Archive for category Entertainment

Movie Mayhem – Five Feet Apart

Five Feet Apart — 2019; Directed by Justin Baldoni; Starring Haley Lu Richardson, Cole Sprouse, Moises Arias, Kimberly Hebert Gregory and Parminder Nagra

You know what you’ll be getting before even purchasing a ticket to a film about cancer or terminal illness. There will be plenty of discussions concerning the illness itself and how it affects everyone around it; there will be plenty of jokes about having the illness; there will be a death of a pivotal character that will help someone in the film find some sort of truth; the third act will be, in a lot of ways, bittersweet; and there will be lots of tears from the viewing audience. Five Feet Apart doesn’t back away from any of these tropes, but it still manages to build upon them in a creative way that the film doesn’t feel so much like just another teen cancer movie, but a song for life and the need we all have for companionship, love and family.

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Movie Mayhem – Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel — 2019; Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck; Starring Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Jude Law, Ben Mendelsohn, Annette Benning, and Clark Gregg

It’s been 11 years since Marvel began their journey of creating one of the most lucrative cinematic universes in film history. Through those many years, there’s been some major highs (Iron Man hitting big, Captain America: Winter Soldier changing the game, Guardians of the Galaxy proving little-known titles could also score big, Black Panther nominated for a best picture Oscar, and securing a deal with Sony for the rights to include Spider-Man) as well as a few stumbling blocks (director controversies; Thor: The Dark World), but even the most mediocre film in their arsenal is better than sitting through Suicide Squad. So, it’s a bit hard to talk about Marvel’s newest entry, Captain Marvel, not because it’s bad, but because it comes off a little flat in comparison to the majority of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

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Movie Mayhem – Greta

Greta — 2019; Directed by Neil Jordan; Starring Chloë Grace Moretz, Isabelle Huppert and Maika Monroe

Chloë Grace Moretz is a terrific actress. There is no disputing that. However, with the release of Greta, the new thriller in which she stars as the focus of a lonely, mentally-unstable stalker named Greta (Isabelle Huppert), I’m starting to believe that she is not suited to be a star. By this I mean, Moretz is much more powerful as a character actor, someone who is more suited to be part of an ensemble, or support others as opposed to standing in the spotlight.

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Chaos Movie Awards 2019

The 91st Academy Awards

The 91st Academy Awards air tonight, and if there’s one thing this crop of nominees doesn’t have over previous telecasts is a clear Favourite. While trying to stay away from controversy, they drop there their host faster than a Black Panther attacking its prey, and wind up with more questions than a Blackkklansman. Trying to Bohemian Rhapsody their way out, they come off like power-hungry Vices, treating their viewers like Roma. At least they didn’t go as far as creating their own Green Book of categories that may or may not be televised. For most viewers, this year’s telecast isn’t about whether A Star Is Born, it’s finding out how insane the telecast will end up.

In other words, with all of the madness that surrounded the Oscar telecast this year, it’s hard to know who will come out as winners, but, as usual, I’m going to give it a shot, along with giving out a few special categories I created myself to highlight those moments in film that otherwise got overlooked.

My Picks

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Movie Mayhem – Isn’t It Romantic

Isn’t It Romantic — 2019; Directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson; Starring Rebel Wilson, Adam Devine, Liam Hemsworth, Priyanka Chopra, Brandon Scott Jones, and Betty Gilpin

Much like Adam Devine’s character in Isn’t It Romantic, I’m a sucker for romantic comedies. From You’ve Got Mail to any early 2000 rom-com starring Matthew McConaughey, there’s something about the genre that I find delightfully fun and whimsical. As they mention in this new meta-update to the genre, which takes as much joy in making fun of films in the genre as it does creating one, the ideas that romantic comedies present may be highly idealized and horribly out of touch with reality — but that’s where the joy comes in, as we all can dream of having the perfect romance play out before our eyes.

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Movie Mayhem – Cold Pursuit

Cold Pursuit — 2019; Directed by Hans Petter Moland; Starring Liam Neeson, Laura Dern, Tom Bateman, John Doman and Emmy Rossum

Way back in 2008, Liam Neeson did what very few actors over the age of fifty are capable of doing — after crafting a healthy career in dramatic leading roles, Neeson became a legitimate action star with a particular set of skills. He had been steadily moving in that direction for a few years prior (with roles in Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace and Batman Begins), but it wasn’t until Bryan Mills first sought vengeance on those who kidnapped his daughter that he was able to move away from the “stoic mentor” and parlay his path into a tremendous new audience that wholly embraced him as an action icon. The only question was, how long would it last before Neeson (and audiences) got burned out? With Cold Pursuit opening this weekend, we finally have our answer, as I don’t know if I have ever before seen a movie so bored with its star, its premise, or itself.

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Movie Mayhem – Miss Bala (2019)

Miss Bala — 2019; Directed by Catherine Hardwicke; Starring Gina Rodriguez, Christina Rodlo, Damián Alcázar, Ricardo Abarca, Mikhail Plata and Anthony Mackie

Some movies are great; they captivate your mind, heart and soul. Something about them viscerally connects with you; all of the elements fall into place so perfectly, it’s hard to criticize them for anything. Other movies are terrible; nothing about them is genuine. They’re sloppily made with poor direction and acting, or have a poorly executed story and pace, making them simply boring with nothing much to say. Still others, like the new cartel actioner, Miss Bala, fall somewhere in between; not special enough to sing its praises, but not bad enough to complain about.

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Movie Mayhem – The Kid Who Would Be King

The Kid Who Would Be King — 2019; Directed by Joe Cornish; Starring Louis Ashbourne Serkis, Dean Chaumoo, Angus Imrie, Tom Taylor, Rhianna Dorris and Patrick Stewart

The story is as old as time: someone ordinary, going through the motions of a mundane life, suddenly discovers he’s extraordinary and is the only person who can stop an impending evil from destroying the world. One reason this scenario is timeless is because it’s a fantasy everyone shares on some level. At one point or another, we all hope one day we’ll find our true purpose in this world, so the idea resonates on a subconscious level. The Kid Who Would Be King clearly knows this, going out of their way to mention other books and films that have done this very thing — Star Wars and Harry Potter, to name just a couple — and mixes the idea with the legend of King Arthur, a young orphan who became king when he pulled a sword from a stone.

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Movie Mayhem – The Upside

The Upside — 2019; Directed by Neil Burger; Starring Kevin Hart, Bryan Cranston and Nicole Kidman

When a comedian starts out in the industry, their main goal is to make people laugh. But, just as any other profession, that can only last so long before they start to want more. Doing the same thing over and over can become labored; the soul needs more than simple repetition. This is one reason a lot of comedians at some point in their careers slowly begin to work their way into dramatic roles. Some fail to find a way to successfully transition (Will Farrell comes to mind), while others have incredibly long careers because of it (see: Tom Hanks, Robin Williams and most recently, Steve Carell, to name a few). It doesn’t mean they’ve lost touch with their comedic roots, it’s simply their way of widening their audience, and on a personal level, growing into a better performer. In The Upside, Kevin Hart becomes the newest comedian to step foot across the aisle into drama, and he’s given the perfect mentor to seamlessly make that transition.

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Movie Mayhem – The Best and Worst of 2018

As with any other year, 2018 saw a slew of both good and bad films, however, some films that may appear on other critics’s lists may not appear here, either because I didn’t like it as much as them, I didn’t get a chance to see it, or it was a Netflix exclusive, as I can be more selective with my choices. That doesn’t mean I didn’t see plenty of mediocre films that deserve to be part of the worst, however, the scales were a little imbalanced this year. I saw 125 movies, 61 of which scored an A- or higher (which is pretty much in line with past years), while only 10 scored a C+ or below.

As I point out every year, this list is compiled of only movies I saw from January 1 to December 31 (with the exception of Mary Poppins Returns, which I saw in the first week of 2019, but prior to compiling this list). With that said, here are my picks for the best and worst of 2018!

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