Recently Watched Movies 2021

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Luca - My mom was born in Sicily and grew up there until she came over at age 12. I wish I could've watched it with her. Delightfully charming, decent story. Kinda lightweight by Pixar's usual standards but definitely enjoyable.

Jungle Cruise - I didn't go in expecting much, other than to be totally charmed by Emily Blunt because she has a power over me, and left feeling satisfied enough. A fun little adventure that Disney definitely blew the budget out for.

Space Jam: A New Legacy - Being that it was free to HBOMax subscribers I guess I can't complain too much. It definitely continues the tradition of mediocre Space Jam movies tho. Maybe world superstar bball player Bazz Napier Jr. will get it right in 25 years in #3?

Freaky - Bodyswap! Vince Vaughn is a teenage girl in a tonally weird hard R movie that feels more like a PG-13 flick with occasional gratuitous violence thrown in. You can imagine to what humorous effect having VV act as a teenager would be like.

Timeline - Skipped this one all those years ago. Should've left it that way. Pretty dumb stuff.

Vivo - Singing monkey kid's movie, ho-hum.

The Suicide Squad - I'm not a real life comic reader so these characters mean little to nothing to me. The bait and switch in the beginning was a sour note to start and Viola Davis' overacting was super distracting. The action was fine and I really like that Portuguese actress who played Ratcatcher II but ultimately it's hard to get invested in super anonymous (to me) characters. Also if I see a movie again with taglines like "From the beautifully twisted and disgustingly amazing and sickeningly erudite mind of James Gunn" I'm just going to skip it entirely.

A Quiet Place Part II - Far too brief and it really felt like an episode in the telling of a larger story thus making the "Part II" in the title very apt. It was aiight.
 

Dove

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Two nights in the Green Mountains. Took a shot with two movies.

Paydirt (2020). - Val Kilmer with a small part in this God-awful movie. Dreadful from the get-go.

Concrete Cowboy (2021) - A unique true-story movie starring Idris Elba. How did he go from Sexiest Man Alive to looking old af?
 

nwhoopfan

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"Finding You" is a decent romantic drama. Nothing really surprising, but I found both of the leads interesting (Rose Reid and Jedidiah Goodacre, neither of which I was familiar with), the Irish countryside is beautiful, there's some nice fiddle music, some colorful locals. I found it all charming and worth a watch.

"Stardom" is a fairly biting satire about celebrity, fame, the fashion industry, the media...and probably several other things it targeted. A mockumentary from 2000. A couple recognizable names in Dan Aykroyd and Frank Langella, apparently it was the big screen debut of Jessica Pare. It dragged a little about 2/3 of the way thru, but overall I really enjoyed it.
 

HuskyHawk

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Jungle Cruise (2021). Daughter is headed to college in a week, so we had a family movie night. Another one coming tonight. You've got The Rock and Emily Blunt. Ms. Blunt is among the more physical lead actresses in Hollywood, along with people like Kate Winnick, she legit can kick some butt. She uses that a bit here. The Rock is what he always is, massive, funny and likable. The story rips off at least a dozen other movies and/or books, including African Queen, Pirates of the Caribbean and Star Wars. Look at the costume below and compare to Bogart in African Queen. Pirates relied on the brilliance of Johnny Depp and a rich trove of both fact and fiction pirate tales, and it was terrific as a result. This lacks any real creativity or imagination at all, like a movie made by polling focus groups. It isn't bad. It's fun and funny at times, with enough action. It just isn't particularly good either.

Dwayne-The-Rock-Johnson-Compared-Jungle-Cruise-to-The-African-Queen-But-Humphrey-Bogarts-Son-I...jpg
 

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Fear of Rain (Hulu 2021)

Madison Iseman stars as Rain Borroughs, a high school senior with schizophrenia. As a part of her disease she suffers from both visual and auditory hallucinations that are indistinguishable, to her at least, from reality. In order to judge whether what she is seeing is real, she has a list that she runs through: Does it make sense? Are other people reacting? etc. As the movie progresses on it becomes harder to say for sure what, or who is real. There definitely is a surprise or two.

Katherine Heigl and Harry Connick, Jr. do a good job playing her parents. This movie had a Hitchcock kind of vibe since it is suspenseful in the way his movies were. As the viewer you are sure what is real that heightens the tension. It's a good watch.
 

CL82

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Timeline - Skipped this one all those years ago. Should've left it that way. Pretty dumb stuff
The Michael Crichton book is pretty good. Not his best, but good. I watched this recently too, without knowing the storyline ahead of time, it would have been tough to follow. It's watchable, but not great.
 

CL82

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Jungle Cruise (2021). Daughter is headed to college in a week, so we had a family movie night. Another one coming tonight. You've got The Rock and Emily Blunt. Ms. Blunt is among the more physical lead actresses in Hollywood, along with people like Kate Winnick, she legit can kick some butt. She uses that a bit here. The Rock is what he always is, massive, funny and likable. The story rips off at least a dozen other movies and/or books, including African Queen, Pirates of the Caribbean and Star Wars. Look at the costume below and compare to Bogart in African Queen. Pirates relied on the brilliance of Johnny Depp and a rich trove of both fact and fiction pirate tales, and it was terrific as a result. This lacks any real creativity or imagination at all, like a movie made by polling focus groups. It isn't bad. It's fun and funny at times, with enough action. It just isn't particularly good either.

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Disney is great at cross promoting. This is another in a series of movies designed to do just that. Plus saving the cost for the rights of intellectual property that you already own, can't hurt either.
 

HuskyHawk

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Free Guy (2021). Finally saw a movie in the theater. Our local Regal completely refurbished, and is running a special, all movies $3 this week. I had wanted to check it out anyway. We were in a VIP theater, so big comfy chairs, electric foot things, tray for food etc. Place had about 10 beers on tap, a bar and a coffee shop. Huge sound, including in the seat, which shook during explosions (subwoofers in the headrest?).

The Movie: Outstanding. This movie has everything. It's really well written and a clever story, loads of action, comedy, some intrigue and even mild Ron-Com elements. Not sure who could pull this off but Ryan Reynolds. Reynolds is "Guy", and non playable character (NPC) in a MOM video game that resembles Grand Theft Auto. Without revealing details about how, Guy becomes self aware and evolves. He meets Molotov Girl/Millie, a playable character (very cute Jodie Comer) who assumes he is a player who hacked an NPC skin and says to level up over 100 to get her attention. He does it in a unique way that makes him famous. The movie shifts from in game activity, and outside the game real world activity, with Millie the main character doing both. She is a game designer and worked with "Keys" (Joe Keery from Stranger Things) who now codes this game, on a different game of their own. Taika Waititi is superb as always, as the bad guy, Antoine, who owns the game. The story lines inside and outside the game merge, and we lead to our exciting, funny, dramatic conclusion. Just loads of fun, heartwarming and enjoyable.
 
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Coda - Another score for Apple TV. Story of a daughter born into a fisherman's family where the mother (Marlee Matlin), father and brother are all deaf. She figures out in high school that she's a talented singer with the help of a choir teacher who sees her ability. There are a lot of layers in the rest of the story that I'll leave for you to experience. The scene where her parents go to her big performance was amazing. Worth watching the movie just for that.
 
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Pig - The monthly Nick Cage offering. Actually getting good ratings. I couldn't take it seriously though. Not even sure if you're supposed to or not. Certainly not what you would expect, so definitely don't think you have another John Wick on your hands. Seemed to be pretentiously mocking pretentiousness. Trying for a deeper meaning, but I thought just too hokey.
 
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We had a couple of tweens staying over for the weekend and the movie choice was Shazam. I liked it! Once it got going, it kept going. Didn't seem as long as the running time to me. Mrs. Maisel's old boyfriend did a great job.
 

nwhoopfan

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I think "Pixie" is a Showtime original, right now it's free On Demand w/ xfinity. Sort of a low budget version of all the British gangster movies you've seen, except it's set in Ireland. Fairly mediocre, but Olivia Cooke made it watchable. She's got charm and panache to spare. Everybody else was just kinda there, including Colm Meaney and Alec Baldwin.
 
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Matinee (1993) - This comedy with some dramatic overtones stars John Goodman and was directed by Joe Dante. This film takes place in Key West in 1962 when Goodman, playing a William Castle type independent filmmaker, shows up in town to promote his latest film which is showing at the local movie theater. For those who don’t know, William Castle was heavy into putting various gimmicks in theaters to promote and gain attention to his films, ranging from skeletons flying over the audience during a movie to putting buzzers in seats to shake up the audience a bit, among plenty of other items and promotions.

The appearance of Goodman’s character to promote his latest film in Key West coincides with the the announcement of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the tensions that it brings to the local community (not to mention the whole country at the time). Goodman’s character sees this as a stroke of good luck, as his movie theater stunts range at striking at the various emotions of the audience. Goodman promoting his movie is one part of this film, the other focus of this film is the impact of what is going on with the local community, most notably the school age population, which this film and Goodman targets. And believe me, there is plenty of crossover in emotions generated between what is going on in the film and the theater with the stunts that are being pulled, in combination with the atmosphere that the missile crisis has created with the local population..

I quite liked Matinee”, particularly Goodman’s performance in this film. While I don't necessarily go out seeking Goodman movies, this is one of the most enjoyable performances I have seen from him. While Goodman is the nominal star, this film gives quite a bit of screen time to a number of child actors who do quite fine with the material at hand as well.
 

nwhoopfan

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"As Cool As I Am" on xfinity On Demand. Never heard of it before. Kind of heartbreaking, good performances. Worth a watch I thought. Stars Sarah Bolger, also Claire Danes, James Marsden, Thomas Mann (who I like quite a bit, even though he's kinda always the same character), bit parts by Jeremy Sisto and Peter Fonda. She's a teen facing some of the issues teens deal with, in addition to dysfunctional parents (who had her when they were teens, and they never quite grew up). Bolger capably carries the film.
 

HuskyHawk

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Reminiscence (2021). HBO Max and theaters. Stars Hugh Jackman, Rebecca Ferguson and Thandie Newton. I read a meh review before watching this, so wasn't sure what to expect. Turns out that once you get past the implausible flood/rising sea waters it is an interesting future film noir genre movie. Jackman has a business with Newton that allows people to experience their memories as if reliving them. So it has some shades of Total Recall for me, but the filming has hints of Blade Runner as well. I won't say more as this is a thriller/romance movie that unravels nicely. It kept my interest all the way. Rebecca Ferguson proves to have a wonderful smoky, sexy singing voice. It's free on HBOMax through 9/19.
 

Dove

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Pig (2021) - Another unique, off the grid character by Nicolas Cage.

Definitely worth the watch as he and Alex Wolff (Patriot's Day, Hereditary) do a great job together.

Hermit in the woods, who hunts truffles with his pig, used to be a damned good chef. Pig gets stolen and the hunt is on.
 

storrsroars

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All Nighter (2015). I'd never heard of it, but was looking for something on Prime without dumb plots, dumb characters and explosions, and saw JK Simmons attached to it, so gave it a watch. Fun story of an absent dad looking for his daughter, worried about her safety, and spending a night out with her ex-boyfriend (Emile Hirsch) trying to find her at various bars, cafes and restaurants among drunks, stoners and d-bags. Even has a bit part from Milana Vayntrub trying to kill them. Not a great film, but the leads were believable, a few very funny moments, and overall an enjoyable watch.
 
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Watch "Jungle Cruise" last month. I think this is the best entertaining movie I have watched this year. Combined the good adventure and jungle funs in one movie.
Agreed. Really, really good. What you used to expect for summer blockbuster entertainment
 

nwhoopfan

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Sarah Gadon is absolutely lovely...but if you ever see her you should run away. Something bad always happens when she's around. Sometimes to her, sometimes to someone else, but somehow she's always a tragic figure, at least in everything I've seen her in.

So I checked out something I was previously unaware of--"The Moth Diaries." Strange film. Never really sure if there were supernatural elements or just a character losing her mind and imagining everything. Didn't really love it. But in addition to the lovely Sarah Gadon, it also featured Sarah Bolger (one stop shopping for Sarahs). It was set at a girl's boarding school. Like most movies set at girl's boarding schools there was tension and jealousy and obsession. And maybe a vampire. Or maybe not. And for some reason Scott Speedman as the only male faculty member, just to further complicate everything.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention Gadon was around 24 and Bolger around 20, playing 16-18 year olds I'm guessing? The usual.
 

nwhoopfan

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I've been bouncing back and forth between Amazon and Netflix streaming for a while. Didn't have any streaming service for a little while, now back to Nflix again.

First up was "Afterlife of the Party" starring Victoria Justice and Midori Francis, both of whom I like a lot. Was different than the trailer suggested, less goofy and more sentimental. Victoria and Midori are best friends, they have a fight during the middle of Victoria's wild night of celebrating her 25th birthday. Before they can make up, Victoria stumbles around, slips and conks her head on the toilet and dies. A year later her spirit gets a chance to right some wrongs with the people she was closest with in life. I enjoyed it. Not a great movie, but likable characters and it keeps moving along well enough.

I've said it before, but it's surprising to me Victoria isn't a bigger star. She was as a tween or teen w/ her show "Victorious" from Nickelodeon, but she's never been able to recapture it since then.
 

HuskyHawk

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I've been bouncing back and forth between Amazon and Netflix streaming for a while. Didn't have any streaming service for a little while, now back to Nflix again.

First up was "Afterlife of the Party" starring Victoria Justice and Midori Francis, both of whom I like a lot. Was different than the trailer suggested, less goofy and more sentimental. Victoria and Midori are best friends, they have a fight during the middle of Victoria's wild night of celebrating her 25th birthday. Before they can make up, Victoria stumbles around, slips and conks her head on the toilet and dies. A year later her spirit gets a chance to right some wrongs with the people she was closest with in life. I enjoyed it. Not a great movie, but likable characters and it keeps moving along well enough.

I've said it before, but it's surprising to me Victoria isn't a bigger star. She was as a tween or teen w/ her show "Victorious" from Nickelodeon, but she's never been able to recapture it since then.

Show me Nick teen that became a star. The iCariy cast? Nope. The only one I can think of is Christine Taylor who was in Hey Dude ages ago. If Victoria can act, that’s news to me. She has the looks.
 

nwhoopfan

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If Victoria can act, that’s news to me.
She's not heading for an Oscar, but she's passable. I've certainly seen worse from bigger names.

Show me Nick teen that became a star.
I found a list that isn't linking very well. How about Ryan Reynolds, Jessica Alba and Ariana Grande for starters?

edit--and Emma Roberts
 

CL82

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Show me Nick teen that became a star. The iCariy cast? Nope. The only one I can think of is Christine Taylor who was in Hey Dude ages ago. If Victoria can act, that’s news to me. She has the looks.
Ariana Grande?
 

HuskyHawk

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Back to Movies.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021). Saw this last night on the big screen. Our Regal cinema as spectacularly renovated and it makes me sad that it is mostly empty. I plan to go frequently. They need the business to stay open. And hell, this one now has a bar with about 8 beers on tap, along with a coffee shop.

The cast has few names you know beyond Michelle Yeoh and Ben Kingsley (reprising his Mandarin actor personality in a bit part for some humor). The lead guy is pretty likable, along with his goofy friend side-kick Katy. Fala-Chen plays his mom and is a knockout. The story starts before the lead character is born, and there are frequent flashbacks to him as a child and as a teen. This is an origin story, with minimal tie ins to the Marvel Universe. It doesn't feel like a Marvel movie. The filing locations in San Francisco, Australia (stand in for China) and Macau are pretty cool. It's visually appealing and the story is long and complex. I have issues with the editing, which could have cut some fight and chase scenes a bit shorter. Aside from that it is quite a fun movie and is definitely a little different for Marvel. Shang-Chi/Shaun gives me some Spider-Man vibes, he's not a teenager, but in some key ways he's a regular guy.
 
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