Amazon Fake Review Problem + 5 Movie Theater Review Compilations Coming

The red pen is for subtitles that aren’t finalized yet … got to leave some surprises 😉

A reader familiar with our compiled reviews recently expressed interest in learning more about how these are created. Someday this will be documented in detail. Since a portion of our readership are other film bloggers this is a worthwhile goal.

In the meantime, it’s important to note that we do not scrape pull quotes with a computer program, app or any other mechanical method. Every source film blog quoted is read and reviewed by a human being. The quotes within the review are essentially hand picked. Every. Single. One.

The only thing we need a machine for is filtering the 2,100+ sources. This source list grows weekly and it would be impossible for any one person to sift through all these sources looking for a review for a specific movie. So, we do use a filtering process to find reviews published by these sources and put them into one handy reading tool. In non-programming terms, think of it like a Google relevant search on these sources to a query like: “show us all Tenet reviews.” Only that query is ran exclusively against the sources we follow. At the end of nearly all of these compiled reviews, we encourage film bloggers to share their blog with us so we can review and follow and their sites become part of this source list.

A year ago (9/8/2019), when this blog was founded, we had *0* sources, so that should quantify the speed at which new sources are being added.

When theaters are fully reopened and movies are hitting the theaters regularly, this process could take anywhere from 3-5+ hours of work creating these weekly posts. We offer these compiled review posts here for several reasons. I’ve covered some in the post linked below, but there is another reason that isn’t listed in that post: we enjoy reading honest, legitimate reviews from real moviegoers.

As far as we’re concerned, these posts are time well spent for this blog. We can measure our reviews against what we consider to be hand-picked sources and reviewers. Do we agree with all of them? Do all of them agree with ours? That’s a “no” to both.

Fake reviews can be difficult to spot. Amazon is far and away not the only large website with this problem.

From Facebook groups where bad actors solicit paid positive reviews to bots and click farms that upvote negative reviews to take out the competition, fake reviews are getting harder to spot. In July, UCLA and USC released a study that found more than 20 fake review related Facebook groups with an average of 16,000 members. In more than 560 postings each day, sellers offered a refund or payment for a positive review, usually around $6.

Amazon is filled with fake reviews and it’s getting harder to spot them

Generally speaking, someone who writes reviews and puts his/her/their conflicts of interest in plain view is more credible than some random anonymous person leaving a review with some random screenname. There are also varying levels of professional critics, from amateur film critics to whatever we classify ourselves as (semi-amateurs? semi-pros?) to full blown accredited, professional critics. We try to include a cross selection of film blogger pull quotes and repeated sources because the more reviews a critic provides, the more likely the reviewer biases will appear and can be weighed into a moviegoer’s evaluation.

Earlier today I saw an article call into question reviews for Mulan between Rotten Tomatoes approved critics and the audience being more than 20 points different.

Critics and fans don’t seem to agree on the quality of Disney’s live-action Mulan movie. According to review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, critics are enjoying the new Mulan. The film’s earned a 79% “certified fresh” rating on the site, with a critical consensus that reads, “It could have told its classic story with greater depth, but the live-action Mulan is a visual marvel that serves as a stirring update to its animated predecessor.” But the audience score tells a different story. At 56%, the film’s audience score is more than 20 points lower than the critic score and ranks as rotten.

Mulan’s Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score Falls Well Below Critics Score

That’s been happening for some time now (see: Professional Critics vs. Audience Reviews – Rambo: Last Blood vs. Ad Astra). I’d sooner trust a site like Letterboxd where we can go into the history of reviewers, seeing all their reviews and then follow (or unfollow). The review process is so subjective that it might be completely impossible to find a fair cross section of real moviegoer experiences. Also, I think some professional reviews (many?) would not want to refer to themselves as real moviegoers.

Long story short, we are working on compiling reviews for the five movies pictured at the top of this post, all recently seen in theaters and reviewed here on this blog: Unhinged, Words on Bathroom Walls, The New Mutants, The Personal History of David Copperfield and (most recently) Tenet. As a rule, we try to create compiled reviews for most movies we see in the theater.

If you’re reading, have a film review website, and have seen and written reviews for one or more of these movies, please see: How To Add Your Movie Review Blog to our Preferred Review Pull Quote List

Those already on our list, we’ll find and link up your reviews if they are published before we publish our posts. Those who aren’t on our list, then consider this a friendly reminder. We like linking and sharing well-written reviews, but now that we’re over 2,100 movie/TV site sources missing some great reviews is bound to happen.

The completed review compilation posts with pull quotes will appear soon.

Words On Bathroom Walls ⭐️½

Words On Bathroom Walls ⭐️½
NO SPOILERS Movie Review
Watched in theater Saturday August 22, 2020
Regal 16 Cinemas – Lacey, Washington
#28 new movie seen in theaters in 2020

Introducing Adam Petrazelli (Charlie Plummer), a schizophrenic teen student and our struggling protagonist. He’s been kicked out of high school for a meltdown caused by his medical condition, embarrassed and humiliated, his mother puts him in a religious school and on new medication that’s supposed to keep Adam’s condition in check.

Adam dreams to become a chef, but the new meds he’s taking are having conflicting side effects for his career choice. He meets the valedictorian Maya (Taylor Russell), who helps tutor him and a budding friendship ensues. Maya has a few secrets of her own that she tries to conceal.

Firstly, it was nice to see schizophrenia addressed in a movie. The subject matter, a person who sees people that aren’t there and voices seems more fit for a horror movie than a drama, but there is potential to tell an engrossing story about a character with a mental illness. Unfortunately, the way the story unfolds, particularly the first third of the movie is very dry. I mean like paint is chipping dry.

The voice inside Adam’s head? My goodness, it’s like Darth Vader with his helmet submerged in water. It’s not spooky or scary or dramatic, it’s annoying. Every time that voice came on, I wanted to poke my eye out with the straw in my soda. Then there are the people that appear for Adam … we never really understand what they are doing. One guy carries a bat and seems poised to use it for violence or hit a baseball. A woman character vision is more caring, perhaps to show Adam’s softer inner side? I don’t know. It just seemed like whenever Adam had a schizophrenic episode, the film became something else. It was very jarring and disjointed.

Maybe that’s the filmmaker’s way of showing how disruptive and debilitating schizophrenia is like for those it inflicts? I did feel for Adam during these episodes, but at the same time these episodes poorly fit the film the way they were portrayed. Maybe if it had started out in some sort of treatment facility and there was some exploration of these characters in Adam’s head they would have fit the narrative better.

Instead, these characters were intrusive to the story of friendship and acceptance between Adam and Maya. How they both overcame their personal situations? There is also a boyfriend of the mother, a cardboard antagonist we’ve seen before in other movies. Would have been better to have two loving family characters. The mother being pregnant is another subplot that subtracts more than adds. We’re supposed to feel that Adam’s mom is trading him out for a “normal” child, I think, but that plot thread is unnecessary and distracting.

After the first third which threatened to put us both to sleep, the movie became more interesting, particularly the interplay between Adam and Maya. They are very likable characters and we want something to build between them.

This is one of those movies that has characters and a story with potential but doesn’t execute in a very entertaining and interesting way. The acting is decent, the sounds (other than the annoying voice) and camera work is OK, it’s just how the scenes are compiled and unfold for the audience that are not very exciting. At times when I should have been more interested in Adam beating his medical condition with meds or through sheer willpower, I was more engaged by Maya’s struggles and conflicts. I don’t think that was the desired goal of the film.

Our first recorded video failed to record, so here was just left the theater attempt #2 (I’d give this 1.5 stars too!)

It’s refreshing to see stories about mental illness and how to cope and overcome, but this could have been done in a more compelling, dramatic and entertaining way. I’m not suggesting it had to go the horror route, but it would have been more exciting if the visions and characters had some sort of tie-in to what was actually happening to Adam. Even if that’s not the way the illness works, a little bit of creative embellishment would have helped.

Neither Kara or I enjoyed or were entertained by this movie and, therefore, do not recommend.

Rating (out of 5 stars): ⭐️½

Unhinged ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Unhinged ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
NO SPOILERS Movie Review
Watched in theater Saturday August 22, 2020
Regal 16 Cinemas – Lacey, Washington
#27 new movie seen in theaters in 2020


A portly Russell Crowe plays Tom Cooper, a man on medication, sweating, and the portrait of the perfectly titled movie. Cooper is unbalanced, tethering between madness and sanity, iron-gripping his truck’s steering wheel.

Viewers don’t know why, is he about to have a heart attack? Is he constipated? He pops a pill or two, grabs a hammer and goes into a house and starts attacking those inside. Screaming ensues, followed by blood spattering death, then Cooper burns the house down.

That’s only the opening five minutes.

Enter a woman who has overslept named Rachel Hunter (Caren Pistorious). Upon taking her son Kyle (Gabriel Bateman) to school late, running into traffic, she is waiting behind a truck at a green light. She has some passenger anger and honks at the truck to get moving. Nothing happens, so she honks louder. Ultimately, she pulls her car around the truck and, lo and behold, it’s Dom Deluise in Russell Crowe’s profusely sweating frame.

(one asks: why did Russell Crowe need to put so much weight on for this role?)

Tom Cooper rolls down his window beside Rachel and asks for an apology. A simple, friendly tap on the horn would have sufficed, after all. Rachel basically shrugs him off impatiently, which causes him to tell her she’s about to have a really bad day.

And so that’s the setup for what follows in Unhinged, a story that reminded me at times of Rutger Hauer in The Hitcher, as far as pacing, malevolent behavior and intentions. Only instead of a hitchhiker, Crowe is playing a road raged, broken man. We get some kind of explanation during an intense diner scene between Rachel’s divorce attorney and Cooper who intercepts the meeting after swiping Rachel’s cell phone. Cooper is going to make Rachel and everybody she knows suffer his wrath because she didn’t honk courteously at him.

If you can get past the fact that strangers on the road snap for the darndest of reasons the film is a lesson in tension. There are some good vehicle crash scenes, like one where a policeman is hit and attempts to radio for help only to be squashed by a dump truck (cringe!).

Tom Cooper’s relentless obsession with torturing Rachel leaves viewers fearful for Rachel and her son, Kyle. As stated in our just left the theater video – no spoiler – review below, Tom Cooper’s reasoning for going nuts isn’t explained very thoroughly to viewers. There is a vagueness to it that, while there is an explanation in the diner why he’s so angry at the world, it would have had a little more power and perhaps even a wee bit of empathy had we had at least one small setup scene, flashback, or cutaway that drilled this home a bit more.

Also, I liked how Tom Cooper used 2020 technology to show the horrors involved there. More and more stalkers in movies are using technology. That’s realistic, although it might date the film somewhat as time goes on and something more secure and better comes along.

This is an entertaining film if you can just let go and run with it. Those that prefer to overthink films and look for every conceivable plot hole will probably be bothered a few times, but Kara and I both found this to be a mostly fun, sometimes brutal, thrill ride. It’s not too graphically bloody, but it’s violent.

It won’t win any awards for anybody involved with the film, but it succeeds at telling a taut tale about a man who is wrecked emotionally and seeks to punish a stranger and those she loves and knows. Is it worth seeing in theaters — assuming it’s safe to do so in your area, of course? Yes. Recommended.

Rating (out of 5 possible stars): ⭐️⭐️⭐️½ – Good

The Movie Reopening Experience

This was our first new movie seen in theaters since The Hunt back in March 2020 in Las Vegas (see: 20+ The Hunt Reviews – Not as politically charged, but not that good either) and our 27th new movie watched in theaters in 2020. The experience in August 2020 was not that different from theaters back in March. I realize that might sound a bit anti-climactic, but the theaters were already practicing social distancing with seating in March,

There were maybe 20-25 people in the theater. Most were not wearing masks covering their faces, but had masks near and/or around their faces. It was more like once everybody was in the theater the masks came off. We didn’t wear masks while watching the film either, eating popcorn and drinks just doesn’t work with a mask on.

This wasn’t our very first trip back to the movie theaters since reopening. The day before we took our grandchildren to see Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back on Friday August 21, that is currently running at the same theater. The kids didn’t make it through the entire film, but it was fun to see a little bit of that awesome movie again. They had it showing on their ScreenX format theater — but not in ScreenX format unfortunately. Tons of seats in that gigantic theater and, again, a very small crowd of maybe 30 people tops. This was the very first showing of this movie at the theater since it reopened in the afternoon.

Readers might note that this is the very first movie review ever posted to this blog. I know, that might seem odd considering the name of the blog. With our one year blog anniversary approaching fast, we’ve decided we’re now going to post reviews of movies watched in theaters at this blog first, before posting the shorter Letterboxd version. The reviews here will be longer than the version posted to Letterboxd. That will be more of the summary, perhaps a mostly copy/paste from here. You’re not missing anything there if you’ve read here, I guess, is the point.

Our just left the theater no-spoiler video review will usually be posted a short time before this so that we can include the video embedded in these posts. We also plan to link back from the videos to here as well, so those watching can read the more detailed text review and comment here.

500+ Reviews – A Movie Review Every Day Since August 16, 2020

Our 500th reviewed movie was Sleepless In Seattle ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This is also our 500th blog post. Last post milestone, see: 100 Movie Blog Posts Milestone – Meta – 10/28/2019

This is a friendly reminder and informational post. If you already know about how to find the movie and TV reviews by us, then it can safely be skipped and please pardon the interruption. Regular programming begins again with the 501st post.

If, however, you’re wondering where all the movie reviews are on this site dedicated to reviewing movies, just reminding that I’ve still been reviewing at least one movie every single day since August 16, 2020.

232+ days in a row, as of this writing. Am sure others have longer daily movie review streaks than here, but that’s the consecutive days number at this moment in time.

Have also posted at least once a day to this blog 197+ days in a row. The blog started about a month behind the movie reviews.

Sometimes I’m a little tardy getting the daily movie reviews posted, but you can follow them regularly posted on Letterboxd in the diary area. Yes, even when we were on vacation for a week, I still watched movies and posted reviews. Yes, even during this pandemic when there are no new movies in theaters, I’m still watching, writing and sharing movie reviews. Not new in theater movies right now, of course, but that will return someday in the future.

I watch movies and/or TV shows — almost without exception — every single day. Some days have watched and reviewed over six movies, but that’s rare. Cant remember if I’ve binge-watched an entire TV series season in one day yet, but seems like I might have done that in the past, too.

My movie review goal remains to share at least one movie review every day. I also have some movies I’ve watched several times and haven’t posted the reviews for yet. This may take 10+ years or more for me to catch up with most/all everything I’ve seen in 40+ years of watching movies, if I ever catch up.

Some of these movie reviews are at least partially written, but not posted yet. They are baking in the oven, so to speak. Same goes for posts. I usually have 20-30+ posts sitting in draft status at any given time. Some I rework, rewrite and others just sit there, waiting for the right time to flesh out the rest of the way and post.

Recent Movie Reviews (spoiler-free — and in no particular order)

Full movie reviews aren’t currently posted on this blog, but maybe someday.

Just want to write what’s on my mind and share with the world, not spend a bunch of time managing and organizing what’s already been written. Letterboxd has that covered very well when it comes to movie reviews and tracking what we watch — and they do it absolutely free (you can support them by buying a yearly membership that gives a few additional statistics features but you don’t need to).

This blog is free to readers, contains no ads or affiliate links as of this post, but it’s not free to operate (domain, hosting, etc). It costs several hundred dollars a year to maintain and when I do have to get into webmaster mode, I’m reminding myself that I must pay for this “privilege.” Letterboxd, I don’t have to do any of that, which is a refreshing reminder that not everything cool on the web has to cost money.

The primary reason I started this blog was because there were more than the movies themselves I wanted to write about and share in a discussion with other movie and TV fans. Like new movies coming out, actors and actresses in movies, also some very good TV shows, and share our overall feelings on the movie, TV and business and news in general. It’s a diverse canvas with almost endless material. Perfect for a blog.

There isn’t any viable way to do that on Letterboxd unless you sandwich in all this (mostly unrelated) commentary into your reviews, comments and lists. I do some of that, but found organizing that type of content was not good there, so this blog was born to capture, share and preserve that material.

If you prefer to just read my reviews, it’s very easy to follow and do that. If you want to have a conversation about movies, genres, TV shows and the entertainment business surrounding that, I hope you’ll subscribe (follow), pull up a virtual chair — and/or continue to do so if you already are. You are very much part of the “us” in our domain name.

Regular movie content we do here like the opening this week new movies in theaters, coming soon to theaters lists (all badly out of sync for March and April and months beyond), now playing reviews, etc, will resume as soon as theaters reopen.

Put us in the group that can’t wait until theaters reopen. We will celebrate this day!

Oh, and we also do video reviews of primarily new in theater movies, just after we leave the theater when the blood is pumping fresh and capture that raw emotion. These are no-spoiler reviews as well.

That venture is on hiatus, obviously, at the moment, but will resume when theaters reopen. You can find this at … our YouTube channel. Please subscribe. Join the half dozen who don’t mind watching and listening to my ugly mug and sometimes my beautiful wife. There are 60 or so video movie reviews on there.

Most of the video production values are substandard, admittedly, but the audio is what’s most important. It’s fascinating capturing how moviegoers feel when emerging from a movie theater after just seeing a movie for the first time. I wanted to capture that moment in time for every new movie we see in theater. Here’s an example of the most recent film we shot:

Maybe someday we’ll move the text movie reviews here, but that’s part of the beauty of Letterboxd, you can export your reviews anytime, anywhere you want. So, another free plug for that site. It’s just a wonderful thing for anybody who wants to track the movies they’re watching, even if you have zero interest in writing reviews.

All my TV reviews have been posted here in full, because I haven’t found a Letterboxd-like place for organizing TV series reviews. You can keep track most easily of those by visiting this page: TV Series Reviews or following the TV Series tag (for the most recent TV show reviews, news and commentary).

Starting April 3, 2020 season two of Harley Quinn the adult animated series returned, so we’re watching, rating and reviewing each new episode here again. I was following Star Trek: Picard last, but bailed on that after six episodes, due to lack of interest.

Might be covering episodes of Tales from the Loop on Amazon Prime Video (whenever we get subscribed to it again, anyway). That is bingeable, though, so not sure how or even if I’ll be reviewing those. Maybe I’ll just watch the series and say: “watch it!” (or maybe not, if it’s not good).

Happy movie and TV watching to you!

November 2019 – 18 Movies Ranked MOST to LEAST Entertaining

Movies seen in the theater in November 2019 (missing, but also seen was Midway and The Irishman)

November 2019 saw releases of 18 movies in the theater (17 new movies + 1 Fathom Events). Similar to our blog/text reviews the goal is no spoiler reviews.

Our watched in the theater reviews are shared each month ranked by the highest to lowest ranking (most to least entertaining), which follows our review criteria. Here is how month #4 since we started this blog, November 2019 went …

November 2019 – Movie Theater Expenses
$219 – for movie theater snacks & food ($15 x 14, we got 3 movie popcorn and sodas using points, so only $9 for the upcharge for large)
$60 – for Cinebarre Issaquah, WA with movie when watching Midway and Last Christmas
$44 for movie tickets (unlimited price for both wife & I for August 2019)
$22 for 3 tickets to Twilight Zone: 60th Anniversary (Fathom Events)
$7 for ScreenX movie surcharge for seeing Ford v Ferrari
$80 – $5 average gas expense x 16 movies (Cinebarre Issaquah, WA was double feature)
= $432 / 17 movies = $25.42 for movie theater entertainment expense per visit, even with the “free” unlimited movies.

= $1,444 for 2019 Total YTD Expenses (Aug: $319, Sep: $324, Oct: $384, Nov: $432)

Note: The 18th movie was a Netflix original release: The Irishman, which I’ve included here because it did show in some theaters, but I didn’t have any expenses for it, because watched at home.

As mentioned in the August recap, there are expenses beyond ticket prices to see movies in the theater, unless one walks to the theater and watches movies back to back to back, buys no concessions and sees only 2D movies with no enhanced experiences.

November 2019 – 18 movies ranked MOST to LEAST Entertaining
Click title to read the no-spoilers review
* – indicates both Kara and I watched

  1. *Ford v Ferrari ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Click to watch Video Review ScreenX
  2. The Irishman ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Click to watch Video Review(Netflix)
  3. *Harriet ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Click to watch Video Review
  4. *Knives Out ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Click to watch Video Review
  5. *The Twilight Zone: 60th Anniversary ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Click to watch Video Review
  6. The Good Liar ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Click to watch Video Review
  7. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood ⭐️⭐️⭐️½Click to watch Video Review
  8. Motherless Brooklyn ⭐️⭐️⭐️½ Click to watch Video Review
  9. Jojo Rabbit ⭐️⭐️⭐️½Click to watch Video Review
  10. *Last Christmas ⭐️⭐️⭐️½Click to watch Video Review
  11. *Frozen II ⭐️⭐️⭐️Click to watch Video Review
  12. *Midway⭐️⭐️⭐️Click to Video Review
  13. Parasite⭐️⭐️⭐️ Click to watch Video Review
  14. Queen & Slim ⭐️⭐️½Click to Video Review
  15. Arctic Dogs ⭐️⭐️½Click to Video Review
  16. 21 Bridges⭐️½Click to Video Review
  17. *Charlie’s Angels (2019)⭐️½Click to Video Review
  18. *Playing With Fire⭐️½ Click to watch Video Review

Knives Out we were able to view as part of multiple early access screenings (hope they do more of these!).

Renee Zellweger in Judy still put on the best actress performance that I’ve seen to date in 2019. For Best Actor? Joaquin Phoenix seems strong for Joker, but then along comes Robert De Niro in The Irishman and Tom Hanks in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.

Met Expectations (based on hype, trailer, promotion)
Ford v Ferrari – there was too much hype for this Matt Damon and Christian Bale high octane racing movie based around the true story of Caroll Shelby and Ken Miles trying to make a race car that can beat Ferrari at the Le Mans. Saw this in ScreenX and felt almost in the driving seat. This delivered, and then some.
Knives Out – good whodunit mysteries are hard to come by at the theater and this one delivers.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood – almost put this under “disappointments” but Tom Hanks did everything I thought he’d do in this film playing the saintly (I know, he wasn’t a saint, but to most of the world he sure seemed like one) Mister Rogers. My only nagging regret for this one? More Tom Hanks!

Charlie’s Angels – expected that Elizabeth Banks would do more than she did with this. I’ll give it points for trying to share with us a new kind of story, but this would have been better not under the banner of a well-known 70s TV franchise.
Parasite – a lot of amazing reviews for the Bong Hive’s latest, greatest film, but it wasn’t the cinematic masterpiece critics led me to believe. Not for me, anyway. Yes, it’s very good, but The Irishman makes this look like a student film.

Pleasant Surprises
Harriet – Didn’t know much about the story of Harriet Tubman and was worried this one would be a boring historical tale, but it turned out to be an entertaining story of anti-slavery about a true American hero. Harriet is my favorite superhero of 2019, put her on the $20 bill already.

October 2019 – 14 Movies Ranked MOST to LEAST Entertaining

New this month for the first time, added just leaving the theater video reviews for every movie seen in the theater this month. Your comment feedback on these short no-spoiler videos is welcome and encouraged.

Similar to our blog/text reviews the goal for no spoiler reviews. There are plenty of other review websites that do exhaustive spoiler-laden reviews of movies. Someday, maybe that will be done here on the website vs. the shorter no-spoiler ones, but as of this writing, every review we have shared is spoiler-free. Click the title, read and judge for yourselves.

Our watched in the theater reviews are shared each month for the prior month ranked by the highest to lowest ranking (of how entertaining is the film), which follows our review criteria. Here is how month #3 since we started this blog, October 2019 went …

October 2019 – Movie Theater Expenses
$174 – for movie theater snacks & food ($15 x 11, we got 3 movie popcorn and sodas using points, so only $9 for the upcharge for large)
$60 – for Cinnebar Salem, Oregon with movie when watching Zombieland: Double Tap
$44 for movie tickets (unlimited price for both wife & I for August 2019)
$10 for RPX movie surcharge for seeing Terminator: Dark Fate RPX
$10 for 3D movie surcharge seeing Gemini Man 3D + HFR
$70 – $5 average gas expense x 14 movies
= $384 / 14 movies = $27.42 for both of us movie theater entertainment expense per visit, even with the “free” unlimited movies.

= $1,012 for 2019 Total YTD Expenses (Aug: $319, Sep: $324, Oct: $384)

As mentioned in our August recap, even with these unlimited movie plans, you still spend real $$ unless you literally stay at the theater and watch movies back to back to back and buy nothing else. Almost impossible for us to do that, anyway.

October 2019 – 14 movies in theater ranked MOST to LEAST Entertaining
Click title to read a no-spoilers review

  1. Doctor Sleep ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Click to watch Video Review
  2. Joker⭐️⭐️⭐️½ Click to watch Video Review
  3. *Zombieland 2: Double Tap ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Click to watch Video Review
  4. *Black and Blue ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Click to watch Video Review
  5. *Jexi ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Click to watch Video Review
  6. War ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Click to Video Review
  7. The Lion King ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Click to watch Video Review
  8. *Maleficent: Mistress of Evil⭐️⭐️½ Click to watch Video Review
  9. *The Current War: Director’s Cut⭐️⭐️½ Click to watch Video Review
  10. *Countdown ⭐️⭐️½ Click to watch Video Review
  11. *Terminator: Dark Fate RPX ⭐️⭐️½Click to watch Video Review
  12. *Gemini Man 3D + HFR ⭐️⭐️ Click to watch Video Review
  13. *Addam’s Family ⭐️⭐️ Click to watch Video Review
  14. *Lucy In The Sky ½ Click to watch Video Review

Doctor Sleep which I was able to view as part of the Fandango Early Access program where any moviegoer can see movies ahead of the release date is now my favorite movie of 2019 to date. Renee Zellweger in Judy still put on the best acting performance that I’ve seen to date in 2019.

Met Expectations (based on hype, trailer, promotion)
Joker – the trailer had me thinking this would be a darker character discovery tale. It delivered on being different than most other superhero films. I figured this might do good business, but not anywhere near as becoming the #1 Rated-R film of all time.
Black and Blue – Kept our interest but the plot was all too familiar.
Zombieland: Double Tap – I expected this to be a fun zombie carnage romp and it met the bar, albeit with a bit long second act. Woody Harrelson is a dynamite lead here.

Terminator: Dark Fate – seemed too much like just retelling the first two vastly superior films. Linda Hamilton is back, which was a little more interesting, but she was not a central enough character. Terminator fight scenes became a bit repetitive too. Just a disappointing mess.
Gemini Man – despite the technical wizardry by director Ang Lee, the story was just too much been there, done that. Also, multiple Will Smiths is not a good thing.
Lucy in the Sky – didn’t expect this to be as terrible as it was. I mean, it was just a weird story, and not a good weird story, either.

Pleasant Surprises
Doctor Sleep – Mike Flanagan captures the essence of a good Stephen King novel much the way Frank Darabont has done. Go see this one when it comes out November 8. It’s a great movie.
Jexi – most critics and many moviegoers hated this tale, but Kara and I both enjoyed it. It wasn’t a great movie, but it had some charm and fun to it.

Now Playing Reviews for Jexi, Gemini Man and Addam’s Family – Are Any Worth Watching?

Box office Weekend 10/11 – 10/13/2019 via Box Office Mojo

In the face of three new wide releases, there was no dethroning Joker from the weekend’s top spot as the film not only topped the weekend box office domestically, internationally and worldwide, it has already generated over $543 million globally in just its first twelve days in global release. As for the newcomers, UAR’s The Addams Family led the way with a solid second place debut while Paramount’s Gemini Man and Lionsgate’s Jexi struggled to find an audience.

‘Joker’ Repeats at #1, ‘Addams Family’ Solid in Second and ‘Parasite’ Feasts – Box Office Mojo

This was not a good opening week for the new films leaving a wide open field for Joker to dominate for a second week. On Friday we caught Gemini Man in 3D + HFR, Saturday date night watched Jexi and barely avoided sleep in the theater on Sunday with Addam’s Family (2019). Here they are ranked from our most entertained to least:

Jexi ⭐️⭐️⭐️ – a few funny jokes here and there from a mean funny phone OS named Jexi and a romcom with a little chemistry between a loser writer nerd and bike shop girl. Barely recommended.

Gemini Man ⭐️⭐️ 3D + HFR – good technology, weak script and three times Will Smith equals zero times entertainment.

Addam’s Family ⭐️⭐️ – good animation and voice acting despite boring, story. Just hum the theme song and watch something else.

The first weekend of October was much better. Joker deserves to be #1 again at the box office. Next weekend? Stay tuned!

Now Playing At Theaters: Top 10 Movies Ranked and Reviewed

The top 10 at the box office Oct 4-6, 2019 via Box Office Mojo

Thanks to the Regal Unlimited Plus plan that I signed up for on August 12, 2019 and Kara signed up for a week or so later, I’ve been able to see almost every movie that has come out since (and we’ve seen 60%+ together). Am keeping a running Regal Unlimited Movie List at Letterboxd as well.

27 different movies seen in the theater since August 12, 2019

Have actually seen 28 movies using the unlimited pass, because I watched Rambo: Last Blood twice. I am considering seeing Judy again as well and trying to get my wife to see, too, but she has a hangup seeing anything I’ve already seen.

The only movie in the current top 10 box office that neither of us have seen is WAR. It’s showing at one theater nearby, and plan to see it soon.

“And when Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept, because there were no more worlds to conquer.” – Hans Gruber from Diehard

The only bummer thing so far about the Regal Unlimited plan is that there aren’t enough movies available to see. Once you’ve seen them all it is either go and see something another time, or just wait until the next Thursday or Friday for new movies to be released. This is typically a minimum of two new movies each week. This doesn’t line up with the total movies being released, but how many screenings are available in the Seattle/Tacoma area. I needed to attend an independent theater to see Judy on opening day.

Top 10 Now Playing In The Theaters Ranked and Reviewed
* both of us watched

  1. Judy ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  2. Joker ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  3. *Rambo: Last Blood [4DX]⭐️⭐️⭐️½  
  4. Downton Abbey ⭐️⭐️⭐
  5. War ⭐️⭐️⭐
  6. *Good Boys ⭐️⭐️½ 
  7. *IT: Chapter Two ⭐️⭐️½
  8. A️bominable ⭐️⭐
  9. *Hustlers ⭐️½
  10. *Ad Astra ⭐️

Note: we typically only recommend seeing movies that are ranked at least three stars or better. However, you should judge for yourself what you want to see, not use anybody else’s opinion. Reviews are subjective based on a wide variety of factors. In our case, our review criteria is based on how entertained we were. We go to movies to be entertained. That means that sometimes we will like movies that others don’t. In some cases, maybe even movies that are universally panned we found to be entertaining.

As for professional critics? We tend to disagree with them more often than not. For example, Rambo: Last Blood was panned by the critics, but audiences, including us, enjoyed it and were entertained.

September 2019 – 14 New Movies Ranked Most to Least Entertaining

13 Films Watched In Regal Cinema in September 2019 (Not Pictured is JUDY, which was watched in an independent theater)

Here’s an entire month’s worth of new movies reviewed. Several are still showing in theaters at the time this is posted. If you missed them, then they will be available streaming everywhere soon.

Instead of best to worst, have changed to “Most to least entertaining” because that better fits our review criteria. Here is how September 2019 went:

September 2019 – Movie Theater Expenses
$160 – for movie theater snacks & food ($15 x 10, we got 4 movie popcorn and sodas using points, so no charge, + $10 for independent theater popcorn & soda)
$26 – for Cinnebar Palace Station lunch with movie when watching Ad Astra
$8 for independent movie ticket price
$44 for movie tickets (Regal Unlimited plans for both wife & I)
$16 for 4DX movie surcharge for seeing Rambo: Last Blood
$70 = $5 average gas expense x 14 movies
= $324 / 15 movies (+1 because saw Rambo twice!) = $21.60 for both of us movie theater entertainment expense per visit, even with the “free” unlimited movies. As mentioned in our August recap, you do spend real $$ unless you literally stay at the theater and watch movies back to back to back and buy nothing. Only movie seen more than once was Rambo.

September 2019 – 14 movies seen in theater ranked from Best to Worst
Click title to read a no-spoilers review

  2. The Art Of Racing In The Rain ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  3. Rambo: Last Blood [4DX]⭐️⭐️⭐️½ 
  4. Overcomer ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  5. Downton Abbey ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  6. Villains ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  7. Good Boys ⭐️⭐️½ 
  8. The Goldfinch ⭐️⭐️½ 
  9. IT: Chapter Two ⭐️⭐️½ 
  10. Spider-Man Far From Home ⭐️⭐
  11. A️bominable ⭐️⭐
  12. Brittany Runs A Marathon ⭐️½
  13. Hustlers⭐️½

JUDY was a standout thanks to an awesome acting performance by Renee Zellweger, as well as the adaption of Garth Stein’s The Art of Racing in the Rain. Rambo: Last Blood in 4DX was one of the most fun experiences we’ve ever had in a movie. Not because the movie was that great, but the 4DX experience itself certainly added and enhanced the experience. I saw it in 2D and would give it 3 stars. Still think next to First Blood, it’s among the best sequels in the series.

Met Expectations (based on hype and promotion)
JUDY – I sensed that Renee Zellweger would outshine the movie — and she did. Wish the movie itself was better, but Zellweger’s performance was so awesome that I was thoroughly entertained otherwise.
Rambo: Last Blood – I’ve always wanted to see what it would be like having John Rambo enjoy some peace at his home in Arizona. Yes, it doesn’t last, but then that’s part of the fun. I know this movie wasn’t for everybody, but Stallone knew what his hardcore fans wanted and delivered.

Ad Astra – I liked the story, thought this would be a lot of fun. Instead, it was an exercise in banality
Hustlers – another promising story, but unlikable characters and a bit of a rambling plotline
The Goldfinch – another story that seemed to have great promise based on award winning source material, but the adaption and execution was muddled and convoluted

Pleasant Surprises
The Art of Racing In The Rain – if you asked me if I’d like a dog narrating a story about living with a racer I’d have said “no thanks” but this won me over big time.
Downton Abbey – didn”t think I’d like a story about what goes on in a mansion, but was sucked into the drama surrounding the king and queen visiting
Overcomer – didn’t know this was a faith-based religious sports story, but both of us were entertained. Good ending, too!

Are you curious about our reviews the prior month at the theater?
AUGUST 2019 – 12 New Movies Ranked

NOW PLAYING REVIEWS – Rambo: Last Blood, Downton Abbey, Villains, Ad Astra

Can’t decide what to watch now playing in the theaters? Step onto the escalator with us …

We watch and review — no spoilers — (almost) every movie that plays in the theater. Follow, like, this blog and our Letterboxd to receive daily movie reviews covering all genres.

Click movie title to read the full review

  1. Rambo: Last Blood [4DX]⭐️⭐️⭐️½  – a savage, not for the squeamish revenge flick that finally sees iconic John Rambo going home and audiences are liking, critics are hating. Us? See in 4DX while you can!
  2. Downton Abbey ⭐️⭐️⭐️ – #1 in sales/popularity, #2 most entertaining covering what it is like for servants and the rich inside a mansion in the early 1900s. No tie required.
  3. Villains ⭐️⭐️⭐️ – oh yeah, we enjoyed this dark comedy update of two Bonney and Clyde types who stumble onto a very eccentric family.
  4. Ad Astra⭐️ – Brad Pitt stars in this artsy fartsy space exploration flick that is neat to stare at, wonder and analyze but not much fun to, well, watch.

We hope you always enjoy your time at the theaters. Remember, we review movies based on what entertains us (see our review criteria). Movies are there to entertain you. If you enjoy a movie that we did or didn’t, we think that’s great. Tell us what you loved or not in the comments, blog it, log it, like it.

Happy movie watching to you.