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The Neighbor (2016)

The Neighbor (2016)

Set in Cutter Mississippi, the film follows a man who discovers the dark truth about his neighbor and the secrets he may be keeping in the cellar.

I do like a story with unorthodox heroes! And a gritty, grimy, thriller/horror movie combo like this one... it really ain't bad.

The filming's nothing special - maybe that's the way they want it to feel - but the tension's perceptible, the props look real, and when the time is passed it seems like it all took way less time than you expected it to.

I guess it's a good one after all! Simple, gritty, but not too predictable.

 rated 3.5/5: not bad at all

The LEGO Batman Movie (2017)

The LEGO Batman Movie (2017)

Like Marvel, the LEGO studios seem to be on a roll with their franchise these days.

The combination of toned down violence and violent superheros/villains/others appears to be the perfect combo, and similar to Marvel they have a combination of pace, wit, and characters with charisma that just provide a premise for greatness every single time - not that it's all that many times thus far - hope they don't stumble.

Not only that, but they manage to fit in a decade's worth of Batman movies in a single one, with not only all the trademark pals like Robin and Batgirl, but also the old ones, and the villains, and even a cast from entirely different worlds, like Sauron and Voldimort. And more. There's definitely more.

But maybe the script's the best thing. It's just so well written. It's full of nuances along with the regular jokes and build-up, like when Count Dracula responds to a proposal with count me interested!

Get it? Wonder how many got that.

All in all there wasn't a dull moment here, but maybe the pace is also a shortcoming, because there's barely a moment of breathing room, and then it's done. It's a blast all the way, but it's also like it was designed for people with ADHD. Or kids.

Maybe that's obvious, but I'm neither of those, and I feel like they could've slowed it down just a little, even if I had a blast with it. All the way. I'm not the most intended audience but still. I love it.

 rated 5/5: friggin awesome

Shaolin Soccer (2001)

Shaolin Soccer (2001)

The special effects may not have stood the test of time perfectly, but who cares about that?! This movie's just amazing.

It may have been the one that started the whole Kung Fu parody sports movie wave, or it may not have been, but it's definitely one of the ones I remember as the most iconic, on par with greats such as Kung Fu Dunk and Rumble.

That last one wasn't really sports, but still.

The movie follows the fate of 'Mighty Steel Leg' Sing, a Kung Fu artist who aspires to spread to wealth of Kung Fu whichever way he can, and one day runs into the cripple, former 'Golden Leg' Fung, who's looking for a team.

They crack their heads together with Iron Head, and off they go on a grand adventure, which turns out both as hilarious as it is exciting, and amazing, and just great in every possible way!

Maybe it's not for everyone though - if you're a fan of realism, or a peace-loving pacifist, or just don't like Asian comedy - but for me this is just the kind of movie that has me laughing like crazy. I love it. The length is just right, the story progresses at a quick pace without feeling rushed, and the relations make you smile. Effects to match and it'd be one for the hall of fame. But know thy name: Shaolin Soccer. You're quite the game.

 rated 4.5/5: almost awesome

Godzilla 2: King Of The Monsters (2019)

Godzilla 2: King Of The Monsters (2019)

If it weren't for the Transformer sound effects, that atmospheric disturbance that rolls in as soon some heavy CGI battle is taking place (you really can't camouflage it like that guys), the shaky came, Madison, and a somewhat superficial plot... this was awesome.

The battles are awesome. The creatures are awesome.

Godzilla's a weird kind of hero, weird not only because he's an unorthodox one - he really doesn't look like the hero-type. But it's good that he is, cause he's the only one with the power to really save the world, with the help of humans and their Godzilla-boosting weaponry this time around.

I'm disappointed with the effects though, and I feel like they didn't catch the size ratio as well as they could have. There's so much shaky came and close-up footage that you never capture the contrasts when there's something going on, and when they pan out to give that awe-inspiring feeling of holy-shit-the-Titans-are-big, then there's always stormy weather, ice, water vapor or other natural ambience in the way - and though the city fights no doubt required a huuuge amount of work to set up, I'm still disappointed in their simplicity. The surface textures on the skyscrapers sometimes come off blank and artificial. They don't capture reflections. They don't detail debris. The atmospheric distortion is cool too, but it's so clearly a veil for a detail level they either didn't have a budget for, were too lazy for, or for some other reason chose to leave out.

I'm also not super into the final song. It was good, but not the polished piece of instrumental mastery it feels like greatness such as this deserves. Much like the movie itself. I love it but... maybe there was just too much hype after all. I bug down on details. It's just not polished enough; I don't see the shine I hoped to.

 rated 3.5/5: not bad at all

X-Men 9 - Dark Phoenix (2019)

X-Men 9 - Dark Phoenix (2019)

Now this was DARK. So dark. So different from what I'd envisioned after I saw the trailer too. Allegiances get switched-up - I'll say that much. The trailer doesn't give you the full picture, and in this case (and in most cases) I really appreciate that.

I really appreciate the special effects too. Amazing special effects. And as with all X-Men movies I appreciate the somber tone. It's so serious, the filming's professional, the mood is dark and the emotions are just all over the place, and that's why I love it.

Compared to the main universe that Marvel manages this is just such a different beast. There's no comedy here. No wit. No small jokes scattered around the canvas. It's so different I forget that Marvel's really behind this one too, and it shows what a breadth of greatness they're really capable of.

I still feel like some things are just a tad bit too predictable, and some emotional moments so clearly scripted but... everything else I love.

I watched Men In Black (the International one) right after this, and it was good with some comedy, cause this: it's dark. It's X-Men, sure, but they keep surpassing my expectations there. Great watch.

 rated 4.5/5: almost awesome

Men In Black: International (2019)

Men In Black: International (2019)

How about some family friendly sci-fi a la Spielberg, with a somewhat darker tone than the earlier ones! And a strong female lead. And a Hemsworth like the one in Ghostbusters.

I'm not a big fan of that last bit, but at least they didn't really go all the way with this one. They kept it tasteful.

I'm all for strong female leads too, but when it's at the expense of man... feels like feminism is taking over. I'm not a fan. That's not how I like my action movie served.

I'm also not a fan of how they're adding in more and more of these aliens more for cuteness or comedy than for anything else.

Where's the creativity gone? Where's the homage to nature, in all its great unpredictability, both in terms of beautiful and in terms of disturbing? There's too little of the latter. Everything feels either intentionally disfigured or intentionally aestheticized - but I guess when females aren't allowed to look sexy enough they'll opt for that instead. Something has to look good. Switch up the audience. Lose your fanbase. Go future.

I may be sounding bitter and chauvinistic here, but I feel like:

A.) Movie preferences differ depending on gender, and the gender-preferences of this particular movie franchise seem to have switched according to gender preference, and
B.) I don't like the male belittling that's going on in popular culture these days. Too often.

The thing is: movies like this aren't even directed by females, and as such I don't think this is what the majority of either gender really wants - it's a stereotype desire by the male director trying to appeal to the opposite gender, and I think it'll all go as wrong with this trend as things did with PlayGirl when they totally flipped their intended audience - despite complaints from the (in their case) board of female directors.

The ending's somewhat predictable too, but pompous, and for a moment also inexplicably eerie. That thing about the repeating thing about the repeating thing.

Despite all that ranting above: I like this. I love the creepy vibe this has going compared to the old ones, the super-cool-high-tech weaponry, the aliens (of course - why else would I be watching), and the chemistry the main two have going on.

I love it all. I just feel like they could tone certain things down a bit, and not just jump on bandwagons that'll hurt them in the long run.

Compared to the earliest segments I don't see this one ever becoming a cult classic. And that's why. It's not because it wasn't a great movie in all other regards.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

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