Friday, December 23, 2016

Jackie (2016)

Rated: R - Runtime: 99 min
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

Although I was born during Johnson's presidency, I was well aware of, and admired Jacqueline. She was media savvy. And this movie basically focuses on that from the assassination through the funeral.

 The cinematography does an excellent job of transporting the viewer back to that era. Portman gives a solid performance, even if she looks more like Natalie Portman Dressing Up As Jackie Kennedy than Jackie Kennedy.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 133 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

If you want a dark, moody sci-fi action movie, this is a pretty good one. If you want a fun sci-fi action movie with likable characters who help sell merchandise, this is NOT your movie. And nothing made that more evident than the kids discussing this after the show. "Dumb." "Not my favorite Star Wars movie."

Not even the snarky droid could save this for them.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Arrival (2016)

Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 116 min
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

Well.  That was deep.

Friday, November 25, 2016

The Edge of Seventeen (2016)

Rated: R - Runtime: 102 min
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

My brother used to call my uncle and complain about how unfair life was.  He'd complain about how he wasn't advancing at work, nobody treated him fairly, blah blah, blah.  Then one day he called and simply said "I get it.  I'm the problem."

This movie is that story in a nutshell, but with a teenage girl.  Don;t even get me started on the irony.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Doctor Strange (2016)

Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 115 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

The thing I kept thinking throughout this was "Man, just think about what Guillermo del Toro could have done with this."

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Jason Bourne (2016)

Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 123 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

They killed Nikki?  You bastards!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Star Trek: Beyond (2016)

Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 122 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

The third installment in the rebooted series doesn't rely on borrowing from the original for this story nearly as much as the first two (though there's one blatantly lifted sequence from "Generations" of all things and the solution to disrupt the end attack reminded me of "Mars Attacks!")

While I didn't like it quite as much as the last two, I was still pretty much grinning through the whole thing.

They also, however unintentionally, introduced a new character who could not have been written more perfectly to drop into Chekov's seat in the fourth installment.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)

Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 143 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

We start out watching something that looks like a Mummy prequel to the point that I actually forget I'm watching an X-Men feature until the title comes up.  From there, we go through the usual "here's a bunch of new mutants being introduced even though their characters have been established in previous movies".  And there's the build-up to that whole apocalypse deal.

I actually enjoyed this way more than I thought I would until the actual apocalypse, which was long, bloated, and murky.  This movie needed about twenty minutes less apocalypse, and ten minutes more Nightcrawler at the mall.

Of the six movies, I'd put this one at fourth best while noting that the first two movies (in release order) are really all you need in your collection.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 146 min
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

Same premise as "Batman v Superman", but SO much better done.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 151 min
tesg's Rating: One and one half star (out of four)

Superhero movies are supposed to be fun to watch.  The only thing fun here for the first two thirds is Lawrence Fishburne's character. The only laugh moments (there are two) happen towards the end.

Whar DC and Warner need to do is let the people behind The Flash and Arrow handle the movies. Those are two of the best shows on television right now. They know how to perfectly balance action, drama, and humor.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 105 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

This is one of those movies you want to go into knowing as little as possible. Because once you know and have seen it, I don't think you're ever going to have a reason to want to watch it again. It's good, you're not going to hate it or anything, but when it comes down to you and the wife finding something to watch on date night at home in six months and it's down to this and some Nicholas Sparks nonsense, even you will be like "Eh, we already know what happens."

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Witch (2016)

Rated: R - Runtime: 90 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

This is a slow burner that runs 90 minutes, but takes about three hours of patience to watch.  It's a decent psychological thriller in a beautifully dreary setting.  The end was kind of a "WTF" for me.  My favorite scene was the son's death.  That was pretty great.  Up to then, I just kept thinking about the "settlers" in the DirecTV commercials.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Zootopia (2016)

Rated: PG - Runtime: 108 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

This is a not-so-subtle propaganda piece taking aim at bullying and human stereotypes. Judy the bunny wants to become a cop, something only "predators" do. We see child Judy get bullied by a fox and, fifteen years later (or at least ten years after the average life expectancy of a rabbit), she goes through the police academy and, thanks in no small part to a diversity program, becomes a meter maid. The usual path of shenanigans leads to her getting an actual case where she teams up with a shifty fox and...whatever.

The funniest part of the movie is the sloth segment at the DMV, and literally the whole scene is the trailer. Okay, there's a bit of a payoff to that in the end, but this isn't nearly as clever as critics have been making it out to be.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Deadpool (2016)

Rated: R - Runtime: 108 min
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

This is an R-rated feature, right? Because the kid sitting next to me couldn't be more than six years old. And this is one raunchy juvenile humor movie full of sex and masturbation jokes. There's also the occasional and often funny action sequences and lots of fourth wall jokes.

Tons of fun in any case.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Hail, Caesar! (2016)

Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 100 min
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

As loaded as this movie is, there is a clear standout star, and it's Josh Brolin.  His Eddie Mannix is the guy tasked with keeping his actors in check and keeping the studio running.  Everyone else is part of the paintbrush, even if Clooney steals every scene he's in (as absurd as that sounds).

The sets and cinematography are a wonder.  Easter eggs are everywhere.  Standout scenes include a religious discussion, Scarlett Johansson's water sequence (which looks like something straight out of a Wes Anderson feature), and the Navy musical scene, the funniest thing in the movie.

And yet...I wouldn't put this on the list of the Coen Brother's best efforts.  And I'm not sure why.

Still, well worth the bother.  I would even encourage multiple viewings.  You're certain to catch little nuances you missed the first time.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Good Dinosaur (2015)

Rated: PG - Runtime: 93 min
tesg's Rating: Two stars (out of four)

Yeah, I'm late catching up on this.  I figured a Sunday matinee near the end of the movie's run would result in a quiet show.  Nope.  Nearly a sellout.  Loads of little kids.  And they seemed to like it.  Me, not so much.

The main character, Arlo, isn't very likable until the end of the movie, when everything is wrapped up in a warm and fuzzy.  But getting to that point isn't all that interesting and seriously lacks Pixar's usual cleverness.  The animation wasn't up to snuff either.  The scenery was well done, but the characters weren't.  The dinosaurs in Disney's "Dinosaur" from 2000 looked better.

Really felt like a phoned-in effort.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Joy (2015)

Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 124 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

Supposedly loosely based on the story of Miracle Mop inventor Joy Mangano, this is...well...the story of Joy Mangano.  Except the Mangano family members are all only referred to (and credited) by their first name and the mop is never referred to as the Miracle Mop.  Was there a rights issue here?  Is Mangano getting screwed?  Given the focus of this story, that'd be ironic.

Anyway, the big problem is the whole thing is wrapped up way too quickly.  Which honestly is probably for the better, but you still feel a little cheated.

Friday, January 1, 2016

The Hateful Eight (2015)

Rated: R - Runtime: 187 min (70mm roadshow version)
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

I saw the 70mm roadshow version on a multiplex screen that had no business whatsoever projecting 70mm film.  That was literally a novelty experience.

I'm not exactly an expert on westerns, though my grandmother made sure I saw my share (even if they were edited for television versions). My favorite is "Once Upon a Time in the West". Years ago, I wrote an Amazon review where I said "If Quentin Tarantino made a western, this would be it. Same music, same actors, same shots, same script."

So here we are, and Tarantino has his western, and it's certainly not "Once Upon a Time in the West". But it is a fun and unpredictable watch. There's no clear hero. You really have no idea who will be left standing in the end. The music that sets the tension when the action starts picking up is really well done. And dropping Crystal Gayle's "Ready for the Times to Get Better" onto the intermission trail is classic Tarantino. I'd completely forgotten about that song and wanted to go out and buy a copy immediately.

The movie is not without its flaws, unless Wyoming had assembled a Department of Transportation in that era and plowed stagecoach paths.