Solo: A Star Wars Story review

Solo is the origin of a lot of people’s favorite Star Wars character Han Solo. I was concerned about this since we didn’t see a single movie trailer till a few months before release and that the original directors were fired but I still had hope. Alden Ehrenreich does put effort into playing Han Solo while not being too much of a wink to the audience. He’s no Harrison Ford but it was better casting than Jake Lloyd as Anakin Skywalker. Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian is the real stand out of the cast. He captures the same energy and likability as Billy Dee Williams from episode V and VI.

The new characters honestly were not that memorable. Beckett was just another mentor, Qi’ra was just another female Star Wars character and Dryden Vos was another mob boss villain. Beckett’s crew felt wasted since they die early in the movie and don’t leave an impact. Even Chewbacca felt like he was there just because he would become Han’s first mate. There’s only two new characters that I really liked. One is L3-37 who’s sort of like a female version of K-2SO (both badass). The other is Enfys Nest because I liked how it’s revealed that she’s a good guy fighting for the rebellion instead of another masked villain. I also like the chorus that plays whenever she’s onscreen.

Solo had some really good action but I think the best action scene was conveyex train heist on Vandor. I like the location (Star Wars really nails snowy planets), the design of the train, and the choreography. It’s a really fun action scene. The planet however is home to one of my main gripes with the movie. After the train heist fails they have to meet with Dryden Vos at his yacht which just so happen to be on the same planet. Han’s girlfriend who’s the reason Han was trying to get back to his home planet is also there too. Than when they have to find Lando for a ship it just so happens he’s on the same planet. It seems too coincidental that all these plot elements would be on the same planet.

Solo wasn’t the most necessary Star Wars movie that had to be made though it’s less unnecessary than a Boba Fett movie. It’s definitely not the strongest of the recent Star Wars movies. It’s still a fun movie about one of the best characters in the franchise.

Verdict:
+ Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo
+ Donald Glover as Lando
+ Train heist
– Plot conveniences
– Weak new characters

Score: B

And now, here are my top 10 favorite Star Wars movies.
10. Attack of the Clones
9. The Phantom Menace
8. Revenge of the Sith
7. Solo
6. Return of the Jedi
5. Rogue One
4. The Empire Strikes Back
3. The Last Jedi
2. The Force Awakens
1. A New Hope

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Deadpool 2 review

Fun fact:One of the writers Rhett Reese wrote Clifford’s Really Big Movie. Deadpool is back and funnier than ever. Ryan Reynolds is still great and hilarious as Deadpool and I do like how his arc is more of trying to save a kid to prove he’s a good person. The comedy is still as great as in the first one. Some of the funniest moments include moments with Deadpool of course, the Celine Dion opening song, and the post credits scenes.

I said in my review of the first one that the villain was one of the weakest parts. In Deadpool 2 however there’s not really a clear main villain but more of characters with gray morals. Josh Brolin was a good choice as Cable and while we didn’t see much of the future he’s from we get enough to understand what he’s trying to do. Julian Dennison is likable as Russell and I do like how he enjoys being a thug or gangster. Both these character are the biggest threats but with understandable goals, Cable just wants to save the future while Russell is fueled by anger from abuse. The world of Deadpool is mostly populated by anti-heroes and anti-villains so this kind of fits.

Domino while not developed that much is still really cool. A lot of her comedy comes from how lucky she is. Her luck power also gives us some really cool action. Speaking of action the action sequences in this movie are much bigger and more epic. The best action scenes are probably the truck scene and moments with the Jugganaut who btw is better here than X-Men the Last Stand.

I do think Deadpool 2 does have problems with its story. Spoilers: In the end Deadpool sacrifices himself to save Russell but Cable saves him by going back in time. There are three reasons why I’m not a fan of this scene, reason one is that we all know Deadpool is going to live, reasons two is that there was no reasons for him to put on the collar, and three the part where we think he dies but still talks just go on longer than it should.  The only other flaw I have is no Stan Lee cameoL but too be fair he didn’t cameo in Logan anyway. Deadpool 2 is part two of his redemption from Wolverine Origins. It’s just as badass and funny if not better than the first.

Verdict:
+ Action
+ Comedy
+ Deadpool as usual
+ New characters
– Death fake-out

Score: A-

Sherlock Gnomes review

The Not So Great Gnome Detective

I skipped this when it was in theaters but recently it was showing at Mt. Hood Theatre which shows movies months after it’s release so I went and saw it. Gnomeo and Juliet was an odd retailing of Romeo and Juliet. I guess it was trying to be like the The Lion King (coincidentally both adaptions of Shakespeare plays, the main characters living and songs from Elton John). It was better than the animated seals version (I’m not making this up) but did people really want a sequel?

Sherlock Gnomes is played by Johnny Depp who plays the part just fine though is it me or does he sound like a British Jack Sparrow? He can be annoying and egotistical at times and really play up that fact that people like him more than Watson. Sherlock’s mind palace is in my opinion the only good part of the movie. It’s all black and white and in 2d animation. It’s animated smoothly and it looks really nice. I wish the ends credits had that animation than I would have stayed longer.

The movie is not really that funny. The jokes are really forgettable and mostly for kids instead of both kids and adults. Fortunately the stupidest jokes from the trailer like the gnome farting (how can a frigging gnome fart?!), no ship Sherlock or what the fertilizer are not in the movie. I think the only joke that was funny was the news reporting stolen gnomes and the police not being concerned and asking them to never called them again.

There is a plot twist that is so pointless. In the middle of the movie Watson falls of a building literally screaming the Wilhelm Scream (seriously?!) and is thought to be dead. Then it turns out he was he stole all the gnomes just to prove he was as smart as Sherlock but then it turns out that the gargoyles worked for Sherlock’s arch enemy Moriarty. Speaking of Moriarty, that villain is so ugly. Its like the Pillsbury Doughboy and Bendy from Fosters Home for Imaginary Friend had a baby. He’s also very annoying because it gets really irritating when a villain calls themselves evil all the time. Wouldn’t it had made sense for him to also be a gnome like Sherlock instead of that butt ugly thing? Ratigan is 10 times the Moriarty he’ll ever be.

Sherlock Gnomes was the sequel nobody asked for yet got made anyway. While I have seen worst movies this one just felt unnecessary. Gnomeo and Juliet is a way better movie though that doesn’t say much. Why Sherlock Gnomes was grennlit is a mystery no one wants to solve.

Verdict:
+ Sherlock’s mind palace
+/- Johnny Depp as Sherlock
– Moriarty
– Pointless twist
– Unfunny

Score: D+

Avengers: Infinity War review

FYI this review is filled with SPOILERS, not fake spoilers I mean real spoilers. You have been warned. Ten years of Marvel movies have all led up to this. We’ve met so many great superheroes and now we finally get to see all of them (except Hawkeye and Ant Man) together.

I was worried that Infinity War would be too crowded because of all the superheroes but this movie managed to feel too crowded by splitting them up. I love the interactions between Iron Man, Spiderman, and Doctor Strange. The interactions between Thor and the GOTG were also fun too. I will admit the plot with Captain America and the heroes with him was kind of weak compared to the others. His story was mostly setting up for the climax of the movie. Now let’s talk about the villain that’s been build up since The Avengers, Thanos. Thanos is surprisingly more complex than most of the Marvel villains and is not your generic take over the universe villain. His view on balance by killing only half the population is very interesting. His relationship with Gamora is also well done and when SPOILERS: he kills her to get the soul stone he feels sad about doing it. He may be powerful but he still has emotions and that makes him one of the best villains in the MCU.

The action as usual is really good. My favorite action scene was when Iron Man, Doctor Strange and Spiderman meet Starlord, Drax, and Mantis because it shows them using their abilities against each other. I also really liked the fight between them and Thanos because of how the heroes are trying to keep him from using the stones. The Wakanada fight was kind of your standard Marvel army climax but it does lead to a outstanding ending. Speaking of the end, SPOILER alert: Infinity War goes all End of Evangelion on us. Thanos gets all the infinity stones, snaps his fingers and characters start turning into dust including Black Panther, Doctor Strange, the GOTG and Spiderman. I do find it weird that mostly the old characters except Rocket and Nebula are alive. Still it’s a very emotional and well done cliffhanger and makes you wonder what’s going to happen next.

I could have used a little more Hulk but there probably building him up for Part 2 next year. Avengers: Infinity War is one of the best superhero movies and best movies of 2018. It would’ve taken a miracle to top Black Panther and Avengers Infinity War was that miracle. Happy 10th anniversary Marvel Cinematic Universe!

Verdict:
+ Awesome action
+ Character interactions
+ Cliffhanger ending
+ Thanos
– Captain America story

Score: A+

Isle of Dogs review

I finally got to see Isle of Dogs which for some reason had a limited release. Wes Anderson is a very interesting director. His movies don’t seem too funny to be comedies and they don’t seem too dramatic to be dramas. Isle of Dogs like most of Wes Anderson’s other movies is shot wonderfully. In my opinion Wes’s visual style reminds me a lot of Stanley Kubrick who also has an interesting visual style. The stop motion while not Laika is still really impressive.

Wes Anderson’s movie are also known for having a huge cast full of celebrities (usually Bill Murry). The voices match with the character’s personalities and help give them life. The characters themselves are enjoyable too like Jeff Goldblum as this rumor telling dog, and Edward Norton as the decider dog but the one that really stood out to me was Chief played by Bryan Cranston. Chief starts off as a tough disobedient street dog but after bonding with Atari grows more protective of him. The bath he gets represents his character growth.

Spoiler warning: If I had one problem with Isle of Dogs, it’s near the end. After Atari delivers a haiku his uncle Mayor Kobayashi suddenly has a change of heart and is willing to give one of his kidneys to save Atari. Kobayashi’s heal face turn seems a bit too weird for me. You could argue this is like the Grinch or Scrooge but FYI, this guy killed a scientist though to be fair he does go to prison in the end.

Isle of Dogs is an emotional, funny, and beautifully made stop motion movie. I think this has the biggest chance of winning the Academy Award for Best Animated movie this year. You don’t have to be dog lover to enjoy Isle of Dogs.

Verdict:
+ Balance of comedy and drama
+ Chief
+ Voice talent
+ Wonderfully shot and animated
– Mayor Kobayashi’s change of heart

Score: A

Ready Player One review

I never read the book but when I heard Steven Spielberg was directing I was hyped. Steven Spielberg is my favorite filmworker. Not only do I love the movies he directs but also the ones he produces too. I’ll be talking more about his movies next month in my top 15 favorite movies list. The Oasis is a cool location and an interesting look at how we use the internet today. The Oasis is also full of references from movies, video games, TV shows, and more. Notable ones include the Iron Giant, the DeLorean, Chucky, and even Tracer from Overwatch which is cool.

The characters however were the weakest part of the movie. The main character is just your generic young adult main character and the villain is just your generic corrupt businessman villain. Art3mis and H were okay but Sho and Daito were forgettable. It was entertaining hearing T.J. Miller’s voice come out of this intimidating character. James Halliday seemed too awkward for the creator of the Oasis and Ogden Morrow was barely in it though I did like that one twist involving him.

I really liked the race, the movie scene and the climax. Both the race and final battle have a lot of references. I have an embarrassing relationship with The Shining. I used to be afraid of The Shining, mostly because of the DVD cover, but now that I’m older it doesn’t bother me anymore. There are so many references in this scene including the creepy twins, blood elevator, and rotting old woman that also swings the ax (sorry no Jack Torrance). It looks just like the movie from the sets, the atmosphere, and the music. What really stood out to me in these scenes were that the characters had to figure out how to get the keys through clues and thinking. That’s really clever.

The tasks were the highlight of the movie. Ready Player One was one of the most fun Steven Spielberg movies I’ve seen in a very long time considering he’s been doing mostly dramas lately. It’s a very enjoyable movie about the internet but let’s face it, it’ll be hard to compete with Ralph Breaks the Internet later this year.

Verdict:
+ References
+ The Oasis
+ The tasks especially….
+ The Shining scene
–  Weak characters

Score: A-

 

Game Night review

This may not be a long review but it is a review of a movie that surprised me. Seeing the trailer Game Night seemed like a regular R-rated comedy with violence and standard jokes. But it turns out to actually smart and funny. Best way to start a comedy review movie is to talk about well, the comedy. The comedy is really good, not just because the jokes are cleverly written but also because the characters help make the jokes work. The cast is very enjoyable and likable. They all have their own personalities and quirks and everyone has a chance to make jokes.

This paragraph contains spoilers because I will be talking about the story. I will admit that the story does have the main character’s sibling is better than him but it turns out that the sibling looks up to him cliché. It’s like Rigby and Don from Regular Show or Helga and Olga from Hey Arnold. It’s not bad but I’ve seen in many times and know how it goes down. It also has a last minute villain which movies really shouldn’t do unless there building them up for a sequel. That being said, the rest of the story is unpredictable. In the beginning Brooks stages kidnappers to kidnap him but it turns out that the actors he hired came after real kidnappers took him. The kidnappers turns out to be staged by the main character’s creepy police neighbor for not inviting him to game night. Then it turns out that the cop had nothing to do with Fabergé egg and that The Bulgarian was real. I had no idea what was going to happen and I was excited to see how it ends.

I also like little details like the music (I have a liking to synthwave music) and a cute detail where some wide shots of the city and neighborhood look like models. I think the idea is that they look like board games. One word that describes Game Night is fun, it’s a very fun movie with a fun cast and fun comedy. When Game Night releases on DVD or On Demand this will be the perfect movie for any game night.

Verdict:
+Enjoyable cast
+Funny
+Unpredictable
-Cliche jealous brother plot
-Last minute villain

Score: B+

Black Panther review

Wakanda Forever!

The theater I saw this was so crowded that the showing I was supposed to see was sold out so me and my friend had to buy a ticket for an IMAX 3D showing an hour later. It was crazy, but I see why because this was great! One reason for this is because it has a lot of mature and adult themes than the other Marvel movie didn’t deal with. It deals with themes such as race since the villain wants to use vibranium to help black people all over the world. It also deals with responsibility and how being a good person is different from being a good king.

Spoiler paragraph: Chadwick Boseman is still great as Black Panther and his arc about finding out his father killed his brother reminds me a lot of Steven Universe dealing with his mother (maybe) shattering Pink Diamond. His sister Shuri is also very enjoyable and fun. Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger is one of the best and most tragic villains in the MCU. What’s really clever about him is that he starts off as just some random henchman working for Ulysses Klaue but throughout the movie his role gets bigger, more is revealed about his past, he kills Klaue and becomes the main villain. Another clever thing that makes the re-watch value great is that in the beginning of the movie we see some kids playing basketball, when it’s revealed that he’s T’Challa’s cousin it turns out Eric was one of the kids. I think the best kind of villains are ones that see themselves as a hero even though his actions harm others and he’s one of those.

The main setting Wakanda is a very impressive setting and has great world building. I like how the country works and the backstory explains a lot. Wakanda also looks beautiful and even the mountains where M’Baku lives is cool. The action was also good as usual for Marvel though I will admit some of the CGI was a little too obvious especially in a clip of the climax that was uploaded on YouTube. Still there are good actions scenes such as the Korea car chase the waterfall duel.

Black Panther is definitely in my top 3 favorite MCU movies up there with The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy. All I have to say left is that to Avengers Infinity War or any movie of 2018, Good Luck.

Verdict:
+ Action
+ Cast especially the villain
+ Themes
+ Wakanda
– Obvious cgi

Score: A

Mary and the Witch’s Flower review

The only anime movies I ever saw in the theater were Spirited Away and Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid of Light. I remember seeing the teaser for this thought it was awesome but I knew that it would probably only have a limited release is specific theaters. Fortunately one day my Mom, Grandma, and I saw Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri at the nearest mall and I saw a poster saying it Mary would be showing there so I bought my ticket early and now I’m here to review it.

Mary and the Witch’s Flower is about a girl named Mary who finds a magic flower in the forest. It gives her and a broom she finds the ability of magic which ends up dragging her to a witch school in the sky named Endor College. While there she finds out that the headmaster wants to use the flower to transform witches into more powerful beings. In terms of story Mary is kind of predictable because when have we not seen anime movie about young witch or villain chasing the hero for a magical object? I also think the setting of Endor College while interesting is not given that much development. Mary doesn’t take any classes or meets any of the students.

On to the good stuff. The main character Mary is clumsy, feisty but also very likable. I like her design and her actress Ruby Barnhill plays the role perfectly. Actually all the voice actors are great in their roles too. I also like Mary’s sidekicks. One of them being a cat (which doesn’t talk). I remember the audience I was with burst out laughing at some of his scenes. The other is the broomstick which acts like the magic carpet from Aladdin and the fact that it has to be placed in a “broom stable” is hilarious.

The highlight of the movie to me is the animation. Let’s face it, any animation from Ghibli or anyone who worked on Hayao Miyazaki’s movies are beautiful. The character designs are great, the colors pop out and the movements of the characters are smooth and wonderful. I wouldn’t have been excited for this movie if it wasn’t for the animation!

Mary and the Witch’s Flower is not one of the strongest anime movies out there but for me it was still a great treat to see this.

Verdict:
+ Beautiful animation
+ Mary
+ Mary’s sidekicks
+ Voice acting
– Predictable story
– Undeveloped Endor College

Score: A-

Star Wars the Last Jedi review

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….

FYI, this is a Spoiler filled review. Also Merry Christmas, and what better way to celebrate this holiday than to talk about the most anticipated movie of the year, Star Wars the Last Jedi. It has a very dark tone compared to the rest of the movies since a lot of characters die and has some deep themes. There are still some fun moments like on Canto Bright which is think is a really cool location. The two things that stood out to me were the acting and actions.

The three actors that really stood out to me were Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, and Daisy Ripley. Rey and Kylo have great moments together but what stood out to me in there acting was when they both talk to each other using the force. The angles and editing in those scenes make it look like there talking to each other in the same room. I also like that both struggle from falling to their opposite sides. Rey gets too close to the dark side while Ben gets too close to the light side. Mark Hamill is at his most tragic and emotional as Luke Skywalker. His final scene is a great conclusion to his arc and a beautiful call back to the first Star Wars movie. Carrie Fisher was also great as Princess Leia even though this was her last movie and Yoda was a great surprise.

The actions scenes are incredible. Holdo ramming Snoke’s starship at lightspeed with her ship was probably the most badass sacrifice in any Star Wars movie! I love how the Battle of Crait has the colors white and red to represent blood. I did however feel that it looked more like a middle of a movie battle rather than the climax but Luke’s duel with Kylo was a great climax to the climax. I think me and my brother’s favorite fight was with Rey and Kylo Ren vs Snoke’s guards because the choreography is great and it’s awesome seeing two opposite sides working together.

Big Spoilers: My main problem with this movie were some of the reveals and twists though it’s mostly out of anticipation rather than presentation. Rey’s parents turn out to be nobodies who sold her for alcohol, Kylo Ren kills Snoke and becomes the main villain. At first they seemed odd but thinking over them they kind of work. We don’t learn anything about Snoke but to be fair we didn’t know much about the emperor before the prequels. I was expecting Kylo Ren to have a redemption arc but it’s like what Garnet said in Message Received “Not everyone deserves that patience”. Rey’s parents being nobody’s shows that the main character doesn’t have to have a tragic backstory to be a good protagonist.

There are elements from The Empire Strikes Back but it still feels like a new movie than a repeat like Force Awakens. The Last Jedi is just as great as The Force Awakens maybe even better and it made me excited for Episode IX. Hope you have a Merry Christmas and happy New Year!

Verdict:
+ Action scenes
+ Canto Bright
+ Dark tone
+ Great acting
+/- Plot twists

Score: A+

May the Force be with you
Carrie Fisher