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Movie Review: The Lego Batman Movie


The Lego Batman Movie (2017)

Genre: Animated, Comedy, Action

IMDb:7.8 of 17,000+

Starring: (Voice Cast ) Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Zach Galifinakis, Jenny Slate, Ralph Fiennes, Rosario Dawson

Budget: 80 Million

Current Box Office:  72.1 Million/ Worldwide: 109 Million

What I Didn’t Like

Not a whole lot to hate about this film.  I guess my one issue is that I wanted to laugh more. Perhaps I’m getting older and some jokes don’t land like they once did. The movie was funny and entertaining throughout, but never got me laughing heartily.

What I Did Like

The voice cast was excellent. Will Arnett shines as Lego Batman. He brings that hardcore version of Batman which can be so easy to make fun of.  The supporting cast was delightful. You get enough of each character without them getting too annoying.  (I totally thought Michael Cera’s Robin was going to annoy me. I’m pleased to say he didn’t.)

Batman is a hard character to show growth with. He can be so rigid and unquestionable at times.  However, this Batman film shows that Batman’s intensity can get him into trouble. That he can evolve his character. I give this film credit for the attempt and even more for the achievement.

Zach Galifinakis as The Joker was another surprise. He was everything I wanted in The Joker and more.  While he may not be Hamill, Ledger, or Nicholson. He certainly played the character in a delightfully kooky and criminal at the same time.  I hope there is another Lego Batman and I wouldn’t mind seeing Galifinakis return.

The action is wonderfully animated and thrilling. The animation is of a fine quality. Even better than The Lego Movie in 2014. Everything looks like legos, right now to the water and the explosions.

Oh and there is an awesome song to go with this one which is almost as good as “Everything is Awesome”.


I really want to see a live-action version of this Joker version. However, taking what I received. The Lego Batman was an exceptional animated comedy. Proving that the Lego franchise has legs beyond what many expected. There was heart, humor, awesome Lego animation.  Everything I could have hoped for with this film.  If you loved the Lego Movie, or love Batman, but are able to make fun of him at times. Then you should absolutely watch this film.

The Ladder

The Lego Batman Movie (2017)

The Lego Movie (2014)

Storks (2016)-A Warner Brothers Animated Comedy.


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Director Who: Gore Verbinski

Director Who

Every now and then I take a look at a director I respect or think has a bright future. Today I am talking about Gore Verbinski.  He is largely known for his work on the Pirates of the Caribbean films, but he also has a few other films under his belt which may surprise you.

Gore Verbinski

Born 03/16/1964

Film Debut


Mouse Hunt (1997)

Genre:Comedy, Family

Starring:Nathan Lane, Christopher Walken, Lee Evans

About two brothers who move into their father’s house. They find during their renovations a mouse and decide to eradicate it. This proves exceedingly difficult.  Alright, so this movie isn’t great, but I watched it as a kid. I loved the comedy in it then. So it wins with nostalgia.  Add in the talents of Nathan Lane and Christopher Walken for extra flare. This is a 1990’s film for families in all its glory. For Verbinski who is on his first film, I give him a lot of credit. For all those out there that hate this film, while box office numbers do not define success, it helps when they are good.  Mouse Hunt Budget- 38 Million, Worldwide box office 122 million.



The Mexican (2001)

Genre: Comedy, Crime, Adventure

Starring: Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, James Gandolfini, J.K. Simmons, Gene Hackman

IMDb: 6.1 of 89,000

A man tries to deliver a cursed gun back across the border all the while having to deal with his wife who wants him to go clean.  The Mexican is a bit long and it could use more jokes to justify that. However, any film with Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, and James Gandolfini can’t be all bad. This comedy is a slow burn, but it has some good jokes and some heartfelt messages along the way. While not the finest comedy ever made, you could do much worse.

Budget: 57 Million, Worldwide Box Office: 147.8 Million.



The Ring (2002)


Starring: Naomi Watts

IMDb: 7.1 of 262,000+

A cursed videotape which kills whoever views it is investigated by a journalist. I have a long history of hating on this film. After re-watching it with a new appreciation for film. I realized that I was a bit too hard on it. (Oh, I still hate it, but less so.) There are creepy things throughout this movie that give valuable scares.  While it will never be my favorite, I can appreciate its atheistic value as a modern horror film.

Budget: 48 Million Worldwide Box Office: 249.3 Million



Pirates of Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

Genre: Action,Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy

Starring:Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightly, Geoffery Jones

IMDb: 8.0 of 843,000+

An eccentric captain teams up with a young blacksmith to save their true love. (One being a ship, the other being a woman.) This is a spectacularly fun film.  Before we knew it would be a franchise that went on much too long, it was one awesome film. Filled with swashbuckling action (Disneyfied) Johnny Depp’s stock is quite low right now (rightfully so), but at the time of this movie, he was on top of the world. This movie expressed why perfectly.  This is easily Verbinski’s best film and it isn’t hard to see why he returned for several of these films.

Budget: 140 Million/ Worldwide Box Office 654.3 Million


The Weather Man (2005)

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Nicholas Hoult

IMDb: 6.6 of 70,000+

A meteorologist in Chicago debates the various aspects of personal versus professional success and their relation to one another. A unique film starring Nicolas Cage. It again may not be everything it could, but definitely more thought-provoking than your average film. For me, this is a very defining movie for Verbinski. It could be better, but it definitely has some merit. It uses the actors well for the roll they are in, and it asks a question which dives a bit below the surface.

This is the first film which suffered for Verbinski. People weren’t interested. I don’t blame them, I didn’t go see it in theaters, but waited to see it on television. Clearly most did that. Budget: 22 Million/ Worldwide 19 Million



Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006)

Genre: Action/Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy

Starring: Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightly, Geoffery Jones, Naomie Harris

IMDb: 7.3 of 542,000+

Second installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. This film is still plenty of fun. It has great action and humor. A wonderful cast and a developing story. Yes, it is a step down from the original, but it remains a quality film.

Budget: 225 Million . Worldwide Box Office 1 Billion  (Anyone who makes a movie which grosses a billion dollars automatically gets several free passes at whatever they want.)



Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007)

Genre: Action/Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy

Starring:Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightly, Geoffrey Jones

IMDb: 7.1 of 489,000+

The third installment of the Pirates of Caribbean franchise. This time finishing their story (or so we thought) in one final battle. For any trilogy, having three well made films filled with action and some personal growth is important. This movie gets a bit cluttered in how many converging storylines it has, but it also works well enough to be entertaing. (yet, very long.) Budget: 300 Million/ Worldwide: 963.4 Million



Rango (2011)

Genre: Animated,Adventure, Comedy, Western

Starring: Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Bill Nighy, Stephen Root, Ned Beatty, Gore Verbinski, Harry Dean Stanton

IMDb: 7.2 of 190,000+

I love Rango, a 2D film in an ever increasing 3D landscape. It is clever, funny, pays homage to many of the finest westerns. Has a tremendous voice cast. The best of all is it has this beautiful artistic and philosophical value which gets lost in animated movies a lot. One of the smartest animated movies (American made anyway) that you will ever find.

Budget: 135 Million/ Worldwide Box Office 245.7 Million




The Lone Ranger (2013)

Genre: Western,

Starring, Armie Hammer, Johnny Depp, Tom Wilkinson

IMDb: 6.5 of 187,000+

A retelling of the popular Lone Ranger story. Spoiler warning (It was an origin story.) This film is long and pretty boring.  The acting however is fine, the action (when it happens) is  cool. The set designs were of quality. The film could have used a faster pace (better script), but the film overall is not terrible.

Budget: 215 Million/ Worldwide Box Office:260.5 million.


A Cure For Wellness (2017)

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Starring: Dane DeHaan

IMDb: 6.7 of 1,000 ratings

About a young executive who goes overseas to track down a CEO at a wellness center. Only to find out that the unorthodox treatment is the least of his concerns.


Here is Gore Verbinski’s latest film which comes out officially on Friday, February 17th in the USA.

While I may be hesitant to watch a film like this in February (Often not the biggest Oscar buzz or the best films in general.) The film looks very unnerving and I can appreciate that sort of thing.  Gore Verbinski has proven to be a quality director with a versatile range, though this may be by far his darkest film grounded in some sense of reality. (Not including The Ring which is more fantasy/horror) It also features Dane DeHaan who is not awful in most things he is in.

Budget: 40 Million-  Box Office- Unknown at this point, but I’m fairly certain Verbinski’s film will make back all the production money on the worldwide scale.

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Movie Review: Fifty Shades Darker (Guest Reviewer)

My disdain for all things Fifty Shades is no secret. However, I respect other people’s viewpoints. Especially when they are very knowledgeable about all things romance.  My friend is not only a romance writer, but also an expert in this field.

Take it away, Cassandra!


Fifty Shades Darker

Genre: Drama, Romance

Fifty Shades Darker Review:

Before I get into a review of the movie, I would like to take a minute to talk to the people who haven’t read the books. I think it’s important to set your expectations before watching a movie like this, particularly because it is a screen adaption of  erotic fan faction. If you go to the book store and pick up a copy of Fifty Shades Darker and flip it over to the back cover, you’ll see that it’s filed under Erotica. Which means that it’s a romance with explicitly detailed sex scenes. So going in to the film, you can expect a love story with lots of sex.

And it sure as hell does not disappoint.

In Fifty Shades Darker we see that Christian wants Ana back and we watch them navigate a relationship without any rules or contracts like they had in the first movie. They pursue a ‘vanilla’ relationship because Christian realizes that he doesn’t need the dom-sub relationship to cope with his childhood trauma, he only needs Ana. As he admits to Mrs. Robinson, Ana taught him how to love and he spends the movie trying to prove to her that she’s all he needs, while she struggles with ghosts from his past and her own aggressive boss and doubts about whether or not she’s enough for Christian.

It’s very rare that I come across a sequel that is better than its predecessor, let alone that which is adapted from a book. But Fifty Shades Darker, in my opinion, is better than the first Fifty Shades. I don’t know if Dakota Johnson is more comfortable playing Ana this go-around, or Ana herself is more confident in her own skin  (I like to think it’s both) but Dakota Johnson kicks major ass in this movie. When she swiped the check before he could, when she takes him shopping to calm him, and when she curses out Mrs. Robinson, I wanted to high-five her each time.

Jamie Dornan. As a proud owner of two eyes and two ovaries, I think it’s safe to say that Jamie Dornan is a goddamn beautiful specimen of a man. The few women in the audience with me (I saw it the first showing at 7pm opening night, an hour after a snow storm so only about 20 people braved the god awful Connecticut roads to the theater) all swooned when he came on screen. As an actor I feel Jamie is at his best when he plays intense roles (if you haven’t watched The Fall on Netflix, go do it now) and at times I felt the role of Christian was too easy for him. He excelled when his character was struggling, with the burns on his chest and when he thinks Ana is going to leave him and he kneels to her in the submissive pose.  I think he is the perfect Christian Grey, and there isn’t anything I’d change about it.

There are some things from the book that didn’t make the movie, like the emailing back and forth between Ana and Christian while she is at work  (which was my favorite part of the book), but a lot happens in the book and I think they did a great job of covering all the important plot points: Ana and Christian’s relationship, his crazy ex, her crazy boss, crazy Mrs. Robinson, the helicopter accident, his awful childhood, etc. I’m sure everyone is going to have one favorite thing in the book that didn’t make the film, and I’m also sure that if they extended the film to six hours, no one who’s read the book would have anything to complain about.

This film has exceeded all of my expectations and I recommend it to anyone who loves love stories, “kinky fuckery,” drama and comedy (there’s a good amount of it in there.) I, myself, look forward to seeing it again and again before it leaves theaters.

Finally, in case you’re wondering, they’re called Ben Wa balls. You can thank me later.


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Movie Review: John Wick: Chapter Two


John Wick: Chapter Two (2017)

Genre: Crime,Action, Thriller

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Ruby Rose, Common, Ian McShane, John Leguizamo

Like many people, I was stunned with how incredible John Wick was back in 2014. It was passionate, gritty, realistic, and superbly shot.  It was among the finest action films I had seen in years.  It was the movie that brought Keanu Reeves back into the limelight in a big way.

When I heard about John Wick: Chapter Two, I was excited, but concerned about if it could keep up the amazing pace.  Many times, we see sequels push themselves to be bigger and better than the original, but lose heart or wander off the path completely.  Sadly, this is the case with John Wick: Chapter Two, but that doesn’t mean it lacked quality.

What I Didn’t Like

The pacing in this film was off, especially in the first half.  I understand the desire to world build and appreciate aspects of this, but it lingered far too long. The first half of this movie lulled often and I found myself checking the time, yawning, and getting a bit sleepy. (Three things I never did with the original.) The first half of this movie certainly could have used some more action.

John Wick’s reasons for his violent rampage were fully justified in the first film. We understood on an emotional level why he did everything and that got us rooting for him on that raw emotional level.  This film could not rise to that occasion. You can understand why he is angry, why he may want some revenge, but it lacked the intensity of the original.  The motivation just wasn’t enough.

There were a couple of times where the violence went from normal action violence to WTF level. I can accept violence, especially when pivotal to the plot like in John Wick.  However, this film had violence for the sheer point of excessive violence. To me, a movie should use violence as a tool, not a crutch. There were a couple of scenes which seemed to rely on being violent for the sake of shock value and I’ve always found that cheap. (It’s why many horror films are so weak.)

The film steers in the direction of explaining too much.  When you do that, you lose some of the mystery and some of the fun in the process.

John Wick: Chapter Two lacked an emotional climax. In the original, Wick had this amazing speech to why he was so angry and why he had come out of retirement.  This film had no defining moment. Not a single moment where Wick “dropped the mic” as it were.  I didn’t clap, I didn’t want to give Wick a fist bump. Nothing. Losing that emotional aspect of the film hurt.

Then there was the main villain who was as bland as they come. There were several far more interesting assistants to antagonists that I found far more compelling.  I would have rather had them more the villains and erase the head antagonist completely from the film.

John Wick was quite gritty and realistic. This film still had that aspect, but it wasn’t as prevalent. There were a few scenes where I had to suspend my disbelief, but couldn’t.


What I Did Like (Because I actually didn’t hate this film.)

Now I talked a fair amount about what I didn’t like because the film certainly had issues, but there was a lot to still enjoy.  For starters, the action in this movie is quite awesome. The cinematography was still stunning and easy to follow. They kept the same style of the original intact and that benefits the film. You know who is attacking and who is getting hit and the movement is very fluid.

The world building, while it was tedious at times. It did help explain a lot of little details leftover from the first film. There were a lot of neat little bits here and there which enriched the film. Granted, there are now new questions that need to be answered.  We will have John Wick: Chapter Three likely sometime by 2020.

The acting by Keanu Reeves and the general cast was very strong.  Common as Cassian was incredible. He is a fitting match for John Wick. Another addition I liked was Ruby Rose as Ares (who was a total badass).  I also really enjoyed the addition of Laurence Fishburne. He was interesting and gave many of the audience to see the future hope to see more in the future.  Seeing Fishburne and Reeves reunited was a beautiful thing as well.

I can’t knock the overall quality of the film.  The musical score was solid, the choreography, and hand to hand combat exceptional.  There are certain scenes in the movie (especially in the second half) which were sheer brilliance. The quality of this film despite some of its flaws in the writing were still exceptional.


            John Wick: Chapter Two did not live up to my expectations. It could not transcend or even match its amazing predecessor.  It lost that emotional touch, and sometimes pushed unnecessary boundaries. However, it is not a terrible film. The action is still riveting when going on and the talented cast was very compelling with few exceptions.  I own John Wick, but I won’t be saying the same thing about John Wick: Chapter Two.  However, I would watch it again and think it is worthwhile for any action genre fan to view. I will be cautious with the future of this franchise, but for now it has two quality films under its belt.

The Ladder

John Wick (2014)

The Bourne Identity (2002)

The Bourne Supremacy (2004)

The Born Ultimatum (2007)

John Wick Chapter 2 (2017)

Jason Bourne (2016)

The Bourne Legacy (2012)


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Leftovers of January 2017

What’s Still Good and What you Should Avoid at All Cost.

January is in the books and while there was certainly plenty of garbage in and out of the movie world.  Let’s talk about what you should still look for and what you should hopefully avoid altogether.



Lost in London

Genre: Comedy

Director: Woody Harrelson

Starring: Woody Harrelson, Owen Wilson, Willy Nelson

IMDb:8.0 of 182 ratings

An experimental film which combines theater and film into one thing. A comedy about misadventures in London which wind up to some jail time.

Reel Red Reviews was kind enough to let me use her review. Please check it out.


Matter of Taste

The Founder

Genre: Biography, Drama, History

Starring: Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman

The true story of McDonalds and its beginning.   I am not a fan of fast food and the various implications it can have on one’s health.  If you like pop culture history or McDonalds. You may enjoy this film, but it sure isn’t for everyone.


The Resurrection of Gavin Stone (2016)

Genre: Comedy

Seems to be a Christian inspired comedy about a guy who pretends to be Christian in order to get a much needed job. Only to discover it is the most important role of his life.


Detour (2016)


Starring: Tye Sheridan

I’m a big Tye Sheridan fan (although he really has one masterful performance to date, though I’ve never seen him suck.)  A dark thriller about a dysfunctional family.  A coming of age film with a cruel twist I guess you could say.

The Red Turtle (2016)

Genre: Animation, Fantasy

A dialogue-less animated film about a castaway on a deserted island.  A surreal artist animated film.  If you appreciated animation as an artform, you’ll likely love aspects of this movie.  If you like things a bit more mainstream, avoid this completely.

Split (2016)

Genre: Horror, Thriller

A lot of people are loving this movie. They praise James McAvoy on a solid performance and say this is the second finest film M. Night Shyamalan has created. (I’m guessing Sixth Sense remains his best.)  If you like the work of Shyamalan and especially his horror, then please check out this film.  It is worth your time. If you’ve discredited Shymalan. (I don’t blame you.) I strongly suggest giving this film a viewing at some later point. (I definitely will.)

Aristotle Full Throttle is an awesome youtube reviewer who is talking about Split. .


Also, for a second opinion here is JumpcutUk review-

Sophie and the Rising Sun (2016)

Genre: Drama

Almost nobody has seen this movie. It holds a 7.2 with a mere 57 ratings. About interracial lovers in a small South Carolina fishing village during the 1940’s.

Chances are you can’t find this right now, but if later on you happen to catch it. I would consider watching. If you like those sorts of dramas.


Especially in January there are a lot of leftover films from 2016 and not all of them are going to get recognized as they probably should be here.  However, when I find a review of one worthy of reading.  I will present it.


Such is the case with Reel Red Reviews and her take on Martin Scorsese’s Silence (2016)

JumpcutUk review of Silence is here as well-



Again, here is my take on A Monster Calls

Reel Dude was nice enough to let me show off his amazing review. Please check it out. It has great insight about this film and why you should probably watch it.


Just Cutting It


Underworld: Blood Wars (2016)

Genre:Action Horror

Kate Beckinsale is once again in another one of these movies. It’s Vampires vs Werewolves all over again. Slightly different storyline.

They keep making these movies and I don’t know why.  Is this terrible? Not really, but is it good? No.


Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

Genre: Action, Horror, Science Fiction

Another franchise that needs to end already. They keep unleashing these mediocre films and there is a cult following. I suppose it doesn’t hurt to have something like this now in January. Makes certain people happy.


Trespass Against Us (2016)

Genre: Action, Crime Drama

Another ambitious film about a man trying to escape his criminal past and family. Featuring the work of Michael Fassbender, and Brendan Gleeson. Not the worst film you could watch in January by far, but it may not impress much either.



Genre: Adventure, Drama, Thriller

Despite the work of Matthew McConaughey, Corey Stoll, Craig T. Nelson, and Edgar Ramirez, the general population seem to suggest this movie is average at best. If you appreciate a talented cast with a less than interesting subject of high-end gold discovery and smuggling. Check this one out.


A Dog’s Purpose– As if the film wasn’t already reprehensible on content alone. The film production has been uncovered where there is some animal abuse. That sickens me. Hollywood has a notorious record of cruelty towards animals, but it has been getting better. This is just a black mark on 2017 and I’m certainly glad I won’t have to hear a thing about this film.

100 Streets (2016) Lucky if 100 people enjoyed it.

The Book of Love (2016) Time to pick up a different book.

Nerdland (2016) Nerdy can be great, but not so much this movie.

xXx: Return of Xander Cage– The fact they made this film is an insult. Watching it may just be a smack in the face. Stupid fun I suppose, but we have a lot of that these days.

Sleepless (2016) Think Taken, but more like Taken 2, except maybe even worse.

Monster Trucks (2016)- Mindless fluff that maybe not even five year old’s will enjoy.

The Comedian (2016)- Always a surprise to me when talented and funny people make a terribly unfunny film.

Arsenal – I’m out.

The Bye Bye Man– Finally time to say bye bye to this dreadful film.


Special Thanks to Reel Red Reviews, Red Dude Reviews, Aristotle Full Throttle,  and JumpcutUK for their awesome contributions


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Best and Worst Rated Films of January 2017

Best and Worst of January 2017 According to General Audiences

These do tend on fluctuating. This is more a snapshot of a particular time.

Best Films of 2017

1-Lost in London (2016) 8.0* 181 Ratings

2-The Red Turtle (2016)-7.6

3-Split (2016) 7.5

4-The Resurrection of Gavin Stone (2016)  7.2* 330 ratings

5-Sophie and the Rising Sun (2016) 7.1* 55 ratings

6-Detour (2016) 6.5* 826 ratings

7-Gold 6.5 * 951 ratings

8-Underworld: Blood Wars (2016)-6.4

9-Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016) 6.3


Trespass Against Us (2016) 6.0



Worst Films of 2017

A Dog’s Purpose 3.6 (Being fair, this wasn’t going to be a good movie, but evidence of animal abuse has destroyed this film.)

1-The Bye Bye Man-3.8

2-Arsenal 4.0* 809 Ratings

3-The Comedian(2016) 4.8* 387 Ratings

4-Coin Heist 4.8* 898 ratings

5-Clinical 5.1

6-Nerdland (2016) 5.3* 172 ratings

7-100 Streets (2016) 5.4* 653 ratings

8-Lost in Florence 5.4* 70 ratings

9-Monster Trucks (2016) 5.5

10-xXx: Return of Xander Cage 5.6

The Book of Love (2016) 5.6* 684 ratings

Sleepless 5.6* 918 ratings

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