Is Netflix’s Bird Box Worthy of the Buzz it’s Receiving? Movie Review

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In this world, suddenly hundreds of thousands of people begin committing suicide at an alarming rate. The cause of this are these mysterious creatures that when seen causes the individual to take their own life. A woman named Malorie (Sandra Bullock) must go on a dangerous quest for the benefit of her and the children she must protect. Her journey has the chance to bring her to a safe haven, but the only way to get there is by not having her sight.

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Interesting Premise

This film isn’t revolutionary in terms of a plot, but it is interesting to see how things unfold. Time is not wasted getting into the post-apocalyptic setting it happens quite fast in fact. We see plenty of deaths just at the start, and I think most people are just wondering what’s going on. Why are people killing themselves? Why do these people stop responding when they see these creatures? There’s a lot of questions that don’t get answered until much later in the film and it can be pretty annoying.

The survivors stay inside their homes because the creatures cannot get to them there. This leads to much of this film taking place in one location. Which wouldn’t be so bad if the cast wasn’t the everyday horror movie characters. You have the old man who everyone thinks is a jerk, but he’s the most intelligent in the group. You have the comic relief nerdy character along with the person who thinks everyone is doomed from the very start. I don’t hate the cast because a few of the characters stick out in a good way, however many of them didn’t add anything to the film.

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People Don’t Act Like This in Real Life

In most horror movies I’d say that the characters make their fair share of dumb mistakes. In recent history, I’ve started seeing that less and less especially in Halloween (2018). When characters died in that film it was mostly because they were outsmarted not because they made it easy for Michael Myers. I wish I could say the same about this film. In Bird Box, there were a handful of characters who actually made smart choices and the plot was only pushed forward because of the mistakes made by certain individuals in the film.

The Cast

During this review, I haven’t given the good parts of the cast much recognition and they did deliver at the end of the day. Tom (Trevante Rhodes) played a pretty big role in this film. From his protective nature over Malorie and leader like qualities he quickly became one of my favorites. Douglas (John Malkovich) stood out to me as well. He’s definitely not a very nice guy, but he knows what must be done. His acting skills also elevated this otherwise by the book’s character. Then, of course, Malorie was consistent throughout the film. I felt her need to want to protect her children. She’s strong as well, but not in an annoying way. Movies will make the impossible possible for the protagonist, but I don’t believe they made her practically a superhero or anything of that sort.

Conclusion

This movie isn’t quite what it’s hyped up to be, but it’s not a bad film. Some of the cast really sticks out and make the film better overall. Bullock had the leading role and crushed it as the protagonist. She really made the character her own and I couldn’t see many other people being able to outperform her. The movie’s downfall is the basic character traits as well as being a bit too confusing. There are just things that are never explained throughout the film. To top it off there are many coincidences that push the plot forward and there doesn’t seem to be a clear path this movie would’ve taken if most of the characters had acted like they had common sense.

Verdict 6 out of 10 Stars

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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

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.

 

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.

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