All posts by Zach A.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE

The first thirty minutes of THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE plays out like The Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie. Zany fun, with some dry humor, huge sight and sound gags, and very smart storytelling. Then when that thirty minutes is over, it skids into a tad boring film that is less about ninjas and what they do into a cliched parent neglect and redemption story. A story you’ve seen a thousand times before done by better films. If the Lego humor was still there, it could’ve worked, but ultimately, it was a little disappointing. I think if it would’ve entirely focused on Ninjas with an actual Ninja like storyline, instead of the father son thing while trying to take over a city, it might’ve been another Lego hit. Instead, it is my least favorite of the Lego movies, and one that will probably never enter the Blu ray player again. But I have a kid now so I might have just eaten my words in three years.

The voice acting in this is incredible though. Dave Franco and his team of Ninjas played by the likes of Abba Jacobson and Kumail Nanjiani, all do great work in this. So does Olivia Munn as Lloyd’s mom and Jackie Chan (who is in the flesh here as well and is just as charming as ever) as their Ninja master. But it is the villain, Garmadon, voiced by Justin Theoroux, who steals absolutely every scene he is in, making the best Lego villain yet, unfortunately in a film that doesn’t equal the characters potential. It is the voice acting and the first 30 minutes, especially with a awesome cat gag, that save this movie from ultimately being completely boring and unwatchable.

When a movie is called Ninjago, I expected an awesome Ninja storyline with Ninja sights, sounds, and gags filling every minute of the screen. They still could’ve put the dad and son storyline in the movie, but it be a Plot B type of thing while have a Ninja quest plot A.  But it focuses too much on the dad and son storyline, and I knew how it was going to end, and even the journey to get there was not inventive enough, leaving me unimpressed. Plus, this needed more Jackie Chan. The Lego animation is still incredible here, but the humor after the first 30 minutes kind of disappears and the movie plays it too straight. It should be 100% zany Lego fun. Not 35%.

Hopefully this is just a misfire all the franchises have and they take their time making The Lego Movie 2. I feel like Ninjago might’ve been a rushed product after the success of the original first movie, and rushed it into production without much of a script. Since the first two movies were so enjoyable, I can let this one slide. But if the next movie almost puts me to sleep, there could be fast franchise fatigue on Lego’s hands. The saddest part of this film? I probably would’ve rather watched a kid play an hour and 30 minutes with his Lego’s than have ever watched this. This should not happen.


Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: KINGSMAN – THE GOLDEN CIRCLE

Did mother! leave a lot of bad tastes in critics mouths where the toxic waste from the film last week carried over into their screening of KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE? I mean, these reviews from mainstream “critics” are confusing to say the least. Not that they truly hated it but a lot of people are automatically giving this thing sequelitis and calling it ‘meh.’ I personally loved it. I thought it was fun, entertaining, and has extreme rewatch value, just like the first movie. Is it better than the first movie? Of course not, but just like 22 Jump Street, it came extremely close. You can’t go wrong if you are looking for an adult action entertaining romp where its long 2 hour and 20 minute runtime is done within a snap of your fingers.

Not that I don’t have some complaints about the film. For instance, Matthew Vaughn tries too hard to duplicate the church scene from the first film in every single action scene in this one. A lot of the CGI location shot look kind of phony and some of the scenes go so over to the top bordering on cartoonish. And the fact that they bring back Colin Firth from the dead was a little bit weird and wrong. Colin Firth dying in the first film was a huge shocker that took the movie in an unexpected direction and this movie undoing his death to me was sort of a cheat. Granted they do make up for it by doing multiple expected deaths in this film, but none of them truly hit home like the first one did. But Colin Firth is so good in this series and the reason why he is still alive makes sense in the bigger picture so all that was completely forgiven quickly.

Especially since this sequel was so much fun. Taron Egerton as Eggsy is as great as ever, I can’t believe he isn’t a big star yet. I loved the fact that he and the anal Princess from the first film were still together in a very committed relationship. Their story arc was really cute here. Mark Strong, just like Colin Firth, is the heart of the series here too. Even though Channing Tatum and Jeff Bridges aren’t in the film all that much they are really good here. Hopefully we see Tatum in the third film more. Halle Berry was good. And a lot of critics didn’t like her, but I loved Julianne Moore as the villain Poppy. I thought she played it to her strengths making the character quirky, weird, yet ruthless. And I loved her evil lair. Definitely as memorable as Samuel L. Jackson as Valentine from the first film. Unfortunately she doesn’t have a memorable sidekick like Sofia Boutella was with her sword legs in the previous film.

And uh, yeah singer Elton John is in this film and he is the funniest and best part about it. Just something about a celebrity you don’t see cursing much, cursing is hilarious to me. I don’t know why. The action I thought was kinetic, and even though each scene tried to replicate the church scene from the first, I was highly entertained and was never bored with it. The plot is better left unsaid, but while highly predictable was also unique and fun.

I really loved Kingsman 2. Just like the first film I feel like I could watch this over and over again. Was highly entertained and that’s really all I ask sometimes with the movies that I go and see. There is a balance to the force in movies I think. You get really really really shitty film like mother! (yes, I’m still on that, the whole damn movie was do you get it? No? Well let me shove you obvious bullshit in your face for you to get it) and then movies like this come out the next or same week where it completely lets you just get lost in what you came to see. Where mother! is the disease, Kingsman The Golden Circle was definitely the cure.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: MOTHER!

REVISED: Wrote this review originally last weekend but website was down. Thought about the movie even more (I guess that was the point?) and have added just a few more coherent thought about why all the allegory, symbolism, ideals stuff didn’t work for me

I saw mother! yesterday and have had more time to think about the film with all its allegory cocktails, symbolism surprises, and imagery ice cream sundaes, and I still fucking hate the movie. Sorry, it just isn’t for me. If you like bullshit by Terrence Malick or Paul Thomas Anderson, this film is right up your alley. Now if this was a Paul Thomas Anderson movie, you’d be reading this saying, “well no shit Sherlock, the only thing you marginally have liked of his was Boogie Nights, you are completely biased.” Well yes, to him I am. I think PTA ruins everything he touches. *shrugs* But this is Darren Aronofsky, and I have liked every single one of this films (yes, including Pi), except for The Fountain, which I didn’t really hate, but I thought it was an ambitious failed attempt at creating something artistic and unique while also catering to my cinematic senses. mother! is just bullshit at every twist and turn. It’s one of those many, what I like to call “artsy fartsy” films, that fail to grab me narratively, coherently, or sanely but at the same time it is beautifully shot and acted. Beautiful nasty, garbage that completely falls out of its stinky bin and all over the pavement and your shoes in it’s bizarre third act. An insane twisted sadistic third act where a truly messed up event happens that effected me personally, where I just wanted to get up and leave the theater. But I implore you, it wasn’t the last string cut to make me hate the film, it was just severely beating and maiming a dead horse that I had already hated about 40 minutes earlier.
****minor spoiler hint alert**** If you are about to have a baby or have just had a baby, I encourage you to not see this film until time has passed a bit. It is still jarring, this scene, but it might not make you as upset as it did for me ****end of minor spoiler hint alert**** This movie is completely polarizing. You are either going to like it, or extremely loathe the existence it lives on. I am not trying to convince you at all not to see this movie. I think you should see each and every movie you are interested in. I’m just here to give my opinion on what I thought. And I just hated, hated, HATED this movie. And I got everything in it when I saw it. I don’t need a second viewing to “get it.” There is this great article that I posted on my Facebook page that explains everything about mother! and what this and that means. I got it from the very, very beginning of the film that is kind of a spoiler in itself. And I still hated this film. I think narratively and sanely it could’ve portrayed everything it was trying to tell in a more satisfying manner, not to the point where the film is so boring or jarring that it gives you a headache and you just want to take a pen and stab your eyes out from ever having to see one more frame of it.

The symbolism and allegory stuff didn’t work for me. I don’t think it did it in a very original way. This movie was about the allegories, instead of being a unique story that happened to contain some semblance of symbolism. Since every single one of the people have symbolism, allegory, something something religious behind it, I couldn’t really identify with any of the characters or cared about them. And instead of trying to be very sneaky and trying to hide a lot of the references or make people think about the movie harder to get them. EVERYTHING IS IN YOUR FACE. It is like Aronofsky is screaming, “SEE?! DO YOU GET IT?! DO YOU GET IT?!” on everything that hits the screen. It wasn’t subtle, I was being spoon fed every piece of the garbage, and I was full of it from minute 15.

Yeah, I’m still being harsh. But I do not hate Darren Aronofsky, even though he is dating Jennifer Lawrence, which makes me upset. I just think he’s…misguided. I think mostly he is what Paul Thomas Anderson is so trying desperately to be…but horror-wise. I loved Black Swan, I loved Requiem for a Dream, both movies you could consider to be horror. And what he was trying to tell absolutely worked in both of those films on so many levels, it was mesmerizing. To me, mother! does not work on one single level other than the acting and cinematography. You are probably waiting for me to tell you what this movie is about, but honestly, I really can’t. To tell you what it is about, you would not believe me, think I’m nuts, or you wouldn’t get it. I can tell you the basic set up is a man and woman live in this abandoned home that she is trying to rebuild from ashes…and they start getting guests, played by Ed Harris, Michelle Phieffer, Domnahall Gleeson, and Kristen Wiig, that starts to rock their very existence. Even then, that isn’t want the movie is about, if you ever see this, you’ll know what I am talking about.

Everyone in here acts in aces. Jennifer Lawrence is incredible as always. Javier Bardem is incredible as always. Ed Harris….incredible as always. A much missed Michelle Phieffer…incredible as always. The only person that took me out of the film would happen to be Kristen Wiig, who I just can’t take seriously, other than the film The Skeleton Twins. And the shots in this thing are beautiful. For most of the film Darren Aronofsky follows Jennifer Lawrence is long takes around the house, where she is going from one room to another to figure out what is going on and to find a little bit of sanity, and those long shots work and are very impressive.

But I hated this film. It is the worst film of the year for me (beating out contenders 9/11 and Fifty Shades Darker) and it is one of the worst films I have ever seen (just behind Halloween II ((Rob Zombie version)) and Dude, Where’s My Car?). If you like it, that’s fine, there is nothing wrong with you, it’s just that what the film brought to the table, it worked for you, and you played with it, where as what I saw on the table, made me kick it over and set it on fire. It’s a huge misstep for writer/director Darren Aronofsky, and if he keeps going in this direction, which for the love of God I hope he doesn’t, probably won’t be his last. I wish I could get 2 hours of my life back.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: 9/11

9/11, a new drama with Charlie Sheen (yes, THAT Charlie Sheen), has to be the biggest slap in the face to all the victims, first responders, and heroes of 9/11 since the awful twist ending in the film Remember Me. What is also so bad is that this film doesn’t even know that it is disrespectful. It’s disrespectful in terms of the acting, the production value, the cue card at the end of the film dedicating the  movie to all the victims and first responders of 9/11, when the first responders aren’t even featured in the film for more than 5 minutes. This movie is so bad I don’t think even Lifetime would air it due to the fact of how disrespectful it is. Even mediocre 9/11 films like Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center treated the events with respect, care, and made sure to show admiration for those affected by the tragedy. This film has Charlie Sheen being a more calmed down but still same version of Charlie Sheen, with 5 other people stuck in an elevator, and somehow they dragged poor old Whoopi Goldberg into this. 9/11, while one of the worst tragedies to happen in human history, is now one of the worst films since the turn of the century, let alone the worst film of 2017. Yes, that’s right, even worse than Fifty Shades Darker.

It’s also disrespectful to cast Charlie Sheen in your 9/11 movie, when he is in fact part of the controversial Truther movement. But I’m here to review a film, not get into politics. This film is based off a stage play called Elevator, and I have a feeling the stage play is quite riveting and emotional and characters played by truly inspirational and aspiring believable actors. It’s hard to care about character when you see someone on screen and just keep repeating the word “Winning” over and over in your mind. Sheen’s acting in this is truly laughably bad, to where he needs to be nominated for a Razzie this year and win.

It was also weird seeing Luiz Guzman in a film like this, considering that he is mainly in comedic films, and some of the stuff he says also took me out of the film, obviously he meant his dialogue to come off as dramatic, but it is boderline comical. Gina Gershon is there to look like a coke head and literally just whine and not act the whole time, and Whoopi Goldberg plays a elevator operator supervisor that tries to talk the passengers in the stuck elevator on the Twin Towers into finding a way to escape. She is the only decent part of the movie, and the only one that seems like she wants to act accordingly.

I never felt emotional during this film, and the point is I should have. I should have felt bad for these people stuck in the elevator, and rooting for them to get out. The acting was just nowhere near getting me to care for any of the characters other than Whoopi. The film basically only has three locales, in and right outside of the elevator, the basement where Whoopi Goldberg is trying to help them escape, and the final act takes place right inside the lobby of one of the Twin Towers. It is in this final act that the production value is just so so so bad, it was hard to believe any of these people were actually there. Isn’t that the point of the movie? To make it seem you are at the locale of where stuff happens, especially in films based on true events?

When it touches the lobby, with the smoke, and ash, and all that raining down on victims heads, the film looks fuzzy, green screenish, and cheap. There is so much fog and smoke, that you know they just piled it on, otherwise you would definitely know how shoddy their production budget was. And like I said before, the title card of dedication at the end bothered me. It is find if you dedicate it to first responders of the tragedy, but you should show them in your film more, not just Charlie Sheen bitching at things for 95 minutes.

My thoughts are with the first responders and victims of 9/11 today. I will never forget and this nation will never forget. There are no words to completely convey how much we feel for the victims and first responders of this terrible tragedy. My heart aches for the families of the victims as well. One thing I know for sure is that this film should’ve never been made. It was a stage play? Fine, but leave it at that, don’t hire D grade actors on a shoddy production budget if you are hoping to make a legitimate film about a story that took place on that day. Or if you have to make it into a feature film, treat it with some respect, and try and make the best film possible. This was not even trying.