This movie was not good.
The plot, the jokes, the action and the dialogue all felt like they finished the script before 11am, went to lunch and figured "yeah why not, this is good," and submitted it when they came back. You almost have to respect how much they mailed in the jokes on this script. Having The Rock call Zac Efron a different name other than his real name was funny the first two or seventy times but they ran that bit further into the ground until it was six feet deep where the rest of my sensibilities resided after watching this. Wow that sentence was really pretentious. You know what though, this movie owes me two hours of my life back.
Before I bash this movie anymore than it has online, I'll just say this, everything in this movie looked good. From when we saw the trailer for the first time I think most of us thought at the very least this movie is going to look nice and shiny. And it did! Everyone in this movie (with the exception of one of the team) is a 10/10 knockout in the looks department. There's something for everyone there. The visuals of the sea and the colors on everyone's suits and sunglasses look awesome. Future President Dwayne Johnson is reprises his role as "The Rock in Every Movie Ever" which is a great role, and the other actors and actresses in this movie still come across as likable, even Zac Efron who's movies I do enjoy on different levels (except for Bad Grandpa. Whoever made that movie should be arrested for what they put Bobby DeNiro through.)
But let's get into the bad stuff, which there's quite a bit of.
A Movie named baywatch that doesn't take place at the bay
This was probably one of the most puzzling aspects of the show. You have a movie marketed on how this is based on show where the major appeal was good looking people in bathing suits running around the beach and saving people (I wouldn't know though, I've never watched the show.) That's why it was so bizarre that 75% of this movie takes place away from the beach. They go undercover every five minutes during the second half of the movie it feels like. Why not spend most of the movie where Zac Efron is constantly trying to prove himself on the beach under The Rock's tutelage where in the end he finally proves himself?
Hannibal Burress is one of the funniest comedians touring right now, and it feels like a movie like this would have really launched his career into the next level that he deserves. Instead he's used for a few jokes at the beginning of the movie before being unceremoniously dumped a third of the way through what's supposed to be an Action-Comedy movie. Lame. That would be like benching your #3 best starting pitcher because he can't hit a curve ball. Let him do what he does best! Then we have Rob Huebel who's another funny comedian playing what seems to be a more dramatic role than we're used to....until he starts to try and be funny in the second half of the movie? Well which is it? This movie flip flopped quite a bit in tone.
Much like the very article you're reading now the jokes in this movie flopped bigger than Marcus Smart. You could feel the audience was chuckling at some jokes just because they felt like they were supposed to. And you know what? They probably told their friends they liked it afterwards. God people can be so annoying sometimes. And look I'm not uptight but there's some jokes involving a cadaver in the middle that weren't even funny. Crude humor is hilarious, but crude humor that isn't funny just comes across as really dumb, which is the last place you want to be.
The worst cameos of all time - of all time, fam!
I don't even care that this is a spoiler alert but David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson's cameos in these movies were the worst use of cameos in the genre of "Movies Based Off Campy TV Shows." Hell, Erik Estrada's cameo in CHiPs was better than this. That might be the Hoff's own doing as this point, as he can't be anyone else but The Hoff now. Still, it was pretty brutal to watch.
Since I see everything in theaters in Movie Pass, I feel like I have to write and review these movies so that you don't have to see them and waste your money. And that's what you'd be doing if you saw this movie, you'd be wasting your money. Hopefully there will be better fare this summer.
hell or high water
I remember seeing the first trailer for this movie and thinking, "not for me."
Then there was a seal of approval from some movie festival (turns out it was Cannes) and I thought, "sold." The lesson is, if you throw out a random film festival's name out there in your trailer, I'm going to change my tune, I'm easy (to a certain extent).
This was a very, very good movie, and of the 46 or so movies I've seen in theaters this year, this is in the top 15 for sure, probably top 10. The story is about two brothers, one divorced, the other an ex-con (we use the term "ex" loosely here) who turn to robbing banks in order to pay off the banks so they don't foreclose on their recently deceased mother's house. Toby, played by Chris Pine in the type of role I have not seen him play before, is doing so to give his ex-wife and kids a place to stay so they don't become screw-ups like him. Tanner, played by Ben Foster, seems already resigned to his fate as a life-long con, and is the muscle that his brother Toby can't be. Meanwhile, chasing them down is Texas Rangers Marcus and Alberto, played by Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham. Its a cat and mouse movie set in modern-day rural Texas.
I liked several things about this movie a lot. For starters, Jeff Bridges has rightfully so been getting tons of praise for his role as Marcus, a Texas Ranger on his last case before he retires. The chemistry between him and his partner Alberto provides plenty of comic relief in this movie. The jokes are racist, but you get the sense that it reflects the reality of two close partners on a police force, who look at each other like long-lost brothers. They care about each other deep down, or so we're led to believe, and its why they put up with all the quips. This movie made me care about the outcome of these characters in a way that was rare this entire summer in movies.
Another thing I liked about this movie was the pace of it. It is measured in its pace, reflecting the lethargic setting in which the movie takes place, small downs in middle of nowhere Texas. For that hour and forty-five minutes, you were in Texas, and this movie was allowed to breathe. Signs for quick loans and rundown, out of business buildings spoke volumes about where we were in this movie without saying a word. Speaking of that, this movie does what I like, which is not force feed us exposition. We have to find out who each person is in relation to the next on our own, instead of having it force fed to us with terrible dialogue.
Hell or High Water is for people who like crime dramas, and want to see a solid performance with someone like Bridges. I think this movie is also for patient people, who don't need major explosions or action every ten minutes. The pace of this movie really pays off in the final act of the movie, and without spoiling it, it really took me where it wanted me to go. For a film about two brothers, they needed two people who felt like family and they got it with Ben Foster and Chris Pine. Hell or High Water is a subtle film that brings you into their world and doesn't let you go until you've been through it all.
Sing street & before we go
Rating for Sing Street: 3.5/5
Rating for Before We Go: 3.5/5
It was a beautiful Saturday in what may be the final weekend of the summer that I can go out. Yet here I was on the couch watching Netflix, HBO Go and Google Movies all day long. #NoRagrats.
Throughout my day of mindless watching tv and phone screens, I saw two nice little gems that I wanted to talk about here. The first being 2016's "Sing Street" that you may have seen a trailer for back in the spring. What caught my eye then and I enjoyed in the movie was the soundtrack, early to mid 80s music that my Dad had us listen to growing up. This movie takes place in Dublin in 1985 and is about Conor, a boy who's parents are going through both relationship and financial problems and need to make some budget cuts around the house. This means he has to transfer to a new school, run by Christian brothers and is a bit different than his previous school. He's bullied a bit by a tough kid, the Brother who runs the school is strict, and he doesn't have any friends at the new school. Across the schoolyard, a girl waiting on a stoop catches his eyes and, boom, we have a movie.
This movie is about how Conor tries to win over Ann, the girl on the stoop, by making a band to have her be in their first music video. As the movie goes along, the band progresses through different styles of music, influenced by whatever music Conor is into this week. His older brother, Brendan, takes him on a musical tour on the big acts of the era in what was easily my favorite role of the movie. He is Conor's confidant, someone who he can talk to about Ann, school, music, and life. The movie culminates in the band performing a gig for the whole school, in which the movie becomes almost a concert of sorts.
This was a fun movie. It has great original music that sounds like it could've been playing on MTV in the mid-eighties (actually I don't know if that's true, I wasn't there) and you might even look it up on YouTube to listen to it later. The love story in here was good, there are aspects of it that really anyone can relate to, especially when Conor is describing to Brendan her beauty. We've all been there before. I think I liked the band aspect of it more than the love story though; seeing the band practice, get ready for their video shoots, and show up to school in outfits that resemble bands at the time was really fun, and the high school prom music video scene was one of my favorite scenes in the movie. The ending was a little bit too fantastical to me but then again, everything seems like a big deal when we're 15 and 16 years old, and really who are we to say anything different. See this movie if you like pop music from the 80s, light-hearted films, or coming-of-age tales.
After a few hours of watching Louis C.K.'s stand up special from last year and a few episodes of The Office I settled in for the evening by watching Before We Go, the 2014 indie drama directed by Chris Evans and starring himself and Alice Eve. This movie is indie in every sense of the word, from the limited storytelling, to the shaky camera cinematography style, to the small cast. Instead of giving you all the beats like I did with Sing Street, I'll just say this: two people meet up by chance after midnight in Grand Central Station. The woman just missed her train home while the man is just playing the trumpet in the station. Together the two try to figure out how to get the woman back home to Boston before her husband gets back at 8am.
That's pretty much it, and thats pretty much all we need. I'm not going to give away everything but this movie is built on dialogue and there is plenty of it. It reminded me of some of Richard Linklater's Before Midnight in that the story is just based around two people talking (I'm sure most critics will also say he did those movies better, but I've only seen one of them and I didn't like it that much.) I could've watched Chris Evans' Nick and Alice Eve's Brooke talk at a bar for ninety minutes and totally be satisfied, but this movie gives a little more than that. Its a complicated relationship the two have, and one I haven't really seen in the my (limited) moviegoing experience. Brooke is married while Nick is having a tough time getting over his ex-girlfriend Hannah, who is also in town for a few days. I liked the script, although it was cheesy at time, that showed off Evans' charm and Eve's on-screen charisma. It certainly helps that both are easy to look at.
I had no real problems with this movie; it is a small movie that knows its a small movie, and is not looking to change your life in any kind of way. But if you're looking for a Saturday night in, semi-romantic movie to watch with two actors you like, you might enjoy this one. To me, this is a good date night movie. Not that I would know what those are like these days. Favorite quote from the movie, "There's no perfect. There's always struggle. You just have to find who you want to struggle with."
Café Society - a review
Confession: I think I have a thing for period romance movies.
The experience I had in an empty theater watching Woody Allen's latest film was one filled with delight as Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart star as tragic lovers who can't seem to quite get each other off his or her mind. If you look at how other people are reviewing this movie, they say things like, "not his worst!" and "rip off of his previous movies." However for someone like me, who's seen maybe 2 Allen films prior to this, this was an enjoyable watch.
If you like romantic movies with just the right touch of comedy (Steve Carrell's Phil Stern is great in this, as well as Eisenberg as his nephew Bobby) and drama, this will be a movie you at least enjoy. Blake Lively as Veronica is positively stunning (when she appeared on screen I legitimately sat right up in my chair), and Kristen Stewart is fantastic in every scene. Good performances all around. I have a slight obsession with the history of Hollywood and this movie gave me just enough of that feeling of 1930s LA.
That's not to say this movie has its flaws, which I admit can distract or take away from the movie. The narration from Allen seems a little unnecessary, and the actors sometimes feel like they're being parodies of people from the 1930s. Some of the characters feel like they act a certain way to show time has passed but it does not feel authentic. Perhaps the film's 90 minute runtime harms it in that sense, but that's just a result of the film's low budget. I never quite felt like the time had passed in the story nor did I truly feel like the characters changed too much. By that point in the movie, I was already hooked.
I recommend this for people who enjoyed Brooklyn, likes simple romances, likes Kristen Stewart or Jesse Eisenberg (teaming up as love interests just like they did in Adventureland), or enjoys seeing movies that remind them of movies from the 1950s and earlier. This is not a dense, or difficult movie, which may turn some viewers with more complex tastes away. If you're on a budge, you can wait to rent this in the fall and winter.
THE INFILTRATOR - A REVIEW
Miss Narcos? So do I.
When I saw the trailer for this movie back in late May (before seeing the drawn-out Clooney/Roberts' movie Money Monster) I was giddy with excitement. Walter White going up against Pablo Escobar! Normally I hate when actors get pigeonholed by the public for their best roles (his name is Bryan Cranston, not Heisenberg), but the opportunity to see the Albuquerque Meth Kingpin go up against the infamous Colombian Druglord had me eager with anticipation.
What we got instead was like seeing a restaurant buy all the ingredients to a meal that you will never eat. Not to spoil anything but we get Escobar references throughout the movie and an appearance by the man himself, but unfortunately we never really get to see the action. That's no fault to this movie either. Based on the actual infiltrator himself, Robert Mazur, this is a man trying to uncover a money laundering scheme that involves Pablo Escobar on the chain of command. Its up to Mazur, who is played fantastically well by the always great Cranston, to try and gather enough evidence to bust some of these guys on this chain before he gets caught.
That's all well and good, but we live in a world where the aforementioned Narcos exists, which playfully caters to our Id with explosions, gun fights, beautiful Colombian scenery, and Pablo himself. Its a great show that returns in September. Here it plays more to our superego. Measured, calculated, and by the book, Cranston's Mazur is just trying to work the businessmen in the ordeal, and would rather stay in the boardroom than a gun fight. Which is all well and good if you want to see a well-acted movie that relies on tension and dialogue.
I like to review all my movies in a bubble. Did they accomplish what they set out to accomplish? For the first half of this movie, yes. Alongside Cranston is John Leguizamo, who I always enjoy seeing in movies and we root for in the Rojas household (him being a Colombian-American like my father). He is great in the first half of this movie, but as we see less of him and more of Benjamin Bratton and Cranston having dinner with the wives, the movie loses a little bit of its momentum, natural for a movie that is over two hours. Ultimately, it drifted away in the late second act, to the point where I just wanted to see how the movie was going to end. This did not to be that long. I will say though it makes you feel bad for these infiltrators who have to con people (and yes, I know they are bad guys and these infiltrators are doing their jobs) only to break that trust and try to put these people in jail. While they are certainly deserving of a sentence, one could see how that feels to betray someone's trust.
Ultimately this is not a bad movie, and one I enjoyed seeing for the first half. If you need a fix after Narcos season 2 is over, this one won't completely satisfy you but it will give you that gritty 80s feel that is enjoyable to watch for a little.
Sidenote, between Narcos, The Infiltrator, and the upcoming film about his life title Mena (starring Tom Cruise), Barry Seal is getting quite a bit of play in pop culture. Unfortunately for The Infiltrator, we know his death scene in the movie is total bogus and completely historically inaccurate because Narcos showed how he really died in the first season. Spoiler alert on a news story that happened thirty years ago.
Ghostbusters - A review
This is not a good movie.
The nap I took with about 25 minutes to go, albeit only for about 5 minutes, should be a giveaway as to how I felt about this one. Starring Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones, this Sci-Fi comedy is a remake of the 1980s classic. While I am open-minded about remakes, especially of beloved movies, you can't help but think throughout this movie that you wish you were watching the original.
Let's get away from comparisons though since that is low-hanging fruit when it comes to reviewing remakes. Focusing on this one, the movie tells the story about a science professor at Columbia University played by Wiig who reluctantly meets up with her old colleague (played by McCarthy) to help check a disturbance at a nearby museum. Along with McKinnon's character, they find and document actual proof of a ghost, and boom, we have our movie.
I'll admit, early on there were some good jokes in there at the beginning, and it was clear that these actresses had some good off-camera chemistry. The effects were actually incredible, and probably a high point in this movie; every ghost and effect is awesome to look at. The action in this movie definitely gets a high grade. As for the comedy and the jokes, as the movie goes on there are more and more groan-inducing bits, including some tired comedy tropes that we've seen for decades. And not to knock PG-13 comedies (I thought Central Intelligence was funnier and more enjoyable than this movie) but it felt like some of the jokes would have been a little bit better if the cast was able to go there. Director and writer Paul Fieg is usually at his best when he is able to go raunchy. Overall, the comedy aspect of this movie was like a boat with a small hole in the bottom. The start is good, but as we went on...
Finally, the cameos in this movie. Oh boy. Not to spoil anything but one of the cameos is punctuated with a common line from the theme song and it is CRINGE-WORTHY. I don't even know if people who grew up with these movies would so much as chuckle at it. The other cameos in it are good, but again, when you see these people you just wish you were watching the original. Plus, it reminds you that Harold Ramis is no longer with us. RIP, sir.
Overall, the women behind me were laughing quite a bit longer into the movie than I was, so maybe my comedic tastes might be different than theirs. I know that some people will enjoy this movie quite a bit; that is just the nature of movies. However, I think the majority of my friends would not think this is a great summer movie. If you're going to see it, maybe catch it on a matinee and enjoy seeing the action on the big screen (its great to hear that theme song at the beginning!) but just know that you are not in for something that will you will remember for years down the line.