Bird Box has the unfortunate problem that it is the second sense-based monster movie of 2018, so it will be compared to A Quiet Place regardless of the fact it is a different movie with different themes, and that will hurt it because A Quiet Place is a much better movie. Bird Box is not bad, but it also isn’t good. It is held up by a creepy atmosphere, and an excellent performance by Sandra Bullock. It is let down by too many early characters and at least thirty minutes of padding.
Bird Box tells its tale in two timelines. One with a blindfolded Malorie (Sandra Bullock) rowing down a river with two children to hopefully find safety, and one with a pregnant Malorie trying to survive while the world falls apart because everyone is apparently committing suicide.
Both timelines go on a little too long, but the river journey is far more interesting. Sadly, we spend more time with the earlier story of surviving the end of the world. It suffers from a flaw a lot of horror movies have, where they stuff it with too many people we know not to get attached to and sticking around too long once the premise has been established. One thing is common between them though, and that is they are anchored by a Sandra Bullock at the top of her game. Without her this movie would have fallen apart. I don’t know how much they paid her to be in this movie, but she was worth every penny, and I hope she is getting a couple of bonus checks.
Everyone else in this movie is kind of just there. John Malkovich chews as much scenery as he can, but there is only so much he can do with what he is given. Lil Rel Howery is kind of funny, but he doesn’t have enough time to establish himself. Trevante Rhodes only exists so Bullock has someone to have an adult conversation with. I will give props to the two kids, Vivien Lyra Blair and Julian Edwards, they managed to hit their marks and not be distracting.
Bird Box is just an okay movie, and since it is on Netflix, you may find it worth watching. Which I guess is why it is the perfect Netflix film. It is two hours of content that people will not feel bad about watching, and since it is included with their service, I am not going to actively dissuade people from seeing it. I just hope Bullock’s next movie will better utilize her talent.
I have been singing Voltron‘s praises for a while now, so I was intrigued when Netflix and DreamWorks announced a reboot of She-Ra. I was skeptical after the trailer. I wasn’t a huge fan of the new look, but like I said, they had earned a little of my faith, and they largely came through. I wouldn’t say it is as amazing as Voltron, but it is much, much better than the She-Ra of the past.
The basic setups are the same between the old and new shows. Adora is an orphan kidnapped by the Horde, but then she finds a magic sword that lets her turn in to the super strong Princess of Power, She-Ra. A lot of the characters from the old show are in this one as well, but what is different is that you care about all these characters. They have stories and arcs. The entire backbone of this first season is how Catra’s and Adora’s relationship defines and makes them who they are. You know, a real theme and plot!
Not everything is perfect though. While I appreciate that the series is mostly hand drawn, it is not drawn with a lot of depth. You can tell that they did not have a massive budget, and while it is mostly smooth, it can still feel a little cheap. Some of the story beats that do not belong to Catra or Adora can feel rushed or muddled, and Swiftwind is super annoying.
The Michael Bay Transformers broke me, and I never wanted anyone to reboot anything ever again, but then it turns out I just don’t want people to reboot things poorly anymore. DreamWorks and Netflix can reboot whatever they want at this point. However, this shared universe Roald Dahl show sounds like a bad plan, but they have earned my eyes for at least a few episodes because She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is better than I could have hoped for.
Destination Wedding asks a simple question, “Are Winona Ryder and Keanu Reeves charming and talented enough to pull off a movie all by themselves?” Answer: almost. The problem is that the script and the production as a whole don’t give them a lot to work with. Which is a shame because these two leads are very watchable, and even more watchable together.
Destination Wedding sets up two unlikable people and traps them at a wedding that they don’t want to be at, and that no one wants them at, so they are forced to spend time together. It is like a very long sitcom elevator episode except that the elevator moves around to different locations. Also, we aren’t really sure about anyone’s motivations for inviting these two because only Winona and Keanu have speaking roles. Well maybe technically a mountain lion speaks, but I am not sure roars and hisses count.
Speaking of the mountain lion, it is the only real thing that happens in this movie. Otherwise it is just Winona and Keanu trading barbs, and most of the time they are pretty good at it. The issue is that when you have to spend an hour and a half talking with only two people, that is a lot of dialog, and a lot of it doesn’t hold up. The leads do their best, but there is only so much they can do, and the only props they are given are wine and food, so they literally chew and drink the scenery.
Listen, putting Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder together is a brilliant move, and they are excellent at delivering witty banter and trading insults, but to have the whole movie just be two people talking to one another the script has to be perfect. Destination Wedding’s is not. Reeves and Ryder have their moments, almost enough of them to carry they movie, but the effort falls short in the end. Hopefully we get a more fleshed out movie with these two again soon because they are great. Destination Wedding, not so much.
Voltron has been one of the better surprises to come out of the trend of rebooting my childhood. Everything has been great from the cast to the animation, so I was pumped to watch season 7, and for the most part it continues its excellence, especially in the early episodes. However, a few too many of the fights end with the Paladins being overwhelmed only to have them manage to come together and give even more, or plot ‘twists’ we see coming a mile away.
I mean the second to last anything always has to act as a setup for the finale, and in that regard season 7 was a success. The stage is set and now it is up to season 8 to finish this series off. The producers have gotten us this far, so I have no doubt that next month we are in for something special. An early Christmas gift for us all! I will be watching that is for sure. I have my thoughts about who the Paladins are going to have to face, but to quote Luke, “This is not going to go the way you think!”
My wife made an amazing discovery, all of FX’s Fargo is now streaming on Hulu, so we quickly watched season one, and all the hype is real. It is a thrilling and darkly funny ride. I was worried how the creators were going to translate the Coen Brother’s crazy style to the small screen, but Noah Hawley and crew managed it daftly.
The story for the first season follows the hapless Lester Nygaard (Martin Freeman) as he gets mixed up in murder and mayhem. All the while the Bemidji police are on his tale. Well one police officer, Molly Solverson (Allison Tolman), is on his tale, the rest of the police would probably rather be fishing.
It is such a strange tale that you can’t believe your eyes for most of it, but it still manages to hang together and keep you on the edge of your seat. Much like Fargo the movie. Obviously the “this is a true story” at the beginning of every episode is just as false as it was for the movie, but it still manages to add to the tension anyway. If not just give us all a little laugh. Which is all Fargo wants to do anyway.
We all know that Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton will give us good performances, but Allison Tolman is great as Deputy Solverson, and Fargo is probably the best thing that Colin Hanks has ever done. He may never be as good as his dad, but this was truly some good work on his part. I hope this gets him better roles in the future.
Fargo is worth watching if you are looking for something interesting to watch. I laughed and I wondered what would happen next, and I was almost always wrong. The first season was great, and I can’t wait to see what story they cooked up for season two. I hope it is just as good, if not better than season one.