The Rocky Comedic Adventures of ‘Solo’

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

Easily one of the most highly anticipated movies of 2018, Solo had a lot to prove. It definitely didn’t help that most people went into the movie assuming it was going to be bad. I can’t blame it for trying to prove everyone wrong.

In this Star Wars Story, a young Han Solo (played by Alden Ehrenreich, ) is in the initial stages of becoming a smuggler with his best buddy Chewbacca while trying to balance an unfortunate relationship with Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones). He meets Beckett (Woody Harrelson, The Hunger Games, Now You See Me) along the way as well as a very intelligent robot named L3-37 and Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover, Atlanta).

As expected, all of these characters affect the story in some way or another, whether it be for entirely comedic purposes or actual damage. The comedy in this is, unfortunately, going to have to be one of my negatives.

Star Wars has gotten into this habit of trying to make every single droid as successful and hilarious as K-2SO in Rogue One, when it’s just not going to happen. L3-37 makes some decent jokes (one being about equal rights for droids), but it feels so obvious that the writers are forcing it.

To future Star Wars Stories writers, stop trying to make the droids as funny as K-2SO, it’s not going to happen.

The movie itself wasn’t the most fun to sit through of the Star Wars franchise. In fact, it may be one of the least enjoyable yet. I had never found myself so bored for the majority of a Star Wars movie than I did with this one.

Luckily, it made up for that with its last 20 minutes which were actually pretty entertaining to watch. I say this because it’s in the last 20 minutes that anything wildly important happens, including a plot twist and introduction of a familiar character that I was saying, “uhm… what?” to.

The cinematography was beautiful, as it is in a Star Wars movie. It was beautifully made, even the camera work wasn’t nauseating like some movies have become nowadays. There were plenty of oddly named planets and several mentions of Tatooine, which I thoroughly enjoyed being a hardcore Star Wars fan myself.

Honestly, I have very mixed opinions regarding Solo. I don’t think it was bad, but it’s definitely in the bottom five of Star Wars movies. I wouldn’t go as far as saying it shouldn’t have been made because at the end of the day, it told a story about a character we all loved that we all wanted to know a little more about.


My Rating: 84%

Acting: 3.4/4

Cinematography: 3.5/4

Story: 3.4/4

Enjoyability: 3.2/4

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‘The Open House’ Is A Darkness In Itself

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

I don’t care what you say about Thirteen Reasons Why, Dylan Minnette is adorable. I say that because he’s equally as cute in The Open House, a new horror flick on Netflix that actually proves to know what it’s doing. The majority of the time at least.

Dylan Minnette plays teenager Logan Wallace alongside his mother Naomi (played by Piercey Dalton) after his father gets killed in a roadside hit. I swear that’s not a spoiler, it happens at the very beginning of the movie and it just happens to be what the entire movie is about.

Despite awful reviews on Rotten Tomatoes (it literally has a 13%), I found it to be a pretty good movie.

The acting wasn’t bad at all. Dalton and Minnette are both experienced actors and clearly knew what they were doing. Minnette has even done horror before (Let Me In, Don’t Breathe), so he knew how to not act amateurly like most actors his age in a horror movie. He kept every creepy moment suspenseful and every scary moment bone chilling.

The scenery was beautiful at first but later fell through after it got repetitive. Many movies have repetitive scenery and do it well, such as Breaking In earlier this month, that used one house for the entire film but made the house have real meaning.

This movie, however, used this house and didn’t add any feeling to it, despite how hard they tried. It was used to successfully build a story, and it did that, but it wasn’t necessarily fun to see for an hour and a half.

The Open House was actually a decent movie to me. It absolutely isn’t my favorite 2018 Netflix movie (Dude and Veronica still hold that title), but it wasn’t the worse. It was a decent horror flick that matched up to some of the other mediocre horror movies we’ve seen the last few years.


My Rating: 75%

Acting: 3.6/4

Cinematography: 2.5/4

Story: 2.9/4

Enjoyability: 3/4

‘Deadpool 2’ Shows Exactly What Superhumor Should Be

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

Deadpool is back at it again with his morbid sense of humor the entire world has come to love in Deadpool 2. This time, he comes with an even more complex story with long-term complications.

In this one, Deadpool (obviously still played by Ryan Reynolds) finds a new villain that he must defeat to save a little kid named Russell (played by Julian Dennison) – or “Firefist” if you ask him – as he struggles with, like, self-identity or something. Basically the X-Men version of puberty.

Regardless, Deadpool is as funny as ever. But it all started with something that most movies don’t put a ton of time in anymore – marketing. Deadpool 2 created dozens of alternate covers for its movie as well as replicas of other movies that were replaced with Deadpool himself. On the cover of War for the Planet of the Apes, Deadpool is seen riding the horse. It’s these marketing decisions that helped build the anticipation for this movie.

I have no complaints about the acting in this movie. Reynolds, the young Dennison, Morena Baccarin, Josh Brolin, and all the other actors/actresses’ portrayals of unique characters were executed excellently. They each brought a lot to the movie no matter how much or how little they appeared in it.

Deadpool is known for his dark humor, which he plays very well. From comparing the new villian Cable and Thanos to understating the power of Hawkeye, Deadpool really brings the shaded joys to the MCU.

Even the cinematography was awesome in this movie. They used tons of different sets and locations to show all the different situations Wade Wilson manages to get himself into while still keeping the feel of his universe.

Finally, the writers hit the bullseye with a story that really has the ability to hook the audience. It jumps around, sure, but a lot of superhero movies do that nowadays. And who are we to complain about that after watching The Avengers: Infinity War.

That’s right, if you liked that story, you have no place to say that Deadpool’s was bad.

Deadpool 2 was definitely better than the first. That, right there, is a huge accomplishment within itself. It incorporates the X-Men storyline better than the first (shipping Deadpool and Colossus with every piece of my soul), and the humor worked even more thought out, adding in constant pieces of attitude towards the MCU. It just knew how to build on characters they already had as well as add in ones that would benefit the story (Brad Pitt may or may not make a cameo appearance… go find out!). Deadpool 2 is easily one of my highest recommended movies of 2018 thus far.


My Rating: 91%

Acting: 3.6/4

Cinematography: 3.5/4

Story: 3.6/7

Enjoyability: 3.9/4

Penetrating the Interminable Mystery Of ‘Ismael’s Ghosts’

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Olivia Norwood

2018 has already had a good share of foreign films, when you put Zama and Fantastic Woman (which won Best Foreign Film at the 2018 Oscars) in the mix. It was exciting to see that a French foreign film was coming to theatres as I knew it would have an interesting plot and involve a person named Pierre as all french films inevitably have.

Ismael’s Ghosts ended up becoming very confusing very fast. It was simple, at first, seemingly about a woman named Sylvia (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and her boyfriend of two years, Ismael (Mathieu Amalric), who have to recover from a strange turn of events as Ismael’s presumed dead wife Corletta (Marion Cotillard) shows up at an unexpected time.

The acting was slightly better than mediocre. The actors and actresses were new to me, for the most part. Amalric was previously in The Grand Budapest Hotel, Munich, and Quantum of Solace. Cotillard is a one-time academy award winning actress for La Vie en Rose and also appeared in Inception.

As for the plot, it’s complexity develops into something significantly more mysterious, intense, and confusing. This included a story about Ismael as a director and his movie which ends up being part of the twist at the end. At least, I think it was. It got so complicated at the end that I couldn’t tell if it was a twist or something I was just missing the whole time.

Overall, Ismael’s Ghosts was a fine movie. It was confusing beyond confusing but that was its biggest flaw. Make sure you’re ready, though, because it’s the longest 2 hour and 15 minute film you’ll ever watch. As in, it will feel like you’ve been there for a full year before you leave.


My Rating: 74%

Acting: 3/4

Cinematography: 3.3/4

Story: 2.8/4

Enjoyability: 2.8/4

‘Step Sisters’: Throwing Together College Trash

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Olivia Norwood

Step Sisters is a new original Netflix film with a 25% on Rotten Tomatoes. That, at least for me, says it all… but I gave it a chance. Unfortunately, that chance wasn’t worth it.

This is a movie that makes an attempt at combining stereotypes about race, gender, and college sororities to develop what the writers called a teen comedy. It’s a triple whammy that nobody asked for and nobody wants to see.

Don’t get me wrong, I can see where they attempted to make it work. They had characters who were having trouble with their own self identity and characters who wanted to embrace their self identity but couldn’t. This attempt crashed when they put it up against moments of blatant racial stereotyping, which just isn’t funny anymore in the society we live in unless it’s done with purpose.

Jamilah (played by Megalyn Echikunwoke, CSI: Miami), Beth (Eden Sher, The Middle), and Dane (Matt McGorry, How to Get Away With Murder) play three of the main characters, and were the strongest out of the cast. However, that’s not saying much because none of them were at their strongest performance by any means.

Sher seems to be stuck playing the same role in every production she appears in while McGorry is consistently losing his eye for good entertainment, which is a sad thing to me, as I really enjoyed him in How To Get Away from Murder.

On the whole, I did not like this movie and would suggest spending your time watching funnier teen comedies like Edge of Seventeen and Netflix’s very recent Dude. The acting wasn’t pristine or even good and the teen comedy it attempted to be just blew up on more than one occasion.

If I could give any advice to teen comedies in the future, steer away from race jokes every thirty seconds unless it actually needs to be said. Step Sisters just took it too far.


My Rating: 35%

Acting: 1.7/4

Cinematography: 1/4

Story: 1.7/4

Enjoyability: 1.3/4

‘Titanic’ Makes My Heart Go On

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Olivia Norwood

When I think of late 90s cinema, there are dozens of movies that come to mind. We have American Beauty (1999), The Sixth Sense (1999), Good Will Hunting (1997), Clueless (1995), and so many others that quickly became classics. For me, however, none touched me quite as much as Titanic (1997).

Titanic is a movie that nearly everyone knows about as most grew up having seen it once or twice. Maybe they’ve even heard about its impressive eleven academy award wins at the 1998 Oscars. No matter how one may have heard of it, it’s a movie that’s touched the hearts and minds of everybody.

Given that everybody knows what the film is about, I’ll keep the summary brief. When poor Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) and recently engaged Rose Bukater (Kate Winslet) meet aboard the RMS Titanic, they find love in one another. They build a relationship beyond anything many have seen, but realize sometimes love doesn’t last as long as you may like it to. In their case, however, it wasn’t a break-up that brought this realization.

The sinking of the RMS Titanic was the climax of this movie, and showed – practically in real time – the sinking of the ship and the drowning of the lives on board. Director James Cameron knew how to capture this emotional tragedy and make it so the audience doesn’t even care about its running time (194 minutes).

Titanic 1
Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Everything about this movie was astonishing to me and millions would agree. Being able to witness such stellar performances by DiCaprio and Winslet (as well as such notable names as Kathy Bates, Billy Zane, and Frances Fisher) under equally beautiful writing makes any moviegoer fill with joyful tears from beginning to end.

It doesn’t happen often in modern cinema that you see a cast of actors and actresses who are all so individually dedicated to their roles. It was obvious that each wanted to portray their characters with the seriousness that those on the real Titanic would’ve maintained.

Much of this is due to the main man himself, James Cameron (Avatar, Aliens). People are no stranger to the work of Cameron, as he had already released Aliens in 1986, eleven years prior to Titanic.

Not everyone was too confident in him for Titanic (given that the budget was incredibly high – the highest of any movie in history at the time – and that most thought it would be “just another romance flick”), and many lost faith before it had even been released. That concept in itself is a marvel to me given its brilliant reception and continued adoration today.

It’s not doing Titanic justice by calling it a brilliant historical adaptation, when it felt like so much more. It was a near spiritual awakening for most who watched it, whether you’ve seen it once, twice, or two dozen times.


My Rating: 96%

Acting: 3.8/4

Cinematography: 3.9/4

Story: 3.8/4

Enjoyability: 3.9/4

‘Bad Samaritan’ is Predictable yet Terrifying

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Therese Gardner

Have you ever seen a film and wondered “how did the writers come up with this story?”. Well, that’s the big question in the new thriller/ horror Bad Samaritan.

Starring Doctor Who’s, David Tennant, and Irishman Robert Sheehan, the film follows a young thief, Sean (Sheehan), who discovers a chained-up girl in the home he broke into. He then goes down the reckless path of trying to save her while dodging her manipulative kidnapper, Cale (Tennant).

Now, this film had its moments. There were plenty of times where I was expecting something to happen and a second later, it would. It has the typical features from other successful (enough) thrillers and horror films – jumpscares, dark alleys, and the killer behind the protagonist scare. It’s predictable.

But can predictability still make you flinch? Yes.

Which is what made the film work because when something expected happens, the real scare comes after.

I cannot tell you how many times I covered my ears and eyes and actually jumped out of my seat because of how terrified I was. It was more than I usually do in a regular horror movie (and I’m not easily scared by those). The fact that Bad Samaritan did that to me is remarkable.

David Tennant has come a long way from playing a quirky time-traveler by way of a telephone booth. He plays a true villain and adds no sympathy to his character’s story. He’s not only a murderous psychopath, but also a major asshole. He single handedly ruins the lives of anyone close to Sean while also ruining his credibility that causes the police department to not listen to a word he says.

But I guess that’s what made the hero-villain dynamic so pleasing to watch. There’s a distinction between the two instead of making the bad guy not seem so bad at heart. It gives you a chance to support the main character as he risks his life to do the right thing. What a Good Samaritan.

If you want a movie that will give you a real scare without the use of ghosts or cursed dolls, then look no further than Bad Samaritan. I promise that it will not disappoint.


My Rating: 71%

Acting: 2.5/4

Cinematography: 2.5/4

Story: 3/4

Enjoyability: 3.5/4