Zac's Reviews


Zac's Reviews

"Why is my hair purple"

Mission Impossible: FalLout

Very few moments on film have caused my heart to beat quite as fast as the Burj Khalifa climbing scene from Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.  Four years later, Rogue Nation put forth a valiant effort in trying to one up its predecessors and, while I think it came close, I would still place Ghost Protocol at the top of my MI rankings. Which brings me to this summer's Mission Impossible: Fallout, a film that is full of incredible action sequences, but that also ultimately fails to live up to the fourth and fifth installments that came before it.

Just to be clear up front, I really enjoyed MI: Fallout and believe it's worth the price of an IMAX ticket just so you can get the opportunity to see Tom Cruise perform his own stunts on as big of a screen as possible.  And while Tom Cruise and his addiction to near death experiences (how is he 57?) are the definitive highlight of the film, there are lots of other aspects to this movie that deserve praise, as well.  This is my favorite role of Henry Cavil's blossoming career, and I could easily imagine his "cocking fists" move playing a major factor in this film's legacy down the line.  Angela Basset is also a standout, acting circles around Alec Baldwin whenever they share the screen.  Because this is a spoiler-free review I won't get into the greatness that is the bathroom fight, helicopter sequence, and hospital room interrogation, but just know that those three scenes alone make the price of admission more than worth it.

So, why do I feel that this is a step back for the franchise?  My first complaint with this film is with Benji, Simon Pegg's character.  Pegg was my favorite part of the last two films and I was really excited to see what they would do with him now that he was a bigger part of the team.  Unfortunately, they changed his character quite a bit, making him less of a source of solid one liners and more of a bumbling (but still useful) team member whose main quality is that he is scared a lot.  I also didn't like how they neglected to mention Jeremy Renner's character once.  He was an essential part of the past two films and now it seems like everyone has completely forgotten he exists, with Tom Cruise going as far as to say at one point that he only trusts the four people in the room with him.  Couldn't you call Jeremy Renner and ask for his help at least (I know that technically there was nothing they could do because of his Avengers schedule, but they could have at least referenced him).

My biggest issue with MI: Fallout is that as great as the stunts and action set pieces were, I didn't feel they were as suspenseful or heart pounding as the previous films in the franchise.  As great as the helicopter and motorcycle chase scenes were, there was no definitive, crazy stunt in this movie that made my jaw drop.  In the last two movies, Tom Cruise has climbed up the tallest building in the world and held onto the outside of a plane that was in midair.  These are scenes that I vividly remember, and ones that I don't see myself forgetting any time soon.  Fallout didn't have that and I fear that its lack of a certain "wow factor" will cause it to slip from my mind much faster than either of the previous two (better) installments.

Sorry to Bother You

Every time I am about to rewatch a movie that I’ve seen at a film festival, I get a nervous feeling. Will I still enjoy this film away from the red carpets and packed theaters? Sometimes the answer is I enjoyed it more the second time (Hereditary), sometimes the answer is I enjoyed it a little less (American Animals), and sometimes the answer is I enjoyed it just as much both times (Sorry to Bother You).

This is not a perfect film, but it is wildly entertaining and original and worth the price of admission and then some. There is so much to pick up on and it’s clear that Boots Riley is destined to be a powerful voice in cinema for the foreseeable future. And while the rapping scene will probably be in contention for my favorite scene of the year, there are so many memorable scenes and moments that elevate this movie to another level.

I have a few problems with this film. The final scene seems like something the studio added and not something Boots Riley would have originally intended. Also, there are a couple of pacing/tonal issues, largely due to the fact that when this film gets wild it goes all out and that can make it hard to shift back into a calmer gear. But these are the few misses within a barrage of hits, and they by no means ruin the movie.

Please go see this movie, I want to see more like it and less like the summer blockbusters I’ve been subjecting myself to the last two months.


Ant-Man and the Wasp

When Marvel makes movies as good as Black Panther or Winter Soldier, they’re sort of shooting themselves in the foot for me because that is the new standard I’m holding MCU movies to. When I see villains as good as Killmonger and Vulture, I want every villain to have that same clear motivation and conviction.  When I see heroes like T’Challa and Thor undergo trials and tribulations that cause them to grow significantly as characters, I want every Marvel hero to experience that growth in some form or fashion. When I see Taika Watiti and Ryan Coogler put their own stamp on their respective MCU movies I want every director to make films that, while still contained within the confines of the MCU, demonstrate how great their directing style is on its own.

Ant-Man and the Wasp did not deliver any of these things. The villain reminded me of the old MCU movies when everyone would always complain about how Marvel is great but their villains are continually let downs. Ghost’s motivation was shallow at best and outright confusing at worst. Ant-Man and the Wasp experienced no growth in this movie. There were no real trials, no opportunities for growth. Instead, they aimlessly go from one set piece to another, exchanging jokes with an unfunny Michael Pena that garnered no more than a few chuckles from the sold out audience. And Peyton Reed’s direction just depresses me because it makes me wonder how great an Edgar Wright Ant-Man franchise could be.

In terms of things I enjoyed (because this is by no means a terrible movie), I really enjoyed the Wasp. She was a cool character who instigated some interesting action scenes and I could tell Evangeline Lily was putting forth a lot of effort. Also, the mid credits scene was probably my favorite post credits scene that Marvel has done. It made me laugh out loud and was probably my favorite part of the movie.


Jurassic World

I would say that Steven Spielberg is rolling over in his grave right now, but it would probably be more accurate to say that he’s rolling over in the piles of cash he’s garnered from selling out.

The main issue I had with this film is that I fundamentally disagreed with the ideology behind each character... except for Jeff Goldblum. The last movie (and the three originals) established that these dinosaurs are capable of pulling off mass destruction and murder over the span of a few hours. The visitors and workers that were lucky left the park scarred for life, the rest lost their lives. And yet, this film puts in a couple of scenes of “cute” dinosaurs acting like puppies and kittens and suddenly we are supposed to root for these killers over the lives of human beings. 

This movie can be cleanly split into two sections. The first section is full of fine, if not mediocre, sequel fare. Some of the sequences are impressive on a technical level and it is by no means a disaster. The second half of the film is where it takes numerous steps back. It is almost as if they shot this movie with two separate crews, one of which put at least a little bit of care into what they were doing, while the other couldn’t care less.

For now, just know that I was not a fan of this film, and that my recommendation, if you want to see a movie in theaters this week, is to spend your money and time on Hereditary, American Animals, Won’t You Be My Neighbor, Incredibles 2, or just about anything else available at the ticket kiosk.

**One other criticism I have is that if you watched the two trailers online (or were forced to watch them in front of other movies), then you have seen most of this movie. Between the two of them, they spoil more than a few “plot twists” and it definitely didn’t help my experience. This is in no way the movie’s fault, but it is something I wish studios were more cognizant of.



Won't you be my neighbor?

Heart warming to the point of heart break... there was a span of sixty seconds in this movie that caused everyone in my theater to cry, and it took every ounce of my will power to hold the tears in.

I’ve never seen an episode of Mr Roger’s Neighborhood, but still decided to seek out this documentary purely on the recommendation of  a number of critics that I follow. I’m so happy that I did. At the same time inspirational and introspective, this doc did a great job of caputuring Mr. Rogers as a human being rather than just as the caricature that I knew him as.

As far as documentaries go, it doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it does intersperse some cool animation and other sequences that make most if not all of the 90 minute run time fairly engaging. Definitely worth your time and, although I’ve yet to see Jurassic World, I’m fairly certain I made the right choice as to which one deserves my time and money.



Believe the hype

I appreciate how this presents itself as an actual suspense filled horror movie, instead of just a collection of loud jump scares every 30 seconds *cough* A Quiet Place *cough*

This was my second time watching Hereditary (the first being at SXSW) and I enjoyed it significantly more after a second viewing. Following the first watch, I was left exhausted due in large part to the fact that I’m a baby when it comes to horror movies. On the second watch, I was able to pick up on a lot of plot details that I missed the first time, as well as appreciate the craft and passion that went into the project. Back in March, I left the theater unsure of how I felt about Hereditary. Two months later, there is not a doubt in my mind. Hereditary is a fantastic film and one of my favorite horror movies ever. Period.


Incredibles 2

Overly predictable, yes even for a kids' movie... but good action scenes and humor make it a lot of fun.



When this movie tried to turn into a serious drama about a guy struggling with a fatal illness, I literally burst into laughter at its absurdity in an otherwise silent theater.  And when my biggest laugh comes at the expense of the movie, instead of at the jokes the movie is (terribly) delivering, it makes for a not so great time at the theater.


Sicario: Day of the Soldado

Wannabe Dennis Villeneuve ft Wannabe Roger Deakons... as I sat in the theater, bored out of my mind, I kept asking myself one question over and over in my head: Why would they tarnish the reputation of the original by making this unnecessary sequel?


Uncle Drew

Just a means to sell Pepsi and Aleve...

A majority of the cameos were fun, but the movie was brought down by Nick Kroll and Tiffany Haddish.  It wasn't their fault, they were doing the best with what they were given.  The problem was that every line of dialogue they spoke sounded like it was written by a group of suits at Pepsi (who I guess has a movie production company now?)


Ocean's 8

This really could have used Steven Soderbergh behind the camera...

This is not the worst sequel I will see this summer. This is not the worst female remake Hollywood has put out. This might not even be the worst Ocean's movie ever made. But in a summer full of forgettable franchise installments, I can't help but think that this film will be forgotten in the minds of its audience soon after they leave the theater.

Update: It's been forgotten

The First Purge

The Purge series is one of the biggest wasted opportunities in today's film world. The concept has such a great hook, that if these movies were executed well they could develop a massive following. Unfortunately, not only is The First Purge not executed well, but in an effort to deliver a message heavy handedly, they completely forgot to deliver the scares and gore that the horror franchise promised in the first place.

However, I had more fun watching this than a majority of the other mindless blockbusters that Hollywood has released this summer, so maybe its worth your time if you need something dumb to watch with your friends.



If this is Dwayne Johnson's Die Hard, then I don't want to see his version of the rest of Bruce Willis' movies

Here are 3 steps you should follow instead of seeing this movie:

1. Open the Youtube app on your mobile device

2. Search: "Mission Impossible Amazing Building Climbing Scene"

3. Watch this scene over and over for the hour and a half that you would otherwise be wasting your time watching Skyscraper