Friday, August 3, 2018

(Animated movie # 14 ) Hotel Transylvania 2 7+ out of 10 2015


(Animated movie # 14 )  
Hotel Transylvania 2  7+ out of 10  2015

I found the first Hotel Transylvania to be surprisingly entertaining.  It wasn’t a movie that was on my radar and I saw it at a movie in the park event several years ago with the kids.   When the sequel came out we got it on DVD and the kids ended up seeing it in the back of the car on a road trip, so I didn’t get around to seeing it until this past week.

The first movie dealt with Drac who runs a Hotel in Transylvania for Monsters dealing with his daughter falling for a human.    In the sequel we pick up with his daughter getting married and having a baby.  The story jumps forward a bit and mainly deals with Drac wanting the baby to embrace his monster side as he approaches his 5th birthday.   Drac and his pals try and show with grandson what monsters are really like with some funny results.  I didn’t think this story worked as well as the first on, but it still had some entertaining moments. 

The best part of this film series is Adam Sandler as Drac.   While his live action movies are very hit and miss his voice acting as Drac in this animated feature is spot on.   His sense of humor works well as the old Vampire stuck between the reality of his current world and the old days when things were different. 
The other element that works so well in Hotel Transylvania series in the world building.  The monsters that visit the hotel are totally interesting and entertaining.  Hotel Transylvania 3 just hit Theaters this past month and I’ll be interested to see the cast of cool background characters in that film as well as they vacation on a cruise ship.  The concept for the third one sounds like a more interesting plot then this second outing.

I would definitely recommend this one if your kids liked the original.



Saturday, July 28, 2018

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom 9 out of 10 2018





Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom  9 out of 10  2018

I’m not sure where the Jurassic World franchise goes from here, but as the box office proves Dinosaurs are still a big draw.   The film has quickly grossed over a billion dollar mark worldwide.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is a fun roller coaster ride of a summer movie.  Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard return in a silly and unbelievable story (I know weird to say about a dino movie).    Several year after the events of Jurassic World they are enlisted by a rich billionaire and ex-partner of the creator of Jurassic Park to help and save the remaining dinosaurs on the island before a volcano explodes.  What could possible go wrong right?  The dino rescue attempt was way over the top and ridiculous –but a lot of fun.   Question why did the creators of Jurassic World build the park on an island that had a possibly deadly volcano?   That seems a little odd.  So even if the tragedy that occurred in Jurassic World hadn’t happened the island and theme park would have been destroyed anyway in a couple of years.  

Jurassic World (despite its flaws) was special.   It took us to the theme park that the original Jurassic Park teased us.   It dug into our nostalgia and at least briefly took us to Jurassic World in operation before all hell broke loose.    The franchise will no longer have the park factor as of this episode in the series.  The action needs to find somewhere else to take place going forward.   In the case of Fallen Kingdom that location is the house of the billionaire which has a cool private natural history museum.   This makes for a great location for the second half of the film.   Like the previous film this one is full of action and excitement. The twists of the film aren’t really a surprise and are predictable if you are paying attention. The second half of the film takes place back at the mansion with a bunch of international billionaires bidding on the dinos in an auction.   Of course all hell breaks loose in the middle of the auction as our heroes stuck in a dino jail cell escape with the help of a rampaging head butting dino.   The last part of the film has them scrambling around the mansion with its museum being chased by a super dangerous new hybrid dino.   This part of the film is super fun and includes some incredible dino scenes. 
If you can look past the awkward, silly plot and story it is still a fun ride.  It just doesn’t live up to Jurassic World (which also had a pretty silly storyline)  I’m curious as to where the franchise goes  from here.  Some Dinos are now loose in the wild –others are in the hands of the people from the auction and then there is the other cloning issue. 


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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Trailer Talk: Comic Con Trailers 2018


Here are some of the Trailer that came out of Comic Con 2018 on Saturday and some brief thoughts on them.




 Aquaman.  2018 Release   Grade  B  

The trailer has some really great moments--but also has some cheesy moments.  I really don't know know what to make of it.   Plus not being a comic book fan I still picture Aquaman as the blonde guy in tights from the Super Friends.    You know lame Aquaman.  Obviously Jason Momoa's version is already a cooler Aquaman.

DC has a bad track record for me Wonder Woman was good --but Batman vs Superman, Justice League and Suicide Squad were all disappointing.    Where will Aquaman fall?   

I really like Jason Momoa ever since I first saw him as the island bartender on a prime time soap style show called the North Shore.  He was also great in  (the not successful --but good in my opinion) Conan reboot and of course Game of Thrones.    I just don't know if I can trust what DC is going to do with the character of Aquaman.   My thoughts are to keep my expectations low for this movie and hope that it turns out good.





Shazam!  2019 Release   Grade C-
Ugh.   I wanted to like this .  Zachary Levi was amazing as Chuck in a TV Series that if you think about it mirrors the character of Shazam in many ways.   In Chuck Zachary Levi played an intelligent guy who ends up working at the Buy More as part of the Nerd Herd that fixes computers.  His character accidentally gets downloaded with amazing spy powers which made for a great fun spy/comedy tv show.    Shazam is very similar in that a kid ends up with Superman type powers.    This trailer was underwhelming and made me wish that they did a Chuck movie instead of Shazam.  Really is there anyone that was dying for a Shazam movie?   It feels like a super hero movie Shaq would star in.   
 I'll rent it because I like Zachary Levi




Glass  2019  Release    Grade B-   

As a trailer it looks pretty interesting.  Unfortunately it is directed by M. Night Shyamalan whose movies after the Sixth Sense --seemed to get worse and worse with each film.  The Happening was one of the worst big budget movies I've ever sat through.   Signs was great until the lackluster and insulting to the intelligence of its audience third act.    If you like M. Night's movies then this is probably a dream come true .  The film has good cast and links several previous films.   Being fair to the trailer I think it does a good job of setting up what could be an interesting movie.   For me........    Just tell me the twist and I'll save my 10 bucks......    I 'm not getting suckered into another M Night film.




Godzilla King of the Monsters    2019 Release    Grade B-

The trailer looks decent but all Godzilla movies look okay in the trailers.   They keep trying to do a big budget Godzilla and it always turns out to be not as good as you hope it will be.   I think Cloverfield and the first Pacific Rim have done it better.    The silly monsters that the old man in a rubber suit Godzilla used to fight are back in this film.  Eleven from Stranger Things is in this movie  , but they make her look exacly like her Stranger Things character that audiences may think she is Eleven.  I wonder if maybe Godzilla works better in the rubber suit.   I'm sure I'll see this when it comes out on DVD-- but not necessarily in the theaters.   



Based on these  Comic Con trailers  I probably see Aquaman in the theaters.   The other 3 films ----I'll see eventually --but probably not until they hit Netflix.

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Game Night 7 out of 10 2018


Game Night 7 out of 10 2018

I liked the concept for this comedy starring Jason Bateman and Rachel Mcadams.   The movie is basically a comedy version of The Game starring Michael Douglas (I need to revisit that film).
A group of friends meet on a regular basis for a competitive game night.   When the main character played by (Jason Bateman) overachieving brother shows up to game night he invites the group to his house the next week to kick things up a bit.  They show up to find out that he has planned an interactive murder mystery that he has hired some company to put on.  The game kicks off as dangerous gangsters show up and attack the brother kidnapping them.  It is clear to the audience right away that this isn't the planned game -  but the game night couples assume it is and continue to sip their wine applauding the drama.   

The couples think that the game is a foot and start following the fake clues unknowingly finding themselves in a dangerous situation.    The story really leans on your ability just go along with it and for much of the film I was able to.   Jason Bateman basically plays the same character he always plays which I'm ok with because he plays that character so well.  His chemistry with Rachel Mcadams was excellent,  they really worked well as a time.  The movie has many funny and excellent especially when they have to go over to the creepy cop neighbor's house to use his computer.   The creepy neighbor is played by Jesse Plemons who was so excellent in the Black Mirror Star Trek style episode.  This dude can act.   This character steals the movie in my opinion.   


I absolutely loved one of the big twists in the film --which in my opinion should have been the ending --the film however decides it isn't over yet and continues into the truly hard to believe territory that I just didn't want to follow.   This actually took the film down a notch for me.    

All in all I would say that if you like Jason Bateman and the comedy style of the Horrible Boss films (the same creative team was behind this film)  --you will enjoy this comedy.

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Saturday, July 14, 2018

Pitfall 1948 7 out of 10


Pitfall 1948  7 out of 10

Pitfall is a film noir movie from 1948 that centers on a married insurance adjuster (Dick Powell) that falls for a femme fatale (Lizabeth Scott) while on a case to get some stolen items back.
As a result he gets himself caught up with a creepy private eye that has also fallen for the girl  (Raymond Burr) and her jealous boyfriend that is about to get out of jail.  It was a good quality noir film with an everyman getting caught up in a dangerous situation.   The conclusion of the film features a showdown with the unlucky insurance man and the boyfriend who has just been released from jail which leads to some great noir stuff.

The best part of the movie for me was Raymond Burr's creepy detective -who basically decides he wants the girl whether she likes him or not.  The creepy scene where he shows up at her work where she is modeling dresses was uncomfortable to watch.   The way he asks her show off the dress makes you feel like he is asking her to strip naked for him.   So weird to see the guy I only know as Perry Mason in such a creepy role.  The level of creepy from Burr is almost to the level of Robert Mitchum in the original Cape Fear.  His character basically orchestrates the final showdown of the film to get his rivals for the girl out of the way.

All in all it was a decent film noir effort that was more focused on how the average everyday man (perfect father) life unraveled after a brief affair with the wrong gal. 



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The Maze Runner: The Death Cure 7 out of 10 2018


The Maze Runner: The Death Cure  7 out of 10 2018

This movie covers the third  book of James Dashner's 3 book series that was adapted for the big screen.


The first movie was basically a Lord of the Flies meets The Cube. (An interesting mix).
Here were my thoughts on the first one.
http://bradgeekness.blogspot.com/2015/01/the-maze-runner-better-than-hunger.html


The second film took things in a different direction.  It was still entertaining and had some great action sequences --but drifted too far away from what made the first film special and being a middle book of a trilogy --the ending was less than epic in nature.
Here were my thoughts after seeing the second film

With the third and final film in the series starts off with an exciting train heist --but then becomes a slow and boring film for about the first hour.  I was starting to worry that like Divergent and Hunger Games this series was going off the rails as well.   All three Dystopian sci fi series were their strongest in their first films in my opinion.  In this final film of the series the goals of the main character Thomas seem to be so small in nature.   Bascially they are trying to break into the Last real city on Earth (protected by large walls) to save Minho who was captured at the end of the second film after Theresa betrayed the group of former Gladers.  

The second half of the film picks up with some good fun action sequences and a character death that is a difficult one for fans of the series.  But the story becomes too typical for this genre in the third act.  I wish the films had been more like the first film and stuck with a more interesting and original story.  The concept of the original film was so fun and fresh that the direction the series went after that left me a little let down.  

This film is basically saved by the action in the second half of the film and a good reflective ending.  I'm glad they were able to bring the series to a conclusion --which can not be said for the Divergent Series and several other movie series that attempted to repeat the box office success of the Hunger Games.   That being said, this was my least favorite film in the series.   I just wish the series had taken better advantage of the possibilities the first film developed.  If you watched the other two films I would suggest watching this to for resolution to the story,  just don't expect anything amazing.


Saturday, June 30, 2018

Johnny English Reborn 2011 6 out of 10


I'll start off by saying that I think Rowan Atkinson is a comic genius.   Mr. Bean,  Black Adder,   and The Thin Blue Line are all classic British TV comedies.   His store clerk in Love Actually is absolutely the best scene in a great movie.    That being said the Johnny English films to date have just been okay.   

The character of Johnny English is basically a spy version of Inspector Clouseau.   He is like the English version of Maxwell Smart.   While I think Rowan Atkinson does a good job as the over confident yet blumbling character -- the film is just lacking something that could make it a better film.  It has to be somewhere in the writing and tone of the films.  Everyone around Johnny English is in a serious spy film where his buffonish character stands out in contrast.   The Get Smart  movie was similiar to a certain degree --but somehow pulled it off better.   

The movie has some funny moments and was enjoyable at times --but isn't memorable.   The Austin Powers films stand out to me as the best in the spy spoof genre.  The tone of the those movies is consistent and most of the characters are just as absurb as Powers himself  (Especially Dr. Evil).   I think maybe the Johnny English films could have benefited from having the character in a world more suited for him.  The serious spy film universe that the character bumbles around in just doesn't provide the consistent laughs that the Austion Powers world achieves.

A third Johnny English film is currently in the works for release this year.





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