Category Archives: Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE DINNER

THE DINNER has such a great, high concept of a pot boiler plot, that it pains me to say that this is one of the year’s worst films. This film was 2 hours when it didn’t need to be, it could’ve gotten rid of all the flashbacks except for a very important few, completely overhauled the stupid ending, stayed at the dinner between the four main characters more, and had been a very, very tight incredible 90 minutes. Instead we get a bunch of flashbacks, that not only completely murder the film, but that really don’t have to do with shit other than the fact that the writer is trying to over explain things that had already been shown to us. The performances are fantastic, but not even close to want to come back for another course.

If you didn’t know, The Dinner is about 4 people, two of them are brothers with their wives, whose kids have done such a horrible crime, and due to some circumstances haven’t been identified yet, that they have dinner at a really fucking expensive, posh, fancy, restaurant to discuss what to do about it. Sounds like a great dialogue film with utter dread and tension right? Yeah, well maybe it would’ve been with more of maybe only 20 minutes of being at the restaurant in the entire film that has a run time of two hours. Right before the ending, we get a great just tense as fuck ten minutes that I could’ve watched for another 80. Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Rebecca Hall, and Steve Coogan just going at it.

But no, we get flashbacks, too many of them, one of them one of the dumbest and boring sequences I have seen in all my 30 years on this Earth. Now a couple of these flashbacks are very, very important, such as what their kids ended up doing, those completely needed to stay in the film. But flashbacks dealing with some of the couple’s past relationships, mental health history, and other jibberish really didn’t need to be shown. It could’ve been told to us some in the dialogue, it could’ve shown us the mental health stuff with Steve Coogan’s incredible acting in this. And it did during the dinner, but just kept hitting the nail on the head in flashbacks that I didn’t really need to see and were just plain unnecessary.

What I really want to talk about in this review is this 10 to 15 minute flashback sequence that has to be THE MOST unnecessary, bullshit, pointless, boring, God awful thing I have ever seen in cinema. It is just Richard Gere and Steve Coogan, a flashback trying to portray Coogan’s collapsing mental health, going through a memorial of the Battle of Gettysburg, and then dissolves into almost ten minutes of Stephen Lang just talking about the Battle of Gettysburg like a history show. It was one of the most boring scenes I have ever been put through and complete horseshit. Was this scene in the novel it was based on or did the director have awful choices about what to do in this film.

The direction in this film is another part of the problem. It’s awful. All these choices the director makes is just awkwardly awkward. It’s like director Oren Moverman is trying to make a mainstream thriller with an avant-garde film. And it doesn’t work. At all. Imagine if you will watching an Avengers movie and then halfway into the film the camera just focuses on the American Flag while reading out our Bill of Rights. Yeah, that random and awkward. Just…ugh…pointless and made me hate the film more than I already did with the other stupid flashbacks. Oh, and the ending sucks. It abruptly ends with hardly any resolution.

I wanted to see The Dinner, not The Flashbacks with Dinner, or Visions during Dinner. I wanted to see the conversation taking place in present day during dinner. I wanted 80 minutes of that, with a ten minute flashback to see what the children did. Performances do not make a movie, I have said that time and time again. You need a combo of performances, plot, cinematography, scene significance, direction, all of it in one big melting pot. And if one of those things doesn’t work at least 90% of the time, you don’t have a film. This film has performances and maybe 10% of a plot. There was no direction and absolutely no scene significance. You had 10% of a good movie, and usually, on my radar, if you go under 30%, you get one of the worst films of the year. And here I serve you one of the worst on a giant platter full of shit.


Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2

Well it is officially here. Summer movie season has started. You smell it. I smell it. It can either smell great, like Captain America Civil War, or it can smell kind of schtinky, like Iron Man 2. What does my groundhog nose smell this season? No more weeks of spring. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 is (pardon my constant French) fucking awesome. It is everything I hoped it would be and is at least as great as the first film, and in some parts (like the sountrack) is even better. It is entertaining, funny, cute, emotional, action packed, awe-inspiring, gleefully contagious, basically everything you want in a movie, comic book movie, Marvel movie. It is just pure fun. And that’s all we want in a movie isn’t it?

The opening scene sets things early. And just like the opening credits to the first movie, this opening is a masterpiece and dare I say it, even better. The soundtrack all together is perfect scene by scene and mixes together with what is happening on screen beautifully. All the characters gets a fully fledged arc and some characters are given even more screentime and even more fleshed out. Baby Groot and Yondu steal the show in this. Easily. Just like a puppy, there will be some sort of Baby Groot toy or contraption in every home this summer. Michael Rooker plays Yondu with even more depth and has a great musical action scene and some one liners that will have you bawling with laughter.

The special effects, again, are fantastic. All the action sequences are fun, thrilling, and go along with the story. You might not think the movie has a story the first two thirds of the film. But I slowly new what director James Gunn was cooking up, and when the story does reveal itself, you realize that everything you thought was random prior wasn’t random at all, but was perfectly placed for the big reveals at the end. Also, this might be the first time that Marvel is getting out of their “villain problem” they’ve been having. I’m not going to spoil anything, but the villain of the film has some acting chops once revealed and it seems that maybe villains from now on (like Michael Keaton in the new Spider-Man or Cate Blanchett in the new Thor) will be a little more menacing and fully fleshed out.

Kurt Russell is all kinds of cool as Ego the Living Planet/Peter’s father, and those kind of skeptical about him being Peter’s father, don’t worry, it will make sense to you this story choice. Dave Bautista gets cool moments and great laughs as well and the always underrated Zoe Saldana is again great as Gamora. Karen Gillam gets a lot more screentime this time around and a new character, Mantis, seems like a welcome addition to the team. Also, I can’t imagine anyone voicing Rocket or Groot from now on as Cooper and Diesel make those roles theirs.

I’m not going to spoil any more of this movie. Just go see it. You know you want to and you know you already going too. Marvel can do almost no wrong, something that DC needs to quickly learn (hopefully Wonder Woman is fun).  This is another welcome addition to the Marvel canon, it’s just that great and anyone that spoils anything for you should be kicked in the head. And of course, stay through the credits, as some of the scenes are funny and essential. If I had any complaints the movie is just a tad too long (at 2 hours and 17 minutes) and it doesn’t really set anything up for Infinity War, but honestly does it really matter? Guardians was always meant to be it’s own thing and here it’s its own thing again. I even loved the way it felt like a true continuation to the first movie. Just so much fun. Definitely one of the best of the year. Now let me go buy the soundtrack before it sells out everywhere.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: SLEIGHT

And finally, my fourth review for the one movie I saw this weekend that happens to be my favorite of the bunch and the one I would only truly recommend making time out of your way to check it out: SLEIGHT. Some critics are calling it Chronicle meets Iron Man or The Prestige meet Chronicle or Juice/any urban gang film meets Chronicle or some other bullshit hybrid film combo that will take the place of an unqiue worded review about the film itself, which is it’s own thing. Slap me shocked that this didn’t get more marketing and more theaters because it is one heck of an entertaining film that plays by its own rules and is smart as fuck. Not surprised that this was brought to us by one of the producers of Get Out.

If I could describe the film I would call it a thriller with a urban magical technological twist. Yep, that descriptive. I don’t want to go too much into spoilers because the trailers for this film are a bit misleading and for good reason. If you’ve seen the trailer it looks like it is about a drug dealer by night, magician/street performer by day, but one that has superpowers. Well it is and it isn’t, but one thing is for sure, this film IS NOT Chronicle. There is more to his “powers” that meets the eye, so much so in fact that I was prepared to be disappointed if the kid actually did have supernatural powers that helped him with his magician tricks and his pickle in his drug dealings that he gets into. But it’s not, it has a down to Earth type explanation that I won’t describe for you here. Safe to say that I was impressed.

This is the tightest 90 minute little thriller that I have seen in quite some time and I enjoyed ever millisecond of it. A great storytelling movie like this can only be heightened by its performances, and that is exactly what Sleight does. The performances are freaking amazing. Jacob Lattimore as Bo, the lead, is compelling and has such a clear arc and different approaches to his character for each twist and turn it blew me away. There is this one scene where he is talking about a trick he saw from a magician as a kid, so mesmerizing because Lattimore just knocks it out of the park. But there is another performance that impressed me even more and that was from Dule Hill, who plays Bo’s drug dealing boss Angelo.

Don’t know who Dule Hill is by name, okay, how about the guy that played Gus on Psych, Shawn’s best friend and co-lead? Yep, that guy. Can’t imagine seeing Gus with a gun, playing a bad ass drug lord throwing out F-bombs left and right and hitting and killing people? Neither did I until I saw this film. I am hoping this film catches on and maybe he’ll get more projects other than playing the “aw shucks partner” in films and television shows. Here he is intoxicating, masterful, and filled with so much suspense I was on the edge of my seat every time he was on screen.

The movie also sticks the landing at the end, not going out on an all out magical techno brawl action sequence but a finale that is down to Earth, just the right amount of action, and doesn’t overstay it’s welcome. This film just has a good story, you get a urban thriller, a romance subplot, a family subplot, all with a cool little twist to make it it’s own. Please do find a theater it is playing in and go see it. I thought it was very smart take on what it was trying to do without ripping something off like Chronicle. I repeat: this film is not Chronicle. Go see it.


Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE CIRCLE

Riddle me this: What is a conspiracy movie without a conspiracy? Bland? Lame? Half a movie? To describe this movie as a joke to a geometry major I would say that THE CIRCLE is only the radius compared to its diameter of an idea. The movie feels like only one act to what should be a three act movie, and that one act goes absolutely no where when the audience expects any film tale is supposed to go full circle. It’s a shame because the talent and filmmakers involved should’ve filled that entertaining hole in any and all movie goers heart, but instead fills it with absolute boredom.

The marketers for this film are smart. They knew if they were marketing this film as it truly should have been, no one would’ve been keen to see it. Instead, they make it look like one huge big conspiracy movie where Hermoine Granger is haunted by and infiltrates Slytherin to try and bring that entire part of the school crumbling down. Sounds like a cool new Harry Potter film right? But instead imagine a Harry Potter film where all you did was fucking watch Hermoine go to her classes, read from her books, and only a little disturbance happens when one of her classmates sneezes too loud during studying. That’s what The Circle is.

The marketing team made this film look like a conspiracy is happening toward Emma Watson’s Mia character from the company that she works for, and Tom Hanks being some big corporate head honcho Steve Job’s type person that is part of the evil plan. They did this by putting basically all the “conspiracy” scenes in the trailer. But what they won’t tell you is that those scenes of Emma climbing up and down a latter is to just to follow John Boyega knowingly to see where new servers for the company will eventually be set up. The scenes of Tom Hanks asking Watson a leering question is actually them just chatting openly with no bad intentions involved. The scene of her screaming is not what you think either.

There is no conspiracy in this movie. The entire movie is Emma Watson’s day to day operations of her job and then at one point, when she goes kayaking late at night and almost drowns, The Circle’s cameras save her, and she then moves up in the company fast as a “needs The Circle surveillance system poster child.” Then instead of bringing up a cool new conspiracy, you instead see what she does with her new responsibilities, with a couple of hiccups involving her close friends and family and finally realizing that no privacy is bad. That’s it. That’s all the movie is. And it feels like the movie ends mid movie too. And all throughout the movie just when you think the movie is going to introduce a conspiracy, like why a senator suddenly gets fired and a new one replaces them, they write it off really quickly with one line of dialogue.

In fact, the only really great part of this movie was laughing furiously when Emma Watson decides to completely broadcast her entire life to the world using The Circle’s system.  When she does this you see a bunch of user comments flash on the screen commenting on her life and what she is doing currently. The funny thing is, THERE IS NO FUCKING WAY ANY OF THEM ARE REALISTIC TO WHAT PEOPLE HOW PEOPLE IN LIFE WOULD COMMENT. When she is getting ready for bed there are comments like “nice sheets” or “don’t forget to brush your teeth for one full minute” when you know in real life there would be comments like “Let me see dem titties!” or “Please masterbate for me Mia!” There are a couple of really funny comments like, “I like to fart in bed,” “I am about to eat year old cheese,” and my favorite, “The people at The Circle probably have no children,” but the rest is just laughably bad. Completely unrealistic to what would happen if somebody really did that in real life.

The only fun part of the movie was trying to read all the comments, in fact, if I were ever to revisit this film, I would constantly pause the movie to try and read all of them. The movie isn’t all bad. The acting is really good from Watson and Hanks, even though Watson looks too smart to ever work for a billing company. And Hanks, delivers inspiring tech speeches with perfect precision. But when has Hanks actually sucked in a shitty movie? It’s rare. And John Boyega, the great John Boyega who plays Finn in the new Star Wars films, is completely wasted here, in the fact that he only has two scenes and then is photoshopped into a crowd not once, but TWICE!!! Karen Gillan is honestly the best actress in this thing and the only one that kind of has a full character arc, and I can’t take Patton Oswalt in a role like he has in this seriously. I will give a shout out though to Bill Paxton who plays Mia’s dad with MS. I’m really going to miss him and even though he is in this film very little, he is great in his role and his presence is big enough to be sad by the fact that he won’t be making movies anymore.

But, like I said, the film doesn’t go full circle. It goes nowhere. Absolutely nowhere. What could’ve been a fantastic conspiracy film about technology, privacy, etc. is an hour and 50 minute film about a girl’s work day and how at the end she really doesn’t change anything but get revenge on a couple of people. It has a couple of really intriguing ideas on where technology and privacy could take us but doesn’t explore its full effect. If you want a half way decent conspiracy film you thought you would get with this, just go rent AntiTurst, which is a much better film, even though cheesy in it’s own right. If you are on the way to the theater to see this right now, might I suggest making a 180 and go back home to do something better with your life.