Mank

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Mank may have good acting and moments, but everything else just falls flat!!!

Real Rating: 2.5 Typing Sounds

What I Like:

-Gary Oldman as film writer Herman J. Mankiewicz (Mank), really does what Oldman does best, disappear in his role, I also give credit to Tom Burke, playing Orson Welles, and Arliss Howard as Co-Founder of MGM Studios, Louis B. Mayer, that old Hollywood attitude from these actors was interesting to see

The So So:

-David Fincher directed this film with the story originally written by his father, Jack Fincher, you see scenes where you see Fincher’s hands all over it, but some of his decisions were interesting, but in the end didn’t do it for me, two examples, the sporadic storytelling telling his life earlier and then currently when he is writing the script for Citizen Kane can make it confusing for me to follow, and he went with the style of an old school film which for me made it look fuzzy at times, and hard to see in certain scenes as well, the black and white wasn’t clear cut picture like you see in Roma, it made the cinematography look sloppy

What I Didn’t Like:

-I found that for a story about Mank, I’m confused whether they portray him as a good man or a bad man, honestly, I don’t think they portrayed him well with his life as an alcoholic and the way he treated his family, but the way it ended it almost seem like he was a good guy, and making Orson Welles the true bad guy, I don’t know, it seems all confusing to me
-With all that said, a lot of the scenes I just found boring and uninteresting, it made me say, “Why should I care about Mank?” I just didn’t find his story all that interesting, and really, I just find him as a cocky film writer which begs no interest from me

Overall:

I went in this movie with high expectations. I mean it is directed by David Fincher and starring Gary Oldman. I tend to like watching films about old school Hollywood, but it wasn’t interesting enough for me to care. It isn’t close to Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. At least that film really made it interesting. I give credit to the acting, most notably Gary Oldman, who is at it again, but this is not Fincher’s best work. He took some risks which to me didn’t pay off. I believe he needs to go back into making thrillers, because this one just falls too flat!!!

Real Rating: 2.5 Typing Sounds

Godmothered (Sidenote: Becky)

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Though it may not be original, it is a good enough family movie to enjoy for the holidays!!!

Real Rating: 3 Godmothers

What I Like:

-It does have that Disney charm to it, and that is mainly because of Jillian Bell’s performance as Eleanor, a practicing fairy godmother, her naiveness and determination to make Isla Fisher’s character, Mackenzie, life better is funny and at times, heartwarming to watch

The So So:

–I like the fact that the setting is in today’s standards, especially filmed in the city of Boston, where people don’t believe in fairy tales, and trying to convince them that the magic is still there, yes it is a story trope, but it just felt genuine enough for me to keep my attention and enjoy

What I Didn’t Like:

-It is full of cliches, especially the Disney kind, where all I can do is roll my eyes sometimes, and these cliches brings predictability that you can see from a million miles away, I mean what do you expect with a kids movie nowadays?

Overall:

Yes it is a typical Disney movie with all the fixings of tropes and cliches. It does remind me of the film Enchanted a lot as well. With all that said, it is still a charming and funny Christmas movie for the whole family. The acting and the pure innocence is enjoyable, and maybe make you believe in miracles. Maybe!!!

Real Rating: 3 Godmothers

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(Sidenote: Becky – This film was better than I expected. It is pretty thrilling at times, although, it is a little outrageous. I give props to Kevin James playing the villain which was actually believable. Also to Lulu Wilson as the teenage girl defending herself from these bad guys. It is very violent for the people that love that stuff. I thought it might be a waste of time, but it really is not that bad!!!
Real Rating: 3 Lawnmowers)

The Croods: A New Age

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The Croods: A New Age may be a story we all seen before, but the animation and execution of everything really makes up for it!!!

Real Rating: 3.5 Punching Monkeys

What I Like:

-The animation is tremendous, I wish the 3D theaters were open to see it in that format, the action, color, and beauty really stands out for me, and I appreciate that
-The voice casting is excellent, you add Peter Dinklage and Leslie Mann to this mix as rivals makes it really great, and you see more of Nicolas Cage being Nicolas Cage more in this film, which is not a bad thing, it just adds to the comedy it brings which is pretty funny

The So So:

-The main theme if this story is something we already seen before about people settling their differences and old values for the greater good, but the execution of this film does make it worthwhile and fun, especially the final act, it makes up for the predictability and rushed ending

What I Didn’t Like:

-Will say it again, it felt rushed with the thematic problems they are trying to solve, and it was also very predictable, for a kids movie though, it does make sense, but for the adult it can be a little eye rolling, at least it is 90 minutes

Overall:

Yes, it is rushed and predictable and with themes we have seen times before, but it is still a fun and and well executed film. The animation and action is awesome and enjoyable for the whole family. For the adults, once you get through the cliches, you will enjoy it eventually as well. I also hope the this message of people settling their differences and coming together can be one that is contagious for people to follow. I hope!!!

Real Rating: 3.5 Punching Monkeys

Hillbilly Elegy (Sidenote: Words on the Bathroom Walls)

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Though interesting with the strong acting, but I really didn’t get the main theme of this film!!!

Real Rating: 3 Shouting Matches

What I Like:

-The main thing that I did enjoy in this film is the acting, Amy Adams as a problematic druggie mom, really gave this character life into her own issues and past demons, but most notably, I really enjoyed Glenn Close’s character as the grandmother, first of all, it didn’t look or sound like Glenn Close, but playing the role as a fouled mouth tough person that actually cares was great to watch
-The makeup for this film was spot on, may here somee Oscar buzz in that regard

The So So:

-I do believe that director Ron Howard did his best with the script, I can appreciate the cinematography and acting direction, but the transitions, or lack of, made it confusing and hard to follow
-I was interested in watching about the hillbilly culture, however, it really didn’t show much of that, more of the negative stuff like the family dramas

What I Didn’t Like:

-Question, what is the main point of this film? Is it about the hillbilly culture in the Appalachian Midwest? Is it about how the mom suffered with drugs, or is it a coming of age story of the protagonist in J.D.? Though I do believe it is the last part, but the film had a tough job of showing that effectively

Overall:

This film had some potential. Judging from the trailer I thought it would have Oscar buzz, however, after watching it, it was a waste of great acting from Amy Adams and Glenn Close. The lack of a real main theme really affected the story telling, and what it really wanted to show. If anything, it just shows the dysfunction of the hillbilly culture with all the family drama. If that is the point, then it is not a real good one. I guess I could say that the book of J.D.’s memoirs would be a lot better!!!

Real Rating: 3 Shouting Matches

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(Sidenote: Words on the Bathroom Walls – Nothing comes close in watching a film about schizophrenia than the film A Beautiful Mind, but this film had an interesting approach to it. Even though I believe it was a very heightened approach of this mental disorder, I can appreciate the visual takes that this can bring, and how the person suffering from it can affect not only himself, but his family and friends around him. I hate that the ending was too cheesy, but what can I say, it is a YA romance story to begin with!!!
Real Rating: 3.5 Hallucinations)

Freaky (Sidenote: Cut Throat City)

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Even with its interesting premise and entertaining leads, it is a tweenish and very predictable film!!!

Real Rating: 2.5 Aaron Rodgers Masks

What I Like:

-The acting from both Vince Vaughn who went to the Jack Black school of a woman being trapped in a man’s body was entertaining to watch, and from Kathryn Newton playing an innocent girl turned mass murderer was also fun to watch

The So So:

-The premise of the story is a familiar one, but I did liked the angle it took of a mass murderer and a teenage girl switching their souls with one another, it did make it fun and interested to see how things will go down
-Without spoiling it, there were some touching moments, but sometimes it did felt forced and disingenuous
-For the people who like, not me, the violent scenes were pretty gory

What I Didn’t Like:

-There were a lot of tweenish moments which will make your eyes roll, from the jokes, to the dumb teen drama, makes me wonder if it was for adults or teens
-Without spoiling it, there were a lot of scenes that were cringingly uncomfortable and maybe infuriating

Overall:

With its interesting premise and strong acting from their leads with Vince Vaughn and Kathryn Newton, it still didn’t live up to where it could’ve been. The tweenish angles really did affect it a lot for me. The horror was practically nonexistent unless you like gory violence and even then there was not too much of that. The comedy was dumb, and there may be some scenes that can be really offensive to you. To me it was a waste of a good premise and good acting by their leads. In all reality, did I expect something better? I shouldn’t be surprised!!!

Real Rating: 2.5 Aaron Rodgers Masks

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(Sidenote: Cut Throat City – This film had all the makings of a movie that I would definitely enjoy. It started off great with its development, grittiness, and realness it brings. Even though it gets you interested in what is going to happen, the ending was definitely a head scratcher in asking what is going on? Unfortunately, that affected film with true potential!!!
Real Rating: 3 Raccoons)

Let Him Go

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Let Him Go had some strong acting with their leads, but the way things wet down you will either love it or hate it!!!

Real Rating: 4 Old School Chevys

What I Like:

-Kevin Costner and Diane Lane make a power couple in this, their acting alone makes it worthwhile to watch, it is worth mentioning the acting of Lesley Manville was tremendous as well
-The drama in this can be really intense even though nothing serious is really happening, the music and facial expressions really brings up the anxiety factor

The So So:

-The third part of the film, I didn’t like how it started, but without spoiling it, the execution of how things went down was more grounded which I like, and ended up with an ending that is acceptable for me

What I Didn’t Like

-I understand that the director, Thomas Bezucha, was probably going for this, but the dark cinematography really made it more drab then it should be, especially with scenes of empty roads and flatlands which makes it even more drab, barely any color
-The tone was different from the first two thirds and the last third, it was almost watching a different movie

Overall:

The acting alone is what makes it worthwhile to watch. I also give credit to the tense direction it gives and the execution of how things unraveled. The dark cinematography and tonal issues does affect it, but it was a good watch. Nothing glorious, but it may make you satisfied or dissatisfied with how it ended. That’s for you to decide!!!

Real Rating: 4 Old School Chevys

Over the Moon

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Over the Moon is all too familiar, but the charm and celebration of culture does make it worthwhile!!!

Real Rating: 4 Mooncakes

What I Like:

-The animation in this film was great, and probably would’ve been worthwhile to watch it in 3D
-The Asian culture it brings out is authentic, and I got to learn more about the Moon Festival tradition which is fascinating
-The cast also brings a lot of charm and authenticity probably my favorite character is Gobi, voiced by Ken Jeong, who definitely brings heartwarming comedic timing

The So So:

-It is also a musical, though the songs are good, but I don’t think they are memorable, no song really had me play it back

What I Didn’t Like:

-I felt the beginning of the movie was way too rushed which kind of ruins the effectiveness of what the story is trying to bring
-The story is all too familiar, and I kept getting vibes from the great movie Coco with the structure and everything it brings

Overall:

Yes, the film follows a formulaic Disney structure, even though it is not Disney. Yes, it does remind you of Coco a lot, and yes, it does seem to be a little rushed in some aspects. With all that said, it is still a worthwhile film to watch with your family. The Asian culture it brings with the great animation and authentic cast does bring in some good charm and fascination. To me, that is enough to make it a good movie, and something we can learn as well!!!

Real Rating: 4 Mooncakes

Love and Monsters

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Love and Monsters is surprisingly good, though predictable, it had thrills and a lot of heart!!!

Real Rating: 4 Radio Devices

What I Like:

-The film was better than what I expected, it has strong acting, a decent story, and a lot of heart, it had some good combination of thrills and romance which is rare nowadays
-The thrills with the fight against monsters is great, almost Jaws and Jurassic Park like, you’re on the edge of your seat when they are coming
-The dog, Boy, was probably the best acted dog since I Am Legend

The So So:

-The story has predictability, but the execution makes up for it, for a love story, it is different, but the qualities are something we have seen before

What I Didn’t Like:

-Michael Rooker playing the character, Clyde Dutton, and the girl Minnow were tremendous in their role and stories, but there was not enough of them, it was enough to really develop the protagonist in Joel, but I wish there was more of these cool characters, maybe in the sequel

Overall:

I thought I was going to hate this movie, but it ended up to be pretty good. It gave me the same vibes as Zombieland which I also thought I was going to hate, however, the characterizations and story were good and add the fact of a dystopian future in battling monsters really made it to a good movie. Who knows if it will do well enough to get a sequel, but I hope to see more of where this story continues!!!

Real Rating: 4 Radio Devices

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(Sidenote: The Secret Garden – If you have seen one version of this classic story, you have seen it all. The acting and the cinematography are fine. They took some liberties in their character development, but bottomline it is the same movie. Only updated!!!
Real Rating: 3 Gardens)

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Borat and daughter (strapped to truck roof) found by Georgia cops | Daily  Mail Online

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, though I get what this film tries to do, but I believe it still disgustingly glorifies everything that is really wrong in this country!!!

Real Rating: 2.5 Borat in Costumes

What I Like:

-There are some funny moments that made the first movie uniquely hilarious, that cringe worthy scenes that you can’t help but laugh
-There are also some great feel good scenes in this film, very small, but effective enough
-Maria Bakalova playing Borat’s daughter, Tutar, did a fine job in her role

The So So:

-The story is very unique and well thought out and I get what they are trying to do in exposing how this country is really is in a funny way sometimes, but even though they are getting exposed, I still feel like it glorifies them and it just makes me sad and angry instead of laughing at them, you really think these people really care how they are exposed in this movie? No they don’t, and that is scary for me

What I Didn’t Like:

-In the realm of comedy, especially involving Sacha Baron Cohen, it can get very offensive and to a point of disgust, to me this is not comedy, it just shows how wrong people can be in their beliefs even though they tried to make it right in the end, it still doesn’t look right

Overall:

I enjoyed the first Borat film because it was unique during the times where it was good. For this sequel it tries to expose how far this country falls off in a comedic sense. I wanted to laugh to laugh at it, but instead it just made me sad and angry in the times we are living now. It is extremely offensive and it can be upsetting even though it was suppose to make you laugh, but comedy can be really disgustingly bad. Needless to say, I did not enjoy it as much as the first film, but maybe in the future it can warm up to me. I hope!!!

Real Rating: 2.5 Borat in Costumes

The Trial of the Chicago 7

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The Trial of the Chicago 7 is Aaron Sorkin at his finest once again with a court drama with fine actors, it can drag at times, but it is something that is appropriate for these times!!!

Real Rating: 4 Contempts

What I Like:

-Aaron Sorkin has written another great story with great dialogue and great character development in this court drama, add to the fact that he directed this movie, which looks like he is getting the hang of it in his second go of it, but his masterful craft is written (literally) all over it
-Sorkin’s writing would be nothing without the fine actors executing his lines greatly, there was so many great acting but I would like to highlight Mark Rylance playing the defending lawyer, William Knustler, the yippies played by Sacha Baron Cohen and Jeremy Strong provided a lot of good comic relief, and Frank Langella playing Judge Julius Hoffman was interesting to watch
-Overall, the story based on a true event was really interesting to watch, with all the politics surrounding this story is something that is relevant today, the way things go down is something we can learn from, and if and when the day comes for a trial, hopefully the outcome can be even more significant

The So So:

-It is about seven protesters using the Democratic National Convention to protest against the war and their opposition with the police, but I believe some of the characters were more highlighted than others, like what was David Dellinger’s role in all this, why was he at the protest and fighting for what he believes in, I believe he was overshadowed, and the whole thing with the Black Panthers had their moments but in the end, didn’t really pertain to the main story

What I Didn’t Like:

-With Sorkin’s writing, it couldn’t save itself from all the political and law jargon that can make it drag at times, it may be great for people who are studying or studied law and political sciences, but for the average joe it may go way over their head and not understand what’s going on, it kind of did for me, and I had to research some things to get a better understanding on what’s going on

Overall:

It is a must watch film, because it deals with a theme that is going on right now in these times where tensions are at its highest. It is something you can learn from, and hopefully be inspired to fight for what is right. Kudos to Aaron Sorkin in making a good and effective film with great acting and some emotional impact, and making it entertaining as well. Yes, you may need to take some law classes to understand everything that is going, and some scenes can drag, but once you get through with that, it is a spectacle to see. It is on Netflix, so what do you have to lose? I believe this may have some Oscar buzz in the near future!!!

Real Rating: 4 Contempts