Tag Archives: movie reviews

Movie Review – Life (2017)

Ryan Reynolds.  Jake Gyllenaal.  A murderous space amoeba.

BQB here with a review of Life.

Our tale begins on a happy note.  The crew of the International Space Station has received a sample of soil taken from Mars and returned via a probe.  It contains what seems to be a great scientific discovery, namely living bacteria – proof that life exists beyond Earth.

The crew seeks to study this life form but alas, said bacteria has other ideas in mind.  It’s essentially a high paced monster movie in space, as the crew try to save themselves while also trying to keep the life form from reaching Earth.

One observation is that this is really an ensemble cast.  Reynolds and Gyllenhaal are the two most recognizable stars, but they don’t drive the focus or action of the film.  Crew members Sho, Miranda, Kat, and Hugh (Hiroyuki Sanada, Rebecca Ferguson, Olga Dihovichnaya and Ariyon Bakare, respectively) all get their chance to shine.

Reynolds of Deadpool fame is snarky as always.  One day I’d like to hear the story of why a good looking dude (I’m not gay it’s just an observation) still tries so hard.  Handsome/beautiful people tend to coast on their looks – in my opinion.  Yes, I am discriminatory against the beautiful.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.  Worth a trip to the theater.

 

 

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Movie Review: Kong: Skull Island (2017)

A big ass monkey is on the loose and me without a banana.

BQB here with a review of the action blockbuster Kong: Skull Island.

SPOILERS ABOUND

You know, 3.5 readers, it seems like every decade, old King Kong is poked in the butt by Hollywood and dragged out to entertain us once again.  I assume the production meetings always go something like this:

HOLLYWOOD SUIT #1:  We want a new picture that people will see but we don’t want anything original at all.  What have you got for us, Jenkins?

JENKINS:  Um…I can haz big monkey movie?

HOLLYWOOD SUIT #1:  A new King Kong film! Brilliant!

In this film’s defense, it is the best King Kong film I’ve seen in a long time, and is much better than the 2005 tour de force with Naomi Watts and Jack Black.  In fact, the reviews I read of this film were so terrible that I went in expecting it to be a mess and was pleasantly surprised that it is actually pretty good.  The critics and I just don’t agree from time to time.

In this go around, it’s the end of the Vietnam War (cue a soundtrack that will be on the wish list of any 1970s music aficionado) and the mysterious Monarch Corporation, helmed by John Goodman, wants to take advantage of military resources in the area to lead a scientific expedition to Skull Island.  Blah, blah, blah, an ensemble cast is assembled, they get separated and end up fighting throughout the movie to avoid any host of dangers, ranging from becoming the lunch of one of the island’s nasty inhabitants to trying not to get bitch slapped by King Kong.

Among the film’s better performances:

  • Samuel L. Jackson as an Army colonel who is so angry that the U.S. has lost the Vietnam War that he sees taking down Kong as a sort of redemption.
  • Tom Hiddleston as a mercenary hired to go on the mission.  This is the first movie I have seen Tom in out of his Loki outfit and I have to say, he’s too good for this film.  He may be too good for any film.  No wonder Taylor Swift dated him.  I’m not gay and yet he makes me want to date him…platonically, because as I said, I’m not gay. His part is straightforward.  There’s little backstory or character development and yet he just acts the shit out of everything he does.  It’s like I want to reach into the screen and just tell him I’m sorry that Hollywood hasn’t found anything better for him to do.
  • Brie Larson as the usual blonde that Kong gets the hots for.  The film tries to break away from most Kong cliches, but the “Oh I’m Kong and I’m going to pick up this blonde chick and stare at her longingly and the audience will feel sorry and only Bookshelf Q. Battler will be smart enough to be disgusted by a) the beastiality undertones and b) the sheer impossible logistics of getting my gargantuan prehistoric gorilla dong anywhere near Brie Larson in any conceivable way that would remotely cause her pleasure.

By the way, King Kong roams around freely throughout the movie in the buff and his King Kong dong is nowhere to be found.  Seems like a gaping plot hole if you ask me.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.  Worth a trip to the theater.  Worth it to see it in 3-D.

 

 

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BQB’s Classic Movie Rewind – True Lies (1994)

Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Jamie Lee Curtis.  Total awesomeness.

BQB here with a review of True Lies.

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I was flipping through the channels, caught this film on TV and it immediately made me feel like a kid again.

THE PLOT:  Arnold Schwarzenegger is a secret agent for a U.S. spy organization, Omega Sector.  However, he keeps this secret from his wife, Jamie Lee Curtis, who thinks she’s married to a lame, boring computer salesman.  In search of adventure, Jamie Lee gets taken in by a used car salesman played by Bill Paxton, who pretends to be a spy in an attempt to get into her pants.

When Arnold’s real pursuit of a terrorist organization intersects with Paxton’s pursuit of Jamie Lee’s nether regions, shit hits the fan.

THE AWESOMENESS:  Movies tend to be a snapshot of the time in which they are made, and you don’t realize until years later why they are so awesome.  But here are many reasons why this movie is awesome:

  • It was Arnold at his best.  The 1980s saw Arnold with many great action films that were high on energy but low on plot.  This film was packed with great writing and comedy.  Sadly, I think it may also be the last really good movie Arnie ever made.
  • Tom Arnold proves himself.  At the time, Tom Arnold was kind of a joke as a comedian.  He was married to Roseanne Barr, and he was in a lot of crap that wasn’t funny at all, so the public perception was that he only got gigs via Roseanne related nepotism.  At least that’s what I thought at the time.  But he totally nails the part of Arnold’s bumbling loser sidekick.  He is, in many ways, the best part of the movie.
  • Eliza Dushku.  As far as I know, this was her first role, as Arnold and Jamie’s daughter, long before she became Faith the Evil Vampire Slayer on Buffy.
  • Tia Carrere.  Tia has got to be one of the most underutilized actresses in Hollywood.  She got to be Wayne’s girlfriend in Wayne’s World and then she got an awesome role in this movie as a villain.  Then she kind of disappeared.  We need a Carrere comeback.
  • Awesome action scenes, including Arnold on a horse chasing a terrorist on a motorcycle.  Arnold kicking ass in a men’s room.  Arnold fighting a terrorist with a Harrier jet.  Also, this movie was the first time I learned that Harrier jets even existed.  All jets should be Harrier jets.
  • Charlton Heston as the chief of Omega Sector.  One of his last roles.
  • When Bill Paxton passed away recently, this was the role I instantly thought of.  He was so funny as a pervy weasel.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.  Find it and watch it.

 

 

 

 

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Movie Review – Logan (2017)

Professor X dropping F bombs!  Logan beheading random bad dudes Wolvey berserker style.

BQB here with a review of Logan.

OBLIGATORY SPOILER WARNING

Twelve years into the future, the government has successfully hunted down and killed all mutant kind.  A senile, ninety-something Professor X (Sir Patrick Stewart) and Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) are hiding out in an old factory in Mexico with their albino houseboy Caliban (Stephen Merchant).

Things look grim for mutant kind but a young mutant girl Laura (Dafne Keen) may just be the key to mutant survival.  Thus, it’s up to Professor X and Logan to get her to safety.  I won’t get into the plot any deeper, but suffice it to say that the claws come in bigger, badder, nastier and often disgusting ways.

A lot has been made of the fact that this is Hugh Jackman’s last film in which he will play Wolverine.  I can’t believe it.  It feels like the X-Men movies just began yesterday.  The earlier 2000s ones were ahead of their time though they tend to get panned in light of the more recent superhero movie renaissance.  Perhaps some nerd out there can correct me but as far as I know, Hugh Jackman might just hold the trophy for the most years spent playing the same superhero.

Then again, Patrick Stewart may share that claim as he has been Professor X for as long as Jackman has played Wolverine.  And SirPatStew has said this will be the last time he plays Professor X.

It makes sense.  New life was breathed into the X-Men franchise when the timeline was tinkered with.  Younger actors were brought in to play the characters during the sixties, seventies, eighties etc.  Though I suppose that technically, Stewart and Jackman could play younger versions of themselves in those earlier timeline based movies, it would seem almost cheap as this particular film seemed like a perfect ending to the timeline that began with the early 2000s movies.

Did any of that make any sense?  Probably not.  It will when you see the movie.  All I’m basically saying is that a timeline dating back to the 1960s to 2029 has been created by all the movies made thus far, and though they could continue making movies with the younger cast, they should leave this film as the point where it all ends in 2029.

Sigh.  Hugh Jackman seemed so cool when he burst on the scene in 2000 for the first time as Wolverine and now I’m older than he was at the time.  WTF life?  WTF indeed.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.  Worth a trip to the theater.  A summer blockbuster in March.

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Movie Review – I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore (2017)

Ridiculous amounts of cartoonish violence and ennui.

BQB here with a review of Netflix’s, I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore.

Ruth (Melanie Lynskey), a nursing assistant, is epically bummed.  Inconsiderate people surround her wherever she goes.  From the guy at the supermarket who always drops something on the floor then leaves it for someone else to pick up, to the dude with unnecessarily huge exhaust pipes on his truck belching smoke into the air, to whoever is allowing their dog to poop on her lawn everyday, there just seems to be an unmitigated lack of concern for others in this world.

All these bad vibes culminate when her house is robbed.  Rather than go the usual route of being content to file a police report that goes nowhere, she snaps and sets out on a mission to hunt the house robbers down.

She finds a sidekick in her neighbor Tony (Elijah Wood), a martial arts enthusiast who is more likely to nunchuck himself than actually do anything useful.

At first, I thought this was going to be a dark comedy, almost a parody of the 1993 film Falling Down, in which frustrated office worker Michael Douglas snaps and lashes out at all the flaws in society, even going so far as to pull a gun on the fast food worker who refuses to make him breakfast after 11 am.

But no.  Instead, as Ruth and Tony delve deeper into the criminal underworld to which the home invaders belong, the violence gets bigger, badder, bolder, and frankly, ends up being absurd, comical and a gonzo-esque attempt to freak out the viewer.

I’m not sure how to describe it.  It wants to be a dark comedy but it isn’t that funny.  Or, if that was the intention, someone behind the film mistook shock for comedy.  At any rate, the body count piles up and Elijah Wood delivers the few laughs of the film.

STATUS:  Bordeling shelf-worthy.  It starts well then loses its way.  But if you’ve got Netflix and nothing else to do, check it out.

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Movie Review – Manchester by the Sea

Depression.  So much depression.  Also sadness.  Ridiculous amounts of sadness.  Did I mention the ennui?

BQB here with a view of the Oscar nominated cry fest, Manchester by the Sea.

SPOILER ALERT: Don’t read ahead if you don’t want spoilers and honestly, if you are clinically depressed or have psychiatric problems or something you probably will just want to skip this movie altogether.  I’m pretty stable myself and even I feel like blowing my brains out after watching it.

Tragedy forces Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) to leave his hometown of Manchester by the Sea.  Years later, the death of his brother forces him to return.  Ultimately, this hairy, mumbly, yeti looking prick must decide whether he will step up to the plate and raise his nephew Patrick (Lucas Hedges) or if the bad memories of his past will be too much for him to remain.

Lee is a grumpy douche.  Patrick is a grumpy douche.  For the two plus hours of the movie, you sit there and watch all sorts of things happening in excruciating detail, often too much detail, and you hope that at some point these two douches will realize that they are all the other has got and I guess I won’t spoil it for you by telling you whether or not they ever do but eventually a conclusion happens and it’s such a long road to get there that you will have probably grown a Casey Affleck beard by the time it happens.

Casey’s Oscar is well deserved though at times the film feels like a parody of the type of film that draws Oscar attention in the first place.  Start with sadness.  Add in some extra sadness.  Spoon in more sadness.  Drop it all on a sad plate with a side of sad fries.

The main theme of the film is that life goes on even after tragedies occur.  If you know someone who seems like a douche, maybe they didn’t set out to become a douche.  Maybe something tragic happened to turn them into a douche.  Maybe they can’t stop being a douche no matter how hard they try due to the memories of whatever happened to turn them into a douche.  Maybe deep down inside they don’t want to be a douche anymore they can’t help it and it isn’t as simple as telling them to just stop being a douche.

If you aren’t a douche, congratulations, maybe you have just been lucky enough to have never experienced a douche creating tragedy.  Maybe just be happy about that and try not to crap on people who have been douche-ified by circumstances they didn’t ask for.

Life goes on and those who have experienced a tragedy often wonder how the world is carrying on when something bad has happened to them.  Bottomline – you don’t matter much to the whole world, but the world that comprises the circle around your life matters to you.  Somehow you keep going but you aren’t the same and to everyone else, you’re just some douche because they don’t understand what you have been through.

Michelle Williams of Dawson’s Creek fame plays a she douche.  She also experienced tragedy and must carry on despite the douche-ifying aftermath.  Her nomination was deserved.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.  Don’t watch it if you don’t want to lose a good mood.  The only reason to watch this film is maybe if you are an actor and you can’t cry on cue.  Just pop this film on before you go on stage and bam waterworks city.

 

 

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Oscars Epic Fail

Hey 3.5 readers.  I went to bed assuming Best Picture would be given to La La Land and apparently the presenters thought that too.

Then I woke up this morning to hear there had been a flub.  Apparently, the envelopes got mixed up and La La Land had been announced for Best Picture and then after some scrambling around they announced there had been a mistake and that Moonlight had actually won.

That’s got to suck for the La La Land people to be told you won and then have your victory yanked away and it also has to suck for the Moonlight people to have their victory moment ruined.

Oh you wacky Hollywood types.

One thing we can always be sure of though is that ugly people will never win an Oscar.  Poor Michael Shannon was passed over due to his ugliness.  Such a shame because there is a lot of talent underneath all that ugly.  #OscarsSoPretty

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BQB’s Oscar Predictions – Best Picture

Hey 3.5 readers.

OK.  The coveted best picture award.  Who will win?

Let’s talk about Hollywood’s many problems this year.

First of all, if you love Donald Trump or if you hate Donald Trump, I feel like the whole “let’s make the awards shows super political” trend has been backfiring on Hollywood.  The average person goes to movies for entertainment purposes.  The average person turns on the Oscars for entertainment purposes.  The average person will make up their mind on politics based on their own beliefs, values, research, what have you.  There really won’t be any people saying, “Huh, that celebrity thinks this so I should think this.”

It also comes off as a bit disingenuous.  I mean, these people live lives the average person can’t possibly fathom.  They wear suits and gowns to an event that cost more than the average salaries of like 50 people combined and then they probably just throw those clothes away and never wear them again.

They live in fancy mansions, can buy whatever they want and get paid piles of money to play pretend all day.  Some do a better job of reaching out to those in need than others but all in all, I just don’t see any of these celebrities opening up one of the several homes they own to shelter poor people in need.  Hell, if they took like a one percent pay cut the people who fetch their coffee on set could probably earn a living wage.

All I’m saying is that it’s better to do than to say.  Celebrities say a lot.  They don’t do a lot and it’s ironic because they’re in a better position to do than anyone.

3.5 READERS: Do you have a point, BQB?

Yes.  Thank you, 3.5.

This year, the Best Picture Nominees are:

Arrival

Fences

Hacksaw Ridge

Hell or High Water

Hidden Figures

La La Land

Lion

Manchester by the Sea

Moonlight

WHO SHOULD WIN:  Though I haven’t seen it, my gut tells me any film but La La Land.  The plight of the forgotten, struggling people who keep working but never get ahead has been forefront on the public’s mind this past year.

Reflecting that mindset, you’ve got Fences, about a father who is poor and has been knocked around and yells at his son to stop dreaming about becoming a football player and get a regular, boring job and it becomes hard to tell whether the father is trying to give the kid tough love by telling him to stop chasing pie in the sky dreams and focus on reality or if the old man is so pissed off that he never made it that he feels inner jealousy at the idea of his son doing better than him.

You’ve got Hell or High Water, about two brothers cheated out of the family farm by a corrupt bank so they go on a bank robbery spree as an act of revenge against the bank that done them wrong.  The idea that people who depended on farms, factories, and other ever dwindling blue collar jobs are being forgotten is prevalent in the film.

In Manchester by the Sea, a troubled man has to raise his nephew when his brother dies.  Stepping up to do more when a relied upon family member dies is something the average people can relate to.

Moonlight – Cuban born drug dealer tries to be a part of his bullied son’s life.  A lot of people can relate to bullying, struggles with drugs and drug related crime, trying to make it as an immigrant and so on.

Hacksaw Ridge – Son tired of seeing his father beat his mother becomes so disgusted by violence that he refuses to carry a gun when he signs up to become a World War II army medic and overcomes threats of court martial and imprisonment due to his refusal to carry a weapon.  His abhorrence of violence drives him to become the best medic ever, single handedly saving tons of wounded men by dragging them down the side of Hacksaw Ridge on a rope while Japanese forces are in hot pursuit.

Hidden Figures – In the 1960s, black women overcome stereotypical views held by society about black people and women to become mathematicians, helping America win the space race.

Lion – An Indian kid gets so hopelessly lost that he is unable to find his family again.  He is adopted by an Australian couple, then years later, uses Google to locate his original family, thus highlighting how new forms of technology have helped people who in the past were not able to be helped.

La La Land – Gosling and Stone fall and love and sing and dance and shit.

WHAT WILL WIN: La La Land.  And, OK, I haven’t seen it.  Maybe it’s good.  But this is the problem.  Hollywood already gave the Oscar to a shitty love letter film to Hollywood’s greatness called Birdman in 2014, and that movie was truly a pile of crap.  It really was.

So I just think Hollywood is going to end up with a lot of egg on its face this year.  All the stars are going to rant and rave about how the government doesn’t do enough about poverty and how no one worries about poor struggling people and then all of the films about poor struggling people are going to get screwed over in honor of the film about two pretty people who have nothing better to do than fall in love and sing and dance and shit.

 

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2017 Oscar Nominated Movies that BQB Has Reviewed

Arrival 

Hacksaw Ridge 

Hell or High Water

Still need to see:

Fences

Hidden Figures

La La Land

Lion

Manchester by the Sea

Moonlight

 

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BQB’s Classic Movie Roundup – Coming to America (1988)

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Holy shit I’m so old.  I actually saw this movie as a little kid in the theater, 3.5 readers.

And now that I think of it, I probably should not have heard the phrase, “the royal penis is clean, your highness” as a kid, but oh well, I turned out fine.  I run a successful blog with 3.5 readers, after all.

If you haven’t seen this yet, you have to.  I was running through the channels tonight and it came on and I was glued.  It’s got to be Eddie Murphy’s most memorable movie and even though it’s a comedy, I think the late 1980s Academy was in remiss for not giving it some Oscar love because it is as funny as it is touching.

Eddie Murphy plays Akeem, Prince of the fictional African nation, Zamunda.  His father, King Jaffe Joffer (James Earl Jones) has arranged a marriage between Akeem and a fine ass babe that will do anything that Akeem wants, but Akeem is, you know, a deep thinker.  He wants a woman who will love him for his mind, not his money and better yet, a woman who he will actually be able to connect with and talk to, an intellectual type.

So, Akeem and his trusty manservant, Semmi (Arsenio Hall) shuffle off to Queens, New York, where those pose as a pair of fast food joint workers.  Akeem falls for the owner’s daughter, Lisa (Shari Headley), but he must juggle his dopey poor man act while fending off Lisa’s douchey rich boyfriend/Jheri curl empire heir (a young Eriq La Salle before he became a doctor on ER), dealing with Lisa’s disapproving father (John Amos) and taking down a stick-up man (a young Samuel L. Jackson, long before he got tired of these mother effing snakes on this mother effing plane).

I spent so much of my youth quoting lines from this movie.  Check it out, 3.5.  You won’t be sorry.

 

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