Coco #moviereview

Dia de los Muertos is a tradition enjoyed by many in the latin culture. It allows those among the living to remember those who have passed on. It also carries a hope that the spirits of the ancestors might visit the living to see their family still remembers them (which may provide some level of comfort for them in the afterlife). Also (for the living) it provides additional time to mourn the loss of family, grieve and possibly laugh and smile as stories are told recounting the cherished moments of time once spent together. So, does “Coco” deliver on the customs and traditions of this culturally important holiday or should we send this film off into the movie afterlife to only be forgotten? Let’s dive in and take a look in this review.

images

The design of this story is vibrant. It’s a colorful journey that explores the land of the living as well as the land of the dead. The two worlds don’t look identical either which makes for a pleasant visual experience at the movies. Normal life is a bit subdued with more plain tones, like tans, browns, etc. The afterlife is bright reds, greens, orange and more. The worlds are easily identifiable to us as viewers which made the overall presentation of this film enjoyable.

COCO-RGB_c041_41a_pub.pub16.565-1150x482

The story (in typical Pixar fashion) does pull, or attempts to pull, at your heart strings. The overall message seemed to revolve around family. We must love and cherish the family we have and the family we had. We must be understanding and supportive of each other while also still seeking out the blessings of our loved ones if we are to follow our hearts into unfamiliar avenues. The driving message of this film revolves around family and it does so quite well.

COCO

The movie doesn’t conclude as strongly as it begins unfortunately. It’s a boy who wants to be a musician but his family forbids it due to his great great grandfather leaving the family for life as an artist. So, instead of music, his family makes shoes. So the boy sets out on a journey to “seize his moment” and become the guitar player and singer that his great great grandfather was. And the whole movie revolves around him trying to be a musician, and his family saying no. Even after he finds his way into the land of the dead, his dead family doesn’t want him to have a life in music. For more than a single reason, he needs their blessing to follow his passion. By the end of the film we discover that his family is not who he thought they were and shoes are not the only means in which they’ll now be making money. However, the story of family, pursuing your dreams and honoring the dead suddenly takes a back seat to karma. The ending pivots and takes the movie in a completely different direction. The ending shows us that all will be made right in the end, and even death is not the great finale. However, death after death is possibly the very end? This was the emotional part of the film that punched most of the people in the movie right in the feels. I was too busy thinking about where this story was going and how we got to this shift in story.

Coco

Coco” is in theaters now! I’m gonna recommend a big screen viewing for this film. While the ending felt separate from the story of a boy wanting to be a musician and needing his families blessing, everything leading up to that moment is great fun and worth while. In all, by the time the credits rolled, it felt like this story wanted to tell more than it was able to and because of that I left the theater slightly perplexed on what story specifically they wanted to tell. However, the musical numbers and the score are entertaining and there are some heartfelt moments sprinkled throughout. I enjoyed a few hearty laughs. Also, definitely keep your eyes on the visual design of Miguel as he travels through the land of the dead and becomes more translucent. The attention paid to his transformation was impressive and the team responsible for his transformation deserves a high five. Check this film out (maybe even in 3D)!

coco-pixar

“Daddy’s Home 2” #moviereview

The boys are back in town and they are full of holiday cheer. Christmas is fast approaching and the dads, step dads and grandads are all coming together to make this Christmas one to be remembered. So, does “Daddy’s Home 2” deliver a festive and humorous Christmas tale or is this film being put on the naughty list? Let’s dive in and take a look in this review.

images-1

It’s been two years since “Daddy’s Home” and while the story leads us to believe there’s been some improvements or changes to the relationships between dad/step dad, it didn’t come across on screen. Dusty came across as someone who needs anger management because he seemed to be repressing anger instead of dealing with the issues. Brad felt more confident but only until an actual issue arises in which case he reverts back to who he was in the first film. So, in all, the two leads didn’t do much to show that any time had passed between stories. However, for the majority of the film they did get along better than the original.

daddys2-newtrailer

The introduction of new characters wasn’t great either but I believe the writers weren’t focusing on the introduction of the grand fathers as much as they were trusting that we’d get to know their personalities as the movie unfolds. On a positive note, the onscreen chemistry between Mel Gibson and John Lithgow was a delight. In fact, as I watched the story I wanted to see a spin off film of just those two. They are polar opposites in personality type and it worked when they were on screen together. We also get to see that by the end of the film, a spin off story might be possible. I’d even be fine with a short feature of 30 minutes or less before “Daddy’s Home 3” if that gets made.

08-daddys-home-2.w710.h473

Daddy’s Home 2” is in theaters now! This film has so much Christmas in it that if you want a comedic look at dude parenting in the modern world this might be a fun holiday movie to see in a room full of strangers. There’s plenty of Christmas movie tropes as well. Walking through forests for the perfect tree, Christmas light decorating gone wrong, and even a Christmas musical number at the end that talks about the meaning of… going to the movies at Christmas? Yup. That happens. A short Public Service Announcement about the importance of movie watching at Christmas. That aside, I had more than enough laughs and I was reminded of the importance of not allowing just anyone to adjust the thermostat. Check it out!

daddys-home-2-slice-600x200

“A Bad Mom’s Christmas” #moviereview

It’s been one year since we last spent time with three mothers who are trying to balance their schedule, their kids schedule and everything else involved in being a modern day mom. The Christmas season is in full swing for these ladies (and their families) when one surprise after another occurs ushering in new challenges and obstacles leading up to Christmas. So, does “A Bad Mom’s Christmas” deliver on the merriment and ho ho ho’ing we’d expect as a sequel or is this film getting coals in its stocking? Let’s dive in and take a look in this review.

images

This story over delivers on Christmas. In fact, there’s so much Christmas in this movie I’m surprised it was released as early as it was. This film might have enjoyed more positive feedback had they released it after Thanksgiving or the first weekend in December when there won’t be much competition (if any) for new movies. However, a more appropriate release date won’t do much for a drab, predictable and overly decedent film about Christmas gone off the rails. The biggest issue I had were the moments where the ladies are unhinged. The entire scene at the Mall where they’re getting drunk and partying felt so out of place in this movie. However, the bar scene where they’re watching male strippers dressed as Santa compete in a “dance off” felt appropriate for the characters. So, the wild and zany moments the girls have to relieve the stress of being a modern mom did and did not work. In short, the writing wasn’t great for this film. It’s unbalanced and predictable. I knew when a joke was being set up and what the punch line would be. I did enjoy a few laughs but the majority of this film left me with eye fatigue from one eye roll after another.

5952b4e1b90afb54eb324240_o_U_v0

The characters also felt more like caricatures. The leading ladies all represent a personality type and their mothers over exaggerate those personalities. If Amy, Kiki and Carla are the personification of stereotypes of modern moms, then Ruth, Isis and Sandy are the hyper exaggerated versions of their daughters. In all, the screen time is split between characters that felt authentic and cartoonish versions of the idea of what personality types might behave like. This was a mixed bag of enjoyable on screen interactions and noticeably terrible on screen chemistry.

a-bad-moms-christmas

A Bad Mom’s Christmas” is in theaters now. If you’re a drinker, female and need a girls night out this might be the film for you. Perhaps you hop into the group chat you have with your girlfriends and suggest dinner, drinks, this movie and then more drinks. It’s not a completely abysmal film because it did elicit some sniffles and tears from the girls that sat around me. Some of the points and themes of motherhood struck home with the ladies in the movie and for that I won’t completely disregard this film. It knew its demographic and was able to land a few key moments that paid off emotionally for the females around me. When I saw “Bad Mom’s” I was the only single guy in my showing. “A Bad Mom’s Christmas” I was the only dude in the theater. Gentlemen, you have been warned about this film. Enjoy the movie, ladies!

badmoms2

Coco, A Bad Moms Christmas, Daddy’s Home 2, Certified Rad, Cyber Monday & more this week!

via https://youtu.be/n2oMFgHC8dk

Justice League (Spoiler) Movie #review

It’s time to unite the seven or more accurately the 5 or 6 if we trust one hero won’t be dead the entire movie. At any rate, some of the biggest heroes that DC Comics and Warner Brothers has to offer are coming together on the big screen for the very first time. The production was troubled almost from the beginning as story after story appeared in the news signaling this long awaited film will be a disaster. So does “Justice League” offer up an entertaining story that will make fans of these characters happy or should these super friends have called in sick? Let’s dive in and take a look in this review.

Unknown

The story is brief but written in such a way that, surprisingly, it offers the viewers a chance to think for themselves without being spoon fed every single detail. We get backstories on each of the heroes and we understand (at least I was able to) their motivation for joining together to stop the villain. We are shown brief moments of bonding between the heroes as they become familiar with each other. Also, each hero has a moment to showcase their special ability and what they bring to the team. Finally, we get back story on the villain, his henchmen (the Parademons), and his motivation for world conquest. Each of the main characters is given enough screen time separate from the team to show us who they are and the world they come from. It’s quick paced but it was enough to get the point across in my opinion. However, because of these facts, we don’t get much character development which is a mark against the film. It’s the necessary information only and it worked for me, surprisingly, even though I would’ve enjoyed a bit more on Cyborg & Flash.

JusticeLeagueRooftop

The special effects and visual graphics in this movie are not great. They aren’t terrible either. Some moments, like Flash running so fast it looks slow motion, were done well I thought. The way Cyborgs body restructured itself depending on the situation or threat also looked believable. However, the end scene where the villain is defeated and a nuclear wasteland is suddenly transformed into a bizarre garden that looks like it was pulled from Tim Burton’s “Alice and Wonderland” movie was noticeably bad. Also, the big battle scene that takes place to describe who the villain is and why he’s on earth looked awful. However, in that scene we did get to see Amazons, Atlanteans, Humans, Greek Gods & a Green Lantern all fight together which was pretty nice for the comic fans like myself. The Green Lantern appearance was a great surprise and I loved that Easter egg. That alone though is not enough to save the film from the bad visual effects that are prevalent from almost beginning to end.

Justice-League-Ben-Affleck-Batman-Gal-Gadot-Wonder-Woman-F

In all, this film felt like they envisioned 130% of the story and delivered 75-80% on screen. As I watched the plot unfold I felt like the writers had written back stories on back stories and then edited everything down to just a basic understanding of the overall concepts. I imagine the conversation sounding something along the lines of, “We have 5 hours of incredible story written down… here’s all of that in a tweet.” Ok, maybe that’s a gross exaggeration on my part but I do believe the story had so much more depth than what we get on screen. I’m curious to see the “Extended” edition once it’s available on BLU-Ray.

Screen-Shot-2017-03-27-at-9.47.47-AM-e1490634281733

Justice League” is in theaters now! I am going to recommend you see this on the big screen. It’s a quick paced, brief story, that delivers on the basic concept of bad guy fights good guys and loses. That is not to suggest the manner in which the villain is defeated is ordinary. One positive, if not my favorite, aspect of the movie was the clever method used by the writers to end this movie. After battling the Justice League (individually and collectively) it’s the bad guys own fear that sends him reeling back to his home planet surrounded by his minions who feed on fear. I loved the fact the good guys didn’t beat the larger and more powerful villain by sheer force & number. Instead, the villain beat himself. It was quite poetic. I definitely give credit for creative story telling and surprising us with an offbeat ending that definitely worked. Also, some of the humor in this movie really lands well. Go see this film and stay for TWO post credit scenes!

8fe06b63f5d4eb93e735c4eec19557c82f91b9eb

Murder On the Orient Express – Movie #review

The worlds greatest detective is about to enjoy a brief moment of rest aboard a train headed to London, or so he thinks. While on board a murder occurs and everyone is a suspect while Detective Hercule Poirot must solve the crime before it’s too late. Does “Murder on the Orient Express” deliver a thought provoking “whodunnit” mystery or does this story veer off on the wrong track? Let’s dive in and take a look in this SPOILER review.

murder1

This film asks a lot from the audience and gives little back in return. First, we’re asked to believe there’s a French version of Sherlock Holmes with a mustache that would’ve made Lemmy Kilmister jealous. Second, we’re asked to tolerate one bad foreign accent after another for almost 2 hours. Thirdly, we’re asked to give a Johnny Depp performance one more chance. Finally, we’re asked to care about a group of people we get to know almost nothing about until the third act of the film. It’s in the conclusion of the film we learn why everyone is important but by then it’s almost too late.

murder-on-the-orient-express-df-11676_r_rgb_copy_-_h_2017

The overall story isn’t about a murder. It isn’t even about all the people in the movie. It’s actually about the detective and his method of solving crimes. This is a very important bit of information to have if you decide to watch this either at home or the theater. I will give credit to the fact they made this key element front and center at the very beginning of the film. I realized the story will revolve about Hercule Poirot and his ability to see things as they are and as they will become. This method of story telling was actually one of the highlights for me from beginning to end. It felt similar to the new “Sherlock Holmes” movies with Robert Downey Jr, however, this was more lighthearted.

aca3911081bdfb79_murder-on-the-orient-express-DF-07207_rgb

Mostly, the talent in this film is all grade A talent, with the exception of Depp who is still struggling to find his voice in a role. Everyone plays their part well for the time they are on screen. As the film progresses we get a little bit more information about each character and their possible motivation for killing a man. However, we get to know so little about the people on the train it was difficult to invest any emotion or thought into them. It felt very surface level and thin and that was not what I was hoping for from this movie.

murder-on-the-orient-express-df-10636_r_rgb_1_copy_-_h_2017

Murder on the Orient Express” is in theaters now! There are so many other movies that are in theaters right now it’s difficult to recommend you spend your hard earned dollars or time on this particular story. I thought (at best) it’s an ok movie that doesn’t really go anywhere. However, the big reveal of everyone being guilty of murder was a surprise. Unfortunately, the moral of the movie felt like, if everyones guilty than nobody gets in the trouble. Poirot tells the murders that in order for him to stay silent about the crime they’ll need to kill him. They try but it was all a set up because he only wanted to see if they were capable of killing again, or if the murder they committed on the train was a one time deal. After he realizes they’re willing to try and kill again, he says goodbye and leaves the train at the next stop and let’s the murders get away. If you’re confused right now, I’m relaying the plot points of the movie accurately. Go see “Thor Ragnarok” instead of this movie.

screen-shot-2017-09-21-at-9-05-21-am