Tag Archives: Movie Review

Zach’s Zany Binge Watchin’ Reviews: NETFLIX’S THE PUNISHER

Whew! Finally with a new child in tow I was able to finish all thirteen episodes of THE PUNISHER on Netflix. Not to say that it wasn’t hard getting through them because it was a terrible show. Quite the contrary. If I hadn’t had a kid I would’ve finished this grand spectacle in two days. Simply put, The Punisher is the best Marvel Television Extended Universe series since the first two seasons of Daredevil. A great story, great acting, brutal and hardcore action and one excellent episode that stood out above the rest makes this a must see experience to behold. I was kinda getting bummed out with Luke Cage and Iron Fist, and a somewhat disappointing if okay The Defenders, but this makes up for all of that ten fold.

Jon Bernthal is the Punisher. No question. Even though I still like Thomas Jane in the first movie, no one will ever be better than Bernthal. He was born for this role. Every episode he brings he A game and in a saner world would be nominated for an Emmy next year. Also, this is not just your ordinary Marvel Television series. If you thought the entire series as a whole was dark, brutal, and would probably be closer to an R rating in the theater than any other Marvel Extended Universe film that has been released, take the Punisher and times it to about ten. This would be a hard, hard rated R bordering on NC-17, violence wise. There is sex (partial nudity) and some language (didn’t hear any F words) but the violence here is cringe worthy in deed. Blood galore, head shots, body explosions, multiple stabbings up close, eye gouging out, the works. So do not let your young child watch it if he/she has watched the other ones, this is way different.

It also seems that the Marvel Cinematic Television Universe doesn’t have the Marvel villain problem like the films do. He have three really good meaty villains here, and I don’t want to take away of who the villains are as one of them is supposed to be a surprise even though it is revealed early on and you can see coming from a mile away. But the villains here are rotten, dirty, brutal, menacing, and good. Full character arcs on each of them.  If you know The Punisher lore very well, it’ll be easy to figure out who the villains are based on their real names alone and you’ll know who they’ll eventually become, but for the casual viewer like myself, I do not intend on revealing who the main main baddie is just based on that it is kind of a spoiler. The series itself is a bit of a pot boiler, it has some slow moments, but they are all necessary, and when the show gets going, it REALLY gets going.

The best episode, where these Marvel Television series finally decided to do something different is Episode 10 entitled, “Virtue of the Vicious,” where the entire episode shows different perspectives on the attack of a politician. This episode is probably my favorite out of all of the series. It has action, perfectly paced, great story structure, and very intense. And if this episode doesn’t change your mind about the series, nothing will.

Some people have complained about the new character to any Punisher lore, Dinah Midani, played exquisitely by Amber Rose Devah, but I thought the character was a great addition and actually served her emotional arc well. She was absolutely needed as the audience needs someone in the law enforcement agency to have that righteous perspective on events. Ebon Moss-Bachrach plays the Punisher’s sidekick David Lieberman very well, and Ben Barnes, Paul Schulze, and Jamie Ray Newman all bring humanity into their roles.

The story itself takes place right after Daredevil Season 2 with The Punisher finishing up those they wronged him and murdered his family, but of course there is more to it, and there might be more players involved than who he thinks there is. I won’t give away much else since the fun is the journey and being able to figure things out on your own.

But yes, The Punisher is not only a great Marvel Television Extended Universe Series, it’s an awesome Netflix series in general. If anyone else plays The Punisher other than Jon Bernthal, there is going to be hell to pay, because he really is that excellent. If you’ve watch all the other Marvel television series, this is a must too, because it is in the top tier of quality for them.

List of Marvel Television Netflix Series in Order of Favorites:

  1. Daredevil Season 2
  2. The Punisher
  3. Daredevil Season 1
  4. Jessica Jones
  5. The Defenders
  6. Luke Cage
  7. Iron Fist

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE DISASTER ARTIST

“I did not hit her, I did naaaaaht…Oh hai, Mark!” is just one of the phrases you’ll be repeating after seeing the hilarious film THE DISASTER ARTIST. This film is freaking hilarious and I was laughing literally the entire time (ask Kimberly Finke). If you’ve seen any of the trailers and are like, “what the fuck is James Franco doing/who is he playing?,” what he did performance wise in this film was masterful. I know a lot of critics have already mentioned this but Tim Burton’s film Ed Wood, is a masterpiece of a film about the making of one of the greatest bad movies ever made. Well, so is The Disaster  Artist, that shows the making of a great terrible film called, The Room. If you are having a quadruple feature, and need two more movies to compliment Ed Wood and Plan 9 From Outer Space, definitely add The Room and The Disaster Artist to your mini marathon.

The Disaster Artist if you didn’t know based on the trailers is a true life story of two men’s ambitions to make it in Hollywood. James Franco plays Tommy Wiseau, an aspiring actor and director who never reveals his true origins, how old he is, or where he gets all his wealth from.  Tommy meets Greg Sestero, (played by Franco’s brother Dave, also excellent here) another inspiring actor,  who become fast friends but whom neither are that talented to make it big when Greg accidentally gives Tommy a “great idea.” They should just make their own movie. So Tommy writes, directs, and finances to shoot “The Room.” And the two begin on an incredible journey that proves that if you really want something that seems impossible, and even if the end product is not want you envisioned, it might not be that impossible to get it, you just got to have an insane and unrealistic amount of enthusiasm.

I should put out a disclaimer that I have not seen The Room. But I now I really really want to. You don’t have to see The Room to get this. It gives you the gist of what it was about and even shows shot by shot comparisons of some of the scenes James Franco (that’s right, he is a director here too) recreated for this movie. And you don’t have to see The Room to laugh, you’ll laugh whether you have or not, but maybe seeing The Room beforehand will get you to appreciate The Disaster Artist just a little bit more. It’s not just about making that terrible movie, it’s about a friendship between two men that stands the test of time and tribulations. And with that, along with the realistic way they re create was it was like making of the movie, the masterful acting from all parties, makes this film I completely recommend seeing as soon as you can.

The only reason that I will still be controversial among some critics and not put this in my Top 15 of this year is because I really wanted more! This movie left me wanting that much more, and I felt that if I got 20 more minutes from this 95 minute run time, I could’ve gotten it, and the film could’ve been a masterpiece. I wanted to see more of the making of the movie and felt like a lot of the book that this film is based on, was left out at the cutting room floor. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I wanted more James Franco. He is incredible in this. He washes any resemblance of the Franco you know and love/hate and completely becomes Tommy Wiseau. I wanted more zaniness and even more ridiculous things that Tommy Wiseau did during the making of this film (and I know there is a lot more, I read up on it before seeing the movie).

I just felt like 95 minutes was too short. The movie has a great pace, and is very quick, but I felt like a movie of this caliber, trying to show not only the making of this film and is considered the cult classic great bad film that it is today and also the friendship between two very different men, it should’ve been longer and more fleshed out. I felt it the entire time during the movie. I was constantly thinking, “this part wasn’t long enough,” “they could’ve done more here,” “why didn’t they explore this,” and at times it was a little distracting how much fast paced it was. The script could’ve used more pages.

But James Franco is a very good director here. Especially considering he gave a fantastic performance out of himself in the process and everyone else involved. He didn’t really show anything that would show he has a unique style visually or structurally, but this film is a perfect launch pad to try and figure that out on his try. Out of any nominations I would support James Franco for best actor and maybe even a best picture nomination. It is a really good film. By the way, Zac Efron and Josh Hutcherson have hilarious camoes in this. I don’t know if I’ve ever laughed as hard as I have for Efron.

The thing that I liked most about the film was the hidden message of the story about our dreams in life. These two managed to go out there, with hardly any experience, and make an actual film. Yes, that film might be terrible, and considering the greatest bad movie ever made, but with these two, it proved that bad press is still excellent fucking press. These two are now famous just based off their effort and their one bad film. But is it bad to them anymore? Probably not. They went out there and did it, and the message to everyone else is that you can too. I mean come on, if they make a really good hilarious and sometimes heartfelt Hollywood movie about the making of your terrible film, isn’t that success?

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE SHAPE OF WATER

THE SHAPE OF WATER might be the most gorgeous film of 2017 (other than Blade Runner 2049 and I haven’t seen Last Jedi yet). Certainly, not might, this ranks as one of writer/director Guillermo Del Toro’s best films alongside Hellboy II, Blade, Pan’s Labryinth and Mimic. It has a solid structure, there doesn’t seem to be a scene wasted, it’s well acted and it’s very entertaining…so why can’t I put it on my Top 15 Film List of 2017 like so many other critics are doing? Because while the story has a very solid structure, it is unfortunately way too predictable to be taken as a wholly original film. It is still a great film, and I am recommending it to see it in a theater to experience the wonderful cinematography on the biggest screen that you can, but the story, including the journey, was an ingredient that was vital to the masterpiece of this dish, and they didn’t put enough in.

Maybe my expectations were too high after all the praise this film was getting, calling it “one of the best of the year.” I agree it is Oscar worthy in every sense of the form. Especially it should win cinematography if Blade Runner doesn’t and I think Sally Hawkins is likely to win Best Actress (and rightly so, she is freaking incredible in this, her best performance to date). Just something for the story for me was off. Beat by beat, plot progression by plot progression, I was guessing everything that was going to happen at every turn. Sitting in almost an empty theater at 10 p.m., I was saying out loud scenes to myself (but quietly, wasn’t near a soul) that were going to happen 10 to 15 minutes down the line, and I was correct. There wasn’t a moment where something absolutely shocked me into what was going on. The only minor thing that was unpredictable was a subplot with Russians that revealed its hand a little too early and had a conclusion I guessed since moment one.

Not to say the movie isn’t boring at all. It’s not, its quite entertaining, and people are sure to love this exquisitely shot love story. The character arcs all go full circle. Other than Sally Hawkins, Richard Jenkins, Michael Shannon, and Octavia Spencer are all incredible here and if any of them got Oscar nominations as well they are well deserved. I shall be crushed though if this gets nominated for Best Original Screenplay, because it is so riddled with some cliches and predictability it would take amnesia to not notice them. I’m only trying to explain myself why I am not putting this on my top list so people aren’t shocked beyond belief. They might be shocked that I am not putting Disaster Artist in my top 15 either even though I thought it was incredible,  but I have reasons for that as well.

Now let’s get to the creature, played by Doug Jones. I was surprised how much of a practical effect the creature was, other than the eyes. I thought it would be a CG creation a la Beast from this year’s Beauty and The Beast, but boy was I wrong. This thing is real, looks real, feels real, so the chemistry because him and Sally Hawkin’s mute character is believable, inspiring, yet heartbreaking when it needed to be. In fact, this creature and the two’s chemistry  make whatever Belle and the Beast had in this year’s earlier adaptation seem like it was done on a computer with a tech on autopilot.

The end is a little anti climatic as well, but effective. And on the whole I still think it is a pretty great film. It’s beautiful and a true work of art: visually. If Guillermo Del Toro, on his next film, could take that art, and turn it into something not just visually appetizing, but bring us a dessert of a truly sweetly written and unpredictable word, by God what a masterpiece that would be. And I was starting to give up hope on Del Toro, after the painstakingly numbing experience of Crimson Peak, and the good but not fantastic Pacific Rim. But this is a giant step in the right direction across the street of cinematic heaven. Just a few more steps Del Toro, you’ve made it there several times before being sent back to the drawing board, you’ll make it again.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: NETFLIX’S MUDBOUND

Well, I think Netflix may have just officially entered the Academy Awards race with MUDBOUND. This movie is incredible. Punches you in the stomach multiple times for one hell of an emotional wallop. It is also one of the best films on race and class relations I’ve seen in the past decade, along with Detroit earlier this year. The film is a 2 hour and 15 minute slow burn yet it is still extremely entertaining (the fact that I couldn’t take my eyes away from it sitting on my couch at home says something) and it gives its audience a well-earned and incredible final act. This movie is required viewing I think by any movie lover. And you really don’t have any excuse not to see it. You can sit on your lazy ass and watch it at home. Don’t have Netflix? Borrow it from a friend weirdo.

MUDBOUND tells several stories but at the heart of all of it is two families, one white and one black, both living in the same region in the south. The husband of the white family has a younger brother off fighting in the sky in World War II, and the black family has a son that is fighting on the ground in tanks in World War II. Once the boys come home, the white soldier coming back with extreme PTSD, they strike up a unlikely friendship, much to the chagrin of the racist town folks and the racist father of the white soldier. The white husband also had a wife that may or may not have feelings for the younger brother as well. And the black soldier holds a secret from the war, something that would not be tolerated at all in the town that they live in.

This movie has perfect plot progression/storytelling/etc. You think the movie is about the husband and wife white family, then the movie switches on you and you think it is about the black family, and then it switches again and it is the relationship between the white younger brother and the black son, and then it switches again to the town and white father dealing with that relationship, all while being consistent and solid with tone and structure. It’s perfectly plotted and the transitions are masterful. The best part of the movie are obviously the conversations and friendship between the white younger brother and the black son, talking about their war experiences, and the shit they are having to go through when they come back from war. It’s very heartfelt, and comes to a conclusion you might not see coming.

It deals with race, class, bigotry, and family with a strong iron fist, not sugar coating anything for the sake of the audience. At the center of all the conflicts and hatred is a good message that doesn’t try and tack you on the head a thousand times with a hammer to try and get its point across. The acting here is also amazing, but if I had to pinpoint anyone, it would be Garrett Hedlund as the white younger brother soldier. This is his most shining role to date and I would be disappointed if he didn’t get a best supporting nomination out of this. Everyone else is fantastic here too, including Jason Clarke, Carey Mulligan, Jason Mitchell, and even Jonathan Banks, but Hedlund shines every scene he is in. You feel his PTSD, his love for his friend, his heartache. Every time he is on screen is an experience.

The end of the film is what truly got me. Didn’t see what was coming and it hit me in the…how do people say it nowadays…the feels? It’s a fantastic ending, culminated in a near perfect picture that will definitely be re watched in the future. That is what I liked about this film. It isn’t too unwatchable and doesn’t play with your emotions with over the top torture and bloodshed that films like Detroit and 12 Years A Slave do. While it still doesn’t sugarcoat anything, it is a film that transcends  that uneasiness with a scene like that and structurally puts it into the film where you aren’t wincing and can’t wait for the scene to be over (even though there is one part like that, it actually doesn’t show too much, which I appreciated).

Conclusion: It’s simple, if you have Netflix or can get access to it, Mudbound is required viewing. It is one of the years best films and has to be seen to be believed how near perfect it is. The test for me with watching a film at home is if I’m distracted with other things on the internet or something else happening around the house. I just held my kid, he slept the entire time, and the 2 hours and 15 minutes completely blew by me. It is a experience that has to be seen to be believed, and one of the most important films of 2017. Steam it now damn it!