Maleficent: Mistress of Evil IMAX (2019)

I usually try to watch the first movies before a sequel, but this time out, I did not do that. I watched Maleficent when it came out in theaters a couple of years ago, and haven’t watched it since then. I didn’t care much for it, but I went to see the sequel, anyway.

Admittedly, it was mostly for Michelle Pfeiffer.

As with the first movie, I didn’t care much for this one.

The story of a queen trying to destroy fairies to gain access to their resources..why? Because of a loveless marriage? Her kingdom did seem to be doing alright without the fairies being allies or destroyed enemies.

It was some nice mix of makeup & CGI for the dark fairies, at least.

And the IMAX format filled the whole screen, wall to wall & floor to ceiling.

Zombieland: Double Tap (2019)

Followed up my second viewing of Gemini Man with Zombieland: Double Tap at the AMC Lufkin. The original cast – Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin, Emma Stone & Bill Murray – all return from the first film. Zoey Deutch, Luke Wilson, Thomas Middleditch, Avan Jogia, and Rosario Dawson join the cast as other survivors of the zombie apocalypse.

In search of a home, Tallahassee, Columbus, Wichita, and Little Rock have taken over the White House. Little Rock has grown up and wants to get laid. She & Wichita leave a note, steal Tallahassee’s new ride, the Beast, and take off from D.C.

Trying to get over Wichita, Columbus meets Madison at an abandoned mall, where she has taken refuge in a food court freezer. And when Wichita returns to the White House, and tells Tallahassee that Little Rock has hooked up with a pacifist named Berkeley, the four go out after them.

There’s a visit to Graceland, the Hound Dog Hotel, and then moving on to a hippie commune called Babylon.

This was a pretty fun sequel, and I love that they brought everyone back for it, no recasting or off screen deaths.

If ya go to see it, stick around for the credits for both a mid and post credit sequences.

Gemini Man (2019)

So, I was in Tyler Wednesday night, and I was watching Gemini Man on the IMAX screen at the AMC Tyler. It was the second movie of the day, and with about a half hour or so left in the film, the screen went dark & the emergency lights started to flash. A prerecorded voice came over the speakers, asking people to make their orderly way to the exits.

The theater was evacuated, two trucks from the Tyler Fire & Rescue arrived, and a theater employee gave out vouchers, all thanks to the popcorn maker setting off the smoke detectors.

I had Wednesday night, all day Thursday, and most of the day Friday to think about how that movie was going to end. I went to the AMC Lufkin Friday afternoon and watched Gemini Man again, this time to the end. And Clive Owen has a line in the part I did not see, and as soon as he said it, I was sitting there, back row, center, and said, “Well, shit.” because that line meant it was not going to end the way I thought it would. The way I had hoped it could end.

Still, a good movie, though. I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Will Smith plays government assassin Henry Brogan. After seventy-two confirmed kills, Henry has decided it is time to retire. When he learns that the last kill may not have been who he was told it was, a hit squad is sent to his home. This puts Henry on the run with his watcher, going from Georgia, South America, Budapest, and then back to Georgia.

Will Smith also plays Junior, a young man sent to kill Henry when the assassin kills the hit squad and escapes to South America.

Clive Owen is a retired Marine and head of Gemini, a government subcontractor that has sent Junior after Henry.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Benedict Wong have supporting roles as Toast and Baron.

The effects for Will Smith playing the younger Junior were freaking incredible. The action sequences were well done, the chases & fights were well staged. The ending was not what I had expected after months of waiting for the movie, and two days trying to guess how it could have ended after seeing the bulk of the film.

And Gemini Man was at the very top of my list to see this fall. It didn’t disappoint, but maybe I had it built up too much in my mind. I am going to go see it again, though.

Justice League vs the Fatal Five (2019) and Teen Titans Go! vs Teen Titans (2019)

I used a coupon from Redbox the other night, rent one, get one at a Wal-Mart Redbox kiosk. After the Fathom Events double feature, I figured an animated DC double feature would work.

Justice League vs the Fatal Five is in the same continuity as the Justice League / Justice League: Unlimited, with Bruce Timm as the executive producer and Kevin Conroy, George Newbern, Susan Eisenberg returning as the voices of Batman, Superman & Wonder Woman. Kevin Michael Richardson, who has a long history of voice work with DC animation projects provides the voice of Mr. Terrific and the Green Lantern Kilowog.

Bruce Timm also provided the voice for Harvey Two-Face Dent.

Green Lantern Jessica Cruz, Star Boy, and Miss Martian are the stars of the movie, though. And, apparently, this is the first depiction of Jessica Cruz’s origin story.

Three of the five Fatal Five have traveled back in time from the 31st century, and were followed by Star Boy, who thanks to losing access to his medication, is put in Arkham Asylum. When the three villains escape, it triggers Star Boy’s memory, and he joins the Justice League in the attempt to recapture them.

Meanwhile, Jessica Cruz is dealing with her PTSD and trying to get the Green Lantern ring to work for her. And Miss Martian is a probationary member of the League, trying to prove herself to the heroes, especially Batman.

This film continues the recent trend of the animated films featuring butt crack nudity and a bit harsh language.

I enjoyed the story quite a bit, too. I liked Miss Martian’s nervous snarkiness with Batman, and that it showed a few different members of the League, highlighting powers and abilities for the superheroes. The villains were pretty good, too, and that their future technology was able to injure Superman was a nice touch.

After watching this one, I started to watch Teen Titans Go! vs Teen Titans. And I fell asleep on the couch before it was over. So, I had to try again Friday morning.

Teen Titans Go! vs Teen Titans has the versions from both animated shows first challenging each other, and then having to work together to save the multiverse from Trigon. Each voice actor pulls double duty, voicing both the regular and Go! versions of their characters.

As with everything else I’ve seen involving Teen Titans Go! it takes the stuff that is cool about DC, and makes it stupid.

I did appreciate the different animation styles, and the looks at the various versions of the Teen Titans across different realities. It made me miss the original Teen Titans animated series, too. Kinda loved that show.

Fathom Events – Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001) and Jay and Silent Bob Reboot (2019)

I had to work Tuesday night, so I missed the first Fathom Events screening of Jay and Silent Bob Reboot. Instead, I went out Thursday night for the Jay and Silent Bob double feature of Strike Back and Reboot.

The closest theater was the Cinemark in Lufkin. So glad I didn’t have to worry about going to Longview again.

There was onscreen trivia before the double feature, an intermission between movies, a filmed introduction from Kevin Smith & Jason Mewes before Reboot, and after Reboot there were cast & crew interviews & a blooper reel.

I’ve been watching Kevin Smith movies since Clerks came out on VHS. Chasing Amy is one of my favorites of his filmography. But watching these two films back to back was the first time I’d gotten to a theater to watch a Kevin Smith movie, and I got a two-fer!

Strike Back is, of course, Jay & Silent Bob finding out about a movie being made for Bluntman & Chronic, the comic book characters based on them, and also learning about the internet and deciding to end production of the film. Road trip from New Jersey to Hollywood, with craziness ensues.

Shannon Elizabeth, Jason LeeEliza Dushku, Ali Larter, Will Ferrell, Mark Hamill & Chris Rock have supporting roles, along with cameos from George Carlin, Carrie Fisher, Matt Damon & Ben Affleck.

It certainly is not the best of Kevin Smith’s films, and that was only the second time I’ve watched it. I had no idea there was a post credit bonus.

Reboot is a direct sequel to Strike Back, picking up two decades later, with Jay & Silent Bob learning that there is going to be a Bluntman & Chronic reboot, and they decide to go from New Jersey to Hollywood to stop production of the movie. When the two get stuck in Chicago, they reunite with Shannon Elizabeth’s Justice from Strike Back, and learn that Jay is a father to Kevin Smith’s real life daughter Harley Quinn Smith.

Ben Affleck, Jason Lee, and Justin Long have supporting roles, with cameos from Joe Manganiello, Joey Lauren Adams, Rosario Dawson, Chris Hemsworth, Melissa Benoist & Val Kilmer. Kevin Smith also plays himself, and there’s a small bit with Stan Lee, who would have been in the movie itself if not for his death.

And Matt Damon also has a cameo, but seriously, why? What the hell was going on there?

After watching the two movies back to back, I prefer Jay & Silent Bob in supporting roles, bit players, comic relief type characters, not the stars at center stage.

And the extras, oh, dear lord, make Jason Mewes stop!

Just for fun, Top Five Kevin Smith Movies!

Chasing Amy (1997)

Clerks (1994)

Zach and Miri Make a Porno (2008)

Dogma (1999)

Clerks II (2006)

Jexi (2019)

The new Adam Devine comedy was not on my radar at all, and I admit I only went to see it because with AMC Stubs, I had a ticket to burn.

Devine’s Phil was raised with a cellphone as a distraction by parents who wanted him to be occupied. He grows up & doesn’t know how to connect with people, nor does he really want to. He just wants his phone, Netflix, take out, and such.

One day, he’s distracted by his phone on the street, and it gets destroyed. His new phone has a new operating system AI, Jexi. Jexi, voiced by Rose Byrne, has the goal of making Phil’s life better. She’s rude, insulting, and willing to ruin Phil’s life while making it better.

Alexandra Shipp is a non-conventional love interest. This is the third movie with her I’ve seen at the theater this year. Fourth overall, counting Love, Simon on Hulu. Dark Phoenix is my favorite of those, but she’s good in this, too.

Wanda Sykes, Charlyne Yi & Michael Pena have supporting roles.

The movie is pretty funny, especially once Jexi’s insanity is introduced.

And the story continues into the credits.

The Addams Family (2019) BigD

I went out to AMC Tyler this past Wednesday for an attempted double feature, but thanks to the popcorn machine setting off the smoke detectors, I was only able to watch the new animated film of The Addams Family on the BigD series.

The film starts with the marriage of Gomez & Morticia, and they immediately have to run from angry villagers in “the old country.”

The newlyweds wind up in New Jersey, and move into an abandoned mental asylum, which is also haunted, where they raise & “cage school” their children Wednesday & Pugsly.

In the valley below, a new homemaker over hostess has created a whole new town, Assimilation, and once the swamps have been drained, the asylum is visible.

And that leads to a culture clash between so called normal society & the Addams Family. And with Pugsly’s right of passage into manhood coming up, cousins, aunts & uncles also arrive in New Jersey.

Wednesday’s story has her going to public school as an act of rebellion against Morticia.

I enjoyed this one quite a bit. There’s some fun humor, jabs at pop culture, and the animation is well done. I missed out on seeing it in 3D, but the BigD, which is similar to IMAX, was a nice way to watch it.

The 1991 live action film is still my favorite, but the animated feature is a nice addition to a franchise that includes a classic television series and two live action movies.

Judy (2019)

The second of yesterday’s two movies, this one at the AMC Classic Longview 10, was the new biopic Judy starring Renee Zellweger.

The movie isn’t a life story about Judy Garland, but instead focuses on her final touring performance in London, weeks before her death in 1969, with flashbacks to her time making The Wizard of Oz and “dating” Micky Rooney in 1939.

While it is an interesting look at a slice of a celebrity’s life, the movie itself isn’t that great. There’s only a handful of songs used, seems none of ’em all the way through, they all seem to be cut short. Or maybe that was just me.

Ghostbusters (1984)

First, a brief history. The first time I saw Ghostbusters, I didn’t know what it was. My older sister was doing some high school event, and I snuck over to the Commons where the girls were watching a movie. It was the “Get her!” scene from the library, and watching the librarian ghost turn into a monster ghoul scared the crap out of me as a kid, and I went back to my mom’s classroom. The second time I watched Ghostbusters, it was the edited for television version. I didn’t know Ray got a blowjob from a ghost until I watched the movie on DVD for the first time.

In 1989, my dad let me watch Ghostbusters II every time we went to the Cinemark in Stephenville while it was playing. No one else would go see it with me. The soundtrack was the first cassette tape I ever picked for myself.

And a few years ago, I went to go see the third one while it was in theaters, but just the one time. Haven’t watched it since.

Thanks to yesterday’s Fathom Events screening at the Regal Longview, aka Hollywood Theater, I have now seen all three Ghostbuster movies on a theater screen.

Because it was a Fathom Event, there was a bit extra. First, a cast introduction featuring Sigourney Weaver & Annie Potts by themselves, and director Ivan Reitman, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray & Ernie Hudson all together. There were also two alternate take scenes, both master shots, from outside the Sedgwick Hotel’s ballroom and inside the Mayor’s office. I didn’t notice any major differences from what wound up in the movie, aside from Venkman’s response when the Mayor asks what they need from him, he says, “What do you got?” instead of the film version that cuts to the National Guard & NYPD escort for the Ecto-1.

The movie itself is still great, and I’m glad I went out to Longview for it.

Regal Longview and AMC Classic Longview 10

Fathom Events announced a thirty-fifth anniversary screening of Ghostbusters (1984) a few weeks ago. The Lufkin Cinemark was not a participating theater, the next closest option was in Longview. I checked the AMC website, and turns out that the Longview AMC was the only one of the four local-ish theaters that was showing Judy. So, I decided to make the hour plus drive and have a double feature at the two theaters. I won’t be doing that again, lesson learned.

First up, the website listed it as a Regal Cinema, and yes, it is, but it threw me off to follow the GPS to a Hollywood Theater. I went up to the box office and checked the showtimes just to be sure I was at the right place. I had to go inside to the concession stand to buy my ticket, too.

They do have reserve seating, which is always a plus these days, but sadly back row, center had already been bought. So, I went for next to last row, center for my single seat. When I got into the theater, I realized that was a mistake. The theater has stadium seating, but still has cramped rows. The seats lean back on a spring, very nineties design. I remember when that started to be used for theaters around Dallas/Fort Worth when I was in school. So, when the couple in front of me showed up, and the dude sat down, his seat banged into my knees. It was difficult to get comfortable and I was constantly shifting around during the movie.

On the plus side, they still have digital signs outside the theaters, with the movie titles. That’s something the AMC Lufkin has gotten rid of. Kinda miss it.

More about the event itself later.

Afterwards, I drove about ten minutes away to the AMC Longview, which has recently been remodeled to have reclining, heated seats. They still have two set up in the lobby, so guests can “test drive” them before going into the theater.

The lobby also has a line for Premium and A-List AMC Stubs members. So, I was able to use that to get to the counter faster.

What they do not have – wifi, self service kiosks, the ability to pull up tickets via phone number or card used to reserve the seat. It took two employees and a manager, and I never did get a ticket printed out. The manager asked if I remembered which seat I reserved, and I told him back row, center, in front of the handicap seats. Turns out, mine was the only ticket sold for the 7:20 show at the time, and since I identified it, he said I was “good to go” without a printed ticket.

Thanks to a promotion, I was able to get a drink & popcorn at half price. When I asked about the special promotion, the girl at the counter had no clue what I was talking about, so I just ordered a large drink. When it came up at three dollars & change, she was surprised, and I ordered the large popcorn to go with it.

They are still using the bags, like AMC Tyler & AMC Nacogdoches for their large, AMC Lufkin has a bucket, instead. It lasts longer.

AMC Longview does have the lobby bar, but since I don’t drink anymore, that did me no good. I saw in the theater displayed chairs while waiting for my movie to start.

So, yes, the theater has new seats, but on the same kind of floor they had before, very minimal slop downward. The rows are curved, too. Been awhile since I saw that in a theater. A couple came in, and sat a few rows in front of me. When the trailers started, the guy got up, went to the row in front of them, and reclined those two seats. I assume he did it to get a better view of the screen.

Neither theater is that great, one has the right floor design but bad seating, the other has great seating but a bad floor design. I won’t be going out of my way to visit Longview, Texas for a movie again. Lesson learned there. May have to try out Bryan / College Station the next time Fathom Events doesn’t come to Lufkin.

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