Summary: A working-class Italian-American bouncer becomes the driver of an African-American classical pianist on a tour of venues through the 1960s American South.
This will be a short review.
I know there was a lot of controversy surrounding this film and I’m not going to speak to that, other than things I noticed about the film in general, but I will also not talk about historical inaccuracies because I don’t know other than what I have read due to the drama surrounding this.
Two Leads. There are characters we meet throughout the movie, including Linda Cardelini who plays Tony’s wife but they’re minor characters, so I thought it was best to just focus on the two leads. I don’t agree with Mahershala Ali being nominated for the Supporting Role because his role was just as large, is it because Tony’s son helped write the script?? lol I’m just saying.
Viggo Mortensen as Frank “Tony Lip” Vallelonga. Tony is a bouncer at the Copacabana nightclub, it gets closed for renovations, so he gets invited to interview for a driver position for an eight-week concert tour. He’s against it at first because when he hears all that Don needs from him, he’s like nah. But eventually, he ends up doing it. Tony is unpolished and a little rough around the edges, which is the exact opposite of Don. So, they do clash at times because of that. Tony is a pleasant guy and he often means well. Throughout the movie, we have moments where Tony and Don must lean on each other for various reasons, such as the letters and then the times where Tony must go off and save Don… and those moments are coupled with great acting from Viggo Mortensen. The man is a chameleon and he portray the New Jersey Italian great lol at least from my limited knowledge from media lol.
Mahershala Ali as Don Shirley. He is an eccentric pianist who is looking for a driver for his eight-week concert tour through the Midwest and Deep South. He hires Tony because of his references and after speaking with his wife. Don is very straight laced and very particular. When he first gets into the car, his butler puts a blanket over his legs lol, he doesn’t like littering, he’s very commanding which Ali acts all of Don’s quirks wonderfully. I’ve seen him play many roles and this is the first time I’ve see him really play a straight-laced person and boy he gets me every time. He’s so charismatic with such a commanding presence that any time he speaks, you listen to him. Don obviously must go through a lot in this movie being that it’s set in the 60’s, which is to be expected. Sometimes he handles it well and sometimes he doesn’t. Mahershala Ali is great!
The Beautiful Music! I love classical music and I do enjoy Jazz and Don gets to perform both of those in different parts of the movie and it’s amazing and beautiful. It takes a back seat sometimes compared to the racism stuff and the other dramatic moments, but this movie does have those moments where it’s like “Dang, is Mahershala really playing?” lol. But I have to say the choices of background music, whether the characters are listening to it in the car, or it’s musical score, or whatever Don is playing, it really sets a nice atmosphere.
The Friendship Between Don and Tony. As I said in the character section both actors are SO GOOD. If you don’t want to see this movie for anything else, the chemistry and friendship between these two is so good. There are some weird moments, like when Tony is basically telling Don “how to be black” and it can get a little weird and awkward, but a lot of their other interactions are charming and emotional. Whenever Don is helping Tony write letters to his wife, those are gold. They have a great scene outside, I think it’s snowing, great moment. I don’t particularly care for the dialogue, but the moment is well acted.
The Green Book. This is a minor thing, but the movie is called “Green Book” but it’s such a non-thing. We see the Green Book maybe two or three times. We see it when it’s first given to Tony. We don’t really see it again until later, and then we see it one more time when Tony looks at it in the car. I think it should have been a much more involved plot point because the book is the guide for African-American travelers to find motels, restaurants, and filling stations that would serve them, but they never use it seriously! I mean come on!
White Savior. So, this is part of the controversy surrounding this movie and honestly, it really does come off that way. Who knows if that was the intention or not but it’s really kind of glaring. I thought it was odd how they went out of their way to show us Don’s house and its basically Africa in there, not to mention, his “uppity” mindset, the man has a throne in his house. Then literally every situation Don gets into, Tony must come and rescue him. This happens a lot. Then there’s all those times when Tony is teaching Don about black people, because you know, all black people love fried chicken and Little Richard. Sure, sure, you can argue that it just shows that Tony is also a bit racist but still. It’s just really weird how they go about that. Plus, there’s this other scene in a bathroom that also has a weird undertone and not because of the moment but because of it was included at all? I don’t know lol. I mean, it’s like they put Don into situations just so Tony can be the savior… I don’t know if that’s how it happened in real life, but it doesn’t sit well.
Ghosts Over the Issues. Obviously with this movie being set in the 60’s there’s a ton that’s going to happen here. My problem is that it brings up those moments but don’t quite make it in understanding them through the lens of the character it’s happening to. You can argue that as the movie is clearly about Tony, and he doesn’t understand completely so that might be the problem, but I don’t think that’s an excuse. There’s a good scene that’s wonderfully acted by Ali, but the things he’s saying is stuff we hadn’t seen. He talks about not being good enough for white people except when he’s playing for them, but he’s also not accepted by black people because he’s not like them. That would have been a great moment if we ever saw that. We maybe see that one time when he’s invited to play horse shoes and declines. That wasn’t because he “wasn’t like them” they were like “man forget you!” because he didn’t want to play! That doesn’t equate! If you’re going to have a character say something like that, then give us reasons to understand WHY HE’D SAY THAT! Not to mention, Don knows he’s in the South and that he shouldn’t go off on his own, why does he keep doing it then? He’s a smart guy. I just didn’t understand that either.
Overall, I think Green Book is a good and well-made movie. The best thing it has to offer are the performances from Mortensen and Ali. They are fantastic and they play to each other’s strengths very well. Their characters are very different which allows for lots of time of learning and understanding each other and growing to trust and care for the other. All that stuff is great and probably what you should watch the movie for. The music included is beautiful, Don mostly plays a lot of Jazz and he explains why, but we also get some classical and some other types of music. It’s amazing, music feeds the soul. There are charming moments between the two for their friendship as well. Now, obviously there is of course the other stuff, like how the movie is named after something that should have been more integral than it was in the film and that’s lame. Or how it has lots of “white savior” vibes, especially in places where the scripts make Don go off and do stupid things when he is clearly an intelligent man. It doesn’t make sense or add up and I did not like that. I won’t go into it further but it’s a movie I’d recommend watching if you’re a fan of either Viggo Mortensen or Mahershala Ali, which I am of both actors, so take that for what it’s worth.
Rating: 3.69 out of 5 stars.
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Summary: Violet is a shy teenager who dreams of escaping her small town and pursuing her passion to sing. With the help of an unlikely mentor, she enters a local singing competition that will test her integrity, talent and ambition. Driven by a pop-fueled soundtrack, Teen Spirit is a visceral and stylish spin on the Cinderella story.
This will be a short review.
Elle Fanning. She plays Violet Valensky, a shy teenager who lives on Isle of Wight, in a small village. She wants to be a singer and things begin to happen to push her towards that dream. I’ve always liked Elle Fanning and she goes a really nice job with Violet. It’s like a Cinderella story so she’s unhappy with her life in how she’s stuck in the same old routine. She doesn’t often complain about it but in the way, Elle plays it and the way it’s filmed, it’s easy to tell that.
Other Characters. We meet a few other characters in the film, such as Violet’s mom who is a trip most of the movie and Agnieszka Grochowska was great to watch. Zlatko Buric as Vlad was great as her mentor. He was a former opera singer and they end up becoming friends. You’re not quite sure about him but he comes through when he needs to.
Use of Music. There are a lot of popular contemporary pop songs in this movie but a lot of them are either sung by Violet during the moments she sings in the film or they’ve instrumental. If they were just the regular songs, this would probably be in the cons because I really dislike the extreme use of pop songs in the film when there isn’t much of a reason for it to be there. But I quite liked how they were used in this film.
Relationship between Violet and Vlad. This is the relationship we see shown throughout the film and it starts out a little weird but it ends up growing on you as the movie goes on. Vlad is a washed-up opera singer and he mentors Violet, after she talks him into pretending to be her guardian so she could enter the competition without her mom knowing (her mom is strict). He is very protective of her as well, he’s a drunk so he never seems to quite commit to what he’s saying but you know that he cares. It also shows that she cares too even though they have this kind of sardonic banter. It’s kind of nice and they both play it nicely.
The Style/Tone. The style and tone of this movie confuses me because the story and the tone wants to war against each other. The film has this very dark and somber look and then story reflects that at times but then it turns into this “Pop star competition” for the story and I was just like “I don’t quite know if I like this”. It just comes off like “trying hard to make this rising singer’s story super sad”.
Extremely Cliché. Anytime there is a movie that deals with a character wanting to be a singer or anything like that, there are always going to be beats that it’s going to hit. This film hits a lot of them. Her mom being super hard on her for stupid things, the washout/drunk mentor, the shy lead, the evil record producer. I mean, I could get going lol and I was like “okay, this is going to turn out this way” and most of the time I was right. It’s hard not to predict these kinds of films because there are so many of them and this one doesn’t do anything new for me to be surprised by.
Weak Ending. So, we get this pretty awesome performance by Violet in her competition and then she goes out, hugs her mentor who is super excited for her doing so well. Then she walks away, we see a shot of her mentor getting off a train and then it cuts to Violet on a bus or something then it ends. My friend and I were like “wait what…” I don’t particularly like abrupt endings, especially when the rest of the movie had such a chill tone. Not to mention, you get more stuff in the credits and I’m like “man really?” I mean obviously I watch the credits because I like to and Marvel has groomed me lol, but still.
Overall, I think the movie good but it’s not anything to write to your mom about. Elle Fanning is the best thing about it to be honest. There’s other good stuff but she is a highlight. I really like her. She has a really nice singing voice so anytime she had to perform, I was into it. I think her best performance is her last one but the “Dancing” song was also a really good performance. “Lights” was okay, but I don’t think anyone sounds good singing that song lol. The use of the music throughout the film was also nice, normally, the inclusion of contemporary pop songs can drive me up a wall, but they were either sung or instrumental which helped. The relationship built between Violet and Vlad is really nice and while it starts off rocky and continues to be rocky in ways, it’s sweet because they clearly care for each other. Now, I think the style/tone is weird in this movie. It doesn’t quite match what the movie is about and I couldn’t help but think constantly in the movie that it shouldn’t be as “dark” film wise or as serious in tone when it doesn’t particularly need to be that. It’s sooo cliché and I’m not even going to go into that again. Then of course the ending is weak. Overall, the movie is fine. If you like music, then of course check it out.
Rating: 3.3 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Teen Spirit? Have you even heard of it? If you have seen it, what are your thoughts?
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Summary: Lawman Luke Hobbs and outcast Deckard Shaw form an unlikely alliance when a cyber-genetically enhanced villain threatens the future of humanity.
This will be a short review.
Cast and Characters. These characters are straight forward, I mean, there’s a little character development as Hobbs and Shaw are forced to work together and they’re very different, with different methods and outlooks but at their core, they’re the same person. Hobbs is the hammer and Shaw is the scalpel. What movie is that reference from?
Dwayne Johnson as Luke Hobbs. Luke is a DSS agent who is assigned by the CIA to work with Deckard in order to stop a dangerous serum. Luke is completely against this idea because he and Deckard don’t get along, because Shaw is a bad guy! Or has been in the past! Dwayne Johnson is likable! I mean, how could anyone dislike him. To be honest, Luke is just the big, muscled guy with a heart of gold, who will do whatever he can to achieve his objectives, that isn’t going to always win him favor because he is very noticeable. There’s not a ton going on, I mean, we meet his daughter and get more into his backstory which is fine but at times, it felt out of place and I think it had to have been Dwayne’s idea to include all that stuff at the end. If so, cool lol but still kind of random. I guess we had to get a bit of Hobb’s way of doing things since we had a lot of Shaw’s ways… lol. Gosh, I keep getting sidetracked lol, but Dwayne Johnson is great as always lol.
Jason Statham as Deckard Shaw. He is a mercenary who worked with the British Special Forces and MI6. He is so smooth and suave and the opposite of Luke Hobbs. He was a villain in previous films, so he and Hobbs are still at odds from that even though they did kind of work together. So, the very beginning, we see that his character has his way of doing things and he often makes fun of Hobbs because of how different and obvious he is, it’s a running joke about how big Hobbs is lol. Statham is just cool. I’ve always thought he was cool whenever I see him in a movie, even when he’s playing a bad guy (Cellular anyone lol). He’s very funny and how he incorporates his humor and his stunts works great for him. Plus, he has great chemistry with Dwayne Johnson.
Idris Elba as Brixton Lore. He is a cyber-genetically enhanced terrorist working for Eteon and former MI6 field agent who has a history with Deckard. They’ve upped the ante with this villain in that he really is like a supervillain in how he can move and the things he does. I mean, the way he operates his motorcycle will wow you. His entrance was great, his last scene in the film was great and he really kicked butt. He’s taller than Statham but nearly as big as Johnson but he is so imposing that you worry for both Hobbs and Shaw. He has his own issues with Shaw and a lot of that spurs him on, but he has his objective, and nothing stands in his way. Not even 16-wheeler trucks. Idris Elba is commanding and charming, even when he’s evil. Plus, I love when he uses his own accent, man, if he came to my door trying to sell something, I’ll probably buy it as soon as he says “hello”.
Vanessa Kirby as Hattie Shaw. We meet her early on and then she becomes more important as the film goes on. She’s competent and I really liked her. She is very similar to Deckard in ways but with a little mix of Hobbs due to her honor. She’s a nice middle ground between the two. I’ve seen her in a few things, minor roles in action films and I really liked her. I wasn’t sure if I would when we first met her even if her introduction was also cool, but she grows on you and I like her interactions with her brother and with Hobbs. I keep saying people are likable but it’s true.
Wildly Entertaining. Listen, even if you don’t care about the story in these films (which I mean who really does) just know it’s so entertaining. My friend and I saw it in Dolby which was AHMAZING (I think I’m spoiled now) and you will enjoy it so much if you don’t think about it so much. The fight scenes, the entire sequence during the climax fight with the cars and the airplane. Not to mention, the fight in the rain. I love these movies because they’re so much fun and I love it. I was so into it and plus Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham work so well together and watching them go at it and work together it a great time.
Great Action Sequences. There are a lot of action sequences in this film and let me just say they’re all good. One of my favorites is the car chase scene with Idris Elba on his motorcycle, I boldly say that that scene alone is better than at least three of the Fast and the Furious films (Fate of the Furious, 2 Fast 2 Furious and Fast and the Furious). I mean there are SO MANY great actions set pieces. SO MANY! The last 45 minutes alone is just so great. The fight scene in the rain is great and the stuff with the plane and the cars! I mean ARGH! It was so fun!
Awesome Villain. Idris Elba is a great actor and he’s a great villain and while his motives were kind of meh, he was a great foil to both Hobbs and Shaw, and he was a formidable opponent. He had some extra special stuff going on which made him even better to face off against these two people which was cool. I mean, motives shmotives lol. Idris Elba is so charming, and he uses his own accent in this which makes it even better. My friend even said she didn’t even listen to a word he said during a villain’s monologue because he’s so beautiful. I mean I get it lol. His arguments were interesting, I can’t imagine anyone really falling for it, I guess some would, but I liked that he really believed in his cause and that he lived it.
Pretty funny. I mean obviously, not all the jokes will land for everyone which is okay, but there are a lot of jokes that do land. Johnson and Statham have great chemistry and good comedic timing. Not to mention, their delivery of certain lines works out because sometimes the lines are just ridiculous, so the actual line and then the delivery makes it funny. The airplane sequence, the one where they’re just riding a plane lol, is cute and there’s a comedian in the film, who has some funny interactions with Hobbs and Shaw. Also, there’s another comedic actor in the film, who I believe is also uncredited and they’re a delight each time they’re on screen.
Too Long. This movie is 135 minutes, which is about 2 hours and 25 minutes and I think it could have been 25 minutes shorter. I thought that it should have ended before the big climax at the end. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it was awesome, but at one point, I was like “Okay, it should be over now”, it felt like they wanted to drag it out longer and I don’t think it really had to do that.
Who Comes for the Story? The story is fine I guess but it’s not what you come to these movies for. The Fast and the Furious has always had its charm and while this is a completely new franchise (spinoff), it has the same issue of the story not being that interesting. You go for the characters and for what crazy tricks they’ll do next. The whole thing with whatever serum this is, I mean who cares? I was into it because of the characters and their antics not because I cared about what the villain was after or what the good guys were trying to do. There’s technology and stuff and this evil group of people who are run by some mysterious being… bruh, I don’t even care lol.
WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER BROTHER!? This is more of a personal thing, but WHAT ABOUT OWEN! I mean, we met Owen before we even met Deckard, he comes into the picture because of what happened to Owen and he’s hardly even mentioned in the film. It’s like he doesn’t even exist. We see a random person in a flashback, but he’s never mentioned and throughout the entire movie, I was like “WHAT ABOUT OWEN!” The mother, Deckard and Hattie don’t even MENTION HIM. CONTINUITY PEOPLE!
Overall, this movie is pure fun. If you go into this movie thinking you’re going to get some well put together narrative with complex acting… this is not that film lol. The acting is good, the actors are clearly having fun in their roles. All the main characters we encounter are likable and the actors do such a great job in their roles, they’re having fun but they’re taking it seriously. The action is SO GOOD and if you can see this film in Dolby, do yourself a favor and see it in that format. It’s very entertaining. I mean I had such a great time. Also, Idris Elba is good as the villain. I mean really good. Now, even with all that goodness, there are some negatives, like my personal issues with the continuity, I need to know what’s going on with the other brother and why they only mentioned him like once. But also, the story is just stupid, and I did not care about any of that because who does. Lastly, it’s too long because the entire sequence on the island, while super cool and one of my favorite action set pieces, it just feels random. But if you don’t put too much logic into the film and you like The Fast and the Furious franchise, then this movie will scratch that itch… and this one is at least number 3 or 4 in my ranking of the F&F movies.
Rating: 3 out 5 stars.
Have you seen The Fast and the Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw? Are you interested? Which is your favorite Fast and Furious film?
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Oh! By there way, there are three end credit scenes. One kind of early on, then one in the middle (I think) and then one at the very end.
Summary: Dora, a teenage explorer, leads her friends on an adventure to save her parents and solve the mystery behind a lost city of gold.
This will be a short review.
Cast and Characters. We have a nice group of colorful characters here. It might take a little while to warm up to some of them but I think in the end, the characters are fine and the acting for the most part, is good as well.
Isabela Moner as Dora. The movie lives and breathes with Isabela Moner. She is so good, so likable and she just takes everything by the horns just like her character. I mean wow! I was never that big a fan of Dora the Explorer, I liked her games, but her show was just too young for me, but they have aged her up to be about 16 and not only does she have to deal with high school things, but she has to learn how to work with others (since she’s so used to doing it on her own) and then trust herself as well. Dora learns a lot in this film and you clearly see that AND you probably sympathize or empathize with her. Isabela Moner was a great Dora and I would be interested in seeing her play this character again in future installments.
Eugenio Derbez as Alejandro Gutierrez. He’s funny and likable throughout the film. He almost is a bit too silly; you’ll see why.
Michael Peña and Eva Longoria as Cole & Elena, Dora’s parents. They’re together because they play off each other really well. They’re funny in the right places and they have great chemistry with each other and with Isabela Moner.
Jeff Wahlberg as Diego. I thought the young actor (Malachi Barton) was so cute as Diego that I was a little disappointed when we met him as a teenager. But he grows on you, especially when he starts to accept Dora as herself and when he starts to accept himself as well. I thought he had great chemistry with Isabela Moner and I liked the confidence that he gets throughout the film. I thought he had really sweet moments with Dora and I really liked when he was just talking to her in their cousinly intimate moments.
Nicholas Coombe as Randy. Randy is a little weird, he’s socially awkward and just awkward in general it seems. We meet him pretty early on when Dora gets to school and he doesn’t quite know how to react to her when she corrects his shirt *lol* throughout the film it seems that he might the most comfortable with Dora than he is with the others but we see him kind of come into his own, he’s still awkward but it’s more endearing. Nicholas Coombe for me, was a good balance of endearing and annoying.
Madeleine Madden as Sammy. She was the most annoying but she probably has one of the bigger “arcs” in the movie. She’s a know-it-all and doesn’t like Dora from the jump because she’s smart and Sammy is used to always being considered the best. Being in the jungle has her freaked out the most and she often says how she doesn’t want to be there and sometimes it’s funny because her interacting with Dora is really cute. Then her and Diego have some nice moments as well. I think Madeleine plays this part really well.
For everyone/Great Fun Adventure. Even though Dora was always for children, and I’m sure older kids and adults enjoyed it as well, I think this movie has a nice combination of everything that would appeal to everyone. It’s funny, so if you like to laugh, you’ll have that. If you want a bit of drama, there’s that. It’s heartwarming! And plus, the adventure is quite fun to watch.
You’ll Probably Laugh. There’s a lot of times where the movie is genuinely funny. Michael Pena and Eva Longoria have a lot of good moments together and with Isabela Moner. The other students also had some nice laughs while on the adventure. Boots is nicely woven into the story without being annoying and Swiper as well, is shocking when you first see him and his usefulness throughout the movie is pretty great as well. I think the movie has a lighthearted humor to it and it doesn’t feel juvenile as sometimes “kids movies” or “family films” do.
CGI. So, Boots and Swiper are both CGI and it’s a little weird when they move or when Swiper talks sometimes. I was excited to see both characters because they’re important to Dora’s adventures and stories, and they’re important in ways in this film as well, but considering how often we see them, I was like “uhhhh”. It’s mostly those two that really bugged me throughout. I’m sure there was other CGI moments that didn’t quite land but those two were the most glaring.
Cliché/Weird Adventure. This adventure isn’t anything new, someone is trying to find a lost city of gold because of a treasure. I mean, there are plenty of treasure hunting shows. So, it goes a break neck speed with a few obstacles in the way that our characters make pretty quick work of and then when we get close to the city, we have a lot of kind of “magical” stuff happen and sure that’s fine but it also feels really random. I mean, it’s hard to really get into that because Swiper the FOX talks lol and Boots has some interesting moments so it’s hard to want to harp on that but still! With everything being like booby traps and practical things that people can do, we have these magical moments at the end. I was like “ohh… okay” lol.
The Characters. Everyone is mostly likable, like I said in the “pros”, because they are and I think they grow on you but it might take a moment to get there. Dora is likable as are her parents from the beginning, but then you go to America and meet Diego, Sammy and Randy. It’s clear that Diego thinks Dora hasn’t changed and is a little embarrassed by that and he acts that way for a while. Sammy is a hard-ass because she’s like the smartest person in the school and doesn’t like that Dora is smart. She’s pretty annoying for most of the movie. Then there’s Randy who gets bullied for being weird I guess and he’s sweet, he’s just weird lol. Depending on what kind of character annoys you the most, I can imagine it would take a little while to warm up to the side characters.
Overall, I don’t think there’s a lot to really go into when it comes to talking about this movie. Just know that the acting is good from generally everyone but Isabela Moner as Dora really shines. She makes this movie so much fun and likable because her energy and personality in the role is so magnetic. She is so good. I can’t say I would have enjoyed it as much if she didn’t have the energy she has. The others do a great job as well, especially as the movie continues. I think it’s a very fun and energetic film that everyone can enjoy. It may be geared towards a younger crowd but everyone can enjoy this film. The adventure, while tame and a little cliché and weird at times is fun. The characters might take a moment to grow on you but if they and when they do, you are along for the ride. Check out Dora and the Lost City of Gold.
Rating: 3.7 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Dora and the Lost City of Gold? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!
What animated from your childhood do you think would lend itself to an AGED UP Live Action film?
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Summary: A group of teens face their fears in order to save their lives.
Cast and Characters. I don’t think I want to really hit each character as I normally would do but I think it’s important to say that I think all of the characters are fine. In the beginning they were all kind of annoying which might have been the point. I’ll give a mention to all the actors though. Zoe Colleti as Stella Nicholls she’s the horror expert. Michael Garza as Ramón Morales he’s a mysterious handsome stranger. Gabriel Rush as August “Auggie” Hilderbrandt he’s the smart one? lol Austin Zajur as Chuck Steinberg the jokester. Natalie Ganzhorn as Ruth Steinberg the “popular girl?” Austin Abrams as Tommy Milner the bully lol.
The Monsters. So, if you know these books then you know what the stories are like and you most likely know what they look like and what their stories are like. I know for me, I was prepared for how they would look because I’m familiar but let me tell you, I was still not prepared to be as shocked as I was when I saw them in the film. The ones that will probably stick with you the most will probably be the Pale Lady and Jangly Man because she’s so… I mean you can’t stop thinking about her and you see Jangly Man quite a bit during the climax lol.
Harold the Scarecrow.I think scarecrows are creepy in general unless they’re in the Wizard of Oz lol and he really looks quite a bit like his book counterpart and yeah.
The Toe Monster. You see her a little but the lead up to her reveal is really freaky so I think the lead up is scarier than her reveal.
The Spiders. If you are afraid of spiders then this will probably really freak you out but they’re just spiders.
The Pale Lady. Bruh lol
Jangly Man. Disturbing and creepy. Troy James does all the body movement for this character and it helped me to be a little less scared because I’m aware of this guy from other mediums but he’s amazing in the physicality for the role.
Interesting Story. For the most part, the story is interesting. It’s set of course, on Halloween and our main characters are outcasts and they end up in the Haunted House in their town. They find stuff they’re not supposed to find and it kicks our story off. So, our stories connect due to the characters and there is a mystery behind all the monsters we encounter in the film. It reminded me of an episode of Scooby Doo when it came to the mystery we learned along the way. It might have been better without a connecting overarching story, who can really say but at least the story was still a bit interesting even when the monsters weren’t on screen.
Tension! The movie does a really good job at building the tension for the film. Sure, there are jump scares and set ups for jump scares but when the monsters are preparing to show up, you’re not sure what they’re going to look like (if you’ve never seen any of the illustrations from the book), or what they’re going to do or how they’re going to do it. I found myself really anticipating what was going to happen. I did get a little scared at some things but that’s because they do such a great job at setting up the moment.
Not Scary? That depends on your level or scare. I don’t like scary things but I remember these books and the horrifying illustrations (I mean some of them are weird but others are them are really disturbing) and so I had some inkling of how things would look and how I might react to them. Jump scares do make me jump, I mean that’s a given, but I found myself disturbed and creeped out more than scared. Though, if I had to pick, I would say The Pale Woman and Jangly Man are the two scariest/disturbing in the film.
The Characters. You might find the characters rather annoying. I did in the beginning, all of them except Ramon. Chucky’s voice really grated on me at the beginning and I found the entire sequence from the Drive In to the Haunted House really annoying. Sure, it was setting everything but I was rolling my eyes so hard at these people that I was like “y’all are dumb” and Stella, oh man, it’s all her fault. They do end up growing on you, well at least for me. But I wouldn’t be surprised if you definitely don’t like them at all and there’s hardly any character development, at least not enough to make you like them past a shallow level.
Storytelling/ The Story. I think a lot of people will probably say this but perhaps this should have been an anthology of sorts? With disconnecting short stories? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I still praised the story but I did find myself thinking that it was cliché with how a lot of things played out or how they were set up. Plus, people are stupid. I liked it for the most part but I rolled my eyes a lot.
The Climax/Ending. I think the climax was lacking compared to the rest of the film. We get our last two stories and while one of them was really good with gross scares and great tension, the last one was the crux of the film, the answer to the mystery and I wasn’t so interested in it, I just wanted them to skip to the answers lol. When they face off against the last monster, not only was I disappointed in the “Boss Monster’s” look but I was disappointed in how it was resolved. I don’t know, it felt like an easy way out. It’s clearly setting up a sequel with how the film ended but the wrap up for this story, I was like “Alright, what’s the deal with the other characters?” lol.
Time Period. I don’t quite get why this had to be set in the 70s. I thought it was odd when they told us and I didn’t really think it needed to be set at that time. Perhaps they didn’t need to make a specific time period at all. But maybe they did it so they didn’t have to explain away advanced technology. Meh, I just thought it was a random setting lol.
Overall, I wasn’t sure what to expect while watching Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. I mean, I knew it might freak me out because I don’t like scary movies (though I clearly saw this and I will see It: Chapter Two haha) but I didn’t think I would enjoy it as much as I did. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I was a little irritated with how the characters were set up because they were annoying. But they ended up growing on me in the end and I thought the acting across the board was really good. The design of the monsters are also good and pretty true to what is drawn in the books, they’re unsettling to be honest lol. Also props to Troy James for Jangly Man. I think the story for the most part is interesting and I don’t think you’ll get bored watching it unfold with the familiar stories mixed in. Also, the tension is handled really well! I mean if anything, it’s definitely what makes the scares and unsettling moments really hit. Now, it might not be that scary for some people so I can imagine that that might be like rolls eyes for some people. The storytelling had a lot to be desired because I couldn’t help but wonder throughout if it might have been better as an anthology instead of a connected story. Also, the climax/ending was pretty lame compared to the rest of the film. I also did not care for the time period but I guess in the end I get it. But still lol. In the end, if you liked these books then definitely check out this film, it’s a good Halloween watch.
Rating: 3.7 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark? Are you interested? What was your favorite story from the books? Let me know your thoughts below!
Thanks for reading and keep your eyes open for more movie reviews!
Summary: A deactivated cyborg is revived but cannot remember anything of her past life and goes on a quest to find out who she is.
This will be a short review.
The Acting/Potentially Interesting Characters. This section is very different than how I normally do it but I couldn’t quite just say “cast and characters” because while I thought the acting was good for the most part, I wasn’t all that invested in most of these characters.
Rosa Salazar as “Ali” Alita / 99 and she’s cute. It’s clear she loves the character and the source material, especially after watching interviews, but Alita definitely starts out with that “fish out of water” thing because this world is new to her. As the film continues, her confidence grows and she starts to put things in motion on her own, or at least things get set into motion that requires her to make some choices. I think Alita is likable and like Rosa Salazar’s energy as Alita.
Christoph Waltz as Dr. Dyson Ido. Definitely one of the best actors in the film. He’s a cyborg scientist, Alita’s father figure and other secrets. His character has a lot of techno babble in places, and he spends most of the movie worrying over Alita, making sure she’s safe, because she’s special and all that. He gets to have some cool moments and there are cool revelations but his character doesn’t get that much to do honestly.
Mahershala Ali as Vector. He’s a great actor and I thought he was wasted for the most part. He has some really good moments; I like when he switches personalities and even his line delivery when he pops up with those blue eyes. I actually just wish he was the main main villain anyway. I’ll always like him though lol.
Ed Skrein as Zapan. He gets introduced early but we don’t meet him until halfway through. He’s arrogant, wields a sword and a bounty hunter. He tries to sweet talk Alita, when she joined the Hunter-Warriors because I mean she’s cool but then he spends the rest of the movie, angry. Ed Skrein clearly had fun in this role, he’s very dynamic to watch when he’s on screen. He has this really annoying charm and I’m like “UGH, I hate your character but you’re just so good” lol. That works for him lol.
Special Effects. One of the best things about this movie is how the action sequences and how the world looks. It’s set in the future and so technology and machines have become even more integrated into the world. There are cyborgs, machines that police the streets and tons of other things. It’s cool. I think all of the cyborgs we see, no matter how intense their cybernetic look is, they look mostly real. There are times when it’s just too odd and they look like disembodied heads, which I guess that’s how it is lol, but for the most part it’s good. Plus, how Alita moves, and her body, especially when she gets her fancy body is very realized from the manga the film is adapted from.
Great Action Sequences. The action sequences in this film are really good. They’re choreographed really well and I bet it as amazing on the big screen. There are a couple of scenes that stand out in general. The entire sequence that starts from the bar. I don’t want to say how it ends because it’s a spoiler lol but that was probably the best choreographed and edited fight. I was really into that. Also, the sequence afterthe motor ball at the end was also really cool too. Being that Alita’s history is in fighting and what not, so seeing her fully embrace that is pretty dope.
Really Long. Y’all this movie is 122 minutes, which is 2 hours and some change, barely, but it felt so much longer than that. I thought it ended like two times and when it kept going, I was like “oh there’s more… okay.” You can argue they might have been gearing up for a sequel and sure, I’d see it but it just crammed so much into the film and then it feels like nothing happened in the end. I’m just so confused by it. There is so much we get told and then stuff happens, and then more talking and it goes like that for a while. I honestly checked out a few times. I don’t mind long movies, but don’t be long for the sake of being long. This is why, I feel like this would be a good live action television show, along the lines of Dark Angel.
Not Enough Interesting Characters. Outside of the fact that I like some of the actors in the movie, I didn’t find many of the characters that interesting. Alita is cool and everything but there wasn’t much about her that made me really like her. Then her love interest Hugo, I really didn’t care about him either. I didn’t quite like the actor all that much but he didn’t have a ton to work with I thought. Not to mention, Dr. Ido and then Dr. Chiren, I mean there’s a lot of potentially interesting characters but I don’t think the movie succeeded in making me care about them at all.
The Motorball Stuff. Other than the fact that it’s cool, there’s no reason for this stuff to be in the film because every time we went to those sequences, I was like “ugh”. I’m more interested in seeing her figure out this mystery of her life and other stuff, I don’t care about this Quidditch game (I like Quidditch lol I’m just saying lol). She already registered as a Hunter-Warrior, if she wanted to get money to help Hugo, then why didn’t she just do that since she made such a big deal about becoming one?
Overall, Alita: Battle Angelis a fun movie. I think the action sequences and the look of the film are really top notch and I was really into it for those things. The acting is good across the board, some definitely do the heavy lifting and there are a lot of good actors in this movie and I think that’s one of the biggest downfalls of the movie. So much talent but the writing is okay and the characters are not interesting to merit such good acting. It’s sad really and I was not invested in any of these characters. It also feels really long with so much crammed into it which leads into my issue with the motorball stuff. There are side plots that pop up that just are there with some intentions but they just show up randomly. It’s fun to watch but don’t think about it too hard lol.
Rating: 3.3 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Alita: Battle Angel? What are your thoughts on it? Do you think it would serve better as a television show? Respond in the comments below!
Summary: Mr. Link recruits explorer Sir Lionel Frost to help find his long-lost relatives in the fabled valley of Shangri-La. Along with adventurer Adelina Fortnight, this trio of explorers travel the world to help their new friend.
Cast and Characters.
Zach Galifianakis as Mr. Link. He is the last Bigfoot in his respective area, and he’s reached out to Lionel to help him search for relatives. Mr. Link is very gentle and innocent and of course doesn’t understand certain human-isms even though he is very intelligent due to all the books he’s collected and read. His character is very sweet, and you root for him throughout the film. I mean, he’s harmless, which shows when he ends up having to fight right after his meeting with Lionel and his expression the entire time is like “umm, I’m a lover not a fighter” lol. I think Zach G. is funny most of the time and his unassuming voice fits this character and his comedic timing is good. I laughed quite a bit at him.
Hugh Jackman as Sir Lionel Frost. He’s a mixture of Sherlock Holmes and Indiana Jones. He’s a bit self-involved as he searches for myths and monsters to prove his worth to a Monster Hunter Society, or something like that. He’s English so we get some nice British humor in there and he does say some narcissistic things that don’t always come off as obvious narcissism which made me laugh. I think Hugh Jackman was a great choice for this role, I could see him playing this role in live action… it was so weird lol.
Zoe Saldana as Adelina Fortnight. She has an old connection with Lionel, which is why he seeks her out, hoping their connection would work in his favor. But she is fierce and free-spirited and goes on the adventure with Mr. Link and Lionel. She often acts as Lionel’s conscience throughout the film. She never backs down from anything which makes her a good partner for Lionel and she really grows to care about Mr. Link that she often must put Lionel in his place. I also love her no-nonsense attitude. Zoe Saldana has great energy for the part, I was a little distracted by the fact that I could see her also playing this part in live-action and not the fact that her character was animated lol.
Supporting Characters. There are a lot of supporting characters we encounter in this little adventure. Honestly, all the voice acting is good. Stephen Fry as Lord Piggot-Dunceby. Timothy Olyphant as Willard Stenk (honestly, he was great, he got a lot of chuckles out of me). Emma Thompson as the Yeti Elder (She has great lines!)
It’s Funny. I laughed quite a bit through this movie. I was a little surprised honestly at how much I cackled. I think all three of our leads get great, humorous lines. I love a lot of Adelina’s lines and Zoe Saldana’s delivery. Jackson and Zach G. were also great. I think Timothy Oliphant’s character though made me laugh a lot because the voice, his look and the things he does, that always got me lol.
The Animation. I love Laika and their animation is always beautiful and unique to me. Each one of their movies: Coraline, ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls, Kubo and the Two Strings) all have such great animation! It might be a little weird but it’s their style and I love it. That’s why I wanted to see this one because all their movies have been great and I think this one, while not their best, it’s still good and right in their realm. The stop motion puppetry is always handled with such care. First, the way Mr. Link looks, and moves is quite cool, not to mention, their action sequence at the end was animated in a great and fun fashion as well.
Has a Lot of Heart. This is a cute and fun adventure film but there is a lot of heart under all the shenanigans. All our main characters learn something over the course of the film. Some of the lessons learned are lessons that anyone can learn, and I think it’s handled in a simple way where it’s not so easy to learn but where it’s not beat in over the head throughout the film. That can get annoying. But I think it earns it in a sweet way in this film. It’s cute.
Might Be Boring. I don’t think younger kids would be interested in watching this. A lot of the humor might go over their heads. I mean, there’s physical humor so that might be okay, but the lines may not land for them. Plus, there’s a lot of traveling places and talking so I can imagine it not holding everyone’s attention. I do acknowledge that it did lose some of my attention a few times.
Overall, I liked this movie. It’s cute, it’s fun, the characters are funny. The voice acting is good, especially from our lead actors. I really thought that Jackman and Saldana particularly embodied their characters that the entire movie I was like “okay, this isn’t animated, this is real life lol”. Zach G. is also sweet and innocent in this film. The adventure is fun, and I like the lessons learned by each character by the end of the adventure. It has a lot of heart. Not to mention, the animation is so great! Laika has another beautifully animated film on their hands! My only big issue with this movie is that it might not keep your attention all the way through. I feel like kids may not quite enjoy it the way older kids or even adults would. A lot of the jokes might not quite land and while it’s fun it’s like a roller coaster, where it goes up and down with stuff happening and then characters talking. Otherwise, I think it’s a good addition to the Laika films.
Rating: 3.9 out of 5 stars. I know I only have one con for it but my score is because I liked it but it wasn’t one of the better Laika films so I can’t quite give it a 4.
Have you seen The Missing Link? What did you think about it?
Which Laika film is your favorite? For me, it’s Kubo and the Two Strings.