REVIEW: The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019)

Theatrical Release Poster – Warner Bros. Pictures

The following is a review of The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part — Directed by Mike Mitchell.

Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s The LEGO Movie was, frankly, not just one of the best surprises of 2014. It was also one of the best movies of the year. The film’s first follow-up was the Batman spin-off, The LEGO Batman Movie, which, surprisingly, did not ‘exist in,’ so to speak, the real world like Lord and Miller’s hit did. The LEGO Batman Movie was a clever animated hit that I enjoyed greatly, though not as much as I enjoyed Lord and Miller’s LEGO-film. Then they released The LEGO Ninjago Movie which I couldn’t care less about when it was announced. I did see the film eventually, though, but it didn’t speak to me, and I didn’t enjoy it at all. Now we finally have a proper sequel to that first LEGO movie-hit. And although I don’t think it lives up to my expectations, it is a perfectly fine animated sequel. Continue reading “REVIEW: The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019)”

REVIEW: Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

Theatrical Release Poster – Sony Pictures Releasing

The following is a review of Spider-Man: Far From Home — Directed by Jon Watts.

Do note that this review includes spoilers for Avengers: Endgame.

Isn’t it crazy that Tom Holland has already played Spider-Man in five movies? Holland hasn’t even been Spider-Man for as many years as Tobey Maguire was, and Maguire only appeared in three films. Even though Tom Holland’s first solo film only came out two years ago, a lot has happened since Tony Stark first took Holland’s Peter Parker under his wing and presented him with a snazzy suit powered by Stark Industries technology. Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame happened. Parker was snapped out of and back into existence, he lost his mentor, and, somehow, five years went by in the blink of an eye for your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Continue reading “REVIEW: Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)”

REVIEW: Murder Mystery (2019)

Release Poster – Netflix

The following is a review Murder Mystery — Directed by Kyle Newacheck.

I go back and forth when it comes to Adam Sandler. I love plenty of the audience-favorite comedian’s films. I think Sandler is gifted with tremendous dramatic talent, which he showcased with his performances in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Punch-Drunk Love and Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories. He is still a very funny stand-up comedian if his excellent Netflix special Adam Sandler: 100% Fresh is anything to go by. But, more often than not, Sandler is known for his comedies. More often than not, Sandler is known for his not-so-fresh, critically panned comedies. Sandler and Netflix have made about a handful of Happy Madison-comedies together, and, thankfully, though Murder Mystery isn’t exactly a home-run, it is far superior to the godawful, snoozefest that last year’s The Week Of, arguably the worst film of 2018, was. Continue reading “REVIEW: Murder Mystery (2019)”

REVIEW: Booksmart (2019)

Theatrical Release Poster – United Artists Releasing

The following is a review of Booksmart — Directed by Olivia Wilde.

Before I saw Booksmart, it had been impossible for me to avoid the online bombardment of incessant comparisons between Booksmart and Superbad. The comparison made sense, even when I hadn’t seen the film. This is a coming-of-age film about two best friends who want to have a good time before they leave for college. Also, one of the two leads in Booksmart is Superbad-star Jonah Hill’s sibling Beanie Feldstein. Having now seen Olivia Wilde’s directorial feature debut, I have to admit that it would be wrong to say that it isn’t very similar to Superbad. Thankfully, though, I grew up with Superbad. I love Superbad. So it pleases me to say that any comparison to Superbad is by no means meant to be anything other than a compliment of the highest order. Booksmart is a modern, sweet, and gender-swapped, next-generation version of Superbad and I loved every minute of it. Continue reading “REVIEW: Booksmart (2019)”

REVIEWS: The ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ Trilogy

It’s time for another full franchise or filmmaker review. Today, I’m taking a look back at the well-renowned animated movie trilogy of How To Train Your Dragon-films, which I, believe it or not, had never seen before I started writing this article. Just like with my single article film series review of the Mission: Impossible films, you’ll find reviews of each of the three How To Train Your Dragon-films in this one article. Do note that there may be some spoilers in the three reviews. Continue reading “REVIEWS: The ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ Trilogy”

REVIEW: Always Be My Maybe (2019)

Release Poster – Netflix

The following is a short review of Netflix’s Always Be My Maybe — Directed by Nahnatchka Khan.

Netflix has a pretty solid reputation when it comes to producing these hip romantic comedies. One of those films, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, received a lot of praise from both critics and audiences last year. Now, in 2019, Netflix has a new romantic comedy with a culturally diverse and thus modern cast. Always Be My Maybe is Fresh Off the Boat-creator Nahnatchka Khan’s feature film directorial debut.

Khan’s debut is a romantic comedy about two former best friends reuniting. Sasha (played by Ali Wong) and Marcus (played by Randall Park) were once childhood best friends, but their friendship eventually ended when a one-night fling went poorly. Now, they are living completely different lives. Sasha is a celebrity chef engaged to Brandon (played by Daniel Dae Kim), a successful restaurateur. Meanwhile, Marcus is stuck in a rut. This all changes when Sasha returns to their home city of San Francisco as Brandon has decided that they should ‘see other people.’ Sasha and Marcus eventually reconnect and soon sparks fly. Continue reading “REVIEW: Always Be My Maybe (2019)”

REVIEW: X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019)

Theatrical Release Poster – 20th Century Fox / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

The following is a review of X-Men: Dark Phoenix — Directed by Simon Kinberg.

“You’re always sorry, Charles, and there’s always a speech. But nobody cares anymore,” is the line that is going to be cited to oblivion in reviews of the final Fox-controlled X-Men film, Simon Kinberg’s Dark Phoenix. It is a line uttered by Fassbender’s Magneto-character, and, even though it certainly is in-character, it almost feels like unintentional self-directed criticism on the part of the writer-director. Or, perhaps, one might suggest it speaks to our collective disinterest in these films after Days of Future Past and Logan successfully bid farewell to that era of superhero filmmaking.

As is made painfully clear, one of the actors doesn’t even care anymore, so why should audiences? It hasn’t helped that X-Men: Apocalypse left a sour taste in people’s mouths. And the fact that Disney can now shoehorn the X-Men into their wildly successful Marvel Cinematic Universe whenever they see fit surely hasn’t helped in bringing new audiences to the long-running X-Men film series. Fox’s X-Men is a tired film franchise and that quote perfectly encapsulates the way many feel about these films. Continue reading “REVIEW: X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019)”

REVIEW: Under the Silver Lake (2019)

Theatrical Release Poster – A24

The following is a review of Under the Silver Lake — Directed by David Robert Mitchell.

In 2014, David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows was released to critical acclaim. It was one of the first horror films that I ever reviewed and I remember the film mostly for its riveting score and the unique premise of the film which was really more of a parable. In 2016, Mitchell shot his follow-up to the aforementioned horror film. His film, Under the Silver Lake, was eventually acquired by A24, and it competed for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2018.

I remember watching the trailer and being intrigued by the cast and the mystery. It was meant to be released that summer, but then A24 pulled it from its release schedule. In 2019, Mitchell’s film was released without much fanfare. Supposedly, this was one of those polarizing films that you either hate or love. Recently, I found myself watching Mark Kermode’s review of Under the Silver Lake during which time I was struck by the severity of his reprimand as he proclaimed: “It’s so tooth-grindingly boring.” I’m a big fan of Mark Kermode, but, I have to say, I really dug Mitchell’s film. Continue reading “REVIEW: Under the Silver Lake (2019)”

REVIEW: Long Shot (2019)

Theatrical Release Poster – Lionsgate

The following is a review of Long Shot — Directed by Jonathan Levine.

It would appear that I have a soft spot for Jonathan Levine films. His is a name that immediately gets me excited to watch a film if his name is attached to it. I am one of the few who thinks Levine’s 50/50 is a genuine masterpiece of the genre within which it belongs. Furthermore, I think his 2015 holiday film The Night Before has the makings of a modern Christmas classic — in fact, it has already become a tradition for me to watch that film every Christmas. Likewise, I really enjoyed my time with Long Shot, which is Levine’s attempt at Rogenesque romantic comedy with a political twist. While I doubt that Long Shot will become as memorable to me as the aforementioned efforts, I think it is another example of a hip Levine film that goes down well. Continue reading “REVIEW: Long Shot (2019)”

REVIEW: Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019)

Release Poster – Netflix

The following is a review of Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile — Directed by Joe Berlinger.

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile comes from Joe Berlinger, the director of Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes and is based on Elizabeth Kloepfer’s book The Phantom Prince about her relationship with the infamous serial killer Ted Bundy. Lily Collins stars as Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Kendall, a single mother who has met the perfect guy. He has a nice Volkswagen, he’s nice to her and her kid, and he is fairly attractive.

Zac Efron plays this man who seems to be too good to be true. That’s because he is. Because Efron is Ted Bundy, the man who we know as one of the most infamous serial killers in American history. As authorities catch up to Bundy, Liz becomes caught in a whirlwind with no sense of up or down. Liz doesn’t know if she is being played, or if the system is putting her new man behind bars unjustly. Continue reading “REVIEW: Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019)”