Benz Eye View: My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

My_Big_Fat_Greek_Wedding_2_poster
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

Pros:

1.) The family dynamic is pretty strong here.  The big, fat, Greek family is back, and they are as charismatic as ever.  All the returning actors fit back into their roles easily, and it feels like they have not changed a bit (with a few exceptions).

2.) I like the theme that involves the different generations of family.  From the oldest to the youngest, I get what they are trying to talk about, and I appreciate what they are doing (I will explain more in the cons).

3.) The romantic chemistry between Toula and Ian, and Gus and Maria are well done.  I do not have much to add after that.  If you seen the first film, you will understand.

 

Cons: 

1.) Most of the jokes fall flat in this movie.  They give at best a few chuckles, but they are dry and a little too long despite the actors’ best attempts.

2.) I get what they are trying to do, but most of the subplots have very little point in them.  In fact, I argue they get in the way of the two main plot lines: the marriage between Gus and Maria, and the relationship between Toula and Paris.  In fact, it feels like the plots of the movie does not feel like they a couple of big problems, more like nuisances considering how they are handled.

3.) There are some new characters in the movie do not feel that consequential or important.  One example is that I feel like Paris has potential, but how she was handled makes me feel like she should have been an extra at best.  A couple of the old characters have something new revealed in this movie, but it is only mentioned a few times, and does not really fit for the theme that the movie is aiming.

 

Overall:

I love the first My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  Not only was it funny, but it is also very relatable for people who have families like Toula does.  In fact, a Greek friend of mine loves that film so much, because he told me that is exactly what the Greek family is like.  With news of the sequel, I was excited.  Now that I watched it, I…did not think it is a good movie.  In fact, I think it is a bad one.  However, it is one of those movies that I can see that they put their hearts into it even though they did not deliver it well.  There are plenty of movies like that; one big example that came to my head is Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie.  I will end this by saying do not expect it to be better than the first one, but instead see it as something that did its best to become a good movie despite its huge glaring flaws.  Look at this way, at least it is better than Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

batmanangry
Yes, I still hate that movie, and it still ticks me off every time I think about it.

4/10

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Benz Eye View: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Batman_v_Superman_poster
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Pros:

1.) Batman is the coolest character in this movie (although there is one trait that really bothers me which I will get to in a minute).  Not only did they describe his origin well in a matter of minutes, but you get why he does not trust Superman.  Ben Affleck did a great job, and I hope to see him again in the Suicide Squad.  Even Wonder Woman was pretty awesome despite being in the movie for a few moments.  As for Superman…I will get to that in a moment.

2.) The action scenes are well done (especially the ones with Batman).  While the more chaotic action scenes are mindless, I am willing to let it pass, because they are a little entertaining (and that is saying much).

3.) I like the premise of the movie.  The fact that a person like Superman can be considered a god, and people will either love or fear him.  He may have super powers, but that does not make him a god; just an alien with super powers.  I was hoping that they can deliver their message well…

 

Cons:

1.) …Which they did not.  There are moments where it seems to be going somewhere good, but something happens that completely throws those good moments.  One moment, they are trying show something great, and they ruin it by doing something stupid.

2.) This movie goes on for WAY TOO LONG.  I blame it on the pacing and editing.  The movie either goes on a scene for too long or too short.  One example of a scene going too long is the court room scene (which could have been interesting if the moment was not ruined with something stupid that happened), and a scene that goes too short is a monologue speech with Superman and Martha Kent, which after she is done, the movie cuts to the next scene.

3.) The writing is such a mess.  There are so many things that I just did not care (i.e. Superman is still boring.  Not to mention his romantic relationship with Lois Lane is dry.)  and Batman seems to be completely different than the one in the comics and Nolan films ((SPOILERS FOR BATMAN FANS) Batman kills in this movie).  Plus, they are poorly foreshadowing the events of the next movies (i.e. Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg have cameos in the movie).  Seriously, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has more subtle ways of foreshadowing their movies (for the most part).

 

Overall:

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is the second movie of the DC Extended Universe so they called.  The first movie of this movie universe, Man of Steel was terrible.  With this movie, I hoped that they will learn their failures from the last movie, and give a great treatment for this one.  I am sad to say that they did NOT learn their lessons for the most part.  All this time and effort, and they could NOT manage to create a cohesive and interesting film?  Not to mention, the sequel-baiting moments (which there are plenty) that just cries out, “We are going to make the Justice League movies (Part 1 and 2), and we are hoping you are going to love it.”  Maybe we will, but you are off to a VERY bad start.  Poor story, characters (with the somewhat exception of Batman), and a sense of direction that baffles me.  It is slightly better than Man of Steel, but that is not saying much.  If you want to watch something that shows the true meaning of DC comics in any other media, watch the DC Animated Universe.  They did a much better job than this movie can.  If you want to watch a film universe about superheroes, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is doing very well so far.  Let’s hope Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman do well when they come out, because if they do not, the DC Extended Universe is going to fall apart really fast.

2.5/10

Benz Eye View: Daredevil (Season 2)

Daredevil_season_2
Daredevil (Season 2)

Pros:

1.) The action scenes are well-choreographed and painful in certain moments.  Although it can be a bit ridiculous at times, those scenes are much bigger than last season, and they still managed to pull it off (for the most part).

2.) All the original characters are back and better than ever.  Even the new characters are interesting.  Frank Castle (a.k.a. The Punisher) has an awesome backstory and motivation on what he is doing, and Elektra Natchios is a great femme fatale who is Daredevil’s equal.

3.) The plot line with Daredevil and the Punisher is the best part of the entire second season.  In one episode, they spout out their ideologies and beliefs on how they want to stop the criminals in Hell’s Kitchen.  It stresses how these two are different from each other, and it makes it a moral dilemma for Daredevil.

 

Cons: 

1.) On the other hand, Elektra’s plot line seems a bit forced in the show, making this season having a bit too many plot lines.  Even though the character is engaging, it would have been better if she’d appear in the third season of Daredevil, because it is interfering with the much better plot line with the Punisher.  

2.) Even though I mentioned that the action scenes are great, I cannot say the same thing with its cinematography.  There are plenty of moments where I can tell that the punches and kicks did not land on the person.  It is very distracting, and it makes these characters look like wimps.

3.) Some of the cons I had with the first season are still relevant in the second one.  I do not know, but maybe there is something about the show that does not make me a big fan.  It is not because of the characters or writing (although the writing in this season is not as good), it is probably because I am not a fan of the atmosphere.  Not too sure, but I will get back on that when I can.

 

Overall: 

With the success of the first season of Daredevil, it is only natural for Marvel and Netflix to make another season.  I stated before that I like the first season of Daredevil, but not as much as everyone.  With the second season, I thought it is not as good as the first one, but only by a slight bit.  The best thing about this season is the conflict between the Punisher and Daredevil.  The one between Elektra and Daredevil is fine, but it seems like that the creators of the show are shoving in a bit too many plot lines that have little to no relations with each other.  Not to mention that some of the issues I had on the first season are still noticeable in the second season.  It is not a bad season, just not as good.  Not enough to make me sway with the much better Jessica Jones.  Go and watch the show if you have the time, and we will see how Luke Cage will do in a few months.

Occasional Viewing

Benz Eye View: Miracles from Heaven

Miracles_from_Heaven_poster
Miracles from Heaven

Pros:

1.) I like that this is Christian family taking care with one of their own who has long-term pain; leading to a crisis in faith.  There are moments when they question if God is there for them, and why is He not healing Anna.  Questions that are brought up well in this movie.

2.) Speaking of a Christian family, I do like the family dynamic.  I care for all the members of the family (some more than others since the movie spends more time with them) since they are very likable.  I was going to call them cliched and two-dimensional (especially the dad), but when the inciting incident occurs, they become a little more interesting.

3.) Arguably, the child actors did a much better job than some of the adult actors.  It is pretty impressive considering that the movie has some pretty good adult actors, and these child actors can actually spread some good emotions.  (MINOR SPOILERS) One great example is when the Anna expresses that she wants to die and go to heaven to her mom.  That is great acting, and a very good scene altogether.

 

Cons:

1.) Unfortunately, since this is a Christian movie, it does end up being preachy.  *Sigh* Say it with me now, “If you want to spread a message in your movie, be subtle, not preachy.”  I am getting tired of seeing these movies that fail to do that.  If non-Christian movies do a better job, why can’t they do it?

2.) Some scenes are slow and unnecessary.  I think some of them are meant to show that Anna appreciates having a great time despite her illness, but a few of them is just fine, not a bunch more that is needed to fill up the time.  Angela (played by Queen Latifah) can be completely erased from the movie, and will not have any ramifications for the movie.

3.) The theme (or I argue themes) is sloppily executed.  I think it is talking about having faith in God despite the hard times.  That is fine, but the other themes just clutter the original intent.  Plus, some rewriting could have helped a bit.

 

Overall:

Another Christian movie comes by, and it is based on true events.  I am not going to question whether the events are true or not (it is), but I will question about the quality of this movie.  Before I do, I will confess that I know that Christians do mean well.  They want to spread the gospel through stories or real life events in movies, and I really appreciate it.  However, just because they mean well, that does not mean they do well.  Honestly, in my head, I had a feeling that this movie is not going to be good just like any other Christian movie.  In my heart and soul, I hoped I was wrong.  Well, my head was right.  It is not terrible, but not incredible with its lackluster writing, but made it up with great acting and somewhat good charisma.  Once again, I can only recommend this to Christian audiences since it is clearly aimed for them.  However, I hope there is a Christian movie that I review that I can recommend to Christians and non-Christians alike (I think at one point I did, but realized it was not that great).  Until then, I will continue reviewing movies, even ones that have similar messages like Miracles from Heaven, but done better by a non-Christian (like a certain Marvel superhero TV series).

4.5/10

Benz Eye View: The Divergent Series: Allegiant

Allegiantfilmposter
The Divergent Series: Allegiant

Pros:

1.) Some of the actors did great for the most part.  The ones that deserve some attention are Shailene Woodley and Jeff Daniels.  These two managed to do well despite working some of the weaker cast members.  They are better when they are together.

2.) Unlike the last movie, this movie is just as immersive as the first movie.  When the main characters enter a new area, I started liking what they have: cool technology, weapons, drones, and many others.

 

Cons: 

1.) The CG does not look good for the most part.  The environmental CG is fine, but any other types just look like they belong in a PS3 game at best, and a PS2 game at worst.

2.) After the first act, Tris barely does anything for the rest of the movie.  All she does is being with David or Four, and the rest of the major characters (except one) do the rest of the dirty work.  By the time the third act starts, Tris finally does something after catching up, and learning the new ships and weapons despite never using it before.

3.) If you think about the events that happen in the movie, some of it does not make sense.  There are writing inconsistencies and errors that I noticed the first time, and figured out as I thought about the movie.  One example is that after realizing the truth, Tris said that David was never siding with the Allegiant, even though he told her earlier that he was siding with the factions.  It is called, “Pay Attention!”

 

Overall:

Based on the last book of the Diveregent series, Allegiant is the first part of that book.  You read this right: it is the first part of the book.  The second part of the movie will be called Ascendant.  I assume they did that for marketing reasons.  At least it ends on a somewhat satisfying note.  Other than that complaint, I thought this movie is…all right.  It is leagues better than Insurgent, a movie that bored me.  However, it still has problems that I am willing to forgive, but I am pretty sure that others will not.  I will give this series a benefit of the doubt, and I will watch Ascendant when it comes out.  Until then, I am going to assume that the fans of the book will like it better than me.  If not, that might be a sign that you should not watch it.  As a person who did not read it, check it out if you have nothing else to watch.

6/10

Benz Eye View: 10 Cloverfield Lane

10_Cloverfield_Lane
10 Cloverfield Lane

Pros:

1.) There are plenty of subtle thrills and suspense, and it is done very well.  You will often wonder, “Is it really safe around here?  You should I trust him?”  At one point, you are going to start to relax, then realize that something suspicious is going on around here.  Then, the third act begins, and everything changes.  Your heart will start pounding; concerned if these characters will actually survive.  Do they?  That would be spoiling it.

2.) Sound effects deserve some praise, because the sound seems to have a higher audio frequency.  Certain sounds I get (i.e. car crashes, guns), but other sounds (i.e. doors opening, breaking glass) are louder than usual.  It is pretty effective in terms of a thriller and suspense film.  May be distracting for some.

3.) John Goodman does a great job as this film’s character.  He does a great job playing a person that is very ambiguous; you do not know whether or not you should trust this guy.  He could be doing this, because he cares, but does not know how to express it right.  It is also possible that he may have something devious in the back of his mind, but he is taking his time.  That makes it a good character and performance.

Cons:

1.) Mary Elizabeth Winstead did not deliver a great performance here.  She can pull a few certain emotions (i.e. afraid, happy), but she cannot exactly convince on a few more areas (i.e. sadness/crying, anything other than afraid).  In fact, in one certain moment that happens in the film that I am not going to spoil, she looks like she is taking it pretty well.

2.) The two major characters: Michelle and Emmett are not that interesting.  It does not mean they are unlikable, it is just that they are just pretty generic.  I may care a little bit throughout most of the film until the end of the second act is when I start to care for both of them even more (especially Michelle).

3.) This film can drag on for quite a while.  You are going to spend plenty of time with three characters in one area where they just wait for the damages to pass and disappear.  Besides the suspenseful parts, nothing really happens other than passable character development.

 

Overall:

A spiritual successor to the 2008 movie Cloverfield (which I thought it was OK), this film intrigues me.  It is not because of the film itself, but how it was advertised, which there is a lack of it.  There were absolutely no news about it until a couple months ago when the trailer just sprang out of nowhere saying, “Hey.  This film is coming out in a couple of months.  Go watch it.”  I find it kind of odd, especially since 10 Cloverfield Lane has little to do with the 2008 movie Cloverfield.

MONSTA
Yeah, you are not going to see this monster pop out of nowhere.  Although, it might like to hunt the director now.  

 

Besides all of that, I thought this film was pretty good, especially since this is Dan Trachtenberg’s first directorial film debut.  This film has characters that may be a bit generic, they made it up with great thrills and suspense that make you question if the place is truly safe.  It puts you in Michelle’s position: can you trust Howard and Emmett on what they are saying?  If you want to know what happens to her, watch this film…if you dare.

8/10

Benz Eye View: Zootopia

Zootopia
Zootopia

Pros:

1.) As usual, Disney does a fantastic job with the animation.  The one thing that stands out is that every character in this film are anthropomorphic animals, making it harder for the animation team to draw/animate characters of different species and animals.  They managed to pull it off, and made each character distinct from one another.

2.) This film is a great analogy to the real world.  One thing that I like is that Judy Hopps dreams to become a police officer, and instead of the usual movie that shows the entire process of getting that dream, it only just shows a few minutes of it, and truly begins with her finally having that dream and her struggles in the real world; exactly what everyone goes through, making Zootopia’ struggles pretty much the same as our world’s struggles, particularly race and discrimination.

3.) There are plenty of funny jokes.  Considering that this a world filled with anthropomorphic animals, they make some clever real-world nods and quips.  I am surprised that some of them managed to be in the film.  If the characters were human, they would never get away with it, but since they are just animals, they can.

 

Cons:

1.) I feel like the side characters are just animal cut-outs of stereotypical characters.  You have the mean police boss, the fat cop, the loving parents, the bullies, etc. except they have animal instincts.  It makes the world feel a bit two-dimensional.  Speaking of characters that are two-dimensional…

2.) …I felt that the villain is a last-minute addition.  There is a good reason why the villain exists, but maybe it is because it is probably either not developed enough, or…(the last con will explain this).  I felt the social issues in the film is much stronger than having this villain, but I somewhat see why it is needed.

3.) There are plenty of moments of the film where I thought, “I seen it before, and done a little better.”  Probably not a good sign if there is something in a movie that reminds me of a better movie.  Do not get me wrong, this film is great, but it is not perfect.  Some of its unoriginal moments make it pretty predictable.

 

Overall:

Zootopia is an interesting film indeed.  On the surface, it looks like a movie about a bunch of animals living their lives as humans do.  Under the surface, it is a film that deals with social issues in the world.  That is pretty bold for a Disney film to work on, and I appreciate that it took the guts to tell its lesson.  However, the problem that I have with this is that it does not go too far.  I understand that since this is a family film that cannot go too far, it does manage to do well on its own.  The point I am trying to make is that there are films that discuss these social issues, and do it much better than this one (i.e. every film that involves racism and civil rights movements).  Still, this film is great and worth watching.  The children will enjoy the fluffy animal-looking characters, and adults will be pleased with the message that the film is putting in.

8/10