West Side Story (Sidenote: Bruised)

West Side Story 2021 Official Poster.jpg

West Side Story is everything you need in this classic, and, dare I say, it may be better than the original!!!

4.5 Sharks

What I Like:

-The original West Side Story is a classic, but I felt the story was more compelling and effective with their themes, I felt it more as a gang movie and felt the stakes were really high and raw with emotion
-The music and dance sequences to the classic songs were great, but the dancing did blow me away, especially during the school dance, it was riveting to watch
-The acting was great for the most part, but Rita Moreno is still a treasure to watch in her new role in this version of West Side Story
-Bottomline, Steven Spielberg created another classic, basing it off a classic, now that is hard to do, but the set designs, to the cinematography, and the choreography, it just all flowed well

The So So:

-Even though all the songs are great, I felt some of the songs were a little out of place, one big example is having the song, “I Feel Pretty,” after the rumble scene was very out of place

What I Didn’t Like:

– I still don’t like the love story aspect of it, it still seems dumb and unrealistic, and making it the focal point of the story just makes it even more dumber in my opinion

Overall:

Steven Spielberg put some passion in this remake of a classic musical film. If there was a film that needed a remake, it was West Side Story, and Spielberg fine tuned a lot of things and made a movie about two gangs less playful and more real. Dealing with the problem in New York in the 60’s like racism and gentrification, it dealt with a lot of raw emotion. The songs are still the same, but the new dances and skits was more awesome than ever. The acting and singing was good for the most part as well, and better representation as well. I hate the romance story which felt really forced, but if you forget that and just watch the movie for what it brings, you will not be disappointed. I will ask again, dare I say, this film is better than the original? I may think so!!!

Real Rating:

4.5 Sharks

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(Sidenote: Bruised – This directorial debut of Halle Berry and she also starred in it as a washed up Mix Martial Arts fighter. This is a dark story that involves abuse, alcoholism, and seeing families affected by these things. The first two thirds of the movies is interesting, but the last third of it was that good old cliched sports film. I am a sucker for these films, but this kind of reminds me of a Rocky wannabe!!!
Real Rating: 3 MMA Gloves)

The Power of the Dog

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The Power of the Dog would’ve been so much better if the pacing wasn’t so slow, but Benedict Cumberbatch’s acting can’t be ignored!!!

Real Rating:

2.5 Lassos

What I Like:

-Benedict Cumberbatch as a wealthy rancher named Phil, was interesting to watch, he was an arrogant jerk, but it was fun to watch him be a jerk, the other acting was fine as well seeing people become Cowboys
-There was something about the music that made it fun to watch as well

The So So:

-The story is very interesting, but the slow burn does peak your patience, the ending does make the story interesting, but it took a while to get there for sure

What I Didn’t Like:

-It was a slogfest, I fell asleep while watching this and I wasn’t tired, it had me asking, “get to the point,” and when it finally got there, I lost interest, cowboys shouldn’t be that boring

Overall:

The good story twist and fine acting made watchable, but the slow and steady slogfest had me falling asleep. If you want to see Benedict Cumberbatch as a jerk, this is the film. Who knows if this will
generate Oscar buzz, but if it does, I will going against it.

Real Rating:

2.5 Lassos

Belfast (Sidenote: Escape Room: Tournament of Champions)

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Belfast has a lot of good things in it, but even though the middle is slow, Kenneth Branagh’s vision is clear cut!!!

Real Rating:

3.5 Troubles

What I Like:

-When it gets tense, boy it was hard to take your eyes off of it, the riots and tense moments involving the family was as real as it gets
-Kenneth Branagh had a clear picture on how to tell this story, even though it is loosely based on his life, the execution of everything was remarkable
-The acting helped a lot too, especially getting real Northern Irish people to play crucial roles, most notably Ciaran Hinds playing the grandfather had some very touching moments

The So So:

-This had the case of a great beginning and end, but a mediocre middle, it does give character development, but to me, it wasn’t effective enough for me to care too much

What I Didn’t Like:

-Most of the middle part was focused on the little boy, and his acting is the best you can get with child actors, so it can be annoying even though he was a kid, but with child acting it is a toss up for sure

Overall:

Through all the wars, riots, and fire, there is a little story on family. Hearing their arguments on what to do during The Troubles in Northern Ireland is decent to watch. I give credit to Kenneth Branagh’s directing, and having the actors really express themselves. In the end, it is a decent movie for me,and I’m sure The Oscars will be calling!!!

Real Rating:

3.5 Troubles

Escape Room Tournament of Champions Movie Poster.jpg

(Sidenote: Escape Room: Tournament of Champions – I liked the first one, and this one is no different in regards to the crazy killing escape rooms. The story is definitely not great, and acting was subpar. However, we really watch this for the crazy killing escape rooms and not much else!!!
Real Rating: 3.5 Crazy Killing Escape Rooms)

Encanto

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Encanto does somewhat deviate from the Disney formulas to make a different but very cultural and fun story to see!!!

Real Rating:

4 Casitas

What I Like:

-The culture, Disney goes through a Colombian culture that is genuine and authentic, the characters are fun, and it has major diversity which is a plus
-What added to the diversity is the music which Lin-Manuel Miranda produced, it was fun and vibrant and emotionally good as well
-It goes without saying, the animation is great as well
-The great voice cast adds more to the authenticity as well, I mean, who knew Stephanie Beatriz and John Leguizamo could sing

The So So:

-What I do give it credit for is that for a Disney movie, it deviated from its formula, without spoiling it you have to see what I mean, however, and some parts of the story were still tropes, but not the major tropes that Disney does, but enjoyed the aspects of family and the pressures it come with it

What I Didn’t Like:

-It didn’t had the major adventure aspect which I expected and missed

Overall:

I loved for the culture and diversity. I may not be Colombian, but I appreciated the authenticity of a new culture it brings. The voice cast and music definitely brings out more of that culture. It does deviate from the Disney formula which is a good thing, but it did lack aspects which I expected and missed. Regardless, a great message about family is always huge in any Latin culture, and for that I will always appreciate it!!!

Real Rating:

4 Casitas

House of Gucci

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House of Gucci may have some cringy acting, but Ridley Scotts’ directing makes it entertaining enough!!!

Real Rating:

4 Gucci Loafers

What I Like:

-They did promote the clothing line Gucci big time, I actually wanted some Gucci shoes after watching the movie

The So So:

-There was some great acting, like Lady Gaga and Al Pacino, some so so acting with Americans or British people playing Italians like Jeremy Irons and Adam Driver, and there were some cringy ones like Jared Leto
-The story is a paint by the numbers biopic of sorts, but Ridley Scott’s direction kept it engaging and intriguing to watch from beginning to end

What I Didn’t Like:

-The makeup on Jared Leto was bad, it was very distracting as well

Overall:

It is an interesting story on how the Gucci family came to be, and how a family can really doom themselves. The direction of Ridley Scott made it engaging, and showing what Scott does best. Some of the acting was good, but also cringy. I’m sure the Italians will not love this at all. Regardless it is an entertaining film, and makes you want to buy some Gucci loafers for sure!!!

Real Rating:

4 Gucci Loafers

8-Bit Christmas (Sidenote: Pig)

A pile of people form the shape of a Christmas tree.

8-Bit Christmas may seem childish at times, but the real message is what’s special here that can remind you of the holiday classics!!!

Real Rating:

4 8-Bit Systems

What I Like:

-Everything was charming and heartfelt, from the story, to the actors, to the 80’s setting, all being that Nintendo was my first video game system, I could strongly relate to, and even laugh
-With all the adventure it has about one goal, the Nintendo, the real message in the end was what made it special, and remind you of the classic Christmas movies from before

The So So:

-David Cross as a inspirational person is as weird as it sounds, especially with what his character is in this film

What I DIdn’t Like:

-It is childish with a lot of their humor, not excruciatingly bad, but bad enough

Overall:

I thought was not going to like this film. Not even a big fan of holiday films. However, it did have relatable content that really made me enjoy it. It reminded me of the holiday classics like Home Alone and A Christmas Story. So I can honestly say, this represented my childhood in good ways. Once you get passed the childish humor, you find it charming and even inspirational. I’m glad that I watched this film, and you all should to with the family!!!

Real Rating:

4 8-Bit Systems

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(Sidenote: Pig – Start off by saying this is the best acting Nicolas Cage has done for the longest time. As for the film, it was not what I was expecting, but it is interesting. I don’t like when indie films don’t explain too much, but the emotion of everything is there. Just wish I could understand it a lot better!!!
Real Rating: 3.5 Truffles)

Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Lightning cracks from dark green clouds. People get out of a battered 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor Sentinel below and look on.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a pure nostalgic film, story is not perfect, but it is something every fan of the Ghostbusters franchise should watch!!!

Real Rating:

4 Stay Puft Marshmallow Men

What I Like:

-This one stays true to the lore of the original Ghostbusters film, even though it is a new cast and what not, the essence of the franchise is very much in tact, that’s why I say if you are a fan of Ghostbusters, you will like this
-The tribute to Harold Ramis as Egon Spengler is very touching and great

The So So:

-It is very, very nostalgic which I didn’t mind, but with a critical eye, it does have the Star Wars: The Force Awakens treatment, it is different but almost the same as the first movie in certain aspects, but with the comedy and the self awareness didn’t make it crindgeworthy

What I Didn’t Like:

-It does have some fan service that made my eyes roll, because of how forced it is
-Also, without spoiling it, there is one character that wasn’t in it that made me disappointed

Overall:

Ghostbusters fans will not be disappointed. This is a great trip through the memories of the franchise. It does provide great nostalgic moments, with a touch of comedy, and thrills to keep you entertained. After the reboot, it did seem like the franchise will be doomed. In this case, this is a true sequel to the franchise that is welcomed with open arms. It’s not the perfect movie, but it is an enjoyable one for sure!!!

Real Rating:

4 Stay Puft Marshmallow Men

King Richard

"Theatrical release poster": A father embraces his two daughters. Underneath them is the tagline: "Venus, Serena and a plan for greatness".

King Richard may be a formulaic sports biopic story, but the acting of Will Smith makes it a story with a lot more passion and soul!!!

Real Rating:

4.5 Tennis Coaches

What I Like:

-This film is really all about Will Smith, he immersed himself into his character of the father of Venus and Serena Williams, he gave a sports biopic film a lot of passion of a father desperately bringing up his daughters to be great tennis players, and the soul with his great speeches about life and hard work, I was in awe, and always knew Will Smith had a lot more to give
-I also enjoyed Jon Bernthal as tennis coach Rick Macci, you can see his eccentric passion as a coach and a person, and a different role for Bernthal that worked in every way

The So So:

-It is a typical sports biopic story, but I am a sucker for sports stories, I did enjoy seeing the upbringing of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams which their story is very unique, you can’t feeling nothing but happiness for these ladies and how they grew up into great woman and great athletes

What I Didn’t Like:

-I wanted to see more of the story, like when both of these ladies got into the pros and how that felt like

Overall:

Will Smith being a father sacrificing everything for what’s best for his daughters, yet pushing them to be not only great athletes but great people is awesome to see. Forget for a second about the formulaic sports biopic story. Look at it as a parent knowing what their kids are capable of, and learning himself how to be inspirational in more ways than one. That is what Will Smith brought to the table, and I hear the Oscars calling on this one loud and clear!!!

Tick, Tick… Boom!

A young man sits at a piano with a spotlight shining on him

Tick, Tick… Boom! had some fine acting in Andrew Garfield’s part, even though it was interesting at first, it sort of fell flat for me in the end!!!

Real Rating:

3 Show Tunes

What I Like:

-Andrew Garfield was fine playing music theater writer, Jonathan Larson, I didn’t know he could sing, but not only did he nailed that, but really immersed himself into his character and captured Larson’s essence
-I thought Lin-Manuel Miranda as the director was decent, he really did make a film but a stage set as well which worked pretty well for this type of film

The So So:

-It started out interesting, seeing how a musical show gets started and put into form, but after a while, I started losing focus, and probably because musicals are not my thing

What I Didn’t Like:

-This musical is also a biopic on how Jonathan Larson got started in the business, but it is pretty formulaic, not that inspiring for me, and overall not interesting enough, I was more interested in his friends’ story more than him

Overall:

I’m not a musical guy. Let alone, I haven’t seen Rent. For me to like a musical, it has to grasp my attention fully. Unfortunately, this musical film didn’t really do it for me. I respect what Andrew Garfield has done, and also the direction of Lin-Manuel Miranda. However, the story just wasn’t interesting enough for me. With that said, I believe fans of musicals and this one in particular may enjoy it a lot more than me. Bottomline, it is not my cup of tea!!!

Real Rating:

3 Show Tunes

Red Notice

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Red Notice is not a good movie, but the three leads were entertaining enough to endure from beginning to end!!!

Real Rating:

3 Eggs

What I Like:

-It was watchable because of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, and Gal Gadot, their charisma and chemistry with one another was entertaining, plus the comedic chemistry with The Rock and Reynolds was pretty funny

The So So:

-The film story is dumb, but at the very least it is self aware of the dumbness and tropes that happen, that is what made it entertaining enough, knowing that it doesn’t take itself too serious makes it work
-Some of the action scenes were great, while others seemed way to green screened

What I Didn’t Like:

-As I said before, the story is a huge mess with so many tropes, even the big twist at the end wasn’t that great, it was whatever really

Overall:

If this film didn’t have their three leads, it would’ve been a terrible movie. Plain and simple. With that said, the self aware comedy and some of the fight scenes, and since it is on Netflix, it was tolerable enough to watch from beginning to end. I could be nitpicky and point out a lot of things, but in the end, it is a movie available on livestream, and that is that!!!

Real Rating:

3 Eggs