Movie Review: The Photograph (2020)

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Summary: A series of intertwining love stories set in the past and in the present.
Pros:
Cast and Characters. So we meet two sets of “main characters”, we have Mae and Mike and then Christina and Isaac.
  • Issa Rae is Mae Morton, she works in a museum, her mother recently passed and she is learning about her life, reading a letter that was left for her, and by going through her things. Mae is an independent, intelligent woman and she is learning about her mother, what her life was like and why throughout her life growing up, her mother wasn’t quite the parent she could have been. Issa Rae is great as I usually find her, she’s fun to watch on screen, she’s funny, she is great at reacting with her face and her character is pretty low-key throughout the film. She’s just mellow. Also, the costume designer on this film did a great job with her, she always looked put together, and her hair always looked good. She never seemed “overtly sexy” and that yellow dress she wore towards the middle of the film was everything.
  • Lakeith Stanfield is Michael Block and he is a reporter for a well-known newspaper and he meets Mae because he is doing an article on something that happened in Louisiana. He sees the picture of Christina, finds out about her and meets Mae who is doing an exhibition on her for the museum. Mike is immediately taken with Mae and he goes out of his way to run into her again. I quite liked his persistence, it wasn’t icky or “too much”. Being a reporter, it worked for his character, it made sense. I really like Lakeith Stanfield, he is also a pretty “low key” person it seems so he was also a bit mellow in this role, maybe a bit more “open” compared to Mae but he had his own issues.
  • Chanté Adams as Christina Eames. She was a young woman whose story was told through flashbacks while Mae read her letter. We were able to see bits of her romance and adult life. She was a photographer and often looked at life through her lens, but things didn’t always work out the way she thought. Her relationship with her mom was interesting, which seemed to trickle to how things were with Mae (but we never saw that). I thought she was the most interesting and I would have liked to have seen the movie of her story to be honest. I don’t believe I’ve seen this actress in anything before but I liked her, she had a silent strength to her that radiated when she was on screen. One of my favorite moments of the film is the scene in the car with Isaac when Mae was a little girl, we see two sides of that moment and both times it was amazing. She handled that moment beautifully.
  • Rob Morgan as Isaac Jefferson. We don’t see a ton of him since he’s the older version, but he’s a nice man, clearly still in love with Christina even since their lives went separate ways.
    • Y’lan Noel as Young Isaac Jefferson. Of course I know him from Insecure, and I liked him. Isaac is very much content with staying in Louisiana and he would love to just be with Christina in this life. He doesn’t come off as selfish, he doesn’t do anything that I found to make a horrible person, he just didn’t want to leave his home and there’s nothing wrong with that. I thought he had great chemistry with Chanté Adams and the sequence when Christina went back to Louisiana, he was really great.
Shout out to Lil Rel Howery (Kyle, Mike’s older brother) who was a joy every time he was on screen with Teyonah Parris as his wife. They were also great together as the married “settled down” couple. They were funny, had chemistry and it was nice to see they had a very nice house, loved each other and loved their daughters. Also shout out to Jasmine Cephas Jones and Kelvin Harrison Jr. as Rachel and Andy, Mae and Mike’s friends from work. It was great seeing all of them in this movie and be entertaining characters when on screen.
The Story/Parallels. Soooooo I like the story and how these two were brought together. The idea of this man meeting Mae due to him doing research and by six degrees of separation he meets her is pretty cool. Then the fact that he pursues her in her world first was great. I liked that Mike found out about her mother through an article he was writing. It was nice that they both had great jobs and were successful. I liked watching their romance unfold, it was slow and cute. As for Christina and Isaac, I was also into that romance as well, they were cute and I think they set up their personalities a lot better. I also loved meeting Mike’s brother and his family, which were highlights. I’ll mention this later, but I also see where the movie was trying to go with the parallels between the present and the past. I get the intention and I see it for the most part but there are some things I think they could have handled better when it came down that.
Genuine Romance. I’ll have stuff to say on the chemistry between the two leads but I felt like the story of their romance was pretty genuine. How they met was cute, he was doing an article on Isaac, which led him to Christina which led him to Mae. They pretty much instantly hit it off and our romance goes from there. It didn’t feel rushed, it didn’t feel dragged out. I was along for the ride and I liked the moments they had together where they just connected. It wasn’t just a physical relationship, it was meant to be intimate and I saw that. I even liked at the end which I won’t spoil. I was pretty invested even with the problems I had. I was also invested in the Christina/Isaac romance of the film. Isaac was a chill dude and he didn’t need much “spontaneity” in his life whereas Christina had different ideas. She was a photographer, she got a little taste of freedom and being independent and she didn’t know how to shake that which caused issues but I was probably a little more invested in their romance than I was Mae and Mike. Just a little, probably helped that those two had chemistry lol. It was just nice to see that they had a relationship without being pushed together through trauma or something crazy happening to them. It was just two people, meeting, connecting and falling in love.
The Music. I’m not terribly familiar with Robert Glasper who led the charge with the music in this film but I was really feeling it. The song choices were great and the instrumentals were beautiful. Music always helps to set the tone of a film and I think it did that very well.
Cons:
Characterizations! Okay, while I was writing this review, I was going over my notes I put in my phone and what I remembered. I have a good memory with movies and how I felt while watching etc. I saw this movie recently and I am having a hard time putting a set characterization on Mike and Mae. The basics were there buuut whenever I do my “cast and characters” part of this review, I usually can go pretty in detail what that character was like but I couldn’t do that because Mike and Mae didn’t quite have the characterization they should have received. Yes, they connected about music and yes we get moments here and there but other people told us things about them. I’m pretty sure that both Rachel and Andy are the ones who mentioned about their careers being more important to them both than love. I’m sure that Kyle (Mike’s brother) also says that along with his issues of commitment or whatever due to his ex-girlfriend. Most of his conversations with his brother is about his personality instead of just showing us one instead. They’re likable characters and there was a ton of potential but it wasn’t as realized as it should have been. I kept putting off this review because of this issue I realized I had with the film.
Inconsistent Chemistry. I didn’t look at a ton of reviews before I saw this movie, I generally try not to do that but I did see a lot of people say they thought there wasn’t much chemistry between our two leads and… I agree. Don’t get me wrong, I liked them together and I think it was there sometimes but a majority of the time, it felt like they only had a “connection” because the script told them they had to have one. It was awkward and not in the way that Issa Rae is awkward with guys in Insecure or how Lakeith Stanfield has this quirkiness about him that worked with Tessa Thompson in Sorry to Bother You, but in that “this is so awkward its borderline uncomfortable”. I think they are both amazing actors and I think they worked really well together, but I didn’t feel that spark between them whenever they were on screen together. I don’t necessarily want to compare but Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith were fire on the screen in Queen & Slim. It’s unfortunate, you root for them but the spark was missing for me to fully invested other than the script telling me to be and the fact that I love these two actors.
Parallels? So we get this back and forth with present time and Mae’s mother and her romance with Isaac and it seemed like they wanted to present this thing that the women in her family do. They push people away because they’re independent or they don’t want to worry people. We see that with Christina and her mother but we don’t quite see that with Mae. I actually thought they were going to parallel the Christina and Isaac relationship with Mae and Mike and that Mike was going to be Christina because something happens and he wasn’t going to tell Mae even after they got close. I thought that would be interesting because we still get the parallel but not quite in the way we would think… being a family “curse”. But then the movie tried to say that Mae was always that way and I never quite got that throughout the film. Sure, she’s independent, but I never got the sense she pushed people away because she never learned to need someone. That should have been explored more for that entire conversation to land better for me.
Execution. So as I said, I enjoyed the two stories being told in the movie and I completely get when we had a flashback without a time stamp, the problem I found with this is that it just happens. There’s a part in the movie where there’s no lead up to the flashback, it just happens and I was like whoa wait. There’s no color change, there’s no one telling the story, and no one reading a letter. I think there’s one time where a flashback starts and then after the moment it shows Mae reading the letter. I like flashbacks most times, I enjoy time jump moments, as evident by how much I liked it in Little Women, but if you’re going to do it without any typical set up, make sure it flows. It literally felt like two movies just put together in one movie.
Overall, I really liked The Photograph. It’s so refreshing to see a love story between two black people, where they are both well off, independent, have great jobs and have not been pushed together because something crazy happened. Nor did the movie feature some major trauma because black people live lives without “extreme” trauma all the time. I liked the characters, the acting was great. I really dug the genuine romance set up between these two, yes it hit some cliché movie tropes but I was okay with it. The soundtrack was fire and I really just loved the feeling and tone of the movie. I liked the story and what they were going for with the parallels but with that said, there are a lot of story elements I found lacking in the film. I think it could have benefited from one more rewrite. While I get the parallels, they didn’t quite match up with what we were shown, we had to be told things and that doesn’t help with characterizations. It also sucks that while you like them together, Issa and Lakeith didn’t have a ton of chemistry. It was weird in places. But with that said, I thought the movie was a great depiction of positive black love. We need more movies that do this, just make sure the characters are fully realized here people! Great date night movie!
Rating: 3.89 out of 5 stars. 
Have you seen The Photograph? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!
What is your favorite black romance film?
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Movie Review: Countdown (2019)

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Summary: When a nurse downloads an app that claims to predict the moment a person will die; it tells her she only has three days to live. With the clock ticking and a figure haunting her, she must find a way to save her life before time runs out.
Pros: 
Entertaining. This movie is entertaining for the most part. It’s nothing grand but I had fun watching it and trying to figure out how the characters were going to figure out how to cheat death. The way it ends indicates a sequel, so welcome to the new Final Destination series if it gets a sequel and does well. I don’t remember if this movie did well in the theaters or not. But the scares of fun, silly but fun. The tension is handled well, the two main characters are fine and while I don’t care about some of the other side plots, I was a bit interested in the main character’s backgrounds. So, there’s that lol. But I wanted to see it because I like Jordan Calloway… so… worth it lol.
Cool Premise. Honestly, I think the idea is cool, not executed that well but it’s cool. An app can predict when you die then you mysteriously die. It’s basically Final Destination just with an app instead of premonitions and all that jazz that goes into those movies. If you “break the user agreement” as it likes to scream at you, then you’ll die in a different instead of how you meant too. This happens at the beginning and at the end as well.
Interesting Tension. This movie does okay with creating tension. It’s not that scary, I only jumped once but as always there are usual tropes in “horror” movies that prepare you for a jump scare or something. This movie does that too, but I think outside of that, it does okay with creating tension and you’re not quite sure what someone might do or what might happen. It didn’t at least assault me with music or sound before trying to scare me that much. The best part was the part in the hospital with the mirror and then the sequence in the bathroom with Michael. That was great. We needed more of that. Let the horror sit, you don’t have to prepare us, we’ll like it more (or be scared) if you let it sit.
Cons:
Typical Stupid Characters. Obviously if you’re being targeted by something that’s trying to kill you, why would you be stupid and react to something that’s clearly an apparition? I was really upset at Jordan Calloway’s character for being stupid and not leaving the bathroom when he heard the creepy laughing or touching that little toy. I mean for real bro? Not to mention, why would you even download an app to see when you’d die? I’m a curious person but even my curiosity won’t make me download an app like that. If God wanted me to know when I was meant to die, he’d tell me lol. Plus, the characters were okay, I think they could have been written better.
The Actual Scares. I think there was one that made me jump and it was the one in the hospital with the mirror. I knew it was gonna happen, but it still startled me. It was the only one that got me, everything else while built up well, either looked silly or it was cut out by the overbearing music.
Execution. While the premise is interesting, it’s not executed that well. I think there’s so much potential here, yes, it’s like Final Destination but it’s for a new audience and generation and it could work well. The whole “user agreement” thing, does not accepting that prevent your fate? What if you download it but then never do anything with it? There are too many questions. Also, is the entity that’s killing them showing them visions of people they might have been responsible for hurting/killing to make them more scared? (It, Supernatural and Escape Room) It just feels like other movies packed into one with an interesting premise but because it’s not really adding anything new it feels old. Plus, I want to know more about Michael and his brother, I wish we would have got to see a lot more of with him.
Subplot in the Hospital. I don’t want to give too much away in case you want to watch this lol but there’s this entire thing with Beck, I mean Quinn (Elizabeth Lail) where this guy is a creeper and it’s this whole thing and I just did not care. I get it because you wanted to show he’s a scumbag so when they do their plan at the end, you don’t feel bad but who cares? If you took that entire subplot out of the film, it will not take anything away. If you wanted to do a showcase of real-life issues with women, cool but it didn’t work for me, it felt shoehorned.
Overall, I enjoyed myself to be honest. I mean, I don’t think the movie is horrible, it’s okay but it’s not quite good either. Maybe if I was more of a horror fan, I would have disliked it more. But since I don’t watch horror often it didn’t bother me that much? lol I don’t know. I know the acting was fine, the tension was handled well particularly the bathroom sequence and the premise is interesting, but it’s bogged down by the typical stupid character trope, the characters are also not that interesting. They have bits and pieces but overall, meh. The subplot in the hospital with Quinn and that man was just unnecessary filler, I get it, but I didn’t need it. Lastly, the actual scares were lame. The tension was pretty good, and it sucked that the scares didn’t deliver.
Rating: 2.9 out of 5 stars. 
Have you seen Countdown? What did you think about it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
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Movie Review: Yesterday (2019)

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Summary: A struggling musician realizes he’s the only person on Earth who can remember The Beatles after waking up in an alternate timeline where they never existed.
Pros:
Cast and Characters.
  • Himesh Patel as Jack Malik. I think it’s super cool that he is the lead and a person of color of this “romantic comedy” film. Jack is just a regular guy, there’s nothing remarkable about him other than he can sing but his songs are shite lol. He’s been at this for a long time and he’s getting burnt out and he’s ready to give up. Then suddenly, he gets hit by a bus (which by the way, all electricity went out but that includes bus headlights? And if that’s the case, why would the bus driver keep driving if you can’t see? Stop!) and he wakes up in a world where the Beatles among other things no longer exist. He then gets the idea to try and remember all the Beatles’ song since he seems to be the only one who remembers and become famous from it. I think many people would try this and he’s mostly successful at it. The biggest problem comes when he starts to feel that he’s living a lie and then all the “romantic” stuff happening, it’s fine. I liked him. Yeah, his character isn’t remarkable, he’s fine but I liked this actor though, he had a great voice, I generally liked his energy and I would be happy to see him in more films.
  • Lily James as Ellie Appleton. I am family with her, I think she’s likable in everything I’ve seen her in so far and Ellie is no exception. I do think she falls into the “typical love interest” role which was a bit irritating, but I think as Jack’s best friend and someone he trusts, him being someone she trusts, you believe in their friendship. She was good.
  • Joel Fry as Rocky. He’s probably my favorite character just because he was all over the place but still managed to be reliable. This guy was in Game of Thrones, he was that guy from Meereen who was gonna marry Dany, but he was killed (spoilers? lol) and it was so cool to see him be this completely different character. He was a bit of a drunk but functioning. He was a good friend to Jack; he was pretty much a person who had his back the entire time even if no one quite took him seriously. I liked him. His humor was on point and his delivery was great.
  • Ed Sheeran as himself. He literally plays himself and I like him so that’s okay with me. I don’t know him personally, so I don’t know if he was playing true to himself or a parody of himself. But he hears Jack’s song, gives him a call, they talk, and he was just so personable. It was really cool to see. I also liked how while he was clearly upset by it, he agreed that Jack was a better songwriter, even though technically he’s not since it’s the Beatles lol. But I thoroughly enjoyed seeing him.
  • Kate McKinnon as Debra Hammer. I don’t always find her funny, it really depends but I do think her facial expressions are great even if what she’s saying isn’t funny. This movie gives her great moments for amazing face comedy. She’s Ed Sheeran’s manager and wants to also manage Jack and what’s funny about her, is how much she seems to dislike Jack because he’s so blah to her lol. It’s funny mostly. Kate McKinnon is fun in this role.
Cute and Charming. I didn’t think it was going to necessarily have that big of a romance subplot, but it does and while I don’t think the movie needed it, overall it was a charming movie.
Interesting Premise. I really like the idea of this film. We’ve seen similar things where people wake up and they no longer exist in the world, usually after a wish, but nothing like that that I can recall anyway. I like the idea that something has changed that means so much to so many people but then it’s just gone, and no one is the wiser. Super interesting and I wish the movie would have handled that idea a bit better. Yeah, we get some moments where Jack would say something, and no one would know what he’s talking about lol that’s cool and makes for some humor.
Cons:
Under-explored. This movie has a great premise, of course you know that something happens, and Jack wakes up in a world where The Beatles didn’t exist. We learn of other consequences of this world, but we never quite go deeper into how many things have changed. If an entire brand/company has disappeared, what all has changed? It’s not like this movie was set in a different time period, so I wish we got to see more of what was different in this world and what that meant for the culture. A lot of the stuff that disappeared had cultural (pop culture or otherwise) significance. We were never told what happened to this stuff that no longer exists! For example, a cigarette, that’s gone. But what is in its place? We are never told why that random black out happened. It’s magic? But why now? Did the universe just want to give Jack a chance? I need to know more. Perhaps it would have been better as a short film instead of feature length.
The Impact of the Music. I will never say I am the biggest fan of The Beatles. I know a few of their songs that I can recognize but nothing that I can say I know the lyrics to. At least not in their entirety. But even I know that The Beatles have HUGE cultural impact, and nothing seemed all that different. I feel like there would be a ton of things that were different, among all of the other things and even when Jack does the songs like they’re his own, people love them because they’re great songs but do they mean anything other than him being a good “singer/songwriter”? You don’t see any type of impact other than it’s a great listen lol.
The Romance Subplot. It’s cute but I don’t think the movie needs it. I really wish the movie didn’t do it because there wasn’t much an indication that Jack felt romantically towards Ellie. I thought she might like him but since he didn’t reciprocate, nothing would happen. My friend thought the opposite of him liking her without her returning the feelings. I think that’s a problem if two people get two different vibes, it means either the actors didn’t sell it well enough in the beginning or the writing just wasn’t there to support that. Sure, you can say “interpretation”, but I still think it was a weak addition to the story. They could have just been friends.
Overall, I think Yesterday is super cute. I don’t think it’s anything to write home to your mom about but if you want something charming, light-hearted with good comedy and music, then this is a good movie to try. Not to mention, the lead actor is brown, which is always a plus. The characters were good, the comedy landed mostly, I thought Ed Sheeran was great, even if he was playing himself lol. The premise is interesting but with that said, it might have benefited from being a short instead of a feature. The premise, while interesting, is under explored and the romance wasn’t needed. But in the end, Yesterday is cute.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars. 
Have you seen Yesterday? What did you think of it? What is your favorite Beatles song?

Movie Review: Parasite (2019)

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I’m going to try and not give much away because I think if you’re watching this film for the first time, you should go into it without knowing much about it. It works better that way I think. I wanted to see it and had no idea what it was about, and it made an amazing impact.
Summary: A poor family, the Kims, con their way into becoming the servants of a rich family, the Parks. But their easy life gets complicated when their deception is threatened with exposure.
Pros:
Cast and Characters. Let me just say, this movie of course is an international film and if they didn’t have subtitles, I think it would be okay. The acting is so great, and the story is pretty clear that if you didn’t know what they were saying (even without subs) you would totally get it.
The Kim Family. This is the main family of the film and we spend the most time with them. We get to see them as a family and then in other places in the film.
  • Song Kang-ho as Kim Ki-taek. He is the father of the Kim family and I think he really gets a lot of “stuff” in the latter half of the film. He’s the patriarch of the family but he really just falls into line with their plan. It’s the later stuff that he does that’s intense. This actor is amazing. The subtle things he would do with his facial expressions whenever he felt some type of way was super great.
  • Choi Woo-shik as Kim Ki-woo. He is the son of the Kim family and he’s the one who starts the whole thing basically. He gets introduced to the Park family by a friend and things go on from there. I think he’s the youngest, feels like it lol but I think he’s the one who is the most sympathetic in the family due to some of the choices he makes later. I really liked him, the young actor was great and likable.
  • Park So-dam as Kim Ki-jeong. She is the daughter of the Kim family and my favorite character. She was just the most interesting and I wish we got to see more of what she was doing while in her therapist position. But she was so quick to think of solutions, she was pretty ruthless and always mellow, it came off a little uncaring at times. That’s what made her so interesting, she wasn’t as emotional as the others in her family when it came to certain situations. The actress was great, watching her react to things or even her delivery was amazing.
  • Jang Hye-jin as Kim Chung-sook. She is the mother of the Kim family. She gets brought into the plan later but like the others she adapts to her role. She was probably like the daughter in being a little less emotional then the father and son, which worked out for her mostly. She also was quick on her feet and adaptable. The actress was great, she felt like the mother and while her kids were obviously super smart, she was the one who had to do the most interacting with the Park family.
The Park Family. Outside of the mother, they’re supporting characters, so I won’t get into each of them. This will include their housekeeper as well.
  • Cho Yeo-jeong as Choi Yeon-gyo. She is the mother of the Park family and they do describe her as being a little simple and she is with the best of intentions. She wants the best for her family, especially her kids. She is likable and sweet. You root for her. The actress was great, she really gave off this innocent vibe and had great chemistry with everyone since she literally interacts with everyone.
  • Lee Sun-kyun as Park Dong-ik. He is the father of the Park family and we don’t see him for a little while but when we do, he’s not a terrible person or anything. He also loves his family; he might be a little distant with his work, but he cares about his kids. This is evident when he allows his son to camp outside in the storm and he has a walkie talkie to stay in contact.
  • Jung Ji-so as Park Da-hye. She is the daughter of the Park family and she mostly interacts with son from the Kim family. I have some questions about this little girl lol
  • Jung Hyeon-jun as Park Da-song. He is the son of the Park family and there isn’t a ton to say about him. The kid is smart and perceptive.
  • Lee Jung-eun as Gook Moon-gwang. She is the housekeeper of the Park family and it’s clear she is a problem once we start to realize what the Kim’s plan is. She just does her job in the beginning, but she becomes a bit more important during the second half of the film.
The Story! Again, had no idea what it was about but the title becomes super clear and I was into it. The Kim family isn’t that well off and they’re smart enough to try and figure out ways to make a little more money. Yep, that’s all I’m going to say because it’s just so good.
The Second Half. The first half is great as it sets up a lot stuff, but the second half is when shit really hits the fan and things just get out of hand. I was already into it before, but it just went off the rails and it was wonderful. This is also where Mr. Kim really begins to shine.
Cinematography. I don’t know if this was just me, but I loved how the film looked different depending on where they were. For example, whenever the Kim family was in their own home, it looked “gritter, darker, grimy and dirtier” but whenever they were in the Park home, it seemed brighter and more open. Like I said, it could have just been me, but I love when films make use of color and light to indicate different places/social classes or whatever.
Wildly Entertaining. There’s never a dull moment. Even when the film slows down (which is not like it’s super-fast paced) it doesn’t feel like it’s slowing down. Yes, the film is long, and I think you can feel that it’s long but it’s not a bad realization of the length. It’s so great!
Cons:
Kind of Dumb Characters. When I say this, I don’t mean that they’re horrible or anything, clearly as the glowing review I gave in the pro section of this review. By “dumb”, I just mean that they do some stupid stuff when they’re so smart throughout the movie. I suppose they’re human, so I get how they got to where they were. But the part in the house where they trip down the stairs, none of that would have happened if they weren’t being nosy lol. Or if they didn’t open the door in that same sequence. It was still great stuff, but I was like ‘y’all too smart for this nonsense.”
Overall, this movie is amazing. If I’d seen it in 2019 it would have been the #1 film on my Best of the Year list because it’s just that good. I mean, I have one con but it’s super minor to me because people are people and will make stupid decisions lol. Even the smart ones. The cast is amazing and so magnetic to watch. The characters are well written and super interesting, every single one of them. The story is awesome and sure it’s not original BUT it just feels fresh and way more interesting than I’ve ever seen it. The cinematography is cool, especially if they did what I thought they did lol. It’s such a great, wild and entertaining ride, a must watch film.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. 
Have you seen Parasite? It was awarded the Best Movie of the Year at the 92nd Academy Awards. Well deserved.
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Movie Review: Dolittle (2019)

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Summary: A physician discovers that he can talk to animals.
Pros:
The Actors/Voice Acting. Most of the characters are CGI animals with only a few humans we see or interact with throughout the film. But overall, the voice acting is really good. 
  • Robert Downey Jr. as Dr. John Dolittle. He is a veterinarian who has the ability to speak to animals. I think RDJ is great and he’s always fun to watch. Whatever accent he was doing, I thought was a little weird, I needed subtitles and I’m usually pretty good with accents. BUT he was fun to watch, I liked his humor and the faces he made and he had great chemistry with the CGI animals. He also had pretty good chemistry with Harry Collet as Stubbins. His character starts out as a recluse when we see him, and he’s very much an oddball and he does things that make sense for who he is. I thought all of that was fine. I mean, he was fine. I think he was a great choice, I just wish he had better material. 
  • Antonio Banderas as Rassouli. I’ve always loved Antonio Banderas, it was great seeing him. His character should have been more involved. He would have been really cool to see more throughout the film. But he was great. 
  • Michael Sheen as Dr. Blair Müdfly. He is an old schoolmate and rival of Dolittle. I find Michael Sheen really funny and he’s a great actor. His character is a trip and over the top which I guess worked for this film. 
  • Harry Collett as Tommy Stubbins. He is Dolittle’s self-appointed apprentice. He grew up in a family of hunters but can’t fit in because he doesn’t want to harm animals. I guess he was needed so RDJ isn’t working off of CGI animals the entire time, and he was okay. I didn’t mind him. He was cute. 
  • Emma Thompson as Polynesia. She is a wise and headstrong macaw and Dolittle’s most trusted advisor. She is his right hand and she often puts him in his place. Honestly, Emma Thompson’s voice is always perfect lol and I think she fits this sort of role so well. She even comes to the rescue a few times. Poly ran the show lol. 
  • Rami Malek as Chee-Chee. He is an anxious but noble gorilla. I love Rami Malek, he can literally do no wrong for me. I knew his voice as soon as he started speaking lol. I liked his character because he has the potential to be strong but he’s always worried he’ll mess something up. I think he was a captive at some point which I think lends itself to that. I wish it was talked about more since he was a major character. But while I know his voice, he almost didn’t sound like himself lol. 
  • John Cena as Yoshi. He is an upbeat polar bear who wears a bashlyk. He doesn’t like the cold, which is his thing. I liked him too. He was cool and I liked his chemistry with Kumail Nanjiani’s ostrich character. He came through in a lot of intense moments and we got some funny physical comedy with him as well. Polar bears are huge. 
  • Kumail Nanjiani as Plimpton. He is a cynical and fussy but well-meaning ostrich who wears stockings and quarrels with Yoshi. I liked him a lot lol, I didn’t recognize his voice, but I’m not that familiar with him yet to know his voice off jump. But I liked the friendly rivalry he had with John Cena’s polar bear. 
  • Octavia Spencer as Dab-Dab. She is an enthusiastic and crazy duck with a wooden leg and she’s pretty great. She has some great lines. 
  • Tom Holland as Jip. He is a loyal dog who wears glasses and I wish we got to see more of him. He seemed like he was Dolittle’s left hand which was nice to see him be trusted as was but I feel like he should have been human though. 
  • Craig Robinson as Kevin. He’s always funny so him playing a crazy squirrel who throughout the movie has a vendetta against humans, because he was shot (by accident) is probably the highlight of the jokes. 
  • Ralph Fiennes as Barry. He is a ferocious tiger with gold-tipped fangs who has a past with Dolittle. This should have been explored more and it wasn’t, the potential was amazing! So much could have been done here. Ralph Fiennes has a great voice so there’s that. 
  • Selena Gomez as Betsy. She is a friendly giraffe who is hardly in this movie and I really didn’t recognize her voice lol. But I think she does great with voice overs. 
  • Marion Cotillard as Tutu. She is hardly in this movie lol, but I love her voice. She’s a French fox who is friends with Betsy.
  • Jason Mantzoukas as James. He is a wisecracking dragonfly who meets Dolittle in a prison cell from which he helps him escape. I find this actor funny most times and his delivery is great. His moments on screen were pretty funny. 
It’s Entertaining/Cute. This movie is really cute and entertaining. I had a good time. I didn’t hate it while I watched it. The animals were cute, I thought the voice acting was really good and oddly enough RDJ had great chemistry with CGI animals lol. It has a feeling there should be a moment of wonder and awe and those instances are there, it just doesn’t make it. I guess that turned negative but I can’t help but to say there’s so much potential but clearly something wrong happened behind the scenes. I just… *sighs* I had a good time, but I feel like it might have been because I saw it with my mom. 
Tons of Potential. It’s really annoying how much potential this movie has! Sure, it’s not going to be like Rex Harrison’s film or Eddie Murphy’s but I feel that it could have been a bit more… serious. Not that it has to be gritty or that it can’t be silly, but I felt like there was this filter over it that it didn’t need. I really wanted the story to involve the mystery woman we learn about in the opening. T
The CGI Animals. I think overall, it was done really well. Before the animals started talking, I’m sure they used real animals because once they started talking, it was like this weird shift of reality to animation. It’s really obvious. But outside of that, I thought it was done really well. It’s not like photorealistic or anything but in terms of having their mouths actually move and moving around without being too crazy.
Cons:
Needed a Better Adventure. This adventure is super pedestrian and something we’ve seen fifty million times and while I had a good time, I thought it should have been something else. We learn something about a woman and she plays a large role even though we rarely see her, but I think she should have been the adventure. Finding her, finding out she’s a villain or something else that would have been more interesting. But I guess because it’s geared towards kids, that might have been “too complicated” but ya know, kids are smart. Just saying. 
For Kids. It has this “for kids” feel to it and I think that’s a problem I had throughout. It feels very pedestrian and almost like my hand is being held. I mean, I guess I wasn’t the audience for the film, but I didn’t think it would be like that exactly. If you put it on for your 3-7 year old, they could enjoy it without a problem because of the funny polar bear and ostrich and the jokes from the squirrel and duck. I just wish studios would make movies like this more “mature” because younger kids can clearly watch movies that may be geared towards them but are smarter. I mean, have you seen Coco? Or Zootopia? Sheesh. I’m sick of fart jokes! Maybe it’s funny once but it’s not funny anymore times after that. It’s stupid. 
Nitpick: Narration. This is minor but I say this all the time, I REALLY DISLIKE NARRATION. It’s a cutesy story so of COURSE there is friggin narration. UUGGGHHH!! Emma Thompson’s parrot Poly is narrating the story since she’s Dolittle’s right hand. There’s really cute animation at the beginning that tells us up to the point of the movie start and I don’t think she needed to narrate. I actually wished it was just music and animation. It was clear enough to understand and I think it would have made more of an impact, especially if they went with my idea of the mystery woman being a villain or misunderstood or something later. *sighs*
Overall, I saw this movie with my mom and we had a good time. She loves RDJ and I really like him as well and he’s always fun to watch. We laughed a lot together and I think there is a lot to like about it. It’s bright, it has a beautiful look to it, the CGI animation is really good for the most part on the animals, except that dragon. I didn’t think that was as good as it could have been. The voice acting is good and this group seemed to fit well together. There was a ton of potential in the film and it’s a good time. If a family goes to see it, especially if they have younger kids, they’ll most likely have a great time. Now, I do think the CGI in some places wasn’t so great as I said before lol. It’s for kids and it really feels like that when I think it shouldn’t feel like a kids movie. I also think the adventure was lame. I get it and it had some stakes… I guess but it was too silly. In the end, sure, it’s okay. I had fun.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars. 
Have you seen Dolittle? What are your thoughts on it? RDJ has played Sherlock Holmes and now Dr. Dolittle, what classic character would you like to see him take on? Tell me your thoughts in the comments below!

Movie Review: A Fall From Grace(2020)

 

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First movie review of the new decade! Whooo! It’s not going to be a good one lol.
Disclaimer: As you probably know from my Acrimony review, I generally do not like Tyler Perry films. I have nothing against the man. I think it’s wonderful that he has given work to black actors, a lot of them he gave them their start so I think that’s great. I also think it’s great that he wants to tell stories with black people at the forefront. My problem comes that most of the time, they are very pedestrian, stereotypical and follow the same formula. It usually always follows a black woman who was in a bad relationship with a man. Or has fallen on some hard times and she might be super mean or bitter.
I just don’t personally dig those movies, I’m sick of them. I like Diary of a Mad Black Woman and I think I Can Do Bad All By Myself is his best film. It’s been years since I’ve last seen either film so it might be different. So that’s it.
There will be spoilers for this movie because I’m sure most of y’all have watched it and if you haven’t, you really don’t care lol, I promise you you don’t. 
Summary: Disheartened since her ex-husband’s affair, Grace Waters feels restored by a new romance. But when secrets erode her short-lived joy, Grace’s vulnerable side turns violent.
Pros:
It’s Wild. Kind of Enjoyable. I didn’t turn it off nor did I go “okay, I can’t do it anymore,” like I did with Acrimony. It’s not something I’ll ever watch again but I did laugh in shock at some the moments between Grace and Shannon. “Ashtray b****!” is iconic, I’m sorry lol, I cracked up. I also enjoyed the sheer craziness of this plot, especially the “twist” at the end. I believe I sat on my bed like…
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I mean this movie is crazy! It’s a ride… it’s a ride. That’s all I can say because it… it’s a ride lol.
Story Potential. There’s a lot of potential in this film and in this story. It’s nothing new, I’ve seen this story done better. But I do think there’s a ton of potential because the idea of a woman being seduced by a charismatic, “good looking” younger man is always fun, especially when it turns out he’s not as great as he should be. I hate the whole “I’m going to tell you this story and it’s gonna be a flashback” thing unless it’s done well but Tyler Perry did it with his Confessions of his Marriage Counselor (which I also hated). If he didn’t want the film to be linear, sure, that’s fine. But I think there are other ways around making it not linear that doesn’t include just having Grace recount her story to someone else and her narration. I was going to write out what I would have done instead but I decided, nope, I don’t care. But I will say this, instead of starting out the way it did, it should have started like: Ringing (like the ringing in the ears sound) and a close up of Grace’s face when she smacked Shannon with that bat in her house, so we’re like “Whhha just happened”. Then have a silent montage of her getting arrested after she called the police to confess. While she’s being walked out, or being processed or whatever, they should have had her flashbacks playing in flashes with her meeting him or whatever. That’s what I got to share and that’s it.
Acting… sometimes. I think Phylicia Rashad is always good and she was good in this film. I think she was the only one who was consistently good. Her character was just the best friend to the main character and she was fine until all the twists at the end and they got crazy. Cicely Tyson is always good as well, but she was wasted in this film. Mehcad Brooks has the best line in the movie though lol “Ashtray b****!” lol I’m still laughing at that.
Cons:
The Acting. For the most part, it’s so bad. I’m sure Crystal Fox is a wonderful woman and she has her moments of being okay, but when she’s being all yelly at Shannon, it just made me laugh. I didn’t believe her at all. Breesha Webb just looked scared the entire movie as Jasmine and her delivery was generally pretty bad. There’s a scene between her and Jordan where he tells her to eat her food and she says “I don’t want it! Who are you my father!? I DON’T WANT IT!” and it was so bad, I rewound the scene because I cackled so hard. Office Jordan was really bad (he was cute though lol), the two other DAs were horrible, especially the woman. Anytime she spoke, she sounded like she was talking to her homegirl and they were trying to sound “serious” or something. I don’t know, but it was really bad. It’s just so bad! It’s painful.
Stupid Characters/Decisions. First of all, everyone in this movie makes super stupid decisions! It’s annoying! I’m about to hit as many of them as I can remember. I will not watch this movie again just to clock them lol.
  1. At the beginning Jordan the worst policeman ever, is trying to prevent a woman from jumping off a roof, and there is a helicopter. Do helicopters just pop up when someone is trying to commit suicide and shine super bright lights on them? I mean… wow.
  2. Jasmine, the worse lawyer ever, tried to CHANGE the court proceedings while they were giving final statements. She kept trying to recall a witness after you already rested. GIRL! Is you or is you not a lawyer? I just could not.
  3. Did Jordan not recognize this house? Unless the woman at the beginning was at a different house when she fell, he was at Sarah’s house… right? I need someone to tell me.
  4. Sarah hits Jordan with a cast iron, it does nothing to him, but then she throws a bag of groceries at him like it was going to do something. Girl lol
  5. Jordan, the worst policeman ever, handcuffs Sarah and then JUST LEAVES HER! I know she is a senior citizen but she can still run. Should have handcuffed her to the chair or something.
  6. Did Jordan not teach Jasmine how to defend herself at all? How to get out of dangerous situations??? The fact that Shannon got the drop on her, sure, but she didn’t learn nothing from him? Then she was tied up, with rope, to a wooden chair. Girl, if you don’t rock yourself over, so that chair can break. Then KICK that door down, it opened outwards. UGH!!!
  7. Was there no missing posters for them old ladies they had down there in the basement? Also, there was a random young-ish woman down there, so I was confused about the whole scam they pulled.
  8. Also does no one do background checks on this woman before just letting her work for them? I mean at the end, Sarah somehow got out of those cuffs, got to another city and got a job at some old folks home. Do A BACKGROUND CHECK.
  9. Grace you’ve been friends with Sarah for 6-8 years??? You’ve never been in her house? You’ve never explored!? Girl lol.
  10. Jasmine took Cicely Tyson who is wandering around outside, saying she wanna go to her house, back inside the house… I would have called my husband who is a policeman to come back and let’s put this woman in the back of the cruiser. Girl is crazy.
  11. Why did Jordan find out about Sarah’s criminal history at the end? No one looked her up before? She was a witness; don’t they check them before the proceedings? I mean… just stupid.
  12. Shannon and Grace went to a Steak and Shake and had wine?? Where they do that at?
That’s all I got right now. lol
Way too many noticeable errors. This movie has to be the messiest movies to have ever movied. I mean, clearly there a ton that people have talked about it all and I’m going to mention it all over again because y’all, it’s a mess.
  1. The wigs. They’re all horrible. First of all, Mehcad Brooks is a beautiful, beautiful man… WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS TO HIM? That ugly wig! I feel like Jordan was wearing one too but it’s hard to say but his hair was literally the same as Shannon’s. Ugh. Grace’s wigs, maann, when she got in the shower, it didn’t look like real hair lol. Not to mention, her hair kept changing when she was in prison. I can’t lol.
  2. The dishwasher wasn’t completed lol
  3. Shannon got beat with a baseball bat, I mean, she beat his ass! Then threw him down the stairs. You trying to tell me that he got up and walked away or that Sarah helped him? And then all he had wrong with him was two black eyes (which looked so fake) and a bandage on his head? Man, he should have been in the hospital.
  4. The fact that the extra during the diner scene, clearly had food on his plate, mimed eating it but never actually ate it? Or drinking from his cup of air? Also, he would continuously stare directly into the camera, or would watch Mehcad Brooks while he would deliver his lines and it was so bad and noticeable.
Too LONG! This movie is 120 minutes long and it feels so much longer. I looked up and saw I had one hour left and I almost died. It just feels too long. It needed to be 30 minutes shorter and the production time should have been longer lol. Don’t brag about filming your movie in 5-6 days when the errors are horrible. Netflix should be ashamed of themselves for putting this movie on their service when it was clearly not finished.
Overall, I had an entire rant section but I don’t remember what I was going to rant about since I started this post a week ago lol. But this movie is bad. Sure, it’s not the worst thing I’ve seen but it’s bad and I laughed in surprise at the sheer audacity. I think it has some enjoyable moments and it’s such a ride to watch the first time because you just can’t believe what’s happening. There is a story potential, the acting is okay sometimes and it’s wild. But none of the pros outweigh the cons! I already talked pretty in length about the cons so that’s all I shall say on that. I wash my hands of this film!!
Rating: 1.89 out 5 stars.
Did you see A Fall From Grace? If so, what are your thoughts? What is your favorite Tyler Perry film?

Alyx’s Worst Movies of 2019

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You’ve seen Alyx’s Best of the Year list so now it’s time for Alyx’s Worst of the Year list. This year has been pretty good with the good movies outweighing the bad ones, at least that I saw but I still wanted to share the movies I saw that I either didn’t like, or I liked/enjoyed but recognized it wasn’t good.
In my opinion these are “Alyx’s Worst” Films of 2019.
Dishonorable Mentions: Anna, Don’t Let Go, Captive State, Ma, The Upside, Godzilla: King of Monsters, Shaft, Five Feet Apart, Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase, Tolkien
10. The Sun Is Also a Star

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This movie is very disappointing to me to the point it hurts. I was really looking forward to it even when I was skeptical about the casting. But I loved this book, I even reviewed it because I loved it so much. The movie was boring, while I thought the two leads were okay, I still feel like they were miscast. It felt too long, and it felt like nothing was happening. The characters would go place to place and then talk. Rinse repeat.
9. The Lion King

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I wasn’t going to have this on my list at first but then I thought about it and I remembered that while there was stuff, I enjoyed, there was a lot that was wrong. It’s a beautiful movie, don’t get me wrong but this is basically a shot for shot remake of the animated film which is already a great film. The cast had a lot of promise and for the most part, they delivered but there were some moments where the delivery was terrible. Sometimes the music also didn’t always make sense, like why is “Spirit” in the middle of the movie instead of in the credits? Why are they singing a love song about “love tonight” but it’s during the day? Why make Nala say a line like “lionesses attack!” when the delivery is laughable? I just can’t lol.
8. Dumbo

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I love Disney and most times they can do no wrong, but this was wrong. I love the animated film and I am always optimistic about the remakes because I’m interested in seeing what they do. But outside of Dumbo being super cute, I really disliked that they focused on the humans. I DON’T CARE ABOUT THE HUMANS. Some movies just don’t work in live action because y’all want to make the people important and I didn’t come for them! I came for the cute elephant.
7. Brightburn

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This is a movie where I was really interested in the premise because that’s an interesting premise. The idea of someone with great abilities turn evil instead of good? That’s awesome. But the acting was over the top, the story was rushed, and it just seemed like they wanted to get as many “scary/horror” moments as possible instead of giving me a well written story. There was a lot of potential here as well but alas, it was squandered.
6. Glass

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So, I loved Split and I loved James McAvoy’s character and I was into seeing what they would do with it going forward, especially once it was revealed it was part of the Unbreakable universe. This movie was going to bring together three interesting characters annnnddd… nothing. The best part of this movie was any scene with James McAvoy. Don’t get me wrong, Samuel L. Jackson and Sarah Paulson are both great but SLJ sits quietly the entire film. It was so underwhelming, and I cannot imagine what it was like for people who have been fans of Unbreakable since it came out. I mean, I cannot believe that ending and it was so lackluster. Ugh. However, that gif of The Beast running was fantastic.
5. Escape Room

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These people make stupid decisions. Again, interesting premise, especially considering escape rooms are popular. Most of the characters are extremely unlikable and the acting is also not good. It’s just bad. Some of them manage to do well but overall, it’s bad. It’s cliché. Then you have the last act of this film… WOW! This movie is not good. If you want a horror movie based on a phenomenon… don’t choose this one lol.
4. Dark Phoenix

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I normally like the X-men films. I mean, some are way better than others but for some reason, they keep attempting this story without giving it the proper attention it deserves. It felt like nothing was happening except Jean running from place to place crying. What was the point of having that alien race? That felt like it was thrown in at the last minute. Why couldn’t Chastain’s character be like a human embodiment of the phoenix force? I don’t like how they villainized Charles! What was the point of even having Erik in this movie if he effed off to some peaceful colony? People still feel useless, but they keep putting them in these films! I just! I don’t get it! This movie was soulless! The potential is there and that’s why it’s so high! Because it makes me mad!
3. The Intruder

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This is a movie we’ve seen 50 million times and it’s just not good! I hated these characters, especially Megan Goode’s character, she is the reason a lot of the stupid stuff happens in this movie. Girl, your husband said he didn’t like or trust this man, stop letting him come in your house! I wanted to smack the taste out of her mouth. Ugh! Then the music would assault to let me know something was about to happen instead of just letting it happen. If you’re a thriller, THRILL me, don’t ASSAULT me. Man, I want to fight this movie lol. I’m getting mad just thinking about it.
2. Gemini Man

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I did not like this movie and I think it sucks because there’s a ton of potential in it. The acting is fine and most times the CGI is good for young Will but the CGI on other stuff doesn’t work for me. The story also isn’t that interesting, and the movie feels like it was made in the wrong time. It feels dated. I didn’t like it lol.
1. Men in Black: International

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I didn’t really expect much from this movie to be honest but literally no one cared about this movie. Hemsworth and Thompson were great because they are and they have great chemistry but the story, was so bad. I can’t even tell you what happened in it because I literally did not care. This is the worst movie of the year to me because it just felt like them trying to “reboot” this franchise, but they had no idea how to accomplish that.
That’s it! That’s my list! I hope you all have enjoyed spending the movies of 2019 with me! Please in the comments share your WORST movies of 2019. 
Happy New Year!