Godzilla: King of the Monsters

GodzillaKOTM

Directed By: Michael Dougherty
Starring: Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Ken Watanabe, Ziyi Zhang, Bradley Whitford, Sally Hawkins, Charles Dance, Thomas Middleditch, et.al.
Rating: PG-13
Grade: B

When his ex-wife and daughter are kidnapped while researching a way to control the Titans studied by the group Monarch, Dr. Mark Russell agrees to rejoin the group in order to spearhead the search for them. Soon learning that his ex-wife and daughter, Emma and Maddie, went willingly, and are plotting to wake all of the Titans from their hibernation, he begins to search for a way to help Monarch stop Emma and the mercenary she’s joined forces with from activation all of the Titans around the globe. However, when Ghidorah, one of the Titans awakened, accelerates the plan to release the others, Monarch must call upon Godzilla to defeat him and rein in the other Titans that have been unleashed.

The third movie in Warner Bros. renewed MonsterVerse, King of the Monsters brings one of Godzilla’s more well-known foes, Ghidorah, to the screen. While the plot itself is somewhat uninspired, it does get some points for attempting originality. If they had really wanted something original, they could have had the monsters mysteriously waking on their own, instead of the somewhat tired “mankind is the real monster” plot that was present in Kong: Skull Island, and nearly every other monster movie in existence. That said, it’s still a fun movie to watch, and the actors all work well together. Charles Dance does surprisingly well as a slightly menacing, apathetic bad guy.

The special effects are excellent in quality, and the background filler isn’t noticeable.

Anyone who enjoyed 2014’s Godzilla or Kong: Skull Island should enjoy this installment as well. Those looking for action-packed monster movie so they can turn their brain off for a couple hours should like it, too. The plot is simple enough to follow that it doesn’t require express attention, and it’s interesting enough that it shouldn’t become too boring on rewatch.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters is currently only available free to stream if you have HBO, but it can be rented through Redbox or Netflix home delivery, or purchased at any participating store or on-line/digital retailer.

 

I’m always looking for new things to watch/read, so if you have a suggestion for me, just let me know!

Child’s Play (2019)

ChildsPlay2019

Directed By: Lars Klevberg
Starring: Tim Matheson, Aubrey Plaza, Gabriel Bateman, Mark Hamill, David Lewis, Brian Tyree Henry, Carlease Burke, Beatrice Kitsos, Ty Consiglio, et.al.
Rating: R
Grade: B-

When a customer returns a defective Buddi doll, struggling single mom Karen begs her boss to let her take it home for her lonely son, Andy. Shortly after the doll is activated by Andy and named Chucky, it begins to display strange, even violent behavior toward the people and things Andy dislikes, including the family cat and his mom’s boyfriend, Shane. When Shane is mysteriously murdered, Andy becomes suspicious of Chucky, and attempts to dispose of the doll. However, Chucky is determined to remain with his best friend, and goes on a violent rampage in an attempt to keep Andy as his, and only his, friend.

A remake of the 1988 movie of the same name, this version updates the plot for the modern era, and takes away the supernatural component of the original. Instead of a doll possessed by the soul of a killer, it’s manufactured with the safety protocols removed by a disgruntled employee of the factory where the dolls are made. The actors all do well with their roles, and Plaza and Bateman are believable as mother and son. Aside from some obvious jokes from Henry’s character about being a black person in a horror movie situation, the writing is decent, and Hammill had proven in the past to have the capability to sound menacing.

The special effects appear to be decent in quality, and any background filler isn’t noticeable.

Die-hard fans of the original may not like this version, but casual horror fans will probably enjoy it, though the scene involving implied violence toward the family cat may turn off animal lovers. The story is simple enough that you don’t need to play close attention, and interesting enough that it shouldn’t become too much of a bore if watched more than once.

Child’s Play (2019) is not currently available free to stream through providers, but it can be rented through Redbox or Netflix home delivery, or purchased at any participating store or on-line retailer.

 

I’m always looking for new things to watch/read, so if you have a suggestion for me, just let me know!

Overboard (2018)

Overboard2018

Directed By: Rob Greenberg
Starring: Eugenio Derebez, Anna Faris, Eva Longoria, John Hannah, Swoosie Kurtz, Mel Rodriguez, Josh Segarra, Fernando Luján, Cecilia Suárez, Mariana Treviño, et.al.
Rating: PG-13
Grade: B-

After spoiled, rich playboy Leonardo dismisses struggling, overworked mom of three Kate and gets her fired from one of her jobs as a cleaning lady, he gets drunk and ends up falling off his yacht into the ocean. The next morning, he wakes up on shore, and is brought to the hospital where he’s diagnosed with amnesia. His sister, seeing an opportunity to get her brother out of the way, and get a position in the family company she feels she was overlooked for, she decides to leave him where he is. When Kate, still reeling from Leonardo’s treatment of her, learns that he’s in the hospital with amnesia, she lets her friend convince her to pretend to be his wife in order to get some of the help she desperately needs if she wants to finish nursing school, and also get revenge for his treatment of her. As time passes Kate begins to have second thoughts, and also finds herself falling for him. When Leonardo eventually regains his memory, he finds he must choose between the easy life he was raised in, or the life of hard work he found with Kate and her children.

This remake of the 1987 movie of the same name follows the same basic plot, only with the gender roles reversed. It also follows the basic rules of nearly every other romantic comedy out there, making it a fluffy, harmless way to pass 90 minutes of your time. One thing that was changed from the original is that Kate seems to have reservations about what she’s doing the entire time, despite the fact that she does go through with it. Derebez and Faris have pretty good chemistry, and all other the actors work well together. There are some parts with Leonardo’s family that are exaggerated to resemble a telenovela/soap opera, but that’s likely just to mirror the fact that a couple of the characters are obsessed with those types of shows.

There don’t appear to be any special effects, and any background filler isn’t noticeable.

This movie will probably appeal to anyone who likes romantic comedies. The story is actually enjoyable, and doesn’t require tons of attention. Though there are several sequences in Spanish that you might want to pay attention to, at least the first time you watch it.

Overboard (2018) is currently available to stream through Amazon Prime and Hulu, and it can be rented through Redbox or Netflix home delivery, or purchased at any participating store or on-line retailer.
I’m always looking for new things to watch/read, so if you have a suggestion for me, just let me know!

Sorry to Bother You

SorryToBotherYou

Directed By: Boots Riley
Starring: LaKeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Steve Yeun, Danny Glover, Jermaine Fowler, Omari Harwick, Terry Crews, Kate Berlant, David Cross, Patton Oswalt, Armie Hammer, et.al.
Rating: R
Grade: B-

Broke and living in his uncle’s garage in Oakland with his artist girlfriend, Cassius Green gets a job at RegalView, a local telemarketing firm. While there, he finds that he’s not having much luck selling the product, until an older coworker suggests Cassius use his “white voice” when speaking with customers. After an employee meeting, Cassius is told by a coworker that one of the firms’s biggest clients is a company called WorryFree, which many people believe exploits slave labor, and in an effort to keep his uncle from signing up with the company, Cassius begins using his white voice when dealing with clients until he is promoted into the higher ranks of the firm, where he learns that WorryFree is the least troubling client the firm handles. After alienating himself from his friends, Cassius attends a party at home of WorryFree’s CEO, where he learns a terrifying truth about the company, and becomes determined to bring both WorryFree and RegalView down.

I’m not gonna lie: I didn’t really get the movie the first time I watched it. That was entirely my fault, though, since I didn’t know exactly what I was getting into when I watched it. I was expecting a strait comedy where a head trauma somehow transports a telemarketer into a strange alternate universe instead of the slightly surreal social commentary where Cassius’s bandaged head isn’t much of a plot point. The story itself is interesting, and makes you wonder about some of the bigger corporations out there. It’s a little off-centering to have the strait man as the main character, but you get used to it. All the actors work well together, and they all seem to be having fun with the material. Stanfield and Thompson have a believable chemistry.

The few special effects there are seem to be okay. There’s some stuff toward the end that’s a little iffy, but I think it’s because they tried to mix practical and CGI. Any background filler isn’t noticeable.

This movie won’t appeal to everyone, but as long as you know what you’re getting yourself into, it probably wouldn’t be a waste of time to watch it at least one. Just keep reminding yourself that it’s not supposed to be entirely laugh-out-loud funny, though there are some parts, mostly the stuff involving Armie Hammer, that reach that mark. If you do decide to watch the movie, you’re going to want to pay pretty close attention. I didn’t the first time I watched it, so I wasn’t really sure what was going on half the time.

Sorry to Bother You is currently available to stream through Hulu, and it can be rented through Redbox or Netflix home delivery, or purchased at any participating store or on-line retailer.
I’m always looking for new things to watch/read, so if you have a suggestion for me, just let me know!

Kin

Kin

Directed By: Jonathan Baker, Josh Baker
Starring: Miles Truitt, Jack Reynor, Dennis Quaid, Zoë Kravitz, James Franco, Carrie Coon, Ian Matthews, Gavin Fox, Lily Gao, Michael B. Jordan, et.al.
Rating: PG-13
Grade: B

Desperate to help his dad make some extra money, 14-year-old Eli Solinski sneaks onto the site of an abandoned building hoping to find something he can salvage. When he gets there, he finds dead bodies and strange weapon. Startled when someone dressed like one of the bodies approaches him, Eli steals the gun and heads home to find his adoptive brother, Jimmy, has been released from prison early. After Jimmy discovers that he owes a gangster $60,000 for protection while he was in jail, he attempts to ask his father, Hal, for the money. When Hal refuses and kicks him out, Jimmy decides to take the money from the safe at his father’s construction business, but they are soon discovered, and gunfight ensues, killing Hal and the gangster’s brother. Scared, Jimmy takes Eli on the run across the country, where they’re pursued by gangster, as well as the mysterious figures from the warehouse, who are looking for the gun Eli stole.

Despite the muddled, slightly confused storytelling, this movie isn’t actually half bad. At times, it almost feels like an origin story for a dystopian YA novel, while at others, it’s simply a cross-country caper with a sprinkling of science fiction spread throughout. While it’s unlikely to ever garner a sequel, this movie feels incomplete, like it cut off right as the real story was emerging. I’m actually insanely curious as to what the rest of the story is; however, that could just be my inner nerd rearing its ugly head. The acting isn’t fantastic, but it’s not terrible either. James Franco chews on scenery most of the time he’s on screen, and Zoë Kravitz’s character seems to have been shoehorned in to appeal to teen boys, since she serves no real purpose until the very end.

The special effects look pretty good, and the background filler isn’t really noticeable.

Anyone who doesn’t mind a little sci-fi mixed into their action/thrillers (or vice-versa) should enjoy this movie. As stated before, it’s not actually that bad, when viewed as part of the larger picture it seems the writer/directors were trying to paint. Though, at times, the sci-fi angle seems like a bit of an afterthought. Perhaps it would have been better-received if they’d simply chosen a genre and ran with it, instead of throwing the two into a blender and making the most of what came out.

Kin is currently only available free to stream if you have HBO, but it can be rented through Redbox or Netflix home delivery, or purchased at any participating store or on-line retailer.
I’m always on the lookout for new things to watch/read, so if you have a suggestion for me, just let me know!

Dora and the Lost City of Gold

DoraLostCity

Directed By: James Bobin
Starring: Isabela Moner, Jeff Wahlberg, Eva Longoria, Michael Peña, Eugenio Derebez, Madeleine Madden, Nicholas Coombe, Danny Trejo, Benicio del Toro, et.al.
Rating: PG
Grade: B

Raised in remote jungles by her explorer parents, 16-year-old Dora is in over her head when they suddenly decide to send her to live with family in America so she can attend high school and learn to be a regular teenager. However, on a class field trip, Dora, her cousin Diego, and their classmates Sammy and Randy are all kidnapped by people looking for her parents and the fabled lost City of Gold they’ve spent most of Dora’s life looking for. With the help of an old colleague of her parents’, Dora sets out to find them, and the fabled city, before the bad guys can get what they’re after.

Having never seen the cartoon series this movie is based on, I can’t make any comparisons regarding the quality. From an outsider’s perspective, however, the movie is actually pretty good. The storyline works, and the younger actors all do well with the material, and manage to keep pace with their adult counterparts. The dialogue can get a little clunky and ham-handed, and at times Dora seems annoyingly naïve, but that’s more likely from an attempt to keep it on par with the source material. Despite that, it’s still an enjoyable movie.

The animations for Boots and Swiper are a little cartoony, but that could be on purpose. Aside from that, the special effects seem decent, and the background filler isn’t really noticeable.

This movie should appeal to most kids, as well as just about anyone who doesn’t mind an action/adventure geared towards a younger crowd. With a fairly simple story, it’s easy to follow, and there’s enough action and humor to keep it interesting. About the only things that might take adults out of the movie are the (occasionally) talking animals and a sequence animated to look like the cartoon show, which seemed slightly out of place in my opinion.

Dora and the Lost City of Gold is not available free to stream at the moment, but it can be rented through Redbox or Netflix home delivery, or purchased at any participating store or on-line retailer.
I’m always on the lookout for new things to watch/read, so if you have a suggestion for me, just let me know!

The Shallows

TheShallows

Directed By: Jaume Collet-Serra
Starring: Blake Lively, Óscar Jaenada, Angelo Josue Lozano Corzo, Joseph Sallas, Brett Cullen, Sedona Legge, Pablo Calva, Diego Espejel, et.al.
Rating: PG-13
Grade: A-

Struggling med student Nancy goes on a surf trip to Mexico to find a beach her mother also surfed on. While there, she surfs a few waves with some locals, but wanting to catch more waves, stays after they leave for the day. After swimming further out to open water, she stumbles upon a shark feeding off a whale carcass and finds herself being targeted by it. After tending to her injuries, Nancy finds herself running out of time as she desperately tries to alert anyone she can to her presence, and also keep them from being attacked by the increasingly aggressive shark stalking her.

As far as ticking-clock thrillers go, this is one of the better ones made in recent years. The plot is well-paced, and Blake Lively, who is on screen for pretty much the entire movie, does well with the material. Shark attack movies are usually a dime a dozen, so finding one that stands out is a rare occurrence. The limited number of people in danger likely helps with this, as the survival of the main character is what makes the movie one of either tragic loss or triumphant survival. It’s also not entirely outside possibility that a shark would target a single wounded person who encroached on their territory, and ultimately the most unrealistic plot point is that Nancy doesn’t lose her leg.

The special effects are fairly well done, with the shark looking mostly realistic, and the background filler isn’t noticeable.

Action/thriller fans should enjoy this movie, though those with a fear of sharks probably won’t. With a decent script and real consequences, this is one of the better shark attack movies that have been made somewhat recently, and it’s even worth spending the money on a purchase for future watching, as it seems like a good movie to rewatch when you’re bored.

The Shallows is not available free to stream at the moment, but it can be rented through Redbox or Netflix home delivery, or purchased at any participating store or on-line retailer.
I’m always on the lookout for new things to watch/read, so if you have a suggestion for me, just let me know!

Not Another Happy Ending

NotAnotherHE

Directed By: John McKay
Starring: Karen Gillan, Stanley Weber, Iain De Caestecker, Gary Lewis, Henry Ian Cusick, Freya Mavor, Kate Dickie, Amy Manson, et.al.
Rating: NR
Grade: B-

After the surprise success of her debut novel, author Jane Lockhart has everything she could ever want: fame, fortune, a great boyfriend, and the return of her estranged father. However, despite this, she finds herself unable to complete the final chapter of her second book. When her delays go on for weeks, her publisher, Tom, decides that the only way she’ll be able to finish the book is to make her as miserable as she was when she wrote her first one. As he executes his plan, Tom finds that his meddling has one unintended consequence: he finds himself falling for Jane.

In the realm of romantic comedies, this appears to be pretty standard fare. There aren’t any twists, though there is a fake-out or two. It follows the boy meets girl, boy and decide they don’t like each other until they realize they do formula that many of its predecessors do. I enjoy Karen Gillan as an actress, and she does a serviceable job as a writer struggling with a block. She and Stanley Weber have a decent chemistry with each other, and Iain De Caestecker’s Roddy works well as the comic foil to Tom’s straight man.

There don’t appear to be any special effects of note, and the background filler isn’t noticeable.

Those who enjoy Hallmark’s brand of easy, slightly-predictable rom-coms should enjoy this movie. There’s a bit of language, and some non-frontal nudity that might put some people off, but all in all, it’s a cute, harmless movie for anyone looking to turn their mind off for an hour or so.

Not Another Happy Ending is currently available free to stream through Amazon Prime and Tubi TV, and it can be rented through Redbox or Netflix home delivery, or purchased at any participating store or on-line retailer.
I’m always on the lookout for new things to watch/read, so if you have a suggestion for me, just let me know!

Bushwick

Bushwick

Directed By: Jonathan Milott, Cary Murnion
Starring: Dave Bautista, Brittany Snow, Angelic Zambrana, Jeremie Harris, Myra Lucretia Taylor, Alex Breaux, Arturo Castro, et.al.
Rating: TV-MA
Grade: C+

Grad student Sophie and her boyfriend get off the subway in her neighborhood to visit her family, and they find themselves in a literal war zone. When her boyfriend is killed, Sophie attempts to make her way to her grandmother’s house only a few blocks away. After a run-in with some local thugs, Sophie meets Stupe, a retired veteran trying to make it to his family in Hoboken, and begs him to accompany her to find her family. Finding her grandmother dead, Sophie heads to her sisters, where they manage to capture and interrogate one of the invading militia men, who tells them that several of the US states have declared their intention to secede from the Union, and that the attack on Bushwick was meant to soft-target invasion to pressure the president to sign the secession papers. Armed with this information, Sophie, her sister, and Stupe attempt to gather a group of people to fight back and make their way to a safe evacuation point at a nearby park.

When taken at face value, this isn’t a bad movie. It was a relatively low-budget feature, and they did the best they could with what they had, though you get the sense that with a proper budget, they could have made a fantastic cautionary tale. Bautista and Snow make the most of what they’re given to work with, which sadly isn’t much. The two have a decent chemistry nonetheless, and work well together. One fun fact: a majority of the movie takes place in one long shot (or at least is edited to give the appearance that it does).

The special effects are okay, and from what I could tell, the background filler isn’t noticeable.

Action fans with 90 minutes to spare should enjoy this. The plot isn’t overly complicated, and as long as you don’t mind a melancholy ending, it’s actually a somewhat enjoyable popcorn flick. Despite the nature of the film, there isn’t much blood or gore, and it mostly gets its rating from language and one suggestive scene, so it should probably be okay for kids to watch along with their parents.

Bushwick is currently available free to stream through Netflix, and it can be rented through Redbox or Netflix home delivery, or purchased at any participating store or on-line retailer.
I’m always on the lookout for new things to watch/read, so if you have a suggestion for me, just let me know!

Prospect

Prospect

Directed By: Christopher Caldwell, Zeek Earl
Starring: Sophie Thatcher, Jay Duplass, Pedro Pascal, Luke Pitzrik, Arthur Deranleau, Andre Royo, Alex McCauley, Doug Dawson, Krista Johnson, et.al.
Rating: R
Grade: A-

Teenage Cee and her father, Damon, have a contract to harvest a large deposit of a rare gem from a toxic alien planet. When their landing craft is thrown off-course, they must hike to the location of the deposit. As they make their way through the forest, they encounter a pair of bandits looking for the same gem on the planet. After her father is killed in the confrontation with the bandits, Cee makes a tenuous pact with the remaining bandit, a man named Ezra, who offers Cee a potential way off the planet in exchange for a portion of the haul. Together, Cee and Ezra make their way across the forest, fighting the various dangers and obstacles they come across as they trek to the location of the gem deposit.

This movie is among the rare, slow-burning sci-fi movies that manage not to be a complete bore. The storyline itself is rather simple, and is one seen in plenty of Westerns made over the years, it just so happens that the movie takes place on an alien planet instead of the western United States. The atmosphere itself is slightly eerie, and definitely feels like an alien planet. Sophie Thatcher does an excellent job as Cee, and makes the character seem like she’s desperate to hold onto as much of her youth as she can while being forced to grow up. She and Pedro Pascal work well together, and have a decent chemistry that doesn’t come off as skeevy.

There don’t seem to be too many special effects, but the ones present are well done, and any background filler isn’t noticeable.

Fans of sci-fi should enjoy this movie, as should fans of dramatic thrillers who don’t mind a small dose of science fiction mixed in. While you might want to pay a little closer attention the first time you watch, this movie is good enough to warrant repeated viewings, and shouldn’t annoy anyone watching it more than once.

Prospect is currently available free to stream through Hulu, and it can be rented through Redbox or Netflix home delivery, or purchased at any participating store or on-line retailer.
I’m always looking for new things to watch/read, so if you have a suggestion for me, just let me know!