‘It’ Movie Review

It is an adaptation of one of Stephen King’s most famous novels, and it is about a group of middle school students who discover a string of strange events throughout their town’s history. These events start-up again, and they work as a team to track down the source of the problem. Also, there’s a clown.

It was surprisingly one of my most anticipated movies of the year. I’m usually not a big fan of horror movies. I appreciate them, but they’re just not for me. However, something about this film intrigued me more than the average horror film. The trailers were super creepy, and I just gravitated to them for some odd reason.

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Image via Warner Bros.
The movie is mainly driven by the kids and their experience with the disappearances that all link to a clown. There’s always apprehension when it comes to child actors as there are numerous examples of them who couldn’t pull off their roles. Thankfully, all of the child actors in It do a fantastic job. There were many of them so I can’t talk about all of them, but there were some standouts that are definitely worth mentioning. Jeremy Ray Taylor was great as the heart of the group, Sophia Lillis handled her character’s situation at home very well, Finn Wolfhard from Stranger Things plays a completely different type of character than he does in the show, and he surprisingly creates one of my favorite characters in the movie. Jack Dylan Grazer has a lot of lines in the movie, which could have gone south, and delivers all of them smoothly. Jayden Lieberher probably had the toughest job out of the kids, I won’t spoil why he does, but he really plays it realistically. You’ll know what I’m talking about if you’ve seen the movie, I just don’t want to go too far into detail.

Not only are the performances great, but the relationship between the kids is just as fantastic. The kids the movie focuses on are in a group called the Loser’s Club, and as you would imagine they are the nerds of the school. Almost all of the kids’ characters are firmly established. They all have unique personalities and dialogue traits which is what makes It special. Many horror movies rely on jump scares and cheap tactics to grab audiences, whereas It introduces interesting characters so you care when they are put into the terrifying situations. Hopefully the success of the film will help other studios see what makes the movie work and implement those things in their films.

Every horror movie requires an element that gives it credibility as “horror”, and It has quite the scare as its villain. Bill Skarsgård plays Pennywise the clown, and leading up to the release of the film many fans wondered if Pennywise would turn out being too silly, or legitimately haunting. Thankfully, it is more of the latter. Surprisingly, Pennywise is absent for much of the film because he can only be seen if he wants to, but when he happens to be on-screen it creates an extremely creepy atmosphere. Tim Curry’s performance in the 1990 TV miniseries will never be forgotten, however Skarsgård takes the clown to a new level that we haven’t seen before. The thing that makes it work is that he goes really far with the character, but doesn’t take it too far to where is humorous. He finds the perfect balance to where you can put yourself in the characters’ shoes and feel for them.

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Image via Warner Bros.
Skarsgård isn’t only that makes the film work, the movie also looks beautiful. While that might be a strange term for the type of movie this is, the film is shot magnificently. The cinematography by Chung-hoon Chung transports you into the world of Derry in 1989. Side note: look in the background during the movie, there are some cool 1989 easter eggs on the streets that you would probably like to see.

It does have great characters, however some are given significantly more attention than others. One of the characters is named Stan, and you only remember him as the Jewish kid. Unfortunately, Mike is given even less to do, and that was really ad because Chosen Jacobs did a fantastic job whenever he was given a chance to shine. Also, when adapting a book to film, one of the most difficult things is deciding what to include and what to exclude in the movie. It is over a thousand pages, so the writers had no easy task with the film. The movie only adapts the first half of the novel; however, the film does feel like it’s telling an incomplete story. Certain aspects of the film aren’t expanded upon like I would imagine they are in the book. For example, a character makes a certain decision late in the movie, and that moment didn’t quite feel earned like the filmakers were tying to. One last thing, this isn’t quite a negative, but the movie wasn’t exactly scary. Don’t get me wrong, the clown was extremely creepy in all of his scenes. At the same time, I wasn’t given nightmares from the film. Keep in mind, I’m not easily scared, so that might have something to do with it. So, if you get like getting scared and you get scared easily, the film might do its job for you.

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Image via Warner Bros.
It is a horror film that expands the genre, not by relying on scaring the audience, but by giving you gravitating characters that give the film a strong emotional core that makes it stand out. Andy Muschietti established an immersive world that left me wanting more. I definitely recommend seeing It if you haven’t yet.

Rating: A

What did you think of It? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. Also, what movie do you want me to review next? Leave any suggestions in the comments.

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‘Dunkirk’ Movie Review

Dunkirk is a film set in World War II about the Dunkirk evacuation when the Germans had Allied soldiers trapped on a beach in France. They are surrounded and desperate to get home and be done with this terrible situation. The film is directed by Christopher Nolan, which automatically makes anyone excited to see it. Tommy (Fionn Whitehead) is a solider on land and along side him is a French soldier (Damien Bonnard). Mr. Dawson (Mark Rylance) and his son, Peter (Tom Glynn- Carney) help out the navy with the evacuation along with Peter’s friend, George (Barry Keoghan).  There are also two pilots, Farrier (Tom Hardy) and Collins (Jack Lowden), providing air support and taking out German planes.

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Image via Warner Bros.
This movie is purely about the experience of watching it. It starts right in the middle of what’s going on and doesn’t take a break at all throughout the film. The way Nolan shoots the movie makes you feel like you are on that beach and have no hope of survival. This might just be the best looking movie of the year, visually. the way Nolan uses IMAX cameras is genius. I can’t remember a shot that took me out of the movie, it was just all great. If you get a chance, see this movie in IMAX because it is the best way to see it. He also shoots on real locations, uses real ships, and as many practical effects as possible. This just adds to that tense feeling you feel in the movie. The sound design is also spectacular, some of the beast I’ve ever heard. It’s completely immersive, especially in IMAX. If the characters are in a ship, every sound is perfect, the gunshots, he waves, the German planes descending on the Allies, were all just pristine quality.

The movie also has an interesting element using time. I won’t spoil it, but at the beginning of the movie they give you some information. It is a little bit confusing at first, but as the movie goes on you start to piece things together and the whole film becomes more coherent. It reminded me of some of his previous films like Memento and The Prestige. However, this element does make the movie much more tiring to watch, because the way they use this does become slightly convoluted. It does give you a basic enough idea of the story, but it’s difficult to put the whole puzzle together.

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Image via Warner Bros.
The film has been getting criticism for poor characters, saying that they aren’t fleshed out at all. While that critique is valid, that aspect worked beautifully for me. If you are in this situation, you won’t have time to ask anybody how the kids are doing, or who they have at home. It is so frantic and intense that you don’t have time to make friends. If they spent time with character, I feel like the purpose of the film would be undermined. Almost every war movie is about characters, and most of them work very well like Saving Private Ryan. So, if Nolan had done a conventional war movie, then it would have been like all the rest. Instead of that, he pushed against the stereotype and made a war film purely about spectacle and experience. The one negative about this is that you don’t feel any danger for any one particular character. Like I said, you feel like you’re on the beach surrounded by Germans, and that makes you terrified for the British as a whole. However, the film puts certain characters in the forefront, and you don’t feel very attached to them individually.

I personally think that Dunkirk is one of the best movies of the year so far. It is exhilarating and sensational. You’ll hold your breath throughout the entire film. If you haven’t seen Dunkirk yet, I highly recommend seeing it in IMAX. It is meant to be seen with the biggest screens and the best sound systems. While it isn’t one of Nolan’s best movies it is still really fun watch. Also take into consideration, he hasn’t really ever made a bad movie yet. Some are better than others, but they are all good movies.

Rating: A

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Image via Warner Bros.
Have you seen Dunkirk? What did you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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Dunkirk stars Fionn Whitehead, Damien Bonnard, Mark Rylance, Tom Glynn-Carney, Barry Keoghan, Tom Hardy, and Jack Lowden. Directed by Christopher Nolan.

‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ Movie Review

Does whatever a Spider can

Spider-Man: Homecoming is the first solo Spider-Man movie to take place in the MCU, and the sixth solo Spider-Man movie ever. It is about Peter Parker dealing with balancing his Spider-Man life with his high school life. After his adventures in Captain America: Civil War, he wants to be an avenger, but he might not be ready just yet.

Image via Marvel Studios

I’ve been waiting for a good Spider-Man movie for thirteen years. I believe Spider-Man 2 is one of the best comic book movies of all time, but every installment after that was disappointing. I’m happy to say that Spider-Man: Homecoming gets the character right again. 

I love how this movie has a younger Peter Parker. He’s fifteen in his sophomore year of high school, whereas in previous movies he either graduates in the first movie, or just doesn’t touch on that aspect at all. The main reason we relate to Spider-Man is because he’s just a kid running around saving lives, and he has real world problems. There are instances when he suffers in his real life because of him having to be Spider-Man. Him being young brings a lot of fun to the movie. The movie is really funny, and Tom Holland sells the role so well. You can feel how Peter is just having a blast being Spider-Man. He’s always anxious throughout school to get out so he can swing around and be a hero.

Jacob Batalon plays Peter’s best friend, Ned, and their chemistry makes the movie a lot better. We haven’t seen Peter Parker with a real best friend is any of the movies that didn’t bail on him in the first movie. Another neat aspect is that Peter goes to a special math and science school, so Flash Tompson isn’t a typical jock bully to Peter, he’s really just a jerk to him. I liked that because in today’s world, that cheesy type of bullying doesn’t happen as much, it’s more verbal bullying nowadays.

Image via Marvel Studios

Spider-Man is written differently than we’ve seen before in the movie. He’s young, so he makes stupid decisions and learns from them. He also thinks he can do anything because he has powers, but he quickly learns where his boundaries are throughout the movie. This is only the first chapter in his story, so it leaves a lot of room for the character to grow and develop. Tony Stark keeps Peter in check because he made his suit. The trailers made it seem like Iron Man would be in the movie too much, but this is very much Spider-Man’s movie. There isn’t a single moment when you think that he is being overshadowed be Robert Downey Jr. He always comes in when it’s necessary for the story, and the scenes don’t revolve around him.

Michael Keaton plays the villain of the movie, the Vulture, and he’s probably one of the best ever villains in the MCU. You might think that he is silly because of his character in the comics. While he is campy in the source material, they go a completely different route in the movie and it works. It wouldn’t be as good as it was without Michael Keaton. I won’t spoil anything, but there’s a scene in a car between Vulture and Peter that I think is Keaton’s best scene in the movie.

One of my problems with the movie was that it wasn’t as emotional as I wanted it to be. Sure, there are some great acting scenes in the movie, and it is a lot of fun, but during the fight scenes there seems to be a lack of stakes. The movie plays it safe, and doesn’t really take any risks for the character. In the Sam Raimi movies, I still sit on the edge of my seat for the action scenes 15 years later, but in this movie it just seemed cool without feeling much for the character. Spider-Man is a great character in the movie, and the action scenes are good, but it just wasn’t everything I wanted. The third act of the movie also felt very overblown and crazy. I would have preferred it to feel more grounded, but they took a different approach and took the explosion route. It wasn’t as bad as it was in movies like Batman v Superman, but I found it to be too much for a Spider-Man movie.

I would definitely recommend Spider-Man: Homecoming. If you haven’t already you should go see this movie.(I’m so late with the review, you should have seen it already) It’s my second favorite Spider-Man movie of all time behind Spider-Man 2. 

                        Rating: A-             

Image via Marvel Studios

What did you think of Spider-Man: Homecoming? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. Also, what movies do you want me to review? Any topics you want me to discuss? Leave those down below as well.

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‘Spider-Man’ Movie Review

Dressed like a spider, looks like a bug…

Welcome to my series of Spider-Man reviews! I will be discussing all three Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies  this week leading up to Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Spider-Man was released in 2002, and it was the highest grossing weekend for a movie at the time. This was probably one of my favorite movies growing up, I watched it over and over and over again. I could quote the movie in a heartbeat, and I still can. This time around, I really wanted to analyze the movie and see if it really is a good film. I am happy to say, that this movie holds up almost perfectly.

Spider-Man is a really fun comic book movie that could stand on its own, before everything has to set up a universe. Tobey Maguire is a really great Peter Parker. That first scene of the movie where the camera pans through the bus, then focuses on Peter trying to catch up is a great introduction. He really captured the lonely nerd aspect of Peter, the nerd was best portrayed in the lab scene where he’s so amazed by all this technology. You really root for Peter because he’s a good kid and he makes good grades in school, but he can’t catch a break from Flash Tompson.

Image via Amino Apps

Aunt May and Uncle Ben portrayed by Rosemary Harris and Cliff Robertson were fantastic additions to the movie. I think they were both used perfectly. Uncle Ben is almost like a cool dad in some ways, he never gets mad because he realizes he’s raising a teenager. Robertson plays the death scene to perfection. I really felt for Peter in that scene. Aunt May is the person who always knows what to do just like she should be, unlike another version of her character that constantly worries about Peter. It’s not heavy handed, but she just feels like a sweet, wise person.

I also enjoyed the relationship between Harry Osborn and his father, Norman Osborn. They have a broken relationship because Harry wants his father to be proud of him, but he doesn’t have the best grades. Norman also clearly likes Harry’s best friend, Peter, much more.  

Image via Sony Pictures

One of the common criticisms of the movie is the Peter Parker and Mary Jane relationship. I think it still works. It might be a little cheesy at some moments, but they really captured what it feels like to have a crush on someone. Kirsten Dunst does a great job in the role with seeming like the popular girl around her friends, and then being very genuine with Peter. 

As for the actual filmmaking, the movie still works. Sam Raimi is used to having a low budget and using practical effects. A lot of the movie is shot in camera, feeling very visceral and real. Especially many of the  scenes with Spider-Man. The montage with him fighting crime shows how he’s this mysterious figure. 

Willem Dafoe is perfectly cast as Green Goblin. One of my favorite scenes is the mirror scene, and they establish this almost split personality that he struggles with. Dafoe did most of the stunt work for the film because of how passionate he was. If you look at his filmography he clearly didn’t need this role, but he put all of his effort into it and it shows on screen. Some people seem to have a problem with the costume as it looks like a power ranger. I don’t have a problem with it because it seems practical. It’s designed for the military, so they would need some type of armor protection. Also, if you think that looks silly, you must not have seen the original costume from the comics with the bright green and purple. I thought that it worked and fit with the fun tone of the movie.

Image via Sony Pictures

We can’t do a review of Spider-Man without talking about J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson. He has to be the most perfectly casted person of the whole series. Every scene he’s in is amazing. He just feels like he was ripped right out of the comics.

The movie does has a couple flaws despite it being great. Some of the CGI feels dated, like the scene when he climbs up the building after Uncle Ben dies. Also, while Kirsten Dunst is great, Mary Jane is a damsel in distress in most of the movie. She is really just there for Peter to have a crush on her. She does have some great scenes when she’s just talking with Peter and it feels very authentic, but she gets saved by Spider-Man a lot throughout the movie. For example, the parade scene, the alley way scene, and the final act are all scenes where she just relies on Spider-Man. Even when he asked her to climb down the rope, she just says that she can’t do it. This is one of the only ways the The Amazing Spider-Man improved from this movie with Gwen Stacy. 

All in all, this movie is great. It reminds us about the times when studios could just let the writers and directors make a good movie, and they didn’t have to put their hands in it to make the movies set up an entire universe. It’s simply an origin story about one of my favorite comic book characters.

Image via Sony Pictures

What do you think about Spider-Man? Do you like it? I really encourage you all to comment. I like to hear other people’s thoughts and I’d like to start a discussion down below.

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‘Hidden Figures’ Movie Review

A good January movie?

Hidden Figures is about three African-American female mathematicians Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Octavia Spencer (Dorothy Vaughan), and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) who were a significant part of the NASA Space Program’s challenge of putting a man in space. The film also features Kevin Costner as Al Harrison, the director of the Space Task Group.

Image via 20th Century Fox

I really loved Hidden Figures. I’m really surprised this story isn’t taught in school. These women played a very integral role in getting John Glenn to space. It’s really important for young girls to know this story. Taraji P. Henson plays Ketherine Goble Johnson, and she is the main character in the film. She was great in this role. I loved the way she kept proving everybody wrong with her math skills. She has a scene in the film when she’s finally done with all some racial issues, and she has that scene where she gives a big speech. That usually doesn’t work for me since it’s so overdone, but I thought it was really great in the movie.

Janelle Monáe was also really great in the movie. I thought she and Taraji P. Henson were the standouts in the film. Her character wants to be an engineer, but certain restrictions are placed so she cannot achieve that. And, that was another aspect of the film I liked. The constant struggle of trying to fight past the barriers society places in front of them. There’s a line in the movie when Mary Jackson says, “Every time we get a chance to get ahead, they move the finish line. Every time.” That really came through for me, I loved seeing them move past their set backs and succeed I their careers.

Image via 20th Century Fox

Octavia Spencer plays Dorothy Vaughn, who wants to be supervisor of the colored computer group, but is not able to do so. She was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, and while she was great, I don’t think she was better than Janelle Monáe. I don’t mean to discredit her, but I just thought that Monáe gave a more powerful performance. She really stood out in a scene in court, and she has to address the judge. That scene alone, I thought, stole the film. Getting back to Octavia Spencer, I liked how her character had a bit of sass to her, for lack of a better term. Dorothy Vaughn was the character that leads the group through racial issues specifically. I’d say her character was the most fun to watch. Also, she has the best line in the film.

Kevin Costner played the director of the Space Task Group, and he was awesome. His character was one of my favorites because he’s not really a jerk, he’s just following the rules, but when he needs to, he takes charge and makes changes. He was one of my favorite parts of the movie. Jim Parsons from The Big Bang Theory is plays Paul Stafford in this film, which was a surprise for me. His character is a jerk. He works in the same place that Katherine Johnson works, and he makes sure that she cannot do her job efficiently. His character was a little unnecessary for me, he didn’t really impact the film. Jim Parsons was fine in the role, but I just didn’t see much need for his character. He did have some good moments to set up good scenes for Taraji P. Henson to work with, and gives her one of the best lines in the movie. Kirsten Dunst is in the movie, and her character is an antagonist of sorts to Octavia Spencers’s character, and I thought that aspect worked very well. It represented the person who thinks they’re not doing anything wrong, but really is.

Image via 20th Century Fox

The film doesn’t beat you over the head with its messages. It shows you instead of telling you what it has on its mind. Also, the soundtrack is amazing. Of course, the Hans Zimmer parts are very well done, but I didn’t know Pharrell Williams did some cool songs for the movie. His songs added a sense of fun to the movie to underline the seriousness and racism of the film.

I had one flaw of the film, and that was the romance aspect. Each character has their love interest, Mahershsla Ali shows up as Colonel Jim Johnson, to be Katherine Johnson’s love interest. Aldis Hoodge plays Levi Jackson, husband of Mary Jackson. Every time they switched to the personal lives and the romantic scenes, I just wanted to get back to NASA. It wasn’t completely unbearable, everybody does their job and gives a good performance. Also, you kind of have to have that stuff so the characters aren’t too bland. It just made me want to see the main story more. the film is 2 hours and 7 minutes with credits, it could have been a little shorter.

Image via 20th Century Fox

In the end, this film was amazing! It teaches a story that you wouldn’t know if it weren’t for this film. I would definitely suggest you see this film if you haven’t already. Please go see it.

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Rating: A


Hidden Figures is directed by Theodore Melfi. Starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe, Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, and Mahershala Ali

Split: Movie Review

      M. Night Shyamalan started with a bang when he released The Sixth Sense, and then kept the ball rolling with Unbreakable and Signs. Then The Village happened … and Lady in the Water … and The Happening, … and The Last Airbender and After Earth. But then he made The Village and we got a hint that he was back. Split guarantees that Shyamalan is finally back to what he’s good at.

     Split is a psychological thriller about a man with dissociative identity disorder (James McAvoy) who has 23 different personalities. He kidnaps three girls (Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson, and Jessica Sula) and they just escape before a 24th personality comes out.

I have to start with this: James McAvoy gives the best performance of his career in this movie. And I’m a huge X-Men fan. You really feel that each person is a different personality. The most minute things he does like posture, facial expressions, and accents really shape the character. He goes all the way to create this disturbing, sinister character.

Anya Taylor-Joy, who was great in The Witch, also gives a great performance as Casey. She does a very good job of giving off this sense that there is more to her character than she is letting on. She is a new talent to watch out for in the future. As for the supporting characters, Haley Lu Richardson and Jessica Sula, they do a fine job. The problem is that whenever they are on screen they are playing off of Anya Taylor-Joy or James McAvoy and they get overshadowed, but they definitely do not give bad performances.

The movie is very well shot and you’re sitting on the edge of your seat focusing on every frame. It has a very tense and contained feel in the scenes with the three girls. However, the film has scenes where it goes to flashbacks with Casey as a little girl and McAvoy’s therapy sessions with Dr. Karen Fletcher played by Betty Buckley. The flashbacks felt forced but, without spoiling anything, they might pay off in the long run. Some of the therapy sessions were interesting, but others, especially one with e Skype call, just were a little unnecessary.

One last thing, the score in this movie by West Dylan Anderson is so subtle that you forget that it’s there, but it adds a whole new layer to the film.

In the end, Split is a very fun movie and I really recommend that you see it if you haven’t already. Shyamalan is finally back to his roots.

Rating: A


Split is rated PG-13.

Directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Starring James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Betty Buckley, and Jessica Sula.