May 31st, 2019 Releases

Sometimes you don’t need to reinvent the wheel when it’s working perfectly fine. That’s the case with Godzilla: King of the Monsters. At the end of the day monster movies are monster movies. You can’t really do them too badly unless you neglect to show the creatures causing some form of mass destruction. Luckily, Godzilla: KotM doesn’t neglect them, but does it’s best to have them be the focal point of the film, which is their rightful place. There are human characters that are spliced into the story to help progress the narrative or muddy it down depending on how you look at it. Thankfully the story is more about which titan will be king of the mountain in the end: Godzilla or Ghidorah? With plenty of entertaining battle scenes, completely far-fetched situations & more explosions than the Fourth of July there’s enough here to entertain anyone who loves these kinds of films. If action movies aren’t your thing, then maybe sit this one out.

Sidenote: If you do find yourself in the theater, just disregard the Grand Canyon size plot hole with the Congressional hearing and the US Army. No need stressing out about that one.

🎥🎥🎥 out of 🎥🎥🎥🎥🎥

MA was miscategorized from the get go. This isn’t a horror film. I’ll give it the thriller aspect and would even add in suspense. MA was a fun hour & 40 minute journey of showing the stupidity of teenagers, the desire to feel accepted & the act of getting revenge at any costs. Octavia Spencer is typically known for her supporting roles, never really taking the lead, but it’s a treat to see her take on the spotlight. She is able to quickly rotate the dial from somber to all smiles to evil glares that could pierce your soul. She does her best to manipulate those around her whether it’s former classmates who still live in town or befriending teenagers who sheepishly ask her to buy them liquor. MA has it’s twists & turns, some that you see coming & others that catch you off guard, yet all of them are welcome. The younger cast do an okay job of helping to progress the story with Diana Silvers’ character, Maggie, being the only one out of the bunch with brains, yet even she falls victim to the stereotypical “horror” film lead female heroine adjacent to Spencer’s dangerous Sue Ann. One of my favorite things about this movie was that director Tate Taylor (who made “The Help.” What?!) set up a certain plot detail early on with the introduction of Luke Evans character Ben simply to knock it down an hour later in the film.

Sidenote: My biggest question with this film was how did Allison Janney go from winning an Oscar for “I, Tonya” to having 6 lines in this?

🎥🎥🎥 1/2 out of 🎥🎥🎥🎥🎥

I’ll preface this by saying I don’t know a ton about Elton John’s life & honestly I might only know about 10-15 of his songs. My knowledge of him is limited to say the least. But that didn’t stop me from enjoying this movie. The tag line of this film from Paramount Pictures is, “A musical fantasy about the fantastical human story of Elton John’s breakthrough years,” and that’s exactly what this film is. A retelling of Reginald Dwight’s life that lead him to becoming the over-the-top superstar that we know as Elton John. Director Dexter Fletcher created a musical that walks us through Elton’s upbringing using songs from his storied career that fit nearly perfectly into the situation he was dealing with at the time.

From start to finish, Taron Edgerton, crushes it as Elton John. He sings his own vocals, (unlike some other musical biopics that came out recently…) recreating nearly 20 classics, while using his acting chops to portray John’s larger than life personality. Edgerton puts on display his range as an actor throughout the movie from showing a flamboyant side he hasn’t shown in other roles, while also being able to lean into the depression that Elton suffered with during the early years of his career.

The supporting cast doesn’t leave Edgerton hanging either, as Bryce Dallas Howard stands out as Sheila Dwight, Elton John’s mother. Her victimized nature tied together with her passiveness left much to be desired from the person who was supposed to be the most nurturing person in his life. Jamie Bell plays Bernie Taupin, Elton’s best friend & song writer, providing one of the few genuine friendships that Elton experiences in his life. And Richard Madden rounds out the supporting cast playing John Reid, John’s boyfriend & manipulative agent that you quickly grow to hate.

Rocketman is easily one of the best movies I’ve seen so far in 2019. Whether you’re a fan of Elton John, simply like musicals, want to escape into a fantasy world or are just looking for a movie to see; you can’t go wrong with this one. The ups & downs of Elton’s life are worth seeing on the big screen.

Sidenote: Check out “Your Song,” “Tiny Dancer,” “Rocketman,” & “I’m Still Standing” from the soundtrack. They’re really good!

🎥🎥🎥🎥 1/2 out of 🎥🎥🎥🎥🎥

**Trailers can be accessed clicking on image.**

How Aladdin Changed My Life

I’ve had a fascination with movies for as long as I can remember.

When I was 6, my Aunt Shell took my cousins & myself to see Aladdin. I can recall my first experience at the movies almost to a tee. It was at a Showcase Cinema in Norwood, Ohio in 1992. After we had our tickets torn, Aunt Shell bought a large popcorn & split it amongst the 4 of us & we shared one drink. That’s how you did things when times were tough, but you still wanted to treat your family. After hitting up the concessions we went to the right & found our theater.

I remember becoming completely enthralled with Aladdin. The catchy songs, the rich colors & the likable (& some unlikable) characters drew my 6 year old mind into what I was witnessing for the first time.

You have the classic tale of good versus evil when Jafar tries to manipulate Aladdin to do his dirty work for him, steal the kingdom of Agrabah from the Sultan, as well as, take his daughter. A journey of discovering that having all the riches in the world won’t quench the thirst of being wanted & loved when Aladdin tries to woe Jasmine by simply being rich. A tale of unlikely friendships between a human & a genie that lives inside of a lamp. And a story of triumph when Aladdin is able to get redemption by defeating Jafar with Genie’s help & getting the girl at the end.

Since Aladdin I’ve done a lot of things at the movies. Some things as innocent as sneaking snacks into the theater, which I’m pretty sure everyone has done. I’ve also snuck an entire meal from McDonald’s in. I have taken at least 10 naps at various theaters throughout the Cincinnati area. Most notably being the same movie I snuck the McDonald’s into, Gangster Squad, I fell asleep 20 minutes into it & had to be woken up during the credits by my friend. I’ve witnessed the film reel catching on fire during the last few moments of Stranger Than Fiction & still don’t know how it ends, which I plan on keeping it that way. I’ve walked out of one movie midway through, because it was so bad, I’m looking at you League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I’ve seen the same movie twice in the same night, embarrassingly it was High School Musical 3. I have a personal record for most movies seen in theaters: Napoleon Dynamite at 6. And I own nearly 600 movies & TV shows in my personal collection.

It was at Aladdin that I knew movies would be something that I’d turn to for entertainment. What I didn’t know was that I would later turn to movies as an escape, as well as, a way to get my mind critically thinking.

FIlms offer you a chance to escape the real world & go on an adventure through a made up world, an alternate reality or a glimpse into the future. They also give you the opportunity to relive some stories of the past that you might not have been able to witness first hand or had to observe from far away. In either case, they take you some where. Sometimes it’s a fun ride, while others times you might wish that you never even got on. Both outcomes are fine, but I’ve also come to learn that there is traditionally something to be learned from either one. There’s a takeaway whether it’s a new way of looking at things or how to treat someone that’s different than you. Or it could be learning a part of history that you might not have known before. It could be hiding in plain sight or you might have to dig a deep below the surface, but I can guarantee that it’s worth exploring to find the truth in the movie you’re watching.

My hope through these blogs is that you’ll learn something new. Whether it’s a part of a movie you didn’t see before or a new outlook on a film. Maybe it’s just what movie might be worth checking out or which to avoid. We all have different tastes in what we like, but it’s also good to see it from someone else’s perspective. Hopefully at some point I’ll expand this into other avenues, but for now I want to focus on movies, since that’s one thing I’m passionate about.