Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Aquaman (2018)

Starring: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, & Patrick Wilson
Director: James Wan - Rating: PG-13 - Score: 4 Stars

In a shocking turn of events, DC Comics made a great movie that isn't about Batman! Finally, with Aquaman, fans get the type of movie they've always wanted from DC, and I see big things for the future of this franchise. Arthur (Jason Momoa) is the son of the Queen of Atlantis and a mortal man. He was born with extraordinary abilities, but not with the motivation to use them. After his mother was exiled and presumably killed by Atlantis, Arthur wants nothing to do with his people, until a world wide threat forces him to take action. The story here is the same as your basic comic themed film, saving the world while trying to get the girl, but what makes Aquaman really stand out is it's incredible special effects. Seeing as many films as I do, it's difficult to impress me with a little bit of CGI, but this film had some of the best effects I have ever seen! Even if this was a silent film the sheer beauty and magic of this underwater world would still be breath-taking. Jason Momoa stars in his biggest role to date and this guy absolutely killed it. My biggest fear going into this film was that it would be too cartoonish and led by a newcomer, not a great combination, but Momoa is terrific both his personality and in his ability to put on one hell of a fight scene. As for the cartoonish part, there is a little bit of that and it was a turn off, but you do need to pander to the young crowd a film like this is likely to draw. For my money, this is the best DC Comics film since the Dark Knight. I'm not the biggest Superhero fan and I absolutely loved this movie from beginning to end. The two and half hours literally flew by and in the end I was still craving more. I can't wait to see what's next for Aquaman.

Gotti (2018)

Starring: John Travolta, Kelly Preston, & Spencer LoFranco
Director: Kevin Connolly - Rating: R - Score: 1 1/2 Stars

Gotti, a highly anticipated new mafia movie centered around the Dapper Don, has been nominated for Worst Movie of the Year and unfortunately, I have to agree. For starters, this film was all over the place! Was this film about John Gotti or his son? ...and who really cares about his actual family, there was a shitty reality show about that, what we really care about is his other family, and not the business side either. For a mafia film about one of it's biggest names in history, there is a distinct lack of violence or for that matter anything substantive. Everyone wanted to see the story of the man, not the story behind the man, and especially in a format of flash-forwards and flashbacks. As for John Travolta, I really don't know what he was thinking with this film. The only thing he has in common with John Gotti is the same first name, and watching him try to play John Gotti was as bad as watching Ben Affleck try to play Batman. The bottom line here is that this film was boring, just a lot of talk in a really bad accent. If you're looking for a good film on the Dapper Don, I suggest you go with another film named Gotti, produced in the mid-90s, starring Armand Assante. That film was great and told the story we wanted to hear. This film is nothing more than an bad autobiography brought to the screen by a man, who thinks he can play any role he wants.

Downsizing (2017)

Starring: Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig, Christoph Waltz, & Hong Chau
Director: Alexander Payne - Rating: R - Score: 3 Stars

Billed as a comedy, Downsizing didn't last long in theaters, but looking at it from the perspective of Science Fiction and taking into account it's message about environmental protection, this film ends up having a lot more depth than the lame duck comedy it was advertised as. In the near future, a scientist comes up with a way to stop the problem of overpopulation by shrinking people to five inches tall. At first the world is shocked, but when the financial benefits come to light, ordinary people are rushing to have a life of luxury. One such person is Paul Safranek (Matt Damon), who is at risk of losing his home and marriage. He and his wife decide to undergo the procedure, but when Paul awakens, he learns that his wife couldn't go through with it, and he's left to navigate this brave new world on his own. The logistic and social changes brought upon by this simple transition are amazing! I really got into the whole thing from the process to the luxury world they live in, and to the discovery that poverty can still exist even in paradise. I really don't know why the studio would bill and advertise this film as a comedy, because really it's more sad than it is funny. In fact, aside from a few lines here and there, nothing about this film or the situation Paul gets into are really funny. Matt Damon stars and as has become common place with him lately, he seems to just be going through the motions. His lack of emotion made his a hard character to like. Thankfully he is paired with newcomer Hong Chau who really steals the show. Downsizing is a film with a terrific idea, with every last detail executed to perfection, however once characters get involved, the story becomes much less interesting. Once you put aside the setting, this film can be broken down to a simple love story, which doesn't do the rest of the film justice. 

The Legend of Hercules

Starring: Kellan Lutz, Gaia Weiss, Scott Adkins, & Roxanne McKee
Director: Renny Harlin - Rating: PG-13 - Score: 2 Stars

I was a History major and as such I find these types of films difficult to watch. They are so inaccurate and give people the wrong perception of history, then again, The Legend of Hercules was directed by Renny Harlin, and he wouldn't put his name on any old thing. After praying to Zeus for guidance, Queen Alcmene (Roxanne McKee) is picked to carry the son of God. The King however knows that Hercules (Kellan Lutz) isn't his and commits an act of betrayal that separates Hercules from the woman he loves. When I think of the mighty Hercules, Kellan Lutz isn't the first name that comes to mind, but he does a pretty solid job with the role. The rest of the cast also performed equally well, and for once the cast wasn't the problem. A film like this has a story to tell and that story can't be told in an hour and half. I enjoyed the narrative, but the best parts of the film were so rushed, that I felt slighted. The whole Egyptian angle should have been a major theme, but it only lasts about ten minutes, and before you know it, Herc is fighting for his life is arenas around the world, scenes that were also rushed. The film is very straight forward and far too predictable for a story like this. There are Kings and Gods, legends from thousands of years ago, but no twists or turns? No surprises thrown in for dramatic effect at least? Overall, the film is somewhat entertaining and as I said the cast was good, but The Legend of Hercules flies by at the speed of light, which makes the film difficult to really get behind.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

2019 - Remakes & Sequels

Many moviegoers believe the sequels ruin the original film and that remakes don't do the original justice, however remakes and sequels are often times the highest money makes or the year. While most aren't recognized by the Academy, and are panned by the critics, people still flock to the theaters every year to see the characters they know and love.

The Ultimate Movie Review would like to give special thanks to our friends for helping us with this years list!

Upcoming Sequels Expected In Theaters During 2019:
Angel Has Fallen
The Angry Birds Movie 2
Annabelle 3
The Avengers 4: Endgame
A Dog's Way Home
Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw
47 Meters Down: Uncaged
Frozen 2
Glass (Unbreakable 2)
Godzilla: King of The Monsters
Happy Death Day 2U
How To Train Your Dragon: Hidden World
It: Chapter 2
John Wick: Chapter 3
Jumanji 3
Kingsman 3: The Great Game
The Lego Movie 2
A Madea Family Funeral 
Men In Black: International
The Other Side of Heaven: Fire of Faith
Rambo 5: Last Blood
The Secret Life of Pets 2
Spider-Man: Far From Home
Star Wars: Episode XI
Terminator 6
3 From Hell (The Devil's Rejects)
Toy Story 4
Wonder Woman: 1984
X-Men: Dark Phoenix
Zombieland 2

Upcoming Remakes Expected In Theaters In 2019:
The Addams Family
Charlie's Angels
Child's Play
The Grudge
Jacob's Ladder
The Lion King
Masters of The Universe
Miss Bala
Pet Semetary
What Men Want

Upcoming Marvel Films Expected In Theaters In 2019:
The Avengers: Endgame
Captain Marvel
Kingsman 3: The Great Game
The New Mutants
Spider-Man: Far From Home
X-Men: Dark Phoenix

Upcoming DC Films Expected In Theaters In 2019:
Wonder Woman: 1984