Reviews

Eternals Review

Marvel’s Eternals brings the most unique and visually grand MCU origin film to date.

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Here we are with the third marvel film in five months, after the pandemic-induced hiatus Marvel has kept the releases coming every couple of months. The Eternals is the last of the year from Marvel proper and out of the three releases including Black Widow and Shang-Chi, Eternals is the most interesting of the bunch by a mile. Not since Guardians of the Galaxy have we had a Marvel film that is throwing so much at the wall. A massive cast of new characters, large cosmic proportion level story threads to the universe, and not following the traditional formula to a when it comes to first entry Marvel films. That is to say, this movie is tackling A LOT.

In a nutshell, Eternals is about a group of immortal super-powered humanoid aliens sent to Earth for the purpose of protecting humanity from another otherworldly threat called the Deviants. Sent by the Celestial (planet-sized god-like beings of the universe) Arishem, they are instructed to avoid interfering with all other human conflicts, and so the team does that. If there isn’t a Deviant threat there only task is to live among humanity. So this is what happens for thousands of years until an inciting incident of more Deviants draws them out of their exile from the world and each other.

Did I mention this movie is tackling a lot? This is where I imagine some viewers may get a bit lost as the film does a bit of back and forth between the present conflict that draws the Eternals back into action and their many adventures from the dawn of man till now. It caught me off guard at times in the beginning but eventually after some table setting the movie flows nicely as we follow lead actress Gemma Chan as Sersi on her quest to unite her fellow Eternals to save Earth from a terrible fate. Which this alone would have been good enough for a Marvel film, but director Chloé Zhao aims for more than just the bare-bones adventure plot. The majority of the Eternals have at least small arcs and conflicts that make each of them feel more than just another sidekick for action scenes. The cast is all very likable and gives strong performances. They all carry their weight to equal levels that I don’t necessarily have a stand-out to point to. Perhaps Barry Keoghan’s conflicted Druig, who has some very interesting moral conflicts with the rest of the Eternals based on his ability to control minds.

That’s the interesting thing about this movie overall, most of the immortal beings have very different feelings of responsibility, humanity, and what they are willing to do or not do in the name of their beliefs. You can feel Zhao at points was definitely taking aim at the current state of the world where everything turns into a battle of blood when sometimes it could be easily tabled with “I respect your feelings, I feel differently so I’m going to stay out of this conflict entirely.” Like I keep saying this movie is aiming to do as much as it can, and many could argue that it hampers the focus of the movie, but to me, it just enriched what would have otherwise been just another Marvel movie.

Beyond the plot and themes, I really think it’s important to mention how beautiful this movie is. The natural vistas, the epic grandiose shots, this is a movie for a big screen for sure. Cinematographer Ben Davis did an excellent job and should be proud of bringing something like this to the world of the MCU. To accompany this the great composer Ramin Djawadi was a perfect choice to score the film. This work echoes the beautiful scores that many HBO viewers are familiar with from Game of Thrones and Westworld. In combination, these two help set the mood for each scene from revelations to the big Marvel action you’d expect.

All in all, Eternals was a fun fresh Marvel film which at film 26 in the franchise you kind of have to be, or else it just doesn’t work as well. Out of the many origin movies in the MCU Eternals is up there for me as one of the most ambitious, and unique. That alone gives me hope for what is to come from following these characters, for make no mistake there are many more adventures ahead for immortal heroes to come.

Reviews

Dune: Part One Review

This is only the beginning indeed

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Now before we get down to my thoughts, a quick background. Have I read the book? No. Have I seen other attempts at adapting the book? Also no. I don’t have any prior exposure to this material, so beyond my bias of already enjoying previous films by Villeneuve, I have nothing else tugging me in one direction or another. With that all out of the way, let’s get to the movie!

Dune: Part One, is a visual splendor, a film that tells its story as best as it can through visuals and trusting that the audience can follow along without a constant need for being told how to think or feel. Does it accomplish this all without some exposition dumps here or there? No, it has those, but in ways that make sense rather than feeling more like a forced explanation directly to us watching. The story follows Timothée Chalamet’s Paul Atreides, the son of Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac), on a tragic journey of responsibility being forced upon the young man through political machinations from both the galactic empire he was born into from his father as well as a religious one from his mother. Caught as a pawn in a bigger game for control over the most important resource in this galaxy (the Spice of Arrakis) Paul must accept his part to play for his sake as well as the galaxy as a whole. This is all while Game of Thrones level political moves are playing out for control over more than just the desert planet Arrakis.

This movie is dense, it’s building out a massive world (galaxy really) that feels like the previously mentioned Game of Thrones and Star Wars blended together, with a dash of Lord of the Rings thrown into the mix. I gave a raised eyebrow to marketing using these comparisons but after seeing the movie twice, this is exactly that. This could be the start of a visual adventure that will long live beyond its initial release. I was intrigued by every new detail of the world, so much so that yes, I’ll read the book. Even with that pull to want to know more, I never felt like I was not given enough to enjoy the main tale that involves Paul. I have heard of feedback that the movie has no depth in characters, so many are introduced but glossed over in favor of Paul. Seeing as Paul is the character the movie is following I don’t quite understand that criticism but hey that’s just me. A final bit on the story, from the opening of the movie, saying Dune: Part One, it was clear to me this movie was not going to end with a clean it’s over kind of ending. Well, my only major spoiler here, it doesn’t end with a this-story-is-over kind of ending. Sorry. Keep that in mind if you plan on watching it.

Alright now onto everything else. This movie’s cast is stacked. Chalamet, Ferguson, Isaac, Zendaya, Jason Momoa, Stellan Skarsgård, Josh Brolin to name a few. I almost listed every character with a name because they are all talented actors bringing their A-game. Not a one disappoints, and some are downright memorizing in their performances. Capturing these moments and all the beautiful frames of another galaxy is the formerly mentioned cinematographer Greig Fraser. The movie is like a moving painting. Scene after scene, you could take a snapshot and have something breathtaking to put up on a wall. It’s a splendor for the eyes and deserves to be seen on the best display you can. IMAX, Dolby Cinema, or a TV most of us can’t afford, find a way to watch it one of those. Before jumping to the excellent score, I did want to mention that the production design from sets, special effects, to costumes are all top-notch. Everything brings you deeper into these places, not like our own. Everyone involved in this production deserves praise for what they were able to bring to the screen. Finally, I wanted to bring up what seems like an obvious statement, Hans Zimmer delivers every time. Dune is no exception. This score is beautiful, haunting, and elevates every moment. It’s a score you can listen to post watch and picture moments in your head. Those are the kind of scores that every composer should aspire to make.

Zendaya’s Chani utters the line “This is only the beginning.” To that I say, it better damn be. This introduction to the world of Dune was amazing, and I cannot wait to continue Paul’s journey in a Dune: Part Two. So everyone, go out there and give this visual masterpiece a shot because I reallllly want a Part Two. Thanks!

Reviews

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

The MCU welcomes a fresh fun new entry into the world of Marvel with another interesting villain to boot!

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It’s been a little while since we have had a new hero join the Marvel ranks and after a long absence of movies from Covid-19, it felt doubly long since we had something that felt like the next step in the MCU. This summer’s Black Widow while a fun movie felt out of time, and really did not have any sense of momentum of what comes next. Shang-Chi is that next step, and it’s exciting! While it does have the marvel formula stamp on it, this movie has some great surprises, fresh humor, and another villain that feels more developed and interesting.

Shang-Chi continues the MCU’s expansion to include more cultures to their ranks, this film devotes it’s focus on introducing the first Asian superhero, and it’s in exploring that cultures cinema, mythology, and talented actors that leads this movie to feeling like something new and special. It’s not just an origin to a new hero, it has a unique mark, and in my opinion dives far deeper into pure fantasy than any other Marvel movie to date. The magical powers, the fantasy creatures, I sometimes felt like it was pulling from Harry Potter with all the interesting creature designs! It was a pleasant surprise.

In terms of action, I felt like this movie does a great job pulling from all the excellent martial arts films from over the years. I saw splashes of Jackie Chan, and Jet Li throughout the movie. It felt great and the fight scenes had a better flow than many other Marvel moves.

Moving to the cast, Marvel has struck another victory casting a lot of excellent actors in both the lead roles and supporting cast. Simu Liu as Shaun / Shang-Chi is an excellent new addition to the Marvel hero stable. He’s charming, funny, and performs excellently in fight scenes. Partnering him with Awkafina as Shaun’s best friend Katy was a stroke of genius. She is funny as always, stealing every scene, but she also brings additional heart to the journey at large. Another new mainstay to the MCU is Shaun’s sister Xialing played by Meng’er Zhang. Along with Simu Liu, she does an excellent job with fight scenes, and while the movie only skirted the surface of the depth of what the character could become, they planted seeds that are sure to blossom in future movies. Think Rhodey in Iron Man 1.

Finally, the last actor I wanted to mention is Tony Chiu-Wai Leung. He plays Shaun’s father Xu Wenwu, leader of the criminal organization The Ten Rings. Like several of the more recent Marvel villains, there is depth to this character, and honestly a lot of sadness. This movie does a great job of telling a tragic story for Wenwu, while also covering the more standard story of a hero becoming a hero from the Shang-Chi prospective. This is for me what elevated this entry in the MCU above several of the origin story movies. It felt more complex and ultimately more real even with an insanely fantastical CGI spectacle by the end of the film.

I really enjoyed Shang-Chi, and it has me excited for what is to come next from this next “season” of Marvel stories to come!

Reviews

Black Widow Review

Goodbye Black Widow, hello new funnier Black Widow!

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Big screen MCU is back! After the painfully long wait of two years, the Marvel train has returned. Following the conclusion of Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home, I was always curious what would be next for the MCU. Much of the recent Disney+ shows have been about closure or moving on from the events of the last Avengers movie, but the original plan was for this film to kick off what’s next for the MCU. The funny thing about it, I actually think the break helped give this movie a little more air to remind fans of the MCU (like me) what we enjoy from the many entries that came before.

While we all know the outcome of Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff, it didn’t make this movie less enjoyable to me. Something I originally was slightly skeptical about. It doesn’t lean into the idea of this being this prolonged mourning for Natasha, instead it felt like a greater exploration into her past and the relationships in her youth that kept her from becoming a blood thirsty monster for the rest of her days. It’s the supporting cast of Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh, Alexi Shostakov (David Harbour), and Melina Vostokoff (Rachel Weisz) that elevate this movie from what could have been a little dry to being a fun time. Seriously, Yelena is hilarious and I can’t wait to see more of her in the MCU.

Some may complain of Marvel continuing to ignore there villains but in this case it didn’t really bother me. The main bad doesn’t take much to understand so it would have been a waste to spend screen time exploring that. The movie also doesn’t do much in the world of “new things.” There aren’t really new powers, or new toys to speak of. The antagonist is a literal copycat of fighting styles of other characters. So you aren’t getting something you necessarily haven’t seen before, it’s more if you are in for the story.

In terms of what kind of Marvel movie you are getting here, think more of the slightly grounded Captain America movies over say The Avengers or Guardians. The fight scenes are less about blasting people and more close up fights. Some of the fights are actually quite brutal where if they were allowed to include the blood it would be a damn mess in some scenes. Story wise beyond Black Widow herself, it does leave room for some interesting possibilities that could come back to the MCU. As I mentioned earlier, I expect a lot of fun things from Yelena Belova.

As to where this movie falls in the greater rankings of the MCU, I wouldn’t say it’s in my top ten, but it’s not in the bottom ten either. It rests somewhere in the middle. Which to me is something I can easily stand by recommending. For the MCU faithful, the drought is over. Welcome back to the big screen MCU!

Reviews

F9 – The Fast Saga Review

The bro soap opera has taken over. Even for Fast & Furious standards, F9 is bad.

Probably Not Worth Your Time

It’s pretty bonkers to think that twenty years ago a Point Break style movie about street racing would turn into a major blockbuster franchise now spanning ten movies. It became even more wild after 2 Fast 2 Furious, and absolutely insane by the time Tokyo Drift released in 2006. At that point it didn’t look like there would be a time when the Fast & Furious franchise would be a juggernaut, but here we are. I say all of this, but the truth is, I have been a fan of the crazy series ever since director Justin Lin took turned the direction of the series from being about street racing to about the drama of the characters themselves.

It’s been a winning formula to have this family drama soap opera along with crazier and crazier action set pieces that when balanced just right it has made for some dumb popcorn movie fun. At least that was the case up until Furious 7. The previous Fate of The Furious and now F9 have started a downward trend where the soap opera drama is infecting what fun there was to be had with the crazy action.

When a group of street racing criminals suddenly become unsanctioned covert-ops spy teams you know things are going a little off the rails, but when it starts using that as the excuse for well any unexplainable thing it begins to get a tad annoying that you actually notice. Where in previous movies you could ignore just how nonsensical things would get, the last two it’s so in your face your brain is screaming at the screen “COME ON!” It’s not even just the spy excuses, it’s also in the writing. This dialogue in this particular entry just hurts to think about sometimes. One character proclaims that none of this is worth it if the other person dies. To which you have to ask, this is about revenge what are you talking about?

That “what are you talking about?” and “okay that happened” are thoughts that come up way too often. With all that said, if you turn off every thinking braincell you have, the action scenes towards the end involving magnets are pretty damn fun to watch. Maybe It’s me. Maybe I have finally crossed the point where these movies aren’t fun anymore. But in the case that my tastes haven’t dramatically shifted, I have to be honest, watch something else. If you like this series watch up to seven, it had the perfect ending, and then find pretty much anything else to watch. Don’t be a “well I watched the others so I better watch this one” person like I am. It’s not worth it I promise you.

Reviews

A Quiet Place Part II Review

Part I fans, get your tickets as soon as you can, this sequel delivers and then some.

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I still remember when I saw the first trailer for 2018’s A Quiet Place. At the time I honestly thought the concept of not making a sound was very silly premise sure to be filled with cheap scares and terrible moments to highlight the gimmick. Then I watched the movie, and what director/writer/actor John Krasinski pulled off made me a believer. The tension was high, the concept of sound hunting aliens was used effectively, but most importantly the film told a great story. I felt for the Abbott family, I wanted them to make it. I wanted them to forgive themselves for the death of one of their children, something that clearly damaged the entire family unit parents and children alike. It’s all to say I loved the first film.

Now typically in a sequel to what felt like a pretty contained story to an original idea, usually goes completely off the rails awful. Part II doesn’t do that; Part II is just as good if not a tad better than our first days with the Abbot family. Part II picks up immediately after the climatic and destructive ending to Part I. The family can no longer stay at what was once their home, it’s defensives destroyed and the farm in flames, they make a desperate journey to find refuge elsewhere. From there the movie takes off showcasing some of the dark elements of human survivors left with nothing but savagery and desperation. It felt somewhat like the popular AMC show The Walking Dead, where after you understand the literal monsters, the heroes begin to see that humanity can equally live up to the same evil standards as blood thirsty aliens or zombies. That said while the movie is billed on getting a heavy dose of terrible people, this movie continues to stick to the much more significant threat of alien creatures. While the Abbott’s may have found a weakness to the creatures, it doesn’t mean the deadly things can’t still rip them to shreds if they aren’t careful.

All of this bleakness would probably be a bit too much if it wasn’t for the main driving force of Part II. Where Part I seemed focus on forgiveness and learning to move on from tragedy, Part II ultimately is a story of hope and fighting for it. It passes the torch from being a story about the parents Evelyn and Lee (played by Emily Blunt and John Krasinski) and instead on their children, Regan and Marcus (played by Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe). These two young actors stepped up to the plate and really delivered carrying this movie’s heart and soul. To counter this hope was Cillian Murphy’s Emmett. A man who has lost everything, he is devoid of hope, and it’s his pairing with Regan that makes for the most powerful moments of the film. None of this is to say that Blunt doesn’t have some strong moments herself. It’s all to say this film has a great cast, and a story that focuses on them.

I could gush on the acting and story all day, but I have to give some major credit to the editors of Part II. The way moments are cut together dancing between several storylines while ratcheting up the terror or triumph in several parts of the film was so satisfying. I’m not one who tends to notice editing unless it’s bad, but this was a film where I couldn’t help but appreciate how they were layering things together. And finally, how could I not mention the sound editing / mixing? Just like the first film they effectively use the absence of sound as an effective tool to illustrate tension, as well as emotional beats for characters too. One moment with Simmonds was especially moving.

It’s crazy to me how much I can say about a slightly under hour and forty-minute film, but that’s just how good it is. Just like the first, every element is well crafted and built to elevate a story about people in an extraordinary situation. I know Krasinski was apprehensive of making a sequel to begin with but after watching this one, all I can think about is is how much I hope he convinces himself to make a Part III. Part I fans, get your tickets as soon as you can, this sequel delivers and then some.

Reviews

Those Who Wish Me Dead Review

Those Who Wish Me Dead is a cool title for a very hollow but passable thriller.

Maybe Watch It?

I have to admit between the cast and the director/writer Taylor Sheridan, I had my hopes high on Those Who Wish Me Dead. The premise seemed simple enough, but after many of the previous films Sheridan was involved in I was thinking maybe this one has more to it. Welp, that was the wrong assumption to make with this one. Let’s dig into this one.

Those Who Wish Me Dead follows a boy named Connor whose father was unfortunately privy to some pretty incriminating information on someone of power. Maybe it was a whole bunch of rich people or maybe just one person, the movie doesn’t really dive into what the heck the guy knew, only that it was worth killing anyone that knows about it or someone that comes in contact with a person who knows about it. A McGuffin if you will. Poor Connor happens to escape his fate and while wondering in the Montana wilderness he stumbles upon Angelina Jolie’s Hannah, a wilderness firefighter stationed on a watch tower assignment. From there story turns into the heroes attempting to protect the kid and the assassin’s trying to kill said kid.

There are moments of depth for Hannah, but it isn’t explored to great detail nor really any of the characters. It’s very surface level which is a shame because there could have been more to this. I assume that might be the case in the book its based off of. It feels like this is a story meant to play in the head of Hannah to reveal a lot more about her own struggles. Sadly, it’s just not there in the script. So, moving past that what do you have? Well again a really great cast. I especially like survivalist couple Ethan and Allison, played by Jon Bernthal and Medina Senghore respectfully, who add fun twists to the proceedings. In fact, I think it would have been a much more fun movie if it centered around those two and expanding on the story beats that they were involved in. Past them the other major leads Aidan Gillen and Nicholas Hoult play the assassins Jack and Patrick. They are generic assassins. Poor Gillen seems to be type cast now in these henchmen bad guy roles that are paper thin in background. He’s a bad guy because bad guy type stuff.

This all speaks to the theme of this movie, it’s very by the numbers, moves at a breakneck pace and never allows room to really do more than be a passable thriller on its best night. Which hey, not a bad thing if that’s all you are looking for. Which is where my recommendation is coming from. This movie isn’t bad for the blanket-not-thinking entertainment value. It has great actors, an easy-to-follow story, and the wilderness setting isn’t used nearly enough so it separates itself from other movies just like this. So if that is good enough for ya, well go ahead and give this one a watch.

Reviews

Mortal Kombat (2021) Review

MORTAL KOMBAT!!!

Probably Not Worth Your Time

Did you see the trailer up there? Yeah, that trailer is a better experience than the actual 2021 film adaptation of the gruesome fighting video game series. By a whole lot. That’s not to say there isn’t fun to be had, but it’s really important that if you have an expectation of an epic film, dial that back by 90% and then recalibrate because this Mortal Kombat. Is a lot like the ones made in the 90’s. It’s a cheese fest with extra cheese, but prettier fights, and bloodier fatalities.

What makes this a more difficult pill to swallow though is the opening to this movie, is good. Like really good stuff. It gives an excellent introduction to two of the most recognizable fighters of the video games. Yet as soon as the title card plays, the idea of making an interesting film in the world of Mortal Kombat crumples to the ground like a body that just lost its head. Instead what is left is a bland building a team together movie with very loose threads to the establishing scene of the movie. The skeleton of a better movie is in here, but that is all it is. The cheese is heavy form from so many lines of dialog to just very confusing moments for characters in the world of the film. There were several moments of “oh come on” running through my mind before I had to laugh and just take it as it is.

While the movie fell flat on being an interesting one, does it work as just a ridiculous entertaining movie? Sometimes. There were some fights and fatalities that were fun, but the ratio was not in their favor. The best moments of the movie are the ones with Sub-Zero and Scorpion, which unfortunately this movie is not directly having either of those characters as the main character. So instead you are left with well suped up versions of the 90’s movies. If those older movies never existed I could have given this one a pass, but they do so it makes it much more confusing why they didn’t try to write a different take on this story.

This video game adaptation sadly falls into the same pitfalls of many other ones, they want to try and check boxes for fans. They may have done so but it makes for a weaker movie and begs the question why make it at all if it’s only going to be a lesser version of the games. It stings even more when there is a good idea buried in the nearly two hour movie. The movie’s first ten minutes or so could have made for something much more compelling. Instead the ambition was left at the door for something that falls short of being truly worth your time. If you are a fan of the games, you may get a kick or two out of this, but for anyone else go into this expecting something bad and super cheesy. It may help you like it more.

Reviews

Godzilla vs. Kong Review

Godzilla Vs. Kong is the title match we have been waiting for, and it delivers in spades.

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Staring in 2014 Legendary Pictures brought back the skyscraper monster movie to modern audiences with Godzilla. Every two to three years since they have given us another one. Godzilla vs. Kong is the most fun of them all. Unlike the last big Versus movie to come out (Batman V. Superman), this movie had the proper table setting of previous films for each title character which what-do ya-know, lets the Versus movie focus on the whole versus part.

This movie delivers in exactly what trailers and the title promises, Godzilla and Kong going toe to toe, and each time they do it’s an explosive awesome spectacle to watch. The action in this movie is great, like a boxing match, but with atomic breath and house-size battle axes. There’s just something more fun about watching Kong throw fighter jets and Godzilla than puny humans duking it out. It also does a better job of putting the humans to the side, and using them more for what they should be in these movies, a bit of context and offering slight support or resistance to the two massive titans battling it out. They are not the focus of the story, and that’s great.

Now sure, you could nitpick the hell out of the plot but since the movie doesn’t pay as much attention to it, it really doesn’t distract from the action that you came to see. Of the bigger plot side of things I do have to commend the writing and directing of bringing out the strengths of the two monsters. Godzilla throughout the movie is what he’s been established as, a force of nature. On the other end Kong is given a more character related role because that’s what Skull Island already brought to the screen. Again, having movies prior to this confrontation greatly aided in allowing this movie to really focus instead of having to explain days worth of explanation to make things line up.

All this is to say, I really enjoyed Godzilla vs. Kong, it’s everything I could have hoped for out of a movie pitting these two mega monsters at one another. to me it felt like a Kong: Skull Island sequel with a Godzilla Hurricane thrown in. It’s just plain fun, which is the point right? If you are a fan of fun action explosive destruction action movies, do yourself a favor and watch this movie now!

Special Note: This is the first movie I have seen in theaters since the pandemic shut things down. I’m vaccinated myself so this gave me the confidence that with mask on I could feel comfortable watching a movie on the big screen again. I’m glad I did. I saw this in the Dolby Cinema format at AMC, and wow does this movie have a completely different feel in a theater versus at home. The booming sound with every explosion and blow, the massive screen. It’s worth it! So if you can safely see the movie in a theater, this is THE optimal experience to watch the movie. Stay safe!

Reviews

The Little Things Review

It’s a lot of little things that makes this movie difficult to watch.

Probably Not Worth Your Time

How to talk about my thoughts of The Little Things? I guess to start, I’ll help you understand why I am opening with a question. Have you ever watched a movie or a tv show, or even read a book where while you are experiencing it you begin to understand that this feels very similar to “X” example? And then your second thought is and X was so good why isn’t this? Well that’s kind of the feeling I have with this movie, and I’m struggling to fully express my thoughts without first giving you that background. I have watched plenty of crime/drama/thriller’s in my life, and those prior experiences make this movie feel lesser than what I’m sure someone fresh to the genre may find as a decent if not good starting point.

Me though? I can’t say I was a huge fan. Which is all the more difficult for me since the three leads of this movie are fun to watch. Denzel Washington, Rami Malek, Jared Leto, these are all Academy Award winning actors. They are in a genre that suits their talents, and they are playing roles that fit them well, but damn it, this movie falls flat for me.

The general premise of The Little Things is Rami Malek’s Jim Baxter is leading a case to find a murderer who is killing young women in very specific ways. This is a serial killer, with a pattern. Washington’s Joe Deacon is a washed up former detective who once had Baxter’s exact position. Something went wrong though, and it destroyed his life, to where all he has are cases and the inability to let it go. This pair latch onto Leto’s Albert Sparma, a creepy guy who fits the bill of the murderer. Thus begins a story of trying to prove that the slime ball did it. Yet at the same time the film is trying to build up a focus of comparing the two lawmen, showing what happens to someone who let his job consume him, and someone just starting to fall down that path. Both of these stories have promise and could be an interesting journey. The problem is when they come to a head in the end, it’s just not very satisfying.

I’m convinced that if given several more hours this film’s conclusion could have worked. But it also could have simply been a structural problem. The film gives more of a spotlight to Washington’s Baxter, but it’s Malek’s character that actually goes through a significant transformation. If we were given more time with him, it might have felt more consequential, instead it’s focus on following an already relatively ruined man doesn’t really work too well unless the mystery leads to a conclusion that gives him something he didn’t have before. This film doesn’t do that.

Stepping away from the heart of what makes this thing tick, I still have to give it to the trio of leads. They are still entertaining to watch. Yet at times Washington’s character had mannerisms to him that really misled me to an unsatisfying conclusion by the end of the film. It’s like he was trying to will a more interesting story for his character that never got the onscreen moment to confirm it.

All this is to say, somewhere there is a really great crime mini series that these three actors could have been a part of. Instead The Little Things is a movie with missed potential that left me disappointed and thinking about wanting to go and watch HBO’s True Detective again.