99 Homes (2015)

A desperate construction worker, Dennis Nash (Andrew Garfield) is really trying to make ends meat to support his son, Connor (Noah Lomax) and mother, Lynn Nash (Laura Dern). Nash is a construction worker who has been in-and-out of work all the time due to a poor economy. After several warnings of repossession, a sketchy real estate broker by the name of Rick Carver (Michael Shannon) shows up at the Nash home with police officers informing them that they must vacate the premises because the home now belongs to the bank. After being escorted off the property, Nash has no idea what he is going to do. He has no money, no job, and he has to take care of his son and mother. After a few days, Nash finally finds a job with Carver where he will have to do exactly what Carver does, even if that means cheating the government, which could very likely put him in prison for a long time, destroying people’s lives, and having his son and mother resent him as a person.

The is one that I have been looking forward to seeing for a while. I have never seen anything that director, Ramin Bahrani made prior to this film, but I may actually want to check them out now. I was really happy with the turnout of this movie. I think that it had a great story, great acting, directing and even went into character development. 99 Homes also teaches you some lessons in life that there are a lot of hardships in life and things like this can actually happen. This is just a really exciting and thrilling drama that often makes you feel bad for people, but love the people who are on the other end of this doing the illegal work. What I really liked about this is that we see Nash go from completely desperate when he loses his home, to greedy and unable to stop what he’s doing because he wants more.

The acting is what really made this movie better than good. Andrew Garfield gives a fantastic performance in this and he is someone who we know is capable of doing great things, but we often forget about him due to the amount he is actually in. He is someone who I think is capable of having an Oscar nomination in the near future. Another great thing about this movie is the outstanding performance from Michael Shannon. He has been in a lot of movies as of late and I think he has only gotten stronger as an actor in his career. He definitely stole the show on this now. Even the small amount that Laure Dern was in this, she was pretty good. She is generally good in everything she is in, so I kind of expected this.

99 Homes is pretty much a thriller and not a serious drama. There are a few scenes in this movie that will have your heart racing. There was even a lot of character development in this movie that sparked my interest. From the beginning, they really went deep into how Nash and his family live their lives and the hardships they faced all the time and they did the same with Carver. 99 Homes is definitely a movie that I think a lot of people will find to be good. This is a really good thriller that has you not knowing how things are going to work out for Nash. The entire movie is almost like watching a close sports game and you are down to the final two minutes.

Overall, 99 Homes is a crazy thriller with some triumphant performances and an interesting premise. This is one I recommend checking out.

Grade= B+

 

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Fantastic Four (2015)

Growing up as a geek in school, Reed (Miles Teller) has always been interested in science and what he can do with it to make a serious impact on life. Now he is in high school and he finally gets his chance to show some people at his science fair what it is he is trying to do. After doing something pretty unbelievable, Dr. Franklin Storm (Reg E. Cathy) asks Reed if he would be interested in a full scholarship and coming to work for him. This offer is way too good to be passed up. Reed then teams up with Dr. Storms two children, Johnny (Michael. B. Jordan) and Sue (Kate Mara). Then there is also the help of Reeds buddy. Victor (Toby Kebbell). After working on a huge operation for some time, the four of them finally get their machine working and then something goes horribly wrong. All of them have something strange about them that is pretty unexplainable. This is something that will absolutely be stuck with them for the rest of their lives and together, they will be fantastic!

Some time has passed that this movie came out and I have been extremely hesitant of checking it out. Yes, I am a huge fan of Marvel movies, but with this one, I don’t really know what happened. Even with a promising cast, this movie still needed a lot of help, but before I get to the negative, let me first talk about the positive of this movie. About the first hour of this movie I really did not have any complaints about this movie. I thought it kicked off strong and was going to deliver another awesome Marvel flick, but sadly after the first hour, it turned to, pardon my language, shit! It took a turn for the worst and completely destroyed any hope that this movie actually had.

The acting was honestly not too bad in the movie, but it went nowhere and just got completely ridiculous and stupid. Miles Teller was fine in this. He is actually one of the big up-and-coming actors in my opinion. I think that he is capable of a lot and he is someone who we should look out for. Kate Mara has definitely been in the game for a while ever since she was a supporting cast member of Netflix’s original series, House Of Cards. It does seem like she chooses some bad movies though. She was fine in this, as well as the rest of the cast. I really can’t complain about them, but the movie itself just was awful.

This movie started off so strong and then had a disappointing last hour. It absolutely could not finish in the way we all wanted it to and hoped it would. This is a movie that without-a-doubt should be entertaining its audience from start to finish, but it could not do that. This movie needs a different director to help out because with such a good cast there is no reason it should suck as much as it does. To be brutally honest, it actually turns into a compete trainwreck that everyone was expecting. All the interesting stuff goes away after the first hour and then we are left with pure boredom and no entertainment or awesomeness at all. This is one you can absolutely skip and is very disappointing for all Marvel fans.

Overall, Fantastic Four is a complete travesty that even the strong cast could not help. This movie needed so much help and is one that I was horribly disappointed by.

Grade= D

Self/Less (2015)

Here’s one that just came out yesterday that I was able to check out. Billionaire Damian Hall (Ben Kingsley) is one of the most richest men on the planet. He seems to have the perfect life and not a worry in the world because of the fact that he has all this money. He does, hover, have a pretty bad relationship with his daughter, Claire (Michelle Dockery). Damian is currently suffering from something that will take his life very quickly: cancer. Because Damian has all this money, he finds someone who get give him “shedding,” which means that his consciousness will be transferred to another body. After the procedure is finished, Damian, who is now called Edward (Ryan Reynolds), is now walking the streets of New Orleans. It turns out that this new body is from someone who had a whole life before he donated the body and Damian starts to have flash backs and see what kind of life this guy actually had.

I do not really trust Ryan Reynolds movies. I never have and probably never will again after sitting through what felt like four hours of a boring movie with poor writing and bad directing. Self/Less is a movie that I never really want to watch again. I found myself bored throughout the entire film and nothing about it excited me or made me enthused in the least bit. I just thought that this would be a movie that turned out to be awesome because of the premise, but I was absolutely wrong again and I feel as if I wasted my time with this one. The first twenty minutes were pretty cool, but the movie went absolutely nowhere and even when it tried, it started to make no sense and just get completely over-the-top.

As I mentioned earlier, Ryan Reynolds is someone who I do not really trust in the acting world. He never really shows me he is capable of playing a big character in a serious drama or an action film. He was nothing but a disappointment in this film and I think it would have turned out a little better if someone else was casted. My biggest issue with Ben Kingsley is that he is only in this movie for about 10 minutes. They made him out to be this huge character and he is barely in it. With all the actors involved, I just think that there are way too many dull and bad performances. This movie should have been a lot smarter than it actually was and I couldn’t find one smart thing about it.

Self/Less is the type of movie that you can’t wait for it to come out because the idea behind it is so cool and fascinating, but it leaves you with complete disappointment because of poor writing and terrible acting. These are the two main issues I found with this movie. This could have been an awesome action/thriller, but it doesn’t know which one it wants to be and gets caught up taking the audience in all types of different directions that are hard to follow. There was just really nothing that was intelligent with this movie at all and there was nothing really enjoyable for me. This is one I do not recommend and if you want to check it out, then do so at your own risk, but prepared for boredom and disappointment.

Overall, Self/Less is a movie that could have been a lot better than it was. There is some poor acting and writing in this movie. Even though there is an interesting plot, the movie fails.

Grade= D (Bad)

Jurassic World (2015)

Here’s something that I’ve been waiting fourteen years for! We fast forward twenty-two years after the incidents that occurred at Jurassic Park. Now we have, Jurassic World! Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) is the person who is in charge of making sure everything is running smoothly with the theme park. Jurassic World is not exactly creating the revenue Claire hoped for, so now the park needs something new. A new dinosaur is in the process of growing and it is called the Indominus Rex. It is around Christmas time and Claire has not seen her nephews in a very long time, so they come to pay her a visit on Isla Nublar. Gray and Zach (Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson) arrive at the park hoping to have a nice and fun time. After something goes horribly wrong with the Indominus Rex and it escapes out of captivity, the park needs to be evacuated, but Gray and Zach are left in the middle of an attraction not knowing anything is going on. Claire needs to go out in the middle of the park and find them. This is where things get extremely chaotic. Claire obviously can’t do this alone, so she does this with the help of Raptor trainer, Owen (Chris Pratt).

I absolutely could not wait to see this movie. Every since I found out that this was being made, this was the number one movie I wanted to see. Growing up I was and currently am a huge fan of Jurassic Park. I don’t even know how to start with this one. I tried to go into this with not all that high expectations and I am very glad I didn’t because I liked this a lot more than I thought I would. Let’s face it, it was going to be damn-near impossible to beat the first one, but Jurassic World is definitely a movie that provides us with more than enough entertainment and is absolutely the summer blockbuster that everyone has been waiting for. If you are a Jurassic Park fan, then hold onto you seats and sit back and enjoy this ride.

The acting in this is pretty good for the most part. After the lovable and powerhouse performance from Chris Pratt in Guardians Of The Galaxy, it only makes sense that he would be one of the leads in this movie. As funny as he was in NBC’s sitcom, Parks And Recreation, I think Pratt really found his role in movies like this. Bryce Dallas Howard really didn’t impress me all that much, besides the fact that she is smoking hot. I don’t really think there was anything wrong with her performance, but I think that someone else would have fit the role a tad better. I haven’t really seen her in all that much, which isn’t really a problem, but with a big release like this one, I wish that someone else was the lead role.

I am not even gonna touch the CGI factor. Just know that there is a ton of it in this movie. Jurassic World is absolutely the movie that the entire world has been waiting for. The effects that you see in this movie are absolutely incredible. Something I really loved about this movie was that it often gave props to the original movie, which I found to be very cool. This is definitely a movie that you have to see in theaters because of the sound and effects. I think that any true Jurassic Park fan will definitely enjoy this to the fullest amount, but if you have never seen the original three, then you may not enjoy it as much. I think this was a really enjoyable movie that gives you all kinds of cool and awesome effects. Two thumbs up from me!

Overall, Jurassic World is the summer blockbuster that everyone has been waiting for. It provides us with entertainment, over-the-top awesomeness and is just simply an enjoyable movie that demands you see it in theaters. I definitely recommend going to see this one!

Grade= B+ (Very Good!)

Hot Pursuit (2015)

This is exactly what I was afraid of! We meet Cooper (Reese Witherspoon), a cop who likes to do everything the correct way. The thing about Cooper is that she is not the brightest one in the bunch an after a bad incident, she finds herself working behind a desk rather than being out on the streets. Cooper is given another assignment and that is to transport a big time drug cartels wife, Daniella (Sofia Vergara) to a witness protection house in Dallas. Cooper is very excited about doing this because she has been out of the action for a little while and this is the perfect opportunity for her to get her feet back on the ground and show her boss that she is capable of being back out on the street. The whole time while Cooper is on the road with Daniella, it seems as if a real friendship may be developing, or is it?

First off, this movie was nothing but a waste of my time. I just want to point that out in the very beginning. Hot Pursuit is a movie that has an incredible amount of problems. To play it short, I really despise this movie and actually really never want to watch it again. I think that I may have laughed three times and to be quite honest it might be less than that. There was just nothing about this movie that showed me that it was good, let alone funny. I think that the script was very poorly written and I think that everything about this was just sloppy and took you in many stupid directions that were never interesting or entertaining. Every laugh in this movie that they aimed for was a complete fail.

The acting in Hot Pursuit is not only dreadful, it’s horrendous. I thought that with the great performance by Reese Witherspoon in Wild, we would start to see some interesting roles and good acting from Reese, but sadly we see nothing but poor acting from her in this movie. As far as Sofia Vergara goes, I think it is best if she just sticks to ABC’s, Modern Family. She seems to have pretty solid humor in that show, but in Hot Pursuit, she shows that her lack of humor makes her a terribly casted actress for this movie. The greatest acting performance in the movie was from Mike Birbiglia and he only shows up for about one minute. Witherspoon and Vergara showed me nothing to think that either of them are the least bit funny.

Everything about this movie just made it completely painful to watch. From the lack of laughs to the horrendous acting, Hot Pursuit falls way short of everything that it aimed for. This was just a poor comedy that shouldn’t even be labeled as a comedy. I can’t even tell you what category this movie should fall into because it doesn’t fit any of them. This movie is just so bad that is makes you feel terrible sorry for everyone that has watched it. This movie is pretty much the equivalent to any new Adam Sandler or Kevin James film. The only outcome we see from those movies are nothing but poorly acted, written and all-around bad movies. This exactly how I felt while watching Hot Pursuit. I definitely do not recommend seeing this one!

Overall, Hot Pursuit is another one of those movies that has nothing good about it at all. This is simply just a bad movie that is in no way funny and one that is forgettable fifteen seconds after it ends.

Grad= D- (Terrible!)

Maggie (2015)

Here’s one that recently came out I finally got a chance to see. Yes, this is another zombie movie. This time there is a deadly virus that is turning everyone into zombies once it reaches them. When small-town farmer, Wade (Arnold Schwarzenegger) finds out that his daughter, Maggie (Abigail Breslin) has been infected by the virus, he will stop at nothing to try to save her. Wade takes Maggie to see a doctor and the doctor releases her to spend whatever time she has left with her family. Wade’s wife, Caroline (Joely Richardson) tells Wade to take the kids to her sister’s house so they do not become infected by Maggie. Wade just wants to do whatever he can to protect his daughter even if he know’s her fate.

Maggie is a movie that i really questioned before going to see it because I thought how could I go sit through a zombie movie that I have probably seen twenty time already? While Maggie was not the best one out of the zombie movies, there was definitely something unique about this and I think that it is something that worked for the better. I definitely would not call this a drama because the whole movie follows how Maggie gets worse and worse and will eventually become a full-out zombie. This was definitely more of a drama in my opinion. It was definitely weird to see how a zombie movie became more of a heartfelt drama. This was the part I really had to get used to, but I definitely enjoyed it.

The acting we see in Maggie is pretty good for the most part. I thought Abigail Breslin was really good in this. I really haven’t seen much of her since Zombieland, but she definitely pulled this one-off. Now, Arnold Schwarzenegger on the other hand, I had a big problem with. For some reason I cannot take that guy serious as an actor. His accent is absolutely ridiculous and when he tries another one it just does not work out. Another reason I had a problem with him was because we don’t see enough of him in this. His goofy accent aside, he was actually pretty enjoyable to watch in this and most people will probably think he was good, but you just don’t see as much as you would like of him.

I will say that Maggie is definitely something different and very unique in its own way. I think it was a bold move to make this movie and it really worked out well. At first I thought it was going to be very goofy and stupid, but as I often prefer, I was proved wrong with my thoughts and I saw a movie that I really enjoyed and I thought was really good. This movie is definitely not one you would expect to see because it has to do with zombies, but it is definitely one that drama fans can enjoy. It did get crazy at times, but ti wasn’t crazy that was completely over-the-top. When they showed scenes with full-out zombies in them, they did the best they could and I really had no complaints about that.

Overall, Maggie is a good, fun drama that tells a pretty interesting story if you are a fan of zombie movies. This is definitely one I would add to the list of movies to see.

Grade= B (Good)

The D Train (2015)

Here’s a movie that just came out today. Dan Landsman (Jack Black) is the chairman of his high school alumni committee. While it is coming up on the both reunion since he graded high school, he wants everyone to RSVP. This is hard because every time he calls people, no one remembers him or they just simply don’t want to go. He feels he needs something huge to convince everyone to come. When he watches television one night, he notices that the coolest guy in high school, Oliver Lawless (James Marsden) is in a huge commercial that is all over tv. Dan wants to get Oliver to come to the reunion so everyone else will want to come. Dan needs to travel to L.A. to convince him to come. While Dan is out there, the two of them party it up and live the dream for the weekend and Dan starts to think that there is a potential serious friendship forming.

The D Train is a very dark comedy that really did not seem all that funny to me. While it did have the occasional laugh, I think that it just was not a laugh out loud comedy the whole movie. I think The D Train started getting a little over-the-top with scenes. To me, it just feels like the movie started running out of ideas of what would be funny and it just started to get very sentimental, which did not work. They tried getting very sentimental towards the second half of the movie and I think that if they steer cleared of doing that, it would have worked out better for the movie. I think this is a movie that had some serious potential, but I didn’t see them do anything with it because of the lack of humor and over-the-top sentimental scenes.

I actually have to I thought some of the acting in this movie was pretty great. Jack Black could have done a little better, but I could not get enough of James Marsden. I thought that he was absolutely awesome and hysterical in this. Jack Black just wasn’t his usual self in this and that really made me upset because I think that when Jack Black is in his right element, he is absolutely hilarious. I just didn’t see that with this movie and I really wish that he could have been better in this. I also loved how they brought Ned Scheenbly into this movie and it was a little reunion between him and Dewey Finn. But acting overall, not all that great and I wish director, Andrew Mogel would have done some things different with this.

The D Train is nothing more than a goofy, comedy that got released just to try to make a lot of money because of the big names that are in it. I can’t really figure out which direction they tried to take with this movie because it really tries to be funny from the start, but then tries overly hard to get serious and sentimental. It just did not work and I felt as if I walked away from this movie with much more disappointment then I did satisfied. The only interesting character that we see in this movie is James Marsden. He really pulled this role off and the rest of the characters left us bored with them and we couldn’t wait to see more of James Marsden. This was just an incredibly dark and dull comedy that didn’t really work.

Overall, The D Train is a movie that is occasionally funny and doesn’t really know if it is trying to make you have a heartfelt moment or make you laugh. This movie was pretty dull and I hope Jack Black does better with his next movie.

Grade= D (Bad)