Welcome to another episode of moviemanMDG’s Movie Talk, where I talk about everything film-related. All right, it's time once again for my second-favorite part of the year. In my last episode, I counted down my personal winners of 2019. Now, it’s time to count down the biggest losers of 2019. This is where I name the films that failed to offer plenty of redeeming qualities to save themselves from disaster. I didn’t see a lot of bad films this year, so “The Fanatic”, “Arctic Dogs”, and “Playmobil: The Movie” are safe…for now. However, I saw enough stinkers for me to make this list. Let me remind you again that this list is subjective, so if you happen to like any of the films that are on there, that’s fine. Don’t let me stop you from having a different opinion on a specific film. This is just a list of films that I alone didn’t think were that great. All right, enough chit-chat, let’s get to that list. Yay…
There are plenty of films that center on action stars dealing with kids, like “The Pacifier” and “The Game Plan”, and they’re honestly quite tolerable despite their issues. This film, however, is not one of them. “Playing with Fire” sucks the fun out of its familiar formula and fills it with slapstick, poop jokes, and yelling. John Cena and the rest of the cast did their best to deliver the charm, but they’re not enough to contain its poorly-crafted plot, repetitive humor, and bland characters. This is one fire that’s difficult to put out.
This film could’ve been another great contender for the Oscars. Unfortunately, it wound up being the opposite. “The Goldfinch” has the makings of being an inspiring and emotional drama about life, but it fails to capitalize on those classifications, resulting in a dull and disappointing project that’s more Oscar bait than Oscar-worthy. Despite the cast and the cinematography being the saving graces of the film, it’s the type of painting that belongs in a trash instead of in a museum.
War movies tend to provide an emotional and action-driven experience that’ll make audiences feel like they’re part of the war themselves. Sadly, “Midway” struggled to be that type of war film. “Independence Day” director Roland Emmerich provided plenty of action scenes that were quite intense, but the film proved that he’s not a great choice when it comes to its narrative. The plot is uninspiring, the characters are bland and uninteresting, and the emotion is completely empty. It works fine as a tribute to the heroes that were involved in the Battle of Midway, but as a film in general, this is no “Saving Private Ryan”. Can I get “1917” now?
Like many pointless apps on a cell phone, “Countdown” is a waste of time and money. What could’ve been a fun horror experience that deals with death turns out to be a cheap and overly-cliched jump-scare bonanza that’s neither rewarding nor entertaining. It’s like being scammed by a game that promises to be great but in reality, it turns out to be poorly-designed. It’s frustrating. With its weak plot, mediocre characters, and an overabundance of horror cliches, this underwhelming mess makes the actual countdown app more enjoyable than the deadly countdown app in the film.
2019 hasn’t been too kind to Luc Besson. His latest film, “Anna” is a tedious and bland thriller that wasn’t able to capitalize on its interesting premise and its action sequences. Despite the tolerable performances from the cast, the film is filled to the brim with uneven pacing and a disappointing storyline. A forgettable action film from the guy who directed “The Fifth Element”.
Speaking of forgettable, “The Hustle” is a female-centered remake of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” that has no reason to exist in my memory. Aside from Anne Hathaway’s endurable performance, the film is lazy, foolish, and dull mostly due to its plot and the humor. It completely wasted the talents of Hathaway and Rebel Wilson and, more importantly, it wasted my time. That’s what happens when you con the wrong critic, Miss Hustler.
Before he redeemed himself with his police thriller “Black and Blue” back in October, filmmaker Deon Taylor directed another terrible film that’s worthy enough to make it into my list. “The Intruder” is another formulaic obsession thriller that’s dumb and unmemorable despite Dennis Quaid’s performance. This is actually the first film in a while that I didn’t watch in the theater all the way through due to personal reasons, and based on what I saw, I wasn’t sad about it at all.
There’s a good chance that you probably didn’t realize this film existed. If that’s the case, let’s keep it that way. “Jexi” is another huge comedy misfire that wastes the talents of the cast and the filmmakers. Directed by the guys who brought us “The Hangover” and “Bad Moms”, the film has an important message to tell, but it was easily overshadowed by its repetitive adult jokes, uninteresting characters, an unlikable Siri-like character with the voice of Rose Byrne, and a sluggish screenplay. You’re better off looking at your own phone instead.
What a way to end your beloved franchise, Mr. Perry. At first, I thought “Boo 2!: A Madea Halloween” was the low point of the money-making film series about the loud-mouthed, but lovable, grandma. Then this film came along and made its way far below the low point. “A Madea Family Funeral” is the final nail on the franchise’s coffin as it ends the series with a very loud thud instead of a bang. Even with the return of the usual formula that was used from the earlier Madea films, the film still failed to deliver the laughs and the heart that the series is known for. Ranging from the mediocre acting to the inconsistent tone, this so-called “finale” made me wish that I was attending an actual funeral instead.
I’ve seen a lot of disappointing disasters in 2019, but none of them can reach the same level of disappointment as the one that was released back in January. “Replicas” starred Keanu Reeves in his first role outside of his “John Wick” franchise since his resurgence not too long ago. What seemed to be a thrilling sci-fi piece of entertainment that deals with using science to play God turned out to be an extremely underwhelming and poorly-directed experiment with little to no redeeming qualities whatsoever. The performances were okay for the most part, but other than that, there’s nothing in this film that made me want to revisit it again. Dull plot, bland script, hokey visuals, and a lack of strong thrills. These flaws make “Replicas”, in my opinion, the biggest disaster of 2019.
Well, that about does it with my top ten least favorite films of 2019. Glad we got that out of my system. On the bright side, I didn’t give one single film an F grade this year, so that’s something. This has been a pretty good decade for us when it comes to the movies. Sure, we had some ups and downs, but at the end of the day, the power of film still continues to bring us together and inspire us to strike up a conversation or two, whether the product is good or not. Here’s hoping that it will continue to do so in the 2020s. With that said, thank you all for reading and have yourself a happy new year.
Welcome to another episode of moviemanMDG’s Movie Talk, where I talk about everything film-related. We’re just about done with another year, but more importantly, we’re getting close to a new decade filled with movies and a bunch of other cool stuff we’ll be getting pretty soon. Before we get the 2020s started, it’s time for me to present my top ten favorite films of 2019. As always, this is my personal list of films that I thought were amazing or inspiring or thought-provoking or all of the above. This is not a professional top ten list, this is my own top ten list, so feel free to agree or disagree with my choices. Before I start, I would like to take a moment to apologize to you fellow readers for not checking out all of the other great movies that are out this year before I made this list, like “Parasite” and “Harriet”. I heard a lot of fantastic things about them, but unfortunately, I couldn’t find the right time to see them. I’m only human, you know. Now then, without further ado, let’s count down the winners.
Coming in at the top spot is a film that reimagines 1960s Hollywood in Quentin Tarantino’s own image. The result is “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”, a sharp and delightfully appealing piece of cinema that pays tribute to the film business from the 60s and has fun with it. Even though its runtime and pacing are my main reasons why it’s higher on my list, I still find it to be a great trip back in time thanks to its cast, the production design, and Tarantino’s filmmaking skills. A must-see for Tarantino fans and people who appreciate the film industry.
There comes a time during the Christmas season when a family sits down together and watches a beloved holiday classic, whether it’s “Elf”, “The Polar Express”, or even “A Christmas Carol” (any version will do). This year, we got a new Christmas-themed film courtesy of Netflix, and based on what I saw, it deserves to be the next holiday tradition. “Klaus” is a beautiful and heartwarming original film that honors the legend of Santa Claus and Christmas in its own way. The story can come off as formulaic at times, but Sergio Pablos, the man behind the “Despicable Me” franchise and a former character designer for Disney, was able to make the formula endearing and, more importantly, clever. I thought the characters were likable, the humor was highly enjoyable, and the animation. My goodness, the animation. It proved that 2D animation can still make a comeback in the near future. Here’s hoping that more animated films like this will follow suit.
This is another film that showcases Shia LaBeouf’s comeback in the best way. “The Peanut Butter Falcon” is a simple modern-day Mark Twain tale that has a near-perfect blend of thoughtfulness, charm, and humor. The cast was great, particularly LaBeouf and Zack Gottsagen, the direction was really good, the characters were lovable, and the story was effectively simplistic and cute. If you’re in a mood for a light-hearted film that doesn’t have any dark or depressing moments, “The Peanut Butter Falcon” has you covered.
What happens when you combine the gripping race sequences with the dramatized matchup between the two motor companies? You get “Ford v Ferrari”, a highly engaging and well-acted drama from “Logan” director James Mangold that nails the importance of the event and the intensity of the 24 Hours of Le Mans event. Ranging from the chemistry between Matt Damon and Christian Bale to Mangold’s direction, the film made its way past the finish line without running out of gas. It’s also one of the best films to watch with the best sound system. Just saying.
The superhero genre just went dark back in October when DC released a stand-alone film centering on Batman’s greatest enemy. Despite the controversy aimed towards it for its violence and its mixed reviews, it became a box office success, it earned several award nominations, and it earned the number six spot in my list. The film I’m talking about is “Joker”, a realistic and haunting take on the villain’s origin story. Rather than taking inspiration from the comics, the film’s director Todd Phillips took inspiration from some of Martin Scorsese’s films like “Taxi Driver” and mold them into a tale about a mentally unstable man who’s broken down by the negative influence of society. It’s a well-crafted and disturbingly stunning film that combines social commentary with a character-driven story. Joaquin Phoenix was incredible as Arthur Fleck, Phillips’ direction was marvelous, and the musical score was irresistible. A great way to show that superhero films are more than just people with superpowers saving the world.
If you’re going to make a film about a broken marriage, make it a great one. “Marriage Story” did just that. Noah Baumbach, the writer and director of the film, has created an incredible and emotional film that represents the frustrations of an upcoming divorce. Thanks to its cast, Baumbach’s script, and a beautiful score by Randy Newman, the film is a frustrating, yet satisfying, real-life experience from start to finish.
While everyone is busy being terrified by the character designs in “Cats”, I was busy recovering from the most terrifying film of the year. When it comes to getting underneath my skin, no film has done it better than “The Lighthouse”, a brilliantly-shot and horrifying psychological film that represents Robert Eggers’ art of horror filmmaking. Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson were great together as the two lighthouse keepers, the psychological elements were really nerve-wrecking, and the technical aspects were a sight to behold. This is one film I won’t be forgetting anytime soon.
Hey, look at that. Another Shia LaBeouf film has made it into my list. “Honey Boy” is a form of cinematic therapy that’s not only gorgeous and poetic, but also emotional and meaningful. It’s a film about coming to terms with your past and learning to forgive those who gave you a rough time. From its talented cast to its screenplay, the film not only showcases those themes wonderfully, but it also proves that LaBeouf is both a talented actor and an inspiring writer.
Last year, Hollywood reintroduced us to Fred Rogers with “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”, a splendid documentary that reminds us of his kindness and how it affected the world. This year, Marielle Heller successfully continues the legacy with “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”, a kindhearted and passionate drama that honors Rogers’ spirit and the importance of forgiveness and understanding. Tom Hanks was brilliant as Fred Rogers, Matthew Rhys was great as the journalist who interviewed Rogers, the story had the right mixture of heart and serene, and the score was light-hearted and upbeat. This is another film that we all need in this day and age when people are constantly being stubborn to each other as well as others who don’t deserve this type of negativity. Make love, not hate.
I have to admit, thinking about my number one pick for the year was quite a challenge for me. In fact, it’s more challenging than last year and the year before that and the year before that. I’ve seen plenty of films in 2019 that were not only well-made, but were also filled with some moments that made my theatrical experiences unforgettable. After some careful consideration, I finally decided on a film that I believe works as both an unforgettable experience and an emotional cinematic journey, and that film, without a doubt, is…
That’s right, everyone, I have another superhero film as my top favorite film of the year, and not just any superhero film, oh no. It’s an event that concludes the 22-film story arc that began with “Iron Man” back in 2008. “Avengers: Endgame” is a groundbreaking and emotionally satisfying experience that flawlessly combines the breathtaking visuals and action with a deeply effective high-stakes plot. I saw this film in a packed theater during opening night, and it was quite possibly the best theatrical experience I ever had in my entire lifetime. Not only were they well-behaved, but they also laughed and cheered at the scenes that deserved those reactions, including the final battle. I too joined in on the fun, and it was awesome. The film was able to meet my personal expectations despite its three-hour runtime. The cast was great, the characters were great, the action was great, the story was great. Heck, even the finale was great. Everything about “Endgame” is perfect in my eyes. This is not only one of my favorite superhero films ever, but also my personal favorite film of 2019.
There you have it. Those are my personal picks of the best films of 2019. As always, feel free to agree or disagree with my list because at the end of the day, we all have different opinions on the films we watched. That’s what makes the world go round. Stay tuned for my picks of the worst films of 2019.
Welcome to another episode of moviemanMDG’s Movie Talk, where I talk about everything film-related. Today, I’ll be looking at something that involves the future of watching movies, which is in fact, a new streaming service. No, I’m not talking about Netflix. I’m talking about a streaming service that was just released a while ago, and no, it's not Apple TV+. I’m looking at a streaming service that I’ve been anticipating for quite a while, and that is Disney+. Disney+ is the latest addition to the “streaming service” collection that consists of everything Disney-related. If you’re wondering why I want to talk about Disney’s new service, well…it’s because I wanted to do something different for this section, and I happen to like Disney a lot, so…here you go. So far, I have been relying on Netflix and Amazon Prime to watch or review new films at the comfort of my own home without being bothered by people on their cell phones, and based on the information I read about Disney+, it looks like I’ll be adding at least one more service to that collection. For this episode of Movie Talk, I’ll be talking about my first impressions on Disney+ as well as its two original films that were released as launch titles and see if it’s worth the money. With that said, let’s put on our Mickey Mouse ears and get our magic on.
The first time I tried out Disney+ was obviously on its launch date, which was Tuesday November 12, and boy, was it something. What happened was that I got up in the morning, had some breakfast as usual, and downloaded the app on my phone, my Smart TV, and my family’s Smart TV. Yes, we have two Smart TVs. It makes watching movies very easy for us. Anyway, after I got the app downloaded, I attempted to create a couple of profiles for me and my family. One for me, one for my mother, and one for my sister. I didn’t make one for my father because he didn’t watch that many Disney films like the rest of us. Now, what’s nice about Disney+’s profile menu is that you can select a healthy amount of profile pictures that feature characters from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and even National Geographic. If you have a favorite Disney Princess or a favorite Marvel superhero, there’s a good chance that they’re on there. However, from what I saw, the profile picture selection menu doesn’t have every character, so if you don’t see one that you really want, my advice is to go with your second favorite character and hope that it’s on there. Now, here’s where things got a little…interesting. I was about to go into the “profile picture” menu so that I can change the picture of Iron Man to Princess Jasmine from “Aladdin” for my sister’s profile, and then all of a sudden, I got an error message. You read that right, I got blocked by an error message on my first day of using Disney+. I reseted the app and reentered the “profile picture” menu a few times, and I still got the same error message. After multiple attempts, I decided to leave it alone for now. I did some research on the streaming service during my lunch break at work and I found out that the reason why I kept getting the error message about the app not being able to connect was because it received some technical difficulties upon launch. That means that I wasn’t the only one who has that problem. The main source of those technical problems would have to be the high demand since it has already gathered more than ten million subscribers on its first day. That’s not too surprising to me given how popular the Disney brand is nowadays. When I got done with work, I went back to the app and tried the profile menu again. I didn’t get the error message that time, which means that they fixed the app. I successfully changed my sister’s profile picture to Jasmine, and I was finally able to explore Disney+. So let’s see what it has to offer.
The Disney+ homepage looks exactly like what you would expect from a streaming service menu in terms of the display and how they list its selection of films and shows in different categories. Speaking of which, the search menu in Disney+ not only lets you search for something, but it also has an "Explore" section, which has a list of special categories that filter specific films and television shows based on the selected category. For example, the “Princess” collection has a list of films and shows that involve Disney Princesses and the “Star Wars” collection has everything that’s related to “Star Wars”. I found that to be a nice touch. The app menus were easy to navigate similar to Netflix, and so far, I didn’t have any buffering issues while I was watching some content. I did receive an error message once while browsing, but it’s nothing too serious. So it looks like the presentation and the playback are both passable, but what about the app’s library, AKA the main reason why everyone wants Disney+? Well, from my personal perspective, it’s definitely a match made in heaven for Disney fans. Disney+ has a buttload of content that features films and shows from Disney, Pixar, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, and National Geographic, ranging from the classics to the most recent ones. Yes, even the ones that have cultural stereotype moments that were now deemed insensitive, except “Song of the South”. For those types of films such as “Dumbo” and “Peter Pan”, Disney+ has put out disclaimers warning viewers about those topics. It also contains specific content from 20th Century Fox since it was purchased by Disney back in March as well as select titles from Fox Searchlight Pictures, Hollywood Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Disney Channel, and Freeform. Oh, and it also has 30 seasons of “The Simpsons”, in case you’re wondering. Of course, a streaming service just isn’t complete without its own list of original content, and this one is no exception. So far, we have two original films (which I will get to later), the live-action “Lady and the Tramp” remake and “Noelle”, and a few original shows like “The Mandalorian” (which I thought was pretty good so far), “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series”, and “The World According to Jeff Goldblum”. So if you want to revisit the films and shows from your childhood or get caught up on the ones you missed, Disney+ has you covered. It has everything that you could ever want from a Disney-themed streaming service. Well, almost everything. There were actually a couple of setbacks when it comes to the library. First off, Disney+ is only created to provide family-friendly titles that are G-rated, PG-rated, and PG-13-rated, so if you’re hoping that it will also have some adult content like “Alien” or “Deadpool”, I’m sad to say that Disney doesn’t roll like that. You’re better off using Netflix or Hulu or even cable. Another setback I would like to address is that due to some licensing deals, Disney+ won’t be able to have certain films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Star Wars until later on, except for “The Incredible Hulk” and the first two “Spider-Man” MCU solo films, which were still owned by Universal and Sony Pictures respectively. Unless Disney has enough money to fully purchase Universal and Sony, the MCU collection is sadly still incomplete. On the bright side, we got the original “Star Wars” trilogy. I also want to point out that Disney+ doesn’t act like any other streaming service as it ditches the binge-watching idea and have the new episodes of its original shows appear weekly instead of all at once. You know, like any other network on cable. I’m used to the binge-watching scenario since I had Netflix and Amazon Prime for a couple of years, so it’s going to be a while for me to get used to its new strategy. There were also some other issues that I read about, including the presentation of the non-HD episodes of “The Simpsons”, but since I haven’t gotten to them yet, I can’t say that much about them. Other than that, Disney+ has a respectable collection of films and shows that will surely make any fan happy. Now that that’s out of the way, it’s time for me to share my brief thoughts on the two films that were released exclusively on the streaming service.
Lady and the Tramp (2019)
The first of the two Disney+ original movies is the latest addition to Disney’s collection of “live-action remake” cash grabs, “Lady and the Tramp”. Directed by Charlie Bean, who is known for directing “The Lego Ninjago Movie”, “Lady and the Tramp” is the live-action adaptation of the 1955 animated film of the same name, which was based on the Cosmopolitan magazine story titled “Happy Dan, The Cynical Dog” by Ward Greene. It tells the story of Lady (voiced by Tessa Thompson), an upper-middle-class dog whose joyous life gets turned upside down when her owners have a baby in their lives. She then meets a stray Schnauzer known as the Tramp (voiced by Justin Theroux), who shows her the world that is beyond her home. This is one of the few Disney movies that I haven’t watched that often compared to many others. My mom, on the other hand, adores the heck out of it since she’s a massive dog lover. So, I decided to take the opportunity and experience the remake with my mother. Like much of the other Disney remakes, “Lady and the Tramp” follows the same plot and themes as the original, but it made a few changes to make it stand out on its own, such as the Siamese Cats because racial stereotyping. The end result is obviously what you would expect from a live-action remake from Disney: a charming, yet imperfect, treat. Because it followed the original’s plot, the story can come across as predictable and formulaic, but it did its part in delivering the type of charm that you would normally find in any romance film thanks to its likable cast and the two furry leads. Thompson and Theroux delivered some pretty good vocal performances as Lady and Tramp, respectively, and the two dogs who portrayed them were unsurprisingly adorable. The film used CGI to animate the dogs’ facial expressions and, to be honest, they don’t look too bad. The dog characters were nicely expressive without suffering from its uncanny valley effect. For those who aren’t fans of how the animals express their feelings in the “Lion King” remake, this one is a nice return to form in terms of live-action films with talking animals. The film did happen to rely on nostalgia from time to time rather than provide stronger storytelling, which is basically the main concern in any live-action Disney remake. Just because it worked well in the original, it doesn’t always mean that it will work again in the remake. I mean, it’s nice to see some classic moments being remade into live-action, but for some reason, they don’t always have the same appeal and wonder as the moments in animation form. Overall, the live-action remake of “Lady and the Tramp” is a cute and watchable film for those who are curious. While the story has the same issues as the other Disney remakes, it still has the charm and enjoyability that made the original a cuddly classic thanks to its cast and some decent CGI. I would give this one a B-.
The second original film from the streaming service is already getting us into the holiday spirit, even though we’re not finished with Thanksgiving yet. “Noelle” is the latest Christmas-themed film from Disney that’s set to become the next holiday tradition. Written and directed by Marc Lawrence, who worked on such films as “Two Weeks Notice”, “Music and Lyrics”, and “Miss Congeniality”, the film follows the title character (played by Anna Kendrick), the daughter of Santa Claus, as she attempts to journey beyond the North Pole and find her brother (played by Bill Hader), who is destined to become the next Santa Claus. There are many films that literally scream “holiday movie tradition”. Some are classics like “Home Alone”, “The Santa Clause” and “A Christmas Carol”, while others are watchable enough to spread some holiday cheer. “Noelle” pretty much falls towards the latter. It’s a pleasant, if uneven, holiday gift that offered a good amount of Christmas cheer despite its plot being a bit too on-the-nose with itself. Anna Kendrick once again delivered plenty of goodwill in her role as Noelle with her chirpy attitude and her unique sense of energy. Whether you like the film or not, you have to admit that Kendrick has the right spark to keep it away from the naughty list. Bill Hader was also good as Nick Kringle, Noelle’s brother, and Shirley MacLaine had some decent moments as Elf Polly, Noelle’s nanny. Along with its charm, the film also provided some thoughtful and effective messages that’ll help teach young kids about the true meaning of Christmas. As for its flaws, the story did feel painfully predictable and there were a couple of scenes that dragged a bit. The film’s humor is also a hit-and-miss for me. It had some humorous moments that were passable, mostly due to Kendrick’s performance, but the rest of them weren’t memorable enough to make me laugh as hard as the big man in red himself. Overall, “Noelle” has enough Christmas spirit to make itself a watchable holiday film for the whole family. It’s not as inspiring or endearing as Disney’s other Christmas classics from the past, but in terms of the cast and its enjoyable sense of charm, it’s a fine watch for those who are in need of some holiday cheer. I would give it a C+.
In conclusion, Disney+ has plenty of stuff to offer for Disney fans young and old in terms of the library and its presentation. Sure, it has some setbacks and it doesn’t have every film available from Disney (not yet, anyway), but it has enough interest to serve as a respectable (and cheap) competitor to the other streaming services like Netflix. I’m quite impressed with how it handles so far, and I can’t wait to see what Disney+ will deliver next in the future. If you want to check it out for yourself, it costs $6.99 a month, which is my personal recommendation, and $69.99 a year, or if you’re feeling feisty today, you can get the bundle that consists of Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ for just $12.99 a month. That about does it with this latest episode of Movie Talk. Thank you all for reading and have yourself a glorious Disney-filled day.
Welcome to another episode of moviemanMDG’s Movie Talk, where I talk about everything film-related. Today was a special day when people go out, hang out with their family and friends, and watch two of the biggest football teams battle for the championship trophy. That’s right, I’m talking about Super Bowl LIII. This traditional sports event is home to not only the epic match between the two teams, but also some of the joyous (and weirdest) commercials that are shown exclusively for the game. The popular brands, such as Pepsi, are willing to shell out the big bucks to sell their products to their audience in a unique way. Hollywood is no different as they show special sneak peeks of some of their upcoming blockbusters that will be heading our way soon. I don’t usually watch football that much unless the Green Bay Packers are playing, but the Super Bowl is a different story. I always attempt to watch the Super Bowl for the commercials, mostly the ones that involve movies, which were the best parts of the game, in my opinion. So, for this episode of Movie Talk, I will be sharing my personal thoughts on just the film commercials that appear during the Super Bowl. I would like to talk about the other Super Bowl commercials, but that would defeat the main purpose of this blog. With that said, let’s get to it.
The first Super Bowl movie commercial appeared after Gladys Knight performed “The Star-Spangled Banner”. “Wonder Park” is the latest animated film from Paramount Animation and Nickelodeon Movies that tells the story of a girl who teams up with her animal friends to save her imaginative amusement park. I saw the latest trailer for the film a bunch of times before this commercial, and I already figured out what I’m getting myself into. It looks like something that’ll impress a suitable amount of kids while they wait for the live-action remake of “Dumbo”. Personally, I hope it doesn’t wind up being another average animated movie that’s more fitted for kids than adults because it looked so darn cute and fun from the trailers.
This commercial aired just before kickoff. “Avengers: Endgame” showcased some new footage that involves the remaining Avengers preparing for the ultimate battle. It’s short, but it’s short enough to remind me that our heroes may or may not make it out of this battle alive. We still don’t know what the actual plot is going to be, but from the looks of the new TV spot, I have a feeling that it’s going to be the type of event that people will remember for many, many years.
Before we see the Avengers take on the biggest threat of their lives, we have another solo superhero film to get to next month, and that is “Captain Marvel”. So far, Disney and Marvel did wonders in introducing the less-popular characters to mainstream audiences, such as the Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man, and I have a good feeling that this film will keep the trend going. Its well-known cast and some dazzling visual sequences might be enough to make this film a success, and if the story is good enough, that would be great as well.
This is the commercial that I was looking forward to the most. Classified as the first spin-off film in the physics-defying “Fast & Furious” franchise, “Hobbs & Shaw” centers on Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw battling an international terrorist with superhuman strength. Yep, you read that right. We now have a super-powered villain in a “Fast & Furious” movie, and you thought that the franchise couldn’t get any more ridiculous. The Super Bowl spot for the film is basically the same as the official trailer that was released on Friday, but shorter. First off, I was pretty surprised at the direction they’re going with in terms of the villain, who is played by Idris Elba. Then again, they did manage to teach the cars how to skydive in “Furious 7”, so I don’t want to complain too much about it. Second, the trailer looks like it still has the proper elements that were in the other installments, such as the insane action sequences, the humor, and the chemistry between the main cast, most notably Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham. Say what you want about the film, but I believe it’s going to be one of the most entertaining films of the summer, assuming that the story will be able to keep up with its silliness.
That’ll have to do with the Super Bowl movie commercials. I know that there isn’t a lot for me to look over, but I have to save the rest of my thoughts for the other upcoming films I'll be looking at soon. Let me know in the comments what you thought of the Super Bowl movie commercials and I’ll see you on the next episode of Movie Talk.
Welcome to another episode of moviemanMDG’s Movie Talk, where I talk about everything film-related. Now that we took care of my favorite films of 2018, it’s time for me to count down the 2018 films that hit rock bottom. While there were plenty of films that succeed in making their audiences happy, there were also some films that either failed to meet (or exceed) their expectations or frustrated their audience or even both. These are the films that I believe should belong on the 2018 Wall of Shame. This is my personal top ten least favorite films of the year. As always, if there’s a film on my list that you liked, I won’t judge because we all have different views on a certain movie. Plus, it’s not fun when everyone dislikes the same film. It’s just not. Now then, let’s get this list started.
Coming in at the bottom of the list is the latest installment in the violent franchise that took its fans back in time to see where it all began, for better or for worse…mostly for worse. “The First Purge” is a prequel that relied on its tiresome formula and annoying jump scares rather than offer a deep exploration of the concept. If you’ve seen the other “Purge” movies, you’ve seen “The First Purge”. To its credit, the film had a passable cast and its tone was nicely executed by director Gerard McMurray, but everything else had “deja vu” written all over it. Fans of the franchise should have a good time watching it, but I think it’s time for this film series to cease its senseless violence.
Movies can make people feel all kinds of emotions like happy, sad, and angry. Watching “Assassination Nation” gave me only one, and that is frustration. While the performances were solid and the film’s style was nicely handled by Sam Levinson, the film offered nothing but a bunch of drama queens killing each other and making their own lives miserable. It’s not as fun and crazy as I wanted it to be and it’s not as thoughtful as its social commentary. It’s an experience that I really don’t want to relive again, especially in this day and age where people harm others via social media.
Recently, Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg had made several action films that made them into a duo that can’t be beat, such as “Lone Survivor”, “Deepwater Horizon”, and “Patriots Day”. So it was no surprise that I was excited for “Mile 22” to be their next hit. However, it turned out to be something that made me thought to myself, “What the heck happened?”. This should’ve been the start of a potential action franchise for Wahlberg and Berg. Instead, we had ourselves a choppily-edited mess that lacks character depth and storytelling. On the bright side, Wahlberg delivered a pretty impressive performance as one of the main characters. Too bad this wasn’t the right film for him to express his suitable talent.
The Broken Lizard gang made a comeback with a sequel to the comedy hit, “Super Troopers”, and it’s not a pretty sight to behold. “Super Troopers 2” may prove suitable to fans of its predecessor, but as a regular comedy sequel, it’s a massive disappointment. From its familiar and underdeveloped plot to its mundane humor, this long-awaited follow-up made me question why these state troopers aren’t even fired yet…and not in a good way. Here’s hoping that “Super Troopers 3” will be better. That is, if they decided to do a third film.
“Action Point” is another adult-rated comedy that failed to live up to its hilarious potential. Described as the amusement park version of “Jackass”, the film didn’t come close to being as appealing as “Jackass”, not by a long shot. Despite a tolerable cast, its weak and unfunny story, along with its series of tame stunts, signify that it’s time for Johnny Knoxville to hang up its daredevil suit for good.
Back in February, I took the chance to see my first ever faith-based film in theaters, and based on what I experienced, it will probably be my last. “Samson” is a poorly-executed representation of the Biblical character that acts like a made-for-television film. Despite Taylor James’ worthy effort in bringing his character to life, the film lacks the strength and heart to fully honor the deeds that Samson performed during his lifetime in terms of Bruce Macdonald’s direction. It’s suitable for a church-going audience, but it's a forgettable journey for those who wanted an Oscar-worthy portrayal of the character.
We had three films this year that deal with the term “man’s best friend”. “Dog Days”, “Alpha”, and my number four pick, “A.X.L.”. What makes this family-friendly adventure the lowest of the low compared to the former films is that it lacked the heart that was hidden underneath its rusty metal. The story was underwhelming, the cast was mediocre, and the characters were either forgettable or uninteresting. This was probably the first time I watched a “man’s best friend” film that made me care less about its relationship between a person and their canine companion. Well, at least “Dog Days” and “Alpha” weren’t as bad as this.
“Truth or Dare” is the latest horror film from Blumhouse that sadly missed its mark when it comes to storytelling and scares. The concept sounds promising at first, but in reality, it’s a cliched and uninspired excuse to provide loud jump scares and kill off mediocre characters. This is one game that I won’t be playing again in the near future.
I think this is the second year where I had a Tyler Perry film in my “Top 10 Least Favorite” list. “Nobody’s Fool” wasted the talents of Tiffany Haddish and the rest of the cast in this dull and formulaic romantic comedy that’s more on the romance and less on the comedy. The plot had no idea what it wanted to be, the laughs were almost non-existent, and the characters were obnoxious and dumb. Mr. Perry, if you’re reading this, you got to step up your game, man. You’re starting to lose me.
Let’s face it, human trafficking is downright savage, especially when all of the victims are women. “Traffik” attempted to recreate that situation into a heart-pounding thriller, but wound up being the most forgettable and dull experience of 2018, at least from my perspective. The story is poorly executed, the characters are dumb one-dimensional beings, and the thriller aspect is neither fun nor intense. This is the film that should've been released on video-on-demand instead of in theaters.
As always, if you want to read my full thoughts on my picks, along with the other films that didn't suck hard enough to make it on my list, you can find them in the "2018 Reviews" page. With that said, here's to another year of movie magic. Stay tuned for my first few reviews of 2019, including "Escape Room".