Woody Harrelson

Now You See Me 2

Once again starring Jesse Eisenberg, Dave Franco, Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Caine, The Four Horsemen have returned. This time they are joined by Lizzy Caplan and Daniel Ratcliff. That’s right Harry Potter is in a new magic film! Trying to re-enter the world but they are being held back by The Eye. Now the Eye has a new mission for them, and when things go wrong, they have Horsemen decide to venture out on their own to attempt to reclaim their lives without Dylan Rhodes (Ruffalo)

This film blends the first film, with a little bit of Oceans 11. With all but Isla Fisher who had to back out due to her pregnancy, the cast has all returned and all have a great chemistry.  The story is definitely a little bit more ramped up as most sequels are. It brings the magic on a lot stronger than before, but they don’t make it to unbelievable. Even when a trick seems too off the wall, they immediately explain it to you. Which is something I like; I did not want this to become a fantasy type of franchise.

Seeing the first one, and then watching it again before this one, I’m not very sure this really needed a sequel, or better yet even a third which is apparently already coming. However they found a way to make me continue to stay interested in these characters, and genuinely be excited for this adventure. As far as another, I do not know if it is needed, but maybe they can capture that magic again.

One of the best things about this franchise is the cast. They all work so well together. The entire cast. Jesse Eisenberg is dialed into this character more than any other that he place. He isn’t so much himself like he normally does; it is just the right amount of him, toned down to the perfect level. If he could’ve done this for Lex Luthor, that probably would have made BvS better. Dave Franco is someone I want to see in more films. This kid has so much talent. I would love to see him really branch out into more films.

The new comers are pretty good, and fit their roles. Most just bit parts like Sanaa Lathan and Jay Chou. But Lizzy Caplan is a good replacement for Isla Fisher. While you feel her not being there, Lizzy’s character is a lot of fun and makes for a new take on their comedic relief. Daniel Ratcliff is really good as our new villain. He is creepy, and off putting and flat out weird. And it makes it so much fun.

The problems with this film lie in the script. There are some story problems, and some plot whole issues that come up on pretty regular bases. The most glaringly of these being Isla Fishers characters absence. A big plot point of the film is The Horsemen wanting to come out of hiding and claim their lives back. They are stuck and live together in a hide-a-way house. Yet Isla’s character was allowed to leave and not come back…. Yes I know they needed some way to explain her absence, but could you not come up with something that did not go against your plot so much?

The film also drags a lot. It really could have been sent back to the cutting boards 2 or 3 more times. There were plenty of times that I found myself just waiting to get through a scene or a segment. SO much to the point that I even nodded off a few times. There are a lot of exposition scenes that I get why they are there, but I feel they could have re worked the dialog to make it run a lot more smoothly.

Maybe this is something I missed, but the post credit scene in the first film, I don’t know if that just had something to do with that film, but certainly had no connection to this film. This kind of confused me. I had just rewatched the first film, and watching that scene I figured the plot of this one would have something to do with that junk yard fun house place they showed up at. But nothing.

For the most part Now You See Me 2 is an enjoyable film. It has its problems, but they are not so bad that you cannot find enjoyment in this film. You may not need to rush out to see this, but when you do you will have a good time, and go home happy. A fun film, in the same world as its predessceor. If you liked the first you are going to enjoy this one too. If you did not enjoy the first, you wont like this, plain and simple. I gave it a score of 2.8, no bonus, which leaves the Jeebus Score sitting at a 2.8. Not great, but not bad. Maybe wait to catch this one FXx? But what say you? Sound of in the comments and let me know what you thought of the film!

The Jeebus Score explained

The Jeebus score is out of a possible 5 points with a .5 bonus. Films are giving a max of 1 point each for Entertainment Value, Story/Writing, Performance, Direction, and Production. There is also a possible bonus up to .5. Any film between 2.5 and 4 is considered a good film. 4-5 is a great film. Anything over 5 is an incredibly amazing film. To get a perfect score of 5.5 a film will pretty much have to be The Empire Strikes Back or The Godfather.

Triple Niner, uh I’m sorry, did I catch a niner in here?

Dirty cops, the Russian Mob, a detailed heist that involves killing a cop to create a diversion. Through in an all-star cast and you should have the recipe for an incredible and intense film. One that could truly be remembered as one of the greats. Triple 9 has all these ingredients, but are they cooked properly? Well, let’s talk about that.

Triple 9 is directed by John Hillard, the guy that did Lawless, and was written by Matt Cook, I have no idea what else he wrote. It has one the most talented casts I have ever seen assembled, Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiodor, Anthony Mackie, Aaron Paul, Clifton Collins Jr, Norman Reedus, Gal Gadot, Woody Harrelson, and Kate Freaking Winslet. If that is not a list line up, I do not know what is.

The film follows a crew of corrupt cops and criminals who are being sent on heist missions by the Russian Mob, led by Irina Vlaslov (Winslet) whose husband and head of the mob is locked up abroad. Irina uses her sisters (Gadot) ex-husband Michael (Ejiofor) to steal what she needs to free her husband. When a final mission is deemed undoable, the crew decided the only way to pull it off is to cause a distraction by killing a cop (Affleck) which will send all officers on a triple 9 (roll credits) leaving them free to run their final heist. Unfortunately when your crew is full of criminals, no twist is left unturned.

Again that sounds like a great pitch right? Unfortunately it is not a great film. In fact, it is pretty boring. And unnecessarily slow! Don’t get me wrong, when the action gets going, it is pretty fun to watch, but there is so much unneeded wasted screen time in between. Most of these characters are also pretty poorly written. Leaving the audience with no one they really want to root for, seeing is how they are mostly all scumbags. Sure they have their redeemable qualities here and there, and reasons for doing what they do. But in the long run, you just don’t like them.

That’s not to say that the cast did not do incredibly well. If there is one major positive about this film it is that the cast is all on point with one minor exception. Woody Harrelson, who is great in his own right, plays the character a little too, Woody like. If that makes any sense. He is just a bit over the top and it something he has been doing a lot. I don’t know if this is a director’s decision or his own, but come on Woody, just be great, don’t be cartoony.

But again, everyone else is spot on with the roles they are given. Ejiofor keeps you enthralled all film long and Casey Affleck has such a unique ability to disappear into roles. Something his brother has never really been able to do. You always know you are watching Ben Affleck, but with Casey you always see the character. Anthony Mackie is a top tier talent, and incredible in here. I love watching him onscreen. Kate Winslet is Kate; I didn’t even realize it was her until I sat down to write this. That’s how good she is.

Speaking of this cast, let’s talk about one thing, real quick, I’m getting a little side tracked. But this film literally has Falcon, Baron Mordo, Scud, Tallahassee, Batman’s little brother, and Wonder Woman all in the same film. That is a little crazy. But speaking of Wonder Woman, walking into this I was really hoping that this would be the performance that sold me on Gadot as Wonder Woman. Unfortunately, it was not. Not that she was bad; she was good at being hot and delivering 3 lines. But nothing of substance.

All in all Triple 9 was kind of a letdown. It is obviously not the worst movie I have ever seen, it had its ups. But unfortunately not as high up as I had anticipated it. Maybe wait to catch this one on FX, or USA or something like that. Not something you need to shell out the cash for.

An action cop drama with little action, and a boring story. Great cast, fun performances, but ultimately a letdown. Especially as a follow up to the directors previous film, Lawless. Action scenes are fun, and well done, but everything else from dialog, to story, to character development falls flat. I’m giving it a Jeebus score of 2.4.

The Jeebus Score explained

The Jeebus score is out of a possible 6 points. Films are giving a max of 1 point each for Entertainment Value, Story/Writing, Performance, Direction, and Casting. There is also a possible bonus up to .5. Any film between 2.5 and 4 is considered a good film. 4-5 is a great film. Anything over 5 is an incredibly amazing film. To get a perfect score of 5.5 a film will pretty much have to be The Empire Strikes Back or The Godfather.

Jennifer Lawrence, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1

Mockingjay Part 1

When The Hunger Games first came out, I said eh, I’m not the target audience, a teeny bopper version of Stone Cold and The Condemned? Not interested. When Catching Fire came out I said, well what the hell, I’ll give it a try. And the moment that film cuts out with Jennifer Lawrence staring at the camera, I was screaming for more. I had finally watched the first one right before, and felt a little eh about it. But Catching Fire hooked me in. I have been ready and waiting for this two part finale! But what was it going to be for me, another hit like the 2nd, or back to the first? Well, I’ll tell ya, it was, slow.

Mockingjay Part 1 is once again directed by Francis Lawrence who took over for Gary Ross after the first installment, and brings back Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Little Thor (Liam Hemsworth) Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, and Sam Claflin, along with adding in Julianne Moore. The film continues the story of Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence) a reluctant symbol of a massive rebellion after surviving not one, but two years of the dreaded and deadly Hunger Games. Can she ignite the nation and lead them against the Capitol? And what about Peta? Has he really turned his back and does he really believes in the Capitol? Can Katniss save him, and the other victors?

The film is good, the problem is this trend of splitting the third books into 2 films. Twilight, Harry freaking Potter, thanks a lot. While Mockingjay is the shortest of the 3 Hunger Games books, it really hurts the film to split it. After Catching Fire I was really hyped and ready to see Katniss kick a lot of @$$, but sadly, the scene they have promoted so much I the trailers of her shooting down the jet with an arrow (which is much more believable within the context of the film) is really the only scene of action in the entire film. This installment plays out like a propaganda war. With the Rebels using Katniss to film commercials and videos, and the Capitol using Peta, trying to convince the districts whose side to be back. There is a lot of story and exposition and it is all set to build up to the next film. Perhaps I would have liked it more had I been able to watch Part 1 and part back to back rather than wait an entire year.

But with all that like I said, it’s not a bad film, just not what I was expecting. I was all set for the action and not ready for the story. The story seems like it’s going to be great once the back half plays out, it just seems a little stale by itself, however it is well played out. The characters, while a lot of them, are all acted incredibly. Lawrence shows us once again how incredible she really is. Claflin returning as Finnick is given so much more heart and emotion. I even really liked Little Thor, who in the past when given major roles has kind of come out short. And while the film can be very slow and drag at times, it honestly set you up and get ready for next year when Part 2 arrives. It is the journey that makes the film so fun.

Being someone who hasn’t read any of the books, I was a little lost not knowing how Mockingjay played out, my buddy assured me it was exactly how he had envisioned it and that Part 2 was really set up beautifully. So while Mockingjay Part 1 may not have played out how I expected it, I still call it a Good time at the theater, with a Jeebus score of 4.3.