The Secret Life of Pets Movie Review

Review by: dancingonrain.

A dog, Max, has his life turned upside down when his owner adopts a new stray.  He does not like him, but then their antics to make each other look bad ends up taking them on an unexpected adventure where they actually bond and learn to live with each other.

Okay, first off, I’m aware that these movies are meant for kids, but I’ve always found most animated G features enjoyable even though I’m older, however, I found this movie lacking something… the usual spark.

There were so many characters to keep track of, that I don’t think I remembered all of their names and when I normally watch an animated film, it’s usually playing back in my head for a couple days after my first watch, but that didn’t happen for this movie.  I watched the movie and then forgot the majority about it only a few years after I watched it.

And while I didn’t mind the animated violence in this movie, it’s supposed to be a kids movie so I’m not sure if some parents or children would enjoy it.  There’s no blood or gore, but it’s there.  It probably depends on what adults are okay with their children seeing or not.  I wouldn’t have minded it as a child, but I’m sure some families are different.

I felt like I didn’t always understand some of the character motivations and relationships to one another other than they lived in the same apartment complex.

I liked Despicable Me 2, but I found this movie kind of lack luster.  Still, children will probably enjoy it, which is the targeted demographic anyway.  If you’re an adult, don’t have children, and are still interested in seeing this movie, I wouldn’t spend a lot of money to see it.

A Perfect Murder Movie Review

Review by: dancingonrain.

 

When a husband finds out his wife is cheating, normally he would be devastated.  Not Steven Taylor (Michael Douglas).  With Steven’s financial business plummeting, he sees his wife Emily’s (Gwenyth Paltrow) affair as an opportunity to get rid of her and inherit her millions of dollars for himself.  After learning about Emily’s lover David shady past (Viggo Mortensen), Mr. Taylor hires him to murder his wife.  Steven Taylor has thought out every detail for it to be the perfect murder.  It couldn’t possibly go wrong . . . too bad he didn’t think of everything.

While this movie started off a little slow and I didn’t understand everyone’s motivations, by the end of the movie, I understood where the characters were coming from more or less.  For example, David says he loves Emily, but clearly doesn’t love her enough since he goes through with Steven’s plan.  He’s more concerned with saving himself rather than actually being in love with her.  That didn’t make sense to me.  But by the end, I understood that David cared more about the money than anything else.  How incredibly similar to Steven.  As for the rest of the characters, there were a few plot holes in their motivations I thought could have been worked out more, but all-in-all I enjoyed the movie.

To be honest, I was a little skeptical of this movie at first.  I normally don’t watch this type of movie and I figured it would basically be the same-old-same-old set up.  It wasn’t.  At least not to me (although, I did just say I haven’t seen many in this genre either lol).  I mean it did have some of the similar aspects you would expect a murder mystery couldn’t do without.

By the end of the movie I was convinced that all three main characters were sociopaths from the start.  Even the victim.

I found it funny how I went into this movie thinking I wouldn’t like Emily all too well.  She seemed kind of bland to me.  They all kind of did, but I think that works because in the end they all acted like sociopaths (to an extent) anyway.  At least they all had a similar mindset to one.

While this movie did have its flaws, most films do.  I still enjoyed it and would definitely watch it again . . . when I have time.

 

Finding Dory Movie Review

Review by: dancingonrain.

 

Finding Dory takes place a year after Finding Nemo did.  Dory is now having flashbacks to her childhood where she was with her mother and father.  The adventure begins as Marlin and Nemo both embark on Dory’s quest to find her parents that she may or may not remember.

Like all Disney/pixar movies, the animation was amazing.

The story and characters picked up right after where the original movie left off.  It had its happy and sad moments and was definitely worth my time seeing, however, it wasn’t as well put together as Finding Nemo.  There were some points in the movie that I felt jumped around or felt choppy, but, for the most part, this was an entertaining, cute movie.

I did like all the references they made to the first movie, but it also didn’t necessarily add much to the movie.  Finding Dory’s storyline was basically the same storyline as Finding Nemo’s, but with its own twists here and there.  While the movie was pretty predictable, I did enjoy the new characters such as the octopus (or septapus), Hank.  He was actually probably my favorite character in the movie.  As a character, he started off as kind of a jerk, but as the movie progressed, we saw that he’s more than just a jerk-character, he was actually three-dimensional, which, when you think about it after his motivations after the “Touching Pool” scene is actually kind of sad.  That whole character arc and pool scene made me feel bad for and understand him more.  This is something movies meant for the older age groups sometimes lack.  Having a jerk-character have more dimensions than just being another jerk.

I felt this movie catered more to the adult (20-30 years old) demographic because this group would have been children when Finding Nemo first come out.  For example, there were a few scenes like the one at the “Touching Pool” where I thought it was actually more of a horror-like scene and some children may not have liked it.  But since it was Disney/Pixar, they realized that there would be children going to the movie too, so they did put in scenes from Finding Nemo, or at least explained the premise of the first movie in case the children hadn’t seen that one going into Finding Dory.

The after credits scene was a nice take back to Finding Nemo where we got to see past characters like Gil, but it was also like a “not again,” feeling, which wasn’t bad; just funny, but sad at the same time.  You mean to tell me that those fish from the dentist’s office have been in those plastic bags they escaped the room from for a year and are still alive?  It was still a ha-ha moment anyway though.

All-in-all, although Finding Dory did feel choppy at some points and wasn’t as good as Finding Nemo, it was still a good movie and well worth my time.

 

The Nice Guys Movie Review

Review by: dancingonrain.

 

The Nice Guys takes place in 1977 Los Angeles where Holland March (Ryan Gosling) is and alcoholic and the world’s worst private eye.  Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) makes his living as basically as a hitman.  When Healy needs to find Amelia (Margaret Qualley), a girl March had been searching for earlier, Healy seeks his help.  They team up for an adventure of hilarious fun to find the missing girl.  But they aren’t the only ones searching for her.  Along the way they discover that anyone who was affiliated with the movie Amelia was in, are the targets of murder.

When I first saw the trailer for this movie, I thought it was just going to be yet another lackluster crime/comedy film, but when I read many peer reviews that said it was good, I thought I’d give it a try.  And I was not disappointed.

While this movie did have its slow moments that I didn’t always think they were necessary scenes and while the villains’ identities and motives were pretty predictable, this movie’s entertainment/comedy and action scenes far outweighed the weaker aspects of the film.

One thing I wasn’t sure about was I’m not entirely sure how March even became a private investigator in the first place.  He’s not the brightest person and is a goof more than anything.  The only reason I can think of is that he used to be a great investigator.  His daughter knew what she was doing more of the time than he did, but because of this it made me think that before March was an alcoholic and lost his wife, he may have taught his daughter how to be a good investigator and be safe before he became an alcoholic.  That, to me, told me he probably used to be a good private investigator until he became jaded.   Maybe I’m overthinking it, but I like to think I’m not.

While I thought this movie was good, you also do need to like a certain amount of dark and slapstick humor in order to enjoy this movie.  If you don’t have a problem with either, then you’ll probably enjoy this movie.

Back in the Day Movie Review

Review by: dancingonrain.

 

 

Anthony Rodriquez is a half-Italian, half-Puerto Rican boxer who just won his final boxing match.  The story begins with him talking to a reporter to share his journey that made him who he is today.

While I did like the idea behind this premise, I didn’t feel that the movie did it justice.  This movie alternated between flashbacks and present day.  I suppose the director and producer may have been trying to present the story in a different way, but I think I would have enjoyed the movie more if they had just told the story in chronological order.  I know it would have had a larger effect on me in the end if they had they done so.

We barely know the present day protagonist before the flashbacks start and then almost immediately his “torture” starts.  I personally would have liked to get to know the main characters a little more before they started with all the violence and drama.  I think I would have felt more connected to the characters as a viewer if the writers had set up the character introductions and characterizations better.

I felt that the few bigger names thrown in like Alec Baldwin were mainly to distract us from the sub-par acting and writing.

A fight broke out almost every ten-twenty minutes.  I like to watch fight scenes, but, as a viewer, I also like there to be a point to it—like it would help advance the story forward—but with some of the bar brawls, you could have removed the scene (s) and the story/plot and characters wouldn’t have changed at all.  If a scene doesn’t affect or change the plot/story or characters, then there’s no point in having them in the movie.  Some of those scenes honestly just felt like time wasters.

I think the biggest let down that I had was that in the end of the movie.  Anthony’s best friend was still alive.  After we think he’s dead, Anthony’s motivation to win his next few boxing matches makes sense—for his deceased mother and friend—a vengeance of a sort, but in the last scene of the movie, it turns out that his best friend is alright.  While that’s probably a better conclusion for them as people, it was kind of a letdown for me.  What was Anthony’s motivation to keep winning if he already knew that his friend wasn’t actually dead?  We were shown that his deceased mother had also been his motivation, but Anthony hadn’t started winning until we think his best friend was dead.  The fact that his friend ended up alive I think took away from the final fight scene.  I felt that the way the movie presented it, it was just put in there as shock for shock’s sake.

Overall, I didn’t think this movie was amazing, but if they had edited and worked with it more, refined it, I think it could have been great.

 

Zoolander 2 Movie Review

Review by: dancingonrain.

 

 

This movie begins by following ex-models Derek Zoolander and Hansel’s downward spirals after the conclusion of the first movie.  They are old news to the world, but they eventually find themselves in the spotlight again.  When Zoolander’s son is kidnaped, he, Hansel, and a new character, Valentina Valencia, team up to get him back and uncover the mystery of who is killing famous popstars.

I’m not entirely sure why there was a sequel made since I didn’t think the first one was amazing, but if you enjoyed the original, you’ll probably like this one as well.

Like the first movie, this one was a little over the top and you may need to watch the first movie again in order to understand certain scenes in this movie, but the audience is shown refreshers of past events in case s/he choose not to rewatch the first movie.

Overall, I felt this movie was weird and awkward.  I know it was on purpose and a lot of the ha-ha scenes were in the movie trailer.  Like I mentioned before, if you liked the first movie, you’ll probably like this one too.  While it did have its funny moments, it was also pretty predictable.

 

Captain America: Civil War Movie Review

 

Review by: dancingonrain.

Okay, this movie was leagues better than Batman vs. Superman (no I’m not a biased Marvel fan, I like both Marvel and D.C.).  The plotting was more organized and never once did I have to question once whether or not the scene took place in reality.  The special effects were great and most of the character’s motivations made sense.

First off, I would just like to say, I LOVED Spiderman.  He had gotten some backlash from his appearance in the trailer for being too young, but I rather enjoyed him.  His scenes were actually my favorite.  And honestly without Spiderman or Antman, there would have been close to no humor in this movie.  I love epic action and dark scenes, but I also enjoy a comedic scene here and there as well to balance it out.  I think this Spiderman was the best version of the character so far and the actor did well too.  Not only this, but during the airport fight scene, the movie gave each of the characters good, quality fight scenes.  I enjoyed how Warmachine, Falcon, and some of the other minor characters got more action screen time as well.

One thing I was uncertain of though was that I always thought that Captain America was the type of person who wouldn’t mercilessly kill someone so was he trying to kill Spiderman?  He used his shield to knock the huge, dense crate on top of Spiderman.  He caught it and held it up, but last time I checked Captain America had never fought him before so how could he have possibly known that Spiderman would be able to hold the crate up and not be squashed like a bug instead?  Dead.  I assume it was because the movie wanted to show Spiderman’s strength, but it also sort of came off as Captain America trying to kill him.  That was another thing.

There were no stakes.  Or at least, they weren’t as high as I thought they needed to be or as the movie trailer had presented them to be.  While I enjoyed the fight scenes, it was also quite clear that they had no real intention of killing each other (assuming what I explained about Captain America vs. Spiderman is true) until the end when Tony went after Captain America and Bucky after discovering that Bucky killed his parents while Hydra had been controlling him.  That motivation made sense, but it also felt a little convenient.  The characters even went as far to say that they were “holding their punches.”  If they weren’t actually upset with each other to that high-stake point, what was the point of putting the fight in?  . . . .  Doesn’t matter because it was awesome!

Another aspect of the movie I wasn’t entirely sure about would be Tony’s motivation for wanting to go against Captain America.  For one thing, it made Tony seem like a bit of a hypocrite.  Tony met one person whose life was destroyed by Scarlet Witch’s mistake and then he wanted the Avengers to have restrictions so they didn’t endanger anymore innocent lives.  But he was the one who basically created Ultron in a previous movie.  Ultron, who was responsible for killing thousands of lives.

Overall there were a few blips here and there some of which I mentioned, but this movie was well worth my time.