Voyagers⭐️⭐️½

Voyagers – PG-13 – 1 hr 48 min
NO SPOILERS Movie Review
Watched in theater Thursday April 8, 2021
AMC Kent Station 14 – Kent, Washington
18th new movie seen in theater in 2021

Earth’s natural resources have been ravaged and is dying, leading to a search for a planet nearby that could sustain human life. A planet if discovered, but it will take 86 years to travel there. A crew of 30 children is groomed, growing into teens by the time the flight takes off. One adult teacher joins the mission which hopes to have these teens grandchildren populate the distant planet, should they arrive.

This is almost entirely a story aboard a ship. Might have made a good play, but it’s a bit weak as a movie. Think Lord of The Flies in space and you kind of have something like what this reproduces.

Tye Sheridan who we last saw in Ready Player One is an actor with seemingly one dramatic expression. I don’t know if it’s wonder or dumfounded but it gets tiring after 30 minutes of this movie. He doesn’t strike me as a leader and unconvincingly plays one here.

The movie isn’t all bad. There are moments which kind of redeem it, like the whole issue of “taking the blue” a drug meant to subdue their inner desires. That was what I thought the movie would be about in the trailer, but that is only part of the tale. Like there would be some grand conspiracy.

Sat on this review for a few days, trying to see what this movie left behind. Like so many new movies we’ve seen since the pandemic begin, there just wasn’t a lot of soul there. Sure, we’ve seen a few good movies here and there. This isn’t one of them.

So, we left the theater, recording our non-spoiler video review and both agreed this movie was … just an OK experience. Not terrible, but not good. The box art teases that this might be a more raunchy space film than it is. Something like a hyper-sexed up Ammonite in space with a bunch of horny teens. Why couldn’t we get those Voyagers? No, not recommended.

Rating (out of 5 stars): ⭐️⭐️½ (Todd) ⭐️⭐️½ (Kara)

TV SERIES Review: Star Trek: The Animated Series S2E6 – The Counter-Clock Incident ⭐️⭐️½

Season 2
CBS All Access (Original TV network: NBC)
October 12, 1974
Run Time: 24 minutes

Episode 6 – “The Counter-Clock Incident”

The Enterprise, complete with a dignitary, the first captain, Commodore April, of the Enterprise (not Pike), encounters a ship traveling toward them and a Supernova at an unbelievably fast speed — warp 34. Captain Kirk tries to hail the ship, but they aren’t responding, so they put a tractor beam on it, barely slowing it down to warp 32. The captain of the other ship speaks in a language they don’t understand. They realize the language is running in reverse. They play the message in reverse and hear the captain saying the Enterprise is interfering with an important mission.

The alien ship ends up pulling them inside the Beta Naobi system in an unusual reverse time universe.

Summary

Commodore April being named as the first captain of the Enterprise is a bit jarring if you’re familiar with Captain Pike in the Original Series. Obviously, this wasn’t canon. Also, it’s another time travel of sorts story and, unfortunately, Star Trek has too many of those. The difference here, is they don’t actually visit a place in the past, they just travel so fast that time moves differently, which is scientifically accurate. Everybody grows younger, which will remind of several other plotlines.

Mrs. April’s voice is clearly Nichelle Nichols (Uhura) which is distracting. I’ve noticed that James Doohan and Nichelle Nichols voiced extra characters, but their voices were disguised poorly. This had me thinking a different character was talking.

This episode, at least for Star Trek, seems cliched, even for the 70s, but other movies would use the same concept later (Benjamin Button). It’s an interesting and entertaining episode, despite the story not feeling as fresh as it probably was in the 70s. I don’t remember seeing this episode before.. It’s just ok, but not recommended.

This is the last of the 22 episodes of Star Trek: The Animated Series for us to review. Despite a few weak episodes, somewhat outdated animation it was nice to hear the original series crew voicing the characters. I wish they would hae gotten some more guest stars, because it feels a little low budget sometimes, but overall, it’s too bad they didn’t make more than 22 episodes. The series overall is well worth checking out.

Episode rating: ⭐️⭐️½

Raya And The Last Dragon⭐️⭐️⭐️

Raya And The Last Dragon – PG-13 – 1 hr 54 min
NO SPOILERS Movie Review
Watched in theater Friday April 2, 2021
AMC Lakewood 12 – Lakewood, Washington
17th new movie seen in theater in 2021

Several kingdoms are protected by a giant gem that was forged by dragons in a pact to keep the water-fearing Druins away from turning people to stone. When the kingdoms can’t agree on who will control the gem, it breaks into five pieces.

Raya’s father casts her into the river to embark on a quest to reunite the kingdoms, piece back together the five gems and summon the final dragon to assist.

We took our grandchildren to see this in the theater, age 6 and 4 and surprisingly (to us anyway) they made it through the entire movie without bailing. This was a first. Apparently, they had seen this at their house several times, so must have been a premium buy through Disney+ for that. They liked it enough to stay with it, and it seemed a little more suited to young girls than boys, but hey, we were excited they watched it all the way through again (for them).

As for us? It was an entertaining movie. The kind that Disney knows how to crank out on an assembly line. It is lacking the music and songs that normally accompany movies like this. There’s like one moment, maybe two, where Raya starts to break into singing something, but it’s not a full song.

So, this becomes a quest movie with the goal pretty clear: try to retrieve all five gems so the dragon can help them reassemble into a single, big gem. This keeps viewers engaged, because we want to see what happens if/when they get all those gem pieces back. Along the way obstacles and conflicts are thrown in their way.

When we talked about the movie, Kara and I felt similarly toward it. Not bad, not amazing, just kind of an average Disney animated movie. Would we have paid $30 for this to see as part of Disney+ premium? Nope. Glad we saw it with our grandchildren. They had a good time.

No, we don’t recommend this, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth seeing. It’s the kind of movie when it finally appears on Disney+ without the $30 fee that you might want to check out. Again, I think younger girls would be more interested in this movie than boys. Adults will not be bored by it, so that’s a win.

Rating (out of 5 stars): ⭐️⭐️⭐️  (Todd) ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (Kara)

Godzilla vs. Kong⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Godzilla vs. Kong – PG-13 – 1 hr 53 min
NO SPOILERS Movie Review
Watched in theater Thursday April 1, 2021
AMC Lakewood 12 – Lakewood, Washington
16th new movie seen in theater in 2021

“Kong bows to no one.” This is one of the early-on quotes for this film and really sets up the giant hairy gorilla forced to be captive in a Truman-like sphere with fake jungle environment surroundings. Meanwhile, Godzilla is out there waiting for him to make an appearance so he can fight him to see who is the #1 Apex monster.

When I was growing up, watching those old Godzilla and Kong movies, I was amazed by how big the monsters were. In a versus movie like this, we want to see some major battling between the two. Eventually, we get this, but it takes a little while in the story.

There is an almost completely unnecessary substory involving a conspiracy theorist with a podcast, an ex-employee of Apex, which is playing the evil big company role and a girl. The only real human story of interest that matters, however, is Kong and the deaf girl that do sign language between each other. Let’s be honest, it’s the monsters facing off, perhaps smashing some giant cities in the process — that’s what we want to see here.

While leaving the movie theater, we talked in more depth about these types of movies. Kara has almost zero interest in these types of films. I make a mistake in our just left the theater calling a mcguffin and Mcguvyer lol, oh well.

What you really want to know is whether or not you should see this in the theater? On the big screen or on streaming? I’m saying no to streaming, but yes to on the big screen. We saw this in 3D but that was basically unused, so you don’t need to worry about 3D, just go see it while it’s in the theater if you can. If you like this type of movie and can get past the first act and into the second act, you’ll likely enjoy it.

However, if you’re like Kara, this not being your type of movie, then skip it. Nothing that new here.

Rating (out of 5 stars): ⭐️⭐️⭐️½  (Todd) NR (Kara)

TV SERIES Review: Star Trek: The Animated Series S2E5 – How Sharper Than A Serpent’s Tooth ⭐️⭐️

Season 2
CBS All Access (Original TV network: NBC)
October 5, 1974
Run Time: 24 minutes

Episode 5 – “How Sharper Than A Serpent’s Tooth”

The Enterprise encounters a strange ship that approaches and seemingly attacks by throwing up a force field in the shape of a globe around the ship. A Mayan-like serpent god called Kublican is responsible for the encounter. Suddenly, several crew members — Kirk, Dr. McCoy, Scotty and an ensign named Walking Bear — are beamed off the Enterprise to a planet to solve a Mayan riddle.

Summary

Ensign Walking Bear serves as the informational source in this somewhat cryptic episode. Ancient Egyptians and Mayan culture mixed with space seems like the type of idea that Stargate would later focus on in more depth. Since we don’t understand a lot of ancient drawings and technology that seemed to built huge structures leads to a good space yarn. This episode, like too many others, just very hampered by opening to a fascinating story but doesn’t have much of a second act. It’s just show us an engaging conflict, then move to a hasty conclusion..

Serpents, an ensign used primarily as a macguffin and Mayan mystery that is solved too quickly to be satisfying leads to a somewhat mediocre episode. Promising, yes, but executed poorly. Not recommended.

Episode rating: ⭐️⭐️

Nobody ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Nobody – PG-13 – 1 hr 52 min
NO SPOILERS Movie Review
Watched in theater Friday March 26, 2021
AMC Lakewood 12 – Kent, Washington
15th new movie seen in theater in 2021

Hutch seems like your typical father going through the motions: work, forgetting to put the garbage out on time and recapture that spark in his marriage when burglars break into their home and he holds back on protecting his property from theft. This brings out a darker side of his professional past on a bus leading to hurting the brother of a Russian singer and crime boss hellbent on revenge against Hutch.

There is a definite Liam Neeson type action film here a la Taken, although the only thing taken is Hutch’s normalcy, replaced by his prior shadowy life as an “auditor” working for the government. The shtick that he’s “nobody” is a curious, but somewhat limp part of the story. It’s too bad we never learn more about his prior life, except that what he did was secret.

From the trailer I thought this might be about his past life seeping into his current one — and while it does, certainly — it seemed like it might be a former job gone wrong. Instead, it’s just a completely random event on a bus that spirals Hutch back into the violent things he did in the past.

Props to Christopher Lloyd’s role as Hutch’s semi-retired father with his own twisted taste of violence. Lloyd skillfully and humorously channels Rutger Hauer in Hobo With A Shotgun (go see that film, BTW). Alas, I wish there had been more of the father-son duo than we got.

Kara and I leaving the theater felt pretty much dead on, pun intended, the same about this movie in our just left the theater video.

Lots of violence and some creative ways to kill people seems to be what (too) many of these new actions movies rely on. It’s not funny seeing a bad guy blown away at close distance with a 12-gauge shotgun and yet people in the theater were laughing. The creative kills reminded me of the ending sequence of Rambo: Last Blood, only it wasn’t with a character like Rambo.

It’s entertaining, sure, but not much more substance or originality to make us think. Oh, and it’s setup for a sequel, if anybody wants one. Not recommended.

Rating (out of 5 stars): ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (Todd) ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (Kara)

TV SERIES Review: Star Trek: The Animated Series S2E4 – Albatross ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Season 2
CBS All Access (Original TV network: NBC)
September 28, 1974
Run Time: 24 minutes

Episode 4 – “Albatross”

Dr. McCoy (AKA Bones) is about to beam up after his work on the planet Dramia when the leaders present Captain Kirk with a stunning request. McCoy is being charged with unleashing a deadly plague on Dramia some 17 years ago. They take McCoy prisoner to stand for his alleged crimes. Soon, thereafter a deadly virus breaks out aboard the Enterprise and they must race against time to get McCoy back to find a cure.

Summary

It’s good to finally see Bones have a story centered around him. The original series had similar episodes where McCoy’s medical training would be essential to saving the crew from diseases and viruses. In this case he has a chance to solve two medical mysteries, if only the aliens on the planet will trust his intentions.

A good episode, but hampered somewhat as several others have been by moving too fast. By the time we’re involved in the problem, a solution is too quickly presented. It would have been cool to get deeper into an alien trial for McCoy and have the Enterprise crew situation steadily worsen.

Also, I immediately thought of Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory and Violet turning colors as being similar to the virus symptoms. The movie was released in 1971 and this in 1974 so had me very curious if the writers were taken by that scene and decided to pay homage to it in this episode. If you’ve seen the classic movie and then watched this, you might see the similarity, whether by coincidence or design.

Nonetheless, still an entertaining episode, even if the pacing is too fast. It would have been a better episode if the story didn’t feel so rushed.

Episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Courier ⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Courier – PG-13 – 1 hr 52 min
NO SPOILERS Movie Review
Watched in theater Sunday March 21, 2021
AMC Kent Station 14 – Kent, Washington
14th new movie seen in theater in 2021

In the early 60s, Businessman Greyville Wynne (Benedict Cumberbatch) is recruited by MI6 to courier top secret documents from Russia traitor Olen Penkovsky whom he befriends. If the KGB discovers their ruse, it could have deadly consequences. Based on a true story.

Generally, I’m a fan of historical true stories. The early 60s, when JFK was President of the United States was an especially compelling period of time. You could pick at least a half dozen different stories as juicy material. The lesser known ones, like this story, at least to us make good fodder for a movie.

There was good tension in the early part of the film, setting up how dangerous it could be if the KGB discovered they were spies, but it takes a long time to get to any payoff on this threat. The KGB is never realized as anything more than a shadowy police presence. We don’t get to know any real KGB characters, other than very generic bad guy sketches. This ruins some of the suspense because we don’t get a good sense of who to root against. It’s like saying, the boogeyman is there, he’s in the shadows, he’s watching, but we don’t really get more of a sense than that. Missed opportunity.

Another disappointment is the portrayal of Greville’s wife, Sheila Wynne (Jessica Buckley). Again, she’s setup pretty one-dimensional. She’s a wife thinking her husband is cheating on her — again. Yeah, how many times has that story been told? We don’t really learn any more about her background, motivations, other than to be almost a stereotype. It’s unfortunate because more could have been done here.

The last quarter of the movie everything finally happens. Even though we didn’t know the history, it all seemed predictable. My favorite part was when the movie was over and we found out what really happened to everybody involved. Then we left the theater, recorded the video below and I learned more about the real people involved from Wikipedia.

If you want a more suspense-filled drama dealing with Russia and the Cuban missile crisis, there are several available, including one starring Martin Sheen (look it up!). As a businessman everyman turned into somewhat of an unwitting spy this was interesting enough — mostly due to the subject matter, not the telling of it — if that turns your crank, give it a look, but we can’t recommend.

Rating (out of 5 stars): ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (Todd) ⭐️⭐️½ (Kara)

Long Weekend ⭐️⭐️½

Long Weekend – R – 1 hr 31 min
NO SPOILERS Movie Review
Watched in theater Friday March 11, 2021
AMC Lakewood Mall 12 – Lakewood, Washington
13th new movie seen in theater in 2021

Bart goes on a drinking binge and falls asleep in a movie theater after some bad news. He’s awakened by Vienna who wants to go out and have another drink. She doesn’t have a cell phone and carries around a bunch of cash in her purse and thus begins their brief romance surrounded by where she came from and why.

Since this is no spoiler, we can’t get into what Vienna’s secret origins are, but we find out early in the first act. The second act becomes about whether or not Bart believes her, even reaching out to his best friend. The third act comes to a most predictable conclusion.

Whether or not you like this movie will all come down to Vienna’s secret. We’ve seen too many movies, especially romantic comedies that have used this plot device before. Kara and I discussed this — but again we didn’t spoil it — in our just left the theater review below.

Kara disagreed with me, but I didn’t think Bart and Vienna had that much chemistry. For a romance to work, I need to want the characters to get together. Here I barely cared. They seemed more like drinking, hook up buddies than lovers.

The problem with Vienna’s secret badly impacts the ending. There is a major plot hole exposed that I couldn’t get past involving a bank and safety deposit box. If you decide to see this film, and we’re not recommending to do so, then maybe this plot hole will bother you, too. We’ve talked about how important endings are to films, that a great film finishes strong and a good film can be ruined by a subpar ending, in this case it’s a mediocre romance with a cliched story and an ending with a major logic gap. No, thank you.

Rating (out of 5 stars): ⭐️⭐️ (Todd) ⭐️⭐️½½ (Kara)

The Father ⭐️½

The Father – R – 1 hr 37 min
NO SPOILERS Movie Review
Watched in theater Thursday March 11, 2021
AMC Lakewood Mall 12 – Lakewood, Washington
12th new movie seen in theater in 2021

Alzheimer’s, Dementia, senility, whichever of these fearsome ills of aging is your nightmare, they are a reality for Antony (Anthony Hopkins).

Will start with the positive. I like when filmmakers show instead of tell. There was a strong attempt to make us feel as disoriented as the protagonist. Unusual and unexpected time, place and sub-character shifts. This is clever at first and quickly becomes frustrating.

We have to be able to understand what is reality and what is not and the reality is exactly what we see: we’re inside Antony’s head — and it’s a scary place. If you’re closer to his age than to youth, anyway.

As always, Anthony Hopkins’ performance is strong. I mean, we’re talking the guy who played Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs opposite Jodie Foster, but he doesn’t have a meaty, coherent story here sadly. Even the great Hopkins can’t save this mangled mess.

We left the theater staving off sleep and boredom in parts of this very slowwwwwwww film.

This was based on a play and that’s where it probably worked better. The sets were minimal, it wasn’t much to look at cinematically, more to feel through the dialogue and character performances. Not enough happens unfortunately given the runtime and it’s too depressing. It’s very artsy, which might appeal in Oscars voting, but there have been much better films in the last year. Not recommended.

Rating (out of 5 stars): ⭐️½ (Todd) ⭐️ (Kara)