Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Glades

Starring: Matt Passmore, Kiele Sanchez, Carlos Gomez, Jordan Wall, Michelle Hurd, & Uriah Shelton
Seasons: 4 (2010-2013) - Network: A&E - Score: 3 1/2 Stars

The story of The Glades is one of consistency, as the show was consistent to a fault. From the series premiere to it's finale, across four seasons, nothing ever changed. When the show went into re-runs, the only way you knew what season you were watching, was by seeing how big Uriah Shelton was, it had become that ridiculous. What could they have done with an episonic police drama that hadn't been done before, not much, but something would have better than nothing, as like most, near the end, I just completely lost interest.

Jim Longworth (Matt Passmore) is a homicide detective from Chicago, who doesn't like to play by the rules. He has his own way of doing things and it earned him a ticket out of town. He relocated to the Florida Everglades, expecting quiet days at work and weekends of golf in the sun, but murder happens everywhere. Each week Longworth finds unique homicides and ends up doing battle with everyone from deranged soccer moms to international drug smugglers, as he tries to keep the people of Florida safe.

One of the main focuses of the show is Jim's feelings for a nurse/medical student Callie (Kiele Sanchez), who often gets involved in his cases. Jim has become a mentor to her young son, Jeff (Uriah Shelton) and would love to be with Callie, but she can never seem to finalize her divorce or balance her life. It is a recurring theme throughout the series that never seems to get resolved and becomes unbelievably frustrating after 50 episodes of the same thing.

The show always starts with a crime, Jim investigates, jokes with the medical examiner and geeky forensic guy, and then works the case at the same time doing his back and fourth with Callie and Jeff, and that's it! There were never any recurring storylines, never any changes, nothing to keep people interested from season to season! How about a cliffhanger or a ballbuster of a new boss? Maybe someone should have gotten shot and their future left up in the air? Ever heard of a serial killer? There was never anything but the current case. The comedy was always there and at first the back and fourth with Jim and Callie was great, but when you're doing the same thing four years later, who cares already?

The bottom line, this was a show that had potential, I liked the characters, the setting was fairly unique, and there were a couple of really talented new faces associated with this show. However, The Glades was happy with the status quo and didn't take any risks of any kind. It quickly grew stale, the ratings dropped, and now it's just another failed forgotten cop show streaming on Netflix.

The Phenom

Starring: Johnny Simmons, Paul Giamatti, & Ethan Hawke
Director: Noah Buschel - Rating: NR - Score: 1 1/2 Stars

Hopper Gibson (Johnny Simmons) is in a position that every little boy dreams about. He is a star rookie pitcher in Major League Baseball. His numbers and talent are off the chart, when all of a sudden, he can't find the strike zone. There is nothing wrong with him physically, so the team sends him down to the minors and puts him to work with the top sports psychologist in the country. I really don't understand professional critics and what they look for when they rate a film. Take The Phenom for example, this film has got to be the slowest and most boring sports film I've ever seen, yet it has an 80 on Rotten Tomatoes. There was very little sports action in this film and the fast majority of it consisted of this guy sitting in a room talking to a shrink! Yes, the shrink was played by Paul Giamatti, who is an unbelievably talented actor, but why the hell would anyone want to watch some dudes therapy session? When he wasn't in therapy, he should be on the field, but no, he's dealing with his over barring father, who is fresh out of prison. Who plays this bad ass, bullying his pro-athlete son, who is in peak physical condition? A very old looking, very tattooed, Ethan Hawke and I really wasn't buying that for a second. There were some talented actors in this film, no doubt, but The Phenom was 88 minutes of talking and nothing more, what in the hell is so great about that? This film was as boring as movies get, so unless you're a die hard Paul Giamatti fan, I would absolutely let this one pass you by.

Adventures In Babysitting (1987)

Starring: Elizabeth Shue, Maria Brewton, Keith Coogan, & Anthony Rapp
Director: Christopher Columbus - Rating: PG-13 - Score: 4 Stars

Is it just me or were comedies funnier in the 80s? Adventures In Babysitting was by no means raunchy, it doesn't even compare to the films of today in that respect, but in someways there just seem to be a lot more laughs in these classic 80s comedies. For those who don't know the story, Chris (Elizabeth Shue) passes up a night with her boyfriend to babysit for two kids. It was the right choice, but when her best friend is left stranded and in trouble, Chris is forced to take the kids into Chicago to go and rescue her. What awaits her there is an adventure she never saw coming, with everything from gangsters to car trouble and perhaps even a new romantic interest? This film was supposed to be the one that made Karate Kid alum, Elizabeth Shue, a big star, but despite the films success and eventual cult status, it never happened. It's hard to understand why that is. I think it has a lot to do with her virtually disappearing for three years after this film, only to re-appear for a bit part in Back To The Future. Had she ridden the wave of success from this performance, she would have been one of the late 80s biggest names. Shue was fantastic, tough when she needed to be, caring when she wanted to be, and of course she always had the right line on the tip of her tongue. Add to the mix two obnoxious young teens and a tough as nails young tomboy and you have a mixture for success. Lest we forget this was a Christopher Columbus film, so we also have all those oddballs and crazy dumb criminals we know and love thrown in there too. Adventures In Babysitting was almost like a trial run for Home Alone, three years later. While the film certainly had it's share of flaws, and would not be rated PG-13 by today's standards, it was a largely enjoyable family film and in many ways a distant cousin to Home Alone. I loved this film when I was a kid and I appreciate it even more now, Adventures In Babysitting is highly recommended fun for the whole family!

King Jack

Starring: Charlie Plummer, Cory Nichols, & Christian Madsen
Director: Felix Thompson - Rating: NR - Score: 2 Stars

Following the unexpected success of Winter's Bone in 2010, these dark, modern, noirish type films have been all the rage in Hollywood. In fact, these types of films have come to define the 2010 generation of film. Mostly set in rural areas, focusing on the lives of less fortunate people, these films tend to focus on some life defining moment. King Jack certaintly fits this model, and much like Winter's Bone, it is also a coming of age story. Jack (Charlie Plummer) is an angry fifteen year old, who has been bullied his whole life and acts out by getting in trouble. After a family issue, his younger cousin Ben (Cory Nichols) is forced to stay with Jack and his family. At first Jack is upset to be saddled with his naive younger relative, until he comes to realize they're in the same boat, and in Ben he may have found a potential ally. I understand that the premise of the movie is that Jack is a bullied kid, befriends another bullied kid, and all of a sudden their lives don't suck as much anymore, except that they do. Just because they found each other doesn't mean the bullies have gone or that their family situations will necessarily be any better, so what was the point? Watching this film, was simply watching a couple of teenagers hang out in a bad neighborhood, waiting for something substantial to happen. A few events happen here and there, but nothing life altering, and certainly nothing to base a film off of. To be honest, the whole thing was kind of boring. In general, I love this new style of film making, but when it came to King Jack, there were a couple of crude jokes, some anti-climatic scenes, and just a whole lot of nothing going on.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Remakes & Sequels: 2018

Many moviegoers believe the sequels ruin the original film and that remakes don't do the original justice, however remakes and sequels are often times the highest money makes or the year. While most aren't recognized by the Academy, and are panned by the critics, people still flock to the theaters every year to see the characters they know and love.

The Ultimate Movie Review would like to give special thanks to our friends for helping us with this years list!

Upcoming Sequels Expected In Theaters During 2018:
Ant-Man & The Wasp
Avengers: Infinity War
Cloverfield 2017
Creed 2
Deadpool 2
The Equalizer 2
The Expendables 4
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
Fifty Shades Freed
God's Not Dead: A Light In Darkness
Goosebumps: Horrorland
Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation
The Incredibles 3 
Insidious: Chapter 4
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
A Madea Family Funeral
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again!
Maze Runner: The Death Cure
Mission: Impossible 6
Pacific Rim: Uprising
Paddington 2
The Purge: The Island
Sherlock Gnomes
Sicairo 2: Soldado
Solo: A Star Wars Story
The Strangers: Prey At Night
Super Troopers 2
Wreck It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks The Internet
X-Men: Dark Phoenix

Upcoming Remakes Expected In Theaters In 2018:
Death Wish
Dr. Seuss: How The Grinch Stole Christmas
Mary Poppins
Ocean's Eight
Peter Rabbit
Robin Hood
A Star Is Born
Tomb Raider
White Fang
A Wrinkle In Time 

House of Bodies

Starring: Terrance Howard, Queen Latifah, & Peter Fonda
Director: Alex Merkin - Rating: NR - Score: 1 1/2

First of all how does a movie like this manage to get a cast like this? It boggles the mind that these actors would actually be willing to take part in such a shit show, but they did, and it was an epic disaster. Inside a house once owned by a serial killer, college girls looking for money, live, on camera 24/7, in a place where anything can happen. Ya see, they are actually part of a fetish porn website, where they can become victims at anytime and people pay big money to see this. Unbeknownst to them, the serial killer isn't dead, and one night he returns to the house, where the killings become all too real and are streamed live on the web for the whole world to see. Plain and simple this is a mildly pornographic slasher film and a bad one at that. Some big names have some small roles that are honestly beneath them, and not at all worthy of their time. Not only is the story badly written, but the film is just frustrating to watch, as it keeps switching back between the actual house and the poor quality web feed people around the world are watching. The bottom line here, there is a great cast, a title and even a preview that will attract every horror fan that sees it, but if you get sucked in, you will be highly disappointed.

Bleed (2016)

Starring: Chelsey Crisp, Riley Smith, & Michael Steger
Director: Tripp Rhame - Rating: NR - Score: 2 1/2

With a baby on the way, Sarah (Chelsey Crisp) and Matt (Michael Steger) decide to have some friends over to celebrate their new home and new family. It should have been a quiet day, until Sarah's unique brother Eric (Riley Smith) shows up. Eric is a drifter and a ghost hunter, whose bad behavior and odd ball girlfriend threaten to ruin the whole event. Eventually Eric gets into a discussion about what he does, and wanting to silence the skeptics, suggests a ghost hunt at an abandoned nearby prison, that's supposedly haunted. Well how could a woman who is six months pregnant not agree to hike through the woods to a haunted abandon building in the middle of nowhere? That part was a little ridiculous, but the backstory of the prison and the family dynamic actually wasn't too bad, especially for a B-horror movie without any big names attached to it. However that is what also becomes it's downfall, as once the action begins, the lack of experience and money for special effects comes into play, and this film quickly turns more into what I expected it to be. At 40 years old, Riley Smith seems to have been around forever, with over 75 IMDB credits under his belt. He was a pretty interesting character, why there wasn't more of a focus on Eric in the second half of the film, I don't know. I'm just a critic, but I can tell you from my experience, when you lack funds for better special effects, focus on the story and the experienced cast. The filmmakers didn't do that, and the whole thing just kind of falls apart at the end. Bleed wasn't bad for what it was, the first half half was better than expected, the second half, where all the fun stuff happens, was pretty much a disappointment. 

St. Vincent

Starring: Bill Murray, Jaeden Lieberher, & Melissa McCarthy
Director: Theodore Melfi - Rating: PG-13 - Score: 4 stars

Chemistry can make all the difference in a film, even when the story has been done before. St. Vincent wasn't a great film because the story was out of this world. In fact, it wasn't even all that original, but rather the fantastic chemistry between veteran Bill Murray, and newcomer Jaeden Lieberher made all the difference. After a bitter divorce, Maggie & Oliver have been forced to move to a new neighborhood, where they find their new neighbor is a bitter old drunk named Vincent (Murray). Vincent wants nothing to do with anyone, until happenstance throws him together with Oliver, who he reluctantly agrees to watch in exchange for a paycheck, but what does he know about taking care of a kid? Even though this movie could have been more raunchy, Bill Murray is always funny and paired together with this scrawny, innocent, overprotected kid, made for some of the best interplay I've seen in a very long time. Murray was at the top of his game, but he almost had the show stolen right out from under him by young Jaeden Lieberher. Four years later, we know this kid is a star, and after seeing this performance, it's easy to see how he landing huge roles in the movies It and The Book of Henry. Finally the cast is rounded out by Melissa McCarthy who I honestly can not stand anymore, but believe it or not, she was very reserved and laid back. I didn't know she was actually capable of doing that. St. Vincent won't win any awards for originality, some parts could be a bit slow, although there were a few surprises. As for me, I love the chemistry, I always enjoy seeing how young actors and actresses got their start, and the film stars Bill freaking Murray, need I say more?