Tag Archives: Movie Review

Movie Review: “The Highwaymen”

by Samuel Rodriguez

The new Netflix movie release “The Highwaymen” is one that sets high expectations but cannot deliver.


Credit – Netflix

The story revolves around two of the United States most infamous criminals: Bonnie and Clyde. However, the movie places a twist on the story as it focuses on the the two policemen that caught the criminals, Frank Hamer and Maney Gault.

Frank Hamer (Kevin Costner) and Maney Gault (Woody Harrelson) are former Texas Rangers hired to track Bonnie and Clyde and put an end to their rampage. The story focuses on the brotherhood between the two rangers and their journey in tracking the infamous criminals that leads to their capture.

The story takes place in the mid 1930’s and begins with Bonnie and Clyde breaking prisoners out of Eastham Prison Farm in Texas. In response, Texas Department of Corrections Chief Lee Simmons (John Carroll Lynch) convinces Governor Ferguson (Kathy Bates) to hire former Texas Ranger Frank Hamer to search for Bonnie and Clyde. Hamer comes out of retirement and is joined by former partner Maney Gault to work independently away from the FBI and track the notorious criminals.

The lack of respect for the ‘old timers’ becomes an apparent theme throughout the movie. The two rangers are seen as irrelevant and out of date, but still upset the modern policeman despite the opposition they were in. The climax of the movie is the inevitable death of the two criminals at the hands of the rangers and their group of men. This occurs as the rangers arrange an ambush and emerge from the bushes and gun down Bonnie and Clyde in their car.

The difficulty that was presented in tracking the criminals was a lack of support from the people. Anyone that the rangers would ask to help them would not help and saw Bonnie and Clyde as heroes and people that were doing good against the government. This prompted 20,000 people to attend Bonnie Parker’s funeral in Dallas, while Clyde Barrow’s service drew 15,000.

The Highwaymen is an interesting film that draws a different view on the historical Bonnie and Clyde manhunt. However, the story develops slowly and does not build as much anticipation from the audience and could have been better.


Movie Review: “Us”

by Joshua Adoh

Jordan Peele has uncovered the meaning behind the twist end in his latest movie release, “Us!”


The brilliant and terrifying film has already notched more than $100 million at the box offices. Horror is not the foundation of the film, but rather a means of execution. 

Lupita Nyong’o’s masterful acting in “Us” returns respect to the horror genre. The film is an too early favorite to be just the second film in the genre to win an Oscar for “Best Picture” along with 1992’s “Silence of the Lambs,” as the amazing soundtrack from Michael Abels only solidifies the film’s merits.

After Jordan Peele’s latest success, in the movie “Get Out,” he could have easily made another socio-political horror film, but instead he manufactured the odd yet intriguing film “Us.” 

It is quite different from “Get Out,” as it is a perplexing film that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Warning, this movie may have you walking out of the theater with a skewed and twisted perspective on society.

This movie’s about – maybe the monster is you. It’s about us, looking at ourselves as individuals and as a group. The protagonist in the movie is the surrogate for the audience, so it felt like at the end of the day, I wasn’t doing my core theme any justice if I wasn’t revealing that we have been the bad guy in this movie.  -Jordan Peele

How would you feel if you realised you weren’t as innocent as you believed?

How would you feel if the actions you’ve taken to save yourself meant harm to those around you?

These are the kind of questions that Jordan Peele indirectly asks his audience through his oddly relatable and multi-layered protagonist named Adelaide, played by Lupita Nyong’o. In the beginning of the film, the traumatic childhood that the character Adelaide experiences was indeed terrifying, yet incomplete.

[Jordan Peele] wanted to make a monster movie, and in the best monster movies, the Universal monster movies, they allow their villains to have these different layers and to be multidimensional,” said the Los Angeles Times.

In the first weekend release, “Us” destroyed box office records and almost doubled analysts’ opening weekend projections, according to the LA Times.

For all those who do not like scary movies, you are in luck. Although “Us” is advertised as a horror film, it is certainly not typical of the genre.

Jordan Peele wanted to change the perspective of his audience while telling his story in a unique way, and he believed horror was the best way to execute his vision. This does not mean there are no scary moments, however.

Jordan Peele’s “Us” brought respect back to the horror genre and may be the second film in it’s genre to win an Oscar for best picture. I think it is safe to say that Jordan Peele will not be leaving this genre for some time.

Movie Review: Triple Frontier

by Jalen Manson

On March 13th, 2019, Netflix released new gripping action movie “Triple Frontier” directed by J.C. Chandor.


Starring Oscar Isaac and Ben Affleck, the movie sports a special cast. It is an nonstop action-filled picture that brings new twists and turns in seemingly every minute.

Tom “Redfly” Davis (played by Affleck), Santiago “Pope” Garcia (played by Isaac), William “Iron Head” Miller (Charlie Hunnam), Francisco “Catfish” Morales (Pedro Pascal), and Ben Miller (Garret Hedlund) partner back up from their old military days and go on a money-driven adventure to steal the fortunes of a wanted drug kingpin.

“Redfly” is now a divorced and single dad, struggling with his relationship with his daughter and with money. “Pope” is a private military leader at the Triple Frontier in South America, and is the driving force.

“Catfish,” “Iron Head,” and Ben Miller all meet together back in their hometown with the motives of helping Pope and Redfly and the mission is set and discussed.

Their heist on the kingpin is successful, and the men then load the money to go home and strike rich, under the radar. However, this doesn’t all go as planned when the weight of their money and passengers causes them to crash their helicopter on the way home.

With no outside help or contact with anyone, the five have to fight their way home. The way to get home is troubling and tough, as they have to balance their morals and lives between the money they are taking with them.

This movie is action-packed, filled with shootouts, chase downs and the unfortunate deaths of “Redfly” and an innocent mule. Through all of this, it just becomes a fight to get home for the remaining men by the end of it.

By the very end, the men all seem to realize their desire for cold-hard cash has gone too far and they choose to give all their checks from the heist to Redfly’s family.

Overall, “Triple Frontier” was a solid movie, earning a 71 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and a 6.5/10 on IMDb. The cast was star-studded, raising expectations for director J.C. Chandor to put together a classic.

However, the movie sometimes lacked a distinct flow, and the heist may have been taken too early, dragging out some later parts.

But, if you’re looking for action, this movie is the one for you and although it’s out of theaters, is available to watch on Netflix now.


Movie Review: Glass

by Nick Hernandez

Glass, released on January 19th, concluded the 19-year-long trilogy created by actor and filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan.


The movie was received very poorly and many critics went as far as saying that the finale was disappointing. Their overall consensus on Rotten Tomatoes showed a rating of 36 percent, while audience approval was much higher, receiving a 76 percent instead.

Shyamalan’s three-part series follows characters who on the outside look like the average man, but are revealed to possess superhuman abilities. From his first film ‘Unbreakable’ in 2000, Shyamalan attempted to create a narrative that relied on comic history and the looming possibility of heightened powers far surpassing man.

He went even further 17 years later when ‘Split’ debuted, showcasing a man with 24 personalities, where among them a Beast lies. This film’s ending presented the first glimpse at the Beast, a creature that is part animal and part man, all of which defy nature. Finally, ‘Glass’ unveils a mastermind with a superior intellect, and a plot, pitting the two strong men against each other.

Glass begins with a introduction into the main characters lives’ in the present day. ‘Unbreakable’ protagonist David Dunn works as a vigilante of sorts, providing justice for those would never receive it from the Law. He and his son are tasked with figuring out who has been kidnapping and murdering female high school students.

At this point, the audience is introduced to Kevin Crumb, the multi-personality star of 2017’s ‘Split.’ He has captured another group of students and awaits the Beast’s arrival for their sacrifice.

After some time, David Dunn locates the warehouse where the girls are being kept and sets them free, however this is after the Beast has emerged from Kevin and the two battle for the first time. Both use brute strength and try to overpower the other, but before a clear winner can be determined proper authorities arrive on the scene and stop the two from causing any more damage.

David and Kevin are taken to a mental institution where they are greeted by Dr. Ellie Staple. Her purpose in this movie is to convince these men that they do not have super powers, and that all they believe in is a hoax. Dr. Staple also has a third patient who she must treat, Elijah Glass who is arguably the smartest man alive. Elijah’s plan within the movie revolves around allowing the world to witness the truth about superheroes and their existence. Glass, being as smart as he is, is constantly monitored by the staff along with a multitude of cameras both within and surrounding the building. In essence it should be impossible for Elijah to carry out his plan but he still manages to do so. After two days of being in the facility, Dr. Staple hosts a meeting between all three men where she is able to bring about heavy doubt in the minds of Kevin and David as they start to believe their powers are anything but real.

That night, Elijah’s plan gears into motion when he meets with Kevin to discuss the possibility of having the Beast fight David Dunn once again. Kevin agrees and they carry on to the next day where Elijah frees Kevin from his room, and they begin to break out of the institution. Before leaving, Mr. Glass talks to David through an intercom and tells of his plan to blow up a building with thousands of people inside it. The only way for David to stop this is by breaking out of his cell, defeating the Beast and ultimately proving the existence of superheros.

In an effort to avoid spoilers, the ending and all that is revealed will be kept out, but it should be noted that what takes place at the end of film is quite interesting and deserves a visit to the theaters to see what is unveiled. In terms of the overall quality and performance of the movie, it fairs quite well. In this aspect it should have been rated much higher, however what should be taken into account is the storytelling and the plot which slowly is revealed as the movie goes on.

Looking at this from a critical perspective, there are instances in which the film might seem confusing or lackluster and without prior knowledge or having seen the other movies of the franchise it may be difficult for the viewer to understand what is taking place.


Movie Review: Aquaman

by Joshua Lucero

Aquaman is a film about more than just waterlogged voice echos and continuous hair movement.105660734-1546632883595screen-shot-2019-01-04-at-3.14.18-pm.530x298

Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) was brought into the world through two people from completely separate worlds. Atlanta (Nicole Kidman) and Tom Curry (Temuera Morrison) were brought together when Atlanta, the most recent Queen of Atlantis at the time, ran away from an arranged marriage and washed up on the shores to Curry, a lighthouse man.

These two people from separate worlds would soon fall in love and give life to a child named Arthur Curry, otherwise known as Aquaman. He would live his life with his father, as Atlanta would be away in Atlantis serving as queen. Later, she would be sacrificed to the “Trench,” which is one of seven tribes in Atlantis, and was assumed to be dead. Arthur Curry – as a young boy – felt a call not only to the sea but to all of its inhabitants.

This film knocks all other DC Universe movies out of the ballpark. Aquaman is conflicted between two worlds that are soon to collide. His half brother – King Orm (Patrick Wilson) – has his sights locked in on the surface dwellers. King Orm believes it is time to take over the surface world, because if they don’t the surface will attack first.

In order to defeat his half brother, Aquaman must battle and defeat his younger brother in combat to take the throne of Atlantis and stop this war from happening. In this process, he is helped by Mera (Amber Heard), who is the soon to be wife of Orm, and Vulko a caretaker of both Orm and Aquaman ever since they were young boys (Willem Dafoe).

When watching this movie, it is more than just a screen in front of you but rather a film that keeps you on the edge of your seat and wanting more. When watching, you see the conflicted pain eating away at Aquaman, as he believes he is unworthy to be called king and blames Atlantis for the death of his mother. This pain inside him is one of the many reasons why this movie is a must-watch.

The viewer is drawn in not only to the many action scenes, but can seen the appeal emotionally to the character.

The movie capitalizes on introducing other characters, including one widely known as Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II). Black Manties can be seen in all types of DC movies and shows. He is mainly known to be one of Aquaman’s enemies, and when introduced to him we see him with his team pirating a submarine. Aquaman intervenes and lets his father Jesse (Michael Beach) die, starting this vendetta against Aquaman.

Overall, Aquaman hits many stand points as a great film. Bringing the life of the underwater civilization with massive buildings of light that many couldn’t dream of is breathtaking. Their technological advancements makes the viewer wonder what life could be like if we had the same opportunities. This movie is a must-watch and is highly recommended for all viewers.


Movie Review: Creed II Comes Out Swinging

by Nick Hernandez

Creed II is a boxing masterpiece, released on November 21st of this year, the film received major support from fans and critics alike. Their immediate responses gravitated towards overall astonishment and gratitude for the truly breathtaking performances by the actors on screen.

When reviewing the critique given by Rotten Tomatoes – an accredited website that certifies movies based on their appeal to both experienced critics and the average moviegoer – it’s obvious that the film did very well, receiving an 85 percent rating overall and a Certified Fresh rating.creed-ii.jpg

Creed II begins by introducing its antagonist Viktor Drago, and the harsh life that he and his father live in Russia. Together, the two train for Viktor’s first fight, where that night he destroys his opponent within the first 2 rounds.

The film then jumps to fight-night where Creed is preparing for a bout of his own. In turn, he wins and receives the title of Heavyweight Champion.

From this point on, the world’s of the two fighters draw closer together until they finally meet for the first time in the ring. Drago challenges Creed, but when he considers the offer, those closest to Adonis begin to doubt him and his abilities, ultimately discouraging him from accepting the fight.

It’s with this self-conflict that Creed goes into the fight and loses, badly, resulting in the destruction of Creed’s body and spirit. This is partly because of unpreparedness, but also relies on the fact that his trainer, Rocky, was not in his corner to support him.

Creed thereafter is stuck recovering from the physical trauma of the fight, but more importantly working to fix his relationship with Rocky.

The intensity picks up again when Rocky and Creed train for the rematch against Drago. Adonis pushes his body to the limit, working to overcome all obstacles and toughen himself in every way possible.

Finally, on the night of the boxing match, Creed struggles to stand up for himself in the early rounds but proves his worth throughout the fight. In the 12th round, Drago is knocked down and after a barrage of blows from Creed, Drago’s father forfeits the fight and Creed maintains his title as champion, showing the world that he’s got what it takes.

The film ends with Drago Senior consoling his son after their loss and showing the pair back in Russia training together.

As a whole, Creed II was an astounding film, filled with action and emotions that made the viewer feel and live through the experiences seen within the movie. Together, screenwriters Sylvester Stallone and Cheo Hodari Coker created a screenplay that emphasized the importance of relationships. Without them, you will not perform to the best of your ability.

While there are more moments in feature that reveal a greater sympathetic and emotional appeal, such as the scene with Creed’s fiancé and daughter, the film does a good job of applying what is experienced in this instance throughout the picture in its entirety.

Creed II in it’s current state is perfect and in no need of a third movie to the add to the series.

Actors Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson and those supporting have built upon a franchise that was already successful and created a story that adds to that fame, ultimately proving that ‘Creed’ is flawless and in need of no change (add-ons). 


Movie Review: “Venom”

by Nick Hernandez

“Venom” was released on October 5th and quickly received a 31% rating from Rotten Tomatoes. Stating that the movie was confusing and screenplay lacking, reviews given were not in favor of the anti-hero.

An early look at “Venom” showed that critics didn’t like it one bit. Venom’s first incarnation on the big screen was trashed across social media and dreams of a 3-series franchise were crushed by what was determined in early screenings of the movie. Despite the outlash, the movie still saw an incredible turnout, grossing over $80 million from its opening weekend in the U.S. alone, breaking the October domestic box office record. 

Tom Hardy playing the protagonist, Eddie Brock, who acquires the Venom symbiote, and the two save the day in an action filled adventure. Full of fight scenes, romance and evil plotting; the movies’ basis revolves around Eddie, his fiance-(soon to be ex) and an evil mastermind with plans on “helping” the human race. 

While elements like side-characters and antagonists usually help the plot of a movie, in this instance the direct opposite occurs. Eddie’s love life – almost as fast as it was introduced – is quickly thrown out of the window, and the villian, Carlton Drake never does anything to prove his worth. This applies to basically the entire cast, with characters written for the sole purpose of advancing the plot; Their roles, while small, do not affect the movie in any sort of way, making it practically boring to watch. 

With all its malfunctions taken into account, the writers were effective in one aspect, that being creating an awesome and entertaining main character. This small success within the film has the greatest payout, as the movies’ creators have your attention and finally make what you watch intriguing.  

Together Eddie and Venom steal the show, immediately bringing action and fight scenes along with them, but also a humorous aspect as well. Their bond portrays a friendship that has developed for years, where their dialogue although not intentional, comes off as funny. These two are the reason why fans and moviegoers alike loved the movie. Despite its areas of bad development, the true masterpiece evolves when the couple is added into the mix. 

Their success becomes obvious when looking at fan feedback that the movie received. On the same website that crushed it, Rotten Tomatoes’ fan review shows that 88% of viewers like the film. It’s evident that these members of the audience were not deterred because of “Venom’s” early reviews; in a sense those judgements are valid, but it does not take away from the work of art that was Venom.  

Movie Review: “First Man”

by Matthew Ruiz

“The Eagle has landed. One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

This is the most famous quote in space travel history. The recent blockbuster movie, “First Man” tells the story of famous astronaut Neil Armstrong’s life before and during the space race and during the United States’ Cold War against Russia.

This movie takes you through the life and journey of Neil Armstrong. The movie starts off showing him running a test flight, scratching the atmosphere in a rocket-powered jet. He is constantly running test flights, but this one was his last one because he couldn’t control the stability of the flight.

Throughout this movie we see how Neil Armstrong feels about death and how it affects him mentally and physically. Armstrong also is affected by depression and loss of hope for all the people he has lost in the past. This depression not only affects him, but the people around him, such as his family members, friends, and even co-workers.

During the first 15-25 minutes of the movie, Armstrong experiences one of his hardest losses, as his baby daughter Karen is diagnosed with a malignant tumor which was in the middle of her head. She passes away and Armstrong loses the youngest of his two children. The tumor had affected her ability to walk and talk, and she died ultimately from pneumonia, which related to her weakened health.

During the reception, Armstrong held onto his daughters bracelet and placed it in his office, closing himself off from everyone. He goes back to work and is told the program is interviewing brilliant engineers for a space exploration. When Armstrong gets the job, he learns in the meeting room that the Russians have already beaten the Americans to space with four satellites.

The astronauts alongside Armstrong move now into basic training, where they are put in to machines that spin them and simulate life in space. Most of the trainees throw up their guts, and then move on to learning about rocket physics, which is considerably long. After years of training and studying test flights to get into space, they now plan their takeoff to the moon.

Unfortunately on his mission, Armstrong loses his two best friends on space test flights. On the Apollo 11 flight, he takes his daughters’ bracelet up with him and leaves it on the moon along with the American Flag in her honor.

The movie is a heartwarming and family-orientated tale about a man having good morals and being rewarded with arguably one of the greatest accomplishments in American history.


Movie Review: Black Klansman

by Elijah Ramos

BlacKkKlansman is a 2018 crime and drama film that will have you laughing out loud but also taking in and understanding a powerful message on racial discrimination and breaking down racial barriers in the late 20th century in America.

In this “Spike Lee joint,” Lee hones in on a powerful message. One of Lee’s most popular films in a while, it is certainly one of his best. 

He tackles the issue of racism and it’s history, which is never easy. As a director, you are bound to receive a lot of criticism and controversy when talking about racism and taking sides in your film.

Who better than Spike Lee to do this film, though? Lee, an African-American male, grew up in the 1960s in Atlanta, Georgia, but later moved to and was raised in the projects of Brooklyn, New York. Throughout his youth, he experienced several types of racism first hand. This isn’t Lee’s first time doing a film on racism either, as in his film Malcolm X, the Klu Klux Klan were involved as well.

The setting of BlacKkKlansman takes place in Colorado Springs, where main character Ron Stallworth is hired as the first black police officer in the Colorado Springs Police Department’s history. 

He is quickly promoted due to his style and looks, as being a black man Stallworth was able to illegally infiltrate  a Black Panthers meeting for his police department. 

Stallworth, the department’s top detective, also infiltrates a local Klan meeting and goes as far as talking on the phone with David Duke, the grand wizard of the KKK. 

When Ron gets off the phone with the a local Klan member, he realizes that he used his real name on the phone instead of a fake one, which causes him problems later on in the movie. His partner Flip Zimmerman, who is a white man, is forced to play the part of the fake Ron Stallworth and has to stop the Klan from attempting an attack they have planned on the African-American community. 

This film is based on a true story, as there is an actual Ron Stallworth, who did infiltrate the Klan and stop their attack. Lee does a great job of portraying this fact and turns in a quality film for people of all races to enjoy.


Movie Review: Blade Runner 2049 (2018)

by Caleb Wiley

With the sci-fi classic “Blade Runner” being so beloved and Ridley Scott being the great and successful director that he is, Denis Villeneuve had big shoes to fill in directing the sequel “Blade Runner 2049”. He did not disappoint, delivering a beauty that might very well be another classic, and even surpass the first one.

The movie was one of the best thrillers of the year, with enough action to complement the story. The cast was very talented and did a wonderful job. Amazing scenery and imagery, that did not overdo itself by seeming too futuristic, made the audience believe that this is what the near future may look like. 

The movie takes place 30 years after the first motion picture with a young LAPD blade runner, Officer K, played by Ryan Gosling. The blade runner’s mission is to “retire” old bioengineered human android “duplicates” who have disobeyed their orders. The duplicates are created by a very powerful character named Niander Wallace, acted by Jared Leto.  He acts very godlike, calling his duplicates “angels” and his most trusted duplicate “love”.  

Leto’s character was a insane, industrial leader, and making duplicates better was the only thing he cared about. When he found out that a duplicate had a child with ex-blade runner Officer Deckard (Harrison Ford), he was obsessed with finding it because duplicates are unable to have kids. His objective for the whole movie was to capture the child to study it and find out how it came to be. Showing his insanity was one scene he was visibly disappointed because he was unable to figure out how this duplicate was able to bear a child. He bitterly cut the stomach of a newly made duplicate, very disgusted with himself.  

Director Villanueva did a great job of implementing the aspect of what’s real and what’s not, what makes you a person. In one scene, the LAPD chief made a comment about duplicates not having a “soul”. However, Officer K was a duplicate but he loved something, a hologram played by Ana De Armas, presenting the counterargument that someone soulless would not feel love. 

Officer K is given a mission to “retire” the child of the duplicate, for if the public would find out such a thing society would goes insane. Throughout the movie, as Officer K finds clues that would point that he is himself the child, he begins to worry that he would be running for the rest of his life. 

In another scene, as the Officer K finds out whether or not he is the child, one duplicate says that all the duplicates wishes they were the child of the duplicate. This shows how desperate they are just to feel human rather than engineered. This goes back to the point of what makes you human: is it being created the natural way and being able to feel.

The movie was not a big box office hit because it wasn’t action 100% of the time. I recommend seeing this movie if you are interested in a great story and making yourself think. Even if you did not see the first one, the movie can be really enjoyable, even though Villanueva refers back to the original a lot. Anybody is able to follow the story and understand the essence of what is happening without seeing the original.