Coming 2 America (Sidenote: I Care a Lot)

Coming 2 America release poster.jpg

Coming 2 America is not like its predecessor, but the laughs and charm are still there, and it is still a good time watching it!!!

Real Rating: 3.5 McDowells

What I Like:

-It was a treat to see Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall back together in the country of Zamunda to make another comedy, it does seem like they were never apart with their comedic chemistry, and they also brought back some of their counterparts like the barbershop guys which made me laugh
-As for the new people, I thought the casting was great, they seem to blend in well and add their comedic touch, especially Jermaine Fowler as Prince Akeem’s son, his comedy brings in the today comedy which brought in some new laughs, and Wesley Snipes as General Izzi was Snipes at his finest
-It was beautifully directed by Craig Brewer capturing the essence of Zamunda very well

The So So:

-The story is a pretty predictable, and they did repeat some of the jokes from the original film, but the charm of the film is what makes fun to watch, and with a PG-13 rating, you can have some members in your family come and watch as well, it can be a blast from the past for the adults and fans of the original, and something new for the young teenage ones

What I Didn’t Like:

-You can perceive it as a rehash, and a unnecessary sequel, I can see why people will say that
-(A very minor SPOILER) I was disappointed that Samuel L. Jackson didn’t have a cameo, but Louis Anderson did

Overall:

Hardcore fans may hate it, and I can see why. However, if you approach this with an open mind, you will enjoy what this film brings. It is a blast from the past, with their jokes and gags mixed in with the comedy of today. You still get great performances with the old and new cast. Lastly, the charm that made the original movie great is still there that makes watching it worthwhile. It is not as good as the original by any means, but it is still fun and enjoyable. The only thing is, I would change the title to, Coming to Zamunda, it just makes more sense!!!

Real Rating: 3.5 McDowells

I Care A Lot poster.jpg

(Sidenote: I Care a Lot – Rosamund Pike once again plays an unlikable character very well. With this one, she plays a role of a con artist affecting the elderly so well, you want to hate her. Then when she goes against a mobster, played very well by Peter Dinklage, I was actually going for the mobster. This is a very interesting film that will tug on your emotions, and just shows that Pike playing evil is some of her best work for sure!!!
Real Rating: 4 Nursing Homes)

The United States vs. Billie Holiday

The United States vs Billie Holliday.jpg

The United States vs. Billie Holiday is all about Andra Day’s portrayal as the famed singer, but after that there is really not much else that is really effective!!!

Real Rating: 3 Jazz Bands

What I Like:

-Andra Day’s portrayal of Billie Holiday is the only thing worth watching this film, I believe she captured her style and essence in her voice and gave it her all in her character, everytime she steps up and sings, it was wonderful

The So So:

-I give it credit for the film in flowing very well from beginning to end, but it does seem like the pacing seemed rushed at times and didn’t let the story unravel to a point of effectiveness, there were some good moments in there where you do have to pay attention before you miss it

What I Didn’t Like:

-I have to ask, what was your main focus of this biopic, is it really about Billie Holiday making a stand against lynchings with her song “Strange Fruit,” and the trouble that follows, because if it is, I felt that was a small portion of the film, I felt like it was more of a tragedy of her life of drugs, which can be a good focus, but I didn’t think that was the point, and of that is the case, it definitely failed in that standpoint

Overall:

The best parts for me was to see Andra Day as Billie Holiday go up that stage and sing some of her great songs. That is worth the watch on Hulu. I do question what is the main focal point of this whole biopic which can make it somewhat confusing, but at the very least, the story does flow very well. You can watch and either sympathize with Holiday or be infuriated by the other things that happen to her. With all that said, it is a typical biopic you can watch when you have the time!!!

Real Rating: 3 Jazz Bands

Tom & Jerry

Tom & Jerry (Official 2021 Film Poster).png

Tom & Jerry mau have all the typical kids movie cliches, but have you considered that they may have invented some of these typical cliches?

Real Rating: 3 Musical Pidgeons

What I Like:

-Everything involving the animated characters of Tom and Jerry, I loved the slapstick action, and the charmness that each character brings especially interacting with the humans, it does bring me back as a kid with some fond memories, and just for that I do give it credit
-I did enjoy the animated style they chose, it was a breath of fresh air over CGI with live humans
-I did enjoy the soundtrack, especially with the old school hip-hop songs

The So So:

-Yes for a kids movie it has all the typical cliches, especially with the slapstick, but you have to relax and think that Tom & Jerry were the pioneers of this type of animated genre, because of that, that didn’t bother me, it actually made me chuckle, and I do give it credit for not bringing out weapons like they did back then as well, make this more kids friendly, of course, they mix in with some cliches of today, and for that I’m less forgiving
-The acting by the live humans, and some of the voice acting is perfect for what the movie is, some are stereotypical or even dumb, but it fit well with the tone of the movie

What I Didn’t Like:

-The story for the live humans is paper thin like the animation, it is by the numbers and predictable, I sort of wish the focus was more on Tom and Jerry instead of the humans, it could’ve worked a lot better

Overall:

I liked the Roger Rabbit style they chose for animating all the animals in this film. It did give it a unique tone and style. Everything involving Tom and Jerry were fun, and brings me back to my childhood memories. Yes, it can be a cliched animated movie, but it is Tom and Jerry for goodness sakes. I criticise more of the thin and predictable plot for the humans in this more. If only it concentrated more on Tom and Jerry action, and less with the humans, it would’ve been a much better movie for sure!!!

Real Rating: 3 Musical Pigeons

The Mauritanian

The Mauritanian poster.jpg

The Mauritanian is a legal political thriller that for the most part was engaging, especially with Tahar Rahim playing a tortured prisoner very well!!!

Real Rating: 4 Case Files

What I Like:

-The film is all about Tahar Rahim’s portrayal of Mohamedou Ould Salahi, a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay for 14 years as an alleged terrorist, he showed some true emotion of being tortured, missing his family, and not losing hope of getting out of prison, he was pretty good at showing that, especially the scene where he is testifying was a powerful moment
-Usually legal political thrillers can fall flat at times especially with legal jargon that can be hard to follow, but in this film, I thought it flowed very well, explains the legal terms very well, and kept it engaging, kudos to the writing and direction for this film
-The other acting was good enough with Jodie Foster playing Mohamedou’s defense attorney, and seeing her going through the trials and tribulations of being his lawyer, and Benedict Cumberbatch playing the prosecuting attorney, Cumberbatch’s Southern accent was pretty good, and his character development was good

The So So:

-It reminded me a lot of the film The Hurricane where the premise is practically the same, though they are both true stories which I can forgive it for the similarities

What I Didn’t Like:

-The transitions from the flashbacks to the film’s present can be a little confusing
-The first two thirds of the film was good, but it led to a rushed third act where everything goes down fairly quickly without too much time to process

Overall:

As I said before, a lot of legal political films can be slow but this movie, it was not the case. It did a great job of keeping us engaged to the story, not confuse us with all the legal terminology, and some good acting and character development. It may seem a little familiar with the premise of the story, but the way it was executed made it something that I really care about practically from beginning to end. In the end, makes you think about the US’s handling of terrorists, and it could infuriate you, or maybe not be surprised at all. Regardless, the fact that you sympathize with an alleged terrorist shows how good the writing and development is!!!

Real Rating: 4 Case Files

Nomadland

Nomadland poster.jpeg

Nomadland is an interesting story, if only it captivates for most of the film, not some of it!!!

Real Rating: 3 Road Trips

What I Like:

-The style and tone by director Chloe Zhao is very unique, it does bring some strong cinematography, especially when showing the landscapes of the Midwest and Western part of the country, I definitely give credit for showing a good story which is not easy to do
-Frances McDormand playing Fern, a woman who decided to adopt a Nomad lifestyle after losing everything, is interesting to watch, seeing her gravitate more to the culture and lifestyle is pretty engaging to learn what the nomad life is all about

The So So:

-There are a lot of decent moments in this film seeing what Fern goes through as she gets used to her new lifestyle, I just wish the character development was less showy and more substance for me to get a full understanding of what she is going through, with that said, some of the showy parts can be very powerful, especially in the second half of the film

What I Didn’t Like:

-This film was way to slow for my liking, I get the points and reasons for it, but even though it had some great scenes, it takes a while for me to get into it with its slow pacing, maybe some people like that style, but it wasn’t for me, it can have me lose my attention at times, especially watching it on Hulu

Overall:

This is a slow burn story of a character going into a lifestyle and slowly getting use to it, and actually really liking it. Frances McDormand does her best with her emotions and brief dialogue she has. As for director Chloe Zhao, this is her style of filming of more showing, and less dialogue. At least with the showing parts, you get some nice cool cinematography. With all that said, the whole slow burn and showiness really doesn’t captivate me as it should. It is not my style of movie watching. Especially watching it at home where my attention span is more fragile. Regardless, it is an interesting watch with a decent story about a lifestyle that people actually do. Makes you think if you want to dip your toes in it as well!!!

Real Rating: 3 Road Trips

Music

Music (2021 film).png

Music can be seen as a work of art, but as a film, the story is very thin, and that is with the controversy aside!!!

Real Rating: 3 Musical Dreams

What I Like:

-I can see the intention of director Sia in making this, her thoughts as a musical artist really flourishes in this with every musical performances, I liked it how she portrays the thoughts of the character Music into those musical performances was a nice artful touch, and some of the songs I actually enjoyed as well
-The acting was good for what it is, mainly with Kate Hudson as Zu, showing her true emotions as a struggling character who is dealing with many problems, and Leslie Odom Jr., as Ebo, being the help and voice of reason to Zu, their performances made this film genuine enough for us to care

The So So:

-The controversy with Maddie Ziegler performance as Music, a teenager with autism, to me was a little overblown, I worked with children with autism, and for the most part, it did bring out a strong look on how people with strong autism can be, and how you can help them enjoy life, I don’t believe Ziegler’s performance was out of line, maybe some of the ways of handling her can raise an eyebrow, but it is all about learning and dealing, and for that I can see it as a positive outlook, so I would suggest before you all judge is to do your research on this disability before you all “cancel” this film, and I also ask what is the difference between this portrayal, and Dustin Hoffman’s portrayal in Rain Man?

What I Didn’t Like:

-The story is very thin, there were a lot of subplots that I didn’t quite understand, let alone resolved, it did remind me of the film Rain Man with musical performances, but with less of a story, if it wasn’t for the cool musical performances, this would’ve been an underwhelming film

Overall:

Controversy aside, I do appreciate the artwork and the musical performances in this. Sia as a director really brought out the art in music, and portrayed something we can all like and possibly relate. The acting does keep the very thin story together enough for us to care about these characters. I do give it credit for what it is, and if you go in with an open mind, it can be entertaining!!!

Real Rating: 3 Musical Dreams

Judas and The Black Messiah (Sidenote: Pieces of a Woman)

Judas and the Black Messiah poster.png

Judas and the Black Messiah is all about Daniel Kaluuya’s portrayal of Fred Hampton, it is also a fascinating watch how this story went down!!!

Real Rating: 4 Revolutionary

What I Like:

-Daniel Kaluuya’s acting keeps getting better and better with every movie he has done since Get Out, I thought his portrayal of Black Panther Party’s (BPP) Chairman, Fred Hampton was spot on and great, everytime he gives a speech, it is captivating and invigorating, during the movie, I may not always agree with what he says, but his passion in his acting for this character is a spectacle to see
-Let’s not forget about Lakeith Stanfield’s portrayal as the FBI informant, Bill O’Neal, I thought his story is fascinating, maybe you will be angry at his character at the end, or maybe you will have sympathy for him at the end, as for me, I choose the latter
-Director Shaka King did a great job in creating this story, there were a lot of scenes that were either thrilling or intense, even in some basic conversations, it looked very tense, it has you wondering what will happen next, the shootouts were also very thrilling

The So So:

-There were points in the story where it can be slow at times, but then it speeds up to another great scene, it can an uneven roller coaster of emotions, so be prepared for that

What I Didn’t Like:

-The controversy of the BPP will always be talked about in history, and I believe one of the main goals for it is to show the BPP in the positive light help the community and joining forces with other organizations, and yes they do show it, but not enough for me to learn more about what the BPP is all about, instead it was heavy handed on how law enforcement conspired to abolished their party as if Spike Lee wrote the script, it is what it is, but I wish to see more of what they did to the community more to put things in a better perspective

Overall:

This film is fascinating to watch. Whatever your opinions are about the Black Panther Party, you will most likely be fascinated as well. Become fascinated with the acting of Daniel Kaluuya’s acting as Fred Hampton and his possible Oscar win (calling it). Become fascinated by the story which kind of reminds me of one of my favorite films of all time, The Departed. Overall to me, this is a fascinating film, and with the controversial history aside, you can watch how this story unfolds and make your opinions afterwards. A spectacle that can be powerful, especially with what is happening today!!!

Real Rating: 4 Revolutionaries

Pieces of a Woman.jpeg

(Sidenote: Pieces of a Woman – Director Kornel Mundruczo definitely took a piece out of Alfonso Cuaron’s style of filmmaking, and added to this picture. That one long unedited scene of actress Vanessa Kirby during labor is a marvel to watch. Speaking of Kirby, she did a fine job of acting as a person recovering from a tragedy can be awful to go through. After the childbirth scene, the film was up and down with the tone, and the story, but it wasn’t a huge bore to watch at the very least!!!
Real Rating: 3.5 Childbirths)

Malcolm and Marie

Malcolm and Marie poster.jpeg

Malcolm and Marie had great performance by their leads, but the story just didn’t quite make sense on its purpose!!!

Real Rating: 3.5 Mac N Cheese

What I Like:

-What makes this film watchable is the performances by John David Washington and Zendaya, their deliveries of their lines and monologues were tremendous, some grade A acting that’s for sure, they really made a couple in an epic fight really authentic, and I can appreciate that

The So So:

-Let me just say this, I get the that the liberties a director takes is for tasteful art, but I don’t get why it is filmed in black and white, I felt that a film which the setting was at night and everything just seemed dark, I felt that this film would’ve been better in color, I’m waiting for an explanation from the director to understand why

What I Didn’t Like:

-The story really didn’t have a purpose, all it really shows is a couple in an argument on a topic which comes over and over again, and they make up, only to bring it back again, it felt like a soap opera for me, and maybe that is the point, but if that is the case, it is not for me, it’s like the true purpose is to see two couples fight, and that’s that

Overall:

If you love strong acting performances by the two leads, then watch this movie. If you love something with more of a story, you may be disappointed. If you want both, your mind may go crazy in where it will go. As for me, I do enjoy some fine acting, but with no effective story, it is ok to decent at best. At least with it being on Netflix, may be worth the gander at the very least!!!

Real Rating: 3.5 Mac N Cheese

The White Tiger

The White Tiger film poster.jpg

The White Tiger, despite the slow points, is an interesting rag to riches story that really shows the cultural divide in India!!!

Real Rating: 4 Drivers

What I Like:

-I really enjoyed the story by showing how the cultural divide between the rich and the poor is in the country of India, it is so drastic, and the treatment the rich give to the poor can be infuriating to watch
-I also enjoyed the development of the character of Balram, played by Adarsh Gourav, I liked seeing his determination in being somebody, and everything he has to go through in being a servant to a wealthy family, Gourav’s acting was very superb in bringing that character to life
-I also enjoyed the soundtrack, very (can’t believe I’m saying this) retro 2000’s music which really added a nice touch
-The cinematography, especially when showing the city of Delhi, was really fun to watch as well

The So So:

-Even though there were some powerful moments working as a servant for the wealthy family, but felt that moment in his life really dragged out too long, I was already saying to move on from that part and get to the good part where he becomes successful

What I Didn’t Like:

-While watching this, I really wanted to see how he becomes a successful business owner, and bring it home on what makes this story inspiring, however, that part was all rushed and kind of unsatisfying, I wanted to see more of that part of the story, instead of dragging along his time as a servant

Overall:

I really did enjoy the film. Best movie out of India since Slumdog Millionaire. It can be inspiring with the rags to riches story, and seeing the character of Balram going through his trials and tribulations in getting there from living in the slums with a traditional family, to being a servant for the wealthy, to finally achieving success in the end. Yes I felt some parts dragged and some parts they should’ve added more focus, but overall it was a pretty entertaining film that can infuriate you, and maybe inspire you!!!

Real Rating: 4 Drivers

The Little Things

The Little Things poster.jpeg

The Little Things was a slow burn to nothingness, all this intrigue and fine acting performances was wasted at the end!!!

Real Rating: 3 Trunk Spaces

What I Like:

-This film had top notch actors in Denzel Washington and Rami Malek as detectives, and Jared Leto playing a very creepy guy, at least their performances did not disappoint

The So So:

-Since it is a neo noir crime thriller, I expected to be a slow burn, which I’m not a big fan of, it had slow pacing with interesting points along the way as the detectives are trying to figure it out, the detective work is always intriguing for me

What I Didn’t Like:

-Without spoiling it, all this fine performances and slow burn intrigue led up to a very unsatisfying and underwhelming end that seemed all wasted, that is very disappointing

Overall:

It is a shame that these fine acting performances were all wasted in this film. Let alone, the patience I give to this slow burning neo noir type of film that ended up all for nothing. It does seem like a waste of time. However, like Denzel Washington’s character, I did focus on the little things that did go right. For that, I can appreciate for what it is!!!

Real Rating: 3 Trunk Spaces