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”

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”

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 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”

The Wolf Man (1941)—Melodramatic

The Wolf Man (1941) movie poster
The Wolf Man (1941)

The Wolf Man is a horror film by Universal Studios. Larry Talbot returns home after his brother’s death and gets bitten by a werewolf, thus becoming a werewolf himself. Things go even more south when he sees the mark of the pentagram (really just a star) on his would-be girlfriend Gwen’s hand, a sign that she’s his next victim.

1—Larry Talbot is a Creep

Larry first sees Gwen through his father’s telescope, which ok, accidental spying for a moment, that happened. Where it crosses the line into creep territory is when he goes to her father’s antique shop and asks for a pair of earrings as a gift, then describes the earrings he saw her wearing through the telescope and of course she has earrings like that, they’re upstairs on her dressing table. Then when she asks how he knows that, Larry tells her he’s psychic about pretty girls. Later, when she’s said no to a date with him twice, and that she’s engaged to someone else, he still persists. That Gwen does seem to have a thing for Larry doesn’t make this any better, it just makes me think she’s an idiot. Continue reading “The Wolf Man (1941)—Melodramatic”

Julie & Julia—Two Stories, Only One of Which I Liked

Julie & Julia movie poster
Julie & Julia

Julie & Julia is the simultaneous stories of Julia Child learning to cook and publishing her landmark book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and Julie Powell in 2002, who decides to spend a year making all the recipes in the book and blog about it.

1—Julia’s Story

Julia Child moves to Paris with her husband Paul, who works for the American government and was stationed there. Julia falls in love with the people and food and decides to attend Le Cordon Bleu. While at a party, she meets Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, who are writing a cookbook—a cookbook which needs to be rewritten. They ask Julia for help. After many trials, the book finally finds a home with Alfred A. Knopf and is published. Along the way, her sister gets married, her husband is interrogated by the government he serves (this was the McCarthy era), and she meets a pen pal. Continue reading “Julie & Julia—Two Stories, Only One of Which I Liked”

Bram Stoker’s Dracula—Wants to be Romantic but Isn’t

Bram Stoker's Dracula movie poster
Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Bram Stoker’s Dracula, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, is a horror movie based on the book Dracula by Bram Stoker. The movie takes plenty of liberties though, like making Mina and Dracula love interests. Despite the music, I didn’t find it particularly romantic. Trigger warning for the movie for rape—Lucy was compelled against her will, so yes, it’s rape.

1—Disjointed Beginning

Dracula sets off to battle and comes home to his beloved Elisabeta having committed suicide, having been lead to believe that Dracula was dead. Enraged at being told Elisabeta’s soul is condemned, Dracula busts up the chapel and denounces God. Fast-forward four-hundred years and Jonathan Harker, played dismally by Keanu Reeves, goes to Transylvania with a picture of Mina, who just happens to be the twin—implied to be the reincarnation—of Elisabeta. When Dracula gets to England, he seeks out Mina, and rapes and murders her dearest friend Lucy while wooing Mina. I’m still not clear why Mina stopped being rude to him, she had every right. And that’s just one of the disjointed elements of this movie. The dialog at the beginning especially, between Dracula and Jonathan, and between Dracula and the female vampires seems…just off. Continue reading “Bram Stoker’s Dracula—Wants to be Romantic but Isn’t”