Jason Bourne Review

Year: 2016
Rating: M
Runtime: 123 minutes
Main Cast: Matt Damon
Tommy Lee Jones
Alicia Vikander
Julia Stiles
Main Production Company: The Kennedy/Marshall Company
Written by: Paul Greengrass
Christopher Rouse
Directed by: Paul Greengrass



Written by Nelson Cumming

Matt Damon returns once again as the conflicted Jason Bourne in the fourth installment (or five depending on how you count) of the Bourne franchise. Jason Bourne is a movie that falls under the fine line of being a disappointment but not being a bad movie at all. I saw things that I liked but I also saw elements in it where the filmmaker’s eyes were bigger than their stomachs. At least Jason Bourne the movie had the ambition to be about something, even if it fell short of the line of greatness.

Jason Bourne follows the titular character being a lone wolf former CIA agent. As he learns from Nicole Pearsons (Julia Styles), there is more to his past that meets the eye. So he has to infiltrate the CIA to get an important document which he hopefully learns everything about his past. We are treading into familiar territory here.

Matt Damon does a good job of doing his “damaged-man-who-just-had his-fourth-bout-of-not-believing-he-knows-everything-about-his-past” character. He is also good at establishing himself as a tough guy. He can king hit a guy so hard it makes people at The Cross look like wimps (probably because both he and the victim were sober, facing each other and the victim consented as it was an organized fight, but those are minor technicalities of course). This works well for the action scenes that ensue.

If I were to rate this movie based on the action scenes alone, it would have been in the 3.5-4 star range because they were really good. The action scenes were intense, dramatic and stylistic (especially the climax). Another great thing about this movie is the action sequences have a sense of build-up with their chase scene. It’s the simple but effective cat and mouse trick. Those scenes were well choreographed and they get visceral which is good because Damon does a good job at portraying Bourne is a conflicted man.

While all the action itself was good, I have a problem with the cinematography. The cinematographer is primarily using shaky cam techniques in the action sequences. Shakey cam is a professional camera technique that gives the illusion that you’re seeing the picture like a handheld camera. It’s meant to give the feeling that you’re part of the action. I don’t like shaky cam. I saw it in Star Trek Beyond and now in Jason Bourne. It’s disorientating and feels messy. I have noticed a trend with cinematographers using long takes and shaky cam techniques in action movies. They usually don’t work unless you have a great cinematographer or director. If they do both the shaky cam and the long take at the same time, I am going to freak.

The main issue with the movie is the subplot. It simply doesn’t connect. The subplots and themes are a mere backdrop but it’s transparent they tried to use it to drive the action due to the time they give it. Unfortunately, the subplot that explores the themes of security and privacy doesn’t really gel with the movie. I give them points for trying, but the subplot permeates and hurts the story’s momentum that stopped it from being great. It’s also a subplot that has been in many action movies for the last 3-5 years meaning the movie doesn’t break the mold.

I am appreciative that there is a movie in the action genre that wants to be smart without it feeling forced. All too often, you see too many action (and sometimes superhero) movies that try to be so smart that they border condescension (Batman vs Superman) or try to be clever only to be stupid (London Has Fallen). Jason Bourne is neither of the two, but cannot really grasp the story it’s trying to tell. It is not bad, but nor is it what I hoped for. You can do better, but you can do worse. **3/4

Love and Friendship Review

Year: 2016
Rating: PG
Runtime: 92 Minutes
Main Cast: Kate Beckinsale
Xavier Samuel
Emma Greenwell
Morfydd Clark
Tom Bennett
Stephen Fry
Main production companies: Blinder Films
Chic Films
Based on: Lady Susan by Jane Austen
Written and directed by Will Stillman

Written by Nelson Cumming

Love and Friendship is one of the movies that likes to take narrative and character concepts and turns it on its head. Love and Friendship is a movie based on a novella by Jane Austin and is as beautifully made as if it were Austin’s vision. It pays homage to her work and parodies her time. It isn’t as good as I thought (99% on Rotten Tomatoes) but it is a beautiful and well-made film nonetheless.

If there were a personified parody of 19th-century society, it would be Lady Susan Bernard played by Kate Beckinsale. She plays a widow whose husband recently passed away. Her aim is to continue to live a comfortable life with her daughter. She wants to do this my manipulating wealthy royals and marrying her daughter Frederica (Morfydd Clark) and herself off to them. As with any manipulation tactic, the web gets messy and the plot thickens, making it harder for Lady Susan to get what she wants.

The other great thing about Love and Friendship is the way the movie is executed. It finds the right balance between making a comedic period piece that makes fun of societal values of the 19th century without mocking it. This delicate balance made the movie funny, interesting and engaging without feeling forced at all. Everything about this movie feels it has a place and a purpose.

The acting from everyone is great and what is even better is each one of them is completely different. Beckinsale has the timing to perfection and her posture, facial expressions and the way she moves around the room went a long way with her performance. Tom Bennett is playing St. James, one of the wealthy men who nails playing the simple man. When you think he isn’t any more awkward in conversations, he finds a way to top it. It’s funny instead of grating because he does it with eloquent enthusiasm.

The other thing that is good is the dialogue (mostly) as it has a load of flair and wit. The scenes that are funny come from lots of quips and one-liners from Beckinsale as she manipulates and exploits things in her favor (“As there’s a friendship involved, I do believe that paying wages is offensive to us both”) and other funny scenes come from the other main characters come either from their timing or how they establish themselves in a scene.

The problem about the dialogue for me is it wore me down. I slowly became inundated by the onslaught of 19th-century dialogue. It weighed me down and I was getting bored. Thankfully, I wasn’t in a bored stupor as the movie is short for a period piece as it’s only 92 minutes long and the comedic elements were fun for brief periods of time. That kept me going. The language was something I understood but needed a break from, which is not what you get in this movie as it’s dialogue driven.

Overall Love and Friendship is a movie that successfully caters to the audience well-educated, female, literary enthusiasts while trying to break new ground with other groups of people. Either way, Love and Friendship is a unique movie that is a standout for the genre that it’s in. ***3/4

Me Before You Review

Rating: M
Runtime: 110 minutes
Main Cast: Emilia Clarke
Sam Claflin
Production companies: Sunswept Entertainment
New Line Cinema
Written by: Jojo Moyes
Directed by: Thea Sharrock


Written by Nelson Cumming

You know those movies that aim to constantly be poignant, romantic, yet it feels rushed? Well Me Before You is that kind of movie. Me Before You is a movie that will either attract to repel you depending on your reaction to the posters or trailers. There are things that I liked and the movie and it looked professionally made, but the material is very cheesy. Women will cry (I know. I saw them) and men will groan, but I am in the middle of the fence.

The premise of Me Before You is what you would expect from a romatic drama that tries too hard. Louise Clarke (Emilia Clarke) gets a job taking care of Will Treanor (Sam Claflin) who has recently been a paralytic man from a motorcycle accident. Will has been behaving cynically ever since the accident. Louise, with her perky attitude, tries to cheer Will up. Louise learns of Will’s intentions to be euthanized and tries to show him the bright side of life to prevent him from doing it.

What I learned from Me Before You is what to say to a woman. The scriptwriters were meticulous on Will’s dialogue as he says everything a woman wants to hear. I now know when to say “No, I’ll pay” or “No, I’ll do that job” or “I want to feel like a man who has taken a woman home” or “Take off the scarf, wear that dress with confidence”. Because of the detailed writing that was in the script, the dialogue doesn’t feel lazy. The dialogue was funny and sometimes witty. People may argue about me for that but there is one thing no one can argue: Writer Jojo Moyes committed putting the pen to the paper.

The other good thing about Me Before You is the chemistry between the Clarke and Claflin. They were believable in their acting both when they are on their own and when they are together. I believed that they loved each other and the what they talk about keeps the movie from being stale. There is one really funny scene involving the two talking about horseracing at a horse racing venue. They discuss which one is likely to win. The funniest moment in the movie is when the race starts and Clarke’s reaction to her horse’s performance.

A major issue in Me Before You is how it flippantly treats the subject of euthanasia. I just thought they used it as a plot device to gain sympathy from the audience. I got that from the way they decided only to tackle that theme at the climax. They mention it briefly throughout, but only a one-liner and never coming from the paralytic man himself (As I said, Will only says things women want to hear). Now that I am thinking about it, it was a really cynical move because it used serious material loosely and as a means to an end, and that end is to try and make us cry.

Ultimately, Me Before You has it’s moments and has good acting but it’s constantly hampered by the constant cheesiness that the movie aspires to be. It is not as bad as a Nicholas Sparks movie adaption but nor is it The Fault in Our Stars. I didn’t find Me Before You endearing as it strains so hard to make me care. All great films make caring for the characters effortless. This was not one of those films, not was it stupid film that was empty and devoid of meaning.**1/2

Star Trek Beyond Review

Genre: Science fiction
Year: 2016
Rating: M
Runtime: 122 minutes
Main Cast: John Cho
Simon Pegg
Chris Pine
Zachary Quinto
Idris Elba
Main production company: Skydance Media
Written by :Simon Pegg
Doug Jung
Directed by:Justin Lin


Written by Nelson Cumming

On Thursday, Star Trek Beyond was my first taste of the Star Trek franchise. It is also the first Star Trek movie released after Leonard Nimoy’s death. It has the blockbuster spectacle that would get the casual movie audience interested but ultimately, I felt the film was either boring or uneven. There were only a few scenes I thought worked well.

A surprise attack in outer space forces the Enterprise to crash-land on a mysterious world. The assault came from Krall (Idris Elba), a lizard-like dictator who derives his energy by sucking the life out of his victims. Krall needs an ancient and valuable artifact that’s aboard the badly damaged starship. Left stranded in a rugged wilderness, Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto) and the rest of the crew must now battle a deadly alien race while trying to find a way off their hostile planet.

The things about this movie that I didn’t like were actually the things that critics were praising: the action, the comedy, and the character development. Overall I liked some of the payoffs, but I didn’t like the journey getting to the pay offs. I thought The action sequences were dull and generic. It reminded me of the action sequences in Independence Day: Resurgence and The Divergent Series: Allegiant. Also, at the first action sequence, the camera was shaking constantly to the point of nausea . I understand it’s because the ship was under attack, but I felt it was over excessive and unneeded. However, the way they played with the forces of gravity in the climatic battle was cool.

Because I believed the action was mostly dull, there are comedic elements in this movie that try to give it tonal variation. Aside from Spocks lines, delivery and timing, no one was funny. There were lots of comedic lines that I felt were unnatural and out of place. When one of the characters gets teleported back to the ship he felt uneasy when he was teleported. He said, “my innards are a barn door”. I got the sentiment, it just sounded odd and out-of-place. That is just one example of the many comedic lines that I thought didn’t work. Which was a disappointing experience for me as it was partially written by Simon Pegg, whom I really love.

My thoughts on character development were that there was either no character development or I felt that it was rushed. That being said, there is a pretty good twist at the climax with Krall the villain. There was also a poignant moment with Spock as he looks into a picture. These were two payoffs that were good but the road getting there with the boring action, the bad comedy, and the rushed development made the payoffs feel underserved. It made me question if the good payoffs were worth it due to a lack of buildup.

Overall the movie does get better as it goes along but for me, it was such a shaky start that by the time it builds momentum, I wasn’t into it anymore. At the halfway mark, my “bad movie threshold” was at a point where nothing could redeem it. It is not in the “one of the worst movies” category as it has some redeeming value, but the value wasn’t worth it for me. It was normal bad so it will get a normal bad rating *1/2

Sing Street Review

Genre: Musical, comedy, drama
Year: 2016
Rating: M
Runtime: 105 minutes
Main Cast: Ferdia Walsh-Peelo
Lucy Boynton
Jack Reynor
Don Wycherley
Main Production Companies: Cosmo Films
Distressed Films
Written by: John Carney
Directed by: John Carney


Written by Nelson Cumming.

If there was a quasi-musical feel-good movie that anyone wanted to see this year, it’s probably going to be Sing Street. This is a great film. It is a movie about a flourishing guy that is living in a dying world. It is not as melodramatic, nor it is as corny. Sing Street has all the makings of what a feel-good movie should be. This movie can be enjoyed by anyone who has had dreams or ambitions. If there is a Pitch Perfect for girls, then this is the Sing Street for guys. In saying that, Sing Street is for nearly any young adult at the very least.

It’s odd writing the premise down as on pen and paper, it sounds like a tired trope. But here it is: The story is about a kid called Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) who wants to start a band called Sing Street to get the girl (Lucy Boynton) that he wants, but little does he know that it’s the gateway to something more. He learns through his older brother and his school that there is more to life than living in a miserable environment. It’s the sort of story where you root for the kid from the start and it’s also a movie where you hope everyone finds happiness.

What was so awesome about this movie is that everyone has a moment in the sun. The one person that I applaud in the movie is the older brother Brendan (Jake Reynor) as he teaches Conor about the rock and roll culture and lifestyle. His form of homework is giving his younger brother vinyl records and lecturing about rock and roll philosophy. He does this despite his past failures and dealing with his own struggles. He plays the role that mixes with a no-bullcrap persona mixed in with a genuine care for what is going on around himself. There is also a school bully who looks like a complete meathead and ends up being a fantastic roadie for the band.

Perhaps what is the highlight of this movie is that the character progression of Conor and the band itself which is shown through the evolution of their music and personas. At the start, the band’s costumes are an utterly inconsistent (one is gothic, another is a cowboy, another is a flashy blue suit), their music videos are so campy and are shot with a handheld camera. As the movie progresses, so do their costumes, their videos, and their music. The climax of this evolution occurs at an indoor high school basketball court with about eight dancing girls. The camera is close up to the singer. When the song starts, the camera slowly turns around not to the eight dancing girls, but something that is truly speculator. I have heard this is called the “Prom Sequence” Funny thing is it only occurs at the halfway mark but it’s a moment that will be etched in my mind for months to come and it’s my favorite scene in the movie.

Another great thing about this are the songs. If there is an album for Sing Street I will buy it. All the songs fit perfectly for a movie like this. The songs are from The Clash, A-Ha, Duran Duran and many others. It was catchy and fun to listen to (I was lip singing to the songs that I knew). It’s essentially 70’s and 80’s rock. The music isn’t played with an attitude with middle fingers in the air, but rather a fist in the air of freedom, making the moments in life count and fits with the moments in the story.

If I would sum this movie up to a man on the street I would say “Sing Street is everything a feel-good movie should be” After seeing Sing Street, I went on a bus and as I crossed the Harbor Bridge and looked up at the tall pristine buildings that were glistening by the harbor. It was a mixture of catharsis and ecstasy. At that fleeting moment, I believed that the world was my oyster, just like rock and roll was Colin’s oyster. ****1/2

Ghostbusters Movie Review

Genre: Comedy
Rating: PG
Runtime: 116 minutes
Main Cast: Melissa McCarthy
Kristen Wiig
Kate McKinnon
Leslie Jones
Main Production Company: LStar Capital
Written By: Katie Dippold
Paul Feig
Directed by: Paul Feig


Written by Nelson Cumming

I first saw the trailer when a Facebook friend of mine sent a link to me. I wondered why this trailer got over 900,000 dislikes. I found out at the thirty-second mark why. I thought the trailer wasn’t funny not 900,000 dislikes unfunny. I said to him that I am hopeful because the Feig-McCarthy combination has built a solid history and I fell in love with them ever since Spy came out last year. I wonder how the 900,000 would react if I said that this Ghostbusters movie does not live up to the 1984 version. It would be even more interesting how the 900,000 would react if I said I loved the movie and thought it was funny and entertaining throughout.

The plot involves Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) and Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) finding out the existence of ghosts. They get help from Jilian (Kate McKinnion) and Patty (Leslie Jones) to help clear the ghosts in Times Square.

I thought the trailer didn’t do this movie justice by a long shot. All the moments in the trailer that I thought weren’t funny ended up being funny in the movie. I believe that was the case as the gags are only funny once you know the characters and the context of the situation. When Leslie jones slaps the hell out of Melissa McCarthy, I thought it was forced and tacky in the trailer. When watching that scene in the movie, it was awesome. I laughed and I wasn’t the only one or two or ten or fifty. The scene that leads up to the gag made it worth it. The trailer showed the punchline without the proper setup.

Kate McKinnon deserves a Goldern Globe nomination for best actress in a musical or comedy. There I said it. There is never a dull moment with her, she is always on the ball. She has the look, the body posture, the attitude, the facial expressions, the costumes and the way she incorporates all of that leads to a stylistic manifestation that I have never quite seen before. My eyes were always fixated on her even when McKinnon is firmly in the background. She just nails her role as a supporting actress that stands out.

The other surprise is Chris Hemsworth. He is actually a funny guy. He doesn’t need to take his shirt off to sustain audience interest. His characters constant ineptitude is funny, charming, or both. He plays the Ghostbusters receptionist that is always three steps behind everyone. He was charming enough to make it work.

The only thing I was worried about was surprisingly the same thing I was worried about with Sasha Baron Cohen in Alice. That being the movie was PG and I was worried McCarthy and Wiig wouldn’t be able to be funny using clean material. I was wrong about that as well. Both are entertaining and work off each other really well. The was one really cheesy moment at the movie climax but that was the only thing that was really bad.

The only minor issue was that the story wasn’t tightly constructed as Spy. It felt like some of the scenes were improvised which was the same critique I mentioned in The Boss. It’s not as bad as The Boss but the loose comedic flow was noticeable in some scenes. Even though those moments were still good, it would have been great if they put the extra effort into editing. Tight editing makes a movie breezy. So far the most tightly constructed movies I have seen are The Big Short and Captain America: Civil War. I like it if there were more movies as slick as them.

Nevertheless, I cannot hate this movie. It was funny and entertaining throughout. While this wasn’t as good as Feig’s Bridesmaids and Spy it was still a great movie to watch. I wonder if the diehards will like the callbacks to the past, especially to the fate of one of the callbacks in particular. ****

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Review

Genre: Raunch Comedy, Screwball Comedy
Year: 2016
Runtime: 98 minutes
Starring: Zac Efron
Anna Kendrick
Adam DeVine
Aubrey Plaza
Production Company: Chernin Entertainment
TSG Entertainment
Written by: Andrew J. Cohen
Brendan O’Brien
Directed By: Jake Szymanski


Written By Nelson Cumming

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is Zack Efron’s third raunch comedy this year and it has what anyone is hoping for with a Zac Efron raunch comedy. Personally, I think Zac Efron has a hit and miss record with these comedies and this one was sort of in the middle. I think that this is very much an in the mold raunch comedy movie that 15-25-year-olds would enjoy seeing on a Friday or Saturday night but it does not encourage any other person to give it a try.

I believe that with raunch comedies if you go all in it will either be filled with hernia-inducing hilarity or cringe-inducing garbage that gives you post traumatic stress. Based on my history with the genre, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates does not go all in which is to its benefit. I either got moderate laughs that were slightly harder than a chuckle or I wasn’t laughing for only short periods of time. It was not a cringe-inducing as Dirty Grandpa, nor is it as funny as Bad Neighbours but somewhere in the middle.

Half the premise is explained in the movie title, the other half is “Tatiana and Alice want a crazy care-free vacation”

I have to admit I laughed enough to not think that this movie was a waste of time. Every actor has a line or two that was funny. There were scenes in the first third that were college humor fun without being gross. There is one scene where Plaza and DiVine are whispering in each other’s ear that was a highlight. Plaza has the best lines in the movie while Anna Kendrick gets the short end of the stick and was the least funny of the four main characters.

I praise Adam DeVine because he commits and just doesn’t stop. In this case, it’s a good thing because a lot of the times he was funny and wasn’t overly loud even when he has to shout. I hate it when comedic actors use swearing and the loudness of their voice as a crutch for their comedy but DeVine uses it as a tool effectively. He is also great in assisting Efron with his reactionary acting and when he has to be the butt of his jokes. He helped make Efron look good on the screen.

The things I liked about the movie was the originality of the story and the set design. During the first twenty minutes, I thought “This movie is not achingly funny but it is entertaining and it has something going for it” that is until the last act. That is until the final third when the movie either goes completely out of control with its gags or when it tries to go sentimental.

The problem with the story occurs when they go for sentimentally that clearly doesn’t work. This is because the movie establishes for 60 minutes that the four main characters are tools. They may be funny tools, but they are tools nonetheless. The story tries to execute a Judd Apatow-like coming of age raunch comedy that fails because the character development feels forced and not progressive, the writing is not smart and nor does the script really hint that there is a third dimension with the Mike and Dave characters until it’s too late. This added up to me rolling my eyes when the story tried to take a sentimental turn.

I can’t say I liked this movie as a whole, but there were enough funny moments where I cannot say it wasn’t funny. The things that are against this movie is final acts and the constant movie and contemporary references. It’s not destined for immortality **1/2

Something Wickard This Way Comes: London Has Fallen

Written by Nelson Cumming


When I review a movie, I comment on the two or three things that stick out to me the most. I find that tearing apart a movie based on tiny little insignificant details to be a little tiresome and moronic if it is not done in an entertaining way.

With London Has Fallen, there were so many little things that were done so wrong in such a hilariously bad way that I quickly started jotting them down in my notes. It made my feel good and got me through watching a bad movie. It was so laughably bad that I used the poster as a joke on my Facebook page about Brexit.

I was thinking about writing an entire blog entry about this months ago because of a large amount of material, but now I feel the time is right to do it. Here were some of my notes which are based on horrifically stupid dialogue, basic cinematic errors, and leaps in movie logic that border on video game logic. I hope you enjoy it.

1. Near the beginning, The movie lists the names of the members of the White House Staff redundantly because you never see them again for the remaining 90 minutes.

2. Manning is jogging with the President (Aaron Eckhart) talking about family. Manning then jogs backward and the President says “What do they make you out of” Manning responds “Bourbon and poor choices” with a smug smile on his face.

3. Manning arrives with the President to London by plane to pay their respects to the recently deceased Prime Minister. Manning is told once they land that the President will be transported to the funeral secretly. Apparently, secretly means taking him to the rendezvous point via three giant aircraft carriers, all with American flags, then the President will be transported by a stretch limo with American flags and the President’s seal on the door in the middle of a busy street in London.

4. The terrorists attack London with the aim to assassinate all the world leaders who are attending the funeral while destroying British landmarks to affect British morale. This made sense. That is up until the point where there is a wide shot of the decimated London showing the Big Ben unaffected which is the biggest and the most famous British landmark of them all. It is not what the movie posters lead me to believe (see picture above).

5. The terrorists then stage a blackout that covers all over London . This is firmly established in the movie (which I will get to later). The very next scene shows a woman on TV reading from a media release telling the people in London to stay safe and remain vigilant. This contradicts the scene before that established the blackout because Londoners would have to turn on the TV to listen to the awe-inspiring message. But they can’t because, you know, there is a blackout.

6. The United States Government uncovers the mastermind of the terror attacks. It is established that he has “killed more people than the plague” and he is number six on the most wanted list. If the mastermind is only number six on the list and has killed more people than the plague, I would be more worried about the five people that are higher on the list.

7. As I have said, the majority of the movie is set in a blackout. There’s a reason for this which the movie doesn’t mention. If you read about the filming process of London Has Fallen, the action sequences were actually shot in Bulgaria and they used the blackout to try and hide the fact the majority of the movie was not actually shot in London.

8. Manning ambushes a terrorist and knocks him out. He searches the body to find a tear gas canister, a hand grenade, and a shotgun. Manning says to the President “This guy has more weapons than the United States army”. I did some research and found that U.S. military budget was greater than $59.99.

9. I forget the car models, but there was some blatant product placement of two cars as the fall off London Bridge (during a bombing) and into the water. Apparently, if I want to find a car that can withstand a bombing and is water durable, I now know that I won’t buy those models.

10. A terrorist fires a bazooka and hits the tail of the helicopter. In the helicopter are the President, Manning, and the female U.S. secretary. The plane spirals out of control and crashes to the ground. That scene was cool. What wasn’t cool was Banning yelling to the President “Run the helicopter could blow any second” before spending 3 minutes to console the mortally wounded secretary in the helicopter debris. What’s worse is Butler when he is trying to cry in the scene but he clearly cannot.

11. There is a scene where Manning tells the President to hide in the closet. When the terrorists overwhelm Manning, the President kicks the door down and shoots the remaining terrorists dead. Manning quips “I was wondering when you were coming out of the closet”

12. This is not technically a fault but deserves mentioning because it shows who the movie is going after. This movie does the oldest action cliche in the book where none of the bullets hit Banning but every bullet he fires hits. It because so mind numbing as he does it throughout the movie. At least if someone is playing a team deathmatch on COD online, you will be paying thousands for Butler to be on your team with 0 deaths and 100% accuracy.

13. After nearly every scene, the movie will cut to an anchorman that explains in the news what we just saw. That is probably because the movie is so mind-numbing and dull that the director knows that you will forget the scene the moment it ends.

14. Finally, there is a quote in the movie that we should “never criticize, always encourage”. If this is a subtle insult to the criticism of the movie (unlikely since “subtle” is not a word in the movie’s dictionary) then I will criticize this movie for its logical errors, horrendous dialogue, dull settings and monotonous action sequences and I will not encourage it. If there is another sequel to this movie it should be called “My I.Q. points have fallen”

If you have managed to stay with me this far, then here is the twist in the knife. Someone said to me “you need to watch the original to understand the sequel” as a defense. I was kind and said that “I don’t need to” politely . Apparently, if I watch Olympus Has Fallen, all of these errors I have listed will be fully explained and justified. Somehow I doubt this will happen.

Despite all of this negativity, London has Fallen has been the only movie I have reviewed that is laughably bad. This was the only movie where I was thinking “The dialogue is so poorly written I have to write some of the quotes down” There is an abundance of humor in this movie that was unintended to which I am grateful. There are many movies I have seen which are bad because they are boring or cringeworthy while not being funny at all.

London has Fallen as a weird place in my heart. It’s not in the “so bad it’s good” section, yet doesn’t belong in the abyss of awful like other movies I have reviewed on my blog. It is unquestionably terrible, but there is something I enjoy recanting to people as a way to amuse them and amuse myself.

The Legend of Tarzan Review

Genre: Action
Year: 2016
Rating: M
Run Time: 110 minutes
Main Cast: Alexander Skarsgård
Samuel L. Jackson
Margot Robbie
Djimon Hounsou
Christoph Waltz
Main Production Company: Village Roadshow Pictures
Written by:Adam Cozad
Craig Brewer
Directed by: David Yates (Expelliarmus!)

I did not mind The Legend of Tarzan as a story (even though it was very predictable). The movie as a whole did not give me any massive headaches or migraines. That being said after seeing The Legend of Tarzan I wondered what the point was for this remake as it added nothing new to Tarzan the character.

Captain Leon Rom (Christoph Waltz) is a man who wants to fund his army in the Congo. The only way he can do that is entering the diamonds trade. Rom can only obtain diamonds through chief Mbonga (Djimon Hounsou). Mbonga will give Rom the diamonds if he brings his worst enemy Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgård)

My overall criticism of this movie is that it’s an unnecessary remake as it offers nothing new and sticks to the conventional formula. I honestly don’t know what the point is. If you have seen the original, you have seen this movie. The only difference is that there’s more violence and it’s in CGI instead of watercolor and that’s it. The story is the same, the characters are the same and the setup is the same. If people decide to play it safe, critics are going to give you an average mark. That is what I am going to do. Despite this, The legend of Tarzan has some positives.

I liked Christoph Waltz playing the bad guy. He is always a good actor even in crappy movies. The only cross that he has to bear is the crucifix he carries around that is used as a hangman’s noose in a blatant use of symbolic irony. The overdone symbolism reminded me of the constant usage of American flags in Transformers: Age of Extinction. They show Waltz holding the crucifix about ten times. That is nine times too many. Nevertheless, he put on a committed performance and sometimes he had to turn chicken shit into chicken salad and that was admirable from him. Other times he got chicken salad and made it into chicken gold. Every time he is offscreen you want him back on the screen.

The funny thing about the dialogue is it’s uneven in a weird way, that is some scenes it’s good and others it’s bad. I said to my mum “They must have had two writers” and I was right! (Cozad and Brewer) My guess was both writers read the outline and wrote separate scenes and just stuck it together without reading over each other’s work. It would explain the inconsistencies in the writing process. There were scenes where the dialogue seemed realistic and fluent and there were other scenes where it was just hokey. It got to the point where I could identify what person A wrote and what person B wrote. That is why I said early that Christoph Waltz either had chicken salad or chicken shit. Because he is a master at delivering dialogue even if on paper it’s terrible.

Alexander Skarsgård (or Mr. Abs) plays Tarzan. I am just going to call Skarsgård Mr. Abs because he was bland in his performance and the most interesting thing (especially for girls) is his abs. I call it like I see it. He does hug a lioness like Neel Sethi hugged a wolf in The Jungle Book. That scene was cute. Besides that (and when he is fighting) Skarsgård plays his character in an uninteresting way. Everyone around him outshines him, especially Samuel L Jackson who only says one word and he steals a scene (That word is “shit” and I am not joking. If you see the movie you know what I’m talking about). Mr. Abs is a cookie cutter cardboard cutout. Every now and then Mr. Abs tries but always loses to Marget Robbie, Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson, a random tribesman or a gorilla. I would feel sorry for Mr. Abs, but considering he has Abs, I don’t.

Overall, Tarzan just sticks to formula and is not brave enough to try anything new. Yes, the actors except for Mr. Abs are good. Yes, half of the writing is good. Even some of the cinematography was better than expected. But this feels like more of the same. More of the same is bad enough already but when that happens to a remake it further questions it’s existence. At least when it came to sticking to the formula, they did not mess up badly at all and at some points it was good. It could have been way worse than it was. Overall, the movie is ok to watch, but I don’t see much justification for its existence **1/2

Views on the News #4 Spielberg Out of Touch. Or is He?

Written by Nelson Cumming


If you are one of the firsts to read this article, you might see on the Facebook trending bar that The BFG has bombed like Batman vs Superman did for the millions of fans that saw it. Only for the BFG, it more of a financial bomb instead of a critical bomb, grossing only $27 million for the opening weekend on a $140 million budget. I have no problem with articles saying how much of a financial failure that is because, well, those numbers speak for themselves. For the articles and blog posts that say that it’s the definitive sign that Steven Spielberg is “out of touch” with audiences, I think that’s a tad out of line.

Apparently the phrase “out of touch” has a new definition. Originally, I thought out of touch meant that a person or group was great at their craft and then they have been unsuccessful at their craft either suddenly or gradually. Now it means that one little misstep means you are irrelevant with the crowd.

Let me be a little clearer. People have been saying that because a Spielberg film was underperforming financially for one weekend (two days) that everything he has done over the last forty plus years will never be replicated by him. I doubt it. I believe that if someone has a track record (good or bad) they are likely to replicate it in the future. So let’s look at Spielberg’s track record when he was in the director’s chair…

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Let’s see, what do we have here, oh Bridge of Spies. Oh, look at that! 92% on Rotten Tomatoes, 81 on Metacritic, 67 award nomination and 18 wins. Six Academy award nominations and one win and zero Razzie award nominations and zero BARFTA nominations. $40 million budget and $165 million at the box office. That was released nine months ago! A blotch on Spielberg’s record! What an out of touch baffoon! I betcha Five bucks Spielberg is regretting that dungheap and the production companies are saying “He made us four times the budget we allowed him. He is unreliable. We won’t hire him again”

“Yeah but Nelson, you’re cherry picking!” says the deluded person. Ok let’s see, ah Lincoln: 97% of Rotten Tomatoes, made 4 times the production budget. Hey, there’s War Horse 77% on Rotten Tomatoes, made nearly three times the budget. To cut to the chase If you want to see a movie that wasn’t really a financial success you have to cast your eyes back to a movie called Amistad in 1997 and for the most recent critical failure, you have to go back to a movie called Hook released in 1991.

Yes, you heard me. His most recent critical flop was in 1991. Twenty-five years ago. I was not even born yet much less thought of (Not an exaggeration. I actually asked my mum if I was thought of as a child back in 1991. I do my research) That was back when mainstem music fans were pumped as Metallica made The Black Album and Guns ‘n’ Roses released two albums on the same day. It was also the time where owning a VHS and a walkman made you awesome. It was so long ago some of you younger readers don’t even know what a VHS or a walkman even is, who Metallica is or who Guns ‘n’ Roses are.

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“Yeah but, he’s now not performing so hot now with the BFG!”There are a number of factors as to why that is happening. Most of which is not Spielberg fault. I may concede that Spielberg did not get an actor the casual movie audience immediately recognises but for this movie, you need a child actor ( people don’t recognise many child actors) and an actor that is GCI’d to look fifty feet tall with different looks.There will be fewer people buying tickets to see movies with actors or characters they don’t know immediately. This fits well into the second reason why this movie flopped…

Finding Dory opened at about the same time as The BFG. Everyone who has seen a movie knows who Dory is. Finding Nemo is one of the most critically acclaimed movies that grossed nearly a billion dollars. Spielberg is up against a character many people have known for 12 years and loved for 12 years, plus the character is cute while the BFG is inherently ugly looking. Cute sells, knowing the character sells, nostalgia sells. Finding Dory had that, the BFG didn’t and couldn’t have had that because The BFG had no prior reputation at the movies. Movie tickets sell more than books nowadays.

“Yeah but, Spielberg could have picked a different release date” Three words: Not his responsibility. That is up the executives of the production company. Spielberg’s job is to make the movie. That’s it. Blaming Spielberg for the ill-timed release date is like blaming the car that it’s out of gas when in reality you drove it out of gas. I can picture those people saying “oh the light on the fuel gauge is flashing! There’s a petrol station five minutes away and my home is nearly an hour away. Nah, I don’t need petrol. As long as I have half a tank I can go anywhere!”

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Then I have heard other weak arguments like “He’s gotten worse and worse” Which, in Spielberg’s case, is like eating bread fresh off the oven now you have to eat two-day-old bread. And saying he has fallen financially is like saying a business used to make 10x ROI 40 years ago and has only made 4x ROI in the last ten years.

If you want directors that have fallen “out of touch” look up Gary Marshall. If you want actors that have been “out of touch” look up Nicholas Cage, Adam Sandler and Kurt Cameron. If you see a consistent spell of Spielberg movies (3-5 in a row) that haven’t tripled the production budget and/or scored less than 40% on Rotten Tomatoes come back to me and I will understand why you think Spielberg is out of touch. Until then, don’t say a man who has been successful in a cutthroat and highly competitive industry for more than 40 years is out of touch based on a bad result over a two day period.