Level One: Background

BRANDON: I have a serious confession here: you’d think that a self-proclaimed film critic would have seen more Spielberg films in theaters, but the tragic truth is that I haven’t seen a Spielberg movie since 2008, thanks to the infamous Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull. But I decided late was better than never, so I hopped into the theater for Ready Player One, preparing to get my mind blown thanks to the masterful director’s talent, the original world crafted by nerd culture legend Ernest Cline, and the much-awaited return of the Iron Giant. So, how was the film overall? Well…

Level Two: Plot
This film takes place in a world overrun by corporations and overpopulation; the world sucks, so the only way most people can manage their lives is by entering the Oasis. The creator of which has died years ago, leaving behind an Easter Egg. This Easter Egg, when discovered, will grant the finder possession of the Oasis, trillions of dollars, and the world’s favorite hobby. When the youthful Wyatt Watts finds it, he finds himself on a quest for the way his world lives.

Level Three: Positives

This movie looks Incredible. It felt great enough seeing beloved characters introduced into a dystopian classic for this era, but when they look like the entirety of Pixar worked on every single character. And the main characters are likeable too, feeling like they’re ordinary people escaping into this wonderful world. And the action: where else can you watch the Iron Giant fighting a giant Star Wars lookalike mech, while all of the Ninja Turtles aid the Halo crew with taking out a dystopian army, with that not even being the most of the focus?

+10 points

Level Four: Negatives

The film has a problem; for its focus on the importance of reality along with fantasy, the reality part is rather dull. Maybe anything feels dull when it’s being measured against King Kong chasing the DeLorean, but it still felt like an afterthought. And the villains were extremely one dimensional too; we get it! Corporations can be evil; just watch the news. Give them some form of watchability, and we’ll be fine.


Final Boss: OVERALL

Ready Player One may be far from perfect, but it still is a marvel to watch on the big screen. It was a celebration of nerd culture showing the things we love and why we love them perfectly. However, the many breaks from the wonderful world of the Oasis felt rather dull, and the villains were just groan-worthy to sit through.


8.9/10 (B+)

King Kong (1933) Anniversary Review

By Brandon Matzke

Usually Nevin is the one who reviews these classic films, but seeing as he has never seen this film, and that it’s the film’s 85th anniversary, I decided to review it for him. Now, I have to get this out of the way, I absolutely adore this film. I consider it to be a classic, and one of the greatest “monster movies” ever, if not, the greatest “monster movie” ever. But what is it about? For you five people who have never heard of this legendary film, I’ll explain the plot.


The film takes place in the 1930s (obviously, as it was made in ‘33), and follows the fateful crew of one of the biggest risks in Hollywood history; filming an entire movie on an island nobody’s ever stepped foot on, known only as Skull Island. As they soon find out, there was a reason for that. Right when they get the right idea to leave, their leading lady (Ann Darrow, played by Fay Wray) gets kidnapped by the 25-foot hulking beast known as King Kong. Soon, it’s up to the cast and crew of this fated picture to save Ann, fighting monsters of mythical proportions along the way.


This film captures one thing perfectly; adventure. It feels like this entire film is a journey, and it’s exciting from beginning to end. And the creature effects are great too. Sure, they don’t look realistic (at all), but you can appreciate them in the sort of way you’d appreciate a stop-motion film. And the way they blend with the live-action actors is incredible too; again, not realistic, but still a wonder for the eyes. In fact, this film was the reason we have the best visual effects award at the Oscars, since they were so incredibly blown away by this film’s stop-motion techniques. And the effects aren’t the only crowning jewel; the acting is actually really good, something that isn’t seen much in effects-driven films. And the pacing is downright perfect; the film goes through it’s beginning, middle, and end seamlessly. This is something very few films have replicated, including this film’s eventual remakes and sequels. I could honestly praise this film forever, but I will admit that there is a slight problem I have with it.


As great as the film is, I do sort of wish we got to know more about Kong himself. Sure, the 2005 version did this perfectly fine, but that film has a terrible problem with it’s pacing, and a very miscast Jack Black, so it does fail to compare with this film. But if you want the definitive Kong experience, I still recommend this classic.


For an effects-driven monster movie, King Kong is still a masterpiece. I absolutely adore this movie, (I even have a metallic poster of it (hard find)), So of course, I have to give this an 11/10. I highly recommend it, and I wish it was regarded as less of a dumb monster movie.

In honor of Stephen Hawking: The Theory of Everything (2014)- Review

by Nevin Hooper

Unfortunately, on March 14th, the famous theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author, Stephen Hawking, passed away. I thought in order to remember his accomplishments, and me being a movie buff, I would review the biographical film, The Theory of Everything, starring the excellent Eddie Redmayne as Hawking.

The film follows Stephen (Eddie Redmayne, in a touching performance that earned him a worthy Best Actor Oscar), as he falls in love with a college friend, Jane (Felicity Jones, in a phenomenal performance that got her a nomination for Best Actress). All seems great until he gets diagnosed with his debilitating condition that will haunt him for the rest of his life, though he is still determined to figure out the answer to the universe, and struggles to keep his relationship with Jane.

First, let’s talk about the best part of this movie, Eddie Redmayne. Redmayne totally disappears into this character, and is unbelievably great as Hawking, portraying his physical appearance, and his little moments of intelligence and kindness perfectly. I never saw Redmayne throughout the entire movie, I only saw Stephen Hawking, and his performance must be seen to believe.

Felicity Jones never gets talked about for her performance in this movie. She is so overshadowed by Eddie Redmayne’s exceptional performance that Jones never seems to be mentioned for her equally phenomenal performance. While, yes, she didn’t have to do as much as Eddie Redmayne, her emotional strength is still extremely powerful, showing her emotional imbalance for Stephen perfectly, and very much earned that Best Actress nomination.

The music in this movie was stunning. I loved everything to do with music in this movie; it was quiet, yet at times it was grand and wondrous. It was sad, yet it was mesmerizing, and was just fantastic.

The direction was very calm, yet fast paced, which contributed to the mood of the film, also helped by the excellent.

I love this movie, it was emotional. It was powerful It resonated with me. Enough to give it an 11/10.

Double Decker Movie Reviews: Jumanji and The Greatest Showman

By Brandon Matzke and Nevin Hooper

Hello there! It is I, Brandon, here with a new concept for film reviews (at least in this school blog): double decker movie reviews. See, Nevin and I had both seen movies that are currently in theaters: Nevin saw The Greatest Showman and I saw Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. And to prevent us wasting too much of your time, here’s our thoughts on the films in one article. Ready? Let’s go!

The Greatest Showman

by Nevin Hooper

I saw it. The Greatest Showman. I was Continue reading →

Review- William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet (1996)

by Nevin Hooper

So far in my series of old movie reviews I have always reviewed good movies. Usually ones I would give a 10/10 or my highest grade of an 11/10. But, since we just finished watching the 1996 Baz Luhrmann remake of the classic William Shakespeare play of Romeo and Juliet, I thought, why not review it? So, on to the review!

If you are not familiar with my reviews, I grade movies like this. I go from a scale of 0/10 (movies that are so bad that they should have never been made), to an 11/10 (movies that are so good, so fantastic, that you just can’t give the average 10/10 grade).

So, since this is a film that I did not especially like, I am going to tell you what I thought was good, what I thought was bad, and what my overall thoughts were of the movie along with my grade.


Leonardo DiCaprio as Romeo: I have always been a big fan of Leonardo DiCaprio. He has starred in some of my all time favorite films such as The Departed (2006), Inception (2010), and Titanic (1997). I think he is an excellent actor, and no surprise, he is easily the best part in this film. But, unfortunately he probably gives his worst performance I have seen from him in this film, but on some of the more emotional parts, I thought he did an okay job. It just sounds so weird calling a Leonardo DiCaprio performance “okay”, but that’s how I felt about him.

The usage of color: Probably the only thing I found visually interesting in this movie was the usage of color in this movie. Name off all the most vibrant, and brightest colors you can think of and that color is in this movie. The color choices are so bright and eye-popping that I thought was at least handled well.

That’s where the good points about this movie end.


Claire Danes as Juliet: I did not like her character in this movie at all. I found her character extremely weak and felt like she was lacking something, I never felt her performance was that great and the way she played her character didn’t feel like a Juliet to me. I’m not sure why, but she just didn’t seem like she was playing Juliet in that movie, at least not well.

The screenplay: Look, I have nothing against Shakespeare when I say I hate the screenplay. The film uses Shakespearean language and some actual dialogue from the play. I love Shakespeare’s brilliant writing skills and believe that he is one of the greatest writers who has ever lived, but having his dialogue take place in present day just does not work whatsoever. It came off as weird, extremely unnecessary, and especially awkward.

The acting: Wow, I haven’t seen this much cringe worthy acting in a long time. It seemed like every single line that was delivered from these actors was so awkward and very, very, very cringe worthy, which is very upsetting since the film has a surprisingly good cast.

The direction: I’m just going to go out and say that I hate the director’s style in this movie. His direction was so energized to the point that it made it so everything was so uncomfortably in your face all the time, and many unnecessary shots didn’t make any sense in the story besides “metaphorical imagery.” I did not like Baz Luhrmann’s direction in this movie at all. I know what he was going for with having the film fell as energized as possible, but what was supposed to be exciting just came off as too fast, confusing, and making me want to throw up.


Overall, I did not like this movie whatsoever. Like, at all. I’m sorry for people who actually like this movie, but I did not. Sure, there was one semi-good performance from Leonardo DiCaprio, bright and interesting colors, and very, very, few pretty shots, but other than that, I hated the movie, and shall give it a 4/10.

Coco: Pixar’s newest masterpiece

by Brandon Matzke

I finally saw it. After two weeks of scheduling and planning, I saw it for you guys. This film follows Miguel, a young boy whose entire family hates music. And I do mean they HATE music. So much that they’ve basically forced everyone in their gene pool to become shoemakers. But poor Miguel simply wants to be a musician and unintentionally gets sent into the land of the dead, where he discovers the secrets behind his family’s history with music. And let me tell you, Pixar is far from losing their touch.


One thing that I’ve always admired from Pixar was their imagination. They truly brought this film to life with every ounce of imagination possible squeezing from every frame. The world of this film is so creative and colorful that it should be studied by writers and world-makers alike. And the characters are so much fun, and, from the con-man esque Hector (who I consider to be the best character in the film) to Miguel, to even the mutated dog freak known as Dante, were a blast to watch. The film has one thing a film about music should definitely have: MUSIC! This soundtrack brimnes with culture and wonder, and just adds so much to this film. The animation flows to perfection, with every single detail staying relevant.


I had no major problems with the film itself. What I didn’t like were some of the cliches in the first half of the film (minor flaws). And there’s one more thing I didn’t like. One major, singing snowman shaped flaw. Perhaps 21 minutes of it…. Well, it wasn’t part of the film (it was a so-called “short” that played before it), but wow did it ruin my experience. Thankfully, the theater was merciful to us viewers and gave us free snacks for enduring that crap! Yay!


Pixar films are hard films for me to review. Not because they’re bad, but because 80% of the time they make complete masterpieces! I don’t know what’s left to say! Pixar, stop making good movies! I’m running out of ways to praise you! In all seriousness, this is a good film to watch with the family, and definitely earns a 10/10. Definitely check it out, it is most likely going in my top 10 of the year, and please subscribe to this awesome blog. They have so much talent that I can’t even find a flaw with it (and my whole job is being a critic!), and I think my film reviews are only a tenth of what makes this paper great.

Review- Thor Ragnarok: Third Time’s a Charm

by Brandon Matzke

Rating: PG-13

Let me get something straight: I am not a big fan of Thor. I only read about two of his solo comics in my entire life, didn’t like the previous two Thor movies, and I had very little anticipation for Ragnarok. But, when critics and audiences alike started hailing this as “Marvel’s best film yet,” I decided to check it out. I took a friend to see it with me, had two full buckets of popcorn, and despite the hype, I was still skeptical. And while I don’t agree with people who say this is “Marvel’s best film”, I can definitely say it’s in their top 5 best.


After a two-year quest spent on finding the infamous “Infinity Stones”, Thor’s (Chris Hemsworth in a very fun performance) journey ends up fruitless. After returning to Asgard to find “Odin” (I mean Loki) has been a fraud, he finds the real Odin (Anthony Hopkins) is on his deathbed. When Odin does die, an ancient evil is unleashed: Hela (Cate Blanchett). When Hela casts Thor onto a gladiatorial planet (shortly after destroying his trademark hammer) run by the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum, charismatic as always). Not all hope is lost; a familiar face happens to be on this planet too… which has been spoiled by every trailer, so I’ll just say it’s Hulk (Mark Ruffalo).


This film is a ton of fun; it’s got some absolutely hysterical dialogue, some breathtakingly awesome fights (one of which is between Thor and Hulk), and a great makeup and costume department (I mean, this is the stuff the makeup awards dream of!). The acting is charismatic and fun, from Hemsworth and Hiddleston (Loki), to Goldblum (in what must’ve been a role he only dreamed of up until this point), and so on and so forth. The Marvel universe feels more fleshed out than ever before, especially when compared to the previous two Thor movies. You see, for whatever reason, the writers of the previous two thought that the best way to make a Thor film was to drag him down to our boring planet, instead of the countless planets and universes he can access. Thankfully, those guys got the boot, and we can FINALLY see more of the Marvel universe. There are a ton of familiar creatures for fans to geek out about, and they all feel very realized. This is definitely the most entertaining Marvel film, and is fun all around.


For me, this film had some moments that weren’t needed for any other reason than to be a punchline two seconds later. And sometimes, the CGI didn’t work very well. There were moments where I was just like, “Let me guess, greenscreen?” Realistically, all CGI can be thought of that way. But great CGI can truly immerse the viewer into the world, no matter how ridiculous the thing it’s showing seems (War For The Planet Of The Apes is a great example of this). This movie’s CGI? Not so much. There is a particular character that worked really well for the visual effects, but not much else. And I feel that this film needed a better mix of drama and comedy; there were moments that I felt should’ve been a bit more serious, but was given a punchline instead. But those are my only real complaints.

Thor Ragnarok is a film that really surprised me. I was smiling from beginning to end, a rare accomplishment for a film. Is it Marvel Studio’s best? No. I feel that a few of their other films are better (Guardians Of The Galaxy, Captain America Civil War, Iron Man, Avengers), but this is a very entertaining film that definitely shows Marvel is far from slowing down. Is it the best of the year? No. Get Out is. Is it the best comic book film of the year? No. Logan is. But is it a good time? You bet. 8.5/10.

What the critics are saying (as of now):
Rotten Tomatoes: 93%

IMDb: 8.2/10

What did you think of Thor Ragnarok? I’m curious. Let me know in the comments, be sure to subscribe to the GHS Voice. As to what my next article is? I’ll let you decide.