The Predator – Review

If you’ve been following my reviews for a while you might remember the first movie marathon I did was for the Alien and Predator films in 2016. You might also remember I chose not to see this film when it was only available in 3D and then had other movies I chose to watch first, in fact it was a last minute choice to see this instead of King of Thieves (which I will still watch).

I have mixed opinions on this film. Starting with the positives the main characters have a lot more personality than the ones from Predators, it adds to the lore, there’s some neat action sequences and while the location isn’t new they do still change up the narrative enough that it’s not a rehash of the first movie. A lot of criticism for the movie I’ve seen comes from the inclusion of comedy in the narrative and while this does cause some tone problems at times that wasn’t that much of an issue for me.


Pretty much all my problems are centered around this kid played by Jacob Tremblay. No my problem isn’t with his performance or the fact there’s a kid in a Predator movie, I have a more personal issue with this character. For context I have autism and I’m really sick of being represented by the “super genius child” and “autism superpowers” tropes and that is a big part of this movie. Also there’s this line about people with autism being “the next stage in human evolution” that gets repeated because it’s important to the plot.


These problems made ranking the movie really tricky because while it’s an average Predator movie with plenty of action and certainly has more memorable characters than Alien: Covenant and Predators neither of those movies had this awful misrepresentation of autism that just bugs me on a personal level. And then you throw in the Shane Black hiring his registered sex offender friend controversy into the mix which is a problem with the production but not the film itself because said scene was removed. But for now I think I’ve found the right spot for it.

Alien and Predator

At this point in the franchise saying if I recommend it or not is irrelevant, it makes sense to watch so you can see the entire series if you’re a longtime fan or watching the whole series for the first time. Really I’d just argue against seeing it in the cinema if you don’t have a cinema membership like Limitless.


A Simple Favor – Review

This time the gap between Screen Unseens was much shorter. While looking through the guesses people were making because of the clues I noticed this was one of the films that seemed the most likely so being a Paul Feig movie I decided to go wearing my Holtzmann shirt just in case, turns out I made the right call.

Well so far I’ve enjoyed two out of the three Screen Unseens I’ve been to, this movie was a lot of fun both as a mystery and a comedy. Between this, Ghostbusters and Spy it’s clear Paul Feig is really good at combining comedy with other genres. The vlog element is a fun touch too that adds to both the comedy and thriller elements really well.


Of course the biggest strength of the movie has to be the performances from the two leads. Anna Kendrick’s character isn’t really anything new for her but getting to play this kind of character in the context of a mystery/thriller allows her to keep it from feeling like typecasting. Blake Lively’s performance is one that gets better the more you learn about her character as we see the performance change drastically while still making sense for the character. It’s also pretty neat that I saw Henry Golding’s first two films in the span of a few days.


If you’ve enjoyed Paul Feig’s other movies I’m certain you’ll like this one as it’s one of his best in my opinion, though I’d still say Ghostbusters is my favourite. I’m not sure when the next Screen Unseen is, probably not next month since they’ll probably want to do a Scream Unseen instead, I expect we’ll be getting the Oscar Bait movies soon though. Also while I was waiting for my lift home I saw someone filming a vlog review of the movie while standing in the road, haven’t been able to find said review yet though.

Crazy Rich Asians – Review

This movie had a lot of online discussion centered around it when it came out in the US both about it’s importance for depicting a pretty much all Asian cast in an American film and just general praise from critics. I went into this having seen no trailers for it and only really hearing a basic summary of the plot from Moviebob’s review.

I really liked it. Considering most romantic comedies I’ve seen are about people falling in love it’s a nice change of pace to watch one about a couple who are already together and spend most of their scenes together just being a cute couple. The comedy is very funny and even with jokes I didn’t really understand the delivery and context still made them work.


The cast are all great. It’s such a huge cast that my main criticism is that some characters and subplots are underused but that’s a common occurrence with book adaptations and probably just serves as motivation to give the book a chance at some point. Also this film might just have most of the candidates for my Best Cover Song award next year.


Of course being a romance the main strength needs to be in the leads and while they spend a lot of the movie apart Constance Wu (Rachel) and Henry Golding (Nick) play off each other really well. If you’re a fan of romance movies I’m sure you’ll enjoy this.

Next Gen – Review

So last night I was going to watch the new Predator movie but the only screenings available were in 3D, so I watched an animated Netflix movie instead. I saw this advertised and thought the art style and designs looked neat so I would have ended up watching this next anyway.

It’s a cute little movie that while it’s not one of the better Netflix movies of the year was still a lot of fun to watch. That being said it’s nothing new being your typical kid and their robot movie and just from the design you can clearly see the main robot is heavily influenced by Baymax, a detail made even more obvious when you hear his voice.


The charm of the movie does come from those details that caught my attention in the first place. The robot designs as cliche as they may be are still pretty cool and the textures really look like something out of an animated film you might see in the cinema but with it’s own unique art style. I haven’t seen many animated movies from Netflix so I can’t say if this is better than their stuff usually looks but I look forward to seeing more of them moving forward. Steven Universe fans will recognise Charlyne Yi (Ruby) as the voice of Mai.


So while the film does have it’s fair share of problems none are really worth bringing up in a review. If you think the art style and designs look neat like I did maybe give it a watch but if this doesn’t look like your thing you’re probably right. Anyway I’ll probably watch The Predator at some point next week but there are other movies that I’m more interested in seeing so expect a few more reviews first.

Us and Them – Review

I found this while scrolling through Netflix in August and probably would have seen it earlier but when I checked to see if it was from this year I was led to believe it was from 2017. However it turns out this is a 2018 film but that last year there was another film also called Us and Them. Fortunately I did find the concept interesting and also wanted to be watching a Chinese movie when my sister got back from China.

The interesting thing about this movie is that it is about a couple who we know from the start don’t have a successful relationship and then we see each stage of said relationship. The challenge with a setup like this is getting invested in a relationship you know ends poorly and in my opinion they manage that very well while also making it very clear why the relationship failed.


Of course the main way they accomplish this is through the two leads Jing Boran and Zhou Dongyu. When they’re dating or even just being close friends with feelings for each other they are adorable but when the relationship starts falling apart a lot of the emotion is told through facial expressions.


I definitely recommend seeing this if you have Netflix and want to watch more of this year’s movies. I am glad Netflix are starting to get movies from this year to be the international distributors for instead of mislabeling ones from last year.

Flavors of Youth – Review

Credit to Netflix for actually putting “International Version” on the title of this so it’s clear they just have the distribution rights and didn’t actually make the movie. Do this more often so I don’t need to keep checking if a Netflix Original is in fact a Netflix Original.

This film is three short stories set in different parts of China back to back. The shorts themselves are enjoyable but none of them really stand out. They each share a common theme of looking back at when they were younger but with different levels of focus. The first story moves forward between different points in the character’s life, the middle story focuses on the present but the memories of the two sisters’ is still an important part and the third focuses on the past.


The promotional images and trailer are selling this as being from the creators/studio of Your Name so of course the main strength of the movie is in the visuals, especially the backgrounds. However because this isn’t directed by Makoto Shinkai it doesn’t have the same charm that Your Name and 5 Centimeters per Second have.


If you have Netflix and just want to look at some pretty animated shots of China and charming stories about nostalgia you’ll enjoy this movie. Speaking of China my sister is getting back from her year teaching over there today.

The Happytime Murders – Review

So because I saw a decent amount of films during August I decided to wait until September to watch this since it wasn’t exactly high on my priorities.

As expected it’s not horrible but it’s not good either, it’s average. There are jokes that work when they focus on the detective stuff, Bill Barretta’s voice for Phil Phillips works really well and being directed by Brian Henson the puppet work is very impressive. Because of these elements there were things I was able to enjoy about the film.


However the film’s biggest flaw is its main selling point. You can tell from the trailers that they seem to think puppets doing/saying things that aren’t suitable for children is unique when it’s been done several times before. In fact a lot of the jokes in this film were already done in the 2014 series The Fuzz which has the similar theme of being about puppet police fighting puppet crime with sweets being puppet drugs. It also has a common R rated comedy problem of dragging out a joke too long which is especially the case with the sex scene.


The main thing this film has is that Henson quality puppetry and the visual credits does show off a few behind the scenes shots that might be worth checking out when this gets a DVD release. But while there are some elements that work I wouldn’t really recommend this. Maybe if you’ve never seen Avenue Q, The Fuzz, Team America: World Police, Meet the Feebles, the Angel episode Smile Time, the Community episode Intro to Felt Surrogacy…