Brad Has Reviewed a New Film: Captain America: Civil War

Movie My Way: Captain America: Civil War

Captain America: Civil War

Captain America: Civil War is the third installment in the Captain America franchise otherwise known as yet another money making machine for Disney and Marvel Studios.  I’m not complaining though.  As long as the quality holds up, I’ll still go see these films.  Civil War is about how the world deals with these ‘enhanced’ humans and the large amounts of collateral damage they do even if they are attempting to save the world.  Innocent lives are put at risk every time they suit up.  Many countries around the world want to enact an accord to bring to order these crews so they can minimize the damages.  Some heroes agree.  Some do not.  This pits hero against hero on the future of crime fighting in the world.  To me, this felt much like a fourth Avengers film and not really a Captain America film.  The only way it couldn’t have been an Avengers film was that there was no Thor or Hulk in it.  Either way, it was a fun film with some great action and well placed humor.  Of course the introduction of Peter Parker and Spider Man in this film was a definite high point.  This leads me to an off topic rant of mine.  I saw this in the theaters on opening day.  Not because I HAD to see this film but because I had some free time that day and thought this looked fun.  I have said it before and I’ll say it again.  The modern movie going experience is the WORST thing about seeing new films.  If it isn’t people who treat the theater like their living room couch, pulling out their torch cannon smart phones, ice crunchers or the super fans who clamor and giggle when every little comic book reference is made, I find it all to be distracting.  Someone even brought a baby to this screening.  Ughhh.  I wish I had an ounce of filtering that would let me ignore stuff like that.  The people that can ignore stuff like that are the ones who can let their smoke detectors chirp for months on end because they don’t have an extra nine volt battery laying around.  Raise your game people.  Anyway, though I thought this was a fun time, I still had more fun with Deadpool.

My Movie Rating:
★★★★★★★☆☆☆

Brad Has Reviewed a New Film: The Witch(2016)

Movie My Way: The Witch

The Witch

To go from Deadpool to this film is hard.  The transition is just so abrupt and jarring.  The Witch is a film about a family of believers in the mid 1600’s who, because they feel the rest of their community is not believing as properly as they should, decide to leave the safe confines of said community and set out on their own.  Outside the walls of safety, we are witness to the family trying to establish themselves and the things the blame around them when things don’t go according to plan.  Times back then were hard.  Add in harsh terrains and a strict religious view on life, you have no other recourse but to believe what is in front of you.  It may not always align to your foundations.  This is a very dark horror film and deals with some pretty heavy topics surrounding the family structure, faith and the darker side of the “curtain”.  Often times, things can be much darker than they seem just for the fact that there is no other point of reference to draw from.  How would you react if a member of your family suddenly vanished when there wasn’t a soul in sight for days?  What would you believe if things you thought could never happen to you actually start to happen to you or your family members?  How could you explain it?  How do you deal with it?  How would your react?  Who, or better yet, what is to blame?  Without giving anything away, I will say that this film really goes down some interesting paths that have left me thinking about it since I watched it.  It isn’t a very far stretch to see why the Salem witch trials actually occurred not many years after this setting in the late 1600’s.  As a matter of fact, a lot of the dialogue in this film was taken from letters and stories that came from this time.  As a horror film, this is not what Hollywood thinks horror which is very refreshing.  The film from the beginning instills a very real sense of fear, dread and doom.  Similar to Black Mountain Side, the tar begins to ooze at the beginning and slowly consumes you by the end without even realizing it.  This film will turn some people off.  Some horror films will just flat out hate it by saying “it’s not scary” or “it was boring”.  I on the other hand found it to be thought provoking and chilling and one of those films I won’t be able to shake for some time.

My Movie Rating:
★★★★★★★★½☆

Brad Has Reviewed a New Film: Deadpool(2016)

Movie My Way: Deadpool

Deadpool

Okay, I’ll just cut right to it.  This is easily a contender for my favorite movie of the year.  I know it is still early but I don’t think I have had as much fun watching a film like this since The Kingsmen: Secret Service.  I think this film even one ups it.  Deadpool stars Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson who earns money in less than legitimate ways.  To put it lightly, he is a mercenary and a gun for hire.  Things go south when he learns he has terminable cancer and opts for a less than ideal cure that changes his entire outlook on life.  That outlook now includes more guns, more blood, more ass-kicking and more one liners.  I could not get over how funny this film was and how this was a much needed shot in the arm for Marvel films that dominate the summer schedules.  As good as the Iron Man, The Avengers and X-Men movies are, those are pretty much straight up action films with super heroes in them.   Those films looks great and they have all your classic comic book heroes saving mankind!  Hooray!  Deadpool doesn’t want any of that.  All he wants to do is kick ass, eat chimichangas and snuggle with his girl.  You get in the way of any of that and you get a guy who can’t be killed coming after you, cracking jokes while he kicks you in the balls and turns you into a human kabob.  I loved this movie.  It was self aware, had great action, great characters, perfect cast, wonderfully clever humor and just the right tone to it even if it was a little raunchy at times.  Deadpool is the perfect addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  He is the burn on the roof of your mouth that won’t go away but you keep flicking with your tongue because it kinda feels good.

My Movie Rating:
★★★★★★★★★☆

Brad Has Reviewed a New Film: Citezenfour(2014)

Movie My Way: Citezenfour

Citizenfour

This past week, the trailer for Snowden by Oliver Stone was released.  It is Hollywood film that centers around the now infamous Edward Snowden.  In case you weren’t aware, he was a top level NSA contractor who was tasked with managing and analyzing data systems within the NSA.  He eventually “blew the whistle” on this government agency when he discovered that they were running systems that spied or illegally monitored ALL major digital communications like e-mail, cell phones and internet browsing.  When I say all, that means you too.  If you have a cell phone or use a computer, the data that you create in these systems are ingested by the NSA.  Their reasoning is that under the Patriot Act, they need to be able to monitor all of these communications to ensure Homeland safety against terrorism.  Some call Snowden a liberator.  According to the government, he is a traitor.  What he did can be a major point of controversy with a lot of Americans.  My wife and I differ greatly on our opinions in the matter.  I can see both sides of the story but since I have made a career of working with large amounts of data and extracting insights from business data, I understand intimately how data is king and can be misused if used inappropriately.  This documentary centers around the days, minutes and hours leading up to the actual articles being published in the press and the governments reaction to the releases.  It is a sometimes slow, but very tense documentary that goes into detail about what not only the United States government is doing but how they partner with other governments to accomplish the same tasks.  If you want to be versed on the real story of Edward Snowden before the film comes out later this year, I highly recommend that you give this a watch.

My Movie Rating:
★★★★★★★★☆☆

Brad Has Reviewed a New Film: The Boy(2016)

Movie My Way: The Boy

The Boy

I mentioned this film in my earlier review of another film with the same name.  Though I still prefer that version to this one,  I’ll give this one a fair shake as well.  This version of The Boy stars Lauren Cohan, Maggie from The Walking Dead television show as an American escaping an abusive relationship in America to the English countryside to for a babysitting job for an old wealthy couple only to find out that their “child” is actually a porcelain doll.  Of course you would move to the other side of the world for a babysitting job and not go deeper on your job and responsibilities first.  Makes perfect sense to me.  Of course once the couple leaves for their vacation to very strange things begin to happen around the house.  I thought this film was executed pretty well for what it was.  It at least wasn’t completely incompetent. It is a PG-13 thriller so there are plenty of false scares all over the place but not as many as I had suspected and I was a little surprised the direction it took in the third act which was refreshing.  For the most part, however, this one was by the books and predictable.  This will only be a blip on the radar and will more than likely be forgotten pretty quickly.

My Movie Rating:
★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆

Brad Has Reviewed a New Film: 10 Cloverfield Lane(2016)

Movie My Way: 10 Cloverfield Lane

10 Cloverfield Lane

10 Clovefield Lane is a distant relative to the much larger film ‘Cloverfield’ from 2008.  Originally, this film wasn’t even related to the Cloverfield universe and was to be a stand alone thriller film called ‘The Cellar.’  Unfortunately, due to issues with the studio losing financing and eventually going out of business before this film was completed, The Cellar was shelved for quite some time.  It wasn’t until it was dusted off and JJ Abrahms studio Bad Robot got involved that they decided invest some time (and money) into re-shoots in order for it to fit into the Cloverfield universe.  No one ever really expected a Cloverfield sequel which is why this one seemed to come from nowhere.  In all, this is a film about Michelle, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who after leaving her fiance for unknown reasons, ends up accidentally crashing her car and waking up in an underground bunker chained to the wall and her host Howard, played by John Goodman, is reluctant to let her leave.  I’m not spoiling any of this since all of this was pretty much in the trailer.  Held captive movies can be pretty compelling to the audience since it allows us to relate to the captives.  It always provides us with a “what would I do” scenarios as we watch.  10 Cloverfield Lane does a great job at building some great tension along with some very interesting and quirky characters for a fun ride.  It was well written, well shot and had some nice twists along the way.  So I recommend this film even if you aren’t a fan of Cloverfield.  Even my wife had a good time and she had no clue about Cloverfield.  Highly recommended.

My Movie Rating:
★★★★★★★★☆☆

Brad Has Reviewed a New Film: The Invitation(2015)

Movie My Way: The Invitation

The Invitation

The Invitation is a film about a couple that has been invited to a dinner party at his former home hosted by the ex-wife and her new husband.  As old friends begin to arrive, something just doesn’t sit right with our main player Will.  This is a very slow burn of a film that had me hooked from the beginning.  It plays out innocently enough even though there is noticeable tension between Will and his ex-wife and their traumatic past.  Luckily with plenty of other old time friends there, things just move along normally.  As the film progresses, though, if you are paying close enough attention you begin to see some cracks appear in the veneer like an egg slowly being crushed.  I won’t go into too many specifics as I think that they could spoil a very good movie watching experience for someone who is into thriller/horror type films.  There is palpable tension and suspense in many scenes that pull your loyalties in several different directions and simply leaves you exhausted in the end.  I can see this film not being for everyone but I appreciated its very original approach and simple yet effective concept.  I love finding these independent gems.

My Movie Rating:
★★★★★★★★☆☆

Brad Has Reviewed a New Film: The 5th Wave(2016)

Movie My Way: The 5th Wave

The 5th Wave

The Hollywood love fest that is “teen-novels-to-movies-but-we-hope-everyone-will-like-them” is starting to fade.  Quickly.  Whether you can blame it on the Harry Potter Series, Twilight or even the Hunger Games, there have been quite a few more obscure book titles making their way to the big screen(Divergent, Maze Runner, Percy Jackson).  The 5th Wave is a Sci-Fi action film about a girl, played by Chloe Grace Moretz, living in Ohio when an “alien” ship hovers over the planet and slowly unleashes “waves” of various things upon the earth in order to control and eventually do in the human race.  It is even stated by our main character that they are doing these things because it is the most efficient way to control the population.  Maybe I am far too logical and am thinking much deeper than I should but to me but it seems to be one of the most inefficient ways of doing things if you wanted to take over a planet.  Anyway, it appears that this film will eventually be a trilogy since this film does indeed end very open ended.  Depending on its return on investment, however, it may not be able to get there since I am not sure this film was very well received.  I don’t want to be TOO overly critical because I know this film is not really aimed at my age group nor am I a fan of the books.  However, there have been others(like said Maze Runner series) that I am not familiar with but have enjoyed a great deal more.  One final thought about these teen novels to films.  I don’t know how comfortable I would be willing to allow my kids under 16 watch these movies.  Indeed this is a PG-13 film and sure there isn’t nudity or a lot of cussing or even a great deal of visible gun violence but these films do tend to depict in great detail massive loss of life.  Whether it is airliners falling out of the sky or tsunami’s rolling over a city I would make sure that my kids completely understood what they were seeing and to not take it lightly.  It sort of bugs me that this kind of “violence” seems to be okay for a film aimed at young adults.  Especially when we can see actual tsunami’s causing very real damage to very real people and locations.

My Movie Rating:
★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆

Brad Has Reviewed A New Film: The Girl in the Photographs(2015)

Movie My Way: The Girl in the Photographs

The Girl in the Photographs

The Girl in the Photographs is a horror film from last year about  a small town final girl who grabs the interest of an arrogant Hollywood photographer(Kal Penn) from the same said small town.  It seems that another, more sinister photographer in the small town is also infatuated with this final girl and leaving some pretty disturbing pictures for her to find.  What ensues is a lackluster effort that doesn’t make good on any of the promises made out in the trailer.  Though it is pretty well acted and shot, there just isn’t enough tension to hold interest for a full 90 minutes.  Additionally, there are so many plot holes in this film that we never really ever get to the “why” of the entire film which is crucial when it comes to horror films.  Even the most campy slasher films are able to get to the “why” at some point.  A lot of horror films are trying desperately to create a “franchise killer”(Freddy, Jason etc.) so that they can just keep cranking out sequel after sequel.  To do so, at the very least you need to have some semblance of a who AND a why. Having just the who is simply not good enough anymore.  So though this film had some moments, it ultimately fell flat where it counted.

My Movie Rating:
★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆

Brad Has Reviewed a New Film: Black Mountain Side(2014)

Movie My Way:  Black Mountain Side

Black Mountain Side

Black Side Mountain, as the name may imply, is a dark film set in the cold wilderness of Canada about a team of archaeologists and scientists who are researching a structure that appears to be completely out of place with everything else around it.  Things begin to unravel as they postulate on the origins of said structure and after a while, the isolation and ones own perceptions start to play against one another in isolated and deadly ways.  This is a very low budget film that does a lot with the little it has.  There are many more expensive “horror” films that aren’t able to create the sense of looming dread that this film was able to.  At first, I thought that some of the decisions that our players made didn’t make much sense at all but after thinking about it, I think was what the film makers were going for.  It allows us viewers to relate to other various characters from their perspective and make us wonder why character X did that strange thing.  It just makes for a very strong sense of uneasiness and impending doom.  No jump scares, no jump into frame at the last minute “bagul” type scares.  Just a solid premise executed with a decent degree of competence.  It is almost un-horror but in a good way.

My Movie Rating:
★★★★★★½☆☆☆

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