All posts by Zach A.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: BATTLE OF THE SEXES

Emma Stone will for sure get a Oscar nomination for BATTLE OF THE SEXES. She is quite brilliant in it. However, something about the movie was off for me where I quite can’t recommend it as the best version of the Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs tennis match that was so much more than a match. It was probably because the movie tried to focus on another big issue in King’s life than the actual match and what it meant for women around the world, where it feels like two separate movies crammed into one. This power struggle of storytelling gets in the way of showing a little more of Bobby Rigg’s life up to the match and relegates a lot of his antics to montages that should’ve been their own longer scenes. I was really hoping to love this movie and proclaim it a masterpiece, instead, it’s watchable, but I know it could’ve been so much better.

Why could’ve there have been a separate film about the life of Billie Jean King, her struggles with homosexuality, her life after the world found out, could’ve made a great biopic film. With maybe a couple of minutes with this sliced into it. Heck, they could’ve focused on events surrounding this tennis match for this film, and hire Emma Stone again to do a complete biopic tale of King. But the fact that they try to do two movies in one, just makes everything feel…well bloated. The focus on getting ready for the actual tennis match, and the match itself starts in the last 30 minutes of the movie, and the movie is two hours long.

Not that there was anything wrong with the Billie Jean King discovering her sexuality part. It was handled well and acted with perfection, I just thought tonally it was in the wrong movie and should’ve been on its own. I think that because of this storyline being in there it kind of gave the shaft to Steve Carrell and his portrayal of Bobby Riggs. I went into the movie wanting to know more about Riggs, and had questions, and I left the theater with not one question answered. I thought the movie would give equal time to both players, but nope, I felt Carrell wasn’t in the movie all that much. He was even short changed in the epilogue I thought as well. So I thought the something missing from this movie, was Bobby Riggs, even though the Battle of the Sexes match was supposed to be 50% about him.

You could argue that discovering her homosexuality fit in the storyline with women’s lib and the pursuit of equality. I thought the scenes of her basically quitting the tennis league because they were paying men more than they were woman completely belonged and worked in this film, When it which to her realizing she was a lesbian, it just felt tonally off. Like I was watching a biopic of just her, and not of the tennis match that defined a generation and not digging into the persona of Bobby Riggs. Also, the final match wasn’t shot too terribly exciting. Instead of doing some great sports shots directors have been known to get in these films, I felt bored and that I was just watching it on television. Nothing inspiring.

So in essence, two decent short films, but combining them, a feature with a lot of narrative problems. Incredible acting, directing, and the film had that great 70s feel where it feels like it was shot on film. It’s a decent one time Netflix watch, but not the film that it should’ve been. It should’ve been one of the films for feminism to watch, study, and celebrate. Instead, it will be lost in the queue, with other films more than deservedly being remembered for it in its place.


Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: VICTORIA & ABDUL

I vote Victoria & Abdul the most charming movie of 2017. I’m not saying it is one of the best, I’m saying it is one of those royalty/period piece movies that doesn’t take itself too seriously, it is quite funny, and has a lot of rewatchable value. Thank of The Prince & Me or Ever After: A Cinderella Story. If you’ve seen and love those you know exactly what I am talking about. The movie marketing company has kind of undersold this film. It is quite fun and while has some serious issues, isn’t the snooze fest anti-climatic drama you are probably thinking it is. Judi Dench at this point can act out of a paper bag, and I think she gives one of her finest performances here too, and gets to cut a little loose at the same time.

The movie is based on the real life acquaintance between Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and her Indian muslim servant Abdul. He goes to India with a companion to deliver this ceremonial coin the the Queen, and when he gives her this coin, he looks at her when he isn’t supposed to, and the Queen gets curious. They become fast friends and she gives him a lot of responsibilities and the other English staff (especially the Queen’s son) doesn’t like what is going on too much. Basically their friendship has to overcome all of these outside hardships. It is a quick hour and 40 minutes of their charming time together.

Like I said, Judi Dench is always great, and will always be great, and this film is no exception. The gentleman who plays Abdul, Ali Fazal, is great as well. And if it weren’t for the chemistry between these two actors, the film wouldn’t have worked at all. Everything else about this film is quite good. The direction, the cinematography of the castle and the land around it. The acting from all the supporting players and the staff that doesn’t like what is going on is great as well. The film is a lot funnier than you think it would be. And it knows when to switch tones when everything needs to be a little more dramatic.

The film isn’t perfect. The narrative is a little clunky and the message is a little frayed when trying to get its meaning across. But this film has a ton of rewatch value. I was surprised how much a liked it. If you like these period piece movies, and maybe even the ones with a little more flair, humor, and fun, you’ll really like it too. Don’t go in expecting Pride & Prejudice, but something more akin to Ever After.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: STRONGER

STRONGER features a different side to the Boston Marathon bombing than was featured in the film Patriot’s Day. Instead of the event and the hunting of the bombers, we have the inspiring story of Jeff Bauman, a man that was right by one of the bombs, ended up losing both of his legs in the blast. Here, he is portrayed by Jake Gyllenhaul in another powerful performance that begs the question, “why in the hell hasn’t Gyllenhaul won an Oscar yet?” HE is honestly going to be the new Leo DiCaprio in about 10 to 15 years, where he’ll end up winning one for a performance that is still strong, but less than his previous work.

The movie itself is very decent, although for me there was a little something missing, and I can’t quite figure out what it is. Maybe it is the fact that I didn’t like Jeff Bauman for most of the film, considering him very lazy and too privileged, and only after losing almost everything other than his legs he starts to get his ass into gear. I thought that the story of his ex girlfriend Erin, played fantastically by Tatiana Maslany, was the more inspiring story, on how long she had to put up with his ass acting the way he was. Maybe I was a little bored throughout the movie, and it was just that the story didn’t uplift me as it was probably supposed to.

So although it is a good movie, very good in fact, I wish it was more. But if it was, I have a feeling the movie wouldn’t be as real, as I’m told that the real Jeff Bauman saw the movie and said it was pretty damn accurate. I am glad that the real Bauman turned his life together after being involved in that terrible tragedy. Just wanting to live the next day after that takes courage in and of itself. I don’t think that anything missing was any of the screenplay or direction by David Gordon Green’s fault, I just think it would make a more interesting hour documentary than a 2 hour character study.

But it is like I’m saying the movie is bad, which I’m not. Most of you will find that missing something in it and love the heck out of this film. Everything about the movie is top notch. I would probably revisit this on Netflix but it isn’t something I would buy or something I would watch over and over again. I honestly think that out of the two Boston Marathon bombing films, that Patriot’s Day is still the more harrowing of the two. It’s the performances here that does take the movie out of mediocrity, as Jake Gyllenhaul can basically spit on anything and make it about 20% better.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: JEEPERS CREEPERS 3

Well, I don’t know what to tell ya. I have no idea how the hell you are going to see this movie or when you are going to see it, considering it was just in theaters for one night and that night was last night, but I’m going to review it anyway, so that when it eventually pops up in that $5 Blu-Ray bin, or is available to rent from a streaming service, or available as part of your Netflix subscription, that you might want to leave the first and second films as a good distant memory, and pretend JEEPERS CREEPERS 3 never even existed.

When you have a third film in any kind of franchise, you usually have to go all out, even in horror, where you know there are several sequels yet to come. Scream 3, Dream Warriors, Child’s Play 3, Friday the 13th part 3, Saw III, Paranormal Activity 3, even though we know there are still more sequels to come, the films double down on its hand just in case there isn’t. There are certain rules, one must abide by in order to successful create a sequel to a horror film, and continue the franchise. It still has to follow horror film rules in general. Jeepers Creepers 3 breaks every single one of these rules, and then some.

I think we should go over some if not all of these rules shall we? Should make for an interesting and different review:

Horror Rule Number 1: Never, ever, show your monster in the daylight.

And that is all that Jeepers Creepers 3 does. I don’t remember the Creeper at night until the very, very end of the film. There is a reason for this which breaks one of the horror rules mentioned below, and this could’ve been completely unavoidable is this whole plot was scrapped, but they went with it, so the creeper is only shown during the day. What’s the problem with this? 99% of the time if your monster is shown during the day, it isn’t scary. The 1% of the time goes to IT and the original Halloween, because with IT the kids being out at night wouldn’t have made a whole bunch of sense (wait until they are adults, it will just be midnight scary madness then) and Halloween works because we needed to see Michael Myers stalk these babysitters on the way home from school. But the Creeper, being almost completely at night in the first two films, is in complete daylight here, and isn’t scary at all, and unfortunately very comical.

Horror Rule Number 2: DO NOT EVER make a third film where the story takes place between two others.

You can go all the way before, or you can go all the way after. If you go all the way before,  or if for some reason you fuck up this rule like Jeepers Creepers 3 does, you have to reveal vital information on the monster/situation at hand. Final Destination 5 went all the way before, and it’s plot twist worked. Paranormal Activity 3 went back to when the terror started for the sisters, and it worked because it gave us new information. Jeepers Creepers 3 takes place in between films 1 and 2, which is why it is set mostly during the day. The movie seems like it is about to give us new info (like the original of the creature and how to really kill it), but it never does, it just hints at it and instead it gives us a very stupid cliffhanger that promises all will be revealed in #4 when the timeline finally goes back to after part 2. Stupid. Because of this story, we get the creeper in full daylight, making him not frightening at all. Plus, if you have the film between two others, you know that the menace likely survives, so all your would be tension goes straight out the window.

3. Horror Rule Number 3: Keep it simple, stupid.

Controversial writer/director Victor Salva, who helmed the other two, tries to put in way too many characters, and hints at way too much lore about the Creeper that is ultimately never revealed, making everything too confusing for the audience to care. With horror films, unless you are a film like Saw. Keep it simple, even when you actually have a plot, keep it simple. Scare your audience, not confuse the shit out of the them with too much crap put in. There are so many characters in this, none of them had any development whatsoever. And there are backstories hinted at, that are never truly revealed, which is a big no no here. I don’t care if you think there is going to be a #4, reveal what you hint at or promise. Or at least reveal most of it, and then it would be okay to keep a few things for later. Prometheus had that problem of asking too many questions and not answering them. Jeepers Creepers 3 literally tells Prometheus to hold it’s beer.

You can tell this film was cheaply made, in my eyes it is not even worth a Netflix release. This is straight up Sharknado, Sci-Fi channel only territory. Part of the fact is probably that Victor Salva had a small as fuck budget and this is the best he thinks he could’ve come up with. I disagree, I’ve seen some even cheaper Sci-Fi channel shit that had more heart than this. This was just lazy. Long takes to make the film longer than it needed to be. Horrible, terrible, CGI that was painful to watch. Terrible, laughable acting around every corner. The only good part of the film was that the Creeper’s truck was outfitted with some cool booby traps that would’ve looked fantastic with a huge budget. With what they had…it all looked terrible.

In the end, it completely looked like a student fan made Jeepers Creepers film. And with the original writer and director on board, no matter how controversial he is, is a big, big, no no. This movie was absolutely terrible and definitely one of the worst of the year. I bet the film Friend Request had more balls than this film (even though I am not going to see Friend Request until it hits a free market). My theater was packed and sold out with Jeepers Creepers fan and every face coming out of there told me that they were extremely disappointed by what they saw. Jeepers Creepers 3 makes Jeepers Creepers 1 and 2 look like The Exorcist and A Nightmare on Elm Street. If there is a 4th, Salva will have to try extremely hard to get more peepers, including mine, interested in ever seeing it.