Monday, June 24, 2019

The Breakdown of Our 300th Episode - 'Toy Story 4', 'Child's Play'. 'Murder Mystery' and 'See You Yesterday'


It is our 300th episode. We've been doing this since 2013 and have reviewed hundreds of movies. Today we will review four more. We got a huge one in the Pixar animated adventure and follow-up to a classic in Toy Story 4. We keep up the theme of talking toys with the more sinister Child's Play. Speaking of evil talking toys, we have the latest Adam Sandler movie in Murder Mystery. Finally, we look at a time travelling drama produced by Spike Lee with See You Yesterday. Then we celebrate our 300th episode by looking back at how we came up with this show, how it has evolved and share some of our favourite moments.

As always, we had a great time recording the show and we really hope you love it. If you do, then please spread the word to other movie fans. We really want to thank you for listening to us for 300 episodes and hope you stay with us for 300 more.

Reminder that you can subscribe either to The Movie Breakdown feed (a subscription link is at the top right hand of this site) or on iTunes (if you enjoy the show, please help us by giving us a five star review).



Four Star Movie Rating:

Murder Mystery ** (CS) & **½ (SM)
Toy Story 4 **** (CS)
See You Yesterday ** (CS) & ***½ (SM)
Child's Play *** (CS)

The Summer Box Office Challenge Draft Picks:

Scott:

1. The Lion King
2. Hobbs and Shaw
3. Detective Pikachu - $54 365 242
4. The Secret Life of Pets 2 $46 652 680
5. Men in Black International $30 035 838
6. Annabelle Comes Home
7. Angry Birds 2
8. Shaft $8 901 419
9. Dora and the Lost City of Gold
10. Long Shot $9 740 064
Total: $149 695 243

Christopher:

1. Toy Story 4 $118 000 000
2. Spider-Man Far from Home
3. Godzilla: King of the Monsters $47 776 293
4. Aladdin $91 500 929
5. X-Men: Dark Phoenix $32 828 348
6. Rocketman $25 725 722
7. John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum: $56 818 067
8. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
9. Child's Play (replaced Artemis Fowl) $14 055 540
10. Ma $18 099 805
Total: $404 804 704

Monday, June 17, 2019

The Breakdown of 'Men in Black International', 'Shaft', 'I am Mother' and 'Homecoming: A Film by Beyonce'


This week we are deep in the sequel talk. We review two theatrical movies that are 'rebooted' sequels of once popular series. One of my favourite modern movie duos Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson team up again but this time in some suits for the latest adaptation of a sci-fi adventure series in Men in Black International. Then director Tim Story does a very comedic version of a long running action series in Shaft (which of course is a sequel to Shaft, which was also a sequel to a movie in the 1970s called Shaft). We keep up the sequel discussion with our topic where we look at why sequels to very popular movies can have drastically different results in the box office. We also have two Netflix originals in the sci-fi thriller I am Mother and the concert movie, Homecoming: A Film by Beyonce.

As always, we had a great time recording the show and we really hope you love it. You can really help us out if you spread the word on social media, so more movie fans can find out about the show.

Reminder that you can subscribe either to The Movie Breakdown feed (a subscription link is at the top right hand of this site) or on iTunes (if you enjoy the show, please help us by giving us a five star review).



Four Star Movie Rating:

Men in Black International ** (CS) 
I am Mother ** (CS) & *** (SM)
Shaft * (CS)
Homecoming: A Film by Beyonce *** (CS) & ***½ (SM)

The Summer Box Office Challenge Draft Picks:

Scott:

1. The Lion King
2. Hobbs and Shaw
3. Detective Pikachu - $54 365 242
4. The Secret Life of Pets 2 $46 652 680
5. Men in Black International $30 035 838
6. Annabelle Comes Home
7. Angry Birds 2
8. Shaft $8 901 419
9. Dora and the Lost City of Gold
10. Long Shot $9 740 064
Total: $149 695 243

Christopher:

1. Toy Story 4
2. Spider-Man Far from Home
3. Godzilla: King of the Monsters $47 776 293
4. Aladdin $91 500 929
5. X-Men: Dark Phoenix $32 828 348
6. Rocketman $25 725 722
7. John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum: $56 818 067
8. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
9. Child's Play (replaced Artemis Fowl)
10. Ma $18 099 805
Total: $272 749 164

Friday, June 14, 2019

24 Years in the Making


I remember the press conference where it was revealed Toronto's new NBA team would be the Raptors. At the time, I was thrilled that Toronto was finally getting a team, because I had gone to a few NBA exhibition matches that were played in Hamilton and Toronto and I was really into basketball at the time (I even was doing something sort of resembling playing the sport at the time). For a few years, I was really hoping that the occasional games being played in Ontario meant they were testing waters for a team to come to Toronto. As I excited as I was for it finally happen, I remember being a bit bummed that team name seemed to be jumping on what was hot at the time as Jurassic Park had come out in 1993 and was one of the biggest blockbusters of all-time. I thought it would end up looking really dated, sort of like naming a hockey team after a kid's movie.

Little did I know, they would still be making Jurassic Park movies 24 years later. Also, as a dad of young kids, I am now well aware that dinosaurs are the coolest thing in the world tied with magical princesses, Jedi and cupcakes. As a teenager thrilled to have NBA team, I did not know that I'd have to wait 24 years for them to finally make it to the NBA finals. But much like another Toronto based team, they won it on their first appearance.

I remember as younger kid in the late 80s becoming a big Blue Jays fan. It was the cheapest sport to take a family to see live, so we used to go as a family to a few live games a year. My dad was a big baseball fan, but he would usually really get into it near the end of the summer when the Jays were in the pennant race. Almost every year, I remember the Jays coming really close to either clinching a playoff spot or making it to the American League championship but losing out to teams like the Oakland As or Minnesota Twins. Every year, my dad would let out a big sigh and grumble that 1985 was their year but they blew it against the Kansas City Royals (I would have been turning seven but have no memory of watching it at the time). I never heard him say that again after 1992 with their historic World Series victory. My dad only had to wait 15 years for his team to win a championship.

Another thing I didn't know back when the Toronto Raptors joined the NBA, was that I would see far less games than I would have imagined. I can't even remember the last time I saw a Raptors game in person. I also didn't know that I'd end up following sports way less and have entire seasons where I wasn't paying attention to how the Raptors or any of 'my teams' were doing.

It was called life. After moving out of the house in my 20s, I lived with roommates that either weren't into sports or we didn't have cable. After getting married, it had been so many years of not really having the means to watch the Raptors that I didn't give it much thought. Emily was more into baseball than most other sports. I'd occasionally check to see how they were doing but my sports watching time was precious, so it was usually devoted to the Chicago Bears who I only needed to devote one game a week (being an out of market team, it was more like two or three games the whole season before the playoffs). Once kids came along and I started trying to get a freelance career going on top of that, I had even less time. I started writing about movies, so all my TV watching ended up being movies so that I could review them. If I was ever paid to write about sports, then things would have been different (though to be honest, movies have been an obsession since the first time I saw Snow White and the Sevens Dwarfs in a theatre, so my knowledge was always stronger for that form of entertainment).

So, even though in my teen years I thought I'd be a lifetime Raptors fans, I have to say that I didn't really experience all the ups and downs. I read articles and caught some playoff games over the years, but this day is much sweeter for those that have been cheering them on every season since their inception.

Last night, was still an amazing moment. It was a reminder why I once really loved watching sports and why I still think it is one of the greatest forms of entertainment. It is real and unscripted drama with characters you follow for years. It is something as a fan that you can viscerally throw yourself into for three hours in a night. It plays with our hearts and many times we get heartbroken. Our team comes up short, but the ride was fun while it lasted. But then you get something like last night, all those rough seasons were worth it when your team finally wins the championship.

It was amazing watching a few of the Raptors playoff games this year. They are immensely talented, but the thing that really stands out to me was that they really were a team. They have a superstar in Kawhi Leonard, but he it was clear he wasn't out for personal glory but rather to win for the entire team. They allowed every a player a chance to shine and the bench often performed when they needed to do it. It was a team about making plays and working hard together. The even cooler thing was watching them after each game. Leonard seems like a genuinely humble (or at least, as humble as a superstar can be) and down to earth person. Every player seemed to ooze respect and dignity. Kevin Lowry came off as a team leader but also one who would praise his teammates and show respect to his opponents. They won with grace last night, which was an amazing thing to witness.

This may be their job and they are making millions for doing it, but it was also great to see them thrilled to have won the championship.  They were those young boys again brimming with passion and love. It was a great moment on TV seeing them celebrate and hear them talk about winning this one for Canada. Sure, that is something to say to keep your fans happy, but they really seemed to be proud that night to be Raptors and to win for their fans.

It took 24 years, but it was worth it. Young teenager Christopher would be running through the streets screaming for joy. Much older Christopher almost left his wife hanging as she went for a high-five. It was a still great moment and it was a blast to be a fan again.

Monday, June 10, 2019

The Breakdown of 'Rocketman', 'Always Be My Maybe' and 'Rim of the World'


This week on The Movie Breakdown we've got three movie reviews to kick off your Monday right. The big theatrical release is the musical biopic of Elton John called Rocketman and yes, I make some comparisons to Bohemian Rhapsody. We also discuss the latest romcom from Netflix with the story about two best friends falling love in Always Be My Maybe. Then we review the children fighting aliens adventure in Rim of the World. We also are going to look at why some critics will change their opinion on a movie. From there, we discuss if actors should do their own stunts or not. As always, it was a great time recording the show and if you enjoyed it, please spread the word to other movie fans.

Reminder that you can subscribe either to The Movie Breakdown feed (a subscription link is at the top right hand of this site) or on iTunes (if you enjoy the show, please help us by giving us a five star review).


Four Star Movie Rating:

Always Be My Maybe *** (CS) & **** (SM)
Rocketman **** (CS)
Rim of the World *½ (CS & SM)

The Summer Box Office Challenge Draft Picks:

Scott:

1. The Lion King
2. Hobbs and Shaw
3. Detective Pikachu - $54 365 242
4. The Secret Life of Pets 2 $46 652 680
5. Men in Black International 
6. Annabelle Comes Home
7. Angry Birds 2
8. Shaft
9. Dora and the Lost City of Gold
10. Long Shot $9 740 064
Total: $110 757 986

Christopher:

1. Toy Story 4
2. Spider-Man Far from Home
3. Godzilla: King of the Monsters $47 776 293
4. Aladdin $91 500 929
5. X-Men: Dark Phoenix $32 828 348
6. Rocketman $25 725 722
7. John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum: $56 818 067
8. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
9. Child's Play (replaced Artemis Fowl)
10. Ma $18 099 805
Total: $272 749 164




Friday, June 07, 2019

11 Years


A few years ago on this day, I wrote what ended up being one of my most viewed and controversial pieces where I reflected on my wedding anniversary by analyzing how Emily rarely says, 'I love you.' I ended up getting passionate comments from complete strangers who were bothered that those three words together were not a common part of my wife's vocabulary. It also ended up being a piece that resonated with many readers who appreciated the honesty of the article rather than just being a fluff piece trying to make my relationship look like rainbows and Skittles.

I don't know what my actual goal was when I started writing about my wife's lack of saying 'I love you.' Some of it may have been talking through it and trying to reconcile that aspect of my relationship. Another part was definitely to make it clear that what works for one marriage or relationship is different for another. I have read many pieces about why it is important to say 'I love you' every day, but I also know couples who have been married longer than I that rarely say those words but are happy together. What I've learned from 11 years of marriage is that you can take advice, you can have models for healthy relationships, you can see things that work but, in the end, you need to know what works for you and your partner.

Love is more than words. Love is aspiring to be a better person. Love is accepting faults in yourself and others knowing they don't define a person. Love is really listening. Love is adapting, reshaping and transforming. Love is pushing yourself and others to be better. Love is doing things in the background. Love is doing things loud and clear. Love is doing what you know your partner needs. Love is making a marriage work.

After 11 years, I've sometimes done great things for my marriage. Many times, I've done very stupid things. What I've learned is that the best thing that I can do is really listen to Emily, strive to be a better person and really invest myself into our relationship. This means to not be complacent and every day try to demonstrate my love through my actions and the time I spend. When I say listen, I mean to really hear what Emily wants and needs in that current moment. I must aim to always be present for her and our family.

Confession time. I haven't been the greatest husband in the last many months. The depression I've talked about on here has made me very distant. I end up crashing most night right after putting the kids to bed, which means we never spend nights together. I've been so emotional and mentally flustered that I haven't been planning for things to do. I know I've been checked out. I also know that I want to do much better. I want to be the husband that I know my wife deserves.

11 years ago, on this day, I knew my wedding was a big event. I knew it would change my life. I had no idea what was really in store for me. I now have two amazing children that I adore and try every day to be a great father for them. Together we got a lovable dog in Summit who was my dear companion for 8 years, and now have two more energetic dogs. I've learned to cook and no longer get too anxious near an oven. Because of Emily, I've visited the Maritimes, Quebec City, Chicago, New York and Alberta. Most of my greatest memories and moments are thanks to Emily. I couldn't even imagine my life now without her and my kids.

I haven't been very great at sticking to my goals lately. But the most important thing in the world is Emily and my two kids, Everett and Danika. The 11th anniversary is the best time to recommit to being the best and most loving husband and father that I can possibly be. The best way to show my love is not the words, but the work I am going to throw into this relationship. I aim to make every day matter with the ones that I love most.

I love you, Emily. Happy 11th Wedding Anniversary!

Monday, June 03, 2019

The Breakdown of 'Godzilla: King of the Monsters', 'The Perfection', 'Good Sam' and 'Knock Down the House'


We are just a few weeks away from our 300th episode. But we still have lots of movie goodness to discuss until then. We have a huge summer movie this week in the big monster mash sequel, Godzilla: King of the Monsters. We also review three Netflix originals in the twisty thriller, The Perfection, a new romcom called Good Sam and a political documentary in Knock Down the House. After the movie reviews, we also discuss why big studios seem to only greenlight original ideas (e.g: non-franchise, based on other works) for horror and animated features. Plus as a special teaser, there is a movie we really disagree on and it leads to a pretty passionate debate, You'll have to listen to decide who you think was right. Despite the throwdown, we had an amazing time recording the show and we really hope you love it. If you do, then please spread the word on social media.

Reminder that you can subscribe either to The Movie Breakdown feed (a subscription link is at the top right hand of this site) or on iTunes (if you enjoy the show, please help us by giving us a five star review).



Four Star Movie Rating:

Godzilla: King of the Monsters ** (CS)
The Perfection *** (CS) & *½ (SM)
Good Sam *½ (CS & SM)
Knock Down the House *** (CS & SM)

The Summer Box Office Challenge Draft Picks:

Scott:

1. The Lion King
2. Hobbs and Shaw
3. Detective Pikachu - $54 365 242
4. The Secret Life of Pets 2
5. Men in Black International 
6. Annabelle Comes Home
7. Angry Birds 2
8. Shaft
9. Dora and the Lost City of Gold
10. Long Shot $9 740 064
Total: $64 105 306

Christopher:

1. Toy Story 4
2. Spider-Man Far from Home
3. Godzilla: King of the Monsters $47 776 293
4. Aladdin $91 500 929
5. X-Men: Dark Phoenix
6. Rocketman $25 725 722
7. John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum: $56 818 067
8. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
9. Child's Play (replaced Artemis Fowl)
10. Ma $18 099 805
Total: $239 920 816



Sunday, June 02, 2019

May Theatrical Movies Wrap-Up


2019 has been an odd year when trying to judge where it stands quality wise compared to previous years where I've been reviewing at least a movie a week (2013 to now -- though 2012 is when I first got paid to review movies, but I skipped several weeks throughout the year). We are at the almost halfway point, and I already have two movies that I gave four stars. Several movies exceeded my expectations, and most times I left the theatre feeling mostly satisfied. Yet the year still feels really flat.

I am starting to think that has less to do with the quality of movies and more to do with my own emotional state. I'm really frustrated where I am professionally, and the blog has been neglected. I have hit very few of my goals. While I don't want to come up with an easy excuse, I've been struggling with a lot of anxiety which has led to depression. The depression has wiped me out at night, which is the time I usually do a lot of writing (day writing was much easier when the kid I was looking after was 'has no problem reading or quietly playing' Everett compared to 'ride the laundry hamper down the stairs' Danika).

The depression has led to a disconnect with my kids and Emily. Knowing that I haven't been as invested in them as much as I should has made me feel guilty and even more depressed. Remember those goals I set out to accomplish in 2019? I don't think it is even worthwhile giving an update at the mid-year as things currently stand.

I've talked about this all before. I'm trying my best to think positive and shake this funk. For the first time in awhile, I'm confident that I can do it. But my point is that unshakeable sadness has affected how I perceive 2019 and that is likely why I feel kind of 'meh' about it as a movie year despite loving movies like Us, Avengers: Endgame and How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.

All that to say, May as a kick-off to the big summer movie season has to be deemed a major success from a quality perspective. The month started off with the raunchy romantic comedy Long Shot that proved Charlie Theron can truly do anything. She hasn't done a lot of comedies, but she delivers the zingers and energy here. She also has a great chemistry with Seth Rogen where you root for them to get together. It also blends in politics with the storyline that she is running for President and I liked that it was mostly an open-minded movie where there is a fantasy conservative and liberals can get along. It also was a case where the female didn't need a guy to loosen up and be fun. It respects her and lets her be cool. It also shows that a good relationship is one where both members grow and improve from it.

I ended up skipping Detective Pikachu, because due to a consequence, Everett couldn't go see it and all review pointed to it being great for those that love Pokemon. I don't get Pokemon, even after seeing a few of the animated movies with Everett, so without being able to enjoy his company, I deemed reviewing it to be pointless.

The next week, I did get my John Wick Chapter Three: Parabellum on. This is one of the greatest action series ever and rivals Mission Impossible as the most consistent modern actioner. It is great because you can actually follow the action due to great choreography and real stunt work. I also love the world-building of this assassin world with their rules, codes, currency and shops. It is a giant double cake of awesome for any fan who loved 1980s action, but it is confidently its own thing. Keanu Reeves is amazing here as it uses his form of charisma perfectly and he works hard for the action to look believable. Halle Berry deserves props for being a highlight in this movie. The ending was a bit anti-climatic and the story was the weakest of the three with the action becoming overkill by the end, but I still recommend it, even though I prefer the other two movies. This one may also grow in appreciation from me on rewatching.

Aladdin is yet another example of Disney delivering on their live-action adaptations of animated features. It probably is the one that follows the original story the closest, but the added material does enhance the story. Will Smith nails it as the Genie acting as both a homage of Robin Williams but making it his own. Mena Massoud who plays Aladdin and Naomi Scott who plays Jasmine are rising stars who embody the characters, and Scott has a soul-lifting voice. I also love the new focus on Aladdin and Genie's relationship and Jasmine being a stronger political figure who wants to be sultan.  It is clear that Guy Ritchie has never directed a musical as the numbers don't pop like the original, but he adds a nicer energy and humour and proves he can do a family movie.

My Godzilla: King of the Monsters review is on The Movie Breakdown tomorrow. I will say it was a huge disappointment. You get more monster fighting action this time, but it also proves maybe that isn't a good thing. The sequences have cool moments, but some of the fights are hard to follow due to quick edits. The humans are also the worst and have awful dialogue that makes talented actors seem awful. We get way too much human storyline that makes this movie a bit of a bloated bore.

Due to catching yet another illness, I haven't seen Rocketman yet. A review should be up later in the week.

Here are The Movie Breakdown episodes from May:

The Breakdown of Marvel Movie Magic, Plus Remembering John Singleton and Peter Mayhew

The Breakdown of the Atypical Blockbuster - The Departed, Kramer vs. Kramer, Unforgiven, Good Will Hunting and Psycho 

The Breakdown of John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum, Long Shot, Extremely Wicked and Shockingly Evil and Vile, The Silence and Remembering Doris Day

The Breakdown of Aladdin, Wine Country, The Last Summer and the spoiler-filled review of Avengers: Endgame