Film Reviews: Solo and Deadpool 2

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The Merc with the Mouth is back.  If you aren’t familiar with Deadpool, picture a taller Tucker Max in a red uniform as he slashes and shoots shit up.  This time, he’s back to save a pudgy British mutant whose name is, ahem, Fire Fist.  Yes, DP has a great laugh or 2 about it.  Ryan Reynolds reprises the lead role while Josh Brolin plays Cable, the time traveling badass hellbent on killing said Limey.  But first, we witness Deadpool’s love interest, played by “Gotham” hottie. Morena Baccarin, eat a bullet.  Deadpool wrangles with this loss throughout the film but not without his usual amount of zingers, barbs, and witty repartee.  As we saw in the first one, the Xmen are still trying to recruit him and yes, it’s more of Colossus and Megasonic Teenage Warhead.  Deadpool reluctantly joins the group in hopes of stopping Cable while hilarity ensures.  After being kicked out of the X-Men for extreme force, he creates his own superhero team…X-Force.  I’m not spoiling anything, you’ve all seen this in the commercials.

This films is more of the usual: DP incorporating campy music during fight scenes.  Ball busting on all sides, pulverizing the 4th wall and dropping a well placed self deprecating joke or crack about superhero films.  Cable is a fantastic villain (?) and Brolin handles this as well as he handled Thanos.  And yes, they do make reference to him playing both roles.  DP2 is funnier than the first and goddamn, the post credits scene is hysterical.  However, I felt this one dragged at times, especially in the end.  I liked this but slightly prefer the first one more.  I just felt the first one flowed a little better.  7 out of 10.

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And now, the film that shall be on everyone’s hit list for the summer, Solo.  Look, I came into this film with little expectation as I did with Rogue 1.  I walked out of R1, absolutely stunned how great it was.  The previews for Solo didn’t grab me but I said, what the hell.  Moviepass this one and then sneak into DP2 is a hell of a way to spend an afternoon.  Is this legit good or have we completely swung into the dark side of the Disney cash grab?

Han Solo joins Tobias Beckett (no relation to Samuel) and his crew of smugglers/thieves/rogue scoundrels to steal Coaxium (getting tough to come up with names for metals with all of these superhero films) for a gangster name Dryden Vos (played by Paul Bettany.  Good for him taking time out playing Vision and motor boating his wife, the lovely Jennifer Connelly).

Alden Ehrenreich plays everyone’s swashbuckling hero not named Kevin Gootee.  Apparently, those in casting didn’t care that Alden seems to be on the Tom Cruise scale of height.  When Emilia Clarke is damn near eye level to your hero, you might want to consider someone a bit taller.  I’ve read people trashing Ehrenreich’s performance and I think we have to cut the guy a little bit of slack.  Han Solo is one of the top film characters of all time and obviously, Harrison Ford killed it.  You just can’t replace someone of that ilk so you can’t expect someone to come in and take the baton with ease.

We get to see how that scruffy nerfherder and Chewbacca meet and I dare you not to smile when you see that walking carpet onscreen, especially during their witty banter.  There are obviously a ton of foreshadowing nods to the other films and a few inside jokes for uber Star Wars nerds, even a few music homages throughout.  And lastly, we get to see Donald Glover play Lando Calrissian and are shown how the 2 heroes become unlikely friends.  Glover is alright, let’s not break our arms high fiving him for his performance.  We get more sassiness from a robot, l7-37, and even some awkward man-robot sexual tension in this film.

And now the jury will read the verdict:  As I previously stated, I had set a low bar for this film.  And I walked out saying, “It’s fine.”  You’re not going to hate it as you hated episode 1.  But you sure as shit aren’t putting it in your top 5 of Star Wars films, that’s for damn sure.  I write this article on Sunday, May 27th.  The box office numbers are estimated that it made 83 million over the weekend and will hit 101 million on Memorial Day.  This should be the missive that the Disney executives take seriously.  You knew Disney viewed this franchise like Marvel, both money printing presses.  But fans don’t need filler until the next major Star Wars film.  One of my friends on FB said if this came out first, there would never be another origin story.  The success of Rouge 1 definitely opened Pandora’s box for these offshoot stories.  If Solo were to have done well, we would probably be subjected to more origin stories like: Mon Mothma, Salacious Crumb, and Wedge Antilles.  So let’s thank the masses they stayed home like it was the 4th Madea film.  I give it a 6 out of 10.

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“In a Quiet Place” was downright bonkers.  It’s the story of an alien invasion (I know, BTDT) BUT this type is different.  The aliens rely solely on sound to hunt the human race. John Kraszinski and Emily Blount have a family in upstate NY and they do everything in their power to minimize sound: walk on sand while barefoot, use sign language, as well as colored lights as signals.  Oh, let’s also mention Emily Blunt has to give birth while being as quiet as possible.  If you can still go see this in a theater, do it.  Because there is NO score to this film and hopefully you don’t have any assholes chew on popcorn or open cellophane wrappers during the movie.  It sounds corny but the quiet plays a HUGE role into the film as well your experience in the theater.  Loved it, it’s this year’s “Get Out,” in terms of surprise hit.  7 out of 10.

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“Avengers: Infinity War”…if you haven’t seen it, then you simply hate life.   The film hits the ground running as Thanos decides to stop letting all of the other super villains strike out by taking it upon himself to grab the Infinity Stones.  What’s the big deal?  One snap of the fingers after getting all 5 and then a simple snap of the fingers can cause half of  planets’ populations to die in hopes of slowing down the drain on planets’ resources.  I’d love to snap my fingers and have all improv comedians disappear as well as people who stand at the top of subway steps or in the middle of the sidewalk. BEST Marvel film of all and it has one of the dubious honors of being 2:30 long and at the end, you’re still wanting more.  9 out of 10.

 

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Star Wars The Last Jedi Review (No spoilers)

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Well kids, it’s Christmas time for us all…unless you’re Jewish.  The new Star Wars film is here which is something EVERYONE can celebrate.  The reviews have been overwhelmingly positive.  What do I think?  Glad you asked your favorite film snob cause I have many thoughts.  And before we get started, here’s my rankings of the films so you know my preferences:

4, 6, 5, Rogue One, 3, 7, 2, ——————1.  That’s how bad Phantom Menace is, lower than Batman V Superman or Suicide Squad.  Hell, I’ll put the punching bag known as the Star Wars Christmas above PM.

We start TLJ off in a dark time, the Resistance is getting decimated by the First Order (a La Empire Strikes back but don’t worry, this film isn’t an Empire reboot as Ep 7 was like Ep 4).  Rey is about to meet Skywalker and learn about the path of a Jedi.  And of course, cry baby Kylo Ren is back being tormented by Supreme Leader Snoke how he’s not much of a man with that mask.  Ren then destroys the mask and then destroying my wishes that he’d keep the mask on so we don’t have to look at his stupid face.  And they say bullying is bad, bullying gets shit done…to a degree.  Good news in this installment, not many emo temper tantrums out of Ren!

The Resistance, led by Princess Leia (yes, you’ll spend most of the time guessing if and where she gets killed off to coincide with Carrie Fisher’s death) needs a codebreaker to crack the code of being able to track a ship through hyperspace.  Speaking of Carrie Fisher, they must have paid her for the Force Awakens in gallons of gin and Virginia Slims.  Her voice sounds huskier than mine.  Folks, it’s been a LONNGGGG time since she wore that metal bikini.  But I did enjoy her having a larger role here than she did in Episode 7.  Anyway, the ships’ shields can only hold up for so long as Finn and new character Jane escape to find said codebreaker.  I’ll tell you now that you’ll find Jane ALMOST as annoying as Jar Jar Binks.  Not a fan.  She is going down in the Star Wars annals as one of the most unlikeable characters, I’ll guarantee it.  And there’s a whole 15-20 minutes with Finn and her that on their search for the codebreaker that could’ve been cut.  Meanwhile, Rey attempts to learn why Skywalker became a hermit and no longer a teacher of the Jedi.  We also learn more why Kylo Ren made the choice to commit to the dark side and I found it to be a nice twist.  

Chewbacca doesn’t get much screen time in this one and you’ll find yourself saying, “Where the hell is Chewie?”  There’s also very little from R2 and some of 3PO.  BB-8 does get a solid haul of screen time and he’s enjoyable as usual.   BUT, you also get a couple of cameos, including one great surprise that will easily put a smile on your face.

I will say that this film is a lot funnier than most BUT after the halfway point, I felt that the jokes were becoming a bit overkill.  I don’t need comedic lines like Caddyshack in a Star Wars film.  I just want good story and good action.  By all means, sprinkle a few throughout the film.  But this has a LOT more; maybe more than all of the films combined.  So that was a bit off-putting.  

Let’s also talk about Daisy Ridley playing Rey.  She’s fantastic and for everyone trying to shove female heroes down our throats for the sake of, take note of this.  You know why this works?  Cause it’s natural.  You BELIEVE that this girl can be a Jedi knight and enjoy her journey.  But when Hollywood forces all female reboots or DEMANDS we have more female superheroes just to check a box, people seize up.  When you feel like you’re trying to be sold something, you freeze up and reject it, right?  Well Rey doesn’t do go that route, bravo!

The action scenes are great.  Dogfight scenes are rock solid and the lightsaber battles?  Top notch, top notch!  

Without delving too deeply into the story, a lot of shit goes down in this film that you would’ve expected to happen in the final film.  TLJ will definitely throw you a few unexpected curveballs, some pleasant and even an, “Ahhh shit” moment.  A lot of people were worried that this would be too much like Empire and there are a couple of moments that there are similarities but overall, it’s quite independent of Ep 5.  

This film does drag a BIT; as I said above, there’s easily 15-20 minutes that can be cut.  And you’ll wonder during the final battle why it’s going on so long but it does pay off nicely.  

And now, the verdict.  I really liked this film and I think it’s better than Force Awakens.  Why?  Because it wasn’t a “greatest hits” like Ep 7 was.  It’s dark.  And they do answer some questions but you’ll wish they expounded on more of the story.  The stage was set relatively well and I’m hoping they just close the loops nicely with episode 9.  

I give it a 7.5 out of 10 and in the rankings, I put it after Rogue One and before Force Awakens.