War For The Planet Of The Apes (2017)

Following the epic last battle from then leader, Koba, Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his apes still remain fighting for their lives against the humans who want the apes extinct. The apes are now forced into a deadly conflict with a large, manipulated army of humans led by a ruthless colonel (Woody Harrelson). After Caeser suffers the tragic loss of his wife and son, vengeance is the only thing on his mind. While the rest of the apes seek to find a new home, Caesar sets out on his own mission to finish the colonel once and for all. Once Caesar finally meets the colonel, a whopping battle takes place to determine the fate of both of their species.

The Planet of the Apes trilogy that we have been watching for the past few years has only seemed to have gotten better and better. Rumor has it that War is going to be the last film that the franchise has to offer us. Well, at least, for now, that is the word on the street. Is this a happy conclusion to the franchise you may ask? No, but only because there still seems to be some life left in these films and it would be sad to see it all end, even if the three films have been perfect.

That said, War For The Planet Of The Apes may quite possibly be the best film of 2017 so far. If the rumors are true and this does happen to be the end of this incredible franchise, with almost no flaws from any of the movies, then job well done. Even with the incredibly amount of overwhelming scenes and dialogue, War provides enough action and smartness to capture the viewers attention throughout and is undoubtedly the best summer blockbuster that you will see this year. And a lot of that credit goes to Andy Serkis who has mastered this character.

Following the prior two films I was a tad bit worried that this was not even going to be remotely as good as the previous two, but War gave us a story that actually works, and works better than the first two films. Even though this franchise has made its fair share of money, it’s clear that director, Matt Reeves was not just in this for the money because he wanted to expand on the previous film and continue an awesome story. And that’s exactly what the audience gets with War. It’s exciting, fun and at often times a little tense.

Overall, War For The Planet Of The Apes is the summer blockbuster that people have been waiting for. It’s extremely emotional, exciting and an all-around fun ride. If this is truly the end of this heavily underrated franchise, the finish was well worth the wait.




La La Land (2016)

Mia (Emma Stone) is working at a coffee shop in Warner Bros. Studios and is feeling like she is a failed actress. She constantly goes to different auditions and never receives a call back. All she is hoping for is that one big break so she can land a major role. Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) is a jazz pianist who’s only dream is to one day own his own jazz club. However, jazz music seems to be becoming less and less popular, so he is kind of out of luck with this one. Sebastian spends his time playing household tunes at a local restraint where he works for tips. While playing at a restraint, he catches the eyes of Mia and the two suddenly fall for one another. While Sebastian and Mia both have huge hopes and dreams, the longer they stay together, the more they begin to fade in different directions.

Usually when I find out I am going to see a movie that is a musical I get somewhat worried because they are either hit or miss. Luckily La La Land works in every way and is pretty much a perfect movie. It is the kind of movie that is not only fun and entertaining, but as soon as the singing and dancing stops and the people start talking it is just as entertaining and exciting. La La Land is just a very happy movie, and it’s as simple as that. It is the type of movie that does not come around all that often and there is no doubt in my mind that this will be a serious contender for best picture, if it not already has the award wrapped up.

There’s a lot more to La La Land then it just being your happy musical movie. This film shows you all of the great things the world has to offer you and also the hard realities that people sometimes have to face. After watching this movie you have a lot of hope with your future life endeavors. It’s movies like this that leave a special place in your heart because it makes you feel like you can do anything you want with your life and things will work out. Director, Damien Chazelle definitely loves his jazz music and we understood that when he made Whiplash, but he takes it to a whole different level here. And what you see from Stone and Gosling is pure magic. The chemistry these two actors have together is something that I can’t wait to see again. The way their characters intervened with each other and developed with one another is something that I love when watching a movie.

As mentioned above, there is no way this movie does not get loads of Oscar nominations because it’s already killing it with Golden Globe nominations. I would not be surprised if this wins everything that it is nominated for. This is the first movie of 2016 that I have seen where I can say it was perfect. Not to mention the scoring of this film is unbelievable. The choreography, cinematography and directing are just as superb as the acting. If you are a fan of film then you will love this movie. If you are a fan of film and not musicals, you will still love this movie. Everything that Chazelle did with La La Land all fell perfectly in place and works wonders for the audience. After much time and thought about this movie, I will be incredibly shocked if it does not win Best Picture.

Overall, La La Land is the type of movie that is a must see. It delivers on everything you would want to see form a movie. With great directing, superb acting, excellent writing, and exciting songs, La La Land works in every single way and is the perfect movie of 2016. Chazelle is at the top of his form with this one.

Grade: A

Creed (2015)

If you thought the Rocky franchise would be ruined from this movie, think again!

Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) has been someone who has been in and out of foster car throughout his entire life due to the fact he’s always been fighting with the other kids. One day, a woman who was the wife of Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) shows up to adopt him and tells him the truth about who he really is. It turns out that Adonis is actually the son of Apollo. As Adonis grows up, he realizes that he wants to become a professional boxer just like his dad, but he wants to go under his name of “Johnson” because he wants to make his own name and doesn’t want people to think of him differently for the name “Creed.” Johnson travels to Philadelphia to track down Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone). He wants Rocky to train him to become a professional fighter. Against his wishes, Rocky eventually gives in and helps train Johnson to become a professional boxer and travel to help him fight for the champion of the world.

Creed has been a movie that many people have been looking forward to for quite sometime, but there has been some doubts by a lot of people, including myself. Thank the lord I was wrong about this movie because what appeared to be a lousy, boring old boxing flick, turned out to be one of the more exciting and intriguing films you will see around this time of year. Obviously because I am from Philadelphia, there is a potential bias with the Rocky films, but even if you are not from Philadelphia, you will love this movie. Even though this is the seventh film that you will see in the Rocky franchise, Creed does nothing but excel as an exciting and unbelievable film. It is easy to make the argument that this movie is probably the best we have seen from the Rocky films ever since the release of the first movie.

The acting in Creed is pretty spectacular. Michael B. Jordan is great in pretty much everything he is in and I think we can all say that he is a young actor that everybody should look out for, even though he has done some great work, going all the way back to The Wire. In all of Jordan’s roles, you feel as if he really has a genuine interest in them and really cares about doing a good job. That is exactly what we see from him in Creed. Even though we have seen him in six prior movies, I think it needs to be said that Sylvester Stallone has given one of the best performances of his career, let alone out of the Rocky movies. He was easily the best in this movie and I am very happy about that. I have been overly worried about him lately because I have seen how the last five Rocky films have been. I am not only surprised, but I am thrilled he proved how awesome he can be.

Creed is a movie that is not only a movie that the people from Philadelphia have to see, but it is also a genuinely good sports flick. I really feel confident when I say that Creed was an outstanding sports film because it did absolutely nothing to make me think otherwise. Everything that Coogler did with this film worked and he succeeded at what he was doing. Rocky has always been a series of films that I have watched throughout my entire life, but if someone was to tell me I would enjoy this film as much as I did before seeing it, I probably would have laughed in your face. Fortunately for me and fans of film, Creed does everything in its power to intrigue, entertain and make you say, “that was awesome.” If you are a fan of the Rocky franchise, you’ll absolutely love this. If you are not and are just a fan of movies, you’ll love this just as much.

Overall, Creed will shock all of you by how good it actually is. With powerhouse performances and enough emotion and fight to make you love this film, Creed wins!

Grade: A

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 2 (2015)

All good things must come to an end, right? After Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) is brainwashed by the capital, he attacks Katnis Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence). This pushes her over-the-top and she is ready to fight and finish President Snow (Donald Sutherland). Now that there will be huge war going on, it is up to Katnis to be the leader for everybody, even though every move she is making is being planned out by President Coin (Julianne Moore). Coin and Plutarch Heavensbee (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) are constantly working on what the plan will be to finish Snow once and for all. Katnis and the rest of the soldiers have to reach District 2 and then fight their way inside of the Capitol where they will find Snow. Katnis will do whatever it takes to make sure she reaches the capital and kills Snow and puts an end to all this madness.

Well, the past four years have been quite enjoyable while waiting for the next installment of The Hunger Games to come out. It was always a treat and something that I always looked forward to. With that being said, all things must come to an end, good or bad. Thankfully, this has been a rather good franchise and I’ve been happy with every film made, especially this one. What makes these movies sos special is that they are all movies that appeal to loads of people and are loved all over the world. With Mockingjay- Part 2, we definitely do feel like this is the end of Hunger Games. Even though there is definitely a bittersweet feeling here, it could not have gone out without a bigger bang. Regardless of Mockingjay- Part 1 being made only to make a crap load of money, it definitely redeemed itself with this new movie. For this, I am incredibly grateful and very happy.

Jennifer Lawrence has proved to be one of the best actresses in Hollywood, if not the best. She proves to everybody that she can play any role in any film. The Hunger Games are what kind of put her on the map and I’m definitely glad they did. Lawrence seemed like she really had an interest in playing Katnis. I even enjoyed Josh Hutcherson in all these films. I’ve never been one to really have an interest in the work he does, but with Hunger Games, he really does impress you. What’s great about this movie is that it feels like there is a huge amount of darkness and suspense revolving around it. I think Donald Sutherland appeared to be more creepy in this film then the first three. My favorite scene from this film was right at the end with him. I won’t tell you what it was because I don’t want to give away a spoiler, but you’ll know when you see it. I did however, think that Julianne Moore wasn’t all that great, but it’s still Julianne Moore, so we can let that one slide.

Mockingjay- Part 2 is the kind of movie that you hope to see when reaching the end of a great series. Similar to The Deathly Hallows: Part 2, this movie does everything right and will make you realize why you spent the last four years awaiting the release of the new movie. What’s especially great about this movie is that everything about it is interesting. While it definitely may be slightly too long, you can easily look past that because of how much is happening and how much action sequences we are given with this. If you are someone like myself who did not know the ending of this film, you will really enjoy what it gives you. Having said that, my major issue with the film was that the ending was incredibly predictable as the ending became closer and closer, but that doesn’t really matter. I would still not change a thing about this and want to thank the creators for giving us a franchise that we will love and cherish forever.

Overall, Mockingjay- Part 2 is a film that finally shuts the door to all of The Hunger Games. This movie is not only the last movie of the franchise, but it’s without-a-doubt the best one out of them. Thank you Hunger Games for providing us with four straight movies of excitement, entertainment and emotion. This is definitely a job well-done with these movies!

Grade: A

Beasts Of No Nation (2015)

In a West African country that is unnamed, a young boy named Agu (Abraham Attah) has a pretty sizable family that he lives with. Everybodys life is starting to get taken over because of the war. Because everyone is very passionate about where they live and come from, they do everything they can to try to make sure the government does nothing to take them away from their land. Once they decide not to leave, Agu is caught up in the middle and has to watch some terrible things happen. Agu’s sister and mother were fortunately able to get out of the area, but Agu has no idea whether or not they will be safe. He had to watch the rest of his family get executed right in front of him and then he takes off running. He soon gets taken in by a group of killers, led by their Commandent (Idris Elba). Commandent takes a liking to Agu and promises to watch over him, but he has to join them and become a cold blood killer. Agu needs to commit many violent acts to prove that he is worth not losing his life.

Even though Netflix is known for fantastic shows like House Of Cards and Orange Is The New Black, I understand why people might be skeptical about this movie. This has been one I’ve been looking forward to seeing for quite some time and it was absolutely awesome. However, it is a film that is filled with many scenes of execution, gore and non-stop violence. If you are someone who can’t handle this sort of thing, then Beasts Of No Nation is probably not one that you will want to see. If you are able to handle this, then this movie is one you absolutely have to check out. Besides it being completely about violence, this movie is actually really good and intriguing.

Fukunaga takes a very authentic look at how this would be if it were real. I think it can be agreed that he is known for being a solid director and he really shows what he can do with Beasts Of No Nation. The whole entire movie is just very depressing and dark. What really makes this a great film is that outstanding performances that we see. Obviously Idris Elba is a fantastic actor and we can see that all the way back from his days on The Wire. What really shocked me was how good Abraham Attah was. I think we are really going to start seeing him in a lot more. I love when we see small, child actors who can really give great performances. I even thought the cinematography was absolutely immaculate.

I think it is safe to say that with the first film that Netflix has released, they absolutely nailed it. With this having such success, we are absolutely going to see a lot more films being made by Netflix. This whole entire movie is just insanely intense and you often have to look away from the screen. My favorite thing about this movie is that the war was shown through the eyes of young, Agu, which takes an interesting view on things because we generally see things through the eyes of adults in these types of movies. Seeing him turn from a happy child to a cold blood killer is absolutely crazy. If you can stomach this, then this is one that you absolutely need to watch.

Overall, Beasts Of No Nation, though often hard to watch, provides a variety of entertainment for you. With great directing, writing, acting and cinematography, Beasts Of No Nation excels in every way.

Grade: B+

Knock Knock (2015)

Alright, I’m pretty much done with Eli Roth! Architect, Evan Webber (Keanu Reeves) has to spend his father’s day weekend alone when he wife and children are going down the shore because he has to work. While trying to finish up his work, and jam at the same time, two young, attractive women knock on his door and ask to wait for a cab because is raining. Genesis and Bel (Lorenza Izzo and Ana de Armas) end up spending the night with Evan and everything turns into a dangerous and deadly game of cat and mouse. All Evan tried to do was do a nice thing and let these girls wait for their ride, but now he has to fear and worry for his life.

Where do I begin with this one? This is the second film this year that Eli Roth has released and let me tell you, it is almost as bad as the first one. Knock Knock fully convinced me that I do not like Eli Roth as a director. He did steer away from his typical bloody and gruesome movies with this one though, which was an interesting turn for him. There was really nothing about this movie that interested or entertained me in the slightest bit. For reasons unknown, many people seem to love Eli Roth movies and I cannot figure it out. I can at least say that Knock Knock is slightly better than The Green Inferno. For a movie that should have been fun, Knock Knock does everything it can to disappoint you.

The acting we see in Knock Knock is a complete travesty. What the hell, Keanu? I was always a fan of Neo, but he completely shocked me in this, and not in a good way! You would think Eli Roth found some bum off the street and said he would pay him $20 to make no effort at being the star of my movie. Lorenza Izzo was also in Roth’s last film, The Green Inferno. Even though I despised that movie, I think she was actually decent in that, but after seeing her in Knock Knock, I hope she never acts again. Izzo and Ana de Armas were an absolute trainwreck in this film. I understand the premise of the film is ridiculous, but at least try to put some effort into the acting.

Knock Knock has absolutely nothing that is clever about it. This is a completely boring thriller that has absolutely nothing thrilling about it. I wanted to be on the edge of my seat throughout this entire film, but all I was able to do was laugh at how idiotic and ridiculous this film actually was. The whole entire movie just feels slow, and then when you get to the finale, everything just seems stupid and you wonder why that was the ending. So, I am officially breaking up with watching Eli Roth films. He does absolutely nothing to show me he is capable of making a good, enjoyable film that can spark my interest. I have never been satisfied with any of his films and Knock Knock is one that does nothing but disappoint,

Overall, Knock Knock is another one of Eli Roth’s stinkers that is never able to entertain you at all. This is one I do not recommend and I think that you should absolutely not check it out.

Grade: D

The Green Inferno (2015)

New York college freshman, Justine (Lorenza Izzo) wants to do something in life where she can make a difference. While trying to find herself in life, she meets a student activist named Alejandro (Ariel Levy). After attending one of the student meetings, Justine decides to help Alejandro on the next project he is running, which is to save the amazon. After almost being killed in the process, on the way home their plane crashes and kills many of the people on the plane except for about seven people. While everyone is now on their own and they cannot find anything to get a signal out to the world, they are captured by a group of hungry cannibals that are slowly eating the survivors one by one.

This is another one of Eli Roth’s films and oh boy does he let you know it! I don’t know how many of you are familiar with his work in directing, but I will tell you that every movie he makes is absolutely disgusting. You definitely may find your head in a trash can after watching one of his flicks. What he does with The Green Inferno is make you absolutely disgusted and then times that by ten. Just when you think he can’t top the gruesome scenes in his movies, he does it bigger and harder in this one. Having said all that, the movie is pretty horrendous as well. It’s a shame that Roth really did not try to go for scares in this movie. I left feeling like I completely wasted my time and I wasn’t even remotely scared from what was supposed to be a horrifying movie.

The acting in this movie is god-awful, as well as the writing. I know that when movies like this are made, you aren’t going to have someone like Leonardo DiCaprio star in it, but it seems like they just got whoever they could out of Hollywood that didn’t know the first thing when it comes to being an actor. I don’t mean to completely take everything out on the cast, but there was nothing at all that I liked about this movie and it makes me very mad. I have been known to enjoy some of Eli Roth’s films, but I feel that with this one, he really did not go for the scares and all he wanted to do was disgust you and make you laugh. I really was just not impressed in the slightest bit and I feel that he can do some better work than this.

I cannot stress enough that in order to watch this film, you absolutely must not have a weak stomach. As you know that this is what he is known for, he just takes it to a whole other level. This movie was scheduled to come out a while back and it never did. I wonder now if that reason is because the movie itself is so bad. It wouldn’t shock me if that was the reason, but this movie was absolutely not worth the wait. Even if you are a fan of what Roth does, I don’t even think it is possible for you to appreciate anything he does with this movie. The Green Inferno is unfortunately nothing to get your hopes up about and will leave you very angry by how bad it actually is.

Overall, The Green Inferno is a downright disgusting, poorly written and directed movie that is nothing less than a trainwreck of a film. Eli Roth fans: I am sorry you will be so disappointed by what he does with this one.

Grade= D