The Protege

"Theatrical release poster": A diagonal line features the faces of two men. In the middle of the poster itself is a woman, holding a gun. In front of her are the words "The Protégé" and the tagline "Made for vengeance".

The Protege may follow big tropes, but the action and acting keeps you engaged!!!

Real Rating:

3.5 Hidden Weapons

What I Like:

-The fight scenes is the most entertaining part of it, it didn’t need shaky cam or cgi, just some pure hand to hand gritty fighting, and gosh I loved that

-The acting was great as well, Maggie Q has the charisma to be a great woman action star, and I liked the mysteriousness of Michael Keaton trying to see if he is an actual villain or not, and of course you get the Samuel L. Jackson that we all know and love

The So So:

-There were some points in the action where it felt way too over the top, but it was so minor that you kind of forget about it, the explosions were appropriate, and the violence was well balanced, the execution of everything was spot on, and I give credit to Martin Campbell for that

What I Didn’t Like:

-The story is something we all seen and heard before, that revenge type of story, this time involving hitmen, or in this case a hitwoman, it did become predictable for the most part

Overall:

Yes it does have all those great revenge story tropes is old and done with, but the funness of it is the action and fighting. You have some great actors adding some charisma to all the action, and all you can do is sit back and enjoy it for what it is. Director Martin Campbell hasn’t lost his touch in his filmmaking, and I give him a lot of credit for making this work!!!

Real Rating:

3.5 Hidden Weapons

Sweet Girl

A man holding a weapon with cuts on his face walks alongside a young woman.

Sweet Girl had something going until the twist just lost everything it had!!!

Real Rating:

2.5 Jason Momoa’s Man Cries

What I Like:

-The beginning to this story was very intriguing, especially when you have Jason Momoa and Isabela Merced showing some good chemistry

-The fights and action were pretty intense and gritty, just the way I like it

The So So:

-I really liked the idea of a story on the corruption on pharmaceuticals, but then it lost its focus when it became a story of survival, only to come back to it in the end, it did suffer from it’s uneveness

What I Didn’t Like:

-Without spoiling it, the twist just didn’t make any sense whatsoever, it made M. Night Shyalaman twists look like cinematic gold, it just lost its focus, and pretty much ruined what it had going

Overall:

I love Jason Momoa, and his father/daughter relationship with Isabela Merced. I enjoyed the action and fights it brings. However, it all goes to crap with the twist and lost everything good it had going. I really wanted to see something, especially going against pharmaceuticals, but in the end, it all went away in a whimper!!!

Real Rating:

2.5 Jason Momoa’s Man Cries

Free Guy

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Free Guy may have started a little slow, but once it started to unravel, it became very thought provoking!!!

Real Rating:

4 Albuquerque Boiled Turkeys

What I Like:

-The best part was the unraveling of a story that became thought provokingly good, it does deal with many themes, but the best theme is questioning yourself of what is real and what is not, it practically took a book out of a story from Pixar, this time what if Non Player Character (NPC) have feelings


-The acting was spot on, Ryan Reynolds charm takes over big time as an innocent NPC named Guy who goes off his normal loop, I also enjoyed Taika Waititi’s character as Antwan, an eccentric CEO of the gaming company, I also enjoyed Lil’ Rel Howery’s character as Buddy, a naive security guard who does have a big heart

The So So

-The comedy hits sometimes, but I mostly give credit to Guy’s charm in making it work, some of the jokes were misses, especially at the beginning of the film, what really made me laugh was Antwan’s funny lines, and the surprise cameos as well

-Maybe it was suppose to be this way, but the action just looked way too CGI’d, but since it is a video game setting, I gave it a pass

What I Didn’t Like:

-It did started off slow for me, I wasn’t really laughing, and it could be because I saw the trailer so many times that it was expected to happen, it wasn’t until Guy started to put on the glasses that it really got going for me, but it took me a while to start really paying attention

-The rom-com parts was eye rolling for me

Overall:

It took me a while to get into it, but once the story starts it is actually a pretty good story to follow and enjoy. It does have some good writing, and it was perfectly casted to make it work. Ryan Reynolds charm makes it perfect for what the film is trying to show, and blend it in with comedy and action, it all started to flow well. This may be the biggest surprise hit so far for this year. It was better than what I expected for sure!!!

Real Rating:

4 Albuquerque Boiled Turkeys

Vivo

Vivo poster.jpg

Vivo is great in spurts, but overall, a little underwhelming with my expectations!!!

Real Rating: 3.5 Screams from Vivo (or Lin-Manuel Miranda)

What I Like:

-The one thing that stuck to me the most is the animation, the way they bring out Havana, Cuba, to Key West, to the Everglades swamp, an then South Beach Miami, was all very stunningly designed and the color pallet was beautiful


-The voice acting was great, Lin-Manuel Miranda as the kinkajou, Vivo, was awesome with good raw emotion, and having Latin musical geniuses in Juan de Marcos Gonzalez and Gloria Estefan, added a touch of authenticity to the Latin culture, especially in the music


-The overall culture in this film really shows bright, with the old school Cuban city atmosphere, and the Latin-American culture you see in Florida today, especially the Gen Z culture which added a unique point of view, it really brings out the different Latin cultures, especially for Latin Caribbeans, for some true representations

The So So:

-I do appreciate the music for the most part, hearing the Latin conga drums and maracas really had me moving with joy, with that said, the one song that stayed in my head is the most annoying song which is “My Own Drum,” the beat is good, maybe that’s why it stays in my head, but the performance by Ynairaly Simo is what annoys me, maybe it will grow on me, and that’s what scares me


-Storywise, I enjoyed the beginning with Vivo and his partner, Andres, seeing the passion in their music and the turn of events that lead to Vivo to deliver the song to Marta in Miami and the way that whole ordeal happen in the end was really heartwarming and emotional, however, the middle part of the film to me was a little run by the numbers story which fell flat, and some scenes were a little too outrageous, I believed the middle part of the story could’ve been a lot better

What I Didn’t Like:

-The approach of this film seemed to be realistic with a touch of fantasy, but the way things go down, it all seemed illogical to me, especially in the middle part of the film, I could list them, but it will make me sound like the Cinema Sins guy, so I will let him do that

Overall:

I went into this film with high expectations. While the animation and voice casting was spot on, the Latin representation was there and the music was good for the most part, it still could’ve been better. It was mostly the story part where it did seem rushed, truly outrageous, and illogical. I felt it could’ve been written a lot better. Maybe I set way too high of expectations for this film, but as a Latin myself, I do expect this to be good and perfect. Maybe Encanto would do that in the near future. As for Lin-Manuel Miranda and his music, keep doing what you do best!!!

3.5 Screams from Vivo (or Lin-Manuel Miranda)

Respect

Respect 2020 film poster.png

Respect is the typical old biopic formula, but Jennifer Hudson does kill it as The Queen of Soul!!!

Real Rating:

3.5 Backup Singers

What I Like:

-What made this fun to watch was seeing Jennifer Hudson immense herself into the role of Aretha Franklin, when she performs, you do sense the spirit of The Queen of Soul, and I really appreciate her acting portraying such an iconic figure

-The other acting was tremendous too, like Forest Whitaker playing her father, and even getting comedic actors playing dramatic roles and excel like Marlon Wayans playing Aretha’s first ex husband and manager, and Marc Maron playing record producer Jerry Wexler

The So So:

-It does follow that typical biopic formula where they try to put everything that happened in her life, but there were some powerful moments that really had some emotional impact

What I Didn’t Like:

-Because of the typical biopic formula, a lot of scenes were rushed, and not really explained at all, one quick example, what happened to her first two children, and many other unanswered questions that kind of affected the impactful flow of showing Aretha Franklin’s life

Overall:

All the credit I give for this film is Jennifer Hudson’s portrayal of Aretha Franklin. I enjoyed reminiscing some of her music, and learned a little but about her life. I appreciate it for what it is. If only it doesn’t follow the typical biopic formula, maybe this would’ve been something greater. Regardless, fans of The Queen of Soul will enjoy watching it!!!

Real Rating:

3.5 Backup Singers

The Suicide Squad

The Suicide Squad official poster.jpeg

The Suicide Squad is a bloody disgusting good time, it is James Gunn at his finest!!!

Real Rating: 4 Bird Killings

What I Like:

-When you give director James Gunn freedom, he will deliver a fun movie, and for this one, he made a fresher, funnier, and even more heartwarming than its predecessor, he pretty much combines Guardians of the Galaxy with the humor and fun action with Slither for the violence, gore, and weirdness, I give all the credit to him for a good film

-The acting was great as well, I didn’t know you can make Idris Elba into a funny actor, but it did happen, the character development was really good, and made you care about them , Harley Quinn was someone we all continue to love and adore, John Cena as Peacemaker was hilarious, I mean, even King Shark voiced by Sylvester Stallone was lovable, and even more impressive, I even enjoyed Polka Dot-Man

The So So:

-The story wasn’t all that great, but good enough to keep it engaging and moving, it was the character development that really made it fun, but in all fairness, a film with that many characters does make it hard to make it a good story, it was decent enough

What I Didn’t Like:

-The transitions where it moves the story from the past to the present made it distracting, but I am being nitpicky

Overall:

This is better than the first film, and you have to give all the credit to director James Gunn. He knew what the Suicide Squad characters need to work, and he made it happen. He knew it needed more violent and weirder, and also add the necessary character development to make us care for them. This is what happens when Warner Brothers doesn’t meddle with director’s creativity. You can add this to the upper echelon of DC Extended Universe movies, but it is not saying much. With all that said, it is another movie where you can sit down, relax, and enjoy it for what it is. A bloody disgusting good time!!!

Real Rating: 4 Bird Killings

Jungle Cruise

Jungle Cruise - theatrical poster.png

Jungle Cruise may bring some fun, but the campiness and derivative plot just wasn’t that good!!!

Real Rating: 2.5 Bad Puns

What I Like:

-The two leads between Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Emily Blunt is what kept this afloat, they were charming and funny, and gave great chemistry

The So So:

-The action it brings out was fun as well, they do tie in with the classic Disney ride, especially the bad puns, but the CGI looked bad, especially with the animals

What I Didn’t Like:

-The campiness was way too much for my liking, maybe it was supposed to be that way, but it was so over the top for me, and it was like that from beginning to end, it started to get irritating after a while

-The story was all too familiar, it reminded me a lot of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, only Pirates did it better, it got too derivative for Disney standards, and it got predictable at the tail end of it all, it just wasn’t that good

-In the ride they got rid of the natives animatronics, but they were there in the film, and honestly, I thought it was problematic, and Disney should’ve known better by now

Overall:

The Jungle Cruise ride is one of my favorite Disney classic rides, and there were a lot of expectations from me. It didn’t give enough nostalgia, and added the natives which is problematic. Also the bad puns was overkill even though the ride is like that. I expected it to be much better. The only good thing is the two leads that added a lot of charisma to this. I know Disney is trying to cash in on making rides into movies, but I don’t think it will be as good as the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Ah well, I guess the It’s A Small World movie may never happen!!!

Real Rating: 2.5 Bad Puns

Stillwater

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Stillwater suffers from an uneven tone, but the payoff of everything makes it an interesting watch!!!

Real Rating: 3.5 French Subtitles

What I Like:

-The acting was pretty good, most notably Matt Damon, playing Bill Baker, a blue collar worker from Oklahoma, his accent was actually pretty good this time, and being a fish out of water in France made it unintentionally funny
-The cinematography of Marseille, France was beautiful to see

The So So:

-The whole story of Bill trying to prove his daughter’s innocence from a murder is the most intriguing part of the story, seeing him trying to take things into his own hands whether it is ethical or not is intriguing and thrilling to see how it will all go down, but that was only the beginning and the end of the film, in the middle it was a completely different story, more of a romance story with Bill and a French woman he met, and his relationship with her daughter was heartwarming to watch, but it completely changes the tone of everything and it does mess with the flow of the story, at least it brings good character development and the ending ties up some loose ends in a very interesting way

What I Didn’t Like:

-During the whole romance and family thing with Bill does drag the story down a little bit, and can be quite slow at certain parts

Overall:

The parts that were thrilling was really good to watch. The whole romance and development part does drag a bit. When everything comes together, it was an interesting way to see how everything goes down. Let’s just say the ending will make you debate a little bit, and I like it when movies do that. Adds a nice touch for friendly banter after watching it.

Real Rating: 3.5 French Subtitles

The Green Knight

The Green Knight poster.jpeg

The Green Knight is a twisted tale where the acting was good, but the story was head scratching for me!!!

Real Rating: 2.5 Axes

What I Like:

-What really made the film watchable for me was the acting, I thought Dev Patel playing Sir Gawain was pretty good, and all the characters he come across with played their roles very well, and I also give a plus to adding a little diversity with the characters from the King Arthur stories

The So So:

-Cinematographywise, there were some great shots that had some good lighting that really brings out the art in the film, but I didn’t like when the scenes in the knight or in the castle were way too dark for me to see and enjoy, and there were a lot of those scenes which is distracting

What I Didn’t Like:

-I didn’t get the story in what it is trying to say, what was Sir Gawain’s journey really about, to be fair, I’m not too familiar with everything when it comes to the story of King Arthur, but director David Lowery really focused too much on artful scenes then telling the story, and in the end, I was confused in what just happened
-The King James language and the medieval writing made it even more confusing with me, and the reading parts go way to fast for me to see and apprehend

Overall:

I came into this film thinking we will have fantastical action and battles. However, this was more an artful retelling of one of the characters in the old King Arthur stories. It left me confused in what is really going on, and when it ended, I was more confused than ever. Bottomline, I didn’t get what it tries to portray. Instead it was just a weird movie with quirky characters. Maybe for some people they will enjoy it, but for me, it is just not my kind of film!!!

Real Rating: 2.5 Axes

Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins

Snake Eyes G.I. Joe Origins Movie Poster.jpg

Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins, may be decent in development, but the action can give you a headache!!!

Real Rating: 3 Silent Motorcycles

What I Like:

-I thought the character development for Snake Eyes was pretty good, it was intriguing and engaging for me to see how things will go down, and how he becomes the hero we all know today, it was actually entertaining
-Henry Golding playing the titular character was pretty good, and shows that Golding has what it takes to be an action star
-The mostly Asian diversity was a big plus as well

The So So:

-For director, Robert Schwentke, I did enjoy the artful cinematography and showing the beauty of Tokyo, Japan, but I question his action scenes, especially in the beginning, all that shaky camera work was so distracting and nauseating, that it made the Jason Bourne movies look like a silent film, I hated that part, and was asking myself, what the heck was Schwentke thinking in that that type of filming would be good

What I Didn’t Like:

-For all the good development for the character, the way the last part of the story went down into how he joins the G.I. Joe, and how Storm Shadow becomes bad just didn’t seem genuine enough for it to be effective, it just seemed like rushed fan service

Overall:

I liked for completely different reasons than I thought it was going to be before I watched it. I thought the action was going to be great, but the story would be subpar, but it was the complete opposite. The story and development was decent, but it was the action that I didn’t like. Regardless, Henry Golding as Snake Eyes was fun to watch, and it is important for this character to have a good Asian diversity. In that regard, it did is job. But as most G.I. Joe films, it didn’t exceed the ok range of their movies. It was still ok at best!!!

Real Rating: 3 Silent Motorcycles