Shmee Gets Stuck In A Bird Box!

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.

Shmee’s Top Five Video Games Of 2018!

I played a lot of video games this year, and I have had a lot of fun! We are so spoiled these days. There is a good/great game coming out every week it seems. Here are my top five games in in reverse order:

5: Monster Hunter: World

I have always witnessed the Monster Hunter phenomenon from the outside. It has always been on platforms that I don’t have. This year Capcom let us all play! And it is a cool grind. The only thing holding this game back for me is that none of my friends play, so I don’t get to experience the co-op, but from what I have played, I can easily see why Monster Hunter: World has set the world on fire.

4: Batman: The Enemy Within

While season two of Telltale’s Batman series started last year, it ended this year, and what an ending it was. I loved it, and I am getting upset writing this knowing that there will not be a season 3. Any game that lets you play as not only Batman, but also as Bruce Wayne is something not to be missed. Since Telltale’s demise this game has become hard to find, but you should still seek it out anyway.


PUBG finally went 1.0 this year, and while Fortnite has taken over the Battle Royal world, I enjoy the minute to minute tension of PUBG more. I know it is buggy for a ‘released’ game, but it is fun, and that is all that matters.

2: Hitman 2

I just got Hitman 2, so I haven’t posted a review for it yet, but it is ‘just’ more Hitman. Which is great because I LOVE Hitman. Bigger, better and more murderous sandboxes to take out ‘bad’ guys in. Crazier ways to try and kill people. It is all so good, and I would play this game forever if they can keep making it.

1: Red Dead Redemption 2

Everything about Red Dead Redemption 2 is almost perfect. My main complaint is that just that there is so much of it. A complaint that there is too much game is not a real complaint. If you can play Red Dead Redemption 2, you should. If you can’t, you should find a way to play it. Unless you are too young that is. In which case play it in a few years.

I hope you had as much fun playing games this year as I did. Also, Forza Horizon 4 came out this year. So, I know I limit myself to five games, but every Forza Horizon game should be played, and this year was no different, so it gets a very honorable mention. Let’s hope that 2019 year will be as good for games as the last year was.

Shmee’s Top Five Movies Of 2018!

I had ton of fun at the movies this year, and since the box-office set records, I am guessing a lot of you did too. This year instead of picking the ‘best’ movies like I am some kind of Oscar voter, I am just picking my most memorable ones. The ones that stuck with me. Here they are in reverse order!

5: A Simple Favor!

You don’t get a good thrilledy every day, or even once a year, so when Paul Feig creates one with two fantastic leads, I think it is worth watching. While I am not sure this movie will end up on a lot of people’s lists, I found it fascinating, and it shows how talented people can make something that shouldn’t work, work. Also, it makes me want a martini.

4: Teen Titans Go! To the Movies!

I laughed so much at Teen Titans Go! To the Movies. The jokes came fast and furious, and it showed that you don’t just have to be crass to make a superhero comedy. You can also use a lot of poop jokes, or just make fun of the state of the DCEU. On top of all that the songs were catchy. I don’t know what it says that my favorite DC movie this year was an animated farce, but here we are.

3: Black Panther!

This movie was soooooo good, and Marvel finally had a villain that was smart and had some moral high ground. Then in true Marvel fashion they killed him…. Hey Marvel, quit killing all your bad guys! Especially the good ones! I guess they are getting a bunch of new rogues from the Fox merger, but Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) was fantastic. He was the first MCU villain who I would watch a solo movie about.

2: Won’t You Be My Neighbor!

It turns out the loving and wonderful person that Fred Rogers was on screen wasn’t an act. He really was that person, and his love made the world a better place. He let us know that we are all special and loved, and his show was a safe space for us all. There has been a Mr. Rogers shaped hole in the world since he left us, and ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’ reminded us of that.

1: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

I never thought I would pick a Spider-Man movie to be my favorite film, but here we are on the last day of 2018, and Spider-Verse is the movie I can’t get out of my head. Everything about this movie was so well done. When I think about Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse it is literally just a list of superlatives. Better yet, it is still in the theaters, so there is time for you to get out to your local multiplex and see it.

That was my very flawed list, I would love to hear yours, or just have you tell me why I am wrong. Until next year!

Mary Poppins Returns To Do It All Again!

I was skeptical when Disney announced that they were bringing back Mary Poppins, but those fears were squashed when they hired Emily Blunt. Who like the character she was tasked with bringing to life, is practically perfect in every way, and while Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda do great work as the main performers, I think the movie lets them down a bit by not letting them have an adventure of their own. Instead taking us on adventures we had last time Mary came in on the east wind.

This time around the Banks children are all grown up, and Michael (Ben Whishaw) has three kids of his own. He is not dealing with the emotional and financial fallout of recently losing his wife well. His sister Jane (Emily Mortimer) is doing her best to help, but things are falling apart. That is until a certain nanny blows in just when things seem to be at their bleakest.

As you can see the biggest change, other than the cast, for Mary Poppins Returns is that it has a slightly darker edge, not much, but it is there, and it carries through the film. I don’t think it is a bad thing since it gives the movie some emotional stakes, and it also gives Michael more of a reason to be distant and cross with his children. You understand why he is having a hard time. Other than, “that is just the way British Bankers are!”. I wish that would have changed up more of the film as well. Because a lot of it feels like retreading old ground.

There is an animated sequence, they visit one of Mary’s odd friends, the lamplighters have a big song and dance number, balloons instead of kites. Apart from one or two sequences it all feels like they just wanted to do their own twist on things we have seen before, and it all looks great and the songs are good. I just wish they could have been a little more original.

I have no bad things to say about the performers. Blunt and Miranda are fantastic. The kids are all quite charming, and Whishaw really plays the father on the brink well. You can see the pain in his eyes and the struggle to keep it all together. Mortimer is fine, but she isn’t given a lot to do other than be cheery and helpful.

I wouldn’t say there is anything technically wrong with Mary Poppins Returns. In fact, there is a lot to like, love even. It was just the writers’ not wanting to break the mold that kept this movie from really being something special. As it is, it is still more than worth watching, and if Mary Poppins Returns again, I will be there.

Shmee Was Rocked By Bohemian Rhapsody!

Bohemian Rhapsody is now the top grossing musical biopic of all time, so reviewing it now seems a little late since everyone has already seen it, but I am going to do it anyway because that is what I do here.  Between Rami Malek’s standout performance and Queen’s epic track list it is no wonder this movie has topped the box-office.  Anytime the movie slows down, or the side characters get a little too goofy, another Queen song starts, and this movie gets going again.

Bohemian Rhapsody starts just as Queen becomes Queen, but this movie is really about Freddy Mercury (Rami Malek).  His life and struggles, and how even though he was a genius, he could never quite fit in.  Almost everyone else in this movie is either comic relief or antagonists.  Except for Mary Austin (Lucy Boynton).  Mercury’s lifelong partner and friend.

While if you hit up Wikipedia or read a book about Queen, you will realize that they changed a lot of things to make Queen’s history fit nicely in to a movie format.  However, according to the band and people that lived through this, the film makers got the feel of what happened right.  So, while this is not a documentary, you will at least understand what happened to this band and its flamboyant front man.

Even though there are a lot of good actors in Bohemian Rhapsody, it almost feels like a one man show.  This is Rami Malek’s movie, and he owns it.  The movie sings every time he is on screen, and it suffers every time that he is not.  There is a reason Fox is pushing for Malek this awards season, and I am sure he will pick up a few.

This movie was made for people like Queen and want to know more about the man that lead them, and it does what it is supposed to do.  Throw in a bunch of Queen’s songs and you’ve got a hit.  Which it already is.  For Queen fans, Bohemian Rhapsody is your movie, but who isn’t a fan of Queen?