Toy Story 4 – A Fun Family Film, but not a Fans Favorite

Yes, I actually put up the money to see Toy Story 4 in theaters with the fiancé and her niece and nephew. I wish we made it to the cinema more often than we do.

I need to preface this review by saying I had EXTREMELY high expectations. Before this, TS3 was one of my favorite films of all time. The second was my least favorite, but I still enjoyed it immensely. The thing I think I loved the most is the ensemble that the toys create throughout the first three films. Yes, Woody feels like the main star, but then there’s Buzz. #2 saw Jesse, and Rex, the aliens, Slinky, and all have their place to shine. #3 saw Trixie and others who really helped to build this cast of loveable characters.

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Toy Story 4 felt more like a spin-off about Woody, Forkie, and (not a spoiler since she’s all over the advertising—–) Bopeep.  The scenes that included everyone were some of my favorites, however, they were far more seldom than the previous entries into the TS saga.  The animation and voice-acting were top-notch as always, but that’s not what I go to a toy story movie for.  Everyone I was with liked the movie a lot, but no-one was raving about it like I had hoped.  The story felt predictable, the Forkie character began to feel flat after the novelty wore off.  Overall we just felt like something was missing to make it as classic as the previous entries.

For comparison, I’ve included my rankings of the previous Toy Story films and TV specials –

Toy Story – 9.5/10

Toy Story 2 – 7.5/10

Toy Story 3 – 10/10

Toy Story of Terror – 7/10

Toy Story that Time Forgot – 6/10

Toy Story 4 – 7.3/10

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Crazy Rich Asians – A Beautiful World, Outside of the Bubble of Normal Society

Crazy Rich Asians

This film was a fun rental from the local Redbox.

I love what this film does for equity in filmmaking for Asian filmmakers, the way Black Panther represented a stellar cast and crew of actors of color.  The impact of that cannot be overstated.  However, the film itself falls short in a number of categories that makes it feel drawn-out and trite.

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I absolutely adore Constance Wu (The beloved matriarch, Jessica, from Fresh off the Boat), and think she did a great job in her role as Rachel Chu, as well as her counterpart Nick Young (played by Henry Golding).  The supporting cast was also strong in conveying the over the top personality of their characters staunched in ritz.   The set design, costumes, and props are utilized perfectly to create a beautiful world, outside of the bubble of normal society.

While this is a modern-day Cinderella (a classic genre) this film feels like it relied on the tropes and cliches a bit too heavily.  The story plays out rather predictably (no spoilers here!) and the actions of certain characters are textbook for the genre.

This is worth a rental or bargain buy, and you should definitely enjoy it, but don’t expect a classic or your new favorite flick here.

Crazy Rich Asians – 6/10

Holy movie marathon, Batman

I was really sick this past week so I loaded up on cough medicine and patronized the hell out of the local Redbox. I also caught a flick in theatres and streamed Queer Eye season 3, which “gave me life” as Jonathan Van Ness would say.

Catch some quick reviews about everything below, no spoilers as always!

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Fighting with My Family – The fiance and I were excited to see this while it was still in theatres this past week. As many people may know, I am a big wrestling fan (and she is not) so we both walked into this flick with different expectations and knowledge around the story.

Overall, this was really enjoyable for both of us.  As a casual viewer, she was entertained throughout, audibly laughed out loud a number of times, and didn’t feel confused or disinterested by the wrestling story-line. Do not expect to see the Rock a lot in this film, he has two scenes that he plays a part in (and in real life, he wasn’t involved in the story at all). I had a few complaints about the validity of the story and its sequence of events, but as a piece of entertainment, it hit all its spots perfectly. Timed well, with a great balance of humor and drama about the human struggle to achieve one’s dream, this is a great flick that has flown under the radar this year.

Fighting with My Family – 7/10

 

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A Star is Born –  Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga absolutely floored me with their performances (and his directorial debut). I am not sure if I was more impressed with Gaga’s acting or Bradley’s musical performance.

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My biggest complaint about this film was the pacing.  We paused it about 40 minutes in, and felt like we had already sat through a full film, and were almost discouraged to see we had over an hour left. The ending to this film, while powerful, is predictable, and it can be a tiring process to endure so much of the buildup, guessing what terrible fate may await.  While sometimes this dread can add to a film (like a thriller or horror film) it sometimes felt heavy-handed in A Star is Born.

The soundtrack is absolutely phenomenal, which is important for a movie about music.  Overall, I would recommend this to anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, with the caveat that they prepare to be bummed out.

A Star is Born – 8.5/10                                                           Available at a Redbox near you! 

 

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Overlord – This started as a tense war film with good special effects and questionable acting/dialogue.  At times the main characters are hard to believe and this feels like it would be at home on the Syfy channel (and not necessarily in a bad way?). Eventually, as one can guess from the trailer, things eventually go south and develop into a supernatural horror flick that would feel at home in the Wolfenstein cannon.

There is nothing revolutionary or exceptional about this film, but it is a good, mindless, adrenaline ride for an hour and fifty minutes.

Overlord – 5/10                                                                        Available at a Redbox near you! 

 

 

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Queer Eye (Season 3) – I have recommended this show to everyone I know. The reboot of Queer Eye (formerly Known as Queer Eye for the Straight Guy in its predecessors years) is the most genuine, wholesome, empowering and wonderful thing available right now. The Fab 5 work with people across various identities to makeover their whole life and find a better, healthier, and happier way of living.   I have cried numerous times every season, and season 3 is no exception.  If you haven’t given this show a shot, please put your bias and preconceived notions aside and give this a shot.  There is a reason this show has been able to produce 3 beloved seasons in just 13 months!

Queer Eye (Season 3) – 9.5/10                                            All 3 Seasons available on Netflix

My top 25 – More on IMDB

Hey movie buffs,

I just wanted to share – While our Archives page has links to every review we’ve published here, our IMDB page has a compendium of ALL of our ratings of movies and TV shows (not just those with reviews). Check out our IMDB ratings here.

This is a great list of over 500+ items that you can look to for inspiration when trying to plan your next movie night!

 

For a sneak peek, here are our top 25 rated items (items with the same rating are not in a particular order)! 

 

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  1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (10/10)
  2. The Wolf on Wall Street (10/10)
  3. Memento (10/10)
  4. Crash (10/10)
  5. Breaking Bad (10/10)
  6. Toy Story 3 (10/10)
  7. Toy Story (10/10)
  8. Amores Perros (9/10)
  9. Kill Bill Vol. 1 (9/10)
  10. City of God (9/10)
  11. The Raid: Redemption (9/10)
  12.  Being John Malkovich (9/10)
  13. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (9/10)
  14. The Office (9/10)
  15. Forrest Gump (9/10)movie1.jpg
  16. Gladiator (9/10)
  17. Adaptation (9/10)
  18. The Departed (9/10)
  19. The Dark Knight (9/10)
  20. Training Day (9/10)
  21. Get Out (9/10)
  22. Arrested Development (9/10)
  23. Pan’s Labyrinth (9/10)
  24. Love Actually (9/10)
  25. The Princess Bride (9/10))

 

 

Think any are rated too highly? Let me have it in the comments section! 

 

 

Streaming – Some folks trash is another’s treasure – 13 Cameras Review (10.19.18)

13 Cameras

This is not as bad as some of the reviews on imdb and other sites are saying.. It held my attention the whole time in hopes of something more. The landlord character is played well in the fact that he gives off the ultimate creeps; the logic of the story and acting of the protagonists feels hard to believe because of just how creepy he is.

Slumlord (2015)

I don’t see where a sequel can take off from this besides rehashing the same old storyline.. I am intrigued, but not sure if I want to commit the time.. I guess my interest is a sign that this isn’t the WORST film, but don’t expect much scares or entertainment.

Spoilers —

Last warning… There are spoilers in this next paragraph
I was really hoping for a twist, that the Husband character would be the one to cause physical harm / be disturbed and the voyeur landlord would save the day (blurring the lines of morality and who the actual “monster is”) but it turned out to be as straightforward, and cheap as one might expect. The gross guy is the bad guy, worse than the bad husband who acts grossly.

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Edit – After sitting with the film for a few days, I want to change my score. It’s sat with me and grown in a way and had me grossly intrigued for most of the time. My original rating of a 4 feels a bit harsh because I was expecting something more than what this is. It’s not a thriller. Its a horror with a low amount of gore, violence, and jump scares but full amounts of creep, something that can be equally terrifying.

13 Cameras (originally)- 4/10

13 cameras (revisited) – 5/10

 

Available on Netflix now!

Steaming Coal – Take the 10 (8/28/2018)

Take the 10

I watched the whole thing without turning it off, so that is something. At the end I thought to myself — Did I laugh? And I couldn’t think of a time that I did.  The characters aren’t likeable, and antagonist, Jay (played by Chester Tam who also wrote and made his full length directorial debut on this one) is the only real saving grace (if even that) of the movie.  

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Josh Peck is annoying as ever in this one, save yourself the time and headache and skip this steaming pile of… coal. Instead go watch him in Mean Creek when he was overweight and actually funny.

Take the 10 – 3/10 – Unfortunately available on Netflix as of this writing on 8/28/18

Streaming Gems – Netflix Movie Weekend

Last weekend was rainy, and we are lazy (nothing new there).  We stayed in and streamed the gloomy day away. Here is our write-up on some of the gems (and some that are teetering on the verge of being listed on a steaming coal writeup). All of these are on Netflix as of writing this article on 7/20/2018 – Enjoy!

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Eliza Taylor and Daniel Webber in Thumper (2017)

Thumper

A film with a plot that doesn’t reinvent the wheel, and has a few holes, but the acting sets it apart.

You empathize with every character, just doing what they have to to survive and protect the ones they love.  Without giving too much away, this is a flick about teens in over their head with drugs, violence and all around grit.  There is more going on than meets the eye, but that is left for you to see. As previously stated, the twist is a bit predictable, and you’d probably be able to get it within a few guesses.

If your a serial television streamer like us you’ll recognize most of the cast (all from shows we recommend!). Eliza Taylor (The 100 – cheesy but fun sci-fi dystopian show on Netflix), Daniel Webber (Lee Harvey Oswald in 11.22.63 – a gripping alternative-historical thriller on Hulu starring James Franco), and Pablo Schreiber (Pornstache from Orange is the New Black – A dark comedy set in an all-female prison on Netflix).  As stated, they all do a good job with their parts, with Pablo stealing the show as the deranged and paranoid drug dealer.  The trauma is believable and as violent as he gets, he still pulls at your heart-strings with his believable portrayal as a veteran suffering from PTSD.

To recap – This is nothing new, it’s not going to be in your top ten films of the year, but it is going to entertain you from start to finish and you will be glad you watched it.

Thumper – 6/10

 

 

 

Joel Edgerton in The Gift (2015)

The Gift:

A taut, suspenseful thriller that peels back the storyline one layer at a time.  While not revolutionary, it plays the cat-and-mouse game eerily well and makes you question if any of us are ever “mice” in the first place.  The acting is superb, especially by  Joel Edgerton who wrote and made his directorial debut on this film.  His upcoming directed flick about a young man forced to attend gay-conversion camp, Boy Erased (Due out in November), looks especially powerful.

Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall play the perfect target to Edgerton’s unhinged character, “Gordo”.  The only reason this film is not scoring higher is that it feels anti-climactic and off-pace at times.  I found myself often getting distracted and having to force myself back to the film, to be re-engrossed moments later.  Overall, this film is a slow burn but definitely worth the watch.

The Gift – 7/10

 

 

Charlie Hunnam in Sons of Anarchy (2008)

Sons of Anarchy

We know… We are late to the party on finishing this one. We finished watching this after a few months of binging our way through. I had seen up through season 6 a few years back and never finished;  we started from scratch and watched them all within a few short months this time.  Just like the first viewing, we had a really tough time getting through Season 3.

Is this show realistic? No way. Is this show melodramatic and filled with unnecessary violence, language, racism, and misogyny? Yes.  Is it still one of the better crime dramas to hold our attention for 7 seasons? You bet your ass.  We were brought to tears, rage, frustration, and profanity multiple times while watching the self-destructive characters on this show. We grew to love the supporting cast and felt grief when some parted ways (not spoilin’ anything here).  As cheesy as this show was, a series hasn’t been able to do that for us for a long time..

We finished just in time for the Mayans MC spinoff show to hit in September and we cannot wait.

Sons of Anarchy – 8/10

 

 

 

 

Adult World (2013)

Adult World

This film was bearable, or okay at best.  A dark indie comedy that playfully mocks the tortured and delusional artist (that this film is most likely aimed at).  Emma Roberts character is annoying, which may have been the goal, but it made it hard to get through the 90 minutes without wanting to tune her out.  I’m normally a huge Cusack fan and loved Evan Peters work with Roberts in the early American Horror Story, but this is unimagined and trite.

This movie also is another to add to the trend of Cisgendered actors playing trans* folks (as similarly noted in the uproar surround Scarlett Johanson and Rub & Tug). I wouldn’t recommend this flick to everyone except the indie-flick diehards, or Cusack fans, and even then I may think twice..

Adult World – 5/10