Get Out And See Get Out!

Thanks to Comcast feeling like they needed to lock me in to a one year contract, I now have access to HBO again.  Which means I got to watch Get Out for free just before the Oscars last night.  Sadly that means I didn’t get to post this review until after it already won its Oscar for Best Screenplay.  An Oscar Jordan Peele deservedly won.

Get Out is about an African American man, Andre Hayworth (Daniel Kaluuya), who is visiting his white girlfriend’s rich parents for the weekend.  Things are as awkward as you would expect, but then after a while things go from everyday racist to something more sinister, and Hayworth needs to figure it out before it is too late.  Actually he should just listen to his buddy and GET OUT!

Get Out is brilliantly written.  It uses horror movie tropes to shine a light on the little racist things people who say they aren’t racist do all the time.  From asking dumb questions about stereotypes to touching without asking.  Not to mention just saying all the things that make them not a racist to make themselves feel better.  Honestly, all of that was more horrifying than the horror parts of this movie.  Which are still pretty good.

Daniel Kaluuya gives a wonderful performance as Hayworth.  They way he understandably misunderstands what is going on as the normal crap he has to deal with everyday is completely believable.  Though my favorite character is Rod Williams played by Lil Rel Howery.  He is Hayworth’s best friend, and probably the best TSA agent out there.  He adds some great comedic moments, and is a prefect stand in for the audience.

Jordan Peele made something special with Get Out, and I am glad the Oscars rewarded him for it.  Peele showed that he had a lot of potential with Key & Peele, and it is great to see him living up to it.  If you haven’t seen Get Out yet, get out and watch it.

My Little Pony: The Movie Isn’t Quite Magical

It was only a matter of time before the hit reboot of My Little Pony got a movie of its own.  Sadly, the writers were not able to come up with a story worthy of the big screen.  It feels like a multi-episode special, but not one of their better ones.  If you have kids that love the show, they will still probably like this movie, but My Little Pony: The Movie will not win over any new fans.

Princess Twilight Sparkle (Tara Strong) is having a hard time shouldering the load of being a new princess.  She feels like it is all up to her to make sure everyone is having fun and making friends.  To make matters worse during her inaugural Friendship Festival a new villain called the Storm King decides to invade Equestria.  His forces are being led by the broken horned unicorn Tempest Shadow (Emily Blunt).  Twilight feels like she is the only one who can save her home and friends.

This is a fine enough setup, but a story about how Twilight feels like it is all up to her when she should be leaning on her friends is well trod territory for the show, so fans will no doubt see how this movie plays out from its opening frames.  Also, it seems like the producers knew the plot was a little thin, so they just amped up the cast with a lot of well known people as random characters for marketing purposes.  Tempest Shadow is kind of an interesting character, but the rest of the new additions to Pony Canon are pretty much throwaways.

The animation at least got a good bump in quality.  The Mane 6 have never looked so good.  The flat basic color style is preserved, but there is a lot of extra little detail, and it is much smoother.  For My Little Pony fans it is probably worth watching just to see the best representation of their favorite Pony Pals.

My Little Pony: The Movie feels like a lost opportunity to tell a good story and win over some new fans.  Right now I can only recommend it to existing fans, or families with young kids.  There have been far worse movies made out of kids shows, but considering how good My Little Pony is, My Little Pony: The Movie feels a bit like a let down.

Shmee Observes The Cloverfield Paradox

Netflix pulled off quite the trick when it announced and launched The Cloverfield Paradox during the Super Bowl.  Which is now the third entry in the Cloverfield franchise.  Much like 10 Cloverfield Lane, The Cloverfield Paradox started life as a stand alone movie and then was edited to be part of the Cloverfield universe.  Sadly, it was not as successful as 10 Cloverfield Lane, but it does add some interesting things to the universe.

In the near future the human race is almost without power, so a team of scientists have headed to space to try and find a way to generate limitless power with a particle accelerator aboard the Cloverfield space station.  Since this is a Cloverfield movie, you can guess things go poorly.

Even though the trailers give away some of what happens, I will do my best not to spoil anything because this movie is at its best when it surprises you.  Which unfortunately is not that often.  It is the standard haunted house in space setup with some Cloverfield stuff edited in, and the Cloverfield stuff hurts the pacing of an already iffy movie, but it did add some curious pieces to the Cloverfield puzzle.  Even if those pieces don’t entirely fit, but the premis for the movie almost means that they don’t have to, which I enjoy thinking about.

While the cast is fine (it has Chris O’Dowd from The IT Crowd!), there is no John Goodman here to carry the weaker parts of this film, so whenever the action stops the entire movie almost grinds to a halt.  No one is elevating the material, and it could have used a little elevation.

While I have been pretty hard on The Cloverfield Paradox, I will say I find the implications this movie has on the rest of the Cloverfield franchise intriguing, and I have been thinking about where they go from here, so I don’t regret the hour and fortyish minutes I spent with it.  It didn’t squash my excitement for the franchise, which I guess they just bought and are re-editing another one now, so for Sci-Fi fans it is probably worth watching just to be up to speed for the next one.

Shmee Checks In For The Big Sick!

Imagine you find the love of your life, but then during your first real fight, this person ends up in a coma.  Sounds pretty funny right? … right?  Well that is the basis for The Big Sick.  Which is a semi-autobiographical story about how Kumail Nanjiani met his wife.  It fits very much in the  mold of Judd Apatow’s patented dramedy.  Which is to say it is pretty good.

Apparently this all started because Apatow and Nanjiani were on the ‘You Made It Weird’ podcast together, and Apatow convinced Nanjiana that his story would make for a good movie.  Of course Apatow would produce since funny people getting kind of sad is his bread and butter, and here we are.  I have to admit it is a pretty touching movie, so Apatow knows his business.

The actors are all equally funny and sad.  I think Kumail is on the verge of becoming a big star.  He has great comedic timing, and he is very relatable.  I would watch him in another couple dozen films.  I hadn’t recognized the actor that played his would be wife, Zoe Kazan, but apparently she has been in a lot of stuff, and she is very talented.  Even if she is in a coma for a lot of The Big Sick.

Amazon has gone to work making sure that they have plenty of movies for their service, and The Big Sick shows that all that work is paying off.  I would have expected this movie to make a bigger splash this awards season, but a lot of non-comedies are filling up the comedy nominations this year, so The Big Sick and others are being left out.  Which is kind of a shame.  Anyway, if you have Amazon Prime, The Big Sick is a worthwhile film, and another hit added to Apatow’s already large collection.

Return To Hawkins For Stranger Things 2!

After the insanely popular first season of Stranger Things, people were wondering how and if the Duffer Brothers would be able to live up to their audiences’ lofty expectations for season two.  It turns out that they followed the mold of Alien versus Aliens.  Go bigger and keep the gas peddle down.  It mostly works.  It slows down in the middle, but it recovers, and sews seeds for the future.

Stranger Things 2 (what they called their second season) also deals with how children and self medicating alcoholic sheriffs handle trauma.  The question kind of answers itself, but in general they don’t handle it well.  However, watching the cast deal with what happened last season and overcome it to deal with season two’s new threats is excellent.

Stranger things still has one of the best casts out there, and they added Sean Astin to it, so in other words it got even better.  Though not all the new additions are great.  Not to give anything away, but there are some punks you will meet halfway through the season that are little more than 80’s stereotypes.  Whether it was they way there were written or the acting, it is hard to say, but they don’t come off well.

Still one bad episode compared to eight goods ones is kind of being picky.  Most shows wish they had that kind of ratio.  The question now becomes where Stranger Things goes after season two.  Season one’s ending gave us several questions that needed to be answered.  Season two’s remaining threads aren’t near as interesting, so the Duffer Brothers will have their work cut out for them, but after two great seasons you know I will be back for season three, and based on what I am seeing on Facebook and Twitter so will you.  I can’t wait to get back to Hawkins Indiana to hang out with everyone’s favorite middle-schoolers!