Miss Bala and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing
Directed by Catherine Hardwicke
I somehow managed to survive January, but that month was so bad I’m ready to just write off February and maybe even March if I get the slightest bit saltier. What can I say? Getting sick twice, watching dreck like Escape Room, and even trying to justify my enjoyment of movies that EVERYONE ELSE seems to have deemed to be terrible has done little to improve my mood over the last thirty days, but who knows! Maybe things have FINALLY turned a corner and I’ll regret being this despondent at the start of February when I go see… whatever this movie is! Seriously, I didn’t even know this movie was coming out until three days before I went to see it, and I couldn’t gleam the slightest thing from the title or the poster. At least with The Kid Who Would Be King which is another movie I knew nothing about until right before its release, you can kind of get a grasp on the general idea from the overly descriptive title and the poster having a bunch of kids wielding swords and makeshift shields! ANYWAY! Does this mysterious feature turn out to be a hidden gem waiting to be discovered, or will it turn out that ignorance was truly bliss after seeing this movie? Let’s find out!!
Gloria Fuentes (Gina Rodriguez) is a makeup artist in California who frequently travels to Tijuana so she can see her friend Suzu Ramós (Cristina Rodlo) and her little brother Chava (Sebastián Cano). This time however she comes with purpose as Suzu plans on entering the Miss Baja California pageant and could use Gloria’s expert makeup skills to make her truly shine in the competition! Sadly things don’t go quite as planned when Gloria and Suzu go to a nightclub that ends up getting attacked by the Las Estrellas gang led up by Lino Esparza (Ismael Cruz Córdova). Once the dust has settled, Suzu has completely disappeared and Gloria is kidnapped by Lino’s men as she saw too much and could now be a threat to them. Under the threat of death, she becomes an unwitting participant in further gang violence and is headed for a life of nonstop coercion if she cannot find a way out and hopefully find Suzu in the process. The best chance she seems to have is a couple of DA agents led by Agent Reich (Matt Lauria) who want to bring her up on terrorism charges due to her involvement in those unwitting crimes, but give her an out if she can plant a bug on Lino which will hopefully be enough to keep THEM from destroying her life before Lino does it first. Can Gloria find a way to escape these overwhelming forces that can utterly destroy her at the slightest of whims? Whatever happened to Suzu, and is Gloria simply chasing her tail by trying to find her in between coming up with a plan to escape and simply surviving this horrific situation she’s been forced into? Why is it that bad guys ALWAYS mess with the wrong person? You’d think just once they’d find the right person to mess with!
“I could have just spent the rest of my life being a makeup artist, but NOOOOO! You just HAD to tick me off!!”
Annihilation and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures
Directed by Alex Garland
So apparently Paramount wanted to bury this thing for some reason? I mean… I guess it WORKED considered I never heard of this until the week before it came out. I go to movies all the time, and I never saw ONE trailer for this thing despite starring some PRETTY big names right now! Now this is hardly the first time that a studio had lost complete faith in the movie they had made, and it’s not always a sign that the movie is bad (*cough* Brazil *cough*), but it STILL is a bit worrying as studios are loath to just throw money away; especially on projects that seem to have had THIS much star power both in front of and behind the camera. Does this offbeat science fiction film manage to shine through despite the studio doing everything it could to keep it out of the public eye, or was Paramount trying to save us from something that we were better off just forgetting it even existed? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows the story of Lena (Natalie Portman), told slightly out of order, where she went head first into a unique biome of alien origin that I like to call The Rainbow World and tried to reach its center to destroy it from within! Okay, now that I’m writing this down, it’s possible that a bit more context is needed. To rewind a bit here, about three years before the movie starts a meteorite smashes into a small coastal town and starts doing… something. It basically creates its own isolated environment with a clear delineation between EARTH WORLD and ALIEN WORLD in the form of a shimmer; almost like an opaque curtain in the shape of a dome. The US government seems to have gotten there right away and have been sending people into the strange place to find out what is going on, but no one has ever returned… until now! Lena’s husband Kane (Oscar Isaac) is a military Black Ops guy (I think) and was sent on a MYSTERIOUS mission about a year ago and suddenly returns home right as the movie starts; albeit looking rather disheveled and coughing up a worrisome amount of blood. The government weren’t too far behind him though and put him in a quarantine to study what’s happened to his physiology after being exposed to the alien biome, but they’re probably gonna have to work fast; lest this become an autopsy because his condition is getting worse. Lena is brought into the loop at this point and is told about THE SHIMMER (I still think it looks more like a Rainbow World); promting her to suit up, grab a gun, and join the next expedition which is in less than a week. Now if that sounds a bit silly, don’t worry! She was in the military as well, so she knows how to handle herself and use a gun. In fact, compared to the rest of the crew which includes a paramedic (Gina Rodriguez), a geologist (Tuva Novotny), a physicist (Tessa Thompson), and a psychologist (Jennifer Jason Leigh), she’s practically a god send as I doubt the rest of them would last a full day in there without her. So the day is set, the inexplicable rag tag crew gathers their courage, and they walk into THE SHIMMER with one goal in mind; get to the center and destroy whatever it is that’s causing this. Will Lena survive the harsh environment that nearly took her husband’s life, and will the secret to his illness lie within? What is motivating the rest of these women to go into this place that even trained soldiers couldn’t manage to overcome? Was this really the best we could muster after three years of failed attempts? They couldn’t even be given gas masks or motor bikes?
“Before we go in, does anyone need to use the bathroom? Speak now or forever hold your pee.”
The Star and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment
Directed by Timothy Reckart
Man, Coco was such a good movie. Too good in fact! I need to find a way to bring myself down to Earth again if I want to be fair to any other movie coming out this year. Wait, is that what I think it is!? A POORLY ANIMATED RELIGIOUS FILM… WITH TYLER PERRY!? JACKPOT!! It seems that movie going audiences had the good sense to ignore this film to go see Coco instead which seems like an INCREDIBLY obvious move given how uninspired the trailers look, but let it never be said that I am not a fair critic and will try to give everything at least a CHANCE to try and impress me! Okay, I know better than to hope much from ANY religious film not made by Darren Aronofsky (and even THAT is a bit of a crapshoot), but compared to some of the OTHER films in that category, there’s no way it could be THAT bad… right? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows the misadventures of one Bo the Donkey (Steven Yeun) who remained aimless and nameless for most of his life working in a mill and only getting brief glimpses of the outside world. His one dream though is to be part of the Royal Procession which… I guess is like a super lame parade or something? Anyway, he’s given a chance to escape with his wise cracking friend Dave the Dove (Keegan-Michael Key) and he winds up hiding out with a newly married couple; one of whom seems to have gotten to the whole pregnancy thing a little early. Yes, this hapless donkey winds up in the possession of Mary and Joseph (Gina Rodriguez and Zachary Levi) with the former giving him the name Bo and the latter being a total throwback to goofy nineties sitcom guys; as if the entire male cast of Friends was fused together into one not especially charming homunculus. While this is going on, a trio of camels (Tyler Perry, Oprah Winfrey, and Tracy Morgan) are carrying the Wise Men across the desert in search of the new king who’s due in just a few months and end up running into King Herod (Christopher Plummer) who doesn’t take too kindly to there being another king out there and sends his scariest brick shit house of a guard with two mix-matched attack dogs (Ving Rhames and Gabriel Iglesias) to go hunt down the happy couple and murder them to bloody chunky bits. Bo the Donkey gets wind of this and decides to help these two out before running off to join the Royal Procession and even meet a friendly sheep along the way named Ruth (Aidy Bryant) who left her flock to follow the titular star to… whatever’s at the end of it (spoiler alert: it’s Jesus). Will Bo the Donkey keep these two safe and deliver the savior unto us so that we all may be saved from the burning fires of Hell? Will King Herod realize that sending only ONE dude to stop the only person who could challenge his throne was a really half assed approach to this problem? Can animals be saved and accept Jesus Christ as their lord and savior? I’m just curious what’s gonna happen to Bo once he dies considering how much he busted his ass (nyuk-nyuk-nyuk) to help Jesus out in the first place!
“Companions before transubstantiation, AM I RIGHT!?” “I’m pretty sure that’s not even a rhyme…”