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The Big Sick – The Dope Sheet Movie Review

Release Date:  July 14, 2017
Rating:  R
Run Time:  2 hours
After Credit Scene:  (during credit images)
IMAX Viewing:  NO
3D Viewing:  NO
Reviewer:  Wayne Demers
The Dope Sheet Score:  7.8 out of 10

A Non-Spoiler Review

This is a charming movie based on a true story.  I loved the trailer for the film, but I have to say that I felt that this was not a comedy, but a drama/romance with moments of comedic elements.  I laughed as much during this movie as I did in Spiderman Homecoming.  Judd Apatow produced this movie and it has his touch.  He understands what day to day elements of life resonate with the audience and The Big Sick is no different.

Kumail (Kumail Nanjiani) is a Pakistani looking for a career in standup comedy.  His Pakistani family does not support his desire to be a comic and are very traditional.  Kumail falls in love with Emily (Zoe Kazan) who is your traditional American female.  Emily becomes sick and Kumail reaches out to Emily’s family to come to her aid.  Her parents are played by Holly Hunter and Ray Romano and are great on screen together. 

What works:  Very good casting and acting.  A good story is told and keeps the viewer wondering what will happen next.

What doesn’t work:  The film deals with sad and depressing story lines and is far more a drama than a comedy.  A viewer may expect to experience a film where laugh after laugh will come, but the film doesn’t deliver in that capacity.  The love story is far more thought provoking than comedic and this viewer came away feeling a bit more depressed than happy.

Those that I’ve spoken with that are looking forward to seeing the movie felt as I did that we were going in to see a comedy.  You may find the film funnier than I did, but the tragic elements of the film overshadow the comedic elements for me and it didn’t deliver as much as I had hoped.  With this said, the story is still heartwarming and well told.  Holly Hunter and Ray Romano are excellent actors that anchor this story when it is needed most.

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, I give The Big Sick a 7.8.  It is worth seeing in the theater and a drink.

Did you see the film?  Tell us your opinion below.

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War for the Planet of the Apes – The Dope Sheet Movie Review

Release Date:  July 14, 2017
Rating:  PG-13
Run Time:  2 hour 20 minutes
After Credit Scene:  NO
IMAX Viewing:  NO
3D Viewing:  NO
Reviewer:  Wayne Demers
The Dope Sheet Score:  9.2 out of 10

A Non-Spoiler Review

War for the Planet of the Apes is the third movie in the franchise and the best of the three.  If you have not seen the previous movies, I suggest you do as this movie references characters and story lines that one will want to be familiar with to understand who the apes are and why the humans are hostile.

Caesar, the leader of the apes, is being hunted by humans lead by The Colonel (Woody Harrelson).  He must decide between his own quest or that to save his people.  Human kind is as fractured a species as are these advanced apes and the two clash to save their own kind.

What works:  Amazing cgi of the apes.  When there are closeups of the apes, the innate detail has the viewer wondering if the image is of a true ape or completely computer generated.  The motion of the apes appears true which furthers the complement to the cgi effects.  The story is well thought out and pulls the viewer into its world.  Outstanding character development, because you care about these characters or despise them.  The voice work is outstanding, although many times you are hearing ape grunts and coo’s.  Still, very believable.  You’ll pull for the humans and you’ll pull for the apes, you stay engaged in this film to the very end.

What doesn’t work:  When the cgi is on it is ON.  However, there are moments from afar that the cgi could have been a bit more refined.  It is a stretch to fault any of the cgi, but this is the only fault I found with this movie.

This is an outstanding movie.  I believe that War for the Planet of the Apes is the best movie of this summer, but it won’t be as financially successful compared to Spider-man: Homecoming due to the broader appeal Homecoming will have over this Apes movie.  Have no doubt that you will ride an emotional roller-coaster in this film and it is well worth the price of admission.  It is a wonderful installment in the trilogy of Apes movies and I hope they continue the franchise.

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, I give War for the Planet of the Apes a 9.2.  It is worth seeing in the theater and a popcorn combo.  If you are on the fence about seeing this movie, take the chance and check it out.

Did you see the film?  Tell us your opinion below.

Apes Poster

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Spider-Man: Homecoming – The Dope Sheet Movie Review

Release Date:  July 7, 2017
Rating:  PG-13
Run Time:  2 hour 13 minutes
After Credit Scene:  YES (and during credits)
IMAX Viewing:  NO
3D Viewing:  NO
Reviewer:  Wayne Demers
The Dope Sheet Score:  9 out of 10

A Non-Spoiler Review

Spider-Man Homecoming is the movie of the summer and my favorite film of the year.  It will take a lot to knock this one from the top of my list.  If you saw Captain America: Civil War then you already have an introduction into who Peter Parker and Spider-Man is.  Every actor pulls his or her weight in this film.  Ver pleasantly surprised how characters were used and few I wasn’t expecting were revealed.  Tom Holland and Michael Keaton had such great chemistry with their characters.  Holland is Parker and Keaton is Vulture.  It all works and works well.  Marvel Studios has done it again!

What works:  We didn’t need an origin story and we didn’t get one.  EXCELLENT!  The movie is very well written and met all my expectations of the film.  It is funny where you expect it to be without going overboard.  There is enough action to see Spider-Man spinning webs and jumping around.  The casting was excellent.  Even the supporting cast is loaded with names/faces we know and what a great job they did.  The story takes some unexpected chances that I’m not certain how people will feel, but I like their decisions because they are trying to make Parker/Spider-Man relevant in 2017.  Although the movie felt a little long, I’m fine with it because they gave us a very good Parker.

What doesn’t work:  I’m not so certain that kids today in high school are listening to 80’s bands.  I was expecting a bit more contemporary music; however, I’ll take my 80’s where I can get it.  Although I listed this as a “what works,” taking chances on some of who the characters are is so risky.  I may not mind, but purists may take a step back.  Without spoiling anything, there are a few moments in the trailers that would have been better if kept for the movie only.  It would have had a better impact.

I think most people who see this film will leave feeling happy with what they saw.  Be sure to stay to the end of the credits as there is an after-credit scene worth seeing.  Small little spoiler here, there is no Venom and no mention of Venom in the film.  Good, no need for us to rush things with Spider-Man even though I’m aware that Venom is a Sony property, not Marvel.

My viewing was not in 3D nor IMAX, but I can only imagine how spectacular and amazing it must be (ya, I couldn’t resist).

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, I give Spider-Man: Homecoming a 9.  It is worth seeing in the theater and a popcorn combo.  I look forward to seeing it again very soon.

Did you see the film?  Tell us your opinion below.

spiderman poster

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Despicable Me 3 – The Dope Sheet Movie Review

Release Date:  June 30, 2017
Rating:  PG
Run Time:  1 hour 30 minutes
After Credit Scene:  NO
IMAX Viewing:  NO
3D Viewing:  NO
Reviewer:  Wayne Demers
The Dope Sheet Score:  7.9 out of 10

A Non-Spoiler Review

Gru, bad guy turned good guy, finds out that he has a twin brother.  He and his family go to meet his newly found brother and bond over an attempt to thwart the evil plan of Balthazar Bratt.  Bratt, a child actor who’s tv show was canceled, now grown up, has turned to a life of crime.

What works:  For those who love the Minions, have no fear as they get plenty of screen time and are funny.  So many 80’s references in this movie that parents are sure to enjoy.  The message echoed is ‘family,’ and is a theme throughout the film.  Steve Carell continues to do the voice of Gru and in this film, he also does the voice of Dru, Gru’s twin brother.  Excellent voice work done by the cast.

What doesn’t work:  Although a good movie and it is trying to evolve the characters, this is a kid’s movie at heart and it doesn’t keep adults engaged.  This is fully expected by me, but this is the only fault I had with the movie

A good soundtrack for those who enjoy the 80’s and as I mentioned above, there are many 80’s references.  Fun and refreshing story, this franchise has a good track record and provides another good sequel.  My instinct tells me we’ll see another movie in the future as there are a few different directions it could continue, that is if the movie continues to be a financial success as well.  Kids are sure to enjoy this summer film.

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, I give Despicable Me 3 a 7.9.  It is worth seeing in the theater and maybe a popcorn combo.

Did you see the film?  Tell us your opinion below.

Despickable 3 poster

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Baby Driver – The Dope Sheet Movie Review

Release Date:  June 28, 2017 
Rating:  
Run Time:  1 hour 53 minutes 
After Credit Scene:  NO 
IMAX Viewing:  NO 
3D Viewing:  NO 
Reviewer:  Wayne Demers 
The Dope Sheet Score:  7.8 out of 10 

A Non-Spoiler Review

Baby, who as a child was in an auto accident that causes him to have a hearing problem that also allows him to have extreme focus to be one of the best getaway drivers around.  Forced to pay back a considerable debt, he drives for teams of thieves at the direction of Doc.  Soon he is left to decide, continue as part of Doc’s crew or take a chance on love and flee the only world he knows.

What works:    This is a fun film for the most part.  The cast of John Hamm (Mad Men), Jamie Fox (come on, you know who Jamie fox is!), Jon Bernthal (Walking Dead, Daredevil) and Kevin Spacey (House of Cards) were excellent as one would expect.  New comer Ansel Elgort (The Fault in our Stars), did a very good job and was convincing as a talented driver.  Both Hamm and Fox give you one heck of a performance.  I don’t recall Fox playing a role that was this dark, but I loved him.  Eiza Gonzalez is great eye candy and did a good job of playing that tough sexy “Bonnie” type of character.  And less I forget Kevin Spacey who does what Spacey does.  Not a poor performance by any stretch, but you aren’t going to get anything new from him either.  Every actor brings something to their role that together as an ensemble, is a nearly perfect cast.

If you like car chase scenes, you get plenty of them and they are a thrill to watch.  Outside of the overdone Fast and Furious franchise, I don’t recall such great chase scenes since Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Death Proof.’  You really must hand it to those stunt drivers and don’t be surprised if they are recognized with awards for stunts performed in this film.  The soundtrack was excellent and it has a little bit for everyone.  The songs give a great tone to the scenes and are used in a way that they are almost a character in the film.  The final act is thrilling and the director puts the story into overdrive, letting the actors loose to have some fun that the audience will enjoy.

What doesn’t work:  The first act was exciting and at the same time rough.  Beyond the chase scene, the introduction to the character Baby was annoying and I was concerned this was the person I was going to have to watch for the rest of the movie.  Thankfully, the character is only annoying for the first act.  Some of the dialog, only at times, seemed as if it was written by a 16 yr old.  Short choppy banter between Baby and love interest Debora (Lily James) doesn’t do well to develop the chemistry between them and came across forced and awkward.  Eventually there is chemistry between Baby and Debora.  Baby lives with a roommate and there really is no need to have included this character.  There are other elements of Baby that could have occupied time on screen other than this relationship with his roommate that added little value.  Lily James was good with what she was given, but the character wasn’t developed with enough backstory for me to believe her interest in Baby and the other things I won’t go into so we don’t spoil anything for you.  I wouldn’t say it is an acting issue, thought she was very good, just I needed more story to believe her.  The movie is almost 2 hours long, but felt like it was 20 min. longer that it actually was.

All too often we see films with an all-star cast with a story that doesn’t deliver.  This isn’t one of those films.  I feel the film falls short on character development and had it a little more and one less sub plot, the movie would have been more enjoyable.  This movie delivers on thrills and excitement far than what was expected.  This movie will forever be one of those films mentioned with great car chase movies such as Ronin, Bullitt, The French Connection, Dirty Mary Crazy Larry, Two Lane Blacktop, Smokey and the Bandit, etc.

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, I give Baby Driver a 7.8.  It is worth seeing in the theater and maybe a popcorn combo.

Did you see the film?  Tell us your opinion below.

baby poster

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The Book of Henry – The Dope Sheet Movie Review

Release Date:  June 16, 2017  
Rating:  PG-13  
Run Time:  1 hour 45 minutes  
After Credit Scene:  NO  
IMAX Viewing:  NO  
3D Viewing:  NO  
Reviewer:  Wayne Demers  
The Dope Sheet Score:  6.5 out of 10

A Non-Spoiler Review

Henry, a childhood genius, lives with his mother and younger brother.   Using the notebook Henry has written, together they try to save their neighbor from her abusive stepfather.

What works:    The acting is quite good as both Naomi Watts (Susan) and Jaeden Lieberher (Henry) give solid performances.  Sarah Silverman (Sheila) does a good job in a serious role as does veteran small screen actor Dean Norris (Glenn Sickleman).  This is a good story, not a great story, but a good story that will tug at your heart strings and repulse you with sensitive topics.  The film does an outstanding job during a few scenes of leaving your mind to fill in the blanks.  By doing so, the film guides the viewers imagination to determine the characters actions.  Very powerful.

What doesn’t work:  Young actress Maddie Ziegler needs a few more acting classes.  You may recognize her from the reality tv show, “Dance Moms.”  It wasn’t until her dance scene that I was able to put my finger on why she looked familiar.  Not a poor performance, but one that stood out that she needs some polishing.  Through the first half of the movie you get the feeling you are watching an after-school special, but as the plot develops the movie gets darker and more twisted.  It is at this point in the film it loses some of the audience because the story switches from a drama to a thriller.  Looking at the poster for the film, you may be misguided as to the type of film you are going to watch.  If you have watched the trailer for this movie, the story becomes a bit predictable.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie and the story, but this isn’t the movie you take your preteen to see on a rainy summer day.  Due to the sensitive/adult situations that the movie dives into, I don’t feel this movie is going to get its credit as a good story and may not last long at the box office.

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, I give The Book of Henry a 6.5.  It is worth a matinee ticket, but only if you have nothing to do on a rainy day.

Did you see the film?  Tell us your opinion below.

book henry poster

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Transformers: The Last Knight – The Dope Sheet Movie Review

Release Date:  June 21, 2017
Rating:  PG-13
Run Time:  2 hour 20 minutes
After Credit Scene:  During Credit Scene, none after credits
IMAX Viewing:  YES
3D Viewing:  YES
Reviewer:  Wayne Demers
The Dope Sheet Score:  6.1 out of 10

A Non-Spoiler Review

Check your brain at the door folks!  Let’s not try to make too much sense of it all because you really came to see robots, explosions, and action sequences.  Do not go see this movie if you are expecting a good story.  The only reason why we go see these films is because of the cartoon series we had in our youth.

You should watch the previous film before going to see this one so that you are reminded of what has happened.  The movie picks up in the dark ages to let us know that Transformers have been around for a long time.  Present day, humans are still picking up the pieces from the battles in the previous film.  Soon there are signs that the end of the world is coming and we need the Transformers to save the day.  Bumble Bee is our main Transformer and clearly the focus is on him because he is to have his own movie in a few years.  Have no doubt, this film is going to be a financial success, but it doesn’t deserve to be successful.

What works:    The scenery is wonderful.  Ladies will love Mark Wahlberg.  This movie was filmed to be seen in IMAX and it was wonderful.  Fun car chase scenes.  Anthony Hopkins was fun to watch.  Frank Welker who was the voice of Megatron in the TV series reprises his role on the big screen.

What doesn’t work:  The movie is too long, it could have been 45 – 60 min shorter.  The story is lousy and to many subplots that get lost in action scenes.  There are characters that really didn’t have to be in the movie and play such a small role that there was no need for them.  The movie is constantly trying to add humor where it isn’t needed.  Sure, I may have chuckled a few times, but the humor is forced into the story.  There are parts of the story that do not make sense, specifically with the character Vivian Wembley and I can’t go into it or I’ll spoil some of the crappy story.  There is a romance in the movie that is forced on the viewer and it wasn’t believable.  At times, the special effects didn’t pair up with the live action actor very well.  Maybe it was so clear in IMAX that it stood out and it is possible it isn’t as noticeable in 2D.  I’m tired of the same ole stuff from Transformers with explosions and shaky camera action sequences.  There isn’t enough Optimus Prime and when he is on screen, he reminds us of who he is too much.  Without ruining anything, we have a “Martha” moment that really irked me.  We have baby Transformers!  Really?  We need baby transformers for one reason only, to sell toys.  There is some swearing in the film and I felt it was gratuitous to appeal to older viewers.  There are too many characters and the story is lost in action sequences.

Ugh.  I wanted this movie to be good and I was hopeful, but this movie is good at one thing and one thing only, loud action sequences.  I loved the Transformers when I was kid, but these movies fail to grab the essence of the tv series and fail to let the Transformers be the stars of the film.  Michael Bay says this will be the last time he will direct a Transformers film and this person hopes he is true to his word.  He is excellent at action and explosions, but I’m exhausted of crappy stories we continue to get in Transformers films.

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, I give Transformers: The Last Knight a 6.1.  I’m being generous with this score.  If you are a Transformers movie fan, go see it in IMAX and enjoy the sound and 3D.

Did you see the film?  Let’s get into spoilers in the comments below.

Transformers TLK poster

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All Eyez On Me – The Dope Sheet Movie Review

Release Date:  June 16, 2017
Rating:  R
Run Time:  2 hour 20 minutes
After Credit Scene:  NO
IMAX Viewing:  NO
3D Viewing:  NO
Reviewer:  Wayne Demers
The Dope Sheet Score:  6 out of 10

A Non-Spoiler Review

A biography on poet, actor, and rapper Tupac Shakur (Demetrious Shipp Jr.).  The story is told mostly through the eyes of an interviewer who is capturing Tupac’s life story while he is incarcerated.  Once he is released from prison, the story is told in a traditional movie format.

What works:    A great cast and Demetrious Shipp Jr. looks very much like Tupac.  Dania Gurira, who is best known for her role as Michonne in The Walking Dead, plays Tupac’s mother, Afeni Shakur.  It is a wonderful performance by Dania and she arguably gives the best performance in the movie.  Jamal Woolard reprises his role as Biggie, a role he nailed in the movie, “Notorious.”  You’ll also enjoy some of the backstory about some of Tupac’s hit songs and how he came to the record label, Death Row Records.

What doesn’t work:  The first two acts of the film felt more like a scrapping of Tupac’s history and is taped together like a scrapbook.  The enjoyable element of movies “Notorious” and “Straight Outta Compton” is that the movies each focus on the story, not the music.  All Eyez On Me is presented like bad rap video’s book ending mediocre story telling.  There are scenes of Tupac’s performances that draw out the film because the director focused on the music.  Unfortunately, the lip syncing to Tupac’s music is good, but I’ve seen better on TV.  The ending of the film falls flat because it tries so hard to pull at your heart strings with corny effects and music.   The movie is supposed to be an “untold story,” but there are very few elements that are presented that haven’t already been made public.

As a fan of Tupac, I don’t feel this movie does his legacy justice.  Tupac’s music far surpasses the quality of this movie.  With some editing of nudity and language this was a made for TV movie at best.  The script doesn’t convey the layer of depth into Tupac’s character.  Editing also hurts the movie as there are scenes that feel as though they were spliced in as an afterthought and don’t transition well from one scene to the next.

Director Benny Boom is hoping all eyes are on his film, but this viewers ears enjoyed the music more than the movie.

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, I give All Eyez On Me a 6.  I would wait to see this one on Netflix or RedBox.

Did you see the film?  Tell us your opinion below.

all eyez poster

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Cars 3 – The Dope Sheet Movie Review

Release Date:  June 16, 2017
Rating:  G
Run Time:  1 hour 49 minutes
After Credit Scene:  YES
IMAX Viewing:  NO
3D Viewing:  NO
Reviewer:  Wayne Demers
The Dope Sheet Score:  8 out of 10

A Non-Spoiler Review

Lightning McQueen is back!  He’s a little older but he’s still winning, that is until youth and their more sophisticated and technologically advanced cars start to replace old school race cars.  After a horrific wreck, McQueen has to find his mojo and prove to all he still has it.

What works:    A wonderful cast yet again.  The visuals are stunning, captivating, and if you pay close attention you’ll see cars in them hills.  The story is well written and pays homage to the late Paul Newman (Doc Hudson).  Some new types of racing and new characters keep the franchise fresh.  It’s nice to see that they kept most of the cast from the previous films, Tow Mater is still there with our comedic relief.  Lots of NASCAR references and cameo voice acting.  Those who know their NASCAR will enjoy the references.  Although not part of the movie, there is another Pixar short prior to Cars 3 and I like the message it sends to kids.

What doesn’t work:  The story goes a little flat in the second act.  Although a good movie, I think this will be the last in the Cars franchise.  The spark isn’t there like it was in the previous films and I’m not sure it keeps kids fully engaged throughout the film.  Another disappointment was the soundtrack.  The contemporary music didn’t hit you like in the previous films and it stood out to me at times.

You get what you expect in a Pixar Film.  Cars 3 delivers and is a fun film to watch with your kids and you’ll get to see your favorite cars.  For adults, there are touching moments as they explain the relationship between McQueen and Doc Hudson in more depth.  I believe there is something here for everyone including girls as they pull for Cruz Ramirez (voiced by Cristela Alonzo) as she attempts to build McQueen’s confidence as well as her own.

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, I give this one an 8.  Good family movie, worth the price of admission and concessions.

Did you see the film?  Tell us your opinion below.

cars 3 poster

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It Comes At Night – The Dope Sheet Movie Review

Release Date:  June 9, 2017
Rating:  R
Run Time:  1 hour 31 minutes
After Credit Scene:  NO
IMAX Viewing:  NO
3D Viewing:  NO
Reviewer:  Wayne Demers
The Dope Sheet Score:  5.5 out of 10

A Non-Spoiler Review

An epidemic is crossing the area.  People are retreating to secluded areas to protect themselves and their families.  Paul (Joel Edgerton) and Sarah (Carmen Ejogo) are one such family as they protect their son Travis (Kelvin Harrison).

What works:    This is an outstanding cast.  Each member sells the story and you are compelled to believe their characters.

What doesn’t work:  Loud audio will make you jump (maybe) rather than any horror.  This movie has more a 60’s or early 70’s vibe to the story telling.  That isn’t necessarily bad, but the endings tend to leave you feeling empty.  The story pulls you in right from the start but fails to deliver a fulfilling need for closure or satisfaction.

This film with minor editing could be a made for TV film.  An excellent cast could not save It Comes At Night from itself.  It certainly has the feel of a film festival submission.  I would not classify this as a horror film but rather a suspense thriller.  A short review for a short film because there isn’t enough content to share with you without spoilers.  I had higher hopes for a film that seemed to be more than what it delivered.

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, I give this one a 5.5.  Wait for this movie on Netflix or RedBox.

Did you see the film?  Tell us your opinion below.

comes at night poster