My Cousin Vinny - Movie Review

My Cousin Vinny (1992)

If you haven't listened to Episode 9 of our podcast, please do so immediately.  If you have, you know that Adam has started to mandate my movie reviews in fear that you, the listeners (and readers) don't care about the films that I choose - and his picks are somehow better (probably similar to our Best Bets segment.....).  Regardless, I'm here today to review the 1992 film, My Cousin Vinny.

I went in open-minded - unlike what I generally do when Adam gives me suggestions - and I was pleasantly surprised.  This is a full on comedy film with classic actor Joe Pesci, yet has a serious enough overtone to be regarded as a true film. The opening scene sets the pace for the characters in what could be an early adaptation of "Dumb and Dumber."  The two friends mistakenly steal a can of Tuna which is the premise of why they end up on trial.  Oh, and the fact that there was a murder at the grocery and they're being accused.  It's quite hilarious to watch the confessions and interrogations when the cops are quite obviously talking about a murder case and the characters are referring to the stolen can of tuna.  There are many underlying misconceptions in the movie which brings out some pure gold comedy.

Underrated in the movie is Marisa Tomei, who is absolutely beautiful and perfect as Vinny's fiance.  They argue constantly (because they're New Yorkers), but her role is played beautifully.  Pesci also does a brilliant job as a stand-in lawyer with 6 weeks experience (or is it 16 years?) jumping right into a murder trial for his distant cousin.  Overall, the pace was quick, the movie was entertaining, and I'm always a fan of a good court room film. (see The Judge from 2014 as a prime example).  Vinny has to navigate getting out of his own way to give his "clients" a chance in a murder case that is stacked so high against them, it seems impossible to win.  Between trains, farmers, and a crazy loud whistle in the morning, and the south (Alabama) being much, MUCH, different than New York - Vinny has to pull out all the stops.  This is a grade-A classic that I'm glad Adam made me watch.  It's going to get an above-average rating and watching this, I'm now certain of one thing - it was not viewed in Mr. Cruser's class.  Andy, you were wrong.

Rating: 7.5/10

The Babadook - Movie Review

The Babadook (2004)

I admittedly would have never watched the Babadook but it continuously appeared on "scariest movies on Netflix" lists and I love scary movies.  The only issue is there aren't enough (any) good ones.  So, I tuned in to see what all the fuss was about.  The Babadook did not go the cheap scare route with things jumping out from around the corner - and instead was a slow burn film that relied on straight terror to haunt the audiences.  The Babadook is about a family in ruins - the father passes away driving his pregnant wife to the hospital when she is in labor and the mother never truly recovers.  Her son, now four years old, is the other main character.  I will say the acting by both the mother (Essie Davis) and the son (Noah Wiseman) are tremendous.  This is an Australian film, so you've likely never heard of either of them (or the film, itself) as it's the largest role in either of their careers.

This isn't a film for the "average" movie-goer and it's not one that I thoroughly enjoyed or will rave about - but I do very much appreciate the film.  The two characters are the film and the two characters are so, so good.  The scariest part of the film has nothing to do with The Babadook but has everything to do with people live like this around the world.  It's a harrowing glimpse into what some people experience through loss, grief, or other circumstances that may not be a part of everyone's life.  An obnoxious four year old at the beginning of the movie struggles to find his way, yet turns into the character that is relatable and understandable by the end.  I won't get into the film too deep to prevent spoilers, but if you enjoy slow burns, The Babadook is a great film.  If you enjoy your horror movies along the lines of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Halloween - this won't be your cup of tea.  All in all, a film worth the watch, but my rating portrays the way I think about things - a 6 is a movie I'm glad I watched once, but will never watch again - and that's right where The Babadook falls.

Rating: 6.0/10

Power Rangers - Movie Review

Power Rangers (2017)

I've bypassed the circuits and hacked into the website.  Movie reviews are finally here!!  For my first official movie review, I thought I'd go for some nostalgia and try out the Power Rangers movie from 2017.  As a kid, I was a huge power ranger fan.  I was a fan of Jason, the Red Ranger, and also the Green Ranger (and wasn't there even a White Ranger?).  My brother liked the Black Ranger because his name was Zack.  Naturally.  Well, this film depicts the original five rangers and a small backstory on how they came about.  It's complete with Zordon and Alpha 5 as well as a strong villain (made out of gold?).  Did Power Rangers live up to the explosive hype?  Not in my book.

I actually enjoyed the first 90 minutes of the movie significantly better than the last 40 minutes.  Maybe I got bored as my movie attention span generally ends at 90 minutes, or maybe the action scenes were just awful, but the character development was on point.  During the first half (or 3/4) of the movie, you are introduced to characters who all have distinct motivations and backstories and you are allowed to get invested.  When one character (spoiler) "dies" you feel a little sad inside.  It takes quite some time for the team to finally morph for the first time, but once they do, the movie goes to hell.  The action scenes just didn't do it for me and the movie fell apart at that point (plus, wasn't Kimberly supposed to be the hot ranger?).  I think if you take the character build of this movie with a different plot, it's a solid foundation; however, the two didn't seem to intertwine with me.

Overall, this was a Power Rangers movie in 2017.  I didn't have huge expectations going in - but ultimately this was a little bit of a let down.  Not even the nostalgia was enough to save this film.

Rating - 5.1/10

47 Meters Down - Movie Review

47 Meters Down (2017)

As most of you know, I'm a guy who loves his sleep.  I go to sleep very early every night and I get up very early in the morning.  It's just how it happens.  So, generally, when I start a movie at 8pm, I expect to finish half and then ruin the rating by breaking it out over several days.  Last night when I started 47 Meters Down, I expected the same.  But boy was I wrong!  I fell asleep before the beginning credits!  Kidding, I stayed up through the whole movie in what some would call a Christmas miracle, but I'm here to tell you why.

I'm a sucker for shark movies.  I always have been - no clue why.  They just normally fascinate me (minus Sharknado as I'm unsure how that exists, let alone 4 times).  The second thing most of you know is that I CANNOT swim.  So, for me, shark movies are both terrifying because of the shark and also because of the real life situations where people start to run out of air under water and I get all anxious and sweaty and have to take deep breaths in between my boxes of candy.  This was no different at several junctions but here's what I loved.  Sure, the movie was predictable, but remember, I like shark movies - so I know how they go!  You don't LOVE the characters in this movie, but you sympathize with some of what they're dealing with.  (What?  Lisa's the only one to ever get dumped for being boring?  Doubt it) 

So an average shark movie would still get a decent rating from me, but there is a crazy twist at the very end of this movie that alters the way you feel.  It's almost a gut check - but it's great.  The actual true ending leaves a little to be desired so I'm docking a half point, there but overall this is a good film, especially for all you shark fans out there!  Maybe I'll do movie Shark Week this year to count down my favorites all time - but for now, enjoy in the relic that is 47 Meters Down.

Rating: 6.9/10