Thoughts on Detective Pikachu

Detective Pikachu, I choose you!

It was the 90s, Pokemon had just come out and I had just gotten my copy of Red from Toys R Us. It didn’t get better then that. Catching Pokemon, trading with friends. I had the cards and the toys and watched the shows and movies, heck, I even had the comics. Needless to say, I was a big Pokemon fan. Fast forward to now, I haven’t touched a Pokemon game in almost 20 years. I’m a dad now, but my girls are too young for Pokemon, but then it comes out. Detective Pikachu. It’s edgy enough for adults, silly enough for kids, and Ryan Reynoldsy enough to convince my wife to watch it with us. Overall, this is the best video game movie I have ever seen. Not in oh it’s so bad it’s good, but in a legitimate way. This movie had it all, it begins with our hero, played by a fantastic Justice Smith trying to catch a Pokemon and failing. After that point the pacing never lets up as we are whisked through a town where Pokemon cohabit with humans. The film has tons of great in-jokes for Pokemon fans, and even though I hadn’t watched or played in years, I got most of the jokes. Ryan Reynolds was fantastic as Pikachu and you can really feel him in there. The CG was top notch and even better than what Disney is doing with their films. 

The plot is pretty straightforward a boy searching for his dad teams up with a talking Pikachu. There are some good, but predictable twists, it is a kids movie after all.  However, there is still some great Pokemon action, and the real looking Pokemon came out looking great. It was fun to see how cute and cuddly Pokemon translated to the real world. In short, if you ever loved Pokemon, or have kids that do, this movie is a must. It may not make your top ten, but it’s a great way to spend two hours. 

Thoughts on Pet Semetary (2019)

“Sometimes, not remade is better.”

Pet Semetary is an okay movie. A few moments in the film almost make it great. But in a time of amazing Stephen King adaptations, just okay isn’t going to cut it. I’ll be honest, it’s been a long time since I’ve read the book. Even longer still, the last time I watched the original movie, it was on VHS. Back then, Stephen King was getting adapted left and right. Most of the movies where, okay, with a few stand outs, like Kubrick’s The Shining, (Even though Stephen King notoriously hates that movie.) There just wasn’t as many comparisons, or ability to really translate King’s work onto the big screen. Now, with filmmakers being more daring than ever, we have more fully realized versions of King’s work. The most recent It part 1 comes to mind as an amazing adaptation.  Now that leads us back to Pet Semetary. The plot is pretty much the same as it was back then with ONE big change. Spoiler alert, skip this next part if you want to go in blind:

In the original, the little boy gets hit by a truck. In this remake, it’s the little girl. Now as a Father of two little girls, I found this very effective and creepy. There is a scene when the dad is coming her hair in the bathtub, and he can sense she is not right, the whole scene was so well acted it gave me chills. Even the little girl toying with her dad, trying to get him to say that she was dead before he brought her back worked wonders. 

End of spoilers: The film works most of the time. The setting and music are eerie and creepy and the sound design is top notch. The pacing also is pretty good as it gives a good amount of jump scares as well as building up a nice story dealing with science against religion. The dad is a doctor who doesn’t believe in Heaven, which sets him up nicely to have the rug pulled out from under him when the dead come back. The biggest issue for me with the film was the ending. I won’t spoil it, but I will say it landed with a thud. The climax of the film is intense and fast paced. There is a real sense of danger as it’s building towards its conclusion, and then it just ends. It doesn’t resolve anything or really explain what is going to happen. It just leaves the audience to decide what they think will happen. Some films this works wonders, such as Jordan Peele’s break out hit US. However, this film is not avaunt garde cinema. Not even close, and in that I wanted more of a resolution from the ending. I have heard there is an alternate ending, (which always makes me feel like they didn’t know how to end the movie) on the special features. I have heard it’s much better. Either-way, it doesn’t matter though, because it’s not the ending they went with. 
Overall, you could do much worse than this film, but with horror getting so many great to amazing films released each year, do you want to waste a view on just okay? I’d say hold on to your money, rent to the original, and get ready for It pt 2. If you are still set on seeing this movie, at least rent it for cheap. Final word on it, check out the director’s other film Starry Eyes. It’s much better and I wonder how much of this film not working was studio over vision.

Thoughts on Into the Darkness:School Spirit

School Spirit the latest film in the partnership between Blumhouse and Hulu is pretty good. The trappings of it are familiar, and the kills never really excite or get inventive. Basically, if you are a fan of horror, you have seen this one done before, maybe even better, somewhere else. However, what this film does do well is applying a deconstructive lens to some issues that are prevalent in our society right now. That’s not to say the film is a genius piece of cinema, but as far as horror films go, this one is worth a watch. The set up is a group of kids are at the school for Saturday detention. Soon, it becomes clear that they are not alone as they are getting picked off one by one by the school’s resident ghost. The ghost effects and overall costume design for the specter are pretty good. Even though the film takes place during the day, the ghost is usually obscured in shadows which helps elevate the great makeup job that they did. 

The group of characters are pretty standard for this kind of fair. They all seem taken out of any teen slasher flick. However, one thing this film does do to its credit, with varying success is to give them all a tragic reason for them to be in detention. The one that stuck out to me the most was Lizzy, who we find out gets detention to avoid being home with her alcoholic mother. She comments frequently on not being able to avoid drunks, and how she wishes for her peers to not drink around her. Another stand out was Erica, the girl who is a straight-A student and its a mystery why she is even in detention, to begin with. The full cast plays pretty well with the only occasionally amateur hiccup. 

Overall, the film does throw some good surprises in its third act that I didn’t see coming. However, mileage will vary with this film depending on what you’re looking for. It has the feel of a made for TV movie Halloween special. The film is not remarkable, but it’s a far cry from bad. With a run time a little under an hour and a half it’s a quick and easy watch. I liked this film enough to want to check out the other films that Hulu and Blumhouse have worked on together.

Thoughts on An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn

There is a scene in An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn where they argue if Beverly is a boy’s name or a girl’s name. In the film Beverly is a boy’s name. The scene goes on with both parties backing up their points and treating it very seriously. This part of the film helps summarize the type of film it is. This film is to mumble core as Scary Movie is to horror films. It works as a parody of the world we live in and understand. Characters will yell loudly for no reason, and repeat lines even if they have been heard. One review I read compared the film to Napoleon Dynamite meets David Lynch. This is a fare comparison as it has the oddball characters akin to the dead pan delivery and heightened importance of the mundane with the surreal and dreamlike plot of a David Lynch film. I found the film to be hilarious. The characters living in such a bizarre and disconnected world really worked for me. One scene for instance has two characters eating dinner. They have plates of spaghetti in front of them and an enormous meat ball in the center. This meatball is so big it is noticeable without any attention being brought to it. Hence why the scene is funny. None of the characters act like what they are doing or saying is off. Which heightens the feelings of it being off. It’s a great time if you can handle offbeat humor and the plot is follow able enough without being too bizarre and alienating. This is a movie I could see grabbing a bunch of friends, opening a some beer and having a great time with.

Thoughts on High/Life

High/Life is a polarizing movie to say the least. It is a movie directed by Claire Denis and stars are new Batman, Robert Pattinson. Claire Denis is a director who does not shy away from the uncomfortable or perverse. One of her earlier films, Trouble Every Day, dealt with cannibalistic vampire sexuality. Yes, the film was as weird as it sounds and was part of the French Extremity sub genre of horror films. This is important to know going into High/Life because it is also a movie that pushed boundaries and does so in a way few American movies ever do. To talk to much about this movie would be to rob the viewer of the feelings of isolation and confusion they may feel while watching the film. I did not see any trailers or learn anything prior about this movie before watching. This proved for me, to be the best way to engage with it. If you are in the mood for a cerebral and disturbing horror film, then read no further and check it out. If you need a bit more convincing, well, read on. The film takes its time establishing plot. The film also doesn’t hold your hand at all. The movie unfolds much like someone trying to do a puzzle, long stretches interconnect but it isn’t always clear how they relate. The singular scope of the film, it all taking place on a spaceship with small cuts to Earth helps focus the film. When the movie begins we are confronted with a man, played wonderfully by Robert Pattinson, as he struggles to fix his spaceship as he also watches a baby being on a monitor who is set up in a makeshift play pin. As the movie unfolds we learn about his relationship to the baby and why they are along together. The basics of the plot are as follows, convicts are given a choice of staying in prison or taking part in a scientific experiment out in space. The experiment has to do with artificial insemination. One of the convicts on the ship is a scientist who’s job it is to artificially inseminate the female prisoners. If this plot feels a bit too much, then know it’s probably not for you. This film is high on the don’t watch with your parents list. There were even a few scenes that made me feel I couldn’t recommend this movie to anyone I know. Overall, I felt that the film made me think about the ethical treatment of prisoners, as well as the redemptive arc of bad people. Robert Pattinson, through caring for the baby changes who he is. It’s a movie that really stuck with me.

The Purpose of this site

Hi everybody,

The purpose of this site is for me to write about how I feel about the movies I’m watching. I watch a ton of movies. Well, I feel like I do. A little about me to start. The first movie I remember seeing in theaters was Jurassic Park. I thought it was so cool, and that the effects where mind-blowing. When I was a single man,I was going to the movies four to five times a month if not more. On top of that most of my disposable income was going towards buying movies and anime. Now, I am married with two kids and don’t get out to the theater much. I do however, watch a great deal movies at home. Now, you get to hear how I felt about them!

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