Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: JOHN WICK CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM

Do I really need to review this film for you? I mean seriously, this review should just say “go see it” and you should want to escape to a theater for a little over two hours with Keanu Reeves. Just like Chapter 2, JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM is one of the greatest actions sequels ever made, and probably one of the best action films ever made in general. It is the best of the three (only by a small margin though as I really think Chapter 2 is very special) and completes a rare reverse trilogy for me. A reverse trilogy is that the 3rd is the best, then the second, then the first, and it will remain a rare reverse trilogy until the inevitable 4th one comes out. And if you think it’s a spoiler saying that John Wick doesn’t die in this, you haven’t been paying attention. Like Die Hard, this is now a franchise, and as long as the same people come back, and as long as the movies don’t lose any steam, they are going to make more.

Keanu Reeves (son of a gun is 54 years old) is back as John Wick, the movie continuing mere moments after Chapter 2 left off (one could also argue that Chapter 2 does the same for the first one) where he as a one hour grace period before becoming ‘Excommunicado’ after breaking the assassin Hotel Continental’s rules and killing a newly appointed member of the high table on the grounds. He’s on the run with a $14 million dollar bounty on his head…trying to figure out a way out of all of this. Now if anything of what I said was confusing, then that means you haven’t watched any of the John Wick movies and need to do so now. They are all great films, with Chapter 2 and this being cinematic action masterpieces. I was afraid that with a third film there was no way that it could top the world building and action set pieces from the 2nd. Boy was I wrong.

It not only expands upon the awesome assassin world only hinted at in the first film, and touched a little more in the second, it really comes full circle and fills in almost all of the details (you gotta hold back for the 4th one though, am I right?). I LOVE THIS WORLD. I wish I could see spin off after spin off after spin off with an occasional John Wick original adventure every now and then. It is just that diverse and interesting and I think that the world could even find tune itself to the point of having a giant fictional book about the history of the Wick-verse. The first spin off I’d love to see is a movie with Halle Berry and her dogs. Even though she is in it not as much as I’d like, when she is, she steals the show. Every reservation you have had about her in other recent crappy movies is washed away in this. The film makes it known that she has her own story to tell, and even though I’m not a prequel fan, I would eat it up if they made one.

The action in this is nothing short of masterful. You will be talking about Keanu Reeves using a book to kill somebody and the knife fight, and the horse sequence, and the motorcycle sequence, and the climax sequence for days. You can almost feel each punch and shot done to somebody in any given sequence in your seat. The sound editing and mixing on this is the best I’ve seen since….well, I guess that would be Chapter 2 huh? Some of the sequences had the audience in Alamo Drafthouse screaming giant OOOOOHHHH and AHHHHS, laughing and clapping. It was a pretty unique experience. Everything technical about this film is done so well. I’m going to be a little pissed if the Academy doesn’t give this at least a nomination for Best Cinematography. The cities, the landscapes, look absolutely gorgeous on the big screen.

And then there is Keanu Reeves. While I will even admit his range is limited, at least he is known for characters other than just John Wick (don’t forget, you got Ted and Neo). Also, even with the limited emotional range he tries to bring his A game to EVERY film that he is in. Have you seen the training video they release of him for John Wick? (They just released a Halle Berry one which was awesome too). The guy is deeply compassionate for his craft and it shows. This movie has no stupid shaky cam or any editing tricks to try and pin point all the action. The camera is super steady and relentlessly fluid. All of this make the shots seem cinematically magical. You see that it is Reeves doing most if not all of his stunts and he is pretty fucking impressive ‘beating’ the shit out of people. These movies wouldn’t be this special without him.

While there was one or two action sequences that went on a bit too long, I didn’t really care because I was enjoying each and every second of it. The John Wick films are cinematic experiences you need to see on the big screen before watching on your big screen (hopefully) at home. They are great action films and are better than most of the other action films we get today (not too surprising since most of them are CGI garbage with no more practical effects). These films are better than they have any right to be. Please keep screenwriter Derek Kolstad on (even if he has to share the spotlight like he did in this film) and especially former stunt double for Reeves now director Chad Stahelski. Without those two these movies wouldn’t be what they are. I’m done talking about this masterpiece and would rather discuss it in person with those who know me. I’ll conclude with this ‘duh’ statement: John Wick Chapter 3 – Parabellum is the best film of 2019 so far…and I don’t even know if at this point Tarantino or Skywalker could dethrone it.

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Zach’s Zany TV Binge Reviews: THE TWILIGHT ZONE (2019) Part 4 of 5: NOT ALL MEN and POINT OF ORIGIN

**sigh** And the new series started off so well. At the worst I thought I was going to be reviewing one really good/great episode and one really mediocre/terrible one these last two reviews, but alas, I got two not so great ones for you. The only thing that separates them from being worse than the terrible episode The Wunderkind is the acting. Minus Six Degrees of Freedom, these last several episodes fail because of them not just for the eye rolling, hitting the present day social commentary nail on the head, but that it keeps hitting you on the head long after the nail is already in there. I really hope that the show runners know what they are doing and saving their best two for last (although I this point I highly question it). At least Jordan Peele’s intros are still fascinating to watch. I wish he was writing and directing episodes.

NOT ALL MEN

Like I mentioned in the above paragraph, the only thing that separates this one from being worse than The Wunderkind is the acting. Taissa Farmiga, Rhea Seehorn, and Ike Barinholtz bring out incredible performances, but the social commentary in this is so in your face, it makes the twist at the end even dumber, and I’m kind of surprised I haven’t heard anything about men being offended by this episode (Don’t worry, I’m not). The plot is basically after a meteor shower, the men in a town grow absolutely nuts and with psycho and animal like behavior. Taissa Farmiga and her sister Rhea Seehorn, try to navigate the strange and destructive behavior while trying to escape the town.

Clearly an episode inspired by #MeToo, it doesn’t work because it tries to hard to say, “do…do you get it?” Yes we do, after the first 5 minutes we get it, but instead of pushing forward the plot and doing something different, characters just keep explaining the same insane behavior just with different vocabulary. And then the twist at the end basically just gives the entire episode a WTF moment and you feel as though you wasted your time. Don’t worry, I’m not going to give away the twist on here, but I’ve given you context clues to figure out what is probably is. I can also say that at least the episode looked good as well and had the same gorgeous cinematography as the other ones.

I do appreciate an episode that actually made me fear Ike Barinholtz. Usually a funny man and one of the best performers on the old MadTV (haha, kind of get why he was cast now), he is absolutely ruthless in this. I’d like to see him play more psycho characters in the future. Rhea Seehorn has always been a good actress, like on Better Call Saul, and here she’s just as convincing as someone scared out of her fucking mind. The best acting goes to Taissa Farmiga though, who I thought was terrible in The Nun as I thought she was only good for wide eyed facial expressions and that is it. Here, she is completely convincing as the woman trying to escape the harsh environment of men just suddenly going mad. Great concept, terrible and horrible execution.

POINT OF ORIGIN

And with this episode, we get the nail on the head a billion more times with social commentary, this time on immigration. Okay Twilight Zone, go home, you’re drunk, we get it. You need to now take your social commentary episodes and scale them back a little bit. You need build everything up, maybe even mix several social commentaries in (but not so in your face) at the same time to have a meatier episode. Yes, immigration is a hot button issue, but you can only state the same issue so many times using different words, and in this case, dimensions (you’ll see what I mean).

I did catch that the mask that Ginnfer Goodwin wears in this is an exact copy of those of the ‘normal’ faced people in the classic episode “Eye of the Beholder.” That was a nice little homage to the old. And her and James Frain’s acting was really good. And yet again, the episodes visuals and everything technical looks good. It’s just the story isn’t there. Well it’s there, but it doesn’t go further to get where it needs to go. It just stays in one place and doesn’t take it to more interesting and thought provoking levels. The whole plot is that after a rich white woman’s Mexican housekeeper is detained by the U.S. Government for not being a legal citizen, that rich white woman is also taken, but for different reasons that I will not spoil.

But again, you can guess where it is all going based on the fact that I said the only commentary on this is immigration. Where is home, truly? Why can’t we escape a wretched place to live a better life and people just accept it and try and help? Aren’t we all technically immigrants? Why is the US being a fucking bully? All those questions are asked a billion different ways, but none of them are really answered. Just another one of those “be careful, because it can happen to you” episodes. Those episodes are long and gone, we are currently in 2019. You can’t just recycle old stories and do them the same, you gotta have a better hook, instead it is the same rusty one Hollywood has used to fish a billion times over. I won’t finish this sentence again but, you know, great concept…Replay

Ranking of Episodes

  1. Replay
  2. Six Degrees of Freedom
  3. A Visitor
  4. Nightmare at 30,000 Feet
  5. The Comedian
  6. Point of Origin
  7. Not All Men
  8. The Wunderkind

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: EXTREMELY WICKED, SHOCKINGLY EVIL, AND VILE (Netflix)

Whether or not you like and enjoy EXTREMELY WICKED, SHOCKINGLY EVIL, AND VILE depends on what kind of movie you are expecting. If you are expecting for Zac Efron to go around and brutally kill women for two hours just to see what made the serial killer tick, you are going to be very, very disappointed. Or if you are smarter, like me, and go into it expecting a deep character study, sort of a personality mystery/thriller, while seeing Zac Efron takes his acting to the next level, then you are in for a treat. I happened to really like this film, and that’s because going into it I knew it didn’t go around just showing how he murdered women and got away with it. I knew that it was going to have kind of a “did he or didn’t he?” mystery vibe (even though we know how it all ends). Combine that narrative with an analysis of how this one deranged psychopath got away with everything because of the way he could talk and convince people (maybe even himself) that he was innocent. As the latter type of movie, it is one helluva character study.

The movie actually only shows one woman abduction and no kills at all. It’s quite bold and brilliant. It is more of a courtroom drama once Bundy actually gets caught near the beginning of the film because of a normal traffic stop, and then it shows how he tries to study up as a lawyer and try to talk his way out of jail time and even the death penalty. He even tries to manipulate his current girlfriend and convince her there is no way that he did those things. Oh, and he escapes from prison several times too. If anyone who didn’t know who the hell Ted Bundy was or didn’t have a clue that this was a real story, the movie could’ve successfully make that audience member confused whether or not he actually he did those unspeakable acts. But since the movie knows none of us are that stupid, it tries to make you think about Bundy’s personality, actions, and way with words/women so that it earns the narrative it is trying to tell: that monsters come in many manipulative forms. And because of Zac Efron’s incredible performance, it earns that slight doubt that could be formed in the back of your mind.

If there is only one thing to watch this movie for, it is because of Zac Efron. It is easily his best performance and I would probably stand up and cheer if I hear that he is nominated for an Oscar next year. He is just that damn good, and it isn’t just an impersonation. He embodies all of Ted’s ticks, mannerisms, and way with words so well that Efron basically became what I know of Bundy right before my very eyes. It is so frightening but the acting is so good you can’t take your eyes away from the screen. Lilly Collins is good too as the current girlfriend that can’t decide whether she truly believes Bundy is innocent or not, but Kaya Scodelario steals the female performance from under her as a former protege of Bundy’s that increasingly becomes obsessed with him and his innocence for all the wrong reasons. And the end reveal of Bundy just slightly showing Collins character who he really is, is a pretty powerful scene in itself. The movie alone is also worth watching between Zac Efron’s and John Malkovich’s banter between one another in the courtroom.

Would a movie that actually featured Ted Bundy committing all those horrible acts, maybe add thirty minutes onto the film to incorporate it, be that great and/or better than this film? I honestly don’t think so. I think if we got that movie people would’ve complained that it glorifies violence against women and it would’ve put itself in a public relations nightmare just to promote the film to get people to see it. The filmmakers made the right approach. How did those close and distant to Ted Bundy see him? How did he get away with all that horror for so long? Not how did he kill this girl and watch Zac Efron try to recreate murder events. Plus, if you want to dig deeper into the psychology of Ted Bundy, the director of this film also did that ‘Ted Bundy Tapes’ documentary series that is also on Netflix anyway. They make quite a marathon/double feature. Like I said, your appreciation of this films depends on what you’re expecting out of this. Expect a really good character study, and you’ll be out of the woods with a grin on your face and thoughts about it afterwards. Expect a re enactment of the murders, you will not have a killer time.

Zach’s Zany TV Binge Reviews: THE TWILIGHT ZONE (2019) Part 3 of 5 – The Wunderkind and Six Degrees Of Freedom

In part 3 of 5 of my two episode at a time reviews (10 episodes this season), and unlike my glowing reviews of episodes 4 and 5, this time be going to opposite ends of the spectrum, with one episode being the worst one so far, and the new one one of its best, if not the best. Let’s get the bad news out of the way first:

THE WUNDERKIND

Great premise, sloppy execution. Wasted potential. How on Earth did this one not work? How did the script even get green lit before going through several drafts and major re writes. The ending should’ve been a knockout punch to the head, not several slow and dull shots to the stomach. Seriously, how do you ruin the premise of: what if a 11-year-old became President? Well, this episode manages to do that. I was so frustrated and bored by the episode that I had to go look who wrote it. And then I was not surprised with what I found: Andrew Guest, who wrote for 30 Rock, for which I hated.

The episode stars John Cho as a once hugely successful campaign manager that tries to come back into the spotlight by trying to get an 11-year-old (the great Jacom Tremblay) elected President after a video he makes fake campaigning goes viral. It sounds good right? It’s not. First of all, it focuses too much on the campaigning and not enough on what happens once Tremblay (it’s really not a spoiler to say he actually becomes President) gets elected. The campaigning stuff is bland and boring and wastes the talents of John Cho, who of course is good here. In fact, none of the acting is a problem as everyone gives it a good go in that department. Also, the way the episode was shot and directed was great too. It lines up with the atmosphere of the previous episodes and is gorgeous to look at, even though the events taking place are hard to pay attention to.

The is completely the screenwriters fault (and maybe the producers for not pushing the screenplay back to Mr. Guest and asking him to give it a rewrite or two). With politics being a hot button topic nowadays, this episode should’ve had much more to say about our current climate. In fact, this episode really doesn’t have anything to say other than, “this kid’s presidency reflects Trump’s, do….do you get it?” No matter what side of the political fence you are on, the episode doesn’t take it to the level it needs to send any other kind of better, more subtle message. The ending is predictable and really corny, uninspired, and stupid. I can think of a dozen other ways this story could’ve branched out, all better IMO of the one that we got. It feels like this episode was trying to kind of pay homage to the classic episode, “It’s A Good Life,” but it really is in no way in the same ballpark of the genius of that premise. It is really disappointing that over all the Twilight Zone episodes I’ve seen, past and present, this is one of the worst.

Rating: 1/5

Six Degrees of Freedom

Being able to watch more of the classic Twilight Zone episodes between these newer ones, I have finally discovered the trend: that each new episode is basically Force Awakening classic episodes. Meaning they are all soft reboots. Soft re-imaginings. Why I didn’t figure all this out by episode 2, I have no idea. The Comedian is a play on the episodes The Dummy and one from the 80s reboot Take My Life Please; Nightmare on 30,000 Feet is a play on Nightmare on 20,000 Feet; Replay is a play on Nick of Time; A Traveler is a play on the combination of the classics The Monster Are Due On Maple Street and Will The Real Martian Please Stand Up? So what episode does Six Degrees of Freedom try to re-imagine? Easy, that would be Five Characters in Search of An Exit. And a dash of the very first Twilight Zone episode, Where Is Everybody? The first episode I mention is about 5 random characters stuck in a metal cylinder, not knowing why they are there, trying to get out. They eventually have to work together to escape, only to come upon a very dark and depressing twist of fate. I will not reveal at all what Where Is Everybody? is about in lieu of spoilers.

This episode is quite a bit different but with the that moral compass of people helping each other out to reach a common goal. Five Astronauts are about to launch the first manned mission to Mars when they hear from their superiors over the radio that North Korea just launched nuclear missiles at the United States (the U.S. is retaliating of course) and that one of those nuclear missiles is set to get there in about 20 minutes. The captain (played by DeWanda Wise, who was one of the co-leads in the very underwhelming just released Netflix film Someone Great), makes the decision to override the control center and launch to Mars anyway, prolonging their deaths in a hope that their could be a solution when they get there. Tensions are weary and one of them starts asking questions. Whether they are right or wrong…can only be answered in….The Twilight Zone.

Sorry, wanted to do a dumb cheap narration of my own there. This is definitely one of the better episodes of the six aired so far, if not THE best, then right under Replay. I had a guess of where this whole thing was going to go, and my guess was addressed quite earlier than expected, which made me question it, and ultimately its twist ending. This episode also offers one of the few rays of hope than the other Twilight Zone episodes have. While I initially thought that Replay offered a few rays of hope the more I replay the very very end of that one in my mind, the more I realized that it might’ve supposed to been a downer as well. Anyhoo, this is definitely our most science-y science fiction tale of the bunch. The isolation of Alien mixed with the conspiratorial dread of The Thing and the short story it is based on, Who Goes There? The visuals are fantastic, the acting is fantastic, everything about it works. I’m not sure any of these episodes will be considered classic in the far far off future, but this and Replay have been the closest to tone of the original series thus far.

Rating: 4.5/5

Ranking of New Episodes

  1. Replay
  2. Six Degrees of Freedom
  3. A Visitor
  4. Nightmare at 30,000 Feet
  5. The Comedian
  6. The Wunderkind

Zach’s Zany…Broadway? Reviews: HAMILTON (yes, that one, no spoilers)

So the Broadway touring of HAMILTON is in Texas, and since is the most buzz I’ve heard about a play since The Book of Mormon, obviously it peaked my interest (the next one to do that might be Harry Potter and The Cursed Child). And since I’m seeing less movies in the theaters nowadays, I thought I could write a short review on my thoughts. Is it worth the hype and all the awards it has won? Absolutely. And now other than The Book of Mormon, it would definitely be a play I could see multiple times and neither feel bored and also like I got my money’s worth. Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote a masterpiece. Nothing short.

Hamilton is about the life of Alexander Hamilton. But everything is either sung or rapped, incorporates R&B, pop, soul, hip hop, show tunes, and also casts color-consciously of non-white actors as historical figures. The play songs through his early life as an orphan through the intro song and then we start out with him as an adult through his death. The play is in two acts, and I don’t think there is a word spoken that isn’t sung. But everything works so perfectly well. Apparently it took Miranda years to write it and do all the songs, and perfect every single note, and it shows. It is one of the most intricate things I’ve ever heard, so much so that, like Book of Mormon, might be finding and buying the CD to it. Every song is great and catchy, and there are absolutely no lag moments in the play. My favorite part? Probably like a lot of people, I do enjoy when King George III takes the stage.

The stage itself is pretty standard. It consists of a lot of wood and stairs and rope, and then some fake brick to look like old buildings. And it doesn’t change. Not that its a bad thing at all, in fact, I would be shocked if it was intricate as how long it took Miranda to write and perfect the whole damn thing. However, what is pretty cool about it is that the stage rotates in the middle constantly to convey movement, and is very impressive when mixed in with the choreography to song and dance numbers. As for the acting? It is all impressive. I didn’t take a Playbill from the April 28th, 2019 showing, but if you were one of the actors/dancers in the play, you did a tremendous job. Especially the leads like Hamilton and Burr, the way they could memorize all those songs, movements, and words and make it look like another walk in the part is nothing short of masterful.

So if you are on the fence about seeing this, why? Don’t be. It’s amazing and truly a thing that should be on your bucket list. Whether you are a history buff or even scoff at history, there is something in this play for everyone to enjoy. The play is 2 hours and 55 minutes (including a 15 minute intermission) but you could’ve fooled me, the time just whizzes by extremely fast and furious. If this is the one thing that Lin Manuel Miranda is remembered by, it wouldn’t be such a bad thing. If there is real magic on the planet, this Broadway play, is the closest that it gets to seeing is believing.

Zach’s Zany Ranking Of All The Marvel Cinematic Universe Films To Date

My list might be controversial in some areas, but fuck it, everyone else is making a list why shouldn’t I? If you don’t like my list, I really don’t care, LOL, make your own!

22. Thor: The Dark World

I think most of us could agree on this one being here right?

22. The Incredible Hulk

A slog to get through, the end is decent though. And a great after credits cameo at the time.

20. Iron Man 2

Another slog to get through, only the part with Black Widow at the end is truly something special. Feels like a gateway film just to get to The Avengers.

19. Iron Man 3

Feels like Shane Black misfired with the whole Ben Kingsley character deception. Has some cool moments but again, this is kind of a slog to get through. Being the first post Avengers story didn’t help.

18. Captain Marvel

I swear I’m not a woman hater, the entire fault on this is the script and the direction. Brie Larson made the best of what she had, but this movie should’ve been something special and wasn’t.

17. Doctor Strange

Yeah, yeah, Benedict what’s his face is great and the visuals are spectacular but the story is too straight forward, ho-hum, and Rachel McAdams was truly wasted here as an actress. I liked the funny ending though. Huge villain problem in this.

16. Ant-Man and The Wasp

Was it me or did it feel like Paul Rudd was pushed to the side to make way for an all Evangeline Lilly movie? I mean it’s fine. Paul Rudd is still great and Lilly is great too and their chemistry is great. But the story is BLAH. It had one of the cooler after credits, but that isn’t a movie.

15. Avengers: Age of Ultron

Basically the same movie as the first but with robots instead of aliens and in a different country. I do think though that this is the point where Marvel Studios knew where they were headed, hence that really dumb Thor cave scene explaining the Infinity Stones. A couple of good action beats, but it felt like studio tinkering with Joss Whedon’s vision (hehe, pun). Also, Ultron who now?

14. Ant-Man

I really would’ve loved to see Edgar Wright’s version of this film. But I think he wanted something really wacky and out of the norm, and Marvel Studios wasn’t buying it. Instead we get a half way decent heist film with some good Paul Rudd moments. Who doesn’t love Paul Rudd?

13. Thor

If you watch Thor and Thor The Dark World back to back, it is just amazing how the first Thor still holds up pretty well. Chris Hemsworth’s performance, stunning visuals. This is when Marvel was finally getting a little weird. Two Words: Tom Hiddleston. The ending left a lot to be desired though.

12. Black Panther

I think we are about a little halfway through the list and yes, this film is definitely overrated. Should not have been nominated for best picture, but is still pretty decent. Good performances by all, especially Michael B. Jordan, giving us one of the best villains ever in Erik Killmonger. If only the ending didn’t have really shitty CGI.

11. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

I know this film has a lot of detractors, especially for the films true villain not being revealed until the climax, but I had a lot of fun with this film. It has a bunch of cool moments, and a killer soundtrack to boot. And the gang still felt like the gang. Can’t wait to see what James Gunn has for Vol. 3

10. Thor Ragnorak

For some reason most of my family hates this film. Well, they are in the minority. I loved this. Easily the best Thor film. I loved the drastic change, and it felt like Chris Hemsworth finally embraced the wackiness of his character. Director Taika Waititi did an amazing job and gave us more of the weird Jeff Goldblum we know and love. Loved Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, only thing the film needed more was a little more Cate Blanchett.

9. Captain America: The First Avenger

Can’t believe we have gotten this high on the list and finally got to a Captain America film. They are that DAMN GOOD. This one is a nice throwback to adventure movie films. This made Chris Evans a star, and it reminded me a lot of The Rocketeer. All good things.

8. Guardians of the Galaxy

Yep, the first one is high on here. No doubt about it. Marvel going full wacky, and it works. The group dynamic is perfect, and the visuals and story left us wanting more. Wish there was a better villain though.

7. Avengers: Endgame

While the film certainly brought an epic as fuck conclusion and managed to not undo everything so easily (I was surprised how much thought and care went into not just reversing the snap right when it happened), it is definitely not the best Marvel film to date. Still pretty solid though, although it suffers from all the time travel rules and shit you have to constantly think about and double back on your own assumptions. Two great arcs come to a very wonderful and emotional close, one (you probably know which one) I felt was too rushed and didn’t explain a whole lot and makes me not look forward to the prequel film that is rumored to be announced soon.

6. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Some of you have this as the best MCU film. While I disagree for a number of reasons, I still rank it high as fuck. It’s has that whole great Hydra reveal, and the action was top notch and on point (the directors of this went on to Infinity War and Civil War). I just maybe wish there was more to Winter Soldier’s story. Well there is, but it is in another movie…

5. Captain America: Civil War

This one! That story I wanted told was in this one! A two-three punch on the list. Although this feels more like Avengers 2.5 than anything, I loved almost everything about this film, yes even the “you killed my mommy thing at the end.” I wish Baron Zemo was in it more as he basically divided the Avengers until possibly Endgame. The whole airport scene and intro to Black Panther and Spider-Man were just fucking great.

4. Avengers: Infinity War

You thought I had this at #1 didn’t you? Shame on you. Infinity War is great, and there will never probably be a greater downer ending in the MCU after Thanos’s snap. All the stories of all the characters we’ve come to know culminates in this and their even distribution weight between their stories is near perfect. The one thing that bothers me is the Starlord decision writing. I don’t think that character would’ve done that, but that’s just me

3. Iron Man

The original. The first MCU film. Still holds up incredibly well 11 years later because of Robert Downey Jr’s very special and incredible performance. Also reminded me of the great Rocketeer with all the suit experimentation before getting it perfect the way he wanted it. This is one of the best if not perfect origin stories of all time.

2. Spider-Man: Homecoming

Maybe the best Spider-Man film yet? Possibly a toss up between this and Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2? The debate will range on, but one thing is for sure. This gets everything about Spider-Man completely right. Tom Holland is a superstar, and you are not. Michael Keaton also made a great villain, and the little twist reveal at the end I did not see coming at all. Kudos, Marvel.

  1. The Avengers

Well, to me, the best MCU film is the first one where all the introduced heroes so far teamed up. You got a great bad guy with Loki coming to the forefront to lead a giant Chitauri army against New York. Perfectly directed by Joss Whedon, this film has the most replay value. Everything about it is as perfect as a movie could get. That is until Justice League came out…..HAHA, just kidding, fuck that piece of shit movie, this will remain a superhero classic for decades to come. I’m glad I was along (and still am) for the ride. Seeing this on an IMAX screen was just something else entirely.

WHERE WILL ENDGAME END UP? FIND OUT FRIDAY 4/26!!!

Zach’s Zany TV Binge Reviews: THE TWILIGHT ZONE (2019) Part 2 of 5: REPLAY and A TRAVELER

So a couple of weeks ago I said I was going to write reviews on two of the new Twilight Zone episodes at a time, seeing as I am a big fan. Well, the 4th episode dropped today and I watched it during lunch so here is part 2 of 5 (there are ten episodes). Another quick note on Jordan Peele’s intro/narrations. He is still fantastic and his intros are a nice warm welcome to the tales that are about to be thrown at us. While no one will ever reach the heights of Rod Serling, if they ever do a reboot again in another 20 to 30 years, no one will ever beat him…or Jordan Peele. Anyway, you are about to enter, The Zach Zany Zone….

REPLAY

I’ll give you a spoiler on the next episode with my review on this: the Twilight Zone is starting to get really, really good, as these two are easily the best episodes of the season thus far, this one just edging out A Traveler. REPLAY is about a woman taking her son to college that run into this asshole racist cop alone the way. There is a scuffle and the mother accidentally hits the rewind button on her old ass camcorder she happened to bring along to film her son going to college. When she hits the rewind button, she ends up going back in time at the diner that her and her son were eating at at the beginning of the episode, along with the asshole racist cop (this one contains Jordan Peele’s best intro narration, chilling, my only complaint of this episode is that its just his narration at the end and not his physical self, but that could be due to film scheduling conflicts).

The thing is though every different decision she makes after the first rewind, her and her son still find themselves running into the asshole racist cop, and she desperately tries to find a way to avoid him and get her son to college in one piece. This episode is excellent, and out of all the Twilight Zone episodes I’ve seen, this one is a pitch perfect emotional roller coaster ride. As you know Twilight Zone episodes mostly have twists at the end, and I was trying to guess this one, but instead I should’ve just stopped thinking and enjoyed the journey. I won’t say whether this episode has a twist or not, and there were several that I was thinking of that didn’t happen, but I’m very happy with the ending and route they took, it’s an almost perfect story. Sanaa Lathan stars as the mother, and she’s been in a bunch of things I have seen, Love & Basketball, Alien Vs. Predator, etc. This is easily her best performance. And as with all the other episodes, I’m loving the cinematography in these. Even if the episodes start to get worse after these two, at least it is still gorgeous to look at.

Rating: 5/5

A TRAVELER

This segment owes a debt of gratitude for the old classic The Monsters on Maple Street from the original series, but it is more of an homage with a twist. Starring Greg Kinnear and a wonderful performance by The Walking Dead’s Stephen Yeung, A TRAVELER is about a small town police station celebrating Christmas Eve. The Sheriff, played by Kinnear has a annual Christmas party where he pardons one (non huge offensive) inmate as a sign of good will. There is only one inmate this year, a deputy’s (played by Marika Sila) drunkard brother. When The Sheriff tells the deputy to fetch her brother and have him join them for the party, her brother is asleep, and sitting in the next cell, who wasn’t there before, is a man in a suit, first name A, last name Traveler (played by Yeun). He knows things, and what he knows, may get you in the end. That’s all I’ll say. If you have ever seen The Monsters on Maple Street, that may clue you into what is going on.

I figured out what was going on right away since I’ve seen that episode and guessed the ending. It really isn’t that hard and everything is set up at the beginning in a nice bow for predictable pay offs in the end. So normally I’d consider the episode ho-hum, but the atmosphere is just right, the acting is incredible, and everything is so so so gorgeous to look at. What is in a myth? What is in a lie? What is in the truth? When going back and thinking about the episode after it aired I realized there was much more to what I saw. Given the ending, there is a lot of interpretation in what anyone says, even those that have been close to you for a long time. And what is the meaning of acceptance. In the future, this episode might be more respected if viewers would open Pandora’s Box for themes and motifs. I have a feeling that a lot of people won’t like it. I did though, not just for the homages to the classic original series episode, but for new questions it brought to the table.

Rating: 4/5