Category Archives: United States

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: BEIRUT & YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE (2 reviews, No spoilers)

I am writing two quick reviews of two movies, BEIRUT and YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE for two reasons. First off, I just saw them this past Sunday, they have been in the  theater for a bit but I just now got to check them out. Secondly, they are about to leave the theater tomorrow or next week. Whoops, guess there is a third as I wanted to recommend both of them if you ever get a chance to watch them.

BEIRUT stars Jon Hamm, Rosamund Pike and a unrecognizable Dean Norris, about a former U.S. diplomat in 1982, returning to Beirut after ten years to save a colleague from a terrorist group responsible for murdering his family. The movie works mainly because of Jon Hamm’s performance. I don’t know if I like him as a person all that much because of what I’ve seen in interviews and heard about his private life, but like Tom Cruise, he can act the pants off anything and always brings his A-game.

The movie almost falters because of the very predictable plot. No doubt the film is entertaining and it is actually a unique in the beginning but then when several twists and turns are revealed it turns into a lame conspiracy mess. You can basically keep up with each beat and plot point and if you don’t, don’t worry, some characters spells it all out for the viewer (you know, in case we were that stupid). The film is light on action but the dialogue is nice and hefty, thanks to screenwriter Tony Gilroy (if you don’t know who he is apparently he saved Rogue One from being a complete disaster and even wrote that awesome Darth Vader scene at the end).

The finale is a little white knuckle even if it is predictable, but I didn’t regret seeing the film. It probably in the end won’t be very memorable but if you are bored and happen to see it on Netflix, you could make much worse choices…like any Netflix Adam Sandler film. By the way, Rosamund Pike is good in this movie but isn’t given that much to do.

Speaking of a conspiracy mess, it’s funny how YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE also contains one, and the conspiracy is almost as outlandish as it was in Beirut. Out of the two movies though I recommend this one more, in all essence because of Joaquin Phoenix’s performance alone. He stars as a hired post traumatic stress depressed war veteran that is hired tracking down missing and trafficked girls. And….that is all you need to know really. One of the girls he is trying to track leads to a big conspiracy. And while it was cool trying to figure out what was going on, the end result, at least for me, was a little ho-hum. I thought the conspiracy was too outlandish for the people involved to never have been caught until now.

The movie is supposed to be dark, gritty, and hyper realistic, and it is, but the conspiracy kind of takes that jolt and almost brings it to an absurd crossing the line ludicrous kind of affair. I did like a minor twist with the ending, and the movie is a tight 90 minutes to recommend anyone that finds this on a streaming service when it eventually comes to video. The movie is worth watching for Joaquin Phoenix alone, who turns in probably his best performance to date. If this movie was released later in the year, he could’ve been up for an Oscar but it just being released and being extremely limited, I am very doubtful unless every Oscar prospect sucks at the end of the year.

And be for warned, the movie is pretty violent and has some disturbing content for those with a faint of heart. But yeah, worth seeing for the performance and the gritty realism, but it almost loses itself with the out of whack conspiracy.

Anyway, if your interest is piqued I believe these are still playing at Cinemark Legacy and Cinemark West Plano, but if you don’t have the time, definitely give them a Netflix view.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: AVENGERS INFINITY WAR (infinity% spoiler free!!!)

Look, this review is only going to be two to three (with a conclusion) paragraphs. Because this is the ultimate “if you tell me any spoilers before I see this thing I’ll fucking kill you” kind of movie. If anyone intentionally tries to ruin AVENGERS INFINITY WAR for you, they should be, and I’m not going to put this lightly, shot and killed. So let’s be quick about this right now. Avengers Infinity War beats Civil War as my favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe movie and it is yes, of course, my favorite film of 2018 so far.

The pacing in the movie is near perfection. The balancing of all the characters (excluding a couple they must be saving for next years Avengers 4) we have seen for the past ten years, is damn near perfect. The acting from all the actors playing Earth’s Mightiest Heroes hasn’t skipped a beat either. Amazing. There are surprise cameos and yes…they are delicious. The action. Oh dear God the action. If you think the airport scene in Civil War is the best action set piece we’ve ever gotten from an MCU film, prepared to have your mind changed. It is really hard to believe the Russo brothers, the directors of this film, got their start by directing episodes of Community. Yes, THAT Community, from the co-creator of Rick and Morty.

Thanos is tied with Erik Killmonger as best MCU villain for me, and maybe everyone at Marvel Studios has finally gotten their shit together and have solved the villain problem (we’ll see in future movies, but two in a row ain’t fucking bad). Josh Brolin brings humanity to a mo-cap CGI character I never thought would be possible. I actually felt like he was a threat. Thanos makes DC’s Steppenwolf his bitch a million times over. And the ending to Infinity War….And uh…yeah well that’s about all I can say huh? If I had any ‘meh’ moments they would only be a couple of the relationships, like Thanos and Gamora or Vision and Scarlet Witch needed to be fleshed out a tiny bit more or that even while I found cameo kind of funny with its initial joke, the acting was a little iffy, but I can’t go too much into it for fear of spoilers.

So that’s it! Of course I recommend this film, how could I not? Go see it! I’m sure you already have your tickets and will help it break box office records! It deserves to! Avengers Infinity War was definitely worth the ten year wait. It makes Justice League look like the single most piece of shit team up film ever made. After this, the DCEU just needs to…go away quietly into that sweet, sweet Marvel night.

Zach’s Zany 10 PREDICTIONS OF WHAT HAPPENS IN AVENGERS INFINITY WAR (PREDICTIONS! NOT SPOILERS…although I guess they could end up being spoilers?)

Happy Avengers Day Everyone! I am going to make 10 very precise predictions on what happens in Avengers Infinity War. Please note: I HAVE NOT SEEN THE MOVIE YET! And I haven’t read any spoilers, I’ve only seen the trailers, tv spots, and the good Rotten Tomatoes score number online. That is it! So while I could be wrong on my predictions, I could be right, and I guess my predictions could turn into spoilers. So be warned. I have not seen the movie, and I’m gathering context clues from what I’ve seen and the upcoming Marvel MCU Movie Slate. I will tally up my score after this weekend and after I’ve seen the movie.

#1: Loki is going to die. This is easy considering the ending of Ragnarok, Tom Hiddleston saying that Infinity War was his last contractually obligated movie, and the fact you only see him once in the trailer and in none of the promotional materials. Sorry ladies, Tom Hiddleston may be a hot catch, but you will no longer see him in a Marvel film unless the 2nd movie undoes some of what you see in this one. But I think this death will ultimately stick.

#2. The film will defy expectations and neither Tony Stark, Thor, or Captain America is going to die. We have an Avengers movie coming out next year, this is rumored to be a two parter even though the Russo brothers say that this is a self contained movie, and I don’t think Marvel would let their contract run out on the three of them before being in one last Avengers film. If they die, it won’t be until 2019. Now the next movie is rumored to involve some kind of inter dimensional/time travel/event undoing sort of plot line, so I could be wrong and one of them dies, but my guess is that all three won’t.

#3. Vision probably dies. Sorry, but we’ve seen him yell in the trailers and tv spots while some kind of septor is touching the Infinity Stone on his head, and we can probably guess that at some point Thanos gets all the Infinity Stones, because Avengers 4 couldn’t have an epic conclusion without him at least partially succeeding. 4 could also undo this death based on the inter dimensional/time travel/even undoing, but with Loki, I feel like this death will ultimately stick.

#4. Thanos lives to see Avengers 4. Why have the ultimate villain you’ve been building up ten years for and have him parish in just one movie? No, Thanos will live to see Avengers 4. Easily.

#5. This prediction revolves around the Reality Stone, so my thing on this could be a stretch. If you don’t know, the Reality Stone grants the user their wishes, even if it isn’t backed by scientific law. I believe Thanos will get his hands on this stone and wish Earth Mightiest Heroes he doesn’t think are dead, out of existence. I think he will succeed in this and heroes will end up dying or disappearing. HOWEVER, I think this will just be to emotionally gut punch the audience. In the 4th movie, I bet the wishes are reversed if Thanos loses the stone, which he probably will eventually, but not this movie. So expect to see some heroes die or disappear, yes, even Black Panther, but don’t expect it to last because of the Reality Stone’s laws and the fact there is a 4th Avengers next year.

#6. I think the post credits scenes has to do with Captain Marvel in some way. Here’s why: there are two movies between Avengers Infinity War and Avengers 4. And that is Ant Man and The Wasp and Captain Marvel. Ant Man and The Wasp is confirmed to be between Civil War and Infinity War, so I don’t think having Paul Rudd showing up in an after credits sequence would be that exciting. And Captain Marvel is confirmed to be a prequel to all the MCU movies except the first Captain America. And Brie Larson is rumored to show up in Avengers 4. So I bet the post credit scene involves her, maybe her seeing what is happening via news or someone calling her, and she’ll come to the rescue in Avengers 4.

#7. We won’t see Ant-Man or Hawkeye in this. The Russo brothers say that Hawkeye has an important part to play, but I don’t think it will be until Avengers 4. Paul Rudd and Jeremy Renner haven’t been in any promotional material for Infinity War (they have been with Entertainment WeekIy but EW was treating the 10 years as if Avengers 4 is part of the story) Also, like I said above Ant-Man and the Wasp takes place before Infinity War, so Ant-Man and the Wasp won’t show up in a Avengers movie until Avengers 4. Maybe Hawkeye has a cameo in Ant-Man and the Wasp? Who knows? But don’t expect Jeremy Renner or Paul Rudd to be in this.

#8. Either Gamora or Nebula dies. More Nebula maybe. Probably because she takes on her father alone and her own rage and not being able to focus because of it will get her killed trying to kill her father. I am guessing Gamora based on the fact that we don’t see her in the trailers and tv spots much, and that she isn’t with Chris Pratt in the stuff we have seen. However if Gamora is killed, her death might be reversed come Avengers 4. I don’t see a Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 without her being in it. So Gamora for shock value if it happens and she’ll be back in 4, but if Nebula dies here, it will stick.

#9: I will like the movie a lot but it probably won’t be my favorite MCU film and it probably won’t be my favorite film of the year.

#10: Prediction #9 leads into #10: I am hoping that Thanos has some more of a arc than just wanting to destroy and rule the galaxy, but I’m betting that isn’t the case. That is going to be his only goal, and that will end up me being disappointed just a tad. The action, acting, and spectacle will make up for it. But if Thanos has a grander, huge plan, than it might be the greatest Marvel movie yet, but I seriously doubt it.

 

And that’s it folks. You can tally up my score after I see the movie!

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: I FEEL PRETTY

Let’s get this straight on you would be filmmakers/movie lovers out there: It doesn’t matter if you have one of the greatest upbeat messages in the world combined with two really good actresses at the forefront of your project, if you screenplay sucks, your movie is going to suck. That is the case with I FEEL PRETTY, where the first half of the film is light, enjoyable, and chuckle worthy, but the last half is absolutely stupid and horrendous, falling into many pitfalls that so many movies have done before it. Thus, it makes the movie unbearable to ever watch again. And the movie does have a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful message. Not to just women, to anyone with self image or self esteem issues or victims up body shaming or a combination of them all. But a message doesn’t make a movie. I’m sorry, it doesn’t.

I just can’t believe the filmmakers had this wonderful premise (even though you could completely argue that it is basically a remake of BIG, with a self image twist; I did like that the movie basically recognized that fact and made fun of it at a chuckle worthy scene) and completely fucked it up. A girl (played wonderfully and with such vivacity by Amy Schumer) with body/self esteem/what have you issues, hits her head and she think she’s sees herself as this gorgeous woman (even though everyone else sees her the same as she was) and her confidence is so heightened to the point of she gets everything that she has been dreaming/wishing for. You can make a great, great movie out of that, even though the “what if?” premise is kind of familiar.

And I was slowly getting into the movie being a passable one time watch, cute little what if chick flick. But then the second act comes along, and just butt fucks everything to death. Does any of this sound familiar? Her confidence eventually causes conflict between her and her old friends. She gets a dorky guy near the beginning of the film but is tempted by the hot brother of the magazine owner she works for, leading to a very predictable and unnecessary love triangle. She finds a way to hit her head again only when the plot needs it and loses her vision of herself as beautiful and loses her confidence. But then she realizes she had the confidence inside her self all along, yada yada yada, bullshit, bullshit, bullshit.

All of that is screenwriting 101. If you want to make original films and not have every audience member and every critic out there shit all over your films, you cannot go by that book anymore. You could get away with it up until the millennium. Now if you do it, it is unforgivable and looked on as lazy and incompetent. There HAS to have been a way to come to the same conclusion without writing cliche after cliche after cliche of shit we have seen time and time and time again. People come up with interesting twists on genres all the time, why couldn’t they have here? It is as if the screenwriters had this idea, and then decided to watch Big, and then just ripped off every conflict and story beat it had. IT IS THE EXACT SAME MOVIE BUT WITH A SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT PREMISE!

The message I still like though. And also, Amy Schumer and Michelle Williams almost make the movie worth watching. This is a step up from Schumer’s last movie Snatched, but now I’m starting to think that after Trainwreck, she might be a one hit wonder. My suggestions for her is to go back to writing screenplays herself and then starring in them. Trainwreck was wonderful, why hasn’t she kept the writing up? I can forgive her because she didn’t write this or the trainwreck that was Snatched, shouldn’t this be the hint that she needs to go back to her computer and crank out a new, original comedy? Michelle Williams is the best part of this film, and if you want to watch it, it would only be for her weird, awkward, hilarious performance. I think she just wanted to take a break from all the bleak and somber drama films she’s been doing lately and just let loose and have fun. It shows here how much fun she had and how much of an incredible actress she still is. I can’t believe she was on Dawson’s Creek.

And way I feel that I will never ever watch I Feel Pretty ever again. If I do see it, it will be in clips on You Tube of Michelle Williams zany performance. I went into this movie because my wife wanted to see it and I think the model turned actress Emily Ratajowski is pretty hot (warning, even though she is third or fourth billed she is in only like three small scenes). I had low expectations, and this film didn’t even near reach them. And I’m really disappointed because, like I’m going to say for the 100th time, it really does have a great message at it’s core. With movies, we expect them to be like Tootsie Pops, you lick until you get to the treat at the center.  But, like here, if that Tootsie Pop was made of shit and you had to lick, lick, and lick to get to the golden wonderful center…would you even bother taking off the wrapper?