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In the summer of 69 a festival that celebrated black love, black culture, black music, and black pride took place in Harlem. The Harlem Cultural Festival was an epic concert series but unless you were there it’s likely you didn’t have any knowledge of the event. The event was filmed but the footage wasn’t released and so it sat collecting dust for 50 years. Thankfully Questlove (the film’s director) and producer Robert Fyvolent came together to bring the footage to light. I went to an early screening on Monday. I had a smile on my face the entire movie!
I’m a fan of the original so I was excited when I picked up passes to attend an advanced screening of Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard at Cinemark on June 10th. The next day I went to the AMC early access screening. After the events of the first film Michael (Reynolds) is still experiencing post-traumatic stress. Since losing his license to bodyguard due to the actions of hitman Darius Kincaid (Jackson) Michael can’t get the images out of his head. He sees Darius EVERYWHERE! Even in his dreams. His therapist tells him to forget body guarding and take a vacation. Michael takes her advice which turns out to be a bad move because Sonia Kincaid has tracked him down and says she needs him to help rescue Darius! The rescue turns into a super bloody mess and after a weird series of events the trio get forcefully recruited by Interpol to help save England from a madman’s vengeful plot.
If you are reading this I’m assuming you’ve watched A Quiet Place. If not I recommend you do that then come back here. It’s a well written monster thriller (for the most part) and ended up being my number 3 film of 2018 (Click the link for reference https://godefylife.com/2019/01/01/movies-with-migs-2018-cinematic-review/). The first time watching it in the theater was a fun experience. It was tense and you could hear a pin drop. The thrills had my heart pounding. Needless to say I was all in when the sequel was announced for 2020. I pre-booked tickets! Then covid happened and Part II got delayed…..
Fast forward to May of 2021!! No more delays. Theaters across the US were re-opening and A Quiet Place Part II was touted as “the movie you want to go back to the theater for”. I wanted to get myself prepared so I upgraded to a 4K steelbook edition of the original and watched that right before I saw it a day early on May 27th.
Part II was awesome! As you can see from the picture I’ve seen it twice. Premium format for this movie is the way to go. If you have premium options available and you haven’t seen this yet I recommend you pay the extra money. AMC A Listers….you know what to do! It looked great in IMAX and Dolby. Those monsters (or are they aliens?) are scary looking and you get to see more monster mayhem in the sequel. The movie starts with an intense flashback scene of Day 1 and opens right where the first one ended. The Abbotts decide to leave their farm after surviving an attack to see if there are any other survivors. They find Emmett (Cillian Murphy), an old friend who has become cynical and weary since none of his family was left. He’s reluctant at first but he eventually agrees to help the Abbotts as they venture out into hostile territory. I really liked the addition of Murphy to the cast. He played his role well and you felt for his character. There’s a tense moment where the family first runs into him that had me gripping my seat. I liked how that was set up. Emily Blunt does her thing as Momma but Millicent Simmonds, who plays Regan, had a bigger role and she handled it well. You can see the evolution of her character after the events of the first film. Throughout the movie there are nice scares that made me jump a few times. I even jumped during a scene the second time I saw it. There was a decrease in tension however that was offset by an increase in monster action so it worked out. I did have a couple of questions after seeing this one. The flashback scene made me wonder where the creatures came from. I also need more information on the people at the docks because what in the hills have eyes……
The trailer showed too much (ARRGHHHHH) but I still had a great time seeing A Quiet Place Part II. It will be in my top ten for 2021 for sure. This Wednesday theaters everywhere will be showing a double feature so check your local listings. I’ll be at my local AMC for it!
What’s happening readers!! After a year of being away due to the shutdown I finally made my way up to New York City! During my trip I hit up one of my favorite AMC locations to check out the latest thriller from director Taylor Sheridan. If you’re in NYC check out the AMC on 34th and 8th in Midtown. It’s 3 stories and there are HUGE posters everywhere. I love it!
Those Who Wish Me Dead was an okay thriller. Angelina Jolie plays Hannah, a firewoman who is haunted by a past fire that killed a fellow firefighter and 3 children. She blames herself for the deaths even though there was nothing she could have done to save them. Hannah is stationed at an outpost in the Montana mountains and runs into a boy named Connor, who is scared and on the run from a 2 man hit crew. Connor tells Hannah that he has a story that has to be told to the news and she decides to help him get to safety. In order to cover their tracks the hitmen, played by Nicholas Hoult and Aidan Gillen, start a HUGE fire in the woods and blackmail the town sheriff (Jon Bernthal) into helping them search for the boy. So Hannah and Connor have to evade the fire and the hitmen. If I say anymore about the plot I’d be giving the story away so I won’t. It’s a run of the mill action flick. Not much stood out but I must praise the performance of Medina Senghore, who plays the sheriff’s wife Allison. She was tough!! Super tough!! Her time on scene made for some tense thrills. I was on edge. I liked the interaction between Hannah and Connor and I even liked the hitmen. I got a laugh out of the fire, especially towards the climax of the film. If you’ve seen this movie you probably know what scene I’m referring to. I’ll just say I’m glad Hannah and Connor can run really fast! I’m a big fan of director Taylor Sheridan however his last two films (this and No Remorse) didn’t do much for me. Were they watchable? Yes. Enjoyable? Somewhat. Basic? HIGHLY! This movie is adapted from the same titled book but some of the story was changed. I wonder if the book is better. Those Who Wish Me Dead is in theaters and also streaming on HBOMAX. It probably won’t be in theaters much longer though. In my opinion it’s worth a view if you have a couple of hours to kill. Oh yea…..Tyler Perry is in the movie for 3 minutes! Haha
Meet Hutch Mansell. He’s retired military that lives in the suburbs with his wife and kids. He has the same routine every day, every week, which includes not putting his trash out in time and wearing the same clothes to work. Hutch is frustrated with his mundane life but he stays silent and drones on until a botched robbery at his house awakens his vigilante spirit. When Hutch attempts track down the robbers it comes out that he may not be just a regular guy. In fact, Hutch can throw hands and serve beat downs to Russians who make him angry. After Hutch has a violent encounter with some baddies on a bus the movie turns high octane and you find out Mr. Mansell has a very interesting past. I enjoyed this action flick. When I saw the trailer for the first time I laughed because I recognized Bob Odenkirk (Hutch) as the wacky President from the movie Long Shot. This guy is going to be beating up goons left and right? Yes….he sure is! The writer of the film, Derek Kolstad, is the creator of the John Wick series so you see some similar elements in Nobody. It felt like someone threw Odenkirk in a blender with Wick and the Equalizer to create Hutch. One of the best elements of this movie is that it doesn’t take itself seriously even though there’s hardcore brutality throughout the film. The music choices add to the comical element and seeing my man Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) in action made me chuckle. You also get to hear RZA (Wu-Tang represent!!) on the mic. He was a trip! The main bad guy looking like some off brand Hugh Hefner made me laugh. Some parts of the story could have been better executed but overall this was good time in the theater. If you have theaters open in your area check it out on discount day. Nobody is also available On Demand. I’ll be adding this to my collection!
What’s going on fellow readers!!! My sincerest apologies for being almost four months late publishing my year end review. Normally this would have been out the first week of January but I didn’t watch all the 2020 releases I wanted to view by the end of the year and I fell behind. We’re here now so kick back and enjoy the read!
2020 was a weird and interesting year for movies due to the corona virus outbreak. After seeing Onward in March I wasn’t able to visit theaters until September. Since theaters were closed a lot of movies got pushed to future dates. Streaming services have been releasing original films and other content. There are movies being released on HBOMAX and in theater on the same day. When my local AMCs reopened I was in there! I waited until the end of 2020 to turn my AMC A List subscription back on but I’ve been enjoying the benefits since then. It’s been an experience (to say the least) as the world adapts.
My top ten is a mixture of theatrical releases and home releases from 2020. Time to dive in!!
THE CHAMP IS HERE!!
Number 1: Sonic The Hedgehog I grew up playing Sonic. Sonic 2 is still one of the best games from Seeeeegggggaaaaaahhhhh!!!! Fans all over the world have been waiting for this film. I’m glad that Paramount Studios cleaned up the design of Sonic because what they originally showed fans was trash and it was rightfully trashed. Everything worked out in the end. Sonic was dope and Jim Carrey starring as Dr. Robotnik was a fun casting choice. The special effects and CGI were nice so it was cool seeing Sonic in action. My man Cyclops (James Marsden) got some on-screen respect finally! The closing credit sequence is fantastic. The whole movie should have been 32 bit style animation! IJS. I preordered the steelbook pictured above. Shoutout to Best Buy for having the hot collector’s items and taking lots of my money. I had to have that for the collection. I’m looking forward to the sequel. My dude Miles Prower is on deck!!
Number 2: Justice League Dark: Apokolips War This is one of thee toughest features DC has released! It’s rated R and it earns it. Bloody, harrowing, and quite thrilling. The Justice League plan a massive preemptive strike against Darkseid and you get to see the worldwide ramifications of their failure. Alliances are broken and new alliances are formed. It’s insane!! Do yourself a favor and watch this feature. Number 3: Just Mercy A heartfelt story of a gross injustice being undone brought tears to my eyes. This real life account tells the story of Walter McMillian’s false and disgusting murder conviction and the fight led by defense attorney Bryan Stevenson in order to get Walter released from death row. Michael B Jordan and Jamie Foxx’ portrayals of Stevenson and McMillian were touching. I felt their pain and anguish. It’s a shame that McMillian was another black man in a long list of black men that faced this treatment in the South. Even to this day. Stevenson had to go all the way to the Supreme Court before McMillian’s conviction was overturned and he was released. He spent 6 years on death row based on a lie. Seeing his suffering depicted on screen hit me but I can only imagine what McMillian went through for real. I never heard of his story until I started seeing trailers for the movie. It just makes you wonder…….
Number 4: Bad Boys For Life New directors and a fresh screenplay ended up making history! Bad Boys For Life holds the title of the biggest January release….EVER. Good to see Marty Mar and Smith back together and having that magic from the first film. Even though I own the movie I’m not a fan of part 2 so this installment was like Miami weather. It felt good. Most of the jokes landed, the action was decent, and the callbacks were too funny. I thought the mid credit scene was ehh but we shall see what comes of it!
Number 5: Mulan I really wanted to see this in the theater. I had tickets for IMAX that I had to cancel. Darn you corona!! ******SHAKES FIST******** Disney+ streamed the movie later in the year but I wasn’t paying an extra thirty dollars to rent so I waited and bought the 4K steelbook. This is NOT a live action remake of the cartoon. The premise and some of the story is the same but there isn’t comic relief in the form of a tiny dragon. It has a serious tone and not geared for smaller children. Solid performances and the action sequences were beautiful. This was my first time seeing Liu Yifei and I thought her portrayal of Mulan was ovation worthy. Great job by the production team as well. The costumes were a treat for the eyes.
Number 6: The Invisible Man I’ve been a fan of the Universal Monsters (Wolf Man, Invisible Man, Dracula, The Mummy, etc) since I was in grade school so I was all in for this remake. I found the perspective change to be intriguing. Instead of making the movie about the mad scientist it’s told from the perspective of his victim/former love interest. Elisabeth Moss’ performance was on point. She does a good job making you feel the dread of knowing someone is there but you can’t see them or prove it. There was some well-placed tension throughout the film. I wish the last 20 minutes was stronger but overall a worthy update that did good at the box office right before the theater shutdowns started . Crazy thing is that this movie was supposed to serve as another chapter in the “Dark Universe” but 2017’s The Mummy failed big time so that probably won’t happen. Tom Cruise couldn’t even do the impossible there. **PEW PEW**
Number 7: Freaky I enjoyed this bloody spin on the Freaky Friday body swap curse but STOP SHOWING EVERYTHING IN THE TRAILER!!! The trailer shows three (maybe even four) of the death scenes. WHY WHY WHY!!! In this film a high schooler named Millie gets attacked by a serial killer but the weapon he used is cursed so they switch bodies after the attack fails. Kathryn Newton and Vince Vaughn lead and seeing them portray each other’s on screen persona was a trip. This isn’t a scary horror film but it’s fun and there was some good splatter gore. One scene made me cringe. Major OOHHHHHHH! Kudos to Blumhouse Productions for my 6th and 7th picks!
Number 8: VFW Veterans vs street gang in a bloody battle of attrition at a local VFW! Stephen Lang, Fred Williamson, Martin Kove, and Bill Sadler go to war after they decide to help a young woman who comes under wrath of a violent gang. This film reminded me of the original Assault On Precinct 13th but with death scenes out of horror movies from the 80s. The old guys can still bang heads into pulp! This was a blind buy last year. I knew nothing about the film but the cover grabbed me. Check this out if you haven’t seen it. The action and the banter is tough!
Number 9: Promising Young Woman Carey Mulligan portrays Cassie, a woman who moonlights as a “vigilante” against predators that prey on women. After a chance encounter Cassie receives information that may allow her to expose a criminal from her past so she sets herself on a path of revenge. There are up and downs in the story. There’s levity and then BAM……super dark! I found Cassie’s motivation to be compelling even though I thought she should have ripped some faces off! This movie deals with rape and rape victims so it can get touchy and emotional. Not recommended for the faint of heart. I enjoyed Mulligan’s performance and she is getting a lot of praise critically. The film has several Academy Award nominations so *clap clap clap* to director and writer Emerald Fennell.
Number 10: To Your Last Death Last but not least is an animated tale of murder and time travel! An activist named Miriam is given a chance to undo her father’s killing spree but there is a catch. The entity that granted Miriam this power can make changes as she sees fit. Horror fans…this film is for you. If you like splatter then check this flick because it features some crazy, highly graphic kills. I purchased this blind as well. The cover grabbed me like VFW did.
Not top ten but recommended: The Gentlemen, Birds of Prey, Onward, Come Play, Possessor, The Hunt, WW84, Superman: Man of Tomorrow, Bill & Ted: Face The Music, The High Note, Dolittle, Monster Hunter, Vanguard
Acceptable: Like A Boss, Underwater, The Lodge, Peninsula, Honest Thief, The Photograph, Bloodshot, Unhinged, The Way Back, Soul, Tenet, The New Mutants
BASURA: Color Out Of Space, John Henry, The Rhythm Section, Fantasy Island, The Call, Da 5 Bloods (more of a letdown than garbage), Coffee and Kareem, Deep Blue Sea 3
That’s it folks! I do appreciate you taking some time to read my 2020 cinematic wrap up. Leave comments please. I’d love to hear back from you. Tell me what your 2020 top ten is. Visit me on Facebook and IG as well. Search “Movies With Migs” and I should pop right up. I have plenty of content for you to check out including corresponding video reviews for most of the top ten films I listed. I’ll also have some new reviews posted later this week! Take care and continue to stay safe!
Hello readers! I’ll get right into this and say if you have access to Amazon Prime Video WATCH THIS MOVIE! If you watched it already then WATCH IT AGAIN! Major kudos to Regina King for her directorial debut. Her direction and screenplay by Kemp Powers is rightfully receiving praise and accolades. This film is adapted from the play of the same name and is set around a fictional meeting in Miami. You may have heard of the attendees….
It’s February 1964 and Cassius Clay has become boxing’s heavyweight champ. After his bout he meets with Malcolm X, Jim Brown and Sam Cooke. Now this is supposed to be a celebration but it turns into so much more. The 60s was a tumultuous decade for Black people in America, to say the least. Each one of these men was a prominent figure and they were all up against racism and dealing with personal problems. As a Muslim Malcolm explains the need for urgency to stand against oppression against Blacks however Cooke and Brown don’t agree with everything he says. It’s an interesting crossroad for Clay, who is contemplating devotion to the Nation of Islam, but he still has reservations. You see the clash in ideals and as Jim Brown states….”We aren’t all the same.” You feel the emotions as these men deal with the times they were living in and how they planned to use their influence in a world that wanted to keep their voices suppressed. Even though this meeting didn’t actually happen the actors made it feel real. Their differences created compelling dialogue. The conflicts were loud and in your face. The dynamics to resolve the conflicts felt personal. I never heard of Kingsley Ben-Adir until this film but his performance as Malcolm X had a lot of emotional depth. Aldis Hodge plays a young Jim Brown and even though his role was the lesser of the 4 his performance was good. Eli Goree and Leslie Odom Jr knock it out as Cassius Clay and Sam Cooke. Goree had Clay’s mannerisms down. Odom is a singer and songwriter and he was able to channel that into his portrayal of Cooke. Odom’s performance stood out to me. I appreciated how he was able to command the screen at certain points but also able to take a backseat. For me it’s a bit harrowing seeing films about real people and past events. Retrospect is crazy because later that year Sam Cooke was shot and killed and early 65 was when Malcolm X was murdered. Their influence and mark on American society still lives on. Clay became Muhammed Ali and also one of the greatest boxers ever. Arguably thee greatest. Ali recently passed but he will be quoted and imitated for a LONG time. Jim Brown is the only one who is still alive. He made his mark as one of the greatest players in the NFL and he’s also starred in a few decent movies. He’s my dude in Mars Attacks! So if you have the ability to check out One Night In Miami… please do so. I highly recommend it. Strong dialogue, performances and direction. BRAVO BRAVO!
What’s happening readers! If you have not watched WW84 you probably shouldn’t read on (unless you really want to). I’m not going full blown spoiler but I will be going into details over certain scenes so putting that out there up front. Good? Alright….Go time!
Monsters on the big screen? SOLD!!!!! When I saw the trailer for Monster Hunter I knew I was in. The trailer shows too much (as they do these days) but I wasn’t going to miss out on seeing these crazy looking creatures in the theater. When I went to book my ticket I had the option to watch it in Dolby Cinema. SCORE!!!!! It was a fun time and I want to watch this one again in IMAX.