Double Feature: Perfect Stranger (2007) & Red Riding Hood (2011)

Welcome to the next double feature. Still braving through some Netflix titles as we head into the P and R selection, well, the first R selection, it would seem. The alphabet thing is more of a guideline at this point. This time, we’re heading into two thriller-esque movies. The first being Halle Berry and Bruce Willis’ Perfect Stranger which I remember I had wanted to see when it first came out but never did until now. The R selection is also a movie that I had wanted to see even though it looked like it was not going to be good which is Red Riding Hood. The result of both of these films were fairly similar, to be honest.

Let’s check it out!

Perfect Stranger (2007)

perfect stranger

Director: James Foley

Cast: Halle Berry, Bruce Willis, Giovanni Ribisi, Richard Portnow

A journalist goes undercover to ferret out businessman Harrison Hill as her childhood friend’s killer. Posing as one of his temps, she enters into a game of online cat-and-mouse. – IMDB

With a pretty great lineup of cast playing a tight knit group of characters, Perfect Stranger definitely feels like it could be a winner. While I can’t truly fault the acting or the roles here, its the final moments that somewhat break the film a little. Plus, some of the roles are a tad over the top. The story does make the effort as a thriller to keep you guessing while giving you a few suspects to consider but as experienced viewers now know to question whoever is the most obvious in movies, it creates those smokes and screens fairly well.

Perfect Stranger is one of those films that I really want to like. Bruce Willis is pretty good in his roles. There some issues with Halle Berry’s character and then, the best role here that really delivers has to be Giovanni Ribisi who brings up a lot of question marks. Deal is, the story feels really choppy and the ending is one of those trying too hard to give you a surprise endings and it thinks its more clever than it actually is.

Red Riding Hood (2011)

Red Riding Hood

Director: Catherine Hardwicke

Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman, Billy Burke, Shiloh Fernandez, Max Irons, Virginia Madsen, Lukas Haas, Julie Christie

Set in a medieval village that is haunted by a werewolf, a young girl falls for an orphaned woodcutter, much to her family’s displeasure. – IMDB

Red Riding Hood has a decent idea behind it. Its a bit been there done that. Which is also why, it hasn’t been too long since I saw it and I already don’t remember too many of the details. So, let’s get the good things out of the way. This one was alright in the acting department, not so much in the dialogue department though and its one of those things that feel very much one way that it could all go. Plus, its one of those easy to figure out twists because its not exactly far-fetched and it doesn’t help that its a re-imagining of Red Riding Hood which doesn’t seem like the Red Riding Hood elements make a huge difference to the outcome. The ending is pretty meh and honestly, the film wasn’t so bad at the beginning but falls apart as it goes along.

Overall, Red Riding Hood was kind of a lot of weird bits added together. Nothing felt really necessary but it felt like it needed to add those elements of love to give that spicy edge, the vengeance to give the revenge and hatred edge and then the reveal being the surprise element except nothing seems like it works long enough to make it have a truly lasting effect. Its not exactly a bad film but then its not exactly anything special either. I mean, to make things better, I went ahead and watched Hoodwinked which is a much better twist on the Red Riding Hood story.

That’s it for this double feature!
I’m indifferent regarding these two films so its a bit harder to write about.
Have you seen either of these films? Thoughts?

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Double Feature: Natural Selection (2016) & Ouija (2014)

Welcome to the next double feature! This one is going to be a fairly odd pairing but also one that I can’t say that I am particularly sure how to write about. We have officially passed the halfway point in the Netflix A-Z and going into the N selection. This one was a fairly hard choice and it ended up being drama thriller Natural Selection. My main hook for it is because Katherine McNamara is part of it and I was going through a Shadowhunters phase when I added it to my list. For the O selection, it is horror film Ouija with Olivia Cooke. This one didn’t have great reviews but I figured I’d give it a chance anyways.

Let’s check it out!

Natural Selection (2016)

natural selection

Director (& Writer): Chad L. Scheifele

Cast: Mason Dye, Ryan Munzert, Anthony Michael Hall, Katherine McNamara, Amy Carlson, Tyler Elliott Burke

As the new kid, a shy high school senior finds himself tormented by all his peers except one, but his new friend has a dark, infectious outlook. – IMDB

Natural Selection is not an easy film to talk about. In fact, the story itself is done pretty well and the whole meaning and message behind it also is done pretty well. The only issue with it is that the cast itself, especially the cast playing the students are not quite as refined in their characters. Some might like it because it makes their acting more raw but for myself, the acting was the downside of the film. The other little part that was the downside was the romantic connection here which felt slightly disposable. It had a purpose to pretty much strain a developing “friendship” but that was all it was, which made it make the movie contrived.

However, the pros of this film can’t be ignored and that is the movie itself. It takes a fairly serious issue which potentially haunts unexpectedly schools and the safety of it. It all dials down to ignored youths and their repercussions. The film does a good job at putting together very similar characters, the new kid in town Tyler (Mason Dye) and a somewhat of an oddball Indrid (Ryan Munzert) who ends up being friends and they are pretty much parallels to each other in a lot of aspects from parents that don’t take care of them to being bullied or looked down upon in school. The differences in their characters here is what changes and makes these characters intriguing to learn about especially as the end result becomes more and more obvious.

There’s some execution issues and some acting issues here but Natural Selection is not a bad film, plus, its always nice to watch something to learn about the things that teenagers that don’t get noticed and the dangers that may lurk in them. However, I have recently seen films in the similar vein to this recently which have been done a lot better however, the strength of the film is in its message.

Ouija (2014)

ouija

Director (& co-writer): Stiles White

Cast: Olivia Cooke,  Ana Coto, Daren Kagasoff, Bianca A. Santos, Douglas Smith, Shelley Hennig, Sierra Heuermann, Lin Shaye

A group of friends must confront their most terrifying fears when they awaken the dark powers of an ancient spirit board. – IMDB

Oh boy…Ouija is another one on my list that falls into the bad reviews but why not check it out pile. I personally like Olivia Cooke because she’s done some good roles like in Bates Motel and Me, Earl and the Dying Girl (review). Ouija is exactly what you would expect it to be. Its full of horror troupes and you can probably figure out whats going to happen next and when the jumpscares are going to show up. Everything here is pretty much playing it by the numbers a whole lot. Ouija (for those who do believe that it can channel spirits and shouldn’t be touched like Tarot Cards, etc) is creepy. Its not something you want to mess with but people still do. While I can’t say that Ouija is the bottom of the barrel, it also doesn’t offer a whole lot of wow moments either. The script tries really hard to give it a twist and yet, because its so deliberate (or at least feels that way), it ends up not quite landing that punch so well.

There’s not a whole lot to say about Ouija. Its fairly predictable and if you don’t buy into the idea of just being tempted to keep giving Ouija a go after bad things happen, then this movie falls apart at its seams. I fall into that category so this movie had some moments but because it was so easy to figure out, it loses its impact a lot. Not to mention, if you are a gamer, Until Dawn delivers the whole sitting around a table and something creepy lurks about a whole lot more effectively than this whole movie combined.

That’s it for this double feature!
Thoughts and comments?

Double Feature: Leatherface (2017) & The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013)

Welcome to the next double feature as we continue on the A-Z journey through Netflix. As mentioned in the previous one, I did two L selections mostly because I have nothing interesting I wanted to watch for the Q selection. Here we are with a horror franchise addition Leatherface and a YA fantasy novel adaptation in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.

Let’s check them out!

Leatherface (2017)

leatherface

Director: Alexandre Bustillo & Julien Maury

Cast: Stephen Dorff, Lili Taylor, Sam Strike, Vanessa Grasse, Finn Jones, Sam Coleman, Jessica Madsen, James Bloor

A teenage Leatherface escapes from a mental hospital with three other inmates, kidnapping a young nurse and taking her on a road trip from hell, while being pursued by a lawman out for revenge. – IMDB

I’m not going to lie that its been a while since I saw Leatherface (or at least it feels that way). Either that or it was simply one that I didn’t really care too much for because its fading really fast from my memory. I’ve never been really on track with Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise. My startoff point was with the 2003 remake where I was so new to horror that I barely even watched that one and then went on to watching Texas Chainsaw in 2016 (Review) which was pointless and disappointing so I wasn’t sure how to feel about this one. Leatherface is something of an origin story. But then Texas Chainsaw was kind of an origin story also. I believe how I feel about Leatherface is probably how people that I’ve talked to who dislike Rob Zombie’s Halloween feels like where the fact of giving Michael Meyers a reason behind why he is the way he is makes it less scary (although I do like Rob Zombie’s Halloween) however for Leatherface, the movie seems to be doing the same thing and in a much less effective way might I say.

There’s a ton of problems here. The story in general does work in the beginning and then it falls apart in the middle and somehow ends up trying to pull off a twist ending because the deal with this is that we never quite know who is meant to turn into Leatherface and that is the big question throughout this entire crew we’re watching. I’m not going to lie that it did work on some levels but then, something just never seems to land.

I’m not sure if its because I’m not familiar with this franchise but I’d really like to hear fans of this franchise tell me whether this one worked for you or not?

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013)

city of bones

Director: Harald Zwart

Cast: Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Kevin Zegers, Jemima West, Robert Sheehan, Robert Maillet, Kevin Durand, Godfrey Gao, Lena Headey, Harry Van Gorkum, Jonathan Rhys Meyer

When her mother disappears, Clary Fray learns that she descends from a line of warriors who protect our world from demons. She joins forces with others like her and heads into a dangerous alternate New York called the Shadow World. – IMDB

You can tell from the way the story ended and where it chose to end The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones that it didn’t plan to be a one movie deal but unfortunately, I believe the movie didn’t do too good so somehow it ended up being a TV series instead. Since I haven’t gotten around to writing up the TV binge for Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments quite yet, I’m going to get down to business and say that I have never read the novel series but I do love the TV series a lot and felt pretty sad when it got cancelled. However, we are here for the movie adaptation and I’m going to go straight out with this and say that, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones was actually not too bad. Its biggest fault (very similar to what I thought about Death Note) is that it had too much story to stuff into a movie (which is probably why it works better as a TV series).

The movie itself had a decent cast. I actually didn’t mind the chemistry behind the two main leads, Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower playing Clary and Jace respectively. They were pretty decent. Everyone else was also pretty good in their roles. Except, the biggest problem is with a story built through a lot of background lore and connections and deeper relationships (family, love, revenge, friendship), it falls apart because none of the characters get the depth and development because of the lack of screen time. At the same time, there was a whole lot of Shadowhunters things that weren’t really explained or highlighted which made it seem even more confusing for people who haven’t been exposed to this world before. Seeing as the film took 2 hours to get where the TV series took almost a season to achieve, this shows how much was taken out.

In the end, the overall issue with The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones was its execution and an oversimplification of content making it lacking a lot of substance hence, making it feel disjointed. There are some cute scenes between Jace and Clary which worked but the story was all over the pace. Its always interesting to see how some more known stars end up in these YA adaptation projects and in this case, we have Lena Headey as Clary’s mom and Jonathan Rhys Meyer as the villain Valentine, who pretty much had zero presence, another issue with the movie having too much to cover and not enough time for its characters.

That’s it for this double feature!
Have you seen either of these films before?

 

Book Review: Justice For Belle by Didi Oviatt

Justice For Belle
By: Didi Oviatt

Justice For Belle

Ahnia has a very dicey past – one that is scratching under the surface, just dying to get out.

She’s hit rock bottom, broke and desperate to be on top again. When she finds herself partnering up with man she hardly knows, and who’s utterly untouchable, she’s forced out of her comfort zone and left to question her own sanity.

Will Ahnia and Mac’s dangerous decision be a success, or will she find herself in the clutches of an unforgiving force, brought about by her childhood sin?

In this nail biting thrill ride, no one is as they seem… and no one is truly safe with those they trust. – Goodreads

Justice For Belle is a psychological thriller novella. Novellas are a great way to build take a relatively simple story and give it a great pacing and execution as is the case with Didi Oviatt’s latest release. Justice For Belle doesn’t thrive on a lot of characters. In fact, it is more of a character study of our main character Ahnia who has a fascination with death. Not particularly her death but envisioning how others can be murderers and how they would commit their murders unique to them. This gives Ahnia a special angle right from the start and makes it intriguing to see how she has become this way and what secrets she hides in her past that has caused her to have this fascination, especially after seeing that she is a one hit wonder writer who thrived on a past personal experience. It gives Ahnia depth as the story lets us learn more and more about her. Opposite of her is Mac, who she meets randomly and has this attractive quality that makes Ahnia drawn to him. He is fairly spontaneous and being as the novel angles behind Ahnia, Mac becomes even more mysterious especially when there is a few mysteries that come out like the similarity of his fiancee’s appearance to Ahnia or his similar psychological fascination and of course, he goes one step further to create another adrenaline rush scenario that will hopefully trigger both him and Ahnia’s creative juices to write another book. Its an absurd and dangerous idea to say the least and it makes Mac feel even more mysterious than Ahnia is and the extent of how their plans will play out. Both of these characters are very strong and have a great deal of depth of them which makes them the more intriguing to see how their story unravels.

There’s always a risk in novels who want to dive into the more romantic thriller side and that is generally how Ahnia and Mac’s relationship seems to have that forbidden love element to it and a certain level of danger that attracts them both to each other. It is really in these moments that don’t quite work for me and feel somewhat unnecessary. Its starting to feel like attraction is a hard element to put into stories and they are very subjective because different writing will work better (or worse) than others. In this case, the general writing style works however, when it goes into the more intense moments once or twice, it feels a bit overwritten.

Overall, Justice For Belle is pretty good. It has a decent execution and stay well-paced. There are a lot of questions and mysteries bundled together in this psychological thriller that all gets cleared up by the end. The two characters are created with a good deal of depth and layers as they unravel throughout the story as well. It stays pretty much intriguing. While there are little bits of writing in terms of the story development for the relationship between Ahnia and Mac, everything else does work too create enough suspense.

Goodreads: 3/5 (I’d give it 3.5/5 to be more accurate)

***Book received for free in exchange for honest review from R&R Book Tours***

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R&R Book Tours

Double Feature: Eloise (2017) & The 5th Wave (2016)

Time for the next double feature.

Continuing with the alphabets, we’re at E & F. I picked two movies that has been on my list for a little while but I kept passing over it for other things. The first is horror thriller Eloise set in an abandoned psychiatric hospital and well, the only reason that this movie is on my list is because Eliza Dushku is in it and I like her from Dollhouse. For the F selection, I picked The 5th Wave. We’re finally expanding alphabets to their numerical counterparts. Either way, I like Chloe Grace Moretz and I enjoyed the novel (review) well enough that I wanted to see how they’d execute it.

Eloise (2017)

Eloise

Director: Robert Legato

Cast: Eliza Dushku, Chace Crawford, Brandon T. Jackson, P.J. Byrne, Robert Patrick, Nicole Forester

Four friends break into an abandoned insane asylum in search of a death certificate which will grant one of them a large inheritance. However, finding it soon becomes the least of their worries in a place haunted by dark memories. – IMDB

The best way to talk about Eloise might be to say that its a little more water down version of Session 9 (review) because there are a lot of similarities in how its executed but then the back story of what happened is different. While I don’t think that Eloise was as bad as I’d thought it would be, it actually has some pretty well-executed moments here and there and the characters are done well enough, of course with a relative dose of stupid decisions in the process. There’s one line that resounds as the central theme of the film throughout that when its said, it highlights the presence of the location itself and also, foreshadows the ending as well. Of course, if its a first viewing like myself, then I wouldn’t have really thought about it too much and thought only the ending as a possibility which makes the final act of the film have a nice twist to it.

Talking about the characters, they make sense pretty much although some parts are fairly obvious where its leading to. At the same time, it tries very hard to go on the psychological thriller path because it is set in a psychiatric hospital. The story actually isn’t too bad. There are a few things that are questionable. The final bit is a bit of a head scratcher even if the basis of it makes sense…kind of. The part that did actually make this not good was the pacing. The beginning to get to the psychiatric hospital takes too long and then there’s a lot of parts in the dark so a lot of scenes are pretty unclear and its probably to avoid too many torturous scenes or whatnot. Other than that, the setting and the context that is pretty overused. I’m half and half on this one.

The 5th Wave (2016)

The 5th Wave

Director: J. Blakeson

Cast: Chloe Grace Moretz, Nick Robinson, Alex Roe, Liev Schreiber, Maria Bello, Maika Monroe

Four waves of increasingly deadly alien attacks have left most of Earth decimated. Cassie is on the run, desperately trying to save her younger brother. – IMDB

Based on the novel of the same name by Rick Yancy (I linked the book review above), The 5th Wave is another one of the YA novels adapted into a movie. The 5th Wave is a mesh of alien invasion story wrapped up in survival and romance. With YA adaptations, its always about the execution as long as the source material is decent, in this case, other than bad writing which shouldn’t affect the movie part, this one was all about how it was executed. The 5th Wave does a decent job and keeps the first person narrative of Cassie (Chloe Grace Moretz) who narrates the film and the beginning is done really well as she sets up the foundation of how it started and what happened to date and the things that they knew. Of course, as the story diverges apart from its characters, the story shifts between more locations. What works here is that the story follows one character in their location and keeps the characters fairly limited. The pacing here works and the alien invasion story works also. I think what really  helps here is that exceeding my expectation, the romance parts are actually lesser than the survival and alien invasion part which I like a lot because that just makes more sense (although there is a part where its a bit ridiculous). However, its hard to not notice some of the really badly executed effects as well as some of the movement choreography doesn’t flow really well.

Moving along, Chloe Grace Moretz is pretty good here. She’s always been a pretty solid actress even if she sometimes ends up in some lackluster movies. She plays opposite Alex Roe and Nick Robinson, two guys in her life that fulfill different parts of the story especially as Cassie and Alex Roe’s Evan looks at what has become of the world on the outside and then Nick Robinson’s Ben Parish and a rebellious girl Ringer, played by Maika Monroe looked at the military base setting from the other angle. Its a pretty nice set-up to be honest. On top of the that, the military base itself has Liev Schreiber as the lieutenant and Maria Bello as also one of the key figures at the base. Everyone does a decent job with what they have on hand.

Its no doubt that they expected The 5th Wave to be more of a hit so that they kept the ending open-ended so a second film could happen since the book is part of a series. In some ways, with the set up of how it was done and the premise, it would be nice to see where the story would go especially with the sci-fi alien invasion elements.

That’s it for this double feature!
Have you seen either of these films? Thoughts?

Double Feature: The Cave (2005) & Death Note (2017)

And we’re moving right along to the next double feature in the random Netflix alphabet. I’m starting to see a pattern already of movies that I feel didn’t really get great reviews but I’m willing to take a chance on regardless. I didn’t actually research how well they did but still, its how randomness works, right? 😉 The next two films is 2005 creature feature The Cave which I never heard of before but I was craving something of that subgenre so here we are and followed with the 2017 Netflix Original American adaptation of Death Note.

Let’s check it out!

The Cave (2005)

the cave

Director: Bruce Hunt

Cast: Cole Hauser, Eddie Cibrian, Morris Chestnut, Lena Headey, Piper Perabo, Rick Ravanello, Daniel Dae Kim, Kieran Darcy-Smith

Bloodthirsty creatures await a pack of divers who become trapped in an underwater cave network. – IMDB

The Cave passed right under the radar as it probably got overshadowed by the success of The Descent (Review) which was always cave exploration, creature feature and had garnered quite a good bit of positive reviews, myself included. With that said, The Cave does have quite a few good elements. While it merges together spelunking and creature features, it also adds in the not really completely confirmed idea of going to hell (much like As Above So Below (review)). It had a short mention with the religious background in the beginning and then as we dive deeper into the cave as the group heads towards the exit and fights for their survival, the cave takes on various transformations which can only feel like the different levels of hell (at least to me, maybe I’m overthinking it as I always do).

The Cave isn’t executed too well. It has some issues of pacing and some of the acting bits aren’t exactly great. It also had an issue of being quite predictable as to when would happen what which cuts out some of the tension it could have had. However, The Cave is quite unique because it adds in the water and diving exploration element. A new layer of adventure adds in its own set of challenges. Plus, the creature design here has a nice slow burn reveal throughout the film and its pretty bad-ass and impressive.

One of the final points to mention here is how Lena Headey always ends up in these movies and in this one, she pops up as a scientist. She delivers a great performance and one of the best throughout this film, not only because her character carried quite a bit of depth but also the changes for this character and her interpretation of it.

Death Note (2017)

death note

Director: Adam Wingard

Cast: Nat Wolff, LaKeith Stanfield, Margaret Qualley, Shea Whigham, Willem Dafoe (voice), Jason Liles, Paul Nakauchi

A high school student named Light Turner discovers a mysterious notebook that has the power to kill anyone whose name is written within its pages, and launches a secret crusade to rid the world of criminals. – IMDB

Having never seen the original TV anime series (not even one episode) and only saw the Japanese adapted film back in 2000s, Death Note is one of those animes that is rather unfamiliar to myself however, I remained skeptical but interested in watching how it would be interpreted especially in the hands of Adam Wingard. A good and bad thing here because for one, it had the same feeling in this one as in the Japanese one years ago that a series with the depth of Death Note in its content shouldn’t and can’t be made into a film. There are plot holes and unknown parts and a lot of it is expected to be brushed away and accepted as correct because the movie constantly reminds us that Death Note has a lot of rules, so if it didn’t make sense that you can say that its just a rule that we didn’t know about. That is just lazy but then adapting Death Note into a film is a mammoth task. Second though, the good thing is that Adam Wingard took helm of it because he gives it atmosphere and style and even implements a great soundtrack to make it stand out.

Death Note had its issues, no doubt. In fact, it had more issues than its massive style could help mend. It still had some thrills and it still had some events that does work in the movies favor in terms of the sequences. However, as I sit here, I’m still thinking about the cast itself. The best part of the casting was having Willem Dafoe voice Ryuk because he does such a stand-out bad guy. To be fair, I think its more a script problem than anything when talking about Nat Wolff as Light or LaKeith Stanfield as L because they had some wonky dialogue bits but their characters still were portrayed well enough in the context of this story. While I think that finding Asian-Americans in this day and age to do this adaptation would have been easily accomplished, I’m choosing to not discuss that and evaluate this in the context of being an American film as it is set in the US to make these characters relevant to the story.

Is Death Note good or bad? Its kind of half and half. On one hand, there’s a lot of things that I didn’t quite accept because of the execution and the fact that its not the fault of the movie but the fact that Death Note is more complex than a movie can embody. However, Wingard does the best he can and delivers a decent film with a great soundtrack and a load of style.

That’s it for this double feature!
A bit of a meh pairing… some pros but some cons

Have you seen The Cave and/or Death Note?

Double Feature: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) & Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018)

Welcome to the next double feature! This time we are doing a double rental feature. Both of these were films that I rented in the last little while and its one that we’ve been wanting to see and both are sequels.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)

Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle

Director: Jake Kasdan

Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, Rhys Darby, Bobby Cannavale, Nick Jonas

Four teenagers are sucked into a magical video game, and the only way they can escape is to work together to finish the game. – IMDB

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a sequel to the 1995 Jumanji film. With anything like that, it takes a lot of care. For one, it needs to keep in mind that it is its sequel and keep the heart of it but also give it the modernized world standard. At the same time, still giving respect to the success of the first one. Luckily, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle makes it slight changes to make it not a remake but a sequel that happens years after the original. It acknowledges the original board game format and then gives the reasons of how it turns into a video game format. The whole player and video game world is one that works really well also plus they add in the four players and role-playing game style.

With that said, the heart of the film really is the cast themselves and how they interpret each of their roles. Dwayne Johnson always aims to please with his humor. It becomes hilarious to just watch these characters take on the opposite of who they are in reality, for better or for worse. In the case of his character, Spencer who is a nerdy scrawny nobody in school, this transformation aims to have a few laughs as he gets fascinated at being somebody. While on the other hand, we have the jock character who turns into Kevin Hart. After Central Intelligence (review), we are already familiar with how great Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson work as a comedic duo. They bring in a lot of laughs. However, Jack Black is the star of the show as he embodies a self-absorbed high school girl. I can’t imagine anyone else excelling at that role as he did. Pure entertainment!

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a sequel that honestly didn’t really need to happen. Being a huge fan of the original, it was one that I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. Luckily, as unnecessary as it was, it was a ton of fun and that was all it needed to be.

Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018)

sicario day of the soldado

Director: Stefano Sollimo

Cast: Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Isabela Moner, Jeffrey Donovan, Catherine Keener, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Matthew Modine

The drug war on the U.S.-Mexico border has escalated as the cartels have begun trafficking terrorists across the US border. To fight the war, federal agent Matt Graver re-teams with the mercurial Alejandro. – IMDB

You can check out the review of Sicario HERE.

In a nutshell, I was pretty enthralled with Sicario. Probably not so much that I went running to watch its sequel for a few specific reasons, the main one being that the ending of the first one was pretty gloomy and I wasn’t really down for anything like that. In many ways, Sicario: Day of the Soldado takes a different approach. It still has its twists and turns and it still maintains a pretty decent atmosphere and locks in those ethics and morals and the right and wrong of the situation. In that sense, the characters and the situation at hand all work out pretty decently. Plus, it takes the whole wondering how messed up a situation is when the government okays their people to make up a situation controlled by them to push the tension on other situations. It also looks at the extents of what is the greater evil and the means to meet the ends of a situation. Sicario has always been about making those big choices that feel wrong and its the heart of these stories especially when fighting cartels.

As great as watching Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin was in this film. Their roles are pretty great. Their characters do get quite a bit of change. However, if anything what it feels like here is that after Sicario, we already know to expect that things aren’t going to go as planned and that something is going to happen as a twist and there’s going to be something deeper to the story that is at hand. Because of that, it doesn’t quite hit as poignantly as the first one. I’m going to be honest that in my mind, I didn’t think that Sicario needed a sequel. The first movie shone because of Emily Blunt (for me) and taking her out of the equation now (because there was no way she was coming back), didn’t seem like it would work. Good news is that the movie still works, just not as effectively as the first one. Its still pretty good though.

That’s it for this double feature!
Have you seen either of these films?