Arts and Entertainment Reviews

Summer Movies and New Releases

As 2018 is coming to a close, I have looked back at films throughout the year that I thought were great, like Isle of Dogs, Avengers: Infinity War, and Annihilation, in addition to some I thought were disappointing. For this editorial, I will be briefly reviewing not one, not two, but TEN movies that were released since June to present day. Five from the summer, which will be arriving to digital soon, and five new releases currently in theaters nationwide.

Summer Movie #1 – INCREDIBLES 2

The long-awaited sequel to one of Pixar’s classics The Incredibles, and personally, my favorite film of all time. With that said, you would assume that Incredibles 2 would’ve been my most anticipated movie of all time, and for a while it was! It took over a decade for this movie to come into fruition and for Brad Bird, the writer/director of both films, to find the perfect story. In my opinion, however, he could’ve waited a few months longer.I saw the film four times, so I’m pretty sure I know what I am talking about. There are plenty of easter eggs and hidden messages within the movie for the wide-eyed, particularly referencing other Pixar films.Sadly, the film lacks some of the magic and speciality the original film had, in particular, the story. But, on its own, it’s an incredibly entertaining animated superhero film for the entire family. I really loved that there was no cliched time-jump, meaning it started immediately after the first film’s conclusion. Also, similar to the first film, Incredibles 2 feels like the sixties again, and he animation and voice acting is great as usual for Pixar. On the other hand, the story is such a let-down. New characters were not compelling, and the villain was downright awful. With twists and turns, the film may seem predictable. Bob Parr’s story also had too much filler, from pointless scenes about relationships, to scenes made for babies about silly raccoons. Nevertheless, the film is still decent, and a much, much, better animated movie compared to some of the garbage made for children in 2018.   

Score: ⅗

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Summer Movie #2 – JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM

The third highest grossing movie of the year goes to a film whose franchise has been dead since the Jurassic period. Personally, I didn’t enjoy the first Jurassic World film. This, however, as Dr. Ian Malcolm would say, “is one big pile of crap.” Might as well call the film: “Fallen Franchise.”Unlike the original Jurassic Park, this film has paper-thin leads, incredibly unfunny side-characters, and action that is too “big” and ridiculous, even for Jurassic Park standards. This movie reaches Sharknado levels of ridiculousness.The cinematography and special effects are dull, and the score (from one of the most talented composers of this day) is disappointing. The movie is too long, and the story is as uninteresting as you can possibly imagine. Not to mention, the screenplay was hilarious…for all the wrong reasons! Mediocre acting at its finest, folks!There is only ONE positive I have with this film, which is Chris Pratt’s charisma. With the horrendous script the poor guy was given, he does an amazing job. Jeff Goldblum was also just thrown in the movie  for approximately a minute-and-a-half for fan-service and marketing. Even if you like Jurassic Park, or EVEN Jurassic World, you will not enjoy this film.

Score: ⅕

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Summer Movie #3 – ANT-MAN AND THE WASP

Now that Infinity War is out of the way, let’s talk about a more light-hearted movie. Was it good? Not really. Was it awful? Not really! The first Ant-Man was okay. For the events it was supposed to set up, it did a pretty good job. Previously, there were a lot of problems with the first film’s production. Although the original director, Edgar Wright, was fired for creative differences with Marvel Studios, his script was still used, which was great. So for this film, Marvel really had to prove themselves that without Edgar Wright, they can make a great Ant-Man film. But sadly, that’s not the case. Paul Rudd was hilarious and a joy to watch as Scott Lang, the generic villain is not as generic as some might expect, and Evangeline Lilly does a decent job as Hope. Some humor was surprisingly above average. But as for that, those are the ONLY positives I had with the film. The rest of the characters are just static and uninteresting. Luis, who was a standout from the first film is funny, but he has nothing to do with the story, the second villain, Sonny Burch, is so boring, and has no purpose in the film. Michael Douglas as Hank Pym was interesting, but he just says a bunch of scientific nonsense. Michelle Pfeiffer’s character also does nothing. Basically, the characters are as flat as the cardboard cutouts outside the movie theater. The story is also just not interesting at all, but what can you really do with an Ant-Man film. I guess it did the best it could’ve done. Watch this one if you got nothing else to do.

Score: ⅖

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Summer Movie #4 – MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT

The sixth, and definitely not the last, Mission: Impossible film was sort of what I was expecting. But that’s not really a bad thing! Critics have been calling this the best action film of all time. While, I do think this is a terrific action movie, it’s not even close to being the best of the all time.I’m not a fan of this franchise, I’ve only seen every film after the fourth installment, and I thought those movies were terrific. They had cool effects, great action, and entertaining twists. This film, like the others, is purposely corny and has a lot tension. The pacing is great and the performances are good, as expected. On the contrary, the story is lacks anything surprising, but this doesn’t really matter at all; the absolutely phenomenal action makes up for all the flaws in the film. Each action sequence is unique and marvel to watch. I wouldn’t say I was on the edge of my seat, but I was entertained. The film is well shot and pretty easy to follow. Tom Cruise is almost sixty, and is absolutely mind-blowing how he can do the awesome stunts in the film. The score is also extravagantly euphonious. Although the story is not great, the movie is pure popcorn entertainment that I think anyone of any age could enjoy.

Score: ⅘

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Summer Movie #5 – HEREDITARY

Behold, one of the best horror movies I think I have ever seen. This film is not for everyone. I guarantee that half of the people who read this and see the film will dislike it, but will have at least one thing to enjoy about the film. Personally, I think this was fantastic from start to finish. Near perfection, as a matter of fact.With nearly every horror movie I have seen, there’s a need for cheap jump-scares. This film has only one jump-scare, and it’s scarier and more disturbing than any of the other horror movies I have seen that have at least five! This film delivers the scariness audiences asked for. When I see a horror film, I want to get nightmares; this sounds crazy, but if you see a horror film that gave you nightmares, even when you were a child, that means it did its job. The film doesn’t shy away from vile imagery and violence at the risk of offending and making the audience feel uncomfortable. The cinematography and music sets the eerie setting. A mix of bright and dark colors makes for an unforgettable experience. Performance-wise….A+ all ‘round. Toni Collette needs to get an Oscar nomination, because if she doesn’t, we riot. The story takes twists and turns throughout and you won’t get lost. However, the ending is a weird one. No spoilers here, but watch a YouTube video, and you’ll understand the whole things. I love film, and you love film too, you’ll love this film.

Score: 5/5

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New Movie #1- VENOM

Sony is back! With another Spider-Man movie that was doomed from the start! Many people around the world, myself included, were pretty excited to see this film. With people getting excited that it will be directed by Ruben Fleischer of the R-rated Zombieland, which is one of the funniest action comedies I have ever seen. Venom is also a beloved Marvel comic character, and has received a large fanbase. So it probably means that this was going to be a great film, right?! Well, we knew the response to when the first trailer was released. Which is abysmally embarrassing. It was also revealed that this would PG-13, and will not feature Spider-Man, which absolutely hilarious to think about. It’s like making a Toy Story film with Woody and no Buzz Lightyear! The plot is as thin as paper; symbiote comes to earth; evil organization likes the symbiote; generic love interest and villain; blah, blah, blah; Yuck! Where’s the excitement?! Tom Hardy is a great actor, anything you can imagine with him in it is good. But I think this is the first time seeing a good actor do some garbage project like this. I guess his kids love Venom. Eddie Brock, Hardy’s character, isn’t interesting at the slightest. But to give the film credit, Tom Hardy is entertaining to watch throughout with his awful American accent, and movements. The special effects are getting praise all around, but I think they’re hideous to watch. Sony’s not really good in that department. The first act of the film is so boring and bland. Which not what you want from a superhero movie. The film’s post-credit scene I think is the only reason the film exists, which is so awful, I was rolling eyes so hard, my eyes went numb. Now, the comedy, I laughed only twice, one being a clever cameo by Stan Lee. But everyone in the theater, loved the comedy, and it seemed (almost) everyone was having a blast watching the film. Good for them. Sadly, I didn’t enjoy this, so I guess, the movie was so bad, it can be entertaining. If you’re looking for a dumb superhero movie that makes no sense, and just want to waste time. I’d say you watch the film. But if you’re looking for a good story, interesting characters, and decent special effects, this is not the film for you.

Score: ⅖

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New Movie #2 – A STAR IS BORN

The remake, of the Bollywood remake….of a remake….of a remake….of A Star is Born. Telling the simple story of a unknown singer who catches the eye of a famous alcoholic musical artist. But this time, with Bradley Cooper….and Lady Gaga, who I had know idea what her face really looked like with all the hideous makeup off her. She looks better without the makeup, if being honest! Anyway, the film has been receiving an overwhelming amount of praise, some consider it to be an early Oscar contender, and is already the 171st highest rated movie of all time on IMDb, which I think is a bit of a stretch. I’m not a fan of Gaga’s work, but she gives a decent performance as the singer with a dream. Bradley Cooper is pretty great too. He directed, produced, wrote, and starred in the film. With all that, he did everything well! The music, cinematography, and performances I think are the best part of the entire film. As for the story, it was good. But the film ended thirty minutes after it was supposed. The film is over two hours long, and a good chunk of the subplots and characters could have easily been removed. For Sam Elliot’s character, I had no idea what his character was because not a single person watching the film understood what he was saying with deep, southern, mumbling accent. People were not even shocked when some things that happened to his character affected him. I’d say the film is overrated, but I can’t consider it bad. If there’s a re-edited version without the subplots and bland characters, I’d pay to see it.

Score: ⅗

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New Movie #3 – FIRST MAN

Damien Chazelle is a genius. From directing Whiplash, to La La Land.This man is a genius. So it is obvious that I was going to see his next project. Did he deliver? Yes, yes he did. To infinity and beyond.This might seem like an odd film for him to make, but he absolutely proves his versatility as a filmmaker. Fantastic acting, wonderful score, gorgeously shot, amazing special effects, and a very personal depiction of Neil Armstrong’s journey to the moon. The film is very grounded and less of an adventure. But, sadly, a bunch of people hate this film. Giving one star ratings on aggregate review websites, for one reason. Not enough patriotism. What these people need to understand, is that this isn’t about the Apollo 11 mission, but about NEIL ARMSTRONG. Yeah, the flag on the moon is iconic, but that’s not the central focus. I see what these people mean. But these people need to see the film before ranting about not enough patriotism. What I think is phenomenal about this film, is that there is no formulaic and cliche ending where it depicts what NASA is doing today and Trump needs to say about today’s politics. None of that belongs in a film! That’s what documentaries are for! But I don’t want to talk about politics. It ain’t no La La Land. But it did it all for me.

Score: 5/5

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New Movie #4 – HALLOWEEN

The sequel to Halloween (1978) has finally arrived! But it’s not the sequel to Halloween (2007). It also ignores the events of Halloween II (1981), and Halloween II (2009). John Carpenter and Jamie Lee Curtis are back, and ignore the events of the all the sequel such as the Season of the Witch, The Return of Michael Myers, Resurrection….The series is really confusing, but no fear, it’s a fresh new start for the franchise, and thank goodness it’s a well made horror film that will please everyone!And by enjoy, I mean will laugh at any line, obnoxiously yell, and start asking “exciting” questions throughout the entire film. So, you can tell that I had a pretty horrible theater experience. But that did not change my opinion on the film. The film has many great moments, and a lot of dumb moments as well. But there is a balance between the two. Carpenter’s score is awesome and everything else music and sound related with the film was spot-on. Jamie Lee Curtis does a terrific job reprising her role as Laurie Strode, who is not just a bad-ass from the trailer, she is human being with flaws. There were several very clever callbacks to the original Halloween, which were handled so well. Everything was well-shot, and there were some great scenes that were filmed all with one take. All that is great. But there are some really dumb moments throughout. There is a subplot with Laurie’s granddaughter having boyfriend problems which was formulaic could have easily been removed from the movie, and having more scenes with Laurie. Horribile unnecessary comedy from time to time (this was written by Danny McBride), and the story is basically a remake of the original. But it’s more of a soft reboot. Still, I’d recommend the film if you want decent horror entertainment. It’s not pandering and is an actually good horror movie. But this is nowhere near Hereditary. It’s an effective horror that you should see at least once.

Score: ⅗

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New Movie #5 – BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE

Thank goodness I didn’t have a bad time watching El Royale. What a tremendously fun time I had watching this. I’ve waited to see this for a short while. This was an absolute blast to watch from start to finish. This is probably one of the most entertaining movies of the year. The film is really long, and I promise you, you will not feel the runtime. Everything from the cinematography to the writing by Drew Goddard was excellent. The editing was surprisingly awesome. There are scenes that are shown two to three times but at different angles each time. This felt so unique and I thought the premise was terrific. The casting was perfect and loved almost everything. Some plot points didn’t make much sense, and some didn’t lead to anywhere. But otherwise, the film is great. Watch it, and you won’t have a bad time.

 

Score: ⅘

About the author

Guillermo Prieto