Posts Tagged ‘james mcavoy’

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It: Chapter Two (2019)

September 6, 2019

It: Chapter Two (2019)

Director: Andy Muschietti (It, Mama)

Starring: Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, James Ransone, Bill Skarsgard

Anticipation Level: High

How Was It? Honestly, the only thing that kept my anticipation level below epic levels was the initial reactions of the critics. A 71% favorable rating on Rotten Tomatoes wasn’t what I was hoping for. Still, I absolutely adored the first movie and while It (2017) may not be the horror classic I initially made it out to be, it at least deserves to be mentioned with the best genre flicks of the last several years.

The audiences seem to be loving Chapter Two and Twitter is going pretty crazy over this movie – especially over Bill Hader’s performance – but I’m going to make a prediction right now: in 2-3 years, everyone is going to realize this movie wasn’t very good. Think about Avengers: Age of Ultron. Most people liked it when it first came out. I even gave it a favorable review. Nowadays, it’s rare to find anyone that liked it and most agree it’s one of the weakest installments in the MCU. I have a feeling It: Chapter Two is going to follow a similar path. Everyone is overreacting now, maybe because they are in denial, and in a few years, this movie will be universally regarded as a dud.

Because… it’s a serious slog. I can’t imagine someone being genuinely entertained by this for three straight hours. It’s soooooo long and the running time seems to be born more out of ego than out of necessity – like director Andy Muschietti and the studio think they can get away with making this some horror epic because the first movie was so successful. I mean… they are probably right. Chapter Two will probably do big business, but I think the length and drop in quality will hurt its legs over the long run and I’d be surprised if it outgrosses the first movie.

I think the biggest problem with this movie is the source material. When I revisited the novel in 2017, I was surprised at how weak the story gets when I got to the adult portion of the book as I’ve always regarded It as one of the best novels I’ve ever read. It’s just not good. I actually think the filmmakers did a laudable job of adapting King’s work in Chapter Two and I like some of the changes they made – it’s funnier and the characters are way less annoying than in the novel. For instance, I couldn’t stand the adult Richie Tozier but Bill Hader makes him the highlight of the film in Chapter Two. Actually, the casting of the adult characters is pretty solid overall. Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy seemed like perfect casting, but honestly, no one is going to remember the adult versions of Beverly or Bill in this movie. Hader and James Ransone (as adult Eddie) are great though. If it weren’t for them, this movie would be completely forgettable. They arguably save the whole thing and make it worth watching.

The biggest problem with Chapter Two is that the kids made the book and the kids made the movie in the 2017 film. The adult story just isn’t nearly as good. Muschietti seems to understand that and I think that’s why we get a three hour movie here: the kids get a lot of screen time and it doesn’t really help the movie… it just makes it unnecessarily longer. With that said, any time young Eddie or young Richie are on screen it is usually a good thing. Those two characters and actors are the heart and soul of these movies.

When it comes down it, I just didn’t enjoy this movie. I guess it was okay. Maybe it will even grow on me over time because I’m so dissatisfied right now. I think it would have been a tough watch as a two hour movie and it’s an hour longer than that! I was pretty forgiving of some of the questionable CGI in the first film – mostly because the actual movie was so good – but it’s harder to ignore here. I just don’t have a lot of good things to say about Chapter Two other than praising the performances of Bill Hader and James Ransone.

Obviously, everyone is still going to go see this… especially if they loved the first one like I did. So I won’t tell you not to watch it, but don’t be surprised if you walk out feeling disappointed.

Replay Value: I’m a horror buff, so I’ll still be adding this to my movie collection… and I’ll watch it again… I’ve seen a lot of bad horror movies multiple times… but none that are three hours long!

Sequel Potential: If this movie crushed, I wouldn’t put it past Hollywood to write a sequel that doesn’t exist as a novel.

Oscar Potential: BILL HADER FOR BEST ACTOR! Yeah right. He has NO chance. I thought he was great in this, but that is crazy talk.

5/10 (Decent)

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Split (2017), Kubo & The Two Strings (2016), The Nice Guys (2016), The Infiltrator (2016), The Witch (2016)

February 1, 2017

The list of movies I’ve seen and haven’t reviewed is starting to pile up, so I’m just gonna post some quick ones to wipe my slate clean.

Split (2017) – This was a different movie experience for me. While I was waiting in line at the concession stand one of the guys working there said something to another customer that he thought was innocent but it totally spoiled Split for me and it completely changed how I viewed the film. Rather than going in with no expectations other than that M. Knight Shyamalan was almost certainly going to throw us his trademark curveball, I went in with a good idea what that “twist” was going to be and I honestly can’t imagine how much it would have changed my experience if I didn’t have an idea where the story was headed the whole time. Still, even with that massive spoiler, I found Split to be very entertaining. James McAvoy does phenomenal work as Kevin, the antagonist that suffers from multiple personalities and kidnaps three young girls. The film is tense and scary, but still manages to provide laughs despite the incredibly dark subject matter. Along with The Visit in 2015, it seems as though Shyamalan has finally righted the ship after putting out a string of films that are among the worst of the past decade. Split was very enjoyable, despite the annoying spoiler, and I’d recommend it to anyone that enjoys suspense thrillers.

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

The Nice Guys (2016) – This was one of the most surprising and entertaining 2016 films I’ve seen. Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling star as scummy P.I. types in the 1970s that team up together to track down a missing girl related to a murder surrounding a porn film. The two actors have great chemistry together and Gosling, in particular, is fantastic playing against type as a bumbling idiot and provides a number of laughs. The real star of the film is Angourie Rice, who plays Gosling’s 13 year old daughter and she can’t help but immerse herself in the case and shows a maturity level far beyond her age – she’s the heart and soul of a film where the two leads are morally challenged. With few notable credits to her name before this movie, it’s safe to say Angourie will be getting a lot of calls now and the next step is playing Betty Brant in this year’s Spider-Man: Homecoming. To date, The Nice Guys rates as the best comedy of 2016 and one of my favorite films of the year.

7.5/10 (Highly Enjoyable/Must See)

Kubo and The Two Strings (2016) – This was an entertaining and funny animated adventure that finds a young boy on a mystical journey while trying to avoid his mother’s evil family. The animation is gorgeous and there are memorable characters, but Kubo doesn’t quite reach special levels of awesome. Still, a fun film that is definitely recommended for families.

6/10 (Recommended)

The Infiltrator (2016) – Bryan Cranston crushes another role, this time as a U.S. Customs officer that goes undercover to infiltrate Pablo Escobar’s drug empire. It was fun seeing Cranston play it straight and then get grimy when he went undercover. Cranston has had a couple of low profile roles the last few years, but did some great work in the movies, even getting nominated for his work in Trumbo. While that might have been the better role, The Infiltrator was a lot more fun to watch.

6.5/10 (Recommended/Highly Enjoyable)

The Witch (2016) – This horror movie from early 2016 got a lot of favorable reviews, but I struggled through it. The pacing was a really slow burn and the pay off wasn’t satisfying enough to justify it. I thought it was kind of confusing and not all that scary, but I didn’t hate it either – there was definitely some solid suspense going on. Anya Taylor-Joy was fun to watch in the lead role and she seems to be carving out a genre niche. Plus, the idea of Black Phillip was pretty cool. Still, I wouldn’t recommend this movie unless you’re a horror fan, and even then, prepare for a slow, not incredibly interesting or particularly scary movie.

4.5/10 (Forgettable/Watchable)