Category Archives: Movie Review

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: MEGAN LEAVEY

Wow, this movie was so much better than I expected. And you know why I expected it to be a “meh” kind of movie? Because the fucking marketing for this film is completely wrong. Let me guess, you think that most of the 2 hour run time is due to Megan Leavey trying to adopt her Marine war bomb sniffing dog and trying to overcome many obstacles to do it? WRONG. Spoiler alert: That’s the last 15 minutes of the film. This is more of a war movie than any of the trailers and TV spots are letting on. Some people have asked why the fuck this movie isn’t called A Dog’s Purpose, because it makes more sense other than that other Lifetime nonsense crap that came out in January. It’s because the movie is really about Megan Leavey. Sure the dog is in there a lot too, but it’s about Leavey’s personal journey to connect with another soul (that soul being the dog) and to find her place in life in an atmosphere that is almost too dark to see through.

And it’s a very, very good film. Not a masterpiece per say, there are better war films out there, but at my screening last night, there probably wasn’t a dry eye (out of happiness) in the theater, and that’s saying something. Kate Mara gives her best performance here since House of Cards, honestly this may be her best performance in anything to date because a lot of people consider her wooden, but she is anything but that here. The film is actually very entertaining for its subject matter, the pacing is near perfect, and the story flows fluidly from point A to B to C. At the beginning she is a troubled young adult, goes through Marine training and dog training, and comes out after an injury only to find out she connected with her bomb sniffing dogs soul. It’s actually quite touching, and it probably wouldn’t have worked with Mara or the dog.

Draco Malfoy…oh excuse me, Tom Felton shows up as a Marine that is an expert already in the field of dog bomb sniffing, and he is getting a good job trying to make a general audience forget he ever said the word “POTTER!” with such hatred. Common is pretty good as the overall leader of the dog bomb sniffing unit of the Marines, and Ramon Rodriguez shows up as a fellow Marine/love interest, and maybe the only part of the story that could’ve been cut out and had not made much of a difference. It would’ve been better if they had just been really good friends and not lovers. Also, I wonder if that part was shoe horned in to make the film longer, as it didn’t need to be. I’m going to look further into it, but if that did indeed happen, then I guess putting it in the film was okay.

I’m just looking at a picture of Megan Leavey right now, and holy shit does she look like Kate Mara, so the casting director did pretty well with her job for this movie.  The movie also does a pretty good job with the overall tension of finding bombs and whether or not someone has a bomb on them or not. I have not felt that kind of tension since The Hurt Locker (still the better film) and I commend the movie for making me be on the edge of my seat during those scenes.

Overall, there are many movies like this one. Whether they work or not is another story. There are some that have worked, and many, MANY, that have not. I think the marketing of this film is ultimately going to hurt the audience that sees it, but Megan Leavey is one of those films that completely works during it’s two hour run time. I was entertained more than I thought I’d be, and was way more engaged with the emotional bond between Leavey and Rex than I thought I would be. While PG-13 this is I would consider a very good older family film. But probably not for kids under 10 years old. Highly recommend, it is better than it looks in previews. I guarantee it.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: CHURCHILL

Well this is going to be one of my short and sweet reviews because, there really isn’t much to this quick hour and 40 minute film. Which was kind of the problem. CHURCHILL is about Winston Churchill obviously, but it only focuses really on four days of his life, the four days leading up to D-Day and his rallying speech. Mainly how he was against the operation to begin with, but out of passion, afraid that they would not win, and over 20,000 soldiers would die for nothing. His wife trying to calm him down, he tried do to everything he could to stop the troops from ever entering the beach.

Well, we all know what ends up happening, spoiler alert, D-Day happens anyway and the allies eventually stop Hitler and his regime. While the movie was watchable it was a little bit of a bore. I would’ve rather have a whole 2 hour and 30 minute film about the entirety of one of the world’s greatest leaders. Especially with Brian Cox in the role. He is excellent here, but I feel like a story focused on something else would of taken his excellent performance and made it classic and award worthy. His wife, played by Miranda Richardson is good too, but she mainly just gets mad at him and has to calm him down a couple of times, to understanding what his mind is going through.

I didn’t learn a lot about Winston Churchill in this film, and I feel like that was a crime, like I was robbed. So I can’t recommend this really other than to say maybe just watch it for Cox’s performance? I don’t know. The movie literally had no purpose. I get what the screenplay writer was trying to do, to avoid that ‘bio’ pic. But sometimes the ‘bio’ pic is exactly what we need. This could’ve been included in the bio pic, but for only like maybe 10-15 minutes of screentime? Yeah…that would’ve been better.

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