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A post that is representing a written movie review.

Review: Widows (Carson’s View)

Immediately after seeing the trailer for Widows, I had my concerns.  Although the only performance I was worried about was Michelle Rodriguez. I figured she would play the same typecast role she has been doing for years. The rest of this star-studded cast, I believed, would be pretty solid.  I was mostly worried about a predicable, stale plot, with an obvious ending.  As time went on I started to become more optimistic learning that Gillian Flynn, who wrote Gone Girl and Sharp Objects, also wrote the screenplay for this.  Knowing her M.O., I believed I would get a well thought out script, well developed characters, and a bit of a twist at the end.  Expectations creeped up a bit.

Unfortunately, I didn’t know the source material. Had I known, I might have been able to brace myself for what was to come. Widows was adapted from a mini-series. I think it would have greatly benefited from staying in the mini-series space.  There simply wasn’t enough time to devote to all the characters and plot points they tried to cram into this movie. Every performance (including Rodriguez) was on point, they just weren’t given enough to flesh out each character.  I do not know how the mini-series ended, but I hope it was done better than this. Everything seemed rushed and a bit lazy when it came to plot.

All the components are there to make this a great movie:  All-Star Cast, Oscar Winning Director, Award Winning Writer, and an interesting concept. It just couldn’t bring it all together. Widows isn’t a bad movie, it just did not live up to the potential. If I were speaking to Director Steve McQueen, I would simply quote the great John Creasy, “I wish… you had… more time”.

Review: Creed II (Carson’s View)

In what is said to be Sylvester Stallone’s last run as Rocky Balboa (we have all heard that before), Michael B. Jordan is back in the ring as Adonis Creed in his quest for boxing immortality.  But he is not alone in his return.  Creed II brings back fan favorite Ivan Drago from Rocky IV, the man who killed Adonis’ father, and introduces his son Viktor Drago into the mix.  That alone is worth the price of admission.

Florian Monteanu is cast perfectly as Viktor Drago.  He is a mountain of a man.  Very few people in this world could even come close to making Michael B. Jordan’s physique look small.   Finally the Rocky Series has come back to the legendary intimidating opponents of the past.  Apollo Creed, Clubber Lang, Thunderlips, Ivan Drago, and even Tommy “The Machine” Gunn all looked like a threat to Rocky.  Mason Dixon, Ricky Conlan, and Donnie Wheeler may have been “real” boxers, but they never passed the eye test and are all forgettable antagonists.  Their movies excel despite them.  At 6’4″ and weighing in at 240 lbs., Viktor Drago captures the same awe-inspiring moments as his father. This guy looks like he could repeat history and kill Creed in the ring.  Sitting in the theater, you can feel it when he lands his devastating blows into his opponents. It is awesome!

Creed II could have been easily turned into a movie called Drago.  That would have been a very bold and interesting take, and all the components were there to make that happen.  I love everything Michael B. Jordan does on screen, but in hindsight I would have been in full support of that choice.  I was surprised how well developed the Dragos were with such little screen time.

Nearly all of the supporting cast of Creed is back for Creed II as wellEvery single one of them turns in another stellar performance.  There is a lot going on in this movie.  If there is a criticism to be had, it is that.  It is difficult to give weight and feeling to a situation when you are bouncing from one issue to another.  While it is not distracting, a more focused direction could have been more beneficial.  If you are a fan of the Rocky Series, Creed II does not disappoint.  I am looking forward to the next 6 installments!

 

Review: Ralph Breaks the Internet (Garrett’s View)

Ralph Breaks the Internet joins Toy Story 3 as the only Pixar sequels that come close to rivaling their original entries.

Review: Creed II (Garrett’s View)

Creed II may not be the knockout punch the first film was, but it is a successful title defense for a franchise that it is the undisputed champion of sports movies.

Review: Widows (Garrett’s View)

McQueen is an unquestionably skilled director who knows how to use his cast and cinematography to convey his message. In the case of Widows though, the abundance of messages never came together into a unified, compelling story which is what primarily keeps it from being great.

Review: Outlaw King (Carson’s View)

Outlaw King tells the tale of how Scotland won their independence from the English in the 1300’s. We have seen a version of this story in the 1995 Academy Award winning movie Braveheart.  Outlaw King chooses to focus on how Sir Robert Bruce became the King of Scots, rather than on Sir William Wallace’s rebellion. It was a good idea to keep Wallace to a brief glimpse rather than someone attempting to do their best Mel Gibson impression.

Outlaw King has the impossible task of attempting to escape the shadow of Braveheart. Even over 20 years later, when you use nearly the same cast of characters as the greatest movie of all time you have to expect the comparisons. While Outlaw King may be slightly more historically accurate, it pales to Braveheart in every other regard.

Chris Pine does a fine job of portraying Robert Bruce despite his mullet and sporadic Scottish accent. I was most disappointed with Stephen Dillane.  I was very much looking forward to him as King Edward. However, he was not as intimidating and seemed far less regal than he did as Stannis Baratheon in Game of Thrones. And of course you cannot have a medieval epic without a James Cosmo cameo (you will recognize him when you see him). 

All in all, Outlaw King is a good Netflix watch on a lazy Saturday afternoon, but it won’t be winning any awards. 

 

Review: Overlord (Carson’s View)

Overlord starts with a nearly can’t miss premise: A World War 2 airborne platoon stumbles across some experimental Nazi-Zombie-Monster-Things.  What could be better than that setup?  The good guys and bad guys are firmly established before you even take your seat.  The ultimate evil getting eviler.  If you feel like that all sounds vaguely familiar, you probably have played the game Wolfenstein.  Other than there is no Hitler in an Iron Man suit to fight at the end, Overlord stays pretty close to the video game story.  Maybe they are just saving that for the sequel.

Overlord is made pretty well. It is much more of an actual movie than I had anticipated.  It is well shot, well acted, and the effects used to bring the Nazi-Zombie-Monster-Things to life were frighteningly realistic.  Although, the balance seemed off for a movie like this. I had hoped for much more of the Nazi-Zombie-Monster-Things and less of the other character development and side plots. Had the script been more original and less straight forward, I could have appreciated this type of an approach. However it wasn’t, so the Nazi-Zombie-Monster-Things needed to be featured earlier and more often for my tastes.

 

Review: Overlord (Garrett’s View)

Overlord manages to provide all of the pulpiness of a B-movie grindhouse film while escaping the pitfalls of shoddy effects and terrible acting that usually accompany those movies.

Review: Bohemian Rhapsody (Carson’s View)

Bohemian Rhapsody tells the origin story of the band Queen.  This is a fun ride that follows Farrokh Bulsara’s transformation into front-man Freddie Mercury through Queen’s unforgettable performance at Wembley Stadium for Live Aid. If you are a fan of Queen and want to hear Queen’s songs throughout, you will not be disappointed. It is chock-full of their greatest hits.

It is hard not to have a smile on your face each time a new song is written.  This is one of the strengths of Bohemian Rhapsody. It is fascinating to watch genius at work developing songs that would soon be immortalized.  Then to see them played on stage with such passion and vigor through Rami Malek’s terrific performance as Freddie Mercury is an experience that leaves the audience wanting more.  Malek will surely draw the attention of the academy.

There are those that were hoping for a much darker version of Queen’s story. They were wanting the secrets of Freddie and Queen exposed. To witness the ultimate lows of each band member to create more drama. They would call Bohemian Rhapsody’s interpretation “safe”.  Not to say that heavy issues aren’t addressed. Bohemian Rhapsody dives head first into Mercury’s confusion over his sexuality and how he wanted to deal with the disease that eventually took his life.  They could have devoted the entire movie to either of these topics, instead they chose to focus on the music and the band. While it wasn’t dark enough for some, it hit exactly the tone that was intended.  It was an entertaining tribute to one of the world’s greatest musical groups of all time.

Review: Bohemian Rhapsody (Garrett’s View)

For those not looking for the ups and downs of deep cuts and who instead just want to skip from one hit to the next, Bohemian Rhapsody is a perfect greatest hits album.