Category Archives: Movie Review

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: MISSION IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT (no spoilers)

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT is my favorite film of 2018. So far. Yes, I know it’s only July and some sneaky little surprise could come lurking its way to me come December. And yes, I liked this more than Avengers: Infinity War. It is just unbelievable how this franchise is getting better and better (in a way even better than the Fast & Furious series) and hasn’t gone the way of series like Die Hard, and Alien, and Predator, and Terminator, and keep entering franchises here that have overstayed their welcome. Tom Cruise might be a crazy couch jumping Scientologist but disregarding his personal life, the man knows how to make a movie, and he has NEVER EVER EVER EVER phoned in a performance. I know I keep saying that in every Cruise review movie I do, but its true. The man really loves his job, and it shows. But the true star of this film, especially the past two has been writer/director Christopher McQuarrie. With this, Rogue Nation, Way of the Gun, and The Usual Suspects, the man knows how to make a pot boiler explode (in a good way). Fallout is just one of those good old fashioned action adventures that reminded me of those in the same genre in the mid 80’s/90s except cranked up to the nth degree.

The less you know going into this movie the better. Unfortunately since my brain works abnormally when I’m watching a movie, I was able to deduce several things that happened because of what I saw in the trailers and television spots. I guessed too easily too quickly the reveals of who the true bad guys are, the double, and even triple crosses. You might be able to figure it out easily as well, who knows? But all of that guessing didn’t bother me at all, because the journey to those revelations were witty, smart, and ingeniously written. There were a bunch of small surprises I didn’t see coming, and while I usually like it the other way around (I love big revelations), everything else, especially the action set pieces, stunned me into a movie lovers dream coma. So that being said, I am not going to describe the plot all that much. It involves Ethan Hunt once again trying to save the world with his usual teammates played by Simon Pegg and Ving Rhames (the latter having the most to do since the third movie). This time some plutonium is stolen and a faction of the group The Syndicate, who know call themselves The Apostles, with a mysterious new leader only known by the name of John Lark, want to blow up parts of the world because they think that “the greater the suffering, the greater the peace.” Anyway, the bad guy from Rogue Nation, Solomon Kane, is also involved, as well as Ilsa, the MI6 agent whose allegiances are still really unknown in this.

People keep asking me if they should watch all the other films before watching this one. Um, duh. Yes. Watching them all makes you appreciate how much greater the movies have gotten. If you are in a pinch though, you basically only need to watch 3, 4, and 5, but I implore you to take your time and check every one out if you haven’t already. The only ‘meh’ entry in the series is the 2nd one, which is basically just John Woo and Metallica pleasuring themselves in a circle jerk. The only reason to watch that one are Tom Cruise doing the stunts (especially the motorcycle finale), but the story is as mediocre and lazy as it gets. While John Woo action is cool, it is mostly fake action. In Fallout, every action set piece, looks and feels real. They even use the take where Cruise is jumping from one building to another, where he didn’t make it, broke his ankle, and the production shut down for a month so he could heal. The halo jump is awesome. The motorcycle chase in this is awesome. The helicopter chase in this is awesome. Everything in this movie bleeds awesome. See it on the biggest screen you can, with the best sound that you can.

I loved the entire cast in this one. Everybody gets something important to do, even if they don’t have that much screen time. Alec Baldwin is good, Angela Bassett is good, Vanessa Kirby is good. Simon Pegg and Ving Rhames are two of the best people in this entire series. Rebecca Ferguson as Ilsa Faust needs to be added to the list of characters that comes back every time (as long as it serves the story). Michelle Monoghan is back and even her character is tied perfectly into the story without it feeling forced. I didn’t like Sean Harris’ Solomon Kane in the last movie, his villainy felt kind of too relaxed, but in this film, he is much more dangerous and crazy, and I now completely relish him as a villain. And then we have Henry Cavill, Superman himself, who steals some of the scenes he is in, including a top notch bathroom fight early on in the film. But this show belongs to Cruise. His blood, sweat, yet probably no tears completely fuels this franchise engine. The dude is 56, still doing all his own stunts (I wish him and Keanu Reeves would do an action film together). And the even greater reason why this is his show is that his character of Ethan Hunt is the most fleshed out it has ever been in the series. And Cruise’s acting takes it beyond the level that it needs to be, bringing humanity in the couple of quieter moments the film has.

But yeah, don’t drink a soda while watching this film. It is two and a half hours, and there are no good parts to take a bathroom break. You will miss something important if you do. I know there are Cruise haters out there, but eveb if you don’t like Tom Cruise because of his personal life, try to set that aside and accept this mission. You’ll be glad you took the ride. This review will self destruct from your memory in 5 seconds.

Ranking of Mission movies:

1. Fallout
2. Ghost Protocol
3. Rogue Nation
4. M:i-1
5. M:i-3
6. M:i-2

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: UNFRIENDED DARK WEB (no spoilers)

UNFRIENDED: DARK WEB was a very pleasant, entertaining surprise. Categorized as part of the new film genre calling itself “desktop horror,” the movie takes place entirely on a Mac , where the story and plot thickens all on one screen. It is a quasi-sequel to 2014’s Unfriended, meaning that it doesn’t continue with the story developed in that one at all. It looks as though they have decided to take the brand name and make it into an anthology series, rather than just repeating all the same shit the first one did. And it is a great decision. The first one functioned primarily on supernatural elements, where a girl committed suicide at school, and haunts and kills her former friends that were responsible for her death one by one while they are on a nightly Skype chat. I actually like the first one a little bit. It was entertaining and kept my attention, although the kills were unimaginative, CGI heavy, with quick cuts to hide the CGI. The first one also relied on that girls’ ghost playing “Never Have I Ever” with the friends most of its run time, and it got old pretty fast. This new film does away with all of that. There are no supernatural elements in this. Even though I’m sure all the technical hacking jargin is a bunch of made up bullshit, the more realistic tone and plot in this film made everything scarier, creepier, and livelier.

I mentioned hacking earlier, the film deals with a lot of that, hence the subtitle ‘Dark Web.’ I am not a techie so I have no clue what they were talking about actually exists in that lingo (my guess is probably not). I want to somewhat tell you the plot of this film, but at its most stripped down bare bones basic description so I don’t ruin any of the surprises. A man finds a laptop at an internet cafe he goes to that was unclaimed for weeks, and since his laptop was slow as shit and he was trying to build some nifty new apps, decided to take it. He boots up the computer to try it out on a game night of Skype with his friends. He soon learns though that he probably shouldn’t have taken the computer. That’s all I’m going to say, because anything else would ruin the fun. While the first film did have relationship arcs between the friends, there wasn’t as much fleshing out of the characters that there should have been, and those relationships were mostly just ‘sexual encounters’ with several of them cheating on each other. The first film also had great acting by Shelly Hennig, (from Teen Wolf who is very underrated), but the rest of the actors in that one were over the top or too nuanced. In this film, there is a very sweet love story going on between the main character and his deaf girlfriend, and it also has another relationship between two women that was heartfelt as well. Also, in this film, all of the actors are actually pretty damn good, with their character arcs a little more fleshed out considering it is a 90 minute film. When any of them are screaming at the computer, it felt like they were really traumatized.

Also, the deaths, (I mean, come on, that’s not so much a spoiler because you know these horror films has to have a least two or more people kick the bucket) actually pack a punch because of the scenarios that lead to their demise. The first ones death kind of just happen at random, but in this one, everything is meticulously set up in the beginning so each character arc pays off. There were even moments in this when I had my hand covering my mouth and my jaw open. The film also doesn’t rely on jump scares either. There are still one or two, but the shock and awe of everything is figuring out what is really going on and the consequences of those revelations.

So that’s all I’m going to say. If you liked the first one, you’ll like this one so much more. Also, there are two endings to this film going around, it just depends on what theater got which ending or what not. Once I learned that, I looked up what the other ending was after my film was over. After reading what transpired, my conclusion is that each ending packs quite a punch, but I felt like mine made a little more sense to what was set up before hand. Maybe the blu-ray or digital copy when it comes out to view at hom, will have both endings where I can watch the entire movie again, but with the other ending, to see if what I read works on screen. I know there is another “desktop thriller,” coming out next month with John Cho called Searching, which after seeing Dark Web, I’m really interested now in checking out. But for this anthology series, as long as you make them interesting, my weird taste in movies will watch them.

Diane’s Delightful Movie Reviews: MAMMA MIA HERE WE GO AGAIN

Zach here, and again, my wife is more qualified to review a film like this than I am, although I’ll give you my two cents at the bottom:

MAMMA MIA HERE WE GO AGAIN was a fun, yet unnecessary, sequel. If you liked the first one then you will more than likely like this one. If you have any desire to not see it, don’t. It was boring at times but the performances were good and seemed like everyone had a good time through filming.

Lilly James steals the show. Not only is she super cute but she can sing well. The younger cast that plays the younger version of all the characters in the flash backs are much more interesting and I feel like they could have made that movie without it being a musical and it could have carried well.

You can tell that all of the good songs were used in the first movie. Unlike the first movie where the songs flowed naturally with the feel of the story, this one sometimes felt forced and took you out of the story. The plot with Cher did not add anything to the movie. I think they were looking for an excuse to put Cher and and the song ‘Fernando’ in the movie. My favorite numbers were ‘Waterloo’ and during the end credits, ‘Super Trooper’.

All and all you can totally wait for the DVD and have all your friends over and do a back to back movie special while getting drunk on sangria and singing along at the top of your lungs and still not miss a beat.

Grade: B-

Zach’s Zany 2 Cents: Agree with my wife on most aspects, I’ll go against her in saying that I liked the sequel more than the first one, but the fact that I hated the first one doesn’t say much. If you liked the first, you’ll like this, but this movie wasn’t aimed at winning me over, and I never expected it to.

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

I’m going to make my review for THE EQUALIZER 2 very simple, I’m going to make a short, non-spoiler list of pros and cons, with a conclusion paragraph to summarize everything up. Cool? Something a little different to spice things up. If you just want to know one sentence that pertain to my thoughts here goes: There are some solid things, there are some sloppy things, and it all ‘equals’ itself out, meaning that if you liked the decent 1st film, you’ll likely like this one too.

PROS:

1. DENZEL, ALWAYS DENZEL
2. The Final Act Set Piece: I won’t ruin what it is, but if a lot of it was CGI special effects and smokescreen (I figure it had to be), I couldn’t tell. Liked it better than the Home Depot finale from the 1st film.
3. The quick little snippets of action, this isn’t a action film and the film doesn’t bog down the story. What we got was just the right amount.
4. I liked how the story was a little more personal this go around with Robert McCall. You don’t really know anything about him after the first film, you get a few snippets of detail in this, but they still keep him a mysterious figure.
5. I like how they flip the creepy Lyft/Uber driver stories you hear upside down by making Robert McCall be somewhat of a hero Lyft driver that helps people in need.

CONS:
1. The bad guys’ identity and ultimate end game is wayyy too predictable. Remember how easy it was pointing out who the villain was in Incredibles 2? This is easier.
2. Characters, both good and bad, make the stupidest decisions in the movie, right after they have done something extremely clever. Really uneven decision making. Especially a decision made by a artist kid near the end of the movie that Denzel is looking after. Characters making stupid decisions out of left field in the movie just to move the plot along is bad screenwriting.
3. The movie might’ve been too much of a slow burn at times.
4. Pedro Pascal’s acting was sort of wooden in this. My first real disappointment from him.
5. The stop watch thing before Robert McCall beats someone down real fast has become too much of a gimmick.

5 and 5. See? All equal. But that didn’t make the movie mediocre. It kept my attention and I enjoyed myself. However, will it be memorable in a year or two? Probably not, hard to say. What I do say is to make one more, make the series a trilogy and then end it before it overstays its welcome. If you liked the first one, you’ll like the second. It’s that simple.