Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: BABY DRIVER

If John Wick Chapter 2 was the coolest movie of the beginning of the year, BABY DRIVER is unarguably the coolest movie of the summer. It’s not only one of the year’s best films (right under John Wick 2 in fact), but the fact is that if you are reading my review, and don’t go see it in a theater with an incredible atmosphere and sound, then you should probably never go to the movies again (unless you have a great excuse like you’re old or you have kids). If you don’t see Baby Driver, you frankly cannot say that you are a movie lover. Because it is a crime to not see this film. Baby Driver is 100% great with absolutely no flaws whatsoever. Great story, great acting, great characters, great shots, great camera work, great dialogue, great soundtrack, great action, great unexpected surprises, great ending, great everything. It’s one of those movies that won’t just be commercially successful but will also be considered a classic many years down the line. It is also Edgar Wright’s best film hands down. Yes, better than Hot Fuzz and Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World.

Baby Driver is a movie that you won’t be able to stop talking about. You won’t be able to stop talking about how the entire movie is basically choreographed to the music that Baby listens too. You won’t be able to stop talking about the action sequences. You won’t be able to stop talking about the great villains this film has. You won’t be able to stop talking about certain deaths and surprises on who the true villains are. You won’t be able to stop talking about the dialogue and our hero and his lady. You won’t be able to stop talking about the excellent soundtrack (tied this year with Guardians Vol. 2). The only time you will stop talking is when you are actually watching the movie.

Anyone who ruins any of the surprises this film has to offer should be bitched slapped…hard…and twice. From the trailer it looks like you might know where the film may go, and you might hear yourself in the film going “ah ha, I know where that will lead.” But you don’t. Not even close. The trailer doesn’t even come close to selling the awesomeness that is this movie. At my screening, their were many gasps, laughs, “oh my God’s” and everyone applauded at the end. This is a star making performance for Ansel Egort and Lily James has never been better either. Kevin Spacey completely rocks the socks off Wright’s dialogue, Eiza Gonzalez steals the scenes in which she has something to say, and even though Jon Berenthal isn’t in the film much, his character makes an everlasting impression.

But let’s talk about Jamie Fox and Jon Hamm. Holy Hammer of Thor, do these two gives their best performances. Jamie Fox makes an incredible villain that you will love to hate and keep begging that the movie gives him some sort of comeuppance. Jon Hamm also goes against type here as well as one of the criminals that Baby has to drive around, and Hamm really really shines when he is angry and has some revenge on his mind. There is a saying that a movie is fantastic if it can bring memorable villains that are equal to the hero’s and neither outshines each other during the course of the runtime. This is that perfect movie that balances all of that to a tee.

And the pacing of this film is masterful. It’s almost two hours and everything just clicks, clicks, clicks together like a perfect puzzle piece. The romance is just as interesting to watch as the action sequences and that is hard for a lot of movies to pull off. Baby Driver is a straight up masterpiece. It’s a film I could watch over and over without ever getting bored. I couldn’t use it just as background noise because I would end up watching the whole thing and not getting any chores done at home. But you need to see this. Actually, you HAVE to. Preferably at a Alamo drafthouse but if not, a theater that has good sound and people won’t talk or text during it. Everything about this movie is cool. Cool Cool Cool.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: BEATRIZ AT DINNER

BEATRIZ AT DINNER is the 2nd film in a couple of weeks to break what I call the cardinal sin in filmmaking. And it does it again during the climax, and brings us an ending that is not as strong or memorable. Ugh, but if you want to read me bitching about this “cardinal sin” over and over again read my review for 47 Meters Down, because I’m tired of talking about it. What is really frustrating is that this film was written by Mike White, who has done great things along with films such as School of Rock and Orange County. Instead of bringing great dialogue, original ideas, and a really engaging story, here he brings us very plain words, a not so original political debate and a ho-hum story, albeit with some great performances.

Basically to some up the plot is that this rich family has this really grand personal dinner with close and wealthy friends/business people, and their lower class medical practitioner (played by Selma Hayek), who is giving the wife a massage earlier in the afternoon, her car breaks down and the wife invites her to stay for dinner until a friend can arrive so that she doesn’t have to pay an insane amount of money for a tow. Needless to say the medical practitioner is a little weird and clashes with one of the guests (played by John Lithgow) because he is a shady business enterepeneur.

Selma Hayek is fantastic in this and it is probably one of her best acting roles of her career. And John Lithgow is fantastic as always. It’s just that this movie is so bland. If you are going to have one of those movies where the film takes place in an enclosed area and you are going to have the story played out in conversations, those conversations better be pretty damn interesting. Alas, the conversations in this movie are not. Very bland and uninteresting. Hayek complains about stuff, and she leaves the room, she comes back and complains again, and leaves the room. Nothing really truly escalates to the point where it needs to escalate.

And the ending could’ve salvaged some of the film, but instead of taking it where it needed to go, it took it in a completely bizarre, unwarranted, and unearned ending. Combine that with the cardinal sin of filmmaking and you just have a very forgettable mediocre piece of film that amounts to absolutely nothing. A character does something right before the movie cuts to end credits that was so bizarre and unearned and full of cowardice that I have a feeling that Mike White completely pulled it out of his ass because he had no better way to end the film. I’ll tell you the better way, the better way would’ve been to have that cardinal sin be real. You’ll know what I mean if you ever see this movie.

But in the end, I don’t recommend that you ever see this movie. This is a talkie movie where the talk sucks and makes you want to go to sleep. Where great performances are left to die, desperately wanting to be in other and better films. And it’s a shame because Mike White is a really good screenwriter. He wanted to do a dark comedy, but the the comedy that there is is small, and the dark part of it is unearned. I was going to rate It Comes At Night the most mediocre film of the year, but perhaps I was too early to call that type of judgment. Because I would certainly watch that film again before I ever would this one. Blandest of the bland.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE HERO

I think director’s love taking the actor/actress that hasn’t worked or done anything halfway decent in a long long time and using that one comeback movie to show audiences how excellent that person had been once upon a time. Tarantino did it for Travolta for Pulp Fiction. Darren Aranofsky did it for Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler. And just recently Alejandro did it for Keaton in Birdman. Not Brett Haley is doing it for Sam Elliot in THE HERO. Sam Elliot is basically one of the three names that you associate with Western other than Eastwood and Wayne. And what’s funny about this movie is that he is basically playing an actor, now just a memory that was a bonafide Western star back in his day. But Sam Elliott is incredible in this…but the movie is only really okay, serving up way too many cliches for the film to be considered fantastic.

Which is a shame because there are parts in this film that are really great. Nick Offerman as Elliot’s buddy from long ago drug dealer is good. Krysten Ritter as Elliot’s estranged daughter is good. Laura Pepron as Elliot’s love interest is good. The acting in this is 150% solid. But let us count the cliches: 1. Elliot’s character is looking for work and roles to get him out of his acting funk. 2. He wasn’t there for his family when he was younger and is still making mistakes with them now. 3. A deadly diagnosis. 4. A start at redemption. 5. A possible way to get back major into the business. And at 90 minutes, some of these cliches keep the film from having a balance of pace.

There are a couple of unexpected things that happen including the ending, but I just don’t feel like it was enough to save the film from being a pretty damn good one time watch…and then completely forgetting about it a year from now. I did buy Prepon’s character, so much younger than him, being attracted to him and caring about him, I just wish that their interactions went a little deeper than the cliched conversations about age and dying.

Not much to say about this film as it is really pretty short and saying anything else would tell you what happens during the entire movie, and I am not one to do that. If you are a huge fan of Sam Elliot and the stuff that he does I would totally recommend trying to see this film at least once because Elliot does go out of his comfort zone to deliver something extraordinary. Other than that, if are are bored and see this at a Redbox or maybe on Netflix, you wouldn’t be wasting your time, but afterwards you’d probably never watch it again.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: TRANSFORMERS – THE LAST KNIGHT

There is so much to say about this film I don’t even know where to start. I think I’ll start by saying that people need to stop bitching about Zack Snyder. Although people think Zack Snyder is a sub par director who only knows how to shoot action and doesn’t care about storyline, plot, acting, etc., etc., etc., need to shift their focus to director Michael Bay.  Snyder is at least trying. Batman V Superman doesn’t even really have all that much action in it. He tried he best to tell a interesting tale about two clashing superhero’s and to many people he failed spectacularly. Bay doesn’t care about anything except shots and what looks cool? Good acting? Fuck it. Good story? Fuck it. Logistics? Fuck it. Realism? Fuck it. That should be Bay’s motto, “fuck it.” At least it should be for the Transformers films. Why he keeps doing them is beyond me, especially since after everyone he says he’s done but ends up coming back anyway. He has only done two original films since the first Transformers film back a decade ago, Pain & Gain and 13 Hours, which those are actually halfway decent. I just think Paramount is afraid to hire anyone else because they are afraid that no one can shoot action like him. Paramount, forget the fucking action and bring us a cool entertaining story. Because with each Transformers sequel, Bay just keeps remaking the first film over and over again. Cinematic, STD bukake that just doesn’t work anymore. TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT, while better than Age of Extinction and Revenge of the Fallen, is still a colossal sized piece of shit.

I am going to explain the plot to you like I would to a five year old, without getting into any specifics, and I will have described each Transformers film: Some object/weapon/thing/what-have-you can either help Earth or destroy it, whether it is in the hands of the Autobots or Decepticons. Yep. That’s about it. Do I need to explain to you that the object this time is an alien staff that was supposedly used by fucking Merlin in Medieval times? Nope. And if you laughed thinking about that, you had the same reaction I had watching it unfold in the theater. Bay even has Merlin be a drunkard that talks like a 17 year old trying to score some smack in a side alley next to his local 7-11. Do I need to tell you that Mark Wahlberg is picked by an ancient Transformer to be the last Knight to help find this staff and save Earth? Nope. Did you laugh at that too? Or that his love interest in this film is a woman that happens to be a direct descendant of Merlin that is the only human that can touch and wield the staff? Now you have probably keeled over in your chair laughing. Combine all that with drones that are a complete rip off of Tie Fighters in the Star Wars films, a butler droid to Anthony Hopkins character that is a sociopathic rip off of C-3P0 from the Star Wars Films (at least they do admit this in the film), and some kind of Transformer submarine that finds a giant alien ship in the ocean that for some reason nobody has ever found, with a finale that wait, get this, takes place mostly in the air instead of the ground this time, and you have Transformers 5.

It truly is laughable. But what is also interesting is that Bay cannot excite me with his action shots anymore. With this film and the last, I have actually almost nodded off several times, looking at my watch, desperate for this movie to end. Sure, everything looks very pretty. I do not deny that Michael Bay knows how to shoot stuff and make everything very pretty. But that is all he can do. Bay is not a storyteller. He is a commercial hack director that only cares about style over substance, and that the style eventually leads to a hefty paycheck. There are rumors that he might direct Bad Boys 3, and while I love what he did with 1 and 2, this time, I hope that the studio finds someone else.

This is all over the place. Especially with false marketing too. The early previews made it seem like it was going to tell a new story about a young orphaned girl that had a cute little sidekick broken Transformer that went along the entire ride, a new heroine, and that Mark Wahlberg would just be along for the ride to add some familiarity to the Transformers universe. Wrong. It starts out that way, but then the girl is abandoned for the rest of the film, until the very end when her little sidekick robot is really needed, and the film becomes entirely Mark Wahlberg’s. And Mark Wahlberg does what he can with the script. I am sure he was just doing this movie as a favor because him and Bay are like really good buddies now. But even though Wahlberg does what he can, he still looks like he doesn’t want to be there. John Tutorro is also in the film for absolutely no reason whatsoever other than to add familiarity to the project, Wahlberg’s love interest played by Laura Haddock, is just ass and cleavage eye candy to Michael Bay’s camera, and Josh Duhamel is trying to save his career even though someone needs to tell him it’s already over.

You can’t distinguish any of the Transformers between one another because they all have the same fucking personality. Even Optimus Prime sucks now. And by the way, he’s hardly in the film either until the very end. Bumblebee is the only interesting Transformer anymore and they are probably going to ruin it with this projected spin off. Now I need to get to Anthony Hopkins, who just gave us an incredible performance in Westworld. What the fuck was in Hopkins brain when he decided to take on this role, I have no idea, but he looks like he was smoking crack throughout the whole thing, and the only one that looked like he was having nonsensical fun on the set. Yelling at people, cursing like a sailor, and just being weird, Anthony Hopkins was the only half way entertaining part about Transformers.

And what the fuck is with the marketing calling this the end of the Bay franchise? It did look like the wrapped everything up, and I signed with happiness, until a after credit sequence completely fucked everything up to make it seem like there will be another sequel and that Bay might just suck it up and do it again because, “it is his baby.” Does Bay not realize that every single ending of his film is the same? Where the object that both the Autobots and Decpticons want is in the little area and there is this battle to get to that area and steal that object. It’s the exact same ending as Dark of the Moon, except that it is in the sky and not in the ground.

Transformers: The Last Knight is a terrible fucking movie. Terrible. It rapes all of childhood’s over and over again, and Michael Bay is just laughing as he fucks us all to death.  He thinks he is fucking us pretty but instead we don’t even blow the rape whistle anymore because we are THAT bored with it. I can’t believe Hasbro keep endorsing his shit. But then again, they endorsed the God awful, Battleship movie, so I guess if the money keep coming in they’ll endorse whatever makes money. Fuck you Michael Bay. Fuck you.

Just escape the cubicle already

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