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).

Wonder Woman (2017)

This is one of the best movies this year so far, and the best DC movie ever.

I knew Wonder Woman was going to be good. There was just too much good press, too many great reviews and too many of my friends that were gushing. I was ready to be disappointed because almost anything couldn’t live up to that hype, but it did.

Gal Gadot is a wonderful actress. She really came across as someone who was engaged in a childhood quest and learned the realities of life that make those quests never what they were supposed to be. She did action very well, just more proof that women and action movies should be together. She carried great humor, and just overall sold that role.

I have a love-hate-hate relationship with DC. I did like all the Batman’s, I liked the original superman (RIP Christopher Reeves), and I think Ben Affleck did really well as Batman in the most recent Batman V Superman. However lately the DC movies have just sucked, and sucked hard. I did have a bit of a fun time with Suicide Squad, but I did not enjoy Batman V Superman at all. In fact I was worried before the movie came out that Ms. Godot would have sucked. However, this movie has shown that Zack Snyder did her a disservice (and the fans as well) when he didn’t focus on her more in that movie. She might have saved that movie.

Oh, and I didn’t mention Man of Steel, that is because both the movie and the actor are in the  worst list of DC movies (which rank lower than other super hero movies, so it makes it pretty low).

One more point, Patty Jenkins was an awesome director. I suspect most if not all of the reason this movie was great

The good: Everything about this movie is good, the action, the acting, the director, all of it.

The bad: The feeling I am going to have when I go back to the next DC movie that isn’t Patty Jenkins or Gal Godot.

The Mummy (2017)

What the hell did I just see?

This has to be the worst movie I have seen in a long time. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the experience of going to see it. It gave me some ideas of what to do and not do in a future roleplaying game I will run, but definitely that was a big piece of trash.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS!

First let’s get this out of the way. The movie isn’t really about “The Mummy”. It is a masturbatory story for and about Tom Cruise.

The Mummy character itself was given the shaft in this movie. The actress (Sofia Boutella) and the character (named Ahmanet) is what I find to be the best part of the movie. She is beautiful, powerful and even with her limited material had a great intensity. She was the only good thing in the movie. Yet she had what seemed like the least runtime out of her, the blonde girl, Cruise or Crowe. There was so much potential with her, yet they hacked her part apart so badly she seemed like a bit player in the movie.

Russell Crowe was both good and bad. I like Russell Crowe, and I don’t feel bad about it. I liked the witty comments of Mr. Hyde, and I realize Crowe can have a wooden performance, but in this case, the character itself was written poorly, so Crowe didn’t have much to work with.

Cruise’s love interest (I will refer to her as the nameless blond) was horrible. She was so bad I don’t remember her character or the actresses’ name. To make it even worse, I don’t care to know it. Her character was cardboard, flavorless and absolutely did nothing for me. I realize I can’t blame that on the actress, but evidently I don’t even care enough to try and get past that.

Tom Cruise is problematic in a lot of ways. I like him in some roles (yes I liked Collateral and the Last Samurai). He is flavorless as well in things like Mission Impossible. Then he is horrible in movies like in this one. I hated his character itself, the presented personality, the cockiness, just about everything he said made me wish I could blow him up with my mind.

The worst part of the movie is the fact they butchered all of the Mummy’s (Ahmanet) parts so Cruise could have a larger part. I hear it is because the director was a rookie and Cruise was “helping” the director, but that didn’t help anything at all for me.

I also disliked what Cruise’s character became, I realize he is the referential “Mummy”, and I didn’t consider that suave, cool or even a surprise. I was just disappointed that she wasn’t the Mummy in future films (except maybe a villain). That was the biggest disappointment for me.

This was the first movie in a new film franchise, the “Dark Universe” that combines all of Universal’s monster IPs into a single Marvel/DC type thing. They want to share the universe with Dracula, the Mummy, Frankenstein’s Monster, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, etc.

I think that is an awesome idea. The problem here is they went too far into it for the first movie. They wanted to make references to too many things and instead there was too much explanatory setup and too little story about the Mummy. They would have been better off to have a few easter eggs of the other IPs, and maybe a cameo. Some say Crowe was a cameo, that wasn’t a cameo, that was way too large a part to be anything but disasterous.

The good: Sofia Boutella was a great actress, and her character was awesome. I will follow her more.

The bad: Everything else was eye gougingly bad… except Russel Crowe, he was ok.

Alien: Covenant (2017)

Not the best ,not the worst, wasn’t bad at all.

First let me be blunt and explain that I like Alien movies in general. It is true since Aliens, the franchise isn’t as good, but I still like the idea and the series.

I came into the movie with a low expectation, and it probably helped me with the movie experience. I haven’t seen a “good” alien movie in a long time so I thought this would suck. It didn’t, I enjoyed chunks of it. The chunks that were actually Alien.

The acting itself was decent, the filming was good and not nearly as dark as I was worried about. I will try not to reveal too many spoilers, but the down part for me was when they ended up interacting with the Prometheus storyline. It really is Prometheus 2: Alien Covenant.

I really feel if they had avoided the interaction with Prometheus, this movie would have been good, as it is, it is still decent, if you just ignoring the androids (although I like Walter, Walter was pretty cool). Sadly I can’t go into anymore because of spoilers, suffice to say it didn’t suck too badly.

The good: It is an Alien movie, this means all the good of other Alien movies.

The bad: Dear god stop with anything Prometheus please!

I will probably see more, I might be hesitant now but we all know how I am.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 (2017)

If you liked the first movie, you won’t be disappointed.

Volume 2 is a good continuation of the first movie. The same chemistry is there, and the actors and actresses are obviously comfortable in their zone. While in that zone there is several new and older characters that make their appearance. My favorite new character is Mantis. I really think her and Drax would make a good couple (yes I am a romantic).

I don’t think this is too spoilery, but Quill gets to meet his father, and I think they made an excellent choice by selecting Kurt Russell. It felt natural, and even though I saw the character arc with his dad it was interesting. As a side note there are several cameos that are great as well.

My favorite character though in this one was Yando. I like Michael Rooker in a lot of things, but I really think this is my favorite role of his. The relationship between Quill and him, and the actual story behind his raising of Quill made him a very satisfactory character.

The movie itself is full of good actions scenes, and even though I really wasn’t fond of the golden Sovereign, it was a lot of fun to watch. I even enjoyed the 5 after credits scenes, my favorite involves Groot and Quill. I do have to say that movies are getting out of hand with after credit scenes. Couldn’t they just put it at the end of the movie and not make us wait 10 minutes through credits?

It is definitely a see in the theater kind of movie.

The good: It is more of the same as Volume 1, with the addition of more Rooker and some funny cameos.

The bad: I didn’t particularly like the sovereign, and after credit scenes have to stop.