Star Trek Beyond (2016, USA) | Rating: 4/5
Looking back at the second installment Star Trek: Into Darkness and the quick review I wrote for it, I feel like I should dock it half a point or a full one in its score. While I don't disagree with what I said about it, there were dialogue moments that could've been executed better and certain things didn't flow as seamlessly. Nonetheless, it wasn't a terrible movie. So, what about this third installment? Well, this movie is the reason I had to rethink on my thoughts of the second and glance over my words from the past because honestly, this is what the sequel should've been like. I think the best thing about this reboot is creating a new adventure for a new generation to attach to and for an old generation to marvel at how much the franchise has grown over the years. This third movie brings back the joy, excitement, and freshness of the first movie and something mostly new to the fans. The problem with already established franchises is when you touch something that already exists and when you tweak things that don't need tweaking, you get some wary fans attending the next edition. With J.J. Lin in the director's seat, we get more fast pace and smooth action with some simple, but fun story. There's no annoying lens flares or awkward changes to things that existed previously. What we have is a ruthless villain performing the usual vengeful task that isn't that new to the average moviegoer, but is occupied by a new exciting female character joining the ranks of great minds and astounding bravery. I enjoyed that we got to see a different grouping of characters to follow this time around to fully understand the relationship the crew has aside from the obvious. It also tried its best to pay tribute to the late Leonard Nimoy and his character in the movie in an uplifting way to give not only Spock hope, but its audience. While the movie was nowhere near perfect, it was highly entertaining and felt like a true fan exploit that tried not to take things too seriously. It was also a great way to convey that not only was the late Anton Yelchin's character was part of great star fleet family, but off camera was a Trek family of its own. I continue to look forward what they have planned for this franchise and hope that they try not to touch old ideas.
Lights Out (2016, USA) | Rating: 3.5/5
The lovely Ophelia was gracious enough to show me the short to this full length thriller, after I expressed interest in seeing it in theaters. I can't remember if something major was out around the time of release, but by the time my co-worker friend and I saw it, we were the only two in the theater...which honestly is one of the best way to watch horror movies in theaters sometimes. Well, at least, a horror movie like this. To me, there are certain movies I take seriously like James Wan flicks and others I feel like it will be a fun experience like this movie. In the end, we were not disappointed. Between our lighthearted humorous commentary from time to time, we admired the suspense and entertaining story. There were some cliches, but the story had fun with said cliches and surprised us when it didn't follow the usual plot points in these types of movies. As someone who is accustomed to the darkness, I wasn't too phased by the dark play, but it still kept me on the edge of my seat of what bad thing was hiding in the shadows and when it will attack. So, if you're wondering, this isn't a completely paranormal adventure or possession movie...kinda, but it does borrow a few elements here and there to keep things thrilling and suspenseful. Small note, the gun effect used in this movie was pretty cool!
Green Room (2015, USA) | Rating: 4/5
Before the unfortunate passing of Anton Yelchin, I had an interest in this movie, but it wasn't playing anywhere near me or stayed in theaters long enough for me to travel a little. I was happy to learn that my workplace was receiving it, so I put a request in and made some time to watch it at home. Reading and rereading the synopsis for this movie proved that this would be an interesting journey. This slightly unusual thriller pits a rock band to a group of Neo Nazis in a plan to escape from a club. Watching this movie made me realize that you really have to pay attention to what's going on or you'll miss some important information in the dialogue. It's not a constant action pack chase at all; it's more of a slightly slow building movie that eventually leads to some satisfying fights. The band stays stuck in a green room [hence the name] for a good majority of the movie, but the story doesn't get boring in the least. The believable acting among the band members and newly met ally really keeps things moving, especially when the enemy is near. Once these two different worlds collide, it gets crazy intense and you'll have to take some time to adjust after witnessing nefarious Patrick Stewart. He's wickedly likable and that's the catch to his character! Definitely check this one out, you'll be very pleased with the direction.
Estranged (2015, UK) | Rating: 2/5
I'm not sure if I've mentioned this in other horror movie reviews, but I've been checking out sub-par horror movies purposely. Sometimes mediocre horror movies can be quite entertaining and create some amusing conversations among friends. This movie is another edition to what I've been watching lately of movies that just look not so good. Usually, my expectations are set pretty low with these straight to DVD releases or unknown titles, but one thing I do expect is sub-par content that unintentionally creates humor. Reading the back cover of this DVD actually seemed a bit promising, but once you start watching, you're sitting there wondering when something good or at least notable begins. My timing may be wrong, but it almost felt like about 45 minutes to an hour in when something interesting actually was happening. It all occurred after a rape scene, so trigger warning if you're interested in checking this one out. It was a completely unnecessary scene that sparked a thought in my mind to write a potential post on how I'm tired of rape being used as a catalyst in revenge films starring female leads (especially). After that scene happened, I couldn't turn away as easily as before. I still didn't care about the main character at all and the inconsistent audio levels didn't help keep me engaged either. My interest and the movie went from zero to thirty and some elements were a bit cliche, but the execution was...intriguing. Honestly, I think the best interactions were between the main character and her sister, especially after that one scene. She knew how to shift the atmosphere around them and create some tension. By the end, they try to cause a twist within a twist, but I was completely unfazed due to my lack of character connectivity. Overall, this slow burn of a movie barely burns, but somehow flares up toward the end half after an unnecessary controversial scene, which you can mostly witness in the trailer.
Batman: The Killing Joke (2016, USA) | Rating: 2.5/5
Similar to Captain America: Civil War, this was another movie that I actually read the comic to before watching it. I haven't gotten around to writing a review for it on Goodreads, but, and I'm probably gonna get some hate on this, I wasn't super impressed with it. The story was alright, but I wasn't super excited about this movie being made at all. I was curious about it because I did read the comic and I heard some controversy about upset fans over Batgirl and Batman sleeping together or whatever. I agree that it was completely unnecessary and I have no idea why they added it to the film, other than filler or to fulfill the time quota. For the most part, it followed the comic book, but it lacked life. So, I was less engaged in this animated retelling, which is quite unfortunate since I usually hear a lot of high praise for DC animated movies. The hypothesized backstory of the Clown Prince was interesting and gave him a borderline human personality and watching the dynamics between him and Batman is always an interesting devlopment. For the most part, I felt sad for the die hard fans of this comic and just for the franchise as a whole. Even though I wasn't crazy about The Killing Joke comic, I still found it an intriguing take on their relationship as well as one author's perspective on Joker's story. I suppose the Honest Trailer sums it up best from a more knowledgeable mind.
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