Movie Reviews - April 2020

Movie Reviews - April 2020

I wrote most of this post back over the past couple of months, but things got busy and I didn't finish and post. But here we are now well into April and the self-isolation life, figure I should periodically take some time to update here.

Reminder that this is my how I rate movies post – basically, 5/10 is the baseline for a movie, scores moving above or below that entirely arbitrarily. There is no science here, only my whims.

Also, you can click the Movies link at the top of this post to see previous reviews.

Here we go...

Bāhubali 2: The Conclusion
When Mahendra, the son of Bāhubali, learns about his heritage, he begins to look for answers. His story is juxtaposed with past events that unfolded in the Mahishmati Kingdom.

Bahubali 2: The Conclusion (7/10) – The second part of the Baahubali story, Indian epic action, really the movies are just one story separated into two because it would be far too immense for one viewing. I don't really have a ton to add from my previous review of part one. Still pretty good, very Indian and very epic action-y, but not worth watching the second part if you didn't watch the first one.

Ready Player One
When the creator of a popular video game system dies, a virtual contest is created to compete for his fortune.

Ready Player One (5/10) – I read the book before watching the movie – well, technically listened to the audio book, but in any case I consumed the original material. I am entirely the target market but didn't really like the book, it was predictable once the world was explained, the central idea of the story was annoying, and the plot was haphazard. Also I remember the 80s well enough that I don't particularly want to relive them – same reason I've never bothered with Stranger Things. In some ways the movie improves on the book – some of the longer and less interesting portions are condensed or skipped, and there weren't as much gamer-fan-service details. But I haven't yet seen Tye Sheridan in a role that wasn't annoying and I didn't hope the character was killed off soon, which of course didn't happen here either. So... Meh, it was a movie, not a total waste of time, but not going to watch it again.

Tomb Raider
Lara Croft, the fiercely independent daughter of a missing adventurer, must push herself beyond her limits when she finds herself on the island where her father disappeared.

Tomb Raider (4/10) – First of the new Tomb Raider movies. It's pretty much just the movie version of the new video games, which I've watched my daughter play for hours, all of which are loosely based on the past entries in the Tomb Raider franchise. A lot of the depth of ideas and plots in the current games didn't make it into the movie, and the story being shown was not very compelling. The characters and action are quite good, and I hope they move forward to something more interesting for the next movie, as it's obviously designed to be the start of a series.

Jinn
From the beginning, stories of angels and men have captured our imaginations and have been etched into our history crossing all boundaries of culture, religion, and time. These two races have dominated the landscape of modern mythology for countless centuries, almost washing away the evidence that a…

Jinn (3/10) – To be clear from the start, this is quite a bad movie. Some of the ideas are interesting, but the execution was bad across the board – some of that is the low budget, but some is just bad choices in directing, and the writing is meh. So many jump scares. However, there were two surprising things that bumped up the score: first, it was a supernatural thriller with a married guy and his loving wife who was featured prominently, and there was zero sexual violence in the entire movie; second, basically no gore at all, pretty much entirely a psychological thriller. Those two together were quite refreshing. But still in a not very well done movie, so... yeah, still low score.

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Some of Sin City’s most hard-boiled citizens cross paths with a few of its more reviled inhabitants.

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (6/10) – I don't like the stylized way the Sin City movies are presented. I understand why they're doing it, but I find it distracting from the story being presented. I did appreciate the characters and plot more in this one than the original Sin City, though of course it's all still very dark and not something I'd use the word "enjoy" about. The plot generally makes more sense, and there is some character progression. But I mostly watched to see where they went from the last one – if they ever make a third I'm not sure I'd bother.

Hanna
Raised by her father, an ex-CIA agent, in the wilds of Finland, Hanna’s upbringing has been geared to making her the perfect assassin. Sent into the world by her father on a mission, Hanna journeys across Europe, eluding agents dispatched after her by a ruthless intelligence operative. As she nears…

Hanna (9/10) – I was not at all sure I would like this movie, but it turned out a lot more strange and unpredictable than I expected, in a good way. The acting was excellent, the characters consistent and believable, and the plot arc was quite good. Cinematography was surprisingly good. I will probably watch this again at some point, though will not for a few years. There is a TV series retelling the same story that I'm also planning to check out, though my hopes for that are not high.

Space Battleship Yamato
In 2199, five years after the Gamilons began an invasion of Earth, the planet has been ravaged by the aliens’ bombs. The remnants of humanity have fled underground to escape the irradiated surface. One day, former pilot Susumu Kodai discovers a capsule sent from the planet Iscandar that tells of a d…

Space Battleship Yamato (6/10) – Sooo, a live action / CGI movie based on an anime, that's always risky. I'm not particularly a fan of the old animated shows, I occasionally watched decades ago, and certainly won't pretend to know the full story or lore. But I have a basic understanding of the world, which probably helped. Generally the movie was consistent, characters while somewhat predictable were what you'd expect, and the action enjoyable. It was very Japanese, as you'd probably expect – this isn't a pro or con, just something to be aware of. I don't regret spending the time watching, and generally enjoyed the movie.

Venom
Investigative journalist Eddie Brock attempts a comeback following a scandal, but accidentally becomes the host of Venom, a violent, super powerful alien symbiote. Soon, he must rely on his newfound powers to protect the world from a shadowy organization looking for a symbiote of their own.

Venom (6/10) – Venom is a problematic character in the Marvel comics, the alien symbiote bonding to various people, sometimes a villain and more recently moving to being a hero – maybe? This movie version was an adequate representation of what I know of the comic, though I still don't generally like Tom Hardy's acting, and the CGI of Venom was less scary and more cartoonish than I would've liked. The plot was OK and generally I enjoyed the movie, but they could've done more. Hopefully they'll aim higher in a sequel or if Venom appears in any of the larger Marvel team movies.

Aquaman
Once home to the most advanced civilization on Earth, Atlantis is now an underwater kingdom ruled by the power-hungry King Orm. With a vast army at his disposal, Orm plans to conquer the remaining oceanic people and then the surface world. Standing in his way is Arthur Curry, Orm’s half-human, half-…

Aquaman (3/10) – Well, DC continues to miss on most of their superhero movies. There was not much here to like, which is quite disappointing – I have always thought Aquaman was an interesting character and underrated in the DC comics world, and they could have done a lot. But the plot here is predictable, boring, and just generally bad. Jason Momoa is a good actor, but not used well here – the character is not likeable even by the end and motivations are unclear. Amber Heard's Mera is more consistent, but still does things that don't really make sense. To be charitable, maybe there was 3 hours of movie here cut down to 2.5 hours and a lot of details were lost, but more likely it was just always bad.

Clue
Clue finds six colorful dinner guests gathered at the mansion of their host, Mr. Boddy -- who turns up dead after his secret is exposed: He was blackmailing all of them. With the killer among them, the guests and Boddy’s chatty butler must suss out the culprit before the body count rises.

Clue (6/10) – I have watched Clue before but felt like rewatching and then realized I had never rated it. There are definitely some areas that don't hold up or are wincingly problematic 34 years after release, but it's overall still entertaining to me, and so many of the cast are amazing actors – it's very interesting seeing so many of them earlier in their careers. I'll probably watch again in another 10 years.

That's it for now – hopefully will post something again later this month!