Category Archives: Movie Review

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: SET IT UP (NETFLIX)

Oh well lookie here, more passible Netflix fare. And you say, “well at least it isn’t typical Netflix Original Movie garbage?” But then I say, “well, when are we going to get something as grand as Mudbound?” Only once a year? Once every two years? When we used to say directo to video or straight to VOD or a dump movie, we used to mean that we would find it on a shelf of new releases at a department store and nobody ever fucking heard of the movie before because it never went to theaters. Netflix is coming awfully close to becoming known at the platform where people just dump their shitty or subpar or only okay movies. This new “Netflix” film, SET IT UP, is at least part of the only okay movies. This is predictable cliched fare, the only way it is heightened is by the stars: the cute and lovable Zoey Deutch (daughter of Marty McFly’s mom), Glenn Powell (superdouche on Scream Queens), Lucy Liu (former movie Charlie’s Angel), Pete Davidson (SNL and currently “engaged” to Ariana Grande), and Taye Diggs (enter one of his dozen movies here).

The movie is The Devil Wears Prada meets The Parent Trap, in that two assistant/secretaries (Powell and Deutch) absolutely hate their “horrible” bosses who they conveniently work for in the exact same building, but have different professions. Powell and Deutch run into each other and have an idea to get their bosses to fuck/fall in love, so that they are actually happy, so their meanness is kept to a minimum and their bosses lay off them a little bit. Their plan works…but then does it start to work too well as the assistants *coughclichedcough* actually start to fall for each other too? And can a farce and forced relationship between two angry bosses/people actually last? The film should’ve been titled, Cliche It Up.

All of those questions I’m sure you already have the answer to, and you are probably 99.99999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999% correct. The movie only works because of Powell and Deutch slinging dialogue off each other like nice warm melted butter. Their chemistry really works and anything less would’ve made one hell of an annoying movie. And while Lucy Liu and Taye Diggs are good as playing the “horrible” bosses. They really aren’t that bad. Especially Liu. If it’s really that bad in real life, the two assistants probably would’ve just quit a long time ago. But if they would have here, then there would’ve been no movie. But…you know what…unlike Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom…this movie actually kept my attention. And I laughed pretty hard once at the end when Pete Davidson has a “word” with one of the bosses (he plays Glenn Powell’s gay roommate). So if you have nothing to do, it’s 9:30 on a Friday or Saturday night, and you just want to put on something mindless, however a little bit charming that will keep your attention for a good 100 minutes, you can’t go wrong with this.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM (minor plot spoilers)

JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM is the worst entry in the Jurassic Park series. I dinoshit you not. In order to enjoy this film, your brain must not only be completely off (with no reboot button visible), but you will have to suspend your belief more than you ever have when it comes to plot points and convenient timings. It is lazy screenwriting at its worst. The CGI is a leper’s bukkake containing AIDS right to your face (sorry for the gross vision, but it was that bad). I know that there are only so many things you can do with dinosaurs running around in present day, but they came up with this?!? The first 30-40 minutes while they are on the island trying to rescue the dinosaurs is actually not bad, with a solid intro that tries to go toe to toe with the great Velociraptor intro from the first movie (the first one still rules all). But then once they leave the island the movie turns into some horrible cliched ridden B-movie haunted house mansion adventure schlock that happens to contain dinosaurs. This is a complete bridge movie, with a sort of not really cliffhanger (be sure to stay through all the credits if you want to see something extra, I didn’t think it was worth it though) to bring us a third movie that I now expect could actually get more ridiculous than what we got here. Or it could actually be a fun yet serious science thriller. Universal, it’s up to you, just fire screenwriters Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly and bring someone new in to think of something fresh.

Now in this paragraph I’m going to go into minor spoilers and I am going to point out the biggest motherfucking plot hole this series has had to offer. If you don’t want to know anything about the plot, skip to the next paragraph. What I do reveal here doesn’t go far beyond what they have shown you in all the tv spots and all the trailers. Basically, on the original Jurassic Park/World island, Isla Nublar, a dormant volcano has now become active and is about to blow, killing all the dinosaurs on the island. The government and Jeff Goldblum (nothing more than a glorified cameo here so don’t get excited, he literally probably shot this in an hour) declare they aren’t going to do anything and to let extinction take its course. Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) from the last film, even though she went through hell and back in the last movie, doesn’t want these creatures to die. In walks some suit that represents John Hammond’s old partner (an old partner we have never even fucking heard of until now) and says that they will do a secret rescue mission and bring the dinosaurs to a different island sanctuary with no volcanoes, no tourists, no trouble and let them live out their lives in peace. Claire gets Owen (Chris Pratt) to come back because Blue (the only surviving smart raptor from the first World) is still there and he feels like he is the only one that could get him out of there peacefully. So yeah, they go and do their thing and rescue some dinosaurs, while the volcano explodes of course because you need heightened unrealistic lava based action sequences, and low and behold, betrayal happens. The suit wants to auction off the dinosaurs to billionaires and the highest bidder takes and does whatever they want with them. L. A. M. E. Laughable Ass-lazy Mind-numbing Endgame. Having people bid on dinosaurs (and they go much cheaper than you would think) is the worst screenplay idea in the long sad history of bad screenplay ideas. And that is where I will stop. The rest of the movie basically takes place in a giant mansion of this former partner to John Hammond’s house, where they bid off the dinosaurs, and if you’ve seen any of the trailers, you can probably guess where it goes from there. BUT! This whole plot is rendered moot (unless I am forgetting something about a previous film) What about Isla Sorna? That’s right, Site B, the island that was heavily featured in The Lost World and Jurassic Park III. If that island is still there, where the dinosaurs are flourishing…I mean, do you get what I’m saying, everything is rendered useless. They could’ve just let the dinos die with the volcano without any risk to themselves and get the dinos from the other island. Now to be fair, I could be forgetting a line from Jurassic World where they stripped that island bare and got all the dinosaurs to Nublar, but I don’t think I’m mistaken. If I’m not, it’s the biggest plot hole I have seen in a movie in quite some time.

Hey! Welcome back! If you skipped my paragraph, please, after you see the movie, I encourage you to go back to this and re read it to see if you agree with me about the blatant obvious plot hole. Or if I’m wrong about it, please let me know. I did leave out some twists and turns. One of these twists (you’ll know it when you see it) some are claiming is the worst stupid twist in the Jurassic Park series. I however, thought it was the least ridiculous plot point in all the ridiculous shit that happens in the movie. In fact, the movie only has one true emotional great epic scene. It is the very last scene on the island, I’ll only say you might tear up, and I’ll leave it at that. Why couldn’t the movie had more emotion like that? When it cuts to black and we are on the boat toward the big giant stupid mansion house, I got extremely bored. I didn’t feel any tension, any excitement or any fun. In fact it started to turn into a rolling my eyes and looking at my watch affair. The only watchable things in this movie is Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, and their good chemistry. And maybe a couple of scenes with Blue. But that is it. You get your cliched one child that is attacked by dinosaurs and is on the run (could we please have a Jurassic World film with only adults please?). Every single character does every single cliched ridden dumb decisions you could possibly do in a movie about dinosaurs co-existing with man. No character is actually smart here. There is one scene of a hunter wanting a tooth off a dinosaur for his necklace that is so fucking stupid I wanted to tear my hair out. What is really funny, is that if Claire and Owen weren’t even in the picture, everything might have gone smoothly and much less chaotic. Who knows? Also, how many times is the T-Rex going to come in and conveniently save the day? It’s getting old. Do the screenwriters not know how stupid it is now to keep repeating it? Also, I’m so God damn tired of the genetically mutated dinosaurs, like the Indonomous Rex in the last one and the Indoraptor in this. Stop with genetically mutated shit and stick to the dinosaurs that are real and that we know and love.

And the CGI is so bad, it just looked like everything, even the house was just Star Wars prequel level green screen crap. What the hell happened to the cool animatronics from the first two films and some of the third?!? It felt like the animals were actually there. With this, I didn’t even feel like the actors were even on a real island in this, or in a real house. It just screamed SET, SET, SET, with GREEN CURTAINS TO ADD SHIT IN LATER!” Why am I not blaming director J.A. Bayona, whose last two films The Impossible and A Monster Calls are little independent masterpieces? Because, the film screams studio rushing and involvement. Once that release date is scheduled, studios don’t like backing down. Did they even read the script to this? I have a feeling they didn’t. It felt like rush directing just to get to a deadline. Universal knows that dinosaurs sell no matter how shitty the film is, so they just greenlit it, told the director to hurry the fuck up with a shitty script, and he did the best he could. If he ever has a film with real time on his hands in the future and it is as bad as this, then I’ll start blaming him. What’s really funny is that Jurassic Park III is better than this, and they were writing the script as they were shooting that movie! Thank God Lucasfilm and Kathleen Kennedy read the script of Trevorrow’s Star Wars Episode IX and subsequently fired his ass. I shudder to think how he would’ve ended that trilogy.

Life did not find a way with this film. Life farted away. Constantly and annoyingly. Now, for my last little bit. If you want to go see this movie, I absolutely encourage you to do so. Don’t let anyone like me or a real profession movie critic get you down on a movie you are excited about. You might actually still enjoy it! I think of films too critically sometimes, and if you like this Jurassic World sequel, just chalk it up to that. I’m just simply stating my opinion on this. And my opinion is that I found multiple things to like in each of the Jurassic Park films, even the third one, and I think the first film is still a masterpiece and one of my favorite films of all time. I found almost no joy in this sequel. Kids will probably love and chomp this movie up. For me, I think this franchise has finally dried out. Unless they can bring us an epic third film that will prove me wrong and can end the series with a bang. But there is not much left you can do with dinosaurs. This movie is the archiological proof of that.

My ranking of the Jurassic Park movies:

1. Jurassic Park
2. Jurassic World
3. The Lost World: Jurassic Park
4. Jurassic Park III
5. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

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

TAG is just plain fun at the movies. Just like Blockers a couple of months ago, tt isn’t going to change the face of comedies of Hollywood, it isn’t going to win any awards, and it probably won’t spawn a sequel, but man is this film a lot of fun. And the weird thing is that critics haven’t been kind to this film. I don’t get it, were they just in a bad mood while watching it? Anyway, it is loosely based on a true story of friends that have been playing the same game of Tag for 30 years (they only play it every May each year). It is revealed that the best player of the game, the one who has never been tagged, is getting married in May, and then wants to retire from him perfect game, so the other players feel like they will finally be able to get him at his most vulnerable. There are rules, there are amendments to those rules, and there are no girls allowed. The movie has an excellent cast: you’ve got Ed Helms, Jake Johnson, Jon Hamm, Hannibal Burgess, Isla Fisher, Annabelle Wallis, Thomas Middletich, Leslie Bibb, Rashida Jones, and doing his first comedy since his film debut in National Lampoon’s Senior Trip, Hawkeye himself, Jeremy Renner. You can tell the cast had a lot of fun making this.

This movie is very good-natured, with just the right amount of crude humor thrown in. It isn’t just simply a dick and fart joke movie with the tag storyline tacked on. It’s about relationships, togetherness, fun, and life, with an occasional dick and fart joke thrown in. The best parts are the inner monologues of the players as they try and finally tag Renner, who plays that character that has never been tagged. Renner’s inner dialogue is the best, in how he finds out when one of his friends is tailing him and about to tag him and what he needs to do to avoid it. All of the main players get pretty equal screen time and each has their moments to shine. Isla Fisher has her juiciest role since Wedding Crashers, playing the wife of Ed Helms, who is so competitive that she tries to help with the game even though she can’t tag or be tagged herself. And I love the fact that while Annabelle Wallis plays a Wall Street Journal reporter that is at first trying to interview Jon Hamm about his company but finds that this game of Tag is the more interesting story, doesn’t get a tacked on cliched love story. She is strictly there for the ride, and I appreciate the screenwriters feeling that she didn’t need more. If there was one complaint its that while Hannibal Burgess gets plenty of screentime, he doesn’t really get a full arc. It is hinted at what his arc could’ve been at first, but then it is quickly ignored and while he is in the movie and has plenty of comedic moments, they are just moments, and don’t really add to his characterization.

There isn’t much to say about this film other than go see it and enjoy the surprises the film gives you. I couldn’t go into the acting of everyone, but I feel that everyone was playing a fun version of themselves. While one aspect of the games ending I did find predictable and guessed it would happen before seeing the movie, there are certain aspects of the ending that I didn’t expect and it tugged on my heart strings a little bit. The film does go a little dark in two places (you’ll know where they are) but they are just toeing that line of going into full on dreary, the movie knew how to play those moments and it doesn’t come off as distasteful or over the top. Tag is fun, so take a couple of friend or family members and go. If it wasn’t for a couple of dick and fart jokes and several use of the F word, it would’ve made a decent PG-13 comedy too (which you don’t get much of nowadays). Or if you can’t see it in the theater, watch it with those close to you when it hits streaming or disc. I recommend it fully and is one of the nice surprises of the summer.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: INCREDIBLES 2 (no spoilers)

Here is the thing as a adult critic that you must do in order to not fully nit pick and hassle kid/family films like INCREDIBLES 2. An adult critic has to expect a film that is made for both kids AND adults. Just because you saw the movie as a younger fellow 13/14 years ago, doesn’t necessarily mean that it is going to be made for you now. You could put that argument with the Star Wars prequels as well, but as well all know, the Star Wars prequels had bigger problems than just Jar Jar Binks and having to satisfy both an audience that saw the originals in the 70’s/80’s, and new audience members. Where am I going with this? Well, Incredibles 2 is extremely predictable. How extreme do you ask? A new character shows up near the beginning of the film, and with just the look and appearance of this person, I tapped my wife real quick, and said, “whoever is the bad guy in this movie, it’s this person.” And I was dead on. Even some of the clues were in your face and little medium “AH-HAs” before we get to the ultimate reveal of “AH-HA.” And yes, I was a bit disappointed by that predictability. But then I thought to myself, “wait a minute, a movie like this cannot be THAT complicated, because this movie is made primarily for kids. And if you throw in too much of a complicated plot, you can lose that audience quicker than a drop of a dime. The real question is, is there enough other content there for an adult to look past that predictability (aka the journey) that will make them enjoy the movie just as much? Absolutely it does. In fact, Incredibles 2 is Disney/Pixar’s best sequel since 1999’s Toy Story 2…and that is almost two decades ago. I was able to look past the predictability and some of the same beats as the original, and what I found were genuine heartwarming laughs, feelings, excitement, and awe.

When it was bothering me a little that the film was too predictable, after the movie, I looked back on other Disney/Pixar films…and you know what? They are all basically extremely too predictable, it’s the execution of the journey that transcends all the familiar beats and cliches. You know a Disney/Pixar film isn’t going to have a dark ending. You know that Woody and his friends will be okay and be played with by some other child if not Andy, they aren’t going to have a sequence of someone actually getting away with someone throwing them in a shredder or cut to black when they are lying lifeless at the bottom of a garbage pail. We know that the father will find Nemo or Dory. We know that Wall-E will get Eve. We know that the circus bugs will help the ants get rid of the crickets, we know the rat will make the young chef famous but then be revealed as being the real cook of the kitchen. You know the feelings inside that girl are going to succeed on their journey to make her emotions okay in the end. It’s all there. The real excitement though is the unpredictable aspects of the journey before you get to the predictable reveals/endings. Like Bing Bon’s sacrifice in Inside Out. Everybody on Earth being absolute fat asses from being in space too long in Wall-E. Woody being a collector’s item in Toy Story 2. Incredibles 2 has a bunch of those unpredictable moments. The opening action sequence with the Underminer is fantastic. Baby Jack Jack completely steals every scene he is in and he has a fight scene with a mini critter that leave you in stitches. The action sequence of Elastagirl chasing this and that is thrilling and exciting. The end action sequence is great too. It’s also a great looking film and Michael Giachinno’s score was perfect as always. I had so much fun with this sequel that my slight irkness with the predictable plot soon flowed out of my body and I was able to enjoy the spectacle on the screen.

Is this movie as good or better than the first one? Of course not, and you shouldn’t expect it to be. The first one, being 13/14 years old, is now considered a classic with classic moments. You are getting something brand new here, so it’s going to take awhile for everything to sink in and consider certain scenes to be a new kind of classic. It’s going to take awhile to have those marathons with your kid or buy yourself or with some friends of watching the first and this one back to back. But it will happen! I don’t think the first one was considered a classic until a few years after it came out, it had enough time for it to be appreciated over and over again and enough where people finally came out and said, “this is as close to a perfect Pixar film we are ever going to get.” The Incredibles is my favorite Pixar film, followed closely by Wall-E and Ratatouille and Toy Story 2, so that might tell you where my allegiances lie and where I would put this film in the future where I rank my personal favorite Pixar films (Cars and its sequels will always, always, always be the bottom three films, even the forgettable Good Dinosaur didn’t hit those lows.

I didn’t really go into plot here, and I don’t necessarily need to. The movie picks up literally right after the first one ends, and nothing energy wise skips a beat. All the voice acting is again top notch and even though a lot of the film is very predictable and copies some of the same beats of the original, it still has a solid storytelling structure with no unnecessary filler. If I were to give some advice if there is a third one of these films, I would say that the supers being illegal thing has played itself out and something else needs to really drive the story. It picking up right after the first one, and not dealing with them being legalized yet was fine because the first one didn’t really address if everything was going to change right away. But now since Brad Bird use it as a primary driving force once again (I won’t reveal if he finally solves it here), for the third time, you can’t do it again. It would be like having Starkiller base, after you have already made a Death Star and a Death Star II. I did like some of the new cast in the film, Saul Goodman…errr Bob Odenkirk shows up as a guy that wants to represent superheroes and try to make them legal again, and his sister is voiced by Catherine Keener, who is also good, and Sophia Bush does a good job as a new superhero named Voyd. Oh, and if liked Edna Mole in the first film, you are going to love her here.

So yes, I completely recommend Incredibles 2, I had a wonderful time. I don’t know if it will be there on my year end list, we’ll see. Right now it is, but we still got a half a year to go, hopefully full of nice surprises. It is a wonderful family film that is no doubt going to dominate the summer. If you see some critics being harsh with this film, saying it is too predictable and that there are not too many surprises, it is because they can’t just let it go that the movie wasn’t tailored made from them now like it was 13/14 years ago. It is tailored made for families and even more tailored made for kids. In that it completely succeeds. Kids are going to love this movie, just like they love the original (hopefully you nimrods have showed them the original by now and if not shame on you). And while I said it is Pixar’s best sequel since Toy Story 2, in time, it could even be named Pixar’s best sequel period.