Week Of 09.12.2021 Movie Reviews

Reviewing Malignant, Queenpins, Kate, Jolt, And Paw Patrol: The Movie

- S Grade; 5.0 Stars: A Special Movie To The Reviewer That Goes Beyond Criticism
- A+/A- Grade; 4.0/4.5 Stars: One Of The Best Films Of The Year, If Not All-Time
- B+/B- Grade; 3.0/3.5 Stars: Worth A Trip To The Theatre For First Viewing
- C+/C- Grade; 2.0/2.5 Stars: Watch From Home For First Viewing
- D+/D- Grade; 1.0/1.5 Stars: Don’t Bother Watching This At All If You Can Help It
- F Grade; 0.5 Star: One Of The Worst Films Of All-Time
- Reminder: Grades For These Films Can Change Over Time And Will Be Reflected Over At Our Letterboxd

- The Plot: Madison is paralyzed by shocking visions of grisly murders, and her torment worsens as she discovers that these waking dreams are in fact terrifying realities.

- The Review: I had a horrible theatrical experience before I saw this which may/may not have influenced my review of this movie, so keep that in mind. I was to go see and review THE CARD COUNTER at my local AMC (Veterans 24 in Tampa for those who now want to avoid this incompetent establishment), sat through the trailers, and learned from the theatre manager at the end of them they had actually not had the movie those of us in the screening room had bought tickets for. So I came home with no window left for the day to catch the movie I wanted to see for the rest of the day and decided instead to shift focus to the new major horror flick of the weekend in this one via my HBO Max service.

This film has gotten a strange mixed reception with certain fandoms taking sides they usually wouldn't see from this. Critics were generally positive on this, audiences however have not been the biggest fans, and Film Twitter and the Letterboxd crowd seem split. I've seen reviews from people who I would think could get behind this, hating it and reviews from people who I would think hate this liking it. I have to say as usual, I tend to side with audiences.

Ten minutes in and I knew I wasn't going to like this. The film's script is rather lame, especially the dialogue which had me embarrassed listening to it at times. The acting is mediocre and downright bad at times, like I can't specifically call any acting in this even "just fine". The pacing is uneven, especially in the first half where it seems the movie feels like another movie than what you were sold with in the trailers. The gore and violence honestly felt a bit much for me and I like HELLRAISER so I'm no prude here. The horror was campy, but I think in a way that was over the top in a bad way. The twist is ballsy, but left me laughing at the movie more so than being horrified.

I had a bad week of new movies to watch and this capped that off as I watched journalists get their eyes on greater films at film festivals. I don't know if that played a factor into how much I didn't like this, but this honestly was an embarrassing effort by a Director I don't worship but I know can do better than this. I found this to be over the top and laughably bad. D+ for MALIGNANT. I'm happy for those of you who found something in this that I did not.

- The Plot: Bored and frustrated suburban homemaker Connie and her best pal JoJo, a vlogger with dreams, turn a hobby into a multi million dollar counterfeit coupon caper. After firing off a letter to the conglomerate behind a box of cereal gone stale, and receiving an apology along with dozens of freebies, the duo hatch an illegal coupon club scheme that scams millions from mega corporations and delivers deals to legions of fellow coupon clippers. On the trail to total coupon dominance, a hapless Loss Prevention Officer from the local supermarket chain joins forces with a determined U.S Postal Inspector in hot pursuit of these newly minted “Queenpins” of pink collar crime.

- The Review: I'll make this short and sweet - I DESPISE THIS MOVIE. Its taking everything in my soul not to give this an F grade because as much I hated it I can't claim it was so bad the film was 100% useless as I did admittedly chuckle once or twice during the best parts of this crap movie whenever we were following the investigators chasing our protagonists down. Vaughn and Hauser single handily are keeping this from that fate.

The biggest reason I loathe this film past how bland and generic it feels is are our protagonists who are presented as sweet angels even though they hurt others and put themselves in dangerous situations. But don't worry the film tells me I should be laughing and happy for them as they break federal laws and get implicated in things such as gun running! Oh and the way the poor husband here is treated and presented really got to me as well as if he weren't as much a victim of our protagonist's careless actions in regards to him. The final scene with him is presented as some female empowerment moment and I found myself instead being happy that he got such a toxic person out of his life.

This is supposedly based on a true story and if that is (no pun intended) true, I bet the real facts of the case aren't fully presented here and the script went all out on coloring two criminals as “poor me” robin hood types. I loathed this, I loathe myself for giving it a try, and I loathe STX Films for putting this crap out. I've seen a few really bad films this year, but this is easily my least favorite of the year so far and that title will probably not go away. I can’t remember another movie that just kept begging me to hate it this much the longer it went on. D- for QUEENPINS. F*ck this movie, I can't remember the last time I was this annoyed and pissed off with a film.

- The Plot: After she’s irreversibly poisoned a ruthless criminal operative has less than 24 hours to exact revenge on her enemies, and in the process forms an unexpected bond with the daughter of one of her past victims.

- The Review: I must confess I was not the biggest fan of last year’s BIRDS OF PREY (Gave it a C+), but one character from the film that shone for me was that of Huntress played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead. And now she gets to play the lead role here in this new female lead action flick coming to Netflix. Unfortunately I must report back I liked this even less than the aforementioned film I last saw her in.

While there’s some really cool attempts here to differentiate this from other such films about female assassins, such as the aesthetics of a neo Tokyo and needle drops of Japanese music from all types of genres, it ultimately ends up just being another bland addition to the sub-genre’s library and its many tropes.

You get the assassin who wants to quit, the boss that might not be as caring for her safety as it first seems, the child who has to be protected, the constant traveling from place to place to find a new clue to the final target, etc. It really plays by the numbers in a way that had me looking at my Netflix’s time bar half-way through.

Winstead really goes for it and she should be commended for it, but Harrelson came off like he was mailing it in for a paycheck for a film he barely has screen time in and our lead star can’t elevate this all by herself. C- for KATE. I really don’t know what else to say other than its just another forgettable and unoriginal entry to a subgenre running out of ideas.

- The Plot: Lindy is an acid tongued woman with rage issues who controls her temper by shocking herself with an electrode vest. One day she makes a connection with Justin who gives her a glimmer of hope for a shock-free future, but when he’s murdered she launches herself on a revenge fueled rampage in pursuit of his killer.

- The Review: I've got a few straight to streamer or small theatrical action flicks to get to this movie season, and I've decided to start that off with yet another female-lead action film on the same weekend as KATE comes out on Netflix with Amazon's JOLT. This movie kinda came and went with little fanfare a month plus ago and after having seen it for myself I can see why.

The film explores some interesting themes and ideas such as our heroine already being a living weapon when we meet her, the idea on how emotion can influence actions, and some thoughtful action sequences in which the emotion of our protagonist drives the step by step action moves. There's also some major stars in this with Beckinsale, Cannavale, Cox, Tucci, and even Sarandon making appearances.

But ultimately this is a pretty standard cut and dry revenge film with one of the most predictable and "Oh, screw you movie!" twists during the climax I have ever seen in any movie in my 32 years of life. Not to mention the acting in this outside of our leads is pretty mediocre quite honestly. This teases a sequel, but it honestly doesn't deserve one. Its the definition of a film that deserves to be the straight to streamer it ended up being which is a shame given the interesting concepts in this. C- for JOLT. Good story ideas, but crap execution.

- The Plot: Ryder and the pups are called to Adventure City to stop Mayor Humdinger from turning the bustling metropolis into a state of chaos.

- The Review: Coming out a few weeks back and as one of the biggest surprises of the Summer box office was this film tied to the hit kids' TV show. But interestingly enough the film has been pretty well received by critics as well, and Film Twitter and the Letterboxd crowd are actually divided on it and not hating as much as I expected they would. But having seen it for myself now, I have to admit I was not sold on this as much as others were.

I'm a tad confused at some of the inconsistency I've seen in the reviews for this movie compared to something similar in SPIRIT UNTAMED from earlier in the year, which I and others thought was a mediocre movie that seemed better off as a straight to streamer or TV film than a theatrical release - even as we praised the good job it did showing young girls in the lead. I gave that film a C+ and then in time brought it down to a C- because even though I couldn't say I hated it, I also didn't feel like it was anything but an extension of a show I'd see on TV for kids.

Now we have this prime example of a film that feels more like just three well budgeted episodes of PAW PATROL and nothing more. I didn't hate this watching it from home via Paramount Plus, but I also thanked the good lord above I didn't waste a ticket to the theatre for it either. Its not hate-able, its just a pretty flat kids movie that should be seen at home for the little ones to kill time with while you get them out of you hair for a bit. C- for PAW PATROL: THE MOVIE. Call me a grouch, but I just didn't see much there in this.

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