Spoiler-Free Review: Can ‘Creed II’ Live up to Its Excellent First Outing in 2015? Let’s Find Out!

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For Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) life has become increasingly difficult with having tried to balance his personal life and training for future fights. This time he’s up against his greatest challenge yet. This next opponent he must face in the ring has personal ties with his family. In Adonis’ corner, the retired boxing legend Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) is there to guide him in ways no one else could. Throughout this film, Adonis must walk his own path and discover what he’s fighting for.

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Perfect Pacing

This is quite a lengthy film, but it didn’t seem long at all. Every scene seemed to have importance to the overall film. It was something I noticed pretty early on in the film as well. When the hour mark hit I realized that this wasn’t just a cash grab. There’s a story to be told here and it’s worth seeing it come to fruition. Not to mention everyone in the cast had their moment to shine and no one overstayed their welcome.

It’s not often that the antagonist gets a ton of screen time without the star of the film. This movie establishes at the beginning that Adonis and his upcoming opponent have lived very different lives. They both have had rough lives, but Adonis’ life doesn’t even compare. Ever since he was young all his opponent has known is fighting and this leads to an interesting conflict. The pacing does not disappoint here because without this is just another boxing match the build-up is key and the director, Steven Caple Jr. understands that. 

Who Says Love Ruins Films?

Adonis and his partner Bianca (Tessa Thompson) must be mentioned in every review of this film. Their relationship is one of the best parts of this picture and there’s plenty of reasons this holds true. They feel like a real couple first off and both of their acting skills are displayed in a beautiful form in this 2-hour outing. They both have their own things going on and I think that was the correct choice. Bianca doesn’t seem like the kind of person to let Adonis work and she would just take care of the house. She’s a strong female character who doesn’t need the whole world to know that she’s a strong female character.

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The World’s Best Coach

If I didn’t mention Rocky and how good he was in this film I’d be doing Sylvester Stallone a disservice. Some of the best scenes in this entire film star Rocky and Adonis. Their relation is truly tough to match. Everyone knows how much Adonis means to Rocky and in this movie, I feel like Stallone’s acting has gotten better. He could’ve easily phoned this in but he has a plethora of emotional scenes that he perfects because of his acting skill.

Seeing these movies come full circle has to be mentioned as well. With Rocky as Adonis’ coach it still seems weird, but in a good way. I grew up watching the Rocky films so it’s odd to see him as an old man training someone to do something he was the champ of decades ago. However, I wouldn’t have it any other way if Stallone wasn’t able to reprise his role in this film it definitely wouldn’t have been a must see for me.

Intense, Bloody, Brutal Fighting!

This film does not hold back in the ring for a second. The boxing in this film is done, unlike any other fighting scene I’ve seen in recent history. With long takes that show you every blow to say I was pleased by it would be an understatement. I felt the punches land when they were thrown and at times it even caused me to flinch after a big hit. The sound design is incredible throughout the picture and camera work is excellent.

Conclusion

While the plot is predictable it is also enjoyable and just because it’s predictable doesn’t mean that the film is bad. The actors make this film more interesting just with all of their wonderful performances. Creed’s relationship with Rocky and Bianca certainly takes the cake for being the most entertaining characters to see on screen. They make this film ascend to levels I don’t think to would if Stallone and Thompson weren’t in this cast. Never in the film was I irritated because a certain character was around longer than they should’ve been. The pacing was just right which was a worry of mine before I decided to see the picture. It feels realistic the boxing life seems exciting, but it takes a lot of preparation. The fighters prepare months in advance before they’re ready to step in the ring with their opponent.

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Finally, the movie is a marvel technically as well with its expert sound design and great camera work. In a boxing film, sound design is important it’s crucial to be able to feel the punches being thrown and you do here. The camera work isn’t something to scoff at either. Generally, I remember a few camera shots during a film and that’s because they stood out to me. Time and time throughout this movie I was surprised by the great camera work. This film is an unreal sequel that I had the pleasure to see in theaters. I wholeheartedly recommend this to Rocky fans and newcomers as well with the need to see a quality film.

Verdict 9 out of 10 stars

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Review: Is Night School as Bad as the Reviewers Say? Let’s Find Out!

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Night School is a comedy about Teddy Walker (Kevin Hart) having to attend night school to obtain his GED after running into some unfortunate events. Once Teddy returns to Highschool he finds himself in a class full of misfits. A teacher who isn’t going to let him pass unless he puts in the work and a principle that he used to go to school with that holds a grudge with Teddy to this day. Let’s just say things aren’t going Teddy’s way.

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Don’t get me wrong this film is not a revolutionary comedy, but I think critics got it wrong. There are plenty of genuinely funny moments along with enjoyable characters as well. The pros far outweigh the cons with this flick and I’m not just saying that because I like Kevin Hart.

This cast stands out even while being total cliches of other comedies. You have the conspiracy theorist, the person who is in a bad relationship, the teenager with a bad attitude, and plenty of other tropes we’ve seen before. Surprisingly, they make it work in this film. The classmates are one of the best parts of the movie for this reason.

In my opinion, this movie wouldn’t be half as good without the excellent work of Carrie (Tiffany Haddish). She is the night school teacher and she does not disappoint. The way that Teddy and Carrie work off of each other in this film works very well. This isn’t a Shrek and Donkey situation where one hates the other. They have their differences, but even early on you can tell they enjoy each other’s company. That only makes their scenes funnier because of their chemistry.

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On the not so bright side, I don’t believe the level of friendship these characters share towards the end of the film. There were definitely bonding moments, but not enough on the screen to justify how they treat each other in the final act. Also, the conflict feels a bit too forced.

Conclusion

Night School is a great flick to go see with your buddies. It has plenty of cliches but the cast works together well enough that you gloss over the things that you’ve seen before in other films. Some of the moments in this film aren’t deserved because they didn’t put enough effort into building up to them. I don’t think this film is bad by any means or that it’s even average. It is my belief this movie deserves better ratings from critics despite the fact the directors didn’t try to do anything revolutionary.

Verdict: 7 out of 10 stars.

 

Halloween Spoiler-Free Review: A Surprisingly Interesting Sequel That Improves off of the Mediocre Most Recent Entries

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7.5 out 0f 10 – 7.5/10

It has been 40 years since that night where Micheal Myers struck for the first time now the time has come for him and his previously escaped victim Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) to resume their dangerous feud. This film is a direct sequel to the first movie created by John Carpenter that released all the way back in 1978. Admittedly I didn’t quite know what to expect coming into this motion picture, but I certainly was not disappointed. Instead of an hour and 44 minutes of Myers going around leaving blood and gore wherever he goes, the movie seems to be more sophisticated than that. Director, David Gordon Green doesn’t play it safe which was a fear of minegoing into the film. I can say now that this movie benefited from being independent of the other sequels.

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A lot has changed since we saw both Myers and Strode on the big screen. Myers has been locked in an Institution for 40 years, but when a bus transfer goes haywire he’s on the loose once again. Strode has been preparing herself for this moment for a long time and she’s finally ready to face her fear and kill the masked murderer.

As mentioned previously the movie doesn’t begin with blood everywhere, in fact, it’s the second half of the film that gets all of the action. I cannot complain about the way Green went about pacing the first act though. We meet all of the important characters of the film early on and get a sense of what they’re like. The most interesting in my opinion is Strode. Being attacked by Myers changed her life forever and she is living in constant fear. While watching this film I believe that she is ready to deal with her demon, but she’s fearful. She wants Myers out of her life for good and she is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve that goal.

As much as I would like to praise this film the dumb horror tropes are something to be frowned upon in this suspenseful sequel. I won’t get into specifics, but the classic questions pop into viewers heads while watching this film: “Why did he go in there?” “How did she trip?” “Why aren’t they running?”. It’s very frustrating because not all of the scenes are like that. Sometimes characters don’t deserve to die because they did something stupid they died because the antagonist was smarter than them. At the end of the day though I can’t really forgive the ways some particular characters lost their lives.

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As horror movies have evolved they generally have one thing in common and that’s jump scares. They are the fart jokes of comedy movies, just so expected and disappointing to see in a large abundance. While watching this film I didn’t think it was scary none of the scenes made me jump in terror. However, that’s fine I normally don’t react to most horror films. Ultimately though I think this movie could’ve been scarier if they didn’t rely on so many jump scares. The only thing worse than a jump scare is a jump scare everyone in the audience saw coming. In most horror movies that manage to scare their audiences the people watching most of the time didn’t expect what actually scared them to occur at the time it did. For example, if someone slowly opens a closet and the murderer is behind that door no one gets surprised. I don’t know if the director meant for this to be a terrifying film, but if that was his goal he did not achieve it.

In Conclusion, Halloween (2018) is just the change that this series needed. Rebooting after some terrible sequels sometimes are the perfect way to launch your series back into the limelight. Strode is the reason why I enjoy this movie as much as I do. She really holds the film together even at the slower parts of the film. This movie admittedly could’ve been scarier and there are some scenes that will upset you with a character’s actions. However, at the end of the day, I think this movie achieved its goal of bringing the Halloween series to a new generation, but also leaving enough for the audiences who saw where it all began.

Brad Miller

Spoiler Discussion: Avengers: Infinity War Takes the Superhero Genre to Places It’s Never Been

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Thanos Level Villains Are the Expectation Going Forward

Most superhero movies don’t have memorable villains, which is a shame. When Infinity War released it changed that reputation. That’s not to say that there are no good villains in superhero flicks, however the bad definitely outweighs the good. Thanos is a character that as an audience you want to hate, but you also realize he isn’t just evil in general. He’s attempting to save the universe, but he’s going about it in the wrong way.

Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War Official Trailer

On Titan, one of the best battles took place. Thanos possesses a weapon that makes him one of the most powerful beings in the universe. It was important to make it seem that he does have an insane amount of power. We haven’t seen that very often where we fear our heroes might not win the fight. Iron Man, Spiderman, Doctor Strange, Starlord, and Mantis all come together here to make an amazing battle sequence. This is the first time in the film, we see Thanos actually show off some of the impressive powers of his gauntlet. At one point he even drops a moon on Tony Stark which just shows he is so incredibly strong and that’s good. I think it’s important for the villains of these types of film to challenge the heroes. If there’s no challenge its hard to take the antagonist as a threat.
Marvel did not disappoint here at all with the ending of this movie either. They did something most people in the audience could not believe. Thanos wins and defeats our heroes. Once he gets all of the infinity stones half of the population gets wiped out. People begin to turn to dust and the Avengers cannot believe what they’re seeing. It left chills down my spine after the movie ended. I seriously was in shock, I expected a couple of deaths, but never did I think that the Avengers would lose the fight. On top of that, they end the film with so many questions to be answered. I’m sure this will make audiences flood the theatre when the next Avengers film comes out and I am truly excited for the sequel.

Review: Deadpool 2 the Prime Example for R-Rated Superhero Flicks

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Spoiler-free review: Deadpool 2 may take a while to get into the bloody action and the fourth wall breaking jokes. However, when it does this film easily proves why Deadpool belongs in the cinema.

For the past few years, it feels like Marvel has completely taken over the superhero movie audience. These movies while enjoyable also tend to have quite a lot in common. Deadpool shakes up that formula and it is very refreshing. Ryan Reynolds truly is Deadpool he has taken this character much further than most even anticipated. Only a few actors can make their face stick to a character and Reynolds surely gets that job done in this violent comedy.

The first film spends a lot of its runtime catching the viewer up with the current events of the film. This sequence ends up taking about one act away from the film which makes you feel like you aren’t getting anywhere. Deadpool 2 doesn’t have many long sequences the story flows well and doesn’t have that awkward period in the first film where there is just an overabundance of violence with no comedic sections.

The action in this movie is easily better than in the previous film. Deadpool 2 ties jokes even into the action which leaves audiences laughing even at the goriest moments. Other characters within the film make up for the fact Deadpool has no flashy powers. Black Panther suffered from this during its action sequences. there’s just nothing very special about a fist fight in a super suit. When audiences come to view superhero movies they want to see things they haven’t seen a billion times.

Deadpool 2 – Official Trailer 

In a film where your protagonist can break the fourth wall and can regenerate from almost everything, it’s hard to feel tense while they are in combat. You know Deadpool will get the job done so there’s not really any tension during the action sequences. That’s not a complaint either that’s just how this character works, however that means there must be a fine balance of comedy within the action. In this sequel, l it seems that they drop many more jokes than in the first. Even if all the jokes don’t land for you there’s a good amount throughout the whole film so you’ll most likely find yourself laughing at some point in this comedy.

If plot-heavy films are your preference this will not be the film for you. It is very all over the place and only in the third act do they focus on the antagonist of this film. The villain leaves a bit to be desired, however, they do give hope to a brighter future in the Deadpool franchise. In conclusion, Deadpool 2 does many things better than its predecessor. The pacing is improved, the action is certainly better, and the introduction of new characters leaves a bright future for the murk with a mouth.

Castlevania Maybe the Best Video Game Adaption Ever to see TV

At this point in time season one and two of Castlevania has been released on Netflix. To say these seasons live up to the hype would be an understatement. I watched season one a couple weeks ago and I did it in one session which only took about two hours. It felt like a test to see if the show would do well and obviously enough people liked it if season three plans are already in the making. I can’t wait for more episodes my one hope is that they can keep up this level of quality consistently.

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Something that I can truly appreciate about the plot is the simplicity of it all. This series begins with the tragic death of Dracula’s wife. She was the only human that he loved and she deemed the human race worthy of living. Once she is executed the extinction of the human race begins. It’s up to Trevor Belmont (Richard Armitage), Alucard (James Callis), and Sypha Belnades (Alejandra Reynoso) to defeat this great evil brought upon the land

The cooperation of Trevor, Alucard, and Sypha makes the show very enjoyable. When all three of these characters are on screen are the times I enjoy this series the most. Belmont is not a traditional hero, but he has the charm to make up for it. Alucard and Belmont’s relationship is also quite interesting as well. They don’t see eye to eye and I love it that way. They argue constantly, but at the end of the day, both of these individuals realize they need each other. You can’t forget about Belnades either because of an integral part of this trio. When it comes to combat I enjoy watching her the most because of her magic. Her relation with Belmont isn’t forced and I am incredibly grateful for that. Love stories tend to ruin a lot of different media so I’m glad that didn’t happen to this series.

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Conclusion

Shows that have origins tied to video games generally are not done justice. Castlevania has avoided that curse and turned out to be a pretty good watch. Looking back on what the series has done so far I look forward to seeing how our protagonists work together in future seasons. I have no doubt in my mind that this series has done well up to this point I am concerned for its future and if it can continue to be the best video game adaption in media.

My Top 5 Favorite Movies of 2018 (So Far)

A Great Year for the Cinema!

Going to movies has been a part of my day by day life since I was born. Attending movies with close friends and family is generally one of my favorite things to do. My hope is that as the years keep on coming by more and more great movies have time to shine. I was not disappointed by the movie industry this year either. I think my list will be quite different from most movie reviewers, but everyone has their own tastes. My hope is that at least one of you will be able to experience these films at least once.

5. Deadpool 2

I have been going to Marvel movies for the past few years and they seldom disappoint. That stays true for this surprisingly enjoyable sequel. In this outing, Deadpool meets a child mutant named Russell. Not long after that, a soldier from the future named Cable sets his eyes on Russell and plans to kill him. Now our favorite R rated superhero has to protect the child at all costs.

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What I loved so much about this film are the action and comedy. Most people that attend this film I’d like to imagine have a sense of humor. Without it, I don’t think you’ll enjoy this movie and that’s a shame. It is my belief that this sequel is an improvement over the original. Even if you didn’t enjoy this series first time on the big screen I’d advise you to give Deadpool 2 a chance.

4. Black Panther

It’s a bit weird to have two Marvel movies right next to each other but I had to put Black Panther on the list somewhere. This film picks up with T’Challa finally returning home after the death of his father. He now will take his rightful spot upon the throne of Wakanda. When a great enemy appears it forces T’Challa to put himself to the test to protect Wakanda, it’s people, and gain the full power of black panther.

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While I do love superhero flicks they tend to stick to the same pattern. I’m sure the general public realizes that but surprisingly these kinds of movies still do well. What I love so much about this title is the fact that the villain is actually good. There are times where I don’t want T’Challa to succeed because the antagonist has good motivation for his actions. It’s a breath of fresh air and I hope as more Marvel films come out the antagonists can continue to improve.

3. Incredibles 2

This film has been anticipated for over a decade. I’m happy to say that it does not disappoint. In Incredibles 2, our favorite crime-fighting family is back, but this time we Helen take the spotlight while Bob takes care of the kids. Of course, this ends up being incredibly tough for this superfamily and it only gets tougher trying to deal with the numerous uncontrollable powers their baby Jack-Jack possesses. Now a new threat is looming and it’ll take everyone to work together to find a way to come out on top.

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When I saw this film in theaters a big smile came out as the movie started. I had been waiting for this film like many others and I think the greatest part about this sequel is that it didn’t let down the general public. This is a good movie from its comedy to its action it beat my expectations for everything. The animation is mind-blowing as well and the style present makes me want to dive right back into the world of Incredibles.

2. A Quiet Place

The reason why I went to see this film is that John Krasinski directed and he starred in it. Since the office, I have loved to see him on screen and his performance in this movie is stellar. The setting of this film is in a post-apocalyptic world. Krasinski and his family are forced to live in silence to avoid the creatures running amok.

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If you missed watching this film in a theater I don’t think you’ll ever have the same feeling I did when I watched this movie. The complete and utter silence of everyone in that room made this one of the most surreal experiences I have ever had while in a theater. This movie uses natural sounds most of the time with not much-spoken dialogue. Because of this you truly get invested in the film and its intriguing as well. The movie isn’t about the monsters and going into this I had just thought this would be a film where the audience would just see the enemy tear humans to pieces. To say this was a surprise hit for me would be an understatement.

1. Avengers: Infinity War

Avengers: Infinity War, was easily my favorite movie experience in the last couple of years. In this film we see Iron Man, Captain America, and the rest of the Avengers battle their greatest foe yet, Thanos. The hunt for the infinity stones is on and with all of them, Thanos will be able to bring the universe to his knees. The fate of everything they hold dear depends on the Avengers stopping this powerful foe.

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This movie feels like the season finale of a tv show. There have been 19 movies leading up to this point and over the past decade, we have grown fondly of these characters. We feel their struggle and we want them to come out on top because we know them. If you tend to go to Marvel movies a lot you have seen all of these characters for hours and hours. It is my belief that this film is the best Marvel movie out there. With an amazing villain, engaging fight scenes, plenty of comedic moments, and just overall polish this film blows other superhero movies out of the water.

Conclusion

This year has seen some great films and I know I missed a lot of them. If you can’t tell I have a particular taste. I love comedies, action, and thrillers which do limit the kinds of movies I will see over the course of the year. I don’t normally watch horror movies, but when I did I saw A Quiet Place which became one of my favorite films this year. My list is probably very different from other reviewers, but I do implore you all to check out these films. At the end of the day leave your minds open to seeing movies you wouldn’t normally see that way you can have different experiences.

Review: With Incredibles 2, Pixar Brings Their “A” Game to This Much Anticipated Sequel

This film blows all expectations out of the water with its much-improved factors over the original. There are so many amazing moments in this movie. From Jack-Jack (Eli Fucile) having a somewhat epic battle with a raccoon to having Helen Parr (Holly Hunter) slingshot herself onto a train at full speed. Not to mention the animation upgrade is not to be ignored. The facial expressions and general look of the characters are improved greatly when looking back on the previous film. The balance between action and comedy is done so incredibly well it makes me think of Marvel films.

The film begins where the last ended off. Our heroes are faced with defeating the Underminer (John Ratzenberger). Although Bob Parr (Craig T. Nelson), Helen, Violet (Sarah Vowell), and Dash (Huck Milner) give the job their best effort plenty of damage is done to the city. After this incident, it truly looked dark for our heroes until they were given another chance. A man by the name of Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk) and his sister Evelyn Deavor (Catherine Keener) still have faith in superheroes. They want the public to also feel the same way that they do. Their plan is to have Helen otherwise known as Elastigirl to be the first super back in action. Mostly because she doesn’t leave much devastation in her wake. Thus, switching the roles from the first movie.

Incredibles 2 Official Trailer 

Now, Bob known as Mr. Incredible must stay at home and take care of the kids. This, of course, is a nice change of pace between action, drama, and comedy. The film hits all three of the categories without much trouble. Bob deals with relatable issues like helping Dash with math only to realize that the way they’re doing it in school is different from the way he learned it growing up. There are boy issues with Violet and the discovery of all the crazy types of powers Jack-Jack possesses. All of these combine to give a touching story about a family and is not only enjoyable to watch its relatable in many ways.

While this sequel did come out 14 years later the overall feel of the film is very vintage. At particular times in the movie, there are conflicts where I feel like I’m watching a 70’s superhero show. Its nostalgic, but they don’t shy away from darker themes not seen in movies or shows from that era. Deaths took place in this film and that’s not something I expected. While I think that the creators obviously want to appeal to the older audiences who grew up with the original. I don’t think that bringing very young children to the film is wise. While I don’t believe it should be rated PG-13 there is a little language you might not want a three-year-old to hear.

In conclusion, our heroes make this film what it is. Helen brings the great action to the film in a way we’re not used to seeing. She isn’t using her super strength to defeat her foes she’s outthinking them and using her powers to the best of her ability. While I don’t believe they used Lucius (Samuel L. Jackson) as much as I think they should, he does deliver with general care for the Parr family and his powers truly shine on the big screen. As for the rest of the family of heroes when brought together they are a sight to behold. All supers in this film can hold their own, but when they come together on the big screen there’s just nothing like it.

10/10
– Brad Miller