Monday, May 14, 2018


At one point in the movie Breaking In, a clip is shown of an old Woody Woodpecker cartoon.  It is the gag in which the guy is trying to saw down the tree that Woody is in, but Woody bends his saw around and he ends up sawing off his own ladder.  It is ironic that this was the clip the filmmakers chose to show. 

Breaking In stars Gabrielle Union as Shaun Russell, a mother of two who is returning to her childhood home to deal with her estranged fathers estate upon his death.  It becomes clear very quickly that her father was involved in some shady business.  It shouldn't come as too big of a shock then when a group of men show up to steal some money that is hidden inside the house. 

The movie appears to want to be taken seriously as an intense home invasion thriller.  However, the group of villains it features are so zany that it may as well have been Harry and Marv from Home Alone.  It is amazing how much has to go wrong to make this plot even begin to feel plausible.  The bad guys are quickly reduced to a generic group of bumbling idiots that wouldn't be capable of successfully robbing a liquor store.  At a key point in the film something so ridiculous happens that the movie's title should have been changed from Breaking In to Walking In.  I would like to say more about that, but in the interest of staying spoiler-free I won't.

Gabrielle Union's performance is pretty good.  That may have been as close to a high spot as this movie has.  The problem is that the dialogue is so bad that it really doesn't matter. Billy Burke plays the main villain, the only one that appears as though he may possibly be at least somewhat competent.  His one note performance becomes annoying really fast and the dialogue didn't do him any favors either.  At certain points he seems to be narrating the movie more than starring in it with all the pointless exposition he was having to deliver. 

The film is beyond the pale when it comes to believability, or lack there of.  I get that it is a movie and some suspension of disbelief is perfectly acceptable.  That being said, this film goes way beyond that point.  Apparently if you are a mom you can just instantly become John McClain.  I wasn't aware of that phenomenon.  The movie could have at least tried to explain how Shaun was able to do some of these incredible things under such duress, but it doesn't even try to do that. 

At one point, the main characters make a decision that is actually pretty smart and the movie almost becomes something like a cheap knockoff of Panic Room, which would have been a vast improvement.  However, they went through that part too fast, instead of trying to build any real tension, racing to an ending that was, much like the rest of the film, totally ridiculous. 

We all know what this movie is.  It is a blatant political statement.  I normally wouldn't even bother to address this type of thing but I feel like I have to here.  The whole point of the film was to show how worthless men are and how inversely awesome women are.  Now, nobody has more respect for women than me, but by making this thing so over the top and silly, the movie defeats it's own purpose.  Or, shall we say, it cuts off it's own ladder.  Bottom line; Breaking In is trash.  It is the worst kind of trash in my opinion and the fact that it exists puts a blight on the entire film industry.  THE MOVIE MAN GIVES IT 0 OUT OF 5 STARS. 

Friday, May 11, 2018


American Pie with girls.  That's pretty much what Blockers is.  Except this time we are bringing the parents along for the ride too as they attempt to stop their teenage daughters from doing what they are planning to do and, as we all know, that never ends well.  This film is definitely not breaking any new ground, but that's ok as long as it is executed well and gives us a few good laughs. 

I have to commend the cast of this film.  I mean the entire cast.  The acting was so good from top to bottom that I didn't even notice it while I was watching the movie.  It didn't feel like I was watching actors.  Everybody had such great chemistry with each other that they made the characters feel like real life people.  That is impressive, especially in a film like this that puts the characters in so many ridiculous scenarios.  John Cena was the worst actor in this movie.  That's not to say he was bad.  In fact, I thought the role of the overprotective dad was perfect for him and he was quiet adequate to say the least.  Leslie Mann is a national treasure as far as I'm concerned.  She never gets a lot of credit; never is considered the star of the film.  She is just an actress who is consistently good at her job no matter what she is asked to do.  This performance is no different.  The standout here is Ike Barinholtz (Suicide Squad, The Mindy Project).  All of his jokes hit and his character was the only one in the movie that actually had any kind of an arc.  The three young actresses, Kathryn Newton (Lady Bird), Gideon Adlon, and Geraldine Viswanathan (EMO the Musical), all did a really good job in the film.  I wasn't familiar with any of them but I think they could all have a pretty bright future. 

The problem I had with the movie is that there are several scenes that seemed really out of place.  There are some ridiculous jokes that don't seem to fit with the tone they were going for.  If they wanted to go all out ridiculous goofy comedy they should have gone that direction and had less of the real-life, grounded drama.  They needed to commit one way or the other.  Pick a lane.  As it was, I was confused a lot of the time about what type of movie I was watching.  All the scenes and jokes that felt out of place kept me from getting as invested in the characters as I should have been. 

If you're looking for pure laughs, this movie is going to work for you I believe.  It seemed that the first act was a little slow with some of the jokes not really working all that well.  However, when the second act begins the movie really picks up and there is some very funny and genuine humor from there on out.  As I said before, some of the jokes were too ridiculous for my taste but, even so, were well executed and it was hard not to laugh. 

Blockers is not the next ground breaking comedy of our time or anything, but it is far from a terrible movie.  I certainly had an enjoyable experience watching this film and the more I think about it, the more I think I liked it.  It has a few problems but the acting was all really good and most of the jokes were funny.  That's about the best I could have asked for out of this.  THE MOVIE MAN GIVES IT 2.5 OUT OF 5 STARS.

Monday, May 7, 2018


There are some movies that you go into and you just kind of know what you are going to get from it.  I don't like to have a lot of expectations going into a film, good or bad, but experience and human nature sometimes leaves me no choice.  Such was the case with Truth or Dare.  I didn't expect a lot, obviously, but what I hoped I would get from this was a decent and fun guilty pleasure type of film.

Truth or dare is pretty much your typical college student horror movie fare.  A group of friends get drunk.  They play truth or dare.  The game turns out to be cursed.  You know the drill. 

This movie turned out to be pretty entertaining, but for all the wrong reasons.  It is the finest example of unintentional hilarity that I have seen in quite some time.  The jump scares come early and often.  You know they are going to be part of a movie like this going into it.  They get them out of the way for the most part, then you are free to laugh hysterically at the rest of the movie, which I did. 

The first thing I have to address is the face,  You know what face I'm talking about if you have seen any trailers for this movie.  I don't know who thought that was going to be scary but they missed on that one.  I would call the curse in this film the Joker curse because it makes the characters make that Joker face.  All through the movie I anticipated the next person to get hit by the Joker curse because IT WAS SO FUNNY.  The curse never let me down.  It seemed to get funnier and more bizarre as the movie went on. 

One thing that was annoying (but also funny) in this film was the way the rules of the curse kept changing.  It was honestly like the writers realized what they were doing wasn't going to work for some reason or another so they just decided to abruptly change it.  It was very unapologetic too, like the characters would actually just come out and say something like, "Oh yeah, the rules are such-and-such now.  It was absurd. 

One thing I hate about these type of movies, and this one was probably the worst I have seen, is the very lazy way they have of using Google to get all the exposition across to the audience.  I can't think of a more boring way to divulge important plot elements than to watch it come up on somebody's computer screen.  Also, they always come across the exact right thing so easy.  The characters will just type in two or three words and the very first story will be the one that pertains to their situation.  Google has never been that easy for me. 

None of this movie made a lot of sense, but the ending was on another level.  It was such a convoluted mess that I had no idea what was going on and I don't think the filmmakers or actors did either.  Then, just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, they straight up ripped off the ending of The Ring. 

Truth or Dare is the perfect example of what I mean when I say that just because a movie is entertaining doesn't necessarily mean it was good.  I had a lot of fun watching this and I half way would recommend it, but none of that is for any of the reasons the filmmakers intended.   Truth or Dare is a bad movie.  It's a fun bad movie, but a bad movie all the same.  THE MOVIE MAN GIVES IT 1.5 OUT OF 5 STARS.

Monday, April 30, 2018


Here's a helpful tip.  If you are the least bit interested in the movie Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom that comes out in June, do not watch the trailer.  I saw it in front of the Avengers movie and I now feel like I have seen the whole film.  I don't know why studios continue to release these spoiler laden trailers but as long as they do I will keep giving a heads up every time I see one.

The Avengers: Infinity War is the third official Avengers film and the latest in the ever expanding Marvel cinematic universe. This film boasts the largest cast of comic book heroes ever brought to the big screen.  It also has quiet possibly the highest stakes of any Marvel movie to date as the mighty Thanos threatens to alter the course of reality as we know it.  To do this, he needs to recover the six lost infinity stones, two of which are under the protection of the Avengers. 

Right off the bat, here is my number one problem with this film.  I don't understand what they have done to my personal favorite Marvel character Captain America.  He looked so different from the traditional version of Cap that I forgot who he was throughout the movie.  He wore an all black suit with no mask, I'm assuming so Chris Evens can show off his new beard, and he didn't have his trademark shield.  Apparently I missed what happened to the shield somewhere along the line but please bring it back. 

Having this many heroes in one movie was a daunting task and directors The Russo Brothers as well as screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely should be commended for how smoothly they were able to service all the larger than life characters in the film.  The different characters stories are intertwined very well.  The transitions between all the different scenes playing out at the same time are seamless and perfectly timed.  This movie was not nearly as confusing as it should have been.  Also surprising, every hero got adequate screen time as far as I'm concerned. 

I thought the villain Thanos in this movie was terrific.  I would call him easily the best MCU villain to date.  He had a presence on screen and a desperate motivation that made him feel dangerous in a way that many comic book villains do not.  Josh Brolin did a great job in the role.  His work made Thanos feel real and all the more menacing.  Congratulations Marvel, you finally got the villain right. 

This movie has an ending that a lot of people are going to hate.  That being said, the emotional impact was real and the ending really did work for me.  I personally thought that it was the only way the movie could have ended to make the whole thing seem worthwhile. 

This is a very good comic book movie with very few problems in my opinion.  It's probably not in the top tier of comic book movies all time, but I think it was close to that.  I missed a few characters who weren't there like Hawkeye, Ant-Man, and the more traditional Captain America.  Aside from that, however, the film is focused, not nearly as convoluted as it should be, and the stakes feel high enough that the plot has weight to it.  THE MOVIE MAN GIVES IT 4 OUT OF 5 STARS.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018


Normally I would start out one of these reviews with a hopefully clever joke, observation about society, or some type of abstract idea that the film made me think of.  This time is different.  This time I have a video game movie to review .  If I'm being honest, this time I just want to jump into it and get it over with.  So without further ado, let's review the stupid video game movie. 

Rampage, starring Dwayne Johnson (San Andreas) and Naomi Harris (Moonlight, Skyfall),  is an adaptation of an old 1980's arcade game in which you play as a monster and smash up cities and kill massive amounts of people with no consequences.  Yes, you read that right.  That is pretty much it. 

This was not the worst movie I've ever seen or anything like that.  In fact, a good bit of it is perfectly fine for what it is.  The problem here is that there was too much movie in this video game.  The people who go to see this are wanting to see cool monsters smashing things.  That's it.  The movie  has some of that but it tries to weave in a bunch of poorly executed movie drama and it takes away from where the focus of the movie should have been; massive amounts of CGI destruction.  The kind of thing I usually hate but I will give it a pass this time considering the source material. 

I always enjoy watching The Rock, or Dwayne I guess now, doing whatever he is doing.  The guy is just extremely likable and entertaining.  That being said, I thought he was out of place in this film.  The human characters were not going to be the stars here and trying to make Johnson one of the stars is something that hurt this movie.  Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Walking Dead) plays an FBI agent in this movie and he is really annoying.  He basically played a cartoon version of Negan and it does not come off well.  His dialogue was the worst in a film full of bad dialogue.  Every line he spoke had to include some kind of sarcastic joke.  It got real old real fast. 

The worst thing about this movie to me was the way over the top generic antagonist and her beta-male sidekick.  They were watching everything happen on monitors from an office building and it was some of the worst cheese I have seen in quite some time.  It was basically Rita Repulsa from the Power Rangers show back in the 90's. 

Overall, this movie wasn't absolutely terrible and I think the target audience will enjoy parts of it.  However, it falls short of what it should have been doing and has no real redeeming qualities that would allow me to call it anything close to a good film.  THE MOVIE MAN GIVES IT 2 OUT OF 5 STARS.  

Wednesday, April 11, 2018


It is rare that an actor can overcome the dreaded typecasting of a beloved TV character.  That is a problem that has plagued many great talents throughout history.  I can honestly say; however, that John Krasinski has put Jim from The Office firmly in his rear view with his stellar performance in A Quiet Place. 

The film is set at a time in the near future when the world has been overrun by an alien race that is completely blind and uses their ultra-heightened hearing ability to hunt.  The rules are simple; make a sound, you die.  The movie focuses on one particular family as they try to survive a world that requires constant silence. 

For starters, I have to make it clear that this film is not for everybody.  A good portion of casual moviegoers are going to hate this film and think that it is totally boring.  This is a VERY quiet film.  I felt almost like I was watching a silent movie.  It was even uncomfortable at times to sit and watch because every little sound in the theater was so noticeable; every cough, every rustle of clothing or paper.  There are even parts of the film that are completely silent with no sound at all.  With that being said, the tension that this movie builds is real.  I was on the edge of my seat the whole time.  I just feel like the lack of sound is going to bother a lot of people.

The movie starts with a tremendous opening sequence that does a great job of establishing the rules right off the bat.  It sets the pace very well and shows you what you are in for.  The movie had me right from the very first scene and didn't let up until it ended. 

The star of this film is undoubtedly John Krasinski.  He did a wonderful job directing here and shows that he has considerable talent in that area.  The acting is all great.  As a character story masquerading as a monster movie, the film required top notch performances from everybody and that is exactly what was delivered here.  Not only Krasinski himself, but Emily Blount (Edge of Tomorrow) and two unusually good child performances from Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe (Wonder) anchor this character driven narrative.  The lack of dialogue makes the performances that much more impressive. 

If I'm really nitpicking this film, and I have to if I want to talk about any flaws, I would say that there are certain plot elements that relate to the ending that nobody is going to catch on the first viewing.  I disliked the ending at first, but after I went home and did a little research, I actually liked it quite a bit.  There are key elements to the film that are going to absolutely require second or third viewing to pick up on.  I wouldn't normally consider this a flaw, but since it totally changed my perspective of the ending, I think I have to. 

This is a film that had me thinking about it long after it had ended.  That is a big plus for me.  I like movies that do that.  The more I think about it, the more I like it.  Great tension, an impressive directorial job by John Kasinski, and all around great acting make this a movie that I am really excited to see again.  The Movie Man gives A Quiet Place 4 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


Do you believe in magic? Are you a skeptic? When you see a great illusionist perform their feats of mysticism, do you accept it for what it is, or are you always looking for the trick up their sleeve? Watch closely, but not too closely. For the closer you look, the less you see.

 At its core, Now You See Me is a heist movie; a heist movie with magic. What could possibly go...
wrong, right? It all begins with four very talented street magicians, all with their own special talents. They each receive a mysterious message to come to this bombed out apartment building, where they meet each other for the first time. The next thing we see, they are on the big stage in Las Vegas performing as The Four Horsemen. Their big finale is something never before seen in the world of magic. They rob a bank. But did they really, or was it just typical slight of hand?

It's funny that this movie is about illusions, because, to me, it was kind of an illusion of a good movie. It was entertaining and fun, but just too silly to actually be good.

I liked the Four Horsemen themselves. Jesse Eisenberg is J. Daniel Atlas and plays pretty much the same character he played in The Social Network. Woody Harrelson stole the show as Merritt McKinney, the mentalist. Isla Fisher and Dave Franco are....adequate. The four of them together are captivating to watch, and make the first half of the movie really enjoyable, if a bit far fetched. 

 It's in the second half that the movie really falls apart. The FBI involvement was interesting at first because they had the issue of, if they really robbed a bank while they were onstage, it had to be magic. That was an interesting concept. Once it was decided that they really had robbed a bank, then it just became your average heist movie chase with the FBI looking really inept and the agent (Mark Ruffalo) looking like an incompetent fool. Somehow, this group goes from a quartet of cocky magicians to a collection of goofy Batman villains.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that Michael Cain was in the movie. He was great as always, just wasn't there enough for my taste. Speaking of great actors, Morgan Freeman played Thaddeus Bradley, who was probably my favorite character in the movie. He was a former magician who now makes a series of videos debunking magicians. The FBI enlists him to help figure out how the Horsemen pulled off these robberies, that may or may not have been robberies in the first place. Freeman was great and I actually liked the character. Along with Harrelson, he was one of the best things in the movie. I would have liked to see them do more with him, but.......

 The ending was really, REALLY stupid. It looks like it's headed toward a certain ending, which would have been bad and predictable, but the actual ending they used was even worse. It had a twist, but it made no sense and just felt really cheap.

Now You See Me is pretty entertaining throughout. The acting is very good. There are funny parts and suspenseful parts. In the end however, it's just too nonsensical to amount to much. The lemon of an ending left me feeling taken advantage of. I won't say this is a bad movie exactly, but it is certainly not a good movie either.  The Movie Man gives it 3 out of 5 stars. 

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