Four In One Week or A Quartet of Film Reviews

My day job schedule has been a little hectic lately, but sometimes this works out to my favor. Recently I had the good fortune to have a couple of days off as well as some late night shifts. This allowed The Mrs and I to celebrate our 21st anniversary1 over a couple of days. We went to see two different movies. I also went directly from a late work shift to the drive-in for a double feature. It has been a long time since I posted a movie review, so I thought that I would fix that by posting four at once.

None of these reviews will go into great detail, but I hope to provide enough material for those who do not know about the films to allow you to make an educated decision about how you want to spend your movie dollars and time.

For those who are not familiar with my rating system
2, it is fairly straight forward. I judge the various elements of the movie, including story, characterization, acting, direction, and visual impact and recommend whether one should see the movie in the theater, at the dollar show, pay cable, basic cable, and regular (network) TV. I realize that some of these categories have bled into each other lately, but I think that they are still valid enough that I haven’t changed them.3

So, without further ado, I will present the reviews in the order that I saw the films. These will be relatively spoiler-free.

Wonder Woman
This is an amazing movie. I can not say how much I enjoyed this film. Full disclosure: I am a huge geek and I love superheroes and movies based on comic books, but I am fairly behind in my superhero movies, especially the DC universe.
4 That being said, this is how a superhero movie should be done. It not only had great action scenes, but it had something which is increasingly rare these days -- fully developed characters that the audience actually cares about. Gal Gadot embodies everyone’s favorite Amazon perfectly. Her change as she goes from her isolated life to seeing the horror that lives in the outside world is well acted. The budding romance between Diana Prince and Steve Trevor is well written. Most importantly, while remaining important, Chris Pine never pulls the attention away from Wonder Woman and her story arc. If DC can maintain this level of excellence, they may be on their way to catching up to the MCU.

Recommendation: Theater. This is worth seeing in the theater for the story and the acting. The action settings make it worth shelling out the extra duckets to see it in 3D.

It Comes At Night

This was part of a double-feature that I saw that the
Ford-Wyoming Drive-In5. Sometimes horror movies, with their dark backgrounds and shadows don’t translate well to the outdoor screen. Fortunately, this was not the case with It Comes At Night. In fact, since a portion of the movie takes place outside, this played exceptionally well when the wind is blowing through the windows.

You haven’t heard of this film? Not surprising. The movie has gotten a little overshadowed by all of the summer blockbuster trailers. This is a terrible shame.
It Comes At Night is a finely crafted, well acted, extremely creepy horror movie. In fact, this is one of the best horror movies I have seen in a long time. The atmosphere is amazingly claustrophobic, the cast is brilliant. You will literally be on the edge of your seat (or car seat) for most of the movie.

Recommendation: Theater. Not only is this movie worth seeing right now, it is a good idea to tell Hollywood that we all appreciate well-done psychological horror that is not reliant on CGI and jump scares.

Alien: Covenant

This one was a cheat. I normally won’t support a remake or sequel by seeing it in the theater. I try to send the message that new properties would be appreciated. Since I saw this one at the drive-in, I’m calling this the free part of the “see two films for the price of one.”

That being said, I did not hate this movie. I did not care for
Prometheus because it was a ridiculous mess. Alien: Covenant isn’t a finely tuned film, but it is less of a mess than the previous film. Does it change the continuity of the Alien franchise? Yes, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. With the exception of the first two films, the rest of the franchise is not especially noteworthy.

Without giving anything away, there are some new ideas, new explanations of the origins of the Xenomorph, which are actually kind of fascinating. The special effects are cool in some instances, less so in others. Some of the plot points were absolutely ridiculous. Not a great film, but not horrible.

Recommendation: Basic Cable. You can wait a couple of years for this one to come to FXX or TNT.

The Mummy

I had such high hopes for this one, so much so that I address it more fully in a separate,
spoiler filled post. As far as a spoiler-free review goes:

This is a summer action movie. It has very little to do with the original Karloff
Mummy. There are almost no horror elements, in fact. As an actor, I am relatively indifferent as far as Tom Cruise is concerned. That being said, this movie does not give him a lot to work with.

There are some interesting twists, but the basic portion of the movie doesn’t support sitting through the full length of the film to see the few nods and winks to the audience.

For further insight, see the
next post.

Recommendation: Network TV. There is really no reason to not wait for this to come to regular television.

1 Our marriage can drink legally!

2

3 Plus, I’m pretty lazy and don’t want to think up a new one.

4 I haven’t seen the most recent Avengers movie, nor
Captain America: Winter Soldier. We just saw Civil War on Netflix. I’m at least three X-Men movies behind, haven’t seen Logan, haven’t seen any of the recent Superman movies, including the one that with Batman.

5 Go see a movie under the stars! Keep your local drive-in alive!