My journey with Three Billboards outside Ebbing Missouri started with its trailer. I was really interested in it and was looking forward to what seemed to be a really zany but grounded movie. The movie itself delivered in spades but also fell very short of expectations.
The movie starts out incredibly strong. It frames the town and sets up all the exposition quickly and enjoyably. There are many jokes amid a very serious subject but they all land. The movie is quirky and moves at such a quick pace that it doesn't feel like it lingers on anything for too long. The movie is so strong and sets up great characters through the second third of the movie, that when the final act starts, it jarring.
People have praised the movie for not knowing what events will transpire next. This is definitely a strength of the movie during the first two-thirds but becomes a weakness. When all the characters are still important and their next actions keep you guessing, that is when the movie really shines. When the characters have been changed and are even flatter than some of them started off as, the spontaneous direction the movie goes in comes off as desperate. This meaning, the screenwriter didn't know how to end the movie and needed a way to do it.
Another thing people praise the movie for is the characters, which I totally get. The characters are really dynamic in their portrayal and so great to watch. But this is a truly plot-driven movie, meaning that the characters and any arc you might think they have are nonexistent. The characters are just static tools to tell the story and only one of them goes through an arc because they die. Yes, all the actors did a great job portraying these tortured souls. Yes, it was fun to watch them up until the final act, but the final act kinda spits in the face of the rest of the movie.
You can describe the first three parts of the movie funny, serious, provocative. It is really fun to see the characters just go on their straight paths to the end, but then the last part of the movie happens. It takes everything interesting that the movie set into motion and kills all of it. For the screenwriter to feel good about tying up loose ends, they just have characters leave the story. They have characters just stop being important so that the movie can end in the stupidest way possible.
Overall the movie is really fun to watch until the final act. There, it loses its way and feels boring. That's too bad because up to that it was pretty good. I hope that some good comes out of this movie, but I don't think it deserves all the praise it is getting. Rent it or stream it when it comes out to those places. I can't say I will ever want to rewatch it.
Pixar is known for a couple of things that define the kind of movies that they release. The amazing quality of animation and attention to detail which is unprecedented and leagues ahead of any other animation studio. The compelling storytelling, though recently criticized for making it obvious that the movies wanted to make you cry. These two things, coupled together have made Pixar a household name and with Coco, they do their job.
Coco will tide you over for the next Pixar movie which is the sequel to The Incredibles, please don't mess that up. Coco is a nice movie, but unless you connect with it in some way, you probably won't remember it very well as time goes on. It's not that the movie is bad, it's just not that different. I have seen many Day of the Dead movies and they all feel a little the same. So lucky for you if you have never seen something centered around that culture. Its a movie about remembering family, chasing your dreams, and never giving up. These three themes are found in more classic Pixar movies rather than more recent ones.
The step back actually shows in the movie because the emotional manipulation is more hidden than in recent Pixar fare. In movies like Inside Out and Finding Dory, the telegraphing of the movie trying to make you cry was blatantly obvious. In Coco, it does a fantastic job keeping you occupied to forget that it wants to make you cry if you do at all. It really does feel like a better story than some of Pixar's more recent movies.
The nice things about this movie come from the animation quality, which truly is unrivaled and anyone who says differently is living in a dream world. The music is also pretty great with nice songs in the moment, but probably unmemorable in the long term. And the overall payoff at the end of the movie was satisfying.
That being said, this movie is not without faults. The story is pretty slow at the beginning of the movie. It sets up its world and the characters fine, but it didn't allude to the main conflict of the film until 2/3 into the movie. This is a problem because the movie feels much longer than it actually is. The movie is under 2 hours long but feels almost like 3. This can probably be attributed to the Frozen short in front of the movie. That short clocks in at about 20 minutes and is tonally inconsistent to Coco itself.
The Frozen short is filled with truly unmemorable songs, that are not very good. The substance of the short makes me very scared for Frozen 2 because they won't be able to move on from the story of the first Frozen. I don't need to see Else lock herself up in a room again. Tonally it just didn't fit the whole persona of Frozen, except for Olaf because he's Olaf.
Overall, the whole Coco experience is a little hard to recommend because of the Frozen short. But other than that, it is actually a pretty good movie that you won't really remember. I would say that it will probably be a great streaming movie once it comes to iTunes and Google Play. It's worth a watch without the Frozen short.
Lady Bird is a coming of age story. One set in Sacramento, California in 2002. There have been and will always be coming of age stories, but this one is the definitive story for most people born in the 80's-90's. It perfectly captured the feelings and emotional rollercoaster that is the very end of Highschool. I probably connect with the movie in a very strong way since it spoke to me so well, but there were many others in my theater that also connected with it.
Lady Bird is a comedy for sure. It is very funny, but so real at the same time. I don't need to explain a coming of age story to you because they are all the same. Each generation has their definitive movies for this story that speaks to them. This one, however, is very funny on purpose. It aims to be funny and achieves its goal tremendously.
There is no wasted screen time with Lady Bird. Everything has a payoff. It is so smartly written and acted that it was mesmerizing. I would highly recommend you see the movie, it doesn't even have to be in the theater because I just want you to see it. There isn't much more to say other than it is great.
Going into Justice League my expectations were very low. After the dumpster fire that was Batman V Superman I didn't think it could get any worse. I do need to make a distinction on why Batman V Superman is bad. Obviously, Martha plays a big role in dragging down that movie, but simple character things like Batman probably killing people and actions taken by characters that didn't fit. Justice League introduces new problems and forgets some introduced in the "Dawn of Justice". You probably forgot that Batman V Superman had the subtitle Dawn of Justice which of course was ironic due to the fact that Superman died.
Justice League starts off strong. Compared to other movies, like literally any other movie, it was an average start. Since however this is the follow up to BvS, it was actually pretty good. The opening action scene with Wonder Woman was super cool and the tone was pretty spot on. If the movie would have stayed like that, I think the discussion of the movie would have been very different. The movie slows down though, introducing characters and backstories with setups that don't really pay off by the end. At this point, nothing is truly bad with the movie unless you count the weird shots of Wonder Woman. But then the movie takes a sharp turn, and by turn I mean it fell off a cliff. The movie goes from slow to bad very quickly.
The scenes with the Amazons is where the movie starts to get bad. The entire sequences are so poorly thought out that it just seemed so lazy for it to be in the movie. From there it goes from bad lines to bad story, to stupidity and continues in a circle. What I'm trying to say, is that it gets truly bad before BvS did. It really did go by in a blur of wasted potential. And then they changed how Superman is "brought back to life". The way they did it in the movie makes sense in the DCEU(if it even still exists), but it was just so dumb. There was no iconic black suit, there was no long hair. Everything iconic about that story was never used and thrown away. The whole movie was reduced to the too familiar dumpster fire of BvS.
Overall, if you can help it, don't see this movie in theaters. I did appreciate the 3D, but for the most part, I say that about every 3D movie I see. The movie was a hot mess that you should stay away from. If you are looking to watch a superhero movie, I would recommend Thor: Ragnarok.
4/10 Why do people let Joss Whedon make movies still?
I have said before, that just because a movie is funny, doesn’t mean that it’s any good. This rule was born from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 That movie and Thor: Ragnarok contain similarities because they are both heavily influenced by the 80’s. The main difference, and the most important, is that Thor: Ragnarok is a comedy through and through. Not only is it more funny than the Guardian movies, but it has an appropriate tone for the narrative that truly guides the story.
Thor: Ragnarok is the first true comedy from Marvel Studios. It was made as a comedy, not just a movie with added jokes. The story was built with jokes in mind allowing it to flow seamlessly. This gives the movie a prominent advantage when it comes to how you experience the movie. It isn’t the occasional one-liner that hits you either, the whole movie is built upon jokes. What also helps to immerse the audience is the soundtrack.
Marvel movies have a history of not having truly memorable music. There are certain sounds or themes for characters that might be remembered, but there is no distinct sound for the Marvel Universe. This movie doesn’t change that fact, but the music does stand out and adds a great touch to the whole thing. It really pops and adds a whole other level of enjoyment to the movie. What is even more satisfying is when the music from the trailer plays. Many times a trailer will either have music absent from the actually movie or not have it playing in the scenes promised from the trailer. Thor: Ragnarok has the great music from the trailers in key moments making it truly great.
The visuals for this movie are actually crazy. Crazy on how good they look and how artsy they feel. This movie, more than any other Marvel movie, has great and beautiful imagery that I would have loved to see in 3D. Movies continue to have breathtaking visuals, but the framing of shots really put this movie on a different level. Movies continue to have breathtaking visuals, but the framing of shots in Thor: Ragnarok really put this movie on a different level.
The story overall was good. It wasn't a tonal wreck like the Guardian movies were; it knew it was a comedy and planned its story accordingly. It was funny. Truly the redeeming story of the Thor brand. I would see it on a big screen if I were you.