Da 5 Bloods
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I May Destroy You
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I can see why Speed was rated so high back in 1994 when it came out. It does everything right in the action film genre. Plus, Keanu Reeves is perfectly cast and really shines in his performance. Bullock was there, but she was very inexperienced. Nonetheless, she did fine. We even got Harry Dunn from Dumb & Dumber to play a cool police officer! Yes, his name was also Harry here and came out the same year as D & D. I digress. I had fun watching Speed for the first time in 2019. Yes, there were tons of cheesy moments and a questionable villain, but it was a good time all around, despite it trying way too hard from time to time. (3.5/5)
Pixar's Toy Story 4 adds many new faces to the beloved series without making any compromises. Forky is an adorable addition, adding new meaning to the word "toy". Key and Peele as Ducky and Bunny are comedic gold and feel right at home. Even Keanu Reeves as Duke Caboom is hilarious. The main downside is that the older characters take somewhat of a backseat, including Buzz to a certain extent, even though he is still very much the brave space ranger we all know and love. Woody and Forky are front and center here, with Woody feeling like the main character, as he is faced with a crossroads in his life at the moment.
The film has both tear-jerking opening and closing scenes, that feel genuine and thoughtful. Everything in between is just as meaningful and fun. Much like Toy Story 2, it feels like a big adventure, with important choices to be made and villain in Gabby Gabby to face off against.
The animation is absolutely breathtaking. I can only imagine how it's going to look when it comes out on 4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray. It's getting to the point where some scenes look 100% real. The rain effects in particular are amazing. Of course, the writing and storytelling is top-notch. It somehow manages to keep pace with the three other Toy story films and not feel forced. It will make you cry, so plan on grabbing some tissues. The film will be even more meaningful to those that have grown up with the franchise. I was six years old when the original 1995 film came out and I even had Woody and Buzz toys (I still do). So you can imagine the "feels".
While I still think Toy Story 3 is the pinnacle of the series, the fourth installment is an unforgettable gem packed with wonderful characters, gorgeous animation, solid music and an excellent story. I've already seen it twice, and I can hardly wait to purchase it when it releases on disc. (5/5)
Rebel Wilson has talent. She was funny in Bridesmaids. However, the material here is both uninteresting and generic. It simply tries too hard to satisfy too many people, which is becoming a major flaw in most big-budget rom-coms these days. You'll forget about this movie the next day. (0.5/5)
Crimes of Grindelwald looks dazzling and has a bunch of great characters. However, with a convoluted story, none of that really matters. If Rowling doesn't turn things around now, the series could be tarnished forever. (1.5/5)
Instant Family was a pleasant surprise. What looks like another by-the-numbers comedy is anything but. Sure, there are several missteps and a few cliches here and there, but deep down, the film has a lot of heart. It teaches lessons on family and love, with the help of a great cast including the always funny Mark Wahlberg, who gave off some "The Other Guys" vibes from time to time, which is really appreciated. This one is definitely worth a rent and packs in some genuine heartfelt moments with sprinkles of competent comedy. (3.5/5)
Cruise turns in a career-best performance and Jamie Foxx is no slouch either. It's a fantastic blockbuster with all the makings of a well-crafted action-thriller. The club scene alone is worth the price of admission. I had a ton of fun. (4/5)
The best thing about Smallfoot is that it serves up a wholesome message about love and unity.
Make no mistake, Venom is not good. However, if you are a fan of Venom, the character, you'll probably have a decent time watching the film. There are some funny moments sprinkled throughout and Tom Hardy is perfect as Eddie Brock. But for the most part, it just stinks. The CGI is bad, the dialogue is laughable, the story is not cohesive and it just feels soulless. In all honesty, the best part of the movie was the post-credits scene. If you're a fan of the character, I say give it a rent. If you're not a fan of him, this one is a skip. (2/5)
Bird Box isn't quite as satisfying as a box of fried chicken, and it definitely does not live up to the massive hype surrounding it. The film borrows heavily from other films such as The Happening, A Quiet Place and even The Walking Dead and Lost television series. The first half of the film can be very suspenseful, but it wears off by the time the second half rolls around. Sure, the premise is interesting, which is one of the reasons it made so much money, but the fact remains that it lacks originality and any sort of emotion. If Netflix continues to produce subpar content like this, I won't be interested. (2.5/5)
The Family Stone is a very underrated and touching holiday film that I have grown to love. The performances are all so natural and you really feel like you're close to the Stone family at Christmas time. Every conversation seems to have meaning and you genuinely care about each one of them. It tells us that it can be a challenge to be around family during the holidays, but seeing the good in everyone and everything can make a difference. It can be predictable at times, but you just feel satisfied by the time the credits roll. (4/5)
Ocean's 8 is a predicable, bland and lifeless bore that somehow manages to be relevant in 2018. But I wonder why? (1.5/5)
What more is there to say about Toy Story? It was ahead of its time and introduced some of the most beloved characters we will ever see in the world of animation. It still holds up very well today. It's not quite as masterful as Toy Story 3, but it certainly deserves to mentioned among Pixar's best films. (5/5)
The 100% Rotten Tomatoes score is no joke. Paddington 2 is one of the best animated pictures of the last decade. What makes the movie so great is just how big its heart is, or Paddington's heart, one could say. The entire cast is excellent, especially Hugh Grant as the villain. This one will tug at your heartstrings, so prepare to have tissues handy. It actually tops the original, which I didn't think was possible. The cinematography and animation are unrivaled outside of the Disney/Pixar world. The moment I left the theater I thought to myself, "I wish every human being on Earth could watch Paddington 2, because if they did, the world would instantly be a better place." This is a must-see and must-own on Blu-Ray. It's beautiful in every sense of the word, charming, lovely and endearing. It's the perfect family film. I urge you to see it as soon as possible. (5/5)
New Year's Eve is pretty bad. I really wanted to like it. The star-studded cast has virtually nothing to work with as it is just one big montage of various stories hours before the famous New York City ball drop. The writing, directing, acting, it all sucks and it's a real shame. The film feels very rushed and lacks any sort of identity. (1/5)
Sleepy Hollow has great atmosphere, decent performances and a lot of charm from Depp. Its pacing and storytelling could be better, but it ends up being more entertaining than it should be.
Game Night is a tight, funny, entertaining ride. It's a breath of fresh air within the comedy genre with a genuinely interesting script and great writing. The camera work is especially well executed. This is a game night you need to be a part of. (4/5)
Isle of Dogs is by no means Anderson's best work, but it is more of that brilliant filmmaking and simple storytelling we all have come to know and love. The visuals are beautifully crafted, the voice cast is top notch, and the plot will get you thinking about the importance of good virtues. It's another home run for Anderson, even if it can't hold a candle to the likes of Moonrise Kingdom or Fantastic Mr. Fox. (4/5)
John Carter has a ton of ambition, but it ultimately fails to capitalize on its massive production budget and talented lead. Some of the things that happen are outlandish, the writing is not cohesive and the pacing is off at times. On a positive note, Kitsche does a great job as the title character, the visuals are breathtaking and the world is pretty interesting. There are some good things here, but it all ends up being a wild mess. But hey, it's a somewhat interesting and gorgeous mess. (3/5)
Prince of Persia is a mostly generic video game adaptation. Gyllenhall and Kingsley definitely add some solid performances but they are outweighed majorly by a generic plot and bad pacing. The film also lacks substance and depth. It just trods long at snail's pace with generic action scenes and dull moments. If I had something to say about it, I'd give it credit for being accessible and family-friendly, something too many production companies avoid these days. There's nothing wrong with family-friendly entertainment with mature theming, as long as its done well. Here, it's just not. (2/5)