Friday, April 8, 2022

Movie Review - Sonic The Hedgehog 2

I never played the Sonic the Hedgehog games (or even a Sega for that matter), but the trailer for the first movie looked fun, so I went and saw it. And boy did I love it! I couldn't wait for the sequel. But would they continue what worked so well in the first movie, or would they make a bad remake of the first film like so many sequels do?

Sonic The Hedgehog 2 is a 2022 action adventure comedy. It is rated PG and is appropriate for all ages.

The Good

Amount of story. This movie was pure fun and pure entertainment. Nothing felt awkward, out of place, or shoehorned in. Every scene, every action, every line of dialogue felt like it was needed and was tweaked for maximum entertainment and enjoyment.

Amount of story. I was surprised at how much story the filmmakers stuffed into the movie. So much happened and so many ideas were developed. It has been a long time since a movie had so much to enjoy.

Pacing. This film starts off in high gear from the beginning and doesn't let the foot off the pedal until halfway thru the credits.

Comedy. This film had genuinely funny moments from great verbal jokes to hilarious situations that were carefully built up over time.

Visuals. This film looked great from the character designs to the sets to the special effects.

The Bad

I got nothing.

Overall

Sonic The Hedgehog 2 is a 2022 action adventure comedy. This movie was pure fun and pure entertainment from start to finish. Nothing felt awkward, out of place, or shoehorned in. Every scene, every action, every line of dialogue felt like it was needed and was tweaked for maximum entertainment and enjoyment. I was surprised at how much story the filmmakers stuffed into the movie. So much happened and so many ideas were developed. It has been a long time since a movie had so much to enjoy. This film starts off in high gear from the beginning and doesn't let the foot off the pedal until halfway thru the credits. This film had genuinely funny moments from great verbal jokes to hilarious situations that were carefully built up over time. This film looked great from the character designs to the sets to the special effects. I highly recommend this movie and give it 4.5 out of 5 boxes of popcorn. 

  

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Movie Review - The Lost City

Sandra Bullock films tend to be pretty good, and this one involved Indiana Jones-style action, so I figured it would be good. I didn't realize it would be REALLY good.

The Lost City is a 2022 romantic adventure comedy. It is rated PG-13 for language and sexual innuendos. It is appropriate for teens and up.

The Good

Comedy. The real strength of this movie is the comedy. It was really funny with unexpected jokes.

Visuals. This film was a visual treat from the hotel to the bad guy's lair to the lost island in the middle of the ocean.

Concept. While making a movie about a writer is far from original, this didn't fell like the same old tired story I've seen too many times. They managed to throw in enough to make it interesting and not feel stale.

The Bad

Dash. I understand what the filmmakers were going for when they made Dash, the main male protagonist, so wimpy at the beginning of the film to give him growth and an arc, but they went too far and made him a bit unlikable. It was hard to root for him or feel glad at his growth.

Overall

The Lost City is a 2022 romantic adventure comedy. While making a movie about a writer is far from original, this didn't fell like the same old tired story I've seen too many times. They managed to throw in enough to make it interesting and not feel stale. This film was a visual treat from the hotel to the bad guy's lair to the lost island in the middle of the ocean. The real strength of this movie is the comedy. It was really funny with unexpected jokes. I understand what the filmmakers were going for when they made Dash, the main male protagonist, so wimpy at the beginning of the film to give him growth and an arc, but they went too far and made him a bit unlikable. It was hard to root for him or feel glad at his growth. I highly recommend this movie and give it 4.5 out of 5 boxes of popcorn. 

  

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Movie Review - The Batman (2022 film)


There have been several Batman films that I've loved, a few I've liked, and some I didn't care for. The trailer made this movie look like it would fall into category 3, but all the positive hype convinced me to watch it anyway.

The Batman is a 2022 crime drama and mystery film. It is rated PG-13 for language, violence, and disturbing images. It is appropriate for teens and up.

The Good

Mystery. This movie has a really good mystery. The first 2.5 hours really hold your attention as it moves from one clue to the next with an interesting conclusion.

Sets & Architecture. The buildings and sets had a real artistic feel to them and added to the gothic feel. If only they had been better lit so we could have seen them better and enjoyed them more.

Music. There were several cues that hearkened back to Danny Elfman's score on Batman Returns that were really nice and added to the atmosphere and were the only parts that made the film feel like Batman.

The Bad

Not Batman. This was NOT a Batman film. The main character could have been called the Purple Giraffe and would have made as much sense. This film lacked the Batman costume and movements, the cool gadgets, cool vehicles, and bizarre villains. Batman was very generic and just walked around in his nondescript costume.

Pacing. This movie is paced like a miniseries on a streaming service like Netflix. It felt like a collection of individual episodes each with rising action and a climax instead of one cohesive unit.

Color. This movie was so dull looking with nothing but greys and browns. Blah.

Disappointing Ending. If this movie had ended 30 minutes sooner, it would have been really good. But unfortunately the movie continues with one epilogue after another that just make the movie disappointing. They add nothing to the overall story or characters.

Commissioner Gordon. This part was badly miscast and badly written. He was uninteresting and uninspiring. He isn't very smart and just does what Batman tells him to do. He can't figure out anything himself or take any initiative.

Overall

The Batman is a 2022 crime drama and mystery film. This movie has a really good mystery. The first 2.5 hours really hold your attention as it moves from one clue to the next with an interesting conclusion. This movie is paced like a miniseries on a streaming service like Netflix. It felt like a collection of individual episodes each with rising action and a climax instead of one cohesive unit. This was NOT a Batman film. The main character could have been called the Purple Giraffe and would have made as much sense. This film lacked the Batman costume and movements, the cool gadgets, cool vehicles, and bizarre villains. Batman was very generic and just walked around in his nondescript costume. Commissioner Gordon was badly miscast and badly written. He was uninteresting and uninspiring. He isn't very smart and just does what Batman tells him to do. He can't figure out anything himself or take any initiative.The buildings and sets had a real artistic feel to them and added to the gothic feel. If only they had been better lit so we could have seen them better and enjoyed them more. This movie was so dull looking with nothing but greys and browns. Blah. If this movie had ended 30 minutes sooner, it would have been really good. But unfortunately the movie continues with one epilogue after another that just make the movie disappointing. They add nothing to the overall story or characters. I give it 3.5 out of 5 boxes of popcorn. 

   

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Movie Review - Death on the Nile (2022 film)

 

I really enjoyed Kenneth Branagh's first film, Murder on the Orient Express, and I love ancient Egypt, so I thought I would enjoy Branagh's latest effort.

Death on the Nile is a 2022 film directed by Kenneth Branagh and adapts the Agatha Christie Hercule Poirot novel of the same name. It is rated PG-13 for mild violence and language and is appropriate for tweens and up.

The Film

Story: I've never read the book, so I don't know how it compares to the original story, but I felt the mystery was really intriguing with no obvious murderer and several twists and along the way. The reveals were truly revealing at the end, and yet none felt like cheats.

Cast & Acting: This was a well cast film with everyone feeling like they fit, but no one was a standout or really felt like they were perfect for the role other than Kenneth Branagh himself and Tom Bateman playing Bouc, both iconic in their roles.

Art Direction & Cinematography: The film was beautifully shot with gorgeous scenes of Egyptian ruins, an elegant riverboat, and a great club. The director tried hard to frame every shot in an interesting way. Most the time it worked with only a few shots feeling forced.

Pacing: I felt this movie was a little slow. It always felt like it was slightly dragging, and I never found myself completely lost in the film.

Conclusion

Death on the Nile is an enjoyable film. The mystery was very intriguing with no obvious murderer and several twists and along the way. The reveals were truly revealing at the end, and yet none felt like cheats. This was a well cast film with everyone feeling like they fit, but no one was a standout or really felt like they were perfect for the role other than Kenneth Branagh himself and Tom Bateman playing Bouc, both iconic in their roles. The film was beautifully shot with gorgeous scenes of Egyptian ruins, an elegant riverboat, and a great club. The director tried hard to frame every shot in an interesting way. Most the time it worked with only a few shots feeling forced. I felt this movie was a little slow. It always felt like it was slightly dragging, and I never found myself completely lost in the film. I give it 4 out of 5 boxes of popcorn.

    

Friday, October 29, 2021

Book Review - The Wizard's Butler by Nathan Lowell

I'm not a fan of most fantasty, but I do like magic in the modern world and I like reading about occupations I've heard little about.

The Wizard's Butler by Nathan Lowell is a contemporary fantasy book telling the story of a man who becomes a butler for an old man claiming to be a wizard. It is available as an eBook, Audiobook, and those paper things your grandparents used to read.

The Good


Premise. The premise is really unusual. While I've read several stories of magic users in the current time, I've read very few about a traditional butler in a modern times, and it is the butler angle that makes this a unique and enjoyable story. The magic is done well too, but it nothing special or unusual.

Characters. The characters are all really interesting by themselves but also have great chemistry with each other.

Story. The main plot is a greedy relative trying to steal a dying relative's estate, but the twists of a butler and magic elevate it to a different type of story and experience. It moves at a good, gentle pace giving the reader time to enjoy the peculiar parts of this world and the characters' histories. I never found myself getting bored.

Details. The author includes a lot of details about the mansion where this story takes place and the role of butler for such an estate. Before reading this I didn't think the daily routines of a butler could be interesting, but the author found a way to make it fascinating.


The Bad


...


What I Would Like to Have Seen


...

Overall


The Wizard's Butler by Nathan Lowell is a contemporary fantasy book telling the story of a man who becomes a butler for an old man claiming to be a wizard. It is available as an eBook, Audiobook, and those paper things your grandparents used to read. The premise is really unusual. While I've read several stories of magic users in the current time, I've read very few about a traditional butler in a modern times, and it is the butler angle that makes this a unique and enjoyable story. The magic is done well too, but it nothing special or unusual. The main plot is a greedy relative trying to steal a dying relative's estate, but the twists of a butler and magic elevate it to a different type of story and experience. It moves at a good, gentle pace giving the reader time to enjoy the peculiar parts of this world and the characters' histories. I never found myself getting bored. The characters are all really interesting by themselves but also have great chemistry with each other. The author includes many details about the mansion where this story takes place and the role of butler for such an estate. Before reading this I didn't think the daily routines of a butler could be interesting, but the author found a way to make it fascinating. I highly recommend this book and give it 4.5 out of 5 eReaders.


    
 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086G6FKRV/

Friday, October 1, 2021

Movie Review - Venom: Let There Be Carnage

I love comic books, but I've never like the Venom character in comics. When I heard he was getting his own movie a few years ago, I was not at all excited. But the trailer looked pretty cool so I went and saw it and absolutely loved it! I was excited to hear a sequel was coming, but also a little worried: would it live up to the first film's high standard, or would it be a disappointing money grab?

Venom: Let There Be Carnage is a 2021 live-action action horror movie based on characters from Marvel Comics. It is rated PG-13 for violence and language and is appropriate for teens and up.

The Good

What a Sequel Should Be. Most sequels are poor remakes of the first movie with more action, more special effects, and less story. This movie was a true continuation of the first. It didn't try to bring dead or irrelevant characters from the first movie back. It did show us how the characters had grown and progressed in the time since the first movie in a way that was consistent with what had already been established. And it introduced new characters and situations that fit the world already created.

Actors. This movie could not have been better cast. Everyone fit his or her role perfectly.

Characters. The characters were so entertaining and had such enjoyable chemistry between each other. I want more.

Story. The story was so tight and logical. Someone spent sometime writing it. The pacing was perfect; the movie never dragged.

 

The Bad

Too Short. While I appreciate the movie was trimmed down to only the essential story and this prevented any lag, I still felt there was more story to tell and we were cheated of it. 

 

Overall

Venom: Let There Be Carnage is a 2021 live-action action horror movie based on characters from Marvel Comics. It is rated PG-13 for violence and language and is appropriate for teens and up. Most sequels are poor remakes of the first movie with more action, more special effects, and less story. This movie was a true continuation of the first. It didn't try to bring dead or irrelevant characters from the first movie back. It did show us how the characters had grown and progressed in the time since the first movie in a way that was consistent with what had already been established. And it introduced new characters and situations that fit the world already created. This movie could not have been better cast. Everyone fit his or her role perfectly. The characters were so entertaining and had such enjoyable chemistry between each other. I want more. The story was so tight and logical. Someone spent sometime writing it. While I appreciate the movie was trimmed down to only the essential story and this prevented any lag, I still felt there was more story to tell and we were cheated of it. The pacing was perfect; the movie never dragged. I highly recommend this film and give it 4.5 out of 5 Boxes of Popcorn.


    

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Movie Review - Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Even though I am a huge comic book fan and have read more comics than I can count, I had never heard of the character Shang Chi before. But the trailer looked interesting, so I thought I'd give it a go.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is a 2021 live-action action movie based on Marvel Comics. It is rated PG-13 for violence and language, and is appropriate for most ages.

The Good

Character Interactions. This movie had several interesting characters that had enjoyable interactions between each other. The interactions make up the bulk of the movie and are the most interesting parts.

Action Scenes. There are three major action scenes, and all are very well choreographed and exciting the watch. The only downside to them are they all look like lots of wire work and like they came from a video game, but that doesn't take away too much from the enjoyment.

 

The Bad

Pacing. This movie is over two hours long and feels like it is over two hours long. The pacing is a little slow.

Story. The story is pretty predictable without any real surprises. It was probably the weakest part of the film. All the challenges are easily overcome with several convenient plot points stuck in just the right place to advance the story.

Fantasy Realm. Part of this movie takes place in a fantasy dimension filled with strange creatures. Only the creatures aren't that strange or creative or even interesting. The fantasy dimension is also disappointing after so much build up. 

 

Overall

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is a 2021 live-action action movie based on Marvel Comics. It is rated PG-13 for violence and language, and is appropriate for most ages. This movie had several interesting characters that had enjoyable interactions between each other. The interactions make up the bulk of the movie and are the most interesting parts.  There are three major action scenes, and all are very well choreographed and exciting the watch. The only downside to them are they all look like lots of wire work and like they came from a video game, but that doesn't take away too much from the enjoyment. This movie is over two hours long and feels like it is over two hours long. The pacing is a little slow. The story is pretty predictable without any real surprises. It was probably the weakest part of the film. All the challenges are easily overcome with several convenient plot points stuck in just the right place to advance the story. Part of this movie takes place in a fantasy dimension filled with strange creatures. Only the creatures aren't that strange or creative or even interesting. The fantasy dimension is also disappointing after so much build up. This is an entertaining film worth two hours if you happen to watch it. But there is nothing special or wonderful, so if you never see it you aren't missing out on anything. I give it 3.5 out of 5 Boxes of Popcorn.


    

Friday, August 6, 2021

Book Review - Thank You For My Service by Mat Best

I'm a big fan of entrepreneurs and hearing how they stumbled into their businesses.

Thank You For My Service by Mat Best is a nonfiction book telling the story of a teenage boy who joined the military, his experiences in the Middle East, and finding a purpose and direction after coming back to civilian life. It is available as an eBook, Audiobook, and those paper things your grandparents used to read.

The Good


Stories. Mat is a great storyteller. He makes even the most mundane events sound exciting. He injects so much personality into his tales and has a great way to insert his wild opinions and commentaries into stories without interrupting the flow.

Lessons. Mat made a lot of mistakes and learned from most of them. He isn't afraid to share his mistakes or successes with others. He's very honest and doesn't fake humility or pride.


The Bad


Language. The language is definitely adult. It adds a certain humor and personality to the book, but some people may not be able to get past it.


What I Would Like to Have Seen


...

Overall


Thank You For My Service by Mat Best is a nonfiction book telling the story of a teenage boy who joined the military, his experiences in the Middle East, and finding a purpose and direction after coming back to civilian life. Mat is a great storyteller. He makes even the most mundane events sound exciting. He injects so much personality into his tales and has a great way to insert his wild opinions and commentaries into stories without interrupting the flow. Mat made a lot of mistakes and learned from most of them. He isn't afraid to share his mistakes or successes with others. He's very honest and doesn't fake humility or pride.  The language is definitely adult. It adds a certain humor and personality to the book, but some people may not be able to get past it. I highly recommend this book and give it 5 out of 5 eReaders.


    

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086G6FKRV/