Tag Archives: Movie Review

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: OKJA (A Netflix Original Movie that comes to the platform tomorrow 6/28)

OKJA, just like the previous directors efforts of Snowpiercer and The Host, is a weird little fantastic film. I actually loved this movie a little bit and it is definitely Netflix’s best original movie that it has released yet (which is nice after that God awful War Machine film with Brad Pitt). If you haven’t seen Snowpiercer or The Host, I suggest you watch those films from director Bong Joon-Ho first before digging deep into this film. His films have a grand-smallish scale that brings a lot of weirdness but treats it as if it is absolutely serious. I can’t believe Okja isn’t being released in theaters, because it deserves to be, although I guess Netflix is changing everything about the game as we know it.

If there is one, no two reasons to not miss Okja, it is the peformances from Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaul. Swinton has two roles as the Mirando sisters, CEO’s of a giant company looking to solve world hunger but also hiding its dirty little secrets to get to that point. She plays the sisters as psychotic and socialistic with one having the personality of a much older grown woman and one with the personality of a teen that gets upset when she doesn’t get what she wants. And the performance is fantastic. Gyllenhaul’s performance might be a little turn off for some. He plays a zoologist and TV personality that is in league with the Mirando sisters. He plays it as if Ace Ventura and Brian Fellows (Tracy Morgan’s character on SNL) has sex and had a baby. It is an off the wall bonkers performance that I can’t decide if it was brilliant, annoying or both. Hearing him screech is a thing that needs to be heard at least once.

If you don’t know what this film is about look into trying to watch a trailer for it. Basically, a girl, with her grandfather, have been raising Okja since birth. Okja is a giant, giant pig animal experimentation hybrid that was made by the Mirando Corporation in ways to solve world hunger, by eating them when they grow up. How it is going to solve world hunger? I’ll let the movie explain that to you if you see it. Anyway, Okja is being used as a patsy to get the world hunger project from getting off the ground and is being brought to a giant parade celebrating the movement in New York City. The girl, named Mija, just loves Okja too much and wants her as a lifetime companion and goes to find Okja when she is taken away from her.

Then you of course have Animal Right Activists looking to free Okja while also exploiting the evils of the Mirando Corporation. And that gang is played by Paul Dano, Steven Yeun (Glenn on the Walking Dead), and Lily Collins. Their performances are all good, but they mostly play it straight and don’t go too off the book in regards to what they have done/played before. The movie itself acts like a giant chase film, with a couple of big action sequences, heartfelt revelations, and a couple of twists and turns.

To warn you, this movie is Not Rated on Netflix, but it would certainly be rated R if it were in theaters. This movie is not for kids. There are F words a plenty and we do go inside a meat killing floor facility at one point. There is also a scene where Okja is forced to breed later on down the road. But what I loved about the film is that the ending is bittersweet. You get what you expected but then there is that added layer that brings up so much more conflict, but in reality, a little girl couldn’t do everything for everyone.

But the movie was fun. It’s sweet, horrifying, heartfelt, heartbreaking, and just plain enjoyable. It also is a film that makes you think. And while some of the weirdness is a little absurd, it does make sense in that particular universe, and while weird, it is also very serious (you’ll see). Out of Bong-Joo Ho’s films I still like Snowpiercer better, but this is a very close second.  I do like how he is making a hybrid of Japanese and American film atmospheres and techniques. Definitely better than the big budget epic action failure that The Great Wall tried to accomplish. If you have Netflix or know someone that has Netflix, it comes out tomorrow and I suggest checking it out. It is the best their original films have had to offer so far other than their TV shows.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: BABY DRIVER

If John Wick Chapter 2 was the coolest movie of the beginning of the year, BABY DRIVER is unarguably the coolest movie of the summer. It’s not only one of the year’s best films (right under John Wick 2 in fact), but the fact is that if you are reading my review, and don’t go see it in a theater with an incredible atmosphere and sound, then you should probably never go to the movies again (unless you have a great excuse like you’re old or you have kids). If you don’t see Baby Driver, you frankly cannot say that you are a movie lover. Because it is a crime to not see this film. Baby Driver is 100% great with absolutely no flaws whatsoever. Great story, great acting, great characters, great shots, great camera work, great dialogue, great soundtrack, great action, great unexpected surprises, great ending, great everything. It’s one of those movies that won’t just be commercially successful but will also be considered a classic many years down the line. It is also Edgar Wright’s best film hands down. Yes, better than Hot Fuzz and Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World.

Baby Driver is a movie that you won’t be able to stop talking about. You won’t be able to stop talking about how the entire movie is basically choreographed to the music that Baby listens too. You won’t be able to stop talking about the action sequences. You won’t be able to stop talking about the great villains this film has. You won’t be able to stop talking about certain deaths and surprises on who the true villains are. You won’t be able to stop talking about the dialogue and our hero and his lady. You won’t be able to stop talking about the excellent soundtrack (tied this year with Guardians Vol. 2). The only time you will stop talking is when you are actually watching the movie.

Anyone who ruins any of the surprises this film has to offer should be bitched slapped…hard…and twice. From the trailer it looks like you might know where the film may go, and you might hear yourself in the film going “ah ha, I know where that will lead.” But you don’t. Not even close. The trailer doesn’t even come close to selling the awesomeness that is this movie. At my screening, their were many gasps, laughs, “oh my God’s” and everyone applauded at the end. This is a star making performance for Ansel Egort and Lily James has never been better either. Kevin Spacey completely rocks the socks off Wright’s dialogue, Eiza Gonzalez steals the scenes in which she has something to say, and even though Jon Berenthal isn’t in the film much, his character makes an everlasting impression.

But let’s talk about Jamie Fox and Jon Hamm. Holy Hammer of Thor, do these two gives their best performances. Jamie Fox makes an incredible villain that you will love to hate and keep begging that the movie gives him some sort of comeuppance. Jon Hamm also goes against type here as well as one of the criminals that Baby has to drive around, and Hamm really really shines when he is angry and has some revenge on his mind. There is a saying that a movie is fantastic if it can bring memorable villains that are equal to the hero’s and neither outshines each other during the course of the runtime. This is that perfect movie that balances all of that to a tee.

And the pacing of this film is masterful. It’s almost two hours and everything just clicks, clicks, clicks together like a perfect puzzle piece. The romance is just as interesting to watch as the action sequences and that is hard for a lot of movies to pull off. Baby Driver is a straight up masterpiece. It’s a film I could watch over and over without ever getting bored. I couldn’t use it just as background noise because I would end up watching the whole thing and not getting any chores done at home. But you need to see this. Actually, you HAVE to. Preferably at a Alamo drafthouse but if not, a theater that has good sound and people won’t talk or text during it. Everything about this movie is cool. Cool Cool Cool.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: BEATRIZ AT DINNER

BEATRIZ AT DINNER is the 2nd film in a couple of weeks to break what I call the cardinal sin in filmmaking. And it does it again during the climax, and brings us an ending that is not as strong or memorable. Ugh, but if you want to read me bitching about this “cardinal sin” over and over again read my review for 47 Meters Down, because I’m tired of talking about it. What is really frustrating is that this film was written by Mike White, who has done great things along with films such as School of Rock and Orange County. Instead of bringing great dialogue, original ideas, and a really engaging story, here he brings us very plain words, a not so original political debate and a ho-hum story, albeit with some great performances.

Basically to some up the plot is that this rich family has this really grand personal dinner with close and wealthy friends/business people, and their lower class medical practitioner (played by Selma Hayek), who is giving the wife a massage earlier in the afternoon, her car breaks down and the wife invites her to stay for dinner until a friend can arrive so that she doesn’t have to pay an insane amount of money for a tow. Needless to say the medical practitioner is a little weird and clashes with one of the guests (played by John Lithgow) because he is a shady business enterepeneur.

Selma Hayek is fantastic in this and it is probably one of her best acting roles of her career. And John Lithgow is fantastic as always. It’s just that this movie is so bland. If you are going to have one of those movies where the film takes place in an enclosed area and you are going to have the story played out in conversations, those conversations better be pretty damn interesting. Alas, the conversations in this movie are not. Very bland and uninteresting. Hayek complains about stuff, and she leaves the room, she comes back and complains again, and leaves the room. Nothing really truly escalates to the point where it needs to escalate.

And the ending could’ve salvaged some of the film, but instead of taking it where it needed to go, it took it in a completely bizarre, unwarranted, and unearned ending. Combine that with the cardinal sin of filmmaking and you just have a very forgettable mediocre piece of film that amounts to absolutely nothing. A character does something right before the movie cuts to end credits that was so bizarre and unearned and full of cowardice that I have a feeling that Mike White completely pulled it out of his ass because he had no better way to end the film. I’ll tell you the better way, the better way would’ve been to have that cardinal sin be real. You’ll know what I mean if you ever see this movie.

But in the end, I don’t recommend that you ever see this movie. This is a talkie movie where the talk sucks and makes you want to go to sleep. Where great performances are left to die, desperately wanting to be in other and better films. And it’s a shame because Mike White is a really good screenwriter. He wanted to do a dark comedy, but the the comedy that there is is small, and the dark part of it is unearned. I was going to rate It Comes At Night the most mediocre film of the year, but perhaps I was too early to call that type of judgment. Because I would certainly watch that film again before I ever would this one. Blandest of the bland.

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.