The Oath

20180920 poster The Oath

SYNOPSIS: Amid Thanksgiving week and visiting family, tensions rise as Chris holds out from signing a loyalty oath to the country’s president.

MY TAKE: The story is a reflection of the current times – people with polar opposite views who can’t get along (and constantly consume messages that reinforce their views). But I was expecting a comedy, and this didn’t quite deliver. It even dipped into the thriller genre towards the end, but it ended anti-climactically. The best thing about the movie was Tiffany Haddish’s performance. Otherwise, meh.

Official Movie Website

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Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween

20181010 poster Goosebumps 2 Haunted Halloween

SYNOPSIS: A teen-ager unwittingly releases Slappy the Dummy from an R.L. Stine book, and now has to stop Slappy’s monster-laden schemes.

MY TAKE: This stand-alone sequel does not live up to the first movie and has more of a TV movie feel. It seemed like the filmmakers were trying too hard to make the story funny and interesting. I did like the last quarter of the movie, though that did not redeem the entire movie. That said, kids are still going to enjoy this since it is a kid-friendly scary movie just in time for Halloween.

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Bad Times At The El Royale

20181001 poster Bad Times At The El Royale

SYNOPSIS: Over one night, the lives of seven strangers, each with their own agenda, become intertwined when they meet at the El Royale Hotel.

MY TAKE: For a long movie (2:20!) that is not part of a franchise, this was actually interesting. Flashbacks were effectively used to tell the main characters’ back stories and introduce storyline twists. Add a sprinkling of humor and some violence, and this turned out to be a good pulp fiction ensemble movie, if you like this genre.

Official Movie Website

First Man

20181008 poster First Man

SYNOPSIS: This is the story of Neil Armstrong’s journey to becoming the first man on the moon.

MY TAKE: This was a very good movie. Even at about 2:20 long, it did not feel slow or artificially prolonged. The story was interesting, especially since not much is known about Neil Armstrong himself or his life other than his historic Apollo 11 mission. The acting was good, and Gemini and Apollo scenes were also riveting. Definitely a good movie to celebrate NASA’s 60th anniversary this year.

Official Movie Website

Venom

20181003 poster Venom

SYNOPSIS: In this origin story, journalist Eddie Brock becomes host to the symbiote Venom while investigating Life Foundation founder Carlton Drake.

MY TAKE: I don’t understand the low critic ratings, or maybe because of them, I liked this movie. Of course, I was not familiar with the comic book character, so, I was more open to this movie’s treatment, which was as much about Eddie Brock as it was about Venom. Tom Hardy was good, CGI was good, and humor was nicely scattered in. I did not quite like the casting for Carlton Drake (who was like an evil Elon Musk) and Anne Weying, but I still liked the movie. Stay through the end credits for two bonus scenes.

Official Movie Website

A Star Is Born

20180927 poster A Star Is Born

SYNOPSIS: A troubled past-his-prime star discovers a talented singer/songwriter and falls in love with her as he helps her start her career.

MY TAKE: Most remakes don’t live up to the original, but this one does! As expected, Lady Gaga’s singing is amazing, but who knew Bradley Cooper could sing! The music is really good, and the acting is good as well. I would have wanted the pacing to be a tad bit faster, but otherwise, even if you already know the story, many in the audience (not me though) were sniffling, so, be prepared…

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Colette

20180924 poster Colette

SYNOPSIS: Colette ghostwrites a novel which becomes a hit and starts her on her exploration of sexuality and creative control of her work.

MY TAKE: I don’t know how much of the story was true and how much was made up, but what nagged at me was that the setting and the characters were French, and yet none of the actors spoke with a French accent. Nevertheless, the movie was not bad, just not my type. Acting was also good.

Official Movie Website

Night School

20180910 poster Night School

SYNOPSIS: Several years after Teddy drops out from high school, he goes back to night school to earn his GED.

MY TAKE: I had high expectations. After all, the movie starred Kevin Hart and the current “It” girl of comedy, Tiffany Haddish. But even though there were some funny moments, the movie was not as funny as I expected. There were also a few crude scenes, and the story was not very original, although it did have a feel-good ending. I prefer Kevin Hart’s other movies with Dwayne Johnson.

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The House With A Clock In Its Walls

20180918 poster The House With A Clock In Its Walls

SYNOPSIS: A recently-orphaned boy goes to live with his uncle, who turns out to be a wizard.

MY TAKE: Based on a kids’ book, I was expecting a really good movie. But it took a long time to unveil the villain and the titular clock, and even then, the villain was not seen much until the last quarter of the movie, leading to a very anti-climactic ending. However, the movie was funnier than I expected, special effects were good, and the villain was not scary. Not a bad movie, I just expected better.

Official Movie Website

Life Itself

20180913 poster Life Itself

SYNOPSIS: This movie tells the tragic love stories that eventually intersect and affect the life of a young writer.

MY TAKE: Unsurprisingly, this movie, from the creator of “This Is Us”, felt a lot like “This Is Us”, especially with the use of flashbacks to tell the story bit by bit. But this was more like a TV movie, not a movie movie. And I was trying to figure out the story timeline based on the ages of the characters, but the numbers did not add up. Not a bad movie, but not something to run out to watch either. Maybe just wait for the video.

Official Movie Website