Ready Player One

I am hard to please when it comes to movies. Most movies and TV shows, I figure out relatively quickly which takes all the mystery out of them. Others, suffer from poor writing and don’t make any sense. Plot holes and unanswered questions are common in Hollywood nowadays. Needless to say, most movies I pick to death and am just not impressed with.

When the trailer for “Ready Player One” came out, I was not impressed and didn’t bother to view it in the theater. Then the other day, I had a chance to spend some time movie browsing. It was a lazy Sunday, and I thought “What the heck, I’ll watch it”. As I started, the CGI, which there’s a lot of, impressed me. It was really good and flowed well. It was done so well that you forget that it’s basically a cartoon. The story started off like a lot of stories, poor guy that can’t catch a break, gives it his all to get out of his crappie life. I thought “here we go, this is going to be a cookie cutter story.  I have to confuse though, the more I watched the more I became drawn in and the story kept getting better with every little twist. Sure, some of the story is predictable but even those parts are done so well that I didn’t care. You got mystery, action, even a little drama and it all went well together. All the characters are very relatable and you’re probably see one of them that reminds you of someone you know. Everything made sense and I don’t remember any noticeable plot hole.  Ready Player One is simply a great story, shot, directed and acted perfectly. I would watch this movie again in a heartbeat and I would recommend to everyone to do the same.

War for the Planet of the Apes

I am not going to do a long review on this except to say what a disappointment this film was. It should have been named “Journey of the Planet of the Apes”. There is little to no war in the movie and practically no excitement. I was pretty sure by the end of the movie the overall plot was “People are evil” and “Animals are good”. If you haven’t seen it, don’t waste your time. If you have seen it…I’m sorry you had to sit through that.

Bright Burn

This movie was watchable but don’t expect a lot from it. It was very predictable. The cast did a pretty good job, especially the kid, Jackson A. Dunn, who plays the main character Brandon. He is the bright spot in this rather dull film. His transition from sweet kid to crazed killer was done well by him.  The over-all story was very similar to the origin of Superman with the exception that Brandon was sent here to take over the world. Once activated he goes on a rampage, killing anyone would oppose him. I personally think that the whole thing doesn’t really make sense. He was raised to be a humble farm boy with good values and at the drop of a hat comes a psycho. There should have been some drama in his life that made him resentful and mad so that when the time comes the switch was what made sense to him. Instead, you get a good kid that goes super bad. If you have nothing else to watch, flip it on and give it a try but don’t plan to be overly happy you did.

Was “Man of Steel” really that bad?

As many of you know the movie Man of Steel starring Henry Cavill has not been held up a good Superman movie. I have heard it called lackluster, crappy, garbage…etc. I personally think those words and sentiment is unwarranted. Sure, the movie is not perfect and there is some stuff I didn’t like about it.

First, I think they didn’t set up Clark very good. That side of Superman is extremely important, and you lose something when Clark does really show up. He is the humanity of Superman and helps set him apart from other super heroes. Clark, unlike most alter egos, is very simple and humble. He’s not a billion, a test pilot or even a police forensic analyst. He’s just a report out doing a normal 9-5 job. Here is this man who could do anything in the world he wants and he is content to be normal. To me that’s extraordinary and worth the time to set up in a story.

Second, I don’t like the way they killed off Jonathan Kent. Unlike the first movie in 1978 where Clark didn’t know he could have saved his father, this time he stands there knowing he can but on a simple wave off by his dad he doesn’t. That is out of character for Clark or Superman and was a bad idea.

Third, Let’s face it. Lois was terrible. Amy Adams is a fine actress, but she just can’t pull off Lois Lane. Especially after seeing Erica Durance play her for years on Smallville.

Lastly, the absence of the Superman theme. It just doesn’t have the same feel without it.

I am sure there are a few more things I could nitpick about but those were my biggest complaints. Despite those things, there was a lot of good there.

First, Henry is a great Superman! Sure, his Clark needs some work, but I think that is easily fixable. He looks sound and acts like you expect Superman to. When you see him run out on the helipad and grab the failing structure, you see Superman. Top notch in my book.

Second, after the terrible fight scenes in the original Superman movies we finally got a realistic battle with Superman and a supervillain and it didn’t disappoint. These scenes could not have been any bigger or better.

Third, Krypton was really cool. The design of the one from the original never really made sense to me. How would grow food on a planet of nothing but crystals and all the white clothes made no sense. Don’t get me wrong, it was very cool back the day but still not logical.

Fourth, Jor-El was great in this movie. Russell Crowe mailed it. This is the kind of guy that would risk everything to save his son. No matter the cost, his son was going to live. Crowe is great in just about anything and he brought his A-game.

Finally, for the first time we got to see some of the struggle a boy would have to go through if he had these powers. Learning to control them. Learning to hide in plain sight. This would not be an easy thing to do and they should that. Unfortunately, that didn’t translate well in the adult Clark scenes but it was great seeing a young Clark struggle and it not just be because he wants to show off.

The long and short of this is that I think this was a pretty good movie and they could easily fix the mistakes with a sequel to it. It’s a shame they kind of gave up on it so quickly and tried the silly Batman vs Superman, which was a God-awful movie. If you haven’t seen it or maybe saw it when it first came out, give it watch and see if you again or disagree with me.

Cinema Review: The Gentlemen

Genre: Crime/Action

Rated: R

Release date: January 24, 2020 (USA)

Director: Guy Ritchie

Screenplay: Guy Ritchie

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Henry Golding, Michelle Dockery, Jeremy Strong, Eddie Marsan, Colin Farrell, and Hugh Grant

Pendleton Rants Reviews rating: 8/10

Over the weekend I got to take a rare trip to the cinema. I use to go a lot, but due to a massive two-year home improvement project, most of my movie watching is on Netflix and Prime. My son messaged me earlier in the week that he wanted us to go check out a movie called “The Gentlemen”. I had seen the previews for it and I am a big Charlie Hunnam fan so I was in. Right off the bat, the movie starts off with a little cliffhanger. This made me think there was some real promise here. Then most of the movie is told as narration between two of the main characters. As a writer, there is just something I love about a good narration store and in fact, my first published book was told in first-person narration. Having someone tell you the story is just really cool to me, so when this movie went in that direction, I again saw real promise. For an action some the pace was surprisingly steady, and it didn’t jump around from place to place just to give it an action feel. It was far from an adrenaline rush. It simply just told a good story at a steady pace.

One of the things people fail when creating a story or movie is that they fail to properly introduce you to the characters. In some movies, you just have to assume a lot when they introduce you to the characters. I really hate that and I think it is extremely lazy. This movie, however, didn’t do that. Thanks to good narration and some really great acting, you understood each character well. The acting was also top notice. You really believed all these people are who they are betraying. I expected as much from most of them because it does have an all-star cast, but none of them phoned it in. I don’t remember ever thinking that Guy Richie should cast someone else to play any of the characters. The story is well laid out and doesn’t jump around or leave big plot holes or “mystery boxes” as Hollywood likes to call them. I don’t want to go into the plot too much because that could spoil it for you and I don’t like to do that with good movies so I will just say it is about a man who is the King of the jungle and everyone wants his throne. Just know that it all makes sense and truly comes together well.

In conclusion that movie was well worth the money I paid to see it and I will for sure watch it again when it gets to Prime or Netflix. It doesn’t look like it made a ton of money, and that’s a shame because it should have. As an audience, I think we have to get back to watch well-done movies and not just rush to see something because it’s the next big thing. This truly was a good movie and if you have time to see it before it leave the cinema, do so.

BumbleBee Movie

The first 10-15 minutes of this movie were great. Seeing all the old school transformers on screen, looking like they fell out of 1984 was fantastic. After that, it went straight downhill. I am not talking, coasting down a slight incline; I mean down a roller-coaster hill. What a hot mess this movie was. Every scene is so easy to predict and badly written that there was nothing you didn’t see coming. I like Hailee Steinfeld but she really didn’t have much to work with on this one. Every aspect of her story was some kind of Easter egg you just know is going to be “important” at some point. From her lazy back story to her awkward “romance” with the neighbor kid, it was just bad writing all the way around. I will have to give the director on this one some credit thought. The Transforms themselves look great. Much better than the Michael Bay freak machines he pumped out. If you could mix this guy’s love for the franchise with a really good writer, you would have one heck of a movie. I personally would like to see a Transformer movie about “Transformers” and not the human tag along they threw into the movies.  Call me crazy but it is called Transformers for a reason. Anyway, If you are going to watch it, watch the first 15 and then skip to the last fight scene at the end you’ll get the best of it without having to sit through the ugly middle.

6 Underground

Like a lot of people, I was off work on 1/1/2020 and this allowed me some much-needed time to catch up on some shows and watch one movie. That movie was 6 Underground on Netflix. It is a Netflix original and though it was never in the theaters, it should have been. While many critics slammed this movie, I completely disagree. I thought the movie was really good. It is a typical Michael Bay action flick but that’s not a bad thing. It was action packed and some of the best action scenes I have ever seen. The movie opens with a chase scene that rivals anything I’ve seen in the Fast and Furious franchise. The same for the fighting scenes, they were top-notch. The movie was also extremely funny. Ryan Reynolds showed up in his natural form and it worked perfectly for this film. I enjoy watching this guy on screen any chance I get. He reminds me a lot of Bruce Willis in that he is incredibly funny but able to turn on a dime and be a tough guy that can hold his own with just about anyone. The rest of the cast was pretty good as well. Most of them I don’t recognize from other movies or show, but they didn’t come across as rookie actors at all. Each of them brought something different to the screen. Unfortunately, the female characters came across a little flat a few times but I believe that has more to do with the state of female characters in Hollywood and less with the actresses playing the parts. When you try to turn the women into men, you end up with female characters who have very little depth and development. With that said, this movie wasn’t weighed down with a lot of wokeness and in fact, I don’t recall being overly aggravated by anything. The storyline is a little different and I suspect that is why so more of the “critics” didn’t like it. I found it refreshing to not have the same stale story telling. We get little pieces of each characters’ back story in the form of flashbacks. Flashbacks are nothing new but they are done a little different in this movie. It really reminded me of a TV series. You got just enough about each one to keep you interested and wanting more. Over all I would give the move an easy 4.5 out of 5 and I am looking forward to a sequel. Let’s hope it does well enough to prompt Netflix to follow it up with one.

That’s my take on 6 Underground, what did you think?

Kingsman: The Golden Circle

I can’t tell you how much I loved the first Kingman movie. It was like watching James Bond learn how to be a spy. I thought everything about it was done well. I wish I could say the same about this one. The second outing for our young hero is anything but amazing. Sure, it’s watchable, and it even has some really good parts in it but it’s not over all good. I did like Harry’s return, and I thought the explanation was believable for a sci-fi movie. Killing him in the first one was not the smartest thing to do in the first place so I felt like they were trying to right that wrong. The problem was that they then go on to repeat that same mistake with this one, by killing off everyone else. They also added in a way to many agents for this film. What makes the Kingsman so great if there are people just like them in another country? I’ll tell you…nothing. It total ruins the plot of the first film in that Eggsy and team are the only people on earth good enough to stop the bad guys. The bady in this one is also nothing more than a waste. Give drug addict a sickness that will kill them and expecting the world governments to give in to your demands, does not sound like a way to win to me. The whole things just seemed like a rushed, unthought out sequel that really should have had more thought and development put into it. Over all it’s worth a watch for the action but don’t expect to get the thrill you got from the first one.