Friday, March 31, 2017

The Zookeeper's Wife

Based on the true story of Antonia (Jessica Chastain) and Jan (Johan Heldenbergh) Zabinski, the keepers of the Warsaw Zoo who saved the lives of hundreds of Jewish people during the German invasion. 

•Jessica Chastain is one of my favorite actresses. And while this is far from her best role, she was still really good. 
•The actress who really stood out to me was the young woman who played Urszula, one of the many Jewish people who stayed with the Zabinskis. She doesn't have a whole lot of dialogue but what she's able to express with just her eyes and facial expressions... wow!!! Such an emotional, heartbreaking performance. 
•Gorgeous cinematography. 
•Beautiful Score that never feels overpowering. 
•Fascinating story that until recently I had never heard of. 

•A little too emotionally manipulative at times. 
•Dragged A LOT towards the end. There were several times where I thought to myself, "Come on! Wrap this up already." 
•Like I said, I hadn't heard of this story before but I got the feeling by watching this that they were only telling the cliff notes version. 
•A lot of the time I found myself caring more about the animals than I did most of the people. Speaking of which, if you're an animal lover like myself I DO NOT recommend you watch this. I knew what I was getting myself into but damn :( 
•Daniel BrĂ¼l's character is the primary villain. He's a good actor but this time around his performance felt too one dimensional. 
•While I thought the movie was pretty good overall, I can't really recommend you pay to see it in theaters. If you're curious, wait until it comes to Netflix. That being said, there are far better World War 2 movies you could be watching. 

My Rating: 7.5/10

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Junction 48

Kareem (Tamer Nafar) and Manar (Samar Qupty) are two Palestinian hip hop artists who fall in love and use their music as a way to fight back against their crime ridden, conservative community. 

•Very strong acting by the two main leads. You really bought them as a couple. Great chemistry. 
•Wonderful message about how music can bring people together. 
•Speaking of music, I have to say that I really enjoyed the soundtrack. 

•Some sloppy editing in the beginning. Luckily this got better as the movie went along. 
•Dragged a bit in the middle. 
•Very ambiguous ending. I'm not saying it was bad and I get what they were trying to do, I just personally didn't care for the way they left it. 

My Rating: 7.5/10

Friday, March 17, 2017

Beauty & the Beast (IMAX 3D)

Live action version of the beloved 1991 animated film about an arrogant prince (Dan Stevens), cursed as a beast, who falls in love with a young woman named Belle (Emma Watson). 

•Like many people, when Disney announced that they were making a live action version of Beauty & the Beast I was like NOOOOOO! The original animated version is not only my favorite Disney movie but it's one of my all time favorites period. The last thing I wanted was someone to once again butcher a classic. Well I can tell you right now, within minutes of sitting down and watching this new version, those fears went right out the window. Holy shit this was amazing!! 
•You can totally tell that Bill Condon (yes, I'm aware that he directed the last two Twilight movies. But the problems with that weren't his fault. He did the best he could with the shit he had to work with) is a huge fan of this material. This really is the animated movie come to life right down to the tiniest detail. I felt he was very respectful of the original. Yes, there are a few (very) slight changes and they even expanded upon things (many characters are given a bit more of a backstory). But you know what? It really works. 
•Emma Watson makes a wonderful Belle. 
•Gorgeous animation, costumes, and cinematography. 
•Dan Stevens was really good as the Beast. He's a very talented actor and singer. Makes me want to check out Legion now. 
•The songs- Oh the songs! The soundtrack is already on my Spotify list. 
•The is one I was worried about the most was Luke Evans. Definitely not my first choice to play Gaston. But then pictures came out and I was like, okay he's got the look down but can he sing? I have to tell you he pretty much nails the character. And yes, he can sing surprisingly well. 
•Looks beautiful on an IMAX screen and the 3D is pretty decent as well. 
•Is over two hours long but time seemed to fly by. 

•Nothing really. I think if you enjoyed the original you'll probably love this as well. I will definitely be seeing this one again (and again) in theaters and buying the blu-ray. That being said, I do have one very minor nitpick. There was one slight change in the story in terms of Gaston that I didn't care for. Normally I would take a point off for something like this, but I just love this movie so much I'm willing to let it slide this time. 

My Rating: 10/10

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man

Documentary about singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen featuring many of the musicians he's influenced over the years. 

•Rufus Wainwright's performance of Hallelujah. One of my all time favorite songs. 
•As for the rest of the music, well... at least I now know what to play the next time I'm having trouble sleeping. Not that it was terrible, just a little too hipsterish for my personal tastes. 

•Very sloppy in terms of the way it was put together. It was like they couldn't decide wether they wanted to make a concert movie (a bunch of footage is used from a tribute concert) or a straight up documentary (it featured interviews with Cohen and several other musicians). Personally I think they should've gone with the later. From what I've read about Leonard Cohen, there's enough material there to make a pretty interesting movie. 
•The very odd filter they used over some of the scenes. The best way I can describe it is red sparkly blobs. Not sure what the purpose of it was but it was fucking distracting. 
•It's never a good sign when I find myself checking the time to see how much longer until the movie is over. It's only an hour and fourth five minutes but it felt like five. There were several moments where I almost nodded off. 
•If you're a Leonard Cohen fan and happen to find this on Netflix one day, I guess check it out. Otherwise a I can't really recommend this to anyone. 

My Rating: 6/10

Friday, March 10, 2017

Kong: Skull Island

SPOILER ALERT: Might be a few minor spoilers in my review but  nothing major. 

In the 1970s a team of scientists, explorers, and soldiers explore an uncharted island in the Pacific. There, they encounter the mighty Kong. 

•They don't waste any time in showing you Kong, which was my main concern after the bullshit they pulled with Godzilla a few years ago. 
•Any time Kong appeared on screen, especially when he was fighting some of the other terrifying creatures on the island, was completely badass. My jaw literally dropped more than once. It was so much fun to watch. Major props to the visual effects team who did a great job for the most part. 
•John Goodman, John C. Reilly, and Samuel L. Jackson gave good performances. They were by far the most interesting characters in the movie. Definitely made the scenes where they focused on the humans much more tolerable. 
•The epic stare downs between Kong and Samuel L. Jackson. Those alone were worth the price of admission. 
•Really nice cinematography. 
•I like how they set the movie during Vietnam this time around rather than the 30s like they did in the original and the Peter Jackson version. Very interesting take. 
•STAY AFTER THE CREDITS! I won't give anything away, but it sets things up nicely for  where they're going with this universe. Very exciting. 

•Aside from the three characters I mentioned, I found myself not caring that much about the others. 
•A few moments where the backgrounds were obviously green screen. 
•I liked the scene, but they make you sit through a ridiculous amount of credits to get to it. I thought they would never end!
•Overall I liked the movie and while I recommend it, I don't think it's worth seeing in IMAX 3D or regular 3D (the movie is dark enough as it is and 3D probably only makes it worse). I saw it in 2D and it looks just fine. Save yourself the extra money. 

My Rating: 8/10

Sunday, March 5, 2017

I Am Not Your Negro

The story of race in America, based on an unfinished novel written by James Baldwin. 

•Wow! I'm so happy they finally played this movie in my area. Been wanting to see this for awhile and it did not disappoint. I'll admit that while I had heard of James Baldwin before, I didn't know too much about him. What an amazing man. You see several clips of him giving speeches and it's very powerful. His words still ring true today. 
•This is not an easy movie to sit through and that's the point. It's not meant to be easy. I was in tears several times while watching this and yet I was so engrossed in the story that I didn't once look away from the screen. 
•I love the way director Raoul Peck incorporated both footage from both the 60s as well as the present day. As much as we'd like to think things have improved in regards to race issues, sadly, they really haven't that much. 
•I saw several parents bringing their (older) children to see this movie and I'm glad. It's something that I think they and everyone else needs to see. 
•Great soundtrack that fit perfectly with each scene. 
•Narration by Samuel L. Jackson. If I ever made a movie that required narration, he'd be on the short list of people who I'd want to use. 

•This really isn't a big complaint but I felt like the movie was a little too short. I think it was just over an hour and a half. It's just that I was so interested in the story and didn't want it to end. I could've easily sat there for another hour or more. 

My Rating: 9.5/10

Friday, March 3, 2017


SPOILER ALERT: There may be a few slight spoilers in this review but nothing major I promise. 

It's the near future. Very few mutants remain. An older Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is trying to live a relatively quiet life away from the outside world while caring for an ailing Professor X (Patrick Stewart) near the Mexican border. One day, a young mutant named Laura (Dafne Keen) shows up with powers very similar to Logan's. He helps her as she's being pursued by sinister forces. 

•Where do I even start? HOLY FUCKING SHIT!!! I'm so happy we finally got the Wolverine movie we've always wanted. If any superhero movie needed to be rated R it was this one. It very much earns that rating. It's EXTREMELY bloody and violent. I loved every minute of it. This really is The Dark Knight of the X-Men movies. 
•Hugh Jackman.... what can I say that hasn't already been said a million times? He's amazing and I loved seeing this version of the character. This is a Wolverine that is old and very sickly (although still manages to kick some serious ass when he needs to). He's not healing like he use to, walks with a bit of a limp, and it takes a huge toll on him whenever he uses his claws. After seeing this movie, I can tell this is it for Jackman and Patrick Stewart (who is also really good in this). What a way to go out. 
•Dafne Keen is such a powerful young actress. She blew me away with her performance. Bad ass and yet so emotional when she needed to be. She's got a bright future ahead of her. Her chemistry with Hugh Jackman was really good as well. 
•Well developed characters. 
•Jaw dropping action scenes. 
•The movie is 2 hours and 17 minutes but moves at a really good pace. Not for one minute was I bored. 
•God there's so much more I want to say! But then I'd be getting into major spoiler territory. Wouldn't want to ruin this amazing movie for anyone. 

•Not a god damn thing! PLEASE go out and support this movie. 

My Rating: 10/10