Sunday, August 31, 2014
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!
Thor: The Dark World
Wolf Creek 2
The Place Beyond The Pines
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
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!
Starring: Alex Pettyfer, April Pearson, Dimitri Leonidas, & Calvin Dean
Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5 stars
After watching this film, I'm still not sure if the title, Tormented, refers to the students of the featured High School, or the audience that had to sit through this film. Tormented is one of these films that has a deeper meaning, but it takes it's message to such extremes, that it becomes completely obsolete. Tormented is actually an anti-bullying film, that features an obese teenager, that has committed suicide after years of abuse. Instead of focusing on the ones left behind, the story instead focuses on the popular kids, who continue to "torment" the kid after he's gone, that is until his ghost shows up looking for revenge. The story isn't the worst idea I've ever heard of, but the film was so fake and over the top that it just ruined all it's credibility. Tormented features a fully functional ghost, with emotions, who gruesomely kills people. The special effects that show him as a ghost and the ridiculous amounts of kool-aid blood, were just some of the worst I've ever seen. Magic Mike's Alex Pettyfer stars as the bully and much like the rest of the cast, is far too old to be playing a high school student. Films like this are low budget, and I understand they need a person of name in order to be recognized, but I've always felt that they should cast real teenagers, and give them a chance at breaking into the business, rather than have the roles played by actors that are pushing thirty! Tormented is exactly how you'll feel as this film plays to the lowest common denominator, assuming that only ignorant people are going to watch it. They'll do things like call the victim, Shrek and show goth kids who think it's cool that he killed himself. Tormented is not funny, scary, or anything but a complete waste of time.
Starring: Sarah Thompson, Matt Dallas, & Kai Caster
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
People often ask how I find and pick the really independent films I sometimes review. In the case of Babysitter Wanted, it was an easy choice, as nothing is scarier to me that an evil child. Strangely enough the film also features several cast members from a TV show I really liked, Kyle XY. The story begins with the deeply religious, Angie (Sarah Thompson), going away to college. Looking for some extra money, she picks up a job babysitting for a family living in the middle of nowhere. Everything seems normal at first, until one night someone tries to break in, and to everyone's surprise, the beautiful young girl is not the target of his rage. This film was very unusual for a religious based horror film, as it wasn't over the top with religious jargon. It was a major theme of the film, but they don't beat you over the head with it the way other films do. It's also unlike your usual slasher films as it has a good cast, a decent and somewhat unique story, and most important of all, it doesn't move at lightning speed. Almost every slasher film I've ever seen has 15 minutes of story and then it's one big chase, but that doesn't happen here. They spend a lot of time on the story and when things do happen, they are pretty surprising. Sarah Thompson stars as the babysitter, while being your typical beautiful horror movie girl, she was also very credible and connected with the audience. Watching this film, you feel like you know her or someone like her, and you'll be cheering for her in a way you really don't do in films like this. She's paired with Kyle XY himself, Matt Dallas, another really good looking, likeable person, that audiences will also relate to. Once you see the whole picture, it's going to seem a bit odd to you, but the Directors and Casting people really hit the nail on the head, making this seem like anything but a slasher film until the time was just right, making for a really enjoyable and unique type of film.
Starring: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, & Jay Baruchel
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars
Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest ones, that come to you while having a drink with friends at a bar. Unlike this groups other films, the story and plot aren't the focus here. This Is The End features a ton of Hollywood's top comedic stars, playing extremely stereotypical version of themselves. Their characters are based on rumors, gossip, and over exaggerations of their true persona's, resulting in a hilarious film, that not only delighted their fans, but also gave a huge middle finger to the paparazzi. The film starts with Jay Baruchel visiting Seth Rogen in L.A. Baruchel, a notorious introvert, wants to stay in, but Rogen wants to go to James Franco's housewarming party. Reluctantly the pair agree to go to the big time Hollywood shindig, when the fun is interrupted by the apocolypse, and I don't mean a zombie one, the actual end of the world. The pampered actors find themselves in a fight for survival in the home of James Franco. The whole cast was hilarious and while watching it you realize that the characters they develop really aren't that dissimilar from who they really are. Jay Baruchel surprised me, as I knew very little about him, besides his awkward performance in She's Out of League. I haven't really seen him as more than a ancillary character, and it was really fun to see him fit in with the gang. Rogen, Hill, Franco, and Robinson don't disappoint, giving you exactly what you'd expect from them, and unfortunately so does Danny McBride. I really don't get the appeal of this guy! He is way over the top, super annoying, and just a big dumb redneck, that just doesn't seem to fit in with the likes of these comedic geniuses. If I had the choice I'd much rather have had Michael Cera or Paul Rudd trapped with them instead of McBride, who didn't get more than an annoyed grunt out of me. This Is The End is a very funny film, wrapped in an awful story, but it gives great insight into the personalities of some of our favorite actors and that really is the whole point of this film. It's just one of those things that either you'll get it and love it, or you won't.
Sunday, August 24, 2014
Starring: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, & John Goodman
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Argo is the Academy Award Winner for Best Picture of 2012, and while it was an amazing film, the actual story was far less interesting. In 1980, the tensions between Iran and The United States began, and the U.S. embassy in Tehran was overrun. Hundreds were held hostage for over a year, but six did manage to escape and went into hiding. Knowing that their lives were even more in danger than those of the hostages, the C.I.A. developed a unique plan to get them out of Iran. They sent in one of their top agents, with credentials claiming that he was part of a Canadian film crew. Armed with fake documents, he would smuggled the six out of the country. The film was intense and featured one close call after another, but in reality, getting them out was almost too easy. They were never stopped or questioned, and slipped out under the cover of early morning, without a hitch, but what kind of a movie would that be? Once these classified files were released by the U.S. Government, Hollywood saw the chance to tell this story in an extreme manor, and did so much to the delight of audiences and much to the chagrin of the other countries involved. Ben Affleck both stars and directs this film, and while everyone raves about his performance, I thought it was typically cold and flat. Ben Affleck wasn't interesting, the character he played was. Affleck wasn't any more likeable or skillful here than he was in any other role and that's why he didn't win best actor. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the man is a fantastic Director, but a very mediocre actor. That being said, the extreme locations and huge cast, were his biggest challenge to date as a Director, and I was very impressed by the way he managed to pull it off. Argo is based on a true story, it's fast paced, and even though we all know what happened before seeing the film, it's still an edge of your seat thriller that really shouldn't be missed.
Starring: Robin Williams, Monica Potter, & Philip Seymour Hoffman
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
In arguably one of his best roles, the late Robin Williams portrays Patch Adams, a man who decided to make his life about helping others. Adams believes that patients need to be treated not just for their physical ailments, but also for their emotional well being. He also believes that like freedom of speech, healthcare is an inalienable human right that should be provided to everyone. This is a film that was written specifically for and with the help of Robin Williams. While Adams himself admitted that much of it was inaccurate, the film fulfills it's message, by using an extreme mix of emotion and humor. While watching this film you'll go between tears of laughter and tears of sadness, in a film that will really hit home with a lot of people. This is what Robin Williams was known for, he told his stories and got his messages out, while at the same time entertaining and inspiring people to be the best that they could be. If any other actor had played Patch, it probably would have been a slow moving drama, that just made everyone sad, but Williams made the story one that made you think and it sticks with you. As it recent weeks it has come to light that Williams himself was sick, and this may be the reason he took his own life, I can't help but wonder if on that night, had he watched this film, would the outcome have been different?