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Monday, July 17, 2017

SPIDERMAN: HOMECOMING REVIEW



Peter Parker, with the help of his mentor Tony Stark, tries to balance his life as an ordinary high school student in New York City while fighting crime as his superhero alter ego Spider-Man when a new threat emerges.

Starring: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, and Robert Downey Jr

Directed by: Jon Watts

Written by: Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, Jon Watts, Christopher Ford, Chris McKenna, and Erik Sommers

  With D.C. Comics needing a hit and getting it with “Wonder Woman,” it’s Marvel’s turn to see if they could continue their run of solid superhero movies. Spider-Man is a pretty big superhero to tackle, especially with the run of recent Spider-Man movies. Those movies might have made some tired of Spider-Man by now. So the challenge is to bring something new and refreshing to the table, and it looks like they did in “Spider-Man: Homecoming.”


  One refreshing thing is that they assume everyone already knows the story of how Peter (Tom Holland) becomes Spider-Man. At this point, it’s hard to believe audiences wanted to see that again. Instead, most of the backstory is covered in a quick, funny conversation with his best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon). As for his aunt May (Marisa Tomei), there’s mentions of the tough time she’s had, but there’s never any conversation about what happened. The best backstory given is at the start of the movie showing how Spider-Man found his way into the battle in “Captain America: Civil War.” Those few moments were a whole lot better than any retelling of Peter’s story would have been.


  What’s also refreshing is seeing Peter really just be a kid, even when learning how to be Spider-Man. In some of the previous films, Peter was just too serious, and acted more like an adult at times then the kid he’s supposed to be. It also adds a lot of humor like when he’s doing some basic crime fighting. It’s funny watching him stop someone from stealing a bike or car, and not really know if a crime is being committed. All of this is done because of a pretty good performance from Tom Holland. He definitely is nails acting younger than he is.


  It’s even nice seeing the villain, Adrian Toomes aka Vulture (Michael Keaton), not going over the top as a bad guy. He’s really just the average guy looking to make a good living, and support his family. He’s relatable to many in the audience, and they can almost root for him. Once Spider-Man gets on his tail, he gets a little out of control, but again for the right reasons.


  It turns out seeing Spider-Man back in theaters is a good thing. The franchise needed a new start, and it got one. It brought Spider-Man back to the beginning, but without the backstory fans have seen plenty of. Seeing Spider-Man truly be the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man actually turns out to be a good thing, which works out perfectly with a more low key villain. Throw in some humor, well timed appearances by Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), a twist, and of course some good action, and you get another solid Marvel movie. With that, I give “Spider-Man: Homecoming” 3.5 stars.
  HorrO


 *There are two after credit scenes*

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT REVIEW



Autobots and Decepticons are at war, with humans on the sidelines. Optimus Prime is gone. The key to saving our future lies buried in the secrets of the past, in the hidden history of Transformers on Earth.

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Hopkins, Laura Haddock, and Josh Duhamel

Directed by: Michael Bay

Written by: Art Marcum, Matt Holloway, Ken Nolan, and Akiva Goldsman

  For those who grew up watching Transformers they might have mixed feeling about the franchise at this point. It’s awesome to see them transform on the big screen, and even better when they’re fighting each other. However, there always seems to be something to complain about. As for “Transformers: The Last Knight,” there’s no shortage of complaints!


  The first thing to complain about is where in the hell is Optimus? There’s a short scene of him when he meets Quintessa, and is put under her command. Then a great deal of the movie goes by before he appears again. He supposedly has turned bad, but that lasts for two seconds, which makes it almost pointless. When the final battle begins he’s nowhere to be found again, and no one can give a good explanation to why he’s gone missing. He does pull off an awesome move when he eventually returns again, but it doesn’t make up for his lack of film time.


  As for the other Transformers, there seems to be so many of them this time, yet not as many great fight scenes between them. While there’s a shortage of Optimus, at least Megatron gets some action. There’s a strange introduction of the Suicide Squad of Decepticons, who unfortunately don’t last long in an early fight. The Dinobots finally make an appearance, which is fun while it lasts. As for other Autobots, there are some familiar faces, but mostly just the same annoying ones. Really, it’s Bumblebee’s show from beginning to end.


  Which brings us to the overcomplicated story this time around. The audience gets a little history lesson, as they discover Transformers have been on this planet going way back in time. They even have an effect in the days of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round table. In present time, Cade (Mark Wahlberg) is still helping the Autobots, and becomes too much of the focus. In other words, he’s not a good replacement for Optimus! Of course he has to have a so called love interest, who is Vivian (Laura Haddock), and too much time is spent on why they play an important role in the fate of the planet. 


  Even with all the complaints, I’m still a sucker for Transformers. However, when they make the next film, they need to try a different formula. Many of these complaints can be said in the previous films as well. Try telling a simpler story, give screen time to Transformers that actually matter, less focus on the military please, and for crying out loud have Optimus in it for more than five minutes. With that said, sadly I generously give “Transformers: The Last Night” 2 stars.

  HorrO

*There is an after credits scene*

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

DESPICABLE ME 3 REVIEW



Gru meets his long-lost charming, cheerful, and more successful twin brother Dru who wants to team up with him for one last criminal heist. 

Starring: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, and Trey Parker

Directed by: Eric Guillon, Kyle Balda, and Pierre Coffin

Written by: Cinco Paul, and Ken Daurio

  When “Despicable Me” hit theaters in 2010, Gru (Steve Carell) started out as one of the world’s best villains. It turned out that only the love for three little girls could change his evil ways. Now in “Despicable Me 3,” he finds himself working for the good guys, and trying to stop evil villains like his former self. However, after some hard times, he’s tempted to go back to a life of crime by an unexpected person.


   The movie opens with the introduction of Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker), and his mission to steal a giant diamond. Bratt is a former 80’s T.V. star turned evil villain because he can’t get over his show being cancelled. Only in an animated film could a villain like this exist. He wears a terrible 80’s purple outfit, and uses bubble gum as a go to weapon of choice. The only thing truly good about him is the 80’s music that plays when he has dance offs with Gru.


  When Gru fails to capture Bratt, he’s fired, but is more concerned with how the girls will take the news. Before the girls get too worked up by it, Gru finds out he has a brother and is invited to visit him. The family makes a trip to meet Dru, who is a much more successful version of Gru but just as awkward. To Gru’s surprise, Dru want him to return to the family roots, and be a villain again. What makes the brothers entertaining enough is that Dru knows nothing about being a good villain, and Gru has to carry them on their mission to steal back the diamond.


  Unfortunately, the minions play a minor role this time around. Yes, Gru is where this franchise started, but they add so much more to the comedic value of the films. Early on, most of the minions want Gru to return to his evil ways, but he refuses. This leads the minions to walk out on him, and get into some trouble of their own. As expected, the minions go on a pointless journey that just leads them back to Gru. Probably their best moment is when they’re in jail.


  “Despicable Me 3” will entertain the young audience it’s intended for. If the audience can’t get enough of Gru, they certainly will with the addition of Dru. The girls are still cute, and cause a little trouble of their own. The action is just enough, including a fun ending scene. Bratt will make kids laugh, and some of us older people dance in our seats. However there’s nothing that makes this more than just another sequel, which is short on minion action. With that, I give it 2.5 stars.

  HorrO

Thursday, June 22, 2017

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES REVIEW



Captain Jack Sparrow searches for the trident of Poseidon while being pursed by an undead sea captain and his crew.

Starring: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, and Javier Bardem

Directed by: Joachim Ronning, and Espen Sandberg

Written by: Jeff Nathanson, and Terry Rossio

  Yo ho, yo ho, a pirates life for me… again and again! Sorry, while some are tired of the pirate movies, I say keep them coming. Maybe it’s just the Disney fan in me, but I say if I can continue to ride the ride, I can watch another movie. So keep your hands and feet inside the boat, and lets get this review sailing!


  The story opens with a young Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites), vowing to his father, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), that he would find a way to free his father from his curse. Years pass and Henry is searching for the notorious pirate, Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp). What an entrance for Jack, as he and his few remaining crew members are prepared to steal a safe. Just think about the scene in one of the Fast and Furious movies when they drag a vault through the streets. However the pirates take the whole bank for a wild ride with Jack jumping on and off of it until there’s nothing left but the safe. 


  After Jack is left with nothing to show for this, and gets some help from the young Turner, they turn their focus to finding the trident of Poseidon with the help of Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario). Of course this wouldn't be a pirate adventure if Jack wasn’t being chased by other pirates. This time he’s being chased by an old foe, Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), and a new one, Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem). The audience knows all about Barbossa, but Salazar is an interesting pirate because he’s basically a zombie. His crew and himself wreck havoc on any other ships that get in their way. Salazar has a long standing score to settle with Jack, but has one weakness that keeps Jack alive.


  One of the biggest reasons I enjoy this franchise is because of the pirate himself, Jack Sparrow. I believe Johnny Depp was born to play this role, and has done a terrific job in every movie. Jack is such a funny character filled with so much dumb luck. At one point he’s bouncing around in between two ships with dangers coming from every direction. Anyone else would be done for, but he lands in the perfect spot each time. Yes, he’s the hero and can’t die, but just the way things happen for him is so crazy. Being drunk half the time and having so many enemies, you would think he would’ve walked the plank a long time ago.


  Overall, if audiences liked the previous movies, then they should like this one as well. There’s wild adventures on land like the safe stealing scene, and on the sea like the scene with some awesome zombie sharks. There’s plenty of familiar faces up to their old tricks, and the audience knows you can never trust the intentions of pirates. Young Turner and Carina become nice additions to the story, and of course it’s great to see Jack stumble his way around. With that, I give “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” 3 stars!

  HorrO


*There is an after credits scene*

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

WONDER WOMAN REVIEW



Before she was Wonder Woman she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained warrior. When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war to end all wars, discovering her full power and true destiny.

Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, and Robin Wright

Directed by: Patty Jenkins

Written by: Allan Heinberg, Zack Snyder, and Jason Fuchs

  When it comes to DC vs. Marvel movies, it’s safe to say it hasn’t been a fair fight so far. Overall, the Marvel movies have just been better. While “Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice” didn’t do enough to change that view, there’s plenty of hope that “Wonder Woman” can. So did “Wonder Woman” live up to the hype?


  In typical first time super hero movie fashion, the audience has to be introduced to how the character came to be a hero. So most of the movie is a flashback, starting when Diana (Gal Gadot) is a little girl being raised by Amazon women. She has an urge to fight, and eventually finds out that she has something special in her. After saving a pilot, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), who crashes lands in the water, she gets a chance to fight for real against the Nazis that shot down the pilot. Without a doubt, Diana and the Amazons taking on the Nazis on the beach is one of the best parts of the movie. The way they go on the attack is awesome, and leaves the audience wanting more.


  Unfortunately, that’s it for the Amazons, as Diana soon leaves the island with Steve. She wants to help Steve end the war, but for her own reasons. There are some funny moments when she gets a taste of the real world, including ditching her sword and shield for some new clothing. She actually has several awkward moments as she tries to fit into a strange new world for her. Besides for the humor, it’s nice to see this because it reminds the audience of her true human side.


  She also has an emotional side that brings out the hero in her like when she decides to run right into a battlefield. It’s really cool watching her fight off the bullets, and eventually go on a tear through the enemy. It might seem a little extreme but that’s why they call her Wonder Woman. Of course she has to meet up with her ultimate villain in the end, and again she goes to the extreme to win this fight.


  So there's nothing left to wonder about because “Wonder Woman” does live up to the hype, and finally puts DC on the map. Even though the movie is almost entirely a flashback, it’s good to see what makes Wonder Woman a true superhero. She’s born to fight, and shows it in some awesome scenes with her Amazon family. After adjusting to a new world, she brings the fight against the Nazis before facing her ultimate foe. Overall it’s a good mix of emotion, light humor, and superhero action. Most of all, it proves audiences can handle a woman superhero, and others deserve to come forward! With that, I give this movie 4 stars!

  HorrO

Thursday, May 11, 2017

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 REVIEW



Set to the backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ continues the team’s adventures as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage.

Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Michael Rooker, and Kurt Russell

Directed by: James Gunn

Written by: James Gunn, Dan Abnett

  In the shadow of “The Avengers,” “Guardians of the Galaxy” was a pleasant surprise. They started off as strangers, and quickly became family. This time around the family appears to have gotten bigger. While Quill’s (Chris Pratt) mother is dead, his father, Ego (Kurt Russell), finally reunites with him. The two get a chance to catch up, and do some bonding. However that bonding is short lived, as The Guardians are forced to do what they do…save the galaxy.


  This time around saving the galaxy is filled with more humor than action. Even in the action there’s plenty of humor to be found. The movie opens with the Guardians fighting off a huge beast. While it appears they’re getting their butts kicked, Groot is busy playing DJ. Soon enough the action continues when they are forced to escape the planet because Rocket has stolen what they were protecting. The humor in this scene comes in the form of an argument between Rocket and Quill.


  After a crash landing, the group splits up leaving Rocket, Groot, and their prisoner on the planet, and the others going with Quill’s new found father. While lots of family bonding is happening on the planet, Rocket provides the best action scene until the final scene. He takes on Yondu’s (Michael Rooker) men in the forest in his own unique way. Unfortunately it doesn’t go well for Rocket, or Yondu, as his men turn on their leader. This sets up one of the funniest moments when Groot has to figure out out how to free them.


  During the bonding, Quill finds out about his parents’ relationship, and how special he is. While he’s doing this, Gamora (Zoe Saldana) is dealing with family issues of her own, and trying to figuring out what’s really going on. And Drax, well for being the big guy, he does a lot to laugh as hard as he can. He also forms an unusual friendship with Mantis (Pom Klementieff). Of course, everyone comes together in the end to save the galaxy in a fun ending action scene that even includes some surprise guest appearances.


  The Guardians are back proving that while they’re from different parts of the galaxy, they’ve truly become family. Basically, most of the action takes place in the opening and closing scenes, and is always accompanied by plenty of humor. While he’s now the small of the group, Groot is the cutest, and debatably the funniest. While it’s a good story the second time around, it just feels like there should have been more to it. With that, I give “The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” 3 stars.

  I Am HorrO!


*Stay all the way to the end of the credits for multiple extra credit scenes*

Thursday, April 20, 2017

THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS REVIEW



When a mysterious woman seduces Dom into the world of terrorism and a betrayal of those closest to him, the crew face trials that will test them as never before.

Starring: Vin Diesel, Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, and Ludacris

Directed by: F. Gary Gary

Written by: Chris Morgan

  Topping the opening record and beating the recent Star Wars movie is definitely shocking. Yes, the Fast and the Furious franchise does well in the U.S., but it’s also driven by success overseas. With these kind of numbers, there may never be an end to them. However, did these huge numbers mean that “The Fate of the Furious” is any good?


  Well if you have a formula that’s working why change it right? First and foremost, it’s about the cars and the action, and there’s plenty of it. It must be a challenge at this point to find a new way to flip a car, or cause some destruction. The movie starts with the usual race, and this is definitely a fun one. The destruction hits big time with the good use of a wrecking ball. Later, they introduce autonomous cars to make an even bigger mess in a very creative way! To finish it off, they put the cars on ice, and throw in a submarine, which will be hard to beat next time around.


  The family is back driving these cars with each having their usual contributions to the group. Hercules, or rather Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) is clearly the brawn of the group, as he manhandles everyone in his way. There’s great tension between him and the ninja Deckard (Jason Statham), before and after they take on an entire prison. Roman (Tyrese Gibson) and Tej (Ludacris) continue to provide the humor, and still are waiting for a date with Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel). Not family, but they add a newcomer, Owen (Luke Evans), who quickly becomes a target for many of their jokes. And back only to be a love interest is unfortunately Letty (Michelle Rodriguez). 


   Of course the leader of this family, Don (Vin Diesel), is the center of the story. Watching trailer after trailer the curiosity really set in. What could motivate him enough to turn his back on family? Without giving it away, lets say it makes plenty of sense, and is a good driver of the story. Cipher (Charlize Theron) turns out to be a pretty good villain, who pushes Dom to the limit.

  
Maybe not worthy of the record, but “The Fate of the Furious” does enough to make it worth movie goers money. As usually there’s a lot of unrealistic, but really awesome car tricks. The family is back, some funny and others way over the top. Turning Dom against the family becomes a very good way to go with the story. It sets up some interesting twists and turns all leading to another crazy finish. With that, I give it 3 stars, and look forward to more car chases in the future!

HorrO

Thursday, March 9, 2017

LOGAN REVIEW



In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X in a hide out on the Mexican border. But Logan’s attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are up-ended when a young mutant arrives, being pursed by dark forces.

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen

Directed by: James Mangold

Written by: James Mangold and Scott Frank

  There are many elements to the usual superhero movie. Of course there’s plenty of action with some well timed humor. The villains hatch an evil plan, and the heroes eventually put an end to it. Sometimes there’s a little romance thrown in, and maybe even some tragedy. Then along comes a superhero movie with some of those same elements, but with a whole different feel to it. And that movie is “Logan.”


   Logan has generally been an intense character, and that might be one of the best ways to describe this movie. The intensity starts right from the beginning with Logan (Hugh Jackman), who’s now a limo driver, being waken by some thugs trying to steal the limo’s rims. He wants to give them a chance to get away, but they push him too far. Out come his claws, and he brutally puts an end to them.


  Brutal is another great word to describe the movie, Logan, and a new character, Laura (Dafne Keen). Laura is a young mutant, who happens to have the same abilities as Logan. To no surprise, he didn’t want anything to do with her before finding out what she’s capable of. With the urging of Professor X (Patrick Stewart), they do their best to protect her from the people who created, and want to put an end to her.


  However, she doesn’t need as much protection as you might think. She makes good use of her claws just like Logan. Both of them stab people in the head, chest, arms, and legs all movie long. Blood splatters everywhere in vicious action scene after vicious action scene. The group trying to recover Laura has a secret weapon that they unleash on Logan and Laura providing some more terrific fighting.


  With all the intensity and brutality, there’s also plenty of seriousness to the story. Two of the audience’s favorite X-Men characters aren't their true selves this time around. Professor X is constantly on medication to help him control what’s left of his power. He still provides his wisdom when he’s not drugged up. Logan is also sick, and the audience is left guessing at what’s wrong with him the entire time. He continues to put up a good fight, but also has his struggles.


  The Avenger and X-Men movies put together a good mix story, action, and humor. The previous Wolverine movies did some of the same. “Logan,” on the other hand, has some of the same elements, but feels a whole lot different. The story is so serious, and intense from beginning to end. The fights end in many brutal deaths. And two X-Men favorites are seen in a much lesser state, and have audiences worrying about them the entire time. They still manage to create a terrific new character Laura, who definitely isn’t a sweet little girl. With that, I give this movie 4 stars!


  HorrO

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

THE BATMAN LEGO MOVIE REVIEW



Bruce Wayne must not only deal with the criminals of Gotham City, but also the responsibility of raising a boy he adopted.

Starring: Will Arnett, Michael Cera, and Rosario Dawson

Directed by: Chris McKay

Written by: Seth Grahame-Smith, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Jared Stern, & John Whittington

  Not expecting much, “The LEGO Movie” quickly turned into one of my favorite animated movies. They created a lot of great characters, and while Batman (Will Arnett) wasn’t an original character, they certainly added a lot of originality to this version of Batman. With that, it wasn’t totally surprising to see why they decided to make “The LEGO Batman Movie.” However, could it be better than “The LEGO Movie?” 


  This movie wastes no time getting into the silliness with Batman commenting on the opening credits. After the credits pass, the audience sees the Joker (Zach Galifianakis) in the middle of his latest evil plan. Of course Batman eventually steps in to foil it. To celebrate, Batman gets some quality alone time. Yes, one theme in this movie is how he struggles with wanting to do everything by himself.


  Too bad he gets plenty of help whether he likes it or not. Without realizing it, he ends up adopting Robin (Michael Cera), a very curious young boy. While Robin just wants to be his son, he starts off almost being his trained pet, as he does everything Batman tells him to. However, he doesn’t get help from the Justice League. He isn’t even invited to their anniversary party. It’s pretty funny how they play off the whole Batman vs Superman thing.


  The Joker also gets some help in his ultimate sinister plan, as he brings all of the evil creatures and bad guys stuck in the Phantom Zone to Gotham City. This creates a huge LEGO style battle with the odds against Batman, Robin, Alfred (Ralph Fiennes), and Barbra (Rosario Dawson). The battle has plenty of action and funny moments, but also too many stops in the action to focus on Batman’s issue. It’s an important storyline, but just gets a little old in the middle of the action.


  So did “The Batman LEGO Movie” top “The LEGO Movie”… not really. However it has a lot of similarities that make it an enjoyable movie. It has a lot of the same Batman humor they started in the previous movie. There’s some LEGO building, but it isn’t the focus. Even though it’s a major theme, Batman’s struggle to let others help him becomes a little tiresome. Still it’s definitely a unique Batman movie worthy of 3.5 stars!


  HorrO