Once Upon a Monster Reacher

It’s been a while since I did a movie review, so how about two for the price of one today? Especially since the two movies are very different from each other. First up let’s do Jack Reacher, a Tom Cruise thriller about the investigation into a sniper shooting. I’d heard some about the movie before I watched it (the biggest tidbit was that 5′ 7″ cruise was playing the part of 6′ 5″ Reacher), but I didn’t quite know what to expect. Overall, i was happy with the results. It wasn’t the most awesome thriller I’ve seen, but it certainly was diverting, with a plot that toed the line between predictable and ridiculous from time to time, but never quite went over. Quite violent for a PG13 movie. If you’re in the field for a thriller, you could do much worse than this one. 3 stars out of 4.

Once is a strange movie to review. It’s a musical romance that borders on far too cutesy from time to time. A street musician in Ireland meets a girl from the Czech Republic. There was a lot about the movie that I really enjoyed. The songs were good–and I was even more impressed when I discovered that the two leads are also the singers and songwriters for the music in the film. I don’t recall seeing something like that ever. It also managed to avoid some of the bigger ruts a lot of other movies like this fall into, so props for that. On the other hand, it’s got 38 f-bombs, most of which are in the first five minutes of the film. I watched this one with Denisa, because from what I’d heard of the movie, it was right up her alley. She almost made me stop the film right at the beginning. Thankfully, some judicious use of the fast forward button (coupled with the fact that this was Irish swearing, and for some reason the f-word doesn’t seem as harsh when it rhymes with spook.), got us over that speed bump, and she also ended up enjoying the film. (Though if I’d known exactly how many swears were in those first five minutes, I likely never would have given the film a try. It’s not one I’d watch on my own.) And it won an Oscar for best song. Nice movie (3.5 stars out of 4, with bonus points awarded for artistic talent), but really–why would filmmakers go and do something like alienate a large potential audience right off the bat, for a throwaway scene that didn’t need the bad language to begin with?

Finally. Monsters University. I enjoyed the first movie a great deal. This second one? Another strong showing. It’s very different from the first, which was really fanciful. I loved the world building in that first movie. This one falls more in line with a straight up college movie, but the jokes are rapid fire, and the characters are well done. Did it feel like I was watching a retread of other college movies like Animal House, Revenge of the Nerds, or any number of summer camp flicks? At times, yes. It’s definitely deep in its genre. But should you penalize a movie for being what it says it’s going to be? I don’t think so. It still managed to be surprising in parts, and I really enjoyed it. 3 stars out of 4, mainly because it’s a shade less strong than its predecessor, and so it pales some in comparison.

Have you seen any of these? What did you think?

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