My Top Ten Dwayne Johnson Movies

Happy Birthday To Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock), who turns 47 today.

I have to admit that I’m only a recent fan of The Rock. I don’t watch wrestling so didn’t really notice him until he became a big blockbuster movie star (I’m not talking about shit like Tooth Fairy). Also, he seems so sweet & likable on Twitter, etc. I like an actor who doesn’t seem like a dick in real life! Mostly, though, I’ve become a bit of a fan thanks to my daughter. She loves The Rock! Which means I’ve seen a lot of his movies that I otherwise may not have bothered to watch. I think it’s adorable that she likes him. Just like Arnold Schwarzenegger for my generation, The Rock is the big action star for her generation.

There’s still a lot I haven’t seen, though, as he’s done so many of the types of movies that aren’t really my thing (Fast & Furious, etc). I’ve listed all I’ve not seen at the end. So, at the moment, my “Top Ten” is a cheat as I’ve only seen nine. Oh well. I can add to this list later. I’ll definitely be watching the next Jumanji movie (loved the last one).

So for now, these are My Top Ten (nine…) Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson Movies, counting down to my favorite:

9. Baywatch (Good god this was horrible! I’ll review it soon. You know it’s bad when it’s lower than Tooth Fairy. And, no – the kid hasn’t seen this one.)

8. Tooth Fairy

7. Race To Witch Mountain

6. San Andreas

5. Rampage

4. Skyscraper

3. Fighting With My Family

2. Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle

1. Moana

Movies I’ve Not Yet Seen:
Longshot, The Mummy Returns, The Scorpion King, Welcome To The Jungle, Walking Tall, Doom, Be Cool, Gridiron Gang, Southland Tales, The Game Plan, Get Smart, Planet 51, Why Did I Get Married Too?, The Other Guys, Faster, Fast & Furious 5 & 6 & 7 & 8, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, Empire State, Pain & Gain, Snitch, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Hercules, Jem And The Holograms, Central Intelligence

Advertisements

Fighting With My Family (2019) Review

Fighting With My Family (2019)

Directed & Written by Stephen Merchant

Based on The Wrestlers: Fighting with My Family

Starring: Florence Pugh, Lena Headey, Nick Frost, Jack Lowden, Vince Vaughn, Dwayne Johnson

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A former wrestler and his family make a living performing at small venues around the country while his kids dream of joining World Wrestling Entertainment.

My Opinion:

Wow. I enjoyed this film waaay more than I was expecting! First of all, I better point out that I’m not a wrestling fan whatsoever and have zero knowledge in that field. So I enjoyed this as a really fun piece of entertainment, however close to the true story this movie may be. I have no idea but I’m sure the rise to fame wasn’t quite as simple as portrayed (but movies always exaggerate that). I see this is based on a documentary about the same people (The Wrestlers: Fighting with My Family) so I’m sure that’s worth watching if you’re a wrestling fan and want something that’s going to be more factual.


I have to say that I was never a fan of The Rock but, for some odd reason, my daughter loves him. So he’s really grown on me as I’ve now been forced to watch so many of his movies. Well, FYI: He’s hardly in this but that doesn’t hurt the film in the slightest. This story is about the female pro wrestler (Saraya “Paige” Knight) and her (very British!) wrestling family. The Rock does have a (quite cheesy) cameo but the family are a riot and their story was so bizarrely heartwarming (for a family that regularly bodyslam the shit out of each other). Seriously – as someone who’s very rarely a fan of comedy in movies these days, I have to say I laughed (or at least smiled) quite a lot throughout this film. Especially during scenes involving the parents, played by Lena Headey & Nick Frost. They were hilarious. Give me Headey’s character in this over Cersei! I’d love to see her two characters in the ring together. I think Cersei would have her ass kicked.

I really think this is one of those movies that has something for everyone. It’s a great family film, though not for kids too young due to some saucy language (which isn’t something that bothers me since I have a potty mouth). The family are funny yet lovable and you can tell that they’re very close. There’s some jealousy when one of them becomes a big star but the family never come across as fake and nothing feels over the top: They feel like a slightly bonkers but real family who could be living next door to you. You can tell they have a true passion for what they love, which any viewer can relate to whether or not they share that same interest in wrestling. Lovers of sports as well as haters of sports (like me) should all get something out of this movie. It was also great seeing a typical British community portrayed in the film and seeing how wrestling brought them together. I had no knowledge of this film beforehand so the English setting (in the beginning) was a pleasant surprise. What can I say? I really enjoyed this film! About a family of wrestlers!!! Huh.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Skyscraper (2018) & Tag (2018) Reviews

I’ll keep these fairly short. I have 5 more recent films to discuss after these so here are two quickies for two enjoyable movies that definitely won’t be winning any Oscars…

Skyscraper (2018)

Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Chin Han, Roland Møller, Noah Taylor, Byron Mann, Pablo Schreiber, Hannah Quinlivan

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The story follows a former FBI agent who must rescue his family from a newly built skyscraper, the tallest in the world, after it is taken over by criminals and set on fire.

My Opinion:

Yeah, this was silly. Die Hard with extra cheese. I love how when the below poster came out, people laughed at how it would be impossible for a human to make that leap. No shit – it’s that kind of movie. No human could do the majority of what The Rock does in this (and in most of his movies). Sometimes you just have to sit back, eat your popcorn, and enjoy the ride. I laughed out loud a few times at the ridiculousness. But that’s okay sometimes! This is far from “good” but it’s an enjoyable enough disaster movie. It’s better than some & worse than some in this genre. As for Dwayne Johnson disaster movies, I liked it a little less than Rampage but definitely more than San Andreas.

Johnson was the same as always in this. He’s likable in these sort of roles. He definitely has a certain charm going on. I’m not sure when I started liking him? He’s not my type of actor AT ALL. I think it’s because my kid seems to like him & that’s cute. He’s the big action star of her generation like Arnold Schwarzenegger was for mine, I guess. I liked that Neve Campbell’s role didn’t have her being the completely useless wife that needs rescuing. Well, she does need rescuing since she’s stuck in a massive, burning skyscraper that she can’t scale like King Fucking Kong the way her hubby The Rock can! But she’s smart and makes some decent decisions. Their two young kids (a girl and a boy) are adorable (so that you of course want their hero dad to rescue them).

The baddies are cliché but I’d be disappointed if they weren’t in this type of film. And Enter The Dragon once again proves what a massive influence it still has on filmmaking with an over-the-top “hall of mirrors” scene that you know from the start will play a big role at the end (just like when The Rock fixes his wife’s phone – we all saw that coming!). Whatever. This movie was silly fun. And someone at our showing thought it would be funny to go outside & pull the building’s fire alarm 15 minutes before the end, making the entire cinema have to evacuate. But we were allowed back in to watch the predictable ending. Yay.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Tag (2018)

Directed by Jeff Tomsic

Based on It Takes Planning, Caution to Avoid Being It by Russell Adams

Starring: Ed Helms, Jake Johnson, Annabelle Wallis, Hannibal Buress, Isla Fisher, Rashida Jones, Leslie Bibb, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film is based on a true story that was published in The Wall Street Journal about a group of grown men, played by Ed Helms, Jake Johnson, Hannibal Buress, Jon Hamm, and Jeremy Renner, who spend one month a year playing the game of tag.

My Opinion:

I’ve heard very little about this film but also found it silly yet quite enjoyable. And I love that it’s based on a true story. Seriously! A group of 9 friends have been playing the game of tag since high school (23 years ago). The article about the real guys is fascinating – here’s the link: It Takes Planning, Caution to Avoid Being It by Russell Adams.

Now, there’s no WAY they actually do all the crazy over-the-top stuff that’s in this film (they’d all be dead by now) but they show some clips of the real guys at the end and they do go as far as dressing up in disguise and hiding in bushes to tag each other. The article mentions that they have to instruct fellow employees when the game is on to not let certain people into the building. And a couple of their poor wives have had the fright of their lives when their husbands have been tagged. Crazy! But quite sweet. I like how the game has kept this group in contact for all these years (it’s played every year for all of February – I think it was May in the film). And the film gets the slightly cheesy point of the importance of friendship & “staying young at heart” across quite well at the end.

As for the movie itself, it’s funny. I don’t know if it does the true story justice or not, though, as it clearly ramps things up more than it needed to as it’s a pretty fascinating story anyway. Jeremy Renner is the main one they’re all eager to tag as he’s never been “it”. He’s like some kind of crazy ninja assassin, which isn’t very realistic. Hell, one of the 9 real life guys is now a priest! Hilarious. I doubt any of them are ninja assassins. And I doubt any of the real wives are as into the game & competitive as Isla Fisher, who once again plays “crazy bitch”. I think a better film probably could have been made of this story but, if you go into it knowing it’s a great concept that’s had the typical Hollywood exaggeration treatment, you should have fun with it. It was a good day out for the hubby & me as I think we needed a simple film to de-stress that day.

My Rating: 7/10

Oh! Tag had a great soundtrack too. Mostly old school (well, 90’s) hip hop with some Ozzy, Danzig & Pixies thrown in. So that helped our enjoyment as well. Here’s a sample of A Tribe Called Quest & The Pharcyde in this film…

Watched, Read, Reviewed: July 2018

I’m not finding much time for blogging at the moment but I’ll still try to do these monthly updates (over halfway through the next month!). I only managed to review one movie in July, although I did see quite a few in the cinema. I’ll try to review those over the next few weeks. And at some point I’ll manage to reply to comments too! Sorry I’ve not been around for those…

MOVIES THIS MONTH

MOVIES REVIEWED (ranked best to worst):

The First Purge6.5/10

MOVIES WATCHED (ranked best to worst):

Incredibles 2 – Will review in full – 7.5/10

The Light Between Oceans – I’m not sure why I stuck this on as it didn’t look like my type of thing (Oh yeah… because Michael Fassbender is hot). I thought it was very good and Alicia Vikander & Rachel Weisz were especially great at conveying the emotions involved in motherhood. It was easy to feel bad for both sides, even knowing that one was very much in the wrong. Good movie but probably more for women/mothers/grown-ups. – 7.5/10

Hotel Artemis – I’ll review this in full as well. Liked it much more than I expected to. – 7.5/10

The Secret Of Marrowbone – Will review this too. I thought it was a solid psychological horror compared to most the horror crap out there these days. – 7/10

Charade – I figured it was time to check out another Audrey Hepburn film after watching Roman Holiday a while back. I preferred this one, which I didn’t realize was going to be a bit of a comedic spoof of Alfred Hitchcock-type films. Hepburn & Cary Grant were adorable together, it had a great Henry Mancini score, and the opening titles were fantastic (I thought they were done by Saul Bass as they looked like Hitchcock titles but looked it up & they were done by Maurice Binder, who did titles for James Bond films). I wanted to like this movie more than I did, though. It does deserve a higher rating than I’m giving it. I think I’m just not normally a fan of the 60’s “screwball” comedies and prefer a full-on Hitchcock suspense film to the mix of genres in Charade. I can see why this would have its fans, though – it’s a fun movie with that great 60’s look and very iconic stars. – 7/10

Tag – I’ll review this as well. Love that this is based on a real group of guys. – 7/10

The First Purge6.5/10

Say When (aka Laggies) – I’ve said on here before that Keira Knightley annoys the hell out of me, so I’m not entirely sure why I keep watching her movies. I suppose it’s because she does “chick flicks” that suck less than most of them do plus the hubby will let me watch them alone. I enjoyed this one (despite it being Knightley!). It’s about a twentysomething who needs to grow up & do something with her life and, hell, I think most of us can relate to that (even if, like me, you’re almost double her age). It’s not the greatest film ever but I liked it as I could somewhat relate to it plus Sam Rockwell was great as the quirky dad of Knightley’s new teenage friend (Chloe Moretz). Actually, Rockwell was the best thing about this… he made up for Knightley. – 6.5/10

Happy Death Day – I was really annoyed that I missed this in the cinema last year as it sounded like a fun horror in the slightly-cheesy 80’s slasher style I’ll always have affection for (since I’m old). But the movie was a disappointment, although it’s enjoyable enough for an hour and a half of your time. I just think I won’t remember a thing about it in a few years. The biggest problem was probably that the main character was a hateful bitch, so it was hard to care if she’d ever be able to stop her murder from happening. Yeah, she changes at the end (as to be expected – the whole point is that she needs to be a better person), but… Meh. I think my expectations were just too high. This concept was obviously done so well in Groundhog Day that nothing that’s tried to use that same idea has worked as well. If you want a non-horror teen movie with the same idea, I enjoyed Before I Fall slightly more than this one. And if you want a modern horror comedy with a cheesy 80’s thing going on, The Final Girls was better than this one as well. – 6.5/10

Skyscraper – I’ll review this. So cheesy! – 6.5/10

Call Me By Your Name – I was sooooo looking forward to this one and really annoyed that I didn’t have the opportunity to see it before the Oscars. But I found it a bit boring? And I didn’t care about or like the characters in the slightest. Not sure why? The acting was fine. But the only real enjoyment I got out of this was loving the Psychedelic Furs song in it and thinking that Italy looks fucking gorgeous and how much I’d love to be living the life of these rich fuckers in 1980’s Italy. Actually, I think that’s the reason I couldn’t relate to this – not the fact that it’s a male romance but that I really can’t relate to their extravagant lifestyle. Did they do any work?! I want that life. I couldn’t truly feel sorry for Chalamet when he got to live such a privileged life. Plus, the romance was more lust than love. I didn’t feel a true connection between them despite Chalamet & Hammer both giving good performances. I just didn’t feel their heartbreak. Sorry! And that peach bit was gross. – 6.5/10

Elle – Umm. Not sure how I felt about this. I thought it was gonna be a good “revenge” drama but it’s not as straightforward as that. Stupid me should’ve looked at the director first – I’d have known what I was getting into with a Paul Verhoeven film! Well, Isabelle Huppert was fantastic so I can see why she was nominated for an Oscar for this performance. She’s 65 now?! She’s sexy as hell (I can say that without being creepy since I’m female). The subject matter (rape) is certainly uncomfortable, though. Don’t watch if you’re overly sensitive. – 6.5/10

Force Majeure – This was disappointing, especially as it had good reviews. The story revolves around an avalanche (that doesn’t end up hurting anyone) and the way the husband/father of a family of four has the instinct to run away from the danger instead of trying to protect his wife & kids. It’s listed as a comedy drama for some reason so I was expecting some good dark humour but it’s really just a straightforward drama. The acting is fine but it’s hard to really like anyone involved despite family problems being relatable to everyone. The movie is overlong and slightly boring as very little happens. – 6.5/10

The Incredible Hulk – I’ve now finally seen the only current MCU film I’d not yet seen! Damn – I guess I better update My Marvel Cinematic Universe Movie Ranking. Well, I’m in no hurry since this one certainly isn’t my favorite. It’s possibly in last place, although it’s not as bad as I was expecting. It’s just a little boring and felt somewhat pointless? Meh. Norton and Tyler were fine but we all see Ruffalo as the Hulk now anyway. I did like a couple of nods to the TV series, though, since I’m old & watched that show… – 6/10

A Ghost Story – What a load of pretentious twaddle. I was all prepared to like this, too, since I like Rooney Mara for some reason (even though she displays zero emotion in everything I’ve ever seen her in). To be fair, I can appreciate what this story was trying to achieve (does life have meaning or will we all just die and fade away and be forgotten blah blah blah). It’s actually quite a depressing film but do we really need to be reminded that life sucks, especially with the current state of the world?? Here’s my Twitter “tweet review” of this movie: Well. That was tedious. #AGhostStory ✨🏠👫🎹🎧🚗 💢 💀👻🙍🏻‍♀️🥧👩‍👧‍👦👻🍽💢😱🏚🏗🏙👩🏼‍🌾👻💀💀💀🏠👫👻👻📜🕳✨ – 6/10

Tromeo & Juliet – I’d seen most of Tromeo & Juliet in the past but decided to finally watch it all in, like, solidarity with James Gunn. Or something like that. He wrote this. It’s a fucking Troma film. Anyone who has seen a Troma film knows that the whole damn point is that they’re in extremely poor taste. They’re bad movies that are meant to be bad movies. And this one is as dreadful as the rest. No… Wait. To be fair, it’s quite well written for a Troma film. I still “like” The Toxic Avenger the most but Tromeo & Juliet has more memorable moments than most Troma films. I suppose it’s a masterpiece when compared to other movies from this studio. Here’s an image of the infamous penis monster in the film. You’re welcome. (And the next Guardians Of The Galaxy movie better not suck now. I love those films!) – 5/10

Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me – A couple of years ago, I spent a week reviewing Adrienne Shelly films after loving her own film Waitress and wanting to explore her older (and very indie) work as an actress. As I say, her old films are the very definition of indie and not easy to get a hold of so, when this one popped up on Amazon Prime in the UK, I watched it immediately. It’s… not good. But Shelly is as adorable and charming as always. I really wish she’d made it bigger in films much better than this one. But, in a way, I suppose that would have ruined some of that mysterious indie charm that she had? Anyway, I suppose this isn’t the worst low budget film I’ve ever seen but it tries too hard to be quirky. Sean Young plays batshit crazy the same way she always does and the Adult film star playing Shelly’s sister is truly hateful (but she’s meant to be so she plays the role well, I guess). I’d have hated the movie if it hadn’t been for Shelly and her love interest (played by Max Parrish) having good chemistry and being pretty likable. – 5/10

Tooth Fairy – Okay, my kid seems to have a thing for The Rock so we’re encouraging that and letting her watch the more family-friendly films of his. Yeah. Um. This one is pretty bad. I know it’s aimed at kids, but… Yikes. This is why I’m such a big fan of family films that are actually decent and manage to entertain people of all ages. Kids aren’t stupid – they know when a movie, like this one, is just a little too dumb. I’m glad Dwayne Johnson is doing better stuff now! By the way – the brilliant Julie Andrews is in this. Why, Julie? Why?!?!? – 4/10

The Snowman – What the FUCK was this?! How was this so bad?? Okay, I read and kind of enjoyed the book (review HERE) although it’s not the greatest and maybe a little cheesy. But they seriously could have made a decent film from the material. This movie was just… embarrassing. I’m sort of embarrassed that I still watched it despite the bad reviews. Trust the reviews. Maybe read the book if you think it sounds like a decent story. They changed quite a few things anyway (not for the better). Why did they start with this story anyway since it’s not the first book in a series involving this detective (played by Fassbender). I’m still annoyed I read the book assuming it was a one-off or at least the first book since a movie was being made of it. I’m not even going to start on Val Kilmer’s performance in this film. I don’t have the energy… – 4/10

The Emoji Movie – It’s as bad as you’ve heard. Okay – I can’t “review” this as I got too annoyed and ended up playing around on my phone the whole time. At home, by the way – people who play around on their phones in the cinema deserve severe punishment. Such as being forced to watch The Emoji Movie... – 3.5/10

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

BOOKS READ (ranked best to worst)

• Strange Weather by Joe Hill (Snapshot & Loaded) – Oh I love Joe Hill. I’m starting to almost love his work as much as his dad’s (Stephen King). But maybe that’s because it’s becoming more & more like reading a King story… Hell, I won’t complain at that. I want another Stephen King! To be fair, Hill’s stories feel more “fresh” in some ways as they’re more modern. I’m also a sucker for the stuff he references as we’re clearly a similar age with similar pop culture tastes. This is a book of four novellas and I read these first two stories in July (I’ve finished the rest now – will talk about them in my August Roundup).

Story One: SnapshotI really liked this story – it’s maybe my favorite of the four (and, admittedly, the most King-like). I think it’s possibly also the shortest but I love a short story when it’s a good one. As always, I love a great concept and this (as well as Aloft) has a great one. Basically, a mysterious camera seems to “steal” the memories of those whose photos are taken with it. And I’ll leave it at that – I’ve already given away too much. I love supernatural weirdness. – 4/5

Story Two: Loaded – This was a really good story about various people and how guns have been a part of their lives (and how they bring them all together at the end). Knowing how vocal King & Hill are on Twitter, I think I know how they feel about America’s ridiculous gun obsession. I didn’t find this story preachy, though – it’s told in a straightforward way and it’s scary how believable it is. Because it’s the same damn story we hear coming from America every day and what those outside of the U.S. can’t understand. WELL! Fuck all that. It pisses me off. This is why I prefer supernatural stories about memory-stealing cameras! Good job, though, Hill – this was very well-written and your scariest story yet. Please go back to writing about weird things that I know probably won’t actually kill me or anyone I know… – 4/5

They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera – I have to stop reading YA books. I can’t help it… they’re easy reads! And usually enjoyable. This one is pretty good. As usual, I read it because I liked the concept (it’s set in a world where everyone receives a call on the last day of their lives to tell them that they’ll die within the next 24 hours). Obviously, the book is about living our lives to their fullest as we never know if each day may be our last. The story follows two strangers: teenage boys who receive the call & meet each other (through the “Last Friend” app) and decide to spend their last day on earth together. It’s pretty heartbreaking but I can’t say I really connected with the characters. I liked how their personalities were so different, though, as the more outgoing boy tries to bring the other boy, who has always been afraid of living, out of his shell for just one day. – 3/5

Currently Reading: The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon (oops. YA again)

TV SHOWS WATCHED (ranked best to worst)

Sharp Objects I really liked this book by Gillian Flynn and its throughly fucked-up characters. When I found out that Amy Adams would star in the TV adaptation, I was thrilled (love her!!). And then I was thrilled when they cast It’s Sophia Lillis to play the young version of the character. Perfection! They look so damn alike. It’s ridiculous that Chastain is playing her in the next It film. PAH! They look nothing alike. It should be Adams! Anyway – Adams is brilliant in this. As is Lillis, but that’s a much smaller part. As is Patricia Clarkson. As is everyone. So far, the show has been quite faithful to the book. I’m liking this adaptation far more than Big Little Lies, which made changes from the book which I really didn’t like (like making Witherspoon unfaithful!). Looking forward to seeing the rest of this & seeing everyone’s reaction to the ending…

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

No plans – I probably won’t post much. Well, I already haven’t… the month is almost over! I’ll try to catch up on reviewing cinema releases I’ve seen.

Upcoming Movies I Want To See:

As I said, the month is almost over but these are the August releases I want/wanted to see…

Ant-Man And The Wasp – Saw it. Really enjoyed it. Will try to review it.

Mission: Impossible – Fallout – I actually just watched Rogue Nation in preparation but have decided I now don’t have the energy for this film as it’s so long… Netflix!

The Meg – But only at a “cheap” cinema. Not a film I wanna see at full price!

Christopher Robin – Looks cute. Will probably go to this.

The Darkest Minds – More fucking Dystopian YA?! I love Dystopian YA. Anyone know if this is okay for a mature 9-year-old who knows Tooth Fairy is shit?

BlacKkKlansman – Anyone know if this is okay for a 9-year-old? HA! Just kidding!!!! Oh shit. I forgot you can’t joke online! People will realize that was a joke, right????? Anyway – I want to see this.

The Happytime Murders – Hmm. I don’t know. I’m not sure about this one. But I did love Avenue Q

Upgrade – Like the sound of this one but it may be a “wait for Netflix” type of thing.

Searching – See same comment as for Upgrade

Now check out these awesome Charade titles and the fantastic Love My Way by The Psychedelic Furs from back in the old days when music didn’t suck ass like it all does now…

Rampage (2018) Review

Rampage (2018)

Directed by Brad Peyton

Based on Rampage by Midway Games

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris, Malin Akerman, Jake Lacy, Jeffrey Dean Morgan

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
When three different animals become infected with a dangerous pathogen, a primatologist and a geneticist team up to stop them from destroying Chicago.

My Opinion:

Went to this movie the other night with the hubby & kid. It’s cool when the kids get older and the “family” movies get more fun! It’s probably the most extreme film the kid has now seen – it’s a fairly full-on monster movie. As far as family monster movies go (are there many of those??), Rampage was predictable and somewhat forgettable but a thoroughly entertaining popcorn movie. We all enjoyed it.

I may be starting to like Dwayne Johnson. I mean, I never paid much attention to him and I don’t think I’ve seen many movies he’s been in (I can only think of this, San Andreas & Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle). Oh, I suppose there’s Moana as well but he’s possibly the worst thing about that. Sorry! I don’t think he’s personally bad in it – I just don’t like Disney characters who aren’t timeless. I also really don’t like the Genie in Aladdin although I like Robin Williams. I want a Disney character, not a really obvious real-life actor. Oops – I’m off topic! The Rock is perfect for roles such as the one in Rampage and in Jumanji, which I actually liked a heck of a lot and found very funny. Weird how these big muscle guys end up in comedies or family movies so often. Well, Johnson is all he needs to be in this role. Is that a compliment? I think I mean it as one. I mean, it’s not like a movie like this is going to win anyone an Academy Award or anything.


The real star of this, though, is the albino gorilla (named George). Johnson’s character has helped raise George & taught him sign language but things all go to shit when a spaceship explodes with, like, science experiments that crash land in the Everglades and turn three creatures (including George) into enormous, raging monsters. The villains (those in charge of the experiments, including Malin Akerman) are cheesy as fuck but that’s the way villains should be in these sort of movies. Naomie Harris was good as the experiment expert (geneticist) who teams up with Johnson. Jeffrey Dean Morgan was mostly just distracting since he made me think about how much The Walking Dead sucks now. Who cares, though – this movie is all about the big monkey. George is cool. My kid loved him.

Rampage. It’s a monster movie. It’s cheesy but fun. It’s based on a video game that I know nothing about. Some have said it’s probably the best video game movie (as we know, they all suck major ass for some strange reason). No, it’s not a “good” movie but it’s fun & thoroughly entertaining. Yes, it’s probably now the best video game movie. There’s loads of action so, if you love watching monsters destroying big cities, you won’t be disappointed. It’s directed by the same guy who did San Andreas, which was a fun disaster movie but was also a truly bad film. Rampage has just as much destruction but it’s definitely a big improvement on San Andreas. And it’s cooler watching mutant monsters destroying cities than earthquakes. And there were no lovable big gorillas in San Andreas. Rampage is definitely the better film. I kind of want to give it a slightly higher rating…

My Rating: 6.5/10


Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle (2017) Review

Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle (2017)

Directed by Jake Kasdan

Based on Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas, Bobby Cannavale, Alex Wolff, Madison Iseman, Ser’Darius Blain, Morgan Turner, Colin Hanks, Missi Pyle

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Set twenty-one years after the first film, the film follows four teenagers who are transported into the video game world of Jumanji, and playing as the characters they chose, must beat the game in order to return home. The film is also a tribute to Robin Williams, star of the original.

My Opinion:

I’ll be honest – I really liked this movie. It was exactly what I was in the mood for the other day. I needed a fun, chill-out, popcorn movie.

The first Jumanji isn’t exactly near & dear to my heart as I wasn’t the right age for it when it came out (I was in my damn 20s already. Shit I’m old). It’s a good family classic, though. I watched it again a couple of weeks ago with my daughter to refresh my memory. Sheesh – I can’t say it has aged all that well. How terrible did those monkeys look?! Even the kid commented on that. However, she absolutely loved the film. I was surprised. So the story and the characters stand the test of time even if other things about the movie aren’t doing so well now.

As I like but don’t have some kind of huge childhood affection for the first film, I had zero issues with them updating the story for current times. I thought they did a really good job adapting it to a video game this time around and I actually prefer this film to the first one. But don’t tell my kid that – she still loves the first one much more. The story just feels far less messy in this one plus I enjoyed there being a lot more humor. And penis jokes. Lots of penis jokes! But as I’m an old woman with a Beavis & Butthead sense of humor, I appreciate a good penis joke.

The teenagers were all fine in this but we don’t spend loads of time with them as they become their avatars in the game. The avatars (Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart & Karen Gillan) were great. I’ve not seen that many Dwayne Johnson films but I can say that this is the most I’ve ever liked him in a movie. He was very funny, as was Karen Gillan. There’s this whole flirting scene involving Gillan & Jack Black that’s pretty damn hilarious. Love him or hate him (I love him), Black seems to be having a lot of fun in this film and Kevin Hart also does well as his usual Kevin Hart self. You know what you’re gonna get with Black & Hart, though, so the bigger surprise was how funny Johnson & Gillan were.

Yeah, I really liked Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle. As the kid gets older, I’m enjoying seeing more of these family films that are actually entertaining for the whole family instead of just the kids. But with penis jokes. Beware the penis jokes! I think this movie is aimed a bit older than the first Jumanji.

My Rating: 7.5/10

It looks like this is my last review of 2017. Hope you all have a fun New Year’s Eve! See you in 2018 with my end-of-year Best Of 2017 lists, starting tomorrow.

Moana (2016) Review

Moana (2016)

Directed by Ron Clements & John Musker

Starring: Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Rachel House, Temuera Morrison, Jemaine Clement, Nicole Scherzinger, Alan Tudyk

Production Company: Walt Disney Pictures

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
In Ancient Polynesia, when a terrible curse incurred by Maui reaches an impetuous Chieftain’s daughter’s island, she answers the Ocean’s call to seek out the demigod to set things right.

My Opinion:

Yes! Moana is a really good film that I (and my daughter) thoroughly enjoyed. I have to say that the trailers really hadn’t blown me away so I was kind of worried this could end up being one of Disney’s rare duds. It’s not quite up there with some of Disney’s oldest classics & I think Frozen is better & more timeless but I’m happy to say that Moana is fully worthy of the Disney name. It’s certainly 1,000% better than some of the its late-90’s/early 2000’s stinkers! It’s great that Disney is making timeless classics once again. And I can add toddler Moana to my list of “animated kids I want to adopt” along with Boo from Monsters, Inc & Agnes from Despicable Me. What a cutie patootie!


So adorable that I had to include two pictures…

Speaking of Moana herself, she’s also a worthy addition to the Disney name. She’s strong-willed & has no interest in that whole “finding a prince” thing that annoys so many modern women about the older Disney films. However, she also doesn’t go over-the-top in the other direction, which annoys me in some of the more current animated films. Let’s face it – Brave’s Merida is a bit of a stroppy bitch! There’s nothing wrong with being strong-willed AND likable as well… Moana gets the right balance as a female lead character and I’d be happy to have my daughter look up to her.

Animated kids’ movies don’t solely rely on one good main character, though, and Moana is filled with the usual funny & lovable sidekicks we’ve all come to expect from Disney. I may be an adult but I loved that stupid chicken! Her pet pig was super cute, the “coconut” bad guys were adorably evil, her family (especially her kooky grandmother) were sweet, and the main “lava baddie” was actually quite frightening for a Disney villain (so this one isn’t really toddler-suitable, unlike a lot of other Disney movies. Just FYI – it’s nothing too scary, though). Yeah, sorry – I’m too lazy to look up all the proper names of these characters but I can guarantee you that I’ll know them once this is on DVD. 😉 I can tell my daughter will watch Moana multiple times (and I won’t even complain about that).

There are two other characters that need mentioning: the main one is sidekick Maui, the demigod voiced by Dwayne Johnson, and the other is the shiny crab villain dude voiced by Flight Of The Conchords/What We Do In The Shadows Jemaine Clement. I think most everyone will like Maui just fine – he’s charmingly cocky and makes a great duo with Moana. Plus, his “living tattoos” were quite amusing. I didn’t really expect to like his character as much as I did. Very predictable character arc, though!

However, the villain crab (Tamatoa – I looked that one up!) will be far more divisive. At first I kind of hated that character. Then I kind of loved that character. I think… I don’t know. I haven’t fully made my mind up on him yet. Guess I’ll know how I feel after 25 times of seeing Moana at home. Anyway, David Bowie is the clear inspiration for Tamatoa so I guess that’s why I’m conflicted as I’m such a big fan.

Summary:

Disney can be proud to add Moana to its resume (Or Curriculum Vitae in the UK. Yep – I totally had to look up that spelling). The animated scenes involving The Abyss-like ocean were beautiful, especially the one involving toddler Moana (Cutie patootie!  She’s much cuter than Ed Harris). I wish I could say that Moana was perfect – However, some of-the-moment jokes that will date and songs that aren’t as instantly memorable as some of the absolute classics in Disney’s history will keep this film from being quite as timeless as I’d have liked. Still, Moana helps keep Disney & Pixar a thousand miles ahead of anything made by other Western animation studios. Keep up the great work, Disney! We’ll just pretend things like Chicken Little didn’t happen.

My Rating: 8/10

Is there a scene after the credits? Yes, at the very end. Is it worth staying for? Hmm… Only if you’re one of those who HAS to see the end credits bits. Like me. It’s fairly funny but nothing too amazing if you really gotta pee. 

I’ll just say a very small bit about the short shown before Moana:

I’m sure a lot of people have called Inner Workings a rip off of Inside Out. Well, it sort of is but that’s not really fair as it’s quite a lovely short with a great moral about following your heart & living life to its fullest. I think it’s one of the better animated shorts I’ve seen in a while and I have to admit that I do love a good, non-preachy life-lesson. The Disney & Pixar shorts really know how to “tug at the heartstrings”! I far preferred this to Lava, which I didn’t like very much. I bring this up as it’s funny that Moana is quite reminiscent of Lava. Oh well – Inner Workings is pretty good. Better than Lava but still not as good as Feast (I loved that short!).

My Inner Workings Rating: 7.5/10

Tomorrow I’ll be celebrating the 100th birthday of Kirk Douglas by reviewing a lesser-known Brian De Palma film in which he starred…

The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three (1974), San Andreas & Pixels Movie Reviews 

Three quickie reviews today & I mean it. I’m going to try to not ramble on in my reviews anymore. I mainly just like discussing movies with people in the comments so I’m only really here to say whether I liked a film or not & then to hear what others have to say about it.

It’s an odd assortment today but I can tell you that one was really good, one was really bad but fun, and one was just really bad with a great concept it somehow managed to shit all over. I’m sure you can guess which is which…

The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three (1974)

Directed by Joseph Sargent

Based on The Taking of Pelham One Two Three by John Godey

Starring: Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw, Martin Balsam, Hector Elizondo

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
In New York, armed men hijack a subway car and demand a ransom for the passengers. Even if it’s paid, how could they get away?

My Opinion:

I really enjoyed this movie. I love movies from the 1970s and was happy when both this & Escape From Alcatraz became available on one of our movie services. Man it’s hard keeping track of which movies are available where, when & how – I know I’m old school but I still kind of prefer just being able to go to a video store. So, anyway – I made the hubby watch them both with me about the same time last year and they were great. Alcatraz was better and I highly recommend that one but Pelham was really good as well. No, I’ve not seen the remake with John Travolta and I don’t plan to.

If you’ve not seen this, imagine Speed set on a subway train in 1974 instead of a bus with attractive people in 1994. So, I guess Walter Matthau is kind of the Keanu Reeves in this. Gotta say I prefer Keanu (he was such a hottie in Speed). Actually, I found Matthau a bit distracting but he was probably the only thing I didn’t really like about this as he just seemed out of place. Robert Shaw was great as one of the hijackers, though! I think I’d only ever seen him in Jaws before this (which he’s AWESOME in). All the hijackers were great & I loved all the drama on the train. The only times the movie dragged a little were when we got away from that action and back to the cops & Matthau’s character dealing with the hostage takers’ ransom demands. Overall, though, The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three is a great 70’s action thriller I’d definitely recommend to anyone who is a fan of this sort of genre.

My Rating: 7.5/10

San Andreas (2015)

Directed by Brad Peyton

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino, Alexandra Daddario, Ioan Gruffudd, Archie Panjabi, Paul Giamatti

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
In the aftermath of a massive earthquake in California, a rescue-chopper pilot makes a dangerous journey with his ex-wife across the state in order to rescue his daughter.

My Opinion:

Ha! This movie was so bad. But it was “fun bad”. It was exactly what I think we’ve all come to expect from these cheesy disaster movies so, therefore, I kind of enjoyed it. It’s utterly ridiculous. Some random people get saved at the last minute, which is supposed to make the audience all cheer while thousands of others are sucked into the Earth to their deaths. Never mind those people as long as a girl with big boobs & a dog get saved! Actually, San Andreas didn’t pull the “save the dog” trick. Damn – I always laugh out loud when the dogs get saved…

Alexandra Daddario wears a shirt over a tight tank top which, conveniently, has to he taken off & used as a bandage or something. I don’t remember. But this is just in time for the coming flood which will see her submerged in water while wearing the tight tank top, of course. She’s ended up with a somewhat dorky boy her age who can’t believe his luck at being in an earthquake with such a babe and his little brother who I realized was Rickon Stark. Then they had to run from the earthquake while Kylie Minogue shot arrows at them. Okay, not really but that would’ve been funny. But Kylie Monogue was seriously in this. WTF? Not for long, though – she falls out of a building. Sorry! That’s not really a spoiler since she’s a bitch & this film follows the disaster movie rules of “If you’re an asshole, you die”. Then Dwayne Johnson dies. HA! Just kidding! Of course he doesn’t. He’s not an asshole – he’s the hero! Can you believe that this is the only Dwayne Johnson movie I’ve ever seen??? Oh yeah – and I totally forgot that Paul Giamatti was in this in a completely pointless role. I guess we all gotta pay the bills, huh? And, let’s see… Dwayne Johnson & Carla Gugino (Alexandra “tight tank top” Daddario’s parents) are divorced because they have a tragic past that tore them apart but now they have to work together to save their daughter and THE END IS A COMPLETE SHOCK THAT I DIDN’T SEE COMING!!!! Lol. Just kidding. Predictable disaster movie bullshit every step of the way. GOOD! That’s exactly what I wanted & this movie delivered. Fun bad! But still very bad… 😉

My Rating: 5.5/10

Pixels (2015)

Directed by Chris Columbus

Based on Pixels by Patrick Jean

Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Michelle Monaghan, Peter Dinklage, Josh Gad, Brian Cox

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
When aliens misinterpret video feeds of classic arcade games as a declaration of war, they attack the Earth in the form of the video games.

My Opinion:

When I found out they’d be making a full length movie of the fantastic Pixels short film, I was excited. It’s such an awesome concept & the short is great. What could possibly go wrong, right? Holy shit – how did they manage to mess this film up so completely?! You can watch the (far superior) short film HERE.

I actually don’t hate Adam Sandler like I know a lot of people do. He’s been in plenty of movies that are complete & utter shit but he’s also been in several that I liked okay. He’s from “my” era of SNL and, overall, I don’t really have anything against him. But I worried like hell when I heard that this would be an Adam Sandler film & thought “well, maybe it will have decent writers & he’ll just star in it”. Nope, this is an Adam Sandler movie. It’s not the worst of his worst: it’s one of the “mediocre” Adam Sandler movies. But that’s not what this should’ve been! There was so much potential here to make a decent movie out of that brilliant short and instead they decided to make The Waterboy version of Pixels. Pixels Gilmore! Pixels Madison! Pixels Nicky! You Don’t Mess With The Pixels! I Now Pronounce You Pixels & Larry! 8 (Bit) Crazy Pixels!

This movie was such a massive disappointment. Sandler is actually fine, I guess – he’s far less annoying than the other characters. Kevin James plays the most unbelievable President Of The United States in the history of film. Peter Dinklage is, sadly, just plain embarrassing. Not only did this movie piss all over the short film but it also managed to somewhat destroy one of the greatest Game Of Thrones characters for me! Rickon Stark was better in San Andreas. Oh, and that reminds me: Sean Bean has a small role in this too. How could I forget Ned Stark being in this as well?! Because the movie is forgettable, that’s why. Michelle Monaghan, unsurprisingly, plays Sandler’s usual paint-by-numbers love interest. Q*bert plays a character WHO TALKS. What the @!#?@! That really annoyed me. Wreck-It Ralph got Q*bert right! Wreck-It Ralph got a lot of things right. That movie has really gone up in my opinion over time & Pixels made me appreciate it even more. Watch the Pixels short & watch Wreck-It Ralph. Watch any of the movies in my list of My Top Ten Video Game Movies. Then watch The Wedding Singer if you want to watch an Adam Sandler movie because that one is good. Then, if you really MUST satisfy your curiosity, watch Pixels with extremely low expectations. After all my bitching, I should give this a lower score but I’ve seen movies that are worse and I have to admit that one cool thing came out of watching this: it got my daughter very interested in classic arcade games. That alone made the movie worthwhile but, dammit, I really wish it had been good.

My Rating: 5/10

**The soundtrack for Pixels predictably features songs that you just KNOW Sandler chose from his own collection of personal favorites. The main song featured was Cheap Trick’s Surrender: