Eagan at the Movies

Reviewing movies because we care.

Reviews for Current Films, Classics, Video Games and Lots of Other Cool Stuff For Parents and Children

In Theaters: Show Dogs, Deadpool 2, Book Club, Breaking In, Life of the Party, Tully, Bad Samaritan, Overboard, Avengers: Infinity War, Super Troopers 2, I Feel Pretty, Truth or Dare, Rampage, Blockers, A Quiet Place, Acrimony

Coming Soon: Solo, Action Point, Adrift, Hereditary, Ocean's 8, The Incredibles 2, Tag, Superfly, Jurassic World 2, Sicario 2, Uncle Drew, The First Purge, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Hotel Transylvania 3

Rating system:

★★★★: Classic  

★★★½: Very Good   

★★★: Good  

★★½ : Eh

★★: Could've Been Worse, Could've Been Better  

★½: Is It Too Late To Get A Refund?  

: Hope You Have A Good Date  

½: Little To No Redeeming Value

No Stars: Rethink Your Life Choices

Show Dogs                  by James Eagan            ½ OUT OF ★★★★

Related imageImage: "You know what your breath smells like, right?"

 Ever seen a movie that just won't shut the Hell up? Like, it just keeps making noise and noise, with characters spouting out words. Not dialogue, just words. Screaming and yelling, with the score constantly and obnoxiously blasting just in case the three little kids who were likely only brought here because the parents either couldn't find a babysitter to see "Deadpool 2", or just didn't respect their kids enough to take them to see "Isle of Dogs", "Sgt. Stubby", or even "Avengers: Infinity War". Maybe they just wanted to scare them straight. 

 "Show Dogs" takes place in the uh, real-ish world, with temperamental Rottweiler police dog, "Max" (Voiced by Chris "Ludacris" Bridges) failing to rescue a stolen CGI baby panda, ruining the rescue attempt by FBI agent, "Frank" (Will Arnett). Because of this, Max is partnered up with Frank and head over to Vegas infiltrate a dog show, which may be a front for an animal smuggling plot. Of course, Max and Frank don't get along, with Frank being stupid and Max being a dick for no reason. Max enlists the help of a former dog show winner, "Philippe" (Voiced by Stanley Tucci), while Frank tries to charm the nice pretty girl, "Mattie" (Natasha Lyonne), while eventually learning to work together to find out who is smuggling the rare animals.  While I'm just confused as to why I still do what I do despite not gaining much in the process. In fact I'm losing time watching this film. The universe's most precious resource. Ugh...

 Directed by Raja "How do I keep getting work?" Gosnell (Both "The Smurfs" movies and both "Scooby-Doo" movies), "Show Dogs" has no business being in a movie theater, obviously. It's just nothing, piled upon laziness and a script that mostly consists of catchphrases and puns, without any laughs to make up for the most predictable of plots. Not to mention the horrifyingly dated, poorly rendered effects work that will more likely terrify children, rather than delight them. To say the movie is "At least okay for kids" should be more of an insult to the kids, who really deserve so much better, and so do the poor, innocent film critics who undeservedly were forced to sit through this.

 To look for actual positives in something with so little given to it and so little time that was obviously put into making the film. Gotta' give credit to a few actors, who come in to do their jobs to their best ability regardless of the material, with Will Arnett, Ludacris, and Stanley Tucci at least trying to make something out of nothing. Natasha Lyone is plenty adorable, but is just there to be the love interest. (Which doesn't even need to be here.) The rest of the voice cast, which includes Jordan Sparks (as "Daisy", Max's love interest), Gabriel Inglesias (as "Sprinkles", a pug obsessed with Max), Shaquille O'Neal (as "Karma", a Komodor with words of wisdom), and others, just appear sporadically, with them mostly either raising their voices, exaggerating them, or just doing accents for the sake of doing accents. The dogs themselves are cute, except for when their CGI mouths are moving around like the stuff of nightmares.

 "Show Dogs" is what happens when nobody sits anyone with money and connections in Hollywood down and tells them "No!". It's honestly a bit hard to fully talk about, but mostly because there just isn't much in this movie. It's paced quickly to the point you aren't given enough time to process anything, not even how truly horrible the punny jokes are. Everything feels cobbled together simply to stretch out it's already short runtime and go through the checklist of family movie plot points. The movie is just.....Nothing. It's just there to take up time, without providing anything of value for you or your kids. It's a very, very bad boy. 1/2 star. Rated PG For Fart Jokes, Obnoxious Yelling, And Ball Fondling.  

Deadpool 2                                                               by James Eagan                                         ★★★½ OUT OF ★★★★

Image result for deadpool 2Image: "I love you guys!"

 Still hard to believe that a film based this slightly bloodthirsty, yet insanely lovable comic book character, "Deadpool", was still considered unthinkable less than four years ago. An R rated, meta comedy, filled with violence, offensive humor, and piles upon piles of shock value, with Ryan Reynolds, despite the fact he already played a twisted, unrecognizable version of the character in the worst X-Men movie ("X-Men: Origins: Wolverine". It sucks for many reasons) This idea was seemingly unbankable as the titular kind of, sort of hero. But the 2014 first film was a massive hit, with Reynolds getting to finally let loose and do whatever the Hell he wanted (Almost always dressed as Deadpool). And lets be honest, the world is just a better place now with Deadpool in it. Look at that face. How can you not love the guy?

 "Deadpool 2" follows the fast talking, completely insane, fourth wall breaking mercenary, "Wade Wilson/Deadpool" (Ryan Reynolds) planning to start a family with his longtime girlfriend, "Vanessa" (Morena Baccarin), only for it to end horribly and in tragedy. Now depressed, Deadpool makes an attempt at suicide, though his mutant abilities keep him from dying no matter how much he blows himself up. He's picked up by honorable X-Men, "Colossus" (Voiced by Stefan Kapičić), who is determined to turn Deadpool into a proper hero and eventually make him one of the X-Men. Now a trainee, he's partnered up with Colossus and "Negasonic Teenage Warheard" (Brianna Hildebrand) on his first mission to contain a young mutant with fire abilities and a bad temper, "Russell Collins/Firefist" (Julian Dennison), who is currently going on a rampage at an orphanage.

 Learning that Russell is being tortured by the bigoted and sadistic headmaster (Eddie Marsan), Deadpool decides to join Firefist on his rampage, only to be taken out quickly and sent to a prison for mutants. While in prison with Russell, a mysterious, very serious cyborg from the future, "Cable" (Josh Brolin) arrived, with the intention to kill Russell due to what he will do in the future once he gets his revenge in the headmaster. Seeking to redeem himself (And maybe get the chance at actual death), and while Russell is hellbent on revenge, Deadpool dedicates himself to protecting him from Cable, working with his best friend, "Weasel" (T.J. Miller) to create a franchise worthy mutant super team, "X-Force", which includes the luck powered "Domino" (Zazie Beetz).

 The first film is considered an instant classic in the eyes of the many comic book savy fans, and just like the first film, "Deadpool 2" goes all out with the absurd, the somewhat twisted, and the borderline ruthless nature in how the film mocks it's own genre, yet embraces it at the same time. Directed this time by David Leitch (Who previously directed "John Wick" and "Atomic Blonde"), the action is explosive, hilariously gory, and constantly in motion, which goes well with the film's unhinged sense of humor that will have you rolling on the floor with laughter more than you were already previously expecting it to. The film's nonstop laughs, filled with references (Comic based or otherwise), vulgarity, and even some things you would rather your mother not know about, helps makes up for the film's pretty basic sequel-esque plotline that we have seen before. (Luckily the movie pokes fun at it mostly.)

 Ryan Reynolds continues to show that he was pretty much born for this role. His character could turn annoying so easily, but instead you can't help but find yourself charmed by him. He goes balls to the wall with the insanity and embraces the character's many, many quirks. His relationship with Julian Dennison, (Who proves to have some excellent comedic timing), is actually kind of cute in it's own "Deadpooly" way. We get a fun collection of supporting characters, with the scene stealing Zazie Beetz, T.J. Miler, Stefan Kapičić, Leslie Uggams (as "Blind Al", Deadpool's blind roommate) and Karan Soni (as "Dopinder", Deadpool's taxi buddy, who may or may not be a bit of an offensive stereotype).

 There's not much in terms of an actual main villain, with Eddie Marsan showing up to be creepy and a surprise appearance from a big CGI villain (credited as being played by "Himself"), our biggest antagonist is Josh Brolin, who has become the Summer Movie Season MVP. He is once again terrific, portraying a memorable.character, who could of walked out of a dark, gritty, serious superhero movie, which makes him the perfect straight man to Deadpoo'l's nonsense. As for the X-Force (Which consists of Terry Crews' "Bedlam" and Rob Delaney's pathetic, non powered "Peter"), it all leads to one of the funniest, unexpected, and freakin brilliant moments in any superhero film. 

 "Deadpool 2" is so much fun and smart enough to inject humor in the right places to overcome it's admittedly generic plot, while also having some actually heartwarming moments (Not joking. There are moments that straight up give you the feels), and a crazy amount of well made action, making for an excellent blockbuster that's even a little better than the first. It's a superhero parody that might even work better than some actual superhero movies. Deadpool is the smartass spirit animal that rests in all of us. 3 1/2 stars. Rated R For Bloody Violence, Sexual, Raunchy Content, Baby Legs, And A Whole Lot Of Super-Heroic Ass. Loads Of It. 

Book Club                                                                    by James Eagan                                       ★★½ OUT OF ★★★★

Image result for book club movieImage: I'd have Thanksgiving dinner with them.

 Now for the movie you guys have really been looking forward to. The biggest event since "Avengers: Infinity War". The real future box office champ. Yeah, forget "Deadpool 2", you want "Book Club". Best get your tickets in advance here. Gonna be sold out showings all weekend.......Ok, in all honesty, this is getting a little mean. But you get my point. Who here actually clicked on my site to see this review over "Deadpool 2"? Please tell me if you did. I'm curious. 

 "Book Club" follows an um, uh, book club of longtime friends, including "Diane" (Diane Keaton), "Vivian" (Jane Fonda), "Sharon" (Candice Bergen), and "Sharon" (Mary Steenburgen). After reading "Fifty Shades of Grey" (And not vomiting profusely from how terrible it is), the women decide that they need to spice up their mostly "Meh" lives. Diane meets a suave pilot, "Mitchell" (Andy Garcia) and has to avoid her overly concerned daughters (Alicia Silverstone and Katie Aselton) to hang out with him. Sharon, who is still stuck on her ex husband, "Tom" (Ed Begley Jr.), is trying to get back out there, mostly through dating websites and finds out she likes meeting other people. Vivian, who has always feared commitment, meets up with an old flame, "Arthur" (Don Johnson), who may be the one she finally wants to settle down with. And Sharon desperately tries to get her husband, "Bruce" (Craig T. Nelson), to you know, take her like Christian Grey does. (You don't want that. You really don't want that.) The characters all learn something new about themselves and also learn that there is a difference between being an older person and actually being old. 

 "Book Club" is in a way, pretty much what you would expect from a film, based around one simple idea, with a script that mostly just relies on the charm of it's actors to hopefully carry the predictable plot. However, the film is at least trying to do more, trying to say a bit more, with a bit of an edge to give credit to the older crowd who will likely see it. And the cast is so undeniably charming that it somewhat works. For what it is at least. We're not getting anything groundbreaking or even that memorable here. Just four terrific actresses who are still at the top of their game.

 Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen, Jane Fonda, and Mary Steenburgen are all pros at what they do and could carry this movie without even trying, but luckily they inject either some laughs, a little emotion, and give way more effort than was maybe even asked of them. It's nice to see a more charming Andy Garcia remind everyone that he can be charming, even with the ridiculous scenarios this movie goes through, Don Johnson is likable and has good chemistry with Jane Fonda, and Craig T. Nelson gets some funny reactions. I also give praise to the fact that the film doesn't treat it's older cast like they're incompetent old people, but instead portrays them as active, with the times, and lively. (They're not even that old. Movies need to stop doing that.) The movie does avoid caricatures.....except for Alicia Silverstone and Katie Aselton, who are just plain cartoonish in this. 

 "Book Club" is simple, sweet, occasionally funny, and heartfelt, even if it is corny, silly, and full of clichés. Although the praise the movie for some reason gives the "Fifty Shades" series is odd (And the fact that they refer to it as a good romance series is worth deducting half a star.) It's what your mama (Or grandmama) pays to see and does it's job much better and with more respect than it usually does. You're in and out, but you still just wanna "Deadpool 2" instead. I think these ladies would like it way more than that "50 Shades" crap. 2 1/2 stars. Rated PG-13 For Sexual Content Involving Some Spry Older Women. 

Breaking in             by James Eagan           ★½ OUT OF ★★★★

Related imageImage: Breaking in bad.

 Alright everyone. Lets get this one over with quickly, much like the film's incredibly fast ninety minute runtime. There's always a handful of movies that aspire to be little, accomplish little, make their tiny budget back, and leave you questioning yourself when you try to remember if you actually even saw that in theaters. Then you start thinking about you're going to do later, or if you should of gotten that one girl's number, or just think of things to pad out a review because you don't have much to say about something so meaningless. Subtle, isn't it?

 "Breaking In" opens with loving mother, "Shaun" (Gabrielle Union) taking a trip to her recently deceased father's mansion for the night to sell the place, with her son, "Glover" (Seth Carr) and her daughter, "Jasmine" (Ajiona Alexus). The family takes notice the heavy amount of security systems, cameras, heavily fortified walls and alarms, and all that suspicious stuff that makes one realize that Shaun's dead dad was likely involved in some possibly not so legal activities. Not too long into the night, the house is terrorized by a group of criminals, including the leader, "Eddie" (Billy Burke), the loco guy, "Duncan" (Richard Cabral), the whiney one, "Sam" (Levi Meaden), and other guy (Mark Furze). Soon, Shaun finds herself locked out with her kids at the mercy of the crooks, who have the intention of robbing a safe, filled with millions of dollars. Shaun's motherly instincts kicks in as she takes matters into her own hands, setting out to save her children and completely annihilate the rather inept intruders in the process. 

 "Breaking In" is something that definitely didn't need to be seen in theaters. It's a very toned down, simply plotted, predictable, dull thriller that doesn't have enough character or identity of it's own. The movie jumps from every major point you would see in your average PG-13 home invasion film, without anything new or inspired added. The only real highlight would be Gabrielle Union (Who also serves as a Producer.). She does seem to be trying to give the film a bit more than actually required of her, and her relationship with the kids does at least feel genuine. I also give credit to the filmmakers for making her a competent character, who can handle herself in this situation (Granted, mostly because our villains are hilariously stupid, with their incompetence showing frequently.)

 Billy Burke just looks a little bored, though he too seems to be trying a bit more than probably even necessary. Levi Meaden gets the typical role of the panicky one, who may or may not be able to go through with the job (That plotline doesn't go anywhere. At all.) and Richard Cabral is horrifically horrible, playing a character so cartoonishly sadistic, who constantly makes things worse for no reason other than he wants to kill people, that you wonder why the others put up with him in the first place.  

 I get when a movie just simply wants to be what it is, and "Breaking In" is just that. With that said, that doesn't make it anything I could recommend for anyone to see in theaters, or even at all really, considering there are likely much better versions of this movie you could find.It's just another one of those movies I saw on a late Saturday night and will probably forget about as soon as I finish typing this sentence. They don't care if critics care. And I don't care that they don't care. 1 1/2 stars. Rated PG-13 For Violence, Child Endangerment, And Bad Spiky Hair. 

Life of the Party                                                by James Eagan                                               ★ OUT OF ★★★★

Related imageImage: That 80's movie.

 I think I laughed once. I regretted it immediately afterwards. It wasn't even that funny, but I can only assume it was just a pity laugh, brought on out of desperation of not laughing for about an hour. Or because it was Melissa McCarthy, and I thought i was supposed to. Come to think of it, maybe by the end, I technically laughed one and a half times.....Maybe one and three quarters.....Bottom line, it was a fairly quiet theater, playing a movie that had more jokes falling flat, than Melissa McCarthy herself usually does. 

 "Life of the Party" starts with "Deanna Miles" (Melissa McCarthy) and her husband, "Dan" (Matt Walsh) dropping off their daughter, "Maddie" (Molly Gordon) at college. Just as they leave, Dan reveals to Deanna that he intends to divorce her in favor of real estate agent, "Marcie" (Julie Bowen). Deanna doesn't take this well in the slightest, realizing that because of Dan she never completed college, and so she decides to go back. Deanna enrolls at her daughter's school, befriends Maddie's other sorority sisters, including the cutesy weird one, "Helen" (Gillian Jacobs). Deanna proceeds to do....college stuff, complete with all those college movie stereotypes, including mean girl, "Jennifer" (Debby Ryan), along with Deanna hooking up with a stalker younger guy, "Jack" (Luke Benward), along with attempts at typical fake comedy movie conflict to ruthlessly pad out the hour and forty minute runtime.  

 More of a clichéd premise than an actual plot, "Life of the Party" takes the same tired story and just leaves it at that, without adding any real charm, character, or much of a conflict due to the film's lack of an actual narrative. Granted,poor plotting in a comedy would be forgiven if it were actually funny. But the laughs are few (Very few), with the film annoying it's audience with it's overlong presence than actually getting them to laugh. Director/Writer Ben Falcone ("The Boss", "Tammy", and the husband of Melissa McCarthy) has the tendency to structure everything in a way that feels cobbled together, seeming more interested in getting through a checklist of basic plot points that you're used to seeing in movies such as this. Daughter and mother bonding, getting high accidentally, there's an 80's party, some mean girls, some embarrassing moment during class, the goth girl who is goth, last minute party to make some money, they're all here. The film thinks just letting Melissa McCarthy ad-lib through it all will actually make it funny, rather than relying on silly, unimportant things, like a script. 

 Melissa McCarthy is someone I generally like, who I know can not only be funny, but can also be an excellent actress. Also serving as a Co-Writer with her husband, she either goes for the easy joke (Such as falling down or punching/getting punched) or just trying to riff on everything. Maya Rudolph (as "Christine", Deanna's best friend) doesn't have a role, but does seem to be trying to throw in some more laughs where there isn't any, while Stephen Root and Jacki Weaver (as Deanna's parents) literally have nothing to do. Molly Gordon's character is inconsistent (She's fine going to school with her mother, till the plot says otherwise, then reverts back again on a dime), but she's likable and adorable, as is Gillian Jacobs, who gets to make cute, weird faces for most of her scenes. Debby Ryan just plays the standard hot bad girl in a subplot that goes nowhere, all while Julie Bowen is only there to just react to absurdity. On the bright side, that last sentence reminded me that there were a decent amount of attractive actresses in this movie, which is always welcome. (Look, I'm a guy. I'm desperately looking for positives here.)

 Some jokes go on for too long and plotlines are either resolved quickly or just plain dropped, "Life of the Party" does that annoying running gag of the older generation not getting the younger generation and their references, but in other scenes end up making those references themselves. (How can you know who Voldemort is, but have no idea what someone is saying when they make a "Harry Potter" reference?) It's just lazy writing, with a pace that takes forever to get going. So the longer it goes, the more you just feel agitated at what you're watching (You've got other things to do, other movies to see, other promises to keep, and you're over here wasting time with the laziest of the lazy when it comes to lowbrow comedy?)

"Life of the Party" is a party you want to leave as quickly as possible, but the host appears to be blocking the door, preventing your escape. It may not be the absolute worst comedy you'll ever see, though it is one of those films that just doesn't want to go away when you quickly become tired of it. You're not supposed to leave a party pissed, are you? 1 star. Rated PG-13 For Super Sweating, Pot Hallucinations, And Falling With Loud Thuds. 

Tully                                                                              by James Eagan                                      ★★★½ OUT OF ★★★★

Image result for tully movieImage: This is what being a Mom looks like?! There's someone I need to call.

 To those expecting to take their mothers to see this movie for "Mother's Day" simply because it has to deal with motherhood.....Don't. Don't you dare do it. It's a comedy/drama, with some harsh realism and a little last minute weirdness, that overall is treated respectfully, but probably as honestly it possibly can. Just take her to see "Avengers: Infinity War".....Actually don't do that either. That'll depress her too.......Just buy her flowers. A card will be nice. Clean up your room.

 "Tully" follows depressed, worn out mother, "Marlo" (Charlize Theron), who is busy raising her children, "Jonah" (Asher Miles Fallica), "Sarah" (Lia Frankland) and newborn baby, "Mia", while her well meaning, but clueless husband, "Drew" (Ron Livingston) is either working or playing video games. Marlo's rich brother, "Craig" (Mark Duplass) suggests a night nanny to help out and despite her attempts to power through, Marlo eventually gives in and calls for one. The nanny, "Tully" (Mackenzie Davis) arrives and despite looking all cutesy and young, is clearly a pro at what she does, offering to help take care of Mia, so Marlo can get some sleep for once. Marlo starts to bond with Tully while slowly starting to improve her own life in the process.

 From Director Jason Reitman and Writer Diablo Cody, "Tully" is an effective dramedy that displays the most uncomfortable look at motherhood you'll likely ever see in film. It's somewhat cynical, but a very sincere and thoughtful story that doesn't pull punches and at least mixes in some much needed humor and likable characters to balance it all out. In terms of writing, the film gives it's characters smart dialogue to flesh them out as people, with obvious, but human flaws, along with the occasional funny line. Jokes aside, I do see the film resonating with many mothers, especially with how the film understands it's subject, even when the film veers into uncomfortable, but necessary territory.

 Charlize Theron (Who to a certain degree is almost unrecognizable) is terrific here, showing us once again how good of an actress she is and reminding us that we really don't give her enough credit. (How did she not get an Oscar nomination for "Mad Max: Fury Road"? It's not logical.) The excellent Mackenzie Davis is an insanely adorable, instantly lovable ball of sunshine that you fall in love with as quickly as our main character does. Mark Duplass has a few funny moments in his small role and Ron Livingston (Who is another actor who has a tendency to be in a lot, is generally well liked, yet nobody seems to know who he is) is also great, playing a character that you like, despite the fact it's clear that he's not doing enough to help out. The filmmakers make the characters too complex to have an antagonist, or even outright mean characters, when it would of been so easy to do so.

 It isn't until the last act, when a surprise twist of sorts is revealed, that "Tully" might turn some people off. (There have been a few talks about this film's portrayal of mental health problems.) It's something that I actually did see coming and could argue does make some sense to what the film is trying to say and the point it's trying to make. But I can agree that it can appear as something that just comes out of nowhere or feels out of place. Despite some possible divisiveness of the ending and the fact that the overall moral is essentially "Deal with it" (I know it's more complicated and meaningful than that, but I'm just putting it simply), the movie has plenty of well timed laughs, accessible characters, and a thoughtful nature that I see emotionally moving an audience in a positive way. And you sure as Hell won't look at your Mom the same way again. 3 1/2 stars. Rated R For Language, Adult Content, And Graphic Breast Pumping. 

Bad Samaritan                                                        by James Eagan                                   ★★★ OUT OF ★★★★

Image result for bad samaritan movieImage: He's always the bad guy!

 This is one of those movies that I went into completely and utterly untouched by any knowledge about this movie, aside from the only trailer which I saw once. Completely blank on this one. After "Infinity War", which was so huge and epic, I just didn't know what to expect from something so small by comparison. Although because of that, I can be pleasantly surprised. And disturbed....Disturbingly surprised?

 "Bad Samaritan" follows "Sean Falco" (Robert Sheehan), who works as a valet, but along with his buddy, "Derek" (Carlito Olivero), casually breaks into house and steal things to make a little extra money on the side. Sean wants a more simple life, which is to provide for his family and girlfriend, "Riley" (Jacqueline Byers). Sean sees a chance for one last score, which comes in the form of a rich jerk, "Cale Erendreich" (David Tennant). Taking Erendreich's car, Sean breaks into his house, only to discover a woman, "Katie" (Kerry Condon), brutally chained up and gagged in a sealed off room.

 Sean panics and flees, alerting the police, but tries to pretend that nothing has happened. He eventually can't take the guilt of possibly leaving a woman to die and tries to do everything in his power to make sure the psycho is put away. However, it turns out Erendreich is much more of a mastermind that anticipated. Knowing that Sean has discovered his secret, Frenderich proceeds to psychologically torture Sean, with the intent of destroying his life by going after his family, friends, and loved ones, in a horrifying game that could only lead to more death and disturbing revelations. 

 From Director Dean Devlin, who previously gave us last year's disastrous disaster, "Geostorm", "Bad Samaritan" feels much more subdued and actually fairly original. It's a dark, suspenseful, and occasionally really weird, small scale thriller that's briskly paced and ends before it outstays it's welcome. Not saying that the film isn't plenty silly, with some of the villain's overthought plans and some of the actions he takes to torture our main character border on the ridiculous. (How the Hell is he even capable of all this? I get he's rich and ingenious, but the way all this goes makes little sense.) There's also the stupidity and unreliability of the police force involved, who for some reason have such a hard time believing Sean's story. (I get that it's a little far-fetched, but at some point you have to realize that's something is clearly wrong here.)

 The film is also elevated by some better than necessary performances, with David Tennant stealing the film as a perfectly unhinged, bug eyed, almost charmingly creepy villain with absurd, but very unique motivations that make for many unsettling sequences. Robert Sheehan has to carry most of the film, with a few compelling moments to show that his character is a decent person at heart and is trying to do the right thing. Kerry Condon gets some great moments towards the end of the film, with a bit more of a role other than as a hostage. Not much else in terms of the other characters, who mostly just serve as either casualties or spectators on the sidelines. 

 "Bad Samaritan" offers a clever premise and enough cheesy thrills that make for a disturbing, but immensely entertaining quick sit. You can' help but get into the bizarre twists and turns that are at least accompanied by some solid direction and a good sense of dread and terror. Plus with a memorably batsh*t insane David Tennant and a strange thing about horses, you gotta give some credit to the film for not being like anything else. Sure it's disturbing as Hell, but a surprising amount of fun too. Disturbing fun. 3 stars. Rated R For Disturbing Images, A Pile Of Corpses, And Horse Obsession. 

Overboard                                                                  by James Eagan                                         ★½ OUT OF ★★★★

Image result for overboard 2018Image: "Hold still so Mommy can get that booger."

 Ok, Is this legal? Is this legal at all? This is essentially kidnapping and the movie actually calls it so, but just brushes it over. I'm not a lawyer here, but I'm just curious what would realistically happen in this situation. Just need to know for.....um.......research purposes....

 "Overboard" opens with single, working mother, "Kate" (Anna Faris), who is struggling with a couple jobs, one of which leads her to clean the yacht of a spoiled rich dick, "Leonardo" (Eugenio Derbez). Leonardo, who comes from a wealthy Mexican family, has never had to work once in his life and treats most people around him like crap, including Kate, who he fires for no reason and kicks her off his boat. However, later that night, Leonardo ends up slipping off his yacht and falls into the ocean, washing up on the beach and waking up with amnesia. With some convincing from her friend, "Theresa" (Eva Longoria) and because nobody apparently knows who Leonardo is anyways, Kate goes to the hospital, falsely claiming that Leonardo is her husband and takes him home to subject him to many chores and silly situations all while Leonardo's evil sister, "Magda" (Cecilia Suárez), who knows about Leonardo's condition, tries to take over the family company. On the bright side, Kate and Leonardo fall in love....somehow.

 "Overboard" is a remake of an 1987 Kurt Russel/Goldie Hawn movie with probably even more questionable character decisions, and seemingly tries to play up the cutesy and heartfelt factor, only for it to fall flat on it's face with a splat. The film isn't particularly likable, mixed in with a lack of real laughs and a poor pace to go with the film's uneeded hour and 52 minute runtime. (Ok, Why is everything getting so unnecessarily long these days?) An occasional chuckle every once in a while isn't really enough to justify such an overlong experience that leaves you more bored than charmed. 

 Eugenio Derbez's character is not meant to be too likable, but is change doesn't feel all that real. He does make for a few of the film's occasional chuckles, mostly due to a large amount of comic energy and commitment to the absurd. The insanely cute Anna Faris is at least given more to do than just be cute, with a few funny lines here and there. Both Derbez (Who also serves as a Producer) and Faris are easily the best part of the film, though their characters and how they're written constantly drag them down. Their romance on the other hand is something you don't buy for a second, and just feels cheap and lazy. Eva Longoria doesn't do much aside from be the rom-com best friend, John Hannah (as "Colin", one of Leonardo's servants) mostly just stands around and is criminally underused, and the whole subplot with Leonardo's family could of easily of been cut out, if anything simply to make the film less of a drag.

 Becoming more of a parody of all those over the top telenovelas, "Overboard" actually isn't anywhere near as funny as most of those end up being. I give credit to the film trying to reach a more diverse audience, with it's inclusion of some Mexican culture. But the film is toned down and overly fluffy, which doesn't go well with a premise that's thoroughly misguided and confused. "Overboard" feels like being stuck on a boat in the middle of the ocean, wasting the talents of everyone involved. Though if I were stuck in the middle of the ocean, I want it to be with Anna Faris. 1 1/2 stars. Rated PG-13 For Adult Humor, Kidnapping, And Other Possibly Illegal Acts. 

Avengers: Infinity War                                     by James Eagan                                        ★★★★ OUT OF ★★★★

Image result for avengers infinity war thanosImage: He'd like to negotiate, with no preconditions. 

 So it's finally here. 10 years and 19 films (All of which both critical and box office successes for the most part), what began in 2008 with the spectacular "Iron Man", which eventually led to the first, epic crossover event, 2012's "The Avengers", which we all thought was the most unbelievable thing at the time. Yet, we never thought we would witness this. The epic finale to everything we've come to get to know and love, and it's more than you could possibly imagine. (#YourFanTheoryMeansNothing). 

 "Avengers: Infinity War" opens with the mother of all baddies, the mad titan, "Thanos" (Josh Brolin), on a search for the mystical and powerful six "Infinity Stones" (Which are those little MacGuffins that have appeared throughout the franchise.), with the help from his sinister "Children", which includes "Ebony Maw" (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor), "Cull Obsidian" (Terry Notary), "Corvus Glaive" (Michael Shaw), and "Proxima Midnight" (Carrie Coon). They are seeking to use the stones to "Balance" the universe by wiping out half the universe, Thanos has already acquired two of them, one of which after defeating the God of Thunder, "Thor" (Chris Hemsworth) and wiping out most of his people. Thanos' schemes have gotten him plenty of enemies, most of which are in the form of our heroes, "The Avengers".

 A series of events lead to various team ups between an assortment of our main characters. Billionaire playboy, "Tony Stark/Iron Man" (Robert Downey Jr.) finds himself out to save the Sorcerer Supreme, "Doctor Stephen Strange" (Benedict Cumberbatch), who has one of the six stones, with the help from the young, "Peter Parker/Spider-Man" (Tom Holland), leading them into space. Back on Earth, the now rogue, "Steve Rogers/Captain America" (Chris Evans, rocking a new beard), highly trained spy, "Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow" (Scarlett Johansson), and the flying, "Sam Wilson/Falcon" (Anthony Mackie) are out to protect star crossed lovers, the gifted, mystical being, "Wanda Maximoff/Scarlett Witch" (Elizabeth Olsen) and the humanoid android, "Vision" (Paul Bettany), who has one of the stones in his head, keeping him alive. The group allies with Stark's buddy, "James Rhodes/War Machine" (Don Cheadle) and the recently returned "Bruce Banner" (Mark Ruffalo), who is having a little trouble transforming into the big green "Hulk" at the moment, along with the king of Wakanda (And the current king of the box office), "T'Challa/Black Panther" (Chadwick Boseman) and Cap's formerly brainwashed friend, "Bucky Barnes" (Sebastian Stan).

 Meanwhile, Thor finds himself meeting "The Guardians of the Galaxy", which includes the cocky, "Peter Quill/Star-Lord" (Chris Pratt), the adopted daughter of Thanos, "Gamora" (Zoe Saldana), the simple minded, "Drax the Destroyer" (Dave Bautista), the cute telepathic, "Mantis" (Pom Klementieff), talking raccoon, "Rocket" (Voiced by Bradley Cooper), and teenage tree person, "Groot" (Voiced by Vin Diesel). Everyone has it out for Thanos and everyone has a stake in what's going to happen, leading to the ultimate battle between good and evil, with the fate of the entire universe (Or in this case, half of it) hanging in the balance. 

 Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo (Who previously gave us "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" and the sequel, "Civil War"), "Avengers: Infinity War" is the ultimate superhero extravaganza, giving that same feeling you get when you read one of those massive comic crossover events, except this time it's not just restricted to the pages in your hand. The film looks incredible on the big screen, with Marvel Studios having perfected their talent for flawless looking special effects, (Which blend in seamlessly), along with some typically spectacular action. However as usual, we still get some excellent character work. With a script by Chrisopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (Who have written a few films in the franchise), balances out many, many characters and of course, a good sense of humor, which is more necessary here than any of the other films due to the immensely high stakes this time around. 

 To talk about the cast, which has got to be one of the largest ensembles in cinematic history, you first need to address the standouts in the entire film, where no single character (With maybe the exception of the real star, who we will get to shortly) is given more to do than anyone else. Some might be reduced to supporting roles, but all have a reason to be here and everyone is as committed as ever. Robert Downey Jr., the original, first Avenger we were introduced to, remains as likably sarcastic as ever, having great back and forth with an equally endearingly snarky Benedict Cumberbatch. Chris Hemsworth gets to show more of both his comedic and dramatic chops, Zoe Saldana giving an emotionally layerd performance, Tom Holland showing once again why he's the best (And most lovable) Spider-Man, some great laughs from Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Dave Bautista, and Mark Ruffalo, an enjoyably slimy Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, and a heartwarming subplot with Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany.

 We still have awesome moments from our main cast, which includes Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, Chadwick Boseman, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Danai Gurira (as "Okoye", T'Challa's loyal guard), Tom Hiddleston (as "Loki", Thor's mischievous brother), Pom Klementieff, Karen Gillan (as "Nebula", Gamora's reformed step-sister), and the hilariously altered voice of Vin Diesel. We also getting memorable brief appearances from Benedict Wong (as "Wong", Strange's partner in the mystic arts), Gwyneth Paltrow (as "Pepper Potts", Tony's longtime love interest, turned fiancée), Idris Elba (as "Heimdall", Thor's most loyal friend), Peter Dinklage (as "Eitri", a giant dwarf who looks like Peter Dinklage), Benicio del Toro (as "Taneleer Tivan/The Collector", who gets to be weird again), Letitia Wright (as "Shuri", T'Challa's little sister/new fan favorite), Winston Duke (as "M'Baku", one of T'Challa's newest allies), and a special appearance from a character we thought died over a dozen films ago. (The whole auditorium let out gaps and "What the f*cks?" all at once.)

 The real star of "Avengers: Infinity War" is the big bad himself, Thanos, with Josh Brolin giving a brilliant, menacing, compelling performance. Serving as almost a villain protagonist of sorts, Brolin is in the movie more than any character, showing the audience why he is such a big deal and why he is such an unstoppable threat. The effects work on him is perfect, and the character is given his own, thought provoking, somewhat sad story arc, which dominates most of the film. Brolin gives it his all, giving an understanding as to who this character is, what his goal is, and what it means to the character. All these dimensions make the villain all the more scary, giving you something to think about once you leave the theater. (And this is a freakin superhero movie. Not even some art house films are able to accomplish that.)

 The only complaint you can bring up about "Avengers: Infinity War" is that it's all almost too much. There are so many characters, so many storylines coming to a possible close, such a large amount of mythology that you'll be lost if you miss something important. Yet, I can't really justify that as an actual flaw. This is essentially the end of an era, and it would of been a cop out not to include everything you possibly could. And the fact that the Russo Brothers were able to keep everything grounded, well paced (At almost three hours, you can barely feel it.), and both funny and emotional is pretty astonishing. It all culminates on one of the most jaw dropping moments you will see in not just a film like this, but really any film. (Okay, I'll admit it. I cried. One moment at the end got me. Even Superheroes cry.)

 "Avengers: Infinity War" is one of the darkest, most bleak films you'll probably see this year (And you are seeing it. The entire country is seeing it.), but still packed full of some humor, heart, unforgettable characters, and a reminder why we idolize these fictional heroes in the first place. The sight of many of our favorite characters charging into battle against a terrifying force, despite the odds that they will likely lose badly, is one of the absolute coolest big screen moments ever. It's a lot to take in, but you wont stop thinking about it once it all ends. Damn, Marvel really had the stones to pull this whole thing off. 4 stars. Rated PG-13 For Violence, Mayhem, And.....Lots Of Heartbreak.

Super Troopers 2                                                    by James Eagan                                  ★★½ OUT OF ★★★★

Image result for super troopers 2Image: Well I feel safer.

 Most people, like myself are clamoring for "Avengers: Infinity War" this upcoming weekend. However, there is a select few that saw....This thing....as their most anticipated film of 2018. Now I'm just left confused. What the Hell is this even? What's with the mustaches? Is that Brian Cox? What is he doing here? Where am I? Seriously, what is this and why does it have such a following? I'm confused. Maybe It's second hand pot smoke coming from the screen.

 Set a few years after the first film that I never saw (Which came out about 17 years ago), "Super Troopers 2" starts off after a supposed incident with "Fred Savage", our nicknamed heroes, the veteran of the group, "Thorny" (Jay Chandrasekhar), the prankster, "Mac" (Steve Lemme), the rookie, "Rabbit" (Erik Stolhanske), the annoying fat one, "Rod" (Kevin Heffernan), and the one without a nickname, "Jeff" (Paul Soter), have all been fired from the Vermont State Police Force. They are gathered together by their former captain, "John O'Hagen" (Brian Cox), who has found a way to get them back onto the force.

 It's learned that an area near the American/Canadian border is technically part of the United States, meaning that a new state trooper force will need to be added into the area to replace the previous Canadian one  Too bad those Canadians aren't having any of this, resulting with the team being at odds with the Canadian people. So follows a series of hi-jinks and some incidents involving a former hockey player turned mayor, "Guy Le Franc" (Rob Lowe), Rabbit's romance with the pretty "Genevieve Aubois" (Emmanuelle Chriqui), a rivalry with the previous police force, and a conspiracy that has to deal with a collection of illegal drugs. 

 Even after watching "Super Troopers 2", I still have no idea what in God's name this actually is. From comedic team, "Broken Lizard", the film was mostly crowdfunded by the fans, who demanded a sequel, resulting in the movie finally getting a release so long after the original. The movie doesn't bother with little things such as plot, character development, or even basic justification, but instead just focuses on ridiculous shenanigans and sketches that feel more like an overall sitcom episode than an actual movie. Because of this, the film does seem to drag on due to it's hour and forty minute length. Still, I can't help but admit that I was somewhat intrigued by just how much the filmmakers commit to the insanity.

 Our main cast of characters have been working together for years and obviously have good chemistry, despite the fact none of these characters are particularly memorable. Rob Lowe looks to be having some fun, with Emmanuelle Chriqui getting to be super adorable, and the awe-inspiring luxury of Brian Cox getting some good laughs and even  getting to say the words Brian Cox should never say. (One of the many things I didn't expect to witness during this movie.) The real star of the movie is how many odd, and at times, random situations everyone ends up in. There's some drug use that causes different side effects, Rob Lowe bouncing around a penis, lactating male nipples, gross out fart jokes, out of nowhere cameos, and an onslaught of Canadian jokes that go from obvious to surreal sometimes in the same scene. (There's an argument about Danny Devitto that goes on for like 3 minutes. What?)

 "Super Troopers 2" is pure, unapologetic, borderline bizarre nonsense that's so freakin odd to the point it's somewhat fascinating. It's at times amusing or even a bit funny, but it's the absolute strangeness of the entire film as a whole that kind of makes it almost worth the price. I mean, there's no point to the film whatsoever and when a joke falls flat, it falls with a loud thud. Yet for something so cheap and lacking so little in substance, purpose, or reason, the film finds a way to fill itself with enough nonsensical absurdity that will likely give the fans exactly what they want. If you don't like it, blame Canada. 2 1/2 stars. Rated R For Drug, Dicks, Bodily Functions, Language, And Fred Savage. 

I Feel PRetty                                                             by James Eagan                                            ★★½ OUT OF ★★★★

Related imageImage: Wait, I feel funny.

 This is another one of those subjects I don't feel that I'm quite qualified to talk about. I mean, a film aimed at female empowerment that has a message about being comfortable with your looks and body that is generating controversy from the intended audience who claims that the film doesn't "Get it?. Not touching that one, because I'm a dude without such problems. There's also the usual controversy with a bunch of sexist male dicks who just hate Amy Schumer, but that's normal. Hey, if you aren't sexist, you can voice criticism without the use of derogatory language. It's not that hard. 

 "I Feel Pretty" follows "Renee" (Amy Schumer), who struggles with anxiety over her own looks, always comparing herself to others who she considers more beautiful. An accident with a stationary bike results with her bonking her head, which gives her the impression, (At least in her own mind, that she is "Beautiful"), despite nothing about her having changed at all. Due to her supposed new appearance, Renee also gains a newfound sense of confidence, getting the receptionist job she's been wanting at a cosmetics company, run by soft voiced airhead CEO, "Avery LeClaire" (Michelle Williams), and finds herself a nice boyfriend, "Ethan" (Rory Scovel), who just likes her for the person that she is.

 Of course everything starts to go to Renne's head as she lets her new success and popularity take over, ignoring her friends "Jane" (Busy Phillips) and "Vivian" (Aidy Bryant), spending more time flirting with Avery's brother, "Grant" (Tom Hopper), and just becoming a bit of a selfish person in the process. Renee has to learn that the people that matter really never cared about how she looked, but instead appreciated the kind of person she is and the positive impact her confidence should have on her life. 

 The point behind "I Feel Pretty" is a strong one, with the message and the good intentions of the filmmakers being noticeable. The issue is that the film's tone is a bit all over the place, not in the sense that's it overly serious, but more because for a film that occasionally appear to be set in reality, it becomes pretty cartoonish really quickly. Now you still get some laughs here and there regardless of that, though it can feel a little distracting. With that said, there is some genuine charm to the film, with the more heartfelt, sweeter scenes that actually work more often then they don't. 

 Amy Schumer, (Who I get can be a bit of a polarizing figure because of her brand of humor), does show how much better of an actress than we give her credit for. (And to a certain degree, better than even she realizes.) And she is far more toned down here than she usually is (Mostly due to the PG-13 rating), Schumer is very much likable, delivering comedic moments well, and even showing more of her acting chops in the film's more serious moments. She also has great chemistry with Rory Scovel, who also has a lot of likability himself. Their scenes together make for the most enjoyable, because it comes across as sweet and actually pretty adorable. Michelle Williams looks like she's having a lot of fun being weird and getting to act in a comedy for once. (After something as depressing as "Manchester by the Sea", I can see why), while Emily Ratajkowski (As "Mallory", the pretty girl Renee aspires to be) gets to be cute, but not much else. 

 "I Feel Pretty" has been accused of body shaming, being called hypocritical in it's own message. Like I said before, I'm not really the person to talk about this, but I guess I can kind of see the points of both sides to this argument. Amy Schumer has become known for making fun of herself often and does so here, though honestly, there's never been anything wrong with her looks (I always thought she was pretty anyway). Sadly, movie is just far too long,  and it's not quite funny enough to make it all work. (Also, if we're being realistic, her character is basically insane.) However, it's still a sweet film with some heartwarming moments and feels more charming than actually humorous. It's a film that's mostly just be left up to the intended audience to decide if they like it or not.. But it did make me feel better about my own looks. I feel, almost....Pretty? 2 1/2 stars. Rated PG-13 For Adult Humor, Bikini Contests, And Failure To Diagnose A What Clearly Was A Massive Concussion.

Truth or Dare                                                          by James Eagan                                      ★½ OUT OF ★★★★

Related imageImage:  Uh....Dare?

 Blumhouse Productions, known for mostly horror flicks and franchises, is really letting that Best Picture nomination for "Get Out" go right to their heads aren't they? I mean, I get wanting to promote that fact as much as possible, but forcing your production studio's name all over the trailer and poster, while also constantly reminding everyone that you guys released "Get Out" is a bit silly. Especially when your film certainly isn't going to be getting any Oscar consideration in the slightest. 

 "Truth or Dare" opens with a disposable group of college character types, with nice girl, "Olivia" (Lucy Hale) going on a Spring Break trip to Mexico with her best friend, "Markie" (Violett Beane), Markie's boyfriend who Olivia also likes, "Lucas" (Tyler Posey),the gay one, "Brad" (Hayden Szeto), the promiscuous one, "Penelope" (Sophia Taylor Ali), and the complete dick, "Tyson" (Nolan Gerard Funk). While there, Olivia meets a guy named "Carter" (Landon Liboiron), who invites the group an old, abandoned mission, along with the annoying comic relief, "Ronnie" (Sam Lerner), who tags along despite nobody wanting him around. Carter invites the group to play a game of Truth or Dare, revealing that the game is real, he lured them all there to force them to play in a desperate attempt to survive, and they will have no choice but to play or die. Everyone mostly shrugs this off, with the exception of Olivia, who starts to hallucinate weird distorted faces and voices. Once the bodies start to pile up, the friends realize they're stuck in an endless game controlled by a demonic entity, "Calax", that really just wants to screw with them. (Honestly, I have no idea what the Hell his goal was). 

 Aside from the tropey characters, who have little to them outside from their archetype,"Truth or Dare" does start off almost promising, with an idea that could of made for a fun little short. The problem is that the premise is stretched out far too long, you begin to poke holes in everything that happens, and eventually realize just how freakin' stupid it actually is. The rules to the demented game our characters are forced to play constantly change and contradict previous moments that it becomes obvious the writers, consisting of four people (Including Director Jeff Wadlow), wrote themselves into several corners and had trouble finding ways around it. (So wait. The demon can just kill people whenever it chooses now? Then what's the damn point with all the games if that's what it's endgame is all along?)

 Lucy Hale is a capable lead, who really just does what she can with what material is given. Tyler Posey is a completely blank slate of nothing, with the rest of the cast serving as cannon fodder for those looking to watch people die in typical PG-13 gruesomeness. (Meaning, you can't really show much of anything.) As for scares, the movie far too generic, relying on the most standard attempts to scare the audience. You mostly just get an onslaught of jump scares, loud noises, and weird faces. (The faces themselves look more silly than actually scary.)

 "Truth or Dare" takes itself way too seriously, with the goofy premise getting old quickly, and the motivations and rules of the game constantly changing to the point it's not any fun anymore. There are moments where you can possibly see what enjoyment could of been hard here, and maybe if it was more of a comedy, it would of worked better. But the movie tries to incorporate talk of suicide, parental issues, sexuality, and other out of place dramatic elements, that it's just going to be lost on the audience who normally would watch a movie like this. Be honest, you guys just want to see as much over the top death as possible. Too bad the movie can't even give you that. You had ONE JOB! 1 1/2 stars. Rated PG-13 For Random Acts Of Violence, Demonic Possession, And Shiny, Happy People. 

Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero                     by James Eagan                                        ★★★ OUT OF ★★★★

Image result for sgt stubby an american heroImage: "Come on. You know I'm adorable."

 Unless you're Disney, Pixar, DreamWorks, Illumnation, or any of the major animation studios, known for big names, big budgets, and blockbuster hits, it's hard to take anything coming from lesser studios too seriously. Granted, movies like "Spark: A Space Tail", "Norm of the North","Free Birds", "Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return", the list really does go on. (Oh, remember "Delgo"? Ewww!) So count me as surprised when this little movie aimed at the littlest of the little found a way to thoroughly charm me. 

 Inspired by true events during 1918, "Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero" follows an adorable little Boston Terrier, "Stubby", who wanders into a military camp, where he instantly finds friendship with a young soldier, "Robert Conroy" (Logan Lerman). Stubby ends up becoming a mascot of sorts to the men. When Robert and his fellow soldiers, including the wisecracking "Elmer Olson" (Jordan Beck) and German-American, "Hans Schroeder" (Jim Pharr), end up deploying to France. Stubby, fearing he will lose his best friend, ends up becoming a stowaway, but is allowed to stay simply because he's too darn lovable. Along with Robert, Stubby becomes partnered up with a bushy French infantryman, "Gaston" (Gérard Depardieu), with the three of them becoming close friends during their time in the trenches of battle. Stubby eventually proves himself to be an important part of the battles to come, showing true bravery and courage, even against difficult odds. 

 Not boasting the same level of spectacular animation that we're used to from more well known studios, "Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero" comes to us from "Entertainment Studios" (Still a lazy name) and something called "Fun Academy". Director Richard Lanni makes up for this by simply telling it's story simply, but not insultingly, while incorporating plenty of heart and sensitivity. The true story itself is actually a wonderful one, and while some aspects were likely fabricated for the animated film, you'll be surprised to see what elements actually happened in real life. Apparently this little guy saved many lives during his 18 month deployment, brought comfort to many of the wounded, and even captured a German spy. (Okay, that's pretty awesome right there.)

 The cast is small, but made up of likable characters that get just enough depth to make you care about them. Logan Lerman is good in the film, with Helena Bonham Carter (as Robert's unseen sister, "Margaret", who serves as the narrator) feeling a bit out of place, but serving an educational purpose. Gérard Depardieu makes for one of the most memorable characters, providing a few laughs, mixed in with heartwarming scenes that show the comradery between the soldiers. The real star of the film is Sgt. Stubby himself, who has got to be one of the cutest critters to ever appear in an animated film, with the most adorable design you'll ever see and plenty of spunky personality to boot. You'll fall in love with the small, but big heated hero instantly.

 Even without stellar animation, "Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero" is lively and at least has a pleasant look to it. You root for the characters, and despite going for a tame, kid friendly approach, the film doesn't shy away from the reality of war. It's a small, but gentle kids film that doesn't talk down to them and somehow has more maturity than most films aimed at adults. (How is it that this does a much better job honoring real life heroism than Clint Eastwood's "The 15:17 to Paris"?) You may laugh at the name and wonder why the heck it has a wife theater release, but that lovable dog is definitely worth your time, especially if you want to take your kids to something that won't straight up insult their intelligence. 3 stars. Rated PG For Some War Related Reality, But Perfectly Safe For Kids Of All Ages. 

Rampage                 by James Eagan        ★★½ OUT OF ★★★★

Related imageImage: The Rock and his hairy friend engage in another late night bar brawl.

 The biggest question, aside from if Dwayne Johnson's muscles are real or if he would make for a valid presidential candidate (By this point, anything is possible.), would be if "Rampage" is the one to break the video game cur....No. It's not. Can't even finish that sentence (Told you guys a few weeks ago with "Tomb Raider. It's never gonna' happen.). But unlike those other failed attempts, at least this musclebound lug of a movie knows exactly what it is, advertises itself as such, and just goes ape sh*t crazy. It's the only way to go.

 "Rampage" starts with the explosion of a satellite in space, that leads to three canisters full of an experimental gas, that messes with one's genetic code, to crash onto Earth. Animal loving primatologist, "Davis Okoye" (Dwayne "Still The Rock Regardless" Johnson), who prefers the company of animals over people, learns that his best friend, a albino silverback gorilla, "George" (Portrayed through motion capture by Jason Liles) has gotten a whiff of the gas, becoming more giant and aggressive with every moment. This is all the work of dastardly villains, "Claire Wyden" (Malin Åkerman) and her dumbass brother, "Brett" (Jake Lacy), whose organization created the gas. They send their military guy, "Burke" (Joe Manganiello) to track down one of the cannisters, only to find a monstrous, giant wolf with wings, nicknamed "Ralph".

 Meanwhile, Davis is met by a former genetic engineer with connections to what's going on, "Kate Caldwell" (Naomie Harris), who comes to help, just in time for George to break loose and cause some havoc. This leads to the arrival of smarmy government agent, "Harvey Russell" (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) to come and attempt to take George, which goes about as well as you would expect. Now George is on the loose and is on his way to Chicago with Ralph and a terrifying, mutated giant crocodile, nicknamed "Lizzie", with the intent of pure destruction and a fun day in the windy city. It's up to Davis to use this bulging muscles, bald head, and powerful smolder to save the day, along with his furry buddy. 

 Like most video game adaptations, "Rampage" doesn't quite resemble it's source material (Though in the original game, the giant, mutated animals were people. So they changed that for the better.). In terms of intelligence, lets just say the film is lacking in that department. Luckily, the film knows that and simply embraces what it is, going for pure, unapologetic insanity, right down to the climax where buildings are destroyed, while giant animals do their absolute  damnedest to kill each other. You get some occasional obvious green screen work, but most of the effects, while at times cartoonish (Which may of been intentional), are rather impressively detailed. The creature designs are clever and the scale of the destruction on screen is massive and explosive, which looks stunning on IMAX screens.

 The busiest man currently working today in Hollywood, Dwayne Johnson is as reliable an actor as you can get for a film like this. He has the look of an action star, with plenty of charm to deliver silly, but also funny dialogue, and his relationship with George is actually fairly sweet, making for some of the film's most endearing moments. Naomie Harris is fine in her dumb role, though it's way less embarrassing than her even more nonsensical role in "Collateral Beauty". (I see a lot of good actors in bad movies, don't I?) Malin Åkerman and Jake Lacey are both pretty terrible, portraying incompetent villains with a plan that makes no sense. On the bright side, they aren't in it much and become pretty much unnecessary as the movie goes along. Then we have Jeffrey Dean Morgan practically devouring the scenery with a fork, hilariously smirking his way throughout the entire film, and stealing every scene he's in. 

 "Rampage" lives up to it's title and gives you exactly what it promises. The plot is a little jumbled and is undeniably dumber than a pile of smashed buildings, but you already expected that going in. It's a crazy, monster sized blockbuster that doesn't try to be something it;s not and thankfully doesn't have the intention of insulting it's audience's intelligence in the process. While others are still probably waiting for that first great video game movie, I'm sure we'll all be fine settling for a giant crocodile leaping into the air to catch a fighter plane with it's mouth, a giant wolf unleashing a barrage of projectile spines from it's tail, and a giant gorilla taking on the both of them, while Dwayne Johnson blows crap up. We get what we pay for sometimes.  2 1/2 stars. Rated PG-13 For Violence, Constant Destruction Of Property, And The Senseless Annihilation Of A Perfectly Good Dave & Buster's.   

The Miracle Season                                          by James Eagan                                           ★★½ OUT OF ★★★★

Image result for the miracle season movieImage: "Boy I'm really going to...Uh...Volley that ball this time....I guess."

 Just going to throw this out there, this is gonna be a short review. Sometimes there just isn't much to say when your movie isn't so much bad at all as its kind of unnecessary to pay modern ticket prices for. Think of it more as a TV Movie Of The Week.

 Based on a True Story, "The Miracle Season" takes place in 2011, at the West High School in Iowa City (In Iowa obviously), where the town celebrates the chance of their high school girls volleyball team getting a chance at state and possibly winning for the second year in a row. The film follows best friends "Kelley Fliehler" (Erin Moriarty) and the beloved star player, "Caroline "Line" Found" (Danika Yarosh). After a party, Line ends up tragically being killed in a motorcycle accident, which affects the whole town, especially Line's father, "Ernie" (William Hurt), who also ends up losing his wife, "Ellyn" (Jillian Fargey) not too long later. The whole town seems to struggle with moving on, in particular Kelley and the rest of the volleyball team, who can't even bring themselves to play anymore. It's up to the uptight, but eventually well intentioned coach, "Kathy Bresnahan" (Helen Hunt) to get the girls back together, hoping to pull off a nearly impossible, but spectacular comeback for team, while also honoring their deceased friend and player. 

 "The Miracle Season" takes the easiest route you can possibly take with the whole inspiring family drama genre, but there's nothing particularly wrong with that as it does it's job as well as a glorified TV movie possible could. It's a very small, simple story, which I feel is basically the point. It lacks any real ambition to be anything more than what it is, thanks mostly to cheesy writing, flat characters, and slow pacing. Despite this, it's hard to fully dislike due to the film's heart being the right place and for at times working effectively. Though I think it's more of a credit to the cast, rather than the direction. (The film was Directed by Sean McNamara, who previously made "Soul Surfer" and um, "Bratz") Erin Moriarty is a cute, likable lead, whose relationship with the personality filled Danika Yarosh in the opening scenes ends up working quite well and makes the devastating outcome all the more sad. William Hurt does some fine work with the generic script, along with Helen Hunt, who gives it her all regardless of the material.

 "The Miracle Season" is one of those movies where you do get more inspiration from simply reading or hearing about it's real life events, rather than watching an overall mediocre kids film. With that said, there's nothing outright wrong with it. It is a sweet story, that will probably find an audience, such as with young girls who will certainly enjoy the female empowerment. Not much else to really add because there's not much there. Hey, they can't all be long, descriptively written rants like "Acrimony". I only have so much energy and rage. 2 1/2 stars. Rated PG For Tearjerky Moments And The CGI Volleyball.

Blockers                                                                      by James Eagan                                     ★★★½ OUT OF ★★★★

Image result for blockers movieImage: John Cena, about to give a teenage boy an attitude adjustment.

 We seem to be going through somewhat of a rejuvenation of the comedy genre right now. Granted, it's still pretty early in the year, so for all we know it could all go downhill in a fiery blaze. But with recent releases such as the dark comedy, "Game Night", the political satire, "The Death of Stalin" (The movie set in Russia, where nobody is Russian), and now "Blockers", a genre that always seems hit or miss (Or even in some cases, just constant misses.), it seems studios appear to be succeeding in what comedies should aspire to do. Make people laugh. So somebody call John Cena.

 "Blockers" starts with three best friends deciding to make a sex pact on Prom Night with "Julie" (Kathryn Newton) hoping to go all the way with her boyfriend, "Kayla" (Geraldine Viswanathan) mostly doing it because it sounds fun, and "Sam" (Gideon Aldon) going along with it despite the fact she is secretly a lesbian.The parents, Julie's single mom, "Lisa" (Leslie Mann), Kayla's protective, musclebound dad, "Mitchell" (John Cena), and Sam's neglectful dad, "Hunter" (Ike Barinholtz), who used to be friends, but have grown apart over the years, come back together once they learn of their daughters' pact. So the parents proceed to go against better judgement and common sense to stop their daughters from going through with the act, all while getting into all kinds of crazy situations, such as getting into car wrecks, breaking into places, and getting things put up your butt that shouldn't go there, 

 "Blockers", which has a picture of a rooster on it's poster because it's obvious what that means, does not have the most original of premises. It's sort of your typical sex comedy, with the kids wanting to go through with it, without knowing much about what they're doing and the parents wanting to stop it, without knowing much about why they're doing. However, the film seems to put a more modernized spin on it (Making it for the more woke generation I suppose), which makes for a bit more intelligence than you would expect from the average raunchy comedy. Because the film is smart about it's characters and the writing, that makes the film much funnier and certainly more lovable. 

 Aside from some excellent gags, which vary from gross out to just plain bizarre, "Blockers" has an excellent cast, who all work well off of each other. The adorable Leslie Mann is always reliable in these roles, while actually being allowed to be just as funny as the guys. Ike Barinholtz steals most scenes he's in with his smarmy attitude, who attempts to be the voice of reason despite being the most unstable of the trio. John Cena (Who just continues to show an immense amount of personality as an actor) commits to being as absurdly dweebish as possible, while being as hulkingly buff as John Cena. The real stars here are the three girls, Kathrun Newton, Geraldine Viswanathan, and Gideon Aldon, who all have great chemistry with each other and have a certain level of charm and likability, while also getting plenty of vulgar laughs. 

 Directed by Kay Cannon (Known for serving as a writer on the "Pitch Perfect" movies), "Blockers" has more of a woman's touch, giving the film more to say. The jokes are crass and crude, but inoffensive and undeniably laugh out loud funny, thanks in part to the cast. The film also has a sweet story that gets sentimental where necessary and avoids becoming cheesy. It's one of the more adorable comedies you'll see, yet still packed with plenty of dick jokes and butt chugging. It takes an idea that should be tired and puts a whole new outlook on it. So parents, be sure to watch it with your teenage daughters. Or not. Your call. 3 1/2 stars. Rated R For Reckless Behavior, Unsettling Sex Games, And John Cena Nudity. 

A Quiet Place                                                           by James Eagan                                          ★★★½ OUT OF ★★★★

Related imageImage:QUIET!!!! CAN"T YOU SEE SHE's TRYING TO HIDE!!!!! 

 Imagine a big, fat guy, with a large tub of popcorn, sitting right behind you, slowly and steadily munching on popcorn throughout the entire quiet hour and a half. For the longest time I thought that was movie until I heard him cough some of the popcorn back up.  I know one thing for sure. That guy wouldn't of survived in this movie for more than a minute. I would have been rooting for the monster.

 "A Quiet Place" starts at some point in the future, where the world is in shambles due to the arrival of some strange, horrifying, and bloodthirsty creatures who attack and slaughter anything that makes any sound of any kind. A family, whose name is never provided within the movie (But is available in promotional material), is struggling to survive in this quiet, desolate world. The pregnant mother, "Evelyn" (Emily Blunt) and father, "Lee" (John Krasinski) are still grieving over the loss of their youngest son at the hands of the monsters, while still trying to protect their son, "Marcus" (Noah Jupe) and their deaf daughter, "Regan" (Millicent Simmonds), who feels responsible for the younger son's death. Eventually, the battle to survive becomes more difficult, and once sh*t hits the fan, the family is forced to rely on each other to defeat the monsters attacking their home. 

 Just as much as thriller, mixed with a family drama, as well as a horror film, "A Quiet Place" takes some concepts that you've likely seen before and brilliantly executes it, making the film feel more original. The film is mostly silent throughout, with little music, dialogue which is mostly done through sign language, or at times, little to no sound at all, adding to the atmosphere of the film and practically putting you in these deadly situation. (Be honest, we're inherently loud beings. We would all die horribly.) Director/co-writer/actor John Krasinski (Who has previously made a couple other films that never got much critical attention) shows real promise and a real eye for real suspense. (Such as the birthing scene, that literally had everyone on edge) It's a slow, silent buildup to more terrifying things to come, escalating till the last act, which is essentially nonstop terror. 

 Emily Blunt (aka Mrs. John Krasinski) is terrific here, giving a strong (And somewhat painful) performance, along with John Krasinski, reminding everyone how good he can be in front of the camera, while also proving to be good behind it as well. Even the kids are giving excellent performances with Noah Jupe and especially Millicent Simmons (Who is actually deaf in real life), acting like children probably would if put in a condition such as this. What makes the performances so wonderful is that due to the lack of actual talking, the film is carried by their expressions and movements, which is full of terror and dread, yet somehow adding in a heartfelt story about a family. The creatures themselves, who only appear in glimpses until necessary, are the stuff of nightmares, looking like a frightening hybrid of the monsters from "Stranger Things", large spiders, and um, giant ears. (Trust me. They'll make you void your bowels in fear.)

 "A Quiet Place" makes old new again, incorporating chilling horror thrills and combining it with compelling drama in a way that feels natural. It's smart, filled with constant tension, with a few set pieces that will stick with you once you leave the movie. Next time you're alone at night, you'll likely be watching how much noise you make just out of sheer instinct. I mean, you should do that anyway in a movie theater, but if you want to get yourself ripped to shreds, be my guest. Hope the popcorn was worth it. 3 1/2 stars. Rated PG-13 For Scary Images, Parental Fear, And Child Birth. 

Acrimony                                                                     by James Eagan                                    No Stars out of ★★★★

 Related image

Image: James said WHAT about my movie!

 Tyler Perry, I want you to know something. I don't hate you as a person. You seem like a pretty decent guy actually, with some actual talent. You were great in "Gone Girl", and I've seen you be both funny in more comedic roles and solid in dramatic ones. You're not a bad actor, and with a little more work, you could be a okay director and writer. But.....How do you keep finding new and creative ways to piss me off? 

 Lets see if I can do this without spoiling everything. (Either way, don't see this movie. Take my word for it, you don't need it in your life.) "Acrimony" starts with "Melinda" (Taraji P. Henson) being forced to have therapy after losing her sh*t at the mere sight of her ex husband, "Robert" (Lyriq Bent). She tells her story, resulting in flashbacks showing younger Melinda (Ajiona Alexus) meeting and falling in love instantly with younger Robert (Antonio Madison), despite the fact he clearly didn't have much to his name in terms of money. Going against the advice of her sisters, Melinda continues to date Robert, while providing money for his get rich quick schemes. He ends up cheating on her, resulting in Melinda driving a car into Robert's trailer, which injures her to the point she can no longer have children. However, Robert says he's sorry and she takes him back. What follows is several years of misery, with Melinda working constantly while Robert tries to perfect his new battery power source or whatever.

 Eventually, it seems that this isn't going anywhere (Much like this movie in general), which makes Melinda force Robert to actually get a job. Thanks to bumping into the girl he previously cheated on Melinda with, "Diana" (Crystle Stewart), who just so happens to work at the Prescott company, which is where Robert has been intending to sell his battery to....Ugh. So anyway, Melinda thinks Robert is cheating, when it turns out he's just being a dumbass, which ends in failure and her kicking him out after going a little crazy. But wait! That's just the first half or so of the movie. It keeps on going, with Melinda still being miserable and Robert getting some help from Diana, who sees how depressing he is now after divorcing Melinda.

 Luck finally changes in Robert's favor with him getting a good offer for his battery, making him instantly rich. Robert decides to make amends for what he did to Melinda, giving her a big check of moolah and a genuine apology. Redemption and forgiveness, with the two of them going their separate ways. The end.....But wait!!! There's more! Melinda is pissed that Robert is marrying Diana, believing that she was the one destined to live this luxurious life and goes even more crazy than before. Stalking, and sending threats, that somehow end up with Melinda trying to kill people. How did we get here? Why are we here? What is wrong with this movie?  

 As you can tell from that attempt at a plot description, "Acrimony"is as sloppily directed as they come, with a story that keeps going when it should be moving to an end. Director, Producer, Writer, and founder of "Tyler Perry Studios", Tyler Perry, who mostly focuses his time on his irritating "Madea" films and self righteous dramas, doesn't seem to know what kind of movie he's making or what exactly it's trying to say. The film is dull and slow, with soapy dialogue and characterization, moving from one predictable plot to the next. At least, for the first two acts anyway. It's your standard, in your face melodrama that veers into comedy, mostly by accident. The third act is when everything comes crashing down in a way that can only be described as "Nonsensically, disastrous". If the film had ended before this, it still wouldn't of been good. But I could of just shrugged it off as another boring, overly dramatic, poorly constructed Tyler Perry film. However, its these last thirty to forty minutes where you see the worst that shoddy filmmaking has to offer. 

 Taraji P. Henson, who is an excellent and very underatted actress, is not too bad in these first opening minutes before we enter the flashback. While she's forced to deliver horrible and awkward voice over throughout, she at first appears to be rising over the material. Then like the rest of the movie, it all goes down the crapper. During this last act, she is absolutely awful. It's so over the top, stupid, and out of character, making for an embarrassing experience. Not sure if I can blame her exactly, putting the full blame on the direction and script. However, it seems to not understand the point it's seemingly trying to get across. Lyriq Bent gives a bland, thoroughly uninteresting performance, though he fares better than his younger counterpart in terms of screen presence. The rest of the supporting characters are all awful people, not fully realizing how dangerous a situation this actually is. (She's insane. Not just emotional, she's flat out crazy. Get her help! Don't just shrug it off!)

 Pretentiously taking time to have a title card explain definitions because Tyler Perry doesn't think the audience knows what words mean, "Acrimony" is disjointed, painfully monotonous, and incredibly indecisive of itself. The film opens with Melinda stating about how unfair it is when a black woman gets mad that it automatically makes her a stereotype. But then the movie ends with that happening exactly. It becomes a living stereotype in of itself. (I feel like I'm not the person to talk about this kind of thing, so I'm really just doing my best to understand) It feels wrong and in a time that heavily involves women's rights, particularly involving being wronged by men, this movie has no place here. Tyler Perry's filmmaking style can't possibly sink any lower, but sadly this time takes down poor Taraji P. Henson with him. That alone just makes me mad. Great! Now I have acrimony! Thanks Tyler! No Stars. Rated R For Language, Violence, Sexual Content, And A Green Screen Of A Park. (Why?)

God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness                                             by James Eagan                            ★½ OUT OF ★★★★

Related imageImage: A Trilogy of crap.

 Not sure if this double feature was an Easter penance or some sick April Fool's Day joke. Either way, saying the third and hopefully final entry into the "God's Not Dead" trilogy is not the worst movie I saw today by a long shot is pretty awkward. I'm not sure if anyone would believe me if I told them.

 "God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness" starts with recurring comic relief character, turned protagonist, "Reverend Dave" (David A. R. White) being released from prison during a time of constant bickering and division, especially involving the church still being allowed to remain on a college campus. Dave returns to the church with his buddy, "Reverend Jude" (Benjamin Onyango), ready to get some waffles. Meanwhile, a young couple is going through their own problems, with confused Christian "Keaton" (Samantha Boscarino) deciding to take a break from her atheist boyfriend, "Adam" (Mike C. Manning). Adam, who has had some personal, tragic issues with the church (Because of course he does) loses his temper and throws a brick into one of the windows.

 Sheer bad luck results in the brick causing a gas leak, followed by an explosion that blows up poor Jude (And he didn't even get to have his waffles) and pretty much of the inside of the church. The snooty college superiors decide to use this as a chance to remove the church from school grounds, resulting in Dave turning to the only person who can possibly help him right now, which is his non-believing lawyer brother, "Pearce" (John Corbett). Dave must work with Pearce despite their differences to save the church from being torn down, while Adam, wracked with guilt with what he's done, turns to Keaton for help. 

 "God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness" is not good. But you already knew that. Pure Flix, who has been showing at least some signs of improvement lately, still can't help but produce cheaply made, badly written religious exploitation that continues to lack any form of subtly whatsoever. What I can say this time around, this newest film doesn't seem as angry or as hateful as the others in the past have been. In fact, some of the morals, which are admittedly good morals, seem to contradict what the first two seemed to be trying to say. There aren't any evil liberals this time around (In fact, a returning protagonist is revealed to be one), or big bad atheists who just want to destroy Christianity. (This time, they are shown to be decent people, who just disagree with the religion.) I'll even say that the film shows that there can be some crappy or hypocritical Christians out there too. Granted, the movie is kind of hypocritical of itself too, but I chalk that up to the filmmakers just showing that despite some improvement, still aren't exactly pros at what they do. 

 Some of the acting has also improved for the third installment. David A. R. White is not a bad actor with surprisingamount of charm, and thankfully gets promoted to the main character instead of being stuck as comic relief. He has some pretty solid chemistry with John Corbett, who gets a few funny lines and gets the most human portrayal of any non-believer in any of these movies. The younger actors are kind of weak, with Shane Harper (as "Josh", the Christian hero from the first movie) remaining bland and boring. I also deduct half a star because of the brief, but pointless appearance by Newsboys (Who are responsible for the song that plays in all of these movies.) but only. mostly, because they suck. 

 "God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness" seems to have better intentions, with less offensive moments. The film's message isn't a bad one, and it even admits that some Christians should probably take time to actually practice what they preach. However, it's still full of crap, with nonsensical situations, dumb arguments, and most importantly, a slow, boring pace that doesn't have much to offer for the non-converted. Still, I give the film credit for not being irritating. That's faint praise, but it's still praise. It's a miracle! 1 1/2 stars. Rated PG For Adult Content And For Jude Going Boom.

Ready Player One                                                    by James Eagan                                         ★★★½ OUT OF ★★★★

Image result for ready player one movie imagesImage: Use the Force, Luke...Sorry, wrong film.

 Nostalgia. It's everywhere lately. We have "Star Wars" making a big comeback, along with the return of "Jurassic Park", "Power Rangers", "Ghostbusters", "Jumanji", "Transformers", etc. The list goes on with the many continuations or reboots of beloved childhood properties that usually result in grown men throwing hissy fits about them that for some reason always end up having underlying themes of sexism and racism. (We can't have nice things.) But it's not just in the return of franchises, there seems to be just this love for everything old, or at least in terms of the 80s and 90s. Many of us grew up at that time and remember it fondly, which is why Hollywood of course would try to capitalize on that. Now you can make the argument that maybe this whole nostalgia train should probably stop at some point......And then you see the Iron Giant fighting Mechagodzilla. That was awesome!!!

 "Ready Player One" takes place in the year 2045, where everything pretty much just sucks. (Pollution, overpopulation, all that good stuff.) The only way to escape from the harshness of reality is in the form of an incredibly detailed, virtual reality world known as "OASIS", which was created by the geek worshiped developer, "James Halliday" (Mark Rylance). Halliday eventually dies, leaving behind a special, final game for the players, which is to find a trio of keys, which will unlock an "Easter Egg", which will hand over complete control of the OASIS to whoever finds it. Our hero, "Wade Watts" (Tye Sheridan), who lives in a jenga style trailer park, is a total nerd and a complete fanboy of Halliday. Wade uses his avatar, "Parzival", takes part in the race to find the keys, along with his friend who he has never met in real life, "Aech" (Voiced by Lena Waithe).

 Wade meets a well known player, known as "Art3mis" (Olivia Cooke), who he is immediately smitten with, and ends up teaming up with her to find the keys. Meanwhile, the evil corporation known as "IOI", led by the slimy "Nolan Sorrento" (Ben Mendelsohn), is determined to find the Easter Egg and takes over the OASIS by any means necessary, even if it means killing whoever gets in their way. Avoiding Sorrento's army of henchman, known as "Sixers", in both the OASIS and in the real world, Wade and his new friends, which includes brothers "Daito" (Win Morisaki) and "Sho" (Phillip Zhao), search for the clues and participate in the puzzles that will reveal the locations of the missing keys, and hopefully save the OASIS from landing in the hands of a bunch of money grubbers, who will essentially control the world if they succeed. 

 Based on the both beloved and hated nostalgia fueled novel by Ernest Cline (Who was also a co-writer to the film), "Ready Player One" has the luxury of being directed by the great Steven Spielberg, who was known for revolutionizing what we consider grand, but heartfelt Hollywood escapism. The film embraces it's unapologetically cheesy nature with a big smile, filling the screen with an onslaught of references and imagery that nobody could of ever imagined seeing on the big screen all at once. In terms of it's visuals, the film is a treat to look at, nearly exploding off the screen in a literal manner. Despite the focus on the special effects, which are present throughout most of the film, there is still a sweet story with a solid message underneath that makes up for some fairly standard character development. 

 The cast of characters aren't exactly deep, but they are easy to root for and are memorable. Tye Sheridan is suitably awkward, but endearing. (And apparently less creepy here than in the book) Olivia Cooke is absolutely adorable and continues to prove to be a talented young actress. Ben Mendelsohn is perfectly villainous, playing up the smarmy corporate dick role wonderfully, along with Hannah John-Kamen (as "F'Nale", Sorrento's ruthless enforcer) and a hilarious T.J. Miller (Voicing "i-R0k", a powerful, menacing weapons trader within the OASIS, who sounds just like T.J. Miller), essentially playing Comic Book Guy from "The Simpsons". Lena Waithe provides some humor, with a fun small part for Simon Pegg (as "Ogden Morrow", Halliday's former best friend/OASIS co-creator) and the always wonderful Mark Rylance, who gets a rather brilliant role to play here. 

 Ludicrously packed full of pop cultures references and Easter eggs, "Ready Player One" knows what it intends to be, and with Spielberg's knowledge and love for this style of filmmaking being a perfect fit. It's corny as Hell, but in such a lovable way that just makes you smile uncontrollably, even in the most predictable of moments. You gets some genuine laughs, a well told story, with crazy amounts of visual chaos, and an overall message of separating reality from fantasy, while also saying that there is nothing wrong with a little escapism every now and then. Which is also the best way to describe this film. And the best way to describe my reviews....No? I'm not the Spielberg of film reviews? 3 1/2 stars. Rated PG-13 For Language, Chaotic Violence, And The Shining.  

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