Tag Archives: T.J. Miller

Underwater (2020) Review

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Underwater

Time: 95 Minutes
Age Rating: 2773-o[1] Violence, horror scenes & offensive language
Cast:
Kristen Stewart as Norah Price
Vincent Cassel as W. Lucien
Mamoudou Athie as Rodrigo Nagenda
T.J. Miller as Paul Abel
John Gallagher Jr. as Liam Smith
Jessica Henwick as Emily Haversham
Director: William Eubank

Disaster strikes more than six miles below the ocean surface when water crashes through the walls of a drilling station. Led by their captain, the survivors realize that their only hope is to walk across the sea floor to reach the main part of the facility. But they soon find themselves in a fight for their lives when they come under attack from mysterious and deadly creatures that no one has ever seen.

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I knew about Underwater for some time, it was a horror sci-fi thriller taking place in the ocean and starred Kristen Stewart in the lead role. I didn’t expect much from it really, especially for a January released thriller, but I had a feeling it would be entertaining at least. Thankfully it was quite a fun movie and I liked it for what it was, even with its faults.

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Right after an establishing shot inside and outside the station, and after the first scene of Kristen Stewart establishing her as the protagonist, the crash that sets the plot into motion happens. I do like how quickly it gets into the action, as well as the straightforwardness of the plot. The plot itself is rather predictable and doesn’t really do anything new, with plenty of tropes from other horror movies. In fact much of the story and setting for sure takes cues from Alien, just taking place underwater instead of outer space; Underwater is basically Alien in the ocean. With that said, I didn’t expect it to be something unique or subversive, so it wasn’t that huge of a negative for me. There are some parts of the plot I’m uncertain about, but I just went along with it. It is quite fast paced, and for the most part I think they fitted the movie well. There are brief attempts at humour especially with the dialogue, and I found that those moments only felt out of place and didn’t help to do anything but distract from the rest of the movie. Something I really didn’t like was all the exposition through voice over from Kristen Stewart in the first and last scenes of the movie, it just feels very unnecessary and lazy. It’s a minor issue since it’s only present in those scenes, but they stick out as being very unwelcome.

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The cast do a good job in their parts. Kristen Stewart is really good in the lead role, her performance actually does carry the movie well. The rest of the cast including Vincent Cassel and Jessica Henwick play their parts well. The characters are likable enough, if rather underdeveloped despite the attempts at development. Out of them, T.J. Miller feels the most out of place, he does have some dramatic parts, but out of the cast he delivers the most comedy, and as previously said the comedy doesn’t work.

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Underwater is directed pretty well by William Eubank. Again, you can clearly tell that the movie is inspired by Alien with regards to the direction, but its nonetheless good. I really like the look of the movie. It is well shot, the interiors look great, especially with the colour and lighting. Additionally, the setting at the facility was quite effective for this type of movie and its plot. The horror and scares were also handled quite well, with a tense atmosphere throughout, and it did a good job at making you really feeling confined. The quick cut editing sometimes worked well, at other times it made things a bit hard to follow. It does feel creepy throughout, especially the underwater scenes. I really liked how they portrayed the underwater from the visuals to the sounds. It’s a little while before we get to see the Lovecraftian-like creatures, but they are creepy and effective as horror monsters. As for issues with the direction, the outside CGI heavy shots really look fake and rough to say the least. A nit-pick but nonetheless something that stood out was the unnecessary text that appears on screen to show the location names.

Kristen Stewart stars in Twentieth Century Fox’s “Underwater”.

Underwater was quite good and entertaining for what it was, with some solid direction, and a good cast that performs well, especially a solid Kristen Stewart. The script has some faults for sure and it’s nothing special, but I reckon that if you like the look of the movie, it’s worth a watch for sure. It’s a fun 90 minute long horror thriller flick.

Cloverfield (2008) Review

Time: 85 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Contains fantasy violence.
Cast:
Michael Stahl-David as Robert “Rob” Hawkins
T.J. Miller as Hudson “Hud” Platt
Jessica Lucas as Lily Ford
Odette Yustman as Elizabeth “Beth” McIntyre
Lizzy Caplan as Marlena Diamond
Mike Vogel as Jason Hawkins
Director: Matt Reeves

As a group of New Yorkers (Michael Stahl-David, Mike Vogel, Odette Yustman) enjoy a going-away party, little do they know that they will soon face the most terrifying night of their lives. A creature the size of a skyscraper descends upon the city, leaving death and destruction in its wake. Using a handheld video camera, the friends record their struggle to survive as New York crumbles around them.

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Cloverfield did have a big impact upon it’s release, a big part of that was its mysterious marketing, a trend which would continue in the series, to the point where the trailer is being released hours before the film’s actual release (AKA Cloverfield Paradox). Cloverfield is a found footage movie that is quite effective in its execution despite its simple premise. It’s opening 20-30 minutes wasn’t the best but after that, director Matt Reeves delivers a very solid movie.

First I should clarify that I’m judging this movie by itself and not comparing it to the other Cloverfield movies. I will admit, earlier in the movie I really didn’t care about what was going on. It’s just all these characters at a party and I was completely unengaged, I wasn’t interested in the characters at all. Once the destruction start, that’s when my interest really picked up. The film does a good job at keeping you riveted from start to finish from that moment. It occasionally gives you moments to breathe and it doesn’t feel too long or short. You really feel like you’re with these characters as they are going from place to place, trying to survive. It also really benefits from the simplicity, there aren’t tons of scenes filled with exposition about what’s happening, you only really know what you can see. Found footage movies always have the issue of explaining why the main characters keep carrying with them a camera and recording everything even though they shouldn’t even be bothering with it, Cloverfield is no exception. While initially you can understand why the camera is there, over time it just seems increasingly pointless and you wonder why our main characters would bother carrying this camera around with them (though that goes for most found footage horror movies). Outside of that, after the first 20-30 minutes Cloverfield is pretty good for what it is.

The characters weren’t all that great or interesting but the cast did a good job playing them, with a cast that includes Michael Tahl-David, T.J. Miller, Jessica Lucas, Odette Yustman and Lizzy Caplan. Found footage movie characters aren’t really all that great, but the ones in Cloverfield ended up being on the better end of the spectrum.

This is a found footage movie, and as its being inside a lot of destructive events, there is a lot of shakiness. If you are easily dizzy, you’ll probably find Cloverfield to be hard to watch. The illogical reasoning for the main characters keeping recording with a camera aside, it is very effective at being very tense and scary to a degree. As I said earlier, Cloverfield is effective at making you feel like you are one of the people witnessing the carnage and destruction. It’s no real secret nowadays that a source of the destruction is a giant monster but you don’t see too much of it and it is used effectively. It’s probably underwhelming if you just watched all the trailers because with all the build up it just turns out to be a monster, but otherwise it’s fine. Matt Reeves did a really solid job at directing this movie, delivering on creating one of the more effect found footage movies.

Cloverfield is a very solid found footage movie that is very effective as a thriller. The first 20-30 minutes were quite iffy and didn’t have much of my interest but after that, it really picks up and becomes a really good found footage thriller. If you like thrillers and don’t mind dizzy found footage movies, I’d say definitely check it out if you haven’t seen it already.

Deadpool 2 (2018) Review

Time: 119 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Contains graphic violence, sexual references & offensive language
Cast
Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson/Deadpool
Josh Brolin as Cable
Morena Baccarin as Vanessa
Julian Dennison as Russell Collins/Firefist
Zazie Beetz as Domino
T.J. Miller as Weasel
Brianna Hildebrand as Negasonic Teenage Warhead
Jack Kesy as Black Tom Cassidy
Director: David Leitch

Foul-mouthed mutant mercenary Wade Wilson/Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds), brings together a team of fellow mutant rogues to protect a young boy of supernatural abilities (Julian Dennison) from the brutal, time-traveling mutant, Cable (Josh Brolin).

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Deadpool 2 was one of my most anticipated movies of 2018. The original Deadpool released in 2016 was quite a surprise, with it somehow managing to bring Deadpool to the big screen in an effective way and has now become the most financially successful R rated comic book movie to date. I wouldn’t say its like one of the best comic book movies made and it is straightforward and simplistic (the impact also wears off the more you rewatch it) but it is still solid. With John Wick and Atomic Blonde director David Leitch taking charge of the sequel and introducing major comic book characters Cable and Domino (and with the addition of Josh Brolin and Zazie Beetz to play them), I was really hyped to see what the end result would be. Deadpool 2 doesn’t disappoint and does well to not just be a copy of the original, it improves and does some different things, and I do think that this movie it is better than the original.

Deadpool 2 benefits from the fact that it’s not stuck having to present an origin story, as a sequel it has more freedom, so it can introduce more characters, go in more insane directions, and thankfully that’s what they do here. Although I liked the movie from the start, it really picked up for me at the halfway point, particularly an action scene which takes place inside of a prison. Prior to that point the movie was pretty decent but I wasn’t really fully into it up to that point. Something that is quite noticeable is that Deadpool 2 is much more action and story oriented than the first movie. There are some surprises here, so I recommend not looking too deep into spoilers because although the plot may be fairly predictable (despite being less conventional and by the numbers than the original), there are some moments that are best experienced not knowing they are going to happen. The movie is overall more story oriented and there is a noticeable amount of emotion put into the story. Although I didn’t really feel the emotion as much as the film was intended to, I do appreciate the effort and it worked well enough. I’m also surprised that most of the emotional scenes weren’t killed with a poor joke or anything like that. Most of the jokes landed and the movie overall is pretty funny, even if some jokes didn’t land fully, it didn’t stand out poorly or land terribly. There is particularly one joke which did work and I get the joke, but at the same time it also felt like a wasted opportunity. As this a Deadpool movie, it constantly breaks the fourth wall and there are a lot of references (to pop culture and other comic book universes, etc) which really worked. There are also some nice cameos here, some of which can be easily missed. All I can say is to keep your eye on ‘The Vanisher’. The mid credit scenes are funny but when you consider that they are apparently canon, it really makes you question if it actually makes sense at all. I won’t spoil what it is but you’ll know what I mean when you see it.

Ryan Reynolds continues to prove that he’s fantastic as Wade Wilson/Deadpool. Something wise that both Deadpool movies have done is to give more to Deadpool’s character than the comics have given him. The first Deadpool movie, while maintaining his well known personality and charm, also gives him more human and relatable aspects so that you actually care about what he’s doing, instead of just seeing him as a walking meme. They continue that in the sequel with Wade Wilson trying to protect a young mutant from a futuristic killer. Reynolds like in the first movie manages to be funny, fourth wall breaking and potentially annoying but also manages to make you care about what’s happening with him, and makes him a well rounded character. Josh Brolin is great as Cable, who really is a force of nature, him and Ryan Reynolds play off well against each other. Unfortunately, he really doesn’t show up much until the second half but he steals the scenes that he’s in. A scene stealer was Zazie Beetz as Domino, who’s mutant ability is luck (the film does a great job of showing off her powers). This is the first thing I’ve seen Beetz in and I have to say that she’s a fantastic actress. I’m really looking forward to seeing more of Cable and Domino in future films. Julian Dennison plays a pretty significant role as the mutant that Deadpool is trying to save from Cable. I hope Dennison gets more and more roles because he’s proven himself once again to be a very talented young actor. Other actors/characters from the first Deadpool like Brianna Hildebrand as Negasonic Teenage Warhead, Stefan Kapicic as Colossus and Karan Soni as Dopinder aren’t in the sequel as much but they are good enough in their scenes.

The first Deadpool movie had a reasonable budget at about $58 million, overall feeling like a smaller superhero movie. The sequel has about double the budget and they seemed to put it to good use, Deadpool 2 is a bigger movie. Director David Leitch is great with action, as shown with John Wick and Atomic Blonde and the action is definitely more superior here than the original had, with more bigger and memorable action sequences. The CGI admittedly isn’t always great, whether it be some of the larger action sequences or CGI characters, however it wasn’t so poor that it distracted or bothered me. Overall Leitch’s direction here is better than Tim Miller’s in the first movie. Tyler Bates’s score is pretty solid, an improvement over the first film’s score.

If you didn’t like the original Deadpool movie, there’s a strong likelihood that you won’t like the sequel. However if you are a fan, I think you’ll be very satisfied with this movie. Deadpool 2 was funny, entertaining, and I liked the emphasise on action and story this time, I had a great time with it. I personally think it’s better than the original and I can’t wait to see more of Deadpool, Cable and Domino in the future Deadpool/X-Men/X-Force films.

Ready Player One (2018) Review

Time: 140 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Tye Sheridan as Wade Watts/Parzival
Olivia Cooke as Samantha Cook/Art3mis
Ben Mendelsohn as Nolan Sorrento
Lena Waithe as Helen/Aech
T.J. Miller as i-R0k
Simon Pegg as Ogden Morrow/the Curator
Mark Rylance as James Halliday/Anorak
Director: Steven Spielberg

In the year 2044, on his death bed James Halliday (Mark Rylance), the creator of a wildly popular virtual reality utopia known as the OASIS, begins a hunt for his fortune and ownership of the whole VRMMO world with puzzles and riddles based on Halliday’s obsession with pop culture of decades past. After years of searching for Haliday’s “Easter Egg,” one average teenager named Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) solves the first clue, he sparks excitement and hope back to the hunt, and throwing him into a world of people willing to kill for the information he has, changing his life forever.

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Ready Player One was a movie I was cautiously optimistic about. It had a lot going for it, it was based upon a book with a very creative premise with a lot of potential, a great cast including Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke and Ben Mendelsohn and it’s directed by Steven Spielberg. But at the same time I had some reservations. Steven Spielberg, while a great director, has been putting out some mostly fine movies but nothing that I found really great. Also from the trailers and premise, it seems that RPO would rely only on nostalgia and just end up being okay. Still, I knew I was going to see it, and I was just hoping that it would be better than I thought it would be. I have to say, Ready Player One really surprised me. Steven Spielberg has created his best film in many years and it’s honestly one of the biggest surprises of 2018 so far.

Ready Player One is quite a long movie, at 2 hours and 20 minutes. However, when I was watching it, it didn’t actually feel very long to me. Honestly the only thing that kind of was out of place and didn’t work all that great was the first 10 minutes which had a whole lot of exposition dumping, looking back it’s hard to picture how else Spielberg could’ve integrated all that information into the film but there was probably a way. Aside from that and some at times cliché dialogue, I didn’t find myself having many issues with Ready Player One, at least after my first viewing. It is a very entertaining movie and had my interest from start to finish, I was really wrapped up in the story that was being told. One of my favourite sequences involved ‘the second key’, I won’t spoil it at all because it really was a surprise. Once you watched the movie you’ll probably know why I liked it so much. It is worth noting that the stuff that happens in The Oasis was more entertaining and interesting than whatever happens in the real world but that’s to be expected. The film really shows you why so many people are obsessed with The Oasis. There is a lot of pop culture references, and that was one of my biggest worries about the movie, because it could easily fall into the trap of just relying on the audience to like the nostalgia. However, a lot of the pop culture references are for the most part brief or in the background. Like there might be characters in the background and we might see characters from franchises like DC, Halo, or whatever. This is because one of the key parts of Ready Player One is nostalgia and it is appropriately used here for the story. It’s not like the movie is shoving The Iron Giant in front of the screen and expecting you to love the movie because you recognise it. Honestly if you don’t recognise any of these franchises or references, I don’t think it’ll really matter.

The talented cast involved does quite well. Tye Sheridan is quite good and likable as the protagonist and Olivia Cooke is particularly good here, the two of them share great chemistry. Ben Mendelsohn is quite an effective antagonist, the role is a little generic all things considered but Mendelsohn elevates the role and does some different things with it. Other supporting actors like Mark Rylance and Simon Pegg also play their roles quite well.

I have to say that it’s great seeing Steven Spielberg doing a sci-fi movie again, it’s been over a decade since he last did it. It’s no real surprise that his direction is fantastic, nothing new, but his direction here is a big part of why Ready Player One works so well. Visually, this film is stunning and immersive. Yes, in the real world the effects and look were all pretty great, but it’s the visuals in The Oasis that really stands out. Nothing is meant to look real, it’s a virtual gaming world after all, where people can change their avatars to look different and some of the things that happen and are seen are deliberately exaggerated at times. Spielberg has definitely taken a lot of inspiration from video games both old and new and it is very apparent here, he did such a fantastic job. The score by Alan Silvestri also added a lot to the movie.

Ready Player One was much better than I thought it would be and is Steven Spielberg’s best film in years. On top of the pop culture references and the general entertainment factor, I was really wrapped up in the story. Spielberg’s direction really brought the concept to the big screen effectively, with the visuals, the style, everything. It was a lot more than I thought it would be. If you are sceptical about the movie, I’d say give it a go because I myself was doubtful and I was blown away by what I saw.

Deadpool (2016) Review

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Deadpool

Time: 108 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Graphic Violence, Sex Scenes, Offensive Language
Cast
Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson/Deadpool
Morena Baccarin as Vanessa
Ed Skrein as Ajax
T.J. Miller as Weasel
Gina Carano as Angel Dust
Brianna Hildebrand as Negasonic Teenage Warhead
Director: Tim Miller

This is the origin story of former Special Forces operative turned mercenary Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), who after being subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopts the alter ego Deadpool. Armed with his new abilities and a dark, twisted sense of humor, Deadpool hunts down the man who nearly destroyed his life.

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Deadpool was one of my most anticipated movies of 2016. I’ll admit I didn’t know much about Deadpool, I had heard of him and I knew the general idea of his character but I haven’t read comic books of him or watched any shows or movies featuring him (I don’t think X Men Origins Wolverine counts). Having seen this movie though, I want to watch and read everything Deadpool related, this movie immediately made me a fan of him. From the writing, to the acting and the excellent direction from newcomer Tim Miller, Deadpool is one of the best superhero films I’ve seen in a while.

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The movie is very well written, from the opening credits, you know what sort of film you’re going into. As you could probably tell, this movie was very funny, whether it be fourth wall jokes, the dialogue, the characters or when it takes shots as certain things outside the movie, even Ryan Reynolds’s career, including Green Lantern and X-Men Origins Wolverine. Another great thing is that you actually care about what’s going on, one of my main concerns going in was that it would just be an action comedy superhero movie and it would be just Deadpool being cool and funny, with no real emotional weight to the film, but it definitely has that. By the way, there is an end credit scene, so make sure you wait until the end.

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Ryan Reynolds absolutely is Deadpool, he is as much Deadpool as Robert Downey Jr is as Iron Man or Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. Like I said earlier with the emotional weight, Reynolds also shows off his dramatic chops as well as his comedic ones. The supporting actors also did good jobs. Morena Baccarin plays Wade Wilson’s girlfriend and I thought that she did a really good job, she shared great chemistry with Reynolds and the love story between the two actually worked for the film, it added to it in fact. The film also features two X Men, Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead, both who were great in their roles. A fair criticism that some may have is that the villains, Ajax (Ed Skrein) and Angel Dust (Gina Carano aren’t that well developed. I thought that they worked for the plot and the actors did good jobs with what they had, particularly Ed Skrein, who looks like he’s having a great time as the villain. Also Stan Lee has quite possibly the best cameo he’s ever had.

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The action scenes were fast paced and well filmed. The film’s budget is definitely lower than most other comic book movies but it still was used very effectively. The CGI was also used effectively when it was needed, such as in the case of Colossus, who was a fully CGI character. The soundtrack which includes tracks by the very talented Junkie XL was also great.

DEADPOOL Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) pounces on an adversary. Photo Credit: Joe Lederer TM & © 2015 Marvel & Subs.  TM and © 2015 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.  All rights reserved.  Not for sale or duplication.

Deadpool was a really great superhero movie. From Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool, to the fantastic script and Tim Miller’s direction, every element works. Deadpool is one of the best comic book movies made and in my opinion is up there with Sin City in terms of the most accurate comic book character adaptations. Definitely check out Deadpool when you get a chance. If any of the other 5 superhero movies this year are as good as Deadpool, 2016 will be one of the best years for superhero movies.