Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)

Not as good as the first, but still very entertaining

Recreating the exact feeling of the original movie will never be possible. It was a new take on old things and that is what made it different. However, this movie was pretty darn good anyways.

There were new characters introduced, and while I personally wasn’t as enticed by the American brand of Kingsman, overdone cowboys with even worse names then the Kingsman. Even so I felt it was fairly funny. The storyline itself was similar to the first movie, but did have some interesting twists that included implying the horribleness of capitalism and a very pessimistic view of our government.

There was a sex scene I was uncomfortable with, but I don’t think it was rapey or as bad as others  have talked about. The other item I disliked happened at the beginning of the movie and involved two close friends of Eggsy. I don’t want to spoil things so I wont say anymore, but I was disappointed we didn’t get to see more about them in this movie.

While I said it isn’t the same height of fun as the first one, it was a good, solid, funny spy movie. Not in the same class as Atomic Blonde, but they weren’t trying for that anyways.

The good: Funny, great fight scenes and I am fond of the Eggsy/Merlin interaction.

The bad: The American stereotype was pretty basic, I wish they could have done more to either make the Statesmen from somewhere more traditionally Old West, or switch the character types out to something more Southern.

I am definitely in for future movies for this series.

Dunkirk (2017)

Overhyped, and ultimately a disappointment.

It is great to see a World War II movie come out this year. It is even better that it isn’t American centric. I love my country, but we have made it this idea we won World War II by ourselves which isn’t the case.

The movie has some pretty spots, taking the story of three groups that intertwine. The first group about British Spitfires (fighter planes) trying to give some cover, and engaging with German air force. Resulting in Tom Hardy having the only interesting action in the movie.

The second story about a small civilian ship as part of the armada of civilians coming to rescue the trapped soldiers and the story that unfolds when they pick up a soldier from a sunk ship.

Finally the third story is about two soldiers trying to survive on the beach, and wait for the rescue coming from the civilian ships.

It was interesting that all three stories occurred over different period of time but ended together. The fighters story was within an hour, the ship within a few hours, and the soldiers within a couple of days. I think this could work in other movies, and I suspect this will spark a lot of copycats for that style. We will hate this just as much as other niche storytelling styles within a few years.

The problem is there is actually very little story. It is hard to see that because the story keeps jumping around, but when you step back the story itself lacks anything. I have seen documentaries on Dunkirk that had more story. I don’t know if there was never a full story, or if maybe the story got lost when Nolan was trying to break it up to fight the weird timing, but either way it is pretty barren.

I cared nothing about the soldiers at all, Nolan provided nothing for the audience to care about. Tom Hardy was interesting, but that was because of him, not because the story gave him anything. The only story I felt a little compelling was about the civilian ship, its crew of two teens and an older man and how they handle picking up a survivor. Even this story though was lacking on details and when you step back you wonder where the other half of the story went.

I will admit the possibility that the hype was so big that my expectations may be too high. I was told huge action sequences, and I didn’t see that. This isn’t Saving Private Ryan, or The Battle of Britain even. It was fairly boring for me, and I can really like slow movies. The movie has a short run time, but I was still looking at the clock before it was over.

The good: It is an interesting way to tell a story, and it is nice to see a non-American based World War II movie.

The bad: The pacing was slow, very little action or story, and very overhyped.

This is a movie I would recommend if you are a die hard World War II fan, but even then wait until it hits Netflix.

Atomic Blonde (2017)

So close to being great, but that said it is still a good movie.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS!

The good parts overall are the actors. Charlize Theron is great in it. I think she makes a great action star. I think it is far past the time that they put women in those same roles. She outdoes the last several James Bond movies. The supporting actors are great too, even Mcavoy, whom isn’t my favorite actor. The story itself is a good one. However, it is a lot more “spy” movie then John Wick type action movie the trailer lets people see. I was happy to see Sofia Boutella in the movie as well, I liked her playing the Mummy in the Mummy earlier this year and it is good to see that movie won’t be an albatross around her neck.

The action itself is good. It is gritty, dirty fighting. Ms. Theron is beaten, and in turn beats people back. I felt the slow exhaustion as a fight wears on seems about right. As the movie progressed her bruises didn’t go away, her aches didn’t stop and even makeup couldn’t cover it all up. Also, her and the use of keys is pretty awesome and gross at the same time.

It feels weird to see a “period piece” movie that involves the same year I graduated high school. I guess that just shows me how old I am getting. However, the period piece may be the problem a lot of people have. The setting was East and West Berlin in 1989, the Soviets and the Allies are in constant struggle in the shadows. The problem I see for others (I didn’t have it myself) is connecting with the time period, the wall, and just the overall ambience. Like I said, I liked it. I just suspect the period might not be everyone’s style.

The pacing however was the part I didn’t like. This could be once again because the trailer was cut in a way that this was a John Wick style fight movie, when it was paced differently. I couldn’t even say the pacing was good for the story it was trying to tell. There were times that the movie felt way too long and slow. That is the part of the movie I think dragged everything else down. Maybe the most recent spat of movies has made it harder for me to enjoy this, but I think it was probably just not pacing well for itself. It would have lulls in weird spots, then bits of action, then back to a slow period.

The good: The acting was great, finally time to see another kick ass female main character.

The bad: The pacing dragged everything else back. Reduced it for me from great, to merely good.

I would see a sequel, but hopefully they would learn from that pacing.

War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)

How do they make me get so many feels for CGI apes? How?

POSSIBLE SPOILERS!

I won’t go into a lot of details about the plot of the movie itself. I will say however that the trailers are misleading… as in a lot misleading. Don’t get me wrong, there is action, there is adventure, there is laughter and sadness. Yes that little girl is in the movie and she has an impactful role, but it isn’t what the trailer implies.

Woody Harrelson does awesome as the cray cray commander of the humans. The fact that he emotes so well with a CGI character just means he is as good as I remember him.

The movie itself I doubt will win any Oscars except maybe for effects, and probably not that with so many Marvel/Star Wars movies this year. However, it is good enough that I didn’t get dragged out of my suspension of belief. Also, this movie is a great way to wrap up the trilogy, and sets it up for future movies if they want.

Oh, and don’t mind the tears, the husband is cutting onions.

The good: Almost everything is good, especially if you watch it as what it is, a Planet of the Apes movie. Acting, effects, story, etc. It is a great journey into the world of the Apes, and I definitely could come back to it.

The bad: Seriously though, attack choppers don’t do strafing runs normally. They are quite capable of standing off in a distance and laying down death. Just saying that was my one annoyance (and probably one break from suspension of disbelief).

No Escape (2015)

The most racist movie filled with the whiniest family to ever family in the movies.

I admit, my family experiences with guns, violence and actual life and death situations probably makes me less forgiving of the family then others. The children constantly whine, cry and are useless. If this truly was how humans were, we would have died out millenia ago. This isn’t what I have seen children do in real life. They react pretty quickly and are capable of things in high stress situations that I think most Americans don’t realize.

The worst thing about the family itself, out of all the crying, inability to stay quiet or to listen to their parents the fact that Owen Wilson carries his smaller daughter pretty much the entire time is the thing I focused on for some reason. Let’s not even talk about how impossible physically that would be for him to carry her. I am a very large, strong man and I can tell you that would last about 10 minutes. The worst part is the child is physically capable, you are endangering her and yourself by slowing both of you down carrying her EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU WALKED DOWN A STREET, it was just super annoying and I just wanted to scream at the tv.

The attempted rape scene, and make the kid try and kill her father scene were some of the most lazy writing I have ever seen. I have issues with rape scenes to begin with. They are almost never really part of the story, rather they are a lazy way for the writers to make the bad guy even badder, and the man a hero (almost never is the woman a hero because of it). People have done way better writing on then I, so I won’t go too much further.

For the racism part, I can’t even begin to cover how racists the movie was. The whole comment when they arrive in the city is how they are in the “Fourth World” not even the “Third World” is such a bigoted, privileged point of view that isn’t even right. The USA is not the best in technology, not the best in internet, hell it isn’t the best in food or happiness index. We pretty much are only best in military and as a western country, pushing our religion (both are horrible by the way). The treatment of another country in the stereotypical tropes we “assume” other countries are like and how those people act is pretty repulsive. There is a whole slew of other racist things, but the review doesn’t merit a huge in depth discussion.

I do have to say I was surprised that Vietnam was the positive thing in this movie. It was for only thirty seconds, but it was nice to see.

The good: Pierce Brosnan and Vietnam.

The bad: The entire family, but especially the wife and daughters. I kept hoping they would fall off the building.

The Great Wall (2017)

I was surprised, I was definitely surprised.

I wouldn’t call The Great Wall a “great movie”. It is a niche genre piece mixing a big of Hong Kong fighting with some fantasy type action. I was really hesitant about the movie though. A Chinese movie, set in a “vaguely” historical China with what I was worried would be the “Great White Hope”. However it wasn’t like that at all. In fact there was a subtle (or not so subtle) reversal of that.

Instead of him saving everyone, he is saved by them. The movie portrays the greed of capitalism as bad, and the rich elite as just useless. Instead it is those who serve selflessly who are revered in the movie. Definitely Chinese politics are involved in the movie, but maybe I am not so different with my outlook that I found it an overall good message.

Matt Damon is pretty good in the movie as the angry, greedy white boy from the crusades, with Pedro Pascal as his sidekick (you may know him as Oberyn Martell from Game of Thrones) who is even more greedy. They are met by one other white person, William Defoe as a very back stabbing kind of capitalist merchant as well. Matt Damon changed over the course of the movie, Pedro changed maybe a little, and Dafoe did not (and suffered for it).

While those actors were as good as to be expected I absolutely loved Jing Tian (she is also starring this year in Kong: Skull Island, and Pacific Rim 2). True she didn’t speak a lick of English, but she still portrayed a real badass, and had an intensity. Since I am seeing both of her other movies, I am excited to see her in those.

Overall though the movie was pretty good. People complained about the CGI, but I didn’t notice too much. People said it was really colorful, such as the uniforms, sadly my colorblindness means I missed that part, but I still liked it.

However, all that said, it was an ok movie. Not super great, but definitely not as bad as people had said it would be.

The good: action sequences were good, Ms Tian was good, and it was entertaining.

The bad: It is popcorn material, you will forget about it within a few weeks (or sooner) and the political message was a little ham handed.

Assassin’s Creed: The Movie (2016)

acAssassin’s Creed the Movie… a general “meh”.

Today we got to go see Assassin’s Creed in the theater. We decided to avoid the 3D and just go to a standard showing. We had heard a lot of people didn’t like it, and the extra money or headache from watching 3D wasn’t worth it.

I do have to say it isn’t as bad as other video game movies. Also let’s say I am sometimes not the pickiest as evidenced by my desire to go see Resident Evil this year.

I was a bit disappointed. I think they could have done more with it. The actors, especially Michael Fassbender did fine. The action was really good. Let’s be honest that is what most people go to see it for. The plot and the actual movie quality itself where the problem.

The plot tried to do too much, especially for those who aren’t familiar with the game and the intricate plot there. Michael Fassbender’s character and the doctor’s characters both went through “will they/won’t they” moments. Would they be bad, would they be good. In the end I still couldn’t figure what the doctor was doing. Did she stay with the Templars or did she want to join the Assassins?

The biggest issue though was the quality of the movie itself. It was so dark of a film, not a gritty dark violent movie, I mean a seriously the film is so dark I can’t tell who is who on inside scenes. Both the hubby and myself couldn’t see what was going on and I personally was worried I was going blind or something, but no, the film was dark itself. I can’t tell if the dark was because of filming for 3d or a stylish choice, either way, no good!

The good: Very cool fight scenes, the actors actually were decent for this level of movie.

The bad: plot twists, and how dark the actual projection of the movie was.