Tag Archives: Movie Review

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING

So when I first posted on my Facebook page that I was seeing EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING I had also posted an in depth prediction about what was going to happen in the movie. The question is: was my prediction correct? Well, I am not going to tell you, because either giving you a yes or a no, will spoil the film a little bit. So even though I can say this movie is quite predictable, I can only say that as a fact as I have seen wayyyyy too many movies and know how stuff like this is going to go and I actively search for it. A lot of audience members will be surprised by what goes on and what happens. But the real question is, how is it as a movie? It is honestly a cute little movie that is basically harmless that makes a very great film to go on a date with or Netflix and chill at home to. (And yes, I am insinuating that people will have sex after their date watching this film).

I don’t need to really get into the plot, because as someone I know so eloquently put it, “it’s basically Bubble Boy with much heavier dramatic themes.” Instead of a boy, it’s a girl, and instead of a bubble, it is a specially designed house that keeps the girl’s disease, severe combined immunodeficiency, from going haywire. A boy moves in next door, and they fall in love, making her more eager than ever to leave the house with him and risk her illness. I have to admit that it was nice the movie didn’t overstay it’s welcome and is a tight 95 minutes that doesn’t add any fluff or filler to make it longer.

Although I think the movie is predictable, it ultimately works because of the performances and chemistry between the two leads, Amandla Stenburg (Rue from The Hunger Games), and Nick Robinson (older kid in Jurassic World and The Kings of Summer). The conversations that they have with each other and their awkwardness feel real and not just reading off lines in a screenplay. When they text each other, instead of just showing the words on screen, the filmmakers choose a unique device in making them actually talk in a kind of fantasy like diner that the girl created a model of because she is an inspiring architect. Doing this throughout the film made the picture bring out emotions and feelings that as you know, just reading a text on screen could not convey.

Being a tight 95 minutes, I bet you the book goes into deeper things I would’ve liked to see a bit more of. Like the main character’s relationship with her nurse and the nurse’s daughter. It could’ve also dived into the main character’s relationship with her mother a little bit more and maybe had even shown the accident that took her brother and father away when she was a little girl. Kind of want to read the book now because I feel it would’ve complimented the movie well to give more weight to ‘everything.’

But this movie does has it’s charms, and works a lot better than some of the other dramas like this that try and force feed you feelings without being emotionally earned. The movie earns all of this with good dialogue, performances, and creatively showing us them texting each other than just the texts on screen. If the movie hadn’t done that at all, this film would’ve just been lost in the romantic crowd. Another thing is I wish it would’ve been a little bit more unpredictable. I really wish I could go into spoilers explaining how it could’ve. But once you’ve seen the movie you will know exactly what I meant. There are a couple of places this movie could’ve gone and had plenty of opportunities to take us there. But ultimately, you have to blame the book for that, since I heard this is a pretty close adaptation. So…I guess the author is to blame for that? If I could talk to the author, I would say you have a great story, you just need to take some risks, and here is how.

 

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: LOWRIDERS

LOWRIDERS basically follows the Cliched Plot and Human Relationship book from front to cover, but I have to say that it does feature Supergirl Melissa Benoist at her absolute sexiest. The film mixes in that “oh so familiar poor boy on the streets but he’s a great artist that wants so much more and for his art and name to be recognized  and gets a girl that recognizes that talent”, with “his family is divided between giving his loyalty to his older brother who just got out of prison or his “used” to be drunk father that just wants his son to work on lowriders at the custom shop that he owns.” You can completely see the whole movie right? Well you can, so the film then has to work on performances and entertainment value alone, which thankfully, it does.

I’m not saying that it is a great movie though, but I am saying it is a great Netflix watch. You get to see some pretty beautiful and custom cars and again, like I said, a very sexy Melissa Benoist. If the movie had garnered even a ounce of unpredictability, it could’ve boosted itself into a very good category. The problem is, the audience will know what will happen scenes and scenes away before the characters make those actions. There is going to be a scene where the father confronts the older brother. You know who the winner of the Lowrider contest they have in the middle of the film is going to be. You know whether our main character will get his art or his name out there or not. You know what will happen the climatic scene. You know there will be a forgiving scene as well. You know how the story will end.

If I let you sit in a room all by yourself for 10 minutes, you could tell me completely what happens in the beginning, middle, and end. No question about it. But instead of coming out as just another boring storytelling sausage link, you at least get a hot dog with some of the chili and cheese fixings entertainment wise. The performances are all there, including Theo Rossi as the brother, Demian Bichir as the father, and Gabriel Chivarria as the protagonist. And again, Melissa Benoist as the girlfriend to the protagonist. This is basically The Fast and The Furious meets any family drama without any of the racing. (I take that back, there is a kind of chase near the end that is Fast and the Furious on a very calm relaxer drug)

There is something that happens in the third act that you could completely argue with me is unpredictable. Maybe for you. But there would be literally no way to advance the story other than a lawsuit, which would be boring. It also sets up the way too predictable finally. I guess you could say that this movie is one of my guilty pleasures. There is so much going against it that me liking it I had to have been in some sort of a mood while watching it for the first time. Maybe it will not hold up in repeat viewings. But the fact is I was never really bored, the acting is there, and the short run time of 95 minutes completely flew by. There are “lower” things you could be doing with your time.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: NORMAN – THE MODERATE RISE AND TRAGIC FALL OF A NEW YORK FIXER

First off, way too long of a title. Second off, Richard Gere’s performance is absolutely amazing and one of his best. Third off, not a bad film at all! NORMAN: THE MODERATE RISE AND TRAGIC FALL OF A NEW YORK FIXER is about a Jewish business man, Norman Oppenheimer, desperate to make contacts to make a name for himself, that buys a pair of expensive shoes one day to a low-on-the-totem-pole Israeli politician, whose life dramatically changes when that politician becomes the Prime Minister of Israel three years later. Thankfully, the film doesn’t just rely on Gere’s performance but shows an interesting aspect to politics and deal making in general that pulls the entire project away from mediocrity to a film a recommend watching one day if you have the time.

You haven’t heard of this film? Of course you haven’t, it is only playing in independent cinemas and Cinemark Legacy right now, but it did run pretty well in the festival circuit earlier this year and last year. Watching Norman going around and trying to make all these contacts and business deals that he doesn’t know whether he can fulfill or not is very intriguing and nerve wracking. You want to believe in the character of Norman so much that you want to see him pull all of this off, but know that the man is actually grasping at straws. When he triumphs, the audience feels it, but when he fails, it hits the audience deeper, knowing that the newfound success could of in no way lasted because of Norman’s other handshakes that have been going on.

And I’ll say this, the movie completely sticks the landing, meaning the ending. The ending is one of the best parts of the movie, with all the pieces of the puzzle and all of the holes being filled. It’s an emotional climax that will truly make you think. Don’t worry, won’t spoil it here, but that leads me to the case that the title of this movie is the worst thing about it. Not only is it too long, but it is also kind of a spoiler per say. They should’ve just called it Norman The Fixer or maybe it’s original title Oppenheimer Strategies. But there have been movies with atrocious bad titles that have ended up being good, so just add this one on to the list.

The supporting players in this, while small, are good, but ultimately just serve to boost Gere’s performance. You have a lot of famous faces like Michael Sheen, Steve Buscemi, and Dan Stevens, that fill in really unimportant roles that were mainly hired to boost up the poster and get people in seats. I should mention that the Israeli Prime Minister, played by Lior Ashkenazi, is the only other sort of stand out performance in this. That’s the only other really meaty role, especially toward the end.  But Richard Gere alone should make you want to watch his film. He has always been an extraordinary actor but here he is masterful. He has all of Norman’s tics, facial expressions, and concerns down pat, and I would watch this movie again simply by just watching his performance alone and leave out the story elements.

But like I said, the story elements make the entire film work. This film isn’t a masterpiece per say, but it is very, very good. This is one of the films I am more likely to remember down the line than not, especially it’s masterwork of an ending. My only real complaint about the film is the title and a little of the pacing in the middle. But if that is all you have to complain about, best to maybe keep it to yourself.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: CHUCK

No, I’m not reviewing the once great television series starring Zachary Levi, I’m reviewing the movie (which you can only see at Cinemark West Plano right now), CHUCK, starring Ray Donovan’s Liev Schreiber about boxer Chuck Wepner, who was the inspiration for Sylvester Stallone writing Rocky which won a shit load of rewards. Chuck was a okay boxer, known mainly for almost going a full 15 rounds with Muhammad Ali back in 1975 (we get to see this fight, which is one of the highlights of the film). As far as sports biographical pics go, it is harmless, not being great, but definitely not being bad, too long, or boring either. If you are a sports biographical pic, and you are neither great nor bad, you kind of get lost in the crowd.

Which is what will happen with this film for me. I’d say in a couple of years I will hardly remember it other than I thought it was a good one time watch with a stellar performance by Schreiber. I have a feeling though an extra 30 minutes that seemed to be missing from this film could’ve gone either way. It could’ve made it too long and boring and not added much to the film, or it could’ve made the film more in-depth, better, with more amounts of character development. I don’t know unless I see this 30 minutes. Not to say the film was edited badly, but the movie is only an hour and 40 minutes, which for a biographical pic, is quite short.

I would’ve honestly liked to see Wepner actually fight the bear (yes, he fights a bear in a ring as a publicity stunt claiming to be true, looked it up and it was) but I guess it would’ve been really bad CGI and PETA would’ve been pissed. But looking over Wepner’s career, the movie hardly ever goes into the thick of it. Instead we are mostly treated to his downfall (with drugs of course) after he takes Rocky filming all those awards too seriously and starts to use that as a crutch when talking to people. I would’ve also liked to see his relationship with his second wife Linda develop a little bit more than it did (played by the underused but always wonderful Naomi Watts). I also forgot to mention this: Jim Gaffigan has a small role as one of Wepner’s friends, and what a role it is. You can hardly recognize Gaffigan at all in his zany role. If there is another reason to maybe check out the film one day, it is Gaffigan as well.

There is unfortunately nothing new with downfall pictures anymore. I think if the film would’ve focused a little more on Wepner’s success in boxing mixed with the downfall, it would’ve been a more memorable picture. Maybe a little boring, but a little more accurate and meaty.  Also the guy that plays Stallone in the film is excellent and I’m wondering why they didn’t show Wepner sueing Stallone like he did in real life, that would’ve been interesting. Instead, the film will get lost with all the other boxing/sports biographical pics you have already seen. And if you miss this one, you don’t really miss anything other than a decent one time watch that you will forget mere months or years later. I feel a little bad but I can’t deny that the boxing pic, with the exception of Creed a couple of years ago (and some of Bleed For This), is dead. I recommend, but not enough to go out and seek.