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.

null

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

Advertisements

Everything Sucks! Streaming Gem – 1/22/2019

Everything Sucks!

A sucker-punch of heavy-handed nostalgia, Everything Sucks! also highlights the stuff that was wrong with the ’90s.  A great story of young kids navigating love, “fitting in” and sexuality in the midst of a harsh and unaccepting culture.  The young actors nail the roles and if you told me this was a more focused relaunch of Freaks and Geeks I’d believe you (and I mean this as a compliment).  The soundtrack feeds off this nostalgia and may be one of the better soundtracks to come out last year.

The acting is superb across the board, which is saying a lot for a relatively young and inexperienced cast.  The fact that almost all of the teenagers in this series are played by actual teenagers (at least at the time of filming) is another big step that the series takes to create authenticity within the story.  However, there was one misstep in filming that has some folks critical of the series, as they had one 20-year-old actor kiss a 14-year-old actor. (We won’t spoil with details, but it’s a pretty important part of the love story.)

The directing is paced perfectly, and the writing is succinct and each scene holds weight. Ben York Jones both co-created and co-wrote the series as well as acted in the role of Mr. Stargrove. Other co-writer/creator is Michael Mohan who sat in the director chair for 7 of the 10 episodes.

everything_sucks_vertical-main_rgb.jpg

I am beyond upset that this show got canceled by Netflix after one season (despite the controversy). I am hoping another production company or service will pick it up or if enough fans complain Netflix will shape up their act.  Regardless, this series shows so much promise from the entire cast and crew that It has made a fan out of me. I’ll be sure to check out Jones and Mohan’s next creation, whatever that may be.

Everything Sucks! – 8/10

#RenewEverythingSucks

Atypical – Streaming Gems (10.19.2018)

Atypical

 

I have to start off and say this is one of the better (and more wholesome) shows available right now. Atypical takes the family sitcom formula and puts it on its head, exposing the real-life struggles, foibles, and triumphs of a contemporary family who just so happens to have a member with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). Many other shows on many other networks would play this card heavy-handedly and distastefully, but Sam (Played by Keir Gilchrist) is just one beautifully acted part of a families growth and challenges.

atypical2
I highly recommend this show to just about anyone with a heart. Season 1 and 2 are both streaming on Netflix and they only get better as the episodes go along!

 Atypical– 9/10

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.

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

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!

Streaming Gems – Marlon (Season 1 available on Netflix)

Marlon

Image result for marlon netflix

I watched a show with Marlon Wayans in it unironically and it’s 2018… What is happening? There are certainly some bits, stereotypes, and tropes in this show that come through and show Wayans comedic roots, but this feels like a matured version of the actor we saw in flicks such as White Chicks, Little Man, and Scary Movie.  That isn’t to say that he still doesn’t play on some racial stereotypes a bit too heavy-handedly.

More in the vein of The Wayans Bros., where the two really broke through to the next level of celebrity.  Brother, Sean has been relatively quiet and didn’t make any cameos in the series like I had hoped.

This is a different Marlon. This is a family-friendly Marlon, a matured (but not mature) Marlon, and it’s all for the better.

There is nothing new in the sitcom formula here, and some of the jokes definitely fall flat, but overall it’s enjoyable first season and I’d be interested in seeing more.

Season 1 is available on Netflix as of today (8.3.2018)

Season 2 is on NBC right now and will be coming to Netflix next June

Marlon – 5.5/10

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!

Netflix

 

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

Streaming Gems – New to Netflix – July 2018

Some sites will list every single stinkin’ title to hit the streaming platform this month. We are going to save you the time and boil it down to the ones you need to see (some of these are classics folks, so don’t sleep on em)-

July 1

Chocolat

Get Smart

Happy Gilmore

Interview with the Vampire

Menace II Society

Spanglish

Swordfish

The Boondock Saints

The Princess Diaries

Troy

We Own the Night

July 12

Gone Baby Gone

July 13

The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants

An Education

Disney’s Bolt

July 24

Iliza Shlesinger: Elder Millennial

July 27

Orange Is the New Black: Season 6

July 28

Shameless: Season 8

July 29

Her

Here are some movies and shows leaving Netflix in July

July 1

Along Came Polly

Beerfest

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Lethal Weapon (1-4)

Michael Clayton

Scary Movie

The Art of War

V for Vendetta

July 2

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

July 16

Wanted