Reviews

‘Captain Marvel’ Review

When you’re going to these movies for the mid-credit scene, maybe it’s not a great sign.

Carol Danvers becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races


The good old MCU. The most reliable thing in Hollywood today, maybe in the history of Hollywood. It took them just over 20 movies to have their very first female-led superhero flick. Enter Brie Larson and her portrayal of Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel. You can always count on an MCU movie to do two things; make a ton of money, and seriously divide nerd culture. From the very get-go, I truly wasn’t on board with Brie Larson suiting up in the MCU. She’s a fine actress, an Oscar winner, and has been a staple in Hollywood for years now, but something just didn’t click with me. After seeing the movie, I personally think she lacked any sort of charisma and her whole performance was very vanilla. In a world where Marvel has perfected casting, I just think they could have found someone more suitable. She doesn’t come across as Captain Marvel or even a superhero. Where RDJ, Evans, and Hemsworth are literally walking incarnations of their characters. I think the main reason I’m not down with Captain Marvel is that for the last 12 years we have watched our Marvel heroes struggle time and time again, they have lost so much. Scarified, over and over again. After the events of the Infinity War, people were legit shook. Now, Captain Marvel is dubbed the most powerful person in all of the MCU and she will be very much responsible for defeating Thanos. Which seems so unearned, actually it is so unearned and it doesn’t even seem fair to be honest. She almost gets a happy ending, and we don’t really know where she’s been and why she has decided to wait until everything legit went to shit to show her face. This movie did a terrible job at telling us why she has been gone. In fact, she tells Nick Fury “only for emergencies.” I think aliens invading Earth through a massive portal in New York wasn’t a large enough emergency.

I just felt this whole movie was a 90s nostalgia trip, that was needed in order to have this girl in our lives before the events of Endgame play out. I even took some flack online saying I felt this was one of the weakest MCU origin films we’ve gotten. A huge blockbuster directed by a woman, starring a woman is fantastic, but that doesn’t mean you can’t talk about its flaws or be honest with how you feel about it. It’s Sunday on its opening weekend and it’s sitting with the 6th highest global opening ever with 455 million dollars, this movie is going to be fine. It’s just not what I wanted it to be. The only great aspect of this film was Sam Jackson’s and Brie Larson’s onscreen chemistry, it was actually quite fantastic. De-aging him worked really well, they should be doing this in more movies. But Jude Law is an utter waste, as one of the weakest MCU villains Yon-Rogg. You get Jude Law in your movie, you should make the most of it. Ben Mendelsohn plays Talos, and he was finally put in a great role. After a few duds in a row, it’s amazing to see him back in a fun role. I just felt the movie as a whole was choppily made, and for being so powerful, I didn’t think we even got a “cool moment” from her.

Just not a whole lot happens in her first outing, we don’t know why she decides to do what she does and really anything about her. And now we have to sit back and watch her take over the MCU? I have zero emotional investment with this character, and that’s a shame really. She doesn’t even lose anything in the movie. I just wanted it to be over so I could see the lead into Endgame. And the mid-credit scene was dope, but my biggest question after all of this. How will she interact and fit in with the rest of our heroes? Most of them might not be around at the end of Endgame, but still, she’s on the main building blocks in the MCU going forward. Even though I disliked her origin flick, I think in a group, Brie Larson could shine. I’ll find out soon enough, and I’m hanging on with the littlest of hope that this will be the case.

Overall, Captain Marvel falls in the middle of the pack for MCU movies, I’m dialing back some of my critiques of the film because I do think overtime Brie Larson can grow into this role. She’s got a lot to prove to me in Endgame, I just think it’s not right and so unearned that she gets to come in now and be the hero. I hope this is all handle so well next month. I just think it fell short of my expectations

Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – Captain Marvel = 67/100

Reviews

‘Alita Battle Angel’ Review

It might not make a whole lot of sense, but Alita: Battle Angel is one impressive feat. Visually stunning, some of the best visuals I’ve seen in recent memory. Must be seen on the biggest screen possible. This movie kind of kicks a ton of ass.

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A deactivated female cyborg is revived, but cannot remember anything of her past life and goes on a quest to find out who she is.


When you walk into the movie theatre and two words flash on the screen, those two words can get any movie fan excited. James Cameron. He’s kind of a big deal when it comes to Hollywood, and creating some of the most spectacular films this world has ever seen. So when he was attached to Alita: Battle Angel, I became very interested. Not knowing anything about this property, like zero, and that’s kind of rare for me, I was worried I wouldn’t really be invested, but after seeing the movie, that wasn’t the case at all. With a strong female character, that you root for the entire time and get behind the moment you meet her. Themes about what it means to be human, the war that goes on between the rich and the poor, and female empowerment. There’s a lot to digest here, but there are moments of a pure adrenaline rush, and some of the best visuals I have ever seen. You really need to see this movie in IMAX, because I was blown away.

Now, all of these great aspects of the film aren’t completely beaten down by a god awful script and a love story that had no business being in a movie like this. This is the type of movie where every single person is talking in exposition, no one really has a normal, everyday conversation. It can get tiresome in moments, but sometimes the exposition is needed, to explain this complicated story of sorts. For someone who has no prior knowledge of any of this, it was nice to be caught up within the first 20 minutes or so. The film as a whole is so engaging because everything you’re looking at is beautiful, you’re immediately swallowed up by this world. Alita is also chalked full of legit movie stars. That’s why I’m shocked the script wasn’t worked on because when you get this kind of talent, you want to make the most of it. Alita who was played so wonderfully by Rosa Salazar, in a powerful role kind of blew me away. Christoph Waltz who plays her mentor/father-figure was his usual awesome self. They had great chemistry together, and it was the tent pole for the entire movie. Throw in Mahershala Ali, who plays the villain Vector. He doesn’t have a whole lot to do, but the guy is so charismatic and is just so damn good, he didn’t need much to do. Jennifer Connelly, who I feel like I haven’t seen her in any giant blockbuster in a long time. Then a bunch of terrific actors and actresses playing some kick-ass cyborgs.

The cyborgs are the best part of the entire film. They are sleek and a ton of fun to watch on the big screen. In this world, there is a sport called Motorball. It’s kind of like Rollerball, but way more violent and much more badass. When this incredible Motorball sequence gets underway, I was sucked in. I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen and I didn’t want it to end. It’s sports mixed with cyborgs killing each other. They should honestly make a Motorball spin-off. I had no clue this whole aspect was even in the film, I had no clue what Alita was about, the trailers felt so vague, but I was intrigued. I feel like they could have marketed this movie so much better because it had a terrible first weekend at the box-office. I don’t understand the reviews either. It always blows my mind when movies kind of drop the ball when it comes to trailers and promoting their movies. This campaign could have been unbelievable and really showcased a ton more. They didn’t need to make the love story the focal point of the trailers, because that is the least compelling part of the entire film.

When you have James Cameron attached to your project, you know visually it will be stunning. The guy is the master of creating stunning visuals on the big screen. But this movie could have been so much more. I waited a few days to write this review because I wanted to really think about it. I want to see it again, and I almost didn’t see this movie at all. I think Robert Rodriguez is a very competent director, I loved Sin City, and this was right up his alley. This movie isn’t flawed because of its direction. But overall this movie does kick a ton of ass when it wants to, and it isn’t completely bogged down by the stupid love story. Alita is a warrior, and one of the cooler female characters we’ve gotten in a long time. I feel like no one was really talking about this before it came out, and I don’t know anyone who has seen it. Well, get your butts to the theatre and support this thing because I want a damn sequel.

Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – Alita: Battle Angel = 77/100

Reviews

‘Cold Pursuit’ Review

Mr. Plow that’s his name, that name again is Mr. Plow, and he’ll kill ya.

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A snowplow driver seeks revenge against the drug dealers he thinks killed his son. Based on the 2014 Norwegian film ‘In Order of Disappearance’.


When I sat down to watch Liam Neeson’s latest action flick, I didn’t expect it to open with a quote from Oscar Wilde. Took me by surprise is all. It feels like just yesterday that Taken was coming to theatres and everyone was so curious how it was going to work. Mixing Liam Neeson an action star together, well it made quite the cocktail and it was a recipe that was recreated many times afterward, some being successful, others, not so much. He has gone on record to say this was his finale in the action genre, well until a dump truck full of money arrives at his house, but if this was his swan song to the action world, I didn’t mind it. Certainly, this isn’t better than Taken or The Grey, but if I were to rank all the action movies he has been in, this might fall into third place. I just thought the action blended nicely with the dark humoured that was sprinkled in throughout the film. That’s the thing, Cold Pursuit was really funny at times, I think it would have been even funnier if I saw this in a crowded theatre, seeing how laughter in contagious.

Cold Pursuit knew exactly what type of movie it wanted to be. I always respect films like that. It knew its identity and role and followed that formula to a tee. The premise is insane, but the execution was wonderful I thought. A lot of people die in this movie, and each one gets their own “in memoriam” when it happens, which played into the whole black humour aspect again. It’s about a man who plows a single stretch of road everyday then suddenly becomes an assassin. At one point, when his brother asks him how does he know how to kill a man, Neeson calmly responds “I read it in a crime novel.” That was good enough for me. It’s always a ton of fun watching Liam Neeson kill thugs and bad guys, that’s why these movies are always semi-successful. Over time it can ware you down of course, but this movie was a little different, and it was nice not seeing him stuck on a plane or train.

There’s an excellent kid performance (Nicholas Holmes) and a super over-the-top cheesy villain played by Tom Bateman. Everyone kind of knows the type of movie they’re in and everyone is really going for it. Something that I admired about the film. Even Laura Dern shows up for a bit. She might say 20 words the entire film? Laura Dern, coming in and just saying 20 words, it took me by surprise, it really did. I was never really bored, I was interested because of all the different characters they throw at you, each of whom have a hilarious nick-name. Another great trope, all the nick-names for the thugs, it really added a nice layer to the film. But obviously Neeson is the star, and we spend a lot of time with him. He doesn’t want to be a bad guy, or even really hurt people, but when you lose a son, what are your other options? He was pushed over the edge, and when a man breaks, sometimes there’s no stopping him. When he kidnaps a young boy, it almost turns comedic, because he’s not doing it for money or to harm the kid, and they end up becoming buddies, and the kid actually ends up liking him more than his real dad. I was just taken aback by the amount of times I found myself chuckling.

There isn’t a whole lot to say about Cold Pursuit, you’re either going because like me, you enjoy watching Liam Neeson kick all sorts of ass. It’s simple, you don’t go to this movie for the plot or great character development, you go for some laughs and to watch an old man beat the living hell out of some punks. I’ll give Emmy Rossum and John Doman some credit. They play the local cops and whenever Rossum was on screen, she just made an adorable little cop, who wants to take down the big drug lords, while Doman gave zero you know what’s about anything. I just thought they had terrific chemistry together. She needs to be in more things, I’ll just say that.

All I know is I’ll miss this side of Liam Neesons career, but it’s been a fun ride. Something no one saw coming and something we will all miss dearly.

Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – Cold Pursuit = 65/100

Reviews

‘GLASS’ Review

GLASS offers a semi-lackluster end to this trilogy. Where we find M. Night Shyamalan stumbling moments before the finish line. A disappointment to say the least.

hero_glass-image“Security guard David Dunn uses his supernatural abilities to track Kevin Wendell Crumb, a disturbed man who has twenty-four personalities.”


Before I dive into my GLASS review, the latest M. Nighy Shyamalan hero flick, which is the conclusion to his superhero world-building trilogy. Now when Unbreakable first came into our lives all the way in 2000 Shyamalan was still hot in the sheets. It wasn’t until much later when he started to falter and people noticed that he could be a very hit or miss director. It was a fantastic origin story in a world that was grounded but where the idea that superheroes could exist. That was it though, the story of David Dunn and Elijah Price was over, and no one had the faintest clue that 16 years later David Dunn would reappear in our lives. At the end of Split, the story about Kevin Wendall Crumb and his 24 different personalities, David Dunn was reintroduced back into our lives. That was the Shyamalan twist we have all come accustomed too. 16 years later, we got a -pseudo-sequel that rocked our lives and we found out that Shyamalan had secretly been building his own MCU.

The courage it must have taken that man, the leap of faith he was willing to take. 16 years later and he expects the viewers to not only accept this revelation but to enjoy it. That is so crazy and such an insane risk that you have to give the man some credit. Not only is it mind-blowing the whole twist, but it also makes you wonder how long he sat on this for? Split was a great movie on its own, but when the camera panned onto David Dunn sitting in that diner and it open pandora’s box, you realized just how special the whole movie is. Critics and fans alike love to dump on this man, but he has brought us all so many fantastic films, but I feel sometimes he is his own worst enemy. My biggest takeaway after watching GLASS last night is simple. If he had this grand scheme, this masterplan to turn Unbreakable into a trilogy, I just thought the ending would be pulled off with better execution. He was ahead of the competition in a mile race and fell flat on his face moments before the finish line. It just doesn’t make sense to me, after all the time between the first two movies, I just thought he truly had a special story he wanted to tell the world. He had so much time to prepare. Poor execution down the stretch, he let a big lead slip away, it’s almost terrible coaching at this point. This movie is going to divide movie fans for a long time, there will be so many think pieces written about it. GLASS isn’t a terrible movie, it’s being let down, not getting what you wanted, I guess? This isn’t his worst film, not even close, but this was number FIVE on my most anticipated list of 2019, and it will be lost in my memory in a few short weeks. I wanted so much more from this film, and he didn’t give it to me.

All three leads are great in their respected roles. Bruce Willis, Sam Jackson, and James McAvoy all bring their best stuff. It feels like GLASS is more of a Spilt sequel than an Unbreakable sequel. A ton of time is spent with finding out more about Kevin and his personalities, also the biggest reveal of the movie centers around Kevin and is “origin.” I was pretty locked in the first 20 minutes, spending the majority of the time with David Dunn and his son Joseph (Spencer Trent Clarke). Who reprises his role from Unbreakable which I thought was really cool. I wanted more of David being Batman and Joseph serving as his Alfred and hunting down criminal punks. Anya Taylor-Joy is back as the damaged girl next door Casey, who is trying to rid the beast from Kevin’s mind, and Charlayne Woodard is back as Mrs. Price.  The lovely and very talented Sarah Paulson joins the cast as Dr. Staple who is trying her best to tell our three heroes that the world doesn’t have super-powered beings, but rather all of this is occurring in their minds. When we get introduced to Dr. Staple at Ravenhill Psychiatric Hospital that’s when the movie starts to lose its footing. Much like the two previous films, GLASS can be a slow burn at times, but just nothing was really happening, and when everything finally came together, the conclusion just fell apart completely. All this set-up and it just felt so unsatisfying.

In classic M. Night fashion there a few twists and turns along the way, none of which really took me by surprise or made me go “oh my god.” This was something I wanted to happen, just when they all hit you in the face, they were a letdown. I thought he would have planned this out better, but this is the story he wanted to tell us all and I respect him for that. I know audiences and people will be disappointed in this film. Some people are really going to love it, all the themes about superheroes and how the world views them and would treat them if they really did exist is an interesting concept to dive into. M. Night pours his heart and soul into his projects, his last three films have been self-funded. He cared so much about all three of these great characters and wanted to give them a proper ending. I just think he cared a little too much and it could have clouded his judgment. I won’t ever knock a film-maker for their decisions, but I can be upset that something didn’t meet my expectations or even come close.

GLASS is a really tricky film to score because I think if I stood on its own, the reception it was getting would be totally different. Being part of this much larger universe comes with all sorts of weight and expectations. When it’s all said and done, I don’t think this is the film people thought they would be getting. So you have to judge the film as a larger quantity than it actually is because it’s part of a much larger scope. I’m having a hard time deciding if I liked GLASS or I hated it. Maybe it’s a movie that needs multiple viewings. I love all the main characters and I wanted their stories fleshed out more, especially that of David Dunn. At the end of the day, I feel bad for M. Night, because I know he wanted this to be accepted by the masses, and I have a funny feeling after a great opening weekend, GLASS will struggle to make money. With it being financed by Shyamalan himself, he’s already looking a profit, I dunno, I just wanted to walk away being blown away and loving this movie. Such a tough movie to digest, because of the many themes and layers and trying to get through all of that. Will be without a doubt one of the most polarizing films of 2019, a line in the sand will be drawn and you will argue with people on the internet for weeks, or at least I will.

Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – GLASS = 66/100

 

Reviews

‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ Review

Barry Jenkins follows up Moonlight with another incredible tale. This time it’s the power of love which drives this emotional journey which sees a wrongfully convicted man struggle with missing the birth of his son.

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“A woman in Harlem embraces her pregnancy while she and her family struggle to prove her fiancé innocent of a crime.”


Barry Jenkins took the world by storm in 2016 with his ground-breaking hit Moonlight. Winner of Best Picture, after the whole wrong, envelop fiasco. Now I don’t want to know the amount of pressure that must come with trying to follow-up the Best Picture winner, but Barry Jenkins got back in the saddle quickly and now just two years later here we are with If Beale Street Could Talk. When you have climbed the highest mountain, how can you possibly repeat that feat? I think it’s remarkable that some individuals have won multiple Best Pictures, and I believe that someday Barry Jenkins will join those ranks. Beale Street was an enjoyable experience, it’s full of hope and a ton of despair. When something unexpected comes between two people in love, how far are they willing to bend before they break? When the law is out of their control and the justice system is so corrupt, how do you cope with losing the person you love most? All of these themes are explored, and it felt so real, it hit hard, and it hits hard often. In a world where this goes on daily, you seem to forget just how good you have it sometimes.

Beale Street thrives on the chemistry between its two stars. Tish (Kiki Layne) and Fonny (Stephen James). Their performances are so authentic, you can feel the passion between these two, even in the subtle glances they give one another. They both carry the film so well, and with that perfect on-screen chemistry, it makes you more invested in their love story. When characters on screen don’t have fantastic chemistry, it can take you out of the picture, but when two people who are pretending to be in love, actually feel in love, the possibilities are endless. So kudos to Barry Jenkins on handpicking these two cast members, because without them, without their journey together, this whole thing simply does not work. When their world gets turned upside down, you want them to figure this thing out, you know just as much as they do, that they belong together. The aesthetics are wonderful, the costume design, the set pieces, it transports you to a place, that might not seem beautiful but the characters and the colors around them make it so. Every outfit that Tish wore was so bright and full of life and it suits her character, who never gives up and is such a strong young independent woman. Gorgeous cinematography that will look even better on the biggest screen in your city. Some of the close up shots are truly breathtaking.

Mix in one of, if not the best supporting cast in a 2018 movie. From the lovely Regina King, who will most likely be nominated for best-supporting actress come Oscar season. Brian Tyree Henry, who shows up for 15 minutes but fills the box-score to the max. He is without a doubt one of the best-underrated actors working today and had himself one hell of a year. Rounding out the perfect assemble, Colman Domingo, Pedro Pascal, Deigo Luna, and Teyonah Parris. Sometimes getting a large actor or actress to just be in a very small scene, can do wonders for your film, and that is the case here. So much talent and when they are shown in such a small sample size, that role feels so much bigger than it should.

In my opening remarks, I mentioned how hard it must be to try and follow-up something so incredible as Moonlight. It can cause you to look at the next thing differently, hold it to the highest standards which isn’t always fair. I found myself doing this through Beale Street, and I kind of hated myself for it. I wanted to like Beale Street more than I did, simply because I kept thinking of Moonlight. The score is beautiful, the most emotionally charged pieces of music in film this year. I think I just wanted to like Beale Street more than I did. It falls under the best 20 films of the year, but when the trailers dropped I imagined it could fall into my top 5. Barry Jenkins is still a force to be reckoned with, and I can’t wait to see his next project.

Check ya later

Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – If Beale Street Could Talk = 77/100

Reviews

‘Aquaman’ Review

The newest entry into the DCEU is pretty shiny, but all that glitters is certainly not gold. One of the most imaginative and visually stunning movies of 2018. Aquaman is a ton of fun, but the movie lacks a solid foundation.

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Arthur Curry learns that he is the heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, and must step forward to lead his people and be a hero to the world.


So, Arthur Curry, I hear you can talk to fish? For as long as I can remember, Aquaman has kind of been treated as a joke in the comic book world. People mostly thought he was a punchline and wasn’t really capable of doing much other than talking to fish. When Geoff Johns reinvented the character with his spectacular New 52 run in the comics, he managed to do something that really had done before him, he made Aquaman cool. In fact, it’s one of the best New 52 runs that you can read, and I highly recommend it, if you’re a fan of comic books. I say this because the new Aquaman movie is very much influenced by this run. When we first met Aquaman back in Justice League, Jason Momoa certainly was a scene stealer and people certainly wanted to see more of his character and especially Atlantis. We dive right into the sea and the lost city of Atlantis, but at the end of the day, I felt Aquaman lacked a solid foundation and at times felt like a big old mess.

When you go through the Rolodex of Hollywood stars, you will come across certain actors and actresses that people just want to see. No matter the movie, good or bad, audiences will come out in herds to watch them. Jason Momoa is now one of those stars. He has so much charisma, and he’s so likable, that it really makes disliking Aquaman a difficult task. James Wan’s Aquaman is so colorful, at times it reminds me of Avatar underwater, mixed with a little bit of Star Wars. This is a large scale movie, with incredible action-packed sequences. But when all of this stuff isn’t going on, it was hard for me to stay invested in Aquaman. It has one of the worst scripts for a super-hero movie that I can remember. There’s a clear difference between being a cheesy film and flat out having a piss-poor script. I understand what James Wan was going for, making this an over-the-top cheese-fest, but sometimes if you want to be taken seriously, especially after your title character has been a running joke, maybe that wasn’t the best way to go. For all the stuff I disliked, there was also a ton of good and a lot of building blocks for future installments.

Much like her co-star, Amber Heard is perfectly cast as Mera. She might not have the best material to work with at times, but she’s giving it her best, and her character is one of the coolest in all of the DCEU so far. In a movie about water, being able to control water is a unique thing to watch. Her chemistry with Momoa is great, and it’s what carries the whole movie. If these two were the stars of the show, this could have been something truly awful. But when your two stars are so damn likable and they fantastic on screen together, it will be the driving force behind your film. When you toss in two kick-ass villains with Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen), who I couldn’t finally wait to see on the big screen and King Orm (Patrick Wilson), who is always a treat to watch. Both of these baddies are top-tier DCEU villains, and I’m glad we got to see them on the big screen. It’s a shame we don’t get to see them share the screen together, but that will come in due time. My only complaint is the lack of actual Black Manta in the film. I thought his character design was damn near perfect, although I thought he needed a bigger helmet! In a world where comic-book villains can lack motive and in all honesty backstory, King Orm was a nice change of pace. I would almost say he is an anti-hero. His world, the oceans have been getting abused for over a century by the land, and well he’s sick of it. It’s not difficult to understand where he is coming from and why he would be so upset. Nicole Kidman as Queen Atlanna was again one of the best aspects of the film. Watching her kick so much ass was a surprise to see and at times pretty shocking. That is not the Kidman I know, so seeing her in this role and her execution was flawless.

When you decide to get out of the shallow end and dive deep into the vast oceans, you might have wished you brought a life-jacket. The entire story feels rushed and muddled and held together with wet tape. Even someone as talented as William DaFoe and the almighty Dolph Lundgren can’t save this film. I will say that Dolph Lundgren was so enjoyable to watch, and the scenes he was part of, were what I wanted the whole movie to be. Tonally, the film flip-flops so much, where it doesn’t know what it wants to be. One minute we have a tense and emotional action set piece, which is followed by Pit Bull singing Toto’s Africa. When a large movie like Aquaman can’t decide what it wants to be, the moviegoer will have a hard time figuring out how to react. At least that’s how I felt.

The DCEU has been a bumpy ride, to begin with, all sorts of missteps and shortcomings and now Aquaman, which will end up being the highest-grossing DCEU movie ever, says a lot about where we are within the DC Universe. Visually, this is what I wanted from Aquaman, I just wanted a little more meat on the bones. James Wan does hit a home run with all the visual spectacle going on, but I wish there was a little more detail to the plot and the story he was telling, then making things so bright and colorful. Because I’m getting to the point, where as much as I want something so beautiful to look at, I also want a great story to be told. That’s what separates the great comic-book movies to well the duds. This is not a dud, and I did have fun with it, but is it so hard to ask for a little bit more and more polished script? I still remain hopeful for the future DCEU movies, and I know they will take what worked with Aquaman and improve on what didn’t for the sequel. Jason Momoa shines as its star and we can all thank Zack Snyder for casting him in this role because it simply doesn’t work without him.

Check ya later.

Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – Aquaman = 66/100

Reviews

‘Bumblebee’ Review

The days of the Michael Bay Transformers movies is over. Bumblebee is a breath of fresh air, a heartfelt adventure from start to finish. It’s ET meets The Iron Giant.

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On the run in the year of 1987, Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town. Charlie, on the cusp of turning 18 and trying to find her place in the world, discovers Bumblebee, battle-scarred and broken.


You know that old saying right. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Well, what about five times? Okay, maybe just four. But since 2007 we have gotten five Transformers movies, all of which haven’t been met with the most positive reviews. The problem was, these movies were the definition of box-office gold. Gold Jerry, gold! The world had finally had enough after Transformers: The Last Knight, which bombed at the box-office, the studio execs over at Paramount decided it was time for a change. I’ll admit that I really enjoy the first Transformers and think it still holds up, but after four really bad sequels, I believe it kind of gets looped in with the rest of them. This isn’t about those movies, not anymore, it’s now about everyone’s second favorite Autobot, Bumblebee.

When the screen faded to black after all the previews and commercials, we are instantly transported to Cybertron, and let me tell you this. Not only is this the best opening scene of any movie in 2018, but it could be the best movie sequence in 2018. It’s everything us fans have wanted since 2007, it was Transformers perfection. Seriously I can’t stress enough how incredible the first 15 minutes of Bumblebee is. Travis Knight is responsible for directing this new addition to the Transformers universe, or maybe it’s the reset button on the whole thing, no one knows quite yet. Coming off Kubo & The Two Strings, people were giving this movie a chance. They played it smart, they scaled down the destruction, they simplified the plot, and they made the Transformers fun again. Bumblebee is an 80’s callback, which they love to remind the audience about every few minutes or so. I was okay with that, it doesn’t take away from the movie at all, and all the references were incorporated nicely. Unless you want to be a prick about things and say certain songs hadn’t be released before the summer of 87, then yeah go ahead a do that.

So Bumblebee takes place in the summer of 87′. He has fled Cybertron in hopes of setting up a base on Earth. He takes refuge in a junkyard and has been in hiding. Until Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld) finds him on her birthday and is able to take her home with her. She soon finds out that the yellow beetle is more than meets the eye. Steinfeld is a fantastic lead, much like Shia LaBeouf in the first Transformers, she’s quirky, and plays off Bee really well. Transforming in front of her very eyes, Charlie at first doesn’t know how to react but quickly realizes that much like herself, her new friend is scared and alone. You see, Charlie is a bit of an outcast herself and has secluded herself away from her friends and family ever since her Dad died from a heart attack. So this is kind of like a match made in heaven. Charlie helps Bee find his voice, while Bee helps Charlie feel like herself again. This is where the movie feels like an 80’s adventure. I mentioned ET and The Iron Giant, and honestly, that is like the perfect marriage. A lot of hijinks ensues, involving a large robot trying to fit into tiny places. Charlie eventually crosses paths with Memo (Jorge Lendeborg JR) literally the boy next door who helps Charlie and Bee keep safe from Sector 7 and Agent Burns (John Cena). Did anyone else know John Cena was in this movie? Because I couldn’t see him – sorry had to make that joke. In his first real big Hollywood role, I thought Cena was fine. In fact, he was pretty great in some scenes and provided a lot of the comedic relief in the film. He made for a formidable foe. The real standout villain in my mind and someone who wasn’t even in the movie, it was the voice work by Angela Bassett who voiced Shatter. Give some credit to Justin Theroux as well who voices Dropkick, her Decepticon side-kick.

Unlike preview incarnations where it was really hard to see the action going on in front of you, Travis Knight managed to make the action easy to follow. That was always one of the nitpicks with previous movies, you could never tell who was fighting who or just what the hell was going on. When our robots are throwing down, it’s fun to watch, and they were able to improve on something that was already awesome to watch on the big screen. All of the music is great, and the score is even better. Without a doubt, one of the best scores of 2018. Everything just flowed so well, the pacing is near perfect and the movie hits all the right beats. Emotionally and physically, when you wanted action, you got it, and when you just wanted to watch Bumblebee do stupid things, you got it. There’s a scene where he tries to tee-pee a house, and it’s hilarious. I just found myself having a good time throughout, something I have wanted to do with all the Transformers movies. They brought it back to its roots, and it felt like the 80’s cartoon come to life. If you have been disappointed with the other movies in this franchise, this will put a smile on your face, and if you have enjoyed them, guess what? This movie will put a smile on your face, it’s kind of a win-win situation here. I really hope this is the start of something special and the overhaul this franchise needed. Can’t say enough good things about Bumblebee.

Check ya later

Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – Bumblebee = 91/100

 

Reviews

‘The Mule’ Review

Say what you want about Clint Eastwood. The man is 88 years old and directs a movie every year, that’s so impressive. The Mule won’t be everyone’s cup of tea.

A 90-year-old horticulturist and Korean War veteran is caught transporting $3 million worth of cocaine through Illinois for a Mexican drug cartel


Regrets. I feel like Clint Eastwood has a lot of them. After watching his latest flick, The Mule, it felt pretty apparent that there are some underlying tones between his character in this movie and the real-life Clint Eastwood. It was almost like he wanted to use this project to tell the world that maybe he wasn’t always the greatest father or the worlds best husband during his life. When you start peeling back all of the layers of this film, when you get to its core, it’s about a man dealing with his family and all the regrets he feels about them. Yes, he still is an old-cranky white racist man, but after living on this planet for almost a century, what can you expect. Also remember that these are just characters he plays, and there’s a fine line between real life Clint Eastwood and the man we see on the big screen. Clint keeps on making movies, he was born to do so, and whether you agree with the person he is, the matter of the fact is, he is an 88-year-old man, who makes a film every year. What will you be doing when you’re 90? What are most 90-year-old people doing? Certainly not this.

So Earl Stone (Eastwood) isn’t a family man, in the first few minutes of the film he misses his daughter’s wedding in order to attend a flower convention. Earl loves flowers more than his family, he’s an incredible gardener and he’s well respected in that community. He enjoys putting the time into these flowers and watch them blossom into something beautiful. Something his wife points out, that he would rather watch his flowers bloom into something beautiful, while he stands by and watches his family die. He feels more comfortable among those people than he does around his own family. One of the themes of The Mule definitely is that “Millenials” ruin everything. That they don’t know how to do much, whether its how to change a tire, or deal with simple day-to-day tasks. It comes up so much throughout the movie, they really beat you over the head with it. In fact, Earl says at the beginning of the movie which takes place in 2005 that, “the internet, who needs it.” Well, the internet ran his flower business out of town, when we meet up with Earl 12 years later. All he wanted to do was provide for his family, “the most important thing is family.” Something Earl doesn’t realize until much later in life. So when his grand-daughter Ginny (Taissa Farmiga) is getting married, he meets one of her friends who said, if he ever needs some cash to give this number a call. You see Earl is 90 and he’s never had a parking ticket in his life, in fact, his entire record is squeaky clean. So Earl gets thrown into the life of a drug mule. He’s pretty much the perfect cover, and when he starts doing a great job, Earl very quickly becomes the cartels best and most reliable mule. Again, this is all about family, Earl is taking a serious risk, being tracked by DEA agents Bates (Bradley Cooper) and his partner (Michael Pena), and having to deal with well, the cartel.

You are going on a road trip with Clint, you spend a ton of time with him in his car, listening to him sing a various sort of songs, and I actually enjoyed this aspect of the film. As he keeps making these “runs” he soon figures out that he has bitten off way more than he can chew. But when he is able to help his community by re-opening his favorutie bar and pay for the open-bar at his grand-daughters wedding, Earl feels like this new gig is helping those most important to him. I wish we found out a little bit more about his past and why he is so distant with his family, missing one wedding couldn’t be all that he had done. That was one aspect I wish the film touched on because if the whole movie is going to circulate around this theme and this idea, it would have been more enjoyable if we knew just a tad more. Because when things between his family ultimately get better due to unfortunate circumstances that moment doesn’t feel as powerful as it could have. Clint is top-notch throughout, he played such a gentle, kind old man, but who also won’t take any shit from anyone, and toss in a pinch of racism. He has this charm, where Mexican cartel thugs learn to love him almost instantly and become his friend. Watching them teach Earl how to use a cell phone and text is quite funny.

Performances are great across the board, you can really tell how much Bradley Cooper admires Clint Eastwood, some even say he would love to be this generation, Clint. I’m pretty sure Bradley even let his Jackson Maine (A Star is Born) accent slip in a few scenes. Since Clint does make a movie every year, he can be really hit or miss, but I thought The Mule was another notch on his good belt. It surprised me in certain areas and I honestly thought I knew the whole movie before I even saw it. Tonally I don’t think it matched the great trailer, but that’s the job of a trailer, to sell you on a movie. I could have used more emotional beats, especially in those scenes that I felt could have been much more emotionally charged. With all that being said, I had fun with The Mule, and it’s one of Eastwood’s best films in recent memory. He has a great connection and chemistry with Cooper and I hope they continue to make movies together because I think Eastwood is going to outlive me.

Check ya later

Nate’s Movie Tour Review – The Mule = 73/100

Reviews

‘The Favourite’ Review

Yorgos Lanthimos newest outing which centers around 18th Century British Royalty is simply a delight. It’s Barry Lyndon meets Animal House

the-favourite-movie.jpg

“In early 18th century England, a frail Queen Anne (Colman) occupies the throne and her close friend Lady Sarah (Weisz) governs the country in her stead. When a new servant Abigail (Stone) arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah.


So this evening Nathan headed to the cinema. I planned on seeing Clint Eastwood’s newest film The Mule, but when I arrived the show was sold out. I hadn’t come all this way for nothing and I wouldn’t leave the theatre without seeing something. I reviewed all my options and settled on The Favourite. It has been generating a ton of positive buzz lately and was just nominated for 5 Golden Globes. I figured it was time for me to sit down and enjoy some 18th Century British hijinks. Now in my opening remarks, I said this was a mixture between Barry Lyndon, which portrays the British as eloquent, pristine and very proper. Where Animal House is one of the greatest comedies ever made and depicts the life of living in a fraternity. Well, 18th Century Britain was somewhat like that, well if you had money and were royalty. This movie really loves to critique and poke fun at British royalty. The Favourite opens up with a few laughs and then quickly you are transported to a room that has duck racing, that’s right you read that correctly, duck racing. Watching a room full of men wearing wigs, and knitted skirts cheering madly for ducks was something to behold, and it was at that precise moment that I knew I would enjoy The Favourite. Unfamiliar with Yorgos’s work, I haven’t seen The Lobster, I knew nothing about his directing style, but after sitting through this, I know I like it very much. He’s a fan of the idiosyncrasies, where each one of his characters has their own little traits and quirks, which makes them who they are. I rather enjoyed this aspect of the film, and it just felt fresh to me, again not being immersed in his work beforehand.

This is a cat and mouse movie. It depicts a love triangle between our Queen Anne (Olivia Colman), Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz), and Abagail (Emma Stone). It has all sorts of backstabbing, manipulation, and some good old fashion, “I’m going to straight up poison you pranks”. Each of these ladies, who are all so terrific, and I hope to see them all nominated for Oscars. They all have their own quirks as well. Queen Anne is stubborn and needs attention, but at the same time, she cares for her people and more importantly those that she loves. Lady Sarah is calculated, always making sure that she is two steps ahead of the enemy and anyone standing in her way. You see she and the Queen have a secret romance, that is until her Cousin Abagail shows up and asks for a job. Abagail is cut-throat, her trait, she’s a two-faced bitch. This movie reminded me of a rom-com which two men vie for the same woman and try to one-up each other, by doing this that means you sometimes have to get your hands dirty. Along with these three spectacular characters, the costumes and set pieces almost come alive themselves. They bring so much life and energy into this film, and for me, that was the best thing about it. It felt like you were being transported back to the 18th century, but here’s the kicker, it felt very modern. The way everyone was speaking, their mannerisms, it all felt very present-day to me. Which I found to be just super effective. There’s even a dance number, which felt like it was ripped from a Step Up film. A little on the nose, and after doing some digging, I think that’s Yorgos’s style. Nicholas Hoult plays Harley and my god, he’s marvelous. His comedic timing and his subtlety were brilliant. He works for the Queen but they don’t always see eye-to-eye with one another. I haven’t really seen this side of him, he’s not really known for this comedy, and the fact he wears a ridiculous outfit, makeup, and a wig in the entire film makes it all the better. He deserves a ton of credit here, I had no idea he was in this, I hadn’t even seen a trailer for this going in. But he really blew me away.

The Favourite is a black comedy, the jokes are crude, there’s a ton of nudity, and I didn’t really expect all of that. Men hit women, women hit men, this being a period piece, I guess that is to be expected, but I didn’t think it would be a black comedy. They make light of all this, but that comes with the territory. Though the humor is great, it can be very subtle at times, and either you’ll get it, or it will fly right over your head. Olivia Colman is responsible for a lot of the subtle humor and just her facial expressions alone can sell a scene. How far would you go to gain power? Who are you willing to hurt to feel safe and protected? Queen Anne just wants to be loved, she doesn’t have any family, even with this being a deep-rooted black comedy, in moments it can get very serious. For instance, the Queen has 17 rabbits and when you find out the nature of why this is, it’s pretty heartbreaking, and it really humanizes her as a character. They are her family essentially, so she wants the people closest to her to treat them as such, and with as much care and respect as she does. Towards the end of the film, I started to realize that there are no heroes, only three women that are driven by what suits them most. I’d say Abagail is the villain because she had the worst behavior and does some horrendous things. I found this very odd, that in a movie where there is clearly a villain, there was no hero to stand up to them, or combat them, rather just two other characters, not floating through time and space, but trying to come away from all this alive and blood free.

The final scene of the movie lingers for quite some time, it lingers so long for effect. The effect of you trying to figure out what this all means. It sends a clear and powerful message, through just a close-up shot, and then it stays there for what felt like 90 seconds. It was really the cherry on top of an already satisfying sundae. Come Oscar season I won’t be shocked if this has 7 or 8 nominations and could easily be the front-runner for best picture. This was just such a delightful time, I really recommend it. Actually, I command you to see it.

Check ya later.

Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews — The Favourite = 91/100

 

Reviews

Swing Into The ‘Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse’ Review

Get immersed in the Spider-Verse. A joyous journey that is filled with laughs, a ton of heart and some flawless animation.

“Miles Morales becomes the Spider-Man of his reality and crosses paths with his counterparts from other dimensions”


We all know the Peter Parker origin story by now. Since 2002 we have gotten three different iterations of the character. “With great power, comes great responsibility,” you know, that old chestnut. Peter is bitten by a radioactive spider, his Uncle Ben dies in the streets of New York City, web swinging ensues. We have all seen it so many times, it can become quite tiresome at this point. Well, what if I told you, the latest animated movie from Sony has not one but 6 different Spider-Man origin stories. Makes your head want to explode, yes? Well, again what if I told you, that each origin story is hilarious and pulled off so seamlessly, that it makes you wish you got a few more. Heading into Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, I went in pretty blind. I decided not to look too much into this movie, because, at this point in my life, I’m getting tired of knowing every single nook and cranny before I even see the movie. I’m here to report that the less you know going in, the better off you will feel watching this sure-fire Oscar winner for best-animated feature. Presently surprised is how I would sum up my experience with Spider-Verse, and it, without doubt, cracked my top ten best movies of 2018.  Some people may sit here and read this and think to themselves, it’s just animation, how good can it really be? Trust me when I say, don’t be that person that thinks animation can only be for children, don’t be that person.  

So Spider-Verse tells the story of Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) a kid growing up in Brooklyn and trying to discover where he fits in. You see Miles has just enrolled in a new school, where he feels like he doesn’t belong. He has a hard time connecting with the kids at his school and an even harder time connecting with his father Jefferson Davis (Brian Tyree Henry), who happens to be on the New York Police Force. Miles finds comfort in his Uncle Aaron (Mahershala Ali) because they share the same interest and he lets Miles be himself when he’s around. Uncle Aaron and Jefferson are no longer on speaking terms and they don’t see eye-to-eye on how Miles should be brought up. Now when Uncle Aaron takes Miles to a secret location in one of the New York Subway stations so he can do some of his incredible graffiti work, that’s where he gets bitten by a pesky radio-active spider. You see in Miles’s reality there is already a Spider-Man, Peter Parker, who at this point has been suiting up for 8 years. He tries to learn how to become Spider-Man and do Spider-Man like things through comics, which is a hilarious gag on its own. But it’s simply not enough, he needs to learn from the man himself.

That’s all I’m really going to say about the plot of the movie because anything else just goes into spoiler territory and I already mentioned how nice it is watching this and being completely unaware of anything story related. What I can say about the actual story of the film is how flushed out it is. How character-driven it is and how impressed I was with the story-telling at hand. This is by far the most comic-bookie Spider-Man movie ever made. In certain moments it’s literally a comic book coming to life, with comic book texts appearing on the screen. Everything going on within the Spider-Verse so was well executed that it makes you wonder how long it must have taken to create something like this. It’s got incredible action sequences, top-notch humor, I’m talking the whole entire theatre is laughing, I can’t recall one joke falling flat. Again, that is an aspect in movies that sometimes gets overlooked. Not a single aspect of this entire film falls short of expectations, I can’t recall a movie in 2018 that checks every box like Spider-Verse

A ton of the credit needs to go to the just perfect voice casting. Jake Johnson (Peter Parker), Chris Pine (Peter Parker), Nic Cage (Spider-Man Noir), John Mulaney (Spider-Ham), Hailee Steinfeld (Gwen Stacy) and Kimiko Glenn (Penni Parker), all of these voice actors do such a bang-up job. At its core, it’s what keeps the movie always feeling fresh and alive. Because there are so many great voices happening, and I even left out a few. They all bring their own flair and attitude to their respected roles, and it really keeps you invested. They didn’t just cast certain actors or actresses, they cast these people because of their voices. It’s just not them doing voices, there’s a difference, and ultimately that plays such a large role in taking animation from good to great. Much like Batman The Animated Series, where the voices in that show carried the show, the voices in Spider-Verse carry the movie. 

Overall, I would love to really dive deep into everything, but that would ruin a great experience. Maybe I’ll write more on this movie at a later date because this is a film I would like to see again. But the animation alone is worth the price of admission, it’s a 3D movie I actually enjoyed sitting through. It’s the best Spider-Man movie since Spider-Man 2. I think at the end of the day, it’s easier to do things in animation then it is for live-action, but the actual story-telling is some of the very best, like in any comic book movie. I believe Spider-Man 2 is just the slightest bit better, but that is taking away nothing from Spider-Verse. I’m still taking everything in, and the more I think about it and even sitting down to write this review, I can’t think of one flaw in the entire movie. King Pin the villain was terrific and why he is being bad, actually makes sense and they really go into his character which I liked. In certain moments you are actually sympathizing with him, and whenever a film is able to make you feel for the villain, in my mind, that is the mark of a truly great one. This is without question the can’t miss movie of the holiday season, it has stuff for adults like myself, but it’s made for the younger audiences. The thing I liked the most about it, was how they made you wait for Miles to become a “Superhero.” Often in these movies, the hero will get their powers and the next day they know how to do everything, that’s not the case here. Those things take time, becoming a hero takes time. All the credit in the world to Phil Lord who wrote the screenplay and Bob Persichetti and Peter Ramsey who directed it. They clearly know these characters and put such a nice refreshing take on the Spider-Man story. This whole thing doesn’t work without a creative a great new story, because we have all seen this too many times already. So hats off to those three men and everyone involved for making this masterpiece. 

Check ya later.

Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse = 100/100