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Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning (2021)

Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning (2021)

 


7/10


Starring

Takeru Satoh

Kasumi Arimura

Issey Takahashi

Nijirō Murakami


Directed by Keishi Ōtomo


(if you have not seen Rurouni Kenshin: The Final, this review contains spoilers)


I enjoyed this movie more than I did Rurouni Kenshin: The Final. Here we get to have fun watching the beginning of everything. Another plus for those who live for blood and gore in their movies will be this time we get to see Battusai slash people and they die and some of the killings were brutal. This is not like the previous movies where they just roll on the ground in pain. There is blood spillage in this flick. What thrills me most is the fight choreography, viewers are in for a treat and will love his movements and the movements of those he goes up against.

I for one did not like the long pauses in the movie sometimes Himura was just too quiet in the scenes he was in, it was weird. But I guess that is his character, but it is more enjoyable when he is playing the quiet samurai against the wonderful team from the previous three Kenshin films . Another thing I did not like was, they made him a softy someone who was opposed to the killing, which he seem to be a pro at doing. His opposition to it was not the problem, it was the way the movie made the character go sit morose that I did not fancy.

The movie plot sheds more light to the previous movie before it Rurouni Kenshin: The Final. Kenshin is working as an assassin for the Choshu clan who want to end the Tokugawa shogunate. During such an assassin run he comes up against a man who gives him his first cut on the check, as the man’s will to live surpassed Kenshin’s understanding. From there he meets a lady Tomoe whom he befriends and develops feelings for. Their clan was betrayed by someone from the inside and the shogunate almost kills everyone of their clan. The group disbanded with Kenshin on the run with Tomoe, they hide in one of the Choshu safehouse. Soon we discover there is more to even Tomoe than Kenshin knows. Plus, the battle to overturn the Tokugawa shogunate coincides with another battle to assassinate Kenshin.

This movie, Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning is the last movie of the set (I think) and the fifth movie to star Takeru Satoh as Himura Kenshin. As this movie focuses more on what made Himura Battusai and what led to him being a wanderer, you can set this movie as a prequel to everything we have seen in the four previous movies. The only character from the other movies we get to see is Yosuke Eguchi who plays Saito.

This movie was produced along side Rurouni Kenshin: The Final and you if you recall clips from the previous movie which showed us the death of Tomoe, well you can see the full story here.

The movie is available for streaming on Netflix and a nice addition to the Rurouni Kenshin five movie thriller.

Jungle Cruise (2021)

Jungle Cruise (2021)

 


5/10

Starring

Dwayne Johnson

Emily Blunt

Édgar Ramírez

Jack Whitehall


Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra


Well, Walt Disney made the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise based on a theme park ride which made them hundreds of millions, so why do they not try with another ride, Jungle Cruise.

The movie takes all the necessary steps to make sure it follows everything you have seen in all jungle adventure movies, there are no surprises in this flick. As a whole the movie is watchable, but there is no need to jump over any table to go see it. Because in comparison to any other good movie, it fails.

The movie seems to borrow its setup from The Mummy (the one of Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz). In this movie we have this brother and sister pair Lily (Emily Blunt) and MacGregor (Jack Whitehall) go out in search with a guide named Frank, who seem to know the terrain like the back of his hand.

Lily is the strong adventurous type who is in search for the Tree of Life which is believed to have healing abilities. She is a Botany graduate and wants to find and study the tree’s healing abilities. MacGregor is her brother who is also a smart, but just not as strong willed and passionate like Lily. Their search led them to meet Frank (Dwayne Johnson) who drives a beat-up almost dead steam boat and does tours of the Amazon jungle with it. They hired Frank to guide them on this adventure, while being chased by a German who seem to have unlimited amount of resources. Lily stole an artifact from the German who too was seeking out the Tree of Life.

The screenplay/story is all soggy and the editing not the best is have seen from Disney. For example the whole stunt double for Blunt, it was easy to spot when it was a stunt double and when it was Blunt, each time. And get ready for CGI overload.

The movie does some boat stunts that just looks like something you will see in the Fast and the Furious franchise, if the franchise used boats not cars.

That said, the onscreen chemistry between Johnson and Blunt is undeniably sweet even though the story and the adventure journey is mediocre. But their love connection takes a back seat like three rows back to that of The Mummy. Unlike The Mummy, where the feelings were built on the challenges they faced and the fear of death. Here, the movie takes a fifteen minutes hiatus to just have Lily and Frank alone together doing nothing else but bond. That fifteen minutes was a long daft waste of screen time and added to the boredom. It is hard to suspend common sense when you have seen such romantic pairing done better numerous times over.

So Jungle Cruise is on Disney+, I have the feeling that Disney is hoping to make a franchise out of this like they did Pirates of the Caribbean.

Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans (2021)

Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans (2021)


3/10


Starring the voices of

Emile Hirsch

Lexi Medrano

Charlie Saxton

Kelsey Grammer

Fred Tatasciore


Directed by Johane Matte, Francisco Ruiz Velasco and Andrew Schmidt


I guess I probably expected too much. When you are watching a TV series there is a lot of time to build on characters and create deep wells of suspense. When you got an hour and a half to bring to a conclusion everything and everyone you have built up for three seasons, I guess it can be hard.

What I believe Guillermo Del Toro and others did here was take ideas they had for a fourth season and cramp them all up here. There is no character depth to the new characters we meet and the beginning does not give you the needed build up on what is happening now and where we are at the present.

I liked the idea that other things have happened since the last time we saw Jim and his friends, but we were thrown straight to the end of the world scenario and at one time I felt overwhelmed with all that was happening.

The moment you catch your breath in this movie, you discover that the new foes are three magical beings known as the Arcane Order. The three at first stopped Jim and destroyed his magical Trollhunter amulet. One of the three Nari, then joined up with the good guys while the other two hunt her down to use her power to raise the Titans that will bring about the end of the world.

The movie wastes no time as we see the other two arcane order attack a train where Nari with her friends Douxie and Archie were. The Trollhunter and his now big team of friends come to their aid. They had a plan which involved defeating the arcane duo with a device which stops magic, things did not go as planned and Nari (well her body with Douxie in it) got captured.

Unlike the other members of his team which took on the arcane duo, Jim was now just human and got really injured. When the arcane duo found out the deception that Nari was not in her body, they broke the spell and swap her back. Before she left, she gave Jim and the others the clue needed to remake the amulet.

Now this is where you will think my brain is thinking too much.

Why did she say this now?

She could have given them this clue way earlier which would have helped Jim get his amulet working again. But the world has to be at the end of its existence and she has to be miles away to explain her clue leaving the others to try and decipher what she said. While also trying to save her and then try to save the world.

The best way to sum this movie up will be too much happened at just way too fast speed to make this movie matter. I had no issue with the end, which kind of undid everything that has happened right from season 1, but I think the movie could have been done better with a little more focus and less characters.

Gunpowder Milkshake (2021)

Gunpowder Milkshake (2021)

 


6/10

Starring

Karen Gillan

Lena Headey

Carla Gugino

Chloe Coleman

Michelle Yeoh

Angela Bassett

Paul Giamatti


Directed by Navot Papushado


(contains mild spoilers)

I enjoyed this movie more than I thought I would and I was expecting a lot of cliché movie theories, but the movie decided to skip that and just allow us enjoy. When it comes to having female leads, you kind of expect all sugar and spice, females come together colorful setting (Legally Blonde always comes to mind). Or neon filled intense power play like Charlize Theron in Atomic Blonde.

The movie is all action blazing, guns shooting and all kinds of John Wick feels. As our leads try to make the best decision concerning a situation she was dropped into. Our lead moves with the drive of Atomic Blonde with some dash of sister love.

I guess the only thing I did not get to understand about the movie is the death of one of the female leads. I wanted for the best of things for her to make it through to the end. My surprise when that was not the case.

The movie is directed and co written by Navot Papushado, someone I do not know. But Netflix has already agreed to a sequel to be done.

The plot of this one introduces us to hired killer, Sam (Karen Gillan). Who was sent to kill two guys, but in the end killed a bunch of people on her way out of the job. One of the people she killed happens to be the son of a boss, who now wants retribution.

We get to understand that Sam’s life is similar to that of her mother Scarlet (Lena Headey) who was also a hired killer, by the same people which Sam now works for. Scarlet has been underground for fifteen years, staying away from Sam because she too killed someone she was not supposed to. In her case though, she did it knowingly. Sam was sent on another job to retrieve money stolen from her company by their accountant, she was to retrieve and kill the man. She got to the man shot him, only to discover he stole the money because his daughter’s life Emily, was in danger. Sam felt obliged to save the young eight-year-old. This rescue caused the company to loose all the money Sam was to retrieve and now they were vexed and handed her location to the boss who wanted revenge.

Sam ran with Emily to a supposed safe haven where she met her mother. Their reunion was cut short by the men trailing her then the three went to a library ran by three ladies Madeline, Florence and Anna May. Scarlet had not seen them since she left fifteen years before.

I will stop her to leave you to go watch the movie and see how Sam and the ladies handled the challenges that came looking for them.

Space Jam: A New Legacy (2021)

Space Jam: A New Legacy (2021)

 


2/10


Starring

Starring

LeBron James

Don Cheadle

Khris Davis

Sonequa Martin-Green


Directed by Malcolm D. Lee


This is just as good as a bad b-movie, it is boring and horrid. In summary: The movie tries all possible ways of producing family love feelings with the hope of pulling our tears. Now with bad acting, bad directing and a useless script what you finally get is a cringy movie that adds up to a bad b-movie.

This movie changed my perspective of the first Space Jam movie back in 96. I have a new found respect for Michael Jordan’s acting and thanks to his crap the old Space Jam is now a classic. I felt Space Jam ‘96 had a not so good story line, but wait until you see this one.

Twenty-one minutes in and the whole “Hey Siri! can you let us out of her please” scene was such bad acting, bad writing and chaotic directing, that I knew I was in it. My money has just caught fire and gone up in smoke.

One thing this movie has over Space Jam ‘96 is the graphics.

The new Space Jam movie is a standalone sequel to the Space Jam ‘96. Like the first Space Jam, the whole point of a basketball game is useless.

LeBron James seems to be into handheld games as a child, but grew up to be the man we know him today. His son seem to be just like the father, into handheld games and even designed one of his own to showcase at the upcoming E3 event. LeBron wants his son Dom, to be a good basketball player like he is and wants him to go to basketball camp which causes a rift between the two as the E3 event and the camp were on the same weekend.

Back in Warner Bros, they seem to have left control and management of the huge Time Warner company to an AI who calls himself King Al G Rhythm (Don Cheadle). Al G wanted to become famous and based on his calculations if he can get to work with LeBron he can make this happen. He came up with an idea termed Warner 3000, where they can digitize LeBron into any movie or role they want. LeBron passed on the idea and that hurt the feelings of Al G. He captures Dom and LeBron into his ServerVerse (digitizing them in) and plans to keep LeBron there if LeBron was unable to beat him in a basketball game, which will be shown to the world. Al holds Dom hostage to make sure LeBron agrees. Then he dumps LeBron into the Tune’s verse to go recruit players for the upcoming basketball match between the two.

In summary don’t see this movie it is not worth your time or money.

Space Jam (1996)

Space Jam (1996)


6/10


 Staring

Michael Jordan

Billy West

Dee Bradley Baker

Danny DeVito

 

Directed by Joe Pytka

 

(contains mild spoilers)

Space Jam was the 90s happy place, it was like a blend of various good ideas, with the main star being at that time one of the most recognized people on screen. The Nike ads from the 90s of Bugs Bunny and Michael Jordan was the starting point of the Space Jam idea. We almost did not have this movie when Jordan retired in 93, but his return to the game in 95 brought back the idea and we will always be thankful for his return. In the case of the blend between live-action and animation, Warner Bros did not do fantastically well and more of the praise should go to the Jordan. He managed to deliver a top-notch performance for someone who was not a seasoned actor and was never going to be. Even though I felt the animation was a little to slapstick and seemed like they could have stepped it up better, it is ignorable with the ideas that merged everything. The story in this movie is not the best they could have come up with, but Space Jam will forever be one of those 90 movies, that everyone saw.

The plot is about aliens. These aliens whose theme park was going out of business because the park was dull. They decided to go catch the Looney Tunes characters and bring them to their planet and use them as a sort of side attractions. The owner of the park Mr. Swackhammer then sends his minions to abduct the Looney Tunes. The Tunes were able to come to an agreement with these minions to go willingly if there were to lose in a basketball match. The catch was: the minions were small and stocky, and it looked like a magical idea. The minions agreed and sorted out the top basketball players in the NBA, Jordan at that time had retired. They marked Charles Barkley, Shawn Bradley, Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson, and Muggsy Bogues and used their alien powers to steal their basketball talents.

Here is something about movies like this that I do not get. You are aliens with the ability to capture the Tunes, you have won already. But this will not be a sports movie without any sports so instead of the aliens to just take their hostage, they decided to play games with them.

They came back to the Tunes now huge, six-foot plus and able to play the hell out of basketball. The Tunes were in trouble, so using their own set of skills they were able to get Jordan into their world, by lassoing him down a hole when he was playing golf with Bill Murrray. Bugs explains the situation to Jordan hoping he can come and help them. Jordan at first refuses, but upon seeing the aliens now calling themselves Monstars, he changed his mind. He decided to help play and train the Tunes to stop the Monstars.

Space Jam was one of the first movies to be shot in an entire green screen, as Jordan had to work with other basketball players and actors in green suits. Space Jam had some very amazing soundtrack when the movie came out, songs that blasted through the radio in the 90s reaching the top of the charts. The soundtrack got a six-times platinum certification.

In 2021, a standalone sequel was done and this time the Basketball player in focus is LeBron James.

Here Today (2021)

Here Today (2021)


8/10


Starring

Billy Crystal

Tiffany Haddish


Directed by Billy Crystal


Only ventured to see this movie because Billy Crystal’s name was all over it. Not only did he star in it, he co-wrote and co-produced the film, plus directing it. The chemistry between him and Tiffany Haddish plays hard on this being the fun loving joy. This movie is funny, heartwarming and if you are not careful it would make you shed a tear. Here Today is a comedy-drama movie about a popular well established comedy writer who is suffering from dementia and is hiding it from everyone. The magic of this movie is watching their unplanned meeting, turn into a friendship which turned out to be the one thing Charlie (Crystal) needed.

The plot starts with a feeling that there is something wrong with Charlie, whose wife is late. We get invited to a flash back scene where he is being asked to identify himself. Charlie at present is working on a popular show and even though he is not heading the writing staff, or contributing much to the show his input and experience is what he brings to the table. He was to have lunch with someone who won him at an auction. It was there he met Emma (Haddish) who came to the lunch after stealing her ex’s ticket. She does not know who Charlie is, but knows her ex worships him and sees him as his idol, and wanted to deny him the privilege.

At the lunch after introducing each other and explaining how they both got there, Emma had to be rushed to the hospital because she suffered an allergic reaction. Charlie had to pay the bills out-of-pocket because she did not have insurance and Emma promised to pay him back in installment. It was unplanned visits to deliver her payments in batches that led to them forming a friendship (not a romantic one), where she became the first person outside his doctors to know he has dementia. We get to see how the family takes the friendship and watch as Charlie’s condition gets worse.

I don’t have to talk about the acting, because everyone played to the power of their person, which made them fit so well for their roles. I guess that’s the power of good casting, the plot of the movie is well written not to twist and turn you here and there. You are watching as the lines fall into place as the people around Charlie come to understand his challenges.

The movie is easy to recommend for comedy-drama lovers, and also fans of either Crystal or Haddish.