HELLO EVERYONE!!! Everyone still there? Is this Quick Study working? I’m still deciding if I want to keep this Quick Study thing going so please send some feedback if you’re still interested in this kind of thing. Otherwise, hello friends! July was a fun month. Plenty of big ticket films were released and I visited a couple other unique titles. Quite possibly, my favorite among the quick study topics would be my viewing of Luke Cage Season 2. For me, this was one of Marvel TV’s strongest seasons yet. I did not hit too many full reviews this month but of the four, it is a tough toss up between Ant-Man, Equalizer 2, and the newest Mission: Impossible. All three were rock stars of their styles.
Let me know what you think of this month’s quick study as well as any recommendations as to what I could incorporate to them! See you next month!
Quick Study Topics:
The Equalizer (2014)
Incredibles 2 (2018)
John Mulaney: New in Town (2012)
Luke Cage (2016- ) Season 2
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015)
The Ritual (2018)
Blockers (2018) — Director: Kay Cannon
Yet another late watch for me here. I was actually pretty excited to catch this film in theaters but never found the chance to. A month or two after its release, I finally got the watch in and it landed as about expected. The trio of Leslie Mann, John Cena, and Ike Barinholtz is stellar. All three are an absolute riot in their own ways and all have hilarious moments. Personally, I have been a big fan of John Cena during his Hollywood run in these comedy films he has been making appearances in. That is no exception with “Blockers”. He is an absolute riot.
Next to Cena, I was actually really impressed with Leslie Mann by means of her taking charge of this trio. I found her wearing the pants in this trio and that in of itself is hilarious. Plenty of laugh out loud moments delivered by Ms. Mann.
Beyond the pure comedy gold this whole cast generates, the film loses its edge at times when it strays away from the comedy element which is a curse with comedy films all too frequently. In order to provide a bit of backstory to the plot, “Blockers” has moments of serious exposition and ultimately loses steam. After these brief moments, the film runs full speed with its comedy but unfortunately this chops the rating a bit. Nonetheless, a quality comedy film.
The Equalizer (2014) — Director: Antoine Fuqua
We all know Denzel Washington is a titan in the Hollywood business. The man rarely makes a bad movie. In 2014, Denzel is casted to a film called “The Equalizer” and the rest is history. Equalizer was an under-the-radar favorite of mine in 2014. Almost a more civilian John Wick. Denzel is an absolute badass from start to finish while also laying down his smooth talking charm. With the sequel now upon us, I would have to say you need to catch this film and the sequel ASAP. It is a great action series starring some stellar individuals.
Gringo (2018) — Director: Nash Edgerton
I squeezed this film in at the last second… Literally… I watched it at 11PM on July 31st, thus fitting into the July Quick Study! I chose this film to watch for multiple reasons. 1. I actually was genuinely interested in this film when it first came out because of its star studded cast and a seemingly funny premise. The second reason is I still have my goal of watching 100 2018 released films by the year’s end and I have a ways to go, so, here we are.
“Gringo” was not so bad. It had a lot of moments that went really well for the film but it also had plenty that seemed to fall flat, or at least, did not feel like they meant much to the film overall. For the good, this film is filled with interesting connections. One of them, and to me, the most interesting, is that the director, Nash Edgerton, is the brother of Joel Edgerton who starred in the film. While Joel has been quite the headliner in recent films (It Comes At Night, The Gift, Bright, and plenty more). This film was not his best in regards to his performance being captivating by any sorts. While he plays a villain, and an a**hole to boot, he was not too believable. To be honest, not many actors within this film held too much ground. The two prominent figures in the film were easily front-runner David
Oyelowo and co-star Charlize Theron. Everyone else, including one of my favorites, Sharlto Copley, kind of just coasted through the film.
Again, a solid outing for this under-the-radar 2018 film but there is plenty more to be desired.
Hanna (2011) — Joe Wright
I came across this viewing of “Hanna” by way of a little bracket elimination my friends and I decided to do. (Which may very well end up being a piece of Oberrated content, keep your eyes peeled). Saoirse Ronan and Eric Bana were the subject of conversation in regards to the excellent killing ability in the film. Me personally, I never got around to seeing the film until this month despite coming across it a couple times. It had a brief time on Netflix where I saw the title first. Then it came back to my memory as I searched for other films Saoirse Ronan was in after my appreciation for her ignited with “Lady Bird”.
As for the film, “Hanna”, I feel like there was so much that could have been done but it ultimately fell flat. In the moments where the action was on full blast, the film was wild and had solid moments. In other areas, the film relied on its story telling of who and what Hanna is. With this, I found both good and bad. Learning the background of Hanna was interesting but often it strayed away from the main story and became a bit of a drag. With that, that is where the film suffers majorly in regards to its pacing through my eyes.
Incredibles 2 (2018) — Director: Brad Bird
14 years later, the sequel to the beloved “Incredibles” is finally released. I am sad I was not able to put out a promptly timed review for this but at least it made my Quick Study. There is not much else to say beyond that “Incredibles 2” delivers yet another highly entertaining animated film, just as its predecessor was. It is hilarious for all ages, it has some impressive fight sequences, and it is simple, all around fun. For me, it is just about on par with the first film. The one thing to keep an eye on is that if you watch the first one recently then come to this, the animation is absolutely gorgeous compared to the first. Of course, that is to be expected with a 14 year gap.
John Mulaney: New in Town (2012)
Back with another stand-up entry within my Quick Study. I caught John Mulaney’s stand-up from 2012 with a couple friends. They had seen this before and insisted I watch it. I sure am glad they insisted. This stand-up is hilarious yet uniquely different compared to the comedians I typically watch. Mulaney delivers his own flavor of comedy without being overly vulgar or dark. Almost like a regular youngish guy that just is really damn funny. The stand-up is on Netflix and I can not recommend it enough if you want to catch some laughs!
Luke Cage (2016- ) Season 2
***SPOILERS TO SEASON ONE CAUSE YOU SHOULD’VE WATCHED IT BY NOW IF YOU CARE***
Luke Cage Season 1 was back and forth for me. The first half was absolutely amazing with the villainous Cottonmouth (Mahershala Ali). Then it fell nearly completely flat with Diamondback taking over. Ultimately, a pretty damn good season. Season 2, however, was truly immaculate in my eyes. From the dialogue exchanged between multiple characters, to the action sequences delivered from Luke Cage and friends, and also to the impactful villains testing our heroes. Season two delivered everything I could have wanted and to be honest, this may have taken over as my favorite Marvel season.
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015) – Director: Christopher McQuirre
Watched this film in preparation for “Mission: Impossible – Fallout”. I initially wanted to watch the whole franchise but I did not have the time, so this will have to do. This was only the second time I watched this film but I quickly remembered how much I enjoyed it. As always, Tom Cruise is out of his mind with his stunt work and pulse-pounding action scenes. These films have always been fun and crazy entertainment. This film, around the middle of it, has a bit of a slow period of time which kind of takes away from its effectiveness. Especially in such a high-caliber action film. Nonetheless, just as all the Mission: Impossible films are, the film delivers exactly what it intends. An adventure action film for all.
The Ritual (2018) – Director: David Bruckner
Between the history of decent Netflix exclusives and the plethora of forgetful and average exclusives, here is another Netflix special called “The Ritual”. The horror flick is based in the woods of Sweden but these woods do not only house wild life but also a mysterious being that seemingly terrorizes its visitors.
Unexpectedly, this film was highly impressive. Despite what seems to be a popular opinion of the film being a Blair Witch rip-off, it was unique and thrilling. The mystery of the woods keeps one invested for the duration of the film while also being a slow-burn terror of supernatural activity or maybe it is just sheer monstrous hunting. My experience with this film was majorly positive and is well worth a Netflix watch.