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Having not seen Kingsman: The Secret Service, I had nothing to base my opinion on in regards to its sequel, so I had the luxury of being able to enjoy it for its own merits and not compare it. So despite the polarizing reaction from critics, a had a great time with this. I really enjoyed the narrative and I was still able to follow what was going on despite not having seen the first film. I found the characters very entertaining and charming. I was impressed with how moved I was regarding Harry's amnesia and Eggsy's sadness about it. I really felt their history and connection even though I haven't even seen it. I enjoyed Poppy as the villain. The acting is pretty good all around. The action sequences were very exiting, if a bit over-stylized. It had a lot of good laughs. I guess the problems I have with it is that I was disappointing that Tequila wasn't in the film that much and, I thought the romance between Eggsy and Tilde could've been a bit stronger, the fact that Harry is in this movie despite having been killed in The Secret Service felt like a copout, and I felt that the runtime could've been a bit shorter, and the "surprise" twist of a certain character and his motivation was so cliche. But I still had really fun time with Kingsman: The Golden Circle. It's not for everyone nor is it perfect, but I still loved it and I can't wait to see it again. With this said, though, I'm not going to shoot down the possibility that my opinion of this movie will change once I've seen the first film. There's a good chance that it will.
I haven't read any novel by Stephen King, but I have seen a few film adaptations of his works such as Carrie, which is my favorite, Misery, Cujo, Christine, the IT miniseries, and most recently the new film adaptation of IT. I honestly didn't watch the entire miniseries because I found it kind of boring, cheesy, and dated, so I was pretty exited to see how this film will turn out, and while I wasn't exactly blown away by it...*sigh*stupid pronoun being the title..., I found it entertaining. I really loved Bill Skarsgard's performance as Pennywise the Dancing Clown. I enjoyed Tim Curry's, but this was better to me. I also liked the Losers Club and I thought the kid actors gave decent performances, particularly Billy and Beverly. They had the best emotional moments. Ritchie was funny and Eddie got a few laughs. But I did feel that Ben, Stan and Mike were pretty weak, especially Mike. I often forgot he was even in the film. I felt so bad for poor little Georgie and I really connected with Billy. The film also has some pretty neat visuals and atmosphere. I wouldn't consider the film actually scary, but it did have some good tense and creepy moments. The effects are decent as well. Sometimes they look a little phony, but they still work in general. I do have to admit that I sort of wish the film focused a lot more on just the kids and their background. I do feel that having Pennywise in the story in general doesn't feel needed. I think the story would've been better if it just focused on these kids and their inner demons. Also, I was really not sold on the romance between Billy and Beverly. It just felt forced. What also felt forced was a slight love triangle plot between them and Ben. Plus, because of the fact that I didn't find Mike, Ben, and Stan that interesting, the chemistry of the Losers Club felt uneven. But even with that said, what I got from this movie was satisfying. IT is a moderately entertaining horror film with some good laughs whether they be intentional or not, touching moments, likeable characters, and cool creepy atmosphere. I didn't love it, but I look forward to seeing it again.
I feel extremely bad for giving this movie a three-star rating. First, I really appreciate and admire Christopher Nolan for bringing a relatively unknown part of WWII to the big screen because I don't think I heard of the Battle of Dunkirk in school. The film is a very, very nice looking film. The camera work and the authenticity make for a great visual spectacle. The acting is great across the board. Everyone does a great job. Even the sense of dread and impending doom is great. You feel like you're in the middle of it all. But the biggest problem with this movie is the lack of character development and emotional investment. I know a lot of people state the argument that the film isn't about the characters or emotional connection and that it's more about the event. Look, I get that. But what's the point of having characters in a movie if you're not going to care much about what happens to them? I don't even know their names. And I know that with the situation that these men are in, they don't have time to sit around and swap sob stories and talk about their home lives. All that's important is to survive. And that's relatable, but it's not enough to form an emotional connection. It's sort of the equivalent of a generic slasher film with a bunch of teens trying to survive the killer. With no emotional connection or development, we're not going to care who lives or dies. And that's what happened here for me. Plus, the way the story was told with the different time spans confused me. All this also resulted in me being bored at times. I'm glad Dunkirk was made and I do appreciate all the positives it has, but it was a bit of a letdown for me. I know a lot of people were impressed with it and that's wonderful. Don't let what I say bother you. But it's also important to know that I'm not the only one who feels this way about the movie. Even people who love it understand that it's not gonna satisfy everyone and acknowledge the lack of real character development. Dunkirk is okay for me. It looks great, it's got great sense of scope, it's acted well and it brings a forgotten piece of history into the public eye. But it didn't serve up the emotionally satisfying spectacle that the Rotten Tomatoes consensus says it was supposed to.
In a recent era in which pretty much every action film is part of a pre-existing franchise or adapted from literary work, e.g. Fast and Furious, Jack Reacher, it was refreshing to see an action film that's not only original, but gripping and unforgettable with Baby Driver. Outside of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, I'm not familiar with the work of director Edgar Wright, but after seeing Baby Driver, I just may need to try to be. This is one of the best action films I've ever had the pleasure of seeing. The best way to describe this film is the classic, "simple but effective". The character Baby is a good-hearted young man roped into a bad crowd and is one of few words. But when he does open up and speak, he brims with so much innocence, charm and likeability, thanks in large part to Ansel Elgort's great performance. Like other action films such as The Terminator and The Avengers, the story itself isn't necessarily the best part of the film. But what elevates the enjoyability of simple stories like those of these films, is the writing, style and our connection to the main characters, and Baby Driver does this very well. What especially helped me connect with Baby as a character is his sincere and sweet relationship with his deaf foster father. I just loved seeing them communicate. You can tell they really care about each other and how much the father wants Baby to leave the world of crime. His romance with Debora, played by Lily James, is a little fairytale-esque, but I saw it as a beautiful contrast to the more dark and cutthroat parts of the film. I did feel they had a legitimate connection and it was too adorable not to enjoy, and Debora, like Baby, is simple, but charming. The other characters are very memorable in how mysterious and threatening they are, especially Bats, played by Jaime Foxx. The film also excells at the action side of things, with the car chases and gunplay being so fun and pumping, keeping you on the edge of your seat. The film features a great soundtrack that's blended masterfully with the action and even simple things like doors closing. It also ties into Baby's character as he uses music to drown out his tinnitus which he received after a car accident that killed his parents. But not only does he use it to block out his tinnitus, he also uses it to block out the harsh world around him. He just moves and grooves to his own beat and he's just in his own little world. The film also has a good dose of humor as well. If I had any nitpicks about Baby Driver it would be that I personally wanted to see more of Baby's childhood, seeing how he had an abusive father and his mother was an opera singer, adding more to his love of music and the iPod his mother gave him. I also felt that Kevin Spacey's character Doc, the kingpin that leads the group of criminals, didn't have much motivation behind his change of heart later in the film. But outside of that, Baby Driver is a real treat. It oozes with style, excitement, smart writing, and a central character worth rooting for. It's definitely what some of the Fast and Furious movies wish they could be. I definitely consider it one of the best films of 2017, and I look forward to seeing it again.