Film Review: The Predator (2018)

Also known as: Predator 4 (informal title)
Release Date: September 7th, 2018 (TIFF)
Directed by: Shane Black
Written by: Shane Black, Fred Dekker
Based on: characters by Jim Thomas, John Thomas
Music by: Henry Jackman
Cast: Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Tremblay, Keegan-Michael Key, Olivia Munn, Thomas Jane, Alfie Allen, Sterling K. Brown, Jake Busey, Yvonne Strahovski

TSG Entertainment, Davis Entertainment, 20th Century Fox, 107 Minutes

Review:

“Fuck me in the face with an aardvark.” – Baxley

I’m always game for a new Predator movie and as long as they aren’t mixing it up with xenomorphs from the Alien franchise, the results are usually pretty good.

I didn’t get to see this in the theater a few months back, as life was busy as shit. I wanted to but then a lot of the negative comments I read and heard about the film kind of snuffed out the motivation I had to see it on the big screen.

I guess I’m the odd man out though, because I didn’t think that this was terrible. While it is worse than the three previous Predator films, it is still better than both of the AvP movies.

Ultimately, I want Predator films to just be mindless fun with a lot of badassery mixed in. This film has that but it could have used a bit more of the badassery element, as the Predators came off as weak and there was more drama and comedy than actual ass kicking.

However, the action scenes were pretty good. Although the flow of the film was a bit messy and the motivations of the Predators and the humans were fairly confusing.

There’s a whole bunch of science-y shit about Predators stealing human DNA and making themselves adapt to human conditions so they can steal our planet as their own once we all die from global warming. I don’t know, that’s all pretty stupid and the film didn’t need some genetic plot twist with environmental alarmism tossed in but Hollywood’s gonna Hollywood.

Anyway, I’m not a fan of larger Predators, which is something they’ve done in the last two films. In Predators, it was just done to show that there are different types of Predator tribes but here, it was a genetic manipulation thing. I guess the large Predators in Predators could have also been genetically modified but when each of these movies has had different creative teams with lots of years between each release, its like each film, other than Predator 2, is trying to be some sort of reboot for a new trilogy that never actually happens. And that is exactly what this is, it’s the first part of a trilogy or multi-part story where there probably won’t be another sequel for another decade and then it’ll be another soft reboot.

And frankly, I don’t want a sequel to this film, I’d just prefer a badass Predator movie regardless of whether or not it has direct ties to previous films. Although, a true sequel to the first film that involves Schwarzenegger would be the best possible scenario, in my opinion. But I’d also check back in with the Adrian Brody character from Predators, as well.

This film had a lot of issues and I could fixate on things like Olivia Munn seeing a Predator ship leaving her behind, at least a mile or so away and then it crashes after traveling for a few more minutes but suddenly she arrives on foot to help kill off the alien. Or I could just try really hard to ignore that type of stuff and focus on the fact that this was pretty fun, even with its flaws.

Rating: 7.25/10
Pairs well with: PredatorPredator 2 and Predators.

Film Review: Moonlight (2016)

Release Date: September 2nd, 2016 (Telluride)
Directed by: Barry Jenkins
Written by: Barry Jenkins, Tarell Alvin McCraney
Based on: In Moonlight Black Blues Look Blue by Tarell Alvin McCraney
Music by: Nicholas Britell
Cast: Trevante Rhodes, André Holland, Janelle Monáe, Ashton Sanders, Jharrel Jerome, Naomie Harris, Mahershala Ali

Plan B Entertainment, Pastel Productions, A24, 111 Minutes

Review:

“At some point, you gotta decide for yourself who you’re going to be. Can’t let nobody make that decision for you.” – Juan

I didn’t get to see this last year, as it was only in my local theaters for a blink of an eye. Now that it is streaming on Amazon Video, I finally got to see the film that derailed La La Land‘s beeline to Oscar glory. I didn’t really like La La Land, so I was pretty okay with it getting knocked off of its pedestal.

But is Moonlight a better picture? I’d say so.

Strangely, this is the first motion picture to win the Oscar for Best Picture that has an all black cast, as well as being about LGBT issues. It probably won because of industry politics and Hollywood’s need to redeem itself due to pressure from those social justice warriors that have an opinion about everything. Regardless of the politics, this is a fine film. It probably isn’t the best of 2016 but it is certainly in the top ten.

The one thing that stands out the most is the acting. Everyone in this film just existed in it, as real characters. Sure, I know Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris and Janelle Monáe but they really just melted into their roles quite fabulously. Ali was deserving of the Oscar that he won for this and really, I just wish we got more of his character but his fate was important to the overall narrative of this coming of age story, that sees a young boy grow into a man, sort of lost in the world.

While the plot can feel slow moving at times, this is a very human story and driven more by emotion than action. All three actors that played Chiron at different points in his life, were stellar. The last act of the film is a mixture of sadness and hope but it is satisfying and anyone who has lost a friend, only to reconnect in some way, years later, can relate to it.

Other than the acting and the well constructed narrative, the cinematography of this film is spectacular. The lighting is perfect, the shots are pristine and meticulously orchestrated; even if this was a picture that was shot on location in short bursts, it turned out magnificently. I really loved the way the camera moved around characters in several scenes, especially during conversations or conflicts on street settings.

Moonlight is well crafted and its real purpose is to show that finding your own identity isn’t an easy task. Life throws its curveballs and isn’t fair. But whether you’re white, black, gay or straight, I think we can all relate to Chiron’s need to find his right place in the world.

Rating: 8/10