Category Archives: Movie Review

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS – THE EPIC FIRST MOVIE

“Uranus is a gas giant.” Did you laugh at that sentence? If you did, you are more than likely to enjoy Dreamwork’s new CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS – THE EPIC FIRST MOVIE. I laughed at that and laughed at many other things including a toy turtle shower joke. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it, considering that this movie is epically 20 years too late. The first Captain Underpants books premiere in 1997, when I was 11 years old. I am now 30.  Yikes. But I decided to see it because of it’s good reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, and due to the fact that I like the writer Nicholas Stoller, who gave us Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him To The Great, Neighbors, and the recent animated film Storks, which I also liked quite a bit. I’m glad I did, because I did have a good time. While not a new classic film to watch over and over again, it is an excellent film that families can enjoy together.

In this film, there is not only enough entertainment for the kids, but jokes that adults will only get as well. And the adult jokes don’t cross the line for once. I also like what they did with the property, doing pretty much being completely faithful to its source materials, but with more wild and zany humor to keep the very young to the very old’s attention. The movie is a short 85 minutes, and the pace is lightening fast and perfect, barely giving you a moment to breathe. I won’t explain the plot on here because to explain any of it will be giving most of it away. Let’s just say it’s about two best friends that own their own comic book company/series and they have to deal with school and their a-hole of a principal.

The voice acting also makes this movie. I usually find Kevin Hart annoying and not funny but this is the first voice acting he has done where he actually sounds not too much like himself and a kid-like, like his character George. In fact, if you go back and read the novel after seeing the movie, all the voice actors they got transpose perfectly in your head to what you read on the page. Thomas Middletitch, who plays Richard as Silicon Valley, is perfect playing Hart’s best friend Harold. Nick Kroll, after being the awesome Douche in Sausage Party, does a awesome as Professor Poopypants. And finally Ed Helms as Captain Underpants is spot on perfect for what I thought he would sound like. The voice acting can make or break a picture, but fortunately here it only enhances its zaniness.

Well I already kind of answered this question but is this film appropriate for your kids? Absolutely! If you are worried about the adult jokes, they really aren’t that bad, are actually quite funny, and your kids probably won’t get them anyway, and if they do, they’ll find them amusing and not be overly sensitive. This is a great family picture by Dreamworks. Usually Disney and Pixar are the only two to do it perfectly, but maybe Dreamworks can take this and start translating it to all of their animated films. But yeah, this is a surprise summer movie for me. I laughed a lot, enjoyed the story, and enjoyed my time. Definitely not wasted.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: WONDER WOMAN

WONDER WOMAN is unfortunately DCEU’s final nail in the once hopeful DC Comics franchise coffin. Time to throw in the towel and let Marvel rule all. There is no way to turn this around…Yes, Zach, they will believe this at first. Yes, they will be fooled by you, they will think that you really didn’t like Wonder Woman. They will be shocked and very, very sad. Little do they know is that you’re actually tricking them. Yes. They have no idea that you really think that Wonder Woman is a giant 180 in the right direction. There are no clues that you think this is one of the year’s best films, and definitely the best DCEU movie to date (even though the count right now is only four). Oh yes, you really feel that DCEU, after this point, could be like Sleeping Beauty, where both Gad Gadot and director Patty Jenkins have kissed the DCEU passionately and maybe has finally awoken the sleeping giant. Wait…whoa, just blacked out for a second there…I didn’t say that out loud just now…did I?

Wonder Woman is (lame pun intended) wonderful. And like my inner thoughts above, it is the best DCEU movie to date (not comparing it to the standard DC films like The Dark Knight, which will never be dethroned of it’s #1 status), and definitely will be in my top ten films of the year. This film makes Suicide Squad look like it was written and directed by Harambe. It is extremely well acted, sure as shit entertaining, perfect pacing, lots of cool draw dropping action and Patty Jenkins shows that female directors need to be given the chance to direct cool big pictures like this. I can’t tell you how surprised I am by how well this film worked on every single level I can think of.

I mean, really the only two complaints I have is that come of the CGI work was just a little, tiny, tiny bit shaky and that the final act, while still gung-ho astonishing, felt like it borrowed too much from the finale of Batman V Superman. But those are two minor complaints. The movie is completely owned and ruled by Gal Gadot. She was one of the best parts of Batman V Superman and this picture proves that the best parts weren’t a one and done deal. Gal Gadot, in my opinion, is one of the strongest, nicest, prettiest, and bravest women on the planet. This film was made to make the lead carry a lot of her shoulder’s. But God damn, does Gadot make it look so easy. The chemistry between her and Chris Pine is not only realistic, but the movie takes it time with it, where every beat and payoff feels completely earned, to the fact where you might be hiding a few tears in the finale. This whole thing is Gal Gadot though. She IS NOW officially Wonder Woman, in that it’s basically like Hugh Jackman and Wolverine, where I’ll never be able to see someone else in the role.

I also like how the marketing of this film is hiding a lot of secrets from you. Not going to spoil them here, I promise, but let’s just say the trailers do not give away the whole film. Not by a long shot, especially the ending. The DCEU does have one advantage over the Marvel EU thus far. The villains are already highly compelling and interesting. Marvel is still struggling to figure this out. The villain(s) in this though are menacing and actually pose somewhat of a significant threat. While the villain in this is in the background most of the time, when revealed, is a nice, juicy, meaty role.

When Wonder Women goes into action, everything in this is well shot, where you can see what is actually happening. Patty Jenkins directed this movie with perfection. And to think, she was supposed to direct Thor 2 until Marvel didn’t have enough enthusiasm to let a female director take the reigns of that movie. Well, we see how Thor 2 turned out didn’t we? I guess Marvel is now kicking their own ass with their decision. This movie is a complete adventure thrill ride. When Diana Prince steps out onto the World War I front line, that action scene was instantly one that is going to burn in audiences minds forever. Really, really cool stuff.

There is nothing left to say except you need to go and see Wonder Woman in a theater immediately. No excuses. This is the real deal where the DCEU actually feels like it is starting to get a pulse, and Wonder Woman was the “CLEAR!” moment this franchise needed. If anybody spoils this for any of you, shame on them. It is really a wonder that this film worked, with all the troubled production. But maybe that was just some asshole trying to get a rise out of people. Because Wonder Woman is not just a wonderful summer picture, but a wonderful superhero film, and a wonderful film period. Let’s cross our fingers that Justice League works as well as this.

Ranking of DCEU Films

  1. Wonder Woman
  2. Man of Steel
  3. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice
  4. Suicide Squad

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN – DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES

Let me give you a word of warning: so far, before this Pirates movie, I have only thought the first one was fantastic. Dead Man’s Chest is only half a good movie, At World’s End feels like a disappointing remake of Matrix Revolutions, and At Stranger Tides is frankly a piece of absolute shit. So when I say that PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN – DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES is the best Pirates film since the first one, and the only other one I actually enjoyed immensely…you know I have to be telling the truth.  In fact when you wake up early on the weekend to make a 9 am showing like I did, and the movie captivated you the entire time, you know that you won’t make that movie swab the poop deck of your mind.

What the movie does well is try to be it’s own adventure. I know that On Stranger Tides did as well, but On Stranger Tides completely relied on Johnny Depp to bring the whole movie together, and it failed completely. It didn’t try to make you care about Ian McShane or Penelope Cruz’s character, and the Tree of Life MacGuffin was used so stupidly I can’t even fucking remember why they wanted to find it in the first place. I guess to live forever? Which if I wanted to watch a movie that pulls that off I’ll just stick The Last Crusade in my Blu-Ray player again. This MacGuffin, the Trident of Poseidon, actually has different purposes, not just for one character, but for ALL of the characters, where you actually want them to reach the goal because the goal is extremely important to the plot.

And while some people might think it is lazy writing, the film introduces new characters that have to do with past Pirates characters that we care about, so it actually has us default to care about them a little bit. But their acting also works as well. Brendon Thwaites and Kyra Scadder…(I’m not looking up how to spell her name so I’ll say the girl from The Maze Runner movies) are actually quite good in this and bring some chops that were missing from Ian MacShane and Penelope Cruz from the last adventure. The film also does a great job by not just relying on Johnny Depp to bring the movie together. He is there a lot, but the film gives equal time to the other characters so we don’t get sick of Depp’s performance like we did with On Stranger Tides. I also like that there are really two MacGuffin’s in this film, where the black compass that we have seen Depp with throughout all the movies, has an interesting role to play.

And I’ll get this also out of the way. Yes, you get to see Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly in this, but just a warn of warning, one character gets about 5 minutes of screentime, and the other maybe two minutes, so don’t rely on their nostalgia to make you like the film. I would be also remiss if I didn’t mention that the action sequences in this movie are all pretty awesome. Yes, you get the cool ship pirate battles with cannon balls galore but this film has so much more fun stuff in it. You get a great sequences of not just a bank safe but an entire bank building being dragged through a town, a cool sequence with zombie dead sharks trying to keep two of our heroes, and the finale (I don’t want to spoil it here) is the most memorable of all 5 movies, with incredible set design and special effects. Yes, it is even better than the finale of the first film.

Also, the movie finally had some balls on some of the fates of the characters. It managed to course correct one fate of a character I didn’t care with what they did with him/her in the last couple of films, and not everyone survives this journey, which I appreciated (everything can’t all be happy and hunky dory). Also, Javiar Bardem makes the next best villain since Geoffrey Rush in the original. I never really cared for Ian MacShane or Davy Jones in the other sequels. Be sure to stay through the entire credits for an extra important scene possibly setting up the next film (although I kind of don’t like what they might be doing) that gives two important characters one or two more minutes of screen time.

But I really really really enjoyed this Pirates film, and I can’t see why critics aren’t enjoying this one as well, especially when they enjoyed the so-so Dead Man’s Chest and meh-meh At World’s End. This movie is entertainment in spades and will definitely check this out again. Maybe I liked it so much because On Stranger Tides is one of the biggest pieces of shit at the bottom of the adventure ocean. But this film gets a promotion, and is nowhere near having to walk the plank for this Movie Pirate.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: BAYWATCH

We all know that PG-13 comedies don’t work anymore. That’s why every comedy I am thinking of that comes out this summer, like BAYWATCH, Rough Night, Girl’s Night Out, are all rated R. Can you think of the last PG-13 comedy that actually worked? We need the dick, fart & vagina jokes. The ones that are clever at least. There are some R rated comedies that don’t work though. You can have the dick, fart & vagina jokes, but they aren’t that clever, and the chemistry of the actors can’t be there. With this, the jokes are hit & miss, it kind of drags a little in the middle, but the chemistry of all the actors, especially Johnson and Efron, make this film a very perfect, if ultimately forgettable, perfect one time Netflix watch.

I was bringing up PG-13 comedies because if this was PG-13, it would’ve been absolutely awful. While the jokes hit or miss, the jokes that do work are completely raunchy and wouldn’t worked edited for TV. While I think the mainstream critics are right on some of their critiques of this film, they are being a little too harsh. This food is not awful at all, at least watchable, and somewhat entertaining. It actually has  a story, and the magic charisma that Dwayne Johnson brings to every film is here and it works very well, especially with Efron. In fact, all the characters here work. Daddario has great romantic chemistry with Efron, and Rohrbach has great chemistry with the fat kid. And I also like that the fat kid didn’t have to win her the entire movie, that she actually liked him the whole time and just needed to display a little confidence to get to the next stage in their romance.

Also, Chopra (who is the main lead in TV’s Quantico), although VERY underused, made a great villain. I haven’t seen an episode of Quantico, but here acting here works, I just wished they used her a little bit more. I loved all the different names Johnson was giving Efron the entire movie, especially one that will make you laugh really hard because of it’s directness. The thing that could’ve rocked this movie into greatness though was if it poked more fun at itself, kind of like how 21 and 22 Jump Street did. There are a couple of jokes of how lifeguard’s doing what they are doing in this film is kind of ridiculous, but it doesn’t take that joke to the next level, and instead becomes buries itself in the plot that doesn’t matter, and gets a little too serious for it’s source material.

I saw this at the Alamo Drafthouse, which always has a great 30 minute pre show with selected baffoonery that gets material from Youtube that relates to the film that is about to play. I saw a bunch of ridiculous shit from Baywatch over the years, and the pre show kind of got me really amped because I saw a bunch of opportunity to really kick the old ridiculous show in the balls while also being ridiculous in its own right. And like I said, there are a couple of jokes in their, but it doesn’t take any of them where they need to go. It really is a missed opportunity and will ultimately what will make the film kind of forgettable for me in the long run.

But the critics are wrong, this movie isn’t horrible at all. It’s the perfect Netflix watch late night with friends while drunk or (I’ve never even smoked a cigarette so I’m just guessing) high as fuck. The film kind of drags in the middle, and the action sequences could’ve been more planned out, ridiculous, and fun, are kind of tame. But the film ultimately keeps it out of being mediocre from the chemistry of the leads and the good jokes that stick the landing. And the film has one of the better blooper reels in the credits that I have seen in a really long time. You won’t miss anything by seeing this in the theater, but if you are bored on a long hot summer day and you don’t want to be in a crowded pool area, you could do a lot worse than seeing this film.