Hey everyone! I’m about to go on a big trip out to California but before I leave wanted to update the site with my thoughts on some new releases I’ve been watching.
Here we go!
I must admit seeing Bullet Train is outside of my comfort zone but I’ve liked violent action movies in the past. I enjoyed watching Logan this year for my blind spot series, and I liked The Protégé last year with Maggie Q. And this film has its moments particularly as it introduces us to its large assortment of characters all on the aforementioned bullet train.
Unfortunately as the story keeps going it gets more and more ludicrous until it loses credibility all together. For the action to be exciting it needs some stakes but here we have characters jumping on moving trains crashing through thick glass windows injury free and then surviving all kinds of attacks from guns, swords and knives. There are also train crashes and scenes where characters are hanging out of the train that are completely ridiculous. It was too much to the point it became tiresome.
The cast does what they can to elevate the material but there are so many characters that they all end up feeling underserved. It’s a film that feels more in love with itself than we as a viewer are entertained. I haven’t seen the John Wick franchise director David Leitch is famous for but this one gets a pass from me. (Bullet Train is extremely violent but done in a cartoonish way that makes it less shocking to the viewer)
4 out of 10
I am blessed to have a number of good Filipino friends, and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know their culture over the years. Unfortunately, it’s a group we don’t see often portrayed in movies or television. It is for this reason I was looking forward to the new film Easter Sunday. Everyone deserves to see their culture in both comedies and dramas. I must admit I’m not overly familiar with Easter Sunday’s star Jo Koy’s comedy, but the trailers looked fun, and I was hoping for a Filipino version of My Big Fat Greek Wedding but at Easter.
Now I’ve seen the film I’d say it mostly succeeds. It’s not reinventing the wheel but as someone who comes from a big loud family I connected with Koy’s family. You can also tell he called in a lot of favors from his comic friends like Jimmy O Yang and Jay Chandrasekhar. Tiffany Haddish (who I don’t always love) steals the movie playing Koy’s ex, a cop named Vanessa.
I do think the family stuff in Easter Sunday works a lot better than the crime plot, which gets very silly the longer it goes. However, I laughed consistently throughout and the message of family is sweet and endearing. Take your family and have a good time laughing with this crazy Filipino bunch.
(Also many holiday films are released off of their holiday going all the way back to Miracle on 34th Street released in May of 1947).
7 out of 10
It’s always exciting when a new animated studio comes on the scene- especially one with such ambitious goals as Skydance Animation. I am aware many are less than thrilled by the studio’s chosen head of animation John Lasseter but animated films are made by 100s of people so I’m not going to be tougher on all of their work because of the behavior of one producer at his previous studio.
All that said, what do I think of Skydance’s first release Luck?… Well, to be honest it’s an average, watchable animated flick but not one I will remember or want to rewatch again.
Luck tells the story of an unlucky girl named Sam (Eva Noblezada who is also in Easter Sunday.) who winds up in the world of good and bad luck where she becomes friends with a snarky black cat named Bob (Simon Pegg).
What works best in the film is Sam’s backstory of living in foster care and her undying optimism that her friend Hazel will be adopted. The whole reason she goes into the world of luck is to try and help Hazel’s luck.
The animation is also nice in Luck, and I see potential for the studio going forward. Hopefully next time they will take more risk and tell a story we haven’t seen a million times. This is the problem with Luck: it feels so derivative. With everything from Inside Out, to Storks, to Wreck-it Ralph, to the Emoji Movie, to Soul, we’ve seen the animated dive into the magical worlds a lot and the world of good and bad luck doesn’t have anything new or surprising to entertain us.
In the end, I hope Skydance comes out with something more exciting and memorable for their next film. If you have Apple Plus Luck is fine, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to see it if you don’t.
(Strange this week have 2 movies about characters with very bad luck with this and Bullet Train...)
5.5 out of 10
Smile Worthy (barely)