Movie Reviews - April 2021

Movie Reviews - April 2021

Wow, it's been a whole year since I wrote any movie reviews. You'd think that staying home in a pandemic would give me lots of time to do blog entries, but apparently it more just leads to being too exhausted to do anything besides work. Fun.

I have been watching a fair number of movies in the past year, though, so my pending list to write reviews about has padded out nicely. And I've continued adding to my list of movies to watch at an even faster pace. So no worries about running out of material.

As always here's my post about how I rate movies. There's a bit of a system, but mostly it's just my whims.

Also apparently I can just post the IMDB links here with the new version of Ghost and it converts to snippets, that's pretty cool – I'll do that and then add my reviews below them.

Pacific Rim: Uprising (2018) - IMDb
Pacific Rim: Uprising is a movie starring John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, and Cailee Spaeny. Jake Pentecost, son of Stacker Pentecost, reunites with Mako Mori to lead a new generation of Jaeger pilots, including rival Lambert and...

My rating: 3/10 – I generally enjoy the spectacle of the Pacific Rim movies, but this one just was not good. The plot didn't make a lot of sense, it was even more jingoistic and celebratory of the military than normal, and a lot of the fun and silliness from the first movie went too far and didn't land this time. Meh.

The Lone Ranger (2013) - IMDb
The Lone Ranger is a movie starring Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, and William Fichtner. Native American warrior Tonto recounts the untold tales that transformed John Reid, a man of the law, into a legend of justice.

My rating: 3/10 – Johnny Depp playing a caricature of a Native American is bad enough, but the rest is also bad. I didn't remember Armie Hammer was in it, but that would certainly help further explain why it was not good. Some interesting story ideas and action sequences prevent it from falling all the way to 1/10, but also meh.

Demon City Shinjuku (Video 1988) - IMDb
Makaitoshi Shinjuku is a video starring Hideyuki Hori, Hiromi Tsuru, and Kiyoshi Kobayashi. A young swordsman ventures into a disaster stricken Shinjuku, Tokyo, to try and stop a powerful man, who has made a deal with the demon...

My rating: 3/10 – I've got a real string of winners to start out this time. Anyway, I don't remember much about this movie, even after watching the trailer again. So... MEH.

Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018) - IMDb
Ant-Man and the Wasp is a movie starring Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, and Michael Peña. As Scott Lang balances being both a superhero and a father, Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym present an urgent new mission that finds the Ant-Man...

My rating: 6/10 – This generation of Marvel movies all have a similar feel. Paul Rudd is able to land the comedy and heart-felt moments better than some other actors, but nothing in the standard MCU formulaic plot and characters can really elevate it beyond an "OK" level. Added point for finally bringing Janet Van Dyne back instead of just moping about her endlessly.

The Legend of Zu (2018) - IMDb
Shu Shan Xiang Mo Zhuan is a movie starring Leanne Lee, Ron Ng, and Shuilin Wang. After claiming countless lives, the fairies won the great battle with the demons. However, the leader of their Kunlun sect Yu Qingzi died for his...

My rating: 2/10 – Yes, the drek continues. There was some OK action in this, but it was all very silly, and not in a good way. Plot was super sketchy and not consistent. Basically no character development beyond stereotypic tropes. Not a great use of time unless you have literally nothing else to do.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018) - IMDb
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is a movie starring Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, and Dan Fogler. The second installment of the “Fantastic Beasts” series featuring the adventures of Magizoologist Newt Scamander.

My rating: 6/10 – I had originally rated this a 7, but I'm dropping it a point in retrospect. It's generally an OK movie with great special effects, as you'd expect. Characters from the first movie continue to develop, and this fills in a bunch of back story from the later Harry Potter stories. Johnny Depp is a compelling villain because I really dislike him outside his characters. Worth one watch, but not two.

Attraction (2017) - IMDb
Prityazhenie is a movie starring Irina Starshenbaum, Alexander Petrov, and Rinal Mukhametov. An alien ship crash lands onto a Russian city, many who saw it and the occupants start to question their own existence, while there are...

My rating: 6/10 – Netflix has definitely helped me watch more films from other countries. This one is a fun sci-fi film from Russia. It's not without issues – most of the characters and their motivations are pretty stereotypical, and the plot is pretty basic – but the approach to the sci-fi aspects is different enough to make it a more interesting watch, and it doesn't have any jarring issues. There is a sequel, and I plan to watch it.

The Changeover (2017) - IMDb
The Changeover is a movie starring Timothy Spall, Melanie Lynskey, and Lucy Lawless. Laura is drawn into a supernatural battle with an ancient spirit who threatens her family.

My rating: 8/10 – Originally rated 7, but bumped up one in retrospect. I really like this film. It's a small story from New Zeland focused on a family going through a magical horror scenario, and it's very well done. The acting is great, the plot is solid and believable, and as a whole it's very satisfying. I was extremely pleased to watch a scary movie with a young female protagonist who had zero sexual trauma inflicted on her by the older male antagonist in the course of the story. Recommended.

Renaissance (2006) - IMDb
Renaissance is a movie starring Daniel Craig, Catherine McCormack, and Jonathan Pryce. In 2054, Paris is a labyrinth where all movement is monitored and recorded. Casting a shadow over everything is the city’s largest company,...

My rating: 8/10 – This is definitely a film that starts with a lot of conceits – it's a sci-fi movie from French filmmakers that's in extremely well-animated black and white. Luckily it also works quite well. The story is a bit predictable once it gets closer to the end, but still enjoyable. It certainly deserves it's film festival wins, I'm surprised there are not more. Worth watching at least once, I may watch it again.

Battling Butler (1926) - IMDb
Battling Butler is a movie starring Buster Keaton, Snitz Edwards, and Sally O’Neil. A love-struck weakling must pretend to be boxer in order to gain respect from the family of the girl he loves.

My rating: 7/10 – I have a tendency to rate movies from the 1910s and 1920s higher than they might rate if taken in a vacuum, because I see so many things in the next hundred years of movies that are based on them. The story in this movie is not particularly excellent by itself, the characters don't have much depth, and the camera work and acting are not particularly startling (aside from Buster Keaton's always astounding physical abilities). But adding the context that this is from 1926, so a lot is being done for the first time -- both capturing on film and presenting to film audiences -- and it becomes much more impressive.

That's it for now!