The Man from U.N.C.L.E. – Review

Another watching a film my parents taped evening. I had actually been meaning to watch this film at some point anyway as I remember a user I follow on Tumblr posting image sets from it that gave the impression it’d be a fun film to watch.

It was a fun film to watch. I never saw the original 60s TV series so I don’t know what the character dynamic was like there but I enjoyed it in this film. This is only the second film I’ve seen from Guy Ritchie but I have a better understanding of why people like his films, that King Arthur movie was just a terrible first impression.

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This is one of the better performances I’ve seen from Henry Cavill too. It’s the sort of performance I wish we’d gotten to see from him as Superman. Armie Hammer is doing a typical movie Russian accent but it suits the movie and is still a good performance.

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While not one of the better spy movies I’ve seen it was still a fun one with plenty of great action scenes and funny jokes. I’d be happy to see a sequel at some point but nothing has been announced, I guess I’ll just have to watch some of Guy Ritchie’s other films instead. I do still need to watch those Sherlock Holmes movies… No that won’t be the next review, could be soonish though.

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Instant Family – Review

On my way home from seeing Captain Marvel I realized I’d forgotten to pick up the free poster Odeon were giving away for people who saw it in the first few days. Rather than not get the poster or just go into town to get it I figured since I have Odeon Limitless I might as well just go watch another film and pick up the poster on my way out, so I did just that.

I went into this expecting an enjoyable but average comedy and that’s pretty much what I got. Some of the jokes work and are very funny, others miss or overstay their welcome. A lot of the heart of the film is when they put the comedy on pause to make important points about adoption but those scenes can also feel a bit out of place at times too.

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One of the weaknesses of the film is that as characters the parents are pretty generic and while I have nothing against either of them as actors Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne don’t exactly bring anything unique to the characters through their performances, in fact they’ve played similar characters before.

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However this is only really an issue for scenes where they’re just playing off each other or other adult characters, when they’re interacting with the actors playing the children either individually or as a group that’s when the movie is at its best and that was the part that needed to work. I wouldn’t recommend this as a cinema trip if you don’t have a cinema membership but it’s a nice film to maybe watch on TV or Netflix if you like the premise. Considering this is actually a 2018 film I realized I’ve still only seen 5 of this year’s movies so far so it might be time to see what films Netflix has released this year…

Captain Marvel – Review

Carol Danvers has a very complex history with a lot to draw from that would also require a lot of rewriting to make work in a movie. Some I know from reading Kelly Sue DeConnick’s run on Captain Marvel a few years ago and other details I either read about or found out about through MovieBob’s videos (made back when she was still Ms. Marvel). So as well as being excited about this movie I was also curious about how they’d piece together all these details into a new origin story that also ties in with the Kree–Skrull War.

I think they mixed things really well. In fact a fun experience for me watching this is that I was more directly familiar with a lot of the details of this movie than I have been with past MCU films with a lot being from Kelly Sue DeConnick’s run (I even spotted DeConnick’s cameo) but in new contexts. There’s even one character that is a really clever combination of two different characters from the comics. And of course Goose, who is exactly like Chewie in the comics.

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Outside of the stuff that appeals to fans of the Captain Marvel comics the character stuff here is really good. Brie Larson’s take on Carol Danvers is a great spin on the character that I’m looking forward to seeing influence her comic counterpart and I really like the way Samuel L. Jackson plays the young Nick Fury very differently from his present day self while still seeing a hint at the man he’ll become. Also while Marvel’s ability to make actors look younger has always been impressive but this film is where it’s at its best. The 90s nostalgia was used well too, fitting in with the theme of regaining memories.

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This is a great start to the next wave of MCU heroes and I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next for Carol Danvers not just in End Game but with her inevitable sequel (which might have Deathbird in it now that the Disney/Fox deal is almost finalized) and for her to influence the MCU Kamala Khan in a potential Ms. Marvel movie. This review mostly focused on my experience as a fan of the comics (since that’s the perspective I have) but if this is your first exposure to Captain Marvel but you’re still a Marvel fan I think you’ll have a lot of fun with this movie too.

My Own Awards Ceremony 2019

A bit later than usual but here’s my annual Futurama reference, I mean awards post. Looking at the actual Oscar results there are some results I agree with as far as the movies I’ve seen are concerned… except Best Editing because seriously, how? Mostly my disagreements tend to be over things that weren’t even nominated and the absence of awards for voice acting. Anyway I’ve delayed this post long enough, let’s start

Best Game Tie-In

Best Game Tie-in

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 – Extra Pack #4

This award has gotten trickier to pick with the Toys-To-Life genre being mostly dead (I have heard good things about Starlink though). This time the example that stood out has to be getting to play as the new canon versions of Broly and Gogeta in Xenoverse 2. Now we just need them to add GT Uub, Super Saiyan God Vegeta and more characters from the Tournament of Power.

Best Costume Design

Best Costume Design

Ruth E. Carter (Black Panther)

Glad to see the Academy and I agree on this one. These costumes were the right balance of African cultures and something right out of the comics.

Best Visual Effects

Best Visual Effects

Danny Dimian (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse)

Despite the Oscar in this picture this movie wasn’t even nominated despite having some of the best visuals in any movie last year. Seriously Spider-Verse captures the look of a comic better than any other movie.

Best Cameo

Best Cameo

Stan Lee (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse)

Stan Lee once joked about how the Academy Awards needed a Best Cameo award so in his memory I decided to include it. While he had plenty of good cameos last year the one in Spider-Verse was the most effective due to the context of the scene. There’s also a bunch of hidden cameos of him throughout the movie.

Best Cover Song

Best Cover Song

Katherine Ho – Yellow (Crazy Rich Asians)

Most of the candidates for this award were in this movie but the one the stood out the most was this one that plays at the end of the movie. It’s really great cover made even better when you look up the context of why Jon Chu wanted it to be in the movie.

Best Original Song

Best Original Song

Alan Menken/Sarah Silverman – A Place Called Slaughter Race (Ralph Breaks the Internet)

I like The Shallow and all but this award really only had too candidates for me (the other being My Superhero Movie) that I continued listening to for the last few months. The Academy lacks the sense of humour needed to appreciate how great these songs are. Plus the fact they got Alan Menken to make the parody of his own work for Disney meant as well as being funny it still works as a traditional Disney song.

Best Original Score

Best Original Score

Daniel Pemberton (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse)

While 2018 had plenty of great movie scores the one the stood out the most for more than just a recurring melody was this one. The music complimented the visuals and the voice acting in a way that stood out without overpowering the scene, except in cases where it needed to like the scenes focused on the Prowler.

Best Production Design

Best Production Design

Hannah Beachler and Jay Hart (Black Panther)

Another agreement with the Academy and of course it’s for Black Panther. Picking a picture for this award was tricky because every section of Wakanda has its own unique look to it while still feeling like part of the same place.

Best Director

Best Director

Naoko Yamada (Liz and the Blue Bird)

One of the best directors in anime at the moment. A big part of why this movie made it into my top 10 list for last year is because of Yamada’s directing. Considering the people I’ve given this award to over the years I expect that this will at some point be the award to break my rule of not giving someone the same award twice.

Best Reprising Voice Actress

Best Reprising Voice Actress

Sarah Silverman as Vanellope von Schweetz (Ralph Breaks the Internet)

One of the strengths of this movie is that takes these characters in a new direction and commits to the changes it makes and a big part of what makes that work is in the performances. The singing also helps.

Best Reprising Voice Actor

Best Reprising Voice Actor

Josh Brolin as Thanos (Avengers: Infinity War)

While it’s not his first time playing the character this was the movie where Thanos was in the spotlight and Josh Brolin was able to really make his performance stand out.

Best Reprising Actress

Best Reprising Actress

Evangeline Lilly as Hope van Dyne/Wasp (Ant-Man and The Wasp)

It’s about time that Wasp made it into the MCU outside of a flashback and a legacy hero suit tease.

Best Reprising Actor

Best Reprising Actor

Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa (Creed II)

If I’d seen the Rocky movies back when the first Creed came out I probably would have given Stallone this award back then. But with this most likely being his last time playing Rocky it is fitting to give him the award now.

Best Supporting Actor

Best Supporting Actor

Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger (Black Panther)

Between this and Creed II 2018 was a good year for Michael B. Jordan, in fact if I hadn’t given the Best Reprising Actor award to Stallone it would have gone to him giving him two awards in one year. In a year of great villains Killmonger still stood out.

Best Supporting Actress

Best Supporting Actress

Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia (Black Panther)

Black Panther had several great actresses in the cast making it hard to choose which one should win this award. But with Killmonger getting Best Supporting Actor it makes sense for the Best Supporting Actress award to go to the opposing argument.

Best Voice Actress

Best Voice Actress

Hailee Steinfeld as Gwen Stacy/Spider-Gwen (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse)

It’s cool how in the last few years Gwen Stacy has changed from being famous for dying to being one of the most popular alternate versions of Spider-Man (or Spider-Woman in this case).

Best Voice Actor

Best Voice Actor

Shameik Moore as Miles Morales/Spider-Man (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse)

While he’s not the first voice actor to play Miles this was the first time I’ve heard his voice and thought “yep, that’s Miles Morales”. Mostly because previous versions of Miles have been side characters in a story where Peter Parker is the main Spider-Man while this time it’s his time to be the main Spider-Man.

Best Leading Actor

Best Leading Actor

Lakeith Stanfield as Cassius Green (Sorry to Bother You)

While about half his scenes have David Cross’ voice dubbed over Stanfield’s performance still gets to stand out in those scenes thanks to his facial expressions. Plus when the movie gets at its most surreal his performance is the perfect reaction to what starts happening and it adds to the humour.

Best Leading Actress

Best Leading Actress

Lady Gaga as Ally “Esther” Maine (A Star Is Born)

The newest version of Esther (and the first to not be called Esther) Gaga had some really great performances to live up to and somehow managed to be in my opinion the best version of the character. While this isn’t her first acting role it’s the first film I’ve seen her in (outside of a Muppets cameo) and it’s clear she’s just as great at acting as she is at singing.

Best Biopic

Best Biopic

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While creative liberties were made adapting the true story all of them benefited the story of the film and helped highlight the message, well highlight it even more since the movie was not subtle about its points (especially with the ending).

Best Animated Short Film

Overwatch vs. TF2

Blizzard released a couple of their official animated shorts for Overwatch last year which were both good but both were overshadowed by the fan made Source Filmmaker video from The Winglet that perfectly captures the communities and gameplay of both games in a way that is funny for a fan of one game but hilarious for a fan of both.

Best Documentary

Best Documentary

Free Solo

I don’t normally watch the documentaries that actually get nominated but this one was recommended to me and after seeing it I agree with the Academy on this one. While Three Identical Strangers was really good I liked the personal approach this film had since the directors and camera crew are all Alex Honnold’s friends.

Best Pictures

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My Top 10 Movies of 2018

No changes to the list at the moment as it wasn’t that long ago that I made it and none of the 2018 films I’ve seen since then has made their way into the list.

Sorry this was a bit later than usual. Maybe for next year since I’m doing my best of the decade list I might also make a few top 10 lists based on some of these awards. I’ll still do the regular awards though. Until then it’s time to get back to watching this year’s movies…

Free Solo – Review

So when I said I needed to see another documentary before choosing a “best documentary” award this movie was suggested to me on Facebook before it won the Oscar for best documentary. And because it did win it would make sense to see how it compares to the other documentaries I saw… all two of them.

It is very good. I’ve said before that I like when documentaries are more personal and that’s the case here. We see Alex Honnold living his life and figuring out exactly how he’s even going to make the climb and shift between being certain it’s going to be in the next few days and delaying it another year. We don’t just see his girlfriend’s thoughts on the process, we also see them just being a couple giving a much better understanding of their relationship than just having interviews with her could do.

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And the big stand out detail for me is that the people making the film are part of the film. A lot of the film is Alex just talking with his friends about how they’re going to make the film with Jimmy Chin, one of the film’s directors, appearing frequently.

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Of course the big selling point is the climb itself which is extremely impressive. But while it makes for a great conclusion it’s not the selling point, if it was you could probably just skip to the end of the movie to see it. The strength of this movie is learning about Alex Honnold as a person and just how much time, effort and planning went into the preparation for the climb and documenting it. Now that I’ve seen this my awards should be ready to post soon.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor – Review

I never grew up with this show so the main thing I knew Mr. Rogers from was The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny. However because this show was such a big part of the childhood of a lot of Americans it gets brought up a lot online.

This documentary does help explain not just the impact Fred Rogers and his show had on people but why the generations of people who grew up watching them covers such a large amount of people.

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Unfortunately while these are interesting things to learn about as a documentary it is pretty mediocre. Maybe that’s because I don’t have that familiarity that many of the people who really liked this documentary had but my overall thoughts after seeing it were just “that was alright”.

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So while I could just make my awards now having seen more than one documentary I feel like I need to see one more to make the award more balanced.

Three Identical Strangers – Review

So I recently watched Sammy Paul’s top 10 movies of 2018 video and while there were a fair amount of entries on his list I haven’t seen one that really stood out was this one, especially because I realized I really hadn’t seen any documentaries from last year.

It’s very interesting and every time you think it might be nearing the end you look and realize there’s still a load of details left to talk about. And while these three were famous this movie was my first exposure to this story which made each reveal that much more shocking to the point I think that even though this is a true story you might want to avoid spoilers for this one.

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However one detail that you notice early enough to not really count as a spoiler is that because the present day segments only include two of the triplets it’s very clear that at some point while you watch this things do get tragic. And with that in mind I think it is important to be aware of this side of the story if the topic of suicide is one that closely impacts you.

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This is a very interesting story and from what I can tell it’s been told well. That being said as far as documentaries about identical siblings reuniting go I still think Twinsters is a much better film. I’ll try and watch one more documentary before I do my awards post I make after the Oscars so I at least have a choice for a Best Documentary award.