I wouldn’t be exaggerating I estimated the number of times I’ve slept in my vehicle at over 100 times. Most of my interactions with law enforcement come from that very bad habit due to my pushing myself too far until my body just needed to rest. Of those 100+ naps (or in some cases, full fledged sleeps), at least 20 of those were interrupted by a law enforcement official. At 26 — just one year younger than Rayshard Brooks, the man who was murdered by police (yes, murdered) in Atlanta on June 12th (the day before my 44th birthday) — my workaholic ways earned me an opportunity to travel the country working for a retailer as a trainer. Working 6 days a week for 10 hours a day in new cities left little time to see the sights but that wasn’t going to stop me so I slept where I could. In San Diego, the first time an officer knocked on my window to rouse me awake, it was at Pacific Beach. I was in a parking lot. Within sight was a sign that said “NO SLEEPING ON THE BEACH” which was actually my plan when I pulled into the parking area. The officer was concerned for my safety. Despite the usual incoherence one has when awoken suddenly from a deep sleep, the officer never asked me to get out of the car. He didn’t even ask me if I had been drinking despite the fact that it was close to 2am. (I wasn’t drinking but that’s irrelevant.) After a brief chat, the officer told me he was relieved I was ok and that I might want to get back to my hotel rather than sleeping there. According to him, that while the “NO SLEEPING ON THE BEACH” had chased most of the homeless away, there were still a few in the area and at this time of day they were usually desperate. That was the last time I had an encounter with an officer in San Diego but not the last time during my journey despite the fact in San Diego I slept a few minutes to a few hours in my car at least a half dozen times.Read More →
Hot Take: A vehicle for J-Lo to show you how likable she is but the story is too generic and contrived to be anything but just okay. It’s entertaining though. I’ll give it that much.
Fluffy and light, Second Act, the latest film starring Jennifer Lopez is the movie equivalent of comfort food. It’s lots of empty calories that is likely to test pretty good while you’re digesting it but giving any thought to what you just consumed and it’s likely you’ll have longed for something a little more substantial for your palette. It’s one of those movies that you’ll never call film nor be tempted to use the words, “As the plot thickens…” considering how little substance the movie has once you get beyond it’s shiny, upbeat surface. Reading the few sentences previous to this one and you might think I wasn’t a fan of the movie but that’s not true. There’s plenty of movies that aren’t necessarily good movies that are enjoyable and Second Act is exactly one of those.Read More →
It’s unlikely we’ll make it to 150 for 2018 any time soon but we made it back to 125 again at MHT. That’s a decent amount of films to see in a year, right? While there was only one 5 star film amongst the 25 (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse), not one film of the last 25 scored less than “Thumbs Eh” which is a first since launching Movie Hot Take. Don’t believe me? Look back at the last 100 movies reviewed, you’ll see!
- The First 25 Movies of 2018, Graded (April 7, 2018)
- The Next 25 Movies of 2018, Graded (June 3, 2018)
- The Next Next 25 Movies of 2018, Graded (July 22, 2018)
- The Final 25 Movies of the First 100 Movies of 2018, Graded (September 25, 2018)
Now that you’re up to speed, here’s the last 25 movies reviewed at MHT, graded:Read More →
Hot Take: Best animated film of the year… and best superhero film of the year. There, I said it!
I remember sitting watching Black Panther earlier this year (which I still haven’t written a review on) and thinking nothing would top it when it comes to comic-based films. Then Avengers: Infinity War arrived. Immediately following that viewing, I thought the same thing. Since then many have tried (Because there might be a law that says a comic-based film must come out every 45 minutes) but none have reached the heights or depths these two films reached. On the animation side, Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs wowed early on in the year and it felt highly unlikely another animated film would come close to what it accomplished. Then Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse released. Not only was this film the best comic-based film of the year, it was also the best animated film of 2018, so far. There’s a few weeks left but does anyone think Aquaman could be better than any of the films mentioned previously? So, let’s go out on a limb and say Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is the best comic-based film AND animated film of 2018. (Note: At any point, I could eat crow and move something unseen ahead of it. Sorry, that’s just how it works.)Read More →
Hot Take: The movie is loaded with talent and comes from a talent director and writer BUT I can’t help but feel like something is missing. It’s good BUT not amazing.
With all of the buzz around Widows, it was hard not to walk in with high expectations. Featuring Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez and Elizabeth Debicki was three women who recently lost their husbands during an attempted heist who now must work together to pull off a heist of their own to pay back the men their husbands tried to rip off from director Steve McQueen who also co-wrote the film with Gillian Flynn, Widows has a lot going for it. In addition to those three women, the cast is bolstered by a supporting cast of Colin Farrell, Cythnia Ervo, Daniel Kaluuya, Brian Tyree Henry, Robert Duvall, Jon Bernthal, Lukas Haas and Liam Neeson. It’s stacked with talent and the premise is fresh enough that it never feels as stale as it could considering it’s yet another heist flick. However, Widows isn’t without problems and while it’s good enough to recommend, it’s hard to get as excited as some who feel the film deserves to be heavily recognized come Awards season. Read More →
Hot Take: First Man is exactly as you’d expect and that’s not necessarily good or bad. I was just glad that this history lesson didn’t come with a pop quiz at the end.
Don’t get me wrong, First Man, the latest effort from director Damien Chazelle, is well done. There’s something about this obvious Oscar bait that left me wanting something more though. Then again, if you push me to pinpoint why, I don’t know if I give anything more than just my gut saying there’s just something missing here. While the story is great, the production value is high, the performances are solid and the script is solid, there’s a lack of connection that exists between the audience and the material unfolding on screen. The film is the story of Neil Armstrong first and foremost and there’s plenty to admire about the first man to ever set foot on the moon but it dips so heavily into the territory of docudrama, it’s nearly impossible to get immersed emotionally. This is evident when we reach the third act and a number of secondary characters have become fatalities yet my eyes weren’t even a little bit puffy and my nose as dry as it is in mid-summer in Las Vegas. Read More →
Hot Take: There’s a lot going on here. Within the chaos, there’s a message but the film may be too bonkers to figure it out. Instead, you just might feel like it’s a smarter version of The Purge and that’s not the worst thing you could say about a movie.
If The Crucible, The Purge, Kill Bill and Mean Girls had an orgy, Assassination Nation would be it’s lovechild. Maybe that should have been my Hot Take but I chose to lead with it as it’s more than just a Hot Take when it comes to this film. Writer/director Sam Levinson has an interesting piece of work on his hands here with Assassination Nation. Personally, it didn’t completely hit the mark but it’s impossible to say it doesn’t hold your attention for 110 minutes. One part satire, one part young women’s anthem Assassination Nation takes a wide look at what happens when the shame of our private affairs becomes public and the public can’t handle it and then puts a laser focus on what that does to young women when they become the target. Doing too much may be Assassination Nation’s biggest drawback as it’s buckshot approach makes it feel hazy at times but if you hang with it long enough, it becomes more clear… and angry as hell in the process. Read More →
Hot Take: If this were an homage to the 80s classic Die Hard, they forgot the humor Bruce Willis brought to the iconic action role. If this weren’t trying to be Die Hard, why is Skyscraper so damn similar?
Full transparency here: 1988’s Die Hard is one of my favorite films of all time. It’s not quite in my top 10 but it’s definitely in my top 20. In 2013, I’m such a big Die Hard fan that I attended a Die Hard marathon to celebrate the launch of A Good Day to Die Hard in which all five Die Hard films were shown in succession. I’ll likely find my way to theaters to see the 30th anniversary re-release of Die Hard in November. Because of this, my initial reaction to the original trailer for Skyscraper was mixed. As previously mentioned on this site, I’m also a huge fan of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. (My first and only pet cat was named Rocky and it had nothing to do with the movie of the same name if that tells you anything.) However, the premise of Skyscraper just felt like too much of a rip-off of Die Hard to be enjoyable. In this day and age, if you want to copy a movie, you just reboot or remake it. However, going in to see Skyscraper, I was still holding out hope that the $125 million budget behind the film would do more than just add some shine and sparkle to the Die Hard concept and hide behind a new title. Not only that, the film had a charismatic actor in Dwayne Johnson to work with and chose to go the serious route which feels like a serious misstep in the end result.Read More →
Hot Take: Some combination of Superbad, American Pie and Porky’s sprinkled with sex-positive feminism. Also, the adult trio of Cena, Mann and Barinholtz deliver laughs, too.
There’s a good chance we’ll see Kathryn Newton, Geraldine Viswanathan and Gideon Adlon again. The trio of actresses who portray high school seniors who join in a sex pact as they head to prom night in Blockers will likely be sought after much like their counterparts have in past high school comedies. Although the trio aren’t necessarily the stars of the film — John Cena, Leslie Mann and Ian Barinholtz take up the majority of the screen time — these three are the heart and soul of the raunchy, sex-positive teen comedy that takes the rare path of featuring females instead of males in the main teenage roles. Maybe the fact that the teens are female is why this studio comedy spent so much time focusing on the adult characters who are bound and determined to stop their daughters from losing their virginity on prom night but, heck, it’s a start, right?Read More →
Hot Take: Filmmaker Ava DuVernay says A Wrinkle In Time is for kids or the kid in you, if you still have a kid in you. I hope you do because I’m still able to find that and A Wrinkle In Time was an amazing adventure.
It’s unusual how you remember some things from your childhood. I remember seeing The Neverending Story for the first time when I was 8. For a while, it was favorite movie of all time. (At that age, my favorite movie was the last movie I saw that I really enjoyed.) There was so much great about it: Atreyu, Bastian, The Childlike Empress, Falkor, The Rock Biter. It was one of the moments of clarity that I knew I’d be watching a lot of movies if the experience was anything like that. A decade later, a more cynical teenage version of myself tried to watch The Neverending Story again. It didn’t work out too well. What was wrong with 8 year-old me that I like such a kid’s movie. Having not been to the movies in quite some time thanks to a cruise to Mexico, Honduras and Belize, A Wrinkle In Time was the first film I had seen since coming back. I had heard the DuVernay commentary about the film being made for the kid in you and decided to take that approach walking in. While it’s easy to be cynical right now, leaving all of that baggage outside the theater can be helpful and, in this case, it might be necessary. A Wrinkle In Time is essentially a movie for children but it doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyed by adults. The visuals are stunning, the story is whimsical and there are enough strong, meaningful messages (at any age not just children’s age) to make this version of A Wrinkle In Time a successful adaptation of the “unadaptable” children’s book.Read More →