Sunday, September 14, 2014

Long Time Dead

Starring: Marsha Thomason, Lukas Haas, & James Hillier
Rating: 1/2 out of 5 stars

Horror movies like this one really drive me crazy, because it sounds good, the previews are great, and when you sit down to watch it you find that the characters are so unbelievably stupid, that the film has no credibility what-so-ever. What happens when eight friends at a party get tired of drinking? Just like anyone else, they wind up going into a store room and using a Ouija board to contact the dead. In their ignorance, they forget to close the portal to the other side, and a demon escapes intent on hunting them all down. Las Vegas's Marsha Thomason stars and pretends to be some kind of spiritual expert, when in reality she doesn't know shit. She is this whiny, annoying, know-it-all who I couldn't wait to see get her head chopped off. The rest of the cast isn't much better, as most of them just blindly follow her lead. To avoid this demon's rage, what do they all decide to do? Stick together in an old house, a good idea, but of course they can't stay together in a room forever, and that's when the demon starts picking them off one by one, in textbook slasher fashion. When you have a ridiculous story, combined with no background information, and a cast of characters that makes the cast of Duck Dynasty seem smart, what you get is a film that is beyond terrible. If there was some humor or even a break from the main story, maybe parts of Long Time Dead wouldn't have been so bad, but this film is pure garbage from the drunken night out to the bloody end.

The Heat

Starring: Sandra Bullock & Mellisa McCarthy
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars

The Heat is Paul Feig's follow him to his smash hit comedy, Bridesmaids. The trailers for this film made it look absolutely hysterical, a completely can't miss comedy, but it's extreme raunchiness turns out to be it's worst enemy. When an ambitious FBI agent (Sandra Bullock) is sent to Boston to catch a monster, she sees it as an open and shut case. What she didn't expect was to run into a local detective who is anything but conventional. The background story and case the pair are working on is really terrific and very well written, with just the right amount of comedy, this really could have been the female version of Lethal Weapon. Instead, the Heat goes so far over the top, that by the end it just isn't that funny anymore. Sandra Bullock is terrific, despite playing her usual whiny loner character. When she finally has had enough of McCarthy and snaps, it really is the best part of the whole film. Mellisa McCarthy is the problem here, as she too is playing her usual character, but to a real extreme. I find her to be very funny, but in this film, nothing is serious and every other word out of her mouth is an F bomb. Every time the story really starts to take off and become interesting, she shows up to screw everything up. Don't get me wrong here, this film is much better than some of the other comedies to come out lately, but as it's destine for a sequel, my hope is that they will tune it down a bit. The right line at the right time can really make a film like this and some scenes are hilarious, but the truth is, when the jokes are non-stop and the action is few and far between, it really hurts the film. Lethal Weapon would be the perfect template for a team like this and with the right jokes at the right time, they could find even more success than Glover and Gibson did.

The Samaritan

Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Luke Kirby, & Ruth Negga
Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5 stars

Taking story lines straight out of other films and blending them together, The Samaritan is one strange and confusing film, that will really turn people off. While watching this film, one could easily identify elements straight from films such as Shaft, Payback, and Oldboy, making this film anything but original. Samuel L. Jackson stars as a con man, who has just been released from prison. He's been in there a long time and wants to go straight, but his partners son is determined to make sure that doesn't happen. Samuel L. Jackson is a legendary star that can carry any film he stars in. I love his personality and will watch anything he's in, I even sat through Black Snake Moan, but The Samaritan makes even less sense than that did. The story is just completely all over the place, jumping from one thing to another, without resolving any of the issues it presents. Often times films like that will come together in a terrific ending, but the end of the Samaritan just leaves more questions than answers. Jackson is of course very solid and shows his wide range or ability and emotion, but the rest of the cast is just awful. Independent films often times only feature one person of recognition, but when you're releasing a film like this one, which is heavily advertising that star, you've got to give them something to work with. I honestly feel like some of these people were just pulled off the street and asked if they wanted to be in a movie, their inexperience is that obvious. When you add to that a confusing story line, that is full of slang and innuendo, the result is something that is unwatchable. The biggest star in the world couldn't have made a film like this work.The Samaritan is a rare instance where I wish I had listened to my fellow reviewers and just let this one pass me by.

Witness To The Mob

Starring: Nicholas Turturro, Tom Sizemore, Abe Vigoda, & Debi Mazar
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Boss of Bosses told us the story of Paul Castalano, Gotti profiled the Dapper Don, and finally Witness To The Mob is the story of mob enforcer, Sammy "The Bull" Gravano. Unlike the other two films, for some inexplicable reason, Witness To The Mob was made for network television. While the film turned out to be very accurate, it was also twice as long as the other two and lacked the typical violence associated with a mafia movie. Sammy Gravano was John Gotti's second in charge, an enforcer, who eventually turned states evidence and testified against the Mob. He was an interesting guy, but should his bio film really be longer and more in depth than that of John Gotti's? NYPD Blue's Nicholas Turturro stars and while his performance didn't blow me away, he wasn't nearly as bad as I thought he would be. The story is further given credibility by it's supporting cast, which is the same people you've seen in every mafia movie since the late 80s. There were actually seven members of the Sopranos cast, who had some type of part in this film. It's not surprising, as some guys just have the right look and do mafia type films almost exclusively. Witness To The Mob is very accurate and has the typical large cast associated with these films, but being over three hours long and made for TV, really hurts a film like this. You can make the case that the language and violence aren't really necessary to the story, but I really felt like it took a lot of credibility away from the film. How believable is a gangster that constantly says "freaking?" It was interesting to see things from The Bull's point of view, but the producers of this film really should have held out for a cable or direct to video deal, in order to make this type of film what it should be, raw and emotional.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

End of The Summer Recommendations

Another Summer has passed and to be honest with you, it's one I'd like to forget. The world has lost Robin Williams, as well as my best friend, and it feels like nothing will ever be the same. As far as the blog is concerned, I've spent much of my summer in quiet solitude, relying heavily on my vast collection of media to keep my mind occupied. Twenty-One reviews this month is the most for a single month, in almost a year, and I've got a huge list of things I've watched, just waiting to be reviewed. As the worst Summer imaginable has come to an end, most of my regulars will know that September 1st means it's time for my end of Summer recommendations. I hope it helps you find something you'll love! Thank you for making this blog what it is and for my part, I will continue to inform you on what's worth watching and what you should skip!

2 Guns
Home Front
Thor: The Dark World
The Rock
Wolf Creek 2
The Place Beyond The Pines

Tv Shows:
Criminal Minds
24: Live Another Day

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner (Book #2 of The Maze Runner)
The Death Cure by James Dashner (Book #3 of The Maze Runner)
Pines by Blake Couch (Picked up by FOX for 2015 mini-series)
The Mammoth Book of Time Travel Science Fiction by Various Authors

Isolate & Medicate by Seether
Fuck EP by Buckcherry
The Hunting Party by Linkin Park
Savages by Theory of A Deadman
Team EP by Local H
A Document of Dissent by Anti-Flag

Wicked Little Things

Starring: Chloe Grace Moretz, Scout Taylor-Compton, & Lori Heuring
Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

There are thirty-two Horrorfest films, AKA 8 films To Die For. As someone who has seen roughly a dozen of them, I can tell you that they have all been really good or just awful. There is no in-between with this series, and unfortunately Wicked Little Things falls on the awful side. I had high hopes for this film, as it has a great back story and features Kick-Ass's Chole Moretz in her debut role, but the film moves far too slowly and plays too much like an R.L. Stein book. Following the death of her husband, a woman moves her two daughters to an old house in the middle of nowheresberg, Pennsylvania. The house they move into used to belong to an evil millionaire, who owned the local mine, and used child laborers, many of whom died in accidents. The souls of those kids aren't at rest and they don't like having a new family in their house, so they lure anyone within range, into dangerous situations. I was surprised that the acting in this film was actually pretty good and that some of the scenes in the woods are pretty edge of your seat, but the problem here is that nothing really happens. If it wasn't for the older daughters over use of the F bomb, this film really could have been rated PG. I love the back story and the acting wasn't nearly as bad as I expected, but do you really want to watch a "Horror" movie that moves at a snails pace and really doesn't show much? I don't!