Reviews
WIDOWS Print E-mail
Friday, 09 November 2018 03:24

 
Rating:  ZZ

By:  Amy Elizondo

Summary:  A group of wives whose husbands were killed in a raid gone bad seek to finish one last job for their husbands.

The Good:  There were certain things that the film did excellently.  Two components of Widows that were undeniably impacting were the acting and the directing.  Steven McQueen (12 Years a Slave, Shame) left his mark on the screen with every turn of the camera.  Along with the film editing and cinematography, McQueen managed to use all of these methodical components at his disposal to transform WIDOWS into something more than just another “cops and robbers” movie.  McQueen managed to shine a spotlight on certain issues that affect many people of color in large urban cities.  The tone of the film was certainly grave and had enough suspense to keep you on the edge of your seat.  This was also due in part to the group of extremely talented actors that came together as an ensemble without losing their individual charisma.  Viola Davis (Fences, The Help) stuns as always as Veronica Rawlings, widow of ex-heist leader Harry Rawlings, who must put together her own amateur group of thieves.  Michelle Rodriguez (The Fast and The Furious, Battle Los Angeles) and Elizabeth Debicki (Everest, Macbeth) come into their own as the two additional widows who join the team.  Cynthia Erivo (Bad Times at the El Royale, Step) adds a breath of fresh air to the assembly as well.

The Bad:  The plot, although its concept was unique, still managed to feel a bit tired.  The first half of the movie was a lot slower and definitely more predictable than the second half.  I found myself, throughout much of the beginning of the film, wondering why certain scenes were even placed in the film.  As a result, I thought the movie could have been a lot shorter if these unnecessary scenes had been cut.  The progression of Widows was also a bit incoherent at first.  There was a lot of information being thrown at us from many different angles, at times it was not easy trying to retain some of it.  We would learn something, and then that piece of information would not become relevant until much, much later on in the story.  Some may not have an issue with being let in on something and not seeing it play out until well into the final act, but personally, I felt this could have been done in a way that was more engaging.  

The Ugly:  If you are searching for a film that plays out unexpectedly, then Widows is the film for you.  In a time where movies have gotten overwhelmingly predicable, this is a nice change of pace and includes elements that ground you to reality.  Although it is undoubtedly not perfect, Widows manages to be both entertaining and refreshing.



 
 

Film In Austin’s Review Grading Scale
 
No Zs – A solid, outstanding movie; there wasn’t any snoozing in this movie
 
Z – Good movie, sometimes the story may be lacking in some area, but it’s still recommended; only fell asleep for a quarter of the movie
 
ZZ – Average, entertaining at parts, it may be worth seeing, but you will probably want to wait and rent it; fell asleep for half of the film
 
ZZZ – Very weak where entertainment, plot, realism, development and other vital elements are missing; fell asleep for a third of the movie
 
ZZZZ – Very poor to the point that you will only recommend for your family and friends “not to see it;” fell asleep right when the movie began and slept through the whole thing.  Well, you will wish you had spent that time sleeping
 
 
Review: The Predator Print E-mail
Friday, 14 September 2018 04:34

 

 
Rating:  Z
 
By:  Amy Elizondo
 
Summary:  When a top-class hunter evolves and lands on earth, it’s up to a motley crew of ex-military mercenaries to save the world from possible extermination.
 
The Good:  In films such as this where there are so many installments in a franchise, it is expected for the story to fall off slightly if not significantly.  However, as previously stated, this is to be anticipated and therefore the movie should not solely be evaluated on the plot line.  What made The Predator enjoyable was the group of actors who played great characters banding together.  A prominent theme throughout the movie was that of the misfits who are just looking to be accepted and have to reluctantly turn to each other for help.  All of the actors in this film were a lot of fun to watch.  From Olivia Munn (Ride Along 2, X-Men: Apocalypse) to Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us, Black Panther) as well as Keegan-Michael Key (Key and Peele, Keanu) and Jacob Tremblay (Room, Wonder), the entire cast complimented each other in a way that was very entertaining.  The cast is probably the main reason that many people, including myself, wanted to see this movie.  They did an excellent job of moving the story forward and keeping the film fun.  
 
The Bad:  As with any franchise films, the more films that come out, the worse that they generally tend to get.  The Predator is the 4th film in the Predator series and, although it wasn’t quite as bad as it could have been, the story still seemed a bit tired.  It progressed sluggishly at times and there seemed to be a few holes scattered about throughout.  This film’s saving grace was the well-timed comedic relief and the dialogue between most of the characters.
 
The Ugly:  Obviously, The Predator isn’t meant to be a groundbreaking movie.  It is just another remake of three prior films, except with better special effects and action.  Fans of this franchise may find this film entertaining, or they could think it is a joke.  The balance between action and comedy was a good one.  There were many changes as far as the direction in which it went, but overall, I think most people should find it enjoyable.  

 
 
 

 
 
 
Film In Austin’s Review Grading Scale
 
No Zs – A solid, outstanding movie; there wasn’t any snoozing in this movie
 
Z – Good movie, sometimes the story may be lacking in some area, but it’s still recommended; only fell asleep for a quarter of the movie
 
ZZ – Average, entertaining at parts, it may be worth seeing, but you will probably want to wait and rent it; fell asleep for half of the film
 
ZZZ – Very weak where entertainment, plot, realism, development and other vital elements are missing; fell asleep for a third of the movie
 
ZZZZ – Very poor to the point that you will only recommend for your family and friends “not to see it;” fell asleep right when the movie began and slept through the whole thing.  Well, you will wish you had spent that time sleeping
 
 
Review: Won't You Be My Neighbor? Print E-mail
Friday, 15 June 2018 16:18

 

 
Rating:  No Zs
 
By:  Amy Elizondo
 
Summary:  This documentary showcases Fred Rogers’ life’s work on the childhood classic, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.
 
The Good:  Many people have probably wondered if Fred Rogers was, in real life, the way he portrayed himself in Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.  Won't You Be My Neighbor proves he was that and much, much more.  From his humble beginnings and throughout his entire life, Fred Rogers cared about everyone, especially children.  It is apparent through the documentary that he lived for the children and wanted them to know they were special and loved.  He knew that television was a medium that could benefit children greatly if used properly.  One of the best things about Won't You Be My Neighbor is that it gives audiences a peek behind the camera.  Through interviews of his close friends and family, and some interviews of Mr. Rogers himself, we can see the type of person that he really was.  He was someone who was an advocate for children.
 
The Bad:  There really isn’t a bad thing to say about this film.  Clocking in at 94 minutes, I do wish the documentary had been longer.  I could have easily sat through at least another half hour of Mr. Rogers’ life and stories.  
 
The Ugly:  Anyone who grew up watching Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, and even those who didn’t, can find Won't You Be My Neighbor to be a pleasant delight.  We can see how much Mr. Rogers wanted to teach children about every day things in life, and there are still many lessons to be taught today.  His legacy lives on and shows that we could all use a neighbor like him.

 

 
 
Film In Austin’s Review Grading Scale
 
No Zs – A solid, outstanding movie; there wasn’t any snoozing in this movie
 
Z – Good movie, sometimes the story may be lacking in some area, but it’s still recommended; only fell asleep for a quarter of the movie
 
ZZ – Average, entertaining at parts, it may be worth seeing, but you will probably want to wait and rent it; fell asleep for half of the film
 
ZZZ – Very weak where entertainment, plot, realism, development and other vital elements are missing; fell asleep for a third of the movie
 
ZZZZ – Very poor to the point that you will only recommend for your family and friends “not to see it;” fell asleep right when the movie began and slept through the whole thing.  Well, you will wish you had spent that time sleeping
 
 
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