Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Death at a Funeral

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Well, I guess if you're gonna have a death, why not have it at a funeral?



Death at a Funeral – 3 out of 5

I saw the British original Death at a Funeral around the time it came out in 2007.  I was surprised when I saw it was remade in America in 2010.  American remakes of British features are not uncommon but to see one only a few years after the original is released seemed a tad surprising—and Death at a Funeral wasn’t even the first time it was remade as it turns out.  In 2009 a Hindi adaptation of the movie was made.  I found the 2007 film to be really fun but never watched this American version.  I put it on my Watch List but never really took the dive and checked it out.  Recently, I watched it and found it a fun film but one that has all the same problems of the original…including the fact it is very much a product of its time.

That's the appropriate face to make when you see how it expensive it is to have a funeral.

After his father passes away, Aaron Barnes (Chris Rock) takes the responsibility to set up the funeral.  The service quickly becomes filled with family and friends and it isn’t long before the drama starts.  You have his brother Ryan (Martin Lawrence) throwing his success in his face, his cousin Elaine (Zoe Saldana) is trying to control her boyfriend Oscar (James Marsden) as he accidentally took an hallucinogen and they already have to deal with the fact her father (Ron Glass) doesn’t approve of their relationship and is actively trying to break it up and get her back with her ex; Derek (Luke Wilson).  Matters are made worse when an unexpected party shows up to the ceremony, a man named Frank Lovett (Peter Dinklage) and someone who claims to have some important information about Aaron’s father and immediately proceeds to blackmail Aaron in order to keep this knowledge a secret.

I guess if you go to a funeral tripping it sorta eases the experience.

For the most part, this remake is pretty much the same as the original but with some small changes.  One noticeable thing remained the same and that is Peter Dinklage reprise the same role he had in the original film.  Overall, however, the central core and spirit of the dark comedy is there and, for the most part, it is a very entertaining feature that is very amusing.  There is, however, one thing about it that I didn’t enjoy and it is an element that I really wasn’t consciously aware of when I viewed the original film.  That element is an underlying homophobia to a particular element of the story.  Just a heads up, I’m getting into Spoilers Territory here and if you are bothered by having a key plot point ruined of a story that is already almost a decade old (or over a decade if you count the original) then run away now.

It's amazing how this property can be both progressive with its representation and inclusion
and completely backwards at the same time.


Are you still here?  Good.  So, in the film Peter Dinklage’s character turns out to be a lover of Aaron’s father.  The Barnes family is completely unaware of their father’s sexual identification and it turns their world upside down.  This can be understandable but the presentation of this shock comes in a very homophobic way and they speak of homosexuality like it is somehow a character malfunction.  The characters who find out spit out the word “gay” like it is curdled milk in their mouths but the homophobia doesn’t stop there.  The character of Frank turns out to be a bit of a shithead as he then decides to blackmail Aaron for several thousand dollars because he was left out of the will.  So, not only is the film speaking of homosexuality like it is totes gross but they present an openly gay character as a criminal and a conniving douche bag.  When I watched the original, I wasn’t fully aware of how this presented homosexuals and how absolutely backwards it is but seeing this in 2019 it just feels wrong.  Watching this now, this portrayal feels very antiquated despite what was probably believed to be progressive at the time as they have the father be revealed to be gay and sidestep a trope of a disgruntled female lover wanting her piece of the pie.  Viewing this movie now, it would have been much more interesting to see a less criminal approach to this topic and it would have resulted in more intrigue if the family came to terms with an aspect of their father they never knew rather than see this as a way to stop a person from blackmailing them and acting like being gay is disgusting.

Another disgusting element:  Martin Lawrence's character trying to get with a
woman who just turned 18.

So, that part is really uncomfortable and disappointing but the film isn’t a complete waste of time.  There is a lot of fun stuff in the film and the comedy is very solid.  Pretty much any scene with Danny Glover, who plays an elderly relative, is hilarious and every scene where Elaine is trying to control her trippin’ boyfriend is hysterical.  Overall, the humor in this film is great and does a tremendous job of riding the line of inappropriate and just how dark to take the jokes as it is a comedy that takes place at a funeral.

Yep, he's too old for this shit...and even points that out in the film!

You really can't go too wrong when you have Tracy Morgan
around.
Probably the best aspect of this film is the cast.  Chris Rock terrifically leads the entire ensemble and does so with the right balance of humor for the situation—whether it calls for more wacky moments and more straight-laced times.  This film is just loaded with terrific talent and they are all doing amazing.  Supporting Rock you have Regina Hall, Martin Lawrence (who has some just awesome scenes with Rock), Tracy Morgan, Danny Glover, Peter Dinklage, Zoe Saldana, Luke Wilson and Kevin Hart—to name a few.  Everyone is super funny and entertaining but there is one element of the cast that I felt was lacking.  Keith David plays the reverend overseeing the funeral and he simply isn’t given enough screen time.  David is a powerhouse of an actor and probably one of the best character actors in all of existence and to limit him to just a few scenes feels criminal.

Keith David is a gift to the world and we all must recognize that fact!

Death at a Funeral definitely has some issues that feel cringe-worthy when it handles the homosexual elements and that alone makes it very uncomfortable to watch at times.  However, I won’t deny that the film has its winning moments as well as it does have some great humor and a fantastic cast.  Overall, it is basically the same thing as the original film…drawbacks and all.  I wonder if the Hindi one has the same problems…and if Peter Dinklage was in that one too.

Blue Iguana

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! I'm not gonna Google it but I'm positive there are at least a dozen bars in the world called The Blue Iguana.



Blue Iguana – 2 out of 5

I came across the film Blue Iguana one day while checking out Sam Rockwell’s filmography on IMDb.  Sam alone is enough to convince me to watch this one but I also noticed that Ben Schwartz is in the film and I love that guy.  So, I decided to check it out.  Sadly, I really didn’t care for this one.

I should have scored this higher just for Schwartz's mustache alone.

Criminals Eddie (Rockwell) and Paul (Schwartz) find themselves hired by a British lawyer named Katherine Rookwood (Phoebe Fox).  Their job is simple, grab a package from some other criminals and make sure no one gets hurt.  Unfortunately, this action gets them noticed by a local, mullet-sporting criminal named Deacon Bradshaw (Peter Ferdinando) and he’s out to get them.  As this plays out, they learn of a jewel heist that Bradshaw is planning with his boss and the group decided they are gonna keep an eye on them and steal the infamous gem called the Blue Iguana before Bradshaw does.

Once again a movie is perpetuating the stereotype that having a mullet means you're
a criminal.

Since it is Sam Rockwell, there's a good bet he's dancing
as he is doing this crime.
Blue Iguana has its moments and the performances in the film are decent but, as an overall experience, I found this movie to be incredibly boring and suffering from a sense that it was directionless.  I had a helluva time maintaining focus on the film as I just couldn’t keep investment with it.  The story had a slapped together feel and the pacing had no flow to it.  Matters are made worse due to some chaotic editing and humor that I just didn’t find funny (and bless the hearts of Rockwell and Schwartz, they tried so hard to make it work) and it resulted in a film that was very difficult to get through.  The movie is only a touch over an hour and a half long but with a story I just couldn’t get absorbed into and humor that just wasn’t connecting (and a plot that felt like it was just being pieced together as the production went along) and it ended up feeling like I was sitting through a film that lasted forever.

I don't know the specifics of what she is going through and yet I know exactly how
she feels.

Overall, the performances in the film aren’t bad.  Rockwell and Schwartz have their moments where their natural humor and charisma are allowed to shine, Ferdinando is a decent psychotic bad guy and Fox is a great “straight” player to the rest of the more over-the-top characters.  Sadly, the product didn’t feel like the performers had much to work with so a lot of the players feel undercut by a story and overall feature that feels phoned in.  Performances can often make up for weaker elements of a production but there just wasn’t enough to make up for the numerous drawbacks this generic-feeling feature contains.  At the end of it all, the decent performances can’t make up for a film that is just this boring.

I mentioned how great Schwartz's 'stache is, didn't I?

I went into Blue Iguana with no expectations beyond really wanting to see two performers I really enjoy.  I didn’t even watch a trailer for the film and only looked at the synopsis.  In the end, the film just didn’t grab me.  I will admit there are some decent amusing moments and the cast is doing their best but the story felt very generic and incomplete and the overall product was more boring than entertaining.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Dolemite Is My Name

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Netflix hits it out of the park with this one!



Dolemite Is My Name – 5 out of 5

I’ve probably seen Dolemite once in my life, probably after I graduated college.  The movie is fun as hell!  However, I honestly knew nothing about its star Rudy Ray Moore beyond a cursory knowledge of him as a standup and his character Dolemite.  I knew nothing about his struggles to find himself as a performer or what he went through to make the cult film.  Dolemite Is My Name does a tremendous job of illustrating that struggle and showcasing the lengths an artist will do for their dream.

The cool is just flooding off of this shot.

In the 70s, Rudy Ray Moore (Eddie Murphy) is struggling to find himself as a performer.  In this struggle, he meets a homeless man who tells lavish stories through rhyme and it sparks a fire in Moore.  He puts on colorful suits, wields a cane and starts telling audiences about his conquests and regales them with crude tales—all under the name of the character Dolemite.  His act becomes a hit and he quickly uses it to make records and become successful but Moore has even more ideas.  He wants to make Dolemite a movie and he borrows, steals and scams his way to get a film made but soon learns that this dream will prove to be even harder to make a reality.

This made me excited to see Murphy do stand-up again.

Dolemite Is My Name might be the best Netflix original film that they have released.  Ever.  It tells a great story that is stupidly inspirational, the cast is fantastic and it is funny, entertaining and dramatic.  Usually Netflix films carry unnecessarily long running lengths or strange mixture of tones and/or genres like it was generated by an algorithm or, at the very worst, they are just boring.  This film, on the other hand, feels pretty much flawless.  There was nothing about this movie that I didn’t like.

Fun Fact:  A homeless man who saw Ferngully is how James Cameron got the idea
for Avatar.

Everyone loves an underdog (unless you are an asshole) and this is one of those perfect examples of a story that shows the underdog struggling and ultimately winning the day.  The story perfectly showcases the spirit and drive that Moore had in not only finding the right groove for his live performances but how he turned those live performances into successful albums and then took that same drive to make a hilarious cult classic film.  The movie is very much in the same spirit as The Disaster Artist in that you see a person with big ideas and dreams but the lack of knowledge to make said dream a reality.  Moore knew nothing about film making but he got everyone he needed to help him get on track and the film illustrates that and makes it ridiculously inspiring as it does so.

Jacket on loan from Donald Duck's evening wear collection.

The story has this great balance of humor and drama as it tells Moore’s story but one of my favorite aspects about this film is the cast.  Eddie Murphy is in top form as Moore and he is supported by an astounding cast of tremendously talented people.  Keegan-Michael Key, Craig Robinson, Tituss Burgess, Chris Rock, Kodi Smit-McPhee and Bob Odenkirk are just naming a few of the performers in this one.  Aside from Murphy, two other performers that blew me away in the film were Da’Vine Joy Randolph as Lady Reed, a down on her luck woman Moore meets and crafts into a performer, and Wesley Snipes as actor D’Urville Martin—who would also be the director of Dolemite.  I found these two to be just as captivating to watch as Murphy was.  Ultimately, though, everyone in this film just feels perfect for their role and everyone really is delivering it outstandingly.

Snipes seen here talking about how some mother-effers approach ice skating and hills.

Dolemite Is My Name is just awesome!  It is funny with just the right levels of dramatic, it’s inspiring without feeling cheesy, and it is all-around entertaining.  The story flows so well and never gets boring, and the cast is top shelf and absolutely perfect.  This movie is so good that it genuinely surprised me because it is so rare that I find something produced and distributed by Netflix that feels so complete and focused.  Overall, it is a pretty much flawless film that didn’t disappoint me at all!

Lady and the Tramp (2019)

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! If you told 18 year old Rev. Ron that he would one day be stupidly excited for a live-action Lady and the Tramp movie, he wouldn't believe you--and would be creeped out by you telling him his future.



Lady and the Tramp (2019) – 4 out of 5

I was pretty much on-board with Disney+ since the moment they announced it and signed up the moment I could.  There is a lot of originals to be excited for with this streaming service—so much so that thanks to the Star Wars properties and Phase 4 of the MCU having shows on the service I’ve give real consideration to cancelling my Netflix subscription.  One of those originals that I was also very excited for was the live-action re-imagining of Lady and the Tramp.  Real Talk:  the original cartoon is decent but, admittedly, not one of my favorites from Disney.  However, I was instantly sold on this version from the moment I saw the trailer and from when I heard that the two doggie leads were rescue dogs.  Well, I sat down recently to check it out and I freakin’ loved it!

                                                                                                                                  Disney+
These dogs have a more satisfying dating life than I ever will.

Lady (voiced by Tessa Thompson) is an American Cocker Spaniel who seems to have a perfect life.  Her humans; Jim Dear (Thomas Mann) and Darling (Kiersey Clemons), adore her and treat her like a princess.  However, after a baby enters their lives, Lady finds her home changing and, after running into a street dog named Tramp (voiced by Justin Theroux), she is told that “when a baby moves in the dog moves out.”  Soon, tragedy strikes and Lady finds herself on the street and being guided by Tramp.  Despite getting to know Tramp, Lady is desperate to get home and soon finds a very dedicated dog catcher (Adrian Martinez) is out to get both of them.

                                                                                                                                  Disney+
He's a loner but he is still a good boy!

This newly updated version of Lady and the Tramp is everything it needs to be.  It is funny, sweet and heartwarming.  It has the trademark Disney magic that made it a really fun and entertaining movie.  Also, it is really cool that the production used rescue animals and made sure that Rose (Lady) and Monte (Tramp) were able to get homes before it was all done.  Overall, the film isn’t doing too much to stray from the core that was the original animated film but this one does have some very noticeable changes that, in my opinion, helped make this one better than the cartoon.

                                                                                                                                 Disney+
I mean, come on!  How can the cartoon compare to this adorable face!

The world that the film presents is an idyllic version of the early 1900s.  The cast is intentionally diverse and Lady’s humans are mixed race couple.  The film also completely abandons the very problematic song from the Siamese cats.  While these types of changes irk those who think being inclusive is somehow wrong and they actively get upset over being “woke” and “PC,” I personally found these changes to be warranted.  This film is presenting a world that basically feels perfect and I personally enjoyed seeing a time period being completely inversed the way it was.  I thoroughly enjoyed the world it showcased and seeing something of complete inclusion but, even better, it never presented it like that was the goal.  It simply presented it like it should be—as a way of life.  We have enough movies and shows where white people are portrayed as the dominate idea and it is just refreshing to see properties where this isn’t the case.  Also, this is a world where animals talk and, dear lord, I wish I lived in that reality.

                                                                                                                                 Disney+
For fans of the problematic and racist song, don't worry, you can still see it on the
animated version on Disney+...although it comes with a disclaimer about the racism
and that seems to upset you too.

The story even saw some changes that ultimately made the product stronger.  Smaller elements like the dangerous rat were made larger so it had a bigger impact on the final moments and the beaver that helped Lady remove the muzzle was replaced with a beaver statue and these changes definitely worked.  However, the best change the film did was to the character of Tramp and the way they gave him an incredibly sympathetic backstory.  This time around, Tramp isn’t a lady’s dog like he was in the cartoon but rather a loner who has a tragic history.  This made Tramp more of a character you could feel for rather than a one-note cardboard cutout that you found fun.  It allowed for more depth and it paid off very well.

                                                                                                                                 Disney+
This dog is just itching to speak to the manager of the pound.

Finally, this film has an incredibly strong cast.  The supporting players who voice the dogs like Clancy Brown, Benedict Wong, Janelle Monรกe, Ashely Jensen and Sam Elliott all feel perfect and really bring their animals to life.  The human cast was also very enjoyable but, above all of them, I found Adrian Martinez’s performance as the dog catcher to be very amusing and fun.  He had that great blend of being dedicated to his job and stopping Tramp and having that dedication spill over into amusing obsession.  Having a fantastic supporting cast is great but you also need very talented people to make the main dogs memorable and Tessa Thompson and Justin Theroux really nailed it.  Thompson perfectly showcased the changes and challenges that Lady was going through and Theroux really made you understand the complexities that Tramp is facing as he tries to convince others and himself that he likes his place in the world and likes being alone. 

                                                                                                                                  Disney+
His job makes him the antagonist in the movie but you gotta hand it to him for
being dedicated to his work.

Lady and the Tramp is one of the stronger live-action adaptations Disney has done of their animated films.  The special effects to bring the animals to life look tremendous and help sell the fantasy, the cast is tremendous, the changes made to the tale feel warranted and even strengthen the product, and the story has the right blend of heart and humor.  Overall, it’s a terrifically enjoyable film that has that trademark Disney magic to make it memorable.

Friday, November 22, 2019

People Places Things

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Noun Definition:  The Movie.



People Places Things – 4 out of 5

I like Flight of the Conchords a lot.  I’ve seen them live, watched their shows and even sing their songs at karaoke whenever I can (and provided the karaoke DJ has any of their tunes).  I’m also partial to the solo work of the duo and will seek out things they are participating in.  I put People Places Things on my Watch List in 2015 when I saw that one half of the two were in it; Jemaine Clement.  Sadly, it remained a bit stagnant on my Watch List until recently when I decided to finally check it out.  And, I loved it!

A teacher asking the real questions about life and why it must suck so hard.

Will Henry (Clement), a teacher and graphic novelist, finds his world turned upside-down as his partner Charlie (Stephanie Allynne) has been having an affair with a man named Gary (Michael Chernus).  A year after the breakup, Will finds himself only seeing his daughters on the weekend and desperate to spend more time with them.  As he fights to be a bigger part of his daughters’ lives, he wrestles with the feelings he still has for Charlie and dealing with a potential new relationship with one of his student’s mothers; Diane (Regina Hall).

Staring contest!

People Places Things has that aura of being a pretentious indie film that laments the problems of entitled 30-something white people of privilege but, thankfully, isn’t that at all.  Instead, it is a dramedy that never goes overboard with the drama and never gets too wild with its comedy.  There’s a subdued feeling to it that makes the emotions and humor feel realistic.  This atmosphere and tone made for a film that was easy to relate to and one that made the feature very engaging and something that wasn’t difficult to become emotionally invested in.

This movie almost made me want to be a dad...almost.

The performances in the film are great.  Jemaine Clement does a tremendous job of providing dry humor but also making his character understandable and relatable, as well as proving he is a great leading man.  He also has tremendous chemistry with the rest of the cast and this dynamic helps make all the performances feel authentic and legit.  I really liked Stephanie Allynne in the film but, honestly, would have loved to see more of her in it because she is very talented and funny.  Additionally, even though he has a very limited number of scenes, I really liked Michael Chernus in the film because the sequences he is in are very funny .  Finally, I really liked the chemistry with Regina Hall and Clement and, while their scenes are satisfying and entertaining, I kinda felt like there weren’t enough of them and wanted to see their budding relationship developed more.

It was Business Time.

People Places Things is a simple dramedy exploring a man who is undergoing some repair after dealing with a breakup.  The cast is great and there’s a lot of amusing moments.  For the most part, it explores the hurt and confusion he is going through extremely well and it even dives into how some of his own weak traits contributed to what happened but this dynamic I would have liked to seen developed more.  While development of certain characters and different aspects of the story definitely could have used some work, I found the overall product to be very engaging and entertaining.

Doctor Sleep

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching!  "Sleep" is in the title and that alone sold me.  I love sleep.



Doctor Sleep – 4 out of 5

I don’t read any of Stephen King’s novels because I’m just not into his books.  However, I will always watch an adaptation of his work and, in my opinion, one of the best adaptations that has been done is The Shining—and yes, I know Stanley Kubrick’s film is a lot different from the novel.  When the novel sequel; Doctor Sleep, came out, I thought that was neat idea but not neat enough to read one of his books.  When it was announced that the novel would be adapted, I figured that the movie would be a stand-alone feature that acted as a sequel to a movie adaptation of The Shining that never happened.  I was very surprised to see that I was wrong and the trailer showed me that Doctor Sleep was, in fact, a sequel to Kubrick’s film.  This fact alone upped my interest in the film so when my mom asked if I wanna to go see the movie with her and my little sister, my first thought was, “Why does my mom wanna see a horror film?”  Turns out my mom loves The Shining.  Anyway, long story short, I got to see Doctor Sleep and it was damn intense.

**WARNING:  SOME SPOILERS AHEAD**

After the events at the Overlook Hotel, Danny Torrance (Ewan McGregor) has fallen under hard times due to PTSD and becoming an alcoholic in order to suppress his “shine” abilities.  He eventually moves to a small town where a local recovering alcoholic named Billy Freeman (Cliff Curtis) helps him get on his feet.  Meanwhile, a group calling themselves the True Knot is secretly roaming the countryside, seeking people like Danny with magical abilities and draining them of their essence in order to live unnaturally long lives.  They are discovered by a very powerful teenager named Abra (Kyliegh Curran) and their leader Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson) mobilizes her cult to find her.  Abra ends up making contact with Danny and convinces him to help her stop the cult but it will require him to return to the places that frightens and haunts him the most; the Overlook Hotel.

                                                                                                            Warner Bros. Pictures
"No TV and no beer makes Danny something something."

                                                                                Warner Bros. Pictures
"Reo Rum?  Is that a new brand with some curious ideas
of unconventional marketing?"
Doctor Sleep is a pretty intense film.  I’m not familiar with how the book plays out but the story in this film was incredibly engaging.  The running length is a little on the long side but it flowed so well and told such a complete and engaging story that it never felt long.  The movie, additionally, makes great use of its score and sound to help make the film a very intense experience.  It know exactly when to use loud noise (and rarely for just a cheap jump scare) and when to go with something simpler like a heartbeat  thumping and it all results in crafting a very foreboding atmosphere.  This atmosphere also plays extremely well with matching a similar tone that The Shining had.  While never outright terrifying like a psychological horror film, the feature has this very intense and unsettling atmosphere that made it feel like overwhelming dread was always right on top of you and ready to consume you.  Granted, there are some very scary and spooky moments (and even a decent jump scare here and there) but what it does better than anything else is capturing a feeling that pure evil is always lurking and it makes for a film that is very unnerving.

                                                                                                              Warner Bros. Pictures
She's a hero in this film and yet they couldn't pass up a chance to make a child terrifying.

The performances are just awesome in this film.  Ewan McGregor is captivating as an adult Danny Torrance, Kyliegh Curran is terrific as Abra and I really enjoyed seeing one of my favorite character actors; Cliff Curtis, in the film—that guy is always great.  One of my favorite performances is from Rebecca Ferguson as the antagonist.  I’ve never seen a performance from her that isn’t amazing but she had this amazing mix of seductive and threatening as Rose the Hat.  Every line she delivered and all her body language resulted in an antagonist that was very menacing but also impossible to not look away from.

                                                                                                            Warner Bros. Pictures
This might be one of her least sultry moments in the film...or not.  I don't
know what you are into.

The one thing that really impressed me was how they brought back to life Stanley Kubrick’s iconic horror film.  The detail and care was taken to painstakingly recreate sets from the infamous film but the reverence to this feature didn’t stop there.  The characters of Dick Hallorann and Wendy and Jack Torrance show up and feel like they are still the same people from the initial film despite the fact they aren’t played by Scatman Crothers, Shelley Duvall and Jack Nicholson respectively.  New players step up and fill their shoes and do so in a way that makes it feel like we are still seeing the same characters but don’t have to sit through someone doing a cheesy Jack Nicholson impression.  The reality is so well crafted that it felt like I was still in the same cinematic universe that I never questioned the new casting and immediately accepted them as the characters.  When this is added to sets that feel like they were lifted directly from Kubrick’s film and a tone that matches what came before and it results in a seamless integration of both films.

                                                                                                            Warner Bros. Pictures
"Heeeeeere's...um--dammit.  Line?"

The only real drawback I found with Doctor Sleep is that the replay value might be limited—which is the same drawback I have with The Shining.  While this film is incredible and I really enjoyed it, it’s not something I can watch often but rather something I will occasionally watch and will also need to be in a very specific mood to view.  I feel the same way with The Shining.  I love the movie and think it is a triumph of fantastic proportions but it is not a film that I can just randomly pop on and watch.

                                                                                                           Warner Bros. Pictures
"I learned this move from the Undertaker!"

Doctor Sleep is a super intense, very engaging and incredibly cool film.  I loved how it was simultaneous a continuation of the story from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining but also was in complete reverence to that feature.  The cast is incredible, the tone is immaculate and it proves to be a worthy feature that stands, in my opinion, side-by-side with one of the best films to emerge in the last several decades.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Mr. Right

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching!  If I was in this movie, it would be Mr. Wrong.



Mr. Right – 3 out of 5

I really like Sam Rockwell.  I think he’s an incredibly talented actor who has this charisma and charm that just pours out of the screen.  I also really like Anna Kendrick.  I think she is funny as hell!  And yet, despite both of these two people being in Mr. Right, this movie has been on my Watch List unwatched since its release in 2015.  Well, recently I decided to bump it up the list and check it out.  It was not too bad!

The clown nose is added just to make you feel like an asshole.

After catching her boyfriend cheating on her, Martha McKay (Kendrick) loses hope she’ll find the right guy and fall in love.  That is until she comes across a man (Rockwell) at a convenient store.  He’s handsome and quirky and soon sweeps her off her feet.  Everything seems great until she learns that he is a former hitman who now kills the people who hire him.  Now another hitman (Tim Roth) and a mob boss named Richard Cartigan (Anson Mount) are out to get this supposed Mr. Right and Martha is caught in the crossfire.

Not gonna lie, the 17 year age difference between the performers made their
relationship a touch weird for me.

Mr. Right already starts strong thanks to its two leads.  Both of them play off their strengths really well and definitely bring in some great humor.  The film also has some surprisingly great action set pieces.  Finally, the story is primed for both of these genres.  As amusing and fun as the story is, however, the film isn’t a complete win as it suffers from some minor drawbacks that keep it at a level that is basically middle-of-the-road entertainment.

You can't have a movie with Sam Rockwell and not see him dance in some way.

Character development is definitely an issue in this film as a lot of the characters feel underdeveloped—specifically the antagonists in the film.  Additionally, there were some elements of Martha’s character that felt a touch antiquated.  Early in the film, after she discovers her boyfriend cheating on her, she is understandably upset but also acts like she will never be complete without a man in her life.  While I understand the sentiment of wanting to have a significant other and partner in your life, it is too often the woman in stories that end up feeling this specific way due to not so much loneliness but rather a sense of complete necessity of having someone.  Even though Martha later goes on to be a more badass character, these early elements were a little silly and outdated—even for a film that came out in 2015.

I mean, it did result in some funny moments but it still feels very outdated.

Mr. Right is, for the most part, a fun feature that has some great action sequences, funny moments and some great performers in it—including two exceptional leads.  Sometimes the story does start to feel like it is moving too fast and the character development isn’t so great so it does make this film one of those “okay” experiences with entertainment.  Overall, while the film is entertaining, it’s the kind of entertaining that I probably won’t return to but didn’t feel like I wasted my time watching either.