(Review by Chase Lee)
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Saturday, February 26, 2022
Saturday, February 19, 2022
Studio: LD Entertainment
Review: The Cursed!
Horror films aren’t my thing, but it’s something lots of people, especially the horror movie fans, like to explore outside of usual genres they have watched from the past. Originally titled as Eight for Silver, this film is a gloomy, horror film filled with dark magic, and monstrous werewolf-period pieces that unfolds its mystery with patient witnesses and intensifying confidence in the characters. It’s like a scary-monster version of Sam Mendes’ 1917 due to the settings and the film’s action taking place.
The Cursed takes place in rural 19th-century France where a mysterious, supernatural menace threatens a small village and the Laurent family after being cursed by a land baron. Later, John McBride, the town’s pathologist, comes to town to investigate the danger - and captures some of his own demons in the process.
Actor Boyd Holbrook receives his main role as pathologist John McBride who came to inspect what are the supernatural causes that threaten the Laurent family and the townspeople as the family and the village have been cast under a curse. As an actor, Holbrook, in this case, is the only actor who can make things cool and interesting, either as a hero, villain, anti-villain, anti-hero, or a bit of both based on what he does and what he tries to cooperate with. In the end, he is a cool, remarkable “whodunnit” type of guy.
Sean Ellis is the director of the film and also serves as a cinematographer for the film’s entirety. He lays out some of the key components on the characters, the time periods, and the dark-fantasy monster developments. While his cinematography here is spot on like so, the CGI and the visuals are just dreadful and lazily cheap. Even when there’s no sense of character developments being discovered thanks to the producers and the screenwriters, which is what makes this film very deceiving to witness.
Throughout the film, this story begins to fall flat right after an honestly brilliantly shot wide scene with the gypsies in the first act. After that, things start to become increasingly intense as if anyone is waiting for something interesting and anticipating to see. The main anticipation for this supernatural story is werewolves (or any type of monsters) flowing all over the place. The conversation about monsters and werewolves from the characters made it less and less sense as the night went on. Not to mention, blood, gore moments, and gruesome violence are present.
Like many extroverted horror films, it's anonymous to see and believe that monsters are being displayed in order to make this story a perfect sense, orchestrated by a small acting cast and the production team, but this storyline is poorly conveyed to the viewer all around. Around the second half to the film’s final act, there are a lot of psychological factors introduced with little to no explanation that are found quite shivering and easy to body-shake in fear at each one. This rises to intention and R-Rated scary-movie fever pitch at the climax and had me wondering whether it's actually a satire of werewolf films or just an ordinary, average thriller flick. My guess on this take is a satire of werewolf films with a side of thrill and dark fantasy genre for older teens.
The Cursed isn’t a good horror two-hour flick in my honest opinion. This seems like a squidly-squid maneuver at this horrifying werewolf genre that lost its way into the woods. The director simply overcommitted himself as his work became a half-hearted attempt to build up a true horror presentation and ultimately became a dissatisfied smorgasbord of tired gruesome tropes, wasted acting talents, terrible CGI, and uncolorful, unacceptable storytelling. Hate to say this, but skip it.
(Review by Henry Pham)
“Dog,” is not necessarily a great movie per se, but it is an enjoyable watch none the less.
In this real life comedy-drama, Channing Tatum (“G. I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra,” “White House Down”) is assigned a duty where he must transport his old friends war companion Lulu to his funeral in the middle of the country.
Like the counttless dog tales from the past, “K-9,” “Turner and Hooch,” and “Top Dog” come to mind, “Dog” adds little to the win column in making this a must see for viewers in the theater. Instead, it is just an easy watch since it does not contain anyhthing too grotesque or incentive for all ages. I think, no, I know this is why this one receved a PG-13 rating.
“Dog” is not a bad or bland movie, just one without a point or purpose. Sure, the pair get into their fair share of shenanigans and predicaments along the way, but in the end game of things I was left with a blaise feeling of so what?
The directors of “Dog” are Reid Caroln and Tatum. The pair have known each other for years, with Carolin receiving associate producer on “Stop-Loss,” (2008), a war drama that featured Tatum in a major role. Since that time on “Stop-Loss,” Carolin has been around Tatum’s career in some part of his career in some form or fashion.
Tatum’s Riggs persona is an easy watch, since he does not go through the motions, but also adds depth and layers to his real life plight since he suffers from PTSD.
Kevin Nash makes an appearance here as Gus, who has access to Lulu’s K-9 companion in his brother.
“Dog” is a worthwhile time waster, but don’t expect any Shakespeare inspired depth while watching this pleasant enough flick.
(Review by Ricky Miller)
Studio: Gubbi Cinema
Review: Koli Taal (The Chicken Curry)!
Koli Taal (The Chicken Curry) is a typical, international film that features an elderly couple who plans to cook chicken curry for his grandson, who is visiting them for dinner. But the main problem is that their dinner plan is disrupted when the family quickly discovers that the chicken goes missing.
Abhilash Shetty is the director of the film and mainly portrays Sumanth, the main protagonist in the film who is visiting his grandparents for dinner. His universal story of a relationship between grandparents and grandson grows entirely like it’s a trip to memory lane. The film is completely filled with interesting regional customs based on their family living and their accustomed generations. Thanks to his direction and his acting debut, the film allows us to clearly understand the beliefs, the habits and wonderful landscapes that we, either as Americans or immigrants, do not understand in our parts as we pay attention to this film. But the main event is the focal relationship between grandparents and grandchildren that has loads of dysfunctional family love and hospitality from older generations and is the same throughout the world.
It kills me painstakingly to see some dysfunctional family struggling to please their own family member(s) but bringing people together is always (and highly) a heartwarming strategy and is heavily demonstrated by the pieces of their family culture. It tells us the older we get, the more interesting (or dysfunctional) our family will be. That’s the theme of this story. Even the writing shows the turmoil on what’s happening in this film and the warm happy smile has slowly turned to fear and filled with suspense on the film’s climax when the disappearance of the chicken is soon discovered and the family, in the second half of the film, are searching to see where the chicken went or needs to know who could of possibly stole it. The answer seems to be anonymous, but the character development is marvelous. Not to mention the location is shot beautifully in the many scenes, giving the film and myself a photographic feel of being at home all the time in a different country, not the U.S .
A few handfuls of supportive actors who were portrayed as Sumanth’s grandparents came in the film. Here we have Prabhakar Kunder as Grandfather Manabala and Radha Ramachandra as Grandmother Vanaja. They both are really great, providing some family cultural details to their roots. Though, the main highlight of the performance is particularly the grandfather scenes, which makes the film produce an endearing character, thanks to Kunder’s strong acting skill after learning how to portray a grandparent in the film.
With beautiful scenes being filmed and well written, Koli Taal (The Chicken Curry) is a great film, clocking into almost eighty-three minutes. Be mindful that there’s some strong language (in captions) displayed throughout the film. I like it, but not a hundred-percent entirely. I meant it reminds me of my parents' history with Vietnam and their customs before they moved to the United States. While it’s certainly great and subtle to watch, if one who has traveled anywhere outside of America to visit their families, grandparents, or other relatives, this foriegn language film is sure to bring back many memories and create something new and exciting in future cases.
(Review by Henry Pham)
Studio: Sony/Columbia Pictures
Uncharted docks to shore but sinks in its glory.
This film certainly looks like another Jumanji sequel or next chapter of The Jungle Cruise film with Dwayne Johnson in it. Maybe it’s like Pirates of the Caribbean all over again if you comment on that. Uncharted is one of those films most people got really excited about this month and is heavily based on the hit Playstation series of games, produced by Naughty Dog. Ruben Fleischer has another directing gig onboard that offers the viewers and video game buffs a thrill of the lifetime on the adventures of Uncharted in the exact live-action obstacle, featuring the main stars of Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg.
Uncharted focuses on a young adventurer and hunter Nathan Drake who teams up with his wisecracking gold-digging partner Victor "Sully" Sullivan to embark on a perilous quest to find the greatest treasure that has never been found before while also searching for Nathan's long-lost brother Samuel Drake.
Spider-Man star Tom Holland stars as Nathan Drake, an orphan-turned-hunter who is out to search for the treasure while finding his long-lost brother along the way while Oscar-nominee Mark Wahlberg (The Departed) scoops behind his back as Nathan’s reluctant partner Victor "Sully" Sullivan who happens to be close to his brother Samuel “Sam” Drake in the film. Those two youngsters are great in their acting roles, but Wahlberg’s performance in some scenes are dull and somewhat boring and it looks like his acting skills really need work in order to get his character in shape without messing around. Despite this, the two are just as excited to work on this film and they both know they’re having as much fun as they can throughout the set.
Thanks to the direction coming from Fleischer himself, this film contains lots of references and elements from Tomb Raider, the National Treasure films, and Indiana Jones films (particularly the Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Last Crusade) in terms of making a film that focuses on any dangerous quests that involves finding ancient treasures and something that is worth a ton of money mixed with action sequences being included. Fleischer can picture himself doing an Indiana Jones movie on his own kind of level while crafting a story to share. But the key event for this is to get everything organized in a simpler form of context without screwing the video game franchise up. The strong focus is not on plot development itself or any character development but considering how the film is accurately based on a video game, it does a good job with the source material regardless of what time period it is shown in the both the film and the video game franchise.
While the references are hilarious and outstanding, the story is dry and boring while the characters and villains are so weak in some parts. There's just no real action scattered across the film, mainly in the second half. The CGI and the visual effects are average but ended up getting lazy, uneventful, and full of nautical nonsense. There's not much real adult action and much violence on the climaxes as the director, the cast, and the crew have filmed the fight scenes that are less exciting and non violent due to awful editing and missing their cues. Even the villains Chloe Frazer and Jo Braddock, shown in the film, are so unbelievable in their roles and aren't really helping in the film. As many movies feature female villains like those two, they can be so cool, hot, and sexy villains but for Chloe Frazer and Jo Braddock, they are rather dashing but end up getting weaker and less complex at the very end.
The supportive cast are also great in the film, despite being given some weak character/villainy traits, but they still need work. Here we have Oscar-nominated actor Antonio Banderas (Pain and Glory) as the ruthless treasure hunter Santiago Moncada, Sophia Ali (Grey’s Anatomy) as another treasure hunter Chloe Frazer whom Nathan shares his love interest with, and Tati Gabrelle (The Owl House) as Jo Braddock, a hidden antagonist and a mercenary working with Moncada who is set out to find the treasure and destroy Nathan and Sully as they search for the treasure as well.
Regardless of how fun it is to watch, Uncharted is an average flick but a fun two-hour movie being fifty-percent good and fifty-percent bad at the same time. While Tom Holland is the only one who makes this film exquisite to watch, all the ingredients in the film make it sound like it's actually a movie targeted for kids and teenagers. It’s just a lack of many adult-oriented video game atmospheres the director and the crew have put in. If you’re planning on choosing this film, think carefully before you do so. And if you don’t like the film, I suggest you go back and watch the Jumanji films all over to make up for those two hours of your life. Also, just one more thing, if you’re watching this, please stick around at the post-credit scenes as they offer you a little cliffhanger that provides some great possibilities for future sequels that will feature newer adventures and more thrill-riding excitement for your own roller-coaster ride of entertainment.
(Review by Henry Pham)
Thursday, February 10, 2022
Emma (Jenny Slate) is dumped by her boyfriend Noah (Scott Eastwood), and Peter (Charlie Day) is dumped by his girlfriend Anne (Gina Rodriguez). The break-ups play out simultaneously as the opening sequence of “I Want You Back.” Director Jason Orley, working from a screenplay by Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger, constantly cuts between the two couples, showing how each individual reacts to the situation. For Emma and Peter, that would be not well at all. Both thought they were with the person with whom they would spend the rest of their life.
The meet cute in this film occurs in an office building stairway. Emma and Peter happen to work in the same building. They both reach a point in their day where they can no longer take the pain of the breakup and retreat to the stairway for a good sob fest. That description doesn’t sound too funny but it is a humorous way for our main characters to meet. Although, some of the film’s humor comes across as forced.
They quickly form a bond, leading to the film’s main plot line. Each promise to help the other get their ex back. Both characters sink to new lows in their attempts to accomplish this feat. Peter attempts to befriend Noah in order to convince him to break-up with his new girlfriend, Ginny (Clark Backo), and Emma attempts to seduce Anne’s new boyfriend, Logan (Manny Jacinto), by volunteering to work on his middle school production of “Little Shop of Horrors.” The middle school play actually leads to some of the movie’s better bits.
Despite their despicable agendas, you still care about what happens to Emma and Peter. Slate and Day make their character’s heartbreak clear. They are two people struggling with how to move on with their lives. Both abruptly thrown back into the world of singledom and forced to watch their ex’s move on with new partners via social media. OK, forced probably isn’t the right word to use but what do you expect in this day and age when everyone posts their every moment on social media. Maybe Noah and Anne should have blocked them? Still, it’s clear that these two characters are in emotional anguish.
While the casting makes this a fun watch, there are some things about this film that just don’t work. There is, of course, the obligatory drunken karaoke scene. The one here feels never-ending. Do we really need more of these sequences? The same information could have been conveyed in a shorter time period and not bored us with Slate and Day’s lack of singing ability. The film meanders a bit in some places. At least it doesn’t always play out as expected, somewhat playing with the conventions of the romantic comedy genre.
Sidenote – there’s also a scene where Emma and Peter go to a movie (a screening of “Con Air”). The characters don’t even watch it. Instead, they sit in this crowded theater and carry on a full-on conversation. Why do filmmakers continue to play this up as acceptable theater-going behavior? There’s nothing more annoying than a fellow audience member who’s obviously not paying attention to the movie. I’m with the random theater goer here who shouts at them to shut up. Shouldn’t filmmakers want to discourage this? Why not have the characters go to a coffee shop or a bar for their chat?
Problems aside, I mostly enjoyed myself with this one. “I Want You Back” isn’t out to revolutionize the rom-com but there is enough humor and heart present to make this one a recommended watch.
(Review by Bret Oswald)
Studio: IFC Films
Catch The Fair One is a simple task I asked for.
Catch The Fair One, written and directed by Josef Kubota Wladyka, is a simple drama-thriller film that focuses on the former championship boxer who puts her boxing career on hold and embarks on her journey of her lifetime to search for her missing sister, filled with darkness and drama hanging all over her head.
Real-life professional boxer Kali Reis (in her first acting debut) portrays her role as Kaylee. In the film, as an actress, Reis shows her disdain and muster with her family-character trait as she touts her superiority in the history of her life and trauma. Likewise, the more she is willing to find out about her missing sister, the more determined she is willing to put her own dear life at risk.
Under Wladyka’s directorial roots, he makes the story excel smoothly with some nice soft consistency on Kaylee’s building-up stronger character traits being delivered in the first half of the film. With that, all the pieces are in place, but there are some certain gravitas that are missing with said execution of all the dynamics within. It's a bleak-movie being shot and filmed in the dead of winter somewhere in a northeast city, yet the cold season matches the cold stamina of heartless men, featured in the film, who have no heart and soul just to treat any trafficking woman as business. It’s something Wladyka and Kali Reis knew and related to any heartless people, like media people in reality, who can do whatever they want and can do nothing but capture, photograph, advertise, and sell them for their own sick amusement. But hey, business is business you know.
Though the film positively excels the story and the focal camera movements for Kaylee character, parts of the film, however, lack most of the colors and artificial textures due to overcommitting on the violence and the dark-level, intense dialogue provided by Wladyka. There’s even a lot of blood and strong language shown in the film just to advance the R-rated atmosphere for many critics and audiences to see through the supportive characters’ “racial” personas.
The supportive cast have done their duty terrifically. We have Daniel Henshall (Okja) as Bobby, Tiffany Chu as Linda, Michael Drayer (Mr. Robot, The Sopranos) as Danny, Lisa Emery (Ozark) as Debra, Kimberly Guerrero (Grey’s Anatomy, Seinfeld) as Jaya, and lastly, Kevin Dunn (Michael Bay’s Transformers film series) portraying his character as Willie.
Thanks to the brilliant acting, and wonderful story director Josef Kubota Wladyka has offered, Catch The Fair One is alright, but it’s a nice 85-minute movie right there. I know it’s just a drama-thriller feature film with nothing special or exciting to happen, but this is a film where one can enlighten (or simply fluctuate) other people’s spirits, no matter what the costs or how emotional it gets. It’s a small price other people are willing to pay as you are planning on seeing this film. Be forewarned, it’s a tough movie to watch with lots of bloody scenes and some bad language being inserted to add melodrama to it.
(Review by Henry Pham)
I must confess on the outset, I am a Roland Emmerich fan. I know lots of people liked his "Independence Day" picture in the mid to late 90's, but I was not a part of the masses. With me, you have to go back to one of his earlier pictures titled "Moon 44," a low-budget science fiction actioner with one of my favorite actors as a kid, Michael Pare.
Then, with that success, Emmerich turned around and did one of the biggest busts with his rendition of "Godzilla," but that is another story not suited for this broadcast. Now comes "Moonfall," another big budgeted tale wherein the moon falls off of its axis and decides to thwart anything coming its way to prevent total destruction. Patrick Wilson ("Watchmen," "The Conjuring") and Oscar winner Halle Berry (“Monster’s Ball) headline this engaging tale that is no Shakespeare (ironically, Emmeerich helmed his non disaster movie, "Anonymous" in 2011. It tried to prove that The Bard did not write all of the classics that he is known for, rather it was Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford who penned all of his work.
Regardless, it was a very dry and uninvolving flick. I think I gave it a grade F a C- when I originally watched it.
Now, back to "Moonfall" with the duo of Berry and Wilson, the pair share great chemistry with each other. They also have another person in the party with John Bradley. For those with a keen eye, he appeared on HBO's "Game of Thrones" as Samwell Tarly from 2011-2019.
Also involved with "Moonfall" is Donald Sutherland. Like his brief scenes in Ron Howard's "Backdraft," his part is just use as mere filler to pad the run time and give pointless advice.
Looking back at what he is doing next, it looks like Emmerich is going back and returning to something he has done before. From my sources, it looks like he is going to take another poke at "Stargate," (1994). It was a decent enough flick, so I am interested in seeing what he can do with all the advancements they have made in technology through the years.
I also liked what he did with his low budget entry “Moon 44” in 1990, It had leading man actor, Pare in the hero role, a part he executed so well with “Eddie and the Cruisers” and Walter Hill’s odd concoction of the musical gangster tale “Streets of Fire” in 1984. It is one of the few musicals I actually enjoy, with part of that being attributed to co-star Diane Lane, one of my childhood crushes from 1983’s Francis Ford Coppola-directed “The Outsiders.”
Although "Moonfall" is not a bad movie, it just kind of sits in the "meh" category. I'm glad I watched it in the theatre, because it is a different experience altogether. Everything done in “Moonfall” is kind of what Emmerich wanted to do with the aforementiomned “Moon 44” all those years ago. He had a bigger budget, so if was able to up the ante in the visual effects department.
(Review by Ricky Miller)
Studio: Amazon Studios
Amazon’s I Want You Back became a lovable duo for Jenny Slate and Charlie Day!
The film and its atmosphere reminds me of that television show called New Girl, featuring Zooey Deschanel and Jake Johnson. Let me say this, going through tougher break-ups is extremely hard lots of people have been dealing with. People often ask if relationships do tend to last long, some say they do while others say they don’t. But fear not, people moving on with their lives might be a good thing just to focus on something important or maybe it’s for the best. Director Jason Orley offers a wacky, romantic tale lots of couples will never forget, featuring the main duo of Charlie Day and Jenny Slate.
I Want You Back centers on two heartbroken strangers Peter and Emma who are in their thirty-something age each being dumped by their respective love ones. Unwilling to get over their past breakups as well as moving on with their lives, the two form an unlikely alliance to win their exes back by destroying their new relationships and return to the way they should be before the breakup.
Actress Jenny Slate (Parks and Recreation) mainly portrays Emma, a receptionist for an orthodontist, who have been dumped by her [now] ex-boyfriend Noah while actor Charlie Day (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) receives his main role as Peter, an employee who works at the network of retirement homes just three floors down at the same building as Emma’s, who is recently been dumped by his ex-girlfriend Anne. Charlie Day and Jenny Slate really nailed their acting roles down as they both knew what it was like to be in a romantic movie. They understand that relationships can be quite painful to come by and that being alone is mentally a fear for everyone else, especially to those who are currently single.
Filmmaker Jason Orley embarks his journey as director of the film. He’s like studying other people’s emotions and questions about what it was like to be dumped by their loved one. He truly understands how past mental relationships and breakups can be taken seriously to the next level. Based on how he operates Day and Slate on camera, he demonstrates that winning back a loved one at first seems like a very cool idea, but at the end, they both discover that finding a new relationship with each other is what makes it better and happier. That’s where the director calls the shots on the “boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets the girl” melodrama phrase. The director even adds a small slew of romantic movie references right there and the film’s climax rarely strays from its genre’s conventions.
Thanks to the screenwriting crackpots from Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger (This is Us), I Want You Back is an earnest story about one’s own audacious destiny on pursuing lost love of one’s life. The narrative cruises satisfyingly throughout the first half while the comedy and the some laugh-out-loud moments really go down easily. The chemistry between Charlie Day and Jenny Slate is superb and nicely done to follow, which is what makes this film full of glee and very fascinating. Their chemistry gives a secret idea that they should stick with themselves rather than going back to their loved ones. Even the characters, including the supportive ones, grow in certain ways, but it’s a price tag anyone is willing to pay. It certainly really gives me the New Girl vibes if you put it this way.
While the story is fun to look upon, some scenes are really challenging (and unemotional) to watch as there are lots of drugs and sexual contents being shown in the film, taken much higher account of an R-Rated romantic-comedy movie. The pacing is gritty and dry while the ending is too cheesy and hard to follow. The last act of the film is charmless and is filled with heartbreaking moments that left me a bit confused as the final story act didn’t provide much legitimate details on how the romantic movie genre follows, especially on that wedding scene. My instinct is that Orley, Isaac Aptaker, and Elizabeth Berger have made a sharp turn on bitter relationship battles on the film’s end.
The supportive cast also did an amazing job. We have Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin) as Peter’s ex-girlfriend Anne, Scott Eastwood (2016’s Suicide Squad, The Fate of the Furious) as Emma’s ex-boyfriend Noah, Manny Jacinto (The Good Place) as Anne’s new boyfriend Logan, and Clark Backo as Noah’s new girlfriend Ginny.
Despite the film crew’s valiant efforts, Amazon Studios’ I Want You Back is an okay-but average movie, clocking in at 110 minutes. The director and the screenwriters have done a terrific job, though some parts of the film (including the ending) really need more work and effort in order to create a simple romantic movie without messing things up. On the flip side, Day, Slate, and the rest of the supportive cast mentioned really fit the bill. This film would go great for a Valentine's Day treat if you’re planning on watching this as a date. Though be warned, this movie is not meant for young teenagers, only the older ones and young adults due to the amount of R-Rated exposures present in some scenes. So, if you're planning on seeing this, I highly advise you to be aware of them, both mentally, spiritually, and physically. It’s a fun movie, but with messy-emotionless plot holes down the line.
(Review by Henry Pham)
Friday, February 4, 2022
Moonfall rises downhill!
Film director Roland Emmerich (aka the “Master of Disaster'') is known for producing and directing science fiction and disaster films, but his directorial-led films receive lots of criticism from fans and critics due to historical inaccuracies, illogical plot twists, and off-topic narratives. Nevertheless, some of his films have achieved enormous box office successes. And even though most of his films are hard to please, he is still determined to make a film as entertaining as ever because all he wants to do in his life is to make movies just for fun. The film features the cast members of Halle Berry, Patrick Wilson, and John Bradley.
In Moonfall, a mysterious force knocks the Moon from its orbit around Earth and sends it hurdling on a collision course with Earth. With the world on the verge of annihilation, NASA executive and former astronaut Jo Fowler is convinced she has the key to saving us all, but the problem is one astronaut named Brian Harper and a conspiracy theorist named K.C. Houseman are the only ones who believe her. Together, all three must learn how to prevent this terrible disaster and save humanity from the impending doom.
Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry (Monster’s Ball) receives her protagonist role as Jo Fowler, a former astronaut, who believes that the world is in jeopardy of collision course while actor Patrick Wilson appears on her side as astronaut Brian Harper. Berry and Wilson make a great acting duo and team together and they seem like they touched each other’s hearts and hands on the inside for that chemistry. These two actors are what makes this film nicely enjoyable and very easy to see. Let’s not forget actor John Bradley (Game of Thrones) right there, he’s the Jurassic Park’s Ian Malcolm character, giving supportive advice to them.
Learning some keynotes from several other sci-fi directors like Michael Bay, James Cameron, Ridley Scott, and the Russo brothers, Emmerich is calling out the shots right here. He basically makes everything look like the unexisting American Bermuda Triangle. Despite the film being mostly anticipated for the month of February, there are a lot of uninspired visual effects roaming all over the film and are completely overused just like his previous directed-films, which ruin the character developments for both Halle Berry, Patrick Wilson, and John Bradley’s characters. Lots of scenes are not so superb and they lack artistry to witness. The story and the screenplay are lazy, unenthused, and laggy, but even though the main trio of acting cast outdone themselves, they failed to save the mess for this film’s entirety. Even the ending got me unmoved, so that’s a double epic-fail for Emmerich.
Also featured in the film are Michael Peña (Ant-Man) as Tom Lopez, Charlie Plummer (All the Money in the World) as Sonny Harper, Kelly Yu (in her first Hollywood acting debut) as Michelle, and Donald Sutherland (The Hunger Games films) as Holdenfield. Most of the actors have done an explosive job, but for some unknown reason, a ton of characters in this movie perish with various individuals sporting NASA and space administration roles.
Choking in at exactly two hours, Moonfall is a major disappointment in my honest level of movie-viewing taste. Admittedly, it looks physically anticipating as it seems on the outside, but on the inside, it’s nothing too spiritually special. Despite some good acting performances delivered by Berry, Wilson, and Bradley, I honestly feel bad for them to use their professionalism and their time to work on this piece of junk and I feel like Emmerich should give up his “Master of Disaster” name and just focus on producing films with other film directors elsewhere. Sad and sorry to say, but this film is not the best for you when deciding what to choose for this month’s movie outing trip. I meant, if you’re a huge fan of Emmerich, then you can watch it. Otherwise, skip it!
(Review by Henry Pham)
Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
Review: Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America!
Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America is a documentary film where Mr. Jeffery Robinson, a lawyer and former deputy legal director at the Amercian Civil Liberities Union (A.C.L.U.), who is giving a lecture about the subjects of racism and slavery to the movie-viewing audience and the people at Town Hall in New York on Juneteenth 2018. As you all watch the film, he’ll provide most of his valid arguments and point-of-views about racism and slavery throughout the film, but he will promise he’ll bring something new to many viewers.
This film is directed by Sarah Kunstler and Emily Kunstler, the daughters of the Chicago Seven lawyer William Kunstler, whom they interspersed with colorful, cameric scenes of Robinson traveling around the country to spread his powerful voice and interview some black citizens and black civil rights activists. He added his argument about white supremacy towards blacks and made cross-country visits to several cities in the United States. His trips include Charleston, where the fingerprints from slave labor are still in intact; Staten Island, where he interviews Eric Garner’s mother; and his hometown Memphis, Tennessee, where his parents had to devise a plan to buy a home.
Trying to put everything altogether in one full meal thanks to Jeffery Robinson, Sarah Kunstler, and Emily Kunstler, this documentary film relies heavily on many interviewers who dealt with racism as they grow older, the Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech, and many relevant facts and cases along the history without needing to say more whenever anyone is here to express an opinion or emotion for any matter. Since his lecture is new, educational, and quite engaging, Robinson’s story is quite easy to follow and strongly recommended to everyone, including history teachers and history-major students. Robinson’s story and cases inspires many people, including myself, to understand how racism affects others in real life, just like back in the 1950s and 1960s.
Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America is a wonderful, inspiring two-hour documentary film. It’s a superb addition to Sarah Kunstler and Emily Kunstler's first brilliant documentary. Jeffery Robinson brings the whole compelling and truthful history of racism in the United States of America, not to pin the blame or shame but to inform and educate. This film is a must, perfect fit to celebrate Black History Month. In fact, everyone in history classes should get themselves to watch this film. If you don't think or believe we have a problem with racism in this country, or think that racism no longer exists, I highly (and heavily) urge you to watch the film. This film is not optional and it shouldn’t be easy to miss and skip. Go now and watch this immediately! No exceptions!
(Review by Henry Pham)
Studio: 20th Century Studios
The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild flaws and thaws!
The Ice Age films haven't been so good since the third installment, which came out in 2009, have suffered critical decline despite the box office success compared to the franchises of Despicable Me and Shrek, or even Pirates of the Caribbean to go along with that. This is the first Ice Age film without the involvement of Blue Sky Studios due to the studio’s closure made by Disney in response to COVID-19, canceling several studio projects permanently. Despite this, the production of Ice Age: Adventures of Buck Wild has continued forward with some studio filmmakers getting back on their feet and a newer voice-acting cast being hired. Having been directed by John C. Dorkin, the film features the returning star of Simon Pegg.
The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild picks up where Collision Course left off and focuses on two possum brothers, Crash and Eddie, who set out to find a place of their own. Together with the one-eyed weasel, Buck Wild, they will face the adventure and danger of the dinosaur world.
Actor Simon Pegg is the only returning voice actor from the previous films, reprising his role as Buck Wild. There is nothing replaceable than Simon Pegg himself as he hilariously enjoys voicing his character and he is certainly having the time of his life. He is what everyone’s looking forward to about this film and is what makes this film exciting to see for some Simon Pegg fans out there.
Under the direction orchestrated by John C. Donkin (in his directorial debut), the film’s plot feels empty and unemotional as nothing new and nothing too great to look forward to. The story is terrible and is completely hurt and abused by its inaccuracies being uplifted by the predictable, logical statics. The animation is extremely terrible, lazy, and cheap as well. Even lots of dialogues, coming from the screenplay team of Jim Hecht, Ray DeLaurentis, and William Schifrin, aren’t helping to save the mess but they are something important to when choosing the right vessel of finding one's own life and purpose. Afterall, it can be a predictable film but with a good emotional quotient at the end. My main guess is that character emotion is presented as the main focal point of the story, everything else, not so much. Regardless, the filmmakers really pulled it off a decent script with a family-driven formula of the weak-looking characters.
The film also includes the returning characters of Manny, Sid, Diego and Ellie, but are given as supportive characters and newer voice cast. The voice cast is less alright but it’s sad to see that most of the actors did not return to reprise their roles. Instead, a cast of newer voice actors are hired to take over the roles, which ruins the franchise’s motto and the childhood nostalgia of those who grew up with the first Ice Age film, which is one of those animation gems that impact computer animation along with the first films of Shrek and Toy Story. On the other hand, the visuals are good.
So hard to say, but The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild is a terrible 82-minute movie and I hate it more than anyone else in the world. I think Ice Age should have stopped the franchise, maybe at least after the third film in the series. Simon Pegg did a great job, but for director John C. Donkin, I can sense he really wanted to make this film a decent Pixar-brand film and I respect him for that, but this cheesy-choppy animated film has prevented me from liking this film. I have witnessed every flaw and every lazy writing the filmmakers and animators have put just to make this film hilarious and entertaining. If Disney revives or hasn’t canceled Blue Sky Studios, then the studio and its employees would have turned their heads to creative, original projects (and not the Ice Age films) to work on coming from any film directors or animators who want to share their voices and offer something nice and gentle in that order. The film is up on Disney+.
(Review by Henry Pham)