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Quick Reviews: Week Of 07.08.2022
Flash Reviews Of The Upcoming Weekend's Movie Releases
Here are my thoughts on the movie releases from the weekend of 07.08.2022 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.
HELLO, GOODBYE, AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN
- Plot: Clare and Aidan, who after making a pact that they would break up before college, find themselves retracing the steps of their relationship on their last evening as a couple. The epic date leads them to familiar landmarks, unexpected places, and causes them to question whether high school love is meant to last.
- Review: Another week, and yet another fluffy straight to streaming Netflix romance, this time in the form of yet another Young Adult novel adaptation in Hello, Goodbye, And Everything In Between. If you’ve been reading my newsletter updates long enough you know this sort of stuff is right up my alley as comfort food “one and done” watches for me. But this now makes two straight rom-romps from Netflix that have left me feeling like I ate something that disagreed with me.
There’s nothing inoffensive about this either. Its a competently enough made movie, and the ending actually leaves the viewer with some light at the end of the tunnel unlike too many YA dramas that seem to always go for the tragic finish. But the two lead characters come off as frustrating, even to what I’d call nihilistic levels even with their hell-bent mission to break off what is clearly for now a good relationship for the two of them. And when the movie isn’t coming off as the forced melodramatic fare that these YA adaptations tend to be half the time, the other half its coming off like a bargain bin Before Trilogy rip-off.
I can see this being a guilty pleasure “one and done” watch for some out there in the same way movies from earlier in the year like The Royal Treatment or Senior Year were for me, but personally I can’t recommend this myself as I left this one feeling like I wanted to say goodbye and wish I had never said hello to this film.
- Initial Grade: C-
THE SEA BEAST
- Plot: The life of a legendary sea monster hunter is turned upside down when a young girl stows away on his ship.
- Review: Giant monster movies got me into the movies as a whole. My all-time favorite movie franchise is the Godzilla set of films, and some “B movie” monster flicks are personal favorites of mine. So going into The Sea Beast I was hoping I’d get plenty of giant monster action.
What I wasn’t expecting was a story with themes on understanding those different than us and featuring layered characters given life on the screen through some really amazing animation. There’s nuanced storytelling here turning what starts out as a hunt for a dangerous beast into a full blown adventure and finally into a human drama of cycles of violence and bigotry. Never feeling like its beating you over the head either which will make easily digestible for all crowds.
Not to say there’s isn’t enough monsters, far from it. You get enough monster action, you get a much more numerous slate of them then I anticipated as well, and you get to see them given more layers than just mindless beasts which is something this Godzilla super-fan can appreciate. So for those out there who love their kaiju flicks, this is gonna’ be for you.
If I had to nit-pick any issues I had with it is that I felt it could have just been a little more tighter and as beautiful as the animation was, I did feel the monster designs came off a little too cartoonish versus the rest of the world they inhabit.
But the little ones will like this, and the adults will enjoy it as well. This is the likely hidden gem of animation for the year, and inevitably the likely big snub from the Best Animated Feature race at the next Oscars. This is well worth exploring on Netflix when you get the chance. My personal pick for now as the best animated film I’ve seen this year.
- Initial Grade: B+
THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER
- Plot: After his retirement is interrupted by Gorr the God Butcher, a galactic killer who seeks the extinction of the gods, Thor enlists the help of King Valkyrie, Korg, and ex-girlfriend Jane Foster, who now inexplicably wields Mjolnir as the Mighty Thor. Together, they embark upon a harrowing cosmic adventure to uncover the mystery of the God Butcher’s vengeance and stop him before it’s too late.
- Review: Maybe Eternals will catch up in due time with its sequels, but the Thor movies have easily emerged over the last decade-plus as the more divisive and debated about among the massive franchise that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The first film getting okay enough critical and audience reviews, but beat up on by hardcore cinephiles. The second movie a popular choice for many whether they be super-fans or casual viewers as to picking what is their least favorite MCU film. And the previous one being heralded by critics and audiences but having its vocal skeptics.
Admittedly I am a Thor guy. The first movie is a solid superhero tale for me, the second is easily low-tier MCU but still more enjoyable for me than it is for many others, and the third being in the competition with 2014’s Guardians Of The Galaxy for my pick for my all-time favorite MCU flick.
So coming into the fourth installment and the second straight Directed by Taika Waititi, Thor: Love And Thunder, I have to admit I came in with high expectations and kind of already figuring out I’d at the very least like the movie even if it let me down. So keep that in mind when reading my review.
The return of Natalie Portman as Jane Foster in the role of a new Thor, Christian Bale joining the MCU as the villain Gorr, and Russel Crowe having an appearance as Zeus all intrigued me. And given my adoration of their previous collaboration I had good vibes about Taika working with Chris Hemsworth (Thor) and Tessa Thompson (Valkyrie) again.
So did it live up to the hype in my own head? For the most part - yes! The thing that seems to cause these last two movies to have such vocal critics seems to be the excessive use of CGI and the (deliberate in my opinion) uneven tone of action and outright comedy. For me the former doesn’t bother me in the least given we’re at that point in Thor’s story arc where the mystical is going to be ramped up to an eleven and the latter works very well with me as I seem to be a fan of Taika’s storytelling style. If either or both things are bothersome to you, this may not be your cup of tea. But it was certainly mine.
I found Portman as Mighty Thor to be a massive improvement to her character who has gotten beat up by fans in the past; I found Bale to be a terrifying villain and one of the few worthwhile additions to the rogue’s gallery of MCU baddies; I thought Crowe as Zeus stole the show during his scene so much so I even saw those negative on the movie giving props to his appearance; I thought the story had heart, humor, spectacle, action, and everything I would ask from a Thor movie. This worked big time for me.
My only minor gripes would be that I did feel the consistent “fun” of Ragnarok was missing through certain parts of the movie though I’ll excuse that for a well executed dark third act, but overall this was top tier Marvel for me and extremely likely to make my personal “Best Of The Year” list. I loved the thunder this one brought to the MCU library.
- Initial Grade: A-