Tag Archives: Movie Review

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE HERO

I think director’s love taking the actor/actress that hasn’t worked or done anything halfway decent in a long long time and using that one comeback movie to show audiences how excellent that person had been once upon a time. Tarantino did it for Travolta for Pulp Fiction. Darren Aranofsky did it for Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler. And just recently Alejandro did it for Keaton in Birdman. Not Brett Haley is doing it for Sam Elliot in THE HERO. Sam Elliot is basically one of the three names that you associate with Western other than Eastwood and Wayne. And what’s funny about this movie is that he is basically playing an actor, now just a memory that was a bonafide Western star back in his day. But Sam Elliott is incredible in this…but the movie is only really okay, serving up way too many cliches for the film to be considered fantastic.

Which is a shame because there are parts in this film that are really great. Nick Offerman as Elliot’s buddy from long ago drug dealer is good. Krysten Ritter as Elliot’s estranged daughter is good. Laura Pepron as Elliot’s love interest is good. The acting in this is 150% solid. But let us count the cliches: 1. Elliot’s character is looking for work and roles to get him out of his acting funk. 2. He wasn’t there for his family when he was younger and is still making mistakes with them now. 3. A deadly diagnosis. 4. A start at redemption. 5. A possible way to get back major into the business. And at 90 minutes, some of these cliches keep the film from having a balance of pace.

There are a couple of unexpected things that happen including the ending, but I just don’t feel like it was enough to save the film from being a pretty damn good one time watch…and then completely forgetting about it a year from now. I did buy Prepon’s character, so much younger than him, being attracted to him and caring about him, I just wish that their interactions went a little deeper than the cliched conversations about age and dying.

Not much to say about this film as it is really pretty short and saying anything else would tell you what happens during the entire movie, and I am not one to do that. If you are a huge fan of Sam Elliot and the stuff that he does I would totally recommend trying to see this film at least once because Elliot does go out of his comfort zone to deliver something extraordinary. Other than that, if are are bored and see this at a Redbox or maybe on Netflix, you wouldn’t be wasting your time, but afterwards you’d probably never watch it again.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: TRANSFORMERS – THE LAST KNIGHT

There is so much to say about this film I don’t even know where to start. I think I’ll start by saying that people need to stop bitching about Zack Snyder. Although people think Zack Snyder is a sub par director who only knows how to shoot action and doesn’t care about storyline, plot, acting, etc., etc., etc., need to shift their focus to director Michael Bay.  Snyder is at least trying. Batman V Superman doesn’t even really have all that much action in it. He tried he best to tell a interesting tale about two clashing superhero’s and to many people he failed spectacularly. Bay doesn’t care about anything except shots and what looks cool? Good acting? Fuck it. Good story? Fuck it. Logistics? Fuck it. Realism? Fuck it. That should be Bay’s motto, “fuck it.” At least it should be for the Transformers films. Why he keeps doing them is beyond me, especially since after everyone he says he’s done but ends up coming back anyway. He has only done two original films since the first Transformers film back a decade ago, Pain & Gain and 13 Hours, which those are actually halfway decent. I just think Paramount is afraid to hire anyone else because they are afraid that no one can shoot action like him. Paramount, forget the fucking action and bring us a cool entertaining story. Because with each Transformers sequel, Bay just keeps remaking the first film over and over again. Cinematic, STD bukake that just doesn’t work anymore. TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT, while better than Age of Extinction and Revenge of the Fallen, is still a colossal sized piece of shit.

I am going to explain the plot to you like I would to a five year old, without getting into any specifics, and I will have described each Transformers film: Some object/weapon/thing/what-have-you can either help Earth or destroy it, whether it is in the hands of the Autobots or Decepticons. Yep. That’s about it. Do I need to explain to you that the object this time is an alien staff that was supposedly used by fucking Merlin in Medieval times? Nope. And if you laughed thinking about that, you had the same reaction I had watching it unfold in the theater. Bay even has Merlin be a drunkard that talks like a 17 year old trying to score some smack in a side alley next to his local 7-11. Do I need to tell you that Mark Wahlberg is picked by an ancient Transformer to be the last Knight to help find this staff and save Earth? Nope. Did you laugh at that too? Or that his love interest in this film is a woman that happens to be a direct descendant of Merlin that is the only human that can touch and wield the staff? Now you have probably keeled over in your chair laughing. Combine all that with drones that are a complete rip off of Tie Fighters in the Star Wars films, a butler droid to Anthony Hopkins character that is a sociopathic rip off of C-3P0 from the Star Wars Films (at least they do admit this in the film), and some kind of Transformer submarine that finds a giant alien ship in the ocean that for some reason nobody has ever found, with a finale that wait, get this, takes place mostly in the air instead of the ground this time, and you have Transformers 5.

It truly is laughable. But what is also interesting is that Bay cannot excite me with his action shots anymore. With this film and the last, I have actually almost nodded off several times, looking at my watch, desperate for this movie to end. Sure, everything looks very pretty. I do not deny that Michael Bay knows how to shoot stuff and make everything very pretty. But that is all he can do. Bay is not a storyteller. He is a commercial hack director that only cares about style over substance, and that the style eventually leads to a hefty paycheck. There are rumors that he might direct Bad Boys 3, and while I love what he did with 1 and 2, this time, I hope that the studio finds someone else.

This is all over the place. Especially with false marketing too. The early previews made it seem like it was going to tell a new story about a young orphaned girl that had a cute little sidekick broken Transformer that went along the entire ride, a new heroine, and that Mark Wahlberg would just be along for the ride to add some familiarity to the Transformers universe. Wrong. It starts out that way, but then the girl is abandoned for the rest of the film, until the very end when her little sidekick robot is really needed, and the film becomes entirely Mark Wahlberg’s. And Mark Wahlberg does what he can with the script. I am sure he was just doing this movie as a favor because him and Bay are like really good buddies now. But even though Wahlberg does what he can, he still looks like he doesn’t want to be there. John Tutorro is also in the film for absolutely no reason whatsoever other than to add familiarity to the project, Wahlberg’s love interest played by Laura Haddock, is just ass and cleavage eye candy to Michael Bay’s camera, and Josh Duhamel is trying to save his career even though someone needs to tell him it’s already over.

You can’t distinguish any of the Transformers between one another because they all have the same fucking personality. Even Optimus Prime sucks now. And by the way, he’s hardly in the film either until the very end. Bumblebee is the only interesting Transformer anymore and they are probably going to ruin it with this projected spin off. Now I need to get to Anthony Hopkins, who just gave us an incredible performance in Westworld. What the fuck was in Hopkins brain when he decided to take on this role, I have no idea, but he looks like he was smoking crack throughout the whole thing, and the only one that looked like he was having nonsensical fun on the set. Yelling at people, cursing like a sailor, and just being weird, Anthony Hopkins was the only half way entertaining part about Transformers.

And what the fuck is with the marketing calling this the end of the Bay franchise? It did look like the wrapped everything up, and I signed with happiness, until a after credit sequence completely fucked everything up to make it seem like there will be another sequel and that Bay might just suck it up and do it again because, “it is his baby.” Does Bay not realize that every single ending of his film is the same? Where the object that both the Autobots and Decpticons want is in the little area and there is this battle to get to that area and steal that object. It’s the exact same ending as Dark of the Moon, except that it is in the sky and not in the ground.

Transformers: The Last Knight is a terrible fucking movie. Terrible. It rapes all of childhood’s over and over again, and Michael Bay is just laughing as he fucks us all to death.  He thinks he is fucking us pretty but instead we don’t even blow the rape whistle anymore because we are THAT bored with it. I can’t believe Hasbro keep endorsing his shit. But then again, they endorsed the God awful, Battleship movie, so I guess if the money keep coming in they’ll endorse whatever makes money. Fuck you Michael Bay. Fuck you.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: ALL EYEZ ON ME

We all know that ALL EYEZ ON ME is trying to ride on the very recent success of 2015’s Straight Outta Compton. Let me get this out of the way first: I am not very familiar with Tupac Shakur’s music, or am very familiar with his life, nor have I seen Notorious (the actor who played Biggie reprises his role here), but I did love Straight Outta Compton. The real question is: was this a fast made product rushed into theaters so that way Straight Outta Compton wasn’t out of people’s minds yet or can magic really be recreated that quickly? A little bit of both. All Eyez On Me has the potential, there are several scenes that are as powerful as some scenes in Straight Outta Compton, however this film, even at 2 hours and 20 minutes, felt rushed. Really rushed. And all that leads to this conclusion: while Straight Outta Compton has tremendous focus, All Eyez On Me’s focus is all over the place, which makes it a little bit of a disappointment.

There is a great Tupac Shakur movie somewhere in there. In fact, if this movie was about extended another 40 minutes, maybe even clocking in at 3 hours and 30 minutes, this might’ve been a masterpiece. Instead, this movie seems like it might’ve been butchered in the editing room. For example, Lauren Cohen, from The Walking Dead, is third name billed in this movie, yet she has literally less than 90 seconds of screen time. She plays one of the people that first got Tupac his start with Digital Underground. And we are told this, yet she’s in the movie for less than 90 seconds. I feel maybe she was meant to be in there 15 to 20 minutes but her part was cut. You have also probably heard by now that Jada Pinkett doesn’t approve of the movie because of how they portrayed her and Tupac’s friendship. She might be right. The person that plays her is hardly in there as well, and their relationship is told to us rather than shown to us, and she is maybe in the film less than 5 minutes. Her character is gone for 100 minutes, and then she randomly shows up at the end to argue with Tupac backstage, which according to the real Jada Pinkett, didn’t really happen.

Sorry, my review isn’t really focused and is going all over the place. And that is the point I am trying to make. The movie goes from womb to grave, and the genius of Tupac probably shouldn’t have been reduced to just 2 hours and 20 minutes. It maybe should’ve been a limited series on HBO or Netflix. We are told and shown some of the stuff that made Tupac genius and inspirational…but not enough. And the stuff we are shown, is in and out within a snap of your fingers. The movie also spends wayyy too much time when Tupac is in prison for a rape charge that he supposedly had nothing to do with (no judgement here). While it proved a point or two, I don’t think it warranted 30 minutes, where I and the audience could’ve used 30 minutes added on somewhere else.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a terrible movie by any means. It is completely watchable and at times very engaging. It’s just all over the place and not focused. What Straight Outta Compton did right was focus on the very beginning of N.W.A. and then was smart to stop right after Easy-E’s death. It didn’t show any of them from birth or much of the aftermath afterward, and that made the film solid, tight, and perfect. Maybe this film should’ve focused on when he first started to his death and cut out some of the childhood fat. I don’t know. Like I said, I think a limited series would’ve been perfect for this.

The performances are all spectacular. The actor that plays Tupac, Demetrius Shipp Jr., not only looks like him, but portrays him perfectly with the actual Tupac footage that I have seen. Danai Gurira, another Walking Dead alum (she plays Michonne), as Tupac’s mother, is spectacular as well. There is no problem with the acting here. And no problem with the music either. It is all re enacted to absolute perfection. But Tupac’s true message about what he was trying to do gets lost somewhere in the film, and you can blame it on the film not being solid. The story would at times would contradict his message and then there wouldn’t be any message at all at times, and it was all very frustrating.

This movie is just too all over the place and rushed for me to recommend really. Maybe a one time watch, but it isn’t continually watchable like Straight Outta Compton is. This movie does want me to check out Notorious though and see Biggie’s side of the story. If you are going into this looking for maybe more info on Tupac’s death, you might be disappointed. The movie kind of gives you several suspects, and let’s you maybe try to guess what happened on your own. But if I want to watch a truly great biopic about rap and its legends, its strong message, and its solid focus, I will always put in Straight Outta Compton, and All Eyez On Me will probably never enter my mind for me to stick it in my blu ray player.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE BOOK OF HENRY

So other than Jurassic World (overrated to some) and Safety Not Guaranteed (good but too small to measure), this is the last films we get from director Colin Treverrov before he starts making the final installment of the new trilogy, Star Wars Episode IX. A lot of reviews on the internet are being very unkind to this film, in fact the hatred is so bad that there are now petitions to get Mr. Treverrov to be fired from co-writing and directing Star Wars, nervous that he’s going to fuck it up worse than Return or Revenge. While I am a little nervous that this filmmaker doesn’t have a lot to warrant this final film in the trilogy (I think they should’ve just kept Rian Johnson), I don’t think THE BOOK OF HENRY is that bad of a film to warrant him getting kicked off the project. In fact, I don’t think the film is bad at all, it is actually pretty decent. Not enough to warrant a buy from me, but saying that this film is “beyond ludicrous” is pretty ludicrous in itself.

It is just a simple family tale that does change tones several times throughout the film, however, I do feel those tone changes are warranted. If you watch the trailer to the film very, very carefully there is a twist that happens mid movie that you’ll be able to see happen from far away. But then again, a person that loves movies such as me, it is hard to get things past me anymore. But the tone is light, charming, and funny at the beginning, tragic in the middle, and a little thrilling in the end, but goes full circle and back to light and charming at the end. But like I said, the film earned it. I mean, with all the superhero shit, sequels, rip offs, remakes, reboots, you would think that something a little original that people would embrace, and if not think it’s fantastic, at least appreciate it for what it tries to do.

And the reason that the films works more than it should is the acting. Naomi Watts, Lee Pace, Jaeden Lieberher, Sarah Silverman, Dean Norris and Jacob Tremebley are all solid and at moments, incredibly moving. Nothing over the top or outlandish. I think the plot point of Naomi Watts, with an “elaborate” plan from one of her sons, setting out to kill her neighbor who is sexually molesting his step daughter. The way that plot point ended I thought was the most logical, and if it would’ve ended any other way, it probably would’ve brought the film to the true outlandishness these critics are thinking that the film actually brings currently.

It’s just a story. A lot of stories you have to leave your brain at the door, suspend your belief, etc., and if you don’t and take everything seriously, you’re not going to enjoy yourself. At some points, yes, you have to suspend your belief with this film. But for me that was okay, but I thought the film was entertaining for what it was. And with people worried that Colin is also writing Episode IX, he didn’t even write this movie, just directed it. Now yes, it worries me that he did co-write the overrated Jurassic World, but I don’t think Lucasfilm would bring him aboard if they didn’t have some confidence in him. Now they could always fire him, they did that to Josh Trank, but I think that was more to his behavior on the Fantastic Four set than it was on the actual product. Every actor that has worked with Colin seems to have enjoyed it, and he does bring out good performances, so I mean, let’s give the guy a chance. If he does fuck up Episode IX, then we can bring the pitchforks.

But in conclusion, The Book of Henry isn’t something to rush for the theater for. But it isn’t the abomination that the critics are making it out to be. In fact, it is a enjoyable afternoon Netflix watch. And something you pay attention to, not just put on in the background while you are cleaning your house. The quick 105 minute runtime flies by, and the ending ending of the film might bring a lump in your throat or two. But as we have all realized with Heath Ledger, some other casting and directing choices, we could be surprised. So let’s give Colin a chance, because really, he hasn’t made a terrible film yet.