Weekend Binge #2

War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)war_for_the_planet_of_the_apes

I like the Planet of the Apes franchise, in particular I enjoyed the originals a lot, but I couldn’t really get into the new trilogy. This was an ok movie, but I only watched it for completion’s sake so I wasn’t expecting too much. See I find it extremely difficult to follow the plot in movies that are live action but mostly CGI because my brain just zones out.  I thought it was almost interesting trying to come full circle by introducing Nova, but it didn’t really work for me because if you watched the first Planet of the Apes right after this, it wouldn’t make any sense. In that movie she’s put in a cage like another animal, so if she was originally like a pet to them or someone they cared about how come they treated her like any other human? It felt like a quick last minute tie in and not something that was very thought out. The effects are pretty great obviously, and they did a good job trying to evoke emotion from the audience. I couldn’t really empathize too much with CGI though, so it was sort of lost on me. Now try and stay with me here… what I’m about to say in no way reflects the quality of this movie, I’m merely trying to compare the ideas. This was sort of like the Star Wars prequels in that it tries to explain things that I never really wanted to know. Personally, I never cared why humans couldn’t talk or how apes took over the world so this just didn’t appeal to me in any way (just like how I don’t care about Midi-chlorians!).

However, this is a well done movie with some emotional moments and I can understand how it was so highly praised. If you liked the first 2 movies in this trilogy I’m sure this won’t disappoint you.

 Verdict: 7/10 Don’t forget the subtitles or you’ll end up listening to monkey grunts for 20 minutes and have to rewind

Stronger (2017)stronger.png

I looked at this movie and thought it was some tear jerking Oscar bait movie and didn’t want to waste my time on it, but then I noticed that Jake Gyllenhaal was in it and I pretty much had no choice. He hasn’t disappointed me in a long time so any movie he’s in, I’m there. Thankfully this ended up being so much better than I thought it’d be. I thought it was really respectful of the event and the survivors and it didn’t feel like it was just trying to cash in. One of my favorite scenes is when Jeff is in the hospital and he’s getting his bandages changed. The focus of the camera is on his face and his pain, while his legs are out of focus in the background. The point of the scene is to show what he had to endure, not to show the gore for shock value or flaunt off the special effects. It was unexpected, but I liked how they handled that a lot. They did something similar when he goes to wave the flag at the hockey game. That whole scene was incredible with the way they handled his PTSD and the emotion between him and his girlfriend, Erin.

Overall this is a pretty good movie. The acting, effects and handling of the tough subject matter was all done exceptionally well and this is well worth checking out.

Verdict: 8.1/10 Bring some Kleenex

mother! (2017)

The only thing I knew about this movie going in was that it was really weird and you’ll either love it or hate it. For some reason, I thought Jennifer Lawrence was supposed to be a robot and I spent the whole movie waiting for her to plug herself in to charge or something. Maybe if she was a robot I would’ve liked it more than I did. The first half wasn’t bad, but the second half was just too WTF for me. There was too much going on and none of it really made sense. I don’t even have a favorite image to screengrab here so all you get is text!

As a fan of Requiem for a Dream and Black Swan, I thought I might enjoy this but oh well… you win some you lose some. Maybe if you liked The Fountain you might like this.

Verdict: 6.4/10 She’s definitely NOT a robot…

Sing Street (2016)

sing_street.pngThis is another musical with another great soundtrack. This one takes place in the 80s and stars a 15 year old boy who starts a band to impress a girl he likes. I was a little skeptical at first after hearing the boy’s voice, but he started to get into it and I thought he sounded great. Some of the songs were catchy and they were a lot of fun to listen to. The brother was really great in this movie; his character was so deep and well written, and the actor who played him gave a fantastic performance.

If you like musicals then I’m sure you’ll like this. If you grew up in the 80s, I’m even more sure you’ll like this.

Verdict: 7.8/10 Get ready for a good time!

Lovesong (2016)lovesong.png

I’m not totally sure where I heard of this movie but it somehow made it on to my “To Watch” list, so when I saw it on Netflix I thought I’d give it a go. This movie is about 2 friends who sleep with each other once then don’t see each other again until one of them gets married. It’s a little awkward, but also kind of sweet, but also kind of sad. This movie was a child size roller coaster of emotion. That kid was so adorable I thought I was going to die whenever she said something and there were some really good laughs, namely “Anal Saturdays”… man was that a great scene. I liked the movie up until the ending then I got sort of annoyed. Watching people being stupid just makes me mad. I wish I could’ve reached into the movie and slapped them. Look at that image! Don’t they look happy? I think so. Ok… well out of context that doesn’t look too happy, but in context it was really sweet and I liked it.

Overall, this is a slow, mediocre “romance” type movie and I’d say it probably won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you have nothing else to do on a Sunday afternoon, maybe give it a whirl.

Verdict: 7/10 Anal Saturdays

45 Years (2015)

I heard good things about this movie and I had it queued to watch on Netflix for months despite it not looking too interesting to me. My instinct happened to be right in this case, and I didn’t enjoy it at all. It’s about this couple who are just about to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary when they receive some news that will change their lives in a big way. I won’t give away what the big news is because I think learning about it as the characters do helps you feel the emotions right alongside them. As far as how it made me feel, well I can understand the heartbreak and how it’d feel to have your entire life put into question, but maybe I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind to really have it hit me emotionally.

I found myself really bored through long stretches of this movie. Perhaps if you’ve been married for 44 years and 11 months you might be able to relate a little more and will enjoy this… otherwise I can’t really say I’d recommend it.

Verdict: 6.4/10 Ehhhhhhh


Weekend Binge #1

The Weekend Binge is a new series of blog posts I’ll be writing where I rattle off some reviews of the movies I binge watched on the weekend. Sometimes I just like chain watching movies and don’t really have the time to give them all a full post, but I’d still like to talk about them. So here we go!

Band Aid (2017)

This movie reminds me a lot of Patti Cake$ because of the way this couple creates their songs. It’s very organic and it all happens in the moment. Some of the songs were pretty funny and the leads had great chemistry. Writing songs about their fights is an interesting idea, and the movie was entertaining to watch. There were some extremely awkward moments though. Like so awkward that I didn’t even want to watch them. Most of the scenes with Fred Armisen just made me cringe. I think they played the awkward weird neighbour card a little too much. Also, the ending wrapped itself up a little too quickly and I think it would’ve been better served to take its time tying up all the loose ends.

Overall this is sort of a fun movie, but it deals with some heavy topics. I enjoyed it a lot and if you like Patti Cake$ I think you’ll like this one too.

Verdict: 8/10 A band aid for the heart

Frank & Lola (2016)

I really wanted to like this movie, and while I enjoyed the story, I felt like the acting just left a little too much to be desired. Most of the time I just wanted to slap Frank and make him say something. He barely says a word through most of the movie. He’ll take like 10 seconds to answer someone and when he does answer them, it’s in this low voice and it’s really slow. In his job interview, the conversation was something like, “Did you use a truffle?” – “…Yes.” – “That wasn’t in the basket.” – “…Ok.” – end of scene. All that aside, I was semi-invested in them as a couple and was rooting for them at the end of the movie.

This one isn’t terrible, but it’s not great. If you’re in the mood for something really… really… slow… you might like this.

Verdict: …6.7 …/ …10

Logan Lucky (2017)


I did not expect to like this movie at all. I saw it and vaguely recall hearing that it was good, but I didn’t know what it was about. Turns out it’s a hillbilly bank robbery movie and a pretty funny one at that. The chemistry between the characters was very good and I actually laughed out loud. The heist was interesting and I didn’t expect what happened at the end. While not a huge change to the heist movie formula, it took me by surprise and I love surprises.

This is a very good movie. It’s a lot of fun, has Kylo Ren as a one armed bartender, some sexy car shots, and a great ending. Definitely worth a watch.

Verdict: 8.2/10 Logan Lucky to have been in the presence of a car as beautiful as that Mustang

November Criminals (2017)


This movie didn’t really appeal to me, but I’m a fan of Ansel Elgort after seeing him in Baby Driver, a movie I loved so much that I watched it back to back. He tried so hard in this movie, but the script and plot just couldn’t be overcome. None of the character’s actions felt genuine. It was like the writers wanted certain things to happen so they forced the characters to do things they would never do and made no sense. Then the movie kept repeating its themes over and over again. I think the audience is smart enough to realize why he’s looking into his friend’s death, they don’t need to be beaten over the head with it. In the end, I just felt like this was a pointless movie with nothing new to offer to the solving a crime genre.

If you’ve never seen a crime solving drama before, maybe you’ll find this interesting. Personally, I didn’t really care why the kid died or who did it… I was just not invested through most of it. I hope both the leads can get out of the teen dramas and start doing some more adult movies because they’re both excellent actors and I want to see them in more excellent movies.

Verdict: 5/10 Maybe next time just call the police?

Crown Heights (2017)


Last but not least, a movie that shows I don’t change. I’m still judging movies based on where they played. This one was also part of the Sundance film festival along with Patti Cake$ and was one of the only reasons why I decided to watch it. I didn’t have very high expectations, but this was actually pretty good. I’m a huge fan of these wrongful conviction, crime solving movies and this was one of the good ones. The biggest thing that sets this apart from other movies in this genre is the way the story is presented. You see almost nothing of the prosecution’s case in the beginning, it’s all from Colin’s perspective and you’re left wondering why all these stupid kids keep lying. Later on in the film, you start to see why they said the things they said. It’s one of the first movies I’ve seen that gives some insight into what the so called witnesses were thinking or feeling during the case. This is based on a true story so I guess the outcome really shouldn’t have surprised me, nonetheless I was a little surprised by how it ended. Usually these movies follow a specific formula: meet the main character, crime happens, character is arrested and convicted, friends/family/interested third party takes up the case, character is retried and wins the case. This movie hit all of those beats, but changes it ever so slightly at the end and it almost gives me hope for the US justice system.

If you like this type of movie, definitely give this one a watch. It’s near the top of the pile and will get you pretty fired up. There are lots of ups and downs and “how can this happen?!” moments.

Verdict: 8.3/10 If someone dies in your neighborhood, maybe just leave the country to be safe…



Patti Cake$ (2017)


I’ll admit one of the only reasons I decided to watch Patti Cake$ was because I saw that it played at the Sundance Film Festival and part of me is a movie snob that thinks film festival movies are better than most. In any case, Patti Cake$ is about a young woman trying to make it as a rapper with some help from the unconventional members of her group. You may be thinking to yourself, “Great, another one of those movies, that doesn’t sound very original.” Don’t think that to yourself yet though because I’m here to tell you how this movie keeps it fresh and exciting.

The first thing it does well, and it better for being a movie about rapping, is the music. Patti is a fantastic rapper and the songs were catchy. I had some of them stuck in my head the next day and I had to YouTube them when I got home. I particularly loved how authentic it felt to watch them create some of the songs. They’d start it up with a sick beat then spitball around some lyrics until they found a chorus then built the rest of the lyrics up around that. It was a lot of fun to watch and, most importantly, to listen to.

Great music is to be expected from a great movie about music, but that isn’t what makes this so special. Hands down, the greatest part of this movie is the characters. They’re extremely unconventional and not your typical leads. All too often these days in movies, whenever you have a woman who isn’t stick thin she’s delegated to the comic relief or is just the punchline. In this movie, Patti becomes the punch line but then she punches right back. Call her fat? Call her ugly? She will destroy you in a rap battle, no question about it. This is the debut film of the actress, Danielle Macdonald, and I for one will be watching her very closely because she is a real talent and I’m looking forward to her next projects. She actually learned to rap for this movie, and wow does it pay off because every time she opens her mouth I am blown away by her talent. She has so much charisma and skill that if this was real I’d be listening to all her music.

I highly recommend this movie, and not just because it played at Sundance, but because it’s a fresh take on an old story. It’s expertly acted with some catchy tunes and I guarantee you’ll have a good time with it.

Verdict: 8.4/10 Peanut butter to the Wonder bread, jam to the Smucker’s, like some impotent dads they some bad motherfuckers


Love is in the Air

So it just happened to work out that the next two movies I watched were both romances. Unfortunately that’s where the similarities ended as they couldn’t have been executed more differently. One turned out mindblowingly well and the other left me wondering why I even bothered to watch it.

Room in Rome (2010)


Room in Rome is about two women who spend the night together in a room… in Rome. I heard about it from a list of movies to watch on Netflix (that have sex in them). This was one of the few that caught my attention so I decided to give it a go. The whole premise of this movie is that these two women fall in love during that one night. There were parts of the romance that felt genuine but then the next scene would undercut it with either bad dialogue or just bizarre character actions. Case in point, nothing in the movie was surreal or hallucinatory up until the very end when Alba gets shot in the heart with an arrow. I understand they were trying to go for a cupid type thing, but it’s too late in the movie to change things up that drastically. The movie was artsy up to that point, but everything was very much real. I lost any emotion I was feeling for the characters and just kind of laughed to myself. The absolute worst, most laughable part of the movie was when Alba tells Max that Natacha is a tennis player and tells Alba that he should check her arms to see if one is stronger than the other. That has to be the laziest way to find out more about a character. Alba just guessed tennis player out of every profession in the world? Clearly the only way to check for tennis players is to compare their arms because no other profession in the world would cause that. Do football players and pitchers have one arm bigger than the other too? Maybe she’s a professional softball pitcher. Give me a break, I’m not going to suspend my disbelief enough for that one.

I was in the perfect frame of mind to invest in this story. I’ve been in situations where I’m with someone and have to leave knowing I won’t see them again. I know how heart wrenching it can be, but they never built the romance up enough for it to work. I couldn’t see how the two of them would ever make it work and I felt like the only reason they didn’t want to leave the room was so they didn’t have to go back to their lives. I don’t believe for a minute that Natacha would leave her fiance for a woman since she was so against it for the first half of the movie. Obviously a few short orgasms is enough to change someone’s mind. Straight my whole life, but sure I’ll switch teams and destroy my life for a person I barely know. The only reason anyone seems to promote this movie is because of the sex and nudity. Without that, it’s a completely uncompelling story and I don’t know why I even bothered to finish it. Blue Is the Warmest Color did everything much better: longer sex scenes, straight and lesbian scenes, more authenticate romance, sadder break up,  and more interesting characters.

Verdict: 5/10 – Watch porn instead

Once (2007)


Once is about a man who meets a woman while he’s playing guitar on the streets. They start spending time together and she ends up helping him professionally record his music. The entire movie is scored with the most beautiful soundtrack I’ve heard in years. I hadn’t even heard of this movie until a few days ago. I had finished watching Moulin Rouge! and saw this on a list of best music movies. After scrolling through, this one stood out to me and seemed to have decent comments. I was skeptical for the first few minutes and wasn’t really paying attention. That is until the man starts to play Say it to Me Now. Half way through it picks up and once I heard it, my jaw dropped. I couldn’t take my eyes or ears off the movie from that point on. The music just blew my mind, so much so that I’m listening to the soundtrack as I’m writing this. The man and woman in the movie have great musical chemistry and their songs are so beautifully sad and romantic.

Aside from the musical aspect of the movie, the romance is subtle but so present. It’s always there beneath the surface but never spoken about. It seems the two of them enter the friend zone when it’s so easy to see they both want to be with each other. Something is just holding them back from making a move. When she tells him she loves him in Czech it just broke my heart. She didn’t even have it in her to see him off before he left for Dublin. Compared to Room in Rome, I absolutely believe this romance and understand why their parting was so difficult. This movie didn’t have the allure of sex to draw in viewers, it relied on the music and story to spread the word. It’s 9 years later, and it definitely worked on me.

The premise reminds me of Before Sunrise where the two characters are together for a short time and don’t end up together. A sequel worked great for that movie, and I think it’d be perfect here as well. I’d love to see how the man’s music career turns out and see what becomes of the woman and her life. Sequel or not, this one tops my romance list and this soundtrack just made it into my music library.

Verdict: 9/10 – You’ll be falling slowly in love with this movie