IT (2017)

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Starring: Jaeden Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff, Bill Skargard, Jackson Robert Scott

Plot: Based on Stephen King’s 1986 novel, the story follows the disappearance of children  who discover a supernatural experience revolving around a clown named Pennywise, who forces them to face their personal phobias in the process.

Rating: 8/10

Overall: So…I’ve never seen the original and I haven’t read the book. With that being said, I heard from multiple sources that the original film wasn’t scary, and being someone who doesn’t scare too easily, I went in with that expectation: that it won’t be too scary. However, with a phobia of clowns but a love for being scared — this film does a great job of catapulting you into the mother of all nightmares. I never understood why there was fear of sewer drains and red balloons, and now it all makes sense. I thought the film was great (at least for the parts I kept my eyes open for HAHA!). My biggest issue with the film is essentially the ending and the actual concept of “IT”. I think in a sense its ingenious. But at the same time, I find it has a lot of downfalls and is rather a letdown. So from a writing standpoint, I think it’s a failure. From a film, emotional and overall entertainment perspective, I think it’s brilliant (and traumatizing). In fact, I didn’t even want to write this review purely for the fear of what sorts of movie posters will pop up in the Google search.

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The Hitman’s Bodyguard (2017)

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Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Penelope Cruz, Elodie Yung, Gary Oldman

Plot: The world’s top bodyguard gets a new client, a hit man who must testify at the International Court of Justice. They must put their differences aside and work together to make it to the trial on time (IMDB.com).

Rating: 8/10

Overall: I definitely think this movie was a bit over-hyped than it should’ve been. However, with that being said, I still found it to be satisfyingly hilarious and action-packed. I think the greatest downfall of this movie (like most action-comedies) is the corny underlying love storyline. It takes away from the action and comedy of the film. The only other complaint I have is the very anti-climatic plot the entire film is based around. I feel like I’m nitpicking this film, but for something that had so much hype, I think it could’ve been executed a little better than it was. Overall, I’d recommend it — I suppose my expectations were a little higher than I expected.

Baby Driver (2017)

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Starring: Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm, Eiza Gonzalez, Lily James
Plot: After working to pay back a debt to a crime boss, Baby, a talented young escape driver is coerced to partake in one last heist that places his newfound love for a diner waitress, Debora, on the line. He risks everything to salvage a normal life with her.
Rating: 7/10
Overall: I wanted more. That sounds greedy, but as someone who, as a viewer, wants to be entertained, and as a writer, wants well developed characters and plots – I wanted more. The action was great and to some extent, this film bears some similarities to the 2011 film, “Drive” (featuring Ryan Gosling). I think from a simplistic standpoint, I’d say that this film was satisfactory. I wanted to know more about Baby. I wanted to know more about Debora. I wanted to know more about Doc. I think for the time devoted to developing the characters, they do an OK job, but as always, I want to know more. I think the most irritating question I had was, “Where the heck did Baby learn to drive like that?” It’s a question that lingers all throughout the film and leaves you dissatisfied at the end. Also, I wanted to know more about Joseph – Baby’s “foster parent” who is deaf (which seems sort of symbolic in some way that I can’t quite figure out because Baby has a problem with his ear post-accident). There are just so many lingering questions and I think that was the biggest pitfall of this film. Great performances by the cast and lots of action sequences. But it was hard to truly root for people when you can never truly grasp the full potential the character has to offer. I liked the dynamic of Buddy and Darling duo – I wanted to know more about them (aside from the assumptions Bats lays out at the diner). We don’t learn much about Debora, except her love for music, which is what sparks the interest of Baby to begin with. I thought it was a cute and refreshing take on it – sort of 80s-esque. Not disappointing, but not satisfying. I’m a huge fan of the cast – so ultimately, yes, if you don’t care about character development and an overrated/predictable plot (AKA you just want the action and humor), I’d definitely recommend this film.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017)

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Starring: Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Geoffrey Rush, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario

Plot: Captain Jack Sparrow finds the winds of ill-fortune blowing even more strongly when deadly ghost pirates led by his old nemesis, the terrifying Captain Salazar, escape from the Devil’s Triangle, determined to kill every pirate at sea…including him. Captain Jack’s only hope of survival lies in seeking out the legendary Trident of Poseidon, a powerful artifact that bestows upon its possessor total control over the seas. (IMDB.com).

Rating: 4/10

Overall: Like most POC films post-The Curse of the Black Pearl, this fifth film in the franchise fell far short. I can’t say that my expectations were very high, but I definitely hoped to be proven wrong. Admittedly, I have not seen the fourth film, but at this point in these films, I don’t really think it’s necessary either. I think the greatest part of the film (aside from Johnny Depp’s revival of Jack Sparrow’s quirky character and humor) was Bardem’s portrayal of Captain Salazar. I think the creation of that character was beautifully done – I just wish there was something more to him in the film. I liked that they gave some of his background to allow the viewer to build some empathy for him, but at the same time, I think there were still some gaps in the plot and character development. I also found this film to be incredibly anti-climatic, which is very disappointing. Sure, there’s lot of action sequences, but essentially nothing that really gives you the punch in the gut you’re hoping for or that adds any substance to the plot. While I think the two young protagonists, Henry Turner and Carina Smyth, offer a youthful and fun-spirited, almost reincarnation of William Turner and Elizabeth Swan from the first film, they just seem like they don’t belong. Henry is trying to avenge the curse put on his father and you have the same for Captain Salazar seeking vengeance on Jack Sparrow for his curse. It just seems like two plots that don’t fit together or sort of clash and make the film fall apart.

The Girl on the Train (2016)

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Starring: Emily Blunt, Justin Theroux, Haley Bennett, Rebecca Ferguson, Luke Evans, Edgar Ramirez, Laura Prepon, Allison Janney

Plot: A divorcee spiraling through depression and alcoholism finds an infatuation with her ex-husband’s life.

Rating: 7/10

Overall: I think this film ended up being a bit different than I originally had anticipated it to be. I wasn’t disappointed, per se, but I definitely had higher expectations than I probably should have. However, with that being said and without giving any spoilers, I’d have to say that to some extent, the film had a decent “twist” to it. I think my biggest critique is the sequence of the storyline. I found it very confusing trying to keep track of everybody and the fact that the wife (Ferguson) and the nanny (Bennett) look similar in more ways than not, it was difficult to remember who was who. If the film followed a different timeline and offered a little more backstory, I think the film would’ve been much stronger. I understand trying to have that “suspense” factor, but I think there are plenty of ways to go about it, and this way just didn’t work. I think there’s too many flashbacks and snippets of Rachel’s (Blunt) blackouts that it’s difficult to comprehend and make it a cohesive story. Maybe that was the point – but again, it just didn’t work for me.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 (2017)

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Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Kurt Russell, Bradley Cooper, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Karen Gillan, Michael Rooker

Plot: The sequel “continues the team’s adventures as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage” (IMDB.com).

Rating: 9/10

Overall: I basically gave it a 9 out of 10 simply because it wasn’t as good as the first. It was still good though! Don’t get me wrong. The cast was amazing – just like the first. I think the criticism for the plot being a little darker and not being able to have that “magical” experience watching the sequel can be taken lightly. It is slightly darker in the plot, but I definitely think it still carries the good humor and “magical” feeling throughout the entire film. I have to say (without indicating any spoilers) that Baby Groot is by far my favorite character. He’s absolutely hilarious and is, in my opinion, the glue to the film. I also don’t think I’ve seen a film where Kurt Russell plays anything but a “nice guy,” (probably just me) but this film definitely brought out a different side to him that I personally haven’t seen in his films before.

Logan (2017)

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Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Richard E. Grant

Plot: In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X somewhere on the Mexican border. However, Logan’s attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are upended when a young mutant arrives, pursued by dark forces (IMDB.com).

Rating: 8/10

Overall: I feel like the X-Men films have been struggling for the past few years. While I’m a huge X-Men fan, I haven’t been impressed by any of the Logan/Wolverine films that have been released. For Logan, I think this was a great step forward for the X-Men franchise. I think it delved into different terrain in the sense of other mutant experimentation/creation, a new generation of mutants, the children of mutants, the possibility of death of a mutant like Logan – whose “power” is to self-heal. I also thought it was an interesting concept to bring in the perspective of ailing mutants – mutants, like humans, can age, can die, and can fall a victim to disease. I suppose I had a few problems with the plot, specifically the relationship between Logan and the girl, as well as the role of/relationship of Caliban. His mutation wasn’t really explored, exposed or explained. I just felt it could’ve been developed a little better to create a cohesiveness to the plot. Overall, I think if X-Men can keep producing films like this and upwards, I think they’re on the mend.