Tag Archives: Movie Reviews

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: DETROIT

Just like Dunkirk, I have a feeling that DETROIT will be nominated for Best Picture come next year, and it completely deserves it. It is a masterful, harrowing tale of true events that is so realistic at times it is very hard to watch. The direction by master filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow is nothing less than perfect, the acting is above and beyond what half of movies come up with these days, and everything coming off the screen, you want to look away, but you can’t. And although the third act dips just slightly (some people have said that the third act completely stops the movie, I don’t quite agree), it is a film whose reality at the time parallels our own, and it is…fucking…scary. One of the year’s best films indeed.

The film depicts the tragic events that happened at the Algiers Hotel during the emotional and racially charged 12th street Riots in July of 1967. But it doesn’t just depict that tragic event, it depicts the start of the riots and takes about 20 minutes to actually get to the hotel. This helps the film tremendously in building tension and letting the audience know how desperate and hectic the situation was. Once we get to the actual incident at the hotel, our nails have already ripped out the fabric of the theater seats, and we haven’t even gotten to the worst parts yet. The camera work uses slight realistic shaky cam, but it doesn’t get to the point of Paul Greengrass where it makes you sick. It is basically almost shot documentary style, adding to the realism.

The film has multiple points of views. The film shows the point of view of the racist cops that did some very bad things that night. The film shows the point of view of a security guard (played by John Boyega of The Force Awakens) who happens to be swept up into a situation where he doesn’t belong. And then there is the point of view of the victims, namely a band member and his buddy and a couple of people they just meet that night, including a cook and a couple of white girls. The incident is set off when the black cook decides to use a toy race starter pistol and shoot it out the window to scare the shit out of the police across the way that are already on edge dealing with the riots. Of course, the police follow the sound, and end up at the hotel, and the police are not so nice, and some really fucked up bad shit happens.

I don’t want to ruin the movie, so I’m not going to say exactly what happens, but it is very, very, very, very bad. At times shocking, and a lot of the time, very hard to watch. And it has a ending that you will not enjoy one bit. All the performances are top notch. John Boyega is mostly an quiet but determined outsider looking in, and then accidentally gets tragically swept up in everything. Anthony Mackie plays one of the victims, who is a war vet. But the real performance goes to Will Poulter (We’re The Millers) as one of the racist cops. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets nominated for supporting by when voting comes up. He’s a character that you despicably hate, and the only reason because of that is his performance is masterful.

Everything from the beginning of the riots, to the actual incident, is some masterful stuff. But then after the incident, and the shortened trial, maybe the last 20 to 25 minutes of the film, kind of dips a little bit in value. And that is mainly because of John Krasinski (Jim from The Office) who plays a lawyer trying to defend the racist cops, and I just didn’t believe his performance. It felt like Jim was pulling a joke on Dwight. But I believe showing some of the aftermath was necessary and would’ve felt cheated if it had just showed some title cards depicting what happened next, so I’m giving the very last little extended epilogue act the benefit of the doubt. I think it was necessary for the whole thing to come together.

The real winner in this is director Kathryn Bigelow, who has won a best director Oscar for The Hurt Locker, will sure to be nominated here again, and screenwriter Mark Boal, again, won an Oscar, will probably be nominated here as well. This is a master collision course in terms of filmmaking and sending a message about race relations, then and now. Although hard to watch, I could watch this film over and over again, it’s a breathtaking piece of cinema. Go see it. A very important film.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE EMOJI MOVIE

It has taken me a long time to write a review for THE EMOJI MOVIE because I needed to let it sink in how unnecessary and offensive this movie is. And it isn’t offensive in how you think I mean. It is offensive to the human race. You know the movie Idiocracy? And how every year, whenever shit goes bad or dumb, we go, “Oh shit, Idiocracy is becoming a reality!” And remember that movie that is in Idiocracy called Butt, and that it won a bunch of Academy Awards including best picture? Yeah, The Emoji Movie is our real version of the fictional movie Butt. And the movie inches us ever closer to the fictional reality that was Idiocracy. The Emoji Movie just dumbs down and packages how human beings are today and how they shouldn’t be. Emotionless zombies that spend wayyyy too much time on their phone when we should be having real human interactions.

And there are too many God damn movies about inanimate objects with feelings. We can blame Pixar for that, but at least Pixar does it (most but not all of the time) with some artistic dignity (this is a Sony Pictures animated film, not Disney). I mean, we have Cars that have feelings, Planes that have feelings, Toys that have feelings, and thanks to Inside Out, we have feelings that have feelings! And now, we as a human race, have sunk to a new low, FUCKING EMOJIS THAT HAVE FEELINGS, because, because, get it, Emojis are expressions of feelings? HAHA…HAHAHAHAHAHA…oh so clever and hilarious Sony Animation, did you think of that all by yourself? The movie is offensive by displaying a movie that pokes fun of, but also encourages our zombie like behavior.

I mean look at the plot. A emoji who is supposed to be “meh” actually has multiple feelings of expression. He fucks up expression wise when the teenage owner of the phone accidentally sends a weird fucked up emoji that has one multiple expression to a girl that he likes (because he can’t not be a pussy and just go up and talk to her). So now the race is on between higher up emoji’s to get rid of “meh” and prove that the phone is not defective before the teenager takes the phone to the store and have everything deleted.

Seriously, who gives a shit? I did not care about anybody (even the pussy teenager) in the movie, because not only did it encourage the stupid behavior teenagers have today, but EMOJIS ARE FUCKING EMOJIS, THEY AREN’T FUCKING REAL AND NEVER WILL BE! And I know what you are thinking. You are thinking: “Wait, Zach, didn’t you love Inside Out, Toy Story, and all those other inanimate object movies that have feelings (except Cars, screw those)?” Good point. The difference between this movie and all those others is that Disney mostly knows what they are doing. They make a hell of a story with each one, has likable characters that have real actual dreams, thoughts, emotions, that are subject to real life zombie like behavior, and all the jokes usually hit on the bullseye.

The jokes in this are so obvious that they completely miss the target, and probably aren’t even in the same game arena. We get it, Patrick Stewart is Poop (he’s hardly in this by the way). There have got to be some clever poop jokes other than, “hey, Dad, should we wash our hands?” after going to the bathroom and then when something goes wrong Patrick Stewart yells, “Holy S-” and then it is cut off. I’ll give it to the voice acting though, they tried their hardest and did their damndest, nobody phoned it in. T.J. Miller (making the awful mistake of leaving Silicon Valley) tries really hard here and does a good job as meh but I don’t care about his character enough to give a poop.

The movie isn’t the worst animated film I have ever seen, but it is one that I will never ever watch again. The best thing about this movie is the Hotel Transylvania short called “Puppy!” before the movie. It actually elicited a few laughs from me and was cute. I don’t know who this movie is for. I can tell you that anyone over the age of 25 is probably going to hate this thing. But as I walked out of the theater, I heard 6, 9, and even 13 year old saying that the movie was “boring,” “not funny,” “or a waste of time.” Even a 17 year old jumped up after the movie ended screaming “Oh my God, best movie ever, bring on that bullshit called Emoji 2!” (he was being sarcastic by the way). So judging by the reactions I saw, this MAY entertain your infant to toddler, but anyone past the age of 6 will probably #notgiveapoop.

 

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.