Category Archives: Movie Review

Diane’s Delightful Movie Reviews: CRAZY RICH ASIANS (no spoilers)

Like I’ve told you before, for all of you, my wife Diane likes doing a quick review of the movies that are geared more toward the opposite sex so that I don’t always rip my claws into them all the time. So I proudly present my wife’s review of CRAZY RICH ASIANS:

Crazy Rich Asians is crazy awesome! It’s a great romantic comedy the likes of which they do not make any more. Not since the days of Reese Witherspoon and Matthew McConaughey has there been a more classic romantic comedy. It covers all bases, from the silly best friend with good advice, to the ex- that wants to get back together, and the cliché wardrobe closet montage scene where the characters play dress up.

The guys are nice to look at. The performances are great. And the characters are relateable so that you root for them. The tone is lighthearted so it does not leave you emotionally drained. All around, it’s a good time that keeps your attention and make you want to watch it again and again and again.

ZACH’S TWO CENTS: Diane is right, this is a really good movie, and they really don’t make these old classic rom-coms like they use to anymore. Everything that we get now is all millenial-ized and too over the top with completely unbelievable situations, overacting performances, with bombastic climaxes. This movie keeps it very simple. Sure, it is a tried and true formula that has been done a thousand times before, but when the new formula is an unwanted pest that just won’t leave, sometimes something old is something new again. The set up is clear and cliche: a crazy rich Asian man that currently resides in New York takes his long time Asian girlfriend, a regular college theory professor, to Singapore because he is the best man at a friends wedding there and he wants her to meet his parents. Does he plan on popping the question afterwards? Does a bear shit in the woods? So yes, you’ve heard it all before, and that set up would be in both the old classic rom com formula and the newer one, but there is a huge difference. Here is an example: the new millenial-lized rom com would have the main character crashing into a cake, which crashes into two people holding an ice sculpture that crashes into the wedding DJ’s set, that crashes all over the food and completely ruins the in-laws outfits or something to that unrealistic nature. This movie? Nope, not that kind of scene here, in fact the girl, played to note perfection by Contance Wu, does almost all the right things, except for one little case of mistaken identity that lasts only 3 seconds and she spills wine on her boyfriends shirt at another point in the film. Everything that happens is completely predictable, only this time it is refreshing to not roll your eyes to the ridiculousness of it all. Think of classic rom-coms in the 80s and 90s. If you miss those and are sick of the new shit, Crazy Rich Asians is the cure.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE PACKAGE (NETFLIX) (minor beginning spoilers)

Well, little did I know I was in for a little treat when deciding to put on something I haven’t seen before while eating Chik-Fil-A for lunch. I put on a Netflix original film (meaning it was probably rejected by every major studio theater and Netflix is flowing in the dough so it is buying almost everything nowadays) THE PACKAGE, which means “The Penis,” but I’ll get to that in a moment. The movie looked like a dumb crude teenage comedy and that’s what I suddenly felt like at the moment. I’m not going to tell you it was something different, because it is exactly what I just said it was, but I actually laughed at quite a few things in the movie, I’ve been quoting some of the lines all day, and the movie entertained me the whole way through.

The movie is about five teenage friends that go camping when one of them comes back to the States for a week after being out of the country for a bit. One of them has a fake id, they grab a whole bunch of drinks and they go out into the woods. The one with the fake ID gets super drunk, super fast, and when taking a piss, accidentally cuts off his penis at the base. And there is where I’m going to stop. The rest of the movie acts as a race against time sort of road trip film to get to a hospital with said severed penis. So if you don’t like looking at chopped off dicks, then stay far away from this movie. Because it doesn’t shy away from showing that severed penis every which way that it can. The penis goes through the ringer, getting dirty, damaged, if you think a certain thing will happen to it, it probably it does. That cock goes through the ringer.

Also if you don’t like crude humor, again, stay far away.. It gets really crude, very often, and throws almost every dick and fart joke in plus the kitchen sink. The movie was produced by the three main stars of Workaholics, and even features a cameo by one of them, but you aren’t likely to recognize anybody in the movie, unless you watch Mom on CBS, or have seen Blockers, or the Netflix original Alex Strangelove. But all the kids have good chemistry together and brought a lot of laughs with some very memorable lines, including a fantastic Disney reference.

No, this isn’t one of the years best films at all. I just had a good time and if I ever watch it again it will be with friends that haven’t seen it. It’s a drunk/stoner comedy through and through. I liked the premise, and even though they have done movies before where they are in a race against time to get some kind of vital organ to a recipient in time, I’ve never seen it be a severed penis. There are worse things on Netflix, and trust me when I say, this is one of the better things to watch for the $12.99 you pay per month.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: BLACKKKLANSMAN (no spoilers)

Now before reading this and before balking at the fact that I consider BLACKKKLANSMAN to be Spike Lee’s best film…ever…just know that I have seen Do The Right Thing, Malcolm X, 25th Hour, He Got Game, Summer of Sam, Inside Man…I’ve seen most of his filmography, yes, even the very mediocre remake of Oldboy. I can 200% back up with all my film watching confidence in the world tell you that Blackkklansman is (my) favorite Spike Lee film. It is a masterpiece of epic proportions that make it required viewing in the times that we are living in today. It speaks to several layers of racism, media coverage, politics, and even employment all at once that makes up a remarkable, entertaining, shocking, thoughtful, and heartfelt true story. If this doesn’t come away with a couple of Oscars come Feb 2019, everyone should be ashamed of themselves.

Everything about this movie is special. From the hard hitting opening with a cameo by a very well known famous actor, to the gut punch of a ending stinger showing real life events of horrors we have to deal with today, to every grand thing in between, is masterful. The movie is based on a true story of Ron Stallworth, the first black detective in Colorado Springs, Colorado police department that successfully infiltrates the Ku Klux Klan. He does this by calling them himself and having his detective partner Flip (played by Adam Driver), do all the in person stuff. All the intricacies of how he does it and how he keeps it so long I’m going to let the movie show you, because the journey is the full ride. One could argue that Spike Lee’s films for the past decade have been mostly point and shoot films, with none of his signature style that he gave us in his early movies such as Do The Right Thing or Malcolm X. One could also argue those are the only movies we was allowed or hired to make so his heart wasn’t really in it. Well, please welcome Spike Lee back into the fold. His direction here is flawless. You can tell his heart and soul was completely in this picture. He has some of his signature style mixed in with some new ultra cool shots that reminded me of the great blaxploitation films of the 70’s, they even mention a couple such as Shaft and Superfly.

I also loved how the movie didn’t just go right into Ron Stallworth infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan. The film starts as a slow burn that just keeps escalating and escalating until the fantastic finally where everything was paid off. They start off Ron going undercover at a Black Panthers meeting where actor Cory Hawkins speech as Kwame Ture is breathtaking and powerful. Ron Stallworth also has a love interest in the movie played by Spider-Man Homecoming’s Laura Harrier. And their relationship in the film is one of the best romantic subplots I have seen so far in films of 2018. It naturally progresses and it felt real, not manufactured or rushed. Interestingly enough, I can’t fail to mention that Ron Stallworth is played by Denzel Washington’s son (yes, THAT DENZEL) John David Washington. Evidentally, his son obviously inherited some of his father’s acting chops, because he is incredible in this. Heck, everyone is incredible. You don’t think Adam Driver can act? Compare his performances in this and the Last Jedi, if that doesn’t prove this guy can act, I don’t know what will for you. He is great as Stallworth’s Jewish detective partner and their chemistry shines.

Heck, Topher Grace, who I think is an absolutely terrible one note actor, gives the best performance of his career as David Duke (real life ‘grand wizard’ of the Klu Klux Klan). They show a little clip at the end of the film of the real David Duke, and my God did Topher do his homework to actually portray this weird and awful individual. Another individual that you probably hadn’t heard of because his career is mostly in Finnish movies, and he just broke out here in America with the show Vikings is Jasper Pääkkönen, who plays Felix Kendrickson, a very nasty racist who tries to prove that Flip isn’t who he says he is the entire film.

This movie is powerful and easily one of the best of the year. And again, in my opinion, I think this is Spike Lee’s best film. He took the time, passion, and love, pouring his blood, sweat, soul, and tears into this film, and it completely pays off. Its message is powerful, the story is amazing, it walks that fine line between comedy, dark comedy, and drama, and is entertaining the entire run time. Come nomination time, this movies title will probably be said over and over again. In fact, if it doesn’t, there may be some serious backlash towards the Academy. It really is a near perfect film. Please check it out, it is vitally important that you do.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE MEG (no spoilers)

There is enough evidence to support the on going (probably now scientific) fact that there will never be a shark attack/thriller movie as masterful or better than Jaws. You know that meme of that guy with the table sipping coffee, with a sign in front that says, “blah blah blah is better/the best/equal to blah blah blah, change my mind?” Jaws can easily be on that sign, and I don’t think one person could come to the table and argue against it. Jaws itself had a awful production history if you look into it, the studio and even Spielberg himself worried it was going to be a disaster. You know how you don’t really get that many good looks at the shark, which turned the film into a “getting scared of the unknown rather than the known” type situation? That wasn’t supposed to happen. You were almost always supposed to see the shark. Well, now we have the technology to show the shark. Deep Blue Sea was one of the first movies to attempt using Hollywood’s upgraded technology to do another shark attack movie. And you have to give Renny Harlin and the screenwriters some balls for not just simply trying to remake Jaws. No, the story was self contained and tried to make the sharks smart and shit. The result? A movie I remember my dad taking me too when I was only the age of 13, and me loving every single damn minute of it. Watching it years later, to me, a lot of it still holds up. Mostly the animatronics, the acting, direction, shots, and mood hold up. The shark SFX do not. But honestly, that movie will always be remembered for Samuel L. Jackson’s mid movie speech alone. And isn’t that the points of most movies is? To be remembered?

Fuck, I haven’t even gotten to my review of THE MEG have I? Fear not, I am trying to make a point. With Jaws, being the masterpiece, and I had seen Jaws before Deep Blue Sea, when going into that theater with my father, I knew that I needed to shut my brain off to probably enjoy it. As a rule of a cinematic lovers thumb, in my book, a rule of a marathon of movies is 3 related but not directly related (aka sequels) together back to back to back, pauses for peeing and eating (although if you are smart enough you don’t even need those breaks).To look at the other side, a directly related marathon consists of 4 movies that are all sequels, prequels, what have you together. You could have a zombie marathon consisting of Zombieland, Dawn of the Dead, and Shaun of the Dead. A Swarzanegger marathon of Running Man, True Lies, and Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Alas, I have never had a shark marathon. It’s always just been a double feature consisting of Jaws and then Deep Blue Sea, or vise versa, depending on the mood. It’s true that I haven’t seen every single shark film, and if I would’ve pursue it I couldn’t found a different one that I liked. But I can’t stand Sharknado, Sharktopus, Open Water, Shark’s Tale, 47 Meters Down. I think the closest it has ever gotten has been Blake Lively in The Shallows, but the movie takes itself so seriously that when the ending is unapologetically goofy and physics wise doesn’t make sense, it ruined all that came before.

With The Meg, I finally have my shark attack marathon that I’ve been desperately wanting since 1999. As with Deep Blue Sea, The Meg mostly plays it straight although at points walks that fine line of sillyness (but doesn’t get to the extremes of any terrible SciFi made for television movie). Some of the SFX are fantastic while some aren’t as precise as if there was maybe a little more time spent on them. But the acting is very well done, especially from our always reliable go to tough man Mr. Jason Statham. I’m warning you though, if you go into this expecting Jaws like epic storytelling, just don’t go in. Turning off your brain during this is a must to enjoy, but enjoy it you will if you do.

I loved that the movie, like Jaws, took its time when showing the massive prehistoric shark and even after it is revealed doesn’t go all George Lucas Episode 1 filling it in the frame the entire time. The movie actually cares about its story, and only shows or brings back the shark when it serves it, nothing too obligatory (that stood out in my mind). The movie even had the balls to bring about a mid act twist that you can completely see coming if you ever saw the movie Lake Placid.

Jason Statham is of course perfect for his tough guy role and BingBing Lee is good (even though their relationship and chemistry seems a little force), and everybody else in the film, even Dwight Schrute himself Rainn Wilson, all get their moments to shine, although one of the best parts and jobs done in the film was Masi Oka (Hiro from Heroes) small part in the film.

Just like Deep Blue Sea, this movie is a blast seeing it with friends or family. It is also one of those films that when it hits home video you should see it with a group of people, point laugh, make fun of it, or get jumpy. It gets that good feeling late summer tone just right. If I had any complaints, is that is wish the movie would’ve doubled down on its box office bet and had just shot and kept it for an R rating. I have a feeling the R rating (with gratiouitous gore and Statham cursing a whole lot more) could’ve made the movie even better and more of a blast, where it could’ve even gotten close to my love of Deep Blue Sea territory. Also, the consistency with the size of the shark with each shot I would say is off but considering that we are dealing with SFX here, it’s very minor.

So, if you love Jaws and Deep Blue Sea and have been clamoring for that shark attack flick itch since 1999 (or if you hate Deep Blue Sea, totally understandable, and you’ve been waiting since 1975), The Meg should fit that bill. Go into it with low expectations and turn off your brain and I guarantee you won’t be turned off.