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All Eyez on Me (2017)
I waited. We all waited. I wanted to like this. I really did. I rarely trust critic reviews. But I do check them out sometimes. One thing to learn from a movie before its theatrical release is, if they don't release early critic reviews within a week of its release, then its because they know they made a bad movie that critics will tear apart and don't want that influencing opening box office numbers. Well this movie had no reviews leading up to its Thursday night release. I saw the premiere and hoped that this wasn't going to be the case. Sadly it was. I came out of the movie so very disappointed and underwhelmed. I checked online to see if critic reviews where finally released....and low and behold, they were just as disappointed if not more than me. Like I said, I rarely trust critics, but this time they are really giving you a much needed warning when it comes to this over-hyped movie.
John Singleton was the original director before leaving the project because they wouldn't let him use his vision. He has since foreshadowed that they were gonna 'ruin' this movie. He was right. Sure the actor looks almost exactly like Tupac, but his acting was below average and his portrayal was very very off. Sure it has Tupacs music and some biased portrayals of his life, but this is stuff we already knew and didn't really execute the message in any way that made this movie a must see. There are a few scenes that seem nostalgic, but overall the movie has production value similar to a made for TV movie. This is unfortunate considering it was made on a budget of 45 million. The final act, that everyone really came to see was somewhat intense but the ending overall was almost disrespectful to Tupac rather than celebratory. This was an overall moneygrab disaster. Speaking of moneygrabbing, its obvious they chose Tupacs birthday as a release date to cash in knowing it would be a frontloaded weekend for the movie. Other than that, I am glad this movie will become a flop. When it comes to Tupacs legacy this movie should not be considered canon.
Its a shame, this is a story that the public wanted for years. But it wasn't the right movie at all. Save your money and skip this and listen to his music and watch documentaries of his life. I hope the upcoming Johnny Depp led movie based on real life detectives who worked on the case of Tupacs death is much better. This is simply not good.
Don't Knock Twice (2016)
Beware, you're in for a scare.
I had seen the cover of this movie as a related item on a few horror films and thought the plot was intriguing. Then I saw the Blu Ray was on sale at Walmart, which is actually interesting because it was accidentally stocked two months ahead of its release date. But I didn't complain as I took it home ready for what I was hoping would be a good spooky horror movie night. I wasn't disappointed. Despite the negative reviews, this ended up being one of the better horror treats from IFC Midnight and one of the best overall horror films in recent memory.
-Plot- Chloe is somewhat estranged from her ex-addict mother Jess for the beginning of her life. But now a more stable and wealthy Jess wants to reconnect with her daughter. But before happily ever after could happen, Chloe and a friend had gone to a local neighborhood house where urban legend says a vengeful witch resides. The legend states that if you knock on her door twice, she will come and take you to her world. Well, they knocked twice.
That is just the basic plot that sums up the first 5 minutes. Its a typical genre plot, but it is done surprisingly well. I am appalled by the negative scores. This is better than your average scary movie. The mythos is very creepy. The acting is above average for the genre and budget. The directing and cinematography contain some beautiful and terrifying imagery. The musical score is an instant horror classic. The sound design altogether is intense. The trailer for this surprisingly doesn't give away even half of the scares so even seeing it beforehand wont ruin any of it. But the trailer doesn't help its case either. There are plenty of jump scares that will truly get to you. Some might call them lazy, but their just nit picky. The entity of the witch is truly horrifying and will have you reaching for a blanket or light switch in all of its on screen moments. The actor playing the witch entity is the same that played the scary "mama" entity from Mama and the emaciated demon at the end of REC, so you know you're in for some scary imagery with this guy. The mythos of the movie does get a little over indulgent toward the end, but it still works well, despite a somewhat rushed ending and typical horror movie "bad logic" by some characters. Id compare some of the scary moments to "Lights Out" and even one early sighting of the witch to the Nun painting scene in "The Conjuring 2". I am surprised this didn't get a nationwide theatrical release as its production value is pretty nice looking compared to nationwide horror craps like Bye Bye Man. I attribute its absence from cinemas to its lack of a recognizable star. Which is unfortunate since I would have loved to experience this on the big screen. But that's what makes the horror genre so special. Even little gems like this that are ignored by mainstream media can end up being big cult classics and I believe this is a candidate. I am a horror junky and don't scare that easily anymore, but the entity of the witch really got to me. I really found myself inching toward the light switch and looking to see if something was behind me multiple times. One of the few films in a long time that I had trouble watching in the dark entirely during my first viewing. I would even go as far as to say this is a more accessible and fast paced take on A24s period horror "The Witch".
I think the negative reviews will surely get lost in praise as this finds its audience. I gave it a 10/10 to do my small part in helping its score improve, but my real grade would be maybe a 8.5/10. Its truly much better than the trailer suggest and definitely better than the negative reviews say. If you want a good fright night with a lover or friends, or even alone, then this is a perfect choice. If you liked "Lights Out" or "The Conjuring" style horror then beware you're in for a scare. Just make sure its dark and the volume is high. I'm adding this to my go to Halloween season movie playlist.
A Final Act That Will Haunt Your Nights
Its best to know as little about the plot as possible before seeing this. I will say that a few scenes toward the end remind me of that infamous scene from Insidious involving a shadowy figure standing in the corner of the room. One vague spoiler I will give is that it is a satanic horror movie. The entire movie has the vibe of a fever dream that slowly gets worse and worse until the very end. Here are a few things to know before seeing this movie. 1. It is a slow burner that builds on brooding atmosphere rather than constant jump scares 2. You have to pay close attention, so have little distractions or don't be too lazy to press rewind if you missed something. 3. The final 30 mins will haunt your nightmares so be sure to play it extra loud for extra effect. 4. You MUST watch it more than once. If any of those things aren't what you're looking for in a horror movie, then skip this so you don't end up trashing it afterwards. Otherwise, enjoy this future cult classic loud and in the dark. I personally think this is one of the best and scariest horror films in a long time.
*PS spoiler* I will even go as far as to call this a modern day spiritual successor to The Witch. Yes there is a Black Philip-esque entity in the mix.
Give This One Time And It'll Gain A Huge Horror Cult Following.
I really don't remember how I even came to know about this movie. I just know that once I saw the title of it online and watched the trailer that I had to watch it. The reviews at the time were mostly overly negative. But I still couldn't go on without having seen it. The premise was strange. I'm a sucker for strange horror films. So I bought it and after two viewings so far I can say with confidence that this movie is not nearly as bad as these negative reviews make it out to be.
First off, if you don't like weird or somewhat artsy movies, then you might not like this. This isn't a typical horror movie like the kind that gets released nationwide in theaters for teenagers to bring their lovers on dates with. Though I honestly wish it would've been released in theaters across the country as this is a visual treat. The cinematography is very well done for such a low budget movie. The musical score is a new horror theme classic for me. The acting was decent for the genre. The monsters are really creepy. There isn't really a coherent plot past the 15 minute mark, but this isn't supposed to be an award winner for best screenplay. It is a art horror film for most of the movie. Sure many will call it pretentious. But this is honestly one of the best surrealist horror films in a long time. Sure the plot might be a bit dumb, but the visuals and overall vibe of the movie have cult classic written all over it. Some of the special effects are silly. Some are really well done for the budget. Right now I'm sure most expected a simple good vs evil straight forward horror film. This one really is that grey area of movies. I'd compare its style to films such as "Paper House" and "Eraserhead". It does seem to partially be inspired by David Lynch. There are even moments that have a slight Silent Hill vibe. I'd say its the American surrealist take on the French Horror film "Inside". It's also pretty gory. It doesn't have an 'Unrated" rating for nothing. I didn't wanna give any plot spoilers as this movie is best viewed without any prior premise knowledge. I'd say if you haven't already, then don't see the trailer either. Just know it's a surreal and strange horror movie. If that doesn't sound like something you'd enjoy, then don't watch it. I can see this becoming a Halloween season cult hit as the years go by and more and more open minded horror fans view it and spread the word. I'm not saying everyone will absolutely love it, but I know for sure it doesn't deserve these horrible reviews it seems to be getting from the get go. I am adding this to my Halloween season go to list. Give this one time and it'll gain a huge cult following I promise that. A B-movie surreal horror masterwork of weirdness. And no I'm not on drugs, like some reviewers say you have to be on to enjoy this. Turn off the lights and partake.
Rare Fan Of The Original That Actually Liked It.
Unlike most others, I welcome horror movie remakes. I know that most end up being trash. But there are the few that end up being decent horror movies in their own merit. Yes, I'm a fan of the original 2008 French film Martyrs. I mean I really loved the intense raw terror of the original. But like most have said, it wasn't just about the terror. It had deep meaning. Which is why it has become one of the biggest horror cult classics of the past 20 years. So when I heard that they were making an American remake, I was honestly excited. The producers promised to keep the intensity of the original. This announcement was way back in 2010. So you can imagine I've been waiting nearly 6 years for this. Now the film is finally here. I will admit that the trailer for the film released online made it look very mediocre. And I knew that most other fans of the original would trash the film relentlessly regardless of its true value. It is hard to not compare this to the original. The critics reviews seem implausible too. I guess I'm the rare fan of the original that actually liked it.
*Basic Plot* A girl escapes from captivity from being tortured on a daily basis. The police return to find the torture site abandoned. The girl is sent to an orphanage where she befriends another orphan girl and sees visions of a monster. Years later as an adult she tracks down her captors and takes revenge, which sets off a chain of even more terrifying events for her and her best friend.
That really is just a typical summary of the plot to lure you in. It's for the most part a carbon copy of the originals story. Some scenes are shot for shot. There are a few tweaks that are "Americanized", but are still a bit intense compared to other horror remakes that seem dumbed down. I will admit that upon my first viewing I was disappointed in the handling of the ending. But the film still stuck with me long after. I read all these negative reviews prior and expected the holy grail of terrible remakes. I'm glad to find out most of those reviews are completely misguided. Yes, it pales in comparison to the original. But it is not nearly as bad as other fans have said it is. They seem to blindly hate it. I read one negative review that pointed out that the movie had country music, as if that played a big part in the soundtrack, when in reality it was literally just 10 seconds of the music near the beginning. Others say the acting is typical terrible American remake bad acting. Again, wrong. Sure it wasn't Oscar worthy acting. But it was all believable. Yes, the ending and captivity scenes are changed a lot. They are still intense, but less effective. BUT, still pretty good. I think the movie was still a pretty good horror film. There were scenes of brooding terror in the beginning. The musical score is very epic and emotional for a horror movie. The acting is pretty good. The production value is really good for a low budget remake. There are some visual shots during the daytime scenes that are eye candy. The message the original sent out is still present, just not delivered nearly as well. But it's still there! The ending will disappoint fans of the very memorable finale of the original, but in its own context it works decently. So all these insanely negative reviews should not be taken that seriously until you've seen the movie for yourself and will form your own positive or negative opinion. Believe it or not, even the original hasn't been seen by everyone. So most early reviews for this remake are from disgruntled fans of the original who went out to do nothing but trash this film. Of course if you saw the original and liked it, you will have a hard time not comparing the two. At first I was comparing them, but once I looked at this movie as a standalone horror film pretending the original didn't exist, I found it to be a pretty good horror experience. For the moment, I'd trust the opinion on this film of someone who hasn't seen the original more than the angry fans. Because their minds are fresh. They won't be overly nitpicky. Some will, but most might appreciate this for it's true value. Sure its not nearly the best horror movie ever made, but it's one of the best remakes. I'd bet anything that if this was released nationwide in theaters first, that it would get a warmer response from reviewers. I say if you haven't seen the original, you'll have a better time seeing this on your horror movie night. If you did see the original I strongly recommend you try your hardest not to compare the two and view this as if its truly a standalone film. I predict as time passes by this will find a small cult following. The reviews will slightly get better. Either way, turn up the volume, turn off the lights, and enjoy.
**Fun Fact** The writer of this remake is the same man who wrote the adapted screenplay for the award winning film The Revenant. Believe it or not.
Sinister 2 (2015)
Exactly What You'd Expect From A Horror Sequel. But So What?
My real score is closer to a 6.5/10 but of course I just rounded up. The reason I'm not attacking this movie negatively is because I love horror movies good and bad. Horror is a fun genre even if the movies aren't good. This isn't a good or bad horror film. It's borderline 'okay'. The original Sinister was a refreshing and creepy film that was disturbing for all the right reasons. It was clever with its atmosphere and its jump scares(the lawnmower scene still gives me chills). The soundtrack was haunting and somewhat beautiful. But lets not forget all those aforementioned comments are for the original film, not this one. Sure this movie had the same writers as the first, but maybe the spark wasn't fully reigniting for this sequel. This movie took all of the best elements of the original and dumbed them down slightly. The new director previously directed the very good indie horror film Citadel, which is better than this. I didn't hate this movie. But I far from loved it. I did have a somewhat good time in its world. The scares made me jump. But the atmosphere was just a bad copy of the first film. The snuff film sequences were trying too hard and showed too much. It would be disturbing to younger viewers probably but it didn't have that lasting effect of the subdued ideas of the first films snuff elements. The acting was okay. But I was rolling my eyes whenever the kids talked. Especially when the 'ghoul' kids tried to sound scary. Newsflash, kids are only scary in movies when they Don't talk in their dumb fake scary voices. The 'ghoul' kids in the original didn't talk and just their presence was chilling. And honestly the story wasn't that compelling. Sure the main actress was cute and blah blah but I honestly just didn't care about them aside from the returning deputy from the first movie. Baghuls appearances ranged from cleverly scary and eerie to stereotypical pop ups. Now these comments make it seem like I'm complaining and disliking the film. Not true. I'm just pointing out obvious flaws. Now the trailers for the movie really ruined many of its scare factors. It showed too much and when the movie actually played the scenes spoiled in the trailer weren't nearly as effective. There were a bunch of scares not in the trailer but it seemed like it was too much. A scare every 3 minutes seems scary but by the 30 minute mark I just got used to it and sat there as if I was watching a creepy drama, not a scarefest. Of course toward the finale I jumped more again since thats when they stack up the scares tenfold. Like I said, it has all of the elements of the first film, but just dumbed down. If you're a horror fan then you could appreciate this movie somewhat. If you're looking for a movie to kick off the Halloween season with a night of scares then this is also decent. If you hate the horror genre, don't even bother seeing it. I'd say try to see it within it's first week of release in theaters if you can because it's a fun movie to sit in a crowd with. But after that just wait till it's on DVD/Blu-Ray or Netflix. I can see this setting up another sequel but if things don't improve after this one then the franchise could die fast or go into 'direct to video' release.
The Rare Horror Movie That Gets Scarier With Repeated Viewing
I first saw this movie as a young boy in the late 90s. I didn't pay attention to the deep meaning and pure genius of it. In my child mind all I knew was that Candyman was the big bad Boogeyman and he'll kill you if you say his name in the mirror enough times. I didn't pay attention to the story within at all. So as I grew up I began to develop a special fondness for Horror movies. In particular, Good Horror movies. It is still my favorite genre. So of course I stumbled across the name Clive Barker. His original Hellraiser movie, which was based on his own novel was for a time my favorite of his. The franchise of sequels that followed were either hit or mega miss. But I then began looking for any Clive Barker related movies. His other two directed movie "Nightbreed" and "Lord Of Illusions" were good but still paled in comparison to the icon of Hellraiser. "Midnight Meat Train" was good but again it couldn't hold a candle to the big H. Then came Candyman. I remembered my childhood thoughts of the film and just kinda skipped on it thinking it was just too gimicky. But for some reason I couldn't resist the urge to rediscover the movie knowing I hadn't seen it since I was a naive kid. So I read reviews everywhere online for the movie. Nearly everyone was praising it. Some calling it the best horror movie of the 90s. The itch needed to be scratched so I went out and purchased the Candyman DVD. It was a good horror movie night that night.
The movie is set in the 90s but feels so timeless. Well except for the lack of cell phones everywhere. Needless to say the situations in the film are so disturbing and surreal yet very realistic believe it or not. The setting for some parts of the movie in Cabrini Green, which was one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the US back in the day, was so eerie. Unlike many horror throwaways the characters are likable and seeing them die is tragic and disturbing. Virginia Madsen is a beautiful and lovable woman. Her portrayal of the main character was so helpless. This also is one of the few horror movies where the characters don't make constant stupid decisions throughout just for the sake of keeping the horror going. You know what I mean, like when a character hears a strange noise and walks through a house calling out to the possible death threat and sometimes with no lights on. Those stupid decisions are non-existent here. This movie takes place in realistic scenarios. Sure you might be thinking 'how could a ghost coming out of a mirror to kill you be realistic?'. Well here's a fun part. Though some may disagree, I think the Candyman never really entered the physical realm in the movie. (Spoiler) From the moment the Candyman makes his first on screen appearance on is when the main character has entered her psychological doom. No one but Helen (Madsen) really sees the Candyman throughout the film. It's a scary possibility to think of the movie that way. (End Spoiler/theory) Speaking of Candyman himself, Tony Todd gives an iconic portrayal of one of the all time horror villains. His voice sounds like evil incarnate. It fills the room even if you watch the movie at a low volume. Some of his scenes are so trippy that even the viewer wonders if what they saw really happened. It's very dreamlike and of course very nightmarishly surreal. The musical score is one of the greatest of any genre. I'd even say the main theme is better than that of horror mainstays like Halloween and The Exorcist. The first half of the movie does a great job of building up tension without ever getting boring. The second half is just relentless in it's terror. Don't think this is a mindless madman gone wild horror movie. This is a movie that will haunt you if you really pay attention and preferably watch it loud in the dark and maybe with a group.
So this is not only my favorite Clive Barker related movie, but probably my new favorite Horror movie. The night I bought the DVD as an adult I had hallucinations of Candyman as I tried to sleep. That NEVER happens to me. It was disturbing. But did it stop me from watching it again? No. This movie has such great replay value and it seriously gets scarier and more haunting with each viewing even though you know what's going to happen.
Fantastic Four (2015)
One of the worst movies of any genre in the past 100 years.
I knew this movie was going to bomb from the moment I saw the teasers and all of the trailers. It just had this B movie vibe. Not the 'so bad its good' vibe either. But even so I still had this small glimmer of hope that it would be good. I went to see it. I was right. It was horrible. I think this is the last you'll see of the Fantastic Four in at least 20 years. The cinematography was amateurish throughout. This movie looked like a college project movie in the 90s that was an exercise in practicing new CGI elements. But don't think that I'm saying the CGI was good. It wasn't. Everything looked just awkward and bland. The Thing was entirely CGI in a bad way. I'm all for giving new actors chances to shine. But every single one of these actors and actresses not only bored me and the audience of the packed theater I was in, but truth be told, they all looked like forgettable faces. It was awkward throughout. The script seemed mixed up. The characters had no chemistry with each other and no appeal for the viewers. Also, the horrible casting of the 'token black guy' as the Human Torch was a huge step in the wrong direction. The actor playing him was just boring and his attempts at trying to seem like a tough guy made me roll my eyes. Again, the visuals were just ehhhh. I took my phone out halfway through the movie and began surfing the internet, something I absolutely loath to see people do during movies and have never done myself, until this movie. But I saw that at least 10 other people were doing similar things out of boredom from the movie. At least 20 people, including families with young kids walked out of the movie. I could have walked out but the fact that I paid to see the movie made me stay. It was the feeling of being in detention back in grade school. Its such a shame since the Fantastic Four is one of the more beloved comic book super heroes yet they've found it impossible to make a good movie adaptation of them. Maybe one day. This is one of the few movies were I agree 100% with the critics. This movie is bad. I'm just warning you. Its not good. At all. Go see Ant Man or Mission Impossible 5 instead.
Future Cult Classic
I was excited for this movie. I knew the critics were going to go hard on it. I knew that most of the so called professional critics weren't even going to see the movie and would trash it based solely on Adam Sandler and Kevin James. I don't blindly hate Adam Sandler like most of the drones nowadays. Sure he had horrible movies in the past few years like Jack and Jill, the Grown Ups movies, and Thats My Boy. But he's had more hit than miss. He's even proved he can be a dramatic actor in his masterful performance in Punch Drunk Love, which I wish he would try again. So seeing the trailers for this really intrigued me. I knew not to expect much substance. I just knew it was going to be a fun comedy action movie. When the movie was finally in theaters my predictions of the unwarranted hateful reviews were spot on. But did that stop me from going to see it? Heck no. I've learned long ago not to trust movie critics most of the time. Sometimes their right. This isn't one of those times.
*Plot* I'm sure you already know the basics. The US sends a message containing cultural phenomena such as video games, movies and music out into space in the 80s. Years later the aliens come back having taken the message as an act of war and are attacking the Earth in various countries in the form of classic video games. It's up to the presidents life long best friend, a video game arcade champion from childhood and current home theater installer adult to save the day with help from other video game virtuosos. What unfolds is a series of battles in the form of 'stages' in video games to help save the earth from these aliens.
Yes, it's ludicrous. Yes, Adam Sandler is a hero in this movie. Yes, Kevin James is the president. So what? This movie was very funny. I don't know what the critics were talking about this time especially. The jokes weren't flat. I haven't laughed this much at an Adam Sandler movie in years. It was also good. Sure there were some moments that made me roll my eyes, like the whole side plot of romance. Also, Adam Sandler had a few funny lines, but he's not even the real star of this movie. The real stars are the supporting cast and the video game representations which were spot on. Josh Gad was so funny it hurt. Peter Dinklage was painfully hilarious. And as far as Kevin James being president goes, he did a good job at being funny but restrained at the same time. I'm sure most people were assuming he would be the wacky character of Paul Blart in a presidents suit. Wrong. Even the kids who played the young versions of the characters in the beginning did a great job. The theater I was in was full of laughter throughout at least 90% of the movie. Oh and the soundtrack was superb in catching the style of the 80s. The action scenes were intense. The visual effects used to created the classic video game characters were done so perfectly. But again there were action parts that were so over the top that they were lame such as Adam Sandlers character driving in reverse off of a parking garage and shooting the enemy dead before safely landing on a lower buildings roof. But then I remembered 'Why shouldn't I believe that when I'm believing that these video game characters are out and about?'. Exactly, some critics who actually saw the movie took the unbelievable plot too seriously. The low score on many sites surely affected its Box Office. But mark my words, the reviews and comments from people who actually saw the movie and loved it, are in the majority and they will help this movie rebound into the cult classic it's destined to be. Here's an example. When the movie first came out, its score on this website was a meager 4.4/10. Less than two weeks, and the day I'm typing this review the score has risen to 5.5/10. Though not a high score, this does show that the reviews are quickly getting more positive. As the negative scalding reviews are starting to get lost in the crowd of love for this movie. I predict in the future it will reach the mid to high 6/10 territory. Don't let the Sandler haters crowd your judgement. This is meant to be seen on the big screen. Don't take it too seriously. Go take your kids or see it with friends. Especially if you were a kid during the 80s or know other people who were around during that time. This will be a huge blast of fun nostalgia for you and others if so. But even if you don't recognize all the throwbacks in this movie, you will still have a good time! This was probably the best Adam Sandler comedy since Anger Management. But I dare say it's his best and most fun movie altogether. I would love to see a sequel!
Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (2015)
Not the movie critics say it is. Better than Jack and Jill at least!
First off, my real rating is close to a 6 out of 10, but I saw the horrible reviews from critics and the sadly low score on IMDb and put a 10 out of 10 to hopefully help bring it up. It really doesn't deserve this backlash. I'm not a paid reviewer who wants to give this film false advertisement to go see it. I've seen the movie with the family and I can assure you it is fun. Very fun. It does have a few annoying moments, but they are just moments that pass by quickly before more fun aspects take place. This isn't an amazing movie. It's not an Oscar darling feature. But it never strives to be. Its clear from the previews and the fact that this is a sequel to PAUL BLART that this is just meant to make you laugh or at least smile and shake your head in a positive way. Its wacky, its stupid, its funny! Its also best for kids. I promise you if you take your kids to see this they will leave happy. But its also great for all ages. Just a film to sit back and watch goofy Blart and his goofy antics. People are calling this the worst movie ever. Many are saying it's this years Jack and Jill. It has a 0% rating on a certain movie website that rhymes with Totten Romatoes, and it's just sickening. I don't go by critics reviews most of the time nowadays mostly because of movies like this that get this treatment. People who gave this movie a scathing review saw the movie to hate it. They walked into the theater already hating it just to hate it. I'm betting many of them didn't even see the movie. If you want a good family film to see with a crowd and have a good time, then ignore the critics and go see this. You wont regret it. If you are one of those people who just has a dumbfounded hate for Kevin James or this kind of humor then don't even bother to see it. It's that simple. You'll just hate it and make people who could have loved it not even see it.
It Follows (2014)
The Best Original American Horror Movie Since Insidious.
I heard of this movie many months before its release when I google searched Horror movies coming out in 2014 at the time. This was on many lists but I never really looked into it more until finally in 2015 it was announced that it would get a very limited theater release. I saw the glowing reviews and was envious that only 4 theaters would play it. Well apparently the movie had one of the best performances in such a small theater count that it was graced with a nationwide theater release soon after. I was glad that the trailers didn't give away much of the real scares because after leaving the theater from this movie I am still shocked at some of the images depicted in the film.
-Plot- An attractive teenager meets a seemingly nice guy and they go on a few dates. After a bit they finally have sex. Suddenly she wakes up tied to a wheelchair by the young man. He tells her that he has passed on an entity to her through sex and that it will follow her at a walking pace until it kills her. It will take many different forms of random strangers or someone close to her. To make sure she believes him, he waits with her, still tied to the wheelchair until "it" comes. Then he quickly releases her and hopes for the best.
That's the gist of the set up of the movie. Seeing all the reviews prior, I expected a good horror movie. In actuality, this is more than good, it's fantastic. The main cast are all teenagers, which could make the premise seem less scary, but boy does it all deliver. The movie has a retro feel at points with many of the best scenes using longshots that give it a roller-coaster feeling. The music ranges from terrifyingly loud but effective to soothing but creepy synths in the style of 80s classics. The opening sequence features one of the most terrifying images I've seen on the big screen. Every scene featuring "it" is executed masterfully and will have you on the edge of your seat. I will admit some of the secondary characters were annoying. The girl with glasses was pointless as she tried to be meaningful as she read quotes throughout the movie yet I just found her tiring quick. There are some scenes that did drag on a bit without much to offer and ended up feeling awkward. I think that a good 5 minutes worth of footage could have been taken out of the film and it would still be great. I'm not really complaining about it though, but I know that many others will. I would go as far as to say this is the "Drive" of horror movies. I mean that as a compliment. This movie will leave you with a sense of terror brooding in your stomach when you see someone blankly walking in your direction. I strongly think this movie could save the horror genre as it seems to be slipping in the past few years. I would strongly suggest you to see this in theaters if you are reading this while it is still in nationwide release. If you want a good scare then I'm urging you to experience this on the big screen. This movie really earns its R rating. There is no reason whatsoever to show this movie to anyone under the age of maybe 16 even with supervision. There is a lot of nudity and strong sexual moments not to mention the opening scene that I promise you will traumatize many viewers. Just bare with the movie in its slower moments because it's worth it all in the end. If you can't make it to the theater then I suggest you view the movie at home on a night where you can really sit back and relax with few distractions. Turn the volume up. Oh and watching this with a group can be fun depending on who its with. Just don't let your guard down afterwards when walking around in public, because It follows.
Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)
Fifty Shades of Ney
If you like good movies, then this is not for you. If you like movies that are so bad they are good, then this is not for you. This movie is bad. Plain and simple. I've never read the book, nor do I have any intention to ever in my life especially after this movie whom some have even said was better than the book, which means the book is horrible. I know fangirls will strongly disagree and praise the movie regardless of how terrible it is though. It's almost like people who love this movie have never had sex and seeing such badly acted love/bondage scenes on-screen makes their ovaries burst. I have seriously seen bad porn with better acting and plot development than this. Seriously. I'm not just bashing this movie to go along with the masses, it truly is an unbelievably horrible movie. The leads were just bad and not even that sexually appealing. The directing was decent, but that doesn't save the movie from its horrible script and terrible delivery. Even Martin Scorsesse couldn't turn such a horrible book into a good movie. Sadly, this movie is critic proof. No matter how horrible and honest the reviews are, the fangirls and tweens will stampede to the theater and turn this into a franchise that will probably mean the final book will get a two part movie. I love sex. I love freaky sex with a freaky sexy woman. I love porn on occasion. Aside from a sexy woman, this movie combines all of those elements in the worst way. I do give kudos to James Dornan not for his horrible acting, but his decision to join the cast. The movie may be horrendous, but you cant deny that he will become a sex symbol because of it. I give it 1 star plus 1 bonus star because one up side is that women will appreciate men in suits a lot more after this. Not that they don't already.
"In order for man to move forward, they must leave something behind."
-Plot- The year is unknown, but most likely close to present time. The Earth is running out of resources and a group of underground NASA workers seek the help of Engineer/Astronaut turned Farmer Mr. Cooper in taking a journey across the Galaxy and through a wormhole in hopes of a future for mankind on the other side.
That is the gist of the exposition of the plot. It's mostly quite clear what this movie is about through previews. On paper this sounds like a typical sci-fi plot, but Chris Nolan executes it like never before. The movie seems to be getting more mixed reviews from critics compared to his other films, and I think I have an explanation. Nolan and his team had too much faith in it's audience. The movie is full of science and dialogue strongly textured with physics theories. The talk of wormholes and Black holes are key to the movie. But I know that many will be left confused even with the explanations of what is going on to make everything in the film scientifically possible. After all, Physicist Kip Thorne was a consultant for the movie! I found it quite educational, interesting, but also over done at times. A good majority of people who watch this movie will be turned off by the abundance of scientific talk throughout the movie. I personally loved it and was never lost, but I could understand why many people were frustrated with the constant turns in the plot and overlong length.
I found this movie to be amazing. Sure, at times the dialogue was hard to even understand. There was a scene where a major character is dying, and as he speaks his last words, it's almost impossible to decipher what is said. It was also almost unintentionally humorous. But that was a small price to pay and I'm sure the subtitles of the Blu Ray release will save that scene for me. The directing and cinematography are gorgeously done. The camera angles really bring the movie to life. Simple shots from the point of view of the rear of a truck or spaceship never looked so amazing. The visuals were undeniably beautiful whether the setting was in space, on the foreign planet or even the decaying Earth. The music of the film by Hans Zimmer deserves so much recognition! I will even say it was better than the score for Inception. It really increased the tension and pushed for emotional heartache in many parts of the film. There are many tense scenes that will have you holding on along with the characters in the movie and a good portion of this effect is due to the musical score! The acting was top class. Matthew M gave one of the greatest human performances in history as Mr. Cooper. I seriously think it was better than his Dallas Buyers Oscar Winning performance. I really hope he gets recognition for this. There are more than a few scenes that will make even the most cold hearted person feel like crying. He was just amazing. Anne Hathaway gave a stunning emotional performance as the flawed Bland. Jessica Chastain has a few strong moments as well. There is a scene regarding her character breaking down which will definitely make your eyes water. The supporting cast all do justice to the movie too, but Matthew and Jessica gave the best performances without a doubt.
In a way, this movie resembles Inception in certain areas. Inception had a hint of relativity in it with the time differences between the dreams, the real world and limbo. Interstellar adds to that with the inclusion of a planet in the other galaxy in which every hour is equal to 7 years outside of its atmosphere. In Inception, a central character is left behind and lost in the limbo world with its major difference of time. In Interstellar, a central character is left behind in the other galaxy to find a new home while the other leaves to help the current home adjust until then. In Inception, a central character is old for a moment in limbo at the end due to the difference in time relativity. In Interstellar, the time relativity affects the entire human race as the astronauts are in the other galaxy. In both movies, the main character has left behind children and longs to be reunited. Inceptions main character doesn't want to see his children's faces until they are truly reunited. But in Interstellar, he holds on to the image of their faces as a survival tactic. This movie is full of Christopher/Jonathan Nolan-isms.
Overall, I think that this movie should be seen in theaters on the big screen if you have the chance. It was a true experience. Be sure to be attentive and to clear your bladder first though. It will make you think. At times it might make you check your watch, but please endure and you will be treated to one of the most intriguing films of all time. Even if you think you didn't like the film, there is no doubt that you will be thinking about the contents of the plot and beauty of the visuals long after the credits roll.
Gone Girl (2014)
I'm one of the people who read the book. But I read the book after the first trailer for this movie came out. So as I was reading, I literally imagined Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike and other actors from the movie in my mind. Upon finding out that David Fincher was the director behind this adaptation, I was sure the movie was in good hands. I'm not going to review the book, but I have to say it was incredible. I know that movie adaptations deviate from the book, but as I watched the movie begin, with that distinct ominous Fincher feel, I knew this would do more than the book justice.
-Plot- Nick Dunne is a writer who lost his job, as is his wife Amy Dunne. With Amy's money, Nick opens a bar in his home town alongside his twin sister Margo. Things seem to be going well for the trio, until one day Amy has mysteriously gone missing. There is a mess in the living room that the cops conclude was made to make it all look like a fake altercation had occurred. Among other things, Nick Dunne doesn't seem to look too concerned for his missing wife. There is also a diary left by Amy that states her fear of her husband leading up to her disappearance. All fingers point to Nick. Nick however claims his innocence while he solves the treasure hunt from his missing wife left behind for him on their anniversary. He learns of people from Amys past who have a say in the matter as well. Time begins running out. Not everything is what it seems. Did Nick kill his wife?
First off, let me say that David Fincher and the gang have really captured the tone of the book perfectly. The cinematographer did an amazing job with the look of the film. Each camera angle looks like a modern piece of art depicting the world in its true light. The music by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross is even better than their score for The Social Network in my opinion. It all feels eerie and atmospheric. Perfect for the story and setting. The screenplay was done by the author herself, which means that no fans of the book should complain when she basically wrote the film too! If I had read the book before the movie cast was revealed, I probably wouldn't agree with the choice of Ben Affleck as the lead. But I'm glad that wasn't the case. Ben really dives deep into this role. He was just how I pictured Nick being while reading. A big man, with a somewhat blank face and jerk smile and cleft chin. There is a scene from the book that was perfectly adapted in which Nick is approached by a woman who sneaks a selfie of herself with him smiling politely, but he quickly realized what the photo would do to his image and he tries to persuade her to delete it. It was a great simple scene among many that showcased Bens good acting for the part. Rosamund Pike also played Amy well. Her ghastly tone when narrating her diary, her innocent tone when talking to anyone in the movie, her hidden evil tone toward the end, all done well. The supporting cast was great as well, but I'll admit that the actor who plays Gilpin was not suited for the role as much as the rest of the characters and actors. The biggest acting surprise in the movie is Tyler Perry as Tanner Bolt, Nicks lawyer. He was so serious and believable. I almost forgot I was watching the same man who made all those horrible Madia movies. Neil Patrick Harris as Desi Collings, the mysterious and creepy ex boyfriend of Amy, was also a good serious turn for the actor. Though I knew the ending and exactly what was going to happen, I still felt like I didn't know what was next in each scene. That's how good this movie was made. There are certain scenes that still lurk in my mind. The movie is disturbing in a clever way just as it should be. It is a great movie about the current sign of the times. A movie that perfectly showcases the countries obsession with missing cases. How the country believes almost anything a newscast will say. How the country gets distracted with murder trials too easily and almost always ignores facts. This is a movie about modern marriage as well. Don't forget how the movie parodies the horrible Nancy Grace, which I loved! The twist ending is in tact and the movie really deserves it's R rating. This was one of the best suspense movies of the decade. I'm not going to tell you that you must read the book, because this was such a great adaptation. If you aren't a reader, I'm proud to say this movie did the book justice either way. If you do like reading, then I suggest reading the book before or after watching the movie. The movie is a great companion piece! David Fincher has made another modern masterpiece thriller. Expect lots of praise from this, and lots of hate. Most of the hate will come from the people who hate movies that get hyped and praised though. I expect this movie to do well! I can't wait for the Blu Ray!
An Emotional and Beautiful Movie Experience.
Spike Jonze is one of the most creative directors of our time. The weird but dazzling "Being John Malkovich" and the emotional drama "Adaptation" are two of the best movies in a while and each show off Spike Jonze distinct creative style. Both movies were also collaborations with the great Charlie Kaufman, a man who has written some of the greatest screenplays, all of which have similar creativity and beauty as Jonzes work. Ironically, the Kaufman movie that this movie is most similar to is Eternal of The Spotless Mind, which itself looks like a Spike Jonze film but isn't. I'll get back to that in a bit. When I first read about this film before it was released I was so excited for it. The premise was so relevant and interesting. I didn't get to see the film in theaters and I regret that greatly. So the movie finally reached Blu-Ray/DVD and I was intrigued to finally see it. I am proud to say that this was nothing like what I expected. It was much much better than I could ever have expected.
*Plot* This is the future, but not too far ahead. Theodore is a somewhat lonely man who is going through a difficult divorce. He works as a writer for a company that specializes in writing emotional letters for people to people. One day he comes across a new OS being sold in which the OS talks and learns as it interacts with the user and the world. He gets home and has it installed only to find out that it is a female OS who names herself Samantha. From then on Theodore forms a deep relationship with the OS as it evolves and learns new emotions.
That is just the gist of the plot. I did say I was excited about the movie leading up to it's release, but I will admit I did think the plot sounded really silly. So as I began to watch the movie I expected a silly romantic movie. I was so wrong. This movie was so serious and beautifully made. Not once did I question the relationship between Theodore and Samantha. The emotions of the characters are portrayed perfectly. Jaoquin Phoenix played Theodore so well. A lot of people are comparing the movie to Eternal Sunshine, and I'm no exception. The character of Theodore really reminded me of Joel from that movie. They are different characters, but so similar at the same time. Jaoquin did an amazing job in his performance. His mannerisms, his facial expressions, his movement. He nailed it. Scarlett Johanssons vocal performance as Samantha was spot on. She was funny, she was cute, she was sexy, she was sad, she was perfect. The rest of the cast such as Amy Adams and Rooney Mara among others give decent performances as well. Olivia Wilde also has a very short but cute role in the movie as well.
Now let me talk about the directing. Jonze not being nominated for Best Director at the Oscars for this movie is a crime. The close up shots of the characters to show their raw emotions was clever. The long shots following Theodore through the gorgeous city is beautiful. The contrasting of the colors used in the film are playful eye candy. I read that a lot of the city scenes were filmed in Shanghai. This movie really showcases the beauty of the city. I certainly wish I could take a trip there now. There is also a shot of the beach that is just amazing, even if it lasts a few seconds. The cinematography is also perfect. This is one of the most beautiful movies visually and I think there was little CGI in it.
Now I have to talk about the music. Arcade Fire are one of my personal favorite bands. I was so glad to hear they were scoring this movie. They were nominated for an Oscar for it and it was much deserved. The piano elements of the score are perfect. There is a scene at the beach which showcases one of the most heartbreakingly beautiful musical moments of the film. Just amazing.
So a lot of people are calling the movie too weird or pointless. A lot are saying the relationship between the main character and the OS was just creepy. I know that people have their opinions, but honestly I cannot believe anyone would bash this masterpiece of a film. Its the perfect statement on how our society is slowly getting to the point of us actually only relying on technology and barely having human relationships. The movie also personally touched me in that I am currently in a long distance relationship with a beautiful woman across the country and we talk on the phone a lot instead of Skyping or webcamming. Scarletts voice in the movie really sounded like her voice on the phone and it really hit me in a personal level. I mean I'm not in love with a computer, but I see the voice as a metaphor for long distance just a bit. Or not. Maybe it's just me. I have to mention the comparison to Eternal Sunshine again. That is one of my all time favorite movies. I have waited for another movie to come along for years and at least have a small similarity to it, and none have. Until now. Many will disagree, but I personally like this movie more than that movie. This movie is for people who need something different, yet familiar. Open your mind to the idea of this movie if you plan on seeing it. This is a truly emotional and beautiful movie to experience and I plan on re-experiencing it in the years to come.
After the hugely successful and hilarious Ted and Family Guy/American Dad have engraved themselves into history, it seems like Seth Macfarlene could do no wrong. Wrong. If this movie was his 'F*** you' to critics and expectations, then F*** you Seth Macfarlene. This movie sucked. The humor sucked most of the time. The idea of a western comedy was always a bad one and this movie proves it didn't work. Also, Seth isn't a believable leading man, well at least not for this setting. I will say that some of the jokes made me chuckle, but most of them were just annoying. Even the somewhat funny jokes were forgettable. They would make you laugh, but after the movie is done you won't remember a single joke. There won't be anything to quote in a tweet or FB status. Nothing memorable to laugh about later when discussing the movies with friends the way Family Guys episodes would make you do. You'll laugh, but you'll forget what made you laugh. Not good. I'm someone who has an immature sense of humor and high comedy sense of humor at the same time. I would classify most of the jokes and gags in this movie to be just annoying. Not funny, annoying. The best thing about the movie has to be the cameos and references to irrelevant topics in the same fashion as Family Guy, but not nearly as good. Some of the shots of the setting are nice and again, the cameos are fun to watch. But that's it. This movie will bomb at the box office and it deserves to. If you are reading this review during the movies opening weekend, I suggest you choose the better Maleficent instead. At least you'll have a visual feast with that movie compared to a B-movie with forgettable humor like this movie. It will have a decent opening weekend but afterwards it will die out. If you are reading this review in the future, then you'll see I'm right, right? Only worth a rental tops. Hopefully next time Seth tries a live action film starring himself he'll choose a better setting and time and provide better writing and funnier jokes and gags. If not, then someone tell this guy to just make a feature length Family Guy animated movie to release to theaters like The Simpsons did.
Beautiful Film. The critics are dead wrong about this one.
(The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman)
*Plot Synopsis* (minor spoilers) Charlie Countryman has witnessed his mothers death and it is apparent that he is not comfortable being around death. I mean who is? He also seems to have a gift which enables him to communicate to the dead just after they have died. This supernatural aspect plays a small and big role in the film at the same time. Well his mothers "ghost" has requested for him to go to Bucharest, Romania for no real reason. So he does. On the airplane ride there, he sits next to Victor, who he befriends quickly. Suddenly and awkwardly, Victor dies in his sleep during the ride. His "ghost", then requests him to give a gift to his daughter. This is when Charlie meets the beautiful Gabi. From there on, Charlie will experience an adventure of emotions and the dangerous consequences of his decisions, which in the end, ultimately makes him feel love.
I'm not saying the critics are always right or always wrong. Sometimes the critics love a movie and the public hates it. Sometimes they hate a movie and the public hates it. Sometimes they love a movie and the public loves it. Well this is one of those rare cases where the critics hate the movie, but the public mostly adores it. I mean, come on. This movie is much better than the 27% it has on Rotten Tomatoes. I am so surprised at the negativity this movie is getting from the press.
This was honestly one of the most interesting and beautiful films I have experienced. The acting from Shia Lebouf as a confused lost young man is topnotch. He gives his best performance to date. Sadly the Oscars are out of the question apparently. A lot of the acting comes from his facial expressions of sadness and sorrow. The supporting cast also do a great job. Evan Rachel Wood plays the hurt and mysterious Gabi perfectly as well. The best of the supporting cast has to be given to Mads Mikkelsen who plays the dangerous and smooth crazy ex of Gabi, Nigel. Every scene he is in is ominous. He is almost an evil James Bond type of character in this film. Oh, and Rupert Grint AKA Ronald Weasley also has a humorous minor role as well.
The cinematography is stunning. Every scene, every single shot can be paused and screen-shot and hung on a wall as a piece of art. The look of this film is truly what you would expect a living painting to look like. It's as if someone took a camera and jumped inside a piece of art at a Museum. Like another reviewer said, the movie feels like a live action Graphic Novel at times. The setting of Bucharest really plays a huge role as the backdrop to most of the film. It is a really beautiful city. I'd compare the feeling of it to the feeling of Bruges in "In Bruges".
The soundtrack sets the tone well. I almost cried several times during the film thanks to the musical score or song choices combined with the directing and brilliant acting. Take note that I barely ever cry ever. That's how good this movie worked. I must also point out that one of my favorite bands M83 has a song featured in the final scene perfectly!
Lastly, this film is hard to categorize. At times it is a drama. Then in an instant it has small comedic elements. Then suddenly it becomes a action film. Take all of these and combine them and set the movie in a beautiful city like Bucharest, and you have a great film. Of course, there are some plot holes, but it never gets to the point of confusion. At no point in the film did I feel like I missed something. I have no idea what these critics watched, but it definitely wasn't the same movie I just watched. What I saw was an A list film that deserves great praise. I still cannot get over how beautiful the movie looked. Even if you don't love the story, you cannot deny how gorgeous each scene is without any use of CGI. True eye candy. If you need something interesting and different to watch, then I highly recommend this movie as a rental, purchase, or even a Netflix choice. I would watch it again the next chance I get.
Banshee Chapter (2013)
Great Atmospheric Lovecraftian Horror.
I discovered this movie by chance. I was browsing a site that listed upcoming movies being released to DVD/Blu Ray. I saw this and it intrigued me. So I watched the trailer and was stoked to see the film. I read that it was loosely based on "From Beyond" by the great H.P. Lovecraft. That made me even more excited because I love the creeping terror of many Lovecraft works. I saw the low score on this site and that only slightly put me off. But I saw that the critics were giving the movie positive feedback, something that doesn't happen often in the horror genre. So the movie comes out and I buy it and wait till the night comes to watch it. Boy was this a horror gem.
Plot Synopsis. The movie revolves around a journalist who discovers that her college friend has disappeared after taking a hallucinatory drug that the CIA used to experiment with on humans during the MKUltra project. After taking the drug a radio suddenly broadcasts a creepy numbers station signal of unknown origin before "something" comes and takes the person. She goes on a journey to figure out what happened and is joined along the way by a Hunter S. Thompson inspired character who uses the drug regularly. On the journey there are supernatural happenings and creepy CIA footage of patients from the MKUltra era. What the two discover is beyond belief and terrifying.
The movie uses found footage sometimes, but don't be fooled. This is not a found footage movie. There are instances where the film cuts to creepy fake documentary footage as well. But for the most part, the movie is directed in a way that can best be described as a combination of traditional film making and found footage. The directing style for these scenes I speak of is masterful especially for the low budget. The darkness that filled the screen a lot got annoying at first, but it actually becomes another character in the movie. The scariest scenes are the scenes in the darkness that don't show the monster or only show slight glimpses of it. The creeping feeling one gets from these scenes is done so well. There are many jump scares. Even if you don't get a glimpse of the entity shown during some of the jump scares, they still work. Some are cheap scares, but most are clever and truly terrifying scares. The music was also perfectly done. Very eerie and sometimes relaxing to the point of utter creepiness. The numbers station broadcast that plays to warn you that the entity is coming is one of the creepiest and original horror movie ideas I've ever seen or heard. The sounds heard are just discomforting and well crafted. The acting is also terrific from everyone. This is a low budge movie, but there are some veteran actors such as Ted Levine who plays the crucial Hunter S. Thompson type character amazingly and humorously. Those don't recognize the name will know his face from "Silence of the Lambs" and his voice from the now classic horror movie "Joy Ride". For such a low budget virtually unknown movie, all the actors and actresses give great performances. I have to say again that the style of directing is so original and clever. Sometimes it gets annoying and maybe boring during the long shots, but the payoff is worth it. The night I first watched the movie, I actually dreamed of the events in the film happening to me and woke up feeling very creeped out. I don't have nightmares from horror movies often if ever. But this one made me close the closet door.
This movie will stick with you. The images seen will keep some people up at night. The radio broadcast sound will dig deep. I can tell that this movie will slowly become the cult horror classic it is destined to be. The current score as I type this review is a 5.4 with only around 1,000 votes. I predict as the film finds its audience that throughout the years the score will make its way up to at least a 6 and if lucky enough maybe in the 7 out of 10 territory. I look forward to the work from this new director as he gets into slightly bigger budgeted films. I do have one complaint that many might also have with the DVD. If not watching on Netflix when it comes out there, many will probably be seeing this on DVD. But the problem I had was that there were no subtitles. I don't have trouble hearing, but some of the dialogue was hard to understand or hear clearly even when blown up to a high volume. But that is just a minor issue. So buy or rent this horror movie if you need a good creepy scare for the night that will stick with you. Just be prepared to pay attention because you could miss things if not!
No One Lives (2012)
Potential Horror Cult Classic.
Let me start off by saying that my real rating for this movie is more around 8/10. But I put 10/10 because I wanted to help bring up the movies low score on here!
If you've seen the trailer then you know basically the entire movies premise. A couple is driving down the road looking to 'relocate'. They stop for a night at a motel and get some dinner. While having dinner they are harassed by a member of this group of criminals before the leader stops him. Later on the couple is run off the road by the man who harassed them and kidnapped. Though at first the leader disagrees when finding out what has happened, he changes his mind soon enough. One of the bigger members of the group is threatening to torture the couple in a secluded location. Suddenly the lady takes her own life before anything can happen to the surprise of the torturer and dismay of her handcuffed lover. The man escapes his handcuffs and kills the torturer, showing a violent well trained side to him and sets out to get revenge on the rest of the group. But the couple have been hiding a terrible secret this entire time that will disturb even the ruthless criminals who kidnapped them. Thats just part of the plot. There are some more small subplots, but you'll just have to see the movie yourself to find out!
This movie caught me by surprise. Of course anyone who has seen the trailer knows that the twist of the movie is given away. Even the DVD/Blu Ray cover itself gives away the twist. This movie could have had a wider theatrical release and could have been more successful if the marketing was handled better. I feel like, if under the right marketing hands, the movie could have been just as financially successful as the WWE studios last horror movie "The Call". I initially thought this was going to be another mindless B movie from the mostly horrible films the WWE studios puts out. I was dead wrong. Even though what could have been one of the more interesting twists in recent horror movies was given away so carelessly, this movie still packs a decent punch. The Director is Ryuhei Kitamura. He directed his first American movie "The Midnight Meat Train"(No it's not a porno) starring Bradley Cooper and based on a story by Clive Barker. That movie was visually stunning for the Horror genre and was a okay horror movie thanks to the "Clive Barker" aspect. Parts of this movie contain the visual cleverness of "Midnight Meat Train", but some parts do look a bit amateurish. Some say because it's supposed to pay homage to 70s Grindhouse movies. I bought this impulsively and decided to save money and just get the cheaper DVD, but now I kinda wish I had bought the Blu-Ray because I would like to have seen how some of the more visual scenes would have looked in HD. Like most horror movies, this is best viewed at night, literally.
The first 20 minutes are really good and tension filled. The middle part of the movie slightly goes a bit downhill in the horror aspect. The killer wasn't used to his full potential in some scenes and the editing seemed choppy at times. But it was still full of serial killer tension. Some of the dialogue from the less talented actors ruined some of the middle scenes, but it didn't turn into a disaster. The last 20 minutes is where the movie shines the most. It has action, killing, decent dialogue for a horror movie, a good ending, and a nice soundtrack similar to the Saw theme. The movie had decent horror movie music, but the final scene/credits is where the soundtrack really shines. I think the ending was cliché, but very well done. Dexter fans, the last 20 minutes might remind you of that show a bit.
Luke Evans(Immortals, Fast and Furious 6) does a great job in his sociopath role. Some said he seemed wooden and couldn't act well. That was the way his character is supposed to seem. Wooden and awkward, yet charismatic! He plays a great psychopath! The only other notable performance is Adelaide Clemens(Silent Hill 2) who reminds me of Michelle Williams! She was nice in her ominous role. She is also very pretty. The rest of the cast are decent at best, but still better than B-movie standards.
I'm not saying this is better than recent horror movies like "The Conjuring", "Insidious 1 and 2", or "You're Next", but I still think this movie is better than most horror movies that get a wide theatrical release. It was definitely way better than the 2013 Texas Chainsaw Massacre! This had a theatrical run, but barely. "No One Lives" has the potential to become a horror cult classic. I hope that the DVD release will expand its audience! This is a good way to spend a boring night when you have nothing else to do. You don't have to buy it, but at least give it a rental. It is one of the better horror movies in recent memory truthfully.
The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)
A Beautiful Tragic Epic of Karma and Decisions!
I am a fan of "The Gos"(Ryan Gosling). I admit I even tried to emulate him in "Drive" and "Crazy, Stupid, Love". He is a great actor and he always seems to make great movies whether they are mainstream or independent. He has already received recognition with an Oscar nomination for "Half Nelson". I was excited to see what character he would bring to life next when I heard about this movie. I saw the running time of 140 minutes and saw the trailer. I wondered how they were gonna make a movie of Gosling and Cooper last that long without dragging. Then I found out that Gosling is only in the first third of the movie despite him being the face of the movie. At first I felt disappointed, but I got over it because I know that isn't a way to judge a movie. So I went in after hearing mostly praise for this gem of a film.
If most of you haven't already figured out, the movie is divided into 3 acts. The first follows Luke(Gosling) a motorcyclist from a traveling carnival who quits upon finding out he has a son. He struggles to provide for the son Jason, who's mother Romina(Eva Mendez) is now with another man. He resorts to robbing banks. These actions lead into the Second act which follows Avery(Bradley Cooper) after he has a traumatic run in with Luke. Avery, a cop who also has a son, is struggling with corruption within the police station. Soon he finds a job as the Assistant DA. The third act takes place 15 years later. Now Luke and Averys sons Jason and AJ are teenagers. Soon they become frenemies. All of the actions from the first two acts collide into a dramatic finale. That is just the gist of the plot.
The first act was emotionally tense. This was also the best of the three acts in my opinion. Each act was like a mini movie. But this act could have been expanded into a separate movie if possible! It was intense, the dialogue with Ben Mendelsohns character was great. Ben Mendelsohn should really be recognized for Best Supporting Actor here. Gosling gives a great performance as an Outlaw type, but also a caring man who just wants to provide for his son.
The second act featured less of the emotion from the first act and more of the crime aspect of the movie. For a second I thought Martin Scorcese had taken over the script. That is a compliment. Cooper also does great acting here! At first you will hate his character, but as you realize what is going on, you will almost forget about the first act and now focus on the story of Avery!
The third act seems to be getting the least praise. I am confused with that. Some are saying it was unneeded. I strongly disagree with those opinions! This was the perfect way to end this story! Many people are complaining that it was too cliché to include this part. It wasn't as good as the first two acts, but it was still great. The fact that the two sons meet and become friends is intriguing. It makes you wonder what will happen scene after scene. Great climatic ending to the movie!
The directing is top notch. This movie is beautiful to watch. It did what movies that use an overload of CGI mostly can't do. It told a genuinely good and tension filled story. I do like some movies with some good CGI, but I love movies that don't rely on special effects even more! The acting was stunning from all members of the cast. Its hard to choose a best actor between Gosling and Cooper, but there is no doubt in my mind that Ben Mendelsohn did a magnificent job in his supporting role! The story of this movie is gut wrenching. Its a drama. Its a crime drama. Its a thriller. Its even a R rated High School movie in the final act at times. It is a modern epic tragedy. It is a tale of karma and decisions. I personally think it is much better than Director Derek Cianfrances last film with Gosling "Blue Valentine". This movie had me on the edge of my seat throughout, especially in the third act. Again regarding the third act, I think most people aren't too keen with it because of the way one of the teens talks throughout. I got used to it within 5 minutes though as I thought it was actually a nice touch. The music of the movie is brilliantly placed too. The musical score by Mike Patton was haunting and beautiful. The track "Snow Angel" is one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever created for film. The main theme cuts deep especially the way it was used in the film! Stay with the credits to finalize the experience because the song "The Wolves" by Bon Iver that plays is a true emotional masterpiece that goes well with the movie that preceded it!
I recommend this movie to anybody that loves a genuinely good original movie. This movie does demand your full attention though. If needed, you might have to put on the subtitles to fully understand some of the less audible dialogue. But that is your personal choice. This is a great movie for men particularly, whether you're a father, a son or both. This movie is great for women too, but men will have a more personal experience! This movie will stick with you either way!
Only God Forgives (2013)
Will be regarded as a classic in years to come.
I know that we all have our opinions, but the outrageously negative reviews this film is getting is ridiculous. My real score is closer to an 8.5/10, but I put 10/10 to help with the low score. Most of the harsh comments are from people who have only seen "Drive" and no other film by Nicolas Winding Refn. They keep comparing the films, and finding things to hate because it wasn't what they wanted from a 'sorta' sequel to "Drive". You can pretend this is a sequel to "Drive" since we never really learn about the Drivers life in the movie. You can just think that after the ending of "Drive", the Driver flees back to Bangkok where his brother is and then the events of "Only God Forgives" take place. Thats just a small possible plot line for if you wanna think this is a sequel to "Drive", even though there is a real sequel to the "Drive" novel called "Driven" that might get a film adaptation one day. But back to this movie.
*Plot*Julian runs a thai boxing club as a disguise for a drug business. One day his brother kills a young prostitute and is in turn killed by the girls father as allowed by a disturbing cop named Chang. Julians mother flies in to claim the corpse and learns that Julian let the killer go. She orders one of Julians partners to have the man who killed her son killed. This starts a series of revenge murders between Chang, Julian and his mother.
There are some similarities to "Drive" and other Refn movies here of course. The directing style and cinematography is very beautiful and gives the film a dreamy feel at times, and sometimes a nightmarish feel. Ryan Gosling basically loses all emotions for the character here. Kristin Scott Thomas character can be compared to Albert Brooks character from "Drive". But Kristin does an even more sadistic job and is relentlessly evil in this movie. You don't love her, but you don't hate her. None of the characters in this movie are really likable at all. Every evil decision has another evil decision from another character to counter it. During some parts of the movie Goslings character shows that he has a slight conscience of what is right and wrong. You don't feel bad for his brother being killed based on the crime he committed though. The only parts where you will really like Gosling is when he says the soon to be classic "Wanna fight?" line and when his character makes good moral decisions despite his emotionless delivery. But I will say this, if you are only seeing this movie because it stars Ryan Gosling, then be warned. This is nothing like any film you've seen before.
There are some really picturesque shots in this film. You could pause at almost any instant and it would look like a painting you can hang up somewhere. There are very long scenes that drag out for what feels like forever, but I at least thought they were better than the agonizing "Valhalla Rising" film as a whole. Some scenes are very weird and will put a lot of people off. There is a scene involving Goslings characters dead mother that will surely make anyone cringe. Many people who don't have open minds about films will trash this film, and walk out on it. But that doesn't make it a bad film at all. This isn't for everybody thats for sure. That's the beauty of it. I also need to mention the soundtrack. The music features more of the 80s influenced synths from "Drive". Cliff Martinez who did the score for "Drive" and helped with the soundtrack is back scoring this film. While the score for "Drive" was nice, most people only remember the catchy pop/electronic songs featured the movie. However his score for this movie is better in my opinion. Though the soundtrack doesn't feature catchy 80s style pop songs, the score is more memorable and sorta reminds me of Daft Punks score for "Tron: Legacy". There are even parts of the soundtrack that sound similar to "The Shining". It really does sound great with the scenery and contrasts the violence. Oh the violence. If you have a weak stomach then be prepared. Remember the head stomping elevator scene from "Drive"? The violence makes that scene look PG. The violence along with some of the trippy visuals really make the film very disturbing at times. The violence is also one thing people are criticizing. I can't defend the violence, but I will tell you that the scenery in every scene is gorgeous. Oh and speaking of "The Shining" there are hallway scenes that remind me of Kubricks filming style!
I think that we could give this movie time to be liked. I just wish I could have seen the reaction from many movie goers if this movie had a wide release in the US. I think as this movie finds a release on Blu Ray/DVD that the ratings will slowly go up. Maybe there will even be an extended directors cut. This movie will probably become a cult classic in years to come. The low score here will go up into at least a 7/10 I hope. The low scores on other prominent movie sites will most likely go up too as people start to open there minds for this film and stop comparing it to "Drive". But if you don't like different, weird, violent, trippy movies, then I can't recommend this to you. Otherwise, be prepared for some crazy weird scenes!
Mesmerizing Gothic Visuals.
I love all kinds of movies from all genres whether they are mainstream released or independent distributed. A good movie is a good movie. Out of all the genres, I have always enjoyed a good horror movie. But even more, I enjoy mysterious Gothic horror movies!
My real rating is around 8/10. But I was so disappointed with all the negative reviews that I put 10/10 to help with the low score. I read those reviews and expected to hate the movie. But I ended up enjoying it! This movie is, like many reviewers have stated, very different from Francis Ford Coppolas previous works. Mr. Coppola has directed some of the greatest films ever made and many were destroying this film because it wasn't like the rest of his filmography. I bet if you didn't tell someone that Francis Ford Coppola directed this, the reaction would be different. This happens to be one of the best Horror films in recent memory. If you didn't know, a small aspect of this movie is based on the death of Francis son. That alone is interesting to know! I can see why this wasn't released nationwide in theaters because of it's independent art house feel. But I still thought this was better than a lot of the Horror movies that were graced with a nationwide theater count. This is a great ghost, murder mystery movie with mesmerizing Gothic visuals. It almost had a 90s feel. The vibe of the film with its small town eerie setting reminded me of the John Carpenter classic "In the Mouth of Madness" at times. The acting is decent. Val Kimmer is okay as the lead and Elle Fanning is showing that she has more acting capabilities than her sister Dakotah. Ben Chaplin does a great job as the ghost of Edgar Allen Poe. The make-up effects for the ghostly character V and others were simple yet haunting and clever. The cinematography is nicely done. One other memorable aspect of the film was the eerie soundtrack. It is beautiful and creepy at the same time which helps with the tone of the film. This movie as a whole reminded me of an R rated Goosebumps movie. I mean that in a good way. Many are saying the story is downright stupid or doesn't make sense. Well honestly, I love the dreamy incoherent plot. I could understand completely what was going on, but sometimes I just got lost in the artsy visuals that I didn't really care whether the story made sense or not. This is labeled as a Horror movie and I at first expected more scares. But when I first watched it, I only jumped one or two times, and never saw anything that frightened me. I felt a little disappointed at that and felt I had wasted 16 bucks on this movie. Then after the ending, I just felt an uneasy feeling brought to me from the film. I felt creeped out. This movie isn't terrifying, but after much thought, it was scary at times. Twixt sticks with you after the ending. That's what is masterful about this type of horror. I also realized that this movie really gets better with multiple viewings! Twixt is receiving tormented reviews right now, but I can tell that throughout the years the reviews will get more and more positive. This isn't a mega masterpiece, but it is a good enough movie to have positive feedback. I seriously cannot get over the amazing Gothic visuals during the dream sequences! I really hope the score of 4.9/10(current score when I typed this review) goes up to at least a 6/10.
I am confident in predicting this film will gain a cult following eventually. I'm saying you should give this a try before assuming it is bad because of the negative reviews. You might like it, you might hate it. But if you want a nice visual treat of a Horror/suspense movie, then rent or buy this. Turn off the lights, and enjoy the mysterious ride!
Evil Dead (2013)
Let me start off by saying that I LOVE the original 'Evil Dead' Trilogy by Sam Raimi. I'm not like the angry biased people who immediately dismiss remakes of classic horror movies because they aren't the same as the original. Most of these hipster trash talkers didn't even really watch the movie. I loved the spirit of this terrifying gore filled remake/re-imagining of 'Evil Dead'. I gave it a chance. A good horror movie is a good horror movie.
Synopsis: The two leads are Mia played by newcomer Jane Levy and Shiloh Fernandez as her brother. Many are enraged by this change, but I accepted it. I mean honestly, it would be even worse if they decided to remake the Ash character with a new actor. Seriously, no one can fill Bruce Campbells shoes. That being said, I was actually impressed with the approach the film takes this go-round. 5 friends gather at a Cabin to help one of the group, Mia, overcome her drug addiction. As the hours go by she gets edgy and they discover a basement full of witchcraft type items. One of the group brings out a book and starts to read from it. This is when the demons start to take over. As the movie progresses I honestly felt the movie didn't really have a lead character because 3 of the 5 characters seem to become equally important.
The imagery is beautifully gruesome. The tension builds up in creeping terror fashion until the scares start to get louder and more prominent toward the end. There are even certain aspects of the remake that pay great homage to the original Evil Dead. The quick shot of the Chainsaw. The implication that the girls hand will become possessed like Ashes hand. The terrifyingly creepy cellar scenes. When the guy reads from the demonic book you know right away that horror is about to follow. The movie has a constant feeling of dread. There are some scenes that will make people laugh, but for the most part, this movie was relentless horror! The movie also had a little heart. There were certain scenes that will bring out emotions in the audience. I admit there was a part where I almost felt a tear forming in my eye. The make up effects are disgustingly real. Don't see this movie if you have a weak stomach. I read that they refrained from using CGI effects in this movie to stay true to the spirit of the old school approach of the original. I loved that they chose to do that. The demons in this had the true 'Evil Dead' feel to them. I was so creeped out the entire movie. The faces of the demons are some of the scariest images since "The Exorcist". I felt like a kid again watching "The Exorcist" for the first time. The voices of the demons will surely haunt most viewers for nights. I definitely closed my closet door after seeing this movie. The directing is clever and creepy. This movie has a lot of good examples of how a horror movie should be made. The actors and actresses give believable performances. The actress who plays 'Mia' was so good in her terrorized and demonic performance. Sure sometimes the characters made stupid decisions, but come on, we all remember the part when the girl walked into the woods alone just because she 'heard something' in the original Evil Dead right? If the characters don't make at least one stupid decision in a movie, then there wouldn't be a horror movie right? I can tell the filmmakers put a lot of effort into this movie. The filmmakers knew how the fan base of the original trilogy would react to certain things. I'm glad that the original director Sam Raimi and original star Bruce Campbell helped a lot with production for this movie. They also had help from Robert Tapert, the producer of the original. If they weren't there to supervise, I can tell this movie wouldn't have been half as good as it is. This is definitely the best horror remake. Also one of the best and goriest horror movies released nationwide in theaters. This made the Saw movies seem "PG". The movie has that 'independent' feel of the original while also having a mainstream feel at the same time. I really appreciated this movie. I even cared for the characters. Not like most horror movies where you can't wait to see the characters die. I wanted these characters to live. It was a great tragic movie, just like the original. It terrified me and made me and the audience at the theater cringe and wanna cover our eyes. Watching this movie with a crowd of people is the best way to experience it. I haven't had that much fun at a theater in a LONG time. I encourage you to see it with at least 3 other people. Turn up the volume, and have fun. The quality of the Blu Ray really brought the horror to life at home too!
I do have slight criticisms. I like to believe the movie is set in modern times. But I didn't see a single Cell Phone. Also regarding that, it would've been nice and more modern if at least one character said "There's no service out here", because a lot of people in the theater kept saying "Why don't they just call 911?". Another thing is, after their hot lady friend is killed first, they just forget about it right away. As if it was nothing tragic! Other than that, this movie is legit horror though!
All in all, don't dismiss it as just another pointless horrible remake. Give it a chance. But most of all, DON'T keep comparing it to the original.
The Conjuring (2013)
One of the Great horror movies.
*Short Synopsis* We all know by now that this movie is based on true events. The film advertised how the family of the house kept quiet about the incidents for over 30 years because the public couldn't handle what happened. The movie is set in the 1970s when the family of a farmhouse begins experiencing paranormal events. The real life paranormal investigators Ed and Loraine Warren are called in to make sense of what is going on. Then the events become more intense and violent until the climatic conclusion.
This may sound like another typical ghost house plot, but this movie was so much more. I personally love James Wans work in the horror genre. I loved the original Saw, directed by him, and even some of the sequels which were not directed by him. I loved the intensely creepy movie "Dead Silence". I even liked his attempt at the thriller revenge film with "Death Sentence". Then he made a big comeback in the horror genre with the landmark film "Insidious" which terrified many, and made many think it was pretentious. The film was written by his friend Leigh Whannell, who also wrote and starred in Saw. It was polarized with great reviews and some negative reviews. But most great horror movies go through that type of reaction at the time of its release. Now it is considered a modern classic in the genre. It even has a sequel "Insidious Chapter 2" which is directed by Wan and again written by Whannell, so that seems legit! But before Insidious 2, James was rumored to direct another Horror movie. So then I began anticipating James Wans next movie. I heard about "The Conjuring" being in production, but that it wasn't being written by Whannell. I was slightly less interested at that point. Then the first teaser trailer came out. It was the perfect build up of tension similar to that of "Insidious" and some classic horror movies I will mention later. I wanted to see this movie. The official full length trailers were nice and creepy too. Now onto the review.
Not only is this a great horror movie, but it is a great movie in general. Many have compared parts of the film to "The Amityville Horror". Some have said it like it is a bad thing. But you have to remember that the investigators of this movie also investigated the real life Amityville house. The similarities are a nice touch in my opinion. But honestly, this movie makes Amityville look like a Disney movie. The characters in the movie are REAL. They make you care for them. You start to feel like these people are friends of yours or distant relatives while watching the movie. When things start to happen to them at night, you feel like you are experiencing it with them. This is something that is hard for a horror movie to do. Usually you just want to see the scary stuff happen to the people and watch certain characters die. The actors and actresses all do a wonderful and believable job. The music is very unsettling in a great horror movie way. This movie made me feel like a kid again being scared of the 'unknown' entities in the dark. Those are still creepy thoughts even as a grown up after watching a movie like this. There is creepy tension echoed throughout the film. The movie also manages to have some of the scariest images seen. When the apparitions finally reveal themselves, I started to cover my eyes like a child. There is something about the way James Wan directs these images. An image of an old woman ghost slowly floating over you. You have to see it to know exactly what I'm talking about. I honestly jumped in terror more than a few times. Something that rarely happens for me. There is even the typical James Wan aspect of the film featuring evil dolls. The first part of the movie has a lot of build up and some rather jumpy scary scenes. The final part of the movie is very intense with its scare value without turning into another mindless horror movie. Don't take your eyes off the screen or you'll miss some of the more subtle and creepy scary moments. There are seriously moments that will definitely keep children and some adults up at night. There is a perfectly set up scene involving a maid that is proof you can scare an audience without cutting someone up.
This movie will remind you of Insidious too with its style of directing, but this movie is also more of a traditional movie with many elements of horror. But honestly, this movie surpassed Insidious greatly with its scare value. This is undeniably James Wans best movie to date. This film can go on great horror movie lists along side "The Exorcist", "The Shining", and "A Nightmare On Elmstreet" etc. I can see this movie becoming a hit at the box office as well. There is even a slight chance that this movie might be the first horror movie in a long time to be recognized at the Oscars....maybe! Dare I say it? This movie is scarier than "The Exorcist"! But that's just my opinion!
See it in theaters if you have the chance! If not, then rent or buy it! Turn off the lights and get ready to be frightened.
Future Horror Cult Classic!
-Minor Spoilers- The film starts off campy with the clown "Stitches" going to the birthday party of 10 year old Tom. The kids at the party are bullies to the clown and a simple prank from the kids ends with the gory death of "Stitches". 6 years later Tom and the group of friends get back together for Toms 16 year old birthday party. Little do they know that "Stitches" has risen from the grave to get revenge.
I randomly stumbled across this gem one day at Best Buy and impulsively purchased it. I had no idea what I was in for but I didn't have high expectations. Little did I know this was one of the best modern indie horror movies! Many are going to disagree strongly, but I feel this movie is in the league of cult horror classics such as "Evil Dead" , "Brain Dead/Dead Alive" , and slasher movies of the 1980s. The budget for this movie is low, and they still managed to make a horror movie better than most big budget movies released nationwide in the US. Though this movie isn't really a 10/10. I gave it a 10 to help raise it's low score. It's more of a 9 in Horror standards. But it is a 10 when it comes to low budget movies! The special effects are so indie and realistic at the same time. The jokes and humor of the movie made me laugh multiple times. The music is creepy and the soundtrack is awesome. There is even a popular song from the 1980s used perfectly in a certain scene that is just fantastic! The gore effects were perfect and cleverly done. The acting was very believable.
Honestly during the opening scene I thought I was going to hate this movie. Then things got serious, while still maintaining the humor. Ross Noble, the British Comedian, plays "Stitches" the evil clown. His performance is what makes this movie work the most. I cannot get over how perfect and eerie his portrayal of the living dead clown was. It was iconic. It is in the league of Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger and Doug Bradley as Pinhead. I will even go as far as to say that it was the best clown performance since Stephen Kings "It". This movie will make you laugh and cringe. It will creep you out. The visuals are gorgeous for a film with this low of a budget. They need to make more horror movies like this. This movie could be the start of a modern horror icon franchise! "Stitches" can be added to the list of iconic villains of Horror movies! I am disappointed at the low rating. Hopefully through the years if word-of-mouth helps, this movie will become the Horror cult classic that it is meant to become!
Turn off the lights and watch this movie with friends or alone. You will have a good time. Well worth a purchase or redbox rental if you like good campy horror movies in the vain of "Evil Dead" and the original "Nightmare on Elmstreet" movies.