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Rating History

The Boss Baby
The Boss Baby (2017)
1 day ago via Rotten Tomatoes

When it comes to animated films, it's usually a standard in today's catalogue of films, that the animation itself is gorgeous. The Boss Baby is nothing short of beautiful in terms of animation, so I want to get that completely off the table to begin with. With the recent release of the Blu-Ray and DVD, I thought I'd check out the film that stirred up so much mediocrity/hate with the critics. I have to say, this film doesn't deserve nearly the grades that it's been given. No, I won't be remembering this film as one of the greatest animated films out there, but it tries very hard to make itself relevant, in that its core story is filled with much more heart than I was expecting. Here is why I believe The Boss Baby may just be worth your time.

When this film opens and you see what the main premise is going to be, you'll probably find yourself rolling your eyes like I did, not laughing whatsoever. Tim, a 7-year-old boy is given a baby brother. Noticing that there's something off about him, he learns he has come from somewhere distant and he has the mentality of a full-grown adult. Determined to get him out of the house, he teams up with this "boss baby" in order to take down an evil corporation. Hating each other at first, this film really is about growing to like each other and learning the true meaning of family. Sadly, the trailers do not express this and the first act of this film makes you believe it's just going to be a silly comedy from start to finish.

Yes, this is a very silly film, but the elements that begin to present themselves throughout the second and third acts were really what changed my mind about The Boss Baby. It's very rare that I watch a movie, find myself completely uninterested throughout almost the entirety of the first 30 minutes, only to be completely won over by the tie the climax hits. The Boss Baby is one of those rare occasions where the film gets better as it goes on. Not only did I find myself caring about the characters by the end, but a tear may have even formed. I won't be head over heels about this film when describing it to people, but as a film that seems pathetic on the surface, this is a surprisingly decent flick.

My biggest fear going into this film, was the fact that the central character in "boss baby" would be a little too much. As mentioned above, the first act of this film suffers from this aspect as well. When you first meet him (voiced by Alec Baldwin), it seems as though he's just going to be a rip-off of the character Stewie from the television show Family Guy, but to my surprise, he's also like that character in the best way possible as well. When it's necessary for him to become heartfelt and charming, it really works in context with the overall story and that was easily the part that made this film work as well as it does by the end.

In the end, The Boss Baby does absolutely nothing to separate itself from other animated films that are just like it. It surrounds itself it surrounds itself in cliches and once the film reaches a certain point, you'll be able to predict everything from there on out. That being said, the cliches are effective and I honestly didn't expect them to even go that certain route, which is why I think it works more than most people do. The screenplay is generic and recycled, the animation is beautiful (but familiar), the premise is lacklustre from the start, and it's cliched from beginning to end. However; this film somehow manages to tug on your heart strings and it won me over by the third act. I can't say I thoroughly enjoyed this film, but I enjoyed watching the film progress, as it gets better and better. In short, The Boss Baby is a generic kids film that managed to be better than it should've been. If you don't have anything to watch, I don't think you'll regret giving this one a rent. Just don't expect too much out of it.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
2 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Crazy is the best way to describe Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, but not in a good way. Director Luc Besson has been all over the map in terms of quality throughout his career. From directing interesting Sci-Fi films like The Fifth Element or being at the helm of classics like Léon: The Professional, I had my hopes up for this film, even though it felt a little off from the very beginning. Yes this film boasts incredible visuals like everyone seems to be raving about, but the premise itself is bloated beyond belief and the dialogue is some of the worst you will hear all year. It's not that I came out of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets hating it, but I was much more annoyed than anything. Here is why this film is a disappointing showcase of promises.

When this film opens, promise fills the screen to no end. Feeling very reminiscent of Avatar, you meet another race, speaking a different language and it seems as though this movie will have a few deeper elements, but then you flash to the two main characters in Valerian and Laureline. Right off the bat, something felt very off about these characters and how they were interacting with each other. About 20 minutes in, their dialogue became almost unbearable and I couldn't wait for the film to cut away to show more of its breathtaking visuals. If you're going to see this film, the visuals alone should hold your attention, because they're some of the best you'll probably witness all year, it's just sad that they couldn't have been a part of a more cohesive story and not something as tedious and drawn out as Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is at nearly 140 minutes.

There is a premise that sets up the film, don't get me wrong, but I'm not going to dive into too much detail in regards to what the plot consists of, because this review will be never-ending. This film feels like a series of events that would be played out in a video game. As soon as a character completes a mission, another one arises, and as soon as a conflict presents itself, the movie cuts away to an exposition scene in order to explain how the main characters can save themselves from peril. Yes, this is a wonderful film to gawk at, but I found myself wanting to solely do that throughout the entire duration, because the plot lost me on multiple occasions and the characters were given some of the most atrociously bad dialogue I've heard in a big budgeted film in quite some time.

Once again, it's hard to put too much hate on a film that clearly tries its hardest to dazzle its fans, but the elephant in the room here is clearly the script. We live in a world now where we've practically seen every story there is to tell in filmmaking. It all depends on if the variation of what you're telling works as something fresh and new, and as "try-hard" as Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is, when a character shots out dialogue that's not funny, even though it's meant for a laugh, or when a character feels the need to voice what is happening on-screen, even though viewers can already see what's happened, you've failed on multiple fronts. Good visuals do not make a good movie, but they can save your film from being unwatchable.

In the end, there's no possible way that I'll be able to recommend this film to anyone, especially in theatres. That's a sad notion, because this is an original film and people alswys complain about nobody flocking out to support original properties, but I have to call it as it is. I definitely recommend watching this film on the highest quality television that's at your disposal upon its home video release, because the visuals alone are worth a look. This is a bright and exciting world to check out, but it's the substance and dialogue throughout that make it a complete mess of a movie. As soon as I was beginning to find aspects interesting, I would find myself lost in space (meaning daydreaming). Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is impressive to look at, but the movie itself is pretty bad as a whole. It's well-directed for the most part, Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne are serviceable in their respective roles, and the score was done surprisingly well, but that's where my praise ends. Even for the low standards I had, this film was disappointing.

Dunkirk
Dunkirk (2017)
5 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

This film is under the categories of action, drama, history, and war, but there is one will definitely feel misleading to some. Yes, there is an aspect of war lingering throughout this film, but it's more of a survival story about men trying to go home from the war. Therefore, action/drama is simple enough to describe this movie. Dunkirk marks the latest in director Christopher Nolan's directorial library, and while it may not be his best film, there was clearly a lot of care put into this production and it shows in the final product. This is a fair warning though; If you go into this film hoping for characters that will make you cry, you've come to the wrong place. Here is why I believe Dunkirk is a masterpiece of a spectacle, but why it may also fail to hold onto some of its audience.

Right off the bat, something felt off about the film after the first ten minutes. Although I thoroughly enjoyed my experience of Dunkirk, I absolutely have to address the elephant in the room. This is a film about the survival of many men on a beach, trying to get home. That's all this film gives you as a viewer, so it would seem right to include a few more lines of dialogue than what the film provides. Sure, there are some great character moments, but solely in their expressions and how they're reacting to their surroundings. The biggest issue this film suffers from is the fact that you can't really latch onto anyone, and if any one of them were to bite the dust, it's very hard to shed a tear for them, or even care that much. Yes, the entire film itself is saddening, but that's not enough in my opinion. Nevertheless, Dunkirk is a masterful achievement in filmmaking, so don't get me wrong here.

When it comes to Christopher Nolan, he never shy's away from the scope and spectacle of his films. This being a film with very few locations, while also having to make it feel like there were over 300,000 men present on the beach, it seemed near impossible to create something that felt so enormous. As always though, writer/director Christopher Nolan has built a another film that feels larger than life. From the IMAX scope, to the incredible sound design, to the brisk pacing from start to finish, this is a movie that doesn't let up and sucks you into every situation, regardless if you feel for the characters or not. This is more about the experience than anything, and to be quite honest, it's one of the best experiences I've had on the big screen in quite some time.

Without giving too much away, Dunkirk does play with time a little, leaving a few surprises for the audience to find if they're really paying attention to the actors. That's all I'll say, but it's done flawlessly. Cutting back and forth between the beach, the air, and some of the boats, the editing throughout this film was impeccably crafted. Just before a thrilling sequences starts to wear thin, it cuts to an intense aerial sequence or to a character who is about to die. This film is all about the experience, and for that reason alone, it's near perfect in that regard. Films that cut back and forth to different scenarios so often sometimes bugs me, but if it's done in the best way possible, it works. Dunkirk works on many more levels than one.

In the end, Dunkirk doesn't quite work as a complete film in my opinion, but it's perfect on every level if you look at it as experiencing an event unfold, so it's kind of a catch-22. All I can say upon reflection is that this is a film that's well worth seeing on the biggest screen that you possibly can. I found myself riveted throughout every sequence and although I didn't find myself invested in who was living or dying, I also don't think that was the point of the film either. If you go into this movie hoping to be blown away by tension and spectacle, you won't be disappointed in the slightest. In terms of entertainment and care put into this true event, Dunkirk receives a very solid grade in my book. I can't see it making my list of best films of the year, but I'll more than remember my experience if nothing else. I may seem to have gone back and forth throughout this review in terms of my opinion, but it's a great film overall, and I recommend it.

To the Bone
To the Bone (2017)
7 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

Films that are based around events that happen throughout our every day life can be very hard to watch at times. I'm not going to sugar coat this film and say that it's a masterpiece and you should watch it before anything else, because I know that there are some people that probably can't quite make it through the reality of the film. To the Bone depicts certain aspects of life with honesty and I found myself reminded of the rest of the world on multiple occasions. Yes, this is a terrific film that Netflix has acquired, and quite frankly one of the best films I've seen in all of 2017, but I can't recommend it unless you know what you're getting yourself into. Here is why To the Bone needs to be seen, but why that recommendation needs a warning accompanying it.

From the second this film starts, to the second it ends, To the Bone is a relentless fact spewer. Following a young lady in Ellen (Lily Collins) as she is struggling immensely with anorexia, she is sent to a home that takes care of patients like her. Some have already had progress and some may even be worse than her. Trying to recover while having to make friends and watch them suffer with her, this is a very realistic tale to watch unfold on-screen. Plain and simple, films don't get much more realistic than this. When a tragic element is needed in order to motivate a character, this film goes for it and it can be quite the challenge to sit through at times. There isn't a moment of beating around the bush, because this film gets itself straight to the point without hesitation.

Although there are side characters with their own issues, Ellen is definitely at the forefront of this premise and her interaction with everyone was easily the highlight of the film for me. The way she used others to either motivate herself or put herself down felt incredibly realistic and Lily Collins' performance was far better and much more true-to-life than I was expecting it to be. She truly was phenomenal throughout this film. Although the character of Luke (Alex Sharp) bugged me at first, his offbeat relationship with Ellen that slowly blossoms throughout the film was what gave the much needed depth to his character. If I had to gripe about something, it would have to be the constant reminder that our main character is sick.

At a very solid length of 107 minutes, To the Bone is a movie that doesn't need to keep reminding you of what the core story is about, but for some reason it does. I understand this concept may be hard for some to take in, but constantly showing the audience that Ellen doesn't want to eat and constantly wants to exercise could've been trimmed down a bit in order to provide a little more backstory into why she became this way, but that was really the only issue I had with the film upon reflection. Yes, there is a sense of repetition, but I found that Lily Collins distracted me from that most of the time, due to her stellar performance.

In the end, this film proves at Netflix knows how to pick a good property to showcase. From start to finish, To the Bone is a very captivating film about the harshness of anorexia. It's not afraid to give you the facts and also not afraid to visually show you how bad it can become. It's hard to say that you love a film like this, so I will refrain and simply state that this is one of the most effective films I've seen in quite some time. Well-written in terms of being realistic, well-directed in knowing when to showcase certain events, and well-acted across the board, To the Bone is well worth watching, but just know that it's very straight up with its audience. If you're in the mood for a drama that takes itself 100% seriously (even though there are aspects of comedy), then I highly recommend checking this one out.

The Big Sick
The Big Sick (2017)
9 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

Films like The Big Sick are very rare occasions. When the trailer for this film was released, displaying it as a hilarious comedy from start to finish (with a hint of drama throughout), I was sold. That being said, this film is as much a drama as it is a comedy. Independent films like this need to be discovered more often, because not enough of them are released to a mainstream audience. Sure, many people will be turned off by an off-beat indie feature, but there is also the odd one that audiences gush over. I truly feel that The Big Sick will be one of those unanimously adored films as 2017 comes to a close. I found myself cracking up, tearing up, and becoming emotionally invested from beginning to end. This is why The Big Sick deserves your attention.

Most romantic comedies have their share of unbelievability when it comes to their romance factors. To be quite honest, a film like this wouldn't have worked over 30 years ago, because times are just much more accepting nowadays. This is a film that is quite the eye-opener in many ways. Loosely based on true events, Kumail is a man from Pakistan, who falls in lover with an American girl, not telling his family (because they have arranged marriages in their culture) so that he may live the life he believes he deserves. Forming a strong, yet awkward bond, these two face a very difficult challenge as she realizes he has been lying to his family about her. The film takes quite a turn when she realizes she has issues and is forced into a coma. This film then becomes Kumail's story of self-discovery and I loved every second of it. Not only is this a very funny movie when it wants to be, but it's also one of the most important movies you'll probably see all year.

In terms of being accessible to all viewers, this film takes a very unconventional approach to the Rom-Com genre. From being incredibly racist throughout a few portions, the movie is so well-mannered that you can forgive its jabs. Also, when it takes the turn into hardcore drama, that's also when a lot of the jokes come into play. There is a very nice balance between the sad and the funny here, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The Big Sick may not be the greatest Rom-Com of all time, but it wouldn't be much of a stretch to say it's one of the best in recent memory, due to the sole reason that it does everything in its power to revitalize the genre. There are so many unexpected turns this film takes and the payoffs in the final act are all earned and tear-worthy.

Ot was very clear that Judd Apatow has some sort of hand in this production, even though it was very clearly from the minds that experienced these events. Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon scripted this film, and director Michael Showalter brought much life to their wonderful tale. Apatow films have a very specific feel to them, being that they juggle drama and comedy very well, which is exactly what The Big Sick was Abe to accomplish. This also brings me to my biggest, and really only complaint about this movie. While the movie does try to become awkward at times in terms of what you should or shouldn't laugh at, it broke the streak of believability for me on many instances. There were a few conversations spread throughout this film that truly didn't feel authentic, but you may not see that the same way that I did.

In the end, I'm sure there were liberties taken in order to make this true story work on-screen, but the end result is a near-perfect piece of Rom-Com filmmaking. Most films of this genre don't have the guts to take risks like the ones that The Big Sick chooses to, which is why I think I loved it more than I expected I would. There are some forced sequences of prolonged dialogue that may turn a few viewers off and it probably could've been about 10 minutes shorter, but these are all very minor complaints. This is an extremely well-made film that I can easily recommend to almost everyone. Some jokes may offend certain viewers, but they feel natural enough to be forgiven. The Big Sick does everything a film in this genre should do, and the some. I love this movie.