Reviews Of What Is In Theaters Now

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THE UPSIDE

Rated: PG-13

Release Date: January 11, 2019

Director: Neil Burger

Stars: Kevin Hart, Bryan Cranston, Nicole Kidman

Plot: A wealthy man with quadriplegia hires an ex-con with no experience to take care of him

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Wait until after opening weekend, but see this in theaters

 

 

January is typically a pretty bad month for movies. All of the big awards stuff is crammed into the last several weeks of the previous year, and then January gets the leftovers. Well, somehow, this little gem of a film slipped through the system and landed in January.

 

Maybe it's a new trend? After all, one of the first films released last year was PADDINGTON 2 and it made my Top 10 Best Films of 2018 list. I don't think this one is going to be that special, but it is really good.

 

Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart have great chemistry. They are funny, their conflict is powerful, and you can feel the love and admiration they develop for one another over time. Add in and exceedingly straight-laced Nicole Kidman and this movie levels up to superstar status.

 

Yes, this movie is formulaic and almost sappy at times, but it never feels like it gets out of control. It is a touch too long. It probably could have had a good 20 minutes cut out and been just as good of a movie, if not better. Because it is so long, (just over 2 hours), it has some pacing issues, but they aren't so bad that the movie loses its overall momentum.

 

If you like films about overcoming obstacles, this is a great film for you. It's also really funny for those of you just wanting to laugh during the dreary months of winter.

Posted by on in Movie Reviews

A DOG'S WAY HOME

Rated: PG

Release Date: January 11, 2019

Director: Charles Martin Smith

Stars: Bryce Dallas Howard, Ashley Judd, Jonah Hauer-King, Alexandra Shipp

Plot: A dog gets lost 400 miles from home and must find her way back

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Wait for the digital release

 

 

This is one of those films that is a little too pleasant for its own good. It's rated PG so there isn't a lot of suspense. The whole story just meanders along until it comes to the expected conclusion.

 

Sure, it is cute and the dog is adorable, but that only goes so far before something of substance needs to happen. Unfortunately, the conflict that finally gives us a plot is a bit too much for younger kids and way too simple for adults. There are scenes in this film that would probably give every kid under 8 nightmares, but for adults they are so tame it is boring.

 

There are a couple of fun scenes along the way, but nothing that makes this something worth spending the money to see it in theaters. If you are mildly interested in this film, or if you are a big dog lover just go ahead and wait for the digital release. You'll be glad you didn't waste the extra money.

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REPLICAS

Rated: PG-13

Release Date: January 11, 2019

Director: Jeffrey Nachmanoff

Stars: Keanu Reeves, Alice Eve, Thomas Middleditch, John Ortiz

Plot: A man clones his family and brings them back to life after an accident, but there are consequences to his actions

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Wait for the digital release, and make someone else rent it

 

 

Keanu Reeves is at his best when he has very few lines of dialogue to deliver. That is why he is so great in the JOHN WICK films...he rarely says anything. Unfortunately, in this movie he talks constantly. Oh, dear reader, I can't begin to tell you the agony I was in while watching him try to be all dramatic and sciency. All I could think was, "this is a really poor man's version of Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark in IRON MAN." And I feel like that is a terrible insult to RDJ.

 

Aside from the exceptionally bad acting, the story is pretty basic. Even the twists and turns have all been done before. There wasn't a single moment where I felt like we were getting something new.

 

The true tragedy of this film is that it is set in Puerto Rico, and pretty much all we ever see is the inside of a lab and a house. I mean, if you are going to go to the trouble to shoot in the tropics at least give us some beach scenes. Otherwise, just save the money and shoot in Georgia like every other studio.

 

I wish I could at least recommend this movie to huge Sci-Fi fans, but the science is so far-fetched, and there are so many plot holes in the science that it wouldn't be enjoyable for you either. Just go ahead and skip this one. We will all catch up with Keanu when JOHN WICK 3 comes out later this year.

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ESCAPE ROOM

Rated: PG-13

Release Date: January 4, 2019

Director: Adam Robitel

Stars: Deborah Ann Woll, Taylor Russell, Tyler Labine, Logan Miller

Plot: A group of strangers think they are getting ready to try to solve their way out of an escape room, but for them it isn't a game at all

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Save some money and see a matinee

 

 

I was really hoping this would be a suspenseful film with a lot of think-on-your-feet moments. And I was pleasantly surprised that it lived up to that expectation for almost the entire movie. It felt a bit like watching a NATIONAL TREASURE movie, but with a quicker timeline and more violent and immediate chances at death.

 

The acting isn't great, the ending leaves a lot to be desired, (if you were disappointed by the end of THE BELKO EXPERIMENT, expect to be disappointed again), and some of the tasks are just plain silly, but over all it is a fun flick that is worth seeing with your buddies.

 

One of the neat parts of the movie is that you have a chance to figure out some of the clues along with the characters. Another great aspect is that nobody is safe. You aren't ever really sure if the hero is going to make it out alive. Maybe they do, maybe they don't I'm not spoiling the surprise.

 

If you like fast-paced, suspenseful films you should give this one a shot. It's not going to be on anyone's greatest horror flicks list, but it is still good for an entertaining 2 hours. 

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ON THE BASIS OF SEX

Rated: PG-13

Release Date: January 4, 2019

Director: Mimi Leder

Stars: Felicity Jones, Armie Hammer

Plot: A young Ruth Bader Ginsburg fights through the courts to make all laws equal to men and women

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Wait for the digital release

 

 

Most people know Ruth Bader Ginsburg as a long-standing U.S. Supreme Court Justice. Most people don't know that well before that she was a lawyer who took on the issue of gender inequality during a time when discrimination based on one's sex was the norm.

 

One of the great things about this film is that it straddles the political line to perfection. It never feels like this film is pushing an agenda or mocking those on the left or the right. Sure, there are the lawyers she is fighting against that have their hardened stances, but they don't cross the line into political disagreements.

 

Whether one tends to agree or disagree with RGB's decisions from the bench it doesn't matter. This is a very good movie that covers her life from college through her late 30's. And Felicity Jones does a great job of playing RGB as a student, mother, and brilliant lawyer willing to take on the system.

 

Armie Hammer is also in this movie. He's the same character he always is in every movie. Nothing much to see there, but he does help move the plot forward, so thanks for that.

 

This is a compelling courtroom drama that has the ability to inspire teens to do something special with their lives. If you have teens you should take them to see this. You never know, they may end up on the U.S. Supreme Court someday.

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IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK

Rated: R

Release Date: January 4, 2019

Director: Barry Jenkins

Stars: KiKi Layne, Stephan James, Regina King, Colman Domingo

Plot: A young couple in love try to make a life for themselves while going through pregnancy and being accused of a crime he didn't commit

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Wait until after opening weekend, but see this in theaters

 

 

Director Barry Jenkins has proven once again that he can make outstanding, award-worthy films that are also accessible to the average movie-goer. His films are beautiful, important, and timely, but they never feel overdone, or pretentious, or self-congratulating.

 

This film is an emotional ride all the way through. There are moments where you feel first love, there are moments where you feel things that you want to go away. It's a captivating film with scenes where you wish you could turn away, but it is so good you can't.

 

The acting is easily some of the best of the year. Regina King is getting a lot of awards buzz, but KiKi Layne's performance is just as moving and powerful. I'm surprised she isn't getting more awards attention.

 

This is a slow-moving story, but it never feels like it gets too slow. The pacing is perfect. It gives just enough time to sit in each scene and really take in all of the beauty and meaning. This is a master class in dramatic film.

Posted by on in Movie Reviews

There are a lot of highly anticipated films coming out in 2019. Here are the 25 I hope are everything they can be.

 

GLASS - January 18

 

 

This will be our first real look at the M. Night Shyamalan film universe. It will be interesting how all of his films get tied together.

 

 

THE LEGO MOVIE 2 - February 8

 

 

There have been a lot of LEGO movies released in the last few years and almost all of them have been exceptional. I’m expecting nothing less of this one.

 

 

 

HAPPY DEATH DAY 2U - February 13

 

 

The first film in this franchise had all of the makings of a run-of-the-mill horror flick. Instead, it was a fun, smart, and entertaining film. Hopefully, this one follows the same footsteps.

 

 

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 3 - February 22

 

 

This franchise has been amazing from the beginning. The animation is fantastic, and the story-telling is poetic. I have to assume this one will be no different.

 

 

CAPTAIN MARVEL - March 8

 

 

It will be interesting to see if people will react to this woman-led comic book movie like they did with WONDER WOMAN.

 

 

DUMBO - March 29

 

 

 

This is the first of three live-action remakes for Disney in 2019. Their other efforts have been outstanding. I hope the same for this one.

 

 

AVENGERS ENDGAME - April 26

 

 

The universe was all but coming to an end at the end of INFINITY WAR. I love movies that put the hero in a place that it looks like they will never be able to recover.

 

 

DETECTIVE PIKACHU - May 10

 

 

How can a movie about Pokemon and starring Ryan Reynolds be bad?

 

 

JOHN WICK CHAPTER 3 - May 17

 

 

Just like the AVENGERS series, when we last saw John Wick he looked like he didn’t have any way out alive. Now we will get to see how he tries to get out of one of the most unique worlds ever built, with violent choreography to match.

 

 

ALADDIN - May 24

 

 

There has already been some social media push back on this live-action remake, but Disney never does anything halfway, so I plan on this being another fantastic film from the House of Mouse.

 

 

MINECRAFT: THE MOVIE - May 24

 

 

 

If you had told me several years ago that this silly little game my kids were playing would amount to anything, I would have lost my house. Now, it has its own feature film.

 

 

GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS - May 31

 

 

I wasn’t as excited about the Godzilla reboot as a lot of others were, but it was a good film. Hopefully, this one won’t try to do too much when they bring in all of the monsters.

 

 

ROCKETMAN - May 31

 

 

Wild and crazy Hollywood plus wild and crazy Elton John equals something I have to see. It may be a masterpiece, it may be a train wreck, but either way, I need to see it.

 

 

MEN IN BLACK INTERNATIONAL - June 14

 

 

With an incredible cast, a world which we already know and love, and new things to discover this should be a fun experience.

 

 

SHAFT - June 14

 

 

Three generations of Shafts working together!? Take my money now! I want to buy all of the tickets.

 

 

TOY STORY 4 - June 21

 

 

This is one of the greatest animation franchises of all time. I expect nothing less from the fourth film.

 

 

THE LION KING - July 19

 

 

This is the third Disney live-action remake to hit theaters in 2019. And it is probably the most ambitious one of the bunch considering all of the characters are animals.

 

 

ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD - July 26

 

 

Quentin Tarantino is taking on a true crime thriller by weaving the Tate/LaBianca murders into a story about a couple of actors trying to make it in Hollywood. Whatever direction this movie goes, one thing is certain, it is going to be a crazy ride.

 

 

DORA THE EXPLORER - August 2

 

 

A live action Dora with Benicio Del Toro as Swiper sounds about as awesome as possible for a movie targeted at preschoolers.

 

 

IT CHAPTER 2 - September 6

 

 

In this sequel the kids are all grown up and brought back together by the evil Pennywise the clown. The first film was amazing, and the cast in this one leads me to believe it will be just as good as the first.

 

 

JOKER - October 4

 

 

Joaquin Phoenix is taking his turn playing the craziest of all crazy villains. This film is directed by the same guy that gave us THE HANGOVER, so we know it will be full throttle insane.

 

 

ZOMBIELAND 2 - October 11

 

 

 

More Twinkies!!!! The gang is back and trying to survive the zombies and each other. The only real question is will we get to see Bill Murray as a zombie?

 

 

IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD - October 18

 

 

 

In 2018 we got an emotional documentary about Mr. Rogers. I have a feeling this one will be a tear-jerker as well. 

 

 

FROZEN 2 - Novemeber 22

 

 

 

Disney might as well start backing the money trucks up to the front door now. This has got to be one of the most anticipated movies of all time, much less 2019.

 

 

STAR WARS EPISODE IX - December 20

 

 

I could basically copy the text I wrote below FROZEN 2 and paste it here. Will episode IX be the last big installment in the Star Wars universe? Will we get to continue the story to a new trilogy? I think we will see more from this massive money-making franchise. P.S. Thank you, J.J. Abrams for coming back to direct this film.

 

Posted by on in Movie Reviews

 

 

2018 gave us a scare for about 11 months. There were a lot of really good films that came out throughout the year, but there weren't a lot of films that had that final bit of something special to push it over the top and make it a movie to remember. 

 

We started seeing fleshes of brilliance scattered throughout the early months, but it wasn't until December that we got the power players into the mix. In fact, four of my top 10 films weren't released until the last week of November or later.

 

As is the case with almost everything I do when it comes to film, I try hard to make my lists out of films that you may not have seen, but you had a good chance of at least hearing about it. All of the films in my top 10 were shown on at least 800 screens at the peak of their distribution.

 

I hope you enjoy this list, and if you haven't seen a few of them, I hope you get the chance to see them. They are all spectacular films in their own way. 

 

 

10. PADDINGTON 2

 

 

Very rarely does a film come out in the first couple of weeks in the New Year and sticks with you long enough to make a year end best of list, but that goes to show how great of a film PADDINGTON 2 really is. 

 

 

 

9. SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE

 

 

This is by far the best Spider-man movie ever made. The animation makes it look like you are in a comic book, and the story is fantastic. This film hits on all cylinders.

 

 

 

8. GREEN BOOK

 

 

Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali give award-worthy performances in this film about friendship and racial tension.

 

 

 

7. CRAZY RICH ASIANS

 

 

I loved this movie so much that I saw it twice. Akwafina is a show-stealer and deserves a lot of praise for her role. It is a fun, funny, and nearly perfect romantic comedy.

 

 

 

6. A STAR IS BORN

 

 

This film wowed audiences all through Autumn, and now it has a chance to take home a lot of shiny trophies. Bradley Cooper's directorial debut is a master-class in film.

 

 

 

5. A QUIET PLACE

 

 

This is the film that nearly got loud popcorn eaters killed all over the globe. It was so well done and so utterly quiet that I barely breathed the entire time, much less thought about chomping into some Milk Duds.

 

 

 

4. BLACK PANTHER

 

 

Any movie that makes $700 Million domestically is fantastic. There is no other way to define it. Not only is this one of the best comic book films ever made, it is one of the great films ever made. From the script to the effects to the score, casting, and costuming, this is a site to behold.

 

 

 

3. EIGHTH GRADE

 

 

This is one of the most perfectly awkward films to come along since John Hughes. I have never wanted more to jump into the screen and give Esie Fisher's character a big hug and tell her everything gets better just a few years down the road. If you have kids or you were ever in eighth grade this is a must-see film.

 

 

 

2. MARY POPPINS RETURNS

 

 

This film is practically perfect in every way. The songs are great, Emily Blunt is amazing, and the story works well with the original. I was nervous that the franchise was going to be ruined, instead they added another chapter that is just as fun.

 

 

 

1. THE FAVOURITE

 

 

This is a deliciously devious and dark film that will have you laughing out loud one moment and shrinking away the next because it gets so dark. Everything about this film is award-worthy.

 

 

 

 

HONORABLE MENTIONS

 

There were several amazing documentaries that came out this year. Three almost made my top 10 list. 

 

WON'T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR

 

 

This film about Mr. Rogers will make you laugh, cry, and feel good about life.

 

 

FREE SOLO

 

 

One of the most intense and dramatic documentaries ever. You will barely breathe for the last 20 minutes.

 

 

SCIENCE FAIR

 

 

This documentary will inspire you and infuriate you. You'll fall in love with these kids on their journey.

 

 

 

OTHER GREAT FILMS

 

These are the movies that just missed out on being in my top 10 for this year. They are still very worthy of being seen.

 

 

BLACKkKLANSMAN

 

 

 

FIRST MAN

 

 

 

 

INCREDIBLES 2

 

 

 

LEAVE NO TRACE

 

 

Tagged in: 2018 Best Films

Posted by on in Movie Reviews

 

 

 

 

2018 had a lot of great movies. 2018 also had some colossal stinkers. 

 

Here are the ones I thought were the worst of the worst.

 

 

10. HOTEL ARTEMIS

 

 

This is a bad knock off version of the JOHN WICK franchise. Unoriginal and a bad story to boot.

 

 

 

9. FIFTY SHADES FREED

 

 

This is the best of the FIFTY SHADES films...and it still made my worst 10 list.

 

 

 

8. SHERLOCK GNOMES

 

 

The first of two terrible Sherlock Holmes knock off flicks.

 

 

 

7. HOLMES AND WATSON

 

This is the second.

 

 

 

6. HELL FEST

 

 

The pitch for this movie was, "let's watch a bunch of annoying teenagers go through some crappy haunted houses." The scary part is a studio actually said, "yes!"

 

 

 

5. THE OATH

 

 

There are few things worse than Thanksgiving dinner with a family that fights about politics. One thing that is worse is watching that scenario play out in a movie.

 

 

 

4. LIFE ITSELF

 

 

This feels like the studio had six or seven decent ideas, but none good enough for one movie, so they mashed them all together into one extraordinary craptastic spectacular.

 

 

 

3. THE HURRICANE HEIST

 

 

A robbery during a category 5 hurricane...what could go right?

 

 

 

2. THE PREDATOR

 

 

A sequel that nobody wanted and the studio obviously didn't really care to make. It looks like they did a cut and paste job of the special effects from the old movies.

 

 

 

1. THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS

 

 

Raunchy puppets are hilarious...for about 2 minutes. This movie is 90 minutes long. Everyone of us that saw this movie wishes that Sesame Street would have won their cease and desist lawsuit.

Tagged in: 2018 Worst Films

Posted by on in Movie Reviews

HOLMES AND WATSON

Rated: PG-13

Release Date: December 25, 2018

Director: Etan Cohen

Stars: Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Rebecca Hall, Lauren Lapkus

Plot: Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson must solve a mystery in order to save the Queen's life

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Don't even bother

 

 

I would like to sarcastically thank the powers that be behind this film for releasing it so late in the year that I now have the extra work of going back and revamping my Worst 10 Films of 2018 list.  You couldn't have waited one more week? Ugh.

 

Ladies and gentlemen, this movie is a tragedy. It is amazingly unfunny, pathetically childish, boring, annoying, and a complete waste of everyone's time.

 

In fact, it is so bad, I felt like I needed to do a public service, so during the movie I went out to the concession area, (trust me, I didn't miss anything worthy or important), and talked four people out of buying a ticket to the next showing. (You're welcome, MARRY POPPINS RETURNS for the extra $35 in sales). This is also the point where I realized that it is a shocking omission that movie concession stands don't sell hard liquor, because I sure could have used some to get through the last 45 minutes of this film that feels like that super-painful zit you sometimes get right on the inside of your nose. Dang, that hurts.

 

Seriously, don't go see this. It is so bad. The true mystery here is, how on earth did this movie make it to final print and distribution without someone mercifully pulling the plug on it.

 

Save yourself. It's too late for me.

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VICE

Rated: R

Release Date: December 25, 2018

Director: Adam McKay

Stars: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Sam Rockwell, Steve Carell

Plot: An irreverent look at the life and actions of former Vice President Dick Cheney

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Wait until after opening weekend, but see this in theaters

 

 

This is one of the more interesting and entertaining films I saw in all of 2018. The editing, the cinematography, and the visuals are all completely immersive and exciting. The acting is well above average, to the point of several award-worthy performances. In particular, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, and Steve Carell make the movie much better than it would have been with lesser actors.

 

There is one major issue that I have with this film though. It is a movie I never wanted to see. Nor do I ever want to see it again.

 

Before I continue, let me be very clear that none of the following should be taken as a political statement, or a lean to one party or another in any way.

 

At some point over the last few decades the people of the United States have lost respect for the office of the President and Vice President. So, as I watched this movie, and was completely entertained, I still did not enjoy it at all because it is so disrespectful and irreverent. I felt the same way about CHAPPAQUIDDICK and THE FRONT RUNNER. I just don't think we need narratives about current or former leaders. Documentaries and news pieces are wonderful and necessary, but narratives, to me, take the level of respect down too far.

 

If you can compartmentalize the disrespect from the entertainment, or that doesn't bother you like it bothers me, then see this movie, because it is an incredible and entertaining watch. If you think Hollywood would be better served to steer clear of political films based on reality, then you should skip this movie.

 

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AQUAMAN

Rated: PG-13

Release Date: December 21, 2018

Director: James Wan

Stars: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson

Plot: Arthur/Aquaman is summoned to the sea to stop his half-brother from starting a war with the humans

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Wait for the digital release

 

 

Congratulations DC you managed to mess up another film that could have been amazing. Your track record is almost entirely unblemished in that effort. (Wonder Woman being the exception).

 

Basically, this movie stinks like a fish.

 

I will never understand how an office full of movie people can manage to make an entire movie that promises a massive climax, it gets marketed that way in every commercial and trailer, and then the film doesn't deliver the promise. Sorry for the spoiler, but there is no war between the land and sea. I think it is vitally important that you know that before you spend your money to be completely disappointed. 

 

What we should see is Aquaman on top of the Empire State Building as a wave full of ships and sharks and sea people comes racing towards him. Instead, we get a sea battle between groups that were not introduced until the battle...and we don't care about them at all!

 

If that wasn't bad enough, Momoa and Heard have zero chemistry. Neither of them seemed to bother with trying to act at all. Their dialogue is stilted, wooden, and in some cases, eye-rollingly terrible. All of this while they are on a quest that happens all too easily with plot jumps that leave out major plot points.

 

To be fair, there are several scenes that are very exciting and done well, but those are few and far between. It's not worth the wait between those scenes. About 20 minutes into the movie I was completely bored and I never recovered.

 

I'm sure that this movie is going to make a bazillion dollars and 10 - 12 year old boys will want to nominate it for Best Picture, but they aren't the ones buying the tickets. If you are the one shelling out the dough, at the very least try to talk the kids into seeing a matinee.

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BUMBLEBEE

Rated: PG-13

Release Date: December 21, 2018

Director: Travis Knight

Stars: Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, Justin Theroux

Plot: Bumblebee is hiding out on earth, but when the Decepticons discover his location it could lead to all out war

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Save some money and see a matinee

 

 

As far as Transformer movies go, this one is pretty good. But you must remember, that is compared to other Transformer movies...and that is a VERY low bar. 

 

The good news is this movie actually offers some character depth, relationships, and emotions. Usually it just a bunch of explosions with the semi-truck running around yelling, "I am Optimus Prime!" For those of you that like the explosions, there are plenty. But for those of you that actually like a plot, you'll be pleasantly surprised.

 

This is still a movie that you can't use any critical thinking while watching it, otherwise the whole thing falls apart. But if you are looking for a decent action flick with a decent plot while you munch on a bucket of popcorn, this movie will fill that need. Just be aware that if you run out of popcorn before the movie ends you might find yourself asking, "why am I still here?"

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SECOND ACT

Rated: PG-13

Release Date: December 21, 2018

Director: Peter Segal

Stars: Jennifer Lopez, Leah Remini, Vanessa Hudgens

Plot: A 40-something woman with no college degree finds herself in her dream job after her friend makes her a fake resume

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Wait for the digital release

 

 

There isn't a lot to say about this movie good or bad. It is exactly what you would expect it to be. You may not know the exact plot points, but it follows the formula completely. It is the kind of movie that women between 30ish and up are going to enjoy. 

 

It is full of laugh out loud moments, ugly cry moments, make you mad moments, and girl power moments. Jennifer Lopez plays her character well and is surrounded by great comedic actors that keep the pace moving forward.

 

There are a couple of interesting twists that you will probably see coming from a mile away, but that doesn't take away the emotion of the reveal. 

 

If this is your kind of movie, gather up all of your girlfriends and have a fun night out at the theater. It's not the kind of movie that will rock your world, but it will give you a great night of fun.

Posted by on in Movie Reviews

WELCOME TO MARWEN

Rated: PG-13

Release Date: December 21, 2018

Director: Robert Zemeckis

Stars: Steve Carell, Leslie Mann, Janelle Monae

Plot: An artist uses dolls and an elaborate set to cope with life after he is horribly beaten and left for dead

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Wait for the digital release and make someone else rent it

 

 

This story has so much potential. It is a fascinating and powerful true story, unfortunately the film does a horrible job of making it come to life in a way that isn't awkward and just plain weird. 

 

The worst part of this film is that it actually gets really good for the last 15 minutes. Unfortunately, there are 90 minutes of a really bad movie before you get there. It's not worth the wait. 

 

Steve Carell does a good job with the roles he plays. He's proven that he can be a great dramatic actor as well as a comedian. It's too bad that this movie doesn't showcase his talents better. 

 

The other issue with the film is that every scene feels like the timing is off. The dialogue comes too slow, the cues are mistimed, and the transitions are awkward.

 

The best way I can describe watching this movie is to use the movie itself. Imagine how awkward you would feel if you were an adult playing with dolls in your front yard while other people watched. There you go. That's what it feels like to watch WELCOME TO MARWEN.

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MARY POPPINS RETURNS

Rated: PG

Release Date: December 19, 2018

Director: Rob Marshall

Stars: Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer

Plot: Mary Poppins returns to 17 Cherry Tree Lane when the Banks family needs her the most

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Drop everything and go see this in theaters now

 

 

I am one of those people that believes that the original MARY POPPINS is not only one of the best films of all time, but it is iconic. It is so far above almost every other film ever made, so close to perfection that it would be nothing but folly and disaster to attempt to make a sequel or remake it for modern audiences. 

 

Needless to say, I was quite concerned when I heard they were making a sequel. It was going to take more than a spoonful of sugar for me to swallow this idea.

 

Then I saw the first trailer. 

 

I was pleasantly surprised, but I was still cautious. 

 

Then I saw the whole movie.

 

Ladies and gentlemen, Disney did it again! MARY POPPINS RETURNS is fantastic. It is everything I could have ever wanted. It feels like a seamless transition from one film to the next. The production design and animation are very similar and beautiful. The songs, while not as instantly memorable as the original, are wonderful, fanciful, fun, and emotional. And Emily Blunt is practically perfect in every way as Mary Poppins. 

 

I sat through the entire 2-plus hours with a giddy grin on my face, and that was even with an extremely loud and annoying toddler and his oblivious mother sitting 10 feet from me the whole time. There was nothing that could have take the joy away from me as I sat in awe of the magic happening on the screen. 

 

One of the best parts about this film are all of the Easter eggs and call backs to the original film. Keep your eyes wide open and you are bound to see things that will send you on a marvelous memory trip.

 

If you love the original film you simply must see this movie in the theater. It is a spectacular site. You will laugh, cry, jump for joy, clap until your hands hurt, and leave the theater feeling like a kid all over again. 

 

This is not only one of the best films of the year, it may be another one of the best films of all time.

 

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THE MULE

Rated: R

Release Date: December 14, 2018

Director: Clint Eastwood

Stars: Clint Eastwood, Bradley Cooper, Michael Pena, Laurence Fishburne

Plot: An old man in need of a quick buck finds himself running drugs for a large cartel

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Save some money and see a matinee

 

 

This has been rumored to be Clint Eastwood's final film. If that is the case, it is a wonderful, artistic, piece of cinema that is worthy of his long legacy. 

 

This isn't the kind of film that is overly exciting or thrilling, but it is an interesting story about family and generational differences. Overall, it is a well done film that completes everything it sets out to accomplish. 

 

The only downside to the movie is that it has one massive plot hole that should have been addressed early on in the making of the movie. I even heard two different people asking why as we walked out of the theater. In a nutshell, without spoiling the movie, there is zero reason why the main character would continue driving the same vehicle after he finds out certain things. It is a major knock against the movie. 

 

This isn't the kind of film that will be winning any awards, nor will it be one that will be on any "Top Ten Clint Eastwood Films" lists, but it is a solid film that is worthy of being seen, especially if you are a fan of Eastwood.

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MORTAL ENGINES

Rated: PG-13

Release Date: December 14, 2018

Director: Christian Rivers

Stars: Hera Hilmar, Hugo Weaving, Jihae, Robert Sheehan

Plot: A girl tries to stop a madman from destroying civilization, but there are secrets even she doesn't know exist

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Save some money and see a matinee

 

 

This is one of the most visually stunning films of 2018. The visual effects are incredible, the world-building is superb, and the mobile cities are amazing. And while the story is good it isn't as great as the visuals. The film clocks in at just over 2 hours, but there is so much going on that it feels like there are some elements that got left out of the story that should be there.

 

That isn't to say that the story isn't any good. It is entertaining and suspenseful all the way through. The stakes are high and it feels like any of the main characters could be lost at any moment. There are several moments where you will find yourself gripping the armrests and holding your breath as the action unfolds.

 

The acting is okay, nothing overly great about any of the characters, and none of the characters are annoying either. There are complexities to most of the characters that make them and their stories compelling.

 

While this isn't the kind of movie that is going to garner any awards attention, it is still a film worthy of being seen on the big screen if you want to see it. The visuals are so big that the film will lose something special if you are watching it for the first time on your laptop.

 

We don't get a lot of new and unique material out of Hollywood anymore. If you are one of the people clamoring for a movie with fresh ideas then you need to see this in theaters. It is one of the few films this year that isn't a sequel or based on a previously used universe. And above all else, it is a pretty good flick.

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MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS

Rated: R

Release Date: December 14, 2018

Director: Josie Rourke

Stars: Saoirse Ronan, Margot Robbie, Jack Lowden, Joe Alwyn

Plot: When Mary Queen of Scots returns to her throne from her time in France, her cousin, Queen Elisabeth I, fears her power may be in danger and sets in motion a plan to dethrone her equal

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Wait until after opening weekend, but see this in theaters

 

 

This film has several outstanding elements. First, the costumes are fantastically elegant and stunningly beautiful. Second, the hair and makeup are mesmerizing. Next, the score is one that I could listen to on repeat for a week and I wouldn't tire of it. Finally, Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie are fierce. They play off of each other and against each other with a power that radiates from the screen.

 

It is probably the front runner for the costume awards, and may be as well for hair and makeup. There is a very good chance that Ronan will see a few acting nominations come her way as well. 

 

The downside to this film, is that it isn't very palatable to the average movie goer. By that, I am not insulting the average movie goer, I'm saying the film isn't entertaining enough to hold the interest of most people. It is a slow-moving, British, period piece that will intrigue some and bore others.

 

The upside is that if you can handle the slow pace, you will be treated to a plot filled with deceit, abuse of power, political intrigue, war, murder, betrayal, and a family quarrel that would affect the known world. 

 

If you are a history buff you should run to the theater to see this movie now. It may not be perfectly accurate, after all it is a movie, and movies have to be at least somewhat interesting, but it is close enough to be in your movie list.

 

If you love films with powerful women leads, this is a must-see movie. It is a film about the two most powerful women in the world at their time, and they are played by two other powerful women.

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SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE

Rated: PG

Release Date: December 14, 2018

Director: Bob Persichetti and Peter Ramsey

Stars: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali

Plot: A young Spider-Man finds out there are others like him when a villain opens up a portal to other worlds. And they all must work together to set the world on track again

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Drop everything and go see this in theaters now

 

 

Since the early 2000's we have had six different SPIDER-MAN films roll through the theaters. Some were great, others were...not great. Now comes along a comic-book looking Spider-Man flick with the main character being played not by Peter Parker, but a teen boy. And there is also a Spider-Pig (Spider-Ham to be precise...and he was created 20 years before the Simpson's Spider-Pig scene). 

 

Of the seven films, this one is without a doubt the best of the bunch. It is a fantastic film that hits every single note all the way through. There was not a single second that I wasn't completely entertained and enjoying everything I was watching. And the most incredible thing about that is that I am not a huge Spider-Man fan at all.

 

There are many funny moments interspersed within a compelling plot. The characters are all interesting and everyone of them brings something special to the film. 

 

Possibly the best part of the film is that it doesn't take the Spider-Man world too seriously. This doesn't mean that it is continually making fun of itself or trashing canon, on the contrary. It does a great job of lifting up the Spider-Man world by using self-deprecating humor. 

 

If you are a Spider-Man fan this is a must see. If you are a fan of great movies, this is a must-see. If you want to see the movies that will be up for awards this year, this is a must-see.

 

NOTE: Stay through all of the credits. It is sooooooo worth it this time.