Sunday, March 26, 2017
Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, & Cathrine Keener
Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5 stars
It's the new movie everyone is talking about and critics are raving about, as for me, I couldn't wait to get out...of the theater. Guess who's coming to dinner? It's a black man coming home to a rich suburban white families house for the weekend, and despite their black servants, they're extremely nice to their daughters new boyfriend, too nice, something weird is going on. Yes, something weird is going on, only Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) is too stupid to realize it! He's so deeply in love with his girlfriend of all of four months, that not only can't he see what's going on right in front of his face, but he doesn't try to talk to her about it, he doesn't try to investigate any of it, he just sort of goes with the flow. People are raving about this noir thriller, when it is one of the most poorly written films I've seen in a while. Major plot holes aside for the moment, there is absolutely no character development, no chemistry between the actors, and worst of all they don't even reveal the main plot until twenty minutes before the thing is over! Yes, it's weird, yes, something is going on, but the writers don't even hint at what that is! They don't even give us a chance to figure out what it could possibly be. At first it was interesting and I was hoping there would be clues to help us figure out what might be going on, that maybe Chris would find evidence or over hear something, but no such luck. Maybe there could have been a scene without him, that gave us some insight, there was absolutely nothing until the very end, when it was all thrust into our faces and even then it really didn't make a whole lot of sense. Without giving anything away, they never answer the fundamental question, why black people? I never liked traditional noir, but at least most of the time the acting is good and you have some idea of what's going on. This film is just one big circle of confusion and to be honest with you, aside from some terrific comic relief, I hated every minute of it.
In May 2016, I finally graduated from college, however getting a job on Long Island has been impossible to date. As a result I have had to go out and do what I've done in my younger years to make money; tutoring, odd jobs, managing & booking local rock bands (https://www.facebook.com/rockislandmanagement), and buying & selling on eBay. While I'm not making much, it has kept me quite busy and hasn't left me as much time to work on the blog. That is why the update schedule has been sporadic and there haven't been weekly updates.
The sponsors have been understanding, but I understand you guys are frustrated. The e-mails and comments have all but stopped here and on the Facebook page. As a result I really have no idea what you guys want in terms of specialty post or what to include or exclude from the reviews. As you may have noticed I have tried recently to add a more personal touch to the reviews, while not the most professional thing in the world, I have noticed that those types of reviews tend to get more likes on IMDB & Amazon and since that's the only feedback I have to go on lately, that's what I've gone with.
I humbly apologize for not having as much time to work on the blog as I used to. I do encourage you all to LIKE "The Ultimate Movie Review" on Facebook. I share all the trailers I like, all the movie and TV news I read, related content that I like, Netflix monthly streaming additions list, and I just added a "LIKED BY THIS PAGE" section which includes some of my favorite movies and TV shows, including stuff I haven't even reviewed yet!
I will try to update on a more regular basis, most likely Sunday mornings or early afternoons, so please stay tuned! Until then...
Current Streaming Recommendations:
TV Shows: Movies:
Dark Matter The Giver
The 100 ARQ
Iron Fist Spotlight
Zoo St. Vincent
The People vs. O.J. Simpson The Good Neighbor
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Starring: Josh Gates
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Josh Gates is best known as an archeologist, who for five seasons, hosted Destination Truth on Syfy. On that show, Gates along with a team of investigators went into the wild to try to prove or disprove urban legends such as the Loch Ness monster and big foot. Aside from Gates' unique brand of humor, it was pretty much you're run of the mill paranormal investigation show, and there was always that feeling that Gates could be doing so much more, enter Expedition Unknown. In his new series on Travel Channel, Gates becomes a real life Indiana Jones, as he once again returns to the wild, only this time, he's trying to solve some of histories biggest mysteries. What really happened to Amelia Earhart? What happened to the Incas? Is there a really a Templar treasure and is Nicholas Cage's character Ben Gates based on him? Not only does Gates take us on a real life adventure every week, but he still brings along his unique brand of humor, and this time he includes history lessons for us recent college graduates who made the mistake of majoring in history and still can't find a job. For someone who loves history, mystery, comedy, and real life adventure I couldn't ask for more, as Expedition Unknown defines what a reality tv show should be. Honestly why would anyone sit and watch the Kardashian's talk about who has the bigger ass when they could be tuning in to watch the real life Indiana Jones tackle real life mysteries every week? Think about it...
Starring: Frank Grillo, Zach Gilford, & Kiele Sanchez
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
When I saw the trailer for the first Purge movie, I thought it was a wildly innovative idea and I absolutely loved it! I was so excited to see the film, unfortunately it amounted to little more than a slasher movie. The story had all the potential in the world, but they really didn't go into it, they just wanted to show off the violence and hatred people had towards one another. I was hoping they would correct this in the sequel and boy did they ever! Anarchy isn't about some family hunkered down in their home, fighting off attackers. In the second installment of the Purge, we learn a lot more about it. The pro and anti-purge factions that exist, the professional companies that make a fortune off that one night, the way the rich purge, and the main story which centers around what happens on the streets when two families are trapped outside on purge night. Two families are easy pickings until they find Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo), a man on a mission that he can only complete on Purge night. Barnes however is a man of conscience and won't complete his mission until he begrudgingly gets the families to safety, which means a wild trek through the city. The Purge: Anarchy is a wild ride through a city of ordinary people turned into killers, with home made weapons, booby-traps, and pure anarchy, just as the title promises. If you're looking for action and violence, there are a million places to turn, that's not what the appeal of this movie is. It's the idea, that crime virtually is nonexistent, except for this one night, where society turns on each other. Where almost everyone's craziest fantasy becomes reality and just how some people react. What will each character turn into when they are allowed to do whatever they want? How does society feel about this law and is the benefit worth the cost? This story has just so many directions it can go in, that why I'm not surprised to hear they're working on a fourth film. The Purge series may just be a series of action/slasher films, but this one idea puts a whole new spin on them and makes you see things through a whole different set of eyes and I for one think it's ingenious.
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Naomi Watts, Judi Dench, & Josh Lucas
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars
Clint Eastwood's films are extremely historically accurate. The academy and critics love his work and especially the way he manages to get the best out of his leading roles. That being said, his films also tend to be extremely long and very dry, J. Edgar was no different. J. Edgar Hoover was the man who started the FBI. He is the man solely responsible for creating a fingerprint database, cataloging and investigating forensic evidence at crime scenes, and he was also completely paranoid and spied on just about everyone he could. It was sad to see just how lonely, narrow minded, and repressed this man was his whole life. He was so narrowly focused his entire life, that he didn't seem to ever enjoy anything besides his work. As for the film, Leonardo DiCaprio gives another stunning performance, one that rivals all his other work. People who worked with Hoover, in his later years, say that DiCaprio was so good that it was like seeing Hoover himself back in charge. When he was first starting out, people thought DiCaprio was just another pretty face, who would do films like the Beach his entire career, but they couldn't be more wrong. He has emerged as one of the best leading men in all of Hollywood and J. Edgar is a prime example of this. You can't have a DiCaprio greatest hits compilation without including this performance, it really was that good. I learned a lot from this film and the performances were truly fantastic in every sense of the word. How DiCaprio's performance didn't get nominated for an Academy Awards is beyond me and does lend some credence to the theory that the Academy is bias towards him. As for the rest of the film, it's long, very long and parts of it just don't move at all. You'll learn a lot and from a historic stand point, I think this is one of those film everyone should see, but at times it's not easy to sit through. Don't expect much in the way of action, comic relief, or deviation. It's just a lot of vintage Eastwood, DiCaprio, and criminal justice history.
Starring: Dyllan Christopher, Quinn Shephard, & Lewis Black
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars
For decades, A Christmas Carol and It's A Wonderful Life have been the standard templates for holiday films, until a third choice came along in 1990. Ever since, there have been a whole slew of films that have tried to be the next Home Alone. None have come close to being as good, but perhaps the best attempt came from Unaccompanied Minors. The Davenport kids are flying to seeing their father for the holidays when they are stuck in Cleveland by a massive snow storm. When they get there, they discover they are just two of dozens of kids who are stuck at the same airport, trapped in a conference room under the watchful eye of the airports ruthless administrator, (Lewis Black) who's not all that fond of children. Together with some of the more unique personalities, the Davenports stage an escape and wreck havoc on the airport, determined to have fun during the holidays, even if it is in a snowed in airport. Yes, this is a kids movie with all the cheesy jokes and kid stuff that comes along with it, but what makes it unique is all the different personalities. The six kids are from all different parts of the country and are all from different family structures and different socioeconomic backgrounds, meaning they all had very different lives and very different ideas on what the definition of fun is. The culmination of the different personalities and how they all come together is what makes this film unique and quite frankly pretty special. The young cast is pretty talented as well, featuring Brett Kelly from Bad Santa as well as Tyler Williams from Everybody Hates Chris. The young cast also gets help from veteran comedians Lewis Black, Wilmer Valderrama, and Rob Corddry. The combination of young comedians and veteran comedians adds another dynamic similar to the one set up by the characters in the film. As well as the mixing of characters personalities, you're also getting a wide variety of comedic styles in the film. The bottom line, Unaccompanied Minors may be a kids Christmas movie, but there is a whole lot to like about it, from the writing, to the in depth character development, the mixing of different comedic styles, and even the unique settings. It's not quite Home Alone, but as close as anyone's come since 1990.
Starring: Jai Koutrae, Kendra Appleton, & Todd Lasance
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
In the world of science fiction, a ridiculous plot is a bold and risky move. Audiences will generally see it in one of two ways, either as unique and innovative or ridiculous and stupid. While I general advise deciding for yourself, in the case of Terminus, I think the answer is pretty clear. David Chamberlain (Jai Koutrae) is a depressed alcoholic who lives with his daughter. One night he's driving home drunk and is involved in a wreck that should have killed him, except for the fact that he encounters a rock from outer space, that not only heals him, but starts giving him visions. Chamberlain starts seeing visions of the end of the world and sets out on a mission to build something remarkable, in the back of a stolen cement truck. The whole premise here is kind of stupid, however if the casting was better this actually could have worked. The main character here is a guy in his late forties, a factory worker with no skills, no education and general someone everyone already thinks is crazy. In my opinion he just doesn't fit what the story calls for. This would have been a much better film if the main character was a late teen or twenty something guy, who saw the incident as his life being spared for a higher purpose. Instead, Terminus is just really one big mess of sub-par acting, plot holes, and badly developed characters you really don't care about. If you don't care about the characters and what happens to them, and if you can't follow the story too well, then really, what's the point?