Category Archives: Movie Review

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: SPIDER-MAN HOMECOMING

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING is the BEST Spider-Man film. Period. That’s right, better than the classic Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2. Tom Holland is both the best Spider-Man and Peter Parker that has ever been displayed on screen thus far and just like Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark or Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, nobody will probably ever take that mantle from him. This movie is perfectly paced, funny, charming, smart, action-packed, a great coming of age story, all fitting well within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Along with the first Avengers, the first Iron Man, and both Guardians, this is one of the best Marvel Universe films ever, and definitely one of the best films of 2017.

What makes this film the perfect Spider-Man film is that it takes everything they got right with the original Spider-Man trilogy and Amazing Spider-Man 2 films, and leaves out all of the bad. No Emo Spider-Man. No too many villians or shitty looking costumes. Spider-Man 2 is great and all but if you really look at the film hard, kind of like The Dark Knight Rises, Spider-Man is not really in the film all that much. This film has the perfect blend of Peter Parker in and out of the costume. It feels like a Spider-Man comic mixed with the awesome animated Spider-Man show we grew up watching as kids. It has a lot of zany and hilarious fun, but also doesn’t go all Batman & Robin on us, while adding some realism and seriousness to the matter. It’s a comedy comic book movie, and it works extremely well as both.

Marvel still doesn’t have the villain problem completely solved…but they are getting pretty damn close. Michael Keaton as The Vulture is the most memorable villain since Loki. Keaton gives humanity to The Vulture, and while he is a bad guy he is not necessarily a bad guy. We get conflicted throughout the film, as conflicted as we got at the end of The Dark Knight with Harvey Dent. I loved the way he becomes the Vulture by what happens during the aftermath of the Battle of New York with the Chitari technology. There is also another two other villains (kind of) that they add in this, but I won’t ruin it here. And there are also nods to other possibly upcomin6 villains as well. If I have to nitpick on one thing here, which I will because it is always good to give constructive criticism, they pull a Cumberbatch/Waltz here, and now we can call it pullling a Cumberbatch/Waltz/Zendaya. If you have no clue what I’m talking about, look it up.

There is so much to say about this film without making this review overly long. I loved everything about it. I love Parker’s best friend Ned, hilarious. I liked Zendaya’s very dry but witty “Michelle.” They pulled a neat twist at the end of the film I didn’t see coming at all. The 2nd post credit sequence (stay all the way through!) was one of the hilarious and best ones yet. Every single action sequence was thrilling, memorable, exciting, and remarkable, I can’t even name my favorite sequence (quite possibly the Washington monument, but the ending plane sequence is great too). I loved all the comedy and jokes, it felt like Peter Parker/Spider-Man from the comic books.

I also really liked that they didn’t overload the film with Robert Downey Jr. either. They really treat him like he is an “and” at the end of the credits on a poster. More than an extended cameo, but not quite a full fledged supporting actor. They give Jon Favareu a more extended role as Happy Hogan, and he is just perfect in the role.  And Marisa Tomei makes a cooler, younger Aunt May. I love that Peter is only 15 in this and even though a 19 year old is playing him, he pulls off the age and can see him in this role for years to come. I loved all the Spidey moves and gadgets. Even the end credits (without the scenes) are fun. This whole film is the definition of fun.

This is one of those rare films I could watch over and over and over again and never be bored. It’s the reason why we go to movies in the first place. Now don’t get me wrong, I loved Wonder Woman too, but this completely blows it out of the water (Sorry Brett.) And to think that this is Jon Watts second feature film as a director, and first major one, and that he pulled this big tentpole film this well is astonishing.

There is really nothing more to say. Go freaking see it. It’s amazing and I wish the film was an hour longer, because I just wanted to hang with Peter. It’s the best Spider-Man film ever made and I doubt any could be better. A masterpiece.

 

Zach’s Zany Binge Watchin’ Reviews: G.L.O.W.

G.L.O.W. is on Netflix currently and stand for Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. To be honest, I only watched the first episode (at first) because I really wanted to see Alison Brie um…naked. I’m a guy so sue me, but I have been waiting ever since Community. Turns out though, the show is actually quite good, and I ended up watching all 10 episodes within a span of a couple of days. While it suffers from many comedic and plot cliches, the characters and story mechanics had me engrossed and wanted to see it till the end. I hope there is a season two because I was wildly entertained.

The story is about the formation of G.L.O.W. which aired in the 80s, but it is also the story of two ladies that used to be best friends, separated by a huge betrayal, and them trying to mend their relationship. All mixed together with several other side girl characters and their surrounding drama makes for a pretty meaty  and substantial story with absolutely no lag time or scenes written just to be filler. And while the betrayal is a huge disappointing cliche and a pregnancy plot point is another huge cliche done many times before the way both are ultimately handled brings some realism to the fantastical outlandish plot.

Alison Brie is good in this, however when she tries to make her wrestling character Russian, some of her Community comedy seemed to seep through. I was much more interested in Betty Gilpin’s character, who is betrayed by Brie (non wrestling wise) and is brought into the GLOW community in a pretty funny and inspiring way. The character and actor that is most likely to earn a supporting Emmy nomination however would be the director of GLOW that is played by Marc Maron. His character, often drunk, obnoxious and out of his mind, is the most memorable, delivering the most laughs and the widest arc of anyone on the show.

There is an unfortunate twist near the end for his character that was a giant cliche as well involving one of the female wrestlers, but then again, like the other two cliches, it’s handled better than it could’ve been and what has been done before. Chris Lowell also plays the financier and promoter of GLOW that comes in and out and is hilarious as well. I also liked Brittney Young as a wrestler that has a dynasty to her name Sydelle Noel as one of the wrestlers but also a trainer of the ladies as well.

This show is not masterful by any means but it is entertaining as hell, about as entertaining as earlier Netflix series Girlboss, which I also enjoyed quite a bit. With only 10 episodes and each barely above 30 minutes long, this is a quick and very entertaining watch that you won’t be burdened to finish unlike say, House of Cards Season 5, a review I will get to very shortly.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE HOUSE

Screw it, I enjoyed THE HOUSE, and I know I’m in the minority on this one. It’s an 88 minute pure fantasy escapism and I laughed my ass off during it. Guilty pleasure of the year? Possibly. Maybe it was my fun mood while watching it. The fact I got a signed poster on Cinemark Connections of it? I won’t deny that fact. The movie could’ve been longer and so much more, I’ll admit, and it doesn’t use Poehler and Ferrell to their full potential, but I had a lot of fun watching it. Probably wouldn’t work on cable as the R rating is the reason I laughed a lot, but a perfect rental with friends and family.

Premise is simple: A couple doesn’t receive a college grant that the town provides (because the town “ran out” of funds) so their down on their luck friend (that blows money in Vegas with them) turns his house into a casino and gets the entire town hooked on gambling. They try and hide it from a weird ass cop, and two town committee members with sticks up their asses. The movie doesn’t explore every possibility that could go wrong with this scenario but it does do a lot and what transpires I thought was absolutely hilarious.

Yes, there are jokes that fall flat like every comedy, but not as much as the critics think. And rewatching the trailer I think they cut a lot out of the movie, like the strip club thing, and I would love to see if this ends up having an unrated cut with maybe like 10 more minutes added on to the film, at least one could hope. The ending was a bit of a problem for me too. The screenplay takes a predictable easy way out of the couple’s predicament for providing for their daughter for college. It feels with the casino angle they could’ve come up with something more creative.

I didn’t know Jeremy Renner was in this nor noticed his name featured on the poster, and he could’ve been so much better here, and he feels a little wasted, however his last couple of minutes of screen time is rip roaring hilarious. I’m guessing he was walking around the studio lot and they asked him to come film a couple of scenes real quick.

But not much to say other than if you want some great escapism for a short 88 minutes, this will do the trick IMO. I laughed out loud a bunch, I had fun, so did my wife, and I could see myself watching it over and over later on in life. It’s not a classic like Anchorman or Step Brothers for Ferrell, and never reaches the comedic heights of Parks and Recreation for Poehler, but you could do much worse.

 

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE BAD BATCH

THE BAD BATCH is a weird little film by newcomer writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour. She was responsible for the becoming a cult classic gem that I have not seen, A Girl Walks Alone At Night. This film, critic wise, is going both ways. Some are calling it a boring overlong interesting mess, others are calling it a an independent modern masterpiece. Me? I’m somewhere in the middle, closer to the spectrum of masterpiece though then a mess. In fact, I actually thought The Bad Batch was pretty good. While the story was a little lacking, it is gorgeously shot and has a hell of an interesting premise with some good/weird performances. I mean, Jim Carrey is almost uncredited in this as a silent good-natured hermit, bringing one of his best performance since The Truman Show and Man on the Moon. How can you not like a movie like that?

If the trailer is somewhat confusing on what this is about, let me spell it out a little without ruining anything. Apparently, this takes place in the future, where if you are part of “The Bad Batch,” you are actually a prisoner, where you are taken to a gate on the edge of Texas, and are free to roam a land where the American law and way of life no longer applies. Are you are a land full of cannibals, criminals, and scary looking motherfuckers, and the one place of solace this scary desert un-topia has is a place called Comfort that is run by a head honcho named The Dream (played cool and collected by Keanu Reeves). How weird is this film? Well all the ladies that are in The Dream’s home are pregnant and are wearing t-shirts that says “I Have The Dream Inside Me.” Am I right?

Well anyway, this one girl gets sentenced to this place, and right away she is taken by cannibals who eat one of her arms and one of her legs. She still manages to escape and tries to find Comfort.  Jason Mamoa also stars as a man who you don’t quite know who his allegiance lies with. Like I said, the film is really really gorgeously shot. Ms. Amirpour knows her way behind a camera and brings a beautiful landscape to an otherwise haunting and scary open prison system.

I guess the weirdness of this film stuck with me throughout the entire runtime because I was never bored and my eyes were always glued to the screen wondering what was going to happen next. I loved how this world was explained to the audience not by telling us what was going on but by showing us. That’s what I always admire in a film, when it shows and not tells. It’s possible that the weirdness was too good for it’s own good because if a couple of things were tweaked this could’ve been a masterpiece and one of the year’s best films. The story should’ve been tweaked a couple of times (even though I did like the ending). Some of the characters decisions didn’t make much sense when clearly there were plenty of other options (hard to explain without getting into spoilers). I also loved Keanu Reeves as a kind of savior/bad guy and wish they would’ve developed his character a bit more.

And the film does have that main problem: character development. We don’t know much about the main girl, named Arlen, and only find out bits and pieces with nothing big enough or the glue not strong enough to put together. Same goes with Jason Mamoa’s character known only as Miami Man because of the tattoo across his chest. But the best character I really wanted to get to know was Jim Carrey’s Hermit character. Arguably one of Carrey’s best performances he doesn’t say one word, just a desert wanderer that mostly keeps to himself except for when people are in trouble. I could’ve watched a whole movie on just that character alone, and is the reason why I like the movie more than I should.

Ugh, the more I think about the movie the more of a recommendation I want to give it. As of right now, I think the movie borders on good/great territory, but far from a masterpiece and no where near the mess that people think it is. This is definitely a film though that I’d like to revisit at a time and maybe see something new in it that I didn’t catch the first time. Anyway, if you like weird films, or anything avant garde, this is totally the film for you. But if you are a modern audience participant, this film will most likely confuse the shit out of you and you will hate it’s guts. I liked it and would like to study it some more.