one word reviews of Movies and TV

Saturday, May 11, 2019

A Simplistic Review: The Ranger (2018)


Well someone had to take these big city punks down a peg or two!

The MERIT badge for making a National Park Ranger the big bad in this 80s inspired "killer in the woods" romp goes to Jenn Wexler.

"The Ranger" is a tidy 80 minutes long and gets to the point without going over a pain-staking backstory for our heroine and how she fell into a gang of drug-dealing punk rockers.

Good gore, good villain, with a rocking soundtrack and score.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

A Simplistic Review: Avengers: Endgame (Spolier-Free)


Over a decade of storytelling, 22 films, BILLIONS of dollars invested, and this is what we get?!

Let me just give a BOW of respect for what Paramount, Marvel, Disney, Sony, Fox, and anyone else who was involved in the creation of the MCU and the on again, off again relationship all the studios have had in order to generate this juggernaut which has led to "Avengers: Endgame."

I swelled up and cried a lot in this film, because at the end of the day, strip away the bombastic characters, large scale battles, and all the special effects, because this "Endgame" is a character driven story with superheroes you've spent the better part of your life around.

There is something to be said about what The Russo Brothers have done here. They created a large scale film with pathos to spare and also enough moments that had your bursting at the seems with excitement. This decade-long journey to the inevitable culmination is huge, it's exciting, and it's something that we all just need to take in and enjoy because it's special.

Friday, April 26, 2019

(Ep. 120): Guns - Movie Commentary: April 2019


April 26 is here!

Sure, the mystery movie commentaries were fun. But you knew what you wanted and we knew what you needed. So today we give it like it has never been given...That is why, for no other reason, April 26 was circled on our calendars.

A date we know a lot of you have been counting down towards.

A date that will most likely go down in movie history.

April 26, 2019.

The date Simplistic Reviews finally watched...Guns!


Guns
1990 ‧ Thriller/Drama ‧ 1h 36m

Description

Initial release: November 9, 1990
Director: Andy Sidaris

A South American gunrunner (Erik Estrada) uses an island in Hawaii as his base of operations. A squad of beautiful government airfreighters Donna (Dona Speir) and Nicole (Roberta Vasquez) agents is sent to put him out of business.


Shit yeah! Andy Sidaris! The Sidaris Cinematic Universe continues of the greatest movie series ever! Bombs! Bullets and Babes! This isn't no children's Endgame, this is real shit!



Monday, April 22, 2019

A Simplistic Review: Guava Island


There's nothing wrong with VANITY projects. Big music stars have done it for decades. "Purple Rain" with Prince, "Michael Jackson's Moonwalker," "Cool as Ice" with Vanilla Ice and who could forget "Swept Away" with the indomitable Madonna. Hmmm, come to think of it...maybe there is something wrong with them.

"Guava Island" is a 55-minute music video for Donald Glover where he gets to weave in some of his newer songs into a film about putting on a festival on a island that is under the control of a guy named Red Cargo who doesn't want his works to have Sunday off.

Oh, Rihanna is also in this film.

It's fine, and the opening animation scene reminded of something out of "Coco" and of course the public infatuation will continue for Glover, for good reason of course, the dude is super talented.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

A Simplistic Review: Pet Sematary (2019)


Let it be known that 2019's "Pet Sematary" remake is a REMINDER that yes, sometimes dead is better...

No matter what I say people are going to continue to translate Stephen King's work into films, but man, has there been any one source that has the up-and-down's like King's material.

After the remake of "It" hit big back in 2017, it was open season on getting back on King's D and trying another remake; that one happened to be this year's "Sematary."

Sure, there are a couple of things that I like about this remake, but the acting is wooden and it almost feels like the filmmakers are trying to have their cake and eat it too. Is this flick high brown or low brow horror? How much can we change to make this story feel fresh, etc...

Sure, I don't expect a new generation to check out the original from 1989, considering no one wants to watch an old movie, let's just dive into a remake, but hopefully this is a lesson that not every film deserves that much coveted remake treatment.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

(Ep. 119): The Simplistic Reviews Podcast April 2019


The Simplistic Reviews Podcast is back from Spring break...clean...sober...and ready to go. One of those things is true. The boys discuss everything they missed since they’ve been gone. From James Gunn rehiring, to the etymology of the word “trump”, to that famous last line in Lethal Weapon 2. You remember that one right? We sure didn’t. Doug Funny, Oregon Trail, Jenny & Melissa McCarthy...all points of interest or disinterest on this Spring fling episode of the Simplistic Reviews Podcast.


MUSIC
Fast Times Club By IDOL
Gold Medal By Sounds Like Sander

Monday, April 1, 2019

A Simplistic Review: Dragged Across Concrete


This April Fool's review is brought to you by Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn. I'm sure a bunch of you thought it was a joke when they starting showing up to award shows together, but "Dragged Across Concrete" is no joke, it's an actual film, and it's actually an UPWARD movement in the reestablishment of Gibson maybe making his way back into the Hollywood stream. Not mainstream, but at least dipping his toe back in the waters.

S. Craig Zahler's filmography might be short, but damn is it impressive. From horror-western fare, prison exploitation and now heist films, he's getting impressive results away from the mainstream and creating pretty kick-ass films.

Gibson and Vaughn are great, but the star of this film is Tory Kittles as the freshly releases ex-con looking to make good on taking care of his family by any means necessary and still having a moral code.

"Bone Tomahawk" and "Brawl in Cell Block 99" are great on their own, but I think "Concrete" is Zahler's best work to date and he's shaping up to be the Neo-Tarantino we all deserve.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

(Ep. 118): Mystery Movie 2 - Movie Commentary: April 2019

So last time we tried something new, something mysterious, something crazy!

The people responded and wanted more or we're just untalented hacks...anyway we did it again!

Matt and Justin watch a movie just in-time for another movie that's due out April 5. Wow a movie commentary tie-in? Kinda...But unlike last time, both Matt and Justin have seen this film before.

Sure, it may be just a one off type of film but damn its really mysterious is it not?


So join Matt as he joins DJ in a movie commentary like none other...a mystery movie...eh movie commentary!?



Wednesday, March 27, 2019

A Simplistic Review: Us


There's a lot to unpack in "Us." But I'll keep it...simple

Does it have the same affect that "Get Out" created in 2017? I don't think so. Did Jordan Peele create another socio-political horror film about how the poor are marginalized and cast away while we as an American society put on a happy face even though, deep down inside, we're ashamed of the unabashed consumers that we've become while living a soulless existence? I think that's a little more accurate.

"Us" is a nice SWITCHAROO for an audience that thought they were going to see "Get Out 2: Electric Rod-a-roo."

Sure, there's plenty of commentary to sink your teeth into, but drilling down this is a film that is part "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" part "Dawn of the Dead" and part "The Strangers," all while shaking up the tired horror cliche by subbing out your typical white family in danger with a black family, and making a very strong point.

Which is...

Why have horror films always just settled for white actors to be the stars horror films while marginalizing black actors to the roles of "the first to die" or "the sage-like advice giver?" Peele is making a statement that a lot of white folks probably aren't ready for; get ready to be the new "first to die" in the horror genre.

Friday, March 22, 2019

A Simplistic Review: Inside Llewyn Davis


I think I like being the guy that checks out movies anywhere between 3-6 years after they come out and are heaped praise by any and all movie critics; I'm TARDY if you will. But gee golly did I enjoy "Inside Llewyn Davis."

Oscar Issac is fun playing the down-on-his-luck, struggling folk singer in 1960s New York, where he is always just one step behind. Of course, I don't know the plight of folk singers in the 60s around the Greenwich Village neighborhood in Manhattan, but I can imagine the bohemian lifestyle.

What the Coen Brothers do here that is so special is that while there is a ton of music, and great music at that, it shows a stark contrast to what life is like when you come off the stage. Infidelity, unwanted pregnancies, lost cats, hanging out with dope fiends, and of course getting punched in the face by the husband of the person you heckled on stage.

As as whole, "Davis" is great, but man, it's pitch black comedy, but what else would you expect from the Coens.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

A Simplistic Review: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre


It took me a long time to like "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre." And honestly, to this day, I prefer the remake from 2003. I know that probably hurts my horror film credentials, but shoot, I also prefer the remake for "The Hills Have Eyes" as well as the remake for "It" and a few other films that are simply better made films, at least aesthetically

1974's "Chain Saw" is grimy, ugly, grim, but digging down created a SYSTEM for early slasher films to thrive and made people uncomfortable and was seen as pornography that was ruining society, which I can always get behind.

Perhaps watching the original "Chain Saw" with the wisdom of Joe Bob Briggs and "The Last Drive-In" helped re-open my eyes to how much this film changed the landscape of the genre and created the actual "Formula" that predates other proto-slashers like "Halloween" and "Friday the 13th."

Tobe Hooper created a nightmare landscape with some of the most memorable cannibals you've ever seen along a lonely, dust road in central Texas that is forever the stuff of legends.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

A Special Guest Simplistic Review: Captain Marvel



Who knows you better than your best BUDDY? The 'Other Cap' felt like a love letter to your BFF. Which is exactly why I loved and needed Lashana Lynch’s Maria Rambeau as a real life contrast to Brie Larson's Carol Danvers' wonderful but very “literal” girl power. 

Maria is what I want more of - a strong, single mother that kicks ass, flies planes and does some “simple physics”. Because to paraphrase a book I’m reading, “sometimes men want a sticker just for treating a woman like a human being.” I want to see more diverse women as equal human beings.

In “the other ladies who kick ass” category, Annette Benning and Gemma Chan do a fun job in their supporting roles.

Seeing the origins of Nick Fury, Agent Coulson and other origin Easter Eggs are also fun little nuggets.

But beware; If you troll this film just to bring down the ratings without any legitimate criticism - F**K your fragile ego. We may fall down, and hopefully first weekend numbers prove otherwise, but we will get up again and again. 
Besides the slowish start and “dance” fights - this is a solid Marvel origin story and introduction to the ‘Endgame’. 

Sunday, March 3, 2019

A Simplistic Re-Review: Get Out


There's nothing like a PUNCH in the face to wake someone up; or at least break their nose, knock out some teeth, and leave a long and personal impression. That's what "Get Out" did just about two years ago.

It take a special person to create a film that makes everyone in the audience uneasy. "Get Out" shines a light and makes white people squirm while at the same time showing the black audience that their paranoia isn't entirely all unfounded.

Director/Writer Jordan Peele created one of the best horror films in the last 25 years in my opinion, and it isn't even close. The re-watchability is high as well where you can really dissect the dread of what is coming and showing this to someone who hasn't seen it while you wait for their reaction(s) is golden.

Friday, March 1, 2019

(Ep. 117): Mystery Movie - Movie Commentary: March 2019

Today we try something new, something mysterious, something crazy! DJ and Justin watch a movie like they did so many times before. But this time it's different. This time Justin carefully selected from the Simplistic Reviews ever growing library of shitty movies, a film DJ has never seen nor heard of.

And that's not all. This time DJ has no idea what he will be watching, he knows nothing, just like you!

So join DJ as he is only aware of recording a movie commentary...not what movie...but...a mystery movie!

Monday, February 11, 2019

A Simplistic Review: The Autopsy of Jane Doe


As the kids would say; "'Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark' brought me here." I'm almost positive that I've seen "The Autopsy of Jane Doe" be suggested to me on Netflix time and time again, but I always turned my nose up at it.

These types of films just aren't my horror cup of tea. Not that it scares me, I just don't care for the supernatural, scary, maybe witch, girl, who terrorizes people. Just not my jam.

But after finally giving it a chance, and despite it being just "meh" Guillermo del Toro made the CORRECT choice in choosing director, André Øvredal, to helm one of my most anticipated films in "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark."

Øvredal knows how to build suspense and you might even say that "Jane Doe" is a story cut right from "Scary Stories." The dude has some chops and I'm looking forward, and hoping, that he doesn't, like the adults say; "ruin my childhood."

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

A Simplistic Review: Velvet Buzzsaw


Say what you will about "Velvet Buzzsaw" but the opinion will simply be in the eye of the BEHOLDER.

Much like art, whether you dig this flick will all depend on what you're looking for, and the more I think and dwell on "Buzzsaw" I find a lot in common with modern film criticism. It's annoying, needy, whiny, overly complicated and needless more often than not. Of course I'm skewering myself as well, but I can take my own joke and realize what kind of hypocrite I am.

Being one of like five people in the whole world that actually likes "Art School Confidential" I liken "Buzzsaw" a fun little companion piece where John Malkovich is somehow playing the same character in both and it's wonderful.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

A Simplistic Review: I Am Not Your Negro (2016)


I'm kind of in a weird spot with this review. It's just after Martin Luther King Day and just about a week before Black History Month, but after watching "I Am Not Your Negro" it took me some time to PROCESS.

As a White, Jewish Male, there isn't a lot for me to bring to a discussion about the mistreatment of minorities and the injustice and abuse they have all endured for over 700 years when White Europeans decided they were going to sail to a "New World" and for all intensive purposes commit genocide and kick off White Supremacy.

I feel bad I've not know much about James Baldwin up to this point in my life. He settled as a background guy for the likes of titans; Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, Lorraine Hansberry, and Dr. King. He's also the witness for their lives being cut short while being the interest of the FBI and living as minority within a minority.

Baldwin took the best of Lorraine, Malcolm, Martin and Medgar and created his own brand of resistance that more seem to be discovering as we are slowly degenerating back into the 1950s and 60s and fighting for a new generation's Civil Rights.

In short, "I Am Not Your Negro" is required viewing about an unsung hero who I sadly know too little about.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

A Simplistic Review: Eighth Grade

It's hard not to CRINGE at "Eight Grade." It's everything you would expect a film about middle to be. Awkward, bittersweet, stomach-churning, and all together relatable.

Considering I'm about 20 years removed from middle school, I remember it being a little unbearable, but a lot has changed in 20 years and perhaps I don't find enough to connect with in "Eighth Grade" but I admire it's zeal for portraying the "modern" kid growing up in a technological and "me-me-me" society.

Maybe I'm sure more of a "Welcome to the Dollhouse" type of guy, but I'm also a weirdo who likes really dark shit...

Monday, January 14, 2019

A Simplistic Review: The House That Jack Built


Lars von Trier is the master of the TRIGGER. He knows how to get under your skin and manipulate your emotions and get people riled up. But that also makes him the last of a dying breed of mainstream directors who are fading away.

The best I can really say about "The House That Jack Built" is that it TRIGGERS a response from people, whether it's good or bad, but it's a lot of posturing on von Trier's part about a hearty pat on his on own back.

It's "American Psycho" without the pitch black humor and while it might take place in the 80s at some junctures, "Jack" devoid of the era and simply takes place when it takes place.

Is "Jack" worth 150-minutes of your time? It honestly all depends on whether you think a Lars von Trier film is worth the squeeze and how TRIGGERED you might be.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

(Ep. 115): Hard To Kill - Movie Commentary: January 2019

The new year is here and so is a new batch of Simplistic Reviews Movie Commentaries! 

We start this new year off with a film from 90's action star and serial eater, Steven Seagal. Which Seagal film? Well, since Steven has a large collection of so bad its good, we figured we get out one of the better Seagal films that also has some of our favorite lines.

Stay warm with the boys from SR on this chilly January Sunday and let's watch some Hard to Kill!
Hard to Kill

R 1990 ‧ Drama/Thriller ‧ 1h 40m

Description

When police detective Mason Storm (Steven Seagal) uncovers ties among corrupt cops, the mob and charismatic politician Vernon Trent (Bill Sadler), a hit is ordered on his family. During the attack, Storm's wife is killed, and the cop himself is severely injured. After waking up from a years-long coma, Storm, aided by gorgeous nurse Andy Stewart (Kelly LeBrock), slowly gets back on his feet and plots revenge against those who wronged him, particularly the duplicitous Sen. Trent.
Release date: February 9, 1990 (USA)
Director: Bruce Malmuth
Box office: 47.4 million USD
Screenplay: Steven McKay
Music composed by: David Michael Frank



Thursday, January 10, 2019

A Simplistic Review: Molly's Game


Considering this was one of my favorite films from 2018, I'm finally getting around to making it my first review post for 2019. Makes sense, right?

What do you get when you take Jessica Chastain, throw in a little Idris Elba, and have them recite, impeccably, the dialogue of Aaron Sorkin? Well, your plants might get a little TIGHT, but you also get "Molly's Game."

This is also the film that finally made me a fan of Jessica Chastain. Her and Anne Hathaway I lumped into the same boat for a long time, just not a fan. But, after seeing her play word gymnastics with this script and simply being the anchor of this film, I'm finally a believer.

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