Sometimes it takes a monster to win the war…
Half-human, half-demon Hellboy (David Harbour) battles the Blood Queen (Mila Jovovich) who is set to bring about the end of humanity as she makes the world safe for the monsters. Directed by his father, the head of a secret paranormal task force which keeps the monsters under wraps and protects the world.
As Hellboy learns about his origins, he questions his place in the world and fears that he will be the key piece to end it. While he agrees with the concept of equality for monsters, he’s not willing to kill all the humans in order to achieve his dreams. Along with his longtime friend, Alice (Sasha Lane) and a shifter, Major Ben Diamio (Daniel Dae Kim), Hellboy battles the Blood Queen and her army of darkness.
Based on the graphic novels by Mike Mignola (who also serves as producer) Hellboy follows the comics more closely than the previous movies by Del Toro. This is a complete reboot rather than in any way a sequel to the previous movies. Based in the horror genre rather than the superhero genre, graphic blood and violence fills the screen. People are literally torn apart as blood shoots everywhere. The monsters are ugly and might give some nightmares.
The movie weaves in King Arthur and Merlin along with Baba Yaga (she’s a scary woman with an ax to grind against Hellboy) and features two after credit scenes which set up the movie for a sequel, although based on the fans’ reactions and the box office, I doubt it will ever be made.
I don’t understand why filmmakers decide to rewrite a movie which was a popular one. It’s like in five years, doing another Iron Man movie but with a totally different actor and feel. This movie disappoints to all but the true comic fans. Although there is a touch of humor to it, the movie falls flat. I really hoped this would be a good movie because I enjoyed the first two movies but save your money for the upcoming Avengers: Endgame.
Billy Batson (Asher Angel) is a troubled fourteen year old. Lost as a child, he longs to find his mother but when he runs afoul of child protective services, he is placed in a foster care home with a group of misfits who have created a family out of their differences.
The last of ancient protectors must find a champion to wield his powers. He’s sought out so many people but they failed his tests until Billy comes along. Now when Billy says Shazam, he turns into an adult superhero (Zachary Levi).
As Billy begins to understand his powers, he lets his newfound celebrity go to his head. When bad guy, Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong) comes after him and his family, Billy must find what is important to him in order to save everyone.
Unlike superhero movies like Superman or Batman, Shazam is a family friendly movie, even for elementary kids. The message about family and heart resonates with the viewers, although some of the bad guys are a little frightening so be sure to know your child. No one wants nightmares.
As a fan of the 1970’s TV series, I was nervous about how DC would showcase Shazam. I worried it would be too silly and while there is a lot of humor, it reminds me of a child-friendly Ant Man movie. The message isn’t overly pushed but it will remind you to hug your family a little tighter.
There are two after-credit sneak peeks you will want to stay for, as well as many nods to other movies from Annabelle, Big, and Batman to Aquaman. Shazam hits the right note of funny and heartwarming. A must see!
One spark can ignite a war.
Ten years after aliens have taken over the world, an underground group of insurgents set out to bring them down and liberate Chicago, showing the world that they can also take back their cities.
As a special policeman in charge of Chicago, William Mulligan (John Goodman) must stop the undercover group, Phoenix from attacking the extra-terrestrials who have taken over Chicago. Using the son of his former partner, William uncovers a larger plan to send a message to the rest of the world.
The Earth is rich in resources which the aliens are using up. They put the humans to work to dig out the new alien homes underground. Using clicks and squeaks only translators are able to understand these new creatures. The aliens are interesting in that they appear as long-legged insects at times. When they attack, their outer shell becomes sharp points like a porcupine. They can be killed when you remove their facemask because they can’t breathe. (Can you tell that the aliens were the best part?) With their advanced technology, the humans are implanted with bugs which allow them to be tracked and everyone is monitored. So much for a brave new world!
This thriller keeps you guessing until the end but doesn’t have a great deal of action sequences like other movies like Transformers. The slow pacing leads to a long buildup but may have viewers asleep before the big reveal at the end. Trying to feel like a Cloverfield movie, Captive State just never hits the right notes.
Stay home rather than go to the movies for this one. The weirdness of the movie will have you scratching your head as you leave the theater, wondering what you just watched.
Higher. Further. Faster.
Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) wakes up after a horrible event as a different person. Pieces of her past are missing but she’s determined to be the best Noble Hero Warrior she can be. But when she is captured by the enemy, Skrulls, those pieces begin to come together, leading her to make a life change.
Captain Marvel is set in the mid-1990’s and tells the tale of the origin of one of the most powerful superhero in the universe. Carol was a pilot at a time when women weren’t allowed to fly in combat so she tests planes with a secret project. Viewers see glimpses throughout her life where she is forced to stand up and overcome people who put her down for her determination. With female writers and a female co-director, it wasn’t hard to see how empowering Captain Marvel would be.
Yet, the movie resonates for more than the strong female character. Captain Marvel comes out against war and nudges viewers that people aren’t always who you think they are. Sometimes evil can look perfectly innocent.
But Captain Marvel is also an origin movie for Marvel and The Avengers. We see Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) before the loss of his eye and Coulson (Clark Gregg) as a rookie, two people who play a big part in SHIELD and keeping the Earth safe. However, it’s a cat named Goose which steals the movie. And anyone with a cat at home can relate!
Featuring music from the 90’s, viewers will be tapping their feet along with the songs which draw them back to their own younger years. But like most Marvel movies, there are two after credit scenes and a Stan Lee cameo filmed prior to his death. Seeing him on the big screen as Marvel gives him his due was touching. Stan’s influence can’t be replicated. This is a movie which you will want to watch again and again to catch all the things you missed the first time.
Family can really be the death of you…
In the final installment of the Medea movies, Tyler Perry once again dons the wig and dress, playing Madea, Joe, Brian and a new character, Heathrow. This time Madea and her cronies head off to celebrate a special anniversary when death and secrets get in the way.
Madea puts herself in charge of the funeral, creating an event to rival Aretha’s show-stopping stunner. In addition, she sets out to comfort the family and provide the harsh reality she’s known for. While Joe and Heathrow set out to set the Me Too Movement back a decade.
Reminiscent of the old Eddie Murphy movies where Eddie played all the characters, Madea’s outspokenness is just another reminder of Eddie’s Nutty Professor matriarch, Mama Klump. In the Nutty Professor, Eddie even played more characters in a single movie than Tyler Perry.
A Madea Family Funeral was shot in under a week and it shows. Some of the actors struggled with their lines or maybe they were hired for their looks not acting chops. Over the last decade, Medea has helped families come together, saved a family from the mob and gone to jail. Many fans are saying it’s time to hang up the dress. I agree. The dramatic moments went on too long and the jokes repeated…over and over.
For fans of the movies, it’s nice to see Madea once more before she leaves us… but this movie is one to pass. Save the money and call your grandma instead.
It’s hard to say goodbye…
The final installment in the children’s movie-How to Train Your Dragon is one for the family.
Hiccup, now chieftain, sets out to find a place where humans and dragons can live in peace. But an evil hunter is out to derail his plans and kill Toothless. Relationships abound as Toothless (A Night Fury) finds a female Light Fury dragon and Hiccup faces questions about when he’ll marry Astrid. Both Hiccup and Toothless must make some tough decisions in order to find a happily ever after.
Originally based off the children’s books by Cressida Cowell, How to Train Your Dragon is about a boy taught to hate dragons and a dragon who isn’t able to fly. Through the series, we see how the boy and dragon are more alike and become best friends—overcoming their handicaps.
The third movie features a more grown up set of characters (yes, they age) and touching storyline. Growing up is never easy. Sometimes pain comes with the happiness. This movie will have you dabbing at your eyes and cheering for the heroes as they battle. With the voices of Gerard Butler, Kit Harrington, F. Murray Abraham, Cate Blanchett and Craig Ferguson, the characters come to life.
How to Train Your Dragon will be a hit with fans of the previous movies and the ending credits feature scenes from the first two movies, showing the relationship between Hiccup and Toothless. It also appeals to families with the crazy antics of the dragons who steal the movie, but not necessarily a teen or older audience.
Isn’t it Romantic shines a spotlight on the commonalities of romantic comedies in a way that reminds us why this genre is well-liked.
Disillusioned about love as a young girl, Natalie (Rebel Wilson) works in New York City as an architect. She’s shut herself off of love because she feels unworthy. When mugged, she hits her head and wakes up in a romantic comedy version of her life where things are cleaner, more spacious and comes complete with musical numbers. Now the wealthy businessman (Liam Hemsworth) she’s designing a parking structure for finds her beguiling and now her best friend and assistant is her top rival. But no matter how gorgeous and wealthy he is, Natalie realizes that there is still something missing from her life and sets out to make it right.
With many songs and references to popular romantic comedies like Pretty Woman and When Harry Met Sally, Isn’t it Romantic is a sweet story of what is really important- loving yourself and how we often hide behind walls to keep our hearts safe. Rebel Wilson has a slapstick comedic style reminiscent of Carol Burnett and shines in this movie. Also serving as one of the producers, she was able to hand pick the people who starred in the movie alongside her.
While the movie has it silly moments, it does fall flat in some areas. Many of the big scenes were already shown in the trailers so you aren’t as surprised during the movie. Also Rebel’s constant putdowns about her looks and low self-esteem can become grating. All of us have esteem issues and while those comments flow through our heads, we don’t spend as much time focusing on them as this movie portrays. Certainly appealing to the female audience, including a shirtless Hemsworth, Isn’t it Romantic does have its laugh-out-loud moments but isn’t one you’ll need to see on the big screen. Cute but not memorable. Enjoy it as a night out with your girlfriends but don’t spend the big bucks to see it.
Goonies meets Sword in the Stone… The Kid Who Would Be King is a remake with a few surprises.
Alex (Louis Ashbourne Serkis) is low man on the totem pole at a local school. Bullied by two older kids and fighting back to protect his friend, he doesn’t believe in magic until he stumbles upon the mythical sword in the stone, Excalibur. With the assistance of Merlin (Angus Imrie/Patrick Stewart) and his classmates, Alex must save the world from Arthur’s evil sister, Morgana.
Like Arthur, Alex turns his enemies into his greatest allies as he battles flaming swords and animated dead who are out to steal Excalibur. But this movie is more than just a retelling. It reminds us that we are all bigger than who we believe we are and that everyone is capable of changing the world.
The Kid Who Would Be King weaves the ancient tale with modern references such as Lord of the Rings and Star Wars. This movie features real acting royalty- the actor playing Alex is the youngest son of actor, Andy Serkis (Black Panther, Lord of the Rings) but it’s Patrick Stewart who steals the movie. Merlin ages backwards but the young Merlin can become the older Merlin at certain times. Wild eyed and messy haired Patrick Stewart is a perfect mix of reverence and crazy.
Hollywood has a habit of remaking movies over and over again. Recent movies based on classics, King Arthur and Robin Hood, have bombed at the box office. While this movie was a blend of classic and modern retelling, it is one that will only appeal to a small audience and would be better to see once on cable or pay-per-view. With so many other exciting and interesting movies out there, this is one which isn’t worth the money to see. Save your money since your children will want to see the new Lego Movie but you can check this out once it’s on TV.
Gender equality wasn’t always equal.
On the Basis of Sex tells an important part of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life (Felicity Jones) from her first days at Harvard Law School through her appearance at the 10th Appellate Court, fighting for Charlie Moritz’s tax case.
Like many recent biopic’s, On the Basis focuses on a small period of Ruth’s life—the part which set her on the road to the Supreme Court. We see the strong woman who took on not only law school as a wife and mother but attended both her classes and her husband’s (Martin Ginsburg- Armie Hammer) classes when he developed testicular cancer. This is a woman who no matter what setbacks she faced, she pushed through them.
First time screenwriter, Daniel Stiepleman, is Ruth Bader Ginsburg's nephew and met with her and Jane (Ruth’s daughter) to go over the details in the script. But even with the first hand insights, artistic license was taken with the story. However, Daniel’s lack of experience shows in the storytelling. As well, director, Mimi Leder, has more experience with TV dramas (ER and China Beach) and On the Basis of Sex comes off more as a made for TV movie.
Even with these glaring issues, On the Basis of Sex is an important look at an iconic woman and the battle she began for equality for all, but especially for women. You should see it with your tribe of women and celebrate the huge changes which came about due to the work of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
A good movie is one that you still talk about long after the movie finishes. Green Book will have you talking way into the next day.
Set in 1962, Green Book tells the tale of an interesting friendship between an Italian nightclub bouncer, Tony Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen) and an African American pianist, Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali). Dr. Shirley hires Tony to chauffeur him during a record tour set in the Deep South. As the two men travel, an unlikely friendship forms which leads to changes in Tony’s understanding and treatment of African Americans.
The movie gets its title from a popular travel book which was a bible for African Americans traveling across the United States. "The Negro Motorist Green Book," also known as "The Negro Travelers' Green Book” was published from 1936-1966. It was a guide that helped African-American travelers find lodging, restaurants, and other businesses that would serve them during a time when segregation was rampant. Being caught on certain roads after dark in Sundown towns would precipitate African American being jailed or worse.
Much like last year’s Hidden Figures, Green Book is a movie that provides an interesting look at a time in America’s history which we need to revisit in order to stop it from repeating. While based on two real people, the movie is mainly from Tony’s point of view. It is his character which grows and changes. Written by Peter Farrelly (Dumb and Dumber and There’s Something about Mary) and Nick Vallelonga (Tony’s son), the screenplay was developed from actual audio tapes from Tony about the events that happened while he worked for Don Shirley. Featuring Octavia Spencer as executive producer and featuring many of Tony’s real life family members portraying his family in the movie, Green Book has hutzpah.
Sadly the producers didn’t get Dr. Shirley’s family’s input and they have dismissed the movie as just another “white hero” movie. Yet, the movie does a nice job portraying the isolation of Dr. Shirley and the unique dynamic between the two men. Not meant to be a biography, Green Book does what it set out to do—showcase the horrible time in America’s history and how one man changed his feelings and behavior towards African Americans based on his relationship with one man.
After winning three Golden Globes, Green Book is an odds on favorite for taking home at least one Oscar. This is a movie you will want to see again and again as you walk away with hope that if one man can change, then the world has a chance as well.
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