Tag Archives: Bill Hader

It Chapter Two (2019) Review

Time: 169 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Graphic violence, offensive language & cruelty
Cast:
James McAvoy as Bill Denbrough
Jessica Chastain as Beverly Marsh
Jay Ryan as Ben Hanscom
Bill Hader as Richie Tozier
Isaiah Mustafa as Mike Hanlon
James Ransone as Eddie Kaspbrak
Andy Bean as Stanley Uris
Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise the Dancing Clown
Director: Andy Muschietti

Defeated by members of the Losers’ Club, the evil clown Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård) returns 27 years later to terrorize the town of Derry, Maine, once again. Now adults, the childhood friends have long since gone their separate ways. But when people start disappearing, Mike Hanlon (Isaiah Mustafa) calls the others home for one final stand. Damaged by scars from the past, the united Losers must conquer their deepest fears to destroy the shape-shifting Pennywise — now more powerful than ever.

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It Chapter Two was one of my most anticipated movies of 2019. The first It was quite good, and from what I can tell adapted part of Stephen King’s classic novel to the big screen rather faithfully. However, that movie only told half of the story, whether it still worked depended on the second half. With the same team returning, and the likes of James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain as part of the older cast, I was looking forward to it. It’s ambitious, very well directed, the cast was great, and a satisfying conclusion to the It story.

I’d advise people who are seeing It Chapter Two to watch the first movie somewhat recently beforehand, it’s best going into the movie with Chapter One fresh in your mind. As for people who haven’t seen the first movie at all, Chapter Two is not a movie you can just go into without seeing the first, you’ll be completely lost. There is a long period in the first half that’s necessary to the story and characters but I’m not sure it works as well as it should’ve. It’s mainly consisting of the main characters going back to places they’ve been to as children and remembering certain things. There’s a purpose for doing this with all the characters, however the problem is that for the most part all the scenes follow the same structure: the adult character goes to that familiar place, have a flashback which usually ends in an encounter with Pennywise, and then in present day coming across Pennywise themselves. These scenes are necessary for the plot, it’s just that it felt a little too repetitive. I heard something along the lines that there’d be a version which put the two movies together, placing the scenes in chronological order and that should be interesting. Despite all the things about what I just said and some of the scenes meandering a bit, I was really invested with the movie and the characters, even more so than the first movie. This movie is really ambitious to cover it all in one movie, and most of it works. All the build up in the first two acts really pays off, as the third act is fantastic, won’t go into depth with that here. There are some changes from the books, some of it was shot and removed, others didn’t make it to being filmed. For example, there are subplots like with Beverly’s husband and Bill’s wife that were in the book but not in the movie, I haven’t read the book but I think that it was a good call not to feature them in the movie. Last thing to note, as people have no doubt seen and sometimes complained about, this movie is almost 3 hours long. Considering that the book is 1000 pages long, it’s not really too surprising that it’s this long. If you’re invested in the story, that won’t be a problem for you because it wasn’t a problem for me. Looking back on everything, I’m not sure what exactly I’d cut from the movie, there’s a lot here that’s necessary for the story, even if some of it could’ve been handled differently. Besides, I’d much rather a lengthy movie that takes its time with its story, then a 2 hour 20 minute (studio mandated) version that feels really cut down. Some people have asked whether splitting it into 2 parts was necessary, and looking at everything I’d definitely say yes.

The cast is all around great, with James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, James Ransone and Andy Bean playing the older versions of the Loser’s Club from the first movie. They actually seemed like older versions of the younger cast (James Ransone particularly seems like an older Jack Dylan Grazer), and when it comes to casting adult versions of child actors, this is one of the best examples I’ve seen in movies. I generally liked what they did with the characters. I also liked what they did with Mike’s (Isaiah Mustafa) character, from what I can tell he really didn’t get to do much in the book, here they gave him more to work with, with him being the only one who stayed in Derry and really the one out of the group who knows the most about Pennywise and what they might need to do in order to kill him. Ever since the movie started being shown, there has been particular praise going towards Bill Hader, and for very good reason. He not only delivers a lot of the funniest moments of the movie, he also delivers some of the more emotional scenes of the movie. I admit I’m not familiar with much of his work (no I haven’t seen Barry yet) but after seeing him here, I really want to check them out. You also see the younger cast appear often in flashbacks, and as usual they are very good in their roles. You don’t see as much of Pennywise, or at least compared to the amount in the first movie, but Bill Skarsgård is great in his scenes. Unfortunately yet again they do tend to overuse the amount of CGI on him, even though there are parts that are absolutely necessary to use those effects, Skarsgård is more effective and scary when he’s just acting on his own without all that. Nonetheless, him and director Andy Muschietti has completely redefined Pennywise and they’ve done a great job at bringing him to the big screen. There are also a couple of cameos worth keeping your eye peeled for.

Andi Muschietti returned to direct, and he’s done a really good job yet again. It really looks great, the town of Derry even in the 2010s still really feels uneasy. If you didn’t find the first movie scary, you probably won’t be scared by the second. I don’t go into horror movies judging them by their scare factors, because usually I’m not scared by horror movies. With that said, there are some scares here that are quite predictable and done like plenty of other horror movies have done, for example the classic ‘character looks at a room when they think there’s danger and see nothing, and when they turn around there’s something scary right up in their (and the audience’s) face’ is present multiple times. I do appreciate how graphic and disturbing Muschietti is willing to take this, he really does not hold back in the darker and twisted aspects. The CGI for the most part is good but some of the larger effects are a little too cartoonish and silly at times. Benjamin Wallfisch also returns to provide the score for the sequel and it’s once again effective and elevates the movie even further.

Looking at the reactions, it seems that that It Chapter Two won’t work for everyone perfectly. Despite some of the messiness and some of the issues I have, I do like Chapter Two more than Chapter One. Although I haven’t read the book, I know about it, and I saw the miniseries, which really didn’t work. With these two movies it’s an achievement in itself that they managed to pull this off, and them being as good as they are is. Considering the amount of content that Stephen King packed into that one book (and some of the weirdness that was understandably cut from it in the movies), I think this is probably as good as an adaptation of the book as we’ll probably get. If you weren’t a fan of the first movie, I’m not sure that you’ll like the second. If you like the first movie at all however, I do think it’s at least worth checking out Chapter Two, otherwise you’ve really only seen one half of the story.

Power Rangers (2017) Review

Time: 124 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Dacre Montgomery as Jason Scott/Red Ranger
Naomi Scott as Kimberly Hart/Pink Ranger
RJ Cyler as Billy Cranston/Blue Ranger
Becky G as Trini/Yellow Ranger
Ludi Lin as Zack/Black Ranger
Bill Hader as the voice of Alpha 5
Bryan Cranston as the voice of Zordon
Elizabeth Banks as Rita Repulsa
Director: Dean Israelite

Five ordinary teens must become something extraordinary when they learn that their small town of Angel Grove – and the world – is on the verge of being obliterated by an alien threat. Chosen by destiny, our heroes quickly discover they are the only ones who can save the planet. But to do so, they will have to overcome their real-life issues and before it’s too late, band together as the Power Rangers.

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I never grew up with the Power Rangers, I definitely heard about it and knew it existed but I didn’t know that much about it. Honestly I wasn’t looking forward to watching the 2017 live action movie, it just didn’t look that good at all. It looked like a generic kids film riding on the popularity of a known kids series. However, Power Rangers actually surprised me, it wasn’t great by any means but for a kids movie its actually reasonably okay.

For a Power Rangers movie, you don’t actually see the main characters in the suits that often, and you’d think that this would really make the movie bad. However, surprisingly that segment (by segment I mean most of the movie) was actually the best part of the movie. We get to explore and learn about these characters and their lives and problems and the movie really focusses on them working together as a team. That part surprisingly worked quite well, which is helped by the chemistry of the actors (which I’ll get into later). Towards the end when the characters are full on Power Rangers and wearing the suits, I actually really started to lose interest plotwise, you might be entertaining by the ridiculous over the topness, but as a story it really felt flat in comparison to the first two acts. This movie is very cheesy and silly but from what I can tell its more serious than other versions of Power Rangers, so credit to the filmmakers for making it somewhat watchable for adults. You have to really keep in mind that this is a kids movie, I went in knowing this and I had a good time. But I can see someone going in expecting something a little more serious or mature and end up finding the whole movie to be incredibly obnoxious. If you’re going to watch Power Rangers, know that you’re going to watch a really cheesy kids movie.

What makes this movie work is the main actors and their chemistry. The leads, Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Becky G and Ludi Lin, on top of being a diverse cast are good and work great together, they share great chemistry. Some of their line deliveries at time don’t work so well, and they do have their fair share of occasional not-so-great acting moments, but for the most part it works. Elizabeth Banks plays the villain and to be perfectly fair to her, the character she is playing, Rita Repulsa, isn’t that good, she’s radically over the top, cartoonish and one dimensional, there’s really not much to her. To Banks’s credit though, she is having a ton of fun in this role and is going all out crazy here, which is honestly the only way that anyone could play his role. Bryan Cranston is in it but doesn’t really do much, he served his purpose fine enough, though there really wasn’t any point casting him in the role.

The direction by Dean Israelite was fine overall, nothing spectacular but it worked well enough for a Power Rangers movie. The action is reasonably entertaining but the special effects range from being okay to being really fake looking. They looked particularly goofy and basic in the climax, and with a reasonably large enough budget I’m not sure how the effects looked that bad. Then again the worst of the effects was in the climax, which as I said already was the least interesting part of the movie anyway.

Although it’s not a really that good of movie, Power Rangers surprised me and was far better than what I thought it would be like. The cast and their chemistry really worked. It’s just the cheesiness and the noticeably weak last act which does bring the movie down a bit. With that said, I wouldn’t mind if a sequel ended up happening. If it does happen, I hope the filmmakers can learn from the first movie and make the Power Rangers as interesting and entertaining in the suits as they are without them.

Inside Out (2015) Review

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Pixar's "Inside Out." (Pixar)

Time: 95 Minutes
Age Rating: 860914[1]
Cast:
Amy Poehler as the voice of Joy
Phyllis Smith as the voice of Sadness
Bill Hader as the voice of Fear
Lewis Black as the voice of Anger
Mindy Kaling as the voice of Disgust
Director: Pete Docter, Ronnie Del Carmen

Growing up can be a bumpy road, and it’s no exception for Riley, who is uprooted from her Midwest life when her father starts a new job in San Francisco. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions – Joy (Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith). The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley’s mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. As Riley and her emotions struggle to adjust to a new life in San Francisco, turmoil ensues in Headquarters. Although Joy, Riley’s main and most important emotion, tries to keep things positive, the emotions conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house and school.

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The initial idea of Inside Out sounds good on paper but doesn’t exactly sound like it could work as a kids’ film. How is it possible that an animated kids’ film could talk about emotions and be complex and intelligent? Somehow Pixar manages to do this and surpass what I originally thought it would be. This is in my opinion Pixar’s best movie since Up and its worth being seen by everyone, young or old.

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I’m not going to spoil too much of what happens because you really should go in not knowing too much of what this movie is about. This film is really clever in how it talks about people’s emotions. I’m impressed with the messages that the film decided to go with, some of them are quite challenging and mature, which makes it stand out from other animated movies. The emotions it mainly talks about is Joy and Sadness, as they are the main stars of the film. For example I like how it shows the need for sadness, there aren’t many kids’ films which actually say that sometimes sadness is needed. Along with the emotional moments there are also a lot of comedy which both kids and adults could enjoy, the adults would probably understand it more. That’s another thing worth mentioning, kids and adults can watch this and enjoy it and get different things out of it. Personally I think that adults probably would like this movie more than kids, as they will understand more of it.

All the voice actors are perfectly cast, they are perfectly suited to their character. My personal favourite was Lewis Black as Anger, that’s just me though. Another thing I like is how they managed to make the emotions three dimensional, mostly Joy and Sadness, with them dabbling in the others’ emotions. It does bring up the question, wouldn’t that mean that they have emotions in their head? I don’t think that we’re supposed to be looking that deep though. All of the emotions are entertaining, however Joy and Sadness are really the most developed, the others are fine but aren’t as complex or deep as them.

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Pixar as always makes their films look great. As this takes place in someone’s mind, you can imagine the sorts of things that you’ll be seeing there, and the creators really have a lot of ideas of what a teenage girl would have inside her head as Joy and Sadness try to move through it. The animation is beautiful and visually pleasing. The soundtrack accompanying these scenes also adds a lot.

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Inside Out is one of the year’s best and it is worth seeing at least once. It’s a beautiful looking, deep, intelligent and funny film that should be seen by people young or old, if they haven’t seen it already. In fact I have a feeling that older and more mature viewers will like it way more than younger viewers, as they will be understand more of what’s going on. It is one of Pixar’s best and one of the smartest animated movies I’ve seen.