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Quick Reviews: Week Of 04.22.2022
Flash Reviews Of The Upcoming Weekend's Movie Releases
Here are my thoughts on the movie releases from the weekend of 04.22.2022 in alphabetical order of their respective release dates. A reminder, you can click this link to see how I grade films when I review them.
THE BAD GUYS
- Plot: When the infamous Bad Guys are finally caught after years of countless heists and being the world’s most wanted villains, Mr. Wolf brokers a deal to save them all from prison - become the Good Guys.
- Review: Whenever I see a new animated film without Disney or Pixar involved, I know I’m either in for a pleasant surprise or a mediocre offering I’ll forget all about by year’s end. Thankfully this adaptation of a kids’ book series was in the former camp.
Providing great voicework from names like Sam Rockwell, Marc Maron, Craig Robinson, Anthony Ramos, Awkwafina, Richard Ayoade, Zazie Beetz, and Lilly Singh among others; coupled with great animation with its own original style and flow compared to many other animated movies out there that copy each other, this is a decent watch. Every character is given distinct personalities, traits, running gags, and even moments. The twists are fun, and the villain reveal ended up being executed wonderfully however obvious that particular twist was going to be. Its a true arc of redemption and friendship that all ages can identify with.
I chuckled more than a few times, and if your kid drags you to go see this at the local theatre you won’t have an awful time with it. Granted I am kinda’ scared this will ended up with countless sequels with progressively worse outings, but its an enjoyable animated film from a book series that even more kids might now get into.
-Initial Grade: B-
- Plot: Prince Amleth is on the verge of becoming a man when his father is brutally murdered by his uncle, who kidnaps the boy’s mother. Two decades later, Amleth is now a Viking who’s on a mission to save his mother, kill his uncle, and avenge his father.
- Review: Among the new and emerging young Directors of this modern age of Hollywood, Robert Eggers has emerged as one of the more interesting and complex among them. He clearly has a knack for exploring the supernatural and the mythological in ways that allow him to present such subjects with an incredible eye for their imagery. He knows how to set mood and tone, and he knows how to be faithful to the date in time his stories are set - with respect for as much accuracy as possible in his presentation of the supernatural elements he touches upon. That kind of fantastical storytelling is typically right up my alley, but with his two previous works in The Witch and The Lighthouse, I admired and respected the craft in those movies more than loved them. So I came into this knowing Eggers would present his story well, but how much would I like it? I have to say this is easily his most accessible, his most conventional given the context of his previous works, and his bet work yet.
If you’re a dark ages or Vikings stan, this is going to be right up your alley. Not only does Eggers do what he does best and nail the feel and look to that time in history, but he presents the mythology of the time and culture in a way that is as spellbinding to the viewers as it is to the characters that comes across it. It wasn’t until just recently I realized this was a loose re-telling of the tale of Amleth from Viking mythology. His presentation of Viking lore is so incredible I dare recommend High School teachers teaching the culture could play this when they touch upon its myths.
The acting by the entire ensemble is top notch with Alexander Skarsgård playing his role to perfection as a man bent on rage, Anya Taylor Joy is great as the slave he falls in love with, Claes Bang delivers a great performance as he straddles between loving tribal chief and a man with his own fury and rage inside him, Nicole Kidman is able to really go for it when a certain twist hits during the third act regarding her character’s true intentions, and even in smaller roles Ethan Hawke and William Dafoe leave a mark, The only major gripe I’ll give is that the accents in the film are a little over the top and noticeable for me personally, though Skarsgård nails his in my opinion.
If you’re down for a revenge thriller that isn’t afraid to get gritty and bloody and yet somehow is able to deliver incredible mythology and lore behind its story beats, and even a dash of romance, this is going to be for you. Not to mention a climatic battle that could end up the best from the year’s slate of films. I wouldn’t quite put in that A+ range I’m seeing others put it at, but it comes pretty close and will certainly be a competitor to make my Best of the Year list.
- Initial Grade: A-
THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT
- Plot: Creatively unfulfilled and facing financial ruin, Nicolas Cage must accept a one million dollar offer to attend the birthday of a dangerous super fan. Things take a wildly unexpected turn when Cage is recruited by a CIA operative and forced to live up to his own legend, channeling his most iconic and beloved on screen characters in order to save himself and his loved ones.
- Review: Its reported that Nic Cage turned down the chance to be a part of this meta action comedy on himself three or four times before supposedly a personal letter from the co-writer and director Tom Gormican changed his mind. After seeing this, I have to thank Gormican for writing that letter that convinced Cage because this was a blast to watch.
From the meta laughs, insider jokes, action sequences, and even some twists and turns for certain characters this film is the definition of taking friends and family out to the local theatre and turning your brain off to enjoy a really good popcorn flick. Cage plays his fictional persona well and Pedro Pascal more than certainly holds his own as the mysterious and shady super fan that invites him to his birthday. Tiffany Hadish has some scenes as a CIA Agent and its always good to see her playing a more serious role even in a comedy film like this one. But the biggest surprise for me? The soundtrack! Which is a major highlight of the movie.
Overall, this a fun ride that is well worth the trip to the theatres for especially if you’re a major film fan or just a Nic Cage super fan in general. It may not be one of the best films of the year by the end of 2022, but it doesn’t have to be. Its just pure fun and hillarity with a great actor being able to poke fun at himself.
- Initial Grade: B+