Terminator, Dark Fate: My Review

I watched Terminator Dark Fate yesterday and it was OK, just OK.  I was a fan of the old Terminator films so I gave this film some grace for being a part of a franchise that I loved long ago.  However, I don’t think it stands alone very well.

Linda Hamilton and Arnold Swarzenegger were great in this movie.  When I heard about this film’s release I was confused as to how either of them could reprise their roles due to their ages.  Both actors are what most of us would consider to be long in the tooth to be an action hero.  Hamilton is sixty three and Schwarzenegger is seventy two.  But they played their roles as well as they did in their prime.  Perhaps they are still in their prime; who am I to say?  Edward Furlong wasn’t in Dark Fate if you’re wondering but his character was in the story briefly.

I have always had a problem with movies that transcend time and or dimension.  Movies such as The Matrix and Inception always confuse me.  I have a difficult time keeping track of what is the reality or a dream and what is the present, the future or the past.  Back to the Future worked because there were clear differences between the times that he traveled between.

The plot was pretty typical.  A young woman held the fate of all humanity in her hands and she needed to be protected.  There was a villain, a Terminator that was trying to kill her in order to change the history of the world.  She had to be protected.  Chaos and destruction ensues.  Meh.

Terminator, Dark Fate took place in the future and then went further into the future.  I think.  It was hard to keep up with what was going on.  In all fairness I have to divulge that I borrowed a DVD of this movie from the library.  I had to watch it late at night on a work night and I was drowsy while watching it and dozed off in parts.  That might explain why I couldn’t totally follow the plot.

Another problem with this film is that it is extremely loud.  I’m glad I watched it at home where I could control the volume.  This film must have been overwhelming in theaters.  I don’t remember being bothered by the loudness of Terminator 2 that I remember seeing in a theater.  But I was much younger then and more tolerant of racket.

This movie could stand to be shorter.  There is a loud, non stop action sequence that lasted thirty to forty five minutes.  Crazy things happened, such as fights against indestructible, futuristic robots in planes while in flight and a huge door was open.  They fought the robot under water for a while.  The story took place in Mexico City so I have no idea what body of what they were in.  The scenes were wild and the noise was deafening.

mexico city

The evil robot that was in pursuit of the savior of the world, the late model Terminator, had a clear advantage in that he was nearly indestructible.  I mean this guy got shot, bludgeoned, set on fire, put through a turbine of some sort and continued to fight.  But he couldn’t take out three mere mortals and one robot that was an old model.  That was a huge hole in the plot for me.

If you enjoyed the old Terminator films you may get a kick out of this for the sake of nostalgia.  You may also enjoy it if you enjoy raucous action films and special effects.  This movie was just OK for me.  If it wasn’t a part of a successful franchise that I enjoyed long ago Terminator, Dark Fate wouldn’t hold much merit for me at all.

Harriet: My Review

I watched the film “Harriet” over the weekend. “Harriet” is a dramatized retelling of the life of American hero Harriet Tubman. There was a lot of buzz around this film and a lot of think pieces were written and vlogs were made about this movie. People really over thought this. It was a good movie, not great but good and I think it’s worth watching. However, historic accounts of Harriet Tubman are more thrilling than “Harriet”.

Something about “Harriet” made me feel like I was watching an 80s night time soap opera. Violins played in the background of several scenes. This movie told it’s story in a feminine way. It was a love story of sorts. Harriet escaped to freedom in the north and she returned for love of her husband and other family members.

When I envisioned a film version of Harriet Tubman’s life I thought of her as more of a rebel, freedom fighter and visionary. In my mind Harriet Tubman’s life is more of an action, thriller and suspense story. Harriet was bold, fearless and determined.

The actress that played Harriet Tubman often had a deer in the headlights expression on her face and a furrowed brow. There was also a lot of dainty running in this film. It was the kind of running women do in horror films. Actors also fell as they were being pursued. Harriet Tubman commonly had fainting spells due to a head injury she suffered at her owner’s hand. The spells were depicted in the film and she fell pretty kind of like Scarlet O’Hara. None of this is necessarily bad thing I just think the director’s choices were interesting.

I do believe that “Harriet” sanitized Harriet Tubman for White audiences. She was a gentle character and not a fierce revolutionary. Harriet Tubman is famous for threatening to kill runaway slaves if they lost their nerves and wanted to turn around. She is also famous for saying that she freed (paraphrase) thousands of slaves and could have freed thousands more if they knew they were slaves.

Spoiler Alert

There was a scene in the film where Harriet had her slave master on his knees at gun point. She had the opportunity to shoot him but she talked to him and let him live. I think that this plays into the trope of the all forgiving African American that turns the other cheek regardless of how they were treated.

Nonetheless, the film was entertaining and I would recommend it. But I recommend reading historical accounts of Harriet Tubman. Her acts of bravery were absolutely thrilling and she is one of the greatest American heroines.Young Harriet Tubman

“Parasite”: My Review

I watched the film Parasite over the weekend.  Parasite has received several awards including Oscars for best picture and best director.  The film is highly enjoyable and I recommend that you take the time to watch it.  It is a South Korean film with subtitles.  I know that subtitles are a turn off for a lot of people.  But I watched the movie with my suitor who doesn’t typically like movies with subtitles and he enjoyed the movies as much as I did.

I can’t go into much detail about the plot because I would spoil it for those that haven’t seen it.  All I will say is that the film centers around a South Korean family that is down on their luck.  The son gets a job offer to work as a tutor for a wealthy family.  That opportunity turns into a chance for his family’s fortune to turn around.

Parasite has a lot of surprises, twists and turns.  The line between morality and right and wrong is blurred.  No one in this film has a moral high ground and everyone’s actions can be justified or criticized.  I haven’t seen anything else like it.  It’s a great story that keeps viewers wondering what will happen next and how it will all end.

Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez – My Review

I watched the three part documentary Killer Inside:  The Mind of Aaron Hernandez which is about the late New England Patriots tight end and convicted murderer (well kind of) Aaron Hernandez.  Aaron Hernandez is an interesting person to say the least.  His story is almost Shakespearean.  I remember Aaron Hernandez’s football career very well and I’ve seen several pieces about him in the media before watching the Netflix documentary.  But Killer Inside offered some new information.

Family dynamics are interesting and Aaron’s family was full of complicated relationships.  Aaron grew up a male dominant household.  His father is Puerto Rican and seems to be very traditional.  Aaron looked up to his father and was devastated by his death.  He had a very close relationship with an older female cousin who loved Aaron like he was her own son.  She was a mother of two children dying of cancer and served a prison sentence instead of testifying against Aaron.

The female cousin was married at one time and her husband left her for Aaron’s mother after Aaron’s father died.  Aaron had animosity and resentment towards his mother because of her new significant other who sat next to her during Aaron’s trial.  Aaron had a male lover who was featured in the documentary.  Aaron also had a faithful fiance who was the mother of his daughter.  Her support for Aaron never wavered.

I think it’s telling that Aaron allowed his cousin and fiance to suffer for him.  He seems to be very self centered and without a conscious.  We’ll never know if his sociopathic behavior is the result of nurture, CTE or celebrity privilege.  The film implied that Aaron was driven to homicidal madness due to having to hide his same sex attraction while being immersed in the hyper masculine culture of sports.

Aaron was convicted of killing a man named Odin Lloyd in cold blood.  Odin Lloyd was his fiancee’s sister’s significant other.  Aaron appealed his sentence and later hanged himself while incarcerated and awaiting for the chance to appeal.

A Massachusetts law states that if a person dies while on trial there will be no conviction on the record books.  Therefore, Aaron Hernandez is not a convicted murderer.  He was also accused of killing two other men in Boston but was not convicted.

Aaron Hernandez was a brain damaged, bisexual, homicidal street thug, a football star who was a part of a sports dynasty with the undying loyalty of two women, a contemptuous relationship with his own mother and a father of a young girl who committed suicide at age twenty seven.  His suicide may have outsmarted the Massachusetts legal justice system.  Aaron Hernandez was not a sympathetic character but he was nonetheless compelling.  Killer Inside:  The Mind of Aaron Hernandez was an interesting film even if you already know quite a bit about the man.

 

Child’s Play 2019: A Short Review

I recently watched the 2019 remake of the 1988 film Child’s Play.  I saw the original Child’s Play when I was a teenager.  Just about everything from the 90s is corny so I didn’t have very high expectations for the film.  I didn’t care for the new Child’s Play.  The film was ridiculous then and it’s worse now.

If you’re not familiar with the plot of the film, Child’s Play is about a homicidal, red headed doll named Chucky that causes chaos for a single mother and her son.  In the 80s version Chucky was possessed by the spirit of a hardened Chicago criminal.

child's play 1988

In the latest version Chucky was installed with artificially intelligent software and was programmed by observing things in his environment.  I there was a part in the film where the Chucky doll that went crazy was hexed in the Asian factory where he was manufactured by a disgruntled employee.

Chucky is eager to please his owner Andy and is very possessive over him which spurs part of the killing spree.  But some of the murdering happens without any provocation whatsoever.  Chucky just goes off on people and starts doing crazy s—.  Early in the film it is established that Andy has a hearing problem.  I don’t know why they writers added that because it played no part in the film whatsoever.

Not only is this film franchise a negative depiction of red heads but there are some very negative depictions of Black people in this movie.  That could be an essay within itself but I don’t feel like editing clips.  Trust me, the Black roles in this film are cringeworthy.

After several gruesome deaths and thousands of dollars worth of property damage the film ends because Andy’s mom twists the dolls head off.  Much like in the earlier film I don’t know mom didn’t destroy the doll in the first place.  The film moves along quickly though and seems short even though it is two hours.  I can’t recommend that you spend two hours of your life on this movie.  But if you enjoy corny horror films you may enjoy Child’s Play.

 

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: My Review

I saw “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” the other day.  I enjoyed it and I think you will as well.  It’s not exactly what I was expecting but the surprise added to the success of the movie.  I was expecting the movie to simply be a biography of Fred Rogers but that wasn’t quite the case.  The movie didn’t even revolve around Mr. Rogers.

This film is a testament to how great of a show “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood” really was.  I learned that the show was filmed in Pittsburgh, PA and Fred Rogers was a long time married man with two sons.  None of this ever crossed my mind.  The production of the show and Mr. Roger’s personal life was not something I ever questioned even as an adult.  I bought into what the show was selling and I accepted that Mr. Rogers was a bachelor that lived a quiet life in the Land of Make Believe.  It wasn’t weird to me at all.

I also learned that the mission of “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood” was to teach children how to process emotions.  I watched the show as a child and I never realized I was being taught anything.  I just watched adults talk to puppets while a train milled around and enjoyed it.  How brilliant!  I guess you have to sneak up on children like that.

“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” also revealed that Fred Rogers was real sweetheart.  He was a baby doll that would melt the coldest of hearts if you got too close to him.  Fred Rogers was brave because it takes bravery to extend yourself to a person in love and that’s what he did face to face and through his TV show.

Another great thing about the movie is that it is 109 minutes long.  Over the last twenty years or so it seems that all movies have become very long.  It’s to the point that a film needs to be very special to make me want to invest the time.  But this delightful film didn’t waste time and I appreciate that.

I didn’t love this movie as much as some people.  It’s not even my favorite Tom Hanks work.  That distinction still belongs to “Bosom Buddies”.  But it is a respectable, light hearted film about a very nice person.  This movie is optimistic as opposed to the cynicism that we’ve all grown use to.  If you get a chance take the time to watch it.

“Joker”: My Review

I saw “Joker” over the weekend.  I enjoyed it and I would think you might too if you’ve enjoyed movies in the “Batman” series.  I’ve seen all of the “Batman” movies in the theater shortly after their release since the first “Batman” film came out in 1989.  The first film starred Jack Nicholson as the Joker back when these films weren’t so dark.

jack nicholson

“Joker” was good, not great.  “The Dark Knight” is still my favorite installment of the series.  My favorite thing about “Joker” is the aesthetic of the movie.  It seemed to take place in the 70s or 80s and I love 70s and 80s fashions, interior design and cars.  I also love big cities.  I like it when they when they are gritty.  There is something beautiful to me about urban decay.  It gives a town character.  I know it’s weird but I credit this to my life which has mostly been spent in Midwestern, industrial towns.  There is something very familiar and comforting about Gotham City to me.

Joaquin Phoenix did a great job portraying the Joker.  I think he was the perfect person to portray the role.  He made the Joker, sympathetic, awkward, charming, weird, delusional and psychotic.  He tied the facets of the man together well for the role.

We’ve come a long way since the first “Batman” was released thirty years ago.  I’m not saying we’ve gotten better but we’ve definitely come a long way from the starting point.  I remember Jack Nicholson’s Joker being cheeky and comical.  I don’t know if I remember the Joker killing anyone in 1989.

Well, today’s rendition of the Joker has some bloody scenes.  It’s a very dark movie.  You may want to skip seeing the film all together if you are a sensitive person.  This is definitely not a film for children.  I was fourteen in 1989 and if I had a fourteen year old today I would not want them to see “Joker”.

Before “Joker” was released there were complaints that the film shouldn’t be played in areas like Aurora, CO and other cities due to the shooting that happen in America every other month or so.  The naysayers have a point.  That’s all I’ll say for now because I don’t want to spoil the story.  “Joker” is current in many of its underlying themes.

Overall, I would recommend the movie.  Joaquin Phoenix is great and I bet he’ll get another Oscar nomination.  The movie has a beautiful retro look while addressing trending topics.  I always enjoy the grit of Gotham City.  It’s gory in parts though so skip it altogether if you don’t enjoy that sort of thing or be prepared to see extreme violence.