Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Sidenote: Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey)

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Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom has a sense of realism that really is captivating despite your taste in blues music!!!

Real Rating: 4 A One, A Two, A You Know What To Do

What I Like:

-The acting was great, most notably Chadwick Boseman as the trumpet player, Levee Green, you can feel the character in his hope of being a famous musician and dealing with his past demons in his life, it all really felt genuine, I also enjoyed Viola Davis as famous blues singer, Ma Rainey, she is a diva, but I like how she has a purpose with everything that she does, it was fascinating to watch
-The dialogue in this film is great, hearing the conversations between the band members are some of my favorite scenes, talking about music, pride, racism, and their ego really took a page out of the Quentin Tarantino book of great dialogue

The So So:

-The story is basic, pretty much all it shoes is how recording during the 1920’s can be a complicated experience, if it wasn’t for the dialogue and character development, it would’ve been a basic movie

What I Didn’t Like:

-I didn’t care for the blues music, but that is just my personal opinion, which can be a drag for me, but I won’t take it away to the people who do like this genre of music
-Without spoiling it, the way this became a tragedy can be infuriating, so be prepared for that

Overall:

This is a fascinating movie with some great acting and character development of the music business in the 1920s. With Chadwick Boseman, I feel a posthumous Oscar may be coming which would be great. If you love blues music, you will enjoy this for sure. The dialogue is great, and that alone will entertain you for sure. The realism really makes you think without the heavy handedness that movies bring in regards to racism. It just makes you think, and some good thinking. It is a tragedy that can play with your emotional strings as well. Overall, it is a fine movie that I will highly suggest!!!

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(Sidenote: Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey – This is a very unique Christmas movie about a failing inventor who lost his spirit. It is a musical with some fun tunes and performances as well. It can follow the Christmas movie tropes, but I like how they give it a different spin than a regular Christmas movie which I appreciated. It is fun, and good for the whole family to watch on this holiday season!!!
Real Rating: 4 Evil Toys Voiced by Ricky Martin)

Songbird

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Songbird, when the premise doesn’t quite match the main point of the story!!!

Real Rating: 2.5 GPS Stalkings

What I Like:

-It is only produced by Michael Bay, but you can see his action scenes and cinematography all over it, for me, that is not a bad thing
-I also enjoyed the editing of real life to Iphone and Ipad scenes, it is kind of cool

The So So:

-The acting was good, but it did make it out to a Michael Bayish YA story, and that is scary to think about

What I Didn’t Like:

-It is one of the first, which I’m sure of many, films about the COVID-19 Pandemic, this time it leads to somewhat an apocalypse of quarantine and possible corruptness, but in the end, the movie was just a somewhat romance movie, a romance which I don’t really care for
-What I wanted to see is more of the corruption, why going to these quarantine camps is so bad, and why the higher ups act this way, didn’t show any of that and that is disappointing
-It also ended with a lot more questions from me, because there is a lot of plotholes it had

Overall:

Fans of Michael Bay may enjoy his craft which you do get a lot of. I just felt I got a little bit of false advertising looking forward to an apocalyptic CoronaVirus film with some corrupt people and action, but the most part was just a romance between to young adults. That is disappointing for me, because I didn’t care for that. I wanted to see more of the corruptness from politicians or what not. I didn’t get that as much as I wanted. Instead I had more questions because of all the plotholes. In the end, it could’ve been better, but what do you expect with a film that was shot and made in a couple of months!!!

Real Rating: 2.5 GPS Stalkings

The Prom

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The Prom may excel in music and cinematography, but the story could’ve been a lot more effective!!!

Real Rating: 3.5 Dance Floors

What I Like:

-I thought director Ryan Murphy really did a great job in making the movie musical beautiful, the color schemes were awesome, the musical performances were fun to watch, and the cinematography was excellent
-The music, for the most part, is enjoyable, it is not as catchy as other musicals but the song, It’s Time to Dance, is a good one for sure

The So So:

-The theme is about acceptance, which for the most part it has done its job, the only thing is that the ending felt very rushed in solving some of the character’s issues in what they are going through, I’m not going to spoil it, but we all know for acceptance to happen it will not happen overnight, especially in a small town in Indiana, it just tells me it is more about the show instead of the true message
-Also the character development really made some of these characters unlikeable, I get it that that is the point, but even the development felt rushed for the conclusion as well, it definitely needs more substance to make it real

What I Didn’t Like:

-As I said before, everything in the third act just felt rushed to a conclusion which makes it a happy ending of sorts, but let’s be real, these issues will not be solved that quickly and really missed out on giving an emotional powerful moment, it can be satisfying for some, but it could’ve been a lot better and it was a missed opportunity to hit the people upside their head about the message it is trying to bring

Overall:

It is great to watch for the art that this musical brings. The color and cinematography alone makes it amazing. The musical performances are fun with good tunes to listen too. Though the theme about acceptance is clear, I believe it could’ve been a lot better and fleshed out. It could’ve been a lot more powerful than what it brought. Instead, it was more of a good musical performance instead of a powerful emotional message. Yes, there is nothing wrong with a good musical performance which it does achieve, but they could’ve used their platform for something better instead of a rushed third act!!!

Real Rating: 3.5 Dance Floors

Safety (Sidenote: The Witches)

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Safety can pull your heart strings, but the subpar acting and formulaic story affects on getting over the mediocre hump!!!

Real Rating: 3 Clemson Tigers

What I Like:

-It is a sad but touching true story on the life of Ray McElrathby and his younger brother Fahmarr, you do feel for them and all the trials and tribulations they have to go through in their lives, it can tug your emotional heart strings for sure
-I did like one theme it definitely preaches upon, and that is the sense of community and helping each other out, in this case the Clemson University football team and surrounding area, it is nice to see people showing that they truly care about something

The So So:

-Even if it is a true story, it definitely fits the formulaic Disney story, with all that said, I ended up caring about these main characters, and seeing what will happen to them

What I Didn’t Like:

-The acting was subpar, you can tell with the characters of Ray and his girlfriend Kaycee, played by Jay Reeves and Corinne Foxx, that they are new in the acting business, they have some good moments, but for this film, it was almost Channing Tatum’s early acting career bad
-For a movie about sports, there was barely any football drama which was slightly disappointing for me
-Also, I get it that it is a kids film, but they could have gone deeper in the family troubles that the McElrathby brothers went through, and maybe go deeper in some dark themes where they just dipped their toes in the water, but that’s it, kind of a wasted opportunity because they played it safe

Overall:

This film is for what it is, a touching Disney film for the family to watch. It is not anything major and great, which could’ve been with a better story. The acting can be a little cringe worthy, and football fans will be disappointed with no football action. With all that said, it can still be a heartwarming and inspiring story about looking out for family and working hard to achieve your dreams, and having a supportive community. At least for that, it will be good enough to enjoy with your family!!!

Real Rating: 3 Clemson Tigers

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(Sidenote: The Witches – This is a remake from the 90’s cult classic. With the original film it had cool practical effects nad puppetry with creepy makeup and acting. In this film I enjoyed the better develop story and character development and diversity which the original film lacked. They do rely heavily on CGI, but honestly it wasn’t great CGI for me. At the very least you have some nice acting from Octavia Spencer doing what she does best, and definitely by Anne Hathaway playing the Grand High Witch. Overall, it is still fun to watch on this classic children’s book!!!
Real Rating: 3.5 Rats)

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