Toy Story 4 Review

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“So long…partner”

Toy Story is a franchise, like most, I’ve grown up to love and will forever hold with my childhood. I still can’t believe Toy Story 3 came out nine years ago (June 18th 2010) as of me writing this and for many it still feels like it came out not long ago. When the fourth film was announced after the third one came out I was skeptical cause it ended on a note that there wasn’t a need for a fourth, but I sure as hell can say after seeing this…it was well worth it.

Toy Story 4 is set not long after the 3rd one where Woody, Buzz and the rest of the gang embark on a road trip with Bonnie whose crated a new toy named Forky. The adventurous journey turns into an unexpected reunion when Woody’s slight detour trying to get Forky, who considers himself not a toy but trash and escapes, back into the arms of Bonnie. It leads him to finding his long-lost love interest Bo Peep. As Woody and Bo reminisce the old days, they soon start to realize that they’re worlds apart when it comes to what they want from life as a toy.

It was great seeing these characters again after so long and watching this with my girlfriend we both felt like a kid again seeing how long these characters have gone since the first movie back in 1995. For those skeptical of this being unnecessary and that the third film ended off on a good note, I can tell you as much as you feel this way, this film for sure truly gives a send off to the characters and the franchise as a whole. Full of heart, humor, and few throwbacks, Toy Story 4 definitely is the capstone to Woody and Buzz’s story that has an ending that is very emotional (No Spoilers till the bottom of this article) that I hope Toy Story 5 never happens. The new additions to the cast from Key and Peele (Ducky and Bunny), the great Keanu Reeves (Duke Kaboom!) and many others are great and add the lighthearted humor that you can tell is natural while making the franchise still feel fresh (don’t get me started on Forky calling himself trash). The story itself is small and concise that it focuses on the main character of the franchise Woody whose arc fully comes around at the end of this film. I’m trying hard to not spoil anything cause this is a movie is one you don’t I don’t care what anyone says and it’s one to enjoy.

If I was in the director’s chair, I wouldn’t even bother thinking of changing anything. For those that don’t know originally the film was suppose to come out back in 2017 but the script went through rewrites over the years. Originally it was a love story about Woody and Buzz searching for Bo Peep but they decided to scrap some of it for a story on what it means to be a toy with Bo Peep as the parallel story to coincide with the main story and none of it feels forced. I would say I wish we could’ve spent some more time with the other toys like Slinky, Ham, Jessie and the others but they have their moments too.

Toy Story 4 is an emotional sequel that pretty much brings new beginnings for the toys while ending the franchise on an emotional note. For anyone who has not seen it yet please ignore the next sentence till you see (^) seen. I wanted to cry when Woody decided to go with Bo Peep and explore as the carnival travels around leaving Buzz and the gang behind with Bonnie. It makes sense why Tim Allen and Tom Hanks teared up while recording and I know others will too. ^ From a kid till now, Buzz and Woody will forever be around I’m show my kids all four films to infinity and beyond. Let’s just hope Toy Story 5 doesn’t happen and we keep it here.

10/10

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MIB/Dark Phoenix Review Mashup

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“Two films that had potential but due to complications kinda fell a bit short”

I just want to start off an apologize to those who been reading since I started this but I was struggling financially that I wasn’t able to watch them upon release, but I felt I should still write a review for them both.

Both Dark Phoenix and MIB: International are both films released in June based on franchises that have been ongoing since the early 2000s. When Dark Phoenix was announced I was a bit iffy based on what happened with X-Men: Apocalypse and the first trailer proved it so. I love the cast of X-Men since their start in First Class and Days of Future past cause they were all perfectly casted and had great stories that eventually fell short after. Dark Phoenix is the final X-Men film under the Fox umbrella (besides New Mutants which I’m very interested in seeing) to be released before Disney take them into the MCU sandbox for later use. I felt the marketing after Disney took over for Dark Phoenix was great but that’s not what you’re here to read of coarse. I’m keep it brief but Dark Phoenix is a film that sadly fell short for the final Fox’s X-Men outing but the elements within the story is an improvement from Apocalypse and especially The Last Stand which the film is (kind of) redoing. However, what makes the story fall short in my opinion is the fact they tried to redo the Phoenix saga once again. Again, it’s a lot better than how the Last Stand tried to adapt it but at the same time not much new was brought to the table. If it wasn’t for the actors who played these characters so well since 2011 this movie probably wouldn’t getting a score I’m about to give it.

As far as MIB: International goes in my opinion ‘it’s a Men in Black movie’. I know that’s very bleak to say but in all honesty I wasn’t expecting some grant scale serious film like Dark Phoenix was. This one sure people can say it does not have Will Smith in it but in all honesty do you really though? I feel this film stands alone but still plays in the sandbox of the previous films of the franchise. Was it needed? No, but it was popcorn entertainment all the less. Hemsworth and Thompson who both were in Thor: Ragnarok were great choices to lead cause their chemistry is what makes it work so well and to enjoy. I feel bad the film got the reviews it did based on others but in all honesty the truth lies to what happened behind the scenes (Producer vs Director vision and rewrites during filming…the usual to a box office critical bomb) . Apparently there was a dispute on what the producer wanted the film to be (they have more control than the director does unless you been in the industry for awhile that you’ve built a good reputation as a fun fact) and F. Gary Grey wasn’t having it and eventually two versions of the film was made that the studio heads chose the the producer’s version instead. Again it’s a Men and Black film and it’s the summer…something to enjoy.

As far as if I was director and what changes I would make, Dark Phoenix I would’ve changed the story completely. It’s understandable this was suppose to be a launch pad for a new trilogy but in the light of Disney buying Fox, the story should’ve not ended with a redo of the eh X3 film. I would’ve introduced Mr.Sinister which was the original plan all along. There have been so many build ups to his arrival to no avail I felt even if the franchise was to continue he would’ve been a better launchpad. The cast was great and introduction of aliens as well but some of the rewrites based on not trying to be similar to other films (ala Captain Marvel and Cap:Civil War) and expand on the concept they brought. It was smart to have X-Men go cosmic but it didn’t go cosmic enough I felt. As far as MIB, I can’t say much due to the director’s vision being tainted behind the scenes but the story itself I would’ve probably had it where they were uncovering a conspiracy that threatens the MIB. I know that’s somewhat the general plot but it should be focused enough while having it center on the two Agents we follow. The humor at some points I enjoyed but other times felt cringey to apply to the modern times we have such as Kanye and etc. (that’s small). But again F. Gary Grey’s vision isn’t fully on the screen.

Dark Phoenix and MIB: International are both films that are mainly blockbusters however both fell short for their own reasons to audiences. I’m curious how X-Men will be integrated into the MCU while wondering ‘what-if’ Sony actually did go through with the MIB x 21 Jump Street film (MIB 23) I feel that would’ve been interesting. Why it was an idea? Who knows.

Dark Phoenix: 6/10

MIB: International: 7/10

Comment what you thought of the films if you saw them.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters Review

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“Long live the King”

To start off, hands down, Godzilla: King of the Monsters is one of the best Godzilla films to date. If you thought there wasn’t enough Godzilla back in 2014, you definitely gonna see a whole lot more in this one. Directed by Michael Dougherty, Godzilla: King of the Monsters is a Godzilla film made by a fan for the fans. I, personally, have been a fan of Gojira since I was very young and had all the DVDs and would watch them non-stop. I even went to the theater 4 times to see the 2014 remake and this one I’ll see just as much. This is definitely a clash of the titans that definitely needs to be seen in IMAX (which I did) in order to get the grand scale and effect of the titans menacing scale of terror and fierceness.

The film centers on Monarch the organization and its people instead of just one individual and their family, which is a pretty smart move in all honesty. Sure it does have that element of a family conflict but it’s incorporated into the organization’s story with the titans unleashed overall. It’s like they are the catalyst to what’s to come next. What I enjoyed most about this movie though, which many critics complained about so idiotically, is that we don’t have to wait 20 minutes into the movie to see a titan. Nearly less than 6 minutes in we see Mothra and it was spectacular. The shots and scale show how majestic these titans are and the battles are definitely a pay per view fight. This is a Godzilla movie not a movie about the human that reside in the world, that’s what non-monster movies are for. Godzilla is the main star with his entourage of other worldly titans. The human characters are there for us to understand what’s going on which is like every other Godzilla movie and I’m fine with that. Seeing Legendary pictures bring Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah to life is a childhood dream come true that my girlfriend, who went to see it with me, saw me geek out. Ghidorah and Godzilla clash head to head was amazing and I could go on about it.

As for if I was in the director’s chair, I would only change one thing in all honesty and that’s more monster screen time. Every monster has its moment in the film and all I wanted was more of it. Rodan has his moment before becoming Ghidorah’s slave and that alone I wanted more of. The human characters serve their purpose in driving the story forward so there isn’t really much I would want to fix there since they just serve as supporting cast if you think about it. But that’s my opinion and in all honesty I’m not complaining.

Godzilla King of the Monsters is a monster mayhem at it’s finest. Part of the MonsterVerse it definitely has connections to Kong and Skull Island and keep a look out for one character from Skull Island that’s in the film but he’s much older so you can’t tell at first glance. It even teases the clash to come in next years Godzilla vs Kong, I can’t wait. In memory of Yoshimitsu Banno and original Godzilla suit performer Haruo Nakajima, I feel they would be excited to see this film as much as any Godzilla fan would. And to the critics who complain about thin characters and character arcs and such you clearly haven’t seen any other Godzilla film before this one. 2014: Not enough Godzilla…2019: Too much Godzilla. (“Is the picture any good? Uhhh. It’s a Godzilla movie. So I’m going to say, “not really.” – says an actual film critic….shameful)

10/10 All hail the king

Aladdin (2019) Review

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“A remake we all didn’t want, however enjoyable and fun when you give it a chance.”

Aladdin, back in 1992, was one of the Disney animations that was out long before I was born, however as a late 90s child, along with majority of the late 90s babies, still grew up with Aladdin. Who couldn’t adore the fact of the late great Robin Williams voicing a Genie who grants three wishes. Flash forward to 2019 and we now are seeing it in live action with Will Smith in the role.

The biggest controversies with this movie is the fact that for one it’s a remake of a Disney classic and the second is the fact Will Smith was casted as Genie and from everyone who wanted to bad mouth the movie they all say the same thing: “Robin Williams is Genie and no one else can be.”

Directed by Guy Ritchie, who gives the very stylized action flicks you see from Man From Uncle or Sherlock Holmes, Aladdin in my opinion was an enjoyable film and loads of fun when you don’t constantly remind yourself that it’s a remake of an animated Disney classic. Now, for me, I have a current problem with Disney’s desire to create live action adaptations of animated classics (they’re seriously making a live action Lady and the Tramp, luckily with live dogs, and Lilo and Stitch for Disney+) when honestly there’s no need for it at all, clearly done for money. It’s not something we needed nor wanted, but I choose to willingly accept since it did look entertaining, especially after the controversial Genie first look.

As I watched the film, I for one haven’t seen the original in so long but the story beats were all there, Aladdin is a thief, gets enlisted by Jafar to get the lamp, Aladdin meets the Genie, and well you know the rest. There are few parts that were expanded and some were minimized such as the addition of Genie’s love interest and Jafar and Iago’s relationship being only master and parrot. I for one likened what Guy Ritchie had done and I know who filmmakers who know of Guy Ritchie’s work it’s an odd project for him you wouldn’t really expect. After seeing the film, I can tell why, he adds that action to keep things interesting and you can tell when it comes to the chase scenes and high intensity. Despite this, I felt the movie itself got more interesting, much like the original, when the genie first appears and onward. Will Smith is no Robin Williams, but here’s the thing, he’s not suppose to be. Robin Williams made his mark as the animated version of Genie while Will Smith makes his mark as the live action version and he does exactly that. Here’s a fun fact: there are more than just Will Smith and Robin William’s who even played the role, check out broadway and Aladdin 2 and other animated Aladdin projects with Genie, Robin was only in the first/third movie and the series. Soon I’m update this article with my girlfriend’s take as well when she sees it.

As far as if I was director, my only things I would change is mainly Jafar. I feel the actor, no offense to him, was miscasted. Jafar is menacing and this one I felt was too childish in a sense, too bitchy (pardon my term). I would’ve casted someone not too old but one who would make the role menacing. I also felt the climactic part of the movie where Aladdin is in a tight situation when he figures his way out is tricking Jafar into becoming a Genie didn’t feel much was at stake. Maybe figuring out how to make Aladdin have things more at risk would’ve kept me from saying okay keep going but thats just minor. I also missed the Iago and Jafar dynamic that the two had in the animation. Majority of this movie is on Aladdin, Jasmine and Genie so it’s understandable but that would’ve been a relatable dynamic that could’ve lessened my disliking and desire to fix Jafar in this film. Again this is my opinion.

Aladdin 2019 is a remake we didn’t need but one I enjoyed none the less and it was enjoyable by not comparing it to the original. That’s how remakes should go by not comparing so much to the original but seeing if the remake brings something new to the table or expands on the original concept not cash grabs. Will Smith and the other costars like Naomi Scott play their parts well and overall could’ve been worse let’s be honest but it wasn’t. Now let’s pray these live action Disney remakes come to an end before we actually get Aladdin 4: Jafar May Need Glasses.

8/10

The Sun is Also A Star Review

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“A story that makes you think how special it is to be with that special someone”

I pay attention to movies but this is one I’ll say my girlfriend got me to see with her. As from my knowledge before seeing, The Sun is Also a Star is a film based on the book of the same title. The story follows a woman who is about to be deported from America when she meets a guy who is about to go to an interview for college. The guy feels it’s destiny that they met and from there you know the usual love story.

Overall the film is one to enjoy with someone you like (in this case I enjoyed it with my girlfriend). I enjoyed the fact it’s not the typical white love story but one that’s diverse where the woman, Natashia, is Jamaican while Daniel, is South Korean. It goes to show how diversity has come in films. However, that’s not the main thing about the film I liked. What I liked was how connective the film is to relationships, a slice of life persay that’s relatable. I connected to how I met my love and imagined that first hour and first day we met and how we’ve come since then. The film also explains the possibilities of connection involving the multiverse theory and how love can be. This film for me was a breather from action and violence and more of one that brings you down to earth.

As far as if I was a director, I wouldn’t really change much. Only parts I felt needed changing was the typical Asian stereotype that you gotta be a doctor to succeed. It’s an overplayed scenario in their culture similar to African Americans dealing with the hood and drugs. We’ve seen it a lot to know how the character feels and goes. Also I felt their first kiss was rushed. I know there’s only a day Daniel has till Natashia leaves but the kiss came a lot sooner than I expected, but that very minor. In my girlfriend’s Perspective she felt certain parts dragged on that she felt could’ve skipped like the karaoke scene but I thought it was nice. Love isn’t rushed but for sure it shouldn’t take too long if you only have a day.

The Sun is Also a Star isn’t something to actually critique ironically but it does something that should be emphasized everywhere….connection. Connection with others from family, friends, even your loved one. As I watched, I related the things shown in the film to my current relationship, and it sure tells how far her and I have come since I met her. It even reminded me the first time her and I met and how much I don’t regret ever not meeting her. Just like Daniel says when he gazed upon Natashia in the Central Station “she’s the only one looking up and not down or straight forward”. This film is more of one to watch with that special someone you care for and I guarantee if the multiverse exists then each possiblility will always end with me (or you reading this) finding the one and only who you’ll sit with to watch this film.

8/10

Brightburn Review

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“A movie that’s good when superman was born bad”

Brightburn, as many assumed when the first trailer came out, is like a ‘what-if’ superman came to Earth and was already evil. Seeing the movie now, there are elements of that, but the film definitely gives moments so it doesn’t feel like a downright parody of a DC’s Elseworld’s comic. Produced by James Gunn, Brightburn was actually written by his cousins based on the exact idea of what if superman came to our planet and was already evil, and I feel they did the idea justice. As I watched the film, it didn’t feel like a downright superman parody at all especially since the only powers you see is his super strength, flight, and heat vision (unless you count the light manipulations he does to scare the victim/audience). This is a horror movie and it does show with a few jump scares and intense moments throughout that make Brandon Breyer (the kid) feel very creepy, especially with that mask.

Some points in the film you can see some cheapness such as (SPOILERS!!!!!) when Brandon drops his Earth Mom from the sky it reminds me of the scene from Get Out and the sunken place when he’s slowly ‘sinking’ except in Brightburn she’s literally suppose to be falling from the sky. That’s only a small nitpick, but it doesn’t remove you from the overall experience Brightburn gives you. For sure, what makes this movie great are the elements that are seen in the trailers repeatedly except this time you can see it entirely. His first victim after breaking Caitlyn’s arm (the little girl in the trailer) is her Mom and every single time, it makes me shake in agony when the glass shard, from the light bursting, is inside her eye and he takes it out. It’s those moments of the movie that make it great. The second one is definitely full of gore as well and to keep it brief…don’t scream and hold onto your jaw if you’re about to crash in an accident. The gore is one thing that surely gives Brightburn it’s R-rating.

As far as if I was directing Brightburn, I would change certain moments in the movie where we follow Brandon. I feel being more on his perspective most of the time is where the core of the movie is, seeing him change into the monster he is deemed to become, while keeping the perspectives of the film where the mother and father are curious about their son from the sky and the victims perspectives too. They do have this sprinkled throughout but being on Brandon and how twisted his mind is starting to become would definitely make this film a lot more creepier. One definite thing, and I felt this as I was watching, is his mask when Brandon is scaring the shit out of us, it was more terrifying when you’re not close to him enough to see the details of his mask so I would’ve kept that all the way till the moment at the end when his Earth mother faces him in the barn before her death. Again as always, these are opinions of someone if they were in the director’s chair.

Brightburn is a film that tries to create a new genre of superhero with the incorporation of horror and it lives up to it. There could be few things to expand on or change but overall I can say it doesn’t play too much on being a superman parody besides the concept. Just a theory to put out there that definitely supports this is in the beginning, Brandon is in class when they talk about the differences between bees and wasps. Brandon talks about wasps being predators and too dangerous to have hatch in their own nest so they place them in other wasps nest to be raised when born. It’s for sure a metaphor to Brandon. He was sent to Earth not because of some dying planet but because the species he comes from they can become violent in maturity and they use that to their advantage to take over other planets (definitely just got Saiyan vibes from Dragonball Z there) by having them crash land and be raised up by the native species planet to adolescence before informing them that it’s now time to “take the world”.

I’m curious to see what other superhero origins that can be twisted into a horror movie like this. (I can see that with Hulk, whenever he gets angry and turns into the green rage monster he destroys and eats people but turns into Bruce Banner he doesn’t remember a thing, little Jekyll and Hyde)

8/10

John Wick Chapter 3 Review

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“Prepare for War”

If it’s a war you want it’s a war you’ll get. John Wick definitely wasn’t playing when he said “I’ll kill them all.” Honestly, in my opinion, John Wick is one of the best trilogies I’ve ever seen where each one gets better than the last. Set moments after the second one, John Wick has an hour before the whole world seeks his head and they ain’t ready. The first fight scene in the movie was definitely a statement that Mr.Wick was not playing around and for sure when he killed the attacker (played by an NBA 76ers player) with a book to the jaw and to the neck, he’s sure going make sure you’re dead.

As far as anything I would do differently if I was director….NOTHING! The film is what actually inspired me to film fight scenes exactly just like it. You don’t need jump cuts or close ups of the fight like the usual action movies. You can see it all right there and that is Keanu Reeves doing all of it no doubt about it.

John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum (long title but who cares) is an action film that doesn’t not disappoint and keeps true with no jumpcuts to different angles of one fight it’s all fluent and keeps the adrenaline all the way through. There were people in the theater who, like me, were on the edge of their seat all the way through with the oooooo and ahhhhhs and one person I heard shout “oh shit” and definitely Dogs were given justice in this film for sure. Imagine a dog hop off of Hallie Barry and climbs up a wall to attack an enemy.

The film doesn’t end the story of Wick but expands it to much more while revealing more of the world we dove into since the first movie, revealing the hidden world of assassins and the Continental. I’m curious how the tv show “The Continental” will be about specifically but it’ll be interesting. There were rumors of a film called The Ballerina that is said to be a spin off of the John Wick franchise and there were hints of that in the film and I would definitely see that too. There’s more to come from John Wick and the next one is sure as hell gonna be a war. It sure as hell wasnt just a puppy.

10/10

Detective Pikachu Review

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“It’s Super Effective!”

Detective Pikachu has become the movie that supposedly breaks the video game to film curse and I would say it certainly lives up to that. When I watched it Thursday night with a friend, we both were deeply into the movie. Her for the cuteness of each pokemon we saw and for me, seeing the Pokemon world I grew up playing and watching as a kid faithfully come to life on the cinematic screen. People at first were unsure of Ryan Reynolds voicing the title hero, but he certainly makes the film role memorable as much as he does Deadpool which I can for sure say in my opinion doesn’t over shadow here. The approach taken to this film adapting from a spin off game, titled the same name, was very smart for it makes for a not usual storyline of a child on a journey on becoming the very best (those can come later). SPOILERS AHEAD!

During the film, I was always intrigued on what was to happen next and how the pokemon world would be portrayed on screen and it’s definitely a world where you gotta find them all cause there’s over 50+ pokemon seen. The big twist mystery about Tim’s father was one I personally figured out before the movie released, suspecting such to happen and it did not disappoint to find out it was Pikachu all along that was his father. (I did say spoilers ahead!). Mewtwo merging Harry with his Pikachu partner to keep him alive was pretty soft touching and it’s curious to see if that will be the twist revealed in a later installment for the actual game series. Some parts of the film felt predictable, but it was something I actually didnt care about or felt ruined my experience feeling typical because I was too focused on the pokemon battles.

As far as if there’s anything I would change in the film if I was directing, I wouldn’t change anything. Detective Pikachu was a heartfelt film with cool shots, comedy, chemistry, and fun filled with lots of cute factors. Apparently a sequel was greenlit months ago but the way this film ends I’m very curious where they will go next. Sorry Marvel, I dedicated 10 years of my life to your cinematic universe, if a Pokemon Cinematic Universe is to arrive I’m all in.

9/10