Tag Archives: Movie Review

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: ATOMIC BLONDE

There are three things ATOMIC BLONDE isn’t. It is not a female counter part to John Wick (so don’t go in thinking it is even though it is directed by the guy that directed the first John Wick film). It isn’t the action film of the summer. And most of all, it isn’t that great of a film. In fact, of it’s two hour run time I was bored for almost half of it. And we can blame that absolutely stupid unoriginal crappy plot/MacGuffin our characters spend the entire film trying to recover. Other than the incredible acting and one really fucking good 15 minute stairway/car chase that seems like it is an uninterrupted shot, this movie isn’t atomic at all, it is more like a fizzle, a short loud spark, and then fizzles until it is no more.

I won’t give away anything, but there are two big twists in the film. The first one you can see coming from a mile away. The second one I was even shocked by, but then I starting thinking, “wait a minute, did they first start out with this twist/idea and try to build a plot around it?” I started suspecting that they did, and then wondered if the writers got writer’s block, watched the first Mission: Impossible film, suddenly “had an idea” and built a cliched, meandering, stupid plot that has been done a million times before, just to yell “GOTCHA!” at the very, very end of the movie.

This isn’t giving anything away but I am going to tell you the MacGuffin/plot of the film. Charlize Theron is a British secret agent that is hired to recover a secret list that if uncovered will reveal a lot of secret agents, their whereabouts, and code names. I can see your face twisting in a grimace right now as you read this, and exclaim, “wait a minute, you mean the fucking NOC list from Mission: Impossible?” Yes, that is correct, they basically borrowed the entire NOC list idea from M:i, and that’s what they go with the entire film. It doesn’t lead to something else which leads to something else. The entire film is trying to uncover this list all while asking yourself, “who can you trust?” And then the big twist at the end is revealed, and you realized that was the true end game all along and that they really had nothing else left to offer.

It’s sad two, because David Leitch, is a good director. The first John Wick is an incredible awesome film. He knows how to shoot fight scenes and he knows how to bring a lot of style to his films. Unfortunately, he didn’t bring any substance to this movie. Which is okay, because I blame writer Kurt Johnstad, who barely has any screenwriting credits to his name other than the terrible Act of Valor film and 300 1 and 2. And don’t get me started on 300, yes it is a cool film but we can thank Zack Snyder for the brash, cool atmosphere where as if you look deep into that screenplay, it is filled with crap dialogue and not a lot of substance either. So David Leitch is still a good choice for directing the upcoming Deadpool 2, especially because Kurt Johnstad didn’t write it.

The acting though in this is aces. Charlize Theron can act her way out of a paper back, and in this she is pretty damn cool. So is James McAvoy. They always bring their A game to every film they are in, and it shows we can trust them to deliver performance wise. This movie is not their fault either. And the action, while there isn’t all that much, is pretty good. Not gun fu, but very good choreographed action that doesn’t look too choreographed. And the stairway/car chase fifteen minute action scene is really the only reason I would maybe recommend to watch the movie just once, or at least catch the scene on You Tube when it eventually appears. It looks like one whole interrupted take, even though we movie people know all the camera tricks involved.

The music choices were good too, for a film being set in the 80s. But two great actors, one cool action scene, and music can’t save the blandness that is the rest of the film. I just didn’t care about the plot so I really didn’t care about the characters, choices, or anything else that happened in the film. I almost fell asleep a couple of times. And it’s disappointing because I was really looking forward to this movie a lot. If only they had more time on the screenplay and completely scrapped the NOC list type scenario. We could’ve had something atomic. This isn’t nuclear, TNT, or even a shoe bomb. This is a firecracker that lasts about a second.

 

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: INGRID GOES WEST

Really the only reason I would encourage you to watch INGRID GOES WEST once would be to see O’Shea Jackson Jr. and his character (aka Ice Cube’s kid that played his father in Straight Outta Compton). His character is obsessed with Batman the entire movie, talking about how Batman is the best superhero, Batman Forever is his favorite movie, all things Batman, and it is absolutely hilarious and O’Shea proves that he has is father’s acting chops and maybe even then some. It also involves one of the most bizarre foreplay scenes I have ever seen. But other than that, this is another one time watch throwaway fare where the performances (Aubrey Plaza is also excellent) outweight the very little substance the movie has.

And the substance had so much potential. Basically, a story of an obsessed loner chick that becomes a “Cable Guy” to Instagram followers and begins stalking them just to feel cool and be able to make a friend. After coming out of the mental hospital for spraying the most recent person she stalked in the face with mace during her wedding reception, she moves on to Elizabeth Olsen, and also moves to Palm Beach, California. She rents a house from Ice Cube’s son and steals her dog to fake rescue and bring it back to get close to her. High jinks ensue. It is a pretty dark comedy, and almost goes to some very very dark places but the movie never quite steps over the line, and I would’ve loved for it to. Instead it takes inevitable routes to a conclusion that didn’t feel quite earned.

Dark comedies should always cross the line, hence why they are called dark comedies. But I guess they can’t take that one last risk afraid of losing a mainstream audience. Who cares? Fuck the mainstream audience on this one, this should be for the people that are truly passionate about cinema. Go dark. And still be funny. The problem with this movie is when it tries to go a little dark, it gets less funny. The movie isn’t really all that funny to begin with. It does have a couple of laugh out loud moments, but it is basically only when O’Shea is on screen.

This could’ve been a great movie with a great message about how psychotic social media can get. Instead, it is filled with a bunch of unlikable characters, except for O’Shea and Wyatt Russell, that either don’t get what is coming to them or don’t earn the endings that they should. It is really a bizarre little film. Audrey Plaza is fantastic in this and with it and her great supporting turn in Legion, she could even be one day nominated for an Emmy or Oscar.

Elizabeth Olsen once again proves that she can act the pants off her sisters, but here her character is so unlikable that it is hard to critique her acting, because you don’t really want to. Ultimately, the problem with this film is the screenplay. For a dark comedy, it never gets dark, and it isn’t even too comedic. The Cable Guy had way more laughs than this did. I still think (and its very debatable) that The Cable Guy was wayyyy ahead of it’s time. This movie unfortunately feels like it is wayyyy too late.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: GIRLS TRIP

GIRLS TRIP is basically what last month’s Rough Night should’ve been: a funny weekend of awkward and bombastic situations a lot of it involving crude and sexual content where the main lead ladies have great chemistry that flows right off the screen. This movie is hilarious and I laughed out loud countless times. It’s a movie that is rude, crude, and for all adults (especially single ladies) to sit back and just enjoy. I really wish these ladies also had a dead body on their hands plot to deal with, because it would’ve completely outrageously great.

Alas, the plot is a little more simple, but the jokes and leading ladies completely make up for it. It’s about four ladies, who call themselves the “Flossy Possey”, who haven’t seen each other in awhile, met in New Orleans while the famous of the bunch, Ryan, (played by Regina Hall) is with her husband to promote their new book and try and score a tv/promotion deal with some big wigs. The other ladies include Dina, played by Tiffany Haddish who steals every single scene she is in, is a woman just fired by her job looking for a good time. Queen Latifah plays Sasha, a once promising journalist that is now into a celebrity gossip column and is about to be fired herself unless she can get some juicy scoop, and Jada Pinkett Smith plays Lisa, a single mom of two children just looking to be relieved of her duties for a little bit, get laid, and have some fun.

The plot, if you’ve seen the trailer, reveals that Ryan’s husband (played by Luke Cage’s Mike Colter) has been cheating on her with some instagram model and the girls deal with that over the weekend…and with their job descriptions you can see almost where the plot goes. But the plot is beside the point. It’s mainly the girls getting into hilarious situations such as being stuck at a gross motel, swinging and peeing high above New Orleans streets, dance offs, conventions where they are high as fuck, etc. And every single situation is hilarious and such a delight to watch.

And it is mainly because of the chemistry between all four ladies. They are all perfect, and have much better interactions with each other than the ladies in Rough Night did. It’s Tiffany Haddish and Jada Pinkett-Smith that steal the show though. Tiffany Haddish is basically the Zack Gilifinakis of the bunch, with just a raunchy raunchy mouth and perverted way of doing things. I was slightly, only slightly, disappointed when she wasn’t front and center on the screen. Jada Pinkett Smith trying to get laid with this guy with a huge penis steals every scene as well.

I had a great time, and there is not much more to say other than you should see it with a big group of your friends/lady-friends/family, etc. You definitely do not want to see this alone, because it is a laugh riot and you’ll want to talk about it with people directly afterwards. I had fun with this Girls Trip, I only hope they don’t ruin it with a Girls Trip 2. We don’t need a sequel to this. Just watch it over and over again.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: DUNKIRK

DUNKIRK is  the best film of the year so far (yes, beating John Wick 2 for me) and one of the most emotionally satisfying war films I have ever seen. It is mesmerizing, perfect in almost every way. It is as tense as getting a rectal exam but then hearing good news that everything is okay. If you don’t see this in a theater, wait…scratch that, if you don’t see it in 70 mm IMAX, you don’t know what you are missing. But if a real IMAX theater isn’t near you or showing it near you, try to do a 35 mm theater or a regular 70mm theater. The quality is amazing, the shots are exquisite, the colors are vibrant, and you won’t be able to get the visuals out of your head. It is just that good.

If you don’t know your history, the Dunkirk evacuation was of Allied soldiers from the beach and the harbour of Dunkirk between a couple of weeks in May and June 1940. Their ultimate rescue was hailed as a miracle. What Christopher Nolan’s film does is just brilliant. It doesn’t worry about the politics of the evacuation. It doesn’t go to places far away to show Winston Churchill commenting on the events, it doesn’t show what America or other countries were thinking/doing/fighting at the time, it doesn’t even show one bloody German in this film. The movie start with action the moment the movie starts and does not let you go thru the very nice and perfect 106 minute run time until the credits roll. We stay around Dunkirk. We show a story on land with three allied young soldiers just trying to escape the harbour, we show a story at sea with a father, his son and a friend taking a civilian boat to try and get to the beaches to rescue the allied soldiers, and we show a couple of allied pilots trying to pick off German planes before they shoot the Allied shoulders on the beach like fish in a barrel.

The movie also very delicately and masterfully plays with time, with these three stories being shown in non-linear time only to finally meet up and converge near the end of the film. It is all also beautifully scored by what is arguably one of Hans Zimmer’s best. He brings this ticking clock themed score that will literally have you leaning forward in your seat and then breathing out in relief when the music ends and the resolution of that certain scene it was used for. There is very little dialogue in the film, and you don’t know any of the backstories to these characters at all, yet the movie makes you care for them, because of the incredible acting in the dire situations that they are put in. I can’t believe Harry Stiles from One Direction plays one of the three boys, because he is incredible here. But the two who really steal every scene they are in is Mark Rylance is the father trying to rescue soldiers on a civilian boat, and Tom Hardy as one of the pilots trying to pick off German planes.

Mark Rylance gives as great of a performance as he did in Bridge of Spies here with him making calculated moves to try and not only rescue soldiers but while trying to stay alive himself in the process. And Tom Hardy is one of the only actors I know that can bring a full performance when his face is mostly completely behind a mask (the other being Karl Urban). The aerial scenes with him in the plane are the best in the film, and you can see Hardy’s torment and determination just by his eyes and facial movements. I am just glad he didn’t have the Bane voice with this one. The aerial scenes are some of the tensest and realistic, with the audience digging his/her nails into the cushion just hoping that each shot that the Allied soldiers make take out a German. I also loved the fact that they didn’t show the German’s in this. It made their presence more haunting and lethal than any main villain in a movie could’ve given us. It is always scary when the unseen and unknown is targeting you.

All the visuals here are incredible, especially when unfortunate boats gets blown up and start sinking. If anything here was CGI, I couldn’t tell in the slightest. The whole movie is just non stop enveloping tension. Entertainment and film making at the highest order. Christopher Nolan is definitely one of the best writers and directors living and when he passes on (hopefully a long time from now) he’ll be one of those cemented in history, like Hitchcock, to be one of the greatest filmmakers to ever live.

This movie is perfect. Go see it. If it doesn’t when every Oscar nomination it is nominated for it will be a shame. If it doesn’t take home cinematography, I’m done watching the Oscar’s. My only small complaint about this film would be that some of the sound is so tremendous in it that you can barely at times make out what people are saying. There was that same problem with Interstellar, so I might go see it again in 35 mm at Alamo just to take it all in again. It is definitely worth seeing multiple times in the theater. I still can’t believe how utterly great it is at running at only 106 minutes. Usually war films are wayyyy over two hours. This was refreshing. Dunkirk will probably be in the number 1 or 2 spot (we’ll see with Last Jedi) on my top ten list by the end of the year. This is precise film making at its finest. An A+ masterpiece.