In Coco, Miguel dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz. Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead following a mysterious chain of events.
Review: I was going to see this film for two reasons, Pixar and the reviews so far, as the trailers and marketing of the film so far wasn't enough to really get me excited. But wow was I wrong. Pixar does it again and creates one of the most touchingly beautiful films of the year (and Pixar's catalog). The characters are all fantastically fleshed out and easy to relate to and so is Miguel's struggle to prove himself and follow his dream. The circumstances of the film create for some very emotional moments that teach some great lessons along the way. The narrative is perfectly paced and every scene has a purpose that moves the story forward in an organic way. It's just a great film and if your family is free this weekend you should 100 percent take them to see this film.
Bottom Line: Not just a great kids movie, but one of Pixar's and this years best films.
Similar Films: Inside Out, Frozen
Justice League finds Batman fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman's selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Wonder Woman, to work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against a newly awakened threat .
Review: I've seen this film 3 times now and it's not because it's a masterpiece that I feel needs to be seen over and over again. It's because I wanted to make sure I knew how I felt because I really wanted this film to be perfect. On a film quality level it lacks a lot. The narrative is very basic - bad alien comes to Earth to take it over and a team is formed to stop him - the CGI at times is rushed and very poor for one of the most expensive films of the year, tonally it shifts because of the multiple directors, and finally the biggest mistake was not continuing the established emotional and critically acclaimed music from the previous DCEU films (instead we got a generic and poorly nostalgic score). However, this film does more right than wrong. Every one of the heroes has plenty of great moments, lines, and screen time. Flash is hilarious, Batman is cool as always, Wonder Woman is just as wonderful. Aquaman and Cyborg are badass, and we finally get Superman as he was meant to be seen from the comics. DC fans get to see their favorite characters kick butt on the big screen and if you are a comic fan you can't help but have a grin on your face. The added humor by Joss Whedon created a more universally liked film for the DCEU and one that the whole family can go see and have a great time. This film on it's own is a lot of fun, but it's still a generic mess and compared to what it should have been, is still a big disappointment.
Bottom Line: A really fun time for DC fans and kids.
Similar Films: Avengers, Wonder Woman
Thor: Ragnarok has Thor imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his mighty hammer and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok with the help of his old teammate, The Hulk.
Review: I'll admit I had to see this film twice before deciding if I loved the film or really loved the film. With the hype built around it I went in with expectations of it becoming my favorite superhero film in recent memory, which on my first viewing, did not happen. This film does almost everything perfectly, the music, the performances, the visuals, and the amazing comedy by director Taiki Watiti creates one of Marvel's best films. However, the only issue I think the film has is that the comedy deterred the stakes of the film at times. The loss of certain characters and the gravitas of the world destroying event of Ragnarok should have created a couple more minutes of heavier emotion. But this is sort of a nitpick because that wasn't the director's intention. I created the expectations of more drama because of my interest in the Shakespearean first Thor film (which I love) and the dramatic entry of Civil War. After my second viewing and changing my expectations, that negative went away. The comedy didn't drown at the drama as much and I enjoyed it even more. This film is amazingly entertaining with beautiful action and has quite possibly the best comedy of the year.
Bottom Line: One of the best and most entertaining superhero films in recent memory.
Similar Films: Guardians of The Galaxy, Avengers
From the novel by best-selling author Agatha Christie, "Murder on the Orient Express" tells the tale of thirteen strangers stranded on a train, where everyone's a suspect. One man must race against time to solve the puzzle before the murderer strikes again.
Review: A solid mystery film that has a great performance by director Kenneth Branagh. The film is able to grab your attention, but the buildup creates a reveal that is somewhat lackluster. To be honest, I can't pin point where the film went wrong, but just overall it didn't do anything great or anything horrible. For those who aren't familiar with the original source material may find some entertainment value, but I feel like the rest would be better entertained by revisiting the book.
Bottom Line: A decent mystery movie for those not familiar with the source material.
Similar Films: All the other iterations of Murder on The Orient Express.
A BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS follows our three under-appreciated and over-burdened women as they rebel against the challenges and expectations of the Super Bowl for moms: Christmas.
Review: It's another generic modern comedy film, just tied with a Christmas bow. The narrative follows the same exact steps as the first film down to utilizing the kids only as an annoying burden for the third act . However, their largest mistake was making the Grandmothers so unrealistically annoying that the characters weren't relatable and actually made me annoyed instead of entertained at times. With all that said, the film did give a few good laughs and the girls I saw the movie with all had a decent time. As long as you do that in a comedy, then you've succeeded...somewhat.
Bottom Line: A good movie for girls night out when you don't want to go out.
Similar Films: Bad Moms, Bridesmaids, Rough Night, Girls Trip
Happy Death Day is about a college student (Jessica Rothe) reliving the day of her murder with both its unexceptional details and terrifying end until she discovers her killer's identity.
Review: Another movie I wasn't really expecting to be decent and that really had no interest in. But since the reviews were decent, my girlfriend and I just got moviepass, and we were also very bored, we gave it a shot. And it was actually worth it! The film didn't take itself too seriously allowing for a fun and thrilling time. Another plus, was that it wasn't too scary as both of us aren't really into horror films and it ended up having some decently funny moments. It had a twist that is somewhat predictable, but they throw misdirects at you throughout the film to turn you off course. Last, you might be seeing the leading lady, Jessica Rothe, a lot more as she delivers an exciting leading performance. It's not going to reinvent the genre, but not every movie needs to. Though it does give you and your girlfriend a fun time at the movies.
Bottom Line: A pretty fun date movie.
Similar Films: Groundhog Day, Final Destination
The Foreigner tells the story of humble London businessman Quan (Jackie Chan), whose long-buried past erupts in a revenge-fueled vendetta when his teenage daughter is taken from him in a senseless act of politically-motivated terrorism.
Review: Going into this I wasn't expecting anything amazing. I was just happy to see Jackie Chan in an American action role again, especially a serious one. The film is nothing to brag about, but is decently entertaining. It delivers some signature Jackie Chan action that is honestly amazing given his age. However, he story somewhat follows action formula and doesn't stand out in any way. The real positive to talk about is that both Pierce Brosnan and Jackie Chan deliver really great performances that elevate an otherwise mediocre film.
Bottom Line: A decent, but forgettable action flick. Worth a watch on Netflix.
Similar Films: The Accountant, Taken
Blade Runner 2049 takes place thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what's left of society into chaos. K's discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.
Review: I'll admit that I saw Blade Runner for the first time this week. On the first viewing it did not completely wow me, but after more viewings and looking into the meaning it grew on me. This was not the case for 2049, I was hooked from the very start. This is a sci-fi masterpiece that touches on the themes of what it means to love, what it means to live, and how our choices define us. It's an artistic film that doesn't beat you over the head with the messaging and doesn't come across as pretentious (see mother!). It perfectly captures the feel of the first film while not relying too heavily on its story, creating a film that even new filmgoers can enjoy. The acting by everyone in the film is amazing no matter how large the part, the score is some of the best of the year, and the cinematography is some of the best in film history. And even though it is a slow burn noir investigation, the story moves along enough to make you not notice the 160 minute run time. I know this film is not for everyone (hint - if you feel very negatively about the first then this film is not for you.), but it's the rare sequel that equals and many ways exceeds it's predecessor.
Bottom Line: It's a sci-fi masterpiece that's earned the #1 spot for my Top 10 this year.
Similar Films: Blade Runner
Battle of the Sexes is the story of Billie Jean King's (Emma Stone) rise into the women's movement and her climactic tennis match against the on TV misygonist Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell).
Critical Review: Like a lot of the films I've seen recently, this has fantastic acting. Carell and Stone really look and embody the stars they are portraying. The cinematography and lighting create some really intimate and personal moments both on and off the court. It's a very well done film that, like American Made, really captures the period it takes place in.
Entertainment Value: It tells a compelling story that reels you in with the political tension and keeps you entertained with the banter between Steve Carrell and his cast mates. However, It's not a sports film/biopic that will stand out in my mind later on or out shine any other titles on my top 10 this year. That's not a knock on the film, it just didn't have that final push to get it from great to amazing.
Bottom Line: It's a really great sports biopic.
Similar Films: 42, Miracle
American Made is a true story about Barry Seal, a TWA pilot, who finds himself in a crazy string of events involving the CIA, Medellin cartel, and the Iran Contra scandal.
Critical Review: The film has great acting, a lot of dark fun, and captures the feel of the era very well. It's really fast paced, pressing on the gas from the start and not letting off the rest of the film. However, this causes it to suffer from an unconventional pacing issue at times. When usually this means the film is becoming slow, this film could use a slow down as it tries fitting a lot information in it's run-time.
Entertainment Value: Tom Cruise really shines in this fast paced and fun film. Creating a very likable antihero that takes us through a true story that is so crazy it probably wouldn't be picked up if it was a non-fiction script.
Bottom Line: A super fun film and performance by Tom Cruise.
Similar Films: War Dogs, Argo, Wolf of Wall Street
road to 52
I'm a guy that really loves movies and I've set a goal to try and see 52 different films in a year. I've decided to share that journey and my 100% correct opinion on the films I see with the couple people who might read this.
This Year - 49 (59 With Repeats)
2014 - 50 (61 With Repeats)
2015 - 51 (62 With Repeats)
2016 - 50 (58 With Repeats)
*Also, fun fact, I am not a writer nor do I strive to be one. There will be garmmatical errors in this blog :).
2017 top 10 (So far...)
1. Blade Runner 2049
3. Baby Driver
4. War of The Planet of The Apes
6. Wonder Woman
7. Guardians Vol. 2
8. Thor Ragnarok
9. Spider-Man Homecoming
10. Get Out
I don't think giving one score to a film is fair. There's a lot of aspects that go into making a film. Some are made as an art form trying to convey a message, others are simply entertainment, and some attempt to be both, So I want to answer the main questions that any kind of filmgoer would want to hear in a friendly conversation. My reviews are meant to be simple, quick, and very informal :).