‘Bumblebee’ Trailer

The Transformers franchise is like that ex that you keep going back to, thinking this time it will be different. This time it actually looks to be different.

The joys of being transported back in time. I remember sitting down to watch the first ever Transformers movie and being blown away at that time. The franchise as gone onto making terrible sequel after sequel. You know, more explosions, terrible plot, awful dialogue and absolutely zero heart. Where did the movie that I watched so many years ago go to?Well it appears that director Travis Knight is bringing us back to the beginning because Bumblebee looks like a ton of fun. The Transformers franchise appears to have had a heart replacement, because this trailer makes me feel something inside. Everyone loves Bumblebee, he’s the reason why I keep giving this franchise my money, so it only makes sense to make him his own solo movie. Set in everyone’s favourite decade, the 80s we are getting B’s origin story and I’m all in. We even get our first look at Starscream, the villain of the movie. Not sure if John Cena was in the trailer, because I have a hard time seeing him. Movie looks great, can’t wait and really hoping for an Optimus Prime cameo. Autobots roll out. Check ya later.https://youtu.be/fAIX12F6958

‘Game Night’ Review

Rachel McAdams is comedic freight train. This is the best comedy since 21 Jump Street.

(WARNER BROS.)

“A group of friends who meet regularly for game nights find themselves trying to solve a murder mystery.”

Everyone has that couple in their life that can’t stand to lose at anything. You know the type of people that are so competitive it drives you insane, but it also brings out the competitive nature in yourself. Well meet Annie (Rachel McAdams) and Max (Jason Bateman) the most competitive couple in the history of rom-coms. Meeting at bar trivia night, they host a weekly game night with their close knit group of friends. When things start to become stale and routine for the event, in comes Max’s much cooler brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) to spice things up. Being the super competitive person he is, Max is always trying to one up his brother in game night but also in life. Feeling he has never achieved this, he is feeling pressures in his every day life to live up to his almighty brother.

I went back several years to see comedies that have recently come out, and to be quite honest, it was slim pickings to find one that really stuck with me. I had to go all the way back to 21 Jump Street to find a movie that made me laugh this hard in theatres. Game Night is the perfect movie, I couldn’t think of one flaw in the whole thing. Unlike most comedies these days, that rely way to much on poop, or dick jokes to get through the movie, Game Night just relies on one hell of a script. It’s tight and so well constructed, that all the jokes come so naturally, it really makes you respect the film even more. You’ve seen the trailers, Brooks invites the whole gang over for a “game night they’ll never forget.” When he plans a murder mystery party that goes awol, the rest of the guests need to figure out what’s real and what’s not. Action comedies have been done before, but sometimes you find what is happening isn’t occurring organically and feels almost forced. This is not the case here, everything happening feels so organic and happens so naturally, and that’s what makes the movie so damn funny. The other two couples at the party, Ryan (Billy Magnussen) and his British date Sarah (Sharon Horgan). Ryan tends to bring a new girl to game night every week, the only person in the group not in a relationship, but this time around he brings a “ringer” in Sarah. They work off each other incredibly, him being the dumb idiot, while she is quick witted and very educated. It was great watching them bounce jokes off one another and slowly fall for each other, despite being polar opposites. We have the couple who has been together since grade school, Kevin (Lamorne Morris) and Michelle (Kylie Bunbury) who also work incredibly well together. During game night they play a game of “never have I ever,” and when she reveals she had slept with a celebrity when they were on a two week break. Watching Kevin trying to figure out who, and the ultimate reveal was INCREDIBLE.

This is situational comedy at its finest. Like I said, there aren’t bad one liners, corny jokes about bodily fluids, everything just feels so right within this movie. Action comedies always feel the need to start off really funny, and then have the action go from 0-100 real quick, well that’s not what happens here. Everything you see feels like it needed to happen in order to progress the story further along, and even the cast themselves realize how crazy things are getting. There are certain moments in this movie that I find myself laughing about days later. That’s always a sign of a great comedy. Now there are two stand outs of the movie. First is Jesse Plemons who plays Gary, the next door neighbour who no longer gets invited to game night. You see, Gary is kind of an odd duck, a police officer, he is going through a divorce and just wants to be part of game night again. He wants to be reunited with his friends, but every scene that Jesse is in, he is stealing the show. He plays his role to perfection, that awkward, deadpan neighbour, who has zero social skills. I was shocked and pleasantly surprised by his comedic skills. Next, Rachel McAdams in my opinion gives the best performance of her career. I know she was nominated for Spotlight, which she is fantastic in, but she is unbelievable in Game Night. It’s been a long time since she’s got to do comedy, and she’s kind of just been floating around lately. She had a ton of fun making this movie, you can tell by her performance, and I’m really happy for her.

I knew Game Night was going to be enjoyable and I would laugh, but I never thought I would feel this way about it. It’s honestly the perfect movie, and it would be great for a date night. There is a solid stretch of about 30-40 minutes which is so enjoyable and so funny, I couldn’t believe it. Paced well, never falters and actually leaves you guessing till the very end. You yourself don’t even know what’s real and what’s fake until the very end of the movie. This is the comedy that not enough people will see, and once it hits Netflix everyone will be going crazy over it, so do yourself a favour and get out to your local theatre and support this gem. Still can’t get over how good Rachel McAdams is in this movie.

Check ya later.

Nate’s Movie Tour Review – Game Night = 97/100

 

Throwback Review ‘Taxi Driver’

I had no idea it was Robert De Niro who made the mohawk cool

(SONY)

“A mentally unstable veteran works as a nighttime taxi driver in New York City, where the perceived decadence and sleaze fuels his urge for violent action, while attempting to liberate a twelve-year-old prostitute.”

I haven’t done a throwback review in a long time, so I thought new year, new me. I’m going to try and do one throwback review each week. I’ll be reviewing some of the “greatest movies of all time.” These will also be movies that I’ve never seen before. I know, I only just saw Taxi Driver for the first time last night. You have every right to be mad at me. Martin Scorsese’s 1976 epic is regarded as one of the best movies of all time, and was a very interesting watch for me. “You talkin’ to me? Well I’m the only one here.” – Travis Bickle  

One of the most famous quotes in all of cinema, uttered by the emotionally scared, broken and deranged Travis Bickle, played by the legendary Robert De Niro. Now that line can be looked at and examined in a lot of different ways. Travis is a war veteran, having served time in the Vietnam War. He takes a job as a taxi driver in New York City because he is having difficulties sleeping at night. Thinking it would just be easier to make some cash during the sleepless hours in the night, rather than do nothing. Travis Bickle is a complicated character. For many people they connect with him on many levels, which is weird because he certainly is one of films most complex “heroes.” TaxiDriver deals with many things, the feeling of being alone, hopelessness, alienation and most importantly anger. I think that’s why so many people, when they do watch this movie, connect with Travis, because everyone at some point in their life has had these feelings. Travis just wants to connect with someone. Whether it’s with the woman is he fascinated with Betsy (Cybill Shepherd); a campaign volunteer who is helping out for Senator Palatine. Travis doesn’t know much about politics or political issues; he just wants to get close to Betsy. Travis is so alone and so alienated that he simply can’t connect with others. This is very apparent when he has his first date with Betsy and takes her to a pornographic movie. Outraged she storms off, and he can’t really comprehend why she would be so upset and distraught by this. Travis drives into the night and hates the “scum” of New York City. He despises these pimps, whores, and drug dealers. Yet he frequents pornographic movies, drinks constantly and takes painkillers. He essentially is all of the things he says he hates, and all of the characteristics that he thinks the city need to get rid of.

Travis can’t figure out his inner turmoil. He’s not educated enough and can’t come to grips with his haunting past in the war. All of this built up anger inside of him, leads to a life of being angry and violent on the outside. He is somewhat of a societal outcast, rejected by the outside world. Again Travis tries to connect with another individual, Iris (Jodie Foster) a 12-year-old prostitute, who Travis feels needs saving. I mentioned this was my first ever viewing of TaxiDriver, and I had no idea Jodie Foster was acting at such a young age. Both herself and De Niro were nominated for Oscars and rightfully so. The scenes they share together they are going toe-to-toe acting wise, and Foster puts in an incredible performance. The heart of the film is indeed the relationship between Travis and these two women. He is trying to assimilate back into society, so when he sees that Betsy is involved in the Presidential campaign, he wants to help in anyway he can. He wants to fit in. Betsy is pure and kind hearted, and even agrees to take a date with Travis. Here’s the thing, Scorsese does an incredible job making you connect and kind of root for Travis, even though he’s not a good person. Betsy and Travis are polar opposites and really have nothing in common. They might as well live on different planets, and I think this is well interrupted, when we see Travis in his taxicab watching Betsy from afar. I think Scorsese was trying to show us the space between them, that Travis is merely browsing, like a kid looking through the glass in a toy store. It’s something so unattainable. So when things don’t work out between them, he thinks she’s only being superficial, whereas she had every right to be angry with him. They are just not compatible. Whereas his relationship with Iris is vastly different. Travis wants to save her, from the moment she got into his cab, and was forced out physically by her pimp Sport (Harvey Keitel), he knew that he had to save this girl. Travis wants a purpose in life, and he thinks saving both Betsy and Iris, is how he will achieve something within his own lonely and isolated life.

For Betsy it is ridding her of her political side and he wants to accomplish that by assassinating Senator Palatine. Travis and Palatine actually have an interaction when he ends up in his cab. The conversation goes well, until Travis explains how the new President needs to flush the “scum” of the city down the toilet. Palatine uses his charm and charisma to get out of the conversation and make Travis feel important. For Iris, Travis feels the need to rid Sport in her life. The man he thinks is keeping her beyond her will. He wants to prove is masculinity to both woman and he does this through violence. The assassination attempt and the killing of Sport.

Robert De Niro is hypnotic in his performance. We’ve all be watching him our whole lives, and maybe sometimes forget that he’s been acting for so long. I just think of DirtyGrandpa now. He memorized me in TaxiDriver. The whole movie is hypnotic, the portrayal of a hellish New York City in the late 70’s. The colors are so vibrant, especially the use of the color red. The use of the yellow taxi, it almost serves as Travis’s horse, as he acts like a cowboy for most of the movie. The whole movie is seen through the eyes and perspective of Travis, with close up shots of his face. His performances is just so dark, haunting and at the same time beautiful.

After watching the movie, I had to go read about the ending, because they leave it up in the air for you to interrupt. Travis is seen as a local hero, when he guns down some pimps in the “red room” shootout. No one knows the real motives behind Travis’s behavior and why he was actually there. He is dubbed a hero in all the newspapers. Now the last scene in the movie, Travis gets a costumer in his taxi, it’s Betsy. The whole cab ride you are only viewing it through Travis’s perspective. Very tight close up shots of his face while driving, smiling, and you only see Betsy through his eyes in his rearview mirror. You really only see her face. She says that she has read about him in the paper, and they make up for what went wrong on their date. When they arrive at her house, she asks how much the fare was and Travis simply smiles and drives off. You see her disappear in the distance, and again we are just seeing Travis. He looks into his mirror only to see his derange self-come out again, and he refocuses the mirror only for us to see it completely empty. Some believe that he died in the shootout; others think this is a dream sequence. I’m still not sure, one thing I know, the whole movie is through Travis’s eyes, and this last scene was no different. Travis wanted to gain the respect of Betsy and he got it, whether in reality or not. The ending kind of brings this emotional journey we have been on with Travis full circle. Travis seemed so unhappy, so lonely, so removed from society, that in the final scene it appears some of that is gone. He finally earns the redemption he was so desperate to achieve through the film. It’s a study of how men deal with solitude and loneliness. Travis is a ticking time bomb, he’s full of anger and PTSD, and he can’t control it or fully grasp how to deal with his problems.

Taxi Driver is a film that will stand the test of time, and that is honestly one of the greatest compliments you can ever give a film. I can’t believe I’ve only seen it once. So for my next throwback review I will be watching another Scorsese and De Niro team up, and that is Raging Bull.

Check ya later,

Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews = Taxi Driver = 95/100

´The Shape of Water’ Review

I guess it’s true what they say. Fish are friends not food.

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(FOX SEARCHLIGHT)

“At a top secret research facility in the 1950s, a lonely janitor forms a unique relationship with an amphibious creature that is being held in captivity.”

“Cornflakes were invented to prevent masterbation, didn’t work.” When I heard that quote from Giles (Richard Jenkins) in Guillermo Del Toro’s latest master craft of cinema, I knew I was watching something truly special. The Shape of Water really is a unique movie, it deals with many themes, love, the feeling of being incomplete, friendship and what it’s like to be misunderstood. Movies for the most people are windows in its walls. They allow us to enter the mind of another person, that person is usually the director. Not simply with the sense of identifying with the characters, although that is a very important part. But this allows us to see the world as another person sees it. That can be a very powerful thing and a very powerful tool when making a film. I say that, because after watching The Shape of Water, it’s pretty obvious that director and writer Guillermo Del Toro feels a certain way about love and what it means to be loved and love something themselves.

So Oscar nominations came out early last week, and The Shape of Water was awarded the most nominations with 13. For acting, directing and for best picture. I’ve wanted to see this for a long time, but it finally came to my theatre last week. It’s deserving of every single nomination it got, and this is truly a work of art. Visually this movie is stunning, the visuals leap off the screen and that should be expected in a Guillermo Del Toro film. You don’t have to be a fan of his work or some of his movies, but one thing he does better than almost anyone is the sense of style and colour he uses in his movies. Pacific Rim, the Hell Boy movies and Pan’s Labyrinth, all of these films have their own sense of style and direction. From each project he works on, he marks it in some unique way. This movie is no different and you notice that within the first 10 minutes. He’s proven time and time again that he has a knack for beautiful looking production sets and the quality is always top notch. The cinematography is so lush and sleek, the colours are so rich and they just jump out at you.

The performances are incredible. Sally Hawkins (Elisa) who plays the mute janitor or the princess without a voice, gives a terrific performance. She does so much acting with her face and body language. She’s mute for almost the entire movie, but yet you connect with her character and feel for her. I found it really interesting that she is not able to talk, but lives above a movie theatre, so there are always voices going on inside her apartment. When you also get nominated for an Oscar and you don’t speak that really says something about your performance. She feels incomplete in her life because people only see her as a mute and that makes for a massive void in her life. She has a difficult time connecting with other people, because unless they know how to sign, she can’t communicate with them. When she meets the Amphibian Man (Doug Jones), he only she’s her. He doesn’t know she’s a mute and he learns how to sign. He doesn’t know that she is incomplete and that she feels that way. I just want to give credit to Doug Jones, because he is immersed into this role. Much like Andy Serkis, he doesn’t get enough credit for his performances. Richard Jenkins and Octavia Spencer (Zelda) who plays Elisa’s co-worker, also got nominated for Oscars. Giles also feels incomplete and somewhat unlovable. He’s Elisa’s neighbour and artist who struggles with being gay, because this takes place in the 1950’s and that was very misunderstood at the time. They really only have each other and their bond and friendship was beautiful to watch. They are trying to fill the empty void in each others life, but they can’t, not until Elisa meets this creature that is being held captive at the facility where she works. This movie is being describe has a woman falling in love with a monster, but as I sat down and watched this film, I realized the real monster in the movie is Michael Shannon’s character (Richard Strickland). He is responsible for finding the creature and serves as security for it. He’s mean, tortures the creature and is an all-round abusive and racist man. Like every single thing Michael Shannon is in, he gives a chilling and powerful performance.

Movies like all forms of art, are the most powerful aid to empathy. The good ones ultimately make us into better people. Walking away from The Shape of Water, it’s a movie about love. About being loved. Perhaps it’s about love not being about what you have to say, because the love that is formed is done without the use of any words. That love doesn’t have to be about what you say, but rather what you feel inside. Elisa wanted someone to see past her flaw and just get to know and finally love her. On the flip side it’s also about looking past on what is on the outside. Yes, a woman falls in love with a sea creature, but I think Guillermo wanted to show that love shouldn’t be about what you look like. That looking like that shouldn’t mean you can’t be loved, and when you sit back and reflect on it, it’s actually a really beautiful message. So I don’t know if he had ever felt this way in his life and wanted to try to explain and express the way he has felt at some time in his life, but I would imagine that has to be the case. I think you need to understand and be familiar with Guillermo’s work to fully understand this movie.

Overall, I thought The Shape of Water was a piece of art. A beautiful and unique love story. You really don’t see films like these and I think that’s a good thing. When your movie gets nominated for 13 Oscars it means something. I don’t believe it will win that many, because the categories and other nominees it’s matched up against is stacked, but that doesn’t take anything away from it. It’s a movie that makes you think, it has a really great message. This is just a really beautiful film and if you are a fan of Del Toro’s or a movie buff, this shouldn’t be missed.

Check ya later

Nate’s Movie Tour Review – The Shape of Water = 91/100

 

 

‘I, Tonya’ Review

I still don’t know if I like or dislike Tonya Harding.

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(CLUBHOUSE PICTURES)

“Competitive ice skater Tonya Harding rises amongst the ranks at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, but her future in the activity is thrown into doubt when her ex-husband intervenes.”

January 6th, 1994 and the “WHHHHYYYYY” heard around the world. You know the famous footage of Nancy Kerrigan on the ground, crying and screaming out “Why!” The most beloved figure skater in the world at that point, and someone had sabotaged her career and her chance at a gold medal at the Olympics. Well I, Tonya tells the story of that faithful day, but more importantly it tells the story of Tonya Harding’s life. There have been fantastic rivalries in sports, Magic and Bird, Ali and Frazier, the Yankees and the Red Sox. There was also Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie) and Nancy Kerrigan. Both from two completely different worlds, both trying to achieve the same goal. Be the best figure skater in the world.

Now going into this movie, I wanted to know if they were going to make Tonya Harding a “hero,” or someone you were really rooting for. At one point in time, she was the most famous person in America, and not for the right reasons. She was hated, she was different, and to be perfectly honest it was hard to like her. I, Tonya does an incredible job tackling this situation, because as it turns out, Tonya being back in the spotlight has rubbed people the wrong way. She was a villain, a bad guy, but in life people do and should get a second chance. Something that the movie explores, and is a theme throughout the film. Tonya Harding had a rough life growing up; the movie explores this and is arguably the main focal point. Her parents divorce when she is young, and her Dad is never around, and her mother; LaVona (Allison Janney) is an abusive and all around terrible mother. Seriously, this woman is a piece of shit, she drinks non-stop curses and hits Tonya, at a very young age, and never seems to be proud or loving of her daughter. They are poor, all the money she does make goes towards Tonya’s skating, which seems to make her bitter and hold somewhat of a grudge against her. Allison Janney is phenomenal; she probably gives the performances of her career. She’s a broken woman, who hates her daughter; she believes being tough on her will ultimately make her a better skater. When all Tonya wants is her Mother to love and support her, and that never really happens. I’ll be shocked if Janney doesn’t win the Oscar for best supporting actress, she is so great, and funny, and you really learn to love to hate her.

The whole movie, you are waiting for “the moment” or as it’s referred to in the movie as “the incident.” You know it’s coming, and it takes awhile to get there, but it’s the journey of this movie that’s so fascinating and remarkable You want to feel for Tonya, the abuse by her Mother, and then the abuse from Jeff Gillooly her boyfriend/husband/ex-husband. Played by Sebastian Stan, I’ve never seen him like this, but he’s on another level here. They meet at a skating rink, how romantic right? But things go to shit early on, when he starts beating Tonya, and I’m no expert, but that’s usually the time to leave. But here’s the thing, Tonya is addicted to abuse. The movie explores addiction, smoking, drinking, the will to win, and abuse. Tonya dealt with it her entire life, she thought it was normal to be hit, she thought it was always her fault, she believed when they said “I’m sorry,” it wouldn’t happen again. She leaves Jeff time after time, but they always end back up together, even after he shoots her – yeah that really happens. That’s when you start to feel for Tonya, because outside of the skating aspect of this film, she is just abused over and over again, and no one really does anything about it. Even the judges in her competitions treat her unfairly, because she dresses different, and isn’t what they are looking for. They want a wholesome American family, and that’s just not who Tonya is, they want her to look a certain way, but she has to make her own costumes. She struggles everyday, but she’s the best at what she does. When she lands a triple-axel something no other American woman had ever done in competition, she really gains countrywide attention.

Just when the movie shows you a little bit of hope, well it all goes to shit. Jeff’s best friend and Tonya’s bodyguard Shawn (Paul Walter Hauser) cooks up this elaborate plan to take Nancy out of the picture. Now these people are dumb, they are rednecks, and they weren’t ashamed of that. But at one point in the movie, Bobby Cannavale’s character – who is a reporter for Hard Copy, referred to these people as “boobs.” And Jeff and Shawn were the dumbest boobs I’d ever met. You really need to see the movie to fully understand how stupid Shawn is. It’s really remarkable the things that come out of his mouth. These two men are responsible for Tonya Harding’s downfall. The movie does a great job showing you what really happens, and how Tonya kind of had nothing to do with the incident. They ruined her skating career and her life, because they were actually just really dumb, and you feel for Tonya in that sense. You also can’t feel sorry for someone who couldn’t walk away from a man who constantly beat her for years and years, because that’s on her at some point.

Margot Robbie who obviously plays the infamous Tonya gives the performance of a lifetime. Margot is a beautiful girl, when you think of Wolf of Wall Street, usually her beauty is the first thing to come to mind. It’s what put her on the map. She embraces this role, she doesn’t “get ugly” but she transforms into this character. She goes for it, she’s all in, and you believe that she is in fact Tonya Harding. That’s what great actors and actresses do, they immerse themselves into these roles and become the character they are playing. She even does a fantastic job on the ice. Training hours a day before production began, you really have to give it up to Margot Robbie. Craig Gillespie who directs I, Tonya does such a great job humanizing Tonya. They aren’t making this movie to make us all feel bad for what happened to Tonya, but at certain moments you really do. You learn to understand what kind of person she is, and what kind of life she was living. The cameras didn’t show you that back in 1994, and throughout her skating career. You are never fully rooting for Tonya, because we all know what happens in the end, but I had this weird feeling throughout the movie. That if a few things went differently in her life, I think there would be a completely different Tonya Harding story to tell. When you deal with certain things in your life, it will shape who you become and they way you act and think. No one will ever really know what she knew or how much she knew when it comes to the Nancy Kerrigan incident, but that has nothing to do with the movie.

I have been waiting a long time to see this, it finally came to my city this past weekend and it lived up to my expectations. There are incredible performances across the board. Some of which could get recognize and be nominated for an Oscar. It has heart and it deals with some serious content. It will make you laugh and cry; there are a few scenes with Tonya and her Mother that just leave you almost in shock. It’s a dark comedy and I loved it from start to finish. One of the best movies of the year – for me at least.

Check ya later.

Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – I, Tonya = 92/100

‘The Commuter’ Review

Liam Neeson, stop trying to have a family or travel anywhere. It never works out for you. This movie is a train wreck.

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(LIONSGATE) 

“A businessman is caught up in a criminal conspiracy during his daily commute home.”

Seriously, this was the exact look I had on my face when I left the theatre. It was a mix of what the hell did I just watch, and when is Liam Neeson going to stop making these kinds of movies? Look I know it’s January, the best-worst movie month of the year. What I mean by that is, usually great Oscar movies come out during this time, but January is also home to the terrible action/thriller like The Commuter. I see a lot of movies, but this will be tough to beat for the worst movie I will see in theatres this year. Look it’s just not very memorable, I thought Neeson was going to be his usual badass self, wasn’t really the case here. I’m also really tired of seeing Liam Neeson yell into his cell phone about “STAYING AWAY FROM MY FAMILY!”

So Michael MacCauley (Neeson) is an ex-cop turned insurance salesman who is having big time financial trouble. He’s been taking the same commuter train for the last 10 years; he’s a regular and knows all the other regular passengers. When Joanna (Vera Farmiga) confronts Michael about finding a certain person on board and when he does that he will receive 100 thousand dollars. Seems simple enough right? Vera Farmiga, she’s just so wonderful, I’ve really loved her since her early work, and she’s always so terrific in whatever she’s in. For the very little screen time she does get, she’s killing it as you’d expect. So as usual in these types of movies, everything isn’t as easy at is sounds and appears. When people start dying on the commute home, Michael starts to unravel a conspiracy that goes really deep. That’s enough of the plot, because that pretty much is the entire plot, not too much to it and you’ll guess all the twists and turns before they even occur. I just wanted this not be another generic Liam Neeson movie, you know, yelling into cell phone – fights some one – uncovers another clue – more yelling into a cell phone – massive explosions – twist is uncovered – a life and death decision – credits roll. Like who is Liam Neeson’s agent? Are these the phone calls they have?

Agent: ” Hey Liam, got a great new project for you!”

Liam: “What is it?”

Agent: “Remember the movies you were in, Non-Stop and Taken? Well picture that, but on a train!”

Liam: “Do I get to yell into a cell phone?”

Agent: “Yes, more than once actually”

Liam: “Sign me up!”

At this point he deserves better, but when you are constantly type casted you really have no choice. This is his fourth go-around with director Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown, Non-Stop, Run All Night) and I firmly believe that this is the worst of the four. The others had some good moments and I actually think Run All Night is pretty underrated. I get it, you form a bond with a director, it happens all the time in Hollywood, but for most pairings they are making great movies. Liam Neeson shouldn’t take every role Jaume offers him, because it’s doing more harm than good. The movie just never really reaches a point where I was invested. The action is bleak and shot poorly; the cast is just full of lifeless faces. Besides Patrick Wilson, Sam Neill and Jonathan Banks, the cast is so disposable and forgettable. You would think that a Liam Neeson action/thriller would have at least one great action sequence, well it doesn’t. A few hand to hand fist fights, and when they keep reminding you that his character is sixty, it’s hard to believe he can do the things he’s doing.

This is just a big dumb January action movie. If you need some time to kill or you are a really big fan of Liam Neeson go nuts. If you are like me and don’t really enjoy sitting through shitty movies, this might not be for you. I wanted to have fun with it, laugh at the corny jokes and hopefully be entertained in brief moments, but that never really did happen. Liam says he’s done with action movies, and maybe he should be, or maybe he just needs to find the right action movies to be in. Keanu Reeves reinvented himself with the John Wick franchise; I think Liam Neeson should consider doing something similar, because he’s too damn awesome to hang it up in the action genre. Overall I just didn’t enjoy this movie as much as I wanted too, I had to look up his name on IMDB, that’s how forgettable it was. When you sit back and think about it, Liam Neeson, once flew on a plane and it crashed. He was then stalked by wolves and ultimately had to bare knuckle box a wolf to the death. He got on an airplane and it almost fell from the sky. His family keeps getting taken. Maybe for his next movie, he is a single man who just walks everywhere, that would be something worth watching.

Check ya later.

Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – The Commuter = 52/100

‘Molly’s Game’ Review

Michael Cera gives one of the years worst performances. All I will say is he’s suppose to be Toby Maguire. This movie still kicks ass.

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Molly’s Game is written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, and it stars Jessica Chastain as Molly Bloom a once promising Olympic skier turned high stakes poker game host.  I love poker, but poker movies can be very hit or miss for me. Turns out Molly’s Game is the best poker movie since Rounders, and of something would have gone a little differently, this would have been one of the best movies of the year. This whole thing is based off an incredible true story that deals with court cases, taking down the Russian mob, the poker underworld and so much more. I feel that’s why this movie works so well is because you sit there thinking, how on Earth could someone end up in these situations? How everything unfolds and the story in general is truly fascinating and I thought Aaron Sorkin did an incredible job.

Most people are familiar with Aaron Sorkin and his brilliant writing, from films like; The Social Network, Money Ball and A Few Good Men, Sorkin is one of the best writers in the industry. Molly’s Game is no different, the dialogue is fast paced, electric and very back and forth. I personally love how the characters talk in a Aaron Sorkin written project, you know real people certainly don’t have conversations like these, but it’s so fun to watch. The rat-tat-ta banter back and forth is so quick and witty and smart that it just sucks you right in. I feel like a story such as this could only be written and told by Aaron Sorkin, and the final product turned out really well. Now for the directing side of it, this is his first time directing anything, and it’s competent. I think one of the issues with the film is the directing and the film could have used say a David Fincher or someone Sorkin has worked with before to make this movie a little cleaner and all around better product. I think he certainly has a future with directing, but for his first time it went well enough, just when you’re writing and directing that can be a lot on your plate.

The performances throughout this movie are certainly what carry the film. They all do such a great job absorbing Sorkin’s incredible writing and dialogue, that well people are getting nominated for awards. Jessica Chastain shines as Molly Bloom. She’s such a great actress, she’s never really bad in anything to be perfectly honest, and she’s on top of her game in this. Not to mention they sexy her the hell up throughout the entire movie, and it’s funny because at the beginning of the film, she wears her “best dress” what at the time was an 88-dollar dress from JC Penny. She goes on to make millions and wear dresses that are more than some people’s rent on a monthly basis. Her journey is quite unique and special. Kevin Costner plays her father, who was her ski coach and also a clinical psychologist. A big theme throughout the movie is father/daughter issues and Molly always feeling powerless to men. That’s why she starts the poker game, because she wants to have power and control over very powerful men. It helps suppress her feelings towards her father, and makes her feel like she as achieved something. Costner is really good in the little screen time he gets, himself and Chastain have one remarkable father/daughter scene towards the end of the movie that was really emotional and it just tied the whole movie together. It’s just a really touching and fulfilling scene, that again is covered in incredible dialogue and it just really makes you live in that moment in the movie. The same can be said for Idris Elba who plays’s Molly’s attorney. They also have some rich dialogue scenes that pack an emotional punch. When he is reluctant to take her on as a client and reveals later than Molly is actually his daughter’s role model, Molly realizes that maybe all hope isn’t lost. I thought Idris gave one of his best performances in a while. He really did well with Sorkin’s script and he was just on top of his game. Michael Cera on the other hand, well he must have a good agent because I don’t know how he got this role.

The movie revolves around this court case, and the prosecutor wants information about the Russian mob that apparently had been playing in her games. When she tells them she didn’t know any of this, but she does have information on actors and directors and businessmen, she feels like she can’t ruin their lives and give up their secrets. She publishes a tell-all book and reveals some names and gossip about her time in the poker world, but not enough. Molly doesn’t want to flip on these people, even after everything she has been through, and would rather serve jail time. Everything really wraps up nicely at the end; I’ll just say that.

A lot of this film is narrated and I know some people can think that can be lazy of the writer to do, and some people actually hate narration in film. I don’t mind it what so ever so it didn’t bother me in Molly’s Game, and Sorkin actually found a way to pull it off in a really great way. For me, the biggest gripe I have with the movie, is one, it’s to long. That’s where the director thing comes into play again, because I think if someone else is directing they find a way to cut off some of the fat of this film. Trim in down about 20 minutes and then its just 2 hours, instead of almost 2 hours and 30 minutes. Secondly the poker scenes themselves were not great. This is a poker movie, and I felt the scenes that involved poker and a shit ton of money being won and lost could have been executed in a much better fashion. Now these are just small nitpicks, but again maybe another director has a better vision for those scenes, that were pretty crucial to the overall finish to the movie.

Overall, I enjoyed Molly’s Game, I love the sophistication of Sorkin’s writing, some of my favorite movies ever, and he has been behind the script. He just wants such encapsulating dialogue and it just keeps you intrigued. It does drag a little bit in the middle, but there isn’t an actual pacing problem to the movie, I just think that’s the lack of directing experience. Go for incredible performances and if you like to gamble this will put you in the mood to do just that.

Check ya later

Nate’s Movie Tour Review – Molly’s Game = 88/100

Deadpool Moves Up, New Mutants Moves Down.

We were really close to getting an X-Men horror movie – thanks a lot Disney.

(FOX)

So news broke yesterday that FOX and soon to be Disney has decided to push up the release date of the UntitledDeadpool Sequel from June 1st to May 18th. A move that I find to be a little strange to be honest. First of all, June 1st is a great slot and weekend to be in. With the new release date of May 18th, it really will take away from Avengers: Infinity War box-office numbers. Yes, Infinity War will gross over a billion dollars worldwide, I have no doubt in my mind about that, but two weeks after it comes out, Disney wants it to go head-to-head with another one of their big properties? How does that make any sense? Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom comes out June 9th, I would imagine they would rather have Deadpool take away from that box-office than their own? I guess it’s all going to the same place, but at the same, it really is a weird move.

Just like pushing back X-Men: New Mutants 10 months. Now for me, I think the reason behind this is simple. With Disney purchasing FOX and all their properties with it, Deadpool and X-Men included, I think Disney Execs saw a rough cut of New Mutants and thought it was way “to dark” for their liking and decided maybe some reshoots were necessary. The movie was scheduled to be released in April of this year, and now we have to wait until February of 2019? I can’t recall the last time a big budget movie like this was pushed back this long. Which is a real shame because I really enjoyed what footage we had gotten so far with New Mutants, the tone was great and I wanted to see a super hero movie that had a horror element to it.

I also believe it is possible that both Deadpool and the New Mutants could be finding their way into the MCU, and that is why both of these things are happening. Marvel is looking past Infinity War and paving the way for their future films and universe. Perhaps they want all of these characters to be involved so reshoots for New Mutants would make sense, so they could incorporate them into the MCU. As for Deadpool maybe after being released on the heels of Infinity War, they have something planned where he pops up at the end or someone from the MCU appears in his movie.

Those are just my thoughts, overall I’m pretty bummed about this New Mutants news because I was really looking forward to it, and I don’t believe we will be getting the same movie as we would have if it were still being released in April. Hopefully I’m wrong, but it’s just too much of a delay for them not to be reshooting the majority of this film.

Check ya later.

‘Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle’ Review

Jack Black plays the best 16 year old girl since Molly Ringwald in Sixteen Candles 

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(SONY)

I will watch anything with Dwayne Johnson in it – true story. So when news broke that he was going to appear in a remake/reboot of the beloved Jumanji, I was a little hesitant. Well I have now seen the newest Jumanji movie, and it honestly was pretty good. Let me be perfectly clear when I say, you cannot compare this new Jumanji to the old. They are completely different movies, and rightfully so, they should be. They are both enjoyable in their own ways, but after seeing both, the 90’s film will always remain King of the jungle.

Unlike the original, which was a board game, we are now living in 2018; video games are what are hot in the sheets. So they changed it up a bit. For me the concept of the movie is what sold me on it. So when a bunch of troubled teens find themselves in detention, they come across the game. We have Spencer (Alex Wolf/Dwayne Johnson) a nerdy kid who loves video games and is afraid of everything, including squirrels. Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain/Kevin Hart) Spencer’s former best friend, now incredible athlete, football star of their high school. Martha (Morgan Turner/Karen Gillan) bookworm, a little bit of a loner. She really doesn’t have many friends and refuses to get close to anyone. Finally we have Bethany (Madison Iseman/Jack Black) the most popular girl in school, who spends more time on her phone than anything else. She’s what’s known as a ‘”like whore.” So when they all get sucked into the game, they become the avatars they picked at the start of the game. Pretty much all-polar opposite of who they are in the real world. I LOVED this idea, seriously. Whoever came up with the idea of Jack Black playing a 16-year girl, give that person a ton of money, because without that concept in the movie, I don’t think Jumanji is very successful. Jack Black carries this film. It’s one of his best comedic performances in a long time. Watching Dwayne Johnson run around being terrified of everything in sight was also a treat to see. Kevin Hart and Karen Gillan are fine, I went in expecting the classic Kevin Hart treatment, you get it, and either you like Kevin Hart at this point or you don’t. I’m used to Karen Gillan being a blue robot (Guardians of The Galaxy), so actually watching her really act was cool. She played the hot girl who doesn’t quite know it yet really well. So obviously they all must come together, put aside their differences so they can escape the game. They are tasked with returning a stolen jewel to a statues eye and calling out JUMANJI!

Remember they are in a video game, and if you have ever played a video game you know what that entails. They have “cut scenes,” which was pretty hilarious. Being taken away from the movie, to explain the plot, was pretty genius and an easy way to explain what was going on. They also run into NPC’s, which are Non-Player Character, and they are there to simply help out our characters. They are programmed to only say a few key phrases, and when they are trying to ask them all sorts of different questions, it’s pretty funny to watch them get the same answer over and over again. Like I said, I really enjoyed the concept of this movie, it’s unique and something pretty refreshing. Now every video game needs a bad guy. Mario has Bowser, Link has Ganon, and Pac-Man has those pesky Ghosts. Enter Van Pelt (Bobby Cannavale) who is pretty useless, okay I said it. He serves little to no purpose, but every movie like this needs a villain. But my god, he was so under utilized and just so forgettable. I would have rather seen our heroes battling the elements of the game and the elements of Jumanji, kind of like the original and not had a bad guy. But he helps push the plot ahead, but that’s what I wanted to see. There wasn’t enough stuff going on in the game, like animals and creatures, I wanted to see more of the world and the environment they were in. Nick Jonas is also in this he plays Alex. He has been stuck in the game for twenty long years, he doesn’t know that until he starts dropping a bunch of 90s references and the rest of the gang catches on. He is rattled to say the least, but he actually does a really great job in this. So he wants out of Jumanji more than anyone.

Listen, this is just a really fun time at the movies. It’s a great popcorn flick, something that was fun to see over the holidays. It’s got a ton of laughs, a great cast, really good chemistry between that cast, and a unique and interesting story. This movie isn’t going to blow you away and you won’t be leaving thinking this is the best movie of 2017, but you’ll enjoy yourself. Sometimes that’s all the reason you need to go the movies, at least that’s usually the case for me. I took my Mom. I thought she was going to hate every second of this movie she absolutely loved it. They are already prepping a sequel, it’s made a ton of money and got pretty good reviews, go see this movie, it’s a ton of fun.

Check ya later,

Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle = 80/100

‘The Last Jedi’ Review/Thoughts

Team Kylo Ren. That is all.

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(DISNEY)

As they say, the force is strong with this one. The Last Jedi is finally here! The latest StarWars epic has finally arrived and well, people are divided. It’s the longest film in the series to date, and is chalked full of epic moments and twists and turns. I saw this Thursday night, but wanted to wait a few days before writing my review, because for movies such as these I wanted it to sink in and marinate a little bit. I loved this movie, I think over time it may very well be regarded as the greatest Star Wars ever made. The Internet and fans alike might not agree with that statement. Going into The Last Jedi, there was a ton of speculation about certain things, who Rey’s parents would be? Who was Snoke? What happened between Luke and Kylo Ren? All of these questions are answered in some way shape or form. I think that people were thinking one thing was going to happen and got another, and what they WANTED to happen, didn’t. So they thought the movie was “bad” because they didn’t get what they wanted. I think that is a huge problem with Star Wars fans, because you’re not always going to get what you want, but that doesn’t mean that thing is bad. I won’t spoil anything that happens in this movie, because that would be unfair, I will tread lightly around certain situations and characters.

First things first Rian Johnson (director) has gone out and made a thematically rich, emotionally nuanced and narratively subversive blockbuster movie. Most big budget movies often lack substance; good story telling and mainly rely on explosions and CGI. People think this is so far from what we have become accustomed to when it comes to StarWars, that they feel Rian Johnson has some what destroyed this franchise, well he reinvented it. He takes such bold risks and tells such a rich story, it’s really impressive on what he accomplished. There is a ton of pressure that comes with helming something that so many people hold so close and dear to their hearts. I think he did as good of job than anyone could have asked of him. The new droids, planets, landscapes and the entire aesthetic of The Last Jedi simply build on what JJ Abrams was able to accomplish in The Force Awakens. Crait a planet where the last battle takes place. The white and red minerals, the red salt standing out so clearly during the battle, is one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen in a Star Wars movie. The cinematography was just incredible. Throughout the entire movie itself, there are tons of artistic shots, that will make great one shot pieces, and images that will stand out in fans minds until the end of time. The whole movie deals with failures, and overcoming the failures. What happens to us when we fail, how do we respond? Almost everyone in this movie sets out on a certain goal or task and in the end, ultimately fails at the very thing they set out to do. We learn later in the movie, that failure is okay, it’s a part of life and it’s a part of growing as a person. People fail all the time, failure makes us stronger, makes us smarter. It was something I didn’t pick up on until after the movie, but failure is such a big part of this story. There is one thing that happens towards the end of the movie, you think the movie is about to take a MASSIVE risk, and they bail last second on it. The cop out, the way they get out of it, is so utterly insane, that I wonder how they felt this was a good idea. I wish I could talk about it more, but it involves Finn and Rose, and it was without a doubt the worst part, and one of the stupidest things I’ve seen in a movie in a long time. Especially with the timing of this event, it was just a real head scratcher.

This is a StarWars movie through and through. I mentioned it taking bold risks and trying to expand on this forever-growing universe, and it opens the doors to so many possibilities with the final installment, which we will receive in two years. From the opening music, before the always-epic scrawl, the opening shot of outer space, the light sabre fights, and just classic Star Wars moments. The story is pretty simple, Rey (Daisy Ridley) searches out Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) to get her proper training, Finn (John Bodega) meets a new girl Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) and they are trying to find Rey and lead her far away from the First Order. Poe (Oscar Issac) is struggling with becoming a leader, and the leader that the Resistance needs. While Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) is just trying to keep the remaining resistance fighters calm and well, safe. Meanwhile Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is trying to figure out where he belongs in this world, and what he really wants. The cast is fantastic, this is the best Mark Hamill performance we have ever gotten, and it can be said with Carrie Fisher. They both shine, and always steal the scene they are in. With the passing of Carrie this past year, it was only fitting that we got to see her at her best in this movie, and you could tell she really gave it her all. As for everyone’s favorite Jedi, Luke Skywalker, this is what people are torn on. I get and I understand the direction they took Luke in this movie. I’ll just leave it at that, because anything more would enter spoiler territory.

For me, this whole movie was all about Kylo Ren, who is built like a brick shit house I might add. Adam Driver gives one hell of a performance in this movie. Movies these days, well they lack great villains. Who was the villain in Doctor Strange, or Justice League that just came out? How about Spider-Man Homecoming? Kylo Ren is for me, is the best villain since Heath Ledgers Joker. From the actual character to the performance of the actor playing that character. You feel for this guy, Kylo is conflicted, he wants to be bad, but part of him is good. This is evident in one particular moment in the first act of the movie. He wants nothing more than to impress Snoke, who openly mocks him about his helmet, which is destroys in a fit of rage after being criticized by Snoke. After TheForce Awakens came out, everyone thought of Kylo as a spoiled little brat, an Emo kind of villain, where unlike his dear old Grand Father, Darth Vader, where Storm troopers would fear him. They kind of just don’t want to be around Kylo, because he is well a brat. You see the pain in his eyes, the conflict on who he wants to become. When you start to learn about his past, and what he has gone through, you start to feel for his character. He is so full of rage and hate, and once he throws his helmet away, you can see that on his face for the rest of the movie. He wants Rey to join him, he wants the pair of them to rule the galaxy together, he has a soft spot for Rey, and feels like he can open up and share his thoughts and feelings with her. I just think Kylo is a very compelling and complex villain, one who will stand out for many years to come, it helps that Driver gives such a fantastic performance. It also helps that he’s part of probably the best scene in StarWars history. I can’t wait to see where they take his character and what’s in store for him, in the final chapter. Because his story isn’t finished, he is “unfinished evil,” where I think we have only seen the tip of the evil iceberg for Kylo Ren, which spells trouble for Rey and the resistance.

People are having a really hard time letting go of the past. Even Kylo Ren has a line of dialogue in the movie. “Let the past die,” he says. “Kill it, if you have to. That’s the only way to become what you were meant to be.” That bears true in the movie, and in real life. These new movies are moving in a new direction, moving away from the past (Luke, Leia, Han Solo) and moving forward with our new heroes and villains. People are having a hard time doing so, especially those who have been with this franchise since 1977. They want to remember and hang onto this epic and wonderful characters for as long as possible, and now that the end is in sight for most of them, people are having a difficult time letting go. In order for something new to grow, usually something old must die, these new movies was about telling a new adventure with new characters, and not about the ones we grew up with, and everyone should be okay with that. Luke Skywalker was not meant to be the main character and center of attention of this new trilogy. It’s the second biggest opening weekend of all time, 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. But here is why the Internet is divided; the audience score is sitting at 56%. I think that has a lot to do with what I mentioned earlier and people not getting what they wanted. This is not a bad movie; hell it’s an incredible movie going experience. It’s beautiful; the score is epic, great performances all around. People are upset certain things didn’t go their way; I think they need to get over that and give this movie another watch.

Overall, this has one of the best space battles ever, in my opinion the best light sabre fight scenes, and the best performances given in any Star Wars movie. It builds on already so much rich history, it’s such a great story, with some flaws, but with a movie this big in scale, that will happen. It’s full of incredible moments, breath taking visuals and a lot of laughs. I found myself a little emotional during certain moments; you really get caught up in it all. That’s what you want when you’re sitting in the theatre. This is a really great epic Star Wars movie that shouldn’t be missed. Give it time, fans will come back around to seeing this as a great movie, they are just salty right now.

Check ya later.

Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – The Last Jedi = 92/100