Nacho Libre (2006) Review

RATING: 3/5

A monk skips his church duties to become a luchador, in order to make sure the orphans have a better life.

Real soft spot this one has on me.

The movie, revolved around Jack Black. Without him, I’m unsure if the movie would have still worked. Black was a complete joy to watch. Delivering such memorable moments and quotable quotes. The stretchy pants, the corn-smacking, eagle eggs, all of that was pretty funny.

As far as the rest of the cast, it was hit or miss, mostly miss. Outside of Nacho, his sidekick Stephen was certainly funny in some scenes. Especially when he screamed like a girl while in the ring. He didn’t deliver as much memorable material as Nacho, but still earned a place. When it came to the other characters, there were scattered comedic moments, but a big problem with them was that there was very little in terms of their personality. The movie didn’t go in-depth with them or make one care about them in the end.

There was good music presented. Like the opening song “Hombre Religioso (Religious Man)” by Mister Loco and of course, “EncarnaciĆ³n,” sung by Jack Black himself. Lots of the songs fit the movie in terms of tone, mood, and the location for where the film was shot.

The film did display some nice cinematography. One got to see some beautiful wide shots of the Oaxaca landscapes. There was good framing whenever the church/orphanage were pictured. Colors were popping and radiating from the screen. Which it should seeing that the sport of “Lucha Libre” shown was all flash and show.

Now with the Luchador scenes, I say there was some good choregraphed moves. My favorite was when Nacho and Stephen were fighting those two lion-gremlin luchadores. As mentioned prior, the girlish screams from Stephen were funny, as well as the dirty moves done by or done to Nacho. That’s not to say there wasn’t any bad choreography. There were times where one can clearly see the punches and kicks didn’t land. There were points of sloppy editing where it can ruin the pace and flow. In particular the Battle Royale scene where there was so much fighting happening all at once.

While I did like the film utilizing its practical stunts and effects, the couple times where CGI was used was an eyesore. I mean the scenes which it was used was understandable, but the quality of it was noticeable. I’ve watched the movie quite a few times and only now I’m just seeing it.

The execution of the plot was beat-for-beat. It followed the “liar reveal” tropes. I would say “School of Rock” handled it better. The character progressions were choppy. In the climax, Nacho got stronger through the power of love, friendship, and convenience, while the Ramses guy got weaker in a fraction of a second. Stephen was Nacho’s yes man for a majority and he received a rapid change of heart on orphans. Like the editing, the pacing and flow of the plot was scattered.

Despite a plentiful of flaws the movie threw, on a personal level there’s a special place in my heart for it. The awkward, quirky, crude, and ridiculous nature definitely won me over. Black owned the movie and it’s hard to imagine the film without him. It’s also hard to imagine that the film was inspired loosely by the story of “Fray Tormenta.” A priest who spent many years as a Luchador to raise money for the orphans he was caring. While the movie doesn’t do that the real-life story any justice, it was still enjoyable and fun to watch. For me there’s a good-size rewatchability factor. I recommend it for sure.

YouTube: Tk Theater Productions/LoneCentric Pictures

Instagram: tk_theater/lonecentricpic

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) Review

RATING: 4.5/5

Pumpkin King, Jack Skellington, grows bored and tiresome of Halloween. To a point where a comforting, warm-hearted, and jolly makeover is in need.

Revisiting this classic from my youth was something special.

A perfect example of a musical that I like. Generally I’m not a fan, but if the songs work, then I’m along for the ride like this film. The songs sung, what I can say, many of the tracks are upright classics. From “This is Halloween,” “What’s This,” “Poor Jack,” “Kidnap the Sandy Claws,” and of course, “Oogie Boogie’s Song.” Each track was catchy and memorable in their own way. One would be singing along with the tunes during and after the film that’s for sure. They delivered the right tone and emotion for the scene it was incorporated in. Composer Danny Elfman brought it home when he came in singing.

In terms of visuals, there was so much stuff to awe and ooo over. It was simply fascinating to look at the distorted and macabre scenery, the multitude of characters, and to be amazed by the gorgeous, fluid stop-motion. The moment when Jack was walking on Spiral Hill, with the immense moon shining in the background, was an iconic shot. Other eye-popping scenes were Boogie’s lair and Christmas Town. Everything felt alive. One couldn’t look away for their was so much flavor and style. Especially in the montage sequence of Jack’s presents terrorizing the families.

As mentioned the film boasted impressive scenery, which that impressiveness transcends onto the unique look of the characters. The People of Halloween Town had their own memorable quirk and cool design to make one stand out amongst the others. There was Sally, the Mayor, the Vampires, the zombie baby (Braindead reference possibly), Zero the ghost dog, the orange/black python, the werewolf, the town band, the trick o’ treaters, etc. A vast sea of characters.

The best two in my opinion, were Jack and Boogie. They stole the camera. They had the best music and best character moments. Boogie’s time was short, but incredibly sweet. His cool design and the way he carried himself with his flamboyant and sinister vibes make up for the screen time. Jack, was the character, who owned the film. His development from A to B was understood clearly. A being stuck doing the same routine on annually basis. He wanted to change things up badly. While his attempts and ideas were there, his execution brought him down. But in the end, he was thankful of what he done and him being what he’s famous for, was the only thing he was good of. Jack was proud of what he tried to accomplish, which one can respect. If a person did try something new and it doesn’t favor them in the end, they can say in the end at least they put in the effort in doing something different.

Granted the movie was extremely easy to follow. Easy to a point where one would definitely say, including me, the film was basic and not allowing any form of depth. Again it is and maybe I could have wanted a notch more clarity in the world and the characters. Though I think the simplicity was needed. It’s a basic story that had the capability of resonating with lots of people. The whole experience felt like watching a children’s fairy tale. Now with that, I’m not saying this film was mainly meant for kids. It can be for everyone. Plus, what are the odds of watching a movie that can be watched on two holidays? That’s extremely rare and it was nailed perfectly. The juxtaposition made things even more enjoyable to watch.

You know after watching this, I had no idea Santa Claus was called “Sandy Claws” by the people of Halloween Town. Also, when is there going to be another time where Santa shouts out “Happy Halloween.”

A Halloween and Christmas movie classic. It had very nice visuals, memorable music, gorgeous stop-motion, and a basic, yet very satisfying story with nice characters. Tim Burton was a favorite of mine as a child and it felt so good to revisit him. With talks of a sequel, I’m not sure if I want one. It’s best to leave this film alone. If one hasn’t seen it, watch it now. HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT!

Happy Holidays to all!

YouTube: LoneCentric Pictures/Tk Theater Productions

Instagram: tk_theater/lonecentricpic

Run (2020) Review

RATING: 4/5

[SPOILERS]

A wheelchair-bound teen suffering from numerous medical conditions, gets a sense of unease for how her mother treats her.

“Searching” director Aneesh Chaganty continues greatly with his thriller talents.

Performances in the film were really good.

Actress Sarah Paulson delivered in portraying a creepy and threatening mother (Diane). Who would do anything to keep her daughter safe and protected under her.

Actress Kiera Allen, who played the daughter (Chloe), was an interesting character. In the film, her character was portrayed as being smart and it truly showed. She was pretty resourceful in trying to escape her mother. Especially with the scene with her crawling on the roof while having her tools. The fact that she was suffering from all sorts of illnesses and disabilities, added layers in making one care for her so much. One slip-up, fall, or a shortness of breath, would have meant doom for her.

Just like with the movie “Searching,” Chaganty did very well at keeping one invested in the characters and story being shown. The snowball effect was handled nice in showcasing bits of information from Chloe trying to unravel the truth. Pieces were effectively shown while not fully revealed until the basement scene before the climax.

Suspense was definitely present in a number of scenes. One would be edge on what the mother would do with her daughter being extra sneaky. In particular in one scene where the mother was sitting still at the kitchen table as she watched her daughter on the computer. That moment was very creepy.

Speaking of the computer, there was a nice little Easter egg regarding the movie “Searching.” With the Microsoft logo appearing while the computer turned on.

Once the truth bomb of Diane not being the biological parent of Chloe hit, one felt a bit of sorrow and understood where the mother was coming from. Though that didn’t phase Chloe for one bit, from there the momentum built until the end.

The one film that this shared the most in common with was “Misery.” The comparisons were strong. But that wasn’t a bad thing. “Run” played things differently with the wheelchair-bound protagonist and again, there were additional layers to her that made one fear for her even more I think.

As far as the PG-13 rating, I don’t think it was too much of a fault. This was a good example of a thriller with that rating that worked. But there were moments where it unfortunately showed. There were a couple times where the dialogue or acting did get cheesy. It broke some of the tension for me. The best example where I rolled my eyes was when Chloe cussed and the scene cut before she finished. That kind of thing I’ve seen in some movies and it’s not warranted. Only in trailers and even there sometimes it’s not warranted.

I thought the number of diseases Chloe had seemed much. I say only two of the ailments were notably used while the rest were hardly utilized, except in the opening montage.

After Chloe finds out that Diane was not her mother, she for some reason still calls her mom. I feel at that point she shouldn’t be calling her that. Now in the revenge motive in the end scene was fine and it worked. But earlier I felt that she should not be saying that word.

Chaganty showcases for his second feature film, that he can direct and write really good thrillers. The performances were great from the two main leads and tension and suspense were effective at keeping one locked on the screen. Highly recommend it.

YouTube: Tk Theater Productions/LoneCentric Pictures

Instagram: tk_theater/lonecentricpic

Project Power (2020) Review

power

RATING: 2.5/5

[SPOILERS]

An ex-veteran needs to stop the underground operation of a super-pill which could lead to the disappearance of his daughter.

It had the “power”, no pun intended, to be something more. But unfortunately, it stayed on the safe route.

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