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

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.

crqazy.png

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!

fighting.jpg

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

 

starborn.jpg

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.

star

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! 

 

overlord

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! 

 

 

queereye.jpg

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