Welcome to The Mundane Adventures of a Fangirl

I consider myself a Fangirl. What does that mean, you ask? A "fanboy" in the most common understanding is a hardcore fan of 'genre' based entertainment in particular. In my case - science-fiction and comic book based movies and television. Because I'm a chick - it's fangirl, not fanboy. There you have it! I am a big movie fan, however, not necessarily a 'film' fan. And now - I have the forum to present my opinions to the public! These will mainly be movie reviews -that will always be my opinion - repeat OPINION. Just what I think, and in no way do I present my opinion as fact. I hope you enjoy and maybe it will help you decide what to see at the movie theater this weekend!

Friday, April 5, 2024

Godzilla x Kong; The New Empire (PG13 – 115 minutes)


I have enjoyed the majority of the movies in this new Monsterverse a whole bunch.  The first Godzilla entry in this set was a little somber for my taste and spent way too much time with the humans, but Godzilla looked amazing and the “Let Them FIGHT” sequences between Godzilla and the MUTOs were great.  I loved Kong: Skull Island – even though I will always be team Godzilla as opposed to Kong. Setting that one back in the 70s and letting Sam Jackson get irritated with Kong was fun.  Godzilla: King of the Monsters was even better, but still way too many human characters as Godzilla had to deal with piles of other Titans woken up by eco-terrorists and the Monarch company. He finally defeated Ghidorah in the end, and we saw that a shady company picked up one of Ghidorah’s spare heads.  Of course, they used that to create MechaGodzilla for Godzilla vs. Kong in which Kong is starting to outgrow Skull Island and Godzilla is getting frustrated with people – eventually the two team up to eliminate MechaGodzilla and Kong goes to live peacefully in Hollow Earth. And yes, I watched and loved the Monarch: Legacy of Monsters show on Apple Plus and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys Russells.

This movie opens with a stunning sequence of Kong going about his business in Hollow Earth. We see that it is not really all that peaceful as he deals with random monsters, crazy terrain, and a bad tooth.  I love this sequence so much because there is no dialogue – the story is told completely visually.  Side note – I still want an AVP movie with no humans – we do not need dialogue to understand what is going on. In any case, while Kong comes up to get his tooth pulled talk with sign language to the little girl from the previous movie, Godzilla is ambling around the globe, taking out random titans and leveling up once he consumes their power – apparently preparing for an upcoming threat.

Monarch follows Kong back down to see what is going on, and all of them learn together about the ‘Scar King’ who is bad news and has been planning revenge on the surface in general and Godzilla in particular for years.  Kong has to enlist Godzilla’s help, the humans do what they can to assist, and giant titan battles ensue. 

Honestly, this may have been my favorite entry into the Monsterverse to date. It finally nails the tone by embracing the silliness of the story while still giving these movie-monster classics their due respect and glorious hero shots.  The effects are lovely, both leads look astounding, and the human cast is having a great time – perhaps none more than Dan Stevens and Brian Tyree Henry. Stevens in particular was really enjoying himself.  If you liked the other entries in the series – you’ll like this one. Kong is great – clearly exhausted and just looking for some rest (he seems to become King Kong at the end, so maybe he’s due for a break?) Godzilla is still my favorite – I love when he and his thick thighs take off running. In this one, he even does a running dive off the Rock of Gibraltar which is spectacular. Also, him napping in the Roman Colosseum like it is a giant Godzilla-sized kitty bed? Perfection. 

Overall – so fun, great titan battles, good human cast, perfect popcorn flick – 9/10.

Movie Review: Anyone But You (R – 103 minutes)


I love a rom-com that brings a little more to the table and I really loved Ten Things I Hate About You for the clever Shakespeare’s comedy inspiration (Taming of the Shrew).  Anyone But You pulls similar inspiration from Much Ado About Nothing. Here, Beatrice and Benedict become Bea and Ben. They have a brief one-night-stand and then accidentally both end up at her sister’s wedding in Australia. Frustrated with the questions from other guests, they pretend to be a couple despite really driving each other crazy.  Hijinks ensue.

I was not expecting anything from this movie and I was absolutely delighted. Sometimes it is best to go into things cold.  It follows the standard rom-com format in a perfect way: meet-cute, attraction, manufactured and over-the-top drama, huge gesture reconciliation.  The extra fun bits of the story not only execute that formula but elevate it.  The cast was charming – especially Glen Powell who was determined to go all out, have a blast, and take everyone along with him.  The setting is also beautiful and made me want to go to a destination wedding in Australia.

Overall – super fun, charming, great cast – 8 out of 10.

Movie Review: Dune Part Two (PG13 – 166 minutes)


If you enjoyed part one from director Denis Villeneuve, you’ll love part two.  Epically beautiful and sweeping, it continues the story with flair.  There are still a ton of characters to try to keep straight, and this part adds several that did not yet appear in the first one.  Young Paul Atreides is meandering the desert with his Freman friends after his whole family except for his mother Jessica was killed when the Harkonnen clan launched an attack on the planet Arakis after the Emperor gave stewardship of it to the Atreides.  The plot is thick and heavy here, and if you haven’t read any of the books, it can be a little tough to keep all the folks straight and figure out why Paul is at first claiming to not be the desert messiah and then by the end decides being the desert messiah is exactly what he needs to be to harness ‘desert power’ (sandworms) to take on his enemies.

Everyone in the movie does a great job, and it really does look fantastic.  Personally, I may have enjoyed this one a little bit more than the previous entry – even if it is a little too long for me and a little plot-heavy. I think that is a good thing though, in that it seems to be faithfully adapting the source material.  I particularly enjoy Javier Bardem as Stilgar – convincing Paul to take up his own mantel and use his legend-in-the-making status.  Timothee Chalamet and Zendaya are just fine as the two leads and Josh Brolin continues to be entertaining.  I also really enjoyed Rebecca Ferguson as Jessica as she manipulates almost everyone to get what she wants. I could have used a little more fun here and there. I enjoyed the bits of Paul learning how to desert properly, and those sequences added a little levity in an otherwise somber story. 

Overall – beautiful to look at, a little long, a little bit pretentious, but still entertaining. 6 out of 10.

Saturday, March 9, 2024

2024 Oscars


As I write this, the Academy Awards will be held tomorrow, Sunday, March 10 and I figured this would be a good time to sum up what I watched in 2023.  I was not great on keeping up on posting my movie reviews last year.  This is a good excuse to provide a quick summary!  For me, movies have to hit on one of three areas for me to want to watch it – preferably more than one of the three:  Interest in the topic, interest in the actors, interest in the director.  This is why it is tough for me to get through award season movies as they often miss on all three of my personal criteria.

First, a quick mention of what the academy thinks was the best of the year.  Honestly, the academy and I almost never see eye to eye and I will tell you that I have genuinely watched 3 of the 10 Best Picture nominees at this point, fast-forwarded through 2 others, may zip through 2 others and will absolutely not with the rest.  

·       Oppenheimer (13 nominations): One of the three I watched – I figured once they put it on Peacock (“It’s streaming on the Cock!”), I could play it like a mini-series and watch a half-hour at a time.  In all honesty, I found it so interesting I did watch all of it at once – which is crazy, because it is far too long.  And, okay, I did fall asleep in the middle.  It is brilliantly acted and definitely well-made, not enjoyable, but watchable.  I would like to especially point out how great Josh Hartnett and David Krumholtz are.  Krumholtz especially – he offered some much needed heart in a movie that was very cold.

·       Poor Things (11 nominations): There are some that love Lanthimos movies, so I am sure they love this.  I hated the Favourite, and tried this – I had to turn it off after about a minute and a half. I even tried fast forwarding through the rest and had to stop that thirty minutes in.  It is just not for me and that is okay – it is why we are blessed to live in a time that has so many entertainment options!

·       Killers of the Flower Moon (10 nominations): I do not like DiCaprio or De Niro, and while I am happy for Lilly Gladstone (she seems to be a shoe-in for best actress), I am not a fan of Scorsese movies, so this is another one that I will miss.  

·       Barbie (8 nominations): Saw this in the theater and loved it.  Watched it again on Max and loved it some more. Subversive and somehow both very smart and very dumb – it is a delight of a movie.  I do find it interesting that the Billie Eilish song will probably win – I think the Lizzo song at the beginning is overlooked, and I love the Dua Lipa song Dance the Night.  The performances are great and I would single out America Ferrera, all the supporting Kens, and especially Michael Cera. Their performances enhance Ryan Gosling’s insanity.

·       Maestro (7 nominations): Here is one of the movies I fast forwarded through. It felt very much like a Bradley Cooper passion/vanity project with a great performance from Carey Mulligan. Although, as good as she was...Felicia Montealegre was born in Costa Rica and I am fairly certain Mulligan was not.

·       American Fiction (5 nominations): Equally funny and upsetting on all the levels, this movie is great.  I really enjoyed Jeffrey Wright and I think he nailed the frustration, anger, and just general flailing of a person trying to exist in complicated times.  Also – Erika Alexander – my goodness. Max was always my favorite on Living Single and it was amazing to see her steal scenes in this movie.

·       The Holdovers (5 nominations):  Fast forwarded through this one as well. Da’Vine Joy Randolph seems to have a lock on best supporting actress and she was wonderful in this – holding down the center while Giamatti swirled around her.  A tight and slow character study – I could not help but wonder if this was a play? Should be a play?

·       Napoleon (3 nominations): Since my Napolean is the one who spent the day cheating at bowling and enjoying the water park in Bill & Ted, not sure I need to see Phoenix trudge through a Ridley Scott epic.  Although, I do enjoy Vanessa Kirby, and I do wonder if the coronation scene looks the way Jacques-Louis David depicted it – in either version.

As a slightly off-topic brief rant - I have to mention, it is an outright shame that the Oscars do not honor stunt teams.  The Screen Actors Guild awards do, however, so as an aside – the nominated stunt teams for film this year were:

·       Barbie: The work on the Ken fight alone was fantastic!

         Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3: Some of the zero-G fight scenes in the very globby station were bizarre, but that one hallway sequence was fantastic.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny: Love a good train fight.

John Wick Chapter 4 (my pick for winner):  So many fantastic sequences!  The fight with Scott Adkins and his fat suit (why was he in that suit?) Anything with Donnie Yen. The from-above room-to-room sequence which was mind-blowing.  The absolutely stunning in, on, and around cars fight around the Arc de Triomphe, and finally the epic step sequence in Montmartre, leading up to Sacre Coeur. Incredible work from the team on that one.

·       Mission Impossible Dead Reckoning Part One (this did win): Yes, the motorcycle jump was good, and again – love a train fight, but the rest of the sequences were nothing we had not seen before.

Here is the list of what I liked best last year – certainly not the best made or acted, but the things I enjoyed the most!  Sharing so that you can perhaps add some things to your watchlist that you may have missed over the course of 2023.

·       Next Goal Wins:  A charming little flick from Taika Watiti about the worst football team in the world – literally.  I liked it, I didn’t love it, mainly because the one was a little uneven and I would have cast anyone but Michael Fassbender in the lead (you have Will Arnett in the movie – just let him do it). I think because it is based on a true story, they wanted someone to do an impression of the real guy – but just commit to doing a full comedy and go all the way.  

·       Plane: What a surprising delight of an action flick.  A Gerry Butler/Mike Colter movie that understands its assignment: Plane goes down, pilot has to team up with convict to save passengers from local thugs. Period – nothing fancy, nothing excessive.  Exactly what it promises.  Perfect.

·       Barbie: The only one on both the Oscar list and my list.  Fun, big, and yes, aggressively feminist and I loved it.  Also – special acknowledgement of Ariana Greenblatt.  She is building herself a heck of a resume.

·       Spider-Man: Across the Universe: A near flawless piece of stunning art.  It almost requires multiple viewings to see the true beauty in each character’s color themes and backgrounds and how they shift and adjust as the character moves and grows.  Plus – fantastic action and deep-cut Spider-references.  And Donald Glover. 

·       They Cloned Tyrone: Starts as something that could have been a plot point in American Fiction and then takes a turn.  Fun, weird, and my goodness, the best I have seen Jamie Foxx in years. 

·       Fast X:  Insane, over-the-top, and unashamedly silly.  Another fun romp with family and Coronas.  Is Dom teaching his 8 year old how to drive?  And it is wonderful that they let John Cena off the leash in this one.  Also - I don’t know why Dom was surprised…Aquamen are always going to stick together.

·       Polite Society: Perhaps my biggest surprise of the year.  A young woman who wants to be a stunt woman is suspicious of her sister’s new man – with good reason!  Hijinks ensue!  If you missed this one, check it out. Equal parts heart and action.

·       John Wick Chapter 4:  Speaking of action – so much of it and so much of it throughout Paris.  Really entertaining.

·       The Marvels:  Hands down with no question my favorite movie of the year.  It had great power-switching action sequences, embraced its own zaniness, had three wonderful leads (Iman Velani is perfection), plus a lovely cat sequence.  And oh yes, the lesson that “to stand tall, you don’t have to stand alone” – sometimes we all need to hear that.

And because it is always more fun – here are the things I liked the least last year!

·       Shazam! Fury of the Gods:  I liked the first Shazam movie because of the F&F style family bits to it.  This sequel immediately removed that piece and then went off the rails from there.

·       The Out-Laws: What should have been fun and wild was just off-putting and irritating.

·       Expend4bles: I have loved a lot of the movies in this series, but this fourth one was rough.  Fifty Cent is not an acceptable trade out for Terry Crews. Is Megan Fox playing the same character that Charisma Carpenter played?  No parts made sense, especially the fact that you had Tony Jaa and Iko Uwais in the movie, on opposite sides, and they at no point fight each other? You are wasting talent, movie. Except for Andy Garcia – he was definitely having a great time.

·       Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3: This is so low on my list because I was just so disappointed in it.  I think I had really high expectations – I loved the first one and the second one. The found family of the first two movies is what was so charming. This one felt mean-spirited and yes, the piles of animal cruelty (that were, I acknowledge, integral to the plot) really turned me off. 

The Flash
: I am not even sure where to begin. What an absolute mess of a movie.  I suppose you do have to take a really big swing to miss that badly, so maybe that’s a plus?  And Michael Keaton was delightful.

There you have it!  A summary of a year’s worth of film-going.  Hopefully you found something on this list to go check out on some streaming service and are already looking forward to plenty of things that are coming out in 2024!

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Movie Review: Meg 2 The Trench


Movie Review: Meg 2 The Trench

The first Meg came out in 2018 – in case you missed it, here’s a quick summary.  Undersea explorers accidentally disturb the thermal layer at the bottom of the ocean allowing a giant Megalodon or two to come up to the surface and cause chaos. Jason Statham saves the day. Yes, there’s other plot and cast, but that is all you really need to know. And yes, Pippin returns – but don’t worry, once again – he survives.

This one opens with Statham’s character gathering evidence against companies illegally polluting the ocean while still keeping in touch with the little girl from the first movie – he’s now her surrogate dad, since her grandfather passed away in the first movie and her mother died between films.  Now, she’s a tween with a desire to follow in her mother’s footsteps and join on the expeditions. Her uncle (no, he wasn’t mentioned in the first movie) has taken over the company – or at least part of it, and thanks to some new dive suits, they are continuing to explore the trench – well aware that there are a bunch of Megs down there lurking around.  Oh, and he’s working on training a Meg that he has raised, Haiqi, because that will surely go well.

Well, unbeknownst to our cast of plucky heroes, someone has stolen some of their tech and is drilling down in the trench for rare minerals.  Things go wrong, and once again a hole in the thermal layer allows a couple of Megs, some smaller aquatic dinosaur things, plus something else, to come up to the surface and once again, cause some chaos that only Statham and his diving ability can help solve.

Directed by Ben Wheatley, this sequel has a much lighter tone and less bloodshed, which I did not mind. Honestly, I liked the first one, but I liked this one even better!  I found this one far more fun and better paced.  Everyone in the movie also seems to clearly know what type of movie they are making and the returning cast is having an absolute blast. 

Statham is fantastic once again and Jonas Taylor and who knew I needed him paired with the charming Shuya Sophia Cai as Meiying. They are wonderful together and I bought their relationship.  Plus, kudos to Statham for all that jetski work that apparently he did all himself! 

Page Kennedy is back as DJ as a character who took the lessons from the first movie to heart and has actively worked to improve all skills between movies! 

I knew how much I loved Cliff Curtis in things, and I love that he basically gets to play what seems to be very close to himself in this movie. I did not know how much I would love him paired with Jing Wu.  After the initial malfunctions down in the trench, the second half of the movie is crazy weird fun and the two of them have some truly bonkers sequences with the dinosaurs and a helicopter. Not only do they understand the assignment, but they really seemed to be having a great time.

Haiqi the Meg gets just a little character development, not quite enough to allow her to be the hero of the movie, but she certainly does steal a couple of scenes.  I did appreciate how the multiple Megs in the movie all had different scars so that we could tell them apart. 

Overall, it is some big shark action with some hilarity thrown in – while you may not need to see it in a theater, it’s worth a fun streaming night of creature feature action. It would definitely pair well with Sharktopus. 

8 out of 10

Speaking of Sharktopus – it is a shame the giant octopus was ruined in the trailers and even more of a shame that it really has very little affect on the characters – they do not even blink when a giant octopus shows up and starts flinging people around.  These folks have clearly spent too much time in the Trench.

Movie Review: They Cloned Tyrone (R – 122 minutes)

 I wish I had seen this in a theater with a full audience.

They Cloned Tyrone is a gem of a flick that delivers on what it promises.  The first 20 minutes or so set up what feels like white-generated black stereotypes – entirely on purpose so that the movie can shift into its sci-fi story.  If you combined Sorry to Bother You, Black Dynamite, Get Out, and Undercover Brother, you may get close to They Cloned Tyrone. 

Clearly this movie is not trying to hide its sci-fi premise (it is right there in the title) but as the characters slowly learn what is going on around them, the action and comedy both ramp up.  Fontaine is a drug dealer working in The Glenn, getting tips from young Junebug and offering some of his 40 to old Frog.  He checks in on his mother daily, but rarely sees her, and one day while visiting Slick Charles – one of his distributors – he is shot and killed? by rival dealer Isaac.  This entire section of the movie plays into all the stereotypes: dress, music, behavior, slang, etc.  Even the color quality feels more like a 70s Blaxploitation movie. 

Fontaine surprisingly wakes up the next day and goes about his business, but Slick Charles and one of Charles’s working ladies, Yo-Yo help him realize what happened to him. Together, the three set out to investigate, try to figure out what is going on, rally their neighborhood, and try to stop it. 

Written and directed by Juel Taylor, I was not sure what to expect from this movie, but my goodness, I enjoyed it.  The beginning is aggressively stereotypical in terms of language and behavior that it is almost off-putting and unpleasant to watch, but that is exactly the point. Once the threesome discover what is going on and hatch their plot to combat it, the movie is funny, action-packed, and deeper than it should be. 

The cast is perfection, and John Boyega continues to be charismatic and entertaining. Even as the despicable Fontaine, he is watchable.  Speaking of watchable, I cannot remember the last time I have enjoyed Jamie Foxx this much. Where Boyega’s Fontaine is angry and grumpy through the whole movie, Foxx’s Charles is the comedy relief.  Teyonah Parris as Yo-Yo rounds out the crew and together the three of them seem to be genuinely having a great time.

David Alan Grier shows up randomly as a character I swear I remember from In Living Color, and Keifer Sutherland plays a villain in a very creepy and dark way.

Overall, I really enjoyed this and maybe because I was not expecting anything, but I cannot recommend it enough – it’s on Netflix and certainly worth a stream!

9 out of 10

Also – the folks behind Black Dynamite have a new one coming out – can’t wait for that either.


Thursday, August 10, 2023

Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3 (PG13 – 150 minutes)


I loved the first Guardians movie and may have loved the second one even more. They are two of my favorite of the MCU flicks to date.  I did not care for this one.

In this movie, Star Lord and Team are floundering after the events of Endgame, Peter is drinking a lot after losing Gamora twice. The rest of the team has set up show on Knowhere and are working to improve it when they are attacked by Adam Warlock, created by the Sovereign to gather some vengeance for the events of GOTG2.  In the attack, Rocket is injured and the rest of the movie is the team trying to help him while we get his flashbacks to his youth/creation/upbringing/escape. 

James Gunn had always been clear this one would be telling Rocket’s backstory and that Rocket has been the heart and soul of the team. Knowing that Rocket is a genetically enhanced Racoon, and that the villain is the High Evolutionary, whose entire deal is experimenting on things to improve them, I knew there would be some animal experimentation/cruelty scenes.  If it clarifies it for you, DoesTheDogDie.com – on the very first question on their list – someone was clever enough to just put “This is not the movie for you” and they could not be more right. 

Rocket’s backstory is painful and vividly told, and while there are no scenes of animal surgery, the implications and reactions of those watching said scenes were enough to be triggering, traumatizing, and scarring.  I also felt that while the charm of some of the earlier GOTG movies were the team learning to work together and teasing each other in the process – in this movie, it felt like they were being downright mean to each other to the point of bullying. At one point, instead of apologizing to Drax for saying something cruel to him, Mantis simply uses her powers to make him forget.

There are certainly parts that are entertaining, Gunn does a good job of bringing closure to this current group of Guardians as well as introducing new ones, the hallway fight sequence is fantastic, and certainly there is heart in the team needing to save Rocket. Overall, I did not like it and I found parts of it almost physically painful.  The entire movie felt mean-spirited, downcast, and in general, was a bit of a bummer.

3 out of 10

Side note – what a waste of Nathan Fillion. We finally get him in an MCU movie, and this is how he’s used?  Also – credit to Nathan Fillion, his scenes are fun and he does a great job bringing in some lightness. Also also – props to us that we spent enough time with Groot that we finally start to understand a little of his language!