Reviews

‘Mortal Kombat’ Review

The definition of a mixed bag. Mortal Kombat doesn’t come without its flaws, but overall a solid foundation for what’s to possibly come.

MMA fighter Cole Young seeks out Earth’s greatest champions in order to stand against the enemies of Outworld in a high stakes battle for the universe.

Everyone remembers their first fatality. It was almost a right of passage for any young gamer. Mortal Kombat has been part of our lives for a long long time and people have been clamoring for a suitable live-action adaption of this beloved franchise. Fans waited almost 25 years since the colossal disaster that was Mortal Kombat: Annihilation for another shot at immortality and to be crowned the winner of the ultimate tournament. When the first trailer dropped, jaws hit the floor because this promised to be bloody and brutal and after seeing the film, some of those promises were kept, but we got a small taste of what could be a very fun new franchise.

Fans are divided, some are happy with the finished product and others wanted more. The characters we all love are present and some stick out more than others and we get that solid R rating that showcased some awesome gore and unforgettable fatalities. I just felt that what we got was satisfying but in the smallest possible way. Seeing all the characters look amazing, most notably Kabal (Daniel Nelson) Jax (Mehcad Brooks), and the cousins Liu Kang (Ludi Lin) and Kung Lao (Max Huang). The show stealing Kano (Josh Lawson) who legit steals almost every scene he is in. Points in my books for all of his popular culture references and his dirty Aussie mouth. That’s a guy I would hang out with. His comedy was something that everyone is talking about and something that almost carries the film when it felt a little slow. His BFF Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee) is a worthy advisory for Kano and they worked really well together. Even the new addition of Cole Young (Lewis Tan) works. Being a new character in the lore of MK I would have liked a little more backstory and character development for him, but hopefully, we get that in the future.

The two superstars of the franchise; Scorpion (Hiroyuki Sanada) and Sub-Zero (Joe Taslim) really kick off the movie with a pretty terrific first ten minutes. We came for a few showdowns between the two and we get exactly that. They look amazing and really got the sense they enjoyed playing these characters. Sub-Zero is probably the coolest character in the movie because I felt like his powers were on display the most and HELLO – he freezes and breaks Jax’s arms off like a pair of toothpicks. Looking forward to seeing these two fight in the near future.

Now, on to the things that just didn’t work for me. In a movie called Mortal Kombat we want brutal fights. Yes, we get some gruesome fatalities but the fights themselves seemed rushed and not impactful enough, we wanted to see some brutality to these things and that just wasn’t the case. Feeling the weight of punches and these characters feeling a little more human and less superhuman. Also, I’ve never been a fan of quick cut editing and that’s all that’s happening during these fights. Let’s get some long drawn-out edits for our fights for the sequel, something that feels more a fight and less than a montage. Another letdown was the leaders of Outworld and Earth Realm. Raiden (Tadanobu Asano) and Shang Tsung (Chin Han) were weak. Barley having anything to do and we didn’t even get to see them throw down. Sure, we get the classic soul-suck from Shang Tsung but at the end of the day, these are two massively important characters that felt so bland. King Goro himself, who was a massive upgrade from ‘95, was WASHED! He didn’t even have a speaking part or a scene to explain who the heck he was for people who don’t know the character. Sure, he was amazing to look at, but he’s King Goro, put some respect on his name. Now, he will be back for the sequel, or at least I think he will be.

Overall, I think Mortal Kombat was solid enough to warrant a sequel. Things need to change, maybe find a new director and better writers. Simon McQuiod might have bit off a little more than he can chew. Being his first major studio movie, it felt that way with some of the decisions being made. Look, we had to wait over two decades for a new movie, this isn’t a hot commodity and I do think there were more positives than negatives, but the negatives perhaps outweigh those positives.

I’m excited for what this franchise could be. With the right direction behind it, fixing the mistakes and listening to the criticisms from fans. There’s a bunch of good ingredients here, they just need to find the right recipe. We should know pretty quickly if we will be getting a sequel within the next few years. Hope we do.

I’ll leave it on this. When a man uses a hat as a buzzsaw to cut someone in half, obviously I’m going to enjoy that movie.

Mortal Kombat = 71/100

 

 

Reviews

Looking Back At ‘Mortal Kombat’

We are a week out from Mortal Kombat coming back into our lives. So I decided to review the 1995 movie and see if it lives up to the nostalgia hype.

15 Things I Just Learned About the 1995 Mortal Kombat Movie – We Minored in Film

Three unknowing martial artists are summoned to a mysterious island to compete in a tournament whose outcome will decide the fate of the world.
Release Date. August 18th, 1995. Director. Paul W.S Anderson. Box-Office. 122.2 Million
This movie kind of gets you amped up and ready to go from the very get-go. The epic and I mean epic opening intro, you know – MORTAL KOMBAT! At the time movies that had been based on video games didn’t have the best track record, hell they still don’t. Even 26 years later, this is still regarded as one of the best video game movie adaptations of all time. I’m not sure if that’s saying a lot or saying very little.
I’ll say this, the movie is fun. It’s 26 years old, clearly, the movie will feel very ’90s, and since then the lore and mythology and love for all things MK has only grown. We were dealing with an IP that was still kind of a baby. That being said, in everything we get, I do feel like there was a real heart behind this project. Just at this time, studios didn’t want to pour a ton of movies into a video game movie film.
Personally, the casting is almost flawless. Liu Kang (Robin Shou), Sonya Blade (Bridgette Wilson-Sampras), Johnny Cage (Linden Ashby), Raiden (Christopher Lambert), and Shang Tsung (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) couldn’t be more perfect in their respected roles. I think that’s what really drives this movie forward because without proper casting we all know what happens – I’m looking at you MK Annihilation (which I won’t be reviewing). The only characters that needed to be properly cast and flushed out were Scorpion and Sub-Zero. At the time, they looked cool but they are almost meant to be low-level side characters and they are anything but that. The new movie looks to revolve around them and their history, so we will have come a long way from them being very disposable.
The fights feel like 1995 fight scenes, nothing special but some very memorable moments. Most notably Johnny Cage versus both Scorpion and Goro. Probably the highlight of the film, great one-liners and at the time Goro was King Shit. That will be one of the bummers from the new movie the absences of Johnny Cage and it will be interesting to see if maybe he shows up during a post-credit stinger.
We can’t really talk about this without blessing Robin Shou because he is the embodiment of Liu Kang. His incredible flow, his awesome moves, and the fact he was the only big three cast member to come back. It would be great if some of these OG cast members popped up in the new MK, I guess we will know soon enough.
The film works, it’s got some great set pieces, a fun cast, and some enjoyable fight sequences. It’s aged pretty well and as far as video game movies go, it’s near the top of the list. It set the bar pretty high in the ’90s.
Memorable and hasn’t been forgotten. Mortal Kombat showed fans what could be done with video game properties and we have waited well over two decades for the next chance to see these beloved characters in action. I can’t wait for the new movie to drop, GET OVER HERE!
Mortal Kombat = 68/100
Reviews

‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ Review

The greatest gladiator match in the history of the world. The King of the jungle vs the Ruler of the seas. Fight night. Let me tell you, it lived up to the hype. Godzilla vs Kong is good old fashion fun.

Godzilla vs Kong Box Office Opening Day Breaks Pandemic Records – /Film The epic next chapter in the cinematic Monsterverse pits two of the greatest icons in motion picture history against one another – the fearsome Godzilla and the mighty Kong – with humanity caught in the balance.

When people ask me why I love going to the movies so much, it for movies like Godzilla vs Kong, it’s why we go to the movies. Movies like this should be experienced on the biggest screen possible, with the volume so high it almost hurts your ears. I’m so happy I got to watch this in IMAX, the first movie I have been able to watch in a theatre since July and only the second movie I have seen since the pandemic began. I was like a kid on Christmas watching two of the meanest and biggest monsters this world has to offer throw down.

We revisit the Monster-Verse that start all the way back in 2014 when the first Godzilla came out and things have grown immensely since. Here we are almost a decade later and the fate of the world is being decided by the biggest showdown we have ever seen. Two titans and rightful rulers in their own minds. Have decided it’s time to settle this debate of who is the alpha dog once and for all. When you walk into a movie that is titled Godzilla vs Kong, well, you want it to live up to its name and the movie does just that. The movie wants you no matter the age to feel like a kid again, we all did it, smash our action figures together, pretending it was the biggest battle of all time. Now we are seeing it play out in real-time. Because when the action hits, it’s just simply breathtaking. I can’t stress enough how gorgeous the fight sequences were. The use of color, the surrounding landscape, the fight choreography which was the biggest boost from previous movies, makes it all so enjoyable. We are talking about a massive jump in quality between the fights in King of The Monsters and this, it was blowing my mind. Director Adam Wingard knows what we want to see. The fights are clean and crisp, you can tell exactly what is going on and the use of POV shots and the immense power during some sequences is the best of that stature since Pacific Rim. The last 20 mins are some of the best-looking movie footage I have ever seen on the big screen and I can’t even imagine what movies are going to look like in 10 years.

Like always, the biggest flaws of these movies are the none essential human characters. These movies always have them and it’s what grinds the fans gears the most. It’s difficult at least right now to have a movie of this size and proportion without the help of some human interactions and plot. I think they are okay and don’t weigh the movie down too much, but again, the problem isn’t the human characters, is just there are always 3 or 4 too many of them. Kyle Chandler and Millie Bobby Brown return as the heads of Team Godzilla, while they had Bryan Tyree Henry and Julian Dennison to their roster. I’ll focus on their team because right away, I love Kyle Chandler but he’s so underused to the point he didn’t need to be in the movie. He adds nothing and it’s just a prime example of screen time wasted on one human character where we want more Kong or Godzilla. Now for Team Kong, we get an all-new team of Alexander Skarsgard, Rebecca Hall, and the stand-out of the human side of things Kaylee Hottle. She plays Jia a deaf survivor of the Skull Island tribe who is Kong’s friend and communicator. I didn’t even mention any of the evil humans that round out the cast, Eiza Gonzalez, Shun Oguri, and Demain Bichir who all felt a little too cartoonish. Eiza Gonzalez who I love is another character we could have done without. Is the plot a tad silly? Of course it is, but it’s a movie about a giant monkey and a giant lizard kicking the living shit out of each other, what do you expect?

When you have a movie with a versus in the title that usually means one shall reign supreme. Would I say there is a winner here? Yes. But I would also say that gets tossed out the window about 5 mins later. Remember there is another monster lurking in the shadows awaiting both of our titans. Where the Monster-Verse goes from here remains unclear, but I think this was a jolt of lightning the franchise needed because this thing even with the pandemic going on is going to be a success.

Overall, Godzilla vs Kong is all the hoopla you would want from such a movie. It’s big, it’s loud, it’s fun and most of all it looks beautiful. Clearly, some changes might have been made after King of The Monsters, but Adam Wingard really encompassed what makes both of these characters special. Pays respect to the past while embracing the future.

Just remember Kong bows to no one.

Godzilla vs Kong = 87/100

Reviews

Looking Back At ‘Godzilla’

With Godzilla vs. Kong releasing, let’s travel back to the movie that kicked off this Monster-Verse, with the almighty Godzilla.

The world is beset by the appearance of monstrous creatures, but one of them may be the only one who can save humanity.

Remember a time when Godzilla just wasn’t part of our lives? At least not here in North America, going 16 years without a major Godzilla movie to hit theatres. Times had changed. This wasn’t the 90’s and the last time this iconic monster was on screen, let’s just say, it was quite forgettable. In fact, the Roland Emmerich take on Godzilla was flat-out embarrassing. The world needed a new and fresh take that felt a little more this century.

In comes Gareth Edwards who knew a thing or two about making a monster movie. Not only was he bringing in one of the biggest monsters this world has ever seen but coming along for the ride was at that time, the biggest thing on TV – Bryan Cranston. I remember it like it was yesterday, Bryan Cranston screaming “it’s going to bring us back to the Stone Age!” During the first teaser trailer for the film. The marketing was off to a flying start because we thought it was going to be Walter White vs. Godzilla. We all know that’s not what we ended up getting but none the less seeing Cranston in this movie was incredible to see, just wish he would have become a major player in this Monster-Verse.

Instead, we got the Maximoff twins. Aaron Tyler-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen headlined this movie and for me, they have been some of the best human characters this universe has had to offer. Johnson’s stoic performance where he was a soldier who happened to be a jack of all trades – is another character you wish you saw again. Taking part in the “halo jump” sequence which is to this day arguably the best scene this franchise has to offer.

Gareth Edwards takes a play out of Steven Spielberg’s playbook by teasing us for the majority of the film with the creatures. Much like Jaws, it isn’t until the end where we finally get to see Godzilla in all of his glory and the suspense and build-up works so well in Edwards’s favor. He is a sight to behold and it wouldn’t be right to introduce us to him so early in the film. Because once the film gets going and especially in the third act, when the violence starts – it hits hard. I’ll never forget that noise, you know, the sound of Godzilla building up is legendary Atomic Breath. Watching him shoot that into the MUTO’s mouth is something every movie fan will never forget, what a moment!

Unlike the next installment, this doesn’t feel so bogged down by the character development because it felt so needed. Like I mentioned it takes a while for us to even see Godzilla, this isn’t the sequel where that mystique and suspense is still lingering. They seem essential to the plot and at this time they are unsure if Godzilla is friend or foe. I really liked Tyler-Johnson and Olsen in their roles, I know some people will disagree but they just felt so grounded, with King of The Monsters everyone felt like a comic-book character. Speaking in one-liners and just being either disposable or filling their cliche role.

Overall, I think Godzilla reminded us what we can have with these types of movies and where the genre was going. Pacific Rim, Kong: Skull Island and King of The Monsters really show just how great these movies can look. It’s difficult to put it all together. The special effects are something to behold and I’m excited to see how Godzilla vs Kong expands this universe and how Adam Wingard will bring his own sense of style to this franchise. Godzilla remains a great larger-than-life monster movie filled with good performances and some unforgettable movie-going moments.

Godzilla = 84/100

Reviews

Throwback Review ‘Terminator 2: Judgement Day’ Review

Thought it was time to finally write a review for the greatest action movie of all time.

Image result for terminator 2
A cyborg, identical to the one who failed to kill Sarah Connor, must now protect her teenage son, John Connor, from a more advanced and powerful cyborg.

When you run down some of the best action movies of all time, the list can get pretty long. Aliens, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Dark Knight, The Matrix and Heat. All incredible in their own rights. But none of them hold a candle to not only the greatest action movie ever made but the greatest sequel of all time. This is about to be 30 years old, I’ll say that again. This movie turns 30 this summer and it still feels so inventative, so original and so ground-breaking that with every single re-watch, it still amazes me in new and surprising ways.

James Cameron coming off just a slew of home runs, most notably Aliens, was set to direct a sequel to The Terminator, the movie that put him on the map. Already proving he could direct a worthy sequel with Aliens being one of the best movies to come out in the 80’s. This time around he was dealing with his own child, the ultimate killing machine, the Terminator.

We open up about 10 years later and Sarah Connor is not that shy and naive girl from our previous encounter. She has done a lot of growing up and even had a baby boy! John Connor as we know is the future leader of the resistance against the Terminators and she will do anything in her power to keep him safe. Enter Edward Furlong and his clear claim to fame. Does James Cameron know how to cast excellent kid actors or what. The second he’s introduced with Guns N’ Roses ‘You Could Be Mine’ playing in the background, it kind of says everything you need to know about his character. A troubled kid, but what kind wouldn’t be with their mom in a psycho hospital because she thinks machines are going to take over the world. For a film that introduces Edward Furlong he doesn’t such an incredible job acting beside both Linda Hamilton and Arnold. 

I’ll never forget going years and I mean YEARS without watching this movie, so I was in university and fired it up and we arrived at the best sequence in the movie – the Galleria Mall and tunnel car chase. When Arnold meets Robert Patrick’s T-1000 in the back hallways of the Mall, the hairs on my arms stood up. It was instant goosebumps because I forgot how intense and just beautiful this moment was. Imagine being a person sitting in the theatres in 1991, because the movie did a really great job at not showcasing who the bad guy was in the movie. Until that time, Arnold was the bad guy, the Terminator sent back in time to kill Sarah Connor.

Speaking of bad guys, how fantastic has Robert Patrick’s T-1000 aged? Not only his running form, which remains god like, he really could give the Flash some lessons on proper running form, but his whole performance has really stood the test of time. From his stoic demeanor, his almost likeability at the beginning of the movie, and finally just how much ass he kicks. Without a doubt, the movie just isn’t the same if they go with a different actor. 

From the pitch-perfect pacing, with action set-pieces that seem so simple, yet are excecuted to perfection, because that’s what James Cameron does. To the memorable performances across the board, Terminator 2 is just a beautiful movie to watch unfold each time you play it back. Even the score has just be embedded in movie history, you hear that epic score, you know exactly what is about to go down.

Judgement Day is something that I watch about once a year and it’s just a movie I’ll never really get tired of. How can you? From Arnold learning how to reload a shotgun while riding a motorcycle, to the horror elements from the T-1000. This movie provides so many iconic one-liners that you almost think this movie invented the cool one-liners, or simply has the most ever in a single movie. 

Put this movie in a museum and throw away the key, or in some canister much like the robotic arm from Cyberdyne. 

T2 is perfect.

100/100

Reviews

‘John Wick: Chapter 3’ Review

John Wick 3 ups the ante in action, cementing itself among the trilogy elite. The role Keanu Reeves was born to play, this man will legitimately kill you with anything.

Super-assassin John Wick is on the run after killing a member of the international assassin’s guild, and with a 14 million price tag on his head – he’s the target of hit men and women everywhere.


Star Wars. Nolan’s Batman. The Godfather. Lord of Rings. These are just some of the defining trilogies of our time. Now enter John Wick. It’s honestly pretty damn crazy to look back at both these films and the star, Keanu Reeves and how far they have come. Keanu was always a fan favourite, notorious for being the worlds nicest man, and being a genuinely great action star. Then came along a little film titled John Wick, that changed the game forever. Fast paced action, great story telling and immersing us into this universe where every one from your mother to your dentist could be a high end assassin.

A book, knife, axe, belt, fists, guns, more guns, actually the most amount of guns. On land, in the dessert, on a horse, under water, seriously this man will kill you anywhere, anytime. 91 total kills, that’s how many lives John Wick takes in all sorts of ways. You might be saying, why is that number so low? Why doesn’t he kill more people than the sequel, well it’s simple really, Halle Berry steals a ton of those kills. Known as Sofia, Halle Berry and her two German Shepard’s are introduced into this incredible universe. When I first heard she was joining the John Wick world, I didn’t know how to react. She can be great, but I didn’t know if she would the right fit. Well, let me tell you, she kicks so much ass, joining Keanu in the biggest shootout of the film, where she’s taking no prisoners and appears to be a force to be reckon with. I won’t be shocked if she gets a spin off for herself. This universe is growing and I couldn’t be happier about it.

The movie opens up with John on the run after the events of Chapter 2, and it doesn’t take long for us to be introduced to Ernest played by the giant Boban Marjanovic. Watching Boban fight Keanu Reeves in the New York City library will be without doubt one of the best movie moments of 2019. If you don’t take the John Wick universe for what it is, you will have a hard time enjoying them. Yes, everyone is an assassin, yes there are gold coins and a hotel that permits you from any sorts of violence. What director Chad Stahelski has done though, is create a vast world, where you become immersed in it all. They build mythos and great backstories, and you learn to care for these characters especially John and his dogs. There are so many cool characters sprinkled throughout the world, from Winston (Ian McShane) the manager of The Continental, Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne), Charon (Lance Reddick), who they actually let shoot some guns this time around and it was awesome.

Like every new installment they introduced us to new zany characters like the films villains The Adjudicator (Asia Kate Dillion) and Zéro (Mark Dacasos). Zero is on par with John Wick, and watching them kick the living shit out of each other was a real treat. Here’s the thing, Zero is like the worlds biggest John Wick fan, so complementing him for killing his protégés, and even for kicking his ass was such a unique and hilarious concept. The ending even reminded me of a video game, where John is climbing levels fighting sub-bosses until he got to the final and top platform where Zero was waiting. This movie doesn’t let you breathe, it’s a non-stop adrenaline rush, where the body count is sky-high. I still think it’s insane that Keanu Reeves is doing what he’s doing after everything he’s been through in Hollywood, cementing is legacy as one of the best action stars this world has ever seen.

Overall John Wick 3 is just a ton of fun, it builds on an already rich foundation, and you just want to keep watching Keanu Reeves kill people. The action is always so crisp and clean and so well executed, that it’s no surprise how many action films are stealing the John Wick method. Expect to see a lot more of these films, and if you haven’t checked out this series yet, do yourself a favour and check them out!

John Wick Chapter 3 = 91/100

Reviews

‘Detective Pikachu’ Review

Warning. Your face will hurt from all the smiling you’ll do whenever Pikachu is on screen. The world of Pokémon is open for business. Expect to see a lot more of these cute creatures in the future.

In a world where people collect Pokémon to do battle, a boy comes across an intelligent talking Pikachu who seeks to be a detective


I feel it in my jellies. That this movie is all sorts of adorable and fun. If you would have sat me down and told me when I turned 30 years old I would be in a theatre gearing up to watch a live-action Pokémon movie starring Ryan Reynolds, I would have most likely laughed in your face. Here we are though, living in a world where Pikachu is making cocaine jokes in a live-action movie of everyone’s favourite Pokémon. I’m here to say that Detective Pikachu does an incredible job building an interesting and immersive universe, with a bunch of adorable Pokémon on the screen. Much like Who Framed Roger Rabbit, this is a classic whodunit, with a noir mystery sense of style. I was really blown away with just how perfect all the Pokémon looked. This is going to be a treat for new and old friends alike and reminds us all why Pikachu is the best Pokémon hands down.

Directed and written by Rob Letterman, he kicks off this Pokémon universe in a big way. Introducing us to all types of Pokémon and really set the stage for what’s potentially coming. All the nostalgia drops, the Easter eggs are enough to keep any hardcore fan busy. But for the most part, everyone came to see the caffeine-addicted Detective Pikachu. Couldn’t think of a better fit then Ryan Reynolds to voice this little guy. It’s the selling point of the movie, and it should please just about everyone. He’s not alone on this adventure though, he’s joined by Tim (Justice Smith) and Lucy (Kathryn Newton) who is joined by her hilarious headache induced Psyduck. Obviously, you’re heading to the theatre for the all the cuteness that is the Pokémon, but the story needs a human element to drive it forward, and keep things moving. I think the two leads are great, I even thought they had terrific chemistry. I’m not going to sit here and name every single Pokémon that pops up on the screen, but I don’t want to spoil it. Trust me, there are a ton and it’s a lot of fun to watch them interact with humans and just go about their days like we aren’t even there.

Growing up playing the card game, I was the best player in the city and playing the games, worlds best trainer. I went into this movie hoping to see some Pokémon battles and people hunting and trying to catch Pokémon. Sadly that isn’t what this movie is about, but they show us a little glimpse of both aspects, which when we do peak behind those curtains, it’s entertaining as hell. That’s where I want this universe to go, we need an all-out tournament with spectacular battles. Hunting and catching Pokémon would also be an interesting direction to take this thing. There’s so much potential with this universe and that’s what I’ve been thinking about the most since I left the theatre.

As for the visuals, simply mind-blowing really. The Pokémon are so lifelike and colourful, they did such a great job bringing them to life. They don’t talk, so using their design and body language to essentially communicate with the audience worked well. The film flows really well, you’re immediately thrust into the world of Pokémon and there are very few scenes that don’t have a single Pokémon in it. The ending takes a little bit of a weird turn, but I figured they would try to do something along those lines. This was the first trial, the feeler movie. Warner Bros made this and wanted to see how the audience would react. Future sequels will depend heavily on box office numbers, but I will be shocked if this doesn’t make close to a billion dollars. As for the final scene of the movie, I’m not sure what they are trying to do, but I’m super curious to see how others react and where they would take that element.

In order to get more of these movies, they need our help. Go out and support little Pikachu, because he’s just so damn cute. If someone wants to get me a Pikachu stuffed animal that would also be pretty sweet.

One final note. Ash Ketchum needs to be in the sequel. Misty and Brock too.

Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – Detective Pikachu = 84/100

Reviews

‘Avengers: Endgame’ Review

Avengers: Endgame is the perfect sendoff to the Infinity Saga, capping off a monumental run of films. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you’ll cheer. Well at least I did.

After the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War, the universe is in ruins. With the help of the remaining allies, the Avengers assemble once again.


Where were you doing on May 8th, 2008? Almost 11 years to the date, Iron Man was released in theatres, officially launching the MCU. Robert Downey Jr and Jon Favreau changed the landscape of Hollywood forever, catapulting this Marvel superhero’s into our lives. The MCU didn’t just change how we watch movies, it changed how movies were being made. Everyone wanted the ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe” formula for their movie franchise. Some trying to emulate it as best they could, some succeeding to a certain degree, others failing miserably. After the end credits scene rolled on Iron Man, and Nick Fury, played by Samuel L Jackson said those famous words; “I’m here to talk to you about the Avengers initiative.” No one would have guessed the amount of success and praise that would follow.

Now here we are, 11 years and 22 films later. All leading to this, Avengers: Endgame. Ever since the events that unfolded last year in Infinity War, fans around the world have been dying to know how this was going to play out. We watched as some of our favorite heroes turned to dust, and watched Tony Stark deal with the impact of his favorite kid literally crumbling into his arms as Peter Parker blew away. I’ll begin with this. When I saw the movie, it was a sold-out show, and it took no time at all for this experience to turn into a rock concert. Throughout the movie, the audience was going nuts, and I couldn’t help myself but join in on the fun being had. This kind of environment was so heartwarming, knowing that you weren’t the only one who for the most part was screaming on the inside. It’s why they make these movies, for a crowd of people to embrace one another and share this journey together. Maybe that made me enjoy and like the film even more, but one thing is certain, Avengers: Endgame was worth the wait. Worth all the time and money I have put into the MCU over the last 11 years. All the midnight showings, all the repeat viewings, the pounds of popcorn and liters of soda I have ingested watching these films. The film almost honors the time you have spent with this franchise. What I mean is, they know that you’ve been on this 11-year journey, and they made damn sure you get what we all deserved, one satisfying ending.

This will be spoiler-free (for the most part), I will talk about one thing, but that one thing you should have known would happen, so it’s not even a spoiler at this point. We all know that two things happened. One, our friends and heroes were dusted, and that Thanos was still alive and still holding all of the infinity stones. In order to restore balance in the universe, it was pretty obvious that our heroes would need to do some time travel in order to do so. With Ant-Man sitting out the events of Infinity War, it was pretty clear that he would be the game changer the Avengers needed to tackle Thanos once and for all. If someone asked me to describe the plot of Endgame, I think I’d say, the Avengers are preventing Thanos from getting the stones in the first place – and they all need to be retrieved from a specific point in time so that they all can ultimately be returned to that exact moment in time, thus preserving the timeline. Make sense? Probably not, but that’s the best I could come up with, and to me, it’s pretty straightforward. I was a really big fan of how they were referencing other time travel movies, and almost calling bullshit on a lot of them, for not having proper time travel rules in place. That’s what makes the MCU so quirky and fun to be a part of. The idea of time travel and the consequences that come with it is so elemental to the very idea, that it can be a very hard thing to navigate through. But like most things the MCU does, I thought they handled it as well as they could. People will always poke and pry when it comes to time travel, but this movie has a talking raccoon, space robots and a giant talking tree, you can’t really expect the science to be perfect.

The team that we do have left is great, it was pretty neat seeing new teams being formed and friendships being made between characters I had no intention of thinking I wanted to see them on screen together. It’s just really difficult to talk about anything in this movie without giving ANYTHING away. Everyone in this film has something to do, a purpose, no one is sitting on the sidelines at all. They all get their moment to shine. Ant-Man serves as the real heart of the film, Paul Rudd gives his best performance to date in the MCU. Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr once again rule every scene they are apart of. I could go on forever about these two, but you already know the drill by now.

I’ll have to write a follow-up post dissecting and discussing everything that went down in Endgame. This review is really difficult to put into words because without expressing all my emotions from what transpired I can’t do it justice. All I know is this. Over the past 11 years, we have been treated to some extraordinary film-making and world-building. Hollywood was changed forever with the birth of the MCU, it truly is a special feat and something that will never be replicated or topped. It’s pretty incredible when you sit back and think about how all these movies intertwine and the cohesive storytelling that occurred. Endgame was the cherry on top of this already perfect sundae, and I wish I could relive my experience Thursday night.

Go see it, this is going to make a billion dollars this weekend alone. It won’t catch Avatar, nothing will, but if you have been alongside these heroes for the past 11 years, why give up now? Whatever it takes……..

Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – Avengers: Endgame = 100/100

Reviews

‘The Beach Bum’ Review

For some reason Matthew McConaughey has had two back-to-back movies where he loves fishing.

A rebellious stoner named Moondog lives life by his own rules


So here we are, it’s April of 2019 and one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, Matthew McConaughey has starred in not one but two experimental films. He sure knows how to pick em these days, because both films have been simply not my cup of tea. Here we have The Beach Bum, an incoherent, psychedelic trip, that at times feels pretty meaningless. When I say this wasn’t my cup of tea, it’s because, I don’t think this was a terrible movie, in fact, it’s a beautifully shot film. The landscapes and cinematography throughout it are stunning and much like Spring Breakers, it’s pretty gorgeous to look at. Director Harmony Korine has a certain style in his films, and either it’s going to be for you, or you will honestly end up hating it. I found myself lying somewhere in the middle.

Let’s wind the clocks all the way back to the classic that is Dazed & Confused. Remember Wooderson, the iconic character that dear old Matthew plays. Well within the first few minutes of this, I said to myself, this is who Wooderson would have been all grown up. This is just a classic McConaughey performance. No one else could have played this role, I feel like this part was written for him. So Moondog as they call him was once this great poet and now, well he’s the definition of a burn out. A genius one at that, but all Moondog does is drink, do drugs and have sex. I can’t really explain Moondog, he’s just someone you need to experience for yourself. It’s a one of a kind type of role, where you can get immersed into this character, but at the same time he can get on your nerves quickly. He surrounds himself with quite the band of misfits as well. We got Snoop Dogg, well pretty much being Snoop. Isla Fisher as his horny as all hell wife. I’ll say that I actually thought they played so well off one another and whenever they were on screen together, I think that was the most enjoyable part of the movie for me. Sprinkle in a little Zac Efron, Martin Lawrence and Jonah Hill, yes Jonah Hill is in The Beach Bum. Doing perhaps one of the most accents I’ve ever heard. I know he must be doing on purpose, but it’s so bad and over the top, that it takes you out of it, every time he opens his mouth.

The cast is just a bunch of misfit characters, Zac Efron has panini sideburns, Martin Lawrence loves Dolphins and sails a boat for tourists. It’s all very weird and I know that’s Harmony’s style. I felt after watching this movie that none of the people in this movie had a soul. No one knew the difference between right and wrong. It was odd. Essentially something tragic happens to Moondog and he needs to write his novel in order to regain his life. Nothing really happens, it’s one scene after another of Moondog stumbling around, laughing, drinking, that’s really about it. I was so confused because I thought there would be more to this thing than that. You’ll laugh a lot, there’s a sequence that involved a bunch of homeless dudes and Moondog which cracked me up. There’s also a parrot that is addicted to cocaine, I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence out, but here we are.

There’s just so little to The Beach Bum, is just something you need to go see for yourself. There’s not enough to talk about because I’ll just spoil the whole thing for you. If you like McConaughey go see it. If you’re a fan of the director this will be right up your alley. But there’s just so little meat on these bones it’s hard to digest. Just set a record for my shortest review.

Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – The Beach Bum = 62/100

Reviews

‘Us’ Review

Creep on in on in. Jordan Peele follows up Get Out with a stellar sophomore performance. Lupita Nyong’o shines, but Winston Duke steals the show.

A family’s serenity turns to chaos when a group of doppelgängers begins to terrorize them.


What is your deepest fear? For some, it’s heights or spiders. Some people have fears that we can even begin to imagine, like the fear of peaches. But what about fearing oneself? Deep down we truly are our own worst enemy right? Have you ever seen someone out in public that you swore was someone you know, or stumbled upon a photo of someone who looks just like you? It can be creepy, the old adage that if you ever time travel, you are forbidden to ever see yourself because the human psyche couldn’t handle something like that. Well now imagine not only seeing a mirror reflection of yourself, but that every person is here to kill you. The concept of duality is very interesting when used correctly in the film. What if we all had our own double out there somewhere, but we just didn’t know it? Duality is a very large theme within Jordan Peele’s new movie Us, his incredible follow up to the cultural phenomenon that was Get Out.

I can’t even fathom the amount of pressure Jordan Peele must have felt when making and writing this movie. Get Out literally changed his life forever and will be regarded as one of the best horror movies of all time, and perhaps one of the best movies of this decade. Those are some rather large shoes to fill for your follow up. But, if you had one great idea, you’re bound to have more right? Well, not only is Us going to be a smash hit, in some ways he ups the ante from his previous movie. Onions have layers, Ogres have layers, this movie has many layers. Sometimes adding a ton of layers won’t always translate to success and people enjoying your movie more. In fact, peeling back too many layers can be tiresome and at times boring. There’s a ton to digest with Us, it packs a punch. The movie at times can feel psychedelic and almost hypnotic with the imagery we are given. Peele crafts some spectacular shots, one that includes shadows of our family as they walk on the beach. Like I mentioned, duality and mirror images are a large aspect of this film. Speaking of the family, let’s meet the Wilson’s shall we?

Nothing screams vacation like fighting with your family. Now being hunted down and having your doppelgänger trying to kill you is a whole other ball game. Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o) Gabe (Winston Duke) Jason (Evan Alex) and Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) are just your typical American family trying to have some fun at the beach. Now, for a movie like this, there is no way I’m giving away anything, I wouldn’t do that. Just know, the trailers don’t even scratch the surface of what this movie is, which I was pleasantly surprised with. Jordan Peele did an incredible job keeping this thing hush-hush. Lupita gives one hell of a performance, one of the best that I can remember in a horror movie. She’s doing a lot here because these four are also playing their counterparts. But Winston Duke man, that’s my new guy. The way I would describe him is simple, he’s – “that’s how I would act kind of guy.” What he’s saying, how he’s acting, he’s doing all the things use average joes would do when faced with these circumstances. The best part about this whole film is how Peele is able to serve up comedy in some scary and suspenseful moments. One misstep and it could have fallen so flat on its face, but it’s the chemistry between our four leads that make it work. They really feel like a family, it’s some of the funniest moments I can ever remember in a horror movie. I want to see this again, which I will, solely for one comedic moment, because I was howling with laughter. The rest of the cast, which is pretty small was just so perfectly crafted. Elizabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker and Cali and Noelle Sheldon play family friends and they were all terrific as well. Fun fact with the twin girls, they played Emma, Ross and Rachel’s daughter in Friends, and now I made you feel old.

My only small gripe with the film was the ending like I said there is a ton to peel back, no pun intended. I wasn’t exactly sure what Peele was going for and he’s asking a lot from his audience, and either you’re going to go there with him or like myself just have maybe a few questions that seem unanswerable. I am not letting that take away from this terrific, suspenseful, master craft of cinema. Jordan Peele is the real deal, and we have just another gifted filmmaker among us and I can’t wait to see what he does next. Go see it, go see it twice, let’s support this man, because he deserves hit. Us could have the biggest box-office openings in history, couldn’t be happier for the guy.

Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – Us = 94/100