Category Archives: Average Movie Reviews
Average Movie Reviews
Film buff? Or maybe you just love the Fast and Furious movies too much? Our Average Movie Reviews are for you! Matt and Ryan break down films, new and old, in a way that won’t destroy your love for movies. No pretenious blowhards here.
When The Sopranos premiered in 1999, I was 11 years old. It wasn't the most ideal subject matter for an 11 year old, but as the years went by it became impossible to not check this show out. Like most people, I was drawn to Tony Soprano, a character brought to life by the late James Gandolfini. Gandolfini did a lot of things really well, but one of the things I remember about that character is the way he used facial expressions to convey key emotions. You could tell exactly how Tony was feeling based on his eyes alone. He conveyed fury, angst and despair all with a single glance.
Not many actors can do that, but Tom Hardy is certainly one of them. For the second time in a Christopher Nolan movie Hardy's face is almost fully concealed, but he's so great at using his eyes to convey emotion that it doesn't matter. You don't go into a movie expecting to have such an intimate relationship with an actor's eyes throughout a two hour movie, but it's impossible to look anywhere else on screen when Hardy's character shows up. It's an extremely restrictive role (he's in a fighter plane cockpit for every scene but one) with minimal dialogue, but Hardy nails it. He's only 1/3 of the plot in Nolan's Dunkirk, but his fighter pilot character is intertwined with the other two perspectives perfectly. There's a lot more to love in Dunkirk, but Hardy was my favorite part. The movie was a perfect mix of Nolan's storytelling style and a war movie. If you're a fan of either (or both) you should check it out, preferably in Imax.
Complex stories in film are my jam. In fact, one my favorite parts of seeing a film is piecing the story together. I can remember seeing Nolan's 2000 masterpiece, 'Memento', and loving how I had to actively bring the story together as I watched. It's almost a sport. Numbers flying around in my head like Alan playing blackjack in 'The Hangover.' Providing the audience with a complex story is a tell-tale sign of someone who has mastered the craft of filmmaking, which Nolan continues to prove in 'Dunkirk.'
The story is split into three aspects: Air, Sea and The Mole. Each aspect of this film is introduced with a title card with a time frame directly below it. All three have different timeframes which are meant to overlap with each other. Somehow, Nolan not only uses individual scenes to build tension, but he uses the introduction of plot points within the three aspects to build tension for the others. It's something I wish I could better describe in words, but if you saw the film you'll get it.
Bravo, Christopher Nolan.
While most of America spent the 4th of July hanging out with family and friends and being grateful for all that they have, Anthony Bourdain was busy leaving three word movie reviews. Both Matt and I have seen Baby Driver, and we obviously have a different opinion than Mr. Bourdain. The worst part about this is that he doesn’t follow up with any more information. It’s just ‘Fuck BABY DRIVER’ and that’s it. I just have so many questions. What didn’t you like about it? Why did you capitalize the words ‘baby driver’? Do you hate people with tinnitus? It’s one thing to not like a movie. That’s the beauty of conversing about different art forms, whether it be TV, movies, music or anything else that people create. It’s another thing to just drop something on Twitter to be an asshole. While Bourdain might’ve started this war, we got the last laugh:
The 89th Academy Awards are a little over four weeks away, and the nominees are now set for the golden statue award ceremony. After winning six Golden Globes, La La Land is the favorite to win Best Picture, with Moonlight and Manchester by the Sea not far behind. It wouldn’t be an award ceremony without our share of snubs and surprises, but we’ll save that debate for another time (hint: never). Since we’re officially licensed movie connoisseurs, we thought we’d skip that debate and instead give our iron clad predictions on the Best Picture race, as well as who we think will walk away winners in some of the other major categories. Will Hacksaw Ridge pull off the monumental upset and win Best Picture? Will Casey Affleck cruise through awards season with a Golden Globe and an Oscar for Best Actor? Let’s get to our predictions and find out! (And follow along at home with our 2017 Oscar Ballot!)
Synopsis: Linguistics professor Louise Banks (Amy Adams) leads an elite team of investigators when gigantic spaceships touch down in 12 locations around the world. As nations teeter on the verge of global war, Banks and her crew must race against time to find a way to communicate with the extraterrestrial visitors. Hoping to unravel the mystery, she takes a chance that could threaten her life and quite possibly all of mankind.
Arrival is the kind of movie where you leave the theater having seen a totally different movie than you expected. It’s so much more than a SciFi movie, and the message can still resonate even if you swap out the aliens. Also, it was delightful to see Jeremy Renner in something where he wasn’t toting a bow and arrow; he really shines in this flick, even though he wasn’t put up for consideration. I think Arrival not only walks away, handily, with the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar, but also has a real good shot at Film Editing and Production Design. This is a GORGEOUS film. -Matt
Synopsis: A working-class African-American father tries to raise his family in the 1950s, while coming to terms with the events of his life.
Viola Davis, all-around Hollywood superstar, and Rhode Island native, gets her third Oscar nomination (Most of any black woman in history) for her role in Fences. She plays opposite Denzel in a film that seems to hit deep at your inner-most emotions (The academy loves those types of movies this year apparently). If I know Denzel and Viola they are sure to put on a painfully honest performance that will stay with you beyond the theater. Along with Denzel and Viola both getting nods, Fences is also up for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay. While I can’t speak for the actors performances specifically, I could see a tight race with Arrival for adapted screenplay (since this is derived from a critically acclaimed play by August Wilson). -Matt
Synopsis: WWII American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa, refuses to kill people, and becomes the first man in American history to receive the Medal of Honor without firing a shot.
Hacksaw Ridge is the tale of two movies. The first half of the movie follows Desmond T. Doss from childhood up to his enrollment in the Army, and lays out why he was a pacifist and a conscientious objector to the war. There’s a specific moment in his childhood that not only turns him into a pacifist, but alters the direction of his life. The first hour or so moves along slowly, but as soon as Desmond and his unit are deployed to Hacksaw Ridge, all hell breaks loose. This is where Garfield and director Mel Gibson really shine, and anyone who’s seen Braveheart knows that Gibson is at his best when depicting the brutality of war. The fact that this is based on a true story (there’s a quick interview with the real Desmond after the movie that is incredibly moving) only enhances the emotion of this film. Hacksaw Ridge is also nominated for five other awards, including best actor, director, film editing, sound editing and sound mixing. It’s a long shot to win any of the three major awards, but regardless of whether it wins or loses, it’s a must see film. –Ryan
Whenever a movie breaks into a musical number in the first minute, they’ve got me. Hook. Line. Sinker. I’m in. It was a hilarious number that really set the tone for the rest of the movie. Like an overture…a really hilarious and fucked up overture. Ok, enough about the musical number. The rest of the movie wasn’t bad either. Let’s talk about that. I’m not planning on writing anything spoilery, but who knows, I don’t plan these out. Let’s see where my fingers take us…you’ve been warned.
First off, the animation was really great. Top notch Pixar-type stuff. It looked and played like Toy Story. Which added a whole other dimension to the movie that I did not anticipate. It’s like visiting your grandma’s house. You’ve been there a million times. You know the sights, smells and intricacies. Then all of a sudden you’re in high school, grandma goes away for the weekend and you throw a kegger. It feels weird…in a kind of an awesome-weird kind of way. A simpler analogy would be running in the hallways of your elementary school after hours, but I somehow wanted to work in keg parties, because i’m super cool. Anyway, same feeling here. It’s cute animations that swear and have weird food-sex with each other. It’s refreshing.
Speaking of refreshing (nothing like a smooth transition), It was nice to see a movie that wasn’t a sequel or that was part of a larger cinematic universe. DO NOT mistake me here. I’m a huge fan of sequels and big hollywood films, maybe too much of a fan (I saw the most recent Transformers movie three times… in theaters). All i’m saying is, it was nice to come in, suck down some popcorn and enjoy a contained story that didn’t require me sitting through the credits in fear that I might miss an easter egg scene and want to drive off a bridge on the way home. That was a welcomed change.
So what do you get in Sausage Party? Lavash and a Bagel parodying the tension between Israel and Palestine? Check. Bath salts? Check. A Douche that’s a total Douche? Check. Seth Rogan as a sausage? Check. Honestly, half the fun of the film is hearing familiar voices coming from food and other supermarket items.
Should you go see it? As always, I encourage you to see for yourself instead of reacting to reviews. However, this flick has been getting stellar scores across the board. And if the Rotten Tomatoes that run the movie business can all agree that a movie is good, then you should probably go see it.
Seven blessings to you all.
– Matt aka The Space Ghost
Scanning through Netflix for the one millionth time with no prospects? Can’t find anything good on TV? Watched your blu-ray of Pacific Rim one too many times and now it doesn’t work? If you’re in any, or all, of these scenarios, put that clicker down and heed my call. The movie I have for you this time is a little diddle titled “Donald Cried“. Here’s a synopsis and teaser; indulge yourself.
Peter Latang left working class Warwick, Rhode Island, to reinvent himself as a slick, Wall Street mover and shaker. Fifteen years later, when he’s forced to return home because of his grandmother’s death, he loses his wallet on the trip. Stranded, the only person he can think of to help him out is his next-door neighbor and former childhood friend Donald Treebeck. Donald hasn’t changed a bit, and what starts off as a simple favor turns into a long van ride into their past.
A fun tid-bit: The writer, director and star (Donald) of the film is Kris Avedisian. He is a native Rhode Islander (my home state) and he shot the short and feature right here in RI. In the dead of winter. If you’re watching this flick somewhere that is sunny and beautiful for the majority of the year, I promise that Rhode Island doesn’t always look like a desolate winter hellscape.
In short, this movie has a ton of heart. The characters, at least for me, are all people i’ve met before. They are people I see around town, guys I went to high school with. I’ve always liked Tony Soprano, and it’s not for the reasons you may think. Sure, his mob antics were awesome, but I liked Tony Soprano because of what a real person he was. If I ever met James Gandolfini (before his passing) I would completely expect to be dealing with Big Tony, and there’s nothing you could tell me to think otherwise. That’s what a great character should do for an audience. Donald does that.
That was a long-winded way of saying “GO SEE THIS FUCKING MOVIE”.
How can you see it? It’s playing at film festivals around the USA right now, but you can also view it FO’ FREE at Festival Scope. Just make a free account and you’re in. Don’t say I never did anything for ya.
– Matt aka The Space Ghost
Last weekend I headed to the “not an Alamo Drafthouse” (because all other theaters are inferior) to see The Jungle Book. To be honest, I wasn’t too hyped up to see this flick. It’s directed by my boy Jonny Favreau, but that was really my only draw to it. It was basically one of those if-i’m-ever-at-the-movies-and-my-first-choice-is-sold-out-I-will-see-it movies. That being said, I was pleasantly surprised.
Even though I watched the original like 1,000,000 times, I seem to have the worst memory ever and can’t remember a damn thing from my childhood. Is it just me, or did everyone else completely forgot what happened in the original Jungle Book movie too? I’m in the theater and I find myself leaning over to my girlfriend and asking her: “did this happen?”, “does Bagheera die?”, “why can this kid speak perfect english to the jungle animals?”, “can you pass the goobers?”. This Jungle Book was like seeing it for the first time; Sure I knew the songs, but the story was all new to me.
The CGI was stunning and most of the time I couldn’t tell between real and fake. Then I found out 99% of the movie was CGI. So apparently we can’t tell the difference between real shots and computer generated tigers…what a time to be alive!
Credit to Jon Favreau, the dude has been on fire since the 90s! And he has range like you read about: Swingers, Elf, Iron Man, Chef and now The Jungle Book? Crazy.
I give it 7.65437 MattStars (out of a perfect 10.5 MattStars)
PS- Bill Murray is just delightful as a bear…but you probably already guessed that.
PSS – ScarJo is still hot, even as a snake.
Spoilers ahead, tread lightly friends.
At this point in time just about every blog, website and YouTuber on the internet has a review for Captain America Civil War (CACW), and guess what? Here’s one more. Read it and weep superhero tears.
Coming into CACW, Captain America ruled the roost (IMO) as far as super hero movies go. The first one was a surprising masterpiece (even for an early MCU movie) and the sequel, Winter Solider, played a huge part in laying the foundation for Age of Ultron and CACW. The gray area between regulated super heroism and borderline vigilantism was born in these movies and will be felt through the third phase of the MCU.
My boner for Captain America aside, I thought CACW was the BEST Marvel superhero movie to date (Yes, even better than Ben Affleck’s Daredevil). The main reason I tip my hat to this movie, over other Marvel installments, was a simple one, the chess game it played with our favorite heroes. CACW was able to play up 10+ superheroes in a manner that wasn’t overwhelming or that felt uneven. Every hero got his or her time to shine, with Capt. and Tony holding the story together. It worked brilliantly!
Ant-man, Black Panther and Spiderman (how about smoking hot Aunt May??) all were able to share the silver screen without taking away from each other or sacrifice their personalty, which are all very distinct. Like I said, a game of chess.
I was looking forward to this movie so much and it did not let me down. The MCU is in excellent shape with very exciting, new, installments coming down the pike. I give it 9.03452 MattStars (out of a perfect 10.5 MattStars)
With the Oscars a little over a week away, it’s time to get a fresh back of movies into the theaters for next year’s telecast. While most of the movies that get released between now and next year’s show will not be Oscar material, that doesn’t mean that we won’t try and see them all. Here are out most anticipated movies of 2016.
2016 might eventually go down as the year of the comic book movie (Batman vs. Superman, Suicide Squad, Deadpool) but I’m venturing off the comic book path for my pick. I’ve already blogged the trailer and raved about the cast but Triple 9 looks amazing. I’d watch a bank heist movie with a cast of elderly men who lost their ability to speak, so it’s safe to say that I’m really going to enjoy this movie. Also, this could be one of the movies that brings Norman Reedus to Hollywood full time and seals the fate of Daryl Dixon. This movie is going to be so good it has Walking Dead implications! The best part about this movie? It comes out in 8 days, so you’ll only have to wait a little bit longer.
10 Cloverfield Lane
Does J.J. know how to do a trailer or does J.J. know how to do a fucking trailer! To be completely honest, i’m not sure what happened or what I was seeing in the first Cloverfield movie, and after watching this trailer i’m still not 100% percent sure they are even linked. Having said that, Macho Man in his prime couldn’t stop me from seeing this movie. It comes out in a few weeks and I’m super interested to see what mystery box J.J. has for us this time.
P.S. Is that the chick from Final Destination 3? INSTANT CLASSIC, best of the 6 movies for sure.
P.P.S. John Goodman gets better with age, like a fine wine…..or maybe more like an old sneaker that you just can’t throw out because of all the good times you’ve had together. You thought for sure that pair of sneakers were gone, but now that you’ve found them, you can’t help but wear them all the time.