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What I’ve Seen Lately – July 2016

Aside from my opinion pieces that I intend on being my main effort, I still want to go through some of the movies that I’ve seen lately, and basically just give short reviews on them.

I watch a lot of movies, between actually going to the theater, watching something via streaming, or even viewing newer releases with Netflix’s mail service. So there’s really not enough time for me to write full reviews on each individual thing I see. My hope is that I’m still able to offer my thoughts and opinions on any movie I see, but just in a more condensed way. I intend to start doing this at least once a month!

We’ll start with what I’ve seen in theaters over the last couple of months.

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‘X-Men: Apocalypse’

I thought about writing a full review on this, like I do with most comic book movies. But I think I can say what I need right here.

I liked it a lot. I know there are a lot of people out there that thought it was pretty mediocre, but this was honestly more of a real team-based X-men movie than anything we’ve gotten before, and because of that- I really really liked it. It showcased some of my favorite X-men as their younger selves, with Cyclops finally given some real screen time for once. The Quicksilver scene was phenomenal, and probably even funnier than the one in ‘Days of Future Past’.

I loved the newly (re)introduced characters so much and I really hope to see more of them in future movies. I’m waiting quite anxiously for the announcement of the next film in the mainline X-men series.

I do have some minor complaints about the story of the movie. It was basically ‘X2’ again, and Wolverine’s cameo felt a little forced, even though the sequence itself was very cool. I’m kind of done seeing these characters age by 10 years and not showing it. It’s weird. It’s not the biggest deal in the world, but ‘Days of Future Past’ was supposed to fix the continuity of this series. They’re still making decisions like this that are making me truly believe Fox doesn’t give the slightest crap about any continuity whatsoever.

But all in all, I thought this was a very solid entry. It served as a good finale to what began with ‘First Class’, and even made me more excited for whatever is to come next. I just hope they stray away from the formula, and continue to tell great stories with the characters we see in the final shots of ‘Apocalypse’. That’s the roster I’ve been dying to see more of.

Recommended? Absolutely. But if you’ve never been an X-Men fan in the first place, this won’t be the one to win you over.

 

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‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows’

Definitely can’t say much here. I like TMNT. I grew up watching all the cartoons, and the original live-action movies are big guilty pleasures of mine. I even found solid enjoyment out of the first movie in this reboot series.

Is this 2nd movie any good? Eh.

If you grew up with the Turtles, you’ll dig it. It’s a big giant homage to the original series. We had Krang, Bebop, Rocksteady, Casey Jones, and Baxter Stockman here, which was pretty cool.

It was fun, at least for me… but it’s not a good movie. It’s a good TMNT movie I guess, but if this has never been your thing, then it’s as simple as that. This was truly made for the kids that are under the age of 11 that watch the new show, and their parents that could watch this and reminisce over the original show.

Recommended? No. But if you’re a fan of the Turtles, check it out. It’s dumb fun.

 

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‘Finding Dory’

I almost forgot this Pixar sequel was a thing until the week this came out. I LOVE ‘Finding Nemo’, however I never really thought it needed a sequel. And I was afraid that this would be very underwhelming, so I kept my expectations low.

But this was very enjoyable. I didn’t think it was as good as ‘Nemo’, but the movie at least did something different. The first 10 minutes I was scared that the movie was going to follow the same beats as the first movie, but then it really started to stand on its own quite well.

It’s no ‘Inside Out’, and even as far as Pixar sequels go, I’d say it’s a little more ‘Monsters U’ than it is ‘Toy Story 2’. But I liked ‘Monsters University’.

‘Finding Dory’ is another solid entry in the Pixar catalog.

Recommended? Yes.

 

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‘The Legend of Tarzan’

I fell asleep. It was boring.

Recommended? No. But I also don’t know for sure. So don’t take my word for it.

 

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‘Independence Day: Resurgence’

Look, the first Independence Day is by no means a “good” movie. But it’s FUN! What made it that way? The characters. All of them having charisma. Will Smith was just having fun being a bad-ass, and Jeff Goldblum was being Jeff Goldblum. And it was such a delight watching them together kicking alien ass and smoking stogies. And never forget Bill Pullman’s awesome Presidential speech. Never.

So take Will Smith out and replace him with two lame actors, get Bill Pullman’s character to act like a total Looney Tune, and get Jeff Goldblum to not be all that Jeff Goldblum… what do you get?

Just a plain, un-charismatic, shit-movie.

Recommended? No.

 

what I've streamed

            What I’ve Streamed/Rented:

 

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‘The Walk’

Really really entertaining movie. If you like Robert Zemekis (Forrest Gump, Back to the Future, Cast Away), this shouldn’t be any different.

Although I might suggest that if you take medication for anxiety- you might wanna pop that pill before the final act of this movie.

Recommended? Yes.

 

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‘Now You See Me’

Entertaining. But not for me. I found the story to be pretty uninteresting, and the twists were pretending to be more clever than they really were. I watched it because the sequel was coming out, and needless to say, I didn’t see the sequel and I probably never will.

Recommended? Not really. But there is some fun to be had. It’s not exactly a waste of time, but there are better things to see.

 

 

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‘Steve Jobs’

Writer Aaron Sorkin is a name worth mentioning when talking about some of the best screenwriters of our time. While I like him, I do find his writing to be a little inconsistent. For the most part, it’s great. But sometimes he will write dialogue for characters that is either unrealistic, unnecessary, or just straight up pretentious. This can be found in his HBO show ‘The Newsroom’, as some episodes are pure excellence, while some fall totally flat for me.

I have loved Sorkin’s work for both ‘Moneyball’, and ‘The Social Network’. However, much like ‘The Newsroom’, this movie fell flat in a few areas, but was ultimately pretty good.

‘Steve Jobs’ is definitely more of a character piece than it is about the products that made him famous. Knowing that going in might be a healthier approach in regards to whatever expectations you might have. His work plays a big role, but it’s more about how Jobs was as a person. When the script actually focuses on that, the movie is excellent. But when it delves into other areas, it lingers. And it’s easy to see that there were elements of Sorkin’s more pretentious writing that took over certain scenes.

The performances are great though, even when certain scenes feel a bit strange. Michael Fassbender killed it.

Recommended? Yes. But it depends on who you are. If you’re familiar with the “walk and talk” style that Aaron Sorkin is notorious for, and you’re not a fan- it’s not for you. If you do like this style, it’s worth checking out, but don’t expect too much of a great thing.

 

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‘Daddy’s Home’

I like both Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg, especially when they’re together. ‘The Other Guys’ is probably my favorite buddy-cop movie that wasn’t made in the 80’s.

When I watch a comedy, all I expect it to do is make me laugh. This movie looked horrendous, but it was surprisingly very entertaining, and I got many good laughs out of it.

Recommended? Sure.

 

 

 

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