“Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” (1989)

Managing to be both a wacky kid’s film, and a surprisingly gripping adventure film simultaneously, this film is an entertaining ride, and one that will keep both kids and adults enthused by the screen, although likely for different reasons. Through the usage of giant sets, animatronics, and stop-motion, the effects used to make the backyard seem so massive and forest like are rather incredible and immersive. Rick Moranis was the perfect casting decision to play Wayne Szalinski. The action set pieces are well thought out, surprisingly pretty intense for a kid’s film, and most importantly, actually manage to be memorable. This is a simple, straightforward adventure comedy that works both as a film, and as a visual treat.

Rating: 4/5

“The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh” (1977)

If there were any childhood films I grew up with that actually got better with age, this is it. I cannot think of a film that more perfectly encompasses childhood than this film. Not my childhood in particular, just childhood in general. I love the film’s softness, its slow and more laid back pace, its storybook look, and its timeless feel. And of course, there’s the characters; all of the characters are simply wonderful. Disney took the original already iconic A.A. Milne characters, and breathed life into them. There is not a single solitary thing about this film that I would change. It’s one of those rare films that I personally would argue is perfect and stands as my personal favorite Disney film.

Rating: 5/5

“The Hitman’s Bodyguard” (2017)

This is a movie that plays out almost exactly like your typical generic 80s or 90s action film, complete with gaping plot holes, in which Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds are essentially playing slightly exaggerated versions of their acting personas. Honestly, that’s really all you need to know about this film to know if it’s for you or not. Me personally, I had a blast with this film. And even though I acknowledge this isn’t great cinema, like at all, this is an incredibly entertaining film, and is perfect brainless popcorn action fodder. It’s funny, the action’s good, and Jackson and Reynolds have great chemistry. Honestly, it pretty much has everything I want in a throwaway action film, and that makes it pretty great.

Rating: 3.5/5

“Nine Lives” (2016)

There are bad films that you understand why they’re made. Then, there are films like this; films that simply transcend simple Hollywood exec greed and legitimately make you wonder “what were they thinking?” This movie’s existence in and of itself becomes an enigma. It almost becomes fascinating in a way, as you watch a film that is literally made for no one, given it’s too lowbrow for adults, and it’s too dark and edgy for young kids. This film, to me, is exactly like a train wreck; it’s absolutely terrible (barring two legitimately funny moments), but I cannot help but find myself entranced by its sheer awfulness. Which I guess is the closest thing this piece of crap’s getting to a recommendation from anyone.

Rating: 2/5

“Very Bad Things” (1998)

I’m usually a huge fan of dark comedy, and I’ve always wanted comedies to have more realistic and darker consequences for the character’s idiotic decisions. But it just doesn’t work here. At all. I think part of the problem here is how quickly everyone goes off the deep end. For instance, one character just goes completely nuts and starts murdering people the instant they become a problem. As a result, this film doesn’t feel at all “realistic,” like one would expect. The entire experience just feels nasty, and spiteful, and not in a good way. Add on top of that the fact that absolutely none of the characters are at all likable or sympathetic, and you’ll just leave the film wondering why you bothered.

Rating: 1.5/5

“The Green Inferno” (2013)

I don’t think anyone’s going to be at all surprised by the content in this film. It’s Eli Roth. So naturally, there’s a lot of absolutely disgusting and horrific scenes of brutal, torturous killings. It does exactly what it sets out to do; be a love letter to the cannibal exploitation films of the 1980s. It’s not really that scary, mostly because I don’t find excessive gore all that scary. It’s engaging and entertaining enough for fans of gorefests, but not really anyone else. This is a perfectly serviceable, but ultimately unimpressive horror film. Still, I thought it was cool that Roth got a real indigenous South American tribe to play the role of the cannibals. And they seemed to really enjoy the experience.

Rating: 3/5

“Pokémon Detective Pikachu” (2019)

This is the live action Pokémon film I wanted as a kid. This world they’ve created feels real and immersive. While the effects themselves aren’t spectacular, the 3D designs of the Pokémon are incredible. Even the bizarre casting of Ryan Reynolds as Pikachu is so strange that somehow it just works. However, this film isn’t perfect. It doesn’t quite distance itself enough from typical kid movie formula, there are some occasional pacing issues, and the twists and turns for a mystery are, with one exception, rather predictable. But the kid in me was consistently entertained by this colorful and funny adventure, and I wanted to see more of this world. This film will mean more to Pokémon fans, but is very entertaining on its own.

Rating: 4/5

“Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot” (1992)

This is a movie where the title obviously came first, and they tried to make a movie around it. Sylvester Stallone looks so embarrassed throughout, and in some cases, he actually looks genuinely suicidal. I guess he was simply relaying the pain of the audience. I’ve never been a fan of the embarrassing parent shtick, especially when the child is an adult, but this is seriously some of the worst instances of this trope imaginable, given it requires his mother, played by Estelle Getty, to be so unbelievably stupid, that she somehow doesn’t know that buying a gun off of the streets is highly illegal. This was a painful and horrific experience that I hope to never have to relive.

Rating: 0.5/5

“Oldboy” (2013)

A total disaster, and a disgrace to the original film. It sports similarities to the original, only every attempt at recreation is clearly inferior, and any changes that it attempts are clearly not improvements. So why was this film even made if they weren’t going to tell this story in a different or new way? Nothing here is on par with or done better than the original. But this film’s problems do not stop at being an unnecessary remake. The acting is mostly atrocious, there is a failure to communicate ideas, character struggles and passage of time to the audience, the action is poor, the editing is terrible, the pacing is a disaster and Spike Lee’s directing choices range from baffling to painfully amateur.

Rating: 1/5

“Train Station” (2015)

The core concept was very simple and yet ambitious at the same time; get several different directors, crews and actors, from varying different cultures, to film a three to five-minute segment that branches off of a previous segment. It’s certainly an interesting experiment, but a coherent story, this film is not, unsurprisingly. Most of the individual segments are alright, but the constant shifting of actors keeps jarring me out of the story, and some of the plot developments contradict in different segments. Still, even though the final product doesn’t fully work, especially as the film’s climax clumsily tries to tie everything together, this is such an interesting experiment that I would actually recommend this film to anyone who’s at all interested in it.

Rating: 2.5/5