Friday, June 22, 2018

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom - A Hooligan Review


The Hooligans went to see Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom in theaters tonight! What a ride it was! First off, I'm going to state that for the past decade or so, I've turned more cinephile than bibliophile. Film has taken hold of my heart which is why I got into filmmaking. So, to be clear, I have not read any of the Jurassic Park novels so my take on this is purely from my perspective as a movie lover and movie maker.

Fallen Kingdom had an interesting premise to continue the franchise and felt complete on its own. When Isla Nublar's dormant volcano begins roaring to life, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) mount a campaign to rescue the remaining dinosaurs from this extinction-level event. The film was directed by J.A. Bayona and premiered in theaters today.



The very first and foremost plus that hit my list was that we FINALLY got to see some dinosaurs eating people again! Whew! I've been waiting so long for them to bring back the old school feel of dinosaurs being dangerous again, so I'm thankful that they did it here even if I preferred more blood.

The plot felt like it was original despite so many people claiming that it was all about a new dinosaur being created a la the first Jurassic World. However, that was not really the case here. The Indoraptor (as they called it) was a small plot device to move the story forward while raising the stakes and danger level in the end, but it was not truly a huge plot mover as it was before in the first one. It was not as distracting as so many people put it, and the action and flow of the story had some good movement forward. Anyone that tells you otherwise sounds more like they weren't paying attention or as if they want something to complain about (don't worry, there's plenty to complain about below).

There were many callbacks to both Jurassic Park and Jurassic World, but I felt they weren't really spoon-fed to us in a way that felt forced (that was a hit on Solo - see my other review). Many were situational and simulated scenarios (and some shots... so many S's in that) that brought back a bit of nostalgia, but I felt like they truly owned it every time save for one (see below).

The quips from Starlord- I mean Owen, were fun to break up some of the scenes, but it also did not feel like it was forced as some people would have Chris Pratt play his usual sarcastic, off-the-wall characterization from other movies. To me, it felt like a natural progression of inserting his type of humor and personality. I also liked that it wasn't just him with some of the funnier lines.

The suspense building and action were there most of the time and really brought it back to the situation at hand. It was also nice to see BD Wong and Jeff Goldblum playing smaller roles in this as well, even though Wong was also back from the first Jurassic World.

The last good had to do with the major reveal that Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon) was in fact a clone herself. They did a moment of reveal that didn't really feel like a reveal when she was looking at a picture of her "mom" when it was actually her. They played it off earlier saying she looks just like her, so it didn't really stick until later in the movie. Both Hooligan V and I thought it was an interesting addition to the level of genetic technology because nobody had ever mentioned trying to clone a human until now (even though it did kind of feel like a throwaway explanation).


The first thing that caught my eye was a couple of awkward eyeline mismatches in the beginning at the meeting with Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell). The scene wasn't meant to confuse people, but we had Lockwood and Claire looking in the same direction. The crew had a Script Supervisor AND an Assistant Script Supervisor which makes me question it more. Also in that scene, they did a strange job of having tertiary characters walking in the background that took away from the information Lockwood was conveying. I understand the feeling of needing to establish when some characters enter, but don't do that when you want the audience's attention on the characters talking - it's too distracting.

Though most of the film felt like it flowed and paced well, there were some instances where both Hooligan V and I felt were awkwardly cut too short. One instance was of the overhead shot where Owen, Claire, and Maisie were hiding from the Indoraptor in the museum as they ducked into hiding. Those moments were few-and-far-between, but they were still there, noticeable, and took us out of the story for a moment.

One of the action sequences that felt a bit strange was when Quill- I mean Grady, was saving Claire and Franklin from the Gyrosphere as it was sinking into the ocean. I don't know about you, but I felt like that knife would have broken way before being able to pry open the door; the same door Indominus Rex couldn't open without a great amount of crushing power (damn those opposable thumbs).

Another thing that felt awkward was the callback timing for the T-Rex on two strange occasions which ended with the classic Jurassic Park T-Rex roar. The first was when Peter Quill- I mean Owen Grady was behind the Gyrosphere and the other dinosaur almost got him. Enter T-Rex to save the day-ish. The second time was at the very end in almost the exact same scenario but with Mills (Rafe Spall) getting eaten... and again, close with the classic Jurassic Park T-Rex yell. The only thing that would have sealed the deal to make it worse would have been if a banner that said "Jurassic World" fell in front of it; I'm happy they didn't do it.

Lastly was with Jeff Goldblum. Although I appreciate seeing him back in the franchise, I thought his line, "Welcome to Jurassic World," felt forced. I mean, the park from the first one was already named Jurassic World, a park he knew about and spoke against, and yet he used that line to throw in the title of the movie. It just felt weird and dirty like his orgy ship from Ragnarok.


Going back to Benjamin Lockwood, I think that was one of the strangest additions to the movie. Lockwood was never mentioned before but was somehow pivotal in the creation of the first dinosaurs for Ingen and thus the rest of the Jurassic Park. It seemed strange to have this entirely new character that was never mentioned before who apparently had such a huge role in the franchise.

Aside from adding in a secretive character, the film had a number of plot holes in it that just didn't make sense or could have been played out better story-wise. For instance, why did Maisie go outside to the balcony if she just got the key from the door after getting locked inside? I may have to re-watch the scene again, but I could have sworn Mills took the key out in the first place, but then it came back still stuck in the lock. Why would she risk climbing to her grandfather's room on a ledge rather than just using the key she worked so hard to get and leave the room? Another one was with the dumbwaiter. If the dumbwaiter went all the way down to the bottom floor of the "highly secure" lab, why did Maisie even bother trying to memorize the keypad to take the big ass main elevator down in the first place? Couldn't she have just made it down through the dumbwaiter that was literally connected to her own room instead of risk getting caught??

Although I felt good with Indorapter not being the centerpiece of the story, the end scene on the roof felt off as well. First of all, when Maisie was dangling on the edge holding onto Owen (hey, I got it right this time), you can clearly see a flat ledge that she could have easily stood upon that wrapped along the side of the entire windowed area. That ledge is literally where Owen, Claire, and Maisie were standing and looking down into the Dinosaur Museum to talk to Zia and Franklin (Daniella Pineda and Justice Smith).


OK, so even though there were some major snafus in this one, it was still really entertaining and fun to watch. That's one thing I enjoy as a cinephile - that despite all the mistakes, I can still enjoy a movie and NOT feel like a pretentious dick while watching it. The callbacks weren't too distracting as a whole, and the story kept movement forward. The problems I had with it had zero to do with what a lot of naysayers have been saying about the new dinosaur but with other aspects of filmmaking instead. I'd still recommend seeing this one in theaters.

Written by: J. Hooligan

#jurassicworld #jurassicworldfallenkingdom #fallenkingdom #jurassicpark #chrispratt #brycedallashoward #jabayona #jamescromwell #rafespall #isabellasermon #daniellapineda #justicesmith #dinosaurs #dino #indoraptor #film #filmreview #moviereview #hydehooligans #hooliganreview

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

TAG - A Hooligan Review


Hooligan V and I went to go check out TAG last night, and man was it a fun one! It's another movie to leave the kids at home for and enjoy with your buddies. TAG is inspired by a real group of friends that have played the same game of Tag for the past 30 years well into adulthood across the country. The movie stars Ed Helms, Jon Hamm, Annabelle Wallis, Jake Johnson, Isla Fisher, Hannibal Buress, Jeremy Renner, and Leslie Bibb and is directed by Jeff Tomsic.

From the get-go, this one stepped right into the game. It was easy to get lost in the quips, but the story was simple - tag their friend who has never been tagged before in 30 years in the midst of his wedding week. Though there were some remnants of what felt like The Hangover in here, TAG in itself still stands alone like the cheese that nobody wanted... but wanted to watch cause it's a movie.

The film had its own style which added to the fun and truly played off of the badass-ness of Jeremy Renner's agent-like status. All-in-all, there's not much more to say but that it was a great ride all the way through even if the end did feel a bit rushed and oddly circumstantial, out of left field- you get the idea. If you get a chance to see it in theaters, I definitely recommend seeing it with a group of your friends (we caught a few groups playing tag outside in the parking lot after the movie).

On a final note (not a spoiler), stay for the credits to hear Jeremy Renner singing. It was also cool to see the original people that inspired the movie.

On a personal level, it served to remind me that films should be fun when you make them as well as when you watch them, which is something I feel us business creatives sometimes forget from time to time. Here's to more fun films in the future!!

Written by: J. Hooligan

#tag #jefftomsic #edhelms #jonhamm #annabellewallis #jakejohnson #islafisher #hannibalburess #jeremyrenner #lesliebibb #comedy #funny #film #filmreview #moviereview #hydehooligans #hooliganreview

Monday, June 18, 2018

Incredibles 2 - A Hooligan Review


There's not really many movies where I don't have something critical to say, but this one does it for me! I got to take my family out to see it after the Father's Day weekend rush. Here's a quick review of 'Incredibles 2' that premiered last week!

At the opening of the film, there was this strange PSA from the actors about the animation taking 14 years to come out with a sequel but will be worth it in the long run. I thought it was an odd way to begin a film, but they weren't wrong! As I said, there isn't much to say about 'Incredibles 2' other than it was a fantastic and entertaining ride!

They did many recalls back to the original movie and made room for a lot more. There was one time a character said "crap," but I've got a sailor's mouth so it didn't bother me. However, it made me think twice as my kid was sitting next to me for some reason.

The one thing I was curious about (not a major spoiler here) was that I thought the family already knew that Jack Jack had superpowers already from the first film. I knew the babysitter knew, but I had sworn that they picked up at it when he attacked Syndrome. I could be completely off base here as it has been awhile since I've seen the first film, but it did play a bit of role in this story. I will say that one of my favorite parts was with Edna.

The plot arc uses a lot of parallel stories going on at the same time; not-so-much a multi-plot but just a couple perspectives in the overall timeline. I thought it was done well enough to not pull me out of the overarching story which is a feat unto itself, and they definitely added to each other to build good tension.

Overall, 'Incredibles 2' deserves the blockbuster box office opening they had this past weekend. It was entertaining, fluid in its story, and had a lightheartedness that was both humorous and relatable. I highly recommend you go out and see this with your family and friends.

Written by: J. Hooligan

#incredibles #incredibles2 #pixar #disney #animation #animated #mrincredible #elastigirl #violetparr #dash #jackjack #ednamarie #film #filmreview #moviereview #openingweekend #hydehooligans #hooliganreview

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Upgrade - A Hooligan Review


'Upgrade' is the latest from Blumhouse written and directed by Leigh Whannell starring Logan Marshall-Green and Betty Gabriel and premiered on June 1. It’s an action, sci-fi, horror film set in the near-future where technology controls nearly all aspects of life. It follows a technophobe (Logan Marshall-Green) who is implanted with a computer chip that allows him to seek out revenge after becoming a quadriplegic. It was an action-packed ride in the sci-fi world, and we recommend you go see it in theaters.



Although many shots had the “stabilization” look to them, it didn’t detract from the action at all. The last time I saw this type of movement done purposely was in the IT remake. I’m typically not a fan of it - as I’ve seen the bane of the stabilization effect warbling the background with a strange parallax - but it really played towards the aesthetic of the action.

As we have our roots in horror, we completely loved the first kill Grey committed with the knife through the guys mouth. I think I was the only one laughing out loud when I saw it. Great job!

The situational comedy brought out a few laughs and broke up the monotony as it directly played to some of the awkward moments Grey had to face while adjusting to Stem.

Another good aspect was that the technology and rules of the universe were established really well without technically having to explain too much with exposition. There was definitely a blend, of course, but I didn’t feel as if it was spoon-fed with explanations.


Though the story had relatively good pacing, there were many moments I felt tried too hard to extend drama or attempted to force an art film feel to it. Playing too much towards those moments took us out of the action and almost had us watching our watches for the next interaction.

One interesting point Hooligan V brought up was that it was strange how a film like this was marketed. We hadn’t even heard about it until a week before it premiered, and it felt as if the roll-out was rushed. Although that doesn’t really have anything to do with the film itself as an entertainment piece, it was still something that was in the back of our minds the whole time.


Despite the first kill making a great impression, I feel that the rest of them didn’t really live up to the same level of badass-ness opting for more cutaways than anything. The one head being blown off comes close to it, but it was too quick and had less of a reaction from the first one with a lowered gore factor.

The predictability of the major plot points is probably one of the biggest downsides of the film. Furthermore, if you can get passed the deus ex machina of Stem and the other cybernetic enhancements, then it should be easier to get lost in the action, which is what is best for a film like this.


Regardless of the few drawn out dramatic moments, 'Upgrade' is a fantastic action flick that you can really get lost in for its aesthetic alone. It was well executed, and I wouldn’t mind watching it again. We both still recommend seeing this one in theaters for sure!

Written by: J Hooligan

#upgrade #blumhouse #blumhousetilt #film #filmreview #moviereview #leighwhannell #loganmarshallgreen #bettygabriel #scifi #action #horror #sciencefiction #spoilers #hydehooligans #hooliganreview

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Solo: A Star Wars Story - A Hooligan Review


'Solo: A Star Wars Story,' directed by Ron Howard starring Alden Ehrenreich, Joonas Suotamo, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, and Donald Glover, premiered last week. I finally got to see it despite news of having a not-so-stellar box office opening. After watching it, I can see where some fans could have been underwhelmed. Still, it wasn’t all bad, and it did have some good and fun moments.



I will say that the second half of the movie was much better than the first. The action felt a lot more complete and well-rounded by that point and not so rushed story-wise. The VFX was obviously fantastic, to be expected, and blended extremely well with everything else.

One explanation I truly enjoyed was the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs. They truly amped it up visually to show exactly how much of a big deal it really was in their universe. The whole “escape pod” thing at the front of the ship didn’t really feel well placed. It was as if they had to try to make it look different enough from the original only to push for how it was going look later. However, the rest of the action didn’t detract from what was going on against the TIE fighters.

One of my favorite parts was seeing Warwick Davis making an appearance sans makeup or animal/alien suit. He’s been a regular throughout the film series here and there when he first appeared as the Ewok Wicket in Episode VI. He even had some lines that weren’t in another language. Cool beans, Warwick!


As a fellow filmmaker put it, it often felt as if they were spoon-feeding us explanations of origins for Han. Here’s how he got his name. Here’s how he met Chewie. Here’s how Han and Lando started out and got onto the Millennium Falcon - though, that one didn’t feel as bad because it played to the story better than the others. It felt more like forced fan-service instead of Easter Eggs strategically placed in a well thought out story - kind of like how Lucas redid the old original Trilogy with modern VFX because it wasn’t what he wanted. I mean, you have scenes solely dedicated to these fan-service origin stories (i.e. his name then awkward jump right into a war). Leave it alone and focus on the story.

The giant tentacled beast in the Maw felt sort of weird. Although there have been other monsters of unknown origins with similar attributes, this one felt a little off just floating along in a giant ionized gas cloud in space. This thing just lives there without anyone ever seeing it or knowing about it?

I felt that they needed to establish a bit more about Enfys Nest rather than trying to save it at the end like, “this is where the Rebel Alliance started.” It was pushed too far off and all the gangs (i.e. Crimson Dawn, Enfys Nest, and whatever the gang was in the beginning that wasn’t important enough to begin with).


From the opening scene, I felt really discombobulated story-wise and wasn’t really sure what all of it was leading towards despite having the classic blue, expository text (sans screen crawl, mind you). It made it harder to push through and just relax into the story. Not only that, but the story elements felt extremely rushed as there were characters established in the beginning (i.e. Lady Proxima) who didn’t have any real significance or even a callback later on. I couldn’t get an inkling of what type of character she was in the less than 5 minutes of screen time she appeared in, but they wanted us to believe she played a huge role in Han's early life.

The entire opening almost felt like an amateur constructed it or was decided upon on-the-spot. The shaky cam at the beginning felt really weird along with the quick-paced montage of shots leading up to Solo stealing the speeder - that was literally the opening shots. I get that they’re trying to start in the middle of action, but it all felt misplaced and uninteresting. It wasn’t until Han and Qi’ra finally made their escape using the speeder that it started to feel a bit more complete, but even then the chase scene still felt incomplete.

I realize Ron Howard had shot roughly 70 percent of the film, which I could chalk up to the more enjoyable parts of the film, but man that coloring in the beginning was harsh. Again, it was as if an amateur lit the scenes with mood colors and then left it too dark to see anything - that’s not how any of that works for low-light scenes. The same goes for unmotivated movements that took me out of the story (again, mainly in the beginning).

The last thing that came to mind that bugged me had nothing to do with the movie really (sort of), but when they threw in L3’s core into the Falcon, and then mapped out an exit through an ionized cloud with massive interference and debris along with a clear lightspeed route, I started to wonder why the hell ships even need manual shooters on them in the first place. You mean to tell me that you can map out an entire dynamically moving area in seconds, but when it comes to firing a laser, it must be done manually with an outdated targeting system?? Awkward...


Overall, Solo wasn’t a terrible movie despite people’s disappointment with it. I reiterate that the second half felt much more cohesive than the first, which is hard to come back from when starting off on a bad foot. I did enjoy it as a whole and will probably chalk it up to something to throw on in the background while I’m working (not a hit on it - I do this frequently with movies and shows I already know). It served its purpose to give us an origin story - tooth and nail - and I am interested in seeing if they move on to expand the storyline, particularly for Qi’ra.

I’d still recommend it for the Kessel Run scenes alone as they were the most interesting elements that traced back to the originals. Until then, I’ll be waiting like a Sith Lord sitting for a report from his underling.

Written by: -J Hooligan

#solo #starwars #astarwarsstory #ronhoward #aldenehrenreich #joonassuotamo #woodyharrelson #emiliaclarke #donaldglover #warwickdavis #film #filmreview #moviereview #originstory #spoilers #hydehooligans #hooliganreview