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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Film reviews: 3 Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri and Darkest Hour

End of December means a few things: Christmas, taking back unwanted Christmas presents, and late Oscar entrants.  I saw 2 of them and here’s what I thought. Three_Billboards_Outside_Ebbing,_Missouri

3 Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri is one of those films that the title does all of the explaining for you.  Frances McDormand plays Mildred Hayes, a mother whose daughter was raped while dying and justice has not been served.  So she pays for, you guessed it, 3 billboards calling out the local sheriff’s lack of progress.  It of course, stirs up a shitstorm with the town folk and especially the sheriff, aptly played by Woody Harrelson.  Let’s just take a moment to acknowledge Woody.  He has fun with the role while giving it gravitas, as he’s suffering from cancer.  Woody has had one hell of a resume, he’s run the gamut of roles.  He’s insanely under appreciated but I think he may get an Oscar nod for supporting actor.  

Here’s why this film is deserving the hype it’s received.  This is more than just a mother hellbent on getting revenge.  There are MANY layers to the story like the aforementioned Harrelson as well as Sam Rockwell playing a racist cop who lives with his mother.  The townsfolk bullying Mildred; including Mildred’s ex-husband who comes back to torment her while bringing his much younger but dopey girlfriend.  And of course, Mildred’s son as well as her employer dealing with Mildred’s actions.  Rockwell brings home the goods as the cop who has the quintessential, “seen the light” moment and goes to right his wrongs.

But let’s talk about the real star, McDormand.  She absolutely destroys this role and you not only feel non-stop compassion for her but you’ll enjoy her smart ass quips when the townies attempt to apply pressure to her.  There’s zero doubt that she’s winning the Oscar for best actress.  Is this film solid?  Absolutely.  Do you need to see it in the theater?  No but you definitely won’t walk out questioning your purchase.  This film is solid and I’ll give it an 8.

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The second film I saw was “Darkest Hour” and this is the story of how Churchill comes to power after Chamberlain was asked to step down.  Churchill said he’s been waiting since the nursery to become prime minister of England and you can tell that if this screenplay was true to history, that indeed he was born for the role.  Europe is being dominated by Hitler and Churchill is first to say that attempts with peace is not in the cards for a madman like Hitler.  King George Vi, Chamberlain, and Halifax are all working against Churchill as they want peace, not war.  So you get an idea of how difficult it was for not only Winston to attempt to save Britain from Nazi domination but doing so while being road blocked by his own government and cabinet.  And they do get into the Dunkirk story again in this film.  

Churchill is a larger than life persona and his rookie typist, played by Lily James (Baby Driver), learns quickly how to adapt to his nuances and eventually gains his trust where he takes her to the military intelligence hub to show her what’s REALLY happening.   Kristen Scott Thomas plays Clementine, Churchill’s wife who gives ZERO fucks and does not cow tow to his attempts to bull doze his preferences.  And god, do I love hearing Oldman drop his many memorable quotes throughout the film.  My favorite: “Those who do not change their mind don’t change much at all.”  He’s INSANELY quick with the tongue and Oldman pulls off the role with such ease but then again, when doesn’t he?

When I saw, “Dunkirk,” (overrated) they showed a preview for this film and after 30 seconds, I said that Gary Oldman is winning best actor. Now that I saw the film, I’m looking for a bookie who will take odds so I can bet this.  Oldman is another guy who has been, “under the radar” amazing for so long.  Dracula, the pimp in True Romance, Lee Harvey Oswald in JFK, and hell, Commissioner Gordon in Batman.  This film is great and flies through it’s 2:05 running time.  They end it at the exact right time, although I could’ve easily sat through another 30-45 minutes of Churchill history.  

This film gets an 8 out of 10 from me.