I've decided to add a "series" to Mytakes which will cover movie reviews for the year. Since I haven't seen all 2015 and 2016 movies nor can I review all the movies I've watched all in one take, I've made a Part 1 and will make a Part 2 later on. When 2017 movies hit, I'll create another My Take and so on and so forth. (Look at the bottom of this article for upcoming movies I've watched that will get reviewed in Part 2)
Why am I doing this you ask? Because it sucks trying to find a good movie at Redbox and it becomes even harder to find good movies when there is a long line behind you and you can feel people internally cursing you for taking so long. You end up quickly picking a movie to be fair to the people behind you only to find out that the movie you got was either A.) a fucking re-release and you saw it before or B.) an idiotic garbage flick which seems to be the new trend at Hollywood: to spew out venomous, brain numbing, horrendous, boring, cliche films where trailers seem to be better than the movie itself.
Read my reviews to help you select movies a little bit better at Red Box.
The Revenant, 2015 (****) 4 STARS. 1 THUMB UP, 1 THUMB DOWN. RECOMMENDED WATCH.
Review: Great acting by both Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy. The movie's strong points include great panoramic cinematography of scenic America in the early 1800's, jaw dropping things man would do to survive, great movie directing, acting, and a solid plot. Where it lost a point and got one thumb down was that the movie lacks in plot twists, the long length of the film, and this movie can be boring from time to time. Great to watch this movie on Saturday, not on a Sunday.
Point Break, 2015 (***) 3 STARS, 2 THUMBS UP. RECOMMENDED WATCH.
Review: This underrated film is packed with "extreme sports" action that will make your stomach feel like it's sinking or dropping like on a roller coaster ride. An amazing remake of 1991's "Point Break" with Keanu Reeves (which has since became somewhat of a cult classic and was a huge box office hit in the 90's), this movie is more than just the "surfing" crime/action movie that was the original. The concept of the "8 Ordeals" was also unique; brushing briefly on concepts of spirituality and metaphysics. Where this movie lost 2 stars was sub-par acting, cliche one-liners, and the fact that the edge-of-your-seat feeling you get is actually due to the "extreme sports" scenes rather than the actual plot itself.
Agent 47, 2015 (**) 2 STARS, 1 THUMB UP, 1 THUMB DOWN. NOT RECOMMENDED.
Review: Although some fight scenes are on point, the direction of this movie is average at best. The plot also tries to be unpredictable but you can figure out what is going on. The main character tries to be a bad-ass but he is no Jason Statham or Craig Daniels. The only reason this movie didn't get 1 star is because the blood/gore of people dying is actually on point, like that of the Halo video game.
The Last Witch Hunter, 2015 (*) 1 STAR, 2 THUMB DOWNS. NOT RECOMMENDED.
Review: Absolute garbage of a film. The movie could have been good, but you feel like something is completely lacking. Not to mention, they tried to go all "Fast and Furious" in this movie by giving Vin Diesel an Aston Martin. The movie tries too hard to be "Constantine" but doesn't quite make it. If you want to watch this movie, I recommend NOT watching it and instead watching "The Craft", 1996 and "Constantine", 2005.
Concussion, 2015 (****) 4 STARS. 2 THUMBS UP. RECOMMENDED WATCH
Review: Will Smith does awesome acting (accent somewhat questionable) and this underrated movie has a "Selma" feel to it. The movie is about a very educated Nigerian forensic pathologist, Dr. Bennet Omalu, who discovers the link between football head injury and mental illness. A true story about one Doctor's battle against the elite shot callers in the NFL.
In the Heart of the Sea, 2015 (****) 4 STARS. 2 THUMBS UP. RECOMMENDED WATCH.
Review: This underrated movie that bombed at the Box Office, includes good acting by Chris Hemsworth (Thor) and Cillian Murphy (Batman Begins). The film is based on Nathaniel Philbrick's 2000 non-fiction book of the same name, about the sinking of the American whaling ship Essex in 1820, an event that inspired the novel, Moby Dick. The movie was directed and produced by Ron Howard, and you can tell it's a Ron Howard flick. The movie has a "Cast Away" feel to it; with the journey of being lost at sea. A group of men struggle trying to bring back home whale oil and encounter the great white whale. 4 stars for great directing, one point lost for being long and boring at times with a predictable ending. It needed more "sorrow" at the end.
Legend, 2015 (*****) 5 STARS. 2 THUMBS UP. RECOMMENDED WATCH.
Review: Tom Hardy does amazing double acting in this true story about twin gangster brothers, The Krays, who tried to take over London in the 1960's. One twin is "completely off his rockers" a homosexual paranoid schizophrenic and the other is "normal" - yet, both are psychopathic. The movie has a "Bronx Tales" feel to it in terms of plot, "Casino" feel to it in terms of romance, and "Scarface" feel to it in terms of the "tragic hero" story-line.
The movie gets 5 stars for uniqueness: rarely any movies out there about UK's mafia and the Krays actually do business with Meyer Lansky. Amazing acting here and the proper tragic ending. Tom Hardy does brilliant in this movie just like how he does in "The Drop" and "Lawless" (Lawless is another 5 star movie with impressive acting by both Tom Hardy and Shia LaBeouf) This crime action drama with its subtle notes of dark comedy is recommended for sure.
Extraction, 2015 (*) 1 STAR. 2 THUMBS DOWN. NOT RECOMMENDED.
Review: Paul Walker would have been awesome as Bruce Willis's son in this film (too bad he's dead) about a father in the CIA whose son tries to follow suit. A suitcase/computer that controls Governmental I.T. or something, is stolen/missing and potentially being sold off to some Russian or Middle Eastern mob or political kingpin (why spoil this for you?) The movie tries to throw a few curve balls into the plot but the entire movie is a one giant action cliche. Not to mention the butter-face heroine in this film is not very good looking at all (the movie would have gotten 2 stars had she been at least a gorgeous/bad-ass/good actress, think, Charlize Theron, but hey, at least they didn't cast Rosario Dawson...) and the son in this movie just looks like he belongs in some Disney late teen sitcom.
Rock the Kasbah, 2015 (*****) 5 STARS. 2 THUMBS UP. RECOMMENDED WATCH.
Review: An awesome comedy/drama film about a cheesy well-meaning yet somewhat scandalous has-been music manager (played excellently by Bill Murray and heck, Ed O'Neill would have been awesome too) who goes to Kabul, Afghanistan to facilitate a music show for his client (played by Zooey Deschanel) however, a bombing here, a quaalude there and the movie story takes a quick turn for the worst, or does it?
The movie is inspired by the true story of an Afghan female singer, Setara Hussainzada, who challenged the Afghan status quo and women's place in Afghan society by competing on the Afghan Star, (equivalent to American Idol) and the ensuing backlash that she faced. The movie has a "The Stoning of Soraya M" feel to it in terms of theme, women's rights, and morality. Also, Kate Hudson looks hot.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens, 2015 (****) 4 STARS. 1 THUMB UP. RECOMMENDED WATCH.
Review: A great continuation of the Star Wars story line. The movie stays true to the original films without going overboard on CGI and special effects. Han Solo is played by Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher plays Princess Leia, just like the originals. R2 D2 and C-3PO also make cameos and are their usual selves. The movie has somewhat of a surprise ending. The movie loses a point because the new actors in this film lack some charisma and Adam Driver's portrayal of Kylo Ren is not intimidating by any means. (although his "the suicidal emo in high school" demeanor does match up well for one gut-wrenching thing he does in the movie) All in all I was expecting this movie to be a failure but it wasn't at all.
Mad Max: Fury Road, 2015 (****) 4 STARS. 1 THUMB UP. RECOMMENDED WATCH.
Review: Amazing directing, awesome wardrobes, costumes, masks, etc. Regarding aesthetics, this movie rocks. Great acting by Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron as well. The movie's villain, "Immortan Joe" is also the perfectly intimidating and unsettling self-righteous leader (think Gene Hackman in "The Quick and the Dead") that the movie needed to keep you at the edge of your seat. The movie has an "Indiana Jones: Temple of Doom" and "Water World" feel to it; that futuristic post-apocalyptic setup similar to 2 Pac's "California Love" music video mixed with a little bit of Marilyn Manson.
Avengers: Age of Ultron, 2015 (*) 1 STAR, 2 THUMB DOWNS. NOT RECOMMENDED.
Review: There is a limit between how much special effects/CGI is needed to make a movie impressive (the key is subtly), and so much it's equivalent to movie stars with epic plastic surgery fails. The movie fits the latter but you can't blame this movie for that because this flick REQUIRES hordes of movie make-up; I guess it's a catch-22, essentially any movie like this is an immediate one star because all it is, is pure eye candy and no nutrition.
Ant-Man, 2015 (****) 4 STARS, 2 THUMBS UP. RECOMMENDED WATCH.
Review: An action movie with some great funny moments. Comedy star, Paul Rudd, plays the unassuming Scott Lang, a well-meaning thief who teams up with scientist, Hank Pym, (played by Micheal Douglas) to protect Pym's "shrinking" technology from the new clandestine leadership at an agency called S.H.I.E.L.D. The new S.H.I.E.L.D management has some dubious motives that could led to rampant malignant power. The little girl who plays Scott Lang's daughter in this movie is absolutely adorable.
The Martian, 2015 (***) 3 STARS. TWO THUMBS UP. NO COMMENT ON RECOMMENDATION.
Review: This movie is like the less charming cousin of "Interstellar". The movie gets 2 thumbs up but only 3 stars due to a very linear story line that doesn't digress into subplots that made Interstellar interesting. The movie gets 2 thumbs up for the unique ways Matt Damon's character figures out ways to stay alive (whether he lives or not is not going to be mentioned here) with scientific knowledge he's able to recall and put to use despite the Mars atmosphere. (Think, Breaking Bad when Walter White figures out how to jump-start a RV/trailer using coins, momentum, and magnets) Great movie to watch if you're thinking about doing some Hookah and drinking some Red Bull for the night while watching with your group of study buddies.
Spectre, 2015 (*) 1 STAR. 1 THUMB UP, 1 THUMB DOWN. NOT RECOMMENDED.
Honestly, the only reason this movie even gets 1 thumb up from me is because I like Christoph Waltz as a villain (he has the same villainous charisma here like he did in "Inglourious Bastards") and of course Daniel Craig is just a straight up bad-ass, as always. This movie (actually all of Craig's Bond movies) though, lacks the carefree pizzazz of the 90's Bond movies with Pierce Brosnan that I miss so much. All in all, Spectre tries to duplicate the excitement that was evident in Craig's "Casino Royale" (which was good) and I found myself yawning through some of the action sequences here.
Joy, 2015 (*****) 5 STARS. 2 THUMBS UP. RECOMMENDED WATCH.
Review: This movie is the true story of the inventive yet pessimistic Joy Mangano (played impressively by Jennifer Lawrence), a woman who became a self-made millionaire selling her "Miracle Mop" invention on QVC. This movie is a pure "rags to riches" story; Joy is a divorced mother of three whose living with selfish parents, an ex-husband, and has a jealous sister. You can't help but think Joy's a little like Cinderella here, as everyone wants a piece of Joy's success. You'll really root for Joy to succeed with impressive acting by Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence who acting here is reminiscent of her character in "Winter's Bone".
Jurassic World, 2015 (**) 2 stars. 2 THUMBS DOWN. NOT RECOMMENDED.
Review: Two stars and not one because they didn't go too overboard with the CGI and the giant fucking dinosaur whale thing that eats the shark was unpredictably cool. But two thumbs down largely due to the ending which went overboard and into Godzilla territory. Nothing beats the original Jurassic Park and this movie was obviously trying to duplicate the original movie's success. Nor was this movie as suspenseful as the very first. You essentially have an indestructible T-Rex because its been bred as a hybrid and then you have raptors which suddenly develop human-like feelings. The only thing I enjoyed about this movie was the Lemon Heads I ate while watching it.
The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Part 2, 2015. (**) 2 STARS, 1 THUMB UP. NOT RECOMMENDED.
Review: The mystic of the first movie just never stayed consistent in the followups. 2 stars and not 1 because I'm in love with Jennifer Lawrence. 2 stars and not 3 because of the stupid love triangle in this movie and I think Peeta is annoying. I also keep mixing up the Mocking Jay series with the Divergent Series and both are just turning into soap operas now. Hopefully this saga doesn't milk the cow's teat of success to soreness like the fucking "Fast and Furious" franchise.
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, 2015 (***) 3 STARS. 1 THUMB UP. NO COMMENT...
Review: I hate Tom Cruise for turning nutcase over the years the more he dived into Scientology as much as I like him in Mission Impossible. Well the first one anyways. Rogue Nation has some cool action scenes (most of which you can find in the trailer) but has lots of dramatic dialogue and a story line that requires some paying attention too so it can be a bit boring which is why it lost 2 stars. The movie doesn't try too hard to impress but it does try too hard to be true to the original; you can almost feel the director trying to squeeze in a face-changing mask or two into the film somewhere.
Terminator Genysis, 2015. (*) 1 STAR. 1 THUMB UP, 1 THUMB DOWN. NOT RECOMMENDED.
Review: Nothing beats Terminator 2. Actually, sequels are never as good as the first, but Terminator 2 is arguably the best out of all 6 (or however many) that were made. First off, Terminator 2 had thee right (yes, that's right, I said "thee") actors for the characters. Robert Patrick, Eddie Furlong, Linda Hamilton all did an awesome job. CGI was on point and a head of its time for early 1990's, the movie had the right amount of suspense which hovered in between the action and thriller realms. And....it just never was duplicated. I do like Arnold though in Terminator 3, his one-liners were funny at times.
One thumb up at least because Genisys has an interesting plot and tries to combine the dark film noir of Terminator Salvation, the Terminator 2 engine, with some of Arnold's humor in Terminator 3 but one star/one thumb down because this movie fails largely due to one main reason, too much of what will happen is exposed in the trailer. Also, Jason Clarke sucks as John Connor and we all wish Eddie Furlong didn't just vanish over time the way he did.
Coming up reviews for Part 2
Everest, 2015 - 1 Star
Insurgent, 2015 - 2 Stars
Spotlight, 2015 - 3 Stars
Bridge of Spies, 2015 - 5 Stars
San Andreas, 2015 - 1 Star
Fify Shades of Grey, 2015 - 4 Stars
The Man From U.N.C.L.E - 3 Stars
Black Mass, 2015 - 5 Stars
Sicario, 2015 - 2 Stars
Straight Outta Compton, 2015 - 3 Stars
Captain America: Civil War, 2016 - 1 Star
The Walk, 2015 - 5 Stars
Carol, 2015 - 2 Stars
The Room, 2015 - 2 Stars
DeadPool, 2016 - 4 Stars