makes the franchise tick and what fans of the original movie would want to see.

The ending of the movie was cool, if not entirely satisfying, and I liked Halloween enough that I’d like to see everyone come back for another one. More more MORE please!

Michael Myers done right is a thing of beauty. Halloween is a must watch for fans of the franchise and I give it a strong recommendation in general.

Replay Value: I liked it more the second time and I’m kind of itching to see it again.

Sequel Potential: Evil never dies.

Oscar Potential: None.

Dina Meter: She had fun watching it.

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

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The Endless (2018)

October 21, 2018


Director: Aaron Moorhead, Justin Benson (Spring, Resolution)
Starring: Aaron Moorhead, Justin Benson, Callie Hernandez

This is a pretty bizarre movie from the guys that made Spring and Resolution – neither of which I have seen. Both directors also star as brothers that revisit a death cult they escaped/left when they were younger. The movie is definitely intriguing, as watching the brothers unravel the mysteries of their old stomping grounds is both enthralling and slightly chilling. The Endless is largely a slow burn thriller with elements of horror and sci-fi/fantasy sprinkled in, while still managing to seem grounded in reality. I was certainly drawn into this world and highly invested in seeing what was going to happen. The movie is seeped in mystique and looks fantastic. The filmmaking duo made me enough of a fan that I want to check out their previous films. The Endless is weird and features no famous actors, so general audiences might balk at it, but I thought it was very solid.

Replay Value: Not a must rewatch, but I wouldn’t mind revisiting this again.

Sequel Potential: I’ve heard this is set in the same movie universe as Resolution. I don’t know if that makes it a sequel or if it indicates that more movies could occur in this universe, but the story of these two brothers is probably over.

Oscar Potential: The Endless got some film festival love, but no Oscar attention. It’s been making the rounds since spring of 2017, but technically wasn’t released in the U.S. until a year later. I’m not sure what calendar year it would be in Oscar contention, but I’m sure it will be overlooked, even though the Visual Effects were quite awesome.

Dina Meter: I would expect Dina to be done with this movie in less than 20 minutes.

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

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Bad Times at the El Royale (2018)

October 18, 2018


Director: Drew Goddard (The Cabin in the Woods)
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm, Chris Hemsworth, Cailee Spaeny, Lewis Pullman

This movie had some serious potential with an electric cast in a Quentin Tarantino stylized mystery written and directed by Drew Goddard, a dude mostly known for writing and directing the unique and awesome horror flick The Cabin in the Woods and for creating “Daredevil”, easily the best Marvel series on Netflix.

I wanted to like it so much. All the ingredients for an awesome movie were there and for the first third of the movie, I was enthralled with the snappy dialogue and the intrigue surrounding all the mysterious visitors of Lake Tahoe’s El Royale hotel, which is literally split in half by the border of California and Nevada. I’ve thought about the film quite a bit and it’s hard for me to pinpoint exactly what went wrong, but I can say with certainty that the pacing was brutal at times. No one is going to criticize this movie for lack of character development, as each individual gets back story and plenty of screen time, but Bad Times at the El Royale has a tendency to reset just as things are getting really interesting. For instance, like many Tarantino films before, the movie is told in chapters and just as a chapter climaxes and something shocking happens, the scene cuts and we move on to another chapter and new point of view. Some might enjoy the slow burn of building back up to that climatic moment, but if I had to guess what made the pacing of the movie a bit excruciating it would be this tendency.

The cast is mostly great. Jeff Bridges is always very good and I enjoyed Jon Hamm also. Although I have zero interest in the 50 Shades of Grey series, Dakota Johnson has been captivating in other roles, particularly A Bigger Splash, and she is good again here. Chris Hemsworth plays against type as Billy Lee, a cult leader and possible pedophile. He’s very loose in the role, dancing, smoking cigarettes, and really seeming to enjoy doing something different. It’s a stark contrast to the stiff (although sometimes funny) Thor we’ve been watching him play for the past decade. He’s definitely villainous in this movie, but I enjoyed his screen presence.

Another point where I feel the film suffers is when Cynthia Erivo’s character is the focus. She’s an aspiring songstress that is headed to Reno for a small gig singing in a Keno lounge. I think Erivo’s acting is plenty good, but she sings at least four different songs in the film and the movie comes to a screeching halt whenever this happens. The songs are all slow, long and not particularly interesting and her performances aren’t nearly captivating enough to justify it. I know I reached a point where if I had to listen to her sing again, I was going to literally groan in agony.

Bad Times at the El Royale has some things working for it, particularly strong performances, cool and shocking moments, and plenty of intrigue, but pacing really hurts the overall enjoyment and the eventual revelations are a bit uninspired. It’s a Quentin Tarantino impression that will just make you wonder how much better it would have been if it was actually a QT film.

Replay Value: It’s not a must rewatch, but I could maybe do it again some day.

Sequel Potential: It wouldn’t make much sense to do one.

Oscar Potential: I’m going to say none.

Dina Meter: If this movie bored me at times, I’m sure it would bore Dina to death. I would not suggest that she needs to watch it.

5/10 (Decent)

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Venom (2018)

October 17, 2018


Director: Ruben Fleischer (Gangster Squad, Zombieland)
Starring: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed

Venom was a mess long before it hit theaters, so I’ve never really thought it was going to amount to much of anything. This movie has been in production since before the Sam Raimi Spider-Man franchise died and rumors of Spidey-related spinoffs abounded after the series rebooted with Andrew Garfield. So after Disney and Marvel reacquired the film rights to Spider-Man and Sony decided to plow forward with a Venom movie anyway, well, I just didn’t see how that could end well.

I actually thought this movie had nothing to do with the current Marvel Cinematic Universe, but after doing some digging it looks like I could be wrong. Maybe? As late as June 2017, Marvel’s president Kevin Feige said that Venom is solely a Sony project, but the Sony side of things have claimed that their new universe will be “adjunct” to the MCU and that Tom Holland’s Spider-Man may even appear in future films. I’m not an expert Venom historian, so I don’t know if it’s possible to pull off a Venom movie without Spider-Man and not piss all the fans off, but I imagine DC trying to do a Joker movie without Batman and – wait… that is actually happening.

Then they cast Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock and I was officially bewildered. Was there actually hope for this movie? Well, the trailers looked awful and critics were crucifying it, so heading into my viewing of Venom I was expecting to to be absolutely terrible.

Honestly, I didn’t like it much, but I have definitely seen worse. The first hour or so of Venom is brutally boring. We are introduced to Eddie Brock’s world and watch as everything quickly crumbles around him. I actually thought three different people were going to tell him to “have a nice life” in a 10 minute span, but somehow the screenwriters resisted the urge to have Michelle Williams say it during their breakup scene. Basically, the first hour of the movie is a sequence of moments that you can already imagine Eddie Brock getting redemption for in the third act. It’s very formulaic and not at all interesting.

Meanwhile, Riz Ahmed’s character is a super rich science type that has acquired a bunch of symbiotes and he’s trying to figure out how to unite them with a host so that he can… honestly, I don’t remember what he’s trying to do. He probably plans to sell them as some sort of super soldier.

The movie does pick up once the Venom symbiote finds Eddie Brock. It gets very slap-sticky and starts to feel like a buddy film and the humor elevates enough that it made me laugh a few times. Most importantly, the pace and action are picked up significantly.

I think Venom looks terrible in this movie. For 2018, the CGI is awful. Venom looks incredibly fake and the climax of the movie literally looks like two giant wads of silly putty doing battle with each other. It is absurdly terrible. The special effects in this movie are a total embarrassment.

Venom managed to exceed my expectations, only because they were very, very low. This is not a good movie. All the characters are stale and uninteresting, Eddie Brock isn’t really someone you want to root for, and the performances are very uninspired. Tom Hardy is okay, I guess, but Michelle Williams’ talent is totally wasted and I’ve seen Riz Ahmed in some great roles (Nightcrawler, “The Night Of”), but he is straight up laughable in this movie. You think these things might be salvaged a bit when Venom is on screen – and to some degree they are – but the Venom personality is actually kind of stupid and annoying. Plus he looks really cheesy.

But what do I know? This movie has a 7.1 rating on IMDB and an 88% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, all while breaking October box office records. It’s an absolute smash hit and the general public seems to really like it, so… maybe you will too.

Replay Value: The thought of sitting through the first hour again sounds painful, but I could do the second half.

Sequel Potential: It looks like this will reach $250 million domestically so a sequel is inevitable. I don’t have much interest in Sony’s superhero movies and their history doesn’t suggest they are going to step their game up.

Oscar Potential: Zero.

Dina Meter: Dina might enjoy this more than I did, but I would be surprised if she watched it and said “that was good!”

3/10 (Bad)

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A Star is Born is the Best Movie of 2018

October 10, 2018

Director: Bradley Cooper
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Sam Elliott

My goodness, I loved it. I absolutely loved it. I knew going in from how I perceived the trailer and from a couple of reviews that I read that it could be something special and A Star is Born did not disappoint. It’s a true marvel in the marriage of my two favorite art forms: cinema and music. I spent the first half of the film smiling uncontrollably as Lady Gaga’s character Ally is taken under rock star Jackson Maine’s (Cooper) wing and thrust into the spotlight. The entire sequence that leads up to her stepping on the public stage for the first time is remarkable. It gave me goosebumps… It made my eyes water… It made me want to stand up and clap… and there were 90 minutes left in the movie!

The second half of the film is a different beast altogether and it took me two viewings (yes, I saw this movie twice in three days) to come to grips with how I really felt about it. While the first half of A Star is Born treads through familiar territory – underdog overcomes obstacles and odds to achieve success – the second half finds the film’s characters travelling paths that may make audiences cringe. That’s a good thing. Life isn’t easy and even the most successful and famous people in the world are real human beings with real problems. That’s something that’s easy to forget in a world where we tend to place entertainers and athletes on a surreal platform where their triumphs and tragedies are merely here for public amusement. Nothing pounds this point home like sitting in a packed theater and listening to the audience laugh through one of the film’s most tragic scenes. I can see how it is humorous, but it’s a horrifying and potentially career-threatening moment for Ally and I can assure you, we aren’t laughing with her.

Bradley Cooper has really elevated his star power with this movie. He was already an A-List actor, giving Oscar-nominated performances in Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle, and American Sniper, but this is the best performance of his career. He really disappears into the role of Jackson Maine and embodies a grizzled, gin-soaked rock star in convincing fashion. And he can sing? And play the guitar? What. Being able to do those things at all is impressive enough, but being able to do them at a high level is pretty mind-blowing to me. I never thought the guy that played Phil in The Hangover could possibly be this talented, but here we are, and Cooper is easily one of my top 5 or so actors of the moment.

Cooper also directs A Star is Born and helped write the script. It really is a monumental achievement as this movie is going to get heaps of Oscar nominations. The script may have roots in previous films, but the chemistry and complications of the two main characters feel entirely genuine and that is a credit to Cooper’s intimate, borderline invasive, direction as the camera is unrelentingly capturing their every vulnerable moment in extreme close up. This is particularly true of Jackson Maine as you see him absentmindedly interacting with the people around him while he’s clearly wrestling with the demons inside his own head. Until he meets Ally. Ally gets his whole attention.

And she will get yours too. Lady Gaga is a revelation. I’ve read that exact sentence about this movie quite a few times, but I don’t know how else to put it. She is absolutely remarkable. Gaga is an international superstar with over 26 million records sold. She’s as famous for being absurdly eccentric as she is for her music. And yet, she embodies Ally as a talented, but unremarkable nobody and is convincingly blown away by her newfound good fortune. It amazes me that the pop star confidently strutting around in a meat dress and the girl trying to work up the courage to step on stage in this movie can be the same person. I suppose Eminem did something similar with 8 Mile in 2002 when he was at the height of his popularity, but every moment of that movie felt like Eminem was simply playing Marshall Mathers. Ally is so far removed from how we perceive Lady Gaga that even though this movie may be semi-autobiographical it still feels like a transformative performance. Gaga is mesmerizing every moment of this movie. She will get an Oscar nomination and she seems like a favorite to win right now.

Andrew Dice Clay plays Ally’s father and Sam Elliott plays Jackson’s brother and both performances are noteworthy. There’s a scene where Elliott’s character comes at odds with Jackson and I could feel Elliott earning an Oscar nomination in that moment.

A Star is Born also happens to feature the best music of Lady Gaga’s career. “Shallow” and “Always Remember Us This Way” are amazing songs and the whole soundtrack ranges from good to incredible. Even the poppy “Why Did You Do That?” has its place and plays an important role in the course of the story. Gaga’s performances brought tears to my eyes no less than three times and even Bradley Cooper’s solo songs are quite enjoyable. That reminds me… the stage performances are incredibly shot. I’ve read that the crew shot the scenes during breaks of actual music festivals, so it’s no surprise how authentic it all seems… because they are real performances in front of real crowds.

Cooper plays an alcoholic in this movie and it really hit home with me. I’m over eight years dry now and I don’t attend meetings and I have fully rebounded from any lasting affect drinking had on my life. So most of me feels completely removed from that part of my life and the majority of the people in my life these days never even knew that side of me, my wife included. But a small part of me stays vigilant, reminding myself not to forget and not to get too confident in sobriety. I’m sure one of the worst mistakes I could ever make is to think I could possibly drink responsibly. Watching A Star is Born is the closest I’ve felt to my own personal hell in many years. It literally broke my heart watching Jackson Maine succumb to his disease. I thought the portrayal was incredibly authentic and every step of his evolution was something I could personally relate to. It’s amazing how walled off you can be to the damage you are causing to those around you.

It’s been a while since a film affected me the way A Star is Born did. It’s easily my favorite film of 2018 and, glancing at my Top 10 lists, might be the best movie I’ve seen in years. This movie really has it all. It’s an absolute must watch that may end up being viewed as a true classic a few years down the road.

Replay Value: I’ve seen it twice already and liked it even more the second time. My wife still hasn’t seen it and I’d be happy to watch it a third time in theaters with her. I will definitely be buying this movie.

Sequel Potential: No direct sequel potential, but since this is at least the fourth iteration of this film, future versions are clearly likely.

Oscar Potential: Tons. Here are your locks for nominations: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Original Song, and Best Sound Mixing. The movie is also drawing live at Best Supporting Actor (for Sam Elliott), Best (Adapted?) Screenplay, Best Original Music Score, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing, Best Makeup, Best Production Design, and maaaaaaaaybe Best Costume Design. It’s basically drawing live at a nom in every possible category and could challenge the record of 14 total nominations. I’m not sure exactly how Best Original Song works, but if one film can get multiple nominations I expect this one to get at least three in that category alone. This movie will win Best Original Song, but I’m not sure for which song. My personal vote would be for “Shallow.” I will be surprised if someone tops Lady Gaga’s performance in this movie and I can’t imagine rooting for anyone else come Oscar night. This is also my clear favorite for Best Picture at the moment.

Dina Meter: I think the second half of this movie is a bit challenging, but I will be pretty shocked if my wife doesn’t fall in love with this movie and if it doesn’t bring her to tears.

9/10 (Phenomenal)

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Tons of Movie Reviews!!

October 7, 2018

I am so far behind on movie reviews it is ridiculous. I haven’t posted thoughts on a movie since before I left for Vegas in late May, so… my list of movies I’ve seen and haven’t rated is quite long. Some of these will be difficult to write since it has been months since I’ve seen them. I’m going to make these quick in the spirit of catching up and starting fresh.

Hellfest (2018) – This was really dumb. I can write a long list of what sucked about this movie, so I’ll just say what I liked: the ending was actually kind of cool. (3/10 – Bad)

White Boy Rick (2018) – Based on true events, White Boy Rick’s story is worthy of being shared. Dude that played WBR was solid and Matthew McConaughey was a scene-stealer in the dad role. I enjoyed it. (6/10 – Fun)

Searching (2018) – I absolutely loved it. Searching manages to tell a compelling mystery through nothing but social media, computer apps, and surveillance cameras – it’s actually quite mind-boggling how well it is all pulled off. I was entranced by the story as it kept me guessing and intrigued, even though I did pick up on some huge clues on my first viewing. John Cho was solid in the lead role, giving the best performance of his career. I think this is a must see and I enjoyed it again when I saw it a second time, but for what it’s worth, both people I saw it with the first time hated it. (8/10 – Must See)

Terrifier (2018) – This is available on Netflix right now and if you enjoy horror movies where a potentially iconic villain terrorizes random people, then Art the Clown is your dude – he was phenomenal, giving Pennywise some legit contention for the most traumatizing clown title. This movie is gruesome beyond belief and highly entertaining if you’re into that sort of thing. Even the victims are less generic than your typical horror slasher. More Terrifier. More Art please. (7/10 – Highly Enjoyable)

Alpha (2018) – What starts off as a dreary tale of survival quickly turns into a story of what could be the first canine to become man’s best friend. This was definitely a feel good movie with some great visuals. It’s slow at times but ended up being much better than I thought it would be. (7/10 – Highly Enjoyable)

Crazy Rich Asians (2018) – This was good. A testament that racism and prejudice can exist even within the same ethnicity – in this case, a lower-to-middle class Chinese-American and, well, a “crazy rich” Chinese matriarch with cultural traditions as deep as her pockets. This movie was touching, sporadically funny, beautifully shot in jarring Singapore and has a solid breakout performance from rapper Awkwafina and strong performances from Constance Wu and Michelle Yeoh. A fun movie with tear-jerking potential. I recommend. (7/10 – Highly Enjoyable)

BlacKkKlansman (2018) – Another racially charged dramedy, this one’s a bit more poignant with Spike Lee’s adept filmmaking abilities in the director’s chair. A period piece, based on true events – or at least some “fo’ real fo’ real shit” – a cocky, black rookie police officer infiltrates the ranks of the Ku Klux Klan with the help of one of his fellow white officers. This movie is funny, disturbing and sad. Adam Driver is great. John David Witherspoon is fun. I really liked this movie but the lighthearted presentation takes away from the severity of it all. I wanted to feel something more and I think that’s what holds BlacKkKlansman back from being a truly great film. (7/10 – Highly Enjoyable)

The Meg (2018) – This was a fine monster shark movie, but it obviously doesn’t execute as well as Jaws did, or even last year’s 47 Meters Down. It’s not scary or particularly interesting but it’s reasonably entertaining. (5/10 – Decent)

Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018) – A great action flick. Tom Cruise and the M:I franchise keep plugging along, pumping out high quality popcorn entertainment. This movie has multiple phenomenal action sequences and Cruise’s Ethan Hunt has been cooler than James Bond for quite some time now. Superman was a good and formidable villain. This just might be the most entertaining movie I’ve seen in 2018. (8/10 – Must See)

The Death of Superman (2018) – This is the highly touted Superman vs Doomsday death match that DC comics got tons of attention for back in the early 90s brought to animated life on home video. I thought it was great. I forgot enough about the comic book arc that it all seemed pretty fresh to me, particularly the involvement of the Justice League. Also, Clark and Lois have some iconic moments. A must watch for comic book fans. (7/10 – Highly Enjoyable)

Teen Titans Go! to the Movies (2018) – Unfortunately, the reviews for this movie make it seem way better than it actually was. Yeah, there’s a lot of meta humor going on here, but it is overshadowed by sheer stupidity. I had a number of examples of upsetting moments after watching it that escape me now… months later… but this was a tough watch for an adult fan of DC comics. (3/10 – Bad)

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) – Jurassic World was enjoyable to me but any hope that this franchise has found new life is quickly destroyed by this terrible sequel. It is laughably bad at times and utterly ridiculous throughout its duration. I desperately want this franchise to succeed because the concept of dinosaurs in the modern world is awesome, but this is the third legitimately bad movie in five tries. The setup for the next one is intriguing, but this movie jumped the shark and there are threats of worse things to come. (3/10 – Bad)

Upgrade (2018) – A high-tech revenge thriller reminiscent of Robocop, Upgrade sees a Regular Joe get some A.I. assistance after getting crippled by criminals and turns himself into a super-powered vigilante. I actually thought the film was walking a very predictable path and it ended up surprising me. Decent enough story with fine acting and great action sequences, this was a solid action flick with a sci-fi twist. (6/10 – Fun)

Baby Driver (2017) – The opening sequence of this movie had me thinking it might end up being a classic. Alas, this was the highlight of the film and everything that followed kind of paled in comparison. Still, I really liked Baby Driver. It had some awesome driving scenes, a fun and stylish tone, charismatic and likable characters, and solid performances, particularly from Ansel Elgort in the lead role. There has been a lot of praise for the soundtrack and music does play a massive role in the film, but I wasn’t blown away by the song selections. This movie is a blast and I’m calling it a must see but it falls a bit short of a true classic. (8/10 – Must See)

Batman & Harley Quinn (2017) – Animated Batman movies are on a cold stretch. This one doesn’t help matters at all. Poison Ivy and some green dude I’ve never heard of are the main foils and the world’s greatest detective inexplicably needs Harley Quinn’s assistance in tracking them down. This movie has more musical numbers than cool Batman moments. It does, however, have a one night stand between Harley and Nightwing. I’m not positive, but this could be the worst Bat-Project Kevin Conroy has been involved with. (2/10 – Horrible)

Truth or Dare (2017) – This is basically Final Destination meets “Fear Factor.” I’m a horror fan but self-mutilation? I’m good. This was bad enough that I would have been okay not finishing it. (2/10 – Horrible)

Note: I thought Truth or Dare came out in 2018. Well, it did. This one I watched and reviewed is the Truth or Dare currently streaming on Netflix, not the theatrical release from Blumhouse earlier this year. So… I guess there’s more of this in my future.

Creep (2014) – A unique take on found footage horror, Creep has comic actor Mark Duplass (“The League”) playing against type as a dying man that hires a filmmaker to videotape his last days, but slowly unveils himself to be… something else. Unsettling and surprising, with a GREAT performance from Duplass, Creep is a must see thriller. (8/10 – Must See)

Creep 2 (2017) – A very worthy sequel to the original that I can’t say much about without spoiling the first film, but it manages to both raise the stakes and find keep things original, all while keeping the same tense and ominous tone. Of course, Duplass is once again fantastic. A solid second entry in an overlooked and surprising franchise. (7/10 – Highly Enjoyable)

Would You Rather (2012) – This is basically the same quality of horror and concept of Truth or Dare, except this time actual humans are enforcing the game. I like to throw low brow horror flicks on when I’m going to bed so I end up watching stuff like this occasionally… but you don’t have to. (3/10 – Bad)