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Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) Movie Review By The Moviie Couple

Godzilla King of the Monsters Review

Director: Michael Dougherty
Writers: Michael Dougherty (screenplay by), Zach Shields (screenplay by)
Stars: Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown

Moviie Couple here!   We went to see Godzilla: King Of The Monsters this weekend!  Remember we are just a married couple that loves movies!  We’re here to tell you if we liked it.  Film experts we are not!  Just a quick reminder of our rating system.   Mrs. Moviie Couple and I, rate films on whether they are worth the cash spent on a night out.  we use a 1-6 Dollar Bill system.  1-2 Bills equal a waste of both our time and money!  3-4 Bills equal Meh to Pretty Good, money well spent!  5-6 Bills equal Wow!  Well worth the price of dinner, movie and sitter!  Please take our money again!

Godzilla: King of The Monsters is the direct sequel to the 2014 Godzilla film.  It builds on that tale, where we are reintroduced to the Big Guy and he saves us all from the threat of the MUTOs!  That film plus Kong: Skull Island from 2017 officially connects to create the “Monsterverse” films and GKOTM (I can’t keep typing that title so I’ll abbreviate) grows that film universe even further!  Mr & Mrs Moviie Couple keep things spoiler free, so I’ll recap without giving anything away.  The mysterious organization, Monarch (established in the Godzilla and Kong films previous) continue to study and track these creatures known now as Titans.  Only now a new secret organization branches off from them with a new agenda.  Due to some shenanigans and a couple of twists along the way, the Titans are released upon the Earth and only Big G can save us all!   Maybe. We get Big Budget versions of Rodan, Mothra, King Ghidorah and more!  If you recognize those names, this movie may just be for you!  If not, Oh well too bad, sit back, enjoy some popcorn and watch! You get Monster fights!  Unnecessary exposition!  Humans running and screaming!   What else did you expect? Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga and Millie Bobby Brown all star as the Russells, a family of scientists with a lot of knowledge about Titans.  Ken Wantanabe and Sally Hawkins return to the franchise as the Monarch experts, Bradley Whitfield and Thomas Middleditch are along for the ride as comic relief and Aisha Hinds and O’Shea Jackson play military for us!  It is directed by Michael Dougherty of Trick ‘R Treat and Krampus fame.  But lets be honest, the true stars people will be coming to see are Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan and “He that is Many” himself…..Ghidorah!  So is a movie starring Coach from Friday Night Lights, Mommy Bates from Bates Motel and Eleven from Stranger Things a hit?!!!!  Is this film more Minilla or Destroyah?  If you understand that joke, you’re in for a Treat.  If not it maybe more of a Trick, see what I did there Mr. Dougherty?  Without further delay, let’s get ready to crumble!!!!  Grab your Oxygen Destroyers, put on our best Harajuku cosplay, lets review this baby and may the best Monster win!

So here we go!

Mr. Moviie Couple:  I am a very old school Godzilla fan!  Complete transparency. I watched many a Saturday afternoon Godzilla film as a child and am well versed in Kaiju (Giant Monsters for you uninitiated) history. So this film was right up my alley.  Godzilla vs Ghidorah?  I’m there, never mind if you throw in Rodan and Mothra! Take my money!  So for the inner little Mr. Moviie Couple this movie did a lot right. The creatures looked new, but with a lot of honor given to the original design. In my opinion, they even improved on Mothra visually!  There were a lot of easter eggs or tips of the hat for the eagle eyed fan.  Keep your eyes peeled, I will not spoil. The best fan service may just be the return of the “Godzilla March” or Godzilla theme!  Man, they update and bring back the score of a surging Godzilla at all the right moments! But, the film’s plot was weak at best.  I found the attempts at comic relief forced and not as funny as it may have seemed on the written paper.  The family story and the military drama seemed mandatory at best and poorly written at worst.  I understand most are not coming to this film for Oscar winning performances and they are here for the monster battles, but lets just say 2014 and Kong handled the human element better in my opinion.  Speaking of the 2014 movie and Kong fights, this will probably be an unpopular opinion, but I felt those kaiju battles were handled better in those film as well. GKOTM has more monsters and more action, but a lot of it seems to be filmed too darkly and too fast.  Many scenes felt like a ride at Universal Studios where you only catch glimpses of the threats as the ride shakes you to and fro.  For me that was a bit disappointing considering the importance these battles have to these types of films. That being said, I had a good time, but it was not a slam dunk for me. A lot of plot was left laying there with no payoff, for example everyone acts like Mothra is important throughout this film and it really never really pays off.  No spoiler, just an observation. The Titans look great, but I wanted better fights (visually) and the plot was just basic as heck.  I have GKOTM as 3-4 Bills, maybe leaning more toward 3 despite a lot of fun Kaiju action.  Closer to Pretty Good (4) for lifelong fans.

Mrs. Moviie Couple: She was very glad it wasn’t a superhero movie. After that she was not very amused.  She felt it was a typical Godzilla film, by the numbers…Wake up Monster from deep sleep (check), Bring Monster to face worse Monster (check), watch good monster fight bad monster (check), Run and /or hide while avoiding fallen debris (check), Tell family member you are estranged from how much you love them (check), Good Monster is hero (double check,   is that a spoiler?). A film only a Godzilla fan would love.  She thought the environmental theme, common in most Godzilla films was updated nicely in this one. She didn’t care for the family portrayal.  Usually a fan of Mr Chandler, Mrs. Moviie Couple felt he was just playing himself and packing it in. She couldn’t stand Vera Farmiga and didn’t believe her in the role for a second, her exact words!  She did however love Millie Bobby Brown! My bride may be the only person on the planet to have not seen Stranger Things, so she had no idea who Ms. Brown was, but loved her in this film.  She thought she an amazing young actress!  Overall, the Mrs. felt the film failed on almost every level.  Even the marquee fight scenes left her wanting, she complained about the Monsters not really changing on the design level and the fights themselves were filmed in the dark and within so much smoke and clouds that she couldn’t even appreciate them for what they were meant to be. This film wasn’t all smoke and mirrors, it was all smoke and clouds! She was not having it!   The Mrs. gave GKOTM 2 Bills!  She didn’t want to walk out, but she wouldn’t waste her money again!

On the way home, I continued to talk about the Mothra design and the many plot flaws, while pointing out the fun of the battles and the nostalgia shout outs for true green Godzilla fans! Mrs. Moviie Couple didn’t talk much, she only kept repeating how great Millie Bobby Brown was and how she would have to watch a few episodes of Friday Night Lights to cleanse her Kyle Chandler palate and redeem himself in her eyes. WOW.  Just WOW. The drive home always clarifies how we felt about a movie. Silence is not golden, silence is bad. I was not silent, The Mrs. kept to the golden rule we all learned from the Disney classic Bambi. If you have nothing good to say, don’t say anything at all.  At least young Ms. Brown has a new fan. I give it 3.5 Bills, a true G-Fan film, with a lot of flaws.  The Mrs. gives it 2 Bills!  A true don’t waste your money! So we give Godzilla: King of the Monster 3 solid Bills! I say Meh to Pretty Good. She says, not a walk out, but a waste of money. Stay in and wait to stream it. So we’ll go with an average of Meh!  Not the worst, but not the best!

So until the next date night, which if you go to our Facebook page you’ll see a clue to!  We will see you next time!  Moviie Coupe out!

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The Conjuring 2 (2016) Movie Review By Darrin Gauthier

The Conjuring 2 Review

Director: James Wan
Writers: Chad Hayes (screenplay by), Carey W. Hayes (screenplay by)
Stars: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Madison Wolfe

Plot:  Ed and Lorraine Warren travel to North London to help a single mother raising 4 children alone in a house plagued by a supernatural spirit.

Running Time: 2 Hours 14 Minutes

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 79%   Audience 81%

Why I Watched It: Saw the first one and of course I was interested in what James Wan was going to do next with the franchise.

Random Thoughts: The Conjuring has very quickly created their own world, or shared universe if you will and I will say they’ve done it very naturally not heavy handed the stories flow into different things.  Now I will say I didn’t care for the first Conjuring film, it was fine but it left me cold and I’m not sure why but it didn’t connect with me.   I also think it’s nice that James Wan has done bigger non horror films but comes back to horror cause he really seems to like the genre and that shows in his films, he’s not slumming by doing these films.

What I Liked:  Off the top I liked this one a lot better than the first, not sure why because at it’s core it’s a very similar story, like the first one this is an old time haunted house/possession story and for whatever reason this one really worked for me.

The ghosts and the demons in this film are not only scary but they’re unsettling and I can see why a couple of these are going to get their own films. I did find this film scary and very spooky but the thing that keeps this film going is Wilson and Farmiga, you not only by them as a couple but as a team and they ground the film.  Without them I don’t think this works as well and I do think Patrick Wilson is becoming a go to genre guy.

The haunted house/demon stuff we’ve seen a million times but the family made mostly of kids, the standout being Madison Wolfe, is why you care and add the fact that it’s scary and you do actually fear for this family does help with the stakes, you are worried not very one will make it.

The Conjuring 2 does a very good balancing act of being a slick Hollywood horror film but also being very grounded and scary, they don’t rely on jump scares they build the scares, they don’t rush it and they build it through the fear and unease of the characters.  I give James Wan a lot of credit cause this could have been a typical horror sequel, which means it could have been a cash grab and everyone just picks up a cheque but they told a different story, the same idea but a different spin.  I do think setting it in London helped change it up as well.

What I Didn’t Like: It’s too long, I complain about this all the time but come on a horror sequel being over 2 hours is silly, granted the second half moved pretty well but the first third did drag. It would have been better if it was tighter.

The acting was good across the board except for Frances O’Connor as the mother she was a little over the top with her accent and her performance, and also they wasted Franka Potente in a nothing role, well not nothing but a really stock and cliched role.

Final Thoughts: A very well made and scary horror film.

Rating: 8/10

The Commuter (2018) Movie Review by Stephen McLaughlin

The Commuter Review

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Writers: Byron Willinger (story by), Philip de Blasi (story by)
Stars: Liam Neeson, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson

“The Commuter” really took me by surprise in how long it would keep me interested. The trailer already showed us that Liam Neeson’s character Michael MacCauley an ex-cop now working in selling insurance is met by stranger Joanna played by Vera Farmiga who offers him a proposition to carry out one task and he could walk away with $100,000 if he succeeds. If he fails, his family will die. Yes, sometimes trailer can annoy me in this sense where they really show you everything. In this case though to sell the movie it was essential to show the good bits.

If not handled well can become stale and uninteresting. Speed managed to do this correctly set on a bus, but unfortunately its sequel was a massive flop, hey Keanu Reeves didn’t even want any part in that one, Under Siege is another example of predominantly being set on a ship which worked even though I’m not the biggest Steven Segal fan. It’s sequel just like “The Commuter” is set on a train but was terribly made and relied on a cardboard cutout villain and what looked like “blue screen central” everywhere.

“The Commuter” manages to keep you enthralled and in the first 15 minutes the ground work is set and one of the reason for that is Liam Neeson’s character Michael MacCauley isn’t the man he used to be. Now 60 years old, he is selling insurance, has two mortgages and is about to send his son to college. Unfortunately for Michael he has been given a severance package and basically he thinks his day can’t get any worse. It’s worth mentioning that we get to see a bit of Michael’s day to day interactions and patterns that he does on a daily basis for the last 10 years. We get to see a bit of interaction with Michael and other commuters which serves the storyline later on.

Dejected and desperate Michael whilst reading a book on his way home to face the music is approached by a lady named Joanna. There is a little back and forth small talk between both characters until the Ex-Cop comes out in Michael and asks bluntly what is it she wants. Joanna, offers Michael a tempting offer to find a commuter on the train or face the consequences. This is how the next 90 minutes plays out on this train with Michael against the clock to figure out who the target is and why this organisation wants this person and what they are carrying.

Now I don’t really want to delve into the reasons for their actions nor do I want to reveal any twists as I am basing this review as a non spoiler to an extent as I enjoyed a few of the reveals. Mostly what I have already said was in the trailer anyway so there is nothing spoiled here. “The Commuter” is a clever written film and the events in the movie will keep you entertained as the story is one big puzzle solver.

Liam Neeson again doesn’t let us down. His character has the tendencies of an honest and moral ex policeman who left all that behind and became an insurance salesman. You can sense a regret in the character on some of his life style choices and career choices and comes across as a man who would do anything for his family. I’m glad they gave the character a little back story in his previous work as the film plays out you understand why he can think the way he does and how to handle intense situations. Neeson despite being a “serious” actor in his younger days made the transition to action star way back in his “Taken” days, heck go further back to his “Jedi” days in The Phantom Menace (1999) unlike the Bryan Mills character from the former, MacCauley is flawed. He doesn’t have the confidence within himself to be able to conquer his insecurities or be be decisive as perhaps he once was.

Vera Farmiga is terrific in her limited screen time. As the supposed villain of the movie I think I can say that its more the people she works for that are the bigger villains but nonetheless delvers in a cold and calculating way. Joanna from the kick off doesn’t beat around the bush with her intentions. Yes there is a little small talk in there that MacCauley cuts does very quickly, but I sensed she was about to explain what she was doing on that train anyway. Farmiga for the most of the movie is then on the phone and although it makes sense for her to be dictating the situation you couldn’t very well have her presence there and you will realise why in the movies climatic finale.

Patrick Wilson is cop Alex Murphy (not the Robocop one) and is Michael’s ex partner. Murphy comes across as a younger version of MacCauley. He appears to have the same work ethos and moral values of Michael and comes across as a guy who learned a lot from him. Wilson is one of my favourite actors of the past 10 years and I have to admit that I was a little disappointed with his screen time. That’s not to say that his presence at any point isn’t impactful. He appears at the films first 15 minutes and we don’t get to see him again until the last 20 minutes or so.

Overall “The Commuter” is a thrilling rollercoaster of a ride and I’m always happy to see Liam Neeson in a successful and entertaining movie. The pacing and direction by Jaume Collet-Serra is great. At no point does the movie slow down, within the first 15 minutes you know and understand the main characters and you get to understand why MacCauley ends up doing what he does. The look of the film and the camera movements within a close proximity on the train works for me, especially during the fight scenes which where brilliantly and realistically executed. Jonathan Banks, Sam Neill and Elizabeth McGovern all play smaller roles than they would normally but add to the weight of the characters. If you haven’t yet watched “The Commuter”