Tag Archives: Movie Reviews

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: COLOSSAL

YES!! Finally! A great (dare I say really great) movie out of all the good or subpar ones this weekend! COLOSSAL is what Hollywood should do when it runs out of ideas. Instead of simple remakes, reboots, and what not, take a concept that has been done a million times before but wrap it around an entirely new engaging, thought provoking story, filled with great twists and turns and spectacular performances. And then release a trailer for the film that while it still makes the film look unique and fun, hide all of the secrets in the marketing to completely shock people.

Yes, I’ll repeat that. The trailer from this film holds so much back from you it’s not even funny. When some of the stuff I hadn’t seen yet hit the screen, I couldn’t believe the marketing people for this kept it out of everything including a lot of reviews. Don’t worry! I will not spoil it’s richness here. I’ll just talk about the non-spoilery basic fluff to try and convince you to go and see this film as soon as possible. If you still don’t know what this film is by the title I’ll remind you. It’s that weird Kaiju (probably spelling that wrong) movie with Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudiekis where Hathaway somehow controls a Kaiju monster that is attacking Seoul, South Korea all the way from the states.

And the reasons why are some of the fun parts that I dare not spoil. I’ll start out by saying that this is my favorite Anne Hathaway performance, much better than her 15 minute Oscar gold one from Les Miserables, but a fantastic display of a 2 hour full-fledged fleshed out character. And this is also Jason Sudiekis’ best performance as well as he gets to stretch out some of his acting chops as well.

GOD, it is really hard to not spoil this thing without telling you why it is so great. Just trust me, as more of the story unfolds, the more original and fresh it becomes. By the end I would’ve stood up and applauded if the filmmakers were in the room watching it with me. It is that fantastic. My wife saw it with me, and again, without getting too much into it, she wondered if some of the actions from some of the characters were warranted, saying that “it didn’t explain why well enough.” I told her it didn’t have to explain it, it did the best thing in the cinematic world by “showing and not telling” and after I explained some of the visual cues she landed on my side of things.

The special effects are great and what little action there is is effective and only pertains to the story, not trying to Michael Bayalize everything. This film is smart, charming, daring, brilliant, funny, shocking, every reason why people go to the movies in the first place. It weaves a perfect yarn and this is one I would like to show to friends who haven’t seen it, study it as a filmmaker, and watch it over and over again for pure enjoyment. Great, great film.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: FREE FIRE

Man, the trailer to FREE FIRE has been playing for quite some time now. The film was supposed to come out a couple of months ago but they delayed it I think for festivals. Just seems like forever ago since I saw it. But I’m sure you have. It’s that movie with the weapons deal gone wrong where everyone is shooting and trying to kill each other in a warehouse for 90 minutes. It has stars such as Brie Larson, Shartlo Copley, Armie Hammer, and Cillian Murphy.

And Free Fire is an excellent one time watch with good acting, a couple of good shooting sequences with a cool little twist at the end, but their isn’t much more substance than that. From the production value you can completely tell it is a independent shoot-em-up film which is basically the last 10-15 minutes of Resevoir Dogs but stretched out into 90 minutes.

It takes place in the 70’s and the look and feel of the film is genuine. And I also like the fact that the trailer hides why they really end up shooting at each other. Yes, the gun deal goes kind of wrong, but not in the way the trailer makes it out to be, which I found a little refreshing. But even at 90 minutes, the film feels like a stretch. More than 3/4th of the movie everyone is laying down, crouched, crawling, moving around, and bleeding. And that’s cool but it only lasts so long, and even though I know it’s a movie I found a bunch of opportunities where all these people could stop shooting at each other and talk it out like civilized people.

The acting, especially from Armie Hammer, makes it half way decently entertaining, and like I said, there is a cool little twist at the very end I didn’t really see coming, but then the film ends abruptly and was a little bit of a disappointment. But I will say that who lives, who dies, and who gets away is a little surprising. Some characters that I thought would bite it in the beginning end up lasting the whole way through. And there is a car sequence at the end with John Denver music playing that I thought was expertly shot and edited.

When seeing this at the Alamo Drafthouse, the pre shows showed film influences that inspired director Ben Wheatly to write and direct this film, all of which those film influences are better films than this. But the film shows that he does have talent and could make a much better film in the future. But as of now, it’s a cool one time watch rentable 90 minute mild thriller that could pass the time if you are really bored. Just don’t go in expecting a masterpiece and you should be okay.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THEIR FINEST

The ending basically ruined this movie for me. There is something that occurs near the end of THEIR FINEST that really almost came out of nowhere and was really stupid and happens just due to the fact to have some drama and something interesting come out of the film. It betrays all what happens before and just pissed me off just as much as the ending of La La Land pissed off a bunch of people. That being said, the movie was only okay to begin with. Another kind of period piece with some good acting but a story that wasn’t all that interesting, and the story was about a woman screenplay writer!

You probably haven’t heard of this film, but it stars Gemma Arterton, Sam Caflin, and Bill Nighy as some screenwriters and actors trying to put together a film about Dunkirk and World War II to gain the masses while the Blitz is going on around them. It is also a tale of how women were treated as unequals at that time as well. And it wasn’t a terrible film at all, in fact some parts were interesting, and the dialogue was good, I just found the film to be unnecessary and a bit boring. You would think a screenplay about screenplay writers would have a little bit more oompf.

That being said, that’s why I think the ending happened as it happened, trying to give the film a bit more oompf, but it was oompf at a cost. The logic was kind of dumb in the twist and ruined pretty much basically everything that came before it. Have any of you seen Up Close & Personal and THAT ending? Well this ending is sort of similar in a way and out of left field. Just to raise emotions, and the only emotion it raised in me was anger at having to sit through 2 hours to see just that and then 10 more minutes of wrapping things up.

The movie is shot well, and dives a little bit into the movie making process, but perhaps not enough. All three actors mentioned above along with some good supporting performances couldn’t really save the snore fest I was about to have with the film in general. I have a feeling though maybe Gemma Arterton and Sam Caflin might get more and better things to do after this, because they are the only things in the film that mattered.

I guess this giant movie weekend I am having is a weekend full of one time watches. I am about to review Free Fire and even though I liked it liked the bunch, it wasn’t great and I will probably never need to see it again. Maybe Colossal tomrrow will change that. Their Finest is fine, but not the finest thing about that time period you are more than likely to see. I’m pulling for Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk myself.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE PROMISE

Yet another good movie that could’ve been fantastic if it didn’t lose focus about halfway through the movie. THE PROMISE is better than official critics are saying it is, but with a film about the last days of the Ottoman Empire and the mass genocide of Armenian people by the Turkish government…did we really need a love triangle at the heart of the film?

That seems like the easy way out. Can’t a screenwriting write a compelling film about one man or maybe a family or a couple of strangers trying to survive the mass Armenian genocide? I mean, do we really need a love triangle, and a predictable one at that. Before the movie even started, I said to my self, “So and so will end up surviving and so and so will end up dying so that way the movie doesn’t seem ‘too predictable’ when in actuality we are so used to the predictable ending that the new non-predictable is now predictable. That sounds confusing but play my little game of who you think lives and dies by the end of the film and if you end up being right you will know what I am talking about.

But some of this film is really magnificent, and just like The Lost City of Z, it’s great when it is focusing on the devastation of the Armenian people trying to escape the Turkish government. The stakes are high, the cinematography is incredible, and the pace is perfect. But when Oscar Isaac, Charlotte Le Bon, and Christian Bale go into that “staring contest” on who will ultimately win the girls heart, the film almost comes to a screeching halt. I just didn’t care about their love.

I did however care about the characters, because another great thing this film has is it’s acting, even though Christian Bale is extremely underused. But Oscar Isaac, like always, is masterful. I cared about his character as an individual and when his plight was on his family and trying to get them out, the film broke barriers and was winning me over. When he was escaping after being caught by the Turkish government, I was leaning forward in my seat hoping and praying he would get out through the almost impossible odds. But then it goes back to the love triangle, and I ended up not caring. Just like The Lost City of Z review, when it was in the jungle, it was fantastic, when it went back to the mainland, I didn’t give a shit.

And also just like Unforgettable, the title on this sucks. The Promise is basically named what it is because Isaac’s character, to be able to go to medical school, promises this girl’s family that he is going to marry her in order to get their money in advance. And then he falls in love with someone else (doesn’t this happen to much). And even though he falls in love, he “promised” this girl he would marry her. And this conundrum, in this two hour and 20 minute film, maybe lasts 5 minutes. It should’ve been called The Ottoman Triangle or something a bit smarter. But whatever.

So this movie is actually half way decent, but in my head I saw a better movie between the cracks, and makes me wish someone would actually write and direct it to get it made. I’ll probably never watch this movie again because the slow parts are so slow, but I would say you need to watch this movie at least once because the end of The Ottoman Empire is a important historical event that more people should know and care about. It even says to this day the Turkish government denies this ever happens! Shocking, but it’s also shocking that this movie wasn’t as good as it could be.