Reviews Of What Is In Theaters Now

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1917

Rated: R

Release Date: January 10, 2020

Director: Sam Mendes

Stars: Dean-Charles Chapman, George MacKay, Colin Firth, Andrew Scott

Plot: A soldier must cross enemy lines and deliver a message to another battalion before they are destroyed

Trailer

 

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

 

 

Oh, my.

 

What a film.

 

This is one of the most exciting, riveting, suspenseful, edge-of-your-seat movies to come out in several years. I haven't gripped the arm rests this tight since I saw THE WALK in 2015. (That was the movie about the guy that did a tightrope walk between the twin towers).

 

I felt like I was holding my breath for nearly two hours. For 98% of the movie you are sure that the main characters are in mortal danger, and you feel it right along with them.

 

There is one scene in particular where the director did a perfect job of making everyone in the audience feel utterly alone, yet completely surrounded by unseen danger. I literally had a pit in my stomach as I tried to mentally help the hero to safety.

 

There is a reason why this movie is winning all sorts of awards. It is a phenomenal film. It's one that will stay with you for weeks after you see it. And it is one that you will want to see again.

 

This is the kind of film that you have to see on the big screen. Your computer monitor will not do it justice. Take the time and the money to enjoy this thriller to its fullest potential.

 

NOTE: This film had a limited release in December making it eligible for the 2019 awards season.

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JUST MERCY

Rated: PG-13

Release Date: January 10, 2020

Director: Destin Daniel Cretton

Stars: Michael B. Jordan, Brie Larson, Jamie Foxx, Tim Blake Nelson

Plot: A young lawyer starts a practice to help inmates unjustly put on death row, but there are many people that refuse to let him succeed

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Drop everything and see this in theaters now

 

 

For the life of me I can not figure out why this movie is not getting a ton of award nominations. This is easily one of the best films of the year. (This had a limited release in December so it is eligible for the 2019 awards season). If it were up to me this would be nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor - Michael B. Jordan, and Best Supporting Actor - Jamie Foxx.

 

This isn't a fast-paced film, it tells the story in a slow, but deliberate way. Every second of it is compelling and emotional. It is filled with suspense and intrigue even though it isn't action-packed.

 

This is the kind of film that will make you think, too. It deals with a lot of hard questions and disturbing truths. It's not easy to watch, but it is worth it. It's the kind of film that can show the bad, but still give you the hope and redemption that we all long for.

 

If it weren't for the fact that there are an extraordinary amount of great movies this year, JUST MERCY would easily be a top contender for many awards. Even though it isn't getting any awards live, it is still a movie well worth seeing. If you have older children, you should take them as well. There are several things that happen in this movie that would make for important and interesting discussions with your family.

 

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THE TOP 10 FILMS OF 2019

(According to Clint)

 

 

 

1

JOJO RABBIT

It's hard to believe that a movie about a German kid with Hitler as his imaginary friend could be one of the funniest films of the year, but it is. It is also heartwarming, heart-breaking, and has some of the best acting of the year. This is a movie I could watch every time it comes on TV and will never get sick of it.

 

 

2

JOKER

This film shook me to my core. It stayed in my head for days after I saw it, and made me feel all sorts of emotions. It is disturbing, brutal, and one of the best commentaries on how society refuses to deal with mental illness in a proper way.

 

 

 

3

1917

This film is a masterpiece. It is made to look like it is almost one continuous shot from beginning to end, so you feel like you are in the story with them as it unfolds. It is so suspenseful that I could barely breathe for the full two hours.

(Note: The film qualifies for the 2019 awards year, but it will not be released wide until January 2020. I will post my full review then).

 

 

 

4

PARASITE

I don't believe I have ever experienced any film quite like PARASITE. It starts out going in one direction and then, without warning, the whole story turns and becomes something completely different. If you like movies where you can't figure out the plot, this is one of the best ever.

 

 

 

5

THE FAREWELL

Awkwafina proves that she is one of the best actresses in Hollywood with her lead performance in this tale-of-two-cultures film. Zhao Shuzhen is a force as the family matriarch. Both of their performances will garner many awards this year.

 

 

 

6

THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON

This may be one of the most heart-warming and endearing films I have ever seen. Until this movie came out I was not a big fan of Shia LaBeouf. Now, I think he is fantastic. This is a perfect road-trip film that will make you wish you could slow down your own life for a while and enjoy life like these characters do.

 

 

 

7

HARRIET

Harriet Tubman was one of the strongest people to ever walk this earth. She did more for humanity and equality than most of us could do with ten lifetimes. This film pays tribute to her in a powerful and compelling way. And it is led by Cynthia Erivo who is a force in her own right. If this film doesn't move you, you need to have your heart checked by a doctor.

 

 

 

8

AVENGERS: ENDGAME

Any movie that makes over $2 Billion yet still has the ability to make hundreds of millions of grown adults sob into their popcorn deserves to be a top 10 film. ENDGAME had it all. The acting was outstanding, the dialogue was amazing, the story was fantastic, and it had all of the feels, too.

 

 

 

9

KNIVES OUT

Whodunit flicks are always fun, but rarely are they exciting. Most of the time it is just a bunch of people sitting in a room while one person tries to figure it all out. That is not the case in KNIVES OUT. This film is fun, funny, and exciting from beginning to end. And you'll be surprised when the killer is finally revealed.

 

 

 

10

RICHARD JEWELL

RICHARD JEWELL is the story of the Atlanta Olympics security guard that saved hundreds of lives when he found a bomb in Centennial Park. He was then railroaded by the media and the Government for many years, until the real bomber was finally found. This film tells his story in a powerful way. The acting in this movie is easily some of the best of the year. Paul Walter Hauser, Sam Rockwell, and Kathy Bates are all masterful, making this movie that much better.

 

 

 

 

Honorable Mentions for the Best Films of the Year

 

 

BOOKSMART

This is one of the funniest comedies of the year, but it is also smart. There are very few comedies that can pull off both successfully. This one does it with ease.

 

 

 

HONEY BOY

This screenplay was written by Shia LaBeouf as therapy. Then he had the courage to turn it into a movie, and star in it as his own father. It is a moving and heart-breaking story, and an exceedingly well done movie.

 

 

 

THE LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO

This is a powerful film about the haves and the have-nots in San Francisco. It is the essence of what every indie film desires to be. The acting is powerful, the story is fascinating, and it will stay with you for days after you see it.

 

 

 

ROCKETMAN

Not only does Taron Edgerton become Elton John in this movie, he also sings all of the songs, too! (Rami Malek won the Oscar for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury, and he lip synced the songs. Taron should win TWO Oscars for this performance). It takes a few minutes to figure out what is happening in this movie, but once you figure it out it is a crazy ride on an emotional roller coaster all the way through.

 

 

 

 

SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME

Tom Holland is the best Spider-Man ever. There. I said it, and I'm not taking it back. He does another great job in this film giving us all of the awkward teenage moments that we could want. It is also an interesting reflection on society and how people deal with grief in different ways.

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THE 10 WORST FILMS OF 2019

(According to Clint)

 

1

HELLBOY

If there was ever a movie that should be walked out on, this is it. I felt like I was in hell the whole miserable time I had to endure this travesty.

 

 

2

THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN

First of all, this is a movie with no audience. It's about a race car driver who has a dog and a family. It tries to cram everything into one movie and ends up missing on everything. Then there is the ending...oh my. Easily one of the worst movie endings of all time.

 

 

3

CATS

Whoever thought that turning a terrible musical into a $100 Million budget movie and it would make money needs to be fired immediately. Not only is this movie going to be one of the biggest financial bombs in movie history, but it's also just a terrible movie. Scoop this one out with the bad kitty litter.

 

 

4

JEXI

Adam Devine is a really funny guy. I feel bad for him that he got stuck in this horrible movie. The screenplay was so bad we never got to see him do what he is capable of doing. The whole movie is uninteresting, flat, and useless.

 

 

5

PLAYMOBIL: THE MOVIE

This was just another crappy attempt at a studio cash grab, by taking advantage of families. Luckily, word got out about how bad this movie was and it ended up having the 3rd worst opening weekend of all time. Hahahahahaha!!!! Take that evil studio execs that green-lighted this mess.

 

 

 

6

UNCUT GEMS

This is one of the most polarizing films of the decade. I'm sure that you will find this film on some critics' Top 10 list. For me, this was a terrible waste of time and exhausting to watch. A huge portion of the movie is a bunch of people all on screen at the same time trying to yell over the top of each other. The rest of the movie focuses on all of the characters, none of which are redeemable in any way whatsoever. It's terrible people doing terrible things and terrible things are done to them.

 

 

 

7

ARCTIC DOGS

*scrolls back up to PLAYMOBIL. Copy. Scrolls back down to ARCTIC DOGS. Paste.*

This was just another crappy attempt at a studio cash grab, by taking advantage of families. Luckily, word got out about how bad this movie was and it ended up having the 3rd 44th worst opening weekend of all time. Hahahahahaha!!!! Take that evil studio execs that green-lighted this mess.

 

 

 

8

THE AFTERMATH

Studio Exec: What's your movie idea?

Pitcher: A British soldier takes his hot wife to Germany where they move into the house of a super-hot guy while he's still living there. Then the soldier leaves for a long time. Guess what happens next?!

Studio Exec: Love it! Film it now!

 

And that is the story of how Fox Searchlight Pictures got a HUGE tax write off for 2019.

 

 

 

9

GEMINI MAN

Will Smith is awesome. Two Will Smiths? Not so much. Especially when the second Will Smith requires millions of dollars of CGI to create, but your CGI budget is somewhere a lot closer to zero. Throw on top of that a really poor plot and you have the perfect recipe for a 10 Worst list contender.

 

 

 

10

THE INTRUDER

Dennis Quaid ruined this movie. If they had picked any other person to be the bad guy this would have been your normal bad movie and not finished anywhere near the 10 Worst. However, because Dennis Quaid was in it, and deemed it necessary to make the weirdest faces throughout the entire film, it is laughably unwatchable. 

 

 

 

 

Dishonorable Mentions for the Worst Films of the Year

 

 

AFTER

Yes, this looks hot and steamy. And it is. A hot, steamy pile of.... Anywho...This flick is formulaic, dull, and there is zero chemistry between the main characters. The only AFTER you will want if you see this is for it to be AFTER the movie is over.

 

 

 

REPLICAS

Keanu Reeves is one of the nicest guys in Hollywood. He's also at his best in movies where he doesn't have to say too much. (See JOHN WICK). Unfortunately, in REPLICAS, he talks all the time. It's painful.

 

 

 

RAMBO LAST BLOOD

Just because CREED was a successful reboot doesn't mean you should reboot all of your old stuff. RAMBO: LAST BLOOD is a case study as to why this rule should be followed all of the time.

 

 

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LITTLE WOMEN

Rated: PG

Release Date: December 25, 2019

Director: Greta Gerwig

Stars: Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, Timothee Chalamet, Emma Watson

Plot: Four sisters learn the hardships and triumphs of life during the American civil war

Trailer

 

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

 

 

Director Greta Gerwig put together a power-house group of women, and led them all to a finished product that is not just a great film for toady, but simply a great film. The production elements, the costumes, the chemistry of the cast, and the beautiful music all come together to create a special film. 

 

My only issue with it is that the pacing is slightly off for the first 30 minutes or so. It takes a minute to figure out the timeline jumps that are happening and who is who. Once you get used to the back and forth of the timeline and you know who all of the characters are the movie steams full speed ahead.

 

It is funny, heart-warming, sad, endearing, and beautiful. It will run you through all of the emotions in a little over two hours. 

 

The acting is incredible as well. Florence Pugh as Amy is masterful. She should be up for Best Supporting Actress in almost every awards show. Saoirse Ronan is exceedingly powerful as well as Jo. I have a feeling she will see several Best Actress nominations. 

 

It would not surprise me in the least to see this film up for Best Picture and Best Director when the Oscars are announced. It may not quite be the best of the bunch, but it absolutely deserves to be in the conversation. 

 

If you are a fan of the book, this is a must-see movie. It will give you all that you want out of the story. 

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SPIES IN DISGUISE

Rated: PG

Release Date: December 25, 2019

Director: Nick Bruno and Troy Quane

Stars: Will Smith, Tom Holland, Karen Gillan, Reba McEntire

Plot: The world's greatest spy is accidentally turned into a pigeon, but that doesn't mean he can give up on the case

Trailer

 

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

 

 

I was a little wary of this film when I first saw the trailer. A guy turns into a pigeon, and that's supposed to make for a good movie?

 

Well, it did. 

 

This one is a ton of fun for kids and adults. It is filled with all sorts of physical humor and potty humor that will keep your child laughing through the end credits. It is exciting, fast-paced, and filled with lots of spy gadgets. 

 

The animation isn't the latest and greatest, but it is just fine. 

 

Some parents may want to check this movie out before you let the little ones see it. It is a spy movie, so there are several fight scenes. There isn't anything overly violent, but you may decide that it is too much for your family. 

 

While this isn't on the same level as a movie like FROZEN II, it is still a fun film. And one that could be a great escape for a couple of hours while the kids are on Winter break.

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STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER

Rated: PG-13

Release Date: December 20, 2019

Director: J.J. Abrams

Stars: Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac

Plot: Rey and her friends must find the hidden base of the First Order and destroy them before they take over the universe

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Drop everything and see this in theaters now

 

 

I saw this movie like a fan. Not like a movie critic. I bought my ticket the day they went on sale, I stood in line for nearly two hours so I could get a good seat, I endured the commercials and trailers leading up to the main event, and then I cheered right along with everyone else at all of the right moments. 

 

It's been 42 years since the first STAR WARS film hit theaters. And as far as I'm concerned, we got a fantastic ending to an epic franchise. There are many critics hating this film, but I say this movie isn't for them, it's for the fans. I was in a theater packed to capacity, literally not one empty chair, and I heard ZERO negative reaction from the audience during or after the movie. Everyone LOVED it.

 

As for the film, it is another exciting STAR WARS story with several new characters, all of our favorites, and a few surprises along the way. Each character has their part to play and they do it well.

 

The story is exciting, full of action, suspense, and touching moments. There are tons of Easter eggs for fans of the series, and many moments that will have you cheering out loud. 

 

If you are a fan of episodes 7 and 8, you'll be very pleased with this one. It answers a lot of questions, and ties up almost all of the loose ends. (There is one thing that didn't get resolved, and that is driving me crazy, but that's for a discussion after you've seen the movie).

 

I've been a fan of STAR WARS nearly all of my life. As a fan, I couldn't have asked for a better finale. I will be seeing this again as soon as possible. If you are a fan, I think you will, too. 

 

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CATS

Rated: PG

Release Date: December 20, 2019

Director: Tom Hooper

Stars: Francesca Hayward, Idris Elba, Judi Dench, Jennifer Hudson

Plot: Several cats compete in a talent show to win a better life, but one cat will stop at nothing to win

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Wait for the digital release

 

 

I am a huge fan of the theatre. I've seen close to 100 live musicals. I love going and experiencing the dynamic intensity of a live production. I have been enthralled, enraptured, and mesmerized by dozens of musicals. I have been happy I've seen dozens more. And I absolutely hated one.

 

CATS.

 

When I saw CATS several years ago I was so bored, annoyed, and couldn't have cared less about any of the characters that I walked out of the show at intermission.

 

This time I had to endure the whole thing.

 

You're welcome.

 

To be fair, I think that if you are a fan of CATS, you will probably like this version, too. So go give it a shot. If nothing else, at least you'll have the new Taylor Swift song to look forward to.

 

However, I think you are going to hate the characters played by Rebel Wilson and James Corden, because the director allowed them to play their roles as Rebel Wilson and James Corden. It is weird, abrasive, and takes you out of the story every time one of them is on screen.

 

As for everyone else, CATS is a complete waste of time. There are things never explained, there is no character development, the conflict makes no sense, and the ending is just weird.

 

About all this movie is good for is a semi-decent sound track to get in a good 2-hour cat nap.

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BLACK CHRISTMAS

Rated: PG-13

Release Date: December 13, 2019

Director: Sophia Takal

Stars: Imogen Poots, Aleyse Shannon, Lily Donoghue, Cary Elwes

Plot: Several girls on a college campus are hunted by cloaked and masked figures

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Don't even bother

 

 

This is the kind of film that gives the horror genre a bad name. This is nothing but a brainless, stupid, slasher flick that serves no purpose whatsoever. 

 

The acting is embarrassingly bad, and the plot is worse.

 

On some level this is supposed to be a female empowerment movie, but they give the women power by making the men literally brainless clones that are trained only to kill. So rather than make the men smart and the women smarter, they decided to make the men as dumb as possible. 

 

There is nothing scary about this movie. Even the jump scares are lame. And by the time the film gets to the climax everything has become so eye-rollingly ridiculous that it is laugh out loud funny. 

 

If you want to see a great Christmas horror flick, go rent ANNA AND THE APOCALYPSE. But whatever you do just make sure you avoid this movie completely. If you see it Santa will put you on his naughty list.

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JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL

Rated: PG-13

Release Date: December 13, 2019

Director: Jake Kasdan

Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Jack Black, Awkwafina

Plot: Four friends return to the game, but this time there are more players and the game has changed

Trailer

 

 

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

 

 

Yes! They did it again! The cast of JUMANJI is back with a few new players and a whole lot of fun for everyone. While I didn't like this one quite as much as the first film, this one is still very good and well above average. It's more like an A- compared to the A of the first one.

 

Once again we see the cast having to act like other people in the film and they all do it so well. Dwayne Johnson as Danny Devito is funny in every way possible. We also get the addition of Awkwafina who has become an acting force this year, and will probably be up for several acting awards for her role in THE FAREWELL. She is a blast to watch in everything she does. 

 

The rest of the cast is stellar, and this time we get to see them interact a lot more with each other. The dialogue is funny and fast-paced. All of the actors bring something special to the film that makes it better. 

 

The story is exciting, the action is awesome, and the ending will make you wish the third film was already out. So, gather up the family and go have a great time at the theater this weekend. 

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RICHARD JEWELL

Rated: R

Release Date: December 13, 2019

Director: Clint Eastwood

Stars: Paul Walter Hauser, Sam Rockwell, Kathy Bates, Jon Hamm

Plot: A security guard becomes the main suspect after a bomb goes off during the Atlanta Olympics

Trailer

 

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

 

 

This is easily one of my favorite films of the year. In fact, it is probably in my top 5 for 2019. Not only is the story incredible, but it is told very well by a cast that is second to none. 

 

The acting in this movie is the best I've seen all year. Paul Walter Hauser, Sam Rockwell, and Kathy Bates are all getting votes from me in all of the awards groups that I vote for. They are individually fantastic, but together they are even better. 

 

This is the kind of movie that pulls you in and keeps you engaged the entire time. It is compelling throughout and fast-paced. It's a 2 hour movie that feels like 45 minutes. There wasn't a single moment where I found myself pulled out of the story, or my mind was wondering around. 

 

If you like crime dramas, this is a must-see movie. It is one of the best in that genre to come along in several years. It's the kind of movie that will make you feel all sorts of emotions, and you will feel how high the stakes are even if you already know the outcome of the true story. 

 

There are four or five award-worthy films being released over the next few weeks. This is one of that bunch, and one that you should make time to see as soon as possible. 

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BOMBSHELL

Rated: R

Release Date: December 13, 2019

Director: Jay Roach

Stars: Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, John Lithgow

Plot: Several women take their sexual harassment claims public, demanding the Roger Ailes and Fox News be held accountable

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Wait for the digital release

 

 

This is going to be an interesting film to see what happens to it over the course of the next several weeks. I have a sneaking suspicion that BOMBSHELL is going to bomb. Mainly because fans of Fox News aren't going to want to see it, and people in general just don't like political dramas. I'm not sure why Hollywood keeps making them, because they all bomb. 

 

As for the movie I have mixed feelings about it. The acting is great, but the story is told in a terrible way. It's slow, boring, and it never really feels like it gets going. Things just sort of happen and then it comes to an end. The movie starts out fast-paced and exciting, but it quickly loses steam and becomes just another bland flick. By the end it's nothing but a bunch of millionaires and billionaires sniping at each other. 

 

As for the acting, Charlize Theron IS Megyn Kelly. She looks like her, she acts like her, she talks like her, it's almost too good. She's a better Megyn Kelly than Megyn Kelly. Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie are both great as well. I'm sure that they will all get a few acting nominations, although I don't think the film is good enough for them to win. 

 

This movie could have been a lot more compelling and interesting than it is. In it's current state it is a film that is not worthy of your time and will be easily forgotten. I'm sure I won't remember I saw this one by the time it gets released digitally. There are so many good movies out right now, don't waste your money on this one. 

 

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UNCUT GEMS

Rated: R

Release Date: December 13, 2019

Director: Benny and Josh Safdie

Stars: Adam Sandler, Julia Fox, Kevin Garnett, Idina Menzel

Plot: A New York City jewel seller keeps finding himself in debt to the wrong people and always trying a risky plan to get out of it

Trailer

 

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

 

 

All I need to describe this movie is one word: Exhausting. 

 

I could literally feel my blood pressure rising as I watched this film. I was so stressed out and annoyed 10 minutes into it that I almost had to walk away for a few minutes. Why was this happening? Because this movie is basically 2 hours of several people in the same room trying to yell over the top of one another. 

 

You know how you feel when your whole extended family gets together for Thanksgiving and your idiot uncle says something stupid to your drunk great aunt, and then it's nothing but chaos? That is UNCUT GEMS. 

 

Adam Sandler is great in his role, but his character is so frustrating, so annoying, and so infuriating that I couldn't help but hate him. He spends the entire movie never learning his lesson and doing stupid thing after stupid thing. An hour into the flick I just wanted to grab him and slap the snot out of him.

 

The characters are all flat, not a single person has any redemptive qualities. Everyone is a one-dimensional criminal or a sleazebag. Nobody changes or grows, there are no character arcs, we just see a bunch of jerks continue to be jerks. 

 

Also, a word of caution. If you see that Adam Sandler is in this and you are thinking, "oh, great! A Comedy!" Change that thought process now, because this is not a comedy at all. There is nothing funny about it or in it. It's a rough, gritty drama that will leave you worse off than when you arrived.

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PLAYMOBIL: THE MOVIE

Rated: PG

Release Date: December 6, 2019

Director: Lino DiSalvo

Stars: Anya Taylor-Joy, Gabriel Bateman, Jim Gaffigan, Daniel Radcliffe

Plot: Two siblings get pulled into the Playmobil world and must figure out how to survive and get back to reality

Trailer

 

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

 

 

 

If you are hoping this movie is going to be something similar to THE LEGO MOVIE, you need to go ahead and readjust your thoughts immediately. While it is true that PlayMobil made every effort to copy Lego in the movie world, (even down to the live action scenes), they managed to completely miss the mark with this film.

 

I saw this movie with my family. Three of us hated it. The only one of us that found it slightly interesting was my six year old daughter. And even she wasn't super excited when it was all done.

 

On some levels this film is targeted to a younger audience, however the opening scene turns very dark, so if you take your younger kids to see it you might have some explaining to do.

 

As for the plot, this is one of the least entertaining animated films I've seen in a while. It seems like there are one or two animated films that fall flat. This is one of them. I was so thoroughly bored that I was thrilled when my youngest needed a trip to the bathroom. Any reason to escape this nonsense was good enough for me.

 

If you want to see a movie with the family this weekend, go see FROZEN II again. You'll wish you had if you go see this travesty.

 

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QUEEN & SLIM

Rated: R

Release Date: November 27, 2019

Director: Melina Matsoukas

Stars: Jodie Turner-Smith, Daniel Kaluuya

Plot: A couple, finishing up their first date, end up on the run after a bad run-in with a cop

Trailer

 

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

 

 

 

When making a movie based on fictitious people living in the real world there is only one way to make it work right. The characters have to think and act like real people. The have to do the things that almost anyone would do in the same circumstance. If they do something different, it rings an alarm bell in our minds and comes across as fake or forced. 

 

I say all of that to say that either the screenwriter had no clue how to write real characters, or we have to believe that these are two of the dumbest people to ever walk the face of the earth.

 

This could have been a spectacular film. It has all of the pieces to make something special and powerful. Instead, it completely falls apart to the point where it almost becomes a parody of a "chase" movie. 

 

The film starts out in a good enough way. We see the couple on their very awkward first date, and then, if you've seen the trailer you know I'm not giving anything away, they end up killing a dirty cop in self defense. At this point the clock starts ticking on their lives and freedom. Now, if you or I were in a horrific situation like this what would we do? We would make a plan, grab all of the cash we could, and get to our destination as quickly as possible.

 

Not these two. 

 

No, they argue over the dead cop, they stop, get out of the car and argue some more, then they go on this meandering road trip where they stop more to do stupid stuff than a family road trip with six kids and three puppies! It was killing me as I watched it because they did a good job of building up the suspense of the manhunt, but then they would kill it by stopping to see the sights.

 

As for the acting, Daniel Kaluuya does a great job. Jodie Turner-Smith, not so much. She delivers so many lines in stilted, non-emotional ways, it almost makes me think that she was reading them off of cue cards instead of actually paying attention to and feeling the words and meaning of what she was saying. It baffles me that there are some people talking her up for best actress awards. Obviously, they saw a completely different movie than I did. 

 

I would love to see someone do a remake of this movie the right way. Because, when they do, it will be amazing. 

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KNIVES OUT

Rated: R

Release Date: November 27, 2019

Director: Rian Johnson

Stars: Daniel Craig, Ana de Armas, Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis

Plot: Everyone is a suspect in the murder of a family patriarch, but a famous detective will find the truth

Trailer

 

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

 

 

There are some movies that are entertaining, then there are a chosen few movies that truly entertain you. KNIVES OUT is one of those chosen few. Watching this movie was one of the best times I've had at a theater in several years. Not only is it a great movie, but it is so much fun to play along and try to figure everything out. 

 

This is a classic "whodunnit" flick with a fantastic cast thrown in to make it even better. The characters are all fun to watch and follow, and the plot is as thick and juicy as a porterhouse steak. The dialogue is witty, the pacing is quick and steady, and the music adds that little extra to push the whole thing into glorious, wonderful absurdity in the best way possible. 

 

There are so many twists and turns in this film that you'll feel like you are on a roller coaster. The good news is there are enough clues to give you a decent shot at figuring out most of the mystery, but this one goes so deep that you'll still be shocked and surprised by the conclusion. (Even though you'll already know what happened!)

 

This is one of those rare movies that you are going to want to see twice. You'll love the mystery the first time, and the second time, you'll want to try to find all of the clues along the way. The great news is that this movie is completely worth the price of admission, twice. 

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WAVES

Rated: R

Release Date: November 27, 2019

Director: Trey Edward Shults

Stars: Kelvin Harrison, Jr., Taylor Russell, Sterling K. Brown, Lucas Hedges

Plot: A family's life takes a turn after a tragic event

Trailer

 

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

 

 

This is one of the more interesting and unique films I've ever seen. It is very good, but I'm still not sure that I liked it, and I'm still not sure if the final cut is done well. Honestly, I may never come to a solid conclusion on this movie. 

 

WAVES is just over 2 hours long. The first half is dedicated, almost entirely, to the story of the son/brother in the family. The second half gives us new main characters and a story line that follows the daughter/sister. It almost feels like two different films. I wonder if it might have played out better if they had focused on one of the stories and either started or ended the chosen story with 10-15 minutes of the other one instead of splitting the screen time 50/50.

 

The dual story issue is odd, but almost everything else about the film makes it great. The acting is amazing. In fact, I would be shocked if there weren't some acting nominations to come from this movie. The writing is also very powerful and moving. 

 

Technically speaking, this film is pretty average. There are a lot of weird camera movements and lens flares. Some of them would have been cool, but there are so many that it gets annoying. For example, we spend the first several minutes of the movie seeing everything through the eye of a spinning camera. Yes, it's a neat shot at first, but then it becomes a gimmick, and then it quickly turns off putting. It could have been a much more powerful film if it didn't try so hard to be artsy.

 

This is a poignant and powerful film that will poke around at all of your emotions. It's not the easiest film to watch, but it is one that you will be glad you saw after it is over. 

 

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FROZEN II

Rated: PG

Release Date: November 22, 2019

Director: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee

Stars: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad

Plot: Trouble comes to Arendelle, and Anna and Elsa must travel to an enchanted forest to find the reason and figure out how to stop it

Trailer

 

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

 

 

I love how so many critics love to bash Disney movies in the weeks leading up to the release of the film, then we all sit down for the screening and, inevitably, when it is over they all talk about how pleasantly surprised they are by how good the movie was.

 

FROZEN II was no exception to this rule. 

 

This movie is so much fun! The animation is great, the songs are great, the story is interesting, the jokes are hilarious, and Olaf completely steals the show once again. The movie also gives us a lot of callbacks to the first movie, so make sure you've seen that one before you see this one. 

 

For adults, the best part of the movie is without a doubt the song by Kristoff. Ladies and gentlemen, he sings an 80's power ballad! And they do a music video to match! There wasn't a single adult in the theater that wasn't laughing hard and wishing they had a lighter to wave high above their heads during that scene. (Our kids were all looking at us like we had lost our minds).

 

We do get some answers to questions left over from the first film, and I will tell you now that one of the answers wrecks about 3,407,826 different fan theories in one shot. But it is a very powerful and emotional scene. 

 

This film is also significantly darker than the first one. There are moments where I thought my seven year old wasn't going to be able to handle it, but for the most part she was okay. She did have some questions after the movie though, so if you have young ones you may want to check it out before taking them to see it. (For most kids this will be just fine, this is more of an overabundance of caution).

 

So, go ahead, gather up the whole crew and enjoy this movie in the theaters. And then get ready to go back again because the kids (and adults) are going to love it.

 

Finally, make sure you stick around for all of the credits. There is an after-credit scene that is totally worth the time. 

 

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21 BRIDGES

Rated: R

Release Date: November 22, 2019

Director: Brian Kirk

Stars: Chadwick Boseman, J.K. Simmons, Sienna Miller

Plot: A NYPD detective is tasked with finding 2 cop killers in Manhattan, but he only has a few hours to do it

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Save some money and see a matinee

 

 

First things first, Chadwick Boseman is a beast. He is great in everything he does, and he makes every movie he is in better. Not only is he fun to watch, but it is obvious he works hard at his craft in order to give us the best possible version of every character he portrays. 

 

As for the movie, it's pretty good. Not great, but not terrible either. It's one of those movies that is filled with excitement, action, and suspense. And because it is filled up on those things there isn't much room for things like compelling dialogue, character development, or any emotions other than fear and anger.

 

If you are going for the fun stuff then go for it. You'll enjoy this movie for sure. It's filled with great chases, fights, and explosions. If you are hoping to see a smart film you should look elsewhere. This film is formulaic from beginning to end. They even had a wonderful opportunity to steer away from the typical police procedural plot with this one, but chose to stick with the same old thing once again. 

 

This isn't the kind of movie that is going to win any awards. It's not the kind of movie you'll be dying to see again once it comes out digitally, but it is a movie that can be really fun to watch once. 

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A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD

Rated: PG

Release Date: November 22, 2019

Director: Marielle Heller

Stars: Tom Hanks, Matthew Rhys

Plot: An investigative journalist for Esquire magazine is tasked with interviewing and writing a story on the legendary Mr. Rogers

Trailer

 

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

 

 

 

This is a wonderful and beautiful film that will make you feel all sorts of feelings. This is a film that will make you want to be a better person. This is a film that will have you singing and smiling from ear to ear. 

 

This is not the film you think it is.

 

It is a story about the writer. He is the subject of the film. His is the life and story we see play out on the screen. Mr. Rogers is simply the catalyst that helps him figure out what is wrong in his own life. In fact, I would guess that Tom Hanks is only on screen about a third of the movie. 

 

If that sounds disappointing to you, don't worry, you are in the same boat as I am. The good news is that, once I adjusted my thinking and realized what the real story was, I really enjoyed the film. It is a beautiful story of brokenness, redemption, and forgiveness. 

 

Tom Hanks is a power-house once again and will most-assuredly be up for all of the supporting actor awards. It felt like I was watching Fred Rogers again.

 

Matthew Rhys is very good as the broken writer. He and Hanks play well off of one another. It's interesting how both of them played their characters in subdued ways, never stealing scenes from each other, but letting the story be the star. 

 

The movie itself is done in a unique and entertaining way. It's almost like the whole thing is one long episode of MR. ROGER'S NEIGHBORHOOD. The traveling scenes are done in the style of the old PBS show, and the open and close are done in the same manner. I was pleasantly surprised that I remembered all of the words to the songs. And no, I was not the only one in the theater singing along. 

 

If you grew up watching Mr. Rogers this is a must see movie. It may not be exactly what you were hoping it would be, but it is exceptional in its own way. 

 

Just. Like. You.