Blade Runner 2049

Full disclosure, I just saw the original Blade Runner in October of last year and my takeaway from that film was lukewarm at best. After digesting the movie for a couple days, I realized that my presumptive expectations of Blade Runner being a science fiction action film, when in reality it’s a science fiction noir, were to blame. After seeing Blade Runner 2049 and going into it with the proper mindset, I badly want to re-watch the original Blade Runner and reevaluate my opinion of it. Surprisingly, Blade Runner 2049 is one of the best movies I have seen from 2017.

Blade Runner 2049 is everything I could ever ask for from a science fiction noir film and more. Denis Villeneuve and Roger Deakins have come together and built a masterpiece that didn’t get its due credit, much like the first film. Denis Villeneuve took this project on knowing that a large portion of the Blade Runner fanbase, were unsure they wanted this cult classic story ever touched again. He did it with care and vision and delivered the proper tone and feel that the first one gave off. The cinematography is off the charts thanks to now 14th Time nominated Best Cinematographer, Roger Deakins. By far the most beautiful movie I have seen in recent years and hands down favorite to finally win his Oscar.

Ryan Gosling continues to take on any genre and deliver a strong performance, while Harrison Ford returns to his role as Rick Deckard. Ford’s performance is strong and begs the question of how close was he to a Best Supporting nomination. Jared Leto is fine and Robin Wright is good as usual, but Sylvia Hoeks is a scene stealer. She plays the ruthless character of Luv, Niander Wallace’s (Leto) hench-woman.

Please check this movie out and give it the cult classic credit it well deserves. I loved it and will rewatch the original Blade Runner after I catch up on Oscar movies. Blade Runner 2049 is a 10/10, must see film. Yes it’s long but it somehow leaves you wanting more.

Rating – 10/10

Baywatch (2017)

DavidWatchedIt reviews are back and back with a… thud. Baywatch staring Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron sounds fun right? Directed by Seth Gordon, the guy who has brought us such classics like Identity Thief and Horrible Bosses. Ok, not classics and one of those is a shit box but the other I liked. Sequel was even ok, but back to Baywatch and how fun it sounds. Truth is, it’s not fun or enjoyable. Like not even a little bit. It’s painfully bad, as most probably expected, including myself.

The movie starts with a cheesy rescue by Dwayne Johnson’s character that sets the tone as an over the top action comedy, or is it? The following couple scenes are set around some raunchy comedy that involves a poor mans Josh Gad performance by actor Jon Bass. Unfortunately, these comedic beats miss and miss badly. Honestly can’t lay much of the blame on the cast. It really felt like they cared about their performances, they were just given a script that was dog shit. Efron and Johnson had great chemistry that sadly was miss handled and under used. Eventually, the movie tries to get dramatic and action packed with a drug smuggling plot that no one cares about and don’t get me started on the horrible CGI and poor editing.

21 Jump Street pulled this type of movie off flawlessly. Extremely self aware with a very well written script. It had a crime solving element to it that was on the back burner and they made the audience care just enough about it. Baywatch failed in all aspects. The cast is very likable, but the rest is just an absolute mess. Don’t see this. A well casted movie, wasted by poor writing, confusing tone, and a lack of direction.

Rating – 3/10

That Awkward Moment (2014)

A romantic comedy that takes on the male perspective, coming from a first time writer, director, and the producer of Movie 43… no thanks. Right? Wrong. This is by no means the best movie of the year but from where those expectations leave you, it is fantastic. It’s right down the fairway as far as romantic comedies go. They stay in the box for the most part with the small twist being, it’s coming from the male perspective. Other than that this is chalk for a romantic comedy and even touched on some of the cheapest moments most commonly used in romantic comedies, and it still worked for me.

The cast is great, especially when you have two of my favorites in it with Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan. I will go on record now and say Michael B. Jordan will be one of the greatest actors of his generation. He is fantastic in everything he does, starting from when I first came across him in The Wire. Such a fantastic actor. Miles Teller isn’t far behind. The Spectacular Now was one of my favorite movies of last year and most of his decisions on projects have been great… besides 21 & Over. He has great comedic chops that can lighten a moment up seamlessly with his near perfect delivery or he can show off his dramatic acting skills when the scene needs it.  Zac Efron was a tougher sell for me. My opinion before this movie was that he’s the guy from the Disney High School Musical and Nicolas Sparks movies. Neither have I seen or am interested in. Well I am here to tell you he is turning a corner in his career and hopefully he can keep going. He was very enjoyable in this and can definitely act. He has a lot of potential but might have a mild version of the McConauhey effect, where he is pegged as a certain type of actor but can be so much more.

Overall Tom Gormican wrote and directed a good movie and it makes up for his involvement in Movie 43. This is a fun movie people should see. The cast is great, good writing, and it hits the romantic comedy beats women love but has enough for the fellas to enjoy too.

Rating – B

147661

12 Years a Slave (2013)

12 Years a Slave is by far the heaviest and most emotional movie I saw in 2013. It takes on the ugliest period of American history in the most raw and uncomfortable way I have ever seen on film, all while telling the story of Solomon Northup, a free man abducted and thrown into slavery. This movie has made some viewers uneasy or upset and the term “torture porn” has even been thrown around. Personally, I strongly disagree with those people, because if you are going to make a movie about a horrific time in American history, you have every right as a director or writer to make it has historically accurate as possible. Watching what our ancestors did to each other is hard and most people don’t want to have visual images of it in their heads. If that’s the case for you, then don’t watch this movie. If you can get past that and appreciate this movie for what it is, you will really enjoy it as weird as that sounds.

This fairly unknown story is extremely well told, the acting is fantastic, and the eye-opening learning experience the film provides is a rarity in films these days. There are always hidden messages or moments of clarity in film to show character growth and storyline but the learning experience here is way different and not only because of the nature of the topic. What we have here is a story that could be the prime example from a horrible situation. For example, the Anne Frank story of slavery, which by saying that I mean, a personable attachment to a horrific event. It’s hard to think Holocaust and not think about Anne Frank. Well with slavery, I think schools would benefit greatly from teaching students the story of Solomon Northup. It helps envision what a day in the life of a slave was like and how twisted our countries views were for a time.

Steve McQueen directed a visually beautiful film and told a tragic story. This is my favorite movie of the year, barely edging out Gravity. I put it at number one because it has longevity. Gravity is an absolutely marvel of a movie but for me, 12 Years a Slave has is complete package.

Rating – A

12-years-a-slave-poster

Her (2013)

My review for Her is a review that I have put off for quite some time. I had a hard time sitting down to write this because I expected to love this movie and I didn’t. That’s not to say I didn’t think it was good, because it is. It just didn’t meet my expectations and part of my thinks I need to watch it again. In a year full of so many great and good movies, I still thought this would have made my top 10 of the year and it just may have fallen short. Maybe my expectations were too high or maybe it was the previously mentioned high quantity of quality of films this year. Regardless of the reason, it’s time to move on to the movie review itself.

Joaquin Phoenix’s resurgence to acting in odd, difficult, but powerful roles has been amazing. His character in The Master was complex and now he takes on a role where his love interest and on-screen partner is essentially a smart phone. He plays Theodore, a lonely card writer who is infatuated with the idea of love but doesn’t have it in his own life. That is until he purchases the latest operating system for his smart phone, a system that is programmed that is to meet his every need. His operating system is known as Samantha, voiced by Scarlett Johansson, who is amazing in this movie. How can just a voiceover in a non-animation film be so great you ask? Because it’s Scarlett Johansson! She has a beautiful voice and was written such a playful and interesting script. This movie is carried by these two characters, which worked very well considering one character is a phone. Amy Adams continues her great work this year in a supportive role as one of Theodore’s closest friends. Rooney Mara and Chris Pratt also add to this strong cast.

So why didn’t I love it? Spike Jonze wrote and directed a very good movie. He sold me on an unlikely relationship of a man and his smart phone, which wasn’t an easy task. Her had a few slow parts but what movie doesn’t these days with the length of movies being released nowadays. I think I just need to watch it again. So maybe this review is incomplete. I will leave you with that… for now.

Rating – B

her_xxlg

August: Osage County (2013)

August: Osage County can best be described as family disfunction at it’s finest. A life altering event brings together the Weston’s, a rural Oklahoma family built around strong wills, a lack of communication and substance abuse. The movie takes hard turns for the dark but is able steer back to hilarious comedic moments in seconds. The combination is put together like a great roller coaster ride and done in a near perfect way. I would rank this as one of the funniest movies I have seen all year, which is sort of shocking to say when you consider some of the many dark moments that take place during this film.

I’m not even gonna say that Meryl Streep was amazing in it because that goes without saying. She was able to portray addiction and depression in such a powerful way. You add Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep together and you might have the Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen of actresses right now. They are great apart but I loved the report between the two. Any time there was a meal being served it was time to buckle up, comedy and dark moments were soon to follow.

The movie is based off a popular play written by Pulitzer Prize for Drama winner Tracy Letts, so the writing is obviously fantastic.  Pair that with the powerful actresses I already mentioned, plus many more great actors and actresses and you get a Top 10 movie of 2013. The dark moments are very dark and at times can be draining, but don’t let that deter you from seeing this movie. I am very excited to see this again and would recommend everyone sees it.

Rating – A

august-osage-county-poster

Pacific Rim (2013)

Pacific Rim is the perfect combination of the things I like about the Transformers movies with an Iron Man twist and Godzilla like creatures from the sea. The fighting robots are awesome and it’s strange that Michael Bay can destroy that theory repeatedly with Transformers. Regardless, this review is about Guillermo del Toro and how he was able to nail the Summer action movie concept. When it comes to blockbuster Summer movies, I am looking for lots of action and special effects.

Writing can take a back seat if the visuals are captivating enough but in Pacific Rim the writing liked the over used action movie lines and scenarios which can drive me nuts when not done well. The “I know you’re out of the game now but we need you back, the world depends on you,” type of lines get old. There has to be a more creative way to do that, or at least don’t make it so glaringly obvious and cliché.

I enjoyed the movie and the cast but it did see light on star power. Charlie Hunnam’s great on Sons of Anarchy and I think he could be a good movie actor as well, but I don’t understand why he was handed the lead action hero role. He just seemed out-of-place to me and he didn’t bomb in this role, I just think they could have casted someone a little better. Idris Elba is a favorite of mine, like many others, from his character in The Wire, so I am happy to see him get more and more good projects. Rinko Kikuchi came out of nowhere for me and I really enjoyed her performance. Not often does the male action hero come with a kick ass female partner. This is a really fun movie and has some solid comedic moments provided by two interesting scientists played by Charlie Day and Burn Gorman. Add in Rob Perlman and it was just hard not to think of Sons of Anarchy while watching. Didn’t hurt the movie and I thought Ron was good in his role as the black market dealer, I just got distracted for a second.

This movie touches on a common theme of 2013, the apocalypse, and again the status of the world is in danger and we must overcome overwhelming odds. Pacific Rim was more fun than any other apocalypse movie of this year and I don’t think it’s close. Check it out!

Rating – B

pacificrim

Grown Ups 2 (2013)

What was the plot of the movie? I never found one but in my defense I’m
not sure the movie ever had one. Adam Sandler just paraded a phone book full of entertaining people from different entertainment industries around the screen but never really did anything with any of them. I don’t even know what Sandler’s target audience is anymore. The jokes, and I use the term jokes lightly, were predictable and boring almost the entire movie. Now I said almost the entire movie, I did appreciated the two slightly humorous moments that brought a smile to my face. That’s two more than the disaster that was Jack and Jill. Oddly enough, people went to Grown Ups 2 and it did well enough for a third entry into this sad series. I didn’t hate the first one but unfortunately for Sandler, the mild success the first one had on me couldn’t be duplicated.

Come back to us old Sandler. This is turning into an abusive relationship and for some reason I haven’t packed my bag and left yet. Give me something to care about or believe in again. Please…

Rating – D

grown_ups_2_new-poster

Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

Two great performances by two actors that completely dissolve into their roles to an unrecognizable level. Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto vanish from the screen to an award-winning level. They are the stars of the Dallas Buyers Club, which is based on the true story of a homophobic, rodeo loving, electrician named Ron Woodroof. Ron’s carefree attitude for towards life involves drugs, alcoholic and unprotected sex. Ron’s life takes a sudden turn when it’s discovered that he has HIV and given 30 days to live. At the time, 1985, there were very few methods of treatment for HIV patients. The FDA had only approved one drug for human testing which was AZT.

Ron quickly begins taking AZT but finds his health worsening, no thanks to his recreational drug use. During this time he is hospitalized and meets Rayon, an AIDS positive transgender woman also using AZT. Just as fast as he began taking AZT, Ron stops and begins studying his death sentence. Through a couple of chance meetings with foreign doctors, Ron finds his own plan for treatment and partners up with Rayon to start… the Dallas Buyer Club.

This movie is fantastic and one of my favorites of the year. The acting is amazing all around and the story is very interesting. It’s my opinion that McConaughey and Leto made this such a great movie, but as the story and script stands alone, it still would have been very good.

Rating – A

images

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Martin Scorsese’s latest film The Wolf of Wall Street, takes on the true story of Jordan Belfort, a young stockbrokers rise and fall from power and wealth. The story has been called crude, over the top, and vulgar. It hits all those marks and then some but only in a good and funny way. Yes it was little extreme and could have been cut down from the 3 hours but I was interested from beginning to end and didn’t notice the length until it was over. All signs of a great movie, which The Wolf of Wall Street was.

Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Jordan Belfort and gives another great performance in what we have come to expect from this great actor. Jordan Belfort, is a drug and sex addicted stockbroker who is solely focused on wealth and power. He partners up with Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill) to start a brokerage firm called Stratton Oakmont. With the help of some criminal activity, the firm quickly grows into a successful money making criminal empire. The spending is endless, the parties are crazy, the houses and cars are expensive, and the yacht is huge.

Great performances all around but if you can’t laugh at crude and despicable behavior, this movie might not be for you. Jordan and his stockbroker buddies are not good people but make for interesting character studies. Again, could have been cut down a little but the length wasn’t a deal breaker at all. Go see it.

Rating – A

_1385361437