Movie Review: ‘Barely Lethal’

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My crazy bow wearing, frat boy watching, Jonas obsessed friend told me to watch this movie that features Dove Cameron. I’ve been addicted to Dove Cameron because frankly, she’s queen. She spoke highly of it and I figured I would watch even though she has yet to indulge in “13 Reasons Why,” the masterpiece that is Britney Spear’s “Glory,” and even watching older seasons of Big Brother that I recommended (all of which you can find on this wonderful site). Here’s my review of “Barely Lethal.”

Besides the title that makes it seem like it came off out the adult video clearance section at the last remainder Blockbuster, “Barely Lethal” is a 2015 independent-teen-action comedy-film-spectacular-thing. So many genres put into this 98 minutes films. The movie follows a teenage girl who was raised to become a spy by SAMUEL MOTHERFUCKING L JACKSON. That’s right, Samuel L. Jackson is in this movie. Wanting a normal life, Agent 83 (Hailee Steinfield) fakes her own death during a mission to capture Victoria Knox (Jessica Alba) and goes “undercover” as an exchange student from Canada in order to live the life she always saw in the movies. She soon realizes that it’s not as easy to be in high school like in the movies. But her world gets even hard when Samuel L. Jackson finds out she’s still alive as well as Victoria Knox escapes as is out to kill her.

This movie isn’t as a bad as the title and my opening may seem like. It’s actually a well-crafted movie with lines and acting that actually comes off as witty and funny when needed to, which is most of the movie. The problem with it is the fact that the movie takes itself too seriously in some spots. The movie is sometimes that serious friend that is present in a funny conversation. There are times when it’s trying to be an action movie and then there are times when it’s a teen comedy. They don’t flow into together so well when it goes from action to comedy, it feels a little bit clunky and strange. There are times though that it goes wonderfully.

The cast is also a strange one because you have two big names like Jessica Alba and Samuel L. Jackson with this cast of teenage actors who weren’t very big names at the time of the release. While Jessica does a really great job in the film, Samuel just seems very much out of place. While his lines and how he presents them is funny, it’s almost like he’s just there. Like that awkward uncle. The standout for this film is Dove Cameron. For a Disney star, she swears a lot and her lines are not G rated and it’s amazing. She is just the gift that keeps on giving. She stole the scenes that she was in and really played the role of bitchy/moody teen girl with issues very well. She should have had a much bigger role than what she was given. She was the scene stealer of the movie.

“Barely Lethal” is an extremely enjoyable movie that may have issues with balancing that action and serious tones with the nature of being a teen movie. The cast choices are also very strange but don’t really hurt the movie. If you are a fan of teen movies, then this movie is the one for you. It’s pretty much everything that you would expect from a teen movie. Just lower your expectations if you are looking for an action film.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Movie Review: ‘Power Rangers’

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It’s time for another edition of “Cheap Movie Reviews,” because why pay large sums of money to see movie and snacks that you aren’t able to view all the time over and over again. I morph into action as I review the reboot of the Power Ranger’s movie franchise “Power Rangers.” It’s actually called “Saban’s Power Rangers” but that isn’t a cool title.

“Power Rangers” takes what you know from the original series, “Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers,” and put it in a way more realistic and darker universe. It’s the Power Rangers that the adults have always wanted while still being slightly for kids. And by slightly, I mean hardly at all. There’s swearing that some might find offensive. There’s also some adult content but you could still take your child to it and it won’t scar them for life. While it’s a darker approach, it doesn’t go too dark to show blood or have anyone horribly murdered.

The story follows the same premise that the show did. Five teenagers from different walks of life stumble upon five power coins that grant them powers to stop the evil Rita Repulsa from taking over the world. In order to defeat her, they must come together as a team and learn to work together. Like I said, the plot is the same from the television show. The plot carries over from the television show extremely well. The movie actually digs into each characters back story way more. Each character is fullly developed. While some are more than others, you know a lot about each of the Rangers, Zordon, and Rita.

One of the issues that face this movie is pacing. It’s starts out strong and continues to to be but then it gets rushed toward the end. It’s like they got half way through the movie and realized that they only have so much more time left. It’s then when they crammed the action into the last half of the movie. It could have been spread out more throughout the middle and the last act of the movie. Another issue is the length of this movie, It’s a two-hour movie. Unless you are invested into this film, the length is a little bit on the long side. Especially if the action isn’t until the last hour and a half of the film. While I like the depth of each character’s story, some of could have been left out due to it doesn’t benefit the main plot of the movie. Or they could have included it in the “director’s cut” of the movie.

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Elizabeth Banks as Rita Repusla

The actors in this films that play the rangers are extremely believable and likable. You want them to succeed and save the world. Zordon and Alpha will grow on you just because Alpha is annoying at first and Zordon just comes across as an asshole. Elizabeth Banks as Rita is probably is the worst part about the entire movie. The way she is portraying her doesn’t fit with the tone of the movie. She’s too over the top and just too much. It was like they were doing entirely different version of the movie when she filmed her scenes and they didn’t reshoot because of money. Her acting wasn’t good at all. There were moments where it was tolerable but they were few and far between.

“Power Rangers” isn’t a bad movie, actually I rather enjoyed it. It is my favorite movie so far this year. But the pacing, Elizabeth Bank’s acting, and the length of it hurts the enjoyment of the movie a tad. It was an extremely fun ride and the action sequences were the highlight of the film. Unless you are a fan of the original show, this movie will probably not be something you want to see over and over again. But I really hope there is a sequel because I want more films like it.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Pop Project explains: Power Rangers

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With the release of “Saban’s Power Rangers” tomorrow, I thought I would help break it down for you that aren’t familiar with the popular series and you want to see the movie. Welcome to”Pop Project Explains.” This is where I explain pop culture to you so can understand. Just without further ado, let’s get started in explaining “Power Rangers.”

“Power Rangers” is an American adaptation of the Japanese’s show called “Super Sentai.” Americans copy everything that makes that dolla dolla so does this really surprise you? The Japanese fight scenes of “Super Sentai” is mixed in with American shot footage in a 20 minute Frankenstein creation. It’s pretty much American’s doing all the talking and some fighting until they need morph. Then the Japanese footage kicks in. Pretty much, the Japanese do all the work. Just because they can take down Godzilla doesn’t mean they need to save the world every time. But this has been the format for over 20 seasons.  Do you feel old now that you realize that Power Rangers can drink legally? Now, let’s get into the premise because it’s a doozy. Before I dive into it, I’m only covering the premise of the original series, “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers,” because that is where this movie takes.

An evil powerful witch named Rita Repulsa is trapped on the moon in a concrete trash can with her minions for over 10,000 years. Apparently, she’s not that powerful to escape a concrete trash can because Astronauts had to open it up. Either lids are anti-magic or Rita doesn’t know how to work them. They then decided to take over the nearest planet, which happens to be Earth. Glad to hear that Rita was able to keep up on her astronomy. It’s amazing that she knows what Earth looks like when it probably wasn’t called that in 10,000 years, looks totally different, and has no way to see what it looks like from a concrete trash can.

Terrified, the talking head in a tube named Zordon hears about Rita escaping and tells his robotic slave Alpha 5 to summon-aka kidnap- ” five overbearing and overemotional humans.” Like why would you want moody teenagers to help you fight the world? If I wanted to form an army, that would be the last age group on my mind. Can you picture how well that will go?

Zordon: Rangers, Rita has sent down a monster to attack the city. You

Teen 1: So? What do you want me to do about?

Zordon: You must head down and save the city.

Teen 2: You ain’t my daddy!

Teen 3: I’m not heading down if Teen 4 is going down. I’m not in the mood to deal with her day.

Teen 4: Do you want to go? We’ll so go you little-

Alpha 5: Ai-yi-yi! Zordon, I told you this was a bad idea.

And to top it all off, the teenagers they kidnap aren’t even like that. They are literally the children that every parent wants to have. They are overly involved in community service, they teach classes to the youth, and they are in the top 10% of their class. Hell, they are the top 5% in the class. That doesn’t sound like overbearing and overemotional to me. Also, why would you just want five in your army? Doesn’t that sound like a disadvantage? Wouldn’t you want more? And you know it’s all one big bad idea when your robotic slave doesn’t like the idea.

Zordon gave the teens the power to change/morph into colorful tights that have dinosaurs helmets, kind of like the ones in his fantasies. Yeah, I went there. The powers even turn the yellow ranger into a man when she has her helmet on. He didn’t even ask her if she wants to be a man. How rude is that? At least give her a choice. I mean, it’s a good thing she can go back to be female but still. And how come no one on the team wonders that the yellow ranger has a sex change when she’s in her tights? Especially the Pink Ranger when she’s the other girl on the team? Are they that clueless? I mean, most of them don’t even question the kidnapping. So they probably are clueless.

Anyways, Rita sends down the putty patrol to “scare” the teens but that just ends up making them overly confident because the putties suck. Like they never have them Power Rangers on the run. The teens easily defeat them as teens. They don’t need colorful tights to beat them. After that, Rita sends down her monster. The monster usually forces the Power Rangers to put on their tights. Oh, and the monster is made by her minions and not her, so you know how great it will be. In their training to be Power Rangers, which was all of like four minutes, they are taught to take the time pose and yell their dinosaurs while the city is under attack in order to “taunt” the monster and to call on their powers. By the time they do this, they could have defeated the monster. Also, why does the monster just let them do it? Just kill them while they are doing it. They fight before putting down the monster. Rita decides to finally use her magic and makes the monster grow. Zordon then allows the teens to drive robot fighting machines called that combine together to form a huge ass robot called Zords. They pose for this too. That seems to be the real super power they have. The eventually end up destroy part of the town and the monster. Don’t worry, no one really dies. It’s a kids show. Oh, and who taught them to drive the Zords because I’m pretty sure that didn’t cover that in orientation because they spent all of that posing.

After she loses, Rita magically gets a “headache” and decides to beat up her minions. I would too because how in the hell do you explain that you got beat up my multicolored teenagers in tights without sounding lame? But hey, Rita is one big bitch because all she does it try to make teenagers cry. Instead of attacking any other city in the world that doesn’t have multicolor teens in tights (spoiler: it’s all of them…besides NYC and LA-those are just people don’t have powers), she’s after to make them cry so they will step aside and let her win. And you think after the first couple time she would move on, but nope. I give Rita props for never giving up, but you got to know when to quit. Frankly, I would just throw my wand at their homes and make them fall into the earth every time one of my monsters grew. The ground is already going to split apart when the monster grows, might as well make it work for you. At least then, you might be able to win.

That is the beginning premise of the original series of “Power Ranger.” Sounds like a shit show? Yeah, it kind of is. The wonderful shit show it is, though.

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It’s Morphin’ Time!

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Today, the second trailer was revealed for “Saban’s Power Rangers” today and the internet is shook. The trailer itself featured more than the last, mainly so it can hype up this creakingly awesome movie.

The movie continues to show off the darker tone, which I applaud, and its also gives some corny jokes in there to help “lighten the mood” and continue on with some fighting, some megaword action, the big robots, as well as a look that the command center.

The movie looks like the baby of “The Breakfast Club” and “21 Jump Street” now with some aliens. Rita looks like a total and complete badass. She looks like she’s out to literally kill everyone and I like it. The putties are the rock monster things and they just pop out of the ground and they look way better than the original. The only thing that looks weird is Goldar and that’s only because he looks like Dorothy came and dumped water on him and he’s melting.

Gordon and Alpha look okay. It’s weird that he’s in the wall but I’m going to judge it further once I see the movie. It’s also hard to take Alpha seriously because of the way he looks. I understand that he’s not a robot but it’s the eyes. They look too ridiculously.

The swearing and drug references are a refreshing change. Overall, I’m literally shook for his trailer and cannot wait until the movie comes out in theater March 24, 2017.

Here’s the trailer for you to be shook as well:

 

Have an opinion on the subject? Let us know in the comments below or tweet @Steven_Kaufman using #PopProject