Category Archives: Reviews

Spider-Man: Homecoming – Movie Review

Spider-Man: Homecoming is in my humble opinion the best of the Spider-Man movies and arguably should sit near the top of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Release Date: July 7, 2017
Writer: Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daily
Director: Jon Watts
Cast: Tom Holland, Marisa Tomei, Robert Downey Jr., Michael Keaton

Thankfully, we fans are spared a Spider-Man origins story as the events of Spider-Man take place soon after the airport battle in Captain America: Civil War. Also, this tale of Spider-Man is clearly a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Spider-Man: Homecoming is the story of sophomore high school student Peter Parker (Tom Holland).

Like any new adolescent, Peter is trying hard to find his identity. His only notoriety at school is his internship at Stark Industries, but even that is hardly the credentials he needs to be popular or land a date with his senior crush, Liz (Laura Harrier). As Spider-Man, Peter wants to impress the world by becoming an Avenger.

After the events of Captain America: Civil War, Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) returns Peter to his Aunt Mae (Marisa Tomei) with his new Spider suit and with instructions to lay low until he is needed again. This is pretty much a Don’t-Call-Us-We’ll-Call-You situation. Stark leaves Peter with Happy’s (Jon Favreau) phone number for any questions.

Meanwhile…in the past, clean-up specialist Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) is hired to clean-up New York City after the Jitari attack. Before work can get started, Toomes is quickly fired by S.H.I.E.L.D. but not before he is able to steal some of that sweet alien technology. Long story short, Toomes begins to sell newly created alien-hybrid weapons to the New York criminal underworld. Toomes is also able to steal more technology thanks to his Vulture-like battle suit.

While waiting for the Avengers call, Peter decides to clean-up the New York crime problem. In the process, he begins to uncover the Vulture’s plans, cause more problems on the streets of New York than he can handle and inadvertently reveal his secret identity to his best friend, Ned (Jacob Batalon).

There is a lot to love about Spider-Man: Homecoming. Let’s first look at it from the perspective of it as a Spider-Man movie. Homecoming ranks right up there as the best Spider-Man movie right next to Spider-Man 2. Tom Holland is perfect as Spider-Man. He has the constant running mouth that the comic book Peter Parker has. He is and remains a high school student throughout the entire movie, and he struggles with the very things high school students struggle with…identity. He wants to be noticed.

There are also brilliant moments where we get to see the limitations of Spider-Man that we haven’t seen in other films. The best example is when Peter attends a party at Liz’s home in the suburbs. He chases down the bad guys, but there are no tall buildings anywhere to swing on. He, basically, runs.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is half action film and half John Hughes movie. Director Jon Watts takes us through the struggles of an adolescent, who has to save New York City from a menacing threat. The story is well grounded and the adult moments are just as effective as the teen moments.

Baby Driver (2017) – Movie Review


From writer/director Edgar Wright, comes one of the most original and exciting action movies this year. Baby Driver is the story of a young man, Baby (Ansel Elgort), who is the best getaway driver in Atlanta. His iPod playlist is his inspiration for getting and staying ahead in any chase situation.

Release Date: June 30, 2017
Writer: Edgar Wright
Director: Edgar Wright
Cast: Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx

In hopes of paying off his debt to the crime lord, Doc (Kevin Spacey), Baby drives criminal passengers to and from Doc’s target, mostly banks.

Baby Driver shines in three ways. One, the action is amazing. While the Fast and the Furious is a testament to what CGI can do with car races, Baby Driver is all real driving frame to frame. The sequences are like puzzles; Wright carefully places the pieces down to create a stunning chase sequence in cars and even on foot.

Two, the movie’s soundtrack drives the action. The film starts with the song “Bellbottoms” by Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. The song creates the Baby’s required intensity in the preparation of the chase and soon explodes into the actual chase through the streets of Atlanta. Then we shift to “Harlem Shuffle” by Bob & Earl, which Baby uses to get the coffee for his criminal compatriots. “Harlem Shuffle” is a visually gorgeous one-shot title sequence.

Third is the story of our young hero Baby. Soon the movie sets us that final heist, which will seemingly payoff his debt to Doc. Unfortunately, he is forced to team with Bats (Jamie Foxx), who is BAT-S*** crazy. Clearly uncomfortable with the unpredictably violent nature of Bats, Baby knows he’s just one job away from freedom.

Soon things get complicated when Baby becomes enamored with the cute waitress Debora (Lily James), who works the late shift at Bo’s Diner. Debora dreams of getting out of town with just her car and her music. Baby dreams of being the one who can make that dream come true.

Baby Driver is a film with amazing chase sequences and an equally solid story to support it. The love story between Baby and Debora is sweet and of course involved music. It is the love story that ratchets up the tension as Baby’s escape from his criminal life stays just out of reach.

Baby Driver’s success also falls on its supporting characters. Kevin Spacey manages to play the bad guy perfectly holding freedom over the head of Baby. As the irredeemable Bats, Jamie Foxx just makes you feel uncomfortable every time he is on screen. Jon Hamm and Eliza Gonzalez play Buddy and Darling. This criminal duo is spicy together and almost become brother and sister to Baby. Then there’s Joseph (CJ Jones) playing Baby’s deaf and elderly foster father. Not wanting to know what Baby does at night, Joseph is the only moral compass that Baby has left in the world.

While Baby Driver is not a perfect movie, it is a great movie. The key to any action movie is tension. Tension escalates when Baby’s world is exposed when our gang stumbles into Bo’s diner and they realize that Baby and Debora know each other. Baby Driver is fun to watch and will have you on the edge of your seat. Wright also changes things up with an unexpected U-turn to start the second act and an ending that ties up loose ends in Baby’s life.

Despicable Me 3 – Movie Review

Newly married ex-villain Gru (Steve Carrell) discovers he has a twin brother in Despicable Me 3.

Release Date: June 30, 2017
Writer: Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio
Director: Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin, Eric Guillon
Cast: Steve Carrell, Kristin Wiig, Trey Parker, Miranda Cosgrove, Pierre Coffin

Despicable Me 3 starts a few months after the events of Despicable Me 2, but that really doesn’t mean anything other than Gru and Lucy (Kristen Wiig) are married and now a crime fighting team. This introduces us to the film’s villain Balthazar Bratt, voiced brilliantly by Trey Parker. Bratt is a former child actor, who starred as a really bad villainous child. His show ended once puberty kicked in and is no longer a cute child. Now he is just a villainous villain looking to destroy Hollywood with a giant robot likeness of himself.

When Gru and Lucy fail to stop Bratt from stealing a giant pink diamond, they are fired from the Anti-Villain League (AVL) by its new leader Valarie da Vinci (Jenny Slate). Before I go one, this begins the start of four parallel plots.

The first is defeating Balthazar Bratt. Bratt wants revenge on Hollywood for canceling his show and ending his acting career. He plans to destroy the city using his giant robot and his giant laser. The giant laser can only be used with the giant diamond, he stole.

Second, the recently fired Lucy is finding it difficult to be the mother to Gru’s kids: Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith and Agnes. She gets along with them fine, but she is unable to be a parental authority to the children.

Third, now that Gru is no longer a hero or villain, the minion lead by Mel (Pierre Coffin) quit and look for a new villain to follow. This leads them to slapstick hijinks on their path to jail for more slapstick hijinks.

Fourth, Gru discovers that he has a twin brother, Dru (Steve Carrell). Dru was raised in the country of Freedonia, the world’s largest producer of pigs. Dru feels like a failure in his father’s eyes because he never became a great villain like his brother Gru, Gru tricks drew into stealing the diamond from Bratt…in a villain-like way to foil Bratt’s plan and hopefully get his job back at the AVL.

Let’s start with what’s great about Despicable Me 3. It’s funny. The minions are back with their cuteness and their adult-type humor. I laughed a lot. The kids in the theater laughed and laughed. I had to buy my daughter a minion plush after the movie. Trey Parker is also brilliant as Baltazar Bratt in his first voice role not created by him. He vocally exemplifies evil childishness. He is also accompanied by an awesome 80’s soundtrack. Like the movie, Baby Driver, he can only commit his crimes while playing songs like Michael Jackson’s Bad.

The problem with Despicable Me 3 is the sweetness of the relationship he has with the kids is now passed on to Dru, which is not as sweet. Also, the fact that there are four plots in this movie means that sufficient time is not available to adequately address each plot. Every conflict is resolved quickly we are unable to connect emotionally. That was the charm of the first two Despicable Me film, Gru trying to win the hearts of the three girls.

Despicable Me 3 is a great film for kids and a good time will be had. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have the emotional punch behind it that made us love the previous films.

Cars 3 – Movie Review

The third installment of the Cars saga follows Lightning McQueen at the twilight of his career. McQueen’s ego is challenged with younger, more efficient cars invade the racing tour.

Release Date: June 16, 2017
Writer:  Kiel Murray, Bob Peterson, Mike Rich
Director: Brian Fee
Cast: Owen Wilson, Cristela Alonzo, Christ Cooper, Bonnie Hunt, Armie Hammer, Nathan Fillion

For years, Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) has dominated the Piston Cup racing series. Life is good. He is still the hero of Radiator Springs and loved by all including Sally (Bonnie Hunt) and Mater (Larry the Cable Guy). Things take an ominous turn with the arrival of Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer). Storm is the latest product of 21st century efficient and aerodynamic design as well as state-of=the-art cyber training.

With Storm’s arrival, more and more old racers are being replaced with newer cars and McQueen is struggling to stay relevant. In the final race of the Piston Cup season, McQueen’s attempt to beat the younger Storm results in a horrific accident. This forces McQueen to reflect with his friends at Radiator Springs and face the ghost of Doc Hudson’s past.

Deciding to give it one last try, McQueen finds himself at the new training facility run by the new owner of McQueen’s sponsor Rust-eze, Sterling (Nathan Fillion). He introduces McQueen to his new trainer Cruz (Cristela Alonzo). The two don’t quite see eye-to-eye.

Cars 3 is a fun and poignant member of the Cars trilogy. It focuses directly on McQueen’s personal journey, instead of the comic adventures of Mater in Cars 2. From the very beginning fans are rooting for Lighting to win and throughout the film, they root for his journey back to the top.

Cars 3 also introduces us to a lot of new characters, almost to the film’s detriment. There is his new trainer Cruz, who wanted to be a racer but the sexism of the racing circuit dashed her dreams instantly. There are also Doc Hudson’s mentor Smokey (Chris Cooper), who along with River Scott (Isaiah Whitlock Jr.) and Louise “Barnstormer” Nash (Margo Martindale) serve as Doc Hudson’s voice and motivation for McQueen.

One thing that stood out in Cars 3 were its visuals. A lot of effort from Pixar animators went into making the world of Cars look real. There were moments in its numerous outdoor and forest settings that the backdrop looked real and not like a photo mural behind the action. The scenery is breathtaking and beautiful.

There is a demolition segment in the middle of the film that is fun to watch, a source of great humor and beautiful to look at. It was real talking cars, in a real mud pit and really wrecking each other up using real car physics.

Cars 3 has heart. It is the story of coming from behind and never giving up. In the first movie, Lightning was a victim of his own grand view of himself. In Cars 3, he is a victim of age and better technology. The only downside is that it can be a little predictable. As the movie progresses, you realize that every misadventure and mishap is just another lesson to winning in the end. The ending itself is revealed a little too soon and its explanation was a little clunky. Can’t say much more without giving it away.

The only other problem is too many characters old and new. The gang from Radiator Springs feel like cameos, the two villains, who never meet, are almost carbon copies of each other and Doc Hudson’s friends are just too much. By the way, Lightning meets them in a “biker” bar with a ton of other characters. It’s just too many characters that we’re required to follow.

Cars 3 is a fun movie with a simple lesson to tell for the kids. The quality of animation continues to cement Pixar as the best in the business. It has enough heart to make you feel good about yourself and buy a lot of Cars merchandise.

Wonder Woman – Movie Review

Wonder Woman is a breath of fresh air…when it comes to DC movies. It used to be that we looked forward to how good a Marvel movie would be and how bad a DC movie would be.

Release Date: June 2, 2017
Writer: Allan Heinberg
Director: Patty Jenkins
Cast: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright

Wonder Woman follows the demi-god, Diana (Gal Godot). She lives on the island of Themyscira with her fellow Amazons including her mother, Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) and her aunt General Antiope (Robin Wright). The island is mysteriously hidden from the rest of the world, while the rest of the world slowly destroys itself during World War I.

Wonder Woman is an origins story. It starts by lumbering through an explanation of the Greek Mythology, of Zeus, and of his son Ares. But the real story here is Diana’s struggle to become the greatest warrior of the Amazons and the mystery as to why Queen Hippolyta will not allow this to be.

Meanwhile, as World War I comes to an end, American spy and pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crashes his damaged plane off the shores of Themyscira while fleeing a squadron of German fighter planes. Diana rescues Steve and vanquishes the German soldiers with the help of her fellow Amazons. Untrusted and captive, Trevor tells Diana about the “war to end all wars.” He pleads with her for his release so he can deliver the stolen formula of a potent nerve gas that Germany will use as a last-ditch effort to win the war.

Diana helps Steve escape in order to help him win the ultimate war. After proving herself to her mother, Diana leaves the island as a warrior and with an ominous warning about ever returning. Eager to become the heroine, she is destined to become, Diana finds herself increasingly impatient with Steve’s stalling and British bureaucracies.

Demanding to head directly into action, Steve teams her up with a motley crew of fighters including Sameer (Said Taghmaoui)-master of disguise, Charlie (Ewen Bremner)-PTSD scarred sniper and Chief (Eugene Brave Rock) – Street-smart trader of goods. That’s Wonder Woman.

I mentioned in my Man of Steel review, that Zach Snyder’s depiction of Superman is not Superman. As good as Henry Cavill was, the man on screen is not the Superman I came to see. Thankfully, Gal Gadot is Wonder Woman. Beauty aside, she is a convincing warrior with moral conviction. She has the confidence and strength to be a hero. She has charm and Patty Jenkins masterfully tells a brighter story in contrast to the dark overtones of Man of Steel. DC finally made a hero that girls (and boys) can admire.

A pre-requisite of a superhero film is good action scenes. The battle on Themyscira was fantastic showing Amazon cunning in a fight of guns and mortars versus swords and arrows. The movie’s set pieces of Diana leading the charge into “No Man’s Land” is a spectacular display of Wonder Woman’s power, strength, and fighting ability.

I have only two minor complaints about Wonder Woman. I won’t belabor it because this is an exceptional movie. One, the origin segment at the start and its mythology, just needed to move a little faster. I think we’re proving that origins are not necessary for all hero movies.

Two, there is a moment when Diana is in London and she is the fish-out-of-water moment. It’s played for laughs and at the expense of this strong character, Jenkins had established for over an hour. While humorous, the sequence is not very original. She is portrayed as a little naïve when she could have been portrayed as regal.

Wonder Woman is a straight up superhero film. It is a story about Diana’s transformation into Wonder Woman. It’s not making a statement about gender. While Diana is a woman. She has no hang up about gender inequality, she’s a powerful confident person with all the experience of being female. She is not fighting men, she is fighting evil. She is not fighting for women only but fighting for all people in hopes bringing peace to a war-ravaged people.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales – Movie Review

Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is back in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. He finds himself on a reluctant quest to find the Trident of Poseidon. His journey is complicated by his nemesis Captain Barbosa (Geoffrey Rush) and the ghostly Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem).

Release Date: May 26, 2017
Writer: Jeff Nathanson
Director: Joachim Ranning, Espen Sandberg
Cast: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Javier Bardem, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario

Full Disclosure: I have only seen the first two Pirate movies. I am unaware the events up to Dead Men Tell No Tales.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales suffers from too many plots and subplots. The movie really doesn’t take off until the plots find convergence in the second half of the film. Let’s go over the plots. First, Pirates opens on a young Henry Turner (Lewis McGowen) as he summons the cursed Flying Dutchman. This is the ship that is crewed by his cursed father, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom). Henry dedicated his future to finding the Trident of Poseidon, believing that this Trident that controls the seas can release his father from his curse.

Then there is Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario), who is accused of being a witch by the local townsfolk. Carina is not a witch, but a self-taught astronomer. She was abandoned as a child by her father leaving only a journal with a star chart to the Trident of Poseidon. As an astronomer, she is a woman of science and does not believe in ghosts and curses. She is also attractive and the same age as Henry Turner.

Jump ahead nine years and Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites) jumps from ship to ship to find clues and a crew to take him to the Trident of Poseidon. While on a British Naval ship, the ship is overtaken by the ghostly shark-like ship helmed by the legendary Captain Salazar.

Captain Salazar was once a captain in the Spanish Navy. His goal in life was to destroy all pirates. He defeated them all, except one. That’s right–Captain Jack Sparrow. Let me just say that Disney has been using CGI to bring a youthful version of their aging stars to life—Michael Douglas, Robert Downey, Jr., Kurt Rusell, Carrie Fisher and now Johnny Depp. The technology walks that fine line of cool and creepy. Back to Salazar, his ghostly goal in life is kill pirates and kill Captain Jack.

More subplots? Yes, Captain Barbosa has a treasure to find thanks to a mystical compass. Captain Jack on the other hand really has not a subplot, Ugh, too much going on. Fortunately, all the subplots and their exposition happen in the front half of the movie. It does feel labored but it’s survivable.

Where Pirates shines is the second half. There’s a lot of action. The battle between naval, pirate and ghost ships are well animated and easy to follow. Disney also does swashbuckling action as good as any studio can. It seems that pirates are actually interesting when they do pirate things.

There is one reveal in the film, that I can’t say anything about, snuck up on me. This final subplot pulled me into the story of two characters, I thought would not connect until it happened.

The main problem that Pirates of the Caribbean suffers from is its own mythology. Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter had the luxury of a prolific author, who built the world and its mythology. Thought went into this mythology over the length of its run. The mythology was honed, refined and reflected human nature, so readers could relate to it.

Pirates of the Caribbean is a theme park ride. I don’t believe Walt Disney ever had the world of the pirate in mind when creating the ride. He just wanted to tell a simple story. Finally, when the first Pirate movie came out, it was the first film to be based on Disney rides. My guess is that they just wanted the first film to be successful. The studio was not thinking it would be a five (maybe six) film series, so the world of Pirates is now created on the fly as new films are needed.

Why is this important? Audiences just don’t have an emotional connection to the pirate world, like they do with The Hobbit or Harry Potter. We have no stake in the life path of Captain Jack Sparrow. This reduces the whole series into one action film after the other.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is light fare. It has amazing action sequences but suffers because there just is not enough time to develop any existing or new characters properly.

Bad Rap – Documentary Review

Bad Rap comes to Video on Demand (VOD) this Tuesday, May 23, 2017 on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and Vudu.

Since the 70’s hip-hop has made global stars of its finest artist. Those artists are predominantly black, white and brown. Bad Rap follows four Asian-American rappers in their quest to perfect their art and as they try to break into a world that that treats them as outsiders.

Release Date: May 23, 2017
Director: Salima Koroma
Cast: Dumbfoundead, Awkwafina, Rekstizzy, Lyricks, Jin the MC

A documentary, like Bad Rap, is hard to put together. The director, Salima Koroma, masterfully chooses the most pressing topics, present the state of Asian rap and provide insights into the melding of Asian and hip hop culture.

Bap Rap follows four Asian rappers: Dumbfoundead, Awkwafina, Rekstizzy, Lyricks. All at various stages of their careers. It looks at their careers and the challenges they face as Asian breaking into a world that does not necessarily know what to do with them.

The movie starts with the most controversial topics when two cultures collide. The first being Asian in the world of hip hop. Are these artists trying to be an individual rap artist or are they simply Asian-version of rap. Is just enough to bring Asian references into a song or will audiences slap on the label of “Asian” and dismiss the music as second-rate.

Culture appropriate is the next controversy addressed. The idea that hip hop music is an African-inspired form of music and that Asians are trying to make money from an artform that is not there’s to take. Most fascinating is an argument between singer Rekstizzy and producer Jaeki Cho. The two battle over the appropriateness of Rekstizzy’s new music video, where he sprays ketchup and mustard on the posteriors of his Black background dancers. Is it culturally offensive or is it freedom of speech?

Bad Rap also spotlights female singer, Awkwafina, who managed to create her own style of hip-hop-influenced style and music. She created a unique laid-back style of rap and successfully broke into the mainstream. Even with her success, her contemporaries question if her success came, because it’s “easier” to book Asian females over Asian males.

Bad Rap also looks at other pertinent topics of Asians in the arts. For many of these artists, they had immigrant parents, who came to the United States and worked hard so their children would have a better life. Rap was not the life they imagined. For the artist, Lyricks, who comes into conflict with his deeply religious background. He struggles to maintain a mainstream rap career while struggling over his Christian upbringing.

Director Salima Koroma does a few things that are fascinating. She allows mainstream bookers and producers to view the work of the four artists. They give their honest and insightful opinions on the crew’s talent and potential. She also documents Dumbfoundead’s return to his roots of battle rap as he comes face-to-face with celebrity rapper, Conceited. Finally, Koroma jumps forward two years to see how each artist progressed over time.

Full Disclosure: I am not a fan of rap or hip hop, but I am an Asian-American. For me, Bad Rap excels in documenting the struggle of Asian-Americans in finding their individual voices as they blend in with the world they live and the culture they came from. It’s a story of individuals who find that hip hop is the only way they can express who they are and what they experience. It’s the story of these individuals finding meaning in a world they hope sees them as a serious artist and not a novelty.

This is Your Death – Movie Review – 2017 Newport Beach Film Festival

This is Your Death is the Friday Spotlight Movie from the 2017 Newport Beach Film Festival. It tells the story of reality game show host, Adam Rogers (Josh Duhamel), after escaping near death, hosts a show featuring live on-air suicides.

2017 Newport Beach Film Festival
Writer:
Noah Pink
Director: Giancarlo Esposito
Cast: Josh Duhamel, Famke Janssen, Sarah Wayne Callies, Giancarlo Esposito, Caitlin FitzGerald

One thing I’ve noticed is that the more known stars you have in an independent film, the more you increase its chances of it being a bad movie. This is Your Death has a lot of stars.

This is Your Death is a television reality show, that spotlights stories of tragedy and each story ends with a live in-studio suicide by subject. The writer, Noah Pink, does a halfway decent job bringing plausibility to the show and how it might actually make it on real television. But from the beginning, This is Your Death is a showcase of over-the-top characters with no self-awareness, whatsoever and tries to mix real dramatic moments with surreal satire.

John Duhamel plays Adam Rogers, the host of a “Bachelor” type reality show. Adam is almost killed with the losing bride kills the show’s groom. Adam has a front row to the horror and almost quits the business altogether, thanks to the fake nature of his show and reality television in general. Adam is grounded to the real world by his sister, Karina (Sarah Wayne Callies), who is his only family and a recovering drug-addict.

Before Adam can quit the business, he is confronted by the head of network programming, Ilana (Famka Janssen) who wants him to host a new reality show about suicide. Adam is at first angered by the idea but finds that good can come out of the show. The first example of good is during the shows first suicide, viewers can call in and donate money to the victim’s daughter. Adam is paired up with Sylvia (Caitlin FitzGerald), who is forced to produce the show, find contestants or be in breach of her contract.

I forgot to mention, Mason (Giancarlo Esposito) the network’s janitor who is holding down three jobs to keep his family’s home out of foreclosure. Any guesses about Mason’s role in the show?

Here is the main problem with This is Your Death. The idea is just so over the top that we just can’t relate to the drama and tragedy of the subject matter. I’m sure at some point the director, Giancarlo Esposito, who also plays Mason, thought that they were making some statement about problems with reality television. But in order to make a meaningful statement, you’re story must connect with the audience. It’s the tongue-in-cheek nature of the film’s events are so surreal, it becomes more of a sad joke in the end.

The dying actors should be commended for admirably acting conflict, pain, and hopelessness, but they shoot themselves in the head and now the moment becomes comedy. The movie is full of good intentions but lacks serious execution.

The story is just a little too predictable. Soon, it denigrates into a struggle for ratings, keeping sponsors and the one person with any moral center getting fired at the end. The studio audience reactions feel forced and the demise of the show is not a lesson in the suicide debate but a quick police investigation.

Ultimately the problem with This is Your Death is the premise. We just can’t buy into it and becomes one of those movies you watch and laugh, while wondering how did this film get made in the first place.