Joker and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros. Pictures
Directed by Todd Phillips
Are we ready to do this? Alright, let’s do this. So Joker always seemed like an odd choice for a movie as his defining moments have always been in relation to Batman. Take him away, and what are you left with? Well if the trailers are any indication, you get something akin to Travis Bickel in Taxi Driver by way of Krusty the Clown. I mean I was at least interested to see where they were GOING with it since the trailers did a solid job of obscuring what the actual plot was, but the last few weeks of bad press have really drained any enthusiasm I could muster for what was already seeming to be a novelty at best. Does this manage to rise above the controversy surrounding it, especially the controversies cynically generated by those who have an active stake in the film’s success, or will this all be for a movie that ultimately isn’t worth the time and effort? Let’s find out!!
Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) is one of many residents in the city of Gotham who is barely getting by and can feels that life has given him a rather crappy lot. All he wanted to do was be a comedian and make people smile, but street punks keep beating him up at his job, the rich politicians and lobbyist keep cutting social services that he needs, and on top of all that he has to take care of his elderly mother Frances Conroy) who’s unshaking belief that Thomas Wayne (Brett Cullen) will help her and her son has only become more and more obnoxious as the years have gone by. Why… it’s almost enough to drive someone MAD isn’t it!? Like say… if someone got so tired of this that they started wearing clown makeup and robbed banks! Well leave those fantasies at home as this is the REAL Joker for the modern age in that he’s really angry all the time but doesn’t do a heck of a whole lot about it and what he DOES do about it isn’t as… let’s say FLAMBOYANT as his comic book persona would have you believe. Still, the walls are closing in more and more as Arthur’s life goes further and further into chaos to the point that he may just be forced to fight back in a way that no one could possibly expect; least of all himself. Will Arthur’s miserable life come to some sort of hilarious denouement that gets all the squares to pop their monocles? What effect will his actions have on the rest of the city, and is he really so different from all the normal people out there? Seriously, is this REALLY the guy Warner Bros wants to be spouting his manifesto on the big screen right when they’re getting the DCCU back on track?
On the Basis of Sex and all the images you see in this review are owned by Focus Features
Directed by Mimi Leder
Wait, didn’t we get this movie last year? Oh right! That was a documentary! Well I guess since we got that we need a fictionalized version of the story to make a double feature out of, but at the very least this IS an individual whose story is worth getting the BIG HOLLYWOOD treatment and it’s not like we couldn’t use a GOOD biopic to balance the scales after last year’s big mistake. Look, it was a pretty rough start to the year and the movies haven’t been doing much for me, so maybe the inspirational story of one of America’s most celebrated judicial figures could help me get out of this poor mood! Or it could be another disappointment in a year that seems all too willing to hand those out left and right; especially since this was originally screened in 2018 but got pushed back into the 2109 dead zone for the rest of us. In any case, let’s find out!!
Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Felicity Jones) has had to deal with quite a lot in her life! She managed to go to Harvard at a time when few women were able to, and got her law degree there as well as at Columbia; all the while taking care of her daughter as well as her husband Martin Ginsburg (Armie Hammer) who had some serious health issues while they were in school. It was all worth it though because now they both have their law degrees and they can live out their dreams of being lawyers! At least that’s the plan as Ruth, who managed to navigate the harsh male dominated world of academia, still hasn’t managed to land a job in the harsh male dominated world of law firms. Oh well. At least she got a teaching job which she excelled at for quite a few years, but one day Martin comes across a case that may just be the one the two of them have been looking for. You see, they became lawyers because they wanted to do good in this world and fight for equality, and one of the things that has always a bugbear of theirs is how Men and Women are defined differently under the law and are therefore treated differently like in regards to workers’ rights and inherence. The case that Martin found though is an instance where the laws negatively affect a man because Charles Moritz (Chris Mulkey) cannot claim a tax credit despite meeting all the qualifications for it… except for the fact that he is a male bachelor. I know, it sounds UTTERLY RIVETING to hear people talk about tax laws, but this is the kind of thing that can really take a pickaxe to the existing status quo and a ruling in Charles’s favor could be the rallying point for other similar laws to be overturned! With the case of a lifetime in their laps, the Ginsburgs begin to work the case with the help of the ACLU run by Mel Wulf (Justin Theroux) as well as a personal hero of Ruth’s Dorothy Kenyon (Kathy Bates) who’s resistant at first due to a lifetime of learned cynicism, but might just be willing to give them the push they need to be taken seriously. Can Ruth and Martin successfully overturn this law and get Charles that sought after tax credit? What kind of resistance will they face from the government that has a vested interest in keeping things the way they are? FOOLISH MORTALS! NO ONE CAN STOP THE RBG!!
Bumblebee and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures
Directed by Travis Knight
The thing about Transformers, at least for me, is that it’s only ever existed as the Michael Bay movies. I never watched the original series, any of its spin-offs, and I’ve only played one of the games, so if nothing else this movie has a rather low bar to clear if it wants to be considered “good”. Now that said, it’s got some heavy competition right now what with the new Spider-Man movie not just being GOOD but PHENOMENAL, and there are plenty of others out right now that this isn’t gonna stack favorably against if it’s ONLY trying to be better than what Bay was putting out. Still, it’s got a lot going for it what with Hailee Steinfeld AND the recently launched into the mainstream John Cena filling out the cast along with the Laika animation guy stepping in for Bay this time around. Does this prequel manage to take this tired and overblown franchise in a fresh new direction, or is the engine underneath it still the same despite the shiny new coat of paint? Let’s find out!!
Back in the long ago days of the late eighties (when Sony Walkmans walked the Earth), the war for Cybertron was reaching its peak as the Decepticons had pushed the Autobot rebels off the planet with little hope of taking it back. The leader of the Autobots, Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen), has tasked B-127 (Dylan O’Brien) with scouting a far off planet that may serve as their new base of operations so they can regroup and finally stop the Decepticons once and for all; a desperate plan to be sure, but its not like anyone else is coming up wit ha better one. So B-127 speeds off to Earth but was followed by a Decepticon warrior! Oh no! The ensuing battle leaves the Decepticon dead, but it leaves a few humans worse for wear including Super Solider from Sector 7 Jack Burns (John Cena) as well as B-127 ending up heavily damaged (even losing his voice in the process) and… I guess robo-hibernates for some time to recharge his batteries. Some time passes (not sure if it’s months or years) and B-127 is found in a junkyard by Charlie Watson (Haille Steinfeld) who takes him home and manages to get him running again. He wakes up, shows himself to be a robot to Charlie albeit it with no memories which were all damaged in the fight, and… I think he accidentally sets off some sort of tracking beacon that two Decepticons (Angela Bassett and Justin Theroux) a few planets away seem to have heard which conveniently gives us antagonists to fight against in the third act. Until then, Charlie names B-127 Bumblebee and tries to teach him how to blend in the human world while also taking him for joy rides, prank wars, and emotional character arcs for both her and her new robot buddy who’s not sure who he is or what his place in this strange world is. Will Charlie and Bumblebee learn to deal with their traumas and find a new lease on life by beating up robots and taking bullies down a peg? What will John Cena do when he finds out the robot that nearly killed him is still functional, and will it involve the Five Knuckle Shuffle? Wait a minute… finding a robot in a junkyard that was meant to fight off a hostile alien force but got lost along the way… isn’t this the plot to Megas XLR?
The Spy Who Dumped Me and all the images you see in this review are owned by Lionsgate
Directed by Susanna Fogel
Another Spy Comedy, huh? Well I guess there are genres with even worse track records than that, but there’s clearly an uphill battle to be fought considering how bad a lot of these movies turn out; not to mention the fact that the trailer was kind of meh despite the film starring two of my favorite actors working today. I’d rather they be doing OTHER stuff like say a Ghostbusters sequel, but until everyone realizes just how wrong they were about that movie, I guess this will do just fine. Hopefully! Does this movie manage to be a shining example of a genre that is notorious for underwhelming films, or will this succumb to whatever curse has made it so hard to make good Spy Comedies? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows Audrey (Mila Kunis) and Morgan (Kate McKinnon) who are two best friends living their normal early thirties lives without a whole lot going for them; particularly Audrey who just got dumped by her boyfriend Drew (Justin Theroux). BY TEXT! What a jerk! I sure hope something bad happens to him! Well… just wait fifteen minutes. It turns out that he’s an INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY which comes as news to Audrey and left some Spy MacGuffin in her apartment which he tries to get but is… indisposed in the process, and it’s up to her delver whatever the heck it is to someone somewhere at a specific time! Easy enough, especially with her best friend by her side! Unfortunately, there are a lot of other people looking for whatever this is, including Sebastian and Duffer (Sam Heughan and Hasan Minhaj) who are working for at some sort of spy agency, a Super Assassin named Nadedja (Ivanna Sakhno) who’s been hired by someone MYSTERIOUS to take them out, and a bunch of motorcycle henchmen who are more than willing to fire live ammunition in busy streets to try and take out these two nobodies when a less blunt approach would PROBABLY work on these two. They’re not the best when it comes to detecting threats, nor should they considering neither one of them have even used a gun, let alone protected very important MacGuffins! Can Audrey and Morgan deliver this package before getting themselves murdered? Will they be able to save the world by taking this where it needs to go and will there a few double crosses along the way? Will this mission be even more impossible than making a good spy comedy!? Even Tom Cruise isn’t necessarily gonna get THAT right all the time!
Star Wars: The Last Jedi and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Directed by Rian Johnson
And we’re back for our yearly song and dance to the empire George Lucas created and Disney is rebuilding! Not that Star Wars ever really went away (nor did its fans who were perfectly willing to still spend money on it), but the last few years have been just the shot in the arm the franchise needed in order to make it more than a nostalgia artifact that won’t go away into something that will resonate with audiences today and maintain its throne as KING OF THE BLOCKBUSTERS. Now that we’re at the second installment of the new trilogy, will it be yet another example of Disney getting this formula right, or have we already started hurtling head long into the dark side… by which I mean the movie is not very good? Let’s find out!!
The movie picks up not long after the events of the first film where The First Order is understandably peeved over the destruction of the Star Killer Base and are on a warpath to hunt down the remnants of The Rebellion; more or less whittling them down to a single flagship desperately trying to find a place to hole up until the heat dies down. Unfortunately for them, Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) along with his own flagship are right on their tails and are blasting away at the Rebel ship’s shields until they can get a shot in and blow the whole thing up; effectively killing the resistance and all the loveable characters onboard. Said characters include Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) who’s having trouble ceding to the Rebel Leadership which is primarily General Leia and Admiral Holdo (Carrie Fisher and Laura Dern), Finn (John Boyega) who’s all fixed up after the fight against Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and the engineer Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) who’s sister recently died in an attack and wants to help Finn in saving everyone who’s left on the flagship. While Finn, Pie, and Rose are working out a way to save the ship while subverting the Rebel Leadership, Rey (Daisy Ridley) is off on Planet Nowhere with Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) trying to coax the latter into going back to The Rebels and giving her Jedi lessons, while Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo)… well he’s keeping the Millennium Falcon warm in case either of them needs it. Need it they might though considering how dire the situation is with The Rebels and Rey can’t exactly wait around for Luke to stop being a grumpy pants; especially with Kylo Ren growing more and more desperate to prove himself which only makes him that much more dangerous of a blunt tool for Snoke’s greater ambitions. Will The Rebels find a way to survive this unceasing onslaught by The First Order? Will Rey find her place in this conflict and become the Jedi Master that everyone can look up to in these trying times? Will Luke teach her all those lessons he kinda sorta learned from Yoda and Obi-Wan!?
The LEGO Ninjago Movie and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher, and Bob Logan
What, another one of these already? Didn’t we JUST see the one with Batman a few months ago!? Clearly Warner Bros has hit on something big with the success of both The LEGO Movie and The LEGO Batman Movie, and I can only assume it’s what will keep them afloat while this DCCU thing burns itself out. Still, they seem to be moving at quite a quick pace with these and to top it off, this is based off of their Ninjago line of toys which is something that a lot of movie going audiences might not be familiar with. Can The LEGO Formula succeed for a third time in surpassing audiences expectations, or will this be the LEGO straw to break the LEGO camel’s back and shatter it into a million pieces that’ll be really annoying to clean up? Let’s find out!!
The movie is set in the world of Ninjago; a land full of anime nerds who have surrounded themselves in Asian culture; to the point that they have a bad guy named Lord Garmadon (Justin Theroux) with robots who is in constant need of walloping by a bunch of ninjas with robots. Seems simple enough, right? Well you’re WRONG, because this is a LEGO movie and if there’s ONE thing LEGO movies are known for, it’s daddy issues. It turns out the Green Ninja’s secret Identity is Lloyd Garmadon (Dave Franco); the son of the bad guy who’s always wrecking things and is therefore rather unpopular at school despite his alter ego being one of the beloved protectors of the town. With his fellow ninja friends Kai, Jay, Nya, Zane, and Cole (Michael Peña, Kumail Nanjiani, Abbi Jacobson, Zach Woods, and Fred Armisen), they’ve managed to maintain peace in this town despite there being much unrest within Lloyd himself who REALLY doesn’t like his dad, and rightfully so! Still, things can’t go on like this forever and he eventually screws up badly enough that not only has Lord Garmadon taken over the city, but he ALSO unleashed a horrifying monster as well which is wreaking havoc all over the place! His only option now is to go on a Ninja Quest with his Ninja Master Wu (Jackie Chan) and his Ninja Buddies to find the ULTIMATE ULTIMATE weapon that will stop the monster and free the town. Can Lloyd manage to redeem himself for his failure to protect the town while ALSO finding a way to get past his daddy issues? Will Lord Garmadon realize the error of his ways and reconnect with his neglected son? How can they be stealthy when they don’t even have proper articulation!?
The Girl on the Train and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by Tate Taylor
The only thing I knew about this movie before walking in was that the trailer had probably the most baffling musical choice imaginable. Seriously, who the hell puts Kanye West in the trailer for a movie that we’re supposed to take SERIOUSLY!? If you can somehow tune out the poor choice of music (how is the WOMAN heartless when she’s the one who gets MURDERED!?) there is something intriguing about the premise and it’s the perfect time to release these kind of dark murder mysteries now that Oscar Season is upon is. Is this an early contender for best of the year status, or is this a wannabe Gone Girl knockoff that’s simply jumping on the bandwagon? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with Rachel (Emily Blunt) as the titular girl on the train as she passes by the same sight she sees every time she rides it. Every day, the train stops right in front of these two houses; one has her ex-husband Tom (Justin Theroux) and his new family, and the other has this couple who from all outward appearances looks perfectly happy. This routine goes on for some time until one day she notices a new man in the house with the woman Megan (Haley Bennett) which shatters Rachel’s already fragile mental state (for various reasons, she’s crawled inside a bottle for the last few years) and she gets even MORE drunk than usual that night and gets off at the stop that’s close to their house. Jump to the next morning and Rachel wakes up in her room; covered in mud, blood, and booze with no explanation of what happened the night before. Eventually, it turns out that Megan has disappeared (which means she’s dead but they haven’t found the body yet) and no one knows what happened. Rachel seems to have an idea, but the memories of that night are so fried that she can’t piece them together and feels compelled to save this woman who she’s been watching all this time… and if she can also throw some shade at her ex-husband’s new wife Anna (Rebecca Ferguson) in the process, well then that’s just brownie points. Can Rachel find out what happened to Megan and find some sense of self-worth, even in her completely debilitated state? Who was this woman that’s gone missing, and can her past lead us to the reason she was murdered? Can we all just agree to give Emily Blunt the Oscar now!? It’s basically Leaving Las Vegas 2!!