Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 (Netflix)

Two words. One noun. Aaron. Sorkin. Along with Quentin Tarantino, I consider him one of the masters of dialogue. His dialogue alone makes THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7, which was supposed to debut in theaters before coronavirus, but then Paramount sold it to Netflix because the filmmakers wanted it released before the election, the #2 film of 2020 for me, right behind Tenet. The dialogue in this, combined with the incredible cast that make the line deliveries seem effortless, is nothing sort of spectacular. When you also combine it with an inspirational but devastating story that is reminiscent to not only our current racial tensions in the world but also the political bullshit we are dealing with in our current major election, this film is masterful. To me, this is what pure, ingenious filmmaking is all about. Movies like this and Tenet are the reason why people like myself go to the theaters. And because of this asinine virus, I had to watch it at home, but the fact that I did not pick up my phone or get distracted once during the two hour and nine minute run time, says more than you will ever know. This is also required viewing. If you watch and do not like this movie, just stop watching movies and go back to your fucking on the spectrum sports that keeps on disappointing you week in and week out. And even though this is Aaron Sorkin’s only second time directing, he directs as if he was Spielberg, having already been doing it for years. Oh, and someone please give Bruno and Borat a Oscar nomination this awards season.

IMDB describes The Trial Of The Chicago 7 with the following, “The story of 7 people on trial stemming from various charges surrounding the uprising at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois.” To add more emphasis to that log line, prosecutors were trying to make an example of individuals and groups trying to rightfully and peacefully protest the Vietnam War by grouping them together in a conspiracy like domestic terrorism charge. It was bullshit. The things that the justice system tries to get away with during this event is going to make you fucking angry, I guarantee it, and again, if what happens doesn’t make you angry, you are probably a fucking Trump supporter. The incompetence of the judge, here played perfectly by veteran Frank Langella, and what he does to Black Panther Bobby Seale, played expertly by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, will make your jaw drop, face red for days after you’ve finished the movie. If you don’t know anything about the trial of the Chicago 7, I encourage you to not do any real research on it until AFTER you have watched this movie. You would think a film like this could get messy with the details, but Sorkin’s dialogue yet again gives the audience a master class in understanding what is going on, not getting confused in the slightest, while still entertaining you with witty words than just boringly stating the facts. Most of the movie takes place inside the court room, but the runtime still goes by in a flash, and in fact I could’ve watched an hour or two more of it.

There are a lot of well known A-list actors in this movie, so I’m not going to go one by one and rate their performances. I mentioned two highlights above, and others such as Eddie Redmayne, Michael Keaton, Mark Rylance, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt give solid performances, but the two that steal the movie completely out from everyone are Borat/Bruno’s Sasha Baron Cohen, and Succession’s Jeremy Strong, as two hippie leaders of students in the college system that want the Vietnam War to end. I could see either of these two guys getting an Oscar nomination in either lead or supporting for this film, more likely Cohen than Strong though. Cohen completely sheds his usual goofy character persona here to give his real life interpretation of Abbie Hoffman some bluster yet fragility that I never believed the actor could pull off until now. His performance is an amazing achievement and deserves to get him a serious career boost and not be overshadowed to his return to Borat next week in the Amazon Prime exclusive sequel. His relationship and rapport with Jeremy Strong’s Jerry Rubin is the best part of this film, one that will surely leave an impression on you once the movie is over, especially when you find out their ultimate fates in a title card sequence right before the end credits. There’s nothing more to say about this movie than has already been said in countless glowingly positive reviews from other more professional critics than I, leaving this film somewhere in the 90s on Rotten Tomatoes. This film will receive a whole bunch of nominations come Oscar award season (if that even happens because of this stupid fucking climate we are living in) and I will be rooting for it to win Best Picture, since a lot of dumbasses didn’t take to Tenet because it debuted in theaters at an “inappropriate time.” Fuck you who think that. Just go watch this movie. It’s an automatic ‘if you put money into a Vegas slot machine you get all 7’s the first time’ winner.


Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: A BABYSITTER’S GUIDE TO MONSTER HUNTING (Netflix)

Whoa, Harry Potter is going to sue somebody! Well…probably just the opening credits at least (the way they come at you, the actual font might be where Tim Burton enters the lawsuit), but then again, this movie does have similar beats to Sorcerer’s Stone, but then yet again, an unrecognizable Tom Felton is in this (he played Draco Malfoy), so maybe he got the okay from Rowling and Warner Bros.? I’m just kidding, I just thought that would be an interesting review starter to get you to read my critique on Netflix’s new original family film that just released today. A BABYSITTER’S GUIDE TO MONSTER HUNTING is what Hubie Halloween should’ve been: a fun and adventurous yet spooky Halloween family film that could end up being something you watch every year with your loved ones alongside Hocus Pocus and the Harry Potter films. Or is Harry Potter a more Thanksgiving and/or Christmas time series? Doesn’t matter, this is Netflix’s closest thing it will ever get to trying to recreate the feeling of what we all feel while watching Hocus Pocus 27 years later. Go in completely dark, don’t even watch a trailer to this, as I didn’t, and my expectations were so so low due to the title and the fact that it is a Netflix original, but I was slapping myself for being a precognitive Negative Nancy by minute twenty. This movie is just delightful, with top notch child performances, Tom Felton’s best performance to date (but who are we kidding, how hard was that?), and decent creature feature CGI effects that make whatever was in Disney+’s Secret Society Of Second Born Royals look like it was created by Woody Woodpecker using computers. This is the Halloween film getaway treat you were looking for, so please, don’t even start Hubie Halloween or if you are in the middle of it, abandon it completely, and knock on this other door, I promise you it is no trick.

IMDB describes A Babysitter’s Guide To monster Hunting with the following: “A babysitter embarks on a mission to save a child who’s been abducted by monsters.” What that premise doesn’t tell you is that this movie is Harry Potter-esque, as there is a coven, legion, group, what have you of babysitter’s that fight these said monsters all the time. They have a meet up laboratory with monster fighting gadgets and gizmos, a giant book filled with information on all the different creatures within this world, and even apprentices looking to join said group. Tom Felton plays a boogey man named Grand Guigol that wants to make a legion of nightmares and monsters come to life to overtake our world so he can rule it. The child he kidnaps is the key to making this happen, and his babysitter named Kelly, who had a run in with Guigol when she was young, must stop it before it is too late. This movie thankfully isn’t convoluted, does the “keep it simple, stupid” film making mindset, yet also incorporates some brilliant set ups and pay offs required so that both adults and their kids can enjoy it, without either getting bored or falling asleep. Tamara Smart plays Kelly (she was also in this year’s straight to streaming on Disney+’s Artemis Fowl, which should’ve been something like this movie but was too dumb downed and convoluted) and Oona Laurence plays the veteran babysitter already in the legion trying to help Kelly out. They both do a fantastic acting job in regards to mostly reacting to CGI special effects to make you think they are real. There is a couple of shaky CGI moments, such as the little different colored minion monsters and such but anything involving Tom Felton or Shadow Tentacle Monsters in the dark are quite realistic and spooky at times.

Just like Hocus Pocus, this movie rides the line of being too scary for younger children, but thankfully it rides that line well, where they won’t be hiding under the covers, but may sit next to you and lean their head on mommy or daddy’s head, still with their eyes glued to the screen, until the next scene comes along. I haven’t read the book that this movie is based off of, but I have a feeling the reason why it is so good is because the author wrote the screenplay, making sure he got the essence of his beloved novel just right. The director Rachel Talalay, is no stranger to spooky kooky films, as she’s directed episodes of Riverdale, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, BBC’s Sherlock, and her first feature film was even Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare. She does an adequate job here, the action plain as day to see with no shaky came and shots that make the monsters scarier than they were probably meant to be. She seems like she had fun directing it (and Ghostbuster’s director Ivan Reitman even produced this, he must’ve saw something in it). The best thing about this film is surprisingly Tom Felton as boogeyman Grand Guigol, as they made him look like a zombie Sirius Black and acts like an evil Jack Sparrow with Voldemort motivations. I had a fun time watching his performance. Other than a couple of weird moments, obligatory sequel set ups and pacing issues in the finale, this new movie should be a fun little addition to your Halloween queue. Stop the hunting for something good and new Halloween feature wise. You’ve found it.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE FORTY-YEAR-OLD VERSION (Netflix)

THE FORTY-YEAR-OLD VERSION, that just premiered on Netflix this past weekend, is thankfully another solid original from the streaming platform, and yet another movie you probably haven’t heard of. Why is it always the good ones that no one hears about or watches, yet you guys kept jerking off to Hubie Halloween this past weekend? Seriously, has this pandemic gotten you all on the spectrum? HOW HAS HUBIE HALLOWEEN BEEN #1 ON NETFLIX SINCE FRIDAY YOU FUCKING HACKS?!?!? **cools down** Anyway, for every Hubie there is something like this that maybe people will discover weeks, months, or years down the line, especially if it gets an Oscar nomination or two this year. I don’t know if this will, haven’t done much research on it other than that it’s 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. IMDB describes this film with the following: “Radha is a down-on-her-luck NY playwright, who is desperate for a breakthrough before 40. Reinventing herself as rapper RadhaMUSPrime, she vacillates between the worlds of Hip Hop and theater in order to find her true voice.” Although the movie bogs down in some cliches, such as her embarrassing herself the first time she is on stage, the best friend agent, and the unlikely love interest, those aspects are quickly forgiven when you realize this is an excellently told gentrification movie about gentrification and overcoming those odds. This isn’t only surface level in your face gentrification themes like the ho-hum Vampires Vs. The Bronx that came out a couple of weeks ago on the same streaming platform. This gentrification is much more subtle, and it goes deep down under the surface, where it should be.

There are not any recognizable faces in this movie, so try to go in with an open mind, and this movie is also in black and white, which I think added a unique look and layer to the film other than if it had just been in color. There are a few snippets of color, but they are used in the right places to strap down the themes the movie has in store for you. With all of that, and even a tad bit over a two hour run time, the movie is very entertaining and well acted. Radha Black has not only crafted an important screenplay that opens the window a little into her biographical life while hitting home important racial and sex themes, but she even has some solid acting chops and a nice eye behind the camera. I don’t know what made her film this in black and white, but it was definitely a nice touch and makes it stand out from other films in that genre. She also frames shots very well, and moves the camera to character point of view with perfect flow and grace. The freestyle rapping was actually decent, didn’t feel staged or fake and had some nice beats. The film also took its time to get to familiar story beats which made them not so familiar, even when you know what is going to happen at the end of the opening night of her play that was taken over by pretentious white douche bags. The subtle themes relating to Radha’s mother was a nice little footnote in the story as well, very emotional. There is nothing much more to say other than to give this movie a chance if you are looking for a pleasing drama that is smart if you need a vacation from the dumb stupid idiotic same old same old bullshit from Adam Sandler. Come on guys, let’s either get him to do better or cancel his ass altogether. Grow some brains during this fucking shit year.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: HUBIE HALLOWEEN (Netflix)

Holy shit, Sandler went full gibberish! HUBIE HALLOWEEN is the 2nd worst thing to happen to Americans in 2020. Stuck between a virus and a copter crash. On one hand, it is probably Sandler’s most tolerable Netflix original film to date. On the other hand, if you watch this, and actually laugh and enjoy it, then you might want to see someone, as you’re probably on the spectrum. Right at the very beginning of this film I moaned out, “oh no” as Ben Stiller shows up in a cameo as his awful orderly character from Happy Gilmore. Not too far after, there was another “oh no” out of me as there is a kid named O’Doyle that likes to pick on Sandler’s dumb character and after a prank yells out…you guessed it…”O’Doyle rules!” The man has run out of jokes and can’t come up with anything new that he has lowered himself to constantly bringing back and referencing his two most popular films from the 90s. Here’s a decent question: Why is it that Sandler has to come up with these stupid characters with jibberish names (Bobby Bouche in Waterboy, in this it’s Hubie Dubois) that almost speak literal jibberish because of his fast talking fucking annoying accents? Why does he keep using cheap, over-used physical bodily pain comedy that died over two decades ago? Why? I’m just so fucking tired of it. Aren’t you? And you know what the scariest thing about this absolutely non-frightening new Halloween film from the asshats at Happy Madison Productions? The scariest thing is that this is NOT the “worst film ever made” that Sandler promised us if he didn’t get nominated for an Oscar for the masterful Uncut Gems. No, this film was made last year before this year’s nominations were even announced. The horror. The horror of what’s to come.

IMDB describes Hubie Halloween with the following: “Despite his devotion to his hometown of Salem (and its Halloween celebration), Hubie Dubois is a figure of mockery for kids and adults alike. But this year, something is going bump in the night, and it’s up to Hubie to save Halloween.” Don’t be fooled by the rip off plot set up of a Michael Myers type escaping a mental institution to wreck havoc on Salem, the whole plot is a giant red herring and the reveal near the end is so unbelievably stupid and unbelievably unbelievable that you’ll laugh just at the fact that the movie tried to pull THAT rug out from under you. I’ve mentioned being frustrated by a film’s potential this year before, and again I am frustrated, because I’ll even admit it, there is a decent film in here somewhere. Turn Sandler into a normal nice guy that gets picked on by the town for no reason at all, a character without the jibberish talk and dumb childlike innocence, wrap him up in a people missing/getting “killed” murder plot, actually ADVANCE said plot instead of it just being skit scenes of Sandler being picked on by the town, HAVE NONE OF HIS FUCKING STUPID SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE FRIENDS IN IT, create a different inciting incident other than just another mental institution break out, completely change the “gotcha” ending, make it somewhat scary and you might have yourself another family friendly Halloween classic that you watch every year other than just Hocus Pocus. I know that seems like a lot to ask, but that’s all they had to do. But nope, it’s just been there, done that before, cheap and crude potty humor with no frights. There’s a boner joke throughout the movie that starts beating a dead horse the moment it is introduced, and don’t get me started on Hubie’s dumb fucking Swiss Army Thermos the film desperately wants the audience to think is funny.

You know what the sad part about this is? If you loved this year’s The Wrong Missy, also made by Happy Madison Productions, your dumb ass will probably love this more. Which goes to show you, you are the reason that blockbuster films are being delayed this year other than the virus, as your dumb fucking ass eating these shitty made “comfort food” movies, making them popular along with your overrated sports to where you don’t need to go to a theater, you’ve gotten pussified, lazy and pathetic. Why doesn’t Netflix hold Sandler accountable for the shit films he makes with his shitty contract with them? Oh, it’s because you fucking idiots watch his bullshit over and over and over again on the streaming platform, and they only have hearts made out of dollar signs. The only other positive thing I have to say about this film, other than that there is a decent movie in here somewhere, other than that there was no shameless product placement like in Sandler’s other films, and other than the only two things that made me chuckle were Kenan Thompson’s facial expressions to some tomfoolery and a Kevin James Muppet joke, was that the movie actually looked like a movie. Meaning the production design and direction were decent for what it was. It actually looked like a town that really enjoys Halloween. Gotta give the director Steven Brill, who also directed Sandler in Little Nicky and Mr. Deeds, but also directed him in Netflix’s The Do-Over and Sandy Wexler, yet gets a free pass from me for directing one of my favorites, Heavyweights, some kind of credit. Him and the crew actually tried to make everything around the mediocre story and Sandler look look legit. I desperately wanted to add this film to my recent review list of movies that I couldn’t finish in buttfucking 2020, but I also wanted to watch the whole thing just so I could tear it a new one in this review.

Every year Netflix still manages to have me place a new Sandler film in my worst of lists. Last year Sandler surprisingly had a movie on both my worst and near the top of my favorite lists. That’s likely never to happen again though. It’s just a fast, who gives a fuck, script to get Sandler and friends some kind of paycheck, so they can buy more expensive and useless shit in their regular lives. At least this time the plot wasn’t set on some exotic locale just for an excuse to give Sandler, family, and friends a vacation along with a paycheck…although Sandler’s wife and his kids of course show up in cameos in this. Almost forgot to mention, the film has an interesting side plot with one of Julie Bowen’s character’s kids (Will from Stranger Things) having interest in a girl a little older than him. But once that girl shows interest in him too, the side plot is over, as there is no conflict thrown into the ring to make it a little more interesting, not even a cliched “she already has a boyfriend” predicament! Sandler looks bored even though he tries to look lively with his dumb shenanigans, Julie Bowen looks like she really misses Modern Family, wondering why the fuck she’s in a movie like this and why her character would have any interest in Hubie in real life, Kevin James is annoyingly stupid and awful in this, Steve Buscemi is embarassing, Shaq shows up in a dumb and tired scene that’s ultimately embarassing too, and even Sandler’s other SNL friends seem dumb downed and desperate here, including, but not limited to: Maya Rudolph, Rob Schneider, and Tim Meadows. We have to make this shit stop, so please do not watch this like I did. I only watched this to warn all of you to stay far, far away. It already makes me sad that Halloween this year is probably already ruined because some dumb ass Chinese guy ate an under cooked bat, but now Adam Sandler has thrown his hat into the ring to ruin it further. This film will make you wish you were in the same universe as his Click movie, with a remote control to fast forward all of us to whenever this depressing shit ends.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: VAMPIRES VS. THE BRONX (Netflix)

Yes, VAMPIRES VS. THE BRONX is a real Netflix original movie, but no, the movie isn’t as fun and schlocky as it sounds, and that is part of its problem. With a title like this one, or Snakes On A Plane, or Sharknado, you either go full fun, non-scary, dumb yet entertaining schlock, or you go home. This movie tries to be too The Lost Boys or Blade, and in doing so, doesn’t even get close to replicating their classic magic, and so this films title doesn’t live up to what is seemingly promised. This movie is too tonally in the middle of all those movies I just mentioned, which in turn makes it a cookie cutter, run of the mill, PG-13, bloodless, ho-hum, lame, by the numbers, assembly line product you’ve already seen and rejected before. I should’ve expected it though. The marketing for it, which little there was, only started the week before this film premiered, the trailer was bland, and the poster for it is one of the worst photo shopped shitty pieces of art that I’ve ever seen in my life. However, after watching the whole thing, it is not one of the worst films of the year. It’s just…there…and in about a week will be lost with all the other standard stuff that Netflix keeps rolling out each and every week. It’s frustrating because this film does show a lot of promise as I laughed out loud at some of the jokes, the film even has some familiar faces in it and everybody involved seemed like they wanted to be there. But it didn’t go where it needed to go to be a memorable schlocky romp that I was hoping it was going to be. It’s as if you opened up a coffin in a scary castle, saw the most vicious looking vampire you have ever seen in your life and they suddenly open their eyes. Yet it somehow isn’t intimidating to you, so you yawn, close the coffin, walk away and the son of a bitch doesn’t even have the audacity to try and chase you down and drink your blood.

Per IMDB, it describes this movie as: “A group of young friends from the Bronx fight to save their neighborhood from gentrification…and vampires.” It’s a simple description, yet reading between the lines it teases something that could be quite special. I was expecting it say something about race, gentrification, and middle-class. In a nutshell, I was expecting it to poke fun at white people. I mean, not that this really is a spoiler, but the heroes and good guys in this are African-American kids, their parents, and the community around them…and the vampires are all white for goodness sake. Surely the film would play with that and say several somethings about that scenario to its advantage, but other than one gangster pulling out a gun and calling one of the vampire’s ‘Hamilton’ because of its git-up, there are no really no other solid or smart jokes that cater to what the film might be trying to get at. In the end, there wasn’t enough tonal focus for me to even say with any complete confidence if the film even truly had a message buried deep down inside it, because it was all over the place tonally. There is a small fun scene, that only lasts less than 20 seconds, of our heroes stocking up on vampire hunting gear that was interesting, such as filling water balloons with holy water, but that kind of goofy fun (it reminded me of writer/director Edgar Wright and his ‘getting ready close up quick shots’) was short lived nor was it done as often as it should have. And there is only one funny vampire kill. That just cannot be in a film titled Vampires Vs. The Bronx. Not to mention all the kills are bloodless, off camera, and if a vampire does get killed we get that shitty disintegrating CGI that makes Blade’s seem as though it should’ve been nominated for an Oscar in special effects.

I hardly blame the direction, it’s completely the screenplay. The movie looks and feels like a movie, as director Osmany Rodriguez keeps shots somewhat dark in tone, and even in the daylight there was a gritty feel to the cinematography. I kind of dug the look of everything. The screenplay is co-written by him, but the other writer is a white guy. Remember how some of you felt that Antebellum or Green Book was inauthentic because a writer/co-writer/director was white? Same thing here, and I think that this Blaise Hemingway…who co-wrote Uglydolls and the awful Playmobile: The Movie mind you, should’ve taken a story by credit and handed the script fully to Osmany or another writer for a full rewrite. The familiar faces, Sarah Gadon, Shea Whigham, Method Man, and a glorified cameo from Zoe Saldana, look like they are having fun and want to be there, and the 4 hero kids definitely look like they want to be there and are having fun, but the final product doesn’t match their enthusiasm. The vampires come off as really stupid, and not in a fun, smart and jokingly way either. The action is tepid, there are no scares, tension, or any build up, and there is definitely not that much character development. I would even go to say that there were way too many characters for that given that it clocks in at only an hour and 25 minutes. Not really any plot arcs for any of them other than them telling the adults “told you so.” This film should’ve been about half an hour longer and taken its time getting to its revelations. The kids find out about the vampires not more than 15 minutes into this. In the end though, the most offensive thing about this movie is it’s title. It should’ve been titled something such as Bronx Nights or Blood Of The Bronx or it could have even sort of stolen Wes Craven’s shitty, mid-90s Eddie Murphy film and have it be called Vampires In The Bronx. Sorry, this movie does not earn the v or the s.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: AMERICAN MURDER – THE FAMILY NEXT DOOR (Netflix)

AMERICAN MURDER: THE FAMILY NEXT DOOR is a chilling documentary that has no voice overs, no interviews filmed specifically for the doc, it is an hour and 23 minutes of perfectly edited footage from Shanann Watts Facebook posts, texts between her and her friends, and footage we’ve seen on You Tube coming from police body cams and the Chris Watts interrogation cameras at the station. It was just released on Netflix a couple of days ago and it rushed to the #1 spot on Netflix’s Top Ten List immediately. Per IMDB: “In 2018, 38-year-old Shanann Watts and her two youngest daughters disappeared in Colorado. With the heartbreaking details emerging, the family’s story made headlines around the world.” If you live under a bridge, and weren’t watching the news at the time (it was everywhere btw) I’m about to give a big hefty spoiler ending with what happened because I have to explain the outcome of the case to effectively review this documentary. In the end, it reveals that the husband, Chris Watts, killed all three of them (Shanann was also pregnant at the time, so really 4 people) for absolutely no reason other than he was cheating on her and wanted a new life. There is footage of him blatantly lying to police when they are asking him questions and searching his house and he even has the gall to take a fucking lie detector test to try and prove his innocence. Chris Watts is a fucking monster and how he thought he could get away with it, I don’t think we’ll ever know. The fact that this documentary is as haunting as it is and is able to display the facts without any voice overs or new interview footage shot specifically for this film is unbelievable.

This is one of the hardest documentaries I have ever had to watch, as anger seeped through me, especially when it kept coming back to the fact that he killed is two very lovely young daughters and didn’t shed a tear for them until he got caught. In all the footage he looks like he’s a empty shell of a human being. The point of the documentary was to basically show the naysayers that kept victim blaming and saying that maybe Shanann drove Chris over the edge really are that stupid. She did nothing wrong. I know a lot of people have two different personalities, one on social media, and one in person, but all of her posts, texts, what have you in this doc, showed her as a deeply compassionate, loving and caring mother. And that this asshole son of a bitch deserved the three life sentences that eventually get sentenced upon him. The documentary is not too long, it is crisp and tight in what it is trying to say. It doesn’t show any bodies or anything but this is definitely not for the faint of heart or those that get their blood pumping easily from awful tragedies such as this. This is going to be a short review, as all I can comment on is how awful this story is but how well made the documentary is. If I went into specifics, it would just depress and anger me further. However, I haven’t seen director Jenny Popplewell’s other docs, but after this I might search for a couple to see if they are expertly made as this one was. So if you are strong minded, I recommend giving this a watch, as it is a different type of documentary that will have your eyes glued to the screen, and not falling asleep and losing interest like those Unsolved Mystery documentaries that have bland narration and are on the same streaming platform.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE BOYS IN THE BAND (Netflix)

Well, I can guarantee you one thing, there will be no other program this year that will have as many penises and man’s asses as this movie does! THE BOYS IN THE BAND is a film that just premiered on Netflix that is based off the 1968 play and the 1970 feature film of the same name. It’s a pure conversational dialogue movie, meaning that there are basically two main rooms characters talk and the story of the lives and tribulations of the characters are told through word and description. So if you snooze at anything Tarantino, and didn’t like Fences, or fuck, if you just don’t like going to and watching plays, this film probably isn’t for you. Also, if you don’t like or uncomfortable around gay people, you might not like this either, but it’s 2020, get with the program please. Luckily, I am a dialogue connoisseur and will take in all genres of different things, and I also do not care who anyone identifies as or who anybody loves either. Frankly I’m a little puzzled at why some bigots care so much. Per IMDB, it describes this iteration of The Boys In The Band as: “At a birthday party in 1968 New York, a surprise guest and a drunken game leave seven gay friends reckoning with unspoken feelings and buried truths.” The movie, mostly, takes place all at this birthday party, in a cozy small New York apartment. The dialogue is fast and furious, a la Gilmore Girls, however the movie slows it down a bit in those small and intimate moments where an important point is being made. And while I’ve never seen an iteration of the play or the 1970 William Friedkin film, I quite enjoyed this version, as the characters and dialogue kept my interest throughout the entire 2 hour run time. Makes me want to watch Freidkin’s film now, considering the other things he’s directed, such as The Exorcist and The French Connection.

Let’s just get this out of the way, I’m a heterosexual, so I probably didn’t get some of the inside jokes that I would know if I was gay, but I got the jist and most of everything else, and the film got me pretty emotional thinking about what gay people must’ve been going through not just in 1968, but today as well. Doing some research, back in that time when the play and movie premiered not too long after one another, a lot of people in the gay community were as horrified by the depiction of the life that might befall them and that it did a lot of harm to gay people rather than good. Some didn’t like it because they thought both the play and the movie portrayed a group of gay men wallowing in self-pity, with no redeeming qualities and not a likable character among them. I happen to disagree. The characters have their flaws but they all seem good at heart and the only unlikable character happens to be the straight man that invites himself to the party. And if you pay attention to the film closely, read between some of the lines if you will, I think the movie says what it needed to say rather subtly more than just conking you on the head over and over again, which I appreciated. What is said is rather important and heartbreaking, but it needs to be heard. Still does today. I guess Michael, played here by Jim Parsons, could be considering unlikable based on the game he makes the party guests play in the second half of the film, however if you look at it in a different light, he’s screaming out for help. They all are.

The acting in this is fantastic. The faces you will know are Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory), Zachary Quinto (Heroes, Star Trek) and Matt Bomer (White Collar). Not just those three, but everyone does a great job here. The best performance is easily Parsons, who I finally saw as playing an actual different character that wasn’t just another iteration of Sheldon Cooper (he says the non fuck f word a shit ton here and even says ‘cunt’ several times, things that Cooper wouldn’t even think of saying). I loved how in those two hours you felt like you really got to know every party guest there, their feelings, their longing desires, their secrets, and what the rest of their lives might hold in store for them. Some of it is loving, some of it is heartbreaking, some of it is frightening, but none of it is uninteresting. The dialogue flies off the tongue, some of it so fast you might have to do a double take and rewind a couple of times just so you can digest all that was said. Unfortunately it is the actors that make the movie their own and not combined with the direction. The director, Joe Mantello, who I’m not familiar with, is definitely an actor’s director, but did nothing to extinguish himself visually. It all felt like a point and shoot affair that could’ve been done by anybody that knows how to work a camera and can get along with anybody. Then again, maybe this movie didn’t have to have a visual flair, seeing that it is basically just a play, and when you go to a play, you are doing the pointing and shooting with your eyes and ears. If you’ve never seen a version of this movie or the play, this is a pretty well done starter experience for you. Just expect to see a bunch of man ass and penises, something I don’t think was present in the 1970 movie nor the 1968 play. If that bothers you, I don’t know what to say. Grow up, maybe?

Zach’s Zany TV Binge Watchin’ Reviews: JURASSIC WORLD – CAMP CRETACEOUS

How…in the Jurassic Park…can a young adult animated television show be better than the 3rd movie in the original trilogy and the abysmal Fallen Kingdom of the new trilogy? How? I mean, the first several episodes of JURASSIC WORLD: CAMP CRETACEOUS have kind of a “we’ve seen it all before” meh set up…yet still surprisingly serviceable…yet once it hits that halfway point, the story really takes off. And once you realize that this show is actually canon and takes place a little before, mostly during, and a little after the first Jurassic World, somehow…this show found a way…to become masterful. Especially episodes 4 – 8 and especially especially the last 3. THIS should’ve been the live action 2 to 2 and a half hour SIDEQUEL we should’ve gotten in 2018, and not the awful, just awful Fallen Kingdom sequel that became so dumb and stupid during the 2nd half, with that dinosaurs run amok in a mansion subplot, that I wanted a Velociraptor to gouge my eyes out with that foot toe claw of theirs. And this show isn’t really for kids, kids, people die and get eaten (mostly off screen though, they aren’t that bold with a YA show), and I even thought some parts had quite the ramp-ed up tension and were a little scary for some. We watched all 8 episodes in a day. I loved it, my wife loved it, and my little boy loved it, so I thought I’d do a little review for you all since it is something great that is streaming that can pass a little bit of time by. Especially when you aren’t watching your favorite sports team lose in what I wouldn’t count as a real championship even if they did win because of all the factors that are being attributed to this blurry and confusing year.

**WARNING: GIANT RANT OF ME SHITTING ON SPORTS** Yeah, that’s right. I hate sports right now and I’m going to stand on my shoe box for a moment or two to scream out my frustrations. You all need to get out of your fucking shells and go and see something in the theater. It doesn’t even need to be Tenet, just support your local theater so I…errr I mean we, can get our new blockbusters back and ready to roll with no more bullshit fear mongering delays. I, and many others, are burnt out of this fucking virus, and in my opinion, it isn’t fair that you little sports freaks are still getting new games to watch every week. The numbers of positive cases have to be skewed at this point. Whether it is democrats trying to fear monger until the election for votes against Trump or republicans for some other agenda, this virus went completely political since week 1 and I’m tired of fucking hearing about it. I’m tired of the pointing fingers. The ones that are still gung-ho about not leaving their bubble, I’m tired of hearing that you get to watch your fucking sports in the comfort of your own home. I don’t give a shit if you can’t physically go to the games, you are still getting new shit to watch and, when you win, good new shit to watch. So in the meantime I refuse to watch or be in the same room where sports are being viewed by your morons that feel “safe” and secure at home. Go out, wear a mask, physically distance, and see a movie. These theaters aren’t God damn petri dishes where you are guaranteed to get the virus. They have good ventilation with fantastic air filters and wonderful cleaning protocols. Fuck you sports and leave your home assholes. **END OF GIANT SPORTS SUCK MY ASSHOLE RANT**

**slaps my own face** Where were we? Ah yes, this wonderful little 8 episode Jurassic World tv show. Yeah, it’s pretty damn good. Per IMDB, the show is described as follows: “Six teens attending an adventure camp on the opposite side of Isla Nublar must band together to survive when dinosaurs wreak havoc on the island.” The animation is solid, the voice casting is superb, and it even has emotional and investing side plots that are more than just running away from dinosaurs and trying to survive. The main protagonist, Darius, has flashbacks to when he was wanting to visit the park when it eventually opened with his Dad, who was on his deathbed with cancer and one of the other teens may or not be working for a rival company to InGen. The first one made me shed a couple of tears and I found the second to be an interesting twist I didn’t see coming. I even tried to predict a conventional ending, seeing as this took place during and would end just a little bit after the first Jurassic World movie, but the show again surprises by being unconventional and warranting what I’m sure will be a green lit season 2, seeing as this has been in the top ten Netflix list ever since all episodes were available starting September 18th. I mentioned earlier how this should’ve been the live action SIDE-quel (meaning it takes place during the events of the first film but still was released after it) and not Fallen Kingdom. I stand by that statement.Look, I know that the filmmakers don’t want to get rid of the star power of Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, but sometimes, creatively, you need to look elsewhere or otherwise you are just going end up with the same old shit, and if it isn’t the same old shit, it might be some weird new shit that people will find too…awkward (aka the whole second half of that movie).

But this should be something to tide us all over nicely until we get to the third movie that is expected to come out next summer (crossing fingers, fuck you COVID). The ending action scene is quite simple and compact, it takes place inside a closed dock tunnel. And it actually made me say “whoa” a couple of times to the places it went. Two episodes before that, the movie takes a breather for character development and has the teens talk on a monorail for a bit (followed by a harrowing, emotional, and riveting action sequence of course). I was quite surprised by this development…as I figure a lot young adults have ADD and sometimes for them, it just has to be “action now now now, and lots of it or I’ll get bored.” Clearly these show runners were wanting something more. Or it could just be the fact that I heard that Steven Spielberg himself was creatively in the development for this show more than he normally would’ve been and said it shouldn’t be dumb-ed down and too “kiddie.” Boy I wish he was more hands on with Fallen Kingdom and hope that he is for next year’s Dominion. Any little bit helps and makes a difference it seems. I think everybody involved with this show needs to get some sort big credit. It’s not every day that you make an animated television show that is canon to the live action movies and is better than some of them. This series had me roaring for more, and with several juicy cliffhangers, I think it’s safe to say that the series to be renewed should be a walk in the park for Netflix.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: ENOLA HOLMES (Netflix)

There are a lot of critics and other film people out there that hate it when movies break the fourth wall, i.e. the characters talk to the audience if they were right there along on the adventure. Not me. I love that shit, makes films like Deadpool, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and Wayne’s World that much more enjoyable. And unique. Which is why I very much enjoyed Netflix’s new original film, ENOLA HOLMES, which flips the old Sherlock Holmes detective adventures that we’ve seen a billion times before on its head with Enola being the main protagonist and her constantly breaking the fourth wall to talk to us. It also works so well because Millie Bobby Brown pulls it off with a fantastic performance. Even though the movie also has a good old fashioned mystery that I was into as well, I think if the movie had played it completely straight, it wouldn’t have been as much fun, interesting, and engaging as it was. It would’ve been just another Sherlock adventure, but this time gender flipped. And I know a lot of men out there eye roll when it comes to gender flipped movies (especially after the travesty that was Ghostbusters 2016), because for some reason it enrages them because they think its trying to push some feminist agenda. Yet they aren’t so opposed when studios come up with original material and characters for women to inhabit and possibly make memorable and classic? Jesus, some of us are rude and weird aren’t we? I love gender flipped movies and stories, as long as they work on their own.

Ghostbusters 2016 didn’t work NOT because of the women involved but because of director Paul Feig, his terrible non-screenplay with 99% ad-libbing and no story, and him not knowing when to yell “cut” and move on. Everyone one in the cast there did the best they could with the garbage material they were given. Not their fault. Enola Holmes, and other gender flipped movies that came out this year such as Birds of Prey, work because EVERY part of the film making process of those projects are fleshed out, not rushed, and pay attention to detail . The performances are great, the story, dialogue, and screenplay are solid, the cinematography is gorgeous, and the direction is tight. Per IMDB, it describes Enola Holmes as: “When Enola Holmes-Sherlock’s teen sister-discovers her mother missing, she sets off to find her, becoming a super-sleuth in her own right as she outwits her famous brother and unravels a dangerous conspiracy around a mysterious young Lord.” This movie is mostly getting positive reviews out there, but the ones that are negative either complain that it’s just a gender flipped Sherlock Holmes movie and/or that it caters to younger audiences too much. Who fucking cares? Seriously? As long as it is a good, solid movie, with a good, solid story, why the fuck would you care about things like that? And I don’t think the movie caters to younger audiences too hard, as there is plenty of action sequences and some jarringly frightening almost death scenes and blunt force trauma within the 2 hour runtime, but my point is, it shouldn’t matter. It only matters if you are entertained. Which this movie did, for not just me, but my wife as well. She said that this and The Broken Hearts Gallery are two of the better movies she’s seen in quite awhile. While I wouldn’t say they are masterful by any means, I tend to agree with her a bit.

While the movie is about 10 to 15 minutes too long and drags a bit in the middle, the story felt fun and fresh, the movie looked nice as it felt like there was high production value to make everything within it look like it really took place way back when, and the performances were strong and charming. Millie Bobby Brown steals the show out from everyone, and now she can say that she has another iconic character in her career portfolio other than just being Eleven on Stranger Things. Helena Bonham Carter and Sam Claflin as Enola’s mother and brother are solid even though they aren’t in the film terribly much, but the other scene stealer in this is obviously Henry Cavill, playing Enola’s other brother, Sherlock. He’s in the movie much more than I thought he’d be, for being the ‘with’ in the movies credits, and I liked that his rendition of Sherlock wasn’t so over the top and much more subtle, showing us a side of that character we hadn’t seen before. I would love for him to come back in possible sequels to this, yet he doesn’t need more screen time, just as much as this please to not make it seem like the filmmakers are desperate to cash in on Cavill’s hunky/handsome face and physique for the ladies. I’m just happy that this seemed like an original movie that could’ve played in theaters and not just a cheap mediocre “grand” Netflix production. *coughTheOldGuardcough*. With this and The Devil All The Time, maybe Netflix is actually going to start trying? *looks at calendar* Well, fuck…nevermind, Adam Sandler’s terrible looking Netflix original film Hubie Halloween comes out in two weeks…so no, the game is not afoot.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE SOCIAL DILEMMA (Netflix)

Believe it or not, some people have been clamoring for a sequel to The Social Network for years. There have been rumblings of a direct sequel for about a decade now and also talks of film ‘spiritual’ successors based on the creations of Snapchat, Google, Instagram, Twitter, and even Pinterest. Alas, we still don’t have a true companion piece to the masterful David Fincher film, probably due to the fact that the creation of all those other social media accounts I listed probably don’t have as interesting as an origin as Facebook did. Until now. And while THE SOCIAL DILEMMA is a documentary first and foremost, combined with about 10 to 15 minutes of stupid and hammy fictitious drama footage, the cause and effect correlation between The Social Network and this film is extraordinarily impactful. Those of you on the edge of going off the grid and deleting all of your social media accounts but were looking for a real good reason to do so, watch this film immediately. All others, like myself, while it might not get you deleting all of you presence, you might consider changing the way you behave on all your platforms, so you don’t succumb to the depression and anxiety a lot of people experience on the internet today. Per IMDB, it describes this film as such: “In a new documentary-drama hybrid, The Social Dilemma exxplores the dangerous human impact of social networking, with tech experts sounding the alarm on their own creations.” To answer your first question, no, Mark Zuckerberg isn’t one of the people interviewed and sounding the alarm…but definitely expect him to show up and be talked about at some point during the movie.

This documentary would’ve been a masterpiece if it weren’t for the stupid, god awful, hammy drama portion of the hybrid. The drama portion of the film stars The Binge’s, Vacation, and Santa Clarita Diet’s Skylar Gisondo and his fictitious family navigating the impact of social media in their lives. The mom realizes what it is doing to her family, and when she tries to take phones away or make deals with her children to keep off their phones, one of Skylar’s sister’s does something to get her phone back that I don’t think even the nastiest young kid would do in front of their family. While Skylar’s part in this is a little bit more realistic than that of his sister, the ending of his story and obsession is so god awful you will want to ask the filmmakers why they even put those parts in it in the first place. The drama portion also stars Mad Men’s Vincent Kartheiser as a “social media data researcher and manipulator.” It’s stupid too, and if you are confused what I mean by that, you’ll know it when you see it. We didn’t need dramatic fictitious reenacments played out, just the facts. You are going to want to fast forward through them just so we can get back to listening to these real social media creators explain how they should’ve seen this dystopia coming from a long way away while they were trying to create a utopia of digital connections. The documentary portion of this is perfect, not only does it state the facts, and prove beyond a reasonable doubt what it is doing to our society, but it gives you a shit ton of solutions of how we can get out of it. And yes, it even talks about both sides of the “fake news” debate coin. We should’ve gotten 15 to 20 minutes more of that and cut out the dramatic fat. I won’t talk about the movie anymore, as you should just seek it out and find it on Netflix and watch it when you can, as it is required viewing…except for what I already recommended that you fast forward through. Doing that won’t cause any kind of dilemma.