Spectral Movie Review

spectral

Netflix’s original movies that I’ve watched have been solid for the most part. This one is no different.

Spectral follows a scientist and a group of special forces soldiers through a war torn European country. They are trying to fight an enemy that they can’t seem to kill because… well they are basically ghosts. Like actual ghosts. It’s better than it sounds.

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Siege at Jadotville Netflix Movie Review

siege-at-jadotville

Netflix’s most recent original movie shoots to be a Saving Private Ryan or Black Hawk Down.  But it misses the mark, and instead gives us some great action but is weak in other aspects.

The Siege at Jadotville is based on a true story involving a group of UN peacekeepers from Ireland who are sent to the Congo during the 1960s.  Jamie Dornan takes a break from beating and abusing women in 50 Shades of Grey to lead a bunch of no name and “I know that guy from somewhere” actors with sometimes unintelligible Irish accents. Together they have to fight off a bunch of mercenaries and Congolese rebels to save themselves during a coup.

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Daredevil Season 2 Review

daredevil

Between the facts that March Madness is in full swing, I indeed have a life outside of this, and I don’t get paid for it (on an unrelated note here’s the link to my Patreon page), I didn’t think there was any way I’d have watched this and reviewed it this soon.  That just goes to show how much I enjoyed this season.  Oh, and that several of the basketball games have been blowouts not worth watching.

The second season of Daredevil takes us back to Hell’s Kitchen to continue following the journey of Matt Murdock and his alter ego, Daredevil.  This time he is joined, in a manner of speaking, by Frank Castle, aka The Punisher, and a former lover by the name of Elektra.  In the spirit of keeping this spoiler free, I’ll avoid going into any more detail on the plot.

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Beasts of No Nation Movie Review

beasts of no nation

Did you think all Netflix is good for is just streaming movies? Guess again. This Netflix original film proves they can be so much more.

Beasts of No Nation is about a young boy named Agu (Abraham Attah) in some African country torn apart by war.  After witnessing his whole family being executed by government forces, he gets recruited by a rebel leader (Idris Elba) to fight for him and get revenge for his family’s murder.  The movie follows him and the rest of this unit of child soldiers as they fight in this bloody war.

I have to say I absolutely loved about half this movie.  The first half is fantastic and I was really into it.  They start off with some solid character development to get you invested in the main character and his family.  It’s humorous, interesting, and gives a glimpse into the life of young boys in Africa.  It takes an even more interesting turn once the family is executed and Agu gets thrown into this war he doesn’t fully understand.  I knew I should hate Idris Elba’s character for recruiting these young boys to fight in the war. It’s something very despicable.  But I didn’t hate him for a lot of the movie.  He treats the boys as a family and you feel like he genuinely cares about them.  The movie humanizes him in such a way that it makes you feel weird because you empathize with him a bit.  I think a lot of the credit for that goes to Elba’s acting.  It’s great and he absolutely nails the accent. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an Oscar nomination for him.  But he isn’t the only one who deserves one.  This movie has one of the best child acting performances I’ve ever seen. I would not be surprised if the boy who played Agu has a big future ahead of him.  All of the other children in the movie also do a very good job. There are good action scenes and really good dramatic scenes, as well.

My problems with this movie start about halfway through.  The movie seems to lose its focus a bit and gets really confusing.  I feel like they tried to do a bit too much with the plot as the movie went on.  You do finally get moments where you start to see Idris Elba’s character for who he really is, a really bad guy.  That was definitely a good element.  But I found myself caring a lot less about what was happening for the last hour or so than I did for the first half.  The accents occasionally were difficult to understand. But I’m sure that is mostly about me being a dumb American who can’t understand anything else.  I can’t completely knock a movie set in Africa for its African accents.

All in all, Beasts of No Nation is definitely worth a watch.  It has some problems, particularly in the second half, but it is still a very good movie.  It makes me excited to see what else Netflix can come out with in the future in terms of original content.  I would go much higher if the second half was as good as the first, but with all things considered I’ll give Beasts of No Nation a 3.5/5.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Netflix Review

Netflix movie reviews are occasional posts that will review movies currently out on Netflix that I watch. Hopefully it can help you save countless hours of scrolling looking for things to watch.

TMNJ

Runtime: 101 minutes

Rating: PG-13

Notable Cast: Megan Fox, Will Arnett, William Fichtner

Director: Jonathan Liebesman

IMDB Score: 5.9

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 21%

I never saw Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles during its run in the movie theater because I heard mostly negative reactions to it.  But when I saw it pop up in the “recently added” section of Netflix, I thought that it couldn’t be all that bad, especially for free on a lazy Sunday afternoon.  I, however, was very wrong.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is about, and you’ll have to bear with me because it’s extremely convoluted, a young reporter named April O’Neil (Fox) who, while trying to come up with a good story, comes in contact with 4 six foot tall, talking turtles who know karate.  Together, they must stop the evil Foot Clan, who seek to release a toxin into New York City and sell the antidote that only they possess. Lost yet? I was too.

Look, the movie doesn’t do a whole lot right.  However, I didn’t completely hate it at the beginning.  I actually enjoyed the way the Turtles were introduced.  For the first 20 minutes or so, they are clouded in secrecy and fight in the shadows.  It is very reminiscent of the way Batman is first introduced in the first chapter of Christopher Nolan’s trilogy, Batman Begins. I liked the direction the movie was taking at that point.  But, it veers way off that road and falls apart.

Let’s start with this plot I mentioned earlier that doesn’t make the slightest bit of sense.  The movie throws way too much at you without really explaining any of it.  I still have no idea who the Foot Clan really was or how they came to power, although that may be because I’ve never been a fan of the Ninja Turtles series as a whole, in terms of the previous movies, video games, and cartoons.  There are also a ton of extra, unnecessary elements put into the plot.  There’s one element in particular involving the relationship between Megan Fox’s character and the turtles that I won’t spoil, but is absolutely ridiculous. Part of the problem is obviously the writing, but I think the biggest problem is the directing.  The movie has no real focus at all, which is no shock considering all of the director’s movies average below a 6 out of 10 on IMDB.  Besides the plot and directing, most of the main characters are annoying to watch.  It’s almost forgivable in the case of the turtles since they are supposed to be teenagers.  But it’s less forgivable in the case of Megan Fox.  She’s not good in this movie and I don’t really see her as a good actress in general.  She’s really nothing more than a pretty face, that in it of itself being debatable.  I did like Will Arnett’s character.  He plays Fox’s assistant/cameraman/driver (the movie is unclear about what he actually is). He stole every scene he was in and had the funniest lines in the movie.  Unfortunately, most of the other jokes in the movie fell very flat.

In general, the movie is just not fun to watch.  Some of the action scenes are cool but most of it is just flat out boring.  I would say fans of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as a series would enjoy this, but from what I’ve read, the movie messes with the source material in ways that alienated those fans.  It’s possible younger kids might like it.  I, however, did not and give it a 1.75/5 overall.

Sons of Anarchy Netflix TV Show Review

Netflix TV reviews are occasional posts that will review shows currently out on Netflix that I watch. Hopefully it can help you save countless hours of scrolling looking for things to watch.

soa2

Way back when I reviewed season one of Sons of Anarchy.  I ended up continuing to watch it despite my unsure feelings as to whether I liked it or not.  So, here is my review for the entire series of Sons of Anarchy.

Sons of Anarchy follows an outlaw motorcycle club that runs guns (among other things) in California.  The show details their activities and their interactions with their families, law enforcement, and other gangs.  The main focus of the show is the life of Jax, played by Charlie Hunnam, and his struggle to control both his personal life and his involvement in the club.

I ended up enjoying the show more after Season 1, but still never really loved it.  It has some good elements to it for sure.  They take the story to some interesting and unexpected places and are never afraid to randomly kill main characters.  Charlie Hunnam is solid in the lead role.  Most of the acting is pretty good, in fact.  There are some great action scenes throughout the series, particularly motorcycle chase scenes.

My biggest problem with the series is that when you start thinking about what is going on, the whole thing starts to unravel in my opinion.  Character motivations and story elements start to make less and less sense.  You really start to wonder why people are doing the things they are doing all of the sudden or why certain things are happening.  In addition, some of the actors have very little chemistry, at least from my perspective.  For example, I didn’t buy the relationship between Jax (Hunnam) and his girlfriend/wife, Tara (Maggie Siff), at all the whole series.  They just seemed weird and awkward the whole time and just didn’t seem like a couple to me. The story also took some really odd turns that every now and then would take me out of it.

All in all, Sons of Anarchy drew me in enough to watch it all the way through.  It’s entertaining enough to get through for sure.  I liked certain aspects and didn’t like others.  I don’t think its possible to give a number rating to a whole series as that fluctuates a lot season to season.  So I’ll just say I recommend this with the caveat that you don’t put too much thought into why things are happening.  Just watch it purely to enjoy it.

Let me know what you think if you’ve seen the show.  Also, I’m looking for a new series to start so if you have any suggestions you can let me know that in the comments as well.

Hercules Netflix Movie Review

Netflix movie reviews are occasional posts that will review movies currently out on Netflix that I watch. Hopefully it can help you save countless hours of scrolling looking for things to watch.

hercules

Perfect guy for the lead role and easy source material to adapt.  What could possibly go wrong?

Hercules tells the story of the half-god, half-man (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) and his quest to complete his twelve impossible tasks.  Except, despite the fact that would have made a much better movie, that’s only about the first 10 minutes of the movie.  The rest is this convoluted story about helping this king because Hercules in now some sort of mercenary who actually had this team to get him through his tasks.  It makes no sense and takes this easy character to adapt and really ruins it.

Despite the stupid plot, the movie does have some decent aspects.  The Rock is obviously great as Hercules.  It really is the perfect role for him.  He impresses me more and more with each movie he does.  He is by far the best wrestler-turned-actor ever.  There is also some well done action scenes that are entertaining.  While the plot is dumb and doesn’t make much sense, I could see some flashes where what they were trying to do could have worked but just didn’t.  There was a decent element about his family being killed and he wants revenge but it isn’t executed very well.  It is there, however, and was an interesting addition.

But seriously I don’t understand what the point of this movie was.  We all know parts of Hercules’s story.  He is the strongest man in the world who is given these twelve (ish) almost impossible tasks to complete.  But, as far as I know, there has never been a live action exploration of this exact story.  It would be easy, and, if done correctly, would be really good.  So why would they waste this potential story and use this other one that makes no sense? Hercules has partners now? Really? And he is mercenary who only cares about money? It’s dumb.  It really is.

The bottom line is, what this movie really is, is forgettable.  It has some entertaining parts in it but because they ruined the story and wasted the potential of having The Rock as Hercules, I just didn’t care about what was happening.  So I can’t give Hercules any more than a 2.25/5.

Expendables 3 Netflix Movie Review

Netflix movie reviews are occasional posts that will review movies currently out on Netflix that I watch. Hopefully it can help you save countless hours of scrolling looking for things to watch.

expendables 3

I originally saw this movie when it came out in theaters and didn’t like it all that much, especially being a fan of the other 2 movies.  So when I saw it was on Netflix, I decided to give it another chance.

The Expendables 3 continues the story of Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and his team of mercenaries, the Expendables.  This time their mission is to take out a co-founder of the group, Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson).  To do this, Barney inexplicably gets rid of all the old members of the team and hires a bunch of younger recruits to go after him.

After a second viewing, I found myself liking this movie a little more than I thought, but still not very much.  It does have some good parts about it.  Seeing all the old action stars back again is fun to watch as always and their fights scenes are decent in parts.  Mel Gibson is actually really good playing himself the villain.  The back and forth between him and Stallone is entertaining to watch and they have some good fight scenes together.  The story isn’t overly complicated but it works for this movie for sure.

I have 2 huge complaints about this movie that ruin it for me.  The first is that it is PG-13.  Now, I’m not somebody who will get up in arms about an action movie not being rated R.  There have been some really good action films rated PG-13 (Taken comes to mind).  However, this movie seems like it was filmed to have a higher rating, but then edited down later.  This makes the action super hard to watch because it keeps cutting away from it to avoid showing any more violence than is necessary.  So the action scenes (which is why anyone watches these movies) have tons of cuts and don’t make sense and are just generally hard to follow.  My second complaint is that all the classic action heroes that we all came to see are replaced almost immediately by these young, annoying characters (played by some truly terrible actors).  They come back at the end but most of the movie focuses on the younger group who I didn’t care about at all.  The reason these movies exist is the fun concept of having all those stars together.  So why they would go away from that is beyond me and really brings this movie down.

All in all, this movie is a letdown but could be fun for some if they know what they are getting into.  I am a big fan of this franchise.  I thought the first one was decent, loved the second, but just didn’t enjoy this one as much and can’t say it’s anything more than just ok.  The Expendables 3 gets a 2.5/5 (Comparison Scores: Expendables- 3/5, Expendables 2- 4/5).

Sons of Anarchy Season 1 Netflix TV Show Review

SOA1

Netflix TV reviews are occasional posts that will review shows currently out on Netflix that I watch. Hopefully it can help you save countless hours of scrolling looking for things to watch.

The highly popular television show comes to Netflix.  Does it live up to the hype? Let’s find out.

Sons of Anarchy follows an outlaw motorcycle club that runs guns in California.  The show details their activities and their interactions with their families, law enforcement, and other gangs.  The main focus of the show is the life of Jax, played by Charlie Hunnam, and his struggle to control his personal life while also controlling his responsibilities as Vice President of the club.

And after 1 full season I have to say that the show seems a little overrated.  It’s entertaining enough to pass the time for an episode or two but it doesn’t draw me in and make me want to binge watch it like some other shows do.  There is very little action and there are about a million subplots, most of which I didn’t care about at all.  I enjoyed most of Jax’s story and, even though he does some pretty bad things, it’s hard to blame him and I could relate to him most of the time.  So that kept me drawn in to an extent.  But I kept getting drawn out by all the subplots.  I could not care less about any of the other characters.  They are all terrible people who do terrible things and, despite the show wanting you too, you don’t root for them.  If 90% of the characters died in a gunfight in the first episode of season 2, I wouldn’t care at all, and probably would be happy because at least there would be some action.

In conclusion, the main plot and character is interesting and fairly entertaining, the acting is good, and the action scenes, when they are there, are well done.  However, due to subplots and characters I don’t care about, it doesn’t draw me in as much as I wanted it to.  It probably was better as a week to week show, one episode of a time, rather than going episode to episode on Netflix.  I’ll give it one more season to entertain me more before moving to something else.  The 1st season gets a 2.75/5.

Do you disagree? Should I keep watching? Let me know in the comments.

The Best of Me Netflix Movie Review

Netflix movie reviews are occasional posts that will review movies currently out on Netflix that I watch. Hopefully it can help you save countless hours of scrolling looking for things to watch.

the best of me

Are all chick flicks terrible? Let’s see if we can add this one to that list.

The Best of Me is a love story about a couple who dates in high school and due to unfortunate circumstances go their separate ways.  The movie alternates between flashbacks to high school and the present day, where the two are forced to spend time together due to a death of a friend.  It’s nothing new or creative.  But could it possibly be good?

Good is probably an overstatement but it’s actually not terrible.  I saw the summary and was dreading hitting play but did so to keep the girlfriend happy.  That being said, I was fairly entertained throughout this movie.  The first thing I noticed is that the chemistry between James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan, who play the couple in present day, is really good.  They play off each other well and are believable characters, which is rare for a movie like this.  The story also comes off a bit as a mystery.  I was wondering the whole time what happened to force them apart, and the events that are revealed that led up to that happening made for a pretty great twist.  There are parts of this movie that will keep the guys watching this with their girlfriends entertained.  I was never completely bored out of my mind like I usually am with these movies.

However, despite that, this movie has a lot of problems.  The plot is completely clichéd and predictable. I called the ending with about 15 minutes left and probably could have done so sooner if I had tried.  The whole movie is clearly designed to pull at the heartstrings of the girls watching and make them cry.  It doesn’t even try to hide it.  Also, the acting and the chemistry between the people who play the couple in high school, Luke Bracey and Liana Liberato, was subpar.  It was serviceable for the movie but it wasn’t great.  They also look absolutely nothing like either of the people they are supposed to be 20 years later.  Looks may change after that long, but not that much.  It was pretty unbelievable and took me out of it a bit.

But all in all, if any of you guys out there are looking for a movie to make your girlfriend happy, you could do much much worse than this one.  There are some interesting and entertaining parts despite all of the clichés and predictability.  I can’t call it good, but I can’t call it terrible either.  The Best of Me gets a 2.75/5 (Comparison scores: Most other chick flicks wouldn’t rise above a 1/5).

More Info: The Best of Me IMDB Page