Bob’s 2018 Retrospective: 200 Mini Reviews [Part 2: The Pretty Good and the Pretty Bad]

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Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich – Review as part of January Short Takes here

What’s this? A good Puppet Master movie? Yes, for what it is. Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich, a reboot of the Charles Band series, won’t win over non-horror fans, but those who dig gore and nice special effects will have a good time. Essentially – if you go “oh nice, a new Puppet Master? Cool!” you’re in and will have a good time. 

Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-it-Ralph 2

I’ll admit, the first act is really wonky and didn’t’ work for me at all. As happy as I was to see beloved characters again, it didn’t seem right. But it’s just awkward set up as when the plot really starts moving, Ralph starts to hit. It’s nearly as strong as it’s predecessor, there is a little to much going on and really direct with it’s advertising even for Disney, but still an enjoyable ride with an undercooked message. There is a lot of “here’s things you know” although I do admit the princess scene – which I dreaded – was well done and doesn’t’ over stay its welcome. Merida’s line made it all worth it anyway. The surprise song by Alan Menkin is hilarious as well. As a King Kong and Kaiju fan, freakin’ love the climax. Messy but enjoyable as hell for most of it’s run, Ralph Breaks the Internet is a nearly worthy follow up.

Rampage

This video game adaptation delivers on its promise: big monsters pounding the shit out each other and cities. It has just enough story to bring it all together, a charismatic lead in The Rock, and connecting him with one of the monsters gives just enough heart to make us care, and a pair of mustache twirling villains. It toes of the line of just too stupid, but caring about the stupidity. The effects look great and the carnage is well-made. Much better than it should be, Rampage is a fun trip.

Ravenous

Not the under-seen but damned good cannibal flick from 1999, but a Quebecois zombie film. Unlike many zombie flicks, Ravenous and quiet and reserved. It settles for a tone of loss and the sadness of “the world has moved on” than zombie set pieces. It may be too slow for many expecting zombie carnage but for me, it was affecting and digs into my mind.

RBG

Ruth Bader-Ginsburg is a national treasure. A true hero for anyone who cares about equality. As a lawyer, and later a judge in courts heading up to Supreme Court, the Notorious RBG has fought for women and men to be treated equally by the system. This CNN produced documentary (streaming on Hulu), puts her up a pedestal to teach us all how important and wonderful she is. Yes, it is a little navel gazing in that effect and there are ideas brought up that aren’t’ followed up upon and some timeline issues. But on the whole, it’s a powerful documentary meant to bring her up. And it should.

The Ritual

Fuck yes. Boy did this get under my skin. The tale of five men on a yearly hike in the woods goes awry when they cut off their path. Their pains and guilts from life begin to come in as they start to see things in the woods. Then it goes bugnuts insane. The cabin at the center of the film is deeply disturbing. The creature… holy shit, what a design. Love it all.

Road Movie

This is a weird one to rate. Sixty-five minutes of Russian dash cams edited into one long video. Yeah, it’s kind of a supercut. But a well edited and put together one, cutting out the non-interesting stuff and building to a massive forest fire. Holy shit. It’s totally different to watch at a home on YouTube to a big screen. Fuckin’ crazy.

Robin Williams: Come Into My Mind

Robin Williams is a figure we all know. We all love. We’ve laughed with him across decades of specials, shows, and movies. He was a great dramatic actor too. As has been said many times, comedians find their humour through sadness. This film examines Williams from his youth to his death, interviewing friends and family. The love they have for the man is astounding, hardly a bad word. So much emotion. People may ask why we care about people we never met; the documentary reminds us why we do. Through people in his life, we know Robin and love him even more. I miss him and the joy he brought us.

A Simple Favor

Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively are in top form as best frienemies in the comic mystery film. Lively is delightfully blase and filthy as a high strung unhappy housewife up against the peppy, with a dark secret of course, single mom Anna Kendrick. After Lively goes missing, Kendrick begins a personal hunt to find out why. There is a little unsteadiness in the center when it becomes a quest, but that’s one of few negative bits. Other than that A Simple Favor is sardonic as hell with a delight of a script and mystery.

Small Town Crime

John Hawkes and Robert Forester lead a mean little film about, you guessed it small town crime. Hawkes is an ex-cop at rock bottom when he finds a body of a young girl and takes it upon himself to solve the murder in order to get his job back. It runs like a pulp detective novel and dammit it works. There are some stumbles in the script itself, but with an actor like Hawkes leading the charge, one is able to glide past them and into a compelling mystery.

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