Tag Archives: Tim Story

Shaft (2019) Review

Time: 111 Minutes
Cast:
Samuel L. Jackson as John Shaft
Jessie T. Usher as John “JJ” Shaft Jr.
Richard Roundtree as John Shaft, Sr.
Alexandra Shipp as Sasha Arias
Regina Hall as Maya Babanikos
Director: Tim Story

John Shaft Jr. (Jessie T. Usher) may be an FBI cyber security expert, but to uncover the truth behind his best friend’s untimely death, he needs an education that only his dad can provide. Absent throughout his childhood, the legendary John Shaft (Samuel L. Jackson) agrees to help his son navigate the heroin-infested underbelly of Harlem, N.Y. Besides, the locked and loaded Shaft has his own score to settle — both professional and personal.

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I haven’t seen the 70s Shaft with Richard Roundtree, but I saw the 2000 Shaft titled Shaft with Samuel L. Jackson in the lead role, and I liked it quite a bit and had fun with it. I’ve heard some not so good things about the sequel also titled Shaft (not confusing at all), but I wanted to check it out for myself. Having 3 generations of Shaft in one movie could be something entertaining at the very least. I was expecting something somewhat entertaining, but it really was a chore to get through. It’s not surprise that it was picked up by Netflix.

The biggest problem with the movie is the screenplay, which is embarrassingly bad. Much of my problems comes from Samuel L. Jackson’s Shaft, but I’ll get to that soon. Even without that aspect, this movie is trying way too hard to be edgy, and it just comes across as being cringe more than anything. It’s trying so hard to be anti-politically correct, so I guess if you wanted that in a movie, it might be up your alley. It honestly feels like this movie would be more suited being released a couple decades ago. And if you’re wondering if the movie is some kind of commentary or satire poking fun at both millennials and out of touch older people, I highly doubt that’s the case. It’s actually rather mean spirited and hard to watch at points, and it seems like it was trying to be funny during those moments. The 2000 Shaft was a semi-serious thriller with some comedy. For whatever reason 2019 Shaft is a full on comedy, which wouldn’t be too bad if the movie was actually funny (though Richard Roundtree has some good moments). If we’re just talking about the actual plot, it’s a generic and dull crime thriller, with boring villains and very little actual thrills. You’re not really following what’s going on, not because it’s necessarily complicated, but because you just don’t care. By the time I was half an hour into the movie, I just wanted to give up on it. When it gets to the third act it picks up, as it becomes a standard action climax, still better than what came before.

There are two leads, Jessie T. Usher as JJ Shaft, the son of John Shaft, and Samuel L. Jackson, who reprises his role of John Shaft from the 2000 movie. Usher wasn’t good but I can’t blame him too much considering how little he had to work with. There was a dance/fight scene that happens in a club, and at that point I’m not really sure anyone would’ve been able to play that role with some form of credibility. His character is also quite bland and uninteresting. With all that being sad, I’m glad that he’s one of the leads, because at least it means that we have one protagonist who isn’t absolutely unlikable. When I talk about this movie being very mean spirited and all that, most of it involves Jackson’s Shaft. I really liked him in the 2000 Shaft, but here he’s just really hard to watch. It’s honestly an achievement when a movie can actually make it unbearable to watch Samuel L. Jackson in a movie. I really don’t get whose idea it was to make his Shaft a bigot who spews off sexist, homophobic and in general offensive lines, but it really made the movie all the more worse and feel out of touch. The chemistry between the two characters is so familiar and typical, it’s the whole generational boomer vs millennial dynamic. You know that it’s going to end with them finding that they have more in common than they thought. Richard Roundtree appears for the last 20 minutes and he’s easily the best amongst the cast, really wished that he appeared more in the movie, he’s a lot more bearable than Jackson’s Shaft in this movie. Also something to note, the 2000 film had Richard Roundtree has Samuel L. Jackson’s uncle, however they’ve retconned it so now he’s his father for whatever reason. The villains in the movie aren’t good at all, there’s literally nothing to say about them. The two prominent female actors of Alexandra Shipp as JJ’s girlfriend and Regina Hall as JJ’s mother and John Shaft’s ex-wife basically have nothing to do in the movie and considering the rest of the movie it’s not really surprising.

I only know Tim Story as the director of the 2000s Fantastic Four movies, and I was less than impressed with his work there. His direction of this movie is really stylistic here, but it tries way too hard. No matter how many times the movie plays that classic Shaft theme, it doesn’t improve the movie at all. The action is actually not terrible, just rather generic and underwhelming, at least it was comprehensible and wasn’t full of cuts.

Shaft is one of my least favourite movies of the year, it was way worse than it had any right to be. As a thriller it’s very weak, as a comedy its embarrassing, and as a Shaft movie it’s not a Shaft movie. Really Richard Roundtree was the only part of the movie that I fully liked. I’m honestly not sure who this movie was made for, I don’t think it’d be fans of the previous movies, and I don’t think it’s newer audiences either. If you haven’t seen any of the other Shaft movies but are reading this review, just watch Shaft from 2000. Or even watch the Shaft with Richard Roundtree, it’s no doubt way better than whatever this movie was supposed to be.

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007) Review

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Time: 92 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Contains low level violence.
Cast:
Ioan Gruffudd as Dr. Reed Richards/Mister Fantastic
Jessica Alba as Sue Storm/Invisible Woman
Chris Evans as Johnny Storm/Human Torch
Michael Chiklis as Ben Grimm/The Thing
Doug Jones as Norrin Radd/Silver Surfer
Laurence Fishburne as the voice of the Silver Surfer
Julian McMahon as Dr. Victor Von Doom/Doctor Doom
Kerry Washington as Alicia Masters
Beau Garrett as Captain Frankie Raye
Vanessa Minnillo as Julie Angel
Andre Braugher as General Hager
Director: Tim Story

Reed (Ioan Gruffudd), Susan (Jessica Alba), Johnny (Chris Evans) and Ben (Michael Chiklis) face an intergalactic messenger who has arrived to prepare Earth for its destruction. While the enigmatic being wreaks havoc around the world, the heroic quartet must also contend with the unexpected return of their enemy, Victor Von Doom (Julian McMahon).

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Fantastic Four was not a hit critically so it was a surprise that a couple years later a sequel would come out. When it comes to this movie as a sequel, some see it as an improvement, others see it as a step down, I’m personally in the latter category. Not only did the sequel not improve many of the aspects, it made even more mistakes. The first half is borderline atrocious and the second half is mildly enjoyable but still not good. I’m surprised that they managed to make a worse Fantastic Four movie since the original.

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The first half of the movie is absolutely terrible. It focuses on uninteresting aspects, especially around the wedding of Reed and Sue. This first half could pretty much be titled First World Superhero Problems: The Motion Picture or Keeping up with the Fantastics. This sequence was so uninteresting and annoying, it was such a pain to sit through. It’s difficult to care about the characters, which makes it worse. Also the very cheesy moments in the first film, there’s more of that here. There is a dance scene involving Reed Richards and it is worse than the dancing scene in Spiderman 3. I will say that the second half of the movie is better, still not good though. The second half has a lot more action (the action in this movie being okay). However there are still a lot of aspects of this film which are terrible. Galactus is a cloud (which really isn’t accurate to the comics at all). To make matters worse, both the Silver Surfer and Galactus aren’t really the main villains in the final act, it’s Doctor Doom again.

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The acting is about as good/bad as the previous movie. Ioan Gruffudd is fine but unmemorable and boring, Chris Evans and Michael Chiklis were some of the best parts of the film and Jessica Alba was…. yet again Jessica Alba (still the biggest miscasting I’ve seen in a comic book movie). In all fairness, Julian McMahon as Victor von Doom is actually pretty good casting. The writing was bad for the character and from what I can tell, is nothing like the comic book character. The best part of the film is the Silver Surfer with Doug Jones playing him and Laurence Fishburne providing the voice. It’s not accurate to the comics but he definitely made an impression in the movie.

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The special effects of Rise of the Silver Surfer aren’t as bad as the effects in the previous movie but they still aren’t good either. The fire effects and shield effects for Johnny Storm and Sue Storm were good enough. Reed Richards’s stretch ability were better than in the previous movie. The Silver Surfer visual effects were pretty good. As I said, the last half of the movie is better and is more enjoyable as it has a lot more action and it is entertaining enough to watch, even if it isn’t great. The music is fine.

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I know that Fant4stic gets a lot more criticism but I find Rise of the Silver Surfer to be the worst Fantastic Four movie. This is a sequel, and Fox and Tim Story should’ve learned from the previous movie. This film made many of the main mistakes that the first film made. What we get instead was a film with an awful first half surrounding a wedding and was just completely annoying, the second half while enjoyable wasn’t anything special. Overall this movie was just terrible, and is for me the worst Fantastic Four movie.

Fantastic Four (2005)

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Fantastic Four (2005)

Time: 106 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Violence
Cast:
Ioan Gruffudd as Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic
Jessica Alba as Sue Storm/Invisible Woman
Chris Evans as Johnny Storm/Human Torch
Michael Chiklis as Ben Grimm/The Thing
Julian McMahon as Dr. Victor von Doom/Doctor Doom
Kerry Washington as Alicia Masters
Director: Tim Story

Four astronauts have their lives changed forever, when they end up being hit by a cloud of cosmic radiation. Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd) now has the ability to stretch his body like elastic. Sue Storm (Jessica Alba) is now the invisible woman. Johnny Storm (Chris Evans) becomes the human touch and Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis) becomes the ‘Thing’, a man made out of rock. But there is one problem. The journey’s sponsor, Victor Von Doom (Julian McMahon) has also been affected and with full power, is a dangerous force which needs to be stopped, before it’s too late.

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After hearing about how bad the latest Fantastic Four movie was, I decided to check out the first attempt at a Fantastic Four movie. Fantastic Four came out in a time when superhero movies were trying to be good with Batman Begins, X-Men and Spiderman, so naturally this wasn’t appreciated upon its release. While I don’t think it’s a horrible movie, Fantastic Four is not by any means a good movie. It has two dimensional characters, not much of the Fantastic Four doing anything and the cheesy tone which really worked against the movie.

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The worst part about Fantastic Four is that they don’t do much with their powers. There’s one incident (which was caused by them) which had them save people and then there’s a fight with Doom at the end, that’s it. The rest of the time they are just dicking around with their powers. There’s so many opportunities for the Four to do stuff but they never do much of value. This is also a lighter hearted comic book movie, which I’m not against, Guardians of the Galaxy is one of my favourite Marvel movies. But the jokes are so cheesy and sometimes terrible and works against the film significantly.

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The acting wasn’t great and the worst part is that all the characters felt two dimensional. Ioan Gruffudd in this movie was very bland and didn’t leave much of an impression. The worst casting for me though was Jessica Alba as Sue Storm. I think this might be the worst casting in a Marvel movie, even though Alba looks the part, she’s supposed to be playing a scientist, and there’s no moment where she reflected that. Also she and Gruffudd share no chemistry whatsoever, despite there being a ‘romance’. I will say that Michael Chiklis and Chris Evans are actually well suited for their roles and do fine with what they have. From what I hear, Victor Von Doom in this movie is not comic book accurate but he even fails as a villain on his own. He is such a cliché villain and by the end, you are left wondering what Victor’s plan was, the film forgot to give a reason for him to be a villain.

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The effects can be pretty goofy, Human Torch’s flames and Invisible Woman’s shields have pretty fake CGI but Reed Richards’ stretch powers is some of the most cringe worthy effects I’ve seen in a superhero movie. To be fair though I don’t know how it’s possible to show it on screen without it being silly. The Thing is shown by using a body suit, which wasn’t the best option. I know that if they went with CGI they would make him look terrible but still, he looks like something out of a B movie.

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I can’t say that there isn’t any enjoyment in the movie, when the action is on screen, it is entertaining, if badly done and fake looking. I also don’t hate this movie as much as everyone else but it’s not a good movie either. The effects are terrible, the humour is annoying and there isn’t enough of the Fantastic Four actually doing anything. I’ll have to check out its sequel and the reboot but I hope that they aren’t worse than this film.