The Meg (2018)

The Meg

Of all the creatures kids can relate to, The Meg is not one of them.

I don’t know how many movies have tried to replicate Jaws since it was released over four decades ago, but it is pretty much not possible to find anyone who thinks any of those were better than the Spielberg masterpiece. Now, in 2018, we have The Meg, which I decided to write the review for not only to tell you how bad it is, but because it is so forgettable I may have forgotten to write about it.

It is not too hard to imagine the planning behind this movie: basically say that the long extinct Megalodon (which some do think still exists) comes back to terrorize anything in the deep of the ocean. It is actually there where the movie begins, as a research facility has discovered that the ocean floor is really just a layer of…um, ok, I forgot. Basically, the ocean is deeper than previously thought, so the scientists go down even deeper before they are attacked by an unknown giant being (no points for knowing who it is).

They decide to call in Jonas Taylor (who acts a lot like Jason Statham), who lost friends down there before but needs to be called in years after the incident because his ex-wife Lori (Jessica McNamee) is among the crew. It takes the first third of the movie (give or take) for this rescue to occur, before the characters even realize the Megalodon is still alive.

We also get the head of the station Zhang (Winston Chao) as well as his daughter Suyin (Bingbing Li). Suyin’s daughter Meiying (Shuya Sophia Cai) is the smartest character in the movie, which is not really a surprise, since all children are smarter than most of the adults in these movies. Others include talents like Cliff Curtis and Rainn (Dwight Schrute) Wilson that round out this chum bucket flick.

The shark effects, thankfully, are not too terrible. There are some rather wonderful images of what looks like a truly terrifying giant shark. It is only in the last twenty minutes or so that the film actually starts to possibly get interesting, but all hope was lost like bait on a hook.

Parents, the film will probably scare kids, but middle school and above is okay. Nothing sexual or anything, but if your kids see this before seeing Jaws, you should be ashamed.

Will I remember this movie? If I do, not for any good reasons. The biggest bit of entertainment came at one jump scare (which involved a whale) that let out a great exclamation of some kind a few rows behind me. That this was more entertaining than the movie as a whole should show the filmmakers needed a bigger boat.

Okay, I feel this review was kind of lazily written, but so was the movie.

Overall: One Star *

The Snowman (2017)

The Snowman

Harry Hole (Michael Fassbender) stares at The Snowman

The suspense that is haunting me after seeing The Snowman is not from the story. It is wondering how in the name of all that is sacred did so many talented people make this utter piece of crap? I would rather shovel snow with plastic sandwich bags as boot replacements (and I live in the suburbs of Chicago). The film does give you chills, but far from the positive kind.

There are going to be a lot of names I mention that will make you realize how disappointing this movie truly is. Unlike the victims in the movie, these Hollywood talents will have their careers survive, but it will leave scars. Executive Producer Martin Scorsese (yep, you heard right) and director Tomas Alfredson (who made that timeless vampire movie Let the Right one in in 2008 and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy three years later) give us a movie that is grubby, drabby (not sure if that is a word, but it fits the movie), and muddled. Alfredson himself said the movie was rushed, and that up to 15% of the script was not even shot. I guess that figures out correctly, though to call the script loose is an understatement: I don’t think any screws were used at all to secure it.

It truly seemed like the talented Michael Fassbender was mopey the entire time. He stars as Harry Hole (I am all about character names where they have the same letter for first and last name, but his just seems weird), who I believe is a detective of some kind in Norway (which I did not know until I looked it up). There is a killer on the loose who is always ahead of Hole, leaving Snowmen at the scene of the crime. We also know that, as a child, he mother committed suicide by driving out on a frozen lake and waiting for the ice to crack.

Hole is also accompanied by Katrine Bratt (Rebecca Ferguson, who was in another bad movie earlier this year, Life). Whether it be as a team or as potential lovers, chemistry is completly absent. Hole also has an ex girlfriend (I think? the relationships were hard to follow) Rakel (Charlotten Gainsbourg) who has a son named Oleg (Michael Yates) who Harry is trying to be a father to (though he is not, I don’t  think). Even Mathias (Jonas Karlsson), Rakel’s current boyfriend, is cool with Harry.

Yeah, ok.

There are other subplots that are completely obscure. I am a big fan of J.K. Simmons, but his character, Arve Stop, adds nothing to the movie at all. It also hurt to see that his accent was just atrocious. Another character that is borderline laughable is Rafto. He is played by Val Kilmer. His character is told in flashbacks, but he is supposed to be a myth in the business of the police. Had Kilmer been given enough to work with (which he is given the equivalent of a teaspoon of sugar), he may have had something. It also does not help that Kilmer seems to have been dubbed horribly (I do know the actor recently had battled cancer, so if that is the reason, then I obviously would not fault him at all. There is also Chloe Sevigny as twins, because…….um, well, it does something for the story I guess. Seriously, these great actors are just left out to dry.

Parents, there is some swearing, a bit of nudity (the Simmons character was almost borderline Harvey Weinstein which thankfully did not happen), and a lot of violence. I say High School and above. The IQ level you need, however, is anywhere above 10.

Even the editor, Thelma Schoonmaker, is a victim of The Snowman. She has worked on Scorsese masterpieces (Goodfellas and Raging Bull, just to name some). Being show in snowy landscapes, there are maybe one or two nice looking shots that got my attention, but that is it.  I mean, seriously. The only thing worse than a bad movie is a bad movie made by talented people. The Snowman is a movie that can be used to blackmail movie lovers (let alone critics), sending shivers down the spine.

There is still the worst movie sin that The Snowman does commit.

One that no movie, never, ever, should.

Being utterly boring.

Overall: One Star *

 

The Accountant (2016)

the-accountant

Ben Affleck has more on his resume than just “Accountant”.

What made me want to see The Accountant was not if Ben Affleck could be a grade A butt-kicker (we already know he can), but if he could manage playing someone with High Functioning Autism. Both are true.

Affleck is calm, cool, and somewhat collect in the title role. His Christian Wolf has some flashbacks to when his mother left him and his little brother, leaving his father, a retired soldier (I think) to train his sons to defend themselves. It is like something almost out of Batman, or Batman 101.

In present day, Chris works for a robotics company, meeting his new co worker Dana Cummings (the always impossible to not love Anna Kendrick) as they work the numbers for CEO Lamar Black (John Lithgow). Secrets are found out, and both Wolff and Cummings are underattack by an assassin-like warrior named Brax (Jon Bernthal). Others in the movie include the always wonderful J.K Simmons as head of the Treasury Department and Jeffrey Tambor as a character of great importance in Wolff’s flashbacks.

I will stop describing the plot now for two reasons. The first is, of course, so as not to reveal any twists (including one at the end I did not see coming at all). The second is because I admit the movie’s flaw is its script. In short, it seems to be trying to be smarter than its own good. It seemed to be going too fast (screenplay wise) when it needed to slow down. Still, the action scenes and acting (mainly from Affleck and Kendrick) make the film worth seeing.

Parents, the movie is rated R, but could be easily a hard PG-13 (only some sexual dialogue, no nudity. It is mainly action/violence, and a lot of swearing that is heard in any High School hallway.) In short, I think High School and above would be fine.

Overall: Three Stars ***