So, I have to admit something. I went into this movie with very low expectations. The film currently has only a 64% rating on RottenTomatoes critic score, but I saw it had a 94% audience rating. I don't put too much stock in the audience score, just because of the way people can just trash (or love) movies with or without cause. And so 64% was relatively low. I had my four-year-old daughter with me over President's Day weekend and we decided to go see this movie together. I was wondering how she'd respond to the movie, being someone who played the video game as a kid I know the material well, but she's going in cold turkey. And now I'll admit something else, the movie whole heartedly deserves that audience score as well as the "A" rating on CinemaScore.
This movie wasn't as nostalgic to the games as I had thought, but that's not bad. There was enough little nods and winks, especially at the beginning and end, to keep me happy. But for the most part it was a fresh take on this character and those around him. I was very pleasantly surprised by this movie in almost every way. I also want to especially thank this movie for giving us the Jim Carrey that we all knew and loved from his earlier career. His performance was the typical zany, over-the-top and wild character we come to love. I'm thinking like Ace Ventura, The Mask, or even Liar, Liar. Here he's the super-villain and plays to that perfectly and it's be-a-utiful to watch again. James Marsden also has a history of doing films that don't take themselves too seriously, but he does each of those roles with heart and charm and it works incredibly well in this movie. I loved his work in the X-Men series, but here it's more like Hop, 27 Dresses or Enchanted kind of charm.
Sonic himself is fine too. He doesn't have too much character arc, and it's really about the characters he's interacting with. The cast of characters that are supporting this movie are top notch. Even Neal McDonough from Desperate Housewives and Captain America had a small, throw away part in this movie. But everything is done with heart, even in the over the top zany elements. As long as the audience can suspend their disbelief, they're going to enjoy. And judging from audience reactions, they're able to do that with ease and really enjoy this movie!
The movie isn't without it's faults, and is of course a kids movie. But it's engaging, not overly on-the-nose and has great moments. Parents will enjoy this movie too as the humor is primarily in good taste, but there's plenty of laugh out loud moments. This is something that the whole family will enjoy, even if you don't like the video game, it's a fun film. Far more entertaining than I thought it would be.
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Last night was Hollywood history! Many stars gathered for the annual Academy Awards. Parasite, made major history with four wins, including Best Picture and Best International Feature, and took home the big wins of the night. Other films that did well were 1917 getting three awards, Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood, Ford v Ferrari and Joker got two a piece. All other winners were the only one for their movie. Netflix's The Irishman was the only Best Picture nominated movie that was shut out with no wins in any category. But Netflix won't complain too much as Laura Dern secured the company it's first acting Oscar for Marriage Story.
What do you think of the Academy's decision last night? Agree? Disagree? Let us know!
Kwak Sin Ae and Bong Joon Ho, Producers
ACTOR, LEADING ROLE
ACTRESS, LEADING ROLE
Once upon a Time... in Hollywood
ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
Toy Story 4
Josh Cooley, Mark Nielsen and Jonas Rivera
Bong Joon Ho
Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone
Ford v Ferrari
Michael McCusker and Andrew Buckland
MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
Kazu Hiro, Anne Morgan and Vivian Baker
MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)
MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)
“(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from Rocketman
Music by Elton John, Lyric by Bernie Taupin
Once upon a Time...in Hollywood
Production Design: Barbara Ling; Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh
SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)
Matthew A. Cherry and Karen Rupert Toliver
SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)
The Neighbors' Window
Ford v Ferrari
Mark Taylor and Stuart Wilson
Guillaume Rocheron, Greg Butler and Dominic Tuohy
Screenplay by Taika Waititi
Screenplay by Bong Joon Ho, Han Jin Won
Story by Bong Joon Ho
As a followup to Warner Brother's attempted expansion of their DC Universe, Birds of Prey follows up directly after the events from 2016's Suicide Squad. Which almost is as insane as Arkham's inmates, if you look at the Rotten Tomatoes score of Suicide Squad sitting at a 27% fresh critic rating and a 59% audience rating. But I suppose if you see the film made over $700 million at the box office Suicide Squad brought in, I suppose you can see a sequel coming. And actually, Birds of Prey is more of a spin-off than a real sequel and to put it bluntly... it's a mess.
It is without a doubt that Harley Quinn is one of the most popular villains of the DC Universe, and if you've ever been to any Con (convention), you will see hoards of Harley Quinn cosplays. So banking on the love of the character is exactly what Warner Brothers is doing here. They do finally seem to be taking a cue from Marvel, in that they can't be so damn serious all the time and they need to diversify their portfolio. I look to Wonder Woman 1984 as a hopeful sign this is continuing, but this movie can't seem to take anything seriously. Grant it, the movie is really called Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) and so the entire movie is made with her as the narrator. This does work to benefit the movie and has some nice comedic timing to it, but most of everything else is lost.
Each of the characters in the movie feel as well rounded as a square peg. To his credit, Ewan McGregor does stand out in a predominantly female cast as the super villain, Black Mask. I always enjoy watching actors we don't normally see as bag guys really get down and dirty. And in Birds of Prey's hard R rating, you see plenty of that. Not that it's a bad thing, but many times I was just thinking, "this was inspired by Deadpool." Similar to The Gentlemen, there are no real good guys here, except for the one cop who gets fired, probably because of the obscene shirt she is forced to wear.
There are times when I found myself enjoying bits and pieces of the movie, just because I was going on this ride. Which most of the times was literally dumb luck, or as I see it, just lazy writing. These Birds of Prey seem to just have laid a rotten egg.
Rating: 2/5 Stars
Kirk Douglas passed away today, according to his son, Michael Douglas' social media, Variety reports. Michael says his father, "leaves a legacy in film that will endure for generations to come, and a history as a renowned philanthropist who worked to aid the public and bring peace to the planet."
He is best known for his role in Spartacus, which included scenes shot here on the Central Coast at the famous destination of Hearst Castle. He has also won an honorary academy award. Douglas was also a WWII veteran and former Broadway star. But beyond this career, Douglas did lots of philanthropic work.
Variety reports that "Douglas and his wife Anne donated millions for the construction of the Kirk Douglas Care Pavilion at the Motion Picture & Television Fund for residents with Alzheimer’s. Funds were also donated to the Anne Douglas Center for Women at the Los Angeles Mission; the Center Theater Group’s Kirk Douglas Theater in Culver City; Sinai Temple in Westwood; and the Kirk Douglas Scholarship fund at Douglas alma mater St. Lawrence U.
Survivors include his wife Anne; three sons: actor-producer Michael and producers Joel and Peter; and at least seven grandchildren. His youngest son, Eric, died in July 2004."
With The Original Broadway Cast.
Filmed onstage at The Richard Rodgers Theatre.
In A Theater Near You.
October 15, 2021
That's what the tweets said coming from the official Hamilton and Lin-Manuel Miranda pages. It looks like Disney is taking on the screen adaptation with the original cast. Disney and Miranda are no strangers to working together, including working closely on the lukewarm Marry Poppins Returns film, but also having him help with a song featured in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
According to Variety, Miranda said: “I fell in love with musical storytelling growing up with the legendary Howard Ashman-Alan Menken Disney collaborations — ‘The Little Mermaid,’ ‘Beauty and The Beast,’ ‘Aladdin,'” Miranda said. “I’m so proud of what Tommy Kail has been able to capture in this filmed version of ‘Hamilton’ — a live theatrical experience that feels just as immediate in your local movie theater. We’re excited to partner with Disney to bring the original Broadway company of ‘Hamilton’ to the largest audience possible.”
Hamilton debuted on Broadway in 2015 and won numerous accolades, including 11 Tonys and the Pulitzer Prize for drama.
The groundbreaking new show premiered recently on CBS All Access streaming service, but they have now made the first episode of the show free for a limited time.
Now watch below the first episode, which was filmed in the heart of the Central Coast in the Santa Ynez Valley at Sunstone Winery. Take a look on YouTube only here!
News broke this morning that NBA Superstar and Oscar Award Winner, Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash today. Cause of the crash is being investigated and the identities of the other passengers are yet to be released. However, multiple news outlets are reporting that Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna also died in the crash. They were reportedly en route to her basketball practice in Thousand Oaks in Ventura County.
His Academy Award winning animated short film, Dear Basketball, had local Central Coast animator, Aidan Terry, work with him on the award winning film. You can read about that article written by Daniel Lahr here in the Santa Ynez Valley Star.
Watch the award winning film below.
As I begin to write this, I think of the title for The Gentlemen, and then I think about who are they talking about? The whole cast of characters are bad and we are brought in to root for our anti-hero. They're all murderers and gangsters and that become very apparent in the opening scene. And the pace never lets up to the very end.
That is to say there is a lot of time jumping and some "fantasy sequences" as Hugh Grant's colorful character, Fletcher, is attempting to blackmail our main anti-hero, Matthew McConaughey's Mickey Pearson, as he has discovered the entire underground weed growing empire. Each of the characters, and actors, are unique and different. Collin Farrell's character, known simply as Coach, is a highlight, along with Hugh Grant.
The film is filled with plot turns and twists enough to keep you guessing and leaves you with a very satisfying conclusion. This is for sure a dark comedy gangster film that modernizes the genre while still maintaining one foot in nostalgic cinematic premises. I am a fan of writer, director and producer Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes films with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, but this is a movie I feel that he was able to spread his wings and just be himself. He has his unique style of camera work as well as humor all throughout this film.
If you're looking for a fun, dark and graphic comedy, this is a movie for you! But it can be a bit much sometimes, and even is borderline gratuitous. Some members of the audience in our theater couldn't stomach the constant blood lust and very graphic language and I saw two separate groups leave and not come back. But for me, it was a very fun ride!
Rating: 3/5 Stars
A titan of British comedy passed away yesterday. Terry Jones, actor, writer and director and member of the famous Monty Python troop finally lost his battle with dementia after four years, according to the BBC.
Fellow Python, and former Central Coast resident, John Cleese said: "It feels strange that a man of so many talents and such endless enthusiasm, should have faded so gently away..." He added: "Of his many achievements, for me the greatest gift he gave us all was his direction of Life of Brian. Perfection."
Well, they're bad and badder than ever. Our (in)famous bad boys from 1995 are back and campier than ever. I sat there thinking they're just trying to say the name of the movie as many times as they could. Bad Boys for Life is an action movie that has the camp you'd expect to find from a 90's action movie. Complete with the constant "getting to old for this s**t" groans, James Bond style secret lab with apparently unlimited budgets and a bad guy twist that you see coming from a mile away.
I had someone ask if you need to see other Bad Boy movies to get what's going on here. Not at all. You don't need any backstory, because most of the movie is going back into their back story. Constantly looking back and not progressing anything. Where progress comes, it comes with groans. There's a death of a very familiar character and our villain is somehow forgiven for all of this because of the "big reveal" at the end. I had flashbacks of the "your mother's name is Martha too?" scene (and for those of you who saw Batman Vs. Superman know what I'm talking about).
There's moments of fun action and stunt work, but most of the movie is lost in the sparkling gloss that goes over the entire movie. The humor is hit or miss and that makes it feel just worn out and tired, kind of like our stars (Will Smith and Martin Lawrence). This movie does work as a 90's action popcorn flick, but that was a long time ago and unfortunately, we've moved on.
Rating: 2/5 Stars