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Movie Reviews: Aquaman (Pretty Decent), Bumblebee (Fun), The Mule (Boring)


We have three reviews for movies that came out to end December. Enjoy…



Jeff (79/100): It might not be perfect, and it’s certainly corny, but James Wan’s ‘Aquaman’ is a blast, visual treat and positive addition to the DCEU. While the “seriousness” and “doomsday” tones of movies like ‘Wonder Woman’ and ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ have played well, the campy and over-the-top feel of ‘Aquaman’ is a welcomed change-of-pace.

Jason Momoa’s portrayal of Arthur Curry (aka Aquaman) is a big reason why the movie, and this ridiculous character, works so well. The character may not be on the level as Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, but Momoa slips into the role with the same charm and on-screen enjoyment for the audience. The usual stunning visuals and style from genius director James Wan are all present and he leaves his own unique mark on his first foray into comic book movies. Despite a lot to love, ‘Aquaman’ still has enough flaws to knock down below the top tier of comic book movies. Narratively, the story gets a little messy and out-of-whack as the movie chugs along and the on-screen chemistry between Momoa’s Aquaman and Amber Heard’s Mera is almost 100% non-existent.


KenJac (80/100): What a win for DC! This movie was fun as hell with visually-appealing, grand scale action scenes to compliment the charismatic Jason Momoa. Hopefully, this spells the end of doom-and-gloom superheroes and the start of DC embracing lively action. Momoa basically plays himself, and nobody else in the cast has much of an impact except for Patrick Wilson (Orm) who is an awesome villain. Legendary actors/actresses Nicole Kidman (Atlanna), Wilem Dafoe (Vulko) and Julie Andrews (The Hentai Monster) don’t really add much, and neither does co-lead Amber Heard (Mera) or Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Black Manta). However, it’s a blast! There’s an awesome rooftop fight scene in the second act, an incredible looking underwater fight in the third and some corny one-liners that make this movie well worth the watch. Maybe my biggest complaint is that it was probably 20 minutes too long. But, there’s a Pitbull song halfway through the movie to make up for it!



Jeff (78/100): Somehow, someway, director Travis Knight pulled the left-for-dead Transformers franchise from the depths of hell and pumped out a fun, entertaining movie in ‘Bumblebee’. There’s nothing too flashy or special about this new addition to the now rebooted Transformers franchise, but it brings a certain charm and style that finally reminds you of the cartoon that everyone knows and loves. Michael Bay’s versions, with maybe the exception of the first movie, were corny, bizarrely horny and overcomplicated. Even the Transformers themselves were mangled, metal messes that were visually unappealing to the eye.

Everything in ‘Bumblebee’ is brought to life with a simpler style and packs in an easy-to-follow, heart-warming story with solid chemistry between Hailee Steinfeld’s character and, strangely enough, a robot. When viewed as a movie in the context of the best ones released this year, it isn’t going to go toe-to-toe with action releases like ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’, but it does more than enough to justify the price of admission. The script isn’t anything worth writing home about and the story is rather cliched, but they get a pass, but the biggest issue in the movie for me is John Cena. He is terrible in the movie. That can only be classified as a disappointing follow up to a fun role in his other movie this year, ‘Blockers’. His delivery was beyond clunky and, at times, cringeworthy. Even with its flaws, I think most people, especially fans of the franchise, will very much enjoy ‘Bumblebee’.



KenJac (78/100): While probably the best overall transformers movie, it’s still formulaic and sometimes depends on you being awed by the CHECHURCHACHURGCH transforming sound. The brightest spots from the film are Hailee Steinfeld’s performance, the smaller scale, and the retro feel to it. The CGI is awesome, especially an opening sequence battle on Cybertron which I could watch an hour of alone. The darkest spots are some of the comedy that falls flat, the romance B-plot, and John Cena. We know Cena is capable of tremendous acting (see: ‘Blockers’), so I don’t blame his characters complete failure on him, but it was maybe the worst written action protagonists I’ve seen in a while. Other than that, the movie is essentially ‘E.T.’ combined with ‘The Iron Giant’. It’s extremely predictable and doesn’t take any risks but remains an entertaining watch.



Jeff (65/100): The story might be intriguing, but Clint Eastwood’s latest directorial release is a disappointment, as ‘The Mule’ is bogged down with a boring story and bland, uninteresting character development. Clint Eastwood, in his first role since 2012’s ‘Trouble With the Curve’, might be playing the most boring main character in any wide-released movie this year. He’s also supposed to be this “charming” racist who you sympathize with as he struggles with the obstacles of work and family. It doesn’t work and is, at times, very off-putting.

What saves ‘The Mule’ from being absolutely abysmal is, as I mentioned earlier, an intriguing story and a very well-made movie, technically speaking. Clint Eastwood is a pro and his simple is pleasing to the eye. I might have been bored, but the movie is edited in a way that at least keeps you engaged. Still, with all that said, it wastes the story with a vanilla script that impacts what ends up being wasted castings of actors such as Bradley Cooper and Michael Pena. A big theme in the movie is also anti-young generation and cell phones. I can’t stress how fucking miserable all of the references are about how young people are ruining the world with technology. This late 2000’s angle is tired and lame but does hit with the target audience I am sure the movie was intended to reach. In my theater, which was next to a Florida retirement community, the old people fucking ate up every dig on the “young generation” … even though most of their cell phones rang the entire movie.

I can’t believe I even wrote this much about ‘The Mule’. It’s a competently made movie but will leave no lasting impact on you by the time it is over.


KenJac (55/100): I’m sure the Olds will think this was fun, but realistically it was a bore. Eastwood plays a naive “Aw shucks what did I get myself into!” type character which feels extremely inauthentic due to both his poor performance and filmography of being nothing but a badass. Bradley Cooper, fresh off the acting performance and directorial debut of a lifetime in ‘A Star Is Born’ feels underutilized, and so do his DEA coworkers, Laurence Fishburne and Michael Pena. The actual idea behind the movie is actually kind of interesting, but the tone was all over the place and awkward. I’m sure Eastwood’s biopic on American hero Rand Paul getting Rock Bottomed by his neighbor, which I just made up but I presume he actually has in the works, will make up for this tiring mess.


Both ‘Aquaman’ and ‘Bumblebee’ are Officially Buttered while ‘The Mule’ fails to meet the mark. Subscribe to Lights, Camera, Barstool where we reviewed ‘The Mule’ in-depth, as well as ‘Vice’, with special guest PFT Commenter. Also, remember to rate all 2018 movies below.

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