Ocean’s 8—Great Cast, Boring Plot

Ocean's 8 movie poster
Ocean’s 8

A group of thieves, led by conwoman Debbie Ocean, set out to steal a priceless necklace off the neck of a famous actress at the Met Gala. All-star cast led by Sandra Bullock.

1—Predictable Plot

When Debbie Ocean gets out of jail on parole, she sets about gathering a cast of criminals for the biggest heist of their lives. A heist that goes off without a hitch. Maybe it’s because I’ve been watching Leverage reruns, but I was expecting something to go wrong at some point, and anticipated watching the criminals have to react on their feet. This is not what happened. There’s a few complications, but they get handled immediately, no alteration to the larger plan needed. Also, the title kind of gives away that an eighth person will unexpectedly join their ring. Continue reading “Ocean’s 8—Great Cast, Boring Plot”

Deadpool 2—Family and Lots of Death

Deadpool 2 movie poster
Deadpool 2

Deadpool 2 is a little hard to describe succinctly. Wade Wilson, Deadpool, is a super non-hero who finds himself suicidal after the death of the love of his life, but due to his mutant healing ability, he can’t die. The movie is funnier than it sounds. Also, like its predecessor, NOT for kids. Graphic violence and sex jokes abound.

1—They Kill Vanessa, Goddamnit

I liked Vanessa, she was well developed and fun. Even the beginning credits call out how cruel it was to kill her just as she and Wade were about to start a family. That doesn’t mean she’s absent from the movie—Wade keeps seeing her as he almost dies—but I still miss her. Continue reading “Deadpool 2—Family and Lots of Death”

Captain Marvel—All is Not as it Seems

Captain Marvel movie poster
Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel is the origin story of the superhero. Vers, a Kree alien, wakes up with nightmares of a shapeshifting Skrull murdering someone important to her—not that she knows who, since she has amnesia. Her new mission takes her to a backwater plant the locals call Earth, where she just might find some answers to her past. This movie is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but nothing except the last scene is tied in with the larger plot, so the movie stands mostly on its own, taking place mainly in the 1990s.

1—The Setup

For the last six years Vers has been training as a member of Starforce, the Kree’s defenders. On her first mission, she gets captured by the Skrulls, breaks free, and crash-lands through the roof of a Blockbuster video rental. The Skrulls are in pursuit of her, and her only ally is a human S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent named Fury. Continue reading “Captain Marvel—All is Not as it Seems”

Hellboy (2004 Movie)—Over the Top

Hellboy (2004) movie poster
Hellboy (2004)

Hellboy, based on the comic book series of the same name, and directed by Guillermo del Toro, follows the titular character as he tries to save the world from Nazis and Rasputin, who are trying to summon eldritch abominations to bring about the apocalypse.

1—Setup

In 1944, Nazis open a portal to another dimension off the coast of Scotland, led by Rasputin. They’re foiled by Allied soldiers and young scientist who’s also versed in the occult. Before destroying the portal though, something gets through—a baby demon, whom the group dub Hellboy. Continue reading “Hellboy (2004 Movie)—Over the Top”

The Man Who Knew Too Little—Stupid but Fun

The Man Who Knew Too Little movie poster
The Man Who Knew Too Little

The Man Who Knew Too Little is a sendup of spy films. A hapless American on vacation in London gets wound up in an caper after inadvertently taking a phone call meant for a spy.

1—The Setup

Wallace Ritchie (played by Bill Murray) goes to visit his brother in England but his brother has a business meeting that night, and so arranges for Wallace to spend the evening at an interactive improv theater. But due to a mix up, instead of taking the theater’s phone call, he takes the phone call meant for a real spy. While trying to do “scenes” he accidentally foils plans to restart the Cold War. Continue reading “The Man Who Knew Too Little—Stupid but Fun”

Saving Mr. Banks—The Story of a Story

Saving Mr. Banks movie poster
Saving Mr. Banks

Saving Mr. Banks is the tale of how Walt Disney came to acquire the rights to make the movie Marry Poppins. Marry Poppins was created by P. L. Travers, a quirky and hard to get along with woman who doesn’t like animation, or Walt Disney. The movie also covers Mrs. Travers’s childhood and the events that shaped what would become Marry Poppins.

1—Two Stories

The two stories—of how Walt Disney convinced Mrs. Travers to let him make the movie, and the story of the experiences that young Mrs. Travers took to make Marry Poppins—are intertwined skillfully. The conceit is that Mrs. Travers is remembering her childhood, that dealing with Walt Disney and his team as they go over the story is bringing up memories both wonderful and painful. Mrs. Travers is to an extent unlikeable because she is so demanding and exacting, and I love that about her. Part of the movie seems to be about how life scars us, and how that’s ok. Continue reading “Saving Mr. Banks—The Story of a Story”

Monty Python and the Holy Grail—A Silly and Perilous Quest

Monty Python and the Holy Grail movie poster
Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Monty Python and the Holy Grail is the Legends of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table as told by Monty Python . It is a fountain of memes for good reason. Like all Monty Python, there’s plenty of absurdist humor.

(Though do be warned if you react to quickly flashing lights that part of the beginning credits are really flashy.) (Also make sure to read the beginning credits subtitles.)

1—The Quest

After being given a quest from God, King Arthur and his knights set about seeking the Holy Grail. On the way they encounter an accused witch who undergoes trial by duck, Tim the Enchanter, a killer rabbit and many other weird things, most of which would take too long to explain for me to do so here. Some of the scenes are unconnected to the others—though still funny—and some come back into play in later scenes. This is definitely a sit-back-and-enjoy-the-ride kind of movie, at least it was for me. Continue reading “Monty Python and the Holy Grail—A Silly and Perilous Quest”

Monster-in-Law—A Comedy of Relationships

 

Monster-in-law starts off as a RomCom, complete with a series of meet-cutes. Then we meet the male love interest’s mother, and she and the female love interest hit it off—emphasis on “hit”.

1—Gaslighting, Poisoning, and Physical Abuse

All of which are played for humor, and rather successfully—though the nut-allergy thing isn’t funny, given how severe a problem they are in real life. Viola, the monster mother-in-law, starts by trying to drive Charlie, the prospective bride and daughter-in-law, crazy by moving in with her and acting crazy herself. When Charlie catches on, the war really begins, each woman trying to drive off the other without letting Kevin, the son/prospective groom, in on things. Continue reading “Monster-in-Law—A Comedy of Relationships”

Monty Python’s Life of Brian—Absurdist Non-History

Monty Python's Life of Brian movie poster
Monty Python’s Life of Brian

Monty Python is a British comedy group, with the most absurd sense of humor I’ve ever seen. This is their take on the life and death of Brian, who is definitely not the Messiah in Roman-occupied Judea.

Conclusion—I Don’t Know How to Review This Movie

If you have the kind of sense of humor that likes Monty Python, you’ll like this. If don’t, then you won’t. But it is a good introduction to their humor if you’ve been waiting to try them. There’s an actual narrative in the movie, however farcical. And ending with all the crucified men singing and whistling is just the perfect touch.

Constantine (2005 Movie)—Not As Deep As It Wants to Be

Constantine movie poster
Constantine

Constantine follows John Constantine as he tries to prevent the son of the Devil from using the Spear of Destiny to break into and overwhelm our world. Based on the DC/Vertigo comics series Hellblazer.

1—Half-Angels and Half-Demons

God and the Devil have a bet going for the souls of humanity. This means no direct interference from either side, just influencers whispering in peoples’s ears. When half-demons break the rules, John Constantine is there to send them back to Hell, a place with which he has personal experience, having committed suicide as a child and died for two minutes. John also performs exorcisms on possessed people. Continue reading “Constantine (2005 Movie)—Not As Deep As It Wants to Be”