Category Archives: Reviews

Life of the Party (2018) Review

A FLIMSY PASSING GRADE

(THAT DOESN’T GRADUTE

WITH HONORS)


 

Actress Melissa McCarthy has become a staple of comedy movies, with being featured in one or two motion pictures a year for several years now. While she does have the necessary acting talents to be in comedic feature film, McCarthy has become known for being both big (rotund) and using her foul-mouth language throughout many of her roles in movies. In 2011, with the film Bridesmaids as her break-out role, McCarthy unveiled her raunchy “potty” mouth angst to viewers everywhere, producing such hits in the coming years, including 2013’s buddy cop film The Heat, 2015’s spoof of the spy genre Spy, and the 2016 remake of Ghostbusters. On the other hand, McCarthy still has some comedy misfires in her career with films like 2013’s Identity Thief and 2014’s Tammy. In amongst her prominent roles in comedy features, McCarthy has started to dabble in more drama roles, including 2014’s St. Vincent and 2018’s future release of Can You Ever Forgive Me? Thus, like a lot of actors, McCarthy has some lows as well as highs. Now Warner Bros. Pictures (New Line Cinema) and director Ben Falcone bring forth the latest comedy angst of McCarthy with the movie Life of the Party. Does this 2018 release from McCarthy find its humor in foul-mouth body of work or is it another dud in her film career? Read more

Overboard (2018) Review

AN UNWANTED REMAKE

FROM HOLLYWOOD


 

Back in 1987, the same here when movies such as Wall Street, Good Morning, Vietnam, Dirty Dancing, Full Metal Jacket, and the Princess Bride theatrically debuted, an 80s comedy film titled Overboard was released. Directed by Garry Marshall, the movie, which starred actor Kurt Russell and actress Goldie Hawn, follows the story of a working-class man (Russell) who convinces a spoiled and selfish heiress (Hawn) with amnesia that they are a married couple. The premise of the film was simple and amusing, ensuring a lot of comedic angst that follow throughout the film (i.e. reversals as Hawn’s character adjust to her new lifestyle and current situation). Overboard, which made several million dollars over its production budget (i.e.  26.7 million at the box office against its 22 million budget) didn’t really win critics over, but does have small cult following through the years, with many praising the real-life relationship between Russell and Hawn reflecting strong on their respective characters in the movie. Eventually, Overboard found its way onto television being a sort of “comfort food” for several channels and its viewers throughout the syndicate programming years. Now, with Hollywood’s recent trend of remaking and revamping older films for a new generation of moviegoers, MGM Pictures (along with Pantelion Films and Lionsgate) and director Rob Greenberg present the 2018 remake film to the 1987 film, titled once again as Overboard. Does this updated version of the 80s film find a new stride within its narrative or is it just simply too bland and redundant for modern audiences to even care about? Read more

Avengers: Infinity War (2018) Review

DESTINY HAS ARRIVED


 

There was an idea…to bring together a group of remarkable people….to see if we could become something more…so when they need us, we could fight the battles…. that they never could. Thus, such an idea was born in the year 2008 with the release of Iron Man, a superhero movie that set-in motion one of the most famous (and profitable) shared cinematic universe in the history of filmmaking titled the “Marvel Cinematic Universe” (or simply dubbed the “MCU”). While Iron Man was well-received from critics and moviegoers alike (bringing the iconic superhero character of Tony Stark to life via actor Robert Downey Jr.), it was the start of something that really did usher in the “golden age” of superheroes film, bring together a collective group of actors and actresses in portraying these popular comic book characters on the silver screen. The pool of comic book character to grace the big screen range from some of the more popular ones like Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hulk, and Spider-Man to some of the more lesser known ones like Ant-Man, Doctor Strange, and the Guardians of the Galaxy. Each one of the 18 films (so far) in the MCU series brings a sense of palpable superhero merits to stand on its own foundation on their own solo adventures as well as the team-up superhero features that bring together a group of them to stop an overpowered enemy. The film themselves have taken its viewers on big adventure experience to the next one, from the streets of New York City in Spider-Man: Homecoming, to the fictional / technological African nation of Wakanda in Black Panther, to the battlefields of WWII in Captain America: The First Avenger, and to the mythical land of Asgard in the Thor movies, and to the farthest reaches of the cosmos with the Guardians of the Galaxy films. With the success of these movies (both in its fandom with Marvel fans and in causal moviegoers), the MCU (as a whole) has continued to grow and expanded, especially when Disney acquisitioned Marvel to bring the superhero world into the “House of Mouse”, finding each new installment in their sequential Phases sagas to try to had another layer to the overall complexity to this cinematic world as well as being superhero entertainment to viewers everywhere. While some critics might be a bit miffed by “comic book movies” and in their criticism, the MCU movies have found their “golden ticket” formula of success with public (i.e a mixture of heart, humor, and blockbuster superhero nuances), raking in millions upon millions at the worldwide box office with each new release. Now, after the universal acclaim and huge financial success of Black Panther, Marvel Studios, in conjunction with their 10-year anniversary celebrations, and directors Joe and Anthony Russo prepare for the culmination of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the highly anticipated film Avengers: Infinity War. Does super large superhero team-up film deliver on its inherit hype promise or does it flounder and ultimately crumble underneath the incredible high expectations from fans everywhere? Read more

Maze Runner: The Death Cure (2018) Review

EVERY MAZE HAS AN END


 

A bleak futuristic setting, a tyrannical government that holds dominance over the people, and courageous young people fighting to change the tide. Yes, I’m talking about the YA / Teen dystopian novels that were the prominent a few years back. While there were many out there (in publication) that spun a tale like this, none were more famous than Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games trilogy, Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy, and James Dashner’s Maze Runner trilogy. Naturally, seeing the popularity and lucrative money-making opportunity to the masses, Hollywood quickly snatched up the movie rights to these three-novel series, punching out cinematic franchises for each one. While The Hunger Games (a four-film series) was celebrated and completed Collin’s tale of Katniss Everdeen on the big-screen, The Divergent Series, telling Roth’s story of character Tris Prior, failed to impress its viewers and felt the tale being told uncomplete after its third installment. As for the movie representation of Maze Runner series, following the plight of Thomas and his fellow Gladers, this cinematic series falls somewhere in the middle of those two, finding a better groove in its dystopian action than teen drama romance (i.e. The Hunger Games Series and The Divergent Series). 2014’s Maze Runner, the first film in the franchise, was faced with mixed reviews, but more on the positive side as the movie itself was able to stand out more than its competition with its more intense sci-fi dystopian action. The movie went on to accumulate $384 million at the box office (worldwide), which gave a more favorable chance at the film’s sequel to profit. This second installment did materialize the following year with 2015’s Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, further continuing the adventures of the Gladers in the journey to uncover the evil organization WCKD’s nefarious plot. Again, the film had some mixed reviews from critics, but was generally more accepted by moviegoers, with the movie grossing over $312 million at the worldwide box office. Now, after three years and a delay to the project, the dystopian world of Dashner’s cinematic tale of Thomas, Newt, Minho, and the rest of the Gladers comes to end as 20th Century Fox and director Wes Ball present the film Maze Runner: The Death Cure. Does this final chapter in the Maze Runner series bring a resounding conclusion to this YA / Teen dystopian or is it “too little, too late” for audiences to care about the fate of the Dashner’s Glader characters? Read more

You Were Never Really Here (MovieMan Dan’s Guest Review)

A MUST-SEE FOR FILM FANS,

BUT IT LEFT ME COLD


As many of you have probably noticed, I have been absent on Jason’s site for quite a few months now. My reason behind this isn’t the best excuse but basically I’ve been very busy at work and haven’t been unable to keep up with my writing as of late.  I’ve still been watching lots of movies *mostly on my days off which I usually spend at the local multiplex* but I haven’t had the time to do any reviews/coverage as of late as I have had to make sacrifices in order to make a living.

Rest assured, I’m back now and I hope to have some new reviews for you guys in the coming weeks/ months. Most recently, I was given the opportunity to check out some of the films from the 15th edition of the Calgary Underground Film Festival *one of the top rated Genre Festivals in Canada* which I’m really excited to talk about.  The festival just wrapped up and while I was unable to attend in person this year *due to work and other obligations* – I was able to see some of the most buzzed about films in the lineup with the help of screeners and the PR agents who were willing to help me out in exchange for the coverage.  I will be posting these reviews as I can over the next couple of weeks so stay tuned. I’m still working. I’m just going to force myself to find the time to write because I’ve missed it. Read more

I Feel Pretty (2018) Review

DOESN’T EVEN GO SKIN DEEP


 

What does it mean it pretty? What does it mean to me beautiful in another’s eyes? What will it take (personally) to achieve that goal? How are you willing to go reach that status? These types of questions made be dubbed “superfluous” by some to even pose such a question, but it’s almost a universal / fundamental question that all everyone asks themselves (be it publicly or in private). The sayings that “Beauty is only skin deep” and “It’s what on the inside that counts” are always positive reinforcements to oneself, but it’s hard to measure what many deem as “beautiful”, especially with society’s almost jaded views on prettiness. This can cause a person to have low self-esteem / self-worth, lacking the confidence to go out and face the world without being judged by the public. This is even further judged harder given the rise of the various social media outlets in today’s world, body shamming individuals and objectifying people. Again, it’s really a universal question that literally almost everyone asks themselves regardless of gender, sex, religion, monetary status, or political stance. In the world of Hollywood movies, films have usually tackled such ideas in a wide variety feature films from hard-hitting dramas to more lighthearted romantic comedies. Now STX films and Huayi Brothers Pictures and duo directors Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein present the newest motion picture to present such self-identity issues with the film I Feel Pretty. Does this movie tackle its message head on with cinematic warmth and heart or is it just a shallow endeavor from Hollywood? Read more

Super Troopers 2 (2018) Review

THE MUSTACHES RIDE AGAIN


 

Back in 2001, the comedian group of guys who went by the stage name of “Broken Lizard” released their sophomore feature length film Super Troopers. The movie, which was directed by Broken Lizard member Jay Chandrasekhar and written by group, followed the misadventures of five highway patrol troopers who, through crazy angst and comedic gags, undercover a drug smuggling operation in their Vermont town. The movie itself is choke full of humorous bit, finding Broken Lizard’s comedic spread throughout the entire movie, producing a film endeavor that’s a vehicle playground for the group of longtime comedian friends as highway police officers. While Super Troopers only made a very mild splash during its box office run, which is not bad considering the movie made roughly $23 million against its $ 3 million production budget) as well as facing mixed reviews from critics, the movie itself found its popularity on home release. From there, the movie gained a cult-following with many adolescent teens and college adults finding their comedic style of Broken Lizard’s Super Troopers to their liking. While Broken Lizard did go on to create another feature films, including Club Dread in 2004 and Beerfest in 2006, the films themselves didn’t have the same cult-following fanbase as did Super Troopers has achieved. Now, almost seventeen years since Super Troopers was released, Fox Searchlight Pictures and director Jay Chandrasekhar present the long-awaited sequel to the 2001 film with the movie Super Troopers 2. Do guys of Broken Lizard find their comedic groove within this belated sequel or has the current age of moviegoers / viewers grown up and moved away from the comedy styles of this group? Read more

Rampage (2018) Review

BIG MEETS MINDLESSLY DUMB FUN


 

It’s almost commonplace to say that video games have evolved with the changing of times and the new generation of gamers that play them. However, adapting video games into feature length movies has been always being a bumpy road, plague with multiple reasons that make the film itself falter from being truly great cinematic representation of its source material. Some of have called it the “video game movie curse”, suggesting that any feature of which is adapted from a video game is doomed right from the start and it’s been an ongoing continuation with every new video game movie release. Looking back there has been many popular video games that have been adapted to the big screen, including Nintendo’s classic Super Mario Bros (1993’s Super Mario Bros.), Capcom’s survival horror Resident Evil (2002-2016’s Resident Evil series), Blizzard’s fantasy strategy Warcraft (2016’s Warcraft or Warcraft: The Beginning in international territories), Core Design / Square Enix’s action adventure platforming Tomb Raider (2001-2018’s Tomb Raider films series), Ubisoft’s time-traveling action adventures Assassin’s Creed (2016’s Assassin’s Creed), Square Enix’s immersive JRPG Final Fantasy (2001, 2005, and 2016’s Final Fantasy movies), and many others. There are multiple reasons as to why these features mostly fail and / or don’t fully pan out with critics and moviegoers with different variations and reasons behind each one. Whether too gimmicky, lack of characterization, too much exposition plot, too much world-building, or even completely changing everything to make the film almost unrecognizable to its video game counterpoint. Regardless, movies based on video games are still being produced, with each one trying to break the infamous “video game movie curse” and appeal to both its fans and to general moviegoers everywhere. Now, Warner Bros. Pictures / New Line Cinema and director Brad Peyton give the classic Midway Games arcade game a cinematic representation with the film Rampage. Does this movie finally break the curse on video game adaptations or is it just a mindless and dumb endeavor? Read more

A Quiet Place (2018) Review

WITHIN THE SOUND OF SILENCE


 

Since the days of filmmaking began many, many years ago, motion pictures have flourished into a wide array of genres that tackle many moods, tone, and emotions to give its viewers an entertaining experience. Some makes us laugh, some make us, cry, some make us fascinated, and some, most notably within the horror genre, make us scared. The film genre of horror has been around for quite some time, creating a plenitude of feature films that scary, creep, and sometimes downright horrify its viewers, drawing up on the fears and dark imaginations that go “bump” in the night. Like many genres out there, horror movies have slightly different variations in their narrative and context, expanding upon many things from monster creature features like 1935’s Frankenstein, 1954’s Creature from the Black Lagoon, 1984’s Gremlins, to the teen slashers like 1978’s Halloween, 1984’s A Nightmare on Elm Street, and 1996’s Scream, to paranormal flicks like 1982’s Poltergeist, 2002’s The Ring, and 2013’s The Conjuring, and to even supernatural nightmarish tales like 1973’s The Exorcist, 1976’s Carrie, and 1980’s The Shining, Nowadays, the horror genre, much like a lot things, has to evolve, producing more features that had the heavy usage of “jump scare tactics” as well as bountiful disturbing sequences of bloody / gory within its cinematic context, trying to appease and cater to its more “modern” demographic of horror viewers. Still, the genre continues to grow and expand, creating some memorable recent hits like 2016’s The Witch and Spilt, and 2017’s IT being some of the prime examples. Now, Paramount Pictures and actor / director John Krasinki present the next intriguing tale from the horror genre with the film A Quiet Place. Does this movie truly find its “scares” in its suspenseful tale or does it fail to impress, relying too much on its “gimmicky” premise?  Read more

Blockers (2018) Review

SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW


 

Speaking in general terms, it’s a commonplace theme / mantra (almost a “rite of passage” to some) for teenagers to (or to simply attempt) in losing their virginity sometime before their high school years come to an end. Whether good or bad (depending on the circumstances of things in reality), its usually during this point when teenage individuals are “discovering themselves” and want to experience new things and becoming more acutely aware of the sexual identity and pleasures. Thus, before heading into their post-high school world (college, military service, job, etc.), it’s a ripe time (in a young adult’s mind) to experience such things before heading into their stage of life (i.e. adulthood). Of course, Hollywood has taken their stance with this many story / narrative premises over the years and (naturally) has touched upon this subject in several feature films. While some are a bit grounded and serious, most feature films that tackle teens seeking to lose their virginity have been played for laughs, making a somewhat lighthearted and / or comedic aspect of the situation. While many of these films were created back during the 80s and 90s, 1999’s American Pie and 2007’s Superbad are arguably some of the most memorable ones in this niche, playing up the teen sexual angst (broadly) in R-rated raunchy comedy playing field. Of late, however, Hollywood has somewhat moved beyond its premise (mostly like to the change in attitude towards the concept of virginity nowadays, refocusing on different topic / subject matters to poke fun at and / or perform satire parodies of with its new audience of moviegoers. Now, Universal Pictures and director Kay Cannon sees the return of the teen sex comedy niche with the film Blockers. Does new R-rated comedy stand on solid ground for this narrative to return to the big screen or does it outdated premise and subject material fail to connect with the current generation of viewers? Read more

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