The works of Award winning author, Rick Pipito, and more

Reviews

Review: First Man

firstmanMy son has had a fascination with space this year, so when an eight year old comes out of a true story movie loving every second, that says something.  First Man was a bit slow in parts.  There were some scenes where if you have vertigo, you may want to close your eyes.  Despite thinking you know what’s going to happen because you may know a lot about the Apollo program, well think again.

Ryan Gosling was not the only stellar cast member.  Everyone in the film did such a fantastic job that I’m shocked it hasn’t been nominated for an Oscar.  Oh wait, no I’m not.  The Oscars only put what and who they want up there even if no one has seen the films.  Okay, ranting aside, First Man definitely deserved a nomination on so many levels.

Yes, it’s based on the true story of Neil Armstrong, but it delves into his family life, and the stresses he went through.  It wasn’t an easy trek for him to achieve the status he did and become the first man on the moon.

I had no complaints about this film, other than the fact that the conspiracy loving part of me wishes they would have touched on some of those doctored NASA photos of the moon and flight recordings of him and Buzz Aldrin talking about seeing objects outside of the shuttle.  That would have detracted from what they were going for, so I understand why they didn’t… but still..  we all want and need answers.

I may have shed a tear of joy when he stepped on the moon after seeing all that built up to it.  Kudos to the director and cast for a job well done.  I give the movie 5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  What did you think of First Man?  Comment below with your thoughts.

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Review: Bird Box

bird-box-poster-405x600Bird Box was something I decided to check out when I had a rare few hours to burn when I wasn’t writing.  I had heard about the stupid challenge people have been getting hurt doing, and figured I’d check out the source material.

As far as a movie with suspense, this has plenty of it.  There’s a good dynamic of flashback and present telling that make it flow well.  I was hooked in the first five minutes.  Sandra Bullock and cast really made the film, and I felt for the child actors involved.  It was an emotionally charged plot.

The story itself was decent enough, but I feel it fell flat in a few places.  There really was no explanation as to what the “creatures” were other than the aspiring author character’s thoughts on it.  That wasn’t presented as fact, so you are just left assuming he knew all about it.  Why were some people committing suicide, while others were trying to convince people to open their minds to the “demons?”  Again… there was no explanation for this.

Despite that, there was enough to keep me interested all the way until the credits rolled.  The ending itself was a little underwhelming.  Without explanations and too many questions left up in the air, I desired to see one of these things.  Obviously the directors chose not to show because for the characters, they all saw something different.  It just had too abrupt an ending with loose ends obviously designed to rope in enough interest for a sequel.

If you’re bored and want something interesting, then this is a must see, but if you’re looking for closure and something substantial, then I’d skip it.  I give Bird Box a 2.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings, which would have lost another point if the acting wasn’t so superb.

What were your thoughts?  Comment below.


Review: Mission Impossible: Fallout

mi6I grew up watching reruns of the original series, and the remake series that came out briefly in the late 80s.  The films have also been a guilty pleasure of mine.  In some cases I thought they fell a little flat, but for the most part this film series has been a lot of fun.  So how do I think the sixth installment turned out?

Fallout was definitely a strong entry in the series.  I don’t think it was the best of the batch, but it ranks high on the list.  Tom Cruise again does an amazing job as Ethan Hunt.  The returning cast members also excel in their roles, and I’m glad to finally see Ving Rhames’ character Luther get some more screen time.  Lacking however was Jeremy Renner’s role.  Like other MI movies, he was the character that somehow wasn’t present (probably saving the world as an Avenger or something).  The additions made up for it though.  Angela Basset and Henry Cavill were great additions, and for the first time we have the return of a previous film’s villain.

I don’t want to give away too much about that, so I’ll move on.  Stunt wise the movie was on par with being a little over the top unbelievable, but that is what makes these films so fun to watch.  They also wrapped up a previous story line that dates back to a few movies ago with Ethan’s love life.  I’m glad to see closure there.  There were a couple surprises especially with the fate of a certain character.

Overall, I enjoyed it and it will fit nicely on my dvd shelf next to the other 5 films.  Audiences must have loved it too because they are filming the 7th and 8th movie back to back from what I hear.  I don’t know how many more Cruise has in him, but with the way they bring in new characters I could see this lasting a long time, and it’s a franchise I hope sticks around the way that 007 does.

I give it 3.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  What did you think of Mission Impossible: Fallout?  Comment below with your thoughts.


Review: Aquaman

aquaman_movie_poster_1_by_jpgThere’s no secret that the DC movies have all been met with some pretty harsh criticism.  I have also voiced my distaste in the past.  However, after seeing Aquaman, my expectations were exceeded.

I went into it with both my kids thinking that it would be bad effects, dialogue and just lacking in story with major plot holes.  Boy was I wrong.

The special effects were fantastic, and while there were a few parts that looked off, the majority of the film was seamless.  The story did a great job of telling the heroes and villains’ pasts and set up not just a great origin tale, but addition to the existing dc universe.  Acting was on par with the entire cast and dialogue (although a bit cheesy in parts) was acceptable.

The addition of humor made this feel like a Marvel movie in many aspects, because it worked.  There were a couple places that felt too over the top as though they tried too hard to get the humor in there.  Then there is one scene where Pittbull’s version of Toto’s Africa song began playing and I became confused as to why they chose this.  It didn’t fit the scene and his cover of the song was horrendous…

Overall I (and my kids) enjoyed the movie, and look forward to more in this universe.  I actually will go so far as saying that it was better than Wonder Woman (which until this point was my favorite DC film), it was better than Antman and the Wasp, and I will dare to say I think it is even better than Black Panther (which is very high on my rewatchability list).

I give it 3 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  What did you think?  Did you love or hate the movie or find it just alright?  Be sure to comment below.


Review: Creed II

MV5BMTcxMjUwNjQ5N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjk4MzI4NjM@__V1_As a lifelong fan of the Rocky franchise, it was inevitable that I’d see Creed 2.  Throw in the bonus that my wife was in the movie, made it that much more enjoyable for me to watch.

While the first Creed movie did a good job of showing the origin of Michael B Jordan’s character, the second film goes beyond that and firmly sets him into the lead role.  No longer is he overshadowed by Sly Stallone’s Rocky Balboa.  Adonis Creed now stands on his own.  He’s set firmly in place, and in a way that I hope will continue to carry this franchise for years to come.

Creed 2 is almost a direct sequel to Rocky 4 in many ways, and while Dolph Lundgren’s Ivan Drago didn’t have much substance in that prior movie, he’s given much more to work with here.  In fact they humanize him and his son in a way where I could see fans wanting to see more of the pair in a spinoff or return further down the line.

The drama in this film plays nicely with the brutal action, humor, and touching moments.  My only complaint is that I wish there would have been a physical confrontation of some sorts between Ivan Drago and Rocky Balboa, but in a way I’m glad they didn’t.  It would have just taken away from establishing Adonis Creed’s legacy.

I give Creed 2 a score of 4.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  Here’s to hoping for Creed III soon, and maybe even a prequel about Mickey in the early 1900s.


Review: Luke Cage season 2

luke-cage-season-2-poster-1107525Luke Cage continues to be one of my favorite Netflix marvel shows.  This season took what made the first season good, and made it better.  It doesn’t drag as much, and the story continued to draw me in.  Could it have been a few episodes shorter?  Sure, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t chock full of good writing.

The use of the characters was executed well to where the viewer can feel a connection with them all.  Bushmaster, Nightshade, Shades, Misty Knight, and Maria Stokes (Dillard) all served an equal part of the plot.  Some were set up for more future usage, but the most interesting part is how Luke was left at the end of the season.  Will he become a villain?  It’s doubtful, but it sure as heck looks like he’ll be going down a darker path.

I refuse to say much more than this because it really summarizes how I feel about the season.  One thing I can add though is the episode with Danny Rand showing up really has me excited for Iron Fist Season 2.  In the meantime, I’ll be happy with Luke Cage and give season 2 of his show 4 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.

What were your thoughts?  Comment below, so we can discuss.


Review: Ant-man and The Wasp

Ant-Man_and_the_Wasp_posterI didn’t expect much more than a fun popcorn flick going into Ant-man and The Wasp, and that’s exactly what I got.  As far as Marvel movies go, it doesn’t rank that high on the scale, but that doesn’t mean it is a bad movie.  In fact, it is a lot of fun from start to finish.

Paul Rudd (Scott Lang) and Michael Douglas (Hank Pym) shine as both Ant-Mans, but Evangeline Lilly is really the one who makes the movie that much more enjoyable.  As the Wasp, a hero long overdue in the eyes of Marvel fanatics, she is the balance to the chaotic men of the story.  While Hank Pym is an overeager scientist who holds one too many grudges, Scott Lang is a goofy dad who comes off as a bit of a dolt.  Hope (Lilly’s character) seems to be the only one who can bring either of these men to focus on the task ahead.

Herein lies my problem with the film… In the first movie, Lang had a bit of knowledge of how engineering and science work, but in the sequel they seemed to have scrapped all of that.  Also in the first film, Pym mentioned that he couldn’t shrink any more because of the many years of doing it taking a toll on his body.  It could be fatal to him.  But then we see him step into the quantum realm in a new Ant-Man suit.  Now maybe this suit cancels those negative effects, but without mentioning it is a slight issue for those who have seen both.  If you haven’t seen the first and only see this one, then these aren’t real problems.

Other notable points of interest in the movie were Michelle Pfeiffer’s Janet Van Dyne/Wasp and Laurence Fishburn’s Bill Foster/Goliath.  I love how both were introduced with a past, even if they were a bit underutilized in the film.

As far as villains go, well Sonny Burch was not much of a challenge but worked well to counter Luis and the X-Con security guys.  Ghost is less a villain than she is an obstacle, and it’ll be interesting to see where they take her from here on out.

With all Marvel movies, Stan Lee’s cameo was funny as usual, and the mid credits scene brought a heavy weight with it.  Slight spoiler, it has to do with Infinity War’s Thanos snap, and is almost as if everything Ant-Man worked for in this movie is gone (at least for the time being).  The post credit scene was less than amusing.  As a matter of fact it is one that actually irritated me because it was just a throwaway gag that made little sense.

Overall I give Ant-Man and the Wasp a 3 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  It was fun, non-stop action, and a different feel to the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

What did you think?  Did you see anything in the quantum realm?  Supposedly there are hidden things there (I think I spotted one, but am not really sure what it was).  Comment below with your thoughts.


Review: Tomb Raider

Tomb_Raider_(2018_film)The Tomb Raider movies prior to this year’s film of the same name with Alicia Vikander in the role of Lara Croft, weren’t much to remember.  They were just fun popcorn flicks.  It’s because of those that I went into this movie with low expectations, but as a huge fan of the video games I had to give it a shot.  I’m glad that I did.

With a surprisingly long run time for this film (just under 2 hours), it felt refreshing and human.  Vikander’s Croft is much more relatable, giving the audience a character they care about.  You can see her humanity.  She’s not a super hero, and while she does perform some impossible things, she doesn’t come out of it unscathed.

This really shows the origin of a great character, and how she became wrapped up in the archaeological world.  Tomb Raider 2018 may not be as good as the Indiana Jones movies, but it separates itself as a solid stand alone piece that is highly enjoyable.

I personally look forward to a sequel, and who knows… with all these crossovers, and an inevitable Indiana Jones reboot some day, maybe we will see Indy and Lara team up.  In the mean time this will keep audiences pleased.  I rate it with 3 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  It’s not the best movie out there, but it certainly ranks high on the fun film scale.

What did you think?  Comment below with your thoughts.


Review: Gotham season 4

GOTHAMUnlike the other DC TV shows that I reviewed a few days ago, Gotham has potential.  Sure, it’s been eye rolling and frustrating to comic book fans at times, but season 4 makes up for a lot of that.  Warning that there are some spoilers ahead.

This season did a great job of really delving into some of the lore that makes Batman who he is.  Although there were some episodes that dragged (Barbara getting the Demon’s Head was a horrible plot point), most of them kept me wanting to watch more.

By the season’s end we get to see who will actually become the Joker.  He isn’t the Joker yet, but this take on him really shows him as the Red Hood without wearing the hood.  We’ve got multiple cliffhangers.  Butch will surely become Solomon Grundy again, Penguin will have his empire back, Riddler and Lee will be in debted to Hugo Strange and Penguin, Selina will undoubtedly have survived and used up one of her nine lives, Gotham is looking to be “No Man’s Land” straight from the comics, villains like Firefly and Mr. Freeze are on the loose and ready to make their marks, Bruce Wayne and Gordon standing on the rooftop near the spotlight is a bit of a foreshadowing, and everything is set up for a good conclusion to the prequel show.  The next season is said to be the final one with Bruce finally becoming Batman, probably resulting in Jeremiah becoming the Joker, and so much more anticipated comic book accurate points.  At least that’s what we can hope for.

For Season 4 of Gotham, I have to give it a high score of 4 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  Perhaps it’s because the CW has left such a bad watching experience that I’m willing to accept what Gotham has given us, but I think that the writers of this show really care about what they are working with, at least to some degree.  What did you think of this season?  Do you agree or disagree?  Comment below and share your thoughts.

 


Review: Lethal Weapon season 2

Lethal-Weapon-season-2-poster-Fox-key-artWhile the first season was a great interpretation and reinvention of one of my favorite movie franchises, Lethal Weapon season 2 goes beyond that.

In a quick review that will have some spoilers I must say that season 2 makes a very emotional connection with the audience.  I’ve found myself invested in the characters and really enjoying the story telling.  The mixture of action, humor, and ongoing plot points continues to reel me in.

Then I heard that co-lead actor Clayne Crawford would not be returning as Martin Riggs after being fired.  Originally I was mortified that this was true.  How could you have Lethal Weapon without Riggs and Murtaugh?  Well while we don’t have definitive answers short of Seann William Scott replacing Crawford as a lead, I think the finale of season 2 gives us a hint of what we will have.  Perhaps there will be a new Riggs coming aboard, related to the main character and in a tasteful and hopefully non-forced sort of way.  We can only hope there will be chemistry between him and Wayons (who continues to be outstanding in his role).  I’m assuming Murtaugh will not take the Captain position in order to solve the murder of his former partner?

For season 2 I give it 5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.  What did you think of the show and where do you think they can and will go from here?