Thanks to the beauty of MoviePass, I am now able to enjoy watching more movies than I usually have in the past. But will this turn out to become a curse and that I end up wasting time by watching bad movies? Let’s see how this month turned out. Warning, this article will contain minor spoilers.
#1 – Shape of Water
The Four time Oscar winner and Best Motion Picture of the Year completely deserves all the awards it has won. Directed by Oscar winning director, Guillermo Del Toro, The Shape of Water is the story of Elsa, a mute trapped in her isolated life as a janitor. She later crosses paths with a secret government experiment that brings huge changes in her life.
Set in the 60s but you wouldn’t know it with the very vivd art style and beautiful music, it really pulls you into the world bot visually and musically. Every character, even down to the side characters, had a huge backstory that made me want to know more about what brought each of them together.
It did lose me only at one point, the dance fantasy. I may have laughed too loud and inappropriately at that scene. Other than that, everything else was great and shot well. All topped of with a great story.
#2 – Love, Simon
Simon has kept his secret about being gay from his friends, family, and everyone from school. With no one to talk to, he finds someone to relate to through the school’s local social site going by the name Blue. They later connect on another level through email which leads Simon to figure out who Blue really is.
Even though the setting is mostly around their high school, the story wasn’t treated like a typical high school themed movie. It took it’s time to set up Simon’s world and how important his family and friends are to him. Even during his search to find Blue, Simon does still have a good time and even tries to help his friends with their problems as well. The more you know about Simon, the more you can relate with what he’s going through on some level.
There are a lot of tense scenes in the movie. The one that left an impact was when Simon berates Martin for taking his secret and exposing it to the world. The amount of emotion Simon let out was just amazing. The scene with Simon’s Dad afterwards brought a tear to my eye. On a funnier note, the drama teacher and the “trying too hard to be cool” principal had some standout moments as well.
#3 – Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
New adventure on the Jumanji formula with The Rock, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, and Karen Gillan playing video game avatars that are the complete opposites of their real life counterparts.
Great family fun type of movie that ended up being a runaway train of good hype. Right amount of action, right amount of jokes, nothing too forced unlike The Rock’s previous movie Baywatch. I can see why this movie will be a family favorite and why it has made close to $1 billion worldwide. It was better than expected, I was entertained.
#4 – Thoroughbreds
Two suburban high school girls that used to be childhood friends comeback together to hatch a plan to kill an overbearing control freak stepfather.
I went into this movie cold, not knowing it was supposed to be a dark comedy. I treated it more of a thriller. “Horrible Rich Human Beings” The Movie was the title going around after the show ended. So one girl kills her own horse as a kid, and the other thinks she could come up with a plan to kill her stepfather? Then they blackmail a minor drug dealer to do the hit for them?
I did like how some of the camera shots were set, I felt like I could really get lost in the giant maze of a mansion that most of the movie’s setting was placed. The audio and sound effects did play a big part in the suspense as well. In the end, it was just hard to relate with the main characters and their actions.
#5 – Tomb Raider
In a reboot of the older Tomb Raider 2001 movie to match up with the reboot of the Tomb Raider video game series in 2013, the story is of Lara Croft bypassing her inheritance to the Croft family fortune and trying to find out what happened to her missing father.
As much as I like the new version of Lara Croft and Alicia Vikander playing her seems like a a perfect match, there felt like there was something missing. Yes, she is more of a MMA fighting, bow carrying, puzzle solving Lara but I felt she could have been killed at any moment. I know this ties into the video games more accurately but they may have gone too far to tease her sometimes gruesome deaths in the game. It felt like a very one to one in certain scenes from the games, but then it loses some movie magic when you do that. They couldn’t find the right balance and I had to suspend belief a few times in some scenes. “Hey, that floor is slooooowly crumbling apart” while trying to solve a puzzle loses a sense of urgency if this was more in the game.
#6 – Ready Player One
In 2045, people escape the real world to play a VR MMO called the OASIS for the chance to win a giant fortune and control over that virtual world.
*Takes a deep breath*
“Socially Awkward Gamer’s Ultra Super Fanfiction” The Movie. It’s a visual nonstop festival that uses a tone of 80s-90s nostalgia reminders than nostalgia trips. Even being a an 80s-90s child I though I would get some of the references but I felt like a bunch just flew over my head. I guess I wasn’t as nerdy of a child as I thought I was. There was nods to current franchises that could be nostalgic in 2045 like Borderlands and Overwatch, but I have a feeling that was more for the current group of kids going to watch the film.
The one scene when Parzival and Art3is were trying to verify Halliday’s love of GoldenEye, I remember very well a group of teenagers in front of me saying “WTF is GoldenEye??” “It’s a real crappy shooter.” The teenager in me was yelling, “GoldenEye was my jam!” while the adult me was thinking, “Yup, it’s not that good now.”
Probably the most popular scene in the movie will be The Shining level. I thought this was well done and the fact you get to see people failing during this run made me chuckle a few times.
The final battle… So if you had a toy box filled with hundreds of 80s and 90s toys and you threw them in the air and all over the room, you have the final battle. Doesn’t matter who the toys were, they were just there. You could have plugged in anything to fill in for any of the cameos, in fact that could be said for the whole movie. “Hey there was ___” or “I just saw ___, that was nice.” I felt the movie was overstaying its welcome at this point. I had a huge eye-rolling moment when the Iron Giant pulled a Terminator thumbs up. At that point, under my breath I said, “Really?”
So what top you do when you take out all the nods to nostalgia that is supposedly supposed to pull at your inner child’s heart strings ? What are you left with? A very stale 80’s movie with the protagonist, his love interest, and their cast of wacky minorities going up against an evil CEO and corporation just with graphics set to high. Yes the CG was very impressive, but in the video game world when you are all graphics and no substance it usually makes for a bad game with a bad story and a lame ending. This rings true for Ready Player One.
#7 – Wrinkle In Time
After the disappearance of Meg’s scientist father, she runs into three magical beings to fight a terrible evil and hopefully bring him home.
Oh man was this bad… I think I picked up my phone maybe 20-30 minutes in I lost interest that much. Want weird characters that are supposed to be quirky but just felt flat? Check. Want pointless CG scenes including one where Reese Witherspoon turns into a flying lettuce monster? Check. What about a giant CG Oprah with no enthusiasm seemingly reading from a teleprompter? Check. Bad child acting? Weirdly framed shots? Wrongly placed dialogue? “I like your hair…” Triple check. Tentacle monster? What the hell did I watch??
Just goes to show that Disney doesn’t always have the magic, can’t expect to add Disney to everything and it just turn out good. Wrinkle In Time? Waste of time.
Hopefully sharing my movie experiences will influence you to get out and find movies you enjoy. If you would like more of my initial impressions right after viewing, feel free to follow me on all social media @TakeoRey. Let’s hope next month’s movies will be better than the last!