Rocketman and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures
Directed by Dexter Fletcher
As much as I enjoy the music of Elton John, this movie has some serious hurdles to overcome, that has left me less than confident about it up to this point. Primarily, the film feels from top to bottom like a cash-in following the success of the truly awful Bohemian Rhapsody; not just because it’s another biopic about a musician from roughly the same time period, but because they even got the pickup director of that film to make this one in its entirety. Maybe that’s overstating things a bit as Dexter Fletcher does have a few other films under his belt, and it’s not like it’ll be THAT hard to be better than one of the worst movies of 2018, but let’s just say my expectations are firmly set to MEH right up until the very last minute. Does this manage to stand out as the better of the two rock biopics from the Oldies station, or will the faults of Bohemian Rhapsody look downright quaint after seeing this movie? Let’s find out!!
Elton John (Taron Egerton), also known as Reginald Dwight, is a rock and roll superstar with hit song after hit song over the last five decades, yet how many of us REALLY know about the man behind the music? Well after storming his way into a substance abuse support group (decked out in full on Maleficent regalia in case you thought this was going to be subtle), he’s more than willing to tell us all about it! Our story begins in the suburbs of Britain with him as a little boy starved for affection from his mother and father (Bryce Dallas Howard and Steven Mackintosh), when one day it turns out he’s a born piano player who can play songs from ear and hones his skills for many, many, years! After a few stints playing back-up for a bunch of soul bands, he finally finds his break in the form of Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell) who is a song writer in need of a musician which is just in luck because Mr. John over here needs a song writer to give meaning to his great music! From there it’s a never ending thrill ride of overnight success, burgeoning sexuality, and the inevitable crash and burn when living the high life becomes indistinguishable from being an addict! Will Elton John get his life back on track after losing so much to booze, pills, and drugs? Can a musician of his immense popularity live his life openly as a gay man without shattering everything he’s worked so hard to build up? Will we get answers to burning questions like who IS the Tiny Dancer, and why were those Crocodiles rocking?
Hellboy and all the images you see in this review are owned by Lionsgate
Directed by Neil Marshall
So… we’re NOT gonna get a Hellboy 3? Okay, just wanted to make sure! Well there’s certainly no reason to just STOP making Hellboy movies just because he’s not gonna make one, so let’s get ready to reboot! I mean when you’ve got a setup as good as DUDE WHO LOOKS LIKE THE DEVIL PUNCHES MONSTERS, there’s no WAY you can go wrong even if you don’t have Del Toro helming it, right!? Is this the next best thing to getting a conclusion to the previous Hellboy movies, or is this a sad remind of what could have been? Let’s find out!!
Hellboy (David Harbour) is your average guy with a decent job and perhaps the beginings of a drinking problem. Okay, he’s also a red demon with a giant arm and horns growing out of his head, but looks are only skin deep, and this guy is just like you and me on the inside; suffering silently in this living nightmare we call life while putting on a tough face to try and cope! Hellboy’s latest reason to cope is that one his pals at the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense was turned into a vampire and Hellboy (most likely accidently) had to finish him off before he started ripping out other people’s throats. Not a great way to start the work week if you ask me, but he must solider on as a crisis in London sends him to Europe where coincidentally a legendary monster known as Nimue the Blood Queen (Milla Jovovich) is being brought back to life so as to wreak unholy havoc on the world. Well I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a job for Hellboy and his cast of wacky sidekicks including Alice (Sasha Lane) who can talk to ghosts and Ben (Daniel Dae Kim) who’s basically a living GI Joe action figure who seems to be harboring a secret of his own. Can the BPRD and its leader Ian McShane) who also considers himself Hellboy’s father manage to stop The Blood Queen before it’s too late? Can Hellboy focus on the task at hand when things continually get in his way and remind him of just how unwanted he is in the world of humans? Can someone teach this boy how to comb his hair? It just looks sloppy when you’re supposed to be at work!
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Directed by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg
Here’s the thing about the Pirates movies. Other than MAYBE the DCCU, it’s probably the most frustratingly simple conceit imaginable that they keep managing to screw up over and over again, so while some people may have a seething hatred for them (I wouldn’t blame you if you did), I find myself disappointed more than anything. Now credit to where it’s due. The first movie is still good, I like a lot of what they were doing with the second film, and I even think the fourth film was a marked improvement over the nadir that was At World’s End. In fact, the fourth film is the closest since the first film of what this franchise SHOULD be which is the cinematic equivalent of pulp adventure books like the Conan stories or John Carter of Mars; a universe comprised of interesting and diverse characters but with stories that can be enjoyed individually. Where Pirates started to screw up (and then self-imploded with the third one) was in trying to focus too much on continuity, MacGuffins, and character motivations that spanned MULTIPLE films; all of which made it almost impossible to enjoy the second and third ones on their own and why the fourth one felt like an okay start to a new direction for this franchise. Will they continue that trend with this new one? Well… probably not considering that Will and Elizabeth are returning to the series which presumably means a whole lot baggage is coming along with them, but let’s find out!!
The movie picks up several years after the events of On Stranger Tides, though more importantly for the purposes of this story, after the events of At World’s End as we have the son of Will and Elizabeth Turner (Orland Bloom and Keira Knightley) named Henry (Brenton Thwaites) trying desperately to break the curse on his father that has imprisoned him as the Captain of the Flying Dutchman. While working for the British Navy, the ship he’s training on crashes face first into THE DEVIL’S TRIANGLE (wouldn’t you want to AVOID something named that?) and he’s left as the sole survivor of an attack by the ghostly crew of Captain Armando Salazar (Javier Bardem). Now Henry has been looking for Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) for some time to see if he has some insight into saving his father and Captain Salazar manages to suss this out, so on top of leaving him as the sole survivor in order to spread his legend, he ALSO want him to give Jack a lesson when he finds him; mainly that he plans on killing that guy the first chance he gets. Now after that prologue, we jump to the Island of Massive Coincidences where Jack just so happens to be wasting his days away drinking rum and there also JUST SO HAPPENS to be a woman named Cariana Smyth (Kaya Scodelario) who may have the answer to finding the GREATEST TREASURE OF THEM ALL and exactly what Henry needs to break his father’s curse. Oh, and Henry JUST SO HAPPENS to be sent to this island after he’s found by the British Navy because why not. I won’t spoil much more at this point (mostly to keep this mercifully short) but by the start of the second act, Jack, Henry, Carina, and a few salty sea dogs (including Joshamee Gibbs played by Kevin McNally who’s been a staple of this series since the beginning), are sailing towards this mysterious treasure known as The Trident of Poseidon which can possibly break Will’s curse. They aren’t the only ones headed in that direction however as Captain Salazar is after Jack, Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) is KIND OF after Jack, and some dude from the British Navy (David Wenham) is after all of them so he can throw them in jail. Will Jack Sparrow manage to find this treasure and also avoid the wrath of Salazar who just so happens to have a grudge against him? What exactly did Jack do to Salazar in order to gain his ire, and how far will he go for revenge? Do these movies REALLY need to be this complicated every single freaking time!?