The Tick (tv) (season 1)

  • The Tick and his related universe of absurdity is something that I’ve enjoyed for over 20 years in different forms. My first exposure was via a Saturday-morning animated series on Fox (which was based on a late-80’s comic of the same name). After that came a truly horrible video game based on that cartoon BUT there was a fun live-action version back on Fox in the early 2000’s and here we are today with a new live-action update on Amazon Prime.
  • The Prime version is supposed to be a send-up of all those gritty comic book movies that are really popular today, however that tone doesn’t fit the universe they’ve previously created. The original pilot feels so off-tone and out-of-touch with said universe (even though it was written by creator Ben Edlund) that it comes off as just bleak and drab. When we finally meet the Tick (and his weak costume design [more on that later]), it feels like somebody has suddenly substituted a baseball with a football DURING the middle of the baseball game. It’s ok to break your own rules but don’t break them SO MUCH that you’ve lost your original voice.
  • “But, Jose” you ask: “I thought you liked when silly things are played seriously?” YES, I LOVE THAT. However, it just doesn’t work here until around episode 5 of 6. That’s when the show seems to balance itself out, embraces it’s silliness, and gets the main story moving. The characters start to get comfortable in their roles and it all begins to flow.
  • There was one highlight within the pilot: sidekick Arthur’s PTSD. It did bring a realistic touch but then his dealing with that kind of disappears in the remaining episodes. Is that character growth, or just forgetfulness?
  • The cinematography in this series is awkward. The camera is constantly looking up at people. And with Tick, it’s always trying to incorporate his antennae into the shot but it’s not needed. We get it, he’s got antennae. Don’t forget your film school lessons.
  • In the pilot, the Tick’s suit was a mocking of modern super hero film trends of trying to make everything realistic, but it was just ugly (which was maybe intended?). However, the suit for the rest of the series is actually worse, maybe for budgetary reasons. However HOWEVER…it ends up working better in some bizarre way. Arthur’s moth suit is actually pretty cool.
  • There are some pretty good laughs in it, and this was my favorite.
  • The series starts out slow, but shows promise at the end.
  • Final Letter Grade: B-/C+
  • Jose Zuazua is editor-in-chief of Quick Lunch Break Reviews. He has an associates degree in film production. He’s on Twitter and Instagram.

Blade Runner 2049

  • The first Blade Runner was a groundbreaking film in terms of its visuals. This one didn’t bring anything new to the table. Having said that, audiences and special effects have changed so much since 1982 that I think it would be hard pressed to do that.
  • However, like that first movie, this newer movie moves SLOW. It definitely takes its time setting itself up, but maybe a little too much time.
  • Ryan Gosling plays every character in every movie pretty much the same: Blade Runner 2049 = Crazy, Stupid, Love = Drive = Lars & the Real Girl.
  • Speaking of keeping things the same, is Harrison Ford just surly and somewhat drunk all the time now?
  • There’s an actress in this who plays Gosling’s companion named Ana de Armas. She’s new to American audiences, but she’s been acting in Cuba for a little over a decade. She’s a talented standout who will definitely make it on some folk’s celebrity crushes lists.
  • Getting back to the slowness of this movie, it definitely feels like some stuff could have been cutout, or that some scenes could have been tightened up. There’s a lot of silence in this movie, and a lot of characters just looking at things. Having said that, the rooted story is still good. But it is a story covered in dense imagery, sparse dialog and subtle emotions.
  • Final Letter Grade: B
  • Jose Zuazua is editor-in-chief of Quick Lunch Break Reviews. He has an associates degree in film production. He’s on Twitter and Instagram.

Happy Death Day

  • a very clever premise leads to a fun movie.
  • very good and original dialog between characters.
  • shout-out to all the cool movie posters in the lead male character’s dorm!
  • however, the message within the character’s story arc is really heavy handed.
  • [Spoiler-ish] the killers motivation might be the weakest I’ve EVER seen in a movie, and is actually pretty sexist.
  • Final Letter Grade: …………………between a B- and a C+. Worth a rent, or a bargain matinee.
  • Jose Zuazua is editor-in-chief of Quick Lunch Break Reviews. He has an associates degree in film production. He’s on Twitter and Instagram.

Atlanta (tv) (season 1)

  • a ten episode progressive half-hour comedy-drama that’s expertly written. The story winds and wraps up very nicely but still leaves things open.
  • Multi-dimensional characters, including one incredible standout in Lakeith Stanfield.
  • Possibly the SMARTEST tv show I’ve ever seen.
  • The show takes some absurd twists in serious fashions and I love absurd things played completely seriously.
  • Yes, it’s ok to like Flo Rida.
  • I’ve never been to Atlanta, but I want to go now.
  • Donald Glover is quite brilliant. From writing on 30 Rock, to co-starring on Community (of which I was a fan of since the beginning [and didn’t like when his character left]) to his music career as Childish Gambino (seriously tho: Redbone is the BEST SONG OF THE LAST FIVE YEARS) and now he’s playing LANDO EFFING CALRISSIAN in the Han Solo movie. AND he seems like a cool guy too. So cheers, Donald! Hopefully you continue to win awards and to create many more pieces of smart entertainment!
  • Final Letter Grade: A+
  • Jose Zuazua is editor-in-chief of Quick Lunch Break Reviews. He has an associates degree in film production. He’s on Twitter and Instagram.

Cult of Chucky

  • Those closest to me know that Chucky is my favorite of all the “movie monsters”. The very first horror movie I ever saw was “Child’s Play 2”, and not only was I hooked on horror since then, but I was also completely enthralled by the exploits of Mr. Charles Lee Ray (Chucky’s real name). One bonus thing for me was that he was inspired by the My Buddy doll, which was something I absolutely had (and STILL have [but stored away]). By the way, My Buddy was a FANTASTIC wrestling opponent for the 7 year old version of Me. Having said all of that, I can still be unbiased when reviewing a film, as film and story come first in everything. So please keep that in mind as you read this review.
  • Hey! It’s Andy Barclay! Again!
  • I watched the unrated version, so the gore was definitely copious. The squeamish should watch the rated version, or simply turn away. There will be blood.
  • [SPOILER-ish] Hardcore/longtime Chucky movie fans should watch until after the credits.
  • I reviewed the last movie in the series “Curse of Chucky” on Amazon back when I saw it, and I felt that the series creator/writer (and also director of the last three movies) Don Mancini had really slam dunked that movie, and I even compared it to an Alfred Hitchcock movie. He really took his time to build a calculated suspense piece that had me emotionally immersed. This time, he takes that suspense and amplifies it even more by somehow channeling foreign filmmakers like Dario Argento and still making it his own film. He and cinematographer Michael Marshall (who worked on Curse of Chucky too), just know how to use camera techniques, compositions and color pallets that create a powerfully tense (but still beautiful to look at) cinematic work.
  • Speaking of Don Mancini, this franchise is his baby. So many times, (especially with tv series’), creators will stretch a plot so thin, that by the later seasons, the show just isn’t that good any more. Same thing with movie sequels, especially horror movie sequels. But Mancini was actually able to not only gloriously expand his own universe, but he was able to do in a surprising and utterly refreshing way.
  • Now, you’re probably asking yourself: “But Jose, is it a good MOVIE? I don’t care about some artsy fartsy cinemakonkrafee junk!”  Here’s the thing, dear readers: you cannot have a good movie without some artistic…fartedness taking place! The greatest movies you remember have their creators firing on all of their artistic cylinders, no matter what genre it is. “Kids” movies like Toy Story 3? The script was nominated for an Oscar. “Horror” movies like the Exorcist? Nominated for BEST PICTURE. I can go on and on with examples but my point is: you CANNOT have a good movie without the artistic side of “filmmaking” being practiced by SOMEBODY. So…YES, Cult of Chucky is a “good” movie. So very “good”.
  • Final Letter Grade: A+
  • Jose Zuazua is editor-in-chief of Quick Lunch Break Reviews. He has an associates degree in film production. He’s on Twitter and Instagram.

 

 

 

 

IT (2017)

  • Saw it with my wife. I’ve seen the original with Tim Curry, and considering that one, this newer one held it’s own.
  • The special effects did not spoil anything.
  • There were lots of creepy scenes and they set a good mood overall.
  • The characters all had good background story lines and believable personalities.
  • Pennywise was a real solid, creepy and sometimes vicious monster. They hinted towards a back story, but not enough hints to give anything away. Possible sequel?
  • Final Letter Grade: B+
  • Richard LeGaretta is a movie fan and an artist. Follow him on instagram and his own website.

Shin Godzilla

  • I wouldn’t call myself a “fan” of Godzilla or the movies. I think the concept is cool, and the character is cool, but I don’t rush out to see or rent movies based on him. Having said that…
  • There’s a new look to the creature, and I really enjoyed it. Feels like something more realistic.
  • SPEAKING OF REALISTIC…this is the most realistic version of a Godzilla movie that I’ve seen. The movie is paced rather slowly, and is more about the Japanese government’s failed reactions and the consequences of their arrogance. There are a lot of talking heads making and questioning decisions, trying to find the best economic and political approaches in dealing with the situation, instead of actually dealing with the situation. By the way, it’s pure coincidence that I’m watching this movie about a government failing to deal with a natural disaster at the same time our U.S. government is failing to deal with a natural disaster. Hellooooo, social commentary! (Long time readers of this site know I’m a sucker for social-commentary).
  • Some of the scenes of politicians talking politics are inter-mixed with Japanese citizen’s cell phone videos of Godzilla (similar to the first Cloverfield movie). I thought this was a very refreshing approach as it put us on the ground with people and closer to the action.
  • When we weren’t getting cell phone footage, we were getting soooo many dialog scenes, but they were dialog scenes that were shot very well, and were also written very sharply and smartly (are those even words? Who cares.).
  • Even though this is the studio’s attempt to “reboot” the franchise, it’s still very nice to hear the old Godzilla theme (and it didn’t seem like the theme was redone by some fancy-pants orchestra, it sounded like the original song just played off of a record).
  • When there’s action in this movie, it’s AWESOME. There’s destruction, screaming and fighter jets! Shot and edited extremely well, the movie goes from “sheesh, there’s more talking” to “HOLY CRUD THIS IS AWESOME!” I saw Godzilla do things I didn’t think he could do, and it was as much a blast seeing him get attacked as it was seeing him fight back.
  • Speaking of attacking and fighting back, this movie is very grounded. Meaning: the destruction Godzilla was causing was very realistic. Innocent people DIE. And the way the Japanese decide to fight back with science and tangible concepts was extremely refreshing.
  • Final Letter Grade: B+
  • Jose Zuazua is editor-in-chief of Quick Lunch Break Reviews. He has an associates degree in film production. He’s on Twitter and Instagram.

Voltron: Legendary Defender (tv) (season 3)

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  • Note: this was a SUPER quick lunch break review that I did on my phone right after finishing season 3, so I’m just sharing that screencap because the text perfectly encapsulates my thoughts on it.
  • Jose Zuazua is editor-in-chief of Quick Lunch Break Reviews. He has an associates degree in film production. He’s on Twitter and Instagram.