Category Archives: United States

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: BLACK PANTHER (spoiler free!!!)

Let’s get this out of the way: BLACK PANTHER is already the best film of 2018, one of the MCU’s best films to date, and really proves that Warner Bros. and DC need to get their shit together and fast. Believe the hype, this movie is pretty fantastic. What I really love most about the MCU right now is that while they slowly have tried to reinvent themselves from their same old schtick and formula, starting with Guardians Vol. 1, they are gradually progressing with Vol. 2, Thor: Ragnarok, and now seem to be kicking it into high gear with this. While some of the same threads of the MCU formula are still in there, co-writer and director Ryan Coogler makes Black Panther is own animal, bringing in new cultural and ethical elements into the franchise oh and uh, maybe finally solving the MCU villain problem.

If you don’t think MCU (hell even DC right now) has a villain problem, you are up dumb shit creek. What villain do you truly love in the MCU other than Loki and Vulture? Yes, Black Panther has the best MCU villain thus far with Erik Killmonger. That’s right, even better than Loki and Vulture for me. While Loki has that charm that Tom Hiddleston swoons both males and females with, and while the Vulture was played with some balls and class by Michael Keaton, neither of the two had a very legitimate reason for being villains or any true emotional wait. Loki just wanted to rule, and Vulture wanted to make money. Erik Killmonger has the best reason for doing what he is doing, and you actually feel for this villain, and Michael B. Jordan’s fantastic performance brings everything together. Don’t worry, I know I put spoil free at the top, so I won’t reveal his motivations, just to say that they have worked the best out of all the MCU films.

To make this spoil free, let’s write a short two sentence abstract statement about the plot. Black Panther takes place about a week after the events of Civil War. T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) has to adjust to being the new king in Wakanda with enemies old and new surrounding him. That’s all I will say. The plot slowly builds around all of these fantastic non-one dimensional characters and then once true revelations are revealed, goes into all out hyper mode. My one criticism with this film, let’s just get it out of the way, are some of the special effects in the climax. All the effects building to the climax are top notch and amazing, but let’s say that the climax has a few CGI shaky moments the film could’ve used maybe just a couple of more days of touch up on. Mainly having to due with the Panther suits and how the characters heads sort of wobble, knowing that they are actually probably wearing green screen suits.

But that is a minor quibble, because everything else is astonishingly good. While Chadwick Boseman is already a fantastic actor, and is probably going to be this generations Denzel, it is really the ladies of Wakanda that steal the show and the entire movie out from under the men, other than Michael B. Jordan of course. Danai Gurira, who you may know as Michonne on The Walking Dead, plays Okoye, one of T’Challa’s royal guards, and her fierceness and determination makes a lot of scenes more believable and well rounded. Lupita Nyong’o plays T’Challa’s love interest, and she has a couple of scenes to shine, and so does Angela Bassett as T’Challa’s mother. But the real scene stealer is T’Challa’s sister, played by Leticia Wright. If this were a Bond film, you could say that she is the Q of Black Panther, designing and making all the cool tech you see throughout the film. But it is her jokes and one-liners that make her the star, and hopefully she is in every Black Panther film as much as this one.

You have other characters to, like Martin Freeman as the one token white guy throughout this film that just gets dragged along for the ride. He’s there as a story/plot representation of the audience, seeing everything for the first time in wonder. You also have Forest Whitaker, who is there in just a couple of scenes to provide plot information. And Andy Serkis is in this, who is so fantastic with his very small role that you wish he was in the film a little bit more, where you could say he really solves the Marvel villain problem. Also, you have recent Oscar nominee Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out) who plays a Wakandian that is on a different tribe. His role is small too, however everyone does have an important part to play at some point or another and even though some of the roles are very small, all of the character progression and growth is so well rounded, it makes the characterization of Baron Zemo (the main villain in Civil War) look outright childish.

This movie does a whole boat load of things right. It not only brings a solid story with it, it also combines cultural significance and heritage of a people and uses it in the best way I have ever seen out of a comic book film. It is really hard to talk about it without getting into spoilers, but lets just say you’ll know what I mean when you see and hear it . This film is gorgeous. Wakanda is a place where I would want to live myself. The city with it’s technology is the best mini world I have seen in the MCU thus far, and I can’t wait to see more of it, because you know this film is going to do well by all the ticket tracking that Fandango has done thus far (it is expected to hit possibly $180 million this weekend in the U.S. alone.)

Do I need to mention to stay after the credits? If I do then you are kind of…well…stupid. I mean seriously, does anybody need to tell you this anymore? I snicker when I see people leave right after the credits, because by now you know that there will at least be two, one mid way and one at the very end. I do like though that these final two after credit sequences lead to more story progression with Black Panther and Wakanda other than just trying to nod and wink at future films. Anyway, if you don’t see this movie as fast as you can, you are either and idiot, or just don’t have the time, the latter of which is okay. Seriously, this film rocks, Wakanda forever!!!

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: FIFTY SHADES FREED

“I just wanted to see some free titties, that’s all, but there’s no such thing as free titties, is there Zack, is there?” -Craig Robinson, Zack and Miri Make A Porno.

Boy, if that quote pertains to anything, it is having to sit through this train wreck of a trilogy. The only reason why I saw the other two and this last in the trio, FIFTY SHADES FREED, is to see Dakota Johnson’s breasts. I’m a man, so fucking sue me. I always thought she was cute and funny before these films and when I heard she was hired for the trilogy, I knew she would have to give up the goods. But if I realized that I was going to sit through 5 to 6 hours of total absolute boredom and ridiculous campiness over the past three years in the theater with my wife, just to see some celebrity woman’s breasts…I think I would’ve waited for the online leaks and just used my fast forward, rewind, and pause button. Jesus these films are terrible.

The best I can say about this film is that it is the most tolerable of the three. The first one had the most plot, but the terrible chemistry between the two leads made everything unbelievable and unbearable to watch. The second film is absolutely fucking pointless, has the least amount of plot, if it has any plot at all, and doesn’t make one lick of sense. The only thing that has gotten better from movie to movie is Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan seem to not hate each other anymore, and their chemistry is a little better. In this movie, their chemistry is the best, and it has a little more plot than the last film, but everything else is stupid and pointless and boring.

And this probably has the least sex of the three films. I thought these things were going to break the barrier of how much sex you can get away with in a R rated film. These films weren’t meant to be R rated. E.L. James should’ve just sold to rights to Cinemax and let them have their way with the material with bad acting and direction, but at least the sex would’ve probably been more accurate in accordance to the source. Or they should’ve just got full NC-17 a la Blue Is The Warmest Color or Shame. To make these rated R is slapping romance fan fiction novels in the face. Every woman knows it. I have a feeling if one woman has a dilemma from now on from either re reading one of the novels and watching the movie, they will just reread the novels and never put the disc in the player again.

I mean, can I even explain the plot of the film. It’s just the Twilight series but stripped of everything vampire and added sex. In the third one, they get married, some jealous asshole is after them both for revenge (hardly, and for only like 10 mins), and of course, well, I mean come on, if it is Twilight fan fiction you know they also have to deal with an unexpected development and consequence of having so much sex.

But why am I here? You know whether you are going to see this film or not. If you are a guy, you are trying to score some brownie points to see this with your lovely lady. If you are a lady, you have either read the novels and/or a fan of the film series and already know it is schlock but really don’t care. All I know as a really big fan of cinema, these movies are some of the worst projects to every come out of Hollywood. It is a slap in the face to cinema and it is a head scratcher how films like this can be made, but Hollywood won’t take more chances on original content. It’s disgusting and disturbing all at the same time. This is another film (how is it that I have basically had three movies in a week and a half that will end up like this) that will be on my worst of 2018 list, just like the 2nd one was last year, and the first one was a year before.

Also the best thing about this film? Is that this is the end. Well, did I just jinx it though? Because couldn’t they make a fourth film that doesn’t follow the novel that has some kind of plot with them trying to have sex around the obvious plot development that I mentioned earlier in this review? If Hollywood is really running out of ideas, they just might. I really hope this is the end, or that the film doesn’t make enough money to get Hollywood greedy assholes to squeeze out a fourth film. Maybe they’ll wait 35 years and we will see Dakota and Jamie has old people having hot wrinkly old sex? I don’t know. I only know one thing, and I already posted this on Facebook but it is so relevant to how I feel: The Fifty Shades of Black trilogy is the worst thing since living in Europe between 1347 to 1351.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE 15:17 TO PARIS

When the doll from American Sniper is more realistic and a better actor than anything in THE 15:17 TO PARIS, you know you have a problem. This movie is the worst film Clint Eastwood has ever made. Period. It doesn’t even feel like he was behind the director chair on this one, is it possible someone just slapped his name on it and he agreed as some part of back end money deal to help distribute the film? He wasn’t even on autopilot, he just didn’t care. You would think that after the disaster that the film Act of Valor was that they wouldn’t make another film depicting real life heroes doing something amazing with the actual same people that lived it. They aren’t actors. They are real people.

The real heroes re-filming what they had to go through has got to be awkward as fuck for them. And me watching them redoing what they went through was awkward for me. Because even though it was them saving those people on the train like they did, it didn’t feel real. Real actors recreating it would’ve felt more real. The trailer is completely misleading to, it hinted at these three guys having an extraordinary life that led them to that extraordinary fate. Bullshit. They got into very little trouble as kids, one of them had trouble finding his place in the Army so he got into a field of work that would save people’s lives. And then they get together and backpack across Europe. And that is about it. It is a great story and I am very thankful and proud for what they did to stop a potential tragedy, but that hardly qualifies it to be a whole 95 minute movie about it. It could’ve been a fantastic 15 minute short with real actors just recreating the train sequence.

But the movie is mainly them just shooting the shit, unrealistically, and backpacking across Europe. It is extremely boring and the acting is atrocious. In fact, my screening was mostly full, and about 6 people walked out halfway through the film and never came back. I was this close to walking out too, but I always finish a film and was kind of interested in how they stopped a tragedy on the train. The acting is so atrocious that even the real actors in the film, such as Jenna Fischer from The Office and Judy Greer are terrible in this as well, especially Jenna Fisher, who is usually at least half way decent. Everything feels like it was shot in one take and Clint Eastwood just thought he felt lucky and didn’t have to shoot anymore. The only scene in the entire film that feels like it was handled with care was the train saving climax. That was the only interesting part of the film.

Spencer Stone, who the film really focuses on, seemed uncomfortable playing himself, which is actually funny. He either constantly forgot his lines and tried to remember them right before Eastwood yelled, “Action!” Or Clint Eastwood told him to just improve everything. BOTH VERY AWFUL IDEAS. I knew the movie would be a problem with the awkward as fuck opening with a weird narration that they never ever come back to. This all in all is not only unnecessary filmmaking, but lazy and boring filmmaking. Clint Eastwood is so much better than this. Just watch Unforgiven. Or Million Dollar Baby. Those films prove he is one of the best directors out there. But this. I don’t know how this came together, but I can tell you a movie about this disaster of a film would be more enjoyable and entertaining than this plain disaster.

This beats Winchester as worst film of the year so far. In fact, I’ll go ahead and say at least I was somewhat entertained by Dakota Johnson’s boobs in Fifty Shades Freed to even say that that was a little better of a movie than this. I don’t think I have ever been as bored in a film. Maybe Australia. Or that Beyond Borders film with Angelina Jolie and Clive Owen. I’d have to watch all of them to declare one of them my most boring film of all time, but then I’d have to go through pure hell again, so I think not.

So yeah. This is Clint Eastwood’s worst film. No question. Name a film he directed, and I bet you $100 I can find more redeeming qualities in it than I can with this film. Even Space Cowboys. Even Blood Work. I can’t believe he was dragged into this. This is a Lifetime movie all away and should’ve been directed by a kid just out of film school trying to get some kind of recognition. Even bad recognition. Eastwood is an established a filmmaker. But maybe he is starting to really show his age. In any case, “a man has got to know his limitations.”

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: WHEN WE FIRST MET (Netflix)

WHEN WE FIRST MET is available on Netflix as of this morning at 2 AM, and if you are wondering how the hell I already watched it while still being at work at 8 AM, let say it involves my newborn son having a diaper blowout and then spitting up right after I cleaned that all up. Needless to say, to put him back to sleep and then get me tired again, it was 2:15 AM and I saw that this was just loaded onto the platform service. I decided to put it on, watch enough to get sleepy and then watch this rest this evening with a review tomorrow. Nope, the film kept my interesting and was kind of delightful where I watched the whole thing, went back to sleep at 4:20 and then woke up again at 6:20 to get my son ready for daycare and my ass ready for work. I enjoyed this movie quite a bit, which managed to mix a Time Travel formula with the Groundhog Day formula and bring us something a little unique. I wholly recommend this Netflix watch.

And let’s not get into the, is Netflix a new movie dump kind of platform, where the studio executives don’t have much faith in the film so they sell it to Netflix to drop at anytime that they want. It’s not that they don’t think the film is good or even marketable, they just know that Netflix is the cheaper route, where a movie might make some actual profit instead of spending millions to give it theatrical distribution. That’s why I love Netflix, because instead of going Direct to Video and I only hear about the movie through word of mouth, I don’t even have to get up from my couch to discover it. This was a nice, funny, and light little discovery that is the perfect date night for anyone just wanting to spend it at home or in their apartment.

Anyway, a quick plot review without getting into two many spoilers, on Halloween in 2014, Noah (the hilarious Adavm Devine)  met Avery (Alexandra Daddario, True Detective Season 1 Episode 2) at a costume party, and they had a fun filled night just chatting up different things, playing fooseball, decorating pumpkins with a magic marker. When he goes in for the kiss though, he instead gets a hug, and she comments how great it is to have a really good guy friend. Flash forward to 2017, and he is at her engagement party to Ethan (Robbie Amell) wishing that he was the one about to get married to her. He gets drunk and goes into an old photo booth that he and Avery took pictures at on the night they met, puts in a quarter, and travels thru time back to that day. He now realizes he has another chance to win her, not just as a friend, but as a boyfriend. But he better be careful because soon after his actions he travels back to the day of the engagement party, and his actions might have some serious repreocussions.

Needless to say the first redo doesn’t go so well and so the movie takes the time travel formula and mixes it with Groundhog Day, to have us see more attempts by Noah to win over Avery. Thankfully, it doesn’t completely stick to the Groundhog Day formula and even offers up some excellent surprises along the way. For instance, I was surprised to see the number of days that Noah actually goes through to get smart and finally see what he was meant to see all along. It isn’t like Bill Murray where he relives it thousands and thousands of days. I also appreciate the movies’ sensibility and smartness. Needless to say he does get her in a scenario or two and if they somehow have sex the time travel Gods take him out of the past right before they do, and when he wakes up back to the present day, he doesn’t remember having sex or really any of the stuff that happens in between. This movie was clearly written with the #metoo movement in mind.

Adam Devine makes the movie. He is that one guy that was on Workoholics and Pitch Perfect 1 & 2 that actually hit it big, and he was great in Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates as well. According to reports, he was handed the script after being cast and they asked him to rewrite some of it based on his comedy style. When I heard that I thought it would be kind of like slacker Workoholics type humor, but no, Devine develops a kinder, gentler, yet still with that genuine goofiness that makes him him, and turns in a extremely likable character. The other stand out in this film is Shelley Hennig (who you know from Teen Wolf and Unfriended) as she plays Avery’s good girl friend Carrie that has some very interesting and enjoyable conversations both with Daddario’s Avery and Devin’s Noah. If I had one complaint about the film is that the rest of the people are shortchanged, including the main girl, Alexandra Daddario. I’ve seen almost everything she has been in, and unfortunately I am not convinced that she can actually act other than memorizing lines and repeating them when the film is rolling. Look, it might be the roles that she is cast in and the fact that none of these give her a true chance to shine and the fact that she is playing the same character in every film. She needs to get something juicier or I’m going to start thinking she is a permanent mediocre actress. Robbie Amell is just there to look pretty (he is much, much better in The Duff, be sure to check that movie out if you haven’t) and Noah’s friend Max, played by Andrew Bachelor, gets short changed as the friend that is a high ranking executive at a firm and is just a smooth talker to the ladies. The movie could’ve added maybe 15 minutes to give all the characters a more rounded fare share, but I enjoyed the movie so much I am willing to overlook that injustice.

Speaking of conversations, this movie has some very realistic and believable dialogue and genuine interactions between the characters, something which I also thought made the film. When Noah is talking with Avery or if Noah is talking to Max or if Noah is talking to Carrie, I don’t know whether some of it was ad-libbed, but it felt like real people having real conversations. I wonder if it was some of the script re writing to fit Devine’s comedy style, but it was simply, pun intended, devine. Anyway, so I don’t spoil anything else, please check this film out on Netflix, it’s funny and gets the job done romantic comedy wise without trying to copy cat the time travel or Groundhog Day formula too much. It is worth the watch for Adam Devine alone.