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Secret Society of Second-Born Royals (2020)

Secret Society of Second-Born Royals (2020)



5/10


Starring

Peyton Elizabeth Lee

Niles Fitch

Isabella Blake-Thomas

Olivia Deeble


Directed by Anna Mastro


With a mouthful of a title, this superhero movie is filled with tamed special effects. The director must have planned this for Disney Channel fans. Because even young adults who have seen MCU movies will not find this at all good enough to be impressed.

This is mainly because the whole movie felt like an elongated pilot. It is what would happen if you drop Lizzy McGuire and her friends in a world of superheroes, and gave them powers.

You would feel with the likes of Marvel under their belt Disney will not feel the need of making another superhero movie, even if it is just for Disney+. They have so many titles under the Marvel banner to choose from and so many stories to explore. Let us be real, Disney has made more than ten films under the PG-13 radar and they have been full of class, this movie fails in comparison.

Made especially for children, this movie introduces us to a world where we discover that second born royals have superpowers. The movie’s focus is Sam, who hates being a royal and is a rebel in many ways than not. After getting busted for a rebellious act she was sent to summer school, getting there she meets other second born royals and they were told, they all have powers.

We are then introduced to their teacher/mentor who has to train them on how to use and develop their powers. The summer class is filled with the stereotypical students you will expect from a teen movie as this, and please shelf your idea of thrill, because this is a cheesy setup, filled with all layers of cliché and guessable plot. Except Sam’s mothers role in the whole secret society, that I did not expect. Even the backstabbing I was waiting for, just did not know which member of this second born society will be the perpetrator.

The movie has an hour long training session, talk about not knowing what to do when you have introduced the actors. Director Anna Mastro made us watch these teens train for so long, which did not in the end add up when the bad guy showed up. The way the bad guy was dealt with and the events surrounding his accomplish, I felt like I had just watched a TV series pilot and a below par one at that.

The bad guy in this movie happens to be after Sam’s mother for revenge, which you have to really want to see this movie to know what this is all about.

The movie ended with them on another mission, I just hope Disney will save us the pain and keep that mission to themselves thank you.


You can catch this movie streaming on Disney+.


The Devil All the Time (2020)

The Devil All the Time (2020)




5/10



Starring

Tom Holland

Bill Skarsgård

Riley Keough

Jason Clarke


Directed by Antonio Campos


The Devil All the Time is a mixture of many stories revolving around a singular character (Arvin, played by Tom Holland). Filled with magnificent acting and prolonged situations – this movie is one of the most well acted, tedious and yet watchable movie you can catch on Netflix.

The movie carries on a dull tone which added to the over two hours run-time can be wearisome. The complexity to which the plot is woven around the many lives is worth applauding, but the actions of the characters can be unnerving.

As with the name of the movie so are the characters, everyone either had some weird moral depravity or were a victim to someone’s moral depravity.


The movie starts with a brief intro and then plunges us to witness a young boy (Arvin) crying and pleading as his father sacrifice his dog to God to save his dying mother. The same boy ended up an orphan which added to what he saw happen to his dog, he was screwed up from the start mentally.

There is also a young lady who is with another religious nutty like Arvin’s dad, she too faces a tragedy and leaves her daughter behind. Her daughter and Alvin grew up as orphans in the same home, the girl grew up to be pious, attracting bad biff. But her naivety with another religious nut (like mother like daughter) led to a colossal tale of death, to which Alvin was somehow involved.

Those are not the only crazy things this movie has, we have a serial killer and his woman who go about serial killing. A very silly Sheriff of a town who has no respect for his position.

There is a lot going on in this movie to have your attention, problem is with all that attention I still found the movie tedious and at times boring. The movie is based on a 2011 Gothic, crime book of the same name by Donald Ray Pollock. Pollock also serves as the narrator in this film. The movie does not stray from the book’s plot.

You can catch this movie on Netflix. I did not find seeing the movie worth my time, even though the acting in the movie is worth noting. I do believe films like this will do best on Netflix and not the cinemas.

The movie boast of an ensemble cast which can draw many to see it, but I feel the director wasted the power of his cast.

Smokey and the Bandit (1977)


Smokey and the Bandit (1977)


5/10


Starring
Burt Reynolds
Sally Field
Jerry Reed
Jackie Gleason


Directed by Hal Needham


The movie starts well, and we are invested in the idea of these two trying to get alcohol from one state to another at a set time. The two are Bandit (Burt Reynolds) and his sidekick Snowman (Jerry Reed). Bandit was approached by a wealthy Texan and his son to bootleg 400 cases of beer for their refreshment in 28 hours, across states.
That was the initial idea the movie plants, then the whole suspense of that ride is buried in so much dust and car chases that you wonder if the suspense of the time element mattered at all. Add to that, me not knowing when the time starts and how much time was left, further removed the suspense of that.

When the two set off to accompany this feat and pocket $80,000, they had a set plan which was sidetracked. Snowman was driving the truck and Bandit a black Pontiac Trans Am. Since the truck was going to be speeding, Bandit was to use his speed car to serve as a distraction to the cops.
The sidetrack was Bandit being flagged down by a woman in a wedding dress. Carrie (Sally Field), the runaway bride hitches a ride with Bandit, and makes him a target of Sheriff Buford T. Justice.
The Sheriff and his son from another state are chasing her down.
Since she is in Bandit's car, the chase was now between the two men, with the Sheriff going beyond his jurisdiction to catch Carrie.
While all this car chasing is going on, the Bandit also has to keep a watch out and get the attention of the other officers on their route away from the speeding truck.

The comedy after a while losses its flair as it continues to recycle the same kind of scenes, with the Bandit getting into a close corner and being aided by other truckers. After a while it was expected.
Nonetheless, the movie has enough juice to keep you glued and you can easily guess that this was a B-movie, stretched to a mainstream one. As the movie touts car chases with unrealistic ends and stunts and with little plot substance and the story seem to take a back seat to the car chases.
The movie was a huge box office success making over 60 times its production cost, and many wasted attempt producing sequels that don’t meet up to this original.

I can tick this off my list that I have seen this movie, even though I do not see the reason it is highly rated.

Mannequin (1987)

Mannequin (1987)


3/10


Starring
Andrew McCarthy
Kim Cattrall
Estelle Getty
G. W. Bailey


Directed by Michael Gottlieb


The movie is so bad, but yet you get this odd urge to know how it will end. Sadly when that happens you still know this is one of the worst comedies you have seen
I wonder how the writer thought this was a good idea, he must have felt he had a classic in his hands because he also went on to direct this sleep-inducing film.
The movie starts with a massive plot hole in the beginning and then delves into the unreasonable and makes a home there. Do not try and put things together when watching this movie, or try to make sense of the stupidity going on, if you are going to see it, just do.

Mannequin starts off in Ancient Egypt with princess Emmy refusing to settle down and prays to the gods to save her from this. The next thing we see in an earthquake like divine intervention and the princess vanish. Now in present day 1987, a young man Jonathan who has a desire to be a sculptor finds it difficult to keep a job. He lost his job at a mannequin making factory for spending too much time being artistry on a female mannequin. Through his days from then on we see him, go through numerous jobs also getting fired because of his desire of being too artistry with the simplest things.
After a string of bad things on a day, he passes department store and sees the last mannequin he made, which he spent so much time on, and calls it his greatest masterpiece. The next day he saves the owner of the store and gets a job at the store.

That night when he was working with a co-worker to design a shop window, the mannequin he last made and adored comes to life as Emmy. Emmy says she has existed for centuries, appearing to various great artists as a muse, and can only be visible to him alone. To the surprise of everyone in the store, the window Jonathan designed with the aid of Emmy became a popular window, attracting people to the store, making Jonathan popular as a great window dresser. As every window he and Emmy does becomes a hit.
As you can guess, this lady has been alive for thousand of years as a muse to many artist, but it is now she finds the perfect man and falls for him as he does her.
The challenges in the movie is his ex who works for a rival company to his present one and the company has a spy in the store who is doing everything to sabotage the store. Jonathan’s great job as a window designer is bringing shoppers to his store, undermining the task of the rival store.

As far as acting goes, only Kim Cattral seems to be in full flight. Special effect wise, the movie doesn’t have much to offer in that regard. The only thing about this movie that stands out to me is the music it gave us, Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now by Starship. Love that song.
In the end, regardless of how silly this movie was, it ended up being a commercial success, in fact a huge one which led the studio to order a second part. And as you can assume, that was a dud, nobody was going to pay money again to see what happens next or another retelling of a mannequin like tale.

Seeing this movie is not a good idea.

Mulan (2020)


Mulan (2020)


7/10


Starring
Liu Yifei
Donnie Yen
Jason Scott Lee
Jet Li


Directed by Niki Caro


Disney’s Mulan live-action has action scenes that will have you in awe, the cinematography is out of this world and the fight sequences are magnificent. Yes, I missed Mushu. And the screenplay is not up to that of the 1998 Disney animation to which it was based, but this is a very nerve wracking movie made beautifully.
What Disney did here was to replace all the Mushu moments with drama, the movie has enough drama to last you the viewer all September. The director Niki Caro did her best is the way she shaped this movie to make the lack of Mushu not to be so pronounced.
I enjoyed how they made her smart and allowed her to survive an attack from a rival because she was a woman. That turning point in the movie starts an hour in when she embraced herself for who she is, from then forth the movie changed gear. They stepped up the engagement that I totally forgot myself for a moment and was moving with her like it was me fighting.

If you have seen the Disney animation Mulan, you know already what will happen. Instead of a Mushu guiding her, we have a phantom phoenix doing the job.

The plot starts with us meeting a young Mulan able to do amazing things because of her connection with her chi (yeah, the movie is about some going against gravity effects). She is seen as someone who will bring disgrace to her family and needs to be married out. Mulan we discover is a good fighter and graceful with acrobatics.


The Rourans are attacking China and aiming for the Emperor. He made a decree for every family to volunteer one man for this war. Mulan stole her father’s armour and sword to claim his place. Her father was already a war hero, but he is old and has a bad leg. He had taken up the call to go fight but Mulan seeing her frail father, disguised as a man and took his place.
There she trained to be a warrior and has to deal with the challenges her lie has brought. All this while the army she is in is facing the Rourans. How the truth got out and how it was managed as the life of the Emperor was at risk is the who nerve wracking moments this movie packs.

In the end, this will be my fourth favorite Disney Live action after Cinderella (2015), The Jungle Book (2016) and Alice in Wonderland (2010).

When it comes to casting, the movie does not go all out seeking A-list actors to make its point, even the casting of Donnie Yen and Jet Li were in supporting roles to the leading lady, Liu Yifei.
Her later actions in support of China over Hong Kong has led many to ask for this film to be boycotted, but I say this is a fantastic movie so see it regardless.

Mulan’s release has been pushed back numerous times because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Disney deciding to release it this way as a Video-On-Demand on their streaming platform Disney+ I guess was a financial risk needed. It is left to see if this movie breaks even, with it being reported that Disney will need up to ten million paid views for this to happen.

Based on how much I enjoyed this film, I can but wish them all the best. Mulan is a good to see even with the young ones. Rated PG-13.

Freaks: You’re One of Us (2020)

 Freaks: You’re One of Us (2020)

 


3/10

 

Starring
Finnlay Berger
Thelma Buabeng
Gisa Flake


Directed by Felix Binder

 

The best definition for disappointment is this Germain film Freaks: You’re One of Us. I watched it with a lot of expectation although not expecting it to be like an MCU film or even a DCEU, but something close to The Old Guard. The movie seems to have so much potential at the start, but instead delve into a wasteful plot of two people with powers just being a nuisance to themselves and everyone.

This German movie would have made more sense if the director did not focus solely on turning this supposed sci-fi thriller to some sort of romantic jealous flick. The acting started to take a dive long before the plot did, with only the leading lady holding her own.

Not much to see in terms of special effects, it was too obvious when she was messing up bikes that the movie did not have enough budget. The camera just zoomed in on her face and zoomed out when she was done, very annoying.

The movie’s plot starts with the introduction of Wendy, a little girl who seems to be in the mix of some tragedy. A lady comes to get her and later in the future that little girl is now married with a son of her own. Their home is facing foreclosure due to lack of payment and she is seeking promotion at her office so as to make more money.

She was approached by a homeless man who told her she was special and that if she wants to see how special she was, she is to stop taking the pills given to her from childhood.

You can guess, she did and noticed she has powers, it is from here the movie went silly. She approached a work mate who is also using the pills (somehow she knew, I missed how she knew that) and she told him to stop. There was a funny attraction going on between the two and it was just annoying and seemed baseless. From there the movie became so silly I felt like puking.

You can catch this movie on Netflix and do not expect to be blown away. It seems like a lazy attempt to make a superhero movie, with an ending that is more ridiculous than I guess the director thought it will be.

I do wish I did not see this movie, so I cannot recommend that you should. Probably go watch The Old Guard again if you feel like seeing a superhero movie not done by Marvel or DC.

Super 8 (2011)

Super 8




8/10




Starring
Kyle Chandler
Elle Fanning
Joel Courtney
Gabriel Basso
Noah Emmerich


Directed by J.J. Abrams


If you've delayed in watching this Sci-Fi flick, then you are behind in all that's good this summer.

Super 8, is a classical Sci-fi movie, where all the alien wants, is just to go home.

Written and directed by J.J. Abrams, and produced by Spielberg himself, Super 8 is a guaranteed eye opener to the wonders that can be done, without using A-list actors.
The director’s projection of the movie, will keep you glued to your sit, as all the excitement starts to unveil. The suspense of the movie is killing and the drama is overwhelming entertaining.

Set in the late 70’s, the director found a way to keep you guessing how four (4) kids are going to succeed in an unimaginable quest.

The movie takes your mind back to Spielberg’s movies in the 70’s and 80’s, and as he did for E.T, who just wanted to go home, so did our alien, he just wanted to go home.

The continuity in this movie is an example for others to follow. How to keep, two events going in such a way that they tie together and separate again and still keep the audience attention without losing them on the way till all the events summed up to one.

Plot: Six kids come together to make a movie about zombies, when they witness a train crash, this led to a trail of events where you are watching these kids go about making their movies and the deputy of the town (since the Sheriff was nowhere to be found), trying his best to investigate what caused the crash and what it was all about, because the Air Force seems all too interested in this crash and are being to secretive for it to be just a mere crash.

Things took a turn for the worse when people starts to go missing, and electronic gadget and car engines starts to vanish, while all this is going on our band of kids are still hard at making their movie.

Then it happens one of them gets taking by the alien, and four of the remaining five decides to go save their missing comrade. The fifth guy reason for not going in the mission that could mean the end of their lives was, and I quote:

“I wanna live okay”

So our four heroes, joined by a stoned driver throw caution in the wind to go save their friend.

The visual effect of the movie is nice and at the end while the credit is going on we get to watch a 5 mins clip of the movie our band of six was making.

Will advice you go see this movie and not be taken back by the name, in the end, the got to finish making their film.

The Sleepover (2020)

 

The Sleepover (2020)



6/10


Starring
Sadie Stanley
Maxwell Simkins
Cree Cicchino
Lucas Jaye
Ken Marino
Joe Manganiello
Malin Åkerman


Directed by Trish Sie

I guess there are some peps in just sitting through a movie without having an idea what it is supposed to be about. That will be ruined now for anyone reading this review before seeing the movie, so sorry.

The movie is very captivating, it gives out the Spy Kids vibe only this time I seem to be more engaged. The plot is clean, the comedy is homely and the movie created characters with so much energy that you have to be calm on their behalf. No overly stuffed special effect and action sequences (not saying that there isn’t any) like you’d see in Spy Kids. The plot is written to make things look down to earth and not over the top in all most cases.

The movie is well written from my view to keep you curious on one thing, “what will happen when these children finally get to mum and dad, who have been kidnapped.”

The movie plot introduces us to the Finchs, a family composed of mother and father, Margot and Ron with their two children. The eldest child is a girl named Clancy and the youngest a very overly excited boy, Kevin. As usual the children believe their parents are not cool, especially Clancy who is having issues with her mother. Their major clash seems to pertain on Margot not allowing Clancy to have the usual teenage experience. She seems to want to protect her from probably everything.

After a mother and daughter fight, which resulted in Clancy being grounded she and her best friend Mim, decided to sneak out and go for Clancy’s crush birthday party. That night Kevin’s friend Lewis was having a sleepover at Kevin and the two were at the backyard camping. During the boys camping the girls sneaked out and were just chilling in the boy’s tent when Lewis went in to pee. It was there he saw Margot being called Mathilde by two people who broke into the house, she and Ron were now drugged and kidnapped. Before being drugged Margot left something behind for her kids to find. Lewis tells the others, then in comes a man (which the four jumps) claiming to be an officer.

They see the clue she left behind and decided to go find their parents with the help of Mim and Lewis. What I really enjoyed about this movie is how things kept going wrong with the kidnapped couple and how the children were smart and very lucky enough to keep up with the trail left behind by their mother.

The Sleepover is on Netflix and it is something you will enjoy seeing with the children. The movie is tasty and does not try to bore you with needless action or stunts.

It stars Sadie Stanley who plays Kim Possible on the TV Show on Disney Channel.