Old (2021) Review

RATING: 1.5/5

A normal vacation turns into absolute hell for hotel guests as they start to age rapidly.

Interesting premise on the surface, dumbfounded within.

The first act, I’ll say was, decent enough. The pace was nice at building the interesting premise. One got introduced to the characters and their personality types. The buildup to the beach, was, again nice. Honestly the premise and the way the trailer presented the movie made me intrigued enough to go and see it. But, with M. Night attached to it, I was wary. To which, it definitely showed.

For starters, the dialogue in this was clunky and unrealistic. Especially the latter for the main son. How does the son know anything about mortgages? I mean M. Night making kids act like adults has been a special staple of his earlier work, but I thought after “The Visit,” I thought it was a turning point for him. I thought maybe M. Night was learning. But no, back to square one for the most part.

The dialogue also can be very numbing and painful to listen to. There were lots of exposition dumbs. One or two of which made me turn off my brain because it was going lightning round speed that I didn’t really care. I didn’t know what the characters were talking about. I don’t think the characters themselves knew what they were talking about. It makes my head hurt thinking about it.

Transitioning to the characters, they were not that interesting in the slightest. M. Night tried hard on attaching some kind of shtick to a particular character to make them stand out. But it doesn’t help as it came off as off-putting and silly. There was a doctor who randomly was thinking about some Jack Nicholson movie. What? There was a character whose rapper name was (drum roll)…”Mid-Sized Sedan.” What?! Really?! Also, going back to the main son, how…exactly…does the kid…a six-year-old…know about sex? Creepy. There was a woman with some bone problem which led to her limbs and body being twisted and tangled. I wasn’t laughing, I was chuckling. But I can surely see how one can view that as being funny as opposed to being horrifying.

Also, does the substances the hotel gave the guests increase intelligence? How do the main children act and talk like adults as they were aging? Though I guess I shouldn’t continue in putting reasoning into this. I mean once one of the children started talking mortgages, logic was out of the window.

Cinematography can be pretty good with its tracking shots, wide shots, and establishing shots. But those extreme close-ups were too much. Also, the framing of many shots was awkward. Scenes featured characters that should have been on-screen or they were but one only saw bits of their body.

Pacing was all over. While the dialogue would sometimes go fast, situations moved quite slow. I understand the context of the characters not getting off the beach, but still, interesting characters and more realistic dialogue are a must first. I don’t want to see uninteresting characters spouting disjointed dialogue, walking back and forth on a beach for two hours discussing what to do. It wasn’t two hours, but it felt longer.

The film went on for ten minutes too long. Firstly, the first twist was not that surprising, as one could mostly figure it out right from the start. Honestly if the movie were to end a little bit after that first twist, it actually would have been fine. But the film went on longer than it should have with its second twist and happier ending.

M. Night’s weakest film in quite some time. There could have been some promise with the interesting premise. But M. Night’s special tropes brought it down considerably. It’s not funny bad like the “The Happening.” There were moments sure, but it was more or less, plain bad. I read M. Night made a two-picture deal with Universal, I’m hoping his next thriller is better directed. But with M. Night, it’s always hard to tell.

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Up (2009) Review

RATING: 4.5/5

A grumpy old man’s dream of fulfilling his deceased wife’s dream is overcome with many obstacles that gradually bring life into him.

A movie that brings in the feels for sure.

The opening, needs no introduction. Everybody had talked about how perfect it was and, yes, it was perfect. As far as the visual storytelling accompanied by the music, it was all done superbly well. Even with no dialogue, one got an immense grasp of the emotions being brought forward from the life of Carl and Ellie. It was during the sequence that one could understand clearly the reasoning for Carl’s motivations and why he wanted to go above and beyond to fulfill a promise.

The concepts alone were quite imaginary and original. Sure, a house being lifted by thousands of balloons is virtually impossible. But, it did make the film fun to look with its bright colors and gorgeous cinematography. Whenever the house was floating graciously in the clouds or when Carl/Russel were walking the house, the imagery would be amazing.

Outside of the house, the film had very nice cinematography and visuals. Especially whenever the Venezuelan environment was showcased or when the “Spirit of Adventure” blimp was revealed.

As said prior, Carl was a great character with understandable motivations and the arc he went through flowed smoothly. The rest of the cast did pretty good too. There was quite a bit of back and forth parallels. Carl never had a child and had a difficult time with handling Russel. Russel doesn’t spend time with his father and had a difficult time having a male figure in his life, guiding/caring for him. Muntz represented the dark half of Carl. Just like with Carl for two-thirds of the movie, Muntz was a man with a burning passion and he wanted so badly to fulfill a promise.

Composer Michael Giacchino nailed it. Without him, the film probably wouldn’t have worked as well as selling the teary emotions. The tracks that sold the most were whenever Carl was on-screen solo. Tracks such as “Married Life,” “Carl Goes Up,” & “Stuff We Did,” were memorable and classic pieces.

So what’s keeping me from giving this a perfect rating? Well there were a couple things.

For one, the film wasn’t humorous for me. A lot of times I would be chuckling, but there wasn’t a time where I would burst. The “humorous” segments were more cute than anything. Like Kevin’s antics, the Alpha dog having a chipmunk voice, the dogs flying mini-airplanes, was all cute but nothing worth laughing heavily on.

I do wish there was something more with Muntz. This was the man or source of inspiration behind Carl’s character and reasoning for going to Angel Falls. It would have been interesting if there was some kind of conflict revolving around this.

One thing I completely forgot and stunned me was the fact this Pixar film showcased blood as clear as day. Something that prior films did very little and something that the later films hardly did. Quite a risk for Disney on their part, but it’s something I welcome.

Such a great film, not just in the Pixar line-up, but animations as a whole. It was a film that showcased how one shouldn’t be so wrapped up in the past and how they should simply live life to the fullest. Even if one can’t fulfil their lifelong dream, that shouldn’t stop them in the present. One should enjoy life the way that makes them happy.

If you haven’t seen it, drop what you’re doing. It had strong performances, great visuals, well done cinematography, memorable music, and above all else, it’s an emotional story that everyone should see to get a lift in life.

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A Quiet Place 2 (2021) Review

RATING: 3.5/5

Picking up immediately after the events from the film prior, the Abbott family leave their home to find survivors and hope.

SO GOOD, to FINALLY be back in the theater. To be back and watch a good movie.

Compared to the intro from the first, I got to say I prefer the one presented in this one. The way the entire first act was shot, paced, and the build-up for how things went down, was handled very well. There was hardly any music playing, only environmental noises to help create a foreboding and uncomfortable atmosphere. One felt dread for the citizens in the town, but one didn’t know when the horror was going to strike. Once it struck, it hit hard.

The silent tension was executed nicely. Every step or every noise a character made would send a soft chill up the spine. Especially for the character of Regan (Millicent Simmonds) whenever there were moments of complete silence. That feeling alone made me really root for her into being my favorite character. She’s going far and beyond to rectify her actions from the first.

As far as the rest of her family, they were still good performance wise. There were touching moments for Evelyn (Emily Blunt) when she was revisiting her son’s grave. I definitely felt the pain Marcus (Noah Jupe) dealt with from the bear trap. It was nice to see his character evolve to become someone braver and be more relaxed in a tense situation. Granted, I would have liked to have seen more development. The new character of Emmett (Cillian Murphy) was an interesting character in terms of his fortress and the sentimental things that surrounded him. Again, it would have been nice to see some further development.

As the initial attack was further explored in the first, so was the world after. One got to learn more about the aliens’ weaknesses and how the humans were able to fortify homes on islands.

I did like the parallel stories that were happening all at once. Each character in each were going through their different struggles and I found it interesting on how the movie ended on a bittersweet note. The notable characters survived, but didn’t come together in the end.

While the sequel did do things better, there were some questionable moments. Like the bit where the alien hopped onboard a boat. It must have been very lucky the wind carried him precisely on the island containing the humans. I mean there was no way the alien controlled the boat. These aliens are not intelligent in the least. The leader of the island needed to go back to his family, while completely forgetting the alien was right outside. For the climax, the potted plant was on the table, sitting there, waiting to be used but wasn’t.

When it came to the silent group on the docks, I didn’t feel a sense of dread or worry for the heroes. I kind of wanted the scene to go by as quickly as possible.

Much like with the first film, there were jump scares. Not as much as the first, but still annoying. Thankfully I didn’t jump when they happened.

For the most part, the CG was nice. But other times it can look pretty bad especially in the climax.

Since this was a Michael Bay production, there almost needed to be an American flag waving in the background. Not a negative for the film, but I did chuckle whenever they popped up on-screen.

John Krasinski did it good for the sequel. He kept the same uncomfortable feeling/tension from the first, the performances were all good, and the world building made for some interesting scenes. There were ideas that didn’t quite stick the landing, but it doesn’t ruin the film overall. “A Quiet Place 2” was a worthwhile experience especially seeing this was my first film since the closings last year. So check it out and one would be interested in what the third entry has in store.

YouTube: LoneCentric Pictures/Tk Theater Productions

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Wall-E (2008) Review

RATING: 4/5

A small, compactor robot gets a visit from a female robot from a ship light-years away. The robot pursues her on a space-faring journey through the stars.

The first half of the movie, from the opening credits to when Wall-E reached the Axiom ship, was superb. Everything from the mood, setting, interactions, music, and the little dialogue portrayed, was handled so well.

As the film started, one was given an introduction to the planet Earth, while the song “Put on your Sunday Clothes” plays. Shortly one was introduced to Wall-E. He was an enjoyable character throughout. He was clumsy and na├»ve at times, but he was always pushing to thrive what he wanted, even if it meant losing his life. Wall-E always wanted to keep hope alive. As seen when he was residing in his living quarters or interacting with past Earth objects. A great design by the way. I love how it took inspirations from real-life rovers and turned it into something plausible.

I loved the scene where Wall-E was rolling through the trashy ruins of Earth. A great introduction and at the same time, a nice way for one to think of the situations that came into play to cause Earth to be like it was depicted. Even with the promo ad of B&L popping up, speculation was still there as to how Wall-E was the last of his kind cleaning up the trash. But still, it gave a healthy amount of what happened, how it happened, and what the end result was.

Once EVE dropped down on Earth, the adorable and cute factors were cranked up. The interactions between Wall-E and EVE were handled well throughout the movie. It placed a smile on one’s face when one saw Wall-E showcasing EVE his crib or when the two were harmoniously dancing around the Axiom ship. There was something about their relationship that felt really special and magical. I liked the moment when EVE lit the lighter, signifying a spark for Wall-E that she was definitely the one.

The music in the first half was great. Utilizing songs from the 60s musical “Hello, Dolly!,” added a sense of wonder and heartwarming charm. They were handled greatly whenever it was used in the opening credits with the space in the background or when Wall-E and EVE were sharing a moment. Other tracks too like “La Vie En Rose” or “Define Dancing,” deserve a highlight.

One of the main benefits of the first half was there being little dialogue. The film was mainly visual storytelling, which was something that really stands apart from other Pixar films. It wasn’t boring in the least. It was vastly entertaining and one can easily mute the picture to tell what was happening based on the characters interactions or their personalities/expressions. Having little words helped in one getting sucked into the world and to be invested in the characters in a fine, flowing manner.

While the first half hit all the right notes, the second half sadly was when things took a turn. The moment Wall-E reached the Axiom, the movie doesn’t quite reached the levels the first half garnered.

On one hand, the social commentary on how things such as advertising and technology impacting humanity was nice to witness. I liked the aspect of how us people can be so accustomed to the digital screens that once they’re removed, one saw a whole new world. I wish it was executed a bit better as there were times where it didn’t make sense for some of the people to not know about the things available on the ship, but others do. I wish it could have explored a little more of the concepts or maybe do something more with the humans detaching themselves from technology.

Another contradiction was EVE’s directive. She wanted to seek/prove that Earth was still habitable, yet Wall-E’s roach friend wasn’t enough for her to realize that.

A vast majority of the supporting characters don’t leave an impact as they were bland or uninteresting, especially the main villain. I mean something about the villain not seeing the plant as evidence confused me greatly. Some of the designs of the robots were neat. I will say the only character in the second half I did kind of liked was the Captain. He did make me chuckle from time to time.

The only saving graces from the second half were the scenes involving Wall-E himself or Wall-E/EVE.

“Wall-E,” with its first half, was exceptional. If the entire film kept that same mood, atmosphere, and direction, it surely could have been one of the best Pixar films. If not the best. Still, regarding the film as a whole, it was a great viewing pleasure. It delivered enough heart and uplift to make one feel deeply for the two main characters and their journey to the end. The second half had its moments of joy and comedy definitely and it doesn’t hamper the film drastically. “Wall-E” is still certainly worth seeing.

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