‘Shrek’ Me Up: A Look Back on the Childrens’ Classic

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

For this Time Warp, I decided I would touch on one of my absolute favorite animated movie franchises. That, of course, is the Academy Award winning film, ‘Shrek’. It’s still funny to me to be able to say “Academy Award winning” to the classic swamp-dwelling ogre that is my man Shrek.

Many who haven’t seen this iconic film may ask why it won Best Animated Feature in 2002. Well, those who have seen it can tell you exactly why.

The mean green fighting machine Shrek (Mike Myers) is an angry ogre who just likes to be left alone, as most people nowadays. But once love comes along, that changes, as with anyone who suddenly finds love. Shrek’s love didn’t come suddenly, of course. It came after a long journey with his new friend – whether or not he likes to admit it – a donkey, whose name is, well, Donkey (Eddie Murphy).

The love interest/self-hating princess in the movie is Fiona (played by Cameron Diaz), who loves throwing tantrums at every moment she can. You may think that it’s obnoxious, but it becomes very easy to love her by the end.

That is the overall plot of the entire first movie, but they do so well developing all the relationships within it. Being able to meet dozens of fairy tale creatures who annoy Shrek to the brink of absolute fury is, even if it’s not to Shrek, completely hilarious to watch.

Half the enjoyability of this movie revolves around the supreme soundtrack that plays throughout. I mean, we have songs like “All Star” by Smash Mouth and “Bad Reputation” performed by Joan Jett. That sells it right there, doesn’t it?

It’s an undeniably enjoyable movie and impossible not to love. It sparked a sequel that is debatably better than the first if not just as good. It’s one of those movie franchises that anybody will want to watch on a lazy afternoon in the summer, with their kids for a family movie night, in the middle of a snowstorm in the winter, or pretty much at anytime. That is how I define a classic.

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Film Forecast Friday: June 1st

On Friday June 1st we have…

1. Adrift

2. Upgrade

3. Action Point

4. American Animals

5. A Kid Like Jake

Julia’s Predictions:

This is an interesting week because for the first time in a while there are no big blockbusters being released. Out of the movies that are being released I think Adrift will have the biggest box office numbers. It has notable actors Shailene Woodley (Fault in Our Stars, Divergent) and Sam Claflin (Me Before You, Hunger Games) in it and I’ve seen a lot of marketing for it.

I think Action Point and Upgrade will do alright. I haven’t heard too much about either of them, but Action Point has Johnny Knoxville (Jackass) in it which will likely bring out audiences. Also, Upgrade is a Blumhouse Productions film and those tend to do well.

American Animals is absolutely amazing and I strongly recommend you go see it. We have already reviewed it, so if you need any more convincing to go see it check out our review!

Finally, A Kid Like Jake which honestly I didn’t know was a movie until today. It has Jim Parsons in it so maybe it will attract some Big Bang Theory fans?

Anthony’s Predictions:

I am beyond excited for Adrift with Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin. This will also be the moneymaker for the week at the box office, even if it will not make quite as much as previous weeks.

I have heard so much about American Animals that I’ve gotten very excited to see it. It has such a unique group of actors in it (including Evan Peters!) so I know that I’ll enjoy it already.

I definitely forgot Action Point and Upgrade were even coming out this week. I don’t really have a high opinion on them but I believe they will do about the same at the box office.

A Kid Like Jake won’t be too crazy spectacular, but should be fun because of Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons, as he is in it.

‘Dude’: Netflix Is Killing It

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

Netflix has returned with Dude, a movie about drugs, prom, high school, death, and everything else involving the teen lifestyle. Don’t be afraid though! This movie is far from stereotypical. It’s a completely unique blend of acting and a story worth paying attention to.

Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars, Truth or Dare) stars as Lily, the Student Council President who is just trying to get through her life with her three best friends, Chloe (Kathryn Prescott, Finding Carter), Amelia (Alexandra Shipp, Love, Simon), and Rebecca (Awkwafina, Ocean’s 8). On top of that, she finds the rest of life’s pleasures in prom planning and PCP.

Hale is not new to the four best friends whole shebang as she became very experienced in Pretty Little Liars. Even being a huge fan of that show myself, I confidently believe that she plays the best friend role at her best in Dude.

Along that, she gets to stand aside such outstanding actresses who all know what they are doing. Seeing Shipp play such a badass teen character (which is nothing new, she did the same thing in Love, Simon) was so much fun and just added to the performances of everyone else. Prescott and Awkwafina also did this well, providing to the environment and story as a whole.

Aside from that, shoutout to Alex Wolff who gave an incredibly good performance as Hale’s almost counterpart, Noah.

The acting was obviously one of my favorite parts of this movie, but it wasn’t the only good thing.

The preppy school girl with her friends taking several types of extreme drugs was another interesting plot point to look at. The girls made their way through tons of PCP and several Donkey Bongs full of weed. Not every class president you see in a movie is going to be that wild, so it’s important to give movies like these a chance. Several of the characters in the movie were dealing with the death of another character at the beginning of the movie, and it gives an underlying tone to the message at the end of the movie.

Regardless, all of that returns to the cliché high school movie where everyone has to decide what they want to do after high school. What college to go to, what boys to go off to college with, but most of all; who are your true friends?
Dude was my favorite Netflix movie of the year so far. There’s tons of lessons that you can pick and choose, whether it’s about what you want to do after high school or just how many drugs you should – or should not – do by the time of your senior prom.


My Rating: 92%

Acting: 3.8/4

Cinematography: 3.4/4

Story: 3.7/4

Enjoyability: 3.8/4

‘Veronica’: The Scariest Exorcism You’ll Ever See

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

If you’re like me, you may not watch very many foreign horror films or have any interest to, either. Most people don’t watch horror films too often nowadays to begin with (with the obvious exception of Get Out (2017) and A Quiet Place (2018)), much less any foreign ones.

Stumbling across Veronica on Netflix at 1:30 AM was probably the worst decision I’ve ever made. Not because it was bad (it was quite the opposite), but because it was the best scary movie I’ve experienced in years.

15 year old Veronica (played by Sandra Escacena, whose most notable role is now this one) is a typical teenage girl who babysits her younger siblings while mom is at work, has constant teen drama, and wants nothing more than to use a Ouija board during an eclipse with her friends in the basement of her school.

Things escalate from there, as Veronica is possessed by a spirit from the game. Don’t judge a movie by its premise though. Veronica leads you through the events leading up to the allegedly true disaster that happened in one apartment building in Madrid in June of 1991.

Veronica is based on an actual police report about Veronica and her situation which, if you ask me, makes it a million times scarier.

This movie does what most horror movies fail to do. It uses relatively new – but ridiculously talented – actors and actresses, meaningful color schemes, minimal jump scares, and consistent building anxiety to make you cover your eyes out of fear every few minutes.

Maybe you’re the type of person who is in a very “been there, done that” type of mood after seeing so many exorcism movies. There was The Exorcist (1973), The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005), The Last Exorcism (2010), and oh so many more. Seriously, you can find about 100 movies just about exorcisms, it’s completely unnecessary. If you’re one of these people, I highly recommend giving Veronica a shot. It isn’t the same old exorcist movie you’ve seen two dozen times. It’s a fresh take on a genre that was holding onto its last breath.

Veronica scares you so much that you want to watch it twice.

With a certified fresh standing on Rotten Tomatoes, Veronica is quickly proving to be a movie that is altering the horror genre. This new genre doesn’t need to have jump scares every few seconds, gallons of blood, and cheap screams. Veronica shows just how genuine a story can be told while still leaving you sleepless.


My Rating: 93%

Acting: 3.9/4

Cinematography: 3.7/4

Story: 3.7/4

Enjoyability: 3.6/4

How CGI and a Bad Love Story Ruined ‘Ready Player One’

By Julia Wilson, Edited by Anthony Peyton

A few weeks ago my fellow BFS writer, Anthony Peyton, wrote a review on the new film Ready Player One. If you haven’t read it yet go check it out! In Anthony’s review he praised Ready Player One for its special effects and love story subplot, and criticized its quite mediocre acting and main plotline. While I agree with him about the acting and plotline, I definitely have some varying opinions on the special effects and love story.

Ready Player One follows Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) as he sets out on this Easter egg hunt to win half a trillion dollars and sole proprietorship of a virtual reality world called the “Oasis”. It also has a subplot where Wade falls in love with Samantha Cook (Olivia Cooke) who is determined to win this Easter egg hunt.

My main issue with this film was the special effects. Obviously, they are all CGI and even though I am not the biggest fan of CGI, sometimes it can work. In Ready Player One, however, those special effects really didn’t work and very much distracted from the story.

The majority of the film takes place in the “Oasis”. I know that this was technically a video game and the whole concept is that you can be whatever you want to be, but isn’t the whole point of virtual reality that it at least looks somewhat real? Because the way the main characters’ avatars in the “Oasis” were done just looked so off to me. Mainly because there was this weird grid inside of them which looked almost like the animation wasn’t finished.

I think it would have been much more interesting, and easier to watch, if they had put people in suits and done practical effects. Similar to how they used dinosaur suits in another Steven Spielberg film, Jurassic Park.

Now on to why I hated the love story, and let me preface this with all of my criticisms of the plot are based solely on the film and not the book by Ernest Cline (which I have heard is very good and very different from the film). The love story didn’t work for me mostly because I didn’t really care about Sheridan or Cooke’s characters due to their lackluster acting. However, I also felt that the whole progression of their story was so cliché and predictable I just couldn’t get behind it. Not to mention that they would always choose the most inopportune times to feed their budding love, such as when they almost kiss very shortly after a tragedy happens when Wade is targeted by an evil CEO because he is winning the game (I won’t spoil what that tragedy is).

My other main criticism of this film is it did not address the state of the real world nearly enough. It barely explains how bad of a place the real world has become, and doesn’t really emphasize the fact that the “Oasis” is so important because people want to escape their real lives. It also neglects to emphasize one key part of the story which is how bad corporate corruption is.

Ready Player One did not work in many ways, including a disjointed and poorly put together main plotline, subplot, bad special effects, and mediocre acting. All of these things put together had me cringing and rolling my eyes the whole way through.


My Rating: 44%

Acting: 2/4

Cinematography:1/4

Story: 2/4

Enjoyability: 2/4

 

How Comedy Got Its Groove Back With ‘Game Night’

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Anthony Peyton

Production companies are constantly pushing out their yearly quota of comedy films so it’s become easier for the beloved genre to lose its quality. In 2018, comedy got its groove back with the well crafted and star studded ‘Game Night’.

Directed by Jonathan Goldstein and ‘Freaks and Geeks’ star John Francis Daley, the film follows three couples on their regular Friday game night. This, predictably, is disrupted when outsider Brooks (Kyle Chandler) decides to crash the party and fuel the ongoing game night competition with his brother Max (Jason Bateman). He inevitably creates trouble when his murder mystery game turns into his own kidnapping which leads the rest of the gang on a goose chase around the city to find him.

What this film does so well is bringing the audience on the many intricate and wild adventures that the characters go through while never becoming too complicated or messy. There are plot twists, tons of smart humor, and unique characters that we begin to love and root for as each one finds a unique solution to every new problem.

There’s the dorky couple (Bateman and Rachel McAdams), the bickering couple (Lamorne Morris and Kylie Bunbury), and the “opposites attract” couple (Billy Magnussen and Sharon Horgan) along with the creepy-but-means-well neighbor (Jesse Plemons). Each character has their own side issues going on that seem minute compared to the life threatening game of gangs, kidnapping, and murder that they are oblivious to.

How could any of this be seen as funny when they could potentially die? Well, it’s comedy. In the world of comedy we take nothing seriously. One character is shot in the arm and because of the great writing, directing, and performances, there is only abrupt laughter and the occasional crying from laughing too hard. This is what an audience goer wants to see in a comedy. Many films resort to lame jokes, farce humor, and an overdone story instead of the clever and comedic strategies of films such as ‘We’re The Millers’ and ‘Horrible Bosses’.

We’re looking at you, ‘Rough Night’.

With a number of other comedies on their way to the silver screen, ‘Game Night’ proves that they don’t have to stick to a certain formula and that it can be smart and interesting while being genuinely funny.


My Rating: 93.7%

Acting: 4/4

Cinematography: 3/4

Story: 4/4

Enjoyability: 4/4