The Magnificent Seven (2016)- Movie Review

What is it about?
Directed by Antoine Fuqua, The Magnificent Seven is a remake of the 1960 film The Magnificent Seven, which is also a remake of the 1954 classic Japanese action film Seven Samurai. It’s set in the town Rose Creek in 1879, where industrialist Bartholomew Bogue (played by Peter Sarsgaard) is taking over the town, and forcing people to abandon it, so he can mine it for gold. Rose Creek resident Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett), whose husband was killed by Bogue hires bounty hunter Sam Chisolm (portrayed by Denzel Washington) to fight off Bogue and reclaim their land. Chisolm recruits a team of seven, including gambler Josh Farraday (played by Chris Pratt), Confederate sharpshooter Goodnight Robicheaux (played excellently by Ethan Hawke), knife-wielding assasin Billy Rocks (Byung-hun Lee), expert tracker Jack Horne (played by Vincent D’onofrio), outlaw Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), and Comanche warrior Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier). And so the seven try to stop Bogue and reclaim Rose Creek.

How is it? 7.5/10                                                                                                                    The Magnificent Seven is an entertaining, fun Western that has a great cast, great characters, and thrilling action. The movie also has a great score throughout that helps with the tone of the movie. Another plus is its scenery: a couple shots of the CGI mountains are quite nice to look at. Where the movie does encounter problems is in its pacing and length. For starters. the movie begins slow. There’s nothing wrong with its intense beginning that introduces us to Bogue, it’s just that it takes too long to get to its main characters. Also, it waits until the end for the action, and spends too much time preparing for the fight instead of just getting to it. Now to the length. The movie stands at a lengthy 2 hours and 13 minutes. The movie wastes some time at the beginning, and as I’ve mentioned, preparing for the final fight. It could’ve been much more concise, and would’ve felt more action packed if it had done that.

How are the acting, characters, and chemistry? 8.4/10
One great aspect of this movie is its acting. Denzel Washington was one of its biggest standouts. His portrayal of Chisolm is very realistic and really brings the character to life. Chris Pratt is also awesome. He brings no shortage of humor, and acts pretty well as the tricky gambler. Also, Ethan Hawke acts great as a Confederate sharpshooter haunted by the lives he took. His character has a satisfying arc and definitely, along with everyone else, kicks butt in that finale. The cast’s interactions are also top notch, and makes the film more entertaining. The characters are all very interesting, and have great development throughout, except for a couple ones that are actually underdeveloped. Haley Bennet is great as Emma Cullen, who is also a very strong, well-executed character. Finally, they did a good job making the villain menacing, and although he isn’t present for the middle chunk of the movie, when he shows up, it pays off, not to mention that he was quite well-acted.

How is the action and humor? 8/10                                                                               The action in The Magnificent Seven may not be present for a large amount of time, but when it comes, believe me, it delivers. The last two fights of the movie are breathtaking, and so entertaining. The choreography of the action is also great, and while it may seem a little busy at times, it’s still super fun to watch. Finally, the movie actually has quite a bit of humor. Chris Pratt brings quite a bit of it, but each member of the cast has their comedic moment. This does its job of lightening the tone of the movie when it needs to, and also adds to the sheer fun of the movie.

In conclusion, The Magnificent Seven is a great Western that may have its pacing and length problems, but delivers on the action, humor, and acting fronts.

Suicide Squad- Movie Review

What is it about?                                                                                                                     Suicide Squad is about a group of notorious supervillains recruited by a stone cold government agent named Amanda Waller (played perfectly by Viola Davis) to fight missions that will likely result in their deaths. These “metahumans” (superhumans), include: Deadshot (played by Will Smith), a hitman with incredible aim; Harley Quinn (played by Margot Robbie), a woman whose insanity and gymnastic skills make her lethal; El Diablo (portrayed by Jay Hernandez), a metahuman that can manipulate fire; Captain Boomerang (played by Jai Courtney), a thief that is incredibly skilled with boomerangs (trust me, it’s not as ridiculous as it sounds); Killer Croc (played by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), a human crocodile (yes, you read that right); and Slipknot, a man who’s…good at climbing ropes (yeah, this one is actually ridiculous). They are led by Col. Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman and joined by samurai Katana (Karen Fukahara) whose sword “captures the souls of its victims”. They are sent to capture/stop a extremely powerful villain, whose identity is a minor spoiler. However, the Joker (played by Jared Leto), who has a romance with Harley Quinn, threatens to set the mission off-course.

How is it? 7.8/10                                                                                                                  Suicide Squad is a great, albeit flawed, movie full of awesome action sequences, lots of humor, and definitely more than Batman v Superman, an amazing cast, and great characters. The movie benefits from an overall fun tone, and is a super enjoyable, entertaining movie. Another plus is the movie’s soundtrack. Although some say the movie relies too heavily on music to make it better, I feel like some of the songs actually go with the tone very well. However, one down to the movie is that it does have some plot holes, and some parts don’t make sense. Also, the movie lacks a definite three act structure, and the entire second and third act is sort of just one (big) scene. How they occupy that scene, I don’t have problems with, but it is messily structured.

How is the acting, chemistry, and characters? 8.5/10                                          The performances in Suicide Squad are excellent. Margot Robbie definitely shines as insane psychiatrist-turned-supervillain Harley Quinn with an amazing performance and adds lots of humor along with the rest of the cast. Another great performance was Will Smith as Deadshot. Will Smith also adds humor, while perfectly delivering his character’s role. Another gem in this movie is Viola Davis playing Amanda Waller: she spotlessly illustrates the coldness and ruthless of her character. Jai Courtney is also actually pretty funny as Captain Boomerang. Jay Hernandez, as well, does a great job of showing how El Diablo is haunted by his unfortunate past, in which he accidentally killed many through his powers. Jared Leto is, honestly, OK as Joker. He does a relatively good job of playing Joker, and is definitely the right amount of scary at times, but his character suffers from not nearly enough screen time- the movie would’ve been the same without him. Also, Deadshot and Harley Quinn also have amazingly well-developed characters: Deadshot and his relationship with his daughter, whom he can’t see anymore, adds humanity and heart to the film, as well as Harley at times, when the movie shows her (twisted) relationship with the Joker. Also, the movie benefits greatly from the cast’s excellent chemistry. However, a major downfall is the movie’s villain, whose motivations and plan are generic and muddled. The character also lacks largely in development.

How is the action, special effects, and humor? 8.5/10                                         Suicide Squad benefits from generic, but definitely fun and enjoyable action. It’s climax may be very similar to other movies but the action is still solid. The special effects in the film are nothing special: they are just as good as any of the other blockbusters this year. Finally, the humor, as I mentioned before, is great, and is present throughout; that is, when the movie gets dark, it still generates humor to lighten the mood.

In conclusion, Suicide Squad is a great movie, with action, lots of humor, and a great cast.

 

Star Trek Beyond- Movie Review

What is it about?                                                                                                                     Star Trek Beyond follows the adventures of the USS Enterprise, led by Captain James Kirk (played by Chris Pine). The rest of the crew, including logic-driven Vulcan, Spock, the sarcastic medic Leonard McCoy (perfectly played by Karl Urban), and more are all present in the movie. Kirk is beginning to doubt his space voyages, as he approaches his birthday and grows a year older than his father lived. However, the crew is attacked by the mysterious villain Krall (played excellently by Idris Elba), and get separated. While trying to come back together, they come across the alien Jaylah (played by Sofia Boutella), who was stranded on the planet the crew crashes on.  With Jaylah’s help, the crew must band together to defeat Krall. Star Trek Beyond requires basic knowledge of Star Trek characters, and knowledge of the events of Star Trek from 2009, so read this link to fill you in on it.

How is it? 8.75/10                                                                                                                  Star Trek Beyond is a terrific movie, full of fun action, entertaining humor, and a great cast. The  fact that the characters are all separated, but paired together, brings out their great performances and awesome chemistry. This also adds to the humor. For example, logic-driven Spock and sarcastic McCoy generate lots of humor together. The movie is also very fast-paced and never feels slow, benefitting from a great story with awesome set-pieces.

How is the action and special effects? 8.5/10                                                          The action in Star Trek Beyond is boosted by amazing special effects and really cool visuals. One particular sequence, in which the Enterprise is attacked by torpedoes, showcases these awesome special effects. The action is very exciting, and never disappoints, even when there are no large-scale special effects behind it. For example, one sequence, where Jaylah fights one of Krall’s henchmen is really, really awesome, even when it doesn’t involve huge space battles.

In conclusion, Star Trek Beyond is an amazing movie that benefits from its awesome action, great special effects, wonderful humor, and great cast chemistry.

Ghostbusters (2016)- Movie Review

What is it about?                                                                                                                     Dr, Erin Gilbert (played by Kristen Wiig), a professor at Columbia University, previously wrote a book trying to prove the existence of ghosts with her former friend Dr, Abby Yates (portrayed by Melissa McCarthy), but soon abandoned the idea to become a professor. However, reports of ghosts popped up all over New York, and Erin has to reunite with Abby, and Abby’s new friend and oddball engineer, Dr. Jillian Holtzmann (terrifically played by Kate McKinnon), to catch the ghosts. With the help of Patty Jenkins (played by Leslie Jones), who knows New York inside out, the Ghostbusters set out to stop an enormous number of ghosts from taking over New York.

How is it? 8.5/10                                                                                                                     Ghosbusters is a fantastic movie with tons of great jokes, eye-popping special effects, and great action. Ghostbusters is super fun from start to finish, and has great performances from all its stars. Its minor jump-scares work as well, and even they are balanced perfectly by the wonderful humor and chemistry between the Ghostbusters. Another huge plus to the movie is Chris Hemsworth, who plays the empty-headed, but attractive receptionist Kevin. Hemsworth  terrifically plays Kevin, who generates tons of laughs throughout the movie.

How is the action, humor, and special effects? 8.5/10                                         Ghostbusters has amazing special effects throughout the movie which culminate in the final battle in Times Square. That particular sequence is packed with great special effects in the form of the CGI ghosts. The scene also contains exciting action between the Ghostbusters and the ghosts they’re trying to catch. The movie has excellent humor backed by its cast’s chemistry and great performances. Kate McKinnon is probably the funniest out of the new Ghostbusters and has lots of jokes with her oddball personality which has you laughing throughout the movie. Chris Hemsworth, as I mentioned before is also terrifically funny, producing tons of laughs with his dim-witted character.

Overall, Ghostbusters is a great movie boasting lots of laughs, awesome special effects, fantastic performances, and exciting action.

Finding Dory- Movie Review

What is it about?                                                                                                                     Finding Dory follows the story of Dory,  a blue tang fish who suffers from short-term memory loss. She can only remember that she was separated from her parents at a very young age.  As an adult, she came across a clownfish named Marlin and helped him find his son Nemo. Now, she helps Marlin raise Nemo. She remembers something about her parents and sets out to find them. She brings Nemo and Marlin along, but loses them at “The Marine Life Institute”, where she think she will find her parents. So while she sets out to find her parents, Marlin and Nemo set out to find her. Along the way, she finds Hank (voiced by Ed O’ Neill, who you may know as Jay from Modern Family) , a grumpy, but secretly caring octopus that lost a tentacle, Destiny a nearsighted, clumsy whale shark (voiced by Kaitlin Olson), and Bailey, (voiced by Ty Burrell, who plays Phil in Modern Family), a beluga whale who lost his ability of echolocation through a concussion.

How is it? 9/10                                                                                                                          Finding Dory is an excellent movie that has top-notch voice acting, amazing animation, and is a very sweet and heart-warming story. On top of all of that, Finding Dory is entertaining, and will have you smiling until the end.

How is the humor, animation, and voice acting? 9/10                                         Finding Dory is a hilarious movie, that has very funny jokes boosted by its voice acting. All of the jokes in Finding Dory work very well, and even when it gets sad, it’s funny tone returns with more great jokes. The animation in Finding Dory is beautiful, much like the short film, “Piper”, that precedes it, and is an immersive experience. Finally, the voice acting in Finding Dory is great, and fit the characters very well.

Overall, Finding Dory is a spectacular Pixar flick that is sweet, funny, and beautifully animated all at the same time.

Batman v Superman- 2nd Viewing

DISCLAIMER-Spoilers for BvS ahead

Batman v Superman just came on Blu-ray and DVD on Tuesday, so I decided to rewatch it. In rewatching it, I noticed some positive aspects I hadn’t pointed out in my original review. First off, I didn’t point out that the movie’s opening, Batman watching Superman destroy half of Metropolis in trying to fight Zod is amazing. It shows Man of Steel from Batman’s perspective, and just makes his motivations so clear–everything he built was destroyed by Superman’s immense power. It really points out just how much potential destruction Superman could cause with his powers.

Secondly, I said that the movie lacked a sense of humor and fun, and while the first part may be true, the movie is still fun. The fight scenes and overall plot is enjoyable, and the movie still has fun, just not as much humor.

Thirdly, I didn’t mention the warehouse scene. The warehouse scene, in which Batman rescues Martha Kent from Luthor’s henchmen, is amazing. Although I dislike the fact that Batman kills in this representation, this fight is simply awesome. It shows how Batman isn’t in his early years, and is experienced. The action is well-choreographed, and might be my favorite scene from the movie.

Next, I must clear up my reception of Jesse Eisenberg’s performance as Lex Luthor. Although it’s not fitting toward the character (the comic book Lex is more assertive) his performance is cool. I dislike it because it’s more of a mini-Joker or mini-Riddler. Also, he offers more philosophical ideas than you watch the movie for–you’re watching it to see Batman and Superman fight! The performances by Amy Adams and Jeremy Irons as Lois Lane and Alfred, respectively, are also pretty good.

Another issue with BvS is the actual fight you want to watch the movie for–it’s only 8 minutes long! The fight, for the time it lasts, is cool, but the reason for the fight prevents you from enjoying it. Superman and Batman are only fighting because Luthor manipulated Batman and he’s holding Martha unless Superman kills Batman. You know Superman won’t actually put up a fight because he would never kill Batman even if someone was controlling him. This prevented me from truly enjoying the fight, and even made me dislike Batman a little bit.

The death of Superman is both a positive and negative aspect of the movie. Although it is sad, his death is very well-handled and really shows how much Superman is willing to do for Earth. It shows that he accepts it as his planet, and that he is willing to sacrifice himself for it. What I dislike about his death is that He‘s. Not.  Actually. Dead. This issue has come up time and again in superhero movies. It happened with Bucky in Captain America: The First Avenger. It happened with Loki in Thor. It happened with Phil Coulson in The Avengers. I can keep going. Deaths in superhero movies have no effect anymore. You know that whoever dies is going to be brought back. Therefore, Superman’s death had no weight whatsoever. First off, they don’t even give you the benefit of the doubt–they literally show that he’s gonna be brought back by showing the dirt on his grave flying. Second of all, you know studios would never pass up on the option of having another character to sell merch with. So deaths in movies have become empty and have no impact. <sigh>

Finally, I will mention the amazing soundtrack in Batman v Superman, which I didn’t talk about in my review. The soundtrack, composed by Hans Zimmer, actually added a lot to the movie, especially Wonder Woman’s theme. Normally I don’t notice the soundtrack in movies, but Batman v Superman made me notice. The other movie I had seen where I noticed Zimmer’s score was Inception, and I absolutely loved that soundtrack. I think that overall Zimmer’s work on soundtracks is great, and definitely improved Batman v Superman.

That was my spoiler-filled, 2nd discussion of Batman v Superman. Is there anything I missed or you disagree with? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

The Secret Life of Pets- Movie Review

What is it about?                                                                                                                     Max (voiced by Louis C.K.) is a terrier living a comfortable life with his owner, Katie, who he’s extremely attached to. Katie brings home a larger, messier dog named Duke (voiced by Eric Stonestreet, who you may know as Cam from Modern Family), who Max feels will take his place. He refuses to share anything with Duke, and both dislike each other. In trying to get rid of each other, they come across a series of mishaps and encounter the seemingly cute, but actually ferocious, Snowball (fantastically voiced by Kevin Hart), who leads a group of animals thrown away by their owners for revenge against humanity. Max’s friends, joined by a hawk named Tiberius, set out to find him.

How is it? 4/5                                                                                                                             The Secret Life of Pets is a terrific and uber-funny movie, with a great voice cast and extremely well-animated visuals. TSLoP (what I’m going to refer to the title to from now on) will keep a smile on your face from start to end, and will definitely entertain you for an hour and a half.

How is the animation, humor, and voice acting? 4.5/5                                        TSLoP is beautifully animated and is very nice to look at. For example, the movie opens with a sweeping shot of (animated) New York City that looks great. It’s super funny and some characters that I personally thought were hilarious were Gidget (voiced by Jenny Slate) , Max’s friend who is secretly in love with him, and Kevin Hart’s Snowball, who generates tons of laughs. The voice acting is also fantastic, and enhanced the humor, especially Kevin Hart, who did a marvelous job.

Overall, The Secret Life of Pets is a hilarious, entertaining movie with awesome animation.

Central Intelligence- Movie Review

What is it about?                                                                                                                      Central Intelligence centers around pair Calvin Joyner and Robbie Wheirdicht, played by Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson, respectively. The first is an accountant who was extremely popular in high school and is now disappointed with his life and the second a CIA operative that was terribly bullied in high school that now goes by Bob Stone. Bob goes to Joyner for help in stopping nuclear launch codes from going into the hands of terrorists. Hart and Johnson’s chemistry, along with just an overall very funny script, makes Central Intelligence and entertaining flick.

How is it? 7/10                                                                                                                          Central Intelligence benefits greatly from Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson, who when paired together on screen, make for a hilarious duo. Although it’s silly, it’s an overall diverting and fun movie, that’ll make you laugh several times.

How is the action and humor? 8/10                                                                               The action in Central Intelligence is what you should expect from a buddy-cop movie–it’s nothing too groundbreaking, and played mostly for laughs. The humor, as I mentioned before, is very strong in the first half, and although not as much in the second, is still funny throughout. Dwayne Johnson’s tough guy, CIA operative personality pairs extremely well with Hart’s ordinary character.

Overall, Central Intelligence is a fun movie that will entertain you for a good two hours.

Independence Day: Resurgence- Movie Review

What is it about?                                                                                                                     20 years after the events of the first Independence Day where aliens attacked Earth, and Capt. Steven Hiller (played by Will Smith) helped in blowing up the alien’s mothership, Earth has advanced in technology by combining alien and human tech. They have been preparing for the alien’s possible return, and soon find out the aliens have done so. Hiller’s son (played by Jessie Usher), along with veteran David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) and Jake Morrison (Liam Hemsworth) must stop the aliens from taking Earth once more. Independence Day: Resurgence is a less-than-mediocre sci-fi flick with impressive visual effects, which is pretty much the only good thing going for it.

How is it? 3.7/10                                                                                                                     Independence Day: Resurgence has great visual effects, but its other flaws drag it down from being nearly enjoyable as the original. It has too many characters, and any major character moment didn’t have enough building up to it, which causes you not to care about what’s happening too much. The acting is nothing special, and it falls under the category of CGI-fest movies that rely too heavily on special effects. Without having seen the original, you’ll understand the plot points, but not care about the characters as much as the movie expects you to. Nonetheless, the action scenes are enjoyable, and if you’re looking purely for visual spectacle, it should be fine. However, during the film, I even found myself thinking about other things and not the movie– its plot is silly, and is more or less a rehash of the last one with better special effects. As Jeff Goldblum states in the movie,”It’s definitely bigger than the last one,” but that’s all it is.

How are the action, special effects, and humor? 6.5/10                                          The action in ID4: Resurgence is pretty good, I must admit, and it is assisted by the spectacular special effects. However, I found myself watching the action not because I was compelled by the storyline, but simply because I wanted to see the special effects. Its attempts at humor do cause a few chuckles, but most of it fell flat and wasn’t too funny. However, I must give it credit for not being too dark and serious (cough, cough, Batman v Superman) and having a lighter tone.

In conclusion, Independence Day: Resurgence is a less-than-decent sci-fi movie that I wouldn’t recommend unless I craved its large-scale spectacle.

X-Men: Apocalypse- Movie Review

What is it about?                                                                                                                     X-Men: Apocalypse takes place in the 80s, after the confusing events of X-Men: Days of Future Past, which was an undeniably good movie that I would definitely recommend checking out.  For those of you that don’t know, the X-Men franchise revolves around mutants- people born with superpowers that world used to think/ thinks are very dangerous. Some main mutants are Magneto, a man who can control metal, Mystique, a shape-shifter, Professor X/Charles Xavier, a telepath, and Quicksilver, a man who can run with superspeed. If you haven’t seen any other X-Men movies, read this article to fill you in.  So after mutants have been revealed to the public and Mystique has saved the president, mutants are slightly more well-received in the world. But soon, the first and most powerful mutant ever, Apocalypse, is awakened. He is disgusted by the quality of the world when woken, so he decides to restore his power, and destroy the current world, only allowing the strong to survive. He recruits a team of other mutant followers, and sets out to “cleanse the world”. So the X-Men have to stop him before he eradicates all the humans on Earth.

How is it? 7.4/10                                                                                                                          X-Men: Apocalypse is an overall fun, entertaining flick that isn’t amazing, but is still pretty good. It will definitely please fans of X-Men, and is still enjoyable for newcomers to the X-Men. The acting by James McAvoy, who plays Professor X, is great, as well as from Michael Fassbender (Magneto) and Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique). There is no shortage of humor, and the action and special effects are top-notch. A downside to this movie is that it is a little underwhelming, and some characters that could’ve had a lot of potential are sort of wasted.

How is the action, special effects, and humor? 9/10                                             The action in Apocalypse is AMAZING, and extremely well put-together. A really fun, spectacular scene is the final battle between Apocalypse and the X-Men, which showcases all of their powers and dazzling special effects. The rest of the special effects are truly amazing, given that the X-Men have extraordinary powers, which this movie embraces. Another amazing sequence, and probably my favorite through out the movie, is the highly-anticipated Quicksilver sequence, which you got a glimpse of in the trailer. Check out a quick clip of it here. This sequence has amazing special effects, and is packed with humor. Even the rest of the movie has some funny moments throughout, but Quicksilver is by far the funniest character (every line he spoke was at least somewhat comedic, and he provided great comic relief). This is an overall super fun and entertaining movie.

In conclusion, X-Men: Apocalypse is a great movie that has many awesome moments and is overall enjoyable to watch.